I handed Cynthia my phone, so she could send the number that I didn’t have time for away. I had to have a way for Lindsay to contact me since she was bringing Gus here to spend time with me. She and Mel were going to visit Mel’s family after dropping him off. I set us up in the dining room to give everyone space. Ted was conferencing in but would be here before the event. We were all about to settle in when once again the guy next door had to cook something that made me want to run over and steal it. It’s like he goes out of his way to make me smell the amazing things he cooks. I could see the other people sniffing with me so it’s not that I’m jonesing to take the guy for a ride that is making it seem like his cooking is just something else to lust after.
“I was going to suggest ordering in, but maybe we could convince your neighbors to share,” Cynthia tells me.
“I might have pissed him off, so it's unlikely he's going to want to be neighborly right now,” I whisper to her.
She didn't ask, because she knows me well enough to know I could piss off Mother Teresa if I met her. Ginger finally showed up for the meeting. She laughed when she heard stomach growls all over the room.
“I swear Justin should just open a restaurant. Instead, he just cooks enough for half of Sandcove. Riley says it's why he stays at Justin’s house all the time.” She tells us.
“I’m going to get a drink, does anyone want one?” Cynthia asks.
She went to the kitchen while Ginger started reading over the contracts. I wanted to know more about Justin.
“You know my neighbor?” I ask.
“Most people do, he’s friendly to everyone. I rented this house for you because it’s most likely the only way to get Riley to attend a meeting. He stays with Justin, instead of at his house.” She tells me.
“I thought you said Riley was playing around?” I ask. Because why, if you have that at home?
“They’re only friends, Riley hit on Justin, but then decided he rather be friends. Justin keeps Riley from going too far when he gets ideas for something fun to do. I’m really surprised Justin didn’t come over to meet you. He always makes food for people who are new to the area.” She tells me.
I didn’t want her to know that Justin most likely thinks I’m a jackass. I was trying to think of a way to get her to introduce us again, so I could show him I wasn’t a complete asshole. We got distracted when Cynthia made a loud comment in the kitchen.
“If Justin ever opens a restaurant I think there will be more than the food for people to come to see,” Cynthia said from the kitchen.
I got up to see what he was doing that seemed to keep Cynthia in the kitchen and watched as apparently he still hasn’t learned to use his curtains. It was really impressive that he was cooking naked, with a towel on his head.
“You were an asshole when you could have seen that ass up close and in person?” She laughs, most likely at me staring like a virgin at a pin-up.
Paul comes running in to see when he heard 'ass', the man is worse than me sometimes. I block his view because Justin doesn’t deserve strange men ogling him. I’ve at least met him, so it’s different. Ginger comes in and makes a call.
“Justin Taylor, while I’m sure everyone loves seeing you cook, it might be good to, I don’t know, get dressed before you end up with company looking for more than your cooking.” She tells him, hanging up.
He just kept on cooking, not a care in the world that some pervert might be watching and trying to figure out a way into that house. Murph tried to look out the window but why was anyone’s guess, Murph is as straight as they come.
“Let’s not give him a reason to call the police on peeping toms,” I growl.
“It’s professional Brian.” He tells me.
“I doubt you could say you were looking for artistic purposes, to the police,” I tell him, peeking to see if Justin got dressed. Nope.
Murph turned to Ginger and asked her what he wanted to know. “I’ve heard of a Justin Taylor. He disappeared from the art world after selling his Visual Effects and Animation business and ending his comic series. A lot of us art geeks speculated on where he went. He left without an explanation to anyone about what he was doing. He could do graphics in a way none of us have ever been able to, but he mastered all forms of art. I expected him to paint with his talent, but he never bothered, most likely since he made more money in the movie business and wanted to retire from it all. Of course, a lot of people are hoping he’ll restart his comic, Time Bender, and that he’ll bring the hero back out of the vortex he jumped into. Sorry to geek out, but I’m sure your friend Michael was dealing with people who were trying to find out why he quit. It was a big deal to the comic world.” He tells me.
