Now You See Them



“You have to be kidding, JT,” Brian was protesting from the breakfast table in the loft. “We have to have dinner with Emmett again tonight ….”

“Gee whiz, Brian,” Justin told him. “We always have dinner with Emmett after he loses a boyfriend. It cheers him up ….”

“I think this is the third time already this year, Kiddo,” Brian explained his reticence. “I’ve heard about ‘the man who got away’ but Emmett makes that like – the army that got away. What the hell is the matter with Emmett?”

“I guess he’s maybe a little bit too particular, Mr. Kinney,” Justin volunteered. “His standards are too high ….”

“Well maybe, Kiddo,” Brian laughed. “But I like – settled for the first boyfriend I ever had. Does that mean my standards were too low?”

“The subject is Emmett, Brian,” Justin cut him off. “Not us. Ralph is gone and Emmett needs our encouragement …..”

“Like he needed our encouragement a few months ago when Francis disappeared and a couple of months before that when he lost – I think – Eugene …” Brian grouched. “I don’t think Emmett picks guys very well. You’re the great matchmaker around here. Why don’t you find somebody that will work out permanently and do your thing. I’m tired of consoling Emmett over his lost loves and telling him he’ll find someone else. I know he’ll find somebody else - and then in six weeks that guy will be history too ….”

“Well Mikey has a candidate,” Justin pointed out. “He might be the very one. His name is Alfred and he’s a customer at the comic book store. I met him a couple of times but I don’t know him well enough yet so I can’t say for sure ….”

“You’re gonna introduce them then, Baby,” Brian presumed. “Or Mikey is. Maybe we should take Alfred along with us tonight – or would that be bad taste. I guess we have to help him get over the one before we trot out the next candidate …. Still ….”

“Actually I was thinking about that very thing, Bri,” Justin confessed. “And it sounded good to me - until Emmett called last night and told me he was bringing a new ‘friend’ with him tonight ….”

“So we’re like – supposed to console Emmett on the loss of Ralph in the actual presence of Ralph’s successor,” Brian laughed. “You can get us in the dumbest fixes ….”

“That’s what friends are for, Kinney,” Justin maintained cheerfully. “To help their friends over the rough spots in their lives. I’ll admit Emmett has more than his share of rough spots – but I’m sure Emmett would be there for me if you were ever to …. And at least Emmett won’t be alone for Valentine’s Day if he’s found somebody else.”

“If the new guy lasts two weeks, that is. Not a good bet. Can we make a deal, JT? If I promise never to roam, Sweetheart – so you’ll never need Emmett’s consolation services yourself ,” Brian smiled at him, “could we then like – maybe – only console Emmett every second or third lost boy-friend?”

“You making that promise. Bri?” Justin smiled back at him. “A no roaming guarantee – without me even asking for it.”

“Maybe,” Brian equivocated. “But I’m not sure why I’m doing it. Say - is this whole business some kind of a trap to get me to make a bunch of promises?”

“Gee whiz, Brian Kinney,” Justin put his arm around his somewhat confused friend. “Would I ever do a thing like that? Me? Justin Taylor?”

“You just might, Taylor,” Brian allowed. “You just might. I wouldn’t be surprised if ….”

“I can see my attempts to cheer you up will all be in vain since you feel like that, BK,” Justin ran his fingers through Brian’s hair. “Want me to dial Emmett for you?”

“Nah,” Brian told him. “No need to bother Emmett with my problems. I’ll just try to make do with you ….”

Justin did not make any objection to that. He thought he could handle Brian’s problem. That’s what friends are for.

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