Well, it's been close to a year, but I'm finally updating! I had writer's block from hell and could not write a single word for months. That, for the most part, is gone now so I hope to update again sooner rather than later. I have all of August free since I got laid off from my job a month earlier than anyone expected, and I don't start uni again until September. This is a relatively short chapter, but it's one of those situations where if I didn't end it here, it would go on for another 10 pages. I really felt like updating tonight. Also, if you're interested, go back and re-read chapter 2. I'm slowly re-writing the older chapters and that's as far as I got so far. Anyways, enjoy!

32-32-32

NIGHt OF StARS – CHAPtER THIRtY-tWO

32-32-32 (A Week Later) 32-32-32

Yoru, Tsukiko, and Hideki filed wordlessly into their apartment. The evening had not gone well. What was supposed to have been a fun-filled birthday party for their youngest sister, ended up taking a disastrous turn towards the end of the evening.

"Yocchan..." Hideki started while they took off their shoes.

"I'm going to bed."

"Oh, Yoru! Don't sulk!" Tsukiko rolled her eyes with a huff.

"Who's sulking? I just can't believe she did that to me."

"You brought it on yourself. What would possess you to say something like that, anyways? You had to know she'd do something, Toki's not the kind of girl to sit back and take it." She scolded.

"I wasn't thinking, I guess. I mean, sure, it was a cheap shot to make, but I never expected Toki to actually hit me. I hope she doesn't stay mad for too long..."

"I'm sure she'll forgive you. Everybody puts their foot in their mouth at one time or another." Hideki rubbed his fingertips over Yoru's knuckles.

"This wasn't just putting my foot in my mouth... I swallowed my shoe." Yoru sighed.

"Then apologize to her, and next time, think before you speak. At least give our dad a chance before you condemn him. If you weren't so hot-headed about it all this never would've happened." Tsukiko lectured.

Yoru scoffed and walked to his room.

The whole evening had been a strange one. The tension had been high since the beginning, when Yoru was first informed that their father had been released from the hospital.

32-32 Earlier that evening... 32-32

Yoru was trying to act like nothing was bothering him, but it was obvious that he was in a bad mood.

"Ah, so I see you heard the news." Tokiko joined her younger brother on the couch and placed a drink before him. "Drink up."

"Supplying alcohol to a minor again, Toki?" Yoru looked from his sister to the drink and then back again.

"Oh, like you weren't about to get one anyways."

"Isn't it kinda wrong to be sneaking alcohol at a child's birthday party?"

"If it's wrong then I don't want to be right. Besides, we're not hurting anybody." Toki shrugged. She frowned at Yoru's turned head. "You can at least look at me when I speak to you. Akiko sure has some gloomy brothers at this party. That little guy is sulking in the opposite corner of the room. What's his name again, 'Kiku'? If you're not gonna have your drink, maybe you should give it to him." She laughed. "D'you think he's jealous he's gotta share his sister now or something?"

"How should I know?" Yoru downed his drink and shifted on the couch, pulling his feet up and turning to face his sister. "You're against this, right? Who does he think he is?"

"Who? Kiku? I think he and Akiko are just really close, you can understand what it's like growing up with a sister your own age. You and Tsuki have such a strong bond, they probably do too." She reasoned.

"No, not that kid." He groaned. "Our so-called father. Tsuki keeps telling me to give him a second chance, but isn't that just a bunch of bullshit? We don't owe him anything. You agree with me, don't you?"

"Well..."

"Give me a break! You're the LAST person I thought would go against me on this!"

"We should at least give him a shot. Everybody deserves a second chance, right?"

"He doesn't deserve anything."

"Yoru, please..."

"We owe him nothing!" Yoru said angrily and stood up from the sofa.

Tokiko caught him by the wrist before he was able to walk away. "I just want us to be a family again!"

"We already ARE a family! We don't need that stinking lush as a father!"

"Dad wants to change that... He's in rehab now, I drove him there this morning."

"Heh!" Yoru sneered. "I never thought I'd see the day that YOU of all people would send someone to rehab for a drinking problem."

