|QAF FanFic by Morpheus
Intermission-10: Six Months
Part 3: Entrances and Exits
Well, I did it, I called Lawrence and arranged another date.
I've been going around and around in my head all week, trying to decide what to do with this fucking six month separation Brian forced on us. In his view I'm too young to know what I want just because I haven't had a bunch of fucked-up relationships like he apparently had. I know about Charlie, I know about the nameless blond hunk in the photo Brian showed me, the one that made him almost jump off a roof. So just because I haven't had some equally awful experiences, Brian thinks I'm some naďve kid who doesn't know his own mind.
Brian said that I can't be happy with him. I told him, 'I can't be happy without you.' The thing is, we're both right. I know I can't be happy with Brian unless some things change, but I also know I can't live my whole lifetime without him. I would probably die. I believe that with all my heart.
I just have to hang on and do what he asked me, wait six months. I can do this because he promised we could see each other sometimes. And he promised not to get together with Rick. That scares me worse than anything. Because Brian didn't just want to fuck Rick, he liked him. So for the next six months I'll do as Brian asked and date some guys. A few anyway. I might as well start with Lawrence, he's nice and I enjoyed being with him, it was fun. And Lawrence is older, he's mature - he's not some kid who's going to get all gaga about romance and stuff.
It's not like I fell in love with Justin Taylor after one date; it was just that I couldn't get him out of my mind. By the time he called me the following Wednesday, I’d resigned myself to the idea that he'd decided against seeing me again. So when I heard his voice on the phone I was amazed to discover that for a brief moment I felt almost tongue-tied; and it was downright silly at my age to feel my heartbeat quicken just hearing his voice.
"I called to see if you'd like to go out Friday night," he said.
"Justin, I'd like that very much. Shall we do dinner again, or - "
"It's my turn. I'll pick you up at your place. But - " he hesitated, then went on determinedly, "I just need to tell you that I'm on a budget so I can't do a fancy restaurant, would you mind having pizza?"
"Pizza's almost my favorite food," I exaggerated and I heard him sigh. With relief? I wondered if he thought I was a snob, my condo probably seems very formal to such a casual young man. I like to surround myself with beautiful furnishings, works of art, tastefully arranged. But I didn't always have the means to afford little luxuries and I’m empathetic about student finances, Justin told me he works as a waiter while he’s going to school.
"There's a Monty Python retrospective at the Regency near campus, do you like Monty Python?" When I said yes, very much, he said, "Friday they're showing 'The Meaning of Life,' I've seen it on video but not in a movie theatre."
"Great, that sounds great," I said enthusiastically. "I like all the Python films - 'Life of Brian' is one of my all-time favorites."
"Uh, yeah, " Justin said, Then he added, "Well, I'll pick you up about seven, is that okay? I get too hungry if I eat later than that."
"Sure, sure." I could easily believe it, I'd seen Justin eat his way through half the menu at Nguyen's.
"Okay, well, good-bye."
Hanging up the phone, I happened to catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror above the hall table. I had a big grin on my face. That grin stuck around for hours.
Ted’s telling one of his boring stories about callers who phone requests to the porn site, I’ve pretty much tuned him out and by force of habit I’m checking out the guys scattered around Woody’s when I happen to see Justin come in the front door. He slips his eyes casually around the room and when he spots me looking at him, he gives me a half wave and immediately turns away before I can respond. Emmett says, “Oh look, there’s Justin,” but no one suggests inviting him to join us.
Justin moves to the bar and starts talking to Eddie, so I empty my glass in one swallow, say, “Next round’s on me,” and stand up.
“Brian, I just bought a round not five minutes ago, we've all got drinks,” Michael reminds me, so I show him my empty glass and casually walk over to the bar. I know they’re all watching me, but I don’t give a fuck.
“Hey,” I say to Justin, stopping next to him at the bar. He half turns and smiles slightly but keeps talking to the bartender.
“It was a red Corvette,” Justin says, and they both laugh.
Naturally I don’t ask what they’re talking about. “Hey, Eddie,” I’m pulling out a twenty, “Double Stoli.” He nods and turns away to pour my drink.
“Wow, you know his name,” Justin marvels, smirking.
“I also know his dick size, but I’m not telling you.” I lean an elbow on the bar and check out Eddie’s ass. I’ve told the truth.
“Maybe I know it, too.”
I can’t help it, that makes me laugh. “Eddie doesn’t like chicken, do you, Eddie?” He sets down my vodka and a Coke for Justin. “I’ve got it,” I say quickly, shoving the twenty at Eddie, who’s looking at Justin with raised eyebrows.
“This chicken’s turning into a damn fine rooster,” he says slowly, looking Justin up and down. “I like roosters.”
