Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Justin awoke with a start. He was on the couch at the loft and it took him a minute to get oriented. He had spent hours on the computer reading about testicular cancer, and he was still none the wiser about what to do with Brian. He knew the man must be going through hell trying to deal with his impotence. The internet had told him that impotence was often a result of the radiation, but from what he had read, enough time had passed that it should no longer be physically impossible for Brian to have sex. It was more likely that Brian's psyche had been damaged by his impotence. He was afraid that he could never get it up again, so he couldn't.
Justin sat up and threw off the throw that he had pulled over himself. He stretched and walked over to the steps to look up at Brian who was still asleep on the bed. He realized that Brian hadn't eaten anything all day yesterday. That was not a good thing. He needed to be putting weight back on, not losing more. Justin didn't know what he could do to help Brian's sexual problem, but he could certainly make the man a wonderful breakfast.
Brian awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee. They had to be two of the best smells in the world, after the smell of Justin Taylor's nether parts. Brian mentally slapped himself. He would not go there again. Last night had been bad enough. He had never felt so defeated in all his life.
With a bone cracking stretch Brian got up and walked to the bathroom to relieve himself. He washed his hands and slid on some sweat pants before heading down to the kitchen. Justin had plates set out on the counter and a mug of coffee already poured for him.
"Morning," Justin said as if nothing had happened the night before.
"Morning," Brian replied, thankful that Justin didn't seem disposed to start in on him. "Something smells wonderful." He slid onto one of the stools and started to stir sugar into his coffee. He took a satisfying sip.
"I thought you might be hungry. We have bacon, scrambled eggs and blueberry pancakes. Order up," Justin said with a smile as he finished loading Brian's plate and set it down in front of him on the counter.
"You expect me to eat all of that?" Brian asked.
"As much as you like," Justin said cheerfully. He carried his own loaded plate around the counter and sat down on the other stool.
They munched away in silence for a while.
"This is very good," Brian said as he realized how hungry he was. The food tasted delicious.
Justin was about to say something about this being another skill of a good houseboy when he thought better of it. "I'm glad you like it," he said instead. "Are you going into the office today?"
"I think so."
"As long as you're feeling up to it."
"But no staying till dark, and I'm bringing you lunch," Justin declared.
"Yes, dear," Brian said with a little grin. Justin always made him feel better.
Justin gave Brian a gentle elbow to the ribs and continued eating. Brian didn't finish everything on his plate but he made a very big dent in it. Justin smiled his approval.
"You go get ready for work and I'll clean up the kitchen," Justin instructed Brian.
Brian took a quick shower, no playing with his balls this time. Besides, what would be the point when he couldn't make anything happen? When he came down the steps he looked like the Brian Kinney of old, even if he knew he could never be that man again.
"Ready?" Justin asked standing up from the couch.
"I don't need you to drive me everywhere," Brian said rather testily.
"How am I going to bring you lunch if I don't have a car?" Justin smiled one of his sweetest smiles.
Brian shook his head and they went down to the Jeep.
This was the routine they fell into for the next few days. They ate breakfast together and Justin would drive Brian to work, returning with lunch which they ate together. Justin would pick Brian up at six o'clock sharp, so that they didn't have another case of Brian working way too long and wearing himself out. They would have dinner together at the loft, Justin having prepared a nutritious and healthy meal. Brian seemed to gain strength and a little weight.
Justin did not want to push the subject of Brian's impotence, so he continued to sleep on the couch and was saddened that Brian let him do so. He would have loved to sleep next to the man and hold him, if nothing else. There were no further outbursts of frustration. They seemed to have fallen into some kind of acceptable way of living, but the cloud of impotence hung heavily over them both. They tread very carefully.
