Kouta parked his car in the driveway and sat for several minutes, thinking of his recent appointment with Dr. Uchiyama. The physician hadn’t been able to give him an explanation about how to stop the periodic buckling of his legs. The only advice was to monitor his stress level, as especially tense situations seemed to increase his chances of the problem surfacing. He was also supposed to go through additional physical therapy.
Kouta had understood that there would be repercussions from his accident. However, he hadn’t considered that some of the impact would be so long-lasting. He was hoping for the best but knew that life could be quite unpredictable.
He wasn’t looking forward to discussing the issue with Ryuu but knew that his lover would ask. He sighed and rested his head against the steering wheel.
Kouta was smiling as he made his way to Ryuu’s office. His lover was working late, as had been the case for the past few weeks. The studio had started a second major project, which would last for several years. Ryuu wanted to make sure everything began correctly; one of the many benefits of the project included funding that would allow him to double his staff.
When Kouta had listened to the details of the assignment, he knew the venture would be more time intensive than usual. However, he also couldn’t help feeling excited for Ryuu, since the outcome would put the company on firmer footing. He also realized that their relationship was stronger, compared to when the first major project, for Freefall, had been undertaken. Kouta now had confidence that Ryuu would do a better job of balancing his work and private life.
As part of supporting Ryuu, he’d called that evening to let his lover know that he’d be stopping by with something for him to enjoy. When he arrived, Ryuu’s employees were leaving or preparing to go. Even as he talked to some of them, Kouta was mindful of Ryuu. He looked forward to when the place would be clear and he’d have Ryuu all to himself.
“I brought you this cake,” Kouta said, when they were alone.
“You’re too good to me.”
Ryuu opened the dessert box and Kouta could see the lust for sweetness enter his eyes.
“Would you like some?” Ryuu offered.
“No, it’s all for you.”
Ryuu grinned, as a piece of the pineapple-upside-down cake quickly made a journey to his mouth.
“I regret calling you,” Kouta told him, sitting in a nearby chair. He began to recount his earlier conversation with his lover. “I didn’t know you’d send me on an errand when I asked ‘Hey Ryuu, do you need anything?’ ‘Actually, yes, I’m really craving…’ That led to a twenty-minute trip to the bakery.”
Ryuu finished off a portion of the treat, slowly licking his lips for effect. Kouta stared at him, imagining Ryuu’s mouth wrapping around his cock.
“Um, why are you looking at me like that?” Ryuu asked.
“Why do you think?” Kouta asked, laughing.
“I figured as much. Kou, that’s kind of risky. If someone—”
“It’s just us. More importantly, I hunted down this cake for you.”
“Yes, dangerous hunting at the bakery you always choose,” Ryuu said, chuckling.
“Don’t minimize my efforts,” Kouta told him, laughing. Then a mischievous gleam appeared in his eyes. “Look, until you do what I want, the rest of this cake is my hostage.”
“Nooooo. Tyrant! Leave the cake out of this.”
Taking the remainder of the dessert, Kouta held it over the nearest trashcan. He tipped the container more and more, raising an eyebrow in a dare. Ryuu’s eyes darted back and forth from Kouta’s exaggerate evil expression to the cake in peril. With Ryuu’s love of sweets, Kouta knew he was causing his lover some anxiety.
“Okay, you win,” Ryuu finally said, hanging his head.
“A very wise choice, Mr. Kobayashi,” Kouta told him, feigning a villainous voice. “Now let’s get to the loving.”
Kouta put down the cake, grinning at him and enjoying their silliness.
“I really don’t know, Kou…”
Kouta gave Ryuu a kiss, tasting a hint of the cake’s topping; pineapples, cherries and brown sugar. When he pulled away, he could see the uncertainty in Ryuu’s eyes but it was rapidly being replaced by lust.
“Please Ryuu,” he coaxed. “We can always go into the conference room, incase someone comes here. We’d have enough privacy and—”
“Kou, yes but—”
“You can bend me over the table,” Kouta whispered in his ear. “Press me against it so hard that the wood grain prints onto my skin.”
