“What do you mean he took off?” Dasai growled into his phone. He was standing outside the studio so that he could hear better.
Emmett’s voice was on the other end, “no idea, sweetie. He just stood up suddenly and said he was going. No one’s seen or heard from him since. I figured he’d got a text from you.”
Sweat ran down Dasai’s arms. The glow from the other room glittered in his eyes, giving him a dangerous edge.
“He didn’t seem stressed,” was Emmett’s attempt to calm him.
Dasai made a noise from the side of his mouth, “like he’d let on if he were. I’ll find him.”
“I’m sure he’s fine. You don’t have to stop what you’re doing,” Emmett almost apologized.
“Then you shouldn’t have told me he’s missing,” he snapped. He was already headed back inside so that he could clean up his station.
He disconnected the call. A wave across the room caught Carina’s attention. He gave the signal that he was leaving. She nodded back to acknowledge.
Outside, he checked his phone, but Kuro had yet to respond. It wasn’t like him, and Dasai didn’t care for what it implied. Home, school, and with Dasai; these were the places Kuro would be. Since two of those could be eliminated, it made sense to head home. He walked to his bike. The keys were in his hand when a text came through. Pulling out his phone provided him with the sigh of relief he craved.
“Where the fuck are you, you little shit?” he opened the message.
It was the image of a park sign. Kuro’s smiling face in the selfie beckoned. The note that followed told him to come. The bike came to life.
The breeze that moved across the park was refreshing. Kuro sat atop a rock wall running the length of a pathway. One leg rested folded under him with the other dangling down. In his hands a small package dangled by a decorative ribbon.
“I’m worth it,” he quietly argued the voice in his head that was trying to place doubt.
As a specific scent reached him, he felt instantly at peace! Next to him, Dasai hopped the wall. His hands came to land heavily upon the wall on either side of Kuro. Because the wall was tall, Dasai was looking up at him. It didn’t diminish his presence.
“You got a problem with keeping in touch?”
Kuro saw through the gruff demand. “Sorry. Didn’t mean to make you worry. I just needed a little time.”
Narrowed eyes took in Kuro’s changed appearance. His entire outfit was new. Dyed leather jacket fitted to his body, and dark wash jeans plunging into a rough-looking pair of black ankle-boots.
Kuro held up the package, “it’s your birthday! So, I got you cake.”
Mute surprise had him taking the package from Kuro’s hands.
“And,” Kuro hesitated when it was time to get the words out, “you’re always making sure I’m safe, so I got a proper outfit for when I’m on your bike.”
Dasai held his gaze mutely. A moment grew long.
Until Dasai’s hands brushed Kuro’s knees apart allowing him to move in. At Kuro’s blush Dasai muttered with a grin, “get your mind off sex.”
Dasai’s cheek was on his chest. It brought Kuro’s hands up to hold his head. The sentiment of what Kuro had done had reached Dasai. It had been the right decision on presents! He held Dasai, taking in the way he felt like this. The scent that Kuro loved most enveloped him. He’d have happily spent the rest of his life in this moment!
“How the hell do you like being held like this?” Dasai’s unimpressed mutter reached out from Kuro’s jacket. “I’m hating this.”
With a laugh he released Dasai’s head, “that’s cuz you’re an alpha.”
Dasai stood facing him, “damn rights, I am. Get down to your level.”
Dasai pulled him off the wall. With a mischievous grin Kuro questioned, “isn’t my level on my knees?”
“We’ll get you there,” Dasai had his lips. As they began walking, Dasai wanted to know, “so tell me where you got the money from. You almost never take money from mom.”
Shy pride lifted his lips, “I’ve been selling homework; thirty dollars for non-rush, sixty for rush, and essays starting at a hundred.”
It had left Dasai nearly speechless, “yet I’m the one with the bad rep.”
There was the barest hint of an evil grin, “you’re the reason I can do this at all.”
“This is my fault?” he questioned with half a grin.
“You’re my muscle.” Kuro gave a full grin filled with mischief, “everyone’s afraid to make you mad, so they pay me without a fight.”
Dasai’s hand slid into Kuro’s back pocket, “I’ll always be your enforcer.”
“You know, together, we could own this whole town!”
“You are so getting laid today,” he breathed the words with appreciation.
Kuro giggled, this time not even bothering to hide his blushing, “other than me, what do you want to do for your birthday?”
The front door opened at Dasai’s touch. The other hand was busy laying claim to Kuro’s body. Their lips were engaged. Shoes were being blindly kicked off as the door shut. Dasai began lifting Kuro’s shirt up.
“Ah-hem,” the pronounced cough interrupted.
Kuro, back to the male voice behind that cough, stared at Dasai’s lips in fear. Over his head, Dasai was glaring deadly fire.
In contrast to the fire in his gaze, the words came out on an icy tone, “grandpa.”
Kuro didn’t want to look.
“Mom’s not home. How did you get in?”
