A Leather Jacket Valentine
Author's Note: Okay, so this is almost pure fluff. Give me a break! It's Valentine's.
The fight started about nothing in particular, but everything in general.
As usual, when we were going along too comfortably and looked like we might actually make it to "happy", my damned Kinney self-destruct gene kicked in and I started to behave like a complete asshole. Are we surprised?
He knew, of course. He's always been able to see right through that little stratagem. But I guess I've put him through it one too many times, because this time he became royally pissed when he walked into Woody's where we'd arranged to meet and found me leaving with a trick.
So he hasn't spoken to me for over a week, and this time I suspect that I'm going to have to do some seriously groveling if I want him back here in my life.
So, meanwhile, to postpone the inevitable, to deny that it fucking is inevitable if I ever want to have any sort of life, I've been going through all the usual bullshit exercise, pretending that it's all for the best, and that he should be free to move on if he's not getting his needs met. Does all that sound depressingly familiar?
It's old, Brian, I tell myself. And it's fucking dishonest.
It's not his feelings you're trying to spare, it's your own pride.
But, chicken shit that I am, I'm still stuck here simmering about it.
Meanwhile, it's Valentine's tomorrow.
Happy fucking Valentine to all us sad-assed pieces of shit who just don't have the balls to "do" love!
Well, maybe the fucking cancer left me with enough ball to get something right for once, enough to go after what I want.
Now what the fuck would that little twat want for Valentine's - that isn't going to make me look like a total pussy?
I tell myself that this time I'm not going to back down. That this time, if he wants me, he's going to have to admit that, and he's going to have to show that and he's going to have to fucking come after me for once, dammit!
But that's all crap.
The main reason I haven't gone back to the loft, the reason I haven't swanned in there like I own it, like it's where I belong, is that I'm afraid of the reception I'll get.
I promised him, you see. I sat in his office and swore that this time I knew what to expect from him, that this time I was prepared to accept who he is, how he is; and, once again, I wound up lying to him.
Because it fucking hurt!
Not that he's still tricking, but that he's using it to push me away. That hurts.
He deliberately set things up so that if I hadn't been a few minutes early to meet him, I would either have sat there for hours, not knowing where he was, or else someone would have very kindly told me. Either way, I would have looked, and felt, like a complete fool. Like a totally desperate loser.
It's almost like he's trying to tell me that only a loser would want someone like him.
In fact, when you think about it, that's exactly what he is trying to tell me.
This is why I can't even stay mad at him, because I know that all the shit he pulls, or at least most of it, comes from all the hurts he carries round with him; all the unhealed wounds he has left from the way that fucking family of his treated him. From all the feelings of unworthiness that got beaten into him when he was way too young to defend himself.
And when I think of all that, I understand why he does the things he does.
And I guess that old saying is right: "Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner". Because once I reach that understanding again, I have to forgive him. Once I reach that point, all I want to do is to try to help him get past all this.
Sometimes, I get tired of it all. Sometimes I wish I'd fucking fallen in love with someone simpler, someone easy, someone like , like like Michael! Or Ted! And when I think that, I realize how ridiculous I'm being. I love Brian because he's the way he is; not despite it. Because he's difficult and challenging, and complex and maddening and not easy; because he's cold and warm-hearted, aloof and goofy, infuriating and lovable. That's why I love him. Not to mention that he's the best fuck I could ever imagine and the most beautiful man I've ever seen into the bargain. But if that were all he is, then I'd have moved on long ago. No, it's not the Kinney sex-charm that keeps me hooked, it's the Brian I see underneath all that shit. It's the one who is so afraid of us crashing and burning, who is so afraid of the pain I could inflict on him, that he'll bring everything we have crashing down around us, bring all that pain on us both, just to try to keep it in his control.
That's the fucking moron I'm in love with.
So what the fuck am I going to do about it this time?
And did I mention that tomorrow is fucking Valentine's?
Happy fucking Valentine's to all the dickheads like me who let their idiot lovers call all the shots - even when their target is the fucking powder keg.
Well, not this time, Mr. Kinney. Not this time.
