Pulling the earbuds from his ears, Suzaku breathed in deeply before exhaling. He watched his breath curl before his eyes before fading away into the grey of the early afternoon light, when he felt something bump into his shin. He looked down to see a white puppy wagging its tail at him.
Glancing up, Suzaku’s eyes followed the leash before settling on none other than his professor’s husband.
“I’m sorry. She can get so excitable at times.”
“It’s alright. She can jump on me all she wants. She’s really cute.” Bending down, he scratched her between her ears. Barking, she leaned up to lick his face. Suzaku smiled. What an adorable little puppy.
“So her name is Liesl?”
“Liesl vi Britannia-Corabelle.”
“Not quite sure a puppy as small as her can handle a last name as long as that.”
He laughed. “Yes, well, Liesl’s a strong girl. I’m sure she can do whatever she’d like if she puts her mind to it.”
Standing up, Suzaku saw the wedding band on his hand and felt a pang in his lonely heart. Giving a half-hearted smile, he asked if he came to the park often; he did, and it was the first time he’d run into the pair.
“No, but we hope to come here more often. It’s not very far from where we live.”
“Oh, right. I remember now.”
A funny, indiscernible look crossed over the man’s face, and the young man couldn’t help but feel a bit proud. Of course, the moment he felt such glee, he immediately felt shame – how could he be so selfish to want to destroy someone’s marriage? – when he smiled again.
“So I take it we’ll be seeing you often if we come here?”
“Uh… Yeah, I guess.” He scratched his head. “I don’t really come at a regular time, what with classes, and work, and homework, and all these different tests and papers.”
“Ah. Well if we ever do, we’ll be sure to say hello. Good day, Suzaku.”
Liesl barked one last time before prancing away. Suzaku watched the pair leave for some time before turning back around and wondered if the lady of the household would ever join them and if she did, what she would think of him all sweaty and gross.
Hmm. Maybe he should start rethinking his clothes.
. . .
They saw each other from time to time but it wasn’t until a good few weeks had passed that they spoke to one another beyond a short “Hello.” He saw him from a distance away – without his wife – when suddenly, the man froze, stood as if suspended like a marionette, before tumbling to the ground. Taken aback, Suzaku nearly missed a step but thankfully ran to him instead. Immediately helping him up, he led him to a nearby bench.
“Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
“It’s just my knee,” he sighed. “It’s been acting up lately.”
“Do you need to go to the hospital?”
“Just back home. Do you mind helping me up please? I just need to make it out of the park to hail a taxi.”
Nodding, he hoisted him up. They hobbled slowly out of the park, where they found several cabs waiting. But none would take the puppy, as adorable and as friendly as she was, so they had no choice but to struggle their way back to the apartment complex which was, fortunately, close to the park.
Liesl strained against her leash, wondering why her owner was so slow to follow, but other than that and the occasional curious glance from passing strangers, the journey wasn’t as difficult as Suzaku had feared it could be. Along the way, the man had made a phone call; seeing from his tone, he assumed it to be the professor.
Well, that and the fact that he had started the phone call with, “C.C. sweetheart, I’m on my way back home right now with Suzaku.”
Suzaku absentmindedly patted his curls. He hoped he didn’t smell too bad.
But he shouldn’t have worried because when they were about a block away, she appeared before them. Suzaku stared as she shouldered her husband in her cardigan, knee socks, and glasses. He hadn’t known she needed glasses, but apparently she did, and she looked pretty damn adorable in them. The thin wireframe glasses glinted in the weak winter light, making his cheeks color.
Leaning on both his wife and a silver cane, the professor’s husband thanked him.
“Oh, I’m just glad I was there to help,” he replied, never once taking his eyes off her, who in turn never took her eyes off her husband, who never once took his eyes off of Suzaku, save for the occasional glance to his wife.
“All the same. I apologize for the inconvenience I must have caused you.”
Suzaku finally turned to face him to see him studying him with a sort of intensity that made him uncomfortable.
“It was nothing.”
“We should get you inside,” she said softly. Even though there shouldn’t have been any particular reason to, he was taken aback by her gentle tone. It was just so different from her usual voice – especially when she was teaching – that he nodded and was about to follow them inside, when Liesl barked at him.
Stumbling back, Suzaku watched with wide eyes as he realized his mistake. Helplessly flailing for what to do next, he blinked at them before quickly ushering Liesl to her parents and then turning on his heel to run away.
He hadn’t been lying when he had said he had been glad that he had happened to pass by, but honestly…
Maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t been him who had helped him home to such an unforgettable sight. It couldn’t have possibly helped, could it? In forgetting his…feelings for her, that was.