Here comes the gooey stuff. You have been warned.
|Illustration Credit: AliceKuroCross on DeviantArt. This illustration is technically for Chapter 20, but I love it too much to not share it here. Each of these chapters has an illustration too, and those can all be seen on Wattpad.
You can find Alice and show her some love here:
Chapter 21 Songs:
"You're Not Me" by Marty Bags, part of the Yu-Gi-Oh! album
"The Summons" by David Peacock, Graham Maule & John L. Bell
Disclaimer: I don't own the song lyrics. I asked for permission to reprint them and got denied in very sterile, professional language. Therefore, lyrics are excluded from the text and simply replaced by the song title in square [ ] brackets. However, you can easily find these songs and their lyrics in other places around the web, though I've seen some pretty awful incorrect lyrics for "You're Not Me" in a few instances.
Grace author is unknown. Public domain assumed.
Chapter 21: Silver
The limo pulled up to a building with heavy wooden beams and Joan stepped out with her entourage. A woman with silver hair in a modest black dress who made no attempt to hide the deepening wrinkles on her face stood just outside the door with her arms crossed. "I see you brought . . . company," she said as soon as Joan was within earshot.
"Hi Mom!" Joan ignored the comment and stepped in for a hug. Her mother reciprocated with a tired sigh.
"Hi, uh . . ." Mokuba paused, not knowing what to call her.
"Gertrude Saunders, and that's Mrs. Saunders to you." Gertrude proffered her hand and Mokuba shook it. "You're Seto, I presume?"
"I'm Seto Kaiba." Seto slid in swiftly and shoved his hand into Gertrude's. "He's my younger brother."
"How silly of me. Your brother was too polite," Gertrude replied as she shook Seto's hand.
Seto raised an eyebrow but chose not to test her patience. Besides, his mind still ruminated on the fact that Joan had apparently kept her maiden name.
Gertrude peered past Seto at the three people in black suits. "Who are your other friends?"
"Bodyguards," Joan replied.
Gertrude's mouth drew into a tight ring. "Oh."
"Shall we go inside?" Joan suggested.
"Yes, I suppose we shall," Gertrude said.
They passed through a set of double doors and admired two rows of giant metal brewing vats before turning right into a restaurant section with a retro vibe. The bodyguards took their own table while the Kaiba brothers, Joan, and her mother settled into a corner booth with one long, curved seat.
A towering bald man in a black apron approached the table. A corner of a tattoo on his bicep peeked from under one of his sleeves. Unlike the first time Mokuba had seen him, "Michelle" was completely clean-shaven. Despite the baldness, he didn't look a day over thirty. "Hi, my name is Michael and I'll be your server today. Can I get you started with some drinks?"
Joan laughed and leaned over Seto to kiss Michael. Seto tolerated the action, focusing on Joan's lithe body instead of the hairless ape she had chosen as a life partner. Thankfully Joan kept the kiss brief.
"Hello, dear." Gertrude stood and hugged Michael. "Won't you join us?"
"Sorry Trudy, I'm on my shift," Michael said a little too happily.
Gertrude's hands lingered on Michael's bulging forearms. "Oh bless your heart. Don't be a stranger now." She sat down and ordered water. Joan and the Kaibas followed suit.
"Are you sure you don't want a beer?" Michael looked pointedly at the Kaibas.
"You know what? Let's do the sampler," Joan said.
"Coming right up." Michael turned and walked off.
"You didn't tell me your husband was a wage monkey," Seto said to Joan.
"Is that a problem?" Joan asked.
Seto fell silent as his mind tied itself in knots trying to figure out what her husband had that he didn't have.
"Well," Gertrude huffed, "I didn't realize I'd be dining with prostitutes and tax collectors at the same time."
"We're game developers, not tax collectors," Mokuba said.
"Even worse! Video games teach children to idolize a screen when they should be focused on the Lord." Gertrude turned to her daughter expectantly. "And you . . . I raised you better than this."
Joan shrugged. "At least you raised a smart whore."
"I rebuke that statement in Jesus' name. I don't know where you got your smart mouth, but it wasn't from me." Gertrude crossed her arms and leaned back with a scowl.
Seto mimicked Gertrude's posture but kept his facial features placid. "You didn't tell me your mother had an imaginary friend."
"I know," Joan grinned, "I wanted that to be a surprise."
Silence congealed on the table until Michael showed up and swiped it with a rag. "I can tell you're going to need these." He set down a bowl of pretzels and three wooden paddles each containing four small glasses of beer. He rattled off the name of each one and handed Gertrude her water. "Can I take your order now?"
"Why," Gertrude's lips trembled as she looked up at Michael, "why didn't you guard her heart?"
"I'm sorry," Michael said, "we don't serve that here. Could I interest you in the Reuben?"
Gertrude pursed her lips. "For now, but you and I need to have a talk later, young man."
"Sorry Trudy, I already have plans after work. Now what would the rest of you like?" Michael took sandwich orders from the others and left them again. Seto grabbed a beer and took a sip while Mokuba stared uncomfortably at Gertrude.
Gertrude pressed fingers to her forehead. "Has Michael been backsliding too?"
