Kaito Kane pressed his back against his soft office chair and gazed at the barrel ceiling finding comfort in the warm tones of neutral colors. His office was much better than the cold steel of his adopted father’s design. The French windows with blue glass served to illuminate the soft modern contemporary room. The large mocha colored plantation hardwood cabinetry expanded the entire length of the wall which housed the flat screen TV and the various collectables he had picked up over time. To make his office more inviting for personal meetings he included a sitting area with four cream colored sofa chairs surrounding a beautiful Tao square coffee table with a deco chandelier of parchment color and black framing. Everything he ordered created the atmosphere of a home rather than a place of business right down to the large white area floor rug which covered the black granite floor. He even trashed the executive desk in favor of the L-unit which he considered far more efficient than the desk that was more of a symbol of power than an effective work area. He dusted the maverick charcoal colored surface and rolled over to his computer looking over current sales projections of a recent game hitting the stores last week.
He leaned back and stretched his long limbs, the day was nearly over and all he wanted to do was call Dai to see how he was doing.
The familiar sound alerted him to the arrival of a new email message and he clicked the button hoping it was nothing too important; he was ready to file it under ‘I’ll get to it tomorrow’ and head out the door:
‘Congrats to Dai for his promotion to head CGI coordinator. You might want to reread the company blog before sending it.
“What the hell is he talking about?” Kane mumbled, he checked his sent messages box. He had sent out several emails congratulating several employees who had shown merit within the company. He looked up the CGI coordinator message and sure enough Dai’s name was in place of his employee. He sighed rubbing the bridge of his nose before beginning a correction email. He cursed himself. He was so out of it.
Just then the phone ranged. He knew who it was before he even looked at the I.D. He pushed the speaker button to talk.
“What is it, Satoshi?” He said annoyed because he knew what was coming.
All he heard was laughter on the other end. “Lucky I caught that. See, I can be useful when I feel like it.” The raspy voice said on the other end.
“I don’t know what I was thinking.” Kane squeezed the bridge of his nose. “Shouldn’t you be in class?”
“I’m at lunch!” Satoshi said indignant. “Besides, I know what you were thinking.” His voice then took on a playful mocking tone. “I miss you Dai! I’m thinking only about you my love and want you with me!”
They both laughed.
“Satoshi, I honestly don’t know what happened.”
“Sure you don’t.” Satoshi didn’t believe a word of it. “Are you two love birds yet?”
“Love birds?” Kane repeated after a pause. “Dai and I were lovers, but that was a long time ago. Right now he’s with Shouta. For whatever good that’s doing him.”
“What do you mean?”
“Dai’s grandfather is sick and if it weren’t for me he never would have known what was going on. It’s obvious there is more going on he’s not telling me and what the hell good is Shouta, nothing!”
“What’s wrong with his grandfather?”
“Oh. Wow.” Satoshi sighed on the other end. “If you feel like you would be the better man then why not just take him like you take everything else in life?”
“It’s not that simple.”
“Yes it is. You and Dai have a connection, it’s like Karma or something cosmic.”
“It’s something my girlfriend told me. You never really break a connection with someone you have been intimate with, so if you haven’t seen them in a while and you suddenly begin thinking of them, then your subconscious mind could be sending you a message.”
Kane laughed. This was just too much. “Don’t tell me you’re into that hocus pocus hippy stuff?”
Satoshi settled down on the other end and for a brief moment and became silent. “You know what I think?” He finally spoke.
“I have a feeling you’re going to tell me any way.”
“You and Dai belong together. I’ve wanted you two to hook up since our ski trip. I don’t know why it never happened.”
Kane sighed. “We’re friends now…” When he heard the grunt on the other end he huffed. “Okay, so what should I do?
Just go to his house and say ‘hey Dai what are you waiting for, let’s get this started.’ Is that what I should do?”
“Yep. Good luck! That’s the bell. Tell me how it goes!” He hung up the phone without giving Kane a moment to reply.
“Kids.” Kane hung up and continued the corrections to his email. “Fuck it!” He groaned before closing his laptop and grabbing his coat. He had to see Dai to settle things between them for better or worse.
Aya checked her watch with a heavy heart. She had no idea what to say to Kei. Her hands trembled but not from the cold. She groaned and gathered up her books marching out the door. There was no need to know her score for the last set of exams, she scored near top of the class.
“Okay, I’m just going to do it and get it over with.” She mumbled to herself. “At least it’ll be out in the open and we can laugh about this…yeah cause this is so funny.” Her voice took on a high pitched nervous streak.
