Brian stood in the back of the LA Forum. He hated this part of his job, wooing celebrities to be a part of an ad campaign. Brown Athletics wanted to feature Justin Taylor in their upcoming ad campaign. They were a sponsor on the blonde singer's current concert tour, and figured their top ad-exec could get Justin on board.

This was not the first time Brian had to wine and dine a celebrity. Many times over the years he's had to pitch to famous people. He found it very tedious. The celebrity in question was usually selfish, self absorbed, shallow, and clueless. Half of his pitch was usually spent trying to clue the person in to which company he represented. Even though he was a full partner in Vanguard Advertising, Brian still found himself getting jerked around like a first year account rep.

The concert was wrapping up and arrangements had been made for Brian to meet with the singer backstage. He had to admit the blonde was pretty good. The music was entertaining and the blonde was hot. His cock twitched at the thought of being buried in the beautiful blonde. "Get a grip Kinney, you're here to work."

Besides the blonde wasn't gay. Brian was certain it would have gotten around the lavender grapevine if Justin Taylor, one of music's great superstars was really a queer. Regardless, Brian had learned his lesson about mixing business with pleasure when a co-worker had sued him for sexual harassment a few years before.

A member of the backstage crew took Brian back to where he would meet with the blonde. To say the backstage area was chaotic would be an understatement. Hundreds of people were bustling about and Brian had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. Justin was quickly ushered backstage. The singer was flushed with adrenaline. Someone handed him a bottle of water as he was led over to Brian.

"Justin, this is the advertising executive we told you about."

Brian found himself staring at the most beautiful blue eyes he'd ever seen, and then the blonde smiled and it was like the sun had risen.

"Hi, I'm Justin Taylor."

"Brian Kinney."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The crowd was wild. Justin performed to a sold out crowd at the famed LA Forum. He was doing a 2 night gig to test out some material for his upcoming tour. From what he could gather, the crowd really liked what he put together. Justin's concerts were known to be all about the music. A lot of musicians staged elaborate theatrical productions and Justin enjoyed watching them, it just wasn't his performing style. Justin's shows were always high energy showcasing his incredible guitar playing abilities. If it had strings, Justin could play it. He had been at the top of the pop and country music charts for almost five years.

Justin was ushered backstage by his stage manager. He was quickly handed a bottle of water and was led across the room. It was then he remembered he was supposed to meet with an ad man about doing some commercials.

His heart skipped a beat and his dick started to get hard as he was led to the most beautiful man he had ever seen. Mysterious hazel eyed bored into his. Justin immediately offered his hand, "Hi, I'm Justin Taylor."

"Brian Kinney."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin quickly recovered his composure. He offered the mysterious man another glowing smile, "Do you mind if we talk in the dressing room? I'm starving and my dinner is in there."

Brian quickly shook his head to clear his thoughts. This man was nothing like he was expecting. Brian had expected Justin to be shallow and very aloof, but instead he was warm and very genuine. He noticed Justin said the dressing room not my dressing room. Justin was obviously not affected by his celebrity; he even asked Brian if it was ok to discuss their business while Justin had dinner, instead of just giving orders. Brian knew he was in trouble from the moment those blue eyes smiled at him. Thank god the blonde wasn't gay.

"Brian, follow me. The dressing room is this way." Brian nodded and fell into step with the blonde. He didn't say anything, but continued to observe Justin. The singer knew the name of every person that was working backstage and said hello to all of them. Other singers that Brian had worked with usually ignored the people who worked with them. Justin opened the door to the dressing room and Brian followed him in.

"Thanks for not minding if we discuss the proposal in here."

"No problem Justin."

"It's just I'm usually too keyed up to eat before a concert, so I'm always famished when I get off stage."

Brian smiled as Justin chattered, "Well, you put on a very high energy show. I can imagine you need to fuel back up."

"You have no idea. So you have a proposal for me with Brown Athletics?"

Brian was taken aback; he couldn't believe the blonde would know what company he represented. Brian was used to having to explain to the people who their sponsors were. "You know who I represent?"

"I was told you are the account executive for Brown Athletics. They've been one of my sponsors for years."

Brian arched his eyebrows in amazement, "Usually when I have to pitch for celebrity endorsements, I spend half the time explaining who I work for."

Justin crinkled his nose in amusement, "I know. You have some pretty self absorbed people in this business. I think it's dumb. I mean I sing and play the guitar and I happened to get lucky and make it. It sure doesn't make me better than anyone else; I hate it when people think that."

Brian continued to watch the blonde with astonishment, then he shook his head. Too many thoughts were running through his mind and most of them were impure. Justin would probably smack him if he knew what evil things Brian wanted to do to his body. "I have to say Justin; my opinion of famous people is quickly changing."

Justin snickered, "Don't change it too much Brian. A lot of people I'm sure match your stereotypes," he beamed at Brian, "just not all of us. So do you have a proposal?"

Being quickly reminded of why they were here, Brian pulled some papers out of his briefcase. As nice as Justin was, Brian was certain that the blonde didn't want to spend his whole evening shooting the breeze with some ad man. He probably had some party to go to, he assumed.

Justin took the papers from Brian and began to read them. Again Brian was surprised, usually business managers were given the task of dealing with contracts and other financial related things.

The proposal was extremely generous. Brown Athletics wanted Justin to appear in a series of commercials and print ads. They were looking to reach out to a younger market and since Justin was so popular across several markets, Leo Brown figured he would be a perfect choice. They were offering a million dollar contract and from some experience Justin had before with endorsements, he knew this was extremely generous.

"This looks great; do you have a contract made up?"

"Don't you need to discuss this with someone …"

"No way, I handle all of my own finances. My manager handles my schedule and that end of the business but I do the money. I've known too many people in this town that have woken up one day and found themselves bankrupt or pretty close because of mismanagement."

