IN THE MIDDLE
                                                                                            

Gap-Filler for Episode 15 (The Leather Ball)



Sunday night

It’s really hard being in the middle and seeing both sides.  It must be easier to be prejudiced, to see things only one way, not to care about honesty and fairness, not to be torn between two people you love who hate each other.  I love Melanie, she has been so good to me.  But if I’m backed into a corner, then it’s Brian who will always win.  No matter what happens, I will always be on Brian’s side.  But wow, he makes it difficult sometimes.

The whole thing was really my fault.  It I hadn’t been so stupid, Melanie wouldn’t have had anything to hold against Brian.  He says that’s not true.  He says she would have found something, anything, to throw at him last night, just because she hates him so much.  He’s right, and yet, he’s not right.  It was my fault.  I can’t believe he didn’t yell at me afterwards and kick me out of the loft.

I was thrilled on Saturday morning when he asked me to come over and babysit.  He asked Debbie first but she had to work, so when he asked me, I remember grinning and practically falling off my chair with happiness.  When I told Daphne about it, she said I’m a dope, getting all excited just because Brian wanted to take advantage of me.  She doesn’t understand what an honor it was for him to ask me.  It proved he trusted me with his son.  But in the end, I let him down.  I wonder if he will ever trust me again.

Saturday morning I woke up early, and remembered that Brian had told Deb he would bring Gus over to visit, and she invited him for breakfast.  I found Debbie sitting in her robe at the kitchen table sipping the first coffee of the morning, and offered to help her make breakfast.  My mom taught me how to make waffles and I’m very good at it.  I searched the kitchen and found everything I needed, canned peaches, frozen strawberries, and even, surprisingly, pushed to the back of a high cupboard, a half-empty bottle of Grand Marnier, which didn’t seem to belong in the Novotny household.  I never see Deb or Vic drinking, except at parties.   Deb questioned me, to be sure I knew what I was doing, then went back upstairs for a shower.

By the time Brian arrived, I’d filled a platter with waffles and had already prepared two sauces, one with peaches and Grand Marnier and the other with strawberries and rum.  Of course I’d sampled the sauces and they were delicious.  When Vic came downstairs for his morning coffee, I gave him samples too, and he smacked his lips appreciatively.  “Forget the waffles, Wolfgang,” he joked, “And just serve the sauce.”

Then the front door banged open and Brian came rushing in, and set down the baby carrier on the table.  Gus had thrown up all over his favorite leather jacket!   You’d think Brian would be angry, but he wasn’t.  He is a good daddy, no matter what he or anybody else says.  He loves Gus unconditionally.  I know it.  I’ve seen it, in the way he looks at Gus, in the way he’s so hard on himself.  He’s never told me anything about his family, so I was all ears listening to him and Debbie talk about his father.

Brian told Debbie his dad’s got cancer.  I was at the table holding Gus, and couldn’t help interrupting, barging in to ask, ”Your dad’s sick?”  I shut up real quick though; this was a private conversation between Brian and Debbie.  I listened of course, but I kept my mouth shut after that.

I’d known for a long time that Brian’s parents aren’t aware that he’s gay; he’d told me so himself.  It always surprised me that Brian, who’s so open about his sexuality, never dealt with his parents.  But I don’t know anything about his family, not really, just bits I’ve overheard between Debbie and Vic or Debbie and Michael.  From what I gather, Brian spent most of his teen years in the Novotny house.  I guess Brian’s dad beat him up all the time, something I can hardly even imagine.  I mean, I know it happens a lot, but I never even had a spanking all the time I was a kid.  My parents hardly even yelled at me and Molly.  I don’t know what it must be like to live with people who smack you around all the time.  I wish Brian would tell me about it, but maybe he doesn’t want to remember.

Debbie was leaning on Brian to tell his dad he’s gay.  I knew why she felt that way.  In Psych class in school we read all about ‘closure’ and how if you don’t deal with issues with somebody who is dying, you might carry around regret the rest of your life.  Brian’s behavior surprised me while Deb was talking to him; he looked so vulnerable, I’ve never seen that side of him, not really.  He covered it up pretty fast though and shut her right up, but not in a mean way.  They smiled at each other and she stopped nagging him.  That’s when he asked me to babysit.  I’d do anything for Brian.  Anything.

