Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Love Letters Post #14

Notes: Guys, I swear I wanted this to have sexytimes in it, but then I started writing and it got to 3k and it’s time to post and…well.  We’re set up to have a hell of a good time in the next part.  Again, I did not mean to draw this out, but the con is so easy to write, stuff just happens!  Sorry!  I’ll give you an excerpt from my LHNB story a little later to make up for it.


Title: Love Letters


Part Fourteen: Stairs As A Time-Saving Device





The first panel Ben knew Ryan was going to be needed for started at nine, so he’d set the alarm on his watch to go off at seven.  That should give them plenty of time to wake up and get ready for the day, maybe grab some breakfast together too.  Ben was down to his boxers and undershirt in an effort to make his clothes last through today before he had to leave and change, but a shower would definitely help preserve them a little longer.  He remembered the days when he’d gone a week in the same outfit back in college with a faint shudder.

Ryan slept like the dead, completely passed out and not really snoring, but wheezing a little with every inhale.  It shouldn’t have been as endearing as it was, but in the end Ben had stared at him for something like fifteen minutes as he put off falling asleep, conscious of the fact that he was being creepy but not quite able to stop himself.  Eventually he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer though, and he fell asleep with a couple of feet of space between them, close but comfortable.

When the alarm on his watch started to beep, Ben went to shut it off but realized he couldn’t move his arms.  Further exploration found that his arms were confined in close to his body, and it wasn’t because he was tangled up in the sheets.  Ryan was plastered to his chest, face pressed to Ben’s neck as he slept on, oblivious to the noise and to Ben’s squirming.  Ryan had apparently migrated from his side of the bed to Ben’s, then latched on like a limpet and stayed that way, for how long Ben had no idea but he was hot and sweaty and his collarbone felt suspiciously damp beneath Ryan’s mouth.

“Ryan,” he said, shaking a little bit, but that didn’t seem to work.  If the guy could ignore an alarm beeping less than a foot from his head, he could ignore a little jiggle.  “Ryan,” Ben tried again, louder but also coupled with what he’d wanted to do from the moment he woke up, which was nuzzling his nose into Ryan’s hair.  It was still a little stiff with product on the very top, but soft around the edges.  “Ryan, time to wake up.”

This at least got the beginning of a response, a deep inhale and shift.  Warm, chapped lips pressed a clumsy kiss to Ben’s throat, like it was something Ryan did every day.  Ben shut his eyes for a moment, determined not to think about who Ryan might have done this to every day before now.  “Ryan, you’ve got a panel in a couple of hours.  We should get up.”

“Shh,” Ryan mumbled.  “Sleeping.”

“Not anymore.”

“Beeeenn,” Ryan whined, “why’re you pushy today?  Y’re never pushy at home.  Now shhh.  Sleep.”

At home?  Ben’s own tired mind finally put the pieces together, and he sighed with a guilty sense of relief.  Ryan thought he was dreaming, and apparently when he dreamed Ben featured pretty regularly.  “Baby,” he said, finally scooting down far enough that their faces were on a level.  He kissed the tip of Ryan’s nose, watching with amusement as the younger man made a face.  “Wake up.  Dreams don’t have morning breath.”

“Dreams…wha?”  One bleary blue eye cracked open and took in the scene.  “Ben?”

Ben smiled.  “Hey.”

The other eye opened in a hurry, and Ryan jerked back a little.  “You’re—wait, where am I?”

“Denver.  For MileHiCon.”

“Oh, shit.  Shit, I forgot!”  His arms retreated, leaving Ben feeling a little cold.  “What time is it?”

“Just a little after seven,” Ben said, shutting the alarm off with a sigh of relief.  “How do you feel?”

“God, like hammered crap,” Ryan confessed, pressing one hand to his eyes.  “Wait, did we sleep together?”

“You have a keen sense of observation,” Ben said, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. 

“And you’re…not naked.”


“So I just imagined that part.”  Ryan seemed somewhere between disappointed and relieved.  “But we did kiss?”  Ben nodded.  “And I…did I fall on the floor?”

“Yes.”  Ben had never seen a blush suffuse someone’s face so fast.  “It’s okay, though.”

