Bal – Chapter 12

As he rested on the bed, Kouta was still brooding over the unexpected turn the vacation had taken. He continued to replay how Ryuu had spoken to him, unable to shut out his lover’s dismissive attitude. A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts.

“Who is it?” he asked.

“Kouta, it’s me, Ayami. May I come in?”

“Sure,” he said.

Ayami entered, peeking shyly at him and smiling. He motioned for her to sit down on a chair across from the bed.

“Kouta, I’m really sorry,” she began. “I didn’t mean to cause a disagreement.”

“You don’t need to apologize,” he assured her, sitting up to face her. He sighed. “I was hoping to get over it but I’m actually really upset about what happened.”

“Ryuu is too,” Ayami told him. “After the argument, he immediately went to the maze. When we were kids, he had a horrible temper. It’s still pretty bad today. Anyway, he’d manage his anger by walking the maze. Since he’s home again, he’s doing what’s familiar.”

“I can’t believe how he acted. He’s so overprotective. My older sister, Yuki, is like that too.” Kouta shook his head in annoyance. “Whether I’m in Japan or Italy, someone wants to tell me what to do.”

Ayami laughed, understanding how he felt. The two of them were exchanging stories about their siblings, when Ryuu came into the room.

“Don’t hurt him too badly,” Ayami whispered, as she stood to leave.

“I’ll just do a few jabs to his kidneys,” Kouta responded, jokingly.

Kouta watched Ayami attempt to slide past Ryuu, avoiding eye contact.

“Sis, please wait,” Ryuu murmured, causing her to pause. “I overreacted. Maybe we can talk later.”

“Alright, big brother.”

She smiled up at him and Kouta had a feeling they’d resolve their differences. Ayami left, giving Kouta a little wave before going.  Ryuu closed the door behind her.

Kouta remained on the bed, looking at Ryuu and appraising him. He felt his anger rising again.

“Kouta, I’m sorry,” Ryuu began. “I lashed out at you and I was wrong for doing that.”

“You embarrassed me in front of your family,” Kouta stated coldly. “You treated me like I was some kind of child, or someone you own.”

“Again, I’m sorry.”

“What the hell does that do for me, Ryuu?” Kouta demanded, going to stand in front of him. “You made me look like an idiot. Now you come in here mumbling some half-assed apology.  Am I’m supposed to just brush off your actions?”

“I have every right to be angry with you too!” Ryuu exclaimed. “You didn’t even think about what you were doing, Kouta! You just went on and on about motorcycling.”

“I was asked, so I responded,” Kouta reminded him. “I don’t believe your views should control everything. This isn’t some dictatorship.”

“Okay, now you’re really being ridiculous!”

“Either you want to listen to what I have to say or to what pleases you,” Kouta said, his voice beginning to rise. “Right now, those are two completely different things.”

“Maybe we need to talk about this later.”

“No, we’re going to talk about it right here and right now.”

“Fine!” Ryuu shouted. “I don’t like you downplaying how dangerous motorcycling can be.”

“I only provided information to Ayami. I was not downplaying the danger.”

“You should have told her you’d rather not offer your opinion.”

“Why! Because it wasn’t the opinion you have? What is wrong with you? Sometimes it’s as if you’re punishing me, Ryuu. You don’t want me to get another bike yet. Now, you don’t want me to talk about a bike or my accident.”

“Don’t forget that I compromised about the bike. I just wanted you to wait.”

“You compromised after you fumed and tried to make me feel guilty,” Kouta told him. “It has nothing to do with what happened today. And you know what? I gave into you about waiting to buy another bike. I really didn’t have to do that. I was just trying to make you happy, which is more than I can say for you sometimes. For your information I can buy a goddamn bike if I want to, without your permission and I can talk about it, and my accident, to whomever I want.”

“Kouta, I—”

“I don’t want to see you right now. The more we talk, the angrier I’m getting. I didn’t plan on having a shouting match, especially so late at night. I hope no one heard us.”

