Real Life

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian was watching Justin pack. His lover was heading to New York for the final rehearsals before the tour launched. Justin was opening up at Madison Square Garden before embarking on a 42 city tour that would last three months.

Justin was still very nervous, no matter how much Brian tried to reassure him that things were going to be fine. Since coming out, the only public event Justin had attended was the Grammy Awards. Brian figured winning the Best Male vocalist award should allay his lover's fears, but Justin just figured the voting had gone on before he came out. Brian also tried to point out that less than one percent of the tickets that had been pre-sold had been presented for refunds, but Justin still didn't believe that he was out of the woods yet.

Justin was heading to New York a week before Brian could join him. One of the arrangements Brian had made with Gardner Vance was that he would travel with Justin. After all he was the singer's manager. Gardner had been a little reluctant to agree but Brian pointed out the amount of business that had poured into the agency since they began their association with Justin and Gardner agreed. Brian promised he would be able to work on the road via tele-conferencing and agreed to fly in for any important meetings. He just didn't want to be apart from Justin for three whole months.

Justin tried to argue with him on this point but his arguments were weak. Both men knew they couldn't stand to be apart. Unfortunately there were a couple of meetings Brian couldn't put off so that's why Justin had to leave before him. Since Justin was so nervous, Brian was glad that Molly, Justin's sister would be with him. He also had a surprise for Justin. Brian had arranged for their entire Pittsburgh family to be in attendance opening night. Brian was eternally grateful that the gang had embraced Justin so quickly. The blonde finally felt like he was a part of a family again.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Seven months earlier

Justin was racing around the kitchen like a mad man. When Brian got home from Babylon the night before he told Justin about the summons they had received to go to Debbie's the following night.

Deb hadn't been working when Brian brought Justin into the diner, but obviously word had spread. He figured Michael had gone whining to Deb when Brian claimed he had a boyfriend. He was so glad Michael accepted his relationship with Justin. Brian was aware of Michael's feelings for him and knew they would never be a couple. He hoped when Michael started dating Ben he would leave the teenage crush behind.

The night before at Babylon had worried him. Almost from the get go, Michael started trying to push tricks on him. As if Brian needed any help in that department. If he wanted a trick, he needed no help. The lack of desire to trick since he met Justin had surprised him. He never thought he would find one man to satisfy him. He never thought sex would be an emotional experience for him. Justin changed all that. The first time they fucked, no made love, Brian felt things he had never experienced before. Physically the sex was amazing but even more amazing was the emotional plane he and Justin had connected on.

Brian physically hurt the day he walked away from Justin in LA. He was so tempted to call the other man and make things right but he couldn't do it. He figured he had made the decision to walk away and he would have to live with it. When Justin came out, Brian was stunned. He waited for the other man to contact him. Brian figured Justin had done this as a gesture to get back together with Brian but the call never came.

When he talked to Justin about the contract, he knew that the blonde wasn't trying to get him back. However, the pain and vulnerability he heard in Justin's voice was more than he could bear. His instinctual need to protect his lover is what got him on the plane. No matter what the reasons were for Justin's coming out, Brian knew the man would need love and support.

So Brian Kinney did what he did best. As involved as Justin was in his career, he wasn't a business man. Brian knew that Justin would believe it was all over once he lost his sponsors and his record deal. One thing the blonde didn't know was that Brian Kinney was a shark in his professional life. He had a plan all mapped out before the plane touched down at LAX.

Asking Justin to move to Pittsburgh surprised the hell out of him. When Justin seemed reluctant, Brian thought his heart had been ripped out of his chest. After learning that Justin grew up in Pittsburgh, Brian realized his lover's fear. At that moment Brian silently vowed to protect the blonde until the day he died.

The only thing he hadn't counted on was the cats.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The first morning they woke up after the journey to Pittsburgh, Brian found a shredded Armani. He threw a hissy fit to end all hissy fits. The twat had the nerve to laugh at him.

"Brian, you're going to have to learn that anything left out is fair game. Why don't you have doors on your closet anyway?"

"This is my fucking house and I have it decorated the way I like it!"

Justin just smiled at him, wrapped his arms around his waist and rested his cheek between his lover's shoulder blades. "No, this is our house and we have three cats that like to play and rough house and sometimes tear shit up."

"Justin …" Brian's voice held a warning.

"But if you don't feel that way than the kids and I will have to find another place to live."

Brian's shoulders slumped, he knew that wasn't an option, "I'll get doors for the closet."

"And I will replace your Armani."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Justin would you slow down, we don't have to be a Deb's for two hours."

"Shut up Brian, I have a lot to do!"

"If it doesn't include coming over here and letting me fuck your brains out, I don't see why it's that important!"

This earned him a glare from his 'wife.' "Brian, I am about to meet your family, your son, I want to make a good impression!"

"Fuck em! My opinion is the only one that matters."

Brian pulled his lover into his lap, "Baby, they're going to love you. Emmett, Ted, and Michael already do. Deb will want to adopt you, the munchers will be the sisters you never wanted, and Gus will adore you … because his dada does. So you see Sunshine, you have nothing to worry about."