He’s joking and I know it but I’m annoyed anyway, and when he winks at Justin I grab my change and think to myself, there goes your tip, asshole. Touching Justin’s sleeve, I say, “Feel like a game? We’re waiting for a table.”
“Oh – I don’t know.” Justin glances at the guys sprawled around a table in the corner.
“It’s no big deal,” I say, shrugging as if it doesn’t matter one way or the other, then adding, “It’s just that you’re a better player than any of them, it’s boring always winning.”
“Ha.” He’s not buying it.
When he still hesitates I say again, “Come on,” looking him in the eye and letting him see that it does matter to me after all. He smiles then. I like the quickness of Justin, subtleties are never lost on him.
He says okay and picks up his Coke, follows me as I wend my way through the crowd to the corner. “Justin wants to play with us,” I announce, which I know is a dirty trick the minute the words leave my mouth. I see Michael frown as the other guys say words of welcome, then I throw my arm around Justin’s shoulders and admit, “I asked him to.” Michael’s frown deepens, damn him, so I add, “He’s the only one of you guys who can give me a decent challenge.”
“That’s because you taught me,” Justin says generously and I squeeze his neck before releasing him. I drag over another chair and push Justin down into it.
Ted never has much to say to Justin but Emmett leans over and fingers the sleeve of Justin’s shirt – if that kid ever stops wearing French Connection clothes I’ll be amazed. “This blue almost exactly matches your eyes,” Emmett marvels. I’d noticed that already. Justin looks good in blue.
There’s a long pause then Ted jumps in with another one of his boring stories, but this time I’m glad, it’s filling in the nearly hostile silence emanating from Michael. He’s my best friend but sometimes he really pisses me off.
Finally he speaks to Justin. “You promised you’d get the final proofs to me on Friday.”
”I know, and I will.”
“This Friday – tomorrow,” Michael grumbles.
I can almost feel the tension in Justin’s body. “I know, and I will,” he repeats.
“You won’t get them done if you’re hanging out here all night.”
Justin stands up quickly and I want to put out a hand to stop him. Stop him from what, I don’t know. “Wait,” he says to Michael, then turns and walks quickly out the back door. He’s left his jacket on the chair so I know he’s coming back.
“Lighten up why don’t you,” I can't resist murmuring, then I reach over quickly to squeeze Michael’s arm so he doesn’t go off into one of his shit-fits.
“Fuck you, Brian, that kid has no idea of responsibility, I’m telling you, he promised me the proofs tomorrow, it’s the fucking deadline, you ought to understand about deadlines.”
I bite the inside of my cheek to keep from rushing to Justin’s defense; it’s really none of my business, after all. A moment later the back door opens and Justin returns, walking quickly across the room and dropping a thick manila envelope on the table in front of Michael.
“There they are,” he says abruptly, then resumes his chair and glances away, across the room, as if he’s disassociating himself from the group.
There’s a long pause, then Michael grumbles, “Well, if you had them today, why didn’t you bring them by the shop?”
Justin swings his head around. “You said Friday. If you wanted them Thursday, you could have said so.”
“What am I supposed to do with them here? What if they get lost?”
Justin just looks at Michael for a moment, his face noncommittal, then he stands up. “I’m going to go,” he says to me, with barely a glance, “Thanks for the Coke.”
There’s silence at the table and I sit there for two heartbeats, then I toss back my drink and stand up. “See ya,” I say to no one in particular, then hurry to catch up with Justin as he goes out the back door of the bar.
I couldn’t believe it when I felt Brian come up behind me in the alley and throw his arm around my shoulders. I knew better than to start bitching about Michael – Brian always sticks up for him, or anyway, he won’t discuss Michael with me. That’s the way it should be, they’re best friends.
Though I won’t complain about Michael, I can’t resist saying, “I wish I had a best friend like you.”
“You’ve got Daphne.”
We stop beside the jeep. “I don’t though, not any more. We’re not close like we used to be.”
He nods. “That’s probably inevitable – she’s a girl.” Brian takes out his cigarettes and offers them. I pull one out and he lights mine and his own. “Let’s take a ride,” he says, so I get in beside him. Light from a streetlamp illuminates the inside of the jeep.
“You and Lindsay are still good friends though,” I contradict. “She’s a girl.”
“Linds and I – “ he says, then stops.
I sigh; of course he’s not going to tell me anything personal.
“Linds and I had a – a relationship, in college.” Brian turns to grin at me. “See, I’ve had a relationship before.”
“Did you love each other?” I dare to ask, holding my breath; I'm sure he’ll tell me to fuck off.
But he doesn’t. After a pause he answers, “She did, I guess. In a way. I liked her a lot, but. . .well, I’m gay. Always have been. Still, we went together for a while just to try it out. Being straight.” He laughs again, he’s looking over my shoulder out the window, and I can tell he’s remembering things, times with Lindsay. “Later we were beards for each other, to fool our parents I guess.”
