by Dyna Dee
Though he'd looked forward to sleeping in Sunday morning, Duo's internal alarm clock woke him at six a.m., the same time he woke up for work Monday through Friday. He did manage to lay in bed for a while, thinking back on the previous day and the time he'd spent with Heero. The initial excitement he'd felt about the handsome man when they first started dating had increased tenfold now that he'd gotten to know him better. Hope, that the lawyer really was the real deal, had taken root in his heart. So far Heero was proving to be as good as his word. He was extraordinarily patient with him and more honest and up front about himself than any other guy he'd dated. He could only hope the man wasn't too good to be true. He'd been down this road before, having felt attraction, longing and lust for someone only to be disappointed. Was it really possible for a gay man to find a life-long companion? Just because he was gay didn't mean he lacked the desires heterosexual men had: wanting to love and be loved, to have a friend, a home and maybe a kid or two. Whether or not Heero wanted the same things was yet to be seen. After all, those weren't the kind of topics you could bring up during the first couple of dates; doing so might scare a guy off. He just needed more time, some answers and to test the waters with Heero Yuy a bit more.
Feeling more optimistic and happier than he had in a long time, he paused to enjoy the moment before making himself get out of bed. He had laundry, dishes and grocery shopping to do for the week ahead.
While sitting in the laundry room two hours later, his cell phone rang. He hoped it wasn't Charise calling about some emergency that would force him back into the office or to her Malibu home. A smile stretched across his face as the caller was identified as Heero Yuy.
"Hi," he answered cheerfully.
"Hello, handsome," Heero replied with a smile in his voice. "I miss you. Any chance we can get together today?"
"I thought you had to look over some briefs today?" Duo asked as the spin cycle ended and the washing machine slowly came to a stop.
"There's definitely some briefs I'd love to go over."
Duo gave an amused snort. "I'll bet. I'm in the middle of doing my laundry, so I'll be tied up here for a couple of hours."
"Do I get points for not commenting on that last line?" Heero chuckled before admitting he was in the middle of doing his laundry also.
"I'll give you two points, but that's only because I like you." he chuckled. Then sobering he added, Unfortunately, I also have to buy groceries today."
"We could do that together," Heero suggested. "Then, if you'd like, maybe we could have dinner at your place."
Though it sounded like a good idea, Duo felt a sudden reluctance at letting Heero into his home, his sanctuary. The timing just didn't feel right. "Tell you what. Since we don't live close to each other, why don't we finish up our chores and then I'll treat you to a dinner out. What do you feel like? Mexican? Chinese? Italian? Name it and we'll find a place somewhere in between our apartments."
Heero's side of the line was quiet for a moment. Then he answered, "I guess that sounds more reasonable. My frozen goods would no doubt melt if I came to your place after shopping."
"That's my thinking," Duo replied. "Plus I'll never win you over with my cooking, unless you'd like me to whip you up a bowl of Cheerios."
"I wouldn't mind that for breakfast."
Duo let that not so subtle suggestion pass and they spent the next five minutes hashing over what they felt like eating and settled on Japanese, one of those corporate restaurants where they chop and cook the food at the table. Heero offered to call and make the reservation for six, but Duo asked if they could meet earlier, stating that he had to be in early. After the call ended, he couldn't tell by Heero's voice if he was disappointed by their dinner arrangement or not. No doubt the other man had wanted to see his place to get a better perspective of him: how he lived and what he surrounded himself with. Or maybe he just wanted some alone time, hoping to get a bit further than they had Friday night. Well, disappointed or not, they were having dinner together at Bennihana's, and Duo couldn't help feeling excited at seeing the handsome lawyer again.
They met outside the designated restaurant a few minutes before five. Heero was dressed in a light blue oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up and blue jeans that were neither too tight nor loose. Duo recognized the brand immediately; they weren't from Charise's line, but one of her competitors. While he took a moment to appreciate the other man's appearance, he noticed Heero was also giving him the once-over. His smile showed approval of the black jeans and gray, v-neck silk pullover he wore, which looked as expensive as they were, being part of Charise's line for men. Thanks to Charise he'd gotten them at a ridiculously discounted price, as he did most of his clothing, otherwise his paycheck would be considerably smaller. Sometimes he felt like a mannequin for the designer, showcasing her clothing in his everyday life. Not that he was going to complain. He had a wardrobe that movie stars would be envious of.
One dark eyebrow rose on Heero's handsome face. "Charise's?"
"Of course. Perks of the job," he answered with a grin. "Hungry?"
