Music of My Soul

BY : ReadtoEscape
Category: Wei▀ Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1198
Disclaimer: I dont own Weiss kreuz, Ran, Yohji, or any of the guys. I write/post for my own enjoyment. No profit is made. Well, except the stress relief of writing it, & the warm fuzzies I get if you like it. But as those are intangibles,


MUSIC OF MY SOUL



 



CHAPTER 2



 



Ran concluded the Mamaru contract meeting just after noon. He escorted the group from the building and stopped at the in house café  on the ground floor to pick up a soup and sandwich for a light lunch.  Just as he returned to his office, his cell rang. Ran didn’t recognize the number, but answered, cradling the phone to his shoulder as he sat out his soup. ‘Fujimaiya here’



 



‘hey babe.’ Ran gasped as Yohji’s warm, smiling voice brought to mind those beautiful eyes,  that mouth, the feel of Yohji’s arms.... The warmth Ran had held at bay all morning..... ‘Yohji’ he breathed as he sat, the smile he couldn’t keep from his voice almost showing on his face. ‘you called’



 



‘of course I called Ran,’ Yohji chuckled, ‘a little early, I admit, but I hoped you wouldn’t mind. You busy?’



 



‘no, actually.’ Ran answered, ‘Mamaru’s group just left. I was just sitting down to some lunch. How’s your day going?’ Ran took a bite of his sandwich.



 



‘Well, actually pretty good. Unlike you, I had the morning off. Slept in nice and late. But, I thought of you as I woke. Especially since I couldn’t get your out of my head all night.’ Yohji’s voice dropped, grown husky by the end, ‘took forever to fall asleep Ran. I’ve been looking forward to see you again. It took me some thought, but I think I have hit on the perfect forum for our first date. I just have one question.’



 



‘what’s that Yohji? And what have you planned?’ Ran asked, blushing at Yohji’s words about thinking of him. Ran had barely slept for thinking of those kisses, the feelings Yohji awoke in him. He’d wanted more, shamelessly wanted so much more. He hadn’t dared act on it, but gods he’d wanted Yohji. The feeling of being held in that warm, strong embrace last night had almost undone him. And then, to take Yohji into his own arms, to be able to hold him tight, to give the comfort Yohji’d so obviously needed at the time. It had taken all Ran’s strength to step back and not embarrass himself by asking Yohji for more right then.  He still couldn’t quite believe Yohji’s assertion that they should date first. A part of him was convinced Yohji’d been trying to let Ran down easy, to give himself a way out. He had not been convinced Yohji would call, or if he did, that it wouldn’t be to cancel.... But here he was, saying he’d thought if Ran too, was looking forward to their date.....



 



‘...like, Ran?’ Ran shook himself as he realized Yohji had asked him a question and he’d missed it.  ‘I’m sorry, Yohji, what? I didn’t quite hear you. Please, what did you ask?’



 



‘I wondered what your tastes are, for dinner. We never talked last night about what you like, besides vanilla bean lattes anyway,’ Yohji chuckled, ‘any special likes, dislikes, or allergies I should know about.’ Yohji sounded genuinely curious.



 



‘mmm, no, no allergies or anything.’ Ran assured. ‘I.... I don’t really like many fried foods, I’m sorry.’



 



‘sorry? Why? For not liking something?’ Yohji asked. “it’s ok Ran, really, that’s why I asked. How am I gonna know otherwise? So, no greasy diners. I think I can manage that. Anything else?’



 



Yohji didn’t sound frustrated or angry, just... interested. Ran ventured another opinion. ‘well, I do like grilled food. Things cooked over the fire, steak, seafood, almost anything on a grill. I know, being Japanese, it may seem ...strange, but.... I don’t really like... I don’t like sushi. We moved to New York when I was very young. I just never got... got a taste for it. Or anything very spicy like, really hot, curry or Thai foods, like that. Is..... is that ok?’



 



‘Ran’ Yohji laughed, ‘yes, it’s OK. I can’t know what you like or enjoy, or what you don’t like if you don’t tell me. I can’t plan our dates so you will enjoy them if I don’t know your tastes.’  Yohji’s voice dropped again, ‘I meant it Ran, last night, I want to get to know you. Your likes, dislikes, interests, this is part of you too. It’ll be good Ran, you’ll see.’ He cleared his throat, ‘so, what time can you get away? Where do you want to meet up? I’ll drive.’



 



‘Well,’ Ran swallowed his bite of sandwich, ‘Do you know where the Krittiker offices are?’



 



“yeah,’ Yohji answered. ‘Actually, I do. You’re in the same building as Omi’s dad, the computer guru.



 



‘Omi? Computer guru?,’ Ran asked, ‘Do you mean Takatori Technical Services? Your friend is the son of Reiji Takatori’



 



‘Yeah. You know him?’ Yohji asked.



 



‘No, no. Only by reputation. He’s said to be a brilliant businessman, and his son is said to be a true computer prodigy. How do you know him?’



 



‘Omi’s our drummer and sound guy.’ Yohji explained. ‘he’s an amazing kid. His dad’s alright, for a CEO. Omi has worked there in the software department sometimes to pay for band equipment and such when gigs were slow. He won’t let his dad finance his choices. He’s a good kid, responsible, level headed – not your typical rock n roll drummer.’ Yohji laughed ruefully, ‘in fact, none of WEISS could be considered typical for the rock scene... Anyway, yeah. I know where the offices are. Did you want me to pick you up there? Sure it wont be a problem?’



 



‘No, no. Not here, not .... not yet.’ Ran answered. ‘Eventually, if we spend much time together, it will be reported that we’ve become friends, at least. Being a rarity for me, this makes it newsworthy.’ Ran sighed softly, ‘I’d like to keep things low key as long as we can, if that’s alright. Actually, I was using the building as a landmark. There is a parking tower just north of here. On the fifth floor, there’s a small bookstore near the elevators. I could meet you there, if that’s OK?’ Ran finished his bottled water and began to clear his desk. ‘what time would you like to meet? I’m actually finished here, I was  basically waiting for your call.’



 



‘well then, Baby, let’s get his show on the road!’ Yohji’s smile was obvious in his response. “what are you wearing Ran?’ he asked suddenly, catching Ran by surprise.



 



‘what? Yohji!’ Ran gasped. ‘um.. I’ he sputtered



 



‘Ran,’ Yohji laughed, it’s ok. I didn’t mean it like that.’ He chuckled again, then his voice dropped to a husky purr, ‘I’ll save that for at least the third date beautiful’



 



‘Yohji’ Ran gasped



 



‘no, no really. It’s ok.’ Yohji’s smirk came through clearly in his voice. ‘I asked because there’s a killer car show at the convention center down on fulton this weekend. I had not had any plan in place last night, so we didn’t really talk about  dress code or anything. They’re gonna roll out some concept cars this afternoon and I figured, depending on what kind of meeting you’d had this morning, a suit might not be the most comfortable outfit for a car show. Not to mention the trying to be discreet part. I’d imagine you dressed up in an Armani suit would be a sight to see. Drooling zombies left behind in your wake all over the place. Damn. ’ Yohji paused, then purred, ‘so Ran babe, what are you wearing?’ his seductive leer was obvious, then he laughed. An open, free beautiful warm laugh.



