The next few days of the campaign went along without incident. Brian again began attending candidates meetings. He was asked some questions about his relationship with Justin, but there were no more attacks or stacked assemblies that tried to vilify him. It was decided that Justin would not appear at any of these functions until after the week he was to take it easy. They would evaluate his situation then.
Brian talked with Melanie about Stockwell's role in Justin's accident, but she said he had no proof of anything so there was really little that could be done. If Hobbs was willing to admit that Stockwell had paid him or encouraged him to attack Justin, then they could pursue it. Both Brian and Justin were sure they would never get Chris to do that.
Charles had his people looking into the incident, but since they were dealing with the chief of police, it was unlikely he would make some kind of slip-up that they could catch him on.
Brian was frustrated at not being able to prove what he was sure was true. Justin tried to get him to forget it and concentrate on the campaign. There was less than two weeks left before the election.
The latest polls showed that Brian had suffered from the newspaper picture of him and Justin, and probably somewhat from the attack at the Italian Club. Even though they had fought back, Billings was now in front. These incidents seemed to have polarized the community. There were significantly fewer undecided voters. People were choosing one side or the other, and they seemed to have chosen Billings' stand in much greater numbers.
Brian was disturbed by that. He did not want to be seen as merely the homosexual candidate. He did not want the main focus of the campaign to be homophobia. He also hated the idea that he was a divisive force, causing people to stand opposed to each other instead of working together for solutions. Brian felt there were many other issues that were, in his opinion, much more important. He had learned a lot since this campaign had started.
Brian told Charles that he wanted to find an issue that was important to the people of Pittsburgh and that would galvanize attention, thus taking it away from the whole homosexual thing. Allan Billings was squeaky clean as far as their investigations could discover, not that Brian really wanted to get into personal attacks such as he had suffered himself. They decided to stay away from the police and law issues, since that would only look like sour grapes and infuriate Stockwell more. Brian was all in favor of infuriating Stockwell, but Charles talked him out of it.
They were stumped. There were many topics that deserved to be discussed and would have to be dealt with if Brian was elected, but nothing that really stood out. After a long and frustrating afternoon where Charles and Brian had gone around and around all the issues and accomplished nothing, Brian was ready to scream.
Justin came in from school at that point. He could tell immediately that something was wrong.
"What's up?" he asked.
"We've been trying to think of some issue that would grab public attention and take it off the fact I'm gay. And that you and I are partners," Brian added giving Justin a kiss as the boy came over to him.
"So what have you come up with?" Justin asked.
"That's the problem," Charles said. "We can't think of anything."
"Oh?" Justin replied and Brian could see the wheels turning.
"What are you thinking about?" Brian asked.
"I'm not sure you would have jurisdiction over it," Justin qualified.
"Tell us and we can decide that," Charles said.
"I was talking to one of the girls in my drawing class today," Justin explained. "She's really talented. Anyway, she had a baby a couple of years ago. Not planned, of course, but she's trying to keep it and still complete her schooling. She is having an awful time finding suitable daycare that she can afford for her little boy. Thank God, her parents can help her out most of the time, but there are lots of people who don't have that safety net. What if you made daycare and education the issue?"
Justin waited, relieved that they didn't blow off his idea immediately.
"That's an issue that most people have to deal with, either through their own children or grandchildren or neighbors," Charles said.
"But isn't a lot of that under the state's control?" Brian asked.
"Yeah, but the city has say over licensing of daycares and we could offer incentives to businesses and schools to provide daycare on their premises," Charles said.
"And we could make it clear that we are going to go after the state government to improve education in general," Brian added.
"This could be it," Charles said. "You have one smart partner there, Brian."
"I always knew he wasn't just a pretty face," Brian said squeezing Justin's butt.
Justin squirmed away, his megawatt smile lighting up the loft, but he wanted to hide his sudden hard-on from Charles' view.
Charles stood up. "I'm going to go," he said. "I'll check out exactly what aspects of education we can influence and try to get some points drawn up for tomorrow night's Q and A."
"That would be great. Thanks Charles," Brian said.
"Bye, Justin," Charles said with a grin as the boy stood facing away from him, his hands clasped in front of him.
"Yeah, bye," he replied relieved that Charles was leaving.
When the loft door closed behind the man Justin wheeled on Brian. "Fuck!" he yelled. "Why did you do that?"
"Do what?" Brian asked innocently.
"Say nice things about me and squeeze my butt in front of him!"
"You don't want me to say nice things about you?" Brian asked pretending innocence again.
"Of course I do, just not in combination with you touching my butt," the frustrated boy responded.
"Why not?" Brian asked staring straight at Justin's crotch.
"Brian!" Justin groaned. "You know!"
"Come here and I'll help you fix it."