"You're a son of a bitch..."

"Hey, careful there, she's your mom too." He said with a snide grin.

The crack of Tokiko's hand against his cheek echoed in the large room. "Get out of this house."

32-32 End flashback 32-32

"I should go talk to him." Hideki said after standing in the quiet apartment with Tsukiko for nearly a minute. Yoru had since escaped to his bedroom.

"Hideki, wait..." Tsukiko spoke up as he turned to walk away. "Please, I really need to talk to you, and now might be my only chance..."

"What? What do you mean?"

Tsukiko glanced down the hall to where Yoru's bedroom door was slightly open. "It's probably better if we go to the balcony."

They got outside and Tsukiko almost immediately lit up a cigarette. "I didn't know you smoked..." Hideki said in surprise.

"I quit for a while... but old habits die hard, don't they?"

In the moonlight, Hideki noticed how different she looked now compared to before. She was already a thin woman, but the clothes that so often hugged her curves before seemed looser on her body now. Her roots were growing out visibly beneath her red-streaked hair and her usually sparkling blue-green eyes seemed dull and lifeless. The lips that would always smile so sweetly at him now puffed out pale grey poison as Tsukiko leaned against the railing, smoking her cigarette. She spent so much time away from home that Hideki hadn't noticed how much she had changed. He could barely recognize the young woman before him, and it sent chills down his spine. "Did you lose weight?"

She sighed. "It's noticeable, isn't it? I've lost about eight pounds. I just can't take this anymore. I don't know what to do!"

"Are you sick?"

"Wouldn't that be all I needed right now?" Tsukiko huffed sarcastically and sat down on the cool cement of the balcony. "... I feel so lost, Hideki. It's like I'm trying to scream but no sound is coming out. I can't keep living like this. I can't."

"What's the matter?"

"Oh god, where do I start? Takeshi... I think he wants things to be more serious, I think he really likes me. It was okay when I thought it was just sex, but lately... I don't know, he's just different."

"Don't you like him?"

"No!" She sighed in frustration. "Well, I do like him, but I don't want to date him. I thought we were just friends... I have enough trouble dealing with Rei and all his delinquent buddies."

"What do you mean?"

"He treats me like some sort of party favor that he can just pass around to his friends whenever he wants. I drink all the time now when I see him just to make the time go by."

"Why don't you just break it off with him?" Hideki suggested.

She sighed again. "it's not that simple. I've done so many things that I'm not proud of... Rei would expose it all if I left him."

"But you can't keep this going forever..."

"I know. I just need to make it through to graduation. After that, I won't have to worry about Yoru finding out."

"Don't do this just for Yoru's sake, he'll understand. He's done things he's not proud of either."

"No. He can't know. Don't you dare tell him, he'll only worry about me."

"Well of course he will! I'm worried too!" Hideki reprimanded.

"But you don't understand... I look at Yoru, and I can see that he's doing so much better nowadays..." Tsukiko looked down at the street below. "In fact, he doesn't really need me at all now, does he?"

"Don't be crazy, he'll always need you." He said, gently touching her arm to comfort her.

"But not the same as before... maybe as long as you're here, I don't need to be. It's not all on me to take care of him anymore. I'm not his only chance, like before. I need to get away from this... all of this. Maki's always saying that we shouldn't be living on our own over here... Maybe I should finally accept their offer to move in with them."

"It's kinda far from our school, don't you think?"

"That's the thing... I'd be dropping out."

"What? Why now? Tsukiko, it's our last year of school..."

"But I graduated from middle school; I've completed my mandatory education. Not like it matters, I'm failing every class anyways." She exhaled another puff of smoke. "Look, my point is... I don't like myself anymore. I want to be a better person, and I can't be that here. All of this is just holding me back. Maybe I'll get tutored along with Yuki for rest of the school year and I can just disappear from that school and everything negative that goes along with it. Maybe Rei wouldn't bother exposing anything then if there wasn't as much to gain from it."

