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view from balconyWyrd
Chapter 1: “You’re Gonna Want Me”

One fine day, you'll look at me
And you will know our love was meant to be
~The Chiffons

Nautico Ebeso Hotel, Ibiza
March, 2000

The first year, the first time he saw him, Brian had stepped outside the sliding glass doors onto the balcony, puffing on a cigarette, as he took in the view of the Mediterranean Sea. He’d never admit it, but the beautiful scenery often captured his attention more than the beach or pool littered with available men. The sound of a sniffle brought Brian’s gaze away from the sunset and he turned toward the direction it came from and he saw him.

The kid was sitting in one of the recliners along the shared balcony beside his suite. Pale legs were spread on each side of the seat, back hunched over a large sketchpad, one hand clutching a thick piece of blue gray chalk. Brian couldn’t really see his profile, but the sunset was casting a pinkish glow on his neighbor’s hair.

He took a few steps toward him and saw the boy’s face. The Nautico Ebeso didn’t cater to the family crowd. It wasn’t exclusively gay, but in the four years that Brian had been coming to the resort each spring, he hadn’t seen anyone there who looked as young as the blond did. Brian wondered why, out of all the men he’d had and would have at the resort, this pasty-skinned, gangly blond would garner his interest. He supposed it was because the kid was unique amongst the crowd of beautifully built, tanned bodies and, after days of fucking men who, though beautiful, all looked the same, his libido thought it time to make him aware of his need for variety.

The blond turned toward him and gave Brian a thoughtful look, obviously unaware that he had tear tracks running down his face. “Do you want something?”

The pace of Brian’s heart quickened as he looked into shining blue eyes and his skin broke out in goosebumps. He forced himself to appear and sound nonchalant and said, “Just looking for a place to put this.” He held up the half-smoked cigarette between his fingers.

The kid smiled and brushed his blond strands away from his forehead, inadvertently smearing the rainbow of chalk colors from his fingers to across his nose and cheek. He pointed behind Brian at the small strip of wall between their patio doors and said, “There’s a cigarette outpost right there…”

Brian couldn’t believe how stupid he was acting. “Yeah, uh, thanks.”

“…as I’m sure you already know because you’ve used it every time you’ve come out here to smoke. If you wanted to talk or look at my drawing, all you have to do is say so.”

“Nope.” Brian was certain he’d gone insane. No man and definitely no boy had ever made him feel so rattled and idiotic. He headed back to his suite and just as he was about to close the glass door behind him he heard the kid laughing. He barely refrained himself from sticking his arm out the door and giving the little asshole the finger.

***

Later that night, just after shoving a trick who had given him a particularly satisfying blowjob out of his room, Brian saw him again. Technically, he heard him first; the nasal sound of his voice was hard to miss. Brian stepped out for a smoke and casually looked toward the kid’s side of the balcony but didn’t see him. He wasn’t that interested in what was going on in the blond’s room, but he couldn’t help himself from listening in on the conversation.

“It won’t happen again,” a voice, heavy with a thick Spanish accent spoke.

“Whatever,” the kid said and sniffled twice. “You can’t just use me and this resort to get laid.”

“You’re such a prude!”

“I am not, Nico. I just don’t want to get in trouble. I got you a job here, so the least you could do is not break the rules!”

“I’m not the first employee to get a blow job from a guest and I’m sure I won’t be the last.”

“Well those employees weren’t recommended by me.”

“Fine, will it make you feel better if I don’t tell you about it next time something happens?”

“No, it won’t!”

“Will it make you feel better if I ask you to join in? You know, I bet it would. I think you need a good orgasm.”

Brian laughed aloud.

“What the fuck?” the kid’s nasal voice exclaimed and a moment later he stepped out onto the patio. “Are you spying on me?” he asked angrily.

Brian rolled his eyes. “It really shouldn’t be a surprise that I can hear you two,” he said. “You have your fucking door open and it’s not my fault you were talking so loudly.”

The blond put his hands on his hips, looked back into his room and groaned. “Nico, go home.”

“Fine, I will.” A moment later, a tall, skinny, dark haired boy popped his head out of the kid’s suite and gave Brian the once over. “Well, hello, gorgeous.”

The blond smacked Nico on the back and growled, “Go home.”

“You really are too uptight,” Nico said. He smiled widely at Brian and told him, “Me on the other hand, I’m a different sort of tight. I bet you’d like to find out just how tight, wouldn’t you?”

“Oh, shut up Nico,” the blond exclaimed, stomping his foot and pushing Nico back into his suite. “Go.”

“I’m going, I’m going,” Nico assured disappearing from Brian’s view.

“You’re seriously going to get fired if you don’t stop flirting with the guests. I swear to God I’m going to kill you if my uncles find out about this and freak out on me because you won’t follow policy!”

Brian wondered why the kid was yelling so loudly if he didn’t want anyone to know what the other kid had been up to.

“They won’t find out, relax,” Nico said.

A moment later Brian heard the slam of what he guessed was the door to the kid’s room. Brian gave the kid an amused expression. “Boyfriend?”

“No way,” the blond huffed and glared at Brian. “He’s just my friend.”

“So, your uncles, they own this resort?” Brian asked.

“Yes,” the kid said.

“Then that explains it,” Brian said.

“What exactly does that explain?”

“It explains why they’ve got a little teeny bopper crashing the resort.”

The blond’s eyes widened and his face reddened. “From the way you were drooling over me earlier I don’t think you mind teeny boppers, not that I am one.”

“Yeah, right,” Brian drawled.

“I’m very mature for my age,” the kid insisted.

Brian smirked and said in a placating tone, “I bet you are.”

“Whatever,” the blond huffed, turned on his heel and marched back into his room.

Brian watched the kid walk away and his dick twitched in anticipation as his eyes caught sight of the blond’s luscious ass that stretched the material of his jean shorts with every step he took. To distract himself, he walked to edge of the balcony, looked down at the pool and found his next conquest.

***

March, 2001

The second year, Brian first noticed him at a distance. The kid’s hair was cut shorter, but his pale skin was like a beacon in the middle of the dark bodies scattered around the beach. He watched from the pool bar as the kid walked hand-in-hand with a tall, muscular dark-skinned man who looked to be in his early twenties. Brian watched them stop and face the water, the blond resting his head on the other man’s chest before looking up and sharing a kiss with the man that went on and on and on and... Brian turned away when his cock hardened, and glanced around the pool for his next conquest.

After fucking a bleached blond muscle stud in his room, Brian found the kid sitting on the same recliner as last year on their shared balcony once again. This time, the kid wasn’t drawing. His knees were drawn up to his chest and his head was bowed over them, his shoulders shaking as he sniffed loudly.

Brian smoked a full cigarette before he approached his neighbor. “Fancy seeing you here,” he drawled.

The kid jumped and scrambled off the chair, wiping his tears away as he stood up and faced Brian. “Not really a surprise since you booked the same suite as last year and I actually live here,” he spoke, his voice hoarse.

Brian wondered how an American teenager came to live in Ibiza. He recalled the kid saying that the resort was owned by his uncles and Brian had assumed that he worked there during spring break but hadn’t imagined he actually lived there. Brian smiled slightly and asked, “Trouble in paradise?”

“Like you care about me and my boyfriend’s problems,” the blond huffed.

“You’re right, I don’t care. Except all your sniffling is ruining the atmosphere.”

The kid glared and turned to look out at the sun setting on the Mediterranean. “Then maybe you should fuck off and find a better atmosphere somewhere else.”

The kid had some fight in him, Brian liked that. He walked over to stand beside him and said, “So, did he break up with you?”

“What? No!” The kid’s face paled more.

“So what’s the problem then?”

“Terence went over to the Calle de La Virgen with his friends.”

“So why aren’t you out at the clubs shaking your ass with them?”

“Because they didn’t invite me. He said he wanted some time alone to hang with some friends of his from college.”

Brian could only imagine one reason why Terence didn’t want his hot boyfriend tagging along. It had to be because he wanted to fuck other men without the kid around. Not that Brian did boyfriends, but if he did, he was pretty sure he’d make the most of a hot one like Justin and fuck him in every backroom Ibiza clubs had to offer. The kid was young, obviously, but Brian couldn’t imagine that he was so stupid that he wouldn’t realize his boyfriend’s reasons for not wanting him to go along. “So you two are monogamous?” he goaded.

“What kind of question is that?” the blond sputtered. “Of course we are!”

Brian rolled his eyes. “Does this Trevor know that?”

“His name is Terence.” The kid’s blue eyes clouded with tears. “And why are you asking me that, did you see him with someone else here?”

“I don’t even know what the fuck your boyfriend looks like,” Brian said.

“Oh,” Justin gave Brian a doubtful look, “you haven’t noticed us going in and out of my room?”

“Nope.” Brian lit another cigarette and offered one to the kid. “Look, there’s only one reason that I can imagine why Thomas…”

“Terence,” the kid corrected, leaning in to let Brian light his smoke.

“Right, Terence. There’s only one reason that Terence wouldn’t want to take his boyfriend with him to the clubs and that’s because he doesn’t want you around while he’s fucking other guys.”

“You don’t know him.”

“I know men, intimately.” Brian gave Justin a pointed look and asked, “Have you even had a conversation with him about monogamy?”

“Well no… but I mean… it’s a given because…”

“No, it’s not a given,” Brian interrupted and wondered how a kid living in a gay Mecca could be so naïve. “Have you been to the bars here?”

“A few times with my friend Nico, but I didn’t do stuff with any of the guys there. It’s not like you have to have sex with strangers to have fun, so why would Terence?”

“Because he’s a gay man and because you two haven’t had a talk about monotony.”

The kid glared. “Monogamy.”

“Whatever. Anyway, if I were you, I’d have that talk real soon because I’d bet my ass that Trevor is probably out fucking as we speak.” Brian turned toward his room and called over his shoulder, “Now go inside and stop your whimpering so I can get a few hours of sleep before I need to wake up in time to arrive fashionably late to Calle de La Virgen.”

“You’re an asshole!” the kid growled. “You tell me that you think my boyfriend is cheating on me and then you just want me to act like it doesn’t matter!”

Brian faced the kid again. “I didn’t say it didn’t matter. I said that you need to stop crying about it. If you care that much, then do something about it but don’t sit here throwing a pity party for yourself.”

***

Brian didn’t see him again until the morning of his last night at the resort. He’d been too busy sleeping during daylight hours and out fucking at night. He didn’t recognize the kid at first, because it was the first time Brian saw him wearing the resort employee uniform, or a variation of it. The blond had on a pair of white shorts that hit him mid thigh and a white and red striped low cut tank top. Brian thought that he looked hotter in this outfit than any of the other employees did wearing it.

“Hi.” The kid was standing beside the shelves of towels for the pool, the bright sun causing him to squint as he looked up at Brian.

Brian realized he was still referring to the kid as ‘the kid’ or ‘the blond’ or ‘his irritating neighbor’. He looked for a nametag but didn’t see one and it just wasn’t in him to care enough to get his name. He didn’t think the kid knew his name either. “So this is what you do here?”

“Yup, I’m a pool boy.” The kid laughed and his smile was brighter than the sun. “But just during spring break and the summer.”

“So what do you do here the rest of the year?” Brian asked.

A flash of something, possibly pain crossed the kid’s pretty face; his smile faltered for a moment and then appeared again. “I go to school. My uncles don’t want me to work while I’m studying because they say it’s too distracting.”

“I’d think living in a hotel with beautiful men at arm’s reach would be too distracting,” Brian commented.

“You have no idea.”

“So… did you talk to Tyler about…”

“Terence,” the kid corrected. “Yes, I did. You were right and we broke up.”

“You don’t seem too depressed about it,” Brian said.

The kid shrugged. “Like you said, there are lots of beautiful men here to distract me.” He gave Brian a sly pointed look. “Terence and I weren’t right for one another but I know what I want.”

Brian smiled. “Care to enlighten me?”

“I don’t know if I should tell you, it’s not like we’re friends.”

“Sharing secrets with strangers is always better than sharing them with people you know,” Brian said. “The people you know never keep the secrets and the people you don’t know will forget about them.”

“Well it’s not a secret, what I want,” the kid said, his voice husky. He abruptly turned away from Brian and went back to his cart of clean towels and began to stock the shelves.

“Let me guess,” Brian drawled, “monogamy, marriage, children.”

The kid shrugged again and continued putting the towels away. “The first one, yeah, the other two… who knows?”

“You’re American, aren’t you?” Brian asked, changing the subject. The kid was infuriatingly interesting and though Brian was loathed to admit it, he wanted to know more about him.

“Yeah, but me and my sister, Molly, have been living with my Uncle Matt and his partner Aaron for the last three and a half years.” He faced Brian again, his smile completely diminished. “My parents died in a car accident and my uncles are the only living relatives we have.”

Brian was sorry he asked. “That’s pretty rough.”

“It’s been worse for my sister because she didn’t have as much time with them as I did,” the kid said. “I wish they hadn’t died, but my dad, he was a homophobe and I was terrified of coming out, because I knew that he would hate me. The only reason my parents listed my Uncle Matt as our guardian was because they had no one else to put in their will who would take us if anything happened to them. I feel really guilty when I say this, but my dad dying made it a lot easier for me to come out. I think my mom might’ve known, she never said anything to me but she always stuck up for my uncles and would ridicule my dad for his small minded views whenever he’d say anything about them.”

Brian was getting into dangerous territory; things were much too personal for his liking, but still he wanted to know more and couldn’t stop himself from asking, “So, how old are you?”

“I turned eighteen last month,” the kid said, his mood shifting to happiness.

“So, do you, your uncles and sister all live in the suites then?”

Justin shook his head. “No, my sister lives with them in their apartment on the top floor above our suites. Matt and Aaron only had one extra bedroom and my sister was only eight when we moved in, so they let me have one of the suites down here. It sounds weird, me living alone, but I needed the privacy and really didn’t want to share my room with an eight year old girl. Plus, there are cameras around most of the resort, so they can have their security guys keep an eye on me whenever I leave my room if they want to.”

“They monitor who you hang out with?” Brian looked around, trying to spot the nearest camera.

“There aren’t any cameras facing the balconies,” Justin said. “They give me my freedom, they just want to be sure none of the guests hassle me.” He batted his eyes at Brian and bent down to grab towels from the bottom of the cart, deliberately giving Brian a good view of his ass in his shorts. “I get it though. I’m pretty tempting to the guests and they want to make sure I’m safe and not taken advantage of. They seem to think I’m a lot more innocent than I truly am.”

Brian liked how the kid went back and forth between being almost shy to being confident and flirty. He wasn’t as annoying as Brian had first thought he was. But he wouldn’t be tempted, it was clear that the kid was too young for him and also far too idealistic. He cleared his throat and said, “Gonna go for a swim. I’ll see you later?” He’d meant it as a general statement but it had come out as question.

“Sure. You know, I thought about asking you to have dinner with me before you leave, but I know you’re not really interested in that.” He cocked his head to the side and gave Brian a sly smile. “What you’re interested in… it’s not like I don’t want you… but I’m not allowed to sleep with any of our guests, because I’m an employee.”

Brian was surprised at the balls on the kid. “You’re assuming a lot.”

“Am I?” the kid laughed. “I doubt it.” He pointed behind Brian to the mass of gorgeous men lounging in and around the pool. “You can have any of them, but for some reason you’re over here, talking to me.”

Brian really hated how the kid managed to catch him off guard nearly each time they spoke. “Then I’ll have to remedy that,” he quipped and turned to walk toward the pool. No way was he going to let the kid think he was right.

***

March, 2002

The third year, Brian learned his name. Predictably, they met on the balcony once again. The kid looked different, hair grown out, clothes tight and flattering.

“Do you ask for this specific suite for a reason?” the kid asked, glancing at Brian before looking back toward the sea and taking a long deep pull from his cigarette.

“I like knowing where I’m going,” Brian said simply. “In case you haven’t noticed, the resort is huge.”

“But the other suites are just right there,” the kid assessed, indicating the ones further down from his own. “You could stay in any of them.”

“Is it a crime for me to like my room?” Brian asked, glaring.

The kid didn’t have time to answer, because a voice coming from inside his suite called out to him. “Baby, who are you talking to?”

“Just a guest,” the kid yelled back. He walked closer to Brian and held his hand out. “I don’t think we’ve ever introduced ourselves. I’m Justin. Justin Taylor.”

Brian grasped the thin pale hand in his own and wondered how the kid… no, Justin, he wondered how Justin managed to remain pale while living in a land of sun and beaches. He also realized that he’d never before mourned the loss of a quick handshake ever before because touching Justin had made his whole body thrum with excitement. He croaked out, “Brian Kinney.”

“I knew your name, even though I don’t deal with the reservations I did happen to notice when you were on the check-in list.” Justin motioned toward his suite. “Gotta get back in there.”

Brian was a bit envious of whoever it was that was in Justin’s room, not that he’d let on to that fact. “See ya.”

“Sure,” Justin said, walking toward his room.

***

Brian couldn’t sleep that day because his thoughts were filled with dirty images of what he imagined was going on in the room next door. Countless times he thought about going out on the balcony to see if Justin had mistakenly not pulled the drapes over the sliding doors to his room. It was ridiculous, because he could find a trick to take care of the perpetual hard on he sported any time he thought of Justin. But he couldn’t bring himself to do so, happier to just fantasize and use his right hand to bring him off.

His final day he was having lunch at the bar and grill at the resort. The hairs on the back of his neck stood on end and he didn’t have to look around to know that Justin had come into the restaurant. The thought unsettled him.

“So,” Justin sat down on the bar stool beside him. “I’ve got a new boyfriend, we’ve been together for six months.”

Brian glanced at Justin and then went back to eating his sandwich.

“Eli is great. He’s an art student at Romero, too.”

“Why are you telling me this?” Brian grumbled.

“Because… I figured that if we’re going to see one another every year… we should be friends.”

Brian laughed. “You figured that, did you?”

“Yeah,” Justin said. “I know you’re checking out in a few hours but maybe next year you’ll take a night off from fucking and let me draw you.”

Brian was taken aback at the request. “Don’t you have enough models here for your enjoyment?”

Justin leaned closer, his lips brushed against Brian’s ear and he said, “Sure, but none of them are as enjoyable to look at as you.”

Shivers raced through Brian’s body and his cock ached. Before he regained control of his voice to say anything in reply, Justin spun off his stool and was halfway across the room. For half a second Brian considered extending his vacation for a day or two, but then he thought better of it. Justin had a boyfriend and he wanted monogamy, never mind the fact that he lived half a world away from him. If he stayed, Justin would take that to mean something more than what Brian was willing to allow it to mean.

TBC in Chapter 2

Chapter Text

Wyrd
Chapter Two: “Everyday”

Everyday seems a little longer
Every way love's a little stronger
Come what may
Do you ever long for, true love from me
Everyday it's a-gettin' closer
Goin' faster than a roller coaster
Love like yours will surely come my way
~Buddy Holly

March 2003

The fourth year, when Brian saw Justin, it was obvious to him that a lot had changed in a year. Justin had finally gotten some color on his skin but not too much. His pale body had finally succumbed to life in Ibiza, it was now sun kissed, perfectly, and Brian envied the sunshine. Justin still had a boyish look, but his chest, abs and arms had gained muscle. His jaw even looked stronger, his shoulders broader and his ass… Brian was certain it had gotten even more bubbly and pert than he remembered. The change that had Brian’s cock leaking in his $495.00 Diamante Gucci swim trunks was Justin’s hair. It was longer than Brian had ever seen it, a shaggy cut with sweeping bangs, highlights that he knew were natural but on anyone else he would bet were dyed. As unexpected as Justin’s new look was, the hug he received from the sun-warmed man was even more of a surprise. He sort of hated that Justin made him speechless.

“I didn’t think you were coming,” Justin said as he pulled out of Brian’s awkwardly returned embrace.

“I always come when I say I’m going to,” Brian said, satisfied with finding his voice and even more content that his remark made Justin smile.

“But you’re a day late,” Justin said, crossing his arms over his bare chest. “I thought maybe you were going to cancel your trip this year.”

“I had business to take care of,” Brian told him. “A while back I made partner so when shit hit the fan it was me who had to fix it.”

“Are you even old enough to be a partner in whatever it is you do?” Justin asked, wide-eyed.

Brian blushed and felt like a silly twat the moment he felt the color rising on his cheeks and hoped Justin would just think he was getting hot from standing in the baking sun. “I’m over thirty,” he reluctantly admitted. It was as he had told Justin before; telling a stranger your secrets was safe.

“Oh,” Justin said with a breathy laugh, “well, that explains it.”

Brian smirked. “What does that explain?” He was going to push the kid into the pool if he said one shitty remark after all the appraising Brian had been doing about him, even if it had only been in his head.

Justin smiled deviously. “It explains why you freaked out the first year we met,” he said.

Brian snorted. “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“You hated that you found me attractive, no wonder… you thought you were robbing the cradle because you’re so old.”

Brian effectively cut off Justin’s giggles by pushing him into the pool. He threw his sunglasses onto the chair with his towel and dove in beside him.

Justin came up for air right in front of Brian. “What was that for?”

“The age remark,” Brian said.

Justin rolled his eyes and pushed playfully at Brian’s chest before swimming toward the edge of the pool. “You’re just mad because I’m right. You liked me from the start.”

“I’d hardly say I liked you,” Brian said, following Justin.

Justin hefted himself up to sit on the ledge, his legs spread on each side of Brian’s shoulders. “But you do now?”

Brian’s face was practically eye level with Justin’s crotch and the butterfly cut swim trunks he was wearing left little to the imagination. Even in the cool water, he could plainly see that Justin’s cock was semi-erect and larger than most who had his body type. It made his mouth water and it made him nervous because he was pretty sure they were being watched by security cameras and he didn’t want Justin to get in trouble. “You shouldn’t be flirting with me,” Brian warned.

Justin sighed and leaned back onto his elbows. “Because you’re older than me?”

Brian sent a wave of water onto Justin’s face but got no reaction, instead it only worked to torture him more as he watched the droplets of water cascade down the newly defined chest and abs. His eyes rested on the pool of water in Justin’s belly button and he had to back away so he wouldn’t be tempted to lick the wetness out of his navel.

Justin slid into the water, swimming closer and closer to Brian until he had him backed up against the corner wall. He placed his hands on Brian’s shoulders and squeezed them a little. Looking directly into Brian’s eyes he told him, “You can have me, if you want me.”

Brian shook his head. “What about your boyfriend?”

Justin shrugged. “I’m between boyfriends right now.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“I just dumped one,” Justin said.

“So you’re looking for a rebound fuck?” Brian asked.

Justin shook his head. “Hardly.”

“You’re looking for your next boyfriend,” Brian assessed.

“You could be the next one,” Justin whispered, his hands gliding smoothly down Brian’s chest.

“No,” Brian said firmly, or he meant to, but the word came out breathless due to the feelings sweeping through his body because of Justin’s touching. He ducked away from him and swam to the ladder.

Brian's Shorts
(Brian's Trunks)

Justin's trunks
(Justin's Trunks)

“Brian, wait,” Justin called, practically falling on his ass as he climbed out of the pool after Brian.

Brian stopped and stared down at Justin, hands on his hips, foot tapping into the puddle of water at his feet. “You’re not supposed to consort with your guests; it’s against policy, isn’t it?”

Justin grinned brightly. “You’re right, but you’re also wrong because I’m not an employee this year. Matt and Aaron thought I deserved a real spring break like all the other college kids.”

“How nice for you,” Brian muttered and walked over to his chair. He grabbed his towel and began to dry himself off.

“But it could be nice for you,” Justin said. “We could have a lot of fun together.”

“No, we couldn’t.” Brian changed the subject. “Don’t you have any friends your own age? What about that kid, Nick?”

“Nico?” Justin asked.

“Yeah, him.”

“Nico’s away for college,” Justin explained. “He was a local; we were in high school together. Haven’t you noticed he hasn’t been here since the first year we met?”

Brian hadn’t noticed. “Whatever. Surely, with your sunny disposition you have other friends to hang out with.”

Justin blushed and admitted, “They all went away for spring break together and I chose not to go with them.”

Brian did not like what this implied. “Your uncles wanted you to have ‘a real spring break’, so why didn’t you go with them?”

Justin asked in a frustrated voice, “Do you really have to ask?”

“So, instead of going with your friends on a trip, you decided to stay here when you found out I’d reserved the suite again?”

“I told them I wouldn’t go before you even made the reservation,” Justin admitted.

“You trusted that I’d show up that much?” This was far too much pressure for Brian. He didn’t like the feeling knowing that Justin had given up a vacation with his friends in the hopes that he’d get to see him.

Justin took the towel out of Brian’s hands, threw it to the side and molded his body against Brian’s. He sighed and wrapped his arms around Brian’s waist and told him, “Even when you were being a total dick to me and I was acting like a twat to you, there has always been heat between us. Something is happening with us, Brian. You’re not blind to it; I know you feel it too and that’s what I trusted.”

Brian shook his head, his expression dreadful and his entire body yearning with the unwanted lust he felt in Justin’s presence. “You shouldn’t. You don’t know me.”

Justin stood up on his tiptoes and spoke into Brian’s ear, “You have two weeks to tell me your secrets, stranger.”

Brian was quickly losing the battle with his better judgment. “You don’t know what you’re getting into.”

“I’m on to you,” Justin said. “You’re not going to scare me away.”

“I’m not who you want,” Brian continued on as if Justin hadn’t spoken. “You want monogamy, a boyfriend… I may not know all your secrets, but I remember what you said you wanted. I won’t give you that, definitely not here in Ibiza of all places. I come here to fuck.”

“For the next two weeks, none of that shit matters,” Justin said and sighed as he felt the tension from Brian’s body release. “It’s not like I don’t know that you trick and fuck a dozen or more men while you’re here. But I still want you.”

“Apparently,” Brian griped, “I can’t get rid of you.” He gently rubbed his hands up and down Justin’s back to take the sting out of his words.

Justin’s whole body shivered with need and he gave Brian a triumphant smile. “Give me one day,” Justin said. “You’ll see how good I’ll make it and you’ll want me to make you have another and another and another,” he spoke confidently.

“There’s a lot of men in Ibiza I still haven’t fucked so you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself,” Brian said this as if it was a reason to protest what Justin wanted, but the way he held Justin tighter revealed more than he intended.