Justin wrapped his arms around Brian's neck and just allowed Brian to hold him.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian knew Justin was still nervous as they pulled up to Deb's. He only hoped the family wouldn't pull any stupid star struck shit. He knew Justin was used to it, but it annoyed the hell out of Brian. Justin was sitting quietly in the passenger seat holding onto his tiramisu dish like it was a life line. After he put the jeep in park, Brian grabbed Justin for a kiss. He felt Justin relax in his arms.

"Everything will be ok." Justin just nodded.

Brian gently took Justin's hand and led him up the walkway. The front door swung open and Deb came barreling out.

"It's about time the two of you got here! You must be Justin."

"Hi," Justin handed Deb the casserole dish, "I made this for you."

Deb was entranced by the soft spoken man in front of her. She had seen him on magazine covers and on TV shows and loved him right away. She took the dish and immediately handed it to Brian. She engulfed Justin in a hug. "Welcome home Sunshine."

Brian's heart leapt over the fact that Debbie called Justin by the same nickname he did. Everything was going to be fine.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian let Deb handle the introductions. "Let's see who haven't you met. This is my brother Vic."

Justin shook hands with the older man, "It's nice to meet you sir."

"And this is Melanie and Lindsey."

The two women warmly greeted Justin.

"So you are the one who tamed the great Kinney." Melanie's smile took the sting out of her words.

"Dada!!!" Brian was attacked by a three year old tornado. He immediately lifted Gus into his arms. Gus eyed the newcomer with curiosity. "Dada, who dat?"

"Gus, this is Justin, Daddy's special friend."

Hazel eyes scrutinized the blonde. He immediately reached his arms to Justin, who took the boy in his arms. "Hi Jussin!"

Justin beamed his Sunshine smile, "Hi Gus!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

After that dinner went smoothly. It seemed like one of the guys warned the others about gushing over Justin. They all just accepted him into the family and that was that. Deb spent the night trying to force feed Chicken Parmesan into Justin while Emmett wanted to hear all the gossip about the famous people Justin knew. Brian was about to say something but Justin stopped him by placing his hand on his thigh.

"Justin, when we were at the store yesterday, what did you mean about being glad you had fans left?"

Brian started tensing up, "Emmett …"

Justin turned and kissed Brian on his temple. "Brian, it's ok. I don't mind talking about my job, so cut it out."

The family was shocked to see Brian take the chastisement from his blonde lover.

"The truth is, we don't know the full implication that my coming out is going to have. My record company was prepared to drop me until Brian showed them that so far there has been no decrease in album sales or airplay. What sealed the deal was when Brian replaced the sponsors that had bailed out on my tour and came up with 25 million more in capital than the previous sponsors." Justin beamed at his lover. "So the record execs decided to give the queers a shot."

"That's bullshit!" This came from Deb. "Who cares if you're gay? You're a fucking talented musician. Just because you take it up the ass doesn't change that."

Justin's eyes widened at Debbie's brashness, but it was refreshing. Brian whispered in his ear, "She takes some getting used to."

"Well Deb, thanks for the vote of encouragement. I agree with you, but these people have to think of business. A huge portion of my fan base is women, especially teenage girls. So the risk is there that they might walk."

"Well, you're still hot, and with Brian on your arm, you two sizzle. Straight women like that." This came from Lindsey.

Mel smacked her wife, "How would you know what straight women like?"

This lightened the mood at the table. Talks turned to the upcoming fundraiser at the GLC. Lindsey and Melanie were both on the board.

"So what are the stiffs at the GLC trying to plan this year?" Brian drawled.

"You know maybe if you helped out instead of criticized, the fundraisers wouldn't be so bad!" The animosity between Brian and Melanie never stayed away for long.

"What type of fundraiser are you planning?" Justin asked.

Lindsey chose to answer, wanting to keep the peace between Brian and Melanie, "Well, we were looking at hiring a drag queen to host an auction. There's a really good performer in town named Shanda Lear, she does all the old standards. We were thinking that in between performing she could auction off the items."

Justin barely concealed his grimace. He had worked many fundraisers in LA. A drag queen auction would never make a lot of money. "How much are you charging?"

"Fifty dollars a plate."

Brian saw the dilemma his lover was in. The board of the GLC were a bunch of stupid fucks and their fundraisers usually cost more money than they raised. That's one of the reasons he never associated with them. He refused to put his name with anything sub-standard. He met Justin's gaze, and silently gave his lover permission to throw his weight around the family. With Justin's fame and his business contacts, they could put together a fundraiser that would blow the roof off the GLC. He knew Justin would be gentle.

"Fifty dollars a plate certainly wouldn't raise a lot of money."

"We used to try charging a hundred dollars, but we never sold many tickets."

"I know I'm new to the family and I apologize if I am overstepping my bounds, but …" Justin hesitated, "I say charge a thousand dollars a plate."

"What??? Justin that's ridiculous!"

Brian nudged his lover to continue speaking for both of them, "Let me host it and I will perform. Brian has contacts that would turn this into an A-list event. Gay issues are very trendy right now, all the social elite would be dying to attend. Let Brian market it and let me call in some friends."

The dinner table was shocked into silence.

"Sunshine, I think you have done the impossible, left the family speechless."

