THE thing about manga that appealed most to Grant was that it didn’t exist only for kids—despite the detractors who called the books “comic books” and sneered at the adults who read them.
If those detractors had any idea what was contained within the covers of the manga books Grant chose, they would know the books weren’t just comics. Comic books didn’t contain full frontal nudity and scenes of sexual encounters. The Japanese had the right idea, as far as Grant was concerned. Tame manga for kids, explicit for adults.
He would never dream of showing anyone the books he read. Aside from the full frontal nudity and blatant sex, there was the tiny fact that he was a fan of yaoi. Beautiful men fucking other beautiful men. There was no way in hell he wanted Joe Public on the Boston T train or bus seeing that kind of thing. He’d heard about too many gay bashings as it was, and he had no desire to be a victim of one. Sometimes he thought it might be nice to be able to read during his commute home from downtown Boston, but he didn’t quite dare to take out one of his yaoi books where everyone might see.
So the night he bought Flower Glove, he waited until he got home to start reading. He’d bought the book at the chain bookstore in Downtown Crossing on his walk from the HMO where he worked to the subway. The title was completely weird, which he’d come to expect from manga, but the picture on the front cover had caught his eye in the bookstore. The picture showed a brown-haired man embracing a blond one. The blond was a bishonen, a manga “pretty boy” whose face was as beautiful as that of any female model.
He was clearly male, though, and Grant had barely been able to take his eyes off the picture long enough to pay for the book and let the cashier put it in a paper bag for him.
When he finally walked into the tiny studio apartment he rented above an elderly couple’s garage in Revere, he took the book out of the bag before he even closed the door. The last bit of October sunlight filtered through the window, and it glinted off the book’s cover, making the bishonen’s hair glow.
“Right.” Grant barely realized he was talking out loud to himself. With no one else in the apartment, he did that frequently. “Of course his hair’s glowing. This is a magical book, and if I wish really, really hard, he’ll come to life and suck my dick.”
He wouldn’t have turned the guy down if that had happened. Which, of course, it wouldn’t, since it was completely impossible.
“You need to get laid,” he told himself. “It’s been way too long since Carter dumped you. How about you stop drooling over imaginary men and go find a real one?”
Naturally, he had no intention of doing that. Not tonight, anyway. Work had been hell, he had to get up and do it all over again the next morning, and the last thing he wanted to do was hit the bar scene on a work night. Instead he tore the plastic shrink wrap that kept kids and teens from being corrupted by the contents of the book and flipped through the pages.
Yeah. The bishonen was definitely male. And he pretty obviously enjoyed the attentions of the other man in the story.
A man who looked a little like Grant, if Grant really used his imagination. His hair was the same bland brown as the hair color of the guy on the front cover. The interior illustrations were black and white, but that didn’t matter. Grant could easily envision himself as the taller, slightly more muscular guy, staring down at the nude pretty-boy lying on a white satin sheet.
He didn’t know whether the sheet in the picture was actually satin, but hell, that’s what imagination was for.
His cock stiffened. He pictured himself reaching down for the bishonen’s cock with one hand, as the brown-haired guy in the picture was doing, while stroking himself with his free hand. His hard-on was almost painful, and he swore at himself for being so turned on. Even though he liked it, yaoi didn’t usually have this strong an effect on him, but he didn’t really mind. He could use the release.
He would have liked it a hell of a lot more if someone had been there to give him a helping hand. Or mouth.
He tossed the book onto the ratty loveseat he’d salvaged from his grandmother’s house after she’d passed away a few years earlier and went over to his closet. His boss insisted that male employees wear slacks, button-down shirts, and ties, and preferred it if they also wore suit jackets. Grant was damned if he wanted to stay in the shirt and tie any longer than he had to.
After he’d changed into a T-shirt and sweats, he called his usual Chinese place for takeout he couldn’t really afford and sat down on the couch to start reading the manga. The bishonen’s name was Teruo, a Japanese name despite the guy’s Western looks, which wasn’t unusual in manga. His love interest was named Satoru. The story opened with Satoru pursuing Teruo, even though Teruo claimed he wasn’t interested.
Grant knew how that would go. Satoru would turn all dominant and shit and would “persuade” Teruo to give it up. Somewhere along the line, Teruo would admit he liked having a dick up his ass, and he’d turn all sappy. They’d fuck like rabbits and proclaim their undying love, then skip off into the sunset.
