Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
When Brian first laid eyes on his Uncle John he was completely thrown off by the sight before him. He wasn't sure exactly what he had expected. In fact, he really hadn't put much thought into the man's appearance at all. But now that he was seeing him in the flesh he realized that he expected John to look just like his brother. He was wrong. The man lying before him was handsome, if that was the right word for it. Brian never spent a lot of time looking closely at men in their fifties, but he was pretty sure that Uncle John was a looker for his age. It gave Brian hope that if luck was on his side, he too wouldn't age too badly. Not like his father had. He entered the room slowly, keeping close to Justin.
"John, your nephew is here," Justin said as he approached the bed. "I really didn't want to disturb your nap, but I know how anxious you are to meet him."
John looked up at Justin and could see that the young man was troubled. He wondered what was bothering him and hoped that he and Brian didn't already get off on the wrong foot. That would make his plans for the future even harder to complete. "Thank you, Justin. Would you be so kind as to go check on dinner? I'd like to speak with Brian alone for a bit."
"Of course, John. Just make sure you don't get too excited. You know what the doctor said the other day," Justin reminded him before placing a quick kiss on his cheek. "After I speak to Maggie I'll be in the studio if you need me."
"Of course," John chuckled and breathed a sigh of relief when Justin chuckled back before heading towards the door. Once Justin was gone, John focused his full attention on the man standing before him. "Wow, it's like looking in the mirror."
"Excuse me?" Brian asked, horrified by the comparison.
John laughed out loud at the look on Brian's face. "Sorry about that. Let me clarify. It's what I used to see when I looked in the mirror twenty years ago."
"Oh," Brian replied somewhat relieved. "You don't look like Jack. I guess I have hope for when I'm…older."
"That you do. My brother…well, let's say he really didn't get the looks in the family," John laughed in amusement. "Sadly for him, he really didn't get the brains, either."
"You noticed that too, huh?" Brian laughed along with him.
"I guess he held on to the genes and passed them on to you instead," John said. "I hear you're quite the phenomenon in the advertising world."
"I don't do too bad," Brian replied almost shyly.
"Come on now, Brian. Modesty doesn't become you," John teased. "From what I hear, you've got a closet full of awards back home."
"Two actually, but who's counting, right?" Brian looked at his uncle for a moment, curiosity running through him. "Is there anything you don't know about me?"
"I'm sure there are a few secrets you keep hidden away. Maybe you'd like to share them with me during your visit."
"We'll see," Brian responded, rolling his eyes to let John know that he wasn't big on sharing.
"Well, pull up a seat. I haven't seen you in thirty-one years. I'm sure we can come up with a few things to talk about." John watched as Brian slid a chair closer to the bed and sat down before continuing. "I was sorry to hear about your dad."
"Yeah, well he was sick. It was time," Brian replied emotionlessly.
"Uh oh, I take it you two didn't get along too well. That's a shame. I know you were close when you were a child," John replied.
John noticed the way Brian's eyes turned cold at the mention of Jack and was curious about their relationship. "How's your mother doing?"
"Okay…and Claire?" John continued.
"She is, too."
"Look, if you want to know anything about them, I'd suggest you call them and ask. I don't really get along with the family anymore," Brian told him, refusing to go into detail as to why.
"I see," John said, his curiosity growing even more. "Well, I guess I can understand that. I don't really get along with them either. You've already met my family."
"Yeah, Justin. He's the closest thing I've had to family since your father banished me from the Kinney fold. He's been with me for years now and I don't know what I'd do without him," John admitted.
Brian listened to his uncle talking about the blond and began to wonder what type of relationship the two had between them. Justin seemed a bit young for his fifty-something year old uncle and he couldn't help but think that the kid was taking the older man for a ride. Seeing that the estate that they were living in screamed money, he had a feeling that the blond's hands were into it deep. "Years, huh? Where did you meet him? In grade school?"
"I assure you, he's older than he looks," John replied.
"Hey, it's none of my business. What you do with your life doesn't concern me. I'm not even sure why I'm here," Brian said as he began to rethink his trip.
"I'm hoping you're here because you want to get to know me. That's why I invited you in the first place," John said. "I'm pretty sick and I don't know how much time I have left. There are so many things I regret in my life. One of them being the way I just gave in to your father and walked away from my family. I've wanted to get in touch with you for awhile now, but I didn't think it was a good idea. When I heard about Jack's passing, I knew it was safe to contact you. Please, just give me a little time. I'd really like for us to get to know one another before it's too late."