Again, Brian was amazed, "I can have the contract drawn up tomorrow."

"That sounds good. Bring it to the show tomorrow night. I'll arrange to have my lawyer here to review it."

"So you do have people looking out for you." Brian smirked.

Justin smirked back at him, "I may be blonde but I'm not stupid. Any thing that I sign gets reviewed by Daphne first. I really see it as a second pair of eyes. I'm pretty well versed in legalese but it never hurts to have someone else go over it."

"I guess that's true." A slightly awkward silence hung between the two men. "Well, I will get this drawn up and deliver it tomorrow."

Justin nodded as he stood up to shake the older man's hand, "I'll have a ticket and backstage pass waiting for you at the box office."

"That sounds good. Later Justin."

"Later Brian."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin flopped on his sofa after talking to Daphne. In addition to being his lawyer, she was also his best friend. She had followed him from Pittsburgh after his parents kicked him out of the house. Daphne went to UCLA for undergrad and Pepperdine for law school. Justin had spent so many nights helping Daphne study for law school that he felt he could pass the California bar.

Justin was telling Daphne all about Brian. The man had affected him like no one else ever had before. Justin couldn't get the beautiful hazel eyes and shy smile out of his thoughts. He knew he was just entertaining fantasies, there was no way the man was gay. Even if he was, Justin could not be in a relationship. His career wouldn't allow it. Despite evidences to the contrary, L.A. could be a very narrow minded town. Therefore, Justin had been extremely discreet in his private life. Since his career took off though, there hasn't really been any time for a private life anyway. Still, he could dream.

Knowing he was too worked up to sleep, Justin decided to go to the observatory. Ever since he saw Rebel Without a Cause, he had loved going to Griffith Park Observatory. He felt a kinship with James Dean and Sal Mineo.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian's mind was spinning after he left the Forum. He was thinking thoughts about another man that he had never entertained before. Brian didn't have relationships, he had tricks. They came, they came again, and then they left. He really didn't want anything more; usually he didn't even get their name.

Justin was invading his thoughts and it wasn't just sex. He wanted to get to know the man with the Sunshine smile. God, I am being ridiculous. The man isn't even gay! Needing to clear his head, Brian decided to take a drive. Remembering how much he wanted to go to Griffith Park after seeing Rebel Without a Cause, Brian began the drive to the hills.

In one of his travel guides, Brian had read that the Griffith Park Observatory had a fantastic laser light show, so he decided to check it out. He parked his rental car and started to head inside, but was quickly distracted when he saw a familiar blonde sitting on the lawn, staring up at the stars.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin loved to look at the stars from Griffith Park. It was nestled high above the city, so it offered the best view of the constellations he had loved so much as a child. Justin had known he was gay from an early age. He also knew his parents would never accept it so he would climb onto the roof of their home and dream about flying to the stars.

His love of astronomy and astrology had helped him through many difficult times. As soon as he'd arrived in L.A. he sought out the park. He remembered its presence in his favorite movie and wanted to see it. Over the years whenever he'd needed to think or just lose himself, he would come to the park.

Lost in thought, Justin never heard the other man approach until a soft voice whispered, "Justin?"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin quickly turned around, "Brian?"

The brunette chuckled softly, "I certainly wasn't expecting to see you here."

Justin smiled back, "This is my escape. Whenever I need to think or just be alone I always come here."

"So which is it tonight?"

Justin knew he could never tell Brian that he was here thinking about him, "I just needed to be alone."

"Needed to escape a roommate, girlfriend perhaps?"

Before he could process his answer, Justin quickly blurted out, "God no! I'm gay."

Brian's dick leapt at that statement, now he was truly fucked. "Oh, I didn't know."

Sensing that he could trust the other man, Justin continued, "Not many people do. This business can be pretty narrow minded. It doesn't matter though, I'm not with anybody so it's not like there's anything to hide."

Fuck! He's available. "So what did you need to escape from tonight?"

Justin smiled, "Just life Brian, just life."

"Well, that's vague."

"Sorry, I just don't have a better answer."

"So what's your story Justin Taylor?"

"Why? Are you interested in my memoirs?"

"No, I'm just intuitive, you seem like you have a story."

Justin paused before continuing, part of him was reluctant to open up to this man who had invaded his thoughts, but another part truly felt he could trust Brian. "I've been in L.A. since I was seventeen. My parents kicked me out and I used all my savings to buy a bus ticket here. My best friend Daphne followed me out here after she graduated from high school."

"Daphne, your lawyer?"

"Wow Brian, you were paying attention. Yeah, she went to college out here and then law school. I got a job bussing tables at a bar. They also had live music, so I convinced the owner to let me play on slow nights. Soon they weren't slow nights anymore. I got my first record deal when I was twenty-one and I guess the rest is history."

"So you became a huge star and here we are?"

"I was lucky. That's how this business is. Luck. There are so many people out there more talented than me playing bars because they haven't been in the right place at the right time. That's why I think the whole celebrity thing is kind of funny. I was just in the right place at the right time."

"Well, I have to say you are a breath of fresh air."

Justin was confused, "What's that supposed to mean?"

"I'm in advertising and I'm really good at what I do." Justin cocked his eyebrow at that statement. "I won't lie, I'm good. Over the years I've encountered many celebrities and most of them are egomaniacs."

Justin laughed, "That is so true."

"So I meet you and you're very down to earth. You have a good head on your shoulders and your priorities are in order. I noticed that right off."

A chill ran through Justin, "You did?"

"Yeah, I did."

Sensing the conversation was headed in a dangerous direction, Justin quickly changed topics, "So Brian, how long are you in town for?"

"Just as long as it took to get you on board, so I guess until tomorrow night."

A feeling of sadness washed over Justin as he realized Brian would be leaving. "So what are your plans for tomorrow?"

