I trailed into the house wearily, tired after a long day’s shoot. I left my shoes by the door, and then walked into the echoingly empty living room on my way to the kitchen. It seemed to my sensitive nerves that the building itself felt lonely without its brightest, most energetic inhabitant. Pure foolishness, I knew, but I was so tired that my mind was thinking strange thoughts. I opened the refrigerator listlessly, staring at the contents blankly. I seemed to have forgotten what I came in here for, not a surprise. With a sigh, I got a beer and went into the living room to sit on the couch. I turned on the t.v. – and lo and behold, the channel was playing reruns of the original show that Katou and I had done together, Embracing Love.
I was mesmerized. I sat there, the beer forgotten in my hand, and stared at my lover’s face. This was the first time that I’d seen it in over two weeks. Katou was off filming a movie on location at a resort town in the Fukushima Prefecture, which was up north above Tokyo. While he called me almost every day, that wasn’t the same. I missed him intensely whenever he was away, not liking rattling around the empty house without his larger-than-life presence there. I kept expecting him to ambush me when I least expected it, jumping on me to pull me in for a deep kiss. I never seemed to be able to object to these ‘attacks’, even when they finished with us having sex wherever we were in the house at the time. We’d baptized every room, and even (naughtily enough) the verandah once or twice with the outside lights off. But, fortunately for me, he was due back home tomorrow. I knew he’d be tired from the long car journey, and I planned to order dinner and buy a bottle of wine so that he could relax.
I watched his handsome face on the screen, ignoring my own presence in the scene. He was smiling, my beautiful golden lover, the other half of my heart. Soon enough, I reminded myself. Just tonight and half of tomorrow, and then he’d be with me again. Fortunately, I had the day off tomorrow, so I could spend as much time with him as I liked after he got home. Relearning the contours of his body, the feel of his arm around me, the sound of his light, laughing voice. And his smell, that musky masculine odor overlaid with the cologne he liked to wear. I couldn’t wait for all of my senses to be filled with him.
How far we’d come together, I mused as I watched the show. When we’d originally been filming this, Katou and I were still almost adversaries. I didn’t trust him, and I wasn’t happy about beginning to have feelings for another man. We’d had sex a few times, but I wasn’t willing to let it go any deeper. But Katou was way more stubborn than I was – and determined to prove to me that he was falling in love with me. He’d invited himself into my apartment right after the wrap party for Embracing Love, and I couldn’t bring myself to kick him out. Even when he chastely slept in the living room, and made no move to have sex with me for the first month he lived there. Finally, in pure frustration, I’d jumped him myself.
It took time, and some misunderstandings, but finally I admitted both to myself and Katou that I loved him. After that we built this house together, going so far as to pick out all of the furnishings together, down to every curtain and rug. We’d had our ups-and-downs, but for the most part had lived pretty blissfully together for the last few years in our dream house. And our relationship continued to deepen, especially as I finally let go of the last of my walls, and let Katou into me. I wasn’t afraid anymore that he’d leave me, or that he’d break my heart. I’d never been happier than I was right now – or at least as I would be, when he finally got home tomorrow.
I sipped at my beer before setting it on the coffee table. Then I got up and pottered off to see about something to eat, and to collect the mail. A lot of it was fan mail for Katou, but there was some for me, as well. And a few were addressed to both of us, for many of our fans loved the fact that we were such a strong couple. The funny thing was, our relationship had been marketed as a true and pure love to make it easier for people to accept the fact that we were two ‘married’ men. But while I’ve never been sure about the concept of ‘true love’ I now felt that Katou and I had as close to that state as was possible for two fallible, quarrelsome human beings to have. I shuffled through the pile, laying those for Katou alone on the desk in his private work room, on top of a growing pile of such correspondence. My lover would answer every one of them personally when he had the time, for he adored his fans almost as much as they seemed to love him. He liked to hear from them, and being a personable creature, liked just as much responding to them if he could. For myself, I tried to answer some of my fan mail, but I’ve never been very good with that kind of thing. Katou lectures me sometimes about my standoffishness, but I know that he knows that its just part of my nature. I can’t help but be this private and(I am aware) a tad stiff, as well.
Fortunately for me, Katou seems to find those qualities utterly cute. I have no idea why, but I’m definitely not complaining. I took my own mail, as well as the ‘couple’ mail back down with me to the kitchen. I set them on the counter as I made some soba noodles for myself, as a quick supper. Katou is the one who normally cooks in our relationship, mostly because he’s far better than I am at doing it. And he really likes to take care of me, which is something that I’ve come to find that I really need. It proves to me that he cares, when he sees to my wants and desires so assiduously. And I’ve learned to return the favor, although the ways that I take care of him are a bit different.
