Taylor-made For You, pt. 2
Emmetts mouth gaped open. He hadnt expected the man to give up so easily. Well, fuck him. It was for the best then.
"I wont call him again," Brian reiterated. The detective watched the other mans mouth purse into a tight line and struggled to keep from smiling. He knew it was a childish game but he couldnt help himself. If he and Justin hadnt already spoken about their weekend plans, he wouldve been really angry. As it was, he was in too good a mood to be mad, but he did want to see the other man squirm a bit. He turned to leave, but paused and looked back over his shoulder. "But when he calls me back," he said, his voice dangerously low as he enjoyed Emmetts nervous gaze, "It had better be to tell me you insisted on donating two paintings for the AIDS benefit."
Brian just waved and walked away. He figured Emmett would chase him, but he was spared by the mans phone ringing.
Exasperated, Emmett pulled it out and was happy to see Justins number. "Princess, what the hell is going on?"
By the time Justin finished explaining that Brian had invited them to a New Years Eve party his friend Vic held every year to raise money for AIDS victims, Emmett insisted on donating four paintings from Georges collection to the benefit auction.
Emmett was beside himself when he realized how catastrophic his interference could have been for his young friend. He bent over backwards to get back into Brians good graces over the next few days. Justin tried to reassure him that Brian wasnt really mad, but his friend wouldnt be placated until Brian accepted his invitation to travel in the private jet with himself and Justin to New York.
Shortly after take off, the men removed their seat belts and shifted around the cabin to become more comfortable. Emmett and Brians friend, Ted, settled on a sofa and continued talking non-stop about Teds internet porn sites. When Emmett found out Ted owned the chat room that he and George met in, he couldnt contain his gratitude.
Brian came back from the restroom and sat next to Justin, who was staring out the window. "Theyll be fucking by midnight," Brian said conspiratorially.
Justin looked at the other couple and smiled. "Good for them."
"Uh-hmm," Brian replied softly, taking the younger mans hand in his.
Justin was trapped in those hazel eyes and knew he should say something else, Brian was obviously waiting for him to say something about he and Brian at midnight, but he couldnt put his mind around it. Finally, he wrestled his eyes away and looked back out the window. But he didnt let go of Brians hand. And he didnt protest when the man slid closer, putting his arm around Justins waist.
Brian dipped his head, his lips grazing the blondes ear. "Do you have any idea how badly I want you?"
Justin shivered as the hot breath tickled his ear and the tremor carried the words straight to his groin. Yeah, he had an idea. The man had been telling him as much for the last few days as they planned their trip. They had been flirting like mad during their nightly phone calls, but what made the detective even more appealing was how easily he opened up and let Justin into his life.
He was honored Brian wanted to share this weekend with him. He found out Vic was a close friend who tested positive 7 years ago. He almost lost his restaurant when he became ill, but his family and friends banned together and nursed him back to health while keeping the restaurant going. Since then, they hosted a New Years benefit every year to raise money for other positive people who need assistance, and to thank the customers who stuck with them through it all.
All the while Justin was gathering information about Brian during their conversations, he could feel himself falling for the detective.
And it terrified him.
The artist hadnt felt anything like this in forever. He wanted Brian more than anything he could ever remember, but he couldnt believe Brian wanted him. Justin was afraid the man would be turned off by his scars and limited mobility when it actually came time to do it.
However, Brian hadnt made detective because they needed another mick to fill the roster. He saw Justins obvious nervousness. He remembered the blondes defensive posturing regarding his injury. And he most certainly could not forget Emmetts constant interference. Despite, their previous little misunderstanding as the other man called it, Emmett was still badgering Brian about how to handle the artists condition.
What? Was he pregnant?
Brian had to admit he didnt fully understand the younger mans situation because he still didnt know what happened, but he hoped that this weekend would give them a chance to get to know each other. Besides the obvious desire to fuck the blonde into next week, he wanted Justin to trust him and let him into his life.
The blonde trembled in his arms, and Brian wasnt sure if it was nerves or anticipation. Probably a little of both. "Hey." He cupped Justins chin and turned his face up. "Im not going to do anything you dont want to."
The artist smiled gratefully.
"But you do want me to kiss you, dont you?"
Justin nodded and reached up for him eagerly. It was about fucking time. Hed been thinking about kissing this man since the day theyd met.
Brian lowered his head and kissed the corner of his mouth. Then the other side. When he pulled away, the blonde tried not to look disappointed.
"At midnight, Im going to kiss you till your toes curl," the older man growled in the artists ear.