"Hell yes," Heero answered with a suggestive wink. "I'd give anything to kiss you right now."
Duo looked around to see that there were quite a few people walking on the streets. He wasn't one for public affection, knowing that it usually drew nasty glares and scathing remarks not quite under the complainer's breath. "Maybe later, when we're not so visible." Hearing Heero's disappointed sigh, he compromised slightly by throwing his arm around the lawyer's shoulders. "Come on, let's get in there before they give our table away."
They had an enjoyable time over their dinner. The Japanese chef who cut, cooked and served their meal was impressive to watch as he worked with his sharp knives, but they were glad when he finally left them to their prepared meal and to more private conversation. They spoke of interests, finding even more things in common and of the week ahead. Duo was further encouraged by the ease of their conversation and learning that they shared a love for reading, of going to the movies and of renting old classics. Their tastes in music differed, however. Heero preferred jazz and classical while he like alternative and some classic rock, though they found a few country artists the both listened to on occasion. They talked of favorite actors, cars, magazines and politics while other restaurant patrons came in and left the restaurant. Time seemed to stand still for them as they enjoyed each other's company over dinner. It wasn't until Heero excused himself to use the men's room that Duo looked at his watch and was shocked to see it was nine thirty. He had intended to be back home by eight thirty at the latest.
He quickly settled the bill and tried to ignore the relieved look on their server's face. He felt a little guilty that they had probably cheated the guy out of several tips because of their prolonged stay, so he tipped the man generously in order to compensate whatever loss in wages they might have caused him. Heero returned and gave Duo a questioning look when he saw him standing next to the cleared table.
"I hadn't realize how late it was," he explained.
"I'll leave the tip."
Duo shook his head. "Already taken care of."
They walked out of the restaurant together, and paused at the entrance. After a short discussion, they realized they had both used the same parking lot, two blocks south. Turning in that direction, they began the short walk.
"When can I see you again?" Heero asked.
"I don't know. When are you free?" Duo figured his companion would have the more complicated schedule.
Heero paused to think a moment before answering, "I've got court tomorrow, and will probably be there all day, but I'm scheduled to meet with Charise on Tuesday at one. How would you like to grab a quick lunch with me just before then? Can you take your lunch at twelve?"
Nodding, Duo grinned. "Sounds good."
Heero followed him to his car, and gave the black, two-seat BMW roadster a nod of approval. "Nice."
Duo grinned and patted the roof of his car while looking with affection at his pride and joy. "I like sleek and fast." He turned his head only to find his face captured between two hands a scant second before his mouth was taken in a thoroughly wonderful kiss. He reciprocated with as much if not more enthusiasm. The kiss seemed to go on forever, and yet seemed to end too soon when Heero broke off to catch a full breath before he grinned and said, "I can be as sleek and fast as you want."
"I'll bet you can," Duo chuckled nervously, then leaned forward for one more kiss, aware that it was getting late and he needed to go home and call his aunt before she alerted the police that he was missing. Pulling back, he said with an apology, "I'm sorry, but I've really got to go. I'll see you Tuesday. Where do you want to meet?"
Duo nodded in agreement to the sandwich shop about half a block down the street from the office. "At twelve."
"I'll probably be a bit late, coming from my office. You can order for us and save some time."
"Okay," Duo agreed, unlocking his car and opening the door.
"I'll take the soup and sandwich special. Turkey with the works, minus mayonnaise, and the soup of the day."
"Got it." He sat in the driver's seat and put his key into the ignition, feeling torn between needing to leave and wanting so desperately to stay.
Heero moved around the door and crouched down in order to look him in the eyes. "I enjoyed this weekend, Duo. I hope we have many more to come."
His heart skipped happily at Heero's words. "I want that, too." After one more quick kiss Heero stood, shut the car door and turned to find his own vehicle. Duo watched him for a moment, admiring the view of other man's backside, visible by the light of the moon and his car's headlights. With a sigh of both longing and regret, he put his car into reverse and began the drive back to his apartment.
They met twice that week for lunch and on Friday night Heero went as his date to a fellow staff member's party at their house in Newport Beach. For the first time Heero was allowed to see him interact with the people from his workplace, and the man seemed impressed that he knew everyone by name and spoke to them each in a way that denoted knowledge of their personal lives. With a flash of regret in his eyes, Heero admitted he couldn't say the same thing about his office, where their cases came first and socializing was limited to brief celebrations after a large case had been won. Though he was surrounded by law clerks, fellow lawyers and a secretarial staff, Heero admitted he often felt isolated in comparison to the friendliness of Duo's fellow workers. After a round of introductions had been made, Heero relaxed and conversed easily with Charise's employees. He even braved holding Duo's hand as they sat on a sofa and chatted with a woman from the design staff.
