Now That You're Here


Chapter 15


The morning of the trip finally arrived and Brian nearly sprang out of bed in excitement. Every year since moving in with Chris, they'd taken a week off for a family vacation. And although they had a great time on all of those trips, Brian usually found himself lonely on the occasions when Chris and Zander left him behind in the hotel room so they could go have a few drinks and check out the nightlife. This year he'd have Justin with him so he was looking forward to it even more. After a quick shower and a final check of his luggage to make sure he had everything he needed, Brian went into Justin's room the make sure his companion was ready. The blond was still sound asleep in his bed.

“Justin, wake up! It’s time to go to the lake,” Brian shouted in excitement as he jumped on the end of the bed. “We’re leaving in an hour and you’re not even up yet.”

“Brian,” Justin moaned as he pulled the blankets up over his head. “Give me fifteen more minutes.”

“No!” Brian replied. “Now get your ass out of bed. I’m going downstairs to start the coffee and if I don't hear the shower turn on while I'm down there, I'm coming back up and dragging you out of bed.”

Justin kept himself buried in the blankets until he heard Brian close the door behind him, and then peeked out to look at the clock. His friend had to be nuts. It was only 6:30 in the morning. Why on earth would they have to be up that early? The lake they were going to was only a few hours away and check in time wasn’t until two. After considering the possibilities of falling back to sleep and knowing that Brian would keep his promise to return, Justin dragged himself out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom. He turned on the shower as hot as he could stand it, and then jumped in, desperate to wash away his sleepiness. After a few moments, the water worked its magic and Justin was finally starting to wake up and feel like himself.

Once he was dried off and dressed, he went downstairs in search of the rest of the clan. Chris and Brian were sitting at the kitchen table drinking their coffee while sounds from the downstairs shower could be heard in the distance.

“Good morning, guys,” Justin greeted as he walked in and reached for a mug. Despite the shower, he needed a jolt of caffeine. Especially if Brian’s excitement was going to be as high as it appeared to be upstairs.

“Hey Justin, you all ready to go?” Chris asked as he slid the sugar bowl over to where Justin placed his steaming cup of coffee.

“Yeah, I’m all packed. Tell me why we’re up at the crack of dawn when check-in time isn’t until this afternoon.”

“Because Brian has no patience. Every year he makes us leave earlier and earlier. Pretty soon he’s going to have us leaving the night before,” Chris teased, shooting a smile Brian’s way.

“Oh shut up,” Brian spat. “Besides, it’s not like getting there early is a problem. We’ll just hit the lake before checking in. No point in wasting our day with driving and unpacking. This way we get more time on the water.”

“Yeah, I guess we can sleep when we're dead," Justin teased as Brian's excitement became contagious.

"Exactly!" Brian exclaimed. "See Chris, Justin sees my point of view. Why can't you?"

"Maybe because I was up until two in the morning trying to finish up a few things so I could get away," Chris replied.

"Oh, get over it, Old Man," Brian said, unable to keep the smile off his face.

"You'd better watch it, Buddy," Zander said as he strolled into the kitchen with his hair damp and clinging to his face. “Or Chris, Justin, and I will be on our way to the lake and you'll be sitting here all by yourself."

"You guys wouldn't leave me behind," Brian said confidently.

"You sure about that?" Chris asked, giving Brian a serious look.

"Um...I think so," Brian began, losing some of his confidence. “But just to be on the safe side, I'm going to run upstairs and grab my bags. You coming, Justin?"

"Why would I go with you? I'm not the one getting in trouble," Justin teased, causing Brian to shoot him an evil look while everyone else laughed.

"Come on, asshole."

Justin laughed harder, along with Chris and Zander, as he got up and followed a solemn Brian up the stairs.

They were on the road in under an hour, the conversation focused on Justin's friends' visit.

"So when are they flying in?" Zander asked as he turned around and looked at Justin.

"Their plane lands at five o'clock next Monday. Brian's volunteered to take me to pick them up, provided that his boss lets him sneak out of work an hour early." Justin smiled sweetly as he batted his blue eyes at Zander.

“Oh give it a rest. I’ll let him go early,” Zander laughed. “And they’re staying for the week?”

“Just about. They’re flying back Sunday night,” Justin told him. “That’s okay, right?”

“Of course it’s okay. I told you, your friends are welcome at the house anytime,” Zander assured him once again. “I’m borrowing two roll away beds from Stacy at the shop. I’ll give her a call while we’re gone and arrange to pick them up Sunday, after we get back.”

“Cool. Thanks.”

“No problem.”

By the time the four of them checked into the hotel, it was almost dinner time and they were all exhausted. The suite was nicer than anything Justin had ever seen before, with two separate bedrooms as well as a decent sized living area. Although Justin’s parents weren’t exactly poor, he couldn’t remember a time when they stayed in such luxury while vacationing.

“Our room is over here,” Brian said as he led Justin down to their bedroom.

“Wow, I can’t believe the size of this place,” Justin said as he looked around the room, taking in all the space.

