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rose petal boys

rose petal boys

a community garden with no room for roses.

1,031 readers have visited this universe since The Writer's Voice created it.
#boys, #closeted, #fanfic, #fraternity, #friends with benefits, #internal homophobia, and #romance (Add Tags »)

Copyright: The creator of this roleplay has attributed some or all of its content to the following sources:

https://www.roleplaygateway.com/roleplay/another-year-at-fulton-university

Introduction





XXXXXXXXR O S ExxxP E T A LxxxB O Y S
XXXXXXXHeart beat pounding I said I love you, you loved me too. Where did you go? I didn't know, I didn't mean it.

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The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox's apartment.
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The moment Maddox opened the door, Cyrus' breath was caught.

While Cyrus had opted for a slightly dressed down formal look, with an oversized dress shirt and mid-waist suit pants, Maddox was dazzling in a suit. Cyrus swore that every piece of clothing Maddox wore looked good, but this was to a new level of looking good. The slightly unkempt hair and those pretty brown eyes were more than enticing; Cyrus was looking forward to running his hands through every brown lock and gazing into those eyes all night. He was also looking forward to taking every piece of clothing off of Maddox's slender body and kissing every inch of skin he could find.

The reply to his cheeky comment earned him a familiar mischief that he was used to hearing and seeing from Maddox. Cyrus only hoped that this Maddox, the Beta prince he'd enticed to strip the layers of formality, would stay for the night. "What can I say, babe? Your birthday suit is your best outfit," Cyrus answers with a wink.

The pet name is slipped in discretely, more to test the waters. Sure, the call was settled, but where they stood wasn't. After a year of messing each other's bedsheets, they were still at square one. Cyrus hadn't even told Maddox he liked him more than a fling until he almost didn't have the chance to.

The thought urges him inside and he closes the door, taking in Maddox once again with an appreciative smile. "I know we need to head out, but..." Cyrus saunters closer to Maddox with every word, trailing off as he makes it right in front of Maddox. He grasps onto Maddox's cheek, cupping it softly as his eyes take in those pouty lips and then his lips take them in, kissing him like he wanted to since they last saw each other.

He lingers on Maddox's lips as long as the Beta will let him, then pulls away enough to rest his forehesad against Maddox's forehead, taking in the smell of that cologne he wore that made Cyrus woozy with attraction and the warmth of the other boy before pulling away completely.

Cyrus sets the white rose he brought on Maddox's dining room table, taking in the apartment he hadn't been in for a while. Most of their "meetings" were in one of the fraternity houses or Cyrus' apartment, mainly because Cyrus would tug the Beta home after every event he got to be with him without needing a good excuse.

This dinner - this date - would be good for them. It would show if they were really meant to be together. Cyrus could forgive Maddox all he pleased, but if Maddox couldn't forgive himself, the Sigma didn't know if he could stick around.

He didn't want to be just a fling anymore, and he didn't know how the casanova Beta, who was closeted to everyone but the boy who claimed his bedsheets and a few others, would feel about being more. From what Annabelle said, Maddox really cared about Cyrus, and assurance like that made Cyrus' heart flutter and practically skip a beat.

That prompts Cyrus back toward the door, grabbing his keys from his pocket and looking over his shoulder at Maddox. "Well, if we don't leave now we'll end up on your bed and miss our reservation," Cyrus calls, smirking knowingly and giving Maddox an elevator glance for added effect. Cyrus liked many things about Maddox, his affection, his mischievious comments, even his care when he's pretending not to care, but most of all, the Beta was a damn good dresser.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[Maddox' Penthouse]
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There were very few occasions when Maddox could say he’d felt nervous about something. One had been during his senior year of high school as he waited for the results of his college entrance exams. He’d been so desperate to not only get out of his father’s house but also get accepted far away enough to not have to see his face again.

The most recent had been when he first set foot into the Beta house. He had trouble sleeping the night before due to overthinking and wondering if he’d be able to really fit in. His worries quickly disappeared though, when he realized the older Betas were much more easy to impress than he’d expect. Gaining their trust and respect had been all too easy.

Tonight was another one of those rare occasions, though the sense of nervousness felt much different than the previous times. Before, he’d only been worried about himself and his own well-being. But tonight, all he could think about was whether Cyrus was truly okay? Would he really be happy with Maddox around? He had no idea what staying with him entailed. Would he really be willing to face what was coming?

Maddox didn’t give a response to the blonde’s flirty comment but instead watches carefully as Cyrus moves towards him, a white rose hanging from one of his hands. There’s a look in his eyes that says he truly wants to be there. His baby blues are more transparent than they have ever been as his hands cup Maddox’ face. The Beta’s dark browns watch him with undivided attention as their faces grow closer.

The kiss feels much different than the previous ones. Not only the stolen drunken kisses that they’d shared a few days prior, but it felt different to every kiss they’d had before. In the back of Maddox’ mind, there had always been that feeling of displacement. Like his kisses had a lot more meaning to them than they should have.

But it was different now. This one felt much more raw and honest. Maddox made it last for as long as he could, his hands slowly snaking around the blonde’s waist and locking in place as if refusing to let go. They only pulled apart when they both needed air. The corners of Maddox' mouth quirked upwards to form his infamous smirk as he watched Cyrus set the rose on his table and return to him.

The look that followed his statement didn’t go unnoticed. This was the Cyrus Maddox had known all this time, but of course the blonde never changed. The one that changed was Maddox himself. But maybe it was for the better. Still, there was enough of the Maddox that Cyrus knew to be familiar. ”Well your wish is my command.” he almost purrs in the Sigma’s ear as they step outside and Maddox turns to look his door.

The drive to the restaurant is comfortable. There’s a new sense of ease between the two of them that had never been there before, but many things were still unsolved. Cyrus has seemingly forgiven everything that had gone down the past few weeks, and Maddox was trying his best to do the same. Yet their relationship status was still up in the air.

Maddox had never been in a real relationship before, having nothing more than no-strings-attached and one-night-stands. But that’s not what he wanted with Cyrus despite their initial agreement. For the first time ever, Maddox wanted more than just Cyrus’ bedsheets. He wanted everything. The good, the bad, the bitter and sweet. Simply put, he wanted a relationship and from what he’d seen, Cyrus felt the same way.

But there was still that part of him that doubted. There was no guarantee that Cyrus wanted what he did, nor was there any guarantee that they’d be able to make this work even if he did. So he opted to keep this to himself as they arrived at the establishment. A lot of things were still uncertain, but what Maddox knew for sure was that he would do anything to make those baby blues happy.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox's apartment.
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There was something in the air between them that was different from every time Cyrus had breathed it before. For once, he didn't feel on his toes, eager to impress the older boy he'd somehow persuaded one more night for more than a year now. In this moment, it was just Cyrus and Maddox.

Cyrus wasn't sure if the thought paralyzed him with fear, or finally made him comfortable. He no longer feared the last kiss, last touch, last moment to look into the brown eyes and see more than the wall Maddox put up for everyone else. He didn't know if Maddox was truly his, but he was sure that he didn't belong to anyone else's. That was assurance enough to gently clasp Maddox's hand in his own as they drove to the Victoriana, blue eyes set on the road but his thoughts set on the soft hand tangled in his like their bodies often were in soft linen.

The drive lasted seconds and hours at the same time, Cyrus' thoughts wandering as he maneuvered the streets of Miami but arriving at the restaurant like no time had passed at all.

Cyrus had no idea how this night would go. Sure, he'd been on plenty of dates, even some with men, but this wasn't any date or any man. Cyrus had secured a room that had a few tables in it but would only seat him and Maddox tonight, enough privacy for the closeted Beta to feel a bit more at ease in public with no real excuse to why he was sitting with Cyrus at a romantic restaurant.

