Second Best

Chapter 9



Justin was just finishing up at Galactic when his phone rang. He thought about ignoring it. It was already after twelve and they were officially off for the long holiday weekend. Tom was not only closing down the office early on Friday, but he was leaving it closed until Tuesday. He claimed that his hard working staff deserved the extra time off. At the last minute, Justin gave in and reached for the phone before it went to voicemail.


"Hey there Sunshine, how come you're still at work? I thought you had a half day today," Brian said when he heard Justin's voice on the line.

"I was just shutting down my computer," Justin replied with a smile. He always smiled when he heard Brian's voice. "Where are you?"

"I'm sitting outside of Galactic in my car waiting for you to haul that beautiful ass of yours down here," Brian teased.

"Well in that case, I'll see you in a minute." Justin happily hung up the phone and grabbed his briefcase before shutting out the lights and leaving the office. He said a quick goodbye to Carly and wished her a Merry Christmas before almost skipping out of the building. He spotted the Corvette immediately and hurried over, climbing inside and reaching out to kiss Brian deeply.

"I'm happy to see you too," Brian said as he pulled back. "I have a little surprise for you, but we have to hurry. We have a plane to catch."

"We do? To where?" Justin asked in confusion as he buckled his seatbelt.

"To New York, of course. Where else?"

"Uh…Brian…I thought you knew that I didn't want to go to my parents' until tomorrow. The last thing I want to do is spend an extra day with my family," Justin replied as his happiness deflated.

"Who said anything about going to your parents' house? I just said we were going to New York," Brian replied as he pulled out into traffic and headed towards Justin's apartment.

"But…if we're not going to my parents' house, then where are we going?" Now Justin was even more confused.

"Rockefeller Center. I booked us into a suite at the Hilton. There's ice skating and carolers, not to mention the Christmas tree. I figured that if your little old tree makes you horny as hell, I can't wait to see your reaction to a tree bigger than most of the buildings in Pittsburgh," Brian teased.

"Oh Brian," Justin gushed as he reached over and threw his arms around Brian, kissing his cheek.

"Easy there, kid, or the only place we're going to see tonight is the inside of a hospital," Brian pointed out as he tried to pay attention to where the car was going.

"Sorry," Justin replied sheepishly. "I guess I just got a little excited."

"Well, save that excitement for when we're soaking in a Jacuzzi on the 43rd floor. Right now we have to get you home and packed so we can catch our three o'clock flight."

"I can't believe that you did this. This is why you booked our flight while I was sleeping, wasn't it?"

"I couldn't necessarily surprise you if you were sitting right there, now could I?" Brian smirked as he pulled up outside Justin's building. "Now, how fast can you pack?"

Justin packed in record time and they made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. The flight was uneventful and by five o'clock their cab was pulling up outside the Hilton. Brian went to the desk to check in while Justin walked around the lobby watching all the other guests go about their business. Once they were all checked in, they followed the bellman up to the 43rd floor and waited patiently while their luggage was brought in and they were left alone. Justin immediately reached for Brian and was disappointed when the older man pulled away.

"I can't believe I'm saying this, but not now," Brian laughed.

"What? Why not?" Justin asked.

"Because we have plans, remember? Have you ever been ice skating before?"

"Yeah, when I was six," Justin replied. "You mean we're actually going to go skating?"

"That's why we're here, isn't it?" Brian said as he walked over to the closet and opened the door. Justin watched in awe as Brian pulled out two big boxes and set them on the bed. "I snooped through your closet to get your shoe size. I hope these fit."

"What are those?"

"Ice skates. I have it on good authority that you can't go ice skating without them," Brian teased as he opened the boxes and pulled out two pairs of black skates. He glanced over and saw the bewildered look on Justin's face and couldn't help but laugh. "What's the matter, Sunshine?"

"How did you…"

"It's amazing what a little money can do. Now grab your skates and let's go."

As they walked the four blocks to the center, Justin's mind was still trying to wrap itself around what Brian had done for him. No one, not even his parents, had ever done so much for him before and if he wasn't sure before, he knew now without a shadow of a doubt that he loved this man. When they got to the ice, Justin stood there for a moment, watching the flurry of activity before grabbing Brian's hand and leading them over to the entrance. There was a line to get in, but it wasn't as long as Justin thought it would be and he could feel his excitement building. Ice skating at Rockefeller Center was something that he had never thought of doing, but now that they were there, he couldn't wait.

"Have you ever done this before?" Justin asked as he watched the skaters circling the ice.

"Nope. I was hoping you could teach me."

Justin saw the childish look on Brian's face and couldn't help barking out in laughter. "I'll do the best I can."

When they were finally let through the entrance, Justin took Brian's hand and led him across the ice. He was a little shaky at first, but picked up quickly and was soon gliding gracefully around the ring. He was a natural, as Justin imagined he was at anything he did, and they spent forty-five minutes going round and round laughing and enjoying themselves. Once they were off the ice and back in their shoes with their skates tied together and slung over their shoulders, Brian took Justin's hand and led him through the crowds until they came to a stop in front of the huge, brightly lit Christmas tree. Justin looked up at the tree in awe as he gripped Brian's hand.

