"faith is the meaning of love/ between men" -- "Faith: My Brother Richard Returns Home from the Monastery" by E. Ethelbert Miller

There's a moment that you dread all of your life: the moment you come face-to-face with yourself and there are no backrooms left to hide in, no more demons you can blame, when circumstances abandon you, and all you're left with are two things: yourself to examine and a decision to make. But, of course, the decision's never easy to make, if it were you wouldn't have erected so many barriers between yourself and it in the first place. You would have dealt with it head-on and laughed about it later, about how silly, how foolish you had been. Only, none of that happened and now the sound of laughter is missing from the room. You sit alone and wonder if you'll ever stir from this place again.

He was going to kill Bob and Brad. How did the best ad exec in the firm manage to snag the God awfullest, worst advertisers in the company? Did Ryder and the other partners think he could walk on water? Cast out demons? Make the blind see? Turn Bob and Brad into real advertisers? So here he was on his day off trying to fix their shitty copy--again. It never ended. And he could tell Justin was getting antsy waiting for him to put down his work and play. "Just ten more minutes," he murmured, making a note to himself on the edge of the mock-up.

"You said that an hour ago." Justin stroked Brian's bare thigh wanting to slide his fingers up under the leg of his briefs.

"Sorry." Okay, there was no point in wasting anymore time on this tonight. One last note and...he was done. He straightened his papers and laid them on the bedside table. "There."


Brian pulled Justin to him and kissed his neck. "Now it's time for some fun."

But Justin leaned back, away from him. "Could we talk for a minute?"

"Talk?" Brian frowned. "About what?"

Hesitant, Justin made a couple of false starts before asking, "Do we have rules?"

Instead of answering his question Brian asked one of his own. "Which one of them's been talking to you?"

"All of them."

Brian shook his head. "Fuck."

"It was only cause I asked them if..." He looked away. "If you'd been...if you'd turned any tricks lately."

Eyes zeroing in on Justin's Brian watched the seed of fear take root in the teen's. "Why didn't you ask me?"

"I didn't want you to think I didn't trust you," he replied foolishly.

"But you don't because you asked them."

Aware of his misstep, Justin pleaded, "Don't get angry."

"I'm not angry," Brian replied when clearly he was upset.

Justin wasn't fooled. "Your eyebrows are drawn in."

He looked away. "Okay, so I'm angry. What did you expect?"

Only he hadn't answered Justin's question yet and the teenager couldn't let go. "Have you?"

"You have to ask?"

Justin wished that he didn't, that he trusted Brian enough not to have to ask but he knew Brian, knew how he behaved, knew how careless he could be. "Yeah, I do." As Brian turned away, he said, "Please. I'm sorry. But I have to know."

Brian looked down at his hands. "No. I haven't." He threw back the covers and left.

Justin silently cursed himself and the guys. Not because his suspicions had been groundless but because they'd been verified. Brian was lying. He could tell by the way the man had avoided looking at him as he answered, the way he had immediately escaped from the bedroom. Slowly, Justin got out of bed and padded after him. Found him standing at the counter pouring a shot of whiskey. He didn't want to do this, hadn't wanted to push it but he couldn't help it. How could they continue as a couple if he couldn't trust Brian? They shouldn't have had to have this conversation at all. Brian didn't look up as Justin neared him. "How many?" he asked and although they were only two words, they cost him so much he wanted to weep at the price.

Not for a moment had Brian believed that Justin had bought his answer. Had hoped...maybe that he would give it up, let it alone. What the fuck did it matter? He was here now, with him.

"Brian?" Justin waited and when Brian didn't respond, he turned and went back into the bedroom, found his clothes and began putting them on.

"What are you doing?"

Justin paused with his sock halfway on his foot. "I'm going home."

Standing in the doorway of the bedroom, Brian watched as Justin finished dressing and walked out of the other opening by the bathroom, avoiding him altogether. The teen grabbed his backpack and slung it over his shoulder. "Don't go."

Turning slightly, Justin said, "Fuck you," and he pulled open the door and took the stairs, not wanting to wait for the elevator.

In the wake of Justin's departure, Brian remained in the threshold of his bedroom, staring out at the black hole of the stairwell into which Justin had descended. After a minute, he crossed to the door and shut it but the afterimage of Justin walking away from him lingered.

"You had to fuckin' tell him."

Michael held up his hands. "I didn't tell him shit. He asked me if you'd done any tricks lately and I told him I didn't know." He took a swig of his beer. "And I didn't. It's not like I follow you around keeping track of how many guys you do. There aren't enough hours in the day."

Angry, Brian replied, "It's none of your business anyway."

"He was the one who came looking for me. And that shit about the rules was your idea, remember? It was good enough for me and David but not good enough for you and Justin, is that it? You are such a fuckin' hypocrite." He started to drop it then thought of something else. "Besides that, what the fuck were you doing turning tricks anyway? I can't imagine the Boy Wonder not bending over whenever you wanted him to."

"That's not the point."

Shaking his head, Michael asked, "Then what is?"

"The point is I'm a grown fucking man and I can do whatever the hell I want."

"Tell that to Justin. You know, you really need to find a hobby, something to do other than fucking." Brian didn't reply, didn't make some crack about his comic book collecting, just knocked back his tumbler of whiskey. Despite being angry with him, Michael was a little worried. "How many more of those is it gonna take before you can face him?"

"Keep the hell out of it, okay?"

Sliding off his stool, Michael said, "Then don't come running to me anymore." He started to walk away, wash his hands of it, but Brian's words stopped him.

"I'm sorry."

Amazed, he turned around. "Did I just hear you say you're sorry?"

Brian stared into his empty glass. "It was only a few times."

"You shouldn't have done it at all."

"It was just sex."

"What do you think he's for?"

He set his shot glass down. "You don't understand."

"I'm not the one who has to," Michael pointed out. He clapped Brian on the shoulder. "And good fuckin' luck trying to convince him." Seeing that Em and Ted had scored a table, he went to join the game of pool.

After debating the merits of another drink, Brian left Woody's. Putting it off any longer wasn't going to help the situation. He had already wasted three days. It was time to go see Justin.

The one person he was hoping not to have to see before he got a chance to talk to Justin was sitting at the kitchen table doing a crossword puzzle. Which meant she was in a really foul mood because she absolutely sucked at crossword puzzles and she only did them when she wanted to get good and pissed off. Looking up, she saw him enter the living room and try to sneak past her. "You know, just when I think it's safe to turn my back on you, you go and fuck up again." Slamming her pencil down on the table, she got ready to deliver a sermon the likes of which the world hadn't seen since Moses came down from the mountain and found the Israelites partying with a golden calf. And then it just left her, the anger boiled away and all she was left with was this incredible sadness. "Why, Brian?"

"You wouldn't understand."

"Then make me. Make me understand how, after all he's been through, you could do this to him."

"I didn't do anything to him."

"You can't be that fuckin' dense."

"He would have never known if he hadn't gone looking for trouble."

She laughed. "What? 'Don't ask, don't tell?' It didn't work for the military and it won't work for you."

"It was just fucking. It didn't mean anything," he mumbled, knowing she wouldn't buy it.

"It meant something to him." Getting up, she snatched open the refrigerator and lifted a can of ginger ale from the door compartment, popped the top and drank a little to soothe her stomach. "Listen, kiddo, don't waste your time trying to convince me. You know where I stand on this. But that's not what matters. What matters is how you work it out with him. And you'd better work it out or I'm gonna kick your sorry ass. Got it?" He didn't say anything. "Good. Now, go upstairs and fix it."

More afraid of walking up those stairs than he'd been of doing almost anything in his life--including going to St. James' senior prom--Brian headed for Justin's room. Stood outside the door for the longest time trying to contain the anger that he felt, furious that he even had to do this, that Justin wouldn't even try to understand and that here he was, yet again, trying to figure out how to deal with a fucking teenager. He took a deep breath and pushed open the door. There was no point in avoiding the upcoming confrontation any longer because all he was doing was getting angrier and angrier and that didn't bode well for either of them.

Justin was sitting on his bed sketching. When he saw who it was entering the room, he put away his drawing and any sign of contentment or joy vanished from his face. He could tell that Brian was steaming and trying unsuccessfully to manage his anger but, fuck it, he was angry too. Why should he always be the one to give in, to compromise? Brian never gave an inch, never, and he expected the whole world to cave in to his demands, his needs. Well, maybe it was time someone else's needs got met. "I'm not changing my mind," Justin announced before Brian could even get a word out.

"Which means what?" he asked, shutting the door behind him.

"That either you stop tricking or it's over," said Justin and there was no give in his voice, it was like steel.

Brian narrowed his eyes. "So the great king has spoken and that's that."

Something twitched inside him but he refused to take heed. "I'm serious."

"Fine." He flung open the door.

"Fine what?" asked Justin, standing, suddenly very afraid.

Pausing in the threshold, Brian looked the teen directly in the eyes and articulated every word. "Fine. It's over." By the time he got to the head of the stairs Deb had made it halfway up.

" Brian--" she began.

Justin shouted down the stairs after him, "I hate you! I hate... I fuckin..."

Brian pushed past her and stormed out of the house.

"Sunshine?" Justin stood in the threshold of the bedroom, his face twisted in anger still. And then his lips began to tremble and he went inside and closed the door. Deb slumped against the banister. Christ.

After two shots of bourbon he still felt like shit and yet he still couldn't bring himself to pick up his cell and call. He needed to talk to someone but they'd all just yell at him and tell him to stop fuckin' things up. He wanted to call Justin and...what? What would he say to him? God...how in the hell did he get himself into these situations? He'd been happy by himself. Fucking around. Doing just as he pleased. Were you really happy? he asked himself but he didn't answer. One thing was certain, he hadn't been this miserable. Not in a long time. Not since--

The key turned in the door so he knew it was Justin. He'd already grabbed the bottle of bourbon and was getting up to put it away when he realized what he was doing and it made him angry all over again. Fuck it. If Justin couldn't handle the sight of him drinking, he could take his ass home. Only he's got three drawers full of stuff here, he reminded himself, so what does that make this place? Taking the bottle to the counter, he placed it out of view and waited for the teen to come inside the apartment.

It only took one look at Justin for Brian to know that he'd probably spent the past hour up in his room crying. And that hurt more than he wanted to admit to himself.

Justin couldn't meet his eyes. He knew Brian had probably been in the loft drinking. In a way he was glad, at least he wasn't out screwing some guy. "Hey," he said softly, figuring that Brian was going to tell him to fuck off.

"Hey," he replied. It was then that he saw the bag in Justin's hand. He'd come to get his belongings, his three drawers full. Suddenly Brian didn't want it to be over. "You don't have to take your things."

But Justin was determined that this time he would stick to his guns. He swallowed. "You said it was over."

"I didn't mean it," Brian admitted and it was probably the first time in a long time that he had said those words.

"Then what did you mean?"

"I don't want us to be over." He laughed bitterly. "We've just gotten started."

Justin dropped his bag and walked away from Brian, towards the window. With his back to the man, he spoke. "I don't know what you mean by 'us'."

Brian followed. "Justin--"

"I don't want--" he paused, then began again. "I don't want you seeing other people."

"I'm not."

"You're fucking them."

"It didn't mean anything."

"Then don't do it anymore."

"No." Brian turned away. "I won't be dictated to."

"I'm asking you," explained Justin, returning to the dining area. "I'm begging you, if that's what you want."

"I want you to drop this."

"I can't." He touched Brian's sleeve tentatively. "Because it means something to me. When you're with someone else, it hurts me."

"You didn't even know." He continued, "You don't have to know. If you don't want to."

"So we're both supposed to just pretend that it's not happening?"

"It has nothing to do with you."

"How can you say that? It has everything to do with me. With the fact that it's not enough for you to have me. That I'm not good enough."

"I didn't say that."

"You say it every time you go out and fuck some other guy. That's what you're saying to me." Wiping his face, he said, "I don't understand why you can't come to me." Brian didn't answer. "If it's just sex, if that's all it is, all you have to do is ask me. I've never denied you anything. Never said no." His face was flushed, he was so humiliated. "There's nothing I wouldn't do. Nothing. No matter what," he whispered.

Brian made no response. He couldn't explain it to Justin because he didn't understand it himself, he just knew that it was something he needed.

Justin moved away from him. Picked up his bag and started for the bedroom. He stood in front of the chest of drawers where Brian had made a place for him and he began to cry because that had been so hard, getting Brian to let him into his life, and in the end, it turned out to be the easy part, giving up three drawers. Because here he was, not two months later, taking his things out again because they had failed. He didn't hear Brian come up behind him but he felt him when the man touched him.

"Please," Brian said, "just let this go. Give me this and I swear, I won't ask you for anything else."

And he wanted to. He wanted to say that he didn't give a shit, that Brian could fuck anything he wanted just as long as they remained untouched but they couldn't remain unblemished. Already he could see the stains. So he shook his head and opened the first drawer. But Brian shoved it close, refused to let him open it again. Justin turned. "This won't change anything."

"I won't let you. Not like this." His heart was in his throat and he could barely breathe.

"You can't stop me," Justin replied. "Just like I can't stop you from turning tricks." He pushed past Brian, leaving the bag, and walked out of the apartment.

