Kouta and Ryuu were relaxing in the backyard, casually chatting about how their week had gone. Ryuu’s cell phone rang. He was reaching out to get it off the small glass table that supported their drinks. Then, he paused.
“Kou, is it alright if I answer this?” he asked.
“Sure, love. I don’t mind.”
Kouta smiled, appreciating that Ryuu had requested permission. He preferred that neither of them have their cells nearby, while enjoying some quiet time. However, they had to be easy to reach, especially with the upcoming premiere. The media had found out about their decision to attend together. They’d been asked about their choice, while being interviewed for other topics that weren’t related to the premiere.
Kouta had found himself repeatedly smiling throughout the day, once the announcement had become public. He’d continuously thought back to how Ryuu had confidently confirmed their plans. The doubts from the previous years were gone. Still, that meant an adjustment for them. Now, they had to deal with more emails, phone calls and other requests for their attention. Kouta was guarding any amount of peace and quiet they could enjoy. But, he tried to strike a balance to make sure they didn’t miss any important communications.
“It’s Akira,” Ryuu told Kouta, after he looked at the phone.
Ryuu answered it and Kouta began to laugh, as he heard his lover’s part of the conversation. He rested his chin on one hand and leaned closer to Ryuu, watching the amusement play across his lover’s face, while Ryuu spoke to Akira.
“Yes, I’m at Kou’s place…Uh huh, he’s right next to me…No, I won’t make him sing for you…You can’t see his sexy face either…Of course, I know I’m really mean sometimes!”
“Use your video function,” Kouta said.
Ryuu activated the face-to-face feature and held out the cell, so Kouta could also see Akira. The handsome actor grinned at them, as his dark brown eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Hi Akira,” Kouta greeted him.
“Hey there,” Akira responded. His deep voice sent a thrill through Kouta. “I’m still your number one fan.”
“Don’t flirt in front of me,” Ryuu admonished, making both of them chuckle. “Now, why are you disturbing our quiet time?”
“I called to ask if my son could get a tour of your studio,” Akira explained. “He’s in film school in the U.S. but he wants to come back here to complete a project.”
“He’s definitely welcomed.” A mischievous smile came to Ryuu’s lips. “As long as he doesn’t fanboy all over the place, like his dad did. After all, my studio is a place of business.”
Akira threw back his head, as he laughed loudly. A slight blush came to his face, as he remembered the first time he’d been in Ryuu’s studio.
“Deal,” Akira responded. “Can you bring Kouta?”
“You’re getting pretty demanding, even for a movie star,” Ryuu told him.
“What? I’m so offended? My wife and son want to meet him too.”
“I’ll be there, Akira,” Kouta quickly stated.
“No way,” Ryuu protested. “I think I want to keep you two apart.”
“We’ll be on our best behavior,” Kouta said.
Ryuu only looked at him skeptically.
Polaris had recently finished a series of photographs for their upcoming photo book. Kouta was driving back to PMC to speak with Yosuke. His manager had texted him: See me after the photo shoot. Just you; not the band.
During the drive to the office, Kouta was thinking of what Yosuke could want, as his manager hadn’t told him why they needed to talk. He was worried the conversation would be about his plans to attend Ryuu’s premiere. He hoped the company hadn’t changed its mind about it being acceptable. Regardless, he was prepared to do what he wanted. He parked his car and headed up to Yosuke’s office, his resolve already set. When he arrived at his manager’s office, he was gearing up for an argument.
“It’s really important that I be at that premiere,” he began, before giving Yosuke a chance to speak. “Ryuu asked me to go. This is an important step in our relationship. I won’t let him down.”
“What are you talking about?” Yosuke asked, peering at him with one eyebrow raised.
“Well, you sounded like you had bad news.” Kouta balked, as his confidence slipped away. “So, I figured…”
“You figured wrong.” Yosuke motioned to a nearby couch. “Sit down and stop making assumptions.”
Kouta settled in an armchair and waited expectantly.
“Ryuu’s premiere is in two weeks, right?” Yosuke asked.
“I think you should be more blatant about the fact that you’re a couple. Post pictures of yourselves on the fan forum. Go out in public more…You get the idea.”
“Well, we’re generally discrete but…” Kouta smiled, realizing how deeply he’d wanted to be more open about his relationship. With Ryuu asking him to the premiere, a more public profile seemed fitting. “I think I’d like that.”
“Just be prepared for some negativity,” Yosuke cautioned him. “I know you and Ryuu have been together for a few years and the media has usually be kind. Still, some people are adjusting to your type of relationship. With that said, you have my support, and more importantly, the company’s too.”
“Thank you, Yosuke,” Kouta said quietly. His voice was tight with emotion, as he realized how deeply he’d wanted to be more open about his relationship. His band mates didn’t have this same concern; it was relief to feel like he was getting on equal footing with them.
“Well, you should be grateful to Shinji. He’s actually the one who suggested the idea and it’s a good one.”
“Really?” Kouta asked, thoroughly surprised. “You tend to ignore his suggestions.”
“Well, he sometimes has the sense of a balloon animal,” Yosuke responded drily. “You know that.”
Kouta shook his head and laughed loudly. Shinji could make some foolish mistakes. However, once in a while, he did have brilliant moments.
Kouta pressed a few light kisses to Ryuu’s forehead and then one to his lips. Ryuu had recently finished showering, after spending four hours cleaning the house. He’d reclined on the couch and had laid his head back against it. Kouta had found him, as he was dozing off. Ryuu opened his eyes and looked up at him.
“How did I earn those kisses?” Ryuu asked, smiling up at him.
