Yohji shrugged. "I got the idea from the girl I was out with last night."
Ken gave him an incredulous look. "A girl that you took out on a date suggested that you go out with other men?"
"Of course not." The taller man waved a hand dismissively. "She suggested that I try things I've never tried before - you know, getting the full dating experience. And you know I only like women over eighteen."
Ken blinked. "So… what?"
"So I'm taking a chance with the opposite."
"What does that mean?" Ken glanced up as the door to the shop opened and a familiar figured walked in. "Omi - hey!"
The younger boy smiled. "Hi Ken."
"Omi!" Yohji called, as he moved to go past them. "We're still on for tonight, huh? There's a new club downtown."
An uncertain little smile had formed on Omi's face. "Um… sure, okay," he said, somewhat awkwardly. "Anywhere you want to go is fine." He glanced at Ken, reddened, and hurried into the back room.
Ken turned from gaping after him to staring at Yohji in shock. "You… you didn't…?"
"Why not?" Yohji shrugged. "He's male and under 18. That's the opposite of female and over 18, isn't it?"
"Well… yeah, but…" Ken scratched the back of his head. "I don't know. It seems… weird." He glanced at Yohji, who had taken out a cigarette and was casually lighting it up. I'm not sure it's a good idea for Yohji to be taking Omi to a club! What if the flirtatious older man took advantage of cute, innocent little Omi?
There is no way I'm letting them go there without me along!
"Maybe I should try that too!" Ken blurted out.
Yohji glanced up, puzzled. "Huh?"
"You know… new things, right?" Ken's mind raced. Can't let them go alone, gotta think of something… "Hey, we could double date!"
"Double date?" Yohji raised an eyebrow. "Who were you thinking of taking?"
"Uh…" Crap! I didn't think of that! Ken let his eyes dart across the room frantically. Gotta find someone… gotta… His head shot up as the door to the back room opened. "Aya!"
"Aya!?" Yohji repeated incredulously.
The redhead glanced over. "What?"
"Uhhh…" Shit. Now he was stuck with that story. "Yohji thinks we should get more dating experience. He's taking Omi out. Want to go with them?"
Aya stared at him.
Ken sank back into his chair, wondering if he'd just made a very big mistake. Maybe I should've gone the safe route and asked out Farfarello!
The taller man suddenly seemed to lose interest and turned away. "Fine."
Ken blinked. It worked? He turned back to Yohji, who looked as though he'd just been smacked with a board. It worked! "Looks like that settles it," he told the gaping blond man. "I'll be seeing you later tonight." He got up and left the room, feeling smug for no real reason.
"Everyone ready?" Yohji glanced over his shoulder and did a double-take. "Ken! You're not ready! Look at you!"
"Huh?" Ken glanced down at himself. "What?"
"That's the same outfit you've been wearing all day!" Yohji sighed impatiently, as if it had been obvious. "You can't wear that to a club."
"Why not?" Ken looked around, irritated. "Hey, Aya's wearing the same outfit!"
"Aya's different." Yohji shrugged. "Go change."
"That's not fair!" Ken scowled, but turned to head back into their living area. "That idiot and his idiotic standards," he muttered, tearing into his closet for more clothing.
Yohji looked him over briefly when he came out again. "Yeah, all right." He shrugged. "Let's get going."
"All right." Ken grabbed his helmet and headed for his motorcycle. "I'll meet you guys there, okay?"
"Hold it!" Yohji's voice brought him up short. "Now, Ken," he said, when the younger boy turned back around. "You weren't seriously considering abandoning your date, were you?" He smirked. "How rude. You're really going to hurt Aya's feelings. Isn't he, Aya?"
Aya just grunted.
Omi fidgeted uncomfortably. It looked like Yohji had gone as far as to select the younger boy's outfit and he seemed awkward in it. "Uh… I guess this means I can't take my motorcycle, huh?"
Yohji slung a casual arm around his shoulders. "Quit joking, Omittchi. Ken, get in the car."
Still grumbling to himself, Ken slid into the back seat, followed by Aya. Omi climbed into the front passenger seat and Yohji settled himself behind the wheel. "Everyone ready?" he asked, then didn’t wait for an answer before starting up the engine and taking off.
