Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
By the time Brian pulled back the door to the loft, he was exhausted and ready to kick back and relax. As luck would have it, Justin was feeling better when they woke up that morning so their trip went on as planned, but ever since they stepped into the airport, it had been one nightmare after another. First, their plane had been delayed for 90 minutes. Then there had been a minor problem that had kept them grounded until maintenance could fix it. From there the flight was uneventful, until they reached Pittsburgh in the middle of a thunderstorm and had to wait for over an hour for their luggage to be taken off the plane. A three and a half hour flight had them traveling for over ten hours. It had been a long day and all Brian wanted to do was order takeout and hide out in the loft for a few days. Unfortunately, his friends had other ideas.
He hit the play button on his blinking answering machine and listened as message after message played. Three were from Michael asking Brian to call him as soon as he got in. Apparently he wanted to hit Babylon in honor of his friend's return. Two were from Lindsay, telling her that Gus was anxious to see him. One was from Emmett, wondering when they'd be hitting the club. And the last of the messages was from Debbie, demanding he call her and arrange a good time for a welcome home dinner.
"Sounds like you're Mr. Popular," Justin commented as he dropped his suitcase and looked around at his surroundings.
"Yeah, something like that," Brian replied dryly. "The bedroom's that way. Why don't you put your bag in there and make yourself comfortable, while I deal with the masses."
Justin nodded his head in agreement and walked into the open bedroom. He was impressed with what he saw, but felt something resembling jealousy run through him. It was obvious that Brian's loft was the ultimate fuck pad. From the huge, king size bed on a platform to the strange light fixture over it, Justin could easily tell the room was set up to impress. A peek in the bathroom confirmed his suspicions as he took in the shower built for two…or three or four. He briefly wondered if their arrangement was going to work out after all. How was someone so into anonymous sex going to abstain from bed-hopping for a year?
Brian looked at the clock and saw that it was after eight. It would only be around six in Denver, which just made their day seem that much longer. He thought about ignoring all the messages he received, but knew that if he didn't respond, he'd just be harassed all night as his family tended to be impatient. He figured he'd kill all the birds with one stone and returned Debbie's call. He agreed to dinner the following night at seven and asked her to call everyone and let them know. This way he could take the rest of the night to unwind and put off seeing everyone for one more day. It also gave him time to warn Justin a little better as to what to expect in greeting. He almost couldn't wait to see the look on their faces when they met the blond. Almost.
Justin heard Brian on the phone and waited until he was finished before going back out to the living room. He found him slumped down on the sofa with his head back and his eyes closed. He wasn't sure Brian even heard him enter until his head popped up and his eyes found his.
"We have to be at dinner tomorrow night at seven. That gives us one more day before the interrogation begins. You might want to prepare yourself. These people aren't like normal people. The only good part to this dinner is that we'll get all the questions answered at one time instead of having to repeat our story over and over again," Brian sighed in dread.
"And what is our story?" Justin asked, trying not to laugh at Brian's confused expression. "I mean what are we planning on telling them? They're supposed to think that our relationship is real, remember?"
"I hate that word," Brian growled.
"Okay, comments like that aren't going to help them believe," Justin smiled. "I guess we could just tell them that it was love at first sight."
"Like hell. We'll tell them that the sex is so hot we decided to continue with it," Brian suggested.
"What?" Brian asked innocently, enjoying the blush that tainted Justin's cheeks. He could never figure out how someone so passionate in bed could blush like a school girl.
"We can't tell them that," Justin insisted. "How about if we just tell them that we met and liked each other immediately so we decided to see where it took us?"
Brian thought about it, and decided that it was the most easily believed story. That was if anyone believed that Brian Kinney would like someone enough to see where it took them. "All right, we'll go with that one. Although I still think the hot sex story is a winner."
"Okay, that's settled," Justin said, refusing to let Brian's comment get to him. "I'm thinking of skipping dinner and just going to bed. I'm kind of tired."
"Are you sure you're up for this? Maybe I should call and cancel dinner. We can do it in a few days when you're feeling better," Brian suggested with concern.
