The stark white building against the bright blue sky was like seeing a castle within a dark forest. That building almost had the same feeling as seeing home after being away for too long. Shouta stared at the white lattice structure that wrapped around the sides of the building, the bright winter blooming purple clematis vines that threaded through the lattice, and the second story that gave off the feeling of security.
The first floor of the building was a bustling cafe with large, wide windows that could view out into the flowering garden.
“You live above a cafe?” Shouta asked, slightly shocked. From the first moment he laid eyes on the cafe, he felt his heart constrict as if he had found something he had lost long ago.
“I thought you knew?” Ren looked over at Shouta with a raised eyebrow, a small smile lingering on his lips. “Figured Hana would have told you,” he muttered under his breath. “I own this place.”
Shouta stared at the cafe again, watching the customers as they lazily chatted, “Huh, it seems you guys are kind of busy.”
Through the large window, Ren and Shouta, who were standing outside, could see Akira serving customers with a large smile on her face. Ren looked over at the fascinated expression Shouta wore and smiled, putting his hand on the small of Shouta’s back to urge him forward.
“We have a lot of regular customers,” Ren explained as the made their way through the front door, it’s chime ringing. “We mainly have the elderly during the day, but high school kids stop by once their classes are done.”
Shouta’s eyes widened once they stepped through the door. Even without that warm hand lingering on his back, he moved forward, entranced. The atmosphere was lively and welcoming like the sunshine after a storm. There were teenagers along the wall, chatting and talking happily as they drank tea and ate pastries. Two elderly couples, although not seated together, both had enchanted smiles on their faces as they talked with their partners and laughed. In one of the far corners was a young mother cradling her baby in her arms as she read a book. At the sight of the baby, Shouta unconsciously moved his own hand to his stomach.
By the counter where Akira was making tea and coffee, was a large class case that displayed a variety of fresh pastries and desserts. Loving the smell of the fresh coffee and the lingering sugar, Shouta asked, “Do you bake all this stuff too?”
Ren hadn’t been watching where Shouta’s eyes had been darting around because to him, this was a daily scene and everything was familiar. But to the unfamiliar eyes beside him, he realised everything was new and exciting. Ren’s smile was soft, “The pastries? Yeah, I was taught by one of the bakers down the street three years ago. I can only make simple stuff but the harder stuff I buy from him and sell it here. Free advertising for him, you know?”
Shouta edged forward, his eyes huge as he laid sight on a particular pastry. It was a puff pastry danish filled with cream cheese and fresh raspberries. That was one of his favorite combinations in a pastry, and he couldn’t help himself as his mouth started watering uncontrollably. He found this was also another side effect of being pregnant, he was hungry all of the time.
“Do you want it?” The voice raised the hair along the back of Shouta’s neck and he turned his head to find Ren only a hairbreadth away from him. So close their lips could touch. Finding his heart beating frantically in his chest, Shouta almost jumped away but held his ground, just nodding his answer.
“Akira!” Ren called, watching as the young girl bounced over, before standing straight and saluting him.
“You called boss?” Akira’s eyes darted over to Shouta, not lingering long before they turned back to Ren.
“Can you grab that pastry for me?” Ren asked, pointing at the one Shouta had been drooling over. “Then if you need me, just call, the two of us will be upstairs.”
“You’re taking someone upstairs?” Akira’s eyes widened as she placed the pastry into the bag. She took another glance at the man beside Ren, her eyes narrowing as they fixed on Shouta’s slightly blushing cheeks. As long as she had worked here, no one besides Ren had ever gone upstairs, not even Kichirou.
This, she thought, is news Hana shouldn’t find out about.
Akira knew that if Hana found out, it would break her heart and she didn’t want to do that to her best friend.
So Akira just smiled at Shouta and passed him the pastry, watching as the two disappeared up the stairwell, Shouta following closely behind Ren. With his back turned, Akira finally glimpsed something that shocked her into breathlessness.
No way! That can’t be…
But even as she thought that, there before her eyes flashed the sight of a still red scar decorating the back of that pale neck.
“I’m going with you to your first appointment.” Ren stated, watching Shouta chew silently on the pastry. He had brought the both of them to his living room where they were both seated opposite of each other on different couches. Shouta swallowed the last bite of the pastry.
“That’s fine. It’s in three weeks so we have no need to rush.” Shouta licked his fingers of the frosting that still lingered against his skin. Ren’s eyes were unmoving as they watched that simple yet sensual action. Shouta noticed the way Ren had stiffened in his seat and held back a chuckle. Knowing it may cause more harm than good, Shouta trailed his tongue along his own skin from the beating pulse in his wrist all the way to the tip of his middle finger.
“Stop that.” Ren growled.
“Stop what?” Shouta trailed his tongue along his wrist again. Ren got up from the couch he was on and walked over to where Shouta sat, squatting down in front of him.