"Shit!" Justin said. "Don't you ever have remorse for anything you do?"
"Remorse is a waste of time."
Justin realized he was getting nowhere. He walked over to Brian. "I should punish you for being such a shithead."
Brian grasped his hips and pulled him close. "And how would you punish me, little boy?" Brian asked with a smirk. His hands shoved Justin's shirt out of the way and Brian began nibbling on his belly. He could see the tent in Justin's pants growing ever larger.
"Fuck!" Justin moaned as Brian shoved his pants to his knees allowing his cock to spring free.
"Double fuck!" Justin gasped as Brian's mouth engulfed his shaft and began to work it up and down.
"Triple fuck!" Justin breathed as Brian's hand clasped his balls and rolled them around. His knees were feeling very unsteady.
"Uh uh," Justin gasped as Brian sucked the tip of his cock and rolled his tongue around the cap.
"Don't you mean quadruple fuck?" Brian asked with a grin before he started licking the purple shaft with his talented tongue.
"Yeah," Justin agreed. "What comes next?" he asked losing his thought processes with each swipe of Brian's tongue.
"Quintuple fuck." He sucked the pulsing rod down his throat. He pulled Justin's hips forward and back effectively fucking his own face with the boy's cock.
Brian stopped. "Sextuple fuck," he said with a grin, "and I don't know what comes after that " Brian's mouth engulfed him once more. Justin knew he was going to explode any second, the delicious friction of Brian's lips more than he could bear.
"Ahhh!" he let loose, and sank against Brian who wrapped his arms around him and held him until the effects of his orgasm passed.
Brian pulled him onto his knee, Justin's head resting against Brian's cheek.
"You are so bad!" Justin whispered.
"That's why you love me," Brian grinned.
"You really liked my idea, didn't you?" the boy asked.
"You have the very best ideas."
Justin gave him his patented sunshine smile. He loved being praised by Brian. There was no point in trying to be mad at him.
Brian sat on the stage at the community center. He shifted his tie and smoothed his pant legs. He knew he looked striking in his gray suit and black shirt. He hoped the audience would find his ideas about daycare and education as striking.
Each candidate had been asked to submit a question that would be asked of all the candidates. That meant that each candidate could prepare his own answer and hope to trip up the opponents who wouldn't know the question ahead of time. Brian had submitted a question about daycare, prepared to launch this and education as the new focus of his campaign.
They had drawn lots to get the order of answering and had already dealt with the questions from Janet Ferrino and Jamal Jefferson. Brian thought he handled those answers well, and so had Billings. Brian's question was next.
The moderator began, "How would you deal with the need for more and better daycare for the youngest citizens of Pittsburgh?"
Brian got to answer first. He quickly related all the things he had discussed with Charles and Justin and expanded the question to include improvements in education at all levels. He got a resounding response from the audience when he was finished. He smiled slightly, pleased that he seemed to have struck a chord with the public.
Ferrino and Jefferson gave some rather bland answers to this question, and Allan Billings dismissed the whole idea saying it was not the mayor's prerogative to mess with education. Brian glared at him, determined later in the evening to refute this claim.
Next was Billings' question. The moderator asked, "How would you promote family values in Pittsburgh?"
"Shit!" Brian thought. That was almost the same as Stockwell's mantra of "Family Friendly Pittsburgh". Billings began talking about making the streets safe for families to walk with their children, about having concerts and picnics in the parks, about helping families afford their homes.
Again Jefferson and Ferrino gave adequate but uninspired answers. When it was Brian's turn he knew what he was going to say.
He started by relating the concept of family values to families having access to all the necessities of life including daycare and a good education. He stressed how the mayor could influence these things. Then he began talking about the family as a concept, that nowadays the definition of a family had changed, that it had become more inclusive and expanded beyond the nuclear family. He said there were many kinds of families in this world and wanted to see them all given the same regard as the traditional family. He received strong applause at the end of his answer, and an evil look from Allan Billings.
That was the end of the prepared part of the evening and the floor was open for questions from the audience. Brian held his breath. Every time they got to this point he half expected another attack.
"Mr. Kinney, how do you know about the need for education and daycare?" a woman asked. "Do you have any children?"
Brian knew that he had to be honest. He had said that he had a son early in the campaign, but Mel and Lindsay had managed to effectively stay out of the spotlight.
"I have a son as I have stated earlier. His mothers are lesbians and they had considerable trouble getting him into daycare even when they had money to pay for it. Some daycares didn't want the child of same sex couples. That's what I meant about equal opportunity for all, even those who don't fit the traditional definition of a family. I also know from my partner that there are students with children who can't afford the daycare that is out there. That's why I'd like to see businesses and institutions offer subsidized daycare so that these people can work and study in close proximity to their children. I think that cheaper and better daycare can be encouraged through the mayor's office."
