Ueda looks surreptitiously around the room before taking a seat at the bar. It looks like the usual kind of crowd – even if Ueda hasn’t been here often enough recently to know what the usual crowd looks like.
He orders a mojito, just narrows his eyebrows menacingly when the bartender repeats the order with a questioning tone – beer is so over-rated.
When his first mohito is gone he orders a second, watches as that one slowly dwindles to nothing and then orders a third, and wonders briefly if he’s drunk enough yet to challenge a stranger to billiards.
Not quite he decides, and he downs his third drink. He’s barely put the glass down when another is placed in front of him and when Ueda narrows his eyes again, about to rebuke the bartender for his forwardness, but the young man nods his head in the direction of the other end of the bar.
Ueda’s heart gives a pathetic little thump in his chest as he turns to find Taguchi, absorbed in watching the bubbles in his beer. He thinks of pushing the drink away stubbornly, thinks of charging over there with it and throwing it in the asshole’s face but as Taguchi’s eyes cast almost nervously up to his for a brief flash of a second, he pulls it towards him.
He drinks it in silence, telling himself it only tastes sweeter than the others because he’s starting to feel the buzz of drunkenness – pretends it has nothing to do with the smile on Taguchi’s face – familiar and comforting, heart-warming and yet heart-breaking.
When he’s done he hands the bartender his card, asks for a game of billiards on top of the drinks and makes his way over to the table the bartender points out.
The balls are already set up by the time Taguchi joins him, a fresh beer in hand and a pitcher of mojito. “Winner takes the loser home.” Taguchi challenges him, as he has done a thousand times. Taguchi always did win, and he always did take Ueda home – to Ueda’s own home, dropped him off like a gentleman and Ueda was always too much of a coward to invite him inside.
“How about loser takes the winner home?” Ueda counters, he did drink those mojitos pretty fast.
“Changing the rules?” Taguchi asks with another of those warm smiles and and eyebrow waggle.
Ueda grits his teeth.“You changed the rules.” he almost growls and he pushes a cue into Taguchi’s hand.
It’s been more than two years since Ueda was here, he hates the place because it was right here that Taguchi told him, told him before the other two because they were really close back then. Taguchi has clearly been coming by as often though. He thrashes Ueda, could have done too even if Ueda hadn’t made his way through three quarters of his pitcher
“Should we talk?” Taguchi asks once they’re done and Ueda just shakes his head. There’s nothing he can say that he didn’t say two years ago. Almost nothing.
Taguchi nods, downs the rest of his third bottle of beer while Ueda chugs his refreshing cocktail. “You lost right, you going to take me home?”
Ueda doesn’t dignify Taguchi’s smug tone with an answer, just turns for the door and hopes to hell that he is following.
Sorry if the ending words are kinda difficult, I hope someone takes up the challenge though!!!