by Dyna Dee
Friday morning began as it usually did with the same old questions from co-workers about what he had planned for the weekend. As usual, he hemmed and hawed then hinted at taking in a movie or trying a new restaurant he'd heard about. The truth was, he liked staying at home and doing anything that wasn't work related. He put so much into his job that it felt like taking a vacation when Saturday and Sunday came around.
Charise's hot-shot lawyer still hadn't come by the office nor had he called to speak with his boss, which was just another thing to be grateful for, as far as Duo was concerned. His absence meant there was one less problem to deal with at the office. Charise had calmed down as the week progressed, and had chosen to deal with the legal crisis by locking herself in her office. Armed with an enormous bowl of M&Ms and enough Mountain Dew to keep her awake and energized for a week, she'd asked Duo to take care of whatever incoming calls he could, then take messages for all the rest. She left orders that she was not to be interrupted unless it was absolutely necessary, allowing her creative juices to flow as she began the first steps in creating a new line for the coming year. Frustrated with the sales for her Spring and Summer show, which remained on hold until the lawsuit had been settled, Charise turned her full attention towards the coming year's fall and winter collections, which would debut in New York in April.
Having finished the list of tasks Charise had left on his desk that morning, Duo turned his attention on proofreading the letter she was sending out to her investors, the manufactures of her clothing line as well as to the buyers who purchased her designs for their stores, assuring them of her innocence and absolute confidence that the lawsuit brought against her by Huffington would be settled quickly and in her favor. He was so engrossed in his work that he was completely unaware that someone had stepped up to his desk until he heard the clearing of a throat. Looking up, he was surprised to see Trowa standing there. The man, dressed in gray pleated pants and awhite shirt beneath a darker gray sport jacket, had obviously come from work. Trowa's face was unusually pale, his expression grim. Setting his own expression to match that of his former boyfriend, Duo looked him in the eyes before returning his attention to the computer screen. "Go away," he said in an acerbic voice.
Trowa, however, was never one to back down from any situations. "You've got some explaining to do, Duo. And since you won't answer your phone or return my messages, you've given me no choice but to come here and speak with you about your conversation with Quatre yesterday."
Duo looked up again, anger blazing in his eyes. "What the hell is Quatre doing talking to you about my session with him? What about protecting my privacy? His credibility as a therapist is shot to hell, again!"
Trowa leaned forward, placing his hands on the desk while his arms braced his upper body. "He told me what had happened between you because I am involved in this mess."
"Not any more." Duo stood up abruptly from his desk, not for any reason other than he just couldn't sit any longer, especially with Trowa looming over him. He fled, in a carefully controlled stride, of course, to the file drawer across the room and began rummaging through it as if he was actually looking for something.
"Duo, listen to me." The other man's voice softened, and from its nearness, he could tell that Trowa had followed him across the room. "I know my leaving hurt you and I've apologized more than once for having fallen in love with Quatre while you and I were still dating. You said you understood, that you had accepted our breakup as well as my relationship with Quatre and that you were happy for me; but it was all a lie, wasn't it?"
Gripping the sides of the file cabinet, Duo fought to keep his temper in check. He didn't want another scene like the one in Quatre's office. No, that wouldn't do in his work place, not with Charise in the next room. Between gritted teeth he answered firmly while keeping his voice down. "I am over you, Trowa. What I can't get over is the betrayal. I trusted Quatre as I trusted you. When he asked if he could meet the man I'd been talking about, the one I was trying so hard to get better for, I didn't see any harm in making that happen. Dammit, Tro, how could you have fallen in love with my shrink? How could he morally or ethically return your feelings knowing how I felt about you? Cutting my heart out with a plastic spoon would have hurt less than what I felt when you confessed what you'd done and then walked out the door."
