Authors Note: This is a sequel to Feels Like Home. Takes places a couple of months later.
Justin moved back into the loft, and the Royal Couple of Liberty Avenue was back on track. Although no one knew it. One thing they decided when they got back together was that they were not going to fall into the same trap they did before. That meant keeping their reconciliation a secret from their well meaning friends and family.
Neither man had any doubt that the people in their life meant any harm, but it seemed their good intentions did nothing but fuck up an already fucked up situation. So they decided to keep quiet. They were back together, but no grand announcement or grand gesture was made. They simply went on with their lives.
They were together, and whatever their friends thought were of no consequence. Justin quickly moved back into the loft, and they fell into the old familiar patterns they had missed so much. Some things were familiar, but many things were different. Brian stopped tricking. Even though Brian had promised Justin that he wanted locks on their doors, there was always a nagging fear in the back of Justins mind. Brian knew Justins fears, and decided to alleviate them the only way he knew how, by his actions. It didnt take Justin very long to feel safe in the relationship again.
Miraculously, Ted and Emmett had not made a big deal about the reconciliation at Babylon. The two men didnt hide their relationship, they just didnt flaunt it. Michael had been to the loft a couple of times while Justin was home. He didnt ask any questions and Brian didnt offer any answers. He figured people would eventually get the clue that he and Justin were back together, no need to make a formal announcement.
Soon Brians birthday was approaching, as well as the anniversary of the Prom. It had been two years ago, but to Brian it seemed like yesterday. At this time last year, he and Justin had been apart, so the day came and went with no mention. At least on the surface, inside Brian relived every moment of that night in slow motion. He couldnt get it out of his head. Thankfully a bottle of Jim Beam allowed him to fall into a dreamless sleep. He wondered how Justin was doing.
That same night, a year before, Justin had lied in Ethans bed trying not to cry. As hard as he tried he couldnt will the tears away, but he could stifle the sobs. Although he had told Ethan about the prom, the musician could not understand why it had been a big deal. He hated it even more that Brian was a part of it. So Justin suffered through the night alone.
This year would be better. They were together again, and would face the anniversary of the night that changed their lives together. Brian had a plan. Since they had been back together the last few months, Brian had begun to see his life take on a whole new direction. He no longer desired to prowl Babylon or Woodys for a nameless faceless trick. He enjoyed coming home to Justin every night. He enjoyed sharing his bed with Justin and Justin alone. One of Brians fears about relationships had been about control. He was afraid that if he opened up to much to another person, he would give up control to that person. With Justin he never felt that. Justin held his heart and soul, and that knowledge gave Brian strength.
The morning of Brians 32nd birthday dawned early. The sun streamed through the windows in the loft. Brian looked over at the man sleeping beside him. He loved to watch Justin sleep, it was his guiltiest pleasure. When Justin was asleep, he looked like an angel. All stress and worry lines disappeared, and his face displayed pure peace. Justins eyes began to open. He looked at his lovers hazel eyes, and smiled his Sunshine smile.
Happy Birthday baby.
Thanks, Brian leaned in for a kiss. For some reason this birthday was not freaking him out. For his 30th birthday, Brian had the infamous scarfing incident. For his 31st birthday, he had gotten drunk and high and woke up with four men in his bed. For his 32nd birthday, he was waking up looking into the eyes of the man he loved. Yes this was definitely the best birthday.
Are you ready for your present?
Brian grabbed Justins morning hard-on, Isnt this it?
Justin giggled, Thats yours anytime you want it, so it would be a pretty crappy birthday present.
It would be the best birthday present.
Justin kissed the lips he loved so much, We belong to each other, so I am yours and you are mine. We arent presents. So do you want your present?
Yes I do.
Justin hopped out of bed and reached for Brians hand, Come on old man, its in the living room.
