Brian and Justin had just settled into a dimly-lit remote booth at one of Pittsburgh’s upper-scale bistros.

“Well – so far so good,” Brian allowed. The room was not crowded and none of their fellow diners looked at all familiar. “We’re getting to do our little Valentine’s Day celebration without running into a lot of folks we know – not like some years ….”

“So not doing our celebrating on Valentine’s Day itself is paying off,” Justin grinned at him. “Or we’re just getting luckier. And we can still try to celebrate on February 14th too. That works for me, Kinney ….”

“Partying always seems to work for you, Taylor,” Brian laughed. “So - did you enjoy the romantic movie I picked for us to see? Bet you never even heard of it – foreign film and all - but I noticed you were paying attention to the sub-titles so ….”

“Like – I don’t speak any Bengali, Brian,” Justin pointed out. “How was I supposed to know what was going on if I didn’t pay attention to the sub-titles?”

“Us real romantics could tell, Kiddo,” Brian laughed. “We don’t need sub-titles. The language of love is universal. Bengali, English, Tagalog – all the same…. Anyhow, did you like the picture?”

“Yep,” Justin told him, “but I would have liked a happier ending. She like – let him get away at the end ….”

“Yeah, Sweetheart,” Brian admitted, “I guess you wouldn’t like that part of it – even if it was a lot more romantic than ‘happily ever after’ – like – nobody would ever get away from you – tenacious as you are – so you wouldn’t understand ….”

“Well I probably shouldn’t be telling you this,” Justin countered tentatively.

“Somebody actually got away from you?” Brian was incredulous. “This I do want to hear. You must have been very young ….”

“It was my freshman year at St. James, Brian,” Justin confessed. “His name was Phillip. He had sandy hair and blue eyes and he had a green and white velour jacket and he played basketball – and he was like – a junior and ….”

“And you admired him from afar,” Brian presumed, “and he never knew ….”

“Not so far afar, BK,” Justin corrected Brian’s impression. “His locker was just down the hall. Daphne had the locker next to me and her locker partner’s name was Carol. Well, at least a couple of times a week, Phillip would stop by to talk to Carol – and he always would say ‘Hi Justin’ if I happened to be at my locker when he came by ….”

“Which - knowing you - I’m guessing you always were, Baby,” Brian jibed. “And I suppose you never figured it out that he was really coming over to see you. Did he ever say anything to you besides ‘Hi’?”

“Sure did,” Justin remembered. “He often commented on the weather – and sometimes he mentioned the basketball games. I was a big basketball fan back then. Me and Daph went to every game our first two years at St. James.”

“And then Phil graduated and you never went to another game …” Brian deduced with a certain amount of amusement.

“Well we got involved in a lot of other stuff as upper-classmen, BK,” Justin defended himself. “But I never lost my interest in basketball either ….”

“Strange, Babe,” Brian wondered, “that I never knew about your interest in basketball till now. Pitt and Duquesne both have good teams these days. We’ll have to go sometime soon ….”

“Yeah,” Justin agreed with a lack of real enthusiasm.

“Don’t feel bad about Phillip, Sunshine,” Brian sympathized. “Phillip didn’t really get away from you. It’s just that those crazy heteros don’t get it ….”

“That’s what I thought too back then, Brian,” Justin told him. “But then - later on – I saw him at Babylon – I think he smiled at me but I’m not all that sure - but now I have reason to believe that the crazy hetero excuse doesn’t hold – even if he did eventually marry Carol and have a couple of kids at least. He probably was really coming to our lockers to see me – and I never knew ….”

“So maybe he did get away, Baby,” Brian reasoned. “But that also might have been the most romantic outcome possible. If you had talked to him more than to say ‘hello’ and talk about the weather and basketball, you might have found out that Phil was a complete dud – regardless of his sandy hair and blue eyes – and green and white velour jacket … So why didn’t you tell me about Phil before this, JT?”

“Maybe I thought you’d maybe – like – be a little bit jealous, BK,” Justin explained with a grin. “Even if there’d be no reason for any jealousy on your part ….”

“Au contraire, my dear Justin,” Brian grinned back at him. “I am jealous of good old Phillip – and with very good reason ….”

“You are?” Justin reacted with surprise. “Why?”

“Yep, I am,” Brian reiterated. “Didn’t he get away?”

“OK, Kinney,” Justin responded. “That was mean – and I’m gonna get back at you too. You just wait and see if I don’t ….”

“Like – what do you have in mind, Sweetheart?” Brian challenged.

“Well since tonight’s on you, Mr. Kinney,” Justin came back, “I guess I’ll order the most expensive thing on the menu – and when we get back to the loft I might even fantasize that you’re really Phillip …..”

“No you won’t, Taylor,” Brian laughed at him. “Not a chance …..”

“Well I might still order the most expensive thing on the menu anyhow,” Justin held his ground – at least partially. “And just one other thing, Brian Kinney – you are never gonna be the man that got away either – so you can just forget about that. It ain’t gonna happen ….”

“I guess if you can’t have everything,” Brian told him – with mock resignation, “you have to settle for what you have.”

And they both tacitly agreed that was exactly what they really wanted to do.

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