The next week followed a similar routine, grabbing a lunch together twice, and then going to a movie on Friday night. They made out in Duo's car in front of Heero's apartment building until 2 a.m., and Heero couldn't quite hide his disappointment when his invitation to stay the night was declined. Even though Duo knew he was falling hard and fast for the handsome lawyer, his sense of self-preservation kept throwing up roadblocks, warning him that Heero definitely had the potential to hurt him as badly as Trowa had. To make up for disappointing him, he offered Heero something else, something to look forward to.
"Please try to understand, I really can't stay. Not tonight. But I'll tell you what. Why don't you pick the night next weekend, and we'll hit the town, go to a club or something, and then we'll come back here and I... I'll stay the night."
Heero studied his face, barely visible in the dim light that came from his apartment building. "The whole night?"
"You bet." Duo tried to sound as if it was no big deal, that his heart wasn't about to pound its way out of his chest while the voice of his aunt was in his head whispering that this tempting man in front of him was going to use him and then cast him aside.
"Why next weekend and not tonight?" Heero was certainly persistent, but the tone he used and the playful touch along his jaw line was teasing and tempting.
Duo shrugged, not sure what to say. Telling Heero that he had to work himself up to having sex with him again didn't sound very flattering, neither did the confession that it would be only his second time ever having sex and that he was nervous as hell about not looking like the novice he was. He finally answered him with the most logical explanation he could come up with. "The anticipation will make next weekend all the better, don't you think? Besides," he continued with a look of apology, "it's been a long week, it's very late and I'm bone tired."
"Can I see you tomorrow?"
"I've got a ton of things to do, Heero. I could possibly meet you for a game of racquetball on Sunday morning."
Heero frowned and shook his head. "I've got plans then. Maybe we could try another early dinner Sunday night? I can come to your place and whip up something simple. Omlets or some pasta."
Again, Duo felt those damn defensives building up again. He didn't know why he felt so hesitant about having Heero in his home. He could only rationalize that his apartment represented a place of safety, his last defense against being irrevocably hurt if something went wrong. The memory of Trowa saying goodbye to him while standing in his living room was a memory that still haunted him. "I'm not sure that will work either. Can I get back to you?"
Heero gave a disappointed huff, obviously unhappy with his answer. "Sure. Just give me a call and we'll work out a time and place."
The awkwardness of their parting stayed with Duo as he drove off. He hated risking his chance with Heero, but the fear of performing badly in bed outweighed the risks. He needed to speak with Dorothy, make up with her and work himself up to being intimate with the gorgeous lawyer again. Why did his life have to be so complicated?
As much as he wanted to see Heero again that weekend, Duo begged off from getting together on Saturday night, fearful that Heero would again ask him to stay the night. He knew that if he did, they wouldn't be sitting up all night, sipping wine and simply talking. No, they both carried the memory of having hot, unrestrained sex in the garden hot tub at the house of ill repute. Damn, that spontaneous, courageous persona he'd conjured up that afternoon had not only helped him overcome what had, up until that time, been an insurmountable hurdle, but it had also, unexpectedly, led to him dating the man who had unknowingly taken his virginity.
Again, he wondered what the odds were that he and Heero would run into each other after their first encounter at the House on the Hill, much less meeting up in his work place and begin dating. The entire affair had a surreal feeling to it. So why was the thought of spending the night at Heero's place next weekend as terrifying as it was exciting? He couldn't deny the fact that he wanted Heero, now more than ever. He wanted a normal, healthy and growing relationship with the handsome lawyer. Each date they'd had over the past two weeks had him feeling more and more confident that Heero was the man for him. Having sex with him was inevitable and desirable, especially now that their relationship looked like it was about to take the next step. And really, Heero had been more than patient with him. What the man thought of him after putting him off like he had, he had no idea. But his admiration for the dark haired man had grown as the two of them had grown closer and he was determined to make Heero's wait worthwhile when they finally went to bed together... probably during the coming weekend.
On Monday morning, precisely at one minute after nine, Duo placed an urgent call to Dorothy and, after apologizing for saying anything that might have offended her, scheduled an appointment for that afternoon. He didn't have a moment to waste if he was going to be ready to have sex on Friday night.
