So Much More






Justin sat in the corner of the room, listening to the sound of his partner’s shallow breathing and wondered how he ended up there in the first place. Had it really only been a few years since his parents died leaving him with more money than he knew what to do with? It seemed like only yesterday that he was living the carefree life of an average seventeen year old. He was getting ready to graduate from high school and begin making a life for himself. His parents wanted him to go on to college, but he’d been against it almost from the beginning. It wasn’t like he’d need the education. His father had wanted him to take over the family business but the Taylor’s had so much money behind them that they could pay someone to take over and still live the life they’d become accustomed to. Justin wanted to be able to travel; enjoy what was left of his youth and not have to continue sitting through boring classes that he didn’t need. With an IQ well above the normal level, it wasn’t like he was learning anything new. In fact, there’d been times in his life where he knew more than his teachers. No, college wasn’t for him and he tried desperately to get his parents to see his point of view. Unfortunately he never got the chance, thanks to a drunk driver that slammed into their car and took them away from him. After their funeral, Justin spent countless days walking around the city, trying to decide what he to do next. That was where he met Kevin. It was love at first sight for both of them, but sadly not the happily ever after that it was supposed to be. Kevin had been honest with Justin right up front. During their first date, he admitted that he was positive although not sick at the moment. Justin didn’t bat an eye as he told Kevin it didn’t matter. They could enjoy their time together and worry about the future when the time came.


The time had finally come a few months back when Kevin was rushed to the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia. He survived the first bout, but ever since his health had been going progressively down hill. In fact, in the last three weeks Kevin was almost too weak to get out of bed and Justin was forced to sit by his side and wait for his inevitable death. It was becoming increasingly harder to get through the days alone while his ill partner slept on. Justin felt so isolated from the world. He never really had many friends. The kids from school always kept their distance, unsure of how to act around someone of his intelligence. By the time he was out of school his parents were gone and he was involved with Kevin, but most of Kevin’s friends had abandoned him once he became infected so it had just been the two of them. Now the only people Justin really had contact with were the round the clock nurses that took care of Kevin’s medical needs and the house staff.


He needed more. He needed someone to help him through the loneliness. Grabbing his jacket, Justin let the current nurse on duty know he was going out before jumping into his Jag and peeling out of the driveway. He drove through the streets of LA, looking for a place where he could meet someone. Anyone would do at the moment. It had been months since he and Kevin had been intimate and even longer since they actually had sex. Kevin was always so worried about infecting Justin that he limited their sexual encounters to rare occasions and even then was so careful that it usually left Justin unsatisfied. Now Justin was looking for someone who could fulfill his urges and help ease his loneliness. As he drove through one of the lower class neighborhoods, something or rather someone caught his attention and caused him to pull off the road. He climbed out of the car and approached the man leaning against the wall, looking casual and so fucking hot.


“Hey,” Justin said as he stood before the man, being careful to keep some distance between them.


“A hundred bucks,” Brian replied emotionlessly. He’d been through the drill long enough to know to get right down to business.


“Excuse me?” Justin asked in confusion.


“A hundred bucks. But I don’t kiss and I don’t bottom…for anyone,” Brian said.


“You mean you’re a…” Justin’s voice trailed off as he realized what the man was suggesting.


“A hustler? Of course. What did you expect? Look, you’re obviously far from home,” Brian said, motioning to the 100,000 dollar car the blond had just climbed out of. “Why don’t you just do us all a favor and head back to the right side of the tracks?”


Justin wasn’t sure how to respond to the gorgeous man before him, but something in his head refused to just let him walk away. “A hundred dollars? For how long?”


“An hour.”


“An hour? That’s a little high, don’t you think?” Justin asked, fighting away his nervousness.


“I’m that good,” Brian replied cockily.


“I’m sure you are. I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you five hundred if you come home with me and spend the night,” Justin offered boldly, wondering where his new found assertiveness was coming from.


Brian looked at the blond with a smirk. He could sense the kid’s nervousness, although he was trying hard to hide it, and decided to play a little. “Won’t your mommy and daddy object to you bringing home a hustler?”


“My mommy and daddy are dead and I’m twenty years old. I have my own place and I don’t answer to anybody,” Justin stated confidently. “Now what do you say? Care to show me just how good you are?”


Brian thought about refusing, but knew he would be stupid if he did. Five hundred dollars would give him enough money to take the rest of the week off and still be able to pay the rent on his run down studio apartment. “Lead the way, Blondie.”







Once they were in the car and on their way, Justin began having second thoughts. He never planned on picking up a hustler, but he hated the way the guy baited him, insinuating that he was just a kid with a curfew. Now that they were on their way back to the house, the reality of the situation was crashing over him and he was trying to think of a way out of the mess he was in. “What’s your name?”




“Brian, I’ve been thinking…”


Brian knew the kid was having second thoughts and decided to let him off easy. “It’s no big deal. Just take me back to where you found me. No hard feelings.”


Justin sighed in relief, but then thought about his dilemma. He hadn’t planned on picking up a hustler, but he did plan on picking up someone to satisfy his needs. At least he was attracted to the guy sitting next to him. Very attracted, if he were honest with himself. Why not just go with the events that were unfolding before him? It wasn’t like he couldn’t afford the five hundred he offered. He had more than twice that much in his pocket for spending money. “No, I don’t think so. We have a deal. I pay you five hundred dollars and you spend the night with me.”


“It’s your money.”


Nothing else was said between them until Justin pulled into the long driveway leading to his family home.


“Shit, you live here?” Brian asked as he took in the sight before him.


“Home sweet home,” Justin replied with a small chuckle. “It’s the family home, but since I’m all that’s left of my family, it’s all mine.”


“I’ve seen smaller stadiums,” Brian mumbled, suddenly feeling very self conscious. Why would a guy, with as much money as this kid obviously had, be paying for sex?  


“Look, not that it’s any of your business, or that you even care, but my partner is inside dying of AIDS. I just need to forget for awhile. If you’re freaked out by that, say the word and I’ll take you back.”


“You’re negative?”


“Yes. I get tested every month and we haven’t been intimate in a long time. Even before that we’d always been extra careful. You don’t have to worry about catching anything from me,” Justin assured him. “What about you?”


“Safety goes along with my profession. I’m clean,” Brian replied. “Are we going in?”


Justin smiled and climbed out of the car, ready to put his troubles behind him for the night. As soon as he walked through the door with Brian behind him, Janet appeared out of nowhere to check in with her boss.


“Justin, I just spoke with the nurse. Kevin was having a rough time so she gave him a shot of morphine. He’s been sleeping ever since. I see you have company. Would you like something to eat before I retire for the evening?”


“No thanks Janet. We’ll be fine. You go on and get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning,” Justin replied.


“Thank you, Sir.”


Justin waited until Janet was out of ear shot before turning to Brian. “Are you hungry? I could grab something from the kitchen before we go upstairs.”


“No, I’m good.” Brian continued to look around the room in awe of what he was seeing. “This place is amazing.”


“I guess. It’s got twelve bedroom, two living rooms, a study, a formal dining room, a small ballroom, and an indoor Olympic sized swimming pool. There are also servants’ quarters off the kitchen for Janet as well as two private apartments over the garage where the driver and the grounds man live. Like I said, it’s the family home. My parents were killed almost three years ago so I just kept the house. I want to get rid of it, but there are so many memories here. I just can’t seem to let go. Follow me and I’ll take you up to your room before I go check on Kevin.”


Brian just nodded his head and followed Justin up the sweeping staircase. He silently hoped that there wouldn’t be a fire in the night. He’d burn to death before finding his way outside. They eventually stopped in front of a door and Brian waited until Justin opened it and stepped aside before walking into the room. Again he was floored by what he was seeing. The bedroom was bigger than his whole apartment and was tastefully decorated in rich shades of dark green and burgundy. In the middle of the far wall was a bed bigger than anything Brian had seen before, and he could tell just by looking at it that it was more comfortable than anything he’d ever slept in.


“Why don’t you make yourself at home while I go to Kevin? The bathroom is through that door and I’m sure you’ll find everything you need there. If not, pick up the phone and press the star key and Janet will get you anything you want. I’ll be back in about an hour.”


Before Brian could object, Justin was gone, leaving him behind to explore his surroundings. He took off his jacket and laid it on a small sofa that sat by the wall opposite the bed in a small sitting area and walked over to the bed, sitting down on the edge. Just as he suspected, the mattress was firm yet comfortable, the complete opposite of the futon Brian slept on in his own place. He lay back for a moment and wondered how he managed to get lucky enough to pick up a trick with money before getting back up and going to check out the bathroom. The bathroom was almost as big as his bedroom growing up, with a shower stall in one corner and a Jacuzzi big enough for two, or maybe three, in the other corner. There was a fresh supply of towels on the towel rack and a wide variety of soaps and shampoos on display on the vanity by the sink. Brian decided to take advantage of his trick’s hospitality and turned on the water in the tub. He’d never been into soaking in a bath, but then again, he never had such a huge place to soak in before.


Justin made his way down the hall and around the corner to the side of the house that he and Kevin were using. He could hear the sounds of the machines that monitored his partner and quickly brought himself back to reality. It had been nice to get away from it all, but he felt guilty for feeling that way. He loved Kevin dearly and hated to think that he was suffering in pain and fear while Justin was off picking up a hustler. He decided right then that as soon as he finished with his nightly ritual he’d call a cab to bring Brian back to the streets and forget all about his little excursion into the city. Feeling a little better, he walked into the room with his upbeat attitude in place.


“Hey babe, I’m back. Sorry I was gone so long. I had a few errands to run. Janet told me you had a rough night. I’m sorry about that.” Justin continued to ramble on as if Kevin could hear him. He liked to carry on as if nothing was wrong just in case Kevin could hear him through his drug induced haze. He walked over to the bedside table and pulled the book out of the drawer. “Now where were we last night?”


For the next hour, Justin read to Kevin from the newest Harry Potter book. Kevin had loved the series and once he got too sick to read them on his own, Justin started reading them to him. In the last few weeks, Kevin wasn’t always coherent enough to understand the words being read to him, but Justin was determined to continue in the off chance that something would soak in while he slept.


“Well, I guess that’s enough for tonight. I’ll be back in the morning.” He reached over and brushed back the strands of hair that had fallen on Kevin’s forehead before kissing him gently and walking out of the room. He ran into the nurse who was just on her way in to check on her patient. “He’s still sleeping peacefully.”


“Mr. Taylor, you do realize that he’s not going to get any better, right?” she asked softly. She felt so bad for both men.


“I know, Stacy but I can’t just give up on him,” Justin replied the same as he did every time she asked him that question. “I’m probably going to go for a swim or something, but I’ll have my pager on if you need me.”


“Of course, Mr. Taylor. Good night.”


Justin walked away and headed back towards the room he’d left Brian in. During his time with Kevin, he’d almost forgotten about the hustler he had waiting for him. Not that it mattered. He made up his mind that he was going to send Brian away. Bringing home a hustler while his partner lay dying in another room was a stupid idea anyway. He’d send Brian on his way and go for that swim. It wasn’t exactly what he had in mind to relieve the stress he was under, but it would have to do.








He knocked on the door softly and waited for a response, but when he didn’t get one, he turned the knob and walked in. Brian was no where to be found, but Justin saw the light coming from the bathroom and knew that he must be inside. As he approached the door, he noticed it was open slightly and peeked in to find Brian lounging in the Jacuzzi with his head back and his eyes closed. He looked beautiful lying there with his hair damp and his body glistening with drops of water. Justin also noticed a few faint bruises fading on his skin and shivered at the thought of how he got them. Brian couldn’t have been much older than Justin was. How did someone so young and beautiful end up on the street turning tricks?


Brian sensed someone watching him and opened his eyes to see Justin standing in the doorway. “Sorry, I guess I dozed off. I didn’t hear you come in. Are you ready?” He didn’t wait for a reply, just stood up and reached for a towel, unashamed of his nakedness.


Justin had every intention of sending Brian on his way, but as the other man stood up, revealing his manhood as well as every other inch of his body, he knew there was no way he’d be able to follow through with his plan. It had been too damn long since he’d had any sort of release and the vision before him was just too damn good. Instead he walked back into the bedroom and reached into the nightstand, pulling out the condoms and lube that were there from the days when he and Kevin couldn’t keep their hands off each other. He was suddenly nervous and turned back to the doorway to find Brian standing there in all his glory. He apparently dried off quickly but didn’t bother using the robe that was hanging there for any guests that might spend the night. The light shining behind him created a soft glow that wrapped around his body making him look more like a dream than the hustler that he was. Justin reached up with shaking hands and tried unsuccessfully to unbutton his shirt.


“Here, let me do that,” Brian offered, his voice low and seductive.


Justin let him arms drop to his sides as Brian approached him and began working on his buttons. He held his breath, with feelings of both anxiety and lust racing through him. He had only ever been with one other person before Kevin and that had been a classmate that he had experimented with. He’d never given himself over to a stranger before, but the anticipation was overwhelming and even though he was a little scared, he planned on enjoying every minute of the night.


Brian finally undid the last button and peeled the shirt off of Justin’s body, taking in the smooth silkiness of his chest and abs. His clothing managed to hide the perfect body and Brian felt himself tremble with desire at what secret lay beneath the rest of Justin’s clothing. Brian usually never reacted to the men he pleased. It was just a job he did, nothing he was doing for pleasure. In fact, he couldn’t remember a time when he experienced any pleasure when it came to sex. He usually didn’t even get off with his tricks, unless it was something that was requested. It was easy to hold back when the men he was with were usually middle aged or older, and paying him for his time. Justin was different. He felt it as soon as they got to the house and he learned about his sick partner. Justin wasn’t some freak who took pleasure in paying for something than he could easily get in any backroom. He was a loving partner who needed to experience something other than pain and heartache and illness. He didn’t even know Brian was a hustler when they first saw each other. No, he was definitely different from Brian’s other clients and for some reason that made Brian want to give him as much pleasure as he could. The fact that the boy was beautiful made it that much better and Brian decided to take advantage of his good fortune and allow himself a little pleasure as well.


Justin felt himself being stripped of his clothing and closed his eyes, willing his mind to stop thinking about what he was about to do. He didn’t want to think about Brian being a professional; he didn’t want to think about how he was paying for what was happening, and he sure as hell didn’t want to think about Kevin as he lay dying in another part of the house. All he wanted to do was enjoy the feelings that Brian was stirring within him. He heard Brian order him on to the bed and was surprised to realize that Brian had somehow undressed him completely without him knowing it. He silently followed orders and climbed up on the bed, lying down in the center and looking over at Brian.


“Is there anything in particular that you want,” Brian asked as he climbed up on the bed and knelt beside Justin.


“Umm…no…not really,” Justin stammered nervously.


“Then I’ll just do what come naturally,” Brian smiled at Justin’s reply. “Relax, I promise I won’t hurt you.”


Justin nodded his head and closed his eyes, taking a deep breath to calm his nerves. Before he could open them again, he felt Brian’s mouth on his chest and sighed at the tingling sensation that ran through him. He heard a faint chuckle but didn’t respond as the warm mouth began kissing him everywhere, lapping at his nipples and nibbling at his skin. It felt so good that he couldn’t hold back the groan that escaped his lips. Apparently the sound only encouraged Brian because Justin felt his mouth working its way down his chest, over his stomach, and right to his groin. The second he felt a hand on his cock, Justin arched his back and shot his load, crying out at the sheer force of his orgasm.


“I guess it has been a long time, huh?” Brian chuckled.


“I’m sorry…I didn’t…I mean…I couldn’t…”


“Hey, it’s okay,” Brian said, sorry that he laughed and made Justin feel insecure. “It’s no big deal. You’re paying me to please you. It looks like its working. You’ve got me all night, remember? Just relax.”


Justin felt so foolish at that moment. All Brian did was touch him and he came like a 13 year old kid with a copy of Playboy, or Playgirl in his case. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”


“Look Justin, it’s your call. Obviously you need this or you wouldn’t have reacted like that from just a touch. I’ve got nothing else to do tonight and if you want me to, I can make you feel better than you ever imagined.”


“I don’t doubt that,” Justin replied with a small smile. “I’d like you to stay.”


Brian returned the smile and then got back to work, giving Justin every thing he had and bringing him to orgasm after orgasm through the course of the night. By the time the sun started to rise, Brian was exhausted but completely satisfied. Once Justin had gotten past the first orgasm, things seemed to slow down between them and Brian actually found himself enjoying their night together. It was almost as if he was more than just a hustler and he was pleasantly surprised by that. Justin had been an excellent lover and actually cared about Brian’s pleasure, too, not just his own. It was nice and now that Justin was asleep, Brian was able to lie back and remember the night with a smile. He was glad that Justin was paying him enough to take the rest of the week off. It was going to be hard going back to his normal tricks after the night they shared. He finally drifted off to sleep; wishing just like he always did that his life was anything but what it was.


Justin awoke a little disoriented at first, but the slight burning in his ass quickly reminded him of what had happened the night before. He smiled when he felt Brian’s arms around him, making him feel safe and protected, even if he knew it wasn’t real. It had been awhile since Kevin was well enough to sleep in their bed and Justin hated waking up alone. The feeling he was experiencing at that moment alone made Brian worth the five dollars he was going to be receiving. Justin lay there for a few more minutes before slipping quietly from the bed. He walked into the bathroom and put on the robe that was there, then picked up his clothes and quietly crept from the room. He wanted Brian to sleep as much as possible. They’d been up half the night and if it wasn’t for Justin’s insomnia, he’d probably still be asleep himself. Once he got back to his own room, he took off the robe and got into the shower. He stood under the shower head and let the water wash away some of the fatigue he’d been feeling recently. There were days when he wished that his life had turned out differently. When he wished he’d done as his father wanted him to do and gone to college. At twenty years old, he was too young to spend his days taking care of an invalid. But those thoughts always made him feel like such a bastard. Kevin was the one who was suffering. Justin was only standing by watching helplessly. After he finished with his shower, Justin went right to Kevin’s room and was happy to see him awake.


“Hey babe, how’re you feeling this morning?” Justin said as he walked over to his bedside.


“A little better than yesterday,” Kevin replied softly. “Jus, I think it’s time to do what we talked about. It’s only going to get worse.”


“Kev, I told you before, I’m not going to stick you in some nursing home so I can go out and fuck around. You’re going to stay here for as long as possible,” Justin snapped before his guilt washed over him. “Sorry, but I’m just tired of having this argument with you.”


“I’m not trying to start a fight with you, and I don’t want you to fuck around. I want you to find someone to love, who loves you, so you can be happy,” Kevin said.


“I already found someone to love.”


“I meant someone who isn’t sick. I know you love me Justin, and I love you too. But I’m dying and I want to know that you won’t be alone once I’m gone.”


“I won’t be alone. I’ve got Janet, Robert, and William, remember?” Justin asked, avoiding Kevin’s stare.


“I’m not talking about the hired help. I’m talking about having a partner to share your life with. Someone who can hold you at night and make you feel as special as you are.”


Justin thought about Brian, about how he woke up in his arms feeling safe and protected, and longed for that feeling again. “What if I told you that I might have met someone?”


“Might have?” Kevin asked skeptically. “And where did you happen to meet this someone?”


“Uh…the last time I was in the city?”


“Are you asking me or telling me?”


“I’m telling you. I met him the last time I was in the city. I didn’t mention him before because I was worried about how you’d react,” Justin said, hoping that Kevin wouldn’t see through his story.


“How I’d react? Justin, that’s great. I’m happy for you. That’s all the more reason for me to go to Silver Valley. You don’t need me here taking up space.”


“Kevin, please stop pushing. You’re not going anywhere and that’s final,” Justin stated, leaving no room for argument.


“Alright, fine, I won’t mention it again. Now tell me, what’s this guy’s name?”


“His name?”


“Yeah, he does have one, doesn’t he?” Kevin teased.


“Of course he does,” Justin laughed nervously. He couldn’t believe what he was about to do. “His name is Brian.”


“So what’s he like?”


“He’s tall, with brown hair and gorgeous hazel eyes,” Justin replied, smiling at the vision his words created.


“Okay, now I know what he looks like. What’s he actually like? Is he good to you?”


“I haven’t known him that long, but yes he’s good to me. I’m not really comfortable discussing this with you.”


“Oh come on, Justin. Don’t be so shy. I can’t wait to meet him.”


“Meet…him? Why…would you want to…meet him?” Justin stammered.


“Why wouldn’t I want to meet him? Have you had him here at the house yet? Why don’t you invite him to dinner tonight? I probably won’t be able to make it down to the dining room, but you could bring him up here for a drink afterwards. You have told him about me, haven’t you?”


“Of course,” Justin assured him. “I just don’t know if this is such a good idea.”


“Nonsense, I’m looking forward to it. I’ll make sure to have Stacy give me my bath early and I’ll dress in the silk pajamas that you got me for Christmas. It’ll be perfect.”


Justin saw the slight glimmer of anticipation in Kevin’s eyes and realized how long it had been since the man was excited about anything. He didn’t have the heart to tell him that Brian was actually a hustler that he’d picked up the night before. He’d have to find another way to get out of the mess he was in. “I’ll ask him, but he might be busy tonight.”


“Oh, what does he do?”


“He’s…uh…in public relations,” Justin replied quickly, feeling himself sinking deeper and deeper into the hole that he’d dug himself into. “I’d better go call him now and see if I can catch him before he goes to work.”


Justin hurried out of the room before his big mouth got him into anymore trouble. He quickly made his way back to the room Brian was in and entered quietly in case the man was still sleeping. He saw the bed was empty and heard the faint sound of the shower running so he knew that Brian had been up for at least a little while. He sat down on the bed while he waited for Brian to finish and wracked his brain trying to come up with an excuse for why his boyfriend couldn’t make it for dinner. He was so lost in thought that he never heard the shower turn off or the bathroom door open. The first thing he did notice was Brian standing in front of him in all his glory…again.


“Don’t you believe in clothes?” he snapped unnecessarily.


“Justin, I’m a hustler. Nudity doesn’t faze me in the least,” Brian teased. “What’s wrong? You seem pretty tense. Maybe I can help you with that.”


Justin felt Brian’s hand as it caressed his cock through the fabric of his cargo pants when an idea hit him. “Yes, you can!” He exclaimed as he jumped up from his spot on the bed.


“Yeah, I can, but not if you’re all the way over there.”


“No…I don’t mean like that,” Justin laughed. “Are you busy tonight? I mean, are you working?”


“No, actually I planned on taking a couple of nights off thanks to you.”


“Well, how would you like to spend another night with me? I’ll pay you another five hundred,” Justin replied excitedly.


“What? You didn’t get enough last night? I offered you another round this morning, free of charge, remember?”


“No, that’s not it. I kind of got myself into a situation and I need you to help me out.” Justin sat down on the bed, pulling Brian with him, and explained exactly what happened while he was with Kevin.


“You told him that I was your boyfriend?”


“Not exactly. I told him I met somebody the last time I was in the city, which isn’t exactly a lie. I was in the city last night and I met you. I didn’t think he’d insist on meeting you. I was just trying to get him to stop badgering me. All you have to do is come over for dinner tonight. You’ll get a home cooked meal and then meet Kevin. Just pretend that you’re interested in me for a couple of hours and you’ll earn another five hundred dollars. What do you say?”


Brian wanted to tell Justin how crazy the idea was, but he saw the desperation in his eyes and didn’t have the heart to let him down. For some reason this kid managed to get to him like no one else ever had. “Are you sure this is a good idea?”


“Brian, you didn’t see the look in his eyes. He was so happy for me. I can’t tell him that I lied. It would hurt him so much. This is the first good day he’s had in weeks. I want to make it special for him.”


“And you think that introducing your boyfriend to your partner is going to make it special?” Brian asked.


“I know it sounds crazy, but it’s what he wants. Please?” Justin pleaded.


“Alright, if you think it’ll work I guess I can help you out. I just hope I don’t say anything stupid. We don’t even know each other,” Brian pointed out.


“That’s okay. I told him I haven’t known you that long and we’ll talk over dinner. That should help a little. Now why don’t you get dressed and I’ll drive you home. I’ll pick you up tonight around five. I don’t want to eat too late in case Kevin is tired.”


“Justin, I do have a car you know,” Brian said with a laugh.


“Oh I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking. Okay, then you’ll be here about five thirty?” When he saw Brian nod in agreement he smiled. “I’ll pay you now for both last night and tonight. This way I won’t forget.”


When Brian saw Justin counting out a thousand dollars from his wallet, he was shocked. “You carry a thousand dollars around in your wallet?”


“Yeah, so? You never know when you might need some cash,” Justin replied casually.


“Of course not,” Brian huffed. He’d be in big trouble if he ever needed that kind of cash all at once. “How do you know I won’t just take your money and run?”


“I don’t, but you seem like someone I can trust. I’ll take my chances. Let me go get my keys and when you’re ready I’ll meet you downstairs.”


“Uh…do you think you could just meet me back here? Either that or draw me a map. Otherwise I might get lost in this place.”


Justin laughed out loud at the seriousness in Brian’s tone. “Alright, I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”







By the time Brian pulled his run down jeep into Justin’s driveway he was a nervous wreck. He knew it was ridiculous, but he couldn’t help worrying about giving Kevin the wrong impression. He barely knew Justin. How was he supposed to pretend that he cared about him? He was just a kid from the wrong side of the tracks who ended up turning tricks for a living. He was no where near good enough for someone like Justin. Well, it didn’t matter anymore. He’d already paid his rent and put the rest of the money Justin had given him into the bank for a rainy day. He had to follow through with their plan and hope for the best. He slowly made his way to the door and rang the bell, waiting for Justin to answer. Instead Janet opened the door and greeted him.


“Come on in. Justin’s upstairs at the moment, but I’ll let him know that you arrived. Would you like something to drink while you wait?”


“Uh…sure. Whatever you have is fine,” Brian replied nervously and then watched as she walked away, leaving him alone in the large living room. Since he wasn’t being ushered upstairs like the night before, he took his time to really look around at his surroundings. There was a large portrait hanging above the fireplace of Justin and a man and a woman who Brian recognized to be his parents. It was a typical family portrait but there was something about the body language that gave Brian the impression that they were a close group. From there he walked over to where the couch was and looked at the painting above it. It was a picture of a sunset overlooking the shore. It was a stunning picture and Brian was shocked to see it was signed by Justin Taylor. Apparently the guy was more than another pretty face. That was something that didn’t turn up in his research.


Brian thought back to earlier that morning. As soon as Justin dropped him off at home, Brian changed his clothes and then headed down to the local library to access one of their computers. The first thing he’d come across was the newspaper article on the death of Jennifer and Craig Taylor. After reading the horrible facts of the accident, Brian continued his search and found out all he could on the Taylors’ lives. Apparently Craig came from a somewhat wealthy family and used their power and influences to become one of the most respected businessmen in the US.  By the time he was 35 he’d become a multi-millionaire. Taylor Electronics was one of the largest chains in the country and after Craig’s death; everything he had was left to his only son, Justin. It was a lot to take in. Brian had come from a lower-middle class family, where money was usually a little sparse, depending on how much his father drank away at the local bar. He couldn’t imagine living his life the way Justin did. On top of that he had come across pictures of the family, looking happy and smiling for the camera. Something else Brian couldn’t imagine. Growing up in the Kinney house didn’t give him a reason to smile. When his father did manage to make it home from the bar, which wasn’t often, he used his son as a regular punching bag while his wife looked on without comment. Brian had waited as patiently as he could until the day he turned eighteen and then escaped the house he had grown to despise. It wasn’t easy, but using the money he had made working odd jobs through high school, Brian made his way cross country and ended up in California. He wanted to put as much distance between himself and his family as he could.