This time he had shut the door so there was no point in moving. Brian dropped to the bed and covered his face but it didn't matter, he could feel the tears coursing down his cheeks.

Pulling the baby's pants back up after changing him, Lindsay asked, "What did you think would happen if he found out? That he'd smile and you'd go on your merry way?"

"I thought...he understood me."

"I don't understand this, Brian." She put Gus on the floor and he immediately began crawling around his Dadda's legs. "Why? And how? After everything that happened between you and Cam, why would you do this?"

"It's different," he replied. To buy himself some time, he picked up the leather bear he'd bought Gus and coaxed the baby away from the sofa and back to the middle of the floor. When Gus had moved far enough away, Brian dropped the bear and stood. Paced around the dining room. "I couldn't trust Cam."

"And Justin can trust you? After you lied to him?"

"I didn't lie to him."

"When you two got together, did you tell him you were planning on maintaining your outside interests?"

He wouldn't look at her as he answered. "No."

"But you hadn't planned on stopping."

"No." At last he looked up.

Lindsay pierced him with her gaze. "Then you lied to him. The same way Cam lied to you. And with the same results. Except this time, you're the one who fucked it up."

"Maybe I was the one who fucked it up before. Maybe if I had tried to understand--"

Angry, she lashed out at him. "Stop making excuses!"

"You think I'm doing this just for the hell of it?" he asked in an anguished voice. "You think I want to lose him?"

"Yes! I do. I think you're scared of being committed to anyone other than yourself and you're using this to drive him away." She stood and neared him. "And if you're not careful, you're gonna do just that."

"I don't want us...I don't want me and Justin to end up like me and Cam." He swallowed. "I love him, Lindz. I know you don't believe that--"

"I believe you, Bri, but you're hurting him. Why can't you do the right thing?"

"The right thing for who?"

"Is it worth losing Justin? Whatever it is you get from these guys, is it worth destroying your relationship?" When Brian didn't answer, she pressed him, "Bri?" She backed away, disgusted. "I just don't understand."

"And you think I do?"

"Why do you need to be with other men?"

"I don't know."

She shook her head. "That's not good enough. There has to be a reason."

But he stuck to his original answer. "I don't know, Lindsay. I--if I knew, if I could make some sense of it, maybe I could explain it to him, make him understand, but I don't know why."

Lifting Gus from the floor, Lindsay returned to the couch, sat the baby on her knee and held him close. "Then you'd better figure it out before he's gone for good."

Brian rubbed at his temples, a sharp pain having slammed into his head. "Maybe he already has."

Lindsay disagreed. "He loves you more than anything in this world. All he wants is for you to give him a reason to come back."

At the end of his shift, Justin checked his voice mail for messages and found one. From Brian wanting him to come to the loft to talk after work. He held the phone in his hand, unsure as to what to do, how to proceed, when Deb walked by him and said, "Go. Go talk to him. He's an asshole, but he loves you."

So he drove Deb's car over to Brian's place and knocked. Waited for the man to let him in even though he still had a key. There was no point in making Brian believe one message had changed anything between them.

"I wasn't sure you'd come," he said, shutting the door behind the teen.

"What did you want to talk about?" Justin sat in one of the dining chairs, eyeing the centerpiece.

Brian sat across from him, only instead of wasting his time on the centerpiece, he studied Justin's face. He looked pale and drawn. Out of habit, Brian reached across to touch him and drew back his hand at the last moment. Things had changed that much between them in only a week. It was time to fix what was wrong. "We need to figure out a way for us to be together."

"I already told you--"

"I know." He paused. "But, Justin..." God, he didn't know what to say.

"Why is it so hard for you to be with me and only me?"

"I don't know."

"That's not an answer." He looked away from Brian, knew that if he continued to stare at him he would cry because he wanted so much to touch him, to hold him, that it was driving him crazy. "You don't know how it makes me feel."

"I do know." And they both knew it. Justin hadn't brought up Cam but Brian's former lover was there, hovering in the background, watching them head down a similar path with possibly similar results.

"Then why?" He wiped his eyes. "I thought you said you loved me."

"I do love you."

Justin stood abruptly. "We're just going in fuckin' circles!"

Brian left his seat as well, came up behind Justin and tentatively touched him. When the teen didn't pull away, he wrapped his arms around him and held him. He could feel Justin trembling. "Baby..." Gently, he palmed the teen's jaw and leaned in to kiss him but Justin pulled away.

"Don't." He disengaged himself from Brian's embrace. "We haven't settled anything."

"I want us to try."

"Can you promise me it won't ever happen again?"

Wanting to say yes more than anything Brian, nevertheless, could not lie to Justin. "No."

"Then tell me why," he said and he added, "and I don't want to hear how you don't know why." When Brian didn't respond, Justin forced himself to ask, "Does it make you feel sexier if someone else wants you?"

"No." It was true, no one had ever looked at him with the same kind of desire in their eyes as Justin had, did. He never felt sexier than when the teenager was gazing down at him, memorizing his features for a new sketch or just appreciating his beauty.

"Is it because they're hotter than me?"

"No." He'd been with better-looking men, men with more muscular bodies, bigger cocks, more perfect features, but none of them were hotter than Justin, none of them turned him on the way the teen did.

"Is it because they're better lovers?"

Again he shook his head. "No."

A tear slipped down Justin's face. "Then what? I don't understand."

"Justin..." Brian began. He turned away, racked his brains for a way to explain. "It's not like I think about it. It just happens."

"What happened the last time?"

" I'm not gonna do this. I'm not gonna tell you--"

"I want to know."

His nostrils flared. "It'll only upset you and--"

"I'm already upset! Just tell me."

Casting his mind back to the night at Babylon when he'd turned the last trick, Brian tried to remember the circumstances. Justin had pleaded a headache and stayed home so he'd gone out with the guys. They'd danced together for an hour or so and stood around shooting the breeze, knocking back two or three beers each. He'd been buzzed but not high. Hadn't intended to do anything more than to hang out for a while and go home. And then this guy caught his eye. "I don't even remember what he looked like. Michael and Emmett and Ted were on the dance floor and I was finishing my beer. This guy came over and I don't remember what he said or if he said anything. Next thing I know, we were in the backroom."

"So you were horny and I wasn't there so you fucked this guy?"

" I wasn't horny."

"Then what, Brian?" Justin felt himself beginning to lose it.

"I guess...it was because the opportunity arose."

Justin laughed bitterly and sat back down. He was so tired. All he wanted was to close his eyes and go to sleep, hoping that when he awoke, they'd be back in the Bahamas together, making love in their four-poster bed, the world forgotten. "Would you have done him if I had been there?"

"You fuckin' know I wouldn't," Brian answered hotly.

"I can't be with you all the time," Justin said.

"That's not the answer."

"Then what is?" asked Justin near the breaking point. "For me to say it's all right?" He waited. "Or for me to say that it's none of my business what you do? That I'm here for you to fuck whenever you want, to share your life when you want me to, to be on-call for you, to take care of you, to be whatever you want and not expect anything in return?"

"I'm there for you. Don't say that I'm not."

"When it's convenient."

Brian walked away from the table, stood with his back to Justin so that the teen wouldn't see the tears even though he could hear them in his voice when he spoke. "Was it convenient for me to be at your side every fucking day while you were in the hospital? When your own father couldn't be bothered to do the same thing? To take you to the doctor's when I needed to be at work? To go away with you for a week when I knew this shit with Old Pitt was gonna come down sometime soon? To wake up and hold you when you can't sleep because you have nightmares about Chris Hobbs?" He wiped his eyes and turned around, faced Justin. "I'm trying, Justin. I just--I need you--I need you to be patient."

"For what, Brian?"

"I don't want to lose you."

"Then stop pushing me away."

Brian sat on the arm of the sofa, exhausted by their exchange. "You're right, we're just going in circles."

"So what are we gonna do?" asked Justin softly, afraid of what the answer might be.

"Stay here tonight. With me."

"And what's that gonna solve?"

Leaving the sofa, Brian walked over to the table looking down on Justin. "Do you want to go and leave things like this? You wanna spend another night alone?" His voice was like silk and Justin wanted to wrap himself up in it. Helplessly, Justin shook his head. Cupping his chin, Brian raised the teen's face, then leaned over and kissed him.

Justin held onto the edge of the bar chair, his legs over Brian's shoulders, as his lover fucked him. Being cramped didn't matter, being pressed into the hard plastic didn't matter, being slightly out of breath didn't matter, all that mattered was that Brian kept thrusting into him, kept driving his cock home, kept him on the edge of madness. He didn't care who Brian had fucked and when just as long as he kept fucking him. "Uh! Uh! Oh--oh God. Oh God," Justin moaned as Brian hammered his ass. His hole had been battered into submission, he offered no resistance, just held onto the chair and enjoyed the feel of Brian's dick sliding inside him. The condom couldn't disguise the breadth of the head, the length and girth of the shaft...couldn't mask the swelling, the throbbing... Giving a long, low groan, "Oooooh..." Justin tightened his hole and gritted his teeth as the room swam around him. Brian flexed his hips and rocked against him, moved his pelvis in a circular motion, his cock exiting in a spiral and Justin shouted, grabbed Brian's ass and pulled him back. "Stay in me. Stay in me..." he whispered in a husky voice. "Fuck me." Brian jabbed his hole. "Yes!" The chair tipped a little from the force of Brian's thrusts. "Harder," Justin demanded. "Fuck me harder. Fuck me. Fuck...fuck me. Harder. Harder!" Brian's hips moved in a blur, pounding his ass with a cock that felt like iron wrapped in velvet.

Suddenly he withdrew, pulled Justin from the chair, bent him over, and mounted him again. Justin grabbed hold of the rungs of the chair legs and held on as Brian's dick mauled his ass. The head of his cock had expanded again, raking the sides, the bottom, the top of Justin's hole and the teen whimpered, feeling his own dick bounce between his thighs, hard, dripping precum on the steel rungs, the wooden floor. Releasing a hand, he stroked his cock and groaned. His ass tightened and Brian hissed. Pressed tight against Justin and wiggled his hips, began moving them again in a circle. Justin worked his hips the opposite way and lights went off inside their heads. Fuck, his asshole was on fire, was burning up, and the flames spread, licked at his nipples, his throat.

Brian felt like he was immersed in liquid steel, his body hard, slick with sweat. The first spasm gripped him and he threw back his head and grunted. His chest and belly tightened and he lunged against Justin's buttocks. "Aghh!" He was coming. Grimacing, he pumped his hips again and felt his cock throb once more. "Yes!" Caught his breath. "Yes...yesss..." He waited until he his muscles stopped jerking to pull out. Even inside the condom, his cock was an angry shade of red.

Dropping to his knees, he drew Justin's cock down between his thighs and jacked it, his fingers tight around the slick shaft. Justin held onto the chair legs while Brian stroked him, his face pressed against the seat of the chair. "Make me come," he begged. "Make me...come. Don't stop. Don't stop." Brian tugged on the pulsating length of meat, his tongue lapping at the teen's relaxed hole. The tip of his tongue pushed inside and Justin cried out, "Oh God!" Wiggling his tongue, Brian continued to fuck his hole and to pull on his dick until Justin's balls drew up and the first squirt of cum splashed the chair legs and hung from the rungs. Justin's voice was strangled as he yelled, unable to keep silent as he released his load. Brian held onto his cock until he had finished, still stroking it past the point of ejaculation, spreading his spunk over the entire shaft. And his tongue, which had felt like another dick in Justin's ass, brushed over the boy's hole like a peacock feather.

His first waking thought was, Justin, and he reached for him. He was gone. His side of the bed was cold. How fuckin' long has he been up? Throwing back the covers, he stumbled out of the bedroom and looked around for him to no avail. The teen was gone. Brian cursed and made to return to bed. Alone. It was then that he noticed the drawing on top of the table. The sight of it took the strength from his legs. Dropping down into a chair, he studied the sketch. It was of him, his face trapped inside of and distorted by a tear. His fingers tightened on the edge of the drawing, crushing it and he forced himself to let go before he destroyed Justin's work. Smoothed out the creases, all the while crying silently.

There's a moment that you dread all of your life: the moment you come face-to-face with yourself and there are no backrooms left to hide in, no more demons you can blame, when circumstances abandon you, and all you're left with are two things: yourself to examine and a decision to make. But, of course, the decision's never easy to make, if it were you wouldn't have erected so many barriers between yourself and it in the first place. You would have dealt with it head-on and laughed about it later, about how silly, how foolish you had been. Only, none of that happened and now the sound of laughter is missing from the room. You sit alone and wonder if you'll ever stir from this place again.

Finally he got up and left the drawing where it lay, tear-stained and crinkled.

Drew was frankly shocked to see the man seated before him. He hadn't seemed the type of person who'd voluntarily seek help. Even after the discoveries he'd made, he hadn't seemed comfortable with the idea of therapy. People like that never were and yet they were the very people who needed it most. Ego strong, driven.

"I didn't think I'd ever see you again."

"I was hoping I wouldn't have to see you again."

"And after I gave you such good advice? Truthfully, I was surprised you even listened to me."