Ken glanced sideways at his 'date'. Guess I should actually try to strike up a conversation, considering we're supposed to be dating and all. "So… Aya…" That went nowhere. Right. So what am I supposed to talk about? "Did you see the game last Sunday?"
Aya gave him a brief glance. "No."
Yeah… "Did you hear about that new outdoor concert that's coming our way?"
"You know, they're re-opening that amusement park down the street."
A non-committal grunt.
"Uh…" Ken wracked his brain for ideas. "Er… nice weather we're getting, huh?"
Aya looked out the window.
Omi half-turned in his seat. "Are they really re-opening that amusement park?" he asked. "I wouldn't mind going to check it out when they do. What do you say, Ken?"
"Sure." Ken grabbed onto the new conversation thread, relieved. "Make it a Saturday - we can get a day pass. How about the outdoor concert? I can't remember who it is but it sounds like fun anyway."
"It doesn't matter." Omi shrugged. "If it's really bad we can just leave." He stopped then and seemed to realize he'd left out two of the people in the car. "Aya? Yohji? Did either of you want to come along?"
"I'll pass." Yohji shot him a sideways smirk. "Concerts aren't my thing."
Aya glanced up from the window. "It's a waste of time."
"So is everything fun." Ken snickered. "When you think about it, even soccer is a waste of time."
The redhead said nothing.
"Oh, anything but that," Yohji teased.
Omi laughed. "Don’t say that sort of thing in front of Ken - he'll freak out."
"I will not!" Ken protested.
The younger boy gave him a knowing smile. "Yes you will."
Damn, he knows me too well… "Want to see a real hissy fit? Tell Omi that computers are for losers."
"I did not have a hissy fit!"
"Yes you did! I remember laughing at you."
Omi sank back into his seat. "Well, it wasn't a hissy fit…"
"Close enough." Ken leaned on the back of his seat and smiled. Then he frowned, not recognized the scent that drifted up from his friend. "Omi… are you wearing cologne?"
He could see Omi's face flush. "Yeah… it's - "
"Mine," Yohji finished for him. "It's classy, huh?"
"I guess so…" Omi squirmed a little, still looking embarrassed.
Omi, wearing cologne? Ken's frown deepened and he leaned back into his seat. That wasn't right. Omi wasn't the type of person who used fancy scents. What was Yohji thinking? Omi liked going to carnivals and playing one-on-one and dressing in shorts and T-shirts. He wasn't this awkward-looking boy in a Yohji-style club-hopping outfit, wearing cologne to go on a date with a… with a playboy!
That's it, Ken decided, determined. I am keeping my eye on them all night! Much as I like Yohji, if he does anything to hurt Omi - and I mean anything - I'm going to beat him into the ground!
"I mean it." Yohji leaned against the wall and smiled flirtatiously. "You girls are too pretty for a place like this. Even a palace wouldn't do you justice."
One of the two girls he was talking to giggled; the other looked more reserved, but flattered.
"Care to dance?" he offered, obviously going for the kill.
The giggler's eyes widened. "Both of us?"
"I can handle the two of you." Yohji winked. "No worries."
The other girl looked apprehensive. "But aren't you here with someone?" she asked, a little hesitantly. "I thought…"
"Here with…?" Yohji glanced over his shoulder at the uncertain, somewhat dejected figure of Omi hovering nearby. "Oh, Omi doesn't mind." The blond shrugged, and smiled at the younger boy. "You don't, do you, Omi?"
"Um… no, I guess not…"
"Great. See you later!" Yohji waved over his shoulder as he led the two girls onto the dance floor. "Come on, ladies, let's show them how it's done!"
Ken watched Omi's expression from his spot by the wall. The younger boy looked thoroughly confused, and a little bit hurt. He found a table and sat down to watch his date dance with the two women.
"Just look at that!" Ken scowled, glaring at Yohji. "That was rude!"
"You and Omi both should've expected that," Aya replied, not really sounding interested. "He doesn't change - he won't."
Ken glanced back at the redhead. He was leaning against the wall staring at the crowd in a bored, detached sort of way. I guess I'm not being a very good date… "Want to dance?" he asked, determined to be more polite than Yohji.
