Some of my favorite couples are magnetic—drawn to each other despite being opposites. Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter, Simon and Alisha on Misfits, Han Solo and Princess Leia from Star Wars, and many more. These couples usually have the most interesting relationship dynamics, the funniest banter, and the best buildup of unresolved sexual tension.
I strove to hit those goals with my characters in the Five Boroughs and especially with Raymond and David, the main characters in Sunset Park and my upcoming novel Interborough. Interborough picks up a year after Sunset Park leaves off, and shows the boys working through problems that have arisen in their relationship due to the constant stress of external issues (work, money, family). My goal with Interborough was to show they could make it for the long run, but also to get more of those fan favorite Rayvid moments.
If you’ve forgotten their dynamics, or have never read these characters before, this is a highlight reel of Raymond and David being totally different people who just can’t stay away from each other.
That time Raymond and David pretended they didn’t totally want to bone
I groaned and rolled over, covering my head with a pillow. “Why?”
“Why not?” My door clicked shut, and the bed rocked as David plopped down next to me. “I’m not teaching summer school, so I have nothing better to do than coming to see your charming face.”
“Go away,” I muffled out. “I’m busy.”
“You look super busy.”
“I’m busy willing multiple people to be hit by cars.”
“Am I on the list?”
“No. But you could be.”
He snickered. There was a rustling sound and two thumps that sounded suspiciously like shoes hitting the floor. Then David wriggled under the sheet to cuddle up to me. I tensed. David plastering his body all over mine wasn’t new— the guy was like a heat-seeking missile and seemed to constantly crave physical contact— but I was normally fully clothed for our impromptu cuddle sessions. Now, I had on nothing more than a pair of briefs. Not that he cared. He rubbed his face against my shoulder like a cat.
“Wake up or I’ll do the lamprey thing all day. I don’t have anything else to do.”
“I’m fucking naked, dude.”
“I don’t care. I’ve seen naked men before. Lots of them.”
I held up a bagel for David. “Want one?”
“Fine.” I took one for myself and walked around the counter to where he was blocking the toaster. “Move.”
“The phrase is excuse me.”
I smacked his ass hard, and he jumped, scrambling out of the way. A flush crept up David’s neck and over his face, but he didn’t seem too upset. I got the feeling he liked it when I manhandled him.
“You’re a jerk.”
“Shut up and sit down,” I said.
“Why don’t you leave me alone and pay attention to your brother?”
“Good idea,” Michael said. He was looking between me and David with the same suspicious expression Nunzio had worn when he’d barged into my room. “What’s going on with you two?”
“Nothing is going on,” David said, giving one of his massive eye rolls. “Why do you have to keep asking that same question? Do you think I’m trying to turn him gay?”
“Are you that embarrassed of me, Raymond?”
“Then why are we hiding in this gazebo?”
He licked a stray drip of red syrup from his index finger. “Because I want to sit in the shade, you idiot.”
“I think you’re a liar. You’re embarrassed that I showed up because I’m so blond and gay.”
“Yeah? I didn’t know you were a psychic.”
Raymond threw his balled-up cup at my face. “All I asked is why you’re here. No need to get dramatic like a teenage boy with a Linkin Park CD.”
On the night before my parents were supposed to come to town, I smoked enough pot to give my eyeballs a permanent bright red cast. I also passed out in Raymond’s bed. Streaming light and the faint sound of traffic tugged me from the grips of sleep.
I squinted against the brightness of the morning and tried to roll over. I was thwarted by long, muscular arms holding me in place; Raymond had me crushed to his chest. I laughed quietly and tried to free myself again, but he only held me tighter and buried his face in my hair.
“Ray, I need to get up,” I croaked.
“Mmm” was the sleepy reply. “
He murmured something that sounded a lot like stay with me and baby before kissing the back of my neck. I stopped struggling. The tidal wave of Raymond’s unconscious sweetness wiped away all coherent thought.
To see more of Raymond and David, you can buy Sunset Park and Interborough now!
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.