"At $150 an hour, you're like fuckin' E .F. Hutton."

"And look what happened."

"Yeah," he replied and paused, the words still hard to say even after this long. "I found out I'd been...that I didn't remember my own life."

Noting that Brian still couldn't say the word 'rape' Drew decided not to pursue it right now. Saying instead, "Least now you know and knowing's half the battle."

"You get that off some inspirational poster?" he asked, scorn in his voice.

"G.I. Joe." Brian laughed. "I think we would have been friends under different circumstances."

"One Ted in my life is enough."

"Who's Ted?"

"Ted's...a good guy."

"So are you."

"Justin wouldn't say so."

"Who's Justin?"

"My twinkie boyfriend...lover." The image of himself inside the tear came back to him. "Well, he used to be. I don't know what he is now."

"What's wrong?"


"Start from the beginning."

"Doc, we only have an hour."

"Tell me enough so I understand."

So Brian told him the abbreviated version of their meeting and their subsequent relationship--now he could see that's what they'd been in even if he hadn't wanted to admit it, now he saw so many things with the benefit of hindsight. "It took him getting hurt to make me realize that I wanted him in my life."

"What happened?"

"He got hit in the head with a baseball bat. Right in front of me."

Recognition flashed across Drew's face. "I remember reading about it in the papers. I saw the name and I thought there have to be other Brian Kinneys in Pittsburgh. But it was you."


"Then it hasn't been very long."

"No." He forced himself to continue, to tell the truth. "But everything's totally fucked. And it's all my fault," he replied softly. "Everything."

"Okay...how about we start with the biggest part of everything," Drew suggested knowing well Brian's propensity for hyperbole.

"Justin found out that I've been turning tricks."

"And he was less than pleased."

"He went ballistic." Remembering the scene, Brian thought ballistic was probably inadequate at best to describe what had happened. "Demanded I stop. That I promise not to do it again."

"And what did you say?"

"I told him I couldn't." Even now Brian was ashamed that he hadn't been able to make Justin that one promise.

"Why not?"

"If I knew that, I'd be $150 richer."

"Increase that amount, your hour's up." Drew picked up his appointment book. "Same time on Thursday?"

Brian saw Justin's face before him, wet with tears. "Yeah."

"You coming?" Michael asked and Brian shook his head. "He might not be there."

"I'm not in the mood." He hadn't even put on a shirt, just wandered about bare-chested and barefoot in his jeans.

"Why don't you--"

"Stay out of it, Mikey."

"Fine." He noticed Brian staring at a picture of him and Justin on the beach. They weren't touching but they didn't have to be. Anyone could tell they were together. Connected. Michael glanced at the bracelet Brian wore on his right wrist. "I remember the first time I saw you with that bracelet on."

"Subtlety's not your strong suit."

"Maybe the situation doesn't call for it."

"Maybe you should leave it alone."

"Pain in the ass that he is, Justin really loves you."

"I know."

"And he deserves better than this, Brian." When his friend didn't reply, Michael asked, "Are you even trying?"

"Get off my fucking back."

"You're gonna end up just like your dad if you keep--"

"I said I'm not coming, so you can go."

"You can't dismiss him as easily."

"Maybe I won't have to, maybe he'll just walk away!" Michael stumbled backwards. "Which is what you've always wanted, isn't it? For him to disappear from our lives?"


"So you ought to be happy. I shouldn't have to hear any more fuckin' complaints about Justin."

"I was only joking. I never meant anything by it." Afraid that if he tried to touch Brian, he'd only rebuff him, Michael nevertheless reached for him. "Brian..."

"I can't sleep, did you know that? I used to be able to sleep. And now I just lie awake half the night." He turned and walked away. Stopped. "I've got three drawers full of his shit, and a refrigerator stocked with food I bought for him, pictures that I took with him, and a fuckin' head crammed with memories that won't let me forget... that he--that he used to have a place in my life."

Nearing him, Michael laid a hand upon his bare shoulder. "He'll be back."

But Brian refused to turn around, to let him see the tears that marred his visage. "Maybe..." He twisted the bracelet around his wrist. "And maybe I've fucked this up too."

Daphne's parents had gone out for the evening so the two recent graduates shared an ice cream sundae and watched Spawn--the animated series not the lame-assed live action version--and every time the hellspawn killed someone, Daphne covered her eyes.

"Guys are so weird," she commented, frowning at the way Justin seemed to relish the cartoon violence even though he was probably the most sensitive male she knew.

"Spawn is totally cool." Justin took another spoonful of ice cream. "It's not just the violence, it's the angst. It's the fact that he doesn't want to do evil. He's a conflicted hero."

"Yeah, but he doesn't want to do good either," Daphne pointed out quite correctly.

Justin had to admit that she was right. "I suppose."

"All he really wants is to see his wife." She scooped up the last of the sundae. "And bitch about how unfair it is that he killed all these people when he was alive and now that he's dead he's being punished for it. Now, the cyborg in Ghost in the Shell she was cool."

He hadn't heard her last comment. Instead, he replied in a soft voice, "Sometimes people do things and they don't really think about it and then it comes back to haunt them later on."

"Justin..." She knew he was talking about Brian, as he'd gone all evening without saying anything about his lover. Which meant that he'd been on his mind constantly. "Things'll work out between you two."

He shook his head. "I don't see how." Laying his spoon in the empty dish, he took a deep breath. "Do you think I'm wrong, Daph?"

"About what?"

"About wanting him to be faithful."

"No." She turned down the volume on the television. "But he does, doesn't he?"

"He thinks I'm acting like a spoiled child." He'd lost his appetite for violence and stopped the movie. Daphne didn't complain. "Brian doesn't see anything wrong with him fucking around. He says it has nothing to do with me."

"That's not true," she replied with all of the acquired wisdom of her eighteen years on earth. "I don't understand why he can't see that."

Justin explained, "He can see it, he just doesn't want to admit it. He wants to pretend that it's all my fault, that I'm just being a kid, when he's the one who's being childish. We're supposed to be in a relationship and he's behaving like a complete asshole."

"Well," she began, "maybe it's good that you found out now. Before it was too late."

"It's already too late." He looked away as he spoke. "I can't walk away from him, Daph. I love him too much."


"I know, I know all the reasons why I should but none of those reasons matter because of the one reason why I can't."

Hurting for her friend, she wisely asked, "You haven't told him that, have you?" At the negative shake of his head, she said, "Good. Cause if you had, you'd never get him to change."

"He's not gonna change." Justin wiped his eyes. "He hates change. And he thinks I'm trying to dictate to him. But I'm not. Daph--it hurts when I think about him with someone else. I don't know why, I just know that it does."

Rejecting any perceived weaknesses on his part, she declared, "You don't have a problem, he has the problem."

"But I do," Justin begged to differ. "I have a big problem: we're not together."

"Have you seen him since...you know, since you went over to talk?" Justin had told her about their aborted attempt to have a rational discussion about their problems and how it had degenerated into another hot sex session.

"No." He studied his hands, remembering how he had sat at the table sketching Brian while he slept, not needing to see him anymore, capturing his features perfectly from memory. Not even memory, it was stronger than that, more permanent, like a part of him, like a part of his brain that got turned on when needed. "We can't keep having sex if we're not together, if we can't agree on this. I won't go back to the way things were before. I'm not a toy and I won't be played with and then put aside. If that's what he wants, then he can go fuck himself." Only he didn't feel half as confident as he sounded and Daphne knew it. She'd known him too long, listened too many times to him confess his love for Brian, helpless to control it, to escape from it even when it seemed his feelings would choke him, hurt him. Gently, she took his hand, not saying anything, just being there for him. After a moment, he gave in to the tears that he'd been holding back and she eased her arm around him and held him as he cried.

He was actually early for his session with Drew. Sat out in the waiting room while the therapist finished with his current patient. Fuck, he thought, it's official, I'm a mental case. Picking up a copy of last November's Better Homes and Gardens he lost himself in the twenty ways to make your holidays more memorable. Just as he was about to discover the secret to baking a juicier bird, Drew's four thirty appointment exited his office and his receptionist called his name. Almost reluctantly, he put away the magazine. Not that he gave a fuck about juicy turkeys, he just wasn't up to facing any inner demons this afternoon. It'd been a rough day at work, they were in the midst of wooing a potential big ticket client and he'd had to kiss major ass all day. Worse, the head of the Sales Division, a woman named Margaret Raynor, seemed to be a bit sweet on him. Her gaydar must have been totally fucked up if she thought he had the slightest interest in her. He'd half-expected her to grab his ass in the elevator but he guessed the possibility of their being joined by another passenger at any time must have deterred her. Not that he hadn't fucked women in the past, it was just that--he clamped down on the thought and put it away. He'd have to face him soon enough. Might as well wait until Drew asked.

They settled down in their customary places, Drew in the leather wing-back, Brian in one of the accent chairs scattered about the office. As usual, he positioned it near the window, drawing strength from the sunlight. After a perfunctory greeting, Drew got right down to business.

"How do you feel when you go out tricking?"

"I don't go out tricking. Not anymore."


"I was out. Things happened."

"What things? Did you approach them?"


"But you didn't tell them you were in a relationship."


"Do you consider yourself to be in a relationship?"


"What does that mean to you?"

Brian paused and glanced out of the window.

"I don't think the answer's out there."

He glared at the therapist but Drew presented an imperturbable facade.

"What does being in a relationship mean to you?"

"It means," he began, "that we love each other." Paused and added, "That we're there for each other."

"How? How are you there for each other? Give me an example."

"I support him."


Brian knew Drew was baiting him. "Emotionally."

"Do you consider his welfare to be important?"

"Of course."

"What about being faithful?"

"I am faithful."


"He comes first. Except maybe for Gus."

"What about the tricks?"

"What about them?" Brian was genuinely confused.

"How do they fit into the picture?"

"They have nothing to do with us."

"These are men you've had sex with."


"I find it hard to believe they mean nothing to you."

"Are you sure you're gay?" Brian asked.

"I'm the therapist and this is my office which means I get to ask the questions. You get your own degree and a license and an office and I'll come over and you can ask me questions." His patient looked perturbed. "So, back to my observation: I find it hard to believe these men you've slept with don't mean anything to you."

"Doc, I used to turn twenty, thirty tricks a month." At Drew's astonished look Brian smiled faintly. "So, no, they don't mean shit to me."

"Then why do it?"

"Why not?"

"Because you said Justin's important to you." Brian's smile faded completely away as if it had never made an appearance, like the sun on an overcast day right before the storm broke. He said nothing. "Brian?"

Angry that Drew had trapped him in this conundrum, he attempted to extricate himself. "So every time I do something that upsets him, I'm supposed to drop it?"

"I didn't say that. I'm just restating what you said. You said that you loved Justin, that he came first, which leads me to believe that you'd try to avoid hurting him. And you're telling me the tricking upsets him, it hurts him, and it's putting your relationship--a relationship that you seem to think is important--at risk. Have I gotten any of that wrong? Have I misinterpreted what you've said?"

"No," softly.

"So my question remains: Why do it?"

"I don't know."

"I find that hard to believe."

Brian stood abruptly. "I don't give a fuck what you believe."

Calmly, Drew said his name, "Brian." He turned. The therapist waited for him to return to his seat, which he did after a moment. "Do you desire these other men?"

"No. Not really. I mean...they're hot, I guess, but..."

"But you don't actively seek them out."


"I want you to do something for me." When Brian didn't question him, he continued. "I want you to keep a journal."

"A what?"

"And I want you to write down every time a man approaches you sexually--"

"How big is this thing supposed to be?"

"--and," continued Drew, "you're tempted to turn a trick."

"So, if I don't want him, I don't have to write it down?"

"Correct. And if you find yourself wanting a man, whether he approaches you or not, I want you to write it down as well." Seeing that Brian hadn't objected, Drew finished outlining his instructions. "I also want you to write down what you're feeling at the time. If you're horny or sad or angry, whatever."

"What if I'm not feeling anything? What if I'm just there?"

"Write that down."

"For how long?" he asked, seeing this stretch into eternity.

"Until our next session."

Brian wouldn't meet Drew's eyes as he asked, "Do you want me to include Justin?"

"Only if you're thinking about him in conjunction with one of these potential tricks." That last point he re-emphasized. "Potential tricks. I don't want you turning any tricks until we talk again. Got it?"

He plucked at the crease in his trousers. "That it?"

Drew checked his watch. "Don't get antsy. You've still got plenty of time left." He grinned. "Now. Tell me about your relationship with your mother."

Brian laughed, recognizing one of Drew's dry jokes. "Fuck you," he said, not without a breath of affection in his voice.

Although he feared meeting Justin on the dance floor, Brian let Michael and the guys talk him into hitting Babylon. Despite having had Cynthia get him the smallest notepad in the Supply Room, he still felt like he had a binder in his back pocket. And what were the guys gonna think when he whipped it out and started writing in it? Fuck, the things he let Drew talk him into. If it hadn't been for the fact that the man had actually helped him before... Shit, he grumbled silently. Maybe it'd be a quiet night and he'd get out of there without having to... He felt a hand on his ass. Turned from his dance partner and looked into a pair of beautiful eyes. Violet eyes. "No." The guy removed his hand and flashed Brian a confused look. His eyes were so beautiful...but Brian repeated his answer. "No." Having gotten the hint at last, the trick gave up and went in search of someone else. Brian abandoned the guy he'd been dancing with and made his way back to the bar where the guys were standing around bullshitting. He studied his beer on the counter then, begrudgingly, took out his notebook and began scribbling.

