Be Careful What You Wish For
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"Fuck, I'm glad that's over," Brian said as he climbed out of the limo and made his way into the mansion. His hand rested gently in the small of Justin's back.
"I'm so tired," Justin said softly.
It was late afternoon. They had spent the last few hours at the funeral home, then the funeral service and finally at the small reception that was held after the service. All of the condolences and small talk and explanations of who he was had worn Brian out. But Justin was the one who had suffered the most. Every person who had spoken to Justin, and that was most of the ones who attended, had asked him what he was going to do without John. How the fuck could you answer such a question?
Brian had watched the young man say time and again that he didn't know what he would do, but he was sure that he would muddle through somehow. Brian hoped that was true. He could see that each time Justin responded he had to fight back tears and it drained a little more of his reserves. Now Justin looked as white as a ghost and about ready to collapse.
"Let's get you to bed," Brian said gently as he steered Justin up the stairs.
As they passed John's room on their way to Justin's, Brian felt Justin lean against him. Brian's arm went around the slim waist supporting Justin as best he could.
"What am I going to do?" Justin sobbed letting all the pent up tears start to flow.
"Don't worry. We'll figure something out," Brain said kissing the top of the blond head.
Brian helped Justin into his bedroom. He gently sat Justin down on the side of the bed and removed his shoes and suit leaving only his briefs. He pulled Justin up against him as he flipped back the sheets. He felt Justin's arms come around him.
"Don't leave me," Justin begged.
"I'll stay till you get to sleep," Brian promised as he laid Justin down and pulled the covers over the blond. He looked at the beautiful face so white against the pillow. Justin's eyes were closed and Brian reached out to run his fingers through the soft, blond hair. He felt so protective of the young man, like he should take over where his uncle had left off. Justin looked so very young even though Brian knew he was in his early twenties. Justin was a man not a child, but he seemed so vulnerable and so alone.
Brian heard Justin let out a sigh followed by even steady breathing. Justin was asleep, which was the best thing for him right now.
Standing up from where he had knelt by the bed, Brian stretched and bent his back, trying to get it to feel like it should. He knew a lot of this was coming from the stress and emotional events of the last few days. He took another look at Justin before quietly leaving the room.
Brian headed down to the pool. He thought a swim would make him feel better and loosen up some of the knots in his neck and back. Fifty laps later, Brian hauled himself out of the pool and toweled off. He slid into the jeans and T-shirt he had brought down with him.
Brian walked through the house wondering if it was time for him to leave. He felt like he wanted to be out of the mansion, but also that he had unfinished business there. And then there was Justin, sleeping upstairs. What was he going to do about the young man who seemed so lost now that John was gone? Brian could hardly believe that he was basing his decision to stay longer on what he thought would make the blond, if not happy, at least a little more secure. Eventually though, he would have to leave and Justin would be alone. That didn't seem right at all.
As Brian came into the foyer he was met by Arthur who carried a folder of papers. Brian imagined there were a lot of papers to be dealt with now. John had to have had extensive holdings to support this type of lifestyle.
"Mr. Kinney," Arthur said stopping in front of Brian. "I have some papers that you may want to look over, and I've arranged for the lawyer handling John's estate to come here tomorrow morning at ten a.m. He'll read the will at that point."
"Here?" Brian asked surprised.
"Yes, John had some specific requests and one of them was that the will be read in the library."
"I see. Have you contacted all the people who will need to be here?"
"Yes, although most of them are in the house right now. Other than people who worked for John, there's just you and Justin."
"Oh?" Brian asked surprised. He wasn't aware that John had had time to include him in his will. They had only met a week ago.
"I hope that ten o'clock is satisfactory," Arthur said.
"I'm sure it will be. I'll let Justin know. He's sleeping."
Arthur smiled and nodded knowingly. "Thank you."
"Not a problem. Shouldn't you be heading home?"
"I guess so. It seems so strange not to have John assign things for me to do. I guess I'll be looking for a new job soon."
