Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Later that day, Brian opened the door of the mansion and looked in with some apprehension. He wondered if Justin would be there, waiting for him. He dreaded facing the man. And yet, he hoped Justin might be there, waiting for him. His lips still burned with the taste of the kiss Justin had given him at Lyle's office. His body ached to claim Justin's one last time. His eyes scanned the foyer and found it empty.
With a sigh, Brian walked over to the library. If Justin was waiting for him, that would be where Brian would find him. That room was empty too. Brian entered the library and sank down in one of the club chairs. He would miss this place. It had become a home of sorts. And Justin was there. He would miss Justin, even though he didn't want to. There had been something special between them, Brian couldn't deny that. He just wished he knew what to do about it.
Finally Brian got up and went upstairs to his bedroom. He checked all the closets and drawers, having packed pretty well everything the night before. It was amazing how much stuff he had accumulated in the year that he had spent in Denver. He checked the bathroom, noting that his shaving kit still sat on the counter. He would need it in the morning.
Everything seemed to be in order, ready, finished. Except for one thing. Brian knew there was still unfinished business between him and Justin. He needed to find the man. Taking a deep breath, Brian went out into the hall and headed for Justin's studio. He was sure that's where he would find the blond. But the studio was empty too. Maybe Justin had decided to stay away from the mansion until after Brian was gone.
As Brian headed back down the hall, he noted that the door to John's bedroom was slightly open. He paused at the door and heard a muffled voice. Brian pushed the door open a bit further and could see Justin sitting beside John's bed talking quietly to John.
"I'm sorry, John. I know you wanted Brian and me to be together, but I guess I'm just not enough for him. I did my best and I do love him. In fact I think I love him too much. That's probably what has driven him away." There was a strangled sob. "I'm really, really sorry. I know how much you wished for us to be together, and we were, for a while. I almost believed it, but I guess it was just wishful thinking on my part. Brian leaves tomorrow and I doubt that I will ever see him again. I failed us both."
Justin leaned his head down on the bed. Brian could hear him crying softly. He stood in the doorway staring at Justin. Raw emotion like this always scared him. His own emotions were always so under control that he had no idea what to do in a situation like this. He could just walk away and pretend that he never witnessed it. But he couldn't leave Justin like that. The man needed comfort, needed something to hold onto, needed him.
Against everything that he believed in, Brian opened the door and stepped into the room. He said softly, "Justin." He saw Justin's shoulders stiffen.
"Go away," Justin said, his head still buried in his arms on the bed.
"I I can't," Brian managed to say.
Justin sat up and wiped at his eyes. He turned his ravaged and beautiful face towards Brian. "Of course, you can," he said trying to make his voice like steel. "You're leaving tomorrow."
"I know, but now "
"And what do you think I'll be doing once you leave?" Justin demanded. "I'll have my little cries, because " A little choke stopped Justin's voice. "I'll have my little cries," Justin began again, finding a stronger voice. "But I'll get by. I'm strong."
"I know you are. I just hate seeing you like this."
'Then stay!' Justin wanted to scream. Instead he drew in a breath and said, "Well, I guess that's just the way it is."
Brian stared at Justin for a moment wanting to take the sad young man into his arms. He didn't know what to say or what to do to make things better.
"I guess I'm through wallowing for today," Justin said abruptly and stood up. He walked past Brian and had almost made his escape when he felt Brian's hand grab his arm.
"Justin, I'm sorry if I hurt you. I didn't mean "
"Shut up!" Justin yelled. "Shut the fuck up." He tried to pull his arm away, but Brian wouldn't let go.
"I'm just trying to make this better," Brian said lamely.
"Well, you're making it worse," Justin declared. "Leave me alone."
"Justin," Brian whispered as he pulled the man into his arms. "Justin," he repeated into Justin's hair. "Justin," he practically moaned as he felt Justin melt against him.
Justin felt his body lean into Brian's. He knew he should stop it. He knew he should get out of the room as fast as he could. He knew this would lead to other things that should not take place. But he didn't want Brian to let go of him ever. Justin drew in a shuddering breath. And then he reached up and pulled Brian's lips against his own.