That was another thought that bothered its way from the back of Cyrus' mind. Would Maddox want a relationship with him in public? A large part of him was fine with a secret as long as he could call Maddox his. But another small part of him didn't want to hide.

That part of him was still hurt and felt Cyrus deserved a public, real love with someone. He knew he needed to be cautious and slow with Maddox, but that part of him was afraid. Cyrus didn't really remember a time he fell in love, but he knew he felt that for Maddox, even if he would choke up trying to say it out loud. So he shoved all the feelings and emotions that usually poured out in a fountain of transparency for the chance to sit down in the candle lit restaurant and be with Maddox.

Cyrus drops Maddox's hand after he stops the car, and stops himself from opening Maddox's door like he wants to. He shoves his hands into his pockets to keep from searching for Maddox's slender fingers and saunters beside him, keeping a more guarded posture and look in his eye than usual. He needed this one assurance, a test to see if Maddox wanted him for every moment or only in the private times.

The hostess guides them to the secluded area of the restaurant, and Cyrus tips her generously for doing this favor for him. He'd been to the Victoriana often with the more business-like alumni of Sigma, and had flirted with the very same hostess plenty of times. Tonight was about Maddox and the beautiful glow of his dark browns against the candlelight.

"Hope I'm not treating you too much like an Alpha,". Cyrus teases softly, noting the romantic atmosphere that would definitely woo a pretty girl in a short dress. He opens the bottle of wine already left on the table, pouring a glass for himself and one for Maddox as well. "Though if that kind of treatment gets me the same outcome, I might continue," He says with a wink, tipping his glass to Maddox.

Cyrus resorts to more flirtation as his guard to hide how nervous and scared he is that this will end with him being alone again. He was stuck between wanting everything with Maddox, and wanting nothing but sex so he wouldn't ruin the small notes of romance and love he did receive and denied if anyone asked.

He was more hopeful that he'd take Maddox home tonight and be his forever - or as long as Maddox will be his too.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox's apartment.
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There was something in the air between them that was different from every time Cyrus had breathed it before. For once, he didn't feel on his toes, eager to impress the older boy he'd somehow persuaded one more night for more than a year now. In this moment, it was just Cyrus and Maddox.

Cyrus wasn't sure if the thought paralyzed him with fear, or finally made him comfortable. He no longer feared the last kiss, last touch, last moment to look into the brown eyes and see more than the wall Maddox put up for everyone else. He didn't know if Maddox was truly his, but he was sure that he didn't belong to anyone else's. That was assurance enough to gently clasp Maddox's hand in his own as they drove to the Victoriana, blue eyes set on the road but his thoughts set on the soft hand tangled in his like their bodies often were in soft linen.

The drive lasted seconds and hours at the same time, Cyrus' thoughts wandering as he maneuvered the streets of Miami but arriving at the restaurant like no time had passed at all.

Cyrus had no idea how this night would go. Sure, he'd been on plenty of dates, even some with men, but this wasn't any date or any man. Cyrus had secured a room that had a few tables in it but would only seat him and Maddox tonight, enough privacy for the closeted Beta to feel a bit more at ease in public with no real excuse to why he was sitting with Cyrus at a romantic restaurant.

That was another thought that bothered its way from the back of Cyrus' mind. Would Maddox want a relationship with him in public? A large part of him was fine with a secret as long as he could call Maddox his. But another small part of him didn't want to hide.

That part of him was still hurt and felt Cyrus deserved a public, real love with someone. He knew he needed to be cautious and slow with Maddox, but that part of him was afraid. Cyrus didn't really remember a time he fell in love, but he knew he felt that for Maddox, even if he would choke up trying to say it out loud. So he shoved all the feelings and emotions that usually poured out in a fountain of transparency for the chance to sit down in the candle lit restaurant and be with Maddox.

Cyrus drops Maddox's hand after he stops the car, and stops himself from opening Maddox's door like he wants to. He shoves his hands into his pockets to keep from searching for Maddox's slender fingers and saunters beside him, keeping a more guarded posture and look in his eye than usual. He needed this one assurance, a test to see if Maddox wanted him for every moment or only in the private times.

The hostess guides them to the secluded area of the restaurant, and Cyrus tips her generously for doing this favor for him. He'd been to the Victoriana often with the more business-like alumni of Sigma, and had flirted with the very same hostess plenty of times. Tonight was about Maddox and the beautiful glow of his dark browns against the candlelight.

"Hope I'm not treating you too much like an Alpha,". Cyrus teases softly, noting the romantic atmosphere that would definitely woo a pretty girl in a short dress. He opens the bottle of wine already left on the table, pouring a glass for himself and one for Maddox as well. "Though if that kind of treatment gets me the same outcome, I might continue," He says with a wink, tipping his glass to Maddox.

Cyrus resorts to more flirtation as his guard to hide how nervous and scared he is that this will end with him being alone again. He was stuck between wanting everything with Maddox, and wanting nothing but sex so he wouldn't ruin the small notes of romance and love he did receive and denied if anyone asked.

He was more hopeful that he'd take Maddox home tonight and be his forever - or as long as Maddox will be his too.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[Maddox' Penthouse]
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Maddox had been to plenty of dates before. He was never one to shy away when asked out to drinks by a pretty girl, and part of his princely reputation had come from his efforts to always go the extra mile, even when he had no interest in the high-class beauty queen that hung from his arm. It was always the same routine; they'd flock to him like bees to honey, he'd woo them with a charming smile and flick of his credit card, then they'd spend the night together leading into the next morning where he'd bid them farewell with an excuse that normally started with "This was fun, but..." and ended in something having to do with his busy life and having no time for a relationship.

In reality, he simply couldn't be bothered to feign interest in something or someone for longer than a couple of days. It was mentally and physically exhausting, so he hid behind excuses of the hectic life of a pre-law student. The last time he'd been at The Victoriana had been no different.

This time, however, everything was different. Never mind the fact that Maddox wasn't the one effortlessly wooing whatever Alpha was "fortunate" enough to get him for the night, or the fact that unlike all the other times...he actually wanted to be here. There was this sense of comfort that came with following Cyrus inside the restaurant. His eyes wandered the place as they made their way to a secluded area, which Maddox was thankful for. Physically, nothing had changed. Figuratively, it was all brand new. For the first time ever, Maddox Izumi actually felt nervous while being on a date.

"Hope I'm not treating you too much like an Alpha," the comment came after the waitress had left the two boys alone. Maddox' nerves once hidden by indifference were now overshadowed by a playful smirk as he took hold of his wine glass. A soft hum leaves his lips as he takes a sip, dark eyes catching the baby blues across the table for two. "I'm sorry to break it to you but I'm not so easily wooed" he kept his voice low, both on purpose and subconsciously to avoid being heard. "You're going to have to try a little harder than that"

There was no part of Maddox that was ashamed of what he felt for Cyrus, and had circumstances been different he would have proudly yelled it from the rooftops. Maybe in an ideal near future, he could, but there was much more holding him back now than what his Beta brothers would think and say. A heavy sense of guilt mixed with paranoia still hung from the Beta's shoulder and that was something not easily shaken. He no longer cared for his sorority brothers' opinions, but he feared something much greater.

If there was anything Maddox had learned over the years is that all it took for something he cared about to be taken away from him was his speaking it into existence. It was like some running cruel joke from the universe that prevented him from loving anything or anyone other than himself. So if talking in hushed tones and feigning indifference was all it took to fool the universe and keep Cyrus at his side then so be it. It was no one's business to know what Cyrus meant to Maddox. The only one that needed to know was Cyrus himself, and if all went well then very soon he would.

