When Akihito just can't figure Asami out, he grows tired of the status quo and slips away from Asami's grasp.
Asami leaned forward against the railing in the balcony, sixty floors above the ground, as the high wind whipped his dark hair. The air felt cold against his arms and legs, dressed only in a pair of loose boxers, as the frigid current of air coursed around him.
He stood eye to eye with some of the tallest skyscrapers in Tokyo, the majestic city beneath him, fully awake somehow, as if it were forever on espressos and cigarettes, drenched in caffeine and nicotine. The moonlight skidded across the glassy surfaces, illuminating the sides of those high rise buildings so prevalent in Tokyo.
Six months had passed since the airplane incident, and his fingers still itched for the familiar cigarette, the feel of the rough paper rolled between his digits, the way smoke burned down his throat with a rough velvety sensation, but his iron will clenched tight on straying temptations. It had been hard enough to stay off the sweet rancid habit.
The new commitment had been something of a necessity while Takaba was hospitalized for three months in first Amsterdam, where the plane had made its emergency landing, then Berlin. Smoking meant he had to go all the way outside, past the hospital garden, and to the parking lot. The nurses plucked the cigarettes from his lips even before he could light them if he was anywhere within or near the smoke-free perimeter. Hence, he took it upon himself to stamp down the life-long habit, and he discovered, it really was an addiction. Had he been any less of a self-disciplining man, he wasn’t sure if he could have quit.
One month after the airplane incident, he had tried to bring Akihito home to Japan, but the doctors refused, fearing that any post-surgery complications that might arise during the trip. They did, however, allow a transfer to a larger hospital in Berlin, one where Asami had connections. The caution and reluctance was understandable, considering Takaba had almost bled to death internally into the chest cavity, the left lung filling with blood between the crevices and nearly wet-drowning him with his own blood. It had caused some major problems for the first month of recovery, especially with the ribs that had been shattered by the bullet entry.
He could still remember Akihito throwing up from the Oxycontin, barely able to sip lukewarm water. The opiate based pain killers absolutely killed what little remained of his lover’s appetite. After two weeks though, Akihito’s eating habits were improving although only Asami was able to coax him into swallowing even a measly bite of food; try as they might, nurses made no headway with Akihito.
Most days, Akihito and Asami talked quietly, softly in their own world, in their own words. Through these conversations, Asami saw the changes his lover had gone through during the two long years they were apart. Sometimes it frightened Asami, wondering whether the Akihito he knew had morphed into something altogether different, but that worry soon dissipated after Akihito’s first outburst two months into his hospitalization. The doctor had recommended a psychiatrist for the proud lover, and he erupted, spewing a river of profanities and flooding the poor doctor with his indignation.
Apparently he went on for twenty minutes screaming things along the lines of “You fuckass! Don’t you ever suggest that kind of fucked up shit to me!”
The nurses were concerned that he might hurt himself (or the doctor) and called Asami out of a conference he had on the other side of Berlin. When he arrived, Akihito was still fuming until he saw Asami walk in and his face immediately turned upside down into a divine smile. Seeing that bright smile, he just had to let the boy slide.
No doubt, though, that the two hard years had taken a toll on Akihito and his lover had matured significantly. This newfound maturity showed itself when a week or so before they left Berlin, Akihito came out about the lover he had left behind in London. The candid confession took Asami by surprise; he had never expected Akihito to go into that topic out of his own volition, and for Akihito’s sake, he had purposely left the fragile topic alone.
The rest of the hospital had pretty much gone to bed. Not that it mattered, Asami had ensured a private room for the both of them. Akihito was sitting up in the white bed, a pillow behind him to cushion his back. “Asami?” he folded his book quietly.
Asami was typing away into his laptop at a small table across the room, managing Tokyo from six thousand miles away. “Hm?” he looked up from the screen, caught in the middle of the sentence.
Takaba looked at Asami with straightforward eyes, unblinking, “I had a lover in London.”
Asami raised him eyebrows as he folded down the laptop and stood up. They sustained eye contact as Asami approached the bed quietly, only the gentle hum of the ventilation audible in the nearly silent room. With his hand on the edge of the mattress, he leaned forward and kissed Akihito, taking the soft, pink lips into a gentle caress, and before he could pull away, Akihito gripped his tie and pulled him in closer, encouraging Asami to delve deeper into his mouth. Tongues battled each other, stroking, sliding in fierce movements and friction.