 



Ran felt a smile come across his face, almost a laugh of his own in response. ‘sorry babe,’ Yohji said, ‘I guess I couldn’t wait  until the third date after all.’



 



this time Ran did laugh, a short light laugh, but still.... he couldn’t help the smile on his face as he answered, and was sure Yohji could hear it in his voice as he responded, ‘Yohji, you’re-‘



 



‘sexy, incredible, the man of your dreams?’ Yohji cut in quickly.



 



‘crazy!’ Ran blurted, ‘but, in a good way, I think.’ He cleared his throat, ‘any way, yes I am wearing a suit actually-‘



 



‘damn, I bet you look hot’ Yohji cut in again.



 



Ran shook his head, ‘my apartment is on the way there. If you don’t mind, we could stop off and I could change.’



 



‘sounds like a plan, beautiful. I’m actually not far from you now.’ Yohji said, ‘if you’re sure you can cut out, I’ll head on over. Meet you at the elevator book store in 15 minutes?’



 



‘that’s fine Yohji,’ Ran answered, ‘I’ll just close up here and head over.’



 



‘okay babe, see you there then. Bye’ Yohji hung up.



 



Ran quickly finished off his soup and shut down his computer. Making certain his files were in order for the morning, he locked his office and entered the elevator.  Just as the doors closed, his cell rang again. Imagining Yohji calling with some other inanity. Ran smiled and answered the phone. ‘This is Ran’ he answered warmly, letting the smile on his lips convey through his voice.



 



‘well. You sound pleased with yourself,’ his father’s cruel disdainful voice snapped at him, like a bucket of ice water dumped on him it erased any warmth he’d built in talking with Yohji. ‘does that mean you wrapped that Mamaru kid? It’d better mean that Ran.’ His father’s sneer and contempt penetrated Ran’s shock.



 



Ran almost groaned aloud and just caught it. He sighed silently, berating himself, and vowed to never again answer without checking first. ‘yes father,’ he responded, the flat emotionless Ran back, showing in his voice. ‘everything is sealed, Ill have copies of everything in your office in the morning.’



 



‘you’d better boy.’ His father replied, ‘well, I guess you can do something right, if you’re given enough direction. Very well, I expect everything on my desk by ten. And it had better all be in order boy, just like I told you.’ He hung up then.



 



Ran shoved the cell in his pocket as he made his way out of the building to the sidewalk. He walked briskly, blind to his surroundings, his good mood gone, fists clenched. He took deep breaths trying to calm himself. His tolerance of his father’s derision and scorn had been steadily decreasing over the last few months. As Aya continued to sleep and medical wisdom more and more pointed to her condition being permanent, Ran found his temper growing to be more and more of an issue. His coldness with associates grew, and he knew he was referred to as ice prince, or worse, in the field. Seen as uncaring, or outright arrogant, few would willingly interact with him. Those in the business long enough knew his musical ear to be flawless, perfect pitch and an uncanny ability to detect that special something, his opinion was still sought out. But, no one was willing or inclined in any way to try to get beneath the aloof exterior he projected. To see him, who he was. Of course, he didn’t encourage such interaction. Preferring to hold himself apart. If he didn’t let himself feel anything, he didn’t feel anything – so he’d told himself since the first doctor tried to tell him to give up on Aya, told him she couldn’t hear him anyway and never would. His father’s glee at pointing this out to him over and over, his gloating smugness as he mocked Ran’s hope and anguish over Aya had motivated Ran to lock himself away then, refusing to feel or show any emotion to any but Aya.  Refusing to give his father any more weapons to use against him. At last he’d moved out a few months ago. Finally getting his own apartment immediately after the trust account from his mother’s death had been released to him upon his twenty first birthday back in February. He’d wasted no time moving out on his own and found some freedom, time for himself, a measure of happiness, despite Aya’s condition. But the longer she slept, the deeper he buried inside himself, and the stronger is temper fought for release.  He’d even considered painting again in those rear occasions he had time. It calmed him. He’d truly missed it, not having painted since Aya’s injury. She’d always loved to watch him paint. He hadn’t been able to bear it since..... Maybe soon he would. He had an empty room. He’d have to get some supplies.....



 



Ran wished, not for the first time, that he could get away from his father’s control over his life. Moving out had helped, giving him a sense of control. And, with the trust account he no longer needed to work for Krittiker, but his father had made it very clear, that as Aya’s sole parent and guardian, being in complete control of her care, if Ran stepped out of line he would not be permitted to see her. He’d even hinted at moving her to some low seedy nursing home place to keep Ran in line, following orders. Ran’s chest tightened at the thought. He adored Aya, his beautiful baby sister, not truly that much younger than him, almost 4 years, but she’d always had a hero worship love for him, especially after their mother died when they were so young. Only ten, Ran had tried so hard to protect six year old Aya, to be the strength for her their father should have been...... gods he missed her. She loved him, just him, not what he could do, how he could benefit her, not his money or his prestige, power, just... him. She always made him laugh, she was so beautiful innocent, loving. Damn.  His father knew, Ran would do nothing to endanger her. His moving out was an illusion his father allowed him to have, but he completely owned Ran as long as Aya slept. Even though she would be eighteen next month, being comatose meant she had an assigned guardian until, or unless, she awoke and could make rational choices. The court had provided that should she wake, and be lucid, she would become her own adult, but until such time, her father owned her, and thereby, Ran. He never failed to make certain Ran was fully aware of this. Imposing his will in Ran’s work schedule, travel plans, media presence, even in the area of Ran’s love life, nonexistent as it was. His father felt Ran to be “abomination enough thank you,” without flaunting his sexual preferences. If Ran felt urges beyond his ability to control, he’d been bluntly advised, he was certainly wealthy enough to retain a whore of sufficient discretion. He never wanted to hear of any indiscretions on Ran’s part, in the press or through the business gossip mills, flaunting his abberations. Ran had never considered prostitution. He wanted love, not ....not..... a whore. He’d successfully buried his desires, not truly having experienced much anyway, since Aya’s injury. At first being totally numb, for so long after, and now, his life revolved around work and her. Knowing the total deadlock this was with his father, he’d never even considered dating, or love. He hadn’t allowed himself to feel anything in so long.



 



Then, he’d seen Yohji. Before the Mercury competition, he’d seen a demo of WEISS. First that warm tenor had enveloped him. He’d had to see who that beautiful, expressive voice belonged to. Watching the tape he’d been spellbound. Yohji was ... simply.... mouthwatering, gorgeous, sexy, just..... incredible. Ran had even, for a brief second, considered defiance. But, it didn’t last long. He was fully aware that his father would not hesitate with Aya. The only reason she got the care she did was his father’s fear of losing face. Imagine what people would think if it were known he didn’t care for his beautiful daughter properly. He simply used the majority of Ran’s “salary” to finance it, reducing the gall. Ran didn’t care in the least, he could have it all if it meant Aya was well cared for....



