So I'm a little nervous about bringing Beck home to meet the folks. I mean, the Moms are bad enough but subjecting him to the sibs and the Dads, well, let's just say I'm afraid he'll run the first chance he gets. But, in true Brian Kinney fashion, I haven't let on that anything's wrong. And there isn't anything wrong. Not exactly. Just this feeling in the pit of my stomach that this is going to go down in the Kinney Family Annals as a clusterfuck of the first magnitude. It won't be the first as my Dad and Pop have a lot of first magnitude clusterfuck entries of their own already. That's the best part about having Pop and Dad as my fathers: there's nothing I can do that they haven't done. Worse. It's also the worst part about having Pop and Dad as my fathers, cause there's nothing I can do that they haven't done. Better. Outside of the trade, no one knows my Pop's name but everyone's seen his commercials, everyone jumps to buy whatever he's selling. And Dad's books routinely top the bestsellers' lists even though he writes for children. Most of my college friends grew up reading his Prince Gus and Leo stories and when they found out he was one of my fathers and that he had written those books about and for me, they went all goofy for a while.
I love my dads. It's just that sometimes, they're a little hard to take. Mostly because you never know how they're going to react to something. You think you've got them figured out and they manage to surprise you most of the time. Especially Pop. Justin deserves a special PhD just for having lived with and loved him for all of these years. Pop is a handful on the best of days and when he's having one of his "Brian Kinney" days, watch out. You'd be better off crawling under a rock and staying there until his sanity returns. But Justin never does. I've watched some spectacular battle royals between the two of them. That's probably the reason they've lasted so long, why they'll end up in a couple of rocking chairs together because Justin is the only person who knows when and how hard to push, because he doesn't take my dad's shit not for an instant. He may let Brian rage, knowing it's better for him to let it out than to keep it bottled up inside, but he never lets Pop abuse or disrespect him. When Pop crosses the line, Justin very calmly and very firmly yanks on his chain to get his attention and when he has it, he makes sure Brian understands just what he's done and why he's never going to do it again. People think Justin's the weaker one just because he looks angelic and is soft-spoken. Truth is, they're both like iron only Brian buffs his so that all the world can see it whereas Justin slips velvet over his.
All of this runs through my mind as I drive from Connecticut to Pennsylvania. I'm sure Beck is bored stiff from watching me think but he's good about giving me my space. A lot like Justin does for Brian. I know I'm a lot like Pop in more ways than just looks. Sometimes I brood and sulk and can't get my head around what's pissing me off the same way he does and it drives me crazy, same as it does him. The only difference is that you don't have to drag it out of me, I'm willing to talk about my problems, eager to get rid of them. Pop, on the other hand, revels in misery. He's the world's biggest Drama Queen. Worse, he's an Irish Drama Queen. Plop him down in the moors and you've got a Heathcliff for our age. A Heathcliff with more than a dash of Cathy thrown into the mix.
Startling me, Beck reaches over and squeezes my thigh. "You shouldn't worry so much. I'm sure it'll be fine."
That comment can be forgiven because he doesn't know Brian and Justin. He knows of them, knows their reputation, but nothing can really prepare you for the Brian and Justin Experience except first-hand knowledge. "Once," I tell him, "they stood out in the snow yelling at each other for half an hour. No coats, Brian barefoot, yelling at the top of their lungs about something so incredibly stupid that I can't even remember what it was. The neighbors had to have heard them and then, just like that, it was over. They went back into the house and hopped in the sauna to thaw their balls out and the next thing you know, they're in their bedroom fuckin' like rabbits. Did I mention it was Christmas Eve and they had a house full of guests?"
"So they're high maintenance."
I laugh. "That doesn't begin to cover what they are. They're both incredibly vain and arrogant in their own unique ways and, in some ways, they deserve to be because they're both amazingly talented, and beautiful… and two of the best people I know. They would give you their last breath and never regret it."
"So why are you worried?"
"Weren't you listening? They're crazy!" I shake my head. "Nuts. Absolutely, fuckin' insane. And they're my parents."
Beck smiles. "Two of your parents. What about your moms? They'll keep them straight, won't they?" Added, "Figuratively."
"My moms? Jesus, if there's any two worse than Brian and Justin it's Mel and Lindsay. They lull you into thinking they're harmless because they're women and then they go in for the kill. Do not let my Mom fool you. She looks like the lady of the manor but she'll grab you by the balls faster than you can blink. And Mama, she's entirely reasonable—just don't piss her off. Then she's like the Jewish Terminator, never gives up."
For the first time, Beck looks a little nervous. "So why are we doing this again?"
