The Loft by Tagsit
FeatureSummary:

I love the supernatural twist to the Brian and Justin romance. Very different from other stories and it's well written and entertaining to read. - samcdee

Loft_not_moving.jpg

Justin moves into a new loft apartment in preparation for starting his first term at PIFA.  Upon arrival, he finds a “Welcome Letter” from his new landlord, Brian Kinney. But, when he goes to respond, odd things start to happen.  Can these two men reach across time itself to realize their love?  (Loosely based on the plot of Alejandro Aresti's The Lakehouse - one of my all-time favorite movies.)


Categories: QAF US, Admin Pick Characters: Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor
Tags: Anal Sex (Lots of it!)
Genres: Alternate Universe, Angst w/ Happy Ending, Drama, Hurt/Comfort, Romance
Pairings: Brian/Justin
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 35 Completed: Yes Word count: 62382 Read: 100613 Published: May 03, 2016 Updated: Sep 07, 2016
Story Notes:

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

My Banner Goddess, Marny, Gets all my Thanks for the beautiful new banner.

1. Chapter 1 - Moving Day (August 4, 2001) by Tagsit

2. Chapter 2 - Welcome (August 5, 2001) by Tagsit

3. Chapter 3 - An Eager Correspondent (August 5, 2001 ­ 4:45 pm) by Tagsit

4. Chapter 4 - Meet Brian. (August 5, 1999 ­ 9:30 pm) by Tagsit

5. Chapter 5 - The Mailbox (August 7, 2001) by Tagsit

6. Chapter 6 - Can This Really Be Happening? (August 6th, 5:15 pm) by Tagsit

7. Chapter 7 - Resigning Oneself to The Impossible. (August 7) by Tagsit

8. Chapter 8 - Distractions. by Tagsit

9. Chapter 9 - Meanwhile, Back At the Ranch . . . by Tagsit

10. Chapter 10 - Discussing Photos. by Tagsit

11. Chapter 11 - Self Portraits (August 9) by Tagsit

12. Chapter 12 - Terrors in the Night (August 9, 2001 ­ 2:00 pm) by Tagsit

13. Chapter 13 - ­The Lost Boy (August 9, 1999 ­ 7:30 pm) by Tagsit

14. Chapter 14 - Sweet Dreams (August 10, 2001 ­ 8:00 am) by Tagsit

15. Chapter 15 - Opening Up (August 10, 2001 – 4:00 pm) by Tagsit

16. Chapter 16 - Welcome to The Liberty Diner (August 16, 1999 – 8:00 am) by Tagsit

17. Chapter 17 - Reciprocating Gifts (August 21, 2001 – 2:00 pm) by Tagsit

18. Chapter 18 - How to Accessorize, by Brian Kinney ­ (September 5, 1999 – 1:00 pm) by Tagsit

19. Chapter 19 - Playtime (September 6, 2001 – 6:20 pm) by Tagsit

20. Chapter 20 - Gus (September 7, 2001 – 7:30 am) by Tagsit

21. Chapter 21 - At the GLC (October 2, 1999 – 7:00 pm) by Tagsit

22. Chapter 22 - After the Art Show (October 2, 1999 – 9:00 pm) by Tagsit

23. Chapter 23 - Back to the Future (October 3, 2001 – 6:30 pm) by Tagsit

24. Chapter 24 - Pain and Panic (October 5, 1999 – 7:00 pm) by Tagsit

25. Chapter 25 - Dinner with the Munchers (October 8, 1999 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit

26. Chapter 26 - ­ Following Directions. (November 10, 2001 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit

27. Chapter 27 - The Prom. (November 20, 2001 ­ 2:00 pm) by Tagsit

28. Chapter 28 - Debbie. (November 26, 1999 ­ 10:00 pm) by Tagsit

29. Chapter 29 - The Babylon Experience. (December 18, 1991 ­ 10:30 pm) by Tagsit

30. Chapter 30 - Broken Date. (December 27, 2001 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit

31. Chapter 31 - Alone. (January 7, 2000 ­ 9:30 am) by Tagsit

32. Chapter 32 - For Justin. (January 31, 2000 ­ 4:00 pm) by Tagsit

33. Chapter 33 - Best Laid Plans . . . (May 20, 2000 ­ 1:30 pm) by Tagsit

34. Chapter 34 - Don't Go, Brian! (May 20, 2002 ­ 5:30 pm) by Tagsit

35. Chapter 35 - In Unison. (May 20, 2002 ­ 8:30 pm) by Tagsit

Chapter 1 - Moving Day (August 4, 2001) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Be gentle kind readers. This was my very first fan-fic. Before this I was a mere lurker. However, one night at 2:00 am, unable to sleep, I was inspired and found myself digging through a stack of old school notebooks, pulling out a pen and frantically scribbling down everything in my brain. This was the result. I hope you enjoy. TAG

The red brick building with the slight air of decay loomed above the man as he exited the taxi. Justin retrieved his portfolio, his messenger bag and one smallish cardboard box from the rear seat of the cab, paid the fare and then turned to contemplate his new home. He tentatively smiled at the thought of finally moving into his own place. He really loved the feel of this building, too. The old warehouse converted into lofts and apartments appealed to his artistic senses. It wasn't like those new high-rise apartments he had looked at closer to school. This building had character. It was almost like he could feel the echos of its former inhabitants and the workers that had walked its halls and climbed its stairs. Yes, Justin thought he just might be able to be happy here.


Clutching his box of possessions to his chest and juggling his bags, he pulled out his keys, opened the front door and headed towards his new life.


When the rickety old service elevator reached the top floor, Justin pulled up the gate and hauled his stuff towards the rustic grey metal door of the loft.  Unlocking the door and rolling it open, he kicked his messenger bag and the moving box through the entryway while more carefully setting down his portfolio.  Then he just stood in front of the open door and looked around the space, amazed once again that this magnificent loft was now his home.  'And all it took was getting bashed in the head,' he thought to himself bitterly while unconsciously flexing his right hand.


He picked up the box with the few remaining personal items he had not already brought to the loft, and set it on the kitchen counter.  His mother and sister had helped him earlier in the week to move most all of his other stuff.  His clothes, his school books and art supplies and random household supplies were already neatly put away. Luckily the loft had been rented pre-furnished, so he hadn't had to buy and move any furniture. All he had left to tote today were the odds and ends in the little box, his toiletries and a few other personal items.  He grabbed his messenger bag and proceeded towards the bathroom to finish the official unpacking.


In the ultra-modern and elegant bathroom, he quickly pulled out his toothbrush, hairbrush and other toiletries and stowed them in the medicine cabinet. As he shut the cabinet door he glimpsed himself in the mirror and stood contemplating his reflection for a moment. The man looking back at him from the mirror almost didn't seem real to him. Yes, this man looked like him;  he had the same blue eyes, the same bright blond hair, the same features and expressions, but Justin didn't feel like that almost innocent looking boy anymore. He leaned forward and pushed his hair back from his right temple to examine the fading red scar there.  It had been more than a year since the disasterous night when he got that scar, but Justin still felt the horror of it all hanging over him every day.  He let his hair fall back, almost hiding the scar, and tried valiantly to push those memories out of his mind.  


He was starting a fresh new life, he thought to himself.  He had his own apartment.  He was finally starting at the Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Arts, a dream he had treasured for many years.  He was doing better - maybe not completely healed yet, but definitely better.  He was going to be okay.  He WAS going to be okay.  He WAS going to be OKAY.


Fuck, he wasn't going to be okay, he thought, as he felt the sense of powerlessness rising inside him and his vision begin to get ragged. Justin closed his eyes and took several slow deep breaths, hoping that it would stave off the impending panic attack that was coming on at breakneck speed.  His vision had narrowed to a small tunnel with blackness all around.  He could feel his breathing become rapid and uneven.  His legs and hands were trembling and he didn't think he could stand up much longer, so he backed up till he felt the tiled wall behind him and sank down to the floor.


'Just breathe', he repeated to himself.  He could feel the migraine headache which almost always accompanied these panic attacks begining to throb in his temples.  He pulled his knees in towards his body and tightly wrapped his arms around them.  This was going to be a bad one, he knew.  He felt dizzy from lack of oxygen and let his body list slowly to the right until he was lying on his side on the cool tile floor, curled into a tight little ball next to the bathroom vanity.


With the last of his vision he saw something white glimmering from under the edge of the vanity cabinet.  He reached out a shaking hand and grabbed at the object.  As his hand closed around the hard, cool object, Justin felt a strange sense of peace welling up inside him and overcoming the cold fear in his gut with a gush of warmth.  As the panic rapidly receeded, he sighed loudly and felt his body relax.  He still felt exhausted; he always did after one of these episodes.  At least this time the attack had been brief and, for some unknown reason, less debilitating than usual. He somehow crawled out of the bathroom and into his bed and then let himself drift off to sleep.

'Thank you', Justin thought right before he lost all consciousness. Who exactly he was thanking, though, he didn't know.



End Notes:

Originally published 5/21/12

Chapter 2 - Welcome (August 5, 2001) by Tagsit

 

 

The warm sunshine streaming through the south facing loft windows woke Justin the next morning. He stretched luxuriously in the extra large king-plus-sized bed, enjoying the heat from the sun pouring over his body, and in the process his left hand brushed against something hard under the edge of the pillow. Retrieving the object, he found it was a leather strap adorned with cowry shells. As he turned it over, he noted a snap-type clasp and immediately affixed the bracelet on his left wrist. He admired his new jewelry and realized that this must have been the object he'd found last night in the bathroom when he'd had his last panic attack. The shells gleamed in the bright sunlight. It was a rather nice bracelet, he thought to himself, and he decided to keep it on as he got up to start his day.

 

After breakfast and a shower, Justin was at a complete loss as to what to do with the rest of his day. He was all moved in and everything already put away. He didn't  have a shift at the diner where he worked until Friday. School didn't start until after Labor Day. He briefly thought about drawing, but immediately nixed that idea when it brought up those stirrings of panic again. He looked at the sunlight streaming into the loft and contemplated taking a walk around his new neighborhood, but decided he wasn't ready for that yet - he still wasn't real great in crowds, even after a year of therapy, and knew he would have to psych himself up for a few more days before attempting the great unknown outdoors on his own.

 

Wandering randomly around the loft looking for ideas about what to do with his day, his glance landed on the file of paperwork left by the property management company. His mother had tucked it away behind the coffee maker to keep it out of the way while they were moving in the other day. Justin hadn't yet looked through all of it. 'Might as well go through it now, since I have nothing better to do,' he thought.

 

Opening up the file on the coffee table while he reclined on the couch, Justin leafed through the contents. There was a photocopy of the lease agreement, of course, a list of contact numbers for reaching the property management company and the maintenance staff, as needed, as well as a list of local emergency contact numbers. There was a two page list of 'Rules and Policies' from the building tenants' association telling him what NOT to do (like leaving garbage in the hallways or putting out offensive doormats) along with what TO do (garbage collection was every Thursday and all garbage must be put in the bins at the rear of the building by no later than 6:00 am, etc.) in order to stay on good terms with his new neighbors. Justin promptly returned that list to the file, planning on ignoring most of the ridiculous directives. There were also some brochures for local businesses and take out menus for nearby restaurants. 'Now those would be useful,' Justin smiled as he stashed the menus next to the phone.

 

The last item in the file appeared to be a letter from his landlord. Rather than the standard, printed boiler-plate letter he'd expected, this letter was handwritten on heavy cream colored stationery. As he opened the envelope, Justin caught a whiff of something - cologne maybe? He brought the stationary up to his nose to get a better sample of the intriguing scent. Yes, it was a man's cologne - he thought he recognized it but couldn't remember the name - and it was a very attractive cologne at that. Justin inhaled again and let the perfume seep into his senses while he pulled out the letter from the envelope and unfolded the single sheet of stationary.

 

Dear New Tenant,


Welcome to the Loft. Congratulations! You are the lucky new resident of one of Fabulous Pittsburgh's hottest fuck pads! Use it wisely . . . or not! I hope you will enjoy your time here (God knows I did - over and over and over and over again!).


I have already filed a 'Change of Address' form with the post office, but since they are notoriously slow when it comes to doing anything (and I know this for a fact as I've already had at least a half dozen of them, here in this very loft), I doubt they will get around to processing it for several weeks. So, in the meantime, I would appreciate it if you would kindly forward any mail I receive to my new address in West Virginia. I've enclosed pre-printed address labels for your convenience.


Your Landlord,


Brian Kinney   

 

Justin read the letter through twice, laughing both times. His landlord seemed to be quite a character. 'Fuck pad', he chuckled. Justin thought he wouldn't mind meeting this landlord.

 

Thinking about the letter, the blond man decided to go check out his mailbox and see if there was anything to send on to this intriguing person. He grabbed the mailbox key and headed for the loft door.

 

All the mailboxes for the building were on the wall to the left of the main building door. In keeping with the ambiance of the rest of the building, they were the old-fashioned kind with a small metal and glass door on the front of each box. The array of boxes was mounted on the wall of a small room, which you could see into through the open back of each box. The letter carrier could access this 'mail room' via a locked door on the left and then could easily slide each resident's mail into the respective box. Justin looked through the glass window of the mailbox for #4 (the Loft was the only apartment on the fourth floor so there wasn't a need for an 'A', 'B', etc.) and could clearly see that there was a substantial amount of mail in there already. Since he'd only just moved in and didn't really know anyone who would write to him here, he figured it all belonged to Mr. Kinney. He inserted the key into the lock, opened the box and pulled out the stack of mail, which he examined as he turned to hike back up the stairs to the loft.

 

Based on the contents of the mailbox, his previous impression that his landlord was a real 'character' was not only substantiated, it was strengthened. Justin outright giggled as he looked through the various items in the pile. At the bottom of the stack was a yellow postal notice that indicated there was a larger package that wouldn't fit in his regular mailbox. He looked around and noted a larger door at the bottom of the panel of mailboxes with a plaque reading 'Packages" on the door. He tried his key in that lock and was encouraged that the lock turned easily. Inside was a largish box with a logo depicting a profile of a roman warrior with plumed helmet and the words "Trojan Brand Condoms" written in very large, bold print across the top. He grabbed the box and the mail and headed back upstairs.

 

'Yes,' Justin thought, again with a giggle, 'I wouldn't mind meeting this man - not at all'.

 

 

Chapter 3 - An Eager Correspondent (August 5, 2001 ­ 4:45 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

Back up in the loft, Justin finished looking through the rest of his landlord's mail. It had been very entertaining and even a bit educational. At the very least, it had been a very pleasant way to kill several hours of time that he'd earlier worried would drag by. His curiosity about this man, Brian Kinney, was aroused.

Actually, more than just his curiosity was aroused after looking through one of the catalogs that had been in the stack of mail. The full color pictures of the 'toys' in the catalog (many of which were accompanied by vivid descriptions regarding their use, as well as testimonials from happy - very, very happy - customers) had been so arousing, in fact, that he was now sporting an almost painful hard on. So, like any other red-blooded American gay boy, he took matters into his own hands, literally, and engaged in a good old-fashioned 'whack attack'.

As he reclined on the sofa, holding his fully engorged dick in his hand and stroking it with a firm, slow grip, Justin's mind kept returning to the enigmatic man who was the intended recipient of this oh-so-erotic mail. The thought of the man excited him even more than the toys had. He wondered what Brian Kinney looked like. In his mind, Justin started to construct a hazy picture of the man using the few clues he had so far. The blond imagined that the other man was tall, probably with dark hair and smoldering good looks. He dressed really well, too.

The more he fantasized, the harder Justin got. He then started thinking about all those 'toys' and just exactly what the dark, handsome man would do to him with those 'toys' . . . At the height of his fantasy, Justin was imagining himself lying on the bed with that big, florescent green dildo (as shown on page 47) firmly inserted up his ass with the vibration mechanism turned up to 'high' and his dark knight (aka his landlord) deep throating his cock while touching him all over his completely naked body. As the brunet fantasy man began to move the dildo in and out, across his already sensitized prostate, Justin felt a tightening in his balls, a building warmth originating in his gut and moving out towards his limbs and then, with a gasp, he climaxed shooting out streams of cum onto the couch and his own chest.

'That had to have been one of my best fantasies ever,' the panting, sweaty blond thought to himself. He made a mental note to remember that one again next time he needed a little release.

Ok, maybe he was just being a romantic fool. Kinney was probably just an ordinary guy. Maybe he was some fat, disgusting, breeder who got off on kink because he couldn't get a girl. There wasn't anything in the letter from the landlord that stated outright the man was gay. It was all probably just wishful thinking on Justin's part. But . . . it was a really great fantasy!

After cleaning himself up a bit, Justin grabbed one of his school notebooks and began to write:

Dear Mr. Kinney;

Thank you for your note of welcome. I'm settling in nicely, so far. However, I'm not sure I will be able to keep up the Loft's reputation as the 'hottest fuck pad' in the city. I'm afraid I'm a bit of a recluse these days. All I really want to do at your loft (well, maybe not all . . .) is to take advantage of the great natural light from those huge south facing windows for my painting. I hope you won't be too disappointed with my lack of promiscuity!

I'm forwarding the few items of your mail that I've received so far: an invoice from the 'Leather Emporium', a catalog for the Armani Spring Collection and another for what appears to be an interesting online sex-toy company. (It was VERY educational reading). There was also a largish box delivered from Church & Dwight Co., Inc., which, according to the invoice, includes 2 gross XXL Trojan(R) Bareskin Lubricated Condoms, one EcstasyTM Fire & Ice Pleasure Pack and a 64 oz. bottle of lubricant (with pump cap included - at no extra charge). I'm forwarding this package to you separately as it is a fairly large package and I'll therefore have to personally take it into the post office.

Based on your mail alone, you must be a very interesting/horny/promiscuous/remarkable (circle one) man, Mr. Kinney. I promise to continue to forward any additional mail you receive here as it is delivered (although I might have to look through the catalogs first - after that last one, I must admit I'm now rather curious).

Your New Tenant,

Justin Taylor

P.S. I found a large box of miscellaneous papers, photos, etc. at the back of the closet in the bedroom. Do you want that forwarded to you as well? Also, I'm curious about the child's handprints on the wall in the kitchen area - they don't seem to fit in with the 'fuck pad' image of the place?  J.

Justin immediately folded the note and shoved it into a battered but still usable envelope he'd dug out of the bottom of his messenger bag. He used one of the address labels his landlord had provided, sealed the envelope and put a stamp on the front. Then he skipped to the door, down the stairs and straight to the mailboxes. After depositing the letter to Mr. Kinney in his mailbox, he flipped the little side lever which caused the red flag at the rear of the box to pop up, indicating to the the letter carrier that there was outgoing mail.

Justin was hoping he would hear back from Brian Kinney very soon. In the meantime, he still had this entertaining new fantasy to work on. With a smile on his lips, he ran up the stairs, into the loft and headed straight for his bedroom. Maybe this day wouldn't turn out to be so boring after all.

 

 

Chapter 4 - Meet Brian. (August 5, 1999 ­ 9:30 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Brian Kinney stood in front of his full-length mirror and gave his reflection a final once-over. He thoroughly approved of what he saw. His tall, lean body didn't have an ounce of excess fat. His muscular chest and arms were toned but not overly so.  His auburn hair was styled perfectly (though at the same time presenting that slightly touseled, unstyled look) with not a single strand out of place. Freshly shaved and clad in his favorite pair of Armani black jeans with a soft cotton sleeveless shirt, Brian determined he was ready for anything.

"I'd fuck me", Brian commented to himself with his trademark smirk.

The sultry brunet strode to the kitchen bar, grabbed his wallet and keys and looked through his stash box to find a couple of hits of E, which he pocketed for later. He turned towards the door, but hesitated briefly - what was he forgetting? His gaze fell on the shell bracelet he had taken off when he'd jumped into the shower earlier. 'Don't want to forget that', he thought, grabbing the treasured adornment and snapping the clasp closed as he headed out for his usual Thursday night rounds.

 

As Brian left the elevator on the ground floor of the building, his eyes briefly brushed over the Loft's mailbox - it was almost a reflexive motion. 'That's odd,' he told himself, 'I already got the mail today.  What's in my box now'? His path diverted towards the box as he fished his keys out of his pocket, unlocked the box and pulled out the envelope from inside.  He noted briefly that there was no return address on the letter but didn't think any more about it as he deftly deposited the letter in his rear jeans' pocket.  Woody's and Babylon awaited and no mere letter would distract the Stud of Liberty Avenue from making his duly appointed rounds.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Approximately six hours later, Brian was confronted by a tired looking brunet in the back room at Babylon. "Brian, we're tired and hungry. We want to go get something to eat.  How much longer will you be", whined the dark haired, brown eyed man.

Brian reached down to the trick whose lips were currently roaming up and down his dick, and raised the twink's chin with his index finger. Looking into the eyes of the man who was servicing him at the moment, Brian responded, "five minutes, tops". He wasn't even sure he would be that long, though, since the blow job so far was definitely below par. The twink was definitely attractive with those large puppy-dog eyes, but his technique was for shit. Brian felt that the man's tongue was much too tentative and the sucking was definitely uninspired. Of course, Brian reminded himself that his opinion was jaded at this point in his life - the number of blow jobs he had had just in this room alone was probably approaching the 4 figure mark and he could only actually remember maybe five or six of the actual events. This particular blow job was definitely NOT memorable enough to be included in those few.  In fact, he was having trouble even staying hard at this point. As his friend exited through the doorway, he decided it wasn't even worth finishing and pulled away from the trick with a brusque, "Fuck off", as he followed Michael out the door. He pointedly ignored the disappointed countenance of the trick who sat back on his heels staring at Brian's retreating back.

Minutes later he emerged from the maw of the den of iniquity, otherwise known as Babylon, and sauntered over to greet his friends. He gracefully draped his arm over the shoulders of Michael, his best friend and the one who had pulled him away from the unsatisfactory blowjob.

"That was quick", piped Michael.

 

"Well, when you've had as much practice as he's had," quipped the dark haired, sallow complected man standing to Michael's left with a disdainful air.  

 

"I got bored", Brian replied to his friend Ted. Ted was actually almost appalled. He could never in a million years imagine himself walking away from any blowjob, however mediocre it might be.

 

"I know, getting your dick sucked can be sooo tedius," Emmett, the tall sandy-blond haired man tagging behind the group added with a scarcastic twist of his generous mouth.

"He looked pretty hot to me", Michael intoned.

"Well, anybody would look hot to you", Brian responded, instantly regretting his insensitive remark to his best friend. Luckily Michael seemed to have ignored the comment.

As Brian headed towards his jeep, ready to return home, Michael deftly grabbed the brunet's keys out of his hand and pushed the larger man towards the passenger side of the vehicle. Brian only hesitated for a moment before taking the other man's implied suggestion; he really had had too much to drink and at least one tab too many hits of E to be considered safe to drive. He was content letting his usual chauffeur take him home - it was not like it was an unusual occurrence for either man. Michael was always Brian's designated driver and had been since they were both legal to drive.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The next morning, Brian started awake abruptly due to the nagging sound of his alarm going off at 7:30 am. He rolled over to violently hit the snooze button then gratefully sank back into the comfort of his plush mattress. While struggling to reach full consciousness, he evaluated the level of his morning hangover.  He was more than familiar with the pounding headaches, dry-mouth and general queasiness associated with his almost nightly drinking and drug binges. He quickly determined that this morning's version was less serious than usual and that he would be back to his usual charming self in short order. Assuming, that is, that he got his standard 3 cups of coffee in before his first meeting at 9:00 am.

 

As the snooze alarm went off again, he rolled off the bed, hit the clock with more force than was strictly necessary, and headed for the shower while absentmindedly scratching his stomach. After a shower and quick jerk-off to relieve his morning woody, he plodded back to the bedroom to dress. Brian languidly reached down to pick up the clothing from last night puddled at the end of the bed. As he went to deposit the soiled, sweat and cigarette contaminated club clothes into the hamper, he noted a crinkling noise coming from his jeans' pocket. He reached in and pulled out the rather crumpled envelope he remembered pulling out of his mailbox last night.

 

'Oh yeah', he thought as he remembered that he hadn't had time to look over this odd letter. He quickly deposited the soiled clothing into the hamper and returned to the bed to sit and open the letter.

 

As he began to read the note inside, Brian's expression changed from confused to slightly amused to outright angry. Who was this Justin Taylor? He didn't have a tennant? What was this guy trying to pull?

 

At the nearby desk, Brian pulled out a sheet of the expensive stationary he kept handy for his personal correspondence and quickly penned a brusque reply to this Mr. Taylor.  He stuffed the letter into an envelope but then hesitated as to what address to put on the front. The letter from Taylor hadn't included a return address. The man somehow, though, had access to the loft's mailbox - he'd obviously received some of Brian's mail and a delivery from his usual condom supplier - so Brian decided to leave off the address and merely noted Taylor's name on the envelope. If this Taylor could access his mail, he would find the note regardless of how it was addressed.

 

Brian bolted out the door, deposited the letter in the box and flipped the Out-Going Mail lever, then proceeded out to his car and on to his life. He really didn't think any more about the odd letter the rest of the day

 

 

Chapter 5 - The Mailbox (August 7, 2001) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Justin rolled out of bed at the crack of 10:30. This wasn't unusual for the artist who considered himself more of a night-owl than a morning-person. He had stayed up late last night watching a video on his laptop computer. And, since he once again had a completely free day, he didn't feel guilty about sleeping in.

After a bowl of cereal in lieu of breakfast proper (or would it be considered lunch as it was fairly late in the day already?) and a refreshing shower, Justin once again contemplated how to spend his day.  He thought that he might, finally, be ready to venture outside today. The sun was again shining brightly but it wasn't yet too hot or humid out to make the prospect of a walk uncomfortable. Maybe he would be okay with a short stroll around the block, he thought. With a determined look plastered on his countenance, he strode to his closet and proceeded to dress himself in a pair of khaki shorts and a plain white tee shirt with tennis socks and his usual sneakers. Steeling himself with a deep breath and absentmindedly snapping on his newly-acquired shell bracelet, he resignedly headed towards the exit.

At the bottom of the staircase, he briefly glanced at the loft's mailbox. He still wasn't familiar with the post office's delivery schedule so he didn't note that the letter in his box wasn't part of the regular delivery schedule. He stopped briefly to grab the envelope and then proceeded with his planned outing before he could chicken out.

As Justin stepped out of the building, he took a deep breath. He surreptitiously looked both ways to ensure he was not going to be inundated with a crowd of people. Luckily, Fuller Street was not a frequently travelled street, despite being within walking distance of Liberty Avenue and other more frequented throughways. He randomly decided to head towards his left, towards Tremont Avenue, and valiantly stepped forward on this grand adventure.

More than an hour later, after having successfully negotiated at least 4 blocks full of strangers, and only almost freaking out about seven times when people innocently brushed up against him while navigating the busy sidewalks, Justin finally collapsed onto the stoop of his building.  He was proud of himself despite how difficult the journey had been - he had walked through the neighborhood alone and hadn't succumbed to a panic attack! That was definitely progress. He didn't realize that he had been subconsciously fingering the shell bracelet on his left wrist each time the pressure of the surrounding crowds had started to get to be too much. All Justin knew was that he had somehow conquered his fear, at least momentarily, and been able to venture out of his self-imposed hermitage. Definitely progress!

As he reached into his pocket to retrieve his keys out of the light jacket he had slipped into prior to leaving the loft, he felt the envelope that he had hastily shoved in there prior to his departure. Pulling the letter out along with the keys, he proceeded up the stairs to his sanctuary. He briefly noted that there was no address on the envelope, only his name scrawled across the front. As he mounted the stairs he slipped his finger under the envelope's flap, deftly tore open the top of the envelope and pulled out the letter.

The first thing he noted was that the note was from his landlord - there was the name 'Kinney' penned across the bottom of the missive. But, as he read the note itself, his interest at hearing back from his fantasy man turned to anger.

-Mr. Taylor,

Who the hell are you and what the fuck are you talking about? I don't have any 'tenant' living at the loft - I live here!  You better quit fucking with my mail too or I'll call the cops.  And how the hell are you getting into my locked mailbox anyway? FUCK OFF YOU NUT JOB!!!


Kinney

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Justin was confused and completely pissed off by this response. What the hell was up with this jackass? Kinney didn't know he had rented out the loft to him? What? Justin also took more than a little offense at being called a 'Nut Job'. He immediately grabbed a pen off the kitchen counter, turned the letter over and wrote on the back.

August 6, 5:00 pm.

-Mr. Kinney;

You must be the fucking 'Nut Job' if you don't recall the lease I signed for this loft!  I rented this place for the next two years through Pamela at your property management company last month and the contract clearly provides for a move-in date of August 1st.  I'll forward you a copy of the lease agreement if you don't believe me.

And what do you mean you live here? No one has lived here in more than a year, at least according to Pamela.

Your Very Confused TENANT!

Justin Taylor.

Cloaking himself with his righteous anger, Justin folded the note and proceeded back down to the mailboxes on the first floor. He unceremoniously shoved the note, without any envelope, into the mailbox for #4 and flung the door to the box closed with a metallic clank.  He angrily flipped the 'outgoing-mail' lever and stood there fuming and staring at the box.

That's when he saw the unbelievable - the letter simply vanished right before his eyes!

 

 

Chapter 6 - Can This Really Be Happening? (August 6th, 5:15 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Brian had left work early (well early for him, at least) and pulled up to the parking area behind the loft at 5:00 pm. He was in a good mood and somewhat more relaxed than was usual for him at the end of a long workday. This afternoon he had successfully signed a new client which was potentially worth more than $20 million - a large grocery store outlet chain - and was therefore celebrating by allowing himself, as well as the rest of his staff, the rare early night.

He grabbed his mail out of the box, as was his usual habit, as soon as he entered the building and scanned through the stack as he stood in the lobby in front of the array of resident mailboxes. As he was standing there, he heard a noise resembling the metallic clank the mailbox door made when it was closed. At the same time he happened to glimpse a flash of motion out of the corner of his eye. He promptly raised his vision to stare at the loft's mailbox and noted that there was something new in the box he had just emptied. Peeking through the small glass window he noted that the mail room behind was dark and there was no sign of movement in the small space.  He once again opened the box and pulled out the new letter, noting a familiar sheet of cream-colored stationary with his own handwriting on the outside of the fold.

 

Ignoring the other letters and mailings in his hand, he unfolded the new note and read the short response that had been written on the back of his previous letter. As he read, he became more and more perplexed. "What the FUCK!" he sputtered to the empty lobby. Pulling a pen out of his briefcase, which was still resting on the floor by his feet, he immediately penned an incredulous reply:

 

-Taylor - how the fuck did you do that? I came home from work and as always got my mail as soon as I entered the building. Then, as I stood there sorting the crap, I heard the mailbox door clink shut. When I looked at the box, your note was THERE.  I SWEAR it wasn't there 15 seconds earlier . . . . FUCK. What the hell is going on?  I didn't lease my loft.  I don't have a 'property management company' and I don't know anyone named 'Pamela'. Why are you fucking with me like this?  Kinney

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Justin had been standing in front of the mailboxes, completely dumbfounded for more than 15 minutes now. He could swear that the note he had put in the box had disappeared right before his eyes. Was he losing it? Was this some kind of dream or hallucination? He had been through enough therapy in the past year that he didn't think he was crazy (at least not THIS crazy) - and if he was, wouldn't the doctor have said something by now? He simply did not know how to react to the phenomenon, so he just stood there, rooted to the spot, waiting for an explanation to materialize.

His persistence finally paid off though. As he continued to stare at the now empty mailbox, there was a metallic clanking sound and literally before his eyes, the letter reappeared in the box in front of him. He didn't know what to do, so he did the only reasonable thing - he opened the box and retrieved the letter.

Penned below his last entry, there was a response from Kinney.  He read it with an incredulous look in his eyes. Can this really be happening? 'At least I'm not alone in being crazy,' he thought, 'since apparently my landlord is seeing the same hallucinations'. Trying not to think about it too much, he grabbed the pen he'd stashed behind his ear back up in the loft and sat down on the linoleum floor of the lobby to scrawl his own reply.

 

-August 6 , 5:18 pm

I'm not fucking with you! You're the one fucking with me, I think. I did lease the loft!  I do live here! And, I have no idea what's up with the god damned mail box. I just put my last note to you in there and before I could even turn around to say hello to another tenant who had entered the building at that moment, it simply disappeared. Then, while I stood staring at the box, your note was just THERE! It just materialized in front of my fucking eyes. I'm going to put this note back in the mailbox and stand RIGHT HERE watching it until I figure out exactly how you're doing this. JT

 

Justin shoved the note into the box, clanged the door shut and fixed his eyes on the mysterious box, trying not to blink.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brian hadn't moved from his spot in front of the mailboxes after depositing his last reply.  He could not believe what he had seen. If it happened again, he was determined to catch the person responsible and figure out how this 'magic trick' was being perpetrated.

Not more than a few minutes later, there was another clank and, as he watched, a letter materialized in the box he swore he hadn't taken his eyes off of. He shoved his key in the lock, pulled the box's door back as quickly as possible and yanked out the paper inside. The now familiar sheet of stationary had a new entry on it, which he read with growing amazement.

As quickly as he could, he applied pen to paper in reply to Taylor's latest response. Brian then shoved the letter back in the remarkable magic mailbox and flipped the door closed as fast as he could.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Justin again watched as the unbelievable occurred right before his eyes. The sheet of stationary reappeared in the box without any indication of how it had arrived there. He again opened the box, retrieved the letter and eagerly perused the added content.

 

-August 6, 5:20 pm


This isn't happening! I must have got some bad E from that pig Anita last night. I swear that I just saw my last note disappear and your note reappear in the mailbox right in front of my eyes. I am standing right here in front of the box. Nobody came near it. I didn't even blink. I swear! The fucking paper just appeared out of nowhere. BK


-I'm standing right here in front of the mailbox too . . . And I just saw the same thing? This is impossible! We can't both be standing in the same place, at the same time and not see each other, can we . . . ? JT


-When, exactly, are you standing there? B.


-Huh? J.


-What's the date there? B.


-August 6, 2001, of course! J.


-2001? Are you sure? B.


-Yeah . . . 2001. Are you saying it's NOT 2001 for you? J.


-Unless I'm due for a padded room at the local sanitarium, I think it's still 1999 where I am. B.


-FUCK! J.


-You can say that again! B.


-I don't know what to think. This is so giving me a headache! I'm gonna go lay down for a while. If you come up with a plausible explanation for how our mail seems able to defy the laws of physics, let me know! You obviously know where to reach me. Goodnight. Justin.

 

 

Chapter 7 - Resigning Oneself to The Impossible. (August 7) by Tagsit

 

 

 

After Justin had signed off last night, both Brian and Justin had retreated to the loft (albeit in their own time lines) to think through what had appeared to have happened. Neither man was particularly superstitious or inclined to believe in the supernatural. Both were striving to find some logical explanation for what they thought they had seen. Justin, feeling another migraine coming on in response to the excitement, proceeded directly to his bed. Brian, curiously turned off by the idea of his regular Thursday night routine of drinking, dancing and fucking, made the unusual decision to order Thai and stay in for the night watching old movies by himself. He figured Liberty Avenue could do without his magnificent presence for one night.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Justin hadn't really slept well last night. He woke up quite early for him - it was only 9:00 am. He was still feeling a residual throbbing from last night's migraine, but it was a manageable pain so he chose to take two aspirin and try to ignore it. He mulled over the bizarre mailbox events from yesterday as he scarffed down two bagels with cream cheese and a pint of yogurt for breakfast. Then, compelled to see if he had only imagined last night's wierdness, he descended the stairs to look into the mailbox once again.

 

Arriving at the lobby, he instantly noted the single sheet of paper occupying the loft's box. He was almost afraid to open the box and read the note, but he simply couldn't resist the temptation. Reluctantly, he slipped the key into the lock, turned it and pulled the door open. Justin pulled out the paper from within, but couldn't bring himself to look at it yet. He decided to retreat to the safety of the loft before perusing the latest installment in his own personal 'Twilight Zone' episode.

