The Meaning of Commitment

The Meaning of Commitment

The Jeep pulled into the path leading to Justin's uncle's cottage.  They were returning once more for a fishing expedition with Gus.  The little boy dozed in his car seat while Justin and Brian had driven the last few miles.  It was early evening.  They had hoped to get to the cottage before dark and they had barely made it.


Brian stopped the car and carried Gus into the cottage.  The sun was mostly set behind the lake but there was still some of the pink left for them to see.  They went out onto the deck and watched the last of the pink fade from the lake and the sky.


"It's still amazing," Brian said.


"Amazing!" Gus agreed, now fully awake.


Brian looked at his son.  He was very proud of the little boy, how bright and creative he was.  Brian gave Justin a lot of credit for that, even though he knew Lindsay's artistic abilities were a more likely source.  He still felt that Justin had instilled his love of drawing into Gus.


They went back inside as the last light faded.  They still had to unload the car and get settled in.  Gus should really be in bed already.  But this was a mini holiday for all three of them, and the day to day rules didn't apply.  Brian smiled to himself.  This was going to be a very special weekend.  He knew what was hidden away in his overnight bag and a shiver ran up his spine as he thought about what was to come.


An hour later they sat on the couch, Gus snuggled between them.  Brian's arm rested on the back of the couch as he gently ran his hand through Justin's hair.  Justin softly rubbed Gus' back as the little boy drifted towards sleep.  When they were sure Gus was out, they carefully carried him to the bedroom where he had stayed the last time they were there.


"Want a beer?" Brian asked as they came back to the living room.


"Sure," Justin replied.


Brian uncapped a couple of beers and carried them to the couch, offering one to Justin.


"I'm glad you could get the cottage again before the weather turned too cold to make fishing feasible."


"Yeah," Justin agreed.  "We were lucky.  It won't be too much longer before they close up this place for the season."


"Nobody uses it over the winter?" Brian asked.


"Not much.  It isn't very well insulated, so it never feels warm in here."

"What about the fireplace?" Brian asked, pointing to the empty hearth.


Justin chuckled.  "It keeps about three feet around it warm.  Once you step outside of that circle you can see your breath.

"Sounds like Pittsburgh," Brian said with a sneer.


"Except that's as warm as it gets.  At least at the loft you can be nice and snug, no matter what it's like outside.  You can't say the same for this place."



"Why are you interested in what it's like up here in the winter?"

"I was thinking it might be fun to be snowed in up here … with you," Brian said softly.


"You were?" Justin asked, turning and smiling into Brian's face.


Brian gave him kind of a funny look, but didn't say any more.  Justin slid closer and was rewarded with a long delicious kiss.  Brian's tongue licked across his lips when he was finished.


"You taste so good," Brian sighed.


Justin's hand reached for Brian's crotch, but the man trapped it before it reached its destination.  "What's wrong?" Justin asked with a bewildered look on his face.  It was so unlike Brian to stop his advances.


"I … I want to talk to you.  We can do that in a bit," Brian said releasing Justin's hand.

"You actually want to talk?" Justin asked.  He stressed the word 'want', unable to believe that Brian was actually wanting to talk to him, actually turning down sex in favor of talking.


"Yes!" Brian snapped.  "That's what I said."  His scowl told Justin in no uncertain terms that he did not appreciate the skepticism.


"Sorry!" Justin backed off.  "What do you want to talk about?"

"We've never really … discussed our new … relationship," Brian said slowly.  He seemed to have difficulty forcing the words out.


"You mean our 'committed' relationship?"

"That's the one."

"What do we need to discuss about it?"

"I thought that maybe there were a few things that we should clarify," Brian explained.


"Like what?"


Brian let out a sigh.  "I don't know!  Like what the fuck it means and where the fuck we're going with this!"


"Really?  You want to talk about that?"  Justin's mouth hung slightly open in amazement.


"Well, if it's such a fucking unbelievable thing for us to do, then just fucking forget it!"  Brian shoved himself up from the couch.  "I'm going to bed," he stated and headed down the hall.


"Brian," Justin called after him.  "Brian, please come back."


The man kept walking and Justin heard the bedroom door slam behind him.  What had he done?  What was this all about?  He couldn't believe that Brian had even suggested talking about their commitment and what it meant.  Maybe that was the problem.  It was such unfamiliar territory for both of them that neither knew how to handle it.  Obviously he hadn't handled it very well from his end.  He had just made Brian angry at him.  He leaned his head back and prayed for divine intervention to tell him what to do now.


Brian tore off his clothes and crawled into bed.  "Stupid!  Fucking stupid!" he muttered to himself.  He should never try to talk about feelings or their future together.  It was always a recipe for disaster.  All it ever got him was grief or skepticism or jokes or fucking disbelief.  He was never going to get it right.  How come it was so easy for other people?  He buried his face in the pillow, fighting the urge to scream in frustration. 