Brian hesitated for a second and then lost himself in the feel and the taste of Justin Taylor. He knew they shouldn't be doing this, but he didn't want to stop. He wanted Justin Taylor more than he had ever wanted anything.
Justin felt Brian respond and he opened his mouth to the tongue that was demanding entrance. He knew this was crazy. He should get out of there, but at that moment he didn't care. It felt so good having Brian pressed against him. There was nothing he liked better. He deepened the kiss even more, feeling them both grow hard.
"Take me, Brian. I want you," he whispered breathlessly when the kiss finally ended. He knew he should be locked away in an insane asylum for even allowing things to get this far. And yet he wanted more. One more time with Brian might tide him over for a few weeks after Brian was gone. No, he refused to think about Brian's departure. All that mattered was the here and now.
Brian hesitated for a split second before he scooped Justin up and tossed him onto John's bed. He began pulling off Justin's clothes as Justin returned the favor for him. When they were both naked, after several more searing kisses, after wandering hands and tongues had found all the most stimulating and delicious points on each other's body, Brian rolled on a condom.
"Are you sure?" he asked Justin.
Justin felt a little smile curl the corners of his lips. That was why he loved Brian. He knew that if he said no, Brian would stop. Brian might not like it, but he would stop. "If you want it too," Justin chuckled.
Brian didn't reply, he merely shoved Justin onto his back and hiked his legs onto his shoulders. He eased the head of his cock into Justin's pink hole. Justin groaned and held Brian's arms. Brian watched his cock disappear into Justin's warm and yielding body. When he was finally embedded, he whispered, "Yes," before kissing Justin long and hard.
At the end of the kiss he had to start thrusting. They hadn't done this for weeks and he had missed it so much. Justin met all he had to give. He squeezed Brian's dick with authority, and at every point that he knew would give Brian the most pleasure. Brian shifted his hips and worked to hit every sweet spot that he had ever found on and in Justin's body. This would be a memorable last fuck for both of them.
Some time later, covered in sweat and straining to keep going, Brian gasped, "Now!" With a final thrust they were both coming and everything went blurry and it was hard to breathe. And then they were lying locked together, Brian on top, and Justin holding him there.
Justin felt Brian shift a bit and his cock slipped out. 'For the last time,' rattled through Justin's brain. He closed his eyes hard to keep back the tears. It was over. He knew that, and what they had just done wouldn't change that one iota.
Brian knew Justin was fighting tears, and so was he, if he allowed himself to think about it. The thought of never doing this with Justin again was almost unbearable. So was the thought of never hearing Justin's giggle or seeing that sunshine smile.
"You okay?" Brian asked when he could get his voice to work.
Justin bit his bottom lip and didn't answer. He wasn't all right, not at all. Justin hung onto Brian and remained silent.
Brian tried to shift off Justin, but the man refused to release him. If anything, he held Brian more tightly. "Justin, I must be crushing you," Brian said gently.
Justin said nothing but he held on even more tightly, more desperately.
"Justin, you need to let me go."
Justin felt a tear slide down his cheek. He pulled Brian's head down against his face and kissed his cheek. "Goodbye," he whispered before he released Brian from his hold. As Brian rolled away, Justin sat up, threw his legs over the side of the bed and ran naked from the room.
Justin quickly covered the distance to his bedroom door. He flew inside slamming the door behind him and locking it. He stood by the door gasping for breath and feeling like his heart was going to explode in his chest. He had never felt so close to anyone in his whole life as he felt to Brian. And now he had to let him go back to Pittsburgh, back to his old life, back to a time before Justin.
Justin leaned his back against the door. The tears fell in earnest. Slowly he slid down the door until he was a crumpled heap at the base of the doorway. He would stay there a long time before he had the will or the energy to move.
Brian rolled over in time to see Justin's lovely bottom disappear out the door. He managed to call Justin's name at the precise moment that he heard a door slam down the hallway. He dropped back on the bed with a groan. What the fuck had he done? He'd made matters worse, that's what he'd done. He looked down at his flaccid dick, and for the first time in his life he cursed it.
