AN: Finally, an update, huh? This is all thanks to a lovely person from Wattpad who gave me a scernario to carry on with. And I encourage all my readers to do the same. Have an idea, yet me know! Please?
This chapter is just over 5000 words. Not as long as the last chapter, but I didn't think it would be that long. Thanks so much to everyone who had reviewed so far. Well, enjoy!
A week had passed since Akito and Raily came to a somewhat unconventional arrangement. Akito would cook for him while Raily kinda acted like his bodyguard. He wasn't overly obvious about it; he wasn't the type to don a black suit and glasses, following him everywhere. Which was a shame, as Raily would look good in a suit. But Akito still felt his presence.
Seika thought it was absolutely wonderful and Akito had often found her standing and watching at a distance, scribbling in a note book that she constantly carried with her now. And she would get this wicked glint in her eyes whenever he and Raily interacted.
Sitting in his room, his attempt to complete his homework was long abandoned. It was hard to concentrate when he found his mind wondering often. Akito had always been a bit airy, a bit of a day dreamer. But instead of trying to imagine what kind of career he could do, his mind had been wondering to a particular person.
Yeah, it didn't take a genius to know that he was thinking about Raily. A lot.
And it wasn't those kind of thoughts either! The older man made him curious, made him want to know more about him.
He was pining for Raily, he realised swiftly that he was. But he shouldn't be constantly thinking of him. He was nearly 18. He should be thinking about what he wanted to do with his life, what he wanted to be.
And he had no idea what he wanted to do when he finished high school. Joel wanted to be an architect, so already had a university of which he wanted to go to already lined up. And Seika wanted to be a writer.
The only things Akito was actually good at, in his opinion anyway, was cooking. But that was a hard career path, that one. Becoming a chef was a lot of hard, strenuous work. Sure, it sounded glamorous, but it wasn't in reality. Multiple chefs crammed in one kitchen, the banging of pots, the yelling of orders, the steam, the heat, the smell. Not to mention the heavy lifting, bulk cooking, the need to be perfect in the cutting of food and presentation. And you had to be utterly anal about cleanliness.
A lot of stress.
Someone might enjoy that kind of environment, but not Akito. Stress was not good for him. Becoming a personal chef would be better for him, but he would have to go through years and years as a kitchen hand, cook and then chef in an industrial kitchen before he could even be considered for that role.
The other thing he was relatively good at was photography. Every Christmas since he was 14 years old he had played photographer for the town, taking pictures of kids sitting on Santa's knee. He enjoyed it and he actually got paid for it as well. But Christmas only comes once a year and his camera equipment was getting on in years. He really needed to update it. But he was lacking in the money.
Thinking of his camera made Akito suddenly realise that he needed to buy another memory card for it. His old one was full and his computer was in the process of having a fit of some kind. He didn't like to go too long without a memory card as he had taken up the habit of photographing nature. Hey, in a country town like this, nature was everywhere.
Looking at the clock, Akito had roughly about 15 minutes before the local shop closed. He better be quick.
"Where are you going?"
Pausing in his movements, Akito turned around and watched as his ever seeing sister step out of the kitchen, a dish clothe in her hands. She always seemed to know when he was heading out to do something or go somewhere. He didn't know how she did it and when he asked her, she simply told him that it was a women's intuition.
It probably helped that she was overprotective of him.
"I just need to get a few things before the shop closes," Akito explained as he slipped on his shoes near the front door. "I'll be gone for a few minutes."
Seika, however, didn't look all that happy. It was notorious that Jack and his gang liked to prowl around the town as the sun goes down. And it was well known that Akito was their current flavour of the month. She didn't like him heading out into their territory, especially alone.
"Look, I promise I'll be quick," Akito tried to pacify.
He hadn't seen Jack and his crew for about a week now. And things had been rather quiet in town, actually, a few of the townsfolk had even commented on that. Akito didn't know what to make of it. Raily most likely had something to do with it, although he didn't know what but he was glad nonetheless.
