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Time and Time Again by Tagsit

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I'm back! Poor Brian's been having such a rough time of it lately. Opening yourself up emotionally and then not getting the response you thought you'd see is hard for the boy.  And things are bound to get worse before they get better. Sorry. TAG

***************Major Angst Alert*************

 

Chapter 4 - I'm Pretty Sure I'm Not Crazy.

 

So, I'm acting a little crazy. I know it. I know it but I can't seem to stop myself. When the fuck did I become this desperate dick-whipped pussy? I wouldn't be if Justin would stop running away from me, but I guess I freaked him out pretty bad this morning.  

 

When Mikey picks me up, I make him drive with me out to St. James Academy. We get here pretty fast - I hope it's faster than Justin can manage on the bus because I need to talk to him and try to explain. Mikey is whining over in the passenger seat asking again why we're here, but I have no idea how to explain any of this so I just ignore him and eventually he shuts up.  

 

There's Justin. Yes! I tell Mikey to stay put and jog over to my Sunshine who's standing on the front steps talking with Daphne.  

 

"Hey, Daphne. Justin, I'm glad I caught you. I really need to talk to you," I start off, trying to appear calm and not insane.

 

“Excuse me? Do I know you?” Daphne interrupts my attempt to get Justin to listen.

 

“Um . . .” is all I can come up with.  

 

Get it together, Kinney. I am a college graduate. I’m the top ad exec at Ryder. I have a well known reputation among my friends and peers for being witty, in a rather sarcastic way, and even, on occasion, charming. But all I can come up with right now is ‘Um’?

 

The reason behind my lack of eloquence is my realization that I’ve slipped up again and I can tell by that look of concern in Justin’s eyes that he caught my little goof. Of course, from my perspective I’ve known Daphne for more than four years and we are good pals. Daphne’s always liked me and been in my corner, rooting for me to finally get it right with her best friend. However, this Justin just met me last night and I’m not due to meet Daphne for a few more days - at least I don't think so. Since this is my third time living through this particular day, I’m no longer sure exactly what is ‘real’ and what isn’t anymore. Neither am I sure what is ‘supposed’ to happen. But, I can tell from Daphne’s and Justin’s expressions that they don’t think I should know Daphne yet.  

 

“Daph, we better get to class,” Justin says, tugging on Daphne’s sleeve to pull her away from me. “Uh, later, Brian.”

 

“Justin, please stop for just a second,” I’m pleading but he’s already more than halfway to the front doors and not looking back.

 

I walk dejectedly back to Mikey at the Jeep. I’m afraid that I’m really screwing this up. AGAIN. I have to figure out how to fix this because I know I’m not strong enough to deal with losing Justin again.  

 

“Brian, can you please tell me what the hell we’re doing here?” Michael asks me again. “Why are you following that kid, Justin, around like this? It’s bad enough you brought him to the hospital last night, but why are we at his school? This is really NOT like you Brian.”

 

I get in the Jeep, grip the steering wheel with both hands and rest my head on my hands. I'm still suffering from last night's hangover - or should I say next May's hangover? My head is pounding and I have that queasy feeling in my gut. But by far the worst thing I'm feeling is the fear that I've scared Justin off for good.

 

"So, Mikey," I ask, trying to figure out what's happening to me, "if you could do over one day in your life, what day would it be?"

 

"Huh? Why?" Michael responds so eloquently.

 

"I mean, if you could do just one day of your life over, would you pick the best day of your life, the worst day or some other random day?"

 

"I guess I'd want to relive the best day of my life, then. I mean who wants to relive their worst day? Wasn't it bad enough the first time around?" Michael reasoned.

 

"See, Mikey, that's where I think you're wrong. I'm with you up to a point - I wouldn't want to relive the worst day of my life. Like you said, it was probably bad enough the first time around. Plus, the way I look at it, anyone's worst day has to have been just so bad and for so many different reasons that even if you tried to redo it, it probably wouldn't get substantially better anyway. "

 

"But I wouldn't want to relive the best day of my life either. What if you were reliving it and did one tiny little thing different and somehow changed it? One little mistake could ruin that perfect day. And you might not even think that what you did - that one change - was all that bad, but it could still ruin everything.

 

"That's why I think it would have to be just an average day. Chances are you could actually make a change to an average day that would make a difference. Of course, you could really screw that day up - and it might turn into your worst day. But maybe you could make it better too. The trick is figuring out exactly what little change will make it turn out the way you want - that's not so easy, you know . . ."

