Finding a Dream, Conquest Series #4 (novella)
All author and editor royalties from the sales of this story are donated to The Trevor Project
Bullied and harassed at school for his sexuality, Dillon Davis can’t see his life getting any better, but he can see it getting worse. Depressed, wounded in spirit and body, he’s nearing a point of hopelessness, until he sees a picture of his favorite stage actor, Brandon Alexander, with his partner, Shunichi Miyamoto. At learning Shunichi runs a karate dojo, a spark of hope comes to Dillon of learning to defend himself, and most of all, meeting Brandon.
Brandon Alexander is filled with compassion for Dillon the moment he meets him. He knows all too well what it’s like to be scorned for being gay. He and Shunichi want nothing more than to help him, but when Dillon never returns to the dojo, they fear what’s happened to him.
Brandon reached the open doorway leading to the front sparring rooms and stopped, gazing at Shunichi as he guided a student through punches. Dressed in his white karate uniform, Shun looked as beautiful as when Brandon first saw him six months ago.
It was hard to believe so much time had passed, and yet he also couldn’t believe it was so short a time. It felt to him as if Shun had always been in his life, and he was grateful for that since there were parts of his life he cared to not remember. But those parts didn’t matter anymore, and when he looked at Shun, the past was nothing more than a faint dream. All he could see before him was what his every day would be.
Shunichi glanced at him, smiling, and gave his student a signal to pause in the lesson. His student struck out with a quick punch. Shunichi shifted away as if it were nothing more than a lazy slap coming at him, his expression calm and relaxed. The student’s arm shot forward with the strike. Shunichi grabbed it, and in a single fluid movement, put his student to the mats.
Shunichi stood over him, shaking his head in disapproval. “I told you to hold on a moment.”
“I know, Sensei, but you also said you should watch your opponent for distraction and use that moment to strike.”
“I meant with everyone but me. Good job paying attention, though, both on the lesson and on my alertness.”
“Well, the last one was easy. You’re always distracted when Brandon comes around.” The young guy threw a smirk at Brandon.
Trying not to laugh, Brandon winked at him.
Shunichi gave his student a light tap on the head in reprimand. “Don’t tease your sensei.” He offered a hand to help him up. “Now go find a partner and practice what we were working on.”
The student took Shunichi’s hand. Once standing, he bowed deeply to him. Shunichi returned it, though not as low.
As Shunichi went to make rounds to the other students practicing the punches against each other, he narrowed his eyes and pointed at Brandon, as if warning him to behave. Brandon held up both hands in his best attempt at appearing innocent. From Shunichi laughing, he knew it wasn’t one of his most convincing performances.
Brandon glanced around the dojo, his gaze meeting a teen’s who was sitting by the large picture window in front. The dojo got a lot of visitors from prospective students, not to mention friends and family members of current students, so he figured the young guy must be one of the three.
He looked back to Shunichi, watching him instruct two girls, and then glanced back to the teen visitor. The guy was still looking at him. If he was a prospective student, or friend or family member of a current student, why was the guy so focused on him and not what was happening on the mats?
Shunichi calling everyone to attention brought Brandon’s focus back to him.
After praising his students for doing well in the lesson, Shunichi dismissed the class. He walked toward Brandon, grinning and shaking his head. His arms went around Brandon’s neck when he stopped in front of him, their bodies close together. “One of these days I’m going to get laid out with how distracted I get anytime you walk in the room.”
Brandon embraced him around the waist. “So should I stop coming in while you’re doing lessons?”
“Never. In fact, you should be around me constantly until I learn to control my thoughts about you, and since I don’t see myself ever mastering them, you’re just going to be stuck at my side forever.”
“That works for me.” Brandon leaned forward, placing a chaste, but sensual kiss on Shunichi’s lips. “You’ve been in my thoughts all morning, too. But they’ve been dirty, dirty thoughts.”
Shunichi shifted closer still to Brandon. “And you’re going to tell me all about them, right?”
“Actually, I was planning on showing you a couple of them on your lunch break. I already ran down to the deli and got some sandwiches, so all you have to do is eat real quick, get naked, on your back, put your legs up on my shoulders, and you’ll see one of the things I’ve been thinking about.”
Shunichi moved to kiss him. “I’m going to really enjoy getting a look into your mind.”
Brandon met him in another soft kiss. He opened his eyes as he drew back. Beyond Shunichi, the young guy was still sitting by the window and doing a poor job in not being obvious about watching them. “But it looks like before we can act out my thoughts, someone’s waiting to talk to you.”