Really, Grant had nothing against the tropes of yaoi, or of any romance for that matter. His problem was that, in his life, romance only existed in fiction. Even before Carter had dumped him, there hadn’t exactly been any romance in their relationship. Their time together had more been a matter of watching the game—whatever game, whatever sport season it had been—and fucking. Supposedly Carter had ended the relationship because he was tired of Grant complaining about everything. Grant had been relieved not to have to watch every sporting event known to man anymore.
Flower Glove actually did have a plot, sort of. Teruo worked for a company that had stolen plans for a top-secret electronics item from the company Satoru worked for. Satoru had been sent to retrieve the plans, and Teruo was supposed to stop him. Even though Teruo apparently knew nothing about the plans.
“Great. So it’s Romeo and Juliet gay-style with robots.” Grant turned the page and kept reading.
By nine that night, he’d filled himself up with teriyaki chicken, pork fried rice, and way too much of a romance story. The most annoying thing about the book was that any time Teruo said or did something cute, or whenever Satoru looked at him, he was drawn with sparkles surrounding him. Sometimes even birds and small forest creatures. And in a couple of panels, he was drawn chibi-style, with a small body, huge head, and even huger eyes.
Despite the plot, Grant figured the manga was intended to be comedic. He’d never seen “bishie sparkles” and chibi versions of characters in dramatic manga.
He finished the book and set it down on the couch beside him. His gaze was once again attracted to Teruo’s image on the book’s cover. The mangaka, or artist, had taken great care drawing Teruo’s body in the story, and Grant’s hard-on hadn’t gone away while he read. He’d tried to satisfy himself by lightly stroking his cock through his sweatpants, but that had only made him hornier.
“Damn it, Teruo, why can’t you be real?” he asked the book cover. The slightly submissive, sexy man depicted in the story was exactly what Grant needed.
Since he obviously couldn’t have the other man, he decided to masturbate instead.
He went into the bathroom and stripped out of his clothes. Not that he needed to jerk off in the shower like he’d done as a teenager. He could just sit on his couch if he felt like it. No one was around to catch him, after all. But doing it in the shower had become habit, and it made less of a mess.
When the water was warm enough, he stepped into the stall and wrapped his hand around his hard shaft. Just that touch made him gasp. He’d tortured himself reading the entire manga, and now he desperately needed to come.
With his eyes closed, he imagined Teruo’s hand as the one around his cock. Teruo’s tongue was flicking against his cock head, teasing him into releasing a small droplet of precome. He pictured himself twining his fingers through Teruo’s white-blond hair and guiding the man’s mouth onto him.
He stroked himself faster as his imagination granted him an image of Teruo’s lips closing around his cock and sliding down the shaft. In his mind, Teruo took his entire length, sucking lightly.
The man’s lovely mouth was warm and wet, and he did things with his tongue that Grant had never imagined. The sensations that rushed through him like wildfire made him cry out Teruo’s name as he gripped the man’s hair more tightly. He fucked those gorgeous lips and Teruo let him, sucking harder as Grant’s balls tightened.
With a loud groan that sounded vaguely like Teruo’s name, Grant came so hard he sagged backward against the shower wall. The fantasy had been so intense that when he opened his eyes, he half expected to see large blue eyes looking back at him.
But of course Teruo wasn’t there. He didn’t exist.
“I seriously need a life.” Grant picked up the bar of soap beside him and started cleaning up the results of his masturbation.
THAT night, Teruo filled Grant’s dreams, naked and in various incredibly sexy positions. Twice, Grant woke on the verge of orgasm. He didn’t often have wet dreams, but the remnants of his shower fantasy had stuck with him. After the second awakening, he gave up and stroked himself to climax again, using a tissue.
It didn’t help much. As soon as he fell asleep again, the dreams returned.
The next morning, he woke half-exhausted and completely hard. If he hadn’t had to go to work, he would have turned over and gone back to sleep. Unfortunately, he had no choice about whether he got up and headed out the door. The company would probably run just fine with one fewer number cruncher for a day, but his bank account wouldn’t run so well with one less day of work that week.
He stretched, and his hand hit something. Something that felt an awful lot like another person.
Heart pounding, Grant yelped. A slightly higher-pitched yelp answered him.