“I think she still loves you, Brian.”
He nods, brings his eyes back to my face. “I know. That’s why I agreed to give her my sperm.”
“I thought so. But – but I’m glad you told me.”
“My God!” Brian exclaims suddenly, rearing back from me and grabbing his head. “My God, we’re having – we’re having a MEANINGFUL DISCUSSION.”
“Asshole.” But I laugh.
Actually I feel choked up. Because Brian shared himself with me. Just a little piece, just a few words. But he did it freely. Other people would scoff if I told them, but I know it was a big deal for Brian.
“All this talk has made me horny,” Brian says, reaching across the seat to touch his hand to my hair, rub the back of my neck gently. “Can we go home now and fuck?”
“Okay,” I agree, “But could we maybe stop for a sandwich first? It’s been so long since dinner.”
Brian’s shaking his head as he puts the key in the ignition. “Why am I surprised?” he says, to nobody. Then he adds, “Actually, I’m hungry too. Where shall we go?”
“Not the diner,” I say, and he agrees.
“Not the diner.”
I know I told Justin we could see each other sometimes but it's happening too often. How's he going to really involve himself in his own separate life if he's at the loft in my bed every few days? Well, it was more than a few days, it was almost a week since he came by after his date and threw himself at me. That time wasn't my fault. Tonight was my fault though. I should have let him just walk out of Woody's but somehow I couldn't. He was upset and so I followed him. Of course I never go after anybody, but it wasn't me he was upset about so it doesn't count as going after him, not really.
We stopped at the deli and even though they were about to close, Justin charmed the owner into making sandwiches for us, we brought them home and sat at the kitchen counter eating, then we moved into the bedroom. I enjoyed the taste of corned beef in Justin's mouth, and I made his dick taste like pastrami. When I told him that, he offered to run to the kitchen for mustard, but I said if he did I'd use it for lube. Tonight was one of those fun times we sometimes have, lots of laughing, both of us feeling relaxed and joking around.
And this was the first time I've been able to stay on my knees long enough for a really good face-to-face fuck, though of course Justin helped me out, being sure not to put any pressure on the bad leg; and then when he sensed I was getting tired he asked me to switch to our sides, saying he wanted to come that way. I knew he was making concessions but somehow it didn't bother me.
I almost asked him to sleep over, but luckily I remembered it was a school night and he needed to go home. So I'm driving him back to Woody's to pick up his car and I'm feeling good, better than I've felt all week. In fact I'm finally ready for my first visit to Babylon tomorrow night and I tell him so.
"Brian, that's great! You're finally getting back to normal."
"Maybe you'll be there too." I'm offhand because it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. But I'm not prepared for Justin's laugh.
"Yeah," he snorts, "That would be so fun for me, watching guys swarm all over you, watching you lead them into the back room one at a time."
"Maybe two or three at a time." Suddenly I'm grouchy.
"Besides, I'm busy tomorrow night." He hesitates, then says in a rush, "I've got other plans."
Oh. "Same guy?"
"Yeah. We're going to dinner and a movie." Justin doesn't look at me, he's staring out the windshield. "You missed the turn."
"No I didn't," I contradict him, "I'm going around the block on purpose."
When he stays silent I say impassively. "Date night." Then I sigh and add, "Good. That's good. I hope you have fun."
"This is your idea, not mine," Justin turns to look at me but I keep my eyes on the road. I pull up behind his car parked in the alley near Woody's and switch off the ignition, then turn to give him a big cheesy smile.
"Have a good time on your date."
Justin sits unmoving for a moment, then he leans over and gives me a quick kiss. "Have fun at Babylon." He's not smiling. He gets out of the car and I wait till he unlocks his door and gets in. He gives me a wave and I raise my hand, then drive off down the alley.
The good feelings I had earlier tonight have dissipated. It must be the pastrami. I know better than to eat so late at night, it always makes me feel bad.
Justin seemed to be holding himself back from me, it was a subtle thing but felt real. Maybe he was sorry he asked me to go out with him tonight. I enjoyed dinner though the Friday night crowd at the pizza joint was very young and very loud, we could hardly hear ourselves speak, but after that he drove us to the university neighborhood, parked and we walked to the theatre. We both laughed out loud during the movie, and when I slipped my hand over to hold his in the darkness, he didn’t pull away.
We came back to my place afterwards and had sex. It wasn’t as wild as the first time, which strangely enough was almost a relief – I’d been worried about keeping up with such an energetic young man. He was more subdued this time, though he seemed to enjoy the sex very much. He initiated a round of sixty-nine which I especially enjoyed and it seemed to go on forever, I had the most amazing orgasm, and when he swallowed my come, I moaned out loud.
