Chapter 40:

First times

Bonded by Music

AH! Genta, you said it wasn’t going to hurt!”

“Nope, I said that it greatly depended on the area you chose.”

“Then you could have told me that the inside of the wrist was one of the sensitive ones!”

“Sorry, but you were so eager to get it there that I didn’t want to discourage you.”

Eloy narrowed his eyes at Genta as he grinned while leaning against one of the walls of the room. Eloy was really regretting having blindly trusted him, instead of searching for ‘the most painful tattoo spots’ before going to his appointment with Narumi.

“Don’t worry: since it’s a pretty small tattoo, it'll be over soon,” Narumi reassured Eloy with a smile.

“Okay, keep going,” Eloy said before clenching his eyes shut and pursing his lips, bracing for the needle to pierce his skin again. At that moment he heard the unmistakable shutter sound of a phone camera. “Genta, I swear that if you take another picture–”

“Oh, come on, it’s a nice memory. You’ll thank me for it later.”

Thankfully, unlike his idiotic boyfriend, Narumi hadn’t lied when saying that it wouldn’t take her long to finish. In roughly fifteen minutes, she announced that the torture was over.

“So, do you like it?” Narumi asked softly while Eloy looked at the number twenty followed by a small music note that now adorned his right wrist.

“I do,” he said with a wide smile. “Thank you.”

“See? Told you it would be worth the ‘torture’.” Eloy snorted softly as Genta approached him and kissed his forehead, but he couldn’t stop smiling while continuing looking at his first tattoo. “Come on, stand up. It’s my turn now.”

“What?” Eloy looked up at Genta. “Wait, are you going to get one too?”

“Of course. We were both the 20th pair, weren’t we?”

Eloy chuckled and stood up, feeling a warm sensation in his body at the idea that they would both have matching tattoos - followed by a sense of embarrassment when Genta didn't show the slightest sign of discomfort as Narumi tattooed him.

Another fifteen minutes later they were leaving the tattoo parlor. They had lost the battle against Narumi, who stubbornly refused to charge them for the service, but at least they had convinced her to invite her to a meal the next time they hung out.

“Damn, those women are all too stubborn,” Genta said as they walked down the street. “That’s why I stopped working at Harmony. Ms. Yamane always wanted to pay me a lot more than she should.”

Genta’s comment made Eloy remember something. “By the way, I don’t know yet how you, Mako, and Narumi became friends.”

“Oh, it was when I was a trainee at the bar. They were already working there when I joined. We got along during the time we were coworkers, and kept in touch afterwards."

“Mm. And that's all? Ms. Yamane hinted that something special happened for you to become friends.”

An understanding expression appeared in Genta’s face. “Ah. Well, maybe she meant when I dragged a couple of assholes out of the bar because they were bothering Narumi, back when she was transitioning, but that’s all.” Genta frowned when Eloy stopped, while looking at him with a soft smile. “What?”

“Nothing,” Eloy said before resuming his walk. “It’s just impressive the little importance you give to all the good things you do.”

Genta blinked, looking honestly confused. “I just did what someone decent would have done. There’s no merit in that.”

Eloy chuckled and shook his head. “I agree to disagree.” They kept walking for a while, always searching for the shade in the street because it was pretty hot, even if it was starting to get dark. “So, what do you want to do now? Do you have any shifts at the store tonight?”

“Nope. Since yesterday I worked the entire Sunday, I took the afternoon off today.”

“Oh, nice! Do you want to grab dinner somewhere then?”

“I want to see your share house.” Eloy’s eyes opened wider in surprise when Genta blurted out that request before averting his eyes. “You’ve been in my house, but I don’t know where you live. It’s not very fair.”

Eloy chuckled, finding Genta’s sudden awkwardness rather cute. “Sure. Let’s go then.”

* * *

Technically, only the tenants of the share house could enter the building, but the reality was that everyone used to bring friends or family there, so Eloy decided that bending the rules a little for his benefit wouldn't hurt.

“Welcome to my humble abode,” Eloy jokingly said once they were inside his room.

“Hey, it’s not bad at all,” Genta said, looking around for a bit before crouching to examine the small shelf placed at the feet of Eloy’s bed. “Damn, you have a bunch of Switch games.”

“Yes, I got a little crazy buying them the first month I was here,” Eloy admitted before approaching his desk. He moved some papers away to make space for the dinner they had bought at the 7-Eleven where they first met. “We can play some if you want.”

“Cool.” Genta stood up again. “Man, I’m glad we have some margin for the final challenge.”

“Me too. But it’s logical. They couldn’t ask us to prepare a completely original song and give us just a week.” In fact, they had an entire month to prepare for it, since the Finals would take place on September 1st, exactly three months after they first sent their application to participate.

“Yeah, but I mean, it’s Mr. Shin the one who came up with it so–” Genta’s comment was interrupted by a creaking sound when he dropped onto Eloy’s bed. “Shit, did I break something?”

Eloy chuckled at Genta's panicked tone. “No, don’t worry. It always sounds like that.”

After having dinner, they spent a couple of hours talking. Of course the contest was one of the topics that came up, but Eloy’s PhD and the jobs that Genta had been doing during the past years ended up being the main focus of the conversation. They ended up bursting into fits of laughter with the anecdotes they shared before deciding to try some of Eloy’s games.

They settled comfortably on the bed to play together. Genta’s competitiveness came to the surface then, with him wanting a rematch in every minigame he lost. Eloy had quite a lot of fun teasing Genta, as he wasn't particularly competitive, which only seemed to annoy Genta more.

Time flew by that night, and when Eloy finally remembered to check the clock, it was way past his usual bedtime.

“Oh, shit,” Eloy exclaimed, looking at Genta with worry as he sat next to him on the bed. “Hey, it’s not that I want you to leave, but shouldn't you be heading back? It’s late, and Hiromi must be worried–”

“I already warned her.”

Eloy opened his eyes more. “You did?”

Genta nodded in silence, and the glint in his eyes at that moment made Eloy’s heart skip a beat. “I told her that maybe I wouldn’t be sleeping at home tonight.”

Eloy swallowed thickly, unable to avert his eyes from Genta’s intense gaze.

“Oh,” he cleverly said before a silence fell between them, charged for the first time with a particular tension that caused Eloy to feel his stomach clench in anticipation.

And then, the distance between them disappeared as they fused in an intense kiss.

“I mean, obviously I’ll just stay if it’s okay with you–”

Eloy cut off Genta’s protest with a new kiss. “Of course it’s okay,” he said with an eagerness that made Genta exhale a breathless, relieved chuckle.

They lay on the bed, with Eloy accommodated on the top of Genta and between his parted legs.

“Just one thing,” Genta eventually said during one of the times they had to pause for breath after an intense make-out session. “I’ve never…”

Eloy raised his eyebrows, slightly surprised when Genta left the sentence hanging.

“Ah.” Eloy smiled reassuringly. “Don’t worry. We don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to.”

Genta snorted softly and smirked up at him. “Believe me, I want to. It’s just that we’ll have to go slow.”

Eloy nodded. “Fine by me. Our new tattoos and your foot will appreciate it.” He was about to kiss Genta again when he remembered something that made him pause. “Damn, but I don’t have–”

“In my backpack.” Eloy’s eyes opened wide when, despite the blush adorning his cheeks, Genta’s smirk widened. "I couldn’t self-invite myself and not come prepared.”

Eloy exhaled an incredulous laugh and leaned down to capture Genta’s lips, starting to pull at Genta’s t-shirt as Genta did the same with his.

There were two things that Eloy discovered that night.

One, that Genta was a really fast learner; and two, that his bed, in fact, creaked a lot.

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