Of course, this is the fucking day that he's not working in the damned diner.
I float in there with his fucking Valentine's gift burning a hole in my pocket and sure that every fag in Pittsburgh has developed x-ray vision and can see what it is, and he's not fucking there!
"Sorry, sweetie," Deb says. "He's not here."
I give her a who-the-fuck-are-you-talking-about glare, but that's a fucking waste of time, because she sees right through it.
She hesitates a moment, and then says in a voice so gentle, that it prepares me for disaster and my gut is twisting into knots before she even gets it out, "He said he needed Valentine's off. That he had plans."
I shrug, of course, and order coffee. To go. I have to get out of there.
I debate going to the Baths, or Woody's, or Babylon, or anywhere where I can get my dick sucked, and get a drink and do something to dull the pain that feels as if it's eating my heart away. But I have to go back to the loft first, I have to get rid of the evidence. I can't risk someone finding what I've got in my pocket. I have to bury it deep.
I'm tempted to dump it in the damned Allegheny, but perversely, I want to keep it, I want it there to remind me. To remind me that this shit just isn't for me. That love isn't for me. That "happy" isn't for me.
And it's just as I'm thinking that, that I realize that the door of the loft isn't locked, and then I know who must be there, know what his "plans" must be, know who his plans must be, and I can hardly walk through the doorway my knees are so fucking weak with relief.
I try not to show that, of course, but he must see it in my face. When he first looks across to me and meets my eyes, he looks tight, anxious, as if he expects me to throw a hissy fit, or snarl at him or even throw him bodily out the door (I've done all those already after all). But then he sees me, sees the look on my face, and his face softens into a smile. He looks down at what he's doing - getting some sort of shit onto a plate - but I can feel the smile all the way across the room, even when I can't see it properly.
He walks over to me.
"Hey," I say, trying for casual.
"Hey," he says back, but his voice is so low and intimate, that it's definitely an "I love you".
I look up at him then, not even trying to hide how glad I am to see him, how relieved I am that he's here, that he's not throwing me out, that he's glad to see me too.
I keep stacking the crackers on the plate, but now I'm not looking what I'm doing and they start slipping off the edge onto the counter. He laughs and picks one up, popping it into his mouth.
"So ?" he says, and there's a question in it.
I take a quick breath. "I thought, if you didn't have plans tonight, maybe we could watch a movie."
He nods. "A movie, huh?"
"Well, we could start with a movie," I offer.
"I don't have plans," he says, "but I hear you do."
I glance away and feel myself start to blush. Fucking Deb.
"Well," I say, "sort of you know nothing special."
He raises an eyebrow.
Oh, shit! I just said this was nothing special. Fuck! Now what?
"I mean ," I know what the save is, I just don't know if I've got the nerve to say it. Oh, what the fuck! "I just wanted to see you, that's all. Be with you. But if you'd rather do something else "
I hold my breath.
His tongue wanders into his cheek, and I let the breath out in a sigh of relief 'cause I know now he's teasing me.
"I can think of a couple of things," he grins.
"Before or after the movie?" I'm brave enough to ask.
He smiles then, a real smile, and takes off his coat. Under it he's just wearing a wifebeater. He scrapes off his shoes, and for once just leaves them lying on the floor. Barefoot, in jeans and the wifebeater he still looks more elegant than most men in designer suits. It's his height, of course, damn him. And the fact that he's still so damned skinny. He's never really put back on all the weight he lost when he was having the radiation.
"After," he says. "Or there'll be no fucking movie."
I grin and turn to the fridge to get out the cheese. Blue veined stilton, that he'll hardly ever allow himself to eat, and rich creamy brie.
He reaches into the little cupboard he uses as a cellar, and pulls out a bottle of red.
Then he seems to remember something, because he goes and picks up his coat. It's my favorite of his leather jackets, longer than some of the others, and the leather is old and supple. He pulls something out of the pocket, and puts it on the counter. I stare at it.
It's in an envelope. A red envelope. If it came from any other source, I'd say it was a card.
"Well, fucking open it," he barks.