Joan took a long draft of beer. "It's up to him how much he wants to tell you."
Mokuba followed Joan's lead, hoping the alcohol would make this experience more tolerable.
"Can you at least tell me how long this has been going on?" Gertrude pressed.
"Mom," Joan's voice cracked, "I stopped being your perfect little girl my second semester in college."
Gertrude reached across the table and squeezed Joan's hand. "How?"
"You remember that guy from calculus I fell in love with? Tímo." Pain reverberated through Joan's free hand. She used it to drain her beer before sticking it under the table. Seto held it, smothering the phantom sensation.
Gertrude's eyes glistened with moisture. "I remember those were dark times for you, and it hurt me to see you that way, but you never told me what he did to you."
"Nothing," Joan said.
"Nothing?" Gertrude echoed.
"And that was the entire problem. He was asexual."
"He didn't experience sexual attraction for anybody. Not me, not . . . anybody." Joan retracted her hand from her mother and tackled another beer.
"That sounds like a blessing. He could go into the priesthood."
"No." Joan sighed. "Just no. I couldn't even get him to join me at Campus Crusade for Christ meetings, let alone mass. Tímo wasn't celibate for any faith-based reason. He simply didn't have the usual chemicals floating around in his brain."
"But you struggled with lust?"
Joan dismissed the worn-out phrase. "Father John said something I'll never forget. He said that sexuality is a gift to express your love for someone, never to be used for manipulation. I wanted that more than anything with Tímo. I love him. I still do. At the time though, I thought he had to be my one and only. I pushed too hard for physical intimacy, and that drove him away from me."
"If you really loved him that much, why didn't you pray and wait for him?"
"Love, not loved," Joan corrected. "Besides, I thought you wanted grandchildren, and that doesn't happen without sex. Tímo is not going to change his mind about being asexual any more than I will change mine about loving him. We both got slapped by the wrong set of hormones in the wrong place at the wrong time. Tímo wanted me to move on, to be happy with someone else, so I had what most people would call a rebound relationship."
"Didn't your father and I meet him once? At the Blooming Planet Festival?"
"Yes. He was a good man, but I never loved him. I channeled my feelings for Tímo into what I did with that man, and I knew it was a lie, and it tore me apart inside, so I told him. I told him that I love Tímo, and strangely he was OK with that. I wasn't manipulating him, so I slept with him again, and again, and I searched my heart. I slept with him a few times even after breaking up with him, but it was merely fooling around, not love, and we both knew it."
"But physical intimacy is supposed to be sacred," Gertrude reminded Joan.
"It can be sometimes, but it doesn't have to be. Problems arise when people go into it with too many expectations. Look, I listened to people testify at Campus Crusade for Christ meetings. One girl spoke about all the guilt she felt over all the sex she had in high school before she got saved. I searched my heart, but the guilt wasn't there. It vanished the moment I started being honest with the men in my life."
"Honest? But you're deceiving yourself," Gertrude said. "The real you hungers and thirsts for Christ's light."
Joan finished the last of her beer and noticed that the Kaiba brothers had already done the same. A pleasant buzz permeated her head. She slipped her free hand under the table and found Mokuba's. "If, and that's if, God is real, He put me through that suffering for a reason. He's slow to anger, rich in kindness, and I highly doubt He put me through that just to keep me on my knees for the rest of my life. Otherwise He would have said something by now."
Gertrude felt her wits' end nearing. "Do you remember when you joined the church choir? You said that you felt God's love through the music. I think you need to come back to church and sing with us."
Joan had tried that already, more times than she could count. It helped in the moment, but Joan knew that had been a product of her imagination, and the human imagination had conjured countless mystical beings since the days of cave paintings. She still loved the old songs, but they had a different meaning to her now. [The Summons] God was in the people around her, not looking down on everyone from Heaven. Joan prayed that these men sitting with her here and now wouldn't leave her high and dry when she needed them the most, even if it meant risking their reputations.
A new song popped into Joan's mind, one she'd heard on the loading screen for Monsters of the Duel while playing with Marc. She'd loved the song so much that she'd downloaded it on her train ride home and listened to it several times and even sang it in the shower. She started softly on the chorus. [You're not Me]
Mokuba echoed the line before he could think too hard about it. He'd hand-picked this song for Monsters of the Duel, and it had been one of the few decisions Seto had signed off on immediately.
Fuck it, Seto thought. One sampler was hardly enough to get him drunk, but the number of empty glasses on the table could deceive anyone. Besides, he couldn't let Mokuba and Joan make fools of themselves alone. He joined in the song.
The three of them finished the chorus together. Joan paused for a split second but jumped back in when the Kaibas kept going. They got through two verses together before they paused and looked over to see Michael clapping. The bodyguards applauded too. Tingles rippled through Joan's entire body. She knew this feeling well, and Michael's presence amplified it to a scale she never thought possible. They'd fought a beast together – not a physical beast, but the way the Kaiba brothers had backed her up in front of her mother meant that she could trust them, rely on them for anything. Nothing would walk over them. Nothing could stand in their way. They had seized the day, but that was another song for another time and Joan doubted the Kaibas knew it anyway. She slid her arms around the brothers, pulling them in closer to her and grinning like a maniac.