"I've got my phone, so I'll call you if anything happens, alright?"
Though he would never be able to convince Seika completely of his safety, he gave her a reassuring smile before turning and quickly leaving through the front door. And although it was kinda annoying how she was smothering him, he also knew that he had given her and his family ample reason to fuss. Sometimes, he just wanted to do things on his own.
Fortunately, Raily wasn't all that protective of him. He allowed him to do things on his own. He allowed him free reign over the kitchen and allowed him near his horses. Although, his family would probably freak if they knew that.
Of course, if they ever found out how they were, er, thanking each other…Akito didn't really want to think of that at the moment. Seika wasn't even totally aware of what they have been doing, although she had some idea (she was a fangirl, after all. They had mysterious powers to see things others can't). But Akito couldn't really tell her outright as, well, he didn't know what they were.
Akito liked Raily. He liked him a lot.
And it didn't feel as though Raily was pulling him along, either. He was actually quite blatant in his affections for him. Not that Akito was complaining in anyway. He also liked Raily's kisses, but they weren't the main reason he liked Raily.
He didn't want to sound like a girl, or anything, but he wished he knew exactly what Raily thought of him, felt for him.
The streets were relatively quiet this time in the afternoon. Here, the shops in the main street all closed at 5pm while the grocery store stayed open for a little bit longer to allow other shop owners to do any last minute shopping that they couldn't do during the day.
Mr Burke, the owner of the grocery store, was quite a character. He was nice, if a little bit eccentric at times. And he was a rather flamboyant as well. Everyone liked him, though. He was in his late fifties with three grown children. His youngest, a daughter, was actually pregnant. And if Seika's gossip was anything to go by, she was due any day now.
Mr Burke would make a great grandfather, Akito mused to himself.
Suddenly, a figure darted out in front of him, wrenching Akito from his musings and into reality. He stumbled back in surprised, his chest tightening when he realised that there was a person before him. He was wearing a pair of black, worn jeans and a black hoodie, the hood up over the teen's head. But Akito knew who he was.
It was Jack.
And he didn't look at all happy. He never did when they were ever face to face.
Akito tensed, uncertain what could happen next. Jack would, no doubt, be looking for a bit of revenge. Either now or sometime in the future.
"Where's your boyfriend?" Jack asked him suddenly, his eyes narrowed and glancing at his surroundings in edgy suspicion.
"Why?" Akito asked in what he hoped was in a casual way and not to reveal how his presence was unnerving him. "Do you want him to apologise for shooting you or something?"
He was hoping that he could bluff the highly agitated and unpredictable teen. He didn't want a confrontation as it would most likely lead to him going to the hospital again. Jack could easily overpower him; he was taller and had strong arms that he used in street fights. And he most certainly wasn't afraid to get into a brawl.
And the way his face creased into an angry look, Akito fear that Jack was indeed looking for just that. Akito licked his lips nervously as he tried to back away. He should run, he may be able to outrun him now that he had a limp.
He didn't have any more time to consider his options when Jack suddenly lashed out at him, grabbing him by the front of his t-shirt, tugging strongly and harshly. Akito was pulled off balance, his feel scrapping against the ground and pain exploding along his back and shoulders when he was slammed up against the wall of an empty and abandoned shop. He made a choking, gasping noise when the wind was knocked out of him.
That familiar but incredibly frightening inability to breath gripped Akito in a vice like grip. He started desperately gulping for air as his lungs burned, his heart pounding painfully.
Panic was setting in in an incredible pace.
"Where is he now?" Jack asked him as he got right in his face. "Why isn't he here now?"
Akito couldn't answer him. He was simply trying to breath. He needed to breathe.
He grabbed at Jack's arm, his hands tightly wrapping around his wrist. His grip indicated how frightened he was that he wouldn't be able to get air back into his lungs.