 

Once he was ensconced safely on the couch in the loft's main room, he gingerly opened the note that he had found in the mysterious mailbox.

 

August 7, 1999 - 8:00 am


Justin:


Are you still there or did I hallucinate that whole mess last night? Did I really see mail disappearing & reappearing?

Brian.

 

This was all the note said. Justin fully understood the confusion and incredulity apparent in the short note. He didn't believe any of it either. But here in his hands, this letter was the proof that something had happened and he wasn't the only person to experience this bizarre incident. He quickly penned a response.

 

5/7/01 - 10:30 am

Brian: I'm still here and I don't think you were hallucinating because I saw the same thing. Unless there is some type of mass hysteria event going on in Pittsburgh, I don't think we can both be having the same delusions.

Be at the mailbox tonight at 6:30 pm and we can talk/correspond again.  Maybe we can try to figure this shit out.

Justin.

 

After redepositing the paper in the box and once again flipping up the outgoing mail lever, Justin retreated to the loft once again. He really didn't feel up for another walk today. He thought he might try (please let this work) to draw or paint this afternoon. He also needed to call his mother and his best friend, Daphne, to reassure both 'mother hens' that he was still alive and doing (sort of) okay on his own for the time being. He knew that time would drag though until 6:30 came around - he was more than a little excited about the prospect of 'talking' with Brian again.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brian dragged into his building at a quarter past six that evening.  He had had a long day at work. The fucking art department was displaying its usual thick-headedness and had twice screwed up the boards for the new Liberty Air campaign. Brian was a complete perfectionist and simply couldn't stand anything less than exceptional work from his staff. Unfortunately, his assistant, Cynthia, had already warned him that if he fired any more of the art department staff before the end of the year, she would be quitting - she was more than tired of the constant rounds of interviews to replace the staff he had already dismissed. So, Brian had resigned himself to try and get along with the imcompetent assholes for as long as needed to placate Cynthia. He knew he couldn't run his business without her for even a short period of time. Oh well! Those were the joys of working for yourself, he thought with a humorless little laugh.

 

Immediately upon entering the lobby his gaze was drawn to the loft's mailbox.  It was full, which meant that the regular mail delivery had already been deposited. He wasn't sure if that would preclude any irregular deposits from his non-tennant, Justin Taylor, or not. He resolutely opened the box and pulled out the stack of mail. Sorting through the normal pile of bills, advertisements, and catalogs (oh good - the new furniture catalog from Milan he had been waiting for was finally here!) he came to the last piece of paper in the bundle. Sure enough, it was from Justin - a response to the note he'd left this morning. So, it wasn't all just a dream inspired by bad Thai food. He quickly glanced at his Gucci wristwatch and noted the time. It was almost 6:30 already. He was so intrigued by the events that were transpiring that he couldn't wait to write his reply to Justin. He penned a rapid note, stashed it in the box, flicked the lever and waited to see what would happen.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Justin arrived in the lobby at precisely 6:30 pm. There appeared to be a response to his earlier note already waiting in the box. Eagerly retrieving the paper from the box, he found Brian had responded with equal alacrity.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

8/7/99 - 6:30 pm

-I'm here! Brian.


-Hey! I'm here too! Now what? Justin.


-Fuck if I know! Are the notes still popping in and out of existence on your end? B.


-Yep . . . how about on your end? J.


-Unfortunately, yes. So, are you, like, Harry Potter's long lost wizard cousin?  Or, maybe you pissed off a VooDoo witch doctor who cursed your mail, or something? B.


-Nope - no magical bloodlines or curses here. At least not to my knowledge!  Got any other ideas? J.


-Well, today at lunch I fucked this guy in the bathroom at the Diner who said he was an engineer. In between the blowjob and the fuck, I asked if he knew anything about time travelling mail. He was spouting some shit about 'Quantum Mechanics' and 'String Theory', but I got too distracted by all his moaning between sentences to understand it all. Plus, the explanation got a little muddled near the end - he really wasn't very good at speaking while being rammed! So, your guess is as good as mine! B.


-You have interesting 'Research' methods, Mr. Kinney! LOL! Their effectiveness, however, is questionable! J.


-No one's complained before! Well, maybe let's start with how you end up living in my loft in 2 years? B.


-I told you - I'm an artist and took this loft because of the space and light. J.


-Well, if you're able to rent my loft, you must not be the 'starving artist' type, at least! B.


-I came into some money a couple months ago. It was enough to pay my tuition at PIFA and a two year lease here. I've also got a part-time job busing tables which pretty much covers my basic living expenses. So at least I won't have to worry about the 'starving' thing any time soon! J.


-Rich uncle die & leave you everything? Or did you win the lottery? B.


-Neither. The night of my senior prom I got hit in the head with a baseball bat swung by a homophobic jock I'd pissed off. I was in a coma for 2 weeks and in rehab for another 6 after that. I still have impaired motor control in my hand because of the fucker. So, after the prick got off almost scott free thanks to our wonderful criminal 'justice' system, I sued his ass for civil assault and won!  The settlement covering the tuition money and loft are therefore courtesy of one Mr. Christopher Mark Hobbs. It's not as good as if he was rotting in a jail cell for the rest of his life, which is what he deserved, but it's better than nothing. J.


-Fuck! Fucking homophobic jocks - I can definitely empathize. Good for you though, getting the little shit to pay up for his crime after all. I always say the best revenge against the straight world is to become the biggest fucking success you can be. And you just forced the asshole to provide the funding you need to succeed! Way to go, Taylor!


But, you said you were an artist? How are you able to work with your hand being impaired? B.


-I . . . I'm . . . I gotta go now - Sorry. J.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brian read the last line and blinked. It was almost like their 'conversation' had been cut off mid-sentence. He wondered what happened. Did he say something to piss the other guy off? He bent to retrieve his briefcase and then slowly headed for the elevator as he wondered why Taylor had cut short the discussion so abruptly.


 

Chapter 8 - Distractions. by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Be prepared for Babylon Backroom scenes - definitely "R" rated, folks!  TAG


"Brian.  Earth to Brian?" Michael asked. When he got no response, he continued, "so, as I was saying, I've decided to take up naked skydiving as a hobby and wanted to know if you were interested in joining me?"

Brian, who was sitting next to his best friend on a barstool at Woody's, merely nodded with a distracted air in response to Michael's question. He hadn't been able to stop thinking about the enigma known as Justin Taylor all evening and hadn't really been paying attention to his companion for at least the past quarter hour.  As Michael subsequently broke out in a fit of giggles though, the sense of the question finally managed to penetrate through to the brunet's conscious mind.

"What the fuck are you going on about Mikey?" Brian groused.

"You just agreed to go naked skydiving! I could probably sell tickets to all the fags on Liberty Avenue and make millions!" Michael chortled on.

"They would love it, wouldn't they," Brian's sparkling hazel eyes shined as he smiled at his companion, who appeared to have reverted to his 14-year-old self. "I would definitely be fabulous at it, no doubt. But, I wonder if it's tough to stay hard while you're falling towards the ground at like a hundred miles an hour. I do have a reputation to maintain, you know. On second thought, better not risk it." Brian smirked at the tittering man next to him then rolled his lips in to avoid breaking out in giggles himself at the ridiculous image in his mind.

"Sorry, Mikey.  I guess I spaced out a bit there. What were you actually trying to ask me before venturing into your latest Brian Kinney Fantasy Adventure?" Brian asked, as contritely as possible for him.

"I was asking why you were so quiet tonight? Not really the typical boisterous Brian Fucking Kinney we all know and love! So, what's up?" Michael responded with obvious concern seeping into his tone.

Brian contemplated coming clean to Mikey about his alternate time dimension tennant and the odd behavior of his otherwise ordinary post box. 'Fuck that! Mikey would think I was looney toons. Besides, I don't think I could explain this shit, even if I tried.' Brian decided instead to go with the standard Kinney response for all unexpected tricky situations - denial and distraction.

"Nothing. Let's get going to Babylon. The pickings here are slim to troll, and I really need to get my dick sucked within the next 30 minutes." Brian stated nonchalantly as he rose from the bar stool and sauntered towards the door without a backward glance at Michael, who he knew would obediently follow with no further prompting.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Exactly 28 minutes later, Brian was standing with his back to the cum spattered wall of the backroom of Babylon looking down at the mousy brown hair on the head of the twink who was now getting the privilege of blowing the Stud himself. As the kneeling man carefully pulled down the zipper of Brian's perfectly faded designer jeans and reverently reached inside to grasp the legendary thing of beauty inside, the object of all this attention felt his own attention once again wandering. He barely registered when the twink opened his lips and tentatively began to lap at the tip of the half-hard penis in his hands. He still wasn't fully aware even when the adoring man whose face was nuzzling at his crotch began to lick and nibble up and down the hardening shaft.  It wasn't until the twink had fully engulfed the now rock solid cock and started to bob his head up and down at a fairly decent pace, that Brian finally pulled his awareness back to the present.

'What the fuck is wrong with me', he castigated himself. 'I have to get my mind off this shit with Non-tennant Taylor. Don't want to waste a perfectly good (well, at least adequate) blowjob!' Forcing himself to push away all concerns over his erstwhile postal problems, Brian inhaled a deep lungful of the sex and lube scented air of the backroom and let himself settle into the pleasurable feelings now emanating from his cock. The twink was really getting warmed up now and going at his duties with relish.  Brian could feel the man's tongue circling the head of his shaft frantically while he sucked and bobbed. As Brian finally relaxed, he felt the familiar spark of warmth kindling in his groin. As it grew and spread to his balls, he finally sensed his nearing climax. With a grunt of release, Brian felt his orgasm gushing forth into the other man's throat as the twink struggled to swallow all the jizz pumping into his suddenly full mouth.

As soon as he felt the last of his stream being released, Brian none-too-gently pushed the twink's head away from his crotch, folded himself into his jeans and zipped up while walking out of the room. He didn't bother to give the kneeling twink even a glance as he strode away. The man had been completely forgettable. He was merely a means for the tall, lanky brunet to get his immediate needs met. Besides, there were dozens of other half-naked men out on the dance floor that Brian had yet to sample and time was 'a wasting! Brian promptly pulled on his required predatory leer and boldly headed out to the dance floor to find his next prey.


Chapter 9 - Meanwhile, Back At the Ranch . . . by Tagsit

 

 

 

Back at the loft, Justin was finally falling into bed, almost completely exhausted. He had not had nearly as pleasurable an evening as his landlord. The blond had pulled the swing shift at the diner that evening, which meant that he barely had time after finishing his correspondence with Brian to shower and get to work. The diner had been packed - it always was on a Friday evening what with the happy hour crowd as well and the clubbing set - and the young man had been practically run off his feet all night.  He hadn't really minded, though. The constant demands of the diner's patrons had served as an excellent distraction. But, now that he was home, lying in his lonely, empty bed, there were no more distractions and Justin dreaded the thoughts that he knew he could no longer avoid.

 

See, it hadn't been his need to get to work that had caused him to break off his exchange with Brian earlier in the evening. It was Brian's question about his hand.

 

Thinking about the prom and bashing wasn't difficult for Justin. He still had no memories of those events. Recounting what other people had told him therefore took no emotional toll. It was when he started to think about what happened after the bashing, about the consequences of that night and about his future, that the panic started to take control.

 

When Justin tried to respond to Brian's query about his hand and how he could continue to pursue his art, the dread and fear had erupted so unexpectedly that he had felt nauseated. He didn't want to think about how his hand still had so little strength. How it would begin trembling whenever he attempted to draw. Oh, he could still draw - months of physical therapy had restored most of the fine motor functions - but he had no stamina and would tire after only 20 minutes or so.

 

Justin had been determinedly avoiding all thoughts about his hand and the pending start of the fall term at PIFA. Funny, he had been so excited when he had first received the acceptance letter from the prestigious art academy. All through the last two months of his senior year he had thought of practically nothing except how eager he was to start school. Even his father's disdain at Justin's refusal to attend Dartmouth in favor of a 'waste of time art school' hadn't dampened his enthusiasm.

 

Now, though, the thought scared him so much he was almost paralyzed with dread each time he thought about how fast the term was approaching. He had deferred his enrollment at PIFA the previous year. He hadn't been in any shape to start school a mere three months after the bashing - it had taken almost that long just to regain the ability to hold a pencil, and much, much longer before he was able to stand leaving his house or being in crowds. But, he didn't have that option anymore. If he didn't follow through on his enrollment this fall, his acceptance would expire and his life's dream of being an artist might be permanently lost.

 

Fuck it all! He would do this. He was going to start classes and he would somehow figure out how to get through even with his gimp hand. Justin had always had a strong stubborn streak and wasn't going to give up now. As everyone kept telling him, at least he was alive, and as long as he was alive he could still keep trying to reach his goals. Not everyone had been that lucky . . .

 

Tossing about and messing up the bed sheets though wasn't getting him anywhere. If he laid there he knew he would just keep stewing. Gawd he wished there was an 'off' switch for his brain! Realizing sleep wasn't going to be an option without pharmaceutical help, Justin reluctantly got out of bed and rambled around the loft looking for something productive to do. The young man's gaze landed on a pressboard box sitting under the coffee table. It was the box he had found in the bedroom closet when he was moving in the other day. The box of mementos which presumably belonged to Brian Kinney. He decided that while he was up, he might as well satisfy his curiousity and shamelessly snoop through the other man's belongings.

 

Justin seated himself on the couch and pulled the cardboard box towards him. Reaching down, he grabbed a handful of the box's contents and leaned back into the cushions while he perused the assortment of items he found there. His prior assumptions were proven to be correct; the box appeared to hold all sorts of clippings, photos and other memorabilia all devoted to this landlord. Justin sifted through various newspaper clippings documenting Kinney's achievements in the world of advertising, a brief obituary for someone named 'Jack Kinney' (a relative?), some wine bottle labels, playbills from a couple off-broadway theatrical productions, and other random odds and ends. He separated out the few photos he found and returned the rest of the items to the box.

 

Justin reached across to the nearby armchair and pulled over the ratty old crocheted afghan his mother had insisted he take. He wrapped the soft, comforting throw around him and snuggled down into the couch cushions further while he studied each photo at length.

 

The first one appeared to be fairly old - it had that yellowed patina to it and the white border strip that was typical of photos from the early days of colored photography. Judging by the clothing the people in the photo were wearing, as well as the swirling brown, olive green and orange geometric shapes on the wallpaper in the background, the picture had to have been taken in the late sixties or early seventies, Justin thought. The focus of the photo was a thirty-something man with noticeably thinning brown hair, dressed in a plain white dress shirt and shapeless brown trousers and holding a small brown haired child wearing 'footy pajamas' who appeared to be about a year old. The man was smiling at the camera with a strained expression. The child was merely staring with a somewhat blank expression off into the distance beyond the camera. Flipping the photo over, Justin noted that someone had written in the upper left corner, "Jack and Brian. Thanksgiving, 1972".

 

Setting that photo aside, Justin picked up the next, which showed two teenaged boys in an outdoorsy setting. The taller of the two boys was grinning directly at the camera. His auburn hair looked windblown and his skin was a golden tan color as if he had recently spent a long day out in the sun. The tall boy had his right arm draped around the shoulders of a shorter boy with darker brown hair cut rather short. The second boy was looking up at his taller friend and smiling adoringly at the handsome young man. All his attention was focused on the tall teen, who in turn seemed oblivious of the focus of his friend. Justin again turned the photo over to see if there were any more comments documenting this picture but was disappointed when he found nothing more.

 

The last was a college graduation photo. Under a banner reading, 'University of Pennsylvania, Class of 1991', stood a tall brunet man clad in the traditional royal blue cap and gown ensemble. Justin recognized the man as the same tall boy from the previous photo. This photo was a much better quality, though, which allowed Justin to get a better idea of what Brian looked like. 'The man was simply gorgeous,' thought the young artist. The man's chestnut hair shone in the sun. His eyes, slightly crinkled up to protect from the sun glare, were a bright russet green color. The nose was straight and aquiline. The lips were full and burgundy red. The jawline was strongly drawn and the neck was long and graceful. The whole package put together was breathtaking. Too bad the billowing gown hid the rest of Brian's body from view. Regardless, Justin was fascinated by this portrait and stared at the man's visage for a long, long while.

 

When he finally tore his attention away from the photo, Justin looked over his shoulder and noted by the kitchen clock that it was almost three am. While he didn't feel sleepy yet, he was at least more relaxed and thought he might be able to get some rest. With that goal in mind he hoisted himself off the couch and plodded up to the bed. As he laid down, he carefully set the graduation photo of Brian Kinney on the bedside table. Glancing at the picture one last time, Justin brushed his fingers over the cowry shell bracelet still clasped on his left wrist, and finally closed his eyes.

 

 

Chapter 10 - Discussing Photos. by Tagsit

 

 

 

August 8, 2001 - 6:30 pm

Brian,

Hope you're here again tonight. I couldn't really stop thinking about you and this whole weird situation all day today.

Confession time - Last night I went through that box of stuff I found in the bedroom closet. Hope you're not too pissed at me! I saw some pictures of you. I have to say, you were HOT as a teenager! I loved the one of you and the other boy (boyfriend?) at the park (or somewhere outdoors?). How old were you in that picture? I also loved the graduation picture. Nice to be able to put a face to my non-landlord's name.

Justin.

 

-Yeah, I'm here. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this thing too. I guess I'm not angry at you for looking through the box, either. If I was, then I could have just written on the box 'Do not open - this means you Justin', since, from my perspective, you won't even find the box for another 2 years. You would then have known not to look in the box and we wouldn't have been having this discussion. But, since you have already invaded my privacy in the future, I couldn't have minded enough to tell you not to do it in the past. I think! Confused yet?

FYI, the other boy in the photo is Michael, my best friend. That picture was taken when we were about 16 or so, during a family vacation in the Poconos. And, yes, I was very HOT as a teen - I'm even hotter now though. B.

 

-Yes, I'm very confused! So, how old are you now, in your time that is?  J.


-I'm 30. Though if you tell anyone that, I will vehemently deny it. And, since I refuse to get any older than 30, I guess this gives me just under a year to figure out how to stay young and beautiful for eternity. Any suggestions? B.


-Good luck with that! Didn't I hear something about a Fountain of Youth somewhere down in Florida? Or was that just Disneyworld? Either way, I promise to never disclose your true age, even under threat of bodily torture! So, why no recent photos of you in the box? I'd love to see how you turned out!  J.


-No idea - since I haven't yet put any photos in that box, I don't know what my motivations will be when I do.  Assuming, that is, that I'm the one filling the box. Besides, no more photos for you until I get one first. You already (kind of) know what I look like. I pretty much look the same as I did in college, just even more attractive! I, on the other hand, have no clue what you look like. Fair is fair, Mr. Taylor.  You show me yours and I'll show you mine!  B.


-LOL! Okay. I guess that would be only fair. But I don't have any recent photos of mine. I'll have to draw one for you instead. (Oh, and I'll also send a a drawing of the rest of me!) Gotta go for now - I have the swing shift at the diner where I work. Same time tomorrow? J.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

The next morning, Brian was rushing down the stairs and out the building's entrance, trying to hurry enough to allow him time for breakfast at the diner before an early presentation to a new client. As he dashed past the row of mailboxes near the entrance, he noticed out of the corner of his eye something in the loft's box. 'Justin', Brian thought and smiled to himself. Fishing his keys from his pocket, he quickly unlocked the box, grabbed the papers inside and continued on his way to his favorite breakfast spot, the Liberty Diner.

 

 

Chapter 11 - Self Portraits (August 9) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

This is my favorite chapter I've written so far!  Hope you like it too! TAG


The familiar tinkling ring of the bell over the diner's door rang out as Brian entered. That was followed almost immediately by the also familiar sound of Debbie Novotny's brash and boisterous, "Hey Kiddo. Your usual?" as soon as the Red-headed waitress saw Brian.

 

"Yeah. Thanks Deb," Brian replied with a grin for his almost Mother as he sauntered over to the back booth where the rest of the gang was already gathered. He slid into the seat next to Michael. "Morning Ladies," Brian drawled to the assembled crew. Noticing the rather high-pitched giggles issuing from the three men at the table as he sat, Brian asked, "what, praytell, is this morning's fascinating topic of conversation? Comparing cock sizes again?"

 

"Hey Bri," Ted returned, ignoring Brian's snarky comment.

 

"We were just admiring Michael's latest heartthrob - 'The Continuum'. He has an even bigger package than most of the other superheros Michael lusts over”, trilled Emmet.

 

"And tighter tights!" quipped Ted. "By the way, how is that possible"?

 

Michael grabbed the comic book they had all been looking at out of Ted's hands and eagerly shoved it under Brian's nose. "This new graphic novel is so great, Brian. Look at the quality of the illustrations - the characters almost jump off the page at you. Gawd, how I wouldn't mind if they really did. The Continuum is sooooo hot. Just look!" Michael rambled on.

 

Brian glanced down at the relatively hefty book Michael was thrusting at him. The cover showed a fairly typical superhero-type character with the standard rippling muscles clad in the oh-so-deliciously-tight tights. This one did have an even more prominent basket than most of the comic book characters Brian had seen. Brian's mouth began to water just thinking about how that sized package would translate onto a real live crotch. "Now, Mikey. Don't let Captain Astro hear you've been ogling other superheros. He'll get jealous,” came the expected sarcastic remark from Brian.

 

With a twinkle in his big brown eyes, Michael grinned back at Brian. "My heart will always belong to the Captain, but that don't mean I can't still enjoy looking," Michael said with a dreamy sigh tacked on to the end of his declaration. "Plus, this guy is really cool. This new series is from a guy up in Portland, Oregon. He does the stories as well as the illustrations. And he's gone with a more graphic novel approach rather than the standard short comic book format. The graphics are amazing . . ."

 

Brian's attention drifted in direct proportion to the rising level of excitement exhibited by Mikey's voice as he rambled on about his favorite topic of conversation - comics. Brian, instead, devoted his attention to his dry wheat toast, fruit and coffee, while thinking about the upcoming pitch he would be making at work.

 

". . . He can travel in time forward and backward to save the planet . . ." Michael was still ranting about 'The Continuum'. As the phrase 'travel in time' seeped into his consciousness, Brian's focus zoomed back to the present. He remembered the papers he had pulled out of his mailbox a short time before. He hadn't had time to look at them yet. Brian reached into the pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out the folded up correspondence from his very own little time traveller. As he turned over the letter, he noted some writing on the back. 'Now show me yours!' it read. Brian smiled to himself and eagerly unfolded the missive, more than curious to see what his correspondent looked like.

 

A loud chortle from Brian interrupted Michael's continuing diatribe. All three men at the table turned to stare at the legendary Stud of Liberty Avenue, who was at that moment giggling over whatever he was looking at on the paper in front of him. The pure joy of the laughter issuing from their friend was so out of character for the usually taciturn man that the stunned assembly could do nothing but gape for several moments. Finally, after wiping at a couple tears of mirth which had escaped, Brian began to quiet, with only the occasional continuing chuckle. He looked up at the stunned faces of his friends with a decidedly huge grin on his beautiful, but usually much more serious, lips.

 

"Brian?"  Michael began. "You aren't stoned already this morning, are you?"

 

"What? Fuck you, Mikey. Why would you think that," Brian retorted.

 

"Uh, because you're giggling like a little girl?" Emmet ventured.

 

"I don't giggle, Emmet, I laugh in a very genteel manner! An acquaintance was supposed to send me a picture of himself," Brian began to explain. "But, instead he sent me this 'self portrait'." Breaking out into another spurt of laughter, Brian turned the papers he was holding around to show the other three men at the table.

 

Almost as one, three jaws dropped and three cocks started to harden. The 'self portrait' on display turned out to be an exquisite charcoal drawing of a beautiful, very nicely proportioned and fully erect cock. The fine details of the portrait showed the artist's lower, lightly muscled, smooth torso and narrow hips, a thatch of curly pubes, with that glorious appendage nestled within, and below, the subject's well shaped scrotum elegantly displayed next to a set of toned, strong thighs. The amount of detail in the drawing was amazing; Brian could see every single hair, the pulsing veins on the shaft of the absolutely scrumptious dick, even a small bead of pre-cum seeping out of the narrow slit at the tip looking like it had been frozen in time just as it was about to drip down the engorged head of one of the most delicious looking cocks he had ever imagined. Assuming that the artist hadn't taken too many liberties with his 'self portrait', Brian had to admit he was more than impressed. Now that he had recovered from his initial humorous reaction to the teasing missive, he felt an uncontrollable lust rushing through his already keyed up frame. Damn, he wanted to reach out and grab that ridiculously beautiful dick. What he wouldn't give right now for those time travelling powers 'The Continuum' purportedly controlled.

 

As Emmet, seemingly entranced by the glorious sight of his favorite body part, grabbed the drawing out of the brunet's hands, Brian noticed a second sheet of drawing paper behind the 'Portrait of a Cock of a Young Man'. Relinquishing the first drawing into the hands of his friends, who were oohing and aahing over the, admittedly, stimulating drawing, Brian looked at the other paper. This was also a charcoal drawing, simply entitled, 'Self Portrait Number Two'. This depiction,however, was not a repeat of the crotch shot from 'Self Portrait Number One'. It was instead an actual portrait of the artist's face. And, while his friends stared and commented on the first drawing, Brain allowed himself to be entranced by this equally exquisite vision.

 

The man depicted in this drawing had to be one of the most beautiful men Brian had ever seen. Brian avidly devoured the delicate lines of the other man's slim, long neck and strong jaw, his full, pouting lips, the slightly turned up nose, and the open, honest, full-lashed eyes. Brian noted each feature of the well proportioned face and how they all coalesced into one inherently perfect whole. Above a fairly high forhead, a shock of short hair stood up on end with the longer forelock gelled in a sort of twist, giving the face that proto-typical, clean-cut, All-American Boy look. 'What color is that hair', Brian mused to himself. 'And those intense eyes, what color are they? The man's cheeks look so soft. I wonder how it would feel to kiss them? And, shit, those lips - they are just screaming to be bitten, kissed, licked . . .'

 

Brian was so raptly entranced by the drawing he was contemplating that he didn't immediately notice that his friends had ceased their perusal of the oh-so-magnificent cock and were now all staring at him. "What?" he asked, putting his usual snarky grin back on his face to cover the look of awe he had been wearing while admiring Justin's portrait.

 

"What's that one of? His ass?" asked Michael, as he reached for the new drawing.

 

Brian, for reasons he himself didn't understand, pulled the second drawing away from Michael before the smaller man could grab it. For some reason, he didn't want to share this picture with the rest of the gang. He tried to convince himself that he just didn't want to try to explain the whole bizarre story to the others - they'd probably think he was crazy if he did. A small voice deep inside, though, said softly, 'he's mine: I don't want to share'. Brian habitually ignored all such internal voices and therefore didn't let this one rise to the level of conscious thought. It was much easier that way.

 

Applying his time tested methods of distraction, Brian grabbed for the cock portrait, stood up, and announced he had to get going, effectively avoiding the need to respond to Mikey's question or show the others Justin's portrait. "See ya, boys", was all he said as he determinedly made his way out of the diner. He slowed his pace once he was out the door and carefully refolded both drawings as he headed for his car. No one was around to see the slightly confused and tender smile on the handsome man's lips as he slipped the two sheets of drawing paper into the breast pocket of his jacket.

 

Chapter 12 - Terrors in the Night (August 9, 2001 ­ 2:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Ready for some plot-twisty goodness?  Kind of short chapter but very important - read carefully

 

After working two swing shifts in a row, along with the lack of sleep from the night before, Justin was grateful that he finally managed a full nine hours of uninterrupted sleep when he eventually stumbled into his loft in the early hours of Monday morning.  He was convinced that only insomniacs like himself could truly appreciate the deliciousness of a full night's sleep. Those who regularly fell to sleep without problems and who weren't awakened night after night with terrifying nightmares, would never know exactly how good they really had it.

The tired busboy languidly rolled out of bed when he finally awoke at around eleven am, quickly scarffed down 2 bowls of Cheerios and a slightly over-ripe banana for breakfast/lunch and then luxuriated in an extra-long shower. Once fed, bathed and dressed, he retired to the couch, prepared to laze the afternoon away in front of the television. Flipping through the channels, he happened upon a rerun of 'Dirty Dancing' and was delighted with the prospect of ogling Patrick Swayze for a solid two hours (even if it was at least the eleventh time he'd watched the movie).

However, despite all the rest he'd gotten that morning, his eyelids began to droop before the movie was even half over. Since he didn't have to work that night, and already had a pretty good idea how the film ended, Justin decided to switch off the T.V. completely and settle in for a completely guilt-free nap.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

No one knew who the man was, at least not until much later. He just showed up, virtually out of nowhere, the night of the St. James' Academy Senior Prom. Justin didn't know who he was either - he couldn't actually remember anything about that night, though. He only got flashes - pictures that materialized dimly against the inside of his closed eyelids. The images he had of the man were equally vague - just a tall form clad in black with dark hair and hazy features. Justin knew he knew the man, though. He just couldn't remember how.

The flashes of memory started to come at him more rapidly now. A flash of a brightly lit room with silver balloons strewn across the floor. A flash of lights dizzily spinning around his body while warm, strong arms wrapped themselves around his back. A flash without an image, just a smell - sweat, musk, cologne, and something else he couldn't name but which felt comforting somehow. Then a flash of blinding white light as if from an explosion, but without any sound - there was never any sound, ever, just silence.  A flash of jumbled colors - black with a slash of brilliant white, a blur of metallic silver and then gushing quantities of carnelian red melting over everything and obliterating all. Finally, a flash of dim light, rent repeatedly by other flashes of red and white and, in the distance, a black clad form lying on a sea of flat, cold grey.

The last image was always the most vivid and often the only one he would remember when he awoke. That image always came with a stabbing sense of grief, paralyzing fear, and the overwhelming emptiness of loss. Justin knew that when this last image appeared, the screaming would start. If he was alone, the screaming would go on and on - for how long, he had no idea - until at some point the outside world would once again slowly materialize in front of him and Justin would realize the screaming was coming from him.

The doctors called them, 'Night Terrors', even though they didn't necessarily happen at night.

All Justin knew was that it would take him a seemingly endless time to calm down enough to stop the screaming and an even longer time to stop his limbs from shaking sufficiently to allow for movement. Then he would crawl to wherever his meds were, down two capsules, and huddle on the floor wherever he'd finally ended up until the drugs kicked in. Eventually, Justin would clean himself up, find a clock to try and determine how much time he'd actually lost and vow, once again, to never let himself fall asleep.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This time, when Justin was finally able to view his surroundings, he noted it was already 10:30 pm. 'I've lost more than 5 hours?' he thought incredulously. That made it one of the worst episodes he'd ever had. Luckily these 'incidents' had become less frequent over time. Frankly, he couldn't imagine how he would survive if they ever became more frequent.

As he became more aware of his body and surroundings, he realized his right hand was clamped over his left wrist so tightly that he'd cut off the blood flow to his other hand. The skin on his wrist was chafed and already showing bruising. Why had he done that to himself? Absently, he noted the shell bracelet was not on his left wrist. Where had it gone? 'Oh yeah. I took it off when I showered this morning. I guess I forgot to put it back on,' he mused. He felt a tangible sense of loss at the absence of the now familiar bracelet.

By 11:00 pm, Justin was actually able to push himself up off the bathroom floor. He stripped off his clothes, walked on shaky legs into the shower stall, turned on the water as hot as he could possibly stand it, and then slumped down to the floor, letting the water stream over his skin. By the time the hot water finally ran out, Justin had recovered sufficiently to dress and head to the kitchen for sustenance. Then, he grabbed his sandwich, rummaged through one of the kitchen drawers for an old deck of playing cards, and carried both over to the dining room table. The young man settled into his chair, hoping to stave off sleep with a marathon session of solitaire.


 

Chapter 13 - ­The Lost Boy (August 9, 1999 ­ 7:30 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Six-thirty had come and gone. Brian was still hovering in the lobby. He had expected to see a note from Justin as soon as he got there, but other than the usual mail from the current time/dimension, there was nothing. Unwilling to wait any longer, he quickly penned a note to the boy and watched as it disappeared from view as soon as the 'outgoing mail' flag had been raised. But, no response materialized.

 

After waiting fifteen minutes, Brian again jotted a quick note to Justin and again watched as it vanished from the box. Waiting an even longer time for a reply this time, Brian started to get a little concerned. 'Where is he,' he worried. 'He's the one who said 'same time tomorrow? He should be here. . . .' .  Brian paced, he leaned against the wall, he tapped his foot impatiently, he replied offhandedly to the other residents as they came through the lobby on various personal errands and muttered their 'hello's. Still nothing.

 

It was now more than an hour past their usual meeting time. Brian was not only worried, he was also starting to get pissed.  He had been actually looking forward to hearing from Justin this evening. After receiving the portraits from the boy this morning, he'd been unable to get the picture of that beautiful body and captivating face out of his thoughts for even the briefest of times. He had somehow managed to muddle through his pitch this morning -  he honestly couldn't remember how he'd done it, though.  He'd sat through three or four meetings with staff throughout the afternoon, but couldn't tell you what they had been about. He'd even had to take several personal 'time-outs' in his private bathroom to take care of the reoccurring effects caused by the visions now implanted in his head by the sight of those two self portraits. Gawd he wanted that boy! He didn't know how he was going to get him, considering they were separated by two years of time, but Brian was determined to find a way. And in the meantime, if he couldn't have the boy in the flesh, he at least wanted to have what they already had shared - the contact via mail was better than nothing.

 

He eventually admitted that he probably wouldn't be hearing from Justin tonight after all. With disappointment evident in the lines of his slumped shoulders and the frown on his luscious lips, he finally gave up and headed for the loft.

 

Brian opened the door, sliding it back along the overhead track, and dropped his briefcase onto the chair at his desk, then proceeded to empty his pockets as per his usual routine. It was a Monday night, which was one of the only nights of the week when he regularly stayed home, so he did what he would normally do on such a night - he grabbed a beer from the fridge and headed towards the bathroom for a shower. Emerging twenty minutes later, showered and dressed in more casual attire, he sorted through the delivery menus on the counter, and settled in the end for Thai (again).  But, after calling in his order (the usual; sesame beef and Tom Kha Gai, aka thai chicken soup with veggies), he still felt unable to settle down.

 

He wandered restlessly around the loft without any real purpose. He was jumpy - when the buzzer sounded announcing the arrival of his dinner he literally jumped a few inches off the floor in surprise. He paid the delivery guy for his food, giving him a carelessly large tip, but found he wasn't really hungry so he just put the boxes in the fridge for later.  Deciding that beer was apparently not cutting it that night, he decided to switch to Beam thinking that a slug or two might calm him down more rapidly. Four shots later, though, it still hadn't had the desired effect and Brian was getting even more antsy. 'Something is wrong,' Brian sensed, but had no idea what.

 

As he paced, wandered and roamed, Brian's mind kept drifting back to the drawings safely locked away in his briefcase. He'd looked at those pictures so many times already today he had them practically memorized.  In his mind he traced the lines of the younger man's cheek, his jaw, his neck, his shoulders, his lips. As he recreated the drawings line by line in his imagination, Brian finally felt himself calm a little. He still felt restless, but not quite so unsettled or panicky. Realizing that he was finally relaxing a little, Brian willingly continued with his self-directed therapy. He moved on from Justin's lips to his eyes, limning each in his mind's eye, lash by luscious lash. Finally, settling into the couch and closing his eyes tightly, he imagined himself kissing those beautiful, expressive eyes and those soft, tender lips until his nerves seemed to slow their overexcited firing, allowing him to calm down even further.