From there he found a job waiting tables, but he learned quickly that living on his own wasn’t cheap. He was always struggling to pay the rent and afford to buy the necessities he needed to live on. It was just about the time he hit rock bottom and was forced to live on the streets that he met Brandon. He was a hustler and offered to show Brian around. He wanted to refuse, pray to a God he wasn’t sure if he believed in to help him get by, but in the end he did what he had to do to survive. That had been three years earlier. It had been a long three years, filled with a lot of heartache and pain, but Brian had survived it the only way he knew how. By refusing to allow himself to fall too far into the trap. Some of the guys he knew from the streets thrived on turning tricks. They lived in fancy apartments and drove nice cars. They used their skills to give them the life they always dreamed about and were happy with what they had. Even Brandon seemed content with what he had. He didn’t have any desire for anything more. But not Brian. He refused to let himself become content with hustling. He banked as much money as he could and when he had enough saved up, he bought himself a used jeep and enrolled in the local community college. It had taken him almost three years to get his two year degree, but once he had accomplished that feat, he transferred to University in their journalism program. He spent every extra cent he had on his education, but he knew it would pay off in the end. In another couple of years he’d be able to put the horrible experience of hustling behind him and move on with his life; hopefully with just a shred of his dignity intact.


Meeting Justin had been a real treat. It was the first time in the last three years that he felt more like a person than an object of someone’s sick fantasies. In fact, a part of him wanted to be honest with Justin. He wanted to tell him his plans for the future and let him know that he was more than just a hustler, yet he didn’t. What difference would it make? Plans or not, Brian was a hustler and well out of Justin’s league. Their association would be over in a few short hours and Brian would be one step closer to being the person he longed to be. His thoughts were interrupted when he heard Justin enter the room.


“Hey, you’re here,” Justin said as he smiled at Brian.


“Of course I’m here. I always come when I say I’m going to,” Brian replied huskily, a gleam in his eye.


“I bet you do,” Justin said, feeling a slight tightening in his jeans at Brian’s seductive tone. “Are you hungry? Dinner’s almost ready and I thought we could talk over dinner and get to know each other a little better.”


“Sounds good to me. Lead the way.”


Brian and Justin settled down in the dining room and waited until Janet was finished serving them before beginning their discussion. Justin did a lot of the talking, filling Brian in on part of his past; things he felt a new boyfriend should know. Once he was done, he took a good look at Brian, noticing an uncomfortable look on his face.


“Is something wrong?”


“No, I’m just trying to let everything you said sink in. Are you sure this is going to work? I don’t want to sound like a bumbling idiot in front of Kevin,” Brian admitted softly.


“Relax, it’s not like he’s going to be giving you a test or anything. None of this will probably even come up in conversation. I just wanted to give you a little background just incase,” Justin assured him. “What about you?”


“What about me?”


“Well, you know a lot about me, but I still know nothing about you. What about your parents? Do they live around here? Are you close to them?”


“No,” Brian stated with no emotion. “So what about your art? Are you planning on pursuing a career with it?”


Justin noticed Brian’s abrupt change of subject, but decided to let it happen after seeing the way his whole demeanor changed when he mentioned his parents. “I’m not really sure. I’ve done a few small shows at the local galleries, but my main focus has always been on Kevin.”


“I think you’re too talented not to pursue it further,” Brian replied, surprised that he felt as strongly as he did about Justin’s future.


“Thanks,” Justin blushed at the compliment. “I guess I’ll give it some thought after…”


Brian didn’t have to ask about the tears that he saw pooling in Justin’s eyes to know that the blond was thinking about the day when focusing on Kevin wouldn’t be an obstacle. He wasn’t sure what to say and was relieved when Janet reappeared to take away their plates and offer dessert.


“That’s okay, Janet. I think we’ll go on up and see Kevin. If he’s up to it, maybe we’ll have dessert with him,” Justin said as he quickly wiped at his eyes before his tears had time to fall. He hated getting emotional in front of Brian and he sure as hell didn’t want Kevin to see that he was on the verge of tears. “Just let me run to the bathroom real quick and then we’ll head up.”


Brian watched Justin leave the room and mentally kicked himself for pushing the art issue. He hoped that once they were upstairs he didn’t put his foot into his mouth like he just did or the whole evening was going to end in disaster.


Once Justin reappeared they headed upstairs. Justin knocked lightly on a closed door before walking inside, leaving Brian to follow behind him.


“Hey babe, how’re you feeling?” Justin asked as he walked over to the bed and gave Kevin a kiss. He stepped back a little and took a good look at his partner, searching for signs of fatigue. He didn‘t find any. “You look rested.”


“I’m feeling pretty good, Jus,” Kevin replied before glancing behind his partner. “I’m guessing this is Brian?”


“Yeah, Brian, this is Kevin Moore. Kev, this is Brian Kinney.” Justin made the introductions then stood back while the two men shook hands and eyed each other up. “Janet made chocolate cream pie. I know it’s your favorite. Do you think you’ll be up to a small piece? We waited to see if you wanted to eat with us.”


“How often do I ever refuse Janet’s pie?” Kevin asked with a smile before turning his attention back to Brian. “She’s a wonderful cook but her desserts are to die for.”


“I’m looking forward to it,” Brian said nervously. He felt the way Kevin was watching him and it made him feel uncomfortable. He knew he was going to be under inspection, but he never imagined how hard it was going to be.


Justin pulled up a couple of chairs and the three of them began talking about everything from the weather to how they felt about their current president. During the conversation, Brian began to relax a bit but refused to let his guard down completely.


Kevin tried his best to act casually despite the awkwardness that he felt when he and Brian were first introduced. He knew exactly what Justin’s attraction was. Brian was down right beautiful. In his earlier days, before his medication kept him from becoming hard, Kevin would’ve been tenting his bedding. Now all he could do was admire him from afar and try not to let himself be overcome with jealousy over what Justin had. He knew it wouldn’t be easy meeting the man who would be taking his place in Justin’s life, but he had no idea what he was getting into when he insisted on it. His time was coming and he needed to know that Justin wouldn’t be left alone. Now all he had to do was get Brian alone so he could really talk to him without Justin’s interference.


“Jus, why don’t you go downstairs and get us some of that pie? I’ll keep Brian entertained while you’re gone.”


“I’ll just call Janet and have her bring some up,” Justin said as he stood up and reached for the phone. Kevin reached out a hand and stopped him.


“Go ahead, Jus. I want to talk to Brian alone for a few minutes,” Kevin admitted.


Justin looked at Kevin and then at Brian, who was visibly squirming in his seat. “I don’t know, babe.”


“Don’t worry, I promise not to bite. I gave that up years ago,” Kevin teased.


Justin looked back at Brian, who nodded slightly, but still looked very uncomfortable with the current situation. “Alright. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”


Brian waited until Justin was gone before standing up and approaching the bed. “Okay, now that he’s gone, why don’t you just say whatever it is that you want to say and then I’ll be on my way.”


“Now Brian, is that any way to talk to your childhood friend?” Kevin asked, looking deeply into Brian’s eyes. “I’d say we have a lot of catching up to do.”






“Childhood friend? What a joke that is,” Brian replied bitterly. “Friends don’t just walk away without saying goodbye.”



“Don’t call me that. Only my friends call me that,” Brian snapped angrily.


“That’s not fair. We were friends. Hell, we were more than friends. I just…I had to get out of there. You know that. I tried calling you a few months after I left, but you were already gone.”


“I had to get out of there, too, remember? I told you that once I graduated I was leaving. We were supposed to go together. I was stunned when your sister told me you disappeared. Why didn’t you at least say goodbye?”


“Because I knew if I tried, I’d never be able to leave without you and I couldn’t wait for you to turn eighteen. Mom was out of control. She kept threatening to tell your parents about us. How do you think your dad would’ve reacted to that, huh? She hated who I was and was just making my life more and more uncomfortable. She refused to kick me out, but kept pushing me until I couldn’t live there anymore. Do you really think I wanted to change universities right before my last semester? The paperwork for the transfer alone was unbelievable. I didn’t have a choice. I even had to take a few extra classes to meet some stupid requirements before I actually was allowed to graduate,” Kevin explained, fighting the fatigue that was starting to set in.


“So you got your degree?” Brian couldn’t help but ask. He’d always wondered what happened after Kevin disappeared. He was still angry about being left behind, but Kevin’s reminder of how screwed up his life was at the time eased some of that anger.


“Yeah, a semester later that I planned, but I got it. What about you? Justin said that you were in public relations. Did you give up your writing?”


“No, I just got sidetracked a little. I needed to find a way to support myself, but I got my two year and now I’m working on my four. It’s taking a lot longer than I would like, but I’m not giving up,” Brian replied proudly.


“Good. You’re too talented to give up. I guess our dream of working together as a team is gone. It doesn’t look like I’m going to be around to be your editor.”


“What happened, Kev? You were the one who taught me about safe sex. How did you end up here?”


“I was stupid. After I found out that you were gone, I guess I went a little crazy. I got into the drug scene for a little while. Not too heavily, but enough to let my guard down. I woke up alone in a strange apartment one morning with an ache in my ass. I looked around but didn’t see any condom wrappers. I went straight to the local center and got myself tested. Almost threw myself off a bridge when it came back positive. I eventually faced reality and accepted what my future held. That’s about the time I met Justin. He’s the best thing that’s happened to me since I met you.” Kevin looked away for a moment, his eyes tearing a little before facing Brian again. “He’s something special, isn’t he?”


“Yeah, he is,” Brian replied softly. He felt bad about deceiving Kevin like they were, but knowing him the way he did, he knew the man would rest easier thinking that Justin had someone to look after him once he was no longer around to do it himself. “I can’t believe that after all this time I’m actually here with you.”


“You know, when I first got out here I wanted to call you. I thought about you constantly but I really felt it was best to wait until I got settled before I made that call. I knew you’d be upset about my leaving and I wanted to show you that I did the right thing. I guess I figured you’d wait for me. When I finally talked to Clair, she told me that you’d been gone for two weeks. I hadn’t missed you by much. I asked if you left a forwarding address, but she just laughed at me and hung up. She always was a real bitch.”


“I left right after graduation. My parents didn’t even bother showing up for the ceremony. I haven’t talked to them since,” Brian admitted bitterly. “My parting gift was the black eye and cracked ribs Jack gave me two days before. I didn’t see any reason to let them know I was leaving or where I was going.”


“It would’ve helped me find you,” Kevin pointed out.


“I thought you left me. I figured you had enough fooling around with a high school kid and just decided to take off and never look back.”


“Bri, how could you even think that? We were together for almost three years. I never would’ve walked away from you,” Kevin insisted, getting choked up with emotion.


“You could’ve talked to me; left me a fucking note, something to tell me that you weren’t turning your back on me.”


“I’m so sorry, babe. I was so messed up back then. I know you were counting on me to take care of you and I was scared. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do that and Mom was pushing me so hard. I guess I just panicked. But believe me; I never intended to let you go. Thinking about the day you’d be able to join me was the only thing that kept me going.”


Kevin began to cry silently and his breathing became labored as he tried to fight the emotions that were threatening to overtake him. Thinking about all that he lost was just too much for him in his weakened state.


“Kev…are you okay?” Brian asked. When he didn’t get an answer, he began to panic. “Kevin? Kevin!”


Justin was coming down the hall with a tray of chocolate cream pie when he heard Brian calling out to Kevin. He dropped the tray and ran to the room, taking in his partner’s distress.


“Kevin?” He ran to the bed and grabbed Kevin’s hand, placing his free hand on his forehead. “Brian, what happened?”


Brian wasn’t able to respond. All he could do was watch as Kevin became more agitated while Justin tried to sooth him. It was all too much. Finding Kevin after all that time, realizing that he was the partner dying of AIDS, knowing that it was his fault that he was sick in the first place, is was just too much for his mind to comprehend. He continued to watch as a nurse came in the room and surveyed the situation before pulling a loaded syringe out of the small cart in the corner. It took a few minutes but eventually Kevin calmed down and drifted off into a drug-induced sleep.


Justin forgot Brian was even in the room as he waited for Nancy to administer the morphine and for it to take effect. Once he was sure that Kevin was settled, he turned to find Brian standing back looking horrified.


“Thanks Stacy. I’m going to leave him to rest for awhile. I have my pager if he needs me. Otherwise I’ll be back soon to check on him again.”


“Okay Mr. Taylor. I’m sure he’ll be sleeping peacefully for awhile. Any idea what had him so upset?” she asked as she glanced towards Brian.


“Not yet, but I plan on finding out,” Justin replied as he walked over to Brian. “Hey, come with me. I think we need to talk.”


Brian pulled himself out of his fog when he heard Justin talking to him. He realized by the questioning look on Justin’s face that he had some explaining to do. He waved his arm in invitation and then followed Justin out of the room, taking a moment to look back at the man he love for the last seven years of his life.







Justin waited until they were alone in the room that he and Brian had used before turning to the man with a touch of anger in his eyes.


“Do you mind telling me what that was all about?” he asked pointedly.


“Is…is he going to be alright?” Brian questioned nervously. He couldn’t stop his hands from shaking as he kept replaying the incident in Kevin’s room over and over again in his mind.


“No, he’s not going to be alright. He’s dying. Now what the fuck happened in there? I haven’t seen him that agitated in a long time,” Justin snapped, the good WASP manners that his mother taught him out the window. He was surprised when he saw Brian pale even further by his abrupt comment. “Brian, what is it?”


“Look Justin, I think it’s better that I just get out of here. I’m sorry about Kevin. Tell him…Uh, never mind,” Brian had just reached the door and was prepared to walk away when he felt Justin‘s hand on his arm. He stopped, but didn‘t turn around. “Please Justin, just let me go.”


Justin was taken back by the desperate tone in Brian’s words as well as the way he felt the man shaking beneath his fingers. “Brian, I need to know what happened in there. Something happened between you two and if I know Kevin, it’s not over. He’s going to wake up almost as agitated as when he went to sleep. I need to know how to handle him.”


Brian wanted to ignore Justin’s plea, but he couldn’t. For Kevin’s sake he needed to tell Justin the truth. “I already knew Kevin,” he all but whispered when he finally found his voice.


“You know Kevin? You mean as a trick?” Justin asked in horror. That wouldn’t be good. The last thing he wanted was for Kevin to know how he really met Brian.


“No. We…uh…I knew him back in Pittsburgh,” Brian explained softly. He turned around and watched as confusion and intrigue washed over Justin’s face. He sighed and walked over to the bed, dropping himself down and running his hands through his hair in frustration. “We were together for almost three years.”


“Together? You mean…Oh my God, it’s you?” Justin exclaimed as his mind went back to all the talks he and Kevin had when they first met. Justin had been struggling with the loss of his parents and Kevin had been struggling with the loss of the guy he loved. “Shit,” he mumbled as he walked over and dropped down alongside Brian.


“What do you mean, it’s you?”


“You’re the one that Kevin was so heartbroken over. He told me that he was in love with someone younger than him back in Pittsburgh, but when he moved out here you lost touch. He said that when he tried to send for you, you had disappeared. I could see how much he missed you. He was so sad whenever he spoke of you. He was convinced that he’d never see you again. No wonder he was so upset,” Justin sighed as reality set in. His partner’s first love was back in his life. What would that mean for him?


“I…I didn’t know he was going to send for me. We always talked about getting out but never where we’d go. I told him I didn’t care where we went as long as it wasn’t Pittsburgh. Then one day he just took off without even saying goodbye. I couldn’t stay there anymore so I left. He was getting ready to graduate from college and I wasn’t even out of high school yet. I thought he decided to go without me.”


“He didn’t. He worked so hard getting settled out here so that he could send for you. He had everything planned out, waiting for the day when you would join him,” Justin said sadly, repeating the words that Kevin had told him three years earlier. When he saw the curious look Brian gave him, he shrugged. “He told me all about it when we met. He was pretty screwed up back then.”


“Yeah, he was obviously screwed up if he thought it was alright to just disappear without saying a word. What the fuck was I supposed to think? How was I supposed to know what he was planning if he didn’t bother sharing it with me?” Brian jumped up off the bed and began pacing around the room. “And then to come here and fuck around…he never touched a drug in his life before leaving Pittsburgh. What the fuck was he thinking?”


Justin could sense the pain Brian was feeling and wished there was a way he could help. As threatened as he felt by Brian’s presence, he couldn’t help but like what he knew of the man and hated seeing him so agitated. He also loved Kevin enough to want to help fix things between him and his ex before it was too late. “Maybe he was thinking that he just lost the one person who meant anything to him and he wanted to find a way to stop the pain.”


“Oh, so it’s my fault?” Brian spat, refusing to be affected by the way Justin flinched at his anger. He may have been blaming himself ever since Kevin told him about how he became positive, but hearing Justin blame him hurt more than he was willing to admit. He immediately became defensive. “He goes out and manages to get himself infected and it’s all my fault for not waiting around for him? Even though he never gave me any reason to wait?”


“No Brian, of course it’s not your fault,” Justin replied quickly, horrified that Brian would even think that he was laying blame. “I was just saying that…”


“If he’d just been honest with me from the beginning, none of this would be happening. We‘d be together just like we were supposed to be. But instead, I spend my nights turning tricks while he lies around waiting to die.”


“Brian,” Justin whispered as he watched silent tears run down Brian‘s face.


“I gotta go.”


Justin jumped up and grabbed on to Brian before he could make it out the door. “Please Brian, don’t go. You’re too upset to be alone right now.”


“I…I can’t stay here…I really need…” Brian’s words trailed off as he broke down, allowing himself to be pulled into Justin’s arms.


“It’s okay, I’ve got you,” Justin said softly. He was fighting his own tears as he led Brian over to the bed and coaxed him to lie down. Once he got Brian settled, Justin climbed into bed behind him and took him in his arms, offering what comfort he could until he was sure that the poor man was asleep. He continued to hold him for awhile longer before softly climbing out of bed and making his way back to Kevin. As he walked through the door, he was surprised to find Kevin awake, staring at the ceiling.


“Hey, I’m sorry about earlier,” Kevin said, his voice raspy.


“How’re you feeling?” Justin asked as he looked carefully at his partner. “I figured you’d be out for a lot longer than this.”


“I’m okay.”


“Bullshit,” Justin replied, smiling slightly to take the sting out of his words. “How’re you really feeling?”


“Physically I’m doing okay, I swear. Mentally I feel like I was just hit by a Mack truck,” Kevin admitted. “I guess Brian told you about us?”


“Not willingly, but I forced it out of him. He was pretty out of it. I managed to get him to fall asleep, though,” Justin said.


“He’s still here?” Kevin asked.


“Yeah, I didn’t want him to be alone. Besides, I figured you’d want to talk to him when you woke up,” Justin replied as he pulled a chair over to the bed. He knew he had to tell Kevin the truth. In light of what they just learned, he couldn’t go on with the charade he and Brian were playing. “Look Kev, about Brian and me…”


“It’s okay, Jus. Brian and I have been over for a long time. I’m actually glad you two found each other.”


“You are?”


“Yeah, I am. I’m not going to be around much longer and I’ll be able to rest easier knowing that you have Brian by your side. He’s the best and that’s what you deserve,” Kevin said as he took Justin’s hand. “I want you both to be happy.”


Justin felt himself tear up at the love in Kevin’s eyes and couldn’t bring himself to tell him the truth just yet. He’d have to do it eventually, but he reasoned that after Kevin’s outburst he didn’t want to upset him further. “You should probably try to get some sleep.”

“I am kind of tired,” Kevin replied. “Jus, are you okay with everything? It’s pretty amazing that you’d end up meeting Brian of all people.”


“Don’t worry about me. I’m more worried about you and Brian. This has to be pretty hard on both of you.”


“How’s he doing? When he walked in I didn’t think he recognized me. Then again he was always good at hiding his emotions. It came from growing up in the Kinney household. It had to be a pretty big shock for him.”


“Kev, you don’t blame Brian for…being sick, do you?” Justin asked tentatively. He didn’t think that Kevin was the type of person to throw blame around, but he needed to know.


“What? Of course not,” Kevin insisted. “I’m sick because I was an idiot. Losing Brian was my own fault, but even if he was to blame for our break-up, he didn’t make me turn to drugs and alcohol. I knew better and just refused to use my head. Does Brian think I’m blaming him?”

“I’m not sure, but I think he’s blaming himself,” Justin told him as he thought back to Brian’s out burst. “He didn’t say it in so many words, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s thinking.”


“Do me a favor? Don’t let Brian leave until we’ve had a chance to talk. I don’t want him blaming himself for this. I need him to know it’s not his fault.”


“I’ll do my best,” Justin assured him. “Now get some sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.”


Justin kissed Kevin goodnight and then went back to check on Brian. He just wanted to make sure the man was sleeping soundly before going to his own room, but the sight of Brian curled up on the big bed caused him to feel a tightening in his chest. His heart broke to think about what Brian had been through in the last few years. Kevin had him to help ease the pain, but Brian was all alone without anyone to turn to. Without thinking about the consequences, he tiptoed into the room and climbed up on the bed fully clothed. He took Brian in his arms once again and held him close as he drifted off to sleep, hoping that everything would work out now that Brian and Kevin had found each other again. Hoping that they’d be able to get over the past that was haunting them both.






Justin woke up the next morning to the feel of someone lying next to him. It took a moment for his brain to register what happened the night before and when he slowly opened his eyes, he came face to face with Brian, who was laying there staring at him.


“Good morning,” Justin said shyly. “Have you been up long?”


“Only a couple of minutes. I was surprised to find that I wasn’t alone. You weren’t trying to take advantage of me in my weakened state, were you?” Brian teased.


“You wish,” Justin joked. “I just wanted to make sure you were alright. How’re you feeling this morning?”


“I’m not really sure,” Brian admitted. “Last night is such a blur. I never thought I’d see Kevin again. To find out that he’s your…that you’re together and that he’s sick. It’s a lot to swallow.”


“I know. I’m sorry that you found out the way you did, but I guess under the circumstances it couldn’t be helped. I talked with Kevin for a few minutes last night after you fell asleep,” Justin told him.


“Is he alright? He’s not still so upset, is he?”


“No, I think he’s more worried about you. He was happy to find out that you stayed here and asked me to keep you here so you two can talk.”


“I…can’t stay,” Brian replied. He saw Justin getting ready to protest, but stopped him before he could say anything. “I have somewhere I have to be in an hour.”


“Oh,” Justin said, clearly disappointed. “Will you come back? Tonight? Kevin really wants to talk to you.”


“I don’t really see what the point it. We’ve already said everything we had to say to each other. We’ve moved on.”


“Please Brian,” Justin begged. “It would make him so happy to see you again. Can’t you give him that?”


Brian wanted to refuse, but he knew that he wouldn’t. There was a time when he would’ve done anything for Kevin, and he had a feeling that nothing had changed in that regard. “Okay, I’ll come back tonight. But right now I’d better get moving. I can’t be late.”


Justin watched Brian as he put on his shoes and looked around the room one last time. “You know, Brian. Not too many people get a second chance in life. Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones. Don’t push Kevin away.”


“Doesn’t this bother you?” Brian asked as he looked Justin in the eyes. “I’m your partner’s ex-lover. I’d think you’d want me to disappear.”


“I love Kevin and he doesn’t have that much time left. I’d do anything to make him happy. Including having his ex-lover here with him,” Justin assured him.


“You know, I think Kevin’s one of the lucky ones, too,” Brian replied softly. “I’ll be back around six.”


Justin smiled as he watched Brian walk out the door, taking a moment to relish in the compliment that he just received before going to check on Kevin.


Brian stormed into his small apartment just after five, trying to calm the anger that was raging inside him. He made it to class in just enough time after leaving Kevin and Justin’s, and thought it was going to be a decent day for a change. He should’ve known better. By the time he finished up with school and went to leave, the jeep was dead. He tried unsuccessfully for almost fifteen minutes before accepting the fact that the engine wasn’t going to turn over. Then he had to go back into the school and call a tow truck. By the time it arrived he was so agitated that the driver seemed hesitant to give him a lift home. Luckily he managed to persuade the guy to drop him off a few block from his building before towing the piece of shit vehicle to the local garage. He’d have to call in the morning to see what the damage was, but he had a distinct feeling that he just lost the money he had put into savings. So much for taking the rest of the week off.


He dropped his school bag down by the table and made his way into the shower, needing to relieve some of the stress that had been building over the course of the afternoon. Once he was done, he grabbed a sandwich and settled himself down to work on his school work. He was so engrossed in his assignments that by the time he glanced at the clock he was surprised to see that it was almost nine o’clock. He put his books away and then prepared himself to go to work. He was still so upset by the day’s events that he couldn’t think straight and by the time he left to go down to the strip, his foul mood was obvious to anyone who saw him. Luckily it didn’t deter the man in the Lexus that pulled up beside him a short time later.


“Hey, how much?” the guy called as soon as his window was down.


“A hundred bucks, but I don’t kiss and I don’t bottom for anyone,” Brian replied emotionlessly. He’d said the mantra so many times in the last four years that he didn’t even think about it anymore. He couldn’t let himself think about it because when he did, it just reminded him of what he was and that was something he liked to forget.


“Get in,” the guy replied.


Brian got into the car and immediately put himself in his place. The place he went so that he could block out what he was about to do. It was the only way to get through it. The guy wasn’t too bad looking and Brian found it pretty easy to forget everything but doing his job. When he was dropped back off an hour later, he was a hundred dollars richer and well on his way to replacing the money that the jeep was going to cost him. Two more tricks occupied his night and as Brian began the walk back to his place he was more than happy with his financial gains for the evening. As he rounded the corner and approached his building, he was shocked to see Justin sitting there on the steps.


“What are you doing here? This isn’t the safest neighborhood to be sitting in,” Brian said as he came face to face was angry blue eyes.


“Where the fuck have you been? Kevin sat up all night waiting for you. I finally managed to get him to take his meds and go to sleep an hour ago,” Justin snapped angrily. He was so mad at the man before him. He had promised to talk to Kevin and when he didn’t show up, Justin had waited until he could get away before searching for him. Luckily he had given Brian a ride home the morning before so he knew where he lived. After buzzing the apartment labeled Kinney without a reply, he sat down on the steps to wait, his anger only increasing as time went by.


“Shit! I completely forgot,” Brian replied as he mentally kicked himself for his error. “I’ve had a for shit day.”


“You forgot? You forgot that a dying man was waiting anxiously to see you?” Justin exclaimed harshly. He took a second to take in Brian’s appearance. “Oh, let me guess. The lure of selling yourself was just too powerful to resist?”


“Justin,” Brian said softly, blanching at the blond’s words.


“You know what? Forget it. I’ll just make up some kind of story about you having to go out of town or something. This way you won’t have to take time out of you busy fuck schedule for someone who cares about you,” Justin spat, turning on his heels.


Brian didn’t even thinking about what he was doing as he reached out and grabbed Justin by the arms, whirling him around. “How fucking dare you judge me! You have no fucking idea what my life is like so don’t stand there and assume you know me. For your information I had every intention of taking the rest of the week off until my Jeep died on me today. I not only had to pay over a hundred dollars for a tow truck, but I have to find a way to pay the mechanic once I find out what’s wrong with it. Now that may not sound like a big deal to someone who lives in a million dollar home, but for someone like me it’s huge. If I don’t have my jeep, I’ll have no way to get back and forth to the campus and end up hustling for the rest of my life. That’s not an option for me, so forgive me for not thinking about anything except making ends meet. It’s what us poor people have to endure.”


Justin was stunned by the intensity in Brian’s eyes as he listened to the man yelling at him right there in the street. It took a moment for Brian’s words to sink in, but when they did Justin became even more curious about the stranger before him. “Campus?”


“What? Did you think I was just some loser who chooses to fuck for cash?” Brian asked hotly. “You have no idea how much money it takes to pay for rent, food, a car, and tuition to college. I tried getting a regular job as soon as I got into town, but it wasn’t enough. Even being a waiter in one of the classier restaurants didn’t cover my expenses. I had to take drastic measures to get by and even though I’m not proud of what I’m doing, at least I know that one day I’ll be able to put all this behind me and move on. I refuse to let anything stop me from making something of myself. And if that means that I have to fuck guys and pretend it doesn’t make me sick just thinking about it, so be it.”


