The Best Moves
The 24 Hour Coffee Shop had another group of people in it when Matthew arrived. He'd brought one of the volumes of manga, Japanese comics, that he'd bought with him to read, as well as a notebook and pair of pens. 'Faith & Practice' had stayed back at Quaker House for the time being. Matthew decided he needed to be in a very different mindset before trying to read it again. He had time, anyway.
"Matthew!" Billy yelled as soon as Matthew stepped in the door. "Perfect timing."
The place hushed. What had looked like a larger group of people was really only four, but they had things spread across three tables and the remnants of a dozen drinks between them.
"This is him?" a woman asked softly before standing up.
"We're the editors of RT," another woman said, standing as well. "We're glad to be helping you on the path to corruption."
"Rae!" the first woman exclaimed. "You make it sounds so..."
"Decadant?" a third woman chimed in. Except that based on the voice, it definitely wasn't a woman. It took Matthew a few seconds for his brain to reconcile that the voice's owner was indeed a man. Long blue-black hair obscured most of the man's face and his frame was hidden under loose dark clothing. He was exotic, but not accessable.
"Perfect!" Rae said, thrusting a fist in the air. "Because it is."
Matthew stood just inside the doorway, watching the show. He felt really awkward, like he had at college while trying to deal with groups of friends from high school when he knew no one. Still, these people seemed friendly enough.
"Nice to meet you, Matthew," the first woman said quickly, walking over and offering Matthew her hand. "I'm Myra Z, co-editor in chief of 'Remote Transmissions' anime zine. Billy mentioned giving you a quick course in our subculture and said you may stop by."
Matthew just nodded. Subcultures were sort of new to him. He'd never sought out anything besides a group of friends he could have fun with. Subcultures, in his mind, involved people like Billy's sister. Of course, Anna wasn't very scary like he'd expected her to be once he took a look at her.
"I'm Rae," Rae chimed in quickly. "The other co-editor. This is Ethan and Rhyn."
Ethan, the effeminite black-haired man managed a slight wave and Rhyn, who at least resembled a man, smiled and flashed dancing green eyes. Matthew felt slightly like a piece of meat, getting looked over by everyone.
"Nice to meet you, however Billy showed you a piece of complete and utter shit earlier," Rhyn said matter-of-factly.
"Did not," Billy shot back from behind the counter. "And Matthew, have a seat. What do you want?"
"It goes on the RT tab," Myra said quickly.
"A tuna sandwich and a soda," Matthew replied, going over to sit at the least cluttered of RT's tables. "Can I sit here?"
Rae nodded before walking over to get Matthew's stuff from Billy. Myra walked over and leaned over Matthew's shoulder.
"We're okay once you get to know us," she whispered. "Don't let us put you off and feel free to ask questions."
Matthew just nodded. He was completely and utterly overwhelmed.
For the most part, what the four RT staffers were doing was just basics for the next issue. They were trying to fit articles, ideas, and more into forty pages and having a miserable time. They already had enough material for three more issues, but only the money to print one at a time.
"If our sales manager would only get more advertisers," Myra said semi-jokingly as she looked over at Rhyn, "we could do a sixty page issue and maybe draw in more advertisers from that. It isn't like Toronto lacks anime, game, and import shops. Besides, I think we can also get internet advertisers too, which'll work out awesomely when we get the website up."
"We don't have the circulation yet," Ethan said softly. "We need a higher circulation before we do more pages."
"Then I need to cut way too many things," Myra complained before looking over at Rae. "Rae?"
"I'm thinking and it hurts," Rae replied before putting her head down on the table.
"What about a fundraiser?" Matthew asked from his end of the table. After working in retail for the last few months, he was starting to understand a few things about business.
"We did that last month at CN Anime," Myra replied. "It was just enough to pull us above water for the time being.
"Classifieds," Rhyn suggested.
"No!" Myra & Rae replied in unison.
"Why not?" Matthew asked. It seemed like a good idea to him, after all. He glanced up to see if Billy had reappeared from the back, but the blond hadn't. It was probably sandwich time of day, or something.
"Too many creeps out there," Myra replied. "I don't want any responsability over that."
"We may be a tight-knit subculture, but RT is a free paper - we can't pick who grabs a copy every two weeks. There's probably some sick fucks who pick it up just to wank over the cartoon titties."
"Wait..." Myra said, putting up a hand to shush Rae. "You aren't one of them are you?"
Matthew blushed, stammering for an answer. "No, not me... I just picked it up for the game reviews."
"We'll convert you to the dark side yet," Rhyn said with a slight bit of forboding in his voice. Ethan just nodded agreement.
Matthew swallowed hard. Where was Billy?
Billy didn't appear for another few minutes - not until the bell over the door jangled with the coming of another patron.
"Jameson!" Ethan exclaimed, jumping to his feet and bounding over to the man who had just come through the door. The man pulled Ethan into a crushing embrace before capturing Ethan's lips with his own. The pair stood there and kissed, oblivious to the swooning noises and motions made by Myra and Rae as well as the snicker from Rhyn and the loud intake of breath from Matthew.
