in an adult way
kazuki's c87 story
This is one of the stories from the Comiket 87 book, Hot Hot Winter Heaven.
All I'm gonna say about this one is... Kazuki is a pathetic loserface. ♥
in an adult way
Maybe it was because winter break was near, but the dorm cafeteria was bustling more than usual. Everyone was excited about their plans for winter break and talking about souvenirs to bring to family. But I was bit lonely since Kazuki wasn't around. Kazuki had left after school and hadn't come back yet. It seemed like he was busy as usual, though Kazuki did his best to not show it. But recently, with the end of the year so near, it seemed his hands were tied.
"Oh, Keita. Got some time? Let's all play a game."
I had finished my meal and was just thinking I should go back to my room when I heard the King's voice. Shunsuke and Naruse-san were with him.
"Since Endo isn't around, join us, Honey."
"Right, right. Everyone's betting one meal ticket and the rule is winner takes all."
So, they were collecting everyone who was free in the dorm cafeteria and having a game tournament. Though they called it a game tournament, it wasn't a huge game like the MVP Battle, it was just board games with dice. But once it started, the games heated up and it got exciting, and by the last game, it was nearly lights-out. I had six more squares to reach the goal. I held my breath and rolled the dice, and as it landed on six, Kazuki entered the cafeteria. Amid excited cries of 'wow,' I took the bewildered Kazuki's hands, revelling in my victory.
I had taken my prize of tickets and was on the way back to my room when Kazuki spoke in a low voice. "Keita. I'm sorry I was gone."
"Don't worry about it. I know you're busy."
"But I haven't been with you very much."
"It's okay, I said. I had fun playing games with everyone today."
"Now that you mention it, everyone was pretty excited."
"Yeah. Since we were betting meal tickets, everyone was serious. Shunsuke was doing well at first, but then everyone took shots at him. Even the King was all caught up, saying 'I challenge you and I'll show no mercy, so I'll win at any cost.' Oh, and then Naruse-san..."
"I see.... I'm glad you had fun."
As I recounted the tale excitedly, Kazuki smiled somewhat bitterly. Something about Kazuki nagged at me, but before I could ask about it, we had arrived in front of my room.
"Then, good night, Kazuki."
"Yeah... Hey, Keita." With that somewhat vague answer, Kazuki stopped me. "Do you want to go on a date on our day off tomorrow?"
"Tomorrow? Yeah, I'm not really doing anything, so it should be okay..."
I was bewildered at being suddenly invited on a date. Usually, Kazuki made plans well in advance in order to make time for a date. So I couldn't really turn down his invitation. Looking forward to tomorrow, I shut the door of my room.
The next day, I waited for Kazuki at an outdoor cafe not too far from the school island.
That Kazuki, why had he decided to meet up at a place like this? Since we were both in the dorm, we should have gone out together. Also, it was cold at an outdoor cafe in this season. Naturally, the other customers were all inside, not sitting out on the terrace like me.
Just as the mug of cafe au lait that was warming my hands grew empty, a car pulled up in front of me.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Keita."
Inside the car was Kazuki. He wasn't in the back seat as usual, but was alone in the driver's seat. He got out of the car, opened the passenger seat's door, and invited me to get in.
That in itself was surprising enough, but Kazuki seemed completely different from usual today. He wore a simple outfit of a knit jacket matched with pants, but it looked different from what he usually arrived in. I thought it was probably good fabric or tailoring. I got in, thinking that this might be the real Kazuki, not the one pretending to be a student.
The inside of the streamlined, subdued dark blue car was more roomy than I imagined, and the seat I was sitting in was comfortable. Even I recognized the animal face emblem on the steering wheel of the luxury car. I fastened the seatbelt with a practiced movement and the car took off smoothly.
"The weather is nice today, so why don't we go somewhere with a good view?"
Seeing Kazuki smiling in the driver's seat reminded me that he was older.
Then, with Kazuki acting as guide, I enjoyed the scenery outside the car window that was completely different from the school island.