"Well, I guess if that's what you really want..." Hideki sighed.

"Oh, don't look at me like that... Angel, you know I can't live like this anymore. And it's not like I won't still see you guys... besides, you both have jobs now to keep you busy without me being around. Okay? It'll be alright."

"So, it's a set thing? You're definitely leaving?" He asked and Tsukiko nodded in response. "When?"

"Soon enough, maybe a month. I need to find a way to tell Yoru." She stood and flicked her cigarette down to the street below. It drifted silently, and they both watched it fall until the embers died and it seemed to disappear in the nighttime air. "We should go inside. He's probably waiting for you. We'll talk about this some other time... for now, keep it a secret from him, okay? I need to tell him myself."

"...Alright." Hideki reluctantly agreed. "But tell him soon, okay?" They paused again in the living room.

"Don't worry Angel, I promise." Tsukiko gave him a hug and her hands lingered on his shoulders. "Thanks for listening to me today. I really needed that. You're a good guy, Hideki, and a great friend. It's times like this that I wish I was born a boy."

Hideki chuckled. "What are you talking about?"

She smiled and gave him a brief kiss on the lips. "Goodnight."

"Um... g-goodnight, I guess." Hideki stuttered awkwardly and headed to his room.

32-32-32 One Week Later 32-32-32

"So Yoru's working his first shift this morning, huh?" Kohji asked as he and Hideki walked into the gym's locker-room.

"Yeah, and it's my turn tomorrow. I think it'll be okay though, Hajime seems to like it." Hideki shrugged.

"He's pretty psyched that you guys are gonna be workin' with him. He told me that he's the one doing the training."

"When did you talk to him?"

"A few days ago. I called him up and he wasn't doing anything special so we went out."

"Went out? Like..."

"We drove around for a bit, got some coffee, then went to the park and talked for a couple hours."

"You talked?"

"Yeah, what else would we do?" Kohji laughed.

"Well, I just thought..." Hideki trailed off with a blush.

"We didn't fuck, if that's what you're tryin' to say." He turned to Hideki with a grin.

"Oh..." Hideki shifted uncomfortably, unsure of how to respond. "So, what exactly is going on with you two now? You're not dating?"

"Nah." Kohji shook his head. He brushed out his long hair in the mirror and tied it back in a ponytail. "Why complicate things by 'dating' and 'relationships'?"

"I don't know... Maybe because it's normal?" Hideki waited until Kohji was facing the opposite direction to get changed into his regular clothes so that he wouldn't see.

Kohji turned around before Hideki had put on his shirt. "Normal? Oh! Hey..." He gave a sly grin. "Lookin' good."

"Kohji, stop it."

"I mean it. Have you been workin' out? Well, other than today with me?"

"I've been going running with Yoru each morning... It's been about three weeks now, I guess."

"It's already showing. And just when I thought you couldn't get any sexier..." He brushed his hand against Hideki' arm.

The younger boy's breath caught in his throat and he backed against his locker. "But..."

Kohji leaned over him and grinned. "Relax. You gotta learn how to take a compliment." He gave a hearty laugh, obviously pleased with himself for succeeding in giving Hideki another scare. "Have you called Osamu yet? You gonna do the modeling thing?"

"I've been considering it... I was kinda hoping I'd run into him today, but I guess not." Hideki eased up with a shrug.

"Oh, he's here. Didn't you see him?"

"What? No." Hideki blinked.

"I'll go get him, he was asking about you the other day."

"Really?"

"Yeah. Wait here, and uh... keep your shirt off." Kohji winked and set off to find Osamu.

Hideki waited nervously for almost ten minutes before Kohji returned with Osamu in tow. "Hey Kitten, sorry that took so long. It turns out he was in the pool." He chuckled.

"Ah, Hideki! It's so nice to see you again. Do you mind if I call you Hideki?"

"Ah, yes. That's fine." Hideki smiled nervously.

