When he looked back and traced the path of their relationship, he
didn't understand how it had happened. But it had. It had begun so
innocently and there had been no point at which he could have said,
"That's it, that's the moment," even from the 20/20 viewpoint of
hindsight. Yet, that did not stop him from going over the events in his
mind, hoping for accidental enlightenment.
Of all the things he did for her, this had to be the most painful. Showing up for these student exhibitions. She called them "growth experiences", he called them "hell on earth". Difference of perspective, he supposed. Or else she was blind. Still, he escorted her to them and played nice with the other faculty couples and only occasionally dreamt he was sitting in a dark, movie theatre losing himself in another world.
"Justin!" Lindsay called out and a young man, blond, turned and smiled and waited for them to walk over. "Honey, I want you to meet Justin, one of my students." When they had closed the gap between them, she said, "Justin, I'd like you to meet my husband, Brian Kinney. Brian, Justin Taylor. He's one of our best students. If not the best," she added with a wink.
"Ah, a wunderkind," said Brian.
"Like you used to be," she teased.
"Over the hill at thirty-one."
She let him off the hook. "I wouldn't say that."
Brian extended his hand. "Good to meet you, Justin."
"Enjoying the exhibition?" Lindsay asked him.
"Yeah. It's…" The young man floundered as he searched for the right adjective to describe the evening.
"Boring," supplied Brian.
Justin chuckled. "Yeah. It kinda is."
"I keep telling Lindz they should play modern music at these things. Christ, even Bing Crosby would be an improvement over the stuff they drag out. And don't get me started on the food—"
"Let's not," she said, nipping that in the bud. "If you haven't noticed yet, my husband is a bit of a connoisseur."
"What do you do, Mr. Kinney?"
"Brian. I'm an advertising exec. I know," he said, forestalling their complaints, "a Philistine. I've fallen from grace."
"But he's a genius," bragged Lindsay. "Just made partner at his firm."
"You have any pieces in the show?" Brian asked to make certain he didn't offend the young artist by inadvertently panning his work.
"No. I'm in the middle of something."
"It's top secret," Lindsay explained. "He won't show anyone."
"Good for you. Keep 'em guessing. Excellent marketing strategy."
"You!" Lindz nudged Brian with her shoulder. "Well, Justin, you don't want to spend all evening talking to a couple of old fogies."
"It was good to meet you, Justin," said Brian and he meant it.
The feeling was mutual. "You too. See ya, Professor Peterson."
She waited until Justin had gone to ask, "So?"
"He's a nice kid."
"He's gonna be big someday," she predicted with pride in her voice. One of hers.
"If that plate of food is any indication, you've got that right."
"Not everyone is as concerned about superficial appearances as you are."
"I thought you liked the way I looked?" He nuzzled her neck and planted a tiny kiss below her ear.
She purred, "Baby, I love the way you look." Drew his head down and said, "We've got the sitter until nine. Wanna go make out in the car?"
He took her hand and tugged. "Let's go."
He was five minutes away from being late. For some reason, he was always late to these damn meetings. Supposed it must have been passive aggression as the University wasn't one of his favorite clients but they brought in money so he had to be grateful for that. Plus, he had to be on his best behavior because Lindsay was still untenured, and if he did anything to jeopardize her chances at tenure… he didn't want to think about the repercussions but disemboweling, beheading, and castration came immediately to mind. Maybe even divorce.
At first he wasn't sure if the guy was speaking to him and then he realized that he knew the kid. "Oh, hey. Justin, right?" Lindz's wunderkind.
"Good memory." Students passed them on the steps and they kept mobile to stay out of the way.
"Gotta have in business. Makes everybody feel important if you remember their names."
"You here to meet Professor Peterson?"
"My firm does some work for the University. I'm here on business."
"I shouldn't keep you then." He waved. "Later."
Brian started to wave, then caught himself. Yeah, right. "See
ya." He checked his watch. Shit! Late again.
One of the ways he rewarded himself at work was to take a long walk down to this coffee shop by the University and have a cappuccino or a mocha. Despite the caffeine, it relaxed him, made him feel as if he could go on with the rest of his day without biting someone's head off. Taking his coffee off the counter, he found a table and sat down, glancing out of the window between sips. He was just about to raise the cup to his lips again when he sensed he wasn't alone and looked up. "Don't tell me you work here?" he asked as he didn't remember ever having seen Justin at the shop before.
"Nope," he grinned. "I just hang around a lot. I'm a caffeine fanatic."
"Me, too," confessed Brian. "Lindz is always bitching at me to cut back." He gestured to an empty seat at his table.
"Daphne says the same thing."
Brian laughed. "Don't sound so enthusiastic," he said as Justin sounded decidedly unexcited about having a girlfriend.
"We've just been… well, you know women."
"Uh-huh." They were having issues, he surmised. "I love Lindsay to death but sometimes… well, let's just say I know when to go hang out with the guys."
"Exactly," grinned Justin. "Which is why I'm here. I figured I'd grab some coffee and go work on my piece at school."
"Trouble in paradise?"
Brian shuddered. " 'nough said."
Something caught Justin's eye and he nodded. "Coffee's up."
"I'll see you around."
The teen rose. "Sure."
Everytime he saw that film, it got better and better. There was nothing to beat it for transporting him to a place where good still prevailed over evil even if the cost was high for some. He never failed to get a little misty-eyed when King Theoden fell in battle and he didn't think he'd ever be able to watch Frodo sailing away with the elves without feeling that something precious had been lost to the world. He hated saying good-bye to the film as much as Sam had hated parting from his friend. Still, the end came and the movie ended, and he was thrust back out into the really real world. Emerging from the darkness, he squinted and slipped on his sunglasses. Then frowned and took them back off. "Justin?"
The teenager walked over. "Were you just in there?"
"Playing hooky from work. I love that movie."
"I've seen it six times."
Sheepishly, Justin said, "You probably think I'm stalking you," in reference to their many meetings.
"We probably saw each other all the time but now that we know one another it's… different."
"Starving," Justin admitted. "I had popcorn but…"
"I saw your plate at the exhibition."
Justin bobbed his head. "High metabolism."
"Lindsay and the kids won't be home until late," Brian explained. "You wanna grab something?"
"No plans with…" He couldn't remember her name.
"Daphne. No. Girls' Night Out."
"Well," said Brian, "we can have a Guys' Night Out."
Justin suggested a place within walking distance of the theatre so they left Brian's car in the parking lot and made plans to pick it up after dinner.
He'd been dreading getting to the restaurant and discovering that it was some kind of college hangout but it turned out to be pretty decent. He and Lindsay rarely ate at places around the University as he didn't have her fondness for college students or faculty members. It was bad enough having to attend mandatory functions at school and cocktail parties at the Chair's house without eating with them too on their "date night".
"So what's Daphne studying?" he asked before taking a sip of his drink. Non-alcoholic in deference to his dining companion.
"She's pre-med. Wants to be a veterinarian."
"How long have you been dating?"
"Forever," replied Justin and explained, "We grew up in the same neighborhood. Started going out in high school."
"Must be serious."
"Guess you're planning on tying the knot when you graduate?"
"Probably. Might as well. We'd be living together now if it weren't for our folks. They think we should enjoy college and if we're still serious afterwards, we should move in together, see how it works, and then get married."
"Tell that to Daphne."
"Wedding fever," Brian told him.
"So when did you and Professor Peterson meet?"
"College. We were in a class together and we hit it off. Got married a year after we graduated and we've been together ever since."
"I saw a picture of the twins in Professor Peterson's office. They're adorable."
"They're a handful. Least we got it over with all at once. Lindz wanted a boy and a girl and that's what we got so we're done."
"You don’t want any more?"
"Spoken like a man who's childless."
"I bet you love them to death."
"I do," he confessed. "They're… amazing."
"Five. Just starting school and every day it's a new adventure." He laughed. "You can't even see the fuckin' refrigerator for all the artwork. Maybe they'll follow in Lindsay's footsteps and become artists."
"Bite your tongue. One fallen angel per family is enough according to Lindz."
The waiter interrupted Justin's next question and for a while after their meals had arrived, they ate and said very little except to comment on the quality of the food. Having taken the edge off their hunger, they settled down and began conversing again.
"Have I ever seen any of your commercials or ads?"
"Probably. We do a lot of local companies. About a dozen national ones. We're still growing but we do good work."
"Well, if Professor Peterson says you're a genius, you are. She should know."
"Because she thinks you're a genius too?"
He laughed. "Exactly."
In the manner of two friends, they passed a pleasant evening talking about their future plans and favorite movies and dream vacations, anything that came to mind, they discussed. When, at last, the hour grew late and they had to leave, they were both glad they'd run into one another.
"You need a lift somewhere?" Brian asked before heading back to the car.
"No, I'm fine."
"Yeah. Thanks though." Justin stuffed his hands in his pockets and scuffed the bottom of his sneakers on the sidewalk. "I guess I should take off."