Justin was properly put in his place. “I’m sorry…I had no idea.”


“No, you didn’t. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go stand under the hot shower for the next twenty minutes and hope I can wash away the feeling of strangers’ hands touching me.”


Justin watched Brian turn to go inside and knew he had to do something to stop him. He didn’t feel right just letting him go off on his own. Especially after the way he ignorantly attacked the man moments before. “Brian, wait.”


Brian stopped with his hand on the knob, but didn’t turn around. “What?”


“I really am sorry. You’re right; I have no room to judge anyone. I have more money than I know what to do with and I never had to lift a finger for it. Just…just come back to the house with me. Grab some clothes and you can take a shower there. You can…see Kevin in the morning. Please, he was really upset when you didn’t come back.”


“I can’t. I have classes in the morning and still have to find a way to get there.”


“I’ll take you. I’ll drive you to school and pick you up when you’re through.” Justin saw Brian getting ready to refuse and stopped him before he could. “It’s no big deal. I have nothing to do tomorrow and I really just want Kevin to be happy. Don’t do it for me. Do it for him.”


Brian sighed as he finally turned around and faced Justin. The blond knew just what to say to make Brian give in. He’d do it for Kevin. “Come on. I need to get my things and this really isn’t a safe neighborhood,” he replied softly.


“Thank you, Brian.”


“You don’t have to thank me. I’m doing it for Kevin,” Brian told him before heading inside leaving Justin to follow.






The ride back to the house was made in silence while both men were lost in thought. Brian was trying to figure out why he bared his soul to someone he barely knew while Justin was trying to absorb everything he just learned about the hustler sitting beside him. Apparently Brian was a lot more than just a street hustler and strangely enough that seemed to make Justin feel a little bit better. Ever since they’d met, Justin found himself thinking about Brian almost constantly. For some reason, knowing he didn’t plan to spend his life turning tricks was a relief. He really wished he knew why. By the time they pulled into the driveway it was after one in the morning. Justin parked the car and killed the engine before turning towards Brian, stopping him from getting out.


“Thanks again for coming out here. I know you didn’t do it for me, but I’m still glad you’re here.”


Brian just nodded in response as he dislodged his arm from Justin’s grip and climbed out of the car. He was still feeling a little exposed by their confrontation and wasn’t quite ready to let go of his anger. As he reached the front door, he heard Justin behind him and stepped out of the way so the blond could get by. They walked through the door and started towards the stairs when Justin’s pager went off.


“Shit, it’s Kevin,” Justin said as he quickly started up the stairs, leaving Brian to follow closely behind him.


Taking the stairs two at a time, Justin reached the bedroom in record time and rushed inside. Janet was standing by the bed, gently trying to keep Kevin still while the nurse was taking his vitals.


“What’s going on?” Justin demanded as he approached the bed.


“I don’t know,” the nurse admitted. “He was sleeping peacefully until about ten minutes ago. He started thrashing around, calling out in his sleep, but I wasn’t able to wake him.  His pulse is racing but I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe we better call 911 and get an ambulance sent over.”


Justin took a moment to think about it before coming to his own decision. “No, Kevin hates going to the hospital. I want everyone out. Give me a few minutes alone with him.”


Without waiting to see if his wishes were carried out, Justin climbed into bed with his partner and took him in his arms. Brian watched the exchange and saw the two women quickly follow Justin’s orders. He was impressed with the way Justin took hold of the situation. He was going to follow them out, but something stopped him. Instead he stood back and listened to the soothing words Justin was offering.


“It’s okay, Babe. I got you. Shhh…just relax, it’s going to be okay.”


He repeated the mantra over and over until Kevin eventually started to settle down. Brian could see his features relax and knew that he could feel Justin’s love coming through. It made him so angry to think about all Kevin was going through. It wasn’t fair. They had such high hopes for the future and they all got thrown away because Brian didn’t have faith in his lover to wait until they were reunited. If only he had stuck around long enough to hear from Kevin. He lived in the Kinney house for eighteen years. A few more months wouldn’t have killed him, but obviously his disappearance was enough to kill Kevin. He was so wrapped up in his thoughts and self-hatred that he never noticed the tears silently running down his face.


Justin felt Kevin finally succumb to sleep and waited a few more minutes until he was sure the worst was past. Ever since AIDS took hold of his lover, he began experiencing night terrors, something that was far worse than any nightmare. They didn’t happen often, but as time went on they became more and more severe, leaving Kevin drained but totally unaware of what had happened. Usually Justin was with him when they started, but tonight he was out looking for Brian and wasn’t there for him. The guilt was strong as it took hold of Justin, but the situation suddenly reminded him that they weren’t alone. He glanced over to where Brian stood and was shocked to see how upset he was from what he had witnessed. Justin’s heart went out to him, knowing how scary watching an episode can be. He carefully disentangled himself from Kevin, pausing only to make sure that the sleeping man hadn’t been disturbed, before making his way over and taking Brian in his arms.


“He’s okay, I promise,” Justin offered softly. “Come on; let’s go to your room.”


Brian allowed Justin to lead him out of the room, suddenly feeling more tired than he ever remembered feeling before. Once they were in the room that Brian had been using, he dropped the bag that was on his shoulder, the one he'd forgotten he had, and sat down on the edge of the bed, still somewhat in a fog.


"Brian, I'm going to start your shower, okay?" Justin said gently. He was worried about Brian. He hadn't said a word since the incident with Kevin. He walked into the bathroom and started the water, making sure that the temperature was right before going back into the bedroom. "Brian?"


Brian could hear Justin calling out to him, but he couldn't find the strength to answer. All he could think about was the way Kevin was thrashing around in bed, calling out incoherently and obviously in distress. Why was this happening? Why was Kevin so sick? Where was the God that his mother spent so much time preaching to? Why does He make people suffer so much?


When Justin didn't get an answer, he began to worry even more. He knew how much Brian wanted a shower. He had talked about washing away the strangers that touched him, and truthfully, Justin wanted to wash them away, too. He hadn't had time to analyze his feelings regarding Brian's hustling yet, but he knew he didn't like it. Whether it was justified or not, he didn't like it one bit. Deciding that Brian was too out of it to help himself, Justin began to strip him down. At one point Brian looked up at him with questioning eyes, but he didn't say anything in protest, so Justin just continued with the task at hand. Once Brian was undressed, Justin helped him into the bathroom and into the shower stall. He then stood back, hoping that Brian would pick things up from there. When it didn't look like that would happen, Justin only hesitated a moment before stripping off his own clothes and climbing into the shower himself. He guided Brian under the spray until he was wet from head to toe and then began to gently wash his hair and body. It would've been rather erotic if not for Brian's fog-like state. He continued to wash until he was sure that any remnants of Brian's tricks were gone and then shut off the water and dried the other man and himself off. He wrapped Brian up in one of the robes that hung in the bathroom and lead him over to the bed. It didn't take much encouragement to get Brian to lie down and as soon as he was, he drifted off to sleep. Justin watched him for a minute before dressing quickly and going back down to Kevin.


When he got to the room, Kevin was still sleeping peacefully, and the nurse was once again by his bedside.


"I don't know how you always manage to settle him down. It's amazing how in tune with each other you are," she said when she spotted Justin approaching. "He seems to be resting comfortably now."


"Good. He needs his rest. The last couple of days have been pretty stressful for him, which is probably what caused all of this. I'm going to sit with him for awhile before going to bed. If he shows any signs of restlessness tonight after I'm gone, please let me know immediately. Don't wait to see how serious it is. I don't want him to have to go through another episode tonight."


"I will," the nurse assured him. "Good night, Mr. Taylor."


Justin waited until they were alone before leaning over and placing a light kiss on Kevin's forehead.


"You have to stop doing this to me, babe. You take another year off my life every time you have another outburst. There's no reason for you to get so worked up. I'm here for you and so is Brian now. We're both going to be here for you for as long as you need us," Justin promised, knowing that he'd do everything in his power to keep his promise. He sat down in the chair alongside the bed and opened the Harry Potter book, picking up right where he left off the night earlier that night. As he read page after page, he couldn't keep his mind from drifting to the man that was sleeping in the next hall. Brian was so out of it he wasn't even aware of being in the shower. That scared him. He was used to having to take care of Kevin, but caring for Brian was something new. Something new, but not entirely unpleasant. An hour later, convinced that Kevin was going to be alright for the rest of the night, Justin finished up the chapter he was reading and closed the book. He gave Kevin one last kiss and headed towards his own bedroom.


Once he was there, he pulled out a pair of his flannel pajama pants and changed out of his clothes, intent on sleeping in his own bed. And he tried. He really did, but after tossing and turning for almost a half hour, he knew sleep wasn't going to be easy to find. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was after three in the morning. Without thinking about what he was doing, he quietly left his room and went back to where Brian was still sleeping peacefully. He walked in the room and closed the door behind him, climbing into the bed and taking Brian into his arms where he immediately fell asleep.






When Brian awoke the next morning, the first thing he noticed was that he was alone, which more than slightly disappointed him. The second thing he noticed was that it was after nine o’clock. His first class started twenty minutes earlier. He started to jump out of bed but then thought better of it. He hadn’t missed a day of class since enrolling in school right after moving to California. He could definitely spare a day if needed, and after everything that he’d been though in the last two days, he needed it. He saw that he was wrapped up in a robe and his mind drifted back to the night before. He remembered Kevin being so agitated and Justin climbing into his bed in an effort to sooth him. From there he started to remember how Justin led him to the shower. He remembered being so tired, too tired to take a shower. And then he remembered the blond climbing in with him, washing his hair and body gently. It was surprising that he didn’t respond to the tenderness Justin was showing him, yet he was well aware of the way he was being touched. It had been a long time since anyone showed him that kind of gentleness. A lifetime ago, back when he and Kevin were still together and very much in love.


He pushed those thoughts away and climbed out of bed, feeling more refreshed than he had in years. He took another shower so that he could calm the hair that was standing up on end and dressed before leaving the room. He was pretty sure that he could find his way back to Kevin’s room and mentally patted himself on the back when he found it. He heard low voices coming from inside and knocked softly on the door. He heard someone call out to him and took a deep breath before going inside.


“Brian, you’re here,” Kevin said happily from his bed making Brian feel guilty for forgetting about him the night before.


“Hey Kev, how’re you feeling?”


“Shit Brian, I forgot you had school. I’m so sorry I didn’t wake you,” Justin said, interrupting the conversation between the two men.


“That’s okay, Justin,” Brian assured him. “I can miss a day now and then. I think I needed the sleep more than the classes.”


“How’re you feeling this morning?” Justin asked casually. Not only did he not want Kevin to know he had another episode the night before, but he also didn’t want him to know how it affected Brian. He hated it when people saw him at his worst; even Justin.


“I’m feeling great actually. I haven’t slept that soundly in years,” Brian admitted. “I could hear that you guys were talking when I knocked. Would you like me to leave so you can finish?”


“No, that’s okay,” Justin replied. “In fact, I have to go down and check on Kevin’s breakfast. Why don’t you stay here and keep him company?”


“Justin…” Kevin began as he looked nervously between Brian and Justin. He didn’t want to force Brian to stay if he didn’t want to.


“I’d like that,” Brian said, looking Kevin in the eye in reassurance.


“Good, I’ll be back in a little bit.” Justin made his way out of the room, closing the door behind him. He doubted that either man knew he left.


“Look Brian, you don’t have to stay here if you don’t want to. Things are different now and if you feel uncomfortable being here, I’ll understand,” Kevin said once Justin was gone.


“I’m not uncomfortable with you. I’m sorry I didn’t get here earlier last night. I had a really bad day and just lost track of time,” Brian explained sheepishly.


“Anything you want to talk about?”


“No, it’s not really that big a deal,” Brian replied.


“Bri, if you think that I’m going to find your problems insignificant because of what I’m going through, you’re wrong. Justin used to think the same thing. He refused to complain about anything, figuring that I would consider him whining when at least he had his health. Yes, I’m pretty sick, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t understand what other people deal with. Besides, I’ve missed so much of your life in the last four years. I’d like to get a glimpse of it now.”


“My Jeep broke down on campus yesterday,” Brian finally said. “I had to pay a hundred bucks to get it towed to a garage and now I’m going to have to call there and see how much it’s going to set me back to fix it. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but…”


“Hey, Justin’s the one that was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, not me, remember? How much do you think it’s going to set you back?”


“I’m not sure. Hopefully not more than I have in my savings,” Brian admitted. “I have a tuition payment due next month and with the cost of rent. You know what? Never mind, I’ll work things out. I always do.”


“Yeah, you always managed to handle anything thrown your way, didn’t you?” Kevin smiled. “Bri, if you need some money, maybe I could…”


“No, I’m not taking your money,” Brian stated adamantly, knowing exactly what Kevin was about to suggest. “I appreciate the offer, but I can take care of myself.”


“I know you can, but I’d still like to help you.” When he saw Brian shaking his head in refusal he continued. “I have a pretty nice savings. Let me help you. What else am I going to do with the money? I’m dying Brian. Justin won’t let me pay for anything and the money is just sitting there. I can’t take it with me when I go so it’s all going to go to Justin eventually. What I do have is pocket change compared to what he has. It’s really no big deal.”


Brian knew he was probably right, but his pride refused to let him take a hand out; especially from Kevin. “I’ll…think about it. Let’s wait and see how much it’s going to cost me first, okay?”


Kevin knew he was being brushed aside, but decided to drop the subject for the time being. Brian always had more pride than he knew what to do with. It was something that always infuriated Kevin in their time together, but it was a flaw that Brian was going to have to get over if he and Justin became serious. Justin threw his money around like it was water and nothing anyone said could stop him. Kevin had eventually given up after months of arguments, and one day Brian would, too.


“So, tell me about your writing. Are you still working on the novel you started back in Pittsburgh? What was it called again?”


“A Lonely Road. I finished it actually. Well, I finished the story. I’m still slowly working on tweaking it a bit. It took some extra time since I don’t have a computer and had to hand-write it, but I used the computer at the library to transfer it all to a disc. My English Lit professor wants to read it, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to let someone else look at it,” Brian admitted shyly.


“Can I read it?” Kevin asked softly. “I’d love to see how far you’ve come.”


“I don’t know about that.”


“Oh come on, Bri. Let me read it. I promise to go easy on you,” Kevin pleaded teasingly.


“Alright, alright, you can read it,” Brian conceded. “But just you, not Justin,” he added.


“That might be a bit of a problem,” Kevin replied hesitantly. “My eyesight isn’t what it used to be. As much as I hate to admit it, I usually have to have Justin read to me. But please Brian, I really want to read it. Besides, Justin’s your boyfriend. Surely you’d want to share it with him, too.”


Brian cringed at the reference to being Justin’s boyfriend. With everything that happened recently he completely forgot all about the charade they were playing. He wanted to be honest with Kevin and tell him the truth, but the thought of admitting that he was a hustler kept him from saying anything. He didn’t want Kevin to know that he was selling his body to pay the rent. Not if he could avoid it.


Justin eventually returned and the three men sat around laughing as Brian and Kevin shared some of their past with Justin. He found himself enjoying the brief look he was getting into their lives and couldn’t help but wonder what their lives would’ve been like if Kevin had been honest with Brian from the beginning instead of running off without a word. He also noticed the closeness that the two men shared and though a part of him couldn’t help the jealousy that washed over him, he was glad that they were reunited before it was too late. Kevin hardly touched the breakfast that Janet had brought up for him and it started to become increasingly clear that he was fighting to stay awake. Justin knew that Kevin wouldn’t say anything to them, so he decided to speak up on Kevin’s behalf.


“Brian, why don’t I drive you into town so you can check on your jeep?”


Brian sensed that there was something behind Justin’s suggestion and looked over at Kevin. He quickly noticed how tired Kevin looked and felt guilty for staying as long as he had. “Yeah, I guess I should be back to the real world.”


“Will you be here later?” Kevin mumbled as his exhaustion began to set in.


“I’m not sure. I have a few things I have to take care of,” Brian replied, knowing that he wouldn’t be able to return that day. He needed to work in order to pay the mechanic. “I’ll do my best.”


Kevin fought to keep his eyes open as he reached his hand out to Brian. “Come here.”


Brian walked over to Kevin and took his hand.


“I’m so glad that I got a chance to see you again. I’ve missed you,” Kevin said softly.


“I’ve missed you, too,” Brian replied, fighting the emotions that were bubbling up to the surface. “Get some rest and I’ll come back when I can.”


Brian left the room, leaving Justin and Kevin alone, and went back to gather his things. He tried not to think about how sick Kevin was, but it was too hard to ignore the changes that had taken place since they last saw each other. As he tossed his things into his bag, he barely noticed the tears that silently ran down his face. He jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder and quickly wiped at his face without turning around.


“I’ll be ready in a minute,” he said as he pulled himself together.


“It’s not easy, is it?” Justin asked softly. “There are some days where I can’t do anything but scream, cry, and curse God for making him sick.”


“It’s not fair. Kevin’s so…he’s special. He doesn’t deserve this. If anything, I’m the one who should be sick,” Brian replied.


“Brian,” Justin gasped.


Brian spun around angrily. “It’s true. I’m the whore. I’m the one who’s out there every night having sex with strangers. If anyone deserves to be sick, it’s me. Not him.”


“But for whatever reason, it’s not you. And wishing it was isn’t going to make Kevin better. All we can do is be there for him for however long he has left. He needs you as much as he needs me. He’s got this light in his eyes when you’re here. Something I haven’t seen in quite some time. You’ve given him a reason to live, if only for a little while longer. I’ll take you into town so you can do what you have to do, but I want you to come back with me. It would make Kevin so happy.”


“I can’t,” Brian said. “I have to work tonight, remember? I have to pay for the work that needs to be done on my jeep.”


“I told you that I can…”


“No!” Brian snapped, interrupting Justin before he could make his offer. “I’m not taking your money. I’ll work tonight and if I’m lucky, I’ll have the money I need by morning.”




“Justin,” Brian warned.


“Fine, then fuck me,” Justin stated.


“Excuse me?”


“If you insist on working for your money, then fine. I want to hire you for the night. We agreed on five hundred, right? Hopefully that’ll be enough to cover the mechanic’s bill.”


“I told you, I’m not taking your money.”


“I know. You’re going to earn it. I expect to be completely satisfied by the end of the night,” Justin replied, feeling a strange sensation in his chest at the thought of spending another night with Brian. A feeling he refused to examine.


Brian knew exactly what Justin was doing, but a part of him, a very large part, was excited about spending another night pleasing the blond. “Are you sure that’s a good idea under the circumstances?”


“It’s a great idea. This way you can spend some more time with Kevin and still earn the money you need,” Justin replied.


“And what do you get out of it?”


“You mean besides the best sex of my life?” Justin said with a smile. “I get to make two people who matter to me happy.”


“But you don’t even know me,” Brian pointed out; fighting the pleasure that Justin’s admission gave him.


“I know that you mean a lot to Kevin. That makes you important to me, too. Now let’s get going. I have a few errands I have to run before coming back here.”


Brian just shook his head as he zipped up his bag and followed Justin out of the room. A little voice in his head was telling him that he needed to put an end to the growing closeness between him and Justin, but he pushed the voice out of his head. He didn’t want to think about that now. He just wanted to enjoy the feeling of having someone else care about him; even if it was only temporary.






The first stop Justin made was to the garage where Brian’s jeep had been towed. After talking to the mechanic, Brian was relieved to learn that the problem was only the starter. Even though he really didn’t want to lay out a couple of hundred dollars to get it fixed, the damage could’ve been worse so he agreed to the price and was assured that the jeep would be ready the following day.


Once that was done, Justin ran the errands that he needed to get done, which included a trip to the pharmacy, the art store, and the supermarket. From there he drove to Brian’s apartment and waited in the car while the other man went upstairs to get some more clothes and his books.


Brian planned on emailing some of his classmates to find out what he missed during his classes. The last thing he wanted to do was fall behind. At the last minute, he grabbed the only paper copy of his novel and stuffed it inside his bag, still unsure if he was ready to let someone else read it.


They made it back to the house a little after two and Brian went up to what was quickly becoming his room, depositing his things before going down to see Kevin. He ran into Justin in the hallway as he was coming out of the room.


“Kevin’s sleeping. He was in some pain so he was given a shot a little while ago. He’ll probably be out for awhile,” Justin explained, suddenly finding himself a little nervous in Brian’s presence. “Do you want to go for a swim?”


“A swim sounds perfect right about now,” Brian replied with a smirk. “As long as you don’t mind my lack of a swimsuit.”


“Actually, I rarely wear one either unless we have guests so if you don’t mind, neither do I,” Justin said, feeling a slow buzz run through his body.


“Then lead the way.”


Twenty minutes later, Brian felt all the stress of the last couple of days leave his body as he swam laps across Justin’s pool. The water was the perfect temperature and despite the fact he was sporting a semi hard-on from seeing Justin strip down to nothing, he was thoroughly enjoying himself. It still amazed him that he could feel a sexual response towards Justin, given the fact that he had sex for a living and pretty much turned himself off of sex as a rule of his profession. He continued to swim back and forth for a few more laps before coming to rest at the shallow end, sitting down on one of the steps to catch his breath. Justin was still moving through the water, oblivious to the eyes that were watching him, giving Brian a chance to study his naked form. The man was beautiful. There was no doubt about that, but it was his caring nature that made Brian thankful that Kevin had found the blond when he did. Not many men would take on a boyfriend who was positive; especially someone like Justin who could have practically anyone he wanted.


Of course thinking of Kevin and Justin caused a surge of jealousy to bubble up inside of him. Even though he and Kevin lost touch years ago, Brian always had lingering hope that one day they would find each other and pick up where they left off. That hope was gone now. Kevin was in love with someone else; someone who was so much more than he’d ever be. It was a hard reality to swallow, but he’d find a way to do it. Of that he had no doubt. What bothered him more was the jealousy he felt towards Kevin over his closeness with Justin. He barely knew the man, yet he kept finding himself thinking of the blond more frequently than he was comfortable with. It unnerved him, yet he couldn’t bring himself to stay away, especially when he was being tempted with money that he so desperately needed.


By the time they had finished their swim, Brian had decided to just get through the rest of the day and night. The following day he could go back to his old life and what he needed to do to secure his future. He took a shower and got dressed before grabbing his novel and going down to Kevin’s room. He was glad to find that Justin wasn’t around.


“Hey, how’re you feeling?” Brian asked as he entered the room.


“Pretty good, actually,” Kevin replied before noticing that Brian was carrying something in his hand. “Is that what I think it is?”


“Yeah, this is it. I figured it couldn’t hurt to get your opinion. You’ve got a lot more experiences with these things than I do. But I want you to be honest with me. If it sucks, I want you to say so,” Brian insisted.


“I will, but I doubt it’ll come to that. I remember how talented you were with a pen.” Kevin reached out his hand and took the novel, anxious to begin the story.


“Where’s Justin? I figured he’d be in here with you.”


“He was here for a minute, but something seemed to be bothering him and he left quickly. You two didn’t have a fight, did you?” Kevin asked.


“No, he was fine while we were swimming,” Brian said, wondering what had happened to upset Justin since they went their separate ways. It had only been about thirty minutes earlier. “Maybe he was just anxious to work on his art. He picked up some supplies while we were out.”


“Really? He hasn’t spent a lot of time in his studio since I got sick. I hope this means that he finally found some inspiration. I hate that I’m the reason he hasn’t been doing what he loves.”


Brian could see the guilt in Kevin’s face. “I doubt you’re the reason. If Justin really wanted to work on his art, he’d find the time. Sometimes a person just needs to take a break from their work. It’s kind of stressful being creative,” he replied.


“Spoken like a true artist,” Kevin smiled.


“I don’t know about that,” Brian said shyly. “I just put words down on paper.”


“Still modest about your talent, I see. Brian, I’m going to tell you the same thing I used to tell you back in Pittsburgh. You’re amazing and you have such a special gift. Don’t ever doubt that,” Kevin insisted. “I hate that the Kinney’s made you doubt yourself.”


“Yeah, well your mother was no walk in the park, either.”


“No, but I’ve always been too conceited to let her get to me,” Kevin laughed.


“That’s true,” Brian chuckled. He enjoyed seeing Kevin laugh.


“No, why don’t you climb on up here and start reading to me? Now that I have my hands on your work, I don’t want to wait.” He saw Brian hesitate and realized he put him in an uncomfortable position. “Sorry, I’m just used to Justin lying with me. You can pull up a chair.”


It took Brian a moment to realize that Kevin thought his hesitation came from fear of the illness. “Hey, are you saying that you don’t want me in bed with you? I’m hurt,” he teased.


“Brian, it’s okay. Not everyone is as comfortable around me as Justin. It’s not a big deal,” Kevin replied.


“Look Kev, it’s not the illness. I just didn’t want to hurt you.”


“Trust me, being close to you could never hurt me,” Kevin said softly, his eyes suddenly blurring with tears.


“Well then move your ass over,” Brian joked as he grabbed the novel out of Kevin’s hand and climbed up beside him. He was careful, but managed to make himself comfortable beside his ex-lover and soon they were both lost in Brian’s story.


As soon as Justin checked on Kevin, he headed to his studio and got to work on the blank canvas that had been sitting on his easel for the last couple of months. Ever since Kevin took a turn for the worse, he hadn’t had the imagination or desire to create anything. Now he had some inspiration, even if the subject was someone that he shouldn’t be fantasizing about. It didn’t take long before deep hazel eyes began staring back at him. Brian’s beauty was so overwhelming sometimes. Just seeing him strip down and dive in the pool was enough to make Justin painfully aware of how much he missed intimacy. It had been so long since he and Kevin were able to be together without illness and fear weighing heavily on them. Yet what he felt for Brian was so different than those feelings he had for Kevin. He just didn’t know why, and that bothered him more than anything. He needed to understand what was happening between him and Brian, because he knew that there was something brewing just under the surface. And he could tell by the way Brian watched him when he thought he wasn’t looking, that Brian felt it, too.


He stayed in his studio for over two hours and worked on the portrait of Brian before realizing the time. It was getting close to dinner, and he needed to check on Kevin before going down to the kitchen. They tried keeping Kevin on a regular eating schedule so that it didn’t interfere with his meds. He covered the easel before turning out the light and closing the door behind him. The house staff had strict orders that no one was to enter the room without Justin present. He hated for anyone to see his work before it was finished. He made his way down to Kevin’s room and stopped short when he heard Brian’s voice. It sounded like he was reading to Kevin and that touched his heart. It still amazed him that he could pick up a hustler in a moment of weakness and have him turn out to be the love of Kevin’s life. He knew from the conversations they had when they first met, that Brian meant the world to Kevin, and now he could understand why.


Pushing open the partially shut door, Justin was surprised to see Brian and Kevin lying side by side while Brian read to him. He wasn’t reading from a book, but from a stack of papers that Brian obviously brought with him. The sight before him, although touching, left a strange heaviness in his chest. Brian was in his place. He was supposed to be the one curling up with Kevin. It wasn’t Brian’s place, it was his. That thought brought on a wave of guilt. He was the one who insisted that Brian be there for Kevin. He didn’t have the right to be upset by it. He slowly backed away from the door and went down to his own room to be alone with his thoughts. Yet once he was alone and lying on his own bed, another thought entered his head, making him feel even worse. Not only did he hate that Brian was in there sharing a special moment with Kevin, but he hated that Kevin was in there sharing that moment with Brian. When did he become so selfish? When did he care more about his own feelings and petty jealousy than he did about Kevin and his needs? He reached for the phone and called down to the kitchen, making sure that dinner was being prepared and then laid back on his bed again and allowed the tears to fall down his cheeks wondering how he was going to handle having Brian in their lives.






Brian continued to read to Kevin until the nurse came to bring in his medication. Brian felt a little foolish curled up in bed with Justin’s lover given the circumstances, but if the nurse thought anything was off about it, she didn’t let on. He just quietly got up and out of the way so that she could do her job.


