Chapter 12 Consider me caught
Seto could hardly sleep and was only half way focused on his work. Whenever he had time, he tried to find out more about Joey and Mai but all that he could find out was that Mai had acted in a few ads but nothing big. She probably had to have another job and was never able to live from that money alone. It did explain why she would rather stay in L.A. though. She probably wanted to stay close to Hollywood in the hope to get a chance to get on the big screen and become a huge movie star. It also explained why Joey had her in his music video, probably trying to get her noticed a bit more by the right people.
Seto was outraged that Mai was using him like that again. Just like he was at the video shot. And the worst was that Joey didn't even seem to mind or more likely, he didn't even notice it in his innocent and gullible way. He was much too trusting towards his so called friends.
Seto already had found out the names of the dancers that would go with him on the next tour and had seen the name Téa Gardner there. She too seemed to use Joey's fame to boost her own dancing carrier. And nice as Joey was, he allowed it.
Seto looked online a while longer before he got himself ready for his date with Joey. He wasn't sure if it could be called a date, since Joey was pretending to be nice and not even liking art and he was also still together with Mai and would only accompany Seto as a friend. But that all didn't mean that it couldn't turn into more and Seto would do everything in his power to make it into more. He even changed his usual outfit. Or rather he simply exchanged it for a more business like look, wearing a white suit with a blue tie, hoping that Joey would really enjoy the look on his butt as he had said the previous night. Seto still was proud that Joey had called him his dragon, especially since it was in front of his friends and already all over the news. Mai was sure to hear about it and Seto would love to see her face when she found out that her Joey, the one she used to get famous, was flirting with him while she was off to try to get a role in a movie.
Seto was even making arrangements for a nice candle light dinner on the balcony in his room, in the hope that Joey would join him for dinner when he asked him towards the end of the art exhibition.
Seto was there on time and stunned by the look of Joey. He was wearing slightly ripped and tight black jeans and a black T-shirt under an open red dress shirt. "You look great," Seto said in a polite tone, not wanting to let on how great he thought he looked.
"You too," Joey said with a wicked smile. "I see you left the coat away today."
"It's still messed up. You remember." Seto said. "And it isn't the first time that I'm wearing a suit."
"True," Joey said, "You very often have this stuck up kind of dress up."
"I thought you like it when I'm not wearing a coat." Seto said, trying to keep it teasingly and started to walk towards his car.
"I do," Joey said, "But that stupid jacket isn't that much better for the view."
"You do realize that your shirt is blocking my view, too?" Seto asked. If he could talk about his butt, Seto should be allowed to do the same with his.
"I never knew you'd care." Joey said with a smile.
"If you didn't get that," Seto said, smiling teasingly towards the flirty blond, "Then you're still as stupid as you were two years ago."
"Yeah right, but you're still a jerk." Joey said but still smiled at him.
"Little idiot." Seto said and couldn't help but smiling affectionately.
"Moneybags," Joey said, also smiling while following Seto to his car. He had to point a finger to his watch every now and then to indicate to his fans that he didn't have time to sign anything or take pictures right now and Seto was extremely happy at the lack of attention he gave them today.
"You do get that I can call you that now, too?" Seto asked.
"Oh yeah, right." Joey said, "I forgot. I'm so used to that one."
"Moron." Seto said with a little laugh.
"Arrogant and proud dragon." Joey said and Seto looked at him, wondering for a second if he was seriously intending to use dragon as an insult. He intended it as a nice pet name between lovers back at graduating from high school.
"Silly and innocent little puppy." Seto said with an affectionate smile, remembering the name Joey had used for himself in the same letter.
He worried for a moment that he had made a mistake, because Joey stopped and then walked over to the same nutty fan girl that Seto hadn't even noticed between the others that Joey seemed to ignore today. "Hey. You know what?" Joey asked her, using a language she understood. "He called ma a silly and innocent little puppy. What do you think about that?"
"I think he's a fool." She said, "You're way too wild and bad ass for that. You're my big bad wolf." And Seto was furious after seeing her hand moving to Joey's backside. The only upside was that Joey moved it away again right away. And that he still had to deal with something else.
"What's your name?" Seto asked her with an angry voice and a death glare on his face.
"My name is, None-of your-business." She said, infuriating Seto even more.
"Fine, have it your way. He said and got out a camera and took a picture of her.
"Hey what are you going to do with that, jerk face?" She asked angrily.