“What the fuck!” Grant rolled onto his side and stared.
Straight into large blue eyes, set in a lily-white face that was surrounded by sparkles.
This is completely impossible. Especially the sparkles part. Grant rubbed his eyes, but the man beside him didn’t go away.
There was no way in hell he had just awakened next to Teruo.
“That’s it,” he muttered. “I never thought going insane from horniness was possible, but I’ve done it.”
“You aren’t insane.” The man beside him smiled. His voice sounded like music. “You made a wish, and here I am.”
“What the fuck.” Grant couldn’t think of anything more intelligent to say. Teruo Kanakawa was lying beside him, in his bed. A fucking manga character. This had to be another dream.
He reached out and tentatively touched the other man’s arm. He felt solid enough, given that he was supposed to be just a drawing.
“I’m real,” Teruo assured him. “I’m as confused as you are, but I’m real.”
Grant finally managed to say something else. “You’re sparkling.”
“Am I?” Teruo pulled his hand out from under the comforter and stared at it. The sparkles shimmered in the early light that filtered in between the slats of the room’s venetian blinds. “Cool! They’re so pretty.”
“Um, yeah.” Grant’s mind boggled. The sparkles might have been pretty if they weren’t surrounding a man who shouldn’t have been lying beside him.
Teruo’s eyes grew larger, and so did his smile. “This is going to be so much fun! I can think of plenty of things for us to do together.” He scooted closer to Grant and embraced him. “I can’t thank you enough.”
“You said the same thing to Satoru.” In the book that Grant had read the night before. The book that Teruo was a character in, which meant he should have been there now instead of lying in Grant’s bed.
If Grant repeated that to himself enough, maybe Teruo would disappear back into the book and Grant would be able to stop thinking he’d lost his mind.
“Satoru helped me out of a tough spot,” Teruo acknowledged. “I might have been murdered if not for him.” The sparkles faded, to Grant’s relief. So did Teruo’s smile. “He was a good man.”
“All good things come to an end.” Teruo shrugged, an interesting movement since he was still lying down. “We broke up. I wanted more of a relationship than he did.”
“That wasn’t in the book.” The story had had a happy ending. Teruo and Satoru riding off into the sunset, literally, in Satoru’s convertible. The implication had been that they planned to marry, something which probably wasn’t possible in real-life Japan, though Grant didn’t know enough about the culture or country to be sure. Not that it mattered. Teruo and Satoru were fictional, which meant the mangaka could depict them getting married if he or she wanted to.
Right. Fictional. Once again, Grant reminded himself that Teruo didn’t exist and therefore wasn’t in his bed. He was imagining the bishonen beside him; that was all. Although, if that were true, Grant’s imagination was much more vivid than he’d thought.
His brain couldn’t wrap around the idea. However, his libido didn’t seem to have any problem with it whatsoever. His cock was hard again, and he so badly wanted Teruo to touch him that his need danced along his skin like pinpricks.
“Maybe the mangaka didn’t finish the story.” Teruo turned onto his back and folded his hands behind his head. “What a nice room. You should paint your ceiling. That white doesn’t do anything for the place. Maybe a nice dark red or blue, with a mirror above the bed.”
So now his imaginary friend was an interior decorator. Grant gave up. The illusion obviously didn’t plan on going anywhere, but he did. He had to go to work.
“I don’t have time for this.” He rolled out from under the covers and stood up, forgetting until the cool air touched his cock that he’d stripped naked sometime during the night. His cock stood at attention, a small droplet glistening at its tip.
Teruo smiled again and licked his lips. “Are you sure you don’t at least have time to let me help you out with that not-so-little problem of yours?”
“I don’t see how you could help me when you don’t exist.” A shudder of desire ran through him. He wanted the other man’s mouth on him, just the way he’d fantasized. He wanted to thrust his cock into Teruo’s warm, tight ass.
As he pictured it, the other man’s sparkles returned. This time they were tinged with red. The color of lust, as Grant had always thought of it.
“Are you so sure I don’t exist?” Teruo slipped out from under the covers and crawled across the bed to Grant. He was nude, and his nearly hairless body looked almost exactly the way it had in the manga. With the obvious difference that he was full-color flesh and blood now, not two-dimensional black and white.
He stared blatantly at Grant’s cock, which twitched, apparently in response. “I feel pretty real. And that hard-on of yours looks real enough. Maybe I should touch it and make sure?”