 



Ran considered again what the hell he was thinking with Yohji. He was .... drawn to Yohji. It scared him how much he almost.....needed Yohji, even before they’d met, spoken. He’d heard of love at first sight, but had always scoffed, ridiculous. Now, he wasn’t so sure. From the first sight on that demo, he’d found himself wanting to feel, just..... wanting. Then, as he grew to know more of who Yohji was, as a person, and then..... to actually talk to him, touch him, kiss him. Damn. Ran was hooked and really wasn’t sure what to do. He couldn’t possibly be in love – not already. C’mon! He didn’t even know Yohji, not yet. Just..... Ran was scared, he was willing to risk things for a chance with Yohji, and damn, that scared him.  He’d explained they would have to be discreet.... Yohji seemed to understand. He’d have to find a way to... impress on Yohji a bit more, how ... how careful they would have to be, without Yohji getting the wrong impression that it was in some way shame of him.  Well, it was really too early to worry too much... Now that he lived alone, it would be expected he would develop friendships...... surely?. They could be friends. A car show was perfectly acceptable for two men to visit together. They had many similar interests, surely Yohji could find things that they could do to spend time together as friends would. New york was a very busy place, he could go out in public without too much danger of instant recognition as long as they avoided the club scene.... Ran sighed. He’d been in such a good mood. Damn his father.



 



Ran turned into the parking garage and took the elevator to the fifth floor. Entering the small book store, Ran made his way to the cooking section near the entrance. Cooking was another hobby Ran really enjoyed, one that now he lived on his own he was actually able to pursue. He smiled. He’d have to learn what Yohji liked so he could cook for him. The thought of Yohji, in his apartment, cooking for Yohji, maybe ... making him breakfast.... after..... a short honk startled Ran out of his reverie. He looked up quickly and was floored to see Yohji, grinning behind the wheel of a beautiful sleek, midnight blue Corvette convertible.



 



Yohji beamed at Ran’s dropped jaw. As Ran remained rooted to the spot, Yohji gave another quick tap to his horn, winked, and crooked a finger to Ran to “come here.”  Ran blinked, coughed lightly, and returned the cookbook to the shelf. As he exited the store, approaching Yohji, Yohji called out, ‘Beautiful, isn’t she?’ still silent, Ran got in the car. He turned to Yohji, confused as Yohji steered through the lot. ‘oh, I know,’ Yohji smiled as he cut off any comment Ran could make, ‘what the hell? – right?’ Yohji smirked quickly as he navigated the spiral exit ramp. ‘which way Ran?’ he asked as he neared the exit. Ran gave quick directions to the Garden Towers and Yohji went on. ‘Well, it’s like this, remember how I explained my parents and their slight obsession with budgets as I grew up?’ Ran nodded, still confused, ‘ well,’ Yohji said, ‘ they taught me from a very young age, how to handle money, a budget, don’t spend more than you make, etc....’ he took a deep breath, ‘they were both killed in a car crash, three years ago, when I was nineteen, just after I’d moved out on my own.’



 



Ran gasped, ‘oh! Yohji! I’m so sorry.’



 



‘yeah, well so am I.’ Yohji answered, ‘but, it’s been long enough I can talk about it and there’s more to the story’ he smile warmly at Ran. ‘as I said, my parents always taught me, all my life, you want something, you work for it. Don’t spend on silly stuff, make sure you need it, the whole responsibility bit. I wasn’t too shocked then, shortly after their death when this lawyer calls me out of the blue to tell me they’d left a will, and to come see him. But you can imagine my surprise when he gave me a packet of paperwork and the keys to this beauty.’



 



Ran’s eyes flew open wide and he seemed a bit stunned, ‘they... they left you..a Corvette?’



 



Yohji laughed. ‘yeah. That was pretty much my reaction too. I didn’t even know they had life insurance. The will left provision that, on the off chance they both died together, the life insurance was to be used to buy this. My dad even specified the color, the perks, even the sound system. It’s........... well, every since I was a kid, like...five, I always, always wanted a metallic blue Corvette with white leather interior. They bought me a model kit when I was eleven, and even a cast model when I was sixteen.’ Yohji smiled a warm, far away smile ‘my dad, he was so upset they couldn’t afford to get me a car “every kid should get a car when he’s 16” he’d said, “we just can’t do it Yohji, I’m sorry...”  then he gave me the die cast, it’s beautiful. I still have it. Anyway, my dad updated specifics with the lawyer every three months. They -’ he cut off for a second, clearing his throat, ‘they even wrote me letters, every three months since I was 15, they delivered these letters to that lawyer. If they’d... if they’d lived they were gonna give me the letters when I was twenty one.’



 



Yohji stopped a moment, obviously lost in thoughts Ran couldn’t imagine. Gods, to have such momentos of their love, he’d give almost anything to have something like that from his mother, but, she’d been so sick, so suddenly, then for so long.... she couldn’t have written if she’d wanted to. Ran shook his head, then quietly asked the question that was just killing him, ‘Yohji? I.... I don’t mean to sound... rude, but – why would your parents use their life insurance for a sports car?’



 



Yohji laughed. ‘yeah, I asked that too, then I read the letters. First there was one answering that question.’ He sobered, ‘dad explained that, in life, unless I made it, really made it, in music, there would always be bills. I’d always have a budget. A big wad of cash all at once might go to my head, make me forget things. Besides, again unless I made it big, a ‘vette was something I would never be able to have.  They wanted to give me something special to remember them, as if I could forget them.... anyway, a dream. Something they could never ever give to me, and that I would likely never be able to have for myself. Dad set it up, the title’s non-transferable. I couldn’t sell her if I wanted to. A trust account was set up for parking, insurance, maintenance and stuff until I’m thirty. After that, I’m on my own. There was a bit of a cushion left, they didn’t want me living in the car,’ he laughed ‘but, they figured, they’d taught me to take care of myself, to work, to be a man. I would be able to handle my life. And I do, I don’t waste money, I have a budget, but I’m not a skin flint either. I am determined to live and enjoy life every day and to make them proud.’ Again, that warm smile lit up his face. ‘as much as I love this baby, and I do Ran, really, trust me, I do.... still, it’s the letters I treasure more. Every three months, from the time I was fifteen until the week before they died, they each wrote to me.’ He pulled into the entrance of the Garden towers. ‘My parents were loving, amazing, people. But, they didn’t lavish praise or compliments. I mean, I knew they loved me, but I didn’t ...... I never.... knew just, how, you know? My dad especially..... he was proud of me, they both were, but... my dad, he just never..... never said things like that. To have it, written down.... I treasure those letters so much. Anyway,’ he grinned, ‘ that is why I have a fucking gorgeous car and live in a cheap, rat ass apartment with three other guys. Well, cheap for New york anyway’ he laughed again. ‘we do alright, but.. well,’ he looked around, ‘it certainly is nothing like this place Ran, I’ll tell you that.’ He parked near the entrance in the short term parking area.



 



They climbed from the car and Ran trailed his hand over the fender and hood. ‘she really is beautiful Yohji.’ He said quietly, taking a step back to take in the Centerline wheels, the elegant pinstriping along the side of the car. ‘Really.’