Jacl grabbed at one of Akito's wrists and painfully detached it from his before slamming it against the wall next to his head. The rough texture of the wall bruised and cut into the delicate skin on of his arm. Akito couldn't see, but he was certain that he was bleeding.
"Stop it," Akito tried to yell, but it came out more as a wheeze than anything else.
Jack didn't say anything in return. He was simply staring at him, his eyes holding an unreadable emotion. Suddenly, his mouth closed over Akito's, his grip on his wrist and shirt tightening significantly. Akito's eyes widen the very second Jack's lips touched his and a feeling of utter nausea washed over him, making his stomach clench and his chest tighten from the queasiness.
Akito immediately struggled. And he struggled hard. His free hand immediately flailed up to Jack's face, trying to push him away, trying to break the unwanted contact between them. He ignored the pain from his arm as he tried desperately to get away. He had to get Jack away from him.
"N-no…!" Akito said, although it was muffled, his eyes squeezed shut as he struggled to get away. "S-stop it!"
He didn't want this.
Suddenly, Jack's mouth disappeared, and so did his hold over him. Akito's legs gave out from under him and he slipped down the wall to sit haphazardly on the cool ground. As he gulped in much precious air, he forced his eyes to open when he heard evidence of a scuffle and a few words said in fear and anger.
And the voice that sound angry was familiar.
Before him was Raily and he had Jack, who was currently sporting a bloody nose, by the throat and up, inches off the ground, against a telephone pole. And he had his gun drawn, he nozzle under his chin. He was practically snarling in rage.
"You want me to shoot you again?" Raily asked as he cocked his gun. "Do you?"
Jack was struggling fiercely, his eyes wide with fear and his face pale. Blood was pouring from his nose, dribbling down his chin and staining his teeth red. But even with a gun at his throat, he tried to be tough and defiant.
"Y-you don't scare me," he insisted. But with the slight tremor in his voice, it failed utterly.
"Yeah?" Raily didn't believe him, forcing Jack's chin up further with the use of the gun. "Then you're more of a fuckwit than I first thought."
With his chest heaving, his lungs burning, Akito watched in a dazed state what was occurring. He had never seen Raily so angry before. He had always been so cool, calm and collected. But right now, oh he was mad. He saw what Jack had done, to him…
Akito placed his hand over his mouth and heaved, tears appearing in his eyes. He could still feel Jack's rough lips against his. And it made him feel sick to his stomach. He felt violated; nothing at all like when Raily kissed him.
Oh god, why did he…?
Bastard. Stupid fucking bastard!
"Listen here, jackass, Akito's mine. If you try anything like this again, I will shoot you. And it won't be a fucking warning shot, either."
Jack increased in his struggles and Raily seemed to have a difficult time keeping a grip on him, trying to watch Akito at the same time. Jack then lashed out in desperation and Raily instinctively avoided the attack, but it caused him to step back, loosening his grip enough for Jack to wriggle free and sprint off down the street. He then disappeared into the back alleys, completely out of sight, but hardly out of mind.
Raily wanted to give chase after Jack, to teach him a further lesson still, but it let him go for now. Immediately, he was crouching in front of Akito, resting his hands on his shoulders, massaging them as he whispered soothing and reassuring words to him.
Akito grabbed into the sleeve of Raily's shirt with his hand, his fingers gripping desperately. Relief, utterly relief filled him by simply seeing, touching Raily. He saved him again.
"Let's get you off the street," Raily said as he helped Akito onto his shaky legs, his arms instinctively wrapping around him.
As Akito stood up, he felt shaky and pushed himself into Raily's chest, just holding onto him. He numbly allowed Raily to hurry him through the streets, unknowing where he was leading him. His thoughts were too jumbled to be of any real use. He was busy asking himself questions such as why that happened, the purpose of the stunt, what would have happened if Raily didn't show up when he did.
Akito shivered and pressed himself closer to Raily.
"I don't want to go to the hospital," Akito said as he clung onto Raily, ignoring the way his arm and hand was beginning to throb in pain. He didn't want to go to the hospital again. Not again. He just wanted to go home.
