Second Best

Chapter 4



Justin could hear the greetings as he made his way down the hall, prepared to meet the new boyfriend. He wasn't exactly sure what he expected, but Chad looked to be just about perfect, with only a few outward flaws. Where Brian had beautiful chestnut colored hair, Chad's was more of a dirty blond. Where Brian had deep hazel eyes, Chad's were more of a gray. And where Brian had a stunning swimmer's build on his 6'2" frame, Chad had a little more meat on his 5'10"ish frame. Yeah, just about perfect, but not quite.

"Oh Justin, come over here. Chad, this is my brother, Justin," Dillon said, pulling Justin out of his thoughts.

"Justin, it's a pleasure to meet you. Your brother has told me a lot about you," Chad said as he extended his hand towards Justin.

"Really? I wish I could say the same about you, but my brother only decided to share the news about you to me twenty minutes ago," Justin replied giving Chad a smirk.

Dillon gave Justin an evil glare, but chose not to comment on Justin's rudeness. "Well, come on in and sit down. Dinner should be ready in a little while."

Justin resigned his fate to a long night and took a seat in the farthest chair, hoping to be left out of the conversation. Apparently luck wasn't on his side since Chad sat down and immediately turned to strike up a conversation with him.

"So Dillon tells me you're an artist," he began.

"Yeah, well art's my true passion, but it doesn't necessarily pay the bills so I'm working for a graphics company in Pittsburgh right now," Justin explained, surprised that Dillon had told his new beau about his art.

"Hey, everybody's got to start somewhere," Chad replied. "My sister's an artist, too. She's older than me and it took her years to get her foot in the door, but now she's got a pretty decent following. Maybe you've heard of her. Monica Jacobs? She's had quite a few showings on the east coast."

"Monica Jacobs is your sister? Wow, I've seen her work at the Sidney Bloom gallery in Pittsburgh. She's fantastic," Justin said, forgetting all about his earlier animosity towards the man.

"Thanks. We're all really proud of her. How long are you planning on being in town? She's flying in on Saturday for a short visit and I could introduce you if you'd like. She loves meeting new artists and maybe she could give you the names of a few people you should connect with," Chad offered.

"I'm here till Sunday. That would be great. I just missed meeting her at her opening. She has a wonderful eye for detail. I loved her rendition of Monet," Justin said excitedly.

"Me too, but my favorite is her landscapes. She makes you feel as if you're actually sitting on the beach or in the woods. What medium do you work with most?"

Dillon sat by while his boyfriend and brother bonded over art while silently fuming inside. It was bad enough that Brian used to pay more attention to Justin than him at the family gatherings. The last thing he wanted was a repeat performance with a different character. "Chad, why don't you help me in the kitchen while Mom and Dad catch up with Justin? They haven't seen him in ages."

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to go on like that. My sister and I are really close and I guess I just happen to share her passion, although I have no artistic talent whatsoever," Chad laughed as he stood up. "We can talk more after dinner, all right, Justin?"

"Sure, that sounds good," Justin assured him, noticing the jealousy in his brother and secretly enjoying it. As soon as the two men were gone, Justin turned his focus on his parents and immediately sensed what was coming next.

"Justin, what do you think you're doing? Chad didn't come here so you could monopolize all of his time talking about your hobby," Jennifer said disapprovingly.

"What?" Justin cried out in horror. "You've got to be kidding me. I wasn't monopolizing his time and it's not a hobby. Regardless of what you, Dad, and Dillon think, my art is my life. And besides, he's the one that started the conversation. What was I supposed to do? Ignore him? God, what the fuck am I even doing here?"

"Justin, watch your mouth and don't talk to your mother like that," Craig said sternly. "You're here because it's the holidays and you're a part of this family, too."

"Yeah, lucky me," Justin mumbled under his breath.

"What was that, young man?" Craig asked.

"Nothing. If you'll excuse me, I have to use the bathroom." Justin didn't wait for a reply before retreating down the hallway feeling like his head was going to explode. What the fuck was wrong with him? Why did he even bother to waste money he didn't have on a trip that he didn't want to take? No matter what he did or how hard he tried, he'd never been seen by anyone in his family as anything other than a screw up.

Chad waited until he and Dillon were alone in the kitchen before turning towards his boyfriend. "What was that all about?"