"Wow, I don't think I've ever seen a tree that big. It's beautiful, isn't it?"

Brian took a step behind Justin, wrapping his arms around the smaller man's waist and replied. "Yeah, beautiful," but his eyes weren't on the tree before them. They were trained on Justin's profile. "Are you cold?"

Justin knew that he should be. It was twenty fucking degrees out and there were tiny snowflakes falling from the sky, but standing there wrapped in Brian's arms made him oblivious to anything other than the strong body pressed against him from behind. "As much as I'm enjoying this view, there's something else I'd rather be watching right now."

"Oh yeah, and what's that?"

"Your face, as I ride your hard cock in the Jacuzzi," Justin said, lowering his voice so that Brian was the only one who could hear his request. "You ready to head back, stud?"

"Lead the way, Sunshine," Brian murmured.

An hour later, as Justin impaled himself on Brian in the huge tub, he knew that he'd never forget their night in New York. It was absolutely perfect.

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Justin zippered up his suitcase and placed it by the door with Brian's. After making a final check for missed items, Brian came up behind him and placed his chin on Justin's shoulder, kissing his cheek.

"Are you all right?" Brian asked softly.

"Yeah, I'm just not looking forward to this. I know it's silly, but every time I'm around them I feel so small and unimportant," Justin sighed, trying to find comfort in his lover's arms.

"Well, this year's going to be different. This time you'll have me there with you," Brian replied as he turned Justin around and looked deeply into his eyes. "And you're very important to me."

Justin could see the truth in Brian's eyes and smiled up at him as he felt the burning of tears behind his eyes. "Brian, I…I…you're important to me, too."

A knock at the door jarred them out of their intimate moment and Brian growled at the interruption as he walked over and opened it to see the bellman standing there expectantly. "You all ready, Sir?"

"Yeah, that's everything," Brian told him as he pointed to their luggage piled up in the corner. He waited until the bellman had the luggage loaded on the cart and out of the room before turning back to Justin. "Everything's going to be okay; I promise."

Justin looked up at Brian and for the first time in his life he really believed that a trip to his parents wouldn't be completely terrible. With Brian at his side, nothing could ever be that terrible.

As the cab neared his parents' brownstone, Justin felt the butterflies in his stomach. He wasn't sure how this whole thing would play out. Even though ordinarily he would be all too happy to piss off his brother, he didn't want to ruin Christmas for everybody. And he wanted Brian to have a good time. He wondered now if he had done the right thing by bringing Brian with him. Maybe this was all a big mistake.

"It'll be all right, Sunshine," Brian said as he slid his fingers into Justin's so that they were interlocked.

Justin felt the strength radiate from Brian into his soul and he knew that whatever happened, he was with the one person this Christmas that he wanted to be with. It was going to be a good Christmas for him and Brian. Everything and everyone else could go to hell.

The cab pulled up near the brownstone and they both climbed out. The front door opened and Jennifer Taylor waved to her son. "Merry Christmas, Mom," Justin replied climbing the steps to give her a hug.

Brian paid the driver and went to the back of the cab to retrieve their luggage. He watched Justin receive the warm embrace from his mother and had to wonder why Justin always felt so left out, so underrated by his family. They seemed to love him just as much as they did Dillon, but Brian could remember a few of the offhand comments that he had heard them make over the years. It had to hurt, and they probably didn't even realize they did it. With a sigh Brian slammed the trunk of the cab and bent to get hold of the luggage.

"Who did you bring, sweetheart? We've all been dying to know," Jennifer was saying to Justin as Brian emerged from behind the taxi. It pulled away and he felt totally exposed standing there in front of the mother of his former lover.

"Hello, Jennifer," Brian said looking up at Justin and his mother from the bottom of the steps.

"Brian? My God, Brian. What are you doing here?" she asked bewildered.

"He's with me," Justin said proudly making Brian smile.

"You mean you brought Brian for Christmas. But … but how is your brother going to feel about this? Are you trying to upset everyone?"

"No, Mother, I'm not trying to upset anyone," Justin stated emphatically although he knew he had meant to do that … at one point. There was always just enough truth in his mother's statements to upset him. Deciding he wasn't going to let his family ruin the holiday for him, Justin said, "Brian and I are … together." He smiled down at Brian for confirmation.

Brian nodded and lifted the suitcases to carry them up the steps. "Together," he said.

"Well, I guess you both better come in out of the cold," Jennifer said pulling her sweater around her. "Your father and brother went to pick up some Christmas cheer."

"Hope they get lots," Brian whispered to Justin. "We all may need it."

Justin elbowed Brian slightly as Jennifer turned to close the door behind them. "I hope they hurry back. I could use a drink," she said. "You're in the last bedroom, Justin. Take … Brian up and show him where to put his things."

"Come on, Brian," Justin said taking his own suitcase and starting up the stairs.

"Come down for a drink once you're settled," Jennifer called.

"She'll be downing a glass of wine before we get to our room," Justin observed.