Matthew was transfixed. He couldn't remember actually seeing two men kissing before, but it was a beautiful sight. Then again, Ethan and the man he'd called Jameson were both exceptionally attractive as well.
Standing, Ethan looked even more fragile and willowy than Matthew had first percieved him to be. He looked almost painfully thin, but he was outwardly healthy in appearance.
Jameson was tall and well-built. He had reddish-brown hair that fell to his chin, hair that currently had Ethan's hands tangled in it as they continued to kiss.
Finally Jameson let Ethan go and pushed Ethan away ever so slightly. Ethan pouted as he turned to look at Billy. Billy was just smiling as he held a cup of coffee out to Jameson.
"Evening, Jameson," Billy said. "It's a surprise to see you in tonight."
Jameson just nodded as he took the cup of coffee and went to sit beside the RT staff.
"It's mainly an act," Rhyn whispered to Matthew. "They are a couple, but it's not as emotionally abusive as they'd have you think."
Matthew just nodded, not sure he'd even managed to complete any thoughts. Part of him had definitely wanted in on the action between the two men, and that part of him had caused him to become semi-aroused. Hopefully he wouldn't have to stand up anytime soon.
And part of him wondered what it would be like to kiss either Tyler or Billy like that.
"New staffer?" Jameson asked as he sat at the table, taking no time to alter his coffee from its current black state.
"This is one of Billy's friends," Myra said with a slight grin. "His name is Matthew."
"Nice to meet you," Matthew said quickly, holding out his hand to shake since he was within range. Jameson's hand was warm and his grip was firm yet friendly. His eyes were a deep, intoxicating blue, Matthew noticed as he became momentarily trapped within them.
"Nice to meet you as well," Jameson replied before letting go of Matthew's hand and turning back to his coffee. Matthew could tell that Jameson was a little older than the rest of the RT crew, which made him a bit of a curiousity.
"We're still hashing out our financial straights," Myra said, noticing as Jameson's gaze rested upon her. "Any ideas?"
"I have one!" Rhyn suddenly broke in, getting odd looks from around the table.
"This is going to be bad."
It was Billy. Matthew had missed watching Billy slip from behind the counter to stand by Rae.
"Hey, shut up. It's not like you're coming up with any genius ideas yourself," Rhyn said, glaring at the blond.
"So what is it?" Rae asked quickly, holding up a hand to get Billy to not answer Rhyn.
"Er... Jameson, if it's okay with you, I think we should auction off Ethan."
Everyone was silent as they stared at Rhyn. Myra dropped the pen she was holding. Billy's jaw dropped. Jameson glared. And Matthew was just very, very confused. Part of him wondered if he could possibly afford the black-haired beauty.
Ethan himself had sort of frozen in place.
"Perhaps, Rhyn, you could have asked me about this first," Ethan said softly a moment later.
"I'll bid ten dollars," Myra said a moment later, trying not to burst out laughing. Her attempt was futile as Rae joined in with a snicker that set everyone off. Even Matthew was laughing and he wasn't so sure what was even funny.
"I mean we could have a bishonen and bishoujo auction," Rhyn said once the laughing had died off. "Like a date auction for otaku. We'd need a few more participants though. Not just Ethan."
"I like it!" Rae yelled. Beside her Myra was nodding slowly. A split second later she grabbed her pen and started making notes.
"Okay, who can we tap for this, and when and where? We have the next issue coming out in a week - if bump the Coming Next Issue box, we can advertise there and also do some flyering," Myra said quickly, as though her thoughts would vanish if she didn't rapid-fire them at the staffers around her.
"I'll call Otaku-Nation tomorrow," Rae said after a moment. "They have a large store - I'm sure they'll have room."
"Perfect!" Rhyn exclaimed. "So who besides Ethan will get auctioned?"
"You," Ethan said a moment later. "And since we'll need the money sooner than later, perhaps three weeks is a good lead-time?"
"Me?" Rhyn almost spit out the coffee he had in his mouth, but thankfully he managed to swallow before attempting to maim Ethan.
"It was your idea," Myra said matter-of-factly.
"I'll do it," Billy said casually before turning to look at Matthew.
Matthew had been watching the entire scene play out, not bothering to add too many of his own thoughts into the mix. The idea sounded really fun, but he wasn't sure what he really had to do with it. After all, this was an RT thing, not something that he had anything to do with.
"You'll still be in town, Matthew. You're good looking," Billy said. "I'm sure some overweight fangirl would love to take you around town."
Both Myra and Rae smacked Billy at the same time.
"If you'll take non-otaku, I'll volunteer," Jameson said. "I'd like to keep my eye on what's mine, anyway."
"Done and done," Myra shot back.
"I didn't agree to anything," Matthew said once he realized he'd just been signed up for what was bound to be a fiasco.
"Please, Matthew," Rae begged.
Matthew held up a hand. "Let me think about it."
"Think quick," Billy said, circling around the table to crouch down beside Matthew. There was something about Billy being so close that unnerved Matthew just a bit. Still, most of his feelings stayed to the positive and fighting off the urge to reach over and tug on Billy's ponytail, Matthew nodded.
