“And he ended it by saying that it didn’t help that I suck in bed.”
“Fuck him, he was a douchebag,” Phichit slurped through a mouthful of pho.
“Except me fucking him was the exact problem,” Yuuri pointed out in a mutter, repeatedly picking at a small piece of beef floating at the top of his soup, like he was channeling his regressed desire to stab at his dick of an ex.
“Look, Yuuri, don’t listen to him. You said it wasn’t that great either,” Phichit reasoned, flashing his signature smile of encouragement. The one that came with all of Phichit’s pep talks, whether it was no one saw you fall that time I swear, not even me to his your ass looks so great in those jeans I’d be shocked if he didn’t try to eat it the second you show up. Phichit had a talent for saying exactly the right and wrong things at the same time. “So, whatever, ditch the loser and get yourself someone who’ll worship your body like the temple that it is.”
“We’re in public,” Yuuri groaned, sinking further into his chair, ready to pull his hoodie over his head. Bad enough his sex life—or lack thereof—was now dinner conversation, he didn’t need the family of four at the table behind him overhearing Phichit’s ranting monologues about how he thought Yuuri’s thighs probably could build an Instagram cult on their own.
“You need to date around more,” Phichit declared, fishing leftover noodle fragments out of his bowl. “Or just sleep around more.”
“Phichit!” Yuuri hissed, as the mother of family-of-four glared over at them. Yuuri wanted to melt into the floor and dribble out onto the street where maybe he could be absorbed by the soil and never have to deal with the words dating or sex or boyfriend ever again.
“What, I mean if you want it, you gotta go for it! If you don’t think you’re good, then get good. Just like anything, you know? Practice makes perfect. Actually you know what, gimme your phone.”
Eyebrows arched high in skepticism, Yuuri pulled the phone from inside his hoodie pocket and placed the device into Phichit’s expectant hands. No point in protesting when all odds were Phichit would end up obtaining it one way or another, as he always did when he wanted something.
Yuuri abandoned the rest of his soup and watched Phichit’s fingers flash across the screen of the phone. He didn’t bother asking why Phichit knew his lock code, even though he had changed it a few days ago. “If you text JJ, I swear—”
“Eww, gross, no, no frat boys.” Phichit crinkled his nose in dismissal, scrolling through some options.
Yuuri sat up, leaning across the table in an attempt to see what it was that Phichit was doing. No luck.
“Where do you keep all your good selfies?”
“Uhhh… I don’t?” Yuuri replied. His for the most part ignorance of all social media trends was a constant state of conflict in their apartment. Phichit had recently celebrated reaching his ten thousandth follower on Instagram. Yuuri hadn’t opened his account in at least seven months. He couldn’t even if he wanted to, password long swept from memory.
“What about that one from regionals?” Phichit pressed, not looking up from the screen, dark skin lit up by the bluelight blaring from it. Yuuri knew for a fact that Phichit always carried no less than two portable chargers in his bag at all times, in addition to a lightning cable, because lord forbid his phone ever dip beneath 30%. Yuuri had anxiety attacks before competitions. Phichit’s were triggered by the white of the battery display turning yellow.
“It’s on your phone, not mine,” Yuuri answered, craning his neck but still unable to glimpse anything beyond Phichit quickly swiping through a wall of social media posts.
“Ah, found it!” Phichit declared happily, tapping his thumb on the screen to download the photo to internal memory, instantly flickering out to another site.
“What are you doing?” Yuuri tried again, helpless to whatever it was no matter what, as once Phichit got rolling, there was nothing to stop him.
“Setting you up on tinder,” Phichit quipped, smile stretched wide across his teeth, obviously pleased with his latest brilliant plan.
“No buts! Seriously, give it a try. And signing up doesn’t mean you have to go with everyone that contacts you. But, you can’t whine to me about your dating issues and then do nothing about it. You refuse to go out with anyone at school so—”
“—I don’t want to be stuck in a class with them if we break up—”
“—or that barista who is always winking at you—”
“—I like that place and don’t want to have to find a new coffee shop—”
“—and it’s not like your social butterfly ass is fluttering around town picking up hot guys, so let them come to you. Plus this way, you can chat them up a bit before you meet and not have to be as nervous, maybe? It’d be good for you to hook up a couple times, practice those skills you’re lamenting on.”
Yuuri’s skills were not the problem. The problem was his skills were non-existent. The last few times he had managed to find someone to date, the same issue kept creeping up. Reportedly, Yuuri Katsuki was a terrible lay. And no matter how much Phichit tried reassuring him that first times were always awkward and that maybe Yuuri simply hadn’t found someone he was compatible with yet, the common denominator in all of those relationships, no matter how brief, had always been Yuuri.
