Now That You're Here


Chapter 30


It was four weeks before Thanksgiving and Justin couldn’t help the somber mood that was starting to settle over him. Despite the ease in which he had fit in when he moved to Arizona, the fact remained that he’d lost his parents earlier that year and was not looking forward to his first real holiday without them. His mother always loved the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It was like one big holiday to her. It started on Thanksgiving Day, when they put up the Christmas tree in the morning so that it was ready for everyone to enjoy when they came by for dinner that night. From there, the following weeks just became more festive. His mother shopped and baked and sang Christmas songs constantly right up until December 25th when the last present was opened and the last drop of eggnog was gone. She had this way of making those around her relish in the season, too. Scrooge wouldn’t have stood a chance around her.

And now she was gone, along with his dad, and the thought of celebrating just made Justin feel sick with longing. But despite his desire to bury himself in school, work, and his art until it was all over, he managed to put a fake smile on his face every time someone mentioned the holidays. No one knew what the holidays meant to the Taylor family so no one had any reason to notice if Justin was just a little bit quieter than usual. No one except for Jason, who had spent countless hours sitting at Justin’s house eating Christmas cookies each year. Justin should’ve known Jason would pick up on his mood, even with the miles between them.

“How are you holding up?” Jason asked during one of their many phone calls.

“I’m okay, I guess. It’s just getting hard, you know? Most of the time I can think about them and be alright, but when I think about Thanksgiving…and not having them here…I just…” his voice trailed off as he tried to pull in his emotions.

“Oh Jus, I’m so sorry. Is there anything I can do? I hate being so far away,” Jason replied. “Maybe I can swing another plane ticket. I mean, who really needs a savings account anyway?”

“Jas,” Justin chuckled. “It’s okay. I’ll be alright and you’re just a phone call away if I need you, right?”

“You got it. Day or night, if you need to talk all you have to do is pick up the phone,” Jason assured him.

“Thanks. So, how are things going with Zac?” Justin asked, effectively changing the subject.

“Um…things are good, I guess. It sucks that we don’t live in the same time zone, but we’re getting to know each other really well. We talk and text every day. Neither of us can wait until I fly out for winter break. Chris and Zander are still cool about that, right?”

“I told you before; you’re part of the family now. Their exact words were that you’re welcome here anytime. You just have to let us know when you’re coming so that someone can be home when you get here,” Justin laughed. “And you really don’t have to do that because we keep a spare key hidden in the backyard.”

“Cool. Um, listen. I’ve got something that I wanted to talk to you about, but I want you to be honest with me and tell me how you really feel about it. If you don’t like the idea, then I’ll just forget it. I promise you won’t hurt my feelings.”

“Jas, what’s up?”

“I…uh…I’ve been accepted at Arizona State. You mentioned that you were thinking of going there and I thought it might be cool if we ended up at the same school. I mean, it’s not like I was planning on staying here in Pittsburgh. I’ve applied to UCLA, USC, and the University of Texas, too. I guess I just thought that since Arizona is a great school and you’d be there…I mean, if you don’t want me to go, I won’t go.”

“Are you kidding? Why wouldn’t I want you to go?”

“I don’t know. I guess I thought that maybe you’d think I was trying invade your territory or something.”

“Invade my territory?”

“Well, you were happy to get out of Pittsburgh and get away from your old life and I know that we’ve stayed in touch but I’m technically part of that old life and if I was around more, maybe…”

“Don’t you dare say another word,” Justin insisted, stopping Jason mid-sentence. “I wanted to get away from the town that I grew up in so I didn’t have the constant reminder that my childhood home was gone and my parents were dead. I wanted a chance to start over somewhere completely different, but I never intended to turn my back on my childhood. I have Brian and Chris and Zander, and all the friends that I’ve made since moving out here, but you are my oldest and closest friend. We’ve known each other since we were still in diapers. You understand me like no one else can because you were there while I became me. Despite missing my parents, I am so happy with my life right now, but having you here would make it perfect.”