“Okay Kevin, it’s that time again. Janet’s going to be bringing up your dinner in a few minutes.”


“Janet? Where’s Justin?” Kevin asked.


“I’m not sure. Janet just said that he wasn’t going to be here tonight and that I was to go ahead and administer the meds so that you were ready to eat when she got up here,” the nurse explained.


Brian saw the hurt and confusion in Kevin’s face and wondered where Justin was. He gathered from all that he heard over the last couple of days that Justin rarely went out while Kevin was awake and never without telling him where he was going. It seemed strange that Justin would suddenly disappear without saying anything to either him or Kevin, especially after Kevin mentioned that Justin seemed upset earlier. He glanced at the clock and was surprised to see that it was already after five. He had studying to do and still hadn’t had a chance to email anyone about his missed work.


“Kev, maybe I should get out of your way so that you can have dinner,” he suggested.


“No wait, stay here with me. Apparently Justin had something to do and I hate eating alone,” Kevin pleaded; looking so lost all of the sudden.


Brian’s heart went out to his former lover. How could he refuse to sit with him while he ate? “Sure, no problem. If you want, I’ll keep reading while you eat.”


“Thank you,” Kevin said softly, the smile on his face telling Brian he did the right thing.


Once Kevin had taken his medicine, Brian pulled up a chair, insisting that Kevin needed to be able to eat once his food got there, and continued reading. Janet showed up a short time later, explaining to Kevin that she had no idea where Justin was. All she could tell him was that Justin had called down to her claiming that he had something to do. He instructed her to bring dinner to both Kevin and Brian and let them know that he’d be gone for the night. Kevin mumbled something about Justin losing himself in his studio but Brian didn’t buy it, and by the look on Kevin’s face, neither did he.


Brian read through dinner and into the night until exhaustion finally overtook Kevin and he fell asleep. Brian put aside his novel and pulled the covers up over Kevin, kissing his forehead before walking back to his own room. The problem was that he was too worried about Justin to go to sleep himself. Instead he decided to take a better look around the huge home and see if he could figure out where Justin was. He’d already glanced outside and saw Justin’s cars parked in the driveway. It was obvious that whatever was keeping him from Kevin was taking place at home. The first place he went was down to the kitchen. He found Janet there fixing herself a late night snack. She insisted that she hadn’t seen Justin all night so he was pretty sure that his first instinct was right. Justin was somewhere inside.


He went back upstairs and started walking towards Kevin’s room again. Knowing Justin, his room would be close by so that he could be there if Kevin needed him. Since most of the doors were open, it didn’t take him long to figure out which was Justin’s. He knocked lightly and waited for an answer, but when he didn’t get one, he slowly turned the knob and looked inside. He immediately saw Justin sitting back on the bed, appearing to be lost in thought.


“If you knock and no one answers, it’s usually a sign that either no one’s there or they don’t want to be disturbed,” Justin said emotionlessly.


“Yeah, I was never any good at following the rules,” Brian replied casually as he stopped inside the room. “Kevin was looking for you earlier.”


“I can’t be with him every moment,” Justin growled, slightly horrified by his anger. “Besides, he had you to hold his hand. I’m sure he was just fine.”


“Okay, did I miss something?” Brian asked in confusion. “Everything was fine while we were swimming earlier. Kevin said that you seemed upset when you stopped by to see him, and now you’re hiding away like a punished child. What the fuck happened?”


Justin sighed in frustration. Brian was right. Everything was fine while they were swimming. Even when he stopped to see Kevin, he was distracted by his thoughts, but he was okay. It was what happened after, seeing Kevin and Brian alone in bed together that had him so worked up. He knew he needed to find a suitable explanation for his behavior. He just didn’t know if he had one.


“Look, nothing happened. Not really. I saw you reading to Kevin earlier,” Justin admitted softly.


“Yeah, so? He said that his eyesight wasn’t that great anymore so I was reading to him. What does that have to do with anything?”


“You two looked pretty cozy.” Justin saw Brian’s expression change from confusion to bewilderment and knew he needed to explain better. “I know it sounds stupid, but I’m usually the only one who climbs into his bed and reads to him.”


“You’re right, it does sound stupid,” Brian barked as he turned towards the door.


“Wait Brian, you don’t understand,” Justin called out as he jumped off the bed.


“No, obviously I don’t. You told me you wanted me here. You begged me to come here and spend time with Kevin and then when I do, you get jealous and storm off to your room like a child. No, I don’t understand that.” Brian’s eyes blazed with anger as he stood by the door watching Justin.


“I’m not jealous. I mean, not really. It’s just weird. I’m the one who’s been taking care of him all this time. Then you suddenly appear and he doesn’t need me anymore.”


“That’s bullshit. He needs you a hell of a lot more than he needs me. You’re the one who knows what he needs, what medication he’s taking, the one who’s supplying the roof over his head. All I did was read to him for a little while. Spend a little time with him at your request. By tomorrow night I’ll be back on the streets looking for tricks and trying to pay the bills and you’ll still be here taking care of him!” Brian exclaimed, hating the reality of his statement. “In fact, why don’t I just go now? This way you can play nursemaid all by yourself and I can get back to my life.”


“Some life!” Justin called back, startling both of them with his anger. Yet with his emotions so mixed up in his head, he couldn’t seem to stop himself from hurtling angry words at Brian. “You call turning tricks for a living a life? And don’t give me that wounded look. I can understand that you were desperate and needed to find a way to pay the bills, but you don’t have to do that anymore. I know Kevin offered to help you out with your jeep, and if he knew your situation, I know he’d help you even more, but you’re too busy holding on to your fucking pride to accept it. You know what I think? I think you do what you do because it keeps you from getting close to anyone. You don’t have to show emotions when you’re fucking some nameless stranger and you don’t have to worry about getting hurt!”


Pure rage shot through Brian at Justin’s outburst, so much so that he had to hold back from becoming physical. “I don’t have to worry about getting hurt? Are you fucking serious? You don’t know the half of it. You don’t know what it’s like to go home with someone and hope to God it won’t be the last place you ever see! You don’t know what it’s like to have some guy turn on you at a moments notice and beat you within an inch of your life just for kicks! And as for getting close to anyone, you’re right. I have no desire to do that again. You may have been raised in a world that’s all sunshine and roses, but you’re one of the lucky ones. Everyone that I’ve ever been close to has let me down in one way or another; even Kevin. Forgive me for not wanting a reoccurrence. At least I know that at the end of the day, I won’t let myself down. That’s more than I can say for anyone else on this whole fucking planet. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go to bed. I’ll stick around until the morning when I have a chance to talk to Kevin. I’ll say goodbye to him and then I’ll be out of your hair for good.”


Justin watched Brian walk away, trying to figure out exactly where he went wrong. Okay, so it was probably the way he made it sound like Brian enjoyed hustling, but he couldn’t help it. His emotions were all over the place, torn between being jealous of the bond that Kevin and Brian share and wanting him gone, to worrying over Brian going out and getting hurt or worse when picking up his tricks. In his time alone, he began to see the strong attraction he started to feel for the man. He never felt anything so strong before, not even with Kevin, and it hurt to know that Brian didn’t feel anything for him in return. He was only there for Kevin. Maybe it was childish, but he wanted to be the one with the bond to Brian. He wanted to be the one curled up in bed with Brian, not because he was paying for it, but because it was what they both wanted. And all he managed to do was push Brian away from both of them. He wondered what Kevin would say if he knew what an ass he’d been.


Pushing those thoughts away, Justin wiped at the tears that he hadn’t realized were falling and made his way to Kevin’s room. Kevin was sleeping soundly as Justin approached the bed and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead. He turned to leave when he noticed the stack of pages that Brian was reading from earlier sitting on the night stand. He picked them up and was surprised to see that it was a novel; a novel written by Brian. Without thinking about it, Justin curled himself up in the chair by the bed and started reading. He only planned on skimming the first few pages, curious to get a glimpse of Brian’s talent, but once the story began; Justin knew he wouldn’t be able to put it down.


The hours passed by unnoticed as Justin followed the story intently. It didn’t take long to realize that the horrors that took place before him weren’t fiction, but were in fact images into Brian’s life, starting from the abusive childhood he had endure. Just reading all that Brian had been through right there in print brought tears to Justin’s eyes. No one should have to go through what Brian had in his life. He could see where Brian learned not to trust anyone. He didn’t even have his parents to turn to. The pain he felt by what he thought was Kevin’s abandonment was raw and vivid between the pages. His graphic description of entering the world of hustling tore at Justin’s heart and soul, leaving him feeling so guilty for the words he’d thrown at him the night before. By the time he finished the last page, the sun was coming up, yet he wasn’t tired. He was more emotionally exhausted than tired. He put the pages back on the nightstand, taking a final look at Kevin before turning to go back to his room. He stopped short when he saw Brian standing in the doorway, looking very unhappy.


“Brian, I didn’t hear you come in.”


“Obviously. I guess you were too busy snooping. You wanna tell me what the fuck you think you’re doing reading something that doesn’t belong to you?” Brian spat, trying to keep from disturbing Kevin’s sleeping form. He knew it was ridiculous to be upset. He’d agreed to let Justin read his story to Kevin, but after their argument the night before, Justin knowing his history wasn’t something that Brian was comfortable with.


“Look, I can explain…”


“Don’t bother,” Brian replied, effectively cutting off Justin’s explanation. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll be out of here soon enough.”


“You’re not really going to leave, are you?”


“Watch me.” Brian stormed out of the room, leaving Justin feeling helpless as he watched him go.


“Well, don’t just stand there. Go after him,” Kevin murmured.


“Kevin!” Justin exclaimed, startled by the voice behind him as he spun around. “I thought you were sleeping. Did we wake you up?”


“Don’t worry about me. I get plenty of rest around here. Now go after him and get him to stay. You need to talk to him,” Kevin replied.


“I don’t think it’ll do any good,” Justin sighed as he sat down on the edge of the bed. “I said some really rotten things last night. I don’t think he’s going to forgive me. I’m sorry Kev. I didn’t mean to send him away.”


“Why are you apologizing to me? He’s your boyfriend. You’re the one that should be upset. Go after him, Justin. Let him know how much you care about him. He needs that.”


“But I don’t…” Justin began before realizing that Kevin didn’t know the real story behind how he met Brian. “It’s not that simple.”


“Yes it is. I know how much you care about him. I can see it in your eyes when you look at him. He cares about you, too. Just be honest with him.”

“Kevin, there’s things that you don’t know,” Justin said softly.


“None of that matters right now. All that matters is that you work things out now before it’s too late. Life has a way of dealing people pretty shitty hands. Believe me, I know. Don’t let the small stuff ruin things between the two of you. Brian’s a really good guy. You both deserve to be happy. Don’t throw that away.”


Justin stared at Kevin for a moment, seeing the years of regret in his brown eyes before leaning in and kissing him softly. “I’ll do my best.”


“That’s all you can do. Now get going. Some of us are trying to sleep around here,” Kevin teased as he gently pushed Justin off the bed.


Justin smiled at Kevin one last time before walking towards the door, hoping to find the right words to keep Brian from walking away from them.






Justin burst through the door to Brian’s room without knocking.


“You can’t just leave!” He cried. “I’m sorry about what I said last night. I was out of line. And I’m sorry about reading your book. I had no business doing it without your permission, but you can’t just walk away. Kevin wants you here.”


“What about you?” Brian asked, hating to tone of his voice. It sounded too needy for his liking. “What do you want?”


“It doesn’t matter what I want right now. The only thing that matters is Kevin, and what’s best for him.”


Brian sighed, refusing to let his emotions get the better of him. His confusion was really becoming a problem. “Look, just let it go, alright? I’m not going to argue with you. I can’t stay here anymore. I have to get back to my apartment and I have a job to do whether you approve of it or not. I have bills to pay and occasionally I like to eat a meal or two. I can’t do that if I don’t have any money,” he replied, losing the little fight that was left in him.


He had been furious with Justin the night before, which pretty much kept him from sleeping, but he had decided some time around three in the morning that he wasn’t going to hold Justin’s feelings against him. In another life, Brian might have objected to the way he was living, too. In fact, he still objected to it, but under the circumstances, he didn’t have much of a choice. Someone like Justin would never understand what it was like to have no place to go and no one to turn to. He pushed away the hurt that overcame him when he saw the disappointment and disgust in Justin’s face when he talking about his hustling. As for the blond’s feelings about him and Kevin; well what could he say? He had his own mixed feelings about it all. He hated that Justin knew Kevin better than he did. But the scary part came when he realized how much he hated that Kevin knew Justin better, too. And how fucked up was that? What right did he have to be bothered by their relationship? He should be happy that Kevin had someone who loved him; who was there for him. And he was happy about that. He just needed to put some distance between them so that whatever it was he felt for the blond would go away. He was startled when he realized that Justin was watching him curiously, waiting for a reply to a question that he hadn’t heard.




“I asked about our arrangement. I believe I requested your services for last night. You reneged on the deal. I want to reschedule for tonight,” Justin repeated, once again feeling a strong flutter deep inside at the thought of being with Brian again.


“You can’t be serious,” Brian replied in shock. “After everything you said last night, you expect me to just jump into bed with you?”


“What difference does it make what I said last night? You made it perfectly clear that you’re doing what you have to do. I’m just doing what I have to do,” Justin explained calmly.


“What? Give hand-outs to your partner’s ex? That’s insane,” Brian laughed bitterly.


“It’s not a hand out. I told you before I expect to be well compensated.” Justin could see the refusal in Brian’s eyes and knew he had to say something to keep him there. “Look, incase you haven’t figured it out, I don’t have a sex life. Kevin takes up most of my time. A guy gets a little tired of flying solo all the time, if you know what I mean. You need to work. I need to have mind-blowing sex. I think the solution should be obvious, don’t you?”


Brian was torn. On one hand, he could really use the money. He knew that if he didn’t make some fast cash, he’d never be able to pay the mechanic’s bill and keep his head afloat. Yet he also knew that if he didn’t put some space between himself and Justin, he was gonna be even more entangled in Kevin and Justin’s life. That was a place he really didn’t want to be. The only problem was that, considering he was a man, the aching in his pants at the thought of another night in bed with Justin was outweighing all his other arguments and making his refusal impossible to be voiced. What the hell was he getting himself into?


“I have to go pick up my jeep,” was all he could say when he found his voice.


“I’ll drive you into town and you can follow me back,” Justin stated, fighting back the smile that was threatening to escape. He knew his triumph would just set Brian off.


“I have some things to do. You can drop me off and I’ll meet you back here later.” Brian left no room for argument as he grabbed his bag, walking out of the room and leaving Justin to follow.


The ride to town was made in silence and Justin waited until Brian was climbing out of the car before speaking. “Don’t make me come looking for you.”


“I’ll be there,” Brian growled just before slamming the door in frustration. The only problem was that he didn’t know who he was more upset with. Justin, for dangling money in front of him, making it impossible to stay away; or himself for being turned on by the thought of what they would be doing later that night.


After paying the mechanic, Brian went to the library to email a few of his classmates, then went to the grocery store to pick up a couple things he needed. It was a task that he hated, considering he could never afford to splurge on the things he really wanted, which was why he always waited until he was on his last roll of toilet paper and his final cup of laundry detergent to go. Once he got home, he threw a load of laundry into the tiny washer/dryer combo that his apartment provided and put away the things he bought. From there he straightened up the small living room before sitting down to do some much needed studying. Since meeting Justin and finding Kevin again, he hadn’t had much of a chance to do his school work and knowing that the end of the term finals were coming up had him starting to worry. He managed to get a few hours of real work done and was happy with his accomplishment. He still needed to find out what he missed the day before, but figured he could use Justin’s computer when he got back to the house to check his email rather than head back to the library. He still hoped to one day be able to afford to buy a computer of his own so he didn’t have to spend so much time at the library. He considered using the money from Justin, but decided to take a summer class instead, putting him that much closer to graduation.


Finally, after everything that he had planned to do for the day was finished, Brian was able to sit down in front of the small TV he had and spend some time losing himself in mindless entertainment. The only problem was that once he was comfortable on the battered couch, he couldn’t seem to concentrate on the screen in front of him. Instead his mind kept replaying the incidents between him and Justin from the night before and earlier that day. He couldn’t seem to block out the disgusted look on Justin’s face every time he talked about the hustling Brian did. He knew it shouldn’t matter what Justin thought, but it did. In a strange way, Justin’s opinion of him mattered more than anyone else’s and that really bothered him. On top of that, Justin had read at least part of Brian’s novel, which was basically a biography of his life from childhood up until he became an active part of the hustling community. He still couldn’t explain why he chose to put his innermost thoughts down on paper. When he started writing the book, his intention was to just used bits of his past to add some depth to the character, but living the horrible existence had made him feel so worthless that he used his writing talent to exercise the ghosts of his past and free himself from his inner turmoil. He’d been so worried that Kevin would put two and two together and figure out what he was doing to pay the bills. He had planned on denying any similarities between him and his character so that his former lover didn’t learn the truth. He never even considered Justin’s part in it, which was ridiculous considering he knew that Justin would be the one reading it to Kevin.


Justin knew that Brian’s family was less than perfect, but the details in the book were pretty revealing. It depicted the life that Brian fought so hard to escape, from the constant insults his father threw at him when he was a barely out of the crib, to the beatings he suffered through almost daily from the time he turned five. It told the tale of his fucked up family. His father the raging drunk, always getting fired from jobs and never being able to properly support his family. His mother the bible toting ice queen, refusing to protect her son the way a mother should. It wasn’t the fact that Justin read his book that had him so upset. It was the fear of Justin putting two and two together and seeing exactly how worthless Brian really was. His own family couldn’t stand the sight of him. Even Kevin left him as soon as he got the chance to get away. How was he supposed to expect anyone else to care about him? How was anyone like Justin supposed to look at him with respect when he couldn’t even look at himself in the mirror without seeing the accident that his mother refused to abort, not because she wanted him, but because it was one of God’s sins?


After leaving Brian by his jeep, Justin drove around for awhile, thinking about what he had read through the pages of Brian’s novel. He wondered how much of the story actually resembled Brian’s life. Maybe it was mostly fiction, although something in the haunted eyes that he couldn’t seem to stop thinking about told him that it was real. That the horrible details laid out before him had been more fact than fiction. It made him wonder how anyone could treat a child as evilly as the Kinney’s did. Why hadn’t someone reported them to the authorities? No wonder Brian took off before Kevin contacted him. He was surprised that Brian had found the strength to stay as long as he did. As Kevin entered his mind, Justin suddenly knew that he needed to go home and talk to him. Kevin was the only person, other than Brian, who could give Justin a look into the life in the Kinney house.


By the time Justin entered Kevin’s room, Kevin was up and just finishing up his lunch. Justin smiled at him as he walked inside.


“There you are,” Kevin said, his face breaking out into a huge grin. “I was getting worried about you. Where’s Brian? Did you work things out with him?”


“Yeah, he’ll be back later. He had some things he had to do today,” Justin told him. “Uh, listen Kevin, you know Brian better than I do. I was wondering if you could tell me about him. I know he doesn’t talk to his parents anymore. Was it that bad for him when he was growing up?”


“Jus, I don’t know if I’m comfortable talking about it with you. It’s kind of private. Why don’t you just ask him yourself? I’m sure he’ll tell you about it,” Kevin replied.


“He’s already told me some of it,” Justin lied. “I can just tell that he’s not comfortable talking about it. I guess it brings back a lot of painful memories. I just really want to be able to understand him better.” Okay, so he was going to hell, but what are a few white lies between partners, right?


“There’s really not a whole lot I can tell you. He kept most of that part of his life hidden from me. I think he was too embarrassed to talk to me about it. In fact, for our first six months together I had no idea how bad things were for him. Once I found out, I felt so guilty about all the complaining I had done about my mom. I didn’t have it great, but my life wasn’t nearly as fucked up as his was.”


“So his parents were really horrible to him?” Justin prodded, trying to find out as much as he could.


“Horrible is an understatement. The day I found out what was happening, Brian had shown up at my house unexpectedly. I thought he was in an accident or something. His entire face was black and blue and he could barely stand up. Since my mother was a nurse, she helped me clean him up and tried to get him to go to the hospital. Luckily I was still in the closet so she was still talking to me. He refused to seek medical help and claimed that he was jumped in the park by a group of guys. It wasn’t until later, when I tried to get him to call his parents and tell them what happened that the truth came out. Brian had forgotten to take out the trash. His father considered that to be a sin apparently and made sure that he gave him a reason to never forget again. I begged him to report the bastard, but he refused. He said that if social services found out, they’d take him away and put him in foster care. He was terrified that he’d have it worse in foster care, and he was probably right. I finally agreed to let it go, but I made him promise to come to me when he needed me. It wasn’t much, but at least he had someone to lean on.” Kevin wiped at the tears that had started as he remembered the past.


“And did he go to you?” Justin asked, fighting back his own emotions.


“Yeah, way too much thanks to that asshole. I don’t know how he survived living in that house for eighteen years. Jack Kinney should’ve been shot dead for what he did to his own son. I should’ve known Brian wouldn’t stick around after graduation. I never should’ve left him alone.” A small sob escaped Kevin as his hot tears poured down his face. “He deserves so much happiness and it kills me to know that he thought I abandoned him. That’s why I wanted you to go after him. That’s why I want you to work things out with him. He needs someone special to look after him. I lost my chance, but you still have one. You both deserve to be happy and I would feel so much better leaving this world if I know you have each other.”


“Kevin, please don’t talk like that,” Justin pleaded, giving up his battle against his tears. “I know…I know what’s going to happen, but I just can’t think about it right now, alright? Besides, Brian needs you. You’re the only one he trusts. He won’t let me get close to him.”


“He will, you just have to give him time. Your relationship is still new. Once you’ve gotten to know each other better, he’ll open up to you more.”


“You don’t understand,” Justin groaned. “Our relationship…it’s not what you think it is. We hardly even know each other.”


“Just be patient. That’s all I’m asking,” Kevin said. “It’ll be okay. Look Jus, I hate to dump all this on you, but I don’t have a lot of time left and I feel like I’ve been given a chance to fix my mistakes. I want to make up for walking away four years ago and leaving Brian alone. I know you care about him. He needs that. He needs someone to care about him.”


“But Kevin,” Justin began.


Kevin closed his eyes, suddenly overcome by exhaustion over his emotional outburst. “I’m sorry babe, but I’m worn out. I need to rest for a bit.”


Justin saw the fatigue in Kevin’s face and knew he was struggling to stay awake. He felt horrible for causing him so much stress when his body was too weak to handle it. “No, I’m sorry. You get some sleep. I’ll see you when you wake up.”


Justin doubted that Kevin even heard him. He was asleep instantly. Justin kissed him on the forehead before leaving him to rest. He went down to his own room, his thoughts jumbled in confusion. Brian was only supposed to be a one night thing. He was a hustler who was hired as a source of entertainment. How did he become such an important part of both his and Kevin’s lives? And how was he supposed to abide Kevin’s wishes and care about him if Brian wouldn’t let him? Yet he wanted to. Despite the circumstances that brought Brian to him, he wanted to care about him. He wanted to be there for him, take care of him, and get him off the streets. He wanted to give Brian the chance that he was never given as a child; a chance to be whoever he wanted to be without having to sell himself to get by. All he has to do was figure out how to get Brian to agree to let him. He might as be trying to stop violence in America. That would probably be an easier task.






Brian was just getting ready to leave for Justin’s when there was a knock at the door. No one ever showed up at his apartment so the intrusion had him feeling a little anxious as he went to answer it. He opened the door to find one of the guys he’d become friendly with since he started hustling.


“Dane, what’s up?”


“Brian…I haven’t seen you around in a few days. I was wondering if you were alright,” Dane explained as he watched Brian closely.


“I was just taking a few days off. Why wouldn’t I be alright?” Brian asked curiously, feeling Dane’s eyes boring into him. “What’s wrong?”


“You didn’t hear, did you?”


“Hear what?”


“Shit, I figured you heard and that’s why you haven’t been around. Brian, Brandon was killed a couple nights ago,” Dane said sadly.


“Killed?” Brian gasped in horror.


“Yeah. They found his body at the motel down by the water. They think it was a trick. I’m so sorry to spring it on you like this, man. I really thought you knew.”


Brian felt his legs go weak and managed to make it to the couch before they gave out completely. Brandon was gone? That wasn’t possible? Despite their circumstances, Brandon had always been so full of life. He was the only person Brian really connected with since moving to California. He’d helped him learn the ropes when he finally realized that his only chance of survival was turning tricks and always kept an eye out for him. How could he be gone so suddenly?


“Brian, are you alright?” Dane asked as he watched Brian’s face pale and his body start shaking.


“Yeah…uh…thanks for telling me. I’ve…got to go. I have to be…somewhere,” Brian stammered as he stood up and fought to control his emotions. He couldn’t let himself think about Brandon. It hurt too much.


“Maybe you shouldn’t go anywhere right now. Look, I could stay with you for awhile if you want,” Dane offered. “You know, just until you’re feeling a little better.”


“No…I really have to go,” Brian insisted. He looked at Dane and saw the worried expression on his face. “I’ll be fine.”


“Okay man, if you say so,” Dane sighed. “If you need me, you know where to find me. And…um…I’m really sorry about Brandon. I know how close you guys were.”


“Thanks,” Brian replied softly. He waited until Dane was gone before grabbing his bag and walking out the door.


Brian was hardly aware of being behind the wheel of his jeep. His mind was too mixed up with thoughts of Brandon and what had happened to him. He was a good guy, down on his luck but always willing to help others. His childhood was even worse than Brian’s, having been molested by his uncle for years. When he finally found the courage to tell someone, his mother accused him of lying to destroy the family. Brandon ended up in foster care until he ran away at the age of fifteen and then spent his life on the streets, avoiding the law and turning tricks to make a living. Unlike Brian though, he didn’t have any desire to better himself. The years of abuse left him feeling worthless. He was convinced that he didn’t deserve any better than he had. Brian had finally managed to talk him into going back to school for his high school diploma, and was hoping to further encourage him to continue on to college. Brandon had been a few months shy of that diploma and now he was gone. The pain of losing someone so important to him left Brian feeling so hollow and empty. He was surprised when he pulled up at Justin’s. He had no memory of the drive to get there. Moving on autopilot, he turned off the engine and grabbed his bag before getting out of the jeep and making his way to the door.


Justin had finally woken up, lost in a daze. After spending the night reading Brian’s book and then the discussion with Kevin, he only got a few hours sleep and his exhaustion was overwhelming. He took a shower, hoping to revive himself a bit, and then checked on Kevin before heading downstairs. He was on his way to the kitchen when the doorbell rang, signaling Brian’s arrival. When he opened the door and saw Brian standing there, he immediately knew that something was wrong. Brian’s face was shades paler than normal and his eyes held a sadness that Justin had never seen before.


“Brian, are you alright?”


“Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Brian lied as he entered the doorway. “Sorry I’m late.”


“You’re not late. We never agreed on a time,” Justin said.


“Oh, okay.”


Justin was really starting to worry as Brian looked around like he’d never seen the place before. “Brian, it’s obvious that you’re upset about something. Are you still angry about earlier?”


“Earlier?” Brian asked, looking slightly confused.


“Come on, let’s get you upstairs and then you can tell me what’s wrong,” Justin said gently as he guided Brian up the staircase. Once they were behind closed doors, Justin removed the bag from Brian’s shoulder and got him to sit down on the edge of the bed, before dropping to his knees in front of him. “Now tell me what happened.”


“He’s gone,” Brian whispered.


“Who’s gone?” Justin asked patiently.

“Brandon. They killed him.”


Justin’s heart leaped into his throat at Brian’s reply. “Brian, I don’t understand. Who’s Brandon and what do you mean they killed him?”


Brian ignored Justin’s questions and continued rambling almost incoherently. “I can’t believe he’s gone. We know the dangers. Brandon’s the one who warned me to be careful. He always said to stay away from the ones with the beady eyes. He said that you could tell a lot about someone by looking into their eyes. How come he didn’t look into their eyes?”