It was not as if Yuuri didn’t like sex. It was just that sex didn’t seem to like him.
Yuuri waited patiently, watching Phichit input information and fill out details as easily as if were setting up his own profile, until he finally reached the point when the potential matches popped up. Without skipping a beat, Phichit swiped through those as well.
“You’re not even going to let me choose?” Yuuri laughed as Phichit made the selections for him.
“You’d just overthink it. Plus I already know your type.”
Yuuri slumped back in his chair, pushing away the cooling bowl of pho. Wednesday night had been designated by Phichit as “Asian Night” when they had first become roommates two years back. The habit carried on rather consistently, broken only during events like mid-terms and competitions.
Six weeks prior, Yuuri’s first date with douchebag had been on a Wednesday. Phichit made reservations for them and hissed, “If he doesn’t like sushi, you dump his ass right then and there and bring me back a spider roll,” before shoving Yuuri out of the apartment. Yuuri should have listened. Avoided the whole mess, because douchebag had indeed not liked sushi, making a face of disgust and a comment along the lines of if I wanted to taste raw fish, I’d date a girl. Should have known then.
Yuuri slumped even further. “See, this is what I mean. Who in their right mind would want to put up with me?”
“Thanks for that, Yuuri.”
“You’re my roommate! I pay half the rent, you have to put up with me. I’m not paying to date. Even if I did, apparently sleeping with me is like the kiss of relationship death.”
“You do pay for dinners. And stop trying to curse yourself.” Phichit winked and handed Yuuri back his phone. “All done. Now we wait for the flood of messages of peopling clamoring for a piece of Yuuri Katsuki.”
“You make me sound like a piece of meat.”
“I did mention your thighs under the special skills category.”
Yuuri groaned and wished for the sweet relief of death. Or a new best friend. Whichever came first.
He blinked, repeatedly, but the text and image remained present. As clear as they were unbelievable. At some point in the last fifteen minutes, Yuuri had slipped from the normal world where he was falling on nearly every attempt at a salchow into a parallel universe where a specimen of human perfection had begun to message Yuuri out of the blue.
Maybe not out of the blue. Through the dating app Yuuri had tried to all but forget over the course of the last week. The notifications from it had not been as sparingly thin as he expected, but Yuuri had ignored more messages than he had answered. And the expression out of the blue was much better reserved for the piercing color of the eyes captivating Yuuri from the photo he had been sent.
Yuuri felt reduced to a Japanese stereotype, entrapped by blue eyes, silver-blond hair, pale skin, and soft pink lips curved up into an unrealistically gorgeous smile.
>> Hi! Saw on your profile you liked poodles? Man after my own heart~ (/ ^ ♡ ^ )/
It was unfair. Because in the selfie Mr. Human Perfection had sent, he was lying on a bed, a standard poodle’s adorably happy head resting against his shoulder, the dog’s tongue lolling out. Together they looked like something out of an ad for the kind of pet shop that sold clothes for dogs at a hundred bucks a pop. Didn’t the world know that super hot guy plus super cute dog was Yuuri’s ultimate weakness? How was he supposed to ignore this?
>> Do you have a pupper too?
Yuuri nearly clutched at his chest. He called dogs puppers. Hot plus adorable. Plus dog. Yuuri hated Phichit. Yuuri loved Phichit. Yuuri was going to murder Phichit.
<< No, I wish. I’m a student so I can’t have one right now. But I’ve always wanted one. I’m the person that finds the dog at a party and doesn’t leave its side the whole time, lol.
Yuuri winced the moment he sent the message. Why did he say that? What kind of thing was that to admit to someone as part of the first thing he had ever said to them? It was basically the equivalency of Hi, I’m a bit awkward and anti-social, haha, isn’t that cute? Good job, Yuuri. This was exactly why he thought the whole online dating thing was a bad idea. At least in person, he had a better filter to keep such stupid things from falling out of his mouth.
>> Me too! No uncomfortable small talk with puppers, right? \( ^ ♡ ^ )/
Fuck. Yuuri was so fucked. So very fucked. Or, he wanted to be. The jawline in the photo could probably cut diamonds and the low-cut V-neck shirt he was wearing gave a promising preview of his collarbone. Yuuri flipped through Mr. Perfect’s profile. Unfortunately, he found exactly what he wanted.