 

"That's real interesting and all, Bri. I'm sure I read a comic once like that. But, um, Brian why are we still sitting here in front of the twink's school discussing this shit? I've gotta get to work," Michael groused.

 

"Because, Mikey, it's all tied together. You, me, the psychopath kids who spray painted 'Faggot' on the Jeep, Justin - we're all tied together and you change just one little thing and *poof* . . ."

 

"Yeah . . . Okay, Bri. Isn't it a bit early in the day for doing drugs? What are you on? You better let me drive." Michael starts to push me out of the driver's seat.  

 

"I'm not stoned, Michael, just scared," I tell my best friend - the ONLY person I would ever admit something like that to - then I add, under my breath, "I'm fucking scared shitless that I'm going to screw this up. Again."

 

I can tell my visit to Philosophy 101 is making Michael a little annoyed. If I keep prattling on Michael is going to insist I'm high and refuse to let me drive. So I give up the deep introspection thing for the time being and take Michael to the Big Q - well, not all the way to the store, because he refuses to have me drop him at the actual store in a Jeep with the word 'Faggot' painted on the side, so I drop him off about five blocks away instead. Then I drop the car off at the body shop near work and stroll into the office only twenty minutes late for the Diverson Account meeting.

 

Instead of getting any real work done, though, I spend most of my day planning how I'm going to convince Justin that I'm not a complete nutcase - which is what I'm afraid he thinks after my performance this morning.  

 

I take off from work early and drive back to the burbs, park in my usual spot in front of Justin's school, and wait for him to emerge from the building. Right on time, the final bell rings at 3:45 pm. The uniform clad preppies start boiling out almost immediately. Then my heart skips a beat when I see that golden mop top that I've been waiting for. I quickly hop out of the car and intercept Justin and Daphne on their way down the front stairs.  

 

"Brian? What are you doing here? Again?" Justin demands, still with a little fear but more with a hint of anger in his tone now.

 

"Justin, please don't run away from me again. I just want to talk to you. Okay? Please." I'm begging here - not only is Brian Kinney going after someone, but I'm begging him to 'talk' to me - what is this world coming to?

 

"I don't know, Brian . . ." Justin is so uncertain, he looks at Daphne for guidance and I could kiss her when she shrugs her shoulders giving Justin the go ahead. "Okay, fine."

 

"Thanks. We could go get a coffee or something to eat," I offer - food is always a good place to start with this kid.

 

I can already see he's contemplating backing out again, so I quickly add, "you're welcome to come too, Daphne."

 

"Okay, sure. There's a coffee shop just a couple blocks over. Is that good?" Justin offers.

 

"Of course," I just barely stop myself from answering that of course, I know the shop he's referring to since we almost always stop there for coffees in the mornings when I drop him off for school. "That sounds great. Hop in, I'll drive."

 

After an awkward silent ride, made bearable only by the fact that it's so short, we all pile out at 'The Human Bean'. I offer to get everyone's drinks and send the teens off to find a table. I finally locate them, a trayful of hot drinks and snacks in my hands, and sit in the chair next to Sunshine.  

 

"Mocha - for you Daphne. Justin here's your cappuccino, two sugars. And I got scones, some chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate muffin for you, Daphne. Everybody happy?" I ask as I hand around drinks and food.  

 

Shit, what did I do wrong this time? They're giving me those looks again. How could I screw up just ordering drinks?

 

"Brian, how did you know our favorite drink orders?" Daphne asks, getting right to the point the way she always does. "Jus filled me in a little today about the two of you. So, what's bugging both of us is how you seem to know so much, not just about Justin, but about me too - I mean, I didn’t sleep with you, so how do you know my name and favorite coffee drink, and even that I always get a chocolate muffin when we come here? This is beyond creepy - this is borderline stalker. So, start talking or Justin and I are out of here!"

 

What do I say to that? I do know that neither of these two believe in psychics or reincarnation or any of that other new age shit - which normally I would applaud - but how else can I explain what's happening to me? The 'dream' thing? This is way more than some freaky dream. I have no fucking idea what it is, but it isn't just a dream. That seems like my best shot, though.

 

"I know this is gonna sound a bit . . . weird . . . but you see, I had some sort of dream or vision or some fucking thing," this is already not going well, I can tell from their sidelong glances at each other. "Um, Justin, I dreamed that we were a couple for several years. Somehow, in that dream I saw stuff that I can't explain - like how I know where you go to school and your Dad's name. Even I think this all sounds like bullshit - I know - but it's the best explanation I've got for now."