 



‘yeah,’ Yohji breathed, ‘I think so too.’  He grinned, ‘smooth, fast, perfect. C’mon,’ he turned toward the entrance, ‘let’s get you changed so we can hit the show.’



 



Ran led the way inside, then stopped briefly to introduce Yohji to the doorman. ‘John, this is Yohji Kudoh. He’s a friend of mine and is to be admitted entrance at any time. Please make sure his name is noted in the file.’



 



John looked a bit taken aback, but noted Yohji’s name in the appropriate places, verifying spelling, etc. ‘Mr. Kudoh. It may take a few times of showing ID until all the guys know, but please take no offence.’



 



‘Hey, no problem man, thanks.’ Yohji smiled that friendly, open to everyone smile of his and Ran knew John was instantly won over. He noted the slight confusion on John’s face as he looked from Yohji to Ran, quickly suppressed. As they entered the elevator Ran smirked, just a bit.



 



‘what gorgeous,’ Yohji asked after the doors were closed, ‘what’s so funny?’



 



‘did you see the look on John’s face?’ Ran asked, ‘you wont have to show ID more than once unless there’s a supervisor or a robbery or something, I guarantee it. Your name and description will be well known to all agents by the end of the day, I’m sure.’



 



Yohji tilted his head, ‘and why is that, Ran?’ he asked quietly, his own suspicion in the back of his mind. He’d bet he was the first friend of Ran’s that guard had been introduced to.



 



Ran turned to Yohji, smirk gone. ‘you’re the only name on my list Yohji. I have never introduced anyone here, not even my father’s name is listed. You will be the first person to view my home since the movers delivered the furniture.’



Yohji blinked, the first to... ‘you mean, you have no one? No family.... no one?’



 



Ran sighed, ‘I......... Yohji ..... it doesn’t matter Yohji’



 



‘the hell it doesn’t’ Yohji growled, then frowned, ‘no wonder you were so-‘ he cut off abruptly, looking away.



 



‘so what Yohji?’ Ran growled back, ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’



 



Now Yohji sighed. Before he could reply, the elevator opened. As they exited, Ran prompted again, ‘so what Yohji? No wonder I was so what?’ they stopped outside Ran’s door and he turned to Yohji. Wary, a little angry, and... hurt, if Yohji was any judge.



 



They were alone. Yohji reached out to cup the side of Ran’s face, grateful that he, almost instinctively it seemed, curled into the touch.  ‘Ran.’ Yohji spoke quietly. ‘It’s OK. I was just..... I meant...’ he sighed, ‘it was no wonder you had to fight the apathy, the coldness I glimpsed last night.’ He pulled Ran in closer, slowly. ‘if you are alone Ran, of course it’s hard to fight it. Why would you? It’s easier not to feel if you’re alone. I’d give in too, if I didn’t have people who care for me.’ He took a deep breath, hugged Ran tightly, and stepped back. ‘Now. C’mon Babe, show off your castle’ he grinned, ‘let me be the first to get the tour. I promise to ooh and ahh in all the right places.’



 



Ran stood there a moment, the hurt still in his eyes, but less now, overshadowed with confusion. ‘Ran, really, it’s ok’ Yohji reassured, ‘Besides, you’re young, right? Younger than me, I’m guessing. This is your first place, isn’t it? Everyone should get to show off their first place Ran, it’s like a rule.’ Yohji let himself smile, and continued to caress Ran’s arm, though inside he wanted to rage against circumstances that had left this man so alone. He’d glimpsed the passion that was Ran last night, he desperately wanted to see that again, but no wonder it was so buried. To be completely isolated, fearful for his beloved sister, and the bastard of a father he had.... Yohji’d done a little digging this morning, he had some clue as to the bastard that was Persia of Krittiker.



 



Ran lightly shook himself, breaking Yohji out of his little sidetrip before his anger could bleed through, thankfully. Ran turned to unlock the door, answering Yohji’s earlier question. ‘Yes. I am younger than you. I turned twenty one in February. And, yes, this is my first home. I’d always thought Aya would decorate, but.... she was asleep by then. I ... tried to remember .... what we’d planned, for my move out.’ His voice had dropped so low by the end, Yohji could barely make out what he’d said. Ran took a breath and stood straight. ‘well then, Yohji,’ he pushed the door open and took a step back. ‘welcome to my home.’



 



Yohji stepped inside and his eyes widened. The entryway revealed an open, spacious living room, hard wood, oak flooring throughout as far as Yohji could tell. The eye was immediately drawn to the far wall, taken up by a large picture window framing the New York Skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance. There was a floor rug in front of the window, with a deep smoke grey suede sofa and chairs framing an onyx and glass coffee table. Tasteful Japanese décor filled the room in the form of wall hangings and sculptures, as well as two beautifully etched katanas bracketed above the fireplace that took up the far left wall. The entryway to the hall and kitchen could be seen to the right. Yohji stepped in further to allow Ran to enter and close the door, and noticed a sleek TV and sound system set into a recess in the wall on the right.



 



Yohji smiled and made his way over, ‘what are you listening to?’ he murmured as he booted up the stereo. He smiled, delighted when Frank’s crooning voice filled the room, “I’ve got you, under my skin, I’ve got you, deep in the heart of me”   Yohji turned, smiling as the music played on in the background. ‘was that already in there, or did you load it after last night?’ he asked, his eyes twinkling. Ran blushed just a bit, and turned toward the hallway. ‘I put it in this morning.’



 



Yohji turned to follow Ran, leaving the song playing quietly. ‘So, go on and give me the tour, Ran. First time always comes with a tour. It’s your chance to show off.’ He smiled at Ran, making a big show of looking around. Ran smiled a bit more than the usual half smile, and shook his head at Yohji’s antics. ‘idiot.’ He sighed, ‘you are crazy. Very well’ he stepped in to the kitchen. ‘this’ he waved an arm around, ‘ is the kitchen – note the refridgerator, cabinets and stove.’ He smirked.



 



Yohji made a bid production of turning the knobs on the stove, ‘gotta make sure the appliances work’ and checking the cabinets, ‘god, Ran, don’t you have any junk food?’



 



‘No Yohji, I cook all my own foods, fresh. If you have a sweet tooth, there’s fruit in the fridge I think.’  Yohji froze and looked at Ran. ‘fruit in the fridge.’ He deadpanned, ‘that’s your sweet tooth fixation, fruit. In the fridge’ he sighed, ‘Ran, I so need to get to work corrupting you, and fast.’ He waved, ‘lead on, what else is there?’



 



Ran blinked at the corrupting comment, but shrugged and turned to continue. ‘here we have the dining room, which would explain the large table and chairs in the middle of the floor.’



 



‘ha ha’ Yohji commented.  They continued on, ‘this is the hallway, Ran went on, and the linen closet. Here we have a guest bathroom, and this is the spare room,’ he indicated an empty room on the right of the hallway, door open. He took a few more steps. ‘this... this is the master bedroom,’ he said, as he stood in front of the door. ‘The only remaining rooms are the living room, which you saw, and the coat closet there.’ Ran stood just outside the closed door, dropping his eyes a moment. ‘I’ll, I’ll just change real quick,’ he lifted his gaze to Yohji briefly, then dropped it back to the floor and slipped into the bedroom. Yohji just caught a large, queen bed, with a black and tan comforter combination before the door quietly closed.