"No, that's okay. Your friends are anxious to see you again and I'm anxious to meet them," Justin insisted.
"You'll be regretting those words by tomorrow night," Brian mumbled.
"Nothing. Go on ahead and lay down. I'm going to catch up on a little work. I'll try not to wake you when I come to bed."
True to his word, Brian was quiet when he went to bed, leaving Justin to sleep straight through till morning. Justin was surprised to see that it was almost seven o'clock when he finally woke up and found the clock. Brian was sleeping soundly next to him and the loft was silent. He eased himself out of bed and went into the bathroom to relieve himself, before going into the kitchen to scrounge for coffee. Once the machine was dripping, he took a good look around at his surroundings. He had been too tired to really look at the place Brian called home the night before, but now he was able to see just how elegant the loft was. With his upper-class upbringing, it was easy for him to recognize the Italian furniture and state of the art entertainment system. He could sense Brian's expensive taste throughout the entire room; his personality was everywhere.
Justin's eye caught sight of the pictures that were out on display in the corner of the room and he went over to take a closer look. He saw a variety of people staring back at him from the photos and it made him a little nervous. He'd be meeting some of those people later that night and he wanted to make a good impression on them. Pushing aside his nervousness, Justin went back to the bedroom and pulled a pair of sweats out of his bag. He remembered seeing a small market down the street when they were arriving the night before, and wanted to go down and get a few things for breakfast. He dressed quickly and was just about out of the room when Brian's voice stopped him mid-stride.
"Where are you sneaking off to?"
"Hey, good morning, sleepyhead," Justin said as he turned around and smiled at Brian. "I'm not sneaking anywhere. I'm starving and there's nothing to eat in your kitchen. I thought I'd walk down to the store and pick up a few things for breakfast."
"Take my Jeep. The keys are on the counter," Brian mumbled in reply as he rolled back over and buried his head in his pillow. "And don't forget milk for the coffee."
"Yes dear," Justin teased as he made his way out of the room.
Brian waited until the loft door closed before climbing out of bed and heading to the shower. He was exhausted after spending most of the night on the computer. From his desktop he was better able to access his accounts and found that Gardner had been busy while he was away. The urge to call the lowlife and tell him exactly what he thought of him was strong, but Brian knew that he needed to bide his time and wait for the right moment to strike.
Once he was dressed, he called his office and waited patiently for Cynthia to get on the phone.
"Hey boss, how're things going?"
"I'm back in the Pitts, but I don't plan on being here long. How's your day? Do you have time for lunch with the boss?" Brian asked as he booted up his computer.
"I always have time for you, but what are you doing back here? I thought you had things to take care of in Denver?" she asked curiously.
"I'll explain it all to you at lunch. I need you to do me a favor though. In the bottom drawer of my desk, you'll find a disc marked old accounts. I need you to bring that to me. I also need you to tell Vance that I'm going to have to extend my trip another few weeks. Tell him it's unavoidable and that I'll be in touch with him as soon as I can. Meet me at 1:00 at the loft."
"You got it, although you owe me for this. Vance is going to freak when he finds out that you're not coming back yet," Cynthia said quietly.
"Let him freak. He'll get over it." Brian heard the elevator stop at his floor and knew that Justin was back. "I've gotta go. I'll see you at one."
Justin walked into the loft and was surprised to find Brian up, showered, and dressed. "Hey, I figured you'd still be sleeping."
"Can't sleep. Too much to do," Brian replied as he walked over and grabbed one of the bags from Justin, giving him a quick kiss before walking into the kitchen.
Justin was surprised at the way Brian kissed him, almost as if they were a real couple, but didn't comment on it. He didn't want to scare Brian by pointing out how domestic the scene seemed to be. "So, what's going on? Are you going into work today?"
"No, but I have my assistant meeting me here for lunch so that I can start working on my plans for the future," Brian said as he started unloading the bags.
"Oh, okay, I'll just take a walk or something so that you two can talk," Justin offered, trying to hide his disappointment. He was hoping that they'd be able to do something together for the day. "What time is she coming?"
