Inui likes to talk. Over dinner, he talks to Kaidoh's mother about the food, to Kaidoh's father about PDAs, to Kaidoh's brother about video games. Now he is sitting on Kaidoh's bed and talking to Kaidoh.
The door is closed and the room seems smaller than it is because Inui fills a lot of space. Kaidoh wishes he were that tall, that broad. Maybe he will be, one day. He sits perfectly still while Inui talks. If he shifted just a little, his knee would bump against Inui's, their feet would slide together.
When Inui talks like this, he becomes intense, almost frowning, though Kaidoh knows that means Inui is enjoying himself. Kaidoh watches Inui's face. Light glints off of Inui's glasses and Kaidoh can't quite see his eyes. The skin dents just above the bridge of Inui's nose, where one touch would smooth it out. Yesterday, there were a few dark hairs on Inui's upper lip; today they are gone.
Inui's hand is resting on the bed, long fingers splayed. Kaidoh carefully puts his own hand down so that the space between the tips of his fingers and Inui's is less than the width of his thumb. He wants to slide his hand under Inui's, feel the calluses on his palm, the soft skin at his wrist, then up the pale underside of his forearm.
Kaidoh likes the sound of Inui's voice. It's mellow, somehow, and strong. A voice that makes people listen, a voice they trust. When Inui says Kaidoh's name -- and he does that often -- Kaidoh thinks about running his thumb over Inui's mouth, pushing it past his lips.
"Do you understand, Kaidoh?" Inui says and Kaidoh hasn't heard a word that Inui said.
"I'm sorry, senpai," Kaidoh says and drops his gaze.
"Is there something on your mind?"
"Nothing." Kaidoh is thinking about wrapping his fingers around Inui's collar and yanking his shirt open so that the buttons tear off and scatter on the floor. He is thinking about pushing Inui down onto the bed and climbing on after and leaving marks everywhere his mouth can reach. "Nothing," he says.
"You're flushed," Inui says. "Are you feeling well?" He leans in and puts his hand on Kaidoh's forehead for a moment. Their knees touch. Kaidoh sits perfectly still.
"It's nothing," Kaidoh says. "It's warm in here." His heart is thumping and his skin is burning.
"You should rest," Inui says. "You don't want to get sick. I should go." He stands.
Kaidoh stands too and he's just on the edge of Inui's personal space. He could reach out and put his hand on Inui's shoulder without straightening his elbow. He could whisper and Inui would hear him easily. It would only take a step to bring them chest to chest.
Kaidoh steps. He wraps his arms around Inui's waist and hugs him close, pressing his face into Inui's shoulder.
He can feel Inui go rigid and Kaidoh wonders if this is it, the end. But he can't take any more of being inches away, he's so frustrated with nothing. Inui's chest is hard against Kaidoh's ribs and he can smell something that must be aftershave. A green smell.
"Kaidoh," Inui says, "this isn't a good idea." He puts his hands on Kaidoh's shoulders and pushes gently. Kaidoh holds on tighter and closes his eyes. If this is his only chance to be close to Inui, he's going to make the most of it.
"No," he says.
"'No, this isn't a good idea' or 'no, this is a good idea'?" Inui drops his hands.
"No, I won't let go." Not yet.
Inui's chest falls as he lets out a long breath. It blows on the back of Kaidoh's neck and Kaidoh feels the skin pricking there. Inui's hands are on Kaidoh's shoulders again and Kaidoh wonders how hard Inui will shove him this time. Once Inui does pry him free, Kaidoh will take whatever Inui feels that he deserves. It's only right.
"Is it worth it?" Inui says. Kaidoh doesn't answer. He's not the one who weighs the pros and cons, he's not the one who calculates the odds. Inui shifts and Kaidoh braces himself. He's the one who holds on and never lets go.
Then Inui's hands slide onto Kaidoh's back and Inui's cheek rests on Kaidoh's temple. "Kaidoh," he says, and Kaidoh can feel his own name humming in Inui's throat. Inui strokes Kaidoh's hair, fingers circling on the back of his neck.
Kaidoh can hardly believe his relief. His knees are weak and his throat is tight and he wants to yell out loud. Instead, he moves his hands slowly over Inui's back, his sides, and smiles into Inui's neck, just above his tight-buttoned collar.
They stand there for what must be five full minutes. It's so much slower than all Kaidoh's daydreams, but it's so much better. Inui's arms are around him and Inui's mouth is on his forehead. Kaidoh turns his head, turns up, so close, their lips almost touching.
Inui's cell phone rings.
Kaidoh wants to throw it against the wall. But Inui is already answering, so all Kaidoh can do is seethe. He stands behind Inui, hands on Inui's shoulders, and leans into his back, thinking of horrible things that should happen to the person on the other end of the phone. A broken leg. The flu. Their favourite TV show cancelled and all the tapes erased.
"That was my mother," Inui says and Kaidoh only feels sort of badly about the horrible things. Inui turns to face Kaidoh. "I have to go home."
Kaidoh wraps his fingers around Inui's arm. He looks at Inui, but doesn't say anything.
"What are you doing tomorrow afternoon?" Inui says.
Tomorrow is Sunday. "Nothing," Kaidoh says.
"Call me," Inui says and Kaidoh thinks it's a good thing he didn't smash Inui's cell phone. Then Inui is leaning down and Kaidoh is reaching up and finally, finally they are kissing.
Their mouths meet, lips part, press together, pull away. It's a little awkward and a little wet and it makes Kaidoh's heart race. Next time will be even better and Kaidoh is moving in for next time, but Inui steps back. "I have to go," he says again.
"All right," Kaidoh says. He's still holding onto Inui's wrist.
"Tomorrow," Inui says.
"Good night, then."
"Good night," Kaidoh says.
"Kaidoh, you can let go now."
"No," Kaidoh says. And smiles.