“Are you sure?”

“Don’t ask me that again.”

“Okay, cool, because I’m so excited.”

“I can’t believe you’re going to be moving out here,” Justin said, finally letting the reality of the situation sink in. “That’s awesome. What does Zac have to say about it?”

Jason sighed. “I don’t know. I haven’t told him yet. In fact, at this point we haven’t even talked about what happens after graduation. Do you know if he’s planning on going away to school?”

“Actually he’s already been accepted AZ State, too. It’s where his parents met so they’ve been telling him to go there since he was little. We were just talking about it the other day. We’re going to try to get housing at the same place, assuming that both Brian and I get in. We’ve been procrastinating with our applications, but we’ve agreed that wherever we go, we’re going together.”

“I’m sure you guys won’t have any trouble getting in,” Jason said. “I can’t wait. When I fly out after Christmas, my parents are coming with me so my mom can check out where her little boy is going to be living next year. They’ve already booked their flight and hotel. They’re only staying two days, but they want to see you while they’re there.”

“Of course. I can’t wait to see them,” Justin exclaimed. “I’ll let Chris and Zander know. I’m sure they’ll want to have them over for dinner. When are you flying in again?”

“We’re all flying in on Monday the 27th. They’re leaving on the 29th but I’m staying until January 3rd. Arizona’s campus is open for tours on that Tuesday.”

“You’re still going to stay here for the week, right? You’re not going to stay with them at the hotel?”

“Uh, hello? Of course I’m staying with you. Why would I want to stay at a hotel with my parents?” Jason asked rhetorically.

Justin laughed as he glanced at the clock. “Just checking. Listen, I’ve got to get going. I was supposed to be at the river a half hour ago.”

“Yeah, I’ve got a bunch of homework that I’ve been ignoring since I got home, but apparently it’s not going to do itself. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

“Okay, later.”

Justin stuffed his phone in his pocket and grabbed his jacket before heading downstairs. He was looking forward to hanging out at the river with everyone. It had been a tough week for him and he was so happy that the following day was Friday. He really needed the two day break that the weekend offered. Zan was working late with Brian, trying to reset a few of the sections to make way for a holiday display, so Justin went to find Chris to let him know he was leaving. He walked towards their bedroom, but stopped short when he heard Chris on the phone.

“I know, but I don’t think I can make it….listen, I told you before that I don’t have a lot of free time…because I’m not going to do anything to make Zander suspicious…well he usually travels with me whenever I go anywhere, so telling him I have to go out of town won’t help. Look, Ryan, I warned you that this wasn’t going to be easy. I need you to back off a bit…I want to see you, but I don’t think this weekend is going to work…I’ll call you on Saturday if I can break away for a few hours, alright?”

Justin stood there stunned while Chris’s words penetrated his mind. Chris was having an affair? He was cheating on Zan? How could that even be possible? They were so close, so much in love. He felt dizzy as he stumbled back to the living room and tried to think about what he should do. Did he have a right to confront Chris on what he had heard? Did he have an obligation to tell Zan, his cousin, what was going on? Should he tell Brian so that the two of them could figure out what to do next? Or should he just pretend that nothing had happened? Pretend that he didn’t overhear a conversation that could potentially change all their lives?

“Hey, Justin, I thought you were going out tonight?” Chris said as he walked into the living room.

Justin stared at him for a moment, looking for signs of regret. He saw none. “I…um…I’m heading out now. I’ll…uh…see you later.”

Chris gave him a confused look. “Is everything alright? You look a little pale.”

“Pale? Me? Oh, um…no. I’m fine. I’m just tired. It’s been a long week. You know, teachers working us extra hard before our holiday break. I’m…uh…going to go.”

“Alright, be safe.”

“Yeah…I will.”

Justin made it to the car and got in, feeling somewhat disconnected. He needed to talk to Brian. Nothing was going to make sense until he talked to Brian.

