Brian looked over his paper to spy on Justin who was intent on making Debbie’s famous spaghetti and meatball dinner. Debbie had cheerfully handed over her secret recipe to Justin who swore he would carry on her tradition. She had long given up on Michael’s cooking talents or lack thereof. He could barely cook spaghetti let alone follow her recipe for her homemade tomato sauce. Debbie had faith in Justin, believing he had the patience and determination to render down a ton of tomatoes and turn them into her famous sauce.
Justin was alternating between stirring the huge pot of tomatoes and searching for a vital ingredient that would join the rest of the spices to make the meatballs. Brian could hear grumbling as well as some very colorful expletives.
“What’s wrong, Sunshine?” Brian sincerely asked. He had thought about teasing the younger man but Justin was serious about doing Debbie’s recipe justice. He was also seriously tearing apart the refrigerator.
“I thought I bought a Vidalia onion but I can’t find it,” Justin replied with annoyance in his voice. “And now I can’t leave this sauce to go the store.”
“Never fear, Rage is here!” Brian smiled as he went to get his jacket.
“The protector of homos and perverts everywhere. But can he walk to the corner market and bring back the perfect onion?” Justin asked with a big smile.
“I think he can handle it, JT,” Brian said as he gave Justin a kiss on the cheek then left the loft.
As Brian’s size twelves hit the sidewalk, he allowed himself to reminisce about the years he and Justin had spent together. For the most part, they were good years. They managed to survive Justin’s time in New York honing his craft; making solid contacts in the art world that would help Justin along with his career. When Justin returned to Pittsburgh, they were both ready to make a commitment to each other. They did it quietly and without fanfare, just something meaningful to both of them. With Kinnetik financially solid, winning awards and planning expansion, Brian had to admit, he was happy.
After securing the perfect onion, Brian returned to his partner.
“Ta da!” Brian exclaimed, proudly showing off his prize then offering it to Justin.
“Mmm, that is beautiful,” Justin said as he inhaled the sweet aroma of the Vidalia onion. Brian was rewarded with a kiss and wonderful sunny smile. “Now I have one more task to for you to do but can I trust you?”
“You can always trust me,” Brian said with a sly smile and a waggle of his eyebrows.
“After dinner,” Justin warned as he prepared his cutting board and took out a nice sharp knife. “Can you stir the pot while I chop this onion? If it burns on the bottom, the sauce will be ruined.”
“Now that’s a tall order. But after years of watching Debbie make her sauce, I think I can manage,” Brian said as he moved to the stove, relieving Justin of his spoon.
“Did she ever let you help?” Justin asked as he began to peel the onion.
Brian smiled. “Don’t tell Mikey, but yes, she did. Michael would be out somewhere or in his room reading comics so sometimes Deb would let me stir the pot while she’d grate the cheese or prepare the meatballs. I never told her how much I loved doing it. It meant a lot that she trusted me with her precious sauce.”
“I invited her over,” Justin said casually as he chopped the onion.
“You did? When?”
“While you were out. Carl’s visiting his grandkids this weekend, so Debbie’s all alone. And we have plenty of sauce,” Justin said.
“That we do. What time will she be here?”
“Around six. That will give us plenty of time to get the food ready and on the table.”
“Something smells good!” Debbie said loudly as she walked into the loft without knocking. “And look at this beautiful table. Holy fuck, is this real crystal?” she asked as she held up a wineglass to the light. “And this china is fit for a queen.”
“Where’s Emmett when you need him,” Brian snarked as she held Debbie’s chair as she sat down.
“None of that, Kiddo,” Debbie warned, shaking her finger at her naughty boy.
Justin dished out everything as Brian poured the wine. They waited as Debbie took her first few bites.
“Oh my God,” Debbie said softy as tears welled up in her eyes.
“You don’t like it?” Justin asked with a worried look on his face.
“Oh no, Sweetheart, it’s perfect. Just like my nana used to make. And this wine,” she held up her glass. “Magnificent!”
“It’s all right,” Brian murmured as he hid a smile behind his glass.
When dinner was over and Debbie was putting on her coat to go home, Justin handed her a container of sauce. “We have plenty,” he said before she could argue.
“Thank you, Sunshine,” Deb said as she kissed Justin’s cheek then gave it a good pinch. She then turned her attention towards Brian, giving him a loud kiss on his cheek then a playful cuff to the back of his head.
“Ow,” Brian groused as he rubbed his head.
“You take good care of my Sunshine,” she warned Brian.
“Yes, Maw,” Brian drawled.
“And you, thank you for making a dinner worthy of my grandmother,” Deb said to Justin who beamed with her praise.
“Okay, then,” Debbie said, satisfied that her boys would be fine without her. “Good night,” she finally said as she stepped into the elevator and closed the gate.
“Night!” the boys replied before going back into the loft.
“That really was good,” Brian said as he patted his belly.
“I agree,” Justin declared.
“A little more wine?” Brian asked as he held up the bottle.
“Good idea,” Justin replied as he held their glasses as Brian poured.
The boys made themselves comfortable on the cozy little sofa in the alcove, sipping their wine, stealing kisses, and just enjoying life.
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