The ultimate aim of the art of Karate
does not lie in who wins or who loses,
but lies in perfecting the heart and the mind
and forgiving the sins that one chooses.
The universe says you’re unlucky if you live
long enough to regret things you’ve done.
And when you play scrabble with Mahjong tiles
it’s hard to determine who’s won.
But when the liquor’s all gone, and your heart’s still on fire
tell me where in the world does love go.
Regret is for fools but for lovers too,
because they’re the only ones who don’t know.
Jason was gone again. Out of Mike’s life. Just like that. For good this time. Took his Christopher, his little kitten as he called the man, and with one wink, was gone. There was nothing he could have done, nothing at that point he would have done.
Mike took a long sip from the glass of bourbon he had poured for himself when he arrived back to his room, his massive state room on this stupid ship of his. He snorted into the quiet stillness. Jason had taken away a drink just like this that long ago night. Thought he was still a snot nosed little brat who couldn’t hold his liquor.
But he supposed he was… back then. That night! When Jason could have had him and Mike… stopped him.
Now of course everything was different. So many things had gone on, changed, and been broken, like hearts, promises, ties and even lives. Now there was regret. Fucking regret! Why the hell had Jason allowed for that much time to go by continuing to let Mike believe his father had died by Jason’s hand? Did he think Mike was so weak, so fragile, that he would have fallen apart had he known the truth?
Jason even told him he believed the anger he held for him, the revenge he wanted to take on him, would pull Mike through the grief, the guilt, the rage. It hadn’t. All it had done was force him to focus on Jason. Only Jason. The fury turned into Mike paying Jason back by kidnapping Christopher, Jason’s one true love and holding him, threatening him…
Good God, why the hell had he done that?
Shit! Damn you to hell, Jason! You should have told me. You could have had me. You could have taken me then.
Even in that room today, the room he had lured Jason to, the room where he was finally going to kill the man. Jason could have so easily had his way if he had wanted to, somehow turning the tables on Mike, easily disarming him, holding him down until their lips nearly met…
Mike realized he would not have stopped him. Maybe that long ago yesterday, but not today.
But you knew that, you fucking bastard. You knew it and you used it against me.
He took another long drink, feeling the fire flow down his throat, the warmth starting to course through his veins. Soon he would no longer care about Jason or the fact that at no matter what the cost he had come to collect his precious little kitten. For Christopher, Jason risked it all.
Ahhh, Christopher. What was it that he felt for him now? During the time he held him in captivity he had confused the hell out of Mike with all his words of encouragement and support. Christopher was the fucking victim, for God’s sake, yet he acted as… a friend. Evidently secure, and rightfully so, in his knowledge of Jason’s love for him. And Mike thought it was enough just to have Christopher by his side, have command over him. It was like having a small bit of control over Jason. It was having one over on Jason who never allowed for such things. When was it that Christopher took that control back? When was it that Christopher had taken command of Mike? How was it he suddenly knew more about Mike’s heart, Mike’s desires, Mike’s darkness, than even he did?
But he supposed that’s the way it always was. When he finally figured it out, when Mike finally was able to admit to his own weakness, his needs, when he finally asked Christopher to stay, no longer out of any agenda or revenge toward Jason, no longer a prisoner, to stay for him, what the fuck good did it do?
Just like with Jason.
Then to be told, by Jason, all Mike really wanted was Jason’s acknowledgement, his attention? That was a bunch of bullshit. All he really wanted was to make Jason his, to make Jason see him… someone just… see him.
But unfortunately, time had always been a cruel companion. Mike didn’t get it, didn’t figure it out until it was too late. So then, after all, was what Jason said true? Did Mike really in any way think of Jason as a surrogate father? Mike’s only true desire in Jason was to have him look fondly at Mike through the eyes of a good parent, to finally be acknowledged for his own accomplishments by a loving parent.
Was Jason really only a father figure to him?
Did it matter anymore? Because Jason and Christopher were gone. Once again, to go down that road, the one where yet two more people walked – ran – away? The only thing he would find was regret.