"I don't know, maybe some sight seeing."

"Want a tour guide?" The words rushed out before Justin could stop them.

Brian was silent for a moment and Justin immediately felt he had gone too far. "Yeah, I would like that a lot."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin picked Brian up at the Beverly Hills Hilton at ten am. It was a gorgeous California day, so Justin had the top down on his Mustang. Brian was suitably impressed, "Nice ride!"

"Thanks, it's a great California car, but I don't think you'd find it too practical in Pittsburgh."

Brian tried to picture driving a convertible in a Pittsburgh snow storm, "Probably not."

"So have you decided what you want to do?"

"You're the tour guide, what do you recommend?"

Justin pondered for a moment. "Well, do you want to do the touristy thing or something less mainstream?"

"Less mainstream."

"Ok, let's go!"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin decided to take a drive up the coast. The weather was perfect and he had a feeling Brian would enjoy it. Instead of getting lunch at a restaurant, Justin suggested eating at the beach.

"I am completely at your mercy, Sunshine." Shit, why did I say that?

Justin beamed at Brian and suddenly the older man wasn't so concerned with what he said. The two men found themselves at the Santa Monica Pier.

Although they were having a great time, Justin felt bad monopolizing all of Brian's time. Besides, the more time he spent with the ad-exec, the more attracted he became and he didn't want to risk doing something stupid and making Brian uncomfortable.

"You know, we could just take care of the contract when I drop you off. There's really no need for you to come to the show." Shit, Daphne will be pissed if I sign a contract without her.

Brian looked up quickly. Shit, did I do something wrong? "Well yeah, we could do that, but I was looking forward to the show."

Justin giggled, "You already saw it last night."

Brian gave Justin a sheepish grin, "Yeah, well I wasn't really paying attention."

This surprised Justin, "Why not?"

"Well, I was preparing to have to pitch to a self absorbed celebrity."

"And what did you find?"

Brian found himself blushing uncharacteristically, "A very intriguing, captivating man that has taken my breath away."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Their kisses were tender at first, but quickly becoming more passionate. They barely made it through the door of Justin's condo before they began to tear at each others clothes. Justin ran his hands under Brian's t-shirt. It had been so long since he had touched another man that he was anxious to get reacquainted.

Brian felt like an inexperienced teenager. He had fucked over half of gay Pittsburgh, but realized he was about to make love for the first time. His hands fumbled at the waistband of Justin's jeans. This motion caused the blonde to moan into Brian's mouth. Brian stuck his hands down the front of Justin's pants and rubbed the blonde's hardening erection. Brian knew his own cock was in a similar state.

"I want to be inside of you."

Justin pulled his head back and could only nod. He grabbed Brian's hand and led him to the bedroom. Once inside, Justin became a little shy. Brian sensed this and wondered if Justin had changed his mind.

"Is everything ok?"

"Yeah … um … it's just been a while."

Recognizing the nervousness of the younger man, Brian cupped his cheek and gazed into his blue eyes, "I'll be gentle."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian was true to his word, and the lovers lay wrapped in each others arms, lightly caressing each others skin. Justin was the first to recover his voice, "That was …"


"Yeah, it was …" Justin could not continue.

"What's wrong?"

"I guess I just wondered what happens now."

"Well, I have some vacation time coming up. I could stay here, at least for a few weeks, and then we see."

Justin rewarded Brian with his 'sunshine' smile. "After tonight, I don't really have anything until the tour that starts in October. A few appearances, but I'm basically on vacation too."

So began round two.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian sat in the VIP box at the Forum. Justin was truly amazing. He had the sold out audience trapped in the palm of his hand. He was truly gifted. The blonde played every string instrument perfectly. He did songs on the acoustic guitar, the banjo, rocked out on a Fender Strat and even did a number on the fiddle. He captivated his audience for over two hours. After two encores the show was done and Brian headed backstage with his pass.

He saw Justin talking with several members of the crew. Brian caught his eye and gave a silent wave. Justin gestured that he would be right there. The blonde disentangled himself from his conversation and swept a beautiful brunette woman into his arms. He led her over to where Brian was standing.

"Brian, this is Daphne, my best friend."

The young woman smiled, "and his lawyer."

Brian laughed at the implication, "It's very nice to meet you Daphne."

"Let's go back to the dressing room and get business out of the way."

Daphne stared Brian down. She was happy that her friend had met someone, but she was fiercely protective of Justin. "I assume you have the contract."

Brian tapped his jacket pocket, "Right here."

The three made their way to the dressing room and Brian handed the contract over to Daphne. While the lawyer read over the contract, Justin fused himself to Brian's side and stroked his lover's flank.

Daphne looked up from her work and saw her best friend gazing lovingly into the taller man's hazel eyes. Her heart lifted when she realized Brian was staring at Justin the same way. Clearing her throat to get their attention, "Well, everything looks to be in order. This is a very generous offer Brian."

"In business I don't skimp. You want the best, you have to pay top dollar."

Daphne nodded her approval and Brian knew it was more than just the contract. "Well, let's get this out of the way."

The three signed the contracts and business was done.

Justin spoke up, "So shall we go out and celebrate."

Daphne had felt the undercurrent between the two men, "I think you can celebrate without me. Have fun."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The next few weeks flew by. Brian moved out of his hotel and into Justin's condo. The only damper was Brian's love/hate relationship with Justin's cats. The blonde had three cats, Shadow, Dolly, and Heiden and their favorite places to play always seemed to be Brian's clothes. Justin told Brian maybe he shouldn't leave cashmere suits lying around. Brian told Justin maybe he shouldn't rip Brian's clothes off every time they walked in the door.