I can feel my hands shaking as I reach for it, and my fingers tug at the flap. It's sealed, of course, so I get out a knife to drag along the top.
He stands watching me, supposedly impassively, as I finally get it open.
It's a real live honest to God Valentine's card.
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
It doesn't suck
That I'm stuck with you.
I don't know whether to hug him or hit him.
It was worth all the fucking trauma of having to wade through all the romantic shit to find it to see the expression on his face.
For a moment he looks as if he can't decide whether to kiss me or kill me. Then he seems to make up his mind and suddenly I've got my arms full of Sunshine.
I hold him tight enough to fucking tell him that I don't fucking want him to walk out that fucking door again, and at last, finally, thank you Jesus, I find his mouth. We kiss like it's been forever instead of a fucking week. We kiss like we want to find our way inside each other and just stay there, buried in each other forever. We kiss like we're handling the most fragile flower ever made with our lips and our tongues, passing it delicately back and forth. We kiss like we know that we have to stop fucking about or we could lose this. We kiss like sorry and we kiss like home.
Finally, we break apart for air, and the cold from the open fridge door reminds him that he was doing something, and he goes to pull away, but I just kick the door closed.
He grins at me and I rub my forehead against his, brushing our noses together on the way.
We hold onto each other a moment longer, and then he says, like the brat he is, "I found a movie from the last century, just for you. It's even black and white."
Hello, Sunshine, getting older, not losing my grip entirely. I know when I'm being set up. But, what the hell? I don't give a fuck what we watch. I shrug, and he finishes the fucking cheese platter, and I open the wine and get out some glasses and we settle together on the couch.
Funnily enough, although I'm horny, I'm not ready to fall into bed with him right now. I'm not even ready to fuck him here on the couch, or coax him to his knees in front of my cock. I need this time with him first. Time to feel him close, to hear him laugh, to have his pulse beat under my fingertips, to know that once more disaster has been averted, and somehow we've made it through yet another of my fucking queenout crises.
I pour the wine, and he turns on the tv and the dvd, and we nestle together, shoulder to shoulder, feet up on the coffee table, to watch.
The screen goes dark, and then light again, and I feel him brace himself, tightening up just a little, and when the movie starts I know why. I snort my disdain, and he laughs and relaxes against me. "You know you like it," he says.
I try to deny that, try to point out yet again that it's an overly romantic little fantasy that parallels the worst of hetero chick movies, but he shushes me, so I sigh dramatically, and sit back with my wine and let him watch.
He loves this damned movie.
I knew he'd give in.
He kicks up a fuss every time I put this movie on. I think it's just because he feels he has to. He always laughs in all the right places, and by the end, we always wind up cuddling tight together. Though he'd deny that, of course.
That's why I chose it tonight.
I think of it as "our" movie.
Funnily enough, I was living with Ethan when I first saw it at a gay film night. Back then, I would have said that I agreed with all the things Brian says about it. I would have said how unrealistic it was, and how silly, and ro-man-tic (in a really sarcastic voice) and all that. But really it made my heart ache. I had to go into the bathroom, and pretend I'd been throwing up because I'd eaten some bad fish, to hide the fact that I'd actually had to sit in a stall for five minutes before I could stop crying.
I watched it at Daph's earlier this week, and it had the same effect.
Now, watching it with Brian's body pressed close to mine, and Brian's arms around me, and Brian watching it with me because he loves me, and he knows I love the movie, now it just makes me feel warm and somehow safe.
In some way it seems to promise that as long as we can do this, have this together, then in the end, whatever our ups and downs, we'll always find our way back to each other. Silly, I suppose, but for some reason that's how sharing it with him makes me feel.
Once we watched it with both of us wearing our leather jackets, and not a lot else. That was hot, and we sort of missed the middle of the movie; but we watched the end of it together, me laying with my head on Brian's hip, and him sort of curled around me.
That was one of our most romantic nights together. He thinks he doesn't do romance, but he does. It just comes with leather, rather than with roses. That's okay. Leather lasts longer, and doesn't set off my allergies.
Roses are red
But I like black leather better.
Valentine's Day 2005
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