"She'll be here at one, but you don't have to leave. In fact, I'd rather you be here with me."
"You might as well. You're part of my future," Brian explained. "At least for the next year or so."
Justin hated being reminded of their scam, so he chose to focus on the fact that he was going to be included in Brian's plans. "Okay, so are you going to fill me in on your plans?"
"Yep. I'll tell you all about it while you make breakfast," Brian smiled. "I like my eggs over easy."
Justin pretended to be offended even though he was actually looking forward to fixing Brian their first meal together in the loft.
Brian told Justin in detail of his plans for his own agency while they stood side by side preparing their meal. Brian barely noticed the casual way Justin had coerced him into peeling and cutting up the potatoes for the home made hash browns. By the time they were seated at the table, Justin was fuming.
"Do you mean to tell me that while you spent time with your dying uncle, that bastard was here stabbing you in the back and trying to take away your clients?" Justin exclaimed. "What an asshole!"
"Well, he didn't know about John. I just took some vacation time, but yes, that's what I'm telling you. That's one of the reasons I decided to go with the terms of John's will. I bring in a rather large salary, but my wardrobe alone eats up a chunk of that. I'd still have a few years to go before I'm ready to branch out on my own and my patience level with Vance has reached an all-time low. I want to strike now, before he starts doing damage to my reputation. I know Cynthia will help me on her end and with my savings, as well as the money I'll be getting from the will; I'll be able to get the ball rolling."
"You're going to open your own agency?" Justin asked, horrified by the thought. If Brian started his own agency in Pittsburgh, they'd never see each other. He'd never have the time to convince the older man that they belonged together if they weren't even in the same city.
"Not right away. I still have a lot of things to work out. The first part of the plan is to prolong my stay in Denver for awhile without having Vance blow a gasket. I need to stay on board at Vangard for a few months while I work out all the little details and contact my clients about moving on with me. I figure that by the time I get ready to look for office space, you'll be in a position to stay here with me." Brian saw the shock appear on Justin's face, but it didn't even compare to his own. In all his thoughts of what needed to be done, having Justin move to Pittsburgh with him, even temporarily, never entered his mind until that moment.
"You want me to move here with you?" Justin asked in confusion as his heart rate doubled.
"Uh…well…We can't pretend to be together if we're not together, can we?" Brian replied cautiously. "Those were the terms of the will, remember?"
Justin refused to let Brian's explanation put a damper on his mood. Whatever Brian's reason, moving to Pittsburgh was going to help his own plan for making Brian Kinney fall in love with him. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Moving here shouldn't be a problem. I can work on my art anywhere."
"Good, that's settled then. Now if you don't mind cleaning up, I've got some work to do before Cynthia gets here. If you get bored and want to go for a ride around town, you can take the Jeep again. Just remember to be back by one. Oh, and you should probably pick up something for lunch. There's a deli a few blocks away that makes a decent sandwich. I'll give you a list of what to get for Cynthia and me."
"Okay," Justin agreed, floating around the kitchen as he started cleaning up. He was not only living with Brian, he was moving to Pittsburgh with him. It's funny how things can change overnight. The only problem was that all the changes were happening because of John's passing, and as happy as Justin was with the way things were going, he'd give it all up in a second to have John back for even one more day.
The day seemed to fly by for Justin. He'd gone out that morning and drove around town, taking in what was soon going to be his town. It didn't take him long to find the gay area and he chuckled when he stumbled upon Liberty Avenue. He pictured Brian strutting down the street looking for tricks and couldn't help but smile to himself. He still couldn't believe that he had managed to get Brian to agree to give up tricking for the next year. It was a great rule, considering how high Brian's sexual appetite was. Sex with the same person day after day was bound to bring on emotional attachments, wasn't it? Justin parked the Jeep and walked around for awhile before heading back towards the loft. He was proud of himself when he arrived at the deli Brian talked about without getting lost. Once he had their lunch, he made it back to Brian right before Cynthia got there.