"Because I want them to meet you and to fall in love with you, just like I did."
"I don’t have to fuck them, do I?"
"You may want to. Least Brian and Justin."
He had seen their pictures in my room. "They are pretty hot. For old guys."
"Okay," I tell him, "if the word old comes out of your mouth in conjunction with them while we're visiting, you are so fucked. And on your own." Beck mimes zipping his mouth. "I hope that's not permanent. I'm looking forward to getting blown in my old room."
"Kinky," he says and winks. God, I love him. We met a few months ago, halfway through the fall semester and we've become inseparable. How I made it through Christmas break without him, I'll never know. Except that I was home and busy running interference between Brian and Justin who had been in the middle of one of their more insane and spectacular wars.
They love each other so much, it hurts them to be apart, physically pains them and yet, if they didn't have time apart from one another every now and again, they'd probably kill each other accidentally. Pop had been out of town for a week in Europe at some kind of advertising convention and Dad had been home slaving away on his new book and they'd both been half crazy by the time they'd reunited and something snapped, I mean, they were at each other from the moment Pop returned to the night they made up after a backyard brawl that must have had the neighbors talking for days. And for what? All because they'd missed one another so much they could hardly see straight by the time Pop got back. And, then, instead of fucking until they passed out, they each managed to hit every nerve the other had until they weren't even saying, "Pass the salt." Crazy. But after they made up, they couldn't keep their hands off one another, fucking every other minute of the day. I finally decided to spend some time at my Moms' place just to get away from the sound of them groaning. Those are my dads.
And this is my boyfriend. Beck. The first thing I noticed about him were his hands. He has these really strong hands. I was sitting at my drafting board, working on the plans for a domestic dwelling, i.e. a house, when I noticed the veins standing out on the backs of his hands. I guess they reminded me of Brian's hands. Justin's too. Anyway, I looked up from the hands to the arms and the shoulders and finally the face. Fair skin with blue eyes and rich red hair. Not exactly my type, if I could be said to have a type; after all, I'd only been with two other guys. I was a slow mover, nothing like Pop. I was normally drawn to darker guys, tall guys with lightly tanned skin and dark hair. I tried not to think about how they reminded me of Pop. Nobody wants to think about their dad when they're fucking some guy. But I couldn't help it. Especially since all of my friends would comment on how hot Brian was, how they'd love to do him even if he was my dad and way older than all of us. They thought Justin was beautiful and they all wanted to be around him but Brian, Brian they just wanted to fuck. It was kind of disturbing listening to your friends talk about blowing your father. I got over it. After all, they weren't going to change. And neither was he.
Closing the trunk, Beck gives me a quick peck on the cheek before we carry our bags to the kitchen door and go inside. I know they're home, both of their cars are in the yard. As I push open the door, I hear a sound, like a gasp, and I think, no fuckin' way, I told them I'd be home around one, they cannot be in the kitchen fucking. I pause in the doorway and hear Pop say, "Fuck," and Dad ask, "What?"
Answering for Brian, I call out, "I'm here."
Hear Dad's, "Shit. I told you."
"You didn't say no."
"Shut up and get dressed." Then to me, "Give us a couple of minutes, okay?"
"Give him the ten cent tour," Pop tells me.
Shaking my head, I gesture upstairs to Beck. "Come on. I'll show you around and we can put our stuff away." Face burning, I lead the way to the second floor. At the top of the stairs, Beck starts laughing. "What's so funny?" I ask.
"God, they're exactly like you said."
"I know," I sigh. "I was hoping they'd have grown up a little bit since Christmas."
"Please, if I didn't exist, I would think my parents had never had sex."
"Just once, I'd like to know what it feels like not to have heard them fucking." As we walk through the guest room which doubled as Indy's room when she stayed with them, I tell him, "I'm warning you, even with their door closed and the door to my room closed, you may still hear them. Justin's a screamer."
He nuzzles my neck. "I'm hoping to do a little screaming of my own," he says and I chuckle as he intended. Passing through the bathroom, he nods appreciatively at the Robert Graves bathtub. "Hmm, I can't wait to take a bath in that."
"It's a date."
"You know," he says, "this place is fabulous but it's not what I expected."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, your parents are loaded, they could afford something way bigger."
"Yeah, but they got married in this house, they raised us in this house, and they love it. They've got a place in Tuscany that they bought back when Justin's first book became a hit. It's an old villa outside of Siena. They spent the summers there restoring it. We all flew over one year for Christmas, it was fuckin' amazing. And there's the apartment in New York."
"You never said anything about that."
"Because we're not allowed to set foot in it without them. It's their special place."