As the days passed, there was one aspect of their growing relationship that caused Brian distress. Whenever they were out of the condo, Justin kept his distance. Brian began to realize that the blonde was technically still in the closet. They never talked about it, but Brian knew.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

After three weeks, Brian's distaste about the situation grew. He was out and proud. He wanted to be able to hold his lover's hand in public, kiss him if he felt like it. Justin's hiding in plain sight was really beginning to get to him.

He decided to test Justin one night.

"Hey, I found a great bar I want to check out."

"Cool, what is it?"

"It's called 7969."

"Brian, that's a gay bar."

"Duh, I thought we were gay."

Justin's features darkened, "Brian, I can't go to a gay bar."

Here it comes, "Why not?"

"I can't be seen in a gay bar. The press would be all over it."


Justin's heart began to race. "It's not public knowledge that I'm gay. The entertainment industry may seem very open minded, but they're not."

Brian sighed deeply, the conversation he had been dreading had finally arrived. "Justin, I am an out gay man. I carry myself proudly in all aspects of my life. For the first time in my life, I find myself in a relationship." This earned him a smile from his lover. "But I can't keep that in the closet."

Justin felt his heart breaking, he was torn in half. "Brian …"

"Justin, I care about you more than any man I have ever known, but I can't do this. I won't live a lie. It goes against everything I believe in."

"I'm not asking you to. I'm not living a lie, I just don't volunteer it."

"That's a lie by omission. Look Justin, I'm not judging you. You have to live your life the way that you feel is best, but so do I."

"Brian, I can't"

"It's time I went back to Pittsburgh."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin cried himself to sleep after Brian left. He was angry with himself for falling in love. He knew he would never be able to maintain his career out of the closet. In the five years he had been in this business he had seen lives and careers ruined by rumors and whispers. It was a sacrifice he couldn't make.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian nursed scotch and a heavy heart on the flight back to Pittsburgh. Leaving Justin had been the hardest thing he had ever done, but he knew deep in his heart he couldn't lead his life the way Justin wanted him too. He had fought too hard to get where he was, as an out gay man, to walk back into the closet.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"Fuck off."

"That's a nice greeting for your best friend."

"What do you want Daph?"

"Well, I brought Haagen Daaz and the full Colin Farrell DVD collection to get you out of this funk."

"Good luck."

"Look, I know this sucks, but did you really think Brian was going to be your partner in the shadows? I only met him a couple of times, but he is not an in the closet kind of guy."

"I know. I felt it before he said anything, but those weeks were so wonderful. I knew that he wanted us to be out. We would be walking down the street and he would go for my hand but I would speed up the pace. I knew this was coming, but I was still sad when it did."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Vance and Leo Brown were thrilled when Brian arrived back in Pittsburgh with the signed contract. Brian was even given a large bonus for the account. One thing Brian hadn't considered when he left Justin was the contract. If he was smart, he would turn the account over to someone else, but he couldn't. He wanted to see the blonde again.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

In the weeks after Brian left, Justin did a lot of soul searching. One remark stood out in his mind, lie by omission. Justin truly believed he wasn't lying if he kept his life private. He was living the "don't ask don't tell" policy.

Justin reflected over the past few years. He would read stories about homo-phobia. Stories of people who were brave enough to take the chance. People like Brian. For the first time in his life, Justin felt very unworthy and ashamed. He came to a decision.

"Advocate Magazine."

"This is Justin Taylor. I would like to speak to Bruce Steele."

"This would be in regards to?"

"I would like to discuss a coming out interview."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian was sitting at home on Friday night watching Entertainment Tonight. Babylon and tricking had lost its appeal since he came back from California. He found himself spending more time with Gus. He had truly been neglecting his son. Other things had always seemed more important than being a father. Brian was hoping to change that.

Mikey had been whining constantly about Brian's refusal to go to Babylon. Brian had been able to stave off his best friend with excuses of work. Truthfully, the life of the Liberty Avenue Stud had lost its appeal and Brian was looking to settle down. During his weeks in California, Brian had been hoping that Justin Taylor might be that man. He had been constantly second guessing his decision to walk away from Justin. He didn't know anything about Justin's business and maybe the blonde's fear about being out was justified. Brian constantly found himself wanting to call the other man, but he always stopped himself. He remembered Justin's tear filled eyes and he became a coward. The TV interrupted his thoughts.

"The music industry is in an uproar. Unconfirmed reports have stated that one of the music industry's biggest stars may be coming out of the closet. Rumors are swirling that the upcoming issue of The Advocate will feature a coming out interview with Justin Taylor."


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The interview had hit the stands earlier in the week, and Justin was in a self-imposed exile. His machine was filled with angry messages from his manager Ethan as well as messages from people representing his sponsors backing out of the tour. In the space of several days his professional career had been ruined.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


"Brian, it's Leo Brown." Fuck. Brian had been dreading this call. He had been reading all week in the newspapers about various companies withdrawing their sponsorship for Justin.

"What can I do for you Leo?"

"We need to break the contract with Justin Taylor."

Brian was seething, "Why?"

"Brian, where have you been? He just came out of the closet."

"So, I'm gay and you have no problem with me?"

"Yeah, but you aren't the spokesman for my company."

"You think it will tarnish your image because he's a fag?"

"You're damn right I do. Void the contract!"

Brian hung up the phone and hung his head in his hands. He proceeded to go through the contract with a fine tooth comb. There was a clause that said the contract could be voided if Justin made any alterations to his image that was deemed 'damaging' to the company. Brian had been through enough arbitrations to know that Justin's coming out would fall into that category.

With a heavy heart, he picked up the phone.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


"Justin, it's Brian."

Justin's heart leapt and sank at the same time. He knew why Brian was calling. "Bri, you don't have to say anything, I know why you're calling."

"You do?"

"I've been getting the same phone call all week. I have to say though, thank you for calling me yourself."

"What's that supposed mean?"