But then, his needs are a tad different, as well. At the heart of him, all Katou really needs is to know that I want him as much as he does me. While I’ve had to work at showing my emotions more openly, I succeeded because I wanted my golden lover to know just how much he means to me. He deserves that from me, if for nothing else than just for loving me as thoroughly and deeply as he does.
After I ate, I took the mail with me back into the living room and sat down on the couch to read it. Much of it was gushing and practically incoherent, but some of the letters were quite sweet or poignant. One girl told me that she’d met her current boyfriend at a screening of one of my movies, and that he was as big a fan of my acting as she was. They had bonded over this fact, finding that they had far more than that in common. They were most likely getting married soon. I smiled a little as I read this one, laying it aside to pick up the next to last envelope. This one had no return address at all. I opened it, reaching in to pull out a single piece of almost-blank paper. I unfolded it, and read the single sentence written in the middle of the paper. I felt a chill go down my spine as I did so, for it said only: ‘YOU ARE MINE’.
I stared at this rather sinister sentence, my brows furrowing. I’d gotten threatening fan mail before this, mostly from those who loathed homosexuals. But this – this felt different. There was something adamant and insane about this single sentence. And there was the fact that there was no return address on the envelope, or the piece of paper at all…What should I do? Call the police, or tell my manager so that I could be assigned bodyguards if they felt there was any danger? I frowned. I hated to do that on this single piece of evidence, which could mean anything at all. Maybe it was just someone trying to scare me, who would laugh hysterically if I started to appear in public with bodyguards trailing around after me. And being the private person that I am(in spite of the fact that I’d spent many years baring my body as an AV actor), I hated the thought of having those bodyguards around me all the time. I decided not to do anything about this just yet, to wait and see. If I received any more threatening letters or anything else happened, then I’d act. But for now, I simply laid the nasty letter aside. I concentrated on the one after that, and soon the feeling of apprehension faded. I felt that I’d overreacted, that it was simply my tiredness making me see danger where there wasn’t any.
My cell phone rang, and I pulled it out of my pocket. My heart jumped when I saw the: ‘Message from Katou’ flash across the small screen. I flipped it open and put it to my ear. “Hello, Katou,” I said happily.
I heard a chuckle in my ear. “Hello, Iwaki-san. I’m calling from my hotel room, where I’m packing right now. I can’t wait to get home and see you,” there was a faintly leering tone to his voice, one which made tingles race down my spine. When my lover was away, I didn’t even masturbate much. I was generally too depressed at his absence to do so. My body was reacting strongly, anticipation surging through my veins. “Will you be glad to see me, Iwaki-san?” Katou asked lasciviously, and I managed to croak:
“Hai, very much.”
“Great. Kaneko-san and I are hitting the road pretty early tomorrow morning, so we should be home by a little after noon. After that I’ll just need a nap, and then I can spend the rest of the day with you, Iwaki-san,” he was practically purring now, and I shivered as the crotch of my trousers suddenly became very tight and uncomfortable.
I gripped my phone tight as I fought not to squirm. This was as close to phone sex as Katou and I had ever come, because I was too embarrassed by the thought to actually ever try such a thing. Although there were times, during longer absences like this one, that I was sorely tempted…from the faint snicker on the other end, Katou was aware of my reaction to both his words and their intonation. “Dream about me tonight, Iwaki-san,” he said softly, his voice seeming to caress me. “And I’ll see you tomorrow. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Katou,” I said. He hung up, and I sighed as I closed the phone slowly. It was only maybe twelve to fifteen hours, and then I’d get to see my lover again; so why did it seem like it would be another eternity before I finally got to hold him in my arms once more?
I slept better than I had for almost two weeks, waking in the morning feeling refreshed and happy. I pottered downstairs after I got dressed, making myself some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. I drank a cup of coffee and read the morning paper, enjoying being able to laze about the house on my day off. I didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything today; I simply had to wait for Katou to return, and I had to order dinner. I’d actually already purchased the bottle of wine, and it was chilling in the refrigerator. Gee, what could I do to fill my day? I wondered with a small smile as I read the entertainment section of the newspaper. It was often wise for an actor to do so, since it so closely concerned us and our careers. But there was nothing particularly significant today, and I closed the paper and laid it aside.
I took my coffee out onto the verandah, sipping it as I leaned on the balcony and looked out over the city of Tokyo. It was great view, one of the many things that Katou and I were paying through the nose for. But it had definitely been worth it. We could come out here together to enjoy the evening breeze, or to watch the sunset together. Mostly we ended up sharing the same deck chair, since Katou crowded onto mine despite my protests. And those were simply perfunctory; I really liked to sit snuggled up against him, while the wind blew the scents of the city to my nose and the sky turned many different colors with the glorious sunsets. He would push his nose into my hair, seeming to prefer my scent to any other. I couldn’t wait to do that this evening, after we’d eaten dinner.
