When the doorbell rang, followed by a banging, it could only be Deb and Michael. I opened the door, hoping this would be a short visit. The black eye on Michael said no it wouldn’t.
“What happened to you?” I ask Michael.
“Justin hit me.” He whined.
“Justin hit you?” Lindsay asks, as I let them in.
“The little shit is still jealous of my relationship with Brian.” He tells us.
“I’ve just never seen Justin as violent.” I tell them.
“This happened when he didn’t like hearing the truth. It worries me what Justin will do if Gus ever upsets him.” he tells us.
“Justin wouldn’t hurt Gus.” I tell him.
“How do we know that, we don’t know what he’s like anymore. What if Michael is right, maybe we need to tell Brian that we won’t have Gus around Justin. Brian should think about their daughter too. Brian could get custody of her.” Lindsay tells us.
“Brian needs to get away from Justin and his brat, not make it so Justin would have a reason to see Brian. Brian doesn’t need more things distracting him from the people who matter.” Michael tells us.
“I just meant that Mel and I could help Brian with the girl. Brian doesn’t need to keep Justin around.” Lindsay tells them.
“It wouldn’t matter, Justin would think it gave him the right to stick around, annoying Brian.” Michael tells us.
I got up and left the room while they were planning how to get Brian away from Justin. I pulled out a box of cookies and sat there wondering when it would stop being about Brian Kinney for them. Deb came in, pulling the cookies from my hand.
“You need to eat something without all that sugar. It’s not good for you, or for my grandchild. I should just come over here and make sure you eat better.” She tells me, grabbing a casserole she stocked our freezer with. “Why haven’t you guys eaten some of these? I made them to help you out.” She complains.
“Lindsay doesn’t like to eat heavy meals all the time.” I tell her.
“Well I expect when I make you things, that you eat them. The vegan shit Lindsay makes won’t give the baby what it needs.” She tells me. I wanted to ask if the grease was healthy for the baby.
“What we eat is fine, and really, there is no need for you to keep showing up with more food.” I tell her.
“I wanted to talk to you alone, Brian needs to see that he can’t treat us like this.” She tells me.
“I thought it was Justin who hit Michael?” I ask, confused about where she’s going with this.
“He supported Justin, not Michael, like when Justin supported Emmett. We all should make sure they understand we won’t stand for it.” She tells me.
“By doing what? Telling Brian he can’t see Gus?” I ask her.
“Of course not, Gus loves Brian, but there is no reason for Justin to be around Gus.” She tells me.
“What about Hannah, she’s his sister?” I ask.
“It’s not like Gus would miss a sister he really doesn’t know. You're going to have his real sibling, that should be enough.” She tells me.
“Deb, Justin’s daughter is related by blood to Gus, out of the two kids, mine is only related to him because he’s my son.” I tell her.
“A son who lives with you, not Brian. I want this child to know we love it the way I love my Michael.” She tells me.
“I’m tired, I think I’ll go lay down.” I tell her, in order to get away before I scream that my child will never be loved the way Deb does it. On the way upstairs I hear Lindsay agreeing to tell Brian that Justin shouldn’t be around Gus. None of them seem to remember who we are dealing with, if Brian wants Gus to see Justin, he’ll make sure none of us can stop him.
When we got back to my mom’s house, Brian and I headed straight up to see our daughter. Hannah was was wide awake and when she saw us tried to pretend she was asleep.
“Why are you still awake?” I ask, her sitting next to her.
“Because silly, Daddy was coming. I didn’t want to miss it, since we have to go home soon.” She tells me sadly.
“I’m going to be a part of your life, even if I only visit often at first. I need to deal with some things for Gus, so that he can see me more too.” Brian tells her.
“So I won’t only see you if we come here?” She asks Brian.
“No, I don’t want to not see you grow up.” He tells her.
“Then you better stay around, I’m growing up all the time.” She tells him, yawning.
“That’s my plan, baby girl.” He tells her, kissing her head.
“Good plan Daddy.” She tells him as she closes her eyes.
We stayed to make sure she was asleep then went down stairs and found my mom shaking her head.
“Hannah didn’t cause problems did she?” I ask Mom.
“Justin, you know she’s always good for me. Care to tell me what happened today? If not, I got an earful from Deb.” She tells me.
“Michael opened his mouth and said the wrong thing. He seems to think he can say anything that he wants and nothing happens, I showed him it does.” I tell her.
“Well apparently, we all should be thanking Deb that you aren’t in jail.” She tells me.
“I don’t think he would be happy to have to tell why I hit him. With four witnesses he couldn’t lie about why I hit his ass.” I tell her.
“Why can’t he just leave you alone the way you were leaving him alone?” She asks me.
“Because he knows that I want Justin back in my life.” Brian tells her.
“But why not go to you, and leave Justin alone?” She asks Brian.
“If he came to me, he would know that there will never be a chance. He keeps his fantasy when he can compare the way we were in the beginning. When I didn’t want to give Justin a place in my life. Michael had a place he could point to and say, I wanted Michael in my life, but not Justin. If he faced me, he would have to also face the fact that Justin had a place in my life that no one else did.” Brian tells her.
“Just be prepared, because her last words were that you shouldn’t be surprised when Lindsay and Mel feel Gus shouldn’t be around Justin.” She tells us.