"I'm sure John will take care of you," Brian said thoughtfully although he had no such guarantee. It just seemed like a lot of people depended on John and he looked after them all. He wondered who that job would fall to now. Maybe Justin could take over, or maybe everyone would be sent on their way to fend for themselves. That wouldn't be a totally bad thing. Brian had fended for himself his whole life.
"I have a few last minutes things to do and then I'll be on my way," Arthur said. Brian nodded. "If you want some dinner, the cook left food in the fridge. I gave them all the rest of the day off after the funeral."
"That's fine," Brian said not feeling hungry at all. He wasn't sure what he felt.
"I'll see you in the morning," Arthur said as he disappeared into the back of the house.
Brian walked towards the library. He had found that this was his favorite room in the house. He had enjoyed the hours he had spent there with John before he got so sick. He walked in, immediately hit by Justin's large painting above the desk. He wondered if he could maybe have that painting, if by some chance his uncle had chosen to leave it to him. That wasn't very likely. He hadn't told his uncle how much he liked it and he had pissed Justin often about that painting when they had first met. It didn't seem very likely that he would be getting it as a bequest. He probably wouldn't get anything, but Arthur had indicated that he should be there. Maybe John had left him one dollar so there could be no dispute about the validity of John's will. That was a cruel thought, and John had been anything but cruel to him.
Brian sat in the big leather armchair staring up at Justin's painting. He let his mind wander to thoughts of the young man asleep upstairs. He couldn't quite grasp what he was feeling about Justin. Lindsay had encouraged him to take it to the next stage. Christ, he hated that expression. He wasn't even sure he knew what the next step was. It probably involved dates and terms like boyfriend and relationship. Brian shuddered. He didn't think he was ready for any of that.
Except … maybe he was. He thought about Gus and spending more time with his son. He would really like to do that, and Gus would be out of kindergarten and into grade school soon. Maybe they could go to a ball game or play Mini-Putt Golf. How gay was that? Brian laughed and shook his head.
If he had someone to do those things with him and Gus, it would be easier and … nicer. "I'm sounding like a fucking lesbian," Brian said with a bitter laugh. No, relationships weren't for him. But, his relationship with his son was definitely something he could work on.
To shake himself out of these thoughts, however good or morbid they might be, Brian got up and poured himself a scotch at the bar. As he threw back some of the drink he thought about the gifts John had tried to send him. They were all in the cupboard next to the bar, all except Mickey who was up in Brian's bedroom. Brian smiled as he thought about how pleased he had been to receive Mickey Mouse even if Mickey was thirty years late in coming to him. Brian opened the cupboard door and stared at the pile of parcels wrapped in brown paper.
He poured himself another stiff drink and sat down in front of the cupboard. He reached in and pulled out one of the packages. He looked at the postal cancellation mark trying to figure out the year it was mailed. In his usual anal desire for orderliness he wanted to open them in the sequence they had been sent. He pulled out parcel after parcel lining them up in the order they had been mailed to him.
While Brian was doing this, Justin had awakened and was making his way down the stairs. He felt a little better having slept for a few hours, but he knew if he slept any longer he would not get any sleep that night. He looked into the library wondering where Brian might be. He saw the man sitting on the floor surrounded by boxes wrapped in brown paper. He was about to say something when he heard a strangled sob from Brian. The man was holding up a stuffed toy puppy with huge floppy ears and big sad eyes. Brian clutched it to his chest.
Justin stepped back so Brian wouldn't notice him. He decided that it would be best to leave Brian alone to get hold of himself. Somehow Justin knew Brian would not appreciate having Justin walk in on him clutching a stuffed puppy and having tears in his eyes. Justin smiled to himself at this softer side of Brian that didn't surface too often. He decided he'd go get something to eat and then come back when Brian had time to recover.