We put away our stuff and Beck teases me about the sports posters on the wall. I tell him that they belong to Jake, my little brother.
"Yeah. But we're all family, doesn't matter who the birth parents are."
"Must be nice," he says, a wistful look in his eyes. He's an only child and he's said that he would have had more fun growing up if he'd had brothers and sisters. I would agree. Sometimes it was more fun and sometimes it was definitely a pain in the ass. Less so with Jake cause I was nine when he was born and by then I was aching for a little brother.
"Jake is cool. He'll be over this weekend for sure. He spends most of them with Brian and Justin. Daphne says he needs positive male role models."
"So why does she send him over here?"
"That's exactly what I keep asking myself," Brian says from the doorway and we both jump. He has a grin on his face like the cat who'd eaten the canary and I think to myself that they must have had time enough to blow one another in the bathroom while I was showing Beck the place. He casts a lazy eye over the both of us, then drawls, "No kiss for your old man?"
We hug and buss each other on the cheek and I whisper, "I love you, Pop," as we part.
His eyes glisten and he brushes my bangs back from my forehead. "You need a haircut. You look like a sheepdog."
Which isn't true as my hair's thin like his but it is getting long. Still, I tell him, "Beck likes to grab it while we're fucking," and Brian raises a brow, pleased. He half turns as Justin rushes into the room and hugs me hard. Kisses me and brushes my hair back as well.
"Jesus, you look more and more like that asshole every day."
"Hey, the asshole's standing right next to you." When Beck giggles a little, Brian's raptor gaze zeroes in on him. "So," he says, "introduce us."
"Pop, Dad, this is Beck McGill; Beck, my parents: Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor-Kinney."
With their attention focused directly on him, Beck finally begins to understand his position. Still, he manages to wet his throat and to hold out his hand as he crosses to us. "How do you do?"
Brian takes his hand and I can see he's either about to say or do something mischievous when Justin gives him the eye and he clamps down on the impulse. I resolve to give Justin an extra hug before I go. "Nice to meet you."
When Brian releases his hand, Justin takes Beck by the arm and says, "Has Gus shown you around the house?"
"We got this far."
"I'll give you the grand tour," he tells him and whisks him away. Which means Brian wants to talk to me about something.
I sit on one of the full-sized beds they put in here after I outgrew my race car bed. Nana completely redecorated after I turned eight even though Jake was on his way. I guess I was the lucky one, having been born first, although Jake has a fabulous room all his own at Daphne's place. "So," I say, "what do you want to talk to me about?"
Giving me a sly look, he walks around the room touching various objects as if he were in a treasure room. I suppose, in away they are. Mementos of my life. Of his and Justin's in this house.
"Pop?" I start to feel frightened. "You're not sick or anything, are you?"
He smiles. "Healthy as a horse. It's all that grain Justin feeds me. Like there's something wrong with red meat."
"So what is it?"
"You serious about this kid?"
His question takes me off-guard. Pop is not the relationship guru of the family. That's generally Justin's job. "Kinda."
"What does that mean?"
"It means I like him."
"You love him?"
"That means yes."
"Okay, yeah, I love him."
He nods. Perches on the edge of a low bookcase. "Just be careful, Sonny Boy."
"That you're not in over your head."
I'm beginning to feel a little tense. "And what's that supposed to mean?"
"That you're young, that you don't know all there is to being in a relationship."
"And what?" I ask, angry now. "You do?"
"Dad was seventeen when he met you. Seventeen!"
"And he didn't know a fuckin' thing either."
"Not all of us can be perfect like you."
"I'm not perfect and this isn't about me."
"It's always about you!" I get up, storm around the room. "You can't let me be happy, let me enjoy my life. You have to act like I'm making the biggest mistake of my life by being in love, being happy. I hate when you do this. I hate how you have to twist everything until you don't even recognize it anymore. I won't let you do that to me. I won't!"
"Gus, listen to me—"
He reaches for my arm just as I'm about to leave the room. "Gus—"
"I hate you." The words just fly out of my mouth before I can grab them. I watch his face shift. He's never looked so old before. His fingers release me and he looks away. Then, without saying anything else, he leaves my room. I hear him shuffle to the suite he shares with Justin and shut the door behind him. Fuck. Sitting on my bed, I shiver. I can't believe I just said that to him. I’m fuckin' nineteen, I can't even use hormones as an excuse. I don't know what gets into me sometimes. It's like everyone in the world has one person who can always push their buttons and, out of all my parents, Brian's the one who pushes mine the most. Probably because I'm a lot like him. Too much like him. I stare down at my hands until I'm convinced that the secrets of the universe cannot be found in my palms. Time passes, how much I'm not sure. Then I hear someone enter the room. It has to be Justin, come to play peacemaker. "Where's Beck?"