Lindsey was the first to regain her voice, "Justin, I don't know that seems awfully …"

"Conceited," Brian jumped in, "but that's what fund-raisers are. That's the problem you have had over the years. You don't sell it to the selfish assholes who want to make themselves look good. You try and sell it to the community that needs the money. That never works."

"Well, if you are such a fucking expert, why have you never helped before."

"Gee Melanie, I don't know maybe it's because you and the GLC are too fucking self-righteous to whore yourselves to the people who have the money!"

"Brian," Justin tried to gently calm his lover. He was well aware of how Brian could get when he was provoked. He gently threaded his fingers through Brian's. The brunette visibly calmed down and again the family was shocked. "Brian was being a little blunt, but he is correct. I've done a lot of charity work and as much as you would like to promote an event to the people you want to help, the fact remains that if they had the means they wouldn't need the fundraiser."

Lindsey was always diplomatic, "But Justin isn't it dis-honest and hypocritical to take money from people that don't really support your cause?"

"I know where you're coming from Lindsey, but the truth is people with money like to appear philanthropic. They like to see their names in the social pages. It sucks, but it is how the world works."

Ted was watching the exchange very carefully. He knew Justin was speaking the truth. Many of his clients were among the "social elite" and they loved to throw their money around. "Mel, Linds … Justin and Brian are right. It may suck, but if you really want to raise a significant amount of money, you need to look outside the community. My suggestion is to let Brian and Justin put together a proposal to present to the board."

Melanie grimaced at the thought of needing Brian for anything, but she reluctantly agreed to think about it..

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian and Justin walked into the loft to find three very pissed off cats. The loft was in disarray, everything had been knocked off the tables. "Dammit Justin …"

"Brian, I told you, I can always find another place to live …"

"You know I don't want that."

"Well then, suck it up and deal with the cats."

Brian sighed, he knew he had been beaten. He collapsed on the couch and Dolly immediately curled up in his lap. Unconsciously, he began to pet her. He felt Justin wrap his arms around his neck and whisper in his ear. "See, you don't hate them as much as you claim to."


"I love you."

"I love you too."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The next afternoon, Brian and Justin were strolling around downtown Pittsburgh. They passed by a small bar. Justin read the marquee. "Tonight: Molly Taylor, 10pm"

Brian felt a shudder run through his lover's body. "Baby, what's wrong?"

Justin folded into Brian's embrace. He pointed to the marquee, "That's my sister."

Brian didn't know what to say. Justin hadn't been very forthcoming about his family. The only thing the blonde had mentioned was that his dad had kicked him out when he learned Justin was gay. Seeing the stricken look on his lover, Brian knew there was more to the story. Gesturing over to a park across the street, Brian silently led his lover to a bench.

Justin was silent. He knew that Brian was wondering about his little breakdown, but Justin didn't know where to start. "Well … I have a little sister. Molly"

He gestured to the marquee as though stating the obvious. Brian gave his lover the patented smirk. "I gathered as much."

"Asshole." Brian teasingly kissed his temple. "We're 'Irish Twins' born ten months apart."

"Wow, your parents must have been busy."

"Shut up." The 'sunshine' smile softened Justin's words. "We were very close. My parents were, are country club WASPs. They were always leaving us for some function or vacation, so we only had each other. We both loved music, so we naturally bonded over that. In fact, she may be better on a guitar than I am."

"I find that hard to believe Sunshine"

"It's true. We wrote all kinds of music together, stuff for her to sing, stuff for me to sing." Justin fell silent for a moment and his eyes teared up again.

"Baby, it's ok."

Justin shook his head to clear away the emotions. "I haven't performed or recorded any of the music we wrote together, it was just too hard."

Brian remained silent but tightened his arm around Justin's shoulder in silent support. He could tell his blonde lover was falling back into the past and Brian wondered if he was going to finally hear Justin's story.

"My dad was supposed to pick me up from school. I lost track of time. I was underneath the bleachers with Chris Hobbes. He was the school's star football player, and a classic closet case. He let me give him a hand job in the equipment storage room. That afternoon I was giving him a blow-job. When I wasn't waiting at the parking lot, my dad came looking for me. He found me on my knees sucking off the star quarterback. He grabbed me by the back of my head. I was so shocked, I fell onto my back. My dad stared at me like I was a stranger. All he said was 'Get in the car.' He was silent as we drove home. When we got into the house, he told me I had an hour to pack up my shit and get out. He wanted me gone before my mother and Molly got home. I went to my room and packed up as much as I could carry. I had a stash of money saved, a few thousand dollars. All I knew was that I wanted to get as far away from Pittsburgh as I could. So I bought a bus ticket to California. I lived in a youth hostel for a while. They let you stay there for free if you work for them. When I turned eighteen I got the job at the bar, and you know the rest."

"So Molly didn't want to have anything to do with you after what happened?"

"I don't know. My dad changed the phone number right away and the new one was unlisted. I sent letters but they were always returned. Even when I started making money and hired private investigators I got nowhere. It's amazing how difficult it is to get information when the 'all powerful' Craig Taylor doesn't want you to get it."

"You never thought to come back here?"