Closing his eyes, Duo wished the other man would do him one last favor and just disappear. Knowing that wasn't likely to happen, he breathed in deeply before continuing in a voice low enough not to carry into Charise's office. " I must have been out of my mind asking Quatre to take me back as a client. I only did it because I didn't want to rehash more than a year of therapy with someone new. How stupid is that?" He threw up his hands and finally looked at Trowa over his shoulder. "And then came the overtures of friendship: The invitation for dinner on Friday nights, continuing the racket ball games each Tuesday and your acting as if we'd never been anything but friends. You have no idea what torture you've put me through, do you? Can you imagine what it was like for me, watching you and Quatre kissing and hanging off each other, rubbing it in that you were essentially together because he'd let you screw him and I couldn't? Dammit, Tro, how could that be anything but pure torture for me?"
With his chest heaving, Duo forced himself to calm down before he said anything else. Once it was a bit easier to get air into his lungs and he felt like he had a grip on his anger, Duo shook his head, resigned to a course of action he should have taken a long time ago. "I just can't play along anymore, hoping the ache will eventually go away. I meant it when I told Quat that we were finished, professionally and personally. That goes for you and me as well."
"Duo..." Whatever Trowa was about to say was cut short by the sound of someone clearing his throat.
"Excuse me. Am I interrupting?"
Startled, both Duo and Trowa turned around to see an attractive Japanese man dressed smartly in a black designer suit, red tie and briefcase in hand standing in the doorframe. "Mr. Yuy?" Duo was feeling both grateful and flustered by the attorney's unexpected appearance. "I don't think you're scheduled to see Charise this afternoon. Is there a new development in the lawsuit?"
The deep blue eyes moved slowly from the executive assistant to the taller man at his side. Raising one dark eyebrow, Mr. Yuy said to the man, "Perhaps you'll excuse us."
"Goodbye, Trowa." Duo said firmly before the other man had a chance to say anything. The tone of his voice indicated that their parting was going to be final.
The taller man sighed, a sign to Duo that he was giving up the fight. "All right, I'll give you some space, Duo, but I'm not going to give up on our friendship. Believe what you like, but I do care about you, and so does Quatre. I'll call you in a couple of weeks."
Duo refrained from replying, not knowing whether or not he would be willing to speak to either Trowa or Quatre in just a few weeks time. Realizing that he wasn't going to get anything else from him, not even a tiny word of hope that their friendship might make it past this huge hurdle, Trowa gave a nod of his head and turned to leave the room, pausing as he passed the attorney to give him a quick once over before exiting completely.
Relieved by Trowa's more or less forced exit, Duo couldn't help but think that he owed the lawyer for his unwitting help in getting rid of the man and ending their less than pleasant conversation. Glancing aside at Mr. Yuy, he couldn't help acknowledging once again that the lawyer was probably the hottest guy he'd ever seen, surpassing all the actors and models he'd encountered as Charise's assistant. And knowing that Mr. Heero Yuy was even more gorgeous without his clothes than he was in his courtroom appropriate black suit made his breath catch in his throat. Still, there was just something about a man in a well-fitted, expensive business suit, white shirt and power tie that pushed all the right buttons in him.
Catching himself from letting that particular line of thought go any further, he felt his cheeks flush again, but this time it was not a reaction to anger. He was reacting no different than a teenage boy with his first crush, almost salivating over the other man. Get a grip, he told himself. Mr. Yuy had a very low opinion of him and he was pretty sure that it hadn't risen any after he'd walked in on his very personal conversation with Trowa.
"Did you overhear what we were talking about?" he asked, his spine stiffening as he recalled exactly what he and Trowa had been talking about. He walked back to his desk, sat in his chair and pulled off his glasses.
"Not really, but I could tell by your posture and tone of voice that you didn't want the conversation to continue." Mr. Yuy left the doorway and strolled across the room to stand in front of his desk, setting his black leather briefcase on its surface.
"Well, whatever you heard, forget it, all of it. That conversation was personal," Duo said stiffly as he moved his mouse to revive his screen. He really was trying hard not to be rude, but it difficult maintaining his cool when he could feel the other man's eyes on him. Unable to endure that kind of scrutiny another minute, he returned his focus to his computer screen. "And unless this impromptu visit is a dire emergency, I'm afraid Charise is working and can't be disturbed."