"I'm glad to hear that you're still interested. I was afraid that maybe I was too direct and scared you off." Osamu was still wet from his shower, and the water dripped from his hair into his eyes causing him to pause while he wiped his face with a towel. "I assume you have some questions to ask me about it all." He untied the towel from around his waist and dried the rest of his body.

"I, uh..." Hideki stopped. Osamu may have been in his mid-forties, but you wouldn't know it to look at his body. He was in better shape than most men half his age, in fact, better than anyone Hideki had ever met. Every muscle on Osamu's body was perfectly defined. It was obvious that he worked hard to stay fit, but he wasn't bulging with muscle like some of the men Hideki saw at the gym. Osamu's body was perfectly proportionate form of a streamlined swimmer. No wonder he had been in the pool when Kohji had found him, it occurred to Hideki that Osamu must swim there as his workout every day.

"Is something wrong?"

Hideki snapped out of his thoughts. "No, it's just..." He cleared his throat. "I'm supposed to be eighteen, right?"

"Unless I get permission from your parents, yes. Why? Is that a problem?"

"I don't exactly live with my parents anymore..."

"Oh?" Osamu inquisitively raised a dark eyebrow.

"Yeah... and my mom doesn't speak to me anymore. My parents got a divorce, so I don't even know how to reach her." Hideki explained.

"You say they're divorced? What about your father, do you still see him?" Osamu asked curiously.

"I do, but I don't know how thrilled he'd be about modeling..."

"What's his name? I'd like to meet with him."

"Kentaro. Akita Kentaro."

"How about today? Do you think he's free to talk about this now?" Osamu motioned for Hideki to follow him to his locker and he quickly got changed. "I'd like to see him as soon as possible... I'm a very busy man, I don't get a lot of free time."

"Oh... sure. I guess it'd be okay if we went to see him now. He should be home." Hideki shrugged nervously as Kohji came looking for them. He hadn't even noticed that Kohji had been gone until that point.

"Aw, really? I was gonna ask if you wanted to see how your boy was doin' on his first day." Kohji told Hideki when he overheard their conversation. "I told Hajime that we were gonna stop by there on your way home... they're expecting us."

"Oh... uh..."

"That's alright. I don't mind making a stopover. This Hajime... is he your boyfriend?"

"No, he's my best friend."

"BUT his boyfriend is working there right now. Let's go!" Kohji urged them forward. "Osamu, you can just follow us out and leave with Hideki from the omelet shop afterwards." They separated and Hideki went along with Kohji to his car.

"I don't know anymore... maybe this is a bad idea..." The younger boy squirmed uncomfortably on the pale leather seats as they drove.

"What? Why?"

"This man, Osamu... is he alright? He seems friendly, but he makes me a little uncomfortable."

"He's a good guy. How does he make you uncomfortable?"

"He just seems so eager to get to know me..." Hideki gave a small shudder at the thought. "Is he gay?"

"He's never mentioned it before. I think he may have a wife, even... well, unless that rumor I heard about him is true... In either case, you don't gotta worry." Kohji grinned, amused by what he had heard.

"Rumor?"

"I don't know how true it is... but one of the guys told me Osamu's celibate. One too many bad breakups caused him to swear off relationships, and sex, for good. So even if he is gay, he wouldn't be after you for that." He chuckled.

"Really? Wow."

"Shocking, huh? The relationship thing I get, but sex? Fuck, I don't know how he lives. O think that body is going to such a waste, a pity, really. I'd die before I ever gave up fuckin'." He leaned forward on the steering wheel when they stopped at a red light.

"Yeah, I bet." Hideki huffed and looked out the window.

"What did you just say?"

"What about Tohru? Isn't he your boyfriend? You keep saying how you're not into relationships, but aren't you actually in one right now? Do you not care about him at all?"

"Of course I care about him. About the same way I care for Yoru, or even you."

"Or Hajime?"

"...Possibly. It's still early. I don't know him that well yet." The light turned green and Kohji continued to drive. "I dunno what you're so pissed about." He said hotly.

"You're suddenly spending so much time with him... I find it hard to believe that all you do together is talk."

"Well maybe we have had sex since that first night; I don't see how it's any of your business anyways."