Brian sighed, knowing that despite his desire to go back to the Pitts, he would stay there for the week and get to know his uncle a little better. It wouldn't kill him and maybe it would give him peace of mind to know that there was at least one member of his family who didn't completely hate him. "I'll be here for a week. That's all I can manage with work."
"Thank you, Brian," John sighed in relief. "I'm sorry, but I'm getting really sleepy. Why don't you go look around the house. We've got a swimming pool and a gym on the first floor that I'm sure you'll enjoy. Once I've had my nap I'll join you downstairs for dinner. If you need anything, there is plenty of staff lurking about. Just tell them what you need and they'll either help you or find Justin to help."
"I'll be fine on my own. I'll see you later," Brian replied before noticing that the man had already drifted off to sleep. He watched him for a moment, amazed at the resemblance between them. There was no doubt that they shared the same blood. After a few moments he quietly crept from the room, hoping not to disturb the sleeping man. He thought about going back to his room to lie down, but he was never one for taking naps so instead he decided to look around. He walked through the house, looking at the various art pieces that were placed about. Some of them were by well known artists and even Brian knew enough to be impressed by the collection, but what surprised him most was the amount of them that were signed JT. He knew now that Justin was the artist and was very taken with his talent. It made him wonder why the kid was sponging off his uncle instead of trying to make it on his own.
He eventually came to the pool that John had told him about and was shocked by the size. He wasn't sure what he had been expecting to find, but an indoor Olympic sized pool wasn't it. He walked through the door to get a better look and saw that he wasn't alone. A now familiar blond head was making its way across the pool, not once coming up for air. It gave Brian a few moments to take in the body that was just below the surface. Justin in clothes was definitely a sight to be seen, but stripped down to a pair of swim trunks, that was something completely different. He was so busy staring that he didn't notice that Justin had come up for air and spotted him.
"Like what you see?" Justin taunted him as he pulled himself out of the water. Being under Brian's gaze was kind of unnerving, but Justin held his head high and refused to be intimidated by the gorgeous man.
"Nice pool," Brian replied, refusing to take the bait Justin was offering. "John's taking a nap and suggested that I look around."
"Is he okay?" Justin asked as he grabbed for his towel and dried himself off. "We had a bit of an incident the other night and we rushed him to the hospital. The doctor wanted to keep him for a few days but he refused because of your visit. I'm worried about him."
"If he's that sick, we could've cancelled my trip. It wouldn't have been a big deal," Brian told him.
"Maybe not to you, but John's been waiting for this for a long time. As soon as he heard that his brother died he started making plans." Justin realized what he said the moment the words left his mouth. "Sorry, I know he was your father."
"Don't worry about it. I'm not," Brian said bitterly. "You and John seem pretty close. What's the matter? Don't have a father of your own? Or maybe yours just has a smaller wallet."
"Mr. Kinney, if you're implying that I'm after John's money, you're sorely mistaken. Then again, my reason's for being here are none of your business. Now if you'll excuse me, I have more important things to do than standing around here explaining myself to you."
Justin stormed out of the room, fighting to keep his anger in check. What right did that man have to show up and accuse him of things he knew nothing about? His relationship with John was strictly personal and had nothing to do with money. Through the years he had gotten used to the whispers behind their backs, claiming that Justin was nothing but a gold digger. They bothered him at first, but John had assured him that what others thought wasn't important. Justin had even started to believe him. But hearing Brian's accusations hit a nerve that hadn't been touched in a long time, and it made him wish that John's nephew had refused the visit. He wasn't quite sure how he was going to get through the week without killing the younger Kinney, but he'd have to find a way. Brian meant too much to John, and Justin would just have to find a way to deal with him until he flew back to Pittsburgh and out of their lives.
* * *
Brian wiped his brow as the treadmill slowed down. He had been running for about 45 minutes and he had worked up a good sweat. Maybe he would go and take a dip in the pool to cool off and relax. The thought of a certain blond with a delicious ass made his dick start to come to attention.
"Down boy," Brian muttered trying to focus his mind on something else.
He stepped off the treadmill and made his way to the pool on the other side of the change room. As he arrived at the edge of the pool he realized he didn't have a bathing suit. He had hardly expected to be exercising and swimming when he came to Colorado. In fact, he wasn't sure what he had expected when he set out on this trip. Somehow though, this wasn't it.