There was strong applause.
Allan Billings cleared his throat and spoke up, "Easily said, but daycare and education are not under the auspices of the mayor's office as I said earlier."
"But the mayor can do a great deal to influence what happens with them. That is, if he or she wants to improve things," Brian responded staring straight at Billings.
The snide aspect of that comment was not lost on Billings. "And you know about education because 'your partner' is still a child in school," Billings said with a sneer.
"Justin is a student at PIFA."
"What's that?" Billings asked. "Pittsburgh Infant Facility?" he added with a humorless laugh.
"No, Mr. Billings, it stands for Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Art. My partner is a very talented artist."
"And many years your junior."
"Twelve, actually. Do you have a problem with that? I understand your wife is eight years younger than you."
Billings sputtered taken aback that Brian knew that and would have it ready to throw back at him. "That's beside the point," Billings said quickly.
"So is Justin's age."
"Gentlemen," the moderator interrupted feeling it was time to put a stop to this exchange. "I think we need to get on to other questions."
The next half hour was full of questions on many topics. Several more people asked about daycare and education and Brian began to think they had really hit on an issue that interested many of the voting public. Billings tried to pooh-pooh Brian's ideas without presenting any concrete ideas of his own on education. Brian was growing to detest his sneering comments.
Once the Q and A was completed the candidates and guests were offered coffee at the reception area at the back. This was the chance for people to speak one on one with the candidates. This was where Brian often felt he got the most important feedback. People who weren't comfortable speaking in front of a large group or who didn't have another agenda would give honest comment and/or criticism of topics that interested them.
Brian found himself surrounded by many of the younger people in the audience. Many wanted daycare at their work. They sincerely hoped that Brian could make this happen. They loved the idea that their child could be in the same building where they worked, and one of the women said that she had tried to work out a shared daycare at her place of employment but the red tape had defeated her. Brian said that shared daycare was a great idea and he would look into what could be done to facilitate such a plan.
Brian noticed Allan Billings giving him some sideways glances and wondered what his problem was, other than that he had only half as many people talking to him as Brian had.
When they finally left the hall Charles told Brian that he was very pleased with the way things had gone. The daycare and education issue had really grasped people's attention. He was optimistic that this subject could be the one to turn their campaign around.
Brian arrived back at the loft a little after ten. He found Justin sketching on the couch.
"Hey," Brian said as he closed the door.
"Hey," Justin replied setting his sketchbook on the coffee table. "How did it go?"
"There were very positive responses to the daycare/education theme. All thanks to you," Brian said.
Justin beamed. "I'm glad that idea is working for you, plus it really is something that needs to be improved."
"Allan Billings is one fucking asshole," Brian said.
"He just is."
"I understand that, but he must have done something that made you say that."
"He tried to say that as mayor I wouldn't be able to do anything about education or daycare."
"You didn't let him away with that, did you?"
Brian gave him a look of disdain.
"Of course you didn't," Justin said with a sheepish grin.
"He said you went to the Pittsburgh Infant Facility," Brian added waiting for the reaction.
"You're fucking with me. Right?" Justin asked in horror.
Brian shook his head. "I said you were a student at PIFA and he used the letters to mean that."
"I told you he's a fucking asshole."
"Did you get him back?" Justin asked knowing Brian all to well.
Brian smirked. "He asked about you being so much younger and I told him twelve years. Then I asked if that was a problem since his wife is eight years younger than him. I thought he was going to swallow himself."
Justin giggled. "They should know better than to mess with your razor wit."
"Guess what his question was," Brian said.
"Um what's your favorite position for fucking your blond boy toy?"
"Close," Brian said with a straight face.
Justin's mouth dropped before he realized that Brian was teasing him. "I don't know. What?"
"He wanted to know how we would promote family values in our fair city."
"How did they find a Stockwell clone so fast? What did you say?" Justin asked genuinely interested in how Brian would answer that question.
"How would you answer it?"
"I'd say that the traditional definition of family is much too narrow for the reality of today. I'd tell them that we need a new definition that includes all kinds of families."
Brian grinned from ear to ear. Christ this kid was smart.
"What?" Justin asked.
"That's just about what I said. I also added that all these new kinds of families needed and were entitled to decent daycare and a good education."
"You did?" Justin asked with his own grin.
"Great minds, you know."
"Were Mel and Linds there?"
"They'd go nuts hearing Brian Kinney saying things like that."
"I said those things and I meant them," Brian said seriously.
Justin grabbed Brian's hand and pulled him down onto the couch with him. "You're going to be the best mayor that Pittsburgh has ever had," he declared.
"From your mouth to the electorate's ears," Brian said before kissing his wise little mentor.
Return to The Candidate