ZERO checked his watch and groaned inwardly. He was going to miss his flight he was sure. The traffic had been murder but considering the prevailing blizzard-like conditions one could hardly blame things for slowing down. But Zero did, cursing the early evening traffic with a vengeance under his breath every two minutes in a manner that almost became audible. But he was here. Finally. Maybe if he hurried he could still make it.
Zero groaned, this time audibly, as he straightened. Sure, he was proud of his physique. As an athlete – depending on who you asked, he was an up and coming soccer player – his body was well-toned. He did sport a set of rock hard abs. However, if you didn't see the train coming, one could hardly prepare oneself. Still, as he had quite a bit of pride. Zero tried not to look as though he was in pain or winded.
"Are you alright? I didn't see you..." Zero asked, his grey eyes still squinting tellingly. Not that anyone noticed.
"You should have bloody looked where you were going, asshole...!"
Me! Zero thought his anger making him forget his throbbing stomach muscles. This idiot came out of nowhere and sideswiped him! What was he doing charging across an entrance like that anyway...? Oh fuck! His flight! He didn't need the agony of missing it on top of the month he'd had.
"Well, it sounds as though you'll live. Thanks for the advice."
Zero bent to heft his duffel bag back onto his shoulder, hoping he hadn't broken anything he could ill afford. He'd scraped together all he had for this trip; taking the chance he could impress a few coaches across the pond. But meeting after meeting had been more than disappointing. The month was out and he couldn't even say he'd sparked some interest. He probably needed more time. More tryouts, but his vacation was up and so was his money. He had to get back to work.
He stepped over the beautiful carrying case of soft, black leather with gold accents and headed off to run towards the gate. He'd die if he had to pay extra for another flight! But as Zero was trotting along, something made him look back at the hunched figure. Maybe it was the expensive luggage or the fact that he was still bent over where he'd skirted him. Zero had a conscience after all. Maybe he had hurt him quite badly...
Zero's breath caught and was unable to stop himself from staring; staring at this man. He'd already seen the thick wavy hair as it had obscured his face, but now it framed this beautiful - almost hauntingly so –face. It wasn't that he looked particularly feminine, even with the shoulder length hair: the square cut to his jaw, broad shoulders and dark, censorious brow put paid to that. But his large, dark eyes had such depth and those full, almost red, almost too wide lips just seemed to be an open invitation for Zero to... What? What?
Zero finally came to the present and realised the telling tenseness in his stomach muscles and... lower... that suggested the presence of an altogether disturbing urge; one that wasn't usually, in the grand scheme of things, particularly bothersome. After all, he was nearly twenty-five and hardly a virgin where women were concerned. In fact, if his girlfriend of some three years could see the look in his eyes now, depending on their location, she'd start unbuttoning her jeans, relishing the promise in his eyes. But he wasn't feeling this way for her. Hell, Zero wasn't sure he'd felt this way about anybody. His mind ran to driving his fingers into this man's luxuriant hair – indeed it was probably there for just that purpose, Zero mused - and brutally subduing him, just before he... The relevant muscles clenched in subconscious encouragement of the desire. He was again lost to the world...
Zero gasped again and turned away, again hurrying towards his gate as he had found the most upsetting thing. He tried to discard his embarrassment and this vivid fantasy... especially with the aid of the image of the man staring right at him... that quiet, contemplative frown, those enticingly parted lips perhaps informing Zero that maybe he knew just what he had been thinking...
THE BABY gurgled and reached for the glowing silver strands. To her frustration they were just out of reach but her mother had just nodded off. If she tried she could loosen the grip on her back. It has happened before...
They were just underneath the lights and shone with tempting allure. So pretty. She just had to have them. She'd never seen anything like it. She reached again, letting out a little cry as she stamped her pink-bootie-clad feet, then stretched again. It had to move... Yes! Her mom's hand slipped a little and she was able to grab a good handful. Nice! They were hers! Finally! With some glee she began to haul in her catch...
"Ouch! What the...?"
"Jessica! I'm so sorry! Let me... Jessica! Let go!"
Jessica was not giving up her bounty without a fight, even if it was attached to a fairly large, angry man. They were hers!