Justin glared at Brian, mistaking the question for insensitivity. "No Brian, it never occurred to me. Fuck you! When I could afford it, I did come back, about 2 years later when I finally had enough money. But they had moved and everything was unlisted. I went to my dad's office and was told by his staff that Mr. Taylor had no son and would I kindly fuck off."

Brian leaned his forehead against Justin's temple and softly kissed his cheek. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded?"

Justin squeezed his eyes shut to stop the tears. "I know you didn't. This is just really hard. Daphne is the only person I've ever told this to before."

Brian nodded his understanding. "What about her family, couldn't she have gotten information?"

Justin shook his head, "Her parents died when she was twelve and she ended up in the foster care system. That's why it wasn't a big sacrifice for her to follow me to LA."

Brian nodded his understanding. "I'm glad you had her."

"We had each other."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The couple made their way back to the loft. Brian said a silent thank you that the cats had not destroyed anything else. He made a silent appointment to "cat proof" the loft ASAP. Justin was emotionally exhausted and flopped onto the couch. Heiden immediately jumped onto his lap and the blonde absently stroked the black kitten. Brian sat beside his lover and found Dolly on his lap, purring. Shadow jumped onto the back of the sofa and rested between the two men. If the afternoon hadn't been so emotional, Brian would have chuckled at the three cats trying to comfort their 'parents.'

"Justin …?"

The blonde was lost in thought, "Hmm?"

"Do you want to go see Molly tonight?"

Justin snapped back to the present. "What?"

"Well, you know where she's going to be at ten o'clock tonight."

"Oh Brian … I don't know. What if she hates me?"

"If you were as close as you described, I don't see how she could. Maybe she's as much of a victim in this as you are."

"I don't know."

Brian knew that he was treading on shaky ground. "Maybe you can finally get the closure that you need."

Blue eyes stared in hazel ones. Brian knew the blonde was looking deep into his soul. Justin had been hurt by so many people that Brian knew he was looking into his lover's soul in order to ensure that he was safe. Brian hoped that Justin could see the love and support he wanted to give his lover.

"It's been ten years."

"Yeah it has, but in so many ways the shattered seventeen year old is still inside you. Maybe it's time to let him go."

Justin took a deep breath. "Maybe you're right."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian and Justin got to the club around 9:30. It was fairly crowded, but they found a booth in the back. Justin was concerned about being recognized.

"Do you want to go talk to her?"

"Not yet. I want to see her show and then I'll decide. Molly and I could always read each other intuitively. I'll know after seeing her perform if reintroducing myself into her life is a good thing or a bad thing."

Brian nodded his understanding. He knew how intuitive and sensitive his lover was. Justin would know if he should contact Molly or not. Brian noted the crowd, it certainly seemed that Molly had a strong local fan base.

The show started promptly at ten. Molly Taylor was stunning. She was a female version of Justin. If he had been straight, Brian knew that he would be jerking off in the bathroom. Justin had said that his sister was probably more talented than he was. Since Brian was biased he didn't agree, but he would admit she was pretty close. Brian snuck glances at his lover. Justin's face always mirrored his emotions. His blonde lover ran emotions from brotherly pride to profound sadness. Many of the songs she performed, Justin would mouth the words or his fingers would play the guitar parts. Brian knew the songs they had written together. Justin would mumble, "he didn't get that riff right" or "that's not how that part should be played."

Brian knew he could give his lover no words, so he just laced their fingers together. Molly never mentioned Justin, but his presence was felt in her show. She played for two hours. After the show was over, Justin stood up and prepared to head backstage.

Brian caressed his lover's hand as he stood up. "I'll wait here."

Justin's blue eyes shined with unshed tears. "Thank you."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin made his way to the dressing room. He was immediately stopped by a strapping, bouncer looking guy. "I'd like to see Miss Taylor."

"Miss Taylor doesn't like to see people after her show."

Justin understood that feeling. When he played the bar scene in LA, he didn't like people coming up to him afterwards. "Please tell her that Jester is here."

The man cocked an eyebrow at him, "Excuse me?"

"Just tell her."

The man looked Justin over and didn't sense any kind of threat. He glared at Justin and then went into the dressing room. He came out a moment later. "Go in."

Justin walked into the dressing room and found himself staring into an identical pair of blue eyes.

"What the fuck do you want?"

"Molly …"

"You walked away ten years ago. What the fuck do you want now?"

Justin took a step closer and Molly took a step back. "Mollusk, I didn't walk away."

"Yes, you did. Mom and I came home from my singing lesson and dad told us that you were gone. He told us that you had decided that you didn't want to be a part of our family anymore and that you left."

"Molly … no …"

"And then a few years later you turn up on the radio, doing what we always promised we would do together. I tried to contact you and would be stonewalled by your 'people.' You walked out on me and now you show up! Well FUCK YOU!!!!" Molly was crying now.

Justin took her in his arms and she collapsed into the embrace. He stroked her long blonde hair. Justin knew that they both had been lied to. "Molly … whatever you were told was a lie. I never wanted to leave you and I never stopped trying to contact you."

Molly looked up at him, her eyes filled with tears. "I don't understand."

"Do you want to talk here or do you want to go to my place?"