Chris watched Justin leave and then took a deep breath, yet it didn’t help ease the fear that had washed over him when he heard the younger man’s footsteps down the hall. He’d been on the phone with Ryan, which he knew was stupid to do in the house, when he heard the sound of someone walking away. He quickly said goodbye and then went to find Justin, praying that the younger blond hadn’t heard his conversation. Unfortunately, he had a bad feeling that he’d been found out. He didn’t want to come right out and ask for fear of opening a can of worms that hadn’t been opened, but Justin’s nervousness and his stammering were clear signs that something was bothering him. Considering the circumstances, he had a feeling he knew exactly what that was.

“Fuck!” he exclaimed to the empty room.

How stupid could he have been to call Ryan while he was at home? Hell, how stupid was he to start something up with the man to begin with. He loved Zan…there was no question about that. He would do anything for his partner and never wanted to hurt him, but the pull from Ryan had been so strong, and coming right on the heels of the accident when Chris had been feeling extremely vulnerable and scared, left him weak. It was meant to be a one time thing, not that that made it any better, but the connection he and Ryan had grew rapidly, and before Chris knew it, a full blown affair had begun. Now he was in way too deep and didn’t know how to get out of it. There was never any question of having to choose between the two men. There was no way Chris would ever choose Ryan over Zan. Yet he couldn’t seem to bring himself to cut ties with Ryan.

Dropping down on the couch, Chris closed his eyes and thought about his new lover. Ryan was a freelance photographer that did a lot of work at the newspaper where Chris worked part time. He was close to Chris’s age, just one year younger and was stunning to look at. He matched Chris’s six foot frame, with just a touch more muscle. He had dark black hair, deep brown eyes, and dimples that made any man, or woman, want to run their tongue along them. The physical attraction between them had been instant, but that never worried Chris. He’d had attractions to men before and never even considered acting on them. No, it had been his easy personality and overwhelming charm that had gotten Chris into trouble.

They’d been flirting with each other for more than six months when the accident happened. Obviously everyone at the Sierra Vista Tribune had heard about the boys’ accident. It had been in the paper. Ryan had heard about the accident on his scanner and had been at the scene to take pictures, but he had no idea that Brian and Justin were the victims. When he found out, he had shown up at the hospital to see how the boys were doing. It had been one of those times when Chris was alone and needed someone to comfort him. He allowed Ryan to be that person. Being held in Ryan’s arms had felt really good and Chris made the mistake of sharing his feelings with the man. They agreed that nothing could or would ever happen between them despite their mutual attraction because of Zander and the boys. At the time, they both meant what they promised one another. It wasn’t until the night before Brian’s release when things took an unexpected turn. Ryan had stopped by the hospital to see how Chris was doing, but he saw Zander in the parking garage and decided not to go inside. Instead, he sent Chris a text and asked him to meet him at the bar across the street for a drink when he left. He said that they needed to talk.

And they did talk. They talked for over an hour about how they needed to keep things between them completely platonic, yet all the while their hands kept finding each other with casual touches to the arms, hands, and thighs. When Ryan walked Chris to his car, neither one of them could’ve stopped the fiery kiss that they shared, or the promise that they would get together the following day to talk further. When Chris walked in the door that night and Zander greeted him like a long lost soldier, coming home from war, the guilt washed over him so hard that his knees almost buckled. Zander assumed that it was the emotions of the week that had Chris in such a state and did what he did best. He took charge and pampered Chris, showering him with affection and inevitably causing even more guilt. He vowed to call Ryan the next morning and call the whole thing off. Only it wasn’t that easy and now more than six weeks had passed and Chris was drowning in guilt and remorse, constantly struggling to make the move he knew he had to make. He needed to find the strength to say goodbye to Ryan before Zan found out and he lost the love of his life.

Justin was sitting among his friends at the river but his thoughts were a million miles away. He couldn’t seem to put the conversation he’d overheard out of his mind. He’d gotten a text from Brian, so he knew that his boyfriend was on the way, and he couldn’t stop staring towards the parking lot anxiously.