"Yeah. I'm surprised Lindz hasn't buzzed me on the cell yet." Brian was at a loss. He wasn't quite sure what to say. "See you around" seemed a little cold after the evening they'd spent together but to presume that they were anything more than casual acquaintances was to be perhaps a little foolhardy. After all, there was a twelve year difference between their ages. What did they really have in common except Lindz and the fact that they both loved The Lord of the Rings? At last, he settled on, "See you later."
"What are you doing here?" Lindsay asked as she looked up and saw her husband come sauntering through the doorway. They kissed and he sat across from her as if he were one of her students.
"Thought I'd come and take my beautiful wife out to dinner, maybe a movie. I got a sitter for the twins." It had been his turn to pick them up from school.
"Oh, that's so sweet." Brian smiled. "But I can't."
His smile fell. "Why not?"
"I've got committee reports to do, papers to grade, a mid-term to plan… I was hoping to get some work done at home tonight but if you've hired a sitter, why don't you go on out and have fun and I'll stay here and work."
He pouted. He knew his pout was nearly irresistible. "It's no fun without you."
"Don't pout," she told him. "And don't turn those big, hazel eyes on me either. Believe me, I'd rather be out having fun with you but duty calls. Raincheck?"
"Guess." He sighed. "How late do you think you'll be?"
"Late. After nine."
"Okay." He stood and bussed her on the lips once more. "See you at home."
"You'll go out and have fun?"
"Yeah." Brian looked back at her scribbling furiously on her legal pad. Oh well… There was no point in the sitter staying. He'd just send her home and spend the evening with the kids. They'd enjoy his company. The sitter was supposed to order pizza for them and he supposed he could stomach a slice or two and then watch some kiddie movie with them before sending them off to bed.
Just as he was about to leave the Art Department building, he saw a familiar face. Waited to see if Justin would notice him. He did and the teen came over, smiling.
"This is becoming a habit," he told Brian.
"I came to see if Lindz wanted to go out to dinner with her extremely handsome and terribly charming husband but she's busy with teacher stuff so I guess I'll have to go home and be a dad."
"Looks like we both got stood up," complained Justin. "Daphne has to study so she told me to stay out of her hair." He grimaced and ran his hand through his own. "I should be working on my piece but… I'm kinda restless."
Although he had no idea why he did it, Brian asked, "Wanna come hang with me and the Terrible Twosome? We're having pizza and I'm pretty sure that Babe is in our future." He twisted his lips in a wry grin. "I know it's not the best offer in the world but…"
"I'll take it," Justin replied.
On their way to the car, Brian called the sitter to tell her there'd been a change of plans and that he'd be home in twenty minutes. When they got there, he paid her for the entire evening even though she'd only been there an hour, and let her go. The twins were fascinated by Justin, watching him from the safety of their father's legs as he dished up the pizza that had arrived just before they had.
"This is some place," Justin said as they settled down on a leather couch in the cozy family room, the kids seated near the sofa at a table just their size. Brian didn't trust them on leather with food.
"I'll show you around later on. It's actually not that much compared to the behemoths they're putting up these days."
"You mean those boxes with windows?"
"They look like they were designed by people who'd never actually seen a house before."
"And," added Justin, "who'd never studied architecture. They just mash all these styles together that were never meant to be together."
"Architectural horrors." He looked around at the room they were in which was probably half or even a third the size of most family rooms these days. "This place… it's old-fashioned but I like it."
By the time they'd finished eating and the movie was about to start, Gus and Ginny ("Leave it to Lindz to want to name her Genevieve," Brian had said.) clambered onto the sofa between Brian and Justin and settled down to watch Babe. Brian didn't even attempt to keep them quiet during the movie as it was one of their favorites and they'd seen it a hundred times if they'd seen it once.
"That's Babe," Gus told Justin just in case he missed that fact.
"Babe's a pig," his sister added quite unnecessarily. "Oink, oink," she said and then Gus joined her and they oinked until they made themselves laugh and then they laughed until they were both pink in the face.
"All right," Brian warned them, "settle down." He whispered to Justin. "They like you."
Justin studied the two children, both with chestnut hair and hazel eyes like their father and he said, "Oink oink," which made them giggle uncontrollably again. "I like them too."
The twins didn't last the entire film, going under within an hour of starting it, Ginny lying against Brian and Gus curled into Justin's side. Brian got up carefully and Justin lifted them one by one until Brian had a twin in each arm. "I'll be back."
They fussed a little when he changed them into their pajamas but sleep overcame them and they went down without any further protests. Kissing them each on the forehead, he left their nightlight on and returned to his guest.
Justin had taken the liberty of cutting off the film. "I guess I should go too."
"You don't have to. Lindsay won't be back for another hour maybe. And I have to wait for her before I can take you home."
"I'm cool. I can take the bus—"
"No. I insist."
"Really, I can."
"Take a cab then."
"It's a waste of money."
"It's my money." He removed some bills from his wallet, handed them to Justin who refused. "Take it."
"Look, you took pity on an old married guy and spent time with him and his two little demons. You earned this."
"I had a good time."
Brian chuckled. "You need to get out more." He folded the money and slipped it into the front pocket of Justin's jeans. The move must have startled the teenager because he jerked away. Brian stepped back. "Sorry, I…"
"No, it's okay. I just—"
Hunting around for something to do, Brian said, "I'll call that cab." He left the room and went into the kitchen and slumped against the wall. His heart was racing. What the hell had he been thinking? He looked down at his hands. He thought he'd felt Justin's cock when he'd put the money in his pocket. No. No, you didn't, he told himself. Just let it go. Taking his advice, he found the number of a nearby cab company and dialed. Gave them his address and hung up. Returning to the family room, he found Justin already in his jacket. "I promised you a tour of the house, didn't I?"
"Maybe some other time."
Brian searched the teenager's face for signs of worry or anger and found none. Not quite relieved, he said, "The cab'll be here in ten."
"Cool." Justin added, "Thanks again. For dinner and the movie."
"Yeah. No problem."
"And the cab."
Brian nodded, then led him to the foyer to wait for the taxi. They waited in awkward silence for the car to arrive and when it did, Justin left with a tiny wave which Brian returned. He closed the door and leaned against it. He had ruined everything. Stupid, stupid. And they'd been growing so close. He didn't have a lot of friends and he'd thought that Justin could be a friend. And now he'd ruined it. He pushed off the door and made sure the kitchen was in order. As he worked, he ruminated on his situation. Maybe he was just overreacting, maybe Justin had only been startled. After all, he would have been startled if someone had suddenly shoved money in his pocket. Touching his cock. I didn't. "I didn't," he whispered or so he thought.
"Shit!" he exclaimed, jerking around. "I didn't hear you."
"That's cause you were deep in a conversation with yourself. Must have been interesting."
"Yeah," he said in what he hoped was a neutral voice. "You're back early."
"Finished before I expected. You didn't go out, did you?"
"No," he confessed. "We ordered pizza and watched a movie."
"Babe?" She knew her children's taste.
Giving him a kiss, she said, "Such a good daddy. I'll make it up to you. Promise."
As she left him to go upstairs and check on the twins, Brian closed his
eyes and imagined that it was Justin who was walking away from him.
One of their big clients had wanted a complete image overhaul and everyone at the firm became used to putting in sixty plus hour weeks. Brian saw little of his family and when he did have a chance to spend some time with them, he was tired and irritable. He promised to make it up to them, to make it up to himself once the push was over but for the moment he had no choice Spring Break was coming up at the University and Lindsay suggested that as the perfect opportunity for them to get away and relax. If everything went according to schedule, their pitch to company would come the week before Spring Break. If they were lucky, the clients would take a week or so to mull over their ideas and get back to them with a decision. Which mean Spring Break might actually work.
As the days counted down towards the big pitch, Brian found himself becoming more and more tense, reflexes trigger sharp, temper shorter than normal. After a particularly brutal argument with his assistant, he decided to take a walk down to the coffee shop and have a decaf mochaccino.
He hadn't been down there in weeks. He'd, effectively, put his life on hold for this damn project and he was tired of it. He knew it was just the malaise he always felt before presenting a new campaign proposal. It would pass.
Taking his coffee to what used to be his old table, he sank down gratefully into the hard bottomed chairs and sipped his drink. Perfect. He'd missed that.
"You look like you've been wandering the desert for weeks and that was the first drink of water you'd had in days."
A smile spread across his face before he even looked up. "Justin." Saw the coffee in his hand. "Sit down."
"Can't. I'm on the way to studio. Had to stop in and get my fix."
So maybe things weren't all right between them. "Oh. I won't keep you then."
"I haven't seen you for a while."
"Busy with work. Bitch of a campaign."
Justin smiled softly. "I had a great time with you and the twins."
The tight bands around Brian's chest relaxed and he said, "They really liked you. Told Lindsay all about you the next day."
Looking towards the door, Justin said resignedly, "I should go."
"Yeah. You should," agreed Brian.
Justin started to leave, then paused. Came back to the table before Brian could lift his coffee cup again. "I'd really like to see you again."
