Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Justin pulled the Jeep up in front of the Sidney Bloom Gallery. He had dropped Brian off at Vangard and had driven around for a bit. Lindsay had told him she worked at this gallery and had invited him to come and look at their latest show. Anything to do with art always intrigued Justin. Having nothing better to do with his day, Justin decided to explore the gallery.
He pushed open the door and stepped inside. He smiled to himself. He liked the look of the gallery, very crisp and modern. They had given each piece of art lots of room. Nothing got into another work of art's way. Justin respected that in a gallery. He began to wander around looking at the artwork on display.
Suddenly Lindsay was at his elbow. "So, how do you like our show?"
"Um … I like the way you have laid out the exhibit," Justin said in a non-committal fashion.
"That doesn't answer my question," Lindsay said raising an eyebrow.
"The artist is very good. It's just not my cup of tea."
"Oh, and what is your cup of tea?" Lindsay asked. She had thought Justin would be impressed with this show. She had found the artist and had been mainly responsible for the show.
"I didn't mean to offend you," Justin hastily replied. "I'm sure there are lots of people who love this type of art."
"But not you."
Justin shook his head. "I don't care for this sentimental kind of stuff, but I bet you've sold most of it."
"Yes, we have," Lindsay said defiantly.
"I thought so."
"So, what is your work like?" Lindsay asked, suddenly curious about Justin Taylor.
"Have you got a computer?" Justin asked.
"In the office."
Justin followed Lindsay into the office where he sat down in front of the screen. He typed in the address of his site and called up some of his paintings. "Most of the paintings shown here are sold. I haven't put up my latest stuff yet. I'm having a show in Denver in about a month."
"I'm impressed," Lindsay said as she clicked on the thumbnails and brought up the bigger representations. "These are oils?"
Justin nodded. "I've done some watercolors but it isn't my favorite medium."
"These sketches are wonderful," Lindsay said exploring another part of the site. "It's interesting that your work is so abstract, and your sketches are so lifelike."
"I'm a contradiction in terms," Justin laughed.
"There's obviously a lot more to you than meets the eye."
"Thanks, I think," Justin said with a little smile. "It's almost noon. Can I treat you to lunch?"
"That would be lovely," Lindsay said with a smile.
"Where would you like to go?"
"There's a nice little café just down the street."
Justin walked with Lindsay to the café. He wanted to get to know her better, especially since she was one of Brian's oldest and best friends. He knew he'd never get anything about Brian out of Michael. The man seemed to have taken an instant dislike to him.
Lunch was pleasant. Justin got Lindsay to tell him about the young Brian Kinney she had known in university. Gradually Justin got a picture of a very hot young student, experimenting with sex, brilliant at his studies, and hell bent on getting away from his family. Lindsay was reluctant to say much about Brian's parents. She merely called the family dysfunctional. Justin did learn that Brian had a sister who had two children. The sister had little to do with Brian unless she needed something. The more Justin heard, the more he understood why Brian was so aloof and not at all interested in relationships. He had nothing but bad examples to base his understanding of relationships on.
After lunch Justin drove back to Liberty Avenue. He liked the area - it was so … gay. Justin chuckled to himself as he parked the car and got out. He walked along the street looking into store windows and assessing places that he might like to shop.
"Hi, hi, hi," someone called to him.
Justin looked up and saw one of the people from Debbie's dinner running across the road towards him. "Hi," Justin said. "You're Emmett, aren't you?"
"I most certainly am," Emmett laughed. "And you're Justin, the once and future love of Brian Kinney's life."
"I guess you could say that," Justin acknowledged, feeling his cheeks start to burn.
"What are you doing on Liberty Avenue this fine day?"
"Just looking around."
"Come have coffee with me," Emmett suggested.
"Okay," Justin agreed. He hoped to learn more about Brian from his friend. Besides Emmett seemed to be one of the people who had accepted him at Debbie's dinner.
They walked along the street and Emmett headed into the diner. Justin looked around. It seemed like a strange place to go for coffee when he had seen a Starbucks sign just up the street. They had barely settled into a booth when a high pitched shriek assaulted their ears.
"Well, if it isn't the fucking boyfriend," Debbie yelled, coming to a halt next to their table.
"Hello, Debbie," Justin said looking up at her. He tried not to cringe at her exuberance and her colorful language.
"What the hell are you doing here?" she demanded.
"Emmett met me in the street and we came in for a coffee." Suddenly Justin was wishing that he had stayed in the Jeep or gone back to the loft.
"A couple of cups coming right up," Debbie said as she headed behind the counter.
"I'll have a donut," Emmett called.
"Make that two," Justin added.
"I see you don't have your boyfriend's appetite," Emmett laughed.
"Has Brian always eaten like a bird?" Justin chuckled.
"He's afraid he'll lose his studly figure if his lips touch some butter or carbs or chocolate. I could never exist on what he eats."