A shirtless photo of Mr. Perfect and Adorable Poodle at a beach, running along the waterline with joy splashed across both their faces. That chest looked like it had been chiseled out of marble by Michelangelo himself. Yuuri wouldn’t mind seeing it in person. Touching it in person. Tracing the lines of those very toned abdominals with his tongue in person.
>> I saw in your photos that you ice skate?
<< Yeah, I do. I compete sometimes.
>> Wow, amazing! (^v^) I went skating with a friend last Xmas, think I spent more time on my ass than on my feet
Don’t think about his ass. If his perfect face and chest were anything to go by, he probably had a perfect ass as well. Yuuri pictured something he could bounce quarters off. Or, preferably, his hands. But Mr. Perfect was more lean. It was probably all firm muscles, with a dip along the curves, pert and great for sinking teeth into. Could Yuuri get any thirstier?
<< Yeah, it can be hard. I’ve been skating for over ten years and I still ended up on my ass today. More than once.
>> Ten years?! You must be really good! You’ll have to teach me
Yeah, because that’s exactly what Yuuri wanted. To embarrass himself in front of Mr. Perfect. He should have avoided the topic altogether. Although, he had not been the one to bring it up. He could steer away from it though.
<< Maybe, but it’s honestly not that great of a thing to do on a date.
>> So you’re already thinking about a date?
Oh. Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. Yuuri had not meant that. He had not meant to imply that. How else would that comment be interpreted though? Then again, why else had Mr. Perfect contacted him if not for a date?
The first few days after Phichit had installed the app, Yuuri had quickly blocked a few messages that came through, lewd in text and in photos attached. A couple others had started off seeming okay but then descended to a level or topic that Yuuri was not comfortable with. But this was the first that was something normal. Or at least so far.
<< If you want?
>> How about Friday? Around 6? Doesn’t have to be ice skating (^_~)
The emojis were giving Yuuri the impression that Mr. Perfect was the type of guy with a smile permanently plastered across his handsome face and made Yuuri curious on how his laugh might sound. His voice was probably as amazing as the rest of him.
Yuuri had no plans for Friday at six. Phichit had a class that ran till seven, something he complained about all semester, ever since reluctantly signing up for it to fill required credits. Yuuri could do Friday at six. Yuuri could do Mr. Perfect Friday at six—could do a date. A date. Sometimes things happened on a date though. After a date. Yuuri had things happen after a date before—he forced himself to derail that train of thought. Because those things had not ended well on that date. Did not mean it had to be the same this time around.
<< I think that should be fine for me.
>> (^w^) Have you ever gone to a pottery studio? Not the sexy type like in Ghost, the type where you end up with more paint on your hands than the thing you’re supposed to be decorating?
The laugh dropped from Yuuri’s mouth before he could stop it. Maybe Phichit’s idea wasn’t so bad after all.
A shout came from behind Yuuri, reminder that break time was over. He typed back a quick confirmation that the idea sounded good to him and set his phone down, heading back out onto the ice with a small smile on his lips. For some reason, he felt like trying for that salchow again.
The landing wasn’t perfect and he wobbled heavily coming out of the spin, but Celestino called out a few words of encouragement from across the rink. Yuuri smiled wider and kept skating. It stayed stretched across his lips through the rest of practice and until he left for the evening, fueled by the occasional glance at his phone and exchanged messages.
It was not until Yuuri got back to his apartment when the smile slipped.
>> Have something I need to tell you, because I don’t wanna lead you on and it can be a turnoff for some people…
The message came like a cruel joke at the same time that Yuuri slid the key into the door lock, a dramatic irony on exactly why nicknames like Mr. Perfect should never be applied to anyone.
One hand on the door handle and one on his phone, Yuuri watched the message screen, seeing the indicator that his online match was typing appear, then disappear, then appear again.
What was it? He was married. He was jobless. He was a member of an organized crime syndicate—no, Yuuri was getting ahead of himself. It probably nothing. Nothing significant. His phone vibrated.
>> I’m a pornstar
“Don’t make me say it again,” Yuuri groaned, collapsing on the sofa in the living room of their shared apartment. The cushions were worn, color fading in places. The fabric at the bottom of one corner was frayed, chewed through by one of Phichit’s hamsters on a grand escape.
“Wait, maybe he meant, like, working in adult film? Part of the production crew and not part of the-…”
Yuuri flipped over and buried his face in a couch pillow. He had kept messaging Victor back and forth, after the job title confessional, which he had played off as oh, that’s fine, I can understand and then a I promise, it’s cool with me, at least it’ll be a good ice breaker on the date? even though really it wasn’t all that fine and he wasn’t exactly cool with it. And because of course. Of course gorgeous-and-funny-and-charming-as-hell-in-all-his-text-messages would turn out to work in a profession that made a complete mockery of Yuuri’s bedroom anxiety.
