Brian stepped into the diner and walked to the booth where Michael was seated with, unfortunately, Emmett and Ted. He gestured to the waitress, knowing she would bring him his usual within minutes. He turned back to his friends and noticed that they were all staring at him with clear amusement in their eyes.
“What?” he barked at them, annoyed. Nobody laughed at Brian Kinney.
That only got them to smile knowingly at each other, then Emmett looked back at him with a very fake serious expression on his face.
“So, Brian,” he asked slowly, “I need to ask you; when was the last time you heard these exact words: 'You are the sunshine of my life'? "
And the three of them burst out laughing, with Ted even high-fiving Emmett.
Brian glared at them and started to stand up when Michael grabbed his hand. “No wait, I'll explain. It's just, last night was movie night at Em's, and we watched this great movie, Shallow Grave...”
“Ewan McGregor is so gorgeous,” interrupted Emmett.
“...and they're looking for a roommate, right? And so they're like, auditioning people, and the Ewan character asks them, 'when was the last time…'”
“'...you heard these exact words: you are the sunshine of my life?'” said Michael, Ted, and Emmett, who once again burst out laughing.
“And we all thought that if anyone's never heard these words, it's sure to be you. I mean, you've never even had a boyfriend,” added Ted a bit too smugly.
“Too bad the question wasn't 'you are the fuck of my life'” said Emmett theatrically.
“Yes, that is something I hear all the time. On the contrary to you pathetic losers, I've never had nor will have a boyfriend because I don't want one. But you lot all had boyfriends, and yet which one of you was ever told that so lovely and romantic phrase?” Brian answered coldly.
There was a silence.
“I rest my case,” concluded Brian.
“Well, my aunt Lula used to call me her ray of sunshine,” said Emmett.
“Mom says it too sometimes,” said Michael.
“My grandmother too,” added Ted.
Brian looked at them in disbelief. “Do you even realize how pathetic you all are? Your mommies? Your granny? No wonder you spent you evening watching a movie together. Shall I tell you how I spent my evening?”
“Fucking,” answered the three men at once.
“Damn right. And which one of us is flying to Las Vegas on Friday night for a glorious weekend with lots and lots of fucking? Right, that would be me too. So, enjoy another boring weekend watching movies exactly like your mommies and grannies, meanwhile I'll be having the time of my life in Las Vegas.”
10 months later.
“Oh I hope the new busboy is here. Debbie hired him yesterday, she told me he was a cutie,” said Emmett while opening the diner's door, followed by all the boys.
A young blond boy turned to look at the new comers. As soon as his blue eyes fell on Brian, his entire face beamed and he rushed through the diner to jump in his arms, screaming “Brian! I can't believe it!”
Brian was used to people succumbing to his charm, but this was a bit too much. He tried to get the boy off of him, particularly pissed as everyone in the diner, including his so-called friends, were laughing at the PDA.
“Hey! You can look, but you can't touch unless I say so, now back off!” The boy took a step back and looked at him, surprised.
“But Brian? I'm your husband.”
A heavy silence fell on the diner. Immediately followed by an explosion of laughter, with applauses and catcalls from the patrons, and even shouts of “congratulations Kinney! He's a beauty!”
Brian's first impulse had naturally been to murder the blond kid who dared mock him in front of the Liberty Avenue crowd. But he was held back by the honesty he saw in the kid's eyes. He looked at him more closely then and memories of a wonderful weekend in Vegas came back to him. Very very good memories...
Brian had intended to have two days of wild partying. On Friday night, he had made his way to a casino and witnessed the kid trying to get in. However, security wasn't impressed by his ID stating that he was 21 and refused him access. When the kid had turned around, his eyes had met Brian's, and his expression of awe of course hadn't been lost to Brian. He had stepped forward and asked the kid where he was gonna go now, to which he had answered “no place special.” And Brian had decided to change that.
The night had been incredibly fun. They tried every trick possible, and still the kid was rejected from every casino and bar of the Strip, so laughing like hyenas they had ended in a ghostly place outside town, where they both had drunk way too much. Brian perfectly remembered the kid giving him a lap dance under the cheers of the rest of the customers; the rest of the night was a bit unclear. He had woken up in the kid's hotel room with a massive hangover. The two of them spent the Saturday together, and Brian couldn't remember laughing so much. The kid was extremely funny, and despite the age gap - the kid had confessed that he really was 18, and Brian had lied and said that he was 25 though he really was 28 - they got along perfectly.