As the sun set, the car headed toward the city center. Kazuki parked the car along a street lined with high fashion brand shops, and went into the most high-class looking shop, one right in front of us with black decor. I hurriedly followed after him.
"We have been expecting you, Suzubishi-sama."
They must have known that we were coming, since several sales staff bowed respectfully to Kazuki. Every time the sales staff lowered their heads, I also ended up bobbing my head.
"Keita, you can choose any clothing you like here."
"Huh, Kazuki? Any..."
Whichever I liked, he said. How much did the clothes here cost? No matter how I thought about it, they looked like they had at least two more zeroes than what I usually wore. And although I quickly scanned the inside of the store, I didn't see any price tags anywhere.
Kazuki must have thought I couldn't pick, because he spoke to someone who looked like a salesperson and pointed toward me. "Would you choose something suitable for him?"
After that, my dress-up party with all the store's staff began. I tried on clothes, then paraded in front of Kazuki over and over. Since every outfit was nothing but formal clothing like I'd never worn before, I honestly didn't really know if any suited me or not, but I was happy every time I changed and Kazuki praised me, saying that it looked good on me. I tried on a number of outfits, and while they were being tailored, Kazuki also changed into different clothing. It was a darker, slimmer suit than the one he wore when acting as director, one that seemed a little bit worn, and he put it on roughly.
Kazuki looked at me after I had finished changing and got up from the comfortable one-seat sofa. "Now that is nice," he said, smiling. I blushed at those words, not because he was praising me, but because I was entranced by how adult Kazuki looked, and since it was kind of annoying, I stayed silent.
Kazuki finished paying with just a signature and, wearing our new outfits, we went to the next place. The place we arrived at was the top floor restaurant of a world-famous, ultra high-class hotel. We were shown inside the restaurant that had soft piano music playing, stepping on the soft carpeting. I was nervous, but Kazuki walked confidently in front of me.
Kazuki, who I should have been used to seeing from school, seemed like a completely different person here. He wasn't my classmate, Endo Kazuki, but the adult Suzubishi Kazuki. Although both of them were Kazuki, I thought this one was probably closer to the real Kazuki.
In the high-society atmosphere of the restaurant, the diners, both male and female, were dressed up, and I was thankful from the bottom of my heart that I was not in the casual clothes I had started with. We sat in the seats by the window that had the best view. The menu that was handed to me was written in both French and Japanese, but there were so many specialized words that I didn't even know what kind of food it was.[note]The description of this restaurant - top floor of a high-class hotel, extremely fancy French cuisine, the special window seat with a great view - is an exact match for Cuisine du Sonoda, the French restaurant owned by Sonoda Eiji's father. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.
"I'll leave it to you, Kazuki," I said, and Kazuki made an order to the garcon with detailed instructions, seemingly familiar with it.
"Just as I'd expect of you, Kazuki. I didn't have a clue."
"It's just that I've been to this place several times. Instead, I think you're amazing, ordering from that code-like menu and frying your own monja at the monjayaki restaurant we went to together before."
Come to think of it, a little while back I had taken Kazuki, who said he had never eaten monjayaki, and we'd gone to Tsukishima. It was true that Kazuki's blank look that time might have been the same expression I had now.
That was a fun time... I thought, and the doubt surfaced - then what about today's date? I was happy that Kazuki had invited me, and I had no complaints that he had driven me around, and bought me clothes, and taken me to a high-class dinner.
Since Kazuki was someone high up in the Suzubishi Group, this much might have been no big deal, but I felt like it was above my station. Besides, being escorted by Kazuki at every step, somehow, I just felt like I was being wined and dined rather than taken on a date. Since I hadn't seen him much because he was busy recently, maybe he was trying to make up for that, but I mostly felt sorry for Kazuki.
Feeling that something was vaguely nagging at me, I looked at Kazuki's face. Our gazes met and immediately Kazuki smiled, but for just a moment before that, he seemed to look somehow uneasy.
