III.


"What? What?" Hiro jerked back, angrily. Anji had stopped him in the hallway with a restraining hand on his shoulder. They faced each other, and Hiro glared into Anji's eyes. Anji was almost too pretty to take seriously, but his close-cropped hair saved him from delicacy. With his small, gold hoop earrings, he looked dangerous. His long, long lashes were insectile, like the flash of spider legs; the beauty mark high on his cheek was like a trap.

"You're pissing me off, Hiro-pon. You've got some nerve for a pet."

"I'm not a pet," said Hiro. Heat scalded his cheeks.

"Not yet."

"Drop dead," said Hiro, brushing past him.

"It's not Rika who wants to make you his Q, it's Gil," said Anji, and Hiro stopped in his tracks.

"Not Rika . . . "

"Gil wants to fuck with you so bad," Anji breathed into Hiro's ear.

"You're the one who's fucking with me," said Hiro, turning his head. Now they were close enough to feel the drag of each other's proximity. Anji's lips almost touched his own. "If you want to screw me so bad, step up."

"I don't screw Salon wannabees."

"Don't you want to find out what it was like to kiss Tetsu?" said Hiro, the words winding out of him.

"Maybe I know already." Anji's smile was too pretty. Hiro snapped out of it.

"Keep your mouth off my brother!"

"I was Rika's roommate before you were. You're trusting the wrong people," said Anji. "Watch your back."

"Why would you help me?" Hiro demanded.

"It's not you I'm helping," said Anji, lowering his head and pulling away, a smirk in the corner of his lips.


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