“Hey, Jus, are you okay? You seem a million miles away,” Steve said as he sat down alongside Justin.

“Um…yeah. I just have something on my mind and I need to talk to Brian about it,” Justin replied. “He should be here any minute.”

Just then headlights appeared in the distance, announcing Brian’s arrival. “I’ve got to go talk to him. Can you make sure everyone stays away for a few?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

Justin jogged over and met up with Brian at the hood of the jeep. “I need to talk to you.”

“Don’t I even get a proper hello first?” Brian teased as he pulled Justin close and found his mouth, yet when he tried to deepen the kiss, Justin pulled away. “Hey, what’s wrong?”

“I think your brother is having an affair,” Justin blurted out.

“What? No way. That’s not possible,” Brian insisted as he searched Justin’s face for any signs of teasing. The seriousness he saw scared him. “What makes you think that?”

“I overheard him on the phone before I left the house with some guy named Ryan. Does that name sound familiar to you?”

“Yeah, I think he’s one of the photographers at the paper. Maybe they’re working on a story together or something,” Brian replied.

“I don’t think so. I heard him say that he wanted to see him too and that he couldn’t do anything to make Zander suspicious and he said he warned him that it wouldn’t be easy. He told him that he’d call him on Saturday if he could break away for a few hours. Bri, what are we going to do?”

Brian wished he had the answers. “I don’t know. Shit, what the fuck is wrong with him? How could he do this to Zan?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think I can keep something like this from Zander. I mean, you guys have been great to me and all, but Zan’s my family. The only real family I have left. I can’t just look the other way while his partner carries on an affair behind his back,” Justin declared tearfully.

“I know,” Brian said as he took Justin in his arms. “Shhh, it’s okay. We’ll figure something out. Let’s just keep this to ourselves for a couple of days until we’ve had time to think on it and decide what to do. Maybe we should go to Chris before saying anything to Zan. There could be a logical explanation for this. I can’t think of one right now, but maybe Chris has one and we don’t have to destroy Zan’s life.”

“Oh God, I just can’t believe this. What’s going to happen if Chris really is having an affair? What if Chris is in love with the guy and leaves Zan? Or if Zan finds out and can’t forgive Chris? Zander’s going to be devastated.”

“Hey, just take a deep breath and relax. It’s all going to be okay. I promise,” Brian assured him, hoping he could end up keeping his promise. “Let’s just run over and say goodbye to the guys and then get out of here. I think we could use a little alone time.”

“Alright,” Justin agreed, trying to take comfort in Brian’s presence. For the first time since they had gotten together, it wasn’t working.



Justin was tossing and turning, trying so hard to find a comfortable position so that he could fall asleep, but it just wasn’t happening. He couldn’t stop his mind from dwelling on the situation with Chris and Zander and it was making him very restless. He looked over at the clock for the hundredth time and sighed when he saw that it was almost two in the morning. He’d never make it through school without sleep. Making a decision based on what he needed and not on what was right, he climbed out of bed and went to Brian’s room. He smiled as he stared down at Brian, his face a vision of beauty in slumber. He stripped off his shorts before pulling back the blankets and climbing in, taking Brian in his arms. Brian moaned at the contact and slowly opened his eyes.

“Hey, what are you doing here?” he whispered, his voice roughened by sleep.

“I need you,” Justin whispered as he rubbed his naked body against Brian. “I’m so tired and I can’t fall asleep. I need you to help me forget everything that’s going on around us.”

Brian was shocked by Justin’s admission. They’d been very careful, for the most part, to follow the rules that had been laid down after the accident, but even their brief and mostly innocent slips had been Brian’s urging. Justin was always the voice of reason. “Jus, are you crazy? We can’t do this.”

“Why not? Because Chris said so? Since when is he the poster boy for proper behavior?” Justin spat in anger. “Come on, Brian. Please? I really need you.”