Gertrude's jaw dangled while Michael disappeared into the kitchen and returned with their food. He laid their plates in front of them. Gertrude's eyes shot up to Michael. "Don't tell me you condone this."
"Trudy, I'm not going to tell you anything you're not ready to accept." Michael collected the empty beer glasses. "Refills on anything?"
"I'm good," Joan said.
"All right, enjoy!" Michael walked off.
Gertrude bowed her head and made the sign of the cross. "We thank You Lord, for all you give; the food we eat, the lives we live; and to our loved ones far away, please send your blessings, Lord we pray. And help us all to live our days with thankful hearts and loving ways. Amen."
They ate wordlessly for a while before Joan extended an olive branch. "Mom, I'm sorry. You did a lot for me growing up. I learned a lot from Church, but then I learned so much more. It's not your fault I turned out this way, but I'm not ashamed of it."
Gertrude sighed. "I suppose we all lose our way sometimes. Just remember that Jesus always goes looking for His lost sheep. Maybe this is all part of the Lord's plan."
"Maybe," Joan conceded. She always knew she might be wrong, but until she heard it from God himself, she wasn't going to trust a few old men in embroidered vestments interpreting a book written in a time when wives were counted alongside cattle.
"So . . ." Gertrude looked from Mokuba to Seto. "Tell me more about what you do."
Seto couldn't remember the last time he'd encountered someone so clueless to Kaiba Corporation's endeavors. "Have you been living under a rock?"
"Christ is my rock," Gertrude replied.
"So I gathered. Apparently your imaginary friend has kept you oblivious to the fact that my company has single-handedly pioneered practically all advances in cutting-edge technology over the past decade."
"You watch your tongue!" Gertrude snapped. "Didn't your mother teach you any manners?"
"He was adopted," Joan supplied.
Seto looked away.
Gertrude's mouth constricted. "Oh."
"Maybe we should talk about something else. Did you know that Jessica got engaged?" Joan and her mom went on like that, talking about people Seto and Mokuba had no prior knowledge of. For the first time in their lives, the Kaiba brothers experienced the joys of serving as arm candy.
When they finally got back to the limo, Seto said, "I'm glad that's over. I was getting bored."
"You're the one who wanted to come along," Joan reminded him.
"I liked it," Mokuba said. "It was tense at first, but then it got all sweet. Your mom really loves you. I've never experienced that."
Joan inched closer to Mokuba. She soaked in his deep violet pools and then brought her lips to his. She hesitated two millimeters away before closing the gap, giving it her all. This one wasn't for practice, and somehow Mokuba knew it instantly. Visions flashed through his mind's eye so fast that he couldn't tell where or when they were supposed to be. A strange feeling crept through his entire being. Could this be what all the poets meant when they spoke of love? Could they truly have a future together? Mokuba slapped the idea away, but the feeling persisted even after she broke contact.
"What . . . what was that for?" Mokuba asked.
"For singing with me. It meant the world to me," Joan said.
"Where's mine?" Seto demanded.
He expected a biting remark about how Mokuba had been the first to join in the song, but she merely turned and repeated the process. Confusion peppered his brain from start to finish.
Seto leaned back against the leather seat, collecting his thoughts. His imagination had to be playing tricks on him, showing him what he wanted to see, but after the way Mokuba had reacted, uncertainty nagged him. "Whore, I understand what that was for, but what was that?"
Joan smirked cryptically. "Don't worry. You'll get used to it." She'd been through this enough times to know they needed to accept it too before she could spill the beans.
Chapter Song: Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Chapter 22: Gold
Once back at Mokuba's condo, Mokuba invited Seto and Joan inside to play Monsters of the Duel. His temporary California home was small but luxurious, cleaned by a maid on a weekly basis.
Seto, Joan, and Mokuba settled into a small white couch and pulled out their phones. While preparing for their first game, Joan noted aloud that KaibaS and KaibaM were displayed in gold as opposed to her white username. She'd seen the gold on Marc's username too.
"Since users are assigned random numbers that identify their accounts, we allow duplicate usernames. The gold shows anybody we're playing with or against that we're actual developers and not just stealing the names," Mokuba explained.
"Hold up." Seto snatched Joan's phone out of her hand and input a code. When he handed it back to her, she saw KaibaW displayed in gold.
Mokuba saw it pop up on his screen before Joan could so much as gasp. "Damn it, Seto. Everyone is going to know what the W stands for." Before he could think too hard about it, Mokuba grabbed Joan's phone and input the code again. He handed it back to Joan so she could input her own username.
Joan looked from one Kaiba to the other. Setting it back to her original username would be an insult to Seto. Making it too similar to KaibaW could upset Mokuba further. She tapped a letter and saw it glow gold. Either Mokuba agreed with Seto's decision on some level or he'd made a mistake. She stalled for time while she weighed her options."Mokuba, I'm not interested in working for Super Kaiba Megacorp, and I already declined Seto's offer to work for Kaiba Corp in Japan. Why did both of you put my username in gold?"
"Because you are working for us and you gave us the idea to ban Kuriboh from ranked play," Seto explained.