"I came here hoping to speak with you."
Duo's wide eyes shot up to the man. "Me? What could you possibly want to talk to me about?" Mr. Yuy's face was completely unreadable, which Duo thought was a pretty handy trick that probably served the lawyer well in the courtroom. He wouldn't be much fun in a poker game, though, not with that inscrutable expression.
"Look," the lawyer began, turning to sit on the edge of the desk. He looked cool and very comfortable, opposite from what Duo was feeling. "You and I met under... well, unusual circumstances, and our second meeting in your boss's office was a bit of a shock, and I didn't react very well. Hell, I was under the impression that you were a prostitute, a once in a lifetime encounter before discovering you were a personal assistant to one of the biggest clients retaining my law firm. I apologize that things were so awkward between us then, but you'll have to admit it was rather shocking, coming face to face like that."
"I thought you were a hooker, too," Duo admitted, with a small, rueful smile.
"I was wondering, would you have lunch with me?"
"Lunch?" Duo blinked in astonishment. "Today?"
The lawyer shrugged. "I figured eating in a public place in the middle of the day would be safe enough. We can talk, maybe get to know each other."
"Ah, I hope you mean getting to know each other in a way different from how we first met."
Mr. Yuy chuckled, and Duo wondered if the man had any idea how sexy that sound was, especially when it was accompanied by an amused smile. No doubt he did know and probably used it to his own advantage. So why did this man's presence, and hell, just about everything else about him, have such an effect on him? Returning the smile simply because he couldn't help it, Duo's heart tripped when their eyes met and he began to feel more than a little warm under the collar. Quickly looking away, Duo had an idea that the other man was dangerous. Dangerous because, given the chance, there stood a very real possibility that he might lose his heart to the handsome lawyer. Hadn't he learned from the past what a bad idea it was to fall in love? Love meant pain. He'd loved his parents, his cousin, his aunt and uncle, and he'd lost them all, with the exception of his aunt, and even that relationship was strained. And every time he'd come close to giving his heart to someone he felt he could rely on and trust, he'd he been rejected or hurt so badly it had taken him long, agonizing months to recover?
Mentally shaking himself, he recalled that this was not the time for getting up close and personal, not with all the other shit that was coming down around him. Not only was work stressful, but he was now estranged from his friends and the humiliating scene on Saturday night at the Palomino had made it clear he still had some personal issues to work on. "I don't know," he hedged, already sounding apologetic. "I'm kind of in a bad place right now, dealing with some personal issues. I don't think this is a good time for me to get involved with anyone."
"It's just lunch," the other man replied, sounding reasonable. "We can go Dutch if you're worried about commitment." The left corner of Heero's mouth twitched upward, hinting that an amused smile was fighting to make its appearance.
Duo's more rational side began battling with an aching desire to do whatever the man sitting on his desk wanted. Mr. Yuy had become the phantom lover featured in his most recent dreams, fueled by the memory of the hot tub and the fantasy of the incredible cowboy he'd given his virginity to. The strong attraction he felt towards the man was undeniable. It was possibly the strongest pull he'd ever experienced towards another human being. But his past relationships had only led to heartache. What made him think this man would be any different from the other guys he'd dated and lost? Had the lawyer honestly come all the way to his office with the sole intent of getting to know him better? Or did he have some ulterior motive at work? Like getting close to Charise's assistant for his own gain? No! He stopped himself from going any further with that train of thought. Truth be told, he was scared. Scared shitless to trust another person with his fragile heart. But he wanted to take a chance again, with the man sitting on the edge of his desk, waiting for his answer. But was Mr. Heero Yuy worth it? Was there more to the lawyer, the man, than being the hottest guy he had ever seen?
He had just about decided to play it safe by telling the man that he wasn't ready to date when the lawyer leaned over the desk and whispered, "Come on. What are you afraid of? Me? I'm the real thing, Duo, someone you should take a chance on. You can trust me."
Looking into the deep blue eyes gazing at him so intently, he wondered if he was being fed a line by a slick lawyer or if maybe, hopefully, Mr. Heero Yuy was the real thing.