The Saturday night had been spent at Brian's much nicer hotel room, and this time neither of them was too drunk to have sex. That part also Brian remembered perfectly. The kid had been a virgin, and Brian had taken special care in making his first time memorable. The kid had proven to be a very talented and eager pupil, and the sex had been amazing.
Brian didn't remember much of the Sunday. He was pretty sure he had spent it again with the kid, but only because his only clear memory was waking up in his hotel room to a kiss on his shoulder, followed quickly by the sound of the door opening and closing. Of course, he hadn't moved; what happens in Vegas...
Besides, it was time to go back home, so he had hurriedly packed to catch his flight.
Ok, so it was a small world after all, the kid from Vegas was the new busboy. Well, that didn't change a thing, and 2 days of wild partying certainly didn't mean they were married.
Thankfully, Michael was just as unamused. “Married? Are you high? Brian doesn't do boyfriends, he doesn't do blond twinks and he certainly doesn't do husbands!”
“Actually, he does,” said Emmett helpfully. “Other people's husbands. Come on, Sweetie, come sit with us and tell us about your wonderful wedding.”
“Well at least the consummation must have been,” added Ted.
They both grabbed the kid and sat him between them at a booth. Michael followed, glaring at the kid. Brian sighed, but sat next to Michael.
“Listen kid,” then he noticed the name tag, “Justin. Just because we fucked doesn't mean I'm going to marry you. Because I'm not. Not ever. I wouldn't marry you even if I got you pregnant. If the choice was to marry you or never get laid again...OK then I might consider it. So go write in your diary about your prince charming turning out to be a prick, and before that just fuck off and bus some tables.”
The kid obviously couldn't get a clue, because he made no attempt to move. He opened his eyes wide. “Oh my god! You didn't even know? That's why you didn't divorce me! I kept checking, I didn't understand, you seemed to have money enough to afford a lawyer. You know, I only found out myself when I got back home, and I found the wedding license in my jeans pocket. I don't remember the ceremony at all, I guess we were both pretty drunk. It seems we didn't exchange rings or we lost them, who knows.”
Brian had the uncomfortable feeling that the kid was telling the truth. Oh fuck.
Emmett, on the other hand, looked extremely cheerful. “A Vegas wedding! How romantic. Sweetie, you're part of the family now! We'll throw a party for you to introduce you since, unfortunately, you married the Grinch.”
“Are you crazy?? He's lying! Where's the proof, huh? Brian would never have married him!” protested Michael.
“I have the licence at home, it's not like I carry it everywhere I go. And I can't risk my parents finding it, they don't even know I'm gay. I certainly can't have them finding out I'm married.”
“Wait. You're still living with your parents? Just how old are you?” asked Ted.
The guys all turned to look at Brian.
“You married a 17 year old kid? Have you forgotten you're 29?” said Michael.
“29? You said you were 25!” said the kid in an indignant tone.
“Yeah, well, you said you were 18.” Brian though for a minute. “Wait? You're 17? don't tell me...you were 16 then? I married a 16 year old kid? Why didn't you contact me sooner? We've been married for 10 months, you knew about it and did nothing?”
“I didn't know where to find you! You said you were from New York! I tried to Google you and got nothing. Don't tell me you live in Pittsburgh and you lied about that too?”
“What the fuck did it matter what I said? We were not supposed to meet again!”
Emmett put his hands on his cheeks. “Look, they're already bickering like an old couple. Isn't it adorable?”
“Just because we're married doesn't make us a couple. Anyway, this will be over soon,” said Brian. “That's the only thing you got right, kid, I can afford a lawyer. I'll divorce your ass before the end of the week”.
”We don't have to divorce,” answered Justin.
Brian knew it. The kid had schemed him, he had probably drugged him in Las Vegas, and of course he was going to tell him that he hadn't signed a prenuptial agreement. The bastard wanted money. Just as he leaned toward him threateningly, the kid kept on.
