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Honmei (本メイ)

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In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated by giving chocolate to the men most important to you. Giri choco is given to colleagues and friends out of obligation and carries no romantic attachment. Honmei choco is given to the person you love most. Representing the giver’s true feelings, this chocolate is most often a personal present that is handmade to show dedication and devotion from the heart.

Brian doesn’t know why he gets the idea to create three boxes of chocolate for each of his bandmates. He feels he’s biting off more than he can chew—literally. Three boxes of homemade chocolate? They might not even understand the present since honmei choco is a Japanese Valentine’s tradition. But if Brian doesn’t take this chance now to finally tell them his feelings…then he might never gather the courage to. If anything, he’s at least hiding behind the guise of giving presents.

Making chocolate is not easy work for a beginner, but he tries. Brian prepares too early, turning the kitchen counter into a baking station and convincing the same bandmates he lives with that he’s been “inspired to try something new!” (He isn’t sure they’re convinced, which increases the pressure to make these chocolates perfect if he is to ever have a happy future with this band again.)

More than just chocolate in assorted shapes, Brian goes above and beyond to ensure each set is personally decorated to suit each recipient. Freddie’s chocolate had the most eye-catching decorations, befitting the most romantic member of Queen. Roger’s chocolate contained different colors and flavors because he appreciated having a variety. John’s chocolate was made with white nuts, representing his tendency to prefer the uncommon. The more Brian tries to make each detail perfect, the more he worries about the boys comparing boxes to see who is Brian’s true favorite, but that’s not the message he wants to send at all.

He forgoes letters or greeting cards, knowing that he needs to express his words when he sees them face-to-face. As Brian prepares each heart-shaped box with the chocolates and the names of his bandmates lovingly written on the labels, he could only hope that he wasn't giving his heart away tomorrow to be broken.

Brian arrives late to the studio so he could give his presents all at once. No one suspects anything: Freddie sings happily at the piano while Roger pretends to flirt in a pseudo-ladylike voice that makes John laugh. Brian worries that maybe he should make a run for it, but it’s no use when you’re already seen.

“Brimi, there you are!” Freddie greets. “Why do you look like you’ve been caught in headlights, dear?”

Avoiding them is no choice, so Brian manages to get out a not-so-nervous greeting: “H-Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Happy 14th of February to you too- wait, have you got something for us?” John astutely notices the way Brian’s hands are hiding behind his back.

“Is it a surprise for us?” Roger asks. “I want to see!”

Brian feels his nerves creep as the boys come over to look at him eagerly. He doesn’t want those smiles to turn into awkward frowns on the same day.

With a deep breath, he brings his arms around front to reveal three heart-shaped boxes: one for John, one for Roger, and one for Freddie.

“These are for you…” he says evenly once the boxes are in each of their hands. “It’s chocolate.”

“Oh, Bri, you really didn’t have to go through the trouble of buying these-” Roger begins.

Imadethemmyself.” Brian blurts.

Suddenly the room freezes, and everyone’s eyes are on him.

All the words Brian had wanted to say suddenly go out the window. This is the moment it all ends, and Brian must accept his fate.

Until Freddie hugs him.

“This is a wonderful gift, Brimi. I’m proud of you for being so brave.”

The world stops, and Brian feels limp in Freddie’s arms if it weren’t for Roger holding him up too.

“We wanted to wait for you to be comfortable, but the answer is yes.”

John completes the circle before Brian even has a chance to react.

“We love you, Brian. All of us, equally and unconditionally. We always have.”

Brian pulls away from the hug, meaning to say something, but finds he still can’t. Not when he’s staring at the three loves of his life, searching their smiles for a sliver of a sign that none of this is real.

But there are no pretenses or false grins, only love, acceptance, and open arms that welcome Brian back into their circle—a circle that is theirs, with a bond that only belongs to them.

Brian understands now, and gives in to being loved.