Brian set the puppy down and wiped at his eyes with the palms of his hands. He had wanted a puppy so much when he was five. Most of the other kids in the neighborhood had dogs, and he often played with them. But he wanted one of his own. He remembered the day he had dared ask his father for such a thing. Jack had been out with the boys and was feeling no pain when he walked into the house after work. Brian had run up to him and asked for a puppy. He remembered his father's face going slack and then Jack had said, "You want to bring another fucking mouth to feed into this family. That will fucking never happen, you stupid boy." His hand had come flying at Brian's face. The slap had knocked Brian off his feet. When he could scramble back to his feet his father had screamed at him to go to his room without dinner, because if they got a dog it would eat and Brian could go hungry. That was the last time he had ever mentioned a puppy. In fact, he had convinced himself that he hated pets and never wanted one. How had John known? Maybe it was every little boy's wish to have a puppy.
Brian took a drink of his scotch and set the puppy down. He hoped the other packages wouldn't prove to be so emotional. He didn't think he could stand opening the rest of them, if they all called up such a reaction.
With a big sigh Brian picked up the next package. He pulled off the brown paper and looked at a tiny train set. He laughed out loud as he took the cover off the box and touched each little car and piece of track inside.
"What's so funny?" Justin asked from the doorway. "I made us a couple of sandwiches. Can I join you?"
"Come on in," Brian smiled. "You look better."
"I feel a bit better." Justin handed Brian one plate with a huge Dagwood sandwich that he had concocted in the kitchen. He sat down on the floor beside Brian with his own humongous sandwich. He handed Brian one of the beers he had cradled between his arm and his body. Brian looked at the huge sandwich and raised an eyebrow. "I was hungry, and I thought you might be too," Justin said and then took a huge bite out of his sandwich.
"Hungry, yes, starving, no."
Justin chuckled. "What are you doing?"
Brian took a bite of his sandwich. "This isn't bad he said with his mouth full."
"It's what I cook best," Justin laughed.
"These … these are the presents John sent me every year for my birthday from when I was a little boy until we moved to a different house and John didn't know where I was."
"Why does John have them all?"
"My fucking parents marked them all 'Return to Sender' and sent them back. I never knew anything about them."
"But John kept them all this time. He thought enough of me to do that."
"I think John thought a lot of you, Brian. He talked to me before he made the decision to contact you. He knew what a success you had made of yourself. He was very proud of what you accomplished. He learned as much about you as he could."
"And he still wanted to see me," Brian said with a wry smile.
"What do you mean?"
"Didn't he tell you about the slut of Liberty Avenue?"
Justin's eyes grew wide. "He never said anything about that. What exactly do you mean?"
Brian sighed. "I … it's one of the names I'm known by. I guess you could say that I've fucked my way through most of the gay population of Pittsburgh and a portion of the straight men too."
Justin stared at Brian. "I see," he said slowly.
"Does that shock you?" Brian asked not at all pleased by Justin's reaction.
"Yeah, it does."
Brian scowled and traded his beer for a drink of his scotch. He didn't say anything in reply.
"I'm sorry if my answer made you mad, but you asked, and it did shock me. I know you're a handsome, sexy man, and I guess I thought you must have had some handsome, sexy men in your life."
"I have, but I don't believe in relationships and boyfriends and dating."
"I believe in fucking. It's efficient and not messy like all that emotional shit."
"Is that what you think love is - emotional shit?" Justin asked in amazement.
"Always have, always will."
"What does that mean?"
"What we did the other night, that was just fucking, right?" Justin asked. He held his breath waiting to hear what Brian would say.
Brian turned and locked eyes with Justin. "I … I don't know what that was," he admitted not wanting to lie.
"Oh?" Justin asked perking up at the possibility that it had meant something more to Brian than a casual fuck.
"Justin, I'm the slut of Liberty. I fuck them once and that's it. I don't do repeats or relationships. I'm a known asshole with no feelings or regrets. That's what my life is."
"And is that enough?" Justin asked eyes sparkling with the tears he was holding back. He had been counting on Brian's help and support and maybe something more. Now there seemed to be no hope of any of that.