"What was what?" Dillon asked innocently, taking Chad in his arms and kissing his neck in hopes of distracting him. He should've known better.

"Why'd you drag me out of there? I was enjoying the conversation I was having with Justin. I've been anxious to meet him ever since you told me he was an artist," Chad said, pulling out of Dillon's arms. "If I didn't know any better, I'd swear you were jealous."

"Jealous? Of Justin? Oh please, there's nothing to be jealous of. And I never said he was an artist. I told you he liked to draw," Dillon replied bitterly.

"Babe, what's really going on here? When you told me about him you sounded like you were proud of him. Why the change all of a sudden? You know that I love you, right?" He waited until he saw Dillon nod his head in acknowledgement before continuing. "Then why are you so angry that I was talking to him? He's your brother, not your competition."

"I know…it's just that when Brian and I were together, I used to have to sit back and watch them laughing and joking around all the time. They talked about art and advertising and so many other things that I knew nothing about. Sometimes I thought that they'd be a better couple than Brian and me? And I guess I just don't want that to happen again," Dillon replied, admitting for the first time the jealousy he felt around Brian and Justin.

"Dillon, I'm not Brian, okay? And even though I have a strong passion for the arts, it doesn't come close to the passion I have for you." Chad proved his words by taking Dillon in his arms and kissing him deeply. Both men began to forget where they were until the kitchen door opened, bringing them out of their lust filled fog.

"Ooops, sorry," Jennifer said, her face slightly red from walking in on her son and his boyfriend. "I didn't mean to interrupt. I was just wondering how dinner was coming along."

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Several hundred miles away Brian sat in a chaise on the beach behind his hotel. He had spent the earlier part of the day fucking some guy he had met at the check-in counter of the hotel. And he had mostly enjoyed it. However, there had been a nagging thought that kept creeping into his mind at the most inopportune moments.

Brian shook his head and looked down the beach. He spotted a young man with brown hair and what looked like a gymnast's body. The guy had muscles but not too much. He wasn't exactly short, but not too tall either. He carried himself with ease and was heading in Brian's direction. Brian felt his cock stir in his skimpy bathing suit.

"Down boy," he mumbled as he adjusted himself. The man was still heading his way.

Brian stared at the guy as he drew nearer and then it happened again. Somehow he was looking at Justin Taylor walking down the beach. He felt his cock grow hard and he smiled up at the delicious blond who looked down at him. Justin opened his mouth to speak.

"Hey, how's it going?"

Brian blinked and wiped at his eyes. The smile faded from his face and his eyes focused on the brown haired, brown eyed beauty that stood by his chaise. Definitely not Justin Taylor.

"Hey," Brian replied.

"Want to hook up?" the man asked.

Brian nodded and stood up. "My hotel is right here." With a cock of his head he started walking towards the lobby knowing the guy would follow him. Up in his hotel room he wasted no time ramming his dick up the guy's ass. He was tight and eager and that suited Brian just fine. Until … it happened again.

Brian was pounding against the willing ass when the man turned his head and looked up at him. The face was Justin Taylor's and Brian groaned mightily as he shot his load staring into that beautiful face.

"That was great, man," the guy said as Brian rolled off him quickly disposing of the condom.

"Yeah, great."

"Want to grab some dinner? We could have room service and maybe another go-round."

"Um … no thanks. It was great but I'm meeting someone in less than an hour," Brian lied.

"Yeah, right!" the guy said pulling on his shorts. "I'll be around for the weekend," the guy said hopefully.

"I probably won't," Brian replied lying back on the bed and lighting a cigarette. He made a mental note to stay away from the beach. He heard the door click shut as his trick left.

With a sigh he thought about what had just happened. Ever since he had met Justin in the fucking airport he couldn't seem to get the blond out of his head. Twice when he had fucked his earlier trick he had been fucking Justin… at least in his own head. His brain was playing serious mind games on him. And now this guy!

Brian frowned. He had always liked Justin when he and Dillon were together. Often he and the blond had talked when they were together, probably ignoring Dillon while they did. Justin was so interested in things, always willing to learn something new. Brian could think of a few things that he would like to teach him. Smiling to himself Brian thought about their conversation in the airport. Justin hadn't seemed very keen to be with his family in Chicago. He wondered if Dillon had a new boyfriend yet. Likely he did, because Dillon wanted stability in his life. Brian chuckled to himself. It was a wonder that he and Dillon ever got together at all. They both wanted such different things, other than being successful. They had both definitely wanted that. And ultimately, that had been what broke them up. Neither was willing to give in to the needs of the other. That was a sure sign that they didn't love each other enough. That's why the break-up had been so easy.

