"Are you serious? A hundred thousand dollars?"
Brian didn't even bother turning his head. "You heard me. That's what they cost. Twenty times five thousand."
"ButBrianI mean, you must have had some money saved. I know you had some investments. You can't actually be in debt for that much money."
Sighing, he decided to give Justin the rundown, painful as it was. "The stock market is recovering, but I'm still down almost twenty percent from what it was three years ago. That's around forty thousand right there. The loft and the car are paid for, but almost everything in the loft is on time payments. That's another ten thousand. Between starting Gus' college fund and handouts, I gave Lindsay twenty thousand over the last eighteen months and I floated Michael a loan for another ten. I also gave Deb fifteen thousand to help with Vic's medical bills."
"You gave Debbie fifteen thousand? She never said anythingand you know she couldn't keep that quiet."
"I got the bank to agree to making her believe that it was a mistake on their part involving her mortgage, some kind of a giveback. I don't know what exactly, but they gave her some line of bullshit that she bought."
"But what about the anti Stockwell ads? You said they cost a hundred thousand dollars. Adding it all up, it comes to almost two hundred."
Brian looked pained. "Yeah, no shit. But I sold all the stuff in the loftwell, just about everything anyway. The naked guy got me forty-five thousand and the furniture that was clear brought in another ten. The TV went back for another five. That makes sixty. I figure that when Michael brings the `vette back I can sell it for about what I paid for it, that's thirty, making ninety."
"So you're still in debt for a hundred and ten, is that about it?"
"OK, the liquidation of your partnership has to be worth some decent money."
Brian was sitting on the bed, his back against the wall, his knees up in front of him. He leaned his head back, looking up at the ceiling. "Would have been worth over three and a half, almost four if I hadn't been stripped of my position for intentionally sabotaging a client. My shares revert to Vance. I have nothing."
Justin absorbed this. Jesus.
" Oh, yeah. I can keep my health under COBRA for a few months if I pay for it."
"We'll think of something. You'll see, we will. The worst case is that we have to start over. We'll be fine."
Justin snuggled closer, trying to give some comfort. As Brian's arm draped across his shoulders he heard, "You are such a fucking ass wipe."
"I am not an ass wipe."
"Of the worst kind."
"Are too. Shut the fuck up, I'm tired and I want to sleep."
The early next morning Justin woke in the dark, immediately knowing that he was alone. The loft had that silence that can only mean that no one else was home.
Well, shit. Brian probably just went out to get something. Maybe he heard that Mikey had returned his car or that Vance had changed his mind.
Maybe he was tricking.
Shitthat had to be it. That's where he was. Getting his dick sucked at the backroom. Goddamnit.
Angry, Justin punched his pillow a few times under the guise of reshaping the thing and managed, after some effort, to go back to sleep.
The next morning the smell of fresh coffee drew him down to the bare kitchen area. Brian was on a pillow on the floor with a mugful and a bagel.
A bagel? Brian eating carbs in the morning?
"Want some? The bagels are on the counter. I got some lox, too. Help yourself. The tea is waiting for you, too.
"Bri? Where the fuck were you last night?"
" Couldn't sleep. I went up to the roof to think."
"Get some food. I'm fine, OK?"
Deciding to drop it, Justin got himself some Earl Grey and a very good cinnamon raisin bagelwith butter and cinnamon sugar on top.
Brian Kinney with cinnamon sugar?
Alright, fine. The apocalypse was here.
A little while later he went to his double shift at the diner. When he got home he was, again, alone. The note on the counter simply said, "Had some more thinking to do. Later."
Tired, he went to sleep.
In the morning he was greeted by a fresh baked streusel and a deli fruit saladthe kind with kiwi and star fruit and guava and other weird stuff in it. The really expensive kind.
The pattern continued for about two weeks.
He would bust his balls at the diner and a couple of pick up commissions he'd gottena couple of small portraitsand at night he and Brian would stay in, maybe make love or show with a lot of steamy sex, Justin would fall asleep and Brian would go out, alone, to think.
In the morning there would be some incredible breakfast.
There was never an explanation and he never really asked for one.
Then came the night when he left the diner to go hometo a dark loft as he had come to expectonly to be cut off at the corner by a silver Boxster. The window rolled smoothly down just as he was about to shout "Asshole" at the driver.
"Who the fuck do you thinkBrian?"
"Get in and shut the fuck up."
He did as he was told.
"What the fuck is going on?"
"We're outta here."
"What the fuck are you talking about?"
They were turning onto the interstate headed westsouthwest.
"I've bee robbing banks every night. We're twenty million ahead in unmarked small denomination bills."
"You heard me."
"It's the place for us."
"No extradition treaties. I bought this incredible place in the rain forest. No one can touch us. We'll be fabulousthe most fabulous fags in Belize."
"Bri, I dunnomy Mom and the gang and the cops will put the squeeze on us "
Brian bored his big brown eyes, burning the blond boy bombshell beside him and beggingly breathed "Pleasebelieve, big squeeze freeze in Belize trees."
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