Brian reluctantly rolled out of bed and followed Justin into the living room. Justin led him to the TV. Set up on the entertainment center was a vintage video game system. Brian remembered telling Justin about how much fun he and Mikey had playing Colecovision. Before him was a full Coleco video game system, complete with Brians favorite games. He had Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr, Ladybug, Tapper and many others. Brian couldnt believe Justin had done this for him.
Baby, where did you get this?
eBay. I started searching for the system and all the games you told me about. You seemed so happy when you talked about playing these games with Michael, I wanted to make you happy again.
Brian kissed his lover. This was the first time someone had given him a gift that actually meant something. Justins love for him constantly amazed him. The two spent the morning playing video games. Justin picked up the games quickly, and was soon beating Brian. Brian laughed at his young lover, some things would never change.
Theres one more present baby.
I dont need anything else, this is great. Leave it to you to recreate the few fond memories of my childhood.
Justin smiled at that admission, This present was for fun, now its time for the real present.
Ok Sunshine, wheres my real present?
Right here, Justin handed Brian a small box wrapped in red silk. Brian cocked his eyebrow. You always told me how important presentation was.
Brian smirked at that admission. It was true, presentation was everything. He carefully unwrapped Justins present. He held a jewelry box in his hand. He was nervous to unwrap it, he worried about what Justin was giving him. He opened the box and found a solid gold cowry shell pendant staring back at him. Unconsciously, his fingers brushed the gold shell.
Its a locket, open it. Brian followed Justin instructions and opened the locket. Inside was a picture of the two of them from the prom. The two of them were smiling at each other. Brian looked at Justin with a question in his eyes.
Daphne took it. I didnt know she even had a camera with her. She showed it to me a while ago. I was whining about the demise of our relationship, about how you didnt love me, that you never did. She snapped at me to quit bitching, that she had proof that you did love me. Then she showed me this picture. I still dont remember that night, but this picture helps me. Brian was silent, and suddenly Justin got nervous. If you dont like it, Im sure I could get you something else.
Put it on me. Brian handed the box to Justin. Justin gently lifted the necklace out of its box and fastened it around Brians neck. What Brian did next, surprised the hell out of Justin. He unfastened the cowry shell bracelet from his wrist. He hadnt removed it since the day Justin put it back on after clearing Brian of the accusations that his nephew had made. Once the bracelet was off his wrist, Brian took Justins arm and fastened the bracelet around his lovers wrist. Justin looked at him with questions in his eyes.
It just seems right, doesnt it? Justin could only nod.
Debbie had planned a birthday dinner for Brian at her house. No one even mentioned the fact that Brian and Justin arrived together. Brian figured that they had given up trying to figure him and Justin out, they just accepted. The dinner was uneventful, just a time for the family to be together. Brian and Justin headed home, weighted down by the gifts Brian had received. The next day was the anniversary of the Prom.
The Anniversary of the Prom
Justin woke up the next morning. He looked over at Brian, who was sleeping peacefully. He gently started to get out of bed when he felt Brians hand stop him. Where are you going baby?
To start the coffee. I know you cant go to work without your coffee.
Well baby, usually thats true, but not today. Today is for us.
Justin looked at Brian confused, What do you mean?
I know what today is. From this day forward, this day will always be for us. Our lives changed two years ago today, not necessarily in a good way. But we survived and were strong, and were together. So today, we will lock ourselves away from the rest of the world. We will celebrate our love and we will celebrate that Chris Hobbs didnt destroy it.
Justin had tears in his eyes, he launched himself into Brians arms.
The two lovers had spent the morning making love when Justins cell phone rang. Justin crawled over Brian to reach the phone, he glanced at the display and answered the phone, Hi mom.
Brian rolled out of bed while Justin talked to his mother.
Were having dinner with my mom tonight.
She wants to take me out to dinner tonight because well you know. Brian nodded. So I asked her if I could bring someone with me. She said ok.
Brian knew that Justin hadnt filled Jennifer in about their reconciliation, Did you tell her it was me?
Then why am I going?
Because you are my lover, my partner. Its time she realized that.