After laying on the bed for a few minutes, Brian decided he better get dressed. He quickly retrieved his clothes and put them on. Justin's clothes were flung all over the room. He gathered them up and folded them neatly. When he was done, he looked at John's bed where he had just made love to Justin, and it was making love. Justin had taught him the difference between making love and fucking somewhere along the rocky road of their relationship. Brian shook his head at his use of those terms.
"Thanks, Uncle John," Brian said looking at the bed. "I've made a total fuck up of everything. And it's largely thanks to you. Even though I'm sure you wanted the best for Justin and me, things are really a mess. I'm glad I got to meet you, but I wish the fuck I had never come here."
Brian walked out of the room. He went down the hall to Justin's room and tapped on the door. There was no answer, so he laid the pile of clothes in front of the door. He whispered, "Goodbye, Justin," and then went back to his own room. He picked up the phone and called a cab. With a decisive stride, he went into the bathroom, retrieved his shaving kit and threw it into his suitcase.
Armed with a suitcase in each hand, Brian made his way downstairs. He set his bags down by the front door. He went into the kitchen and said goodbye to Margaret who had made many a meal for him. She was surprised that he was leaving and told him that she had planned to make a special breakfast for him the next morning. He thanked her and said maybe another time.
Brian then hunted for Arthur, and finally found him outside taking a break on the back patio. Arthur was very surprised that Brian was leaving right then since he knew that Brian's flight was the next morning. Arthur shook Brian's hand and said that he had enjoyed helping him get Kinnetik up and running, and that he would miss having Brian around the mansion.
A horn honking out front told Brian that his cab had arrived. He headed for the front door, picked up his suitcases and got into the cab. He refused to look back. The cab pulled into the laneway and headed for the front gate.
Justin watched the cab disappear down the driveway and through the gate. He stood looking through a crack in the drapes of his room. He had heard the cab honk and had managed to get up off the floor in time to see Brian load his luggage into it. The gates swung closed behind the cab and Justin knew that Brian was gone for good. He whispered, "Goodbye, Brian," before climbing naked into his bed and pulling the covers over his head.
* * *
Brian tried to sleep on the plane ride back to Pittsburgh. He had gotten little rest in the hotel near the airport where he had spent the previous night. Every time he had closed his eyes he saw Justin's tear stained face and he felt worse and worse. He knew the man loved him, and maybe Brian loved him back, in some way. But that was the problem, the Kinney legacy of bitterness and dysfunction weighed heavily on him. He didn't know what love was. He couldn't love anybody, not even Justin. Justin was better off without him.
Finally Brian put his seat back up and asked the flight attendant for a couple of bottles of scotch. If he couldn't sleep, he could drink.
At long last, the plane landed in Pittsburgh. Brian grabbed a taxi and headed for the loft. Maybe when he was back in familiar surroundings, he could start to get his life back together. He could bury himself in his new business and forget all about the ill fated trip to Denver that had cost him a year of his life.
The loft looked the same. But it didn't feel the same. Everywhere that Brian looked he could see Justin, sleeping in the platform bed, curled up on the sofa with a sketchbook, putting a CD into the stereo, making a sandwich in the kitchen, fucking in the shower.
Trying to leave those unwanted memories behind, Brian unpacked and stowed the suitcases in his storage space. He booted up his computer and read through his e-mails. He called Cynthia and arranged to meet her and Ted at the new Pittsburgh headquarters of Kinnetik. He stared at the phone wondering how things were going at Kinnetik Denver. He wanted to call, but he knew they had to be able to function on their own. They would call if anything required his attention.
When he had used up his complement of make work projects and he was still thinking about Justin, he decided that he had to get out of the loft before he went nuts. He debated going to see Gus, but he would be at daycare or preschool or whatever it was called these days. He'd have to arrange a time to see his son. Brian still had two hours before he was scheduled to meet Cynthia and Ted at the new Kinnetik.
Suddenly he noticed his camera sitting on one of the shelves near the stereo. He picked it up and flipped through a couple of the shots. They were of the dinner at Debbie's. It would also contain the pictures of Gus that Justin had taken at Christmas. Brian shook his head. No matter what he did, Justin had somehow managed to infiltrate every aspect of his life. He pulled out the memory stick and stuck it in his pocket. He'd take it to be developed. There might be some nice pictures of Gus that he could frame and that would use up some time.