Then there was John, his best friend, confessing his love for Mike even after he was found out to be the true murderer. Even after it was shown he had betrayed Mike time after time. The man embezzled money, lied to him about contacts, business deals. John, who pretended for years to be a protector, a confidant, an admirer. To think, to now know, the man had been the killer all along, was chilling. As if by telling Mike he loved him, that he killed Mike’s bastard of a father for Mike, he would be forgiven.
Or worse yet, thinking that by bearing one’s heart to the person you think is most important to you that it makes any difference at all to the other who has their sights set on yet someone else. “Just like me,” Mike murmured into the emptiness. John knows that now. He knows it doesn’t make a difference.
Even if John had been innocent of all those things he had done, oh God, all those… horrible things, Mike could never love him. He could never feel that for an innocent John, much less for the John he saw today. The one Officer Roman arrested after John was going to kill Mike too...
“Are you okay?” Officer Roman had shouted. “Did the bullet hit you?”
It hadn’t. Not because Mike had dodged it or anything. Stupid luck was all it had been.
Could there ever be just a time when it would be simple? Could there ever come a time when the person who someone thought about, dreamed about, desired, would ever feel the same way?
“Are you sure you’re not hurt?” Officer Roman had pushed Mike behind him, shielding him as John continued to fire at them, emptying his gun. Then finally, having no other choice, throwing it away, giving the officer opportunity to take John into custody.
In the end, all of it, every bit of it, was like playing scrabble with fucking Mahjong tiles! Who the hell can win at a game like that? Where the rules changed with every move.
Absolutely no one.
It would seem now that all of his training in Karate, all those years painfully perfecting his mind and body, perfecting his heart, the fierce need to make his feelings behave, amounted to nothing. Because in this moment, all control was gone. There was nothing perfect about any of this.
The murder, the kidnapping, his confused feelings that bounced between and supportive Christopher and a commanding, loving Jason.
But Jason loved, adored, Christopher. And of course, vice versa.
But there was another thing he realized. After it was all said and done, after all the pain and bloodshed, after all the lies and deceptions, at the end of the day, for Mike, it really wasn’t about Jason at all. He knew that now. It might have been at one time. But that was before all of the useless hate and anger had consumed him. Jason was wrong about that. Wrong to allow that hatred to go unchallenged.
And if he had spent more time with Christopher, he really could see falling for him. But again that was all passed him now, another opportunity lost to rage and resentment.
And the worthless need for revenge.
Poor John. He was lucky he was still alive although he may not think so. His unrequited love for Mike would go unanswered, and that was too bad. So sad that Mike could not feel the same way for him because killing his father was, in a sick way, an act of that love. Mike’s father did not deserve to live, not after the things he had done and not only to Mike, although that was the worst. Jason knew that. Jason also knew it was Mike’s job to seek revenge for that. But John…
Yes, too bad Mike could not return those feelings because that would answer all the questions, wouldn’t it? It would solve all the problems. If he could possibly fall for someone who had fallen for him, even if John went to prison, all of this… this… whatever it was that he was feeling, it would all fucking go away!
As if he could love someone who said… professed he had fallen for Mike. There is just no way something like that was ever going to happen. What the hell was wrong with him?
But… there has to be… someone…
Is there really someone for me? Is there someone I could love who would simply love me back? Even after being such a fuckup?
He tossed back the last of his drink and startled just a little when the knock came on the door. He thought about answering it, wondered briefly who it could be. But he would ignore it. He was in no mood to entertain anyone.
But a moment later it came again.
Knock, knock, knock.
Fuck! Go away! He tipped the empty glass again into his mouth, letting a final drop fall onto his tongue, hoping whoever it was would simply get it and leave but he knew it probably wouldn’t happen. It was doubtless one of his men or some nameless deck hand with some stupid ass report about something that seemed important an hour ago. It just wasn’t anymore. He looked over at the bar and realized he was out of bourbon and he could still feel the hurt in his heart.
Damn it all to fucking hell!
Knock, Knock, Knock, louder now. Persistent bastard, whoever it is.
And it was obvious they were not going to go away.
Fine! You want to taste my foul mood?
