How it is: Chapter 6

Timmy and Tarou were sitting together in their room when the former noticed a post on FaceBook. “Asian Cultural Union Spring Elections! Come Out!” The link read. He grinned seeing that. First semester, Timmy got rejected when he applied to be freshman representative, but now he has a shot at redeeming himself: he knew that if he applied, he would most likely get the position. “Hey, are you going to do that?” Tarou looked at Timmy, intrigued. Unlike Timmy, Tarou had never really bothered with ACU activities, mostly because he had so many other clubs and obligations. “Yeah, I’m thinking about running for their sophomore representative.” He admitted. “Hmm… what other positions do they have?” Tarou looked over the smaller male’s shoulder, looking at the link description. “Oh, they have an Events Coordinator position! I’d love to do that!” Being a very detail-oriented person, Tarou loved planning things out. “I’ll run if you do.” The model proposed. “Alright, then that’s a deal.” Timmy shrugged. Unbeknownst to Tarou, Timmy was secretly hoping that the Japanese boy did not get on board. Timmy wanted to finally get some space from the taller male to finally grow into his own. But with Tarou spending that much time around him, he felt like he could not do anything. Tarou would not change his ways, nor would he stop interfering with Timmy’s life.

Typically, Timmy would start the day being woken up by Tarou and then the two would have breakfast together in the dining hall. Today was still one of those days where they continued this routine. “Hey, what do you want?” Tarou smiled at Timmy as they arrived at the cafeteria. Whenever the two of them ate, Tarou would ask Timmy if he wanted anything in particular and go out of his way to get it for the smaller male, whether it was juice or a popular dish that had a long line. “Uh, just a breakfast sandwich is fine.” Timmy murmured. He was not hungry, but just did this to humor Tarou; even then, the Taiwanese boy had trouble finishing food when he was not hungry, and would find himself getting scolded by Tarou for not finishing. It felt like an abusive cycle, and just made eating with Tarou in general an unpleasant experience. “Sure. Did you want it with juice or?” The Japanese model eyed him. “Iced tea. The usual.” Tarou shook his head: he felt like it was inappropriate to drink iced tea for breakfast, but could hardly argue with Timmy on that. So long as the Taiwanese boy was eating properly, that was all that mattered to him. “Alright, sounds good.” Tarou grinned as he walked off. While Tarou went off to grab food, Timmy walked around the hall. He would typically find a table for the two, just to be productive with their time. Why do I keep doing that? Timmy began to question this routine. He hated eating breakfast and he did not understand why Tarou continuously insisted on it. Yeah, it is supposed to be the most important meal of the day or whatever, but if he never was raised eating breakfast, why start now?

“I’m full.” Timmy sat there, with a half-eaten sandwich. “What the hell, man! There’s kids starving in Africa, and you’re not even going to finish a single sandwich?” Tarou growled. The Japanese male did have a point. “Well, I don’t eat breakfast normally, and you know that, so what did you expect?” Timmy rolled his eyes at Tarou. “Well, if I’m going to go out of my way to wait in line, wake you up, and you don’t even finish the damn thing, then that’s just a waste, isn’t it?” He growled, slamming his hands on the table, and getting up. “Hey, hey, I’m sorry. Look, I’ll finish it, okay?” This was their typical routine. Timmy would try to finish breakfast, even though he was not hungry, just to keep Tarou from getting angry. But by that point, the damage was already done. Once you offend somebody, it becomes increasingly harder to appease them. “Whatever, I’m over it.” Tarou was fuming at this point as he stormed off. Timmy did not know what to do. It was not like he could turn back time and even if he could, what would he do differently? People were just complicated.

From there, Timmy would go into his coding class while Tarou would go into his vocals class. “Hey, how did you do on the last assignment?” Nate looked at Timmy: the two of them, along with Jeff, would sit together in the large auditorium in the College of Arts and Sciences. Despite being in computer engineering, Timmy took computer science classes as well, mostly because several of them were still required in his own major. Algorithms, it was their first class of the day, at 9AM. “I got an 89. How about you?” Timmy grinned. He was fine with an 89, just because it meant he could still get an A in the class with just a little bit more effort on the next assignment. “Nice! I got a 93!” Nate grinned cockily. “How’s that possible?! I got an 85.” Jeff rolled his eyes. Even though the three of them did their homework together, Nate would always somehow get the highest score of the three. Timmy and Jeff theorized that Nate would go back and add in additional information that he would withhold from the other two, but they had no way to prove that suspicion. Meanwhile, in the Tisch School of the Arts, Tarou was beginning his day with his music course, where he would sit in a small black room with his instructor, Joyce, and do vocal exercises in a small group of students. Singing was a lot of fun for Tarou, and since he was a performing arts major, he needed to have some musical background, just in case. It was better to be well-rounded like this. As Tarou practicing humming, Sarah sat there, sighing in awe. “He’s so dreamy.” She giggled quietly to herself, savoring the sight.