Casually, although he was feeling anything but, Brian said, "Sure. When?"
"Spring Break? I'm staying in town."
"We may not be. Lindz is champing at the bit for a vacation. I suppose we could use it."
"I want to see you," said the young man and his eyes met Brian's and they both seemed frozen in place, unable to step back from this moment yet afraid to move forward.
"Then you will," promised Brian.
Seemingly satisfied, Justin nodded and left.
Suddenly, Brian felt cold and he sipped his coffee gratefully.
Having put the twins to bed, Brian and Lindsay went downstairs to talk. "What do you mean, you don't want to go away?"
"I'm tired, Lindsay. I don't even want to think about going through the hassle of getting away. I just want to relax and enjoy being home. I feel like I've only been here to eat and sleep this past month and a half."
"Brian, you promised."
"You said when this pitch was over, we'd go away."
He swallowed. "You still can. I just… I really don't feel like it." Although the company seemed pleased with their ideas, the entire process had burned him out. At least, that's what he told himself. He didn't think of Justin, he let those thoughts lie deep below the surface.
"This is so unfair. You know I can't manage the twins on my own, not for an entire week."
"Why don't you get your mom to go with you then? Or you can leave the twins with me and go away by yourself."
"And how would you get any rest?"
"They'd be in school so I'd only have to deal with them part of the day." She seemed to mull over the idea. That she was angry, he knew, but he also hoped that maybe her need for a vacation coupled with his very reasonable suggestions would do the trick.
"Okay. You keep the kids. Carol's been saying we ladies should just
take off and lie on some beach and ogle the pretty boys so here's our
She'd driven away with Carol to the airport. She'd been gone an hour. The kids were playing out back and he was standing in the kitchen staring at the telephone. He'd looked up Justin's number and was holding it in his hand. He could throw it away, not make that call. That was a choice. Or he could call and they could go out and have a great time and he could return home to his children and everything would be as it always had been. Or he could call and everything could change. He wasn't stupid. Something was happening to him, something that had only ever flickered across his mind.
What was it? What was it about Justin? On the surface, he resembled Lindsay: they both had blond hair, were both fair-skinned, both artists, both passionate about their work. They were intelligent, funny, more than a match for his own wit. So maybe it wasn't so strange that he would be drawn to Justin. But to be sexually attracted to him, that was the kicker. Was he sexually attracted to Justin? Maybe theirs would be one of those intense friendships that bordered on erotic attraction but never crossed over.
That sounded good in his head. Sounded great. They'd just remain friends and everything would be fine. Only…
Only he found himself thinking of Justin in more than a friendly fashion. He imagined kissing him and having Justin sigh into his mouth.
Brian squeezed his eyes shut and sat at the breakfast counter shivering.
The door had opened and in came Gus and Ginny to show him something they'd found in the yard.
"Look," said Ginny.
They'd discovered a smooth, brown rock. It was very beautiful and Brian wondered what kind it was and where they'd found it. Wondered how many times he'd seen it and ignored the rock. Maybe the same way as he'd ignored his attraction to men. Still trembling, he returned the twins' find and asked them what they wanted for lunch.
"Hot dogs!" shouted Ginny and Gus agreed.
Sending them on their way to wash up and to keep themselves amused for a while, he turned his mind to lunch. But Justin kept returning to the forefront of his thoughts. As he switched on the grill, he paused. He was being ridiculous, acting like a lovesick teenager whose hormones were out of control. He didn't love Justin. He liked him very much. He enjoyed being with him. He thought he was—
No. Brian took a deep breath. Not attractive. He didn't find Justin attractive.
The twins found him still standing at the stove when they returned from washing their hands. Gus tugged on his pants. "Daddy, we're hungry."
"Sorry, Sonny Boy," he said, mussing up the little boy's hair.
"Daddy!" exclaimed Gus, most exasperated, while Ginny laughed. Gus' hair always looked wild.
"All right, go on and play and I'll cook. Go on." He shooed them out and smiled and then his smile faded. If he even thought about a relationship with Justin, he'd lose his children and the thought chilled him. He could lose everything: Lindz, Ginny, and Gus. His entire family. And for what? An infatuation?
Afraid that the kids would return and find him still zoning, he got out the hot dogs and buns and began preparing lunch on automatic pilot.
The rest of the day passed fairly quickly and before they all knew it, it was time for the twins to turn in. With a minimum of fuss, they did so, demanding a story first which he dutifully read to them.
Leaving them tucked in and asleep, he made his way to his bedroom and stood looking at the bed. The bed he'd shared with Lindsay for the past seven years. They had a life together. This life and it was a good one, a great life. Who was he to destroy that? And for what? What would he gain?
Not wanting to think about it anymore, he decided to take a shower. Maybe it would relax him enough to sleep.
Pushing the hair back from his face, he let the water pummel first the front and then the back of his body. This would do the trick. All of his tensions gone down the drain. He grabbed the soap, stepped back out of the range of the water, and ran the bar over his chest, his arms, his thighs. Suds formed and he put down the soap and used both hands to massage himself. Beginning with his pecs. Leaning back against the wall of the shower, he encircled his pectorals, his fingers brushing over his nipples. They began to stiffen and he continued to stroke them. Imagined Justin's fingers pinching them, Justin's mouth—
Justin's mouth closed around them, teasing him.
He let his hands slide down his torso, down over his belly, then back around his hips, over his buttocks. Cupped them and sighed. He washed between his cheeks, touching his anus. What if that were Justin touching him? How would it feel? He pressed against his hole experimentally and moaned. He pushed a little harder, encountering resistance, then stopped. Tried another tactic, massaging his hole instead. His finger went round and round the wrinkled folds until he was breathing mouth open. Before he knew it, the tip of his finger had entered his hole. Quickly, he withdrew it. Feeling guilty, he brought his hands back around front.
Where he was confronted with another problem. His cock had begun to stir. Turned on by his finger playing in his ass. He encircled the shaft and began to stroke himself gently. Squeezing the head a little at the end of the upstroke, using his pinky to rub his balls at the end of the down. Greedy, he decided to use both hands: one to stroke his cock, the other to fondle his balls. He shut his eyes and tried to imagine Lindsay jacking him off but he could only see Justin, his blue eyes fixed on Brian, his motions firm and confident. Justin would know what he liked, how he liked to be touched. How he liked to have the underside of his cock stroked, one or two fingers running along the length of it until he was shivering.
He looked down at the drop of clear liquid at the tip of his cock and spread it over the head and moaned. He was getting so close. His balls had drawn up against the base of his cock and he increased his strokes. Justin's hand would fly up and down his shaft, jiggling his balls. Justin would know that he liked having the head of his cock massaged just before he blew his load and he would take him between his fingers and work the dark head until Brian screamed.
His legs spread apart, one hand jacking his dick, the other massaging the head, Brian panted. Then one hand fell away and he continued to pump his cock. The slit opened in the tip and creamy cum sprayed the shower stall as he whimpered. He wrought every last drop and sat down on the shower seat, still holding his dick in his hand. He closed his eyes.
He finished showering and dried off. Walked downstairs to get a drink and returned to the bedroom just as the phone rang. It would be Lindsay. Who was the last person he wanted to hear from right now. His head was all messed up and he just wanted some peace and quiet but if he didn’t answer, she'd be on the next plane back to town and he didn't want that either. He needed time to think. So he picked up and they chatted about her trip and the hotel and whether the accommodations met with her satisfaction. Then she asked him, "What you doing?"
"Could be doing nothing here."
"I know. I know. So how are the Terrible Twosome?"
"Found a rock in the backyard. Watched Disney Channel for an hour and then fell asleep."
"What'd you have for dinner?"
"You okay? You sound… peculiar."
"I'm fine." Of course, he was anything but.
"You sure? You don't sound like yourself."
"Who do I sound like then?"
"Ha ha. You know what I mean."
"No, I don't."
"Brian… I'm worried about you."
He attempted a smile. She knew him too well. "Don't be. I'm just tired, I guess."
"I know a hint when I hear one," she said. "Talk to you tomorrow?"
"I'll be here."
"I love you."
"Love you too."
"Bye," he whispered before hanging up and knocking back his drink. So
now he was lying to his wife and jerking off while thinking about another
He dashed through the back door and caught the phone on the third ring. "Hello?"
There was a pause then, "Brian." The voice went through him. "It's me. It's Justin."
"Did I catch you at a bad time?"
"No. I was just outside with the kids." He could almost see the teen hesitate before speaking.
"I thought maybe we could meet or something."
"I can't. Not today."
"Maybe during the week?"
He didn't answer.
"Lunch. We could do lunch."
The smile came back in Justin's voice. "What day?"
"Monday. I'll be stir-crazy by then. Noon. At that place we went to after the movies."
" 'kay. I'll see you then."
He hung up the phone and went back outside and tried not to think of
An hour before twelve he began pacing. When eleven fifteen arrived, he
went up to get dressed and paused on the staircase. Went back downstairs
and sat in the family room for twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. Forty-five.
