Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Brian rubbed his eyes and noted the sunshine seeping through the drapes in his bedroom. A glance at the alarm clock told him it was almost nine in the morning. He groaned as he sat up and threw his long legs over the side of the bed. He leaned his elbows on his knees and rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. His eyes felt scratchy and irritated from lack of sleep. It had been one helluva night.
Thinking back to the time he had spent in Justin's bed, Brian felt himself grow hard. That had been so intense. He couldn't remember ever feeling the things he had felt with his dick up Justin's ass and his lips sucking on the full, yielding delicious lips of the blond. How had he gotten so out of control?
For Brian sex was a release. It was fun, it was satisfying, and it was uncomplicated. Justin Taylor was definitely not uncomplicated, and what they had done last night could only lead to more complications than Brian cared to think about. He had spent a largely sleepless night wondering how the hell he was going to face Justin Taylor again.
Brian decided a shower had to be his first step and headed for the bathroom. Maybe he could relieve the boner he had developed at the mere thought of last night's activities with Justin Taylor.
Justin was up early. He felt so strange after what had happened last night. His body felt great. It was like he was renewed or reenergized or something. He wanted to hug himself or more precisely he wanted to hug Brian Kinney.
But then the reality of what they had done started to fade away as Justin recalled Brian's reaction to the whole thing. He couldn't believe that the man had simply got up, put his clothes on and left him immediately after the most intense sex Justin had ever experienced. Justin had known from their first meeting that Brian was not a feelings kind of guy. There had been a definite wall that Justin suspected few if any people got through where Brian was concerned. However, what had happened at the club and then in his bed had completely thrown that concept of Brian out the window.
Justin remembered the kisses and that initial penetration that had been so painful only to become the most necessary and exciting thing he had ever experienced. Brian had been a wonderful lover. He remembered the concern in Brian's voice when he had first entered Justin. He would have stopped if the pain had been too much. How many men would do that? He had felt Brian give himself to him. He had felt the tenderness and the care and the love. Yes, he had thought there was love. He had been sure of it. But then Brian had left and everything he had thought and felt had been called into question. He wasn't sure anymore what had happened between them, but he knew it was unfinished business and somehow they would have to confront that. He just had no idea how.
"You're wallowing," Justin said aloud. He had been lying in bed for hours trying to figure out what to do. "Get up!" he ordered himself and finally managed to head for the bathroom.
Brian stepped into the dining room hoping he could get some coffee without anyone knowing he was there. Immediately the maid appeared and started showing him what was available for breakfast.
"Just coffee," Brian said uncharitably. "All I want is coffee."
"Certainly, sir," the woman replied and poured him a cup.
Brian wanted to take it back up to his room but he knew that the little cup was not nearly enough to meet his needs. He'd have to come back for seconds and thirds and probably fourths. He sat down at the big table and picked up the newspaper that was always available at breakfast. He scanned the headlines as he finished the first cup of coffee. His cup was immediately refilled.
Brian was well into his third cup when a slight noise at the door to the dining room told him that Justin Taylor had arrived. For a split second they looked at each other, each noting that the other looked like they had spent a hard night.
"Good morning," Justin said formally as he allowed the maid to dish him up some breakfast.
"Morning," Brian replied standing and folding up the newspaper. "I'm going for a drive," he added as the thought struck him that he really wanted to be out of the house for a while. "Can you check on John?"
Brian immediately went up to his room, grabbed the keys to his rental car and pocketed his cell phone before leaving the house. He had no idea where the hell he was going. He just needed to not be in the same house with Justin Taylor.
As Brian exited the mansion grounds he realized he didn't know whether to go left or right. He looked at the mountains that dominated the skyline and decided to head right for whatever reason. He drove for a long time trying to sort through his thoughts and get his head on straight. He couldn't believe how what happened with Justin had affected him.
After a long time Brian realized he had no idea where the hell he was. As he drove along he saw a park and decided to pull in and try to get his bearings in more ways than one. The sign said Mountain Lake Park. He pulled into a space in the parking lot and stared out at the lake. It was truly beautiful in Denver with the mountains and the crisp, clear air.
Brian got out of his car and walked along the first pathway that he saw. Spying a bench he sat down. The scenery was great, but Brian knew he had to do something more than sit there and enjoy it. He pulled out his cell phone.
The first call went to Cynthia to check how things were at Vangard and to tell her that he was still planning on returning to Pittsburgh on the weekend. Truthfully he wouldn't have minded leaving immediately, but he knew he owed at least the rest of the week to John. When he was sure that everything was all right at work, another thought struck Brian.
