Now That You're Here


Chapter 11


Brian and Justin went to the video store and picked up a couple of movies, and then stopped by the store for some snacks before making their way back home. They agreed to watch the movies in the basement. It was still unfinished, but Chris and Zander had hopes of turning it into a game/rec room and had already invested in carpeting, a long L-shaped sectional couch, and a big screen TV. No one really used the room, but it was the perfect place for the two of them to lounge around and hang out. The first movie they watched was one of Brian’s favorites. It was an old James Dean flick that Justin had never seen before, but he enjoyed it and could see why Brian was so enamored with the dead actor. He was hot in an old rebel way. The second movie was a gay Indie film that Brian had read about online, but the acting was bad and they quickly lost interest in it. Instead, they lay on the couch, one of them on each end with their heads meeting in the middle, and started talking about their lives.

“Zander told me that you were living here because you were gay, but he wouldn’t tell me the details. He told me to ask you. What happened? I know Chris’ story, but not yours,” Justin asked cautiously. He’d been hoping to learn more about Brian’s past.

“It’s no big deal. My father saw me making out with a guy from town and freaked out. He beat the shit out of me and told me to get out. Luckily my mother took some pity on me and gave me Chris’ phone number. It was the only good thing she ever did for me. I didn’t even know she knew how to reach him. All I was told when I asked about why Chris hadn’t come home was that he turned his back on his family. It wasn’t until I saw him again that I knew it wasn’t his choice to leave,” Brian said, keeping his tone even to hide his emotions.

“Wow,” Justin said, feeling a surge of anger towards two people he’d never met. “I can’t imagine my parents reacting like that. I mean…I was afraid to come out to them, and worried about them not accepting me, but I never really thought about how bad it could be.”

“You wouldn’t. From what I hear, your parents were great. Even on their worst day, they couldn’t even begin to match Jack and Joan Kinney, but it doesn’t matter anymore. My dad beating the shit out of me was the best thing that ever happened to me. Even before they found out I was gay, they were pretty horrible to live with. Now I get to live with Chris and Zander. I wouldn’t trade the past for the world,” Brian assured him confidently. He knew without a doubt that he didn’t miss a single minute with his parents. “I’m sorry about before,” he said suddenly, effectively changing the subject.

“About what?”

“Well, I was kind of an ass, pushing Zander to go away with Chris. I never even gave you an opportunity to object. I just know how much they hate being apart. The other one always mopes around the house. Last weekend Chris was driving me crazy while Zan was in Pittsburgh. Do you mind if he goes?”

“Of course not. I don’t want anyone interrupting their lives because of me. I’ll be fine here without Zander, and it’s not like you won’t be here. I mean, you don’t have to babysit me or anything. If you have plans to go out, that’s fine. I just meant that I’m not going to be all alone, you know?”

“Actually,” Brian said. “We both have plans this weekend.”

“We do?”

“Yeah, whenever Chris and Zander go away, the gang comes over and hangs out. It’s like tradition. We do it when anyone’s parents go away. Mine just go away more than most,” Brian replied with a small chuckle. “Oh, that reminds me. I have to call Steve and tell him what’s going on. He’ll start letting everyone know.” Brian got up to retrieve his cell phone from the table where he threw it before they started watching TV and opened it before looking over at Justin. “You don’t mind, do you? I seem to keep forgetting that you live here, too.”

“Thanks a lot,” Justin laughed.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” Brian chuckled. “I just meant that I’m so used to doing things without checking with anyone else. Is it cool to have everyone over? You live here too now.”

“Of course it’s cool,” Justin assured him.

“Cool,” Brian smiled as he finished making his call. After telling Steve about the weekend, he hung up and took his position back on the couch. “We’re going to meet everyone by the river tomorrow night and set everything up. Now how about we put in the other movie? This one sucks.”

“Yeah, it does,” Justin agreed before getting up and changing the DVD, all thoughts about parents and the weekend forgotten.



By the time Brian and Justin got to the river the following night, everyone was already there. Justin spotted Dane immediately and was nervous about facing him. He knew he was acting strange the other day and still didn’t have an excuse for it. He wasn’t ready to answer any questions Dane might ask him. Luckily it didn’t look like Dane was still upset about what happened. Not by the way his face lit up when he saw Justin approaching.