Brian and Justin arrived at Le Pommier, it was one of the most exclusive French restaurants in Pittsburgh. Jennifer was already there when they arrived. She smiled as she greeted Justin, but her eyes clouded over when she saw who he was with.
Justin witnessed the interaction between his mother and his lover. Suddenly he felt very uncomfortable. Is our table ready?
The three ate dinner in an awkward silence. Before dessert was served, Justin excused himself to the bathroom. Jennifer took this opportunity to confront Brian.
What are you doing here?
Well Justin asked me to come when you invited him for dinner.
Do you have any idea what today is? How hard this is for me?
Today is the day you almost lost your son. I know its hard for you. But today is hard for me as well, Jennifer snorted at that remark, Today is the day I almost lost the only person I have ever been in love with. And it happened right in front of me. The attack happened so fast, and there was nothing I could do. I was so helpless. All I could do was hold him in my arms, and try to stop the bleeding. So Jennifer, I know how hard this day is.
So are the two of you having some kind of macabre reunion? I mean you arent even together anymore.
Actually Jennifer, we are together.
Jennifer Taylor was not expecting that, What?
Justin and I are back together.
When, how, why didnt I know anything about this?
Weve been back together a few months now.
Why didnt Justin tell me?
We havent told anyone.
I dont understand.
One of the things that broke us up before was the well meaning intentions of our friends and family. We decided to get our relationship back on track, and let the rest of the pieces fall where they may.
Do you really expect me to believe this? After everything thats happened?
No, Jennifer, I know that would be too much to ask. All I am asking is that you back off enough to give us a chance. I love Justin. More than I ever thought possible. I want this to work and so does he. Just give us a chance.
Jennifer saw the sincerity in Brians eyes and she took a leap of faith, Ok Brian.
At that moment Justin came back to the table. The check came, and Brian grabbed it.
No Brian, this was my invitation.
Jennifer, your invitation was for two. I have expensive tastes, so I feel I should pay.
Mom, dont argue, you wont win.
Jennifer relented and allowed Brian to pay the check. The trio walked outside. Jennifer looked at her son and his lover and was bombarded by conflicting emotions. This man had caused Justin so much pain, but he also gave him so much happiness. Justin hugged and kissed her goodbye and Brian shook her hand. She watched as the two men walked away from her, hand in hand. She watched the two of them reach Brians car. Before opening the door, Brian caressed Justins face and gave him a sweet kiss. Then he opened the car door for Justin, and fastened his seatbelt before walking around to the drivers side door. Jennifer felt her animosity towards her sons lover disappear. Her son was with the one man he loved, and now it seemed that man loved Justin back.
The drive to the loft was uneventful. Justin was quiet, but Brian didnt read anything into it. He knew that having dinner with his mom took a lot out of him. Brian was painfully aware at how Jennifer Taylor perceived him. Maybe tonight was a new start for them.
Brian unlocked the door to the loft. He led Justin inside, and the younger man headed up to the bedroom. But Brian had other plans.
Justin, wait. The younger man turned to face him.
Go sit on the couch.
Justin did as Brian asked, although he was very confused. Brian came over and stared at Justin. Justin was a little unnerved by his lovers gaze. Brian, whats going on?
Brian kneeled on the floor before Justin. Baby, this is an important anniversary for us, but not in a good way. Our lives will be forever defined by this day. But I dont want that. I dont want this day to always hang over our heads and make us sad. So I decided we need to change the meaning of this day.
Brian, what are you talking about?
Im talking about this, Brian pulled a ring box from his pocket. He opened the lid and presented the rings to Justin. They were platinum gold, etched with an Egyptian Ankh, the symbol of eternal life. These rings symbolize eternity. Eternal life. Thats how I see us. I dont know what I am asking, but Im asking anyway.
For what? What are you asking for?
Im asking for forever.
Brian had his answer in the kiss Justin gave him. Words were not necessary, they were forever. That was solidified when Brian slipped the ring onto his finger.
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