Now That You're Here


Chapter 19



Just as Justin suspected, things were very strained between him and Sean on Sunday morning. His friend barely acknowledged him and was politely reserved towards Chris and Zander. The tension was obvious to everyone, and Zander sent Justin a few questioning looks, but no one spoke about the difference in the boys. Brian drove them all to the airport with the music up to drown out the strained silence. Even Jason was quiet. Justin had a feeling it had something to do with the raised voices he had heard between his two friends while they were packing alone in his bedroom. As much as Justin was going to miss Jason, he couldn’t wait until his friends were on their way back to Pittsburgh.

Brian pulled up at the passenger drop off area, anxious to get Sean out of the jeep. It was hard to be around him knowing how much he was hurting Justin. He said goodbye to Jason but made no attempt to utter a word to Sean.

Once Sean and Jason had their luggage out, Sean mumbled a goodbye and walked away without waiting for Jason. Justin tried not to be hurt that his long time friend couldn’t even put aside his anger and confusion long enough to say goodbye properly, but he was failing miserably. Of course Jason noticed his pain.

“Don’t worry about it, Jus. I still think he’s going to come around, but if he doesn’t, we’re both better off without him.”

“I know, but it just sucks. I feel bad for you, too. Especially in light of what you told me last night, this is going to cause things to change between the two of you. At least I’m not living in the same city with him. Are you going to be okay?” Justin asked. He was concerned about his friend.

“I’ll be fine. In the last few months, Sean and I have been drifting a bit. We haven’t even been working together. He’s been doing mornings and I’ve been doing afternoons with Ryan. He and I have been getting close,” Jason replied.

“Ryan Jacobs? Really?”

“Not like that,” Jason laughed. “We’re friends, you nut. But he’s a good guy. It’s not like I’ll be sitting home alone every night if Sean and I decide to end our friendship. It sucks that after all these years our trio is dissolving, but I guess that’s what happens sometimes. As people get older, they go in separate directions. You left earlier than planned, but next year we’ll all be going off to college and who knows where we’ll end up. I’m not going to let this ruin my summer or my senior year.”

“Good, I’m glad. I kind of feel like this is all my fault. If I hadn’t come out to him last night, we’d all still be friends, you know?”

“Stop that. This is not your fault. It’s Sean’s, for being an ignorant jerk. And remember, it’s better that we find out now rather than later,” Jason told him.

“Yeah, you’re right,” Justin agreed. “Well, I guess you’d better get going. You don’t want to miss your plane. Call me tonight so I know you got home okay and that you didn’t try to throw Sean out of the plane at 30,000 feet.”

Jason laughed at the serious look on Justin’s face. “I will. Please don’t stress too much over this. And think about what we talked about in regards to Brian. He’s a good guy and you could do so much worse. Chris and Zander may not be too happy about you guys dating while living in the same house, but deep down all they really want is for both of you to be happy. I think you guys could be really happy together.”

“I’ll think about it,” Justin promised. “Have a safe trip.”

Jason hugged Justin tight, feeling a lump of emotion forming in his throat. After the week they spent together, he felt closer to Justin than anyone else on the planet. He hated having to leave after finally opening up about his confused feelings, but he told himself that it wasn’t forever. They’d be on the phone that night and could talk more then.

Justin held on to Jason a little tighter than necessary, but he was just so sad to see his friend leave. They’d always been close, but this trip helped them form an even stronger bond and he wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Unfortunately he could see Sean standing just inside the door waiting for Jason to join him.

“Okay, now you really have to go before I kidnap you and drag you back to the house. I don’t think Sean or your parents would appreciate that,” Justin laughed.

“Fuck Sean, but you’re right. My parents wouldn’t be too happy. My mom has been anxious to see me. She says she only has one more year with me at home and she doesn’t want to waste it,” Jason replied with amusement. “She’s such a girl.”

“Yeah, moms tend to be girls,” Justin teased. “I’ll talk to you tonight.”