“By being you,” Kouta responded. He went to sit down next to him. “Love, I want you to be calm. You’re so nervous about the premiere. You’ve scrubbed the house within an inch of its life.”
“I thought a little more organization would help.”
“Speaking of that, thanks for what you’ve been doing with your artwork,” Kouta told him. “I used to find sketches in different places, even after I made an office for you.”
“Honestly, I think I was doing that, so I’d really feel I belonged here.”
“What do you mean?” Kouta asked.
“Well, this is your house,” Ryuu said, motioning to the space around him. “That’s probably why I didn’t feel anchored. Normally, I’m more organized, especially at the apartment.”
“You said ‘the apartment,’” Kouta noted, with a smile. “It’s becoming more abstract for you.”
“Well, I’m hardly ever there.”
“It’s true. So, should we move in together? Or, do you want to keep the apartment for the same reasons we discussed?”
“Let me think about it some more.”
“No problem,” Kouta responded with ease. “And you know what, you really should have said something earlier. Do you know how many times we’ve argued about where you’ve kept your work?”
“Sorry,” Ryuu said, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly. “I can be really bad about expressing my needs.”
“Yeah, tell me about it,” Kouta responded, poking him in his ribs and making his laugh.
“Anyway, I just wanted to let you know I’m home. I’ll leave you to enjoy your solitude.”
“No, stay.” Ryuu pulled Kouta closer and folded his arms around him.
“Alright.” Kouta became comfortable, stretching out and leaning his back against Ryuu. “I called you earlier to ask if you needed me to get anything. But your phone was busy—for quite a while actually.”
“I was talking to my younger sister.”
“Oh! Were you checking up on Ayami?” Kouta teased.
“No. Well, yeah…maybe. It’s a big brother thing…not that she needs me to look after her. I just wish she listened to me more.”
“Is something wrong?” Kouta asked.
“Yes.” Ryuu pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Ayami bought a motorcyclee. I’m worried and a little angry. When I talked with her about it today, she told me to…piss off.”
“Really?” Kouta asked, struggling to hold back his laughter. He was glad Ryuu couldn’t see his face. “Those exact words?”
“Yes! She’s as stubborn as you are, Kouta. Almost.”
Ryuu stared dejectedly into space. Kouta knew that he was replaying the accident in his mind. He moved so that he could face Ryuu again. He linked their hands, intent on soothing his partner.
“Love, you’ve been going on bike rides with me,” he said, keeping his tone quiet. “Don’t you feel less stressed about motorcycles now?”
“Yes, however, the issue is really about my little sister. She’s new to this kind of thing. I thought she’d forgotten about it since we talked in Italy but…”
“You still have to let her live her life,” Kouta told him, gently.
“I know,” Ryuu murmured. “I just hope Natasha continues to listen to me. Speaking of my baby girl, I want to have another day out with her soon.”
“That should be good for the two of you.”
Kouta was perplexed, when he saw a flash of annoyance cross Ryuu’s face.
“Why did you say that?” Ryuu demanded.
“What do you mean?” Kouta asked slowly.
“I want you to go to the park with Natasha and me. You made it sound like you didn’t plan to go.”
Kouta paused, studying Ryuu’s features. He noted the dark circles under his lover’s eyes.
“You’re exhausted,” he told Ryuu. “So, you’re misinterpreting things. I thought you wanted a Daddy and daughter day out.”
“I’m sorry, Kou.” Ryuu sighed and rubbed his eyes. “You’re right; I am very tired.”
“Take a nap. Afterwards, I have something to tell you. It’s about a meeting I had with Yosuke.”
“Is anything wrong?”
“Not at all,” Kouta assured him, giving him a wide grin. “I’ll think you’ll be very happy.”
Kouta smiled when he saw appreciation dawn in Ryuu eyes. Though his lover was still blurry eyed from his nap, the presence of a special dessert for him was reviving him. Kouta had made a treat that consisted of warm, flakey, baked pastry, strawberries and vanilla ice cream. Knowing Ryuu’s habits well, he’d been able to time everything perfectly.
Ryuu came closer, as his mouth began to water. He slid a strawberry in his mouth, as he watched Kouta intently. His hand was inching towards the dessert, when Kouta gave him a look of warning.
“Don’t mess with my creation!” Kouta lightly scolded. “I have to put on the second layer of pastry.”
When he was finished, Kouta proudly displayed the treat. Ryuu tasted it and closed his eyes with pleasure; the sensation of hot and cold was mingling in his mouth.
“So you like it?” Kouta asked.
“Oh yeah,” Ryuu confirmed.
“Just how much?”
“If I could, I would have your babies.”
Kouta threw back his head and laughed.
“The recipe was recommended on this site dedicated to romance,” Kouta told him. A slight blush came to his face, as he admitted he’d been surfing the web for desserts for Ryuu.
“Thank you,” Ryuu told him.
He brought a dollop of vanilla ice cream to Kouta’s mouth. When the ice cream was only half dissolved, Kouta kissed him, letting the cold cream compete with the heat of their mouths. Kouta pulled away and swallowed what remained of the melted ice cream. Ryuu let out a long breath, as Kouta looked at him through half-closed eyes that transmitted his need. Ryuu brought Kouta’s hand to his crotch and Kouta gave him a squeeze of ownership. Ryuu abruptly turned, determined to haul him off to the bedroom.
“Just a minute,” Kouta said, laughing. “Let me put all of this away.”
Ryuu helped him, speeding up the cleaning and playfully bumping into him, while they organized the kitchen again.
“Shame on you,” Kouta teased, as he gladly followed Ryuu to the bedroom. “Heading back to bed, after just leaving it.”