 

Then, giving in to the temptation, he allowed himself to move on to the other portrait and the erotic lines of Justin's lower body. He could see the lines of the man's slim hips and pictured running his fingertips over the pliant yet firm skin. He would then allow his hands to drift upwards to graze over the taut belly and around the belly button. His mouth, desiring to be included in the fun, would join his wandering fingers, softly trailing over every plane of the boy's hips, belly, and down the strong, supple thighs. Then, while massaging those well toned thighs, he thought about how he would gently extend his tongue towards the focus of his desire and lick that glistening drop of pre-cum off the tip of Justin's hard, proud shaft.

 

A small slice of reality somehow penetrated Brian's overheated brain at this juncture. He realized that his jeans had become unbuttoned, seemingly of their own volition, and he was touching himself as his fantasies swirled through his mind. He was aroused, yes, but also somehow felt comforted and at the same time protective? He had no words to describe his confused emotions. The worried and restless feelings from earlier in the evening were fast ebbing, though. Breathing in deeply, he grabbed his erect member more firmly, increasing the pace of his motions, and with the image of Justin in the forefront of his mind, he finally reached a full, mind-numbing orgasm.

 

Once his breathing had returned to normal, Brian headed to the kitchen to grab a towel. He saw that, according to the clock over the stove in the kitchen, it was almost 10:30 pm already. Still not sleepy, he found himself veering towards his desk. He thought briefly about working for an hour or two, but quickly realized that he would never be able to work around the still prominent images of Justin which continued to dominate all his other thoughts. Inspired though, he sat down and pulled a stack of stationary out of the desk drawer and began to write.

 

Dear Justin;

I hope you are alright - when you didn't show up tonight at our usual time, I was a little concerned. I've been wanting to thank you all day for the amazing self portraits you left for me this morning. Obviously, your talent is only exceeded by your physical perfection. Does that sound as corny when you read it as it did while I wrote it? See what you've done to me with those damn drawings - I've been useless all day. But, in a positive, life-affirming way, of course.

Your artwork really is fantastic though. I work in advertising, and while I don't have much artistic talent myself, I work with enough artists on a day-to-day basis that I can honestly say I know great art when I see it. I could really use someone like you at my company, in fact. Today alone, I spent over an hour trying to knock my ideas for a new campaign through the incredibly thick heads of two of my art department staff . . .

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

When Brian finally looked up from his writing, he realized it was well after midnight and he had filled a half dozen sheets of stationary with his scrawled ramblings. He purposefully chose not to read over what he had written - vaguely recalling a stream of possibly lesbionic sentiments that had escaped his psyche onto the paper and not wanting to be reminded of or acknowledge any of them. Instead, he folded the stack and inserted the whole thing into an envelope as fast as possible, sealing the same with a quick swipe of his tongue along the pre-glued edge. To further alleviate the temptation to take back all he had written, he decided to immediately deposit the letter in the mailbox and took off at a run for the stairs down to the lobby before he could change his mind.  

 

 

Chapter 14 - Sweet Dreams (August 10, 2001 ­ 8:00 am) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

PWP, Anyone? Definitely an 'R' rated chapter!  Enjoy.

 

Justin was still awake but groggy and decidedly punch-drunk. If he could only be sure he wouldn't land back in that dream/memory/nightmare/whatever, he would gladly fall into bed right now. But, the images were still so terrifyingly fresh in his mind. He figured he would maybe come into his second wind if he had some breakfast and took another shower. After which, he thought he might take a walk outside - he was already so tired and numb, he didn't think he had the energy to engage in a panic attack, regardless of how big a crowd of people he stumbled into.

Twenty minutes later he was exiting the elevator on the lobby level (he was too exhausted to take the stairs this morning, even if it was only going down). At the sight of the row of postal boxes on the wall, he suddenly remembered that he hadn't had a chance to write to Brian last night. He immediately zeroed in on the loft's box and noted the fat cream-colored envelope inside. Retrieving the letter, he thought he would take it to the park three blocks over and read it there. Hopefully the fresh air would help keep him awake while he read.

As soon as he stepped outside he realized that today was going to be a scorcher. It was only 8:30 and already felt like it was over seventy degrees. The humidity was up there, too. Luckily, the stifling weather in conjunction with the early hour meant that the sidewalks around the loft were relatively empty. Justin easily navigated the sparsely populated walkways for the three blocks it took to reach the small urban park. He managed to find a shaded bench near a small, bubbling fountain and thankfully sank down to peruse his mail.

Brian's letter was thick. As he tore open the envelope he noticed there were six or seven sheets of stationary inside. He pulled out the pages and saw the writing was smaller than usual for Brian, filling up the pages with a multitude of words. He fell into the script and lapped up the surprisingly engaging narrative.

Justin was stunned by the contents and tone of this letter. Gone were the typical sarcastic quips and the endless sexual innuendos. Brian's letter was full of genuine interest, comments about his work, his life, his ambitions and even, amazingly, his feelings.  Justin didn't really know this man - they'd never even actually met - but he had thought he'd understood him better. The Brian he thought he'd come to know through prior letters was confident, sarcastic, oozed sex even through the paper of the short notes they'd exchanged, and was defnitely not prone to great introspection. The Brian he saw in this letter, though, was compassionate, concerned, forthright, a little insecure and even tender. 'He's not only gorgeous, he's complicated' Justin thought with approval. The more he learned about Brian Kinney, the more he wanted to meet this remarkable man. That possibility seemed remote, though, if not impossible.

The final sentence of Brian's note reminded him again of the fact that he'd missed last night's rendezvous. "I'll be back at the box at 6:30 tomorrow night. Hope you're back too!", Brian had written. It made Justin feel guilty that he had somehow let this man down by not keeping his promise yesterday. Granted, he couldn't help it - he'd been physically incapable of anything at all at the time - but he assured himself he wouldn't miss tonight's meeting.  Justin folded up the long letter and stashed it back in his pants' pocket, then levered himself off the park bench and started towards home.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

By the time Justin had returned to the loft, it was almost 11:00 am. He noticed that the temperature in the loft was on the warmish side and flipped on the A/C as soon as he entered. Because of the high ceilings and sturdy brick construction, the loft rarely got hot, even on moderately warm Pittsburgh days. But, today, with the humidity so high and the temperature pushing into the upper 90's, even the loft needed the added help of central air to make the climate bearable. Justin immediately downed a bottle of cold water to help his body adjust to the heat while he waited for the room temp to adjust.

Unfortunately the heat, combined with his long vigil last night, was making Justin more than drowsy. He realized that he had reached the end of his endurance and that, like it or not, he was going to have to sleep eventually. Reluctantly heading to the bedroom, he absentmindedly played with the shell bracelet he'd snapped on his wrist as soon as he'd left the shower this morning. Hopefully, he thought, both his body and his mind were too exhausted to screw with him anymore - at least not for the rest of today. He laid down on the bed, trying to relax his body, knowing that if he went to sleep this tense he was more likely to dream about unpleasant things.

To distract his racing mind, he scrambled for something to focus on that would help him to calm down. Feeling the crinkle of paper in his cargo pants' pocket as he rolled onto his side reminded him of the intriguing brunet man and the lovely fantasy he'd been working on the other day. 'Hmmmm. That should work,' Justin contentedly smiled as he focused on the more than pleasant images he now brought to the forefront of his mind.  And, within moments, he was asleep.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

It wasn't exactly dark. There was a low florescent-blue glow coming from somewhere above him.  He blinked several times to try to focus his eyes on the source of the glow. Before the image resolved, though, a new sensation diverted his attention. From the warmth and delicious aroma of maleness and cologne coming at him from somewhere on his right, he suddenly knew he wasn't lying in his bed alone. He reached out a tentative hand to investigate. As his fingertips came into contact with heated, taut skin, the body next to his shifted even closer and a strong, muscled arm stretched over to pull him into a close embrace. Justin reveled in the feeling of the arms now around him - he felt warmed, protected and cared for.  He also felt aroused and knew from the hard bulge now pressing against his groin, that the man next to him was equally aroused.

The hands now clasped around his waist began to move lightly over his sensitive skin in slow coiling circles and spirals. The circles gradually widened and the hands roamed over greater and greater stretches of Justin's already sensitized skin creating ripples of sensation that echoed in his belly. At the same time, he felt a feather-light kiss being placed on his shoulder, which caused an involuntary shiver to course through his frame.  Happily, this first kiss was followed by many more tender, barely-there, butterfly kisses extending across his chest, up his neck and along his jaw. When the lips applying these kisses finally reached his mouth, the kisses became harder. The eager lips began to nip at his, sucking in his bottom lip, tasting, licking, pulling and eventually demanding entrance.  He willingly opened to the invading tongue and relished the sweet breath of his lover as they shared each other's taste while their tongues danced together.

After untold moments the two men finally broke apart, gasping for breath.  Justin was now free to look up at the mysterious man who was so pleasantly occupying his bed.  It was HIM - the touseled chestnut hair, the soft yet intense hazel eyes gazing longingly into his, the full crushed-cranberry lips. 'Brian,' he sighed. And, hearing his name on his lover's lips, the brunet smiled joyously and dived back to kiss the blond again, much more relentlessly this time.

Meanwhile, the hands at his back were migrating down Justin's sides, over his hips and on down to grasp the firm mounds of his rear. They massaged his down-covered cheeks, grasping as if to hold on so that this beautiful boy wouldn't vanish. Justin felt the same momentary dread that the man in his arms might disappear and clasped his own hands around the man's neck and twined his fingers through the silky auburn locks.  Encouraged, the brunet's kisses increased in intensity, bruising the other man's lips and frantically thrusting his tongue in and out of the accepting mouth as if he could never get enough.

Gently, Brian rolled their entwined bodies over so that Justin was on his back with the larger man covering him. As one lean, firm thigh nudged its way between his spreading legs and their erections throbbed against each other, Justin felt himself moaning into the other man’s mouth. Brian slowly raised himself up onto his knees so that his mouth could move down Justin’s chin and neck, biting and licking at the other’s adam’s apple, the hollow at the base of his neck and on to his chest. When the questing lips reached Justin’s left nipple, the blond could no longer remain still. He squirmed, gasped and arched into Brian’s mouth, mutely begging for more. Brian enthusiastically obliged, biting and licking his way across to the other nipple. The tongue swirling over and around the darker skin surrounding the sensitive nub caused it to harden. Each new careful ministration created novel ripples of ecstasy which coursed through Justin’s  writhing body.

Justin tried to still his body, then, as he felt Brian’s tongue moving in erotic darts and dashes down his stomach, pausing briefly to explore the ticklish belly button, and then moving across the thin, tender skin where his groin and thigh met.  He didn’t want to move, afraid he’d miss out on the cacophony of agonizingly wonderful sensations emanating from Brian’s skilled mouth. But all his efforts were in vain when his entire body was jolted by the electric spark shooting through him at the exact moment Brian’s tongue brushed lightly against the dripping head of his engorged cock. Justin’s frame resumed it’s writhing and bucking of it’s own volition as the man gave up all attempts to control his body’s responses. He would willingly surrender to anything this man chose to do to him.

The pace of Brian’s attentions increased as his mouth descended on Justin’s rock hard shaft.  He lovingly licked down the length of his lover’s beautiful cock, tasting each delicious ripple of skin, tonguing each vein and fold. Unable to hold back any longer, the eager brunet proceeded to engulf the straining dick of the ecstatic man still frantically moving beneath him. As Justin felt the warm wet pressure of Brian’s welcoming mouth and throat take in his full length, he sensed his climax erupting with unbelievable force – there was no buildup, no gradual increase, just the aching, breath-taking, overwhelming ecstasy of release as his seed streamed into the waiting mouth of the gloriously sensitive man holding and stroking him to completion.

The feeling of warm wetness on his chin and chest caused Justin to blink open his eyes in order to investigate. His vision was blinded though by the bright sunlight streaming through the loft’s large windows. He groaned at the sense of loss he experienced as the beautiful dream faded away. Justin, nonetheless, found himself smiling. He’d thought he had long outgrown the typical teenage wet-dream, but apparently not. At least, not where Brian Kinney was involved.

 

 

Chapter 15 - Opening Up (August 10, 2001 – 4:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

More plot-twistiness to keep you guessing. TAG

 

-Dear Brian,

Sorry I wasn’t there last night.  I was . . .

Justin hesitated. He wasn’t sure how much he wanted to share with Brian about himself and his very screwed up life. Normally, he was a very private person and didn’t want or need to share the very personal details about himself with anyone. But, this felt different.

His mother, of course, knew much about what he had endured. She had been there from the beginning. She had seen, first-hand, how he’d struggled after the bashing.  It was Jennifer who had driven him week after week to the physical therapy sessions and then the therapy-therapy sessions. She had suffered with him through the night terrors and panic attacks. But, Justin had never felt comfortable discussing matters with his mother – they’d both dealt with the consequences of the bashing, but in effect they had each worked through their individual responses alone.

Justin had shared more of his feelings with his best friend, Daphne. She knew how emotionally paralyzed he felt and how worried the artist was about the obstacles to his career that came along with his gimp hand. Daphne had been wonderful - providing support and encouragement even when Justin felt ready to give up. But not even Daphne knew the full extent of what Justin was enduring or how deep the pain and guilt had penetrated into his soul.

Was he ready to open up about what he was going through with this stranger when he hadn’t shared it with his family or his best friend?

Justin reflected back on Brian’s last letter. The man had shared more about himself than Justin would have ever expected. He had been touched by the level of trust that had shown. And, in spite of the fact that the two of them had never met in person, he felt close to this man in a way he’d never experienced before. Justin desperately wanted to nurture that sense of closeness, even if it would forever be impossible to connect in the flesh. He decided to take a chance, just this once.

-I was sick. You see, I get these night terrors – they’re like super bad nightmares which I can’t wake up from. One of the worst parts is that they don’t just happen at night. They are all part of the wonderful legacy of my bashing. Anyway, I was taking a nap yesterday afternoon when one hit. I kind of lose time when they happen – I’m not really unconscious the whole time, but I’m not exactly awake either. I didn’t ‘wake up’ until around 10:30 last night and wasn’t really able to even move or function until after 11:00. I’m sorry that you were worried about me. I’m fine now.

Boy, reading that, I sound like a complete psycho, don’t I? Fucking Chris Hobbs!  Not only did he fuck up my hand, but he screwed with my brain, too. The doctors say that I get the night terrors and panic attacks (yes, I get those too, unfortunately) because I’ve subconsciously repressed my memories of the whole thing. Since I’m not ‘dealing’ (their word, not mine) with the bashing on a conscious level, my subconscious keeps asserting itself by forcing this shit to the surface. But, screw the psycho-babble. All it boils down to is that I’m royally fucked up. Sometimes I’m not sure if wouldn’t have been better if I’d died along with the other guy Hobbs bashed that night. At least then I wouldn’t have to go on feeling guilty about what happened to him and reliving the whole fucking thing in my god-damned nightmares.

I don’t mean to unload on you – sorry. It’s just that you’re such a good listener – nothing like a captive audience, right?

Anyway, I was thinking about that ad campaign you mentioned in your letter and I had an idea – what if you changed the focus a bit so you could incorporate the logo itself into the copy. Here, let me show you . . .

Justin spent the next hour perfecting his ideas for the ad-man’s problem account. He even went so far as to draw out the whole concept on a 10x12 sheet torn from his sketchbook. As it neared 6:30, he hastily finished off his letter, folded it up along with the sketches he’d been working on and rushed down the stairs to deposit it all in the box before Brian would arrive.

Luckily, he’d remembered to bring a large couch cushion with him this time. Tossing the cushion on the otherwise hard linoleum floor underneath the array of postboxes, he plopped down and leaned against the wall, waiting in comfort for the metallic clank that would indicate Brian had received his letter and was posting a reply.

Fortunately, he didn’t have too long to wait. At 6:40 he heard the anticipated “clank” and hopped up to snatch the response out of the box. Reseating himself on the comfy cushion, Justin couldn’t believe the happiness he felt just seeing Brian’s handwriting on the reverse of his last note.

-Justin, you shouldn’t be apologizing for anything. Sorry is bullshit!  You had no control over what happened last night, or for that matter, what happened to you at your Prom. You definitely shouldn’t feel ashamed of it or feel the need to say you are sorry.  The only person who is responsible for all you’re going through is that homophobic asshole who took a baseball bat to you. God damned fucker. And, I absolutely do NOT think it would be better if you had died. I wish there was something I could do to prove it to you.

Wait, what if I look up the prick in my time and break his fucking knee caps now. Then he couldn’t fuck with you ever! Yes – just say the word. B.

-Love the idea, Brian. But, it wouldn’t work, I don’t think.  It’s like one of those time-travel conundrum things. You know, like if you travel back in time and kill your grandfather then you’ll never be born and therefore it’s impossible. I mean, I wouldn’t have had the money to move in here if it weren’t for ‘Homerun Hobbs’, and if I hadn’t moved here we wouldn’t be having this discussion. Right?  (And don’t call me a geek – I happen to have really enjoyed Physics class). It’s very cool that you would do that for me. But we’ll have to come up with some other time-travelling tricks that won’t mess up the time-space continuum. J.

-You ARE a geek.  Don’t even TRY to deny it.  Only my friend Mikey could decipher even half of the shit you just spouted. Anyway, my offer to break the little shit’s knees still stands if you change your mind . . . By the way, how did the guy avoid prison time if he actually killed someone? Even our court system isn’t usually that fucked up. B.

-There was some screw up with the evidence at the scene – something about the crime scene having been ‘contaminated’ - so the murder charges were all dropped. I had already been knocked unconscious before the guy, who was apparently trying to help me, was attacked, and there weren’t any other witnesses so there was only circumstantial evidence against Hobbs. The D.A. didn’t want to press it and Hobbs’ family has connections so they all got together, worked out some lame deal, and voila everybody was happy. Except me and the guy Hobbs bashed until he bled out. I wish that I could remember something that would have helped convict him. I feel like I let the ‘good-samaritan’ guy down. I mean, he was only hurt because he tried to save me and then he gets killed for his trouble. Fuck. I guess it serves me right that I keep having these night terrors about seeing the guy being bashed and killed. Guilty conscience I guess.  J.

-Like I said – it wasn’t your fault. You should try and just forget about it. Let it go. You don’t need to let Hobbs win by hobbling yourself with all this guilt.  It’s really a fucked up world though, isn’t it. You get bashed because of your sexual orientation, something you can’t change, and your would-be helper gets taken down too. You think things are changing, getting better, and then shit like this happens. B.

-Okay, so let’s take your advice and forget about it. Did you look over my ideas for that account of yours? What did you think? J.

-Yeah – I’ve been looking at it all while we’ve been writing back and forth.  It’s perfect! It’s exactly what I was trying to get at. What about if we change the font though . . .

Several hours and many additional sheets of paper later, both men realized that it was getting late. They both signed off and both headed up to their loft.  

 

 

Chapter 16 - Welcome to The Liberty Diner (August 16, 1999 – 8:00 am) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Please don't get angry at me for rehashing too much cannon.  I'm trying to set up a plot element which, if it works, I think you will enjoy.  Don't worry, I DO know where I'm going with this - I have a detailed time-line already completed.  TAG

 

Brian looked up at the man who had just slapped him on the shoulder and then slipped into the diner booth next to him.  He was only slightly annoyed that the man was distracting him from re-reading the transcripts from last night’s session with Justin. He actually hadn’t seen much of Mikey lately – the two had been closer than brothers for more than 15 years now and neither liked to go too long without at least touching base with the other. So Brian wasn’t really too reluctant to greet his friend this morning.

“Mikey,” Brian used his standard laconic greeting.

“Hey, Bri. Gawd, it seems like I haven’t seen you in forever. Where have you been?  None of the guys saw you at Woody’s or Babylon last weekend, either,” piped Michael.

“Something came up,” Brian gave his standard excuse.

“What did you forget to invite me to your weekend long orgy again?  Or maybe you just never made it out of the bath house Friday after work, huh?” joked Michael. He loved living vicariously through Brian’s many wanton escapades. Luckily for him, Brian was normally quite free with his stories about all his adventures and made sure not to leave out any of the super juicy details. Michael was certainly due for another ‘fix’ and was looking forward to Brian’s response.

“Like I said, something came up,” was all Michael got for his troubles. Brian still wasn’t sure why, but he still hesitated to tell his friends about this thing with Justin (whatever the fuck this ‘thing’ was, he thought). While Brian had no scruples about plowing a dozen guys in public at the baths or Babylon, he was still a very private person when it came to some things. The way he looked at it, screwing guys WAS his public life – he wasn’t ashamed of who or what he was and couldn’t care less who saw him engaging in his favorite pastime. What he had with Justin however did not fit in with his public persona. Brian wondered why he cared about maintaining his playboy image so much, especially with his best friend Mikey, that he couldn’t reveal how much he was enjoying his new friendship with the younger man.

“Okay. Who jacked off in your Wheaties this morning,” was Michael’s somewhat uninspired come-back.

Brian was saved from responding by the abrupt appearance of first Ted and Emmett and then Debbie asking for their breakfast orders. The boys were already in the middle of a discussion about the upcoming Pride Parade when they came in. It seemed that they were arguing over whether or not to ride on the GLC float this year. Ted had been moonlighting as the Center’s accountant for the last year and therefore felt obligated to be on the float. Emmett seemed equally adamant NOT to be on that particular float, arguing that neither his reputation nor his sex life would survive the ride on the float for ‘fags who can’t otherwise get a date’. As Michael got drawn into the debate, Brian saw the perfect opportunity to make his escape.

“Later, Boys,” Brian gave his standard good-bye as he shoved Michael out of the booth and sauntered out of the diner.

Brian had been forced to park several blocks further away than usual this morning.  Parking on and around Liberty Avenue had been at a premium for the past couple of days it seemed. ‘You’d think the Pitts was the gay mecca of the world,' Brian said to himself with disdain. ‘Every fag within a 100 mile radius must have driven their rusty heaps here to celebrate Pride.'

As he hiked towards his distant car, Brian passed by an art supply store that he had never noticed before – probably because he rarely had to park so far away, he noted.  On a whim, he ducked inside to check it out. Twenty minutes later, he emerged with a nicely gift wrapped set of pastels that Brian thought would just fit into the mailbox for the loft.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

August 16, 2001 – 5:15 pm

Justin preferred working the swing shift. The pay differential meant that you made a slightly higher wage if you worked nights, plus it was generally a lot quieter.  Granted, the tips were substantially better during the day shifts. But the cute blond, who looked younger than he was and who had a very perky bubble butt, was getting awfully tired of fending off the groping hands and pinching fingers which that bubbly posterior was engendering this afternoon.

“Order up, Justin,” the cook bawled through the kitchen order window. Justin was filling in waiting tables today - covering for Kiki who was out for the week getting a bit of nip-and-tuck to enhance her last boob-job.

“Hey Deb, can you grab that order for me, please,” Justin asked the flamboyant, red-bewigged waitress who was just coming out of the back. “I still have to take the orders for Table 4 and get these drinks to Table 2”.

“Sure thing, kiddo,” the congenial older woman replied as she cracked her gum and grinned.

Justin finished pouring the drinks he’d been working on, deposited them on a tray and quickly distributed them to the thirsty patrons at Table 2. He then grabbed his order pad out of the pocket of his apron and approached the three men who had piled into the booth at Table 4. Justin had only been working here for a little over a month now, and much of that time had been spent on the swing shift, so he was only just beginning to recognize the ‘regulars’. Since he wasn’t sure he recognized these three, he decided to go with his more generic greeting.

“Welcome to the Liberty Diner. What can I get you?” Justin intoned, displaying his ‘sincere’ smile.

“Oooh, who’s the new hottie?” burbled the tall man with the garrish outfit from the corner of the booth.

“He’s new,” came the reply from over Justin’s shoulder. “His name is Justin. Isn’t he adorable!” the older waitress added, and since she just couldn’t resist, she reached around from behind the object of discussion and gave his cheek a pat and a quick pinch. The young man could feel the heat rising in his cheeks as an uncontrollable blush stained his face a luscious pink. ‘At least this time it isn’t my butt cheeks,’ Justin thought with a sigh.

“His ass gets more compliments than the burgers,” added Debbie with a loud guffaw.

“That’s because his buns are fresh!” was the sarcastic comment made by the thin-countenanced, dark-haired man sitting on the outside of the booth to Justin’s right.

“Don’t you let these three give you a hard time, Sweetie. Unless, that is, a HARD time is what you’re looking for!  And watch out for that innocent-looking one on the left,’ Debbie warned with a wink and another guffaw.

“Ma, stop already,” the third man enjoined and then redirected his attention towards the new waiter. “Hey, Justin. I’m Michael. The loud-mouthed red-head here is my mother, unfortunately. And this is Ted and Emmett.”

“Nice to meet you all,” Justin replied, falling back on his white-bread, country-club manners, and thinking that there were so many ‘regulars’ that he would never remember them all.

“I’ll take over from here for you, kiddo. Your shift should be just about over and I already know what this lot wants,” Debbie offered.

“Thanks, Deb,” Justin returned gratefully. He quickly whipped off his apron, tossed it behind the counter and made haste to leave before anyone could ask him to do anything further. It had been a long day, he was exhausted and his tush had been pinched and prodded so many times he was sure he’d have bruises in the morning.  He wasn’t about to stick around a moment longer than he had to today. Plus, he wanted to get back to the loft in plenty of time to finish the letter he’d been writing off and on all day in order to get it to Brian when he arrived for their regular mailbox ‘chat’.

When he arrived in the lobby of his building, Justin noted that Brian had already beat him here this evening – the mailbox was so full he could barely see through the little glass window. Excited by the surprise, he sped to open the box and extract the contents. Once he got the door opened, he could see the object inside was a beautifully wrapped little box. With the eagerness of a child opening his birthday presents, Justin pulled off the gold mesh ribbon, tore off the silver metallic paper and revealed a small, elegant wooden case containing a full set of expensive pastels.

There was a note which had been slipped under the lid of the box that read simply:

Justin: In case you want to draw another ‘self-portrait’, may I suggest that maybe this one might be done in color?  I can’t wait to find out the color of your . . . hair. Brian.

Justin wasn’t sure whether to laugh at the note or cry at the sentiment behind the amazing gift.  He couldn’t wait to start drawing and, for once, he didn’t even worry about how his gimp hand would hold up.

 

 

Chapter 17 - Reciprocating Gifts (August 21, 2001 – 2:00 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

“Thanks again for coming with me today, Daph. I really wanted to get this done today and I never would have lasted this long out here if I’d come alone,” Justin beamed up at his friend. “I’m really getting much better, you know. I mean, I make myself go out almost every day now. And, I’ve been working the lunch and dinner shifts at the diner all week, too. You know how crowded it gets in there sometimes? But I haven’t freaked out once. And that’s saying a lot, since most of the customers seem to think my ass is the ‘daily special’.”

 

Both the artist and the dark complected, curly-haired young woman sitting next to him on the bus stop bench chuckled softly. This bench gave him the perfect line-of-sight for the view he was trying to get down on the paper. The young blond refocused his attention back to the sketch pad on his lap as he picked up a burnt umber pastel in order to add some shading to the drawing he’d been working on. Daphne looked on affectionately while her friend continued with his work for a few more minutes.  When his right hand started to tremble slightly, though, Justin realized it was time for a break. He’d come to understand that if he stopped working at the first signs of discomfort and rested his hand until the ache receded to a dull throb, he could resume his drawing sooner and he would last longer. If he waited until his hand cramped up so badly that he literally couldn’t go on, then he’d be completely out of commission, probably for the rest of the day.

 

Justin sighed with resignation, laid down the pastel he’d been working with and shook out his gimp hand. The street scene he’d been working on was almost finished.  It was pretty good, too, he thought, with just a hint of pride.

 

“That’s really great, Justin,” commented Daphne. “But, isn’t this, like, the tenth time you’ve drawn this same view?”

 

He knew she was right. Justin examined the drawing pad in his lap again to make sure his perspective wasn’t off. The street light in the foreground was drawn in crisp detail: the cement post which listed slightly to the left, the bulky red newspaper box tethered to the pole with a thick black cable, even the headline splashed across the front page of the paper which was displayed in the window of the newsbox, were all carefully delineated. In the background the viewer could see a typical slice of Liberty Avenue proper with its various shops, bars and offices. And in the midground were the diverse and colorful denizens that inhabited this alternative enclave hidden in the heart of the otherwise mostly conservative city – the ‘leather daddies’, the drag queens, the twinks, even a few dyke couples, all unashamedly holding hands, embracing and otherwise going about their daily lives. ‘I really love it here,’ thought Justin. It was the only place he’d felt he belonged in a long, long time.

 

“I know I draw this same scene a lot,” the artist answered his friend. “I just really love the feel of this image. It shows the essence of gay life, at least as I see it. You know, the original drawing I did of this scene was the first piece of art I ever sold – remember that show I was in at the GLC back right after I came out?” Daphne nodded in remembrance. “Besides, this picture is special – I’m doing it for a friend and I know he’ll like this scene as much as I do.”

 

“A friend? You have a friend? Other than me?” Daphne, wearing an expression of total disbelief, kidded her best friend.

 

“Shut up!” Justin glowered at her. He couldn’t maintain a straight face for long though and ended up laughing along. “Yes, I have a friend. I’m not a complete hermit, you know.”

 

“Okay. Dish – tell me EVERYTHING about this new ‘friend’,” Daphne demanded enthusiastically.

 

Justin looked up shyly. He'd always told Daph everything about the guys he’d been interested in before. He was dying to tell her about Brian, too, but wasn’t sure how much he should reveal about his ‘magical, mystical mailbox’ which apparently could travel through time. He didn’t want her to think he’d lost it (again) and run off to blab to his mother, who would promptly drag his ass back to the therapist’s office for intense psychoanalysis. Maybe a half truth would suffice?

 

“Well, I haven’t actually met him in person, but we’ve been writing to each other almost every day for the past couple of weeks. His name is Brian," he began. The two friends proceeded to while away the next few hours discussing Justin’s new ‘pen-pal’ while he worked to finish Brian’s gift.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brian impatiently pulled out the largish scroll of paper he’d found in the mailbox when he came in from work. The roll of drawing paper was tied with a strand of thin red ribbon. Attached to the ribbon was a rectangular, light blue gift tag on which he could see Justin’s handwriting. It said:

 

-Brian – I’ve put the pastels you gave me to good use. Please accept this thank you gift in exchange. Justin.

P.S. Sorry it’s not another ‘self-portrait’. You still haven’t followed through on your end of the deal, though – I showed you mine, but I still don’t have a picture of yours. I’m waiting . . . J.

 

A sly leer crept onto the countenance of the handsome brunet. ‘This is gonna get fun,’ he gleefully thought. His creative and immodest mind began brainstorming various ways to satisfy the younger man’s request. By the time he and Justin had wrapped up their chat for the evening, Brian had come up with several wicked ideas that he was looking forward to getting started on immediately. ‘I’ll give you mine, Justin. I only wish I could do it in person.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The next afternoon, when Justin was on his way out to pick up some much needed groceries, he could see that the mailbox was once again full. This time it contained an 8 ½ x 11 manilla envelope, slightly bent so it would fit in the box. It wasn’t the usual time for his ‘mail date’ with Brian and he’d already picked up the regular mail for the day, so he was quite curious. He skipped over to the box and happily extricated the envelope. Inside there was one of the familiar cream-colored sheets of stationary with a note from Brian:

 

Justin: I just love a dare. And you were right, I still hadn’t come through on my end of our bargain. So I had a photographer friend of mine over to the loft last night. He gives an excellent blow-job and he’s not bad with a camera either. Hope you like what CAME out of our meeting. Brian.

 

Behind the sheet of stationary, which had been serving as a cover sheet, Justin found the results of Brian’s late night rendezvous. He was more than satisfied with what he found – five 8x10 color glossy photos displaying the Stud of Liberty Avenue in all his flawless glory. Each picture contained a different pose, along with the appropriate props for that particular situation.

 

Justin already knew that the man he’d been writing to the past few weeks was very attractive. He’d seen the graduation photo, of course, and had thought that THAT man was the most beautiful he had ever seen. But he was floored by what he saw in these new photos. Brian hadn’t just been kidding when he’d said he was even more attractive now than he’d been in college. ‘THIS man was a complete SEX GOD,’ thought the blond as he drooled over the first photo in the stack.  

 

This photo showed Brian in a fairly simple pose (at least compared to the ones which followed – Justin had peeked at those and thought he would save them for a little later that night when he was in bed). The sexy brunet was lying on his side, splayed diagonally across the bed in the loft. He was propped up on his one elbow and was using a small paring knife to cut up an apple he was holding with the long, tapered fingers of his left hand. There was a plush, stark-white towel partially draped artistically over his hip - which didn’t really hide anything. Other than that towel and a cowry shell bracelet on his left wrist, he was completely bare. This was just fine with Justin, who was ogling each delicious inch of that toned, tanned, tempting skin. There wasn’t an ounce of extra fat anywhere on the man’s body. His arms and upper torso were well muscled. His chest was perfectly proportioned with two tempting, perfectly placed, dark brown nipples. His abdomen was lean, the muscles rippling under skin that looked so touchable. His hips were narrow but looked strong and they flowed into the toned, strong-looking thighs. Even this man’s feet were beautiful with long toes and a perfect pedicure.

 

Once he’d given himself sufficient time to appreciate the long luscious body of the man in the photo, Justin finally let his eyes zero in on the one area of particular interest to him. There was no getting around it (not that you’d ever want to get around it – Justin wanted to get around it and on it and touch it in every possible way) – Brian had to have the most perfect cock of any man alive. Nestled in a curly thatch of dark brown hair, the magnificent organ proudly extended a full 9 inches or more, thrusting up towards Brian’s stomach. It was thick and hard and fully erect and demanded the viewer’s attention. Justin was immediately lost in visions of what Brian could do with that gorgeous tool – he wanted that cock inside him so badly it almost hurt.

 

“Fuck the groceries and fuck waiting until later tonight,” the extremely horny young man yelled aloud to no one in particular as he clutched the photos to his chest and sprinted up the stairs two and three at a time, desperate to get to his bed and begin a more thorough examination of his treasures.

 

 

Chapter 18 - How to Accessorize, by Brian Kinney ­ (September 5, 1999 – 1:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Humorous chapter - hope you like! TAG


The tone of their ‘conversations’ had changed abruptly after Brian’s delivery of those photos to Justin. Instead of sitting around in the lobby writing short comments and responses back and forth, they now would prepare long, detailed, very explicit letters to each other earlier in the day and exchanged them at the normal meeting time. Most of the time this would result in both men ascending to their respective beds (or couches or showers, as the terms of the letters dictated), letters in hand, as soon as they began to read what they’d retrieved from the box. ‘Shit, those letters,’ recalled Brian with a groan, remembering the particularly juicy one Justin had given him the night before.

Not that they didn’t sometimes still have other discussions. They would still occasionally settle into their accustomed places in the lobby – Brian had eventually purchased a chair which sat in the corner, while Justin still preferred his cushion on the floor – for a total ‘Gab-Fest’ - passing notes like a couple of school girls. (Justin had refrained from making that observation to Brian though, afraid of the sophisticated older man’s likely response.) They’d write about what happened that day, their problems, funny stories and everything else two friends would share. It was such a great feeling to have someone that each of them could confide in. Both men had found an unexpected support system and both had started to look to the other for help when needed.

Like last Wednesday, for instance, when Justin had attended his first official day of classes at PIFA. It had been a tough day. His professors had not been very accommodating about the difficulties with his damaged hand. He couldn’t seem to get them to understand that all he needed was a little extra time to complete his assignments. If he didn’t push his hand too much, he would still have the necessary fine motor control that was needed. But none of the professors seemed willing to listen – instead they gave him the standard crap about how PIFA had a ‘challenging curriculum’ and that Justin should maybe re-evaluate whether or not he could keep up. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Justin left school that day so frustrated and discouraged he was ready to give it all up and trash his dreams.

He’d been almost in tears by the time he’d reached the loft that evening. Justin hated that he was the kind of person whose anger often manifested itself as tears. He wasn’t some silly little faggot that cried at the drop of a hat. Anyone who thought he was, didn’t know him at all. It was just that sometimes he got so furiously angry that his only release seemed to be through tears. And, damn it, was he ever angry that day.