Justin was desperately trying to piece together what happened from Brian’s babble, and the conclusion was terrifying. “Brian, slow down a bit. Who’s Brandon?”


“Brandon’s the guy I met soon after moving here. He used to come in the restaurant where I was working occasionally with his tricks. He’s the one who showed me the ropes. Don’t you see? He’s the only one who gives a rat’s ass about me and now he’s gone. They killed him.”


“What do you mean, they killed him?” Justin asked, knowing deep down inside that he didn’t want to hear the answer.


“He’s dead! The cops found his fucking body in the motel. The same fucking motel that we all use. It should’ve been me. If I wasn’t busy here with you and Kevin, I would’ve been working the last few nights. Maybe the scumbag would’ve picked me instead of him and he’d still be here. It’s all my fault. I should’ve been there.” The control that Brian had been struggling to maintain shattered and he broke down in gut-wrenching sobs.


“Brian, God, don’t say that!” Justin exclaimed as a shiver ran down his spine. Just the thought of Brian’s lifeless body being found in a motel room was more than he could take. “It’s not your fault. You have no control over what some sick bastard does, and maybe you don’t think your being here matters, but you’re wrong. I don’t know what I’d do if…” Justin caught himself right before giving away his growing feelings. “If I had to tell Kevin that you were gone.”


Brian heard the fear in Justin’s voice and knew he was right. It wasn’t his fault that Brandon went with the wrong guy. It wasn’t his fault that his friend’s life was taken by a random trick, yet the realization didn’t do anything to sooth his broken heart. When he looked up at Justin and saw the tears that were running down his face, he had an overwhelming urge to kiss the tears away. It was the first time he ever remembered wanting a trick to be more than a trick, but he knew he couldn’t cross the line. He couldn’t give Justin anymore of himself than he already did. Not when he knew that their time together was going to be short-lived and once the blond was gone from his life, he’d have to find a way to forget all about those deep blue eyes and beautiful smile. He reached out and gently wiped away the dampness on Justin’s cheek.


Justin felt the tenderness in Brian’s touch and yearned to admit his feelings. He’d been struggling for the last 24 hours over his confusion where Brian was concerned, but the fear of knowing that it could’ve been Brian in that motel made him admit, at least to himself, that he was falling quickly for the man before him. He still didn’t know what to do about his feelings, but at least he was able to acknowledge them. He’d have plenty of time later to work on what happened next. Pushing those thoughts aside, Justin reached out and began unbuttoning Brian’s shirt, needing the contact and reassurance that Brian was indeed okay.


Brian waited until Justin had his shirt off before taking the lead and quickly stripping them both of their clothes. Once their garments were tossed aside, he gently pushed Justin back on the bed, and pulled the necessary supplies out of the night stand before crawling up alongside him. He looked down at the angelic face and once again had to resist the urge to touch Justin’s inviting lips with his own. Instead he started placing tiny kisses along his neck and shoulders, moving quickly down his chest and abdomen, before continuing further. Once he reached Justin’s throbbing member, he wasted no time in taking the hardened cock deep in his mouth. The groan that escaped Justin’s lips sent a tingle to his own groin and all thoughts of Brandon, his murder, and their profession was gone, being replaced by a passion he never felt before; not even with Kevin. As he expertly licked and sucked Justin’s cock, he reached up and grabbed the tube of lube, coating his fingers generously. Within seconds he had two fingers buried deep inside Justin’s ass, eliciting soft, passionate sounds from the man beneath him. He planned on continuing, bringing Justin to an earth shattering climax and swallowing his seed, when he felt himself being pulled away from his prize.


“Brian, please…” Justin moaned, needing to feel the other man inside of him.


Brian knew what Justin was asking for and didn’t hesitate to sheath his cock and prepare himself. Once he was sure that they were ready, he pulled Justin’s legs impatiently up on his shoulders and plunged himself inside the tight opening. Words couldn’t describe the feelings that raced through him as they became one. It was sad and joyous, and all together so powerful that tears sprang to Brian’s eyes, making Justin’s features blurry. He struggled to hold back, wanted to put a professional distance between them, but it was too late. Justin had touched a part of him that he thought was long gone, and no matter what happened in the future, he knew no one would ever touch that place again. And then it happened. It was as if Brian no longer had control over what was taking place as he stopped moving and gazed down, looking deep into Justin’s eyes.


Justin wasn’t sure why Brian stopped moving, and looked up to see some kind of unreadable expression in his eyes. He suddenly wondered if making a move on him had been the wrong thing to do. The man had just learned that his closest friend had been killed and all he was worried about was his own feelings and needs. Guilt hit him deep in his gut, making him feel like a selfish bastard. “Brian…” he whispered tenderly.


Brian saw the confusion in Justin’s eyes knew what he was thinking. He could see the concern reflecting in those deep blue eyes and it only reaffirmed his own desperate feelings. “Shhh…” Brian replied before leaning down and placing his lips gently on Justin’s. They were as soft and warm as he knew they would be. He felt Justin freeze, no doubt confused by his actions, but he didn’t give him time to react as he deepened the kiss. It only took a moment before he felt Justin open for him, allowing him to thrust his tongue inside, finally giving him a taste of what he’d been longing for. Brian continued to devour Justin’s mouth as he slowly began moving inside him again. His senses were on overload and he knew that he didn’t have much time as his orgasm began building rapidly. He reached down between their bodies; grabbing Justin’s leaking cock and jerking it quickly. He held back for as long as he could and was thankfully rewarded when he felt Justin explode in his hand, his muscles clenching him from inside, sending Brian over the edge in a mind-blowing orgasm. Justin’s name was softly ripped from his lips as he came and collapsed on top of the blond.


Justin was sure that he blacked out for a moment. His orgasm was so powerful that he couldn’t even begin to comprehend the meaning behind it. He was sure that he could die at that moment without a single regret. As the cloud in his brain receded, his mind drifted back to the way Brian had looked down at him before kissing him, and he knew that something between them had changed. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen next, but there was definitely a shift in their relationship or whatever it was between them. He knew it, and he knew that Brian knew it, too. All he had to do was be patient and give Brian time to accept the changes that were taking place between them.


“Wow, that was…” Justin said, truly at a loss for words.


“Yeah,” Brian replied as he pulled out of Justin. He climbed out of bed, disposed of the condom, and went into the bathroom to gather his thoughts. He told himself that it wasn’t avoidance. He just needed a moment alone to try and figure out when his feeling for Justin got so out of control. He turned on the faucet and splashed some water on his face, then forced himself to look in the mirror. He didn’t recognize the stranger staring back at him. He never heard Justin enter the room.


“Are you okay?” Justin asked quietly.


Brian gazed at his reflection through the mirror. “I’m not really sure,” he admitted sadly.


“Why don’t you lay down for awhile and rest?”


Brian nodded his head and grabbed a towel to dry his face before following Justin back into the bedroom. He climbed into bed and lay on his back, flinging an arm over his eyes.


Justin could see how upset Brian still was and hated that there wasn’t anything he could do for him. He wanted to go to him, take him in his arms and offer comfort, but he wasn’t sure how well his intentions would be received. He waited for a moment, before clearing his throat in a gentle reminder that he was still there. Brian lifted his arm and looked over at Justin in question.


“I’ll…just leave you alone for awhile,” Justin said. “If you need me, I’ll be in my room.” He was almost to the door when he heard Brian call out to him softly. He turned around and looked back at Brian, surprised to see the man holding up the quilt in invitation. It was all Justin needed as he moved back to the bed and climbed inside. Neither one of the said another word as they curled up together and quickly fell asleep.






Justin woke up a short time later and relished the feel of Brian’s arms wrapped tight around his body. His lips still tingled from where Brian’s had been and he couldn’t hold back the smile that broke free. He allowed himself a few moments to bask in the warmth before carefully sneaking out from Brian’s grasp and pulling on his clothes. It was way past dinnertime and he knew that Kevin was going to be wondering where he was. He took a final glance over his shoulder to make sure Brian was still asleep before leaving the room and making his way down to Kevin. He found his partner sitting up in bed, just finishing up his dinner.


“Hey Babe, sorry I wasn’t here for dinner. How are you feeling?” Justin asked as he walked over and kissed the top of Kevin’s head.


“Actually I’m feeling really good. Better than I have in weeks. You don’t look so good, though. Is everything alright? Have you heard from Brian?”


“Yeah, he’s here. He got some bad news earlier today that has him pretty upset. He’s sleeping right now,” Justin explained as he took away the empty tray, placing it on the table by the door. “I think he’s emotionally wiped out.”


“Bad news? What happened?” Kevin asked as he moved over and made room for Justin on the bed.


Justin’s mind scrambled for the best explanation. He couldn’t explain the actual events without Kevin questioning how Brian became close to a hustler. “He found out that a friend of his died. I don’t really know all the details. I think it might be someone he knew from work.”


“Damn, poor Brian. Maybe you should go be with him. I’ll be fine here on my own. I was thinking of watching a little TV anyway,” Kevin replied, his heart going out to Brian.


“It’s okay. I’m just going to let him sleep for awhile. He won’t even know I’m gone,” Justin assured him. “So, you’re feeling good, huh? You look better, too. Maybe tomorrow we can drag out the wheelchair and get you out of this house for awhile. You haven’t been down to the garden in ages.”


“We’ll have to see how I feel in the morning, but that sounds like heaven,” Kevin said with a smile. “Are you keeping up with my flowers or is everything dead?”


“You know I have a black thumb when it comes to plant life, but rest assured. I hired the best gardener in all of California to keep things going for you,” Justin told him.


For the next few hours Kevin and Justin lay side by side, talking about the garden and other trivial things, and putting the ugliness of AIDS behind them. Kevin was the one to put an end to their mindless chatter.


“Babe, as much as I love your company, get the hell out of here. Go to Brian. He needs you more than I do right now.”


Justin smiled at Kevin, thankful for the opportunity to get back to Brian. He hadn’t been able to get him off his mind since leaving him to sleep. “You know I love you, right?”


“Of course I do. Why else would you put up with all my shit?” Kevin teased. “I love you too, Blondie. Now get going. Give Brian a kiss for me.”


Justin expected to find Brian asleep when he got back to the room and was surprised to see him sitting up in bed on the phone. He was about to leave to give Brian some privacy when he saw Brian wave him in. He closed the door and made his way over to the bed, sitting down on the edge and waiting patiently for the call to end.


“Okay, thank you officer,” Brian said before hanging up the phone. “Hey, I guess I was more tired than I thought.”


“Yeah, you’ve been out for awhile. You look a little better though. How’re you feeling?” Justin asked.


“Alright, I guess. I just called the police station to see if they caught the scum that killed Brandon. I hate to think about going back to work with some nutcase on the loose, but they said that they still don’t have any leads. I guess we’ll all have to be a little more careful for awhile,” Brian sighed.


“You’re fucking joking, right?” Justin exclaimed as he jumped up from the bed. “You can’t seriously be thinking about going back out there and doing…what you do after what happened!”


“Justin, what happened to Brandon really sucks and it’s kind of scary, but nothing has changed. I still need to make money and this is the only way that I know how to make enough to cover my expenses. I’ve got another two years before I get my bachelors. I can’t throw it all away now. I’ve worked too hard to get where I am,” Brian replied calmly.


“It’s kind of scary? Are you out of your fucking mind?” Justin paced the room, fighting the fear that was squeezing his heart. “Your friend was killed, Brian. Killed and left alone in some cheap motel room for housekeeping to find and his killer is still out there, no doubt looking for his next victim. There’s no way in hell I’m letting you back to the streets!”


“Look Justin, it’s no big deal. We face this kind of thing every night. We’ll just be extra careful for awhile.”


“How can you be so casual about it? You’ve been lucky up until now, but you’re not invincible. You say that you know all about the dangers, but do you really? Not all your tricks are as harmless as me. You could pick up the wrong guy and get really hurt or worse.” Justin’s tone was desperate.


“You think I don’t know that?” Brian asked as his sadness, confusion, and fear turned to anger. “You think that in the last four years everyone I’ve come in contact with as been as nice as you? You don’t know anything about my life. You think something like this doesn’t scare the shit out of me? I know just how ugly things can get. I know what it’s like to have someone pull out a gun and threaten to kill you. I know all about the sick fucks of the world. The last one I ran into beat me within an inch of my life and left me for dead. If it wasn’t for some passersby who heard the commotion, I’d probably be where Brandon is right now. But I don’t have a choice. I need to finish school and there’s no other way I can do that without doing what I’m doing.”


Justin’s heart froze as he listened to Brian’s rant, his mind going back to the story he’d read the night before. How could he have been so stupid as to think that Brian didn’t understand the dangers of the streets? “Mr. X,” he whispered.




“Mr. X, from your story. That’s what you called him. Tall, blond, good looking, dressed up in a suit and tie. He seemed like a nice guy. Took you out for dinner and drinks, then to a motel. The second he shut the door he turned into something evil,” Justin mumbled softly, retelling the part of the story he remembered.


Brian could see how shaken Justin was and cursed himself for thinking he could bring his novel into the house. He had worried that Kevin would think it was too dark, but it never occurred to him that Justin would figure out he was the main character. “Justin.”


“He pulled out a gun. He made you take off your clothes and then forced you to suck him off. Then he…he…” Justin couldn’t continue. The details of what had happened were too horrible to repeat.


Brian went to Justin and took him in his arms, trying to sooth the blond while keeping his own emotions under control. “It’s okay. It was almost two years ago and I’m fine now.” Justin’s obvious concern for him touched Brian to his core.


“Brian, please. You can’t do it anymore. You can’t go out there and put yourself in danger like that again,” Justin sobbed as he clung to Brian with his head buried in his chest. “You can stay here. I’ll pay you to stay here with me.”


“I can’t…”


“Yes you can,” Justin said forcefully as a planned quickly formed in his mind. “It wouldn’t be a hand out. You’ll be working for me.”


Brian’s laughed out loud. “As what? Your own personal hustler?”


“Yes…I mean, no. Kind of…” Justin stammered feeling a blush rise through his cheeks. “Obviously, if you’re here I’d want us to…well, you know. But I was also thinking of you being something like a hired companion for Kevin. I really need to get back to my art and I just don’t have the time. Kevin’s always telling me to take more time for myself, but I just haven’t been able to do that. He’s sick and we don’t know how much time he has left. I don’t want to leave him sitting alone in his room for hours on end while I paint. If you were here you could stay with him in the evenings while I spend time in my studio.”


“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Brian replied hesitantly.


“Why not? You and Kevin could get to spend some real time together and I’d get back a part of my life. I’ve been considering trying to find someone to come in a few hours a day for awhile now, but I didn’t want to stick him with a stranger. This would be the perfect solution all the way around.” Justin could see the skeptical look on Brian’s face. “Look, you don’t have to do it forever. Just…give the cops time to find the son of a bitch that killed Brandon. Once he’s off the streets you can go back to doing what you do. I still don’t think it’s safe, but at least there would be one less danger out there waiting for you.”


Brian’s thoughts were a mass of confusion. The offer sounded like heaven. Not only could he give up tricking for awhile, but he’d be able to spend quality time with Kevin; something that he really hadn’t been able to do since finding him. The problem was Justin. They’d already crossed the line once, the night before, and things between them were becoming too complicated already. What would happen if they continued to spend so much time together? When the time came, would he be able to go back to the streets with his heart intact? Somehow he doubted it.


“At least give it a try. Stay for two weeks and see how things go. If it’s that horrible being here, I’ll keep my mouth shut and let you go back to your place, no questions asked, okay?”


The last thing Brian was worried about was finding it horrible to be there; especially if they ended up in bed occasionally. That was the real problem. He knew just how not horrible staying with Justin would be, but he refused to admit that to the blond. “You keep your mouth shut?” Brian snorted. “Somehow I doubt that.”


“Hey,” Justin replied with a small chuckle. He could tell Brian was getting ready to give in. “So, do we have a deal? I’ll pay you say…five thousand a week?”


“You’re not paying me five thousand a week,” Brian insisted in horror. “You’d never pay that much for someone to come in and keep Kevin company, and I told you before, I’m not letting you just hand me money.”


“No, I wouldn’t pay that for someone to be his companion, but I wouldn’t be getting them to sleep with me every night either,” Justin said with a gleam in his eyes.


“Every night?” Brian asked questioningly, his cock thickening at the thought.


“I’m sex starved, remember?” Justin winked at him. “And we agreed on five hundred a night. Times seven, that’s thirty-five hundred. Another fifteen for being with Kevin and it equals five.”


“Not happening, Sunshine,” Brian replied, having no clue where the nickname came from other than the way Justin’s smile seemed to light up a room. “Twelve hundred a week for six days with Kevin. I need one day a week to myself for studying and personal time. It’s two hundred a day, probably what you’d pay a real companion.”


“But what about…” Justin’s voice trailed off, thinking that Brian was refusing to be his companion. “I mean…you don’t have to spend the nights with me if you don’t want to. I just thought…”


“Oh believe me,” Brian said as he pulled Justin into his arms. “I want to. But since I’ll be staying here, consider it repayment for room and board. I’m not going to charge you for my…services.”


Justin sighed in relief. He wouldn’t have force himself in Brian’s bed if he refused, but he also knew it would be next to impossible to have the man in his house and not be able to touch him. “Well then, I guess we have a deal.”


“I guess we do.” Brian wanted to seal their deal with a kiss, but decided it wasn’t a good idea so he reluctantly let Justin go and took a step back. “I think I’ll go back to my place now and get some of my things. I have a lot of studying to do before classes this week and really need to spend tomorrow working on it. When I get back, do you think I could use your computer to check my email? I’m waiting to get the work I missed yesterday and I don’t have a computer of my own. I usually have to rely on the library.”


“Of course you can. You don’t even have to ask,” Justin assured him. “Look Brian, while you’re here, consider this your home. I want you to feel comfortable here.”


“Thanks,” Brian replied. “I’ll be back in a little while.” He left without another word.


As Brian got in his jeep so many thoughts ran through his head. He was insane. He was out of his fucking mind. There was no other explanation for the way he agreed to move into the Taylor estate and give up his own life. Not that it was a glamorous life, but it was his own; where he didn’t have to answer to anybody. Yet he was giving it up, temporarily of course, so he could play companion to Kevin. Not that he minded spending time with Kevin. He was actually looking forward to it. What bothered him was the real reason he gave in and agreed to his new situation. That reason had deep blue eyes and soft blond hair. It was Justin alone that made him take on his new job. Justin and his obvious concern. It felt good to have someone look out for him, worry about him. It felt good to actually have something to look forward to. And it sure as hell felt good to enjoy being with a man again. It had been four long years since he’d been with Kevin and he just assumed that after hustling, after getting paid to sleep with anonymous men for so long, that he’d lost the desire and ability to enjoy sex. He’d been wrong. Even during their first encounter, Brian felt the difference between Justin and all his other tricks. It had scared the hell out of him, but obviously not enough for him to keep his distance. Then again, maybe he wasn’t looking at the situation from the right angle. Maybe his strong attraction had more to do with the unfamiliar feelings he got from someone caring about him. Maybe it was just the newness that had him tied up in knots. That was a possibility. Either way, he was too deep to worry about how it happened. And as he drove home to retrieve his things, he decided to sit back and enjoy the ride for the duration of the trip. What other choice did he have?






It had been two weeks since Brian officially moved in with Justin and Kevin, and despite his fears, things between them had been going really well. Justin was spending a lot of time on his art and Brian was getting to spend a lot of time with Kevin. He took Kevin out of the house and into the garden a few times, and on the days when Kevin didn’t have the energy to leave his room, they’d sit together and talk about everything that came to mind, enjoying the closeness they had once again found. They all settled into a routine where Brian would go to school during the days, making it back to the house by three so that Justin could spend some time in his studio. By six, all three of them had dinner together in Kevin’s room where they spent an hour together, usually with Brian and Kevin telling Justin stories about their life in Pittsburgh. After dinner, Brian would go to his room and work on his school work while Justin helped Kevin get ready for bed. By ten o’clock, Kevin would be asleep for the night and Brian and Justin would lose themselves in the passion that was growing even stronger between them. No one mentioned how well things were going. It was as if they were afraid to jinx the luck they were having.


Kevin could see how close Justin and Brian were becoming and began to relax and mentally prepare himself for the day that he knew was approaching. He hadn’t said anything to either Brian or Justin, but he knew his time was running out. He knew his body and knew that things were going on inside that no one knew about. No one but his nurses, who was there for him during the night time when his disease seemed to reach out and grab a strong hold on him. The first few times she’d wanted to get Justin, but Kevin had managed to keep her from going to his partner and telling him what was happening. He knew Justin would be upset if he knew what was going on, but he didn’t want to interfere. Brian and Justin’s time alone together was limited to the nights and Kevin didn’t want to spoil that for them. He knew that if Justin was aware of what was happening, he’d park himself bedside and refuse to leave. He loved him for that, but refused to be anymore of a burden than he already was. It took a lot out of him to get through the days without showing how sick he was becoming, but he struggled through it silently for the sake of the two people he loved more than life. He wasn’t going to be around much longer, and Brian and Justin needed to strengthen their bond so that they could help each other through the dark times that were ahead. Whatever it was that had brought Brian back into his life, he was thankful everyday that it had happened. He could die in peace knowing that Brian was alright and that Justin had someone to love him the way he deserved to be loved.


Justin was just drifting off to sleep in a post-coital haze when he felt Brian’s lips on his. He hummed softly as he opened his mouth and took Brian’s tongue inside. After the night of their first kiss, Brian had been reluctant to break his rules again, but in the last few days he’d been giving in to both of their desires, leaving Justin to enjoy the lavish attention that his mouth had been receiving.


“I love kissing you,” Brian murmured as he pulled back and looked into Justin’s eyes. “I never realized how much I missed that kind of contact until you.”


“So,” Justin began hesitantly. He was becoming more and more curious about the life Brian led, but was afraid to ask for fear of upsetting him. “You haven’t been with anyone for pleasure since you moved out here?”


“No, not since Kevin,” Brian admitted. It had been obvious that Justin wanted to know about his life as a hustler, but never voiced his questions before. It had only been a matter of time and Brian knew his time was running out. He never felt ashamed about his life before meeting Justin; he’d only been doing what he had to do to survive, but now things were different. Seeing his life through Justin’s eyes made him feel like the whore he was. “It’s not easy meeting people when you do what I do. Well, not the right kind of people.”


“Oh, so I’m the wrong kind of people,” Justin teased, trying to wipe away the sad look on Brian’s face. One of the reason’s he hadn’t asked any questions about hustling was because he knew that despite his bravado, Brian hated doing what he was doing. The sad look on his face was proof of that.


“Twat, you know what I meant. You’re the first person I’ve met since coming out here that I felt comfortable with. You’re different than all the rest, even if you are paying for my services,” Brian replied with a small smile.


“Brian, do you think that maybe…” Justin paused, unsure of how to continue. The last two weeks had confirmed what Justin had suspected from the very beginning. He was falling, and falling fast for Brian Kinney. He knew without a doubt that he had to find a way to get Brian to stay with him. He couldn’t handle losing him back to the streets.


“Shhh…not now,” Brian whispered. “Let’s just keep on going as we have been for now, okay?”


“But Brian, we have to talk about things. We need to…”


“I know, but not now. We’ll have time for that later.”


Brian knew exactly what was going through Justin’s mind. He could see it in those deep blue eyes every time he looked in them, and felt it every time they made love. The feelings that Justin stirred up in him scared him to death and he wasn’t sure how to handle them yet. He knew that Justin wanted him to stop hustling, but he didn’t see that happening for awhile. He wasn’t always going to be Kevin’s companion and once he was no longer needed, he’d have to go back to the streets and continue on with the life he’d been living. There was no way that he could keep Justin and turn tricks. No, the lifestyle he was becoming accustomed to living with Justin and Kevin was a dream world that would be coming to an end one day, and he refused to think about the ending before he had to.


Eventually Justin fell asleep, but Brian was feeling restless and needed to get up and stretch his legs. He placed a soft kiss on Justin’s cheek before quietly slipping from the bed. He threw on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt before making his way out of the room. He planned on going outside and clearing his head, but heard the sound of soft moaning coming from Kevin’s room. Instantly alarmed, he rushed down to the room in time to see the night nurse administering Kevin a shot.


“What the hell’s going on in here?” He demanded angrily. All the nurses had been given strict orders to let him and Justin know if Kevin was in distress.


“Brian…I…uh…” the nurse stammered, obviously nervous about being under Brian’s watchful eye.


“It’s…okay…Maureen. You can go…now. I’ll talk to…Brian,” Kevin said, his voice showing signs of his pain. “Thank you.”


Maureen quickly took her exit, refusing to look Brian in the eye as she went.


“Kev, what’s going on? Are you alright? Let me go get Justin.” Brian turned quickly and was almost out the door when he heard Kevin’s faint voice calling out to him.


“No Brian…don’t…tell…Justin.”


Brian turned around in horror. “Don’t tell Justin? Kevin, how can you say that? Justin needs to know if you’re not feeling good.”

“Please…Brian. Just…give me a few…minutes for the…meds to…kick in. Then we can…talk.”


Brian didn’t like it, but he sat down on the edge of the bed and took Kevin’s hand, rubbing soothing circles with his thumb while he waited for an explanation. It took about fifteen minutes for the signs of fatigue to leave Kevin’s face.


“Alright, now tell me what’s going on.”


“Look Brian, we all know…that I’m dying. My doctors didn’t expect me to make it this long. Things…are starting to get worse now. I wanted…Justin to put me…in a nursing home…so that he wouldn’t have to…watch me die, but…he refuses.”


“That’s because he loves you,” Brian said, finding it hard to keep his emotions out of his voice.


“And I love him. You two…mean more to me…than anyone else in the world. That’s why I…haven’t said…anything to Justin. You know…that if he knew…about this…he’d be here all…the time. I can’t…do that to him. He…needs to work…on his art. You both need…time together. Please Brian…don’t say anything to him.”


“How bad is it?” Brian asked tearfully.


“I’m dying, Brian. It’s happening and there’s…nothing that anyone can…do about it. My body…is failing. The headaches…the pain is just so…unbearable at times. It’s been happening a lot more…lately. I’m ready for this…but he’s not. I need you…to help him. I need you to be…there for him.” Kevin was fighting to stay awake, but the pain medication was pulling him under.



“Please Brian…do this for me. He’s going to find out…sooner or later. Just let him have a…little more time. Give yourselves…a little more time to develop…your relationship.”


Brian watched Kevin succumbed to sleep as he thought about what he should do. He knew Justin would want to know what was happening, but Kevin was right. Justin would be right by his side if he knew how bad things were getting. Maybe leaving him in the dark for a little while longer wouldn’t hurt. There was nothing anyone could do to stop what was happening, and Justin deserved to be happy for as long as possible before his world turned upside down once again.


With his decision made, Brian walked out of the room and across the hall to the room that was used by the nurses. He found Maureen there, sitting at the small table that Justin had provided for them, looking very nervous. She jumped up as soon as Brian walked in.


“Brian, I’m so sorry about this. Kevin pleaded with me, with all of us, to keep his deteriorating health a secret. We didn’t want to do it, but he loves Justin so much and wants to protect him. I promise you that we’re taking really good care of him. He’s being monitored closely and if things progress further, we’ll make sure Justin is notified immediately. It’s just that there really isn’t anything Justin can do right now. He’s been so good to Kevin through all this. I’ve worked with AIDS patients for fifteen years now and I’ve never seen anyone more devoted than he is. Before you came here, I was really worried about Justin. He spent all of his time with Kevin, never taking care of himself or his own needs. It’s not healthy for caregivers to put aside their own health and happiness all the time. He needs to have some time for himself. You’ve given him that, but if he knows how much Kevin is suffering right now, he’ll give it all up. I’ve tried talking to him about it, but he just won’t listen. I normally wouldn’t agree with keeping him in the dark about this, but in this instance…well, I like Justin. He’s a great guy and I’ve grown very fond of him in my time here. It’s nice to see him happy again.”