"Well, I've been getting a lot of messages about people leaving messages. No one has the balls to call me personally."

There was a pause, "How are you?"

"I'm wondering where that evil twin who gave that interview is."

"Why did you do it?"

"Because you were right. A lie by omission is still a lie."

Choking back his emotions, Brian couldn't ask the questions he wanted to. "Are you ok?"

"I'll be fine. Thanks Brian." Justin hung up the phone.

Brian held the disconnected phone in his hand. "Cynthia! Get me on the next flight to LA."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin heard a knock at his door. He had been crying since he'd hung up from Brian. Hearing the man's voice had been his undoing. He needed to sever the connection before he became a blubbering mess. Right after Brian's call, a call had come from Capital Records. The executives wanted to schedule a meeting with him and Ethan. Justin knew that he was going to be dropped from the label.

Justin reluctantly lifted himself from the couch. He opened the door and found Brian on the other side.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian knew he was acting impulsively, but he had to see Justin. He didn't believe for one second that his lover was holding up as well as he claimed.

When Justin opened the door, Brian knew he had been right. The blonde looked gaunt and there were circles underneath his eyes. As soon as hazel eyes met blue ones, Justin collapsed into his arms.

Brian led them to the couch and held Justin as the younger man sobbed. Brian offered support as best he could. When Justin's crying finally subsided, the younger man looked deep into Brian's eyes. "What are you doing here?"

"You don't think I believed for one minute when you told me you were fine."

"You didn't have to come Brian. I didn't do this to get you back."

"I know Justin, I came because I love you."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The lovers carried their reunion into the bedroom. After several hours of making love, Brian and Justin laid in each others arms.

Justin looked into his lover's eyes, "Thank you."


"What happens now? I certainly don't have a career anymore."

"Are you giving up?"

"Do I have a choice?"

Brian had spent the cross-country flight coming up with ideas. "I think you might. Do you trust me?"

"Of course I do."

"I have some ideas."

Justin wanted to believe Brian, but he knew this business. "Brian, I don't think there's anything you can do. After I talked to you, I got a call from my record label. They want to meet with me and Ethan."

"Who's Ethan?"

"My manager. I'm sure they're going to drop me. I've fulfilled my album contract. It will be easy for them."

"Well Sunshine, if there's one thing I am good at, it's business. No matter what industry, it's still about money."


"It's your smile, it's my Sunshine."

The two lovers began to make love again.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

"When do you have to meet with your record label?"

"I haven't set the meeting yet."

"Can you give me a week?"

"Sure, what for?"

"I told you, I have some ideas. I need you to trust me, and will you make me your manager?" Brian was worried that he was pushing the blonde but he truly believed that he could save his lover's career.

"What about Ethan?"

"I think I can handle him. While you were asleep, I listened to your machine. You don't need someone like that handling your career. I know I'm asking a lot."

"The mere fact that you want to even look for a solution is enough for me."

This admission made Brian's heart sing. "I need access to all your financial dealings, contracts etc …"

Knowing he could trust Brian with anything, "It's all here Brian, in the office. Take anything you need."

Humbled by the trust Justin was giving him, Brian got to work.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The meeting with Capital Records was scheduled for the following Wednesday. This gave Brian ten days to get everything in order. The first order of business was to get rid of the rat Justin called a manager. Justin kept meticulous business records and for that Brian was thankful. He was also thankful that Justin trusted him with access to all his financial interests. Even if Justin never recorded another album or gave another concert, he was set for life. However, Brian knew it was not about the money for Justin.

Justin's contract with Ethan included a termination clause, which Brian exercised. He also drew up a new contract establishing himself as Justin's manager. He went over it in fine detail with his lover. The only conflict was money. Brian didn't want to take a penny from Justin, but his lover was insistent. Justin pointed out that this was business. Brian was amazed at how much Justin knew about his business and financial affairs.

The rest of the week was spent preparing for the meeting with Justin's record label. Brian knew the only chance he had at saving his lover's contract was to show the executives that Justin's coming out would not hurt his financial contributions to the label.

Days were spent with Brian making phone calls and doing deals. Justin was free to create. While Brian was in his element, Justin was free to focus on his music. Justin had a studio in his condo and he spent hours in there while Brian worked his magic.

As Justin's manager, Brian was able to discern that Justin's radio play and record sales had not declined since his coming out. His next order of business was the tour. It was April and the tour was not supposed to launch until October. The fear had been that the tour would need to be scrapped because all of the sponsors had pulled out.

Brian began using his contacts. Although he didn't work exclusively in the gay community, Brian ensured that all his clients knew his sexual orientation and didn't discriminate because of it. This gave him incredible leverage. His clients that were members of the gay community were thrilled to have the opportunity to sponsor Justin. Having a superstar come out was extremely empowering to the community and they were all thrilled to come on board. Brian's contacts that were "gay friendly" were happy to offer support because of their allegiance to Brian.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The night before the meeting with Capital Records, Brian and Justin lay in each others arms.

Brian looked deep into Justin's eyes. "Are you nervous?"

"Hell yes! I am. Especially because I don't know what you have up your sleeve." Brian had deliberately kept Justin in the dark because he didn't want to disappoint the blonde.

"Do you want to hear my pitch?"


Brian disentangled himself from his lover. "Ok, first I did some checking with Billboard and various radio stations. Your air play and album sales have not been affected at all since you came out."

"You did that." Justin fell in love all over again.

"I knew that would be a concern. I know you are very involved in your career but you are not a businessman. The way for us to dominate this meeting is to have a strong offense. You can't go in there on the defensive, letting them control everything. You need to be in charge."

"I love you."

Brian was humbled to have this incredible man give him such love and trust. "I love you too."

Justin could tell that things were in danger of becoming too emotional, "So what's the next part of your plan?"