Asami’s hand slid over Takaba’s, the one that was clutching his tie, and helped him drag the knot down, slowly loosening it until it slipped from Asami’s neck and fell loosely on the bed. Takaba’s other hand was slowly moving down Asami’s shirt, unbuttoning it one by one.
“I know,” Asami whispered as his hands slipped under the loose shirt and he licked the junction of Akihito’s shoulder, smiling when the body beneath him shuddered at the seductive touch.
“You don’t mind?” Akihito pushed the sleeves past Asami’s shoulders and down his shoulders, trying to get the man to strip.
“Hm…” his large hands helped pull Akihito’s shirt up and over his head, “I never said that.”
“Then-” Akihito’s words were muffled by a hot tongue breaking through his lips as Asami pulled on the drawstrings of Akihito’s trousers and pushed them down. “Why-” he tried to ask as he kicked the trousers off.
“Because I have you now.” Asami unbuckled his belt as he climbed into the bed, the mattress creaking softly under both their weight.
Akihito leaned forward to whisper back “You have me now.” His hand cradled a tangle of Asami’s dark locks of hair, the other reaching down to the belt, undoing the clasp and slipping beneath the boxers. His fingers brushed teasingly again the pulsing, hot erection and grinned mischievously when he heard Asami exhale softly. The cock slipped from its restraints and stood out in the open.
Akihito pushed himself off the pillow and urged Asami backwards until it was he who was sitting atop Asami on the firm, hard stomach, straddling the waist with his legs. Akihito slipped two fingers into his mouth and sucked it, licked it slowly, knowing fully well Asami was watching his every move. The unwavering intense gaze from those pair of hawk eyes aroused him even more.
Soon, the fingers disappeared behind him as he leaned back, still straddling Asami on his knees. From this angle, Asami could see Akihito slip two fingers into his own tight passage as well as the aroused expression slipping across the delicate face. The slick fingers slipped out, and he watched his small lover lower himself slowly onto his cock and throw his head back when the head slipped past the opening, a whimper slipping from those swollen lips.
He waited until Akihito was completely engulfing him, and when Akihito started moving again, rising and falling in rhythm, his moans growing in volume and length, he reached up and slipped his hand across the back of Akihito’s neck and pulled Akihito down for another fierce kiss.
When the kiss broke and Akihito pushed himself up again, Asami could see Akihito’s taut stomach muscles flexing, tense then relax in rhythm as he pumped up and down. The pace soon quickened until both could feel the climax approaching; Akihito came first, then Asami, filling his lover with hot, thick liquid, and the small body collapsed on top of his, resting on his chest.
Akihito didn’t move; instead, he let Asami caress and stroke his hair and back. The three-year long fast from each other had been broken. Slowly, Akihito lifted himself off Asami then fell back into the strong, possessive arms, taking comfort in them as he fell asleep, once again where he belonged.
Asami closed the sliding leading out to the balcony, cold air no longer rushing into the elegant apartment. Leaning back on the icy glass, his eyes traveled sideways across the sleeping body, from the silhouette of the legs to the spine and it stopped just short of the shoulders. There were two puckered scars on Akihito’s back.
What was it that Akihito had said… something like “It’s not as if it’s anything uncommon.”
The nonchalance took Asami by surprise.
They bothered Asami though, the two raised welts of white, stretched skin. And at the same time, they made him fiercely proud. It was unacceptable, he knew, the fact that he had been unable to protect Akihito, that Akihito had had to be wounded to protect Asami. It was supposed to be the other way around. Even so, it was more than proof of Akihito’s fiery devotion and love.
Akihito stirred in the bed and looked back at Asami, his voice hushed and soft, a bit run together with sleepiness, “Mm…what are you doing…”
“Pft,” he smiled at Asami, rolling over completely so that he could face him, “and what good is that? Come on, get in bed. It’s cold. You have a conference in the morning, don’t you?”
Another thing that had changed; Akihito somehow knew Asami’s general day to day schedule, at least the more important things. He was probably coaxing one of his men to provide him with the daily itineraries. Or perhaps cajoling it out of the other employees, maybe the secretary; Asami frequently overheard them gossiping about Akihito while giggling.