This time when Justin shivered, Brian knew exactly what it meant.
When the plane landed, a limousine drove them into the city to the hotel where Brian had reservations. They each had their own suite and separated to shower and dress for the party. At six oclock they all met again to cross the street to Vics for dinner. They were going to eat with a few people Brian wanted to introduce Justin and Emmett to before the party started.
Brian led them around the building to the service entrance since the restaurant was closed for party preparations. He rang the bell and a red-headed woman opened the door.
"Its about fucking time," she cackled, pulling Brian to her in a tight hug.
"Christ, Deb, I cant breathe," he groaned.
She let him go with a light slap on the cheek and turned to Ted. She managed to crush him as well before a young man ran up behind her.
"Jesus, Ma, let them inside before they freeze to death."
She pointed a brightly lacquered finger at him and snapped her gum threateningly, but stood aside without another word.
Brian hugged the dark-haired man who was grinning widely. "Hey, Mikey."
"Hi, Bri," his friend gushed and hugged him back happily.
Justin watched the exchanges with interest until he was accosted by the woman. "And who is this cherub?" she asked, squeezing his cheek. "Whats your name, Angel? Oh, wait " she turned him around and lifted his tuxedo jacket appraising his ass. "Uh-huh " She gave Brian a knowing look. "Just as I thought. You must be the devil in disguise with that bubble butt."
The blonde blushed and Brian pulled him close, wrapping his arm around Justins waist. "Justin Taylor, this is Debbie and Michael Novotny. Deb, Mikey, this is Justin, and his friend Emmett Honeycutt."
"Schickels Pickle King?" mother and son asked in unison.
Brian and Justin cringed at the tacky nickname the press had given Emmett after Georges death, but Emmett just laughed it off. "Thats me," he replied, refusing to let the derogatory moniker bother him anymore. Besides, he didnt think these people meant anything by it.
Debbie reaffirmed his suspicions when she hugged him too. "You gave them hell, didnt you, honey? Good for you!"
Two more gentlemen appeared and Brian hugged them both. "Justin Taylor, Emmett Honeycutt, Id like you to meet Vic Grassi and Ilario Bernini. Vic and Larry own the restaurant."
"With our other silent partner," Vic replied cryptically as he shook hands with his guests.
"The cannoli was unbelievable, thank you," Justin said.
Vic looked at him blankly. "Im sorry?"
"Actually, Deb made those," Brian interjected. "She and Michael were visiting last week, and she did me that special favor." He kissed her cheek and she swatted him away.
"Im glad you liked them, Angel. He had me out of bed at the crack of dawn to make those for you."
Vic laughed at Brians scowl. "But Ill take credit anyway, Justin. I taught her everything she knows," he teased to let Brian wriggle off the hook.
"Thank you, everyone," the blonde replied, but he was looking at Brian.
"Well, lets eat," Debbie barked, herding the group through the kitchen to the dining room.
Although the restaurant was busy with staff preparing for the party, the small group was ushered into a cozy alcove that was set for their dinner. As the platters were passed around the table, everyone praised the presentation and smell of the various pasta dishes. If they tasted half as good as they smelled, Justin was sure he would never leave. He would probably just explode at the table.
"So how do you know each other?" Justin asked Brian as he munched on a piece of garlic bread.
"Weve been friends for thirty years," Michael crowed proudly.
"Really?" Justins eyes widened in shock.
Brian glared at his friend. The last thing he wanted was Justin to question his age now. It hadnt come up yet and he was hoping to put it off until the blonde was too horny to care. Shit. He could tell Justin was doing the math now.
"That just doesnt seem possible," the artist wondered aloud. "Very few people manage to stay close to someone their entire life. Youve know each other since childhood then?"
Brian nodded, grateful the young man didnt seem fazed by it.
"Yep, since we were ten," Michael confirmed.
Before Brian could put his fork in the other mans throat, Vic intervened. "Justin, Brian tells us youre an artist. Are those your pictures being auctioned tonight?"
"Two of them. And four are from George Shickels private collection."
"Right, Brian was telling us you run the Shickel Gallery, and Lindsay works for you."
"Yes, Lindsay was one of my professors at PIFA and shes a great help at the gallery."
Debbie pushed more gnocchi at him. "Its too bad the girls couldnt come, but Im glad we got to see Ricky last week."
"Im afraid thats my fault," Justin replied, ignoring Brians leg nudging him.
He knew that Lindsay and Melanie didnt come to the party because he and Lindsay were fighting about Brian. Melanie was surprised Lindsay was so adamant, because she would always go to see Debbie and Vic, despite Brians presence.