"So what inspired you to bring me here all of a sudden?" though the smirk remained, the question was genuine. They hadn't seen one another in a few days. Not since Maddox' drunken episode at the Sigma estate. surely there had to be a reason behind this intimate and romantic date. As far as Maddox knew, he hadn't done anything to deserve this.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
The Victoriana, date with Maddox .
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As much as this date was out of their element, Maddox didn’t seem to find any difference. The same smirk, same wit, all of the man he fell in love with was still there, hidden behind a glass of dark wine and his favorite dark brown eyes.

Cyrus was sure Maddox could tell how nervous he was. He tried to keep his gaze cool and slightly flirtatious, his posture relaxed, but he couldn’t help but drum his fingers against the table, and even when he picked up his glass to take a sip of wine, his fingers would circle around the bottom of the glass until he moved back into drumming them again.

It wasn’t Maddox himself that make Cyrus nervous. In fact, just looking up and seeing Maddox sat across from him surrounded by candlelight in a very romantic setting made his stomach flutter. He was more worried about scaring Maddox away. Everything Cyrus did or said was running through his head, good and bad criticisms based on the reaction he got from Maddox.

Maddox’s question jolts him from his thoughts, but he keeps himself collected with a little flirtatious smirk and another deep swallow from his glass. But did he have an answer? An answer that wouldn’t make Maddox on edge or worried of their relationship?

The waiter saves Cyrus from an immediate answer, asking the boys for their order for the night and if they had any questions. He let Maddox go first, knowing his own order well, and then ordered quickly for himself to return to them to their private chat where he could speak more freely. ”Would you prefer someone else’s company tonight?” Cyrus first teases with a little wink, using their familiar banter to relax himself for the real answer.

He chuckles softly, then picks up his wine so he can swallow his words as he says them. ”I just really wanted to see you tonight,” Cyrus’ words trail off into the glass of wine he finishes, his eyes finally moving up to Maddox to gauge his reaction.

Out of pure impulse, or maybe trying to figure out how Maddox feels about him concretely, he keeps talking. ”After that party, and you know… what happened in my room, I understand why everything happened the way it did. But I… I don’t know- there’s still some things left unanswered. I figured you saying yes to this was a step towards an answer.”

There was also that hanging in the air. Did Maddox love him? Cyrus was done lying to himself, so he knew that he loved Maddox. But he’d never been in love, never even had a boyfriend. Sure, there were a few girls that he dated for a month or two, but every time he tried to plant roots he always seemed to hit the bottom of a vase. But the feelings he held for Maddox, the roots that sunk into the neverending earth, were far more stable and sure than anything he had felt for anyone else.

And that’s what makes him nervous, scared, eager to down the entire wine bottle to stop being nervous and scared. But for once, he wants this sober reality, even if it’s the last time he’ll share a moment like this with Maddox.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[The Victoriana - Dinner Date]
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Maddox had spent most of his life trying to live up to expectations. His parents’, his family members’, his Beta brothers, but mostly his own. He’d built this idea, this model of himself that he was meant to follow. Goals he was supposed to meet and emotions he was meant to avoid, love being the very first. And he had been doing a damn good job of it, but life had different plans for him.

The night he’d found Cyrus in his room, drunk and disoriented, baby blues staring back at him as if looking for answers that Maddox didn’t even know he had, the Beta hadn’t thought much of it. Aside from the nagging that reminded him to not get caught, he’d expected nothing more than a night’s hook up. Convinced himself so. If only past Maddox could see him now. Sitting across the restaurant table from the boy he’d deemed nothing more than “just sex”, fine wine and candles filling the space between them, eyes locked on each other’s as if they were the only two people on the planet, and a four-letter word hanging from Maddox’ tongue, waiting for the perfect moment to come out. The irony of it all almost made him laugh.

”Would you prefer someone else’s company tonight?” Maybe Maddox had changed over time, but Cyrus hadn’t and somehow that gave the Beta a piece of mind. Maddox responded with a smirk of his own, matching the one directed at him. If there was anything the two boys had in common, it was their pride. Neither one would openly admit that, despite the flirtatious smirks and witty banter, their nerves were silently running ramped. Luckily for Maddix, not only was he skilled at hiding emotions but he’d also become quite skilled at reading others. More specifically, at reading Cyrus. The blonde was nervous, no doubt about it, and Maddox couldn’t blame him considering he felt the exact same way.

Still, he managed to keep his features smoothed out even while Cyrus brought up the subject Maddox had been most anxious to talk about. Friday night...the night of the party. The night Maddox peeled back just about every layer, every mask he’d worked so hard to put up over the years and laid his soul bare for no one but Cyrus to see. The thought of being so honest, so...vulnerable with someone made his stomach sink in fear of all the possible ways this could end badly for him. But what was done was done, there was nowhere to move now but forward and nothing to do but prepare for the fall.

”Fair enough” he finally spoke after a silence prolonged by a sip of wine. He set the almost empty cup down, fold his arms on the table in front of him as his body leaned slightly forward, signaling that Cyrus had his full and undivided attention. ”Ask me anything you want to know, and I’ll answer with one hundred percent honesty.” his eyes searched for Cyrus’, their usually cold and distant charm now replaced by genuine interest. He was done lying, some with hiding, over pretending he was something and someone he was not and Cyrus deserved nothing but the absolute truth.

”After all, what kind of a boyfriend would I be if I didn’t.” the words left his mouth so smoothly and casually that not even Maddox himself realized he’d said them until a few seconds after. His first instinct was to backtrack, fear immediately claiming that he had crossed the line. But feigning confidence had always been what Maddox did best, so despite his urge to run from his seat and vanish before Cyrus could break his heart, he say perfectly still, eyes fixed on the ones across the table while he silently waited and hoped against all hope that the blonde staring back at him felt the same way.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
The Victoriana, date with Maddox .
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The red wine started to relax Cyrus from the inside out, cooling him down into his usual charm and collection. In reality, he had no reason to be nervous. Just getting Maddy to come with him and sit down to a dinner with candlelight and one of the most expensive wines on the menu - though Cyrus wasn’t telling Maddy that - was more than enough to garner assurance that Maddy wanted to be here.

Still, Maddy always managed to surprise him, even from the very night they met. Cyrus hadn’t expected any of this, only to be thrown out the room and find his way into another bed. But then Maddy’s lips were on his, and their bodies connected in a way he’d never felt before, so he’d been slipping into Maddy’s bed every chance he had, if only for the night behind closed doors. Even still, it stopped being Maddox, but his Maddy, the one Cyrus fell for and convinced himself every step of the way that he hadn’t.

Recently, he’d shown his chameleon skin. The cold charm he was so used to, even when he found residence in Maddy’s arms and made himself exclusive to the brown-eyed casanova, was harshly stripped away for a drunken boy begging for forgiveness when he hardly remembered what he needed to be forgiven for.

Cyrus didn’t know how to be cold, even when the same drunken boy had broken his heart just a few days before. It reminded him of the little he remembered of his parents being married, his mother always showing warmth to his father that deserved none of it. Certainly that was a trait he’d received from her, though he had no issue showing his father all the reasons he hated him. But even that came from a place of warmth, no coldness in the words or fists thrown at Reid.

Maddy was nothing like his father, even though Cyrus’ hurt had told him they were one and the same. That was a cruel thought, because Maddy had never hurt him of his own accord. In fact, it seems that the very reason he made that phone call was to protect Cyrus from being hurt by his father. He still didn’t understand why Maddy was so afraid of his father, he’d never seen Maddy afraid of anything. But the moment Cyrus even suggested going near Mr. Izumi brought out a paranoia he never expected from him.

