Without Apology – Episode 17

Emmett’s fingers were in Kuro’s hair fussing with it as they walked.

“Are you two sure I should wear this?” Kuro felt uncomfortable. He pulled at the tight shirt trying to pull it out and down over the skinny jeans he wore.

Emmett held his hands to stop him from ruining the effect. Smiling at the figure he turned towards the window they walked by, “despite how snug they are, Dasai will have these off you in moments. But until he does, you are definitely wearing this.”

Pleased was the embarrassed smile Kuro was dropping to the ground, “but I’m wearing makeup.”

“You’re wearing makeup well,” Santanah added. “If I do say so myself!”

“You really look amazing, Kuro! No changes allowed,” Emmett assured him. “Besides, it’s already too late ‘cuz we’re here!”

There was a lineup of smartly dressed people headed into the gallery. Suddenly, Kuro was wondering if jeans weren’t too casual. Santanah was in a pretty pink skirt with a light cream sweater. Emmett wore jeans as well with a thin, torn, charcoal grey sweater. His jeans held a sparkle to them bringing what should have been a casual outfit to a new level. And he wore it so well that it seemed he would fit right in anywhere.

A lewd whistle got their attention. They turned to find Darcy walking up with Jack. It was Jack that had let out the whistle.

“Oh Kuro!” Darcy breathed in admiration as she noticed him.

“You just became her fantasy,” Emmett chuckled. “And possibly Jack’s too.”

“Emmett,” he grimaced at his friend.

“Couldn’t help it,” Jack shrugged with a careless grin. “Kuro’s makeup looks stellar. I’m just appreciating my sister’s work.”

Santanah blushed with shy pride!

“Let’s get inside,” Darcy waved them towards the stairs.

Jack offered his arm to help her up the stairs. With an enchanted smile, Darcy took his arm.

Emmett leaned closer to Kuro and Santanah, “I think Dasai might be off the hook with Darcy.”

Santanah leaned in, “do you think my brother likes her?”

“He offered his arm,” Emmett nodded.

“Is that what people do to express interest?” it baffled Kuro. “Where’s the ass-grab?”

“Too much Dasai there, sweetie,” Emmett laughed.

Which made Kuro blush, “I’m just saying!”

“Oh, I’m all too familiar with what you’re into.” He pushed them up towards the stairs to follow the other two. “Let’s get inside to find that ass-grabbing hunk of yours.”

They followed the lineup inside to a young man at a table. He was busy marking names on a list and handing out nametags. Darcy and Jack waited nearby. Jack was helping Darcy with hers. The three of them introduced themselves with Santanah going first, followed by Emmett.

“I’m sorry, I don’t see a Kuro on the list,” the man behind the table remarked with a grimace. He wasn’t a bad guy, just someone following the rules.

“He’s the boyfriend of one of the artists. He’s on there,” Emmett assured. His frustration brought out a higher level of animation in his gestures.

“Look again,” Darcy pushed her way back to the table.

“Try Jacob Yates.” From his pocket he struggled to pull out his ID.

“Who?” Emmett and Darcy both asked the question.

“Oh yes, here you are,” relief had the man smiling. “And here’s your badge.”

“Who the hell are you?” Emmett had taken his ID. They were walking into the building as a group.

“Your name isn’t Kuro?” Darcy was looking over Emmett’s arm. Jack and Santanah were also pressing in for a look.

He shook his head, “Dasai’s been calling me that since we were little. It just kinda stuck.”

“Well no wonder the teachers don’t know your name. How have we never known you had a real name?”

“His name is Kuro,” from behind, Dasai slipped his arms around Kuro.

In response, he clung to the strong arms, “hi!”

Dasai kissed his neck bringing out a brighter smile from Kuro, “you are the hottest piece in this room.”

“Emmett did this,” he blushed. The tight shirt and skinny jeans showed off his body. The long-sleeved shirt played hide-n-seek with the hands holding Dasai. The way his hair was styled showcased the makeup accenting his eyes. Every detail had been planned by Emmett.

“Which is why I’ll kill him later,” Dasai breathed the words across Kuro’s cheek. “I don’t like others looking at you.”

“But I’m only looking at you,” Kuro reminded him.

“Hmm, acceptable,” he conceded the battle. “You wanna see the finished piece?”


Darcy, Emmett, Jack, and Santanah followed. It was Darcy that pressed, “why did you ever start calling him Kuro?”

“I wanted a cat when I was a kid. I got him instead, so he got the cat’s name,” Dasai’s deep eyes devoured.

His bottom lip sucked in lightly in a shy response.

“You can’t just change someone’s name because you feel like it,” Darcy argued.

“Can and did,” was the flat reply.

“We should start addressing you properly,” Darcy was making the decision for them.