Brian had known something was wrong right from the start. Justin’s usual banter was ‘off’. With a little prodding, including a threat to withhold Justin’s ‘mail sex’ letter that night, the boy eventually told Brian the whole story. When he heard what had happened, Brian was almost as angry as Justin. The artist was touched at how much his difficulties affected Brian. The older, and very aggressively self-confident man, was not going to let Justin quit. And he wasn’t going to let some stupid, talentless wanna-be teachers browbeat his friend/lover/boyfriend?/what-the-fuck-ever. Brian gave Justin a good old-fashioned pep talk and some surprisingly astute, concrete suggestions, and by the time the two headed off to their beds, Justin was reassured and confident enough to take on the profs again the next day. If he had to, he would go to the Dean. Maybe he’d even try to find a computer program similar to the one Brian said his art department used and try to get the school to let him use that. Whatever it took!

Today, though, it was back to sex-as-usual. Brian was intent on drafting the best ‘mail sex’ letter the world had ever seen. ‘Mail Sex?’ he thought. ‘Definitely sounds too much like ‘Male Sex’. Of course it’s male sex – what the fuck other kind is there’ (at least according to Brian Kinney). ‘Maybe, ‘Postal Sex’? No. Sounds too much like what you’d do after sex,’ and Brian didn’t do anything after sex except kick the trick out. ‘Postal Sex’ brought to mind stuff like cuddling and other lesbionic actions that are simply not acceptable. Brian decided he would have to try to find a better term for this thing he was enjoying so much and which he planned to continue enjoying for as long as possible. He was Brian Kinney, for fuck’s sake, and whatever it was that he and Justin were engaged in, it deserved a much more dignified name. ‘Wait. I’ve got it: Sexmail (like email, only better). Nailed it,’, he congratulated himself.

However, he had to admit to himself that even HIS creative genius had been challenged lately, trying to invent new and ever more erotic sexmail for his long-distance lover. Luckily, he had been inspired the other day when Justin had forwarded another batch of his mail from the future. Why he kept sending on the stuff, Brian had no idea – it’s not like he was going to pay a bill that wasn’t due for two years and he couldn’t order out of the catalogs because their merchandise wouldn’t be available yet anyway. Right? Justin still kept forwarding the mail though, regardless of Brian’s arguments.

One of the forwarded items this last time happened to be another catalog from one of the many online sex toy companies Brian sometimes patronized. He’d been quite amused when he noticed that the ever-curious young man had gone through the catalog already and affixed sticky notes to several of the pages with questions or comments. Among his favorites were: ‘Ouch’, ‘Looks like fun’, ‘How the fuck, exactly, do you do that’, and the best of all, ‘Please, please please!’.

Most of the items in that particular catalogue though were a little more advanced than he would have recommended for a tyro like Justin. Some of the others were just impractical, given the limitations imposed by their unconventional, time/space challenged relationship (yes, he thought the 'R' word every so often but that didn’t mean he would ever say it aloud). He thought he would have to shop around a little to find something what was just right for his boy.

Fortuitously, Brian had found the perfect thing just that morning at the ‘Hard Wear Store’*, his favorite local toy store. It was a fairly simple, hard plastic, little black butt-plug. “A ‘must-have’ this season for every fashionable gay man,” he’d commented to the clerk at the store.

This wonderful new purchase was now sitting in a gift box on the Diner counter in front of him. Brian was using his lunch hour to revise the explicit ‘use and care instructions’ necessary for the proper implementation of Justin’s new toy. (i.e. ‘Insert at least ½ hour prior to leaving for work – see paragraph #2 for instructions regarding insertion with proper stroking techniques, preparation and lubrication’ and ‘Do not remove for a minimum of four hours – see paragraph #4 for further directions re additional stroking, appropriate dirty talk, and fantasy suggestions’). He was so involved with this important work that he failed to notice Michael entering the Diner and seating himself on the stool next to him.

“Hey, Bri. What are you doing?” were the first words out of the nosy man’s mouth.

“I’m writing a letter. What does it look like I’m doing?” was the terse reply.

“When did you start writing letters?” Michael persisted.

“Um, it was in Kindergarten, I believe. Remember the whole, ‘A, B, C, thing’, Mikey?” Brian couldn’t resist that one.

“No, I mean, WHY are you writing a letter. Aren’t you more of the email type?” Michael was not going to let this go.

Brian tried to explain it to Michael in small words so he would finally understand. “I’m writing a letter to a friend. He can’t get email and I can’t call him. That is what letters are for, Mikey.”

“Ooh, ooh, ooh. A love letter? Can I read it,” spouted Emmett as he took the seat on the other side of Brian.

“Fuck off, Honeycutt. You sound like an overexcited chimpanzee – Ooh, ooh, ooh. Deb, can you toss a banana over here for the primate section?” Brian added as he hastily folded up his letter and stowed it safely in his jacket pocket. Emmett retreated without further comment.

“Jeeze, Bri. We’re just giving you a hard time. Nobody’s seen you in, like, forever. You’re like the invisible man or something these days. When are you going to come out with us?” Again, with the persistent Michael thing.

“I’ve been busy, busy, Mikey.”

“Well, we could come over to the loft instead. What are you doing tonight?” Michael asked, deciding to go with a different tack.

Brian was not thrilled with the idea of having the Liberty Diner Horde descending on his loft that night. But he knew Michael would not give up this time – he had put him off too many times lately, and the man was nothing if not persistent. “Fine. I’ll hit Babylon with you tonight, but you’re not all coming over to fuck up my loft. Okay?” he conceded. “I’ll meet you at Woody’s at 9:30. We can go to the club from there. Happy now?”

Michael was finally satisfied and applied himself to his sandwich with substantially fewer comments. Brian thought he could at least have a couple hours with Justin before he would have to put on his ‘Stud” face and meet the gang. This wasn’t really what he wanted to be doing that night, he thought, picking up the little gift box and waving a goodbye to Michael. He was going to have to find another location in which to do his instruction manual revisions – he really needed to find another place to have lunch, too.

 

End Notes:

*This is the actual business name of several companies in various locations across the US. I have no idea if any of them sell sex toys or not - I just love the name and if I had a sex toy store, that is the name I would want. No offense is intended to any of these real life businesses.

Chapter 19 - Playtime (September 6, 2001 – 6:20 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Warning - certain readers may require a cold shower immediately after viewing this chapter.  (I know I did after writing it!) Be prepared!  TAG

 

Justin had never been this horny in his entire life.

He’d been ecstatic with his new plaything. Like a kid on Christmas morning, he couldn’t wait to try it out. First thing that morning he had reviewed Brian’s instructions carefully, and followed them explicitly, step-by-excruciatingly-erotic-step. He’d had the stimulating little toy firmly inserted in his ass ever since he’d left for school at 10:00 am that morning. Every single tiny movement he’d made since then had caused the plug to twist or turn or slide across his prostate. After more than six hours of almost constant stimulation however, he was sure his testicles were in imminent danger of exploding. He’d passed exhausted and painful hours ago. He desperately needed to cum, but Brian’s directions had been very clear – he was NOT allowed to touch himself until given explicit permission by Brian himself (that part had been written in all caps and underlined twice, so he knew Brian was serious). So, here he was, standing in the lobby with his legs splayed slightly apart and his forehead braced against the wall, trying not to move. If Brian didn’t get there soon, he’d probably pass out or start to bawl or both. He couldn’t even think coherently anymore so he just stood there, waiting.

‘Clank’. It was the most exquisite sound Justin had ever heard. He gingerly pushed his body away from the wall, reached up (oh, shit – he’d moved again), and yanked the door of the box open. What he discovered inside though was not at all what he’d expected. Instead of the usual letter, Justin saw a thick, khaki-brown cigar with a blue band around it’s middle. He pulled it out and examined the band, which proudly announced:

Gus Peterson-Marcus
September 6, 1999
7 lbs., 4 oz.

“Huh?” was the only comment Justin was capable of at that point.

The poor confused boy just stood there waiting for some explanation to materialize. He had no paper and nothing to write with – those things were both in his messenger bag which he’d dropped on the floor immediately after entering the building. There was absolutely no way he was going to attempt to bend over to retrieve them. So he stood there and concentrated on breathing without exploding.

After about five minutes or so, there was another ‘clank’ and, thank the heavens, a piece of paper appeared in the mailbox. It read:

-Justin – are you there? Aren’t you going to congratulate me? I’m a Dad! Can you believe it? Brian.

“Huh?” was again the only possible response from the incapacitated blond.

Okay, he had paper now but still no pen. He didn’t want Brian to think he wasn’t here and leave – the possibility brought tears to his eyes.

God, he was going to have to bend over and dig a pen out of his bag. That thought alone was daunting and he gave in to the tears he had been holding back until now.

At that moment, he glimpsed what he was sure was the most beautiful sight in the entire world – one of his fellow tenants was entering the building. He looked over at the woman from #3B (Gail?) with his tear-stained face and cried out to her, “Please, do you have a pen I could borrow”? Helen (not Gail) wasn’t sure if the man was injured or insane, but since she wasn’t prepared to investigate further, she rapidly dug through her purse and handed Justin a black ‘Bic’ pen then backed suspiciously towards the elevator. Justin merely blinked his appreciation at the kind woman – it was all he was capable of.

As quickly as he could, Justin scribbled out, 'Please, can I cum?,' and shoved the paper back into the box.

The reply, thankfully, was almost immediate.

-You’ve been playing with your new toy, haven’t you? You are a very naughty boy, Justin. Yes, you can go ahead and touch yourself. B.

A huge moan escaped Justin’s lips as he read the words. He didn’t stop to think that he was in the lobby of the building, that it was a public space, and he didn’t care if anybody saw him. His mind was beyond caring about anything other than getting release. Leaning his forehead against the wall once again, he unzipped his jeans, pulled out his dick and frantically began to rub up and down his aching shaft. He had expected to cum almost instantly – it was the thing he had been longing for most of the day. But, he was so over-stimulated, so keyed-up, that he couldn’t cum at first. The tears were streaming down his cheeks harder than ever at this disheartening discovery. Just as he was about to give up all hope, sink to the ground in a puddle and let his body disintegrate, he felt an electric shock of pain and pleasure flow out of his aching balls, cascading through his entire body and causing his head to jerk back with a primal groan. His entire body spasmed. His cum shot out, covering the wall next to the mailboxes. His knees began to shake and he sank to the floor, still crying and moaning out incomprehensibly.

Justin didn’t know how many minutes passed as he lay huddled on the lobby’s hard linoleum floor. He thought he might have actually slept (his pride wouldn’t let him use the term, ‘passed out’) for a short period of time. When he finally realized where he was, he used his hands to pull himself erect by grabbing onto the projections created by the bank of postal boxes over his head. He could still feel the butt plug inside him, but he was once again able to move without fear of explosion.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

When Brian finally received a reply from the other side of time, the cum-splattered note said only: Thank you. I love you. J.

He realized his big news would have to wait until his beautiful blond lover had recovered. He headed up to his own bed with a lecherous gleam in his eye and an ear-to-ear grin on his face.

 

 

Chapter 20 - Gus (September 7, 2001 – 7:30 am) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

This chapter is more touching than hot - very important plot points involved though. You might want to start taking notes. TAG

 

Upon opening his eyes, Justin was greeted by the glorious autumn sunlight beaming through the large loft windows and a sublime ache radiating out from his tender ass. He knew he’d be walking funny and sporting a shit-eating grin for the rest of the day, and he loved it! He felt relaxed, sated, and decidedly lazy that morning and was grateful he had plenty of time to laze in bed before he needed to be anywhere. He let his mind drift over the delicious events of the previous day, amazed at (and a little proud of) the depravity and wantonness that was so unlike his normal self.

When he arrived at the memories of his brief mailbox exchange with Brian, Justin felt the blood rising to his cheeks as his embarrassment over his last short note hit him full force. How would Brian react to his blunt declaration of love? It was the truth – he had fallen irrevocably for the man, but he knew if he’d been in his right mind he never would have voiced his feelings so directly. He could probably plead temporary insanity, though, and hopefully Brian would let him off easy.

That’s when the memory of Brian’s own declaration (of sorts) hit him. He immediately bolted out of bed, pulled on the first clothes he found and ran towards the door, grabbing a pad of paper and pen as he went. He made it down to the lobby in record time, spent thirty seconds furiously scratching out a note, unceremoniously tossed it in the box and then sat down to wait and see if he’d get a reply from Brian.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Brian noticed the note in the mailbox right away. He’d been half expecting to hear from his young protégé that morning. He’d been rather proud of how well his little present for the boy had turned out. He couldn’t wait to get more of the naughty details from Justin and hear all about the experience. Therefore, it was with heightened anticipation that he opened the boy’s note.

-You’re a Dad? How? This is so HUGE. I’m sorry my needy little ass eclipsed your big news last night. Please tell me. I want to hear everything. Justin.

It wasn’t exactly what he’d been expecting but Brian was equally as proud of his brand new son as he was of his sweet young lover. Therefore, he happily seated himself on the chair in the corner and proceeded to pen a full explanation for Justin.

-Remember my friend Lindz from college? I told you about her, didn’t I? Well, she and her partner, Melanie, decided they wanted to have a baby. I’m not sure how, exactly, but they managed to talk me into becoming the sperm donor. It must have been all that flattery and Lindz going on about what great genes I have (and she wasn’t just talking about my 501s either). So, I jerked off into a cup, they squirted it up her, and here we all are nine months later with a kid. Fuck! When the fuck did I get old enough to have a kid? (No age jokes – I’m warning you – you will pay!) Whatever.

So Sunday night, after I delivered your little present, the guys dragged me out to Woody’s and Babylon for a night of Kinney-style debauchery – poor boys, without me they’d really have no social lives at all. Anyway, it must have been about 2:00 am when we were leaving the club and my cell started to ring. It was Mel, of course, telling me to get my ass over to the hospital . . .

The letter went on and on. Justin was glad he’d waited around for an answer – he hadn’t been sure Brian would get his note before leaving for work, but he didn’t have anywhere to be for awhile so he’d just curled up on his cushion and doodled. It was more than a half hour later when the response finally popped into the box, accompanied by the now familiar ‘clank’.

Brian sounded so happy in the letter. Justin could feel the man’s excitement, his amazement and his sheer unexpected joy at the birth of this tiny, helpless copy of himself. There was also a hefty amount of fear coming through, along with just a hint of longing.

In spite of all Brian’s bragging over his various conquests and his brash assertions that he had no interest in relationships, it had long been clear to the perceptive young man that this outwardly self-confident man was inherently lonely. The few hints Brian had let slip about his childhood told Justin that Brian hadn’t had the proto-typical 'Leave it to Beaver' upbringing. Maybe becoming a father in his own right would help heal some of those old scars and ease his loneliness? Justin desperately hoped so, because in his opinion, it was patently unfair that such a caring, loving, and beautiful man should be so alone.

The two men spent a long time chatting all about Gus, discussing Brian’s plans to see the baby and even mapping out the child’s future college and employment prospects. The proud papa was thrilled to pull out his very own baby pictures to show Justin (but, heaven help anyone who tried to compare him to any doting, hetero, photo-toting parents or grandparents). And he excitedly passed through to Justin a copy of the first picture taken of him and Gus together. It had been taken at the hospital that first night - it showed Brian holding a bundle of baby boy and smiling at the camera with such love and sheer bliss that it brought tears to Justin’s eyes. Justin yearned to be there with Brian to share in and celebrate this momentous event, but unless he could figure out a way to fit himself into the mailbox, there seemed to be no way.

Brian advised that he was taking most of the day off to visit with Lindz and the baby and to help Mel bring the mother and newborn home. He was eager to get back to the hospital to see his son. So he reluctantly signed off with Justin.

-Later. Brian.

Even after Brian had gone, Justin remained, nestled on his cushion. He spent another hour just sitting there, dreaming about Brian and a baby, and sketching the image from the hospital photo.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(September 7, 1999 – 4:00 pm)

Lindsey was ensconced in a corner of the slightly worn navy couch, resting her head against the plush beige cushion propped against the arm. The curtains were drawn in order to keep the room dim in the hope that this would help keep the baby asleep. It had been a stressful couple of days, and was not likely to get any less hectic for some time to come, and the new mother was enjoying this brief respite while ‘Dad’ held the object of all this attention.

Lindsey smiled at the endearing sight before her. Brian had been sitting in the large, over-stuffed, dark blue armchair across from her, staring raptly at the peacefully sleeping baby in his lap for more than fifteen minutes. This larger-than-life man had apparently been brought down to Earth by a wrinkled, pink, slightly smelly, bundle of needy baby boy. The exceedingly tender look on the man’s usually disdainful face was so telling, Lindsey thought to herself. She had always known that this caring, sentimental man was hidden deep within her friend – she also knew that he rarely let this side of himself show. Her conviction that Brian would be a great father was confirmed once again by the sight sitting here in her living room.

The peaceful scene was abruptly disturbed by a shrill ringing pealing out from the hallway phone extension. Mel galloped down the stairs at full tilt, trying in vain to reach the noisy contraption before it woke the baby. Gus’ sense of hearing, though, was acute, and he startled awake at the very first ring. Brian, now holding a squirming, wailing, red-faced imp instead of the peaceful angel he’d been admiring before, sat staring, at a complete loss as to how to handle this distressing change. Lindsey chortled at the shell-shocked expression on the man’s countenance but, taking pity on him, she reached out to gather up the crying infant and provide the necessary comforting touch.

“Thanks. They’re both doing great. Yeah. I’ll tell her. Bye,”  Mel’s voice drifted in from the hall, followed by the woman herself.

“Sorry, Linds. I need to remember to turn the ringers off when the baby’s sleeping. That was Eleanor from the Center. She wanted to remind you about the meeting on Friday about the art show. I’m relaying the message, but I really don’t know if you should go. You should probabbly not push it too much. At least for awhile. Can’t someone else take over the show for you,” Mel asked with obvious concern for her lover clearly evident in her tone.

“I’ll be fine, Mel. I had a baby – it’s not like I’m recovering from the plague or something. I don’t plan to stay tied to the house until Gus turns eighteen and moves out. A short outing and a little fresh air will do both of us some good. Besides, I’m excited about the show. And, after all the work I’ve put into it already, there’s no way I’m gonna turn it over to someone else now,” was Lindsey’s confident reply.

Now that the baby had been soothed and the crying had ceased, Lindsey turned back to Brian and laid the blinking child back in his father’s arms. Brian again found himself staring at the tiny face of the infant and discovered to his surprise that watching a baby sucking on it’s pacifier was actually fascinating. ‘Shit, I must have been spending too much time hanging out with dykes – I’m turning into a total lesbian,’ Brian couldn't help thinking. His fear of all things lesbian, however, wasn’t strong enough to prevent the man from continuing to admire his beautiful son.

“You ARE going to come to the show, Brian, aren’t you,” Lindsey asked.

“Why the fuck would I do that?” responded Brian, his indifferent persona firmly back in place.

“Because it’s for a good cause – the money we raise will go towards the Center’s child care program, which is where you son will probably be going once I go back to work. It’s to your benefit that this show is a success. Plus, it wouldn’t kill you to show me a little support either, now would it?" Lindsey put on her most winsome smile. 

The Kinney inscrutability had never been able to withstand a full-on Peterson assault; as soon as she saw the first sign of softening in Brian’s eyes, she knew she’d won and that he would be at her show.

“Besides, I think you’ll be surprised at how great some of the art work is. We’ve got some amazing young artists this year. You do work in an art-related field, so I’d think you’d be interested in seeing what these emerging artists are capable of. Who knows, you might be hiring one of them some day.”

“Fine. When is this extravaganza, anyway? I’ll have to make sure my cocktail dress is back from the cleaners in time,” joked the brunet with a falsetto voice and his tongue firmly planted in his cheek.

 

 

Chapter 21 - At the GLC (October 2, 1999 – 7:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Get ready to squeeee!  TAG

 

-I have to go, Justin. I'm being forced to attend another pathetic charity/benefit thing for the latest ‘really good cause’ near and dear to the hearts of the gay community, blah, blah, blah. I really hate going to these boring, tedious, wastes of time. The only reason I’m going tonight is that Lindz will be there and I’ll get to see Gus. B.

-No Problem. Just don’t forget to open the other letter I sent you. I’ll be starting on my end at 11:00 pm, precisely. Don’t be late. And make sure you follow all the directions to the letter or I’ll be very upset with you. You’re gonna love this – I promise. Justin.

-I’m so proud – you’re becoming such a prolific and enthusiastic little sexmailer! A boy after my own . . . dick! Don’t worry, I’ll hold up my end. Now, if only you were here in person to hold up YOUR end – I could really get behind you on that idea. And you would love what happens when I get behind you! Later. B.

-Later! Justin.

Brian dragged his feet on the way up to the loft to shower and change. The last thing he wanted to do that night was go to the Gay & Lesbian Center’s latest wallet-emptying beg-fest. He would get to see Gus though and that would make it worthwhile, he guessed. He figured he could show up, play with Gus for a while, throw some money at the ‘good cause’ and be out of there in under an hour. Then it would be back here to open Justin’s letter and get his rocks off, hopefully in a particularly spectacular manner – Justin had hinted at something to do with the shower and a fresh bar of soap and Brian was definitely up for that. In fact, he might even be able to expand on Justin’s ideas a bit, hmm?

At 7:30 pm (precisely a half hour late – Brian Kinney was always fashionably late, except where an ad pitch was concerned), Brian sauntered through the door, prepared to endure whatever was necessary to get through this as quickly as possible. The GLC – safe haven for all fags who can’t get laid – was one of his least favorite places on Earth. The center had taken over and remodelled an old firehouse located right off Liberty Avenue. The brick structure was crumbling and covered with thick ivy (which was probably why the brick was crumbling), making it picturesque enough, and the interior had been well done with plenty of light and space – it was actually a pretty nice facility, Brian thought. And he didn’t really object to the programs the Center provided either – like the child care program – lots of those classes and services came in pretty handy, he had to admit. What he really objected to were the snooty people who ran the place – they all acted like they were God’s gift to gay culture or something. Brian was out and proud and he did things his way. He did not need some cunty bitch and her pussy-whipped gay buddies to tell him how a gay man should live his life. Fuck them!

Taking a deep breath, therefore, and plastering on his best fake smile, Brian strolled into the large open area on the building’s second floor that was being used for the night's art show. Lindsey was standing just inside the entryway, being the perfect hostess, shaking hands and greeting everyone with her perfect WASPy manners. Since she hadn’t seen him yet, Brian snuck up behind her, snaked his arms around her waist and gave her a huge, very wet, and very loud smooch, in the hopes of embarrassing her in front of all the artsy-fartsy types she’d been trying to impress. 

“Hi, Honey”, he intoned using his best falsetto. 

“Brian,” Lindsey said in that deprecating way she had that always told Brian he was misbehaving – it never made him behave better but it was always entertaining to listen to, Brian thought.

“So, where’s the backroom,” he asked as he started checking out the display in front of him – the men on display, that is. He thought there were some definite possibilities here – maybe that tall, slim, black guy over by the atrocious vagina sculptures? Maybe, but he’d reserve judgment until he saw what else the room had to offer before he made his play.

Lindsey adroitly maneuvered the randy brunet away from the other patrons, angling him towards the bar, where she knew he would stay put for at least a little while. “Gus is over here with Mel, Brian. Come see the adorable outfit Emmett got him from the new line of baby clothes Torso has now,” Lindsey said in an attempt to divert the conversation back to acceptable topics. Brian acquiesced with at least a semblance of grace and allowed himself to be hustled off towards a waiting glass of Beam. Luckily, Lindsey was almost immediately distracted by someone calling for her help with the sales table. Brian hadn’t seen Mel and Gus yet, so he started rambling around looking desultorrily at the art and hoping to find his son. Brian had to admit some of the stuff was actually pretty good. Of course, a lot of it was absolute shit, too.

After a few minutes, he found himself in front of a display of several charcoal drawings hung in groupings on a series of yellow display panels. ‘These drawings are good,’ he thought to himself. Something about the style vaguely reminded him of . . . something – maybe some other art work he’d seen somewhere, he wasn’t sure. The first one he examined was a simple line drawing of a woman sitting on a bench in a garden. There was not a lot of detail to this one but something about the way the woman was portrayed elicited a sense of calm contentment. The drawing displayed diagonally below it was more detailed and showed another garden scene, this time with a profile of a rather well-appointed, scantily-clad man standing with his face turned away from the viewer – nice, Brian thought, but too much like an art class study piece.

On the other side of the yellow display panel was another drawing of a woman. Brian easily recognized his friend Lindsey holding his son as the focus of this picture and smiled at the fabulous likeness of the boy. It must have been done very recently, he thought, since the beanie hat the boy was wearing in the picture was a new one that he and Lindsey had just picked out the previous weekend. The drawing was more than good – it was fantastic. The amount of detail was astounding – you could see every eyelash on the baby’s tiny eyelids. Brian stared at that picture for several minutes, wondering who the artist was. He was definitely going to ask Lindz later and maybe he would even buy this one for her.

When he had finished with the drawing of his friend and their son, he turned to view the final display panel for this grouping, and immediately froze. The drawing in front of him was a very elaborate and detailed street scene showing Liberty Avenue looking north from the intersection with Fuller St. Brian knew exactly where the artist had been sitting when he drew this because he had studied the very same image hundreds of times and had even gone so far as to visit the scene in person on a number of occasions. The drawing he was avidly gazing at right now was done in stark black and white using only charcoal, not in the brilliant pastels he was used to seeing, but it was undeniably the same picture as the one hanging on the wall in his office at that very moment – the drawing Justin had made with the pastels Brian had given him as a present less than six weeks before. This was the same scene, the same image. This was Justin’s drawing; he was absolutely sure of it. The small 'J.T.' in the bottom left corner of the drawing merely confirmed what he already knew in his soul.

Brian’s heart was racing. He could feel a light sheen of sweat breaking out over his whole body. Was it possible? How? Brian was almost afraid to turn around – afraid if he looked away for even an instant the drawing would disappear just like the letters in the mailbox at the loft. He had to look, though, so he slowly turned his body around and began to scan the crowd. Was he here? Was it possible that Justin, his Justin, was here? He had to know. He had to find him.

Brian practically ran to where Lindsey was still standing at the sales table. Without any warning, he grasped the woman’s arm and began dragging her, almost violently, towards the area where Justin’s art was displayed. Lindsey was still trying to pry the pinching fingers off her forearm when they arrived in front of the Liberty Avenue drawing.

“This artist. Do you know him? Is he here?” Brian demanded breathlessly. Lindsey stared at her long-time friend, taken completely off guard by his desperate mien and frantic actions. “Lindz, please, tell me if you know this artist and how I can find him. Please!”

“Of course I know him. His name is Justin Taylor. He’s wonderful isn’t he. Gus and I posed for him last Monday when Justin came to the Center to help me start setting up for the show. Did you see that one - It turned out beautifully, I think,” Lindsey asked, still confused by Brian’s behavior.

“Yes, I saw it. Now, please, Lindsey, listen to me. Are you listening?” asked the frantic man.

“Yes, I’m listening”, replied the bewildered blonde.

“I need to know if he is here tonight. Do you know where Justin is?” Brian asked, speaking a bit slower than usual in order to hammer home the importance of his question to Lindsey.

“He’s right over there at the bar," was Lindsey’s simple response.

Brian whirled around so fast he almost lost his balance. At first he couldn’t see the artist – his view was blocked by a group of drag queens all wearing high heels and sporting very big hair. Then, thankfully, the throng parted somewhat and Brian finally saw him. Justin was there!

Brian had never really seen this man except for the drawings Justin had made of himself and delivered to Brian. Brian had never received any done in color, either. But he knew instantly that this was his Justin. He stood there devouring the first sight of his lover, unable to move, for what seemed an eternity. He probably would have gone on standing and staring, but then the young artist waved and smiled at someone across the room and began to make his way through the crowd and away from Brian.

Galvanized, Brian began to move again, following the younger man, trying to force his way through the crowd and catch up to him. When he was only ten paces or so away, Justin stopped, reached an arm up and hugged a petite, well dressed blonde woman, who kissed the boy’s cheek in return. Brian hesitated to approach the pair. He urgently wanted to rush up to the beautiful man, grab him in his arms, and rain kisses down on his face and body. This was the man whose image and writing had been driving him crazy with desire for weeks. He could barely restrain himself. The only thing holding him back was that he had no idea what to say to THIS Justin.

He’d just realized that this man standing not ten feet from him was not the same man he’d been writing to for all these weeks. This man, living now in 1999, didn’t even know Brian Kinney existed. From Brian’s perspective, they had been virtual lovers for weeks now, but from the perspective of this Justin, he was a complete stranger. How, exactly, was Brian going to work this without Justin thinking he was certifiably insane? Brian took several deep breaths, trying to slow his heart rate so he could think and figure out what to do. All he knew was that he was not going to let this man leave here tonight without him. No matter what he had to do.

Trying to put on a more nonchalant air, Brian slowly approached the two blonds who were still talking in the corner of the gallery. “Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but I was wondering if you were the artist who did that wonderful sketch of my friend, Lindsey?” Brian thought that was a safe enough opening line. He smiled at the shorter man, trying to concentrate on Justin’s response and willing his hands not to reach out and stroke the porcelain smooth cheek only inches away from him now.

“Yes, I’m Justin Taylor. Did you like the drawing?” Justin replied, extending his hand towards Brian in a friendly gesture.

He mutely shook the proffered hand. “I love it. It’s perfect,” he finally managed. Brian was having a difficult time coordinating his mouth and brain sufficiently to get out whole sentences. It was finally hearing Justin’s voice that had done him in this time. Justin’s voice was almost exactly what he had imagined – a soft, sultry tenor – Brian had imagined that voice so many times. Listening to Justin speak had almost caused HIM to lose the power of speech. ‘Snap out of it, Kinney,’ he demanded of himself.

“I also really admired the street scene.” Better, he thought. “It’s so detailed. I might even buy it – it’s really that good. Would you care to get a drink with me and we can discuss it?” Brian said while gesturing towards the other side of the room. His only thought was to try to get the young man alone somehow and . . . well he didn’t know what he would do then, but it would come to him.

“Of course. Mom, would you excuse me for a few minutes?” came the cultured reply.

Brian tentatively reached out and lightly touched the younger man’s lower back, guiding him through the mass of art patrons, towards the bar. As they neared the more open area directly in front of the bar, the tall handsome brunet quietly looked down at the beautiful, blond artist, now within arm’s reach, and smiled. “What would you like to drink,” he asked, his voice low and hushed. Justin glanced up at the taller man who was looking at him so intently and beamed a devastatingly beautiful smile up at Brian as he answered. Brian didn’t even hear the drink order, though, because he was blinded and deafened by the luminous smile directed at him by the ravishing blond he’d been yearning for all these weeks. ‘That smile – Shit, when he smiles like that his whole face lights up,' was the involuntary thought that popped into Brian’s mind. ‘It’s like a beam of sunshine’.

“Sorry,” he apologized. “I was momentarily distracted.”

“So, what can I get you, Sunshine,” Brian asked again.

 

 

Chapter 22 - After the Art Show (October 2, 1999 – 9:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

This chapter should make many readers very, very, very, happy!  TAG

 

“Lindsey, I want to purchase that drawing,” Brian dictated, pointing at the Liberty Avenue street scene.

“Oh, Bri. I’m so sorry, but that one’s already sold,” apologized Lindsey.

“I don’t fucking care if it’s already sold or not. I want it,” Brian was not going to let this picture get away.

“Bri, that wouldn’t really be fair to the person who put in their offer first, now would it?” Lindsey tried to reason with the adamant brunet.

“I’ll give you $500. It says in the brochure it's priced at only $100, so that’s five times the profits going to your ‘good cause’, right?” Brian countered.

“Well . . .”

“Fine. $1,000. And ask the artist, he’s got a bunch more of the same scene - the other buyer can have one of those. That should make everybody happy.

“Okay. Sold,” was Lindsey’s avaricious response.

“Here’s my card. I want it delivered to my office tomorrow. Okay?” Brian directed as he strode off, intent on relocating Justin as soon as possible.

Brian had, admittedly, been stalking Justin for the last hour or so. After buying the young artist a drink and engaging him in innocuous conversation for several minutes, Justin’s presence had been rudely usurped by a pompous grey-headed old gas bag claiming to be an ‘Art Critic’. The so-called critic had enlisted Lindsey’s help and together they had managed to entice the artist away from Brian for a short while. Brian had surreptitiously kept an eye on the group ever since, but was getting annoyed at the duration of the unwanted intrusion. It had been almost twenty minutes now, and Brian figured that was sufficient time apart from the object of his desires.

Brian finally located the pair (Lindsey appeared to have left) and noted the lecherous old queen had his hand on Justin’s arm, laughing obscenely at some unknown joke. Justin wasn’t laughing, so Brian figured that whatever the critic had said couldn’t have been that entertaining. ‘Time for an intervention,’ he decided.

Channeling Emmett Honeycutt, to the best of his ability, Brian approached the artist and his parasitic sycophant and launched his best assault. “Justin, sweetie, where HAVE you been?” said Brian, with his best ’queen’ voice. “You just have to come and meet Alejandro. He is just so HOT and he’s simply dying to meet you. Wait till you see his ass, honey, it is absolutely fabulous. You’ll just love him!” As he concluded this charade, Brian attached himself firmly to Justin’s arm, pushing the critic aside in the process, and promptly hustled the snickering young man away. Justin’s laughter got louder and fuller as they increased their distance from the unwanted old lech. Brian found the pealing laughter to be contagious and joined in wholeheartedly as soon as they were out of earshot.

“Thanks for rescuing me,” Justin said, still laughing and looking at Brian with another one of his unbelievable smiles. “That guy was definitely more interested in my ass than my art. I’d already tried to get rid of him a couple of times, but he was just not getting the ‘dis. You’re a lifesaver!”

“Anytime,” Brian responded. “I’m always available to rescue a dashing young prince in distress, Sunshine.” And both men burst into another bout of laughter at the critic’s expense.  

By now the pair was far enough away from the interloper that Brian felt his charge was safe. He stopped and turned towards the enchanting blond boy he’d been hungering for all night. Justin must have seen the desire in Brian’s gaze, because he moved his body closer to the tall, sensual brunet and raised his chin so that his face was aligned with Brian’s as the taller man directed his eyes downward. Neither man moved for several moments – both just stood, delving into the other’s eyes, searching for the source of the magnetic pull drawing them closer together. Slowly, without any intentional movement on either man’s part, the cranberry lips of one and the coral lips of the other were drawn together in a deep sensual kiss.

That first kiss was almost indescribable. Brian had spent uncounted hours staring at Justin’s portrait, imagining the taste, the feel, the suppleness of those lips. Now, finally, he could live out his fantasies. And it was everything he had imagined and more. He pulled Justin’s full, lower lip into his mouth, sucking on it and savoring the taste. He nipped and suckled and licked those luscious lips reverently and with almost complete abandon. Brian was sure he had never tasted anything so sweet as Justin’s lips. The kiss went on and on for untold moments until Brian finally grasped the withering remnants of his self-control and pulled away.

“I could use some air. How about you, Sunshine?” Brian managed between ragged breaths.

“I’d like that,” the younger man replied, also too out of breath to elaborate further.

Brian gleefully slipped his right arm around Justin’s waist and pulled the slender frame of the smaller man tightly against his side. Closing his eyes briefly he took a moment to soak in the feeling of this glorious, amazing man, now safely clasped at his side. Then he determinedly guided them towards the exit. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a fleeting glimpse of Lindsey heading their way, but he simply waved her off, and something in his countenance must have warned the woman that now was not the time to intrude, because she promptly retreated.