"Why didn't you tell them that I was coming with you?" Brian asked as he unzipped his bag.

"I wanted it to be a surprise."

"A shock, you mean."

"Yeah," Justin admitted.

"Well, I'd say you got your wish with your mother. I can hardly wait to see Dillon's and your father's reactions. I take it they don't know either."

Justin shook his head. He had made a right royal mess of this. He slumped dejectedly down on the bed.

"Don't worry, Sunshine. The two of us can charm the pants off anyone."

"Please don't use any of your backroom skills while you're here," Justin said and then started giggling. In a second they were both laughing as Brian pulled Justin against him and kissed his lips to stifle the impending hysteria. The kisses grew deeper and more demanding as time wore on. They were sprawled on the bed rutting against each other when they heard voices from below and knew Dillon and Craig had returned.

"We should go down," Brian said sitting up on the bed.

"Let's stay here and fuck," Justin said with a lustful leer.

"As tempting as that may sound, I think we should go face the music."

"I don't want to."

"It's not a question of whether you want to or not, we have to."

"They'll only run me down," Justin said shaking his head.

"I won't let them."

Justin looked up into Brian's eyes. "You won't?"

"That's what I said."

"Thank you," Justin replied with tears forming behind his eyes. He had always wanted someone to defend him and look out for his interests. He had always had to fight his battles alone … until now. "I'm falling for you, Mr. Kinney," Justin whispered.

"I've already fallen for you, Mr. Taylor."

All tears vanished as Justin flashed one of his best smiles. He couldn't remember when he'd been this happy.

"Let's go," Brian said pulling Justin off the bed. "Straighten your clothes. They don't need to know what we were doing."

"Maybe I want them to know."

"Behave," Brian admonished.

"For you, I will."

Hand in hand they made their way down the stairs. They could hear voices in the living room and followed the sound. All talk stopped as they entered the room.

"Brian?" Dillon said. "I … I couldn't believe it when Mom said you were here … with Justin."

"How are you?" Brian asked his former lover. "You look well."

"Thanks, so do you."

"I hear you have a new beau. Do we get to meet him soon?"


"I can hardly wait."

Brian and Dillon had been staring at each other during this exchange. It was like everybody else in the room had ceased to exist. Justin didn't like the way his brother was looking at Brian. It seemed like they had just stepped back in time.

"Brian," Craig Taylor said extending his hand to shake Brian's. "You're the last person I expected to see here."

"That makes two of us," Brian said with a chuckle shaking the extended hand. He broke eye contact with Dillon and drew in a hesitant breath. This was beyond weird. He would never have come if he had known it would be like this.

"How's business?"

"Opened my own agency. Doing really well."

"Is that how you met up with Justin?"

"No, actually it was our mutual love of Starbucks that got us together."


"It's a long story," Brian said with a laugh.

"Why don't you make everybody a drink, Craig?" Jennifer suggested.

"Sure, honey. Still drinking Beam, Brian?"

"Yeah, but a scotch would be nice."

Craig headed for the kitchen with the bags of liquor.

"I'll help you, Dad," Dillon said.

"I'll get the ice," Jennifer volunteered.

Brian watched them disappear into the kitchen. It was then that he turned to look at Justin who stood by the door staring off into space.

"Bet they are in there talking about us," Brian observed. Justin made no reply and he didn't move. "Justin? What's wrong?"

"It … it's all wrong. It's all gone wrong."

"What are you talking about?"

"It was like it's always been. You and Dillon together and me on the outside looking in."

"What the fuck are you talking about?"

"I saw the way you two looked at each other," Justin accused.

"It was pretty fucking weird, I agree."

"Weird? Yeah right!"


"I felt like I was invisible. It was like all the awful times I remember from the past." Justin turned and started towards the stairs.

Brian caught his arm as he reached the first step. "You're wrong." Brian turned Justin forcing him to look at Brian. "It was strange seeing Dillon again. It brought back some old memories."

"I bet I know what kind."

"No, you don't. I felt like it was finally finished between us. When Dillon moved to Chicago, we just ended it, and it never really felt completed. Now it does."

"You mean it?" Justin asked with tears in his eyes.

"I mean it. It's you I want, Justin. Don't doubt that."

"I don't want to," Justin said in a shaky voice.

"Then don't," Brian repeated pulling Justin against him and kissing the lips that were still trembling with emotion. "You're the only one for me."

Another kiss followed the first. They were lost in each other's arms at the bottom of the stairs when they heard someone clear their throat.

"Sorry to interrupt," Dillon said looking from his brother to Brian and back again. "Here's your scotch, Brian. I forgot to ask what you wanted Justin."

"Justin will have this scotch. You can get me another one."

"Um … sure," Dillon said retreating back into the living room.

"Mind if we share that?" Brian asked. "I could use something strong right about now."

"Half for you and half for me," Justin said polishing off his half. "Equal partners."

"Absolutely," Brian agreed. "I'll see they don't forget to ask what you want from here on out."

Justin smiled as Brian downed the rest of the scotch. He linked his fingers through Brian's and they went into the living room to wait for the next round with his family.

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