“So, this is my home.” I said and turned towards behind me. Ayato take a step forward and begin to look around.
“Well, it looks pretty neat.” He says. I rubbed out my hair and left out a sheepish smile.
“Thanks. I tried to keep it clean everyday.” I said humbly. He look at the couch before looking back at me.
“May I?” he asked. I immediately nodded.
“Please. Have a seat. I’ll put on the kettle and made us some tea.” I said and scurry towards the kitchen. My hands are shaking while putting the kettle on the stove. Well, Ayato is here. We had agreed to start eating together, but for somewhat reason – Ayato always finds a reason to refuse my offer. After constant persistence (pestering); he finally gives in.
All I gotta do now is to make his little visit to my place to be a happy and enjoyable one.
“Do you like living here?” he suddenly ask. I turned to look at him.
“Not really. But the rent is cheap. So does the maintenance fee.”
“How about your neighbors? Are they nice to you?” he continues. I smiled to myself.
“Not really. But, people who lives in here mainly mind their own business, so that's great.”
“Great? I thought countryside people are more vibrant and outgoing. But, it’s the same way here too, huh?” he said. I think he’s comparing the neighbors around here and Tokyo. I smile.
“Well, they can be nice. If your family is decent, that is...” I replied meekly. Ayato look at me for the longest time, but didn't say anything. Then, without a word - he turned to pick up the frame right next to him.
“Is this your mother?”
“I see you got her eyes.”
“So I was told.”
Ayato put down the frame at the table with a little smile.
“She seems like a nice person.”
"You never even met her. How do you know if she’s nice?”
“I don’t have too. It’s all in here, in these pictures.”
“What do you mean?”
“Let me see... *Shichi-go-san, kindergarten, primary school, middle school and high school... These are all milestones in your life, right?”
“And there she is. In every one of them. Anyone with nice mother would attend all of these events, I would assume...”
“You... assume? What about your mother, Ayato-san? Didn't she attend any of these things?”
“No. She wasn't as interested. That’s why she rather let my butler to attend.”
Butler? Does he meant, Mr. Shigeru? The old man that I met in the cafe about a week ago? Ayato continues to look at the pictures. I suddenly have an urge to ask Ayato more about him.
“Ayato-san... I been meaning to ask you this. Is your butler...” I pause and stopped myself. Ayato blinks at me a couple of times. I shake my head.
“Never mind. Forget I say anything.” I added. I immediately remembered that Mr. Shigeru wanted to keep our meeting in secret. While I was trying to segue our conversation, Ayato suddenly turned his head towards me.
“Nemura-san, can I ask you something?” he said.
“Sure, what is it?”
“The other day... why do you get pick on by those kids?”
“You mean... you don’t know?” I asked back. Ayato shakes his head.
“Well, nobody tells me anything.” he added. I smile painfully.
“Right... I forgot that they are all afraid of you.” I added. Ayato look at me indifferently. I sighed before crossing my arms.
“It’s because of my mother.”
“Yes. She works as a hostess in a bar.”
“Yes. That's where she made most of her money. Nearly everyone at school knows that.”
"Even the teacher's?"
"Especially the teachers."
“Okay. But what’s that got to do with the bullying?”
“You really are a city boy, aren’t you? Look, being a hostess is not something to be proud off, you know? This type of job tend to get frown upon. I honestly didn't understand why, though. While other business keeps on shutting its doors, three large bar in this small area still thriving. Was it really that surprising if my mom choose to work there?"
Ayato didn’t say anything. It seems like he’s processing all the information I just given him. Of course he’s speechless about my mom's work and living situation. But, I can’t fully blame him. There’s no way that a rich boy like Ayato could understand of constant daily struggle for people like us.
“You're awfully quiet. Are you alright?” I ask him. He nodded.
“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”
“I don’t know. You seems surprised. Is this shocking to you?”
“I must’ve look pathetic to you, aren’t I?” I added. He immediately shakes his head.
“No. I don’t think of you that way. There’s no reason for me to. We gotta do what we can to earn money and survive, right?” he said. I smile.