The air outside was brisk. Fall was firmly seated on the countryside around Pittsburgh and it’s influence could be felt in the chill breeze and seen in the colorful swirling leaves drifting down the sidewalk in front of the two men. Brian had no idea where he was heading – he wasn’t consciously directing their path in any particular direction. He was living in the moment, just enjoying having Justin there with him, and he wasn’t prepared to think things through too far into the future. All he wanted was to be here, now, with Justin.

Neither man spoke as they walked. It didn’t feel necessary. They did halt briefly several times to kiss, to touch each other’s faces or hands, or simply to lock their gazes on one another, just to reconnect. They were in no hurry and had no destination in mind. It was enough that they were together.

After several blocks, Brian recognized from their surroundings that they were nearing the small park close to his loft. He therefore changed their course and moved the two of them off to the left and in through the park gate. After a short walk down a gravelled path, they came to the particular spot he’d had in mind. Justin followed his lead, unresisting and without comment – his only response being the occasional tightening of his clasp on Brian’s hip, and the repeated smiles he directed up to the taller man.

At the center of the park was a small fountain shaped like a pile of natural rock with a spring dripping water down it’s face. Brian steered Justin across to the bench facing the fountain, sat down and gently guided the younger man down onto his lap, wrapping both arms tightly around the blond as soon as he was firmly seated.

Once again that magnetic attraction they had both been feeling all evening exerted its force and the two bodies were drawn together, their lips meeting, their hands stroking and clasping, their fingers entwining passionately. They were lost in each other and neither wanted to ever be found.

Gradually, their kisses became more intense and both sets of hands began to wander further afield. Brian let his long, sensitive fingers forage under the hem of Justin’s shirt, inching their way across the smooth skin of the boy’s back, up to his shoulders and then back down to the waistband of Justin’s tan chinos. He was enthralled by the smooth softness of his lover’s skin – it felt as if his hands were gliding across silk. He could not get enough of this man – his touch, his lips, his piercing sapphire blue eyes.

In no time at all, Brian realized that this mere sample of the beautiful blond boy would never be enough. He had to see all of him, feel all of him, taste all of him. Now. From the moans and whimpers emanating from Justin’s sensual lips, Brian thought the boy needed more too.

Brian took the initiative and gently gathered the smaller man in his arms, rising from the bench and striding across the grass towards a stand of graceful willows. He deftly ducked between several trailing willow branches and set Justin down lightly underneath the canopy of drooping willow withes. The branches of the ancient tree they were standing under still retained most of their leaves, despite the season, helping to create a snug cave-like enclosure hidden from outside view. The wind had contributed by conveniently blowing in a pile of crisp, dry, red and gold leaves to soften the hard ground. Brian did not hesitate to pull off his thigh-length navy wool jacket and spread it over the mass of leaves before he guided Justin down to the make-shift bed.

There was no need for any conversation. Each man wanted the other. This had to happen – there was no stopping the flood of feelings cascading over the couple as they efficiently removed each other’s clothing, kissing, tasting, touching all the while.

When the last article of clothing had effortlessly disappeared, Brian pulled away sufficiently to view Justin’s glorious body in full. In the dim moonlight filtering through the trees, Justin’s pale, perfect skin glowed. Brian longed to bite and lick every inch of that taut, compact frame, starting with the tender skin under his lover’s jaw and not stopping until he reached those perfect pink toes.

At that moment, Justin impatiently reached up from his bed of leaves and pulled Brian down onto him. Brian dove down gladly onto those coral pink lips and prodded forcefully with his tongue, demanding entrance to that sweet, wet mouth. The blond boy eagerly complied, opening his mouth to Brian’s questing tongue as the men’s bodies ground together, sliding and writhing against one another. As the taller man shifted his body slightly so as not to crush the smaller body beneath his, their bare cocks brushed against each other, generating electric sparks and igniting an even greater frenzy in both men. Brian ran his hands down Justin’s sides, stroking the boy’s stomach and hips and thighs until Justin willingly opened his legs further, allowing him to settle his body comfortably in the gap.

At this point, Brian’s mouth began to travel downwards, trailing his tongue over Justin’s porcelain smooth skin, his hard erect nipples, his taut stomach and on to the thick straining cock nestled in a bed of soft, golden pubes. Brian could not hold back – he saw that magnificent, perfect dick and could not stop his hand from grasping the shaft or his mouth from descending on the engorged head. He sucked and licked and stroked that thick hard cock. He joyously took in the entire length, burying his face in the golden hair at it’s base and inhaling the delicious male aroma of his love.

All of a sudden, Brian became aware, from the tenor of the moans and whimpers originating from Justin’s lips, as well as from the hands grasping at his hips, that the blond was not going to last much longer. Brian abruptly backed off to allow the boy to regain his equilibrium momentarily. At the same time, he gently pushed against his companion’s hip, urging him to turn over. With Justin now lying on his stomach, legs spread accommodatingly wide, Brian went back to work. Starting with light, wet kisses on the lad’s shoulders and upper back, the older man moved efficiently downward, biting, licking and kissing along the way. He paused briefly at the top of the boy’s crack, fondling the delectable, down covered cheeks and spreading them lovingly, before once again bending down to trail his tongue down the cleft towards his final goal.

Justin was continuously writhing beneath Brian at this point. Incomprehensible noises were pouring from his lips.  He was delirious with pleasure. When Brian’s expert tongue finally stretched out to lick and taste his tight, throbbing hole, Justin cried out and gasped for breath as if he were drowning. His companion’s wanton reaction encouraged Brian and the experienced man redoubled his efforts, licking and nipping at the boy’s hole, savoring the unique taste of his lover, until finally the skilled tongue penetrated, pushing at the pulsing ring of muscles and then thrusting deeply into that perfect ass.

Brian worked diligently, tongue fucking that delicious well until he once more felt Justin reaching a peak. Again Brian pulled back, causing the wiggling blond to groan and complain. Brian could only make out the word ‘please’ amid the rest of the indistinguishable pleading noises. Brian was a consummate artist when it came to fucking, though, and already knew where he wanted to take this, so he ignored the boy’s pleading and concentrated on the next step in his plan.

Once again compelling the stunning blond to turn over, Brian spread the strong thighs wide, placing Justin’s feet flat on the ground. Reaching under the boy and into the pocket of his coat, he extracted a small tube of lube and a condom. Popping the cap, he squeezed a generous amount of lube onto his fingertips and let it warm slightly before reaching his hand down towards the needy asshole of this lovely young man. Rubbing a small amount of the lube over and around the tight pucker, he slowly pushed in his index finger, prodding gently at the tight muscles as he went. Justin’s moans increased exponentially as Brian slowly moved his finger in and out and then added a second and then a third finger, working them gently to prepare the way. When the hips of the younger man were bucking against his restraining arm, Brian pulled his fingers out and quickly moved to position himself at the entrance to this magnificent ass.

“Justin, look at me,” Brian said softly, his voice somehow piercing through the boy’s frenzy. “Here, put it on me. Go ahead, slip it on my dick,” Brian directed, handing Justin the condom. When he was fully sheathed, the sensuous, skilled older man reached down and maneuvered Justin’s lower legs up over his shoulders holding them there firmly while smiling down at the man below him.

“I want you to keep your eyes open, Justin. I want you to see me. I want you to remember this, so that no matter who you’re ever with, I’ll always be there,” Brian whispered.

Justin beamed up at him with his radiant ‘sunshine’ smile and nodded. And, as Brian finally pushed into the boy’s tight, wet depths, Justin yelled out in pleasure and pain, while the older man added so softly that the plea was almost lost in the wind, “I want you to remember ME.”

Both men were more than ready by now and after not more than a dozen thrusts, Brian sensed the familiar tightening feeling centered in his gut that warned of his imminent climax. He promptly grasped Justin’s cock with his firm right hand and began pumping it vigorously as he angled his thrusts so that each time he entered he grazed across the boy’s prostate. Within seconds, Brian felt the delightful tingle in his balls begin to spread out, washing over his entire body, resulting in the wondrous final climax as he shot his load with an enormous groan. At the same instant, the man beneath him also reached the apex of his own pleasure, and streams of white jizz shot between the men’s bodies. As both men shuddered to completion, the beautiful brunet dropped his head down next to the bright blond head of his lover and whispered, “I love you, Justin. I love you,” to the surprise of both.

 

 

End Notes:

Yee Haw!  TAG

Chapter 23 - Back to the Future (October 3, 2001 – 6:30 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Oh, oh, oh - this plot is twistier than a plate full of curly fries! It's getting so confusing (even for the author). Enjoy!  TAG

 

Justin was looking forward to hearing from Brian this evening with great expectations. He was hoping that his lover had enjoyed the wet and slippery shower game he had invented yesterday as much as the blond himself had and he was eager to get the other man’s verdict. He was too excited to sit while he waited, though, and was instead pacing (or skipping, as some observers might more accurately describe it) back and forth in front of the mailboxes in the lobby. Finally, unable to wait any longer, he pulled a small, ruled notepad from his cargo pants’ pocket and scribbled a quick note.

 

-Brian – How’d it go last night? Did you enjoy my new game? So, what was your final score? I got to TEN before my knees started shaking so much I kind of collapsed. Tell me! Justin.

 

When no response came after almost ten more minutes, the young man began to wonder if Brian hadn’t made it tonight for some reason. Just when he was about to give up and return dejectedly to the loft, he heard the ‘clank’ and saw the usual flash of creamy paper as Brian’s response materialized in the box.

 

-Sorry, Justin. I didn’t get to play your game last night. I went to an Art Show at the GLC instead. B.


-Damn. I really wanted to get your input – I think we may need to adjust the rules a bit to take into account the couple of times I lost the bar of soap. You were supposed to have played too and then we could have compared scores. I guess we’ll just have to go again tonight and I say that I should get to add last night’s points to my new score. I’m so gonna win now! J.


-Justin, I met someone last night at the GLC. B.

 

Justin’s good mood was instantly crushed. Brian had met someone. Was he saying he . . . what? Maybe that he didn’t want to be with Justin any more? Justin had no idea how to respond. He was stunned. Before he had any chance to think anything more, though, there was another ‘clank’.

 

-Justin, I met someone very IMPORTANT. Didn’t you tell me YOU were in a show at the Center once? Do you remember that night? B.


-Yeah, of course. It was my first real professional show. I sold my first drawing that night. Why? J.

 

Justin was really not following where Brian was going with this. He was still reeling from the man’s announcement that he’d met someone. Had Brian met some new hot young artist at some art show? Justin was devastated. He didn’t want to even think about his life without Brian in it – even if the older man’s presence was only felt through his letters. Had Brian found someone else?

 

-You don’t remember. B.

 

Brian’s terse response brought Justin’s reeling thoughts to a screeching halt. What was Brian asking? The young artist thought back to that night – the thrill of being in his first professional show, the feeling of acceptance both for his art and from being at the Center itself, the comments from admiring art lovers – it had been such an amazing night. But he didn’t think that was what Brian was asking him to remember.

 

Going back through the events of that night again in his head, looking for some clue as to what was going on with Brian, a light suddenly dawned on him. ‘Fuck!’ Justin realized Brian wasn’t referring to the events at the show – he was reminding Justin of the events that happened after the show. His hands were trembling as he picked up his pen to respond.

 

-That night – the night of the show – I met someone, too. I met a man and we left together . . . Fuck! That couldn’t have been . . . ? My God! It was! It was you! Brian, I didn’t remember. I’m so sorry. I remember leaving the show. We walked to the park together. We were sitting on the bench, kissing. And then he/you/WE made love under that huge willow tree. How could I have not remembered it was you? I know you never did tell me your name that night, but still. It was one of the most wonderful nights of my life. It was my first time – Brian you were my first. How could I have forgotten it was you? J.

 

Brian was overjoyed that Justin had finally remembered, regardless of why the memory had been lost for so long. They were both so excited. The paper flew back and forth across time as they shared their memories of that special night with each other. Then a disturbing thought occurred to Justin, and gave him pause.

 

-Brian, once we’d met, back in 1999 – once we’d made love – why didn’t I ever see you again? I don’t remember ever seeing you after that night. Did you/do you not want to be with me again? J.

 

-I don’t know why we don’t see each other again, Justin. I can’t know why we don’t meet again in the future – my future, that is. You have to know, though, that it isn’t because I don’t want to be with you. I still want you so bad it hurts. Even though we were just together last night. I’ve never felt like this about anyone before, Justin. I want you. Fuck – I need you. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s true. I don’t know what could happen to make me stop feeling this way or what’s possibly going to keep me away from you. You have to know that, right? B.


-This whole thing is so fucked. You know THAT, right? J.


-Yeah. I know. It’s definitely fucked – and not in a positive, life-affirming way, either. B.

 

For a long time after that, both men simply sat in the lobby of their loft, each in the same place but in separate times, unable to reach the other. They both sat and thought and tried to understand what was happening to them.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(October 3, 2001 – 11:30 pm)

 

Justin had finally said goodnight to Brian and returned to the loft. His thoughts and emotions were churning - unsettled. Why hadn’t he remembered being with Brian? Why? The question kept repeating in his brain.

 

Justin walked into the kitchen, pulled open the fridge and grabbed a cold bottle of water. He cracked open the bottle and took a large swig, feeling the cool liquid sliding down his throat. After standing there for several more minutes, still at a loss, he shook his head in disgust and made up his mind to just forget the enigma for now.

 

Thinking that perhaps a shower would relax him enough to allow him to get some sleep tonight, he started to empty his pockets – placing his wallet and keys on the counter – and unsnapped the cowry shell bracelet from his wrist, laying it down next to the other items. For some reason, his eyes were drawn down to the bracelet again. While he was looking at the shells, an image of Brian, wearing the same shell bracelet, suddenly flashed into his mind. The image wasn’t clear and the man’s surroundings were obscured, but the gleaming cowry shells were in perfect focus. Did the image have something to do with that night at the GLC? Why else would he be seeing it now? Justin tried to grab on to that memory – he wanted to figure out why this particular image had come to him. The picture wouldn’t stay, though – it almost immediately began to fade. The harder Justin tried to recall that mental image, the dimmer it became.

 

And, as the image turned to grey and then to black, Justin dropped the half-full bottle of water and watched as it fell to the floor, bounced once and then toppled over, draining the water across the hardwood flooring. Justin felt his heart begin to race and his breathing grow ragged. He felt an unbearable sense of loss. The overwhelming fear, the panic, the terror – of what, he didn’t know – rushed up and inundated him. He dropped to his knees in the puddle of cold water – unable to stand, unable to utter a sound. As his vision started to narrow to a pinprick, he pulled his knees tightly against his chest, huddling in a small heap on the wet floor and leaning against the kitchen island. Justin gave in then to the panic and resigned himself to wait until the attack had run its course. He didn’t really have any other choice.


 

End Notes:

This chapter is dedicated to DavidR, because he was smart enough to ask the right questions.

Chapter 24 - Pain and Panic (October 5, 1999 – 7:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Romantic!Brian. Yay! TAG  

 

Brian was becoming very worried. He hadn’t been able to contact Justin for two days now and he had no idea what to do about it.

 

Monday night, Brian had been eager to connect with his boy again – especially after having been with him in the flesh so recently – he was still craving more Sunshine. But when Justin hadn’t shown at their normal meeting time, he’d just figured his Sunshine had been working or maybe he’d gone out with his friend Daphne or something. It was a little odd though. Justin usually told him in advance when he wouldn’t be here or at least left a note. It was especially weird after all that had happened with the art show shit and everything they had discussed that night. He figured they still had a lot of unanswered questions and he would have thought that Justin would want to find the answers too.

 

But, whatever, he thought, the kid was only nineteen – shit, when he was nineteen there was no way he’d be spending hours every night writing letters to some old geezer he couldn’t even fuck. He was sure Justin would be back the next night.

 

Tuesday morning Brian again checked the box, just in case Justin had left him a note when he hadn’t been around. Nothing. Brian did leave another note for his boy though about a fun new game he thought they would both enjoy later tonight.

 

It was now well past 7:00 pm on Tuesday and there was still no sign of Sunshine. ‘This is not good,’ Brian thought. 'Justin wouldn’t just not show without leaving a note. He wouldn’t. Where the fuck is he.' Something was definitely wrong, but what could Brian do? Nothing - that was what. Shit – Brian hated doing nothing.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(October 6, 2001 – 10:30 am)

 

Brian was right, of course. It was not good. Not good at all. In fact, Justin was sure that, except for the few weeks immediately after the bashing, it had never been this bad. That first panic attack on Sunday night had struck out of the blue. Justin hadn’t had any panic attacks at all in months – not since the one he’d had the day he moved into the loft. He’d been doing so well, he had decided not to refill the prescription for the anti-anxiety meds he’d been taking ever since the prom incident.  

 

In perfect 20/20 hindsight, he now realized that had been a major mistake. These attacks had been so bad, so debilitating, that the terror-filled young man had not been able to leave the loft since Sunday.

 

To be honest, he hadn’t even really been able to leave his bed – the few times he’d tried to get up and think about getting moving, he’d ended up tossing his cookies or curled up in a ball on the floor. The stabbing migraine headache had not abated at all since the first attack and he found it hard to even think straight with so much pain. He hadn’t been able to keep down any food and very little water. The most productive thing he’d done in two days was to call in sick to work and school. Fuck – Justin had absolutely no idea what had happened to bring this on – especially as bad as it was.

 

The worst part of it was that he was too afraid to leave the apartment to even go down to the lobby to meet with Brian. In fact, sometimes merely thinking about Brian would, in itself, bring on another round of panic. One time, while he was standing in the kitchen trying to convince himself to attempt eating something, he’d glanced at the cowry shell bracelet still laying on the counter, flashed again on an image of Brian wearing the same bracelet and had proceeded to pass out when a wave of something – terror, pain, panic, something – hit him. It was easier to just not think about Brian – or anything really – than to try to fight the pain and fear. He figured that Brian was probably pissed at him for not showing up for the past two nights, but there was little he could do about it.

 

This morning, though, had been not just bad - it had been absolutely horrible. He’d had another night terror episode and had again lost several hours, waking only to the exhaustion and sadness that made him feel as if someone was crushing his soul. It had been beyond bad and it made him finally realize that he needed to get help – this was not getting better, he was not getting over it, he needed to somehow get control over whatever was happening to him. When the night terror had finally abated enough that he was able to function at close to normal levels, he’d reluctantly fumbled around on the floor next to his bed, digging through the discarded clothing he’d been too tired to take to the hamper, and eventually found his cell phone.

 

That had been about a half hour ago. And, right on time, he heard someone knocking on the loft door - eventually sliding the door open when there was no response. “Justin, honey. It’s Mom,” Jennifer Taylor called out as she entered the apartment looking for her son.

 

“Here, Mom,” a cracked, weak voice answered from the direction of the bedroom.

 

“Hey, sweetheart. I’m here now. It’s going to be okay,” came the age old words of motherly comfort. Justin thought to himself that even at nineteen the words still worked.

 

Jennifer was all efficiency and action. She quickly assessed the scene, decided that the first order of business was to create some order, and began cleaning up. Justin simply stayed where he was, comforted by his mother’s mere presence to some degree, and willing to let someone else take over for a brief while. After picking up the randomly tossed clothing, attacking the reeking toilet and starting a load of laundry to deal with all the dirty toweling, she started in on the invalid himself. Helping Justin up from the bed, she directed him to the shower while she changed the sheets and then made some herbal tea. Justin had to admit he did feel better after a shower and a change of clothes. He didn’t even mind the weak herbal tea – which amazingly enough seemed like it would stay down. Finally satisfied that her baby was okay for the moment, she headed off to get the meds refilled and run some other errands. Justin just laid back on the couch in a grateful doze.

 

“Justin, honey. I’ve got your meds. I called the doctor and he said to go ahead and take one right away, even though you normally should only take them with food. He said that, as bad as this attack seems to be, it was important to get the meds started as soon as possible. Let me get you some water first though.” Jennifer said upon her return while she bustled about. Justin was very groggy and only got about every fifth word out of his mother’s mouth, but thankfully, he didn’t really have to know what was going on since he knew his mother was going to take care of everything.

 

“Oh, I also picked up your mail on my way back. The mailbox was practically overflowing,” she commented as she neared the couch with her arms full of a bottle of water, a small white craft paper bag from the pharmacy, her purse and a moderately large stack of mail. “It looks like mostly junk, I’m afraid,” she said as she went through the pile without even consulting her son. “There are a couple of bills – I’ll put those on the counter for you. What’s this – it looks like . . . hmm.”  That comment revived Justin’s attention.

 

-Hey, Sunshine. Come out and play. I’ve got a new game I want to teach you. You’ll have lots of fun – you get to wear a costume and there are props, too. B.

 

Jennifer had read the note aloud with a questioning look directed at Justin. “What’s this all about, Justin?”

 

“It’s just a joke, Mom. My friend has a weird sense of humor. Here, can I have it,” Justin tried to grab the note away from the rather nosy woman.

 

-Justin – is everything okay? Two days now and no Sunshine. Starting to freak a little here. Don’t make me have to cross the time/space barrier and come and get you. Just let me know you’re all right, okay. B.


P.S. My grades in Physics were for shit, so I probably couldn’t get to you anyway, even if you sent an instruction manual. I would try real hard though.

 

Jennifer continued to read the next note she’d come across. This time the questioning look at her son was accompanied by a ‘mother’s knowing smile’ type smile. “Hmmm – who exactly is ‘B.’?”

 

“I told you, Mom. It’s just a friend.”

 

“Well, your ‘friend’ seems pretty concerned about you”. And she proceeded to read out the last note.

 

-Fuck, Justin. Where are you? I can’t stand this - there’s nothing I can do to find you or help you. Please, I need to know if you’re okay or not. B

 

“Mom, give me the letters, please.” Justin grabbed the three notes out of his mother’s hand, opened the side table drawer to locate a pen and, completely ignoring Jennifer’s curious gaze, started to write a response to his worried lover.

 

-Brian. Sorry I haven’t been there. I’ve been sick again. Haven’t made it out of the loft since Sunday evening. Fucking Chris Hobbs! Wish you could be here. Or I could be there. There aren’t any fun games here without you. J

 

Justin then got his mother to bring him an envelope. He put the note in the envelope, making sure to seal it - mother’s are notorious snoops - and then asked his mother to please take the note down to the mailbox for him. He also reminded her not to forget to flip up the out-going mail flag. She was almost out the door when she asked, “doesn’t this need some postage?’

 

“No. It’s okay – he’ll get it,” Justin said. He was asleep already by the time Jennifer reentered the loft.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(October 7, 1999 – 9:30 am)

 

“Cynthia,” bellowed the boss-man as he entered his office. Without bothering to note whether or not his assistant was with him, he continued, “I need you to get me rates on a billboard.”

 

“No problem,” came the reply from the always-efficient Cynthia. “What kind of campaign do you need – Greater Metro Area, Downtown, what?”

 

“I don’t want a fucking campaign. I just want a billboard.”

 

“ONE billboard?” Cynthia wasn’t sure what this was about but she’d learned a long time ago to never question Brian Kinney’s ideas. She did, however, often need to question his sanity.

 

“Yes, ONE billboard. Are any of these words particularly difficult for you to understand? Hmm?” came the expected, sarcastic response from Brian.

 

“Okay . . . any particular billboard you had in mind or should I just pick a random one in, say, Outer Mongolia?” Cynthia was never one to take anyone’s shit – even Brian’s – lying down.

 

“Yeah, right. Actually, I want one on the southwest corner of Fuller and Tremont.”

 

“Isn’t that near your place?”

 

“Just get me the rates, Cynthia!”

 

Exactly forty-two minutes later, Cynthia rapped lightly on Brian’s office door, opening it without waiting for a response.

 

“Excuse me, Brian. I called both Crystal Clear Channels and AirPro, the only two outdoor media firms in that area and neither one HAS a billboard on the corner of Fuller and Tremont.” Cynthia informed her boss.

 

“Well, then, get me quotes on what it will cost to get one there. And I’ll need a two year minimum commitment on that spot when it is built”. When Cynthia just stood there, looking at Brian with utter confusion on her lovely face, Brian added, “I need this right away, Cynthia. Come on – get a move on!”

 

Cynthia turned and started for the door, but was pulled up short by another Kinney directive. “Oh, and Cynthia, get me what’s-his-name . . . Phil, from the art department.”

 

“You mean Frank?” Cynthia wanted to be clear on this one.

 

“What-the-fuck-ever - Frank – get him up here. He can start on the layout while they’re fucking around with the billboard,” added Brian as he rushed off to another meeting.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(October 7, 2001 – 5:00 pm)

 

“Hey, Justin” came a voice from near the loft windows. Justin walked towards his best friend, who had, as expected, shown up to bolster her friend’s spirits as soon as she heard what had happened. “I don’t remember ever seeing that billboard across the street. When did they put that up?” she questioned as she looked out the loft windows at the building across the street.

 

“What billboard?” asked the blond. “There isn’t any billboard . . .” he’d started to say before he looked out the window himself. He stood there, grinning. Then he laughed aloud.

 

“Brian,” was all he said.

 

“Huh?” Daphne responded, eloquently.

 

Justin didn’t answer because he was too busy admiring the billboard which was bolted to the side of the building across the street from the loft. On the billboard, was a colorful advertisement showing a large, cartoon-style sun, complete with smiley face, along with several musical notes scattered about randomly on the sign. The text on sign said:

 

“You are my Sunshine

My only Sunshine

You make me happy

When skies are grey

You’ll never know dear

How much I love you

Please, don’t take my Sunshine away”  

B.”

 

“Brian? Isn’t that your pen-pal guy? What .  . ." Daphne started to question Justin, as was expected of a best-friend. She was interrupted by a now energized Justin, sporting his famous ‘Sunshine’ smile.

 

“Come on, Daph. Let’s go get my mail.”

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

-Did you like the song I dedicated to you, Sunshine?  B.


-God, where did you come up with that corny song!  J.


-I prefer to think of it as ridiculously romantic, Sunshine.  B.


-Thank you, Brian. It helped. J.


 

Chapter 25 - Dinner with the Munchers (October 8, 1999 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

This chapter should help answer some of those pesky questions many readers have been posing.  Hope you enjoy.  TAG

 

The dark green corvette pulled into the curb in front of the three-story wood frame house, it's engine purring with a subdued hum. The driver turned off the ignition swiftly, stifling the noise, and pushed open the door. A warm brown Gucci loafer emerged from the depths of the car, followed in rapid succession, by a well proportioned calf clothed in smoky grey wool, a lanky but well muscled thigh and then the remaining body parts of the always nattily dressed Brian Kinney. The man shut and locked the car door, then casually sauntered down the sidewalk and up the brick pathway to the front of the house. He turned the knob of the old-fashioned brass ringer positioned in the center of the front door and waited patiently for someone to welcome him inside.

 

As he waited, he caught himself unconsciously humming the melody to his new favorite tune. "You are my sunshine . . ." When he thought about how truly lesbionic he was acting, he groaned and tried to actively suppress all knowledge of the horribly corny song, the several hundred dollars he had spent on a ridiculous billboard and all memories of himself acting in any manner that could be considered 'romantic'. He firmly reminded himself that Brian Kinney didn't DO romance or boyfriends or anything remotely resembling corny and any recent actions to the contrary must have been some drug induced aberration which would definitely NOT be repeated.

 

Finally satisfied that he had his unseemly emotions under control, he turned his thoughts towards the present. He was happily anticipating spending the evening with the Munchers and Gus. He willingly acknowledged that Lindsey was a pretty good cook and that dinner was likely to be enjoyable, even if Mel was going to be there. Plus, there was the added bonus of getting to spend time admiring his son, something that he found, to his surprise, he never got tired of. In addition, he had a secret ulterior motive for tonight's visit that, he hoped, would turn out to be eminently pleasurable. The front door was pulled open at that moment, interrupting any further speculation.

 

"Bri, come on in," Lindsey chimed. "You have perfect timing, as always. Melanie just put the steaks on the grill and I just took the Sauvignon Blanc out of the fridge. Will you pour us all a glass?"

 

"Sure, as soon as you point me towards the real alcohol. Where's the Beam?" Brian responded with an obligatory smirk.

 

"Sorry, Bri. You'll have to settle for drinking wine with the rest of the adults tonight. Unless you want to share some of Gus' formula?" she teased.

 

"Glug, glug, glug!" was all Brian said as he spied the baby and hurried over to lift his boy out of the basinet resting on the coffee table. "Hey, Sonny Boy", he crooned at the baby, completely forgetting about pouring any type of drinks. He stood in the center of the room, peering down at the alert but quiet little face, involuntarily rocking back and forth and humming. When he realized, once again, that the melody he was humming was a certain forbidden and very corny tune, he quashed the humming abruptly, but did not put down the gurgling bundle.

 

Meanwhile, Lindsey and Mel were bustling about getting the table set and the food put out. Brian meandered around, enjoying the peaceful time with Gus. He noted that in one corner of the living room, the furniture had been moved away from the wall and Linds had apparently begun painting a mural of some kind in the spot. Examining the incomplete art work, he could see what appeared to be the beginning of a floral scene with a large vine snaking up from the baseboard towards the ceiling, and at the bottom two very small handprints placed next to the vine mixed in with a spattering of leaves.

 

Brian asked, "What's this, over here, Linds?"

 

"Oh, it's going to be a growth chart for Gus. Every six months or so we'll use his hands to put additional prints on the vine to give a representation of how tall he's getting. I saw the idea in a parenting magazine at the OB's office and just loved it. If you like, I can do one for you at the loft, too," she offered enthusiastically. Noting the new dad's hesitation, though, she quickly added, "I could paint it in some out-of-the way spot so it won't ruin the ambiance for when you have company. Maybe over on the side wall of the kitchen?" she offered.

 

"Whatever," was the unenthusiastic reply, but Lindsey knew from his forced nonchalance that Brian was actually not opposed to the idea. Lindsey mentally made plans to start on the project for her friend as soon as possible.

 

Forty-five minutes later, Brian pushed himself back from the dining table, replete and content. The steaks had been, as expected, perfectly cooked to a cool medium rare, the salad and other side dishes were filling and, as directed, virtually carb-free, and even the girly white wine had been decent. The baby had been put to sleep in his crib upstairs before dinner began. So now it was just him and the Munchers and Brian decided to lauch the first step of his plan.

 

"How did your art show turn out the other night," he casually asked of his friend.

 

"Fabulous. We made over $4,000 for the child care center," Lindsey replied. "And how did the show turn out for you? I did see you leaving with a certain hot young blond artist, didn't I?" Lindsey prompted, curious about the coupling since the young Mr. Taylor was not Brian's usual type.

 

"Fabulous! Of Course," was Brian's retort. He was not phased at all by the turn the conversation was taking. He knew Lindsey thought she was goading him by mentioning his most recent sexual escapade. Little did she know, though, that he'd intended to steer the discussion in this direction from the start. "Speaking of artists, I wanted to see if you could give me that kid's contact info. What was his name . . . Tyler? . . . or something. I had a client who saw the kid's drawing hanging in my office and really liked it. He wanted to see what else the guy had - he's some kind of art collector and said he was always buying stuff from young artists hoping to cash in later if they ever hit the big time," Brian prevaricated.

 

Lindsey was about to answer Brian's question as nonchalantly as it had been posed, but hesitated briefly as she caught a certain unfamiliar gleam in the man's eyes. It brought to mind Brian's out-of-character actions the night of the show - how insistent he'd been to find out who the artist of the drawing was and to locate him. 'Something more than meets the eye is going on here,' Lindsey thought. The corners of her lips turned up slightly as she deviously thought up a way to get a little more information out of the man who thought he was being so cunning.

 

"It's Taylor - Justin Taylor. But I don't think I have his contact information. I'm not sure how the Center found him. You might have to talk to Eleanor and find out if she knows where to get a hold of him," she egged him on, mercilessly. Lindsey knew how much Brian loathed the pushy Director of the center.

 

"Are you sure you don't have it? I really wanted to talk to him right away," the man asked again with a hint of anxiety in his tone.

 

Lindsey had to suppress a chuckle as Brian's overeager response gave him away completely. "Oh, wait. Maybe I do . . . yes," she said as she got up and rummaged through the small secretary desk in the corner. "I remembered that he did give me one of his cards when he was drawing that wonderful portrait of Gus and me," she relented and walked over to give Brian the business card she'd found in the desk.

 

Brian was hoping the relief he felt wasn't visible on his face as he reached up to accept the card from Lindsey. He had been hoping to find the other man this very night, as soon as he left the Muncher's. The momentary set back had threatened to ruin his plans. He was grateful, then, when his friend had finally remembered the treasured card.

 

"Great," was his only response (out loud at least - inside he was mentally jumping for joy and pumping his fist in the air in celebration). He glanced briefly at the card and noted the address on the front was way out in some god-awful hetero suburb, but decided that even that couldn't stop him. "Well, I'd better get going," he commented as he stood up and headed straight for the door. "Kiss Gus good-bye for me. Later." And he was out the door before either Lindsey or Mel could get another word in.

 

"What bug got up his ass," Mel complained at Brian's abrupt departure.

 

"Maybe it was a 'Love Bug'," Linds joked as she langourously reached up from her seat on the couch, grabbing her partner's hips and pulling the other woman down to join her in a passionate embrace.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Brian still had a self-satisfied smirk on his countenance as he drove slowly down the suburban street twenty minutes later, thinking about how adroitly he had worked the situation with Lindsey, and totally unaware that this time the player had been played. All Brian was thinking about was that he was going to get the best of both worlds! Now that HIS Sunshine (or at least the one living in his loft two years in the future) was doing better and no longer cowering in the loft unable to function, Brian felt free to go find a little local Sunshine. Nothing like getting your cake and eating too, right? Only cake wasn't what he wanted to be eating right this minute. He was more in the mood for eating Justin's sweet, perky little ass. He couldn't help groaning a little at the mere thought and felt his dick stirring in anticipation.

 

It was only 8:30, and it was a Friday night, so he calculated it wasn't too late to pay a social call, even in the WASPy world of the 'burbs. He didn't immediately get out of his car, though, when he parked in front of the address on the business card. His plan was working perfectly - except that he hadn't really planned this far in advance. He had no idea what to say to THIS Justin now that he knew how to find him.

 

After their tryst in the park the other night, the boy had reacted a little . . . Brian wasn't sure how to describe it, but Justin's actions had left him a bit uneasy. That was probably why he'd waited a full week to pursue the man further. That and the fact that he'd been oddly reluctant to simply ask HIS Justin for the man's former address. He'd known that Justin had been disconcerted by the strange way events had played out and, considering the man's frightening reaction, Brian hadn't wanted to press him. Besides, it felt wrong somehow to ask his lover how to find this 'other man' (even if the other man was him - just in another lifetime) just so that Brian could get a little action, while HIS Justin, trapped in the future, had no way to do the same. It felt like 'cheating' - not that Brian acknowledged that he was in any kind of 'relationship', but it still felt a little wrong.  Even though, that night in the park, it had felt so very, very right.

 

Recalling that night, he once again wondered what it had been, exactly, that had left him so unsure of the response he'd get tonight when he approached Justin here in 1999.  Brian remembered the feeling of utter satisfaction he'd felt lying on that pile of leaves with Justin as they both labored to slow their heart beats and recover their breath. His brain hadn't yet recovered, so he wasn't really thinking anything at the time, he was just happily wallowing in the feeling of post-coital bliss that had washed over him. He could still remember the warmth of the silky, smooth skin pressed against his side and the weight of the other man's leg draped over his thigh, their bodies still entwined. He could almost smell the scent of earth and crushed leaves combined with the musk of sex and sweat that had pervaded their hidden little nest. He was hard again just thinking about how his hand had lazily traced patterns on the younger man's stomach and chest while his other arm, wedged beneath Justin's neck, had played with the glossy blond locks.