Kouta turned his back to Ryuu, ending the conversation. Soon, he heard the door close. He stretched out on the bed, thinking about how Ryuu was acting. Sometimes, he could accept the things Ryuu did when his domineering side showed itself. It could be appealing but today Kouta thought Ryuu had gone too far.

Ryuu didn’t return to the bedroom that night. Kouta thought it was for the best.

~~12.1 ~~

Ryuu was at breakfast the next morning. The meal was strained, as everyone was doing their best to avoid discussing the argument. Kouta was stinging under the embarrassment. After the meal, Ryuu disappeared again, mumbling that he wanted to be alone. Kouta was going to head off by himself too when Mrs. Kobayashi took hold of his arm.

“I can’t have two people sulking at the same time,” she said, making him laugh.

“I’m sorry.” He looked down at the floor, his expression pained. “I didn’t mean for this to happen.”

“I know you didn’t. I also understand that Ryuu’s concerned but I don’t like how he handled it. He knows he’s wrong and he’s usually quite good about admitting that, even if it takes a while. Let him have his time.”

It was late afternoon when Ryuu went to find Kouta, who was playing chess with Ryuu’s father.

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Ryuu began. “I’d like to talk with you, Kouta, if you don’t mind, Dad.”

“That’s fine, son.  Save him from his inevitable defeat.”

Kouta laughed at Mr. Kobayashi’s boasting and followed Ryuu back to their room.

As they walked, Kouta breathed out a sigh, which was an odd mixture of relief and frustration. He was happy Ryuu had come to talk with him but he was also bothered because he was thinking about their last conversation. He didn’t want a repeat of it.

Kouta shut the bedroom door behind them and they stared at each other for a long moment.

“Love, I’m sorry,” Ryuu began. “I was closed-minded and disrespectful. This time, please accept my apology.”

“I’m sorry too. I don’t like arguing with you. To have it happen in front of your family…” Kouta’s words trailed off and he looked down at the floor.

Ryuu walked to him, closing the distance between them. He held Kouta tightly and kissed him fervently, an apology also in his actions.

“You stayed away last night,” Kouta noted, when their lips parted. “Was our argument the only reason?”

“No; I had an ugly disagreement with Dad. I mean, you saw us in the maze. It was about my animation business. I appreciate his advice but sometimes we just clash.”

“Will you work out the issue?”

“After dealing with you, I can resolve things with anyone.”

Kouta gave Ryuu a quick punch in the ribs and he laughed.

“You just got back on good terms with me, don’t ruin it,” Kouta told him.

“I really want you right now, Kou,” he said. “You know how we usually have sex after we make up.”

“Do I ever!” Kouta said, chuckling. “Still, we’re going to have to save it.”

“I know,” he groaned. “It’s okay. When we do some traveling, we’ll spend a night or two at a hotel.”

Kouta kissed him, looking forward to the rest of their time in Italy.

~~12.2~~

They’d arrived in Venice in the early afternoon and Kouta was excited about being there. The first thing he wanted to do was go for a gondola ride. Ryuu teased him about being the stereotypical tourist, as they settled into the boat.

The gondolier was dressed just as Kouta had seen in many pictures of Venice. He wore a black and white striped shirt with black pants. A straw hat, with a red band around it was tilted on his head.

As they traveled down the Grand Canal, Kouta could see smaller side passages, which were lined with houses. The balconies of many of the homes had colorful laundry swaying in the Venetian breeze.

Towards the end of the water journey, they slowly passed under the Rialto Bridge. Kouta took in its details, thinking about how old the bridge was, wondering how many people must have walked over it. When he was finished musing, he looked over to find Ryuu grinning at him.

“What?” he asked.

“I’m just happy you’re having a good time,” Ryuu told him.