He stood up realizing he was just a bit shaky. That surprised him but then he thought about the fact he had not had anything to eat all day. He had been too nervous about Jason falling into the trap he had set, luring him here by taking Christopher, to make him pay for killing his father, a deed, it ended up, he had not done. Mike had been living far too long dreaming up ways for revenge on the man he had once pined for and it had all been a lie. He had loved Jason and that was destroyed when that bastard kept the truth from him…
And now he was drinking on an empty stomach. Jason would have something to say about that! He went to the door and giggled a little because he had to think about reaching for the handle, think about pushing it down, pulling it open…
Holy shit! A shirtless Detective Roman!
He pushed past Mike and strode right into the room as if he had been expected. As if he had been invited.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” Mike’s words were slightly slurred.
Roman turned to Mike, looked him up and down, slowly, as if he was devouring him, his eyes lingering at certain places, Mike’s lips, his throat…his groin, until his gaze finally returned to stay with Mike’s eyes. “I thought about leaving, had almost done that. But then I decided that even though I lost one important thing tonight, I didn’t have to lose the most important thing.”
“What does that mean?” Is that my voice? Am I really snarling? “What are you doing here?” But of course he knew the answer to part of the first question. Detective Roman had been the one who tracked down the evidence against John. He had nearly stalked Mike, trying to make him see reason. Then tonight they still had to let John go because the evidence had burned in that damn fire John set. And John’s “confession” of the murder would never hold up without it so the man simply walked away, now vowing vengeance on Mike for spurning his love, for not appreciating what he had done in ridding the world of his fucking father.
It had been a difficult thing for the detective to do, to let a known offender, an arsonist, criminal and murderer, just walk away. But what could possibly be meant by the other part of the statement he made? What was the most important thing?
This was just too irritating. He was suddenly nervous in front of this man. Nervous about that look in his eyes, about the detective’s perfect chest, his deep voice with that seductive tone. If he didn’t do something fast Mike was going to fall prey to this stupid, out of control feeling all of a sudden rising like the sun in his own body.
“I’m here because that’s where you are.”
Mike smirked. Such pretty words. He let out a sigh as he found he could not control his urge to stare at that strong chest and imagine what it would possibly feel like to be looking up at it from the comfort and coolness of his silk bed sheets. God, but this man was beautiful! Why was he only noticing that now? The warm liquid confidence that had been surging through his body like the drug it was, suddenly began to pool in one spot. Shit! Would this man notice?
Did he care?
Wasn’t this what he was just thinking about, agonizing about? All those lost chances, opportunities that vanished because of pride and fear? The cruel universe says you are unlucky to live long enough to regret things you’ve done, or certainly in his case, missed. Did he want to do that? If he died tonight, if it all ended before the sun rose, which way would he not regret this night? Was he going to allow this to become another missed opportunity or fall for another man only to have him walk away?
He took a step toward Roman and stood directly in front of him, thinking only one thing. No matter what he chose he would most likely regret this night. He reached up then, with shaking hands, seemingly moving on their own, making the decision for him, and took Roman’s face between them. He looked into those fathomless eyes.
Fuck me! Please!
“I am willing,” Mike breathed. “I am willing to regret this.” He let out a breath he didn’t know he was even holding. Those eyes in front of him changed then, totally transformed. They went from smug and lustful to incredulous and… what? Could it be happiness? But it was only for a moment. He pulled Mike tight into his arms, running his hand down Mike’s back, down his hair, taking it and pulling on it slightly, forcing Mike’s chin to rise.
“That’s all well and good,” he whispered as he descended on Mike’s throat, kissing, licking, sucking. “but I‘m not going to let you.” He came up for air and this time looked into Mike’s eyes as if he couldn’t get enough. “I will not let you regret this.” He then took control of Mike’s lips, his tongue forcing its way into his mouth.
This is too much, I am feeling too much! This is the first time I am feeling… this… much! For the first time he wanted this with more desire than he had ever known before. Mike reached back with his foot and before he became too lost in the kiss, he kicked the door closed.
Regret was for fools and he was through being a fool.