Yosuke closed the door to the lounge and crossed his arms, viewing each of the members of Polaris. There was a deceptive calm to his demeanor.
“I had to cut short a meeting with another manager,” he began. He bit down on his jaw to try to contain his anger, before continuing. “After the press conference, I was hoping to negotiate a collaboration. Instead, I’m here and I better get a great explanation about why. Kouta, you start.”
Kouta began to explain. Each member was required to tell his role in what happened. Yosuke frowned, his heavy brows knitting together as he listened to the details about the fight. And then, he went on a tirade. Kouta stared straight ahead, waiting for the storm to break and remembering school days of getting into trouble with Hiro. For transgressions like fights, skipping school, playing pranks on their fellow students or teachers, the headmaster would berate them. Then his parents would do the same thing when he returned home. The present verbal reaming was several of those sessions rolled into one.
“If you guys ever do anything like this again, I’m going to rip all of you a new one!” Yosuke shouted, at the end of his verbal barrage.
“Oh, finished so soon?” Shinji grumbled.
Yosuke moved so he was only an inch away from Shinji, looming over him.
“You have something to say to me?” the manager growled out.
“No, Mr. Shinomura,” Shinji murmured, keeping his eyes glued to the floor. Kouta looked off to the side, trying to stifle laughter. He failed. Yosuke moved into his personal space and he instantly settled down.
“That’s what I thought,” Yosuke told him. He put more distance between himself and the band, scanning everyone’s faces. “You will atone for any ripples your actions caused, especially you, Shinji. I can’t believe you ripped out Yuichi’s lip ring.”
“But he totally deserv—“
“Shut up!” Yosuke bellowed, cutting off the drummer’s protest. “Right now, your duty is to listen and act accordingly. I don’t want to hear anything from you.”
He was still stunned by what he’d learned. The timing could not have been worse, as he was close to convincing the company’s vice president to provide the group with more promotional and concert funding, among other things. Upper-level management was extremely impressed with Polaris, one of the reasons being they had a positive media image. The better the band conducted itself, the greater its chances of getting almost anything it envisioned. He hoped that the progress he’d made hadn’t been undone.
Yosuke dismissed the group, watching the members file out of the room like chastised school boys. Kouta was almost out the door when Yosuke called him back. Kouta went to stand in front of him, still feeling contrite.
“The others look up to you,” Yosuke began. “I’m disappointed with how you’ve acted. You should be a stronger leader.”
Upon hearing Yosuke’s words, Kouta flinched. Yosuke stared at him for a long, hard moment. Kouta thought he’d receive even more admonishment, until he saw a mischievous gleam enter his manager’s eyes.
“Did Freefall end up looking worse than you four?” Yosuke asked.
“Oh yeah,” Kouta confirmed, grinning.
“Good,” Yosuke told him. “If you’re going to fight, be the one kicking ass.”
After driving Shinji, Toru and Hiro to their places, Kouta headed home. On the way there, he thought about what Takayuki had said. The other musician had mentioned that he’d been spending more time with Ryuu. Kouta wondered exactly what he meant.
As uncertainty took hold, Kouta became agitated. The more he thought about Takayuki’s words, the more he became suspicious. Suspicion fueled his rising anger. Maybe Ryuu wasn’t being straightforward with him. Maybe Takayuki knew that and was using it to goad him. Maybe that’s why Ryuu had acted so strangely the previous week. Sex had been awkward and Ryuu had said there was something he’d done. Kouta cursed, a series of painful scenarios running through his head.
When he arrived home, Ryuu was there and, with the doubts he had, Kouta wasn’t in the mood to see him. He hurried past Ryuu and headed to the master suite to see to his injuries from the fight and to take a shower.
“Hey Kou,” Ryuu called out, following him. “Not even a kiss hello? Love, what’s wrong?”
“Just let me be,” Kouta mumbled, as he removed his shirt. He turned his back to Ryuu, trying to shield his injured face and knuckles from Ryuu. When he started to go to the bathroom, Ryuu blocked his path.
“How did you get hurt? Who did it?” Ryuu asked, his eyes full of concern.
“It’s none of your business,” Kouta replied stubbornly.
“Don’t keep things from me,” Ryuu told him, reaching out to gently touch his bruised mouth.
“Oh this is ironic!” Kouta exclaimed. “You’re probably keeping all kinds of shit from me.”
“Kou, I don’t understand,” Ryuu responded, looking at him in confusion.
“I don’t even want to get into it. Move.”
Kouta pushed past him, accidentally sending him off-balance. Ryuu stumbled backwards, falling and hitting his head hard against a wall. He looked up at Kouta, his mouth open in surprise. Pain and confusion were in his eyes.
“Ryuu!” Kouta reached to help him. “I didn’t mean to do that. Are you okay?”
“I’m alright, Kou. I just need to sit here, until my head stops spinning.”
“I’m really sorry,” Kouta told him.
“It’s not a big deal.”