After the ride, Kouta wanted to purchase souvenirs. They decided to go to Murano, a chain of Venetian islands that was famous for glass making. The driver of their water taxi let him steer the boat for part of the way. When they landed, Ryuu guided him to a particular factory.

“Friends of my family own it,” Ryuu explained as they entered.

“Welcome to the Ghilardi Glass Factory,” a hostess greeted visitors in heavily accented English. “A glass-blowing demonstration will be starting soon.”

She led guests to a seating area where some people already were. The demonstration area had three small furnaces, strong heat coming from each of them. A short while later, a glassmaker began showing his craft, with sweat rolling off his face and muscular arms as he worked. He made various creations, including a rainbow, a swan, and a large blue, yellow and green butterfly. Once the creations cooled, he offered them to the children in the audience.

When the demonstration was finished, Ryuu led Kouta to the shopping section. There were two levels with merchandise. The first one mainly had figurines that were no larger than one foot. Kouta’s attention was on the displays of glass bulls and wild horses. Then, he noticed Ryuu had wandered off to speak with a very beautiful woman. She had dark brown hair, held back in a tight bun. With or without the make up she was wearing, she was stunning. A black, tailored business suit emphasized her athletic frame. The part of Kouta that appreciated a gorgeous human form appreciated how attractive she was.  Another part of him was uncomfortable seeing the flirtation between her and Ryuu.

Kouta watched the lady smile at what Ryuu was saying and then she gave him a hug. The two walked over to Kouta, with Ryuu firmly holding her hand. Kouta felt the sting of jealousy, wondering who this woman was and how she had become so friendly with Ryuu.

“Kou, this is Ivana. We grew up together,” Ryuu explained. “Her uncle owns this factory. She helps run the business.”

“It is nice to meet you,” she told Kouta in halting Japanese.

“I’m pleased to meet you,” Kouta told her, trying to give as a real a smile as possible. He still wasn’t sure about her.

She spoke to Ryuu in Italian and he began laughing. Then he gave her a response and she started laughing too. To Kouta, they certainly were having a good time.

“Ivana says you are extremely handsome, just like I told her. I reminded her that you’re mine and not to get any ideas.”

Kouta was instantly relaxed when Ryuu said that. The two of them shared a meaningful look. It was clear to him that Ryuu had been aware of his anxiety. He studied the floor for a moment, embarrassed about his reactions but pleased that Ryuu could read him so well. More importantly, he cared to see that Kouta was at ease.

Ivana spoke to Ryuu again and he translated for Kouta.

“She wants us to converse in English, since we all know it. She says she’s sorry that she hasn’t learned enough Japanese.”

“It’s alright,” Kouta told her in English.

“Good! Then, would you like a tour of the factory showrooms?” she asked.  Kouta looked at Ryuu and he nodded.

“Yes, we’ll take the tour,” Kouta said.

“Kou, this is more for you than for me. I used to come here often,” Ryuu turned to Ivana. “Go ahead and spoil him.”

“Okay, follow me please,” Ivana said, giving Kouta a bright smile.

They walked around the first floor. She told Kouta about some of the most popular pieces and how long the factory had been making them. He saw a few he wanted to buy and she reserved them for him, having a staff member transfer them to a counter where Kouta could purchase them later. After that, they went up to the second floor. The most outstanding items were displayed here. Mirrors were in one area. Vases of different sizes and colors, accented with gold, lined the walls. Chandeliers were also on this floor, sparkling and hanging high on the ceiling. The most impressive and expensive objects were behind glass cases, miniature lights emphasizing their finer points. These included mythical figures, such as Roman gods and goddesses.

Kouta saw much that he liked and had a difficult time deciding what to get. In the end, he purchased numerous souvenirs from the glass factory; including a beautiful, traditional Venetian mirror for his mother and a multicolored goblet for his father to drink his wine. He decided a vase decorated with butterflies would be perfect for Yuki, along with a sculpture of a horse for Takeshi. His niece and nephew would receive music boxes made of glass and silver. He also selected intricate masks for his bandmates, a vase for Yosuke and his wife, along with a statue for the president of his company.

