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First Sunrise by the Beach

Written for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Kris and Ringo are characters from You Out of Nowhere, a book from Romanceclass Flair.

Prompt (that I asked for):  Kris and Ringo at the beach, may or may not be during Summer Crush



“Kris, wake up.”

“No. Kris, don’t wake up”

“We’re catching the sunrise. You promised”

“Doesn’t sound like me.”

“It’s the first sunrise I get to see where I’m not headed for the office.”

One cheek peeling off the pillow. Lashes unsticking. A bleary eye opening, staring at him through a mess of soft curls.

“That’s too sad and precious,” her voice rasped.

It was sexy, her forcibly woken voice. Her voice was always sexy. But to Ringo this one was special, because it meant she was awake enough to fulfill a sunrise promise with him.

He was crouched in front of their hostel bed so he could level her face. He had been stroking her back the way one would touch a sleeping tiger. Gentle, fleeting touches, fingertips trailing a dance on her nightshirt. Enough to be persistent but not annoying. He wanted a date at dawn, not a kick aimed at his eager face.

Kris shifted and he saw her mouth, pressed together but in this angle looked close to that soft curve it shaped when she was amused at him.

He took it to mean he could approach his tiger, his tita.

Ringo leaned his weight on the bed, dropping his head so his nose carved a line along her neck.

“I know.” He inhaled deeply. “Mmm essential oils.”

A whack on his face. He chuckled.

“Ok I’m up.”


Ringo stood back as Kris crawled out of bed, bare feet padding on the wooden slats on the floor. She stripped off her nightshirt on her way to the small bathroom, and Ringo had to swallow an instinctive grunt of desire and pin his hands to his sides to keep himself from grabbing her naked waist and throwing her back to bed.

They could have that meal later, after sunrise and breakfast.

Kris emerged, face damp and shirt thrown over a black bikini. His shirt, the blue one he wore to work, with the crisp collar and long sleeves that went past her wrists.

He walked towards her, sipping her lower lip for the day’s first kiss as he helped her do the buttons. A change in usual procedure but they were chasing a sunrise. He must focus.

Kris was melting against him, hands winding around his nape as she returned his kisses. A soft moan and she drew back from him, heading for the door.

“Sunblock, your sunglasses, keys, water bottle, money for breakfast.” Ringo lifted his hand that was carrying their wet bag, enumerating the contents before she asked. “Did I forget anything?”

“You have spreadsheets for brains. We’re good.”

Kris breezed through the door, Ringo right behind her.

Outside, he took her hand, plodding down the stairs in their flip-flops in the pre-dawn darkness. Their hostel was not beach-side but it was only a street across from the sea. They passed a sari-sari store, yet to open, and the small roadside restaurant Ringo had been eyeing for bagnet over rice. He knew what he would recommend for breakfast later.

“I know the sun isn’t out and that is the point but I did not expect it to be this dark.” Ringo gripped Kris’s hand tighter, tucking her to his side as he looked left and right twice over before they crossed the empty road.

“Probinsya streetlights going for ambient, barely there lighting.”

Kris yawned as they trod on, past a line of hostels and through a side street, and then they were wrapped by the sound of rushing waves, urging them onward.

The beach was even darker, the walk on the sand a challenge with flip-flops so they removed them, feeling the cold grains slide between their toes.

Kris chose a spot in the sand and they sat there, facing the dark horizon, the rumbling sea.

“Cold?” he asked.

“Did you bring a jacket too?”

“Right here.” Ringo edged closer and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her back against his thrumming chest.

Kris sounded a snort-sigh hybrid. “Why are you cute?”

He smiled against her hair. “I have successfully recalibrated you to love me.”

“That you did.”

They settled in silence, only the sea was loud, the waves against waves against shore making scary sounds. Ringo looked up and spotted dots of stars but thought the sky was lightening somehow, slowly, by gradients. He returned his gaze to the rolling sea, waiting for the first spark of sun at the horizon. Kris’s hand squeezed his arm around her. He held her closer.

“Are we supposed to do anything?” he whispered. It seemed like a moment where he should whisper.

He heard her smirk.

“Am I boring you?”

“You can sing out of tune to liven things up.”

She turned her head to glare at him. He kissed the tip of her nose, then the pucker on her lips.

“You’re not supposed to do anything,” she said. “You’re just…here.”

