It had been on a whim that he agreed to go on a date with Gino in the first place. Actually, it was more like he was having a bad day and needed an excuse not to go home, get Schneizel and his politics off his mind. Gino Weinberg, a pawn of his brother's, just so happened to ask Lelouch out again that day for the four millionth time this year. However, Lelouch was pleasantly surprised at the length in which Gino went to in order to seduce him. Lelouch's pride would never let him admit just how impressed and seduced he was by Gino, though he seems to have a feeling his boyfriend is already aware.
Which is why several months later, Lelouch is sitting here at a quaint little bar Gino apparently has been frequenting with his coworkers, alone.
They called their date for 8:30, the perfect time that takes into account both of their work schedules. Calculating to a tee the time it would take to travel and change from the sweaty garb and suffocating clothing of their work uniforms and arrive at their agreed upon location.
Now, at a quarter to ten, Lelouch is beyond furious and frankly completely out of patience. Gino knows he'd conscious of time and values punctuality and precision and yet Lelouch hasn't even received a text as to why he's tardy. Or, at this point, if he'd coming at all.
Throwing his phone down onto the bar counter as, after checking yet again, there isn't a single message.
"Date stand you up?" Lelouch lifts his head up from his phone to see the bartender, wiping down the counter, stop and approach him. He's a good looking young man, probably just barely old enough to work at a bar to begin with, his youthful look comes through the sideswept brown waves and those large, brilliant green eyes. Not that Lelouch is attracted to this boy, its just a striking feature for a Britannian to have.
"That's none of your concern."
"I see. They really did stand you up. I'm sorry." The boy frowns with his apologie which rubs Lelouch the wrong way. How dare this person look down on him.
"Don't pity me!" Lelouch vi Britannia is not a charity case.
"It's... I'm not." The bartender tries to backtrack, utterly flustered as he throws his hands up in the air in defense. "I'm just saying sorry that you have to waste your time. See, if it were me, and hypothetically you were my date, I wouldn't make you wait."
"And why is that?" Lelouch stares at the young man distrustfully.
The bartender walks away without giving him an answer, disappearing beyond his line of sight into what looks like a back room. Yea, so he wouldn't walk away either, what a joke. In the meantime, he checks his phone one more time, hopeless hopeful. And to his luck, a message is sitting unread in his inbox causing his heart to lurch and stutter with anticipation. Finally, an explanation!
Opening it up, Lelouch feels the vessel to the pit of his stomach leaving a dull ache to pump in his chest in his heart's wake. It wasn't Gino who triggered the alert but his brother Schneizel. Half-brother to be exact.
I got in touch with Duke Stadtfeld and I wished to inform you that we have a meeting with him at 9:30 tomorrow morning. Rest up, Little Brother.
In an ideal world Schneizel's obsession with his conquest to buy out their Father would be nothing more than a nine to five concern, not a hobby that took up every moment of peace in their lives. Lelouch replies begrudgingly and promises to be there on time however... this issue regarding Gino.
He considers calling Gino, but as his thumb hovers over the call icon Lelouch contemplates what would happen next. What if Gino truly was busy being the "devicer" to whatever this pet project of Schneizel's is that requires a young, decorated air force pilot? What if he out with someone else? It was highly unlikely that Gino would double book a date, he would definitely have more than enough tact to hide whatever affair he chose to have with much more conviction than he was at this moment. Either way, Lelouch locked his phone with a sigh, he wouldn't risk bruising his ego and pride over something so insignificant. It's just a text message, Gino will be here, he's being ridiculous for fusing over it.
"Judging by the look on your face I'm assuming that's not them either," The bartender says, returning with a milky green drink and brownie which he places before Lelouch with a small smile. He can feel a smile crack at the corners of his lips as he realizes that this man has gone to the trouble of getting him comfort foods.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't." Lelouch relaxes as he takes a sip of the lime green drink and with surprise, realizes it's flavoured like green tea but with the density of a milkshake. It fascinated him quite thoroughly. "My business partner."
"I see." The young man's brows furrow. "I hope you like the drink. Back home, I used to make them for myself when I was feeling down."
"Yes, thank you. It's definitely interesting." Lelouch finds himself smiling as he takes another sip. "Where would back home for you be?"
The bartender leans forward on the counter, pushing all his weight into siding giving him more than enough reach so that their noses were barely touching. Breath lying stagnant in the others space. He really is an attractive young man. So much different than Gino, who was pasty with blond hair and blue eyes, this man was as dark as the sun would allow for a tan and it was beautiful.
"My name is Suzaku, if that gives you a big enough clue." Suzaku says. Lelouch doesn't pull back though he's in the presence of one of the many racial groups his family has discriminated against over the years. He can't help but think how repugnant Cornelia would be that her baby brother be in the presence of a Sakuradite Miner. Obviously Suzaku here isn't, but that's all the Britannians see the Japanese as - laborers.
"And you? What can I call you? I don't think Violet Eyes would be appropriate."