He started outside to smoke and stopped. That would be running away. So he
waited for the phone to ring, which it did ten minutes later. He let it
ring. He let the machine pick up. He listened to Justin explain that he
was at the restaurant and that he guessed he had missed him and he assumed
Brian was on his way. He waited. Twenty minutes later the phone rang again
and he listened to Justin explain that he was leaving the restaurant and
that he supposed something had come up. He left his number. Brian erased
both messages and went outside to smoke.
He heard Justin calling his name and for a moment he wanted to run to his car and take off but he didn't. He'd known it was a risk, coming down the coffee shop but he'd been cooped up inside for three days and he needed to get out. So he stopped and waited for Justin to catch up.
"What happened? I thought we were meeting."
"Something came up."
Justin looked at him hard. "You're lying."
"I waited for half an hour."
"I'm sorry." He fumbled about for the right words and then just said, "I think… I don't think we should meet anymore." He'd spent three restless nights thinking about Justin and Lindz and Justin and he was at the end of his tether.
"Did I do something?"
"Then what? I thought we were friends."
"I thought we were getting closer. And then, you just started pulling away. I don't understand. Brian?"
He had to get away from Justin but the teen wouldn't let him escape, he kept following him, getting his way.
"Brian, please. Talk to me."
"We were getting close. That's the problem," he explained except that it didn't really explain much.
"That doesn't make any sense. That's not a problem."
"Justin, I'm married."
"And I have a girlfriend. So what?"
Frustrated, Brian blurted, "You can't be that stupid!" At Justin's hurt look, he said, "I won't risk my family."
"You don't have to."
It hurt to have to say it so baldly but he had no choice. "You're telling me you don't feel anything? Anything at all for me?" He watched Justin carefully, trying to read his face.
"You're a friend. A very good friend, but that's all."
"Christ," whispered Brian, mortified and ashamed. He could feel the sting of tears in the corners of his eyes and he blinked rapidly to rid himself of them. "I'm sorry. It's obviously my problem, then. But I can't keep seeing you. Not like this. Not when I…" The words were so hard to say. "When I feel this way."
"I have to go." He fairly ran down the street to his car and jerked
open the door and got inside and pulled off even though he could hardly
see for the tears.
Michael settled down at the table and they clinked their glasses together and drank. Putting his down, Michael said, "You don't look so hot."
He shook his head. "I feel pretty shitty."
"What's going on?"
He tried to answer more than once and couldn't, finally almost sobbing as he said, "I don’t know."
"Hey. Come on, it can't be that bad."
He wanted to tell Michael, wanted to bare his soul but he couldn't. Michael wouldn't understand. The man was hopelessly uncomplicated. If he told him what was going on inside his head it would only make his friend feel uncomfortable. There was no advice Michael could give him. The best thing he could do would be to finish his drink and send Mikey home to his wife. He sniffled. "Sorry. I guess I'm just stressed out that's all."
"You really should have gone with Lindsay."
Staring at him, Michael said, "I've known you most of my life and you were a lot of things but a good liar was never one of them. You wanna tell me what's going on?"
"No. I can't."
Michael's large, dark eyes got larger and darker. "Why the hell not?"
"Cause it's not your problem."
"We're best friends."
"I know but… I have to deal with this on my own." Now that the crisis was over for the moment, Brian seemed okay and he and Michael talked about work and the kids and some friends of theirs and when they parted, he was certain Michael felt better about leaving him than he would have. But nothing had changed for him.
When he got home he sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and he began to write.
"I think that I'm in love with another man and I'm scared because I've never felt this way before and I don't know what to do. I love my wife. I love my children. But I can't stop thinking about him. And I don't know why."
He put down his pen, then picked it up again.
"I do know why. It's because he's everything I've ever wanted. I thought that was Lindz but it's not. It's not fair that it had to happen like this. I don't know what to do."
Again, he put down his pen and he read over what he'd written and he
wept until the ink ran and the words were illegible. And then he carried
the letter into the kitchen, set it afire, and watched it burn in the sink
until nothing was left but ashes.
At nine thirty in the morning, the very last person he expected to see at his door was Justin. But there the young man stood, rings around his eyes as if he hadn't slept for days.
"You can't come here," Brian told him, angry and terrified at the same time.
"I need to talk to you."
"There's nothing left to say. You told me how you felt and that's fine. I accept that but I can't keep seeing you." He started to close the door.
"I lied." The door remained open. "I didn't want it to be true but it is."
"Don't you fuckin' do this to me!"
"Just—" he pressed his hands to his temples. "Just stop it." Justin reached for him and he said, "Don't touch me."
"I won't touch you."
He lowered his hands. Justin was staring at him and it made him feel uncomfortable. "Stop looking at me like that."
"I can't help it. I love you."
Instead of comforting him, the words disturbed him even more. "You don't love me. I was wrong. I shouldn't have said anything."
"I love you."
"Please stop saying that." He walked away from the door, leaving it open. Justin followed, closing it behind him.
"I won't make it easy for you to walk away from me," he said. "I won't." He caught hold of Brian's arm and jerked him around even though the man was taller than he was and stronger. "I love you. Even if you don't believe me, it's still true. I love you." His blue eyes sparkled, with tears Brian suspected. Then, childlike, he asked, "Do you love me?" and Brian was reminded of the fact that Justin had only had one other love in his life. This was new for him as well. He was probably just as frightened.
Taking a deep breath, Brian replied, "Yes. I love you." Justin came to him and they held each other, the first time they'd ever really touched. Each could feel the other's heart pounding. "What are we going to do?" Brian whispered.
"I broke up with Daphne," Justin said against Brian's chest.
Brian didn't know what to say.
"She cried really hard and I almost changed my mind. We've been together for so long. But I want to be with you," he explained. Lifted his head to look into Brian's eyes. "It feels… I don't know, it feels right. This is where I belong."
"Justin, I have a family." He could make no promises to him.
"I know. And I won't tell you what to do. But I'm here and I'd do anything to be with you. I want you," he confessed. "But if you…" He wiped his eyes, "if you can't be with me…" The tears continued to fall. "I'll understand."
Brian took him into his arms and comforted him as he would have one of
his children. "Don't cry," he said, stroking Justin's hair. "Shh… Don't
cry. We'll figure something out. We will."
Only in the middle of the night when he lay in bed alone, the task
seemed monumental. Worsened by the fact that he'd spoken to Lindz that
evening. Actually, she seemed less concerned about him, probably detecting
the joy in his voice. Even though things were far from settled, just
knowing that he and Justin loved each other gave him some measure of
happiness. With all of the uncertainties surrounding their relationship,
that was the one thing he could hold onto. He hoped it would be enough.
Lindsay hadn't failed to notice Brian's hesitancy in greeting her after she'd been away for a week. She'd expected him to meet her at the door with roses in his hands and, instead, he seemed almost fearful to see her arrive at her appointed time. Still, they'd managed to have a pleasant enough dinner with the twins talking a hundred miles an hour trying to tell their mommy everything that had happened while she'd been gone. But now the kids were in bed and there were no more excuses for them not to talk.
"So who is she?"
The question shouldn't have surprised him. After all, Lindsay was a very perceptive woman. Nevertheless, it threw him. "I don’t know what—"
"Bullshit. Don't lie to me. Everything's changed between us. I feel like I don’t know you anymore. And I know it's not a mid-life crisis cause you're only 31 for Christ's sake. So it has to be another woman. Who is she? Someone from work? Someone we know? Who?"
She was ready for battle but this was a war she couldn't win. "There is no other woman."
"There isn't." He pressed his lips together tightly, as if to keep the words from coming out of his mouth. "It's not a woman."
His meaning was clear. "Oh, my God…" She grasped for something she could respond to. "Who is it?"
"It doesn't matter."
"I deserve to know."
It would only hurt her but she was going to find out eventually. Still, it was difficult for him to say the name. "It's Justin."
"Of course," she replied. Then, "Get out."
The tightness in her voice as she fought to remain calm should have warned him and it did but he needed to explain. "Lindsay—"
"I said get out. Get out of my house!" He rose and neared her. "Get away from me! Stay away from me and my children, do you understand!"
There was no reasoning with her. He had to leave. Going upstairs, he went to pack a bag.
She followed, screaming, "Goddamn you, Brian!"
"You'll wake the kids," he warned.
"Let them hear. Let them hear how their father abandoned us."
Luckily, the twins slept on, oblivious to their parents' battle.
Stuffing the first things he put his hands on into an overnight bag and
putting a couple of suits in his suit bag, Brian packed for a few days.
He'd have to come back for the rest of his things but, for now, this would
do. He didn't allow himself to think past the moment, past the task at
hand: packing his clothes and getting out of the house.
Justin was home but his roommate wasn't, which suited Brian fine. There was no point in having an audience. The teenager let him in and led him to the sofa. Perched on it next to him. He was barely keeping it together.
"Brian, what is it?"
"Lindsay knows." The words were inadequate to describe the scene that had taken place in the house.
"You told her?"