“Did you think about me? You know, when you’re back in… Hey, where do you live?”

Brian shook his head, if he was going to give in to Justin and to himself, Justin would have to be put at arm’s reach and know as little as possible about his life away from Ibiza. “No details.”

Justin sighed and nodded. “Fine, but at least answer the first question.”

Brian couldn’t hold back any longer. He bent his head and ever so slowly caressed Justin’s lips with his own, answering him the only way he knew how.

***

Much to Justin’s humiliation, the make out session he was engaged in with Brian was interrupted by Aaron. His uncle wasn’t upset, just curious as to whom the man kissing his nephew was. He knew he was just a guest, a recurring guest, but he had seen many of those over the years and he was never one to be good at placing faces with names.

“Uncle Aaron,” Justin gasped, the embarrassment he felt not enough to quell his erection. He considered diving back into the pool so his uncle wouldn’t see it, but that would only make it more obvious that he’d been ten seconds away from stripping naked and dragging Brian into the nearest equipment closet for a quickie hand-job. “This is… Brian.”

“Is he the reason you didn’t go to Australia, Justin?”

Justin blushed and wondered if he could feeling any more mortified. He hadn’t wanted Brian to know where his friends had gone on vacation, because he was sure Brian would think that only desperate lovesick fools would give up a trip down under with their friends to instead spend it pining for a man who might not show up. It was one thing for Brian to think it was just a simple trip with friends; a trip to Australia was a different story. “No, he’s not,” he half-lied. “I didn’t have the money to spend on the trip, I told you.”

“Because it was more important to buy those three-hundred dollar swim trunks?” Aaron teased, pointing at the blue and white striped Armani trunks Justin wore.

“They weren’t 300 dollars,” Justin huffed. “They were on sale for $135.”

“And worth every penny,” Brian said, causing Justin to flash a smile at him. Now that his attention was once again on Justin’s swim trunks, he could hardly take his eyes off them. They barely covered his ass and cock and molded to both, showcasing exactly what Justin had to offer.

“I was just checking on you,” Aaron said, trying to ignore Brian’s unashamed leering at his nephew. He reached his hand out toward Brian, hoping to divert the man’s attention away from Justin. “I’m one of the owners of Nautico Ebeso, Aaron Romero.”

“Like Justin’s school?” Brian asked, referring to the man’s last name as he shook his hand. “Are you related to those Romeros?”

Justin was secretly thrilled that Brian remembered the name of his art school when he’d only mentioned it once or twice.

“Maybe somewhere down the family line,” Aaron said and dropped Brian’s hand which had been a strong grip, showing that he wasn’t intimidated by him at all. “And what did you say your last name was?”

Brian shook his head. “I didn’t say, but it’s Kinney. Brian Kinney.”

Aaron looked at his nephew with a horrified expression. “Justin, we need to talk right now.”

Brian rolled his eyes. “I take it my reputation is well known here?”

“Aaron,” Justin said firmly, “I know him. It’s okay.”

“But Justin… he’s…” Aaron sighed as he saw Justin’s annoyed expression. “Shit, sorry, it’s your life… you’re an adult now, just play safe.”

“I always do,” Justin assured. He took Brian’s hand and led him toward the elevators. Once inside they headed up toward the suites level and Justin apologized, “Sorry, Aaron is over protective. He thinks I’m still an innocent kid and well… you know how gays are, constantly gossiping about their tricks so he’s heard a lot about you.”

Brian was shocked that whatever the gossip about him was, that it really seemed not to bother Justin. “I suppose you already know I’m an asshole and have a one fuck only policy.”

The elevator stopped on their floor and they both got out. “Of course, but you’re not going to be an asshole to me.” He thought it best not to tell Brian that they wouldn’t only fuck once, because he wasn’t entirely confident about that yet.

Brian laughed. “How can you be so sure?” he asked seriously.

Justin stopped in front of the door to his room and punched the code into the keypad. “Because I’m going to go inside and sleep for a couple of hours. You’re going to do the same and then, after we’re recharged, we’ll go to dinner at ten and spend the rest of the night dancing.”

“And how does that not make me an asshole?”

“Because as much as you may want to come in my room, tear these trunks off me and fuck me right now, you’re going to go get some rest so we can have fun together, all night long. Right?”

Brian reached a hand out and squeezed Justin’s ass. “Right.” Brian found there were few things that had ever been so hard, no pun intended, to agree to, but he did want to get some sleep so he could be on top of his game tonight.

Justin opened his door, stuck his foot inside to hold it open and asked Brian, “I’ll see you for dinner?”

“Yeah,” Brian agreed. He wasn’t in the habit of allowing anyone to make plans for him, especially someone who was almost a stranger, but he was tired. Jetlag was always a bitch when flying so far from home and he figured the blond’s ass would probably be worth any of the annoying shit he’d have to deal with before getting to fuck it. He nuzzled Justin’s neck and placed a kiss behind his ear before whispering, “See you at ten.” He could do it. He could do it for a day and then things would go back to normal for him.

 

suiteview1bedroomsuite
(Suite Rooms)

***

They had dinner on the terrace of La Oliva, the setting far too romantic for Brian’s liking, but Justin didn’t appear to be caught up in any of that. Justin knew a lot about Ibiza’s history and engaged Brian with interesting odd facts that he definitely hadn’t read in any of the guide books, not that he actually read them but he was sure Justin learned the information from living there not from being a tourist. When asked, Brian told Justin about his job and, though he didn’t mention the name of the company, he told Justin practically everything else about his chosen and much loved career. Justin really liked hearing Brian talk so animatedly, even if he didn’t much care for the business side of things, it was the most Brian had ever talked to him without being snarky and he had a way of making even the most boring topics of business sound enchanting. Justin was sure that Brian deserved to be a partner in the advertising agency because Justin figured he’d buy just about anything from Brian.

Justin finished off his Duck-Magret before Brian had eaten half of his Monkfish and he wondered if maybe he’d suggested the wrong restaurant. He’d never been to it before, but he’d looked it up online and it was one that had been given rave reviews. “Do you like your fish?” he asked, placing his licked-clean fork on his empty plate.

Brian nodded and realized that he might’ve been talking more than Justin if the other man had finished first. That was an oddity for him because, usually, most of the talking he did was with clients or with his body language. “It’s delicious,” Brian said and scooped up a piece of the fish. “Do you want to try it?”

“Sure.” Justin took the bite Brian offered him and moaned at the delicious taste. “Wow, that is really good.”

Brian watched as Justin licked the remaining juices on his lips and shifted in his seat. “As good as this is,” Brian said, “I couldn’t eat another bite. Are you ready to get out of here?”

Justin wasn’t immune to the desire he saw in Brian’s eyes and was just as eager to get the man in a setting that put them in much closer contact. “Oh, yeah.”

***

Brian had been a little weary about having company while cruising the bars but the longer he spent drinking and dancing beside Justin, the more he realized that he wasn’t the only one who appreciated how much different Justin looked from most of the men in the establishments. There were a few other twinks and blond men around, but Justin was by far the most beautiful and natural. Even while dancing, with Brian’s arms wrapped around him tightly, possessively, men still approached Justin to dance and to whisper various offers of sexual acts they wanted to engage in with him. It both amazed and alarmed him that Justin turned down every man without a moment’s hesitation.

Brian didn’t want Justin to think they were an exclusive couple, or a couple at all, but he still had to force himself not to glare at all the men propositioning Justin. He had no claim on Justin’s time, either one of them could’ve gone off and fucked whoever they wanted. Brian had turned down a dozen offers for sex too, but Justin’s allure held him captive and he continued to dance and forgot all about keeping Justin at a distance.

During one of their trips to the bar to hydrate themselves Brian bought two tabs of E from a trusted source he used each time visited Ibiza. After sharing a bottle of water they ventured out onto the dance floor again. Brian put one on his tongue and then gave one to Justin, as soon as both were dissolved, they shared their first kiss. The way Justin’s mouth felt fused to own was a better high than any drug had ever produced. As their natural sexual euphoria was heightened by the E, their hands slipped under one another’s shirts, inside their pants and their lips moved across any exposed flesh they could reach. Soon, they both became almost desperate with the need to come.

“I want to fuck you, now,” Brian groaned as he bit down on Justin’s ear.

Justin’s knees weakened and he saw stars behind his eyes as he felt his body coming dangerously close to orgasm but he fought it and told Brian, “No. Not here.” He peeled his body away from Brian’s and pointed to the crowd. “Pick two and we’ll go fuck them in the backroom. You can… you can kiss me,” Justin paused to give Brian another messy kiss before continuing, “while we fuck’em.”

Brian had been prepared to throw Justin into a cab and go back to the resort where they could fuck in private, but the suggestion of a closer orgasm was far too good to pass up. He looked around the crowded club and saw a pair of studs, both of whom he’d caught staring at him and Justin a few times throughout the night. He held their eyes for a moment and then they both smiled in understanding of what he wanted.

“Oh yeah,” Justin growled and grabbed Brian’s hand, leading him toward the backroom. They passed the studs on their way to it and he impatiently demanded, “Come on, come on.”

The two studs spoke a language that neither Brian or Justin could decipher, but it didn’t really matter because no one needed words to accomplish what they were using the backroom for. Just as Justin had wanted, he and Brian kissed while they fucked their tricks to orgasm and came together, desperately trying to continue kissing as their orgasms rattled through their bodies. They were both still hard and ready for more action when they ventured out on the dance floor, but managed to dance for another hour before their sex drives won out and they got a cab back to the resort.

They could hardly keep their hands and mouths off one another the entire taxi ride back and their clothes came off in a frantic scramble the second they stepped foot in Brian’s suite. But the moment they were both naked, reality trumped the urgency Justin felt and he put out his hand out to stop Brian when the man gave him a hungry look and started toward him. “Wait.”

Brian motioned to the nightstand. “It’s okay, I’ve got condoms and lube.”

“I’m a virgin,” Justin announced quickly.

Brian laughed. “And I’m a nun.”

“No,” Justin said, his tone soft. “I really am. I mean… I’ve never bottomed.”

Brian shivered with need and his cock got even harder. He slowly stepped toward Justin and wrapped his arms around his back, pressing their bodies close together and said in a husky tone, “I’ll take it slowly.”

Justin sighed with relief and kissed along Brian’s collar bone, wanting to ignite the heat between them once again. “The moment I first saw you,” he whispered in between kisses, “I knew I wanted you to take my virginity.”

Brian walked Justin backward toward the bed and pushed him down onto it. “Do you always get what you want?” he asked.

Justin spread his legs, gripped Brian’s wrists, pulling him down on top of him and crossed his legs around his back. “I hope so.”

Brian was too horny to contemplate all the things Justin might be hoping for from him. What he wanted at that moment was the same thing Justin wanted and he was more than ready to give it to them both.

***

view from balcony2

They had started off in bed; Brian had painted Justin’s body with his tongue and in no time had Justin vibrating with the need to come. Aching for more, Brian guided Justin onto his hands and knees and gave Justin his first rim job. Justin was unable to bear the cusp any longer and came all over the sheets beneath him. Brian had done a lot of heavy breathing against Justin’s hole while he rimmed him, so at first, Justin didn’t understand why Brian wasn’t moving his head from his ass.

“Damn it,” Brian groaned.

When Justin looked behind him he saw that Brian’s face was beet red, sweat running down his cheeks. The small, almost embarrassed smile Brian gave in answer to Justin’s surprised expression made Justin’s heart melt. He had to quickly hide his head in the sheets so that Brian wouldn’t see the smile on his face.

Brian grabbed the sheet underneath them and wiped the come from his thighs and hands, then moved off the bed and slapped Justin’s still upturned ass and sighed, “I need a cigarette, before I fuck you.”

Justin smiled smugly as he rolled off the bed and stood on shaky legs. He had come all over his stomach and thighs, felt completely debauched but didn’t care enough to wipe it away. He was still horny, his cock was at half mast and filling with every step he took. There was something intensely erotic knowing that Brian eating him out had caused him so much pleasure that he’d obviously had no control over his own orgasm. Justin felt like he was soaring from every single moment that occurred from the time Brian arrived in Ibiza and it was all leading up to this moment, one he’d been anticipating, craving since he first set eyes on Brian Kinney.

Previous to having sex with Brian, or it even being a definite possibility, Justin had admitted to himself that he had a huge crush on the man, acknowledged that the man’s mystery likely added to that and he’d probably built the man up to be far better than he probably was. He knew though, from stories he’d heard of Brian and just from looking at the man, that Brian Kinney would be amazing in bed and if just a rim job could cause him to have such a mind blowing orgasm, he couldn’t wait to for the main event, even if he was a little a scared.

Justin had played with small dildos but they wouldn’t compare to Brian’s cock size so he was aware of the inevitable. It would hurt when Brian stretched and filled him deeper than he had ever dared to go with any of his toys. He accepted that it would be awkward, because he wouldn’t know where to put his hands or how exactly he was supposed to thrust back onto Brian’s cock the way the many skilled bottoms he’d fucked had done to his dick. He knew that he would feel embarrassed of how exposed he’d feel. He anticipated that Brian would likely give him so much pleasure that he would have to hold back vocalizing it so as not to sound like some cheesy porn star. Above all, he knew that letting Brian inside of him was something he couldn’t emotionally prepare for and it turned out he was right about that one but wrong about everything else.

In all of Justin’s wildest and even his most romantic fantasies that involved the night he’d lose his virginity, he had never imagined that he’d feel something more than just sexual desire and satisfaction. He definitely didn’t think that he’d be made love to stretched out on chaise, out in the open on the balcony overlooking the Mediterranean at sunrise, the smell of the ocean mixing with the primal smells of sex.

Brian pushed into Justin slowly and Justin could feel Brian shaking from being in such a postponed position between his thighs. Brian alternated between looking down between their bodies where they were joined and up to his face, into his eyes. Brian’s expression was half tortured, half amazed. The further Brian’s cock entered him, the more the expression on Brian’s face changed from yearning to awe. The expression remained on Brian’s face until Justin leaned up and whispered against Brian’s neck, “Fuck me, please.” He felt, more than heard Brian growl in excitement against his hair.

It never hurt, whether it was because he still had some Ecstasy in his system or because just feeling Brian’s beautiful cock inside of him was ecstasy, Justin wasn’t sure. Brian gathered Justin’s legs, pushing them up onto his shoulders and before pulling out, he pressed himself deeper, putting pressure on Justin’s prostate the same moment as he fused their mouths together. Justin moaned, loud and uncensored, right into the kiss. As Brian’s cock started sliding out of him, Justin instinctively tightened his muscles around Brian’s cock and as Brian’s hips snapped back, pushing his dick back inside, Justin raised his back off the lounge chair to meet the thrust. He quickly forgot about everything around him except for Brian. There may have been a few slips here and there, Brian’s cock accidentally sliding out of him, his knee knocking against his head a little too hard, but it didn’t matter. The pleasure Brian gave him, the bliss he could see he gave Brian in return, it was everything.

After they came, Brian gently lowered Justin’s legs so they were spread to each side of the chair’s seat, pulled out carefully, tossed the condom to the side and collapsed on top of Justin. Eyes closed, Brian lazily kissed Justin and then nuzzled his neck, muttering, “So tight, so good,” before promptly passing out in Justin’s arms.

The recliner was large, padded with cushions and normally very comfortable to nap on but Justin’s body was aching and his legs felt like they were falling asleep. As much as he wanted to just stay there, reveling in the most amazing orgasm he’d ever had, trapped beneath Brian’s gorgeous body, his own body wouldn’t allow it.

He managed to rouse Brian from sleep after trying for about ten minutes and the awkward feelings that hadn’t come about during sex were right there full force. “Uh… Brian, my legs are falling asleep and we should probably go to bed.”

Brian lifted his head up and gave Justin an annoyed look and sleepily asked, “What?”

“Bed,” Justin repeated, wiggling around beneath Brian. “We need to go to bed.”

“Right.” Brian got to his feet and swayed slightly before turning away from Justin.

Justin bit his lip as he suppressed a growl of pain, both from his muscles and from the burning ache in his ass. He knew Brian was tired, but could’ve used a little help in getting up off the recliner. By the time he made it to his shaky feet, Brian had already returned to his own suite. Justin carefully walked toward Brian’s suite, opened the screen door and made to open the glass door, only to see that it had been completely closed which meant that it automatically locked unless Brian had turned that feature off, which Justin didn’t recall him doing before they went outside for the cigarette. He pressed his face to the glass and knocked on the window. He saw Brian lying on his stomach in the center of his bed, not moving, probably already deeply asleep.

Justin knew that Brian probably hadn’t done it on purpose, but his heart still ached, a little more than his sore ass. Shoulders slumped; he walked over to his room and went inside. He closed the screen door but left the glass open and unlocked in case Brian woke and realized what he’d done and wanted to join him. He got under his cool sheet and cursed himself for not being quicker about getting up from the lounge chair and then for having woken Brian at all. At this point, he figured he’d rather be trapped under Brian, his legs numb, body aching, than to feel the ache in his heart.

***

When Brian awoke the next morning and didn’t see Justin sleeping beside him he pretended like it didn’t bother him; he pretended that it was natural, right even. But inside he was hurt and the confusion he felt from acknowledging it led to him harvesting that into anger. After calling for his breakfast order and specifically asking for the hot attendant to bring it to him who had eyed him upon check-in, Brian made himself a cup of coffee from the maker in the suite’s kitchenette. He then walked over and peered out onto the patio to see if Justin was out there. He wasn’t, but because the sun was too damn bright to deal with, or so he told himself, he smoked his morning cigarette standing half in, half out of his suite.

When a knock on his door signaled his breakfast arriving, Brian purposely left the glass door to the balcony open and answered the interior door. The man with his tray of breakfast was a young, beefy dyed blond. The man’s eyes were filled with desire as he eyed Brian’s gorgeous naked body with anticipation. Brian allowed him to place the breakfast tray on the small table before he told him, “I’m going to fuck you.”

“Yes, please,” the man said, and began hastily stripping his work uniform from his body.

Brian grabbed a lubed condom and sat in the chair closest to the balcony door and issued his order to the trick, “Ride me.”

***

Justin awoke to the sound of deep echoing moans. He knew exactly where the moans were coming from and for a split-second he felt hurt. But as he rose to full wakefulness and remembered how perfect last night had been, he realized that it was ridiculous for him to be upset. For all he knew, Brian might’ve been purposely trying to wake him up so that Justin would come join him and whoever it was he’d picked up. Justin went to the bathroom, washed the dried come from his chest and belly, gave himself a once-over in the mirror, mussed his locks of hair and slipped on his swim trunks.

As he walked over to Brian’s suite, his morning woody thickened and the moment he saw the scene going on inside Brian’s room, his dick began to leak. The trick was an employee so there was no way he could join in on the fun. It was one thing for employees to break the rules and fuck guests but all of the employees knew who he was and they wouldn’t dare touch him for fear of his uncles finding out and them losing their jobs. The employee was a guest attendant by the name of Ricardo and from the look of enjoyment on Brian’s face; he was going above and beyond in assuring that the guest was satisfied. Ricardo couldn’t see him, due to the fact that he was riding Brian face to his face, but Brian definitely could see him.

Justin shivered as their eyes met and he could see a challenge in Brian’s dark eyes overpowering the lusty haze. Justin thought Brian really could be transparent. It was obvious that Brian was freaked out by what they’d done last night. All right, so it wasn’t what they’d done that had Brian retaliating by displaying his slutty persona to Justin, it was what they had both caused the other to feel. Justin was sure that Brian wouldn’t admit to it and probably loathed himself for realizing it, but something that was completely out of their control happened last night. They’d made love.

Justin had been with enough men in his life to know the difference and he was damn sure that Brian had known the difference too Justin had also thought he’d been in love before and knew that what he felt for Brian was different, far more intense than anything he’d felt for any of his past boyfriends. But he didn’t know if Brian understood the importance of it or if he truly believed that he’d be able to control Justin’s feelings if he ran away from them. Justin knew that if he was going to get what he wanted, he’d have to tread very carefully and be patient because it would take time for Brian to accept and then acknowledge that they were meant to be together. Of course Justin knew next to nothing about the man’s personal life, he could be married with a wife and kids at home for all he knew, but Justin didn’t get that vibe from Brian. Something told him that Brian Kinney celebrated being gay while vacationing on just a slightly larger scale than he did at home, wherever that may be, and Justin was determined to find out where that was. But first, he had to deal with the present situation.

Leaning against the wall just outside of Brian’s suite he met the challenging look he was given with an encouraging smile. He saw a momentary change on Brian’s face, he’d startled the man and realized that Brian wasn’t challenging him to see if he’d be up to joining him and his trick, he was challenging Justin to see if he could deal with seeing him with other men or if he’d run away. “No such luck,” Justin said quietly and grinned wider, shaking his head at Brian’s antics.

***

The moment the trick left the room, Justin opened the screen door to Brian’s suite and entered without bothering to ask if he was welcome to come in. “Ricardo is one of the biggest gossips at Nautico. You realize that now you’re going to be hounded by every gay unattached employee at the resort now.” As far as Justin knew, Brian had never before fucked any of the staff at the resort.

Fucking the trick while Justin watched him, knowing he was turning Justin on, it had made the fuck all the more exciting and fulfilling. Still, he was pissed at him. “You can’t just come and go from here as you please.”

Justin shrugged and walked closer to Brian where he was busy pouring two cups of coffee. “Won’t happen again,” he said, too excited to have Brian fuck him again to care about Brian’s morning after attitude.

After pouring five packets of sugar into each mug, Brian handed Justin one of the cups of coffee and sat down at the table where his breakfast sat. “See that it doesn’t.” He knew that he was betraying much more than he intended of how he felt when Justin wasn’t there in his bed that morning, but he just couldn’t stop himself. “Besides, it’s not like it’s going to happen again. You said ‘one day’. We had it, it’s over and done, forgotten.”

Justin sat down beside Brian and slowly sipped his coffee, trying to remain cool and debating upon what to say in reply to that statement without sounding like the kicked puppy he felt like he was. It occurred to him what an odd personality Brian had, telling him things were over between them in the same moment that he was making him a cup coffee which was the same to Justin as asking him to stay. “Do you want me to leave?”

Brian shrugged. “It’s your call where you want to be. It certainly this morning.”

Justin smiled to himself and his neglected erection begged for attention as he relived the memories of last night and the early hours of this morning in his head. “I liked it… being with you.”

“You sure about that?” Brian asked, staring at the uneaten breakfast that was now cold He picked up the fork and popped the yolk on the egg, wondering why he bothered getting breakfast when it was almost four o’clock.

Justin was baffled at Brian’s words. No way was Brian in need of an ego boost. The man surely had to know how good it had been for him, but if he hadn’t meant his own sexual performance then what did he mean? A cold chill raced down his spine as he realized what Brian was angry about and what the trick was really there for. Brian was pushing him away because… “Do you remember me waking you up on the balcony?”

It was a little hazy, but Brian did remember it, mostly. “Yeah.”

“Do you remember walking to your room and shutting the door behind you?”

“Huh?” Brian didn’t know what the fuck that had to do with anything.

“You fucked us both silly, Brian,” Justin admitted. “I could barely stand up from the lounge chair without falling over. By the time I did make my way over to your suite, you had already shut the door behind you. You didn’t take off the automatic lock so I couldn’t get in. I tried though, I knocked like crazy on the window but you were passed out and I certainly wasn’t going to sleep outside hoping you’d wake up and unlock the door for me.”

Brian dropped his fork and looked over at Justin, feeling guilty and idiotic for jumping to conclusions. Then the anger returned but this time it was directed toward himself and he mentally confirmed that stupid misunderstandings was one of a thousand reasons he didn’t do relationships. At least Justin didn’t seem too pissed that he’d behaved like such a dumbass; in fact, he was back to stroking his cock and giving Brian a ‘come hither’ look.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” Justin asked, spreading his legs wider.

Brian didn’t know what to say, didn’t want to say anything. What he wanted was to suck the perfect thick cock trapped inside Justin’s trunks. So instead of offering a verbal apology, he gave Justin an oral one of a much more pleasurable and memorable kind.

***

Two weeks later, after twelve more amazing days and nights spent with Justin, Brian was invited to join Justin and his family for dinner the night before he left for home. He didn’t really know how it came to pass that he agreed to attend the shindig, he was in a constant state of equal parts perpetual confusion and sexual desire and hadn’t felt like himself in days. That didn’t mean that he wasn’t having a good time, just that he felt like was on a constant dose of Ecstasy and he hadn’t dropped any since the first night he went out with Justin to the clubs.

Brian hadn’t ever had a fuck buddy, someone he fucked and fucked alongside on a regular basis. He’d balked at men who did, preferring to use multiple players for one time threesomes or orgies only. But Justin had a way of enticing Brian, suggesting hot, raunchy things he wanted to try in bed alone or with other men in the backrooms of clubs. The time they spent together didn’t only involve sex and when Brian allowed himself to think about it, he worried that they were becoming more than just fuck buddies.

When Justin found out that Brian hadn’t yet gone snorkeling in all the years he had been going to the resort, he insisted that Brian go with him. Brian wasn’t fond of sightseeing or participating in anything touristy, unless it included naked men and backrooms, so he wasn’t gung-ho on the idea of looking at fish and coral. He didn’t even know why he so easily agreed to go when Justin asked him, but he did agree and now they’d gone twice. It had turned out to be amazingly relaxing and looking underwater at Justin’s compact body in his tiny swim trunks was a perk to the activity.

They didn’t spend every waking moment together, or every fucking moment together, but most of Brian’s day was spent with Justin doing some activity or another that Justin cajoled him into experiencing. After the surprisingly fun snorkeling experience he was a little more open to doing the things Justin suggested. Justin really hadn’t had a bad idea and Brian had no regrets of any of the time he spent with him. Even when they were just swimming, eating or between rounds of fucking, Brian never got bored. He knew that Justin was smart, but after talking to him about a vast range of subjects, he realized that Justin and he had more in common than most of the people in his life. Justin was well educated, passionate and intense about his opinions, never backing down just because he wanted to appease him. As well that Justin spoke, he also listened and though Brian wasn’t keen on talking, it never seemed like he had to make an effort to keep conversation up with Justin. Things between them flowed easily and there were quiet moments where Brian could tell that Justin wanted to talk but respected the fact that Brian wanted peace and quiet.