“The way you are here.”


Kris looked back out at the sky and sea. It was really looking lighter now, like budding morning. Unburdened by anything. A fresh start.

“I like it,” he decided.

“Thought you would.”

He buried his nose in her hair, their hands clasped where she held them. They must have been quiet a while, and there it was. Ringo didn’t spot the first ray of sun, though he had been paying attention. The sunrise just happened. Lazily, at its own time. Drawing streaks of lights and colors as he and Kris watched, the dawn’s avid viewers.

The sky was pink shot with oranges and grays now. Ringo nudged Kris’s ear with the tip of his nose.

“If we stay quiet like this for a bit longer we’ll hear your stomach rumbling. It’s a very specific krokrrrrkk sound, it’s almost musical.”

Her head whipped back to face him, his intended response.

“You, kid—”

“Yes, tita.”

He kissed her, and they kissed, because this was his first sunrise by the beach and because he loved her always.





#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way and here too for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.

Jill-Rhys fic that no one asked for here. Shinta preparing for Jill’s 30th birthday party here.

Writing Now

Something Meeting by Six de los Reyes

Written for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Sort of. Jill is a character from the Playlist series, starting with Songs of Our Breakup. Rhys is a character from Six de los Reyes‘ book Just For the Record and also appears in anthology Summer Crush.

Prompt: No one asked for this but follows this first meeting and we suppose this is now canon.



They handed over the payment at the same time.

To which the lady behind the fresh juice bar looked at them odd as they each tried to one-up each other and pay for the other’s fruit shake. But Ate Fruit Shake was having none of the shenanigans and left them both to deal with whatever this was, momentarily moving on to the next customer and letting them decide instead whose money she should take. 

Rhys’s eyes flashed for a second of eye contact. 

In response Jill clicked her tongue. “You’re ruining the moment.”

“You,” Rhys muttered under breath, “are ruining the moment.”

“I’m just trying to pay for our drinks.”

Not pancakes tonight because it didn’t have to be pancakes. Instead they met at some street food fair and it was a little bit of kwek-kwek here, some barbecue there, a piece or two or four of fishballs and squidballs and what have you. And then fruit shake after. Mango for Jill. No sugar. No milk. Just mango. Rhys’s avocado shake, with the milk and the sugar and all the good stuff was waiting, and arguing meant more talking and less fruit shake-ing, so Rhys curled her lip and accepted temporary defeat. The war was far from over, and sometimes it was wise to lose a battle. Strategy. It works. 

Besides, they’ve been outside long enough, and there were too many people out, and it was time to go find somewhere quiet to sit. Find some calm. Make sure the rest of the band boys—Jill’s Trainboys and her own whatever—wouldn’t find them before it was time. Tonight they were playing at this open air stage thing, one after the other as they usually did. Trainman and then Arabella, and then Rhys. Earlier, Jill had sent her a message, “They have fruit shake here.” Easy.

Now they sat together on the curb some walking distance away from the venue. Walking was nice. The outside air could be nice, too.

“I don’t understand,” Jill said, showing Rhys her screen. “Or maybe I do and maybe that’s worse.”

Rhys seemed to have a bad habit of picking up excess baggage along the way to wherever she was going, and this was nothing new. On Jill’s phone screen was a series of photos, one after the other storyboard style although the narrative remained to be seen.

Baggage A, Michael Brian admiring himself and his muscles in the mirror.

Baggage B, Son admiring Michael Brian admiring himself and his muscles in the mirror.

And Baggage C, Steven admiring his screenshot of Son admiring Michael Brian admiring himself and his muscles in the mirror.

At the very end of it was a link to another single they seemingly dropped out of nowhere. Just because they can. Because Mikhail Learns to Brian has a brand, apparently. That brand is chaos and energy. And dragging unsuspecting band boys to supervise and offer input. At least the new song was good. Not that Rhys was ever worried. It was bright and effervescent, with a backbone of kicks and snares like a moshpit stomping on the sand and a guitar riff like a color wheel against the cloudless sky. 

“Adequate,” Rhys said, answering Jill’s silent question. “The song. Traindude helped, didn’t he? I told him not to.”

“Miki had no choice. He said it was, and I quote, not a democracy. Your boy helped, too. Kenny. ”

“That’s because the intern is a fan of Bread Cheeks.”