Had it been any other time, Yuuri might have blocked him the very second that message came through. Except messaging with Victor through the afternoon at the rink had actually been fun. And Yuuri could admit to himself that he had not felt so at ease at first contact since Phichit’s million-watt personality barrel-rolled through all of Yuuri’s nervous isms and declared them best friends from day one.
Other than for the apparent fact that Victor was a pornstar, agreeing to continue on with the date plan did not seem all the intimidating when messages with cute emojis and little jokes slipped in kept arriving on Yuuri’s phone, making him smile at every one.
Spending an evening blushing at how good-looking Victor probably was in person actually seemed appealing, especially if the conversation continued as easily as it did in their online chats. The biggest challenge was just going to be getting over all the implications behind Victor’s job… Mainly the fact that he was literally a sex professional and Yuuri couldn’t even give a blowjob without boring his partner.
“He said, and I quote, ‘I’m a pornstar.’”
“Dude, this is perfect!”
The lower half of Yuuri’s legs bounced when Phichit threw himself at the end of the sofa and then over Yuuri, forcing him over. “Who better than a pornstar to help you out with your sex problem?”
Blankly, Yuuri stared back at Phichit’s overtly excited expression. Dark eyes sparkling and whole face alight like whenever he thought he had a hashtag genius idea. Yuuri deadpanned his response, “No.”
“What do you mean, no?!” Phichit grabbed for Yuuri’s hands, tugging him up as if the change in positioning would help him be any more convincing. “Listen hear me out, if you do this guy then you could ask for—”
“No, Phichit, I don’t want to—” Yuuri could not imagine anything more intimidating than trying to have sex with a pornstar. Someone who knew exactly how everything was supposed to work and would see exactly how badly Yuuri didn’t. There was no doubt in Yuuri’s mind that the last thing Victor would want after working at sex would be working at sex. Even if all the photos on Victor’s tinder profile made Yuuri feel quite inspired to try. “You really think a pornstar would volunteer to have bad sex?”
“Come on, you don’t know that you’re bad!”
“Just according to everyone I’ve ever slept with.”
“That’s bullshit and you know it. How many people have you even slept with?” Phichit challenged, arms crossed over his chest.
“A few,” Yuuri defended.
“And they’ve all said that you sucked?”
“But none of them said it was good!”
Phichit scoffed. “So that obviously means you’re bad. Real life isn’t a porno, you know. Not everyone’s going to be shouting about how great it is.”
Yuuri chose that moment to study a spot on the floor, where of the rug still bore evidence of a stain from a mug full of red wine. The result of a dramatic night over another break up. Not Yuuri’s, but Phichit’s. However, somehow it was Yuuri that ended up drunk that night, lamenting on his own failed relationships after his attempts to reassure Phichit went stale.
“Maybe they should be.”
Phichit rolled his eyes as obviously as he could. “Go out with the guy, Yuuri, one date, see if he’s a creep and if he is, don’t worry about it! Or if he’s not, bang him and get a professional’s opinion! Cause if he doesn’t know what he’s doing, no one does.”
The phone in Yuuri’s pocket buzzed. Avoiding Phichit’s badgering, Yuuri opened the message notification and was rewarded by a photo of Victor’s poodle with a plush toy in her mouth. A plump white snowman.
>> No ice skates at the pet store, this was the closest I could get
Yuuri would have chuckled if it were not for Phichit craning over to look at the phone screen.
“Oh my god, is that from porn boy? He has a poodle?”
“He calls her Makka,” Yuuri said as he typed back a reply before even registering that he was doing it.
<< Good idea, skates can be expensive. Don’t know if you want to spoil her that much.
“Oh my god,” Phichit said again, his focus flickering up from the phone to Yuuri’s face. Watching Yuuri’s eyes crinkle and lips curl at the corners when another message arrived. “Oh my god, you like him. You like him already. How long have you been messaging him?”
Heat seeped through Yuuri’s cheeks. “Since yesterday.”
“And you’re teasing already? Holy shit. Holy shit, Yuuri, you need to go out with porn boy. Please Yuuri, please for the love of me, go on one date with porn boy. You don’t need to marry him, but go on one date, please.”
Yuuri knew that Phichit’s pestering would not stop. “I am. I already told him I would. Tomorrow,” he admitted. He could do one date. Too late to back out now.
>> Spoil her? How dare you? That diamond collar she wears was a gift from my mother and the filet mignon for her dinner tonight was on sale!