When Ryuu was able to get up, he asked Kouta if he could see to his injuries. Kouta nodded and followed him to the bathroom. He sat quietly on the toilet seat, as Ryuu gathered the disinfectant, gauze and other materials to tend to his wounds. Ryuu tilted Kouta’s head upwards to be able to see properly. When the medicine touched Kouta’s split lip, he winced.
“Sorry, love. I’ll be finished soon,” Ryuu told him.
“Thanks,” Kouta murmured when Ryuu finished. Kouta started to get up but Ryuu motioned for him to stop.
“Kou, tell me who hurt you and why,” Ryuu requested again. “I don’t like knowing someone treated you this way.”
Kouta stood up and surveyed his face in the mirror. A lump on the left side of his forehead had grown larger than he expected. He turned to Ryuu.
“I don’t want to talk about what happened. Let’s have sex; help me forget this shitty day.”
Ryuu was tempted to keep pressing for an answer but he stopped. Stubbornness was etched in Kouta’s face, indicating he was not going to change his mind.
“You sure your body is up to it?” Ryuu asked, quietly. “I did see those ribs and they’re looking kind of bad.”
“Of course I’m up to it. I need to call the guys to check on everyone. After that, I’ll shower. Then, I want sex.” Kouta swatted Ryuu’s ass on the way out of the bathroom.
“Jeez, just treat me like a piece of meat.”
“Oh, don’t worry. That will really happen soon.”
Once Kouta made sure that the rest of Polaris was still doing fine, he focused on taking care of himself. He undressed, aching, hoping a shower would ease his pain and wash away his tension. While the water was relieving his stress, Ryuu slipped in behind him.
“Hey there,” Kouta said, smiling. “Couldn’t wait?”
“No.” Ryuu began to massage his shoulders.
“That’s feels good,” Kouta told him, sighing.
“I’m sorry you had a bad day.” Ryuu gently pressed his lips to the side of Kouta’s neck. The feathery action tickled and Kouta smiled.
“I’ll live.” Kouta turned to face him, pulling him close for a kiss, running his fingers through Ryuu’s wet hair. Ryuu flinched.
“My head kind of hurts from the fall.”
“You have a lump back there now,” Kouta said in surprise. “It probably matches the one on my forehead.”
Ryuu smiled and wrapped his arms around him. They stood there for a few moments, kissing and holding each other, as the water flowed over their bodies.
“I want you,” Kouta told him, getting to his knees. He took Ryuu’s cock in his hands, massaging him to fullness, watching intently as he grew and curved upwards. Kouta put him into his mouth, sucking on him slowly at first and then more aggressively, as he responded to what Kouta was doing. He looked up at Ryuu the entire time he was giving head and Ryuu stared back, his eyes making it clear the pleasure he was feeling.
“I’m going to come,” Ryuu told him.
“Let me have it all.”
Ryuu gasped and a flood of semen filled Kouta’s mouth. He let it pool on his tongue. Then, he stood up. They shared a kiss, exchanging Ryuu’s tangy fluids.
“Turn around,” Kouta said. Ryuu did as he was told, bracing his hands against the wall. Kouta spread the cheeks of his ass, looking forward to sliding inside him. After preparing Ryuu, he slipped inside, groaning as he entered.
He gripped Ryuu’s shoulders and began to thrust forcefully. He was hitting his stride when images that were almost cock-softening flashed through his mind; Ryuu with Takayuki. The worst scenes were with Ryuu letting Takayuki into his body.
There’s no way Ryuu would hurt me like that, Kouta thought. He just wouldn’t.
Kouta pushed into Ryuu harder, trying to erase the bothersome thoughts from his mind. He groaned as he came, emptying himself inside his lover. Moments later, Ryuu had his release too. As he did, he searched frantically for something to steady himself. It didn’t work and, since Kouta was barely focusing after being spent, he couldn’t keep them standing either. They tumbled out of the tub and onto the floor, laughing loudly as they dripped on the bathroom rug.
“Are you alright?” Kouta asked.
“I think I broke my goddamn cock,” Ryuu said, making Kouta laugh even more. Kouta stood up, helping him to his feet.
They took the nearby towels and began drying off each other. Then they went to the bedroom and slid into bed. They played with each other’s bodies, teasing with kisses and light pinches. Their conversation was peppered with vivid, lustful words.
An hour later, they’d worked up quite an appetite. After creating a meal of rice and shredded beef with onions, they fed each other.
“Do you want more?” Ryuu asked, after he’d given Kouta the last mouthful.
“No, I’m okay.” Kouta reclined on the bed and rubbed his stomach with satisfaction. “I’m so full.”
Ryuu rained kisses down on his stomach, causing him to bask in his affection. He returned the dishes to the kitchen and came back to relax next to Kouta, who had turned on the TV. Kouta flipped through the channels, until he found a variety show they both liked. They only half-watched it, missing most of it, as they began to fool around again. The show ended and the news began. Halfway through the broadcast, something caught Kouta’s attention. On the entertainment portion there was talk about the fight:
Freefall and Polaris, two of Japan’s most successful bands, were involved in a fight at their company’s headquarters today. Representatives for the bands say that neither group will press charges. In more news related to Freefall, Kobayashi Animation Studio is negotiating to work with the band on its next project. The top-rated animation company is one of three in the running to do a short feature. The mini-movie will accompany Freefall’s next album. Inside sources are now saying that the likely collaboration will be between Freefall and KAS.