 



He chuckled and turned back toward the hallway. Having kept his gaze locked on Ran as they ‘toured’ Yohji’d not really paid attention to the three paintings lining the hallway, two on one wall, one on the opposite. The two on the wall of the master bedroom were landscapes. One was a waterfall scene, sunset or sunrise, Yohji wasn’t sure, but the intense violets, orange and pinks of the sky were reflected in the falls and the water below, beautifully captured. Exotic birds perched on the rocks around the scene, and orchids or several colors decorated the grass area around the pond below the fall. The second landscape was different, a view from atop a cliff, overlooking a lush land, filled with majestic beautiful trees, and lush grasses swaying in the breeze. You could almost hear, feel the wind blowing around you. Beautiful, incredible.  Yohji’s eye was caught by the frame of the other picture on the opposite wall, and he was eager to see what this painting might hold. He turned to study the artwork, and his eyes widened. A view of central park that he recognized, an area of swings near a pond with a small bridge, ducks floating over the surface. Sitting on a swing was a beautiful, raven haired young girl. She looked to be about fifteen or sixteen, just blossoming into womanhood. She was beautiful, petite, elfin or fairylike features, framing large dark eyes. Eyes that sparkled with mirth as she gazed up at fireworks exploding across a night sky. You could almost hear her laugh



 



‘that was Aya’s favorite.’ Ran’s deep, quiet voice broke into Yohji’s thoughts. He gasped and whirled, ‘she adored fireworks,’ Ran went on, his gaze locked on the painting, proud, yet etched with pain, longing. Yohji turned back and studied the girl. ‘Aya? This is your sister, Ran?’ he asked quietly



 



Ran nodded, and cleared his throat. ‘This was the fourth of July weekend, just before her birthday. She loved that her birthday was so close to the fourth. She said the fireworks were really for her.’ He smiled lightly, then his face turned cold. ‘It was only a week later she was hit. I’d finished the painting the night before and gave it to her for her birthday.’



 



Yohji gasped, ‘you... you painted this Ran?’ he whispered, awed, then turned back to the landscapes, ‘all of these?’



 



‘yes,’ Ran frowned, ‘why? I, I know they’re not-‘



 



‘Ran!’ Yohji cut him off. ‘don’t you dare stand there and say something like, “they aren’t that good,” or some bullshit like that. These, these are.... incredible Ran. Just beautiful’



 



Ran’s eyes lit up in a way Yohji hadn’t seen before, and a gleam of pride shown in his face. ‘Well, everyone needs a hobby, and I do like to paint, very much.’



 



‘hobby!’ Yohji scoffed, ‘Ran, damn, you could.... you could sell these, for some damn good money Ran. Why? Why are you scouting music when you have this much talent at something you obviously love, so much? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad you’re in the music business, at least for now, ‘cause I get to meet you, but.............seriously, you ... you should look into painting as ... as a .. career or-‘



 



‘No.’  Ran cut him off, turning toward the living room.



 



‘No?’ Yohji turned to follow, ‘just no? no explanation or, anything? Come on Ran, give me a good reason – I mean, damn! You have serious talent. You have to love it, you’re just too good.... are there more? Do you have other paintings you’ve done? ‘



 



Ran sighed. ‘Not just no.... just,’ a flash of pain went through Ran’s face and Yohji almost regretted ever bringing it up, but Ran steeled himself and went on. ‘My father’ Yohji almost shivered at the coldness that came from Ran as he spoke of this man, ‘my father feels painting to be a colossal waste of time.  And, truthfully, between Krittiker and Aya, I am pushed for time as it is.’ Ran turned to Yohji with a smirk, ‘but if you insist, I suppose I could get some supplies and get started,  there wont be any time left for dating, but-‘



 



‘ok’ Yohji laughed, ‘I get it, butt out.’ He laughed and changed the subject. He knew there was more here, something to dig at later, but for now, he wanted the flirty, happy Ran back, the almost shy, confused, so so sexy Ran from last night. He leaned forward, lightly tugging on an ear tail, ‘I’ll butt out from the painting Ran, for now. He leaned in, running his nose up the edge of Ran’s jawline, taking a deep breath of the essence of Ran, as Ran trembled lightly. Yohji traced his fingers lightly over Ran’s neck and leaned in for a soft, light kiss. ‘I’d be happy, anytime, to see anything you have stroked Ran, with your paintbrush I mean,’ Yohji smirked as he stepped back, leaving Ran standing there, his breath coming just a bit faster, a light blush across his cheeks, blinking.



 



Ran watched Yohji for a moment longer, then took one firm step forward, pulling Yohji into his own embrace. Claiming Yohji’s mouth with his own, he tightened one arm around Yohji, holding Yohji’s head with the other as he devoured Yohji’s mouth. He kissed Yohji firmly, passionately, wantingly, before forcing his hands to let go, and stepping back. This time, it was Yohji blinking his way back from the edge. ‘damn Ran, you are full of surprises’ Yohji was breathless as he looked at Ran, debating this whole go out on a date thing.  Ran had a slightly dazed, but smug look on his face as he turned toward the door. ‘shall we go then?’ he looked back at Yohji over his shoulder.



 



Yohji shook himself, ‘yeah, we have some hot sexy cars to ogle. Let’s get a move on.’ He leaned in to lightly graze the side of Ran’s neck as he walked past him out into the hallway, ‘Let’s go date, beautiful’



 



Ran shivered, but smiled as he locked the door and joined Yohji at the elevator.



 



Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



 



Yohji truly enjoyed the car show with Ran. Ran’s eyes sparkled with excitement at the various beautiful cars. Yohji’d been shocked to learn that while Ran drove, he did not own his own baby. He explained he’d rented cars for weekend trips, etc. But to get around in New York, it was just more convenient to use the limo or catch a cab. That, and he’s only inherited his trust funds six  months ago. With Aya and all, a car just wasn’t forefront on Ran’s mind....



 



Still, Yohji could tell, Ran was thinking. He grinned, watching Ran’s enraptured gaze caress another beauty. He’d been watching, and Ran was definitely noticing the sleek lines, the promise of power. The car smells and sounds permeating the center, Yohji was half hard himself from the atmosphere, imaging taking his baby out to let her loose. He wondered if Ran got the same rush. He glanced at Ran again. While he’d been very excited about a few, he hadn’t yet seen that special gleam he knew he got when looking at his own precious.. Wait, Ran’s gaze seemed locked on something ahead. Yohji maneuvered a bit to get a view of what had Ran so still.  There on a pedestal in the corner was a beautiful, gleaming opalescent pearl white Porsche. She had deep green interior, and gold trim all around. Beautiful. Poised on a pedestal, slowly turning to reveal a glimpse through the open driver door. The gear shift had some kind of custom grip, Yohji couldn’t tell from here.... Ran made his way over as though sleepwalking, eyes for nothing around him but the Porsche. ‘Wow Ran’ Yohji breathed, she’s beautiful.’ Ran watched the car rotate, the passage then causing him to glimpse movement from the corner of his eye. There was a tv screen set up showing the Porsche hugging curves on a mountain road, letting it open up on the highway. Yohji moved over to the nearby table, taking a brochure detailing the specs, model etc.  He watched Ran as he did, noting the smile growing across his face, the twitch of his hand seeming to wish for a gear shift. Yohji looked again as the car rotated past, trying to glimpse the gear shift, there’d been something special about it. He stepped closed and his eyes widened as he took in the custom stick, it resembled a sword hilt, pewter or silver, with leather wrapped around the grip. Yohji shook his head.



