Hiroki couldn’t help being nervous, but he was also excited. He’d signed the lease the day before, and this morning he was letting himself in to his new penthouse to wait for the movers.
And the only man he’d kissed in the last six months was now his roommate.
He removed his shoes and put them on the empty bottom shelf on the very pristine shoe rack in the entry hall. Even the shoe horn had its own holder, which matched the wood tone of the rack perfectly. Hiroki smiled, liking that Dai was a neat person as well. He licked his lips as he remembered that kiss yet again. It would be so easy to seduce Dai, if he was truly as repressed as he seemed, but Hiroki kept telling himself it wouldn’t be right. He would be taking advantage, and it might end badly. He’d hate it if his brother became angry or if Dai refused to be open about a relationship.
Hiroki could not do that ever again. He’d almost lost his heart to man who couldn’t admit what he truly was, and he needed to stay strong.
That resolve wavered a bit when Dai emerged wearing only faded jeans and a dark green fitted t-shirt. He’d been handsome in nicer clothes, but the casual look had its own appeal. Dai smiled, looking a bit nervous as well.
“Welcome home, Hiroki.” His smile wavered a bit. “How are you today?”
“Good. The movers will be here soon. I’m glad the elevator is so spacious.”
“Yes, they take very good care of the penthouse residents here. One of our neighbors is having a party next weekend and said I should bring you along. It would be a good way to meet other tenants. Ichiro-san is a director with a publishing house. Being in language arts, you’ll have a lot to talk about with him and his friends, I’m sure. He said he’d be happy to introduce you to them.”
Hiroki couldn’t help grinning. “That’s amazing. I can’t wait to meet him. It would be a good networking opportunity.” He sighed. “My brother will be pleased with that.”
Dai crossed his arms and hesitated before saying, “He has high hopes for you. Thinks a lot of you. Does he really push you so much?”
Hiroki laughed. “He can be about as bad as my parents, but he means well. I don’t mind that much. I know it’s done affectionately.” He laughed again. “Though it doesn’t always feel that way.”
“I’m an only child, though both of my parents have younger siblings.”
“Do you spend a lot of time with your family?”
“Not that much. Just a few times a year. Dinners in Tokyo now and then. They’re disappointed I’m not married yet. I’m thirty-three, and they’re dismayed by me, honestly. They think I should settle down because my career is stable.”
“Oh.” Hiroki didn’t know what else to say. “They want grandchildren?”
“I think what they really want is proof I’m not gay. I believe they’ve made it so clear that it would be intolerable to, well, scare me into what they consider normalcy.”
“They suspect then?”
“I believe so. I never felt it was right to lead on the girls they tried to set me up with. They must have some idea, but they’ll never say anything, of course. Even talking about the subject would be too much for them.”
Hiroki tried to hold his tongue but found he couldn’t. “Based on what I felt in that kiss, you’ll end up very unhappy if you spend your entire life pretending.”
“I’m already un…” He stopped and sighed, trailing off. “I appreciate what you’re trying to do. It’s good to finally have someone to talk to.”
The elevator chimed, and Hiroki walked over to it, though he looked back at Dai as he spoke with the men and pressed the button to let them up. When he walked back over, he said, “We can talk any time. I want us to be friends. I’ve been through ups and downs since I came out. I’m willing to share.” I’m also willing to show you how good it could be. He clasped his hands behind his back, his grip tight as he tried to tell himself not to think that way. He should focus on being Dai’s friend, not trying to seduce him.
“Thank you,” Dai said before leading the way to prop the door open for the movers.
Hiroki stared at the floor a moment. No use getting worked up now. I knew what I was getting into coming here. He lifted his gaze to Dai’s back. Knew I wanted him. Would be tempted. He blinked to try to clear his expression. He thought of all the objections he’d raised in his mind throughout the morning, suddenly realizing he’d been protesting so hard to deny what he’d really done.
Moved himself into the penthouse of a man he wanted desperately.