He hit another number and waited for someone to answer. "Hey, Lindz," he said. "How's Gus?"
"Gus is fine, but he still would like to see you."
"I'll be home on the weekend. Maybe we can work something out."
"Gus would like that."
"So would I," Brian said with a sigh.
"Is something wrong? You sound funny."
"I I'm not sure."
"Brian, you can tell me," Lindsay encouraged him.
"I I'm working through some family stuff from a long time ago. It hasn't been easy."
"Family stuff? Where are you?"
"Who's in Denver?" she asked.
"A long lost uncle who wanted to see me. It came out of the blue." Brian didn't know why he was telling Lindsay this, but he knew he had to talk to somebody.
"So, are you getting to know him?"
"Yes," Brian said softly. "But it's almost too late. He's not well."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Lindsay sympathized. "But it's better that you get to talk to him now than see him at his funeral."
"Is is there something else?"
"My uncle he has this young man who lives with him. He I we. Oh, I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about."
"Sounds like you've been smitten," Lindsay laughed.
"Smitten? What the fuck does that mean?"
"You know very well what it means."
"Well, I haven't been smitten!" Brian roared.
"Excuse me for living, but you know I'm right or you wouldn't be so annoyed with me."
"Sounds like a good idea," Lindsay laughed again. She was enjoying tormenting Brian about this.
"Well, it wasn't," Brian said bitterly.
"You've already fucked?" she asked.
"Not that it's any of your business, but yes. And now it's fucking awkward."
"We I don't know what to say to him," Brian admitted.
"Sounds like you two need to sit down and have a serious discussion," Lindsay advised.
"What the fuck about?"
"Your feelings, of course."
"I don't have fucking feelings, just ask Mel."
"Of course you have feelings, even if you refuse to use them most of the time."
"Lindsay, I don't know what to do."
"I just told you."
"I I can't do that."
"Brian, you're thirty-four years old. Certainly you can."
"But I don't even know what my feelings are," Brian said pathetically. Why the fuck had he made this call in the first place?
"Brian, listen to me," Lindsay said firmly. "Are you listening?"
"Yes." Brian knew she was using some of his own tactics on him.
"Good. You obviously have feelings for this man, and by the sound of it they must be very intense or you wouldn't have mentioned any of this."
"I want you to be happy, Brian. This could be the person who does that for you. Talk to him."
"I'm not sure I know how."
"You just open your mouth and "
"No, asshole. Brian, if this is what it sounds like, don't fuck it up."
The pleading tone in Lindsay's voice took him by surprise. He knew Lindsay did care about him. Maybe she was right. But doing what she wanted him to do would be a whole other issue. "I don't know," was all he could say.
"Yes, you do."
"Lindsay, I have to go. Kiss Gus for me."
"I will, and try, Brian. Please!"
Brian cut the connection and put his phone back in his pocket. He must have sounded so pathetic on the phone. Why the fuck had he even made that call at all?
Deciding that he better return to the mansion and spend some time with John, Brian headed back to the car. Once he arrived at the rental vehicle, he realized that he had no idea where he was or how to get back to the mansion. He remembered that he had a map from the rental agency in the glove compartment and pulled it out. It was really little more than a placemat with directions out of the airport and onto the main road into Denver.
Brian looked around wondering if he should ask someone. There didn't seem to be many people around. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed the mansion.
"Kinney Residence," a female voice replied.
"Um could I speak to Arthur?" Brian asked thinking that would be the best person to help him, and it avoided him having to speak to Justin.
"Mr. Jacobs is not currently available," the voice replied.
'Of course he's not,' Brian thought. Just my luck! "Is Justin Taylor available?"
"One moment please."
"Hello," Justin's voice said after a short wait.
"Yes," came the strained response.
"I I seem to be lost."
"Lost?" Justin asked and Brian could hear the laughter in his voice.
"Don't fucking laugh!" Brian replied although he was tempted to laugh at his own foolishness.
"Do you mean that you are lost in the sense of not knowing the right path to take in your life or lost in terms of finding your way home?" Justin couldn't help but giggle.
Brian's answer startled each of them. "Both."
"Look, I'm in Mountain Lake Park. How do I get back to the mansion?"
"Oh, okay. If you turn onto 88 and then onto Lakeside and follow it west, it will bring back to the neighborhood of the house."
"Thanks, I'll try that."