“Hey,” Dane said as he came to a stop in front of Justin. “I was hoping you’d be here. You wanna go for a walk with me?”

Justin looked over at Brian for reassurance, but he was already in deep conversation with Steve and a guy whose name Justin couldn’t remember. He obviously wasn’t worried about what Justin did. “Sure.”

They walked down the river, far enough away from everyone so that they had some privacy, before Dane stopped walking and pulled Justin into a kiss. It didn’t last too long, but it was passionate enough to have an effect on Justin’s groin.

“So, I hear we’re all getting together at your place this weekend.”

“Yeah, Brian said it’s tradition around here to hang out whenever someone’s parents go away,” Justin replied. “I take it you’ll be there?”

“Of course, as long as it’s alright with you.”

Justin glanced back at the crowd in time to see Brian put his arm around Zac and pull him close. He was startled by the surge of jealousy that ran through him as he refocused his attention back on Dane. “Of course it’s alright with me,” he replied.

“I was hoping you’d say that.” Dane smiled as he leaned in and kissed Justin again, quickly pushing thoughts of Brian and the weekend from his mind.

Brian glanced over in the distance and watched Dane kissing Justin for a second time and fought down the urge to go over and beat his friend to a pulp. He knew it was none of his business, but he didn’t like the two of them getting cozy and tried to think up a reason to keep Dane from showing up at their house on Saturday night. He couldn’t come up with one. As he pulled his gaze away from the disturbing scene and refocused on the friends he was with, he saw Steve watching him closely. He plastered on a fake smile and hoped that his friend would leave well enough alone. The last thing he wanted was another lecture about staying out of Justin’s business.



Saturday came quickly and Brian and Justin spent the day straightening up the already immaculate house and shopping for food. By five o’clock, the back yard was filled with people and Brian had burgers cooking on the grill. Dane hadn’t shown up yet, and Brian was secretly hoping that something had come up to keep him away. He watched Justin as he walked around the yard, playing the perfect host and making sure everyone had what they needed. In fact, he was so busy watching Justin that he never noticed Steve come up behind him.

“Man, you have it bad for him, don’t you?”

Brian spun around and gave Steve an evil glare. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“I’m talking about the way you’re watching Justin like he’s on tonight’s menu,” Steve grinned.

“Fuck off,” Brian growled.

“Dane is gonna show. You know that, right? He called me earlier and said that he was going to be late, but that he would see me here. I know how you feel about Justin, and if you refuse to even consider hooking up with him, that’s your choice. But you’re going to end up driving yourself, and me, nuts until you let this all go.”

“There’s nothing to let go. Justin is family, and I just want to keep an eye on him. That’s all. Now, make yourself useful and grab that platter for me so I can get these hamburgers off the grill before they burn,” Brian replied, effectively changing the subject.

Justin had just finished eating when he saw Dane come around the side of the house. He had called earlier in the day to say that he had to help his dad work on his car and that he would be late, but Justin was starting to worry. He’d been sitting by the pool for the last two hours watching Zac flirting with Brian, and was getting more and more aggravated by the moment. He shouldn’t care what Brian was doing, but he couldn’t help the jealousy that ran through him at the sight of those two together.

“Hey, sorry I’m so late,” Dane said as he sat down alongside Justin. “It took longer that I thought to get my dad’s car running. I don’t see why he doesn’t just get rid of it and buy a new one. It’s not like he can’t afford to. He’s just so stubborn when it comes to spending money.”

“My dad was like that, too. He refused to replace something until he was sure that it couldn’t be fixed. It drove my mom and me nuts,” Justin laughed.

Dane smiled and leaned in, giving Justin a quick kiss. “Did I miss anything?”

“Not really. Everyone’s just been hanging out, eating and talking.”

“Did Trent’s brother come through for us?”

“Yeah, the keg’s over there in the shade,” Justin replied, pointing to the corner of the house.

“Cool, I’ll be right back.”

