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.
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,
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?