"Got yer file."
The gruff, oh-so-beautiful voice rang like music to my ears, pulling me out of the trance I seemed to have fallen in. How long had I been staring brainlessly at the computer screen anyway? Too long, no doubt.
I turned, giving the clerk my attention and a grateful smile...and he once again took my breath away.
We'd worked together in the same department for several months now. He was young, not too far out of high school, but from what I gathered, his family didn't have enough money to send him to college. But he was obviously quite smart, to get a job in a large corporation like this one, he just didn't have the training or experience to get a position higher than 'clerk', so was delegated to running errands for the representatives, like me.
Of course, I myself am not that old....
In the time we'd worked together I learned just what an amazing person he was. Spunky and playful, but also a bit temperamental, though he tries not to show it to the higher-ups in the company. I know that he was basically on his own, having come from the other side of the country; moved to get away from an over-bearing mother and sisters whom he didn't get along with. I don't think he ever mentioned exactly where he was from, but my guess was someplace East, due to the accent he had that went along perfectly with that beautiful voice of his. I had no doubt he'd make a great singer, if given the chance. And he was a very strong-willed person, not taking anything anyone in the office threw at him and always fighting for what he believed in. I admired him for that.
Aside from being a great and fun person, he was also quite stunning. He had this hair that stuck up in places, and was a fiery orange color that I had to seriously question if it was dyed or not. His eyes were almond shaped and amber colored; easy to get lost in and full of emotion. Those eyes told a hard story that he wouldn't let get him down, and an overlaying happiness and zest for life. A well-shaped mouth that occasionally showed cute little fangs lay under a perfect nose.
Today he was wearing black leather pants that hugged a slim body, and a black tee-shirt that showed off strong arms. And the way that silver chain rested on his sexy throat....
Yeah, he looked really good today. I hoped I wasn't visibly drooling as he stood there, waiting for me to take the file I'd earlier requested.
"Ah, thank you," I said, taking the blue folder from him.
He smiled, showing his little fangs, and gave an "anytime" before heading back to his cubicle. And I couldn't help but watch the way the leather pants moved from behind.
So I liked the guy, I admit that. Am I gay? I've never really thought about it. For me it's always been 'hey, there's a great person and I love them'. Gender has never been an issue. But I've never been good with relationships in general, so even at my age (which is not that old!), I'm still quite single.
And of course there's the question of whether or not he's attracted to other men as well, but that question was answered several weeks ago, when I happened upon him and his team-mate, Nuriko. He was showing the other clerk a picture of a youth with dark blue hair and a scar across his cheek. "His name's Kouji," he'd said, "isn't he hot!? I need to get his attention somehow!"
So that answered that question, but he already had someone he liked. Someone who wasn't me. And of course I'm jealous, but what can I do? Nothing, as usual.
In this situation, though, I have an excuse. I know we can't be together, that I can't make a move, because of our positions. I'm a company leader, one of the highest levels; he's a clerk, the lowest. It would look bad, and he would be accused of sleeping with a representative to better his position, and I would be accused of taking advantage of a kid. Makes for bad office politics.
But I can't help the way I feel. When I see him working hard to have the life he wants, my heart reaches out for him. And when he gives me a look of admiration, I just want to pull him into my arms and tell him he's just as good as me, better even, despite his career position.
But I can't do that. I can't do any of that, and it hurts. And seeing him all the time, day after day, doesn't make things any easier. So I know what I have to do, though I don't want to. But it'll make everything easier on everyone.
With a heavy heart, I picked up the phone.
"Hotohori, sir, do you have a minute?"
The clerk supervisor, whom we call Hotohori, was a gentle, understanding person. I'm grateful for that; makes things like this a lot easier.
"You want me to move Tasuki to another department?" A fine eyebrow was raised as he confirmed my request, and I nodded. "Is his work performance poor?"
I could just feel my eyes widen. "No no no! That's not it at all!" My goal was certainly not to get the boy fired, I just couldn't be around him so much, feeling the way I did.
"Do you not get along with him?"
"No, we get along just fine...too fine...." The last part was whispered, more to myself. Of course, the supervisor's other eyebrow shot up to meet the already raised one, and it occurred to me that he was also a very perceptive man. Oops.... "I think I went about this wrong," I started, eyes glued to the floor. "I should have myself moved instead of him.... Just forget about it; I'm sorry for wasting your time."
He stood up, initiating his leave. "No, don't worry about it. I'll talk with Mitsukake and see if we can figure something out."
I could only nod, but once he left I winced visibly. Now he's going to talk with my supervisor...I should've kept my mouth shut. There's no way Mitsukake's going to give me up, I'm one of the best in his department. (not to toot my own horn, but....) My experience and performance in the field reflect well on him as a supervisor, and he's not going to let that slip away; I know I wouldn't in his position.
Please, I ask any Gods there may be, don't let any harm come to Tasuki because of me. The workplace is a force to be reckoned with, and I don't think I could stand it if he was made unhappy because of my romantic instability.....