"Your place? Do you live here now?"

"Yes, when I'm not on tour or working in LA. I live with Brian, my lover." He waited for his words to register.

"I read your interview in The Advocate. Brian … he's your boyfriend?"

"Yeah, he's in the club … waiting for me."

Molly decided to take a leap of faith. "Ok, let's go."

Justin led Molly out into the club and they found Brian waiting for them. "Bri, this is my sister, Molly."

Brian took note of the young woman staring at him. She looked at him with Justin's blue eyes. "It's nice to meet you Molly."

Molly could only nod.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

They made their way back to the loft. Brian knew that the siblings needed to talk alone. "Sunshine, I'm going to head out for a while."

Justin knew what Brian was doing but he didn't want to run his lover from his home. "Bri, you don't need to …"

"You and Molly need to talk alone. Don't worry about me." Justin nodded his assent and Brian left.

The Taylor siblings were left alone. They circled each other like lions stalking their prey. Justin decided to start. "I didn't choose to leave home, dad kicked me out."


"He found out I was gay. He caught me giving a guy a blow job under the bleachers at school. He took me home and told me I had an hour to pack my shit and leave."

"Mom and I came home and dad told us that you didn't want to be a part of our family anymore and moved out."

"I had money saved and went to LA. I tried to call you but dad changed the number. I wrote you, but all my letters came back 'return to sender.'"

"I asked about you all the time but dad told me you walked away and left no way to contact you."

"I never wanted to leave you."

"I remember the first time I heard you on the radio. I was so excited. Finally, maybe I could track you down. I tried to contact you. I got your assistant, Ethan, I think his name was. I always told him I was your sister and he always told me he would give you the message. You never called."

Justin vowed to kill Ethan the next time he saw him. "He never told me. What do mom and dad say now? I mean, I'm pretty famous."

"I don't know. I don't talk to them anymore."

This surprised Justin. "Why not?"

"The first time I heard you on the radio I went to dad. Mom is pretty useless. She's pretty much drunk all the time. I went to dad and he said that he didn't want to hear anything about, and I quote, 'that ungrateful shit.'"

Justin was overcome with so many emotions that he didn't know what to say. "You still do our songs."

"Well, we composed some pretty amazing shit together. I don't see any of it on your albums."

Justin lowered his head. "It was too hard."

Molly recognized that her brother was shutting down. "So why are you back in the Pitts?"

"This is where Brian lives."

"So tell me about that … god, he's hot."

"Sorry sis, he plays for my team."

"So … spill it!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian came home to find the Taylor siblings laughing on the couch. Justin was open and light hearted which warmed Brian's heart. This was a side of Justin that only he saw. Brian was glad to see someone else on the receiving end. "Christ, you two have had hours to catch up. Aren't you done yet?"

"Fuck off Brian!" This came from Molly.

"Thanks sis, you obviously got your trash mouth from your brother."

"Trash mouth? I don't have a trash mouth."

Brian rolled his lips into his mouth and smirked, "Shall I repeat the words that come out of your mouth when I fuck you?"

Molly clasped her hands over her ears. "TMI, TMI!!!"

The three collapsed on the couch in laughter.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Molly and Justin became inseparable. If Brian wasn't so happy for his lover, he would have been jealous. Several events were looming on the horizon. Justin would need to begin rehearsals for his tour in a few months. His blonde lover felt terrible that he had left Molly behind when he pursued his career. It was something they had always promised to do together.

One night in bed, Justin voiced his regrets. "I feel so bad about Molly."

"Baby, I know that you miss the ten years that you lost, but you have to stop feeling guilty about it."

"It's not that …" Brian snorted. "Well, it's not completely that. Before I left, we were musical partners. We always talked about being a duo. Then I left and all our dreams came true … for me."

"So help her now."

"What do you mean?"

"Jesus Christ Sunshine, where have you been? You are one of the top musical acts in the country. Don't you think you have some pull to get your sister in the door?"

"I guess I never really thought about it."

"Ok … I have a few ideas. You know you are very lucky to have such a brilliant manager."

Justin mumbled into the pillow. "What was that?"

"At least you would have given me my sister's messages."

This surprised Brian, "What?"

"Molly told me she tried to contact me repeatedly after I got famous. She left messages with Ethan. Obviously, I never got them."


"You're telling me. So, oh brilliant manager of mine, what are your ideas?"

"First, you haven't booked an opening act for your tour right?"

"No, I haven't."

"Book Molly."

Justin mulled over this suggestion. "That might work."

Brian knew his next suggestion was quite radical. He had gotten the idea when Mikey had dragged him to the Rick Springfield concert a few weeks ago. The opening act was a band that consisted of musicians and a roadie from Rick Springfield's band. "I think you should take over as lead guitar and band leader for Molly."

This shocked Justin, "What? Brian, I couldn't do that."

"Why, are you to good for it?"

"Well … no, but it's not done."

"Says who? Is there a rule book for bands?"

"I guess not."

"Let me tell you a couple of things I have noticed. Remember how Mikey dragged me to see Rick Springfield a few weeks ago?"