When she entered her home she kicked off her shoes feeling the weight dissipate from her feet. She enjoyed the lovely freedom. She pumped herself up the entire walk home and not wanting to waste an ounce of time; lest she change her mind, she dialed Kei as soon as she tossed her pack on the bed.
“Hey Kei. Busy?” She asked suddenly struck with the overwhelming desire to just hang up.
He replied with a groggy voice on the other end. “No. I was actually asleep but I shouldn’t be.”
“Sleeping on the job, tsk tsk.” She laughed hoping she wasn’t laughing too loud.
Kei chuckled on the other end. “I’m glad you called. It’ll keep me awake.”
Aya entered the kitchen and noticed a large envelope on the table with her name on it. “Glad I can help…you know, keep you awake…for work.” She laughed nervously. She awkwardly begged herself to stay in control. ‘This is just a friendly call. Oh god!’
“What is it?” Kei asked hearing her gasps.
“Oh my God.” Aya said in complete disbelief.
“What’s going on?” Kei laughed hoping it wasn’t serious.
“Julliard accepted me. They accepted me!” Aya exclaimed, the letter trembling in her excited hands. “I need to get my visa together and proof of my finances! I gotta call my parents…”
“That’s great news!”
“Oh Kei.” Aya just realized he was on the other end. “Thank you.” She hesitated for a moment. “I…”
“I’ll let you off to call your parents. I knew you could do it.”
“Thank you.” She replied defeated.
Dai trekked the city streets in a hurry to get home. He searched his mind for the right words to say to him once he entered. ‘Perhaps I should just be honest with him about quitting school .’ he thought before expelling it from his mind. ‘It’s too soon.’ he stood at the large crosswalk listening to the sound of the little tune signaling the blind to cross. The various students, businessmen, and laborers filled the wet streets coming from nearly every direction and Dai pushed past the crowd finally reaching the sidewalk. The one thing he hated about Tokyo were the massive crowds, but the street performers, crazies, and drunken depressed corporate losers more than made up for it. There was a mixture of sweet and sour in the city atmosphere, a sort of seedy under belly he had grown addicted to. The city was certainly a tale of two faces; from the cute mascots used to draw in tourists co-existing with a Yakuza office openly advertised next door. The intoxicating darkness and light existing side by side. The rain did nothing to wash the dirt away and Dai didn’t have any regrets over his lack of an umbrella. It was wet and he shivered from the cold, but he was nearly home. The muffled tune whistled in his pocket and he dug icy hands inside taking hold of the source.
“I got into Julliard!”
“Shit! Really?! That’s great news!” Dai exclaimed proudly
“I know I know! I just got off the phone with my parents. I have so much I have to do to prepare.”
Dai smiled. “When are you leaving?”
“Fall. But my father contacted some family in America and I may go early. Just to get used to being there before starting school.”
“You have no idea how proud I am of you.”
“Does anyone else know?”
“Kei does, that’s because I was on the phone with him.”
Dai had almost forgotten about her feelings for him. “Ah. How is it talking to him knowing that you really have feelings for him?”
“It sucks. I actually called to confessed how I feel about him but…”
“I chickened out when I got the letter.”
“I couldn’t help it! I know I suck right now. I thought that maybe I can just get it out and everything will be okay. We can all laugh about it and move on. But there is always that ‘what if’ at the back of my mind that if it could work out it would be ruined because I would be half way around the world.”
“So never telling him is for the best?”
“Yes…I think…yes it is.” Aya sighed. “I hate life. Did I mention how much I hate and love life at the same time?”
Dai laughed understanding the sentiment exactly. “You know what would cheer you up?”
“Nothing…well besides getting into my dream school.”
“Aside from that, a night out.”
“Another awkward quiet dinner with Kei’s old bat girlfriend?”
Dai burst out laughing. “Hm.” Passing the tall narrow brick building discreetly labeled ArcH Dai read the small advertisement: Mixed crowd night! Come and party with New York’s Rhythm City with opening act pop singer Domo.
“How about something loud and more exciting?”
“I’m almost afraid to ask.”
“Tomorrow night Rhythm City and Domo will be performing at Club ArcH at nine. Get dressed in something hot and we’ll have some fun.”
“Uh, won’t we get carded?”
“They rarely do. If we look good we’ll be able to get in. Trust me. I got into a lot of places with Parasitic Wasp.”
“Is this a gay club?” Aya asked apprehensively.
“Yeah, but so what? It’s mixed night. Lots of different people will be there. It’ll also make Kei uncomfortable. Get him drunk and have a little fun before you go. Perhaps a little fling will do you both some good.”
“Oh my God! I can’t believe you just said that.. oh wait. I think I can believe it now.” She laughed. “Okay, fine. I’ll be getting out of school soon and with preparing for the last of the exams and gathering all the documents for school I might be too busy to just have some fun.”