"He's my best friend and I don't want you using him." Hideki said angrily.

"I'm not using him! I'm listening to him, which is more than anyone can say about you." Kohji snapped at him.

"What?"

"You say he's your best friend, but what have you done for him lately? He needs someone to talk to and you're never there for him anymore."

"I-"

"You abandoned him after Yuuto died."

"I didn't-" It felt as if a dagger had twisted in Hideki's stomach, and he couldn't think of anything to say.

"You did. Didn't you ever stop to think of how hurt he would be? You knew him better than anyone."

Hideki grew quiet and took a deep breath. He blinked back the tears stinging his eyes, but refused to look anywhere but out the window.

"Well? I know it's harsh, but you really ain't gonna answer me?"

"... I know." Hideki's voice cracked and he cleared his throat.

"What?"

"I know I failed him as a friend, I'm not stupid. It wasn't on purpose." Hideki said quietly. "... I just didn't know what to say."

32-32-32

"Hey! I remember you guys!" Takuya beamed a smiled when he saw Hideki and Kohji walk through the door. Of the small omelet restaurant. "You're Hajime-san's other friends, right? He said you'd be stopping by, I'll tell him you're here." Takuya stopped quickly when a customer approached the cash register to pay. He motioned for them to wait as he went into the kitchen.

It was at that moment that Osamu came up behind Hideki. "Is that your friend? Because if that's your boyfriend, I'm shocked."

Hideki jumped and spun around. "Huh?"

"He's cute and all, but you could do a lot better."

Kohji let out a jovial laugh. "Nah. Yoru looks way different."

"Yoru? Is that his real name?"

"Yup."

"What about his family name?"

Hideki interrupted before Kohji answered. "He doesn't really like people knowing..."

"Oh?" Osamu said with an arch of his brow. "Interesting... He sounds like quite the handful."

"Not really..."

"Kitten's just being polite, Yoru can be pretty difficult sometimes."

"Kohji!" Hideki scolded. "He just likes to be different; you of all people should understand that." He said sternly. "And don't call me 'Kitten' all the time, it's embarrassing."

"Relax..." Kohji attempted to rub the other boy's shoulders but it only made Hideki tense more. "Look! There's your lovely handful now."

Hideki shrugged Kohji's hands away and took a step forward as Yoru and Hajime walked over. He avoided looking directly at Hajime, his argument with Kohji on the way over was still bothering him. For Kohji to say those things must've meant that Hajime told him his feelings about it to begin with. Hideki resolved to talk about it while they were together for his training shift the next day.

For the time being, Hideki was going to focus on two things and two things only: finding out how Yoru's shift was going, and figuring out how he was going to convince his dad to give permission for Hideki to model. "Hey..." He smiled at Yoru. "How's it going so far?"

"You're checking up on me?" Yoru laughed. "Does this mean I get to come watch you work tomorrow?"

"No way." Hideki chuckled.

"Damn." He grinned. "But, the day's going pretty well. Hajime-kun is really helpful. How was your workout? Did Kohji behave this time?"

"Yeah, it was fine."

Yoru looked around Hideki to see Kohji and Osamu. "Is that older guy here with Kohji?"

"He's Kohji's friend, but actually he's here for my sake." Hideki replied. The confused look on Yoru's face led him to continue. "Remember how I told you about that guy that wanted me to model? That's him, Aquino Osamu. We're leaving after this to go talk to my dad to see if he'll give me permission to do it."

"Ohh... So, do I get to meet him?"

"Oh, uh, yeah... Um, just one second..." Hideki turned around and motioned for Osamu to come over while Kohji and Hajime continued their own conversation. "Aquino-sama, I'd like to introduce you to someone..."

"Aha, this must be Yoru. Kohji tells me you're a bit of a free spirit." Osamu shook a stunned Yoru's hand. "Please, call me Osamu. You see? This is more like what I was talking about when I said earlier that you could do better." He said, turning to Hideki. "He's a similar height, got an attractive face... still not how I would've pictured your boyfriend judging by your style and general appearance. I was picturing more of a 'boy next door' type, but I suppose it works for the two of you." He turned his attention back to Yoru who was staring at him like a deer caught in the headlights. "You're very thin, boy... What happened?"