"Thank you for saying that. Despite of what others says, my mom doesn’t seem to hate her job. In fact, she kinda proud of it. Sometimes she even brought those men home.”
“And how does that make you feel?”
“A little bit sorry and sad. I thought I was enough for her. Perhaps she's lonely, you know? As her son, I can only hope that she can take care of herself."
“Have you tell her about this?”
"No. Besides, I already knew the answer before I even ask. She's going to say what else she’s going to do? She doesn’t have a high school diploma nor a husband. How are she going to make a living?” I said. Ayato crossed his arms.
“Do you mind if I say something about your mom?” he asked. I nodded.
“I may have never met her, but I think your mother had done all she could to raise you. It might not been all perfect, but at least – she didn’t abandoned or sent you to live on your own, right?” Ayato replied. I suddenly remember that Ayato are currently living alone and working at a convenience store while still going to school. And here I am, complaining about my mom job situation.
I must sound like an ungrateful brat to him.
“Sorry... Look at me complaining. I must’ve sound so annoying to you, right?”
“I don’t really mind. But what are you going to do about those bullies? Are you going to let them do whatever they want and not fight back?”
“But, what else am I going to do? There’s three of them and one of me. You seen me, right? I was a wimp... There’s no way I ever going to win against those guys...”
“I don't see why not. As long as you have this and this... You can always fight back.” He said and showed both of his fist. I begin to laugh nervously. Yeah, like I’m ever going to do that. Me, standing against those bullies and beating them like Ayato-san? No way...
“Sorry, Ayato-san... I don’t think that violence is really an answer.” I said. Ayato nodded his head.
“Okay, I get it. You don't wanna fight. But it wasn't right to let them treat you that way, you know? If you ever need my help, I just want to let you know that I’m always available.” He added. I look down at my feet for a second before answering.
“Thank you, Ayato-san. Oh, the kettle just boil. I’ll make us that tea now.”
“Thank you, Nemura-san.”
“That dinner is delicious. Thank you, Nemura-san.”
“No, thank you Ayato-san for eating it.”
“Now you just making it weird.”
“Did I? Sorry. I just want you to know how grateful I am that you’re taking my advice to eat at my place.” I replied earnestly. Ayato left out a faint sigh.
“Sure. How could I refuse a free meal? But I kinda feel bad though. Are you sure you don’t want me to do the dishes?”
“Nah, it’s okay. The dishwasher will take care of it.” I said. Ayato nodded his head. He unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and begin to fan himself with his hand.
“Are you hot?”
“I guess so. It’s Summer.”
“Tell me about it... I had gulped down three popsicles before you get off from work. It’s disgusting, but I had to do it to cool off myself.” I confess. Ayato smirked.
“Popsicles, huh? I do like them.”
“Oh, you do? I have a couple more inside the fridge. You can take out one if you like...”
“I’m still full. But thanks for the offer, though. I appreciate it.”
“But you didn’t even eat a lot at dinner...” I said, a bit puzzled. Ayato looks a little embarrassed.
“That’s because I’m trying to watch my weight.”
“What weight? You look incredible to me.” I instantly replied. Ayato face turns redder than before. Oh, no... Was I being way too honest? But, I mean what I say. He does looks great. His jawline alone could cut a tofu.
“Hold your compliments, Nemura-san... You have no idea what I used to look like. I used to be such a chubby kid growing up.” He said. I frown a little. I saw some of the pictures that Mr. Shigeru had shown me. None of those pictures shown Ayato as a chubby kid.
So, why was he lying?
“You’re joking right? I seen your pictures. There’s no way that you used to be fat.” I said.
“Huh? What did you say? Pictures? What pictures?”
“Err.... nothing. Forget I say anything.” I quickly added. Shit. How could I forget that he wasn't supposed to know about Mr. Shigeru yet?
“No...no... I want to hear this. You just admit that you saw my childhood pictures. I don’t think I ever shown you any... Where did you seen them?"
“Umm.... from the magazines, obviously.”