“It will be the last mistake they make with me concerning Gus.” Brian tells her.
“Mom, I’m going to go with Brian to the loft tonight, we’ll be back before Hannah wakes up.” I tell her.
“Justin, I took time off to spend with her too, so do what you need to do.” She tells me.
I wanted to drive over to Deb’s and tell her that fucking with my relationship with Gus crossed a line with me. When Justin told her that he was coming with me to the loft, I knew it was to stop me.
“Brian, going over there as pissed as you are won’t change anything, but possibly cause more trouble.” He tells me.
“How did you even know what I wanted to do?” I ask him.
“Between homework assignments I studied the Kinney operation manual. If they gave tests I would’ve aced the section on action and reaction.” He tells me.
“Really, give me an example of a situation and what you predicted would happen.” I tell him.
“Let’s not, none of the examples I could give you are very happy ones.” He tells me, looking out the window.
“Justin, give me an example.” I tell him when he stays silent.
“Anytime Michael joked that we were a couple, I knew it would have you finding a way to prove to me that we weren’t. When Lindsay would coo over things you did, saying she was so happy to see you showed you cared for me, that would be a trip to the baths to prove her wrong. Like I said, nothing happy about it.” Justin tells me.
“They were jealous of you. I let you in places in my life they were never allowed. Michael wanted us to get an apartment together when I got my first job. I told him no, because no one was ever going to live with me. Then I let you move in. Instead of agreeing to Gus’s name, I asked you, someone I didn’t even know at the time. Then brought you with me when they wanted me to give them Gus. When I didn’t sign the papers she knew what you said had me rethinking giving him up. She was used to me just going along with what she wanted.” I tell him.
“I thought you couldn’t give him up because you realized he was yours.” He tells me.
“And I had this voice in my head that reminded me what I was giving up. The voice sounded suspiciously like yours.” I tell him.
“I knew what it felt like to have a parent not want me. I didn’t want Gus to ever feel that.” He tells me.
“You made it so I could see my future if I gave him up. I never want to be compared to your father.” I tell him.
“You're nothing like him, Gus will never have to wonder if you love him.” He tells me.
I thought about what he said, to be left wondering if the person you loved, loved you. Justin spent his life always wondering about it and never being able to say one way or the other what the truth was. I drove to the loft but instead of going in I took him to the roof.
“Why are we up here?” Justin asks.
“Justin Taylor, I love you.” I shouted from the roof top.
I turned to see the smile that always lit up a room and opened my arms to him.
I waited in the loft for Brian, he was going to understand that he risked losing access to Gus if he continued to see Justin. The door slid open and there he was, once again in Brian’s arms. They didn’t even see me as they continued groping each other as if any space between them was too much. I hated that they still had that, when most days I barely waited for Mel to get in bed before turning away from her to sleep.
“It’s good you're both here.” I tell them, when it seemed as if I might witness more than I wanted to ever see of the two of them.
“Get out.” Brian growled, without looking at me.
“I plan to, as soon as you both understand that if this relationship continues, You won’t see Gus, because I don’t want Gus to be around someone who could hurt him.” I tell them.
“What you want doesn’t matter to me. My children growing up to know one another is all I care about, not the womb that carried it.” Brian tells me.
“You don’t have any rights to Gus, you signed them away. So this womb gets to tell you how you can see Gus.” I tell him.
Justin started clapping and then bowed at me. “Well played Lindsay, you finally showed your real self to us. Was it hard playing the loving, caring woman, when all you wanted was to get rid of anyone who got close to Brian?” He asks. “I have to say, you crafted your performance to fit your needs and wants. Only it didn’t get you what you wanted, did it?” He tells me.
“I don’t know Justin, it got Brian to leave you in the past. So I would say it was award winning. Only you couldn’t do what you were supposed to do and become the artist you were supposed to be. Having that child ruined everything, the way I knew it would.” I tell him.
“Why, because I didn’t live your dream for you, or did I almost have your real dream, getting the love of Brian Kinney?” He asks.
“You could have had the art world on their knees, yet you threw it all away for a child you could have had later in life. With someone who wouldn’t have turned you into the housewife raising a baby while they went off and accomplished their goals, patting you on the head while telling you of all the great things they were doing.” I tell him.
“I’m confused, are you talking about the life I would have had with Brian, or the life you live with Mel?” Justin asks me.
“It’s what you’ll have if you stay with him.” I tell him.
“But see, I don’t give up what I want for someone else, the way you give up on everything. Brian wouldn’t have stopped me from doing what I wanted. So you can’t compare the way you gave up to how I never do.” Justin tells me.
“Brian, don’t expect to see Gus.” I tell him, walking to the door.
“Don’t call expecting me to give you anything for Gus if we are going to do it this way. My lawyer will be in contact.” Brian tells me.
“Like it matters, when you gave him up.” I tell him.
“It does when Mel didn’t adopt him, and you and Mel constantly called for money. Judges like to call that ‘support’. They also like to call my visitation with Gus exactly that, ‘a father having visitation’. Ask Mel to look it up, I did, and found out that none of those papers matter when I was still heavily involved in his life, and paid for his upbringing.” He tells me.
“We’ll see how a judge feels about your past.” I tell him, standing outside the door.
“Sure, and we’ll see how they feel about why I gave up custody. It’s a felony to marry for a green card.” He tells me, slamming the door in my face.