With a shrug Brian stepped out of his sweats and dove naked into the pool. He started swimming laps upping the tempo with each lap until he pulled up at the side of the pool gasping for air. He smiled to himself. He hadn't done that for a long time. It felt really good.
"Mr. Kinney," a voice said from the other side of the pool.
"Yes," Brian said turning. He half hoped it was Justin Taylor. However, it was a young man that he had never seen before.
"I just wanted to let you know that dinner will be ready in half an hour."
"Thanks," Brian replied hauling himself onto the deck of the pool. He watched the young man run his eyes over Brian's body. Brian smirked to himself noting a certain expansion in the crotch of the young man's trousers. "You must be Arthur."
"I … I am," the man said clearing his throat.
"Will you be joining us for dinner?" Brian asked.
"Um, no, I finish at six. I'll be going home then."
"Pity," Brian smirked. He could have some fun with this one given the opportunity.
"Nothing. Will John be up for dinner?"
"Yes, he's feeling a little better. I think he's really looking forward to talking with you. It's a good reason for him to make the effort."
Brian finished toweling himself off and tied the towel around his hips. "He won't be overdoing it on my account, will he?" Brian frowned.
"No, he really wants to do this."
"Okay, if you're sure. I should have a shower and get dressed."
"The dining room is off the foyer," Arthur explained with a lick of his lips. "Would you like me to show you?"
Brian smiled. A quick fuck in a broom closet would be fun, but he thought he better keep the family jewels in his pants until he figured out what was going on here. "I think I'll be able to find it," Brian said sticking his tongue in his cheek. "I'm a big boy."
"Um … yes … certainly, sir," Arthur said beating a hasty retreat.
Some time later Brian came down the stairs wearing a soft burgundy cashmere sweater and tailored black slacks. He looked great and he knew it. He glanced into the library to see if Justin Taylor might be there, but the room was empty. He walked across the foyer to where he had discovered the dining room on his earlier reconnaissance mission through the mansion.
As he walked through the door he saw a frail looking John seated in his chair at the head of the table. Justin sat opposite him at the other end of the large table. Brian saw an empty place setting in the middle of one side of the table. He figured that must be for him and he moved around to sit down at it.
"I hope I didn't keep you waiting," Brian said flicking his napkin open and laying it on his lap.
"We have been waiting," Justin said with a look of disapproval.
"I just got here a few minutes ago," John sighed. He gave Justin a look that said he didn't want to hear any more about it. This was not lost on Brian.
"I'm sorry if I was late but I really enjoyed your gym and then the pool. I don't often have time for a workout like that," Brian explained.
"It's always good to keep in shape. I wish I was still able to make use of them," John said as he nodded at a maid to start serving the soup.
The dinner went by slowly with some small talk and some suggestions from John about places in Denver that Brian should see. He volunteered Justin to show Brian around. Brian stared at Justin when the suggestion was made. He was waiting for the blond to refuse.
"I'd be happy to show Mr. Kinney around," Justin said without making a face.
"I'll take you up on that if you call me Brian," Brian said with a smile that was meant to be his most winning.
"Of course, Brian," Justin said without a hint of graciousness in his voice.
John looked at both of them wondering how they had gotten off to such a bad start.
As they finished up dinner and dessert was offered they all declined and John asked Brian to help him into his wheelchair. He wanted to show his nephew something in the library. Brian looked at Justin and mouthed "Help!" He wasn't at all sure he knew how to get John into his wheelchair without hurting him.
Justin walked over to the chair which had been discreetly placed in the corner. He wheeled it over to John. "If you'll take John's right side, I'll take the left," he said to Brian.
Brian put his hand under John's arm watching what Justin was doing from the other side. Together they gently helped John stand, pivot and sit down in the wheelchair.
"I feel so fucking weak," John said with disgust.
"You did very well," Brian said placing his hand reassuringly on John's shoulder. Justin looked at this interaction and a small smile lifted the corners of his mouth. Maybe this Brian Kinney had a heart after all.
"Justin, if you want to paint, go on ahead. I'm sure Brian can help me up to my room later," John said.
"I do have something I'm working on," Justin said. "But if you need me, just call."
"I will. Good night, Justin."
"I'd love to see what you're working on," Brian said as he walked the wheelchair towards the door.
"Maybe when I get a little more done. There's not much to look at yet. Good night, Mr. … Brian."