She was a beautiful woman with a strong loyalty to her boss. She immediately agreed to help Brian in any way she could, as well as promising to be ready to jump ship once he was ready to open the doors to Pittsburgh's newest agency.
After she left to go back to work, Brian and Justin continued to talk about what needed to be done until it was time to go to dinner. Justin was thankful that he kept busy all day so he didn't have time to worry about the dinner, but as Brian pulled up outside Debbie's modest home, his nerves kicked up into high gear.
"Relax," Brian said softly as he noticed Justin tense up. "I promise they won't bite."
"I know. I just want them to like me. Especially if we're going to be living here," Justin pointed out nervously.
"Don't worry, they'll like you," Brian assured him. "Now let's go, before Debbie comes out here and drags us in."
Justin laughed at Brian's words, but quickly realized that he wasn't joking when they were halfway up the sidewalk and a red-haired woman threw open the front door and came out screaming.
"Brian Kinney, it's about time you got here. You're ten minutes late."
"Sorry Deb, traffic was a bitch," Brian replied as he allowed himself to be pulled into a bone-crushing hug. "Besides, you know how much I love to make an entrance."
"Yeah, some things never change." Debbie pulled back and looked deeply into Brian's face, looking for signs of fatigue. "When was the last time you ate? Shit, you're skin and bones."
"Deb, I weigh the same as I did when I left. Trust me, I checked," Brian said with a smile.
"I doubt that. Now let's get inside and…" Debbie trailed off as she noticed the man standing off to the side. "Who's this?"
"Deb, this is Justin Taylor. He's my…we…uh…I mean," Brian stammered, unsure of exactly how to introduce Justin.
Justin tried not to laugh at Brian's floundering. "Hello Debbie, it's nice to meet you."
Debbie looked back and forth between the two men, trying to figure out what she was missing. "Brian's never brought a trick to dinner so I'll assume that you're not a trick. Now, is someone gonna tell me exactly who he is?"
"We're together," Brian mumbled uncomfortably. "Now where's that dinner you promised?"
For the first time in her life, Debbie was speechless, so instead of commenting, she turned around and walked back into the house, leaving Brian and Justin to follow behind her.
Justin glanced at Brian and tried to think of a way to replace the scowl on his face. He couldn't come up with one. "Come on, I'm hungry."
Brian took a moment to make sure his mask was in place before walking towards the house, unprepared for the questions that were about to begin.
As soon as Brian stepped across the threshold of Debbie's house a little whirlwind attacked. "Daddy, daddy, daddy," Gus shrieked. He locked his arms around Brian's leg and held on.
"Hey, Sonny Boy," Brian smiled. All his ill humor and trepidation disappeared as he looked down at his son.
"You have a son?" Justin asked. The look of shock on Justin's face threw Brian into a new round of self-doubt. How could he have forgotten to mention Gus?
"Um, could I explain later?" he whispered.
Justin wanted to yell at him for being such a fucking dickhead, but he decided this wasn't the right moment. He merely nodded, knowing that Brian was well aware of just how angry he was.
Brian picked up Gus and gave the little boy a kiss on the cheek. "Gus, I'd like you to meet my … um … boyfriend," Brian stated. "Say hello to Justin."
Gus smiled shyly and said, "Hi."
"Hello, Gus," Justin replied taking Gus' hand and giving it a little shake. That was when he realized that the room had gone dead silent. Justin glanced around noting the mouths that had dropped open and the looks of shock and awe on all the faces assembled there.
"Well, dinner's ready," Debbie declared as soon as she could find her voice. "Let's eat."
Debbie began dishing out her puttanesca into the bowls she always used. People took their bowl and glass of wine and found a seat wherever they could. Brian carried Gus' bowl and his own to the sofa and sat down. He helped Gus get situated and watched as his friends gave Justin the once over. When Justin had his bowl of pasta he looked around the room. Brian indicated he should take the seat next to Gus.
Justin was still ticked at his pretend boyfriend, but he knew that this wasn't the time to start a fight, and Gus was a cute little kid. He went over to the couch. "Do you want some wine?" he asked Brian.