What just kills me is this:  that right that minute I asked  if I could feed Gus, he was getting fussy, and Debbie piped up that she’d fix him a bottle.  Brian smiled at me and squeezed the back of my neck, then pulled off his jacket and took Gus, so I could finish getting the waffles ready.  Brian helped himself to coffee, I got the platters on the table, and when everyone sat down to eat, Debbie gave me the bottle for Gus.  I didn’t watch her get the bottle ready.  I know now that she must have tested the milk on her arm, but I didn’t see her, I was busy at the stove.  I should have watched her.  I should have.

I love holding Gus in the crook of my arm and watching him suck down his formula, he makes the cutest faces as if he’s saying ‘Yum yum yum.’  Someday I want to make a son of my own, like Brian did.  I love Gus so much, I can’t imagine how it would feel if he was my own flesh and blood.   Brian says it’s different when they belong to you.  But  I don’t think I could love any baby more than I love Gus.

Everybody gave me a lot of compliments on breakfast, even Brian said the waffles were not half bad, which is high praise coming from him.  I was surprised that he pitched in and helped clear the table, even stood at the sink rinsing dishes and handing them to me to put in the dishwasher.  He hates that kind of thing, domestic stuff, so it was really nice of him.  He denied it when I said so, and he goes, oh, Debbie always makes him work for his supper, she always had.  Debbie and Vic laughed out loud when he said that, so it must be a private joke. 

Brian came back to Deb’s about  seven that night, and said he needed to leave Gus for a  while, he had to go see somebody.  I didn’t mind, Gus fell asleep in his carrier on the sofa, and I did a couple sketches of him while we waited.  When Brian came back, he was in a strange mood, he seemed very sad or depressed or something, but when I asked what was wrong, he just goes ‘Nothing,’ in that way of his that means, leave it alone.  But he was very gloomy.   I wish he would confide in me but why should he.  I’m just a kid, or anyway, that’s what he thinks. 

I knew enough to back off, so I did, and we drove over to the loft and got Gus’ diaper changed and settled him into his porta-crib in the living room.  Brian watched me change the diaper and said I was very good at it, which made me feel great.  He showed me the bottles of formula ready in the refrigerator, and HE ASKED ME IF I KNEW HOW TO HEAT THEM UP.  I said of course.

He asked me.  HE ASKED ME.  I tried to tell Melanie this, but she wouldn’t listen.  It wasn’t Brian’s fault.  It was my fault.  Only mine.

I also tried to tell Melanie that Brian only went out for a couple hours.  He’d promised to be gone just two hours and he came home right when he said he would.  It’s not like he abandoned the baby with a stranger.  She wouldn’t hear it; she says I always make excuses for him.  Maybe I do, maybe sometimes I do.  

What I didn’t tell Melanie was that I was glad Brian went out last night.  Which sounds insane coming from me, right?  But he was so down, so gloomy, all the time he was talking to me about Gus and promising to come home soon, it was like he was walking on a tightrope in the middle of a dark cloud.  Well, that sounds dumb, but it’s hard to describe the state Brian was in.  I felt like he might explode and fly into a million pieces at any moment.  I think Brian just needed to go off by himself for a while. 

And  yeah, I’m not stupid, I know he wanted to go fuck the shit out of somebody.  Or several somebodies.  And it killed me that I wasn’t the one he wanted to do it with.  But that is Brian.  I have to accept him the way he is or I would go crazy.  Mom says you can’t change anybody, and I see the truth of that with Brian.  I keep trying anyway, because I love him so much I can’t help it.  Someday he will see the truth, someday he’ll know I love him ‘as is’ and be glad about it.  Well, that is the hope that keeps me going.  I know I can’t live without him. 

So anyway, Gus wakes up and it’s time for his bottle.  I heat it in the microwave, for the time Debbie told me, and I’m ready to feed him when the doorbell rings.  It’s Melanie, and how can I turn her away?  So I buzz her up and she storms into the loft demanding to see Brian.  I know now that she was looking for any excuse to take Gus away from him. 