“It’s really, totally, utterly not,” Ryan said from behind his hand.  “I was supposed to be smooth.  I had this all planned out.”  He made a faint moaning sound of embarrassment.

Sleepy, hung over and embarrassed was not the way to start the day.  Ben could help with that, though.  He crawled back onto the bed and over to Ryan and pulled him back into his arms.  Ryan went without hesitation, sliding his own arms tentatively around Ben’s waist.  “It was sweet,” Ben told him.  “I don’t need you to be smooth, just honest.”  He couldn’t stop his grin.  “And at least you had the balls to get things going, even if it took you getting drunk.”

“Shit, shit, shit.”  Ryan lifted sleep-crusted eyes and looked at Ben.  “Being drunk has nothing to do with me wanting to kiss you, you know that, right?  I wanted to before that.  For a long time, actually.”

“I know,” Ben replied.  “We can talk about it later, though.  First I have a question for you.”

“Oookay.”  Ryan looked apprehensive.

“What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?  Because I’m going to order while you’re in the shower.”

“Oh.  French toast.  With bacon.”

“Sounds delicious.”

Ryan relaxed a little, still red but managing it.  “So I take it that you don’t want to shower with me, then.”

That wasn’t true at all, but… “Not this time.”

“Then you should at least kiss me again,” Ryan said, shifting so that he was straddling Ben’s lap instead of sitting beside it.  “So I have something to tide me over.”  He threaded his fingers together behind Ben’s neck and smiled winsomely.

Ben was nowhere near strong enough to resist that smile.  He tilted his face up and leaned in, and their mouths met in the middle.  It wasn’t the sweet, brand-new kiss of last night, and it didn’t become a deeper, more passionate kiss thanks to both of them wanting to keep their morning breath to themselves.  It was a gentle, thoughtful kiss, the kind of kiss that could have left you cold if you weren’t into it.  Instead Ben felt his heart rate increase, felt warmth flush through his face and hands and felt himself stir down below, all in the three or four seconds that their lips were actually touching.

Ryan finally pulled back and sighed.  “Can’t I just skip the panels?  Really, my life would be so much better just laying here in bed with you.”

“I wish I could be your bad influence, but I want to hear what you have to say, so no,” Ben told him.  “Besides, if I don’t go watch Battlestar Galactica with one of the people I met yesterday, she might actually kill me.  She said something about shooting people in order to be more realistic.”

“She’s a cosplayer?”

“Very much so.”

“Huh.”  Ryan tilted his head thoughtfully.  “Do you think she’d be up for dressing like Maria Hill for us?  Because then we’d really be rocking the Avengers.”

“I doubt it.”  Ben didn’t want to shift Ryan but he had to; his bladder was crying out for relief.  “I’ll be fast,” he promised as he stood up.

“Take your time, because I’ll be the exact opposite of fast,” Ryan said, lying back on the bed.

That turned out to be an understatement.  By the time Ryan was done showering, shaving and dressing it was 8:30, breakfast was getting cold and they had to rush to eat and get downstairs in time.  It didn’t help their efficiency that they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other, but Ryan looked so fucking happy and a little incredulous, like he couldn’t believe that Ben wasn’t pushing him away or throwing him off. 

                Ryan grabbed Ben’s scarf and wrapped it around his neck before they left the room.  “Are you planning on going out into the cold?” Ben asked as they headed for the elevator.

                “It smells like you,” Ryan replied.  “I like it.”

                “Oh.”  There wasn’t much Ben could say about that, so he tugged Ryan closer with the end of the scarf and kissed him again.  It was uncharacteristically public for Ben, with regards to sharing affection, but he had the feeling PDAs were something he’d be getting used to with Ryan.

                The first panel was moderately interesting.  Most of it was dragons, dragons, dragons and variations on “Mr. Paolini, you are brilliant, I want to have your baby.”  Which, well, Ben could appreciate the sentiment but he hadn’t read the books, which Ryan had informed him was a crime.  Some of the questions went to Ryan, though, and those were infinitely more interesting, especially the specific ones, not just, “Where do you get your ideas?” but “What do those ideas mean?”