"Fuck, yes," Brian stated. "I didn't have a hand to carry it."
Justin chuckled. He handed Brian his bowl of pasta and went to get them each some wine. Everyone else was getting their food and keeping an eye on what was going on with Brian and this stranger who had suddenly come into their midst, this stranger who Brian called boyfriend.
When everyone was settled, the inquisition began.
"So how did you and Brian meet?" Emmett asked.
"Denver," Brian said.
"What do you do, Justin?" Melanie inquired.
"He's an artist," Brian said.
"When did all this happen?" Michael demanded.
"Recently," Brian stated.
"Does he speak, or is he just a trained monkey?" Michael asked with a scowl. He was not at all pleased by this new person, supposedly in Brian's life.
"Michael," Brian said ominously.
Justin had had enough. "I can speak for myself. I am an artist. I lived in Denver with Brian's Uncle John. He died a few days ago. Brian and I got to know each other and we have been together ever since. Does that answer your questions?"
"For now," Debbie said. "It's good to have you here."
"Thanks," Justin said with his sunshine smile.
"Justin," Gus said, tapping Justin's leg. "Are you and Daddy going to visit me and play with me?"
"I think that might be arranged," Justin said, ruffling Gus' hair.
The little boy giggled before saying, "Good."
"You seem to have one fan anyway," Michael said sourly.
"That would be two fans," Brian stated, glaring at his best friend.
"Well, I think this is just great," Debbie added with a smile and a squeeze of Michael's shoulder.
At that point attention seemed to slide away from Justin and Brian as people talked in small groups. Justin looked over at Brian. Brian raised an eyebrow as if to ask what the matter was. Gus sat between them looking from man to man.
"Daddy?" Gus said.
"Yes, Sonny Boy," Brian said.
"I'll get you a drink, Gus," Justin said.
"Coke," Gus grinned.
"Apple juice is in the fridge," Lindsay said getting up and following Justin to the kitchen. She retrieved a plastic glass from the cupboard and handed it to Justin who filled it halfway with the juice from the fridge. "I'd like to talk to you privately," she said to Justin.
"If you're going to be around my son, I think we need to know more about you."
"I guess that makes sense," Justin said. "If Brian and I come over tomorrow evening, maybe we could talk while Brian and Gus play."
Lindsay chuckled. "Okay," she said breezily.
Justin wondered why she found that funny, but he was just starting to learn about this strange group of people and their relationship with Brian. He decided not to say anything else. He brought the juice to Gus who drank greedily.
Brian grabbed his hand and whispered, "I'm ready to get out of here."
"Sure," Justin said.
Brian kissed Gus on the head and stood up. "Okay, folks, we're heading out. See you all soon."
"Brian," Michael whined, "you just got here and I've hardly had a chance to talk to you."
"I'll call you later," Brian sighed.
"Nice you could spend two minutes with your son," Melanie griped.
"I'll see Gus soon," Brian stated and Lindsay smiled at him and winked at Justin.
Brian looked at Justin wondering what that meant. He had observed them talking in the kitchen.
"Thanks for everything, Debbie," Justin said as Brian took his hand and hauled him towards the front door.
"Yeah, thanks, Deb," Brian said quickly closing the door behind him.
"Well, that was special," Emmett cooed.
"Who do you suppose this Justin guy is?" Ted asked.
"Looks like he'll be around for a while," Lindsay said, "so we'll have plenty of time to find out."
"I thought Justin seemed very nice," Emmett said.
Michael snorted, "Yeah, nice!"
Outside, Brian and Justin headed for the car. Brian got in and Justin slid in beside him. Justin hooked his seatbelt and sat stony faced staring straight ahead.
"I take it you weren't impressed with my family and friends," Brian said as he started the car.
"Your family and friends are fine. It's you that I'm pissed at."
"What did I do now?"
"You forgot to fucking tell me that you had a son."
"And why does that make a difference?"
"Take me home before I tell you just how fucking stupid, arrogant and downright crass you really are."
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