Justin waited.  He was hoping Brian would come back and they could talk.  After quite awhile and no sign of Brian, Justin turned off the lights and went to the bedroom door.  He hesitated as he reached for the doorknob.  The last thing he wanted to do was continue the fight with Brian.


Brian heard Justin moving around and knew he was probably coming to bed.  When the movement ceased outside the bedroom door, he sighed.  Why did they always have to fight?  Why couldn't he just say what he meant without all of the self-doubt?  Why did Justin always think he was kidding when he wanted to talk about his feelings?  If he was truthful, he knew why Justin laughed - because Brian never wanted to talk about feelings.  Brian groaned and turned onto his side.


Justin heard the groan through the door and knew that Brian was fighting some kind of a battle with himself.  He hoped it was a good battle and not something that would cause them more grief.  He pushed the door open.


Brian lay on his side, his face partially buried in the pillow.  Justin couldn't make out the look on his face, but he knew he wasn't asleep.


"Can I join you?" Justin asked.


There was a slight shrug of the shoulders and Justin knew he had been given tacit permission to get into bed.  He smiled to himself and quickly got undressed.  He slid silently into the bed and snuggled against Brian's back.  He got no reaction.


"Brian," he said softly.


There was no response.  This was going to be harder than he thought.  Usually by now Brian had him pinned to the mattress.  He wondered what Brian had wanted to talk about.


"Brian," he said again.




That was progress.  At least he was speaking to him.


"I didn't mean to drive you away.  What did you want to talk about?"


"Nothing.  It doesn't matter now."

"Yes, it does," Justin replied.  They wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't something important.


"I don't want to talk now," Brian said stubbornly.  He really meant that.  He had geared himself up to begin the discussion with Justin.  All that resolve had vanished with Justin's disbelief.


"I want to have that discussion," Justin persisted.  He ran his hand along Brian's shoulder and down his arm.  His fingers laced with Brian's.  He was pleased that Brian didn't push him away.  "Please?" he asked.


"Is this one of those things you really, really want to do and if I don't listen I'm going to pay big time later?" Brian teased.


Justin chuckled.  He was happy to hear Brian's attempt at humor.  That was Brian's line when he wanted to know if Justin was really serious about something.  "Yes," he replied.


Brian rolled over to look at his young lover.  "Can we do this later?  I was all psyched up for it before, but now I just want to forget it."

Justin didn't like the sound of that.  It must be something really big.  "Are you kicking me out of your life?" Justin asked with just a tinge of fear in his voice.


"Jesus, no!  Why the fuck would you think that?"


"It must be something big if you're this worried about it.  That was all I could think of that might make you this uncomfortable."


"There are other things," Brian said ruefully.


"Like what?" Justin asked, determined to get some idea of what was bugging Brian.


"I said I didn't want to do this right now," Brian said stubbornly.


"Okay, okay.  I don't want to fight, but will you promise to tell me soon?"


"Only if you don't make fun of me."

"I didn't mean to.  It's just that sometimes you take me by surprise and I'm never sure when you're joking or being sarcastic."


"No shit!"


Justin chuckled.  "No shit," he replied seriously.

"Maybe I should wear a fucking clown nose when I'm being serious.  Then you'd know for sure that you're not supposed to laugh."

Justin giggled.  The thought of Brian with a clown nose trying to have a serious discussion was too funny for words.  Justin cleared his throat.  "Would you?" he asked with a straight face.


"Twat!" Brian replied and rolled on top of his boy.


His hands wandered over the soft silky skin and he heard Justin take in a breath in anticipation of what was to come.


"Fuck me, Brian," Justin whispered.


The boy's warm breath next to his ear sent a signal directly to Brian's cock.  He felt it twitch and he groaned.  Justin had him so trained to respond, even to his fucking breath.  He was so screwed.  He roughly pinned Justin's hands above his head.  He'd show the little fucker who was in charge.  "You want to be fucked?" Brian asked with a growl, preparing to make Justin pay for his lack of respect.


"Only by you," Justin whispered huskily, and Brian was putty in his hands.  He let go of Justin's wrists wanting the boy's arms around his body more that he wanted to assert his power.  He felt Justin arch up into him and knew that he could never live without that body beside him.  More than that he could never be truly himself without Justin's brain to challenge him.  And finally he could never be the better person Justin had taught him he could be without Justin's heart next to his, just like this.


"You don't play fair," Brian whispered into Justin's hair.


"What do you mean?" Justin asked not understanding.


"You use sex to get your own way."


"I use sex?" Justin asked completely bewildered by this accusation.


"You breathe against my ear and I want you so bad, I can't even remember why I was going to punish you."




"I don't want to be punished at the moment.  I want to be fucked long and slow by the master."

Brian growled deep in his throat.  "Then here we go," Brian stated and his lips found Justin's, pressing against the soft, full mouth that he loved.  His tongue demanded entrance and Justin opened his mouth to receive it.  It traced across Justin's teeth and over and under the tongue dueling and licking.