Yuuri laughed. Phichit’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates.
<< You better send proof if you want me to believe you.
Beside him, Phichit was practically flailing. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing, Yuuri Katsuki’s actually flirting with someone he just met. Show me his photo, right now.”
“We haven’t met yet,” Yuuri corrected, scrolling up through the message log to find the selfie that Victor had sent him the previous day. The blush darkened when Phichit whistled at how far up the series of exchanges went. He found the photo and handed the phone to Phichit.
Phichit stared. Then backed out of the messages to go through Victor’s profile pictures, just like Yuuri had done. “I lied. You need to marry porn boy.”
“Way to play it cool.”
Phichit kept flipping through a few more photos until he reached the one of Victor on the beach with his poodle. He stopped and his mouth dropped open. “Ohhhhh. Oh my god. Yuuri, Yuuri I know him!”
That was exactly what Yuuri needed. For Phichit to recognize his adult film star of an online dating match. “Don’t tell me you’ve seen his porn.”
“I’ve seen his porn.”
Yuuri didn’t want to know. Except that he did. He might have already been tempted to do a quick google search but thought that it would be a bad idea to have those types of images flashing very vividly through his mind when he actually met Victor. Plus it would not be constructive to see the kinds of partners Victor had professionally as he would end up needlessly comparing himself to them.
“It’s not weird, is it?”
Phichit laughed and sat back, his smile morphing into a delighted, knowledgeable smirk. “I liked it. A lot. If you know what I mean.”
Yuuri groaned and collapsed back down onto the couch, burying his face in the pillow once again. He shouldn’t have asked.
Then again, maybe Victor wasn’t the dictionary definition of perfection come to life in the real world either. Maybe all his photos were filtered. Or edited. Maybe he had a friend advising him on the type of flirty and amusing lines to send in order to almost quite literally flatter the pants off Yuuri. Maybe the dog wasn’t even his.
So maybe Yuuri did not need to worry at all. Maybe Victor’s ass was flat instead of pert. Maybe he had a receding hairline which was expertly manipulated out of view in his selfies. Maybe his voice sounded like he had sucked down a mouthful of helium. Maybe he was not as stunning and charming and absolute—
Oh but fuck, he actually was. This was a mistake. A huge mistake. The biggest mistake Yuuri had ever made and that included that bedazzled pink mesh costume he wore during his short program his first year in Juniors. Victor did not look like his online photos. He looked better.
Skin flawless, hair more silver than blond, body all lean lines, and blue eyes dazzling. And he was tall. Long legs in dark slacks and broad shoulders in a dress shirt that was half floral patterns and half sheer maroon, like something out of a couture catalogue. Yuuri’s heart decided to develop palpitations.
“Hope I didn’t keep you waiting, I was held up in the parking lot.” Victor smiled, in an impossible imitation of those heart-mouth emojis he had spammed Yuuri’s inbox with over the past two days.
“No, it’s fine, I just got here,” Yuuri replied quickly, even though it was far from fine. Because not only did Victor look like he had stepped off a fashion week runway, he had an accent. Not overtly thick, but certainly unmistakably Russian in the way he had stretched out the vowels in Yuuri’s name when he had called it as he approached, the way that ‘r’ rolled off his tongue like a purr. Yuuri was not going to be fine at all.
“Good, can’t be making a bad impression on our first date,” Victor winked and grabbed Yuuri’s hand as if it were nothing. Yuuri stumbled for half a step, surprised by the contact and at being so suddenly pulled across the small plaza of the open air mall. Victor’s hand held on, firm and eager, and Yuuri did not have a single thought to pull away.
The shop Victor pulled them into was small, walls splattered in multi-colored paints. Shelves brimming with white blank-slate mugs, plates, clay-formed animals and an assortment of a whole lot more ready to be painted to the heart’s content.
A short, blond teenager sat behind the shop counter, legs kicked up, phone in hand. Victor strode over and shoved his feet off the counter. They fell heavily, the thud accompanied by a glare. “What!?”
“Is that any way to treat your customers?”
“Are you actually going to buy something?” the teen asked, tone overflowing with doubt.
“I brought a date.” Victor gestured to Yuuri, who waved politely.
The blond scowled once more and set his phone aside, standing up. “Whatever. You know how this works, you don’t need me.”
Victor flashed another dazzling smile and rounded back onto Yuuri. “Ever done this before?”