“It’s my money that bought this house.”
“It was grandma’s money that she left mom when she died,” Dasai pointed out. He pulled Kuro around so that he was holding him in possessive arms.
Dasai’s grandfather argued with a bitter edge, “it was my money that she stole when she left.”
“It’s called divorce,” Dasai was cold. “Shouldn’t you be over it by now? It’s been ten years.”
“Some betrayals don’t vanish with time.” There was a sneer in his grandfather’s expression, “I’m disappointed to see that you take after your late grandmother concerning orientation.”
“What are you talking about?” Dasai slid his hand up under Kuro’s shirt. “The only pussy I’ve ever touched was the day I was born.”
Kuro held his hands over his face.
“If you’re done asserting your dominance, Kuro and I were about to…”
“Make a decision on supper plans,” a female voice came from behind Dasai.
Kuro sank further into himself.
“What are you doing home?” Dasai was annoyed.
“It’s Monday,” Kuro caught on, holding onto Dasai’s arms.
“And my son’s birthday.” She gave both her boys a kiss on the cheek, “we have family night.”
“Not interested,” Dasai claimed.
“We promised,” Kuro softly pointed out.
“And you bargained,” the smile she gave was merciless. “It’s a deal I plan on upholding. So, if you have something you need to say to your grandson, you should do it quickly, dad.”
“I came specifically because it’s your birthday, Dasai,” he stood proud and confident.
“Not the least bit interested,” Dasai made the statement clear.
“In the next five years, I will be stepping down as CEO. I want you to inherit my business.”
“As the only heir you have, it brings me pleasure to say piss off.”
The fires of anger lit his strong voice, “it’s a family tradition.”
Dasai’s mom stepped in, “which died with my husband.”
Even Dasai was staring at her in shock!
“You groomed him for that purpose. It was no secret that you chose him not only for your business but for your family. I went along with it, convincing myself that I would come to love him. Strange thing is, I think I did. But he didn’t love me.”
“Marriage isn’t about love,” he waved the matter off.
Firmly she corrected him, “but a family is. And what I got from him are these two amazing boys! So, I won’t regret a single thing. But I’m also not going to pretend that our marriage was good. And I won’t allow you to bully Dasai into a life that you choose.”
“He wouldn’t be able to,” this softly spoken certainty came from Kuro. He was holding onto the arms which held him.
“I don’t suppose he would. But I’m also not allowing it,” she stood up to her father. “Dasai’s future is his own. He’s excelling in his chosen field. In fact, he has an exhibit coming up.”
“Art?” there was a sneer.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” she talked over him. “Of both my boys. Dasai is an amazing artist that I would be honored to have featured at the museum’s gallery. Kuro holds top marks at school. Whatever future he decides for himself is going to be bright! And no matter where my boys go in life, they will always have a place here with me, in the home my mother bought. So, if you are done, my boys and I have family night tonight and a special young man to celebrate. You can see yourself out or you can join us. But only on the condition that you understand our family rules. This is a fun night. No school, no work, no pressure. Just fun.”
Dasai stared at her. And what no one else but Kuro knew, was that his hands shook. To keep that secret, Kuro held them tightly to his chest.
“Your mom says that it’s about providing each other with what makes the other happy whenever you can. Darcy says it’s about bringing stable qualities to the relationship. For Emmett it’s about fun and sex,” he fed Dasai a portion of his birthday cake off his finger. Kuro continued, “Danny says it’s about bringing out the best in each other.”
“You’re intelligent, so what do you think?” Dasai asked. They were in each other’s arms. They’d just practiced Emmett’s idea of a good relationship.
Kuro ran his hand up Dasai’s chest as he snuggled in closer. His breath ran over Dasai’s skin, “I guess, no one’s perfect. And no relationship is either. But if we keep trying to be the best versions of ourselves, we’ll be the best version together too. Does that make sense?”
“Nope,” Dasai rolled him onto his back. Hovering over, he replied, “because I thought I was your idea of perfection.”
Kuro watched as Dasai dropped icing onto his chest only to lick it off slowly. Blissful was the smile dancing in his eyes, “but my vision is damaged. You’ve said so.”
“Then point to you, I guess. Which means you get to choose from the bag now,” Dasai’s eyes glittered with anticipation.
“Dasai?” he reached over blindly towards the bag.
“Yah?” hot lips found Kuro’s neck.
“Would it be okay if I said I loved you?” worry danced within his eyes.
Dasai stared down, taking in the words. Lightly, he ran his fingers through Kuro’s hair, “I might allow it.”
A grin emerged to taunt, “meaning you love me!”
“Point revoked,” Dasai pulled his hand away from the bag. “And we both know what I’m reaching for.”
Kuro’s heart fluttered, he reached up just as Dasai moved in. The words he felt in his heart came out on a whisper, “I love you.”
Their lips met. Dasai’s hand moved into the bag.