The trip down memory lane cost him. Lost in his thoughts, Chushi met slight resistance back in the physical world, and stumbled. Before he could fall completely, an icy hand grabbed his wrist, saving him from the ground but sparing none of his mortification. Embarrassment welled up inside his stomach as he dusted his jeans off. “Sorry.”
There was no one else out here this early in the morning, so he knew who stood before him. They had never been this close before, and Chushi knew that meeting Aoto’s eyes would reduce him to a stuttering mess. He took a step to move past him, but that cold hand gripped him tighter. “What was that?”
“I-I said s-sorry.” Chūshi was by no means small or weak, but something about Aoto’s grip weakened him. He cleared his throat, still boring holes into Aoto’s black tennis shoes with his gaze. “Won’t happen again. So, uh, l-let me go?”
The air, already still, froze. Almost as if Aoto’s black hole rippled and expanded until only the two of them remained. “How can I let you go when you sound unsure of it yourself?”
How can you sound so lifeless and yet so…
Chūshi didn’t know what to do. He was being laughed at, even though he knew if he looked at Aoto’s face, it’d be as flat as his tone. One thing Chūshi couldn’t stand: being laughed at. Remembering his pride, strength returned to him and he jerked his arm away, finally looking up.
Bottomless pools tempted him behind square glasses, looming larger due to the slight magnification. Chūshi felt his resolve shake, but somehow could tell that his stunned reaction was a cause for Aoto to laugh harder. His expression remained the same though as he waited for Chūshi to respond. Chūshi’s admiration and fascination for Aoto warred with the side of him that wanted to make this geek’s ears burn with shame.
Finally, he said, “Your hands are cold as ice dude, guess the rumors about you being a frigid bitch are true.”