Entering his apartment that night, book in hand, Duo toed off his dress shoes, removed his suit coat and loosened his tie. It was good to be home again and out of the mad rush that had been Charise's office that afternoon and after his appointment with Dorothy. It had been the kind of day where anything that could go wrong did. He'd worked himself ragged all day trying to make the designer happy. She seemed to find fault with the workmanship of several dresses and the material wasn't what she'd envisioned. The design and materials departments were upset and the phones kept ringing off the hook. Heero had called in the middle of the chaos and he'd had to turn him down for lunch because Charise needed him to stay close at hand.
He'd left the office an hour later than usual and entered Dorothy's office five minutes late. Her outer office was empty, as usual. Most of the people she worked with wanted to keep their apparent sexual problems to themselves and not be forced to sit in a room full of other dysfunctional and curious people, eager or reluctant to reveal their problems to a total stranger. Dorothy eliminated such an uncomfortable scenario by spacing her clients a good half hour apart. He'd never seen another man or woman in her outer office when he arriving or leaving.
With her long white hair pulled back into a ponytail and held by a simple black ribbon, Dorothy was leaning against the doorframe of her office as he entered the room. "You're late," she said with a frown and a disapproving tone of voice.
"Sorry, I got stuck on the freeway," he replied with a frustrated huff. Of course, that was the usual excuse for anyone living in L.A.
Dorothy turned without a word further and entered her inner sanctum. With the blinds half closed on the one large window in her office, dimming the effects of the setting sun, she motioned him to sit in the chair identical to the one she always took. She sat and patiently waited for him to take off his jacket and get settled.
"Now, tell me what's going on," she instructed as she crossed one long, pale and trim leg over the other, her pale blue, knee-length skirt sliding halfway up her thigh as a result.
"Heero wants me to spend the night at his place this weekend. I think I need to mentally gear myself up for having sex with him."
"I see." Dorothy's eyes studied his face with an intensity that made him uneasy. "Why is this such a problem, Duo? You've had sex with Mr. Yuy before."
Duo shook his head. "That was different. I was in a strange place and doing what you suggested by making up a scene in my head and following it through. I don't know that I can conjure up anything like that again."
"Is Mr. Yuy attractive?"
He couldn't help but smile. "He's a walking wet dream."
"Absolutely drool worthy."
"No! He's got a ton of wild, untamable hair."
Dorothy sighed. "Pity. I have a thing for shaved heads."
"Then it's a good thing Heero is never going bald," Duo said with a frown. He didn't want Dorothy getting any ideas about his boyfriend. "Besides, if you try pulling a Quatre on me I'm going to go postal. If you don't believe me, ask him what that's like."
The woman smiled knowingly at him. "So, you're staking a claim on Mr. Yuy?"
There was a long pause before Duo replied, "Well, maybe not yet, but I'm hopeful that things are moving in the right direction."
The blond smiled at her patient. "Listen to you, Duo. You've really changed. You're no longer the guy who is afraid of giving into what you truly want. You no longer seem to define yourself simply as the man who was jilted by his former boyfriend. You're now a man looking forward to a new life with a new man. I'm so proud of you."
Duo shook his head in denial. "I'm still the jilted man, but I'm ready and determined to move on, thanks to you."
Dorothy's smile was nothing short of dazzling as she said, "That's what I like to hear. Now, about this weekend. How do you feel about getting physical with Mr. Good Looking?"
"First times are always a bit intimidating."
"It's not my first time."
"And do you think that Heero is in this for more than a good time? That he won't move on to someone else after he's taken you to bed?"
Duo frowned. That was the something else he'd been worried about. "Heero told me about his past, that he's slept with a lot of guys. I've explained to him that I want a long-term relationship, but he hasn't exactly told me that he wants the same thing."
"Perhaps he's just being as cautious as you are. Not of having sex, of course, but of having a relationship that's more than physical, of committing himself to a partner. Are you willing to live with that, if he can't offer you more than a couple of weeks or months of great sex?"
Duo sighed. "I don't know. But I won't have the chance to convince him we could be something more, something better than just a romp in the sheets, if I don't take the next step. He wants me, Dorothy, and in all honesty, I want him, too. I'm pretty sure I've fallen in love with him and I think he's feeling something similar for me as well."
"Then you're certain that you want to have sex with him this weekend? It's still only been a couple of weeks since you've been seeing each other, no one would think it odd if you wanted to wait a bit longer."