"Um, genetics mostly..."

Osamu stared hard at Yoru for a moment causing the boy to fidget uneasily and look to Hideki for help. The man spoke just before Hideki was going to step in. "You have sisters, don't you?"

"Y-yeah. Six of them."

"I see." Osamu paused. "Your family name is 'Hoshino' isn't it?"

Hideki gasped. "How did you know?"

"Your older sister, Tokiko, does quite a bit of modeling when she's not performing... I've met her a number of times. I thought I had heard the name Yoru somewhere before. She told me once that her little brother Yoru was the only sibling as tall as she was. You look very similar."

"We all do." Yoru eased into a slightly awkward smile. "We all look like our mother."

"She must be an exceptionally beautiful woman."

"She was, I guess. I don't remember her much." Yoru admitted.

Osamu looked intrigued, but decided not to push the issue any further. "Well Hideki, should we sit for a while?"

"Um, sure..."

"Oh!" Yoru suddenly remembered he was supposed to be working and got flustered. "You can sit wherever you want. Can I get you anything? Do you want to see menus?"

"I'll just have a glass of water, thanks." Osamu said as he took a seat.

"Okay, I'll get that for you right away." Yoru gave a friendly smile. "Deki? You want anything?"

"Nah, I'm okay." Hideki grinned.

"What? What's that look for?"

"Nothing..." Hideki laughed. "Get back to work, don't just stand there!" He teased.

"Don't even start with me." Yoru shook his head with a chuckle. He blushed when he looked over at Osamu. "I'll, uh... be right back with your, um..."

"Water." Osamu repeated.

"Right. Water, got it." Yoru rushed off to the kitchen with his face turned towards his feet.

"Whoa! Careful there!" Takuya steadied Yoru when they nearly collided. "You okay? Is some customer giving you a rough time?"

"No, I'm just embarrassing myself, that's all." Yoru took a step back from the younger boy.

"Why don't you take your break now?"

"I'm okay, really! You don't need to-"

"You're not in trouble. I was coming to tell you and Hajime-san to go on your breaks since it wasn't busy. Need me to take over any orders?"

"No, all I need is a glass of water..."

"Okay. Can I get you anything for your break?" Takuya offered with a smile.

"N-no. I'm fine." Yoru poured the glass of water and hastily left to give it to Osamu. Kohji was sitting at the table as well when he returned, and Hajime was standing nearby, still chatting. He placed the glass down before Osamu and tapped Hajime on the shoulder. "Um... Takuya-kun said we can go on our breaks now."

"Oh yeah, I guess it's pretty dead in here, huh?" Hajime looked around the empty restaurant with a chuckle.

"Perfect. Grab a seat, you guys. When you're done your break Osamu and Kitten can get on their way and I'll head home." Kohji noticed Hideki frown and he corrected himself. "Sorry, Hideki, I'm workin' on it."

"Hm? What's this about?" Yoru asked as he slid into his seat beside Hideki.

"He doesn't want me to call him Kitten in public. Apparently it embarrasses him."

"Toki calls you that all the time... you never care."

"I think he's embarrassed because of me." Osamu stated simply and his eyes fell on Hideki. "Am I right?" He smiled with a self-satisfied chuckle when the blond blushed at his question. "That's what I thought. I seem to have that effect on people... except for Kohji, for some reason. He's never been uncomfortable around me." He grinned at Kohji. "Have you?"

Kohji laughed. "Nah, I'm not the type to get uncomfortable with anything."

"Ha! I'd say..." Yoru chuckled quietly.

"You're one to talk, Babe." He shook his head with an amused grin. "Smartass." He turned to Hajime. "Well, it's the moment of truth... Hajime, how is our boy Yoru doing on his first day?"

"Very well. He's a quick learner."