"That's the problem," Duo replied soberly, cringing at the slight tremble in his voice. "Right now I don't know that I can trust you, or anyone else for that matter."
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained," the lawyer said with a challenging wink.
Leave it to a lawyer to find another of his weaknesses; he rarely could he ignore a challenge. It was just lunch after all, what harm could there be in that? "All right, lunch it is." He looked at the clock on his computer and was surprised to see it was nearly twelve forty five. "Let me tell Charise I'm leaving and see if she wants me to pick something up for her." He promptly saved the changes and closed the page he'd been working on then rose from his desk and approached the closed door belonging to his boss.
Ten minutes later they were being lead to a booth at Tony's Delicatessen. Duo passed by the place almost every day, but he couldn't recall having eaten there before. It appeared, however, that his lunch companion had frequented the small restaurant regularly, a conclusion he came to after witnessing the friendly reception the dark haired man got and the table they were immediately led to.
"Come here often?" he asked with a slight grin as he slid into the red vinyl booth.
"A couple times a month," the lawyer answered, carefully setting his briefcase beneath the table.
"The staff seem to know you well enough."
With a wink the other man replied, "I tip well," and Duo thought Mr. Yuy's smile was nothing short of spellbinding. With straight white teeth, it was obvious the lawyer had good oral hygiene, one of the top points on his list for when he considered having a closer relationship with someone. He blinked, startled at realizing that he was already mentally checking off the list he used when assessing someone as a future partner. Even though he knew very little about the guy, Heero Yuy seemed to meet most of the requirements on that list, namely: being intelligent, gainfully employed, good looking, healthy and a great kisser. He blushed at the memory of the kisses they'd shared in the hot tub. Of course there were other essential character traits he had on his list, but only time would tell if the man sitting across from him met those criteria as well.
The purpose of creating the list in the first place was to aid him in taking stock of the person he was interested in, to help him decided whether or not he could trust the man with his secret. What a relief it was that he didn't have that debilitating intimacy problem anymore. He decided then and there to keep an open mind about the man sitting across from him, and to wait, at least until after lunch, to decide whether or not he could possibly trust him with another date and, potentially, his heart.
"Let's start again properly." The lawyer reached his hand across the table and introduced himself, "Heero Yuy."
Duo grinned and placed his hand in the other's, giving him a firm handshake. "Duo Maxwell. Nice to meet you."
"Hello, Mr. Yuy." A pretty, dark-haired woman in her mid twenties placed two glasses of water before them, then stood in front of the table clutching several menus to her chest. Duo thought she looked at home in the Italian restaurant, and with her dark skin and eyes, peasant blouse, skirt and checkered scarf and apron, he could envision her stomping barefoot in a wine barrel filled with ripe purple grapes, oozing between her toes.
"Hello, Sophia. How's the new baby?"
The woman's face glowed as she answered. "Very well, thank you. The little guy is six months old now," she added while handing both men a menu. In a very professional but easy manner, she began listing the specials of the day. Heero ordered the spaghetti with clam sauce, and Duo requested cheese ravioli topped with an Alfredo sauce.
As their waitress left to put the order up, Duo turned his attention back to Heero. He felt his cheeks heat up after finding the other man's eyes focused on him and a smile on his face. "So, what do you want to talk about?" he asked.
"Tell me about yourself," Heero said, settling against the back of his seat. "Where did you grow up, go to school? Tell me about your family. When did you know you were gay?" He leaned forward again and said in an intimate, seductive way, "Tell me everything, Duo."
The braided man couldn't help but grin. "This is an hour lunch, right?"
Heero glanced at his watch. "Forty minutes, actually."