"It's alright. Happens all the time," Zero soothed the distressed mother as he gently pried the little girl's fingers apart. If it wasn't babies it was young girls or women - "Is that your real hair colour? Cool! Can I touch it? Look, it isn't a wig!" They'd say, yanking away. Men, thankfully, save for the odd one or two, only stared. His colouring – shocking grey eyes, freckled pale skin - was one of the banes of his existence – he looked like a cyborg from Star Trek or Jack Frost - but he wasn't vain enough or insecure enough to have his hair changed. He did stand out, though, always a good thing... Jessica began to wail as she found she was losing the fight.
"It's alright, honey! Come on. Are you hungry...?"
The sounds of mother and distressed daughter filled the air much to the annoyance of many of the stranded patrons inside the departure area. Zero straightened as best he could on the rudimentary seating, squashed as he was between a four hundred pound giant, black man and an elderly woman of eighty-seven. Zero knew this because she had told him, and much else besides, before he dozed off. He loathed to wake her. She was prone to simple humour and repetition.
Zero leaned to one side and checked his pockets for his wallet. He eventually fished it out and looked inside... Damn. He'll have to buy the world's cheapest bag of crisps or see if his credit card would go over its limit. He wished he'd kept something for an emergency but he'd hoped that he'd be choking down airplane food by now then be back home to be picked up by Sayori. He'd planned this down to the last pence, not allowing for delays or blizzards. He would have to call Sayori and get her to pay something onto his MasterCard. It was only two o'clock in the afternoon in Jersey...
Zero stood, darted back to stop the old lady from being squashed by the would-be sumo wrestler, and pulled his bag from the floor. He threw it over his shoulder and headed out of the exit into an area with several shops and a bar and tables in various stages of use. He found an empty one near a large picturesque plate-glass window that overlooked twenty or so grounded aircraft, - which didn't help Zero's bitterness any - sat and fished his cell out of the side pocket of his bag.
"Hello, Sayori...?" Zero said, with too bright an intro.
"You need money."
"How'd you guess...?"
"How much? You've got me doing double shifts you know. If I didn't love you..."
"It's not my fault! There's a hurricane outside...!"
"Stop being melodramatic. They don't have hurricanes in England."
"Well, it looks like one. The plane almost tipped over and they politely asked us to get our asses off the plane. Now I'm starving..."
"Alright, love. I'll see if "Mom" can lend me some money." "Mom" being the waitress that had been at "Hatties' Diner" longer than anyone remembered, probably including Hattie. "How long are they down for?"
"They didn't say. This lady said something about the storm stalling over..."
"Christ. I'll take up a collection. Just be careful and come back in one piece, alright love?"
"Yes, honey. I will. Love you."
"If you loved me you'd marry me and give up these pipe dreams. Silly..."
The phone disconnected and Zero knew she'd hung up. He leaned back and sighed, looking out onto the steady stream of white hitting the glass. He wished he could give up. He wished it was that easy...
"Excuse me. May I borrow your mobile?"
Zero frowned, ready to shake his head and gesture to the telephone kiosks. His head was full of roaming charges and minutes and large balances on phone bills. There was no way he'd get suckered into paying for some con-artist's call to his Auntie Roxanne in Ibiza. That was... until he looked up.
"Hi again. I forgot to charge mine and I noticed you had yours. I figured you owe me."
God. He was even more beautiful close up, right down to the dimple in his left cheek and that long, smooth neck... And his voice! Why hadn't he notice how gorgeous it was?
"Hello? Are you 'special needs' or something?"
"No! I... I'm sorry. I didn't expect to see you again, that's all. How are you feeling?"
"Okay. Thanks for asking." The sarcasm dripped off that last.
"I was late for my flight," Zero explained sheepishly, running his fingers agitatedly through his hair. His heart rate was up and would not go down. Heaven knew why. He was fitter than anyone else his doctor knew. "I had to go. Besides, it was your fault..."
"Mine? You ploughed into me! You're lucky I haven't called my solicitor!"
"Never mind. Maybe you are just retarded. Goodbye."
The man turned to go. Leave. Walk right out of his life. Been there, done that... that sort of thing. An otherwise forgettable encounter. So why did Zero get to his feet to follow? Why did he...?