Jill tilted her head in thought. “Your intern is a fan of Steven?”

Rhys grunted to confirm. “And I don’t have boys.” 

“Gotcha.” Jill swiped through the photos and chuckled under her breath. She flipped her phone again to show Rhys her screen. “Of course. Only a matter of time.”

The latest update was a photo of the Shinta standee, beaten and bruised but never defeated, endorsing the latest release. “Your boy is aware of this?” Because that would be a massive headache, more than the usual because Shinta Mori did not come cheap.

Jill shrugged. “He consents to it. You, as the company, do not need to worry about that.”

Rhys grunted and bit into her sugarcane straw. In the distance, she heard Michael Brian and Son calling out for Adrian and Kim. “That can’t be good.”

Jill’s smile burst into a laugh. “But interesting for sure. Here is safe enough distance, I think. We are past the point of intervention.”

Rhys’s teeth clamped harder on her straw. Then after a moment she pulled out her phone and found about a dozen or so messages in various stages of panic and disbelief. “Thanks for the avocado shake.”

“Sure,” Jill answered. “This was nice. You going?”

Rhys tilted her chin up for another flicker of eye contact. “No. I don’t have to go.”

“Cool. And the song is more than adequate.” 

Rhys smirked. “Wait ‘til you hear the next one. I will be in touch.”




#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.


Writing Now

and then they were roommates by Six de los Reyes

Written by Six de los Reyes for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge.

Jett is a character from Feels Like Summer. Rhys is a character from Just For the Record. They both may or may not appear in other de los Reyes band/summer romance books near you.



Jett was testing her patience.

But that wasn’t new. Anyway, Rhys has had her whole life perfecting the art of not giving a flying fuck and that included ignoring any and all distractions to maintain her mien of No Fucks Given. At the moment, Jett was very much challenging Rhys’s cool but that was the thing about having roommates. More often than not, they were purpose-built to utterly demolish one’s concentration.

“Stop looking at me.” Focus? Laser sharp. Rhys kept the tip of her pencil on the page. Mostly, she accomplished scribbles. Scribbles counted as lyrics too, didn’t they? 

“I like looking at you….work,” Jett teased. “I like watching you work. You get this knot on your forehead that makes you look like a pissed off gremlin.”

Even without looking up, Rhys just knew Jett was smirking at her. It was given away by tone in her voice, that sweet, sticky quality of Jett’s voice that reminded Rhys of condensed milk on toast. “Bite me.”

“Can I, really?”

Violent was not the word to describe the way Rhys crossed out an entire verse, not even close. A closer approximation would be determined. Because she was determined to maintain her bubble of peace and quiet. Rhys kept to herself. She’d built herself a tiny nook in their shared apartment just for writing or composing, and one would think the many, many sticky notes and vinyl stickers spelling out mild to overt threats would keep the uninvited away. Unfortunately, Jett apparently gave no fucks either.

“How are the mangoes?” Jett asked.

From the corner of Rhys’s eye, she saw Jett stretch out languidly across the yoga mat. No yoga was being done, just for the record. The mat was there so Jett could lie on the floor as much as she liked when the weather was relentlessly hot like this. In a muscle shirt too large or just right. Terrible. “Like mangoes,” Rhys answered, stuffing her mouth with fruit.

Sweet. Sticky. Tart.

“Don’t mangoes increase the length and intensity of your orgasms?”

Rhys choked on the mangoes.

It seemed like the only appropriate response. It was totally undignified and the blood rushed to her face and she felt the tingles behind her ears. Naturally, Jett was in one of her giggle fits, throwing her head back and exposing the smooth column of her neck. Rhys wiped her lips with the back of her hand, conjuring the willpower to ignore Jett and focus on her lyrics. But it’s too late because now Rhys was too distracted.

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet,” Rhys said, composing herself.

“That’s what the scientific method is for,” Jett shot back, “someone should test out this hypothesis.”

That was most definitely not an invitation.

Was it?

No. Rhys decided it was not. Jett was just being Jett—impossible. Forever the harbinger of conflicted and often disastrous emotions.

“Go test your hypothesis then,” Rhys mumbled, picking up her pencil and pressing the lead against the page. “Over there. Don’t bother me. I’m busy.”  