Somehow, Justin had gotten through the dinner at their house last Thursday by insisting they talk about the paintings Emmett wanted to donate for the auction. As long as they talked about work they were relatively civil to one another. And that was when Lindsay told him she would be staying in Pittsburgh and overseeing a benefit at the GLC on New Years Eve. Janine was originally going to take care of those arrangements because it was a small auction, but Lindsay insisted she should stay. Justin immediately saw through her arguments, but didnt know what else to say. If he were a better man he wouldve cancelled his plans, and allowed her to visit her friends, but he was selfish and couldnt stand the thought of missing this evening with Brian.
Now seeing the group of friends he had driven Lindsay away from, he felt another pang of guilt.
"Shes working at another benefit on behalf of the gallery tonight," he explained lamely, avoiding anyones gaze.
"It worked out for the better anyway," Brian added. "Rickys been under the weather and couldnt travel," he lied. The detective gave the blondes knee a gentle squeeze. He wasnt going to let Justins evening be ruined by that bitch. It was her decision to stay home, regardless of his relationship with the blonde.
"Well, thats unfortunate. Mel and Ricky couldve come without her. They wouldve had a better time if Lindsay stayed home anyway," Debbie replied.
"Sis," Vic hissed.
"What? Its true. Shes a lovely girl, but shes just not very warm is she?"
Larry interrupted to announce the arrival of the tirimisu and everyone gratefully changed the subject back to the food.
Soon after they were finished eating and the group dispersed to await the arrival of the guests. Debbie and Vic went to the kitchen to finalize preparations, Larry gave Justin a tour of the restaurant, and they discussed the items up for auction. Emmett and Ted disappeared back to the hotel, and Michael and Brian settled at the bar.
Eventually the guests started arriving and Justin wandered over to the bar. Michael and Brian had their backs to him so they didnt realize he was behind them.
"Why didnt you tell me about him last week?" Michael asked.
"There wasnt anything to tell."
"So you just met him yesterday and brought him home to meet your family? Whats next? A shotgun wedding?"
"Mikey, whats the problem?" Brian asked warily. "I like him, I thought wed have a good time."
"Right. I know you. Youll have a good time, then send him on his way next week. But when he doesnt get the hint that it was just a fling, youll be calling me to complain about him stalking you. Remember that doctor?"
"I wont be sending him anywhere except home for a change of clothes," Brian replied with a smile that didnt reach his eyes.
"So youre letting them stay past sunrise now?" his friend mocked. "I thought you were afraid theyd turn to dust. Or maybe thats a good thing considering then they couldnt return. Did I mention the doctor?"
"Would you shut the fuck up?" Brian snapped.
Michael pouted. "What crawled up your ass?" He gazed at his friend a moment. "I guess mas right. You cant suck and fuck your life away anymore. Its time for you to start settling down, but you should have picked someone older. Hell wear you out, old man."
Brians blood raced at the thought. "I fucking hope so," he muttered.
Michael laughed. "I knew it. Youll never change."
Brian looked at his friend, overcome with sadness. He couldnt believe he and Michael were such strangers now. They had really drifted apart over the last few years. He took his drink and started to walk away in search of his date.
Justin intercepted him, pretending not to have heard anything. He didnt want to ruin their night. Besides, he didnt believe the man Michael described was the man he knew. What kind of a friend said things like that? He would never talk to Emmett that way.
He guided Brian back to the bar and sat down on a stool, unable to stop the sigh of relief that escaped. Hed been walking around too much and his leg ached. He knew he should take a pain pill, but he wanted to be able to have a little champagne later, and remember the rest of the evening.
Brian took his cane and set it to the side so he could move his stool closer. He raised his hand to the blondes neck and kneaded the muscles. Leaning in, he whispered, "Four hours," before lightly kissing Justins temple. "Are you having a good time? Can I get you anything?" he asked at a normal volume.
The artist smiled. "Im good. Im so full from dinner I think I might pop. Vic is amazing."
"Actually, that was all Larrys doing. Vic doesnt cook for the restaurant anymore because hes afraid it will drive some asshole customers away. But he loves to take in new students and train them."
The blonde frowned briefly, then forced another smile. "Well, Larry is amazing, and Id love to have anything Vics made. Obviously, hes passed on a lot of his talent to the current chefs if this turnout is any indication."
"Having a good time, Princess?" Emmett asked as he and Ted joined them.