"Okay, I'll do it."
"Yay!" Myra exclaimed before making another half-page of notes. "This is a great idea..."
"Too bad it came from Rhyn," Rae interrupted.
The conversation had still been running when Matthew decided he'd had enough of the hijinks of the RT bunch. It wasn't as though they'd gotten in the least bit dull, it was just that it was a bit of an overload, for lack of a better term.
Matthew paid for two hours at the Internet Cafe. Sure, four dollars was a reasonable sum of money, but besides e-mailing Tyler & Emily, he had a world of vocabulary to begin searching for.
It was a different attendant from the night before. Tonight's was older, an Asian woman who didn't look as though she should be anywhere near computers.
Perhaps Matthew was just lumping the woman in with his grandmother - it was just most older people he knew were completely useless when faced with anything more complicated than a garage door opener.
His e-mail was surprising to begin with just based on volume. Where fourty-six new messages had come from, Matthew was at a loss to even begin to ponder.
It made a little more sense once it was revealed that ten of the offending messages were from Audra, five were from his mother, and twenty included attachements from Emily.
He started with Emily's. Each one was either a picture of Jorin, one of his friends, or part of her current story in progress.
Emily's artowrk had improved even from the colored sketches she's sent along with him. Matthew admired each picture for a moment before following Emily's instructions to delete them. She said she didn't want to overflow his mailbox and that Matthew could see the originals in a month anyway.
Most of the messages from both his mother & Audra were irritating friendship forwards and incredibly stupid jokes. Those all got deleted fairly quickly so Matthew could get to the good stuff.
Yet again the pair of mailing lists that Matthew was on were full of nothing but inane garbage. Those also bit the bottom of the virtual trash can within seconds of being opened.
Tyler's message was the one Matthew was most interested in. Of course, just to build anticipation or perhaps up his disappointment, he decided to save it for last.
After a few paragraphs to his mother, none of which said more than that he was enjoying himself, Matthew found himself skimming Audra's latest missive.
Today she had decided to ramble on about her night out with a pair of her female friends. There was also a chunk about her and Matthew's relationship, but Matthew's eyes glazed over after a few lines of that. He didn't write her back right away, instead deciding to do it just before he left so he could be truthful when he said he had to leave.
Lies. He wasn't supposed to lie. And he was lying to Billy, at the very least.
With a sigh, Matthew decided it was finally time to deal with whatever news Tyler had.
Thankfully, Tyler's e-mail was far from the hope-destroyer that it could have been. Instead it mentioned very little, actually, mainly detailing an adventure involving three co-workers and several dozen turkey roasters.
Matthew decided to reply with an equally light-hearted note. He wasn't prone to long messages anyway. his typing stlil constituted sub-par, in his opinion.
Once his e-mail was out of the way, Matthew started searching for more information on his entire day.
One of the first thing he tried to do was find a reasonable site of Final Fantasy information. None existed. All of them were over his head completely. All he really wanted was a basic summary, but instead he got more details and in depth analysis than should have been healthy for any individual to spend too long ruminating on.
From there it was back to his e-mail, to ask Tyler for a little help. Matthew was sure Tyler was a fan of the game series and could distill the epics down to paragraphs for easy digestion.
After leaving the internet cafe, Matthew headed home. The sun was already rising and sleep was calling to Matthew in a voice too loud to ignore.
Instead of sleep, Matthew found himself laying underneath the blankets, his mind too busy to rest. It wasn't anything to do with the RT gang, despite a few of the bizarre comments they'd made during the evening.
It was Billy. Being around Billy and other people at the same time helped surpress the pants-flinging urge, but now that he was alone and naked save for his underwear, his mind somehow decided to flit back to the gorgeous blond man.
The thing that seperated his weird feelings for Billy from his weird feelings for Tyler had to do with one thing: availability. Billy was single, as far as Matthew knew, and liked boys in the more than friendly way. Tyler was a pipe-dream.
"I wonder if he's thinking about me too," Matthew said as he thought about the afternoon playing videogames beside Billy. By the end they'd been sitting rather close and occasionally bumping into one another as they played.
With a slight smile on his lips at the thought of the blond sprawled in a similar position, Matthew ran a hand down his chest. Everyone had been admiring him within the RT circle, that much had been obvious.
While Ethan had the sheer beauty, Matthew was sure he had something similar, a slightly girly form of male attractiveness. Androgyny.
What had he told Tyler the other day? Ah yes, the girly men have the best moves.
As much as the dark-haired Ethan wanted to creep into his fantasy, it was all about Billy ten seconds after he freed the erection he hadn't even realized was forming.
For a moment he paused, realizing this was going to end up being messy. Still, it wasn't as though he was at home and would need to sneak things to the laundry. This was as close to a safe place to do this as he could imagine.
In his mind it was Billy touching him, promising it would feel good
for some reason beside the obvious. The fantasy held Matthew's mind though
as his hand quickly trailed up and down his arousal.
Orgasm pulsed through Matthew's body, leaving his sweaty and sticky,
trying to mop himself off with his underwear before discarding them beside
the bed. Once his breathing died down, Matthew let sleep claim him for
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