“You’re the one who had mangoes. It stands to reason that you be the test subject for this experiment.”


What were the chances Jett did not notice the lead of Rhys’s pencil breaking off and falling to the floor? Yeah. Fun. 

“Are you volunteering? It sounds like you’re volunteering. You’re volunteering, aren’t you? You can do the thing where you say something but mean the opposite.”

Oh, yeah. Jett noticed.

“I’m not volunteering.”

“Is that code for I should just go over there and kiss you?”

Yes. No. Maybe. “Just get your mangos and—what are you doing?” 

Jett rolled over to her stomach and pushed herself up on all fours and crawled toward her. Rhys busied herself with flipping the pages of her notebook, trying and failing to plug in her headphones, anything just to pretend whatever was happening was not happening but it was too late. Jett was pulling herself up next to Rhys, the fabric of her muscle shirt grazing the sensitive skin on Rhys’s thighs.

“You didn’t really answer how the mangos are.”

“I did,” Rhys mumbled, pushing the plate toward Jett and away from her.

Jett leaned in too close, and Rhys inhaled the citrusy shower gel they shared. “For science.”

Just on principle, Rhys refused to let her eyes shut when Jett closed the distance between them and softly traced the outline of Rhys’s lips before grabbing the collar of Rhys’s shirt and pushing her against the backrest without hesitation. The kiss was warm but cool, and the only reason Rhys’s instinct was to recoil was because melting was not an option. 

But anyway, the kiss was sweet and it was sticky, and resistance was maybe probably futile so, like, what was even the point?

“You’re right,” Jett whispered into Rhys’s lips. “Tastes like mangos. Now how about that other hypothesis?”




Prompt: Friends sila na may secret crush sa isat isa. Flirty banter ang mode of conversation, pero friends lang daw sila.

Also a prompt: This quote from an essay I was reading the other day: “Don’t mangoes increase the length and intensity of your orgasms?”

And i imagine Jett blurting it out during a casual conversation between “”friends””, habang nananahimik yung isa, deep in thought, umiinom lang naman ng mango shake or nagsnack on sliced mangoes while scribbling song lyrics on a notebook.

The essay:

#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.


Writing Now

we have plenty of time by Six de los Reyes

Written by Six de los Reyes for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Phylle and Dax are characters from Field Guide : Love and Other Natural Disasters (Talking Nerdy Book 2) and may or may not appear in other de los Reyes lab nerd books near you.

Prompt: 365247 by DAY6




“How is it still raining?” Phylle asked, shifting over to lie on her stomach. “It was raining when we went to sleep and now we’ve woken up it’s still raining.”

Dax rolled over to Phylle’s side of the bed, throwing an arm around her waist and pulling her closer until her back was flush against his chest and he fit his knees behind her knees. Boom. Spooning. “Go back to sleep. You can sleep another eight hours if you want to.”

“It’s 4:30 in the morning.” Phylle wiggled in his embrace and tried to swim away. “I’m wide awake.”

He nuzzled the back of her shoulder. “Then go back to sleep.”

“I’m too awake.” Phylle squirmed in his arms but he held onto her tight and tangled his legs around hers. “You’re prickly,” she whined. “Your face is prickly.”

And Phylle was ticklish. It was a very specific location and it made him feel like he’d finally unlocked one secret of the universe. Perhaps the greatest discovery since dirt. “Didn’t shave.”

“Yeah, exactly. You’re like a giant cactus. I’m trapped in a giant cactus bear trap.” She feigned struggle. Dax knew she was faking it because had Phylle truly been using her strength against him, he’d have a black eye, probably two, a few bruised internal organs, and one less limb. Because Phylle was super strong and Dax was not one to forget that. 

“You like it when I don’t shave.” If his voice came out a little growly, it was because he was feeling bold. A move that paid off with the little shiver he got in response. “Go to sleep.”

“Ugh. Fine. Move over.” Phylle tried, and failed, to untangle herself in his arms. Dax liked to think she wasn’t really trying that hard because secretly she liked it. “You be the little spoon.”

“Nope. Too late.” He tightened his arms around her and breathed her in. Phylle smelled like the ocean. If the ocean also smelled a little minty fresh. “Spoon docking sequence has already been locked and completed.”

“What the fuck, how are you such a nerd? A cheesy nerd. I did not sign up for this. Stop hanging out with my friends at In Lab. They’re bad influences.”