One day Justin was leaving Brian's office carrying the basket that he brought lunch in every day. They had started treating lunch as a kind of private picnic around the coffee table in Brian's office. Justin was lost in thought, remembering the conversation with Brian about going to visit Gus that night. Justin couldn't understand why Brian hadn't rushed to see Gus as soon as he got back. Brian's answer had been that he wanted to gain some strength so he could play with Gus, and not scare the little boy with how weak he was. Something about that explanation didn't ring true. That was what he was thinking about when he almost bumped into someone standing in his path. He looked up and into the eyes of Michael Novotny. He tried not to groan out loud.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" Michael asked.
"I might ask you the same thing," Justin retorted. "Don't you have a business to run?"
"That's none of your fucking business. And I can take some time off any time I want. I own the place."
"Well, ain't that swell?" Justin said trying to step around Michael and make his way to the Jeep.
"You didn't answer my question," Michael said grabbing Justin's arm. "What are you doing with a basket, visiting granny?"
"That's none of your fucking business," Justin said using Michael's own words.
"Wait," Michael said as the light dawned. "If you're here, then Brian must be here. But he hasn't called me. Is Brian back?"
"I repeat. It's none of your fucking business."
"It is my business. Brian is my best friend. I'm going to get to the bottom of this."
Before Justin could say anything else, Michael stomped away towards Kinnetik. Justin watched him go, knowing that Brian was going to be pissed, but Brian would have to deal with his own best friend. Shaking his head, Justin headed for the Jeep.
Brian was sitting at his desk studying some possible magazines in which he might want to advertise Brown Athletics, when Michael stormed into his office.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me that you were back?" Michael demanded.
"And good afternoon to you too," Brian smirked. He so didn't need to deal with this. He would kill Ted later. He had sworn the man to secrecy about his return and he had thought Ted would keep his secret at least a little longer. "Just how did you discover that I had returned?"
"I just ran into that blond guy out in the street."
"That blond guy is Justin," Brian said realizing now how Michael had known he was here and thinking that he would have to rescind his sentence of death for Ted.
"What the fuck is he doing here? I thought you two had broken up."
"Well, sometimes things change," Brian said smugly.
"You mean you're back together?"
"That's not really any of your business, Mikey."
"The fuck it's not! He acted like he owns you and that I had no…I have no right to know anything about what's going on."
"Technically you don't."
"How can you say that to me after all these years?"
"Why do you hate Justin so much?"
"Because he takes over your life. What the fuck was he doing waltzing out of here like Little Red Riding Hood with her basket?"
"Justin brought me lunch," Brian said gritting his teeth. Sometimes Michael could be such an ass.
"So, he's catering to your every whim, feeding you and pampering you, and trying to get on your good side."
"Justin doesn't have to try to get on my good side. He already is."
Michael stared at Brian wondering what this all meant. It must be true that Brian and Justin were back together. "So, you took him back," Michael said flatly.
"More like he took me back, but…" Brian stopped there not wanting to reveal too much.
"Nothing, Michael. I have work to do."
"Are you fucking dismissing me?" Michael demanded.
"Call it whatever you like. I have work to do before Justin picks me up at the end of the day." Brian hoped that would get Michael out of the office and make it clear that he didn't want a visit from Michael after work either.
Michael interpreted it differently, however. "What? You can't even drive yourself to work. What is he, your fucking babysitter?"
"Michael!" Brian said ominously.
"All right, all right, I'm going. I hope you and your minder will be very happy together." Michael stormed out of the office, trying to slam the door which wouldn't slam.
Brian almost laughed, but the encounter had taken a lot out of him. He slumped down in his chair and took some deep breaths. Michael still knew how to get to him. After a few minutes Brian tried to get back to work and put Michael's words out of his head.
Meanwhile Justin was sketching some ideas for his show in Chicago. He was going to have to paint like a fiend when he got back to Denver if he hoped to have things ready for his show. The semi-abstract that he was drawing involved a meddlesome gnat that buzzed about the serene background and stuck its nose in where it wasn't wanted. He already knew the colors he wanted to use, and the gnat would be a dull, annoying gray. He smiled to himself as he set down the sketchpad.
