Word count: 2,340
Characters: NEWS gen, Shige/Kanjiya Shihori
Summary: They create couples’ happy endings, but is there a happy ending for one of their own? AU, het.
Notes: Written for fullswing_fic’s fic contest, and won first place \^o^/
The slogan of Chankapana Wedding Organizer was written below the company logo at their office: We create your happy endings. Tegoshi argued, though, that a wedding isn’t really a happy ending but is only the beginning; of something good or bad, no one really knows.
“It’s a good thing we don’t plan divorces, then,” Shige said.
“How very cynical of you,” Koyama clucked his tongue disapprovingly.
“But isn’t that part of the charm, though?” Massu chimed in. “Here’s this couple, about to embark on a journey which no one knows how it will end. It’s the thrill of the unknown.”
Tegoshi gave Massu a look, smirking. “I didn’t know you’re such a romantic, Massu.”
Massu shrugged. “I just think it’s exciting. And as long as people get married they keep us in business, right?”
“Precisely. Now let’s get down to that business, shall we?” Koyama handed each of them a folder. “This is our next project.”
Koyama had started the company three years ago. He’d been helping out to plan a friend’s wedding, and everyone involved — the bride and the groom and both of their families — had seemed to have their own opinions on what would make a great ceremony. Being an impartial outsider, Koyama had been the one seeking a middle point where everybody would be satisfied. At some point he’d realized he was pretty much organizing the whole thing.
“Why don’t you turn it into a business?” his friend had suggested. Koyama had never heard of a better idea.
He’d left his boring job at a logistics company and recruited three of his friends to help him. Tegoshi was put in charge of the decoration and the music, and frequently lent his voice as the wedding singer. Shige, a whiz with the camera, handled the photography. Massu was responsible for the food, putting his special whimsical touch on the wedding cakes. Koyama oversaw everything from start to finish and also became the MC when the occasion called for it. They weren’t a huge company, with only a few other full-time employees and a bunch of freelancers on the big day, but there was always demand because, as Massu said, people continued to get married.
“Kei-chan is the original romantic, of course,” Tegoshi said teasingly.
“I totally saw him cry at the Shimamoto wedding,” Massu said.
“I did not!”
Shige laughed. “I think I have photographic proof of that.”
Koyama lifted his hands in surrender. “It was a really emotional ceremony, okay?”
They could mock him all they want, but Koyama knew they were behind him one hundred percent. He took pride in helping to create a special moment that a couple and their families will remember for the rest of their lives.
Some couples were pretty easy to deal with. They had their own preferences but were willing to take suggestions if Koyama told them something wasn’t efficient or needed adjustment. Some others didn’t want to bother with the details and thought of a wedding as a ready-made package they would accept by simply signing on the dotted line.
And yet the more exasperating ones were the couples who didn’t know what they wanted and changed their minds all the time. They could suddenly tell Koyama after everything had been decided that they didn’t like the way the flowers were arranged or the choice of wine for the reception. The Yanagibashi couple was an example of this.
“I don’t know, green is just so tacky,” the would-be bride whined. They were at a studio where the bridesmaids were trying on newly-finished dresses.
“Don’t you think blue is much better for the bridesmaids, darling?” she tugged on her fiancé’s arm, but the man was too busy typing something on his smartphone.
“Whatever you say, sweetie,” he muttered absently.
“It’s probably a little too late to order new dresses at this point in time,” Koyama reminded her as gently as possible.
“Really?” she sighed. “Oh, all right.”
Beside Koyama, Tegoshi gave out a muffled snort, but Koyama poked him with an elbow.
A woman suddenly came in through the door and marched straight to the future bride, saying, “Ayaka, so sorry I’m late. I had to run a few errands.”
She and Ayaka traded air-kisses before she turned around and noticed the wedding organizers. “Koyama-kun?” she said, eyes widening. “Tegoshi-kun?”
“Shihori-san!” Koyama said. “You’re one of the bridesmaids?”
“Yes, Ayaka is an old school of friend of mine. I didn’t know you guys were doing her wedding.” She paused. “Does that mean he’s...?”
