Bal – Chapter 19

“Koutaaaa…” Ryuu called out. “I want hot, nasty sex from you right now!”

The object of Ryuu’s affection laughed and shook his head. Ryuu had returned home from the grocery store. He didn’t yet know Kouta was on the phone. At the moment he’d announced his sexual intentions, his mother was giving Kouta tips on making tortellini, one of Ryuu’s favorite dishes. Kouta had put on the speakerphone function, so his hands could be free, as he prepared the food and chatted with Mrs. Kobayashi. An unexpected outcome was Ryuu’s salacious request being broadcasted.

“I’m talking to someone special,” Kouta responded. He chuckled and looked forward to his lover’s reaction.

“Someone special?” Ryuu questioned, as he walked into the kitchen.

“Yes, a very important woman.”

“Hello son!” Mrs. Kobayashi chimed.

Ryuu’s eyes widened in shock and embarrassment, as a strong flush of deep, dark red came to his face. Kouta grinned widely, enjoying the expression of absolute mortification on his face.

“Mom, did you hear what I just said?” Ryuu asked.

“Yes sweetheart,” his mother answered, her laughter reaching across from Italy.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were speaking with my mother?” Ryuu demanded, frowning at Kouta.

“I didn’t get a chance,” Kouta told him. “Now, let this be a lesson to you about your vulgarity.”

“Oh be quiet,” Ryuu grumbled. “You should be the last to talk, doing fan service on stage after stage.”

“Are you two lovebirds really going to fight over this?” his mother teased.

“No Mom,” Ryuu said. Still, he looked unhappy about the situation. Kouta only blew him a cheeky kiss. Ryuu smacked him on his ass for being obnoxious.

“OW!” he shouted in exaggerated pain. “Stop abusing me, Ryuu!”

Ryuu’s mouth fell open and he stared at Kouta in disbelief, wondering why his lover was intent on causing trouble.

“You two are so adorable,” Mrs. Kobayashi said.

“Kouta’s impossible…Anyway, Mom, how are you?” Ryuu began to put away the groceries, as he listened to his mother.

“I’m doing great honey.”

“How’s Dad?”

“Well, I gently kicked my wonderful husband out of the house; he has been in a very moody state. Hopefully walking the vineyards will help.”

“Does Ryuu get his moodiness from his Dad?” Kouta asked, chuckling.

“Definitely,” Mrs. Kobayashi replied, making her son grin.

The two spoke with Ryuu’s mother for another hour. When the call ended, Ryuu frowned at Kouta and then began rummaging through the refrigerator.

“What brought on that expression?” Kouta asked.

“Why did you tell Mom I was working too hard?” Ryuu demanded, pouring himself a glass of milk. “You know how much she worries.”

“Well, she asked. I wasn’t going to lie to her.”

“It’s not about lying. I just—”

“She only wants to make sure you’re doing well.”

Ryuu took a drink before he said, “I bet you two were busy planning my life, before I arrived home.”

“No but…” Kouta kissed away his milk moustache. “You can’t even drink milk without looking messy. You do need someone to take good care of you.”

“That’s not true.”

“That you’re a messy drinker or that you need someone?” Kouta joked, as he began to clean up the kitchen.

“I don’t like it when you dissect me.”

“I ‘dissect’ you, so I can properly see to your needs,” Kouta told him, pointedly.

“I know,” Ryuu said, his annoyance disappearing. “You do a great job…You make a great wife.” He grinned, obviously pleased with himself for that last comment.

“What does that mean?” Kouta asked, as he paused in the middle of wiping the granite countertops.

“It was just a teasing compliment,” Ryuu responded, taken aback by Kouta’s strong note of annoyance.

“The hell it was. You can finish cooking your own damn tortellini.”

“What is going on with you?” Ryuu asked, his eyes filled with confusion.

There was genuine concern in his eyes. Kouta cursed softly, realizing that he had overreacted.

“I don’t know,” he admitted, as he leaned against the counter. “I guess, well…Hiro proposed to Aya earlier today. They’re going to be married next summer.”

“Aren’t you happy for them?”

“Of course…It’s only…I mean…” Kouta tried to find the right words and they suddenly came out in a rush. “They have this bond that society just accepts. That doesn’t happen with us. I can’t stand it!”

“Kou, don’t think our relationship doesn’t mean anything because—”

“That’s not what I think,” Kouta hurriedly assured Ryuu. “But I don’t want what we have to always be news for the tabloids.”

Ryuu gently took Kouta’s face in his hands. He kissed him a few times and then held him close for several moments. Kouta relaxed in his arms.

“Hiro’s famous too; he and Aya get pestered just like we do,” Ryuu reminded him.

“It’s different,” Kouta insisted. “We get more attention and it’s not always positive. You know why.”