The dinner at that restaurant was so delicious I couldn't find any complaints. We left the restaurant and once again got into the car with Kazuki driving.
"There's still some time, so we can at least go around to one more place." Inside the moving car, Kazuki spoke, facing ahead, from the left-side driver's seat. "There's a nice place that has live music, so if we get there now..."[note]It seems odd to make a special mention of Kazuki's seat being on the left side, but the story is making it clear that Kazuki is driving a foreign car. The driver's seat is on the right side in Japanese cars.
"Um... Kazuki. That's enough."
"Huh?" Kazuki's expression hardened at my timid suggestion.
"Enough, it doesn't have to be such a high-class place, so can't we go somewhere more normal?"
"Keita, were you not having fun?"
Kazuki turned the steering wheel and stopped the car by the side of the road. He took off his seatbelt and looked at me intently with a worried expression.
"Uh-uh, I had a lot of fun on today's date. You drove me, and chose clothes for me at a store I could never go to, and the food was really delicious."
"It doesn't have to be such high-class places. If I can spend time with you, any place is fun. But even though I spent today with you, it wasn't fun like usual."
"Because you were being polite and accommodating me?"
"Uh-uh, that's not it. I told you, I had fun. But I was thinking maybe it was more fun when I went to eat monja with you before. Not for me, but for you."
"Keita..." In the darkness, Kazuki watched me intently. "...After all, I can't hide it from you." Kazuki heaved a big sigh and bowed to me. "I'm sorry, Keita. Today's date was completely self-centered."
I was shocked at the sudden apology. What did that mean, I asked, and Kazuki continued.
"I've come to think that whenever I'm in front of you, I want to be Endo Kazuki as much as possible and not Suzubishi Kazuki. I've come to think that I want to spend every day with the same perspective, in the same position, as your classmate, not as the director. I didn't want you to feel uneasy, Keita."
Since I knew Kazuki felt that way, I silently nodded. Seeing that, Kazuki looked away and scratched his cheek in embarrassment. That was Kazuki's habit when he said things that were hard to say.
"But yesterday... you were having fun with everyone, weren't you?"
"Yesterday... you mean the game tournament?" I was puzzled at the unexpected reply.
"Yeah. I saw you having fun then, and I thought that even if I'm near the same level as you, you don't make that expression for me. So I thought it might be nice to show you the advantages of being an adult sometimes."
"And so you took me on an un-student-like date?"
"...Yeah. But I know it was wrong. I was just envious of what I couldn't have, and rather than making it fun for you, it was like I was prioritizing my own ego. So, I'm sorry."
"You don't have to apologize." Hearing Kazuki's feelings made me happy. "But that means that you care about me enough to get jealous. It makes me all happy that you thought about making me happy."
"Kazuki, normally, you don't show what you want very much. I think that's what makes you an adult, but that you've shown it to me makes me kind of happy. Besides, I love both my classmate Kazuki and the adult director Kazuki."
"Thank you, Keita." Kazuki embraced me, pushing me into the seat. I also reached out my arms and wrapped them around Kazuki's back.
"I love you," Kazuki whispered in my ear and kissed it. It felt really good. And I was happy. I felt strongly that I did love Kazuki after all... And as I thought that, it probably wasn't my imagination that I felt a slightly more adult kiss than usual.
We held each other for a long time like that, and finally Kazuki lifted his head. At the natural smile on his face, I felt he had gone back to his familiar self compared to that of the day, and I smiled similarly back.
"Then, for our next student-like, realistic date, should we go to the arcade?"
At my suggestion, Kazuki put his hand on my cheek and acted as if he was a little worried. "An arcade is okay, but... since we're alone in a car, before we go back to being students, I want to try tasting the real thrill of an adult date."
By the time I understood Kazuki's intentions, the car seat I was resting against had slowly begun to recline. Instead of a reply, I put my fingers on Kazuki's necktie and kissed him.