"Lelouch," he says laughing under this breath. "No, Violet Eyes would not be a sufficient enough name for me."
"Lelouch," Suzaku tests the name out on his tongue. Leaning away from the counter, his arms cross over his chest as those thick eyebrows of his furrow again in thought. This time, however, a scowl pulls his taut skin in unpleasant ways. He looks much better smiling. "What a fancy name. Guess it goes with your fancy job."
"How would you..?!" Lelouch sputters making Suzaku's scowl turn into that blinding grin. Gino's has grown stale in comparison.
"You have a business partner who's going to contact you at all hours of the day. I'd say that whatever it is that you do must have some sort of prestige to it."
"I suppose there is," Lelouch mumbles, not looking Suzaku in the eye as he says it. Humility not a trait he displays often, but it is difficult to speak to Suzaku remains dangerously close even if they are no longer touching. It's better to play humble outside of the space Schneizel and himself have developed. "Though, that isn't to say your job is any less fundamental. I may have a "fancy" name and "fancy" job, but what you do keeps the economy circulating in critical ways."
"I'm glad you think so," Suzaku says again with that brilliant smile. Lelouch finds he's unable to control the emotion that floods into his face as Suzaku approaches him again, this time so that their noses do touch and their breath mingles. It would be so easy to lean up a fraction and find out what those lips feel like as they tempt him. It would be so easy to be unfaithful in this moment of impatience and hopelessness. There would be no one to tell Gino of his moment of weakness, either.
He cares for Gino, and despite what ever reason is keeping him preoccupied - even if it is another man, Lelouch prides himself on his loyalty. Abandoning temptation, as well as the obvious disappointment in Suzaku's gorgeous green eyes, he goes back to sipping on the green tea milkshake. The brownie will be a gift for Gino.
"I really do appreciate your kindness this evening, Suzaku. Is this what you would have done if I were your date?" Lelouch hands him what he feels would be an appropriate price for the materiality of comfort. In turn, Suzaku takes Lelouch's hand in his own and closes pale fingers around the notes with a shake of his head.
"I would have done so much more," Suzaku says, solemnly. "Don't worry about payment, it's on me. If I were in your shoes, I'd like if someone did this for me."
"You're very kind person, thank you. Though, I insist I -" The bar door slamming against the wall interrupts his thoughts and the blond who leans against the door, panting, has him completely distracted. He came! An hour and a half late but there hunched over and briskly walking towards Lelouch was Gino Weinberg. His braids swinging along with his limbs as he makes his way over to the bar with that signature grin on his face.
"Lelouch," Gino cries. "I'm so sorry I'm late. Oh, hey! Is that a brownie, didn't think they had those here. Man, I'm starving." He doesn't hesitate to throw his weight across Lelouch's shoulders in his path towards the treat. Devouring it in one bite.
Lelouch doesn't miss the way Suzaku puts a fair bit of distance between them, and his eyes take on a darkness. A darkness wrought with something Lelouch concludes must be jealous as Suzaku's gaze is fixed on the arm that Gino has wrapped around not only his shoulders but chest as well. Pinning him to his broad chest in possession. Under normal circumstances, he would demand Gino let go and that he is no man's possession, but the look of disdain etched in his expression warns Lelouch otherwise.
"Gino, I think we should go. It's much later than I expected to be out," Lelouch says. Having discovered all of his boyfriend's sensitive spots, he manages to get Gino to release all two hundred pounds of dead weight from his shoulder with just a push of his side.
"But I just got here!" Gino whines, thrusting his hands into his jean pockets. "Counter offer, you stay at my place tonight and I won't make you stay out."
"Alright." Lelouch smiles. "Why don't you wait for me in the car. I've yet to pay for this."
"That's nonsense let m-" It's Suzaku's hand that shoots out from across the bar that grasps onto Gino's before he can pull out his wallet. A glare prominent in his eyes.
"Let the man pay for his own meals," Suzaku answers curt and cold, like a floating ice cap. Gino throws his hands up in the air, not wanting to get into a fight he knows he'd win but isn't worth the effort.
"Don't be long, babe."
The moment the door slams shut, Suzaku's smile returns as duller version of the one before. How powerful an emotion such as envy can be.
"I think it'd be safer if I gave you my number," Lelouch prompts before Suzaku can grab a pen and napkin. Pulling out a business card, which is embossed in gold on a black card (alright, so he's fancy), Lelouch places it in the bartender's open palm. "Leave my assistant with your work hours. I enjoyed our time tonight and would like to visit again soon. Thank you again."
"Your treat next time." He can hear the smirk and longing in Suzaku's voice even if he can't see it.
But of course.
You're treading in some deep waters, my friend. Watch it.
I'm not the one who stood him up. For what? The Stadtfeld heiress again?
I said watch where you swim.
The thing with Kallen is complicated. It has nothing to do with Lelouch, directly.
He's a good guy, Gino.
Pretty as anything.
Hate to see that pretty face of his upset again.
I don't want to play this game with you, Suzaku.
Shame because we already are and I'm playing for keeps.