"Hey, wait!" Zero caught up quickly, laying a hand on the man's arm. The man stopped and looked down at it. Pointedly. Zero ignored it. "Look, I didn't mean to upset you. Here. You wanted to use the cell?"
"No. I'll look elsewhere. Thank you." He moved off again but Zero was faster. Moving quickly, he headed him off and blocked his path through the tables. The man would have had to back up and go around another set. He frowned at Zero. "Don't make me hurt you..."
"Okay! I am willing to admit we got off to a bad start. I am also willing to admit that I may have been going too fast and wasn't paying due care and attention..."
"Even if you did cross my path without looking?"
Zero waited on the results to his prompt, one silver eyebrow raised but with a gentle charming smile on his face. Part of why the ladies liked him – besides his being quite easy on the eye and his hard body – was his impish charm. He didn't normally try it on men though...
The man's lips curled knowingly as he studied this brash foreigner, then the curl became a full blown smile. Zero's breath caught again. He was just... Just... stunning!
"Okay. I had just turned from speaking to one of the personnel at the door and may not have looked at where I was heading..."
"There you go!" Zero croaked, his voice not quite recovering from that disturbing urge he'd felt again. What the hell was wrong with him? Maybe he should let him go before he did something stupid? "Go ahead, make your call and we'll call it even."
The man looked at the proffered mobile. The well worn, antiquated device looked like it should be in a museum not making transatlantic calls but he had heard him speaking to a woman – one can tell from the tone of voice – explaining the delay in his flight.
"Thank you. I'll be just a few moments."
"Take... your time."
Zero turned back to his table, hoping he didn't look as if he'd choked on that phrase. Please don't be calling Ibiza...
"Here you go. All done. I was only calling a hotel. I refuse to stay here a moment longer..."
"You're going to a hotel?" Why did he have that tone in his voice? Like disappointment...
"Yes. The chairs in the lounge are comfortable but are not made for sleep. I'd prefer to catch up on my rest if I am to be doing absolutely nothing for an indeterminate period..."
"Too right. Well... I'm Zero, by the way. Nice to meet you."
"I'm Kaname. It was a pleasure. Thanks for the use of your mobile."
Kaname held it up again as the other man seemed distracted and had forgotten about taking it from him. He did smile eventually and take it from him... his fingers gently brushing his own...
"No problem. See ya around."
Zero turned away towards the window, quickly hiding his face. He couldn't understand his feelings. Sure, he was beautiful but then a lot of men are. And he had a girlfriend, practically a fiancée. But yet...
His cell rang at that moment and he answered it quickly.
"Zero, the bank says it will take until the next morning to get you that credit. The system updates at midnight..."
"That's another ten hours! I could be home by then!"
"I'm sorry, baby. They won't extend the credit because of the loans..."
"Alright. I'll work out something. Don't worry. I even think it is starting to clear up. Maybe I panicked for no reason."
"Just like you. Are you sure? Maybe we can send money another way..."
"Nah. In a few hours I'll be on my way. Don't worry. See you soon!"
Zero hung up this time and put his face into his hands. A large chunk of ice hit the window loudly at that point as if in vociferous refutation of his placatory statement. Zero looked up to see that the snow seemed thicker than ever and now he couldn't even make out the planes. Maybe if he smiled and explained his situation, the attendant at the KFC would give him a chicken leg out of sheer pity...
That voice again. Zero was loathed to turn around at that moment. He probably heard what happened. Zero was too embarrassed. "Kaname" could afford a hotel and expensive leather cases and he hadn't a cent to his name. He was probably laughing at him.
"Why don't you come with me? We're taking the same flight. It's no use your hanging around here..."
"I can't. I... don't want to risk missing it..."
"It's on me. The least I can do for a friend?"
Zero hesitated at taking charity from this man, even if he had been this close to begging for a chicken's limb earlier...
"I'll throw in dinner?" Kaname offered in a singsong, leaning forward. "They do a duck at the ... where the meat just slides of the bone and so moist you have to lick your fingers..."
"I swear I'll pay you back as soon as I get back home." Zero was already heading towards the exit, bag on his shoulder, cell pocketed. His stomach started to burn just then, which he thought was from hunger at the description and not the hot breath on the shell of his ear. Damn. He even smelled good. Zero wondered what that cologne was.