Brian took a deep breath before replying. “I’m going to abide by Kevin’s wishes for now, but I wanted to be kept up to date from now on. I want a daily report of what’s happening and I’ll decide when Justin’s to be told. Understand?”


“I’ll let everyone know,” Maureen assured him.


“Thank you. Goodnight Maureen.”


Brian walked back to his room and smiled at the sight of Justin curled up in a ball, sound asleep. He stripped back down and went to the bathroom before climbing back into bed with his…what? Lover? He wasn’t sure exactly what he and Justin were to each other. All he knew was that he wanted to protect the blond, and keeping the latest news about Kevin to himself would go a long way in protecting him for a little while longer. As he lay in bed, snuggled up behind Justin, he wondered how his life became so complicated. How had he managed to let himself fall for a trick in the first place?






Brian was pulled from sleep by the feeling of a warm mouth wrapped about his morning erection. He slowly opened his eyes and glanced down to see a blond head bobbing on his crotch. The sight caused his breath to catch in his throat and he groaned his approval as he reached down and gently grabbed Justin by the hair, encouraging him to move faster. It only took a few more moments before Brian’s orgasm shot through his body and he spent himself in Justin’s eager mouth. It was a wake up call that he could never get tired of. As he floated somewhere between reality and orgasmic bliss, he felt Justin move up on the bed and smiled to himself when Justin’s lips met his in a heated kiss. The taste of himself on Justin’s tongue was sheer heaven and he deepened the kiss as he grabbed hold of his lover and expertly flipped him on his back. Justin wound his arms around Brian’s neck and thrust his hips up into Brian’s groin, showing off his raging hard-on.


“Someone’s looking for a little attention,” Brian mumbled as he pulled back from Justin’s mouth and looked deep into his eyes. “Do you want me to help you out?”

“Please,” Justin whispered huskily.


Brian quickly obliged, as he reached over and pulled a condom from the drawer alongside the bed. Their passion was still as hot and needy as it was their first time together and Brian briefly wondered as he sank inside Justin if he’d ever get enough. Once they were done and lying in each other’s arms, the events of the night before came into Brian’s mind. He tried to shake off the feelings of guilt that were weighing heavily on him, but he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t let go of the feeling that he was betraying Justin by keeping Kevin’s secret. He knew then that he needed to talk to Kevin. He needed to tell his friend and former lover that he couldn’t keep something so important from Justin. The blond had a right to know what was happening every night, just down the hall. Justin’s voice pulled him from his thoughts.


“You better get in the shower or you’ll be late for class.”


“I don’t want to go,” Brian replied, sounding like a small child. “I’d rather just stay here in bed all day.”


Justin laughed at Brian’s whining. “Well you go ahead then, but I have things to do so you’ll be in bed all by yourself.”


“What’s the fucking point of staying in bed then?”


“Exactly, now move your ass,” Justin teased as he climbed out of bed quickly. If he lingered, he knew he’d never leave. The thought of spending the day in bed with Brian appealed more to him than he’d admit. He just knew Brian would be mad at himself for skipping class later, and one of them had to be the voice of reason. “If you hurry, I might be willing to help you shower. You know, to save time.”


“Start the water,” Brian said as he jumped up suddenly.


The two of them giggled like school girls as they showered together, and if Brian was a few minutes late getting to class, well the blow job Justin had given him in the shower was worth it.


The day seemed to drag on for Brian as he went from class to class, struggling to pay attention to what his professors were saying. His mind was too jumbled with thoughts of Kevin and Justin. A part of him felt obligated to keep Kevin’s secret. They’d been so close in the past, shared so much, and he wanted to be loyal to what they had. But another part of him knew that what he had with Justin was just as important. He couldn’t continue on everyday knowing that he was holding back something that would eventually hurt Justin. By the time his final class let out, he was determined to make Kevin see that he needed to be honest with Justin. It was the right thing to do. He felt a little better as he climbed into his jeep and headed for home.


As soon as he walked in the front door he knew something was wrong. It seemed that an eerie silence had settled over the large house. He immediately dropped his bag and raced up the stairs, coming to a stop just inside Kevin’s room. It was empty.


“He’s at the hospital.”


Brian turned at the sound of the soft voice behind him and came face to face with Maureen.


“What happened?”


“I was just getting ready to leave this morning when Justin went in to say good morning to Kevin. He was in the middle of one of his attacks. When the pain medication wouldn’t work, Justin called 911. I crashed on the couch across the hall, waiting to hear what was going on. Justin still hasn’t called,” Maureen explained tearfully.


“I…I’ve got to go.”


Brian didn’t wait for a reply as he tore back down the stairs and out of the house. He broke all traffic laws on the way to the hospital and barely finished parking the jeep before jumping out and running to the nearest entrance. He was directed to ICU and found Justin sitting in the waiting room, his eyes red and puffy from crying. He never heard Brian approaching.


“How is he?”


“Huh?” Justin looked up at Brian with confusion in his eyes.


“How’s Kevin?” Brian asked again.


“They’re running some tests, but the doctors aren’t sure what happened…” Justin couldn’t continue as he dissolved into soft sobs.


Brian fought his own emotions as he took Justin in his arms, offering as much comfort as he could. His heart was breaking, not only over Kevin’s deteriorating health, but also at Justin’s obvious distress. As he tried to think of something to say, he heard footsteps approaching them and then the sound of someone clearing their throat. He looked up and saw one of the doctors waiting there patiently. Justin jumped up as he saw the man standing before them.


“Dr. Roberts, how is he?”


“He’s doing as well as can be expected. Justin, I think it’s almost time. I don’t know how much more he can take. His CT scan is showing a tumor at the base of his brain. It explains why the headaches were getting so severe. There’s not a lot we can do about it. With his health what it is, any kind of treatment we could offer him would probably kill him before it had a chance to shrink the tumor. His body just isn’t capable of enduring something like that,” the doctor replied gently.


“How long does he have?”


“Honestly, I don’t know. There’s no possible way to predict these things. We’ll just have to wait and see. That’s the best I can tell you at this point.”


Justin nodded his head in acceptance. He couldn’t wrap his mind around what was happening. Even though he knew the day would come when he’d be faced with saying goodbye to Kevin, he never allowed himself to think about how hard it would be.


“Can we see him?” Brian asked softly.


“For a few minutes, but then he needs his rest. We’re going to be making him as comfortable as possible, and the pain medication is going to keep him in and out of consciousness.”


“Thank you, doctor,” Justin replied.


Once the doctor was gone, Justin turned to Brian with such despair in his eyes that Brian felt his own tearing up.


“You go on ahead. I just need a few minutes to pull myself together.”


Brian leaned in and placed a kiss on Justin’s lips before walking towards Kevin’s room. He took a deep breath, fighting to keep his emotions in check before slowly entering the room. He was surprised to find Kevin awake and staring out towards the window. He forced a smile on his face as he walked over to the bed.


“Jeez, I leave you alone for a couple of hours and this is what you do?”


“Brian,” Kevin whispered as he turned to look as his friend. “I was hoping you’d show up.”


“Where else would I be?” The two men stayed silent for a few minutes, each one lost in their own private thoughts. Kevin was the one to finally break the silence.


“There’s something I need to say to you. I’ve been trying to find a way to bring it up for the last couple of weeks, but I couldn’t seem to work it into the conversation. I’m running out of time so I guess I’ll just come out and say it.”


“Kev, you know you can tell me anything,” Brian assured him as he took his hand.


“Bri…the last couple of weeks…well, you know I haven’t been sleeping much at night.”


“I know, and I really wish you told us about that,” Brian said.


“Yeah, let’s not go there. It doesn’t matter anymore. Anyway, I asked Maureen to keep me company. She’s been reading to me every night.”


Brian felt all the color drain from his face as he realized what Kevin was saying.


“Is it true? Have you been…” he didn’t have to continue. He could tell by Brian’s body language that his assumption had been dead on. “God, I’m so sorry.”


“What?” Brian asked in confusion. “What the fuck are you apologizing for?”


“For leaving you behind. For not being there for you. For putting you in a position where you had to…God Brian, if I had known what would happen, I never would’ve left Pittsburgh without you.”


“Kevin, it’s not your fault. I’m a big boy and I’m capable of making my own decisions. I was the one who gave up on you without knowing all the facts. I could’ve stuck around longer and waited for you to get in touch with me. I should’ve trusted you enough to know you would never abandon me. If anyone’s to blame for this fucked up situation it’s me. I never should’ve doubted you.” Brian wiped at the tears that started running down his face. He was embarrassed. He never wanted Kevin to know what he had become.


“So you and Justin? You weren’t…”


“No, we weren’t,” Brian admitted. “Justin picked me up one night. He was lonely and I guess he just wanted someone to share the night with. He told me it was the first time he ever picked up a hustler. He was scared. I could see it in his eyes. I figured he’d chicken out, but he didn’t. He said that he just needed to forget for awhile. It was only supposed to be for one night but everything’s gotten so out of control. When he asked me to pretend to be his boyfriend, I wanted to say no. I didn’t want to get in the middle of his life, but he was so desperate. He was worried about you. He knew you wanted him to find someone but he had no desire to meet anyone. I was supposed to meet you, play the adoring boyfriend and then move on. But when I realized it was you…”


“I was pretty shocked when you walked into my room that night. I figured I’d never see you again. You were my biggest regret,” Kevin whispered.


“Once Justin figured out who I was, he kept pushing me to spend time with you. Not that I didn’t want to, but I didn’t want to interfere in your lives. I was so afraid that you’d find out about me. I didn’t want you to know. It’s the reason I didn’t want you to read my novel in the first place. When I agreed, I was hoping that you wouldn’t figure it out.”


“I didn’t at first. I just thought you had a vivid imagination.”


“Then how’d you…”


“A colleague of mind happened to see you and Justin out together a couple of weeks ago. He knew you from…well; I guess you two hooked up at some point. He asked me about it. I told him you were a friend of mine from Pittsburgh. I thought there was a mix up. That he made a mistake. Then Maureen started reading to me and I knew. How did you…I mean…”

”How can I fuck guys for money?” Brian asked for him. “You want to know how I turned into a whore?”


Kevin blanched at Brian’s words. “No, that’s not what I’m asking and please don’t call yourself a whore.”


“Why not? It’s who I am.”


“No, that’s not who you are. You did what you had to do to survive. I’m not judging you, Brian. I don’t think any less of you because of it. I was just wondering how you endured all that you’ve been through,” Kevin replied.


“And how do you endure all you’ve been through? Come on Kev, let’s face it. Neither one of us have the perfect life we used to dream about. We made choices and learned to live with the results. You got a worse deal than I did. So, I fuck guys for money. A lot of people do it for the thrill and don’t get a damn thing out of it. I’m making a living and pursuing a career that I really want.” Brian said. “I only have to do it for a couple more years and then I can leave it all behind.”


“Can you? Will you be able to leave it behind or will the scars follow you wherever you go?”


“Does it matter? Either way, I can’t go back.”


“What about Justin?” Kevin asked.


“What about him? He’s a trick, although not my usual kind. He’s paying me for my services and once he’s done I’ll go back to my life and he’ll move on with his,” Brian replied, hoping the pain in his heart didn’t show.


“Bullshit, Brian. Don’t give me that. He may have started out as a…trick, but he’s not anymore. I can see how much you care about him. I see it in the way you look at him and the closeness you two share. I also know he feels the same way about you. Whatever it was that brought you to this point, don’t be stupid enough to let it slip away. You both deserve to have each other in your lives,” Kevin insisted.


Brian couldn’t respond. He wasn’t ready to talk about his feelings for Justin just yet. Especially with the news they just got about Kevin. How could the man lay there, slowly slipping away, and talk about him and Justin as if he had nothing more than a common cold? “Look Kevin, let’s just drop it for now, alright? Justin is a trick. I’m with him because he’s paying me to be. There’s nothing else between us,” Brian lied.


“But Brian…”

”Is it true?” Justin said softly from the doorway.


Brian spun around, startled by the man’s appearance, and immediately saw the pain that in his eyes. “Justin…”


“Is it true? After all we shared, I’m still nothing more than a trick to you?” Justin’s struggled to bury his pain. He felt so much for Brian, and really believed that Brian felt the same. How could he have been so wrong? “I think it would be best if you left.”


“Justin,” Kevin said softly.


“Please Kevin, just stay out of this,” Justin said, his eyes never leaving Brian. “You can come back tomorrow to see Kevin, but I’d appreciate it if you stayed out of my way. I have nothing to say to you anymore.”


Brian wanted to argue, but he could tell by Justin’s stance that it was pointless at that moment. Besides, he needed time to think before saying something that he wasn’t ready for. He pulled his eyes away from the blond and turned back to Kevin. “It’s alright. I’ll go for now. I’ll come back and see you tomorrow.”


“Brian, you don’t have to do…”


“Yes I do.” Brian leaned down and kissed Kevin on the head. “I’ll see you in the morning.”


Kevin watched Brian walk away with his shoulders slumped and wished he could run after him and take away his pain. Instead he lay there and watched a series of emotions play across Justin’s face while he waited for Brian to be out of ear shot. Once he was sure that they were alone he held out his hands and waited for Justin to go to him. In moments, Justin was his arms, crying softly.


“Oh Blondie, what am I going to do with you?” he whispered as he let Justin cry, knowing that he had to do something to fix things between the two men before his took his final breath.





Brian drove around for a while before heading back towards the house. He wasn’t sure what to do next. He saved enough money in the last few weeks that he didn’t have to rush right back to work, but he wasn’t sure if staying in the house was a good idea. Justin made it clear that he was finished with him and a part of him wanted to run away, back to the streets and the life he had been living for the last four years. Then there was the part of him that knew he could never go back. Sure he could start hustling again. He’d have to if he wanted to get his degree. But he couldn’t go back to the life of a hustler, keeping his emotions locked deep inside of him, pretending that he didn’t mind selling is body to pay the rent. That cold, unfeeling bastard was gone. Justin buried him with his deep blue eyes and perfect smile.


His mind kept replaying the scene in the hospital room. He could clearly see Justin standing there with hurt and betrayal in his eyes. Was there a chance that he could fix things between them? Were Justin’s obvious feelings for him strong enough to withstand the next couple of years as Brian tricked his way to his degree? Did he even have the right to ask Justin to stick around while he sold himself for money? Would he even be willing to do it? He didn’t want to think about it, but what other choice did he have? He couldn’t see any other way of surviving in the world without giving up his pride and letting Justin take care of him and that was something he just couldn’t do. As he pulled into the driveway, there was only one thing he was sure of in his fucked up life. What happened next was all up to Justin. As much as he wanted to run, he knew he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t just walk away without trying to make things right. He was going to have to open up to Justin, lay everything out on the table, and hope for the best. He had enough regrets already. He couldn’t let Justin become one more.


Justin took comfort in Kevin’s arms for a little while longer before pulling back and wiping his eyes shamefully. How could he dump so much on Kevin when the man was lying in a hospital bed, fighting for his life?


“I’m sorry,” he finally whispered.


“Why are you apologizing?”


“Because the last thing you need right now is a blubbering idiot crying on your shoulder. How’re you feeling? Do you need anything?” Justin reached out and adjusted Kevin’s blanket, bristling around the bed without looking Kevin in the eye.


“Babe, stop it. I’m fine. The meds they gave me are working great and other than a slight dizziness, I feel fine. It’s you I’m worried about. Why did you send Brian away?”


“I don’t want to talk about it,” Justin replied dryly.


“Too bad. You’re going to talk about it. You can’t honestly believe that Brian meant what he said, can you? It’s obvious to anyone with eyes how much he cares about you,” Kevin told him firmly.


“You’re wrong. I’m just a trick to him. I pay him and he fucks me. End of story. He said so himself.”


“God, you’re as hard-headed as he is,” Kevin sighed in exasperation. “Jus, he didn’t mean what he said. He’s just scared. You of all people know how horrible his life has been. He never had anyone to love him except for me and even I screwed that up. He needs you right now. He needs to know that you love him and are willing to be there for him no matter what.”


“I don’t love him,” Justin lied.


“Don’t do that, Justin. You can lie to yourself all you want, but not to me. You do love him and that’s why it hurt so much when he claimed you were nothing but a trick. But it’s not true. His lying is as bad as yours and if you stop to think about it, you’ll know I’m right. Can you honestly stand there and tell me that you don’t feel the difference between sex and love? When you’re with Brian, do you feel like a trick? Does he treat you like someone he’s fucking for money?” He saw Justin’s features soften as he thought about his time with Brian. “I thought so. Look, you both need to sit down and talk about what’s happening between you. Don’t let his past keep you from having a future together.”


“How did you find out?” Justin asked.


“Someone I know happened to mention seeing you with a hustler he knew, and don’t go getting embarrassed. This guy is married and if he knows Brian, than he’s not as innocent as he seems. I thought it was a mistake, but then I had Maureen start reading me his novel at night. It wasn’t hard to put two and two together. I know you read it. That alone should tell you just how messed up his head is. He needs someone to help him work through his past. Can you do that? Does he mean enough to you that you can be there for him while he deals with everything that’s happened to him?” Kevin watched Justin consider what he was saying and continued on. “If he walked through that door right now and told you he loved you, would you be able to overlook everything he’s done and love him back?”


“I already do,” Justin said tenderly.


“Then tell him that. Go to him and tell him that you love him. Don’t wait until it’s too late to fix things,” Kevin insisted.


“But you…”

“I’m fine. I’m exhausted and need to rest. I have a whole hospital to watch over me. Go tell him how you feel. I may not have much time left, but I’m not going anywhere just yet.”


Justin was torn, but he knew Kevin was right. If he waited too long, he’d lose Brian for good and that wasn’t something he was willing to do. He sent him away in anger, but he didn’t want to give up the one person who made him feel more alive than anyone else. He kissed Kevin goodbye and promised to be back in the morning before he went off to find Brian, leaving Kevin feeling rather smug. Once he was alone, Kevin rang for the nurse and told her he needed to use the phone. He had an important call to make.


Justin drove over to Brian’s apartment and was disappointed that the jeep was no where in sight. He wasn’t sure where Brian was, but he was anxious to talk to him. After driving around for awhile, he finally gave up the search and drove home. He was surprised when he saw the jeep in the driveway. He raced up the stairs and knocked on Brian’s door, opening it without waiting for a reply. He found Brian lying down on the bed, staring at the ceiling.


“I thought you’d be gone,” he said as he walked inside.


“I thought about it, but I just didn’t have the energy to leave,” Brian replied without moving his eyes from the ceiling.


“I’m glad you didn’t go,” Justin admitted.


This caught Brian’s attention and he sat up in bed and looked over at the blond. “You are?”


“Yeah,” Justin sighed. He walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge, trying to find the right words to explain how he felt. “I’m sorry for over reacting at the hospital. It hurt to hear you tell Kevin I was just a trick. Kevin made me realize that you didn’t mean it.”




“He asked me if you treated me like a trick. He asked if I could tell the difference between sex and love. I can. At least I think I can. I felt it that first night we were together. I knew then that what was happening between us was something more than either one of us was looking for, but I pushed it away. I thought that maybe it was just my imagination. But that night you kissed me I knew. You don’t do that with tricks. You told me so yourself. When you looked into my eyes before our lips met…I could see that I meant something to you. Tell me I’m not wrong.”


This is it, Brian thought to himself. He was scared. Hell, he was terrified, but he knew that no matter what happened, he wasn’t going to just give up. He couldn’t just give up. “You’re not wrong,” he whispered.


“Thank God,” Justin sighed heavily in relief. “Look, this may sound crazy because we haven’t known each other long and the circumstances are a little out of the ordinary, but I love you. I don’t know where we go from here or what happens next, but I don’t want to lose you.”


“If that makes you crazy,” Brian said hesitantly. “Than I guess we both are.”


Justin smiled at Brian’s admission. It wasn’t a heartfelt pouring of emotions, but it was exactly what he wanted to hear. “So what now? With Kevin being so sick, I feel guilty for being so happy.”


“I know, but it’s what he wants. All he ever talks about is wanting you to be happy,” Brian told him.


“I know. He’s such a good guy. I don’t know where I’d be without him and I don’t know what I’m going to do when…” his voice trailed off.


Brian knew exactly what Justin was thinking. “It’ll be okay. You’ll get through it.”


“We both will; together,” Justin replied.


“Come here,” Brian said as he held out his arms. Justin went to him without hesitation. After everything that they’d been through in the last few hours, they needed the contact between them. They needed to put aside all the shit they were dealing with and just be together and that’s exactly what they did.


Kevin spent a week in the hospital before the doctors released him. He was feeling pretty good and wanted to be back in his own bed. He had given up on convincing Justin to put him in a facility; especially now that the blond had Brian on his side. He wasn’t sure exactly what went on between Brian and Justin, but their happiness together was obvious to anyone who was around them and Kevin couldn’t be happier. Once back at the house, things fell right back into the routine they were following before he got sick. Brian went to school in the morning, and then spent the afternoons with him while Justin worked in his studio. No one knew what Justin was working on behind closed doors, he refused to tell anyone. Instead he kept the door locked and promised that he would share it as soon as he was finished.


Brian found himself enjoying the life he was living. He begrudgingly agreed to let Justin continue to pay him for sitting with Kevin, although they all knew it was just a way to keep Brian off the streets. Brian let it go for the time being, but he was going to have to figure something out eventually. Even though Kevin was feeling a little better, the headaches weren’t as severe, it was obvious that he was growing weaker as the days went by. Justin seemed to want to keep his head buried in the sand, but Brian was a realist. He could see the changes that were taking place. Kevin was eating less, losing weight quickly, and his mind seemed to be slipping. There were numerous times where Kevin didn’t know where he was or who anyone was. He was becoming a shell of the man Brian had been reunited with not so very long ago.


Brian waited until he and Justin were alone one night about three weeks after Kevin’s release from the hospital. They had just finished making love and were laying in each others arms when he carefully broached the subject.


“Justin, you realize how sick Kevin’s getting, don’t you?”


“I know he had a hard time last month, but I think he’s doing better now. His headaches are better and he’s been sleeping through the night,” Justin replied.


“Jus, I know you’re not ready to let him go, but I think it’s time you started preparing yourself for the inevitable. He’s sleeping through the night because they pump him with enough drugs to kill small animals. His headaches aren’t a problem because he’s stoned out of his mind most of the time. He hasn’t been eating; he’s lost another ten pounds that he couldn’t afford to lose, and dementia’s starting to set in. This afternoon he thought I was his grandfather who’s been dead for twelve years. You need to start accepting the fact that he’s slipping away,” Brian said gently as he stroked Justin’s hair. He was startled when the blond jumped from the bed, his eyes blazing with anger and pain.


“Why are you saying that? You don’t know what you’re talking about!” Justin ranted, his voice thick with emotion. “You’re not a fucking doctor. You have no right to sit there and say things like that. He’s doing better. He’s getting better.”


Brian watched in horror as Justin ran from the room with tears brimming in his eyes. He didn’t expect Justin to handle the conversation well, but he never knew the depth of his denial. He wished there was something he could do to help Justin face reality, but he was at a loss on how to handle him. He waited in bed for awhile, giving Justin a little time to calm down before going to find him. He knew exactly where he would be.


As Brian walked into Kevin’s room, he immediately spotted Justin sitting by the bed, holding Kevin’s hand. His head was down on the bed, and by the slight tremor of his shoulders, Brian knew he was crying. Kevin was calm in his drug induced sleep, oblivious to what was going on around him. Brian walked slowly to Justin and placed a comforting hand on his head. He waited patiently for Justin to acknowledge him.


“The day we met, I was blown away by him,” Justin began in a soft voice, his eyes trained on Kevin’s sleeping form. “He was not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside he was just as wonderful. When he told me he was positive, I was devastated. Not that I doubted getting involved with him. I never had a doubt about that. I just couldn’t imagine that someone so full of life was sick. It was easy to forget that he had this time bomb in him. What we had was special and I don’t regret one minute of our time together, but I’m not ready to let him go. I don’t want him to leave me.”


Brian didn’t know what to say, so instead he pulled Justin from the chair and into his arms, hoping that it was enough. They stayed there together; lock in an embrace for a while longer before Justin allowed himself to be led from the room. They made their way back to the bedroom and curled up on the bed, barely breaking the contact that they both needed. While Justin had shared a part of his and Kevin’s past, Brian was overcome with his own memories. He’d been so worried about Justin that he hadn’t let himself think about all he was losing, too. He had accepted the fact that he and Kevin were apart long ago, but finding him again had been great despite the circumstances surrounding them. Now he was faced with losing Kevin again, this time for good, and he worried about his own survival almost as much as Justin’s. How does a person live through losing someone they loved, not once, but twice?






Another two weeks went by before Brian finished up his last class of the semester. He knew he passed all of his classes with flying colors, despite the drama that had been surrounding his life, and he was looking forward to his three week break before summer classes started. He walked in the house and went right to his room, discarding his bag, before jumping in the shower. He was early and no one was expecting him for another hour so he used his time to unwind. He finally made his way to Kevin’s room and was pleasantly surprised to find Kevin and Justin laughing and joking around. It had been awhile since Kevin was well enough to do anything but sleep and stare at the wall.


“Hey, am I interrupting anything?” Brian asked as he walked in the room.


“Hey Brian, I’m glad you’re here,” Justin said as he got up to greet Brian with a kiss. “Kevin’s feeling pretty good today so I thought we could take him down to the garden.”


“What about your studio?” Brian asked as he looked at Kevin closely. He really did look better.


“I’ll get to work as soon as we get back. Besides, I’m just about done with my project. I only need another hour or so to add the finishing touches,” Justin told him.


“Does that mean we’ll actually get to see it?” Kevin asked.


“Yep. I’m gonna show you tonight at dinner,” Justin promised before turning towards Brian. “Come with me while I get a few things together. I thought I’d take a sketch book out with me. It’s such a beautiful day and I’m dying to use those new charcoals I bought last month.”


Brian followed Justin down the hall, confused by what he just saw. Once they were alone in the bedroom, Brian closed the door so no one could hear them. “What’s going on here?”


“What do you mean?” Justin asked.


“I don’t know. Yesterday Kevin couldn’t even remember who he was. He was hardly able to put two words together and when he did, they didn’t make any sense. How is he all of the sudden well enough to go outside?”


“I don’t know, but I’m not going to question it,” Justin replied. “Look Brian, I don’t know how to explain it. I went into his room this morning and his face lit up in recognition as soon as he saw me. It’s like the old Kevin is back.”


Brian sighed when he realized how stupid he was being. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I guess it’s just a shock to see him like this. I thought we already lost him. But…”


“I know, I know. He’s not miraculously going to get well. Who knows how long it’ll last, but I plan to enjoy every minute of it while I can.”


“Sounds like a good idea to me, but before we go,” Brian let his voice trail off as he pulled Justin to him and kissed him deeply, allowing his tongue to sweep though his lover’s mouth. He pulled back reluctantly when he felt his jeans begin to tighten. “We better get going before I toss you on the bed and have my wicked way with you.”


“Will you save that thought for later?” Justin asked breathlessly, his own cock responding to Brian’s taste.


“You can count on it,” Brian assured him with a smirk.


Getting Kevin into his wheelchair and outside proved to be harder than they thought since he’d grown much weaker and the last month, but it was worth the trouble to see his joy at being outside. They only stayed in the garden for about thirty minutes, but while they were there, the three of them enjoyed themselves. Justin pulled out his sketch book immediately and quickly captured the happiness on Kevin’s face as he gazed around at his garden. By the time he was done with the picture, it was obvious that Kevin was drained from his excursion so he and Brian took him back inside and got him in bed. Kevin was asleep in minutes.


“Why don’t you go to your studio now so you’re finished when he wakes up? I’ll just sit here with him and watch a little TV,” Brian suggested.