                At one point a woman asked, “Are we ever going to meet the Phantom?  I mean, by Volume Three we pretty much know that the Phantom is more than just something Janie could be making up, so I wonder if you plan on introducing us to him or her.  Or it, I guess.”

                Ryan cupped the side of his face with one hand and grinned, and half of the audience let out a not-so-subtle sigh.  “I’ve definitely got plans for the Phantom.  I’m not entirely sure what they are yet, but at some point the two of them are going to meet up.”

                The next person the moderator called on asked, “Do you base your characters on people you know in real life?”

                “Some of them.  Anybody who follows me on Twitter or Tumblr knows that Janie is based loosely on me.  As for the other characters, actually,” Ryan’s face took on a mischievous expression before he continued, “the person I used as my model for the Phantom is here too.”

                That started up an immediate buzz, and the people who’d plied them with drinks last night scanned the room until they caught sight of Ben, at which point the speculation became much more specific.

                The panel ended after an hour and Ben tagged along to the next one as well, this time on agents (and oh, he could say so much, so, so much) but then they split up after that, because Ryan was doing lunch with a group that had paid extra to get his in-person opinion on their graphic novel/comic book ideas, and that was going to take hours.  Ben went and watched a group of harried adults organize a jousting tournament for the kids instead, complete with foam lances and bulky horse-costumes they had to wear around their hips.

                After an hour or so he got bored and went to find Michael, but Michael’s assistant said he was in the middle of an emergency meeting with the con organizers.  Ben went to the dining room instead, and that was where Starbuck found him.

                “Duckling!” she called out, waving him over to her table.  “C’mere!”  She was sitting alone, an iPad set up up on the table in front of her, her booted feet propped up on the booth across from her.  She had a plate with the remains of a club sandwich on it and was still picking at her French fries.  She scooted and made room for Ben on her side.

                “You’re still coming to the screening room at three, right?” she asked as he sat down.


                Starbuck looked at him eagerly.  “Yeah?  Are you doing anything until then?”

                “I don’t have any plans,” Ben assured her.

                “Great!  ‘Cause it’s only noon, so we’ve got time to watch the Battlestar Galactica miniseries before we go see episode one, if you want.  They follow each other immediately and you really should see the miniseries before diving into the first season, so you have some idea of what the hell is going on.”

                Starbuck looked so excited that Ben couldn’t say no.  “Sounds good.”  At least it gave him something to do and might even take his mind off of Ryan for a while.  Pining, Ben knew, wasn’t a good look on anyone.

                “Great, here, let me just—” She pulled the iPad forward and tapped the screen a few times, frowning.  “I have to figure out how to get to it.  I haven’t had this thing for long.  She told me it would be better than my laptop for movies, but—wait, here it is.”

                “She?” Ben asked as Starbuck adjusted the volume.  A waiter stopped by and Ben ordered a burger and a beer, and waited to see if Starbuck would respond to his question.  He wasn’t the type to push, but—

                “My girlfriend Sarah,” she said after a minute, frowning and leaning back against the seat.  “This was hers, but she left last month for fuckin’ Africa, thought taking this along was a stupid idea.  So she gave it to me.”

                “What’s she doing in Africa?”
                “Saving the world,” Starbuck said sarcastically.  “Literally, she joined the Peace Corps.  Its’ part of her Master’s in Public Health, or at least she gets school credit for her service or something like that.  She gave me a bunch of stuff when she left, but this is the only thing I really use.”  She looked over at Ben.  “Ready to start?”


                So, okay.  There may have been a previously-undiscovered level of geek in Ben, because as transparent as some of the plot was and as cumbersome as some of the writing was, he loved the miniseries.  They barely had time to finish it before they had to run to the screening room, and Starbuck kept asking, “You understand this part, right?  Did you get this part?”  And Ben was a lot of things but unobservant wasn’t really one of them, so he told her that yeah, he got it all and could they please just watch the show?

                They, along with about seventy other people, did.  Some of the viewers were clearly old hands with Battlestar Galactica, and they joined in on particular lines.  Even Starbuck did, especially whenever the character she emulated took the screen.