Shunichi didn’t need to look to know who Brandon was talking about. “That’s Dillon. He’s been here since I opened this morning. He said he’s thinking of taking lessons. I talked to him a couple times, asked him if he had any questions and got him a bottle of water, but he’s really quiet and a little on the shy side.”
“Maybe you should let him know the lessons are done for the next hour so he can go get something to eat.”
Shunichi nodded and turned, heading across the dojo toward Dillon. Brandon followed, doing his best to not blatantly stare at Shunichi’s firm ass.
“Hey, Dillon,” Shunichi said. “What do you think of this place so far?”
Dillon cleared his throat, his gaze moving from Shunichi to Brandon, and back to Shunichi. “It’s incredible. Everyone here is so nice to each other. Some of the students even came up and talked to me.”
“I’m glad to hear some of the others have already welcomed you. One of the key philosophies here is to treat all people with respect, kindness, and dignity.”
Dillon’s eyes flicked once again to Brandon before looking at Shunichi. “That’s really cool.”
Noticing Dillon’s interest in Brandon, Shunichi rested a hand on Brandon’s back. “I’m sorry, I got so wrapped up in wanting to hear your thoughts on things here, I forgot to introduce you. This is my partner, Brandon Alexander.” He glanced at Brandon while gesturing to Dillon. “And this is Dillon Davis, a prospective student.”
Brandon offered his hand to Dillon. “It’s nice to meet you, Dillon. But I’m not one of the people you really have to know. I don’t do anything around here except mow the lawn and pester him.” He gave Shunichi a nudge with his elbow.
Dillon stood up, a quiet, nervous laugh coming from him as he slowly took Brandon’s hand, his eyes focused on him in a star-struck gaze. “It’s amazing to meet you, Mr. Alexander.”
Shunichi nudged Brandon in return. “I have a feeling Dillon already knows who you are.”
Dillon’s eyes darted to Shunichi, then back to Brandon. He lowered his gaze, his cheeks colored with a blush. “Um…yeah, I do. I saw you twice in The Phantom of the Opera, and I went to see you in Chicago about a month ago. You’re…you’re incredible.”
As Dillon’s cheeks burned redder with his last statement, Brandon gave him a soft smile. “Thank you very much. It’s always nice to meet someone who’s enjoyed my work. That’s the whole reason I do it.”
Dillon looked up with a tentative grin.
Shunichi put his arm around Brandon’s waist. “And I also have a feeling you’re the reason Dillon picked this dojo.”
Dillon nodded, his gaze dropping once again. “Yeah. I saw a picture of you guys on a website at a charity event and it said you ran this place. I’m sorry.”
Shunichi gave Dillon a light pat on the shoulder. “Why are you apologizing? There’s nothing wrong with that, so long as you really do want to take lessons.”
Dillon snapped his head up. “I do! Really bad!”
Brandon caught the desperation in Dillon’s voice. “Well, you certainly won’t find a better sensei anywhere else. But, can I ask why you want to take lessons?”
“I want to learn to defend myself.”
Concern fell over Brandon’s expression. “Why do you want to know how to defend yourself? Are you okay? Is someone trying to hurt you?”
Dillon stared at Brandon. Emotion rose in him, and he wasn’t sure he could speak without it escaping. No one had ever asked him that before. Sure, his mom asked him all the time how he was and about school, but he couldn’t tell her what was happening to him. Angie knew, but even though she was an awesome friend, she didn’t really understand what he was going through. He needed someone who truly cared, but who could also help him.
Dillon dropped down on the chair. His elbows on his knees, he lowered his head, burying his fingers in his hair. “There’s this guy at school, Logan. Him and his friends give me crap everyday. He calls me a fag, and so many other names. He yells them for everyone around to hear. But he also pushes me in the halls, knocks my books out of my hands.” He jerked his head up, pointing to his nose. “Yesterday he hit me from behind and I fell on the main stairwell. I hit my nose and it was bleeding all over! And everyone just laughed! No one helped me! No one ever helps me!”
With Dillon’s voice growing louder and more frantic, Brandon and Shunichi broke apart to each take a seat on either side of him. Brandon laid a hand on Dillon’s back, feeling the quick breaths he took as if he’d just run a great distance. Shunichi rested his hand on Dillon’s shoulder.
Copyright 2010 by S.J. Frost and MLR Press