“Shush,” he whispered behind the shell of her ear. “It’s okay to feel small. I got you. Go back to sleep. I swear, Phylle Paiton. You are impossible. Let me love you. Come on. You can do it. You’ve been through hell and high water, you can stand to be the little spoon for a little while longer. Suffer through it. Do it for science. The survival of the planet depends on it.”

She groaned, and though he couldn’t see her face Dax just knew she was rolling her eyes. “Okay, but you’re wearing too many clothes.”

“It’s cold,” was what he said but he was not at all opposed to the idea of far less clothes and cuddling in the same sentence. 

“You get naked to get warm is the point I’m making. Unless you have any qualms about naked cuddle time.”

The rush of arms and legs and getting lost in the maze of their sheets was a familiar scene, one navigated with ease and familiarity. Dax settled Phylle back in his arms, cradling her against his chest as he would his most treasured. She tensed then, shutting him out for just a split second.

He pressed his lips between her eyes. “I know you hate it, but being the little spoon isn’t always a bad thing. I know you’d rather feel big and strong and I don’t want to take that away from you, but when you’re with me like this I want you to know that it’s okay. You’re safe with me.”

“Why would you say something like that? That’s awful. That’s terrible. Take it back.”

He laughed as she buried her face in his chest. “You don’t have to be ashamed of having feelings other than anger and more anger. Being soft isn’t a bad thing. And I don’t want you to feel like you can’t be soft with me.”

“I know,” she said, finally, voice small. “I know that. I’m working on it.”

“Hey, we have time,” he muttered, pressing another kiss on her cheek. “We also have champorado and how many streaming services is it now?”

Phylle propped her chin up his chest and pressed herself closer to him. Her skin was warm and her gaze was hot. “You know what else we have?”

He should know better than to ask, what with that glint in her eyes. Or maybe that naughty look was exactly why he asked,“What else do we have?”

“Condoms. We have, like, a full box.”

He laughed into her kiss, rolling her over and pinning her down on the bed. “I’m trying to trap you in cuddles and you’re being uncooperative.”

“No,” she teased. “I’m giving you a chance to tire me out so you can put me to sleep.”

Challenge accepted?

“You know what else would be totally cool?” Phylle asked somewhere between the kisses and the touches and her nails dragging down his back.


“We could totally skip work today.” A gasp. A moan. A noise complaint from the neighbors probably later in the day. “Do it like the cool kids.”

“It’s a Sunday.”

“Shhh. Don’t ruin it.”




Note: Again Jay was gladly used with her consent. She tried to be profesh while putting this down. It was not easy. I hope you enjoyed reading.

#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way and here too for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.


Writing Now

Clean Up on Aisle D by Six de los Reyes

Written by Six de los Reyes for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Jett and Adrian are characters from Feels Like Summer and may or may not appear in other de los Reyes band/summer romance books near you.

Prompt: Comic con and fun banter / laughs every time they see anything star wars


Jett was laughing even before Adrian got the joke, but one look at the general direction she’d been looking at and he was steering her away from the display of lightsabers down the hall of the convention center. It mocked him, almost. Neon blue against red all lit up throughout all iterations across the franchise. But it was the green one that was the worst.

Just the absolute worst.

At least in public. 

In private, well, Adrian was one to choose his battles.

“Aisle D,” Jett snorted, tugging him back toward the middle of the main walkway, squeezing through the crowd and getting him slapped in the face with the papier-mâché wings of a Deathscyte passing by. “Lightsabers on aisle D,” she giggled, curling into him to check on his nose. “They cannot not be doing this on purpose.”

“You’re the only one who thinks that,” he muttered.

She pulled him down by the collar of his shirt to kiss the tip of his nose. “I can’t be the only one who thinks that lightsabers on aisle D isn’t funny. And you know what? I can prove that. Let’s ask the Yellow Ranger. Hey! Yellow!” 

“I believe you,” he said, letting himself be dragged back into the fray, this time successfully dodging the giant swords, spears, and the occasional horns and tails. “Try and contain your excitement,” he deadpanned. “Try not to get us kicked out of the convention center.”

Not that Jett paid him any mind. “I feel like I should chase after Yellow. I feel it in my bones. I have to talk to her. I need to know how she feels about aisle D.”