Kouta had purchased something for Ryuu too, the statue of a panther, since it was one of his favorite animals. He didn’t want Ryuu to see it until later, so Ivana helped him keep it a secret.

After Kouta was assured that his items would be shipped safely to his home in Tokyo, he and Ryuu prepared to leave.

“I’m glad you could be here,” Ivana said. “Now, you make sure you keep Ryuu in line.”

“Hey!” Ryuu complained, causing Kouta to laugh.

Ivana walked them out of the factory and chatted with them until a water taxi arrived. She embraced both of them, leaving kisses on their cheeks. She waved, as they pulled away from the dock and headed to their next destination.

Ryuu took Kouta to the Piazza San Marco, which Ryuu had informed him wasn’t literally a square.

“It’s really a trapezoid,” Ryuu explained. “It’s wider near the canal.”

“Well, aren’t you just a know-it-all?”

“That makes me sexy, doesn’t it?”

“Of course.”

Kouta continued to look around St. Mark’s with Ryuu. Even though the area was quite crowded, Kouta still enjoyed himself. They bought some food for the many pigeons that were there. Kouta was in the middle of feeding them, when Ryuu called out his name. He turned to look at his lover and Ryuu’s brown eyes were twinkling mischievously. He’d also distanced himself from Kouta, which drew suspicion. Before Kouta could ask what he was up to, he casually tossed two handfuls of crumbs at Kouta’s feet and pigeons descended, rushing to the food. Their wings beat around Kouta, as their excited cries rippling through the air.

“What the hell?!” Kouta snapped.

Ryuu, along with various tourists, enjoyed the spectacle. When Kouta stopped being the center of attention, Ryuu walked over to him, a naughty grin on his face.

“Are you alright?” Ryuu asked, with exaggerated concern. “Did the little birdies hurt your sensitive body?”

“I’m going to forget what you just did,” Kouta said, his face burning from the ordeal. “I’m hungry. Take me somewhere and feed me.”

“Oh come on, don’t be so upset,” Ryuu said, trying to coax a smile out of him.

“If you’re going to act like a child, I’ll tell your parents,” Kouta grumbled, pretending to be more bothered than he was.

He walked off quickly, distancing himself from Ryuu. For a second, a panicked expression crossed Ryuu’s face.

“Don’t tell Mom and Dad!” he exclaimed, hurrying to catch up with Kouta.

Kouta looked at him slyly out of the corner of his eyes.

“Great. Now I know how to keep you in line.”

Ryuu rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.

“I suddenly turned into a five-year-old, didn’t I?”

“Yes. I like the adult version of you,” Kouta told him. “So, bring him back. Now.” Kouta’s chuckled and then pinched him on his rear.

“I’m back the way you like,” Ryuu responded. “And I’m ready for some loving.”

“Let’s see if you can hold off until later. If we have sex now, we’ll never see any place else. We’ll head to the beach for a good swim first.”

~~12.3~~

On their second excursion, Ryuu took Kouta to Lido Beach. They were relaxing when Ryuu dozed off. Kouta watched him, letting him rest. He brushed some sand off Ryuu’s cheek, so he wouldn’t be bothered. Then, he left him to go closer to the water. He sat down near the edge of it, the waves rippling past his feet and up his legs. He was there for a little bit, looking out over the Gulf of Venice, which led to the Adriatic Sea.

He searched the beach, wanting to find a perfect spot for a sculpture.  There was one a short distance from him. He decided to create dolphins and was beginning his second one when a shadow fell over him.

“Do you need any help?” he heard. He glanced up, shading his eyes from the Italian sun to see Ryuu smiling.

“I want to make some dolphins,” Kouta said. “It’s a tradition; I’ve done it whenever I gone to a beach. My sister and I started that when we were kids.”

