...Talking of Michelangelo

Let us go then, you and I...*

Out of the corner of his eye Justin saw someone sit in one of his booths. Flashing his brightest smile, he turned and paused. It was Kyle, from school. "Hey, Kyle." He grabbed a menu from the counter and handed it to his classmate. "There's not a huge selection."

Kyle glanced at the menu once and put it down. "Could I have some fries and a Coke?"

"Sure." Justin jotted it down, picked up the menu, and went to submit the order. He returned with Kyle's soda, laying a straw next to the glass. "So, how's it going?"

"Not bad," Kyle replied, taking a cautious sip of his drink, as if he suspected it was spiked.

Justin, realizing that Kyle needed to work up to whatever it was he had come in to say, returned to his other customers, few at this early hour. He collected his tip from the next table, dodging one of the guys' grabby hands with a laugh. By the time he had totaled another table's bill, Kyle's fries were up. He carried them over and set the plate in front of the teenager who briefly looked up at Justin and muttered, "Thanks."

"No problem." He turned to go.

"Justin—" A pause. "Could I-I mean, when do you get a break?"

Justin checked his watch. "In another two hours. That's when I get off." He waited for Kyle to make up his mind.

"Maybe I can come back then?" Kyle glanced down at his hands.

"Sure." One of the customers at a nearby table signaled him. He went, wondering what Kyle wanted.

True to his word, Kyle returned in a couple of hours. Opting not to remain at the diner, the two boys strolled down Liberty Avenue until it became clear to Justin that Kyle would rather talk in a less public sphere.

"We can go to my place," Justin suggested to his silent companion.

Hands in his pockets, head lowered, Kyle agreed and they traipsed back to where his car was parked.

Deb was at work and Vic was at one of his support group meetings so the house was empty except for the two of them. Kyle seemed both more relaxed and less relaxed at the same time. Declining to share Justin's dinner, he sat on the couch across from him and surreptitiously watched his host eat.

From the way Kyle was studying him on the sly, Justin guessed that maybe Kyle had a thing for him. He'd never gotten the slightest impression before that Kyle was interested in him, or that he was even gay for that matter. He hadn't shown up for the one Gay Straight Student Alliance meeting but that didn't mean anything. Hardly anybody had despite Brian's brilliant marketing ploy. Feeling Kyle's eyes on him again, Justin decided to take matters in his own hands. "Why'd you want to see me anyway?"

"Just stuff," muttered Kyle.

Finishing off his tuna sandwich, Justin took the opportunity to check Kyle out more closely. He was about the same height, maybe an inch taller, bulkier than Justin was in the chest and shoulders, brown eyes and hair. Automatically, Justin began to compare him to Brian, noting the boys' deficiencies. Brian would never have beaten around the bush the way Kyle was doing; and Brian's eyes were hazel, not brown; even his hair was better, medium brown with light brown and auburn highlights. Of course, Justin realized he was being unfair to Kyle. After all, Brian was a grown man who'd had years to develop his own personal style. Besides which he was in advertising; he knew better than anyone what sold. All he had done was to apply his considerable skills towards marketing himself. He had molded himself into the person everybody wanted- or thought they wanted. Without sacrificing his identity. He hadn't changed his personality, just emphasized the positive features of the product until he got what he wanted. Still, even knowing the negatives, it was difficult to resist him, and if you were an eighteen-year-old twink, it was damned near impossible.

Tearing his thoughts away from Brian, Justin turned his attention back to Kyle. "What kind of stuff?"

Kyle took a shallow breath. Murmured, "I'm gay."

"Me too," Justin said smiling.

For the first time that evening, Kyle smiled. "Yeah, I know. Everybody knows."

Justin grinned. "Emmett says you have to let your little light shine."

"Is that the guy in the black jeep?" asked Kyle.

Laughing out loud at anybody ever mistaking Brian for Em, Justin realized that they did have a lot in common: they were both proud of who they were and honest about themselves. He resolved to tell Brian his observations. Grinned in anticipation of his reaction. "That's Brian."

Kyle glanced at Justin, still unable to meet his eyes dead on. "Is he your boyfriend?"

As much as he wanted to yell, 'Yes!' Justin told the truth. "No," he said softly, a hint of sadness in his voice.

At that Kyle looked up at him and Justin saw that his expression had brightened. "So you're not seeing anybody?" he asked hopefully.

"Yeah, I am. I'm seeing him. Brian. It's just that, he's not my boyfriend. At least, that's what he says," Justin explained and the inadequacy of his answer combined with the look on Kyle's face caused him to chuckle, a little bewildered himself.

