A Brighter Future





Justin was sitting at the bar nursing a beer, allowing his thoughts to run through all he had learned earlier in the day. He had decided to go to the comic book store early to drop his latest drawings off to Mikey, and slipped in quietly just as a customer was walking out. He could hear voices coming from the back, but before he could make his presence known, he heard something that made his blood run cold.


“Ben, I am so proud of Brian. I can’t believe he finally got a job in New York. For years, all he ever talked about was getting out of the Pitts. Now his dreams are finally going to come true.” Michael explained, pride evident in his voice.


“That’s great, Michael, but what about you? Are you going to be okay with Brian being so far away? I know how much you depend on him.” Ben asked, worrying about his lover's reaction to losing his best friend.


“I’m going to miss him, but this is something he really wants. He’s been so depressed ever since losing his job that I was really beginning to worry about him. When he called me over to the loft last week to tell me his news, I could see the light in his eyes again. I would never try to stand in his way of true happiness.” Michael explained, once again feeling a tiny rush of sadness over Brian’s upcoming departure. As happy as he was for his friend, he knew that he was going to miss his friend dearly.


“What is he planning to do about Justin?” Ben asked, wondering if the blond was going to get his heart broken once again.


“I’m not sure. I asked him about that, but all he said was that he was going to do something that he should have done years ago, and that it was going to be the best thing for Justin. I was confused, but he wouldn’t say anything else. I’m afraid he’s going to finally push Justin away for good. What else could he do that would be what was best for him?” Michael shared his thoughts, then turned when he heard the front door slam shut. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone in the store. He looked back at Ben, who just shrugged.


“Must have been the wind.” Ben offered, his thoughts drifting back to what was going to happen to poor Justin.


Justin was brought back to the present when the bartender appeared before him.


“Need another one, Justin?” he asked, noticing the sadness in the deep blue eyes.


“No, Tom. I think I’m going to head out. I have a lot to do.” Justin replied. He dropped some cash on the bar for a tip and left, needing to be alone for awhile with his thoughts.


He walked around the town, wondering about what he was going to do next. Ever since he and Brian had gotten back together, Justin really felt that things were going to work out for them. They each knew where they stood in their non-relationship, and were content with what they had. Justin still hated that Brian tricked, but he knew that the man cared about him, and that the tricks meant nothing to him. He finally found a way to put aside his feelings on the subject and move on, hoping that one day Brian would be able to offer more of a real commitment. Now it appeared that Justin had been hoping for something that was never going to happen. Brian was leaving Pittsburgh. He had known about it for at least a week, and never bothered to share his news with Justin. “That about says it all.” Justin said aloud as he made his way towards the loft.


Brian was expecting him. Since their reunion, Justin continued to share Daphne’s apartment, but usually spent most nights with Brian. This was going to be his last night there. He was going to confront Brian with what he learned, then pack up the few things that he left there and walk away. It was going to be hard. Harder than walking away at the Rage party, because this time it was for good.


After entering the building, he took the stairs, stalling for time while he thought about what he was going to say. How do you say good bye to the man you loved? He reached the door, and took a deep breath before sliding it open and walking inside. The first thing he noticed was the music playing quietly in the darkened loft. All the lights were off except for the orange glow coming from the bedroom. Knowing that meant Brian was lying in bed waiting for him, Justin silently approached the room, quietly calling out to its occupant.




“I’m in here, Sunshine.” Brian replied, feeling a little nervous at Justin’s presence. He had spent the afternoon trying to find the right words to explain his plans for the future. He wasn’t sure what Justin’s reaction was going to be, and for the first time in his life, he found himself wondering if he was doing the right thing.


Justin climbed the few steps and stopped, looking at the beautiful man that was lying across the bed waiting for him. He briefly wondered how he was going to live without Brian in his life, but pushed those thoughts away, knowing he was going to have plenty of time to think about that later.


“You’re late.” Brian accused with a smile. He was actually thankful that Justin was late, because it gave him time to get a few things done first.


“Sorry. I was at Woody’s. I needed a little time to think about things. Look, Brian. I have a few things I want to say, and I want you to listen without interrupting. Do you think you can do that?” he asked, knowing that he needed to say his peace.


Brian took in the sadness he saw in Justin’s face and began to worry that something was wrong. They had talked that morning and everything seemed to be alright, and Brian wondered what could have happened since then to make Justin so upset. “I think I can manage that, Justin, but then it’s my turn. Okay?”