And so, Kuro addressed an interesting point, “Jack offered his arm to Darcy to walk her inside.”

“Really?” there was a mild level of disgust.

“Kuro,” Darcy blanched!

“And there goes the proper,” Emmett chuckled.

“It was PG,” his voice held disappointment.

“What does that mean?” she demanded with her arms crossed in anger.

Dasai grabbed Kuro’s ass, “we all start somewhere.”

Kuro looked blissfully into the memory those words called up.

“I actually would like to know where you two started,” Emmett confessed.

Dasai shrugged as he looked down at Kuro, “probably when I forced myself on you in the supply closet at school.”

“WHAT?” Emmett and Darcy both said that in unison.

It didn’t faze Kuro, “but I was already dreaming about you before that.”

Dasai lifted a brow in question.

Kuro was blushing, “you’ve always been my favorite memory!”

Hunger shone.

“Okay, before you two start, you were going to show us what you made,” Emmett physically pushed them into walking again.

“It could’ve waited,” Kuro grumbled. It got a snicker out of Dasai.

Each display around the room showcased the artist’s talent and style. Those with bright personalities had displays filled with color and with light. Since he now knew many of the artists, it was easy for Kuro to see the influences those personalities had. He probably could have picked out the artist without being told. When they came to Dasai’s display, it was just as easy to identify it as that. Dark and seductive were the tones within the glass. There was also an elegance which captivated the interest. One piece in particular was drawing a crowd. That could have been because the design was more than just suggestive.

There was a pause to find the words. Emmett’s gestures mirrored Darcy’s words, “it’s um, bold!”

Emmett added on, “provocative, one might say.”

“Artistic, definitely,” Santanah tacked on.

Kuro had Dasai in an embrace reminiscent of the sculpture. Around his gentle plying of kisses, he expressed his admiration, “I love it! It’s beautiful!”

“The piece depicts them…doing it, right?” Jack asked Emmett.

With a smirk, “oh most certainly.”

Carina walked up to them, “and it’s generating the most bids.”

“I knew Kuro’s ass would sell. But that’s also why I’m not willing to,” Dasai kept Kuro’s body close to his.

With an uncaring tone, “yah, don’t care. Each piece here is for sale, and the profits go to the school. Part of the deal you signed up for.”

Kuro snickered, “my ass is for sale.”

“We’re getting close to graduation. You know what you’re going to do after school?” Dasai walked about with Kuro in his arm.

“Actually,” Kuro hesitated, “I’ve been talking to your grandpa.”

“Really?” his fingers were running absently over Kuro’s waist.

“He wants to retire in five years, so I’ve made him a deal.” Kuro glanced up, “but only if you agree.”

“What did you do?”

A look of shy pride emerged, “next September I start working there while taking business classes that the company pays for. In five years, I can have the degrees that he requires, and the experience the board of directors wants.”

“Is that what you want?”

“I know it probably seems like the easy path,” Kuro wavered, his eyes falling to the floor.

Dasai lifted his chin, “for others maybe, but not for you. And that’s the level I judge you at.”

Emotion sprang up, having Kuro pull them together for a kiss!

“Just one day, I’d love to hear the world through Kuro’s ears,” Emmett chuckled the remark to Jack as they walked on by.

Dasai flipped them the finger.

Kuro thought of something else to share, “and this summer he’s agreed to pay for you and I to take a trip.”

“A trip?”

“Carina told me of an expo…”

Dasai had his chin in his hand. Tensions rose, “you got him to agree to pay for that?”

Kuro’s head tilted, “from his own pocket. I said we didn’t want the company’s approval, we wanted his, so it had to be him that paid for this.”

“But I don’t give a shit about his approval,” Dasai’s intensity grew.

“But he doesn’t know that,” a smug grin appeared. “That’s what he gets for talking bad about your grandma.”

“How did you work all this?” he was deeply impressed.

There was a dismissive shrug, “after you spilled the beans about my homework ventures, I outlined the business model for him.”

“You have a business model?”

“Sure do,” he grinned. “It’s more or less a sliding scale because some people can’t afford as much, others can afford more, and some people deserve the dumbass tax.”

“Fine, I’ll say it,” Dasai ran his fingers through Kuro’s bangs. He leaned close, nearly taking a kiss, but pausing to whisper, “I love you.”

Kuro melted right into the kiss!

“The problem is that he wants too desperately to be loved,” Darcy seemed very certain. She and Santanah were walking by. They had been watching a young man in his twenties fumble around a pickup line.

The intensity of the kiss was leading somewhere good.

“What do you mean?” Santanah was at a loss.

With a shrug and a shake of her head, Darcy explained, “when you’re that desperate for love, you’ll settle for anyone. Even someone that’s terrible for you.”

Kuro stood up straighter.