"She knew something was wrong and she wanted to know why."
"Does she know it's me?"
He wished he hadn't, wished he'd resisted her demands but he hadn't. "I had to tell her."
"My marriage is over. Eight years down the fuckin' drain. My children…" He sobbed into his hands, then swallowed and tried to calm down.
"And when you're gone, then what? What will I have left?"
"You're twelve years younger than I am." The thought had come to him suddenly that he had left out their age differences in his reckonings. "One day you're going to look around and wonder who this old man is with you and you're gonna go looking for a newer model."
"You're not a goddamn car! And I'm not leaving you."
"You have your whole life ahead of you, Justin."
"And I want to spend it with you."
"Oh, God…" He was still reeling from his loss and could take no comfort from Justin's words.
The teen embraced him. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you're hurting but I'm not sorry that you're here with me."
If only he could remain where he was but he couldn't. "I'm gonna go stay at a hotel tonight."
"You want me to come?"
Although he could hear the desire in Justin's voice, he was in no mood or shape for company. "I think I need to be alone."
Justin entwined his fingers with Brian's. "Just don't forget me."
As if he could.
"The kids have been asking for you."
She had given him some lame excuse about the kids wanting to visit the zoo with Nana so her mom had come over to take them. "Then why won't you let me talk to them? See them?"
"Because you need to understand what you're giving up." With her arms folded over her chest and her hard eyes, she looked like a statue of Retribution.
"You think I don't know? You think this is easy?" Did she honestly believe that she had to punish him? Just being way from her and the kids was punishment enough.
"You've got your boy toy, I thought that's what you wanted."
"Lindsay… I'm sorry. I never meant—"
"And what would you know about the truth? All these weeks, lying to me, fucking around with my student, for Christ's sake!"
There. He had wounded her pride. But she labored under false pretenses. "I never touched him."
"Well, I'm sure you've remedied that."
He decided not to disabuse her of her notion. "I don't think we should talk about this."
"Fine. Nice weather we're having."
"Lindz, I love you."
"That hasn't changed. We had a life together."
"Which you threw away. I suppose it wasn't enough for you."
"It wasn't really me. I know that now."
"And this is you? Sleeping with a nineteen-year-old boy—"
"He's not a boy, he's a man. Don't belittle this."
"Fuck you, Brian."
There was no point in going on with this line of discussion. He changed topics. "I want to see the kids."
"Go to hell."
She had to understand that, that he would not give up on being with them. He didn't know how far he'd go but he did know that he would eventually see them. "They're my children too."
"You have a child: you're fucking him. Enjoy."
He'd never known her to be so hardhearted before. "What do you want me to say? That I'm coming back? That I was wrong and I'm coming home? Is that it?"
"We're your family," she explained as if he didn't know that.
"I can't. I love him, Lindsay."
"I don't want to hear—"
"For the first time in my life, I feel… complete. I never even realized something was missing, but it was."
"Good for you."
Angry, he said, "If I came back, it would be a lie! Is that what you want to teach our kids? That it's better to lie than to be honest with yourself?"
"You lied to me."
"I told you the truth. I've never been with him."
From the change in expression, he saw that she believed him this time. But it gave her no comfort, no understanding. She was still confused. "Then how do you know, Brian?"
"I just do. And I can't deny it. And I can't change who I am."
"I want you to go."
"Lindz, I need to see them."
"Let me think about it."
Less than what he'd wanted but more than he'd expected, he took his
concession and went away.
"You're mighty quiet." They had met at the restaurant finally after missing the lunch they'd planned to have during Spring Break. Before everything had fallen apart. "You see Lindsay?"
"What did she say about the kids?" Brian shook his head. "Fuck! She can't do that."
"She can and she has and I don't fault her. What kind of a man leaves his wife and kids for a college student?"
"Don't. I won't let you regret us."
"Well, I do. Every fuckin' time I think," he took a deep breath, trying to hold back the tears, "about never seeing my children again. They're my kids. I remember when they were born. I remember holding them and thinking I would do anything for them. Anything to keep them happy." He watched Justin absorb his words. Then the teen spoke.
"I want you to go back."
"I think you should go home."
"Why?" Not that he believed a word of what Justin said. Justin didn't even believe his own words.
"Because it's where you belong."
"Not anymore. It's too late."
"She would take you back."
"I wouldn't go back."
"Because I love you. You're all I think about. Even though I might lose my kids, I can't let go of you. My whole life has been like a dream and now I'm waking up and I finally understand who I am and where I belong. I belong with you. Being with you, it feels like I've come home. I've found my place and I'm not giving it up." Sitting quietly at the table, they gazed into one another's eyes. The world around them seemed to fade away. Then returned in sharp relief. They felt the acute lack of privacy and what they needed to say to each other needed no audience.
"I want to be with you tonight," said Justin. "Can I? Can I come stay with you tonight?"
Brian caught the waiter, got their check, and paid it. "Ready?" Even though Justin agreed it was time to go, even though they both wanted the same thing, neither one of them was prepared for the onslaught of nervousness that gripped them as they drove to the hotel. Brian thought his heart would rip through his chest and Justin looked pale, face drained of blood. This was something entirely new for both of them. What if they found that they weren't sexually compatible? What would that do to their relationship? To their newly constructed identities as gay men? The thought made Brian tremble. I'm gay, he said to himself for the very first time.
The hotel was large enough and had enough traffic that no one noticed them walking to the elevator. No one rode in the car with them. The hallway was clear to Brian's room.
Once inside, Justin removed his jacket and laid it across a chair. Paused with his back to Brian.
Brian went to him and wrapped his arms around him. "We don't have to."
And Justin turned in his embrace. "I want to."
"I want to kiss you." They hadn't before. Not once. So Brian lowered his head to Justin's raised face and they kissed. Justin parted his lips and what began as a tentative exploration segued into passionate discovery. If either had doubted that they would find pleasure with one another, their doubts were dispelled. Brian could feel his cock throbbing as they rubbed against each other, lips swollen, nipped, sucked. He slipped his hand between them and cupped Justin's crotch. It was filling as well. The teen shivered and caught Brian's lip between his and kissed him hungrily as Brian stroked him through his jeans.
Wanting more contact, Brian opened Justin's jeans and fondled him, hand on the outside of his briefs. It wasn't enough. Especially when he could feel the firmness of Justin's penis, feel a wet spot on the cloth where Justin had begun to leak. Brian pushed down the jeans and briefs, releasing Justin's cock which sprang free and swayed between them. The teen moaned as Brian's hand reached out and he gently touched the head.
A clear teardrop appeared at the tip of Justin's dick and Brian brushed his finger over it. Raised his finger to his lips and licked the precum away. He'd never even tasted his own and yet here he was tasting Justin's. He wanted more. But he had to come out of his clothes first. Everything felt too tight, too constricting, especially his trousers. He stripped and stood naked before his lover. My lover. Justin was still fully clothed so he helped him undress, pulling his shirt over his head to reveal his slender chest, then kneeling to remove his jeans from his ankles, his shoes and socks. Brian remained there, at his feet, looking up at the teenager. Justin's cock was nearly on level with his face. He wrapped his hand around the shaft and just held it, letting Justin get used to him touching his cock. Then he leaned forward and kissed the head.
"Brian!" The teen's hands flew to Brian's head and held it in place.
Again Brian kissed the head and licked away the beads of precum that appeared. He parted his lips and let the head slide inside his mouth, careful to keep his teeth covered. I have another man's cock in my mouth, he told himself. And it felt wonderful. He experimented with sucking Justin and was satisfied with the results. He could feel Justin shaking and the hands on his head gripped him tight for a moment, then relaxed. Brian moved down the shaft, then back up again, slowly, getting his bearings, taking the time to make sure he was keeping his teeth sheathed, learning how to breathe through his nose, how to relax his throat so that he wouldn't gag. The first time Justin's dick pushed past the back of his mouth, he choked and pulled off, breathing hard. Yet the sight of Justin's spit-covered cock was more than he could resist and he began again. It was all so different and yet it felt natural. It felt natural to have Justin inside his mouth, to feel the large vein running beneath the shaft pulsing, to inhale Justin's aroma, to feel his balls brushing against his chin as he went down on him. He wanted this to go on forever but it had to end soon. Justin was moaning with every stroke and getting harder, the head of his cock was dark and swollen and incredibly sensitive and it was practically gushing precum.
Taking the teen's buttocks in his hands, Brian squeezed them, kneaded them as he sucked his lover off and dreamt of the time when he would do more than just touch Justin's ass. But right now he had all he could handle. Justin had begun to pump his cock into Brian's mouth and the man fought the urge to pull away. He wanted Justin to feel secure and unashamed about their lovemaking. Taking Justin by the base again, he held him in place and began sucking him hard. Justin cried out and jerked. His cock seemed to solidify and then he released a slitful of cum. Thick and creamy. Brian's tongue cushioned Justin's cockhead and the teen continued to thrust his hips as he came. When he ceased moving, Brian let his cock slip free and swallowed. Then, surprising them both, he licked what cum remained on Justin's dick.