"There's no need to go to the doctors," Raily said as he led Akito into the grocery store as it was the only thing open, his arm around his shoulders, his gaze watching their surroundings sharply. "I'll take care of the injuries."
In a small country town like this, there was only one doctor and she was often called to the hospital at short notice. There used to be two, but he retired due to medical reasons.
Mr Burke immediately perked up when he saw he had customers, but his face soon creased into a look of concern when he saw how frazzled Akito was. He lowered his paper and frowned. "What happened?"
Akito found he was unable to verbally reply, so he was thankful when Raily gave him a short answer. "A run in with one of those punks. You sell first aid kits?"
"Y-yeah," Mr Burke said in replied, slightly startled by the sense of authority in his voice. "Near the back. You want me to-?"
"I've got it," Raily cut him off, keeping his arm around Akito's shoulders as he led him off again. "I'll pay for it later."
Mr Burke still looked surprised, but managed to nod his head in agreement and turned back to his paper, but seemed to keep an eye on Raily nonetheless.
Raily reached the back of the store quickly, momentarily removing his arm from around Akito, who shivered from the loss of warmth, and snatched a first aid kit from the shelf. It was the largest of the variety and quite expensive, but that concerned him little when he ripped off the covering plastic and riffled through the contents. He pulled out some disinfectant, popped off the cap and carefully took Akito's arm in his large, callous hand.
Akito was silent, wincing a few times from the disinfectant stinging against his broken skin, and simply watched as Raily worked on him.
"I'm sorry," Akito said, unsure as to why he was really apologizing. For causing Raily trouble? Feeling as though he should have done more to push Jack off? It was just…his mind was so muddled, he couldn't think straight.
Raily, however, brushed off his apology.
"Don't worry about it," he said as he carefully positioned the bandaged on Akito's arm. "I used to work as an EMT. I know what I'm doing."
An EMT? An Emergency Medical Technician? He had no idea!
Akito watched in silence as Raily attended to his scrapes and bruises with, indeed, an expert touch. Clearly, it wasn't the first time he had patched someone up after a confrontation of some kind.
Raily...was so interesting.
"I'm sorry!" Mr Burke suddenly announced, startling Akito and Raily greatly. "But I need to close up shop right this second! My daughter has gone into labour. Can't you believe it; I'm going to be a grandfather!"
Mr Burke continued to prattle on, not giving the other two occupants of the shop a chance to reply.
"I'll shut the front doors, the back door can be locked from the inside, so let yourselves out!"
Let themselves out? What did he…?
Suddenly, the sound of the Mr Burke physically pulling down the store shutters in a hasty manner rang out. The lights were still on and the money was probably still in the till. And then were still inside.
"Write down what you need and I'll bill you in the morning!"
Then, he was gone.
Akito blinked. Seriously, did that just happen?
"He locked us inside?" Akito asked as he turned his attention back to Raily, who was still holding his arm, having stopped working the moment Mr Burke yelled out to them.
At first, Raily was silent, as if he was trying to figure out what had indeed just happened. But, a small frown soon appeared on his lips. "He locked us inside."
Akito didn't know what to think after that. Surely, that kind of thing, being locked in a store, alone with the man he was pining over, only happened in those romance books Seika read? Right?
But just like one of those books, he was saved by his cowboy again. Three times. Raily literally saved him three times.
"You saved me again," Akito said with a weary smile, cradling his injured arm against his chest, his lungs not burning as bad as they were before. "That seems to be a reoccurring theme for us, huh?"
Was it forever going to be like this? Raily rescuing him from Jack over and over again?
And what the hell was Jack's deal, anyway? Kissing him like that? He always knew he was a jackass and a thug, but that was going way too far!
Akito suddenly remembered something Raily told Jack before he got away.
A blush flared across Akito's cheeks as his eyes widen in realisation. He heard that. He definitely heard that.