“Yes, but I don’t care,” Ryuu replied emphatically. “I like what we have.”

“But society—”

“Do I want our business splashed all over the media? No; definitely not. Still, I’m not concerned about what people think of us. Besides, for the most part, the press doesn’t hound us.”

“Unless, of course, I do something stupid,” Kouta admitted, looking sheepish.

“Well, yes,” Ryuu said, laughing softly. “So please, love, put those negative thoughts out of your head. Be happy for Hiro and Aya but remember that what we have is important.”

The confidence in Ryuu’s voice washed over Kouta and pushed his doubts away.

“You’re right,” Kouta said. “I have it straight now.”

“You can’t have it straight; you’re dating a guy. Duh!”

“You big dork,” Kouta told him, laughing.

“Now, remember what I’m about to say next—because it’s all that matters.” Ryuu looked at Kouta through half-closed eyes, as a smile filled with teasing charm crossed his face. “Tu mi togli il respiro.”

“Really? I take your breath away?” Kouta asked.

Ryuu looked pleasantly surprised that he’d understood.

“I’ve been studying,” Kouta told him, feeling bashful. “I bought a phrase book. I look at it often to get better with my Italian. I’ve also watched videos online. The next time we see your family, I want to know much more Italian.”

“Thank you for thinking about that,” Ryuu murmured. Then he became quite serious. “And in order to see my family, you have to be healthy. Did you make the appointment to see Dr. Uchiyama?”

“I didn’t,” Kouta replied, groaning inwardly and avoiding his lover’s eyes.

“Kou, we talked about this.” Ryuu gave an exasperated sigh. “You promised me you’d go after the tour; that was over a month ago. I still left the issue alone for a bit, hoping that you’d follow-through on your word. Your legs buckled again just last week. Do something about it.”

“I’ll go!”

“When?” Ryuu persisted. “This is very important!”

“Why must you keep pestering me? It’s my body.”

“There’s no need to be upset,” Ryuu assured him. “This latest round of stubbornness from you is nothing but fear.”

“I’m not afraid, damn it! I’m just not doing things based on your schedule.”

“You know, you really are a human storm.” Ryuu paused, staring at Kouta incredulously. “Sometimes you just wear me out. I’m trying to take care of you and you’re fighting me.”

“Forgive me.” Kouta held him close, thankful that he was such an attentive lover.

Kouta really didn’t want to deal with what he might find out from the doctor. However, from the intensity in Ryuu’s voice, Kouta could hear he was worried. He decided he’d stop stalling and make an appointment with his physician.


Kouta awoke late in the night, sensing that Ryuu was no longer near him. He put on his robe and went searching for him, knowing that his lover seldom slipped out of bed in the middle of the night. He found Ryuu bent over the desk in the study, busy drafting. Nami was perched on a chair nearby, her long tale swishing back and forth. Aki lay quietly on the floor, her head resting on one of Ryuu’s feet.

Kouta stroked Ryuu’s shoulders and the warmth from Ryuu’s bare skin flowed through his fingers.

“I’m insulted,” Kouta told him, as Ryuu swiveled in the chair to face him.

“Hmmm?” He looked up, questioningly.

“Well, you have the energy to be hard at work. Usually you don’t get out of bed after sex.  I thought it was especially good tonight but maybe you didn’t.  ”

“I had to get these characters designs finished,” Ryuu said, laughing. “You were fantastic, really.”

He wrapped his arms around Kouta’s waist, putting his lips a few inches away from Kouta’s crotch. Kouta felt the heat from Ryuu’s mouth through his robe and his cock began to harden. He resisted the urge to do what his body wanted; a more pressing issue was on his mind. He moved away from Ryuu to sit in a chair.

“Is everything okay?” he asked.

He studied Ryuu’s face, thinking back to their time in Italy. He’d received some cooking lessons while visiting Ryuu’s family and had learned about Ryuu’s favorite dishes from his mother. While he’d followed her instructions, she’d spoken to him about how Ryuu found certain dishes, like tortellini, to be of comfort.

Now, sitting across from him, Kouta let him know what he’d been told. After highlighting that Ryuu had wanted tortellini for dinner that night, Kouta waited to hear what was going on with him.

“You and my Mom sure like to discuss me,” Ryuu muttered.

“Come on now. Let’s not get sidetracked. What’s keeping you up?”

“I’m behind in my work for Freefall,” Ryuu admitted, reluctant to broach the topic. “I mean, things will be completed by the time they want but I had a private, earlier deadline.”

“You really do torture yourself sometimes, don’t you?” Kouta lightly admonished him. “Stop trying to rush.”

“But I just want the project to be over.” Ryuu ran his fingers through his hair, expressing frustration. “Working with that band isn’t turning out as I’d imagined.”