“Okay, that sounds good. I’ll be back in a little while.” Justin kissed Brian tenderly before heading off to finish his painting.


Brian waited until Justin was gone before climbing into bed with Kevin. Call him crazy, but something didn’t feel right. He had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach that Kevin’s sudden turn around wasn’t going to last very long. As he lay on his side, holding Kevin’s hand and watching him sleep, he allowed a few tears to silently slip down his cheeks.


“You’re leaving us soon, aren’t you,” he whispered softly. “I guess begging you to stay won’t change anything. If only it were that simple. I love you, Kev. You know that right? I never stopped loving you and I’m so sorry for not waiting for you. I’m sorry that this happened to you and I’m sorry that I can’t make this go away. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat of I could. I’m just so happy that I found you again; that I had this time with you. Don’t worry about Justin. I don’t know what’s going to happen between us, but I’ll look out for him for you no matter what. It’s the least I can do.” As he finished talking, he felt Kevin’s hand tighten around his and knew that even in sleep; Kevin heard what was in his heart and understood. He dozed off with a small smile on his face.


Justin covered the canvas with a blanket and carried it down the hall. It had taken him a little longer than he thought to get the painting just right, but he was happy with the finished product. He left it in the hallway before walking into Kevin’s room. He smiled at the sight before him. Kevin was lying awake staring at Brian, who was asleep beside him.


“Hey, you’re the one that’s supposed to be resting,” Justin said quietly so he didn’t disturb Brian.


“He’s pretty worn out,” Kevin replied. “He’s beautiful, isn’t he? I always knew how good looking he was when we were together, but he’s grown into a beautiful man during our separation. He just takes my breath away.”


“I know. Mine, too,” Justin agreed.


“Jus, will you be good to him? I’ve been so worried about him in the last four years. He doesn’t trust easily and doesn’t allow many people to get close to him. His life since he moved out here is proof of that. I don’t want to think about him being alone again.”


Justin was touched by Kevin’s concern for his former lover. Theirs was an awkward situation, three men whose lives were intermingled so deeply, but Justin knew he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loved both men with everything he had and was at peace with the love they had for each other. He was so thankful that they were both a part of his life; bringing him such joy in their time together. He only wished that there was a way to protect them from the devastation that he knew he and Brian would be facing when the time came to say goodbye to Kevin.


“He won’t be alone again. I promise,” Justin assured him as he ran his hand lightly across Brian’s cheek, causing the man’s eyes to flutter open.


“Hey, I guess I fell asleep,” Brian murmured as he struggled to wake himself up.


“That’s okay,” Kevin said with a smile. “I never minded sharing my bed with you.”


Brian blushed slightly as he sat up and rubbed his eyes. “You’re here,” he said to Justin. “Does this mean that you’re ready to show us your masterpiece?”


“Yeah Jus, where’s the painting?” Kevin asked.


“It’s ready; just sit there while I get it.”


Justin went into the hall and retrieved the painting and brought it back in the room. He pulled over a chair and set the canvas on top of it, taking his time to prolong the unveiling. He knew he was talented, but this painting meant more to him than anything else he’d done and he wanted both Brian and Kevin to like it. “Are you ready?”


“Jeez Justin, let us see it already,” Brian laughed.


Justin smiled at his lover than pulled off the blanket and awaited a response.


Brian and Kevin both stared at the painting in wonder. It was a portrait of the two of them from their younger days when they were still together and it was amazing. Neither one of them knew what to say.


“Well, what do you think?”


Kevin replied first. “How did you do that?”


“Brian had a picture of the two of you in his wallet. He showed it to me one night and then left it out on the dresser before falling asleep. I sketched it the best I could without him knowing and used the drawing and my memory to recreate it on canvas. Do you like it?”


“It’s incredible,” Brian finally said when he found his voice.


“I figured we could hang it in here so Kevin would have something to look at other than these walls,” Justin said.


“I don’t know what to say,” Kevin whispered. “Thank you.”


“I’m glad you like it,” Justin replied. “I’ll put it over here for now and we’ll get it up on the wall tomorrow.”


Brian watched Justin move the chair to the other side of the room before looking back at Kevin, whose eyes were wet with unshed tears. “Are you alright?”


“You kept that picture of us with you this whole time?” Kevin asked tearfully.


“You were always with me,” Brian told him as his own emotions bubbled to the surface. He leaned down and kissed Kevin’s forehead, wiping away the tear that escaped down Kevin’s cheek.


Justin stood back and gave Brian and Kevin a moment alone, watching their love for one another shine, before he cleared his throat to remind them of his presence. “I talked to Janet and dinner’s ready. You guys wanna eat?”


Brian straightened up and smiled at Justin. “Yeah, I’m kind of hungry.”


“I could eat a bite or two,” Kevin added, his own smile lighting up his face.


Justin went to the phone and called down to the kitchen letting Janet know they were ready to be served. Soon after, they were eating dinner and talking about the latest current events as if nothing was amiss between them. They steered clear of anything related to Kevin’s illness and ignored the elephant that was in the room with them. As the night went on, Kevin became increasingly more tired and soon he wasn’t able to hide his fatigue from Brian and Justin.


“We’d better let you get some sleep,” Justin finally said as he nudged Brian’s arm.


“Yeah, you’re exhausted. It’s been a pretty busy day for you,” Brian agreed. He leaned down to kiss Kevin and was startled when he felt his himself being pulled into a tight hug.


“I love you, Brian. Thank you for sticking around,” Kevin whispered in his ear.


“Where else would I be?” Brian replied quietly. “I love you, too.”


Brian reluctantly pulled back and looked at Kevin one last time before leaving to room so that Justin could get him tucked into bed. He needed a few minutes alone before facing Justin. His unease from earlier had returned and left him feeling melancholy. He got to his room and sat down on the bed, hoping he was just being paranoid. Hoping that when he woke up the next morning, Kevin would still be well and they could have another day as good as the one they’d just shared. He eventually got up and went into the bathroom, turning on the water and filling up the huge tub. As he sank in the water, he refused to think about what lie ahead. Instead he cleared his mind and waited for his lover to join him.


Justin got Kevin settled into bed and kissed him goodnight before quietly slipping from the room. Kevin was asleep before he even made it out the door. He popped his head into the nurses’ room and let them know that he and Brian were retiring for the night before he went in search of his lover. He was happy to find him soaking in the tub and quickly stripped down to join him. As hungry as he always was for the passion he and Brian shared, something about the night had him longing to just be held by the man he loved. They stayed in the water until their skin started to prune before climbing out and drying each other off. As they settled down in bed, their exhaustion overtook them and for the first time in weeks, they went to sleep without the afterglow of orgasm to guide them.


The knocking at the door startled Brian out of his sleep and a glance at the clock told him it was two in the morning. Justin stirred beside him as he quickly got up, turned on a light, and threw on his robe before opening the door. Maureen stood there looking lost with tears in her eyes.


“He’s…he’s gone,” she stammered tearfully.


Brian heard a gasp from the bed and turned to see Justin with such pain in his eyes. He turned back to Maureen and nodded his understanding. “We’ll be down in a few minutes.”


She shook her head before retreating back down the hallway, leaving Brian and Justin to absorb the news. Brian shut the door and walked over to Justin, who was now weeping openly. He took the distraught man in his arms as he let his own tears flow.


“Why Brian? Why now? He was feeling so much better. Why couldn’t we have more time? How could he be so happy all day and then…and then…” Justin couldn’t continue.


“I don’t know, Jus. My mother,” Brian stopped for a moment to pull himself together before continuing. “She always said that everything happened for a reason and that God had a plan. Maybe God gave us one more day with Kevin, gave Kevin on more day with us, before taking him away.”


“But why did he have to take him away? Why couldn’t he have left him here for a little while longer?”


“Jus, he was sick. He was tired. Up until yesterday, he didn’t even know who we were. He was suffering. We all were. Now he can rest in peace.” Brian wasn’t sure what to think about any of it. He was raised in a strict catholic household and knew all about God’s will. He wasn’t sure he believed all the shit his mother used to spew on a daily basis, but in this instance he felt a little better believing that Kevin was in a better place. It was the only thing that offered a little comfort to his breaking heart. He released Justin and climbed off the bed, holding out his hand to his lover. “Come on. Let’s go say goodbye one last time.”


Justin took his hand and allowed himself to be led from the room as once again his whole world crashed down on him.






As they walked hand and hand down to Kevin’s room, Brian used all of his energy to hold back his true emotions. He wanted to break down, to scream at the God’s who took such an incredible man way before his time, but he couldn’t. He had to hold everything he felt inside. He couldn’t allow himself to give in to his anger and pain. Justin needed him. The blond was a visible mess. Brian could feel his whole body trembling alongside of him and knew he was seconds from a complete melt down. He had just lost his partner and best friend. He needed a strong shoulder to lean on, and Brian refused to let him down. Not only was he doing it for Kevin, keeping his promise to look out for the man, but also because of the love he felt for Justin. When they walked into the room and got their first glimpse at Kevin’s lifeless body, Justin lost the small amount of composure he had managed to hold on to and broke down, his knees buckling as soft sobs echoed in the room that was otherwise silent. Brian caught him just before he crumpled to the floor.


“Justin, maybe this isn’t a good idea. Why don’t we go back to the room so you can lie down?” Brian suggested.


That seemed to cause Justin to find some inner strength. “No, no…it’s okay. I’m alright. I just…God Brian, seeing him like that. Knowing that he’s…he’s…gone. It’s not fair. It was one time, one little indiscretion during a time when he felt so lost. He shouldn’t have to pay for it with his life. It’s not like he was a…a…”


“A hustler?” Brian asked softly, his own voice choked with emotion.


“No! Of course not. That’s not what I meant,” Justin replied, horrified by Brian’s suggestion. “I mean that he wasn’t reckless. He wasn’t one of those men who go out bare backing, oblivious or too stupid to care about their own health or anyone else’s. He was messed up back then and got in over his head with his drinking and drug use, but he was always careful. One time, one time he let himself get too intoxicated and some sick bastard too advantage of him. It’s just not fair.”


“Justin, life’s not fair. I wish it was. I wish I could switch places with him, but I can’t. All I can do, all either of us can do is hope that he’s in a better place now. We can be thankful for the time we had with him and be happy that he’s not suffering anymore,” Brian offered softly.


Justin nodded his head, unable to form anymore words with his emotions so close to the surface. Instead he pulled himself from Brian’s arms and made his way over to the bed, taking Kevin’s hand in his own. He held it there, not really to leave his lover just yet. He knew Brian was right. Kevin was suffering too much at the end and the peaceful expression on his face should’ve been enough to sooth him, but it wasn’t. He was selfish, but he wanted Kevin to stay with him. He wanted to be able to see his smile when he walked in the room, knowing that his presence was the cause of it. His silent tears poured down his face as his mind went back to happier times. He could see in his mind all those times when it was just the two of them, locked together in a room, or out on the town. He could almost feel Kevin’s warm body against his back when he was strong enough, healthy enough for them to be intimate. From somewhere in the distance, he could hear Maureen telling Brian that she had called someone to come get the body, but he chose to ignore her. He didn’t want to lose any of the precious moments he had with Kevin, because he knew he’d never get them back.


Time seemed to stand still, yet it passed by all too quickly, when Justin was finally led from the room. He was so caught up in his own pain that he never noticed how quiet Brian was. He never noticed the way Brian’s eyes refused to leave the bed until the last possible second. He never took into account that Brian had known Kevin longer than him and he was suffering, too. Instead he let himself sink into his grief, blocking out everyone else around him.


Brian got Justin into bed, lying there with him in his arms until he was sure that the blond was asleep, before throwing on some clothes and quietly leaving the house. He wasn’t sure where he was going; he just knew that he couldn’t sit in the house for another minute. He was suffocating. His chest was tight and his breathing was becoming more and more rapid as he stared out the windshield at the pre-dawn sky. On autopilot, he maneuvered his car through the almost deserted streets, looking for something, anything that would make him forget about Kevin. He wasn’t too surprised to find himself parked outside the motel room where Brandon had lost his life. The same motel room where he almost had his own life snuffed out not too long ago. His mind was reeling, replaying memory after memory of his past, the visions a jumble between Pittsburgh and LA. He looked at the dashboard. It was after four in the morning. That made it after seven on the east coast. Without giving it anymore thought, Brian reached for his cell phone and dialed a number he knew by memory, even though he hadn’t used it in four years.




“Mom?” Brian whispered, his voice choked with emotion. He wasn’t sure why he was calling Joan Kinney. Maybe it was because he realized that he had no one left. Brandon was gone, Kevin was gone, and pretty soon, once Justin saw him for what he really was, he’d be gone, too.


“Brian? Is that you?”


“I just…I was calling…I wanted to see how…you were doing,” Brian stuttered tearfully.


“After four years? How nice of you.” Her tone was icy. “I hope you weren’t calling for money because we don’t have any. Your father still insists on drinking away his paycheck. I had to take in sewing to help keep the electric on. Do you have an idea how embarrassing it is to walk into church and know that people are talking about me? Feeling sorry for me because my husband’s a drunk?”


“I wasn’t…calling for…money,” Brian replied.


“Then why are you calling? I doubt if we have anything to say to one another.”


“I don’t know. I…Kevin’s gone. He died this morning.”


“Kevin? You mean that boy you used to hang around with?” Joan asked briskly. “Well, I’m not surprised. I heard he was one of those people.”


Brian gasped at the hatred he heard in his mother’s voice. “One of those people? You mean gay? You think he deserves to die because he’s gay?”


“Brian, that’s what happens when people like him turn their back on the Lord. Now if there’s nothing else, I have to go get your father up for work before he loses another job.”


Brian sat there stunned as the line went dead. What had he been thinking? Why did he think that after four years of silence, his mother would be happy to hear from him? Tears he hadn’t noticed before were falling down his face as he buried his head in his hands and cried. It was all too much and he couldn’t stop the flooding of emotions that overtook him as he let out all the pain that he’d been keeping bottled up inside him. Was his mother right? Was he doomed to a life of heartache and pain because of who he was and what he’d become? He turned his back on the Lord years before. Was he going to suffer the same kind of fate as Kevin, or was he going to be forced to live his life alone, never getting close to anyone for fear of them being taken away?


The tears slowed down eventually, but the pain in his chest was still as strong as ever. By the time he was calm enough to focus, he saw that he’d been sitting there for two hours. He thought about going back to his apartment, thought about going back to Justin’s, hell, he thought about going back to the streets. Back where he could be who he was and not pretend he was something more. Before he made his decision, his phone rang, pulling him out of the dark hole he was sinking into.


“Yeah,” he choked out.


“Brian, are you alright?” Justin’s voice bordered on panic. “I woke up a few minutes ago and couldn’t find you.”


“I…I…uh…had to get out for awhile,” he muttered in explanation.


Justin heard the despair in Brian’s voice and suddenly realized how selfish he’d been. He was so wrapped up in his own pain he never considered how hard Kevin’s death would be on Brian.


“Where are you?” he asked quietly.


“I’m…” Brian paused, looking at the blinking lights of the motel. “I’m on my way back now,” he finally said.


“I’ll be waiting you for,” Justin told him. “Drive carefully, Brian. I love you.”


Brian choked back a small sob as he disconnected the call without replying. He couldn’t get the words out through his tears. Instead he took one last look at the motel before putting the jeep in gear and heading back to the house. Back to Justin.


Justin was waiting out on the front steps when Brian pulled up. He stood and waited for his lover to approach him, his heart breaking at the devastation that was written all over Brian’s face. His eyes were damp and swollen, the whites of his eyes red and bloodshot. Anyway who looked could see that he’d been crying and Justin felt his guilt increase as he took Brian into his arms, offering the comfort that he wasn’t able to produce earlier.


“I’m glad you’re home,” he whispered in Brian’s ear. “Come on, let’s go to bed and lay down for awhile. We’re going to have a long day ahead of us.”


Brian was silent as he followed Justin into the house and up the stairs. Once they were behind the closed door of their bedroom, Brian and Justin both stripped down and climbed into bed, holding on to each other tightly.


“I’m so sorry, Brian,” Justin said, breaking the silence.


“For what? Why are you apologizing to me?” Brian asked in confusion.


“For being selfish earlier. I was so consumed with my own pain that I didn’t think about how hard this is on you. I know you loved Kevin as much as I did, maybe even more. I should’ve been more aware of your needs instead of just my own,” Justin explained slowly.


“Justin, you don’t have to apologize. I understand. Besides, I’ve never been really good at letting people know how I feel. I just needed to get out for awhile and think, you know? It’s going to be alright. We’re both going to be alright,” Brian assured him with as much conviction as he could. “I…uh…I called my mother.”


Justin was startled by Brian’s revelation. “Why?”


“I’m not sure. I guess I was feeling sorry for myself. I wasn’t thinking too clearly. It doesn’t matter why. I knew it was a mistake and she only confirmed it with her hate.”


“What happened?”


“I told her Kevin was gone. He’d spent so much time at my house when we were together that I thought she might have given a shit,” Brian replied bitterly.


Justin hesitated before asking. “What did she say?”


“She said that she wasn’t surprised given that he was one of those people. In her eyes it was his punishment for turning his back on the Lord.”


Justin gasped in horror. How could anyone say something that mean and hurtful to their own son, especially when he’d just lost someone that meant so much to him? “Its okay, Brian. She’s ignorant and cruel, but you don’t need her. You’ve got me now, and I won’t let anyone hurt you again,” Justin promised as he held on tighter to Brian’s warm body.


Brian held onto those words as he drifted off to sleep, wishing that if he believed strongly enough, he could make them come true.


The next time Justin woke up he was surprised to find that it was after ten. He jumped out of bed, ready to run down and check on Kevin, when reality hit that those days were over. Kevin wasn’t waiting down the hall for him anymore. He was gone. He slumped back down on the bed, fighting back the tears that were starting once again.


“Hey, are you alright?” Brian asked softly.


“Yeah, I just…I forget that he was gone,” he chuckled emotionlessly. “It’s late and I was worried that he was down the hall waiting for me. Pretty stupid, huh?”


“Come here,” Brian said as he held out his arms. He waited until Justin crawled into them before continuing. “No, it’s not stupid. You took good care of him, making sure he had everything he needed. It’ll take time to get used to him being gone.”


“What if I don’t want to get used to it?” Justin asked tearfully.


“I don’t think you have much of a choice.”


“I guess not,” Justin sighed. “I’ve got to get ready to go down to the funeral home. Kevin and I pretty much had everything planned out already. I just have a few last minute things to take care of. Will you go with me?”


“Of course,” Brian assured him. “Let’s go get into the shower and get dressed. I’m sure Janet is downstairs right now cooking up a storm. You know how she gets when she’s upset.”


“Shit…Janet. I didn’t even think about how she’d handle the news. She loved Kevin so much. All the staff did. And his co-workers. I’ve got so many calls to make. You know, he was named editor of the year at work. Everyone there loved him. God, I don’t know if I can do this.”


“You don’t have to do it alone,” Brian reminded him. “We’re in this together, remember?”


“Thanks,” Justin said. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”


“You’d manage just fine without me, but you don’t have to. Now get your ass in that shower. We’ve got a lot to do.”






The day dawned dark and gray, much like the way Justin was feeling as he dragged himself out of bed. He still couldn’t believe that he was going to be burying Kevin in a few short hours. The last couple of days had been like a nightmare that he couldn’t wake up from. Brian’s support was the only thing that kept him from falling apart. That and the many details that he’d never thought about when considering Kevin’s passing. Janet had been a godsend, helping to prepare the house and all of the food for the gathering after the cemetery, despite Justin’s suggestion of a catered affair. She claimed it was her way of paying tribute to someone she’d grown to love over the years, but Justin knew it was her way of keeping busy to avoid the sadness that seemed to hang over the house. After showering and dressing for the somber event, Justin wandered down to the garden, needing a few minutes alone before he was forced to play host to the many mourners he was anticipating. That was where Brian found him.


“How’re you holding up?”


“Not too good,” Justin admitted softly. “I just don’t understand. I’ve known Kevin was sick since the night we met. He’s been slowly going down hill for the last couple of months, and the last few weeks he was barely coherent. How can I not be ready for this?”


Brian walked over and took Justin in his arms. “Because I don’t think anyone can ever really prepare themselves for losing someone they love. No matter what our brain tells us, the heart has a mind of its own. Besides, you haven’t really had a chance to let everything sink in yet. You’ve been too busy trying to make sure everything was perfect for today. Once this is all over, you’ll be able to grieve properly and begin to heal.”


Justin looked up into Brian’s eyes, noting the sadness there, and smiled slightly. “Have I told you lately how happy I am that you’re here with me? I can’t imagine going through this alone.”

”I think you’ve mentioned it once or twice in the last couple of days,” Brian teased. Justin had been thanking him for his support almost hourly since Kevin’s passing. “I’m just glad that I could be here, not only for Kevin’s last days, but to help you through this. Now come on. We have to be at the funeral home in twenty minutes.”


Brian lead Justin back through the house, stopping to pull Janet away from the last minute details in the kitchen before they all made their way out to the awaiting limo. The ride seemed to pass by in an instant, in silence, with each one of them lost in their own thoughts. Once they got to the home, Justin went to talk to the director and make sure everything was set up while Brian stayed with Janet, offering his comfort to her. Now that she was away from her responsibilities, she was having a hard time controlling her emotions.


“Come here,” Brian whispered as he took the tearful woman in his arms.


“I’m…sorry. I know…I shouldn’t be…doing this. Jus…Justin’s having a…hard enough time…as it is without watching…me…blubber,” she stammered. “I just…I loved him, you know? He and Justin…they’re like…my own sons. I miss him.”


“I know,” Brian replied. “We all do. I guess we just have to remember the good times. At least he’s not suffering anymore.”


Janet pulled back and looked up into Brian’s eyes. “Kevin told me about you,” she said softly.


“He did?”


“Yeah, it was right after you started coming to the house. One night I couldn’t sleep and I guess I was feeling restless. The nurses were changing shifts. Stacy mentioned that Kevin was awake as she was leaving. I went up to see how he was feeling. We got to talking and I mentioned you. I wasn’t prying really. I guess I was just curious about you. I hope you’re not angry with me.”


“No, I’m not angry” Brian assured her with a smile. “What did he say?”


“He told me that you knew each other back in Pittsburgh. He said that you were together for a few years but were separated by a misunderstanding. I could see how much he cared about you. I asked him how he felt about you being with Justin.”


“What did he say to that?”


“He said that he was happy that you and Justin had each other. He’d been really worrying about what would happen to Justin when he…when his time was up. You made him feel less guilty about leaving,” she continued.


“Guilty? Why would he feel guilty? It wasn’t like he was walking out on Justin. He was sick. It wasn’t his fault,” Brian replied.


“Yeah, but guilt is a funny thing. People like Kevin tend to take it on their shoulders without reason. He knew how upset Justin was going to be. The poor kid already lost his parents and was feeling really lonely when they met. Now he was facing losing another loved one. Kevin felt that he should’ve stopped their involvement before it got too serious so that no one got hurt,” Janet explained.


“How does the saying go? It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Justin was lucky to have Kevin in his life, no matter how short their time together was. Believe me, I know.”


“I know, too. And so does Justin. I know he doesn’t regret any of their time together. He loved Kevin very much. I’m just glad that he has you to help him through the rough days ahead, and I know that Kevin was, too. Justin’s a tough guy, but he loves deeply and grieves just as much. He needs someone like you to help share the pain.”


Brian began to feel guilty. He knew that he would be there for Justin, but for how long? He had to get back to work, especially now that he wouldn’t be getting paid to stay with Kevin. He had socked away a bit of money in the last couple of months, but wanted to hang on to that for those times when he needed some extra cash, like when the jeep died. No, he was going to be back on the streets in a matter of weeks, and knew that when that happened, his time with Justin would come to an end. It was the one thing he was sure of, and the one thing he refused to think about. Saying goodbye to the blond he’d become so attached to was going to be harder than anything he’d ever done before; including losing Kevin four years earlier.


Once Justin was satisfied that everything was ready to go, he went outside and ushered Brian and Janet into the building. He’d been back and forth trying to decide whether or not to have Kevin’s casket opened, but decided to give everyone one final look at their friend and co-worker before saying goodbye. Despite the deadly disease that eventually took Kevin’s life, he didn’t look as bad as some of the men and women who lost the battle with AIDS. He looked slightly frail and his weigh loss was obvious, but he didn’t have the sunken in features and pale complexion that so many others did. The three of them took their seats in the front pew and waited while the room began to fill with those closest to Kevin. Justin wasn’t surprised when the room began to fill to capacity. Kevin was loved by anyone he came in contact with. He was just that special. Justin was lost in thought when he felt Brian stiffen beside him, gently gripping his arm.


“Brian, what’s wrong?”


“That woman over there,” Brian whispered, pointing out a dark-haired woman standing off to the side looking lost. “That’s Kevin’s mother. What the fuck is she doing here?”


Justin was shocked by this. He knew Kevin had tried to talk to her a few months earlier to let her know he was dying, but she hadn’t shown any interest in seeing her son one last time. “I don’t know, but just ignore her. Now’s not the time for a confrontation.”


Brian ignored Justin’s orders and rose to go greet the woman, leaving Justin to trail behind him with worry.


“Mrs. Moore,” Brian said in a clipped tone. “What are you doing here?”


“Brian, I should’ve known you’d be here. You were always trailing around after my son like a puppy,” she spat angrily.


Justin could see the anger building up in Brian and quickly intercepted. “Mrs. Moore, I’m Justin Taylor. I was your son’s partner,” he said confidently, ready to defend his relationship with her son if necessary. “I’m a little surprised you’re here. Kevin told me that your phone conversation didn’t go so well.”


“He’s still my son and I have every right to be here,” she stated.


“Yes, you do. It’s just a shame you couldn’t make it while he was still alive. He really wanted to see you one last time.” Justin knew he was being cruel, but he couldn’t find any sympathy for a woman who not only turned her back on her son when she found out he was gay, but who refused a final meeting when learning of his illness. “The service is about to start. We’d better take out seats.”


Without waiting for a reply, Justin grabbed Brian’s hand and led him back to the pew. He didn’t want anything to spoil the day. It was already hard enough on all of them.


Brian sat through the service, seething inside at the appearance of Mrs. Moore. The cold-hearted bitch had no business being there.  It was a time for the people who loved Kevin to gather together and pay their respects, sharing in their love for him. Not for people who hated who he was and what he became. Justin had kept his hand on Brian’s thigh through the whole ceremony, offering his silent comfort and seeking his own. It was the one thing that kept Brian grounded.


After the service was over, they all made their way to the cemetery where Kevin’s body was laid to rest. It was an emotional gathering and the final straw that broke Justin’s façade as he sobbed at the grave site, unable to hold back the pain he was suffering. Brian took him in his arms, fighting his own pain in hopes of being strong enough to help the blond through. Brian enlisted Janet’s help in getting everyone to head back to the house so that Justin could have a few minutes alone without the eyes of the crowd. Once they were alone, Justin looked up into Brian’s eyes with sorrow.


“I’m sorry. I really tried to be strong through this, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I miss him so much and it’s just not fair. I don’t care how childish it sounds but I want him back. I want him here with me. He’s supposed to be here with me,” Justin cried.


“I know, Justin. I know,” Brian whispered as he held Justin in his arms. He never felt so helpless in his life, knowing that there was nothing he could do to take away the pain that they were both experiencing. All he could to was hang on and let Justin cry on his shoulder until he was ready to face the world again.


Justin eventually managed to pull himself together and stepped out of Brian’s arms, feeling slightly foolish for his outburst. “I think I’m okay now.”


“No, you’re not,” Brian said softly as he wiped away Justin’s tears with his thumbs. “But you will be.”


“Yeah, I will,” Justin agreed. “I guess we better get back to the house. Shit, where’s Janet? She rode with us in the limo.”


“She caught a ride with William. She wanted to get back and check on things. Come on. The sooner we get back, the sooner this whole day can be over with.”