“I know. Chris is friends with the owner, so he gets the penthouse suite at half price. There’s no way either one of them would pay full price for this,” Brian explained. He put his suitcase on his bed and quickly began unpacking. “I hope you don’t mind taking the other bed. I always sleep by the window when we’re here.”

“No, this is fine,” Justin replied as he followed suit and started unpacking. “So, aside from the lake, what exactly is there to do around here?”

“Well, there’s always a lot going on in the clubhouse. They have game rooms and a bar and grill, as well as tennis courts and a volleyball pit. Then, if you walk down the hill, opposite of the way we came up here, there’s a full sized mall with a movie theater. It’s a total resort area too, so they have buses and shuttles running almost every hour during the day in case you get bored with the lake and the mall. Last year, Chris, Zander, and I went horseback riding at a place about twenty minutes from here. Oh, and I heard they were putting in a laser tag and paint ball arena across from the mall. It should be open by now. They had already broken ground last time we were here.”

“Damn, it sounds like the perfect place to vacation,” Justin said.

“Duh, why do you think we come here?” Brian laughed. “Now why don’t you finish unpacking and then hop into the shower? Tradition has us eating in the clubhouse tonight.”

“Sounds good to me. I’m starving,” Justin said as he finished putting his clothes away, leaving out jeans and a shirt for dinner. He stripped down quickly and then headed into the attached bathroom, unaware of the hazel eyes watching him.

Brian waited until he heard the shower turn on before dropping down on his bed and burying his head in his hands. What the hell was wrong with him? He’d admitted to himself a few weeks before that he was attracted to the blond, but vowed to keep his desires in check. Nothing could ever come of the two of them together, even if Justin was interested, because of their living situation and the fact that they were almost related...kind of. Why was it that ever since Justin pulled off his t-shirt at the lake, exposing his porcelain skin, and dove into the water, Brian hadn’t been able to stop imagining what his skin felt like. It wasn’t like he’d never seen Justin without a shirt before. Hell, they’d spent hours goofing off in the pool at home and he’d seen him completely naked a few times coming out of the shower, too. Why did he suddenly feel a change in the atmosphere around him now?

Maybe it had something to do with being far away from home. Maybe it was the change in geography that had him in overdrive, lusting after his friend. Yeah, that was it. And maybe pigs flew through the sky. Whatever it was, he needed to rein in his lustful thoughts quickly, before Chris and Zander, or worse yet Justin, figured out what was going through his head. He didn't want to find himself at the bottom of the lake with a large rock strapped to his ankle.

Justin glanced at the clock and was surprised to see that it was only eight in the morning. All week long he'd managed to sleep in as late as Chris and Zander would let him, enjoying his vacation even more than he anticipated. It had been a great week. Between boating and jet skiing, not to mention all the other things the area had to offer, they'd never been bored. Brian had been great through the week, too. He knew quite a few of the regulars from around town, and plenty of the repeat guests that he’d gotten to know from spending the same week every season in the small town. He made sure to introduce Justin to everyone he knew and made him feel very welcome, just as he had back in his hometown. It had to be that reason and that reason alone, that Justin found himself looking at Brian differently. Yes, he had admitted to being physically attracted to Brian from the moment he laid eyes on him, but this was different. The feelings he was experiencing were going beyond the purely physical and it scared him. He was terrified of being caught. Of having one if not all of them figure out that he was lusting after someone who was completely off limits for a number of reasons, least of which was the fact that they were living like brothers and their families were intertwined in the most intimate way.

He needed to get a grip before he completely embarrassed himself and was forced to move back to Pittsburgh. The attraction was making him more and more uncomfortable and he was almost looking forward to getting back home so he could lock himself away in his room when he felt the urge to jump Brian's bones. Maybe that was it. Maybe it was the close quarters they were sharing that was causing all those mixed up feelings. He just needed to get back to familiar territory and everything would go back to normal. They had one more day left, and by the following morning they'd be back in the car and on the way back to normalcy.

"Chris, have you seen my wallet? I thought I left it on the dresser, but it's not there," Zander called from the bedroom as he began opening drawers in a panic.

"Relax Babe, it's out here on the TV," Chris replied with a chuckle. "I always said it was a good thing his head was attached," he said softly for only Justin and Brian's ears.

"My favorite is when he can't find his keys when they're in his pocket," Brian laughed.

“I heard that,” Zander said as he walked into the room and grabbed his wallet off the TV. “And I vaguely remember someone searching frantically for a pair of sunglasses that were sitting on top of his head.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Brian replied, blushing slightly.

“Can we go now?” Chris asked as he grabbed Zander’s hand and led him towards the door.

“Have fun you two,” Brian said as he watched the two men walk out the door. He waited until he was sure they were gone before turning to Justin. “Finally. I didn’t think they’d ever leave.”

“They’re really cute together,” Justin said.

“Yeah, they are,” Brian agreed. “Now why don’t you go grab a couple of sodas and a bag of chips while I see if there’s anything on TV worth watching.”