“You bet. I’ll call you later. Give Brian a big, wet kiss for me.”

“Yeah, right. If and when I give Brian a big, wet kiss, it sure as hell won’t be from you,” Justin giggled.

“Now that’s more like it. See you, Justin.”


The ride back to the house was made in silence, but this time it wasn’t from tension. Justin was just too lost in thought and Brian thought it was best to give him some space. When they got home, they found the house empty and a note on the counter.

“They went to return the beds and then out for an early dinner and a movie,” Brian told Justin after reading the note. “I guess they needed some alone time after spending the week with four teenagers.”

“How cute. Still dating after all these years,” Justin teased.

“More like disgusting,” Brian replied with mock disgust. “I guess we’re on our own.”

“Wanna go for a swim?” Justin suggested.

“Don’t you ever get tired of swimming? I’ve spent more time in the pool since you moved here than I did in the four years I was here before you arrived.”

“Sorry, but I can’t help it. I’m a swimmer and our pool at home wasn’t anywhere near as big as this one. You don’t have to go with me, you know,” Justin said.

“No, it’s okay. But since you’re picking what we do now, it’s only fair that I get to pick what we do later tonight.”

“Deal. I’m going up to change. I’ll meet you in the deep end,” Justin called over his shoulder as he headed upstairs. He changed quickly and was about to go back down when he noticed a piece of paper on the nightstand. It was a letter from Jason.


I just wanted to thank you again for inviting me out here. I’ve had a blast and seeing you again was the best. I hate that the trip ended on a bad note, but just remember than I’ll always be here for you. You can call me day or night if you need someone to talk to. I love you, man.


Justin choked up a little as he read his friend’s words. He’d enjoyed hanging out with everyone since the move, and loved that he could be himself without hiding, but a part of him couldn’t stop thinking that everyone he knew was friends with Brian first. It sometimes made him feel like an outsider looking in. He knew it was stupid but he couldn’t help how he felt. Since his parents died, he just felt so alone. Now that Jason, someone he’d known for most of his life, knew about him he felt a sense of relief. No matter what happened, he had Jason by his side. It was a good feeling.

By the time Brian made it down to the pool, Justin was already there swimming laps. He shook his head at the blond and his enthusiasm for swimming. He had no doubt that he’d fit in well with the swim club at school come September. He waited until Justin was at the far side of the pool and then dove in, enjoying the cooling effect the water had on his body. He swam a few laps of his own and then surfaced to find Justin still going. He waited until Justin was moving past him and grabbed his leg, effectively stopping his friend.

“Hey, what was that for?” Justin asked as he shook the water out of his face.

“I came out here to hang with you, not watch you swim laps,” Brian replied before dunking the blond head underwater and then swimming away.

Justin came up sputtering and laughing, but recovered quickly and the chase began. He caught up with Brian and returned the favor by dunking him and then swimming away. They continued their antics until both of them were exhausted and out of breath from a mixture of exertion and laughter. Calling a truce, Brian slowly swam over to the shallow end and took a seat on the steps. Justin was right behind him. They sat on the steps and talked about nothing of any significance. It was decided that Justin would go to work at the store the following day. He needed the distraction while he waited to see if his friend came around.

By the time they got out of the pool, it was after four and both Brian and Justin were starving. They had agreed to order Thai from the new delivery place in town and went up to shower and change before going through the menu. Brian left Justin to use the upstairs shower while he went down to his brother’s room. While in the shower, he decided that going out to eat would be more fun and prove to be a better distraction for the blond. He’d caught glimpses of sadness in Justin’s blue eyes periodically during their swim and wanted to do what he could to keep his mind from drifting back to Sean and the disastrous night they had. He showered quickly, threw on a pair of sweats, and headed up to suggest going out. Justin’s door was opened a crack, so Brian knocked lightly and walked in without waiting for a response.