Justin chuckled at this memory. Michael had wanted to relive his youth and wanted to drag Brian along. Rick was a friend of his and had cracked up at the thought of two queers reliving the 80's at his concert. "Yeah, Rick thought that was hilarious."

This caught Brian off guard. "What?"

Justin realized he had spoken that thought aloud. "Rick is a friend of mine. I did some promotional work in Australia a few years ago. Their entertainment community is pretty small, everyone knows everyone. I got to jam with Russell Crowe and Keith Urban. Partied with Nicole Kidman. We've all stayed friends."

Brian had to pause and clear his thoughts. He tended to forget Justin was a celebrity and most likely counted other celebrities as his friends. "Anyways … the opening band was pretty good, and after Rick's concert got started, I realized that the drummer and guitarist from the opening act were members of the band and the other guitarist was one of Rick's roadies. I thought it was pretty cool."

"So, I should play in Molly's band as an opening act and then do my own show?"

"What? Is that beneath you? You've never struck me as the arrogant type. In fact, you've always gone against type as far as I'm concerned."

Justin lowered his eyes in shame. He was behaving like a diva and he hated that. He reached out for his lifeline. "Brian, why do you think I should do this?"

"I watched you the first night we saw Molly. When she performed the songs you had written together, you mouthed the word and played the riffs on your 'air guitar.' You also made comments about how they didn't play parts 'right.' That's part one. Part two is put Molly in as your lead guitarist. I'll bet no one could be your 'wing man' like she could."

Justin processed what Brian was saying. His lover's thoughts certainly had merit. "I'll think about it."

Brian was satisfied with that concession from his lover and they proceeded to make love again.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Molly and Justin were having lunch at The Liberty Diner. Deb was fussing over them as she usually did. Once she was gone, Justin turned to Molly. "I have a proposition for you."

Molly stared back at her brother, intrigued. "What is it?"

"I want you to come on tour with me."

Molly was not expecting this. "What??"

"I want you to open for me on my tour."

"Justin … god, this is so unexpected."

"There's more. I also want you to take over as my lead guitarist. Let's face it; no one can play with me as good as you can."

"I would love to … wow. You don't have to do this."

"I know … I want to. There's another thing. I know you have a lot more gigs lined up here before the tour launches. I want to play in your band … be your lead guitarist and if it works out, I want to play in your band on the tour."

Molly was speechless. "Jester … that's not done."

"We should be a duo, that's what we always planned, but life got in the way. It's not prudent for me to change my tour to be … us. My fans would not be expecting that, but I think this is a good alternative. During your show, we can do the numbers that featured you and during my show we can do the songs that were written for me."

"I can't believe you want to do this."

"It's going to mean a lot of hard work. You need to learn my music that you didn't write and I need to learn yours."

Molly lowered her eyes in embarrassment. "Jus, I already know all your music. Every time an album would come out, I would learn the songs. I have guitar parts and harmonies for all your songs."

Justin was floored. "Really?"

"Yeah, it was a way for me to still be connected to you." Molly rose her eyes in defiance. "In fact, my versions of your songs are better than what you recorded."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin and Molly quickly got to work. Justin began to play at Molly's shows. He blended into Molly's band effortlessly and soon they were playing together like the past ten years never happened. The other members of Molly's band quickly got over being star struck and accepted Justin. They all saw the quality of their music improve once the siblings were reunited.

At the shows, most audience members didn't recognize Justin. There were some murmurs that Molly's new guitarist looked like Justin Taylor, but no one thought it was a possibility. Brian watched every show and was so proud of his lover and his sister-in-law.

Justin summoned his band mates to Pittsburgh. He introduced Molly as his musical partner and informed them that she would be joining them on this tour. There was some grumbling because they had been playing together for so long. Their doubts were quickly dashed when they saw how the addition of Justin's sister raised the quality of their music. Molly was quickly accepted into the tight nit group. Brian silently watched from the side lines and was thrilled. Justin's music had risen to a new level since reuniting with his sister.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

There were still a few months to go before the launch of the tour, so Justin found himself with a lot of time on his hands. Working with Molly and the band took up a lot of time, but he still had time to kill. His thoughts went back to the discussion at Debs about the GLC fundraiser. After that initial dinner, neither Melanie or Lindsey mentioned it. Brian and Justin saw a lot of the girls because they wanted to spend time with Gus. Gus had quickly accepted Justin as another father. It was only natural for the little boy because he had two moms, why not have two dads?

"Bri, why haven't Mel and Linds brought up the fundraiser?" The two men were laying in each others arms after making love. "Did I come off too strong, too arrogant?"

"No baby, I don't think it's you at all. I think it has more to do with me."

"With you? Why?"

"Well, I'm sure you've noticed, Mel and I barely tolerate each other."

Justin giggled into the crook of Brian's neck. "Yeah, I've noticed."

While the two never fought, Justin always felt the undercurrent of animosity between the two. Justin and Lindsey found themselves in the role of WASPy peacemakers more than once.

"So I'm sure she doesn't want to do anything that would involve me."

"That seems pretty stupid. I mean …" Justin rose up and sat on the bed staring down at Brian. "I could raise a shit-load of money … we could raise a shit-load of money. Shouldn't that supercede petty jealousy?"