"Brian, wait," Justin asked as he knew Brian was about to hang up.
"I think we need to talk."
"Um so do I," Brian admitted having realized that Lindsay was probably right.
"I think that's what I just said."
"It's important, Brian."
"I'll be in my studio when you get back."
"Okay." Brian cut the connection and stood by the car staring at the scenery. He had made the first move as instructed by Lindsay. All he had to do now was follow through. If that was possible. He let out a long breath and got into his car.
Justin set the phone down and turned back to his portrait of Brian. He had added a few finishing touches and he was really pleased with the result. He was sure John was going to love it.
Studying the painting made Justin think about his dalliance in bed with Brian. If he let himself he could still feel Brian's strong arms around him. He could feel those delicious lips ravaging his own. He could feel that beautiful long cock driving into him. Justin shuddered and adjusted his jeans. His hard cock was going to betray him if he wasn't very careful.
In his head Justin had called their encounter a dalliance, but he knew that for him what had happened was far more than that. He wondered how Brian could have been part of it and not felt what Justin had felt. The emotions that had coursed through him had equaled and surpassed the physical pleasure that Brian had given him. That had been beyond wonderful, but Justin liked the other feelings just as much if not more. Why had Brian run away right after?
And then it hit him. Brian was afraid. Justin looked into the seemingly arrogant and self-assured eyes that he had painted in his portrait. And he knew. He knew that Brian wasn't really arrogant or self-assured, at least not beneath that smooth veneer that he so masterfully put forward. Brian Kinney was just as scared by what had happened as Justin was. Now all they had to do was come to the same understanding of that fact.
And there was the rub. How would he ever get Brian to admit what he felt? Justin knew that Brian was a very strong and proud man. He would never admit weakness in any way, and Brian would certainly see fear of confronting the truth as a weakness. How were they ever going to talk about this?
Justin shook his head having no answer for all the questions rattling through his brain. And Brian would be here before too long, if he didn't get lost again. Maybe Justin should have given him incorrect directions so that he could have some more time to think. That was a moot point since he had already told Brian the correct way to get home.
Justin wondered if John would have any advice. He always seemed to know the right thing to say to Justin to help him when he was having a problem. Justin decided to clean his brushes and then go show John the portrait. Maybe he could use it as a lead-in to how to get Brian to open up to him. John seemed to have developed some kind of relationship with his nephew in the short time that Brian had been in Denver. Maybe John would be able to give him the key to the enigma of Brian Kinney.
Wiping off the last of his brushes, Justin viewed his painting one last time before picking it up and heading down the hall. He set the portrait down at John's door and tapped gently. When he heard no response he pushed the door open and looked in. John seemed to be asleep.
Justin lifted the portrait and carried it inside. He took the chair from the desk and using it as an easel he set the painting up so that it would be the first thing John saw when he woke up.
As he was about to leave the bedroom, Justin heard a kind of rattling sound coming from the bed.
"John?" he said softly. There was no reply. Justin made his way back to the bed and touched John's forehead. It seemed overly cool. Justin frowned and then he heard another rattling breath being sucked in by the man who had been his mentor, his friend, his father for years now. "John!" Justin said more forcefully.
John's eyes opened and tried to focus on Justin. He opened his mouth trying to say something. No words came out.
"John, what's happened?" Justin asked to no avail.
John stared at the portrait that was right in front of him as he tried desperately to breathe. Even in his distress Justin could see what appeared to be an attempt at a smile on John's lips. He liked the portrait.
"I have to get help," Justin said just as Brian came through the doorway to John's bedroom. As soon as Justin saw him he said, "Call 911, Brian. John can barely breathe."
Brian glanced at Justin and then at his uncle who was clearly struggling. He picked up the phone beside the bed and hit 911. As efficiently as possible he gave them the information they required and agreed to stay on the line until the paramedics arrived.
"Brian, in the closet over there, there's an oxygen tank," Justin said. "Get it quick!"
Brian laid the phone on the night table and went to retrieve the tank. Justin quickly placed the mask on John and started the flow of life giving air. John seemed to relax a little as it was easier for him to breathe.
"Where the fuck are the paramedics?" Justin asked worry written all over his face.
"Three minutes away," Brian said having listened to the phone. "I'm going downstairs to open the gates and wait for them. I'll bring them right up."
Justin nodded as he watched Brian leave the room. "Hurry," he prayed. "Please hurry."
John seemed to be struggling to breathe once again even with the oxygen mask on.
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