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Stargazing with the Dying

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   "C'mon, Acchan! Just ask him already!"

   "C'mon, you can do it!"

   "I will, I will! Just wait."

The two boys urged Atsushi.

   "Anything else, Maeda?"

The raven haired boy asked.

   "A- one smile for takeout, please..."

One of the most striking and wonderful smiles hit the lover boy straight in the face, a blush appearing. Handing him the two trays of food, their hands briefly brush against each other.

Sakamoto touched my hand! N-no, what are you saying, that's weird.

Turning around to find a table, Mario and Kenken start crowding around Atsushi, congratulating him on the small, but meaningful encounter.

   "You guys aren't sure this is weird or anything? I like dudes,  Sakamoto to be exact. He's the guy all the girls fall for!"

Covering his face with his faded red beanie, the boy sighs.

   "We're sure! Why would we judge our best bud on something as small as a crush?"

Kenken reassures Atsushi, smiling at him.

   "Yeah, Acchan! We'll support you whatever you do, 'cause we're buds, right?"

Mario laughs, indulging in his food. Muttering a small 'thanks', they finish their food and throw away their trash.            

   Before walking out the door,  the lovesick boy saw something out of the corner of his eye.

A warm, welcoming smile from his crush.

Heat rushed over his face as he scurried out of the restaurant.

'He smiled at me! Without me asking him to... He did this, for what? Why?'

   Making his way to his house, he barges through the door ignoring his mother cooking dinner. Entering his room, he throws his bag on the floor and flops down on his unmade bed. Sighing, he hears a little beep from his phone in his pant pocket. Opening his phone, Atsushi is greeted with Sakamoto's face as his wallpaper. His eyes widened and he pulled his phone to his thumping heart.

"Why do I like him?"


   It was finally summer vacation and no one had seen Sakamoto since. A worried expression graced Atsushi's face while he sat on the swing set with Mario and Kenken.

   “Hey dude, what's wrong?" Mario asked, looking away from his bubble blower.

   "It's nothing. I just, I haven't seen Sakamoto since summer break started."

   "Why not try lookin' for him? I mean, he couldn’t have gone far.”

Sighing, Atsushi stands up and waves goodbye to his friends. Mario and Kenken shrug and keep blowing bubbles on the squeaky swing set.

   “Why am I so worried about him? I mean, he’s a guy, and guys aren’t supposed to like other guys... What the hell is wrong with me?!”

   The beanie clad boy flops down on some grass in another park, beating himself up over his overwhelming crush on the coolest boy in school. Closing his eyes, the inaudible chatter of passerby’s fill his ears, but he doesn’t care. He lays there for seemingly hours, the sky darkening and the air getting chillier. Finally standing up, Atsushi brushes the grass off of his pants when he sees someone walking towards him.

Is that Mario? Or Kenken?

It wasn’t either of his friends, but someone he had been worrying about for weeks.

   “Ah, Maeda. I didn’t expect to find you outside so late.”

   “...Sakamoto? W-what are you doing here?”

He splutters, attempting to make himself more presentable. As the ebony haired boy stepped closer to him, a blush starts to appear on his cheeks.

   “Why, may I ask, are you outside tonight?”

Sakamoto asks, head slightly tilted.

   “N-no reason! I-I’m just, hangin’ out, is all...”

God, Atsushi! Why the hell are you acting like this? Dumbass!

“W-what about you? I didn’t expect a prefect like you to stay outside late.”

Atsushi internally beat himself up at the comment. He didn’t know how to act around girls he liked, but boys? His brain was in shambles every time something Sakamoto related came up.

   “I was just walking home after a shift, I remember you ordering food one day and a-“

   “O-oh yeah! T-the food was really good, thanks for givin’ it to me...”

He interrupted Sakamoto before he could finish his sentence with the topic of a smile being ordered.

   “Ah. Yes, of course. Anyways, would you care to join me stargazing? I find this pastime is more enjoyable with someone else.”

The glassed boy asked, staring right into Atsushi’s eyes. Turning tomato red, he splutters, unable to spit out an answer. His crush, the one he obsessed over just asked him to stargaze. To lay next to him.

   “U-u-uh, sure! Y-yeah, that sounds cool.”

Atsushi smiles sheepishly, his hand cupping his neck.   

   Sakamoto leads him to a clear spot without any trees or clouds in the sky. The stars were like diamonds, glittering with the beauty of one-thousand jewels. Seating himself down, Atsushi follows suit making sure to be the perfect distance from his crush; not too close and not too far. Flopping onto the cool grass, he stares up at the stars, marvelling at the complexity of the cosmic gems. Atsushi so badly wanted to start some sort of conversation with him, but was far too afraid of interrupting his stargazing, or just downright annoying Sakamoto.

Here goes nothing and everything all at the same time!

   “W-we’re friends, right, Sakamoto?”

   “Hm? Yes, of course. Why do you ask?”

   “N-no reason! No reason at all.”

Resting the back of his head on his hands, Atsushi sighs at the simple but meaningful statement from Sakamoto.

Well, that’s one step closer to...

whatever. It’s obvious he wouldn’t date me, he’s-

   “Maeda? You seem distracted, your head has leaned to the side.”

   “W-what? Oh, it’s nothin’, I’m just a little tired, I guess.”