But the Maddy in front of him was unlike any of the other layers he’d met. This was Maddy, his boyfriend.

”Boyfriend?” Any other question he may have had slipped from his mind. The glass of wine would’ve slipped too, but he had enough of his bearings to place it neatly on the table, trying to comprehend Maddy’s words. The Beta prince, the one who everyone wanted the attention of, wanted to be his boyfriend. Boyfriend of the newly claimed Sigma prince, who had no business being close to him in any fashion other than the few Greek council meetings.

This date alone told him he couldn’t expect any from Maddy except more surprises. This was one surprise he didn’t mind receiving.

After realizing he’d just been sitting there looking like a complete idiot, he smiles like the lovestruck idiot he really is. ”You know, considering you’re a Beta, I thought you’d have a better way of asking me to be your boyfriend. What if I said no?” Cyrus finally teases, though he hopes that Maddy knows that he would have said yes without hesitation.

Another question hangs on his tongue, but he swallows it down with the last bit of wine in his glass. Being Maddy’s boyfriend, whether in private or public, assured him that Maddy wasn’t looking for anyone else. That was enough to keep the question swirling in his head as they continued to enjoy their night together.

Do you love me?

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[The Victoriana - Dinner Date]
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Despite every paranoid muscle in his body telling him otherwise, It was clear to Maddox that Cyrus liked the way that one word sounded if the way he repeated it was anything to go off of. One simple word that shouldn't have carried so much meaning, but did.

Of course, nothing was ever simple between them and this was more than just a word. It was a string that attached them in defiance to their initial rule being "no-strings-attached". It was a one-word confirmation that reminded them that their attempts to remain nothing more than "fuck buddies" had been in vain. And maybe at some point during their journey that brought them to this moment, Maddox would have minded, but the way Cyrus smiled as he nervously set his wine glass down told him maybe he had no reason to mind at all.

There was a pause during which Maddox, eyebrow raised in question, examined Cyrus' every feature. A face that months ago would have been nothing more than another cute stranger in the sea of many. A face that, according to the Greek hierarchy, was destined to be his enemy. The kind of guy the Beta president always warned not to make friends with in order to protect their precious reputation. The guy Maddox had so easily fallen in love with.

The thought came just as smoothly as the previous words had, driving the Beta to gulp down whatever was left of the red liquid in his cup. There were very few days on which Maddox acted on nothing but instinct, and today had been one of them. From the vocal confirmation of his more than just sexual feelings for Cyrus to the first time, he'd been able to admit to himself that he was not jumping to conclusions but he was in fact in love with Cyrus James. It was real. As real as the feelings of a man who had never been given love and had never been in love could be. Granted, it was just as terrifying now as it had been when it was nothing more than a possibility. The difference between then and now was that sitting here across from Cyrus, a smile on his face and baby blues filled with surprise as he scrambled for what to respond made it clear to Maddox that this had never been a one-sided battle.

”You know, considering you’re a Beta, I thought you’d have a better way of asking me to be your boyfriend. What if I said no?” a soft chuckle left Maddox, his dark browns more sincere than they had ever been, even during his drunken confessions from just a few nights ago. "Who said I'm asking?" though it may have sounded like a statement of confidence, in reality, Maddox hadn't asked because he wasn't prepared for the possible rejection. However, after seeing Cyrus' reaction, any and all worries vanished into the smoke coming from their table's candles. "Besides, even if I had. You would have said yes." he stated as he picked up the almost emptied wine bottle and poured himself another glass. "I just figured I'd save us bot the time."

His smirked mixed in with the red wine between his fingers carefully hid the fact that this was the most vernous, but also the happiest he'd felt in a very long time.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
The Victoriana, date with Maddox .
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Who said I was asking?

You would have said yes, I’m just saving us both the time.

Cyrus didn’t recognize anything but confidence in Maddox’s voice as he explained away his reason for claiming Cyrus as his boyfriend without even asking. He himself tried to explain away the chills he got from it all with the amount of red wine in his system, but in reality, he hadn’t been wanted like this in a long time.

Sure, he’d found himself across from pretty women and handsome men on dates like this on occasion. But even when he ordered the expensive wine and flirted his way home and past the little black dress or the tight suit pants, all the strings were cut by midnight when he was laying in his own bed tied up with the emotional exhaustion of investing into a pretty face for one lone night. The whole night spent playing the interested date, dressing in his best and offering wine and dessert all for a few personal details he would forget in the morning with the hangover that was never really worth it.

Now? Cyrus couldn’t remember being this happy since his mother’s passing. All of the pain from her case, all the disappointment and frustration from the baby blue eyes of Reid James, everything that kept him from being truly happy vanished the moment he became Maddox Izumi’s boyfriend.

The night melted away in more glasses of red wine and flirtations from both sides of the table. The nervousness vanished too, replaced with a sense of content that the boy sitting across from him no longer wanted to deny the strings that had been tied between them. Every inch of skin that had crossed under Cyrus’ fingers was laced with all the feelings both of them had been denying for months now.

From the moment he first saw those dark brown eyes, he tried to deny the need to be with him. At first it was just to see how far he could push the boundaries. He tried everything to make Maddox smile or laugh or even get angry with him, anything to break the cool and collected exterior. Then he felt those soft fingers brush through his hair, experienced the kisses all over his skin, and he was hooked on Maddox and being close with him.

He was reminded how close he was to losing all of that when he caught eyes with Isaac.

Maddox had slipped off to the bathroom and Cyrus was close to finishing off their second bottle. He almost rolled his eyes watching the younger Beta slip over to him, but merely smiled with an amused look in his eye as Isaac came closer. Isaac folds his arms across his chest as he stops in front of Cyrus, frowning deeply at the blonde.

”You could have just texted me, you know.” Isaac starts, giving Cyrus an elevator glance before returning to Cyrus’ eyes and frowning harder.

Cyrus grabs the stem of his glass, taking a sip before even attempting to respond. When it came to Maddox, he had a hard time ruffling feathers because Maddox always knew how to get him flustered. With a new Beta, Cyrus would have a field day. ”Were you worried about me? That’s sweet.”

Isaac blushes, immediately coming to his own defense. ”That’s not- you’ve been a dick since the toga party. I helped you get ready and got you drinks and then you lock up your door to fuck someone else? That’s just shitty and even a Sigma like you can understand that.”

Cyrus keeps a cool exterior, despite his instinct to argue with Isaac and tell him the whole reason they fucked walked into the room and begged his forgiveness. He knew how other Betas saw Maddox; he was always mysterious, always charming, and always in control. No one would know the Maddox that was in his room that night except him.

Before he could think up an excuse, blow him off with the fact that he didn’t owe Isaac anything, Maddox was making his way back to the table. Cyrus leaned back in his chair, one arm slung across the back, as Isaac turned and scoffed at the older Beta returning to his date with Cyrus.

“Should’ve figured you’d blow me off for Maddox, considering that’s the only name you remembered while we were fucking. What, you have a little crush on Izumi?” Isaac spits, the jealous lacing venom in his voice. Cyrus’ eyes momentarily flickered over to Maddox, a flash of embarrassment knowing the older Beta could hear perfectly well what Isaac was saying, before his eyes settled back on Isaac and he chuckled softly.