Justin watched Dane walk away, feeling a little uncomfortable. He wasn’t opposed to drinking, but he didn’t like the way Dane seemed to be more focused on beer than food. His friends back in Pittsburgh used to tease him about playing the mother hen, but he hated being around people who were really drunk. So far, Brian seemed to go easy on the drinking, but he had a bad feeling about the way Dane made a beeline for the keg. He hoped that he was just overreacting.

It turned out that he wasn’t. As the night progressed, Justin watched Dane drink more and more, and didn’t like the change in him. He went from being sweet and caring, to being obnoxious and loud. He could even see a few other people looking at Dane with disgust and sensed that trouble was brewing. He knew he had to do something before things got out of control.

“Dane, why don’t I take you upstairs so you can lay down for awhile?” Justin suggested, hoping to defuse any potential problems.

“Now you’re talking,” Dane slurred as he swung his arm around Justin clumsily. “Show me to your bedroom.”

Justin struggled to get Dane into the house without anyone noticing. Brian had been giving Dane dangerous looks all night and Justin had a feeling he wouldn’t be too happy if he stumbled upon them. The stairs were hard to maneuver, but Justin finally managed to get Dane up to his room, panting from the exertion of the task. Once they were in the room, Justin got him over to the bed and gently pushed him down. Unfortunately, Dane still had enough coordination to reach out and pull Justin down with him.

“What the hell are you doing?” Justin snapped as he struggled to get free from Dane’s grasp.

“I’m just having a little fun,” Dane replied. He sloppily placed his mouth on Justin’s as he reached down and grabbed Justin’s cock roughly through his shorts.

Justin tried to push Dane off him, but despite the alcohol that he had consumed, Dane was still stronger than him. Panic gripped Justin and without thinking about the consequences, he raised his leg and allowed his knee to go directly into Dane’s crotch. He jumped off the bed quickly, leaving the guy rolling around on the bed in pain.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Dane screamed, his face red in anger. “Why did you do that?”

“Because I’m not your play toy!” Justin shouted back, his own anger rising. “You’ve been a drunken ass all night. Why would you think I’d want you to kiss me?”

“You dragged me up to your bedroom, didn’t you?”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” Justin exclaimed. “I brought you up here so you could lie down and sober up, you asshole. Not so you could have a good time.”

“You’re nothing but a cock-tease! I don’t know what I saw in you to begin with!” Dane finally managed to get himself off the bed and with one last look of fury, stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

Justin waited until he was sure that Dane was gone and then threw himself face down on his bed, unable to stop the tears that sprang to his eyes. How had he been so wrong about the kind of guy Dane was? Brian had tried to warn him, but he refused to listen. How was he ever going to face Brian again? All those thoughts didn’t help to stops his tears. They just made them fall even harder.

“Steve, have you seen Dane and Justin?” Brian asked as he looked around the yard. He’d been keeping an eye on them all night, but had lost sight of them about five minutes earlier. He could tell Dane had been drinking too much and had a bad feeling about their disappearance.

“They were over there a few minutes ago, but now I don’t know where they are,” Steve replied. “Don’t worry about them. I’m sure they just went for a walk or something.”

“Who are you looking for?” Zac asked as he came up alongside Brian.

“Dane and Justin. Have you seen them?” Brian asked.

“They were headed in the house a couple of minutes ago. Dane’s obviously had too much to drink and Justin was helping him inside,” Zac told him, placing his arm around Brian’s waist, unaware of Brian’s frustration. “You wanna go for a swim big guy?”

“Not now,” Brian snarled as he stormed towards the house.

“Zac, go get Trent and meet me inside…now!” Steve demanded as he quickly followed Brian inside.

Brian burst through the back door and quickly walked through the house, looking in every room downstairs for Justin and Dane. When they all turned up empty, he had a sinking feeling in his gut. He made his way back to the stairs and found Steve, Zac, and Trent standing there watching him cautiously.

“I’ll kill him,” Brian murmured.

“Brian, relax,” Steve said, trying to calm his friend. “You don’t even know what’s…”

Before Steve could finish what he was saying, Dane came staggering down the stairs, holding his crotch and mumbling under his breath.

“Where’s Justin?” Brian demanded.