“Right behind you, darling.”

Jett spun on her heel and jabbed a finger at his chest. “Did you just call me darling?”

“How did you even hear that?” he asked, raising his voice above the white noise of a comic con crowd, the live event wherever the stage was, and the gaggle of conversation floating around them.

She poked him again. “You’re trying to distract me from my mission.”

“Am I?” He nudged her to the left just a little bit, just enough to not get in the way of a whole group of cosplayers and their support team. “Whatever your mission is, I’m being supportive.”

“No,” Jett shot back, eyes narrowing at him. “You’re trying to do that thing—” Her head shot to the side. “Is that Kylo Ren? I should ask him about lightsabers on aisle D. I should ask him about his lightsaber. You think he’d let me touch it?” 

Adrian sighed a sigh that felt like he’d aged ten years in the span of two seconds. “If you’re going to ask him about his lightsaber—”

“Baby,” she lilted, leaning against the post with the big D on the top. “Your lightsaber is the only lightsaber that matters to me. You know that.”

He cleared his throat to buy him some time. Jett using the B word on him sent a chill down his spine but the whole lightsaber business shot a whole other kind of jolt straight to other non-family friendly places. “Sure, say stuff like that out loud. That’s fine. This is fine.” He searched the crowd. “Who do you want to accost first? Yellow Ranger? Kylo Ren? How about that kid staring at you? I think he has a crush on you.”

“Accost?” she scoffed, clutching her chest on mock offense. “Accost is such a strong word. Me? Accost anyone? I would never!” Then her lips twisted into a smirk that had no business being so sexy. “You’re a little worried, aren’t you?”

“No.” And he meant it. He joined her under the sign. “Whatever you want to do, let’s go do it. You want to make a mess at aisle D? I’ll bring a mop. I’ll follow you around with a mop.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him close. “You’re sweet. Here’s an idea. Do you want me to, like, dress up as Princess Leia?”


“What about Rey?”


“Jyn Erso?”


“I guess it doesn’t matter what I’m wearing if it all ends up on the floor anyway.”

“Sure. That’s stuff you say out loud in the middle of all this.” He gestured vaguely around. The madness was enough to drown out the little conversations if the swelling video game music blasting from speakers didn’t. When the curious eyes stopped to stare, Adrian found that he didn’t care much for them. Though he probably should. Just a little bit. Maybe.

Jett grinned at him, maddeningly teasing and so sure of herself. “You’re super into me right now, aren’t you? Admit it. You’re hot for me. It’s okay. You can say it out loud.”

He laughed softly to himself, allowing just the slightest melt into her warm touch. “You’re doing that Jedi mind trick on me again.” 

“What trick?” she asked, batting her lashes at him. Nothing about the act was innocent. Especially not the way her nails scratched the back of his neck. “Whatever do you mean?”

“Fine,” he said, giving up the war. “If it’s lightsabers you want, it’s lightsabers you’ll get.”




Note: Jay has nothing to do with this but she was used with her consent.

#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way and here too for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.


Writing Now


Written for #RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge. Jill and Shinta are characters from the Playlist series, starting with Songs of Our Breakup and also in Songs to Make You Stay.

Prompt:  Shinta plans Jill’s 30th birthday party



Shinta Mori took birthdays seriously. Specially the landmark ones, like the 30th, which was turn-of-the-decade important.

Since he’d made Manila his home base, he had been hearing it referred to as the advent of the tito-slash-tita stage of life, where one would get excited about purchasing rice cookers and tea. Fascinating, really.

When he turned 30 he already had an interest in household machines and errands, having moved out to his own place early on. And tea, while it was not sake or beer, was always nice.

Anyway, this wasn’t about him. This was another person traversing into an exciting new decade, and this person was important.

This person also nursed a firm dislike of birthday parties.


His palm fell on Jill’s thigh, squeezing. “Do you want to go to Sapporo?”

One eyebrow rose. “Randomly?”

“Not right now.”

“Yeah, cos I’m supposed to be up there in 5 minutes.” Her mouth curved to his favorite smirk. She tilted her head towards Commute Bar’s floor where Nino was testing a beat on his drums.

“I actually can’t go on a trip next month,” Shinta muttered, gaze dropping on the sticky table.

Why did he have filming schedule around this important birthday? It was an extra challenge but he was up to it.