 



Ran sighed lightly, and turned his gaze back to the car from the video replaying now on the screen.



 



‘Ran?’ Yohji turned at the sigh. He took in the wistful look as Ran watched the car spin. ‘she sure is beautiful, isn’t she?’



 



Ran turned to Yohji, a genuine smile on his face. ‘yes Yohji, a very beautiful car. Maybe someday’ he turned back for one more look, then turned and began to walk away. ‘yeah,’ Yohji sighed as he followed. ‘Ok, I’ve had enough, how about you Ran, you getting hungry yet?’



‘yes’ Ran answered, a bit surprised as he realized he was. It had been a small cup of soup at lunch, and they’d been walking for hours now. ‘Where did you decide to go tonight Yohji?’  Ran asked, curious.



 



Yohji grinned, ‘well, originally I chose a seafood grill nearby, but, after hours of this,’ he waved a hand about, ‘I must admit, I am itching to take my baby for a run. You up for it? We can go to this great steakhouse I know that is a little upstate and I can show off my baby good and proper. What do you think Ran? Please? She hasn’t been out for a good run in a while.’ Yohji batted big, pleading eyes at him and Ran laughed, actually laughed!



 



‘Yes Yohji, that sounds good.’ He shook his head, ‘you talk about the car like it’s alive, you sure you not crazy?’



 



Yohji’s cock jumped, just a bit, and his heart did a little flip at the sound of Ran’s surprising him. He wanted to hear that again.... hmm... he chose to answer the other instead, ‘Well, no of course I’m not sure. Only the really crazy people are completely sure they’re not crazy Ran.’ He chided, ‘as long as you worry you might be crazy, you’re not too far gone, right?’



 



Ran blinked...’what?  Yohji, sometimes, I have no idea what you’re saying.’ He looked at Yohji with that cute little confused wrinkle between his eyes. Yohji laughed, ‘well, good, keeps you on your toes. Means you have to pay close attention to  me.’ He dropped his voice to whisper as they approached the ‘vette, leaning around Ran, keeping Ran between him and the side of the car. ‘I like your close attention Ran, I think I like it a lot.’ He stepped back and went to the driver side of the car. Ran gave himself a shake and got in.



 



They drove upstate for dinner. The steakhouse living up to Yohji’s hype. Ran was pleasantly surprised. They has grilled vegetables on menu and the steak was perfect. They spent the evening in conversation, Yohji coaxing Ran to open up. ‘tell me about your family Ran.’ At first Ran froze, but he figured, Yohji’d talked about his parents, and there were few people to recall the beauty of Ran’s mom. He told Yohji about her, about the move to New York when he was barely five, and Aya was a baby. About his mother’s developing breast cancer when he was six, and the almost year it had taken for her to die. He talked about raising Aya after she was gone and Yohji could see the intense love Ran had for Aya in every breath. He told of some of Aya’s antics, of some of the problems he’d dealt with in school with his coloring and the eventual transition to private tutoring for both him and Aya for the convenience of his father , leading to even fewer opportunities for social skill building. His father had relented as Aya grew older, letting her attend school with others from eighth grade up threw high school until her injury. Yohji noticed Ran’s conspicuous lack of discussion about his father. Yohji took the hint and steered clear of anything that might put a damper on the evening.



 



Yohji gave more of his own past too, an only child, well loved by his parents, Yohji’s not suffered loss and angst until their deaths. Then, with Asuka, he’d realized true pain as he watched her waste away. He could identify with Ran a bit where Aya was concerned. Asuka hadn’t been in a coma, but she’d withdrawn into herself so far by the end she may as well have been... He spoke a bit about each of his bandmates, his dreams of WEISS.



 



Yohji steered the conversation back a bit to them, getting to know more of each other. He broached the topic of a game he and Asuka had played, a way to get to know each other’s interests.



 



‘Favorite what?’ Ran asked



 



‘Exactly.’ Yohji replied. ‘that’s the whole point.’



 



Ran quirked one eyebrow, his expression clearly stating he had no idea what Yohji meant.



 



Yohji chuckled, ‘One throws out a topic, and we respond with our favorite and least favorite... for example, if I were to mention lattes,’ he grinned, ‘you obviously would respond with vanilla bean for favorite. Your least favorite would be.....’ he trailed off.



 



Ran blinked, understanding. ‘hmmmm... he mused. ‘I ... don’t know.’ He answered, ‘I haven’t tried many flavors. I tried the vanilla bean because I knew already how much I liked vanilla.... from ice cream as a child, from the smell... I guess, least favorite, maybe... pumpkin, or.... mint chocolate.’ He made an adorable - -Yohji would never tell him just how adorable - - face of dislike that had Yohji about to laugh outright. ‘I can’t stand chocolate and mint together. I don’t know why people like it so much, it’s revolting.’ He shuddered, especially warm, ugh.’ Ran abruptly stopped and got this “deer in the headlights” look about him that almost alarmed Yohji. He was about to get up and find what or who had put that look on Ran’s face when Ran spoke again. ‘Yohji, if... if you like it though, that’s fine, I-‘



 



Yohji quickly cut Ran off before he could go on. He’d glimpsed this before, on the phone earlier, at the car show a few times, even briefly as they’d discuss appetizers. ‘Ran.’ Yohji spoke firmly, capturing Ran’s gaze. ‘Ran, there is one thing that I’d like to make absolutely clear right here, right now. Before we go any further in anything, we have to clear this up.’



 



Ran sat up straight, alarmed at the abrupt seriousness of Yohji’s look, the solemn tone. ‘Yohji?’ he questioned lightly, and Yohji almost broke down under that look, and the sound of Ran’s voice, slightly hurt, lost, worried. But he held firm. He had to make this point. This had to make a firm impression, or there was no way he could go on with this.  ‘Ran. You have to promise me something, it’s important Ran, very important, if we’re gonna be friends, and especially if it’s gonna have any chance of ever going any further.’



 



‘what?’ Ran whispered, almost afraid now. What was wrong? Things had been so good....



 



‘Ran.’ Yohji stared at those beautiful eyes, searched their depths, catching the fear, the self doubt, the uncertainty, and yet beneath all that, a strength Yohji could scarcely imagine. Yohji knew, here was a man he could easily lose himself in. Only their second meeting, but such a lethal combination of strength and vulnerability, the obvious strong mind and will, combined with the heartwrenching innocence and loss. Just these few hours with Ran, and Yohji was hooked. He knew he could fall hard and fast. And he knew, if he did start to fall, there would be no catching him. He had to know what Ran would do, what he was thinking, what he felt, about ... everything. That was why this was so, so important. He leaned forward, unable to resist smoothing that glimmer of fear, pain, and worry from Ran’s eyes. He never wanted to be the cause of pain to Ran, never wanted to be the one to put that look of loss there....