"It … used to be," Brian said slowly.
"Used to be?" Justin asked staring into troubled hazel eyes.
"Things seem to be different since I came here," Brian admitted.
Justin smiled a tiny smile. "John has that affect on people."
"It isn't just John," Brian sighed. What the hell was he doing having this conversation. He couldn't believe he had revealed as much as he had. But, he knew that he did not want to lie to Justin. If there was a possibility of something more between them, then he had to be honest. Justin had to know all the bad stuff.
"Oh?" Justin said once more.
"Want to help me open some packages?" Brian asked deciding he needed to get a hold of himself. Changing the subject seemed to be the best way to gain some time to do that.
"Um … sure," Justin said realizing that he had pushed Brian about as far as the man would permit. In Brian's case, discretion might be the better part of valor.
Brian handed a package to Justin. "This would be the present for my seventh birthday," he said softly.
"What do you think it might be?" Justin asked shaking it gently.
"Maybe it's a pony," Brian snorted. "I always wanted one of those." Justin looked quizzically at Brian as he started to rip open the paper on the package. "It seems like the presents I've opened so far have been things that I always wanted. I did want a pony."
"You did?" Justin grinned. "I guess every kid wants a pony at some point."
"Even me," Justin admitted.
He pulled out the box from the brown paper and they both stared at a funny looking robot that seemed to be able to answer questions, at least that's what the box said.
"What the fuck is it?" Brian asked with a frown.
"It looks like it might be some kind of learning tool, or a toy that also teaches. Maybe John thought you needed some help in school."
"I never needed help in school, but I guess I see why he might think I could use this," Brian said laying the robot, named Alfie, down on the carpet without opening the box. "Is there a card?"
Justin rummaged around in the brown paper and handed an envelope to Brian. Brian popped it open and read: "To my nephew, a fine little boy who will succeed in school and make a big success of himself one day. Uncle John."
"He did know what you wanted and needed," Justin whispered.
"Your turn," Justin said indicating Brian should open another package before he became too emotional.
Brian picked up the next box and ripped into it. He opened it to find a plastic pony and a set of toy guns in fancy holsters. Brian chuckled. Justin smiled and picked up the card handing it to Brian. It read: "Every little boy wants a pony and maybe to be a cowboy. I hope you get to use these. Uncle John."
Brian sucked in a ragged breath. Uncle John was starting to realize that Brian's parents were never going to give him his gifts. The card showed that. And yet he had continued to send them. Brian watched a tear drop down and hit the fancy holster. He realized with some detachment that it must have come from his eye.
"Brian," Justin said gently.
Brian turned a tortured face towards Justin. "I … I can't … I can't look at any more," he gulped.
"You don't have to," Justin said leaning in to pull Brian into a hug.
Brian stiffened and then gradually relaxed into the hug when Justin refused to release him. "I'm sorry," Brian gulped out.
"It's okay. I'm here. We have the house to ourselves. You don't have to explain anything."
"Sh, it's okay," Justin said holding Brian tight.
Justin leaned his head back to look into Brian's eyes. He saw such loneliness and raw need there. "I want you," Justin whispered before he could censor himself. "And you need me."
Brian's eyes were filled with tears but also something else. He leaned into Justin, their mouths finding each other in a soft, tender kiss. Brian felt Justin's caring and support as he allowed the kiss to deepen. Soon tongues were dueling and hands were wandering. Justin pulled off Brian's T-shirt hating to break contact even for the length of time it took to remove the article of clothing. In short order they were naked among the pile of boxes and torn brown paper.
"I shouldn't…" Brian began even as his hard cock pressed against Justin's equally hard dick.
"I want this, and so do you," Justin whispered between kisses.
"Yes," Brian gasped as he retrieved a condom from his jeans.
As they rocked together stoking the fire that burned between them, they both knew that this was something more than the slut of Liberty Avenue and another trick. Maybe the morning would reveal what that might be.
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