Release Date: 03/2009
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Link: http://www.loose-id.com/prod-Drawn_Together-915.aspx
Amazon Kindle: Drawn Together
Blurb: Rory might just be a simple southern boy from St. Antoine’s Parish Louisiana, but he knows what he wants. He’s been in love with the girl of his dreams, reclusive and mysterious artist Ran Yamane, since junior high school. And now he has the chance to meet her. He’s going to chuck everything and travel 1,500 miles to Anime Expo in Long Beach to tell her, and no one and nothing is going to stand in his way. Ran Yamane is not a girl, but he gets that a lot. People come to him with teddy bears and chocolates and disappointment by the truckload. He’s trusted fans in the past and been tragically wrong. So when he meets Rory he’s understandably wary, but resigned. What he’s not prepared for is his magnetic attraction to the young man, Rory’s apparent willingness to overlook his gender, and the fact that their lives are both thrown into chaos when his number one fan (and psycho stalker) shows up to get revenge.
“Well,” Yamane grimaced and continued walking away. “Then I guess you know I… have relationships with men.”
Rory caught Yamane’s hand to stop him. “That ship kind of sailed when you put your tongue in my mouth, Ran-sensei,” Rory raised his eyebrows.
Yamane blanched. “Can we go get a drink somewhere? Do you mind missing the movie?”
Rory thought about that. “I only came here to find you,” he admitted carefully. He tried not to flinch under Yamane’s searching gaze.
“I thought you would be halfway home by now,” said Yamane as they walked.
“You mentioned that. Should I leave?” asked Rory, kicking another abandoned cigarette butt to the gutter. “Man, I hate it when people use the street as an ashtray.”
Yamane took out his pretty gold lighter and cigarettes. “May I smoke?”
“I see,” Yamane stopped. “Then how about we make a trade, every time I want to smoke, you stop me by kissing me.”
Rory almost tripped. “Uh--”
Snick. Yamane lit his cigarette. “Problem solved.”
“Just don’t drop your nasty butt in the street.”
Yamane just stared implacably. They stood watching the traffic on Pine Avenue. He finished his cigarette in silence, carefully putting it out in a planter before throwing it in a trashcan. They entered the hotel lobby together and found The Lobby Bar, which exuded an airport lounge ambiance.
“This isn’t very attractive,” Yamane said, looking at his watch. “Are you very tired?”
“I haven’t slept much” Rory admitted. “I drove a long way.”
“What would you like to drink?”
“Whatever you’re having,” answered Rory with a smile.
Yamane went to the bar and said something to the bartender. A moment later he motioned Rory over. “He’d like to see your I.D.”
Rory produced his wallet, and got his drink. As they were carrying them back to the table he said, “At home, all you have to do is prove you can hold a paper cup.”
“I’ve never been to New Orleans,” said Yamane, “perhaps someday I’ll visit you there.” They set their drinks on the table.
“Oh, I can see my grandmother now,” Rory threw his hands in the air and waved them around, saying in an agitated falsetto, “Oh, Claude! Oh, Claude! Rory has done brought home a Japanese Man! Somebody get me the salts.”
Yamane looked away. “I can see where that might be a problem.”
Rory briefly touched Yamane’s hand. “Nevertheless, I would be delighted.”
“Yes,” said Rory, “And I can show you all the best places.” His eyes clouded with sadness. “The ones that are still standing. Po’ Boys, pirates, and luscious white-trash junk food like you’ve never imagined.”
Yamane considered him. “What can I be,” he asked lightly, “now that I can’t be your sacred maiden?”
Rory thought about that for a long time while the warmth of the bourbon permeated his heart and spread to his fingertips. He clinked his ice around a little in his glass. “Perhaps you are still my sacred maiden.”
“Seriously,” said Yamane. He toyed with his own drink. “Now, what does that mean I wonder?”
Rory yawned self-consciously. “When you find out I sincerely hope I will be the first person you inform.”
Rory watched as Yamane walked to the bartender and--somehow--retrieved the entire bottle of bourbon from him. He came back to the table, putting on his coat and taking up his messenger bag.
“Bring your drink,” he told Rory.
They walked together to the elevators, pressing the button for the third floor. If anyone thought it odd that they carried their drinks and an entire bottle of bourbon, no one said anything. When they got off the elevator, Rory used his room key to open the door and crossed the room to the window.
“Damn,” he said. “It doesn’t open. I hoped there was a balcony.” He turned entirely around, a little unsteady on his feet, and plopped down in the corner where he’d napped that afternoon. “I wanted to sleep on a balcony and watch the sun rise.”
“You’d have a bit of a wait. Where you’re looking it doesn’t rise; it sets,” Yamane informed him. “Surely you’d rather sleep in the bed.” He took off his coat. “There are two. Safety in numbers.”
“I’m fine,” mumbled Rory. He stuffed his messenger bag under his head.
“At least take a pillow.” Yamane pulled a couple pillows off the bed and took them to Rory. Getting their drinks, he sat down cross-legged near Rory’s head with his back against the wall. “I brought your drink, if you want it.” He handed it over.
Rory sat up a little. “Nice. Thank you. It’s been rather a long day.”
“Yes, it has,” murmured Yamane softly. “Peewee’s big adventure.”
“Do you mind dimming the lights a little?”
“I don’t mind.” Yamane got up to turn off all but the light in the bathroom. “That okay?”
“Thank you.” Rory was drifting. Ran sat back down next to him. In the dim light Rory could hear the ice rattle in his glass as he sipped his drink.
Rory briefly opened his eyes and found Yamane looking at him curiously. “What are you looking at?”
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out,” said Yamane, lightly brushing a ribbon of hair back from Rory’s face. “I have no idea at all.”