When Victor suggested the idea of pottery painting as a date, Yuuri had been surprised. Perhaps he was projecting, but he would have expected something more along the lines of a club or a bar, or the kind of fancy restaurant that had course menus designed with the goal of making clothes fall off easier after the date. However, this did seem more fitting when Yuuri considered the amount of emojis and exclamation points that Victor used in his texts.
“No, it’s my first time.”
“You pick out what you want to paint,” Victor explained, pointing to the assortment of items sorted into different sections along the walls, cute placards providing short descriptions and prices. “But that’s probably obvious. Then over there you grab whatever paint and brushes you want, and then you go wild.”
“How wild?” Yuuri asked, studying the collection of various dishes and mentally questioning whether he should try for something practical. “Girls Gone levels?”
No answer came back, so Yuuri glanced over his shoulder to see Victor’s tight, unreadable expression.
“Wow, Yuuri, buy me dinner before you start making those kinds of jokes.”
Yuuri nearly stumbled into an apology, but then the amusement spread tellingly across Victor’s face. His own heated in reaction to both being called out for his comment and also at how shockingly easy it had fallen.
Victor’s chuckle was a deep and comforting rumble beside him. “If you’re going to tease me like that right from the start, you need to give me some material to come back at you with. Otherwise, this is going to be very unfair.”
Victor winked and Yuuri turned pinker still when his date’s hand brushed along the small of his back, gently guiding Yuuri forward through the shop to browse through the other items on display.
After a proper look around, Yuuri selected a coffee mug, while Victor plucked up a bisque of a sitting dog with floppy ears. They picked out a table in the corner, by the shop windows. Victor brought one of every paint color over, along with a handful of brushes. Genuine excitement radiated off him as he uncapped a bottle of ‘light brown.’
“Do you do this often?” Yuuri said, a pencil in hand with which he sketched line work across the surface of his mug.
Victor began coloring the dog with random strokes of paint. “First time. The owner of his place is a family friend, I’ve been promising to come for a while. That’s his son at the counter. Giant ray of sunshine, if you couldn’t tell.”
Yuuri glanced back to see the teen glaring over at them, as if their presence was somehow offensive in itself. “He doesn’t look like he enjoys working here.”
“He’s a teenager, what do you expect?”
A light laugh skipped from Yuuri, earning him another perfectly formed smile from Victor. Concentrating on painting a mug seemed like a waste of time when there was a human work of art sitting across from him.
“You have a nice laugh,” Victor remarked, as casually as if he was not sliding flirty compliments into normal conversation. “And you’re even cuter in person.”
If his previous blush had faded, it came rushing back in full force. “Thank you…” Hearing that from a man who looked like sex on legs could do wonders to Yuuri’s ego if it continued. “I didn’t expect you to have an accent?”
“Don’t like it?” Victor asked and Yuuri nearly dropped the pencil in his hand.
“No! No, I-… I didn’t mean that!” If anything, Yuuri liked it too much. How certain syllables danced off Victor’s tongue with that foreign inflection, seizing Yuuri’s attention and making him wonder how whispers in that accent might warm his ear and send shivers slipping down the length of his spine. “It’s just surprising.”
“I’ve often been told it’s sexy,” Victor replied and Yuuri’s mind busied itself with saving the way Victor pronounced the word ‘sex’ to a special sort of memory bank.
“How long have you lived in the States?” Yuuri asked, figuring it best to steer his mind away from the edge of the kinds of thoughts he really should not be considering on a first date. Although, given Victor’s profession, it may be hard to avoid. It would not be shocking if there expectations of something more following the date, but then again, pottery painting did not strike Yuuri as a seduction technique.
“About ten years now.” Victor turned his dog, already completely covered in brown paint, brushstrokes visible in every which way. Yuuri was not sure why he found that so charming.
Setting down his paintbrush, Victor rolled up his sleeves to keep the wet paint from getting on them as he filled the little color tray with ‘dark brown.’ Yuuri wanted to know if this was the type of place that art students mocked for imprecise color labelling.
“How about you? Is Detroit your hometown?”
Shaking his head, Yuuri painted ‘light blue’ along the bottom centimeter of his mug in broad, short strokes. “I came here for school and to train.”
Yuuri nodded, adding highlights of white to the ring of blue, like the reflections of light off the ice. “My coach is based here and I got a small scholarship from the university, so it was an easy choice.”
“Maybe a little,” Yuuri admitted softly, the stiffness in his shoulders loosening with each traded sentence. Talking with Victor was as relaxed as texting him, and with each rumble of Victor’s laugh, Yuuri melted a bit more.
“You said you competed, anything coming up soon?”