Emmett raised his eyebrows. "Writing the great American novel?"

"Let me guess," said Ted, "The House of Seven Gay Boys? Cockhead Revisited?"

"Gone with the Window Dresser?" Of course, that was Em.

Michael got in on the fun. "Backroom with a View?"

"As I Lay Cumming?" Ted again.

"Shut the fuck up," Brian growled. "I'm trying to concentrate."

"What are you doing?" Michael asked.

Rolling his eyes, Brian finished jotting down his thoughts and put the notebook and pencil away. "Something my therapist wants me to do," he said casually hoping against hope that they'd let it go. Yeah, fat chance.

"Did you say your therapist?" asked Em. "You have a therapist?"

"Yeah, what about it?"

Emmett sang, "I done seen about everything, when I seen an elephant fly."

Ruefully, Brian said, "Thanks for your support."

"Well, I think it's great you're seeing a shrink," Ted commented. Brian waited. "I can't wait to read about you in The Journal of Abnormal Psychology."

Enunciating clearly, Brian replied, "Kiss my ass."

"I think he's stuck in the anal stage," declared Em.

"By Freud, I think he's got it," Ted quipped and the two men avoided Brian's punching fist and melted into the crowd.

Michael finished off his beer and moved closer to Brian so they could talk without being overheard. "I think you're doing the right thing."

"Yeah, well, I'm tired of sleeping alone."

"So's he, I bet."

Brian stroked the neck of his beer bottle absent-mindedly. "I wouldn't know. We haven't spoken all week. He came over to talk on Sunday and we ended up having sex and I haven't seen him since."

Distracted by the motion of Brian's fingers, Michael pulled his attention away from what they were doing and responded to Brian's comment. "It's probably for the best. Until you clear things up."

He finished his beer and put aside the bottle. "Yeah." Debated returning to the dance floor, then decided he'd had enough. "I'm gonna go."

"You okay?"

" I'm just tired. Work was a bitch."

But Michael didn't buy it. Still, he didn't push. "Coming to breakfast tomorrow?"

"Eight thirty."

Michael added, "He might be there too. I think he's got the early shift on Saturday." Brian shrugged. "I'm just telling you. See ya."

"See ya, Mikey." Pushing his way through the crowd to the door, Brian exited Babylon, his eyes on the ground, avoiding all contact as he made his way to where the Jeep was parked. And then he cut on the overhead light, took out his notebook, and began writing.

Justin lay naked upon the comforter, a towel beneath him, his legs spread open, balls between his thighs. Slowly he moved his hands over his chest, playing with his nipples, with the ring through his tit. Grasping it in his fingers, he twisted the ring ever so slightly, sending a twinge of pain through his flesh. He loved to feel the pads of his fingers rubbing over his nipples, imagining that they were Brian's fingers. Teasing him. It only took a couple of strokes for his tits to stand at attention when Brian played with his chest. It felt even better when he sucked on them, his broad, warm tongue washing over Justin's flesh, coaxing the nubs to harden. He slid his fingers into his mouth and wet them, then pinched his nipples, coating them with saliva. God, it felt so good. Rolling his tits between his fingers. His cock was beginning to tingle a little. But it wasn't time yet. Not yet...

He allowed his hands to roam over his chest and belly, down across his ribs, over his hips and along his thighs. Turned over onto his stomach and cupped his buttocks, squeezing them lightly at first, then harder as he rubbed his cock against the bedspread. Spat on his finger, then parted his cheeks, wet his hole. He grabbed the mounds of his ass and worked them against one another, spreading the saliva around. Brushing his finger over his hole he gasped. Felt the wrinkled lips draw in, then relax. He rubbed the opening again, this time applying more pressure so that his finger pushed against the center, sinking inside. Withdrawing it, he popped the top on the tube of lubricant and pressed it against his hole, squeezed. Lube ran down between his cheeks and over his balls onto the towel. Putting the tube away, he worked his finger against the now slick orifice and held his breath as it passed through the first and second rings of muscle. Raising his behind slightly, he fucked himself with his finger, opening his ass up in preparation for what was to come.

When he felt that he was relaxed enough, Justin removed his finger and turned over. Grabbed hold of his dick and slowly began to stroke it. Sliding his hand up and down his shaft, he licked his lips and imagined that it was Brian's hand around his cock. He loved the way Brian manhandled his meat sometimes, pulling on his dick until it swelled, squeezing the head, tugging on his balls... Justin cupped his nuts and rolled them around in the palm of his hand. God, if only Brian were here to feed on his balls...he could almost feel his lips around him, feel his tongue snaking about his hole... Holding up his dick and blowing him, sucking him hard and slow the way Justin liked it. Covering every inch from base to tip. Tongue probing his piss hole. Justin ran his finger over the tip of his cock and pressed against the opening. "Yes..." He was so hard. Envisioning Brian crouched between his thighs, mouth full of slippery cock. Twisting his head as he went down on Justin.

Needing more, he moaned and got onto his knees, picked up the butt plug from the nightstand and lubed it until it shone. It had been a gift from Brian. "To keep you company on those long, lonely nights," he'd said never imagining that their nights apart would outnumber their nights together. The toy was six inches long, five inches around at the base, ribbed, and tapered to a blunt point. It glistened from the lube. Laying the vibrating control and the pump on the bed, he eased the plug into his asshole. He'd already filled it with warm water beforehand. His lips stretching, he took every inch until he was completely plugged and the ring around the base was firm against his hole. Then he flipped the switch on the vibrating control. Immediately he began to tremble and gasp as the vibrations rocked him. At this rate, he didn't know how he'd make it to the highest level. It was like an electric shock went through him. His cock throbbed and he pulled on it, aware that he was getting close to the edge. He pressed down on his balls at the base of his cock and took a deep breath, but the butt plug was still vibrating and he could barely see.

Fumbling for the control, he increased the speed and had to bite down on his lip to keep from crying out. He pulled on his dick, jacking it as the sensations in his asshole pushed him closer to the edge. Gasping, he adjusted the speed control to the highest level and grunted as he was taken to new heights of ecstasy. One hand around his cock, the other on the ball pump that controlled the ejaculation feature of the plug, Justin prepared to blow his load. His hole tightened and he felt his belly and chest begin to get hard.

Giving his dick one more tug, he squeezed the ball and warm water gushed out of the toy, washed the insides of his asshole. God, what he wouldn't give to feel Brian come inside him like that, filling him with his creamy cum. He could see himself lying on the bed after Brian had pulled out, cum running down over his balls. Brian licking his own spunk from Justin's opened hole...him tasting it on Brian's tongue as they kissed... He gave the ball another squeeze and another and then dropped it, unable to continue to work the pump as his sac had drawn up against his dick and he wanted nothing more than to come. Swallowing a cry, he ejaculated, directing the flow of jizz onto his belly. The butt plug still vibrating, Justin rode it until he was empty.

Bent over, exhausted, he fumbled for the vibrator control and switched it off. Held onto the base of the plug and removed it from his ass. It came free with a sucking sound accompanied by the trickle of water and he dropped it onto the towel. Wiped himself clean and bundled everything up, pushed it over the edge. He'd clean up later. Right now, all he wanted to do was sleep. And dream.

Justin wasn't at the diner Saturday morning. Making no attempt to disguise her disappointment in Brian for allowing this go on for so long, she explained that the teen was spending the day helping his mother repaint the living room in her new townhouse. "You should be there," she told him.

"I hate painting."

"Do you like being miserable?" she asked and he refused to answer, studying the menu needlessly. "I want you to fix this."

"How?" he asked exasperated.

"I don't know how. Just do it," she ordered. "He's a fuckin' mess." Deb peered into his eyes. "So are you."

"And after I spent an hour in the bathroom getting ready."

She popped him on the arm. "Don't be a smart-ass."

"Maybe it's not all Brian's fault," added Michael in defense of his best friend.

Emmett decided to say nothing at all and thus avoid the wrath of Mom.

Luckily Deb was too busy reaming Brian out to take on another battle. "It doesn't matter who's fault it is. I'm sick of seeing Sunshine moping around the house with a face like a cat's ass.

Coming up behind her, Ted grimaced. "Thank you for that lovely breakfast time image." Michael moved over to make room for him on his side of the booth.

"He's fuckin' eighteen, for Christ's sake. He should be having the time of his life instead of having to deal with your bullshit," she told Brian, shoving her finger in his face.

"He's trying to fix it," Michael said and Brian shot him an angry look.

"How? By hanging out with you clowns?"

Having received a visual warning, Michael clamed up. But he did say to Brian, "You might as well tell her. It's the only way she's gonna get off your back about this. And she'll find out eventually."

Quietly, Brian told her, "I'm seeing...I'm seeing a therapist." He dropped his eyes. "Maybe there's something wrong with me."

And the pain and sorrow in his voice eroded her anger. God, she could never manage to stay mad at him. Maybe because he usually hurt himself more than anyone else. She laid a hand upon his shoulder and squeezed it gently. "There's nothing wrong with you--except that you're a gorgeous, selfish prick who's gotten away with doing whatever he wanted to for way too long." She cupped the side of his face and made him look at her. "I want you to be happy, kiddo. That's all I've ever wanted for you." Taking away her hand, she whipped out her pad and pencil. "Now. What'll it be, boys?"

Ted, Emmett, and Michael ordered their usual breakfast items--Em waffling before making a decision, of course--but when she got to Brian he said, "Just some coffee."

"You can't live on coffee alone."

"I don't want anything else," he said.

Only, they knew that wasn't true. It was just that what he wanted, he couldn't find on the menu.

Justin stopped painting and sniffled. Held the roller in one hand and wiped his nose.

"Allergies?" Jen asked.

He shook his head and thumbed at his eyes.

"I'm sorry, Justin." She paused. "I should never have said anything," she said, referring to the conversation they'd had before graduation about Brian's outside activities.

"It wasn't like I hadn't thought about it. And I waited before I asked him. It's not your fault."

"Have you tried talking to him again?"

He resumed applying the primer to the ceiling. "What for? He'd only lie to me again and..." Suddenly his arms felt weak and he lowered the roller.

"How about we take a break?" she suggested.

"We just got started."

"It can wait."

So they went into the kitchen and she poured the coffee and found a couple of donuts in the refrigerator. Nuked the donuts for a few seconds and pushed the plate over to Justin. For once he didn't seem to have any appetite.

Jennifer ruffled his hair and brushed it back from his forehead. "Maybe you should go and see him."

But he disagreed. "It won't solve anything," he told her, thinking of the last conversation they'd had.

"Then it's over?"

A tear welled up in his eye and spilled over onto his cheeks. He let it fall unchecked. "I don't know."

"Is that what you want?"

"No," he answered and another tear joined the previous one.

"Then you have to do something. Justin--your dad and I had problems and we just--we just...we pretended to be too busy, too 'otherwise engaged' to deal with them."

"Do you still love him?"

She wrapped her fingers around her coffee cup. "Of course, I do. Despite everything he's said and done, he's still someone I love very much. But it's too late for us."

"Maybe not."

"Yes," she replied, "it is." And that put to rest any lingering hopes he might have had of them getting back together again. "But it's not too late for you and Brian."

He smiled through his tears. "It's so weird, you wanting us to be together. When you couldn't stand him at first."

"Well," she said, "he takes some getting used to." Smiled. "But when you do...I have to admit: he is charming."

"Too charming," declared Justin. "I want...I keep wanting to..." He turned away.

"I know."

"I still remember how it felt...the first time he told me he loved me. Even though I was in the hospital and felt like crap, I thought I could do anything because he was with me and he loved me. After waiting so long...and it was just like I imagined it would be. It felt so good. So right. I thought nothing could touch us because we belonged together." He laughed bitterly. "Like in one of Molly's fairy tale books." He wiped at his eyes. "But there's no such thing as happily ever after."

Jennifer took his hands in hers and held them tightly. "Yes, there is. But you have to work at it, Justin. And it won't be easy. That's the lie they tell you, that you let yourself believe: that once you fall in love, it's over, the tests are over. But it's not true. The truth is: falling in love is easy, it's living in love that's the hard part."

Brian's head brushed against the base of the kitchen counter each time Marcus thrust into him. On his knees, his jeans around his calves, thong underwear twisted in Marcus' hands, Brian squeezed his eyes shut and tried not to think about what he was doing. But the man's cock and his steady stream of dirty talk kept wrenching him back into the thick of his actions. He could only grunt and gasp as the trick hammered his hole, pounding him nearly senseless. Hands grabbing at the foot railing, Brian gritted his teeth and swallowed a cry that would have awakened all of the building's tenants. He felt like he was being fucked to death. "You thought you were in control, didn't you, Snow White?" Marcus asked, jabbing him hard. "I saw the way you looked at me. Didn't think I noticed, did you?" Brian groaned and tried to pull away but Marcus tightened his grip on the back of his underwear and gave him a couple of hard thrusts. "You're not going anywhere. Thought it was going to be me on my knees taking it up the ass. But look at you." He stabbed Brian's hole. "On the floor, moaning like a bitch."