"Good night, Mr. Taylor."
"Justin," Justin corrected with a genuine smile.
Brian felt kind of warm inside from the smile. He wondered how that could possibly be, but by then Justin had disappeared upstairs and he and John were in the library.
"Would you like a drink, Brian?" John asked.
"Sure, a brandy would be nice," Brian said moving to the liquor cabinet that John indicated. "Would you have one?"
"I'd like nothing better, but with all the medication I'm on, I dare not."
Brian poured himself a brandy and sat down across from John's wheelchair. "I assume you want to ask some more questions," Brian said not wanting to waste any time.
"Actually, I wanted to give you something."
"I … I didn't come here looking for gifts."
John laughed gently. "I didn't think that you did, but you may find this gift … interesting."
"That's it in the brown paper sitting on the desk. Open it, please."
Brian set down his glass and retrieved the parcel. It had been wrapped and labeled to be mailed. The address had his name at the top and what looked like the old address where they had lived before moving to the house where his mother now resided. The address was partially obscured by the "Return to Sender" designation. Brian frowned as he examined the package.
"When … when was this sent?"
"I mailed it for your fourth birthday."
"Fuck! It's thirty years old," Brian reacted.
John laughed. "I see you're quick at math."
"I … I don't know what to say."
"Don't say anything until you open it."
"But I never got it…"
Brian carefully pulled the paper apart. He kind of thought he might like to keep the paper that showed that John had tried to celebrate his birthday, even though the rest of his family ignored such things. With a kind of reverence he removed the brown wrapping paper. Underneath he found an envelope which probably contained a birthday card and a wrapped box which was covered with Mickey Mouse comics.
Brian chuckled. "I loved Mickey back then," he said with a grin.
"I know," John smiled.
Brian opened the card which proclaimed some innocuous stuff about being a big boy turning four. Inside John had written, "To my favorite nephew, Brian. Hope you have a happy day."
Brian felt a tear well up. If he had only known about this, it might have made a difference in his life. He cleared his throat and swallowed hard. The tear stayed in his eye.
"Open the package," John encouraged him.
Brian carefully opened the paper trying not to rip it. The box underneath had a picture of Mickey Mouse on the cover. He lifted the lid to find a Mickey stuffed toy that matched the picture on the lid of the box.
"This … this is amazing," Brian said fighting the urge to crush the soft toy against his chest. Who the fuck knew that he could have had this Mickey all those years ago, if it were not for his fucking parents.
"Do you like him?" John asked looking fondly at his nephew.
"I lov … like him a lot," Brian said.
"Well, he's yours now. He might even be worth something in his original box."
"My friend Michael would know," Brian said. "But I don't care about the value. Knowing that you sent me this … means … a lot."
"I'm glad you're pleased. If you open that cupboard over there, you'll find some other gifts," John explained.
Brian frowned and set Mickey down gently. He opened the cupboard that John indicated. There were ten more parcels wrapped in brown paper.
"But…" Brian started, amazed at what he saw.
"Like a stupid fool, I thought if I kept sending them, one every birthday, your father would eventually give in and let you have one."
"That wasn't likely to happen with Jack," Brian said shaking his head. "He was a mean old bastard."
"So I found out."
"This might sound greedy or something, but why did you stop sending these?"
"The last one I got back said "Return to Sender - Address Unknown". I think you must have moved, so I didn't see any point in continuing."
"Yeah, we moved to the house where my mother still lives when I was fourteen."
"It took me many years of building my fortune before I had the resources to locate you and find out all I could about you."
"I see," Brian said but he wasn't sure he saw at all.
"If you want to open the rest of your presents, you can, but I think I need to go to my room. I'm feeling quite tired."
"Of course," Brian said moving behind John's wheelchair. He pushed his uncle towards the doorway but he couldn't take his eyes off the cupboard of packages all meant for him.
"They'll be there whenever you want to open them," John said gently.
"I … thank you," Brian said sincerely. "They mean a lot knowing you cared enough to send them."
"You were my favorite nephew back then. I'd like to think you still are."
"Thanks," Brian said as he wheeled John into the foyer. "How do we get you upstairs?"
"There's an elevator behind that panel over there," John indicated.
Brian wheeled John into the elevator that was very unobtrusive. On the ride up he wondered what the other packages held. It didn't really matter since knowing John had sent him something each year was the most important thing about them.
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