He entered the room just as Justin was walking out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped loosely around his body. Every thought he had was immediately forced from his mind as he took in the sight of Justin’s wet, glistening body and the way the towel was just barely hanging onto Justin’s hips. It was wrong. He knew it was wrong, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself.

Justin was a little startled to find Brian in his room as he came out of the shower, but what startled him more was the look of desire on the brunet’s face. Before he even had time to react, Brian approached him, grabbed him and covered his mouth. The kiss wasn’t tentative or soft, but hungry and passionate, and filled with all the longing that Justin himself had been fighting since the weekend before. He could feel himself being steered backwards, and jumped slightly when he felt the back of his legs hit the bed, but he was powerless to stop what was happening. It was almost like it was happening to someone else, yet the heat and need rushing through his body was a clear indication that it wasn’t. Unlike his altercation with Dane, he had no fear about what was to come; only excitement.

Brian was like a man possessed. He was able to maneuver Justin over to the bed, and pulled back briefly to discard Justin’s towel before gently shoving the blond on the bed, quickly following him down. His sought and found Justin’s mouth once again as his hand worked its way down Justin’s body; successfully finding its prize hard and leaking for him. He wrapped his hand around Justin’s cock and was pleased with the whimper of need his action elicited. As much as he enjoyed the taste of Justin’s mouth, Brian knew he wanted more. He pulled back and began kissing his way down Justin’s body, using the small moans of desire as encouragement.

Justin was lost somewhere between heaven and earth. His head was spinning and his body was on fire with need. He couldn’t seem to produce a coherent thought and jumped slightly when he suddenly felt Brian’s warm mouth wrap around his cock. It was a feeling like nothing he ever felt before and he cried out from sheer ecstasy. He wanted more, so much more, yet he knew he wasn’t going to last long. He could feel his body rushing towards completion and tried to fight it off, but it was useless. Burying his hands in Brian’s hair, Justin arched his back and groaned as his orgasm took over quickly and he shot off in Brian’s mouth.

Brian swallowed every last drop that Justin had to offer, and then pushed himself up and kissed the blond deeply. Now that some of the excitement was wearing off, his brain started to register the mistake they’d made, but he couldn’t feel bad about it. Seeing the look of total satisfaction on Justin’s face made it all worthwhile. He pulled back and stretched out alongside Justin, gently stroking his cheek.

“Are you okay?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah. I’m good,” Justin replied, his voice still somewhat husky from his orgasm. “That was amazing.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment, thanks,” Brian laughed, as he leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Justin’s cheek.

Justin laughed at Brian’s teasing tone. “I wouldn’t let your head swell too much, Romeo. I have nothing to compare it to.”

“Oh shut up.” Brian shoved Justin playfully. “So, anyway…I was coming in here to ask you if you wanted to go out to dinner instead of ordering in. I thought it would be good to get out of the house.”

“Sure, that sounds good,” Justin replied. He was surprised a moment later when Brian got out of bed and headed towards the door. “Wait, you want to go now? But…you didn’t…I mean…”

Brian burst into laughter at the confused look on Justin’s face. He walked over to where the blond was now sitting up in bed and kissed him soundly on the lips before pulling away. “No, I didn’t, but it’s okay. Look, Justin, I didn’t mean for this to happen. I really believe everything I said about how you and I shouldn’t be together. Chris and Zander would kill us.”

“So, what was this?” Justin demanded, interrupting Brian before he could finish. “A one time thing? And I hate to tell you, but you did it wrong. Usually when you use someone, it’s supposed to be so you can get what you want and get out. You did it backwards.”

“Would you calm down for a minute? I wasn’t using you, and no, it wasn’t a one time thing. At least I don’t think it was. If you had let me finish, I was going to say that although I believe what I said before, staying away from you was just getting too hard. Originally I was going to suggest a restaurant, but maybe we could just swing by the deli and then go somewhere quiet and talk.”

“Oh, okay,” Justin replied sheepishly. “Sorry about that. I just thought…I mean last week we kissed and you were quick to say it was an accident and that we should just forget it ever happened.”

