listea, it's your turn!
loved up, doved up. . .
The words and driving beats of the Suede song fill the coffee shop, melting away some of his stress. Tuesday nights at the coffee shop tend to be a little quiet but it’s White Day today and things have been crazy hectic. His feet ache from working the floor for hours and his arms are sore from transporting tray after tray of coffee-filled mugs and dishes of cake and pastries.
The coffee shop is deserted now except for Kei and two of his co-workers. The last customers had walked out fifteen minutes ago and they’re almost done with clean-up. He’s so distracted by how tired he feels that he almost misses it—the square, silver box sitting on the corner of the cashier counter. It's a 4 x 4 inch box with a card attached. Just a plain white rectangle adorned with nothing but a single character. . .蛍.
A flash of annoyance curls in his gut. No one calls him Kei except his parents and older brother. Even Yamaguchi, his best friend of ten years, doesn't call him by his given name. He’s annoyed but he’s also curious. It’s on the edge of the cashier counter so it could have been anyone. A co-worker or customer. Literally anyone.
"Absolute last bus in four and a half minutes. See you guys tomorrow." Tanaka gives a jaunty wave before striding out, the glass door swinging shut behind him. The coffee shop descends into silence now that the irrepressible Tanaka Ryuunosuke has taken his energy out into the street with him.
Kei stares at the box for a few seconds before letting his fingertip glide across the smooth paper, over the black ink of the kanji. Who is giving him a box of who-knows-what for White Day? Why would anyone even give him anything?
Maybe it's a prank. It's not like he's someone people would get a crush on. Too sarcastic. Too unfriendly. Too salty. Too tall. Too unattractive. It has to be a prank. And suddenly he doesn't want to open the box anymore. He sticks his hands into his pockets.
"What's that?" a familiar voice ask and Kei has to resist the urge to turn around and scowl at his co-worker. Kuroo Tetsurou is two years older, two years hotter and two years more unattainable. Kei tries not to look at him at all if he can help it.
"Some White Day prank." Kei shrugs with as much nonchalance as he can manage but it's not easy when Kuroo is standing just inches away. He can hear him breathe, he's so close. He can smell the traces of his citrusy aftershave mingled with the aroma of coffee. He can imagine Kuroo dragging his hand through his black, impossibly spiky hair as he watches Kei with that enigmatic, half-lidded stare. He can feel. . .ugh so many things.
And he hates it. He hates that he's so aware of Kuroo Tetsurou and everything he does.
"What makes you think it's a prank?" He sounds genuinely curious and goddamnit, how can he smell this good after a killer eight-hour shift? It has to be some kind of crime.
Kei snorts. "I'm not exactly White Day material."
"Who do I need to beat up for saying that?" There is unexpected fire in Kuroo's words and Kei can't help the thrill of sensation running up his spine.
"Me, I guess?"
"Yeah, well. I can think of a lot of things I want to do to you but beating you up is not on that list, idiot." Kuroo gives him a lazy wink.
Kei's mind is reeling with questions. What are the things Kuroo wants to do to him? Why does he even have a list? Is Kuroo making all this shit up or is he legit flirting with him? But why would someone as hot as Kuroo waste his time flirting with a nerd like him? Kei has so many questions but in the end, all he says is, "Thanks. I think?"
"Why won’t you open the box, Tsukki?" Kuroo nudges his shoulder with his own. When had he stepped so close to him?
“Because it’s a goddamned prank.”
“What if it’s not? Just open it, Tsukki.”
“Don’t want to.” He crosses his arms in stubborn defiance and Kuroo sighs. He leans in front of Kei and reaches for the box. Kuroo’s scent is intoxicating and Kei’s skin ignites with warm tingles as Kuroo’s arm brushes against his side. He wants to step back, to get away from the fire. But he doesn’t want Kuroo to think he’s rattled by his proximity so he stays where he is, and tries to remember how to inhale, exhale, inhale.
“Are you gonna open it or do you want me to do it?” Kuroo has a half-smile on his face as he offers the box to Kei.
“How about we just leave it right where it is, lock up and go home?”
“Someone put a lot of thought and effort into this so you owe it to them to at least check out the gift.” Kuroo’s tone is insistent and Kei makes a token protest about how it’s probably full of wasabi cookies or seaweed muffins or something equally disgusting.
“Just open the damned thing, Tsukki!”
“Fine,” Kei grunts before snatching the box from Kuroo. He pauses and counts to two, then he pulls the lid off in one swift move.