Hideki smiled. "That's good to hear." He rubbed his hand on Yoru's thigh underneath the table and his boyfriend flinched away.

They exchanged frowns and Yoru excused himself from the table. "Can I speak with you for a minute? ... Alone?" He asked as he stood.

"Uh... sure. I'll be right back, you guys."

They went to the men's washroom for some privacy. Hideki immediately slid his hands around Yoru's hips and pulled him against him. He leaned in for a kiss, but Yoru pulled away. "Quit it, okay? What do you think you're doing?"

"Well, I think that I'm trying to kiss you. Why do you keep pulling away?"

"You told him that you're dating me?!" Yoru was clearly embarrassed. "Why would you do that?"

"I blurted it out accidentally when I first met him. He asked if I ran track and I said 'No, but my boyfriend does'." Hideki admitted sheepishly. He hadn't expected Yoru to be so worked up about this.

"Is he gay?"

"I don't know. But it doesn't matter anyways, he's fine with it."

Yoru sighed. "Deki, do you really want to try modeling? You've barely even talked to me about it."

"Yes, I do. Do you have an issue with it?"

"No, I just thought if it was something you really wanted to do, you would've been more eager to talk about it."

"I wouldn't be taking him to meet my dad if I wasn't serious. I wouldn't have brought Osamu here to meet you if I wasn't serious. He takes a personal interest in the guys he deals with, and well, you and my dad and my sister are the only family I really have anymore..."

Yoru's face softened and he leaned against the wall, extending one hand to touch Hideki's arm. "If you want this... then maybe you should be a little more cautious about your image... even if your boss is 'fine' with it."

"What 'image'?" Hideki laughed. "It's not like I'm in the public eye."

"No, not yet. But we are in a public place."

Hideki kissed his neck and once again Yoru pushed him away gently. "What? I thought you liked this sort of thing... You sure seemed to that day you got your haircut..."

Yoru stayed strong. "This is different. It's my first day working here, and it's your first day tomorrow. You wouldn't act this way at school, would you?"

"No."

"Exactly. This is the same sort of situation. These are people that we'll be working with all the time, so until we get to know them a little better let's try to keep it quiet, okay?"

"Okay." Hideki agreed.

"Thanks." Yoru linked his fingers with Hideki's and gave him a little kiss.

"Oh, so it's okay as long as you make the first move...?"

"Precisely." He stifled a laugh when Hideki began kissing down his neck, knowing how it drives Yoru crazy. "Oh no, please, not now. I don't know what time I'm supposed to be back from my break."

"We'll make it quick."

"Oh, how romantic." Yoru teased sarcastically. "What's got you so hot and bothered today? Seeing all those guys with their rippling muscles, all covered in sweat, walking around in the locker-rooms towel-whipping each other's naked bodies?"

Hideki blushed. "Shut up, that doesn't happen."

"No? Well, something must have happened to get you this excited."

"Stop it. Nothing happened." Hideki felt guilty about how shamelessly his eyes had inspected every inch of Osamu's body earlier. Is it possible to strip someone with your eyes if they're already naked? Is it considered cheating if you only look, but don't touch?

Yoru laughed. "I'm just teasin' ya." He patted Hideki's shoulder and turned to leave. "We should be getting back before Kohji starts saying stuff about what he thinks we're doing in here. And I don't want to be late getting back from my break, this is my first real job, I don't want to screw it up."

32-32-32

"So, is everything alright with that boyfriend of yours?" Osamu decided to ask as they parked outside Kentaro's house.

"Yoru? Yeah, everything is fine. He was just a little embarrassed and stressed out, but it's alright now." Hideki explained.

"Was that all?"

"Yeah. It's his first day at that job and he didn't really know that I was coming, or you were coming, or anything. He was just a little uncomfortable."

"Ah, I see. I owe his an apology, I suppose. Could you pass that on for me? When you base your entire career on being intimidating to other men, it gets a bit difficult to control. I'd appreciate it if you could tell him that I'm sorry if my presence added to his discomfort." Osamu smiled. "Now, shall we go inside?"