“Let’s go,” Ryuu growled out, his words wrapped in need. He grabbed Kouta’s hand, practically dragging him to the conference room. Kouta laughed at his urgency, glad that he could stir Ryuu like this. Ryuu locked the door and meticulously checked it. When he was satisfied the door was secure, he leaned against it and took a deep breath. Then, he sauntered over to the chair where he usually sat and picked up a remote. He turned on the conference room’s large plasma television and activated the videoconference functions. After a moment, the images of Kouta and him showed up on the screen.
“Shall we begin?” he asked.
“What are you doing?” Kouta questioned, disbelief in his voice. “Recording us?”
“Of course. Don’t tell me you’re bothered by it.”
“I…well, no. It’s just that—”
“If we’re going to be risqué, we shouldn’t half-step about it.”
Intrigued by his idea, Kouta eagerly started to undress, motioning for Ryuu to do the same. When Kouta undid his pants, Ryuu’s eyes widened.
“What?’ Kouta feigned innocence.
“No underwear,” Ryuu responded, flicking the tip of Kouta’s already hardened cock. “How appalling!”
“Why waste time, you know…”
“I like your thinking,” Ryuu told him, grinning widely. “Now, did you bring lube?”
“Yes, it’s in my jacket pocket; left side.”
As they kissed, Kouta liberally spread the lubricant on Ryuu.
“Turn around and bend over,” Ryuu said.
Kouta followed Ryuu’s orders. He looked up at them on the TV, as Ryuu ran his hands down his bare thighs, reaching around to give his cock a few solid strokes. When goosebumps of anticipation appeared all over his body, it was clear how ready Kouta was for sex. Ryuu groaned softly, as Kouta reached down and guided him inside. Ryuu gripped Kouta’s hips and slid in deep.
“Do you see us on the screen, Kou?” Ryuu asked. “We look so hot.”
“I like watching us,” he said.
“Maybe we should try this at home. Most people don’t take the recording of sex right to the office.”
Kouta chuckled with pleasure and said, “And we can put a mirror on the ceiling. Or, we should—”
He was about to add to his comment, when Ryuu took away his ability to use words. Ryuu began giving strong forceful thrusts, taking Kouta to the edge. Then, he pulled Kouta back from it, with teasing shallow strokes. On the screen, Kouta watched Ryuu shut his eyes, a deep furrow coming to his brow. It was a sure sign that he was going to let go in a moment. Kouta steadied himself for his lover’s last few powerful thrusts and they came together.
“That was fantastic,” Ryuu said, as he slipped out of Kouta.
“Maybe I’ll stop by again,” Kouta responded, as his body still hummed from the orgasm.
“I’d like that.”
They had started adjusting their clothes, when there was suddenly a knock at the door.
“Is someone in there?” they heard a female voice ask. They both froze. Ryuu gave Kouta a warning look to be silent.
“First tell me who’s out there,” Ryuu responded, full authority in his voice.
Kouta bit his lip to keep from laughing at the circumstances. He didn’t know why Ryuu wouldn’t admit who was with him. Maybe he thought his employee would automatically guess why they were behind a locked door. It was too tempting not to exploit the situation.
Kouta decided to provoke Ryuu. He started heading towards the door, pretending to be about to open it. Ryuu grabbed him and wrenched him backwards. He clasped his hand firmly over Kouta mouth to muffle his lover’s protest.
“Oh boss, I’m so sorry to disturb you,” the employee responded. “It’s me, Fumie Murata. I forgot a few things. I just came back to get them.”
“Okay. Enjoy your weekend.”
“Thank you, Boss. The same to you and goodnight.”
Kouta waited until Ryuu signaled to him that it would be alright to make noise.
“I wonder if she thought it was weird you didn’t open the door,” he told Ryuu.
“Everyone is used to me working late. If someone returns, the person usually finds me at my desk or in the conference room. I don’t always open the door if I’m in here.”
“What if she’d asked what you were doing, especially with the door locked?”
“I don’t owe her an explanation. She’s my employee.”
“You’re so damn arrogant,” Kouta said, laughing.