Had he heard the news correctly?
Kouta looked at Ryuu and saw embarrassed confirmation in his eyes. Kouta took the remote and turned off the TV.
Heavy silence filled the room.
Kouta sat, digesting the fact that, yet again, Ryuu had decided to work with Freefall. Even worse was the way he’d found out about it.
“Don’t be angry,” Ryuu said, sitting up to face him. “I was going to tell you. I just couldn’t think of a good way.”
“I can’t even describe how I’m feeling…I just…How could you…” Kouta’s words trailed off.
He cursed, as images of Takayuki and Ryuu together ran amok through his head. Ryuu saw the distress in his eyes and tried to sooth him by reaching out. Kouta angrily shrugged off his hand.
“I need you to keep your distance.”
“Alright,” Ryuu murmured in a subdued voice. He went to sit on the floor, looking up at Kouta. “I’ll stay over here. But please listen to me. Nothing is written in stone. We’re just in the negotiation period. So, if you want me to stop, I can.”
“What if things were already decided?” Kouta demanded. “Would you still end it all?”
“Kouta, be fair. My decisions don’t just affect me. I have so many people depending on the choices I make. I couldn’t just be flippant about contracts. If I get a negative reputation because of not upholding my word, I’m not the only one that would suffer. I want my company to be successful. I want—”
“Do you have to keep working with Freefall?” Kouta interrupted.
“This chance means so much to me. It can lead to many other opportunities. It’s just…Nevermind. Right now you don’t really care about the details.”
“No, I don’t,” Kouta responded tersely. “Couldn’t you have found another group?”
“Freefall is one of the best known ones.”
“Well, what about my band?” Kouta demanded. “When you gave me a tour of your studio, I mentioned you could work with us.”
“That was quite some time ago and you never solidified anything,” Ryuu reminded him. “We didn’t get past just a quick talk about it.”
“That’s true,” Kouta admitted, some of his anger draining away. “But you never pushed for it either, so I guess it just wasn’t important enough for you.”
“Please be fair. Don’t punish me for taking advantage of a great opportunity. You know I want to work with you and the guys but for now I’m committed to a project with Freefall. It’s just business.”
“But Takayuki wants you!” Kouta exclaimed. “The more time you spend with him…”
“It doesn’t matter what he wants,” Ryuu responded forcefully. “You and I are together. I’ve shown you by my actions that I’m not interested in anyone else. Please be fair. Don’t punish me for taking advantage of a great opportunity. You know I’d want to work with you and the guys but for now I’m committed to working with Freefall. It’s just business I promise.”
Kouta sighed and thought about what he’d said. He knew Ryuu was right but it didn’t make him feel any better.
“Okay. You can come back to the bed now,” Kouta told him.
Ryuu got up off the floor and sat down next to him, giving him a soft kiss.
“Kou, I don’t like seeing you unhappy. I’ll make you a promise. This is the last project I’ll do with Freefall.”
“Well…I suppose that’s good enough.” Kouta was still reluctant to accept Ryuu’s words.
“Oh come on Kouta!” he snapped in exasperation.
“Why do you have to keep working with someone I dislike so much? It’s like I’m being punished. It’s Freefall’s fault I got into the accident in the first place.”
“No, wait a minute. The truth is that you whined repeatedly because you weren’t always getting your way. You lacked self-control. You ended up injuring yourself.”
“Could you possibly minimize your role in this any further?” Kouta’s voice was cold; he was becoming angry again. He wondered if they should have just dropped the subject.
Ryuu stared at him, stunned by the direction the conversation had taken. He tried to get his frustration across but had several false starts.
“Arggh, Kouta! You know I…You just…You’re so…I can’t…Why do…Fuck it.”
Ryuu got up off the bed and Kouta grabbed his arm to stop him from leaving the bedroom. He couldn’t hold back his laughter at seeing Ryuu so aggravated, a rare sight. Ryuu was irresistible when he was angry because his loss of composure was so rare.
“Don’t be a pain Kouta. Please.” Ryuu tried to pull away from him.
“I won’t,” Kouta told him, holding his arm tight. “By the way, you make me hard when you’re annoyed…”
Ryuu turned to him, hopefulness in his eyes.
“Then, despite the fact that I’ve messed up, do you still love me?”
“Um…I’m going to have to do some research before I can respond. I’d hate to give you an incorrect answer.”
“Goofball,” Ryuu said, flicking Kouta on his forehead. With that thump between his eyes the last moment of anger between them was gone. Kouta leaned in and kissed him.
“Seriously, I’ll be more understanding,” he said. “I promise.”
“Thank you. None of what I’m doing is designed to hurt you. Please believe that, love.”
“Call me ‘love’ again.”
“Love, love, love,” Ryuu repeated, looking at Kouta through half-closed eyes.