“Yeah, and how was that working out for you? I know I personally haven’t been able to think about anything else since,” Brian admitted.

“Me neither. Alright, just give me a few minutes to get cleaned up and I’ll meet you downstairs.”

Once Justin was alone, he went into the bathroom and splashed some cool water on his face before looking at himself in the mirror. “Whatever you do, don’t screw this up,” he said softly to his reflection before hurrying to get dressed. He didn’t want to keep Brian waiting too long.

Brian drove to the deli down the street from the bookstore and they picked up some sandwiches and drinks before heading out of town. There was a scenic rest area not too far down the interstate that was set off from the highway and usually empty. It took about fifteen minutes to get there and during the ride they kept the conversation light, neither one of them mentioning what had transpired between them back at the house. Once they were parked, Brian grabbed the blanket he kept in the jeep, while Justin grabbed the food and drinks. They found a spot away from the noise of the traffic and sat down to enjoy their meal. They silently agreed to keep away from the important topics until they were done eating, so Justin spent the time telling Brian about Jason’s admission.

“Oh no, not another one,” Brian sighed.

“Another one?”

“Yeah, Zac drives me crazy the way he bounces back and forth between the sexes. Thank God Jason is your problem.”

“Brian, Jason isn’t a problem,” Justin replied with a chuckle. “And besides, I don’t know what Jason’s going to do yet. We didn’t get too much time to talk about it, but I don’t know if he’s going to act on anything. He said he’s hoping that things work out with him and this girl Alyssa. He may never actually do anything with another guy.”

“He will, trust me. He may not think so now, but if he’s finding guys attractive, he’ll eventually cave to his curiosity. That’s how it started with Zac. Maybe we should’ve introduced him to Zac so he had someone else to talk to. It might be good to hear another person’s struggle, you know?”

“Yeah, only I didn’t even know about this until last night. I don’t know. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. He’s supposed to call me tonight. I’ll see if he opens up anymore about it. I don’t want to push him. He’ll talk when he’s ready,” Justin said as he finished his sandwich and put the trash in the empty bag.

Brian added his trash to the bag and took it to the garbage can. When he got back, he noticed that Justin had laid down on the blanket, facing the trail they had taken to get there. Brian nudged him over a bit and lay down behind him, casually draping an arm over his side. He smiled as he felt a slight shiver run through Justin’s body. “So, got any ideas on what we should do next?”

Justin thought about pretending he didn’t know what Brian was talking about, but decided against it. What would happen next was too important to turn into a joke. “I don’t know. I was hoping you had some suggestions.”

“Look, Justin, I’m going to be completely honest with you. I’ve never been in a situation like this before. In the past I’ve been attracted to guys and fucked around and I’ve done the whole relationship thing, but this is different. There’s too much riding on the outcome here. If we jump into a relationship and things don’t work out, we still have to live in the same house. We still have to share a bathroom and have our meals together, and carry on like nothing is wrong. That wouldn’t be easy.”

“Yeah, but I’m sure we could find a way to work through it. Look at you and Dane. You guys got past a prior relationship and remained friends,” Justin pointed out, not liking the turn their conversation was taking.

“But it wasn’t like we just resumed our friendship overnight. It took a couple months of awkward interactions before we were finally able to put our whole messy relationship behind us and be friends again,” Brian admitted. “But it’s different with you. He didn’t mean as much to me as you do.”

“He didn’t?” Justin asked incredulously.

“Of course not, otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. The first time I saw you, I felt this instant attraction…”

“You did?”

“Can I finish?” Brian teased.

“Sorry…go ahead.”

“Yeah, I felt this instant attraction, but I figured I could just ignore it. I’ve done it before so I wasn’t worried. But as we got to know each other, I started to really like you and that made it harder to ignore. Your friendship means so much to me and despite the circumstances, I’m really glad you ended up here. I don’t know what I’d do if I somehow screwed up and you stopped talking to me.”