Justin couldn't speak. He could only slide down to the floor to meet Brian in a kiss. And as they kissed, he became very aware of Brian's erection which was rubbing against his belly, leaving wet trails. Between kisses he asked, "Do you want to fuck me?" but Brian shook his head. They weren't ready for that, not yet.
He lay back on the carpeting and held out his hand to Justin. The teen
knelt astride him and trapped his cock between them, sliding his smooth,
soft ass over the underside of the hard organ. Brian closed his eyes and
groaned as Justin continued to clench him between his cheeks. Moving
faster and faster, Justin concentrated his efforts on the head of Brian's
cock until the man shouted and arched his back. Then he took Brian's cock
in his hand and jerked him off. Brian came, jizz streaking his pecs and
neck, even his face. Eager to know what he tasted like, Justin licked the
cum from his fingers and then licked Brian's body clean.
Breakfast in bed never tasted better, especially as it was fed to him by a very beautiful young man. They kissed between courses, finally moving the trays to the table and making love. Afterwards, they lay in bed, arms about one another, and talked.
"Did you ever think about, you know, guys before me?" Justin asked.
"I don't think so," replied Brian. "I don't remember noticing anyone."
"Me neither." He fell silent for a moment but Brian knew he'd speak up again. He was beginning to realize that Justin liked to talk, which was okay as he was used to Lindsay. "Wonder what it was about us?"
"We're both devastatingly handsome."
Justin laughed and said, "You're so vain."
"It's not vanity if it's true." He studied Justin, his creamy skin and golden hair. Stroked his cheek and kissed him. "I think you're beautiful." Justin blushed and Brian smiled.
Then Justin turned serious. "What are we going to do—"
"Shh," interrupted Brian. "No problems. Not today. Plenty of time to worry about… whatever. Tomorrow."
Justin slipped over on top of Brian and kissed him softly. "I like the sound of that." Kissed him again. "But I need to go home for a little while. I don't have any other clothes," he explained as they'd planned to go out to dinner that night.
Although he'd packed enough clothes for a few days before leaving home, Brian said, "We'll do without."
"We'll go shopping then," he suggested. "Buy new clothes."
So Justin was frugal as well. He'd cure him of that habit. "Don't worry. I can afford it." Even with the impending divorce. He wanted to shower Justin with presents, wanted to take him out and show him off to the world.
"I don’t want you to think that you have to buy me things."
"I know that I'm young but I can pay my own way."
"What are you smiling about?"
"How much I love you."
Blushing again, Justin got up and held out his hand. "Come on, we've got shopping to do."
They played around in the shower under the guise of helping each other wash but soon Justin put an end to it by pointing out that they'd never get out of the room if they didn't settle down and attend to the task at hand: namely showering. In admiration, Brian complied. He was finding out that his little boy was a pretty stern taskmaster. Then he grimaced. He'd told Lindsay Justin wasn't a boy and here he was thinking of him as one.
Perceptive too. Attuned to the slightest shift in mood. "Nothing. I just—I told Lindsay that you weren't a boy, you were a man but I've been thinking of you as my little boy."
With a smile, Justin slipped his arms around Brian's waist. "I like it. Say it again."
"My little boy."
Justin raised his face for a kiss. "One last time."
"My little boy," Brian murmured before their lips touched. They kissed and then he drew away. "You're right, we do need to get out of here now or we'll never get out of here."
Groaning, Justin followed Brian from the shower. "You know, I'm not always right."
But, nevertheless, they dressed and went out to shop. Which turned out the same way as it did whenever he'd attempted to take Gus shopping: he spent most of his time deflecting the teen's fashion faux pas and trying to instill some sense of style in him. It was as hopeless a task as it was when he'd tried it with his son. Only Gus was five, he had an excuse. Justin had none. There was no excuse, in Brian's view, for shopping at Old Navy if you were over the age of fourteen. He shuddered.
"See," teased Justin, "you should have known you were gay all along."
"Then why don't you have any taste?"
"But I can dance," and he demonstrated his moves in the dressing room. Brian laughed and pulled him into a kiss. When they parted, the teen was breathing heavily. "God, nobody kisses like you."
"How do you know? You been out testing people?"
"Don't have to. You're the best. I just know it."
The bulk of their shopping done, they wandered through the mall on the way back to the car. As they passed a bookstore, Justin said, "I need to make a quick stop. Meet you back at the car?"
"I'll just come with you."
"Didn't you say you wanted to drop by Needless Markup?" his nickname for Neiman-Marcus.
"You don't want to come too?"
"Me? The Old Navy Poster Boy?"
"Point taken. I'll see you back at the car then in thirty minutes."
"Bye." Justin waited until Brian was well on his way before ducking into the bookstore. He had one more stop after here.
Half an hour later they piled all their bags in the trunk of Brian's car and took off for the hotel, making a stop first for coffee. When they returned to their temporary home, Justin put his secret purchases in the drawer Brian had set aside for him.
"No peeking," he warned and the man shrugged.
He'd find out soon enough he supposed.
With reservations at eight, they had enough time to rest before dressing and heading out to the restaurant. Exhausted from shopping, despite the shot of caffeine to the system, they curled on the bed and watched television with their eyelids drooping lower all the time. Finally they slept.
An hour later Brian woke with a jerk. Next to him, Justin still slept. Checking the clock, he saw that they still had time to rest so he did not disturb his bed partner. Just lay looking at him. At the way he slept with his lips slightly parted, his hair falling gently onto his face. He seemed even younger when he slept if that was possible since he looked around seventeen most of the time. But his age belied his maturity. It was hard to believe that just three days ago, none of this had occurred. Yet, somehow, Justin had found the strength to deny everything he'd known about himself and search for the truth. Even if that truth led him to Brian. As he watched, the teen opened his eyes and smiled.
"Hey," he said sleepily.
"I was dreaming about us."
"What about us?"
"We were walking on opposite sides of a road and the farther away we got, the closer it seemed we were but we were still only walking on either side of the road, still separated. And then we both stopped and we walked to the middle of the road, and we stood there for the longest time, and then you took my hand and we walked together."
"Where were we going?" Brian asked.
Curious as to what Justin had purchased in the bookstore, Brian asked him and the teen grinned sheepishly and went and got the bag from the drawer. Removed an item and handed it to Brian.
"The Joy of Gay Sex." He laughed and shook his head. Justin wiggled his brows and dumped the rest of the bag's contents: three boxes of condoms and two different tubes of lube. Seems he'd hit the drug store too.
"I didn't know what kind to get," he said with a bashful grin, which explained the variety of products.
Throwing his arm over the teenager's shoulders, Brian kissed him.
Justin had been right. It didn't matter where they were going, all that
mattered was that they were going together.
Even though he was physically in a meeting with Ryder, his mind was on Justin. Spring Break was over. Which meant returning to Lindsay's class. Brian had tried to talk Justin out of going but the teen had been adamant about facing her. "We can't hide forever," he'd said and Brian had agreed but, now, sitting so far away from them both, he worried. He didn't want either of them hurt but Lindz was already hurt and Justin was bound to be if they had a confrontation.
He looked up, realized belatedly that Ryder had been speaking to him.
"Is there something wrong?"
A lie formed on his tongue and died there. They were partners, albeit business partners, but it was important that there be trust between them. So he told the truth. "Lindsay and I split up."
From the look on Ryder's face, he was stunned by the news. "You two had one of the strongest marriages around. I know this isn't any of my business, but I can't help wondering why."
"I… I found someone else." Said like that, it sounded so torrid when it'd been anything but.
"Lindsay's a fine woman. I can't imagine you finding another one like her much less better than her."
"I didn't." It was coming. The confusion, the disbelief.
"I don't understand. You said you'd found someone else."
"I did. But it wasn't another woman." He had never imagined it would be easy to tell anyone he was gay but he hadn't thought it'd be this hard. "I've fallen in love with another man." In all of the years he'd worked for and with Ryder, he was certain the man had never seen him like this: subdued, ashamed. The Brian Kinney he'd known was confident, slightly arrogant even. And straight.
"A college student," he explained. Then went all the way, "He's actually a student in one of Lindsay's classes. That's how we met." If only he'd been busy the night of the exhibition. Only he knew, deep down, that somehow he and Justin would have crossed paths. It seemed destined to be.
"I'm stunned, Brian. And I have to tell you that I'm disappointed."
"That I'm gay?"
"That you've left your family for… for this."
"This is my life."
"Your life is with your wife and children."
"I love him. I can't pretend that I don't just because it's easier not to."
"You should have controlled yourself."
"And done what? Not fallen in love?"
"A man does what he has to. Sometimes it's not what he wants to do, but it's what he has to do."
"And what about love? What about living your life the way you were meant to? I was supposed to deny myself the chance to be happy? Deny Lindsay the chance to find a man who'd love her completely?"
"I'm… I don't know what to say except that I feel as if I don't know you at all."