Justin eyed the couple and saw a small love bit under Emmetts collar. "Oh, for heavens sake, Em. Jonathan spoils you too much," he teased as he pretended Emmetts tie needed straightening. "When was the last time you managed to tie a decent bow? This thing has been bothering me all night." While everyone laughed he discreetly adjusted his friends collar and gave him a wink.
Ted turned to his friends. "Weve been looking all over for you."
Brian raised any eyebrow. "So you thought youd check the hotel?"
Ted ignored him. "I shouldve known youd be at the bar."
"Like were anywhere else when were together," Michael quipped. "We were at Babylon every night last week," he told Justin and Emmett. "Felt like we were 20 again."
Justin glanced at Brian. Those nights he cancelled their date, he was out with his friends? That was fine, especially since Michael was visiting, but why did Brian lie about it?
Ted snorted. "Just like old times. We waited at the bar all night while he spent the evening picking up bad guys."
"Between tricks and perps, hes handcuffed half the population of Pittsburgh," Michael joked.
Brian glared at him, not even wanting to look at Justin.
"Brian, lets dance," Michael suggested, "like old times," he added coyly.
The detective rolled his eyes, not even bothering to hide his annoyance. "Justin and I were just going to the kitchen to see Vic about some cooking classes," he replied flatly, holding out his hand to the blonde. He was relieved when Justin took it without hesitation and followed him across the room.
When they were out of earshot, Justin pulled on his arm to make him slow down. Brian turned around, regret on his face. "Im sorry, are you okay?"
"Yes, but I think we look kind of conspicuous racing through the room though. Are you okay?" The artist wasnt sure what had just happened back there between the two friends, but he knew Brian was upset and Michael was making him uncomfortable too.
"Yeah, I just wish it was later."
The blonde beamed. "Me too."
"Come here, Angel," Debbies voice boomed. "There are some people looking at your pictures and they want to meet you."
"Go on," Brian nudged him. Im gonna find Vic for a minute, then Ill join you."
"Okay." The artist squeezed Brians hand and said, "later," before following the woman into the crowd.
It was two hours later before the men found each other again. Although, Justin was happy to see him, he liked having time alone with Debbie to get more information about the other man.
She told him how she and Michael moved to New York six years ago to help Vic save his restaurant when he got ill. And how it go so bad they thought they would lose everything until Brian used his meager savings to keep things afloat. Luckily, Vic stabilized and the restaurant took off. When Brian tried to withdraw his investment and return sole ownership to Vic, the other man insisted they remain partners so Brian would reap the benefits as well. With Larry later added as a third partner, they now owned five restaurants.
"Hey," Brian purred when he slipped his arms around the other man again. "Its time for the auction, lets go sit down."
The auction flew by and Justin was pleased his works went for more than he expected. The buyers also expressed interest in coming to the gallery and seeing more. After talking with them briefly, Justin realized it was 11:50 and went in search of his date. They had agreed to meet back at the bar if they were separated again and sure enough, Brian was waiting for him.
"You ready to go?" the older man asked him.
"Unless you want to stay here and be covered in confetti and champagne, jostled about by drunks trying to grope you, I thought we should go back to the hotel before the clock strikes."
Justin nodded excitedly. "Lets go then."
"I already said good-bye to everyone, and youll see them again tomorrow at brunch, Vic is going to cook for you, so we can just slip out the back."
The blonde let him lead as they wove their way back through the kitchen and out into the cool air. They hurried across the street and waited anxiously for the elevator. Justin kept checking his watch, but Brian was calm. "Relax. Everythings taken care of."
By the time they reached the room there was two minutes to go. Brian shucked off his jacket and took Justins before leading him to the window. "This is what I wanted to show you." He pulled back the drapes and exposed the view of the city.
As Justin stood admiring the skyline, Brian retrieved the champagne that had been chilled and opened moments before by room service. He poured two glasses and handed one to the blonde. He held his wrist out for Justin to see his watch as the last five seconds ticked away.
"Happy New Year," they said simultaneously as they tapped their glasses together and took a sip.
Then Brian took the glasses and set them on the table. He turned back and took the younger man in his arms. Justin was smiling, and Brian couldnt remember ever seeing anyone more beautiful. The detective ran his thumb over the curved lips. A pink tongue darted out and rubbed against his finger, tempting Brian to dive for it.
Justin pulled back in surprise, but Brians tongue chased the retreating appendage into the artists mouth and there was no resistance. When they finally tangled together, both men moaned. Finally tasting each other, they held on tightly and continued to melt impossibly closer together.
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