“I remember Mikey talking about it, but he really thought the comic wasn’t that great. Captain Astro was his comic of choice.” I tell him, checking again, and yep now he’s swinging it for us.
“Captain Astro died because of lack of followers. No one passed the age of twelve cared anymore. Time Bender is still being talked about in chat rooms, and there’s even a petition to get him to start it up again. There are millions of people signing it. If that’s the Justin Taylor I think it is, that man is worth millions.” Murph tells us.
“Why do you think it’s him?” I ask.
“He wrote a comment on his web page before signing off for good about wanting to see waves and sunshine. He lived in Maine for most of his life, there was a joke that he was tired of people thinking his house belonged to Stephen King. So being here would line up with what he said.” He tells us.
“He’d rather just be Justin Taylor, beach bum, with me.” A guy says, coming into the kitchen and looking out my window. He opened it and yelled, “Justin that’s just mean to distract them with your cooking so they’d look at your ass!” He closed the window, looking at me and Paul, and smiled at Ginger. “You brought me eye candy so I’d show?” He asks, looking us up and down.
I looked, but he really didn’t do it for me. He would have, but I’d been dealing with a blond problem lately. I looked again and it wasn’t so bad, naked cooking is probably a sport somewhere. I waved back when he turned around waving at us but pulled the towel off his head and teased me by turning and putting the towel around his waist without showing me the total package.
I could have ducked and covered, but you know, I like to give a little show and tell every once in a while. It’s not like Ginger hasn’t ever walked in and seen it all, but she really doesn’t see my twink body the way most men do. She told me they have to look like Ben for her to care. I told her she had to grow a dick for Ben to care.
Ben was someone I met when he came here to write his novel. He was meditating on the beach, and Riley and I couldn’t resist sitting in front of him. We thought it might be fun to fuck with him, as people do to the guards of Buckingham Palace. He opened his eyes to the two of us making faces and cracked a smile. We got the feeling that he didn’t have a lot of reason to smile lately. Riley and I got to listen to the great heartbreak of his partner leaving him for his best friend, and we both were on the verge of running from being expected to listen to all the things that he could have done to stop it. But instead, he told us how he fucked the best friend before leaving both of them sputtering at how he could do that to them. We liked him, he wasn’t drowning his sorrows, but going on and not letting two assholes make him think he was worthless.
Ben and Riley had a thing, but it ended when they realized they were just fuck buddies who liked each other but didn’t love each other. Ben also wanted to do more than watch Riley surf all day. It’s why Riley and I get along so well, I can find things to do while he practices.
I finished cooking and called Ginger to feed the neighbors. I wasn’t going to have Growly say anything about the way I do things. I mean, if you don’t want to see it, move, or I could use the shade I keep forgetting to pull down. It’s not like I purposely flash people, it’s just this is the first person to live there since Gran, and she diapered my ass, so it was nothing new to her.
At least he wasn’t looking at me as if he wasn’t interested, so it works in the end. Now I just need to get rid of the boner before anybody shows up.
I will admit I’ve been hiding from Michael, who can’t seem to understand that where Brian is, isn’t something I can tell him if I want to work here. Deb has been trying to get Michael to wake up and see that Brian isn’t interested in him, but he insists that Brian is just scared of what he means to him. Emmett is ready to move out because he can’t listen to Michael delude himself anymore. He’s been staying here at my place on and off since it’s the one place Michael doesn’t come that often. I was setting up my computer to video conference when I heard Emmett come in, and knew he’d entertain himself till I was done. He knew most of Brian’s work was confidential until the launch, so he didn’t want Kinney wrath on his head. Cynthia sat down in front of the computer, laughing, then started introducing me to the people at the table. Brian was standing in the background and kept looking at something I couldn’t see.
“Brian he’s sending the food, so the show is over,” Ginger tells him.