“Okay.” Justin took a deep breath, then began his somewhat rehearsed speech. “Brian, I wanted to say how proud I am of you for what you gave up to make sure Stockwell didn’t take office. You sacrificed everything for the community, not knowing where you would end up. It took a lot of guts to do what you did, and I’m sure that you will be in everyone’s thoughts for a long time to come.”


“Justin…” Brian tried to stop him, but Justin wouldn’t let him speak.


“I’m not finished. You deserve the best out of life, and it appears that things are starting to fall into place for you. I know you are moving to New York, and I am happy for you. I wish you had told me yourself, but I can understand why you would be a little apprehensive after the way I acted last time. So to save you from having to go through that again, I am just going to say goodbye now. I still technically live with Daphne, so you don’t need to worry about me. I’ll just get my things and get out of your way. I am sure you have a lot of packing to do, and I don’t want to keep you from it.” Justin could feel himself begin to shake at the feelings he was trying to hold back, and prayed that he would be able to hold it together until he left the loft.


“Let me guess, Mikey?” Brian asked, knowing that he could have been the only one to spill his secret.


“Yeah, but it wasn’t his fault. I overheard him telling Ben today at the store. He doesn’t even know I was there.” Justin explained, not wanting to get Michael in any trouble.


“Eavesdropping, Sunshine? I’m ashamed,” Brian teased, stalling the inevitable.


“Yeah, well, believe me, it wasn’t intentional. I’ll just get my things and get out of here.” Justin said, unable to look into Brian’s eyes.


“Not so fast, Justin. I didn’t get my turn yet.” Brian pointed out.


“What is left to say, Brian?” Justin asked. He assumed that he covered everything that Brian planned to say.


Brian reached over to the night table and produced a folder, handing it to Justin. “Here.”


“What’s this?” Justin asked, curiously.


“Open it and find out,” Brian stated, trying to hold back a smirk.


Justin opened the folder and looked at it’s contents. It was the floor plans and lease agreement for a loft somewhere in uptown Manhattan, along with a list of places to go and things to see. Justin looked into Brian’s eyes, then looked back down at the papers in his hand. Glancing at the lease, he saw something that made his heart begin to beat faster. There, right on the top of the agreement, was his name, listed as the co-occupant. He looked back at Brian, unable to understand what he was seeing. “You put my name on the lease? Why?”


“Well, I figured that since it was going to be our loft, it should be in our names,” Brian explained, enjoying the stunned look on Justin’s face.


“Our loft? I don’t understand,” Justin mumbled.


“Justin, after everything that has happened in he last few years, did you really think I was going to move to New York and leave you behind?” Brian asked, wondering how Justin could not see that what they had was important to him.


“But…” Justin couldn’t even finish his thoughts.


“Justin, I learned how empty a loft can be when you were with the fiddler. I don’t want to go back to that again,” Brian admitted.


“You mean you want me to move to New York with you?” Justin asked, wanting to make sure he understood what Brian was saying.


“Well, I guess you could continue to live with Daphne if you want to, but the commute to the loft would be a bitch.” Brian was unable to hold back the teasing.


“I thought…Michael said…” Justin couldn’t seem to put a full sentence together.


“What did Mikey say?”


“He said…that you…were going to do something that you should have done years ago and it was going to be the best thing for me,” Justin explained, his mind reeling with everything that he was hearing.


“Well, being that you were thrown out of PIFA, wouldn’t the next best thing for an artist be living in New York?” Brian asked.


“Uh, yeah, I guess, but what about this thing you should have done years ago?” Justin was almost afraid to hear his response to that.


“I figured it was about time I tell you how…important you are to me. I have everything I’ve ever wanted waiting for me in New York right now, but none of it matters if you aren’t there to share it with me.” Brian had to look away as the emotions he was feeling were coming to the surface.


“I think that’s the sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me,” Justin said softly, wiping away a stray tear.


“Does that mean we are moving to New York?” Brian asked, hoping that was exactly what Justin meant.


“Well, what other choice do I have? I mean, my name is on the lease and everything,” Justin replied with a smile before covering Brian’s mouth with his own in a passionate kiss.


When oxygen became a necessity, Brian pulled back and looked deep into Justin’s eyes. “Justin, I lo…”


“I know, Brian. I love you, too.” Justin replied.


They continued to lose themselves in each other, thrilled with the knowledge that they had a new and wonderful future ahead of them.



The End


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