“Perfect. I’ll tell Shouta later and he’ll pass the word to Kei. You just show up fashionably late and sexy.”
“I can’t believe I’m doing this.”
Dai hung up and smiled. He knew this was going to be a much needed celebration for everyone.
When he reached his home he spotted the familiar Bugatti parked out front. He walked up to the car and peeked inside. “Kane. Here to check up on me?”
Dai heard the door pop open and stood back. He hesitated for a short while before leaning in. “Just let me check up on my grandfather first.” He looked through the shop window watching the older man tinker with an old wooden toy. He wanted to go in but knew he would be in for the tongue lashing of his life. The bus honked like crazy behind them as the traffic clogged the wide streets and Dai finally took Kane up on his invite. Once the door closed Kane pulled off just as fast as he parked and Dai was glad to get out of the rain. His clothes hugged his body and his onyx hair clung to the nape of his neck in the most arousing way, which Kane noticed before focusing on the road.
“Your grandfather is home all ready?” Kane had sat outside watching the old man for nearly thirty minutes.
“He escaped the hospital I’m afraid. But he seems to be doing well.” Dai watched the rain roll down the windows for a long moment. No music or even the sounds of the radio played, just the two of them and the rain and the grey city streets. “Thank you. For everything you’ve done. Getting him the meds…and the competent doctor.”
“I’m glad I could help.”
“You did more than just help. You were there for me.”
“Why didn’t you tell me he was sick?”
“I told you why. I didn’t want to bother you.”
“You don’t have to go through something like this all by yourself.”
“I don’t know. Everyone is moving on with their lives, figuring everything out and here I am dealing with a dying grandfather…I just don’t think I can go on like this anymore.”
“It’s going to be okay. I swear.” he placed a comforting hand on Dai’s shoulder.
“I wish I can believe you.”
“You don’t have to believe me. Just trust me.”
Ginza, this one square meter of land was Tokyo’s most famous market, shopping, dining, and entertainment district featuring numerous department stores, boutiques, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, and night life. The wealthy housewives purchased their ten dollar cup of coffee and strolled down the crowded pavement with their bowtie and pink tutu wearing corgis trying to escape the rain.
The sweeping vista below the window of the thirteenth floor building seated above the Marunouchi Trust Tower was simply breathtaking. The warm tones of beige and chocolate with hints of bronze accents mingled into an environment of harmony and tranquility. The Shangri La Hotel was where business and pleasure intertwined, from the Imperial Palace and Ginza shopping district to hopping on a bullet train to anywhere in Tokyo. But shopping and bullet trains were the least of the two men’s concerns as they entered the expansive Presidential suite. Dai looked at the high ceiling, taking stock of the warm wood, bronze, and glass which blended together with richness. Dai looked past the living room toward the dining area and shook his head. This room was larger than his entire apartment, he suddenly wanted to jump on the plush charcoal colored sofa tossing the exotic pillows about before kicking his feet up on the beige settee with a good book.
Dai had to almost remember to think of why he was brought here to begin with. Dai looked Kane up and down, his tailored grey business suit now shown a few stains from the rain and he watched as Kane removed his long black coat and hung it in the closet. He continued to scope out his fully developed body. Broad shouldered, lean muscle tone. He turned away; always aroused whenever he lingered too long on the man before him.
‘Why am I here. That’s what I need to focus on.’
Without saying anything Kane sat down on the sofa crossing his legs and watched Dai, his attraction for him flaring in full force. Not looking at him and keeping his eyes on the road was all he could do to keep himself in check. If his eyes had lingered on him for more than he did he would have pulled that car over on the street and took him right there in front of everyone, not giving a damn if anyone saw the rocking car.
Kane sat there, his eyes burning, locked on his target like an eagle, Dai returned the gaze but only for a moment before embarrassment took hold and he looked away. He thought it would be better to talk about something, anything that would break this torturous silence.
“So, what type of food do they have here?”
“I can’t stop thinking of you.”
Silence. Dai was confused, why would Kane say this now? “Kane . . . ”
“I wasn’t prepared for how I would really feel. Knowing that I would be saying this but I know this is right.”
A warm wave rippled down his spin and his heart pounded fiercely. He felt the same way. Kane brought out a mixture of emotions he wasn’t prepared to handle.
“Dai, I want to talk to you, really talk to you, about everything.”
“Is that why you brought me here?”
“Yes. I wanted us to be completely alone.” He shifted almost nervously and suddenly the warm room didn’t feel as such. He felt his muscles stiffen and the water rolling down the inside of his shirt tickled him but he made no move.