Jill was looking at him with narrowed eyes, which meant she was figuring him out, which meant she would get there soon, with the way she knew him.

He needed a distraction.

He leaned over and captured her lips, her face in both his hands, thumbs tracing her cheekbones. His kisses ran deep, bordering on inappropriate in public despite the dim lights of the bar.

He felt her smile against his moving mouth, palm smacking his chest.

“Fine, be that way.” She broke away from him and she stood up, aiming for her bandmates, fingers through his hair as she went. “I’m going to pretend I don’t know what this is.”


“She hates parties.” Miki’s tone was as flat and no-nonsense as Shinta imagined his expression would be.

“It’s not a party,” he said to his phone. “It’s an intimate congregation.”

“Also hates surprises.”

“I am walking a tightrope, I know.”

Shinta flopped face down on the sofa, his feet dangling from the edge. He raised his head to peek at his door in case Jill was coming in, but he had only imagined the faint jangling of keys.

Birthday planning was fun but he was making this year’s extra stressful for himself, with how much he wanted it to be perfect. Also with how he was involving more people. It was usually a trip or a quiet day of just the two of them, how she preferred it.

But really, one did not turn 30 every year.

“What do you have?” Miki’s voice called him back.

“Sushi, guitars, Tokyo, Trainman, girl squad, me. A list of things she likes.”

“No better place to start.”

Shinta sighed. “Hai.”

He reached for his laptop, open on the side table. He had been searching for inspiration, for a hint of something that would be the perfect not-quite-a-surprise, not-big-enough-to-be-a-party idea.

He had been searching for weeks, thinking about this for months. He’d thought of a lot but nothing was sticking. He swiped his finger on the trackpad and typed some more, going back to his usual website haunts for possible clues.

He was scanning on social media when he saw the announcement. He and Jill had been waiting for this. And for it to fall on this date.

His face stretched into a grin.

“Yatta.” He shifted his cheek to speak to his phone where Miki was holding his end of the call. “I think I got it.”


“Perfect seats.”

Jill released a low whistle as they dropped on the cushioned seats, eyes scanning the arena’s many floors, the rows filling up with fans bearing light sticks and banners. She turned to the stage, to the flashing lights around them, then to his face. He thought her eyes sparkled the most then.

He nodded, proud of himself. He’d fought an intense online battle with fellow warrior fans to secure these tickets. The show was sold out in less than three hours and he was one of the lucky ones.

It was a special birthday gift. He was blessed.

“Not in the VIP, because that means standing in the mosh pit with energetic teenagers for 3 hours and that’s not fun for the lower back,” he said, slipping his fingers through hers. “Not too far that you have to rely on the big screen to see the band’s faces. They charged extra for the faces. This is—”

“Perfect. Just right.”

Jill planted a kiss on his lips and he knew it was meant to be sweet but no wait—his palm cupped her nape and pulled her back to him, making the kiss last. When her palm came between them, it cradled the curve of his neck.

“Happy 30th birthday in 3 more hours,” he whispered.

She wrinkled her nose at ‘30’ but was laughing when she wrapped an arm around his shoulder.

“Thank you. You don’t have a surprise party waiting after this, do you?”

“Only an intimate congregation with your favorite people.”

“There’s cake?”

“Of course. I made everyone promise not to sing the birthday song. They can just whisper or text greetings to you.”


The lights had dimmed, spotlights bursting, dancing, then zooming in on the stage. The crowd rose, a single collective yelling, screaming their hearts out, light sticks waving in the air.

Jill and Shinta stood with everyone else, but her smile was on him.

He lifted their linked hands to nudge her chin. “Tomorrow I can help you look for the best rice cooker.”


When she laughed and kissed him again he knew she meant tonight, this birthday, his plans, the chaos and the music around them, and the two of them together, always. Perfect.




Note: Jill and Shinta were 21 and 24 in SOOB and STMYS lol so this was fun to write and also made my head spin cos a lot would have happened in the years in between. But for sure there were constants–like music and friends and Shinta.

Special thanks to Day6 World Tour 2019: Gravity in Manila and rice cookers.

#RCReadathon2020 Prompt and Pairing, Please! Challenge thread this way for more ficlets of your Romanceclass faves.

No one asked for it but I wrote a Jill-Rhys fic here.