“Sweetheart, if I’m saying someone else’s name in bed, I think that reflects more on your bedroom skills.” Cyrus replies smoothly, finishing off his wine and challenging Isaac for another response with a raised eyebrow.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[The Victoriana - Dinner Date]
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Whatever Maddox had done in a former life to deserve what he was getting and feeling now, he was convinced it must have been a greater act of kindness. There was no part of his current life he could give the universe as collateral for what Cyrus was making him feel. There was nothing, not even remotely as amazing as this moment. Somehow it'd been this way since the first day they met, despite how avidly Maddox worked to hide it. The Beta prince, the kingdom's heir, the mask of a perfect man, all that had been stripped little by little the more time he spent with the blue-eyed Sigma until there was nothing left but the rawest inner lawyers of who he was. What was most surprising wasn't the fact that there was someone skilled enough to dig so deeply into Maddox' being, but more so the fact that Maddox didn't mind it one bit.

For the majority of his life, people had seen only the most superficial layers of the Izumi lineage's golden boy, but no one cared to figure out what was hidden behind them save one person. But Maddox knew, as much as Belle wanted to stay by his side to keep him from sinking lower and lower into the false persona he'd built for himself, she too had a family and a life to look after. There was a point in his life, admittedly after his freshman year at Fulton, that he'd been convinced those layers would be the only thing anyone would ever see. They would eat him up until there was nothing left of who he once was. But if there was anything this night, and Cyrus' words and gestures towards him had taught him, was that those masks and layers were virtually non-existent as long as the two were together.

The night swooped by almost too quickly for the Beta's liking, but that didn't mean the two had to separate nor did he have any intentions on doing so. After convincing the Sigma, with highly persuasive words and a seductive smirk for good measure, to let him pay the bill despite not having been the one to invite, Maddox slipped off to the restroom. The darkest part of him tore at his insides with every moment he spent away from the blonde. After everything had been said and done, there was no doubt in his mind that Cyrus felt for him the same he felt for his "favorite sigma", and he was almost certain he'd been forgiven as he worked to ignore the minuscule amount of guilt still present in his mind. The possibility of Cyrus changing his mind or leaving him didn't even cross his thoughts. In its place were thoughts much grimmer and daunting. There was nothing that guaranteed Maddox he wouldn't be walking back to the table to find Michael Izumi in his seat, threatening his way into Cyrus' psyche. Or worse, find the blonde kidnapped by one of the man's many goons. Maddox was well aware Cyrus didn't understand Maddox' fears related to his father, and there seemingly was nothing he could do or say to make him understand. That didn't mean Maddox could simply forget about it. In fact, knowing that Cyrus was so relaxed about it only made his paranoid thoughts stronger.

He'd expected the absolute worst as he walked back to his date, but he certainly didn't expect what he saw or heard. His eyes met the blonde's for a brief moment and he was able to catch the tail end of the conversation. Or rather, or Isaac's complaints. The image of the younger Beta hanging from Cyrus' arm as if he'd been marking territory the night of the party made an instead replay in Maddox' head. Oddly enough, that image coupled with Isaac's last statement painting a very reassuring picture. If Maddox didn't know any better, he'd say the only reason the younger Beta had found himself in the Sigma's bed was because he happened to resemble the original.

"Issac? Isn't it past your bedtime?" His words, though mildly taunting, weren't laced with any venom. Maddox had nothing against the Isaac. In fact, certain aspects of the boy did resemble a much younger and less experienced version of him. The version that wanted to accepted and respected by his older brothers, to impress them despite how much of himself he had to sacrifice. "What brings you here?" he asked after handing their waitress the check for the night's dinner. His eyes then flickered to Cyrus in a questioning fashion as he made his way over, resting a palm against the back of the blonde's chair. There was no part of Maddox that even wanted to attempt to hide his newly acquired relationship with Cyrus, and most certainly not from Isaac considering it'd be his word against the all-mighty Beta Prince.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
The Victoriana, date with Maddox .
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Cyrus never really understood how much the other Betas respected Maddox until he saw Isaac’s demeanor change the moment he stepped in.

More surprisingly, he hadn’t expected the palm against his chair and how easily Maddox claimed Cyrus as his.

He could almost watch as Isaac caught on to the situation, mood souring with every thought connecting to the other. Even more than that, he noticed how he seemed stuck on what to say. ”This is why you won’t tell the other brothers about anyone you’ve been with recently, isn’t it? Because there hasn’t been any Alphas in your bed, only a blonde Sigma that ruined his father’s Beta legacy.” Isaac finally responds, almost chuckling with the thought. Most saw Maddox as a lady killer, womanizer, which made it comical the only person he’d been with in a while was Cyrus James.

That still didn’t make the Beta comment any easier. Even being closer to his own Sigma kingdom to rule didn’t change the fact that he was a failed Beta legacy in all of their eyes. All except Maddox. Which gave him the strength to stand up from his chair and invade Isaac’s personal space. ”Daddy may be okay with who you like but I promise you those Betas will beat your ass if they see you with a guy again. So I suggest you find some closeted freshman to fuck around with and leave the big boys alone.”

Cyrus doesn’t take any time leaving, wanting so badly to grab onto Maddox’s hand, enough to let his fingers brush against Maddox’s before reluctantly pulling them away and walking towards the door.

The red wine starts to make his head fuzzy, and his thoughts wander over what Maddox must think of him after that. Anxieties of what Maddox would say about Cyrus saying the wrong name or being angry at the fact that Cyrus fucked around with a lookalike while they weren’t talking. It’s enough to make him itch for a tall glass of wine, or even a hit at this point.

He calls an Uber for them, knowing neither of them would really be fit to drive, and settles into the backseat before even attempting to speak. ”Should I even attempt to believe you didn’t hear what he said when you walked up?” Cyrus asks with a pity-filled chuckle, running a hand through his hair and letting out a long sigh.

Cyrus should have known he would eventually catch up with Isaac again, but out of all places, it wasn’t on a date with Maddox that he thought of. Hell, even thinking of being on a date with Maddox had been unreachable until today.

But here he was beside him after being schmoozed into not paying for the meal and in the backseat inches apart after a dinner at one of the most romantic restaurants near Fulton campus. For that, he would take any teasing, knowing at the end of it that Maddox was his now.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[The Victoriana -> Maddox' Penthouse]

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There was always something about Isaac that left Maddox wondering exactly what he was after. Several of the Beta boys had been commenting about how the new recruit was so desperately looking for Maddox' approval, though it wouldn't bring him much fortune if he did. Maddox wasn't the president, well...not yet. Others were saying Isaac simply wanted to be Maddox, to have all the praise and popularity the Beta prince did, and judging from the night's events, Maddox was starting to believe that to be true.

Though the young Beta's comment was directed more towards Maddox himself, it obviously hit a very sensitive nerve with Cyrus. The blonde had always been easily heated, so his outburst towards Isaac wasn't unexpected. At least not any more so than the fact that he'd been very obviously sleeping with Maddox' lookalike during the days Maddox spent locked up in his father's prison. The feeling of Cyrus' fingers brushing against his own didn't go unnoticed, neither to Maddox nor to Isaac, but the former made sure not to leave without one final warning. "Shows how much you really know about your future Beta president." his words pulled Isaac's eyes away from the after dust of an infuriated Cyrus to meet his intimidating gaze. "I've never been the type to talk about my personal business. And if you want to keep that Beta title you wear so proudly, I suggest you do the same." There wasn't much Isaac could do to ruin Maddox' reputation, if anything. It was his word against the infamous Beta Prince who had ninety percent of the house wrapped around his finger.