“You know what.” Ren whispered, yanking Shouta’s wrist away from him, his fingering gripping lightly. Shouta could have pulled away if he wanted to but he loved the feeling of Ren’s skin against his. He didn’t know if it was a side effect of the Alpha Enzyme or if it was because he legitimately wanted to be touched by Ren. After a few seconds of consideration, he decided that it was both.
“What do you want to do from now on?” This serious tone from Ren jolted Shouta out of his thoughts. Ren’s face was stoic, his eyes focused on nothing but the person in front of him. Shouta’s light brown hair was in a chaotic bun at the back of his head, his eyebrows scrunched inward as if he was contemplating something. After a few seconds, that crease disappeared and his teal eyes stared into Ren’s before looking away.
“You mean with the baby?” His voice was a mere whisper, his free hand moving to cover his stomach in a natural maternal action. Ren’s hand that was not clasped around Shouta’s wrist reached out as well to cover that slightly trembling hand on Shouta’s stomach.
“That,” Ren whispered, waiting until Shouta looked up at him with those bright teal eyes. “And you.” He clenched both of Shouta’s hands in his, feeling the beating pulse in both of those lithe wrists. That blood that was flowing through Shouta’s was also nourishing the baby, and that baby was his responsibility now. If anything were to ever happen to Shouta while he carried his baby, Ren didn’t know what he would do.
“I would feel more comfortable if you lived here with me,” Ren whispered, taking all four of their hands and placing them on Shouta’s stomach. “So I can keep an eye on you.”
Shouta lifted one of his eyebrows thinking, This was a new sid to Ren. It was highly possessive mixed with a bit of jealousy.
Smiling, Shouta moved one of his hands until it was free and touched Ren lightly on his cheek, waiting until the older man looked at him with those golden flaked eyes. “Is there a second option?”
Just a simple touch of Shouta’s hand against his face caused Ren to shudder. It was then that he noticed that there was a saccharine wisp of a scent floating through the air. It had unknowingly wound its way around him and wrapped itself around his heart, seeping into his skin and lighting him aflame. Nothing could describe that scent besides intoxicating.
“Do you have one in mind?” It took all of Ren’s willpower to utter those words. He wanted nothing more than to take Shouta then and there. Ravage him until the both of them could no longer stand. Even as he thought this, Shouta’s voice brought him out of that tantalizing fantasy of skin against skin.
“Well, not really.” Shouta dropped the hand he had touched Ren’s face with back down into his lap to mingle with Ren’s hands. Their fingers tangled together without either of them making a conscious decision of it.
“Then it’s decided.” Ren breathed, gifting Shouta a small smile. “When do you want to move in?”
“I only have a few sets of clothes I would need as well as some medication.” Shouta answered quickly, his thumb moving across the back of Ren’s hand in a lazy motion. “But I can grab it tomorrow if you’re fine with me starting tonight?”
“I’m more than fine with that.” Ren whispered.
Then, with the feeling of Shouta’s hands wrapped around his and that oh so sweet scent wrapping around his entire being, Ren couldn’t hold back any longer. Using his hands that were wrapped around Shouta’s, he grabbed both of those small hands in his and used one of his own to pinned his wrists up behind him against the wall. He stood from his kneeling position and nudged one knee in between Shouta’s thighs.
Even as Ren leaned in, Shouta’s heart beat erratically within his chest. It thundered so loudly he was afraid Ren could hear it. Shouta breathed in and closed his eyes as the intoxicating pheromone that watted off of Ren stimulated his system. He felt himself reacting against the nudging of Ren’s knee and squirmed slightly. To get closer or to move farther away, Shouta didn’t know.
Then their lips touched and the world fell away around them.
Their tongues danced and caressed, their breaths mingling with the desire swirling around them. Shouta felt his arms began to shake from where they were trapped above his head, but Ren’s free hand moved to the small of his back, holding him in place as their kiss became deeper, and more ravenous.
Even as Ren pulled away, both of them panting and gasping for breath, he apologized, “I’m sorry.” He moved Shouta’s hair away from his forehead and kissed him there. “I’ll go take a shower.” He lifted his knee, shuddering at the feel of Shouta’s erection as he moved away. Letting Shouta go at that moment was like deciding life or death, but he was worried for the unborn baby, so he walked down the hall and away from that forbidden fruit that lay before him.
The heat fading from his skin, Shouta left as if he lost something. At the door to the bathroom, Ren turned back and gave a small smile as he said, “You’re tired aren’t you? Go sleep ahead of me.”
It didn’t matter to Shouta that Ren was being conscious of how his body was dealing with the pregnancy, there was no way he would be able to sleep. WIth the sound of the shower running, Shouta lifted his hand to his forehead, tears misting his eyes as he whispered, “What…are you leaving me like this? Idiot.”