"Which we'll start implementing Monday," Mokuba added.
Here goes nothing, Joan thought. She could always change it again if either brother objected.
Seto and Mokuba watched MrsKaiba pop up on their screens. Joan looked up to see blushes reddening their features. Joan giggled. "We good now?"
"Yeah," Mokuba said quietly, "Yeah we can roll with that."
Seto chose to play as Blue Eyes White Dragon to deal damage, Joan as Mystical Elf for their healer, and Mokuba as Legendary Secret of the Six Samurai for their tank. They queued up for a match and found themselves playing against a PigBenis, a MasterBaiter, and an iPitMyShants. "I really hope these guys aren't streaming," Mokuba commented.
"Roland, find out," Seto ordered.
Seated at the nearby kitchenette table with the other bodyguards, Roland pulled out his phone and scoured the most popular live streaming platforms. "All clear," Roland called five minutes into the game.
With no in-game chat and no live stream to tip them off, The Kaiba team couldn't tell what their opponents were thinking. However, their opponents' choice of the famously blond and goofy Joey Wheeler as their designated duelist revealed something about their personalities and possible strategies.
"We need to get Marc on that dog costume pronto," Seto noted. Although Joey Wheeler had a positive reputation in the dueling community, Seto still considered him second rate and wanted to cut Joey from the Duelist lineup entirely.
"Seriously Seto," Mokuba said, "Some people actually respect Joey as a duelist. Besides, Marc is not at your beck and call."
"He was last night," Seto gloated.
"Seto, that was a demo tournament. Demo. Marc knows better than to do that in front of a hundred thousand people, and I hope you do too."
"I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about after."
Mokuba recalled how Marc had mysteriously run off when he was supposed to be signing autographs with Laura and Rob after dinner. "Oh god."
Joan chimed in. "Come on, Seto, get your facts straight. You were the one at Marc's beck and call."
"It sounds like a little of both," Mokuba extrapolated.
"Care to find out exactly how much?" Seto offered.
"Uh . . ." Mokuba's Legendary Secret of the Six Samurai got caught in a bad position and went down.
"I took a virgin in a threesome once," Joan mentioned casually while casting a healing spell at the location where Mokuba's monster used to be.
"Wait, what?" Seto lost concentration and his Blue Eyes White Dragon fell, leaving Joan's Mystical Elf wide open. It got banished to the Shadow Realm two seconds later.
Joan took the respawn time to flesh out her story. "So my friend had a friend and this friend had a really bad unrequited crush on someone else. He just wanted to get laid and move on with his life and I wanted a threesome, so that's what we did."
"No," Seto said, "I mean Mokuba. You didn't fuck yet?"
Mokuba sighed. "I just feel it's too soon. I want some romance."
"Romance?" Seto repeated. Some whores had tried to do that to him and it never ended well.
Their monsters respawned in quick succession and they went back to concentrating on the fight. Despite the setback, they managed to plow through the enemy forces and claim victory.
Seto set his phone down and glared past Joan at Mokuba. "First of all, romance is ridiculously overrated. The candles are nothing but a fire hazard and washing the chocolate out of your hair is an absolute pain in the ass."
"See? The best whores know better than to bother with that bullshit."
"No Seto," Joan corrected, "actual romance means different things to different people. A smart whore," she pulled his chin and gave him a short, sharp kiss, "knows how to give her client what he wants and how to get what she wants out of the experience too."
Seto's eyes widened and he fell silent.
"That's actually what I want," Mokuba said, "I want to know that the woman I'm with wants me as much as I want her."
Seto clenched a fist. "So what? You're going to wait for some gold digger to sweep you off your feet, marry you, and fuck you once on your wedding night before she runs off with half your money?"
Daggers of ice shot between the brothers as they snarled at each other.
Ready or not, Joan had to take the gamble now. If Seto persisted in applying pressure like this, Mokuba could get the wrong idea about her feelings. She caressed Mokuba's bicep. "Show me to your bedroom and I'll tell you a secret."
Mokuba broke his eyes away from Seto's. "Now?"
"Now." Joan turned back to Seto. "You," she pressed the tip of his nose with a finger, "get to sit right here and listen."
Seto's cock throbbed. He'd gotten used to the idea of them fucking, but discovering that it hadn't even happened yet, realizing she'd be Mokuba's first, brought him to an unprecedented pinnacle of arousal. Somehow, being restricted to the couch made the prospect all the more thrilling. He'd make sure to take his pants all the way off this time to avoid stains. He glanced at the bodyguards lingering by the kitchenette. "You're all on break until I call you back here."
Chapter 23: Platinum
Mokuba noticed a change overtaking his brother as the bodyguards filed out of the condo. It scared and intrigued him at the same time. He'd seen a hint of it before, shortly after Seto met Joan, but this time its strength overpowered the room.
Seto unbuckled the belts around his shins. "Are you going or not?"
Mokuba took Joan's hand and led her into his bedroom. A round bed hugged the far corner of the room, and enormous windows overlooked the bay to the north and San Francisco to the west. Joan sensed that Mokuba's condo surpassed at least double the altitude of Seto's top-floor Hyatt suite.