"You lied to all of us, Brian, and I don't know if I can ever trust you again." Ryder stood and left the conference room, their meeting over.
In a haze, Brian returned to his office and shut the door. It would
only get worse. He imagined telling his parents, watching their faces shut
down in disbelief and shame. Imagined telling Michael that he was gay.
Seeing his friend struggle with the implications. He sat at his desk and
stared at the blotter, chest getting tighter and tighter, hands trembling,
until the first tears began. Covering his face, he cried.
They were supposed to meet for dinner but Brian couldn't face Justin right now. Not feeling the way he did. His exchange with Ryder had left him feeling raw and vulnerable. Sitting in his hotel room, he looked around the room and compared it to his home, to the home he'd left behind. He missed his favorite chair, missed his bed, missed hearing the twins laughing as they ran through the house. All he had now was this room with its awful wallpaper and its cheap particleboard furniture. Closing his eyes, he laid his head back against a pillow and tried to clear his mind. But he kept hearing the kids laughing and he felt like crying again. Only what good would it do? None. But he couldn't keep the tears from falling anyway.
He hadn't laid there thirty minutes when there was a knock on the door. Justin. Going to the tiny bathroom and splashing some water on his face, he answered. And any and all doubts about his choice vanished as he drew the teenager into the room and into his arms. "Tell me," he said as Justin looked as if he'd been through ten rounds with a heavyweight. They settled on the bed and Justin shook his head. "Justin." Brian tilted his head upwards and brushed his hair back from his forehead. "I love you," he said to reassure him that he was there for him.
At that Justin broke down and buried his face in Brian's shirt. He wept for no few minutes, then pulled away to go wash his face. When he returned, he sat next to Brian and began telling him what had happened. "It was horrible. Walking into class and knowing that I'd see her, knowing that she'd probably hate me for what I had done."
"You didn't do anything."
"I took you away from her."
"It's what she thinks." He wiped his eyes again. "It's what she said."
"Justin…" My God, they'd had some kind of argument. He just hoped it had occurred in the privacy of her office and not out in the open.
"At first, I thought it'd be okay. I thought we'd actually make it through class without having it out but… I was so stupid. We were supposed to draw something from memory and I started to draw you. I shouldn't have. I don't know what I was thinking. It just happened," he explained. "And she saw it and freaked. She…"
"In class?" Brian asked, horrified at the imagined scene.
"She started screaming at me. Calling me names. She said I'd taken you away from your children, that I'd destroyed a home." He stood and hugged himself. "And there was nothing I could say in my defense. Because I had." Again he wiped his face. "And now it's all over school. I couldn't even look people in the eye in the hallway. I could hear them whispering as I passed."
Going to him, Brian put his arms around him and held him. "I'm sorry. Baby, I'm sorry."
"I can't do this," he whispered. "I can't. I can't go back there," he said, sobbing. "She called me a whore."
Anger swept over Brian and he said to Justin, "Will you stay here? I'll only be gone a little while."
"Don't. It'll just make it—"
"Will you be okay?"
"We settle this now." He grabbed his coat. "I'll be back in an hour."
Still, as angry as he was, he felt a great sadness as he drove to the house that he used to think of as his home. Had he done the right thing? Doubts still gnawed at him and he longed to feel secure in his decision. When he was with Justin, he felt as if there was no place he'd rather be than by his side. But when they were apart, he felt weak, indecisive, and afraid.
Parking in the driveway, he paused for a few moments to gather his wits and to calm down. Whenever he thought about Lindsay screaming at Justin in class, he felt himself losing control. Which would do him nothing but harm.
He knocked on the door and hoped that the twins were home. His need to see them was very nearly overwhelming and he was so afraid that he'd make some Faustian bargain with Lindz just to fulfill that need.
She opened the door and then attempted to close it again but he reached out and stopped her.
"We need to talk."
"There's nothing to talk about. And I've told you, you can't see the kids."
He pushed past her and called out, "Gus! Ginny!" Heard them running towards the alcove and squatted to take them in his arms when they appeared. He hugged them tightly, tears squeezing from the corners of his eyes.
"Daddy, where were you?" asked Ginny.
Gus asked a question of his own. "Daddy, why were you gone?"
He could answer neither completely. "I missed you," he told them. "Did you miss me?" They both nodded. Before they could start in with the questions again, he said, "Look, guys, I need to talk to Mommy for a little while, okay? Go play for a little bit, all right, and then I'll see you later."
"You won't go away?" Ginny asked, still holding onto him.
"Not yet. Okay?"
She released him but she still didn't seem to believe him. Neither did Gus. But they did as he asked and went into the family room to play.
"Proud of yourself?" Lindz glared at him as he stood. "You're hurting them."
"And you're not? You can't keep me from seeing them."
"As long as you're with that—"
"I want him out of my class."
"You're a teacher, for Christ's sake."
"I won't be humiliated, Brian."
"Then you should have kept your mouth shut."
"And lied, the way you have?"
"But I didn't lie. I could have. I could have pretended that things were all right between us, I could have fucked him on the side, and watched our marriage become a lie. But I didn't because I respect you. I care about you. I didn't want us to end but, Lindsay, I didn't have a choice."
"There's always a choice."
"Fine. So I chose him. I chose to try and be happy."
"You weren't happy with us?"
"That's not what I mean." He sat in one of the chairs in the alcove. "It was like being asleep and never even knowing it. Dreaming and thinking you were awake. I wanted to go back to sleep, Lindsay. When I realized that I loved him, I wanted to go back to the dream because the dream was a good one. It was a great dream. And I don't regret it. I don't regret you or the kids or the life we had. But I can't go back to sleep. I can't pretend that things haven't changed because they have."
"They could change again. He could leave you and then what? Where would you be?"
"Even if he does, I could never go back to the way I was. That person is gone." He stood, shoulders slumped. "I should go."
Just as he reached the door, she said, "Wait. You promised the kids you'd see them first." When he looked surprised, she told him, "I'm not a complete bitch, you know."
"This is so hard." Her voice trembled. "Because I feel like I'm still asleep. I'm still dreaming the dream, Brian."
"I know." She came to him and he embraced her. "I know."
After spending time with the kids, he packed another suitcase to take to the hotel.
"Will you be there long?" she asked, having gotten the number to his room.
"Probably not. I need to start looking for a place."
"Will—" She shook her head. "Never mind."
On the drive back to the hotel, he began to feel better about the choices he'd made. He and Lindsay would work things out eventually. He was sure of it.
As he opened the door to his hotel room, he prayed that he'd find Justin there waiting for him. He didn't know what he'd do if he wasn't. Stepping across the threshold, he saw the teenager sitting on the bed watching television.
"I ordered dinner," he told him with a smile.
Brian returned it. "Great. I'm starving."
"So what's wrong with this place?" Justin asked as they'd seen four apartments that day already and none of the previous ones had met Brian's strict and somewhat mysterious requirements.
Brian walked around the spacious loft. It had an adequate kitchen which was fine since he cooked but a little. A large open area spanned both sides of the kitchen neatly dividing the main space into a livingroom and dining area. There was even room for a home office tucked away by the door. Opposite the kitchen was a glass enclosure: the bedroom. He thought it was rather strange that the bedroom would be so open, anyone could look right through the glass walls or the two openings that served as doorways. A mid-sized closet separated the bedroom from the bathroom which boasted floors and walls of some natural rock tile and a glass shower stall big enough for two. Despite the smallness of the closet, there was room in the bedroom for a couple of chest of drawers which he'd need. What really sold him on the place were the large floor to ceiling windows in both the living and dining areas. As the loft occupied a former industrial space, it was rather dark. The windows let in the sun and lit up the place. Looking around at the beautiful hardwood floors and the built-in wooden cabinets surrounding the bedroom, he already felt at home.
"So?" Justin said, repeating his question. "Let's hear it. What's wrong with it?"
"Nothing," he replied with a huge grin on his face. "It's absolutely
It only took a few days to close on the loft and within two weeks, he moved in to his new place. Although they'd been stunned by Brian's news about the dissolution of his marriage, his friends helped him move his stuff from the house to the apartment. The kids were understandably upset when he and Lindsay finally explained to them that Daddy wouldn't be living with them anymore. At five, they just weren't equipped with the reasoning skills necessary to accept that kind of change gracefully. So both their parents agreed to spend as much time as they could with them, even if it meant stinting on other things. Justin, out of respect for Lindsay, stayed away from the house. That relationship would take some time to mend. Despite knowing that Brian had made up his own mind, she still felt betrayed by Justin. Perhaps because she had brought them together in the first place.
Exhausted by moving, Brian decided to tackle the boxes the next day. Instead of unpacking, he ordered takeout for dinner and spread a blanket on the floor, set out a couple of tall candelabras that he and Lindz had been given as a wedding present (which she'd hated and put in the attic), and wineglasses. Chilled the wine. Justin was due any minute and he wanted everything to be perfect. He'd even picked up a bouquet of Calla lilies and a cheap vase in one of his supply runs to the grocery store. The place still looked empty but he'd soon remedy that. He couldn't wait to go shopping and—
The huge, metal door sliding open interrupted his planning. Justin. Punctual to the minute. He met his lover at the door and they kissed for a long while still standing by the kitchen counter.