 

But then, long before Brian had been ready to stir, Justin had pulled away and precipitously begun gathering his clothing, dressing and preparing to leave. Brian hadn't expected such abrupt action, so he simply lay there watching the boy, slightly disappointed. Justin had seemed to be avoiding looking at Brian as he gathered his things - this shy Justin was equally unexpected and not what Brian wanted from his lover. He'd silently reminded himself once again, though, that this Justin didn't really know him. He admitted that the wonderful encounter they'd just shared might be a little disconcerting to Justin seeing as, from the boy's perspective, he had just engaged in this intimate act with a complete stranger in the midst of a public park. This Justin was young and mostly inexperienced (at the time Brian hadn't known just HOW inexperienced the boy was) and probably just a little freaked out, Brian acknowledged. Okay, so maybe it wasn't so unusual that Justin had pretty much bolted as soon as they were done.

 

That being said, Brian had still experienced a momentary pang of rejection, as the stunning young man had hesitantly leaned down, deposited a brief and relatively chaste kiss on the reclining brunet's lips and quickly whispered, "thank you. You were amazing." Then, without saying anything further, Justin had hastily retreated before Brian had even located all of his clothing.

 

So here he was, sitting outside Justin's house, after pursuing this circuitous path to find out the boy's location, and he had no idea how to work this. As he sat and stewed, mired in indecision, another car drove up and parked behind him. The sound of a blaring stereo with ear-shattering bass pounding into the night was accompanied by the sound of slamming car doors and riotous laughter as three teens piled out of the car and jumbled en masse up the walkway to the door. Within seconds of the door bell being rung, the front door was pulled open and Brian could see a bright blond head emerge, instantly being engulfed in the crowd of boisterous youth. Brian could only catch brief glimpses of Justin amidst the others as they moved his way. Laughing, joking and playfully shoving one another, the group returned to the car where the pounding music still beat, poured themselves back into the vehicle and then the car was pulling out from the curb and speeding off into the night.

 

A stunned and silent Brian contemplated what his next action should be. Maybe coming here tonight had not been such a good idea. He sighed. A nineteen year-old Justin, who had lived a little already, who was attending college and who had survived a tragedy that had matured him beyond his years was one thing. Brian thought he knew that man - he cared about that man and knew him through their letters to be someone he was more than compatible with. A loud, seventeen year-old Justin who just wanted to party with his friends and who Brian didn't really know at all, was something completely different. While his dick was telling him, 'fuck it - it doesn't matter, you still want him,' Brian's heart was telling him this was not the right time.

 

Fuck it all! Time was turning out to be a huge fucking problem in Brian Kinney's life.

 

 

End Notes:

 

****Warning - There will be a test at the end of the story covering both linear time theories and string theory.  I recommend taking notes.  ;) ****

 

Hope it isn't too confusing with all the 'THIS Justin' and 'THAT Justin'. This was a hard chapter to write!   TAG

 

 

Chapter 26 - ­ Following Directions. (November 10, 2001 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Short & Silly. I just couldn't resist.  TAG

 

-Hey, Brian. I so wish you AND your dick were here right now. I'm so horny! I simply adore my new sterling silver cock ring - thank you again for such an arousing present. You're so romantic. However, I have no one here to help me with the little - ok, not so little, shall we say huge, thick and hard - problem that has arisen from wearing your present all day today while I was at school and work. Your gift resulted in quite a few compliments from the customers at work today - all of whom assumed they were the inspiration for my impressive boner. Tips were really great, too! Also, I fear that one of my fellow PIFA students now believes that I am amorously inclined towards him as he caught me staring dreamily in his general direction and absently rubbing at my crotch during Life Drawing Class - he actually caught me in the middle of a daydream about a certain sexy, dark-haired older man I've been lusting after - however, he'll believe what he wants to believe, I suppose, even though I shot him down pretty hard when he (literally) cornered me after class. But, here I am, back at the loft, and still sporting an amazing amount of wood with no relief in sight. Has anyone ever died from a serious case of persistent hard-on? If so, I'm afraid I'm likely to be the next victim. Your instructions were seriously deficient as to what course of action I should take now that you've got me in this state. Please advise, immediately! Love, Justin.



-My dear Sunshine; It sounds like you've had quite a HARD day. Poor boy. I suggest that in the future you arm yourself with some type of easily deployed defensive weapon before venturing out in your unfortunate state to work or school. I have a lovely leather riding crop you could borrow if you don't have one of your own - it's not only good for keeping those pesky unwanted suiters away but also for certain other stimulating activities which I would be happy to teach you about sometime. But, as for your huge, thick and hard problem, I have the perfect solution, just follow these simple directions and you should find almost instant relief:


1.  Remove all your clothing. This is a very important step - mostly because I love to imagine you without your clothing on.


2.  Lie down on your back on the nearest horizontal surface. I recommend a bed or couch or some other fairly soft surface, since you are likely to be there for some time and I don't want your precious hot little ass to get sore - that should be my job. However, if no such, more comfortable surface, is immediately available, a convenient kitchen counter or even the floor should suffice.


3.  Begin touching yourself. This step is fairly self explanatory - I know from our prior correspondence that you are quite proficient at this particular activity. If I might venture some suggestions, though, I would start by firmly grasping your cock with your right hand (or left, if for some reason your right is unavailable) at the base of the shaft and rapidly moving your fist up and down repeatedly, continuing until you feel that your balls are about to explode.


4.  Fantasies. It is important to engage in appropriate fantasies throughout the course of step #3 above. I recommend starting with any of the photos of myself I sent you earlier, and, using whichever photo you choose, proceed to imagine my fabulous self assisting with step #3 in the flesh. If you need further inspiration, I would refer you to my letter from last September 23rd - that was a particularly great fantasy creation, if I do say so myself (and I do).


5.  If you have followed the directions from step #3 correctly and been engaging in the appropriate fantasies as set forth in step #4, then you should now be so completely aroused and so hard that it will be impossible to actually remove the cock ring, which is unfortunately necessary before you will be able to come. He, he, he. (I'm so evil!).


6.  Resting Period. In order to relieve the overstimulation experienced pursuant to step #5, I recommend at least 15 minutes of rest before you continue further. In order for this step to be effective, you will have to cease touching yourself momentarily. I recommend drinking some cold water or perhaps sticking your head in the freezer if merely resting proves insufficient. Also, you may have to try to think of something unstimulating - fat hetero women usually produce the desired effect for me.


7.  Remove the cock ring. No further directions needed.


8.  Shower. Repeat steps #3 & 4 while showering until relief is complete. Hope this helps. Brian.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


(November 10, 2001 - 11:00 pm)


-Dear Brian, Thank you for your very clear and helpful directions. I feel much better now. In fact I feel great. The only way I could possibly feel any better would be if you were here with me right now. But I digress. Enclosed in the attached envelope is a flash drive with a video file on it for your viewing pleasure. I hope you don't mind that I took the liberty of video taping the results of your earlier helpful advice. I admit I did take some liberties with your instructions, particularly with regard to the shower scenes set forth in step #8. Perhaps you might choose to include some of my suggestions in future instruction manuals - I think some of them were quite creative, if I do say so myself.


Yours, Justin.

 

 

End Notes:

Don't you just love sexmail?  He, he, he!  TAG

Chapter 27 - The Prom. (November 20, 2001 ­ 2:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Justin sees Hobbs again.  What will come from this inauspicious meeting?  Oh my - things are really starting to get serious now!  TAG

 

Justin emerged from the counsellor's office feeling exhausted and relieved at the same time. After arguing with his mother for days - which he admittedly knew from the start would be a losing proposition - he'd finally agreed to return to counselling. The only stipulation he'd insisted on was that he didn't want to return to the same psychologist. The two of them finally agreed on a counsellor based out of the GLC - Justin was much more comfortable there since he felt another gay would understand what he was going through better than some generic hetero in the suburbs. After his first counselling session, he'd also grudgingly agreed to stay on the meds, which did help with the anxiety but which made him feel numb, too, an acceptable side effect according to his counsellor, but one Justin really didn't appreciate. He also really hated that returning to counselling and the meds made him feel like he had somehow failed, although he had been reassured repeatedly that wasn't the case by both friends and his counsellor. He had identified with this new cousellor pretty well though, and after six weeks of twice a week sessions, he was doing much better and had pretty much returned to his usual daily schedule. So he really couldn't complain too much.

 

As he headed down the stairs to the second floor, he waved hello to a couple of the Center staff who passed him on their way up to the third floor offices. He'd gotten to know a lot of the employees who worked here over the past few weeks and was starting to form some genuine friendships with some of them. It made him realize that his life now was quite a change from his life back before the bashing. He'd been quite popular in high school - at least until he came out and admitted he was gay. Now, he felt it to be a real struggle to maintain friendships, but he was trying.

 

As he reached the second floor landing, he recognized another friendly face coming up the stairs from the lower floor. He headed over to talk to this somewhat new acquaintance. The man noticed his approach and waved at Justin with a wide, gap-toothed grin. Justin noted with amusement the long sequined scarf draped over a long-sleeved black and white striped jersey, which in turn had been paired with a pair of tight dark purple corduroy slacks. Emmett was always dressed to impress, he thought with a quiet snicker. He'd first met Emmett at the diner where he worked and the two had quickly formed a solid friendship. And, despite the other man's questionable fashion sense, Justin found this man to be quite engaging and knew he would be a loyal, devoted friend.

 

"Hey, Emmett," Justin greeted the new arrival.

 

"Justin, sweetie! So good to see you, baby. How are you?" Emmett gushed in true queen fashion.

 

"I'm good. What brings you here, Emmett."

 

"It's so exciting - the Center hired me to plan the annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Every year the Center puts on this huge dinner party the evening before Thanksgiving to honor all sorts of local benefactors to the gay and lesbian community. And, this year, they picked me to be in charge. I'm just here to organize the decorating committee today - they're starting on some of the clean up and other stuff needed before we can get to the real decorations," gushed the always amiable man.

 

"That sounds great. Do you need any help?" asked Justin. He was actually just saying that to be polite - it was the way he'd been raised and a hard habit to break.

 

"Well . . . if you're really serious, we could use someone to help clear out the entryway closet. We're going to use that as a coat check area. It's really a mess - the Center's been using it as a storage area for piles of crap and I could certainly use another body to help clear it out. If you have the time, that is," replied Emmett, who was not one to turn away any offer of free help, no matter how insincerely it was offered.

 

Justin knew he'd been roped in without hope of escape, so he gave his friend a small smile and followed the other man down to the first floor, ready to put in his time. Emmett was babbling on about the dinner and Justin was listening with half an ear as he proceeded towards the entryway of the Center. He was actually thinking about his end of term project for his Graphic Arts class, which was due right after the Thanksgiving break, and was therefore paying little attention to Emmett's diatribe. He also wasn't really paying attention to his surroundings or the other people wandering in and out of the Center.

 

The future coat check room, currently a storage closet, was to the left of the main entry. The door of the room was wide open at the moment and several people were going in and out carrying various items. Justin heard Emmett say, "just take everything up the the rear classroom on the second floor for now. Ta ta!" He didn't get to say good-bye to the earnest young party-planner, though, because as he turned to enter the room that was being cleared, he saw the last person on the face of the Earth he expected and promptly froze in his steps.

 

The tall, dark blond young man coming towards him was carrying a cardboard box full of books. His athletic build and rakish good looks might have made him attractive, except for the disdainful glower on the man's face - it was as if he'd been forced to eat something extremely distasteful and couldn't get the sour taste out of his mouth. At first he didn't even notice Justin standing in the doorway. As he came closer though, a flash of recognition crossed his countenance and the glower turned to a look of pure hatred.

 

"Taylor? What are you doing here? Here to hang out with all your fudge-packin' buddies?" sneered the man.

 

Justin was having trouble breathing, let alone speaking, and therefore didn't utter a sound.

 

"Fucking judge. It's bad enough I have to keep doing this stupid community service shit but why the fuck he assigned me to help out at faggot-central is beyond me. Should have known a queen-sized faggot like you would be bound to turn up here eventually," said Chris Hobbs as he shoved Justin aside and proceeded through the lobby and up the stairs, completely disregarding the distress his appearance had caused the other man.

 

Justin didn't remember what happened after that. He did not remember leaving the Center or how he managed to get back to the loft. He only realized he was home when he found himself seated on the familiar cushion in the loft's lobby. He was breathing rapidly and felt the beginnings of another migraine coming on. He didn't want to go up to the loft though - he was afraid that once he got into his safe haven, he wouldn't be able to leave again. He didn't want to retreat to that place again. He didn't know what to do or where to go but he didn't want to go back to that dark place. So he'd stopped in the lobby - it was one place he'd always experienced good feelings and he felt comforted there, sitting on the cushion in the corner. And so he sat, uncaring about the time passing or the other residents going in and out of the building giving him questioning looks. He just sat there where he felt relatively safe and tried not to think.

 

After a long period of time - he wasn't sure how long - he finally heard the customary 'clank' and knew that Brian had just left him a note. He felt that the effort needed to stand up and retrieve the letter was enormous, but he wanted that small dose of happiness he would get upon seeing his lover's handwriting, so he made the effort, stood up and was able to get the box open. There was the comforting cream-colored sheet of stationery in the box as usual. He grabbed at it as if it were a life preserver and he was a drowning man.

 

-Sunshine! What's up, beautiful. B.


-I saw him. Today. At the Center. J.

 

The enigmatic note caused a jolt of fear to zap through Brian's frame. He didn't know what it meant, but he knew Justin was hurt and afraid. At least he was here, thought Brian, rather than holed up in the loft again.

 

-Tell me what's wrong, Justin. Who did you see?  B.


-Hobbs.


-What the fuck was that asswipe doing at the Center? Are you okay. Did he hurt you? B.


-He said he was working there. Community service hours. He didn't hurt me - just talked to me, but . . . I feel like I can't get enough breath. I can't. What do I do?


-Justin - you're okay. It's going to be okay. Just breathe. I'm here. You're okay. Please, tell me how you're doing. Just keep writing to me so I know what's going on, please.  B.


-It's my fault, you know. It was all my fault - everything that happened was my fault. I had egged him on, you know. At first I thought, maybe he liked me. Maybe he was gay too, you know. I thought I'd caught him looking at me in class and in gym. So, I kind of followed him around, you know. Watching him at football practice and stuff. He was kinda nice to me at first. We even . . . One time we . . . But I was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. It just made him hate me more and then . . . Fuck, it was all my fault. He died and it was all my fault.


-Justin, nothing was your fault. You know that, right? Nothing you did gave that fucker the right to take a baseball bat to your head or to hurt that other guy. Nothing gives him that right. You're a good person. A beautiful person. You don't deserve what happened to you. Do you understand that? Are you listening, Justin? You are not to blame for what happened at your Prom. B.


-But it was my fault - you don't understand. I don't remember the prom, but they told me what happened. I'd already come out, you know, at least to my family and most of my friends. But after I did, I didn't really hang out with the guys from school any more, you know. I didn't feel right with them. They weren't all horible, but some were. The only one I still hung out with was Daphne. But then, at the Prom, I . . . My father said it was my fault


- I shouldn't have been flaunting myself that way. He said I was asking for it. All I did was dance with another guy at the Prom. It was just one dance. I mean, how did that hurt anybody? I guess my Dad was right though. If I hadn't shown off, maybe Hobbs wouldn't have done what he did.


-Justin, your father is wrong. There is nothing you could have done that would justify what Hobbs did. You can't be responsible for all the hate in the world. There are too many homophobic pricks out there for you to take responsibility for all of them. I wish there was some way I could be there for you, to help you. Please don't let Hobbs win by letting him make you afraid again or by making you feel guilty for what he did. B.

 

Brian was so angry right at that moment. He was angry at Hobbs for doing this to Justin. For making this amazing, caring, creative man - a man that Brian cared for and wanted to protect - think that every bad thing that had happened to him was his own fault. He was angry at Justin's father for enforcing that sense of guilt. He was angry at himself because there didn't seem to be anything that he could do to help Justin.

 

To most of the outside world, Brian had always appeared to be aloof and unconcerned. He didn't show his feelings to just anyone and therefore most people believed he didn't have any feelings. But a few people, those who were close to him, knew that his unfeeling, uncaring, fuck-them-all persona was merely a subterfuge, a mask that he hid behind. Deep inside, Brian felt deeply for his friends. He wore the mask to protect himself precisely because he did feel so strongly and passionately. Brian mistakenly believed that if he never let anyone in, never let anyone see his true self, then he would be safe, he wouldn't get hurt, he wouldn't have to feel. It hadn't really worked very well, though. In spite of all his attempts to distance himself from others, a few people had gotten in; Michael, Debbie, Lindsey, his son, Gus, even his friends Ted, Emmett, and Cynthia. He didn't consciously acknowledge it, but he knew that these few had touched his heart. And it was an inherent part of Brian Kinney's nature to protect those he cared about. He would do whatever it took to care for and aid the people he loved.

 

Without intending to, one other person had now gotten inside Brian's self-protective barriers - Justin Taylor. And, true to his nature, Brian wanted and needed to protect this man he loved. What was angering and hurting Brian the most, right now, was that he couldn't do anything to help Justin and it was eating at his soul.

 

Brian wracked his brain to come up with a solution - a way he could help Justin, a way to take away this beautiful man's pain. He might not be able to be with Justin in person right now, although he hadn't yet given up hope that someday they might figure out a way to truly be together, but there had to be some way he could help him, nonetheless.

 

If only he could somehow stop Hobbs. He had already offered to break Hobbs' knee caps. Justin had turned that offer down - Brian didn't know if Justin had merely thought he was kidding or what. Brian had actually been deadly serious when he'd made the offer. He still thought it might be the best solution. The only way he could think of to help Justin in the future was to take action now - in what just happened to be Brian's present but Justin's past. But, since Justin apparently wasn't going to tell him where to find Hobbs in the past, Brian figured he'd have to get creative. If he could get Justin to give him more information . . .

 

-Justin, tell me about your Prom. When did it happen? When did Hobbs do this to you. Just keep writing so I know you're still there and that you're okay. B.


-When? It was May 20, 2000. We were at the Marquis Grand Hotel. He came after me as we were leaving the dance. We were supposed to go to a party at Daphne's friend's house - that's what Daphne said at least. We were on our way to the car when Hobbs . . . That's what they told me. That's when it happened. We never made it out of the parking garage. I didn't. I still. I don't remember, really.

 

Bingo. Brian now had a date and knew where Justin would be and that Hobbs would be there too. Maybe there was something he could do after all. Maybe he could stop Hobbs.

 

 

Brian kept Justin with him in the lobby until quite late that night. He made Justin keep writing so that he knew the other man was there and was okay. After several hours, Justin's responses finally began to seem less desperate and disjointed. He seemed more lucid and as if he were more in control of himself. Brian hoped that any panic attacks or night terrors would be kept at bay - at least for tonight. Finally, Justin convinced him that he was feeling better and that he would be okay and the two men said good night.

 

Brian was more determined than ever to find some way to help Justin, and hopefully find a way to be with him at the same time.

 

 

Chapter 28 - Debbie. (November 26, 1999 ­ 10:00 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Partners need to take care of each other, right?  It can't be all one sided.  So, here's Justin's contribution.  TAG

 

 

 

The Liberty Diner was jam packed that evening - Michael and Brian had been waiting for a table  for more than twenty minutes already and still nothing had opened up. Brian was more than ready to give up and leave but Michael was insistent that he would 'die' of hunger if they didn't get something to eat before they headed over to Babylon. So they continued to wait. Brian whiled away the time regaling Michael and his new boyfriend, Ben, by pointing out each of the guys currently sitting in the Diner who he'd fucked, giving full and graphic details for each encounter. Brian, for the most part, didn't actually remember any of the fucks, or for that matter the guys either, but was happy to embellish a little for the sake of entertaining his friends. What he didn't remember, he made up. The guys being pointed out weren't so happy about what was being said - Brian, as unembarrassed as always - saw no reason to keep his voice down, meaning that most of the Diner heard every humorous tale. Michael was giggling like a schoolgirl, while Ben looked on amused but also slightly embarrassed.

 

Ultimately, the trio was seated in the farthest booth and their favorite waitress came shuffling over to greet them. Debbie had been working double shifts all week to cover for other employees who'd taken the week off to visit with family over the holiday. She'd also spent most of the previous day cooking a wondrous Thanksgiving feast for their little extended family. When she ambled up to their table, the boys could see that she was looking a little ragged, but since she never let anything dampen her spirits, she merely smiled at them, cracked her gum and gave her usual greeting.

 

"What'll it be boys? Gettin' any tonight?" she drawled.

 

"Hey, Ma. I'm starving. Can I get a Pink Plate Special and a Coke," Michael piped up right away.

 

"Sure thing, sweetie. How about you, Ben?"

 

"Just a caesar salad for me, Deb, Thanks," was the gentle response.

 

"And for the Stud in the Corner? Oh, by the way, Miguel over there told me to tell you that he's suing for slander after that last story you told. Hah! I would have loved to see that - I didn't know he was that limber!" Debbie directed at Brian with an uproarious gaffaw.

 

"I always try so HARD to make you proud, Mom," Brian smirked back at his surrogate parent. "I'll just have an iced tea."

 

"Coming right up, guys!" she said as she bustled away.

 

Because of the crowd, it took longer than usual for the group's order to come up. The boys were chatting and trying to one-up each other as Debbie loaded up her tray once again and headed towards their spot in the back. As the waitress neared the booth, her step faltered a little and the tray on her shoulder dropped a little lower. She stopped in mid-stride for several seconds with a surprised look on her face, looking over at her son and his friends.

 

"Ma? You okay," asked Michael, not liking the way his mother's face had gone so pale so quickly.

 

Debbie didn't respond. She started to take another step towards the booth, but then, without further warning, the tray in her hands began to tilt towards the left, the contents sliding off towards the floor accompanied by the crashing of the breaking plates and glasses, and Debbie sank to her knees with a small "Oh!" as her eyes rolled back into her head.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(November 27, 2001 - 9:30 am)

 

-Justin - Can't be here tonight. Maybe not for a while. Mikey's mom had a heart attack last night. They're trying to stabilize her and then will probably have to do open heart surgery. I need to be there. B.

 

Justin found the hastily scrawled note on his way out of the building as he was leaving for school. Brian had mentioned his friend's mother almost more often than he'd talked about Mikey. Justin knew that Brian thought of this woman as more of a mother than his own biological parent had been and that this was going to be hard on the man. Brian had been there for him so many times, had been such a strong support when he'd been scared or sad, the young man wished that there was some way he could be there for Brian in return.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(November 28, 1999 - 2:00 am)

 

Brian had been at the hospital for more than twenty hours straight. When the doctor had finally come out to the waiting room and advised that Debbie was in recovery and appeared to have made it through surgery without any complications, he'd finally allowed himself to be convinced to return home, get some sleep, a shower and something to eat. He also planned to run by Mikey's and get a change of clothes for the other man, who was staying at the hospital until Debbie woke up. As he stumbled into the lobby, headed for the elevator, Brian was greeted by a large bundle of paper in his mailbox and stopped to retrieve it on his way up to bed. Even in his worried and tired state, he couldn't suppress a half-hearted smile at the mere prospect of hearing from Justin.

 

-Dear Brian: I wish I could be there for you right now. I know how hard this is going to be for you and I wish I could be a shoulder for you to lean on, the same way you've always been there for me. Since I can't, though, I thought maybe I would send flowers. I'll be here tonight, even if you're not, just in case you need me. Love, Justin.

 

Along with the note, there was an unbelievable watercolor painting of a stunning bouquet of red poppies, white and yellow daylillies and tall green sedge grasses in a mosaic green and white vase. It was exquisite. Brian smiled a full, whole-hearted smile for the first time in almost two days, while a few unheeded tears escaped from his eyes. He decided to get the painting framed first thing, as soon as the frame shop opened for the morning, so he could get it to Debbie while she was still in the hospital. He figured that sharing a little bit of his Sunshine would be just the thing to help her recover.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(November 28, 1999 - 3:30 pm)

 

"Brian. Hey, honey. Didn't you get any sleep last night, sweetie? You look like shit," was the first thing out of Debbie's mouth when Brian walked into her hospital room. He smiled at the mother hen that couldn't stop worrying about her brood even when she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a heart attack herself. "You come sit down, you little asshole, and rest," she demanded.

 

"I brought you something," he said as he sat in the chair to which he'd been directed, and handed over the large 12x20 package he had been toting. "I know you're supposed to bring flowers to folks in the hospital and all . . ."

 

"You shouldn't have . . ." Debbie intoned as she nonetheless took the package firmly in hand and began to tear at the gift paper covering. "Oh, my God! This is beautiful. Thank you, honey. This is so amazing - these are the best flowers I've ever got. Who's this artist? 'JT'? It's wonderful, Brian . . ." the happy, proud mother gushed, as if Brian, her little boy, had done the painting himself.

 

"The artist is a friend. His name's Justin. He's . . . incredible," started Brian, but stopped, not sure if he should, or if he wanted, to continue.

 

"A 'friend'?" asked Debbie. From his tone, she knew that Brian really wanted to say more. So she gave him her best, 'I'm a really good listener' look - the same one all bartenders and diner waitresses are required to have - and silently encouraged the suddenly shy man to continue.

 

No one else was in the room. Brian knew that Mikey was home getting some sleep and wouldn't be back for several hours. He didn't have any place to be and had promised his friend to sit with Debbie until Mikey returned. So . . . 'what the hell,' he thought.

 

"He's really an amazing artist. You should see his drawings. And his paintings - he's starting to get more into abstract acrylic painting lately and his work is great. He's a student at PIFA - a little younger than me, but, whatever." And once Brian opened up and started to tell his 'mother' about Justin, he couldn't stop.

 

Debbie was afraid to say anything, fearing that if she interrupted, she might startle Brian and he would stop sharing. She had known this man since he was a boy - she'd taken care of him when he was hurt or sick. She had watched him grow into a handsome, strong, man who had not only survived his traumatic childhood, but had triumphed over it, becoming stunningly successful in the process. But Debbie also knew that no matter how successful Brian was, he'd always felt that it wasn't ever enough - that something was missing. Debbie suspected that what was missing was someone special to love and care about. And, from Brian's effusive descriptions of this 'Justin', she suspected her boy might just have found that person.

 

 

Chapter 29 - The Babylon Experience. (December 18, 1991 ­ 10:30 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

Poor lonely confused Brian!  TAG

 

 

 

Brian was lying in his bed with Justin's latest letter and a new drawing the boy had sent him earlier in the week. He'd been contemplating the image of Justin and trying to garner some enthusiasm for this most recent round of sexmail, but was so far uninspired. It wasn't that the letter wasn't arousing enough, and god only knows how much thoughts of Justin's sleek, slender body, his beautiful pale skin and his round, perky little ass usually got him off, but tonight Brian was feeling restless and hadn't been able to get himself in the right mind frame.

 

He was a little at loose ends this weekend to start with - Mikey and Ben had taken Debbie to the mountains for the week on a vacation (getting her out of the city and away from the temptation of more Diner shifts was the only way to get Debbie to rest, after all), Linds and Mel had taken Gus to Florida for Christmas to visit Mel's yenta mother, and Justin was heading off early tomorrow with his Mother and sister to spend the holiday in Boston with Jenn's family. So Brian was sort of on his own for the rest of the week and he was already bored. Not that Brian had ever really enjoyed Christmas (or any holiday for that matter) or felt that he needed his friends with him just because it was the holiday season, but he didn't have anyone to play with.

 

'Fuck it,' he thought, giving up on the letter for the time being and tossing it and the drawing onto his night stand. He looked at the alarm clock and noticed it was still relatively early. He wasn't in the mood to just sit around the loft alone again tonight, so he made a snap decision to get up, get dressed and go out. There were always guys at Babylon who wanted to play!

 

Twenty-five minutes later he was standing with his back against the bar at the club and already beginning to scan the crowd for a playmate. It was a Saturday night, and as expected the club was packed - half naked men everywhere, dancing to the thumpa thumpa beat, laughing, groping one another under the flashing strobe lights, drinking and reveling in the freedom of being young and gay and in the one place where they had no constraints placed on them. In the familiar, carefree atmosphere, Brian relaxed almost immediately.  Brian pulled the first likely twink to pass onto the dance floor. This was more like it!

 

Three shots of Beam later, he was again standing at the bar, scoping out the crowd to locate his first conquest of the night, when someone bumped into him from behind. He turned, ready to snap at the asshole responsible for the intrusion, only to see a giggling, totally hammered and completely gorgeous Justin Taylor stumbling and falling onto his ass right at Brian's feet. He instinctively reached down and hoisted the laughing pile of blond boy back up to his feet. Then he just stood there, filling his vision with the sight.

 

It had been two months since Brian had seen this boy in the flesh. It felt so good to have him here now, to be able to feel his heated skin and hear his laughter. And how was it possible that a drunken, sweaty teenager who'd had more than one drink spilled on him could smell so good, he thought, inhaling a whiff of the younger man's musky scent. The speed with which his blood was rushing from his head to his cock at Justin's touch on his bicep made him feel slightly light-headed, so he leaned back against the bar to steady both himself and the tipsy man in his arms, who unresistingly fell against Brian's chest and giggled some more.  Brian didn't bother to try and resist the urge to grasp the boy tightly, gripping his pliant ass with one hand as the other hand wrapped firmly around the smaller man's waist.

 

Justin, who was feeling no pain and was not at all adverse to being manhandled by such an attractive specimen, merely smiled up at Brian with his mega-watt smile and simpered.  

 

"Oh, you're killing me here, Sunshine," Brian moaned as he lowered his lips to smash against that coral pink mouth.

 

The kiss was not gentle. Justin was as hungry for the sensation as Brian was and they both eagerly devoured the other with lips, tongue, teeth and hands, oblivious to anything around them.  Their tongues twisted together as their bodies ground against each other. Brian could feel Justin's rock hard cock digging into his thigh.  Justin's hands seemed to be even more hungry than his mouth as they insistently pulled at the tails of Brian's shirt, thrusting up under the black linen material and roaming wildly across the taller man's back and shoulders.

 

Between kisses, he heard Justin moaning hardly distinguishable words and understood only, "I want you, now, please".

 

By this point, Brian's dick was firmly in control of all of the man's mental processes.  

 

Following the advice of the only body part which was currently thinking at all, he gripped the smaller hand of the blond, turned and purposely strode the well-worn path towards the backroom. Justin followed along quiescently, apparently trying to concentrate on not tripping over his feet.

 

The aroma of sex and sweat and male bodies assailed Brian's senses as the pair entered the small overheated room and proceeded towards an empty spot against the cum-splashed wall.  Justin, rousing from his contemplation of his feet, pushed aggressively against Brian's chest, shoving the larger man back against the wall, immediately dropping to his knees, and groping at the tight, black jeans encasing the crotch directly in front of his face. He worked at the button of the waistband as he mouthed Brian's erection through his pants, until he managed to undo the button and yank down the zipper.

 

Then, he unceremoniously jerked down the obstructing pants and zealously began nuzzling and licking at the straining cock he'd found inside.  With his right hand, the excited young blond gently fondled the brunet's balls as he used his other hand to pull Brian's hips nearer.

Brian was running his hands through the sunshine yellow locks at his waist and reveling in the glory of having his lover's mouth on his cock and his hands touching his body. He arched his back as he felt Justin's mouth encircle his shaft and then groaned loudly as the boy took in his full length, sucking and licking all the while. Justin's natural talent came through clearly as he sucked and hummed and swirled his tongue in circles around the delicious cock, making the normally composed older man moan and mumble and thrash his head from side to side as he thrust into Justin's throat again and again. Much sooner than Brian was ready for this ecstasy to end, he felt the growing tingle in his balls and the spark of heat originating from the pit of his stomach begin to flare outward, igniting his flesh and searing his senses as he came hard, draining his essence into the mouth of his lover.

 

Panting hard, but not waiting while he recovered, Brian immediately reached down to pull the beautiful and talented younger man to his feet so he could kiss and suckle those delicious lips again.  Justin rose to meet his kiss, willingly.  As their lips once again found each other, however, a short dark-haired young man paced into the room, roughly gripped Justin's arm and said, "Justin - it's time to get you out of here," with a demanding tone and a proprietary look.

 

"Whoa. Hold on there.  Justin's with me," asserted Brian loudly, not at all pleased with the interruption.

 

"Fuck off," said the newcomer to Brian without taking his grip off the young blond's arm.

 

"Who the fuck are you?  I told you, Justin's with me," Brian growled even more loudly, this time disturbing several of the other couples surrounding them.

 

"I'm Justin's boyfriend and he's coming with me. Now. So, FUCK OFF," was the peremptory reply. The darker man then pulled Justin towards the door and the two began to leave.

 

Brian was, for once, speechless. Justin hadn't said anything to him about any old boyfriend.  Admittedly, they didn't often discuss much about that time in Justin's life - Justin had intimated that much of his last year of high school had been unpleasant, that he had been bullied and teased, all leading up to the bashing the night of his Prom. It wasn't surprising therefore that the man hadn't wanted to discuss that time very often. But, he would have thought that Justin would have said something about having been in a relationship during that time.

 

It reinforced for Brian once again that he really knew very little about THIS Justin. Feeling lost and rejected, Brian merely watched as his one desire again walked away.

 

 

Chapter 30 - Broken Date. (December 27, 2001 ­ 6:30 pm) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

This was the hardest chapter to write! TAG

 

 

-Justin - I want to meet you.  For REAL this time.  Pick a place.  I'll be there - I promise!  Brian.

This was the note Justin found upon his return from Boston.  He hadn't even been upstairs yet to get rid of his bags. He couldn't figure out what had brought this on.  Brian had never been this insistent before. He thought he'd been lucky to arrive at the regular meeting time - if Brian was here maybe he could figure out what was going on?

-Brian, What do you mean? What drugs have you been doing? What brought this on?  I just got back and I'm confused. J.

-Come on Justin.  Pick a place - where have you always wanted to go.  It'll be a DATE.  You know I don't normally do dates, so you should take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity while it lasts.  How about New Year's Eve?  What do you say?  B.

-New Year's Eve?  That's in, like, four days.  Are you serious?  J.

-Just tell me where and when and I'll be there.  B.

-But, Brian, It won't be just four days for you.  You're gonna have to wait two years.  Are you sure?  J.

-I know.  I don't care.  I'll wait.  And I've never been so sure of anything in my life.  B.

-I don't know. How can this work?  J.

-Justin.  Just pick a place and a time.  B.

-Okay.  I'll see you in two years, Brian.  J.

-I'll see you in four days, Justin.  Now, where would you like to go?  B.

-El Mare.  But you'd better get our reservations in now.  They're always booked several months in advance.  J.

-Done.  Can't wait!  B.

-You'll have to - for two years and four days, to be exact.  J.

-It's only time, Sunshine.  B.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(December 27, 1999 - 9:30 pm)

 

Brian's last encounter with Justin here in his own time had served merely to whet his appetite.  He wanted and needed more.  He wanted the Justin he had come to know so well, and he wanted him in the flesh at the same time.  He'd been thinking all week, while Justin had been in Boston, how he could make this happen.  He'd come to the realization that he would just have to wait until he could be with Justin in all ways.  He wasn't normally a patient man, but for this he would wait.  He couldn't think of anything that would change his mind about this - he would never NOT want to be with Justin - wherever he was in two years, whoever he was, there was no possibility that he wouldn't still want his Sunshine.  If he had to wait for two years, he would.

First thing he did, after signing off with Justin, was to rush upstairs, grab his car keys and speed over to El Mare.  The restaurant was posh - a great place to bring someone you needed to impress - Brian had often taken clients here for dinner and he knew the hostess.

"Maria. I need to make some reservations," Brian gave the woman his best, most winning smile.  It was always a good idea to keep on the good side of the people who could make his life easier - and this woman was one of those people.  She had often been able to get him a table even when the restaurant was booked, all it took was a little of the Kinney charm.

"When will you be dining with us, Mr. Kinney?" Maria asked, easily falling under the spell of the tall, sensual brunet.

"New Year's Eve, 2001".

"2001?" Maria had thought that Mr. Kinney would be here in person only if he needed to finagle a table for some immediate need - otherwise she usually just spoke to his assistant, Cynthia. This request for a reservation more than two years in the future threw her a little.  She wasn't sure she'd heard him correctly.