   “Oh, really? Then I do apologize for keeping you up. To make up for this, do you think I can walk you home?”

   “Nah, it’s fine. Um, have a nice night.”

Damn. I could’ve spent more time with him but I just came and fucked it up!

   Quickly standing up, Atsushi makes his way back to his home where a small pot of udon soup sat on the stove, probably cold by now. Spooning some into a bowl, he heats it up in the microwave when he hears a knock on the door. Opening it he sees Sakamoto holding his phone, looking quite tired.

   “Sakamoto? What’re you doin’ here?”

Atsushi asks, surprised.

   “You dropped your cellphone and I’m here to give it back.”

   “B-but, how do you know where I live?”

   “Your shoes had grass stains on them and the road had faint green marks. I followed them here.”

Handing him the flip-phone, Sakamoto slightly smiles at him, eyes with a slight twinkle. Swallowing hard, Atsushi smiles back, nodding a bit to show thanks.

   “E-erm, would’ja like to come inside? My mom made some food that I can heat up.”

   “If it wouldn’t be too much trouble, sure.”

   “Yeah, yeah, that’s nothin’ Sakamoto.”

Taking his shoes off, Sakamoto sits down at the dining room table, gazing at Atsushi preparing their food.

   As the beanie clad boy places down chopsticks, spoons and bowls of hot soup on the dark chestnut table, he kneels down and they both give thanks for the food.

   “Maeda, I’d like to ask you something.”

   “Hm? Yeah, go ahead.”

   “What do you think of me?”

He almost spit out his soup, taken aback at the question. Swallowing the mixture of noodles, he scratches his head to think.

   “Well, I think you’re really cool. You might get this a lot, but I also think that you’re pretty handsome, Sakamoto.”

Looking up from his soup bowl, Sakamoto’s eyes widen ever so slightly.

   “ I’m flattered. I think the same of you, Maeda.”

This remark sent him into a coughing fit. His crush, someone so out of his league said he was handsome? His crush, a guy everyone fell in love with at first sight, is sitting in front of him thinking that he’s handsome. His crush, Sakamoto, may not be so far from uncovering the hidden feelings just by saying Atsushi was handsome.

   “Ah, Maeda. Are you alright?”

Sakamoto cocks his head to the side, ready to rise from where he’s sitting to help the boy across from him.

   “I’m *cough* fine! I’ll be *cough* alright.”

Letting out a small sigh, Sakamoto smiles ever so slightly at him, earning a blush. For the next twenty minutes, they ate in a comfortable silence when Atsushi notices the time.

   “A-ah! Sakamoto, it’s kinda late, don’t you think you gotta go home by now? Aren’t your parents gonna be worried?”

   “I’ve already informed them I may be coming home late because I want to take you somewhere. After I help you clean up, of course.”

With nothing but a couple of nods, Atsushi gets up and takes the bowls away while Sakamoto wipes down the table.

Geez, this night’s getting to be pretty crazy... I’m not sure if I’m dreaming or not! But, I still can’t believe Sakamoto thinks I’m hot... and that he wants to take me somewhere after this! I wonder what-


Sakamoto’s voice broke his concentration.

   “H-huh? Yeah?”

   “Are you ready to go? I suggest you bring a light jacket for the both of us because it’s rather cold outside.”

   “Yeah! Sure.”

Running over to the coat closet and back to the front door, he meets Sakamoto and they both set out to walk. The two walk side by side when Sakamoto grabs Atsushi’s hand, running his thumb across his knuckles.

   “Uh... Sakamoto? What are you doing?”

He asks, a cherry red blush spreading across his face. If it weren’t for the darkness, his face would’ve been spotted a mile away.

   “Holding your hand. Does that bother you in any way?”

   “N-not at all, man.”

   The rest of the walk to wherever Sakamoto was leading him was a lifetime too short. Everything seemed perfect; the night was cool and he had his favourite person holding his hand taking him somewhere.

   As they neared their destination, Atsushi realized this was the same park Sakamoto found him in only a couple of hours ago. Seating themselves down on a bench, they look up into the stars yet again.

   “I do hope this doesn’t seem redundant, Maeda. I have nowhere else to go, so I went to the only place that’s open at this time.”

   “That’s okay. It’s real nice here, Sakamoto. It’s actually kinda fun stargazing!”

   “It is.”

A soft smile made its way onto Sakamoto’s face, a small sigh escaping his lips.

   “Can I ask you something, Maeda?”

   “Yeah, sure.”

   “What are you doing after high school?”

   “I dunno... I’m just thinkin’ what I’m gonna do if I flunk the next exam. I might get expelled.”

   “That wouldn’t be good. I suggest you start studying for this exam. It’s math, right?”

   “Hm? Yeah, but I don’t really care about school anymore. The only thing I do is mess around and blow bubbles with my friends.”

   “Don’t say that, Maeda. At the very least make it a goal to make it through high school.”

   “Yeah, yeah, whatever. Anyways, Sakamoto, why’d you ask me that question? I should be the one asking you because you’ll probably have a pretty cool future.”

Sakamoto reached for Maeda’s hand, closing his eyes and sighing.

   “I’m dying, Atsushi. I won’t have a future, unfortunately.”