"Don't worry about it, Zero," Kaname said half to himself, as the large, silver-haired gentleman was almost out of earshot. He looked around him at the other patrons, quite self-consciously, as if to see if he was being watched. But everyone seemed engaged in their own troubles.
Pull yourself together. No-one cares about your personal drama. Go ahead. See where it leads. Nothing will be jeopardized. You'll never see him again.
Kaname's hold tightened around the handle of his case and he dashed ahead towards the exit and the waiting, increasingly puzzled man. Discretion and brevity. One night. Just... one night.
"NO WAIT! I CAN'T!"
Kaname actually had to come back outside the large glass doors to where Zero stood in the driving snow. He'd had to park the car himself as no-one was outside in this soup. He was cold, irritable and had quite gotten over the amusement he'd felt at Zero being impressed about his BMW and the jealousy he'd had when Zero insisted on rubbing the leather upholstery with infinite pleasure... What was he doing? This was a mistake! People's careers have gone down the toilet at even the innuendo of a mention of this sort of thing. And here he was...
"I'm not dressed for this sort of place. When you said hotel I thought you'd meant the one near the airport..." The one that didn't have crystal chandeliers and people in furs that would pay off his mortgage if he stole just one milling around the foyer. He hadn't even washed these jeans this week and his jacket was close to giving up the ghost. Oh god, he'd just die...
Kaname seriously considered leaving him out here. There was a blizzard on, for heaven's sake. He was worried about his clothes? But, to his surprise, he actually stood there wondering what to do. The closer he got to what this could be... the more he became determined to see it through. There had been various obvious obstacles and Kaname was willing to just let that moment – whatever it had been – pass as temporary insanity. But when the planes had suddenly been grounded and Zero had walked back out of the departure area into his line of vision, and the ice rattled suddenly in his glass, he knew he had to do something. He wasn't the type not to seize a good opportunity, even if just to figure what this strange feeling was. But how do you "pick up" a man? Especially without causing a scene? It seemed as if he should let things be until the idea formed in his head as he watched him pull out his mobile...
Kaname started as he was suddenly enveloped into a warm body, the scent of sweat and something else teased his nostrils. He came out of his reverie and looked behind him. Zero smiled sheepishly.
"You were shivering. It seemed... the right thing to do considering I have you out here..."
"Stay here. I'll be right back." Kaname pulled one arm away, though it pained him, and marched into the foyer. Zero was just beginning to wonder if he should head back to the airport when he heard his name. He spun around.
"This way! Come on!"
Zero hesitated. Not wanting to get mugged on top of it all, but the person crept forward some more into the light.
"I was trying to avoid coming out into this! Only so much a fifty can buy! Come on! Mr. Kuran sent me for you."
"He did mention you were thick. Kaname Kuran? You yanks don't know anything outside yer own ass..."
The man disappeared and Zero ran after him deep in thought. That's his last name! Kuran! Zero couldn't help but think it sounded familiar, all while thinking he'd still rather not divulge his. He'd hugged him! What was he thinking? He'd hugged a complete stranger. But he was shivering and looked so... inviting... Maybe, just to be sure he won't say any more about himself in case Kaname wanted to press charges for attempted rape. The way he felt... Did he know about the way his lips pursed when he was thinking? It was just obscene that temptation! This was insane. Going into a hotel with this man...
"Just go right ahead there," the man eventually said, who Zero surmised was a member of the kitchen staff as he was dressed like the others.
"Don't mention it. Go on. He's waiting."
Zero marched quickly along the corridor and up the steps pushing the doors...
"Finally! You took forever. Follow me."
"WELL... THIS IS IT..."
Kaname was still reeling from how close they had been in the elevator. It had been empty when it arrived and they had embarked on it but then a family of six showed up and the father had shouted for them to hold it... which Zero did. Suddenly he was backed into Zero... and had to pull himself away. Especially since Zero hadn't flinched away or helped him away from him. He'd just stood there, this imposing, large warmth, his hot breath in his hair, his crotch area cradling his behind... Unmoving. As if he liked where he was. As if he liked touching him. That hug...!