Brian came and sat down and started discussing the campaign, then stopped staring into the screen. He was looking behind me, and I turned to see Michael standing there. Michael pushed me out of the way.
“Brian you need to pick up the phone. I know you're scared of what I mean to you, but ignoring it is not going to help.” Michael tells him.
“Michael, you need to go, this is business, not your time to bother Brian!” I yell at him.
“Brian needs to deal with his feelings, and not answering me isn’t going to stop me.” He screeches as the screen goes dead. My phone went off, but I had other things to deal with before Brian rips my ass to shreds for Michael showing up.
“OUT Michael. I don’t have time to deal with you when I’m in the middle of working. Get that through your head. It’s not about you and what you want, it’s about you embarrassing us in front of a major client. Brian isn’t going to thank you for that, and I’m not going to lose my job because you finally managed to get Brian drunk and drugged up enough to trick with you. You ever interrupt my job again I’m going to tell Brian what I saw you do when he wasn’t paying attention.” I tell him.
“What did Michael do?” Emmett asks.
“Nothing. Ted is just pissed because I wanted to talk to Brian.” Michael answers, running out the door.
“Ted, if Michael did something, Brian needs to know,” Emmett tells me, stopping me from leaving the room.
“I was hoping he would tell me what I saw was wrong, but he didn’t. I’m just not sure if it was anything.” I tell him.
“What did you see?” Emmett growls at me.
“I thought Michael put water in the shots to water the drinks down, since Brian was already wasted, but I’m starting to think it wasn’t water,” I tell him.
“Fuck. Was it clear, and did Brian seem to notice it when he drank it?” Emmett asks me.
“No, he didn't notice, but he was too wasted to really taste anything anymore,” I tell him.
“GHB is tasteless and colorless, but it could also have killed Brian. You need to tell him because he likely passed out by the time Michael took him home. Which means, unlike girls, Brian wouldn’t have been up to topping Michael, the way he’s been telling everyone.” Emmett tells me.
“You don’t think Michael might have?” I ask, dreading the answer.
“No. Because Brian would have figured out someone went where no man has gone before. Michael would have cum like a gay virgin in a room full of studs willing to give him his fantasies. It still doesn’t make what he did right.” He told me
“I’ll tell him what I saw. I was just hoping that Michael didn’t do it. Brian will never forgive him for lying to him.” I tell Emmett.
“Michael is the one trying to get something Brian won’t give him. Hiding what you know is not the way to keep the trust Brian gives you.” Emmett tells me.
“It wasn’t that I was hiding it, it was just that I saw it quickly when I was looking around and wasn’t sure what I saw. I was waiting to corner Michael, to see if he’d admit it.” I tell him.
“You got your answer. Now make sure Brian knows his trust isn’t misplaced in you, the way it was with Michael.” Emmett tells me.
Riley and Ginger went to Justin’s to get the food when I shut the conference down. Riley looked at me, then asked if the guy brought me toilet paper too. He didn’t stick around to explain that, but when he came back we were too interested in eating the shish kabob skewers to care.
“He really needs to sell this,” Cynthia tells Ginger, grabbing another one.
“He won’t even let people in the kitchen when he makes it. I’ve spent years trying to figure out the sauce.” Ginger tells her.
“He can’t tell you what he does. He doesn’t have a recipe, he just puts it together and it comes out perfect.” Riley tells us.
“What does he call this?” I ask, actually going for seconds.
“Ginger’s Bobs. She always begs for it.” He tells us, getting up and heading for the door.
“Riley, get your ass back here,” Ginger yells at him.
“Can’t. Justin and I wanted to night surf together. We were watching Jaws and thought it would be fun to not know what would eat us. He said I couldn’t throw any more parties after last night's. Something about condoms falling from the sky.” He tells her, running out the door.
I walked to the back and watched as the two headed out to the water, and really enjoyed the view of the crazy men throwing off their clothes and swimming out on boards. Riley is built, but Justin just seems to make it hard, in more ways than one, to look away.