After dropping off the memory stick, Brian still had over an hour. He wished he had keys to the new premises, but Cynthia had the only ones. He'd make sure he got his own set today. He realized he wasn't far from Michael's comic book shop. He walked the couple of blocks and pushed open the door to the shop.
"Brian!" Michael screeched. Brian could always count on Michael being happy to see him. He had to smile. "Where did you come from?" Michael asked as he hugged his friend.
"Why didn't you let me know you were coming? I could have picked you up at the airport."
"And close down your lucrative business while you did?"
"I wouldn't have minded," Michael said with sincerity.
"I know, but a cab served the same purpose."
Michael made a face and Brian realized that his comment didn't sound very nice. "How long are you staying in Pittsburgh this time?" Michael asked, unable to keep the sound of abandonment out of his voice.
"I'm here to stay."
"You are?" Michael grinned from ear to ear. "But what about that guy?"
"You mean Justin?" Brian asked, hating to hear Michael call him 'that guy'.
"Yeah, is he here too?"
Brian shook his head. "Justin's in Denver. We're not together anymore. It didn't work out."
"I knew it," Michael said triumphantly. The look of glee on Michael's face took Brian aback. "I knew you two were never really together. It was all some sort of scheme, wasn't it?"
Brian found himself defending his relationship with Justin. "We were together," he said firmly, and they had been on and off. "It just didn't work."
"It doesn't matter," Michael said. "Justin's history, and we can get back to the way things were. Want to go to Babylon with Ted and Emmett tonight?"
"I I don't know. I'll have to see."
"Since when do you turn down an evening at Babylon?" Michael asked.
Brian almost said, 'Since I had something a lot hotter at home with Justin.' He bit his tongue however. "I have jet lag, so maybe another time."
"But if you come tonight, I'll get Ted and Emmett and Ben to come too. It'll be like old times."
"I ... I don't know."
"Briiaan," Michael whined.
"Little Mikey and his friends want to play."
"Only with you," Michael said blushing.
"I'm flattered," Brian snarked. "I'll think about it."
"Please come to Babylon tonight?" Michael begged.
"I I'll see."
"And I know you'll find somebody hot to take to the backroom."
"Of course, I always do," Brian said slowly. He wondered why that didn't appeal to him the way it used to. And here was fucking Michael with his boyfriend, when he was so dead set against Brian having anything to do with Justin.
"So, we'll see you some time after ten," Michael said.
"Yeah, probably," Brian agreed as he headed for the door. He needed some time to mull things over. He had been counting on his life going back to the way it had been before he went to Denver, but that did not seem to be possible. Everything was changing. Dancing and fucking at Babylon with his old friends and Ben just wasn't going to be the same. The familiar was becoming little more than shifting ground under his feet.
Brian walked along the street heading back to where he had parked the Jeep. He stopped at a Starbucks and got a latte. At least that still tasted the same, only it cost fifty cents more than he remembered it costing before he left Pittsburgh. Had he paid that much for it in Denver?
Brian frowned. Why was he comparing everything to Denver? When he had been in Denver, he wanted nothing more than to get out of there, back to Pittsburgh. And now he was in Pittsburgh, and nothing was the way it was supposed to be. What the fuck had happened?
Brian looked at his watch. He was supposed to meet Cynthia and Ted in ten minutes. The hour was up, so his photos should be ready. He hurried along the sidewalk to the photo shop and picked up his packet of pictures. He tossed them on the seat of the Jeep before starting the engine and heading towards the old bath house that had been renovated into the new Kinnetik offices.
As Brian parked the Jeep, he saw Cynthia and Ted standing in the doorway of the building. The outside of the place still looked pretty rough, but he could already visualize what to do with it to make it sleeker and more acceptable to the high profile clients that he hoped to attract. He climbed out of the Jeep and headed for the door. Cynthia smiled and handed him the keys to the place.