“Dai. I need to get this out.” He rubbed his hands together. “When I was young I was a fool. I was a cruel, selfish, bastard. Even when I had you I chose to let you go over a fucking piece of plastic and I would have been okay with never knowing you again. But you came back…we…for some reason, managed to maintain contact and even become friends but I have always thought about what it would be like if I wasn’t such an idiot.”
“I want to make up for that.”
His symmetrical lips fell and his normal conquering face and virile body relaxed. The tiny droplets of water seemed to form stars on the dark canvas of his buzz cut. Kane crossed his strong fingers, he didn’t really know what to say, or perhaps he did but the words would not come. Fear kept them shut. He needed to play it safe, no he decided to do so.
To talk himself out of believing his words meant anything more than an apology. A lie.
Dai smiled softly and walked toward him, removing his coat and tossing it to the settee and sat on the sofa next to his former lover feeling the cushion sink gently. Dai reached out taking Kane’s hand in his feeling the heat and the rising heartbeat. “Kane, you don’t owe me anything, and you don’t have to make up for the decisions you’ve made in the past. The only person you can make it up to is whomever you fall in love with, either now or in the future.”
“That’s just it. I don’t want anyone else but you.”
Kane reached over lightly touching Dai’s cheek, then leaned in for a kiss. Feeling Kane’s soft lips pressed against his was enough to make Dai submit. He gave in and deepened the kiss. Kane guided their bodies to lie on the cushion.
They both, knowing what the other wanted, shifted until Kane rolled on top. They begin to grind their hips pressing their groins in an effort to satisfy their growing urge.
Kane broke the kiss and moved to licking and suckling his neck which was still wet from the rain. Dai removed Kane’s damp shirt and worked his way to his pants as Kane removed his school jacket and shirt.
“Oh Kane. I want you.” Dai moaned.
Something hazy in the background of his mind, he couldn’t make it out. He strained against his pants, he wanted Kane inside him. He wrapped his legs around his waist to pull him closer to the area needing the most attention. NoticingKane working his pants loose with increased frenzy he released him. Kane sat up and removed the remainder of Dai’s clothes and his own. Kane drank in every part of the naked body under him. Slight differences of course, but still very much the same. He wondered if Dai was still nipple sensitive as he leaned in to lick, suck and play with the area. He was right, Dai’s soaking wet head shot back onto the little decorative pillows–he moaned in pleasure. Dai lifted his head and they both met each other’s lips with a kiss. They grinded their groins together as their tongues continued their playful dance.
Amidst the hazy cloud Dai began to see the figure in his mind more clearly . . .
He kissed Kane’s shoulder and buried his face in his neck taking in the scented cologne he wore.
The mist began to dissipate . . .
Kane grabbed Dai’s leg lifting it over his shoulder, he spat into his hand using his salvia to tease the opening.
Shouta flashed with intensity in Dai’s mind jolting him out of his spell and he escaped from the couch rolling off the swanky couch.
“Kane! I’m sorry. I’m so sorry!”
What the hell just happened here?’ Kane thought sitting up watching his soon-to-be lover shake with fear.
“Kane. I can’t do this.”
Dai grabbed his clothes and tried to put them on the best way he could, but his arms and legs felt like wet noodles. An arm around his waist pulled him back to sofa.
“Dai, relax, what’s wrong?”
Dai’s thin brow knitted, his handsome features fell into a perfect state of despair. Kane rubbed Dai’s back gently to try and calm him down; It seemed to work.
“I can’t do this, what was I thinking?” Dai hid his head in his hands with shame.
Kane understood the cause of his grief, ‘the blond.’ He mentally kicked himself for doing it this way. He had no intention of letting his confession go this far. But the die was cast and he had to keep going or lose. “Damn it! Don’t flake out on me now.” He firmly demanded.
Dai watched him for a long moment before he spoke. “Shouta. I can’t do this to him.”
“Then dump him.” Kane finally replied.
“I can’t do that!” He didn’t understand why he was so shocked at such a suggestion. Of course Kane would want him to leave Shouta.
“Why not? Dai, you felt it the same way I did.”
“It’s just attraction!” Dai stood up and moved away from the sofa.
“Attraction. Yes, that’s something we have.”
Dai nodded in agreement.
“But let’s not sell ourselves short here.”
“What do you mean?”
“This moment has been brewing in us for a long time and you know it.”
Dai knew what he said was the truth. His heart belonged to Shi and he believed he would one day see him again but his feelings for Kane never completely wavered. He stood silent for a moment as his words sunk in. But they couldn’t erase what he had with Shouta. He was his best friend and was by his side through everything.