 

"Then, it was like the dream changed and I saw it all happening again only this time you and I weren't together, and that time around you got hurt - killed, rather - and I felt like it was sorta my fault that second time because I wasn't there for you. So, when I woke up this morning and saw you there I was so happy to see you - and know you weren't dead - I got a little nuts. I really didn't mean to freak you out. I just want another chance to make things right with you."

 

Okay, that didn't sound too desperate or crazy, right? I stop talking at this point and watch Justin as a slew of conflicting emotions run rampant across his face. Disbelief, unfortunately, seems to be the dominant emotion there. All I can do is wait to see what he says.

 

"What do you mean I got killed? You said that this morning, too. That freaked me out more than anything else, I gotta admit," Justin asks, reserving judgment as to my sanity until I answer him this one big question.

 

"You're attacked at your Prom by Chris Hobbs. He bashes you in the head with a baseball bat because you're gay," I state, bluntly.  

 

"Chris Hobbs?" Justin asks, looking back and forth between me and Daphne with an expression I can't read.  

 

"Yeah - Hobbs - Hot brainless jock type. You know, the guy you've been crushing on for years? So, he finds out you're gay, and after you make a couple advances on him, he gets all homophobic on you and after Prom he . . . " I stop at this point, since Justin jumps up to his feet and grabs his backpack and backs away from me. "Justin, wait, what is it? What did I say wrong this time," I'm pleading as I follow him, Daphne in our wake.

 

"You CAN'T know about that. Nobody knows about Chris - I haven't even told Daph about . . . I don't know how you know all this shit, and I don't really care, either. All I do know is that this is too fucking nuts. I don't believe you - nothing you say makes any sense, logically. So just leave me the fuck alone, okay? Thanks for last night, whatever, but just leave me be now. Let's go, Daph," Justin was pulling his friend after him out of the coffee shop as he spoke.

 

"Justin. Don't. Please, I can't do this again without you," I'm shouting as I run after Justin. "I love you, Justin. I can't do this, again . . . "

 

I watch him go. I can't stop him. I would never try to keep someone - anyone, let alone someone I truly care about - from doing what they want. But watching him go is tearing out my heart. I told him I loved him - in front of all these people, even - and he's just going to walk away?  

 

Now what do I do?  

 

I wait. I watch for my chance. The first time around I used to kid that Justin was my 'stalker'. Now I'm the stalker. Only it's not a joke this time - I really am becoming a stalker.

 

I can't let him go. I wasn't kidding before when I said I couldn't do this without him. I can't sleep. I've lost weight - and not in a good way. I have nightmares about the Prom and the bashing. Obsess much, Kinney? I just can't get over the idea that it's all gonna happen again if I'm not there with Justin that night.  

 

Even worse, I worry about what might happen to him all the other times I'm not there. What if this time through I've changed something so that Justin gets hurt sometime other than at Prom. Since I warned him about Hobbs, what if someone else - some other jock or homophobe - comes after him. It could happen ANY time at all. It could be ANY one.  

 

I start to follow him at odd times - after school, weekends. I even sit in my car outside his house sometimes. I just can't get the picture of him lying in a pool of blood out of my head. I have to be there to help him this time. I just have to.

 

I think I'm being subtle. I try to be surreptitious - I don't want him to know how ridiculous I'm being. I've even taken to renting cars sometimes since I know my Jeep is pretty ostentatious and would stand out too much.

 

I know I'm not doing a great job at tailing him covertly though - I've caught his eye too many times in places where I really shouldn't be - libraries, on the street, even in that suburban Hell known as 'The Mall'. I simply have to see his face sometimes. Seeing him from afar isn't always enough. So, I'm pretty sure Justin knows I'm following him now. He never acknowledges me though.  

 

God what I wouldn't give to be able to hold him in my arms. But, I can't let myself even think about that - it just hurts too much. Seeing him, watching him has to be enough. For now at least - I'm not giving up on getting him back. Not yet.

 

Mikey and the guys have slowly given up on me. It's been months now since I've been out to a bar or a club with them. I'm glad they gave up because I ran out of excuses for why I couldn't join them a long time ago. So far I've been able to keep the real reason why I'm not out drinking with them private - if I hadn't, I have no doubt that Mikey or Deb would have me seeing a shrink by now, if not committed altogether.   

 

The closer it gets to spring, the worse I get. Prom is in May.  

 

By March I'm pretty much a complete fucked up basket case. I can't sleep at all anymore. I look like a zombie. I can't concentrate at work anymore and I've actually screwed up a couple campaign presentations. Ryder has been riding my ass a lot lately - threats have been issued even. Fuck him - all the years I've been working for him up till now I've been his best ad exc. He can cut me some slack now, for fuck's sake.  

