Chapter 8

(Monday, April 5th, after 04:50)

Zero Hr Ch 8“He was very strong and quick.  He almost broke my neck.  I’ve never seen him before and he wouldn’t tell me his name or who he works for,” said Kirishima.

“And he told you that Tsuji was working for Andou?”

“Yes, Asami-sama.”

Kirishima had unlocked the limo and climbed into the backseat, trembling and aching, after the man had left.  He had stroked himself to an intense climax and then had gone to the penthouse where Asami had taken up residence the previous day.  They were in the living room and Asami was sitting in an armchair.  He had just taken a bath and was wearing a thick white bathrobe.  His hair was still wet.  Asami clinked the ice cubes and whiskey in a glass he was holding then took a drink.  Beyond him were the floor-to-ceiling windows.  Dawn was approaching, lightening the horizon and the cloudy sky to shades of orange and purple.  The city lights still blazed.

“That doesn’t make sense.  Even if it’s true, we killed Andou and his men.  Why wouldn’t Tsuji have warned him?”  Asami frowned, “Have you checked it out?”

“Someone is working on it right now,” said Kirishima.  He watched his boss take in the information.  “There’s one more thing.”

“What is it?”

“He reminded me of you in some ways.  He was about the same size and build.  The way he looked at me reminded me of you.  It’s difficult to explain.”

Asami gazed at Kirishima, waiting for him to continue.

“His eyes are similar though darker in color and when he looked at me it was a little like when you look at me.  The expression, I mean.”  Kirishima felt a warm blush creeping up into his face again when he thought of how he’d wanted to fall in to the man’s eyes.  “I’m not explaining it well.  I’m sorry, Asami-sama.”

Asami set his drink down on a small table next to the chair he was sitting in.  He pulled out his Dunhills, selected one, and lit it.  He looked up at Kirishima, exhaling smoke.  He seemed to be studying him.  Kirishima met Asami’s gaze squarely even though he was still blushing.  Asami took another drag on the cigarette.  “Anything else you want to tell me?”

“I’m sorry to have to bring this up but wasn’t Jin having hallucinations about a man who would appear out of nowhere to talk to him?”

“What of it?”

“Jin said the man reminded him of you but he didn’t look like you.”

“Didn’t the doctor say it was a side effect of going through detox?”

“Yes, but you have to admit it is strange,” said Kirishima.

Asami looked down and sighed.  He shook his head for a moment but said nothing.

Kirishima’s phone rang.  He listened then hung up the phone.

“Detective Shirai confirmed that Tsuji worked with Andou.  Apparently, they found financial records linking Tsuji’s bank accounts to money given to him by Andou’s shell corporation,” said Kirishima.

“It’s a good thing you spent so much time going over Andou’s business dealings but why didn’t we know about Tsuji’s bank accounts?” asked Asami, tapping the cigarette on the edge of the ashtray.

“The police have quicker access to that information than I do.  We would have probably gotten the information sometime tomorrow.”  He hesitated.  “I’m sorry about Tsuji, Asami-sama.”

Asami frowned.  “Why are you apologizing, Kei?”

“He was with you the longest, and your most trusted advisor.”

Asami shook his head.  “My sensei introduced me to Tsuji.  He said he would be very good for getting the organization started and making the necessary contacts to get everything going.  He was right, of course, but Tsuji’s usefulness was on the wane.  You are my most trusted advisor, Kei.  Now that the organization is running well, Tsuji didn’t have as much to contribute.  He wanted to be First Assistant.  I picked the best man for the job.  He wasn’t happy about it but I knew he wouldn’t be as good as you are.”

“Thank you, Asami-sama,” said Kirishima.  He felt the warm glow of a job well done.  He smiled just briefly. “I’ll let you rest now.  I will pick you up at 14:30 to take you to the wake.”  He bowed deeply then left the penthouse.


Kirishima let the hot water cascade over him.  He raised his face then dropped his head, letting water hit the back of his neck then he leaned up against the shower wall, his forehead against the cool tiles.  He couldn’t stop thinking about the man in the garage and how it felt to be in his arms.  He told himself the only reason he was having such thoughts was because he was so tired.  He remembered the man’s mouth pressed up against his and he gasped as a surge of exquisite desire rushed through him.  His body ached.  He wanted to fall into the man’s almost black eyes and let himself be surrounded by his body heat.  He placed his hands on the tiles, pressing his fingertips against the smooth surface.  Water poured over his back and legs and ran in rivulets on the side of his neck.

He was almost panting as he remembered shifting against the man’s hardness and heat.  He closed his eyes and raised his face to the water again.  It had been a very long time since he’d felt that way about anybody and he couldn’t remember the feeling being this intense.  He imagined the man opening the shower door and getting under the hot water with him, pressing him up against the shower wall, of looking into the man’s very dark eyes before surrendering to his kisses…

“Cold shower,” Kirishima gasped.  He turned the cold water on and inhaled sharply as the shock of water hit him.


Kirishima drifted in and out of sleep.  He was still somewhat aroused but the need to sleep had taken over everything else.  Since he’d joined Asami’s organization five years ago, he’d given up every semblance of a personal life to devote himself to his boss, including relationships.  Asami hadn’t asked him to, of course, but he had wanted to.  Since then, Asami had become the most important person in his life.  Kirishima traced his fingers over the silky smooth high thread count sheets.  He hadn’t slept with anybody in a long time and hadn’t even thought about it because he’d been working so hard.  He wondered how it would be to have a relationship with someone at this juncture.  He felt a slight jolt, remembering that five years earlier he’d believed that being in a personal relationship would never work for him.  Now he was considering the idea.  Kirishima smiled slightly.  Somehow this strange, beautiful man had managed to change his thinking after just one encounter though he knew a relationship would be difficult with all the moral dilemmas and the time commitment his job demanded.  He thought about Asami losing Jin.  No, it was best never to put yourself in that vulnerable of a position, he reminded himself.  Any relationship would likely suffer even if nothing dangerous happened.

“If I found the right person,” he said out loud.  He wondered if the man was the right person then sighed.  He knew nothing about him, didn’t even know his name, and hadn’t spent any time with him.  “We’re probably not even compatible,” he muttered.  He rolled over and looked at the empty side of the bed.  Even though he didn’t know him, he still wanted to sleep with him.  No, it wasn’t just that.  He wanted the man to be the right person for him.  As soon as the thought entered his mind, Kirishima pushed it away.  He told himself he was too tired and not thinking clearly.

The rationalizing didn’t keep his body from reacting to more thoughts of being in the man’s arms.  He gripped the silky sheets, feeling the smoothness between his fingers.  He wanted the man to kiss him, to collapse with him onto the bed, and more than anything else he wanted to surrender to him completely.

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