"I hope it's what you wanted," she said gently. "Ted and I tried to follow your ideas as much as possible. Oh, and it's good to have you back, Boss."
Brian smirked. "Let's have a look at what you two came up with," Brian said as he turned the key in the lock. He already liked the glass door with the Kinnetik logo and name etched all over it. He walked through the offices and work areas, noting that most things had been done to his specifications. He had faxed so many ideas and pictures to his two assistants that he wasn't sure what the place might look like when it was all put together. Overall he was quite pleased with the result.
"You both get a gold star," Brian said tongue in cheek.
"Gold star, my ass! I want a major bonus," Cynthia declared.
"I want a job," Ted laughed. He wanted out of Wortshafter's so bad. Brian had promised him an accounting position with a chance for promotion if he helped pull this off.
"Done," Brian said simply.
Cynthia and Ted stood in stunned silence for a moment until Brian's words sunk in. Then they squealed and hugged each other. They looked like they wanted to hug Brian too, but he raised an eyebrow and quashed that idea before it could even get started.
"Do you have some people lined up for me to interview?" he asked Cynthia.
"Here's the list starting at eight tomorrow morning." She handed him a paper that she drew out of her briefcase.
"I guess I'll have to keep you around," Brian smirked. "Be here at eight. I want your feedback too." Cynthia nodded and Brian said, "Good work."
"What about me?" Ted asked.
"Good question," Brian replied again tongue in cheek. "What shall I do with you?"
"Well, if you hire someone, you will need health and employment forms filled out. I could get that all ready," Ted said hopefully.
"Ah, ever the paper pusher. Excellent, Mr. Schmidt."
"Is there anything else we can do for you tonight?" Cynthia asked.
Brian looked around. "Why don't you two head home and I'll see you bright and early in the morning."
They nodded and left. Brian watched them depart, and then went to sit behind the big desk in his new office. It was just how he had envisioned it. Cynthia and Ted had managed to carry out his wishes extremely well. He looked around surveying the whole office and looking out into the lobby. After a few minutes, he realized that something was wrong. This office was much bigger and classier than the one in Denver. It was sleek and modern, everything he had thought he wanted in his office. But something was definitely wrong. His office in Denver was better, warmer, more pleasant to be in. Gradually that disturbing thought sank into his head. This office lacked the warmth and charm that Justin had been able to infuse into the office in Denver. It lacked Justin's gentle touch. All it had was the hard, cold edges and neutral colors that Brian liked so well, or had liked so well until he met Justin.
Shoving his chair back in anger, he stood up and strode out of his office. Fuck, Justin Taylor. Fuck him to hell. Why couldn't he keep his presence in Denver? Why did Justin have to invade his life here? Brian locked the office door behind him, and was tempted to pitch the fucking keys into the trash bin in the nearby alley. Somehow Justin had ruined what should have been one of the best days of his life.
Some time later Brian sat on the sofa in the loft. He took a gulp of his Beam and leaned back. He should go to Babylon and meet Mikey and the old gang. He should go get his dick sucked in the backroom. But he didn't want to do any of that. He picked up the packet of photos that he had tossed on the coffee table when he came in. He pulled out the pictures and saw Gus' face as he opened a present at Debbie's. That made Brian smile. He flipped through a couple more pictures of Gus smiling and laughing. They made Brian feel better.
The next photo made Brian gasp. It was Justin and him with Gus between them, sitting on Deb's sofa. They looked happy. They looked just like a family. Brian bit his bottom lip and emptied the rest of his glass of Beam down his throat. He quickly moved on to the next photo. It was Michael getting a hug from Brian probably right after Brian had given him the little robot Alfie. Brian studied the picture as something seemed wrong with it. And then he noticed the expression on Michael's face. It was like he was taunting the person taking the picture, and that person had to be Justin. So that was why Justin wanted to leave Pittsburgh so abruptly.
Brian felt anger well up inside him. He was supposed to be happy for Michael and his life with Ben, but from the look of that picture, Michael couldn't or wouldn't return the favor where Justin was concerned.
Everything kept coming back to Justin Taylor. Brian let out a long sigh. What the fuck was he going to do about it?
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