Raily's finger slipped under Akito's chin, forcing his head back so that he was looking into his eyes. "Are you remembering the kiss?" he asked him. "Or something that I said?"
Akito found himself unable to respond, staring into those deep green eyes as the blush continued to taint his cheeks. He tried to move his mouth to form words, but he couldn't make a sound.
"That wasn't your fault," Raily said as his hand moved to cup his cheek instead. "You did nothing wrong, did nothing to provoke him. I don't know what that bastard was trying to do, but I assure you, it won't happen again. Do you know why?"
Akito simply swallowed thickly.
Raily then leaned forward, his lips grazing against his ear. "I love you."
When Raily pulled back to gaze upon his face, a small but sincere smile on his lips, Akito found himself looking into Raily's eyes again, his own holding a sense of hope and desperate longing to believe him. Those words rolled off his tongue so easily. Did he really mean them? Did Raily actually love him?
His eyes began to slip close on their own accord and he wasn't aware that he was leaning forward until he felt something touch his lips. He was startled at first, but when he felt Raily's arms encircle him, he calmed down significantly. This was Raily that was kissing him, holding him. It was nothing like the way Jack forced him into a kiss. Raily's kisses were warm, hot even. He could tell that he was a passionate man, his feelings obvious.
Akito let out a needy noise and pushed himself closer to Raily, loving the way his arms felt around. He wanted this, needed this.
However, before the kiss could deepen further, Raily pulled away, leaving Akito feeling dazed, confused and a little troubled.
"I'm not going to make-out with you right after you were harassed by that bastard," Raily said firmly, but kept his arms around him nevertheless. "I wouldn't take advantage of you like that."
The corners of Akito's lips twitched into a smile as those words touched him. He, instead, leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Raily's neck, his face pressed against his taut chest. Raily's arms immediately adjust their grip on him, holding him close, Raily resting his chin on the top of his head.
Raily's kisses where nice, but simply being held by him was good too.
... ... ... ... ... ...
Raily ran his fingers through Akito's dark hair absentmindedly. He was sitting on the ground, his back leaning against the wall with Akito sleeping on his chest, in-between his legs. After the adrenaline and shock of what had occurred wore off, Akito felt drained and tired, so promptly fell asleep in Raily's arms.
He had taken care of his minor injuries and they shouldn't become infected, but he would keep a close eye on them just in case.
Akito required, and damn well deserved, special treatment.
While Akito wasn't strong by any means, he most certainly wasn't vulnerable or fragile. He was simply soft. Cautious and docile, more so. Given his disability, that was understandable. He didn't use his disability as an excuse, either. It was an issue, to be certain, but not an excuse.
And he wasn't overly clingy. Raily could tell that he liked the attention he received from him, but he wasn't demanding or commanding it like so many others in his past had done. He was sincere without claiming that he was. Saying that you were a good, honest person was completely different to actually being a good, honest person.
And after living in the city, surrounded by socialites that would stab their own mother or push their grandmother down a flight of stairs for time in the social media spotlight, being with someone innocent and real was something he had wanted for a long time.
The sound of Akito's phone ringing brought Raily out of his musings and he knew that he should probably get Akito home. By the way his phone kept ringing, it was obvious that his sister was worried about him.
Being careful not to wake the sleeping teen, Raily slipped an arm around Akito's shoulders and slipped the other under his legs. Then he manoeuvred himself into a crouching position before standing up, effortlessly hoisting Akito into his arms, letting his head rest against the crook of his neck.
He then proceeded to make his way out of the shop, which was a little bit difficult with Akito in his arms. But he managed it without waking him up. As he walked through the darkened and quiet streets, he kept an eye out for the little bastard, torn between wanting him to show up so he could break his jaw along with his nose, and not wanting him to for Akito's sake.
He could also go hunting for the little shit later.
It didn't matter either way, though, as he soon made his way to his Ute. Again, it was a bit of a struggle opening the door and it took a bit of time to manage it, but he did in the end. He gently placed Akito into the passenger seat, Akito's brow furrowing in disappointment when he pulled away.