“I—I have to go to work.” Now Grant knew he’d gone crazy. Months of forced celibacy could be dealt with in moments if he just stopped being so uptight about the whole “fictional character” thing.
The fictional character thing that meant he had to have lost his mind. Characters from books didn’t just come to life with full-blown boners, begging for a fuck. Not that Teruo was begging, at least not yet. If his personality as depicted in the manga was accurate, that would happen soon enough if Grant kept turning him down.
Making Teruo beg did have its appeal. Grant had always found it a turn-on to have his partner want him so badly they pleaded to be fucked.
“No.” He shook his head. He couldn’t believe he was even thinking that way. “You don’t exist. You do realize that, right?”
“I’m here and I’m horny.” Teruo said it as matter-of-factly as if he were stating the color of his hair. “That feels like existing to me. Why do you keep saying no? You wanted me badly enough to jerk off thinking about me last night. You dreamed about me all night long. Do I have to throw myself at you?” He rose to his feet on the bed. “Because I can do that, as long as you promise to catch me.”
“Just stop it!” Grant stumbled backward against his nightstand. He banged his ass against the corner of the stand, and the pain coupled with the ridiculousness of the situation killed his hard-on almost instantly.
Teruo frowned and sank to his knees. “You don’t want me?”
“If you were real, I’d want you.” Great. He’d hurt the guy’s feelings. A couple of tiny frowny-faces appeared in midair behind Teruo’s shoulders, which made Grant feel even more guilty. “Teruo, you’re a character in a book,” he said. “I just woke up, and here you are. You can’t honestly expect me to accept this. Especially not before I’ve had coffee.”
Teruo’s expression brightened, and the frowny-faces disappeared. “I can brew you some coffee while you shower. I mean, I know you showered last night, but you might want to consider it again.” He wrinkled his nose, which Grant found excruciatingly cute, much to his annoyance.
“Yeah, I’m going to shower.” Grant opened the miniscule closet and picked out a shirt and slacks he hadn’t worn to work yet that week. “And then I’m going to work, and on the way, I’ll buy myself a cup of coffee.”
He stopped. He was going to work. He would be gone all day, nine hours minimum counting the commute on either end of the day, and that would leave Teruo alone. Teruo as depicted in the manga was a bit mischievous and impulsive, and he became bored easily. Grant wasn’t sure it would be such a good idea to leave someone like that alone in his apartment.
He sure as hell couldn’t take Teruo to work with him. Those sparkles and chibi eyes would be too damn hard to explain.
Sighing, Grant glanced at his clock radio. He had to be at work in half an hour. Somehow he had overslept, and that, combined with having to deal with a yaoi character in his bed, would make him late for work if he did go. Maybe it would be better to call in sick. His boss would have a field day trampling Grant’s ass for daring to call in, but he could handle that. It wasn’t as if he missed work often. The boss could deal with his absence better than Grant would be able to deal with worrying about what his new friend was up to while he was gone.
Taking the day off would also give Grant more time to figure out how to send Teruo back into yaoi-land.
“All right, look.” He put the slacks and shirt back into the closet and took out jeans and a long-sleeved pullover instead. “I’m not going to work today.”
Teruo clapped. He actually clapped. Like an excited little kid. His eyes grew huge, a cartoonish bluebird landed on his shoulder, and blinding sparkles appeared around him. “Goody! We can spend all day doing whatever you’d like.”
“What I’d like is to figure out how you ended up here.” Grant’s cock started to harden again. He couldn’t have explained why over-the-top cuteness did it for him, but apparently it did. He closed his eyes and willed his dick to cooperate. “I’m going to go shower. You are going to go sit over there on the couch, and you are not going to move until I’m out of the shower. Understand?”
“Sure.” Teruo looked around again. “You should have a bigger place. This isn’t really large enough for two of us.”
“You think you’re staying here?”
Teruo shrugged. “Where else can I go?”
He had a point. Grant really didn’t want to figure that out right then, though. “Just stay on the couch. Put on some clothes first.” He pulled a clean pair of sweatpants out of the closet and tossed them to Teruo. “I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
Teruo smiled. “I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Grant’s cock started to rise again, and the desire to have the other man’s hands on him nearly overwhelmed him. Before he could give in, he bolted for the bathroom.