Reiji Kendo has lived his entire life on the streets, having learned from hard experience that the only person he could ever depend on is himself. One day, he accidentally draws the notice of Charon Marque, owner and unequivocal Master of the notorious House of Silence, and everything he’s ever known changes. (M/M)
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Reiji’s eyes narrowed. Taking a quick step forward, he reached out to press his palm against the door and slammed it shut in front of Marque’s nose. Marque’s eyes flickered toward him in surprise; Reiji might be a skinny little punk, but he was stronger than he looked.
“I’m having an awfully hard time reading you,” Reiji said, glaring at him.
Marque raised his eyebrow. “I think I’ve been refreshingly direct with you.”
Arrogant bastard. “Stop fucking around. First you buy me dinner, then you tell me you own a whorehouse and offer me a job. Then you bring me to your place and give me this absolutely ridiculous room to sleep in. And then,” he narrowed his eyes even further, “you act like you’re just going to walk out of here without cashing in. Can we just get to the part where I pay you already and have done with it? The suspense is killing me.”
Marque regarded him in silence for a moment. Then, “No.”
Reiji stared at him. “No?”
“No.” Marque’s voice was infuriatingly calm. “Not like this.”
“I don’t think you understand what—”
“The dinner,” Marque said, speaking over him, “is free. The use of the room tonight is also free. Anything further, we’ll discuss in the morning after you’ve rested.”
Reiji’s face heated, which made him even angrier. “You’re a fucking coward.”
Marque sighed. “Will you please release the door now so I can leave? I do have a business to tend to.”
“You bastard. You’re lucky I didn’t lay you on your ass when you grabbed me on the street tonight. I’ve been practicing martial arts for years, you know.”
“It’s a good thing you didn’t try. My chauffeur would not have taken kindly to the attempt.”
His chauffeur? What the hell? Like some overpaid servant who drove a car for a living was going to be any use to Marque in a brawl. “I could lay you on your ass right now if I felt like it.”
This time when Marque looked at him, there was a glint of warning in his eyes. “I really wouldn’t recommend it.”
That glint made Reiji draw up short in his tirade, an uncomfortable shiver moving down his spine. He shook the feeling off angrily, dropping his hand to his side. “I just don’t know what the hell you want.”
Marque seemed to consider the question. “Right now,” he said, “I want to return to my work. I want to know that you’re comfortable here in this room for the evening, and that you’ll still be here in the morning. Then I want to pick up this conversation again with you after you’ve slept, and talk more about you coming to work here.”
Reiji stared at him for a moment. Then he took another step forward and pressed his palm against the front of the other man’s slacks, curling his fingers around the flesh there. “Are you sure you want to leave this room right now? I’m here, and I’m willing, and you can do whatever you damn well want to me in exchange for letting me stay here tonight.”
It had to be Reiji’s imagination that Marque shivered, just slightly. He dipped his head forward with a small smile and reached down to pull Reiji’s hand away from his body. “No, Reiji.”
Reiji yanked his wrist out of his grip. “Coward,” he said again, sneering.