He met Justin’s uncle Matt when the couple had joined the resort’s beach party last night. Matt was only a few years older than himself and a lot more relaxed than his partner. Aaron didn’t like Brian, but Brian didn’t care what the man thought of him, though it amazed him that the man looked down on him for tricking when his nephew was almost as big of a slut as he was. More to the point, Aaron owned a resort that catered to the wilder side of gay life. Hypocrites were everywhere and Brian had labeled Aaron as one after only a few conversations with him.

Matt, on the other hand, had the personality of a typical ‘surfer dude’ with no cares in the world, except for his partner, Justin and Molly. He spoke highly of his niece and nephew and confessed to Brian that he hadn’t seen Justin so happy since before his parents were killed. He said that he had Brian to thank for that. This unnerved Brian, because the statement he felt held no true fact. Plus it unnerved him that now Matt had expectations for him to continue to make Justin happy. If anyone were to be the cause of making someone else happy, it was Justin. Brian was hesitant to admit it to himself, but the truth was simple, Justin made him happy without much effort at all.

Perhaps that was why he was currently sitting at the family dining table and engaged in a conversation with Molly about Italian designers. The girl wasn’t even a teenager but she already had her life mapped out. She wanted to be a fashion designer and had guessed the labels Brian wore the moment he walked into their apartment.

“I’m the one that helped Justin pick out his new clothes,” Molly told Brian proudly.

Justin laughed and slid his hand up Brian’s thigh to squeeze it. “It’s true, I’ve relied on my little sister to help me shop for the last year.”

Brian reached out and touched the collar of Justin’s yellow, Armani Exchange polo. “There’s nothing wrong with taking fashion advice,” he told Justin and then smiled at Molly.

“Except when he spends a fortune on clothes instead of taking a vacation with his friends to Australia,” Aaron griped, passing the bowel of dessert fruit salad roughly into Brian’s hand.

Justin rolled his eyes. “I’m growing up,” he said. “You didn’t expect me to live in a land of beautiful men and dress like a country club kid my whole life, did you? Besides, these clothes will last a lot longer than a trip to Australia.”

Aaron wasn’t about to let the subject drop. He knew that his nephew was doing his best to impress Brian Kinney and he didn’t like it one bit because he knew that in the end, the man, who had yet to tell Justin or them where he was from, would break Justin’s heart. “I just think the shopping spree you two went on could’ve waited until after you…”

“Aaron, Justin is an adult and as long as he pays his rent, it’s none of our business what he spends his money on,” Matt interrupted his partner and placed his hand on Aaron’s thigh and squeezed it.

“So Brian, when is your flight back to… wherever it is that you’re from? You have told Justin where you’re from, haven’t you? He at least knows that much about you, right?” Aaron asked in a steely voice, even though he knew the answer.

“No, Justin doesn’t know,” Brian answered simply. He had enjoyed himself at dinner and for the most of it Aaron had been quiet, but now that he had opened his mouth, Brian felt like chucking the dessert bowl at the man. Years ago, when he was on his spring break vacation in Hawaii, a trick who happened to be the bellboy at the hotel, had found out his phone number and address from the hotel’s directory and stalked Brian with constant phone calls until Brian had enough, changed his number and contacted the hotel and threatened to sue them if appropriate actions weren’t taken against their employee. After that bad experience, he had Cynthia use the phone number and address to an apartment in New York that the ad agency owned and used for whenever he or other execs had to stay there for business. If Justin were to ask him where he lived, he might consider to tell him, but he wasn’t going to explain anything about his life to Aaron.

“It’s okay,” Justin said, taking his hand away from Brian’s thigh and resting it on his arm instead. “Brian and I both agreed not to give one another details about our personal lives unless we choose to do so.”

“But he already knows everything about you,” Aaron said.

“You have no idea what Brian does or doesn’t know about me,” Justin insisted, growing angrier by the second. “It really isn’t any of your business where Brian lives or what I’ve told him about my life. I love you, Uncle Aaron, but you’re treating me like a child and it’s really pissing me off.” He gave Molly an apologetic look and said, “Sorry, Mollusk.”

Molly shrugged and smiled, sort of enjoying the drama going on. “Like I haven’t heard worse?”

“From whom?” Matt asked.

Molly gave her uncle a small smile and pointed at him. Matt grew pale. “Sorry.”

“But Justin, you’re making Brian a part of all of our lives,” Aaron said, bringing the conversation back to the subject he was unwilling to let go of.

Justin pushed his chair away from the table, stood up and asked Brian, “You finished? I’m ready to go out and get a drink.”

“Yeah.” Brian stood up beside Justin and held his hand out to Molly to shake. “It was a pleasure meeting a fashion diva like you, keep up the good work.”

Molly blushed at the praise. “Thank you, Brian. Nice to meet you too. We’ll see you next year, yeah?”

“It’ll depend on my schedule,” Brian told her, not one to make commitments. He looked at Matt who appeared confused and ruffled by the drama going on but was doing his best to remain calm when it was obvious he was angry at his partner. “It was good to meet you, Matt, thanks for inviting me to dinner.”

“You’re welcome,” Matt said, grasping Brian’s hand. “Enjoy your last night at the resort.”

“I’m sure I will,” Brian replied.

Aaron stood from his chair quickly, knocking it back onto the floor before walking out of the dining room, muttering, “This is ridiculous.”

“Don’t worry about him,” Matt said, sighing. “He’ll get over it.”

“I didn’t mean to make him angry and neither did Brian,” Justin told his uncle. “But he’s so damn over protective of me. He’s worse than Mom was.”

“I’ll talk to him,” Matt assured him, smiling. “You two have fun tonight.”

Justin kissed Matt and Molly goodbye and then led Brian out of the apartment, down the private elevator and back toward their suites. “Sorry about dinner,” he mumbled. “I didn’t think Aaron would be such an asshole to you. It’s so stupid.”

“I hate to say it, but if Gus was seeing some ‘anonymous guy’ and didn’t even know where he lived, I might be a little ticked off too,” he admitted. There wasn’t a reason why he shouldn’t tell Justin where he was from now so he figured that he might as well. “If you want to know where…”

“Gus!” Justin interrupted. He stopped walking and looked at Brian, shocked. “Gus? Who is Gus?”

Brian hadn’t meant to reveal anything about his son. “He’s my kid, my son.”

“Your son? You… you have a child?”

Brian figured it couldn’t do much harm to tell Justin about him. “Yeah, he’s two and a half. I gave my sperm to a lesbian couple who are friends of mine.”

“Does he live with you too? Or are you just a weekend dad?” Justin asked as he began walking again. He couldn’t really see Brian as a father but now that he knew he was it added another layer of depth to the man.

“I don’t really have much to do with him.” Brian’s heart twisted the moment he spoke the words. He’d said the same thing to many other people but never had he felt… well, he felt ashamed of admitting such a thing to Justin. “His mothers wanted a baby,” he explained. “I wasn’t supposed to love him or… or anything.”

Justin glanced over at Brian and his heart ached for him when he saw the tortured expression on his face. “But you do,” Justin stated.

Uncomfortable, Brian ventured to change the subject. “So where do you want to go to get a drink? My flight is at nine, so wherever it is… I’m going to have to leave early and get a little sleep. Even though I’m in first class, I still don’t have enough leg room to stretch out and nap on the flight back.”

Justin really didn’t want to share Brian with anyone else on their last night, but he was apprehensive about suggesting they spend the night in their suite fucking. “I don’t know. What do you want to do?”

Brian grabbed Justin’s arm and brought him to a stop, swinging his body toward him so they were pressed close together. He stared down into Justin’s eyes and wondered how in the hell he was going to leave him tomorrow. He didn’t want to and as scary as admitting that was, looking into Justin’s dark blue eyes, he could see that Justin was feeling the same way about him. It wasn’t right, it went against all of Brian’s rules, but he realized that for the most part, he’d already broken them all. He cared about a trick… no, that wasn’t what Justin was. Justin was more than that and Brian decided that he wouldn’t worry about how any of that made him feel. He was on vacation and intentionally or not, he’d taken a break away from the Brian Kinney he was in Pittsburgh and he might as well finish the trip the same way. “I want to do you,” Brian said and pressed his lips to Justin’s forehead. “All night long.”

Justin’s heart melted but at the same time it felt like it was breaking. He reached up and ran his hands in Brian’s hair, stood on his tiptoes and pressed a gentle kiss to his lips. “Then let’s go,” he whispered, taking Brian’s hand and leading him the rest of the way to Brian’s suite.

***

Justin wasn’t surprised when he woke up alone in Brian’s room, sun high in the sky, streaming in through the patio door. Though Brian had said that he’d wanted to get sleep that night, they’d spent the night and morning having sex. Justin had lost count of the times that Brian had made him come and was too exhausted to join the man in the shower after their last round. He was roused from sleep momentarily from the sound of Brian unzipping his suitcase. Bleary eyed, he watched Brian pack his luggage until he could no longer remain awake. Brian hadn’t slept at all, but the sheets and blankets Justin was surrounded by still smelled like him.

Justin rolled over onto his stomach and took a deep breath of Brian’s scent as he gripped the sheet beneath him in his hands. “Don’t cry, don’t cry,” he whispered repeatedly to himself until the choking feeling in his throat subsided and he knew that he could open his eyes without tears falling from them. He moved slow, turning onto his side, sitting up at a snail’s pace due to the aches his body felt emotionally and physically.

He looked around the room to confirm that Brian wasn’t there, even though it was after two p.m. and Brian’s flight had been at nine a.m., his hopeful heart still demanded he check to be sure he was gone. After all, flights were cancelled all the time and it was entirely reasonable that Brian would go back to the resort if he was unable to fly that morning back to wherever it was he came from. Brian wasn’t there though and Justin felt like crying again. He had to get out of Brian’s room; the memories of the deliciously erotic and at times romantic moments which occurred in the room were everywhere he looked.

He saw that Brian had folded his clothes and placed them on the desk for him. He just had to walk next door and dressing seemed like too much effort, so he just piled the clothes in his arms and… “What the fuck?” Justin dropped the clothes to the floor and picked up the piece of hotel stationary that had been placed under his pile of clothes.

Justin,
If you feel inclined to email me, you can do so at this address: execbrikin@netmail.com
Keep listening to your sister’s fashion advice, she knows what she’s talking about,
Brian

Justin read the note nine times before he started laughing and exclaimed, “If I feel inclined!” His spirits perked, he gathered his clothes together and raced back to his room. He turned on his laptop, logged into his email program and wrote:

Brian,
If I feel inclined? That sounds like something a hero says to a heroine in a romance novel, not that I’ve read them, but my friend Daphne used to and that’s the kind of line she’d swoon over, so thanks for being so dashing.
I hope you had a great spring break, I know I did. Hope you have a good flight, can get some sleep and get home… wherever that may be *grinning* safely.
P.S. I’ll continue to listen to Molly’s fashion advice, but only if you promise to take some advice from me So here it goes: Do what you want and don’t wait forever before writing me back just because you think you should.
Later,
Justin

Justin re-read his email twice, hesitated for a few minutes, made a silent wish and hit the send button.

TBC in Chapter 3

Chapter Text

Wyrd

Chapter Three: “Wait for Me”

Oh, my love, my darling, I've hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time, and time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much, are you still mine?
I need your love, I need your love
God speed your love to me
Lonely rivers sigh, wait for me, wait for me
I'll be coming home, wait for me
Oh, my love, my darling I've hungered, hungered for your touch
A long, lonely time
And time goes by so slowly
And time can do so much
Are you still mine?
I need your love ~By The Righteous Brothers

Monday, April 21, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Fashion Crisis Aversion

Justin,
Hopefully you haven’t offed yourself waiting to hear back from me. If you are still alive, I hope you haven’t regressed to wearing Old Navy Cargos and Target t-shirts. I’m not sure why you felt the need to give me any advice, but judging from the time you sent the email, I am inclined to believe that I succeeded in fucking your brains out. I always do what I want, so if you have some insane idea that I do not, I will hope that has vanished now that you’ve had some time to recover from the best sex of your life.
I do not know if I would’ve responded to your email right away, had I gotten it the day you sent it, but your e-mail never reached my inbox and was redirected to my spam. The only reason I saw it today was because I needed to do something mundane, which included reorganizing my email folders while I waited for my third cup of coffee to hit me. Last night my friends insisted on taking me out to celebrate my birthday and the only thing that made it the least bit exciting was tequila shots.

So, did your Professor’s vacation make her less of a bitch? If not, then just remind yourself anytime that she acts like a cunt to you, that all the negativity is a compliment, because she is insanely jealous of your talents. I’m sure some of your Professors may critique your work with the intention of helping you grow as an artist, but you’re pretty fucking smart, so I’m sure you’ll recognize that when it happens. Only, make sure that the bitch doesn’t make you shut down; you want to open yourself up for critiques, even though in the end it won’t make any difference what your teachers think of your work, unless they’re putting you into a show or giving you a recommendation, create for yourself first.

There is something that I have yet to discuss that is quite dire, Mr. Taylor. I hasten to inform you that eloquence in one’s speech and writing is not a sign of romanticism, nor is the Regency time period making a comeback. Alas, I must borrow another minute of your precious time and inform you of the ill ease your missive is causing me to endure. The unnamable in my nether region shrunk to undesirable proportions, my stomach heaved and I took fright for some time, unable to think of anything but the terrible accusations of which you made of me.

Please, if you do intend to continue our correspondence, keep all references to the time of Fitzwilliam Darcy to yourself. For a well-educated twat, you can say some stupid shit. I’m eloquent, that’s all. If you’d prefer for me to write you in shorthand, the course was required in college and I aced it, but I’d rather write to you in the language in which I speak.
~Brian Kinney

Saturday, April 26, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Ridiculous Romanticism

Brian,
I had to Google Fitzwilliam Darcy. The fact that you knew the full name of a character who is mostly referred to as ‘Mr. Darcy’, shows that you must have a hidden love for Jane Austen and the romantic Regency period. I think it may be you alone who is hoping for a comeback of this period. Maybe then you will feel free to express your inner hopeful romantic self? LOL!

The summaries of the Jane Austen novels sounded interesting and I don’t think it’s acceptable for a person with my level of knowledge to not have read even one them. I remedied this by going online and buying every book and also the BBC movies. Daphne is coming to visit a week after term ends to celebrate her birthday. I plan to have all the novels read by then and I’m sure Daphne will love to watch the movies with me. Unlike you, I do not think the books I read or movies I watch have that big of an influence on my character as a person, nor my wants and dreams. Certainly, there are actors who have inspired me, but just because I may enjoy romantic comedies or romantic dramas, it does not mean that I would enjoy my life being one.

No fucking way.

Professor Santario came back from Mexico even higher strung than when she left. I wanted to die when she told the class that we were to channel the Aztecs and create a mixed media piece based on the three days of lectures where she droned on and on about all the Aztec sites. The slides she showed us were actually pretty interesting but I was constantly mentally correcting her dictation on them because she had so many of them wrong. I considered speaking out, but I don’t think I’d pass her class if I undermined her in front of everyone. I feel bad for the students who don’t know Aztec culture though and have no idea how wrong she is about most of the shit she’s been ‘teaching’. The project is our final one for the class and I’m about halfway finished with it. I’ve taken your advice, (because I’m open to doing such things from those I respect) and I’m creating for myself first. I’ve made sure that my ideas fall into the specifications Santario asked for, but I’m not going to dumb down my talents just because she doesn’t usually ‘get’ my art.

I hope you enjoyed your birthday, wish I could’ve been there to help you celebrate. I do know you’re weird about aging, I suppose when I’m as OLD as you are, I might be sensitive about it too, but I bet you loved every moment of your celebration. So what did you do? Or should I say who? I know it must suck going back to fucking average guys all the time after you had the best sex of your life here with me, and countless other hot men, but you know where that is if you want it. That is, if you even have sex anymore now that you’ve forgotten the name for your cock.

Brian… say it with me C-O-C-K, one more time, C-O-C-K! Nether regions? The unnamable? You’re worrying me. Please send a reply that is filled with filthy words and if you’re feeling generous, a nice picture of your dick? Please?
~Justin

Tuesday, May 13, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: What You’ve Been Missing
Attachment-C-O-C-K.jpeg

Justin,
Shit. Piss. Cock. Suck. Fuck. Rim. Jizz. Spunk. Dick. Asshole. Buttfuck.
You’re a slut for cock and next time I see you I’m gonna fuck your mouth with my dick so hard you’ll be drooling and choking on it while you come in your pants.
Is that filthy enough for you, nasty boy?
~Brian
P.S. Any replies without receiving your contribution picture first will be ignored.

Thursday, May 29, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: As Requested
Attachment-Rim.jpeg

Brian,
After you jerk off, I want you to rub it all over your chest and then lick your fingers clean. Brian, I miss you and I want so badly to be on my knees sucking you right now. It’d be just like you said, only I’d probably come in my pants just from watching you take your dick out of your pants. I’d stay hard the whole time I sucked you and wait to come again until you could fuck me properly.

Christ, I’ll admit it. I haven’t had a good fuck since you left and I did something completely stupid which I’m not going to tell you about in this email because I don’t want anything to spoil your orgasm.
Missing you and yeah also missing the best sex of my life.
~Justin

Thursday, May 29, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Something Stupid

Justin,
I saw the picture first, you didn’t ruin my orgasm, but you ruined the fucking afterglow that never happened. What the fuck kind of stupid thing did you do? I’m guessing it has to do with sex, because you were talking about sex when you said it. Write me back immediately and tell me what the fuck it is that you did, because my mind is coming up with thousands of possibilities and none of them are good.

Fuck you!

Saturday, May 31, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Nothing THAT stupid!

Brian,
Don’t worry, I didn’t and would NEVER fuck anyone without a condom. Yours is the only cock I’ve ever even sucked without one and the odds of getting something passed that way are pretty slim, but please don’t worry. I’m okay; my health is fine, no STDs and nothing bad happened to me. I’m so fucking sorry for worrying you. I shouldn’t have said a fucking thing until I was ready to explain it.

While Daphne was here visiting she asked me for a special 21st birthday present. I was a twenty-year-old virgin (partially) and even with all the fucking I’d done, I definitely felt like I was behind the rest of my peers until I had sex with you. It seems stupid writing that down, but it’s true. I knew I wanted it to be you, you know that, but I didn’t know when or if that was ever going to happen.

Anyway, when we were younger Daphne and I promised one another that if we were still virgins by her 21st birthday (she’s nine months older than me), that we’d lose our virginities to one another. Oh my god, the more of this explanation I write, the stupider I feel. How childish is making a sex pact? I guess it didn’t feel so stupid when we were fourteen.

I did try to get out of it, I am after all, not a virgin, but Daphne insisted that was all the more reason why she wanted her first time to be with me. She said that I knew what it was like to be the one losing my virginity so she could trust me to go slow. So I did it. I fucked my best friend. I fucked a girl. I actually had sex with a woman!

I don’t know if you’ve ever had sex with a woman, but for me it was really weird and the only reason I got hard was because she gave me a blowjob first and was pretty good at it. I also had to think of fucking you, which made me feel like total shit the whole time. I got off, so did she, twice actually, but as soon as we were finished I was overwhelmed with the feeling of betrayal.

It’s been three days since then, Daphne left yesterday and things between us after were pretty normal and mirrored all our other visits. I think she is less affected by it than I am. I just can’t figure out why I feel like this.

So that’s the stupid thing I did. Again, I’m sorry for worrying you; I’ll never leave you a message like that again.
~Justin

Thursday, June 5, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Fucking a woman who is your best friend

Justin,
I have fucked a woman and like you, she was also my best friend. In college I had sex with Lindsay. She didn’t lose her virginity to me and I think it may have been different from your experience with Daphne, because we were both experimenting with the opposite sex when we knew that we were homosexuals. Even though we both got off, it didn’t erase how incredibly wrong it felt. It was a long time ago, and though we had more than one encounter, I don’t remember too much about it except that I knew each time we had sex that I preferred sex with men.

Lindsay was a bit clingy after we stopped fucking around, even after she met Melanie, but things eventually went back to normal. I have no idea why we did it more than once. Her take on it is that we both wanted to be different from our parents and had no idea how to get what we wanted beyond that. Behaving like that was extremely childish and not something I’m proud of but I don’t regret it.

As long as your relationship with Daphne didn’t change I don’t think you should regret what you did. You gave her what she wanted and probably made her feel a lot better than she would’ve if she gave it up to some random asshole. I know there are homosexuals out there that have never and will never know what it is like to fuck someone of the opposite sex. My best friend Mikey hasn’t ever had sex with a woman and I know he never will.

Fuck, I’m no psychiatrist but I think maybe you feel like you betrayed your proud homo self or something, because you slept with a woman. I don’t think you did; because fucking a chick once or twice isn’t that all uncommon for gay men, so don’t beat yourself up about it. I’m sure you’re still the best homosexual you could possibly be.
~Brian

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Betrayal

Brian,
I read your email a few times before things really sunk in for me and you were right. I feel a lot better now and I don’t regret it. I’ve talked to Daphne a lot since she went home and things with us are good. I’d feel even better though if you’d come visit me and fuck my brains out on the beach this summer.

Any big plans for your summer? Nico is back for the summer and we are going snorkeling tomorrow and then we’re going out on Aaron’s boat to look at the grey whales that are migrating through the Mediterranean right now. I wish you could see them. They’re these amazingly massive creatures that are the definition of majestic beauty. It’s going to be so much fun, I can’t wait!

Do you miss me?
~Justin

Friday, June 27, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Yeah, I do

Justin,
I have no big plans for the rest of summer, the only tanning I’ll be doing will be at an indoor spa because I’ve got a new client who requires constant attention. But I did get a little sun two weeks ago. I had to go to Orlando to meet with a client so I soaked up some sun there. Lindsay was taking her week of vacation at the same time, so I took her and Gus with me for the weekend. She took him to Sea World while I was working and Gus had a lot of fun. He now is the proud owner of a large stuffed Free Willy Shark. I bet he’d love to go on Aaron’s boat and see the whales. Do me a favor and take some pictures and send them to me so that I can show Gus?

Take care of yourself,
~Brian

Wednesday, July 2, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Whales
Attachment-Boat-Trip-With-Whales.zip

Brian,
I couldn’t decide what pictures to include from the day we went whale watching so I just put a bunch of my favorites in a folder. We had such an amazing day. Nico and I didn’t go snorkeling as planned because Matt and Aaron convinced us to leave early and go fishing instead. I suck at fishing, but everyone else is good at it and Matt caught a pretty big Mahi Mahi that Aaron grilled up on the deck of the boat. You can see the size of the thing in the pictures, Matt was quite proud of himself as was everyone else who caught fish but theirs were too small so they threw them back. Molly brought along her friend Henry, she totally has a crush on him but manages to act normal around him and the kid seems to like her just as much as she likes him. While Matt and Aaron cooked, Nico, Henry, Molly and I went swimming in the sea. Then we ate the amazing meal and at sunset we got our first glimpse of the whales. I’ve seen them before but never have they come so close to our boat. I could’ve leaned over the side of the boat and touched them! If Gus had fun at Sea World I bet he’d love to see the whales and all the other sea creatures in their natural habitat.

By the way, Free Willy was an orca, a.k.a. ‘Killer Whale’, not a shark. Though I know they can be just as vicious as and even more dangerous than sharks. Did Gus watch the show at Sea World where the orca does tricks? Did he get to see the dolphin show too?

As amazing as it can be to live in paradise, sometimes I miss living in the States. I really miss celebrating the 4th of July, having barbecues in our backyard, roasting marshmallows by the fire and watching the fireworks. I bet you’ll be doing that with Gus tomorrow so have fun!
Take care,
~Justin

Friday, July 25, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Busy, Busy

Justin,
I’ve got a lot going on right now. I planned a reply with pictures for my next email to you but don’t have the time right now. You’re starting back at school in a few weeks right? Make use of those swim trunks and sunscreen until then.
~Brian

 

Friday, August 22, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Homesick
Attachment-Me-on-the-beach.jpeg

Brian,
It’s been almost a month since your last email and I guess I just need someone to talk to so even if you can’t read this or your other emails and reply right away, that’s okay. They’ll be here when you can and so will I.

I’ve come to the realization that I don’t like my friends, except Nico and Daphne, but they aren’t here in Ibiza. I promised myself that, this school year, I wouldn’t be antisocial and I’d take my friends up on their offers to study together or hang out at the bar near campus with them, but I’m bored with them already. It probably isn’t normal, and I’m okay with that, but something must be wrong with me if I’d rather be home watching TV than out partying with them.

Am I just a big asshole? I don’t mean to be but it’s just that most conversations my new group of friends have seem so inconsequential to real life. I don’t care to listen to the same five stories they all tell about their summer vacation in Italy and I don’t believe them when they say they wish I’d gone, because in the next sentence they tell me what a ‘bummer’ I am. I have nothing to add to most of their conversations and even when we’re discussing classes or art, my opinions on both are so much different that half of the time I just don’t say anything at all because I don’t think they care to listen to me, because, whenever I’ve tried, they talk over me. Sometimes they’ll start speaking Spanish and though I speak it too, I don’t speak it well enough to keep up when they talk really fast and I feel like a complete outsider.

I miss home and I miss Daphne and Nico and even though I didn’t have many friends when I lived in the U.S. and probably felt like an outsider there too, I didn’t feel the way I do now. Aaron has noticed I’m depressed and he and Matt have tried to cheer me up but no matter how hard they try, I just can’t get out of this funk. I’m homesick and now that school has started there is no way I can go back and visit, at least not until fall break. Sorry for laying all this on you, I just really needed to get this off my chest.

I hope things are okay with you and that you’re not working too hard, but, I guess because you’ve not had time to respond yet, that you probably are.
Hope to hear from you soon!
~Justin

Tuesday, September 2, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Good News

Brian,
I’ve been selected to be in the student art show even though the spots are usually reserved for seniors. I’m the only junior who was chosen and I’ll be submitting two paintings and three sketches. Professor Pelion, the one sponsoring the show, is also my instructor for my classical form class and he’s given some of the best assignments I’ve had since starting at Romero. I’ve been really inspired the last week and the depression I felt is mostly gone. I also made a new friend, her name is Julianne. She’s an international student in the study abroad program from San Diego, California and reminds me a lot of Daphne. She’s a senior and is going to have her work in the show too, so we’ve been scheduling our studio time together and even though it’s only been a week since we’ve been hanging out, I think we’re going to be good friends.