"I´ll show it to the police." Seto said. "You're obviously unwilling to give me your details and you owe me money."
"Why should I owe you anything?" She asked.
"Easy." Seto said, "You ruined my coat last night and I can't get the paint out."
"Sure you can't" She said, "I used paint that would make it hard for you to get it out, idiot. I wanted to annoy you as much as I could."
"Point taken," Seto said and stared down on her, while moving one arm around Joey's waist, hoping he would let him. "Too bad that it was a one of a kind coat that was especially designed for me and had a unique long distance communication system that allowed me to stay in touch with my security at all times in it that got busted, too. Now you owe me over a million dollar."
"Please, tell me you're kidding me." She said.
"Seto, she'll never be able to afford that." Joey said to him but Seto was glad that he hadn't objected to his arm around his waist yet.
"She should have thought about it, before going around ruining my stuff." Seto said. "If you leave your name and address at my company, I might be willing to get in touch with you and find some other arrangement for you to pay it off."
She paled at the look on Seto's face.
"My friends will vow for me that I didn't do anything." She said. "You can't have seen me doing it, it could have been someone else."
"I bet Joey will be honest enough to say that it was you." Seto said and saw her turning to Joey with a begging look.
"Sorry sweetie," Joey said, "I´ve got surveillance and will have to show the tapes. And he is right, you can't just go around and throw paint bombs at someone, unless you got the money to pay the price. But the look on his face was priceless."
"You'll help me then, right?" She asked.
"Honestly, if I would do something like that for every fan I have, I'd be poor in a day." Joey said. "Sorry, I really like you but I can't help you."
Seto was glad to hear him saying that and pulled Joey back to the car with the words "You´ve got a week before I´ll go to the police and have them look for you."
Once inside of the car Joey looked at him and asked: "You're really going to torture her, aren't you?"
"She embarrassed me and a picture of that was in the news this morning." Seto said angrily. "Simple torture will be nothing, compared to what I have in mind."
"I pity her." Joey said but still smiled. "Do me a favour and go easy on her."
"Why?" Seto asked, "Because she's your favorite little groupie?"
"If you tell her that I asked you to go easy on her, she'll be really happy and probably buy even more of my stuff, if that's possible. But she'll talk about it and people will notice that I'm good to my fans and I might get even more of them." Joey said. "But sure she sort of also is my favorite little groupie, because I love the nickname she gave me, big bad wolf, who wouldn't love that one?"
"You're still my little puppy." Seto said with a smile.
"Then you're still a jerk." Joey said nonchalantly and Seto was happy to still see a smile on his face. "I guess some things just never change."
"Some don't." Seto said, while driving through the city. The exhibition wasn't far away and they reached it after a little while.
Once there, Joey said: "By the way, I wanted to tell you something."
"And what would that be?" Seto asked, wondering if he was already about to tell him his super secret plan about his currently long distance relationship with Mai.
"I think you're better in writing a love letter than I am." And with that he left the car.
Seto needed to take a deep breath, before getting out of the car, too. "So you finally read the letter?"
He watched Joey turning his head back to him and saw that he had put his hands into the pockets of his pants, causing his dress shirt to get up a bit at the back too and effectively clearing Seto's view on his backside. "Yeah. But let's look at the paintings now and talk about that somewhere more private, okay?"
"Sure." Seto said, wondering what Joey would do now that he had read the letter. "You could come over to my place for dinner to have that chat."
"Sounds good." Joey just said and then walked towards the art exhibition.
Seto truly enjoyed his time with Joey there. So far he had never cared much about art but listening to Joey's explanations about little details in the pictures made it an enjoyable and interesting experience. It wasn't as much about what Joey explained, it was the way how he explained it. Seto loved watching the excitement in Joey's eyes, when he pointed out to Seto that one picture had a lot of symmetrical shapes if you connected some things. Or rather one shape over and over.
And Seto loved the smile when Joey pointed out that having a number repeating in a picture made it more beautiful, like one artist that gave his mountain three tops one being taller than the others. And then the tree birds in the back ground and the three dragons that were drawn on different places and the three waterfalls that came from the mountain and lead to one huge lake, from where a river lead out of the painting.
Seto loved to admire the look on his exited puppy's face, while he admired the paintings. "Do you paint yourself?" Seto asked, after they had seen almost all the paintings already. Curious by Joey fast knowledge of the details in the paintings so far.
"I tried a few times," Joey said with a slight blush on his face. "But if you ever tell anyone, I'll deny it all."