“What magazines, exactly?”
“You know... old magazines. Your family sorta famous right? I think I saw them, once or twice...”
“That's weird... I don't remember appearing in any magazine when I was little. Are you sure?”
“Y... yes... But, does it really matter? All I know is that you are never fat. Right?” I added. Ayato doesn't look like he believe me. Damn it. Why do I keep digging on my own grave? Haha, I know why....
It’s because I am stupid.
“Hmm, I don’t know what it is... But, something smells fishy here.”
“Hehe... You are probably thinking way too much.” I said, trying to distract him. He shakes his head.
“No, I don’t think so. I think there’s a reason why you know that I was never fat.”
“Y... you do?”
“Yes. You met him, didn’t you?”
“What? Met who? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, don't act dumb. I'm talking about Mr. Shigeru, my butler. He talked to you, didn't he?”
“N...no. I never met that proper man in my life!”
“Hmm.... How do you know that he's a proper man if you never met him?” he tested me back. I left out a faint sigh. Why do I have to make it so obvious that I know who Mr. Shigeru is?
“Okay, you caught me. I talked to him.”
“I know you do. I saw you two at the cafe. I was just waiting for the right moment to bring it up.”
“I didn’t know you’re this sly... You could’ve just ask me. I'll tell you in an instant.” I replied in defense. Ayato put both of his hands on the back of his head.
“I thought it would be interesting this way. It certainly is. You should’ve look at your face. It’s funny.”
“Well, yeah? I’m never going to tell you what he told me.”
“Oh come on... I’m just teasing you. I thought we’re friends, aren't we?”
“Oh, we are? I don't think friends lies to each other.”
“You lied to me first.”
“But, you lied to me second.”
“So, we’re even.”
“I guess we are.”
Silence filled the air. Before I even get to ask Ayato about this even further, a familiar voice greeted us. It’s my mom who just straightly coming back from her work.
“Nemu-chan... Mommy’s home!” she shouted as soon as she barges in. I look at her in huge shock.
“Mom! What are you doing here? I thought you won’t be back for another hour.” I said. My mom immediately kick off her shoes and put her dangly arms around me. She reeks of alcohol. I quickly help her to steady herself.
“I left work early today. I haven’t seen you in days. Oh, how I miss you, my sweet boy....” she said before planting multiples kiss on my cheek. She continues to indulge me with her kiss in front of Ayato. I really wish she didn’t do that. I can almost hear Ayato smiling from far.
“Oh, and who do we got here? Who’s this young and fine boy, Nemu-chan? I don’t think I ever seen him before.” My mom pushes me aside and went straight to Ayato. She pulled his arms and pushed him into her revealing bosom. An image of Ayato’s head on my mom bosom... I don’t think I’ll ever going to forget it for the rest of my life even if I try.
“Nice to meet you, maam.” Ayato mumbled inside of her bosom. My mom left out a hearty laughs. She planted a kiss on Ayato’s cheek too before smiling at him.
“You must be Nemu-chan boyfriend, right? My...my... you're so handsome! Well, I always knew that my son have a great taste in man, just like me. Isn't that right, you little cutie?” she commented while pinching his nose. Ayato looks slightly uncomfortable and probably... embarrassed too.
“No, we’re just friends.” He said, shortly after my mother releases him. My mom look at me.
“Ahh... you poor baby. Mommy feel so sowwy for you...” she added, slurring her words. This bad. I already know what’s going to come after my mom start slurring like this. She’s going to fall asleep.
“Ayato’s san... watch out.” I said. But, it's too late. My mom body already fell against Ayato. He fell hard on the floor with my drunken mother on the top of him. As if that wasn’t enough, she also does Ayato the pleasure by vomiting's on his shoulder. Oh, mom... why are you doing this to me?
“Nemura-san... A little help, please.” Ayato begs. I sighs and slowly pull my mother away from him. I’m not sure why, but even while he’s covered in vomit – this guy still looks attractive to me. There’s only one explanation. I must have gone crazy!
- End of Chapter 7 -