Jesus, I sure sound like a dork! Feel free to laugh at me.

I’ve been thinking. There are places in Ibiza where you and Gus could stay that would be more appropriate for him than the resort if you ever did want to bring him here with you when you visit. Though in the off season we do have a lot of families stay here. There’s a lot of fun stuff we could do with him on the island. I know he’s only two (or has he turned three now?) and he might be a handful to take care of alone, but I’d help and so would Molly.

I know we agreed not to give details about our lives, but really, we do all the time. So I have a question for you, but you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to, but I really hope you do.

Have you told your friends or Gus about me and do they know we’re friends?

Take care,
~Justin

Friday, September 5, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Friends
Attachment-Gus.jpeg Attachment-Gus-Bday.jpeg Attachment-Gus-&-Dada.jpeg

Congratulations on the art show, seems your hard work is already paying off and I’m glad you’ve made a friend. It’s okay that you’re a big dork; it wasn’t as if I didn’t already know that about you.

Gus actually turned three the day you sent your email. The first pic is him playing with his train set at my loft. The kid is obsessed with trains which is why in the second picture you can see Lindsay went a little overboard with the train theme for his party. Gus loved being dressed as a conductor but I wanted to kill Linds for buying him that damn whistle because he wouldn’t stop blowing it and ordering people around. Gus is a handful, you got that right. I don’t think I’d ever want to take him on a trip alone and definitely not to Ibiza if I did. Even if I wanted to, Mel and Linds wouldn’t let that happen.

Gus loved the pictures you sent of the whales and he’s labeled you, ‘Pretty Boy’, which is accurate with the exception of those disgusting shorts you’re wearing in one of the pics. You could fit ten of your legs in one leg hole and they were so long they looked like Capris. I saw Molly was with you. Tell her I’m disappointed that she allowed you to go out looking like that. The other pics, the ones where you’re in your swim trunks, those were much more enjoyable to look at and the one with you naked on the beach was hot. Of course I didn’t show anyone those.

As for your question, yes, my friends know about you, but only Linds, Mel and Gus have seen your picture. I think I probably mentioned you first to the guys when I told them about you and me fucking those two studs together in the backroom. No doubt from the stories I’ve told they think you’re some big beefy Spanish Adonis top.

I acquired a client who is much different than those I usually work for and I’m so busy with him that I barely even have time to go out and find a good fuck. Fuck anyone worth telling me about?
~Brian

Wednesday, October 29, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Art Show

Brian,
I’m so freaking nervous! Friday is the opening of the student art show! Sorry, I’ll stop with the exclamation points now… maybe. Even though Professor Pelion loves what I’ve submitted, he’s only one opinion. I’ve never had my work on display for the public the way it will be on Friday and I’m so anxious about what people are going to think. It’s going to be really intense. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I love the pictures of Gus. He looks just like you and he’s so lucky to have you in his life. I’ll take some pictures of the show and send them to you in my next email. Good luck with work and tricks. No one here worth writing about, what about you?
~Justin

Sunday, November 2, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Nervous

Justin,
I’m sure you did just fine opening night. How long does the show last? I’m thinking that because you didn’t send a frantic email Friday night that, once you got there and people saw your work, that you realized you didn’t have anything to be nervous about? Take some pictures of them and send them to me.

Believe it or not but I too have been afflicted with a case of apprehension, which, given what you do know about me, you’d know that feeling nervous is entirely out of character. I told you that I took on an important client that I’d also been donating a lot of my free time to and recently… due to circumstances that I cannot ignore… I’ve had to reevaluate my support of his ‘product’. I’ve done all I can to help rectify my involvement with him, but I don’t know if what I’ve done will be enough and if it isn’t… well, I definitely won’t be getting any from the fags in this burg for a long time and my friends probably won’t even want to be seen with me. Now who is the asshole?

The client is seeking Mayoral office and even though I am no longer working for him, or for the agency I was once a partner in, the man is a homophobe and a criminal and I helped further his political campaign and also helped him look more appealing to the gay voters. At the time that I took his campaign on, I knew the man was an asshole but I had no idea that he was as bad as he is. But you know what they say about ignorance being no excuse and let’s face it: the money I was raking in was a damn good deterrent for my conscience.

I’m now in debt because I’ve spent over 100,000 dollars on various ads and also on a TV spot that exposes his involvement in a teenage hustler’s murder, hoping to convince any voters I’d swayed to vote for him to now see him as who he truly is and vote against him. I haven’t told my friends that it is me alone who are ‘the concerned citizens for the truth’-the group who acknowledges they paid for the ads, but they believe that I donated a large amount of money to them. Hopefully, if the asshole loses, my friends and the fags in this burg will see my contribution as a bit of retribution but it might be too little too late.

So this is me. I’m a fucking asshole who nearly jumped off a cliff to follow another asshole toward his promised hidden treasures without caring about what it would mean to my community, my morals, or my personal relationships. Fuck! I’m debating on whether or not I should even send this to you because I sound so damn whiney, but I’m too stoned to care about that right now.

Don’t forget to email me pictures, and if you see this before Tuesday… crossing your fingers couldn’t hurt.
~Brian

Monday, November 3, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Crossing My Fingers & Big News
Attachment-Slideshow-Student-Art-.ppt Attachment-Fingers-Crossed.jpg

Brian,
You sounded so melancholy (was it just the weed talking?) in your last email. I do understand why you’re upset, but I wish you’d give yourself a break. You didn’t follow the asshole over the cliff, you stepped away. And then, the most important detail in my opinion, you’ve risked your entire financial future and stability to make up for it. I know there is a lot you’re not even telling me that you must’ve given up to do what is right and that is what is important. You are sacrificing everything for what you believe in and no matter what anyone thinks, no matter the results of the election, it wasn’t too little or too late, because you stepped up and did something!

I will definitely be crossing my fingers for you and I really think you should consider telling your friends the truth about ‘The Concerned Citizens for the Truth’. Maybe if they know, (especially Emmett since you did say he was a gossip queen, right?) no matter the results of the election, at least people will recognize that you fucking gave everything you could for the cause. I’m sure any trick with a brain or an ass that needs the best fucking of its life, will forgive you for your minor lapse in judgment. If they don’t… well you know where I am. *grinning evilly here*

The student art show at Romero runs throughout this week, ending next Saturday night. I have taken some pictures of what I’ve got hanging. Two paintings, three sketches (one of you, so don’t be surprised when you see it), and two charcoal drawings. Each one of these has already been sold but will be available for viewing until the show ends. All but one of my professors love my work (one guess as to the one who does not), and my abstract painting was even featured on the page of the Arts section of the Ibiza Times newspaper along with an interview I did on Friday night. I was still pretty damn nervous all night so talking to the reporter wasn’t easy. I think it turned out well though. If you want, you can google Ibiza Times and read their weekend edition online to check it out. You speak Spanish really well so I’m sure you can read it just fine.

I have some rather big news to tell you. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I think it’s going to be a good thing. Matt and Aaron have been talking about selling the resort ever since Molly and I moved here and yesterday they met with a man who wants to buy it. It isn’t set in stone yet, but Matt told me that the guy offered above asking price and that they are probably going to take it. Aaron wants to buy a villa here with some of the cash they get from the deal, but they want to buy a permanent home in the States. So… this spring break may be the last one that we’re here.

I keep going back and forth about my feelings on the move because, as homesick as I am for the U.S., there are also a lot of memories, good and bad, that I’ve not had shoved in my face every day. Being here has made it a little easier to deal with the death of my parents, because we were never here together but I know that when I go home, I’m going to be reminded of them everywhere I go. I don’t know how I’ll be able to handle being home after so long and seeing all the places I went to with my parents and live there once again, without them. Molly is gung-ho for it, mostly because Henry started dating one of her best friends and she wants to get away from them. Still, she’s the most resilient kid I’ve ever met and she makes friends easily, so I know she’ll be fine when we go back, but the memories are going to be hard for her to face too. I’m sure Nico and Julianne will miss me, but Julianne graduates this year and Nico isn’t even around unless it’s during the summer so if we were here next year too, I’d feel even lonelier than I do now. How pathetic am I?

Matt says that if they buy a Villa here, it’ll be for all four of us to use, so I can come back here whenever I want to, maybe even spend summers here if I’m able. However, leaving a daily paradise and a Gay Mecca isn’t going to be easy, especially because we’ll be going back to a place that seems quite dreary most of the year. If Aaron and Matt sell the resort, which I’m almost certain they will, we’ll be moving during the summer so that Molly will be settled in time to start school. I still have a year and a half left before I complete my Bachelors in Arts Degree so I’ll have to start applying to schools to complete my final year. It’s going to be an emotionally hectic move if it does happen.

Wishing for the best,
~Justin

Tuesday, November 4, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: BIG NEWS!

Justin,
The results came in about a few hours ago and my ex-client was beat in a landslide victory! It’s almost hard to believe. I took your advice and I did let slip the fact that I was the sole provider of ‘The Concerned Citizens for the Truth’ and as you predicted, the gossip spread fast. There was dancing in the streets during the victory celebration and quite a few tricks, all of them fresh meat, were once again vying for my expertise. After giving a little more of myself, I went home and now I’m having a quiet celebration. So (lifting a glass in toast) here is to me. I may be 100,000 dollars in debt and jobless, but at least we fucking won this one.

I’m not surprised that your work sold so quickly. Congratulations! Next time I see you I think we should go out and celebrate both of our accomplishments. I am a little peeved though that the painting titled Gregarious, has already been sold because I would’ve loved to have bought that one. Not that I could afford it right now… but it would’ve fit perfectly in my loft. As for your big news, it sounds like it’s definitely going to be life-altering for you, but maybe now that some time has passed you will find it easier to go back home and deal with the memories? You seem resilient, so I’m sure you’ll do fine if you do have to transfer schools and you might just like the new one better than Romero.
~Brian

Wednesday, November 12, 2003
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Moving

Brian,
It’s official; Aaron and Matt are selling the resort. The new owner, who owns a dozen other gay friendly luxury resorts around the world, will take possession officially in the middle of June. It’s only been a couple of days, but already Matt has enlisted me to start looking at homes and apartments to buy. I have money from my parent’s life insurance, so I’ll be getting an apartment somewhere, but we’re focusing on looking for a place for them first. I know that Aaron has wanted to sell the resort and move to the States for a while, but he’s taking it much better than I thought he would be. This is the only place he’s ever called home, he and Matt met here. Sure, they’re going to buy a vacation home and he’ll get to come back to see his family, but I thought he’d be at least a little sad about leaving, but he isn’t.

Matt told me that one of the reasons he thinks I’m so sad about moving is because this spring will be the last time you and I will see one another. I don’t expect you to tell me otherwise or make future plans with me, but he may be right about why I’m sad to leave. I think you’re right and the time away that I’ve had will make it easier to deal with the memories of my parents once I get back, but I’ve also made some really good ones here in Ibiza with Molly, my uncles, my friends and you and I don’t want them to disappear. I know this isn’t what you want to hear from me, we’re not in a relationship and we’ve never talked about seeing one another away from Ibiza, but I can’t help but hope that we will. I really hope that me saying this doesn’t stop you from coming here again. I miss you and even if we only have one more time together, I will understand and promise not to act like a clingy idiot while you’re here.

On a totally different and much happier note, I am so glad that things worked out with the election. Congratulations! Do you have any job prospects yet because I think you should do what you told me when you were here and start your own agency. I know how much you hated not being your own boss and you’re brilliant, so I bet you could manage it and maybe take some of your old clients with you. I guess being in debt, it might be hard to do that, but knowing how creative you are, I’m sure you could figure out a way.

If you do start your own agency, I have a suggestion for the name. It came to me last night while I was having a drink at the bar and I wrote it down on a napkin so I wouldn’t forget.

KINNETIK

What do you think? Personally, I think it’s a genius idea, but who knows. At this point you might have already been offered another job or have your own ideas for a name for your agency if you go in that direction.

I’m working on a project with Julianne for school and she’s going to be here soon and my room is a disgusting mess. I took a really hot guy home last night, but while I was fucking him, he couldn’t control himself and now there is a come stain on the arm of the sofa so I’ve got to do something to get that cleaned before Julianne gets here.

P.S. New pics of you would be really, really nice next time and I promise to reciprocate.
~Justin

Saturday, December 20, 2003
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Suggestions

Justin,
I must admit, you are a clever devil. Two weeks ago was the official launch party of Kinnetik Inc., after many long days and nights of working my ass off to make it happen in such a short time period. It was nowhere near easy, but I managed to get some of my most wealthy and important clients to move their business to Kinnetik, assuring each one that because Kinnetik is a boutique operation, their account would be at the top of the list. That alone didn’t sway them, but eventually, due entirely to my brilliance, I was able to get them to sign with Kinnetik and through their initial contract fees, and some donations to ‘the concerned citizens’, I am now my own boss. The bullshit that has gone along with that is going to take some time to adjust to and there’s still a lot to do, but it’s already paying off.

Kinnetik has also secured an international account, so I will be doing some travelling for that as soon as all of Kinnetik’s New Year campaigns are set to launch. Even though we weren’t officially open for business, my assistant and I did a lot of revamping of our clients’ previous holiday campaigns and the profits are raking in for them and us.

No doubt I’d miss living in Ibiza too, but you’ll be able to return to it, so stop feeling depressed about leaving and go out and enjoy your time there. As you can see, I did not include any pictures because I have two suggestions for you.

1: To get come stains out of upholstery use a bristled brush and club soda.

2: Stop jerking off to my pictures ten times a day and get ready for the real thing. We launch the New Year campaigns on December 26th, and I’ll have to stick around for the weekend to be sure they run smoothly but I see no reason why I can’t use the ticket I’ve booked for a flight to Ibiza in the afternoon on the 29th, as long as weather permits.

I do expect you to send the pictures though, as I’m sure you’ve already taken them and I wouldn’t want them to go to waste.
~Brian

TBC in Chapter 4

Chapter Text

Wyrd
Chapter 4: “Fireworks”

Though I know you're the kind of boy
Who only wants to run around
I'll keep waiting and someday, darling
You'll come to me
When you want to settle down ~The Chiffons

December 2003 / January 2004

The weather had permitted a perfect flight from Pittsburgh International to JFK International airport, but halfway between Brian’s three hour and forty-five minute layover, a wind storm descended and his flight was delayed until the next afternoon. He no longer had access to the Vangard owned apartment in the city. Renting a hotel room a few days shy of New Year’s Eve was next to impossible, unless it was in a fleabag hotel and Brian would’ve preferred to camp out in the airport overnight, which he informed Cynthia of when she suggested the only free accommodations in the city.

Brian had a two and a half hour layover in Madrid before he flew to Ibiza and it was between flights that he was supposed to meet the client’s assistant to procure some paperwork he needed to go through before their meeting that was scheduled on the fifth. It was apparent that, with the delay in New York, meeting the assistant on time wasn’t going to take place, so he had Cynthia call the client to inform him of his flight delay while Brian dealt with extracting his checked luggage. He didn’t care that he’d have to pay additional fees, if he was going to be stuck in the airport for the next twenty-four hours; he was going to have a change of clothes and his toiletry products. As Brian settled into an uncomfortable chair in one of the lounges, Cynthia called him back with good news. The client in Madrid owned a small condo in Brooklyn and as luck would have it, it was sitting empty until tomorrow afternoon. The condo was an hour from the airport and nothing like the executive apartment Vangard owned in the city, but it was clean, had Wi-Fi and, most importantly, a comfortable bed for him to sleep in, though stress prevented him from getting any good rest.

The next day, his flight left JFK on time, he met with the assistant in between boarding his plane for Ibiza and as the plane touched down in Ibiza, at a little after two p.m. on New Year’s Eve, he began to get nervous.

He was about to do something that he never before thought he wanted to do, find out if he could be in a relationship with Justin, because he was damn sure that if he couldn’t be in one with him, there would be no one else. Brian had done a lot of thinking about his life since the last time he was in Ibiza. He considered his reasons for being the one to take the first step in requesting correspondence with Justin. The simple fact had been that when he’d packed that morning, occasionally looking over his shoulder to look at Justin sleeping, he’d wanted nothing more than to stop what he was doing and crawl under the covers and fuck him awake. That hadn’t been the end of what he imagined doing with Justin. No, he imagined himself doing it again and again, contemplated his busy work schedule, devised a plan that would allow him to stay for three more days even, but he realized that probably wouldn’t be long enough either and no matter what he’d have to leave.

It was then that he wrote the note to Justin. He did it before the demands of ‘I don’t believe in love, I believe in fucking’ inner voice could over power the need he had in wanting to stay connected to Justin, in whatever he way he could. The weeks before he found the email from Justin in his spam folder had been annoyingly torturous because he checked his email six times a day to see if he’d written him back. Sometimes he’d stare at his inbox for a few minutes and refresh the page two or three times before logging out. During those weeks lots of doubts and regrets began to enter his mind. By the time he saw Justin’s email, he’d nearly convinced himself that Justin Taylor wasn’t as great a fuck as he’d been thinking, that he was just a kid and that they had absolutely nothing in common and that Justin had probably moved on and found another boyfriend shortly after Brian left. Reading Justin’s email had thrilled him and he concluded that Justin was indeed as good as he’d been and that he’d done the right thing writing him the note.

Of course he couldn’t tell Justin any of that. He kept himself guarded. But then the emails continued and confessing things to Justin that he couldn’t to anyone else he knew made him wish for more than just the emails. He wanted to see him, not just pictures. He remembered how silky his skin was, how it felt beneath his fingertips and his recollections of their time together, what he felt being with Justin began to occur daily, sometimes when nothing at all prompted them. Brian held himself back from emailing Justin every time that he wanted to because sometimes he would’ve looked like an idiot, just sending Justin a blank email with the subject ‘hi’, just so that he could get another one in return. Those ridiculous actions Brian held off from, barely, and that should’ve been sign enough that he had no choice in how he felt about him but for a little while longer he still hoped he could control it.

Justin was a secret, something special in his life that no one knew about, judged or could ruin, except him. Brian was consciously aware of each word he wrote, never wanting to give away to much, because he didn’t know how much he’d be able to give in reality. He knew that Justin wanted more from him, would probably take what he could get, but he read between the lines in the emails and he’d acutely remembered the way Justin had looked up at him, showing his emotions without reservation and he remembered how tightly Justin held him in his arms until he’d fallen asleep and Brian had reluctantly pulled away and got out of bed to pack.

It was during the long hiatus of him not replying to Justin’s emails that his thoughts turned from just thinking about wanting to see him now to wanting to be with him, to see him much more than just once a year and to share more than just sex and his viewpoint of his life through emails. Still, he knew that he wasn’t ever going to be the kind of boyfriend or partner that his friends were in their relationships, but he let himself hope that he could possibly be the kind of partner that Justin needed. The day that thought had popped into his head, it terrified him but he was more amused with the realization that no matter what, he could no longer be in denial. He embraced the feelings Justin’s emails, pictures, and the memories of their time in Ibiza gave him.

Then, he knew that it wasn’t only his own feelings he had to worry about. Yes, Justin had boyfriends, but none of them had been him and he knew he wasn’t going to be easy to be with. So he had to get Justin on board with what he now accepted that he wanted and to do so he would have to jump first. So, he planned to test the waters when he visited in the spring. But then, Justin had told him that he was going to move back to the U.S. and Brian was annoyed with the details he didn’t know about the man who had changed his whole way of thinking about himself. He didn’t know where exactly Justin would live or what colleges Justin would be applying to. He knew a lot about Justin, but it wasn’t enough.

Brian came to acknowledge that he knew much more about Justin than he’d allowed the other man to know about him and yet Justin never really pushed for more, even though he made it clear that Justin wished to know more about Brian. Knowing that Justin would soon be in the U.S. moved things along for Brian and that was why, when the opportunity presented itself, he decided to visit him and test what was happening with them. As he stepped off the airplane, he commanded his stomach to settle, took a series of deep breaths and told himself, that there was no turning back. He was there for a reason and the thought of seeing Justin in just a few minutes time, the anticipation he felt, alleviated all the tension he’d felt.

The fifth year that Brian saw Justin, it was in the parking lot of the airport in Ibiza. It was a mild 67 degrees, the sun was bright in the sky, making it feel even warmer, or that might’ve just been because of the infectious smile on Justin’s face, Brian couldn’t be sure. Justin didn’t wait for him to walk across the lot where he waited. Instead, he ran up to Brian and proceeded to kiss him until there was no breath left in him and Brian felt a moment of vertigo overtake him before he stumbled after Justin toward the borrowed car, a day later than intended, but nonetheless welcome.

Justin was a good driver, even if he did put most of his concentration into talking and for most of the ride kept one hand on Brian’s upper thigh. Brian didn’t mind listening to his voice and it was good to have some interaction in his native language. For a solitary creature such as himself, Brian thought it was odd that he enjoyed the company of someone so animated, but he figured his stillness sort of evened them out. However, Justin was going from subject to subject, talking much more than he usually did and Brian realized it was because he was nervous. It was odd. Justin had never been nervous around him before. But Brian figured that maybe it was a good thing, maybe it meant that Justin was feeling just the same way he was. He figured Justin would probably settle down once they got to resort.

Justin chatted about the villa Aaron wanted to buy located a few miles from the resort, the renovations the new owner had planned for the resort, about Molly counting down the days until the ‘big move’ and all the things Matt wanted for their house in the States, and Brian abruptly realized that none of what Justin had been talking about had been about the two of them. Even during the phone call yesterday morning when Brian called to tell Justin his time of arrival in Madrid he hadn’t talked about any plans for Brian’s stay at the resort. It was a surprise to realize that it was because Justin wasn’t just nervous, but that he obviously felt awkward with him, which was not what Brian had expected, at all.

When they arrived at the resort, Justin took him to the suite Brian always rented, though he had not made a reservation this time, thinking he would stay in Justin’s room. He tried to hide his surprise of this fact as he lugged his suitcase into the room behind Justin.

Justin suddenly quieted down then and looked everywhere in the room except at Brian, suddenly appearing to Brian like the young teenager he’d been when they first met. “I guess you probably want to shower… or do what you came here to do so you can be ready to meet with your client, so… when you’re finished, if you want to hang out… I’ll be next door. You know… if you want to find me unless you want to go to the clubs alone or something, that’s okay too of course.”

Brian really didn’t like this and he didn’t like what Justin had said about the reason he’d come to Ibiza and he didn’t like that Justin was trying to pretend like he didn’t care if Brian wanted to prowl the clubs before they did anything alone together. Justin was acting completely out of character. Brian liked the confident, annoying, and sometimes endearingly enthusiastic twat that Justin usually was when with him. Brian had to calm him down, had to talk to him and taking Justin in the shower with him to fuck, or taking him on the bed or anywhere else, he realized, sex wouldn’t be enough to stop Justin’s nervousness.

‘Just fucking say it, it’s just a few words, just fucking say them,’ he told himself. “That’s what I came here for.”

Justin’s eyebrows creased together, obviously not following after such a lengthy pause in conversation due to Brian’s silence and the inner dialogue playing in his head. “Huh?”

“I’m not meeting with my client until Monday and I’m not here on a fucking vacation.”

Justin’s lips quirked as if he was about to smile but then they straightened out and he sighed softly, eyes darting around the room again, he asked, “So you came to fully experience all the hotel amenities you’re usually too busy to partake in?”

Brian rolled his eyes and mirrored Justin’s long sigh as he placed his carryon beside the desk. He walked across the suite and in a smooth move brought Justin into his arms and fused their bodies together. One hand cupped Justin’s ass while the other gripped his hair and tilted his face up so that Brian was looking right into his dark blue eyes. “I thought you were a genius? The only amenities I’m interested in at this resort belong to you.”

Justin blinked quickly and a barely discernible ‘oh’ passed his lips before Brian swallowed his shocked enlightenment with his mouth and used his tongue to coax whimper-like moans from Justin, which then heeded his own moans.

Brian did lure Justin into the shower and fuck him there, but only after taking him on the bed, twice, first practically clothed and the next completely naked. After getting squeaky clean in the shower, Brian called guest services and requested a wake-up call for eight p.m. and had the concierge make reservations for two at the arcade restaurant for nine o’clock. Justin still wasn’t his normal chatterbox self, so Brian took advantage of Justin’s newfound quiet demeanor and suggested that they get some rest. It was almost amusing how uninhibited Justin had been during sex and how silent he appeared after. If Justin wasn’t back to normal after their nap, which he had to assure Justin he wanted to share with him, he’d think of the next course of action then.

“Brian, I’ve fallen in love with you.”

Brian was almost asleep when he heard Justin speak, which had to be the first words he’d said in hours, not counting the nasty things he said pertaining to sex. His heartbeat had slowed to the relaxed sleepy pace, but upon hearing the words Justin spoke, it accelerated and his entire body felt hot and then cold and then so incredibly warm and peaceful that the rapid change within him almost frightened him. He had no idea how to respond, so he just kept himself still, wondering if Justin even knew that he was still awake and hoped that he didn’t seem clued into his body’s immediate reactions.

“I know you’re probably not going to ever say it back and I’m okay with that,” Justin whispered, his lips moving against Brian’s chest. A gasp of air ghosted across Brian’s skin, raising goosebumps. “It won’t change how I feel about you; I just hope that somehow you can show me what it is that you want from me.”

No, Justin definitely didn’t know he was still awake, Brian realized. It was better this way, because Brian needed time to process the words Justin had spoken that started his one-sided conversation.

“I do love you, Brian.”

The heat from Justin’s breath seemed to burn the softly spoken statement into Brian’s skin. He was sure that he could trace each letter with his fingertips if he tried. He was relieved when he felt Justin’s body sag heavily and then heard him do the lip smacking thing he did just as he succumbed to sleep. He hated pretending but what he hated more at that moment was cowardice, something he tried his entire life to never be afflicted with but was not too sure that he’d accomplished. After all, he didn’t even allow the similar thought to cross his mind until he was certain that Justin was sleeping and he doubted that he’d ever be able to put the thought into words.

Sleep deprivation took pity on him and a few minutes later Brian fell asleep, the word ‘coward’ rumbling through his head as the world faded away.

***

Brian woke, not to the ringing of the phone wake up call, but to the sound of Justin’s voice.

“Where are you from?” Justin asked quietly, drawing his finger in a circle around Brian’s left nipple.