Normally, Yuuri shied away from the topic of competitions. The average person knew nothing about ice skating and it always felt too close to bragging to explain in detail exactly the level he was at. That and there was always the underlying weight of pressure and anxiety when his confession was met with the wishing Yuuri best of luck at winning gold.
“Yeah, in a week, I’m going to a qualifier…”
A bottle of paint sprayed flecks of black across the table’s surface when Victor knocked it over. “China, China?”
“Technically Beijing, China,” Yuuri answered, pleased when Victor’s laugh rewarded his correction.
After cleaning the spilled paint off the tabletop, Victor hastily pulled out his phone, unlocked it, and handed it over to Yuuri, YouTube application open to the homepage. “Show me? Please?”
Teeth chewing into his lower lip, Yuuri hesitated for a moment, then typed his own name into the search bar. He found an upload of his short program from the previous year, at Skate America. He had flubbed half of his jumps in his free skate, but the short program had at least been decent. The landing on his first quad had not been clean and he had been deducted points, but Victor’s blue eyes did nothing less than sparkle as he watched the video of Yuuri skating to a piece from his favorite ballet.
When the video cut after the start of a loud round of applause, Victor met Yuuri’s gaze with wonder. “I don’t think I can continue with this date. You’re obviously way out of my league.”
Yuuri waved him off. “That’s my line. I was pretty sure I was being cat-fished when you messaged me. Besides, I’m not that great. I placed fourth at that competition.”
“This is an international event, right?” Victor pointed to the phone. “So, meaning fourth on a world scale? That’s not good enough?”
“First is better,” Yuuri replied, smiling a little when Victor leaned back and answered with an amused, “that’s true.”
Victor’s questions turned to Yuuri’s competitive history and travel experience, marveling at Yuuri’s stories regarding a few of the ISU events he had been to. He supplemented with his own about a couple of the places abroad that he had visited, carrying the conversation smoothly between them.
By the time Yuuri finished painting a skater posing on the ice on his mug, he had to set down the brush in his hand because his ribs ached from laughing too hard at Victor’s retelling about how he and a friend accidentally purchased a live chicken while trekking through some tiny Vietnamese village one spring break.
Midway through the story, Victor had switched seats, coming over to sit next to Yuuri rather than across from him. He had flipped through photos of proof when Yuuri demanded them with an assertive, “pics or it didn’t happen.”
Victor’s hip was in very close proximity to Yuuri’s and Yuuri noticed the brush of their calves whenever either of them moved. Each one made him want to shift half an inch to the right, closer to Victor.
“What’s your favorite color?” Victor asked, after the conversation had settled into more standard small talk, opening up debating into favorite films, and at one point how it was a shame that the Academy Awards did not have a special category for B-grade horror.
“Blue,” Yuuri said, rotating his completed mug, inspecting it for any needed final touch-ups.
Brown of the dog’s fur dried, Victor used the ‘sky blue’ to paint a collar around its neck. “Are you going to tell me that it’s because it is the color of my eyes?” Victor teased, selecting ‘golden yellow’ to add in dog tags to the front of the collar.
“Kinda heavy for a first date.” Yuuri watched Victor put the finishing touches on his poodle. It was painted less than professionally, but more than adorably so. Victor had used the darker brown to imitate curls in the dog’s fur, black to paint shimmering eyes and a wet-looking nose accented in pink. A decent dedication to his dog.
“Are you implying you would be open to a second one?”
The question gave Yuuri pause. He had yet to consider that going on a date with Victor might mean going on another date. He had not had much of a vision for this one, beyond the worry of how awkward it would be going out with a pornstar. Yet, thus far there had not even been an instance of uncomfortable silence clumsily broken by forced questions desperately seeking a point of commonality like Yuuri experienced on so many other first dates.
Instead, Yuuri caught himself thinking a few times about a place in the city he wanted to show Victor, or how it might be nice to see those heart-mouth emojis lighting up the phone with cheers and well-wishes before his first skate in China. Especially now that he knew those emojis were an exact reflection of Victor’s actual, gorgeous smile. “If you’d want to… I don’t know what you’re looking for though. I mean, relationship wise.”
Victor hummed in understanding, shrugging his shoulders. “Anything really. You know what I do. It’s hard maintaining a steady relationship because of it. I wanted someone outside my work friends, for obvious reasons,” he laughed in good-nature. “Something casual is fine, and a good place to start. I don’t expect anyone to want to jump into a commitment to someone who has sex with other people as a job. But, this has been really nice. I’m glad you came out with me, and I wouldn’t mind doing it again.”