He swallowed audibly as he produced the key card. He got the feeling this... attraction... definitely wasn't one-sided. His heart thumped almost painfully as he thought of what could happen on the other side of this door. He wondered if they would even make it to dinner...
"I have also booked us a table," Kaname spoke briskly, firmly. Coward! "I know you must be hungry. We'll change and then head down."
"Okay. Is this your room or mine?"
The door opened at this point and gradually revealed what had to be the seat of opulence. More crystal chandeliers from a high roof; more plush carpeting. But as opposed to the red and gold of the foyer this was various tones of beige and cream: from the almost dark khaki shag carpet, to the cream walls and beige leather seating. And this was just the salon area.
"I took a suite. There are two bedrooms. Nothing else was available with the weather and the situation at the airport..."
"I'm sharing a room with you?"
"A suite. But as I'd said, you'll have your own room. Come in. I'll show you."
Kaname marched in confidently and headed to the right. He threw his bag onto the bed in one bedroom then came back to where Zero was walking hesitantly across the carpet, as if he'd leave less dirt that way. Kaname rolled his eyes.
"Come on! I don't like to be kept waiting!"
Zero sped up a bit as he was led left to his bedroom.
"There! You see? It's like its own hotel room: cupboards, drawers, en suite and bed. There is even a key in the lock in case you are worried about your belongings or your life."
"It's not that... How much is it?"
"...Not much. I got a deal. I hope you have a nice suit in there," Kaname mentioned, gesturing at his large green bag as he turned to leave him to it. "Use it. Be out in fifteen minutes for dinner."
Bossy, isn't he? Zero thought as he dropped his bag onto the floor and went to draw back the drapes to look outside, hoping against hope... No such luck. He was here for the night, with two thin doors between them. Dear heaven...
"DID YOU WANT THE DUCK?"
"Stop looking at the prices. This is going on my expense account with the company..."
"Company? What do you do?"
"...I'm in administration. Don't change the subject. What are you having?"
"It depends. Are the portion sizes like that?"
Zero gestured to a neighbouring table where a sprig of poultry was balanced delicately on a waffle-sized bed of celery and watercress, much – and Zero couldn't understand it – to the patron's delight.
"Well, that's just one of the courses..."
"I think I'll skip to the main one, please. I can't stand to be teased like that."
"And I could definitely do with a portion about eight times the size of that..."
"Alright. I think the waiter has noted your specifications," Kaname looked up in dry amusement at the waiter, who did look fairly apprehensive about what the American would order. From the look of him he'd have him carrying dishes all night. "Go ahead and order."
"I think I want chicken. That ought to be fast. Maybe the 'Ricardo..."
"...With grilled the vegetables," Kaname said hurriedly. "I'll have the oven-roasted salmon with same. No dessert or entrées. Cheers." Kaname handed the waiter his menu conclusively, practically snatching Zero's as well as he noticed him still trying to work out the size of the bill for that order.
"And to drink, Sir?"
"I'll have a Bud..."
"Bring us a bottle of the house white. Thank you," Kaname interrupted firmly.
The waiter bowed and disappeared and Zero leaned forward, those grey eyes sparking. Domineering son of a...!
"Wine gives me a headache...!"
"Not this one. It is a very good Chardonnay. It will go well with the chicken."
"Even so, I'd kill for a beer."
"Another time. You can always have beer. Perhaps, tonight, you could be in the mood for something different. Out of the ordinary..."
Zero settled back and became calm and pensive for a while, studying the brunette opposite him. Kaname raised a dark eyebrow in askance.
"Why am I getting the feeling you aren't just talking about the wine?" Zero asked quietly.
Kaname broke his hitherto confident eye contact and began to straighten the already straight utensils. He was not going to blush... He wondered if Zero not being as stupid as he looked was a good or a bad thing.
"I... I was."
"This is all surreal. Four hours ago I didn't know you and now we are sharing a room..."
"A... A suite."
"Having dinner at a nice restaurant, inclusive of small talk..."
"The hotel's restaurant..."
"All of which you are paying for. You even got me this suit, insisting it's a gift. It makes me wonder where the cameras are or what the catch is. I'm not that stupid. Everything has a price. What do you want?"