Captivated by the view, Joan stood spellbound as Mokuba hugged her from behind. Mokuba wished he could capture this moment in time and keep it in a bottle for lonely days when he needed it the most. It felt so natural that he let himself fantasize about a future with her, but nagging doubts brought him back to the moment. "So what's the big secret?"
"I fell in love with you today," Joan said.
Sparks shot from his heart and dispersed to his limbs, producing a tingle across every centimeter of his skin. "For real?"
Joan turned to face him so he could see the sincerity in her eyes. "For real."
Mokuba took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "If it's for real, why is it a secret?"
"It doesn't have to stay a secret, but I wanted you to be the first to know."
"Whore," his voice was tight, strained, "you're only telling me what I want to hear."
"Not only what you want to hear."
"But I did more or less tell you that's what I want to hear a few moments ago. What if Seto is right about the gold digger stuff? What if you're just trying to trade your husband in for a richer model?"
"I'm not leaving Michael. I don't need to leave him to love you. What's more . . ." Joan slipped her phone out of her purse and rested her head on Mokuba's shoulder. She held it up so they could both see it, so Mokuba could watch every tap and stroke of her fingers as she unlocked the phone and pulled up the Clockify app. Federal minimum wage displayed on the hourly rate. It had been running that way for over four hours, since she and Seto had met up with him. "This is Seto's time, not yours. That's his discount for inviting you along. If you don't want me, we could just make some noise for him, but I'd rather do this for real, for both of you."
Joan stopped the clock. The silicon, lithium, cobalt, lead, platinum and numerous other elements worked in tandem to signal a halt to her workday. Joan turned off her phone and slipped it back into her purse, then dropped it to the floor. She took both of Mokuba's hands in hers.
Oxytocin, dopamine, and other love hormones flooded Mokuba's system. He found himself shaking uncontrollably as their effects rippled through his entire body. He hadn't planned for this. "Fuck." He took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself. His mind went blank and he spoke the only words that came to him. "I love you too."
Mokuba tilted his head as he met Joan's incoming lips. His brain raced to remember at least one of the techniques she'd taught him earlier, but instead he wound up lost. Lost and found at the same time. He didn't have to be good at this; he only had to let his feelings do the work for him. Besides, she'd probably had much worse.
Mokuba bunched the fabric of Joan's dress in his hands, drawing the hem up her thighs. Joan stepped back and grinned at him, then pulled the dress over her head. Despite Marc's admonitions against it, she'd worn a bra. Teal leopard print encased her assets.
Mokuba's slacks became snug around his growing erection. Joan stepped forward and ran fingers down his neck as she graced him with another kiss. She undid his buttons at a leisurely pace, stroking his chiseled chest as she worked her way ever lower.
Joan pressed her cheek to the cool metal of Mokuba's KC belt buckle before clicking it open. She unzipped his slacks and let them fall, leaving him in only his boxers. She stood up and teased his bulge as a few soft moans escaped him.
"Don't hold back," Joan said against his ear.
Mokuba felt the edges of Joan's bra, trying to figure out how to get it off. Joan remained patient, giving him all the time he needed. He eventually found the clasp in the back and fumbled until he got it open. Joan delighted in Mokuba's look of triumph as he removed the obnoxious contraption to reveal rapidly hardening nipples. He took one in his mouth and ran his tongue over its ridges.
Joan tossed her hair back and moaned, louder than she would normally, hoping Seto could hear. When she felt Mokuba had explored enough, she knelt down and freed his cock from his boxers, taking the opportunity to grab a condom from her purse as well.
Chapter 24: Diamond
Shortly after Seto shucked his underpants and got comfortable on the couch, he realized that the soundproofing in Mokuba's luxury condo would prevent practically all noise from leaking through the bedroom walls. He had been invited to listen, though.
Seto picked up his phone and accessed Mokuba's implanted duel disk. In lieu of the bulky holographic projection technology that had initially made Seto Kaiba a household name, Mokuba, Seto, and a few top-ranked duelists who could afford them carried voice-activated implants linked to vaulted Duel Monsters card decks that they could duel with anywhere at any time.
Although Mokuba himself rarely dueled, Seto had insisted on implanting Mokuba with the device as a tracking mechanism in the event of future kidnappings. Even though it had been years since someone had so much as attempted to kidnap Mokuba, the measure comforted Seto. The implant not only transmitted Mokuba's location but picked up on his heartbeat and all surrounding noise, which could be filtered and processed digitally to pick up human voices or anything else of significance.
Seto adjusted the volume of Mokuba's rapid heartbeat down to a reasonable level and brought the voices up to full volume. Seto's own heart sped up in response to his brother's as he imagined every caress of her fingers over his skin.
"Don't hold back."
Joan's voice sprung Seto's cock to full attention. He began stroking, and moans followed. What is she doing to him? More importantly, what is he doing to her? She wasn't nearly that vocal before.
"Lay back. I got this," Joan's voice came again.