"Downstairs watching lunch."
"Holed up in his study." Justin doesn't sit, just stands glaring down at me. "You really hurt him, Gus."
"I didn't mean to."
"He loves you."
"More than anything."
"So now you're angry with me."
"No." I stand and wrap my arms around him. "I'm sorry."
"He worries about you. Worries that you'll make the same mistakes he did, that you'll get hurt same as he did."
"Beck's not like Cam." I'd grown up listening to their stories, my very own sex education course.
"But you're just kids, just like he and Cam were."
"You were seventeen."
"And I got the shit kicked out of me. By your father. Every fuckin' day of the week that began with a consonant."
"And you're still together."
"Yeah. But we weren't always. We had to work so hard, Gus—"
"But it was worth it. You have a life together. I want that too."
"And if it doesn’t happen with Beck?"
"I'll be okay."
"Sure?" I nod and he kisses me even though I have to lean over and he has to reach up. I remember when I used to be smaller than him, when he held me on his lap and read to me or kissed my boo-boos. "So," he says softly, "why the fuck couldn't you have said that to your father instead of acting like a complete and utter asshole?" Velvet over iron.
I find my Pop in his study like Justin said and he's stretched out on his chaise lounge, the one he's had all of my life, reupholstered and looking just as good now as on the day he bought it. He's got a cigarette between his fingers and takes a long draw on it. The only time he smokes in the house is when he's upset and the only place he smokes is in here. With the door shut. I go into his study and close the door behind me. Stand with my hands in my pockets, not knowing what to say. Finally, I sit down at the foot of the lounge. He glances at me, then stubs out his cigarette and waits for me to say something.
"I'm sorry, Pop."
He sniffles. "Let's not turn this into a Hallmark moment."
"You're pissed with me."
Shakes his head. "I knew this day would come." Smiles bitterly. "When my old man was dying, I had this vision of the way it would be, when I was old. I could see you standing in front of me, looking just like me, and telling me you hated me. Hated me for not being good enough, a good enough father. For all the promises I didn't keep."
"Pop, you're a good father." I can't believe he thinks he isn't. "You and Dad are the best. I didn't mean what I said, I swear. I love you, Pop." I grasp his knee and he playfully wiggles his leg around.
"I'm sorry if I made you cry."
He nearly sputters. "Made me cry?" But he can't deny it, you can see the remains of the tears on his cheeks. "Only cause I couldn’t believe I'd wasted my spunk on you."
We stand and I hug him and kiss his neck. "Thanks."
"For caring about me."
His eyes darkening with serious intent, he says, "I don’t want you to have to go through the shit that I had to go through. Cause it wasn't pretty… and I almost didn’t make it."
"I'll be okay. And if it doesn't work out between me and Beck, I'll survive."
"Yeah, but it won't kill me." I know about the suicide attempts, he told me himself, wanting me to understand the dark moods that descend upon him sometimes.
He smiles a little. "Why the fuck did you have to be gay?"
"Cause you and Justin were having way too much fun. I figured I might as well have fun too." I add as he starts out of the bedroom suite, "And I never heard Melanie or Lindsay have an orgasm like you and Justin."
Turning with a grin, he slings his arm around my neck and we walk pressed against one another. Me and my Pop.
"So is Gus a top or a bottom?" Brian asks Beck and I almost choke on my lamb chop. Beck looks like a deer caught in the headlights of an SUV and Justin merely glares at Brian. "What? Inquiring minds want to know."
"It's none of your business," Justin tells him.
"I'm just making conversation." Smiles as if he's being oh so charming. "You would think with me as his dad, he'd be a total top but he's got lesbian genes too so—"
"Oh, so you're a total top?" asks Justin innocently.
"You know what I mean."
Justin cuts his meat as if he didn't have a care in the world. "I'll remind you of that the next time you want me to plow your ass open."
It's a miracle Beck doesn't fall off his chair. Hearing the author of the Prince Gus and Leo fairy tale books discussing anal sex at the dinner table must be a surreal experience. Me, I'm used to it.
"Baby, I just meant that most of the time I'm a top." Yep, the chain has been yanked. But, apparently, not hard enough. "You have to admit that nine times out of ten, you're the one with your ass up in the air begging to be reamed." He raises his glass. "And such a nice ass too."
Okay, it's time for us to retire, whether we've finished eating or not, because I see a Texas Death Match in their future.
