Sunlight on the ocean was how he thought of Justin’s smile. Laughter coming in waves. Surging towards and over him. And where before he would have dipped in a toe, testing the water, he now ran to meet the surf and plunged headlong into its bubbly depths, joy closing over his head as he fell into Justin’s arms.
Who could have known drowning would feel so good? Where there had been fear, there was now anticipation; anger had become acceptance; loneliness, courage. He felt a strength he had never known before and knew, if need be, he could take on the entire world by himself. But he didn’t have to anymore. He was no longer alone.
Like holding a seashell to your ear to hear the ocean, Brian could hear Justin’s laugh, see his smile, feel his love whenever he looked at his ring. Even without it he would still be able to because they were connected. A room between them and he could feel Justin’s warmth as if the teen were pressed against his side. A world apart and he would only have to reach inside himself to touch Justin’s presence. And he started to laugh at the idea of having an ocean inside him. Except that Justin was the ocean and anything was possible.
How long ago had he set out on this journey? A sailor putting out to sea, seduced by an instance beneath a lamplight, thinking the sojourn would be brief, the ride pleasant yet forgettable, only to have the sea shift, become unknown, challenging, intoxicating. He’d returned from that trip thoroughly enthralled, although it had taken months for him to acknowledge it, to admit that he’d lost his heart at sea, to the sea, to a youth whose smile was like sunlight on water- - but whose moods were as mercurial as the ocean’s, blue eyes darkening with lust or anger, capable of rocking Brian to sleep in his arms or buffeting him about, tossed by emotions he had hardly ever owned as being his. I love you, Justin had said and it’d sent him scurrying away. I need you. I want you. I know you. Words to make a man wary. Words to make a man careless. Words to trap as surely as a net, to entangle, to bind.
They were bound together now, less by the words they’d spoken or the rings on their fingers than by the love in their hearts and the feeling of having come home after some long journey to find a light in the window.
Justin had slept through his rising, unusual except that the young man was exhausted and content, certain of Brian’s place beside him, no longer afraid of waking to find him gone because they would never really be apart again.
Returning to the bedroom after having witnessed the street below slowly return to life, Brian stood on the top step and watched Justin sleep. Glanced at the clock. The guys would be buzzing in an hour or so, come to help clean up. Come to gape in wonder at the ring on his hand. He grimaced, thinking of the ragging he would have to take. Then he smiled. Because Justin gave a little sigh and turned over towards Brian’s side of the bed, a prelude to waking. Sure enough, in a moment, he opened his eyes, reaching for Brian in the same movement.
”Hey,” Brian said from the doorway and Justin looked around. And smiled. Crossing the floor, Brian lay next to his lover and gathered him in his arms as they kissed hello. However, the hello became an inquiry into the state of things and the inquiry blossomed into an investigation and not long after they’d progressed to a long-term study which required that Brian remove his robe and submit to a very thorough examination.
”We can’t,” he whispered every time he caught his breath for an instant but Justin ignored him and soon they reached a point where neither of them cared and then they reached the point at which the guys could have battered down the door and it wouldn’t have mattered because all that mattered was that Justin keep rising and falling, rising and falling, and moaning until the sound broke against the walls of the loft like water against a levee.
Climbing down from atop Brian’s hips, Justin pecked him on the nose. “Hey.”
What a way to say, ‘Good morning.’
Of necessity, their shower was brief, during which Justin checked his ring constantly, despite the fact that it was a perfect fit and was in no danger of sliding off.
In record time they dressed and had just sat down to the first cup of the day- - Jamaican Blue Mountain- - when the guys knocked on the door. Brian’s heart, by some miracle of science, had relocated to his throat and he swallowed a mouthful of coffee with difficulty. Rising from the table, they came together for the last time before going public.
”Well,” said Justin.
”Yeah,” Brian replied and they laughed nervously and took deep breaths. “Here goes.” He threw open the door.
As Michael pushed through he asked, “What took you so long?”
Emmett sauntered past, taking in their swollen lips. “You have to ask?”
Barely pausing on his way to the sofa, Ted said, “Nice ring.” What he’d said caught up with him just as his butt touched the cushion. He turned, as did Michael and Emmett, all staring at Brian as if he’d grown a third eye in the middle of his forehead.
Justin raised his hand, answering the unasked question.
”Holy shit,” whispered Mikey.
In awe, Emmett took Justin’s hand and examined the ring. Pronounced it, “Beautiful.”
Ted still couldn’t believe it even though he’d been the first to notice. “Is this for real?”