After spending twenty minutes flipping through the channels, they finally agreed on a horror movie that was made back in the early 80’s. They spent the next ninety minutes make fun of the special effects, wondering how anyone could’ve been scared by the cheap theatrical display. Once the movie was over, they settled on watching some sappy romance movie, but Brian quickly grew bored. Justin was so absorbed in the movie that it took a couple a few moments before he felt a poking in his ribs.

“Hey, what’re you doing?” he asked as he slid over a bit closer to the arm of the couch.

“I’m bored. I don’t want to watch TV anymore,” Brian replied with a smile on his face.

“Well I do. I want to see if they end up getting married.”

“Of course they end up getting married. All these crappy movies have a happy ending,” Brian laughed as he continued the poking. “That’s why they’re called chick flicks. It’s all about the romantic ending where the man and woman ride off in the sunset to live happily ever after. How can you watch this?”

“Hey, I happen to like happy endings,” Justin insisted, trying not to laugh as he fought off Brian’s pokes. “And would you quit it? Shit, you’re like a twelve year old. Cut it out!”

“Make me,” Brian taunted, picking up speed as he laughed at Justin’s shrieking.

“That’s it!” Justin exclaimed as he jumped on top of Brian, grabbing Brian’s arms in a lame attempt to keep him still.

Brian stopped laughing as he felt Justin land on him, causing him to momentarily have the wind knocked out of him. He recovered quickly and used his size advantage to overpower Justin and carefully took him to the ground. They struggled for a few minutes before Justin gave up the fight and stopped moving,

“Alright, I give up,” Justin panted, trying to catch his breath. “Now get off me.”

“No,” Brian replied wickedly as he stared down at Justin. “I kind of like you like this.”

“What, helpless?”

“Yes, and completely at my mercy,” Brian teased.

Justin started struggling again, but Brian didn’t let go. He kept Justin’s arms pinned above his head with one hand, while using the other to tickle him into a fit of giggles.

“Brian! Cut it out! I mean it!” Justin exclaimed through his laughter.

The wrestling match between the two lasted for a few more minutes till both of them seemed to run out of steam at the same time. Justin was out of breath and gasping for air and didn’t realize what was happening until he felt Brian’s lips touch his. It only took a moment for his mind to catch up with the turn of events, but despite the faint warning bells going off in his head, he couldn’t seem to stop himself from opening his mouth and letting Brian inside. He wasn’t even consciously aware of his hands being released from their binds, or of the fact that what they were doing was wrong. He couldn’t even stop himself from reaching up and pulling Brian down to him, deepening their kiss. In fact, he was so into the kiss, had it not been for Brian’s sudden movements, he wouldn’t have heard the sound of the door being opened, signaling Chris and Zander’s arrival. He jumped up and quickly adjusted his shirt, making sure to keep his eyes from meeting Brian’s.

“Hey guys, how was your night?” Chris asked as he entered the living room.

“It was okay,” Brian replied as casually as possible. He sent a silent thank you to the man upstairs for giving him the ability to form words, considering his brain was still somewhere in the clouds. “How was the bar scene?”

“Oh, the usual,” Zander answered. “Every man in the room was hitting on your brother, as always.”

“Oh please,” Chris interjected. “You were the one who had everyone drooling all over you. No one even noticed I was there.”

“Face it, guys,” Brian said, laughing at the banter between the two. “You both attract more attention than any man has a right to. Now if you’ll excuse me, as much as I’d like to sit here and stroke both your egos tonight, I’m exhausted. I’m going to go to bed.”

“Uh…yeah,” Justin added softly. “Me, too.”

Mumbling their good nights, Brian and Justin made their way to the bedroom before Chris or Zander could pick up on the tension between them. Once they were alone though, neither one of them could think of anything to say. Instead they quietly changed and climbed into bed, thankful for the darkness that surrounded them.

Brian lay in bed and thought about what had transpired between them. He couldn’t figure out what had possessed him to kiss Justin, other than the attraction he’d felt from the moment the blond showed up in Arizona. Yet he’d been telling himself for weeks that there could never be anything between them. He’d been keeping his growing feelings for Justin to himself and managed to do just fine until now. How could he have let something happen? And what was going through Justin’s mind as he lay silent across the room. He didn’t know what to do next, but he knew he had to say something before things between them got even more awkward.

“Justin, are you still awake?”

“Yeah,” came the quiet reply.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” Brian said softly. “That never should’ve happened. It was an accident. I don’t know what came over me, but I promise it won’t happen again. You’ve got my word on that.”

“Yeah, an accident. Don’t worry about it, Brian. In fact, it’s already forgotten.”

“So, we’re good?”

“Yeah, we’re good,” Justin insisted.

“Okay…good. Goodnight Justin.”

“Good night,” Justin replied softly as he turned over to face the wall. It didn’t take him long to get comfortable, but actually falling asleep was a lot more difficult. He couldn’t seem to stop himself from thinking about the kiss. How could something that felt so right be an accident? And how the hell was he supposed to forget about it?

End of chapter 15


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