It was not difficult for Yuuri to reply, “Me too,” but it did take another moment to follow it up with, “I wouldn’t mind a second date…”
Victor’s smile was twice as wide and twice as breathtaking than before. “How about right now then? There’s a good Japanese place around the corner, although I’m not sure how authentic their sushi is. If you’re hungry. You can buy me that dinner.”
“It’s very unauthentic.” Yuuri knew the place well. Phichit and him went there at the end of any month when bank account balances allowed for a bit of a splurge. “Still good though, I like it.”
Victor’s thigh pressed against Yuuri’s purposefully but too briefly before Victor stood, carefully picking up both his dog and Yuuri’s mug. “I’m officially taking you on a second date then,” he stated and, when Yuuri gave his agreement, carried their painted bisques to the shop counter.
Yuuri set the paint bottles back on the shelves, wiped the table and replaced washed brushes before digging his phone out of his pocket. As expected, he had a few messages from Phichit.
>> how’s it going? ur out w porn boy, rite?
>> is it like being in a bad porno?
>> elevator music n lotsa cheesy pick up lines?
<< This isn’t good, Phichit, he’s perfect…
A text came back immediately.
>> how perfect?
<< He likes sushi.
>> bang him
>> bang him n tell me if it’s as good as his videos
Yuuri hurriedly blacked out the screen when Victor returned, holding out a copy of the receipt.
“Do you want this so you can pick up your mug on your own once it’s ready? Or do you want me to hang onto it so we have an excuse for a third date?”
Yuuri accepted the receipt. “Let’s see how the second one goes first.” His phone vibrated repeatedly in his back pocket, no doubt more messages from Phichit that Yuuri really did not need Victor accidentally reading.
“Mmm, you’re right, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Yuuri would not mind if they did. Not with how he buzzed when Victor settled a hand low on his back as they left the shop to another scowl from the teen behind the counter.
At the Japanese restaurant around the corner, Yuuri rested an ankle against Victor’s under the table. They ordered a couple of rolls to share, along with a recommended small bottle of sake. Yuuri’s fingertips stroked across the back of Victor’s palm as he showed his date the proper way to hold chopsticks, teasing Victor’s determination to change positions and receiving it back for his choice of wording.
Each soft laugh, short instance of contact, and sip of the milky sake drove Yuuri on, earlier doubts washed away by warm blue eyes and flecks of paint lingering on both their hands.
The slow stroll through the parking lot together, illuminated by orange overheard lights, culminated in Victor pausing mid-step when Yuuri made a comment about how his hair matched the color of the waning moon.
Emboldened by the drinks at the restaurant, Yuuri had laced their fingers together when Victor offered to escort him to his car, and now found himself being tugged sharply in.
Victor’s mouth tasted of the sweet rice wine they had shared, body warm against Yuuri’s in the late evening chill as Yuuri slid his hands up to thread fingers into silver hair shining of moonlight. The strength of Victor’s arms around his waist had Yuuri captivated, sighing into the gentle nip of teeth pulling at his lips. Eager, he drank in the heat of Victor’s tongue and groaned in approval when hands wandered lower, grasping at Yuuri’s ass through the growing tightness of his jeans.
When Victor moved to break the kiss, Yuuri chased it, sucking Victor’s lower lip into his mouth and smiling when Victor exhaled with a hushed swear.
“My place isn’t far from here…”
“On a first date?” Yuuri muttered against Victor’s mouth, hands mapping the dip and curves of the solid muscles of Victor’s chest through the light material of his shirt.
“Second, remember?” Victor said, hands kneading into the flesh of Yuuri’s ass, the action helping Yuuri to grind forward and feel the hard outline of Victor’s proposal. He barely stopped a whimper from escaping.
“Feel free to say no…” Victor’s mouth sent sparks firing through every nerve ending as it trailed up the expanse of Yuuri’s neck, to breathe hot against a sensitive spot beneath Yuuri’s ear. “But, if you say yes, I promise that I can be very good to you…”
Yuuri had never said yes so quickly before.
<< Chris, I think I’m in love
>> Damn. He fuck you that good? Feel like I should be envious, but not sure in which regard
<< He didn’t. I didn’t. Not… technically?
>> Not technically? What’s that supposed to mean, you didn’t ‘technically’ sleep with him yet you’re already confessing love? How amazing is this guy at ‘not technically’ fucking?
<< You need you get your ass here stat cause this is an in-person kind of story. You’re not gonna believe me otherwise
>> Wow. Holy shit, Vic. That good?
<< No. It was the worst attempt at sex I’ve experienced in my entire life
>> I’ll be there in 20 min. You better be ready to tell me everything