Thankful that the meal had already been paid for, Maddox left a light pat on the younger Beta's shoulder, a physical reminder that he shouldn't fight a battle he won't win, and headed after Cyrus. The Uber was a good idea. Neither of them was drunk but certainly not sober enough to drive. There was a long silence before and after Cyrus' comment. Maddox had never been a jealous person, nor had he ever had any reason to be, but something about the idea of his wannabe occupying a spot in Cyrus' bed while Maddox spent his days and nights worrying about the blonde, what he was doing, how he was feeling, and every possible way that he could escape his father and make it back to him.

Maddox' gaze remained on the road the entirety of the drive to his apartment, not a single word left his mouth though he was fully aware of Cyrus' gaze on him. Was he jealous? Absolutely. There was no way around that, and he didn't care whether Cyrus knew this or not. Was he angry with Cyrus? No...truthfully, he had no right to be. Maddox had been the one to vanish into thin air, leaving the Sigma boy high and dry, and truthfully had he been in Cyrus' position he would have done the same or worse. However, that did not mean he was okay with the fact that Issac thought he'd claimed Cyrus for himself.

Maddox made sure to step out first and open Cyrus' door the moment the Uber came to a stop in front of his apartment complex. He may be boiling with jealousy, but he was still a gentleman. Still, nothing was said on their walk up to his penthouse either/ He could practically feel the discomfort radiating from Cyrus, and though there was a lot Maddox wanted to say, he bit his tongue until the moment the penthouse door closed behind him.

"Should I even attempt to believe that you weren't sleeping with Isaac simply because he looks like me?" his voice came low as he finally turned to face the blonde for the first time since they left the restaurant. HIs eyebrows knit together, dark eyes watching for the Sigma's reaction as he inched closer until said Sigma's back was pressed against the door. [color=@ed2939]"I hope you know I'm not going to let this slide."[/color] his face now inches away from Cyrus', lips close enough for the boy to feel his breath laced with fancy wine, as a cinical smirk now played on his lips.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
The Victoriana, date with Maddox .
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The car ride was painfully quiet for Cyrus.

He made a few glances over at Maddy, but even though the other man had been stripped of his layers, the ability to read him still came difficult to Cyrus. He was almost tempted enough to slip his hand into Maddy’s own, or ask him to say something, but he couldn’t make the words come out.

Cyrus didn’t know what Maddy thought of his little hookup. He felt even worse about it knowing Annabelle wasn’t even hooking up with Maddy, and if he had just gone up then and asked Maddy for an explanation then, maybe he wouldn’t have even been at the club that night. The option of the younger beta sliding up to him and looking like Maddy in his intoxication wouldn’t have even appeared for him. And there was a small part of him that felt bad for using Isaac like that, but he never gave any indication that he was anything more than a fling and the bad feeling subsided.

But that was in the past now, and he couldn’t change the night he barely remembered anyway. He wasn’t even sure things would have been fixed if Maddy hadn’t shown himself raw, blubbering drunk and in so much pain Cyrus could hardly breathe looking at him. They both struggled and needed to hit the bottom before they could patch things up.

He barely noticed they made it home until Maddy was opening his door. He gingerly stepped out, following the Beta into his own apartment. Then Maddy hits him with that low voice, the truth of his fling spoken into the air.

”Maddy, I-“ Cyrus starts, but his words get caught as the other man moves closer until he’s pressed against the door. Now his breath stops too, his eyes flickering down to Maddy’s lips then back up to his eyes. His breath was sweet with the wine they just finished together, and Cyrus’ brain was running to catch up with a verbal response rather than sending all his blood downwards.

He still wasn’t sure how Maddy felt about knowing he and Isaac slept together. He knew now it was only because Cyrus still wanted to be with Maddy in any way he can, and while Maddy was suffering. He must have assumed that Cyrus was going to move on. He could even believe that was the reason Maddy ended up drinking as much as he did, which made his heart hurt. Cyrus hated that he put Maddy through unnecessary pain through his own ignorance of what he was going through.

But he wanted to forget it all, and get lost in the smirk he was receiving from Maddy. He lets his own hand move to rest on the other man's hip, very aware of how close their lips are and tilts his head so he can breath his own wine breath across Maddy’s neck. ”I can’t get away with anything around you, Izumi,” Cyrus teases in a soft purr right into Maddy’s ear.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[Maddox' Penthouse]

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Maddox had never been the type to feel jealousy over anything or anyone. Not even while he was growing up watching all the other kids around him have loving parents that actually cared about them more than money. There was always a sense of longing, but Maddox could never bring himself to feel jealous. This remained true until just a few days ago.

The image of Isaac hanging from Cyrus' arm as if he'd won some kind of trophy had left such a bitter taste in Maddox' mouth. The same taste that drove him to drink himself into Cyrus' bed. It had subsided for the weekend, the idea of Cyrus being his once again slowly settling in through the days. It had almost been forgotten, but the conversation he'd just walked in on back at the restaurant sent a fire through his veins that felt a bit too familiar. The idea of Isaac making himself comfortable in Cyrus' personal space made Maddox' stomach turn with the most nauseating feeling. He didn't belong there. Not at Cyrus' side, not in his bed and most definitely not in his life. Those were all places that belonged to him now. He and no one else, and he'd make damn sure to make that clear to the blondie now attached to his hips, as well as anyone else that attempted to come between them.

The Beta's free hand snaked around Cyrus' waist, his strong fingers latching onto the back of the boy's shirt as he forced the gap between them to close. His eyes navigated to the lips merely inches away from his before locking with the baby blues that he'd come to claim as his. The hand that once rested on the wall behind Cyrus now did so underneath his chin to demand his full attention. "I don't take well to others trying to take what's mine..." his words were steady, dripping with every pint of jealousy his insides felt, and he didn't care one bit if Cyrus knew it.

Before the blonde could respond in any way, the short distance between their lips was closed. Maddox hand slipped into the blonde locks while his lips molded to the other's shape as if by muscle memory. It wasn't the first time they'd kissed since Maddox had come back, but in a way, it felt as if it was. Less like a terrified possible last kiss, and more like one that could last forever. Less like a quick makeup kiss and more like the kind that screamed how much their lips had missed one another. The kind that felt suffocating but in the best way possible. There were no underlying worries, no questions of whether Cyrus still wanted him or not, and nothing on Maddox' mind other than his need to reclaim what was rightfully his.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox’s apartment, post date.
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If Cyrus was completely honest, seeing Maddox this jealous and wanting him filled him with great satisfaction. The man who had never claimed anyone had just claimed him as his boyfriend, and was making sure everyone knew it.

Feeling wanted was not a familiar experience for him until he snuck his way into Maddox’s life. Sure, at the beginning, it was never clear if Maddox actually wanted him there or if it was easier to entertain Cyrus’ antics rather than find another man that wouldn’t get attached and wouldn’t tell anyone. When it started to surface that maybe Maddox did want him, in tender touches and invitations over to the Beta’s apartment, not becoming attached was impossible. He was head over heels before he admitted it to himself, and now, he thought of telling Maddox too. After the past week they’ve had, there wasn’t even a question that Maddox wanted him.

Jealousy may not have been something Maddox was used to, but Cyrus knew jealousy well. He was jealous of the classmates at his private school who were made for the lifestyle he’d been thrown into. He was jealous of the parents he saw at award ceremonies and the pride in their eyes as supported their child. Even now, attending Greek events as a prestigious Sigma brother, on the foothills of a presidency, he was jealous of his own brothers who didn’t have every Beta alumni who knew who Reid James was staring him down with disdain.

One of the few Betas who didn’t have a tainted view of him was pulling him close and demanding his attention with a finger against his chin. He didn’t care what any of his brothers thought of how he felt about Cyrus; the feeling of Maddox’s arm across his back, claiming him in front of Isaac, would be ingrained in Cyrus.