”For the amount of money I paid for these things, it’s for real,” replied Brian and he looked, for the first time, at Mikey. His best friend’s face was slightly pale. And he could imagine that Michael was thinking of David and their failed relationship and how things might have turned out if he hadn’t decided to stay in Pittsburgh, if he hadn’t gotten the call at the airport telling him Justin had been hurt and Brian was in need of comfort- - even though nothing and no one had been of any real comfort to him, not until Justin had opened his eyes. And even though Michael had told him often enough that the bashing had only delayed the trip, that he had made the decision on his own to end it, even though he’d said it a dozen times or more, Brian didn’t really believe him. Still considered himself partially to blame. Now, as he watched Mikey digest their news, he felt guilty again. And then Justin smiled at him from halfway across the room and he couldn’t help it, he wanted to shout.
”So,” began Emmett, “where are you going on your honeymoon?”
Smile growing wider and brighter, Justin replied, “Europe. This summer. For a whole month,” he added.
”He must be serious,” commented Ted. “He’s never taken a month off for vacation.”
Mikey, who’d known they had planned to go abroad some time, forced a smile. “You’ll love Paris. I did.”
Hoping to divert attention away from them for a moment, Brian gestured at the balloons, the streamers, the hundred billion pieces of fuckin’ confetti (Who’d thought that had been a good idea?), and the overflowing ash trays. “What about all this help we were supposed to get?”
Emmett whipped out an apron and a bandana from his backpack, tied the apron around his waist and wrapped up his hair. Stood hands on his hips. “Well?”
Ted rolled his eyes. “Good Lord. He’s channeling Hazel.”
Somehow they managed to get the place cleaned - - at least clean enough for the maid to come in and clean. By unanimous vote they decided not to analyze that too deeply and instead headed out to a well-earned lunch. Brian and Justin were famished, having fucked away whatever nourishment they’d accrued the night before.
Sitting in a booth, the guys all grabbed menus and held them up to their faces so that their hands were visible and waited for Deb to come over. She smooched Michael on the top of the head and took out her pad and pencil. “So, what’ll it be- - Oh, my God!”
She’d seen them. Brian peeped over the top edge of his menu.
”Is that what I think it is?”
”Are you under the influence of any drugs or illegal narcotics?”
She reached over to hit him. He ducked. “Smartass.” Then she remembered why and grabbed Justin’s hand. “Oh, my God. Sunshine?”
Justin felt like he was about to explode, like he had the sun inside him and it was about to burst from his belly like one of the creatures in Alien. “He gave it to me last night.”
Pulling him from his seat, she hugged him hard. Kissed him on the cheek. Then reached for Brian and he had to get up too and get a kiss, which he wiped off in mock indignation, and returned to his seat grumbling about wanting lunch and not “wet, sloppy kisses from middle-aged straight women.”
Deb laughed and waved everyone to be quiet. “Hey! Hey, everybody!” The other diners paused and looked her way. Brian tried to slide down in his seat. “It’s official! Brian fuckin Kinney is off the market!”
As the guys in the diner began mumbling among themselves, some of them narrating their tale about the night/day/moment Brian Kinney fucked them, Emmett signaled with his hand. “I’m still single.”
Ted nodded. “Ah, yeah, I’m sure the world is breathing a sigh of relief.”
Brian glanced over at Mikey sitting at the end of the table. Aware of the scrutiny, Michael looked up from his menu. Gave a little smile, then went back to looking down. Unconsciously, Brian touched his ring.
Having observed the interaction, Justin decided to leave it alone.
They’d figure it out among themselves. They always had.
Of course, as soon as Jennifer and Lindsay heard about “the rings” they and Deb got the bright idea that nothing would do except to throw the lucky couple a party. Brian, telling himself that it would only be two or three hours of excruciating agony, promised to show up. Actually, he only agreed because Justin assured him that if he didn’t, it’d be no nookie for him for a very, very long time and since Brian’s idea of a very, very long time was about forty-five minutes, he caved immediately.
Assured that he had Justin’s attention, Brian held up two sweaters: one dark brown, the other tan, both Hugo Boss. “What do you think?”
”You’re asking me? The Old Navy poster boy?”
Lips curled in a sneer, Brian replied, “Think of this as a growth opportunity.” Flicked his tongue. “Pick the right one and I might just let you fuck me tonight.”
Mouth having gone suddenly dry, Justin studied Brian closely for any clues as to which shirt was ‘the right one’ in his mind. And then he decided to try a different tactic. “I might not want to fuck you tonight.”
Unfortunately, he hadn’t mastered the art of the bluff, not entirely, especially when it came to topping Brian. Fortunately, that amused Brian immensely. He grinned and then laughed. Tossed the tan sweater onto the bed and slipped the brown one over his head. Kissed Justin soundly. “Well, if you change your mind. . .” He strode out of the bedroom, his long legs and tight butt beckoning Justin to follow.