Changing tactics suddenly, he began withdrawing slowly, then eased his dick back inside. "I love the way you feel... Red lips sliding over my cock... Oh yeah..." He pulled completely out. Rubbed the head against Brian's hole. "Yeah...that feels good." He inserted just the bulb of his cock. Waited. "Now," he said, "open wide." Marcus jammed his dick all the way in and pumped him rapidly. Brian's mouth fell open, saliva dripping down his chin. "Take it. Take it all. That's it, that's it, Snow White. Open up those pretty red lips for me. They're gonna be swollen when I'm done fucking you. Ah, shit! I love fucking tight man pussy. I've fucked plenty of women," he whispered, "but there's nothing like a tight man hole to make me hard." His balls knocked against Brian's ass as he continued to plow into him. "Tighten that hole. Tighten it!" he ordered and he slapped Brian's buttocks hard, making his hole spasm. "I'm gonna screw you, Snow White, 'til your lips are as red as blood." Brian felt tears spring to his eyes as the man increased the force with which he fucked him. Nine inches long with a broad flaring head that stretched his lips as he entered him, the man's cock was formidable. Brian could only crouch on the floor and take it, hope that his hole wasn't stripped when the man was done with him. Finally Marcus began to hump him, leaning over his back, forcing his cock in even deeper, withdrawing less and less until he gave a growl and came. Even with the condom separating them, Brian could still feel Marcus' dick expand, still feel the cum thick inside the head of the rubber, pressing against his hole, filling him to the bursting point.

Waiting but a moment, Marcus wrenched his cock free of Brian's asshole and the ad exec gave a cry and slumped to the floor. Marcus rubbed a thick finger over Brian's lips, swollen and red as he'd promised they'd be. Brian whimpered as the finger eased inside him. "You know you want it, Snow White. Go on, show me what you've got." And Brian turned over onto his back, his cock hard between his legs, having pushed out of his underwear. Taking hold of his dick, he began jerking off, Marcus' finger sliding deep inside him, rubbing against his prostate. "Yeah, baby... Mmmm, show me that cream." He curled his finger and Brian shouted, the pressure against his prostate too much to bear, and a stream of cum spilled over his belly. "Give me some more," demanded Marcus and he twisted his finger inside the sticky, hot asshole. Brian's muscles tensed and his dick spat out another slit full of cum. With his free hand, Marcus grabbed Brian's dick and pressed his thumb over his piss hole. Cum built up behind his fingertip as Brian continued to convulse. Then, gradually, he decreased pressure and the creamy jizz oozed from beneath his finger to run down Brian's cock.

Marcus took off as soon as he could stuff his meat back inside his pants, leaving Brian on the floor, asshole raw and burning. Before he departed, he threw a card down next to the still dazed man. "I'm usually in the city once every two weeks. Call me if you think you can handle some more."

Hearing the door shut, Brian got up gingerly, dropped off his jeans, and headed for the shower.

He'd known going to Woody's would be a mistake. Fortune had smiled upon him twice that weekend in that he hadn't run into Justin at Babylon or the diner, but he knew, eventually, his luck would change. And it had. The moment he'd stepped into the bar, he'd known Justin was there. Forcing himself not to look for the teen, Brian had joined the guys at one of the pool tables and kept his eyes on the green felt top. The guys had suggested going someplace else but he'd refused, angry that Justin was driving them away from one of their favorite places. But in the end, he'd wished that they had gone to another watering hole. Because he couldn't forget Justin was in the bar, sitting somewhere, watching him most likely. And that's when Marcus had appeared. Catching Brian's eye almost instantaneously. Tall, cinnamon-colored skin, close-cropped hair. Brian had allowed his gaze to sweep casually over his basket. And it hadn't disappointed. Tearing his eyes away from the man, he'd made his apologies to the guys and exited the bar. Had become immediately aware of someone behind him. Had heard the deep voice ask, "Where are you going? We haven't even met yet," and had known in an instant that he wanted him.

Driving home, he'd been aware of Marcus following in his car, and his cock had hardened thinking of the man's ass opening up to him. But they'd stumbled up the stairs, kissing, and by the time they'd reached the top and Brian had opened the door, things had turned completely topsy-turvy and Brian had known that he'd be the one giving it up to Marcus. The man had pushed him inside, shut the door, ripped open Brian's jeans, and pulled them down around his knees. Before Brian could have objected, Marcus had forced him to the floor and had slipped a condom over his rampant cock. Brian had only been able to kneel there waiting while Marcus had spat on his hand and rubbed the spittle over his hole and up and down his shaft. It had felt like he was being split in two when Marcus had first entered him and it had taken all of his willpower not to scream out. Gradually, his ass had relaxed and stretched enough to accommodate the man's dick but it had still been a rough ride and Brian had known he'd be sore tomorrow.

Now, Marcus gone, he stood under the shower head and washed away the soapsuds and the cum and the spit and sweat but he couldn't wash away the encounter. Suddenly, having gone weak in the knees, he slid down the wet wall of the shower and sat on the floor. And he cried. Heedless of the water pounding on his head and back. Heedless of the discomfort. Cradling his head on his knees, he let the tears come as they may, making no attempt to check them. As always, he had fucked it up. God How was he going to explain this to Drew? And how was he ever going to get Justin back after this?

The first thing the therapist noticed was how Brian wouldn't meet his eyes. Instead of confronting him about it, he asked, "Did you write in the journal?"

"Here," Brian replied, handing it over.

" I want you to read it to me."

"What is this? Fuckin' Sesame Street?"

Drew crossed his legs. "You're defensive. Why?"

"I fuckin' hate reading aloud. I hated it in first grade, I hated it in high school, I hated it in college--"

"I would have thought you were in love with the sound of your own voice," teased Drew. Brian glared at him. "Go on. Humor me."

Brian opened the notebook and began reading. With an attitude. "Saw this guy at the supermarket. I was pissed because I had to stand in this fucking eternity line for fifteen minutes. And it was the express line. Anyway, this guy had on a black Armani sweater. I have one just like it. He was hot. Black hair, grey eyes. He noticed me watching him and he blushed. Straight, but kind of curious. Wondering what it would be like to fuck a guy. I could have done him in a heartbeat." He looked up, finished.

"Read another one."

He rolled his eyes and read another entry. "Guy came up to me in Babylon and tried to grab my ass. Usually that's a big turn-off but he had really beautiful violet eyes. Probably contacts but it was a good look. Really wanted to fuck him but Drew says I should look and not touch. I wasn't feeling much of anything at the time, just a little buzzed cause I'd had a few too many beers but not high. Not really happy, just there I guess."

"Are there any more?"

"A few."

"This time just read the part about how you were feeling."

He skipped the entry on Marcus and read the one he'd written just yesterday. "I really miss him. I haven't been able to sleep for days. I'm tired and I just want to sleep. He used to rub my stomach and it helped me relax." Brian closed the notebook and sat studying the imitation leather cover.

"Tell me about Justin."

"Tell you what?"

"How does he make you feel when you think about him?"


"Right now. At this moment, how do you feel when you think about Justin?"

Brian held the notebook tight in his hands, nearly bending it in two. "Ashamed," he said at last.

"Why ashamed?"

"Because he loves me so much...and I can't be what he wants me to be."

"Do you love him?"

"Yes." He closed his eyes. "But it isn't enough."


"Because there's something wrong with me," he said and he wanted to curl into a ball and roll someplace out of sight, him, the one who always had to be uppermost in everyone's mind. He wanted to hide. To be forgotten.

"What?" asked Drew. When Brian didn't respond, he urged him to answer. "Brian?"

"I'm a heartless shit." Out of all the things they had ever said to one another, those words of Ted's had struck him and stayed buried in his side like an arrow. Joining the others that had pierced his skin over the years, that had seemed harmless at the time, now grown malignant, their poison spreading throughout his body, his soul, devouring him from within. Until Justin had come.

"You're not heartless. If half of what you've told me is true, you've cared for Justin, watched over him, protected him."

"But I'm no good for him!"

"That isn't true and you know it."

"I'm so fuckin' careless," he said miserably. "I never think first. I never think..." He could see Justin turning away from him--how many times had he turned away?--after he had said something carelessly cruel. And the sight struck him in the heart, pinning him to a tree like St. Sebastian, a martyr to his own weaknesses, his excuses, and thoughtless actions. He swallowed a sob and wrapped his arms about his middle, to protect himself from harm, only the harm was within him.

"You flipped past a page. What was it?" Brian said nothing. "Brian? Brian, what does it say?"

Turning to the page where he'd written about Marcus, Brian looked at the closely written words and he couldn't read it. "I can't."

"Why not?" But Brian didn't answer, just stood and tossed the small notebook onto Drew's lap as he walked past him. He didn't leave the office though, instead he paced about, reminding the therapist of a caged animal. Although he had wanted Brian to listen to his own words in his own voice, Drew opened the notebook and paged through it until he got to an unfamiliar entry. Started reading. "I picked up this trick at Woody's, his name was Marcus." He paused and turned to Brian. "Is this it?"

"Yes," he replied barely above a whisper.

"I know because he left me his card. I'm not too good with names. Not even Justin's, not at first. I saw him at Woody's. Justin. I didn't see him exactly, I felt him. I knew he was there but I didn't go looking for him. Only, I couldn't forget that he was in the same building as me. I thought I was going to go out of my fucking mind wanting to touch him. It didn't make any sense, it makes no sense, why we're not together. I don't know why I do these things." Drew closed the journal, his finger inside the page to keep his place. Located Brian just behind and to the left of him. He was standing with his eyes closed, tears on his cheeks. "I left the bar. I was going home. Alone. Even though I had seen Marcus and wanted him. I don't know why I wanted him, maybe," and Drew could tell that Brian had paused here because the next word was written slightly farther apart and in a slightly different handwriting, still his own but colored somehow by his agitation, "it was because what I really wanted was Justin and I can't have him. Because I'm a fucking idiot. I'm going to lose him. And all I'll have left are these tricks. Whose names I can't even remember." Brian moved again, returned to his seat, head lowered. "What have you learned about yourself?"

"I don't know!" he shouted. "You're the shrink, you tell me," and it wasn't a command, it was a plea.

"I've learned that you use sex." At that Brian shifted in his chair, eyes bright with pain and anger. "You use it as a way of not dealing with your feelings, to keep from being bored, to have something to do, to relieve stress and anxiety..."

Defensive, Brian challenged him, "So?"

"How many times have you actually enjoyed having sex with a trick?"

"I always enjoy it."

Drew accepted his challenge. "All right. Give me an example. Just one. And it can't be anyone you've subsequently gotten involved with."

That cut out Cam and Justin and the guys he'd slept with more than once. He tried to remember any of the others. Remembered the guy from the comic book store. But he hadn't enjoyed it. Had been bored during most of it and the rest of the time he'd been distracted by the drawing Justin had done of him, keenly aware of the dissatisfaction he was feeling. He remembered Marcus, remembered the sensation of the man thrusting inside him, but he hadn't really enjoyed it, because of the guilt he felt.

"You can't, can you? Thousands of tricks and you can't remember one time when you've actually enjoyed having anonymous, one-time only sex." Brian wouldn't look up. "Then why? Why do it?"

"I guess I enjoyed it at the time." But his answer sounded feeble even to him. "So you're saying I shouldn't turn any more tricks just because I've got a shitty memory?"

"I'm saying you should be aware of the reasons why you're doing them. I'm saying that if they don't make you feel anything, if they aren't fulfilling you sexually or emotionally, then you need to ask yourself what it is that you're getting from these encounters. I want you to be in control of your actions and not let your behaviors take control of you." Giving Brian a moment to absorb what he'd said, Drew continued, "These men that you trick with, they're controlling you, using you." When Brian's head snapped up, Drew new he has scored a direct hit. "You think you're using them but what are they getting from you? Just your body? I don't think so. I think, slowly but surely, they're taking your identity away from you. Each time you fuck some guy he takes away another piece of you." He paused. "And it doesn't have to be that way."

Brian said in a soft voice, "You don't know what it's like...to have them look at you with..."

"With what?"

"With expectations in their eyes. It's like this incredible rush... better than anything. Better than drugs, than money, than the sex you're about to have..."

"At what cost?"

"So the answer's not to do it at all?"

"No, the answer is to know yourself." He waited a moment. "I want you to take a good, hard look at your life. Before you met Justin, what did you do besides work and trick?" Brian didn't answer. "What did you do to relax? To take your mind off of your problems?"

"Took drugs," he replied almost under his breath. "Had sex." He paused. "Talked to Mikey."

"You and Michael, did you ever...?"


"Why not?"

"He's my best friend."

"And you were never tempted."

"I've known him since we were fourteen."

"That's not what I asked you."

"I started to jack him off once, when we were kids, but his mom walked in on us." The infamous Patrick Swayze Incident.

"And never again?"


"Why do you think that is?"

"I told you, he's my best friend."

