Chapter Fourteen: Behind Closed Doors
As soon as Akihiko left and the door closed behind him, Hiroki turned and stared hard at Nowaki.
"What's gotten into you, Nowaki? I mean, what the hell was that all about?" He pushed past the escort back into the main room.
"Now Akihiko's going to totally have the wrong idea about us!"
Nowaki stepped back into the room behind, following. "On the contrary, Hiro-san, Usami-san is going to think exactly what you wanted him to from the beginning, even more so.
Right?" There was something slightly pained in the escort's quiet tone.
Hiroki now stood, arms crossed with his back to Nowaki, but the next softly spoken words caused him to turn around in amazement.
"Does that bother you, Hiro-san? I mean, after all, you love him."
"What?" Hiroki gaped, startled to see the depths of the sadness in Nowaki's blue eyes.
"You whispered his name in your sleep." Nowaki dropped his gaze.
A hot flush of shame filled Hiroki's cheeks. This was exactly why he never allowed a lover to sleep over.
Hold on… Hiroki thought as this flashed in his mind, Nowaki isn't even a real lover…
"Whoa… wait a minute!" Hiroki shouted indignantly, "Just what do you think you're trying to pull here anyway? What does what I say in my sleep have to do with you at all?"
At these words Nowaki looked up. His face was solemn as he reached into his back pocket and drew out two pale envelopes.
"Here," Nowaki thrust one envelope into Hiroki's surprised hands.
"What's in the hell is this?" The professor was completely confused now.
"It's the money you paid for me for last night," Nowaki said calmly. "And this," he added, waving the other envelope before sticking back into his pocket, "Is what I am paying my manager for the extra fee it cost when I told him I was staying the night here."
Looking at the envelope in his hand, Hiroki found himself at a complete loss for words. He struggled to process what he'd just been told.
Another silver of memory embedded itself in Hiroki's mind…
He remembered asking Nowaki to stay and the escort leaving to make a quick call.
Hiroki felt another rush of strong emotion as he now recalled lying there, convinced that Nowaki was just going to leave him, and the immense relief that followed when the man had actually returned.
Hiroki looked back up. If what Nowaki said was true then it meant that his escort was now actually paying to spend the night with him.
He couldn't believe this…
What kind of crazy person actually pays to linger in the presence of a miserable drunk? Let alone stay and cook said drunk breakfast the next day… and wash his clothes.
It was incomprehensible.
"No, Nowaki… that's not right." A furious blush filled Hiroki's cheeks. He pushed the envelope back.
Nowaki wrapped his large hands around Hiroki's clenched fist and followed with his body as he pushed it back against Hiroki's chest.
"If you won't take it for last night, keep it then and let me pay for my tutoring."
"What the hell?" Hiroki was at a loss. "You still think you're serious about this tutoring thing?"
Nowaki brought one hand up and cupped the side of the stunned brunet's face. "Honestly, Hiro-san, I would pay any amount, give anything I had, to be able to spend just one more minute with you."
Given the profound sense of worthlessness Hiroki had carried for much of his life, these words went straight to his heart, touched the very deepest place of his wounding. He was overwhelmed by the wave of emotion that crashed over him.
Hiroki quickly pushed himself away from the escort's beckoning heat, dropping the envelope in the process. When it hit the floor, the loose flap opened and its contents spilled out onto the polished surface.
"I think your job has addled your brain, Nowaki… That or you've read too many romance manga… That's the most clichéd line I've ever heard!" Hiroki scoffed trying to cover the terrible desperation he suddenly felt.
Undeterred by this critique, Nowaki moved back towards him. Stepping back as the escort approached, Hiroki tried to keep out from under the tall youth's powerful energy. He was immensely disconcerted by Nowaki's intense expression.
Hiroki continued to retreat until he felt his shoulders collide with the wall. The minute he made contact, something within him gave way, his knees grew weak; Within moments he found himself, ass set on the cool floor.
Nowaki dropped to his knees and moved in between splayed legs. He leaned forward on his arms, each of his large hands covered one of Hiroki's, trapping him so that Hiroki couldn't get away.
"It's not a cliché," Nowaki growled low, staring deeply into shocked eyes. "It's a confession."
His dark head moved forward until his lips were all but touching Hiroki's. "You seem so astute, Hiro-san, but I fear you'd never acknowledge it unless I just say it outright…"
Hiroki's eyes widened at these words. Nowaki released one of his hands and brought it up, running warm fingers once more through wild, brown locks. Hiroki marveled again at how similar the tender touch was to Akihiko's though Nowaki's flesh was…
So incredibly hot.
Within him conflicting desires warred. Hiroki felt besieged and so terribly battered, he didn't know if his heart could endure any more breakage.
"Hiro-san?" Nowaki called softly.
In his chest, Hiroki's broken heart beat faster. The gentle tone of Nowaki's voice offered a salve and he yearned for a poultice of love that would heal and not gall him.
Still his mind whirled.
I can't take this… Despite the strange connection he undeniably felt.
Please, Hiroki's frantic internal voice begged, Don't say my name like that… Don't touch me…don't treat me gently if you don't mean it… I don't have the strength to bear any more.
Externally Hiroki scowled at Nowaki. He turned his head away from beckoning lips. He slipped his still trapped hand out from under Nowaki's, put both hands on Nowaki's chest and pushed the tall youth back, scrambling out from under the escort on his hands and knees.
It was far from dignified but it was an escape.
Nowaki surprised him by not persisting, by allowing him to slip away relatively easily: he had other methods of capture at his disposal.