“What do you mean?” Kouta asked, narrowing his eyes. “Has Takayuki done something to you?”

“Love, I don’t want to get into the details—and don’t look at me that way.  I won’t change my mind.”

“Alright.” Kouta nodded. “I think there’s more bothering you; get it all out.”

“Well…” Ryuu blew out a long breath. “I want to close the book on this, as soon as possible. You’ve kept quiet about me still working with Freefall. And, I appreciate that, love. It’s just that I know you’re unhappy about it.”

“I’ve come to terms with that, though it took me a while,” Kouta replied softly. “The important thing is that I want you to be the best in your business. And, being the best means that many people will seek you. I might not like some of them; that doesn’t have to cause a rift between us.”

“Being the best huh? You think I could do that?”


“I know one place where I’m already the best,” Ryuu said, his mood changing to a salacious one.

 “Now, hold on a second; don’t be so sure,” Kouta said, shooting down his ego. “There’s no scale that can rate you sexually—and I don’t mean that in a good way.” He dashed out of the room, as Ryuu followed right on his heels. He laughed as he evaded Ryuu.

“By the way, I go for personalities and not just bodies,” Kouta continued between sprints away from him. “Otherwise, you wouldn’t have had a fighting chance.”

That last comment earned him a square hit in the head with a throw pillow. He heard a playful growl behind him and dodged Ryuu’s arm. They wrestled around with Ryuu quickly pinning Kouta.

“I paid you a compliment,” Kouta insisted, feigning innocence. “Looks fade but a great personality can exist forever.”

“Somehow, you still managed to make it insulting,” Ryuu said, nipping Kouta on his shoulder.

“How could you possibly not know how hot you are?” Kouta teased him. “I see how others stare at you. I’ve wanted to call a few of them out on it too. I get pissed when they’re undressing you with their eyes.”

Ryuu chuckled and nibbled on Kouta’s ear, making him smile. Then, for a few moments, Ryuu became very quiet, withdrawing to his inner world.  Kouta looked into his eyes, wondering what he was thinking.



“Where did you just go? For a second there, you seemed so deep in thought.”

“It’s not the right time to tell you,” he said, giving Kouta a secretive smile. He pressed a finger to Kouta’s lips to stop more questions. “Anyway, I’m hungry again. I think I’ll have left-over tortellini.”

“I’ll heat some up for you,” Kouta said.

“Will you feed it to me?” Ryuu asked.

“Yes, Ryuu, I will,” Kouta responded, laughing softly.


The members of Polaris were at Kouta’s house, talking and relaxing. Their conversation had turned to a trip they’d soon be taking.

“I still can’t believe it,” Shinji exclaimed for the third time that day. “We’re going to Norway!”

“Yes man, we were all there when Yosuke told us,” Hiro teased. “Relax!”

A week ago, in one of the band’s meetings, Yosuke had given some exciting news. Erik Sundheim, a Norwegian friend of Yosuke, was the producer for Now Hear This, a weekly music show in Oslo, Norway. The program featured international acts and was quite popular throughout Europe. The producer had sent Polaris an invitation. The band would spend a week in Norway. Then the day before the group’s return to Japan, it would do the show, providing an interview, including a video diary about time spent in Norway. The band would also perform some songs from each of its albums, along with the newest single, Ways of Speaking.

Yosuke was quite skilled about getting unique opportunities; this time, the band thought that he’d truly done something spectacular. PMC was even adding to the deal, further spoiling the band by letting it use one of the company’s private jets.

“Guys, this trip has me thinking about another one,” Hiro said, as he played with Nami. “We should all go somewhere. Just the four of us hanging out.”

“When?” Kouta asked, reaching for another beer.

“Well, it looks like we’re clear in August, so maybe then.”

“No,” Kouta shook his head. “Ryuu has his family reunion in August. I’m going with him.”

“Do you have to be at every reunion?” Shinji scoffed.

“You can’t even get permission from your precious Ryuu to take off?” Toru teased.

“Don’t be rough on him,” Hiro added. “Ryuu’s his master. He has to follow orders.”

“Well, it’s not really about him,” Kouta joked. “I love his Mom’s cooking and his Dad’s wine. I’d go to Italy without him.”

“Aha! I knew it!” Toru exclaimed, in an exaggerated manner. “I’m telling.”

“No, because then he’ll really get a spanking,” Shinji said.

“But he’s so depraved that he’d enjoy it,” Hiro playfully mocked. “Oh Ryuu, hit me on my ass…So hard…So good…”

“Shut up!” Kouta told him. “Anyway, we can go on the frigging trip, just not during the time for his family reunion.”

“Then it’s settled,” Hiro said. “At least as much as our plans can be settled.”

Read Balance, Chapter 20