If there were gaps in their schedules, Timmy and Tarou would meet up for lunch with a combination of their friends. Today, they were sitting with Enya, Valerie, and Nate, back in the dining hall. “So, how were your days?” Valerie looked around. “I don’t want to talk to you, competition.” Enya glared at the other female. Since Valerie was childhood friends with Tarou, Enya, Sarah, and Melissa were all highly envious of her for her closeness to him. “Uh, what?” The pastry chef raised an eyebrow and scoffed at her. She could not believe what she was hearing. Enya was very direct about her feelings, and it has caused her a lot of conflicts and fights in the past. From Timmy’s point of view, he did not understand why Enya disliked Valerie, but was friends with Melissa and Sarah. Melissa, Enya, and Sarah all have blatant crushes on Tarou. To him, that was to textbook definition of competition, when separate parties and vying for the same goal. “Ladies, ladies, there’s plenty of room for the Nate-man.” Nate laughed. “Sorry, I’m not blind, so you don’t have a chance in hell dating me.” The Korean girl turned him, sticking her tongue out in disgust. “Oh. Well….” He felt awkward about trying to make a joke. “Rejected.” Timmy chuckled. “Sorry, Nate, you’re not a model.” Tarou winked, knowing full well that Enya was interested in. Despite his uneasiness around Enya, Melissa, and Sarah, he still could not bring himself to reject any of their feelings directly. The closest thing he could do was try to avoid them whenever the three of them were together: in any case, he could handle any one of them on their own, just not all three at the same time. Being evasive was as strong and direct of an effort as Tarou could make, given his immaturity and inexperience when it comes to romance. “Anyways, how was the food?” Tarou chuckled, trying to disperse the tension. “Terrible.” Valerie growled, getting up. “Sorry, would love to stay and be personally attacked by Enya, but I already have enough on my plate to feel bad about. Bye.” The hospitality student left before anyone else could say anything. “Uh… well then.” Nate sighed.

Valerie was frustrated. Enya had no reason to attack her like that. “Fucking Tarou, you moron.” She growled to herself. “Just reject them if you don’t like them! Leading them on like that, ugh.” She sighed, storming off to her room. She just needed to scream in a pillow right now. Being so stressed out constantly, it was taking its toll on her. As she unleashed verbal hell upon her pillow, all the girl could think about was Warrior Chef. Being a runner-up, she did not think that she would have taken losing so poorly. But all she could think about was how it felt like her pastry cooks constantly looked down on her for not being a Warrior Chef like Namie or Janice. “I’m a good chef. I know I’m a good chef.” She looked at herself in a mirror. “I got this far in my career because I am passionate about this. I love making beautiful desserts, and I love making good food.” She just remembered when she was five, cooking an apple pie with her grandmother. That was the first time she made a dessert from scratch, and it was an eye-opening experience. To think that butter, the thing she ate with toast, could create something so delicious, it made her start to think about the different possibilities about what you could do with flour and butter. And that creativity only blossomed when she met Thomas Keller and tried his food; seeing ingredients presented in such a refined, delicate manner, it inspired her to pursue a career in hospitality. Calming down slightly, she smiled.

After lunch and their remaining classes, Tarou would go to whatever meetings or events he had for the day or go to model. Today, Tarou was at his meeting for the Modeling Club: as vice president, he was in charge of facilitating meetings, and when it comes to executive decisions with the president, Vicky, the two of them consult back and forth on ideas for future events. “So you think we should go with the smaller venue?” Vicky looked at him. “Yeah, I saw it already, and given that we are accommodating 50 people, not 200, then wouldn’t it make more sense? Plus, if we cannot get 200 ticket sales, or at least 150, then the venue will look empty, and that will just not look good for us.” He insisted. “You have me there. This is why you’re such a good VP, Tarou.” Vicky smiled at him. During that time, Timmy would be either volunteering or watching Netflix, and Tarou would then meet up with Timmy for dinner. “How was your day?” Timmy would begin. “Terrible. I’m tired, I still have shit to do, and I just want to sleep.” He yawned. While Tarou would be exhausted and hate life, Timmy would be bored or for the most part, unfulfilled. He envied that Tarou could be so preoccupied and busy with so many things. As irritated as the model would make him with his basically bipolar attitude, he had to admit there was a tinge of jealousy knowing that Tarou could be so much more accomplished, given how little self confidence the former fat kid has.

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