"I don't understand," Kyle admitted.

"He doesn't do boyfriends," explained Justin. "Or lovers, or partners, or whatever else you want to call it."

Intrigued, Kyle continued his line of inquiry. "But you guys you have sex?" Justin nodded, hoping he wasn't blushing. "And he brings you to school, which means you sleep over at his place?"


"And you go out?"

"Brian doesn't do dates. But we go to Babylon together, and to Woody's, and to the diner..."

"So you do go out," pronounced Kyle and Justin laughed at the absurdity of the situation when it was reduced to its bare essentials, devoid of circumlocutions and excuses. "But he doesn't want anyone to know? Is that it?"

"No, he doesn't care who knows. He just says it doesn't mean anything."

Kyle shook his head. "So, why do you hang out with this guy? I know he's hot and everything but, shit, you're hot too." As if he just heard what he had said, Kyle looked away from Justin. After a moment, he looked back. "You could have almost any guy you wanted."

"I want him," Justin stated simply, yet the words failed to convey the full range of emotions encompassed by the three short monosyllabic utterances.

Still Kyle wasn't satisfied, wasn't ready to abandon his undeclared quest just yet. "Why?"

How to explain his feelings for Brian? God, he could write for days and fill a thousand pages in his journal and still not explain in any rational manner why he loved Brian, wanted him, needed him. Each time he attempted to dissect his feelings, he failed to isolate the one thing that would explain his obsession. He admitted it. He was obsessed with Brian. And, at times, he realized that it wasn't an entirely healthy thing. But he also realized that beyond the obsessive qualities of his feelings, there lay very real, quite sane reasons why he loved Brian. And he did love him. It wasn't just lust or teenage desire or hero worship or any of those pale imitations of love. It was love, even if he didn't always know how to show it in the most mature manner. Still, he didn't know how to explain this to Kyle. And then he remembered the book he had upstairs.

"Come on," he said and he led Kyle to his room. "Sit down," he told his guest, indicating the bed. Gingerly, Kyle did so, while Justin grabbed a book of poetry off his desk.

"The Poetry of Michelangelo?" asked Kyle.

Justin flipped through the well-thumbed volume. Not many people knew that the artist had also written poetry, beautiful love sonnets and madrigals to his beloved, Tommaso de' Cavalieri, but Justin did because he knew everything about Michelangelo. When he was a kid, he had wanted to be Michelangelo. He still remembered the first time he saw the Pieta and the statue of David in an art book. The two pieces seemed to emerge from the flat pages to loom in three dimensions above him. And the panels from the Sistine Chapel, he could feel the figures' muscles, see their chests rise and fall as they breathed, they seemed so real, so alive, so dynamic. To find out years later that Michelangelo was gay and not only gay but that he wrote love poetry to another man had filled him with a secret joy and he hadn't stopped until he found a copy of his poems and bought it with his own money. Now, he turned to a dog-eared page and read aloud in a strong voice the sonnet he had begun to think of as being his and Brian's.

I see with your beautiful eyes, a sweet light
that with my blind ones I could never see;
I bear, with your feet, a burden upon me
to which my lame ones are no longer accustomed.
I fly, though lacking feathers, with your wings;
with your mind I'm constantly impelled toward heaven;
depending on your whim, I'm pale or red,
cold in the sun, hot in winter's coldest depths.

Within your will alone is my desire,
my thoughts are created in your heart,
and within your breath are my own words.

Alone, I seem as the moon is by itself:
for our eyes are only able to see in heaven
as much of it as the sun illuminates. **

As always that sonnet filled him with so many emotions that he felt as if he would burst, that his body couldn't contain all of his feelings, because between every line, every syllable, lived Brian.

Kyle had fallen silent as well. They sat together not speaking, eyes moist; afraid to say anything and, in doing so, release the flood of tears they were holding back with difficulty. Kyle couldn't believe how much the sonnet had affected him. Or maybe it was the way Justin had read it, as if it were something precious to him that he was sharing with Kyle, which meant that he, Kyle, was worthy of Justin's confidences. And maybe it was because he glimpsed, in Justin's recitation, a hint of the teenager's love for Brian and the power of that love, so bright and shining like the sun, warmed him in the deepest recesses of his being.