Raily had to chuckle to himself. The kid was too cute for his own good.
The drive to Akito's house on the very outskirts of town was short and quiet, Akito remaining asleep the entire time. Pulling up out the front, Raily turned off the car and quickly got out. As he was gently picking Akito up into his arms, the front door of the residence flew open and a young woman with shoulder length black hair came running out.
Seika appeared ready to ask him if he saw Akito when he turned around, Akito perched effortlessly in his arms. Her hands flew up to her mouth, shocked, concern on her face.
"What happened?" Seika asked him, near panic in her voice, but keeping it low nonetheless.
"Had a run in with that dick," Raily answered gruffly as he moved toward the house, thankful that the front door was still open.
And he bit his tongue. He didn't want to divulge too much as he was still utterly pissed about what happened. It was probably lucky that his gun wasn't loaded. He feared he may have actually shot the bastard again.
"His room is this way," Seika said as she realised quickly that Raily wasn't going to say anything else and moved in front of him, leading him down a short hallway, and into a room at the end.
Raily immediately walked over to the bed and carefully placed Akito down on top of the sheets. It was a rather warm night, so he shouldn't get cold. Still, Raily shrugged off his jacket and laid it over him. Seika wisely said nothing the whole time, remaining silent to allow her younger brother to continue to sleep.
He then turned around and walked out of the room, Seika following him in hope of more answers. So he decided to be direct and to the point the moment he was out of Akito's room.
"He has a few cuts and scrapes, but they're only minor. I cleaned them up so they won't get infected. And, no, I don't know where that bastard went."
Seika opened her mouth to say something else, but she quickly shut it and nodded. A sense of awkwardness fell over them and Raily ran a hand through his hair. "I'll stop by to see how he is in the morning," he said as he opted to leave for now.
"Yeah, ok," Seika said as she once again followed him, out through the front door. "Thank you for looking after Akito," she spoke up before he got into his Ute.
Raily shrugged lightly, still not used to getting thanked. He was only doing what he wanted and thought needed to be done. "Tell him to keep the jacket," he simply said.
Seika nodded and folded her arms across her torso, seemingly taking a moment to study him. She gazed at him with her blue eyes before a soft smile suddenly took to her lips. "I'm glad Akito has someone like you watching over him. I can see why he likes you so much."
Raily took out a cigarette and lit it, taking a short drag as he leaned against his Ute, sensing that the woman before him has something else to say. "Yeah?"
"I'll be honest," she suddenly started. "When I first heard about you rescuing Akito, I thought it was cute that he had a crush on a cowboy like you. But, after it happened again, and seemingly again, I see things differently now."
Seika was silent, mulling the words over in her head. "But, I see now that you're good for him. And I know he's good for you. It's not about the hotness or the cuteness. It's something else. I must admit I'm a little jealous that he found someone like you before me and he wasn't even trying. But, I don't mind. I'm happy for him. And for you."
Well, it appeared as though Raily had unintentionally gained Seika's approval to date her little brother.
"But, if you hurt him," Seika spoke up again in a rather threatening tone. "Well, I may not be rich and I may not be a gun slinging cowboy, but I can still make your life a living hell."
Instead of being unnerved by that, Raily found himself smirking. God, she definitely reminded him of someone. She was almost like her mini-me.
"Yeah, I hear ya," Raily said as he dropped his cigarette and snuffed it out with his boot. "If he wakes up before morning, tell Akito I'll catch him later."
"Ok," Seika said and made no attempt to say anything else, looking somewhat satisfied by their conversation.
Raily slipped into his Ute and drove off, heading toward his own ranch, though he was in no hurry to get there. Akito had a great sister, he really did. He could tell that she loved him dearly and wasn't saying those things to get on his good side, which had happened in the past, unfortunately.
He was so glad that he made the decision to move to this little town. He just hoped his brothers didn't come searching for him.