Aya turned to look at him. "I don't like to dance."
"Oh." Ken went over his options. "Well, did you want to go get a drink?"
We're wasting our time in a place like this. "If you want, I can go ask Yohji if we could go someplace else," Ken suggested. "We could go see a movie, or take a walk in the park, or - "
"Just leave it," Aya interrupted curtly. "Here is fine."
Ken frowned and looked away, irritated. This is going to be a really fun night, he thought. Doesn't he like to do anything? Maybe I should've dated Yohji; at least I'd feel less guilty about wanting to leave. He let his gaze wander back in Omi's direction, and his eyes widened. Shit! Where did he go?
A glance at the dance floor revealed that Yohji was still with the two girls he'd picked up. The blond didn't seem to have noticed his date's absence.
This has just been one big waste of time! Ken pushed himself away from the wall. "I'm going out for some air," he told Aya, making sure the redhead had heard him before he left and headed for the stairs leading outside.
The cool air made him feel better. Ken sighed and leaned against the building behind him, watching people passing into the club he'd just come out of. "What a night," he muttered.
He looked up. "Omi, hey. I was wondering where you went."
The younger boy smiled, moving to join him. "I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do, but I didn't think Yohji would notice if I was there or not."
Ken studied him for a minute. "You don't seem too disappointed."
"Actually, I'm kind of relieved." Omi sighed. "I don't know why Yohji wanted me to go out with him. He wouldn't take no for an answer, no matter what I said. And then he started fixing me up, giving me these" - he plucked the front of his shirt - "and I still don't know what he expects me to do."
"Don't worry about it." Ken smiled. "He's delusional."
"He's so pushy," Omi complained. "And he flirts all the time! You'd think since he's supposed to be with me that he'd not hit on other people." He laughed. "But I guess that's Yohji for you. He's got to have his way. I'm definitely never going to do this again, no matter what."
Ken pushed away from the wall and grinned, feeling elated and not knowing why. "Good. Then I won't have to worry about you." He tugged at Omi's shirt. "Come on, let's take a walk."
"Where to?" Omi asked, following him. Then, "You were worried about me? Why?"
"I thought Yohji'd take advantage of you." Ken smiled ruefully. "That's why I asked if I could come along. Guess that was kind of a dumb thing to do, huh?"
"No… not knowing Yohji." Omi smiled back. "But I can take care of myself, Ken."
"I know, but…" The taller boy shrugged. "I still worry. I don't want you to change, or be unhappy. It's something that's important to me."
Omi was silent for a minute. Ken glanced over, and saw a strange little smile on his face. "You still haven't answered my question," the younger boy pointed out.
Ken frowned, puzzled. "I thought I just did."
"Not that." Omi laughed. "I asked where we were going."
"Oh, right." Ken grinned. "I thought we'd head over to the waterfront. I always liked the way the water looked at night - couldn't tell you why, though."
"It's probably just one of those things," Omi said. "You just like it."
They were both quiet for a while after that - but it was a good silence. Ken glanced at Omi and smiled to himself. He always felt so relaxed in the younger boy's presence… it was a nice feeling.
"There it is." Omi moved ahead of Ken and put both hands on the railing. "It does look nice," he said, turning to face the older boy.
"Mm." Ken made it to the railing beside him, but water wasn't on his mind. The street lights played across Omi's face, sending a million shadows dancing over the surface of it. In the dim light, his eyes were a bright sparkling blue, and the yellow and red shades caught in his hair. He was a show all by himself - a fascinating, spellbinding show. The effect was magical.
"Omi," Ken began, then forgot what he'd been about to say. Had he wanted to say something? Or do something?
The younger boy's eyes were oddly clouded. "Ken…" he almost breathed out.
The way he said my name…
Ken found himself leaning forward, and didn't even register it completely until he reached his destination and felt Omi's lips, soft under his. I'm kissing him… One of the shorter boy's hands came up to rest at the back of his neck, as if Omi were afraid that Ken would pull away. His mouth was pliant and responsive, warm and hungry against Ken's.
He didn't want to pull away.