Justin's thoughts immediately went to Brian and the problem that he had yet to deal with. He wanted to confront Brian about the impotence issue. He hated tiptoeing around like nothing was wrong. Brian was getting stronger, and Justin hoped what he wanted to say wouldn't upset Brian too much. The last thing he wanted was a relapse. Justin wanted to make it clear to Brian that the impotence didn't matter. He knew that he loved Brian with all the man's problems and flaws. He could wait, was prepared to wait. He was sure the problem would resolve itself eventually.
With a sigh, Justin started running possible scenarios through his head. He had to find the right way to explain to Brian that he knew about the impotence and that it didn't matter. He had a couple of hours to think about this. Surely he could come up with a good plan.
Brian spent most of the afternoon fuming at Michael. He should have kicked the man out of his office as soon as he appeared, but this was Michael and he wasn't swift on the uptake. He hated that Michael and Justin were always at loggerheads. Why couldn't they get along? His life would be so much simpler then. Right now he was getting next to nothing accomplished. With a sigh he decided to call Justin and get him to come pick him up early.
When Justin arrived at Kinnetik, he was still deciding what to say to Brian. He was kind of glad that Brian had called to come home early. That gave them time to talk before dinner. Justin prayed that it would all work out the way he wanted it to.
Brian came out the door of Kinnetik carrying his briefcase. Justin wondered about what work Brian could be going to do when he was leaving early.
"Hey," Justin said with a sunny smile.
"Hey," Brian replied in a flat monotone.
Justin decided this was not a good start for what he was about to do. They rode in silence to the loft. Once inside Brian went to change his clothes while Justin got them bottles of water from the fridge. When Brian came down dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, Justin handed him a bottle of water.
Brian looked at it and walked past without taking it. "I need something stronger," he said as he poured himself a glass of Beam.
"Brian, I don't think that's wise," Justin started to say, indicating the drink.
"What are you, my mother?" he asked with a laugh. "That was a stupid question. She'd be happy to see me drink myself to death."
"Your mother's alive?" Justin asked. Brian nodded. "You never told me."
"One of many things about my fucked up life you don't know," Brian scowled.
"Like the fact that you're impotent?" Justin asked, figuring he might as well jump in since there was an opening.
"Wh…what?" Brian asked, truly surprised.
"Yeah, I figured it out."
"But … how?"
"It wasn't that hard. Whenever we were together before, you couldn't keep your hands off me, but now you seem to have no interest sexually. I read a bit about testicular cancer and radiation treatments on the internet. That's what's going on, isn't it?"
Brian glared at Justin. "Think you're pretty clever, don't you?"
"No, not at all. I just needed some answers. Brian, it doesn't matter. I don't care about…"
"Shut up! Shut the fuck up!" Brian said forcefully. "Of course it matters. How the fuck could it not?"
"Really, I don't care, and the internet says that it will go away with time. You'll be able to perform … soon."
"The next time I need a medical opinion I'll be sure to ask you," Brian said sarcastically as he poured another drink.
"Brian, please, let's sit down and talk about this."
"What's there to talk about? I can't get it up. End of story."
"It's not the end. There is every possibility that you will be able to function normally."
Brian snorted. "I'm a one ball wonder, but if that was going to happen it should already have happened."
"That's not necessarily true. Your body's been through a lot, with all the radiation and losing weight and flying when you shouldn't have."
"Stop! Stop making excuses for me. I don't function like I should, and I probably never will. So, now that you know, why don't you go back to Denver and find yourself a real man."
"I don't want a real man, I want you," Justin said fighting tears.
Brian snorted again. "That's a ringing endorsement. You just think you want me. I'm useless."
"You're not useless. Stop talking like that."
"Where are the keys to the Jeep?" Brian asked suddenly.
"On the counter. Why?"
"I'm going out," Brian stated and headed for the bedroom.
"Wait. Don't go. We need to talk," Justin begged as Brian pulled on some boots.