Justin glanced over at the casket that still hovered above ground. “I hate leaving him.”


“That’s not him, Jus. He’s right here,” Brian said, tapping Justin on his chest, right above his heart.


“And he always will be,” Justin whispered as he took Brian’s hand and together they walked back to the waiting limo, thinking of the wonderful man who inadvertently brought them together.






Justin sighed in relief as the last of the guest drove out of sight. It had been a long and grueling day and he was ready to put it all behind him and try to move on. After walking back in the house and closing the door, Justin shrugged off his suit jacket and threw it on a chair before making his way into the kitchen. He stopped at the doorway and watched with a smile on his face as Brian helped Janet with the dishes. It was endearing to see someone like Brian, elbows deep in dishwater, scrubbing away at a baking dish.


“Do you do windows, too?” Justin couldn’t help but ask teasingly.


“Don’t you dare pick on him,” Janet reprimanded gently. “Brian’s been a big help to me today.”


“Yeah, don’t pick on me,” Brian laughed, giving Justin a smirk. “Is everybody gone?”


“Finally,” Justin sighed as he dropped down in the nearest chair. “It was nice that so many people showed up to show their love for Kevin, but I’m glad they’re gone. All I want to do is go soak in a hot bath and relax.”


“Is there room for two in that bath?” Brian inquired.


“Of course,” Justin replied. “You can wash my back.”


“Okay, that’s more than I need to know,” Janet laughed. “Now both of you get out of here and leave me to the rest of this mess.”

“Are you sure? I don’t mind staying and helping you finish,” Brian said as he refocused on Janet.


“I’m sure. It’s been a long day and I know you could both use a little time alone. Besides, William should be back soon and he doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves.”


“Thank you for everything, Janet,” Justin said as he stood up and took the matronly woman in his arms. “You’ve been a godsend. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”


“Anything for you, baby. You know that,” Janet said as she hugged her boy tight.

 “You just try and get some sleep. You’re looking a little peaked.”


“Yes mother,” Justin joked.


Brian waited until Justin left the room before turning to Janet with concern. “Are you sure you’re going to be alright? This hasn’t been an easy day for you either.”


“I’ll be fine, especially knowing that Justin has you to look after him,” Janet replied. “Goodnight Brian, I’ll see you in the morning.”


Brian leaned down and gave Janet a small peck on the cheek before leaving her to the dishes. By the time he got upstairs and into the bedroom, Justin was already in the bathroom, filling the Jacuzzi up with water. The sound was music to Brian’s ears as he eagerly stripped off his clothes and went in search of the blond. He found him sitting on the edge of the large tub, lost in thought, with silent tears running down his face.


“Hey, come here,” he whispered.


Justin jumped up and threw himself into Brian’s arms, seeking the comfort he needed so desperately. “Sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. One minute I’m fine, the next I’m a blubbering idiot,” Justin chuckled softly.


“You don’t have to apologize to me. Everyone handles these things differently. You do it by shedding tears. I prefer to be the strong, silent type.”


Those words caused Justin to think back over the last few days. Brian barely shed a tear since Kevin’s passing. He knew without a doubt that the man was mourning the death of a loved one, yet he barely showed his emotions. It made him wonder what would happen when reality finally set in.


Their bath was just what the two of them needed. Brian did wash Justin’s back, among other things, but strangely enough their touches didn’t turn sexual. The intimacy they shared was more out of a need for human contact than sex and by the time they crawled into bed, they were both satisfied just to hold each other close. They talked quietly about the day, as well as their past with Kevin, until fatigue finally took over and they drifted off to sleep locked in an embrace.


Sometime later, Justin was pulled from his sleep by the sound of soft whimpering. He glanced at the clock and saw that it was just after two in the morning. He carefully turned over and took Brian into his arms, his heart breaking for the man who’d become so important to him.


“Shhh…it’s okay,” he murmured.


“So much…for the strong…silent type, huh?” Brian replied tearfully as he struggled to calm the tears that had woken him up a short time before.


“You don’t have to be silent now,” Justin assured him. “Brian, you just lost someone you loved. Crying for your loss is natural. Don’t try to hold it in.”


“I just…I wanted to be strong for you,” Brian admitted shyly.


“You are. Crying doesn’t make you weak. You’ve been my rock through all of this. Showing your emotions wouldn’t have changed that.”


“I just…I was having this dream. In it, everything was so strange. Nothing really made much sense, but Kevin was there. He was healthy and energetic, he was alive. It was so real. And then I woke up and realized it was a dream. I guess it just all hit home. I didn’t mean to wake you.”


“Brian, I know I’ve been a little out of it for the last few days, but I am stronger than I look. I can be strong for you, too. We’re going to get through this together,” Justin said confidently as his own tears began falling.


“Look at us,” Brian chuckled. We’re going to flood the bedroom soon if we don’t cut it out.” He was trying to lighten the mood, which Justin picked up on immediately.


“Good thing we know how to swim,” he giggled. “What do you say we go raid the kitchen. I wasn’t able to eat much earlier, but now I’m starving.”


“Last one there cleans up our mess,” Brian threatened as he jumped out of bed and grabbed the robe he’d been using since he’d been there and took off down the stars, with Justin close on his heels. The somber mood was temporarily forgotten.


The next two weeks seemed to pass by rather quickly and before Brian knew it, it was time to head back to school, and his former life. Despite not working since Kevin’s death, he still had a decent amount of money in the bank and knew he’d be able to pay tuition for the following semester with little trouble, but he was also smart enough to know that he needed to start working again so that he didn’t end up destitute again. Justin had left early that morning to meet with a gallery owner about a showing they were interested in him for, so Brian used that time to pack up his things. He knew their goodbye was going to be painful, but he also knew it was necessary. His financial situation hadn’t changed any and Justin would never be happy paired with a street hustler. No, it was time to move on and follow his plans for the future. If he played his cared right, he just might be able to get his degree in a year and a half. Once he had that, he could put the past behind him and try to forget all about the men who had used him for their own pleasures through the years.


He was just about to take his bags down to the jeep when Justin burst through the door, beaming with joy.


“Guess what? They want to give me my own show. Apparently someone who knew my father is friends with the owner and bragged about my work. He’d seen my stuff in my father’s office and really liked it. All I have to do is…” Justin’s words were halted when he saw Brian’s bags packed up in the corner of the room. “Brian?”


“Look Justin,” Brian began carefully. “We both knew that I was going to be going back eventually. I agreed to live here to help out with Kevin, but he’s gone now. I need to get back to work.”


“But what about me?”


“Justin, I’m sorry, but without some kind of income, I can’t finish my schooling. You of all people know how important that is to me,” Brian replied.


“More important than me, obviously,” Justin spat angrily.


“That’s not fair. I know you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but you’re not stupid. You know all about the real world. That’s where I come from. It’s where I have to go now. I need to make enough money to make something of myself and I can’t do that sitting on my ass all day. I wish things were different, but they’re not. This is the way it has to be.”


“No it’s not. I told you that I’d pay for your school. Why won’t you let me? It’s not that big of a deal.”


“It is to me,” Brian insisted. “I need to do this on my own. I don’t want your hand-outs.”


“No, of course not. You’d rather whore yourself out to anyone who’s willing to pay rather than except money from someone who lo…cares about you.” Justin knew he was being cruel, but he couldn’t help himself. He had thought that he and Brian were becoming a real couple. He had fallen in love with the man and thought he had done the same. Apparently he was wrong. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that like it sounded.”


“Of course you did, and you’re right. I’m a whore and I hate every second of it. That’s why I have to go. So one day I’ll have the luxury of fucking who I want, when I want, not on demand. Justin, this isn’t the life I would’ve planned for myself but it’s what I ended up with. One day things will be different, and when they are I’ll look back on this time in my life and cringe, but at least I’ll know that I took charge of things and turned myself around. I need you to understand that.”


“I can’t,” Justin cried in frustration. “Brian, please don’t leave me. We can work something out. I’ll do whatever it takes to…”


“I don’t have a choice. You can’t be with someone like me and I can’t change who I am. Not yet, anyhow. Please don’t make this any harder than it already is.” Brian reached down and grabbed his bags, hating the pain he saw clearly in Justin’s eyes. “I’ve gotta go. Take care of yourself.”


Without waiting for a reply, Brian hurried out of the room and out of the house, fighting the overwhelming urge to turn back. He was doing the right thing, he was sure of that. His feelings or those of Justin just weren’t enough to overcome all the obstacles that stood between them. Maybe one day…no, he couldn’t think like that. He needed to make a clean break. He needed to put his time with Justin behind him and move on towards what lie ahead.


After making a quick stop at the market for a few necessities, Brian entered his apartment for the first time in what seemed like forever. He looked around the room and for the first time realized how small and cold it was. He’d always been proud of the well kept apartment that he managed to afford, but after staying with Justin, his view was somewhat different. It wasn’t the actual surroundings that saddened him, although going from a mansion to a small, one bedroom apartment was a big change. No, it was the silence that got to him. The loneliness that stretched out before him that made him feel so empty inside, causing him to once again wonder if he’d done the right thing. But his resolve to do what was best for them both kept him from running back out to his jeep and heading back to Justin.


He put away his purchases, did some laundry, and made sure he had everything that he needed for class the following day before jumping in the shower to prepare for work. He didn’t really want to go out that night, but figured it would be best if he jumped back in with both feet. Doing what he did never got any easier.


A few hours later, Brian found himself pacing in his regular spot on the boulevard. He’d been approached by some of his fellow hustlers, all of them anxious to find out where he’d been, but all he would say was that a friend from his past was sick and needed his help. Eventually they all went off on their own and he was able to concentrate on looking for his first trick of the night. Finally a car pulled up at the curb and waved him over. After the usual mantra about no kissing or bottoming, Brian was in the car on the way to the guy’s hotel. But it was different. He was doing the same thing that he’d been doing for almost four years, but it was as if he was doing it for the first time. It was different because he was different. Justin changed him, made him want to be so much more than he was. And as the hotel room door closed behind them, and the trick began touching him, it took everything Brian had to keep from pushing the guy away and getting out of there. It took everything he had to shut off his brain and pretend that he was enjoying himself. And when he finally sank into the guy’s ass, it wasn’t a trick that was squirming on the bed beneath him, it was a blond haired man, with deep blue eyes; and that mental vision was the only thing that kept him going while a small part of him died inside.






And so it began. Brian spent the next year and a half concentrating on his studies, working hard than he ever had, and turning tricks to keep himself fed, clothed, and with a roof over his head. It wasn't easy. Well, it was never easy for him, but it was worse once he knew what it was to have Justin by his side. Most nights it took his memories of Justin to get him through the long hours of fucking. He hated knowing that he could've been across town, living the life he only dreamed about, curling up against Justin’s warm body as he drifted off to sleep, but he was determined to make something of himself on his own. He owed it to himself and refused to let anything or anyone stand in his way. And during those long, lonely months, Brian worked diligently on his novel. Thanks to Kevin and some of his connections, he’d been contacted by a publisher who showed interest in turning Brian’s work into the next best seller. He’d been reluctant at first, unsure if he was ready to have his work criticized and critiqued by professionals, but finally gave in. The editor who had been chosen to oversee the novel was brutal in his criticism, but instead of taking it personally, Brian strove to better his story. He made the necessary changes, looking forward to the day when he would see all his hard work on display in between the covers of a book.


And during that time, he'd also tried to keep track of Justin’s accomplishments in the art world. The first time he'd heard about Justin’s plans for the future was about six months after leaving the mansion. Brian had been in the library on campus when he overheard a few fellow students talking about an opening at a local art gallery. His ears immediately perked up when he heard Justin’s name and it took everything in his power to keep from barging over and demanding on knowing what was happening. Instead, he waited until the night of the opening and showed up at the gallery. It had been foolish for him to go; Justin could've easily seen him and caused a scene. Or worse yet, he could've refused to acknowledge Brian’s presence at all. But Brian had to take the chance. He had to see Justin, even if it was from a distance.


It turned out to be easier than Brian thought to slip in and out unnoticed. The showing had been a success from the moment the doors first opened and Justin had been surrounded by so many people that Brian had no trouble mixing in with the crowd. The art work was amazing and he had been surprised to recognize himself in one of the paintings. The face was hidden, turned so that an observer wasn’t able to clearly see the man, but Brian knew it was him. As he finished looking over the work, his eyes easily found Justin in the corner of the room, laughing and chatting it up with who Brian presumed was the media. He took a minute to drink in the sight before him. It had been so long, too long, since he’d seen the blond in the flesh. He wanted more. He wanted to go over to where Justin stood, take him in his arms, and never let go; but he couldn’t. All he could to was memorize those beautiful features, like he’d ever forget them, and then make a hasty exit. The next morning there had been a write up about the event in the arts and leisure section of the local paper. The critics called Justin the next Andy Warhol, claiming that his talent was astounding and that he had a bright, shining future ahead of him. Brian had practically floated for the remainder of the day, proud of Justin’s accomplishments. After that, the Taylor name became somewhat famous in the LA area and when Brian heard that the blond had relocated to New York City, it was with a mixture of joy and sorrow that he faced the fact that Justin had done what Brian had asked him to do. He had moved on with his life.


Knowing that Justin was focusing on his career was what had caused Brian to work overtime on his novel. It was time for him to move on, too. Thanks to the money that he had earned from Justin during their time together, Brian was able to focus more on his studies and spend less time on the streets. Hustling became a weekend job, allowing the week days to be free for studies. He was proud of his 3.8 GPA and when he stood on stage and received his degree with his class, he finally felt like all the hard work he had endured had paid off. He was ready to say goodbye to the tricks and become a respectable part of the community. The only sad moment during that time was the fact that he was alone. He had no one there to see him receive his diploma. Unlike his fellow classmates, he had no one to celebrate his joy with. His parents were a part of his past. Kevin was gone, and Justin was pursuing his art on the other side of the country. That fact put a slight damper on his otherwise perfect evening.


Two weeks after the graduation, Brian was contacted once again by his publisher. His book was almost ready to hit the market. The test audience they used had been intrigued and enthralled with his story and everyone at the Penguin Group was anxious to get the ball rolling on it’s release. Brian was overwhelmed by the attention he was being shown and when he was handed a check, an advance on his future earnings he was told, he began to realize just how much his world was changing. He’d already started work on his next story, but this time everything was so incredibly different. As each chapter was finished, they were handed over to his editor and worked on immediately instead of waiting for the entire novel to be finished. The pace was grueling, but Brian was loving every minute of it. He was quickly putting the past behind him, doing what he loved to do, instead of just surviving. He was so lost in his own world of writing and rewriting, that he hadn’t been paying attention to anything else around him until he got the one phone call that made every damn thing he’d been through worth it. A Lonely Road made the best sellers list. It was a dream come true. Not many authors made the list on their first try and Brian was beside himself with the excitement of it all. It spurred him to work even harder on completing his second novel, and within a matter of just a few months, he’d done just that. Having been edited during its progress, The Demon’s Within took a lot less time to come together, and it too made the list, giving Brian much more success than he expected. He was flown to select cities where he was treated like royalty as he sat in large book stores such as Borders and Barnes and Noble, signing his name to his books as his fans patiently stood in line.


“It's all so surreal,” he’d told everyone who asked. “One day I’m just some guy working my ass off to get my degree and the next I see my name in publications being compared to Dean Koontz and James Patterson. I’m just happy that I can entertain people with my creativity.”


His agent, yes he had an agent, told him to stop being so modest, but he couldn’t help it. His past kept him grounded. He knew he’d been lucky to have raced to the top like he had and he had no intentions of getting cocky about it.


His life was finally perfect. Well, almost perfect.  Despite his money and his fame, there was still something missing. The one person who could make his life complete was out of reach and he wasn’t sure what to do about it. His last leg of the tour was in New York. He considered looking Justin up; finding him and seeing if the feelings the blond had for him were still there, but he decided against it. His name had been splashed all over the place since the release of  A Lonely Road. If Justin wanted to contact him, he would have. No, moving on was moving on, and Justin had obviously managed to put Brian in his past. Now Brian just needed to find a way to do the same thing with Justin.


Finally, the day of the final signing had arrived. The tour had been long and grueling. He enjoyed meeting his fans and hearing their take on his books, but the schedule he’d been keeping left a lot to be desired, and Brian was anxious to get home and sleep in his own bed. He thanked his manager once again after the last book was signed and refused the lift being offered, chosing instead to hail a cab and take in a bit of the city. He’d never been in New York before, and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. He had a day and a half to explore before catching a flight back to LA, and he wanted to make the most of it. Just as he stepped off the curb to flag down his cab, a familiar voice called out to him from behind.


“Going my way? Maybe we can share.”


Brian turned around quickly, and fought to strong urge to grab the man in front of him and never let him go. “That depends. Which way are you headed?”


“I was heading uptown actually. I’ve got a place there and I was going to have an early dinner. Care to join me? I’ve been working on my culinary skills and have become somewhat of a decent chef in the last couple of years.”


“Well, I am kind of hungry. I guess an early dinner sounds like a good idea,” Brian replied, his heart in his throat at the thought of going back to Justin’s place. Other than that one night in the art gallery, Brian hadn’t seen the blond in over three years, yet Justin still took his breath away.

Justin smiled as he hailed a cab, his heart beating wildly in his chest. It had been his plan all along to wait for Brian to end up in New York and so far everything was working according to plan. He thought he’d go nuts waiting for the signing to end. He’d wanted to run inside and pull Brian into his arms, but used all of his will power to wait it out. It had been three years; he could wait a little bit longer. Now they were side by side in the back of a cab, neither one of them sure what to say.


“So, you’d been pretty busy lately,” Justin began, hoping to find something to get them talking.


“Yeah, life’s been a little hectic lately. In fact, I’ve been looking forward to the end of the tour. I’m officially on vacation for the next month. I don’t even want to look at a computer,” Brian laughed nervously. He still couldn’t believe he was with Justin again. It was like a dream come true.


“What about the next great novel?”


“It can wait. Actually I already have the outline and the first few chapters written, but don’t tell anyone,” Brian put his finger to his lips in a hush signal and the smiled.


The rest of the ride was made with a lot of small talk. Brian asked about the city and Justin pointed out places of interest as they drove by. Soon enough they were at Justin’s building and Brian made it a point of paying for the cab before getting out. Justin led him inside and into the elevator. Brian wasn’t surprised to find out that Justin was in the penthouse suite.


True to his word, Justin made them dinner, using the skills he’d picked up in a few cooking classes he’d taken. He’d been bored and thought it was a good way to forget all about Brian. It didn’t work, but at least he got his money’s worth out of the classes. Brian thoroughly enjoyed his meal. After they finished eating, Brian helped Justin load the dishwasher and then the two of them sat down in the living room with a bottle of wine.


“This is a nice place,” Brian commented once they were seated.


“Thanks. It kind of just fell into my lap while I was looking to rent an apartment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be staying here, but I knew it would be a good investment so I jumped on it. I miss Janet, Robert, and William, but I love it here. The city has so much to offer. Late at night, when I’m having trouble sleeping, I can always find something to do to keep boredom from setting in,” Justin replied with a smile.


“Oh,” Brian said, feeling a little twinge of jealousy. “Kind of like how you found me one night when you were bored? Are the hustlers here better than in LA?”


“Brian, that’s not what I meant,” Justin said softly.


“Sorry. I didn’t mean that.”


The silence between them grew tense after Brian’s comment and neither one of them were sure what to say after that. Brian was the one who finally broke the silence.


“What about you? From what I hear, you’re really wowing the art world. I know I was impressed at that first show you had in LA.”


“You were there?” Justin asked incredulously.


“On opening night.”


“Why didn’t you say something? Let me know you were there?”


“What would’ve been the point? Nothing had changed. You were still this rich, extremely nice guy, looking for someone to love, and I was still a hustler,” Brian pointed out.


“I thought we were friends. At least friends, if nothing else. It would’ve been nice to see you. To know that you were okay,” Justin said. “I was worried about you. After what happened to your friend…I had some pretty horrible nightmares after you left.”

“Well, as you can see I’m fine. There were a few encounters that I could’ve done without, but I survived.”


“Yeah. You did. And you made something of yourself, just like you planned to do. I was really proud of you the day I walked into Borders and saw your name on The Lonely Road. The dedication to Kevin was beautiful. I bought five copies that day,” Justin admitted shyly.


“Why five?” Brian asked curiously.


“Truthfully? I felt closer to you having them, I guess. I couldn’t have you, but I could have a part of you. That story…it’s you. It’s who you are and how you came to be up until I met you. Call me a sentimental fool, but it felt good to have that. Since you’re here, I should make you sign them. The resale on them will be extrodinary one day,” Justin laughed nervously. He felt so exposed after sharing his thoughts.


“I don’t know about that, but if you get me a pen, I’ll sign away,” Brian said. A little uncomfortable with the praise. The entire evening had been so emotional for him and hearing that Justin bought so many copies of his book felt strange, but good. Very, very good.


Justin took the opportunity to get out from under Brian’s glare as he got a pen and brought four books over for Brian to sign. Brian signed every one of them happily and when he was done, he looked up at Justin expectantly. “Where’s the fifth?”


“Come with me,” Justin said softly as he took Brian by the hand. Since Brian didn’t pull away, Justin continued to hold on to him as he led him to his bedroom. They both stopped in the doorway. “I keep one on my nightstand.”


Brian hesitated a moment before walking into the bedroom. He looked around at the tastefully decorated room and felt such a sense of longing. He wanted to be a part of it. He wanted Justin’s bedroom to be their bedroom. He pushed those thoughts away and followed Justin over to the nightstand, taking the book that was being offered to him. He noticed how worn the book jacket was and smiled at the thought of Justin thumbing through the pages. It was in this book that he wrote a personal message before signing his name and handing it back.


Justin took the book, opened the cover, and read the message out loud.




Thank you so much for believing in me. It gave me a sense of joy through the last few years to know  that there was someone out there that cared about me. Someone who knew the real me and still thought I was worth something. That knowledge helped me become who I am today.





“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” Justin said tearfully.


“You don’t have to say anything,” Brian replied.


“Yes I do. This is bullshit!” Justin exclaimed as he tossed the book down on the bed and began pacing the room. “This whole night has been a waste of time.”

Brian stared at Justin in horror. He had no idea what to say. He thought the evening was great. Just being close to Justin again was wonderful, and now here Justin was claiming that it was a waste. “I’m sorry. I guess I just thought…nevermind. I’ll just get going.”


“Brian Kinney, don’t you dare walk out that door again!” Justin yelled, stopping Brian before he made his exit. He waited until Brian turned around and looked at him before finally saying everything that was in his heart for the last three years. “I loved you.”




“I said I loved you. I think I loved you the moment I saw you standing on that sidewalk, but if not then, it had to be when I learned that you were the sweet, caring person that Kevin was so in love with. During our time together I tried so hard to fight what I was feeling, but I couldn’t. The love I felt for you was stronger than anything I’ve ever felt before. Even with Kevin, and I hate to say that because I loved him dearly, but it was different with you. It was like we had this special something between us that drew us together, even without our realizing it. It’s the reason I moved to New York in the first place.”


“You moved here because of me? Why?” Brian asked in confusion. His heart was beating out of his chest in anticipation of what was to come, but he tried to reign it in. He had to know exactly what Justin was saying before allowing himself to feel any elation. He couldn’t handle the devastation if he had misunderstood.


“Because I couldn’t stay in LA. I couldn’t stay in the same city as you and give you the space you wanted. I used to drive around the city, looking for you, hoping to find you so I could get a glimpse of your beautiful face and perfect body. I was going crazy,” Justin laughed as he thought back to those early days.


“And did you ever find me?”


“Yeah, a couple of times. I think that was even harder than not finding you. I would sit there, hidden descretely in my car, and watch you ‘working’. I’d see you walk over to someone, knowing exactly what you were offering them, and it would break my heart. Not only because you’re too special to be selling yourself, but because you were selling something that I so desperately wanted. And I know it was foolish to be jealous. What you had with your tricks couldn’t even come close to what we shared, but there I was, ready to kick the ass of every man that was allowed to touch you when I wasn’t. I had to get away before I lost my mind. It was so hard moving so far away from you, but it put me at a safe distance. I thought that maybe the space would help me get over you.”


“And did it?” Brian asked calmly, hoping that he knew the answer.


“I wanted it to. I tried so hard to put you in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t. I would spend my days painting, wondering what you would think of whatever piece I was working on. I’d go out to the bars and wonder what you’d think of the place. And at night. At night I would lie in bed and think of you, remember what it felt like to hold you and touch you. I would think back to the moment you kissed me for the first time. I saw such passion in your eyes and it was all for me. Damn it, Brian Kinney! You walked into my life, turned it upside down, and then walked away, taking my heart and soul with you. How could you do that? How could you walk away and never look back?”


Brian was startled by Justin’s anger. He’d known Justin was hurt when he left, but he never realized how much pain he was causing. But he couldn’t turn back the clock. He couldn’t change the last three years, but maybe he had the ability to fix their future. But first he had some admissions of his own.


“Not look back? Are you kidding me? I spent so much time looking back that I could barely move forward. It was agony to walk away from you. Every step I took weighed me down and I didn’t think I’d have the courage to do it. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I was doing the right thing. I wanted to be with you so bad that it hurt, but I couldn’t give you what you deserved back then. I was a hustler. What did I have to offer you?”


“But Brian, I didn’t see you as a hustler. You were always so much more than that. You were kind, compassionate, supportive. You slowly became my best friend as well as my lover. I didn’t care if you were a hustler or a bum living on the street. I loved you and I wanted to be with you. I would’ve given up my entire fortune and turned tricks alongside of you as long as we were together. And don’t get me wrong, I am so proud of where you are now. The way you fought your way to the top is amazing and admirable and if anyone deserves the fame you’re building, it’s you. But I didn’t need you to become a great author to love you. I just needed you to be you.”


“So, what happens now?” Brian asked tentatively as he tried to descretely wipe at the dampness surrounding his eyes.


Justin wiped away his own tears and smiled. “Well, right now we’re going to get in that bed and you’re going to make love to me until the sun rises.”


“I am?” Brian smiled too, as he walked over and took Justin in his arms. He was more than up for the task.


“Yes, you are. And then we’re going to sit down and decide where to go from here. But I’m warning you, wherever it is, we’re going together. Got it?”


“I got it,” Brian laughed. “I really am sorry for…”


“Shhh…don’t say it. That’s all behind us now. We’re only going to be looking forward from now on.”


Brian leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on Justin’s waiting mouth and then pulled back slightly to look deep into his eyes. “I love you, Justin.”


“I love you, too.”







Two years later…


Joan Kinney was sitting at the dining room table reading the morning paper when an article in the Arts and Leisure section caught her eye.


Best selling author Brian Kinney and world renowned artist Justin Taylor were married last week in a small ceremony in Toronto. The two men met five years ago and had a brief relationship, but then went their separate ways to pursue their careers. Fate brought them back together two years ago and they’ve been inseparatable ever since. They currently reside in Los Angles, but spend a lot of their time in a penthouse in Manhattan’s upper east side. When asked why they would choose to marry in Canada when their nuptials carry no legal recognition here in the states, Mr. Taylor simply replied that their ceremony was a symbol of the love that they have for one another that could be shared with their friends and families. Those families being the ones they created through the years. Both of Mr. Taylor’s parents were killed in a car accident when he was just eighteen years old. Mr. Kinney has no contact with his parents or his older sister. A close personal friend of the couple says that he’s never seen two people so much in love. After a two week honeymoon in Italy, the couple will come back home where Mr. Kinney’s fourth book is scheduled for release and Mr. Taylor will open the doors to his own art gallery, Creations, located in the heart of Los Angles. Everyone here at the New York Times wishes them all the best.


Joan put the paper down and wiped away a few stray tears that began trailing down her cheeks. She may not be able to accept her son and his lifestyle, but she was glad that he found happiness in his life. He deserved that, and so much more.



The End



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