Seto closed his eyes and his mind conjured an image of his whore slipping a condom on his brother, almost as if it were happening right in front of him. A wave of nostalgia over his first time swept over him as he imagined Joan mounting Mokuba. Although faint, he heard a gasp from Mokuba and knew it was the very moment he entered her. Mokuba was truly a man in Seto's eyes now. Pride flooded Seto's heart as the moans ascended in pitch. He must be giving her the ride of her life.
Seto stroked himself to completion, bliss bursting through his diamond-hard loins.
The moans subsided and Seto heard them talking again. He left his phone on the coffee table and rushed to clean up his mess, spilling some onto the carpet as he stood. Shit. He dashed to the bathroom while more dribbled down his legs. Damn, that was a huge load.
Seto grabbed wads of toilet paper and sopped up the milky goo. He returned to the couch and got what he could off the carpet, hoping Mokuba's maid was skilled enough to handle the rest and if she wasn't, Mokuba would have the balls to fire her.
Seto had barely zipped up his pants when his whore bounded out of the bedroom and threw her arms around him. "I love your brother," she blurted.
Seto's eyes went wide. Is she delirious or serious? Since she hasn't even bothered to dress herself, I'll bank on delirious. Not that I mind, but . . . a sly thought crept into his mind. He hadn't properly washed his hands yet. What if there was just enough semen left on them?
Seto kissed Joan and stuck two fingers into her, feeling her wet hole clench around them. She moaned deep in the back of her throat as he continued smothering her mouth, gripping her waist savagely with the hand not inside her. For once, he had her. Fully and completely. Juices gushed out of her, soaking the leather pants Seto had gone to such lengths to protect.
"Whore, did you just . . ."
"I think so. Yeah, I think I just came."
Joan blushed at the mockery in his voice. "This doesn't happen to me often, OK?"
Seto seized the opportunity. "We'll have to fix that, then."
Joan fell speechless.
"Seto," Mokuba stood in the doorway: pants on, still shirtless, "what are you doing with my . . ." Mokuba paused as he realized he didn't know what to call her anymore.
Seto smirked at his brother. "You mean our whore?"
"Yeah, about that. I think we need to talk," Mokuba said.
Seto looked down at the woman clutching him for support, strangely at his mercy for the first time. "How about over dinner? I'll need to borrow your pants."
Joan perked up at the mention of dinner. "I think I need to clean up a little."
"You do that, whore." Seto gave her a gentle kiss and nudged her toward the bathroom before following Mokuba into his bedroom.
Mokuba pulled a fresh pair of leather pants off a hanger and tossed them to Seto. "Bro, she gave me a freebie and told me she loves me. I don't think she's my whore anymore."
Seto froze, his soiled pants halfway off.
Mokuba continued. "I mean, I love her too."
Seto sat on the bed, his pants pooling around his ankles. His head dropped into his hand.
"And I know you love her too."
Seto looked up sharply, his eyes blazing like blue flames.
"Why . . . why is this a problem for you? Why can't you just admit it? She already knows anyway."
"She doesn't love me. For a moment, only a moment, I thought she did, but now I see it's all you."
"Seto . . ." Mokuba watched in confusion as tears spilled down his brother's cheeks.
"I can pay her all I want, but she always belongs to someone else."
"You've got to be kidding me." Joan stood in the doorway, fully naked, fully aware of the last words Seto had uttered. "I don't belong to anyone."
Seto's gaze met hers, a shard of hope sparkling in the next tear about to fall.
"I belong with the people I love, and that includes you."
Seto's mouth fell open.
"And you're still paying for my trips to Japan. I can't afford them otherwise."
Seto fell back on the bed, too overwhelmed to remain upright. Joan bounced onto the bed as well, taking his head between her palms and looking into his eyes.
"You've never been in love before, have you? How old are you?" Joan asked.
"Twenty-seven," Seto revealed.
"That's not so bad."
"Compared to what?"
"Just generally speaking."
Mokuba joined them on the bed. "I'm twenty-two."
Realizing that they needed comfort and reassurance above all else right now, Joan pulled up the bed covers and wrapped an arm around each of them. "That's perfect."
They lay silent for a while, sharing breath.
"Does it always happen this fast?" Mokuba asked.
"Sometimes faster, but people don't usually admit to it right away," Joan answered.
Seto listened in silent contemplation, letting Mokuba drive the conversation forward.
"Lots of reasons. Fear of rejection. Fear that family won't approve. Fear that it's just lust and not actual love."
"What if that's us? What if this is lust and not love?"
"That crap about lust is something the old ladies at Sunday school used to shove down our throats."
"But why would they say that if there isn't some truth to it?"
"It's a lie that comforts people when things don't work out. Lust is fun in its own right, and there's nothing wrong with it, but love and lust are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes it's just love, sometimes it's just lust, and sometimes it's both. Don't let anyone else tell you what you do or don't feel," Joan said.
"Nobody told us much of anything," Mokuba said.
"Except that Yugi dweeb with his annoying friendship lectures," Seto added.
Though Mokuba wished they could have been actual friends with Yugi, he didn't want to get into an argument about someone from their past. "Hey Seto, can we go eat now?"
"All right, let's do that."
They all climbed out of bed and finished dressing.