"Seems to me you're getting the best part of this deal. I mean, you get to fuck my sweet ass and, when you want it, you get to be fucked by my impressive cock. Whereas I have to be satisfied with your bony behind and your—"
"I wouldn’t go there," Brian warns.
Justin makes a face and finishes his meat. "So familiar," he says as he opens his mouth to accommodate a small piece of lamb. The implication is not lost on Pop. His cheeks are flushed and he seems about two seconds away from having an apoplectic fit. Dad purses his lips. "Uncle?"
Without pausing, Justin asks, "Are you enjoying your visit so far, Beck?"
"It's been… educational," he replies. Good boy.
After clearing the table and loading the dishwasher, we hang in the family room for a while talking about nothing and then I call around to the house and talk to my mom. Make plans to bring Beck by tomorrow if I can persuade him to expose himself to any more of my relatives. When I finish talking to her I call Jake and assure him that I've brought back the tee-shirt he'd wanted me to get at the Yale bookstore. Obligatory calls made for the evening and all of us running out of chitchat, I suggest to Beck that we take that bath we discussed earlier and then turn in for the night. We have to endure the knowing looks my fathers cast in our direction but it doesn't matter. I love that tub and it's perfect for couples. Besides, it's not like they won't be in their bathroom soaking and fooling around.
"Night, Sonny Boy," says Pop. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
"Guess we're safe then," Beck says lightly and Brian laughs.
"I like him. You can keep him." As we leave them and start up the stairs, I hear him say to Justin, "So what was that about my less than adequate cock?"
"You know I love your cock, Pookie."
"And my bony behind?"
I have to clap my hand over Beck's mouth to keep him from giggling out loud as we move out of earshot of my dads. Finally, he signals that he's okay and mouths, "Pookie?"
"I'll tell you about it later." Much later. Like my Pop, sometimes I have a one-track mind and, right now, I want him in that tub. Everything else can wait.
It's amazing but even doing something as mundane as filling a tub with water and bubbles takes on erotic overtones when done while Beck is undressing near me. I suppress the urge to grab him and make love to him right on the floor of the bathroom. I'm beginning to understand my parents a little better now, their constant desire to touch one another. And, as I watch Beck slip out of his clothes to reveal his pale, almost luminous skin, I realize that, instead of going out and finding myself a Brian, I've found my Justin. If only that were true. Despite my brave words to both Brian and Justin, I don't know what I'll do if I lose him. Already it feels as if he's become entwined with my bones, my breath. Which can't be good. For either of us. Too intense, too binding. For Christ's sake, we're only nineteen-years-old, what the hell do we know about forever? Even Pop and Dad can't claim to know if they'll last forever and they've got a nineteen year head start.
I feel Beck's hand on my arm. "You okay?"
Dragging myself out of my thoughts, I respond, "Yeah," with a grin. So like Brian. Needing his little boy to help save him from himself, to keep him on the right path, to keep him going period. I remember when Justin went on his first book tour, how proud Brian was of him. Then, once he was gone, Brian slowly began to lose it. Day after day, alone in that house, missing Justin so bad that he physically ached. Talking to him only made it worse, made him realize all over again what it was he missed: everything. His life. Each time Justin went on tour, it became a little easier to cope but Brian still hates it when he's gone. Justin's the same way when Brian's on a business trip. He putters around the house, redoing things a million times, wanting to jump out of his skin, feeling disconnected from everything and everyone. He says he feels like a ghost haunting some old mansion and laughs but there's this haunted look in his eyes that doesn't vanish until Brian walks through the door with his suit bag slung over his shoulder.
Do I want that for me and Beck? For me and anybody? Those two haven't had it easy. Their story ranks right up there with Romeo and Juliet, Heathcliff and Cathy, Jane and Rochester, Antony and Cleopatra; and they have the battle scars to prove it. But they have the love too; no matter how much they argue and fight, when the dust settles you'll find them in each other's arms. Maybe it's worth it. They certainly think so.
As we climb into the tub and sink beneath the bubbles and Beck slides back into my arms, I can imagine making up with him after some horrific fight. Wouldn't be so bad. Be better if we didn't fight at all, if we just skipped right to the making up. The making out. The making love.
He murmurs, "Someone's thinking about sex."
I reach around and cup his cock. "I'm not the only one."
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee wakes us like some old commercial and we tumble from bed and get ready to face the day. Not bothering to shower yet, we wash up a bit and throw on enough clothes to be decent. In this household. Which means a tee-shirt over a pair of boxers. "Sure this is enough?" Beck asks and I snort.
"Please. Brian will show up in his black robe and no underwear, watch."