"The tour."

"Brian, that's over. I can't launch a tour without sponsors."

"I know, that's why I got you some."

Justin was reluctant to hear his lover's pitch. He knew Brian was doing his best, but he doubted that Brian could negotiate the kind of capital needed to launch a tour. Heaving a sigh, "So what do you have?"

Brian was nervous to present this portion to his love because he was treading in unfamiliar territory. "Well … I used every contact and client that I have. I've secured $75 million to launch your tour."

Justin gasped. Brian feared that he came up short. "Brian, that is $25 million more than I had before."

Brian was shocked, he didn't know if he had pulled it off or not. "Are you serious?"

Justin reached up and caressed his lover's cheek, "My own personal rainmaker."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin watched his lover in action. He was thankful that Brian was on his side. In the business world, Brian was a pit-bull. His lover had been right, come in on the offensive. If Justin had walked into that board room with Ethan, they would have been on the defensive.

Brian let the executives start. They immediately went into their spiel that they were worried that Justin's coming out would hurt record sales and airplay, and there was already the business of his tour.

Brian sprung into action. He presented the airplay and sales figures. Then he pulled out the sponsor contracts for the tour. Even Justin didn't know that he had secured contracts. Brian pointed out that the new contracts totaled $25 million more than the previous ones. The only stipulation that Justin had insisted on was that if anyone requested refunds for tickets already sold, they be given. Justin was being realistic that he may lose some fans by coming out. He accepted that fact and he wanted to show respect to his former fans.

By the time they left the meeting, Justin had the full support and backing of Capital Records.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

That night the lovers laid wrapped in each others arms.

"Bri, you were amazing today."

"I was only doing my job."

"You were still amazing."

"Thank you Sunshine." Brian looked deep into his lover's eyes. "What do you have to do now?"

"What do you mean?"

"What's your schedule?"

"I'll need to start prepping the tour in August."

"So, you're free until then?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Come to Pittsburgh with me, live with me."

Justin tensed and pulled out of Brian's embrace. Brian sensed an immediate rejection. Maybe he had been misreading the entire situation.

Justin felt Brian's reaction.

Brian's walls flew back up, "Never mind."

"Brian, it's not that."

"Forget it, if you don't want to live with me …"

Justin took several deep breaths, "There's something I haven't told you."

Brian was getting angry, "What?"

"Pittsburgh is my home town."

Brian immediately remembered what Justin had told him about his past. "Baby, I'm sorry …"

"No, I want to live with you."

"Are you sure?"

"Only if you are sure."

"I wouldn't have asked if I wasn't."

Justin gave his lover a wicked smile. "Are you ready to live with a lover and his three cats?"


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian and Justin walked into the loft. Justin was anxious to see his new home. He carried Shadow in his carrier, while Brian had Heiden and Dolly. Vehement discussions had been had about the cats, but Justin was insistent. If he was relocating to Pittsburgh, so were his cats.

Brian was so desperate to have Justin with him that he eventually gave in. He figured how much trouble could they be?

"Bri, this place is amazing." Justin let Shadow out of his carrier and Brian followed suit. The cats rushed out and began exploring their new surroundings. Brian and Justin took this opportunity to unload the rest of the luggage.

They decided to keep the L.A. condo because Justin would still have business on the West Coast. Money wasn't an issue, so the L.A. condo stayed.

Brian was nervous. He hadn't told any of his friends and family about his relationship with Justin. Justin was standing in the middle of the loft watching the cats explore. Brian wrapped his arms around his lover and rested his chin on top of the younger man's head. The two lovers enjoyed the embrace for a few moments.

"This is weird." Brian sighed.


"Being here, having you with me. Ever since I left my parents house I've lived alone. I bought and designed this place just for me. Now I have a live-in lover with three cats."

Justin turned around and looked deep into Brian's eyes. "Is this your way of telling me you've changed your mind."

Brian silenced his worries with a kiss. "No, it's just weird, but in a very good way."

Justin smiled as Brian continued to kiss him.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin and Brian cuddled in each others arms after another round of mind blowing sex. Brian was absently running his fingers through his lover's hair.

"So when do I get to meet your friends?"

"After everything I've told you, you want to meet them?"

Justin smacked his lover's arm, "Of course I do. You say they're like your family; well, I want a family too."


*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The next morning was a beautiful day so the lovers decided to walk to the diner. Brian had his arm around Justin's shoulder and the blonde's arm was wrapped around his lover's waist. A few people stopped to stare, but not because they recognized Justin, but because the two men were so beautiful together.

"This is nice." Justin interrupted the silence.

Brian smiled down at him, "What's nice?"

"Being able to walk down the street with you, not being scared that some photographer will snap my picture. I finally feel like I'm free. Thank you."

"Thank me? I didn't do anything."

"Yes you did."

Brian smiled and the two shared a tender kiss.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The diner wasn't too crowded when the two men walked in. The gang was huddled in a booth having an intense conversation. They didn't even see Brian approach them. They were all huddled over the Advocate interview with Justin.

"God, he is so hot."

"I would love to fuck him."

"I bet he is amazing."

Brian was getting a little angry. He didn't like hearing his friends talk about Justin as though he were a piece of meat. Justin placed his hand on Brian's shoulder in an attempt to calm him down. He pulled the ever present Sharpie marker from his pocket and nodded towards the magazine. Brian understood immediately and grabbed the article from Emmett.


"Aren't these things usually worth more money when they're autographed?" He handed the magazine to Justin who quickly signed the cover. The gang looked at who Brian was with and could only stare in astonishment.

"Have you idiots lost the ability to speak?"

"Umm … Uh …"

Brian was growing more angry as each second passed. He grabbed Justin's hand and started to pull him out of the diner. "This was a mistake, let's go eat somewhere else."