Brian decided that enough was enough. He wasn’t a coward. There were certain aspects about himself that had changed since meeting Justin, but he never had let fear control him before and he wasn’t going to let it do so now. He bit the bullet, opened his eyes and, once they focused on Justin’s, he said, “I’m from Pittsburgh.”

The response he got from Justin wasn’t what he expected. In a flash-like move Justin flopped over onto his back beside him, laughing uproariously while punching his fists and kicking his legs on the mattress.

Brian turned on his side to look over at Justin and wondered if perhaps it had been a bad idea to tell this crazy person the town he lived. “Uh… Justin?” Maybe while they were sleeping Justin’s body had been taken over by aliens?

“Holy fuck!” Justin shouted and sat upright, twisting his body around and sitting cross legged to look down at Brian, the biggest smile he’d ever worn adorning his face. “Wait, wait a fucking minute,” Justin said, holding his hands up in the air, tossing his head from side to side. “You do mean Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, not like Pittsburg, California or Pittsburg, Idaho or Pittsburg, Illinois or…”

“I fucking mean the Pittsburgh spelled with the ‘h’ at the end, otherwise known as ‘The Pitts of Pennsylvania’.” Brian sat up, now wide awake. “Why? Are you from there or close to it?” He winced inside when he noticed that the hope he felt asking the question was obvious with the tone of his voice.

“Ohhh,” Justin laughed and slapped Brian’s shoulder, “I’d say I used to live damn close!”

Brian felt relief but also a little trepidation. “So, where are you from?”

“I grew up in Sewickley, which, as I’m sure you know is considered Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”

Brian was quite jaded and there were few things in his life that really surprised him and fewer surprises that he liked, but this one… this surprise was quite possibly better than the time his tailor knocked fifty percent off the price for tailoring his spring collection as a thank you gift for being a regular customer for ten years. This Taylor’s surprise most definitely trumped that one by spades.

“From the grin on your face I guess you’re as happy about this turn of fate as I am?” Justin asked in a breathy voice.

Brian was certain he was grinning like a fool but he could care less. He glanced at the alarm clock near the bed, saw they had twenty minutes before their wake up call and pulled Justin down on top of him. As Justin squirmed under his kisses and groping, Brian thought that it was completely possible that aliens had taken over his body too because in another time, he would probably be freaking out, running from Justin, from the feelings he no doubt felt springing around within him, but he couldn’t even fathom doing anything of the kind. He just wanted to… Well, there was so much he suddenly wanted, he didn’t know where to start. But he needn’t worry, Justin had a condom between his teeth and his delicious ass was rubbing across his erection. This, Brian figured, was a fine place to start.

***

On the way down to the arcade, Justin had informed Brian that his uncles would likely be having dinner at the same restaurant. It was tradition, he told him, as New Year’s Eve was the anniversary of the day they met and the restaurant was where they first laid eyes on one another. Brian thought the story was sickeningly romantic, but the way Justin retold it, (in too much detail for Brian’s delicate ears), it caused an uneasy feeling to settle in his gut. Once again, Brian was made aware of how much of a romantic Justin truly was. But then, as they entered the restaurant and Justin discreetly pointed to a waiter he wanted to fuck, the weird feeling subsided and Brian was left feeling utterly confused. It was odd that Justin was so comfortable with tricking but also obviously longed for the type of committed relationship Aaron and Matt shared.

Brian didn’t want to spend tonight talking or thinking about whatever relationship they did have, though he resolved to bring this up at a later time. As they were headed toward their table, Justin grabbed his hand and halted them.

“Lucas, I’m going to say hi to my uncles,” he told host.

“Sure, I’ll just put your menus on the table for you,” Lucas said before walking away.

Brian scanned the restaurant but didn’t see either of Justin’s uncles. “Where are they?”

Justin pointed toward the far end of the large room where a small half wall separated the space. “In the lover’s lounge,” he replied, his voice deep and dramatic. “Come on.”

Brian was doing a happy dance inside when he realized that their table was nowhere near ‘the lover’s lounge’. He pulled on Justin’s arm, stopping him. “It’s their anniversary,” he said, “maybe they don’t want to be interrupted.”

Justin shrugged and gave Brian an evil smirk. “You’re totally scared of Aaron.”

Brian guffawed. “I. Am. Not.”

“Yes, you are. Weren’t you paying attention to what I said in the elevator?”

“I was too busy staring at your ass while you tied your shoes,” Brian deadpanned. He had done that.

“Molly is eating with them. Actually, we all usually eat together tonight, but they knew I had plans with you. I promised them we’d stop by and say hello if we weren’t otherwise indisposed.”

Brian wasn’t afraid of Justin’s overbearing, overprotective, hypocritical uncle, he just didn’t like him. “Fine,” he relented. “But we’re not joining them.”

“Of course not,” Justin assured, laughing. He pulled Brian along with him through the crowed restaurant and then behind the wall.

Brian was confused because it was obvious that the area was not designed as any type of lounge and there was only one small table in the center. A door on the opposite wall opened and two waiters rushed out of it carrying trays of food.

“Aaron worked here,” Justin said softly. His uncles and Molly had yet to notice them. “He was a busboy on his break, eating at the employee table and Matt was lost, looking for the bathrooms. That’s how they met.”

These details Justin hadn’t told him before. “I thought Aaron’s family was wealthy and that’s how he bought this resort,” Brian spoke in a hushed tone as he followed Justin over to the table. “I didn’t imagine him to be a busboy in a former life.”

“They are wealthy and he bought it with his inheritance, but his parents required him to work here for a year before they would release the funds needed for him to buy it,” Justin explained, right before they reached the table. “Hey guys!”

Molly and Matt immediately broke from whatever conversation they’d been having and stood up to hug and greet Brian. They launched into their questions about his travels, what he and Justin’s plans were for the night and Brian replied to each one, conscious of the scowl and glare Aaron directed toward him. With the break in conversation he looked down at Aaron and pasted on a smile. “I hear congratulations are in order,” he said to the man and then looked at Matt. “Justin told me you’ve been together for ten years. That’s quite a commitment.”

Aaron huffed, “As if you’d know or appreciate commitments.”

“Aaron,” Matt spoke the name in a warning tone and then looked up at Brian with an apologetic smile. “Thank you, Brian. I have to admit that spending a decade with Aaron hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth it.”

Justin rolled his eyes and figured they’d better leave before Aaron said something else shitty that could ruin all of their nights. He didn’t understand what his uncle’s problem was with Brian. Months ago Justin had told him that he and Brian were keeping in contact, emailing one another, and he thought that would make Aaron happy, knowing that Brian wasn’t just stringing him along while he was on vacation. Aaron had even seemed genuinely happy for Justin when he told him that Brian would be visiting for the New Year, but now he was acting like an asshole again and Justin couldn’t understand it. At least Brian didn’t seem fazed by his uncle’s unwelcoming behavior. “Well, we just wanted to come over and say hi and wish you a Happy New Year and anniversary. We’d better get over to our table and order some food so we have time to eat before the fireworks.”

Brian wanted to just do as Justin suggested and get their evening on their way, but it was time to do something about his difficult uncle first. “Wait,” he said before they left the table. “You go ahead to the table, order me… well, you know what I like. I’d like to have a quick chat with Aaron, that is, if you could spare him, Matt?”

“Sure,” Matt said in a hopeful tone.

Justin gave Brian a hesitant look, wanted to ask him what he was going to say to his uncle, but he trusted Brian and he hoped that whatever the two discussed it would put an end to the ridiculous behavior from Aaron. “All right,” Justin said, looking back and forth between Aaron and Brian before walking away.

Aaron bristled. “If you haven’t noticed, I’m in the middle of having dinner.”

“Just go,” Matt said, glaring at his partner. “Go settle whatever the fuck it is you need to so we can have a good night.”

“What is your problem?” Brian asked, crossing his arms over his chest.

“Years ago, you fucked my best friend, and...”

“I’ve fucked a lot of people’s best friends,” Brian interrupted. “When was this?”

“About ten years ago, you’ve likely fucked thousands of men since him, so I’m sure you don’t remember him.”

“Right, I don’t.” Brian couldn’t believe the guy was angry about something that happened a decade ago.

“His name is Felix, you fucked him and made him believe that you wanted more. He really liked you, though I have no idea why and then you broke his heart.”

Brian hadn’t been back to Ibiza since that first trip until the first year he met Justin and it amazed him that Aaron remembered him, especially because he hadn’t fucked him. “Look, I’m sorry your friend fell in love after one fuck but that wasn’t the first time that’s happened to me and it wasn’t the last, so…”

“You led him on,” Aaron interrupted. “You went on a fucking date with him and then you ended up fucking the waiter. You could’ve just told him no when he asked you to dinner, you didn’t have to be so cruel.”

Brian drew his lips into his mouth and shrugged. The only reason he vaguely recalled the instance was because it had been the first and last ‘date’ he’d ever agreed to go on. Still, he’d been an asshole to hundreds of men, so he really couldn’t defend himself and figured he probably had treated Felix like shit. He liked to think that he was a little different now with the way he handled tricks, believed that he’d not do anything like that to someone again, but the only thing he knew for sure was that he wasn’t and wouldn’t ever be like that with Justin. “I get it, all right. I broke your friend’s heart, acted like a major dickhead. But that was over a decade ago and it was on my first trip here and I was a horny kid. I’d bet that Felix isn’t still so hung up on what happened as you still are.”

“Felix’s nephew isn’t fucking you,” Aaron said. “I have a reason to be pissed that you’re fucking around with Justin. He’s been through a lot in his life and…”

Brian was so over this conversation. “Look, I’m sure you’ve changed over the last decade, haven’t you? Well maybe I have too… and maybe your nephew had something to do with that. So… can we call a fucking truce or something because this bullshit is boring and pointless.”

“I want you to promise me that you’re not going to hurt him,” Aaron demanded.

Brian had to refrain from laughing. “Seriously, Aaron, you’re an adult, I’m sure you know that would be an impossible promise for anyone to make. I get that you’re worried I’ll fuck him over, so if it’ll make you feel better, I’ll promise not to deliberately do anything to hurt him. But he’s an adult too and he can make his own decisions about the men he’s with and it’d be a lot easier to do… whatever it is we’re doing… without you being so fucking hostile every time I’m around, because, from the way fate is working out… that’s probably going to be for a long fucking time.”

Aaron laughed. “Fate? You believe in fate?”

Brian shrugged and turned to walk away, calling over his shoulder, “What else can explain two strangers from Pittsburgh meeting in Ibiza and…” He bit his lip and sucked in a deep breath, goosebumps rising on his skin as he realized exactly how he was about to finish that sentence and could hardly believe the words ‘falling in love’ had entered his mind. He immediately spotted Justin at their table, his shaggy blond head bent as he scribbled on a napkin at their table. When he reached the table, dropped down into his chair, he startled Justin out of his drawing haze.

“Sorry,” Justin said, glancing up at Brian before concentrating on his drawing again. “I’m inspired.”

Brian leaned over the table to look at Justin’s sketch and laughed. “What the fuck is that?” he couldn’t decipher the figure upside down.

“It’s…” Justin looked up, held Brian’s eyes and his face flushed. “I’m going to paint it later, but I had this feeling of an idea and I just had to put it on paper.”

“A feeling of an idea?” Brian was certain Justin was the weirdest person he’d ever met.

Justin nodded. “Just give me a second to finish,” he said and went back to the drawing.

If it were anyone else Brian was having dinner with, he would’ve been offended that the person found something more interesting than him to focus on, but watching Justin sketch wasn’t a hardship. So Brian picked up the glass of wine in front of him, sat back in his chair and sipped it while he watched Justin.

“Done,” Justin announced, stuffing the pen and napkin in his pocket.

“You’re not going to let me see it?” Brian asked, feigning a hurtful tone.

“You can feel it after I paint it.” He bit his lip. “I hope.”

“Feel it?” Brian asked.

Justin nodded. “Well it’ll be abstract so I don’t know how much you’ll see… you know?”

Brian felt like that statement spoke of more than just Justin’s future painting. “Yeah, I do.”

***

After a filling dinner they had just enough time to grab beers out of Justin’s fridge and park themselves in chairs on the balcony their rooms shared right before the fireworks display began. It started ten minutes before midnight and would culminate with a huge finale ringing in the New Year; something Justin was very excited about seeing. So when Brian tried to get him to sit on his lap for it, he begged him off.

“Nuh-uh,” he said, taking a swig of his beer. “I know what’ll happen if I sit on your lap.”

Brian smirked. “Exactly.”

“I’ll miss it all,” Justin said, leaning over and pecking Brian’s cheek.

Brian decided it was time to play dirty and as the fireworks started, he pulled down the zipper of his pants and lowered them to his knees before sitting back on the chair. He’d immediately gotten Justin’s attention.

Justin shook his head. “Brian,” he sighed and wiggled in his chair.

Brian licked the palm of his hand and began stroking himself. “I have a great view of the fireworks!” he yelled over the loud bangs.

Justin teasingly asked, “Isn’t fucking in the New Year kind of cliché?”

Brian shook his head no. “No. Telling you that we can make our own fireworks, now that would be a fucking cliché!”

“It’s also fucking romantic,” Justin said, groping himself.

Brian laughed. “Whatever works!”

And so, Justin and Brian rang in the year 2004 in the most cliché and romantic way possible. Justin rode Brian’s cock as they faced the Mediterranean Ocean, lights from the fireworks painting their skin with disappearing ink, the breeze cooling their bodies and the noise from the fireworks allowing them to be as loud as they wanted.

Later, in Justin’s bed, Brian held the younger man who had fallen into a deep sleep at the first signs of daylight. It was a comment Justin made while playing with his balls that kept him awake. They had been drunk, fooling around, and Justin had said, ‘This ball feels different from the other one,’ and then began sucking on them and Brian had forgotten all about it until he’d come down from whatever number orgasm it was he’d had that day. Justin had quickly fallen asleep, his arm draped across Brian’s chest, his face pressed against his shoulder. The innocent observation jolted Brian out of his post-orgasmic haze and he reached between his legs, weighed each ball carefully and then he felt it. It. He knew what it was, but Justin had been too drunk or horny to realize what the difference he felt was.

Brian knew that there was nothing he could do about it until he went home, resolved to enjoy the next days with Justin, because until he was back in the Pitts, he wouldn’t know for sure if it was anything to worry about. He told himself this, but his mind refused to listen to reason. He desperately searched for something else to focus on and just as he was about to give up on sleeping and go down to the bar to have a few shots of J.B., he heard Justin mumble something in his sleep, words he had no idea he was even speaking, words Brian had never imagined he’d want to hear, three words that were exactly the soothing comfort Brian needed to fall asleep.

***

Tuesday, January 6, 2004
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Strange Coincidences?

Justin,
I’ve been on the plane for a while now and I keep asking myself, ‘What are the odds?’ and if cell phone use was possible I’d probably call Ted and wake him up so that he could give me the statistics.
Does the name Vernon Martinez mean anything to you? If you know who the man is who is buying your uncles’ resort, it should. He is also the CEO of Bella Properties, the same client I met in Madrid yesterday/today. Vernon kept his plans to buy Nautico Ebeso tight-lipped and he didn’t give me any information about it before he told me about it today. I thought we were going to talk about the last of the details for print ads in OUT for the resort in Madrid he just bought, but now he wants to hire us to promote Nautico too. I won’t begin with that until after he takes possession in June, so you were wrong, I will be going back to Nautico Ebeso someday.
Later,
~Brian

Wednesday, January 7, 2004
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: It’s called fate

Brian,
I know you don’t want to hear this, but I am convinced that there is such a thing as fate. I’m not naïve, I do think we all make choices that determine just what version of a predestined life we will live, but I urge you to get some statistics from Ted. The odds of you and I meeting in Ibiza and both being from Pittsburgh have to be insurmountable. The odds that your ad agency, out of all the agencies in the world, the man who is buying Nautico being the same man you came to Spain to meet and will one day be doing the advertising for the resort… it must be fate.
Get over it and stop thinking about it, it is what it is. *grinning here*
Five days went by too fast. I thought two weeks were rushed but now that I’m alone here and reflecting on all the things we did together, it just doesn’t seem like enough. I know we’re going to see one another in March, but I already miss feeling you inside me. God, I want you so much and I don’t want to freak you out and keep going on and on about how much I miss you, so you should do something about that.
Call me and we can have some really hot phone sex. You know I’ll be staying up late until school starts so don’t worry about what time it is.
011 34 971 30 29 99
Later,
~Justin

Friday, January 9, 2004
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Whoever you fuck tonight, think of this

Attachment-me-last-night.jpeg

Brian, just so you know… after we talked, I jerked off twice more. I think reaching my sexual peak has taken on a new meaning. If you’re not too high tonight, call and tell me all about your night.
~Justin

Saturday, January 10 2004

“Hu—hullo?” Justin whispered groggily into the phone’s receiver. He scooted away from the trick sleeping beside him and got out of bed.

“Jussstin! You’re awake!”

Justin smiled as he pulled on his boxers, cradling the phone between his shoulder and ear. “Now I am,” he said softly, slipping into his robe. It was amazing how quickly he felt awake the moment he realized it was Brian on the phone.

“Timezzis it there?”

Justin looked at the clock before walking to the balcony doors and slipping outside. “It’s early,” he said, yawning, “six-thirty.” He was surprised Brian was already home when it was only 12:30 a.m. Pittsburgh time. “It’s still dark outside here, but I can see the beginning of the sun’s rays on the horizon.”

“Iz beautifamous where you are,” Brian drawled. “It’s rainin’ ugly cold here.”

Justin laughed. “Beautifamous? Brian, how drunk are you?”

“Nots just drunk, I’m gonna be hiiiigh as a kite ‘cause I’m a rocket maaahhhn!” Brian sloppily sang.

“Well, rocket man, you sound like you had a fun night.”

“Thatz where you’d be wrong then, innin it?” Brian drawled.

Justin curled up on the recliner facing the Sea and wondered if Brian’s night of tricking had been as lackluster as his. His trick had fallen asleep as soon as he’d come, leaving Justin to finish himself off with a hand job and when he tried to wake the guy, he hadn’t budged and so Justin had let him sleep. He wasn’t looking forward to the awkward morning-after that would soon come. “So, what did you do tonight? Or should I be asking who?”

“The guys missed me so much,” Brian paused and said thoughtfully, “mostly Mikey, though.”

“So did you go to Woody’s?” Justin asked, hoping to move the conversation along. He hadn’t yet talked on the phone to an inebriated Brian, but he began to doubt that the conversation would end in phone sex.

“Yup, then we went to Babylon and danced and daaaanced!”

“And fucked?” Justin prompted.

“I seen him at Woody’s, you know?”

“Uh, who did you see?” Justin asked, confused.

“The trick an’ he says he’s a doctor. I fuckeds lots of doctors but none were gonna be as hot as him. Then he’s at Bablon and we danced and daaaanced and….”

“Danced,” Justin said, giggling, “I get the picture.”

“I took him to the backroom,” Brian said, the cheery drunken tone he’d been using suddenly gone. “I was sooooooo hard and he got on his knees to blow me,” he continued in a secretive voice, “so I let him.”

“Was he good?” Justin asked.

“You sented me that picture,” Brian said, happier, “and I fuckeds your mouth, not his.”

Justin was relieved as Brian turned the conversation back to sex. He reached under his robe and began rubbing his cock. “And did you come really hard down my throat?” he asked huskily.

“Mmm… yeah,” Brian groaned.

“And then what?” Justin asked, slipping his hand under his waistband and grasping his erection. “Did you fuck him?”

“No,” Brian said.

Justin was startled with the sadness he heard in that one word. “Well it’s his loss, ‘cause…”

“He found out like you did,” Brian interrupted.

Justin mentally tried to figure out what Brian was talking about. “Found out what? Did you want him to fuck you or something?”

“No!” Brian shouted. “Jezzzus!”

Justin repressed the aggravation he felt and asked, “Then what did you do?”

“I came home and called you,” Brian said, “cause I did remember you wanted me to.”

“Thank you for remembering to call,” Justin said. In all the times he’d been high or drunk with Brian, the man had never behaved so oddly.

“I’m tired,” Brian abruptly spoke. “You can go to bed again.”

“Oh…” Justin took his hand off his erection and stood up from the recliner. “All right, well… maybe you can call me when you wake up and I’ll take care of your morning woody.”

“Sounds delisis,” Brian said, “buh-bye.”

“Later, Brian,” Justin said, amused and confused. He heard the click of Brian hanging up the phone and then did the same. As he slid the door to his suite open he saw the trick was awake and getting dressed. “Uh… good morning?”

“I’ve gotta go, why’d you let me sleep here?” the guy asked. “Gotta find my shoes!”

Justin rolled his eyes. “I tried to fucking wake you up,” he told him, “but you passed out the moment you came and wouldn’t wake up.”

“Yes!” the trick exclaimed, locating his shoes under the bed. “Uh, yeah, so thanks, I guess.” The guy slipped his feet into his shoes and then patted his pockets, evidently checking to be sure his wallet and whatever else he carried in his pockets was still there. “See ya.”

Justin watched as the trick practically sprinted out of the room. “So much for getting this taken care of,” he sighed, rubbing his cock over the fabric. He looked down at the wrecked bed and decided against sleeping on the smelly, rumpled thing. Instead, he grabbed a spare pillow and blanket from the closet and curled up to sleep on the sofa, leaving his cell phone in reach, in case Brian decided to call again.

Monday, January 12, 2004
To:execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justin4theart@netmail.com
Subject: Hi

Brian,
Tried to call you last night after you didn’t call me, was hoping we could have some hot phone sex, maybe tonight?
The new semester of school started today and I also talked to a counselor about transferring to a school in or around Pittsburgh. At the top of my list is PIFA. The counselor is going to help me apply there and he said that with the grades and portfolio of work I have now, I should be able to get in rather easily, even though they only have a few open spots each year.
As you know, I’m only taking one class, the life-art class this semester, because it was supposed to be a four hour course. But it isn’t a four hour course. Professor Carlino is using us to test a new method of teaching it. He gave us a list of all of this quarter’s assignments to complete and we will meet again a week before spring break to turn them in and have an exhibit of them that week. The subject and media of each is up to our own interpretation of the theme of the assignment. The next quarter we’ll do the same thing, ending with a school exhibit of what he chooses as the best of our pieces that semester. The best part of this is that we can do the work at our own pace, if it doesn’t have to be done at the studio at school. No more waking up hours before to get there! I can work on the balcony or in my room, as long as I buy my own supplies and with the gas I’ll save driving to and from school, I can definitely afford them. I work so much better alone, so I’m really excited about this.
I’ll quit my blabbing now, hope we talk soon,
~Justin

***

Brian groaned when Justin’s cell phone went to voicemail. “What’s the point of having a cell phone if you never leave it on?” he griped. “I don’t want to tell you this on a fucking machine but… fuck… I’ve got to tell you something… important… call me when…”

BEEP!

“Fuck!” Brian threw his cell phone across the room and slumped back into his chair. Maybe it was better that Justin hadn’t answered the phone. No. If there were anyone he was going to tell… Justin would be the safest bet, and for some reason, Brian needed to tell him. He went in search of his cell phone which was miraculously still intact and pressed #3 speed dial once again.

The voicemail picked up again but this time Brian didn’t hesitate. “Remember when you thought one of my balls felt funny? That trick I told you about… he thought so too… there was a lump… is... Look, I have testicular cancer, but I’m going to get surgery and I’m gonna get a prosthetic and I’m going to be all right. I don’t want to have some heart to heart about it, but I thought....”

BEEP!

Brian breathed out deeply as he closed the phone and felt like a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Justin was half a world away, he wasn’t going to smother him with bullshit optimism or give him pitiful looks. He’d be worried about him, probably, but he wouldn’t make a big deal about it the way the rest of his friends would.

***
Friday, January 30, 2004
To: execbrikin@netmail.com
From: justinit4theart@netmail.com
Subject: What’s going on?

Brian, I’ve tried calling you a few times and I’ve left messages the last couple of weeks, but I don’t want to bug you because I know Kinnetik keeps you really busy. If you could just email me and let me know you’re all right, I’d appreciate it. If the reason you’re not answering my calls or emails is because you don’t want to stay in contact anymore, just tell me. Please? It’ll hurt, but I’d accept it, all right? I really hope it’s not that, and I know that we’ve gone a while without talking before, so it’s not like I’m upset or anything, just worried. Okay?
~Justin

***

“Do you ever have your cell phone turned on?”

***

Thursday, February 5, 2004
To: justinit4theart@netmail.com
From: execbrikin@netmail.com
Subject: Drama Queen

Justin,
Finally got my email up and running.
I’ve tried to call you, check your messages because every time I’ve gotten yours, you act like you haven’t gotten mine. There isn’t anything I can do about the time difference between Pittsburgh and Ibiza. You’ve called at times that I’ve been busy or sleeping. If I wanted you to stop calling or emailing, I’d tell you, but it’s your call if you want to continue… whatever the fuck it is we’re doing. I’ll answer your emails when I get the free time to do so, which happens to be right now.
Call me when you get this, I’ll be up for a few more hours working, but I’ll have my phone on.
~Brian

***

“Hey.”

“Hey. I saw your email!”

“Good.”

“So we’re good?”

“Didn’t you listen to any of the messages I left?” Brian asked. “By the way, you really need to change your generic greeting.”

“Brian I haven’t gotten any calls or messages from you,” Justin said. “Are you sure you called me? I don’t have a generic greeting for my voicemail. It’s me and I say, ‘You’ve called Justin Taylor, sorry I can’t…’”

“Shit,” Brian interrupted, his stomach flipping. “I’ll call you right back.”

“Wait!” Justin said. “If you don’t’ call me back in like two minutes then I’m calling you back.”

“Okay. Two minutes.” Brian hung up and went into his received calls list and checked the number that Justin had called from. It had said ‘Justin’ under contacts. He then went to his dialed calls list and scrolled to the last time he’d called Justin. He scrolled to the end of the logged calls and only saw one or two but none from the last couple weeks. He went back to the phone listing, pressed #3 and the phone rang.

“Brian? What’s wrong, are you okay?”

Brian almost screamed when he heard the groggy voice on the end of the line. “Ted?”

“Yeah…. Look, I figured you didn’t want me to bring it up at work or anything, but if these nightly calls are going to continue then maybe we should just get together and…”

“Ted, I didn’t mean to fucking call you, all right?”