Maddox had wanted him from the start, for his Beta lineage. But the want now, the fire he found in the brown eyes he was caught in, was to be close to him and to have him- that wasn’t just want, Cyrus was his, and he made that clear with the arm locked around his waist and the lips against his.

It was easy to be claimed, so he continued to do what came easy. His own fingers clutched and dragged against Maddox’s skin, his lips craved for every inch, and he indulged in the other man’s body like he’d done so many times before. It didn’t feel like any other time. There was a comfort knowing that he would be the only one who would be able to see and touch Maddox like this ever again. No one else knew the layers of Maddox Izumi, he was a mystery to everyone else. With that knowledge, everything they did set fire to Cyrus’ skin with a passion he’d never felt with any other partner.

Laying across Maddox after it all, regaining his breath and drawing circles across the bare stomach under him, the urge to confess his feelings return. He gently looked up at Maddox, then drew his eyes away with the sudden nervousness that came on. He’d never told anyone he loved them, other than his family in Jupiter. For Maddox to be the first person was definitely more than nerve-wracking, as he still found reading him difficult and couldn’t tell if this was a step too soon for them.

But the words slipped out of him before he could stop. ”I love you Maddox.”

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[Maddox' Penthouse]

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The subject of Isaac and what he had or hadn’t done with Cyrus while Maddox was away quickly was shoved aside the moment their lips met. Just like that, there was no sense of jealousy, no unanswered questions begging to be brought to light, no fear of whether this would be their last time or not. There was only comfortable silence mixed with the sound of their bodies moving in rhythm and Maddox’ strong hands tugging on Cyrus’ hips until they were so close they were practically one.

They’d done this a hundred or so times, but it never felt like a routine. Each time came with its own custom made emotion. Nerves, danger, secrecy, confusion, and most recently, fear. Every moment spent with Cyrus brought something out of the icy Beta prince that he himself never knew was there. Whether good or bad, Cyrus brought out sides of Maddox that no other would be so lucky as to put on their life resume. This time was no different.

Though the jealousy had subsided, there was a new side of Maddox’ psyche that slowly seeped out with every kiss and touch. One that so desperately wanted to keep Cyrus beside him, like this, for as long as time would allow it. Every movement felt brand new, but also so comfortably familiar. Unlike the previous time, there was no ounce of hesitation. Nothing that held Maddox back from guiding Cyrus to his bedroom, molding their bodies to the memory foam mattress and claiming every single inch of the blonde all to himself.

The silence that followed wasn’t uncomfortable. In fact, Maddox needed it. Missed it, even. He missed everything about this. The boy’s hands tugging on his dark locks, lips and tongue tracing every inch of the Beta’s skin, the gentle finger that drew invisible circles on his stomach and sent small shivers up his spine. There was a sense of comfort and safety so pure that Maddox almost dared to say he didn’t deserve it. His eyes slid closed, one arm resting behind his head while the other hung loosely around the Sigma’s bare shoulders. It was the feeling of bliss that Maddox had heard about but never imagined he would come to know. His mind and body were so deeply engulfed in the moment that had Cyrus not moved, Maddox might have missed the words that slipped through the blonde’s lips.

”I love you Maddox.”
Maddox had heard those exact words before. They had come from a spoiled Alpha princess that had bit off way more than she could chew and had made the mistake of reading too deep into Maddox’ words and actions. There was no impact, no stirred feelings because there weren’t any feelings to be stirred in the first place. That was the last time he’d seen her and Maddox had lost no sleep over it. The four words were just that and nothing more…

Until Cyrus James said them.

Suddenly they went from meaning nothing to meaning absolutely everything. A jar of fireflies had now been unleashed in the Beta’s stomach as the arm resting between his head and the pillow quickly moved to cover the soft pink that rapidly spread across his cheeks as his mouth moved in surprised protest. ”Jesus, Cy…” his words came as a slight mumble as he hardly turned his face away from the blonde’s line of view. Maddox Izumi had done many things during his twenty-two years of living. Loving another person wholeheartedly, and confessing said love, was not one of them nor had it ever occurred to him that eventually it would be. But every day spent with the blonde Sigma brought its new surprise.

I love you too. The phrase was easy enough to say in his head. The feelings were there, that much Maddox was was certain of and finally okay with, but the sounds stopped once they reached his throat. Somehow, this felt like one of the hardest tasks the Beta had ever faced. ”I l-” he could feel the Sigma’s gaze on him, expectantly waiting for the reply he deserved to hear. The reply that Maddox wanted to give. But learning to love felt a lot like learning to walk, and Maddox was barely beginning to crawl.

”I- mean...me too.” a silent scolding quickly ran through the Beta’s head as he finally gathered the courage to look at the boy resting on his chest. A dull heat still threatened his cheeks as he hoped with all his might that his lack of articulation hadn’t just broken everything they’d worked so hard to fix.

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox’s apartment, post date.
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The protest left Cyrus with baited breath. The three words he never expected to hear from any Beta almost slipped from Maddox’s lips. Although a piece of him was disappointed not hearing it, lighting flame to a series of doubts, he crushed it swiftly. Me too was enough, more than enough, for now.

Cyrus was even surprised he could say it himself. None of his short term relationships ever inspired feelings like this. The last time he could really remember saying it was toward his family. Promising his uncle he loved him and they would fix everything and he’d be back in Jupiter without Reid or snobby rich kids. He’d only kept one promise, but even so, the I love yous from before paled in comparison to the one that left his mouth.

He wouldn’t have dared said those words to the mystery Casanova that he originally fell for. And saying those words to the drunken boy crying in his room would have been pitiful. So he bit his tongue until now, when it was just Maddy, his Maddy, who loved him.

This causes the blonde to reach up and remove the arm hiding the blush on Maddy’s face, kissing both cheeks and then caressing one with his palm. His eyes blazed with his feelings for Maddy. What was usually an open door became a hole in a dam where all his emotions flooded his eyes. ”You don’t have to rush this. We have all the time in the world. And I’ll love you for all of it,” Cyrus finally replies after he’s lost in a bit of thought.

He feels his eyes start to dampen, and he laughs, pulling away just to rub at his eyes. It felt so silly, getting this emotional knowing Maddox loved him. Two boys thought to be unlovable finding each other to love.

”I never… I never thought this would happen. I figured eventually you’d find someone else and our secret nights would be too much for you. I just- I guess I never thought you’d feel this way about me so I tried to remain unattached but I- I can’t help myself around you and just wanted someone to want me for once- and nowI’m sounding like a little bitch too-“ Cyrus continues to ramble, overwhelmed by this urge to be completely bare for Maddox. His heart was practically bleeding out the words before he could stop them from being said. Every word ripping off a layer of himself he didn’t really know he had.

A layer that never believed Maddox wanted to be in bed with him. A layer that doubted the first time Maddox showed interest in being more. A layer that slept with Isaac and almost threw Maddox out that fateful night. The layer of self-loathing that Cyrus had never shown anyone, even Maddox who had read just about everything about him.

It wasn’t Maddox’s fault either. The bigger parts of Cyrus knew they’re had to be more if Maddox was continually inviting him over and showing him such undeserved affection. It was five years of being with a father that loathed him, and never said he loved him. It was being unable to save his mother or reunite with his uncle that made him feel inadequate, unworthy of the love he used to receive from them. There were plenty of people that wanted him because of sex, or getting to date a “rebellious Sigma boy”, or a number of reasons that didn’t add up to love. So he thought he must be unlovable.