Finally, Justin closed the book and laid it on the nightstand. Smiled gently at Kyle. A tear slipped from beneath his eyelid. Daring to do so, Kyle thumbed it away, his heart pounding from their closeness. In an instant, Justin made a decision. Leaning closer, he kissed Kyle softly on the lips. Kyle, having been offered what he wanted most, slid his hand around Justin's neck and pulled him closer, kissed him harder. Then, as if coming out of a haze, he drew away; but Justin cupped his chin and resumed their contact.

"What about Brian?" Kyle murmured against Justin's mouth.

"He wouldn't mind," Justin replied and he smiled tenderly to see the joy in Kyle's eyes as he began to undress. Halfway through, Kyle helped him with trembling fingers. And then they both went to work removing Kyle's clothing until they lay naked together in bed. Justin could feel Kyle shivering, not from the cold, but from being so close, so bare, emotions exposed to view.

"You're so beautiful," Kyle whispered, his face buried in Justin's shoulder.

"Have you ever?" began Justin and Kyle nodded. So it wasn't that. Justin guessed that it was partly fear. They went to the same school. After this, they'd have to pass each other in the hallway, sit across the room from one another in class, and behave as if nothing had ever happened.

Despite his initial hesitancy, Kyle knew what he wanted and he went about getting it with a single-mindedness that reminded Justin of Brian. Except that Kyle, unlike Brian, lacked finesse. However, Justin didn't mind. To feel Kyle's body next to him, knowing that Kyle wanted him more than anything, wanted him without reservations turned him on tremendously and made up for any clumsiness Kyle might have displayed.

Easing Kyle onto his back, Justin kissed down his torso and took the teen's half-hard cock in his mouth. Kyle moaned as Justin's tongue sought out the most sensitive area and repeatedly flicked over it. Taking great gulps of air, Kyle endured the delicious torture until he thought he would explode in Justin's mouth. At that very point Justin let him go and crawled on top of him, their cocks rubbing together, sending tremors up their spines. He got a condom from the nightstand and put it on Kyle, squeezed a little lube in his hand and covered the teen's shaft. Kyle rolled Justin over onto his belly and pressed the head of his dick against the opening of his ass. Justin gasped as Kyle entered him. Unable to slow down for very long, Kyle pushed through until nearly half his cock was buried in Justin's ass. He wanted to go all the way but the urge to fuck took over and he began to withdraw, not far, but enough.

Being pressed into the bed, Justin couldn't meet Kyle's thrusts the way he did when he and Brian fucked, but judging from the sounds Kyle was making, it wouldn't be long before he came. Sure enough, Kyle groaned and shot his load. Justin could feel his cock throbbing inside his ass, expanding with each spasm. When Kyle finished he lay on top of Justin, exhausted, unable to move for a while. Then, having regained a little strength, he withdrew and stretched out next to Justin, who turned over revealing an impressive erection. Kyle removed the condom from his cock and turned his attention to Justin's need. Squeezing some lube in his palm, he began jacking Justin off, his wrist moving in jerky motions as he tugged on Justin's slippery meat. Closing his eyes, Justin concentrated on the motion of Kyle's hand, on the feeling that the teen was drawing the cum out of his balls, stroke by stroke. If it had been Brian, he would have been sucking Justin's balls while bringing him off, and it was that thought that did it. Cum spurted from his cock and fell in thick streams upon his belly. Even Kyle seemed impressed, whispering, "Yeah," as he continued to squeeze the last few droplets of cum from Justin's dick.

Having said goodbye to Kyle, both of them understanding that they would never be together again, Justin returned to his room and lay upon his mussed up bed. Despite smelling Kyle on his sheets, it was to Brian that his thoughts turned. Even though he had just been with Kyle, he ached for Brian, for his sure and confident touch, his imagination, and his generosity when it came to having sex with Justin. The teen had no illusions about Brian's promiscuity, but he was certain that Brian did not give of himself to the others as he did to him. There was something in Brian's eyes that appeared when they were fucking convincing Justin that he was receiving something special, something Brian rarely gave to anyone else. At least, that's what he hoped. Thinking about Brian only made him crazy to see him. Leaping from bed, he ran downstairs to call him, praying that he would be in the mood to play.

"Don't move," ordered Brian, eating a strawberry set in whipped cream from Justin's belly button. After he had finished the fruit, he licked the cream from Justin's navel, eliciting peels of laughter from the youth. Brian smiled and nuzzled his sleepy cock. Eyes half-hidden by full, drowsy lids, Justin reached over, scooped a hand full of cream, spread it along his shaft and then, holding his cock by the base, asked, "Hungry?"