"I love you, Hiro-san." Nowaki said this quietly but the conviction in voice was profound.
The words, spoken so simply, hung in the quiet air of the apartment.
Hiroki immediately stopped in his flight. He lifted himself up off his hands and knelt dumbly on the floor of the front room, amidst the scattered bills.
Nowaki's words wrapped around his bent shoulders, another layer was added as the escort moved up slowly behind him and said gently again, "I love you Hiro-san.
"I gave you back your money, I asked you to be my tutor... Because I fell in love with you at first sight."
"Fell in love at first sight… what are you saying?" Hiroki whispered, his low voice made huskier by the emotions he was trying to restrain. He crossed his arms over his chest and set his hands on his shoulders as though they could brush off the words that had already been absorbed into his flesh.
"When you first opened the door last night, it looked like you had been crying…
"And then here in the apartment after the dinner… You looked so sad, Hiro-san." Nowaki was slowly crawling up closer, approaching Hiro-san tentatively as though he were a broken winged bird he didn't wish to startle into the pain of an impossible flight.
"I know you have feelings for Usami-san and that there's a lot of history between you. I won't ever ask you to tell me about it if you don't want to… but Hiro-san… Please…
Nowaki felt a pain he'd never known pierce him. I have so little to offer.
Unlike Usami he had no money, no status, no family…
All I have is my heart
And my word.
"If you let me in, I promise that I will never close you out. I swear I'll never do what he's done to you…
Or what he hasn't…"
Nowaki was close enough now that he could touch Hiroki. He moved up and wrapped long arms around from the back, waiting to see what the professor would do.
He exhaled a soft sigh when Hiroki remained still.
"Your sorrow moves me to love, Hiro-san…" Nowaki murmured. "But I can see that you are so much more than that."
He pulled Hiroki slowly back against him and hung his dark head over a trembling shoulder.
"I fell in love with your tears… but now…
"I want to see you smile."
Hiroki didn't resist Nowaki's enveloping embrace, but his cheeks burned with embarrassment at the escort's words. He was amazed, anew, in less than twenty-four hours, Nowaki had seen him so clearly.
Akihiko never really saw me at all.
Still… Love at first sight? What kind of basis for relationship… for love… is that?
It was impossible.
Hiroki realized with all the years he'd wasted on his other "impossible" love, the profound irony if he would, then, not even give this one a chance. He hung his shaggy head lower.
"You're quite the straight shooter a-aren't you, Nowaki?"
Nowaki was glad Hiro-san was in his arms, otherwise the words spoken were so soft, he would have surely missed them. He drew the professor against him tighter and breathed into Hiroki' ear, "You don't like that, Hiro-san?"
Hiroki raised his head just slightly startled by the question. "No, no… it's nothing like that." He struggled to find a little directness of his own.
"I mean… it's just that I'm not used to that sort of thing."
Hiroki felt his wounded heart begin to flutter madly as a large hand caught and lifted his chin turning his head back. Tender lips brushed gently against his own.
I don't know what to do anymore.
Hiroki thoughts were in tangles as he submitted himself to the soft petition of Nowaki's kisses. The escort's mouth enveloped his, Nowaki's oral inquiries quickly becoming more adamant.
After a long deep kiss, Nowaki drew his lips away. He bowed his raven forehead against Hiroki's. It was as if in their exchange of tongues, Hiroki had communicated his thoughts.
"Then I'll make you get used to it, Hiro-san."
Nowaki raised his head and placed another tender kiss on a troubled brow.
"I am not asking you to do anything, Hiro-san, except maybe give me a chance."
Nuzzled behind one of Hiroki's ears he whispered, "If all you have been doing up until now has been loving someone, without receiving anything back…" Nowaki's sweet voice filled Hiroki's pinked ear and gentled his wild mind.
"Then don't you think it's time that you had the chance to receive what you have so faithfully given?
"Please, Hiro-san… allow me to love you now."
The escort's hand released Hiroki's chin. It drifted down and found its way easily under the thin white tee-shirt. The heat of Nowaki's flesh seared and Hiroki found himself wondering if this burning touch could cauterize his torn heart.
The escort's hand slid up too prominent ribs to a heaving chest and rested there over the origin of Hiroki's pulse. Nowaki could feel the tumult of this abused organ pounding beneath his fingers: simultaneously so violent and so fragile.
"Hiro-san," Nowaki breathed, his mouth leaving a trail of smoldering kisses down Hiroki's neck, "I love you…" A gentle nip was placed on the bony knob at its base where it joined tight shoulders.
Nowaki's sweet voice entreated."So, please, Hiro-san, give yourself a chance to fall in love with me too,"
Between the soothing cool of Nowaki's tone and the scorch of his hands, Hiroki felt something inside himself give way. He brought a shaking hand to his eyes and used the back of it to wipe away a new kind of tear.
Akihiko was the one I loved…
Hiroki felt the heat of Nowaki's hand over his heart intensify. He still wanted to resist out of fear, out of pride, out of sheer stubbornness, but found he was powerless against the pure force of the other man's love.
He blamed Nowaki for his surrender.
Words like water… touch like flame… Tidal wave, forest fire,
It didn't matter which…
Regardless of which force of nature it was, Hiroki was suddenly consumed
Thank you again for reading/re-reading this fic with me.
Sweet Tentai-T, Alcuzey, Barettachante your faithfulness keeps me moving forward. I hope, new or old, love finds and fills you. Same to all my other dear readers.
Next chapter will be the consummation of this AU egoist love...