The thing is, I know why, and I can see Mel’s side of things too.  She loves Gus as much as any of us do, and she’s been suffering without him.  I don’t know all the reasons she and Lindsay split up, it’s none of my business, but I do know it’s killing her, I know she misses Lindsay and the baby.  And I know she hates Brian and does not believe he is a good father, so here was her opportunity to check up on him and damned if he wasn’t out at the Leather Ball instead of  home with his son.  She was already fuming when she picked up the baby bottle and exclaimed, “It’s too hot, did you test it on your arm?”

When I watched Melanie sprinkle milk on her arm, I got an immediate flashback to my mom.  I was ten when Molly was born, and sometimes Mom let me help take care of her.  And now I remembered seeing Mom sprinkle milk on her arm.  At the time I didn’t know why she was doing that, maybe she didn’t tell me, and it didn’t stick with me.  Till now.  I could have cried, I nearly did, and I tried so hard to get Melanie to see that it was my fault, not Brian’s.  But she wouldn’t listen.  Then suddenly he walks in, and she goes off on him.

Maybe I watch too much TV drama, but I’m always amazed that Brian doesn’t haul off and smack Melanie sometimes.  She says the cruelest things to him, like she did this time, calling him a selfish shit and lecturing him on parenthood.  As if she’s been a perfect parent and never used a babysitter for Gus.  But then Brian smacked her right back, with words not with his hands, saying “I’m his father, WHO ARE YOU?” and she recoiled as if he had punched her.

By now I was shaking and hugging myself.  Melanie demanded to take Gus home with her, and I couldn’t believe it, but Brian finally agreed.  He’d been carrying some kind of leather stick, some S&M whippy type thing I guess, and suddenly he just threw it on the floor, threw up his hands and says, “Take him.” 

There was dead silence, then Brian turned to me and said, “Pack up Gus’ stuff and help Melanie load her car.  Here’s my keys.”  He tossed me the keys and walked away, up the bedroom steps, pulling off his jacket. 

I hurried after him and had to ask, I just had to ask, “Do you want me to go too?” 

“Do what you want,” he muttered, then he turned and looked at my face.  It was like he was really seeing me for the first time since he got home.  He put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed.  “No, don’t go,” he said.  “I’m taking a shower now.  I’ll drive you home later.  Okay?”

Unable to speak over the lump in my throat, I nodded, then turned away and started gathering up Gus’ things.  In the kitchen Mel stood holding the baby, and when I carried an armload of things to put in the tote bag, she whispered, “Come with me, Justin, I’ll take you to Deb’s.”

“No, thanks,” I shook my head, “I’m staying here a while.”

“Justin,” Mel said insistently, “He’s going to give you hell about this, come away now.”

Shaking my head again, I said, “I deserve hell for this, it’s all my fault,” and she goes into this blaming-Brian routine again but I just shut my ears and went to retrieve baby toys scattered in the living room, then helped carry everything down to her car.  She tried once more to get me to leave but I refused.  I watched her car disappear into the darkness, then I went back  upstairs.

After gathering all my own stuff and shoving it in my backpack, I went to sit on the ledge of the bed, waiting for Brian to come out of the shower, which he finally did, with a towel wrapped around his hips.  I braced myself and stood up to meet him.  “Brian, this is all my fault, I’m so sorry.”

Expecting him to say “Sorry is bullshit,” his usual response to apologies, I was surprised when he walked right over and pulled me into his arms.  “It’s not your fault, Justin.”

I was prepared for anger, for coldness, for I don’t know what.  I was not prepared for tenderness, and it made me come undone.  I started shaking and felt hot tears pressing behind my eyelids.  He hugged me tighter. 

“We’re not going to talk about this,” he said, his harsh voice belied by the pressure of his arms around me.  “I fucking hate post-mortems.  I should’ve made sure you knew how to heat the milk, but even if you had, Mel would’ve found something else to use against me.  This is our fight, hers and mine, you just got in the middle.”