"Then I guess I better tell you the short version." Duo was beginning to relax and actually enjoy the other man's company. "I was born in San Francisco but basically grew up in San Jose," he began. "My parents were killed in car crash when I was eight and my aunt, my only living blood relative, took me in to live with her and her family. It was hard at first, but after a year or so living with my Aunt Helen, her husband Frank and my cousin Natalie I began to feel like I belonged, that I had a family again. Shortly after I turned twelve everything changed. My cousin died in a freak accident. I don't remember much about it, because it was not so long a time after my parents' accident and I kind of blocked it out in order to deal with it. My aunt and uncle were devastated. Everything changed in our home. My aunt cried a lot and my uncle began spending a lot of time away from home and I was left by myself a lot. The year I turned thirteen, my uncle was gone and Aunt Helen divorced him. She wouldn't discuss it with me, but I think my uncle was cheating on her. I saw several bills come in the mail from a private investigator, so I can only guess that was how she found out. She never got over it."
Looking up, Duo could see that the other man was listening to him, but it was hard to judge from his face and lack of comments just what he was thinking. He continued, wanting to push forward and not dwell too much on his past. What he really wanted was to learn more about the man he'd formerly known as Tex.
"Of course I stayed with my aunt and never saw Uncle Frank again, which was sad because he'd always been very nice to me, took me fishing, to the go-cart race track. He was fun. I was your normal teenager, had friends, did well in most subjects in school, had a girlfriend or two, but only because they asked me to go with them rather than me having any interest. Still, they were good friends, even though they couldn't figure out why I didn't try to do anything more than kiss them. I didn't really get it either until my senior year, and it was then I knew I was gay."
"How did that happen?" Heero asked, his face relaxed but he was obviously listening to every word he uttered.
"I was on the school paper and was asked to cover the swim team's meet when the regular person reporting on it was absent from school. Let's just say that my reaction to watching guys parade around in Speedos was pretty damn telling of my sexual orientation. It suddenly made sense why I hadn't been lusting after the girls in school like the other guys, though I'd put up a good front in order to be accepted. It was a day of illumination and heartache."
"I realized that I was the very thing my aunt loathed. I'm not going to go into it, but from the time I turned fourteen she'd hammered into my brain the evils of homosexuality. The effects of her lectures stayed with me a long time."
"Does she know you're gay?"
Duo nodded. "Yes, but she's in denial, still hoping I'll find a nice young woman to settle down with. She blames my working in the fashion industry for my sexual preference."
"Anyway," he continued, changing the subject. "I left home as soon as possible, drawing from a trust fund set up from my parents' life insurance policies to pay for my studies at U.C.L.A. I majored in business with a minor in education. I got a job at DuFrame, Inc. right out of school as an assistant for a minor assistant. The long and the short of it is that I caught Charise's eye and was promoted more for my looks rather than my abilities, but it's my office and organizational skills that keeps me in the position of Charise's assistant."
Heero gave him an appreciative look and said, "I can understand how you caught her eye, but who was the guy you were arguing with earlier?"
"Former boyfriend. End of subject." Duo said with a look that indicated he meant it. Then relaxing enough to give Heero another smile, he added, "Now, it's your turn."
"All right." Heero leaned forward, resting one elbow on the table and setting his chin on his upraised hand. "I was born in Chicago, a product of sperm donation to a lesbian couple. My moms moved to Montana when I was three. We lived on a ranch that one set of grandparents owned. They broke up when I was five. Mom stayed at the ranch and raised me in Montana and Mema moved back to Chicago, where I visited her every summer. I stayed on good terms with both of them and can honestly say that my life was never dull.
"I was thirteen when I figured out I was gay, and sixteen when I had my first sexual experience with an older boy I met at the movies in Chicago. Mema freaked out when the manager from the theater called my home after catching me and this other guy in the bathroom. She immediately phoned one of her gay friends who arrived moments after I walked through the front door. He sat down with us and lectured me on the importance of using protection while my mom and her latest girlfriend sandwiched me between them on the sofa, adding their two bits after every sentence. I learned what the term hell on earth meant that day. I was more careful about my activities after that.
"After high school I went to Chicago and stayed with Mema while I attended the university there, then transferred to the University of Connecticut for law school. I was hired by my present firm upon graduation. Winning several high-profile cases that fell into my lap when one of the partners developed a severe case of kidney stones, propelled my career forward and I was made an associate of the firm, which brings me to the here and now."