Afterwards Justin asked to use my shower but when I offered to join him he said, “Not this time, okay?” He stayed in there forever, and when he came out he was pink all over, even his face and his eyes, he must have had the water boiling hot. We sat in the living room while Justin smoked a cigarette and I told him about a graphics conference I’m attending in New York next weekend.
The university’s paying for the registration and the hotel, and after briefly hesitating – hesitating because I was afraid Justin would say no – I invited him to go with me. “I’ll be in meetings all of Saturday and on Sunday morning, but you could get around town on your own Saturday, and we could be together for dinner that night and spend Sunday afternoon at the Guggenheim – it’s one of my favorite art museums in the world.”
“Wow,” Justin said, crushing out his cigarette, setting the ashtray on the coffee table and scooting back on the sofa, pulling up his legs to sit cross-legged. “That sounds great! But I’m supposed to work Saturday night.”
“Can you get the night off?”
“I don’t know,” he hedged, “Maybe.”
“Well, think about it and let me know soon, so I can get your plane ticket.”
“Oh!” he said, “Airfare’s expensive, I don’t want – “
“Justin,” I reached across the sofa and rubbed his smooth ivory shoulder, “I can afford it. It would be a treat for me, to share the museum with you. Please say you’ll come.”
“I don’t know,” he said again. “I don’t think I can, but could I call you in a day or two?”
“Sure, of course - no worries, mate!”
I'm in line at Starbucks when I hear a voice calling, "Hey, Brian!" Glancing around, I see a hand waving from the corner and there's Rick, sitting at a table in the back. I give him a nod, then the clerk gets my attention and takes my order. I keep my back turned resolutely to the room concentrating on watching the girl make my double latte, and when she hands it to me with a smile, I tell myself just to push through the crowd and walk out the door.
It's rude of course to snub Rick, he's done nothing to deserve a kick in the teeth, but of course rudeness is a Kinney trademark, it's no big deal. But with an almost physical shake of my head, I turn and walk over to the table where Rick's sitting; it can't hurt to say hello.
"Brian." Rick smiles up at me and gestures to the other chair. I hesitate, then sit down on the very edge of the chair seat, I'll just stay a second.
"How's it going?" I ask, keeping my voice superficial; "I'm in a hurry, so - "
"You look great," he tells me, "Is your leg completely healed now?"
"Almost. I'm back at work full-time finally. How've you been?"
Rick pushes the hair off his forehead, he has beautiful thick hair that's always falling into his eyes. "Good news," he tells me, "I've been accepted into the Master's program! I feel like I’m finally on my way to becoming a lawyer!"
"Great, that's great. You've worked hard for it I know."
There's an awkward pause, and I'm just deciding to stand up, say goodbye, when Rick asks, "So, umm, are you still with him - with Justin?"
And how do I answer that? Do I say no - but I can't see you? Instead I say, "He's around. And I've got to be getting to the office, I've got an early meeting."
"Don't worry," Rick smiles, "I wasn't planning to rape you here in the middle of Starbucks." Then he laughs, "Although that sounds like fun!"
Laughing with him, I have to agree. Christ, he was a great fuck. I easily get a mental picture of the two of us naked, Rick lying on his back on the tiny round table with his legs around my neck, me fucking him like crazy while everyone around us sips their coffee and reads the Wall Street Journal. Then something makes me look up, look toward the door. Justin's framed in the doorway, frozen almost like a statue as he stares at us. I feel frozen, too, unable to move. Then suddenly he turns and rushes out the door.
Fuck. I stand up. I want to follow him, run after him, explain. . .
Explain what? I wasn't doing anything. No matter what it looked like to Justin, I wasn't doing anything, I wasn't breaking my promise. I shouldn't have to explain myself, he ought to know I keep my promises. Fuck it, he knows he can trust me. Or he should know. Damned if I'm going to explain every little thing I do. Not to him, not to anybody.
I'm still shaking, I glance down at my hands and grasp them together to stop the shaking. When I backed out the door of Starbucks, I hurried into the alley and quickly squatted down on the pavement, lowered my head to alleviate the dizziness, and I could hear an echo of my gasping breath bouncing off the brick walls of the buildings in the narrow alley.
I saw them. Together. Brian and Rick sitting at a table in the back of Starbucks, laughing together.
It takes a few minutes to get my breathing back to normal, to be sure I'm not going to throw up or pass out or at the very least, scream my guts out. Because he promised. He promised. Brian promised not to see Rick any more, and there they were having coffee, talking and laughing together.
Justin's got me grinning again. I'd given up hope that he'd go to New York with me, but just now he called and said he's changed his mind. I've already made reservations but I'll call the airlines right away and add Justin. I'm sure we're going to have a wonderful time in the city, I can't wait to show him the Guggenheim, and maybe he'd enjoy a hansom cab ride around Central Park in the evening. That would be so romantic.