“But, Brian,” I argued, pulling away a few inches, “I should have known – “

“Stop.”  He has this way of tilting his head and staring deep into my eyes that always gets my attention.  “I said, no post-mortems,” he repeated sharply.  “The end.  Got it?”  I swallowed unshed tears and nodded.  “Now I’m starving, is there anything to eat?”

We went into the kitchen and scrounged some leftover Chinese from the night before for him to eat and I had a glass of milk.  “How was the Leather Ball?” I dared to ask, but he only shook his head.

“Boring.  Though you’ll have to get Emmett to model his new outfit for you sometime.”

He wouldn’t explain, just scraped his plate and had a last bite of noodles, then tilted his bottle of beer and chugged it, and burped quietly.  “You in a hurry to get home?” he asked, and I shook my head, my heart already starting to pick up speed.

“I need a pity fuck,” he said, half seriously, and I immediately volunteered to be the fuckee. 

I’ve never written details about sex in this journal before, afraid somebody would find it I guess, but now I’m going to write about it, for me.  It was one of our best times ever, and I want to remember all the details, so I can read it over and over again.

Considering how mad Brian was at Melanie, and how depressed he’d been before he went to the Leather Ball, I thought he might be kind of rough with me, but he wasn’t.  To be honest, sometimes I like him to be a little rough.  He’s never hurt me, well that first night doesn’t count, everybody hurts the first time.  But once in a while he gets majorly aggressive, like that time in the hotel in New York.  And I have to admit it can be a big turn-on.  But most of the time it’s like we’re equals.  I’ve figured out that usually he likes me to meet him halfway, and this was one of those times.

Brian pushed his plate away and slipped off the stool, but when I started to get down, he put his arms around me and grabbed onto the sides of the stool.  He leaned his forehead against mine and our eyeballs almost touched.  Brian likes to get in close and I love it.  I slipped my arms around his neck and he whispered, “Yeah,” then our lips met and opened and he sucked my tongue into his mouth.  I felt my cock go ‘sproing!’  That fast.

Then I felt him grab my hips, he murmured, “Wrap your legs around me,” which I did, and he carried me like that up the steps and into the bedroom, then had me stand on the ledge.  In almost a single motion he pulled down my sweatpants; Brian never fumbles.  I reached for his towel, it  slipped off and he kicked it away.  I jumped down off the ledge and lifted my arms so he could pull off my t-shirt, then I wriggled out of my underwear.

Brian laughs at my underwear.  I like cotton briefs, they’re comfortable.  He made me try one of those thongs once but I hated the feel of it rubbing on my crack.  Brian has a whole drawerful of beautiful briefs and jocks, mostly 2(x)ist, but he usually just wears them to work.  He says the only reason he does then is to protect his suits from leaky stains.  Brian is not a leaky guy, he says it’s because he comes so often he doesn’t get any backup in his pipes.  I’m not sure if that is a joke or not.  It seems like I am leaky all the time and I jerk off a lot (like, A LOT), but Brian says it’s totally normal for guys my age.  That was a relief to hear, it’s one of those things you can’t ask your mom.  And my dad. . .well, I couldn’t ask my dad even before he knew about me.  It seems like in school I’m always getting hard-ons, I’m glad baggy pants are in style, if I wore tight jeans like Brian, I’d be embarrassed all the time.  There’s some hot guys in my school, too.  Especially this one guy I used to like, I won’t write his name but his initials are C.H., anyway, I don’t like him any more.

So we’re naked and he pulls me tight against him and we kiss really hard till I’m breathless.  One of the sexiest things about Brian is this:  that although he is very tall, he has this way of kind of slinking down till we’re the same height, and somehow that gives me confidence to be aggressive right back with him.  And Brian likes it.  I bet people don’t know that.  Just looking at him, and knowing how harsh he can talk and act, I bet people don’t know how generous he is in bed.  At least with me he is, I don’t know how he is with other guys.  He definitely likes to take the lead, but he wants me to keep up with him.  He said once he can’t stand guys that just lay there and don’t do any work.