                By the end of it all the humans were exhausted, the potentially rogue ship was destroyed, a baby was born and Ben was hooked.  Starbuck looked smug.

                “Another one brought into the fold.”  She tapped the bag with her iPad in it.  “I’ve got more episodes if you’re interested.”

                “I am,” Ben said, “but there’s another panel I wanted to listen in on.”

                Starbuck rolled her eyes.  “You want to go watch your boyfriend work his magic, you mean.  Jesus, he is like terminally cute.  How do you deal with it when he asks for something you don’t want to give him?”

                “That hasn’t happened yet,” Ben replied honestly.  “I’ll catch up with you later, okay?”

                “You better, man, I’ve still got all your swag, and the includes the drink tickets for the banquet tonight.”

                “I’ll find you before then,” Ben promised as he got up.

                “I’ll understand if you don’t, I suppose,” Starbuck said with a shrug.

                The next discussion was, nominally, supposed to be about “The Big Picture: Plotting and Themes in Fiction,” but it turned from a discussion of the craft into a bunch of opinions pretty quickly.  One of the questioners, when called upon, said to Ryan, “Personally, the Phantom is my least favorite character in your whole series.  I think he detracts from the themes of self-reliance and independence, and frankly all I want to know is when you’re going to get rid of him, because if you don’t I might have to stop reading your work.”

                There were plenty of people who took offense, but Ryan grabbed the microphone and started speaking before any of them could gain traction.  “You’re not the first person I’ve heard that from,” he began, clearly making an effort to be polite.  “But here’s the thing.  I write what I like.  If I tried to write what I thought other people would like, then I’d fail.  I can’t make everyone enjoy what I put out there and I have no doubt that there are plenty of people who started reading and then stopped because they didn’t like the way things were going, and that’s fine. 

“But I won’t be threatened into changing what I write by anyone, except maybe my publisher since she’s got to make money too.  That way lies the death of creativity.  So if you stop reading, well, I’m sorry to lose you but I won’t change things to suit you or any other person who has issues with the way I do things.”

                People began clapping  as soon as Ryan stopped speaking, and the applause picked up until it was almost deafening.  Ryan took a little bow and grinned, and Ben wanted to run over to him, throw him down on his back on the table and ravish—god, ravish, what a terrible word but it was true, was the hell of it—him until he couldn’t even move.  Ryan must have seen some of that in his face, because he swallowed hard and blushed even harder.

                As soon as the panel ended Ryan was mobbed by people, mostly anxious to agree with him from the looks of things, or reassure him that they would definitely still buy his books because they loved the Phantom.  Ben stood back and waited for the crowd to thin before getting in close.  Ryan grabbed his hand instantly.  “Hi.”

                “Hi.”  Ben rubbed his thumb over the sensitive skin of Ryan’s wrist.  “Are you done for a while?”

                “This was my last panel for the day, there’s just the banquet tonight…”  Ben watched Ryan’s pupils expand as he caught on to what Ben was suggesting.  “Um…do you want to go upstairs?”

                “If you don’t have anything else to do,” Ben said lightly, then winced as Ryan’s grip became almost crushing for a moment.

                “I don’t, definitely not,” Ryan said, then glanced around.  “Let’s go before someone else comes along who wants to tell me everything that’s wrong with my books.”

                “I’m more concerned with the people who adore everything you do and want to talk to you about it for hours and hours and hours, honestly.”

                Ryan leaned in close.  “If we take the stairs I bet we can avoid everyone.”  He had a point; while the elevators were always packed, the stairwells were usually abandoned.

                Ben moved until his lips brushed the shell of Ryan’s ear.  “Good idea.”

                They took the stairs up in probably record time.


  1. CRAP. Don't you want to post twice this week? :0)

    1. If I weren't completely swamped with LHNB, I would! I'm so sorry! Just let the anticipation build... :)

  2. I will forgive you for the lack of sexytimes but only because I know you'll make it up to everyone next time :-)

    1. Damn straight I will. It will be ... delicious:)

  3. Replies
    1. Just a little evil. Just some teensy-weensy evilness:)