The happy hum of the small cluster of people in Kairi’s apartment made Nanase’s face split into a grin. She hadn’t thought that she would be able to pull it off. But judging from the incredulous and very sudden “Huh?!” that had burst out of Kairi when he opened his door to an apartment full of party-hat-adorned, grinning group of family and friends, all her fears had been for nothing. She had wondered if he might be a little annoyed. And, of course, more often than not, it was hard to tell with Kairi.
But she had decided to take a risk. And it was well worth the effort. A happy sigh escaped her as she gazed at him sitting on the couch in deep conversation with his mother, a small smile, of which he was no doubt unaware, playing across his lips.
Nanase hadn’t invited too many people. But the apartment, which was usually so empty, now appeared full to bursting in contrast. Kairi Tendo, who had never mixed professional and personal, was sitting pretty (or rather, he was sitting handsome) in the middle of a festive storm which was erasing all his boundaries. And he didn’t seem to mind. This was what made Nanase’s heart swell. Her risk had paid off.
And suddenly it was too much. The happiness had expanded in her chest to an extent that made her throat close up with tears.
She put the tray of cookies that she’d been holding down on the counter and quickly slipped out the door and made her way into her own apartment. The tears were spilling over.
“You silly girl,” she murmured to herself, half laughing as she wiped the tears away. Who would have thought that happiness could be so exquisitely painful?
Her eyes traveled to her dresser, as they always did from habit. There sat the little cat, paw out, smiling benevolently. She let out a huff of laughter, and walked over to pat it with one finger.
“Alright, enough of that.” She wiped at her face once more and went to the kitchen counter, reaching for the paper bag that held the last surprise of the night for Kairi.
Before she could turn around, there was warmth at her back, and his chin came to rest on her shoulder.
“What are you doing hiding here?” he murmured softly into her ear. “You leave me in a roomful of people, without the one person I most want there?”
She smiled, and she felt his lips press against the curve of her cheek. “I came to get this.”
“Hm? What is it?”
She turned in his arms, leaning back against the counter and presenting him with the paper bag.
His gaze lingered on her, a soft, heated caress that made Nanase’s cheeks flush, before he turned his attention to the paper bag. She could tell the moment he realised, because his lips tilted in a half-smile.
“I should have known.”
“I felt you deserved one on this special day,” she said, grinning up at him.
The half-smile turned soft. He ripped off a piece of the custard bun and held it to her lips.
“But it’s for you.” She pushed his hand in the direction of his mouth.
“Tsk. And I want to give you the first bite.” He held it to her lips again. “Don’t worry,” he assured her with a slow blink, “I’ll have my taste of it.”
Nanase could barely move when he looked at her like that. All the same she managed to open her mouth, and Kairi slipped the piece of bun into her mouth, using his thumb to brush the grains of sugar across her lips as she chewed. She couldn’t look away from his dark eyes.
“Good?” he asked, with a lift of an eyebrow.
She nodded wordlessly.
He placed the paper bag on the counter before turning his attention fully to her. His hand came to grasp her chin, and though his touch was air-soft she felt the power of it down to her toes. Tipping her head up, he leaned down to take her mouth with his, his tongue sweeping across her lips, pushing into them as they parted, and stroking her tongue until she was gasping.
“Hmm, tasty,” he murmured against her lips, nudging his nose against hers, nuzzling her cheek. His tongue slipped out to lick the corner of her lips, her jaw, the curve of her cheek.
He pulled back, pinning her with an intense gaze. “You’ve been crying.”
She shook her head. “I’m just happy.”
His gaze stayed intense, but the fingers that slipped into her hair were gentle as they nudged her head forward. Nanase let her forehead fall against his.
“What am I going to do with you?” he murmured, before his pouting lips descended on hers again. Nanase smiled into the kiss.
“You’ll...have to...put up with me,” she managed to say against the onslaught of his kisses.
He laughed into her mouth. “I suppose I could live with that.”
And then his kiss turned ferocious, cutting her laughter short, his mouth and tongue wreaking havoc on her senses. She clung to him as his arms tightened around her, pulling her bodily against him. His hips ground into hers, making her gasp.
“Forget the guests.” The words were a quiet growl against her neck.
“But…” she couldn’t formulate the rest of her argument. She knew she had had one, but it was a little hard to remember what it had been when Kairi was nibbling at her throat in that way.
“Don’t worry,” he said, licking at the spot he’d just bitten. “I locked the door.” She let out a bewildered, breathless laugh and felt him smile against her skin.
“I intend on having you all to myself.” His half-lidded gaze inflamed her. “And I do intend on having you.”
And really, how could she argue with that? It was his birthday after all.