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some people think that you shouldn't have friends in this business. they're either bad businessmen or trying too hard to pretend they're not butthurt. as soon as nobu decided to do it, being a heel was easy. people are flakey, so flake on them. this is a job, not a honeymoon.

taichi and nobu are the kind of friends that show up at each other's apartments so that they're clearing out someone else's alcohol cabinet. your house is my house, your couch is my couch. just don't trip over me when i fall asleep.

taichi kicks at his shin until he wakes up. taichi is flaking on him.

"count to 10 for me, nobu."

"fuck off."

"so you can leave? great, michiko is in town. she's coming over, i need you out in 20."

taichi flashes a photo of a bleach blonde half-japanese girl. looks like he's upgraded his company.

"don't make that face. you'd do the same thing to me."

there's nobody in nobu's life that likes him enough to fuck him a second time, so no, he wouldn't. well, until something convinces him to try dating again.

"i'll even help you pack."

sweaty taichi presses against him, as if to shove him off the cushion. it's a challenge nobu doesn't want to take when he's half-asleep. taichi's wearing a tanktop, just loose enough that if he leans a certain way, the bruises down his side stand at attention. this is how he dresses up for her. he wants her to see, wants her to coo and pity him. maybe the fuck is just a bonus.

taichi is funny and good company, but that's not why nobu hangs out with him. taichi still hasn't let go of the weaknesses that nobu trashed on day one. it feels good knowing that you're better than the people around you. healthy people aren't proud of being bruised: that's the difference between a natural heel and one that has to work at it.

"and i helped him pack," taichi says to the girl.

"he must be a good friend."

"stop it," says nobu.

"don't listen to him, he's still drunk."

"oh, this is the drinking one!"

nobu's eyes trail down her legs, half a mystery covered in stockings. taichi meets his eyes and smirks.

"well, he's a busy man, let's not take up too much of his time." the pat on his back is more of a shove. there's her bright red heels, placed daintily at the genkan. "do you want to touch them?"

"why would you say that?" nobu can't stop himself from smiling.

the heels feel good in his hands when he picks them up. nice and cheap. "these are counterfeit," says nobu.

"what does it say about you that you know that?"

eating peanuts in the car, nobu is glad once again he told taichi about his foot fetish. he's zeroed in on it so much he hasn't noticed nobu's still attracted to him.