 

The last week of March is Justin's spring break. He'll be out of school the whole week. I start to panic a little thinking about all that time he'll have to just wander around where heaven knows who could be lurking, waiting to take him down. What can I do?

 

That Monday, I'm a wreck thinking about him all day at work. I leave at lunchtime and drive out to the burbs to his house. I don't know if he's there or not, though. I'm just sitting in my Jeep, parked across the street from his house trying to decide what I should do, when I see Craig drive up and pull his car into the garage.  

 

About fifteen minutes later, I'm still sitting there watching the house, without a clue what I'm gonna do next - I only know that I need to see Justin to know he's all right, and then I can go - when Craig comes out of the house, down the walk and approaches my car. Shit! What the fuck does he want?  

 

"Can I help you with something, buddy?" Craig barks, ever the polite asshole. "You've been out here a while, according to my wife, just staring up at our house. If you don't have any business here, then I think it's time for you to move along."

 

I've always detested Craig. Maybe it's because the first time I met the guy he rammed my Jeep with his car and then the next night sucker punched me and tried to break my ribs. Maybe it's just that attitude of supreme entitlement and the way he always seems to be talking down to everyone. Whatever the reason, today is really not the day to fuck with me. I've had like 5 hours of sleep total over the past three or four days, my nerves are on edge and I'm just itching for someone - anyone - to take out my frustrations on. And, lucky Craig, he just happened to be the one available.

 

"This is a public street, isn't it? I'm not breaking any laws by parking here. So, BUDDY, why don't you fuck off and leave me alone," I bark back at him, doing my best Jack Kinney imitation.  

 

"I don't think so, you creep. I don't care what you're doing here, anymore. I want you to get the fuck out of my neighborhood. NOW!" Craig spits back at me.  

 

"Fuck you, Craig!" I'm yelling now at a fairly loud decibel range, as I shove open the Jeep door, conveniently knocking it into Craig's thigh. "I'll leave when I fucking feel like it."

 

"You'll fucking leave now, asshole," Craig says as he grabs ahold of the lapels of my suit and tries to drive me back into the driver's seat.

 

"Get your fucking hands off me, Craig," I snarl at him, glaring with hatred and frustration.

 

After twenty seconds, Craig's hands are still wrapped around my suit and I simply lose it. Unconsciously channeling dear old Jack, I just let loose and watch as my fist makes contact with Craig's jaw. It's an absolutely perfect punch - Jack would've been so proud - although I'm horrified at what I'm doing. Craig's eyes roll back into his head and he crumples gracefully to the ground.  

 

I'm standing there amazed at what I've just done and I don't even notice at first all the noise and fuss my actions have garnered. Justin's voice calling my name is what finally snaps me out of my daze.  

 

"Brian! What the fuck are you doing?" Sunshine is yelling at me and pulling me away from where his Dad is starting to come to.  

 

"Craig. Oh my God! Craig, honey, wake up." Jennifer kneels next to her fallen husband, stroking his cheek and trying to help him sit up.

 

"Sorry, Sunshine. Your Dad just pissed me off," I try to explain, happy to be touching and talking to Justin after so long.  

 

In fact, it was taking everything I had not to wrap my arms around him right now. I was close enough to smell him now. God the aroma was going straight to my cock. And he was holding my arm. I move my other hand up to cover his. The feel of his bare skin is so amazingly satisfying. I am completely distracted from everything else around me.

 

Too late, I realize that Craig has recovered enough to stand. He taps my shoulder, causing me to turn around. That's when he slugs me in the gut so hard I double over, providing him with a perfect target for an uppercut to my chin. The second punch knocks me to my ass. Craig immediately follows through with a couple of well placed kicks to my gut and ribs. Justin is now pulling his Dad off me.  

 

By now, one of the other fine upstanding residents of suburbia has called the cops, who rush to the protection of all things WASPish & beautiful. How is it that even in my Armani suit, which probably cost more than Craig's monthly house payment - regardless of how wrinkled it now is - the police instinctively know I am the one who doesn't belong here? Do I have 'Irish White Trash Fag' written across my forehead in some invisible ink only suburban cops can read?

 

Well, whatever it was, the cops focus all their attention on me and roughly tow me toward the patrol car before I even get a word in to defend myself. I'm locked in the backseat while the officers take Craig and Jenn's statements. All I can do is stare out the window, watching Justin who's looking back at me sadly. I wish I could tell if he's sad for me or because of me. But at least I was able to see and touch him for that short time and I know, at least for now, he's fine.

 

 

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