"Someone who cared about you, listened to you, supported you." As his words sank in he continued, "So sex was sex and friendship was something else, something separate."

"Except for Cam," Brian replied in a low voice. God, he hadn't wanted to deal with Cam again but the words had just come out of him without any warning.

"Cam?" Drew was confused, he'd never heard Brian mention a Cam before.

"My first lover." Three little words that meant more than he could ever explain, even if he had a thousand sessions, a hundred thousand.

Sitting back after having leaned forward to hear Brian's explanation, Drew was astounded. "Cam."

Brian stood again, gazed out of the window. He'd known that eventually they'd get around to Cam and he was sure he didn't want to open up that can of toxic waste after having closed the lid on it finally.

"What happened to him?"

"He left me."


"I found out he was turning tricks and I asked him to stop. He wouldn't. I thought I could handle it but... So he left," he replied, knowing that Drew would latch onto it like a leech.

Drew was stunned, yet overjoyed to have found this out. Far from explaining everything it, nevertheless, supplied additional missing pieces of the puzzle. "I'm sorry. It must have been very painful."

Brian shrugged. "It happened a long time ago. We were young, we didn't know how to deal with anything. And afterwards I thought... I figured..."

"What, Brian?"

"That it was better not to get hurt."

"How do you avoid getting hurt?"

"By not caring at all," he said, and he returned to his chair.

"Until Justin," suggested Drew.

He agreed. "Until Justin."

"Do you consider Justin to be a friend?"


"And yet you have sex with him. How do you work that out in your mind?"

Brian shook his head. "I didn't have a choice." He smiled, the first time during the entire session. "He wouldn't leave me alone."

"A man who knows what he wants." Drew watched as Brian's whole demeanor changed. He seemed less burdened somehow, even though Justin and their relationship was the reason why he was in therapy. "You must love him a great deal."

"I do," Brian said simply, no embellishments, no grand gestures. "I love him."

"I think it's time I talked to Justin."

Brian sat up in his chair. "No." Just imagining them here together, helpless beneath Drew's probing mind, terrified him.

"You don't have to be here. I can see him alone or with you in the room but we can't go any further with this without him."

"This has nothing to do with him."

"We both know that isn't true." When no further objections were raised, Drew directed Brian to leave Justin's number with his secretary. "She'll call and make the arrangements. He does know that you're seeing me?"

"He knows that I have seen you, that time before. I didn't tell him I'd started coming again but he probably knows. Deb knows so he probably does. We haven't really talked in over a week."

"Why not?"

Brian fixed his gaze on Drew. "Because we only end up fighting. Or fucking. And neither one of those things is going to solve our problems." And he fell silent.

If he'd gotten a call from Ed McMahon saying he'd won the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes he couldn't have been more surprised than when he answered the phone and heard the woman on the other end of the line identify herself as Dr. Becker's secretary. He knew who Dr. Becker was, remembered Brian telling him about the therapist. But to hear his secretary ask him if he could make it to one of Brian's sessions, this Thursday if it was convenient, Justin wasn't prepared at all for that. Still, he managed to find his voice and to assure her that he'd be able to come. Five thirty. Hanging up, he wondered if this was the miracle he'd been waiting for. Although, having talked to a therapist once with his mom when she found out he was gay, he didn't intend to bank on it.

"My name is Dr. Becker but you can call me Drew. Is it okay if I call you Justin?"

The teen in question glanced over at Brian, brooding in the corner, emanating an air of discontent and suffering, before answering. "Sure."

"Let me explain the rules." Justin grimaced. More rules. "Brian is going to sit over there and listen while you and I talk for a while. He's not allowed to say anything until we're done or unless one of us asks him a direct question. Is that clear?"

"Yes," replied Justin.

"Is that clear?" Drew asked Brian.

Rolling his eyes, he answered, "Yeah."

"Now, Justin, you know why you're here."

"Sort of."


"Because Brian and I are having some problems." Hearing it said like that made the entire thing seem so simple when it was anything but.

"What kind of problems?"

"Didn't he tell you?"

"I want to hear your take on things."

Justin caught his bottom lip between his teeth and held onto it for a moment. "I found out Brian's been turning tricks and I want him to stop but he won't."


Confused, Justin asked, "Why what?"

"Why do you want him to stop?"

"Because we're in a relationship."

"What does that have to do with his tricking?"

"He's fucking other men!" Justin replied hotly.

Refusing to indulge the momentary outburst, Drew remained calm. "What does that have to do with being in a relationship?"

"You're supposed to be faithful."

"And he's not faithful to you?"

"How can he be if he's out turning tricks?"

"Is that what fidelity means to you?"

"Isn't that what it means to everyone?"

"I'm asking you."

"Yes. That's what fidelity means to me. It means you don't fuck other people when you're in a relationship."

"Before you found out, how had his tricking affected your relationship?"

The question threw him. "I don't understand."

"Had you noticed any change in his behavior?"


"Did you have sex less frequently?"


"Was he there for you when you needed him?"

"Yes. But--"

"But what, Justin?"

"That's not the point," he replied not feeling very confident about his answer at all.

"Then explain what you mean by being in a relationship and being faithful."

Justin stared at Drew as if he'd suddenly grown two heads and Brian wanted to laugh. He'd been on the receiving end of one of Drew's barrage of questions on more than one occasion and sometimes after they were done with a session he felt lucky to still have any of his wits about him.

Drew folded his hands. "Justin, you were going to explain what it means to be in a relationship and to be faithful."

"It means..." he began and then stopped. Started again. "It means that you're committed to someone."

"Did you believe that Brian was committed to you?"


"Then what changed? Other than the fact that you found out he's been having sexual relations with other men."

"We're not together anymore."

"That was your choice, wasn't it?"

"Yes, but I couldn't--" He fell silent.

"So you chose to end your relationship. Brian slept with a number of men and chose to stay in your relationship and you found out and chose to end it."

Angry, Justin lashed out at Drew. "It's not the way you make it sound!"

"How do I make it sound?"

"Like it's my fault. Like I'm wrong for wanting him to be faithful to me. And I don't care how you try to twist the facts--"

"I haven't twisted any facts. Brian had sex with other men. You found out. You told him to stop. He wouldn't stop. You walked out on your relationship. Have I said anything that's untrue?"

"He made me leave."

Sitting forward Drew studied Justin's face. "How?"

"He wouldn't-- He wouldn't..." Justin didn't finish his thought.

"He wouldn't do what you wanted, is that what you're trying not to say?"

"You make it sound like I'm being unreasonable."

"Does it sound that way to you?"

"Yes!" He avoided looking at Brian. This hadn't gone at all like he'd thought it would. "You're saying I'm wrong to want him to have sex with me and only me."

"No," said Drew, "I'm trying to find out why you feel it's necessary for him to do so."

"Because it hurts me."

"But only after you found out."

"So it's okay for him to lie to me?"

"No." On that he was firm. "No, it wasn't okay for him to lie to you. He should have been honest with you from the beginning about his intentions." There was no objection from the corner so Drew continued. "So, let's get back to my question: why is it necessary for you and Brian to be in a sexually exclusive relationship?"

Softly Justin said, "Because that's the way it's supposed to be. You meet someone and you fall in love and you're supposed to love only them."

"Do you really think Brian loves any of those men?"

"No. I know he doesn't."

"Then what has he done wrong?"

A tear fell from Justin's eye and streaked his cheek. "I don't want anyone else touching him."

Drew leaned back in his chair. "Okay, now we're getting somewhere. How does it make you feel when someone else touches him?"



"Because he's my lover, not theirs." He wiped his face.

"So you're jealous." Justin didn't reply, he didn't need to. Drew turned and caught Brian sniffling and rubbing his eyes. "Do you feel that loving someone gives you the right to control their lives?"

"I'm not trying to control him."

"You want him to stop doing something because you said so, because you can't deal with your jealousy. Wouldn't you call that trying to control someone?"

"I would do the same for him."

"Has he asked you not to be with other people?"

"He knows I wouldn't."

"Have you ever asked him what he expects from you?"

"I would never be unfaithful to him and he knows it. This is a fucking joke!"


"Just because he wants to do something doesn't make it right."

"You're right. It doesn't. But we're not talking about moral absolutes. We're talking about real life and real people. You fell in love with a man, a real person, not a perfect being. And this man that you fell in love with is telling you that he doesn't consider sexual monogamy to be the same thing as fidelity. He's telling you that he loves you, that he'll be there for you, and all you have to do is to let go of the idea that sex outside of your relationship is wrong. Now, whether it's wrong or not in a perfect world, doesn't matter. This is the world you have to live in so you have to make a decision."

Brian's chest felt tight suddenly and he wanted to cry out and stop Drew from taking them to this point because he wasn't at all sure that Justin wouldn't just get up and leave.

"Either you stay with him or you end it all. No conditions, no promises, no IOUs... Take him as he is or walk away from him."

Justin looked down at his hands. He felt the tears rolling down his face and yet he was too weak to wipe them away. He was aware of Brian sitting in the corner, on the edge of his seat, waiting for his decision. They were both so afraid that this was the end that they could hardly breathe.

Not at all certain that he was doing the right thing at this moment, Drew prodded softly, "Justin...?" The teenager raised his head. "I know it's hard, it's probably the hardest thing you've ever had to do but you have to make a decision."

"I can't leave him."

"Yes, you can. If that's what you want."

Brian started to speak then remembered his promise. With difficulty, he remained silent.

"I don't want to leave him," the teen said softly. "I love him."

"Warts and all?" asked Drew smiling gently.

Justin smiled through his tears. "Warts and all."

Feeling that he had been released from his promise, Brian piped up, "I do not have warts."

"Who told you you could speak?" asked the therapist. He turned to Justin. "He's definitely not perfect."

Giving himself permission to look at Brian, Justin replied, "It's okay."

"You sure?" Justin nodded. Drew signaled to Brian and the man took his place at Justin's side. Reached for Justin's hand and then stopped mid-action. Becker noticed and shook his head. "Go on." Brian closed his hand around Justin's and nearly sighed. Justin looked over at him and laced his fingers through Brian's. Then Drew spoke. "Just don't get too comfortable. You two aren't done. This is just a beginning. A very good beginning but you're not done by a long shot. I want you to do something for me." He watched as Brian's face darkened with comprehension. "An assignment."

Michael kissed his mom in greeting and sat down next to his Uncle Vic on the sofa. "So, I guess it's official, the Boy Wonder and Fuckman are back together again."

"Yep," Vic replied.

"You probably won't see Justin ever again."

Deb frowned. "Actually, he's been home every night since they made up."

Vic concurred. "I don't think they're sleeping together."

He got up and grabbed a soda from the fridge. "That doesn't make any sense."

At that moment the object of their conversation walked through the door. "Hey."

"Hey," Michael replied. "Where's Brian?"

Just then a second person came through the door. Someone who was most emphatically not Brian. All three members of the Grassi-Novotny clan blinked, not believing their eyes. He was a twink, maybe twenty-one, twenty-two, curly brown hair, green eyes. He turned to Justin, uncomfortable with the scrutiny. "You sure this is okay?"

"Sure. They're just...different." He tugged on the guy's arm. "It's this way." And they disappeared upstairs into his room.

Michael closed his mouth. "What the fuck was that all about?"

"I don't know but I think it's time for some divine intervention," said Deb.

Checking his watch, Vic announced, "Well, it's not midnight yet so, technically, he can have whomever he wants up there."


"No buts." Vic picked up the paper. "You wanna go see a movie?"

Justin heard the door close downstairs and relaxed. This would go a whole lot easier if they weren't down there listening. Elliot kissed the side of his neck and pulled up his tee-shirt, his fingers reaching for his tits. As Justin fumbled with the zipper on his jeans, he wondered if Brian had had any luck.

At that moment Brian was lying on his bed, some guy telling him he was beautiful and he couldn't help but wonder if Justin was up in his room getting laid.

"So what happened?" asked Drew.

"I picked up this guy at Babylon and took him home."

"Same thing." Brian replied.


"And what?"

"What happened?"

"We had sex." Brian looked at Drew as if he had suddenly asked what planet they were on.


"And what?"

"And what did you feel?"

"I didn't feel anything."

"I wanted it to be over," Justin said. He paused and Brian looked questioningly at him. They hadn't discussed the tricks before now. "He wasn't that good."

"And did you feel jealous?" Drew waited for Justin to answer.

"No. Not really."

"Why not?"

"I guess because I knew he really wanted to be with me. Because we had talked about it."

"So it didn't bother you?"

The teen glanced at his lover before answering. "It bothered me. Some."


A little ashamed of his possessiveness, Justin replied, "I still don't like the idea of someone else touching him."

"What about you? Does it bother you to think about Justin with someone else?"

Remembering how he had felt when he saw Justin with Sean in the backroom at Babylon, remembering Justin's words the next day at the diner, I told him he could see me in his dreams, Brian replied, "No. Because I know he's not trying to hurt me. I know they don't mean anything to him, that what he really wants is me."

"Now, here's what I want you to do next."

"Next? Wait a minute, Doc, can we or can we not have sex?" Justin nodded enthusiastically, all for the idea. "With one another?"