Brian was amused by his lover's outrage. "You'd think."

Justin snuggled back down into Brian's embrace. "I think I'll call Lindsey tomorrow."

"I've always found appealing to the WASPy muncher works out better too."

"I think you and Melanie don't like each other because you are the exact same person."

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

Justin snickered at his lover's outrage which earned him a smack on the ass. "You're both stubborn, arrogant, blunt, loyal, and fiercely protective of those you love. You are both very strong personalities and people like that tend to clash."

"I was a bit more of an asshole when Melanie and I met."

"You're still an asshole."

"Twat! Is that anyway to speak to your beloved?"

"You are without a doubt the love of my life! The best fuck I've ever had, but I know all about 'Brian Kinney' the King of Liberty Avenue."

Brian had the decency to blush. "What do you mean?"

"I've had a lot of time on my hands and I've spent a lot of time with your friends. They love to tell me stories about your past."

"Justin that time in my life is over."

"Baby I know it is, I wouldn't be here if that wasn't true."

Brian grabbed Justin for a sweet, tender kiss. "I love you Sunshine."

"I love you too."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin called Lindsey the next morning and she invited him over for lunch. Gus was at pre-school and Melanie was at work. It was the first time the two had been alone.

"You're probably wondering why I called you."

"I'll admit I am intrigued."

"I wanted to know if you had given anymore thought about my helping with the GLC fundraiser."

Lindsey lowered her eyes in embarrassment. "Justin …"

"Look Lindsey, I wasn't trying to upstage you and Melanie. I wasn't trying to throw my fame around, but the truth is, I could really help you raise a lot of money."

"Melanie and I have talked about it and we just don't think it's appropriate."

"What's not appropriate? Taking advantage of resources that could really help a lot of people? No one would think you are selling out. Or is it about Brian?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I would be really stupid if I didn't notice the animosity between Melanie and Brian."

"They've never gotten along."

"And they probably never will. Lindsey, I'm going to lay it on the line ok. Brian and I have the connections to truly turn this fundraiser into an A-list event. I can get a list of stars to participate that would rival the Milky Way. Brian has clients and connections to ensure that the donations would pour in. I don't understand why you don't want our help. We don't want to take anything away from you and Melanie, we just want to help."

"I'll talk to Melanie tonight."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Mel and Linds were drying the dishes after dinner when Lindsey decided to bring up Justin's visit.

"Justin came by today."

"Hmm that's nice."

"Mel, do you have a problem with Justin?"

"Of course not, he's very sweet. Why he is saddling himself to that asshole though, I will never understand."

"Mel, Brian has changed, you know that."

"Whatever. So what did you and our resident superstar talk about?"

"He still wants to help with the GLC fundraiser."

Melanie's features hardened. "We don't need Hollywood charity."

"Mel, the hospice is in danger of closing. We don't have the money for the after school programs anymore. There is a brass ring right in front of us and you don't want to grab it."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Lindsey called Justin the next morning. "She agreed."

Justin could barely contain his excitement. "That's great!"

"How about the four of us get together this week and discuss details."

"Sounds good!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin spent the next few days corralling in his friends. Being in the "business" had brought him a lot of celebrity friends. Since he came out he had received phone calls and e-mails from other "out" stars that he had never met. Many new friendships were forged. By the time Brian and Justin were supposed to meet with the girls, Justin had a list of participants that included Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Ellen DeGeneres, Elizabeth Hurley, Geri Halliwel, Sharon Stone and Elizabeth Taylor. Brian had secured an equally impressive list of sponsors and donators.

The four family members sat down for dinner a week later. Melanie was still skeptical. She really didn't believe that Brian and Justin would be able to secure the A-list celebrities that they claimed they could.

Melanie decided to speak first. "I don't know what promises the two of you think you can give, but I want to maintain the integrity of the GLC."

Brian immediately started to say something but was silenced by a glaring look from his blonde lover. He saw Justin's shoulders square off in true WASP fashion and he knew that Mel was about to be figuratively castrated. He sat back to watch the action unfold.

"First of all you mentioned having a local drag performer MC. I would like to continue with that. A local presence is always beneficial. I also think having an auction is a wonderful way to arrange additional funds. Now, I have a list of people that have committed to participate."

As much as Melanie liked Justin, she was put off by his superior attitude. "Well who do you have committed?" The words came out like venom.

Justin was a bit put off by Mel's attitude and wanted to pull rank, but Brian calmly rubbed circles on the small of his back and Justin relaxed. "Ok … here's the list of committed participants. Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, kd lang, Geri Halliwel, Ellen DeGeneres, Elizabeth Hurley, Sharon Stone, Elizabeth Taylor, Rupert Evertt, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Kylie Minogue, Kenny Chesney and Robbie Williams. They have committed to perform. Others that have committed to attend are Drew Barrymore, Courtney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Paul Glaser. I still have phone calls out to others. Brian has gotten all of his major clients to commit corporate sponsorship and we have gotten confirmed attendance from Ivana Trump, Sarah Ferguson, the Hiltons, Jemima Kahn and David and Victoria Beckham. Brian has secured the Pittsburgh Hilton for the event and coverage will be handled by all the networks, E and Entertainment Tonight. I'm sure Joan and Melissa Rivers will be there, so Emmett better dress us all up well."