Before Justin could answer, he was pulled out of the diner, leaving the stunned friends behind.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian was still scowling as they ate breakfast. Justin was trying to keep his amusement hidden. He loved the fact that Brian was so protective of him, but the scene in the diner was really no big deal.

"Brian, it's no big deal."

"Yeah, it is. I mean listening to them talk about fucking you."

"You're the only one who gets to do that."

This earned Justin a slight smirk. "I'd better be. Still, and then they have to act like gaping idiots."

"Brian, that's usually how people react to me when they meet me."

"I didn't."

"You're different, and besides you've met celebrities before, so the novelty has worn off for you. Think about it, your friends were sitting there reading an article about me, talking about how hot I am," that got Justin a swat on the leg, "and then all of a sudden I'm standing there with one of their friends."

"I guess you're right, I just forget that people still get star struck. And for the record, I was in awe when I met you; I just hid it really well."

"So was I." The two lovers gazed into each other's eyes and no more words were needed.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin was sitting alone in the loft. After the disastrous breakfast, Brian had been called into work for a few hours. Justin decided to work on some new music. He was so engrossed in his composition that he barely heard a soft knock on the door. He slid the loft's door open and was surprised to find one of Brian's friends on the other side.

"Hi, I'm Emmett."

"Recovered your power of speech I see?"

Emmett had the decency to blush. "I just wanted to apologize for being such an idiot this morning. You see …"

Justin held up his hand. "There's no need to apologize. Brian was the one upset, I'm used to it. Believe me, I've been greeted by much worse."

Pleased that his apology had been accepted, Emmett was ready to gossip. "Really?"

Justin gestured for him to come in and sit down. "Would you like something to drink?"

Emmett was surprised at Justin's familiarity with Brian's loft. He had just assumed Justin was with Brian for work. The gang knew Brian had to pitch celebrity endorsements all the time. "Sure, some water would be great."

Justin grabbed two bottles of water from the refrigerator and walked over to the couch. "You have no idea how many times I've been puked on."

The two started chattering away like old friends.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Brian was sitting at his desk in a foul mood. Even though he knew his reaction was childish, he was still upset about the scene in the diner. Rationally, he agreed with what Justin had told him over breakfast but he was not rational when it came to the blonde. Brian knew how important normalcy was to Justin and this morning's scene simply served as a reminder that Justin's life was not normal. Cynthia buzzed him on the intercom.

"I told you not to disturb me!"

"Michael's here."

Shit! I do not have time for this. "Send him in."

Michael walked in with his eyes blazing. "What the fuck was that little scene about this morning?"

Brian stared at Michael with a look that froze. Michael shuddered involuntarily. "I was trying to introduce my boyfriend to my friends."

"Your what???"

"My boyfriend! Imagine how happy it made me feel overhearing you idiots talking about how you wanted to fuck him."

"Like we were supposed to know you even knew him. We've always talked about celebrities that way. Remember Patrick Swayze."

Brian sighed heavily and ran his hands through his hair. "I know Mikey. I just don't have a lot of rational thoughts when it comes to him."

"Ok, so would you care to inform me how international superstar Justin Taylor ended up as your boyfriend."

Brian smiled at his oldest friend. "I have a lot of work to do. How about coming over for dinner tonight?"


"Wait, hold on a second." Brian picked up the phone and started dialing. "Hey, did you make us any plans tonight? … Sounds kinky, can we make it a group thing? … twat … seriously, do you mind if we have company for dinner … Michael … he is … well, ask him to stay as well. Fuck, have him call Ted too … yeah … just a couple more hours … ok, I'll pick up some wine … yeah, I love you too."

Brian hung up the phone while Michael just stared at him.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Emmett and Justin found themselves talking like old friends. Justin really liked the over the top man and Emmett, despite his initial reaction, was pleased to find that Justin was as down to earth and normal as any other person.

"I think that is so romantic, you came out for Brian."

"I didn't come out for Brian. I truly thought we were over. I came out because of Brian. He made me look at things in a different way, and it was then I knew what I had to do."

"Still, I think when they make the movie about your life, you should use my version."

The two men were giggling when the phone rang. "Hey … not really just some hot sex, maybe a fuck in the shower … sure, I'll order it up online … asshole … no, who's coming … really, well, Emmett's here … are you sure … how much longer are you going to be … I'll go to the store, but there's really not much to drink … ok, I love you."

Emmett stared at Justin as he hung up the phone. Justin grinned, "Wanna stay for dinner?"

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin and Emmett walked to the market down the street from Brian's loft. As they were strolling the aisles a couple of people approached Justin and asked for an autograph. Justin was extremely gracious and even spent a couple of moments talking to each one. Emmett realized that's why Justin had the black marker on him, so he was always ready for autographs.

"Wow, you really handle that great."

"Well, I owe my career to fans. It would be really stupid to alienate them."

"Still a lot of people probably wouldn't be so nice."

Justin chuckled, "Actually, it's a relief to know I still have some fans."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's still remains to be seen what kind of long term effects coming out will have on my career."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Emmett was acting as the sous chef while Justin cooked when Brian arrived home. "Honey, I'm home."

Justin just glared at him, but gratefully accepted a kiss. Justin tossed down the dish towel he was drying his hands with, "I'm going to the bathroom."

After Justin was out of earshot, Brian turned to Emmett, "Thank you for coming over today. I'm sure it meant a lot to Justin."

"What do you mean?"

Unsure about how much he should reveal, Brian continued, "Justin doesn't have any family and I know he was looking forward to being a part of mine. After this morning, I'm sure he wasn't sure if that was going to work out."

"Well, I apologized about this morning, and it's all cool."

Before Brian could answer, Justin wrapped his arms around his waist from behind. Emmett saw the look that was exchanged between the two men and knew he had a phone call to make.