“Oh for fuck sakes,” Dasai ground out! Glaring at Kuro, “don’t you even start thinking that through.”

“Thinking what through?” Emmett asked as he walked up with a plate of food in hand.

“Darcy’s big mouth is going to get it in his head that one of us is desperate for love,” his hand waved about in frustration.

“I didn’t say anything like that. And you weren’t a part of our conversation,” she argued! “What I was saying to Santanah is that some people will settle for anyone because they want love so badly. I never said that was you.”

“Even I know Kuro’s going to internalize that,” Santanah shook her head.

“Thank you,” Dasai sighed.

“Hey, if the shoe fits,” Jack shrugged his shoulders.

“It’ll fit up your ass,” Dasai warned.

“He’s already overthinking it,” Emmett was watching Kuro. “How do we manage damage control?”

“Guys,” Kuro snapped back to them.

“I can take him to a back room right now,” Dasai made the suggestion.

“Might be the only way,” Emmett sighed as though time were against them.

“Really?” a lopsided grin was on Kuro’s lips.

“Are you arguing this?” Dasai challenged him.

Which got Kuro thinking, “I don’t think that I should be.”

“Don’t think so either,” Dasai chuckled. He pulled Kuro to him.

“I’m stopping you two right there,” Carina physically pulled them apart. “Before you start, there’s someone you’re meeting right now. Move it.”

Carina hauled Dasai away.

Kuro was scowling.

“Trust me,” Emmett encouraged, “he wants you to be jealous.”

“Really?” Kuro held doubt.

“You like it when he’s jealous, right?”

A flush ran over his cheeks. It was hard to put into words exactly why he did.

Emmett continued, “everyone wants their partner to be jealous every now and then.”

“That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever said,” Darcy told him.

“I beg to differ,” he was oddly confident about this. “There was the time I said Justin was hot.”

“Jealousy isn’t ever cute. It just shows how unstable a relationship is.”

“If I don’t see a little jealousy, then how do I know I’m not just a passing fancy?” was Emmett’s argument. “Everyone has some insecurities, and it’s okay to show them. So I say, you go over there and haul your boyfriend away by the arm. Don’t let no hussy come between you!”

“Do not listen to him Kuro,” Darcy held his arm. “Emmett’s single, remember. There’s a reason for that.”

“You’re single too,” Emmett pointed out, and received a slap on the arm for it.

“I’m also right.”

Kuro looked on at Dasai talking with that girl. She was coy and pretty and she touched his arm! She was letting the touch linger. Dasai was letting the touch linger!

“Kuro, don’t worry about it,” Darcy clung to him. But to his ears, he heard uncertainty.

He had to do something. Eyes locked upon Dasai, he paraphrased, “if you want something you take it without apology.”

“Damn rights,” Emmett cheered around his drink.

“What are you doing?” Darcy tried to hold him back.

His heart pounded inside his chest bringing out a cold sweat on his skin. He strode forward on a resolve that didn’t feel very strong to him. To keep from shattering, his sights were focused like a laser. His boyfriend was all Kuro saw.

“Take what I want without apology,” he reiterated to himself several more times.

Until he stood before Dasai. Cool indifference turned upon him found him about to waiver.

“Um, excuse us,” the girl seemed thrown.

Kuro’s hand, partially hidden beneath the long, tight sleeve, reached up. Trembling fingers found the back of Dasai’s head. Standing on his toes, he brought their lips together. It was an open-mouthed kiss with plenty of action to make his claim clear. Dasai’s warm breath brushed across his cheek. Lightly, Kuro’s teeth pulled at Dasai’s bottom lip.

Falling back on his heels, he let his shaking hand trail down to Dasai’s chest. He held that gaze, “I wanted that. I’m n-not sorry.”

Warm amusement washed over Dasai, “you are multiple levels of cute when you’re jealous.”

The sparkle in Dasai’s eyes caught the girl off guard, “umm…”

A hand slid around Kuro’s back to land possessively. The suggestion wasn’t subtle, “excuse us while I take this without apology.”

“Dasai,” Kuro’s hand covered his blushing face!

“You started this,” he pulled Kuro’s hand away.

“Just hurry before someone else comes to interrupt,” Kuro let his frustration show.

Dasai pulled them away. The girl was left standing mid-conversation.

Dasai’s mom was engaged in a deep conversation with one of the guest artists who had taken an interest in Dasai’s work. She had her phone out showing something to the artist. Amused was the look the man held. Peering over, Emmett caught a glimpse of Kuro snuggled tight to Dasai as they both lay sleeping on the couch. Upon Dasai’s face, a rare look of bliss.

Emmett hid a smile as he looked away. An interesting piece across the room caught his gaze. A slow smile surfaced. The dark eyes sparkling at him beckoned. Smiling back, Emmett moved towards Vince.