“Dai. You and I are different from everyone else.” Kane calmly continued.
“Oh, you mean better than everyone else?” Dai almost spat out insulted. Dai stood up to grab his clothes.
“Yes!” Kane stood up and approached him. Both of them had long since forgotten they were naked, as they both stood in front of one another with no shame to cover up.
“You and I belong on a whole new level than everyone else. What’s so wrong with admitting that?”
“We’re not better than everyone else. We are the same!” Dai shouted. ‘Who the hell does he think he is to tell me I am above everyone else.’
“Your friends are just like everyone else, Shouta is just like everyone, but you and I can never be just like everyone else.”
Dai paced the room. ‘What the hell is he talking about and why is this conversation making me so nervous.’
“How have you been doing since Shi’s death?”
Dai stopped and glared at him. “What do you mean, Kane?” He said fiercely.
“I’m willing to bet anything that you’ve been struggling. Haven’t you? Struggling to find your place? Struggling to figure out where you even fit in this world? Or if you even belong here at all.”
Dai’s hard expression softened a little. Everything Kane said to him was the truth. It was as if he lived inside his mind. He felt embarrassed at having his feelings laid bare like that in front of someone, even if that person was the one doing the laying.
“Yes, you’re right. I’m not suicidal or anything but yes. I have been struggling with fitting in. Sometimes I don’t even think this is my life. Like I’m just going through the motions, hoping that I’m included somehow. It’s odd. I should be depressed or something. But no, I just feel . . . lost.”
Kane lifted Dai’s chin with his finger and lightly kissed him on the lips. “I know that because I feel the same way. I’ve gone through the motions at my company, I’ve invented new technology and games but still it’s like I’m watching a movie of my life . . . ”
“Not one I am a part of.” They both finished.
“But there are times when I’ve truly felt as if I belong.” Kane softly continued. “Whenever I’m with you. Dai, I don’t want to wake up someday as some old bitter man. I don’t think I can sit back and pretend that I’m okay with you and him together.”
Dai massaged the back of Kane’s neck and moved up for a kiss. They pressed their bodies against each other and fell back onto the sofa. Having Kane so close to him felt right, and he belonged somewhere for the first time in a long time. The world was no longer the haze he was living in. But again and as hard as it was he mustered the strength to pull away.
“I’m sorry. I can’t.”
“Yes you can. Shouta means nothing to you.”
Kane kissed him again but Dai broke free.
“He means a lot. He’s my best friend.”
“I can be your best friend.”
When Kane reached for him again he backed away.
“Shouta is a great guy. He doesn’t deserve to be cheated on!”
“It’s not cheating. We belong together, he’s going to have to find that out sooner or later.” Kane explained. “You can go to him and tell him later, but right now I just want to be with you.”
“No, he’s not going to find out because I won’t leave him.”
‘Is he even on the same planet as I?!‘ Kane thought with a mixture of confusion and fury. How could Dai deny something that was so plainly obvious to them both?
“Why?” He finally asked.
“Because he’s my friend and I care about him.”
“You can care all you like, but giving him pity fucks…?”
Dai slapped him across the face and began putting on his clothes. Kane stood there in stunned silence, if this was anyone else he would have strangled them to death on the spot, but he calmed down and tried to figure out the best way to get through to Dai. After all, you attract more flies with sugar than vinegar. Also. He believed Dai couldn’t possibly ignore what they both know is true just for Shouta.
Kane took a deep breath and grasped Dai by his arms holding him in place in front of him. Dai didn’t have time to put on anything so they were still nude before the other.
“Dai, every time you’re intimate with him it is a pity fuck. You don’t want to hurt him, not because you love him, but because he’s your friend. You care for him as a friend. Maybe he feels something besides friendship, but that doesn’t mean you have to cater to those feelings.”
“He’s more than that!” Dai protested.
“Right, that’s why you have yet to tell me you love him?”
They both fell silent and Dai took the opportunity to break free from Kane’s grip to put on his pants. Kane knew this was going nowhere—at least sexually. He picked up his clothes and put them on as well.
Before Dai could leave Kane grabbed his hand placing inside the key card for the suite.
“I don’t want to lose you and I know you don’t want to lose me. We don’t have to have sex, but I want you close to me. Whenever you want to see me here just come and call.”
Dai wanted to protest but Kane swiftly pressed his mouth against his. Dai sucked in the sweet nectar and savored it.
He eyed the door as though it led to the gas chamber. Kane respectfully stayed behind until Dai was gone. Once Dai stepped outside he felt the cool breeze and the cold rain droplets touch his skin. He was back in the real world now. A place he still didn’t feel as if he belonged.