"Talking is highly overrated." Brian stood and headed for the door.
"Please, Brian, don't go. I'll make some dinner and we can talk."
"No," Brian said abruptly as he yanked the door back violently, almost pulling it off its hinges. "I don't need you to fucking wait on me and babysit me and coddle me. I may be impotent but I can still drive myself to a bar for a fucking drink."
"Please," Justin asked again.
"I'm going to get completely blasted, and you're not going to stop me."
"Then let me drive you or I could come with you," Justin begged. This was about the worst thing that Brian could do to his still fragile body. He had to stop him.
"I don't need you to look after me. I can take care of myself. In fact, I suggest that when I come back, you no longer be here. Don't you have a life in Denver? Isn't there an art show that you should be getting ready for?"
"Yes, but I want to help you," Justin protested.
"Well, the invalid has just graduated. I don't want your help anymore. I don't want you here." Brian yanked the loft door closed behind him and ran down the stairs.
Justin stared at the closed door speechless. He couldn't believe that Brian had told him to get out. He couldn't believe that Brian intended to go get drunk somewhere. He would make himself sicker than he already was. When what had happened finally sunk in, Justin pulled the door open and ran after Brian. He arrived in the street in time to see the Jeep speed away. Justin dropped his arms in a gesture of defeat. He stood and watched the Jeep until it disappeared around the corner.
Finally Justin got himself back up to the loft. He wasn't going to let Brian drive him away. No way! He sat down on the sofa and crossed his arms on his chest. He felt so stupid. He was supposed to be helping Brian get better, but he had driven the man to drink and to who knew what else. Justin stared at the windows wondering what he should do.
Suddenly a thought crossed his mind. He picked up the phone and called Ted. Luckily the man was home and picked up.
"Yes, Boss," Ted said thinking it was Brian calling based on his caller I.D.
"It's Justin," Justin corrected him.
"Oh, sorry. What can I do for you?"
"Um … Brian kind of … got mad at me," Justin started to explain.
"So what else is new? He's always mad at somebody," Ted laughed.
"This is serious. He took the Jeep and said he was going to get drunk. That's not good for him. I'm afraid he'll get sick again. Do you know where he might go?"
"Maybe Woody's," Ted said thinking.
"Do you think you could go try to find him? I don't think he wants to see me right now."
"Sure, I guess."
"And if you don't find him there, maybe Emmett could help look for him."
"I'll check with Emmett. Maybe Michael could help too."
"I guess," Justin said reluctantly. If it would help find Brian, then Michael could be part of it.
"I don't know about Michael though. I think he and Brian had a fight this afternoon. I heard them shouting and Michael stomped out of the office."
"Shit!" Justin said. He wished he had known that before he brought Brian home. Maybe he would have waited to bring up the impotence thing.
"What?" Ted asked.
"Never mind. Just find Brian. And tell him I won't be here when you bring him home," Justin added. He made a hasty decision about leaving, but he thought maybe that would be the best thing he could do under the circumstances. It was obvious that Brian wanted him out of his life.
"You won't? Why?" Ted asked. He thought Justin had done wonders for Brian over the last few days and all the time they had spent together in Denver.
"It's a long story. I'm going back to Denver," Justin said, having decided that there was no point in hanging around if he was going to drive Brian to drink.
"Are you sure?" Ted asked.
"I'm sure. Just find him and make sure he's all right. Don't let him get drunk. He could get really sick."
"I'll do my best."
"Thanks Ted," Justin said and set the phone down.
It looked like he had fucked things up really well this time. He had meant to get things out in the open and tell Brian that he would wait until he recovered completely. But all he had managed to do was to make Brian angry and drive him farther away than ever.
It was time Justin left Pittsburgh, left Brian Kinney to the care of his friends, left his wish for a life with Brian behind and went back to his own life in Denver.
Slowly he walked up to the bedroom to pack his meager belongings and slink away into the night.Return to Be Careful What You Wish For