 



‘Ran’ he spoke again, more gently as he cupped the side of Ran’s jaw. Then his voice firmed again, ‘promise me Ran. Promise me you will always be honest with me. Always. Especially,’ here he paused for effect, ‘especially in liking or not liking something. I mean it Ran. I don’t ever want you to tell me you like something when you don’t. Or to find out you endured a food you hated, an activity or experience, or gods help me, anything to do with my touch, because you thought I wanted you to. Ever. I mean it. If you like something, tell me. Be it food, music, something we do together, or, and his voice dropped, ‘or my touch, or kiss,’ his voice firmed again, ‘ I want to know you like it. It’s important.’ Now he sat back, his face and voice both grown stern, ‘this is absolutely not negotiable, if you don’t like something, anything, food, a drink, a cologne, especially anything to do with me touching you in any way, you have to swear you will tell me. Now, right now, promise you will never endure something, never not tell me if you don’t enjoy. If it’s compromiseable, like a date, a movie, we can make concessions, as we get to know each other, there will be things I like that you don’t, and vice versa, westerns over dramas, fish over chicken,  that’s one thing, a compromise, but I don’t want to learn that you suffered through something you hated, chocolate mint, or rollercoasters when they terrify you, or...... that you ever ever let me touch you or.... or anything intimate that you did not like simply because you thought I wanted it. Do you understand Ran? Do you see?’ he stopped a moment and tilted his head. ‘I can see, someone, I’m just guessing, but probably your father (Ran’s eyes widened) someone has filled your head with the idea that it’s not ok to have your own opinion, your own likes, and dislikes, that you are to just take what is given and not complain. And while that may work for the dinner table when you are a child, with me, when you are with me, it is not only OK to have your own opinion, it is essential. Ran I want the real you. Be it desire, food, music or the fucking coffee creamer, I want the real you, not the you that you think I am looking for. Honesty Ran, in everything, or this ends, tonight. I mean it.’  Yohji sat back. A little surprised at his rant, but feeling justified. This was important. Ran had to understand this. The thought that Ran might endure anything, simply because he’d been conditioned that it was expected, that he was somehow less, the thought made Yohji angry. And to think about it relating to his touch, that made Yohji physically ill. He wanted to bring Ran pleasure. The more he spoke with him, the more he suspected Ran had never experimented physically. Ran had  indicated he’d never dated, but Yohji began to suspect he’d never indulged at all. He wanted to open those sensations for Ran, to be there as Ran learned what he enjoyed, as Ran experienced that bliss for the first time. Ran had to understand this, he had to....



 



Ran sat there a moment, stunned, as he absorbed Yohji’s words. He imagined how he’d feel if Yohji did the things he’d described. If he let Ran touch him and hated it, and didn’t tell Ran, or worse, pretended to enjoy... Ran shuddered. Then he considered his own tendency to defer, as Yohji’d correctly assumed his father had instilled such in him. He didn’t do it with everyone, but someone he wanted to please, someone whose favor he wanted..... Ran would drink something unpleasant or eat a food he hated for a client, with no outward indication of distaste. With his father he never even considered voicing an opinion, and certainly not a dislike.  He sighed, and then he looked at Yohji. Yohji so concerned, and yet so determined. Ran smiled, a small smile. The shy smile from the club, uncertain, self depreciating, but eager too...  ‘I promise. Yohji I promise, but-‘ Yohji started to interrupt, ‘No buts Ran’ Ran held up a hand to forestall any further tirade. ‘But, he asserted, I have no...... experience, with ... friends, and most definitely not with..... more.’ He took a deep breath, ‘other than Aya, I have had no confidant, no one to... open up to. No one to... be me with. You will have to, bear with me, as I learn... lots of things. But,’ and his own eyes went instantly cold, hard, his voice flat as his jaw firmed and he stared intently into Yohji’s shocked emerald eyes, ‘this goes both ways Yohji. Honesty in all things. Don’t’, and he faltered a bit, then clenched his fist on the table top and looked firmly at Yohji, ‘don’t endure anything from me either, that is.... unpleasant. If I..... if I do something... wrong... you have to tell me. Promise.’ He all but glared at Yohji who sat there in shock at the sudden transformation.



 



Yohji took this in. Soft Ran to.... what? Krittiker Ran? It was like there were two men. Yohji realized now he was probably the only one apart from Aya to see the real Ran. Krittiker Ran would be an easier face to show the world. And Ran had been alone with this, this hardness, since she’d been hurt. No one, gods. Yohji watched as Ran’s shields began to come down as he sat there, not having answered, they dropped just a bit, then Ran firmed them right back up. Determined not to feel if this was over before it even began... Yohji knew, Ran had the power to hurt him, deeply, and it scared him.... Could he do this? Anyone who could close off that completely, that fast, could close out another with no warning. If he committed to this, he’d lose his heart to Ran, he knew it. And if Ran threw it out, he wasn’t sure he’d be able to grow another. Yohji took a deep breath, damn. The chance to erase this cold Ran, to wear it down, to free the passion he’d seen briefly already, only for him. The chance to be loved that fully, that.... completely. To make this man his, heart, mind, soul and body. His. Yohji swallowed and reached across the table. He took Ran’s hand and brought it his own face, unclenching as he went. He watched until the hardness melted from Ran’s eyes, until  the jaw unclenched and he could see again the man he’d become so fascinated with. ‘yes Ran’ Yohji whispered, yes, honesty, in all things, always, I promise.’ Yohji smield at the shy hope that grew in Ran’s eys. ‘Come on Babe. Let’s head out. It’ll be late as it is, getting back. I’m guessing you have to be in in the morning, hmmm?’



 



Ran sighed, ‘yes, I have a seven thirty conference.’



 



‘Seven thirty Ran, Damn that’s early. Especially for a Monday’ He seemed to be in thought as they made their way to the car. ‘do you have a regular schedule Ran or what? How will I know when to see you?’



 



Ran smiled. ‘the client is calling from London tomorrow. Seven thirty is a compromise for the both of us.’ He frowned a bt, ‘supposedly, my schedule is nine to five, but No, I rarely have a normal schedule from one week to the next.’ His frown deepened, ‘this is the first weekend I have had off in three months or more.’ He turned to look at Yohji, taking in the frown and considering look. ‘I will make an effort Yohji. I will make sure I set aside time for... for this. What is the best day, weekday or otherwise, for your schedule?’



 



‘well,’ Yohji thought as they began to pull from the lot, ‘we usually have gigs on Thursdays Fridays and Saturdays. But in the evenings. We could spend Saturdays together, before, or.... Sundays I am always off, all day. No practice, no gigs. We could do Sundays if you want, then we have no schedule to worry about. And.... maybe Tuesday evenings. We have Tuesdays off from practice and all. Omi does family night with his dad on Tuesdays.’