"Yes. December 31, 2001.  7:30 pm.  I want your best table - the booth by the window - the one with the view of the pond.  And, I'll want your best champagne already chilled when I get here."  Brian's mind was already making plans.  This would be the perfect night, he thought.

"Very good, Mr. Kinney. I'm sure we can accomodate your plans," Maria concluded with a smile, sensing that this particular reservation was for something special.  She was curious to see what it was all about.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(December 31, 2001 - 7:30 pm)

Justin entered the foyer of El Mare with uncertain steps.  This was one of the most exclusive restaurants in town and he wasn't sure if he was dressed up enough.  His off-the-rack suit didn't seem to cut it amidst the designer labels and custom made suits of the men around him.  He was apprehensive about finally meeting Brian - well, finally meeting him again, he supposed.  He wasn't the same person he'd been back when he'd met Brian at that art show at the GLC.  He wasn't sure if Brian would still want the man he was now after he'd had the hot, vibrant, carefree Justin he'd been back then.  'Well, here goes . . . ,' he steeled his nerves and approached the reception podium.

"Name?" the hostess asked, a little disdainfully, as she eyed this nervous and unimpressive young man.

"Taylor.  Or, maybe Kinney.  I don't know," Justin returned, even more uncertain.

"Oh . . ." the hostess brightened up immediately hearing the name the reservation was under. "Yes, of course.  You must be Mr. Kinney's special . . . We've all been curious.  This reservation was made so long ago, we couldn't wait to see who it was for," gushed Maria, who was gratified to finally satisfy her curiosity. The petit blond man standing before her was not Mr. Kinney's usual type, she thought, having been acquainted with many of the powerful ad-exec's prior dinner guests. He wasn't bad looking though, she thought. "Right this way, sir. Your table has been waiting."

Maria led Justin to a large booth near the front windows of the restaurant. "Your waiter will be right with you," she said, placing the menus on the table with her most gracious smile. Justin slid into the semi-circular booth, admiring the sage green upholstry, the rich dark wood furniture and the elegant table set with a crisp white table cloth, sparkling crystal and abundant candles.

A waiter appeared almost at once, placing a large, free-standing silver champagne bucket next to the table before Justin had even had the chance to look around. "Compliments of Mr. Kinney, sir," the waiter simpered as he placed two crystal champagne flutes on the table and poured Justin a glass before he hastily departed.  Justin took a sip of the delicious bubbly beverage and smiled to himself thinking this couldn't be more perfect.

He looked around at the crowded restaurant. It was New Year's Eve and even though it was early yet, the other patrons were already starting to celebrate - it was relatively loud for such an up-scale establishment. He could see the nearby pond through the front windows and saw that there was a gazebo set up nearby serving hot chocolate and food to the happily twirling ice skaters gliding about on the frozen surface.  Yes, the setting was absolutely perfect. Now, where was Brian?

Justin impatiently scanned the crowd at the door, trying to locate the tall brunet through the throngs of people. He glanced at his watch and noted it was already 7:45.  He took a deep breath, another sip of his champagne and tried to settle himself more comfortably into the plush booth. He declined to order any appetizers when the waiter returned, preferring to wait for Brian. He would wait.

As the minutes and then hours crept by, Justin continued to wait. The other diners would occassionally look over at the sad looking, but attractive young man sitting in the elegant booth and smile in sympathy. Justin's stomach had knotted up long ago and he couldn't have eaten now even if he wanted to.  He simply continued to sip slowly at the champagne until the bottle was empty. And still he sat and waited.

A feeling of dread was growing in the pit of his stomach and depression was settling in to weigh down his soul. When midnight came with the typical singing, celebrating and noise makers, he didn't even look up from his lap. Soon after that the restaurant began to empty, the wait staff clearing the tables, putting away the china and glassware, blowing out the candles. 

When Justin could no longer stand the sorrow filled glances of the hostess lingering on him, he finally rose, threw down some money on the table and ran out of the building.  He stopped at the edge of the frozen pond, sinking down in a bank of snow as two solitary tears slowly seeped out of his deep blue pain-filled eyes, running down his cheeks and dropping onto the snow.

Justin reached to his left wrist and grasped the cowry shell bracelet hidden there under the cuff of his dress shirt - a technique his counsellor had taught him to help hold off the waves of panic he could feel threatening to overwhelm him.  He didn't want to think or feel. He wasn't sure what had happened to keep Brian away, but deep in his gut there was a feeling of dread.  His mind shied away from examining that feeling. He couldn't go there.  He didn't want to acknowledge whatever was lurking in those feelings. He just wanted to run, to hide, to somehow be free of these reoccuring feelings of loss and panic.

Grasping the reassuring anchor that was his bracelet, he took several steadying breaths, then slowly got to his feet and walked toward the taxi stand two blocks away where he knew he could get a cab back to the loft.  He willed his mind to stay blank.  He thought about the snow on the ground, the chill seeping through his warm jacket due to the falling temperatures, the line at the taxi stand which was surprizingly long considering the hour.  He did not think about the restaurant, or Brian or whatever it was nagging at the edges of his memory.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(January 1, 2000 - 9:00 am)

-You weren't there.  You didn't come.  J.

-I don't understand.  Something must have happened.  I don't know what could have kept me away.  I'm sorry, Justin.  I've got two years, Sunshine.  I'll figure out what happened.  We can try again.  B.

-No, Brian.  It's too late.  It already happened.  It didn't work.  J.

-Don't give up on me Sunshine.  Give me another chance.  I will find a way for us to be together.  I have to.  B.

-This is real life, Brian.  Sometimes you don't get a second chance.  Life can be over in the blink of an eye.  Just ask the guy who tried to help me after my Prom.  One minute he was there and the next he was gone - his life over, just like that.  When I moved in here I was still reeling from the consequences of that night and I let myself get lost in this beautiful fantasy with you.  Time stood still, and let me heal - you helped me to heal.  But it's not real, Brian.  What if this was never really meant to be?  How can we wait and hope and long for this when it's possible it will never happen?  What are we doing trying to live out this impossible fantasy while real life is passing us by?  God, it's killing me - wanting you, to be with you, knowing it's not likely it will ever happen.  I can't go on like this.  I can't live forever with just the fantasy of you.  I don't want you to have to live like that either - you deserve so much more.  You deserve to be happy and have someone real who can be with you and make love to you and make you happy.  I have to learn to live the life that I have.  You shouldn't be waiting around for me, either.

Please don't write any more.  Don't try to find me in the past.  Let me, let you go.

Goodbye, Brian.  Thank you for everything.

Justin.

 

"Sunshine, no!  Don't do this," Brian cried out.  Crushing the note in his fist and slamming it against the wall in frustration, heedless of the pain.  Brian stood there in the lobby, staring at the god damn mailbox that had started all this.  He couldn't understand what had happened.  It couldn't end like this, could it?  He wouldn't let it end like this!  There had to be some way.  He quickly jotted down another plea to his Sunshine not to do this - not to push him away. He shoved it into the box, flipped the outgoing mail lever and waited.  There was a very brief pause, then the paper reappeared in the box.  He grabbed it as quickly as he could get the box opened but saw it hadn't even been unfolded.  There was no response from Justin.  He hadn't even opened the note or read Brian's last entreaty. 

Justin was letting him go.

Chapter 31 - Alone. (January 7, 2000 ­ 9:30 am) by Tagsit
Author's Notes:

More Brian angst.  Sorry, folks.  Things are looking up though.  Better things definitely on the horizon. TAG

"No!  Justin no!  Please don't go," Brian sobbed as he abruptly came awake, opening his eyes blurily and blinking at the too bright light. He was momentarily confused by his surroundings.


"Brian. It's me, Brian. Wake up - we need to get you back upstairs. Come on," came a familiar voice from somewhere over by his left shoulder. He turned his head to try to locate the speaker but had to close his eyes again as the movement made his head hurt and the room spin.


Then it came to him who the voice belonged to. Brian wasn't sure why the voice was here, though. "Michael?" he groaned.


"Yeah, it's me. Come on Brian, let’s get you upstairs. You'll be a lot more comfortable sleeping this off in your own bed than down here in the lobby on this chair. Besides, I think you're scaring the other folks that live here," Michael said with a soft chuckle. He grabbed his best friend's arm, hoisted it over his shoulder and braced himself to lift the larger and much heavier man into a standing position.


"Leave me alone, Michael," was the surly reply slurred out by an uncooperative Brian. "He's gone, Mikey. He let me go, but I don't wanna go. So just leave me alone."


"Sorry, but you're gonna have to go, at least up to your loft.  Come on big boy.  You have to work with me here. I can't carry you."


"What the fuck are you doing, Michael. I said to leave me alone," Brian's tone was getting louder and angrier the more his friend tried to tug at him. "I said LEAVE ME ALONE!" Brian shouted and pulled his arm away from Michael as he collapsed back onto the chair he'd been sitting on, knocking the chair over in the process and landing in a heap on the floor.


"Fuck you, Brian! You can't stay here. You're passed out drunk in the lobby of your building, sleeping on a fucking chair, wearing nothing but sweatpants and a dirty robe that look like you've been living in them for a week. You're holding onto an empty Beam bottle with at least two others at your feet. You are NOT staying here. Either get up now, come upstairs with me and get a shower and some coffee, or I'll have to call in reinforcements. I'll call Ma - you know you don't want her over here with you in this state. So, come ON!"  insisted the smaller but stubborn Michael.


"Fuck - you don't play fair, Mikey," was the defeated reply from a still surly but now compliant Brian, who finally allowed his friend to pull him to a standing position and guide him, tottering, towards the elevator.


An hour and several cups of coffee later, a freshly showered and almost coherent Brian was seated on his couch preparing for the interrogation which he was certain he was about to get from his oldest friend. His head was pounding despite the four Tylenol he'd downed and his mouth tasted like a fuzzy used ashtray even after he'd brushed his teeth twice. He had a huge bruise on his right temple that he couldn't remember how he'd gotten and most of the rest of his body ached from having slept for most of the past week on the chair in the lobby.  Put simply, Brian felt like shit.  And he wasn't really happy about the prospect of trying to explain his bender to an overinquisitive Michael.


"Okay, Bri. What about you tell me what the fuck is going on?" came the expected enquiry.


"What the fuck are you doing here, Michael? I didn't call you," Brian tried to evade the question.


"No. Cynthia called me. She said you'd called in sick at work on Monday and that nobody had heard from you since. She said that in all the years she's worked for you, you've never called in sick before - even when you could barely sit up you were so sick - let alone disappeared for a week. She was completely freaking out. Thought you were lying in a ditch somewhere dead. So I came over here to start the search, ready to call out the fucking FBI if necessary, and I find you sitting in the lobby, passed out drunk and smelling like a distillery. So, what the fuck brought this on, Brian. I'm not leaving until you tell me," Michael again insisted.


"I'm fine.  You can go now."


"Like fuck I'm gonna leave! And you're not fine. You're a fucking fall-down mess, that's what you are. Tell me what's going on. Who is 'Justin' - you were talking about somebody named Justin downstairs. Brian! Brian, look at me. Tell me what's going on here!"


Brian reluctantly admitted to himself that Michael was not going to leave without some kind of explanation. Fuck! He didn't want to talk about this. He didn't want to talk about Justin - it hurt to think about him.


"Michael, please, I don't want to talk. I just want to sleep. Please just leave me alone," Brian tried once more.


"Sorry. No can do. If you want to sleep you'll have to explain to me first why you're in such a shit-ass state. I'm not leaving until you do," Michael repeated as he plopped himself down on the couch next to Brian, jarring the other man's head in the process and eliciting a small groan from his friend.


"Fine," Brian caved. "There were a bunch of letters in the pocket of the robe I was wearing.  Where are they?"  


When Michael got up and retrieved the stack of letters, rubber banded together, and brought them back to Brian on the couch, the distraught man seized the bundle and then started to talk in a hushed voice.


"Before I start, you have to promise me that no matter what I tell you, you're not gonna drag me off to the hospital and stick me in some psych ward, okay. I'm not fucking crazy, alright?" Brian demanded, looking at his friend intently.


"Huh?  What are you talking about, Brian?"


"Promise, Mikey! Or I'm not telling you anything."


"Fine. I promise not to throw you in the looney bin. Now, start talking. I'm getting freaked, here, Bri." Michael was looking worried.


And so, Brian launched into the whole story about the time-travelling mailbox, the disappearing letters and the beautiful blond boy he'd met first through the mail and then in person. The more he spoke, the crazier the whole story sounded, even to him.  Brian was sure that Michael was going to renege on his promise and he was probably going to wake up tomorrow in a padded cell wearing a straight jacket. All he had for proof that he wasn't insane were the stack of letters and a few drawings - none of which were conclusive evidence of sanity. But he hadn't told the whole story to anyone and he simply had to get this off his soul or implode with the anguish that was weighing him down.


"Fuck," was Michael's only response when Brian had finished his tale.  


Brian wasn't sure whether his friend actually believed him or not. But, at least he hadn't yet called for an ambulance to cart him off to the sanatarium. That was a good sign, Brian thought.

"I've never felt like this about anyone before, Mikey," Brian whispered.  "I don't know what to do. I can't just give up. There has to be some way."


"But, Brian, if this really is happening . . . I mean, you can't just wait around for two years for this guy, can you?  Especially when he told you not to try to see him again," Michael's voice was equally hushed.  He'd never seen his friend like this.  Brian had always been the 'fuck-em-and-leave-em' type - always keeping his distance and espousing to all that he didn't do relationships and didn't believe in love.  The Brian sitting next to him now - this crushed, despondent man - this was not the Brian he knew and it was scaring the shit out of him.


"What else can I do, Mikey," asked the distraught brunet. Then, Brian added, in a whisper so low that Michael could just barely hear him, "I think I love him."


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


(January 19, 2000 - 8:00 pm)


After that discussion with Michael, Brian had somehow managed to pull himself together enough to return to his work and his life - sort of.  He was able to get up in the mornings, get dressed, go to work, go home, eat something and go to bed. But he wasn't really all there either. Brian knew his friends were still concerned about him. They'd pretty much all been on 'Brian Watch' since Mikey found him that day - Michael, Debbie, Lindsey, Ted, even Emmett had been calling him daily, dropping by the loft after work to check up on him, stopping in at the office to take him to lunch and generally plaguing his every moment. 'What do they think I'm going to do?' he thought, then admitted to himself that he knew what they were all thinking and that perhaps they hadn't been far off.


Today had been no different. Ted and Emmett had demanded that he join them for lunch at the Diner, where Debbie could assist in keeping an eye on him, and then had made him swear to join them for drinks at Woody's after work. He had reluctantly agreed - not that he really had any choice - the Brian Babysitting Squad could be relentless if he tried to turn them down. It was easier to just comply with their schemes than to try to fight them.  Besides, he had to admit, he didn't really want to sit alone in the loft again.


So, here he was, sitting on a bar stool in his old haunt, nursing a beer - the gang had also been carefully monitoring his alcohol consumption and he wasn't being allowed any of the hard stuff, just beer. Again, Brian was going along with it. The rest of the group were in pretty good spirits tonight. Emmett was currently up on stage doing his own karaoke version of Aretha Franklin, and Michael, Ted and Ben were boisterously cheering him on from the crowd. Brian was still not in the mood for 'boisterous' and so he had been relegated to sitting there 'holding up the bar' for the time being and contemplating the origins of the word 'melancholy'.


Completely ignoring the noisy crowd over at the stage and lost in his own thoughts, Brian wasn't paying any attention to the myriads of men coming and going in the crowded bar.  Something about his appearance must have been giving off a pretty strong 'leave me alone' signal since he hadn't even been hit on yet tonight - a first for Brian Kinney. He wasn't even aware when a man came up behind him, hesitated briefly and then seated himself at the bar stool to his left.


"Hey," came a soft murmur from the man.  The sultry voice instantly galvanized Brian, going straight to his cock and eliciting a soft groan. 'God, no. Not today. I can't take this today.' he complained inwardly.


Lifting his gaze from the nearly empty beer bottle in his hands, he turned his head to the side and fell into the deep mesmerizing sapphire eyes of the man sitting beside him.  


"Justin," he quietly stated.


"You looked . . . lonely. Need a little company?" came the low tenor question from the luscious lips.


"I'm definitely not going to be very good company tonight," Brian responded. It was taking everything he had to hold himself together at this moment. He wasn't sure if he wanted to reach out and grab this vision or break down and start crying. But, since he couldn't decide which, he tried just to hold on to his composure for the time being and do neither. "You should probably just go back to your boyfriend," he tried, thinking that if he could get rid of the man, maybe he could return to the numb state he'd been in before without totally losing it again.


"Boyfriend? I don't have a boyfriend," Justin responded, obviously at a loss.


"What about that greasy little asswipe who drug you out of Babylon the other night? He said he was your boyfriend when he . . . ." Brian ventured, but was hastily interrupted.


"Oh God! Him. He is NOT my boyfriend. He's just some guy I met at the orientation for PIFA," Justin was quick to correct the older man's misconception. "I got my acceptance letter just before Christmas and they had this 'meet and greet' thing for the incoming freshman class that afternoon. I guess I got a little wasted. That idiot kept following me around the rest of the day. I mean, he was nice enough at first - I guess he's a musician of some kind - but he was so fucking clingy. I was trying to get rid of him all night but he just kept following me around. Even followed me to the club.  Sorry about that, by the way. I was really toasted.  I didn't mean to attack you like that." the boy finished as an unmistakable blush rose to his otherwise pale ivory cheeks.


Brian's mood rose a little at the explanation. It was at least some vindication that he hadn't misjudged this man, at least not too much.


"Buy you a drink?" he asked.


"Sure, thanks," Justin replied with that unbelievable heart-stopping smile. "Actually, I came here tonight to celebrate a little. It's my birthday! I'm officially eighteen. You can buy me my first beer now that I'm 'legal'.


The two men, one dark and one pale, sat together the rest of the night, just talking and drinking together. His friends were heartened that Brian seemed to be coming out of his depression a little, even though he wasn't quite back to his typical 'Studly' antics - at least he was talking with someone and had a more animated look to him. They held off interrupting until it started getting close to 1:00 am, but finally Michael sidled up to the pair at the bar to ask if Brian was almost ready to leave.


"Sure, Mikey. Give me a minute," was the calm response. Then Brian reached over and grasped the hand of his companion, bringing the delicate, long, pale fingers up to his lips for a brief kiss. "Later, Sunshine," he said to the blond man looking up at him with undisguised attraction. Brian then returned the hand to its owner's lap, smiled and turned to leave with his friends.


Brian knew now what he had to do. He was not giving up on this man. He would not give up on the only future he could now imagine.


Chapter 32 - For Justin. (January 31, 2000 ­ 4:00 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

"Remind me again why the hell you're doing this, Brian," asked Michael. It was about the tenth time he'd asked the same question and Brian was getting a little annoyed at him.

 

"I told you, Mikey. It's for Justin," Brian responded, the same answer he'd given every other time Michael had asked.

 

"You're talking about the guy . . . from the future, right? How the fuck is you moving out of the loft going to help this 'Justin' in the future?" Michael was sure that Brian was fixated on this supposed 'future love' and he wasn't sure he should have ever promised his friend not to force him to get psychological help. "Are you still writing to this guy?"

 

"No," Brian responded as he stared into the glass of beam he was sipping.

 

"Why not?"

 

"Because he asked me not to," was the laconic reply.

 

"Why. I thought you guys were . . ." Michael kept pressing.

 

Brian shook his head sadly. "Time," was his hushed reply.

 

"Hey, come on. This is a good thing," Michael tried to cheer his friend up. "You need a real guy, you know. You can't fuck a fantasy, right?"

 

"Listen to me, Michael. Are you listening?" Brian demanded angrily.

 

"Yeah, I'm listening." Michael was cowed by the ferocity of Brian's gaze.

 

"While it lasted, Justin was more real to me than any of that stuff. He was more real to me than anything I've ever known. I've seen him. I've kissed him. I've . . ." the anger in Brian's tone faded to sorrow. "I fucking love him, Mikey. Do you understand that? And now he's gone. I'm going to try to get him back. I don't know if I'll succeed, but don't you ever, EVER, tell me that he wasn't real or that it was just a fuck. You hear me, Mikey?"

 

"Okay. Okay, Brian. So, let's get the rest of this shit packed up so the movers can pick it up tomorrow morning." Michael stood up, hoping to change the subject and ready to resume work, helping to pack up Brian's personal belongings from the living room and then they could move on to his clothes. Shit, that part would take hours - Brian owned more clothes than any other man he knew. "Can you just tell me one thing, Bri?"

 

"What, Mikey," Brian relented.

 

"Why West Virginia? I mean, it's way the fuck out there. You've always loved the loft - it's right in the middle of all the action, close to your work and Liberty Avenue and all the clubs and bars and shit. Why the fuck would you move out to the middle of nowhere? And why would you shell out all that money for some huge fucking palace when you live alone? It doesn't make any sense."

 

"Don't worry your pretty little head about it, Mikey. It's . . . just consider it an investment in the future," Brian dissembled. He mumbled something more, which Michael couldn't quite hear, though it sounded like, "it's for my prince . . ."

 

"Fine. Whatever." Then Michael turned to the last box Brian had been working on, full of what appeared to be letters, photos and other random memorabilia. "Where does this one go, Bri. I'll label it for you."

 

"That stays here," Brian said as he grabbed the box in question and strode up the steps to the bedroom, placing the box on the top shelf in the back of the bedroom closet.

 

"Okay. So, what do you want me to pack up next?" Michael asked.

 

"You could work on the kitchen stuff, I guess. I'll get started on my clothes," Brian directed. He didn't really trust Michael with his clothes. Heaven knew the man had absolutely no taste and no appreciation for how good clothes needed to be handled. Brian was going to take care of that part of the packing himself.

 

Several minutes later, Brian heard Michael stacking boxes of flatware and other kitchen items in the corner next to the fridge. "You really should repaint in here, you know. Nobody who rents this place is going to want to see Gus' handprints on the wall back here. You can have Lindsey paint you a new growth chart thingy at your new place, can't you?"

 

 

 

"No. The handprints stay," Brian ordered.

 

Several hours later everything was finally packed away, labeled, and ready for the movers to come tomorrow. Michael was dusting off his hands and throwing out the last of the beer bottles and take out cartons from their dinner. There was only one last thing left to do, Brian thought.

 

"Thanks for all your help, Mikey. You go ahead. I'll meet you at your place in a bit. I just have one more thing I want to do here," Brian stated as Michael gratefully headed for the door, waving and commenting that he'd see Brian later.

 

Brian grabbed his briefcase and pulled out a plain manilla file folder. Inside was a single sheet of his usual cream colored stationery. He sat down at the kitchen island and started to write.

 

"Dear New Tennant . . ."

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(January 31, 2002 - 6:00 pm)

 

Daphne walked into the living room and turned down the stereo as she headed towards the couch where Justin was lounging. "Want some peach yogurt?" she asked her friend.

 

"No. I'm not hungry," replied Justin as he took another pull on the cigarette he had in his hand and continued to stare off through the loft window at the now well-known billboard on the building across the street.

 

"It's just that it's a lot healthier than all those cigarettes you've been consuming," Daphne tried to cajole her friend into eating.

 

"Sorry, Daph. I'm just . . ." his voice faded without completing his thought.

 

"Come on, Justin. Snap out of it already! You've been moping around here forever now. So you broke up with that Brian guy. So what! It's time to move on. Let's go out and do something. Anything to cheer you up!" his best friend demanded.

 

"I know. I'm being a downer. I'll try to cheer up. It's just that . . . what do you do when you think you've made the biggest mistake of your entire fucking life?" Justin asked. He truly didn't know if what he'd done, telling Brian to stop writing, was a good idea. Hell, he was so lonely without him. The days had dragged by. He no longer had a daily appointment at 6:30 that he could look forward to - he no longer had anything to look forward to.

 

"Come on. We're getting out of here. I don't care what you say - if you stay in this loft any longer, you're going to start growing mold!" the strong-willed young woman demanded. She proceeded to pull her friend off the couch, grabbed the cigarette out of his hand and snuffed it out in the ashtray, then steadfastly pushed Justin towards the door, ignoring his complaints along the way.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(February 14, 2000 - 1:00 pm)

 

"Hey, Deb," Brian came up behind the waitress, snaked his arm around her waist and gave her a quick squeeze. "You're supposed to be taking it easy, you know. What are you doing back here?"

 

"Stop fussing, you little asshole. I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself, you know! And if I was stuck at home any longer, they wouldn't have had to worry about my heart cause I would have gone so stark raving bonkers they'd have had to commit me. So just lay off," she reprimanded. "Besides, I have my doctor's okay to go back to work. I just have to take it a little easier - no more double shifts. At least for a while," grinned the irrepressible red-head.

 

"Fine. As long as you're being good. Then I guess you can have these!" Brian pulled his other arm out from behind his back and presented a bouquet of red roses to his almost-mother with a flourish. "Happy V.D.!" he quipped with a smirk and a raised eyebrow.

 

"Oh, Brian, honey. Thank you. They're beautiful - almost as beautiful as the last flowers you brought me," she commented with a wink and messy, red-lipsticked smooch on his cheek. Brian almost smiled at her but couldn't quite force it. "Sorry, honey. I forgot," Debbie apologized, and quickly changed the subject. "Well, I'd better get these in some water. They are just perfect, Brian!”

 

Brian moved off towards an empty booth. He was introspective this afternoon, but his mood had improved of late and his friends, Debbie included, had been happy to see what they perceived as progress. Debbie hustled over to him as soon as her roses had been safely deposited in a vase on the counter by the espresso machine, filling his coffee cup and ready to take his lunch order.

 

"I'll hold off on ordering for a bit, Deb. I'm meeting someone here this afternoon," Brian commented as he dumped sugar into his cup.

 

"Anyone special?" Debbie couldn't help sticking her nose in where her almost-son's love life was concerned.

 

"It's a contractor, Deb. I'm having some work done on my new place. So, you can just put away your little cupid's bow and arrows, and leave me alone for now, Mom," Brian shooed her off. Debbie might have had more to add, but just then a tall, muscle-bound type in a short-sleeved tee with a yellow hard-hat under his arm and a scroll of blueprints in his hand entered the diner and Brian waived the man over. He nodded at Brian and slipped into the booth, unrolling the blueprints as he sat, all business.

 

Debbie left the two men to themselves for several minutes while she saw to the needs of her other customers. Then, under the pretense of refilling coffees and getting their orders, she sidled back over towards the booth where Brian and the other man were going over the plans spread out on the table.

 

"So, what you working on there," she tried to get a look at the plans to satisfy her curiosity.

 

Brian smiled at the woman indulgently. He knew his foster mother was pretty much the biggest snoop on Liberty Avenue, and that was saying alot considering the penchant for gossip most of the local queens had. He decided to take pity on her and come clean without making her work too hard for the 'intel' she'd been seeking.

 

"I'm remodelling part of the second floor to put in a study and studio," Brian offered.

 

"What do you need a studio for?" Debbie blurted without thinking.

 

"It's not for me," Brian quietly responded. "It's just in case . . ."

 

"Oh. I see." Debbie thought it wise not to press and simply refilled the two men's cups then hustled away.

 

The contractor left about a half hour later. Debbie quickly yelled at Kiki to cover her tables while she took her break, and then made herself comfortable on the seat in the booth across from Brian.

 

"So, talk to me, kiddo," she started. "How are you doing. This remodelling thing - you're okay, right?"

 

"I'm fine, Deb. You don't have to send out your minions to keep an eye on me again," Brian kidded. Then, when he saw the doubt in the woman's eyes, he added, "really. I'm doing fine. I'm just . . . making some plans."

 

Brian's eyes were locked on the coffee cup in his hands as he swirled the dregs of his last cup around. He knew that Mikey had told the gang, including his mother, something of what he'd confided to his friend the day he'd confessed about Justin. He figured Michael hadn't told them the whole story or he'd be locked in that padded cell by now. But Debbie was pretty perceptive when it came to certain things, so he knew that once she'd connected what he'd told her when she was in the hospital with whatever Michael had told her, she would have probably figured out the majority of the story on her own. He knew that Debbie was concerned about him and he wanted to reassure her, but he also didn't want to give away too much about his plans. He didn't want any interference - he knew if the gang had any inkling about what he was thinking about doing, they would try everything in their power to stop him. So, he was a little reluctant to tell Debbie what he'd been working on. However, since he also knew she'd keep at him relentlessly until he gave her something, he decided to open up just a little.

 

"Seriously, Deb - I'm doing fine. I'm just hoping that maybe I can work things out with Justin. We . . . well, I'm not ready to give up, yet. So, just in case, I thought that if things do work out with us, maybe he would . . . the studio is for him, just in case, you know."

 

"Have you talked to him, sweety?"

 

"Not lately. No."

 

"You should try. You're not going to resolve anything without talking to him, you know."

 

"I know, Deb. It's just not that easy. It's complicated."

 

"It always is with you boys," Deb laughed softly. "You're always making mountains out of molehills! So, just make it uncomplicated - talk to the guy."

 

"But he's the one that won't talk to me. I tried. I wrote him - he returned the letters - didn't read them."

 

"So, try again," was the reasonable advice Debbie proffered.

 

"I'm going to. I just have to . . . wait for the right time."

 

Brian knew exactly when the right time would be. He'd been working on his plan for quite some time now. He just had to wait until the moment he knew when and where Justin would be. Then, he hoped, what he had planned would change things for the better for both of them.

 

 

End Notes:

No, Brian. No! Don't do it! (Author getting carried away while planning the next chapter!) Sorry about the tease.  TAG

Chapter 33 - Best Laid Plans . . . (May 20, 2000 ­ 1:30 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Brian was just finishing up his lunch at the Diner, when Michael and Emmett tumbled through the entrance, Michael holding up a new comic book he'd apparently just received and Emmett commenting derogatively about the new superhero's costume.

 

"Come on, Michael - purple and green tights!  He looks like a reject from a 1980's step aerobics class. And paired with that bright yellow leotard?  I guess I just have an aversion to loud colors on anyone other than me!"  Emmett was going on in true fashion diva mode.

 

"Like I could give a crap about his outfit, Emmett," Michael laughingly retorted. He looked up, quickly spied Brian and steered his friendly fashion consultant over to the booth so they could join their friend. "Hey, Bri. Check out this new graphic novel I just picked up."

 

"Afternoon, boys," Brian greeted them. "What's new in the land of the super-lame super-geeks?"

 

"Not much, Brian.  Just another fashion tragedy that not even Captain Astro could prevent, I'm afraid," Emmett went on. "So, how are you, Brian. We haven't seen you around much lately.  How's that country manor of yours?"

 

"My country manor is just fine, Emmett. I'm thinking of having a barbeque and inviting over the hetero neighbors next week.  Want to help me plan ways to scare the shit out of them about the pending 'invasion of the queers'?   It could be fun.  I was thinking about handing out dildo's as party favors.  What do you think?"

 

"OOOOH!  Excellent.  I could invite my friend Godiva and a couple other drag queens I know.  That should go over well in the 'burbs," Emmett added clapping his hands and chortling as he came up with other innovative ways to terrorize Brian's new country neighbors.

 

"In the meantime, Brian, you want to join us tonight at Babylon?  It's the Wet Willy contest tonight.  I know how much you enjoyed consoling the BIG losers last year.  We're meeting at Woody's at 8:00 if you're interested."  Michael interrupted the escalating barbeque plans before his friends got too out of control.

 

"Sorry, Mikey. Can't. I've got plans," was Brian's terse response.

 

"Come on, Bri.  We never see you anymore. You've always loved the Wet Willy contest," pleaded Michael. He truly was a little concerned about his friend - it wasn't just his standard complaint or a desire for company this time.  Ever since Brian had moved out of the loft he'd been a little reclusive.  And now that he lived so much further away from all of them, it was harder to keep tabs on their friend to make sure he was doing okay.  Everyone had noticed that Brian hadn't been the same since that weirdness last New Year's.  No one mentioned it anymore, not even Brian, but Michael suspected that his friend was still stewing over that mysterious lost 'Justin' guy. Michael decided that enough was enough. time to get Brian back - back to the clubs and bars and baths where the other man had always seemed to enjoy himself. Enough with the self-pity, he thought.

 

"I told you, Mikey. I've got plans."

 

"What plans?" persisted Michael.

 

"I'm going dancing," Brian said with an inscrutable gleam in his eyes. "And then, maybe, I'll try some batting practice."

 

Michael was not sure he liked the mysterious tone in Brian's voice at that last comment.  However, if Brian was really actually going out tonight, even if it wasn't with the rest of their little group of friends, it was definitely a step in the right direction, he thought.  "Well, okay, then.  Hope you have a good time. If you get done early though, you can always meet up with us at the club later."

 

"I might just do that, Mikey," Brian added, thinking that if everything went the way he hoped, it just might be an option. "Well, gotta get back to work, boys.  Later."

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(May 20, 2002 - 1:30 pm)

 

"Hey, Daph.  I'm totally swamped right now. You'll have to have a seat and wait a bit before I can take a break, okay. Can I get you something?" Justin tossed out to his friend as he rushed past her to pick up a waiting order cooling in the kitchen window.

 

"No problem, Jus!" Daphne noted as he dashed past again in the other direction.  Daphne silently thought to herself that it was great that Justin was being kept so busy - today of all days. The busier her friend was, the less time he would have to think.

 

"Hey sweetie.  How ya doing today," said Debbie to the curly-haired young brunette woman who had just seated herself at the counter.

 

"I'm fine.  Just here to check up on you-know-who and make sure he's doing okay, you know."

 

"Yeah - I know.  I already talked to Jennifer this morning.  I told her I'd personally make sure Justin was on the schedule today so he'd be super busy and his pretty little tush would be where we could all keep an eye on him. His mom said that he had a really hard time last year - do you think it'll be better this year?"  Debbie asked conspiratorily of Justin's best friend.

 

"It was bad last year. Really bad. Jennifer was almost ready to put him back in the hospital - the panic attacks were so bad for a couple of days. But, he seems to be doing a little better this year. He's been really depressed for the last few months though, so I don't know. We'll just have to wait and see." Daphne confided in the older woman.  She was glad to know, though, that Justin had so many other people out there watching out for him on this tragic day.

 

As she looked around to try and keep an eye on the object of everyone's attention, she noted another member of 'Team Justin' entering the Diner and waved Emmett over to join her. Emmett was the newest member to have been let in on the conspiracy. He and Justin had forged a strong friendship over the past few months and the kind-hearted older man had willingly joined in on the plans to keep Justin occupied and distracted today in the hopes of avoiding another reoccurrence of last year's bashing anniversary debacle.  Daphne and Emmett had already worked out a plan to take Justin out for pizza and a movie as soon as he got off work this evening. Between the two of them, she thought they had a pretty good chance of keeping Justin from going off the deep end this year. At least she hoped so.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(May 20, 2000 - 4:30 pm)

 

"Cynthia, did the dry-cleaners drop off my tux yet," Brian's voice came through the speaker on his assistant's phone.

 

"Yes.  They just delivered it about fifteen minutes ago.  And, I confirmed with the car service that they'll have the limo ready and pick you up at the loft at 8:00 pm," the capable and well-trained woman responded. "So, are you gonna tell me what this is all about now?"

 

"Nope. Thanks, Cynthia," Brian said as he hit the button to cut off the intercom.

 

Brian meanwhile was pacing in his office. It seemed like his plans were all falling into place now.  He was still antsy though and couldn't concentrate on what he was supposed to be working on.  It was way too early to start getting ready for tonight, but it was a Saturday and he felt bad about keeping Cynthia here so late on a weekend, especially if he wasn't going to actually be doing anything productive. 'Shit,' he thought.  'Might as well let everyone go home and take off myself.  I'm not accomplishing anything here anyway and I can pace at the loft as easily as I can here.'