True to form, we find Justin busy with breakfast. He waves us away so we set the table and wait for Sleeping Beauty to arrive. Which he does in a few minutes, sauntering in, black robe hastily tied around his waist, naked as a jaybird underneath, hair standing up on his head. Absolutely gorgeous. I hear Beck's jaw hit the table and wink at him. Brian takes the cup of coffee Justin offers him and kisses him in thanks. He must be feeling extra grateful because the kiss goes on and on and on. As they part, slightly breathless, Justin straightens Brian's robe and ties it more securely around him for which I am very grateful. It's one thing to have your friends lust after your dad, it's quite another to have your boyfriend thinking lascivious thoughts about your progenitor at the breakfast table.
Sprawled in his chair, Brian takes a sip of coffee and closes his eyes in ecstasy. Ranking just below sex and designer clothes, I think he loves coffee best of all his vices. And he has many.
Justin having ferried out the food on a cart, we load up the table and our plates and commence our morning meal: Belgian waffles with strawberries and real whipped cream, sausage, scrambled eggs, orange juice, and a pot of extra strong coffee just the way Brian likes it. In fact, it's the only thing he partakes of with any gusto as he just picks at his waffle and moves his scrambled eggs around on his plate.
"Will you eat, for Christ's sake?" Dad tells him and Pop just gives him a half-smile and pushes his eggs around some more.
"Everything's delicious, Mr. Taylor, Kinney," Beck says, probably because he thinks Brian's casting dispersions on Justin's cooking by not eating.
"I told you last night, it's Justin, and thank you. I'm glad to hear someone appreciates my cooking."
Brian leans over and brushes Justin's knuckles with his lips, still the perfect shade of raspberry after all these years. "I love your cooking, Baby. I’m just not hungry."
"You never are," I say, then tell Beck, "I think I've only seen him eat a handful of complete meals in my lifetime."
"It's how I keep my boyish figure," Pop says, then spears a piece of sausage that Justin surreptitiously slipped onto his plate. He eats it without comment.
After breakfast Beck and I shower—and fool around in the shower—before getting dressed and heading out to Munchers' Villa or the House The Munchers Built. Beck laughs when I tell him that. Of course, Pop came up with those names, probably just to piss Mel off but, true to form, Lindsay painted a sign with Munchers' Villa on it and for a whole week it hung above the doorbell until Brian begged her to take it down. This happened when I was in the first grade maybe. The formative years.
And just because no visit home would be complete without witnessing one argument between one of my parents and one of my sibs, we walk into the house to hear Mel and Indy screaming at one another.
"Why should you care if I want a nose ring?"
"It's a fuckin' bull ring!"
"Your ex had a ring through her clit."
Mel glares at Lindsay. "Did you—" she starts and then rolls her eyes. "Fuckin' Brian."
I wave from the doorway. "Fuckin' Brian's clone."
Beck waves too. "And clone's boyfriend."
Grateful for the interruption and genuinely glad to see me, Mom swoops down on us and hugs us both. "Look at you." Strokes my cheek. "My God, it's like I was in college again."
Rolling her eyes, Mel says, "Christ, another trip down Memory Lane. You did have to procreate with that asshole."
"Mel!" Lindsay admonishes. "She doesn't mean it, sweetie."
But Mel comes over and kisses me herself even though I have to lean way over to accommodate the differences in our heights. "Hey, Baby."
"Hey, Ma. This is Beck."
She thrusts out her hand and shakes his firmly. A lawyer's grip. "Good to meet you, Beck."
"Manners too." She nods. "Maybe you can do something with that Philistine," she says, jerking her head towards Indy who is glowering.
Leaving Beck with my moms, I cross to Indy and punch her lightly on the arm. "You okay?"
"I cannot wait to go away to college," she sighs in full teenage drama mode.
"Believe me," I tell her, "you'll miss them when you're gone."
"I'll miss Daddy and Dad and Mom," she says, conspicuously leaving off Melanie.
Indy's problem with Mel is the same problem I have with Pop: they're too much alike. Indy's even dark like Mel although that comes from Pop's coloring as Lindsay carried her same as she did me. Still, in terms of temperament, she's Mel's clone. Which says a lot about how much Mel and Brian are alike as well. Something neither one of them would like to think too much about. It's probably why Lindsay fell in love with both of them and still loves them after all these years. "You'll miss Mama too."
"Maybe," she concedes. "But sometimes she makes me so mad…"
"That's what parents do. Remember when you wanted that motor bike and none of the parents would agree to it?"
"And even he changed his mind after Justin had a little talk with him."
"You mean reamed him out upstairs. Christ, I think the whole neighborhood must have heard them arguing."