"Y-yeah, sure."

They got out of the car and started walking up to the house. "So how long have the two of you been together?" Osamu asked out of the blue.

"Yoru and I? I guess about... seven months or so, officially."

"And unofficially? Whatever that implies..."

"About eight months."

Osamu chuckled and leaned against the doorframe. "And the two of you really can't keep your hands off each other still?"

"I, uh... what?" Hideki stopped knocking on the door and looked at the older man in disbelief.

"Kohji and that friend of yours have their own theory about what the two of you were doing in that washroom... I'm not saying that I believe them, necessarily, but you know..."

Hideki rubbed his forehead and looked down. "Oh my God..." He was almost too embarrassed for words. "I promise you, it was nothing like that. Oh, are you kidding me? Yoru is going to kill Kohji when he finds out. Was he saying it loudly?"

"No. Don't worry about it, nobody was around anyways."

"Oh, thank goodness! I'm really not that kind of guy, just so you know."

"Oh? And which kind of guy would that be?"

"I'm not really that shallow... I really do want it to last." Hideki felt a bit silly talking about it.

"You do, don't you?" Osamu paused. "You're in that relationship a hundred percent, huh?" He sounded like he was asking an honest question, the usual hint of teasing sarcasm was missing from his tone.

"Well, yeah. Of course." Hideki was a little uncomfortable with the way the conversation was turning, so as a distraction he decided to knock once more on his dad's door. "Maybe he isn't home... I guess I should've called first."

"That is unfortunate..."

"I'm sorry I dragged you out here for nothing..." Hideki apologized with a blush.

"It's alright, another time perhaps." Osamu smiled. "Can I drive you home?"

Hideki was too embarrassed to let Osamu see the sort of place he lived in. "It's okay, I live nearby, so I can just walk from here."

"Alright then, suit yourself. I'll see you soon." Osamu began walking back to his car when the door opened.

"Hideki? Were you standing here long? I was in the shower..." Kentaro greeted his son, but was quickly distracted by the other man walking away. "Who is that?"

"Ah! Osamu-sama! My dad is home after all!" Hideki called out to him to come back. Hideki turned back to his father to explain what was going on, but the look on Kentaro's face silenced him.

Kentaro turned white as a sheet and his son could see his body tense up when Osamu turned around. It frightened Hideki to see his father in such a way, he looked almost terrified. "Is this some kind of bad joke?" He asked quietly.

"Huh? Dad, what's wrong?"

Osamu strolled up with a confident smirk. "You moved. Long time no see, Ken."

"I thought I told you that I never wanted to see you again."

"Huh?!" Hideki looked back and forth between the two men in confusion. What was Osamu talking about moving for? Yes, they had moved once, but that was back when Hideki was still little. "You know each other?!"

"Your father and I go way back. I'm surprised he never mentioned me. Although, I suppose it did end rather poorly..." Osamu still had that self-satisfied smirk on his lips.

"Hideki, get in the house."

"But-"

"Now." He looked sternly at his son. "What are you doing with him anyways?" Kentaro turned back to Osamu. "I want you to leave. I have nothing more to say to you. I ended our friendship a long time ago. Don't you dare try to use my son to exact some kind of petty revenge."

"Revenge? You think that's why I am here? You're wrong, Ken. This visit is strictly business." He walked past Kentaro and Hideki into the house. "Why, thank you for inviting me in, I'd love to."

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Just for the sake of knowing, Tsukiko is now about as skinny as Yoru. Losing eight pounds may not seem like the biggest deal, but when you're only 112 to begin with, dropping to 104 when you're 5'6" is very unhealthy. Actually, if you calculate Tsukiko and Yoru's BMIs you get the same number. (Yoru weighs 117 and is 5'10")

Osamu's coming off as a bit of an ass, isn't he? Maybe I'm the only one who thinks so. It kinda comes with the job description I suppose, but I think he gets a little too confident at times. Anyways! Stay tuned for the next chapter! And don't forget, I'm a sucker for reviews!!!!!