“That kind of cool, Kou,” Ryuu said, sitting down next to Kouta. “So, that’s why you were building dolphins in Greece too?”

“Yes. I should have told you and we could have built them together. I just felt a little weird about it.”

“You don’t have to feel weird about something like that,” Ryuu said. Then he added, teasingly, “Maybe you can feel strange about other things…”

Kouta elbowed him and laughed.

“I like how we can spend so much time together, at least before my tour starts,” Ryuu told him, after they’d formed the first dolphin.

“I’m really going to miss you when you’re on the road,” Kouta said.

“I know and I’ll be missing you too.”

“Let’s not talk about how hard it will be…”

They continued with the sand sculptures, discussing insignificant issues, like what they wanted to have for dinner.

“We should take a picture of the dolphins,” Ryuu said, when they finished.

After they took pictures, they reviewed them, deciding which ones were the best. Then they returned to where their towels were.

Some children, who’d been watching them make the dolphins, wandered close to their sand creations. The children sat near it and began protecting it from people passing by and the waves that were coming further up the beach.

“I guess they really liked what we did,” Kouta told Ryuu, amusement in his voice.

“Had I been one of those kids, I would have destroyed it all by now.”

“You’re horrible,” Kouta said, laughing.

“That’s right…”

Ryuu closed his eyes and, soon, he was asleep again. Kouta smiled, wondering how he managed the kind of schedule he kept. Even as a musician with his own hectic days, he didn’t have as much energy as Ryuu did.

When the sun was coloring the sky in vibrant red, orange, yellow and purple hues, Kouta gently shook his lover awake.

“Ryuu, we should go back to our hotel.”

“Okay…First, can we finish watching the sunset? Maybe we can stay just for another 15 minutes.”

They sat quietly; viewing the sun until it slowly went out of sight.

“I’m hungry now,” Ryuu said, getting up and patting his stomach. “We’ll clean up and find a good restaurant. Then afterwards you can be my dessert.”

“Oh really?” Kouta asked, laughing. He pretended to be upset with him and kicked dirt on his towel.

They gathered their things and then returned to the hotel. Their intention was to eat at a restaurant. However, after they showered, they decided on room service. Kouta was still chewing the last of his food when Ryuu pulled him up from the table and headed towards the bedroom.

“It has been too long,” Ryuu said. “Come here. I want you.”

He sat down on the bed, his hands quickly unbuttoning Kouta’s pants. He pulled out Kouta’s hardening cock and began massaging him slowly.

“Kou, I’m about to make a meal out of you,” he said.

Kouta groaned as Ryuu licked the tip of his cock. Kouta ran his hands through his lover’s hair, encouraging him.

“Fuck my mouth,” Ryuu said.

Kouta laughed shakily, surprised to hear Ryuu talk like that. He didn’t do it often but when it happened, Kouta found it incredible. He put one hand on each side of Ryuu’s face, sighing in pleasure as his lover engulfed him. Soon, they created a steady, sensual rhythm.

“My knees are going to buckle,” Kouta told him.

“Where’s your stamina?” Ryuu joked. He gently bit the head of Kouta’s cock. Then he slipped Kouta into his mouth again.

“Ryuu…” Kouta gasped out as Ryuu hit a particularly sensitive spot.

“You’re close to coming, aren’t you?”

“Yes but I don’t want to, not yet. Plus my knees really are shaking.”

“Can you stand it a little longer?  I like having you this way.”

“Ryuu…” Kouta breathed out, gripping his shoulders.

“Alright,” Ryuu responded. “I’ll work you over in another position.”

After they fully undressed, he lay on the bed and motioned for Kouta to come to him. Kouta went to lie next to him and reached for Ryuu, who moved on top of him. Ryuu linked his fingers with Kouta, pulling his hands above his head.

“Don’t move your hands,” Ryuu commanded. “If you don’t listen, I’ll stop everything.”