Shige walked in before Koyama had a chance to give him any warning, and the former stopped dead in his tracks as he saw the woman next to Ayaka. Koyama watched as his friend turned pale and thought: this wouldn’t end well.
Shige and Shihori had been in a steady relationship before breaking up a few months ago. He had never really told his friends why. Koyama didn’t think there’d been someone else; neither of them were that type of person.
“You want to talk about it or...” Koyama left that hanging. They’d gone through the fitting successfully — Shihori had looked amazing in her green bridesmaid dress, and at the end of the day Ayaka had felt much better about the color.
Shige put the last dress on the hanger, his face devoid of emotion. “No.”
“Okay.” Koyama pretended to go over the endless to-do list on his tablet computer. “You can skip this wedding if it’s weird for you or anything.”
He’d spoken casually as if it had just crossed his mind, but Shige threw him a suspicious glance. Shige normally worked with a few assistant photographers, and Koyama thought they would do just fine without him should he decide to stay away.
“I’m not skipping it,” Shige said. His tone was calm but firm, signaling that they should discuss this no further. Koyama took the hint.
The bridesmaids’ dresses looked really good after all, Shige thought as he gazed at the ladies in green. During the ceremony at the church earlier, he’d had trouble concentrating on taking pictures of the Yanagibashi couple because he kept glancing at the row of bridesmaids. Now at the reception he could no longer resist staring at one woman in particular, who was laughing at something another bridesmaid said, her cheeks glowing. The green dress complimented all her curves very nicely, and her hair fell in perfect ringlets on her bare shoulders.
“Shihori-san looks stunning today.”
Shige turned to see Massu, who was gazing in the same direction. Shige frowned. It was one thing to admire how you ex looked, but hearing your friend voicing the admiration out loud is another.
Oblivious, Massu’s eyes turned to Shige. “I don’t mean to pry, but I’ve always wondered why you guys broke up. You were perfect together.”
Shige stayed silent for a moment. Just as he was opening his mouth to say something, he noticed Koyama and Tegoshi standing behind Massu, leaning slightly forward.
“Are you guys eavesdropping or something?” he asked.
“No,” Tegoshi said innocently. “We just sent Massu to get an answer out of you.”
“Well, you’re not getting it.” Shige walked away with a huff. He needed to distract himself, so he began taking pictures of the bride’s grandparents.
That turned out to be a bad decision, because moments later Shihori came bearing drinks for Ayaka’s grandparents. Her expression changed when she spotted Shige, but he saw her hold it in and put on a smile, making small talk with the old couple.
Shige thought it best for him to retreat quietly, and he was slinking behind a pillar when he heard Shihori say, “What are you doing?”
He turned around and saw her standing with a hand on her waist. She had a very nice waist, which he used to put his arm around before he— but this wasn’t the time for that.
“You always do this,” she said, “you avoid uncomfortable situations.”
Shige stepped in front of the pillar, and found himself face to face with her for the first time today. “I can’t really help if this is uncomfortable for me, Shihori.”
“And why is that? It’s not like we have anything more to say to each other.”
Something in Shige’s face or manner must’ve betrayed him, because Shihori’s eyes narrowed and she said, “Do you have anything more to say?”
Shige couldn’t find an answer to that, and Shihori smiled bitterly. “I thought so.”
After she walked away, Shige crept back behind the pillar and thumped his head against the wall.
Shige was nowhere to be found when Ayaka threw her bouquet (Shihori missed it by an inch and one of the groom’s cousins got it instead), and was also conspicuously absent when Shihori gave a wedding toast. The assistant photographers were doing a brilliant job so Koyama wasn’t concerned about that, but he was worried about Shige.
Massu said, “There he is,” and Koyama was relieved to see Shige walking up to them.
“Where have you been?” Tegoshi asked.
“Around. Taking pictures.” It seemed like Shige’s mind was elsewhere. His tie was askew.
Unable to hold back any longer, Koyama said, “That’s it. As your boss I give you permission to abandon your duties. Go tend to your personal affairs.”