Kaname closed his eyes briefly then opened them to look around them, hoping no-one could hear their conversation, no one could see his increasing agitation. This was scary enough, dangerous enough without him making a scene here. Maybe he'd mixed up the signals. Maybe he hadn't read him properly. His mother had always told him he was a fanciful boy. Maybe it was true. Maybe he should leave before he made a bigger fool of himself.
Kaname threw his napkin on the table and gathered himself back into a haughty pose. This was silly. Believe it or not, he'd never done anything like this before. Not even in boarding school. She should kill him. Shizuka should kill him. Here he was, a respectable married man with a wonderful family and a blossoming political career based on conservative values, and he was trying to... trying to... What was he even doing?
"I don't want anything from you. I was trying to be kind, which, I see is not being appreciated. You stay and have your meal. I'll go up to the suite and have mine there. Afterward, you can do as you please: stay or go, your choice. Excuse me."
"Kaname! Wait!" came the hiss, but Kaname didn't wait. Please, please don't make a scene. He pleaded mentally as he stood and gracefully made his way to the exit, only stopping to speak to their waiter who nodded quickly and disappeared. He crossed the foyer and headed for the elevator, his relief kicking in. He'd almost made such a huge mistake. Enormous! Gargantuan!
Kaname pressed the button then turned, expecting the doors to close, which they did. Sort of. A foot was stuck between the doors and fingers protruded from the top, determined as they were to stay the lift. They eventually opened - having no choice in the matter really - to a pair of fairly intense silver-grey eyes. Zero stood there for a long moment, propping the opened doors, seemingly trapping Kaname inside, much to his growing concern, before actually getting in. But he did, punching the "close" button behind him.
"Wait! Hold the lift!"
"Sorry! Not this time," Zero yelled over his shoulder as he slowly backed a certain skittish brunette into the corner. One that couldn't bring himself to make a single sound.
"I was trying, in a ham-handed sort of way," Zero whispered, when they had no where further back to go, planting his hands on either side of the silent man on the safety railing, only just keeping a bit of space between them, in case of error, "to see if you were feeling the way... I was. I figured, as a European, you'd feel more at ease making this situation a little less ambiguous. I was wrong."
"Zero... I don't know what..."
"Let me clarify then. I'd say, in my expert opinion, that from your breath rate, heart rate, pupil dilation and sudden inability to stand without support that you've just gone through some seriously intense physical exertion or you are about to."
"Now who's being slow?"
Zero removed the space for error between them. Completely. He grabbed Kaname's head, shoving his fingers into that hair and crushing his mouth onto those lips, the ones that had been making him crazy all night. He had worried their softness for only a few seconds, though, before he heard the agonized capitulation and then he was slammed into one wall of the elevator, his teeth pried apart and invaded by a hot enthusiastic tongue. Zero moaned as Kaname's heat met his own. God, he was as sweet as he looked! And every bit as sexy. He couldn't wait. He couldn't wait to...
Zero pushed Kaname away, inordinately pleased to see the utter grief in the brunette's face at his action. But it was necessary. They had reached their floor and the doors were opening.
Zero grabbed the flustered man by the arm and led him out of the elevator, past the waiting, suspicious patrons, to their "suite".
Kaname hesitated as if the brief walk had cleared his brain. He didn't know what would happen. Of course he knew the rudiments of what it would entail but what if it hurt? Did they have anything for that? Who was going to do that to whom anyway? Why didn't he think of this before...?
Kaname lost a lot of coherent thought when his neck was nipped and then sucked with gusto, then all of it went when a tongue was stuck into his ear and began to lick it as if he was going to replace dinner. Large hands began to thoroughly roam him, searching for the key card. Even down to his...
"Where is it, Kaname?" Zero whined.
"Here. I'll... I'll do it."
After some unnecessary effort, the card slotted home and both men fell into the room with only Zero having the presence of mind – Kaname's mind was again lost in the effort of trying to plunder Zero's throat – to close the door behind them.
to be continued
lightpathetic wrote this but these are not my characters. They belong to Vampire Knight.
I'd wanted to finish this short story in a day but I'm too tired and sis it ready to kill me. Maybe the morning.
The usual disclaimer about this poor tropical island girl knowing next to nothing about blizzard's, elegant hotels, fine wines, or even nice restaurants. Don't hate me if I'm in error...