Fuck yeah the teen thought. How long is this fuckin’ party
It lasted way too long in both their opinions. Especially since everyone seemed hell-bent on recounting every one of their missteps on the way to True Love. Em told the NY trip story for the fiftieth time and Mel told how Justin had shown up at their house the night Hotlanta had given Brian a blow job right in front of his face.
”Not your finest moment, Bri,” Lindsay told him.
”Well. . .”
Jennifer looked properly scandalized and was doubly glad Molly was upstairs playing with Gus.
”So, how did you convince Brian not to kill you when he found you in that hotel room in New York?” Em asked and everyone gave him a look. “I’m curious.”
”He’s very persuasive,” was all Brian would say.
”The fuck defense,” Mel said and she and Brian laughed, remembering the Kip episode.
”What?” asked Lindsay, so Mel had to tell that story and they all laughed despite the amount of trouble Kip had caused during and after the entire sordid affair. None of them could forget his testimony during Chris Hobbs’ trial and just thinking about the trial dampened their moods a little but not for long as Vic proposed yet another toast.
”To the happy couple, may you still be fucking at sixty-four.”
”Justin or Brian?” asked Ted and Brian cut his eyes at him. Mouthed, ‘Fuck you,’ at him and they all laughed again.
As Deb went to get the cake, Brian looked around and noticed that Mikey had disappeared. Giving Justin a kiss on the forehead, he slipped outside, certain to find his best friend out back. He was. Sitting at the rickety picnic table Deb refused to get rid of although it was probably a health hazard. Risking splinters and worse if the table collapsed, Brian sat next to Michael and lit a joint. Took a hit and passed it over. Michael took it and inhaled cautiously. Brian liked his doobies notoriously strong. Taking it back, Brian held it between his fingers and took a puff every now and then as he spoke. “You remember that time Deb took us down to the shore for a week when we were what? Fifteen?”
”Yeah. I didn’t think your dad would let you go.”
”Glad to get rid of me.” A hit. Exhaled. “What was that kid’s name? The one you had a crush on?”
Michael sighed. “Lester.”
”Lester,” breathed Brian. “That’s right. You spent the entire fuckin’ week mooning over that loser.”
”He was not a loser.”
”Total loser. Sixteen-years-old and he wasn’t even smart enough to take a handout when it was offered to him. You practically sat in his lap every time you saw him and he never made a move on you.”
Stealing another hit off the joint, Michael said, “Not everybody’s a slut like you. We had a deeper connection.”
”He was an idiot,” Brian declared. “You should have taken him in the bushes and fucked his brains out. What little he had,” he added. “Least then you would have gotten over him and we could have had a good time.”
Michael frowned. “We had a good time. We went swimming every day and hung out on the beach and roasted hot dogs and played frisbee. . .”
Offering Michael another hit, which was refused, Brian stubbed out the joint and put the roach in his pocket. “I guess we did. Guess I forgot.”
Sighing, Michael rolled his eyes. “I know what you’re doing and you’re right, things won’t change between us because of you and Justin.”
”No,” Brian said, “things will change. That’s the way life is. But you’re always going to be my best friend.” He slipped his arm around Michael’s shoulders. “I don’t know what I’d do without either of you. So don’t make me find out.” He pecked Michael on the cheek. “What kind of cake did Vic make?”
Brian cursed, “Fuck.” He’d been hoping not to have any. “Chocolate chocolate chip.” Stood. “Come on.”
”You’ll work it off,” Michael promised him.
”That’s the one advantage of having an eighteen-year-old lover.” He paused. “Partner.” Gave his head a little shake. “Whatever the fuck he is.”
”Yours,” suggested Michael.
And Brian smiled softly. “Mine.”
With each thrust he rose upon a swell of desire that carried him closer and closer to his destination. Feeling Justin move inside him, he moaned around the pillow beneath his head, his breath moistening the cool blue cotton material. He reached back and laid his hand upon Justin’s ass, feeling it rise and fall, gently at first and then faster as they were caught up in the currents that swept through their blood.
Justin’s lips brushed across the nape of his neck and he half-turned his head so that the teen could reach the side, kiss along his jaw line, behind his ear. He heard the teen whisper something to him but he couldn’t make out the words. The sound was like the roar of the ocean. Then Justin withdrew completely and he realized that it’d been a request for him to turn over.
They came together again, cocks straining against one another, kissing roughly, prolonging their lovemaking for as long as they could despite the need to come that was barely held in check. Brian’s mouth, cheeks, and chin were wet with Justin’s saliva as the younger man devoured his face with kisses. Each time Justin caught his lips between his own, Brian felt an answering tug at his groin. Wrapping his legs tight around the teenager’s waist, he held him in place, rode out one dizzying wave without losing it completely, then, conversely, released him and pushed him away, lay gasping on the bed, willing his balls not to spasm, not to shoot.