Chapter 25: Plans
Accompanied by bodyguards again, Joan and the Kaiba brothers entered a five-star restaurant with a circular crystal chandelier. The maître d' seated them at a table on the second floor. A single red rose decorated the center of the table. Soft jazz played from overhead speakers. Joan sat between Seto and Mokuba, their iolite and amethyst eyes frequently meeting hers. She knew she'd find her brothers one day, but she didn't expect them to be this handsome.
The brothers began talking about Monsters of the Duel, upcoming patches and adjustments, and whether they should still nerf Kuriboh even with the ban. Then they spoke of upcoming monster releases and what they could do with those to counter a late-game Kuriboh. Most of it went over Joan's head, but she enjoyed watching them in their element, treading on familiar ground.
Mokuba gave a small gasp and leaned forward. "We have to add Guardian Angel Joan to our lineup. She'll be the ultimate healer, and Joan can do her voice-over."
"I'm not cut out for that kind of work," Joan cautioned.
"Your singing voice is amazing. Just give it a shot," Mokuba insisted. "Laura will write the lines and all you have to do is read them. If it doesn't work out, we can always get someone else."
"Thinking about replacing me already?" Joan teased. "How many other whores do you have lined up?"
"Yeah, about that," Mokuba said, "I have trouble thinking of you that way. I don't know how Seto does it. You're too important to me to treat you like a whore. I mean, I can still pay you if you need the money."
"I kinda do," Joan admitted. "I'm still paying off student loans, rent here is ridiculous, and running around with four guys, especially with how much of my time you're demanding on weekdays, is going to make it difficult for me to maintain regular working hours. I can probably do some work on the plane ride to and from Japan, but the jet lag back and forth is going to be killer."
"You'll be riding in our private jet. It has bedrooms," Seto said.
Joan's eyebrows shot up. "Uh . . . I really don't want to be responsible for putting that much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Sharing a plane with two hundred other people is one thing, but since this is going to be a weekly trip . . ."
"I'll see to it that you at least have a sleeping compartment," Seto said.
"That should help," Joan agreed.
"Alright," Mokuba circled back to the previous topic, "Keep your fees, but keep that stuff between you and Roland. I don't want to see your Clockify profile again. I want this to feel . . . normal."
"Fair enough," Joan said, "but there's no such thing as normal. Every relationship looks different. Don't hesitate to tell me what you want."
"I'm still figuring it out to be honest. I need something else to call you, and I don't think Marc would appreciate me calling you my girlfriend," Mokuba said.
"Isn't it obvious?" Seto cut in.
"What?" Mokuba asked.
"Mrs. Kaiba." Seto sealed the salutation with a satisfied smirk.
Mokuba's pupils expanded. He looked to Joan for confirmation.
"I was playing around when I typed that in," Joan said, "but not just playing around. It was more than that too. I'm not going to change my name legally, not yet anyway, but we can roll with it for a while and see where it goes."
"What would it take to get you to change your name legally?" Seto asked.
Joan grinned. "One hell of a wedding ceremony."
"But you . . . you said you weren't leaving Michael," Mokuba said.
"Of course not," Joan clarified. "Unless the law changes, I'll never marry either of you legally, and you'll never have to worry about me running off with half your money, only what I've earned. However, we can always throw a party without it being a legally binding deal. We can call it whatever we want."
"We'll throw you a wedding tomorrow then," Seto said.
"Fuck no! Six months from now minimum. I don't care how much money you throw at it. The important part to me is that all my friends can make it, and with their busy lives, they'll need time to plan ahead, book flights, schedule time off work, keep that date clear of medical procedures, all those things you rich boys don't have to worry about."
For a fraction of a second, Seto actually looked sheepish. The expression stuck on Mokuba's face significantly longer.
"You know," Joan continued, "there's a reason why I didn't change my last name when I married Michael. The wedding was rushed. We didn't have the kind of wedding I always dreamed of. I love him, but a little church ceremony doesn't count as a wedding in my book."
"Why did you go through with it, then?" Mokuba asked.
"Two reasons: It gave us an edge financially and it also prevented my mother from bitching about me living in sin with him."
Seto's mouth twisted into his signature smirk. "So tell me: are you or are you not making babies with the wage monkey?"
An unexpected rush sent shivers through Joan's entire body. She knew what was coming next but decided to play it cool. "Not yet, but it's in our plans eventually."
"How about making some babies with me?"
It had been easier to say no before she fell in love with him. Now, something about his smoldering blue eyes made her want to shout yes from the rooftops. "I . . . I really have to talk to Michael about that. It's not completely out of the question, but cool your jets."
Seto's bold proposal brought one from Mokuba. "I know this is sudden, and you probably want some time to think about it, but what if you and Michael moved in with me so you don't have to worry about rent? I have a spare bedroom I'm not using."
"No offense, but your kitchen sucks," Joan said. "It's like whoever designed that place put in three square feet of countertop for decoration. Besides that, I need some storage space and some office space."
"Office space?" Mokuba asked.
"Didn't I mention I work from home? My press doesn't have a central location. We all work from home, and I need peace and quiet while I work. Michael and I used to have our desks in the same room for a while and it didn't work out so well. Your little bachelor pad isn't going to cut it for us."