Brian licked the whipped cream from the head of Justin's dick, his tongue wrapping around the cap and disappearing into his mouth until the broad knob was clean. Then, instead of turning to the rest of the cream-covered shaft, he concentrated on the head, lapping the smooth flesh until it glistened. Justin caught his lower lip between his teeth and watched Brian through half-opened eyes, feeling Brian's tongue running up his spine, along the edge of his jaw, around his nipples even though it never left the head of his cock. Releasing his dick, he ran his fingers through his hair, gently pulling at the strands as his excitement mounted. This was what he had wanted, even as Kyle had been pounding him.

Slowly, Brian expanded his realm of exploration, lowering his head until his lips closed around Justin's dick just below the head, the edge of the mushroom-shaped cap resting against the inside of his lips. His tongue tickled the tiny opening and Justin took a sharp breath and let it out slowly, his back descending from a sudden motion upwards.

Speading Justin's thighs open even wider, Brian twisted his head and continued to move down the length of his lover's cock. His lips and face were covered in whipped cream by the time he reached the base. Justin's pubic hair was white as well and he shook like an old man seized by the ague due to the friction generated by Brian's lips as he moved up and down the thickening shaft.

Justin's cock popped out of Brian's mouth and bobbed over his groin. Giving the teen's cock a rest, he turned to his scrotum; first smearing whipped cream over the swollen sac before attacking it with abandon. Justin could hardly breathe. Screwing up his face, he bared his throat, the cords standing out in his neck. Brian's hands roamed the expanse of his chest and belly, fingers stroking smooth flesh in counterpoint to the mouth's activities.

When Brian released his balls, the sac had drawn up against his shaft, leaving the path to his asshole unobstructed. He grabbed hold of his legs around his knees and held them up and open. The first stab of Brian's tongue took his breath away. Around and around Brian circled the wrinkled flesh until it began to spasm. Placing two fingers on either side of the rosy hole, Brian spread Justin's lips revealing the shiny inner flesh, which he lapped slowly, coaxing the lips to part. Catching Justin's glance, he whispered, "Little pig, little pig, let me in," and Justin's asshole convulsed. Concentrating his efforts on the very center, he petitioned until he was given entrance. The tip of his tongue passed through the first ring of muscle.

Once Brian had gained admittance to his hole, Justin knew it would only be a matter of time before he was begging the older man to fuck him. Sure enough, Brian began to stab at his hole with the tip of his tongue and, as his entire body shuddered, he said breathlessly, "Fuck me. Oh God, fuck me."

Condom in place, lube applied, Brian rubbed his cock head against Justin's hole teasing the youth with the promise of more yet to come. Justin gasped as Brian pressed the head inside. Sighed as he was fully penetrated. He breathed in time with Brian's thrusts and withdrawals. One leg around Brian's hip, the other having slipped from place, Justin pressed his shoulders into the mattress and strove to meet Brian's strokes as his lover probed the depths of his ass.

Withdrawing, Brian turned Justin onto his side and mounted him from behind. Unable to thrust as deeply, he slowed the pace of their fucking, and increased the amount of time they would spend joined together. Justin took a deep breath and settled down to enjoy a long ride.

With Brian kissing his shoulders and neck, he lost track of time and couldn't tell how long they had been joined. For minutes at a time, Brian would almost cease to move inside him, deriving pleasure just from being inside the teenager. Sometimes he would lean back, taking Justin with him, and with the teen in his arms, stroke his cock slowly, his hand inching up and down the hard shaft.

Finally, responding to some internal schedule, Brian rolled Justin over onto his belly, then repositioned them until they were kneeling. A new position attained, the nature of their fucking changed. Brian thrust deeper and harder, the head and shaft of his cock expanding, forcing Justin's insides to accommodate the increased girth. His balls slapped against Justin's ass with regularity. His cock head bumped Justin's prostate going and coming. Finally, his strokes becoming ragged, his withdrawals shallower, he increased the force with which he fucked his partner. Justin cried out as Brian's dick rammed his ass, the pain greatly outweighed by the intense pleasure. He wanted, almost irrationally, more, wished Brian's dick was longer, thicker, so that there might be no crevice left untouched. He felt as if his entire body was on fire, enflamed from the inside, and he wanted to be burned entirely, incinerated by their fucking.

Saliva dripping from his opened mouth onto Justin's back, Brian cried out and came. When his body ceased to convulse, he reached around Justin's waist and took hold of his cock and jacked him off. Brian's dick still buried in him, Justin tightened his ass and gave himself over to the twin sensations of having a cock in his hole and having his cock slide through the hole Brian's fist made. Brian squeezed his cock head each time his hand closed over it and Justin thought he would die if he didn't come. Finally, Brian's thumb brushing over his piss hole, Justin gave a shout and cum spurted from his slit. Having come twice before that evening the amount wasn't as copious as before but it was still enough to wet his torso and drip onto the sheets. Brian hissed as Justin's hole contracted around his dick.