It wasn’t surprising, considering he lived with Asami now, and neither of them made their status much of a secret while neither broadcasted it either. At Sion, heads turned when Akihito came in barging through the door, dressed in jeans and t-shirts with a backpack slung over his shoulders as he bypassed all the employees straight towards Asami’s office.
“Are you inviting me?”
Takaba gave him an exasperated look, “Just shut up and get in bed. You’re going to be tired tomorrow.” It wasn’t a request for lovemaking, but the simple act of lying down on the same sheets, under the same covers in each other’s arms. They were in no hurry to make love. Sex could wait; as important, and enjoyable, as it was to the both of them, it had been bumped down the list of priorities a few places.
Asami slid under the covers with Akihito, the younger lover quickly falling back into sleep with his arms around the broad chest, his hair buried in Asami’s neck.
“Have a nice weekend, Mr. Tennison,” the secretary handed him the portfolio as she walked out of the office. After Mr. Merrett’s suicide one year ago, Gyles had been chosen by the board of executives and advisors as the new CEO and president of the firm, not something he exactly liked but agreed to. He heard the elevator at the far end of the hallway open and close then hum its way down to the ground floor, the machinery grinding against its other.
Once again, he was working past the hours; it kept him occupied in a way the gallery could not, and he relished the distraction it provided. It was the only way to keep his mind off Akihito. The gallery only made him think of him more, but partly for that reason, he still found time to manage the place.
The truth was, he had never really found out what became of his ex-lover. Apparently, he had backed out from the TIMES offer at the very last minute for reasons unspecified. A few months after he left, some men came to his apartment and packed everything, emptying the rooms into cardboard boxes.
Gyles went back to typing the last email of the day. The first few months of work had been chaotic, difficult at best. Mr. Merrett had left behind a lot of company mess that took some time to be sorted out. When he took Merrett’s position, he knew immediately that the “suicide” hadn’t been a suicide.
It took three months to uncover most of the shady dealings the man was involved in while he was living. Drugs. Black market arms. The entire board was in on it. And they expected him to carry on the torch. Gyles knew full well what that meant. That the fire would burn him one day.
With reluctance, he took it.
Gyles sent the last email, which would arrive in minutes to a faceless man carrying out “cargo transportation” on the Canary Islands off the African shore. He shut down the computer and gathered his files into his briefcase. From the hanger, Gyles unhooked the coat as well as the gray scarf, which he wrapped around his neck. He door the door to the office, which locked on its own, then headed down toward the elevator. Around him, all the lights in the cubicles and rooms were turned off, the entire workspace empty and desolate. When he reached the elevator, he changed his mind and opted for the stairs, walking five floors down to the ground floor.
The entrance lobby was deserted; even the receptionist desk was unoccupied. The security guard looked up from a novel and stood up abruptly.
“Mr. Tennison!” he called out as he fumbled around in the cubicle.
“Glad I spotted you,” the man held out an envelope and small box, “A young man came by just now and asked me to give you this.”
Gyles recognized the handwriting with his name across the back of the envelope.
“When was this?”
“Just now, not even a minute ago.”
Gyles ran cross the deserted lobby, the automatic sliding door opening and closing with a hiss behind him. Frantically he looked around.
Where are you?
At the far end of the street, a figure was turning the corner, hands deep in his pocket.
Gyles ran through the crowd, excusing himself every time he bumped into another pedestrian, breaking through the human barricade.
“Akihito!” the figure didn’t turn at his voice. “Akihito!” he rushed forward and placed a hand on the stranger’s shoulder and whipped him around.
“What your bloody problem?” a young man threw off Gyles’ hand.
“Sorry, I-I took you someone else,” he stammered an apology but the stranger was already walking away.
Akihito stopped in the middle of the street and looked over his shoulder. He could have sworn he heard someone call his name. His real name. But there were only strangers around him, blurred unfamiliar faces rushing past him, heading home or otherwise after work.
He turned around.
From a distance, Gyles saw guilt and pain and remorse sweep over Akihito’s face. A fatigued smile crept in, and Akihito turned his back to Gyles, once again disappearing into the crowd.
I cannot ask of you to forgive me. But forget me.