"May I see some of those tries?" Seto asked, still pleased to see the glow in Joey's eyes. He had seen the same glow before. But only online in some fan made videos of Joey on stage. Or recorded TV appearances in the US, where he sang one of his songs. Seto was sure that the glow in his eyes and the aura he had around him when he sang, was part of the appeal he had on his fans.
"Maybe sometime." Joey said but sounded so off handed, that Seto was sure that he would have to ask a few more times until Joey would finally let him see them.
"I promise I won't laugh." Seto said with a smile, trying to charm him to let him see them sooner.
"Yeah right." Joey said with a wicked grin. "You're a jerk, remember? You'll laugh for sure."
"I won't laugh at you," Seto said, sounding absolutely honest but added with a wicked grin: "At least not as long as you manage not to make a total fool out of yourself."
"In that case," Joey said with a smile, "You'll be laughing your head of when you see those sketches." For a moment Seto was disappointed, because Joey moved his own hand to get Seto's one that was around his waist away from there but to Seto's surprise he did hold on to his hand for some reason. He still had no idea why Joey seemed to flirt with him, when he was dating Mai and was wondering, if it had to do with the image he ad talked about already. But Seto couldn't picture Joey cruel enough to use someone else's feelings for his own advantages. No matter how much he might have changed during the last two years of fame and fortune he wouldn't go that far. Part of Seto feared that he was wrong though. Fame and fortune could change a person. And it did seem to him like Joey was just playing with him. The only thing that didn't match that theory was the look on Joey's face, when he had seen him for the first time after those two years.
A little while later they were walking back to the car and Seto hoped that he would know a little more about Joey's intentions by the end of the evening. Joey had mentioned that he wanted to talk about the letter somewhere more private. Seto drove silently towards his mansion. He was deep in thoughts and just hoped that Joey didn't just want to use him for some publicity here in Japan. He clearly already was more on the news, thanks to the rumours. Seto also wondered about what he should do, if that was the case. The first feeling would be to tell him to go to hell. Seto still loved him and he was sure that it would hurt, if Joey cared so little about his emotions that he would just use him. But on second thought, if he played along, Joey would be going out with him to fuel the rumours and Seto could try to use those situations to get closer to his blond puppy.
On the way there, Joey's phone rang once and he got it out to look at the screen with a smile. "Finally,"he mumbled.
"What is it?" Seto asked curious.
"Just a massage from Mai," Joey said. "She got a contract for a great role in a movie."
"How nice for her," Seto said and thought and how nice for me, that will keep her too busy for her boyfriend for a while.
"Yeah, let me just answer her." Joey said with a smile.
"Aren't you sad?" Seto asked. "She won't have time to see you, if she is on set all the time."
"Who cares?" Joey said, while Seto drove up to his mansion and stopped the car right in front of the main entrance. He would need the car again to drive Joey home anyway. "She can consider me caught and everything is fine."
Seto stared at him, while Joey got out of the car. "I'm afraid you lost me." Seto said, walking up to the entrance with Joey. Happy already, that Joey didn't seem to care that Mai wouldn't be around much in the nearer future.
"I mean this," Joey said and surprised Seto again by suddenly grabbing his tie and pulling him closer, just before Seto could feel Joey's lips on his own. "And now get inside to talk."
The door was opened for them by a maid and Seto walked in after Joey. "Would you please explain to me what you're up to?" Seto asked, once inside. He really didn't get what was going on.
"Certainly." Joey said, "But you have to promise not to tell anyone."
"I promise, now shoot." Seto said, unsure if he should be happy that Joey kissed him or mad, because he probably just did that for publicity. Ever since that first picture in the press there were some journalists in front of the Kaiba mansion and the kiss was sure to be all over the news.
"It is quite simple really. The press was recently starting to get on my nerves, because I was never seen with anyone other than my family, they were really starting to bug me a lot." Joey started to explain, "And at that time I met Mai again, just a few weeks before I came back. She asked me if I could help her to get a job as an actress and I offered to let her play a part in my next video and get her some extra attention by playing my girlfriend. It helped her and also got the press off my back."
"You weren't dating her?" Seto asked incredulous.
"Nope," Joey said. "And because she has her job and the press will just start bugging if we can't see each other and still don't get grumpy about it, I´ll let her catch me cheating on her and that way I pump up my bad boy image and she is the little actress that needs support and a lot of girls that got cheated on will be on her side."