Duo's chin came up, and with a look of determination on his face he answered, "No, this is what I want. Now, how do you propose I prepare myself for Friday night?"
Dorothy gave him a reassuring smile, then with a gleam in her eyes she asked, "What was the name of that character you dreamed up for your fantasy? It was a western one, if I'm not mistaken."
"Laredo." He couldn't even say the name without blushing. That had been one hot fantasy.
"Do you think you can use that again? Maybe even modernize it a bit. You could be Laredo from San Francisco, and Heero the traveling salesman."
"From Japan," Duo supplied.
"You could be a..."
"Couldn't I be an assistant to one of the best fashion designers in the country, meeting the hottest lawyer for dinner and seeing where it goes from there?"
Dorothy paused to consider Duo's suggestion. "Are you ready for reality?"
"I want to be me making love with Heero, not a pretend character. I need for this to be real so that I don't have to keep coming up with farfetched daydreams just to be intimate."
"Yes, that's the goal, Duo. But just in case you panic, and I'm sure you don't want that to happen again, I think it would be wise to have something prepared."
Duo clearly recalled the last time he'd panicked. It was several weeks before Trowa's announcement that he'd fallen in love with Quatre. He and Trowa had made out on his sofa for at least an hour. Trowa was being purposely slow and cautious with his movements, telling him before he tried anything below the belt. They'd both seen it as a good sign when they managed to get their clothing off without any trouble. But as Trowa rolled him onto his back, their erections rubbing together moments before his boyfriend repositioned his legs and began to push a lubed finger into him, he'd heard that grating voice in his head telling him this was morally wrong, an act against God and nature and that he'd be committing not only sodomy but fornication as well, sins that would put him in hell for all eternity. He'd begun to hyperventilate and violently pushed Trowa away with enough force to knock the both of them off the sofa entirely and managing to hit the side of his head on the edge of the coffee table, cutting it open. The trip to the emergency room and eleven stitches on the back of his head took six hours, and that disastrous attempt at intimacy proved to be the last time Trowa suggested they try having sex again.
"No. I don't want to panic," he told the blonde woman. "I think a modern version of Laredo just might work."
There was a long pause and Duo could see that Dorothy was contemplating something else. When she spoke, her voice was soft and compelling, her expression unreadable. "You could tell Heero about your problem. He might be willing to wait until you're ready for further intimacy instead of rushing things." Dorothy's gaze never left Duo's face as she spoke. She was obviously waiting for his reaction to her suggestion.
"No," he replied, determination set on his face. "I don't want to wait any longer. I want Heero and I honestly do want to make love with him. I might lose him if I ask him to wait any longer."
Dorothy cocked her head to the side and questioned, "Is it lust that's motivating him to have sex with you, or just the fear of losing him? If he cares enough about you, don't you think he would be willing to wait?"
After taking a moment to think about it, Duo answered, "I don't know how Heero really feels about me, other than he's attracted to me. I know he likes me, and I hope he'll eventually fall in love with me, but I think it's a bit too soon to make that call. All I really know is that I really, really like Heero and I could be in love with him. He seems like one of the rare good guys everyone is looking for. He's hot, considerate, employed and appears to want me as much as I want him. Those are good enough reasons to want to sleep with him, aren't they?"
Dorothy smiled at him. "People sometimes have sex with someone for lesser reasons than that. I'm not going to tell you whether you should have sex with Heero or not. I've come to understand that honesty between two people is essential for a good relationship. And believe me, Duo, I do want you to be happy. Tell him."
Frowning, Duo considered her suggestion before replying, "I'll think about it, all right?"
An approving smile appeared on the blond's face, showing him she was pleased with even that much.
Duo found himself satisfied with their conversation, and not a little guilty about how he'd misjudged her. "You know, I really am sorry for what I said the last time we spoke on the phone. I didn't think you would value my opinion about relationships. I misjudged you and I'm sorry."
"Apology accepted," she replied with a soft smile. "I know why you felt that way, and I promise, as your therapist, I'll curb what I say about my own sex life in the future. You're entitled to your opinions and lifestyle just as I am entitled to mine. Even if we don't agree, I respect your feelings and values."
"Thanks, Dorothy." He was feeling much better about her as his therapist. This had definitely been a good session.
They walked to the office door and in parting the blond said, "Good luck, Duo, and don't hesitate to call should you need me. Which you won't," she quickly added with a reassuring grin. "Now, get out of here and land that dream man of yours before someone else does."
Duo had every intention of following the woman's advice.