"OK, OK. So I got the place for the view and never planned on having two, let alone three people there. What about a different place, though? One we pick out together," Mokuba suggested.
"Marc has a dream of building a poly house where partners can come and go as they please without disturbing one another. With the place he has now, I have to wait until Laura is spending the weekend with someone else before I can spend time with Marc, so he wants to build something with really good soundproofing."
"You'll need intercoms," Seto stated.
"We have these things called phones nowadays," Joan said.
"Phones can be hacked," Seto pointed out, "but that's not sufficient sound quality when one is actually invited to listen."
A look of discomfort crossed Mokuba's features as he realized Seto had probably accessed his implant and heard everything. "I didn't realize it meant that much to you."
"Get over it, Mokuba," Seto said. "You can play house all you want, but at the end of the day she's still our whore."
Mokuba's cheeks flamed. "You're the one who wants to make babies with her!"
"Don't tell me renting out her womb hasn't crossed your mind too," Seto said.
Joan's ovaries quivered at the sentiment. She bit her lower lip as she looked from one brother to the other, trying to figure out how she got so lucky.
"Maybe," Mokuba sighed, "but don't make it sound so crass."
"Stop sugar-coating everything," Seto replied. "We'll need an heir someday."
"Was that your plan all along, Seto? To pay a prostitute to mother your children so you don't have to give a wife the love and affection she deserves?" Mokuba asked.
Seto crossed his arms. "Hardly. I never thought I'd find one worthy of the task. I figured you'd marry some gold digger who claimed to love you and we'd be stuck with her halfwit offspring."
Joan shattered the ice between the brothers before it could grow any thicker. "O ye of little faith."
Seto looked to Joan in alarm. "You're not going to shove that Christian mumbo-jumbo on our children, are you?"
"Fuck no. I want to teach them about it from an academic standpoint and let them make up their own minds about what to believe."
Seto released a breath he'd been holding.
"I know you're excited about this, but there's a lot of stuff to iron out first," Joan said. "I like Mokuba's idea of moving in together. I'll still have to clear that with Michael, but it's a decision we can reverse if we can't stand each other. Once your baby pops out of me, there's no putting it back in. I want to know that we'll have a functional household for it to grow up in."
"Have it your way, whore," Seto conceded.
Joan smiled and leaned back in her chair. She noticed a self-satisfied grin on Mokuba's face as well. "Since it looks like I'll have plenty of time with each of you individually but it will be a while before I get to see the two of you again, what are we doing tomorrow?"
"Fucking," Seto said.
"Obviously, but I already know you can't handle that the entire day. You need to get out and see more of California anyway. So, where do you want to go?"
Mokuba shrugged. "I don't know. You're the American."
"OK then. How about a museum?"
Seto scoffed. "The last time I set foot in a museum, some Egyptian bitch with a Millennium Necklace forced me to hallucinate."
Joan decided not to trigger him further. "Amusement park then?"
"Been there, done that. Nothing holds a candle to Kaiba Land. We made sure of it," Seto bragged.
"How about a hike in a redwood forest? I bet Japan doesn't have those."
Seto looked down his nose. "You want to look at trees?"
"Not just any trees. Redwoods."
Seto rolled his eyes. "Whatever, whore."
"Come on Seto," Mokuba said, "It'll be awesome. We haven't just gone out and done something new like this in forever."
"I said whatever. What more do you want?"
"Some enthusiasm?" Mokuba suggested.
"If you want enthusiasm, all you have to do is watch us fuck," Seto said.
Joan ran a finger along her lower lip. "That's true."
Mokuba thought back to when he'd seen Seto fingering Joan. Mokuba had tried not to look, but the expression on Seto's face had been something else, something he'd never seen before even when they were kids. It had even scared him a little, but honestly it wasn't that bad. "Do both of you actually want me there?"
"Yes," Joan said without hesitation.
"Green," Seto smirked.
"Oh, I don't know if he's ready for that," Joan said.
"Ready for what?" Mokuba asked nervously.
"You've heard of BDSM, right?" Joan asked.
"You mean like ropes and stuff?"
"Yeah, but you don't always need ropes. A lot of it is more roleplay."
"So . . ."
"So if something turns you on and you want it to happen, you say green. Yellow means slow down and red means stop."
"Like traffic lights?"
"So if I went into that room with you and whatever you were doing was bothering me, I could say red and you would stop?"
"That wasn't initially what I was getting at, but yeah, we can stop if you need us to."
"What were you getting at?" Mokuba asked.
Seto cut in, "You're right, Mrs. Kaiba. He's not ready."
"Ready for what?" Frustration edged Mokuba's voice.
"I like to play extra rough sometimes," Joan admitted.
Mokuba's hands flew up. "Thank you! Was that so hard?"
"Just had to make sure you wanted to know before I told you," Joan said.
"Well I don't want to see it, not tonight at least."
"We'll keep it vanilla for you," Joan assured him.
Mokuba took in a deep breath. "I can't believe I'm about to say this, but sure. I'll watch you fuck."
Joan and Seto exchanged wide grins as they finished the rest of their meal.