He moved down Kouta’s body. He left a trail of love bites between Kouta’s thighs, making him flinch. Then he took Kouta’s cock in one hand and slipped him into his mouth. Kouta breathed deeply, enjoying the way Ryuu held his gaze. He gasped and squirmed when Ryuu pushed him further down his throat. Ryuu rolled him against the roof of his mouth, then grazed his extremely sensitive head with his teeth.

“I’m so close to coming,” Kouta told him. “I don’t want to do it without you inside me.”

Nodding, Ryuu rose above Kouta and prepared him for entry. He stared at him intently, letting the cool lubricant drizzle onto both of them. Then he took both of Kouta’s legs and pushed them up and back, leaving him completely exposed.

“Mine, all mine,” he whispered, a teasing possessiveness coating all of his words. Then he pushed hard into Kouta, his large balls slapping against Kouta.

“Am I pleasing you?” he asked, as he thrust forcefully.

“Yes,” Kouta moaned, as he felt Ryuu deep inside him.

He clenched around Ryuu, making him close his eyes and gasp. Kouta reached for his lover and Ryuu immediately stopped.

“What did I tell you, Kou?”

“What do you mean?”

“I said to keep your hands above your head. You didn’t listen.”

“Sorry,” Kouta murmured, his lips curving into a small smile. He liked Ryuu’s commanding mood.

Ryuu emphasized that he was feeling more dominant than usual by pushing Kouta’s legs back until his knees touched the sheets. He began bearing down hard on Kouta, holding him firmly into position. Kouta’s back and thigh muscles ached, struggling to adjust to the new level of his demands. He didn’t complain and he didn’t move his hands from their clasped position above his head. He didn’t want Ryuu to stop suddenly, as he could feel the beginnings of a strong orgasm rumbling through him.

Creating a fervent rhythm, Ryuu set the bed to shaking; the finely carved headboard hit the wall several times. Soon, Kouta drew near the brink and looking forward to going over it. He really wanted to hold him but he remembered Ryuu’s order. Ryuu saw Kouta’s frustration and grinned. He gave another thrust that snapped the tension for both of them.

Kouta had one of his most intense orgasms. Jism shot out of him, arcing up to his chest; some landed on his face, hitting his cheeks and mouth. Ryuu, who was closing to releasing, leaned forward and licked the jism off Kouta. The flash of white on his tongue, moments before he swallowed, excited Kouta even more; another string of essence exit Kouta’s body.

Kouta watched the tendons in Ryuu’s neck become more pronounced as his body shook. A low growl crawled out of his throat and Kouta smiled. It was the same sound Ryuu made when sex had been especially satisfying.

As their bodies calmed and cooled, Ryuu stroked the sweat from Kouta’s face and then kissed him.

“You can hold me now,” he said, teasingly. “I’m glad you listened.”

“That was more difficult than I thought,” Kouta admitted.

Ryuu kissed his forehead and slipped outside of him. He took Kouta in his arms and they drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, they returned to his parents’ home. On the way back from Venice, Ryuu was in an unusually talkative mood. They discussed many things but nothing as important as their living arrangements.

“Kou, remember when you asked me about my apartment?”

“You mean about you moving out of it permanently?”

“Yes.”

“You said you wanted to keep it. Did you change your mind?”

“No. Is it still bothering you?”

“I’ve dealt with it. You’ve already explained your reasoning about the apartment.”

“Okay, I just wanted to make sure you understood because…” his voice trailed off for a bit. “You really matter to me, Kou. I liked being here in Italy with you, having you meet my family…everything, except our argument.”

“Yes, except our argument,” Kouta said, smiling. “I think we more than made up for it at the hotel though.”  He reached over and gave Ryuu’s crotch a provocative squeeze, making him squirm.

“Don’t distract me,” Ryuu gently chided him.

Kouta grinned mischievously and looked out the window to enjoy the scenery; he was pleased and felt even closer to Ryuu.

Read Balance Chapter 13…