“But…” Anything else Brian had been about to say was cut off as Justin covered his mouth and forced his tongue inside. All rational thought left as soon as Brian’s senses were filled with Justin’s taste. He maneuvered them so that Justin was beneath him and attacked his mouth as his hand moved down the blond’s perfect body until he had a hold of his hard cock. He swallowed Justin’s moan as he fondled his cock and then moved his hand lower to massage Justin’s balls. He pulled back and looked down at Justin, his lungs fighting for breath as his mind overloaded with desire. “God, you are so beautiful.”

Justin responded by reaching up and suckling Brian’s neck with just enough pressure to be a turn on without leaving a mark. His hand trailed down Brian’s back, making its way down to his firm round ass. He pulled Brian closer, enjoying the weight of his body. Without really giving it much thought, Justin somehow found the strength to grab Brian and flip him over, reversing their positions.

“Wow, getting a little forceful, aren’t we?” Brian teased.

“Just lie back. I need to taste you,” Justin purred as he kissed Brian soundly and then moved back to his neck. He didn’t waste much time there, though. He started kissing and nibbling his way down Brian’s body, feeling empowered by the moaning and groaning that Brian was trying to keep quiet. He sucked on each nipple and then slowly drew his tongue down from the center of Brian’s chest, down his stomach, stopping just centimeters away from his leaking cock. He pulled back slightly and took in the sweet scent of Brian, driving his boyfriend insane. He let his tongue dart out and licked away the bubble of pre-come that had escaped and then redirected his mouth to the crease between Brian’s pelvis and thigh, sending a jolt right through Brian’s entire body.

“Jus, please…” Brian moaned in ecstasy.

“Patience, my sweet,” Justin rasped as he placed small kisses down one thigh and up the other. Again, he bypassed Brian’s cock and instead put out his tongue, lapping at Brian’s full balls. The sounds coming from Brian were giving Justin a confidence he’d never felt before. He brought up one hand and sucked on a finger, wetting the digit before finding Brian’s hole and massaging it gently. Brian bucked his hips and Justin had to reach out with his other hand to steady him. He could feel Brian’s whole body shaking with desire and wanted to continue tormenting him, but his own body was beginning to betray him, bringing him to the very edge of climax without any kind of reciprocal touch from Brian.

Leaving his finger in place to continue massaging Brian’s hole, Justin brought his other hand to his own cock while he took Brian’s cock deep in his throat. It didn’t take long before Brian unloaded his seed down Justin’s throat, causing Justin to find his release by his own hand moments later.

As the euphoria of his orgasm receded, Brian realized that Justin had moved up and lay down alongside him, resting his head on Brian’s chest. He rolled on his side and wrapped his arms around Justin, kissing him deeply. He could still detect the taste of himself in Justin’s mouth. He finally pulled back and looked into Justin’s eyes. “That was incredible. You can wake me up anytime.”

“Thanks for the permission,” Justin laughed. “I don’t know what came over me. I surprised myself with the way I took charge.”

“It was hot,” Brian whispered as he nibbled Justin’s ear. “You know, I can’t wait for the day when I can sink inside you and feel you grip me from the inside out.”

“Oh God,” Justin breathed. “Don’t say stuff like that now. We agreed that when we finally did…that…that we would get a hotel room somewhere so that we can enjoy ourselves in a nice comfortable bed where we don’t have to fear being caught or feeling guilty.”

“You know, it’s so cute that you can come in here and take charge, sucking my dick, licking my balls, and playing with my hole yet you can’t even talk about fucking.”

Justin blushed in the darkness. “Don’t make fun of me.”

“But it’s so much fun,” Brian replied with a smile. “Do you think you can fall asleep now?”

“I think I’m sufficiently worn out now,” Justin said as he moved to get up.

“No, stay here,” Brian said as he tightened his grip. “They never come upstairs in the morning, and if they do, we’ll worry about an explanation later, okay?”

“Yeah, okay.” Justin reached up and kissed Brian again, softly this time, before turning over, leaving Brian to curl up behind him. Once they were settled, Justin linked one of his hands with Brian’s. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

End of part 30


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