[WARNING: Mentions of abuse]
"Mr. Yanaka." I said, slightly annoyed.
I had tried to get Kai's attention a handful of times, but his eyes were glazed over…lost in thought. Hell, lost in space! During our initial brief, I informed him that we needed to keep moving. Any stops or elongated pauses, like this, puts him at a higher risk. I'm not the type to wait around and create a target for myself, and as the seconds ticked by, my chest tightened. He needed to get back to planet earth before I lost my patience.
Kai finally blinked, his frothed eyes finally seeing me.
Yes bitch, I've been holding your door for the past 15 minutes.
"Right…we're here." Kai said, straightening as he unbuckled his seat belt and walked out of the car.
I handed off the car door to Roy, who gave me a smirk. "Princess has awaken from his slumber, aye?"
I couldn't hold back after that. It wasn't a big laugh, more like a light chuckle, but damn was it needed. Roy had a way of making the stress leave me, and almost as if it was natural, my shoulders relaxed. I turned toward Kai, a grin still on my face, and to my surprise Kai was looking back at me. Not in a demeaning way as I was used to, but almost as if he was seeing my past self…the one who wanted nothing more than to turn his frown upside down.
I regained my posture, annoyed by it. I wish I hadn't shown any emotion in front of him. His cheeks were growing darker shades of red which knocked me back to a cold reality. Thankfully, the bustling paparazzi quickly diverted Kai's attention.
"Mr. Yanaka, what are your thoughts on how your father handled the pandemic?"
"Please elaborate on his plans regarding preparations for winter!"
"Yes, of course." Kai blossomed.
And just like that, he was back to his cocky self.
I stayed by his side, watching the reporters as he talked. Kai was always great with speeches. He definitely knew how to charm a crowd and I honestly thought that was his worst quality. He wasn't a genuine person, he only cared for money and whores, not for anything real…anything tangible.
But worst of all…what was up with his reaction back there? Why do I even care?
"Heading to room one." I stated into my mic, following being Kai as he walked into the elegant hotel.
"Copy that." My earpiece rang.
I followed Kai into a gold elevator, thankfully he didn't say a word. I almost thought he would've made a fuss, but when the elevator doors hissed open, we headed to the elaborate but quaint dining area on the roof of the building. The famed Hanley House. Vines crisscrossed under the large awning to provide shade as a marble fountain drowned out the noise pollution. Waiters in white with silver trays cheerfully walked from table to table. But what was even more unique about this space, was it was full of gay men. I mean, I suppose I fit in that category…but this was too much even for me.
"Charles!" Kai waved to a rather handsome blonde male who was sitting down near the edge of the roof.
He wore a pinstripe grey suit, a light blue button-down shirt and a fitting tie. He was not overly muscular, but fit. His demeanor was that of a Wall Street stockbroker. But then again, Charles as nothing more than Kai's current plaything. He came from a wealthy family of entrepreneurs who designed IOT devices. Over the past week, I had done nothing but drive Kai and Charles around town as they humped each other in the back seat. Since then, I installed a divider to not have to sit and listen to Kai's intentions any longer.
"I was beginning to worry you were standing me up." Charles leaned in for a kiss, which Kai welcomed.
"No, I apologize. Just a late start is all."
Charles nodded as he and Kai sat down. A waiter eagerly came to their table, smiling through his dick to the point it was cringeworthy. I sighed, deciding to stand near the entrance to give Kai enough space to be cordial and to give me enough breathing room.
"Can I get anything for you, handsome?" A waiter asked me, his eyelashes dancing.
I ignored him, continuing to scan the crowd of lovers.
"Excuse me, sweetheart."
Sweetheart? My blood boiled…remain calm. But when I locked eyes with the boy, he scuttered away in fright. I was pretty bad at hiding my emotions…honestly I always had been, but shit like that pissed me off more than anything. I was nowhere near being sweet, that was beaten out for me at a young age, and 10 years ago I lost my heart.
"Max! Where are you, you little bug!"
I never knew the true meaning of love growing up. I was passed from house to house as a child until I was 10. That's when I found myself at the boy's home. On the outside it seemed like a nice cozy three story house, but on the inside…it was a kennel.
My closet door was torn open as I sat shaking, staring at the large man and his wife who had tortured me for years. To me, I was nothing but an animal…a dog. My only purpose in life was to obey their every command. If I rebelled in any way, they would break me down. That's how I got "guard dog" carved in my back because at one point in time, I had fight left in me…but now I was a lifeless shell.
Pam Lin and his crooked girlfriend Channie were drug dealers. They used me, a seemingly harmless boy, as a means to distribute their goods...among other things. Now that I was of high school age, I was sent to this nice prep school in order to distribute to students who used daddy's money to get high. Everything would've gone as planned…if…if I didn't meet…
I felt my lungs compress, grasping onto Pam's knuckles. He was furious, his beady eyes almost seemed ghoulish, and I could never look into them for too long.
"We sent you to that rich school to sell drugs, not to come home empty handed!" He shouted.
Before I could react, he threw me out into the room. A wooden bedframe stopped me, emanating a loud thud as a slow but callous pain trickled down my forehead. My eyes reared open, not wanting to cry…not wanting to show them any satisfaction.
"Useless animal, just like the other one." Channie spat.
I heard a gun cock, which made me realize one painful truth: today I was going to die.
I struggled upward, staring my captors in the eye. The thing was, I wasn't afraid…maybe even a piece of me wanted it. I desperately yearned to stop this torture…to end this pain.
"Call me and I'll get you out of it." He had said.
No one had offered to help me before. Not the police…not the nextdoor neighbors…everyone thought I was the problem. I was just another boy stuck in the system who was crying for attention. Just another mutt who would one day wake up in a ditch, but Kai didn't think so. And that was enough.
"Let sleeping dogs…" Pam began, only to hear the sirens bleed right onto our doorstep.
I'll never forget the red and blue hue of patrol cars as they illuminated my face. The sweet sound of the front door cracking in two and the parade of boots rushed up our stairs.
"Police! Come out with your hands up!!"
"Why you little!" Channie spat, about to pull the trigger but she was toppled by a policeman before she could get the shot off.
Pam was thrown to the floor and put in cuffs as I was ushered out of the room: their curses filled the house in my absence. The policeman next to me kept asking questions, but I didn't hear them. All I heard were the other boy's cries, their song of disbelief and jubilation, the PD cars sirens…and his voice.
"Max!" Kai called, running past the cops at the front door.
My eyes lit up at the sound of my name, leaving the cop as I rushed down the stairs. Our eyes met for a second. He was here. He was really…
I couldn't help myself as I sprang into his arms. I hugged him tight, not wanting to let him go. His reassuring hands on my back were honestly all I needed.
I really didn't believe he would help me. On my way home from school, I called him on a pay phone five blocks away from my house. He seemed nice…or at least ok enough to talk to…maybe even trust. I was hesitant, almost didn't say anything at all when he picked up the phone. But do you blame me? Why would he, a rich senator's son, listen to me…believe me?
But he did…and tonight he saved me.
That was all I could say, tears falling down my cheeks and soaking up his shirt. I squeezed him harder, almost feeling so unsure in that moment. I just needed someone…anyone to tell me it was ok. That it wasn't a dream.
I repeated myself again and again until Kai pulled me away from him, looking me in the eyes. He wiped my tears with his hand and smiled at me. It was so warm and inviting that it made my heart thump.
"Don't cry, Max. You're safe now."
Safe. Back then that word seemed so warm and inviting.