“That little cock-tease? Who the fuck cares where he is? You want him so bad, Brian; you can have him,” Dane snapped as he reached the bottom step. He was oblivious to Brian’s anger until he felt two hands grab him and slam him up against the wall, the throbbing of his dick quickly forgotten. “Get your fucking hands off me!”

“What the fuck did you do to him?” Brian shouted, releasing his anger.

“Brian!” Steve yelled as he grabbed Brian by the waist and tried to pull him off Dane. Zac and Trent quickly joined in and it took all three of them to separate the two. “Go upstairs and check on Justin.”

Brian ignored Steve as he struggled to break free from his friends’ grasp.

“Brian, go!” Steve insisted.

Brian managed his release and got right in Dane’s face, ignoring the fear in his eyes. “Stay the fuck away from him!” he spat before turning and heading up the stairs, his mind quickly switching gears. His only concern was Justin.

He got to Justin’s closed door and raised his hand to knock when he heard the faint sound of crying coming from the other side. His first thought was to turn around and go back downstairs to beat the shit out of Dane, but he squelched the thought and instead knocked lightly on the closed door before entering.

“Hey, are you okay?” Brian asked tentatively as he closed the door behind him and walked over to the bed.

“I’m fine,” Justin mumbled with his face still partially buried in his pillow. “Go back down to the party.”

“Justin, what happened?” Brian prodded as he sat down on the side of the bed. “Dane seemed…upset.”

“It was no big deal,” Justin replied softly, struggling to keep his emotions in check. He kept his face turned away from Brian, hoping to keep his true feelings to himself. “We just had a disagreement.”

Brian placed a hand on Justin’s back, trying to offer comfort. “Justin, whatever happened, it’s not your fault. You can tell me.”

“I’d rather not talk about it,” Justin said.


“Brian, please…just leave me alone,” Justin pleaded.

“I can’t,” Brian replied. “Look, I know you’re upset, and I have a pretty good idea why. I’m not going to just walk away and pretend that nothing happened. Just talk to me.”

“What do you want me to say?” Justin asked as he rolled over and made eye contact with Brian. His self-pity quickly turned to anger, but instead of being angry at himself, he turned it on Brian. “You were right, okay? Dane doesn’t care about anyone’s feelings but his own and I was in over my head. Are you happy now?”

“Of course I’m not happy. I’m not the bad guy here, remember? Now just tell me what happened?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to take it out on you. It’s just…I don’t know what happened. He was drunk, so I brought him up here thinking that he needed to lie down for awhile. As soon as I got him onto the bed, he pulled me down and started kissing and groping me. I tried to push him away, but he was stronger than me. I panicked and kneed him in the groin,” Justin explained as calmly as he could as his whole body shook with delayed fear. “I thought he liked me. I really thought he liked me and wanted to be with me. I’m pretty stupid, huh?”

“Justin, you’re not stupid, and it’s not your fault. Dane’s just…he’s got a lot of problems. One of them is his excessive drinking. He’ll go weeks without touching a drop, but once he gets going, it gets out of hand. And I’m sure he does like you. Who wouldn’t? He’s just used to getting his own way. I’m sure his ego took a big hit when you tried to refuse him. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Justin was about to reply when there was another knock at the door. He quickly wiped his eyes and turned away, hoping to keep whoever was trying to enter from seeing him so upset.

“Come in,” Brian called out.

Steve opened the door and poked his head in. “Uh…Dane’s gone. Zac drove him home and Trent followed in his car so he could drive Zac home when they’re done. Is everything okay in here?”

Brian took a quick glance at Justin before turning back to Steve. “Yeah, everything’s fine. Could you do me a favor and send everyone home? I’ll clean up the mess in the morning. Justin and I are gonna hang out up here for awhile.”

“Sure, no problem, Brian. Give me a call in the morning,” Steve said, noticing how upset Justin seemed. “Good night, Justin.”

“Bye, Steve,” Justin said, making sure to keep his voice even and his eyes averted so that Steve wouldn’t see his tear-stained face. Once the door was closed, Justin looked back at Brian. “You don’t have to sit up here with me. You could go back downstairs with your friends.”

“I’m with one of my friends up here, and I think you need me more than they do right now.” Brian said, offering Justin a small smile. “I’m right where I want to be.”

End of part 11


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