“Yes, I am,” Ryuu admitted, shrugging nonchalantly.
He hooked his index fingers through two of Kouta’s belt loops and pulled him closer, giving him a lopsided smile on his face.
“What are you thinking?” Kouta asked.
“That because of you, I’ll never see the conference room the same way after this.”
“True,” Kouta said.
“You smell great.” Ryuu deeply inhaled Kouta’s scent. “Like sex. Like us…”
“The whole room smells that way,” Kouta said, chuckling.
“Thank you for coming by,” Ryuu told him. “Now, you were going to catch a movie with Hiro. You have to leave soon or you’ll be late.”
“You’re right,” Kouta admitted, taking a glance at his watch. “I’ll let you get back to work.”
“Actually, I could just quit for tonight, if you want. Maybe I’ll check out the show with you guys.”
“No, it’s okay. You’ll get behind on your work.”
“Alright. Enjoy the movie and stay out of trouble.”
“I would never get into any trouble.” Kouta wiggled his eyebrows mischievously. “You know me.”
“Yes, exactly,” Ryuu said. “I know you.”
Kouta was putting away the last of his things from his trip to Norway, when Ryuu found him in the bedroom. He was carrying a framed poster but he wouldn’t let Kouta see what was on it yet.
“What’s up?” Kouta asked.
“For a while now, I’ve been trying to get Akira Takahashi to be a voice actor for one of my movies,” Ryuu began. “His schedule is packed but I managed to set up a meeting with him.”
“Are you serious?” Kouta asked. “Akira Takahashi, as in major movie star, the man who I fantasized about constantly?”
“Yes, I suppose,” Ryuu said, slightly narrowing his eyes.
“Don’t be upset. I only fantasize about you now.”
“Liar! Anyway, let me tell you the rest of story…He came in to read a part for the lead in my next film and he really likes my work.”
“Is he going to do The Sentinel?”
“Yes. And not only that, he signed autographs for the staff. I had him do one especially for you. I found out that—no accounting for his taste in music—he happens to like your band.”
Kouta ignored Ryuu’s teasing, completing stunned that Akira was interested in his band. Visions of Polaris working with the actor appeared in Kouta’s head.
“I wonder if I could convince him to be in a video,” Kouta mused. “The masturbatory potential alone is so—”
“I don’t like anything you just said,” Ryuu cut him off. “But I’m going to give you your present anyway.”
He revealed a poster of Akira, complete with a message that Kouta read three times, still star-struck: Kouta, I heard you’re a big fan of mine. Likewise. Thanks, Akira Takahashi.
“I wish I could clone you, so you could spoil me more,” Kouta said.
Ryuu laughed, kissed him and tumbled him onto the bed. After they physically reconnected, Kouta gave him the details of Polaris’ week in Norway.
“We went to the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo,” Kouta said. “It was awesome.”
“And what about Vigeland Park?” Ryuu asked.
“We saw that too. Did you know there are over 200 sculptures? I took pictures of my favorite ones, including the monolith…We did so much. I’ll show you all the Norway pictures later, including ones from when we went rafting in Sjoa.”
“Is that near Oslo?”
“It’s not too far but it’s at least three hours north.” Kouta paused and then began to laugh. “Make sure you mess with Shinji the next time you see him. He fell out of our raft and we had to haul him in on the rope.”
“That sounds like something Shinji would do,” Ryuu said, chuckling.
“Anyway, maybe you and I can vacation in Norway sometime.” Kouta told him, as he curled against Ryuu. He yawned and Ryuu smiled.
“You have jet lag. Get some rest.”
Kouta set down a cup of coffee for Ryuu, who had awoken several hours before him.
“Thanks love,” Ryuu said, as he took a sip.
“Do you want breakfast?”
“Yeah but not right now. I’m just going to work for another hour.”
“Okay, I’ll see you in a bit.”
Kouta scooped up Aki, who had scampered into the study. He was closing the door, when Ryuu stopped him.
“Hey Kou, you know what. I’ll take a break now. Do you want drafting lessons? I haven’t given them to you in a while.”
