[translation] Back Stage!! 2, Ch. 6 part 222
Type: Novel Translation
Title: Back Stage!!, Vol. 02
Series: Love Stage!!
Author/Circle: Eiki Eiki, Amano Kazuki
This time: Rei and Shougo make plans to meet up later for a little private playtime–but someone has plans to ruin Rei’s evening. [WARNING: This entire chapter will deal with stalking and similar potentially triggering themes. If you’re uncomfortable with this type of content, you may want to skip Chapter 6 in its entirety or consider reading the summaries instead (parts 1 and 2)]
Feel free to check out the book in-progress on Pressbooks!
Chapter 6 (cont.)
“Hey, Rei! You really owe me big-time this time! I oughta expect a HUGE reward now, huh?”
It was several days after Rei had received the strange letter when Shougo bounded into the offices. He’d been relatively calm and collected when he’d stepped through the door initially, but after glancing around to see that Rei was the only one in the office, he’d unhesitatingly shouted out his greeting with a full-faced grin.
Rei’s brows furrowed in a glare. “…And what exactly is it that you want?”
The question had been delivered in as sour a tone as Rei could possibly muster, but Shougo showed no signs of being cowed, responding brightly, “You, of course~”
“………” Rei felt a small headache starting to form, but Shougo wasn’t incorrect: Rei really did owe him quite the favor this time. On top of compensating him for his help with Izumi’s debut, it had also been decided that Shougo would run support for Ryouma with some musical composition. Neither Shougo nor Ryouma cared all that much for each other, and it was quite certain that both parties had some reservations regarding this decision.
However, this was an agreement reached by their mutual agencies, and so Ryouma had no place to object—while Shougo could be placated with the mere promise of a reward for his cooperation.
Or at least…that had been the assumption…
Now, though, Rei was beginning to think he’d made a mistake. ‘Except I can’t exactly back out now, not after having already received his help…’
“All right. Come over to my place tonight. I’ll blow your mind,” he finally allowed, half-given up, and Shougo grinned like a loon.
“Seriously?! I’m CRAZY excited now!” He looked about ready to break out into song and dance, so high on life was he—but while his excitement alone was tolerable (if a bit annoying), what Rei couldn’t stomach was the way Shougo was starting to slink closer and closer.
“…Why are you coming over here?”
“Eh? Well, just, we’re finally alone, so…” He quickly circled around the desk to come up behind Rei. “Gonna give you a recharge!”
“…I’ve told you time and time again not to do that sort of thing here,” he sighed as Shougo wrapped him tightly in his arms from behind—chair back and all. “And you’ll recall that you still have work after this—”
“Yeah yeah, I know~ Just think of this as…a little down-payment?” He then pressed a begging little kiss just below Rei’s ear, which prompted Rei to finally give in, tugging off his glasses. He set them down on the desk as Shougo twirled the desk chair around, slipping down slowly to straddle Rei. Protests about down-payments and doubled-fees disappeared like magic between their lips.
Even counting their short interruption, Rei’s and Shougo’s relationship had been going on for some ten years now. His body had long since grown accustomed to Shougo’s, and it had gotten steadily easier to ignore the fact that his heart wasn’t really in the act—perhaps because he knew what was coming next.
Shougo’s kiss quickly deepened, though his arms remained at rest, draped over Rei’s shoulders, and he made no move to touch Rei anywhere else. Still, even this level of intimacy couldn’t last for long, as the cell phone in Shougo’s pocket began to ring, and Shougo at last gently pulled away.
“Aww, over already?” Shougo mumbled sourly, then pushed the ‘talk’ button on his phone and brought it to his ear. “…Hello?” While he chatted, Rei put his glasses back on. “All right, I’ll be there in a jiffy.” With that, Shougo ended his call, pursing his lips into a pout as he turned back to Rei—who by now had returned to full-on work-mode.
“Don’t give me that face.”
“…You’re coming over tonight, right?”
Shougo’s pouting expression instantly brightened at Rei’s suggestive words. “Totally! ‘Kay then, see you tonight!” Shougo then darted from the office in high spirits.
“Good grief, that guy…” he muttered, watching the door slam behind Shougo—realizing only now that this would be the first time he’d been alone with Shougo in quite some time. “Oh yeah… We’ve both been really busy lately…” Perhaps it wasn’t so strange, then, that Shougo had been so thrilled at the prospect of some alone time. It was starting to look like neither of them were going to get much sleep tonight, so he’d be well served to finish up work early today. With such thoughts on his mind, Rei then dove back into the rest of his work for the day.
“Oh, leaving already?”
Rei had just been about to lock up, leaving the office for the day, when Seiya called out to him. “Ah, yes. Good work today.”
Seiya’s expression darkened a bit with worry, and he sighed, “I should be saying the same to you—how are you holding up?”
“Oh, I’m perfectly fine…”
“As if I’d believe that. You may have finished a bit early today, but lately you’ve seemed like you’re really pushing yourself… Oh!” With an expression suggesting he’d just remembered something, he dipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out a tiny little packet. “Here, you can have this.”
“…What is it?” He held his hand out instinctively when prompted, and Seiya placed the packet in his palm. On closer inspection, inside the clear wrapping was a small orange candy.
“Sweets help ease fatigue, you know.”
