Have a Heart


“I don’t care what Melanie says,” Brian insisted as the guys drove home from a visit with Gus. “If you and Melanie want Gus to send valentines to everybody in his class, then you should talk to him about it – not me. I don’t blame him for not wanting to send valentines to the girls in his class. I guess my kid is gay – and he ought to be able to send valentines only to the ones he wants to. Isn’t this America?”

“Well he might be gay, Brian,” Justin smiled, “and he might not be gay. We’ll find out some day but boys his age aren’t very fond of girls - whether they’re gay or not – but we do want him to be a kind person under any circumstances and I agree with Melanie….”

“Then you talk to him, Kiddo,” Brian told him. “You’re the role model for good personhood around here – not me - you and Melanie that is – two of a kind….”

“Hey Kinney,” Justin laughed. “Forget the self-sympathy. It’s not like you don’t send valentines to female personages….”

”I do not either,” Brian protested. “I hardly even do valentines at all. I like - send you and Mikey funny valentines and that’s all I send….”

“Yeah you do too,” Justin pointed out. “I was over at Kinnetics last Tuesday afternoon – while you were out at some surprise meeting – probably playing pool with Ted and Emmett - and Cynthia was sending out three-pound chocolate hearts – with almonds – from you - to all the clients – male and female alike. And I think I also saw a couple of those hearts addressed to Linz and Melanie too. So you do too send valentines to females. I think three- pound chocolate hearts - with almonds - qualify as valentines all right, Bri – so you do too....”

“Well you shouldn’t be jealous about it, JT,” Brian grinned at him. “You got yours. Seems to me I saw the eminent heart surgeon, Dr. Taylor, wielding his scalpel on his own three-pound chocolate heart – with almonds - this very afternoon.”

“Well maybe you did, Kinney,” Justin grinned back, “but I did notice that I got the same three-pound size as everybody else – just the same as everybody else…..”

”And for that you should be proud of me, JT,” Brian bragged. “I’ve learned a lot from you over the years. I got a quantity discount on those chocolate hearts but I had to buy all the same size. Tell you what I’ll do though, Babe. Since you are special, I’ll send you two hearts. That way you’ll get six pounds of chocolate for less than the charge for a five-pound heart would be. That ought to cheer your thrifty heart. And we have a couple of extras at the office anyhow. We had to buy in multiples of ten to get the discount. How’s that?”

“Gee whiz, Bri,” Justin laughed. “I guess there’s nobody in the world who can match you for sentimentality. You really embody the true spirit of Valentine’s Day.”

“OK Taylor,” Brian laughed, “I get the sarcasm – undeserved though it might be - but that’s all the more reason why you should be the one to talk to Gus about sending valentines to the girls. You could do it much more convincingly than me – since you really do understand the spirit of the holiday…..”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, Brian,” Justin conceded modestly. “I’ll talk to Gus – and he’ll send everybody in the class a valentine - and I’ll also convince Melanie that we should do it and not you. That will get you off the hook with the mommies too.”

“I appreciate that, Sunshine,” Brian unsafely took his right arm away from the steering wheel and used it to encircle his passenger. “I guess I owe you something for that. Maybe I am getting into the true spirit of Valentine’s Day after all. So think about what else I can do for you to celebrate Valentine’s Day – and you can maybe – let me know when we get back to the loft – I want this Valentine’s Day to be memorable for you – really memorable - if you know what I mean….”

“You know what, BK,” Justin told him. “I don’t need to wait till we get to the loft. I think I already know what you can do to make this February 14th even more memorable for me. Like - if you have any more extra three pound chocolate hearts with almonds, maybe I could have three?”

Brian did not respond – but he was pretty sure he could do even better than that – and he was determined to try.

And so what happened was that Justin actually got four three-pound chocolate hearts – with almonds – for the holiday – but – strangely enough - that is not at all what he remembered.


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