“What personal affairs?”
“Shige, just go to Shihori-san already. It’s obvious you two have some unfinished business.”
Shige shook his head. “It’s not that simple.” He heaved a sigh and blurted, “If you guys are so curious, fine. She wanted marriage and I wasn’t ready.”
Koyama winced. That must’ve made it hard to be at a wedding together.
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Massu said. “So she wanted you to propose?”
Shige’s jaw was twitching in a way that was familiar to Koyama. That, and his refusal to reply, made something click in Koyama’s head. “Oh my God,” Koyama said. “She proposed to you?”
Shige groaned and covered his face with his hands. “Please don’t remind me.”
Tegoshi nudged him and said, “Hey, looks like she’s leaving.”
They turned and saw Shihori hugging the newlyweds, apparently saying farewell. Shige looked like he was almost in pain.
Koyama grabbed Shige’s shoulders with both hands. “Shige, I don’t pretend to know everything that went on between you and her. But I do know you haven’t been the same since you broke up with her. Now I’m talking to you as a friend: don’t do something you might regret.”
Shige looked at Koyama, and then to Massu and Tegoshi, who both nodded. “Believe,” Tegoshi said.
Shige glanced in Shihori’s direction. She was already walking to the door of the reception hall, waving at a few people she passed. Shige seized a glass from a passing waiter and gulped down the contents before making a dash.
Shihori was far ahead of him, and the crowd made it difficult for him to catch up. It was probably the drink or the rush of adrenaline in him, but he then did something a bit extreme. Tegoshi had left the microphone in its stand on the tiny stage after he sang, and now Shige climbed to the stage and spoke into the mic: “Kanjiya Shihori, please don’t leave.”
Several hundred people whipped their heads in his direction, including one woman in a green dress who was almost at the door. He leapt down and approached her. There was no need to run now, because the crowd virtually parted to let him through.
He hadn’t had time to be nervous, but now that he was in front of Shihori, his stomach churned. She stared at him incredulously.
“What is this about, Shige?” Her tone was flat, uninterested, but Shige felt a little tingle travel down his spine when she spoke his name. It had been forever since she last did that.
“I need to talk to you,” he said.
She barked a laugh. “Now you tell me!”
“Please hear me out. You can do whatever you want after that.”
Shihori crossed her arms impatiently, but she went quiet. Hell, the entire reception hall was hushed, eagerly watching this reality show play out. Shige couldn’t see his friends from here, but they were all probably crossing their fingers for him to succeed.
“I’m sorry for what happened. I know I hurt you, and I sincerely apologize for that. I wasn’t ready then, but I now know that I’m also not ready to lose you. You’re one of a kind, and I don’t want to be the fool that lets you go a second time.”
He went down on one knee and heard the collective gasp of the crowd. Although he felt a bit silly for doing this without preparation, without a ring, but it felt right. He glanced up at Shihori; her eyes were wide with disbelief, but he thought he saw a trace of joy in them.
He took her hand and asked, “Will you marry me, Shihori?”
She glanced at the ceiling, took a deep breath and said, “You disappointed me last time.”
Shige’s heart dropped to his stomach. He didn’t expect her to make it easy on him, but in a naïve way he also didn’t really believe she would flat out reject him. He felt the stares of the guests on him and wished he hadn’t been so rash as to do this in front of so many people.
She went on, “Koyama-kun better be in charge of the wedding.”
He blinked, uncertain. “Is that a yes?”
She shrugged and smiled, and Shige kissed her hand. The crowd erupted with ecstatic cheers as she pulled him to his feet and into her arms. A few cameras flashed — his assistant photographers were excellent indeed.
Massu grinned as they watched Shige and Shihori embrace. “Now that’s a sight to see.”
“I just can’t with those two,” Koyama said, dabbing at the corners of his eyes with a tissue.
“Cheer up, Kei-chan!” Tegoshi laughed. “We have a new wedding to plan.”
He was right, Koyama thought. This was just another beginning.