"Excuse me for a second. I need to make a phone call."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *


"Michael, it's Emmett."

"Hey, what's up?"

"I know you're planning on coming to Brian's for dinner tonight."

"Yeah, so?"

Emmett took a deep breath. He needed to make Michael understand. "Michael, you need to put aside all of your unrequited feelings for Brian."

"What are you talking about?"

"Michael, the Brian that you knew does not exist anymore."

"Emmett, what are you saying?"

"Brian Kinney has fallen in love."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The five men had a wonderful evening. Michael took Emmett's words to heart and walked into Brian's loft with his eyes wide open. He immediately saw the love between his best friend and the blonde superstar. They were so comfortable in each other's presence. All of Brian's walls were gone.

"So what do you say, should we hit Babylon?" Ted always wanted to go to Babylon.

Justin spoke up. "What's Babylon?"

"It's the hottest gay club in town!"

Justin hesitated. Even though he hadn't been recognized much in Pittsburgh, he remembered what had happened the last time he had tried to go clubbing. It was a disaster. He had to attend so many parties and social functions for work that when he had downtime, he liked to stay at home. "I think I'll pass, but you guys should go."

Brian immediately sensed the change in his lover's demeanor, "Justin?"

"You guys go, have fun." Justin felt Brian's eyes boring into him, "Go, have a good time."

Brian reluctantly went with the guys, but he couldn't help but feel he was making a big mistake.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

They'd been at Babylon for thirty minutes and Brian was bored. Michael kept pointing out the guys that were cruising him, but Brian was not interested. He hadn't made any declarations to Justin, but since he began his relationship with the blonde, other men did not interest him.

Brian had been surprised that Justin didn't want to join them. He thought the blonde had enjoyed the party scene. Perhaps there were things his lover was keeping from him.

"Ok guys, I'm heading out."

This surprised Michael, "But Brian we haven't even danced yet."

Brian knew he had to tread carefully. He was well aware of Michael's feelings for him. "My dancing partner is at home."

Michael heard Brian's unspoken message, and finally decided to let go, "Well, then you should go home. Don't forget, mom is expecting you for dinner tomorrow night … both of you."

Brian hugged Michael, "We'll be there. Thanks Mikey."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin was sitting on the couch with his guitar when Brian walked in. "What are you doing home so soon? I didn't think you'd be back for hours."

"It wasn't fun without you."

Justin looked deep into Brian's eyes and saw the truth there. "Brian, if you want to go clubbing with your friends, please don't let me stop you."

"Justin …"

"No. The club scene is not for me. I have to attend parties and clubs for work all the time. When I am on 'downtime' I like to stay home. Besides, whenever I have gone to a party or a club that hasn't been work related I am always swarmed and I don't like it. I know you like the clubs and I would never expect you to give that up for me."

"Baby, I'll admit that I used to be a club hopper. I loved the thrill of the hunt. However, since I fell in love with you, I don't feel the same anymore. I like coming home to you."

Justin beamed at his lover's admission. "I just want you to know that it's ok if you want to go out without me. Maybe the time will come when I will want to go with you, but don't deprive yourself of things you want to do because of me."

"Sunshine, are we compromising." Brian had moved to the couch and was lying on top of Justin stroking his cock, "Because we seem to be in quite a compromising position."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The following week the Grammy nominations had been announced. Justin was nominated for Best Male vocalist. The awards ceremony was scheduled before Justin's upcoming tour. Justin knew that this would be his first professional engagement since he came out.

Brian sensed Justin's apprehension about the Grammy's. He didn't know what he could do for his lover.

They were lying in bed one night and Brian decided to broach the subject. "What are you thinking about?"

Justin rolled his eyes, "Don't play dumb Brian."

"I won't go if you don't want me to."

"I want you there with me, I'm just scared."

"It will be ok."

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Justin and Brian were sitting in the back of the limousine waiting to get to the red carpet. Justin was clutching Brian's hand.

"Sunshine, if you don't want to do this I will understand. I will stay in the car."

"No Brian, I need to do this."

Justin stepped out of the car and heard the immediate applause. Brian emerged behind him and the applause grew. Justin looked up at the bleachers where the fans had gathered. He saw his fans waving and cheering for him. Many of them were holding signs. "So What!" "We Love you!" "Marry Me!"

The last one caused Justin to giggle and he pointed it out to Brian. Brian looked up and locked eyes with the woman who was holding it. He wrapped his arms around Justin's waist and shook his head "no." She beamed.

The two lovers worked their way down the red carpet. Brian was pretty much ignored until Justin got to Joan Rivers. She demanded to know the designer that Brian was wearing.

"Justin, you cannot hide your stunning companion. Bring him over here."

Justin was hesitant but decided what the fuck? "This is my partner Brian Kinney."

Joan, being the liberal that she was, jumped right in, "So Brian, who are you wearing tonight?"

Brian, always able to handle grace under pressure, took it all in stride, "Well Joan, my tuxedo was designed by a little known designer named Emmett Honeycutt."

Back in Pittsburgh, Emmett fainted.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

The awards show was longer than Brian would have liked. Justin had been booked to perform and his performance had been flawless. After Justin was done, he returned to their seats. They were quickly approaching the Best Male Vocalist award. Brian believed that Justin had it in the bag.

"And the Grammy goes to … Justin Taylor!"

Before he could think anything else, Justin kissed Brian, in front of millions of television viewers. Justin made his way to the podium. Clutching his award to his chest, he began his speech.

"Thank you. I can't tell you how much this means to me, both professionally and personally. Professionally, this is an acknowledgement to my career and what I have contributed to the music industry. Personally, this award tells me that all that is important is the music and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for that. Brian … I love you and I truly believe I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you. Thank you!"

Brian started the standing ovation. All of a sudden, life just seemed to work out.

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