"Not exactly. Not yet."

"Fuck," Justin groaned. He was gonna die if he didn't get with Brian soon.

"Just one more thing. Trust me, you'll feel better if you do this."

Brian looked skeptical. "Why don't I believe you?"

Sliding past the bouncer. Feeling the man's hand brush against his hip in a movement that is so smooth, so soothing, that he presses back in answer. His heart beats in time to a thumping bass line coming from the depths of the club. Babylon. Promises, promises. Sweat beads up on his brow in anticipation. All around him, men gyrate on the dance floor. Strobe lights pick out heads, torsos here and there. Fireflies in the night.

Saying nothing, he turns down one, two, three offers to join the seething mass. They like what they see: muscular frame, deep brown eyes, smooth skull, skin like light brown sugar... He keeps on moving. Weaving in and out of the crowd. Penetrating deeper and deeper. In search of something--someone special. Already so hot that he feels like coming out of his shirt. The nearly see-through lycra material scrapes his nipples. They stand out from his chest. Sensitive. Tingling.

From behind someone touches him. Hand presses between his shoulders. He turns and the man slips his arm around his waist and draws him into his personal space. Not asking. Commanding. Whispering with his hazel eyes: Don't think. Don't worry. Just move. Come on. Usually he's the one who moves first, who does the mesmerizing. But this guy, he's something special. Shaking off his misapprehensions, he begins to dance.

His partner grins, then closes his eyes. They are already connected. He knows without looking where Nic is at all times. Bodies never more than a foot apart. The music twines about them, draws them closer. Despite the heat, they come together. Two palms cup his ass and his cock grinds against another. When the hands move on, up, he grabs the other man's ass to keep them together. Fuck. Yeah. "Brian," the man mouths.

"Nic." The hands slide under his shirt, up his ribs. Hot flesh on hot flesh. The thumbs brush over his nipples and he throws his head back, thrusts his hips forward. A hundred circles are drawn over and around the tips, each one urging him to thrust harder, faster. His t-shirt is up around his armpits. Men look on fascinated by his hard body..

One breaks from his partner and sidles up behind him. Nic is barely aware of him, but his body responds. Buttocks switch from a thrusting motion to a stroking one. Rubbing against the man's crotch. Feeling his cock swell. Neck exposed, he moans as his first partner begins to kiss his throat. He is being humped from both sides. His t-shirt is pulled over his head. Greedy hands scrabble over his chest, his shoulders, his belly. Fingers undo his belt. Unzip his pants.

Nic tastes a tongue in his mouth. Feels a hand on his cock. His pants are opened... The music throbs. His cock surges. They need some privacy. Brian crooks his finger. He picks his shirt up from the floor. Leaves with the other two dancers. Every other man in the club readjusts his cock and tries to forget that he isn't part of the departing group.

Brian has a jeep. Heedless of the danger, Nic gets in front, next to him. He's never been in a situation he couldn't handle. "That's Justin," Brian says as the other man--a teenager really--climbs in back. Head brushing against the headrest, he licks his lips as they fondle him. The boy, Justin, twists his head around and kisses him from the back seat, sucking on his tongue. He catches a glimpse of himself in the rearview mirror. This is going to be one hot night.

Nic, like everyone else who had ever passed through the apartment, noted that Brian had a fuckin' fabulous loft but he only spared it a second as there was a much more spectacular view before him: Justin's ass switching as he walked. Those jeans were leaving nothing to the imagination. And that was just one half of the feast. Catching a glimpse of Brian out of the corner of his eye, he smiled. Slender, good shoulders, long legs, and those lips... Meeting a couple like this had always been a dream of his. Justin took his hand and guided him to the bedroom. To the bed. Huge. An alter to sensuality. The blue neon light above the bed cast everything in a haze that revealed the room's real purpose: sex.

He allowed Justin to remove his shirt while they kissed, him squeezing and kneading the teenager's plump ass. To fuck that ass, hear him moan through those thick lips... Brian came up behind his lover and kissed his neck, pulled his t-shirt over his head to bare his shoulders which he licked. While Justin and Nic continued to kiss. Brian's hands met his as they covered every inch of the boy's torso and back in a hurried but studious manner. Brian rubbed Justin's tits, his belly, fingers becoming entwined momentarily in his gold waist chain. Then he unbuttoned and unzipped Justin's pants. Nic helped him push the jeans down around the teenager's knees and then Brian fondled his cock and balls while Nic concentrated on his ass: Brian content to feel him through his underwear, Nic reaching inside to cup his bare flesh.

Two men were touching him, pleasuring him. He felt his cock respond to Brian's confident strokes, his ass tingled as Nic's fingers inched down between his cheeks to probe for his hole. And then Nic and Brian kissed over his shoulder, their lips pressed tightly together, Brian chewing on the man's mouth the same way he gnawed on Justin's. For a moment the boy was jealous, angry that Brian was kissing a stranger the way he kissed him and then Brian pulled away from Nic and eased Justin's head around, kissed him hungrily, his hand tightening around his lover's cock, and Justin forgot to be jealous, forgot to be angry, forgot where he was...

The two older men stripped and then dropped to their knees. Finished pulling Justin's clothes off. Nic lifted the teen's cock and licked the meaty head. Heard Justin sigh. Wouldn't be long before he'd start moaning, Nic guessed. Behind Justin, Brian kissed his ass, brushing his cheek against Justin's, sliding his hand between his thighs to stroke his sac, thumb his hole. And then Justin gasped and Brian's head moved lower as he ate out Justin's ass. But Nic focused his attention on the mouthful before him. Gave him a long, slow lick all the way from the base to the tip. Took the teen's cock into his mouth and began sucking him off. As he had imagined, it didn't take long for Justin to start moaning, and it drove him crazy, that low moan so much deeper, huskier than his normal speaking voice. Nic's dick twitched a little. Oh, man, to be buried to the balls in his ass hearing him moan like that. Nic increased pressure on Justin's cock, tightening his lips around the base and Justin rose up on his tiptoes.

It took Brian a second to get used to hearing Justin moan for someone else yet it still made him hot, still made him want to fuck Justin until he screamed. And tonight he had to share him, had to share his little boy with someone else and he clamped down on a sudden desire to get rid of their guest. They had all night, more than enough time to fulfill all their needs.

He lay on the bed, on his back, legs akimbo while they devoured him, both men at his cock, licking and sucking it, then his balls... raising his legs and going for his hole. If there was anything better than the taste of Justin's meat, it was his ass, and Nic worked his tongue in and around the rosy hole until his head swam and his cock stiffened. Gradually all three shifted positions until they formed a rough circle: heads at groins, cocks in mouths. It didn't matter who sucked whom as the energy formed by their actions circulated among the three of them, making them harder, hungrier.

Almost as if they were connected, both Nic and Brian moved to Justin's head and held out their dicks. The teen got to his knees and alternated between the two of them, doing his best to please two demanding men, sucking two succulent cocks. Moving as close to him as they possibly could, they experimented with easing both their hard, hot heads into his mouth. Justin's lips stretched around them, unable to take them both entirely but what he did manage to stuff into his mouth, he licked furiously.

Whenever Nic's dick brushed against Brian's inside Justin's mouth, both men moaned. God, to feel another man's cock head rubbing against your own, forced to occupy the same confined space... There was something about the situation that aroused them, it was like being imprisoned and forced to take pleasure whatever pleasure you could with your cellmate, regardless of your feelings for him. Only, they had no inhibitions to stand in their way.

After a few minutes of being blown, both men moved to his hips. They wanted his hole. Brian slid a well-lubed finger inside Justin and gave him a few strokes. Then Nic joined him, their two fingers working him until he relaxed, his lips becoming more and more pliable. As they finger fucked him, they kissed. Nic loved the feel of Brian's mouth on his, remembering how those same lips had felt wrapped around his cock during their circle suck. Definitely could do with some more of that. Maybe Brian would even let him fuck him, fuck that tight little ass. He got off on riding another top, especially one as beautiful as Brian. Something of what he desired must have shown on his face because Brian lowered his head and lapped at his cock, still working his finger in and out of Justin's hole.

Nic's cock sank into Brian's mouth and every time a pulse went through his dick he thrust his finger hard into Justin so that it was as if Brian were fucking Justin with his mouth and tongue. He felt so connected to them, to the man and his teenaged lover, that it seemed to him as if he had had always been here having sex with them.

Justin began moaning even louder as they played with his ass, twisting their fingers as they penetrated and withdrew, curling the tips, alternating in their strokes. Brian released Nic's cock and looked up at him. Without speaking he communicated his desire, Justin's desire.

And Nic understood. "Are you sure?"

Brian leaned over and kissed Justin's shoulder. "You sure, baby?" Justin could only manage to nod. "You wanna stop, you say it and we'll stop."

But Justin shook his head. "I wanna do this."

Muscles bulging, kneeling with his thighs spread wide apart, Nic held Justin steady as the teen climbed onto his lap and felt for his dick, positioned it against his hole which was smeared with lube, and lowered his hips. As always there was a little pain but he took Nic with no more difficulty than he experienced with Brian. Hooking his feet behind Nic's thighs, Justin slowly impaled himself. He rested against Nic's chest, solid with muscle, while he adjusted to his thickness and length. "Oooo," he sighed and he rose up again, Nic's dick sliding out of him. He paused at the tip and took another inch in before stopping again. Waited. Nic, entranced by the gold ring through his tit, tugged on it with his teeth making Justin hiss. Encouraged by Justin's reaction, Nic licked his nipple and was rewarded with a smile.

Brian lubed his cock even though he had slathered lubricant over and inside Justin's hole and over Nic's meat but he didn't want anything to go wrong, didn't want Justin to feel any unnecessary pain. He had been in threesomes before but never where the bottom had consented to take both of them at once. Kneeling between Nic's thighs, Brian grasped his dick by the base with one hand and gently eased his finger into Justin's ass alongside Nic's cock. With the greatest of care, he worked his finger all around Justin's hole while Nic groaned and grunted, crazed by the feel of Brian's finger rubbing up against him. Brian listened and watched for any sign that Justin might have changed his mind, might be experiencing pain but the teen only moaned and muttered the way he did when he was aroused. And Brian whispered to him, "You are so hot. My hot little boy. Nobody's better than you." He eased his cock inside Justin's hole, pressing against Nic's shaft. "You can take it. Take all of it. Take it all. Open that hole. Open your hot, little hole."

Justin's mouth fell open and he gave a cry as Brian entered him, stretching his lips to the limit. Brian paused, waiting for his signal. "Don't stop," he moaned. Reached back and ran his hand over Brian's hip. "Don't stop." A tear squeezed out of the corner of his eye and he bit his lower lip as Brian continued his slow entry.

Nic stroked his ass, kneaded it, hoping to relax him, to arouse him, take his mind off of the discomfort he was feeling but the truth was he was barely holding it together himself. It felt fuckin' incredible the edge of Brian's head raking against his shaft as it inched up Justin's hole. The way the other man's dick forced his tight against the inner walls of the teen's ass. He could feel every gradation in texture, could have mapped the surface for future explorers on the basis of his experiences.

Stopping with just two-thirds of his meat embedded, Brian paused to let them all adjust to the tight fit. Justin's chest was rising and falling rapidly. He kissed the teen's shoulders and neck, whispered in his ear, "I love you."

Justin turned his head and they kissed. Then he said, low and smoky, "Fuck me." The timbre and tone of his voice sent a shiver down Brian's spine. "Fuck me," he said again and Brian's cock throbbed.

Then Brian began to move again, withdrawing just as slowly as he had entered his lover. When he reached the entrance of Justin's hole, he paused but a moment before penetrating him once more. This time the movement was quicker, smoother. Instead of plumbing his depths, Brian opted to keep his strokes fairly shallow, to acclimate them all to the feeling, the fit first.

There wasn't much Nic could do but remain still, his position didn't allow for much else, still it didn't matter, he was in fuckin' heaven, the way Brian's shaft slid against his inside the teen's tight hole was making him crazy. He'd never felt anything like it; not even when he'd jacked off with some guy, his hand around both their dicks, it hadn't been like this.

God, Nic's cock felt amazing. Even through two condoms he could feel the thick vein that ran down the belly of his dick and every time it pulsated Brian cried out. "Oh, fuck..." he moaned. "Oh..." It was as if he had two cocks, they were so close, so intimately entwined.

Nic changed positions, put his arms out behind him for support and began pumping his hips, thrusting his cock up into Justin and the new motion kicked things up a notch, driving the breath from their lungs. Nic moaned as they pumped their hips, jabbing Justin's ass. "Shit!" he uttered and a spasm gripped his belly. Oh God, how much longer could he stand this? And then he heard Brian again.

"Fuck, baby. You are the best. The best. Oh, baby. Oh, baby," he whispered and it sounded like a prayer.