“What?”

“Those messages, forget about them. They were for Justin.”

“That guy in Ibiza?” Ted asked, confused. “Why would you call to tell him… oh!”

Brian’s call waiting beeped and he looked at the screen. “I’ve got to go. Don’t breathe a fucking word of this to anyone or you’re fired, understand?”

“You got it, Bri,” Ted said.

Brian pressed send to transfer to Justin’s call. “Fuck!”

Justin laughed. “Now?”

“No… fuck… I haven’t been calling you,” Brian explained.

“Yes, I know,” Justin said. “I checked my voicemails again and my missed calls and there hasn’t been a single call from you since that night you called me drunk.”

“Right, well that’s because I’ve been calling Ted’s phone in the middle of the night.”

“And he didn’t mention this to you?”

“He probably just thought I was drunk,” Brian lied. He wondered if this time fate had intervened on his behalf and put a stop to the stupid idea that he’d had of telling Justin about the cancer.

“You didn’t talk dirty to me in those messages, did you?” Justin asked.

“Wouldn’t you like to know,” Brian joked, trying to make the heavy feeling in his heart go away.

“Did you read any of my emails because, from yours, it didn’t seem like it.”

“You never got my email telling you that Kinnetik had a virus and our mail was compromised and inaccessible until it was fixed?” Brian asked.

“No,” Justin sighed. “Must’ve gotten lost in spam or something.”

“Or something. I’m gonna go to sleep, it’s been a long day.”

“Oh,” Justin said, disappointed. “All right.”

“If I don’t answer my phone or emails don’t freak out, just keep me updated and I’ll get back to you.”

“That sounds very business-like,” Justin said wryly. “Brian, what’s going on? You sound a lot different than you did before you got off the phone and found out you’d been leaving messages for Ted and not me. Did you tell me something in those messages that was important?”

“I’m fine and it wasn’t anything important, I’ll talk to you soon.”

“I guess you don’t feel up to phone sex, then?” Justin asked.

Brian squeezed his soft cock and imagined Justin naked, but not even that could make him sport an erection. “Not tonight. But if you jerk off, you can take pictures and send them to me… if you want to.”

“Do you want me to?” Justin asked, hesitantly.

“Yes.” Just because he couldn’t get it up, didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate sexy pictures of Justin getting off while thinking about him.

“Okay,” Justin said, a little perkier. “I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Yeah. Bye.”

“Later, Brian.”

Brian ended the call and grabbed his laptop. He was leaving tomorrow for surgery and doubted he’d be able to sleep. He logged onto his computer, located his picture folder and opened the file containing all the pictures he had of Justin. Some were pictures Justin sent him and there were many of the two of the them together. Brian’s eyes lingered on those the longest and just as his body gave into exhaustion, he received a new email from Justin. He wouldn’t open it tonight, he’d save it for after the surgery, it would be something to look forward to.

March 2004

Justin dialed Brian’s cell phone with one hand while his other wiped away the tears in his eyes. He put the phone to his ear and after two rings it went directly to voicemail. “After talking for three hours last night you don’t think you could’ve told me that you were cancelling your trip this year? What the fuck is going on, Brian? This is not me being a drama queen; this is me being seriously concerned and hurt. I know you’ve never promised me anything and we’re not even in a conventional relationship by any means… but just last night you let me sit there and talk to you about all the things I wanted to do with you this year… our last year here together and…”

BEEP!

Justin ended the call and then dialed it once again, determined to finish exactly what he had to say to Brian. “I thought you wanted to do those things with me too. You sure sounded like you did. What changed between last night and tonight? Were we getting too close? Yeah, that’s probably it, isn’t it? You know, I never asked you to tell me about your fucking parents, about how you feel about your son, about your friends, or any fucking thing! You decided to tell me about that stuff and now you’re just afraid to face me, now that I know the real you. That’s fucking bullshit! I think you’re a god damn coward!”

BEEP!

“Feel better?”

Justin jumped and turned around. “Aaron, I know how you feel about him and I really don’t need you to tell me ‘I told you so’ right now.”

Aaron walked out onto the balcony, shaking his head. “Justin, do you really think that I wanted to be right?”

Justin felt like it wasn’t just his heart breaking but his entire body felt like it were shattering. “I don’t know,” he said.

Aaron put his hands on Justin’s shoulders and then drew him into his embrace. “I didn’t want to be and I thought he was pretty determined to prove me wrong, actually.”

Justin backed out of the hug and dropped down into the recliner. He looked up at Aaron and asked, “Is that why you had Matt come tell me?”

Aaron nodded and took a seat in the recliner beside Justin. “When I saw his name on the cancelations list, I thought that maybe he’d finally done it.” Aaron grimaced. “I guess I was wrong.”

“What do you mean?” Justin asked. “Did what?”

“I thought he finally realized that it was pointless to go on pretending that he came back here for any other reason than to see you. That he’d told you that he didn’t need,” Aaron pointed to the empty suite beside Justin’s, “that room and would be sharing yours.”

Justin blinked rapidly. “Do you think that’s it?” he asked hopefully. “Maybe that’s all it is. Oh shit!” He opened his cell phone. “I have to call and…”

“No,” Aaron reached over and took Justin’s cell phone. “That isn’t it. He cancelled his flight, Justin. Believe it or not, your uncle told me not to get my hopes up. He called the airlines and found out Brian cancelled his flight.”

“I don’t understand,” Justin said. “Just yesterday we were talking about going snorkeling and whale watching and he really sounded like he wanted to. He’s been so busy at work. Every night we talk he’s exhausted, but he stays on the phone with me until he’s almost asleep. He listens to me, Aaron, he encourages me and he… I really thought he loved me. But you don’t act like this… you don’t just cancel a trip without telling someone… not if you love them.”

“Or maybe you do cancel it if the reason you did is because you’re scared that you do love him,” Aaron said in a sad voice. “Maybe you were right in calling him a coward.”

“I don’t want to be right,” Justin said, tears falling now. “I mean, if he’s going to be like this… what’s he going to be like when we move there? Is he even going to want to be with me?”

Aaron shrugged. “I think you need to find that out, because I know you’ve been accepted to NYU and that might be a better place for you to be. Of course your sister, Matt and me want you in Pittsburgh with us, but it’s going to be hard going back to Pittsburgh and dealing with all the memories you have of your parents. I wouldn’t want you to have to worry about what will happen if you run into Brian too.”

“But he won’t talk to me,” Justin said. “I’ve called him like six times since you told me he wasn’t coming. Before I left him messages, I even called his work. His assistant told me he was out sick for the day and wouldn’t put me through!”

“As of today, you’re done with the semester, right?” Aaron asked.

“Yeah, I was supposed to send Brian pictures of my final projects but I doubt he’s even going to care to…”

“Then go to him,” Aaron interrupted. “Show him the pictures in person if you need to.”

“Huh?”

“Take the pictures of your work to him because they’re all about him, aren’t they?”

“Yes,” Justin whispered.

“If Brian doesn’t see how much you love him and doesn’t want to accept that love from you, then he’s an idiot and he doesn’t deserve you to waste your talent or your heart on him.”

“You’re saying you want me to just go to Pittsburgh and find him? Uninvited?”

Aaron grinned. “That’s what I’m saying.”

Justin’s eyebrows crinkled together. “Did Matt put you up to this?”

“No, he didn’t. Justin, I love you like you’re my son, I want to see you happy and if that’s with Brian Kinney, then you have my blessing.”

“To just hop on a plane and go to Pittsburgh to find Brian?” Justin asked.

Aaron laughed. “Yes.” He took his cell out of his pocket and asked. “I’ve still got the number on my phone. Do you want me to call the airlines and make a reservation?”

“Yes,” Justin said adamantly.

***

After the layover in Madrid, Justin had slept the whole flight to New York. After that, he had a short layover before boarding the next plane to Pittsburgh. Daphne picked him up from the airport and they immediately drove to her apartment so Justin could shower and change clothes while they came up with a game plan.

“I know right where Kinnetik is,” Daphne said. She’d googled the address while Justin had showered. Before he’d arrived she’d tried to find an address for Brian Kinney but the only Kinney in the phone book was Joan and Justin had told her that was Brian’s mother, but that he would never go to her for help.

“But I can’t go there,” Justin said. “I know how Brian feels whenever his friends show up at his work ‘demanding his presence’ while he’s busy. I can’t do that to him.”

“But you don’t even know where he lives,” Daphne said.

“He lives in a loft, the top floor,” Justin told her.

Daphne gave Justin a blank stare. “So, we’ll just drive around the city all day and find all the lofts?”

“He lives near Liberty Avenue,” Justin said, pulling his favorite Armani exchange t-shirt over his head. He gave himself a once-over in the mirror. “Do I look all right?”

Daphne laughed. “Before you worry about how you look we need to know where to look. Even if he lives close to Liberty Avenue, in a loft, that still leaves a lot of ground to cover and he may not even be home.”

Justin sat beside Daphne on her bed and thought for a moment before a brilliant idea hit him. “You’re going to call Kinnetik for me. Tell them you’re Daphne Martinez, Vernon Martinez’s sister and that he recommended Kinnetik to you for your small start-up business. Tell them that you’ll only be in town for a day and would like to meet with Brian Kinney.”

“Who the hell is Vernon Martinez?” Daphne asked.

“He’s the guy that’s buying our resort and he’s a big client of Kinnetik’s, remember I told you about that?”

“Oh, right… well, I should have a name for my business then.”

“You won’t need one. In fact, if they ask, tell them that’s why you need help. Tell him it’s for anti-aging products or some shit, but I doubt they’ll ask. They’ll hear Vernon’s name and they’ll either get Brian on the phone with you right away, have him call you back right away or they’ll set up a meeting with you.”

“But you don’t want to go to Kinnetik,” Daphne said.

“No, that’s why you’ll suggest ‘Travis’,” Justin said. “That place still exists, right?”

“Yeah, for people who want to spend hundreds of dollars on an appetizer,” Daphne snarked.

“Which is the type of place a big client would want to meet with Brian. And I will be there instead of you.”

“Okay,” Daphne said reluctantly. “So, should I talk in an accent or something?”

“Nah, Vernon doesn’t really have one.”

Daphne picked up her cell phone, dialed Kinnetik’s number and turned it to speaker phone so Justin could hear the whole call.

“Kinnetik, this is Danielle, how may I direct your call?”

“I’d like to speak to Brian Kinney, please?” Daphne said in her best professional voice.

“I’m sorry but Mr. Kinney is unavailable to take calls at the moment,” Danielle replied. “I can take a message and he can get back to you next week.”

“Next week?” Daphne asked. “I’m sorry but I’m only in town for the day. This is Daphne Martinez, my brother, Vernon Maritinez is Mr. Kinney’s client. I was hoping I could meet with him today to discuss…”

“Oh,” Danielle interrupted.

Daphne grinned hopefully at Justin.

“I’m so sorry, Ms. Martinez, but Mr. Kinney is not in the office today. He’s come down with a bout of pneumonia but if you’d like I could transfer you to his partner, Cynthia Prescott, and she can…”

“No, no,” Daphne said. “That’s all right. I’ll be back in town soon and I’ll make an appointment then.”

“Well if you know when you’ll be available I can make the appointment now.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t,” Daphne said. “But I’ll be sure to call whenever I do know. Thanks for your help. Bye.” Daphne ended the call and looked at Justin sadly. “So, he’s not at work.”

“This is the third day he’s been sick,” Justin said worriedly. “Do you really think he’s got pneumonia?”

“I don’t know, Justin,” Daphne said. “You talked to him hours before he cancelled, I doubt it would come on so fast and you said other than him sounding tired he didn’t seem sick.”

“He did have a stomach bug a few weeks ago,” Justin said, remembering the time that Brian had quickly ended a telephone call but hadn’t hit the end button and Justin heard him getting sick, heard the toilet flushing and then hearing Brian groan in pain. He’d debated staying on the line and calling out to Brian to make sure he was okay but decided upon ending the phone call and never brought it up with the man, thinking that Brian might think he was invading his privacy. Brian did end up telling him the next night that he’d caught a stomach bug and until now Justin hadn’t thought of it again. “I guess he could have developed something worse, but it just it doesn’t seem right. Why wouldn’t he just tell me? It’s not like I’d be mad that he was sick. He could’ve just said he was sick and couldn’t come and I would’ve understood.”

“Maybe he’s on vacation already. Maybe he went somewhere else.” Daphne didn’t want to say it, but she couldn’t stop herself.

“No.”

“Justin, I don’t mean to be a downer, but it is a possibility.”

“Maybe he’s just sick. Maybe he does have pneumonia and he is scared of coming to Ibiza, because he’s realized he has feelings for me. Maybe that’s all it is.” Justin picked up Daphne’s phone and handed it to her. “Call Kinnetik again. Tell them you talked to your brother and he suggested you speak with Ted Schmidt if you can’t talk to Brian.”

Daphne sighed. “All right. But why this Ted guy?”

“He’s Brian’s friend and Kinnetik’s accountant. And I want you to tell him that you’d like to meet him.”

“But he’s an accountant,” Daphne said.

“A few days ago, Brian told me that Ted took over for him when he had to be in another meeting and Ted pitched to Dandy Lube and got the account for him. He’s on his way to being an ad exec, that’s what Brian said.”

“Why don’t you just talk to Cynthia? Isn’t she Brian’s partner in Kinnetik?”

“Yeah, but she’s not his friend like Ted is. If I can meet with Ted and plead my case with him, he might at least give me Brian’s address or tell me where the fuck he is if he, god forbid, isn’t still here in Pittsburgh.”

“Okay, okay,” Daphne said soothingly, dialing the number, “here goes nothing.”

***

Justin wasn’t dressed appropriately for the restaurant, but Daphne was. She looked like a million bucks and the host didn’t bat an eye when she told him that they were there to meet with Ted Schmidt. Daphne had told Ted that she would be bringing her assistant along with her, she wouldn’t leave Justin alone with Ted until she knew whether or not the man was going to help Justin. Justin was glad to have a friend who would give up her first day of college break to help him with his love life.

Justin tried to hold his head high as the host led him and Daphne toward the table where Ted Schmidt was already seated.

“Mr. Schmidt, your guests have arrived,” the host said, gesturing the Daphne and Justin. “I’ll be back to take your order in a few moments.”

Ted’s eyes were fixed on Daphne as he rose from his seat. “Ms. Martinez, it’s good to meet you.”

“You too,” Daphne said, shaking his hand.

Justin held out her chair as she sat down and then reached to shake Ted’s offered hand. “I’m…”

“Justin?” Ted gasped the name and his hand dropped away from Justin’s outstretched one. He slowly sat down in his chair and looked at Daphne and then stared at Justin.

Justin wasn’t sure how to feel about Ted recognizing him. He thought that none of Brian’s friends but Lindsay and Melanie had ever seen a picture of him. “Ted…”

Ted laughed and grabbed Justin’s hand and shook it enthusiastically. “It’s good to meet you. Brian didn’t tell me that you were Ms. Martinez’s assistant. Aren’t you still in school?”

Justin was caught completely off guard by the knowledge Ted had of his life. “Um… no I mean I am still in school but I’m on break and Ted… this meeting…” He took his seat beside Daphne. “Daphne isn’t really Vernon’s little sister and she doesn’t have a business of any kind.”

“Unless you count wanting to see your best friend happy a business,” Daphne added, smiling. “Ted, I lied to you.”

Ted looked back and forth, his brows knit together. “Is this some test Brian’s set up?” he asked.

“Brian doesn’t know I’m here,” Justin explained. “Ted, we’re sorry, we shouldn’t have used you, but I didn’t know what to do. I don’t know where Brian lives and I didn’t want to just show up at the office if I didn’t have to. He won’t answer my call and I just don’t believe him having pneumonia is the reason he suddenly cancelled his trip to Ibiza.”

Ted frowned as he took in what Justin told him. “So, you arranged a meeting with me to…”

“I need you to help me,” Justin said. “I don’t know what you know about me and Brian, but I guess you know a little more than he’s told his other friends…”

“He doesn’t even remember telling me about the real you,” Ted cut in.

“The real Justin?” Daphne asked. “What does that mean?”

“Brian’s told everyone about Justin, in stories, at least up until recently. We all thought he was just a friend. But one night when I was over at Gus’ mother’s house, Melanie let it slip that Brian had gone to see you for New Year’s Eve and he’d told the rest of us that he was going to Mexico. He didn’t want anyone to know that you, Justin, were more than just a friend.”

“Why?” Daphne asked, angrily. “Is he embarrassed of him or something?”

“No,” Justin and Ted told her together.

“I told you how he is,” Justin said. “He just didn’t want anyone to spoil what was going on with us. He doesn’t look at relationships the way most people do.”

“Except now he’s spoiling it,” Daphne pointed out.

“I’m completely lost,” Ted said. “What happened between you two? Why are you here and why doesn’t Brian know?”

“He cancelled his vacation,” Justin told him. “We were talking about it three days ago and a few hours later, my uncles who own the resort told me he cancelled the trip. I tried calling him on his cell, at home and at Kinnetik and he won’t return my calls. He didn’t sound sick when I talked to him. He sounded tired, he’s been really tired lately, but if he really does have pneumonia, why wouldn’t he just tell me? It’s not like I’d be mad that he was sick and couldn’t make it.”

Ted’s face paled. “I thought you knew.”

“Knew what?” Justin asked and swallowed thickly. “Why did he cancel, Ted?”

“I can’t tell you,” Ted said softly, running his hands through his hair. “You need to talk to him.”

“Is he with someone else?” Justin asked. “Because if he is, I don’t want to talk him. If he’s found someone here, I don’t even want him to know that I was…”

“He doesn’t have anyone,” Ted said quickly. “He’s talked about you, a lot. Justin, you’ve got to understand that I’ve promised him that I wouldn’t tell anyone and I have to keep my promise to him. I owe him that. I know you know what Brian has done for me this year, he told me that he told you about my addiction.”

“Yes,” Justin said, his head spinning. “So, he’s here in Pittsburgh?”

“Yes,” Ted said. He stood up from the table and motioned for Justin and Daphne to get up. “I’ll show you where he lives. I just stopped by there to drop off some work stuff before coming here, so I know he’s home. You need to talk to him.” He glanced at Daphne. “But I think you need to go alone.”

Daphne opened her purse and handed Justin her keys. “You can take my car,” she glanced at Ted, “do you think you can drop me off at my apartment?”

“Of course,” Ted said. “And as far as we’re concerned, this meeting never took place.”

“I can’t lie to him,” Justin said as they walked out of the restaurant.

“You’re right,” Ted agreed. “Just do me a favor and do whatever you can to make him not fire me.”

“I’ll do my best,” Justin said. He only hoped that his best would be good enough for Brian, because he would fight for him. But he was worried about what exactly he had to contend with, because, from Ted’s insinuation, the reason Brian had cancelled was something big and something really bad.

TBC in Chapter 5

Chapter Text

Wyrd
Chapter 5: “At Last”

Oh yeah yeah, and you smile, you smile
Oh, and then the spell was cast
And here we are in Heaven
For you are mine at last ~ Etta James

The sixth time Justin met Brian, he wasn’t sure he was looking at the same man he’d seen only a few months before. Standing just outside the loft door he stared at the skinny, haggard looking man across from him with a slack-jaw and a coil of dread worming around in his stomach.

Brian wiped his hand over his face, cocked his head to the side and slowly blinked. “Justin?” he asked in a raspy almost needy voice.

Brian’s appearance frightened Justin but hearing his name spoken that way made a deep ache of protectiveness overwhelm him. He stepped across the threshold, pulled Brian into his arms and pleaded, “Tell me, Brian. Whatever it is, tell me. It won’t matter. It won’t change anything with us.”

Brian stiffened as he got over the shock of feeling Justin’s warm body, hearing him speak to him, it was definitely real and not some fucked up, chemically induced hallucination. He backed away from Justin, panicking inside as he realized that Justin had come to Pittsburgh for answers he wasn’t ready to give. He couldn’t believe that Justin was there. He really hadn’t thought that Justin would unexpectedly fly half-way around the world after he’d blown him off. His palms were sweating, his heart was racing and he was trying to come up with something to say but he was absolutely speechless.

Justin looked back at the open door and then back at Brian. “So, can I come in then?” he asked softly.

Brian found his voice and gestured, “Shut the door.”

Justin closed the door behind him and then slowly approached Brian. “Are you going to tell me?”

Brian threw his hands up. “I think you should start explaining things first. Like by telling me what the fuck you’re doing here?”

He’d caught Brian off-guard and Justin knew that Brian’s defensive mechanisms were kicking in. He just hoped he was strong enough to disable them. “I came because it’s my spring break and I figured that for whatever reason you cancelled at the last minute, I might as well find out what that was by coming to you.”

“My reasons aren’t any of your fucking business. If I wanted you to know, I would’ve told you.”

“You really think that I don’t deserve an answer?”

“You don’t actually expect me to give you one, do you? I’m a coward, right?”

“So you listened to my messages,” Justin said, shoulders slumping. “I shouldn’t have called you a coward. You’ve always been honest with me, except now.” He slowly stepped toward Brian and said softly, “I came all this way because I know there’s something really good between us. And I know that you think so too; and I know something had to be really wrong for you to just cancel and then not talk to me. That isn’t you.”

This was all wrong. Justin Taylor was not supposed to be in Pittsburgh and he definitely wasn’t supposed to be in his loft asking questions Brian couldn’t bear giving the answers to. “You don’t know who I am,” Brian said, his tone softer than he intended.

Justin crossed the distance between them and put his hands on Brian’s very slim waist. He shook his head slowly form side to side and then met Brian’s eyes. “What don’t you want me to know?” He skimmed his hands up Brian’s back and could easily feel every bone and he suddenly knew what it was Brian was hiding.

A police officer had come to his house to tell him about his parent’s accident, he didn’t remember much about it, but whenever he did think about that terrible day, he recalled asking the man, ‘Is my mom okay?’, and that had been the hardest question he’d ever asked.

The question he needed to ask Brian rivaled the one he’d asked the officer but he forced himself to speak the words, “Are you positive?”

“No,” Brian huffed and his lips quirked in a painful grimace. He took a deep breath and then blew it out, ruffling Justin’s hair as he did. “I had testicular cancer.”

“H…h…had cancer?” Justin stuttered out in a quaking breath. He felt no relief knowing that Brian wasn’t positive, because cancer was…. It was fucking CANCER!

***

Justin’s eyes opened and he drew in a deep breath. “What the fuck happened?” he asked, breathing heavily as he sat up.

Brian regarded Justin with an unreadable expression. “You passed out.”

“For how long?” Justin looked around them and then back at Brian, wiping the wetness from his face.

“For just a second,” Brian said.

“Did I hit my head?” he asked, feeling a little dizzy. “Why am I wet?”

“I caught you before you hit the floor and then I splashed a cup of water on your face to wake you up.”

“Fucking jet-lag,” Justin groaned, getting to his knees and then slowly standing. “This shit happens every time I fly. I’ve been off the plane for hours now without anything happening so I thought I was over it. I guess the adrenaline rush I was on wore off.”

“You pass out after every time you fly?” Brian asked in a teasing tone while standing to face Justin.

“I get light-headed and dizzy from jet-lag and stress,” Justin said. “Hearing my boyfriend has cancer…”

Brian interrupted, “Had.” He ignored the boyfriend reference entirely.

Justin squinted and looked Brian up and down. “Right. Well, that shocked me and the stress of the last couple of days… I need to sit down.”

Brian kept close to Justin as they walked over to the sofa and commended himself for not telling Justin about the cancer sooner if this was how he reacted to it. “They got it all, I had radiation and now I’m going to be fine.”

“Christ, Brian, why didn’t you tell me before?” Justin asked when they were both sitting down.

“I was going to be fine,” Brian said. “Look how you reacted. It’s a good thing I didn’t tell you over the phone, don’t you think? You might’ve passed out on the balcony and fallen to your death in true drama queen fashion.”

“I’m not a fucking drama queen,” Justin said angrily. “I’ve got jet-lag. If you would’ve told me before I wouldn’t have reacted like that,” Justin told him pointedly. “You know me better than that.”

Brian shrugged, knowing deep down Justin was right, but he didn’t want to admit it. “How did you even find out where I live?”

“If I answer that question will you answer mine?” Justin asked.

Brian rolled his eyes and nodded.

“Fine. I found out from Ted.”

“I’m going to…”

“You’re not firing him. It wasn’t his fault. Daphne and I did a little scheming to get a dinner meeting with him today and when he saw me he recognized me and he said you’ve talked about me. A lot.”

Brian groaned. “You really aren’t making his case for continued employment any better.”

Justin managed a small smile. “You won’t fire him for helping me find you. He’s a good friend and, from what he said, I’m guessing he’s the only person in your life that even knows about the cancer, isn’t he?”

Brian nodded. “He’s nosy and he happened to be around during my incoherent moments so I have no idea what I may or may not have said about you or anything else. Some of it may not be true.”

“Right.” Justin gave Brian a big smile. “Whatever it is you’ve said about me, it was enough for him to trust that I wasn’t some stalker and to forgive me and Daphne for manipulating him into meeting us.”

“I’m not too sure you aren’t a stalker,” Brian replied.

Justin sighed and ignored Brian’s comment and asked, “Were you ever going to tell me if I hadn’t come here and demanded to know what was wrong?”

“At some point… maybe,” Brian admitted.

“So… I still don’t get it and I don’t think you were afraid of my reaction, Brian…”

“You’ve lost your parents,” Brian interrupted. “I know you. You worry. If I don’t answer an email or call you once a week, you worry and think I’ve gone and got myself killed by going home with the wrong trick or getting into a bar fight.”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Justin said angrily. “Something happened and it isn’t only because of the cancer. You don’t break commitments easily and there’s a reason you cancelled the trip way you did, probably hoping that I’d be so pissed I wouldn’t ever want to see you again. The way I see it, there are only two options that make any sense. One, you were in fact fucking around with me, stringing me along, having a laugh at all the future plans we were making and getting off on knowing you’d soon break my heart, because you never wanted fuck all to do with me in the first place. Or two, you really did want to go to Ibiza, you wanted to be with me, despite the fact that you look like shit, because that didn’t matter to you as long as you got to come to Ibiza. But then… this… this thing you’re not telling me came up and whatever it is, it is making you think that we shouldn’t be together. So… tell me, which one is it?”