Responding to a pulse that came from deep within him, Justin rose onto his knees and held Brian’s legs up and open. Waited. Brian took him in hand and guided him inside once more. He sank in him with a sigh, cock head brushing over Brian’s prostate setting off another ripple that expanded to include them both.
Brian let go of his cock and gripped the sheets. He was hot, wet, soaked in sweat and saliva, asshole slick with lube and precum, soon to be filled with cum as well. He could feel the sweat trickling down his chest, through his pubes, around his balls, between his cheeks. Feel the saliva drying on his lips. Feel Justin’s cock sliding with ease through his hole aided by KY and a prodigious amount of sticky precum that continued to ooze from Justin’s slit as the teen grunted and plunged inside him with abandon.
Pausing, Justin released his legs and shifted positions, on his hands and knees now above the older man, and Brian crossed his legs around the teen’s waist, ankles and heels slipping from the sweat on both their bodies. But it was so good this way because now Justin’s belly rubbed against his cock and each time the youth’s muscles flexed, they stroked the underside of Brian’s dick and balls and the man panted, feeling the cum churning inside his scrotum.
Then Justin began to jab against him and he knew the journey was
nearing its end. The cock inside him swelled once more, impossibly,
filling him tight, and Justin tensed, shouted against his shoulder.
Shuddered as he pumped Brian’s ass four, five times, balls tight against
his buttocks. His orgasm over, Justin caught his breath, started rocking
against Brian again, dick still hard inside him, stomach rubbing against
Brian’s swollen cock and balls until the man cried out and gripped Justin
to him, coming hot against his belly and chest.
By the moonlight they talked, having showered and returned to bed, laying on top of the sheets, still too hot to crawl beneath despite the chill in the air, their only concession to wrap arms and legs about one another. Brian laughed thinking if they’d only separate, they could probably get under the covers and keep warm, but neither wanted to do that.
”Gus would have made a cute ring bearer though and Molly could have been the flower girl,” Justin was saying, tracing invisible patterns on Brian’s chest with his index finger.
”Probably,” was the only answer Brian gave.
”Still,” he continued, “I liked that it was just us.”
Getting up on one elbow, Justin studied Brian’s face. “Would you do it? If I asked?”
Heart rate increasing, Brian asked nonchalantly, “Do what?”
”Have a commitment ceremony.”
Glad that his eyes were closed at that moment, Brian fought the sudden panic that arose from the pit of his belly. Cleared his throat. “Why not? I gave you the ring, didn’t I? It’s not like it’s a secret.”
Calling him on his bluff, Justin said, “No, but that’s different from standing up in front of people and reciting poetry or something.” Waited.
”But you would do it? If I asked you to?” Justin watched him closely for the slightest sign of weakness.
Brian opened his eyes, hazel and clear in spite of the grass he’d smoked hours ago. “Yes,” he said firmly, no trace of hesitation. “I’d do it.”
”Liar.” Justin laughed. “You’re too good.”
”Lots of practice,” Brian admitted, laughing too because he’d been caught out even though he hadn’t given anything away.
Justin leaned up and kissed him. “Don’t worry. I won’t ask you to. Cause if all those other guys out there thought you were a romantic on top of being hot, they wouldn’t leave you alone for a second.”
”What makes you think they do now?” he asked, eyebrow raised.
”Exactly my point. If they won’t leave His Big and Badness,” Keisha’s name for him, “alone with his bad attitude intact, no way would I ever be able to keep you if they found out about your soft and squishy side.”
Indignant, Brian argued, “I do not have a fuckin’ soft and squishy side.”
Grinning, Justin murmured, “You’ve got a soft and squishy hole.”
Brian wrinkled his nose. “You are so coarse.”
”And hard,” Justin told him, rubbing up against his thigh.
Hand snaking out to touch his little boy’s stiffening cock, Brian concurred, “And hard.”
Not up to another fucking right at that moment, Brian rolled Justin over onto his back and went down on him, taking great pleasure in the little cries the teenager uttered, thigh muscles tensed and toes curled. Swallowing, he licked his lips and crawled up Justin’s body, kissed him hard upon the mouth. “Don’t worry about those other guys.” Another kiss. “I’m not going anywhere.”
Justin held his head and returned the kiss. “Not without me.”
”Not without you,” Brian agreed and he pulled the sheet over them and
they settled down to sleep, their journey together having just begun.
Oh yes other hearts were broken
”Never Die Young,” by James Taylor, ©1988 Country Road Music, Inc.