"So you grew up on a ranch in Montana, huh?" Duo asked with a slow grin. "That explains why you looked so natural sitting on the fence. At first I thought you were a cowboy."
"And you'd never ridden a horse before, had you?" Heero was smiling, his eyes alight with mirth. "Even from a distance I could see the death grip you had on the saddle horn."
"Did you..." Duo's question was cut short when their meal arrived. The waitress placed their plates in front of them and asked if they wanted something more to drink than the water they had. Heero ordered iced tea and Duo a coke.
Several moments passed as they sampled their meals, then Heero asked, "What were you about to ask?"
The braided man looked up from his plate, bemused. "Huh, I can't remember." It wasn't like him to lose his train of thought, but it was understandable considering the handsome man sitting across the table, distracting the hell out of him. The smell of Heero's cologne was very appealing, and the man's air of confidence was doing funny things to his body, not to mention the way he hummed after taking the first bite of his food, obviously enjoying it. The whole package named Heero Yuy was most definitely turning him on. That pleasurable hum brought back the memory of the wonderful sounds the other man had made in a hot tub hundreds of miles away from Los Angeles.
"We were talking about when I first saw you, clinging to your horse for dear life" Heero said helpfully, trying to jog his memory.
Oh, yeah, he remembered now. Turning his eyes back to his plate of food, Duo tried not to appear as nervous as he felt when he asked. "I know it probably sounds stupid, given where we were at the time, but did you follow me into the house, or did you find me in the hot tub by chance?"
By sound alone he could tell that Heero had stopped eating, that he wasn't moving. Looking up through the fringe of hair that partially covered his eyes, he could see that Heero had been waiting for him to do just that. Leaning forward so that what he was about to say wouldn't be overheard, the dark haired man with the beautiful blue eyes said in a low voice, "Even from the distance that separated us, I saw you look my way, and I knew in an instant that you were something special. I couldn't take my eyes off of you. Your braid, draped over your shoulder, lured me in as surely as a siren singing to unsuspecting sailors at sea. You stole my breath away.
"I tried my best not to be obvious while I watched you dismount your horse and limp into the house with the aid of the girl you rode with. Then there was nothing else to do but wait and see what would happen next. Ten minutes later, you still hadn't reappeared, so I followed you inside. I waited at the front desk until a woman looking like a blond Daisy Duke came from down the hall. When I asked where you'd gone, she winked at me and told me that you were having a massage and then a soak in one of the hot tubs in the back garden. She directed me to wait for you in the bar. So I ordered a drink and wondered what I would say to you if we did come face to face. My only intention at that point was to see you up close. And then I caught a glimpse of you exiting a room off the hallway, and you were wearing a yellow robe that made it so easy to follow you as you made your way to the back garden area."
"So you did follow me," Duo concluded, liking the idea that he'd captured the attention of this very attractive man who, in his opinion, could have anyone he wanted.
Heero's smile was unrepentant. "I'd have been a fool not to follow."
Duo returned the grin, then put a fork full of food into his mouth. He liked this guy, probably too much. And then another random thought came to him. With some hesitance he said, "Um... despite the way we met, I want you to know that I don't usually act that way. I'm not one of those guys who indiscriminately sleeps around. I'm cautious. Very cautious, if you know what I mean." He hoped the other man did understand because he sure as hell didn't want to go into any further details about it in a public room.
The lawyer wore an expression of understanding. "Been hurt a few times?"
"More times than I care to count," he answered, feeling the ache that always came with the fact that he'd failed in all his previous relationships because of his problems. Maybe he was just a lost cause.
"The guy in your office, did he hurt you?"
Duo took a moment to debate about whether or not he should talk about his past, or about Trowa. He could hear Quatre saying that the past, and how you react to it, is what makes you who you are, the good as well as the bad. Talking about it to some degree was good, but that didn't mean you had to tell everyone, just a selected few. Was Heero one of the "selected few"? He paused to seriously study the man across from him. Damn, he was easy on the eyes, and Heero appeared to be focused solely on him and patiently waiting for him to answer his question.