Brian stared at Justin, wondering just what the fuck he’d done to deserve the special kind of hell in which he was now residing. He had no one to blame but himself. It was a stupid decision all around to think he could conquer cancer and its after affects in less than two months time and even more idiotic to think he could have any sort of relationship with a college student who was at his sexual peek and had his entire life ahead of him when his own life was pretty bleak at this point.

He had hoped to call Justin in a few days and tell him about the cancer but fudge the details. And if that wasn’t going to be enough of an explanation for him cancelling the trip, then he’d do what the selfish part of him had resisted before… and let Justin go. Now he didn’t know what the fuck he was supposed to do and what was right for Justin, not when he was sitting beside him, looking so hurt and angry. He decided that he’d have to make him leave, because he knew the alternative, telling Justin the truth, wasn’t… couldn’t be an option. If Justin knew the truth, he’d say it was all right, he’d pretend not to care… at first… and there wasn’t any guarantee that he was going to get any better and he didn’t want to subject Justin to that. That was why he’d cancelled, he’d faked Justin out and he was ashamed of himself for doing it and so there was only one choice.

“Whatever you came here for, it’s not going to happen. You need to go back to Ibiza and take that spot NYU offered you.”

Justin surprised himself with how easily he was able to pretend that Brian’s words didn’t slice through him. “So, it was option one, then? You were using me… you were bored and thought fucking around with my hopes and dreams was amusing? You never intended to see me once I moved here and now you want to hurt me so badly that I won’t want to come back to Pittsburgh, because you know that it was already going to be hard coming back here for me anyway?”

It was a funny thing, loving someone, being in love with someone, if that’s what it was that could define how Brian felt about Justin. The emotion was so strong, so all consuming, that it had the power to make him inflict vast amounts of pain onto Justin and himself without really doing much of anything at all.

Justin provided normalcy in his hectic, ‘scary as fuck because I could die’ world. Justin soothed him without knowing it, he balanced him out when the world spun too fast around him, even if only for during their phone conversations. But usually it was Justin’s face he pictured when he closed his eyes and begged a god he didn’t believe in to not let him die, to let him wake up the next morning because he hadn’t told Justin yet. It was one of Justin’s stories, his soothing deep voice that Brian would conjure when sleeplessness turned into hysterical exhaustion and Brian had held onto that voice when he slipped under the anesthetic spell the day of the surgery. He’d dreamt of Justin standing beside him next to the operating table and Brian wasn’t aware of anything but him.

Weeks went by and all the sex talk and pictures Justin sent Brian could do nothing to get a rise from his cock. It hadn’t bothered him, in fact. He still planned to go see Justin in Ibiza even if he was temporarily impotent, not that he’d ever admit to Justin that all the times they’d had phone sex he had been faking his orgasms. But he was sure that it was because his body had been through hell and all he needed was a ‘pick me up’ in the form of a little blue pill, to remind his cock what direction it needed to face. So confident that this extreme measure would do the trick, and wanting to give his cock every opportunity to react on its own before resulting to this, he waited until there were only a few days left before his flight.

The morning when he went to his doctor and confessed his major problem, he’d been optimistic as he requested the solution drug. Reluctantly, his doctor gave him a prescription and then… Brian waited and waited and two hours after the time in which he was supposed to get results, he was in fact extremely horny but nothing much happened to his cock. It wasn’t hard. It would stir, but before it could reach anywhere near full erect status, before he could properly jerk himself off, the sick thoughts would come, images of things he wasn’t even awake to see during surgery, his imagination playing with him, reminding him that he had been diseased and imperfect. And that was when he cancelled his trip to Ibiza. If Viagra couldn’t get him hard, if Justin’s husky voice and naughty images couldn’t help him get an erection, then it was likely that nothing would.

It would be so easy to confirm Justin’s statement. He wouldn’t even have to say anything. Just nod. And Justin would be gone. But Justin had been there for him all the way, even without knowing it and he hadn’t realized how difficult it would be to let Justin go. Even though it was hard for Brian to admit that he’d fallen in love with Justin, it was even harder to stand before him and lie to him about it..

 

And so…

“Option two.”

Justin blinked.

Brian placed his hand on the back of Justin’s neck and leaned his forehead close to rest it against Justin’s. “I take option two. The… ‘I’m a coward and a liar and something happened that has to do with the cancer and is the reason why I cancelled my trip’ option.”

“What is that reason?” Justin asked softly.

***

It wasn’t as humiliating as Brian thought it’d be. No, it was worse… much worse. And Justin’s reaction to it, once the wheels started turning in his pretty little blond head, was what made telling the truth suck so much.

“I just don’t get it!” Justin ranted. He stopped for a moment, stared at Brian with a ‘you’re a fucking idiot’ glare and then began pacing again, letting out puffs of air as he walked back toward Brian, stopped and said again, “I just don’t get it.”

Brian gave Justin a bored expression when he received the fifth ‘stop and glare’ and admitted, “Me neither.”

Justin paused, placed his hands on his hips and smirked. “You do realize how insane you are, don’t you?”

Brian was certain that he was only this crazy because Justin had made him this way. “You…”

“Brian,” Justin cut in, “you faked your orgasms!” Justin said angrily. “I don’t like that you didn’t tell me about the cancer, it was a really shitty thing to do, but I know why you did and can understand it on some level. I even understand why you didn’t want to tell me that you’re having trouble getting it up.”

Brian was becoming angry now. He didn’t appreciate the admonishing tone in Justin’s voice and the way he said ‘trouble getting it up’ was so blasé, it was as if he really didn’t think that was a big deal at all. Brian understood Justin’s anger, he’d expected it, but it wasn’t like he did it on purpose. He’d wanted to get an erection, had even had a half-stiffie a few times during their phone sex calls and at the time, he felt frustrated, but he also didn’t want Justin to think he wasn’t turning him on.

“I don’t understand why you didn’t just tell me you weren’t into it instead of making me go on and on, telling you my fantasies, describing to you how I would touch you and kiss you and fuck you and you told me… you told me that you were turned on, you told me you’d come and you were lying!”

Brian couldn’t let this go on any longer, he’d had a shitty week, an even shittier last two days and no matter how much he cared for Justin, he wasn’t going to sit quiet and let him behave like a dick head. “Maybe I didn’t fucking tell you because I was actually trying to get it up!” Brian roared, standing up from the sofa and striding up to Justin. “Did you think about that?” He stepped even closer, invading Justin’s personal space but still shy of touching him. “Maybe the whole time I was stroking my cock, touching myself and imagining it was you, wishing it was you doing it.” All the anger Brian felt over the last two months was now barreling out of him. “I was turned on and every last fiber inside of me wanted you, wanted to come for you. Hearing you get off while I tried to, that was better than not coming at all!” He tilted his head down and leaned so close to Justin’s face that the sides of their noses were touching. He was going cross-eyed staring into Justin’s dark blue eyes and he could feel Justin’s breath against his own lips. “Do you get it now?” he asked, his words now husky and soft, his heart beat loud in his ears and….. What the fuck? Brian stumbled backward two steps and looked down at his crotch and then slowly raised his head, appreciating the body standing across from his like it was the first time he’d seen it. Justin’s dick was in the same state as his own, his large hard cock pushing against his tight jeans. When he looked up at Justin’s face, his cock pulsed as his eyes zeroed in on Justin’s full lips, his mouth hanging open, glistening with saliva, his gaze fixated on Brian’s lower half.

Many mouths had wrapped themselves around Brian’s cock before, many men who had sucked him had told him and shown him how much they loved cock, especially his. He even knew a guy in college who practically followed him around waiting to suck him off. He’d seen men display an insane amount of enthusiasm for sucking cock. But Brian had never seen or experienced anything like this.

He was so far gone, he barely recalled Justin dropping to his knees and somewhere in there his pants were yanked down and his cock was freed from his underwear. It was done quickly and Justin had taken him into his mouth and throat all the way down in one smooth swallow. Brian had no idea how long Justin had been bobbing his head and working him to an orgasm, but it didn’t matter… he was seeing stars and he didn’t even try to hold back. He cried out when he came, his hands digging into Justin’s hair for leverage as his body swayed and shook. He groaned in displeasure when Justin’s head began to back out of his grip and his cock was exposed to the air once again, hanging semi-hard in the v of his open pants, glistening with Justin’s spit.

“You tasted wonderful,” Justin said, breathing heavily. He smiled up at Brian and reached out to tuck his cock back inside his pants but Brian’s hand grabbed his wrist and stopped him.

“Get undressed,” Brian said, releasing his hold on Justin.

Justin sucked in a sharp breath and his body shivered from the demanding needy tone in Brian’s voice. His dick throbbed and he pushed his hand inside his jeans to grasp it while replying, “Okay.”

Brian had thought that it would be a big deal for Justin to explore his body and notice the changes, but Justin’s touch felt too good for him to even conjure up any feelings of inadequacy. His cock was behaving once again and with Justin so hot and horny for him, it didn’t take him long to go from one orgasm to getting hard again and reaching for the next.

They didn’t talk too much, using the time in between rounds of fucking to eat and rehydrate themselves. Justin made a phone call home and texted Daphne and Nico to let them know things with him and Brian were okay. Brian called Ted to ream him out but to also make damn sure that when the time came for Brian to introduce Justin to the gang that Ted would know what not to say about him and Justin’s relationship and to in his own sarcastic way, thank Ted for his role in bringing them back together. Even during their break from sex, all the while their eyes stayed on one another, filled with desire and awaiting the next act.

***

In the morning, Brian woke to the smell of coffee, his body felt sore like it did every time he woke up but today at least he could equate it with all the fucking he’d done the night before and not because he’d felt sick. Bleary-eyed he pulled on a pair of briefs, smiled when he saw Justin sitting in the living room sketching, dressed in his silk robe, the sunshine streaming into the room, and Brian couldn’t deny how right it felt to wake up to that site. After relieving himself, washing up, and brushing his teeth he went in search of Justin and the coffee. But as he turned to go down the stairs he saw that Justin was no longer on the sofa, he was standing in front of the open loft door and Debbie was standing in the hallway, holding a dish of food.

“Where’s Brian?” Debbie asked, sidestepping Justin and entering the loft.

“Uh…” Justin quickly shut the door behind the woman.

“I’m right here, Deb,” Brian said.

“Morning?” Justin said, awkwardly.

Brian rubbed his hands over his face and wondered if Debbie would just go away if he just got back into bed . Or, maybe he could just run her off by demanding Justin to join him in the shower for a morning fuck… not that he was quite up to it yet. Before he could make a decision, Debbie slammed the tray of food onto the counter top and asked, “He’s a little young for you, don’t you think?” She turned back to Justin and said softly, “Honey, you should probably get home to your parents…”

“I’m twenty-one,” Justin said haughtily. Brian had talked about Debbie and by pure description alone he immediately knew this was the same woman. He thought about telling her that his parents were dead but thought better of it and bit his lip.

“What brings you by so early?” Brian asked, stepping down the stairs of the bedroom while glaring at Debbie. The last time he’d seen her, she’d smacked him and he’d been pretty sure that he wasn’t going to see her again until he apologized for what he’d said… or least for the way he’d said it.

Debbie pointed to the breakfast casserole that sat on the counter, just waiting to be cut. “Last night, when I was going through Vic’s things, I found the recipe for this on a little piece of paper in one of his books. He called it, ‘Brian’s Breakfast Casserole’, and I remembered you and him making it one morning when he’d visited while he still lived in New York. Now stop stalling and tell me who this kid is, because he’s obviously not just a trick or you’d have kicked him out the moment you were done with him.”

Brian rolled his eyes. “Maybe you interrupted something just starting?”

“Not even you get up this early to go out and find a trade,” Debbie said, she looked at Justin again. “Who is he?”

He is standing right here and would be pleased to introduce himself,” Justin said, walking over and holding out his hand to Debbie. “I’m Justin Taylor.”

The name sounded a little familiar, but Debbie couldn’t pinpoint why. She shook Justin’s hand and said, “Debbie Novotny.”

“I know,” Justin told her. “Brian’s told me a lot about you.”

Debbie took a step back and appraised Justin. “Well, aren’t you a cutie.”

Justin blushed. “Thanks?”

“What are you doing with Brian?”

Brian walked over to Justin and put his arm around his waist. “I told you about Justin, Deb…”

Debbie snorted. “Honey, I may be getting old, but I know that I would’ve remembered if you’d told me about him.”

“I have,” Brian said and figured he might as well get it over with. They hadn’t talked yet about what was going to happen with them but he knew that Justin would be in his life and he might as well start with Debbie by introducing him into it. “Justin is the friend that I visit in Ibiza,” he explained.

“Friend?” Debbie asked incredulously. “From the looks of you, I’d say you’re a lot more than friends.”

“I don’t think that’s any of your business,” Justin said.

Debbie laughed. “Well, you’re not as innocent as you look, are you?”

“No, he’s not,” Brian said. He knew Debbie wouldn’t just leave it at that, though, and if he wanted to get her out of the loft and be alone with Justin, he’d have to tell her the truth. “Justin is my…boy…” Boyfriend? No. He couldn’t use that word, it was too juvenile. “He’s my partner.” That had obviously been the right thing to say because he felt Justin squeeze him closer and he received a beaming smile from him.

“You’re serious?” Debbie asked in astonishment. She thought that Brian might’ve found a fuck buddy… but a partner! That was just too good to be true.

“Yes,” Justin answered her proudly.

“And how long has this been going on?” Debbie asked.

“Well we’ve known one another for…”

“It doesn’t matter,” Brian interrupted Justin. “Now, Justin just arrived yesterday and we haven’t seen one another for a couple of months so if you wouldn’t mind leaving…”

“I am not leaving!” Debbie cut in, shaking her finger at Brian. “Not until you explain to me just what the fuck happened to the Stud of Liberty Avenue and why you’ve been keeping this a secret.”

“He’s still a stud,” Justin said.

Brian snorted and told Debbie, “Justin wasn’t a secret. You knew what I was comfortable with telling any of you and I’m sure, once you walk out of here, what you’ve now figured out won’t be a secret anymore.”

“Well, if it’s not a secret, then you won’t mind if I have breakfast with you two and get to know Justin better.” Debbie took Justin’s hand and led him over to one of the stools. “You sit down, sweetie, and I’ll cut you a piece of the casserole. I want to hear all about you.”

Justin gave Brian a ‘save me’ expression, having no idea how much he should tell the woman.

“It’s all right,” Brian said, sitting down beside Justin, resigned to his fate.

Fate. The concept he’d never believed in, but felt like he now had no choice but to accept as a genuine influence in his life.

***

Brian closed the loft door and then rested his head against it. “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck!”

Justin cautiously approached Brian and curled around him, clasping his hands on Brian’s chest. He stood on his tiptoes and whispered in Brian’s ear, “Yes, yes, yes...”

Brian snorted and turned around in Justin’s arms. “For once, I wasn’t talking about sex.”

Justin shrugged. “I know,” he said, jutting his hips against Brian’s crotch, “but I figure that we better do it now before all your friends show up here, wanting to meet me.”

Brian lo--- liked the way Justin’s mind worked and how well he could read his needs. He wanted to fuck Justin, but he also knew that he wouldn’t have a condom on his cock before the first call came. The moment he thought that, he heard his cell phone ringing. “As much as I wanna fuck you right now, I’ve got to answer that. It’s probably Mikey and I might be able to buy us some time so we can do the meet and greet on our own terms.”

Justin nodded. “All right, I suppose I’ll give my uncles a call while you answer that.”

Brian kissed Justin once real fast before going up to the bedroom to answer his phone.

Justin watched him for a minute before retrieving his phone from the pocket of his pants and dialing Matt’s number. “Hey,” he said when his uncle picked up.

“What’s going on, Justin? We’ve been worried sick about you.”

Justin suppressed a laugh at how parental Matt sounded. “I called last night and talked to Aaron.”

“But you didn’t tell him what was going on,” Matt said. “He told me all you said was that you were fine and you were staying with Brian.”

“So why are you worried sick?” Justin asked.

“Just because you said you were with Brian didn’t mean that things were all right with you two. So tell me, what is going on with him. Why did he cancel and why…”

“He had cancer,” Justin interrupted quietly. “Look, I really can’t talk about it now… but I’ll fill you in when I get home.”

“When will you be coming home?” Matt asked, worriedly. “I don’t like you being on the other side of the world.”

“I lived here for almost my whole life,” Justin said. “I’m fine. I promise, I would tell you if I wasn’t. We still haven’t talked about how long I’m staying but if it works out, I’ll probably stay until spring break is over.”

“As soon as he isn’t in the same room as you, me and Aaron want you on speakerphone and we want details,” Matt said.

“I’ll try,” Justin said, glancing up to the bedroom at Brian, caught his eyes and smiled. “But I don’t know when that’s going to happen.”

“Just be safe,” Matt cautioned.

“I will be and I’ll call you tomorrow, all right?”

“Okay.”

“Tell Aaron and Molly I love them.”

“I will. Justin?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you going to go to the cemetery?”

Justin forced away the pain he felt just thinking of doing that. “No and I don’t know if I will.”

“Just call if you need to talk about anything, all right? I don’t care what time it is here. I love you and you know I’ll listen.”

“I know. I love you too, Uncle Matt. Bye.”

“Bye, kiddo.”

Justin hung up the phone and closed his eyes as the last memory of his parents came to the forefront of his brain, paralyzing him with sorrow.

“Justin?”

He opened his tear-filled eyes and saw Brian standing steps in front of him. “Sorry,” he said in a crackly voice while wiping his eyes with his palms.

“Are your uncles upset that you came here?” Brian asked.

“No,” Justin said and tried to smile. “Matt asked if I planned to go to the cemetery and it just brought back some memories.”

Brian pulled Justin into his arms and ran his hands up and down Justin’s back comfortingly. “Bad memories?” he asked.

Justin shook his head no and kept his face hidden against Brian’s bare chest. “I think the good ones hurt just as much as the bad ones.”

Brian understood that completely. He wasn’t good with emotional stuff, but he knew that Justin needed more than comfort right then, he needed to talk. “Let’s go sit down and you can tell me about it,” he said and added, “if you want to.”

Justin pulled away from Brian. “You want me to talk about it with you?”

“Don’t sound so shocked,” Brian said, taking Justin’s hand in his and pulling him to the sofa.

“Wait… what about your friends? Who was that on the phone?”

“It was Mikey, just like I thought. The moment Debbie left, she called him. She was still in the elevator when she did,” he said, rolling his eyes. “He was freaking out, of course. Thought I’d gone insane, said he was coming over for an intervention, but I managed to convince him to call off our friends. Told him Ted had met you and you definitely hadn’t given me a brain transplant. I agreed to meet him and the rest of my friends at Woody’s tonight.”

“Oh.” Justin wanted to meet Brian’s friends, but he hadn’t expected it would mean all of them at once.

“You don’t want to meet them?” Brian asked. “Not that I blame you but when we talked about you moving here you said you couldn’t wait.”

“No, I do want to meet them,” Justin said quickly. “It’s just that… what if they don’t like me?”

“Debbie loved you,” Brian said, as if that was all that mattered and pulled Justin down onto the sofa beside him.

“But what if your friends don’t? I mean… Brian, you and I… we’re not exactly a conventional couple and they don’t really know anything about me. They think I’m just some fuck buddy of yours.”

“Not now they don’t,” Brian admitted. “Or… by the time we meet them they won’t. Debbie will have sung your praises to each and every one of them by eight o’clock tonight; she already did to Michael, which is why I was able to get him to believe that I hadn’t gone bat shit crazy.”

“But…”

Brian put his hand over Justin’s mouth and shook his head. “If they don’t like you, then they can go fuck themselves, but believe me, I’m not worried.” Brian realized how odd that was. “No more talking about me. Tell me what you were thinking about before.” He was acutely aware that he sounded like a lesbian but he’d remedy that by fucking Justin as soon as they were done talking.

“I was thinking about the last time I saw them both. My mom and dad always went grocery shopping together on the first Monday of the month. They would leave at the crack of dawn, it was this weird thing they did together. Over the years, it was one of the only things my parents did to spend time together unless they were going to a dinner at the country club or some other business function. My dad liked shopping early because he didn’t have to deal with crowds and my mom liked it because she said that’s when the fruit and vegetables were the freshest. That morning, they both came in my room to wake me up and tell me they were leaving.” Justin sighed and wiped away his falling tears. “It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a little kid anymore. Every one of these mornings my mom would wake me up by running her hands through my hair and kissing my forehead until I opened my eyes. Occasionally she woke me up like that on other mornings, but those Monday mornings my dad would be there standing beside my bed too, watching my mom and me with this really tender look on his face that I rarely ever saw from him. I remember her smiling at me even when I bitched and moaned about having to watch Molly. We didn’t have school but Molly would be awake by seven and I hated waking up early. My mom just laughed at me, used to my bitching, kissed me goodbye and said she loved me. My dad didn’t kiss or hug me, we hadn’t done that in a long time unless it was at Christmas or something, but he said he loved me to, said they’d bring home lunch, told me goodbye and… and that was it.” Justin gave up trying to reign in his emotions and began sobbing. “That was the last time I saw them before the wake.”

Brian pulled Justin into his arms and held him tightly. He wanted to tell him how lucky he was that the last thing his mother had told him was that she loved him, that even if his father had been a prick, he at least said goodbye to his son. Brian was acutely aware of how much different Justin’s childhood had been from his, how much more he mourned the loss of his parents while Brian couldn’t fathom grieving for his parents in the same way. But that didn’t matter, pain was pain, no matter what it was born from and he knew that Justin had never fully dealt with the loss of his parents. He’d been whisked away to a paradise that had numbed him from the grief and he hoped that now that Justin was facing the loss, it would make it easier for him once he came back to Pittsburgh for good. That thought alone should’ve scared Brian into doing whatever he could to get Justin away from him, but instead he just held him tighter.

“I miss my mom,” Justin said, calming down a little while burrowing further into Brian’s embrace. “And even if my dad was an asshole… I think, I think I miss him too.”

“I know,” Brian said, rubbing circles on Justin’s back. “I know you do.”

***

“It definitely isn’t Ibiza,” Justin said, gazing around Liberty Avenue, his arm wrapped around Brian’s waist.

Brian threw his head back and laughed. “No, it isn’t.” He stopped in front of the stairs to Woody’s and told Justin, “Remember that you met Ted at Kinnetik, okay?”

“I got it,” Justin said.

Brian laced his fingers with Justin’s and led him up the steps to Woody’s. He couldn’t believe what he was about to do and wondered just how he’d gotten from sharing one day with Justin in Ibiza to sharing his life in Pittsburgh with him. He wasn’t going to be a pussy and run from it now. What would be the point? He wasn’t ashamed of the feelings he had for Justin. He was proud that a man as talented and gorgeous as Justin wanted to be with him and he was going to proudly show him off.

***

Ben, Michael, Ted, Emmett, Lindsay and Melanie had arrived at Woody’s early and occupied a pair of tall tables near a corner of the room. Three of the six had previously met or seen pictures of Justin, but none of them had ever seen ‘Brian and Justin’. Whatever conversation they’d been having immediately ended the moment the pair walked into the bar and a lot of other conversations going on with the other customers halted too.

Brian and Justin were beautiful and held vast amounts of sex appeal on their own, but together they could make anyone wish they were a gay man who might have a chance to be with them. Of course, that didn’t apply to their friends… maybe.

Still, even Melanie, a self-declared cock hater felt their appeal. “They look good together.”

“I’m actually drooling,” Emmett admitted as Brian and Justin walked toward them.

“He’s so young,” Michael observed. “Ma said he was young but he looks like a teenager.”

“He’s twenty-one,” Ted told them.

“He looked older in his pictures,” Lindsay commented.

“Brian looks happy,” Ben said.

“Who wouldn’t be with that cutie?” Emmett said just before the couple reached their tables.

Justin smiled at the group of friends. “Hi.”

“This is Justin,” Brian said and then proceeded to make the rest of the introductions of his friends.

“So how did you two meet?” Emmett asked Justin.

“We met in Ibiza,” Justin said, taking a seat beside Brian.

“Well, we know that,” Lindsay said, laughing. “I don’t think Brian ever told us how exactly you met.”

“We met on the balcony our suites shared,” Justin clarified.

“And was it love at first sight?” Emmett implored, sighing.

Brian rolled his eyes. “No fucking way. Do I seem like someone who falls in love at first sight?”

“Up until today you didn’t seem like a guy who falls in love at all,” Michael said.

“Of fuck off, I didn’t fall in love with him at first sight,” Brian said adamantly.

“Doth protest too much?” Emmett said, grinning. “Though I didn’t fail to notice that you didn’t say you weren’t in love.” He batted his eyelashes. “This is just like a romance novel I read where…”

“It wasn’t love at first sight,” Justin interrupted. “I knew I wanted Brian, but I was seventeen the first time we met and he was...”

“An asshole,” Brian supplied, not wanting to discuss his own age.

“That’s not hard to believe,” Melanie quipped.

“Wait a minute, if you met when you were only seventeen then that was four years ago!” Michael squeaked. He narrowed his eyes at Brian and asked, “You’ve had a boyfriend for four years and didn’t think you should tell us?”

“We weren’t boyfriends then,” Justin told the man.

Michael huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. “That’s right, Brian casually mentioned that he had a fuck buddy in Ibiza.”

“I never said that,” Brian pointed out. “That’s just what you all concluded when I talked about Justin.”

“Because the only things you said about him had to do with the studs you two fucked together,” Michael said.

“Well, not exactly,” Lindsay said. “Mel and I… we knew Justin was more than just a fuck buddy because…”

“We are sitting right here,” Brian said annoyed. “Michael you can ask me whatever the fuck you want to know.”

“Fine.” Michael huffed. “Why did Mel and Lindsay know about him and not me?”

“I told Justin about Gus loving the trip to Sea World and so Justin…”

“Gus knows about your boyfriend!” Michael interrupted Brian.

“Jesus, would you keep your voice down and stop interrupting him?” Justin asked. “And my name is Justin and I’m right here so please stop talking about me like I’m not.”

Michael’s face reddened and he glared at Justin. “Excuse me if I’m a little surprised to find out that so many people in Brian’s life have known about a huge secret that my best friend has kept from me.”