It's been three months.
Three months since Tasuki was taken from his happy little place in this department. Moved from a place where he worked with friends...with me.
I've barely seen him since then. Being on the complete opposite side of the compound doesn't provide many opportunities for our paths to cross. The most I get now is a glimpse in the cafeteria or when he's flitting through the halls over here, delivering something to our department, but that doesn't happen very often. I don't know how it is where he is now, but he seems happy enough. He's the type to face anything head-on, so I'm sure this, like everything, was taken in stride.
So it was something of a surprise to me when he showed up in my office's doorway. I hadn't requested anything from his new department, wasn't expecting any kind of deliveries. But it was made clear when he handed me a stack of papers, smiling his fanged smile. "Tama says yer gonna need these."
Ah, so that department's lead representative, Tamahome, sent him. "Thank you," I said as I took the papers from him, then added "ah, how are you liking your new desk?" for friendliness.
"I like it," he replied with a nod and a smile.
And I smiled back, "good."
"I'm doing the same thing I was here, just...over there." He elaborated with a shrug of the shoulders, and then fell silent as we regarded one another. I debated with myself whether I should ask if he knew it was me that got him moved or not...then decided against it. "So...yeah," he said after a moment, "I should probably be getting back...."
I nodded in agreement, but when he turned to go my hand shot out of its own will and grabbed the sleeve of the red leather jacket he was wearing.
I swear I did not mean to do that.
When his amber eyes turned to me in question I cursed myself. Now I had to come up with some excuse for my unwilling action.
Before I knew what was happening I was pulling him toward me, pressing my lips to his.
Curse, curse, curse this body of mine!! Where did it get all this free will!? Why can I not stop myself!? And why-! ...why isn't he pulling away?
A gasping sound was heard and we both snapped out heads to the side to see Mitsukake standing in the doorway. The tall man blinked once or twice, as if to make sure he was really seeing what he was seeing, the slowly backed out of the office, out of sight.
Then Tasuki got around to pushing me away. "What're ya doin'?" he half growled, and then, after the briefest of moments, ran out the door.
And all I could do was sink to the floor, cursing my own stupidity.
Whether he quit or was fired, I don't know. Word eventually got around that Tasuki no longer worked for our corporation, though I'm sure only three of us know why. Mitsukake hasn't said anything to me, and he has a lot of tact, so I'm sure he never will, which is a good thing because I don't really want to have to explain. I don't think I could. 'Oh, I'm sorry sir, but my body is a separate entity from my mind and I really have no control over what it does.' Yeah...right. But it's already been eight weeks, and he hasn't mentioned it yet, so I'm confident that it'll remain to himself.
Eight weeks. Haven't seen him at all. I keep thinking I hear him in the hallway, but when I peek out he's not there. I see flashes of orange and chase after it, but it's not him.
And I've come to miss him.
I miss his easy smile with the cute little fangs. Miss his beautiful voice calling out to me, or even any of the other reps. Even miss seeing his strong legs wrapped in leather pants. I keep hoping he'll appear here before me....
And then he did.
Not at work, of course. Because of me, I doubt he'll ever step foot in that place again. But here, at the mall, all types of people roam freely.
"Tasuki...." Though I barely spoke the name, he must have heard me, for he turned from the person he was with, a blue-haired boy with a scar on his cheek. A mixture of emotions flashed through his eyes when he recognized me; apprehension, surprise, and even a twinge of anger, all passed through those amber orbs. He said something to his friend, the fabled Kouji no doubt, and then made his way over to me.
"Hey, how's it goin'?"
"Fine," I replied. "And you?"
"Hangin' in there."
A moment of semi-uncomfortable silence lingered, just for a bit. "So...is that the guy you liked?"
He nodded. "Yeah, that's Kouji."
I noticed he now sported a ring on the silver chain he always wore, and moved to finger it, for a better look. He flinched when I came near...and my heart shattered to pieces.
"He..." I choked a bit, "he gave you that?" My eyes remained down, unfocused.
"Yeah...." a whispered answer.
I wondered if he told his partner about me. The older guy at work who tried taking advantage of him. A glace at the other boy showed him looking at us, not quite glaring, but not looking quite 'ok' with it either. Or maybe he guessed something on his own?
I coughed a bit to clear my throat. "Well, I'm happy for you. You deserve...good things."
"Yeah...thanks." I could see a fang peek out a bit, biting his lower lip. "You do too...ya know."
I think what hurt the most is that he wouldn't look at me. His gaze stayed adverted to the side or to the ground. He seemed a bit uncomfortable.
God, that was the last thing I'd ever wanted.
"So...yeah...you should go back to him now, before he gets worried."
"...I'll see you around."
And that was it. He turned and walked away, back to his lover. I may never see him again, which might be for the best. But...I never got to say I'm sorry. I wanted to, but missed my chance.
"I'm sorry," I said out loud, though he had already walked away.
If he heard, the retreating back gave no indication.