Head lowered, Justin took several gulps of air and relaxed so that Brian could pull out. Slumping to the bed, he closed his eyes. Brian laid a worried hand between his shoulders. "Did I hurt you?" Justin shook his head and, unable to speak, reached for Brian and pulled him against his back.

Brian groaned, "I'm gonna have a stomach ache from all that whipped cream."

"Nobody forced you to have thirds," Justin pointed out. He reached over and stroked Brian's belly, his hand moving in lazy circles over his skin. Brian closed his eyes and gave himself over to the soothing motion of Justin's hand. As Justin caressed Brian's stomach, marveling at the feel of firm muscle beneath smooth skin, his thoughts drifted back to earlier events of the evening.

Far from feeling any guilt, he longed to share his experiences with Brian, but something told him that Brian wouldn't react to Justin's outside liaison with as much aplomb as he expected Justin to have when reacting to his amorous activities. Still, he longed to let Brian in on some of what had happened. As if he couldn't care less about the answer, he asked, "Did you know Michelangelo wrote poetry?"

If he expected Brian to dismiss him or to answer that he hadn't, he was fooled. "Yeah." When Justin stopped rubbing his belly, he made a noise of complaint and Justin began again.

"You didn't," he said challenging Brian to prove it.

Groaning, loathe to move and end Justin's stroking, Brian rose and went to his closet. Disappeared within. Justin heard him rummaging around in a box, and then he returned to the bed. Tossed a book onto the comforter and laid down once more.

Surprised, Justin recognized the book as being the same one he owned. Not only were pages dog-eared but someone—presumably Brian—had made notations in the margins by some of the sonnets.

"Italian poetry. Junior year. Elective," Brian explained. "Got an A minus."

"Not an A?" teased Justin.

"The instructor was a closet case who wanted to fuck me but never got up the courage to ask," replied Brian.

Knowing that Brian's idea of morality diverged sharply from most people's, Justin asked, "Would you have done it?"

"What? For an A instead of an A minus?" He shook his head. "He wasn't even hot. Besides, I don't do old."

"But you are into chickens," Justin joked and Brian flashed him a warning scowl, so he settled down again and flipped through the book of poems until he came upon the one he had read to Kyle. "Do you remember any of the poems?"

Negative. "Just bits and pieces. I was never any good at memorizing poetry. I remember images: lips, eyes, the sun..." He smiled to himself and the sight went right through Justin. "I guess that's why I'm in advertising. I only have to think in thirty second intervals and sound bites." Brian glanced over, having noticed that Justin had gone quiet all of a sudden. He was focused on one of the sonnets. Brian remembered what it had been like the first time he had read the sonnets and realized that Michelangelo had written them for his lover: his stomach had felt like a hundred fireflies were flashing inside, warming him from within, sending signals that no one else could read. He had felt both enlightened and alone, wondering if he would ever find his Tommaso, someone who would inspire such thoughts and feelings in him as the young man had inspired in Michelangelo. He imagined the artist patiently chiseling away at his life, trying to free the better man within, the man who would be able to meet Tommaso with love and generosity. When he met Cam, he thought that he had found his Tommaso but it wasn't to be, and so he had put aside the book and most of those feelings, forsaking the better man hidden inside of him. Now, lying next to Justin, he felt his stomach flutter again. "Read it," he said gently.

So Justin did, his voice trembling a little as he read the sonnet for the second time that evening, only this time he was both exhilarated and terrified. Would Brian recognize himself in the words? Discern his features between stanzas? And would he acknowledge it if he did? After he was done, "...as much of it as the sun illuminates," Justin closed the slender volume and waited for a reaction from Brian. Detecting none, disappointed, he laid the book on the table closest to Brian, necessitating his having to reach across him. As he moved back to his side of the bed, Brian caught hold of his arm and drew him onto his chest, saying nothing. But Justin could hear his heart beating steady beneath him. And even after they had both fallen asleep, the rhythm of Brian's heartbeat comforted and kept him through the night, until morning came and it was time to begin again.

Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions*


* "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot from Collected Poems 1909-1962, Faber, 1974.

** "Sonnet 89" by Michelangelo from The Poetry of Michelangelo translated by James M. Saslow, Yale University Press, 1991.

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