“I want an annulment. I can't be a divorcee at 17.”
“Oh.” Brian hadn't expected that one. “OK, that works for me. But an annulment on what ground? Because I'm pretty sure the wedding was consummated.”
“The legal age to get married in Las Vegas is 18, so I was underage. I've researched it all, it costs about a thousand bucks for a lawyer to file the proceedings, and the annulment will be granted in about a month”.
Brian was both impressed and relieved. But still a bit suspicious. “Why didn't you do it yourself then?”
The kid gave him a duh look. “What do you think? I don't have a thousand dollars, I've started to save to pay for it, but I really need all my money right now. We will split the cost of course, but I can't pay you $500 immediately. I can give you 50 every month though.”
“Forget about the $500, I can afford $1,000 to get out of this shit. Bring me the wedding license and your birth certificate as soon as you get off work. Here's my address, I'll take care of everything.”
Brian's life was a living hell. He thought that he had settled everything when he had hired a lawyer in Las Vegas to file for the annulment. That had been as easy as Justin had said, so it was just a matter of a few weeks before he could forget he had ever gotten married.
The problem was that every gay man in Pittsburgh seemed to know the story and got their kicks on it. Every time he tried to pick up a trick, someone would stop him and ask if his hubby was okay with it. If he went out at night, someone would ask if he had a babysitter watching his kid husband and if he had read him a bedtime story before going out. It was even worse at the Liberty Diner, where every customer would sing the wedding march as soon as he stepped in. Justin just laughed it off, but Brian was ready to commit mass murder.
So he had decided that it was best to avoid his usual hunting places until the annulment was granted. That's why he found himself going straight home from work and staying there for the last few days.
What he hadn't expected was the phone call he got from Justin at work. The kid was in full panic mode, and between the hyperventilating and the crying, Brian managed to understand that his parents had found out he was gay and were shipping him away to some camp supposed to turn him straight. Brian didn't see what he was supposed to do about it, but then Justin started to explain that if Brian could postpone the annulment proceedings until he turned eighteen, then as the wedded partner of a minor, he could act as his guardian and his parents could not send him away.
Brian pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling the worst headache of his life coming on.
“You're asking me to stay married to you for close to a year?”
“Please please please please please please. It won't change anything, we'll still get the annulment as soon as I turn 18. Please, I don't want to go to that camp, please I'll never ask for anything else, but please please please...”
Brian hung up abruptly and put his head on his desk. The little shit. That kid was trouble and he should stay as far away from him as possible. The lawyer had warned him, as long as they were married, the kid could ask for spousal support so it was best to file the proceedings as soon as possible, and keep his fingers crossed that the kid didn't think about it. Staying married was a risk he couldn't take, he had worked too hard to get what he had.
After a few minutes, he picked up his phone.
“If you try to fuck me over this, I'll have your balls. Now go tell mommy and daddy that your husband says no camp.”
“Brian!!!! I love you!!! You're the best!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you...”
Brian hung up again, but this time he was smiling.
“Your husband is not staying at my mom's!”
Those were the first words Michael told Brian when he opened his door.
“Don't play dumb, Brian. He's your stupid husband so you give him shelter, not my mom. I don't care if his parents threw him out...”
“His parents threw him out?” interrupted Brian.
“You don't even know? As stupid as it sounds, you could show a little interest in your husband. Yes, his parents kicked him out, some crazy story about sending him to a camp, and of course Mom decided to take him in. He's staying in my room! And he had the nerve to ask Mom if it was okay for his boyfriend to visit him!”
“He has a boyfriend?”
“Why do you care? It's not like you're married...oh wait.” And his anger forgotten, Michael burst out laughing. Brian was not amused.
“Who's the boyfriend? You met him?”
“No, but he's some musician. Violin I think, a bit older, but since he's only 22 I suppose that's an improvement. Unless he lied and he's really 29. Some people just can't be trusted, you know?”
“Anyway, Justin's really the marrying type, they plan to marry as soon as he is 18 and doesn't need his parents consent.”
“That stupid little shit!”
Michael rolled his eyes. “Of course he's stupid, if he were a girl, he would probably be knocked up by now. At least you'll be rid of him soon.”