The two had gotten into the habit of Ryuu teaching Kouta how to draw, paint or do computer animation, depending on how their schedules were. However, over the past two months, Ryuu hadn’t had his usual amount of time to do this.
“I know you’ve been busy,” Kouta told him. “I don’t want to bother you.”
“You’re not bothering me.” He handed Kouta’s sketchbook to him, as he added, “I have a confession. Sometimes, I look at what you’ve done. I even take your book back and forth to work with me.”
“Yeah,” Ryuu answered, looking a bit shy. “My staff knows that. I’ve endured teasing.” Kouta laughed, imagining Yoriko leading the group in gently pestering Ryuu.
He settled himself near Ryuu and was reaching for some color pencils on Ryuu’s desk. Then he paused. There was a letter on the desk from Ryuu’s ex-fiancée.
“What’s that?” Kouta asked.
“It’s from Alexis,” Ryuu answered quietly, handing it to him.
“This is from several months ago,” Kouta said, looking at the date. “You didn’t think this was important enough to tell me?”
“You were on tour.”
Kouta was quiet for a few moments, as he felt Ryuu searching his face.
“And what about after the tour finished? You’ve had more than enough time.”
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you about it,” Ryuu said. “It’s really hard to explain.”
“What does she have to say?” Kouta asked.
“See for yourself,” Ryuu responded, looking at him warily.
Kouta unfolded it, reading the words of the person who Ryuu had almost married.
I hope this letter finds you well.
I’ve sent emails and phone calls but you’ve blocked me out. So, I thought a letter would maybe help you see how much I need to reach you.
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to happen when we met in New York a few years ago. However, I didn’t think we’d fall back in each other’s arms. It has been a long time since I saw you and I keep replaying what happened. I’m sorry that we argued. I’m sorry that I hurt you so much again. I don’t want you to continue to shut me out but I know there isn’t a way to make up for what I did.
Despite the mess I’ve made of things, I did want to reach out to you, in hopes that we could reconnect. There is an important reason why I would like to mend the rift between us. I’m writing to ask you to come visit me. Or, I could fly to Tokyo. We need to have a serious discussion and it’s best that we talk face-to-face.
Please contact me.
Kouta let out a long breath, as he folded the letter, resisting the urge to crush it.
“When was the last time you saw her?” he asked, a slight tremor in his voice. He was remembering the trip Ryuu had taken to New York.
“It was a little over two years ago. And before you think the worse, I’ve gone on a few trips there. One of those times I saw her. That was against my better judgment. The most important thing to remember is that it was way before you and I became serious.”
Kouta cursed, upset about the news. He shook his head, as a series of unpleasant scenarios played in his mind. All of them involved his relationship with Ryuu ending.
“You know what, fine!” he suddenly shouted. “I don’t want to hear anymore. It’s not a big deal!”
“If it’s no big deal, why are you yelling at me?” Ryuu asked, defensively. “I wasn’t hiding anything!”
Kouta looked taken aback at how quickly things had escalated.
“I think we need to just calm down,” he told Ryuu.
“I was calm, until your tone became accusatory! I’d gone to New York and ended up meeting with her. We slept together and we argued. It was a brief moment in my life and it wasn’t a great one. I was a mess afterwards. When I returned to Japan, I was moping for months. I buried myself in my work. I wasn’t even planning on celebrating my birthday but Jin and Niccolo managed to drag me to Koldun. That’s where you and I began.”
Kouta stared at him, remaining quiet.
“Say something, Kou,” Ryuu implored. “Tell me that you believe me!”
“I believe you. I just think you need to find out what she wants.”
“It doesn’t matter. I was ignoring her. Now you’re making me feel like I was wrong. Reaching out to her is going to invite her back into my life. Please don’t ask me to do that. There isn’t anything for Alexis and me to resolve.”
“How can you be so sure? Over two years have passed since you last saw her. All of a sudden she’s contacting you, as if something…” Kouta’s voice trailed off for a moment. “Ryuu, you used a condom with her right?”
“Then what ‘important reason’ could she possibly have for contacting you now?”