“You sound angry, not surprised,” Ted said, having previously remained quiet. Not only did he like Justin, but he, more than any of the gang, knew how much Brian cared about Justin.

It was no wonder to Justin why Brian hadn’t told Michael about the cancer.

“I am angry,” Michael admitted though his tone was softer. He asked Ted, “You knew about Justin too though, right?”

“I knew as much as you did about him, until yesterday,” Ted said. He didn’t like lying, but he wouldn’t betray Brian and Justin’s trust. Telling Michael that he had known about Justin and Brian’s true relationship before would only make things worse.

“Can we move on to the good stuff?” Emmett implored.

“Yes,” Ben agreed, “tell us how exactly you two got together.”

“It isn’t some big romance story,” Brian said. He placed his hand on Justin’s leg and squeezed it. “Justin and I had fun together and one thing…”

“Led to another,” Justin finished Brian’s sentence.

“And because Kinnetik’s been busy and I don’t have the time to take off from work, Justin decided to spend his break from school here with me instead of me going to Ibiza.”

“You flew all the way around the world to spend your break with a man you’d only met a few times?” Melanie asked.

“I’m from Pittsburgh originally,” Justin told her.

“Really?” Emmett asked.

Justin nodded and kissed the side of Brian’s face. “Yeah, small world.”

“Now it does sound like a romance novel,” Ben teased.

“So you don’t live in Ibiza?” Lindsay asked.

“No, I do. My sister and I moved to Ibiza to live with my uncle and his partner about six years ago.”

“Why?” Melanie said. “From what I’ve heard of the place, Ibiza doesn’t seem like a good place to raise children.”

Brian felt Justin tensing, pulled him close and told her, “His parents passed away so they went to live with his uncles.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Lindsay said.

“Me too,” Melanie said, taken aback.

Before anyone else could voice the same Justin said, “Ibiza may be a gay Mecca but it is very family friendly. Molly loves it there and it’s a great place to live for anyone. I’m going to miss it.”

“You’re moving?” Melanie asked.

“Yes, my uncles have sold the resort they own and we’re moving back to Pittsburgh this summer,” Justin said. “They are going to buy a house there too so we can go back whenever we want to.” He directed his attention to Melanie and Lindsay. “I’ve told Brian how much Gus would love it there. Maybe sometime this summer you could get away and we could go out on our boat and go whale watching together.”

“We’ll see,” Lindsay said. She liked Justin, but she wasn’t that confident that his and Brian’s relationship would see the summer. It wasn’t that she didn’t want that for Brian, she just had a hard time accepting the fact that Brian was so willingly in one and wondered if he’d actually fully processed it himself.

Michael sighed. “You still haven’t explained why the girls and Gus knew about you, Justin.”

“I sent pictures of a boat trip I went on to see whales,” Justin said simply. “Brian showed them to them.”

“You didn’t think I’d be interested?” Michael asked Brian.

“They were pictures of whales, except for Justin,” Brian said. “Lindsay and Melanie happened to be there when I was showing him. Unless you’ve acquired the same obsession with whales that Gus has, I don’t think they’d interest you. Now can we please forget about the whole ‘secret boyfriend’ bullshit and get some drinks?”

“Sounds good to me,” Justin said. He looked at Emmett, “I’ll buy a round. Can you help me carry them?”

“Sure,” Emmett said and slid off his stool.

Once they were at the bar Justin ordered the drinks and as the bartender filled the order he took the opportunity to ask Emmett about Michael. “I know they’ve been friends for a long time, but he seems so negative. Doesn’t he want Brian to be happy?”

“Of course he does,” Emmett said. “But he’s very protective of him and to learn that Brian has this part of his life, a very big part of his life that he hasn’t shared with him…”

“But he didn’t tell you and you don’t seem as upset,” Justin said.

“That’s because I haven’t always been in love with Brian. Michael has been since he was a teenager and for most of his adult life, even though he has Ben now those deeply buried feelings are coming to surface. Before it was easier for him to move on because Brian didn’t do relationships with anyone but now he knows he does. Don’t worry, he’ll get over it and you have nothing to worry about because neither one would ever actually do anything about it. Michael is married Ben.” He pointed toward the tables. “Look, Brian’s probably telling him right now what a shit he’s been acting like and threatening to take you and leave if he doesn’t stop being an ass.”

Justin looked over at the table and saw the scowl on Michael’s face was being replaced by a look of embarrassment. He wondered just what Brian was saying to the man. “I want him to like me but I just hope he doesn’t think Brian is going to share every single thing about our relationship with him, you know? Some things are just for us.”

Emmett smiled. “You’re hot, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that isn’t the reason Brian is with you.”

“What do you mean?” Justin asked.

“Brian’s a very private person,” Emmett said, “and yet I’m sure you might already know him better than any of us. He’s with you because you’re alike in the ways you need to be and opposite in the ways that compliment one another’s personalities.”

Justin guffawed. “You’ve only known me for like fifteen minutes and you think that?”

“I’m very perceptive,” Emmett said. “Take for instance the fact that Brian hasn’t been regaling us with backroom or bathhouse tales for the last couple of months. No one else has even realized it, but Brian’s stopped tricking, hasn’t he? His view on relationships isn’t the only thing that’s changed but his view on sex too. Shortly after he came back from Ibiza in January he stopped going out dancing and tricking. He looked like shit and everyone else keeps telling him to stop working himself so hard, but I don’t think that’s it. He was lovesick and he’s gone monogamous.”

Justin’s eyes widened. He didn’t know what to say to Emmett. Sure, Emmett was perceptive but he had it wrong. Only, he didn’t know how to tell Emmett that because if he did, then he would have to also explain the reason Brian hadn’t been tricking and had looked like shit. Thinking quickly he said, “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t enlighten anyone else to that. We were just giving it a test because we thought it’d make it even hotter once we finally did fuck again. But honestly, Emmett, we like tricking and I don’t think we’re going to be monogamous.” Justin was sure that once he moved to Pittsburgh he wouldn’t need anyone else but he was never going to demand monogamy from Brian.

“Oh,” Emmett said, “I never thought of that. So, did it make it hotter, going without completely until you saw one another again?”

“Yes, it did,” Justin said honestly. “But you’re not going to tell anyone else about your observations, are you?”

“Of course not,” Emmett said, collecting the tray of beers and mixed drinks from the countertop while Justin paid the bartender.

“Thanks,” Justin said to both the bartender and Emmett. They arrived back at the table and it was obvious they’d all been talking about him, but he didn’t care as long as Brian wasn’t upset about it.

“So, Justin,” Lindsay said, “Brian says you’re an artist.”

“Yup.”

“And you’ve applied at PIFA,” Ted said. “That’s a great school.”

“Yes and I’ve also applied at other schools, CM and some out of state, but PIFA…” he turned his attention to Brian, “and any in Pittsburgh will be my top choices.”

“Awww…” Emmett swooned.

“What kind of art do you do?” Michael asked.

Justin smiled at the man, happy that he was taking an interest in him in a way that had nothing to do with Brian. “I like many different mediums,” he said. “There are so many different types of art and ways to express what I feel, that I don’t want to limit myself.”

“So you draw?” Michael asked.

“Sure,” Justin said. He grabbed a pen from the center of one of the tables and a blank scrap of paper that were placed there for Karaoke. “Would you like me to draw something for you?”

Michael nodded enthusiastically. “A superhero.”

“Captain Astro?” Justin asked.

Michael’s eyes got huge. “You know Captain Astro?”

“Oh great,” Brian groaned, “you’re a dork.”

Justin playfully hit Brian and asked Michael, “Who doesn’t?” He quickly sketched out a drawing of the superhero. “It’s a shame he wasn’t officially ‘out’ though, wasn’t it?”

“There is a lot of gay subtext in comic books,” Ben said.

“And in movies, books…” Ted trailed off and wondered, “Is it even really subtext or are we just supposed to believe that it is?”

“Of course,” Melanie said, “the de-gayifying of the arts is rampant in society and history.”

Ben nodded. “Even though homosexuals are responsible for most of the…”

“Oh god,” Brian cut in, “can we not talk about that crap tonight? Christ, if I wanted to take your class, Professor, I’d enroll in CM and take it.”

“And fuck all the college boys while you’re at it,” Justin said, waggling his eyebrows.

“I think I’ll stick to fucking one college guy,” Brian told him.

Justin smiled brightly and passed his finished sketch to Michael. “What do you think?”

“That’s not Captain Astro,” Michael said, confused.

“That’s Captain Gay,” Justin said, tapping on the big letter G on the superhero’s chest. “Defender of Queers everywhere.”

“So when are you moving here again?” Michael asked excitedly.

Brian bit his lip, stopping himself from saying, ‘Not soon enough.’

“Why?” Justin asked.

“Because I want to know when we can get started on making our own gay comic. We can write it together and with your talent…”

“You want to start a gay comic with me?” Justin asked in surprise.

“That’s not a bad idea,” Ted said. “The gay market is ripe for something original like that.”

“Yes,” Michael said. “Brian did tell you I own a comic book shop, didn’t he?”

“Sure,” Justin said. “He also told me that you guys used to read and collect them.”

“Mikey collected them,” Brian corrected. “I simply indulged Mikey by reading them with him.”

“Sure, Brian,” Melanie said, “that’s why you gave Gus your collection for Christmas this year.”

 

“Bitch,” Brian grumbled.

“So, do you want to?” Michael asked Justin.

“I guess we’d have all summer to see if we could come up with a good first issue,” Justin said.

“Don’t spread yourself too thin,” Brian advised, “you’ll still be at my beck and call.”

“Of course,” Justin said.

“Is that a yes?” Michael asked, thrumming with excitement.

“Yes,” Justin said, a wild look in his eyes as just the thought of creating something new encompassed him.

Brian ruffled Justin’s hair and then reached across to do the same to Michael’s but was stopped by all the gel the man had styled it with. “It’s good to see you boys getting along so well.” He grabbed Justin’s arm and pulled him off the stool. “I hate to break it up, but we’ve got to go.”

“But you haven’t finished your drinks,” Lindsay said.

“You’ve only been here for a half hour,” Ben added, looking at his watch.

“Justin will be here for two weeks, I’m sure we’ll see you again soon.”

Justin had sort of wanted to get to sketching on ideas for the superhero for their comic, but the look of possession and want in Brian’s eyes trumped his need to sketch and he was ready to put his passion into creating something else. “Bye! It was so nice to meet you guys,” he said as Brian dragged him toward the entrance of the bar.

***

The first day of Justin’s second week back in Pittsburgh, he and Brian picked up Matt from the airport. He had found a house he liked online. Justin had gone with the realtor to look at it and after giving Matt his approval that the home’s photos showed reality, Matt had decided to go to Pittsburgh and see it for himself and, if he liked it, buy it.

Justin hadn’t done any driving in the U.S., so he’d relied on Daphne and Brian to take him wherever he’d wanted to go while he was there. Pittsburgh had grown and changed dramatically since the last time Matt had been there, so Brian took the afternoon off work to pick up Matt and go house shopping with the three of them. They met the realtor at the house in Shadyside. It was a three bedroom, four baths Victorian home. Brian personally hated the décor but he kept his mouth shut, it’s not like he would be living there.

“It’s not as big as I thought,” Matt said once they ended the tour. “But the kitchen is stunning, cherry wood cabinets and a six burner stove! And Aaron will love the master bathroom with its claw foot tub and I can just imagine us grilling on the deck out back. But still, the square footage could be a problem.”

“The basement is finished,” the realtor said hesitantly.

“I know and that would work for extra space but the bedrooms are closer together than I thought,” Matt said. He looked at Justin. “Have you decided whether or not you want to get an apartment or if you’re going to live with us?”

Brian bristled. This was the first time he realized that Justin wasn’t going to be living with him. They hadn’t talked about it and, frankly, Brian really hadn’t thought about it until that moment, but he realized that he wanted Justin to live with him.

“I know I’m kind of old to be living with my parents,” Justin admitted and blushed. “It’s just that I’ve never really lived on my own. At the resort, you guys were so close by and I don’t really know Pittsburgh… not as an adult. I don’t know if I’m ready to live by myself.”

“Would you be uncomfortable having a room so close to Molly’s?” Matt asked.

“No, of course not,” Justin said. “But I guess I won’t have much space to paint or…”

“Then this isn’t the one,” Matt interrupted. He turned to the crestfallen realtor and asked him, “Do you think you can get some more listings to show us this week?”

“Of course,” the realtor said.

“But Matt,” Justin protested, “you love this home! Your eyes lit up and you got happier with every room you entered. I can always just rent some studio space somewhere. If you love this home you should buy it.”

“I guess that could work,” Matt said, grinning. “Do you think Aaron will like it?”

“He liked the pictures online, didn’t he?” Justin asked.

“He did,” Matt said. “This is the listing that jumped out at him first.”

“Then maybe I should let you give your partner a call,” the realtor said. “If he agrees, we can draw up an offer this afternoon.”

Matt nodded and opened his phone. When Aaron picked up he began the conversation by telling him, “It’s perfect.”

***

Later that night, Brian tied his condom and tossed it in the trash, his back to Justin he said, “There’s an alternative to living next to Molly, you know.”

Justin sleepily cuddled against Brian’s back and kissed along his spine. “I know, but you heard me, I don’t want to live alone. Not yet.”

Brian let the silence between them drift on for a few minutes before he found the words he’d wanted to tell Justin since the moment they came back to the loft. “You don’t have to live alone.”

“What?” Justin asked, going still, his mouth hanging open against Brian’s skin.

Brian flipped himself to his side and stared at Justin. “You heard me.”

“You… you want me to move in here?” he asked in shock.

“I asked, didn’t I?” Brian said.

“Did you ask?” Justin asked, unsure.

Brian’s eyes darkened. “Look, if you don’t want to, then…”

“Are we ready for that?” Justin asked. “I mean… we’ve been in a long distance relationship until now and I don’t want to fuck anything up by moving too fast. I’m worried that you’re not ready for what this would mean.”

“Whatever kind of relationship we’ve been in doesn’t matter,” Brian said softly. “It matters which one you want to have with me now. You don’t want to live alone and I… I’m ready.”

“To live with me?” Justin asked.

Brian nodded.

“But here?” Justin asked, now completely awake. He sat up and looked around the loft. “It’s not that I don’t like your home but it’s you.”

“And what’s wrong with that?” Brian asked, sitting up too.

“Nothing,” Justin said, looking back into Brian’s dark eyes. “But I want it to be me, too.”

“Then you can make it you,” Brian said, “in moderation. It’s just stuff… it’s a designer loft, but if you’d be uncomfortable living in it the way it is, then I’d be open to some changes.”

“You’ve been open to a lot of changes lately,” Justin observed.

“And from where I’m standing they’ve all been good changes,” Brian said stiffly.

“They have,” Justin said and kissed Brian slowly before drawing away. “You’re a wonderful man Brian and I’m glad you want to share your home with me, but I don’t want you to think I’m invading your space and, as wide open as the loft is, there isn’t much defined space. I mean, there’s no privacy, none at all.”

“So you don’t want me to make room in my drawers for your drawers?” Brian asked, trying to keep his tone level when he felt so pissed because he’d embarrassed himself.

“No,” Justin said urgently. “I want to have a dresser of my own next to yours and in this space we can’t do that. Look, I have the money… we could buy a place, together.”

“You want me to sell the loft?” Brian asked. He really didn’t know if he was ready for that, but he wasn’t ready for the alternative either. Shadyside was too far away and if Justin did get an apartment and a separate studio who knew when he’d see him.

“I don’t want you to if you don’t want to,” Justin said. “Look, maybe I should just move in here and we can see how the loft works out first. Maybe I’m the one that’s moving a little too fast.”

Brian could accept that. “Okay.”

“So yes,” Justin said, pushing Brian onto his back. “I want you to make room for me,” he whispered. He placed a kiss over Brian’s rapidly beating heart. “And I want you to make room for me right here, too.”

Brian gently gripped Justin’s hair and pulled his head up and slyly grinned. “You’re a romantic twat.”

“But you love me anyway,” Justin said and went back to kissing Brian’s chest.

Brian didn’t deny it, but he couldn’t yet say it, so instead he grabbed Justin’s hand, placed it back over his heart and told him, “I already have.”

Justin grinned at Brian and straddled his crotch. “You are so going to get the fuck of your life for that remark.”

“Really?” Brian put his arms behind his head.

Justin laughed. “So you’re just going to lie there?” he goaded.

Brian pushed Justin to the side of him, spread his legs a little and leered at him. “I thought you said I was going to get the fuck of my life? And for the record, I’m not going to just lie here while you do it.”

Justin gulped and his cock became harder than he remembered it ever being in the span of a heartbeat. Brian was the hottest man he’d ever seen, but lying back, his legs spread, made him look so fucking wanton. It turned Justin on like nothing ever had before. “Okay,” he said, his voice husky. He grabbed a condom from under the pillow and the lube from the nightstand. “You’re sure about this… about everything?”

Brian had done a lot of stupid things in his life, but he didn’t regret most of them. He took risks in almost every facet of his life, but had failed to do so in his personal life and that could’ve cost him Justin but he wasn’t going to let that happen. Taking a risk with Justin felt better than any other thrill seeking he’d done in his life combined. “Yeah. I’m sure.”

***

Before Justin and Matt left to go back to Ibiza, Daphne and Brian accompanied them to the cemetery. Brian and Daphne hung back at first, giving Matt and Justin some time alone first.

“When Justin called me to tell me they died,” Daphne began quietly, “I couldn’t even understand him because he was crying so hard. I thought that maybe he’d told his parents that he was gay or something like that. He never told me, but I always knew, so I just figured that he’d finally found the courage and they’d rejected him.”

“His dad would’ve,” Brian said quietly.

“Yeah,” Daphne said sadly. “He hated Matt and Aaron. Hell, he probably would’ve blamed it on them if he knew.”

“So you don’t think he did?” Brian asked her.

“No, Craig lived in his own little world and saw people how he wanted to. He used to make me so uncomfortable because he’d say things like… ‘One of these days Justin will see what a good girl you are,’ or tease us whenever Justin would close the door to his room when we were alone in there. But his mom, I think she knew the truth, and so did my parents. They didn’t care that we spent the night together and slept in the same bed together. Molly and Justin came to live with us for a few weeks until Matt and Aaron could get everything in order for them to move to Spain. He was a mess inside but tried to hold it together for Molly because unlike him, she didn’t even really know Aaron or Matt. Justin emailed them and saw them without his father’s knowledge when they’d come for a visit but Molly didn’t. Jennifer thought she was too young and didn’t want her to have to lie. She begged to stay in their house and when she realized it was being sold, she begged my parents to stay with them.”

“Did Justin want to stay here too?” Brian asked.

“Yes, but he loved Matt and Aaron and knew that he would eventually like living in Ibiza. But actually, he hated living in Ibiza until the day he met you. Even though he said you treated him like shit. He called me that night on the phone and he said you were the hottest man he’d ever seen. It was the first conversation we had on the phone since he moved that he sounded happy and the first one we had where he didn’t tell me that he wanted to come home.”

“I was a dick to him,” Brian said, recalling that first meeting perfectly.

“Yeah, you were. He was crying, sketching a picture of his mom. It was his mom’s birthday and he told me he’d cried all day until he saw you. After that, he was inspired, happy and drew a picture of you.”

“Shit.” Brian’s heart ached and he almost wished he could go back and change the conversation he’d had with Justin that day, but that would’ve meant that everything else would’ve changed with it and they might not be where they were now. He realized that every year he and Justin had met it had been close to Jennifer Taylor’s birthday and Justin had never told him.

“The years before he’d called and cried for hours talking about her, but that year, he just talked about you.”

“Justin said he liked being in Ibiza,” Brian said, confused. “He said it made it easier being there right after his mom and dad died than being here.”

“It did,” Daphne said, “in some ways. But he wasn’t actually happy there. He made friends, but every phone call we had, he talked about coming back to live in Pittsburgh as soon as he graduated high school, but then his opinion on Ibiza changed. You healed him, even if you didn’t realize it.”

“Not completely,” Brian said, gesturing toward where Justin and Matt were kneeling. Justin had healed him, but he didn’t think of anything he did for Justin in the past or could do now. “Is he going to be all right living here again?”

Daphne’s looked at Justin who was sitting in front of his mother and father’s shared headstone, his body bent forward, his sobbing loud enough to be heard from the road yards away. “He will be,” Daphne said, wiping away her tears. “You’ll help him,” she said. “I think you should go up there now.”

“I don’t know,” Brian said uncomfortably. Matt had his arm around Justin and looked to be taking care of him just fine. “I don’t think I should.”

“The last time I was here with him was the day before he left to live in Ibiza. He talked to his mom and told her how much he missed her, but then he started listing off all the things she was going to miss in his and Molly’s life. He came out to me that day. And her… I guess. He told her, ‘You’re not going to meet any of my or Molly’s boyfriends, our first loves, or get to meet the men we’re going to spend the rest of our lives with.’” Daphne patted Brian’s back, drawing his eyes to hers. “Brian, I know you’re two of those things and you just might be all three. I understand that being here is uncomfortable, no one wants to be at a fucking cemetery, but Justin needs you.” She gave him a push and told him, “Go let him introduce you to her.”

Brian took a deep breath and as he walked closer and closer to Justin, he heard Justin’s sobs had subsided and he was talking softly.

“Watch over Brian, Mom. If there is a heaven and you’ve got any pull up there… don’t let him get sick ever again, okay? I really need him. I love him and I know he loves me. I want to live with him, I want to love him and I want to do something totally weird with him like going shopping at six in the morning with him. If you get a birthday wish, will you wish for him to be healthy?”

“Justin,” Brian said, once he was a few steps away from the two men.

Matt turned to look back at Brian first, his eyes bloodshot from crying. He stood up and looked back at the grave. “I’ll come back soon, sis,” he said. He walked toward Brian and placed his hand on the man’s arm for a moment, before walking back down to the car.

Justin seemed to not even acknowledge that he was there, so Brian said his name again, “Justin.”

Justin craned his neck to look at Brian before staring at the headstone again. “Mom, this is him. This is Brian.”

Brian dropped down beside Justin on his knees, curled his arm around his partner and said in a choked tone of voice, “It’s nice to meet you, Jennifer.”

In that moment, Justin knew that whatever happened, wherever he lived once he returned to Pittsburgh, he would be okay. He had Brian and Brian had him. They could conquer anything together.

July 2004

Aaron kissed Matt’s cheek as he steered their boat into the open water to the location where the whales were most abundant this time of year. “I didn’t think we’d be back here so soon after moving,” Aaron said.

“Me neither,” Matt agreed. “I like Pittsburgh, but nothing beats the Mediterranean at Sunset. Plus, you know Justin can’t steer this thing and we couldn’t leave it up to Brian to do all the sailing. No one else has ever even been on a boat before!” he said in disbelief.

“Poor Ted,” Aaron commiserated with the man who was leaning off the side of the boat throwing up over the edge.

“Take these,” Justin said, holding out two Dramamine tablets to Ted.

“I’ll be fine,” Ted said. “I don’t take drugs unless they’re prescription antibiotics.”

“They’re safe,” Justin assured.

“Take them,” Brian said, coming up behind Justin and wrapping his arms around his waist. “Or you’ll end up scaring off the whales and I’ll kill you if my kid doesn’t get what we promised him.”

“Fine,” Ted relented, his shaking hand slowly taking the pills from Justin and then dry swallowing them.

“They should kick in soon,” Justin said reassuringly and helped Ted walk over to the bank of seats in the center of the boat. “If you just look out and focus on the horizon it’ll help.”

Ted did as instructed and felt the waves of nausea instantly abating. “Why didn’t you tell me this trick before?”

“We tried,” Justin said. “But you were too busy puking as we pulled away from the dock.” He felt bad for the man but couldn’t help but laugh. He’d never known anyone to get seasick before the boat had even pulled out into open water.

“Poor Teddy,” Emmett commiserated, coming to sit by his friend.

“Daddy! Justin!” Gus shouted, his words barely heard over the wind. “Look, the whales!”

Justin and Brian walked back over to the ledge where Gus was being held securely by Lindsay, looking like an adorable turtle wearing the expensive life jacket Brian had bought him.

“Take a picture!” Gus told Melanie. “Take one of me, Jus, Daddy, and the whales.”

Brian, Justin and Gus smiled for a few photos until Melanie became eager to look at the whales which were breaching the surface of the water. Matt cut off the engine and everyone gathered around the ledge of the boat to see the pod of whales surrounding the boat.

“Wow!” Gus exclaimed. “Did you see that, Grandma?” he called to Debbie.

“I did kiddo,” Debbie said, completely in awe with the amazing ocean mammals.

“This is better than seeing the Eiffel tower in Paris,” Michael yelled out.

“I’d have to agree,” Ben said, kissing his partner’s cheek.

“It’s pretty good,” Brian whispered in Justin’s ear, sliding behind him to wrap his arms around him. “Tonight, when we get back to that ridiculous mansion your uncles call a villa, I’m going to…”

“Fuck me senseless, I know,” Justin cut in.

“That’s not what I was going to say,” Brian said.

Justin laughed and wiggled his ass against Brian’s crotch. “One day, we’re taking the small boat out together and you’re going to fuck me out here in the open water.”

“Sounds good to me,” Brian replied.

“God,” Justin sighed, “it’s all so beautiful.”

Brian stepped away from Justin and stared at him, his blond hair colored pink, purple and orange from the sunlight; he looked a lot like the seventeen year old kid he’d met four years ago. He couldn’t believe that they’d gone from that to being where they were now, on a small yacht with their family and friends, enjoying the beauty of nature. It was unnerving, but it was also exhilarating and Brian felt alive. They might end up fighting and needing to find an apartment with space and privacy, but for now, they didn’t need any space at all. They were together and Brian was, for once, optimistic they’d remain together and happy.

Fate had gone to so much trouble getting them together in the first place and as long as Brian and Justin loved one another, it wouldn’t allow anything to destroy them.

Pressed together on a boat, surrounded by the people they loved, neither of them had never felt more alive.

“I love you,” Brian spoke softly into Justin’s ear.

“You’re such a romantic twat,” Justin teased, looking up at Brian, his eyes watery.

“Takes one to know one,” Brian said.

That wasn’t the last time Brian said or did something romantic for Justin, but it was the last one he ever admitted to, because it was hard to deny doing it when the wind had carried his words to the ears of everyone else aboard the boat.

The End