"Omi," Ken gasped, when they finally broke apart for air. He was on an euphoric high, like he was floating on air and the only thing keeping him grounded was this rush of sudden emotion. He kissed Omi's lips again and again - briefly, hungrily - and wrapped his arms around the younger boy, pulling them together. He wanted to be as close as possible. "Omi," he breathed, again, between frantic kisses. "I…" He tried to articulate the feeling. "You…"
"I-I know." Omi responded with at least as much passion, his other hand clenched in Ken's shirt. "Ken…"
The taller boy finally pulled back, resting his forehead against Omi's and staring seriously into his eyes. "This isn't just a one-time thing, is it?"
Omi's eyes matched his for serious. "I don't want it to be."
"Neither do I."
"Then it won't be." Electricity seemed to spark through him as the younger boy leaned up for another kiss. "Ken… I don't get it… All of a sudden, this just…"
"It's one of those things," Ken answered back softly, throwing Omi's own words back at him. "You just like it." His heart was pounding against his chest as he leaned down to kiss the corner of Omi's jaw. Tonight… if it led to this… "I wanted you to be with me," he said, softly. "Not Yohji."
Omi pushed back, managing to get some space between them. "Or Aya," he added, eyes suddenly wide. "But… they're back at the club. We're supposed to be - "
"Dating them," Ken finished, feeling as if he'd been drenched with cold water. The intrusion of reality wasn't welcome at all. "Right."
"We should go back," Omi said, biting his lip. There was an obvious reluctance in his voice. "What are we going to say? 'Sorry, but we suddenly decided to hook up with each other while we were supposed to be dating you'?"
"Are you really that concerned about Yohji after he ditched you for those girls?" Ken asked, irritably. He let his arms loosen, then regretted it as the space between them increased. Damn it, if I had my motorcycle we could be on our way back to the shop. There'd be no one there…
"Not him!" Omi insisted, eyes huge with worry. "What about Aya?"
Ken froze. Fuck!
"We'd better just go back and tell him," he decided out loud.
"But what do we say?" Omi asked.
"That I want to be with you. What else would we say?" Ken let go of Omi reluctantly. "Come on, let's go. I just hope he won't take it too badly…"
Ken blinked. "Excuse me?"
"I said all right." Aya moved away from the wall, past Ken and Omi. "So this means we can head back now, doesn't it?" He started making his way through the crowd, leaving them behind.
The two younger boys glanced at each other.
A smile tugged at the corner of Ken's mouth. Hey, whatever works…
Aya reappeared moments later, lugging a not-entirely-pleased Yohji behind him. "Hey! I said I wasn't ready to leave yet! Those girls were about to give me their numbers! Aya!"
"You've played enough," the redhead responded, not loosening his grip. "Next time go by yourself if you want to pick up girls."
Yohji frowned. "Fine, fine, we'll go back. Where's…?" He let the sentence trail off as his eyes fell on Ken and Omi, gaze inevitably drifting down to their joined hands. "Hmm… looks like I'm not the only one who picked up someone tonight," he commented, sounding amused.
"You're not mad, are you, Yohji?" Omi asked him. "I know I was supposed to be your date tonight, but… it's just…"
"Don't worry about it." The blond waved a dismissive hand. "I was a lousy date. I don't think I'm going to be dating any more guys - it's just not the same. Anyway, I'm sure Ken can show you a good time." He elbowed the dark-haired boy. "Hmm?"
Ken felt himself blushing. "Yeah, I think I can handle it."
"So that's settled," Aya commented. He actually looked like he was almost smiling. "You can talk about it when we get back to the shop," he added, and abruptly turned to leave the club.
"You know, I think clubbing brings out his lighter side," Yohji commented, following. "I can just feel the love, can't you?"
Omi tucked his arm through Ken's. "We have strange friends."
Ken grinned down at him. And it was worth having to date them to get you. "Yeah, we do. I don't know about you," he added, "but I consider myself lucky."
"Hey, Ken!" Yohji called, from where he and Aya waited by the car. "Keep the good stuff confined to Omi's room - your place is just a wall away from mine, you know. I don't want to hear you, got it?"
Omi blushed furiously. Ken grimaced.