"Me either," Justin agreed.
"Here you go, boys," Debbie said setting down two donuts and pouring them coffee.
"Thanks, Deb," Emmett said.
Debbie stood staring down at Justin. After a minute, Justin started to squirm.
"What is it?" he said, feeling rather put upon.
"I was just trying to decide what it was that you had, that made Brian fucking Kinney fall for you," Debbie said.
"Am I that bad looking?"
"Sunshine, you're a fine specimen, but Brian has had every specimen under the sun. What makes you different?"
Justin didn't like the sound of that. Obviously Brian's reputation for love 'em and leave 'em, or rather fuck 'em and leave 'em, had not been exaggerated. Justin began to wonder what he had gotten himself into. He sucked in a deep breath. "I guess I'm just special," Justin said with a straight face.
Emmett almost choked on his donut. Debbie gave a snort and went to wait on somebody else.
"Why does everybody find it so impossible that Brian and I are a couple," Justin said, pulling off a piece of his donut.
"Because Brian Kinney doesn't do relationships, or boyfriends, or commitment, or love, or…"
"Okay, okay, I get it," Justin held up his hands in surrender.
"So nobody can figure out why that changed all of a sudden."
"Isn't it enough that it did?"
"Hm," Emmett said and continued eating his donut.
Justin knew he had not answered Emmett's questions, but how could he do that when there were no real answers. He sipped his coffee wondering what had ever possessed him to come there.
"Hey, Emm," a voice said from behind Justin.
Justin turned his head and felt his anxiety go up even more. It was Michael, Debbie's son, and the one who had been most disturbed by Justin appearing with Brian at Debbie's dinner. Justin steeled himself for the inquisition he knew was coming.
"What are you doing here?" Michael demanded, finally realizing who was sitting with Emmett.
"Having coffee and a donut with Emmett," Justin replied.
"What the fuck are you doing in Pittsburgh?" Michael amended.
"I'm here with Brian."
"You don't really expect anybody to believe that, do you?" Michael sneered.
Justin felt his blood run cold. This Michael seemed to know that they were only playing at being partners. He seemed to have seen right through them. Justin opened his mouth but nothing came out.
"Michael," Emmett said in a warning voice.
"No, Emm, I want to know why this little upstart thinks he can come here and claim Brian as his boyfriend."
"I'm not claiming anything," Justin retorted suddenly finding his voice. "I am Brian's boyfriend."
"Like any of us believe that," Michael snorted. "Brian's just playing with us, and he's definitely playing you."
"Why, why would you say that?" Justin asked in a voice that trembled. Maybe Michael knew a lot more than Justin thought.
"I say it because it's the truth. I'm Brian's best friend and I know him better than anyone else. He would never have a boyfriend, especially someone like you."
"Well, fuck you, Michael! I don't have to sit here and listen to this crap." Justin stood up, fished some money out of his pocket and tossed it on the table. "Maybe we can have coffee another time when there aren't so many fucking rude interruptions," Justin said to Emmett. Justin stalked out of the diner and headed for the Jeep.
As soon as he reached the Jeep he climbed in and sat trembling in the front seat. He wanted to get back to the loft, away from Brian's so-called friends, but he couldn't make his hands and feet work. He sat in the Jeep for ages, waiting for the feeling to come back to his extremities and his heart to start beating at a normal rate. Somewhere during that time the tears had started rolling down his face, and he just couldn't seem to stop them.
Some time later Justin managed to start the car and get it back to the loft. He crawled into bed, pulled the covers over his head and prayed that soon he would get warm again. He had never been so miserable in his whole life, not even when his father had disowned him. Back then he had had John to lean on, and now he had nobody. He should have Brian, but this whole thing was a big farce. In reality, he had no one. Finally he fell asleep dreaming about being back in Colorado, in John's house with John to look out for him.
When Brian arrived home from work, he was fuming. Justin was supposed to have picked him up at the office. He had waited and waited, trying Justin's cell phone, all to no avail. Finally he had taken a cab home, but that had done nothing to ease his anger at being left in the lurch.
Brian entered the loft. It seemed to be empty.
"Where the fuck is he?" Brian said aloud. He thought he heard a noise from the bedroom. He ran up the steps and saw the large lump huddled under the covers. "Justin?" he said "Justin, are you all right?"
The covers slowly were pulled back revealing Justin's tormented face. "I want to go home," he whispered and then hid his face again.
"You are home," Brian said gently, wondering what had happened to the happy young man who had left him at the office that morning. "What happened?"
"I want to go home … to Colorado," Justin said more forcefully, but he didn't come out from under the covers this time. "I don't like it here."
"But what about our agreement? What happened?"
"I can't do it anymore," Justin sighed, still keeping his head under the covers.