Justin Taylor, Brian let his mind wander. The kid had a wicked sense of humor and he had a comment on just about everything. He often made pronouncements that sounded so much like a public service announcement. Brian remembered teasing him about that. Justin usually gave back as good as he got. He was a feisty little dickens.

"Fuck!" Brian said aloud.

Here he was in fucking Miami Beach, Florida, with hundreds of nearly naked gay guys just outside his door, and he was lying in bed thinking about Justin fucking Taylor. He hauled himself to his feet vowing to go find some dinner and a trick that would in no way remind him of Justin Taylor.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Justin sat at the dinner table pushing the obligatory turkey around on his plate. He watched his brother fawning all over Chad. He had to smile at how Dillon's nose had been out of joint when he and Chad were talking about art. If he didn't know better, Justin would almost think his brother had been jealous. However, he knew that was impossible. Dillon was the one that had everything. Chad was his boyfriend. They were the perfect couple and Justin was the odd man out, just like he always was.

"More wine, Justin?" Craig asked pulling his son out of his unwanted thoughts.

"Sure," Justin said holding out his glass. He might as well get drunk. There was nothing more enjoyable than that to do here in Dillon's exquisite apartment with his loving family and Dillon's state of the art boyfriend.

"So Chad," Jennifer said. "When will your residency be finished?'

"In about a month," Chad replied. "I'm going to join the cardiac team at Mt. Sinai after Christmas."

"How exciting for you," Jennifer responded.

Dillon leaned in and squeezed Chad's arm. "I'm so proud of him. He'll be the best heart surgeon in the city before long."

Justin made a face in spite of his resolution to not let any of this crap get to him.

"What was that face for?" Craig asked picking up on Justin's demeanor and not liking it.

"Nothing," Justin muttered. Why couldn't they just leave him alone?

"Explain yourself, young man," Craig persisted.

"Fuck!" Justin blurted out.

"Watch that language in this house," Craig chastised his son.

"This is Dillon's house, not yours," Justin retorted.

"Well, stop it."

"I … I was just thinking," Justin said with a wicked smile. "It wasn't so long ago that Dillon was telling us that Brian was going to be the best ad exec in all of Pittsburgh. Nothing but the best for my big brother." Justin raised his glass in a mock toast.

"Justin," Jennifer said softly but with enough of an edge to her voice to show her displeasure with her son's words.

"I think I'm going to go for a walk," Justin said standing up a little unsteady on his feet from all the wine.

"A walk?" Jennifer asked. "But we haven't finished dinner yet."

"Finish without me," Justin said going to the closet and pulling out his jacket. "You'll enjoy it much better without me around. Nice meeting you, Chad, and I would like to talk to your sister if that can be arranged."

Justin opened the door as Dillon's voice caught him. "When will you be back?"

"Don't wait up. It'll be late."

Justin slammed the door behind him as he heard his father mouthing something about "Ungrateful wretch!".

Some time later after walking many blocks and finding all the bars and shops locked up tight, Justin sat down on a bus stop bench. He watched the sparse traffic pass by for quite a long time. This was some Thanksgiving! He wished he was in Miami with Brian Kinney.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

A short time later, Justin found himself on his third shot as he sat alone at a bar. He'd gotten on the first bus that stopped in front of him, needing to put as much space as possible between him and his family. After downing the golden liquid, he noticed a hot guy at the other end, obviously checking him out. It was the first time he really took in his surroundings. It wasn't exactly a gay bar, but it was definitely mixed and he felt himself relax a little more as the liquor began having its desired affect. As he signaled to the bartender for another round, the hot guy from the other end made his way over and took the stool next to him.

"I haven't seen you around here before," the man commented as he ordered himself another drink.

"I'm from Pittsburgh. Just in for the holidays," Justin replied although he wasn't quite sure why he was sharing information.

"Wanna hook up?"

Justin took in the chiseled features staring at him and thought what the hell? A good fuck was just what he needed to take his mind off Dillon and his parents. "Lead the way."