Justin twisted above them, his hole continuing to adjust to the onslaught of two dicks. Whereas they had been gentle at first, now they gave over to their desires, stabbing his asshole with abandon, trusting him to call a halt to the proceedings if it proved to be too much. But he just rode them, cries erupting like lava from his lips to flow over them, burning their skins, compelling them to jump and twitch. Never in his wildest dreams had he ever seen himself like this. He didn't even know who he was. If he had seen his face at that moment, it would have been the face of a stranger and yet it was his face. Had this person he'd become been there all along, waiting for someone to find him, to discover him hidden among the sketch books and the school uniforms, the Mountain Dew cans, and Moby CDs, concealed by Justin's innocence? Waiting for Brian to arrive, to hold out his hand and say, 'Come with me.' Justin gave a strangled cry and his hole tightened around them. "Oh, God..." His head fell forward and he rose up and slumped down again.

"That's it, baby. That's it," moaned Brian. "Fuck those cocks. You fuck em." He slipped one hand between Justin and Nic, closed his fingers around the teen's rock-hard cock. It throbbed and he felt the sticky wetness of precum ooze from its hole. He squeezed the head and Justin's ass tightened around them. Justin began pumping his ass ever so slightly, forcing his dick through Brian's fist. The motion of his hips sent the two men spiraling out of control and they poked his hole, their strokes uneven and ragged.

Their bodies were slick with sweat and Nic felt like he had traveled to the mouth of a volcano and jumped inside. His balls ached and his cock was raw from rubbing up against Brian's. Justin bucking above them spurred him on towards his climax. Squeezing his eyes shut, he shouted and came. He wondered how it felt to Brian, having another man's cock throb against yours as he blew his load and then he didn't have to wonder as Brian erupted. The sensation of Brian's dick pulsing, expanding in the confined space ripped another spurt out of him. If it felt this good to him, Christ only knew how it felt to Justin... But his question was answered as the teen whimpered, jerking about, and then his entire body stiffened and he cried out, "Fuck!" Nic's belly became wet with the teenager's cum. "Oh, fuck..."

Brian continued to pull on his cock, drawing out every last drop. "That's it, baby. Drench him." He rubbed his fingers over the teen's piss hole, a final surge of cum dribbling from the tip. "Oh, yeah, baby." He kissed Justin's neck, his wet hair brushing against his lips. "That's my baby... That's my little boy."

By the time Nic left the next morning they had fucked two more times in the night: him mounting Brian and Brian mounting him, each of them sucking Justin off as they were pounded from behind. In between the main events there had been plenty of horseplay, plenty of cock sucking and ass eating. When they finally settled in for a couple hours sleep, they were thoroughly drained. Nic didn't know where he found the strength to get up and dress but he did. Accepting a cup of coffee, he leaned against the counter and stared at them, sitting together at the dining table, not touching, yet connected. It was as if an invisible cord ran from one to the other. He could see that, could see that what they had given him was more than sex, more than one night's passion, they had let him into their lives, if only for a brief moment. And as satisfied as he was by the sex they had had, he couldn't help but feel a little sad, standing on the outside as it were. He knew, without even asking, that there wouldn't be a repeat of the night's activities. They had had him, didn't need him. They were enough, in and of themselves.

Placing his coffee cup on the counter, he smiled and made his way to the door unescorted. Just as he was about to pull it open, he heard them behind him. Turned. Justin kissed him softly and gave him a shy smile. Nic had never seen a more beautiful one. He thought he would never forget it. Then the teenager walked away, leaving him with Brian. Who didn't smile, only gave him a thoughtful look, his lips slightly parted. He leaned into Nic and kissed him as well, but not softly, not shyly as Justin had. When they broke away from each other, Nic was breathing a little faster. Fuck, he could feel his cock stir. It was then that Brian grinned and pulled open the door. Understanding perfectly, Nic walked out of the loft. And out of their lives. For good.

Brian returned to the bedroom to find Justin pulling clean clothes from his drawers. "You too?"

Softly, "Yeah."

He gathered the teen into his arms. Kissed him and the effect on Justin was much the same as it had been on Nic. "You sure?"

"We promised Dr. Drew," he said, pulling away with more than a little regret.

Grumbling, Brian went to hunt for something to put on as well so he could take Justin home.

The therapist waited until they were both seated and comfortable before asking his first question of the session. "How was it?"

Ever consider a career as a pornographer?" Brian asked.

"All the time," confessed Drew. "I used to dream of being Chi Chi LaRue. So?"

"Ask sexy boy."

Justin grinned. "It was fucking intense."

"Yeah. Come on, don't be stingy. I want details."

As Brian laughed, Justin satisfied the therapist's needs. "We picked up this totally hot guy at Babylon and took him back to the loft and fucked all night long."

"All of you?"

"All of us. I even took both of them inside me at the same time."


"Is that your learned opinion as a therapist, Doc?" asked Brian.

"No," he replied, "it's my personal comment as a horny, gay man."

"My ass is still a little sore," Justin revealed, "but it was worth it."

"And how did it feel, to see Brian with someone else?"

"At first it bothered me, that someone else could make him feel the way I do and then he looked at me and he kissed me and I realized that no one else could. That out of all the guys he could have picked to be with, to have in his life, he picked me." Justin smiled. "I guess that makes me pretty special."

"I guess it does," agreed Drew.

"And you should have seen Nic's face when he pushed inside me. It was like he had never fucked anyone like me before."

Brian said, "He hadn't. And he never will again."

"How about you?" Drew turned to the older of the pair. "How did it make you feel?"

Brian was silent for a long while as he thought of all the things he could possibly say and then he spoke. "Lucky. That he's with me, that he loves me and puts up with my shit." He glanced down momentarily and then back up again. "He makes me feel like I deserve to be loved. That I'm worth having."

As Drew listened to Brian's words, he wished he could convince the man to stick with the therapy after this crisis had passed but he knew Brian would refuse. So all he could do was deal with the problem at hand. "Okay, the fun part is over, now comes the hard part. I think you need to establish some ground rules about tricking. I think you can do that now and stick to them since you know where you stand. So how about it?" Neither of them dissented. "Good. Let's start with the big question: Is it allowed? Is it acceptable for the two of you to have sex outside of your relationship?"

"It's okay," Justin answered.

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure. I know that he loves me and I love him. There's no one out there who can change that."

Drew wrote down on a sheet of legal paper: Non-monogamous at this stage. "You know," he explained, "that you can change this at any time, provided you talk about it. You might find that things have changed, that it's important for you to have a monogamous relationship at some juncture, but whatever you decide, talk about it first and really be honest about your feelings." He caught Brian looking a little put-out. "All right, enough of the touchy feely stuff. Next question. Do you think it's a good idea to talk about it after it happens? Do you want to know when the other one's picked up someone?"

"I guess it depends on why it happened," said Justin.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, if it's just fucking some guy cause he's hot, then I don't need to know. But if it's because there's some problem between us, then I want to know."

"You agree with that?"

Brian nodded. "Only, it shouldn't get to that point. We ought to be able to talk about our problems," he said mimicking the tone Drew took whenever he was lecturing him about opening up.

"You promise to do that?" asked Drew. "To talk about what's bothering you?"

"I'll try," he replied, suddenly serious.

So Drew wrote down: Talk about tricking only if there's a problem. "What about where the tricking takes place?"

Justin squirmed and Brian noticed. "What?"

"I don't want you fucking some guy in our bed."

"Our bed?"

"Our bed."

"What about your bed at Deb's?"

"There either. There's plenty of other places to fuck."

"What if we pick up someone together?"

"Then it's okay.

Drew smiled. Wrote as he spoke. "No tricking in the bed unless you're in a threesome together."

Brian raised his eyebrows and said to Justin, "You're a freak." The teen giggled.

"Good. Let's recap. No tricking in the bed and if you're tricking because there's a problem between the two of you, then you need to talk about it. Anything else?"

"No seeing the same guy twice," Brian added.

"You agree?" Justin agreed. "Okay, no repeats." Wrote it down. "Anything else?"

"No one we know," suggested Justin. "No friends or co-workers," he clarified.


"Believe me, I've learned my lesson." At Drew's confused look, he explained, "You don't want to know."

For a moment Justin wondered if he ought to tell Brian how he got off, why Kip dropped the lawsuit and then he decided, for better or worse, not to reveal his secret. Not yet.

"What about turning tricks when you're together? Do you want to be there watching Brian with another man and vice versa?"

Justin curled his lips in a sexy grin. "Might be kinda hot."

"You must have really enjoyed yourself the other night," Drew commented. He smiled. "I think you're going to be just fine. But I want you to do something for me." Brian groaned. "No, no, it's not like that. I want you to take these rules and put them somewhere safe and don't forget them. Take them out and look at them every once in a while and talk about it, see if they're still working for you. And if they're not, change them. And if you need help, come back and see me and we'll talk about it together. Just as long as you both agree." He grinned, anticipating Brian's reaction to his next statement. "And one last thing: love each other."

Brian cocked an eyebrow. "That it?"

"That's it." Drew paused. "Now, if you want to know the secret of the universe, it'll cost you extra."

Ignoring Drew's joke, Brian studied his lover's face. "Do you mind if we use your office for fifteen, twenty minutes?" Brian asked, a gleam in his eye. It was matched by an identical one in Justin's.

"It's your ducats," replied Drew, rising. "I'll just be outside."

But they didn't hear him, they had already risen from their seats and had come together in a kiss that was only broken during the next minute to whisper, "I've missed you." "I've missed you." "I love you." "I love you." Somehow during that minute they also managed to partly undress and upon parting at last they completed the job, coming together for a second time naked and partially aroused. As they kissed Justin stroked Brian's meat, getting him harder, rubbing the palm of his hand over the bulbous head once he was erect. Taking the condom from Brian he tore open a packet of lube and squeezed a drop inside, slipped the rubber over his penis and slathered the rest of the lubricant over the outside. "Always prepared," he whispered and Brian laughed throatily. Wrapping his arms around Justin's waist, Brian lifted him and the teen encircled Brian's waist in turn with his legs. Brian carried him to the nearest wall and leaned Justin against it. Then carefully, slowly entered him. Leg's bent slightly, Brian began pumping and Justin started moaning. Although he was still a little sore from Saturday's activities, he welcomed his man's cock every way he knew how, squeezing his hole as Brian tried to exit and opening wide as he made his way back inside, milking Brian's dick with his ass the way he did with his mouth. Although his back rubbed roughly against the wall, he felt no discomfort, could only feel the fullness in his hole as Brian penetrated him. His head lolled about as he fought the impulse to scream but then Brian wiggled his hips and whispered, "Sing to me, baby."

And he sang. "Oh God fuck me fuck me don't stop don't oh oh God it feels so good you're so hard so hard so big so I just I mmm oh oh Brian Brian oh oh shit oh God I want your cock just just don't stop don't yes yes yes mmm my ass fuck me oh fuck me I love your cock I love it I love ahhh ohh oh oh fuck me," he begged. "Fuck me..."

"I'm fucking you, baby."

"Don't stop."

"I won't. I'm gonna fuck you 'til you scream."

"Don't--Ah!" Justin arched his back. He reached for his cock and tugged on it. It had been dripping precum steadily for a while. In an instant he came, splattering both their bellies with creamy cum.

Brian, whose back and legs had begun to tire, flexed his hips, his cock massaged by Justin's convulsing asshole, and shot his load, grunting deep in his throat. "I missed you," he sighed as the last of his cum filled the tip of the condom.

"I missed you," said Justin and he reached up and brushed Brian's damp hair from his face.

"Don't ever go again."

"I won't. I promise."

From outside the office they heard a knock and then, "Are you through in there? My six thirty appointment's gonna be here in ten minutes."

Brian withdrew from Justin's hole and set the teen on his feet. Laying his head against Justin's shoulder, he laughed and replied, "If we're not out by then, bill me."

Having driven home still sticky and smelling of cum, they showered and slept for a while, then got up and fixed dinner, and ate by candlelight even though they were only having curry chicken salad on pumpernickel. Afterwards, Brian disappeared into his closet and returned with something behind his back. "Close your eyes."


"Just do it."

So Justin closed his eyes and waited. Then Brian gave him the go ahead to open his eyes. He did. Click. "What the--what was that?" he asked before getting a good look at what Brian had in his hands. "A camera?"

"A very expensive camera. A Canon Single-Lens-Reflex camera."

He knew Brian had an automatic 35mm that he had bought when they were getting ready to go to the Bahamas. Why would he want something like a SLR? That was what photographers used: professionals and serious amateurs. "What for?"

"My new hobby."

Justin couldn't believe his ears. Brian? With a hobby?

"I'm going to be the next Diane Arbus," Brian announced, thinking of all the pictures he'd take of his little boys.

And, of course, he aimed high. Grinning, Justin said, "More like Robert Mapplethorpe."

"Even better." He took another picture. "Smile." And another.

Brian had done this for them, to keep them strong. Justin's eyes started to tear up. "I love you." Click.

"How much?" Brian asked before he realized what he had done and he froze. He imagined them, trapped like this, inside a photograph, and it would be entitled, 'The Moment the World Changed'.

Justin smiled, blissfully unaware of the historical significance of their exchange, responding only to the question, only with his heart. "More than anything in the world," he replied.

And Brian believed him. After all, the camera didn't lie.

Special Thanks: Again to James D for the Encyclopedia of Queer Lovin' (partially transcribed by Spinney--give her a hand too)

Pic of the iris Note: According to some, irises mean faithfulness

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