“Are you planning on screwing up?” Justin asked. “Listen Brian, no one knows what’s going to happen in the future. I could be the one to screw up and you could stop talking to me.”

“Exactly, that’s why I’ve been trying to fight this attraction between us. If we don’t pursue a relationship, we can’t screw up our friendship.”

“But what if we miss out on something good because we’re too afraid to take a chance? There’s obviously something strong between us; something that has us laying together at a scenic rest area talking about this. Do you really want to forget what just happened between us and go back to fighting the attraction and driving ourselves crazy?”

“No,” Brian admitted. “But we should probably take things slowly so we don’t get in over our heads too quickly.”

“Yeah, I agree with you,” Justin replied. “And since we don’t want Chris and Zander knowing, we should probably keep things between the two of us for now. The more people who know about us, the better the chance that it will get back to them.”

“Okay, except for Steve. He’d just figure it out on his own, anyway. He’s been on my back to do something about you since you first got here.”

“You told him you were attracted to me?”

“I didn’t have to. Like I said, he usually figures things out on his own. For the record, he thought I was being stupid by insisting that we could never be anything more than friends,” Brian told him.

“I knew I liked him for a reason.” Justin earned himself a light shove over that comment. “Oh, and Jason, not that it would matter since he’s back in Pittsburgh. But I might have mentioned our kiss from last weekend.”

“You might have mentioned it? I didn’t even tell Steve about that.”

“Well, I needed to talk to someone about it and I don’t have any of my own friends here yet. I mean, your friends have been good to me, and I like them, but their loyalty is to you, not me,” Justin reminded him. “And I’m not used to all of this. I’ve never even considered acting on an attraction to another guy. I just needed to tell someone what was going on.”

“It’s alright, Justin. I’m not upset. I’m just surprised, I guess. Up until the other night, Jason didn’t even know you were gay.”

“Yeah, but I was pretty sure Jason would be okay with it. He’s very protective of his aunt. I couldn’t imagine him not accepting someone for being gay. And after his admission last night, now I really know he’s cool with it,” Justin laughed.

“Yeah, I guess he is,” Brian replied with a smile. “So, now that we got that cleared up, come here.”

Brian and Justin spent the next few hours lying together and alternating between kissing and talking about the future and what they planned to do after high school. It wasn’t until the sun had set that they realized how much time had passed.

“I think we should probably head back. I never left a note for Chris and Zander and they’re probably home now and wondering where we are,” Brian said as he stood up and offered his hand to Justin, helping him up.

It didn’t take long for them to get home and Justin was confused when Brian pulled off to the side of the road down the street from the house.

“What are you doing?”

“This,” Brian replied before pulling Justin in and kissing him deeply.

Justin didn’t object as he kissed Brian back with everything he had. He was pretty sure he could never get tired of kissing Brian. Unfortunately, the kiss ended sooner than Justin would’ve liked.

“I figured I’d get one last kiss in. We’re going to have to be really careful while we’re home. The last thing we need is to get caught. It’s going to kill me to sleep in the room right next to you and not be able to come in and jump you, but we better keep things strictly as friends while in the house, just in case,” Brian told Justin, stealing one last kiss.

“Yeah, you’re right. That’s really going to suck,” Justin sighed.

“It’s no different than how we’ve been living since you got here,” Brian pointed out.

“Yes it is. It was getting so hard to keep from touching you before. Knowing that I have the right now, but still can’t do it is going to be torture.”

“Hmmm…I see your point. We’ll just have to spend more time out of the house,” Brian laughed.

“That works for me,” Justin agreed. “Now let’s get going before I decide to drag you into the back seat. Then we’ll never get home.”

Before Brian had a chance to respond, his cell phone alerted him to a new text message. “It’s Chris, wondering where we are.”

“So much for dragging you in the back seat.”

“I’ll take a rain check.”

“You can count on it.”

End of chapter 19


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