The moms having interrogated Beck enough for the moment, they vanish into the kitchen to fix coffee most likely so I wave my boyfriend over. "Beck, this is Indy, Indy, Beck."
They shake and then Beck says, "She looks like your dad."
"Acts like him too."
"Genes will out," she says, beaming. I think it's Indy's ambition in life to be just as notorious as Pop used to be. Unfortunately, she's got four parents—five, if you count Daphne—who are unwilling to see her go down that path. Even Brian admits that although he did have fun once upon a time, most of those times were with Justin and the rest he can't really remember. Drugs and alcohol robbed him of his memories. Which is probably what he wanted at the time. I've heard him and Dad talking about 'pain management' and I guess that was his all those years ago. He still drinks too much, in Justin's opinion, but Pop says he's Irish and that's what the Irish do. In any case, he told me about his pop's drinking problem and Nana's and left it at that. Left it to me to figure out what I needed to do. So I don't drink much, a beer here and there. I'm not a big kegger, never will be. First of all, that shit they get at school is swill compared to the imported beer Brian and Justin drink; and second, I'm not into frat houses and the frat house mentality.
So Beck and I have a nice visit with the Moms and Indy and then we three young people climb into the car and head over to Daphne's house to pick up Jake. We're hitting the mall and I promised Beck a tour of the Pitts and the places I used to hang out: basically Liberty Avenue.
We go through the parent-child reunion again with Daphne and the introductions to the sib and both Daphne and Jake seem to like Beck although Jake is kinda shy around him. He's like that. Quiet. Nana says Pop was like that when he was young. Of course, he had good reason: he was trying to stay out of his dad's way, trying to keep from getting the shit kicked out of him. When I found out how Pop had been abused as a child, I got really angry with Nana and didn't want to talk to her for a long time. I couldn’t believe she let that happen to him and didn't do anything to protect him. Pop would fight a fuckin' grizzly bear to keep us from getting hurt and he's never, not even once, raised his hand to us, even when we probably deserved it. And this from a man who has a temper like a volcano. Still, he forgave Nana and I did too. I didn't have any choice, I loved her too much to stay mad.
Jake has his bag already to go and we sling it in the back of my Jeep and take off for Liberty Avenue. First stop: the diner.
Deb sees us before I push open the door and she rushes over all covered in buttons and wearing a new wig and a t-shirt that says, 'Bite me. Really.' She grabs me first and pulls my head down and gives me a big kiss on the cheek. "Oh my God, look at you! For a minute, I thought it was Brian Kinney coming through the door and I was… well, a lot younger than I am now."
"You're still beautiful, Deb," I tell her and she is, red wig, buttons and all. She's my other grandmother. "This is Beck. Beck, Debbie Novotny."
"Isn't he cute?" Coming forward, Beck allows himself to be kissed and cooed over too and when he's passed inspection, "Nice ass too," Deb moves onto Indy and Jake and kisses them like she hasn't seen them in years although it's probably only been days. "You kids staying to eat or what?"
Having suffered enough Liberty Diner-induced indigestion to last a lifetime, I shoot down that idea. "We're doing a tour of the neighborhood and then hitting the mall. We'll get something later. I just wanted to stop by and say hi."
"You going back tomorrow?"
She indicates Beck with a motion of her head. "Coming to meet the folks, huh? How'd that go? Brian behave himself?"
"What do you think?"
Deb cackles. "That Justin probably had to yank his chain a little."
"Just a little."
"Hey, Beck," she says, "the next time you and Sonny Boy come home and have some time to sit and chat, I'll tell you all about Liberty Avenue's most notorious couple and their torrid love affair."
"I'd like that."
Before we go, Jake hits Deb up for a couple of lemon bars. He's Justin's kid all right. Munching them in the back seat of the Jeep, he asks, "When's lunch?"
With Jake spending the night at Brian and Justin's place, Beck and I move out of his space into the guest room. They've updated the linens but everything else looks the same. This room was officially the guest room but unofficially Molly's room when we were younger. I used to have a crush on her when I was a little kid but that passed once I realized I liked boys better than girls, somewhere around eleven or twelve. Like Pop, I was an early bloomer. Unlike Pop, I didn't act upon my feelings until much later. Still, we keep in touch and I call her sometimes to talk about school. She's been married for a few years now and is a professor at Carnegie Mellon. Archaeology Department. She met Ando on a dig in Greece.