 



Ran mused a bit. ‘Yes, Sundays would be ideal. And maybe if we can, we could still do a Saturday before a gig. Maybe, if I know ahead, I can even come to a show sometime. And Tuesdays is great – we can do anything you’d like. Maybe movies, or whatever. Maybe..... sometime, I could ... I could cook you dinner. I, I like to cook. We could rent movies or play chess or cards or something.’ Ran smiled.



 



Yohji smiled back, ‘I’d like that Ran. I’d like that a lot.’



 



Ran sat back to enjoy the sight of Yohji driving them home. Yohji exuded sexy as he drove, completely in control, enjoying the power at his disposal, immersed in the feel of the Corvette, the surge as he changed gears. He had such a smile on his face. Ran allowed himself to take in all of Yohji. His muscled arms, strong hands, one confidently steering as the other controlled the gear shift. Ran’s eyes were drawn to Yohji’s strong, toned legs as he depressed the clutch, the bunching of muscle in his thighs. Ran’s gaze moved up, over Yohji’s toned torso, up his neck, and lingered on his profile.



 



Yohji was a very, very handsome man. Very masculine, very ..... sexy. Ran could glimpse the beginning of a five o’clock shadow spreading over Yohji’s jaw and almost moaned at the thought of running his hands over it, kissing , feeling the stubble on his tongue. He watched as Yohji’s full lips wrapped around a cigarette. Ran trembled, slightly, as he watched Yohji’s mouth. He swallowed and shook himself. ‘Yohji’ he said, a little breathless, quiet.



 



‘hmm?’ Yohji glanced over, ‘yeah Babe?’



 



“I .. I really enjoyed today Yohji. Really. Thank you.’ Ran smiled lightly, ‘Aya tolerated me, and my rambling over cars, but she has no love of them herself. Really, she couldn’t care less as long as it gets her from one mall to the next.  Much as I had no interest when she rambled about horses....’ Ran trailed off, still smiling warmly as he recalled Aya rolling her eyes over yet another car story. ‘this was the first time I had a mutually agreeable discussion about cars.’ He sighed.’ It was an excellent choice for our first date.’ He smiled again.



 



‘oh yeah?’ Yohji asked quietly. ‘Any input for our next Ran? What would you like to do?’ Yohji understood, the threat hanging over their heads. The need to be careful. He wanted to do something Ran would be comfortable with, that he would enjoy. ‘There’s plenty left in the date fund Ran. What would you like to do?’



 



Ran thought a moment, pleased Yohji seemed eager for a second date. ‘well, the weather is still nice.... there’s always the boardwalk and the beach. Friends do that, right? Hang out at the beach?’



 



Yohji smiled and allowed himself to reach across and trace his fingers in Ran’s hair, picturing Ran dripping wet from the ocean, eyes sparkling. ‘damn, Ran.’ He sighed. “yes, the beach, the boardwalk. That sounds good. Tuesday evening? What time?’



 



‘Six? we could eat as we browse the boardwalk shops.’ Ran got this far away look to his eyes, that made Yohji smile himself. ‘Aya and I loved the hotdogs on the boardwalk’ his voice grew animated, excited even ‘you can get anything as a topping, chili, peppers, tomatoes, even beans or taco meat. It’s crazy.’ Ran blushed as he realized how he sounded, and looked down at his lap. ‘sorry’ he laughed a bit, ‘I sound like a little kid don’t i?’



 



‘yeah, a little,’ Yohji laughed, ‘but I liked it, you sounded happy, excited. I’d like to see that again Ran.’ Yohji’s voice dropped to a low murmur as he pulled in to the parking lot of Ran’s building. ‘I don’t know Ran, if I can wait two days Ran. Can I... can I call you?’



 



‘I’d like that Yohji, very much.’ Ran’s gaze smoldered as he looked at Yohji. He reached for the door handle.



 



Yohji moaned and grabbed Ran’s arm as he went to get out of the car. ‘wait Ran.’ He said quietly. ‘I wont ask you to let me walk you to the door. I.. I don’t trust myself. Even with the curious eyes of the guard, the nosy neighbors, I may just ravish you. I don’t trust myself to walk away.’ His eyes sparkled, and he grinned. ‘but.....’ and he dropped his voice to a whisper, ‘let me kiss you goodnight Ran?’



 



Ran’s eyes widened and his breath quickened. ‘yes Yohji,’ Ran breathed, ‘yes’



 



Yohji moaned and closed his eyes at the sound of Ran’s voice, the look in his eyes. ‘Ran’ Yohji’s husky voice filled the car as he reached over to cup the back of Ran’s neck.  ‘I like that Ran, a lot. Say it again.’ Ran looked confused for just a moment, then his eyes darkened. His voice firm, but low, he repeated, ‘yes Yohji’ he leaned into Yohji’s lips, ‘kiss me Yohji, please’



 



Yohji gasped and leaned in quickly to claim Ran’s mouth. He held himself in check. Not butterfly kisses, but not too deep either. He held himself back to just taste Ran. Taste every part of him. He’d meant it when he said he didn’t trust himself. Yohji pulled back and took a shuddering breath.



 



‘Ran’ he breathed. Ran’s eyes flew open. He’d never heard his name that way before. Yohji trailed his mouth over Ran’s lips, down over his jaw. Ran moaned, deep in his chest, but could only whisper, ‘yes Yohji... yes Yohji.’ His hands entwined in Yohji’s hair, his breath coming in small pants now.



 



Yohji forced himself to pull back. To grip Ran’s upper arms tightly, holding him at arms length. ‘Ran’ he groaned and took a deep breath. ‘Damn Babe’ another deep breath and he sat back fully, caressing Ran’s face once more. Then he firmly placed both hands on the wheel. He looked at this gorgeous man beside him. Face flushed, eyes dark with desire, unsure, but wanting, oh yes, wanting.  “it’s late Ran.’ Yohji sighed, “I will call you. We’ll hammer out where to meet Tuesday.’



 



Ran regained some control and sat back himself, unable to stop the smile he felt growing. His eyes dropped again, just for a moment. Then he turned to Yohji, a small smug smirk on his face. ‘yes Yohji.’ He answered with just a slight purr.



 



Yohji’s eyes shot open and he growled. ‘you brat!’ he laughed, ‘ok, that’s it. Out of the car before I forget myself and blow off this whole thing and the taking it slow.’ His smile turned soft and he let himself have one last caress of Ran’s jaw with the back of his hand. ‘goodnight Ran. Think of me’



 



Ran closed his eyes, took a slow deep breath and climbed out of the car. He closed the door and looked into Yohji’s eyes as he stepped back and answered once more, softly ‘yes Yohji.’



 



Yohji closed his eyes, then smiled slowly pulled out of the lot.  Ran watched until Yohji turned out onto the main street, then made his way up to his apartment. He was deliciously tired, relaxed in a way he hadn’t been since Aya was hurt. He couldn‘t completely suppress the guilt he felt at finding this while Aya law sleeping, but...she’d want him to be happy. She loved him. He knew she’d want him to pursue this. Ran turned the Sinatra CD back on, as he completed his nightly ritual, thinking of Yohji and determining in his heart to do whatever it took to make this work, to make Yohji his own.



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