 

So saying, Brian gathered up his briefcase, intercommed Cynthia to tell her to send everyone home for the day, and headed out to the entry to grab his freshly cleaned tux and start for home himself.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(May 20, 2002 - 4:30 pm)

 

Justin was bushed. He'd been kept running all afternoon.  It seemed like Debbie kept coming up with inventive new ways to keep him busy - every time he was almost done with the last task she'd set him, she would be sending him off in a different direction.  He was really too tired to go out with Daph and Em tonight, but they'd been on him about this for a while now, so he didn't think they'd let him off the hook at this late date.

 

"Deb, I'm going to take the garbage out and then go get cleaned up.  Daphne and Emmett should be here soon to pick me up.  Okay?" Justin asked as the waitress passed him carrying a tray full of food for Table #3.

 

"No, problem, sweetie.  Have a good time tonight!"

 

"Thanks.  'Night, Deb," Justin added as he headed out the back with the large black plastic garbage bag dragging behind him.

 

Just then the bell over the entrance pealed out its plaintive little 'ding' and Debbie looked up to see her son shuffling into the Diner carrying a largish box full of assorted odds & ends.  From the morose look on his face, Debbie guessed right away what Michael had been thinking about this afternoon and also what was probably in the box.  Checking quickly to assure herself that Justin had already left, she hurried over to console her son who had just set the box on the floor and seated himself on a stool.

 

"Sweetheart, how you holding up?" she asked as she leaned down to give Michael a hug.

 

 

"Been better," was the succinct reply.  "I was out at the house today.  I figured I should finally start clearing some of his stuff out.  It's been two years now, so . . . . Well, I guess it's finally time."

 

"You should have let me know, honey.  I would have come with you," Debbie tried to console her boy.

 

"It's okay. I needed to do this myself, I guess. Gawd, Ma!  I still can't believe it's been two years. I miss him, every day." Michael was trying to keep it together but Debbie could see tears in his eyes just waiting to fall.

 

"Anyway, I grabbed some stuff that I thought you might want to keep.  You can go through it later if you want."

 

"How about let's take a look right now, huh? Debbie bent to lift up the box and set it on the counter so they could look through the contents together.

 

The first thing she pulled out of the box was a beautifully framed pastel drawing of Liberty Avenue.  It had been a favorite. She held it up to the light and the mother and son spent a few moments looking at the exquisitely done artwork showing a slice of their little community.

 

"Oh!" came the small noise from behind the pair. Debbie whirled around to see Justin, who had just returned from dumping the trash, standing a few paces behind them, mesmerized by the drawing Michael was still holding up.

 

"Deb, where . . . where did you get that drawing?" the stunned blond asked in a small, pained voice.

 

Debbie was unsure exactly how best to respond, and while she was still framing her answer, Michael spoke up for her. "It belonged to a friend of mine. I was cleaning some stuff out of his house today. He always loved this drawing.  I thought maybe Ma would like to keep it."

 

"Justin, honey, aren't you going to be late for your date with Daphne. You should probably get going," Debbie tried to interrupt.

 

Justin's feet felt like they were glued to the spot - he couldn't move, he had to find out about the drawing, which he was still staring at unblinkingly.

 

"Your friend . . . what's his name?" Justin asked of Michael, ignoring Debbie's attempts to distract him or, in the alternative, shut Michael up.

 

Michael, appeared oblivious to Debbie' efforts (Debbie was, at that moment, standing behind Justin waving her hands in the air at Michael), and bluntly responded, "Brian.  Brian Kinney. Did you know him?"

 

"Yeah. I know him," Justin whispered, his left hand raised tracing the lines of the drawing as he spoke, a bewildered expression on his handsome face.

 

"Do you know how, um . . . how I can get in touch with him.  Is he anywhere I can . . . um . . .r each him."

 

"I'm sorry. He . . . died. Two years ago today, actually," Michael said with a catch in his voice and the tears in his eyes, again threatening to fall.

 

Justin took two steps backward, his hand jerking back away from the drawing to cover his mouth as if to hold in the tiny whimper of pain that nonetheless managed to escape his lips.

 

"He was killed . . . he'd been trying to stop some homophobic asshole who was bashing a kid. The fucking monster beat him so badly he bled out before anyone found him," Michael sobbed out, completely unaware of the pain he was inflicting on the young man in front of him, lost in his own painful memories. "He was my best friend. I loved him so much. God, I miss him so much."

 

Justin looked up at Debbie with a dazed expression. It was as if the words hadn't yet penetrated the barriers of his mind. Debbie looked at the poor boy, compassion flooding her countenance as she reached out to try and enfold him in her arms. Her actions were interrupted though by the entrance of Daphne and Emmett who approached the scene warily, unsure what had transpired but aware that there was something going on affecting their friends, causing them pain.

 

"Jus, are you okay?" began Daphne.

 

She was immediately interrupted by her friend, who demanded, "What day is it, Daph? It's today, isn't it. It's TODAY!" Justin shouted at the top of his lungs to the Diner at large.

 

"Justin, honey. Calm down. It's okay - you're going to be okay, sweetie," Debbie was intoning, trying to pacify the frantic youth.

 

Justin regarded the woman reaching out to him and then spun around to see his best friend also looking at him with that same, knowing, sympathic concern on her face.

 

"You knew. Didn't you? You all knew - it was him. You knew and didn't tell me. FUCK YOU! How could you not tell me," Justin was frantic with rage and shock. He was backing away from the four people who were still standing around the almost forgotten drawing, watching the young man's melt down.

 

"Justin, we didn't want to make it any worse. You were so upset. You didn't remember anything and your mom and the doctors thought it was better, for now, if you just didn't have to know," Daphne tried to explain. Justin just kept backing away from the group, accusations darting from his eyes.

 

"You too, Debbie?" Justin shot out at the older woman. "Why didn't anyone tell me?"

 

"Honey, I met your mother at the hospital that night. You were still in surgery and I was waiting to find out if . . . well, they were never able to revive Brian. We kind of kept up, you know. And when you decided to move to this neighborhood, Jennifer called me to see if I could hook you up with a job and all. She told me that your doctors had recommend that we not tell you about Brian. I didn't even tell Michael or his friends about the connection. We didn't want to upset you. You're still so fragile . . ." she tried to console the frantic young man.

 

"Oh god, oh god, oh god, ohgod, ohgod, ohgod ohgodohgodohgodohgod . . ." Justin intoned as he crumpled to the ground in pain and terror, once again reliving that horrendous night.

 

Justin knew now with complete certainty that it had all been his fault. He was responsible. Brian was dead and it was his fault. Brian had gone to the Prom for him - to find him - it was his fault.

 

Without warning, Justin vaulted to his feet and raced out of the Diner, leaving his stunned audience still standing there unsure of what had just happened or how to help the scared young man.

 

 

Chapter 34 - Don't Go, Brian! (May 20, 2002 ­ 5:30 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

Justin staggered up to the door to the loft's lobby. He'd run all the way from the Diner and hadn't caught his breath yet. He didn't have a pen or paper with him, he'd left his bag at the Diner. He accosted the first person he saw coming down the sidewalk and breathlessly demanded a pen. He was lucky that the person didn't run away from him and actually had a pen on hand. The unlucky bystander hastily gave the crazed youth the pen and retreated down the street as fast as he could. He frantically dug his keys out of his pocket, wrenched the door open and practically fell into the lobby.

 

He immediately began to scrounge through the waste paper basket in the corner of the lobby and pulled out a junk mail envelope. He hastily scrawled a note on it.


-Brian. Don't go to Prom. Don't go. Please, I'm begging you! Don't go. Justin.


He shoved the envelope into the box, flipped the outgoing mail lever, and then Justin collapsed onto the floor, one hand stretched up resting on the box above him, tears coursing down his face and uncontrollable sobs echoing through the room. Was he in time. Was it enough. God, was it enough?

 

Justin thought perhaps he needed to explain more - he knew Brian had wanted to try to protect him - to stop Hobbs - and that was why he would be going to Justin's prom. Would Brian get the note - would it be enough to stop the man intent on protecting him. He wasn't sure. He needed to be sure.

 

Justin bolted up the stairs to the loft, threw open the door, grabbed the first notebook he found and tore down the stairs once again. He had to convince Brian. He had to!

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(May 20, 2000 - 6:30 pm)

 

Brian was already showered, dressed in his tux and ready to go even though he knew that the St. James' Academy Prom wasn't due to start until 8:00 pm. He was so wired though. If this worked tonight, he would not only be able to stop Hobbs from attacking Justin, he would be able to be with the man he loved. He couldn't sit still, he couldn't stay inside pacing - he quickly decided to call the car service and change his plans instead. Luckily he was able to arrange an earlier pick up time with the service. The driver said he was already in the vicinity and could be at the loft in a half hour. Brian thought that maybe he would stop by Woody's and get a drink or two to calm his nerves before he headed to the Marquis Grand Hotel to meet his Sunshine.

 

Taking one last look at himself, and approving what he saw - the black Armani tux pants and jacket with the sleek black dress shirt unbuttoned at the neck and the sharp looking white scarf in lieu of a tie - he decided to head out. He'd arranged to meet the car at his old loft, thinking that if the night worked out as he hoped he wouldn't want to be trekking all the way out here to the house in West Virginia. He thought he would leave his car in the parking lot behind the loft, take the limo from there, and hopefully, he and Justin would fall into bed together later that night at the loft - right where they both belonged.

 

Twenty minutes later, thanks to the lack of traffic on the roads, Brian pulled up behind the loft and parked in his old spot. He pulled out his old keys to open the parking lot door to the lobby so he could cut through to the front of the building and check to see if the limo had arrived yet.

 

Brian hadn't been here for more than three months. He'd avoided the place and the memories associated with it, hoping instead to make new memories when he'd finally reunited with Justin. Because he'd been avoiding the place, he had also not been back to pick up any mail since the day he'd moved out. He noted as he crossed through the lobby that the mailbox was full and he decided to stop and pick up the mail that had not yet been forwarded to his new address.

 

As he inserted the mailbox key, there was a brief spark of hope that there would be something from Justin - but he tried to quash that spark as quickly as it had arisen. He'd stayed at the loft for a full month after the disastrous 'non-date' and Justin had returned all his letters during that time and had failed to send any of his own. Brian told himself it was unlikely that the boy had relented and sent him something after all this time and it was foolish to get his hopes up. He would just get his regular mail and then proceed on with his plan.

 

As he grasped the stack of mail, however, he noted that on the top of the pile there was a torn envelope with familiar handwriting on the back. He grasped that envelope and greedily devoured the short missive,

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(May 20, 2002 - 7:00 pm)

 

Justin was still kneeling in front of the box in the lobby. He'd been there for a long time. He didn't know how long it had been. He had long ago taken his old cushion back upstairs so he was simply kneeling on the cold hard linoleum flooring, his hand reaching up to the box, waiting for a response - any response.  His legs had gone numb a long time ago. He didn't care.  He was not going to leave here until he knew if it had worked.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

(May 20, 2000 - 8:15 pm)

 

Brian stood next to the limo parked outside the Marquis Grand Hotel.  He hadn't yet decided what to do. It went against everything he wanted, everything he stood for, to simply turn around and go home. How could he let this happen to the man he loved?  If he didn't go in there now, it would be too late for Justin. Did he value his own safety over that of the man he loved. This was an impossible situation. Justin had asked him not to come to the Prom, but could Brian sit by and do nothing when he knew what would happen if he didn't go?

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

The music was loud and the prom attendees were already beginning to head out to the dance floor.  Justin was in a great mood - he and Daphne had done the whole photos-with-parents thing, getting ooh'ed and ahh'ed over for the twenty minutes or so before the two teens couldn't stand it any longer and had headed out.  They'd opted for dinner at Luigi's beforehand - compliments of Justin's parents.  Then, they had headed off to the Prom.

 

Justin knew that he would rather have been at Prom with a real date - meaning a guy instead of his best friend Daphne - but he'd been talked out of it at the last minute by his friend.  Justin had had enough bullying over the past few months to last him a lifetime.  Chris Hobbs and his cohorts had been pursuing him relentlessly ever since he'd announced to the entire school that he'd once given Hobbs a hand job.  That had been enough to turn Hobbs from your run of the mill bully into a real enemy.  His family and Daphne had finally persuaded him that he did not want to push his luck with the homophobic jock squad by inviting a male date to the prom.  So, here he was with Daphne instead.

 

As he headed out to the dance floor with Daphne, though, all he could think about was the man he would have preferred to be here with, Brian Kinney. Justin could not get the handsome older man's image out of his mind. Ever since that first night - the night they'd shared under that magnificent willow in the park - Justin had thought of no one else.  If he had had the courage, he mused, Brian Kinney would have been the person he would have invited to go to Prom with him.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

-Brian,


You have to listen to me.  I know why you didn't show up on New Year’s Eve. I remember it all now.  It was you at the Prom with me. It was you who came and danced with me. I'd been dreaming of being with you ever since our first night together.  I'd fantasized about you coming with me to Prom and then, there you were. You came to my Prom and you took my hand and asked me to dance.  It was perfect. We were wonderful together. You took my hand and we danced and we were wonderful.  And then we left the dance and started to head outside to where your car was waiting. The car wasn't there, though.  But he was there - Chris Hobbs.


I know you thought you could protect me, but I didn't remember what had happened and I didn't know that Hobbs hadn't shown up alone. No one knew - you and I were the only witnesses, except for the doorman who saw Hobbs following me out. But now I remember - there were four more who came up from behind us as we walked down the street looking for the car. They drug us around the corner before either of us could get away. You didn't know there would be so many - I didn't remember. You couldn't have saved me. You couldn't save yourself.


It was you who came to the Prom for me. It was you who tried to save me. And you didn't make it, while I did.


Please don't go. Just wait. Please. I know I will be able to make it through this if I just know you will be there for me in the end. Don't look for me. Don't try to find me.


I love you. I can't get through this without knowing you will be okay. Please, I love you and if you still care for me, you'll wait for me. Wait with me. Just wait. Wait two years, Brian.


Come to the loft. I'm here, waiting for you. Come to me. I'm here.


I love you,


Justin.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Brian read the note from Justin one more time as he stood outside the hotel where he knew his love would be waiting for him if he chose. Could he do this for Justin. Could he walk away?

 

 

Chapter 35 - In Unison. (May 20, 2002 ­ 8:30 pm) by Tagsit

 

 

 

It was getting dark outside now. It was getting late. He looked at his watch and saw the time and knew it was probably too late now. Justin was still kneeling on the floor of the lobby - he'd been waiting for hours now - he hadn't received any response and he knew that it was now too late. He was alone. Forever. Alone.

 

His legs were stiff and numb from having sat in the the same position for so long. He knew though, now that it was over, there was no sense in remaining here any longer.  He tried to stand, almost toppling over due to his frozen muscles, but managed to maintain his balance and push himself up at last. Once he was again on his feet he didn't know what to do next - he had nowhere to go now, no one to go to. He didn't want to think about what he'd lost or how he was going to go on, he just wanted to leave this place but didn't know which direction to head. As he stood there, trying not to think of anything other than his next step, trying to avoid the pain, once again, he reached for his bracelet as an anchor to keep him grounded.

 

He always wore the bracelet on his left arm so that he could reach it with his right hand whenever he needed the comfort of the feeling of the smooth cowry shells. He needed that comfort now more than ever. He reached over with his hand and stoked the shells - he knew now that the bracelet had once been Brian's, his lover's, and that thought, more than anything else, gave him even more comfort. Perhaps it would give him inspiration and help him decide what he should do now that he had no more future.

 

He had no idea how long he'd stood there, playing with the shells, touching the anchor that was now the only thing holding him in this place.

 

"Arrghhhh!," Justin screamed abruptly. It was gone. The bracelet was gone! Without any warning, while he was standing there with the bracelet on his wrist, in his hand, it was gone. It had just disappeared. He now had nothing - no anchor, no Brian, no future, nothing.

 

There was no longer anything keeping him here in this place. Justin took a deep breath and turned towards the door - he would leave, he thought. He couldn't go back upstairs to the loft now that it was so utterly empty. He would find some other place where he wouldn't have to remember. He began to take a halting step towards the door, but then heard a noise coming from behind him, from the door to the rear parking area. He wasn't sure why he hesitated - why that noise gave him pause - but he waited nonetheless.

 

"Sunshine." The name came out in a subdued voice - barely above a whisper. Justin knew that voice but couldn't believe in it. He knew it was already too late - he must be imagining it. His damaged brain was trying to trick him. It couldn't be.

 

"Justin. I'm here. I waited."

 

"Brian? You're here?" It was a question, not a statement, because Justin was still unsure if he could believe what he was hearing. He was still not prepared to turn around and face that voice - he needed to be sure it was real.

 

He heard footsteps, the heels of brand new shoes, not yet broken in, tapping against the linoleum, approaching him. Then, he felt a tentative touch on his shoulder - a hand with long, strong fingers gripped his shoulder. At the first touch, he involuntarily inhaled, knowing finally that it was truly real, he was here. The breath that filled his lungs was permeated with the scent of the man's cologne - that same rich, heady aroma he remembered from the night under the willows, from the welcome letter he'd found when he first moved in, from an amazing encounter in the backroom at Babylon and also accompanied by the smell of stale beer and cigarette smoke from one night at Woody's. As he exhaled, Justin felt his shoulders relax and his head tilting backwards, angling toward the warm body behind him, his eyes closing so that he could more clearly focus his other senses.

 

"Sunshine." He heard the pet name that only one man used for him repeated again in the strong, sensual baritone voice. Then the hand on his shoulder slowly pulled his body around. The warmth of the body next to him began to seep into his skin. The hand on his shoulder began to drift down his arm, resting on his upper arm with a firm grip, while a second hand trailed down his left arm, down to his hand, and he felt fingers entwining with his own. The two strong hands holding him then pulled his body closer to the one standing in front of him. He could feel the heat emanating from the other body and feel the warmth of another's breath on his face.

 

"Open your eyes, Justin. What are you afraid of," said the voice with a hint of humor.

 

"I'm afraid I'll wake up and you'll be gone," Justin replied in a soft tenor.

 

"This is real. Open your eyes, Sunshine. I want to see those gorgeous baby blues."

 

Finally reassured and utterly jubilant, Justin let his eyelids flutter open to the glorious sight of the man he'd feared he would never see again.

 

"Brian. You're here." Justin asserted with more conviction this time.

 

The other man didn't say anything, he simply pulled Justin's lips to his in a tender, sensuous kiss. The taste of those lips was so soft and warm, so sweet, he wanted to lose himself in those lips forever. Justin sighed against Brian's lips and couldn't help but deepen the kiss, pressing harder against the accepting lips of this amazing, sexy man.

 

Their kisses began light, tender and soft. Brian kissed Justin's lips again and again, sucking and nipping and savoring every taste. Soon, though, he found that Justin's lips weren't enough. He wanted to taste every inch of this man.  He found himself nuzzling and kissing the younger man's neck, first in that spot right behind the ear where the skin was the most sensitive, then down the length of Justin's long slender neck to the hollow where his collarbone started, as Justin angled his neck away to give his lover better access to the sensitive skin.

 

Then, as Brian's hands reached around Justin's body and sought out the skin under the material of his shirt, the brunet's lips returned to the blond's lips once again. The kisses now deepening and becoming more insistent, Brian was biting and sucking at Justin's lower lip and then licking, nipping again. After a brief time, Brian felt the other man's tongue poking out, prodding against his mouth, and Justin giving as much as receiving. He opened his own mouth, reciprocating, tongues dancing and twining together. Their mouths were crushed together so tightly that neither could breathe, but for the longest time, neither seemed to need breath and the kiss just went on.

 

When they eventually drew apart, Brian leaned back so that he could look at his beautiful blond boy and feast his eyes that had been denied this vision for two long years. He felt drawn into the dark, sapphire gaze raking over his own countenance as if to memorize every part. He was utterly jubilant that he was finally here with the one man he'd wanted for so, so long. He let himself drown in the depths of that entrancing gaze and was swept away again with a flood of feelings he could barely name, let alone control.

 

"We should go upstairs, Sunshine," Brian suggested. Justin nodded and gave his lover that huge Sunshine grin that lit up the room and showed off all of his adorable dimples. Then Brian took the smaller hand in his and led the way towards the elevator, pushing the call button and then sweeping the younger man back into his arms, holding him tightly and breathing in the scent of his musk.

 

They tumbled into the elevator together, laughing now with the sheer joy of finally being together, now, in the right time and place. They couldn't stop their hands from roaming each other's body, seeking out any exposed skin to reassure themselves this was indeed true. Touching and being touched again and again. Feeling the heat of skin, the pulse of the other, the ripples of pleasure that flowed over their bodies. Pressing their bodies together, unable to get close enough, wanting to simply flow into the other.

 

On the fourth floor, Brian reached out to raise the elevator gate and again enveloped Justin's hand with his own. Then, pulling the ready, willing and definitely able young blond with him, fishing out his keys and sliding the loft door open, Brian led them back into their loft.  Brian took a moment to relish that idea - THEIR loft - it was true, though. They were together in the place they belonged and he could never let Justin go again. It would be their loft and their house in West Virginia. Brian was ecstatic at the prospect - it would be their lives together, forever. And Brian was no longer frightened by the idea. 'Imagine that,' he thought.

 

Brian had been still for a brief moment while he'd examined this epiphany. Justin, though, was not ready to slow down for even that short a time. As soon as the loft door was closed, he'd reached out to Brian's cotton, button-down shirt and started to remove it. The feel of the light cotton being pushed off his shoulders by warm hands, brought Brian's attention immediately back to the present and he smiled down at his avid young lover, who was already reaching towards the hem of Brian's ribbed, black wife-beater tee.

 

"Need help?" Justin teased with a catty grin as he assisted the sexy brunet to pull the tee off over his head. Brian was thrilled with this playful Justin and smiled while lowering his slightly open mouth, trying to get another taste. Justin wasn't through, though - he opened his own mouth and seemed to lean into Brian to complete the kiss, but then, just as their lips were millimeters from touching, the boy pulled back with a teasing smile and sank down to his knees, trailing his lips lightly down the well-muscled chest and stomach in front of him. When his mouth reached the waistband of Brian's jeans, he tilted his head back, grinning up at the other man, and while holding his lover's gaze, he efficiently undid the jeans without needing to look, then slid the pants down, noting with his fingertips that there were no briefs to slow down the process.

 

Now that the blond had free access to the entirety of Brian's gorgeous golden-hued skin, he dove in to sample the delectable feast before him. Wrapping his right arm around Brian's hips and pulling him closer, Justin began to taste and kiss the tender skin at Brian's hip and groin, still not daring to touch the proud, straining and magnificent cock nearby. Instead, Justin moved up from the soft, tender hips, licking with a wet, flat tongue, back up Brian's stomach, chest and long tender neck.

 

The teasing touch of that tongue was torture to Brian, but tantalizing torture that caused his dick to pulse and strain even more towards the warm body of the man in front of him. As soon as Justin's face was once again within reach, he swooped down and claimed another, deeper, more lasting kiss from the coral lips, as he walked them both back towards the bedroom. When he had managed to lift an unresisting Justin up the few steps to the room and then over to the bed itself, he let his own teasing grin light up his face and placing his hands on each side of the boy's face, gave a little shove causing the younger man to tumble back onto the bed with a small giggle.

 

Justin wasn't ready to give up on his exploration of the body of the sex-god now standing in front of him, so he quickly scooted back towards Brian, and resumed his licking and kissing worship of the glorious golden skin. The excited youth concentrated this time on nipping, licking and sucking on the older man's chest and the already hard little nubs of his nipples - flicking his tongue over one repeatedly, while tweaking and pinching the other with his right hand - causing Brian to pant and sigh.

 

This was too much for Brian, who couldn't wait any longer. He briskly moved Justin's mouth far enough away to be able to tear off the pale blue, over-tight tee the boy was wearing, then shoved against his shoulders dropping the slender young man onto his back on the bed. Brian then made quick work of removing the loose cargo pants and briefs, finally exposing the entirety of the flawless alabaster skin of his wondrous lover. With an involuntary moan, Brian reached up to grasp Justin's wrists and pin them to the bed as he lowered his body to cover the smaller one beneath his and revel in the feeling of the full-body contact.

 

As Brian had reached out to grab his wrists, Justin's eyes had been momentarily diverted from their lock on the hazel eyes of his lover towards the other man's own wrist. He gasped in amazement when he saw, there on Brian's right wrist, the same cowry shell and leather band that Justin had been wearing only moments before in the lobby, until it had mysteriously disappeared. He didn't have time to contemplate the enigma, though - Brian's insistent ministrations almost immediately diverted his attention back to the real work at hand.

 

Brian could not keep away from the now swollen lips of this beautiful man in his bed. He dove in again and again for more tastes, still pinning Justin's hands to the bed, while their bodies writhed against each other. Finally releasing those wrists and moving his hands down to grasp and still the insistent hips below him, he let his mouth again wander to kiss and bite the hard clavicle and shoulder bones under the silken skin, and the firm muscled pecs adjacent. Brian noted with glee that his boy was now sporting a small gold nipple ring on his right nipple, and the sexy older man playfully tugged at it with his teeth causing gasps and moans to rise up from Justin's smiling lips.

 

Brian let his mouth wander further south, licking at the ivory skin of Justin's abdomen and stomach, dipping into the small 'inny' belly button and circling around the navel, all the time holding down the shoulders of the boy, trying to control the ecstatic contortions of the other man until he could complete his inventory of all Justin's lickable, bitable parts. As he continued to lick and taste, going lower and lower, he finally felt the heat of Justin's  full, heavy cock, brush against his cheek, dripping a small amount of pre-cum as it touched.

 

"I want you inside me, Brian. Now. Please," came a small voice from the thrashing blond boy.

 

The plea, along with the sensation of the liquid now rolling down his face, drove Brian instantly mad - unable to restrain himself any further, he moved down further so he could taste the salty wetness of that beautiful, full, thick cock, licking and sucking and relishing each second of contact between his lips and the engorged organ. As his mouth made love to the cock in front of him, Brian's hands continued to slide over the youth's body, down Justin's sides and over his thighs, over and around his hips, eventually latching on to the firm, round globes of his perfect ass. He groped and massaged those full cheeks, unable to get enough of the feeling of them filling the palms of his hands while the delicious cock was filling his mouth.

 

Brian then allowed one hand to circle further down, trailing over the boy's crack and lightly grazing the sweet little pucker within. Justin's frame bucked up violently at the touch and an unrestrained "Oh! Brian" fell from his lips. Encouraged, Brian continued his exploration, circling and teasing the hole while mimicking the actions with his tongue on the twitching cock in his mouth. Finally, daring to push the digit into the tantalizing entrance, Brian noted the louder moan from his charge and the involuntary thrust of the boy's dick further into his throat. He continued to work at the tight little hole with first one then two then three fingers as he increased the suction of his mouth on the eagerly thrusting cock.

 

Brian knew that they were both getting very close when he felt another spurt of pre-cum leaking across his tongue causing his own dick to jump against the boy's thigh. Knowing there wasn't a second to waste, he released Justin's cock, eliciting a small groan of loss, scooped his arms behind and around the boy's thighs and folded them up to rest on his shoulders as he swooped down for another crushing kiss. Reaching over to the nearby nightstand, he rapidly retrieved the necessary supplies and rapidly prepared himself, then, unable to wait any longer, he drove his straining, aching dick straight into the waiting well of his lover. Brian knew he should have probably gone a little slower, prepared Justin more, but he was so overwhelmed by the emotions and sensations this reunion had engendered, he simply could not restrain himself. His worries were quelled, however, by the happy moan and thrusting hips of his partner, indicating that the blond was just as eager and feeling equally enthusiastic about this coupling. Gratified, Brian let his inhibitions fall away.

 

Encircling the body of the man beneath him, with his arms clasped around the smaller man's thighs and back, bending the limber body in half, he joyously pumped into the welcoming depths of his lover, pounding in again and again, loving every sound of adoration coming from the lips of his young lover who strained to meet him thrust for thrust. Their rhythm matched perfectly. Brian realized that his moans and gasps were as loud, if not louder, than Justin's as he called out his lover's name again and again, their cries muffled only by the crushing, demanding kisses every time their lips met. Justin's hands were grappling at Brian's neck and shoulders and running through the sweaty chestnut locks, seeking to somehow bring their bodies even closer, to fuse them together so they would never have to part, never have to let this passion abate.

 

The pace was now becoming frantic - Brian was thrusting into Justin's ass deeper and deeper with each push as he lifted the smaller hips higher to give himself even greater penetration. Justin was arching his back at the same time, trying to take more and more of Brian into his depths, wanting to feel every glorious inch of that proud cock inside him. After minutes or hours more of this pure, completely fulfilling pleasure, Brian felt that his climax was closing in. He started to reach down to touch the hard, pulsing cock of his lover, which was straining between them, but didn't have to since, at that moment, he felt Justin's frame arch up even more strongly, the youth's body becoming rigid for several seconds, and a roar of release rise up from Justin's gaping mouth. Brian felt the warm liquid of his cum spreading between their bellies and then the body below him relaxed as if it were melting away.

 

The sensation of the boy's ass muscles spasming around his dick as the blond reached his climax, took Brian over the edge as well. He felt the tightening in his balls, the involuntary contractions of his stomach muscles, the feeling as if all his nerve endings were suddenly lit on fire and then his own release, coursing out and draining all the tension from his body. He allowed himself to collapse on the body of his lover savoring the feeling of the unresisting warm body trapped beneath his, their chests and stomachs stuck together with Justin's cum, their breathing in tandem and their pulses racing together. He didn't want to move. If only they could stay like this, this close, so much in unison, forever, he thought.  He knew that he would be truly happy for the rest of his life if he could only stay here, like this, with the feel of Justin under him, for evermore.

 

"I love you, Sunshine," Brian whispered into the shell of the boy's ear, then rolled their still entwined bodies to the side and blissfully let himself drift off to sleep, his cock still resting inside his lover.

 

When he roused a little later, Brian felt his heart soar to find Justin snuggled into his side, the bright, blond head nestled on his chest. "This is the way I want to wake up for the rest of my life," he whispered, his lips against the other man's temples.

 

"That sounds good to me," was the sleepy reply from his bedmate, who smiled up at him with pure joy shining out of his eyes.

 

Brian's laughter was unrestrained. He couldn't ever remember being this happy. To celebrate, he pulled Justin into the circle of his arms once again, enjoying the knowledge that he could, and proceeded to kiss and fondle the young man. 'On to round two,' Brian smiled to himself as he rolled over to start back to work.

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

Justin woke up the next morning to the dulcet tones of his lover's voice - Brian was speaking on the phone in a hushed voice - Justin couldn't think of a more lovely sound, especially first thing in the morning. He heard Brian say goodbye to whomever he was conversing with and then heard the light thump of barefoot steps coming towards the bedroom. He turned his head to look towards the bedroom steps and was rewarded with the sight of Brian, clad only in his jeans, the top button undone, with his hair touseled and two cups of steaming coffee in his hands.

 

"Good morning, Sunshine," Brian greeted him as he set the coffee down next to the bed, then reached over to pull Justin in for their first kiss of the day.

 

"Mmmmm. That tastes good. Think the coffee will be as refreshing?" Justin smiled up at his lover.

 

"That remains to be seen." Brian leaned in to kiss the warm, soft lips again, thinking how easy it would be to fall back into bed with this beautiful man. He groaned and pulled away though - they had plans which didn't involve staying in bed all day - at least not here at the loft.

 

"Come on, Sunshine. Time to rise 'n shine. We have to get going." Brian stood up and reached one strong arm down to assist his lover out of bed.

 

"Why? I'm pretty happy right here. You could come back to bed and I could endeavor to make you pretty happy, too," the beautiful blond offered.

 

"God. You are so tempting, Sunshine," Brian allowed himself to be pulled back down for another kiss, one which lasted several minutes and threatened to completely derail his plans. But, with supreme self-control, he finally managed to pull away, and in the process grabbed Justin's hand, pulling the younger man up out of the bed at the same time.

 

"No fair trying to distract me, Sunshine. It's time to get you to the shower and then we have to go. I want to give you your present."

 

"You didn't have to get me anything, Brian. I have you, after all. That's all I wanted."

 

 

 

"Well, now you've got me and I want to make sure you never get away," Brian said as he kept tugging at Justin, trying to entice him towards the shower.

 

"Why would I ever want to get away?"

 

"Come on. You'll like this present, I think. But we're going to be late if you don't hustle, Sunshine. Besides, don't I remember some rather innovative games that you thought up having to do with a shower and a fresh bar of soap. If you get up and come shower now, I'll even spot you those ten points." Brian teased, and was encouraged to see Justin's eyes light up as the blond vaulted out of bed and pulled Brian towards the shower after him.

 

A half hour later, the pair was exiting the elevator and leaving the lobby together, where a sleek black limo waited at the curb in front of the building. Justin looked up at Brian with a myriad of questions on his countenance, but Brian merely shook his head slightly, smiled and ushered the man towards the open door being held by the driver. Justin allowed himself to be seated in the elegant vehicle and held his queries for the time being as Brian lifted a chilled bottle of champagne out of the ice bucket next to the rear seat, poured them two glasses of bubbly, and raised his glass to toast his companion.

 

"To many, many Sunshine filled days ahead!" Brian said while clinking his glass against Justin's. Justin felt his cheeks burning at the overly romantic compliment, but said nothing. This playful, romantic Brian was the best present he could possibly think of and he didn't want to push his luck by pointing it out to the usually more reserved man sitting next to him.

 

They chatted, kissed, sipped their champagne, touched, and kissed again for the length of the drive. Justin was beginning to wonder where exactly they were heading after the first twenty minutes or so, but was enjoying himself too much to bother questioning Brian. He was too busy sucking at Brian's sweet, champagne-drenched lips at the time the question arose in his mind, anyway. When the limo finally pulled to a stop and the driver came around to the side of the vehicle to open the rear door, Brian pulled away from the lingering kisses and stepped out of the car, grasping Justin's hand and tugging at him to follow.

 

Justin was confused by what he saw when he'd emerged and finally stood next to the car. In front of them was a large residential building - at least he thought it was a residence, even though it was easily large enough to house several families. It was built in the English Tudor style with half-timbered upper stories and several large gables, all set in a wooded landscape at the end of a long curving driveway.

 

"Wow, this place is amazing," Justin commented as Brian once again clasped his hand and started walking him towards the front door.

 

"Wait until you see the tennis court, and the pool, and the stables," Brian responded, his lips curling under in pleasure as he carefully regarding Justin's expression to weigh the younger man's response.

 

"Stables? Who lives here," Justin asked.

 

"We do," Brian said as he reached to grasp the door handle and push open door. "Assuming you want to, that is."

 

"What?" was Justin's stunned reply.

 

"I bought it,' Brian said as he ushered the speechless young man into the house, through the firelit living room and beyond to a sunlit breakfast nook - table already set, food on the table and mimosas poured in the waiting champagne flutes. Brian maneuvered Justin towards the table, seating him in one of the wrought-iron bistro chairs.

 

"I bought this house because I wanted to prove to the person I love, how much I love him. I want to be with you, Justin, forever. I don't ever want to try to live without you again, or go through the agony of waiting to be with you and knowing I can't protect you or that I can't be there to take care of you when you're in pain. I want you to live here with me. I want you to marry me."

 

Then, to Justin's astonishment and joy, Brian pulled a velvet covered box from his jacket pocket and knelt in front of him, staring up at the only man he'd ever loved, with yearning and a little fear in his eyes.

 

Justin's response was immediate and unreserved. He leaned down, tenderly touched his lips to those sensual, crushed-cranberry lips of his lover and whispered, "Yes. Of course, I'll marry you Brian. That's all I've ever wanted, ever since I first met you. I love you!" And he pressed his lips into the first kiss of many more to come.  

 

The End. For now!

 

 

End Notes:

I hope you all enjoyed this story. I had a lot of fun writing it. I'm so proud of my first born! Thanks again.  TAG

This story archived at http://www.kinnetikdreams.com/viewstory.php?sid=28