After Jake settles into his room, he finds Brian and the two of them play video games in the family room. Only for Jake would Brian play a video game. When I was younger, that was one of Justin's duties. Not that Pop didn't play with me but he didn't do video games. Now he and Jake spend hours racing virtual stock cars. I think Pop's mellowing out a little. He'll be fifty next year and maybe all the rough edges are finally starting to wear away. Some of it, I think, has to do with Jake's situation. His mom's single and Black and his dad's married, gay, and White. He takes a lot of shit from kids at school same as me and Indy and, like Pop, Jake is a fighter. He doesn't take stuff lying down so he gets in trouble in school and Daphne and Justin have to go down and have parent-teacher bullshit conferences. Mel and Lindsay did the same thing for me and Indy cause Indy has a lot of mouth and me, well, I'm Brian Kinney's clone, enough said. In any case, Jake can talk to Brian and he does and I think it keeps him balanced, keeps him focused on what's really important: being the best he can be and fuck everything and everyone else.
While Jake and Brian play, Justin cooks and it's like being a kid again. Except that now I have someone to play with myself. We go up to the guest room and kick off our shoes and lie down on the bed and kiss and, pretty soon, we're slipping off jeans and t-shirts and sliding hands inside of briefs and, before you know it, Beck's tightening around my cock and I'm holding him by his hips and watching him rise and fall.
We shower before dinner and come down to knowing looks from both Brian and Justin. Even Jake grins and I wonder if they heard us fucking. Beck's cheeks are flushed and then he laughs and I laugh too and all of us settle down around the table: a company of men.
Justin sends Brian on an errand of 'national importance' the next morning: they're out of half and half and Justin refuses to drink his coffee black, in fact, he's about to throw a Drama Princess tantrum of the first degree. Not that he has to because what Princess wants, Brian gets. With a kiss goodbye, Brian grabs his keys and asks me to tag along. I do, knowing we're going to have another father-son talk. I have to admit that my heart races a little, I hope to God he's not sick. I don't know what I'd do if something happened to him.
"I’m not dying," he says in the car, anticipating my fear.
"Fuck." I let go of the breath I'd been holding. "You scared the shit out of me."
"Can't a father talk to his son without death being involved? You're as bad as Indy. That girl is fixated on death. Did she tell you she wanted to get a skull and crossbones tattoo on her ass?" He shakes his head. "What the fuck was I smoking when I jerked off into that cup?"
"Pop!" I laugh though cause Indy is a piece of work.
"So, I like this boy," he says, signaling a left turn.
"Not that it should matter to you that I do."
He glances over at me. "Asshole."
"Like father like son."
His laugh fills the car and he grabs me by the ruff of my neck. "I'm glad you came home."
I smile at him. "Me too, Pop."
Pulling out of the yard, the Dads and Jake waving to us, Beck and I begin our journey back to New Haven. Beck is flipping through the autographed copy of Prince Gus and the Feline Cavalier that Justin gave him. I took him out back this morning to show him where Leo I, the inspiration for the Feline Cavalier, was buried. I remember crying for days when Leo died. It was like losing my best friend. Granted, by then, he was so old all he did was sleep all day in Justin's studio but he still managed a meow whenever I went over to see him. Even Pop shed a tear when Leo died, muttering about having developed allergies like Justin.
"Well," I say, "you survived a visit home."
He beams, crinkles forming at the edges of his eyes. "They were great. I wish my family was like that."
"You're just saying that because you haven't met all of the family. There's still Uncle Mike and Jeff, Auntie Em, and Ted. And Molly. And Nana and Nana Jenn, and Granddad." Vic died a few years back. I wish Beck could have met him. I miss him. He had the same dry humor as Pop. I sometimes think Pop's a lot like him, that maybe Vic was the father Brian deserved. And wanted.
Beck strokes the hair at my temple. "I bet they're all fabulous."
"Yeah," I confess, "they are pretty cool." And they are. I wouldn't trade them for any other family in the world.
"Your dad is even hotter in person."
Laughing, Beck says, "But I have the younger version and he's pretty hot himself."
"I'll show you when we get home."
And although I just left home or what I've always thought of as home, maybe Beck and I will have a place of our own someday with a couple of kids running around and a feline cavalier dozing lightly in the sun.
First of all I must congratulate you for your truly wonderful series. I'm a huge fan. Can't get enough of it!
Now, with the purpose of this note. I've been playing with the idea of a teenage Gus bringing Beck home for the first time. I would really enjoy a story about the happy parents' reaction to their son's relationship with him (maybe it was his first, who knows?)or his coming out. The idea of a 'meeting the parents' scenario always interested me, especially with a father like Brian. The fic doesn't have to have Beck in it, unless it serves the story. I leave it to you... :)
Thanks for taking this into consideration and thank you (again) for a