It’s funny to think of sex as ‘work,’ but Brian has taught me that it is.  The  harder you work, the bigger reward you get, he says, and it’s true.  If you care about your partner getting a lot of pleasure, then you do everything you can to make it happen, and he will do the same for you.  Brian taught me that.  He shows me with his hands and with his lips what he likes, and I love giving it right back to him.  He says I’m a fast learner. 

Anyway, soon I was lying on my back in the middle of the bed and he was kneeling over me, sitting on my legs really, and I remembered our first night, how ignorant I was and how he teased me.  Once I got to know  Brian, the public Brian, I was amazed, remembering how good he had been to me that first time, going slow, calming my fear, never pushing me too far or too fast.  Even more amazing, he was incredibly wasted that night, high on E and I don’t know what else.  I was so horny it hadn’t fazed me, nothing could have stopped me I don’t think.  He’s never been like that with me since the first time.  He takes drugs often, too often (sometimes it worries me but I’m not allowed to say so), but only at night.  I’ve never seen him do it any other time.  I dared to ask him once, did he ever get high at work, and he curled his lip and asked me if I was crazy.  So I know he’s not like an addict or anything.  Still, I wish he wouldn’t do it.  As hot as sex is with him all the time, it’s even hotter when he’s sober.  I told him that once and he got mad, but it seems like since then, he is sober most of the times we are together.  Maybe it’s a coincidence.

“So what do you like to do?” he asks, and I laugh; he’s remembering our first time too! 

“Everything,” I answer, running my hands up his chest, tweaking his nipples.  He has very tiny nipples but they are extremely sensitive.

He lowers his head and I think  he’s going to kiss me, but instead he kisses my right ear, licking slowly inside the rim, his warm breath tickling, making me giggle, then he nibbles on my earlobe just enough to almost hurt, so I will stop laughing.  I hold onto his head, twisting my fingers gently in his glossy, shaggy hair while his lips move down my neck, he licks my adam’s apple, moving in a straight line to a point in the middle of my chest.  He kisses and nibbles and licks my left nipple first, he always saves the pierced nipple for last, he holds the ring in his mouth and flicks it a few times, driving me almost crazy with sensation.

“Let me – “ I say, struggling to move, I want to get my lips on him, taste him, but he whispers, wait-wait, and moves his tongue lower, circling my belly button, then pushing his tongue inside, he’s making me writhe on the bed.

“Turn over,” he tells me.

“Wait,” I insist, “Let me – “  and I struggle to sit up.  He moves back so I can pull myself  up, I stand on my knees and slide my arms around his neck.  “More kisses,” I insist breathlessly, and he smiles, then bends his head and we kiss, I can never get enough of his kisses.  His arms go around my back and pull me tight against his chest and we kiss for hours, days, weeks, I can feel his hard cock rubbing against mine, and then suddenly it’s spontaneous combustion and I come like fucking blazes, just like that, just by kissing him.  He holds me tighter while my body spasms once, twice, three times and I’m breathless, my whole body goes limp, but he hangs onto me and whispers in my ear, “Mmm yeah, mmm yeah, oh yeah, Justin, Justin, Justin,” just my name like that and I could die with happiness right there in his arms.

I know all about sex now, I know you’re supposed to wait a long time before having your orgasm, that it’s like selfish to come before your partner is ready, but Brian never minds that, he tells me so, he says he wants me to get off first because it’s too hard to wait when you’re my age.  And that I could do it about twenty-seven times a night which is just exaggeration, really I don’t think I could do it more than four times, five tops.  Well, we did it four times that first night, and once again in the morning, which technically counts as still the same night.

Then he lowers me on the bed, and this is something that maybe sounds weird but is so hot, Brian bends over my body and licks me clean, all the time going “Mmm” as if I am delicious.  He says I am, but I’ve tasted myself and it’s, you know, just salty, but he says I taste sweet as honey.  I tried to tell him the same thing once and he laughed at me, he knows what he tastes like he says, and it’s not honey, it’s tangy and slightly bitter.  Which is true, but it’s HIM, so to me that is delicious.  Or anyway, I love to taste him in my mouth.