Not sure if it was a good idea to open up to Heero or not, he was a bit surprised to find that he wanted to. "Yes. Trowa was my last boyfriend. It's been a while now since he left me, but the reason for his leaving hurt. He's moved on, but I can't quite forgive him."
"He left you for another?"
With a sigh, Duo nodded. "For my shrink."
Heero's eyes widened with disbelief. "The bastard," he muttered just under his breath as he leaned back in his seat.
"Yeah. Both of them," Duo agreed. The mood at the table had definitely changed and the braided man felt his earlier enthusiasm begin to wane.
"I'm sorry," said Heero.
"Nothing for you to be sorry for," Duo shrugged. "My shrink obviously offered him something that I couldn't, and Trowa went for it. Just the other day I came to the realization that I really wasn't over their betrayal, even though I'd been acting like I was, maintaining our friendships and seeing them weekly. I told my shrink yesterday, rather emphatically in fact, that our professional relationship was over and that I didn't want to see either him or Trowa again socially. That's why Trowa came to my office. He wants me to believe that he cares about our friendship, and I'm sure he'd like to salvage it, but I just can't take it any more."
"Wait a minute," Heero interrupted. "Let me get this straight. You continued seeing your shrink even after he'd stolen your boyfriend?" Heero looked and sounded both shocked and appalled.
Again Duo shrugged. "I thought the guy was helping me, or at least I hoped he was. Actually, it was through me that he and Trowa met. He told me he wanted to meet the guy I was trying so hard to get better for."
And then it dawned on Duo that he had made a horrible mistake. He had led the conversation to the point where Heero would logically inquire about just what the hell was wrong with him that he had to see a shrink. "Ah, Let's change the subject, all right. It's getting a bit too depressing for a lunch date."
He could see by the expression on Heero's face that he had more questions to ask. Yet the lawyer earned himself another point for merely nodding, agreeing to his request. "So tell me, what type of activities do you enjoy when you're not at work, assuming you do have time off?"
The rest of the lunch hour passed by pleasantly. They stayed focused on subjects more suited for an afternoon get together. After insisting on paying for lunch and signing his credit card, settling the bill, Heero looked at his watch and with a smile of apology said, "I've got to get back to the office. Thank you for accepting my invitation to lunch."
"I should thank you," Duo replied with a grin. Then placing his napkin on the tabletop he added, "This was nice, but I think you learned more about me this afternoon than I did about you."
"Then what do you say to getting together again? I promise to tell you all about my childhood adventures on a Montana horse ranch and maybe even about my slightly sordid college years."
"Slightly sordid?" Duo grinned. How bad could the now respectable lawyer have been? "You've piqued my interest."
Heero stood and immediately moved around the table to stand at the side of Duo's chair, preventing him from rising. He bent over and said softly, "How about we continue this at my apartment tonight? I'll make dinner and you can be dessert."
It was if a bucket of cold water, filled with crushed ice had been thrown on him. After having told the man he was cautious about relationships, had been hurt more than his fair share, the lawyer seemed only interested in getting into his pants. Duo closed his eyes, trying but failing to block out the voice of his aunt telling him that men who preyed on other men wanted nothing more than sex, and after accomplishing that goal they would move on to someone else. "I'm sorry, I've got plans for tonight," he said in a chilly voice.
"Then how about tomorrow night?"
Heero took a step back, wearing a look of confusion. "What's wrong?"
Duo quickly took advantage of the opening and jumped to his feet. "I've got to get back to work. Thanks for the lunch."
He made a move to pass the other man, but the hand that firmly gripped his upper arm stopped him. "Duo, what's wrong? What did I say to offend you?" With a voice barely audible but as cold as an Arctic gale, he answered. "You obviously didn't listen to a word I said, and I'd thank you to let go of me so we don't cause a scene in public." The hand released him immediately, and Duo shot out of the restaurant like the hounds of hell were on his heels, and considering Heero's reputation as a lawyer, maybe they were, or at least, one of them.