"Everything go okay?" Justin asked as they finally parted and he put down his overnight bag.
"Yep. All my stuff's here. I hope."
Looking around at the mostly bare space, Justin said, "I can't wait until you get some furniture. It's going to be amazing."
Brian ran his finger over Justin's lips. "My thoughts exactly." He took Justin by the hand and led him to the blanket. They sat on the floor and had some wine while they waited for the food to arrive. He couldn't take his eyes off of Justin, the way the candlelight brought out the highlights in his hair and put a warm glow in his cheeks.
"This is so incredibly romantic," Justin said, gazing up at Brian from beneath thick eyelashes.
"Plenty more where that came from," Brian promised. He put down his wine glass and moved closer to Justin. "I wanted to ask you something."
He paused, the enormity of what his question sobering even though he knew he was doing the right thing. "Will you move in with me?"
The teen's eyes glistened. "Are you serious?"
"It's big enough for two."
"It's big enough for three or four."
"And I'll need help with the mortgage," Brian joked.
"I could get a part-time job."
"You could cook."
Justin laughed. "I think you just want me for what I can do for you."
"You're right," said Brian. "Because you make me laugh… you make me happy… and you make me feel like I've got my whole life ahead of me."
"You do. With me."
Brian reached for his hand and stroked his fingers. "So will you?"
"I will," he answered softly. They kissed again and then he laughed, suddenly filled with joy.
"I love you."
"That's good because I love you," kiss, "I adore you," kiss, "and I need you." Brian kissed him one last time and held his face in his hands. "I love you." A thought came to him. "What will your parents think?"
"Have you told them about us?"
"Not yet. But I will," he promised. "I just… I just want us to be happy for a while."
Brian swore to him, "More than a while. Forever."
The food arrived in good time because Brian was starving having only had something on the run today and Justin, of course, was always hungry.
"You'll have to work to help pay for the groceries," teased Brian.
"I'm a growing boy."
With a lascivious grin, Brian said, "I've seen how you grow." Licked his lips.
"You're a sex fiend," laughed Justin. "Can you imagine what you would have been like if you had been gay all along?"
"An asshole, most likely."
Brian's eyes widened and he began tickling Justin. "Take that back. Take it back."
Giggling, the teen said, "Okay. Okay, I take it back." Snorted.
They finished eating, cleaned up, and retired to the bedroom since the television hadn't been unpacked and neither of them were huge TV watchers anyway. The one item of furniture Brian had purchased and had had delivered already was the bed. He'd picked out a huge, flat, platform bed with a low, sloping headboard. Topped it with a king-sized mattress.
"Planning an orgy?" Justin asked.
"You're like a cat," Brian explained. "You look small, but you take up a lot of room."
They took up very little room as they lay together in their bed.
"I can't believe this is happening," said Justin. "Just a month ago, everything was so different." Then added, "Especially for you."
Brian shrugged. "It'll take some getting used to. The quiet," he said. He was used to the kids running around, to Lindsay yelling to him from another part of the house. The loft was so still.
"Don't worry. I'll play my CDs really loud and dance around half the night," Justin joked.
"As long as you're naked, I don't care."
Justin chuckled. "Are you by any chance hinting around at something?"
"Hinting around? I thought I was being crystal clear."
Slipping his hand inside the waistband of Brian's lounge pants, Justin squeezed his cock and said, "I want you to fuck me."
They had yet to progress to actual penetration. Brian had fingered Justin while blowing him but they had shied away from anal sex.
"Completely," he said softly. Stroking Brian's cock, he asked, "Did you read the book?"
Brian tumbled him onto his back and kissed him hard. "Cover to cover."
They kissed for a while, then Justin said, "I need to take a shower."
Dropping clothes off as they walked, they slipped into the shower stall and adjusted the water until the temperature was perfect and the two nozzles until they both were wet. Then Brian squeezed a hand full of shower gel and began to soap Justin from head to toe. Despite the fact that he had asked Brian to fuck him, Brian knew that the teen was nervous. Hell, he was nervous. He'd never done anything like this before and he wanted it to be good for Justin. He wanted Justin to feel cherished and loved because he was. To trust Brian like that, it made him feel special.
He loved the feel of Justin's skin, from his chin to his buttocks to his calves. His hands cupped the teen's pecs, slipped down his belly, and ran along the inside of his thighs. With each movement of his hands, he could feel Justin relax. "You're so beautiful." He kissed the back of his neck and eased a finger between his cheeks. He massaged Justin's hole until its muscles relaxed enough for his finger to slide in.
"Ahh…" sighed Justin and he leaned forward, opening his legs wider.
Brian worked him for a while, then removed his finger. Knelt down in the shower and slid his finger in again. This time he was able to feel Justin's prostate and he rubbed it gently and the boy trembled. Again.
He kissed Justin's buttocks, one after the other, then licked down the crevice. Parted Justin's cheeks and blew across his hole. The edges drew in. He licked across the width of his hole and Justin gasped. Flicked his tongue over the folds. Listened for the sound of Justin's breathing. A goal in mind, he continued to lick and tease Justin's hole until he was finally able to push his tongue through the tight opening. Justin cried out as Brian probed him. Panting, he beat his hand against the shower wall, his cock throbbing, rising to press against the slick tiles.
Brian's cock swayed before him as well. He knew that the tip was wet, knew that in a moment the clear tear would drip down upon the floor. It was time. He cut the shower off and picked Justin up, carried him to the bedroom. Laid him down upon the bed and joined him. Their bodies slid against one another as they kissed. Wet hands grasped slippery cocks and stroked them until they were even harder, the heads dark with blood.
Justin rolled Brian onto his back and swiped the tip of his cock with his tongue. Licked him until the head was covered with his saliva, then swooped down upon it, letting the shaft ease between his lips.
Lying there, being pleasured by his lover, Brian almost forgot the purpose of their lovemaking. Justin's lips felt so good… but there was more. Drawing Justin's head from his groin, he told him to lie on his back and raise his legs. Positioning himself close to Justin's ass, Brian lifted his legs to his shoulders. "I want you to relax," he told him.
Justin nodded and kept his eyes on Brian. Reached for a condom. Tore open the package and slipped it over his lover's cock.
"Yes," whispered Brian. He picked up the lube and flipped the top. Wet his finger and his cock. Pressed his finger inside Justin and worked it until the teen was slick. "You ready?"
Brian angled his cock towards Justin's hole. Pressed the head against the opening. "Bear down," he told him. "Hard." As Justin pushed, so did he. The teen gasped and turned his head to the side, gripped the sheets as Brian entered him. Brian kept up steady pressure until the head had passed through, then he paused.
Justin's chest rose and fell as if he had pistons inside his body.
A tear slipped from beneath a lid. "Yeah."
"You want to stop?"
Sensitive to Justin's discomfort, Brian moved slowly, inch by inch until the head of his cock nudged Justin's prostate and the boy shouted.
"Christ!" He grabbed Brian's shoulders as he shuddered. "Oh…"
Brian pushed harder, sliding forward until he came to rest, his balls pressed against Justin's ass. He stayed still, knowing that Justin was having to adjust to the feeling. When Justin's eyes opened again, he said, "I'm going to back up," and he did and he watched Justin grimace. Then, just as he reached the end of his stroke, he pushed inside him again. Slowly, he began to slide in and out of his lover, the teenager relaxing as the pain gradually turned into pleasure. Certainly Brian hitting his prostate each time he entered him had a lot to do with that.
Changing positions, supporting himself on his hands as he knelt over Justin, Brian kissed his lover while they fucked. He could feel Justin growing more and more aroused. Justin's cock was being rubbed by both their bellies and the teen was getting close to his orgasm. Brian couldn't believe how good it felt, thrusting into Justin's hole. The tightness of the rings of muscle guarding his entrance and the softness of the channel inside provided a range of sensations that made him feel dizzy. And Justin was completely lost in the experience of being fucked for the first time. Sweat glistened on his face and he muttered, "Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me…" as Brian rode his ass.
"As long as you want," Brian whispered.
"Fuck me," he whimpered and then he arched his back and neck and shouted. Cum surged from the tip of his cock, smearing their bellies. His hole gripped Brian's dick and he yelled too, coming in an instant.
When he could, he pulled out of Justin, then removed his legs from his
shoulders. Skinned the condom from his cock and lay down beside his lover.
Justin moved into his arms and they remained together until they fell
Standing before the window in his loft, he looked out over the
neighborhood that had become his neighborhood. He could see couples
walking down the street. Male couples. Female couples. He thought of his
lover lying in bed, perhaps dreaming of them this night. A month ago, he
would have looked upon the street, upon the people, upon the boy in bed as
a stranger in a strange land might have but, tonight, it all seemed very
familiar, as if he had never lived anywhere else, as if his other life had
only been a dream.