Brian whispers, “My turn, now flip over, I’m going to eat your ass,” and I feel my whole body jerk like I’m electrocuted, just thinking about what he can do with his tongue down there.  So quickly I turn over.  I’m not going to write about that part, because, I just can’t.  There aren’t words for what he does to me and the way it feels.

I practically have a second orgasm before he stops and turns me back over to face him, and “Raise your legs up,” he says, but I shake my head no.

“Let me sit on you,” I insist, and he nods and lies down on the bed so I can climb on top of him.  He hands me a condom and I try to tear it open with my teeth like he does but something goes wrong and my teeth rip the condom as well as the package.  He takes it from me, I can’t look at him because I’m embarrassed but he doesn’t laugh, just takes it from my hand and gives me another one.  I don’t try my teeth again, I will practice alone in my room after this, I just rip it open the normal way and roll the thin latex over his cock.  He’s holding the lube and he rubs it on himself, then beckons for me to rise up on my knees, so he can get his fingers inside me, one then two then three, by then I’m squirming and dying for it.

Brian puts his hands on my hips and guides me slowly over him, he said once it’s like lining up a rocket at  the port of a space station, he has a good feel for it so quickly I am hovering in place with the tip of his cock just inside me.  I’m dying to just plunge myself down on him but he won’t let me, he holds my hips and guides me slowly by degrees, an inch at a time, until I go “Uuungh,” and he’s home, all systems are go.

In just moments we get into a rhythm, I’m bouncing on top of him, he slows me down when I get too fast, sometimes I go crazy when I’m on top of him, it’s as close to fucking him as he’ll let me get, if I close my eyes I can imagine I am inside of him.  His hand clutching me tight, jerking me, sometimes feels like a tight ass must feel.  He keeps one hand on my hip to control my crazy pumping while his other hand holds my cock, his hands are so big and strong and always warm, Brian’s whole body is always warm, soon we’re both covered with a sheen of sweat and I’m gasping for air.  “Oh!” I cry.

“Not yet,” Brian insists, I open my eyes and see him smiling at me, he nods and says, “Hang on, Justin,” so I take a deep breath, then another, and slow down my rhythm, getting in control again.  “How do you want to come?” he asks.

“On my back,” I answer him, predictably; it’s my favorite way.  So he grabs hold of both my hips and helps me lift off him, then he moves sideways and gently flips me down on the bed and crouches over me.  My legs rise up automatically to his shoulders.  Sometimes Brian calls me ‘helium heels,’ which makes me get a picture of a bunch of colored balloons tied to my feet raising them up and that almost makes me laugh, but then he’s sliding right inside me again and I lose all urge to laugh, instead I am gasping and my body instantly picks up the rhythm of his thrusts.

All the time he is fucking me this way, he’s leaning over to kiss me, over and over, and we look at each other, sometimes smiling, sometimes gasping, sometimes kissing, and we look in each other’s eyes the whole time and I am so full of love for him I can’t believe my body doesn’t swell up and explode into a hundred million pieces of bloody confetti splattering the walls of Brian’s bedroom.  I hold out as long as I can, then I know it’s going to happen, I’m coming any second, and I can see in his eyes that he knows I’m ready, he times his own orgasm to match mine, I don’t know how he does it but he does, and we come together suddenly, violently, explosively, magnificently, incredibly hot and wild, both our bodies spasming together at the same moment.

Brian collapses on top of me, but carefully, leaning on his elbows so I don’t get smashed, his body is slim but it’s all muscle and sinew and he’s half a foot taller than me, but I wouldn’t mind dying crushed underneath his magnificent body.  We hold on tight for a while, I am biting my lips to keep from saying “I love you, Brian,” but I know better, instead I listen to him breathing and going “Mmmmm, mmmmm,” like I’m a delicious meal he’s just eaten.  And he even licked the plate.

Well that’s enough for now, I’m getting writer’s cramp, besides I’ve made myself so horny just remembering last night with Brian, I don’t know what to do about it.  Maybe I’ll go take a shower. 





11/23/01