I heard the phone ring in the living room. I went to answer it, knowing that it wouldn’t be Katou. He always called me on my cell phone, not the land line. It had rang four times or so by the time I hurried in and snatched up the hand set. “Moshi, Moshi, this is Iwaki,” I said.
A deep voice rumbled: “Iwaki Kyosuke?”
“Hai,” I replied. “This is he.”
The voice hesitated. “I’m afraid that I have some bad news for you, Iwaki-san,” he said. “I am Sergeant Houseki of the Highway Patrol. This is about Katou Yohji…”
“Is he okay?” I interrupted anxiously, knowing it was rude but not caring at this moment. My stomach was clenching inside of me, as fear rose up in me like a whale out of deep ocean.
His voice was compassionate. “I’m afraid not. Katou-san was a in a bad accident this morning on National Route 6. There was a pile up. We still don’t know what caused it…”
“Is he…he’s not…” my fingers closed over the hand set in a death grip. No, this could not be happening! Katou couldn’t be…he just couldn’t be….
“Katou–san is still alive,” the patrolman said hurriedly, obviously having heard the terror and despair in my voice. “But he suffered some bad injuries. He was air-lifted to the Iwaki Kyoritsu Hospital, and is listed in intensive care there.”
I blinked. My brain wasn’t working very well at the moment, so I thought for a few seconds that he was talking about me. But then I realized that he was, in fact, talking about one of the three fair-sized cities in the Fukushima Prefecture, which was also called Iwaki. “Arigatou,” I said numbly. “I’ll come as soon as I possibly can.”
“That would be good,” he replied, and something in his voice made terror surge up in me again. I hung up the phone, standing there staring blankly at nothing as I tried to get my brain to start working again. I needed to go, I needed to get to Katou…and as quickly as possible. Butt I wasn’t fit to drive in this state, and my manager had gone out of town for a few days with some friends. I didn’t know what to do…but the image of a silver-haired man rose up in my head, and I knew who I could call. I picked up the phone, panicking when I couldn’t think of the number for a moment. My mind was totally blank of everything but sheer panic. But then it swam up automatically from my subconscious, and I dialed the number with shaking fingers.
The rather musical voice of our friend Sawa Nagisa came out of the phone. “Moshi, moshi, this is Sawa.”
“Sawa-san,” I said slowly, my tongue feeling sluggish. "This is Iwaki.”
“Ahh, Iwaki-san! How lovely to hear from you. But…” his voice changed as he registered my tone. “What is it, Iwaki-san? Is anything wrong?” he asked anxiously.
“H-Hai. It’s Katou…” I closed my eyes against the tears beginning to prickle against the backs of my eyelids. “H-He…” I bit my lip.
“He what? What is it, Iwaki-san?” the writer sounded scared now, too.
“He’s been in a bad car accident. I need to get to the city of Iwaki, in the Fukushima Prefecture. T-That’s where he’s in the hospital. B-But I can’t drive like this, I can’t…” a sob forced its way up my throat, and I had to stop talking.
“Oh, Gods,” Sawa cried. “I understand, Iwaki-san. Yukihito and I will be right over. We’ll all go to Iwaki together. Don’t worry about a thing. Pack a bag and be ready to go.”
“Arigatou, Sawa-san,” I said heart-feltly.
“Think nothing of it, Iwaki-san. You and Katou are our friends. Of course we want to know that he’s going to be okay…and I firmly believe that he will. You must believe that too.”
Numbly, I hung up the phone once more. I got my frozen limbs to move, stumbling up to the bedroom to pack a small carry all bag with a few changes of clothes and some toiletries. I hesitated, then packed one for Katou, too. Perhaps it was wishful thinking that he’d need it, but I had to believe that he’d be all right. If I thought anything else I’d go insane. Carrying the two bags, I hurried back down to the living room. I changed my slippers for my shoes, and put on a light coat. Then I went outside to wait for Sawa and his cousin/lover to arrive.
A car drove up after a few moments. The window rolled down, revealing Sawa and Yukihito sitting in the back seat. “Get in, Iwaki-san,” the author called. “I hired a driver to take us, since I’m upset enough myself I don’t want to risk driving up there. All we need is to have an accident, too.”
I slipped into the back seat with him and Yukihito, for it was a big hired car and there was plenty of room. The writer laid his hand compassionately on my thigh as he motioned for the driver to pull away from the curb and start the long drive to Iwaki. Yukihito gave me a sympathetic look from the other side of Sawa. I sat tensely on the plush leather seat, unable to relax, my fingers digging into the carry all bag on my lap. We began our journey out of the city, headed north. I had to believe that the name of the city we were going to was a good omen, that there was no way that Katou could die in a place called Iwaki. I have to hold onto that belief, because I don’t know whether I can live in a world without Katou Yohji in it…