Once they were back at the trick's apartment Justin began having his doubts. His mind kept going back to Brian sprawled out on the beach, soaking in the sun and for the first time in his life he wondered if anonymous sex was the answer to his problems. "I'm not sure this is a good idea," he finally admitted as he felt the trick begin kissing his neck.

"Look man, I could tell by the way you were downing your drinks that you're carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Let me help you forget your troubles," the trick replied, running his hands down Justin's back and along his ass.

Justin's mind shut down and his dick took over at the feel of hands touching him and he decided to go on instinct and let the trick help him to forget. It was all he could really do at the moment. Unfortunately his mind wouldn't stay down and a little while later, as Justin pounded into the tight ass before him, he kept seeing Brian's face on the unfamiliar body. He tried to shake those thoughts away, but it wasn't working. Eventually he just went with it and when his orgasm finally hit, it wasn't just some guy taking the journey with him, it was Brian.

After it was over Justin lay in the darkened room, wondering how he'd gotten to the point of thinking about Brian so often. Aside from a few brief memories now and then, he hadn't spent a lot of time dwelling on Brian since his break up with Dillon. Now after a few run-ins, it seemed the man was invading his thoughts on an almost daily basis. He needed to find a way to make it stop before he drove himself crazy.

"That was great," the trick said, breaking the silence in the room and pulling Justin from his thoughts. "It's getting late. You're welcome to crash here tonight if you want."

Justin was about to refuse, but then realized that between the stress of his family and the amount of alcohol he had consumed, he didn't have the energy to go out into the night and find his way back. In fact, his fatigue overtook him so suddenly that he barely had time to grunt in reply before feeling himself drift off to sleep.

When his eyes popped open the next morning, a quick sense of panic started to set in before he remembered what had taken place the night before. Glancing at the clock, he was surprised to find that it was almost nine. His parents and brother had to be wondering where he was by then and as he dragged himself out of bed, careful not to wake its occupant; he dreaded going back to the condo and receiving the third degree. He dressed quickly and tried to make it out of the apartment unnoticed. Luck apparently wasn't on his side, because when he started walking out of the room, he heard the trick's voice calling out to him.

"Hey, where are you going? I thought we could have another round before you rushed off."

"Sorry, I have somewhere I have to be. Thanks for your hospitality," Justin called out over his shoulder as he quickly made his way out of the apartment without looking back. As he walked down the sidewalk, he thought about the night before and how stupid it was for him to pick up a trick in a strange city. His head was throbbing and he had no idea where he was. Deciding that a taxi would be his best bet, he felt for his wallet and checked his cash before hailing a cab. He settled in the back and gave the driver the address before laying his head back against the seat and wishing he was on his way to the airport instead of back to his family.

Eventually the cab pulled up outside Dillon's building and Justin threw the driver some cash before getting out and going inside. The ride up in the elevator went faster than he would've liked as Justin tried to think up the best possible excuse for his disappearance. He wanted to be prepared for the confrontation that was about to take place. He took a deep breath before getting off on Dillon's floor and walking towards the door. He knocked softly and waited for someone to answer, wishing there was a way he could slip in without being noticed. Finally the door opened and Justin came face to face with his mother. Her face wore the look of disappointment that Justin had become accustomed to over the years, but her words surprised him.

"Justin, it's about time you got here. We've been waiting for you. Its Black Friday, remember? There are places I simply have to see and I want to beat the rush."

Justin stared at her for a moment, before realizing what was happening. Jennifer Taylor had a habit of living in her own little fantasy world where she could exist in ignorance and pretend that her youngest son wasn't the black sheep of the family. It was easier for her to rush him out the door for shopping than to face the issues that caused him to walk out to begin with. He thought about confronting her on it, but then decided that spending a day shopping would be much more enjoyable than spending the day trying to prove that he was just as good as Dillon was, only different. It hadn't worked in the past and he doubted it would work anytime in the future.

"Sure Mom, just give me a few minutes for a quick shower and I'll be ready to go," he said, as he hurried past her, ignoring the looks from his father and brother as he went. Maybe he'd find a way to ignore them all for the day. He doubted it, but a guy could dream.

