Title: In Memory of Us
Author Name: Ana J. Phoenix
Publication Date & Length: March 31, 2015 – 100 pgs
Kite’s had a crush on Shin since middle school, but never acted on it until the eve of his yearly trip to the States, when he slipped up and kissed his best friend. Shortly after, a tsunami wrecked the country and his hometown, and put all his plans on hold. Now, two years later, he’s back in Japan and he wants to set things right.
When he finds Shin, though, his former best friend isn’t who he used to be. Losing his parents changed Shin and now, instead of following his heart, he’s dedicated his life to studying for university entrance exams and ignoring everything else. He won’t let Kite get close, denying his obvious attraction and all their good memories.
Kite doesn’t want to give up on Shin, but he can’t shake the feeling that there’s something his friend isn’t telling him. Something else that happened two years ago on the day of the tsunami. He doesn’t know what it is, just that it’s destroying his friend—and possibly their shot at love.
This is ultimately a simple story of childhood best friends reunited. What makes it special is Phoenix’ infusion of perfectly observed details that make Kaito, Shin and a freshly reconstructed Japan spring to life.
“You know I watched you all through high school.”
“Watched me do what?”
Kite grimaced but didn’t know what to say. He had been promiscuous, no denying that.
“I didn’t have a crush on you in third grade,” Shin went on. “Not consciously.”
“When did it become conscious?”
Shin leaned back a little, as if he needed the distance to be able to think. “Middle school,” he said then. “We were having ice cream and suddenly you told me you’d kissed Kaoru.”
Kite furrowed his brow. He didn’t remember much about Kaoru, but he did remember coming out to his best friend over ice cream. Ice cream made him think of a time in California when his sister would take him out for a treat to get away from their parents’ fighting and she’d tell him that she would definitely never get married. He figured since he was kissing boys, he probably wouldn’t get married either.
“Kaoru was a test run,” he told Shin.
“Yeah? Was everyone after him a test run too?”
“No.” Kite lifted his hand and ran his fingers through the soft hair at the nape of Shin’s neck. “Everyone after him was to take my mind off you.”
Ana is a writer of m/m romance and erotica. Her interest in hot guy-on-guy action was first sparked by reading scandalous Japanese mangas. A dirty secret she couldn’t resist. In a long bout of insanity – also known as her life — she decided to learn the language and escape to the land of sushi, sumo, and yaoi.
She’s since moved back to Europe to be with the love of her life – delicious European chocolate. Now she resides in the sunny part of Germany where she fills her days chasing her dreams and writing about men in complicated relationships. Her family believes she’s writing “erotic manga stories.” She’s pleased they got the erotic part right, at least.