But from the start, Maddox wanted him for him. And no amount of words still to be said would change that.

He wipes roughly at the few more tears that ran down his face, turning his head away from the boy he loved so much and had just shown the last hidden piece of himself. ”Sorry.”

Setting

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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MADDOX IZUMI
[Maddox' Penthouse]

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Maybe it was the subtle paranoia that had settled in the past few eventful weeks, but Maddox fully expected Cyrus to complain about his response. And he had every right to. He deserved a proper answer. He deserved Maddox’ honesty. But every word he wanted to say to the Sigma was lodged in his throat, wrapped up in fear and the uncertainty of what could follow.

Maddox had always been good with words and coaxing others into loving him, or at the very least admiring, even when the feelings weren’t mutual. Expressing things he didn’t truly feel and successfully pretending to like people he couldn’t care less for came so easy to the Beta. A trait he would reluctantly have to admit he’d received from his father. He always had just the right words, forming compliments and praises as easy as breathing.

It’s when the mask was pulled off and the decorative words were stripped away that the polished Beta prince was left speechless and with nothing to offer but his raw self. The self that never felt good enough. Not for the Beta title, not for the perfect prince image or the heart fluttering Casanova, and most definitely not for Cyrus James. Undoubtedly the most raw and genuine person he’d ever had the fortune of meeting.

His gaze watched the ocean eyes laying beside him. They reflected every emotion in graphic detail as he spoke. The words were repeated, making it clear that Cyrus not only loved him, the real, unadulterated Maddox Izumi that had been hidden from
The world for so long. But he also understood that Maddox loved him back with every inch of his mind, body and soul. Even if he couldn’t put it into words just yet.

”I never...I never thought this would happen.” the phrase came as much of a surprise to Maddox as everything else Cyrus said and did, not because they were unexpected, but because with every word that passed through the blonde’s lips Maddox felt as if his own emotions and thoughts were being put on display. He listened attentively and found himself coming to the conclusion that they, the both of them, were absolute idiots. One boy prideful of his confidence, the other prideful of his rebellious nature, and neither one of them had the courage to confess what they had both been feeling.

Cyrus’ apology was slightly muffled by the sound of the sheets as he turned away, but Maddox body quickly followed. He positioned himself to hover over the blonde, dark browns demanding his full attention. ”you know what...you’ve got one hell of a heart Cyrus James.” his lips curled into a soft smile as one hand gently cupped the blonde’s cheek, thumb subconsciously wiping away a lingering tear. This was a side of Cyrus he had yet to see, but wasn’t at all surprised by. It felt so fitting coming from a boy with a heart so big it could crush the city. ”That’s one of the main reasons you’re here right now” Maddox admitted. Behind all the flirty comments and playful smirks was a kind soul that wanted to love and be loved. The kind of person that Maddox needed the most. The next few words slipped out too easily, as if they had been eagerly waiting to be used. ”I really need that Cy...and I really need you”

His words were quickly sealed with a soft kiss to the lips, leaving no room for embarrassment or regret. Maddox loved Cyrus for everything he was, and he had to make that clear if not through words then through actions.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Maddox Izumi Character Portrait: Cyrus James

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CYRUS JAMES
Maddox’s apartment, post date.
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Maddox’s words were still on replay in his head.

”you’ve got one hell of a heart Cyrus James.”

”I really need that Cy...and I really need you.”

Cyrus couldn’t stop thinking about that night. It hadn’t even been a day yet but the transparency he received made him feel like he understood Maddox differently. This was a man who didn’t know love, but found himself in love with no way of realizing it until he was almost too late. Knowing this made the fact that Maddox couldn’t say it yet not as painful as he thought it would be. He wanted to, he could see it in Maddox’s eyes, so he would be patient. Having the other man grab his attention and assure him with those words that he needed Cyrus and his heart was an idea he would have laughed at if he was still the freshman that wandered into Maddox’s room on bid day.

These were thoughts that distracted him from the work he had come to the coffee shop to do. He’d just been in the shop with Annabelle a few days before, but that felt a lifetime ago after his date with Maddox. His first real date with Maddox, which, other than the unwarranted appearance by Isaac, went better than he ever could have dreamed. Every time he thought of this Maddox, the one that charmed him through their date and comforted him when he didn’t feel lovable, he wanted to kiss him endlessly. Even leaving him earlier was a struggle, a battle of lips until he finally got out the door.

Cyrus would have offered for the other boy to study with him, but Maddox had a day of meetings that he couldn’t skip out on. So he slipped on Maddox’s sweatshirt and made his way to the shop he was in enough times that the baristas knew his order. He had swiped it from the counter as he made himself comfortable in one of the cozy corners of the shop and worked on studying for his Intro to Japanese test next week.

He wasn’t aware of the addition to his study table until there was a stack of bills laying on his book when he went to look up a definition. He took one of his earbuds out, looking up to find the older version of his boyfriend sitting across from him. Michael Izumi.

Surprisingly, his first thought wasn’t to lash out at the man who made Maddox end things with Cyrus and cause the worst night of his life. Sitting in front of him and actually being able to see his features in detail instead of by surveillance footage, Cyrus was hopeful that Maddox would look this attractive when he was his father’s age.

”I see why Maddox is fond of you. He’s always been fond of pretty things,” Michael starts the conversation in a way Cyrus didn’t really expect at all. The deep baritone voice was the type he’d heard plenty of times, but the compliment was usually not what voices like that were used for. He was perceptive enough to see that it wasn’t really a compliment, more of a comment that Maddox only enjoyed his company for his looks.

Cyrus took out his other earbud, taking a full glance of Michael Izumi and replying with false innocence, ”I’m not really looking for a sugar daddy, especially when your son keeps me company in bed.”

Cyrus knew where exactly to push buttons when it came to rich older men looking to degrade him. He could make them red in the face and screaming with only a sentence or two. The one in front of him, if he had buttons, Cyrus didn’t see them. Even the insinuation of sleeping with his son made no quivers on Michael Izumi’s face, remaining stoic as Cyrus waited for the appropriate response.

He all but ignored Cyrus’ attempt to ruffle him, instead making the offer that brought him to sit with the blond rebel boy that didn’t understand his true nature. ”Having a news anchor father to fatten your bank accounts, you are by no means in need of a little extra cash. But let this be an opportunity for you to leave before I must make ulterior plans to remove you from Maddox’s life.”

Cyrus knew that the older man’s appearance in the shop wasn’t for their excellent coffee, but he wasn’t quite expecting to be bribed, especially with the knowledge that Cyrus was from a wealthier family. Having him come to Cyrus alone trying to make him leave Maddox was a bit unsettling, but he still wouldn’t be afraid of this man. He would treat him just like his own father, no reason to yield to his demand even in the face of a threat if he would be worse off for it.

Cyrus grabs the stack of cash, examining how much Michael Izumi found it worth to break up with the only man he’s ever loved. The amount made him laugh; it was a good sum of cash, but he obviously didn’t understand that it would be leaving in his own pocket today. ”I thought you would enjoy having me as a son in law one day. I’m on the path to being a very successful man one day, and I’m a very loving boyfriend to Maddox.” Cyrus makes sure to call Maddox his boyfriend, trying every angle to see if any buttons would reveal themselves. There was a slightly noticeable glare at the very word, but it was clear that Cyrus wasn’t going to mess with this man.

”One more chance, Cyrus. Maddox has never loved anyone, he will end up hurting you more than I can.”

Cyrus started packing up his study materials, almost as if he did not hear the older man’s second threat. He pushes his earbuds back in, leaning over the table to say his final words right in the other man’s face. ”Give me your best shot.”

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