“…Thank you very much.” Seiya’s broad, full-faced smile tugged a grin of his own from Rei’s lips. More than any candy it was that smile that flushed Rei’s fatigue away.
“Anyway, no overdoing it, got it? Just remember how much Nagisa and I, and Izumi and Shougo, and the whole office even would worry if you were to collapse.”
“…Yes, sir.” He ducked a nod, gripping the candy tight in his fist.
“Though—you certainly seem to be in high spirits. Got plans for the evening?”
Rei blinked stupidly at the unexpected question. “Eh? Oh, no, no not…” High spirits? Rei? He was feeling good right now, sure, and quite happy—but the way Seiya phrased it sounded like he was referring to how Rei had seemed when Seiya had first called out to him earlier.
Still, Rei had no recollection of being in high spirits of any sort.
“I see… Well, do take the evening to rest up properly while you can, okay?”
“I will. Thank you very much.” He ducked another nod to Seiya here, and despite a few lingering misgivings, he left the office properly this time. But he’d only travelled a few steps before he paused, glancing over his shoulder back at the Sena family home—then down at the candy still gripped in his palm. His hand was warm from clenching the candy tight, and the little orange candy felt like a tiny sun—shining its way into his heart, bright and warm…
With those feelings burgeoning within, he marched off for his apartment, reaching his lobby in only a few short minutes—but when he checked his mail slot, his eyes popped open. “This is…”
In his drop box lay an envelope Rei recognized well. A letter, with no return address, for Rei…
That, however, was not the main issue. It was hardly strange for Rei to receive letters at the SenaPro offices—after all, his point of contact through work was public knowledge. Anyone who knew that Rei was an employee of SenaPro could send him a letter there.
But this was Rei’s private apartment, and he’d never made his address public knowledge. For a letter to reach him here meant…
It felt as if all that lovely warmth he’d been bathed in moments ago had been instantly stolen away, and he slipped the candy back into his pocket with one hand as he picked up the letter with the other. On closer examination, just as he’d feared, he found there was no stamp or postmark on the envelope.
“So then they slipped it in here by hand…?” he murmured to himself, glancing around warily, but there was no one nearby. Still…
He frantically unlocked his door and rushed inside, being sure to lock it tight behind him. Then, after peeking inside the envelope to be sure it contained nothing dangerous, he carefully withdrew the letter.
“I’m always watching you.”
—was all that was written.
’They’ve been stalking me…’ A shiver rippled down his spine, chilling. Whoever sent the letter knew where he lived. They could even be watching him, right now…
Rei had made it through his fair share of fights, but this was the first time he’d ever dealt with such a shady, malicious approach, and all manner of fears he’d never experienced before began to creep up from the soles of his feet.
“Always…watching…” Realization slammed into him. “Crap—Shougo!” If someone were actually hiding out and spying on him, it was a bad idea for Shougo to be spotted coming into his apartment. Sure, it might merely be interpreted as a celebrity dropping by to hang out with his manager he was friends with, but if this person knew Rei’s past, they probably also knew all about how Rei had slept with everyone willing, regardless of gender. That would put his relationship with Shougo under suspicion as well.
And even worse, if they could see inside his apartment…it wouldn’t end with just a simple scandal.
Panicking, he pulled out his cell phone and began typing a text to Shougo. /Sorry. Some work came up that I can’t manage to get out of. Let me give you that reward we discussed another time—and in return, I’ll do absolutely anything you ask of me./ It was a pretty slipshod text, but as long as it kept Shougo from coming over, it was good enough.
It didn’t take even a minute for a reply to arrive. /I’m crazy disappointed (´:ω;`) But I guess you can’t help it if it’s work! You’ll seriously do whatever I ask?? Yessss!! I’ll think of something good! (゜∀゜)/
“………” Rei felt the wind die from his sails a bit, a typical reaction to Shougo’s overly-emoticonned texts. Apparently his offer had done the trick, and thankfully, Shougo was letting him off the hook tonight. Though really, Shougo was quite good with boundaries, always taking care to ensure he never got in the way of Rei doing his job. Even with work, he never made unreasonable demands, and when Rei texted him, he understood this to mean that Rei wasn’t in a position to speak on the phone and always responded in texts as well.
It was because of his conscientious nature that their relationship had continued as steadily as it had for so many years.
But…what was Rei meant to do now?
“It would be best if I could just manage to speak to the sender myself, but…who knows if they’re even sensible enough to discuss anything…” After all, they were sending these kinds of letters to someone they hadn’t spoken with in over ten years. It was probably best to assume they were pretty obsessed with Rei—he might have to resort to involving the police…
“…Well, at least all the crimes I committed have passed the statute of limitations…”
Still, regardless of the route he took, he would have to make every effort to ensure he didn’t involve SenaPro or any of their charges. Otherwise, the whole thing might balloon into a truly serious fight. Plus, if Seiya found out about this, he’d undoubtedly worry for Rei.
“Just remember how much Nagisa and I, and Izumi and Shougo, and the whole office even would worry…”
Seiya’s heartfelt words echoed in his ears. He’d been right; even Shougo—or rather, Shougo more than anyone else would absolutely flip out if he knew what was happening. He had to be careful not to cause any problems for the Sena family or SenaPro… He had to resolve this on his own.
With such thoughts racing through his mind, he made quite sure to bolt the door tight, fastening the chain, and the fell asleep.
To be continued…