"So you only kissed me, because she needed to catch you cheating and is too far away to catch you, unless it shows up in the press?" Seto asked, still finding it hard to believe how calculated Joey had gotten.
"Sort of," Joey said. "But I also hope that I won't stay single. That is if what you wrote still counts?"
Seto took his hand and said: "Let me show you something."
Joey followed him through the halls of the mansion, this time being the one that was wondering what was going on and what Seto was up to now. He just hoped that he wasn't the one that was too late now. But even if he was, he wouldn't regret what he had done.
Seto led Joey inside of the room he had made for him and Joey stared and looked around. On the nightstand was the duel disk that Seto had created just for Joey, right after he had gotten the letter from him and found out that Joey would be gone for a few weeks to see his mother. Seto also opened the door to the music room, to let him see that too and Joey simply stared at first but then said: "Let me guess, you made this before you even knew that I wasn't coming back for a while?"
"How do you know?" Seto asked.
"As far as I know you," Joey said, "You found out that my place wasn't the best and wanted to help me. Like the knight in shining armour, saving the damsel in distress. You wouldn't need to make something this big, once you knew that I got rich myself."
"You're smarter than I gave you credit for." Seto said, "But I still would like to see you here more often than at your place. Even though it was nice, too."
Joey smiled at him and said: "That's why I didn't want to come back. Once I knew that you were looking for me, there were only two possibilities. Either you hated me and would make fun of me for ages, or you loved me back, in which case I was sure to end up like this. You would do anything to be my knight in shining armour, not thinking about how I would feel being a damsel in distress."
"I have to admit that I fail to see the problem," Seto said and watched Joey closely.
"The problem is that I didn't just want to be a burden." Joey said. "I love you, Seto. I always have and I never believed to have a chance. For a long time I didn't want you to know about my feelings, because I knew that I would never be able to be on one level with you. In the end I gave up trying to become something I wasn't. I didn't get good enough grades to make college and I still hadn't found a job by the time I graduated. But I also knew that it would never change that you were so much more than I was. By the time I flew away, I was sure that you didn't love me, but once I was there I started to wonder if maybe you did and when I found out that I could try to become famous, I wanted it to be with you. I wanted to have my own money and my own sort of power, so I wouldn't depend on you and could be more equal."
"That's stupid." Seto said, "If you're with me, you don't need that."
"I know." Joey said. "But I still wanted it. Honestly Seto, how would you feel, if you were treated like a damsel in distress? And don't tell me you wouldn't. I mean, look around you. You were getting me everything, hoping to charm me with it and getting me to stay with you. Is it so hard to believe that I'm just as proud as you are? I'm not satisfied to run the household for you, while you have your company. I needed my own thing and once I found it in my music, I wanted to at least try to give it a shot. I needed to, before I could come back and try to get with you again. I needed to do this to be able to stand right in front of you and tell you to your face that I love you, instead of sneaking you a letter and probably end up hiding in your shadow."
Seto watched him for a moment and then said: "Let's just assume for a moment that I get your reasons, and I have to admit that I might understand to a degree, but why didn't you tell me when you came back that you weren't dating Mai?"
"Because you're a jerk," Joey answered, without needing to think about it and smiled at Seto. "I didn't know for sure if you loved me or how much. Mai is a friend and needed that secret of ours, as much as I do and honestly, I didn't even tell my friends and you assume me to tell you, after all the fighting that was going on in the past? I just couldn't trust you at that time. But I trust you today. I told you the truth, even though you still can mess up my really hard worked on big bad wolf image."
Seto walked up to Joey and pulled him into his arms and whispered: "You're still my puppy."
"Wrong," Joey said, "I might have been a wolf pup back then. But I've learned a lot in the last two years."
Seto grinned and pushed him onto the bed within a second and was straddling him, holding his wrists over his head, "You're still my little puppy." And then he kissed the blond again.
"Dare to call me that outside of this room and I'll kill you." Joey said with a grin, as soon as his lips were freed for a moment. He didn't really care how Seto called him, as long as that proud dragon was finally his.
Authors note: dancing elf, LovelyRose5001, .Lover, Leviathan of the Sea and Sasu-Sama' Sarukiji-Sempai for the review.
Now honestly...who saw this comming? Seto didn't get rid of Mai...Joey did.
I hope you all liked it and thanks to everyone who read it all the way to the end and faved it or had the story on alert. And of course a very big thanks to everyone who wrote or still will write a review. *hug*