Melanie and Lindsey were shell shocked. Justin leaned back in his chair, satisfied that he had been heard.

"We want to charge a thousand dollars a plate. All residents of the AIDS hospice will be in attendance, free of charge. We have secured wonderful donations for the auction. Based on the projections that Brian and I have run, we are anticipating that this event will net several million dollars. All of which will be poured back into the community. None of the performers are expecting any compensation other than the publicity they will receive, Brian has put feelers out amongst his contacts and we are expecting a huge turnout."

Mel and Linds were speechless. Neither one of them was expecting anything like this. Brian was thrilled to leave the munchers speechless.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"You had fun tonight."

"Bri, I don't know what you are talking about."

"Bullshit. You enjoyed flexing your muscles. You know that the munchers thought you were just blowing smoke up their ass about this and you liked proving them wrong."

"Ok, seeing them speechless was kind of fun. I know they're Gus' moms but they have an extreme amount of arrogance about their commitment to community affairs. Laying it down for them that we could net them more money than they could ever dream of was kind of fun."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The GLC fundraiser was scheduled about six weeks before Justin's tour would launch. The blonde found himself very busy. Before he was complaining about too much time on his hands, now he never seemed to have enough time.

Tanis, the chair of the GLC immediately started voicing her objections. She thought Brian and Justin were being too arrogant in their projections. Melanie and Lindsey threw their support behind Brian and Justin and won the majority of the board. The board immediately began to throw themselves into planning the event. Many board members were shell shocked that Justin Taylor was throwing his support behind the Pittsburgh Gay and Lesbian Center. The only thing that remained was their local talent.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin went to visit Darren, aka Shanda Lear, alone. The young man let him in, but Justin could sense Darren's animosity towards him.

"So you are the big Hollywood celebrity that's going to rescue our little community?"

Justin had expected this reaction. "No, I'm a member of Pittsburgh's gay community that happens to have the resources to really do some good for our city and I'm not going to let the bruised ego of a local drag queen get in the way of that."

The two men immediately became friends.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The night of the fundraiser came very quickly. As Justin predicted Joan and Melissa Rivers were present. Brian and Justin had made quite a splash at the Grammys and they were quite the topic on E Entertainment News.

Emmett had been working on overdrive to create fashions for the entire family. Everyone looked stunning. Couples were dressed to compliment each other and everyone received the Joan Rivers treatment.

The evening was a tremendous success. Darren (Shanda Lear) was a wonderful hostess and all of the performers graciously deferred to her. Darren couldn't believe that he was pushing around celebrities like Elton, Melissa, and Ellen. However, they were all there for a worthy cause and played their parts wonderfully.

When everything was done, five million dollars was raised for the gay community of Pittsburgh.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Four weeks later, Brian was watching Justin pack for New York. The tour was sold out in cities across the country.

Brian wrapped his arms around Justin's waist as his lover finished his packing. "I'll be there in a week."

Justin blinked back his tears. "I know. I just wish you could come now."

"You know I would if I could."

"I know … it's stupid."

"No, it's not. We have a commitment and in a way I'm breaking it."

Justin pulled out of Brian's embrace. He needed to break the connection. Justin knew they had wonderful intentions, but in actuality they were nothing more than two queers shacking up together. "No Brian, we don't. We've always had an escape clause and now it's being exercised. We've had a great run and I believe we'll always be a part of each others lives, but real life is setting in. This is my life. Being on the road … that's my life. Pitching clients and and having meetings … that's your life. I know you want to be there, but let's be realistic, it's not going to happen."

Brian felt like his heart was being ripped from his chest when Justin pulled out of his embrace. He knew that he had made no permanent declarations to his blonde lover, so Justin had no reason to expect anything. Brian had been planning to declare himself when they reunited in New York, but he realized that was no longer an option. He turned away from Justin and headed to the bedroom.

Justin watched Brian walk away from him and he felt an emptiness like he had never felt before. He suddenly realized how true his words had been. He and Brian had a good run, no a great run, but it was over now. He heard a car honk from the street below. His taxi was here. Justin bent down to collect his luggage when he felt a hand grab his arm.

Brian knew he had to declare his intentions before Justin left for New York. He sensed his lover pulling away from him and he couldn't let it happen. Brian intended to live up to every promise he'd made to Justin. He also knew the blonde had been hurt, betrayed, and abandoned by everyone that was supposed to love him so vague promises were not going to be enough.

Brian watched Justin bend down to collect his luggage and he reached out to grab his arm. Tear filled blue eyes met his gaze.

"Brian, my taxi's here."

"It can wait."

"For what?"

Brian fell to his knees. He pulled the ring box from his pocket and presented it to Justin. "I was going to wait until I met you in New York, but this can't wait. I love you and I am going to live every promise that I have made to you."

"What are you saying Brian?"

"Will you marry me?"

Justin fell to his knees. He had no strength left. He looked into Brian's eyes and the older man hoped he was open enough for the blonde to see the truth.

"You're going to come to New York." It was a statement, not a question.


"You're going to be with me on this tour."


"You're going to marry me."


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