"Justin, come out of there. We need to talk." Brian tried to pull the covers off his reluctant partner, but Justin refused to let go. "We had a deal," Brian said exasperated.
Justin threw back the covers at that comment. "Fuck you, and fuck our deal! I'm going home. I hate this town and I hate you!"
"Jesus, what happened? You were fine this morning."
"Your fucking friends happened!" Justin yelled. "They fucking hate me, and they don't believe that we're together. I can't do this anymore."
"What friends? Who did you see?"
Justin sat glaring at Brian. He didn't know whether he should tell Brian the whole sad tale or just get up and start packing to go back to Denver.
"I went to Liberty Avenue after I dropped you off," Justin admitted.
"What the fuck for?"
"What am I supposed to do all day? Sit around here and never see the light of day?" Justin demanded.
"That's not what I meant," Brian said, finally realizing how unfair it was to Justin, having taken him away from everything he was familiar with, and then leaving him alone all day long. "What if you bought some paints and starting working on your art?"
"I don't want to work on my art … here. I want to go home." Justin realized he sounded like a petulant two year old, but that was what he wanted. He wanted to go home, wherever that might be. The closest he was going to get to home was Denver.
"I … I thought this might become your home," Brian whispered.
Justin did a double take as he looked at Brian to see if the man was kidding. Michael's words resonated in his brain. "Brian's playing you." Justin stared at Brian looking for a smirk, or some other kind of indication that Brian was making fun of him or saying it just to keep him there. When he saw no such thing, he had to ask, "Do you really mean that?"
Brian sucked in a breath. "I don't want you to leave," he said.
"Why? Because you'll lose your chance to open your own agency? Maybe that reason isn't good enough anymore."
"Justin," Brian said. He reached out for his lover, and Justin let himself be pulled into Brian's embrace. "I don't want you to go."
"W…would you miss me if I wasn't here?"
"It's your call, but … yes, I would miss you. I've grown quite fond of you," Brian admitted, at about the same moment that it registered with him that Justin Taylor had become something more than a means to an end. Brian wasn't sure what Justin meant to him, but he did not want to lose him.
"I'm kind of fond of you too," Justin said, feeling his cock grow hard at Brian's words and the intimacy of being held in Brian's arms.
"I can see that," Brian replied, allowing his hand to rub over the front of Justin's jeans.
Justin gasped and held onto Brian's neck. "Fuck me, Brian," he whispered into Brian's ear.
Brian quickly unzipped Justin's jeans and stripped them off. He felt his suit jacket being shoved off his shoulders and then they were naked. Brian rolled on a condom and pushed Justin over onto his stomach. He lubed the blond and his own dick and plowed into the willing ass. Justin moaned and then let out a breathy, "Yes!" That made Brian smile. He could never remember having a more willing and talented partner. Brian used every trick and every nuance he had ever learned in his many years of fucking. He wanted to show Justin that he meant something to him. He wanted Justin to know that even though they had an arrangement, there was more to it than that. He wanted Justin to understand that he didn't know what was happening between them, but he wanted Justin to stay until he could figure it out.
Justin felt Brian pouring himself into their fucking, and it made him smile. He had quickly learned that Brian did his best talking with his body, especially with his dick up Justin's ass. Justin tried to listen to what Brian was telling him. He felt the tenderness that Brian used as he grasped Justin's shoulder for purchase. He heard the murmured, "Don't go," that Brian whispered against his neck. He let the orgasm wash over him knowing it was Brian's way of telling him that they were good together. And they were. There was no doubt of that in Justin's mind.
Brian pulled Justin into his arms and they lay silently on the bed for a while. "You okay now?" Brian finally asked.
"Sex doesn't fix everything no matter how good it feels at the time," Justin replied.
"Shit! I've been doing it wrong all this time!"
Justin had to laugh. "No, you do it just right … which is part of the problem."
"What does that mean?"
"I like being with you, Brian. The sex is phenomenal. I like being your boyfriend, even if it is just pretend."
"Then what's the problem?"
"I've never been very good at lying."
"You've done fine so far," Brian said, thinking he was paying Justin a compliment. He felt the man stiffen next to him.
"I don't like lying. And today … at the diner … it was like Michael could see right through what we're doing."
"Ah, Michael," Brian sighed. "You give him too much credit."
"But he said that I could never be your boyfriend. That he knew we were playing some sort of game, and that you were playing me. Are you playing me?"
"Justin, Michael has always thought that we would be together. He's like my brother, and that's how I love him … like a brother. But he doesn't seem to think I can be with anybody else, and until you came along, I would have to agree with him."
Justin felt his heart soar. "You think you could be with me."
"If I was going to be with anyone, it would be you," Brian said carefully.
Justin smiled. That was more than Brian had ever said before. He snuggled up against his lover and decided that maybe he could stay a little longer. This hadn't played itself out yet.
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