No amount of coffee could wake Chūshi the next day and he once again lamented his father’s shit timing. He woke up that morning with his hand practically glued to his pants, so both the bottoms and boxers had to be disposed of permanently. His youth cost him extra time, so he looked like death warmed over. His wavy hair was matted in places, and there were luggage-size bags under his eyes. His clothes were a little wrinkled too, and he hoped this kid he was tutoring didn’t report back to his father somehow. His appearance today could possibly inspire his father to hit him.
Classes fell into the background as his thoughts swung on a pendulum between remembering what he had done last night and firmly not remembering it. Abroad, Chūshi had all kinds of experiences with diverse groups of people as part of his rebellion against his father. He’d even tried some of things he fantasized about with other men, but he’d never been that into it.
Stop thinking about it, he berated himself as he entered the tutoring center. Chūshi looked at the job information briefly earlier, but only to see what study room to go to and what books to check out. Because he’d left so late that morning he didn’t run into Aoto. He planned on avoiding him going forward because he couldn’t let himself slip. It was a good thing they only had one class together that met once a week.
He set the three suggested books down on the study room’s table before falling into the chair closest to the door. He closed his eyes and leaned back to mentally prepare. Even though he would rather not tutor, much less tutor English, Chūshi did find teaching to be fulfilling in a way. And at the very least it would distract him from last night’s shame. The door opened and he took a deep breath, stood up, and opened his eyes…
… to a new nightmare. It was Aoto, bag slung unevenly over his shoulder and a workbook in his pale, thin hand.
“Um, uh, h-hello,” Chūshi felt on fire but desperately tried to ignore the sirens ringing in his head. “I’m Chūshi Oshiba, it’s nice to meet you.” He held out his hand. This is just a job. You’re doing this to get dad off your back so you can’t screw this up. Whatever he says about yesterday, just stick to tutoring and get through it.
“Aoto Hoshino.” The other young man shook his hand limply and quickly pulled away, skirting around him to the other chair.
Neither one of them seemed able to make eye contact. Chūshi felt a cool gaze on him though as he reopened the tutoring assignment to pull up the exam they’d be going over. He made a mental note to look over Aoto’s file properly later.
“So, how about you tell me what your weaknesses are?” He cleared his throat as a way to switch into business mode and finally faced Aoto head on.
“… I’m not sure. Just not good at it I guess?” His voice was quiet even in the small room, empty save for them.
“Well, how long have you been taking English?”
Aoto closed his eyes and moved his lips clearly counting. Unbidden Chūshi recalled the steamy kiss they shared in his fantasy last night.
“A while…” He trailed off, flipping through the workbook not meeting Chūshi’s eyes.
“I have a copy of the recent exam so I thought we could work through some of what you got wrong today so I can gauge where you are.” It was like riding a bike, tutoring, and Chūshi felt his anxieties about what he did in his dreams wash away.
Midway through the session Chūshi couldn’t help but feel shock at how far behind Aoto was. For someone so nerdy… It didn’t make sense, but Chūshi figured that no one was perfect. It was almost comical that the Aoto’s fatal flaw was English. Chūshi felt his lips form a smirk as Aoto repeated back to him his incorrect answer.
“Is this funny to you?” Those dark pools that had been avoiding him finally pinned him down. “Not very professional, are you?”
And like the asshole he knew himself to be, Chūshi said, “Yeah, it’s a little funny. But you’re not as bad as you think. We can totally turn your grade around.” He smiled to try and lessen the blow.
Aoto stared back at him, black pools rippling in what seemed like surprise. “You think… you can help me by the end of the semester?”
Chūshi recovered and nodded. “I know I don’t look like much, and I’m sorry for being rude the other day and laughing. But I took the job, so I won’t quit.” Sure, he didn’t take the job willingly, and maybe he would have tried to get out of it if it had been anyone else, but he wasn’t going to half ass it like he planned. He meant what he said to Aoto and hoped he believed him.
“How is an imbecile like you so good at this and Japanese anyway?” Aoto muttered, his high cheekbones turning rosey as he looked down at his exam.
“I was born here, but raised in America,” he responded, memorizing this moment to replay later when he couldn’t sleep. “So, you could say that English is more of my first language than Japanese. But I grew up speaking both.”
His father’s face flashed in his mind and he felt a muscle in his cheek twitch. He cleared his throat, making a big deal of flipping to the next problem. “But like I said, I’ll make sure you pass since you aren’t that hopeless. So for this question…”
“I thought you were an oaf.” The statement came unprovoked as they packed up for the evening. The library intercom had just announced fifteen minutes before closing. That beautiful rose color spread to Aoto’s neck this time, and Chūshi couldn’t help but stare.
“You’re not the first person to say that,” he laughed in an attempt to ignore his heart galloping in his chest. “And you won’t be the last. At least oaf-looking men are said to make good pediatricians.” Since the room was reserved for them and only one other session for the next few weeks, he left the textbooks on one of the shelves on the opposite wall.
“You… you want to be a doctor?” Those eyes raked him over which did nothing to calm his heart rate. “You know that they don’t just let anyone become one of those?”
Chūshi tried to hold back his laughter, but Aoto’s tone pulled it out of him as they left the study room. “You’re pretty funny, Aoto.”
“That wasn’t meant to be a joke. And a doctor wouldn’t be so informal.” He was back to being expressionless, but that didn’t stop Chūshi’s world from turning on its axis. Not many people could keep up with him; in fact even back in America he had few long-term friends because his words were often taken the wrong way. I want to see more sides of him.
“What should I call you then? As someone who is not almost failing English.”
So cute, he thought watching Aoto’s face flush even more. The blush spread to his collarbones and Chūshi was so focused on reddening flesh he nearly missed Aoto’s response.
“Fine then, should I call you Oshiba-sensei?” The tone was sarcastic, but Chūshi’s dick wasn’t great at reading tone. He had somehow made it through the entire session, but he now felt himself getting hard. What am I, a high school manga character?
“H-how about I call you Hoshino-kun?” They went through the main library doors and Chūshi’s eyes frantically sought a bathroom, closet, anything. “How about we settle on that for now? See you later.” He rushed into the nearest men’s room, thankful it was empty.
He blindly locked the bathroom stall door behind him, and threw his stuff to the ground instead of hanging it on the door hook. Chūshi wasn’t a horny man by nature, but he felt like a different person.
No, he thought, not really a different person… His mind conjured up images of Aoto’s blush, but now he blushed and called him “Oshiba-sensei” while Chūshi marked his neck with hungry kisses, maring the pale skin.
“Oshiba- kun, are you alright? I wasn’t going to say it before, but you look a little more unkempt today than usual.”
The way Chūshi’s fantasy suddenly stopped physically hurt and his body filled with pins and needles instead of pleasant warmth. Oh shit. Shit! Even if he tried to act like he’d just finished taking a leak, that part of him would give him away. If he tried to hide it with his bag it would be too obvious and bottom line, Aoto would still find out. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“I’m a-alright, my stomach’s just bothering me.” Go away.
Absolute silence. Chūshi forced himself to stop in case Aoto could hear. He then heard the sound of a zipper and rattling, like pills in a bottle. “I’m going to hand you these under the door. I have… issues before exams.” Chūshi sighed in relief as he realized his secret was safe.
“T-thanks Hoshino-kun. You’re a lifesaver.”
Later, when Chūshi looked back at this moment, he would be thankful, but also full of regret. In the moment, he could only sigh in relief, which abruptly died in his throat when Aoto toppled over his own feet as he bent down, somehow pitching his upper torso to slide completely underneath the stall door.