When they finally returned home later that evening, everyone was loaded down with packages and Jennifer was in her glory. Shopping had always been her favorite pastime and that was something that would never change. Justin was exhausted, having suffered most of the day with the aftereffects of a night of drinking and all he wanted to do was go to bed. As he dropped the shopping bags in the guest room he heard Dillon calling out to him. He sighed, looking longingly at his temporary bedroom before going back into the living room.

"What is it?" he asked impatiently.

"Chad called while we were out. He wants the two of us to join him and his sister for dinner tomorrow night at Caliterra's. It's pretty pricey, but don't worry. I'll pay for you. How's seven o'clock sound?" Dillon asked as he reached for the phone to return Chad's call.

"Seven is fine and I'm more than capable of paying my own way. I have a job, you know," Justin replied bitterly, feeling his anger once again begin to build.

"I know, I just thought," Dillon began before noticing the icy glare his brother was giving him. "Fine, forget I even offered. Did you by any chance pack something appropriate to where?"

"Dillon, I'm a Taylor. Of course I packed something appropriate. Now if you'll all excuse me, I'm going to bed. Good night." Justin walked down the hall and closed himself into his room before anyone had time to reply to his comment. He was glad that he had decided to bring a suit along because having to borrow something from Dillon was out of the question. He was serious when he mentioned being a Taylor. As comfortable as he was in his jeans and t-shirts, the rest of them seemed to thrive on making grand appearances and he had learned years before that he had to be prepared when visiting his family. As he stripped down and threw himself on the couch, too worn out to pull out the bed, he smiled at the thought of the following night. He was really looking forward to talking with Chad again and meeting his sister, much to his surprise. And any situation that pulled him away from good old Mom and Dad was always welcome.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

The line at Caliterra's was pretty long, but apparently Chad was well known in the place since all he did was wave to the maitre d' and they were seated immediately. The place was very upscale and Justin was thankful that he had decided to bring his Armani suit. It was the only item in his wardrobe that cost him over a week's salary, but he bought it on a whim one day after an argument with his mother and rarely got to use it. It was perfect for the evening. As soon as they sat down, Monica started talking to Justin about which medium he preferred and who his biggest inspirations were. She was easy to talk to and seemed to genuinely care about what Justin had to say and managed to keep Chad involved in the conversation as well. In fact, as much as he hated to admit it, his trip to Chicago wasn't nearly as bad as he thought it would be, thanks to the Jacobs siblings. There were a few times during dinner that he felt Dillon's eyes on him, but chose to ignore him and just enjoy his night.

After they were done, Chad suggested they go to a lounge that he frequented often with colleagues and there they continued to talk about art and its impact on society, making Dillon feel left out and alone. He'd met Monica a few times while she was visiting her brother and although she seemed to like him well enough, she never showed him the attention that she was showering Justin with. Once again he felt like he was put on a back burner where his younger brother was concerned, and even though Chad assured him that he wasn't Brian two nights before, he still hated feeling so left out. He was thrilled when Monica fought off a yawn and apologized, claiming to be tired after her trip. Justin apologized for keeping them out so late, but Monica assured him that she had a lovely time and enjoyed meeting him. As they walked to their cars, Dillon heard Monica and Justin making plans to get together during her next trip to Pittsburgh and silently fumed. He'd been trying to win Monica over for months, despite the fact that Chad assured him that he was being silly, and here Justin had done it in a few short hours; all because he liked to draw. Sometimes life just seemed so unfair.

Dillon and Justin said goodbye to Chad and Monica before heading towards Dillon's car, but neither one of them said a word. They were both lost in their own thoughts. When they finally let themselves into the condo, it was well after midnight and their parents were asleep. Dillon locked the door behind them and set the alarm as Justin headed for his room.

"What time's your flight tomorrow?"

Justin turned around and addressed his brother for the first time since leaving the lounge. "I need to leave here by nine."

"Okay, I'll make sure the doorman has a car waiting for you. Goodnight," Dillon said as he followed Justin down the hall and disappeared into his bedroom.

Justin sighed as he closed himself into his own room. Of course the doorman would have a car waiting. Why would his own family want to drive him to the airport? He was sure they had more important things to do, such as look down their noses at those less fortunate. Pushing all thoughts of his family from his mind, Justin lay on the bed that he pulled out before the evening began and thought once again about the gorgeous man in Florida. He wondered when he would see Brian again and found himself looking forward to the encounter.

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