Since Brian couldn't go to his usual pleasure places, he really had no good excuse not to go to Debbie's dinners anymore. So he attended every Saturday night, to everyone's surprise.
The first time, as soon as he had stepped inside, Justin had ran to him and hugged him, using the closeness to whisper in his ear, “my boyfriend's here, he doesn't know about the wedding and about us, please don't say a word.”
Brian had grinned. “You mean I can't kiss my husband hello?”
And he had done just that.
It became kind of a game between them, every dinner Brian would kiss Justin when he arrived, which was not easy because the boyfriend was the sticking type, never letting Justin out of his sight for more than 30 seconds.
The boyfriend also couldn't stop bragging about his grand projects as soon as he could marry Justin. It was exactly the sort of life Brian despised, the one including the house in the suburbs, the kids, and the dog.
“Well that's the sort of thing Brian would never do. Right, Brian? You'd be the last one to get married.” asked Emmett, sweetly.
Brian answered in an icy tone. “If I had things my way, it would be illegal for anyone to marry, straights and queers. It would be better for everyone, except lawyers.”
“Oh? That's an interesting idea. Of course, most people who are anti-marriage are just hiding the fact that no one wants to marry them,” said the boyfriend.
Ted went down under the table pretending to having dropped his napkin, Debbie rushed to the kitchen, Michael started coughing real hard, and Emmett hid his face in the silk scarf he was wearing. Justin was looking down carefully at his plate.
The boyfriend went on, oblivious of everyone's reaction. “You're not bad looking and you seem well off, so I guess it's gotta be your personality. You know, charm would get you a long way, you just have to work on that.”
Brian glanced at Justin. He could crush the boyfriend with one word, but he couldn't do that to the kid.
“Of course, at your age, all the good ones are already taken, but you could try to meet someone online, I heard it works pretty well,” continued the boyfriend.
Everyone turned to look at Justin, who was looking at his boyfriend.
“What do you mean, you're married?” said the boyfriend, smiling.
“I mean Brian and me, we're married. We were going through some difficult times when I met you, and decided to get a divorce. But now we're working on it and we might make it through. Right, Brian?”
The rest of the evening included much shouting and crying from the boyfriend, who eventually had to be kicked out of the house. It seemed his engagement to Justin had just ended, much to Brian's satisfaction.
The satisfaction was short lived when it turned out the boyfriend was the persistent type and kept trying to win Justin back. That included violin concertos under his window, which was driving everyone crazy. Justin refused to call the police because he felt a bit guilty, but the loss of sleep was affecting his grades at school.
Brian had enough of hearing Debbie whining about her poor Sunshine's miseries. So one day he went to her house after work and told the kid to pack his shit. From now on, and until the boyfriend learned his lesson, they were going to live together. That should send a clear message to the fucker.
There was only one bed in Brian's loft, and at first Justin slept on the couch. But well, the couch was uncomfortable, and Brian's bed was really big, and after all they were married, so it was only natural that they ended up sharing the bed, and the shower, and the kitchen counter...
Undeniably, they got along really well. The kid was fun to live with, even if he was awfully messy. And since he was beautiful, Brian took pleasure of going out with him to his favorite places. People seemed mostly envious now, and the taunting had practically stopped. As soon as the marriage was annulled, he could go back to his previous life with no damage.
The months went on quickly, and time came for Brian to fill in his tax return. He gave all the necessary papers to Ted who was his private accountant. What he hadn't expected was for Ted to tell him that since he was married and supporting his young spouse, his taxes would be significantly decreased. That was some great news, and Brian decided to use the extra money to fly away with Justin on a nice holiday to celebrate his graduation.
They were at the airport, waiting to board, when a thought occurred to Brian.
“By the way, didn't we pass your 18th birthday?”
Justin looked at him, surprised.
“Yes, about 3 months ago. There was a party at Debbie's house, and you met my mom there, she slapped you, then she kissed you and thanked you for taking care of me, and then...”
“Oh, right, I remember.”
“Why do you ask?” said Justin carelessly, his attention on the boarding screen.
“No reason,” answered Brian just as carelessly.
When the lawyer called Brian a few months later to ask what he was supposed to do about the annulment, Brian just told him to send him his bill and close his file.