Justin had no idea how long the kiss lasted.  It seemed like forever and yet only a few seconds.  When Brian finally allowed them to come up for air, Justin's head was spinning.  He hadn't wanted the kiss to end, but he was sure that he would have become unconscious if it had lasted much longer.  "God, nobody kisses like you," Justin gasped.  "Your lips should be registered as a lethal weapon."

"That's my dick!" Brian snorted.  His lips captured Justin's again, and he began another deep and intoxicating kiss.


This time when he released Justin's mouth, the boy had no words.  Verbal capability had been lost somewhere after Brian's lips met his.  Justin gasped and sucked in air unable to make any coherent noises or thoughts.


Brian smiled at his handiwork thus far and attacked Justin's nipples.  He felt them stand, hard little nubs, beneath the ministrations of his lips.  Justin moaned and Brian licked his way down to the throbbing cock that pulsed on Justin's stomach.  Copious precum dripped from it already.  Brian ran his thumb across the slit and felt Justin whimper in his need.


"Are you ready?" Brian asked.


Justin nodded still unable to form words.  Brian slid on a condom and lubed it generously.  His fingers found Justin's hole and the boy grasped Brian in a death grip, and he opened his mouth to scream.  He wanted to come so badly, but he wanted Brian inside him first.  Brian's lips locked on his, stifling the scream and preventing Justin from waking Gus.    


He could feel Brian's cock pressed against his pucker and he pushed himself wantonly against it.  Brian grinned.  "My sexy boy, my horny little man, my impatient, delectable lover," Brian whispered against Justin's ear, and the boy came, unable to stop himself.  His cum shot out in long creamy threads again and again.  Brian's hand was around his dick milking it for all it was worth.


Justin gasped and gulped for air, the intensity of his orgasm leaving him breathless.  Brian held him till he came back to some semblance of normal.


"I wanted to come with you inside me," Justin said sadly.


"You will," Brian replied.


"I will?" Justin asked looking into Brian's eyes.


"You wanted it long and slow.  You never would have made it, the state you were in.  Now we can start slow and build from there," Brian explained to Justin's few functioning brain cells.




Brian was rubbing his palm up and down Justin's not so soft shaft.  It was beginning to respond already.  "Ah, youth!" Brian observed as his actions had the desired effect.


Brian positioned his cock which was in sore need of relief itself.  He pressed in and heard that little gasp that he loved.  He inched his cock slowly into that warm channel.  Justin looked at him with adoring eyes until he was all the way in.  He rotated his hips massaging Justin's prostate and the boy cried, "Brian, please."  He clung to Brian's body as the man continued his actions.


Suddenly Brian stopped and stayed still.  Justin looked at him, feeling so much, so overwhelmed.  "I …" he began, but Brian put his finger on the boy's lips.


"Don't talk.  Just enjoy."  Brian began his in and out rhythm, pumping in long steady strokes.  Justin grunted his satisfaction.  Brian went faster and shallower drawing gasps from the willing boy beneath him.  He drew back and thrust hard and deep.  Justin opened his mouth to scream his approval, but Brian's lips smothered the scream.


Brian tried every tempo he had ever mastered, fast, slow, long, short, hard, gentle, staccato, waltz, tango, forte.  Justin moaned and gurgled.  Brian grunted and panted.  He felt his balls draw up and knew he had reached his limit.  His hand wrapped around Justin's cock and with the last few thrusts he timed their orgasms.


The jolts raced up and down his spine as he pumped into the boy.  He whispered, "Justin," on the last lunge and came with such intensity; he thought his heart might explode.


Some moments later he felt Justin gasping for air beneath him.  He rolled over onto his back and opened his eyes.  "Are you all right," he asked softly.






"I think I'm dead."



"Can we do that again?"


"Jesus Christ, Justin!  Give me thirty seconds."


Justin snickered.  "I didn't mean immediately." 




"That was mind-blowing."

"Yeah, it was."

"I better be careful when I ask for long and slow."


"My dear old dad used to say, 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.'"


"He was right."


"About that one thing."

"Brian, we will talk about whatever you wanted to say before, won't we?" Justin asked.


"Yes, baby," Brian said softly.  "Later."  He pulled Justin against him and they fell asleep locked in each other's arms.




The bedroom door slammed back against the wall.  Gus yelled, "Dada!"


Brian sat up groggily.  He had slept like a log after he and Justin had had their fantastic fuck.  He didn't appreciate being so rudely awakened.  "What is it, Gus?" he asked trying to keep his temper under control.


"Fishing!" the little boy stated.


Brian looked at him, not at all pleased.


"Fishing," Gus repeated.  "Justin?" he called hoping to get Justin on his side since his father wasn't responding correctly.


Justin rolled over.  He had been awake since the door slammed against the wall, but had chosen to stay out of this until Gus called his name.  "Morning, Gus," he said.  "What time is it?"


"Six-fifteen," Brian said through clenched teeth.


"Well, we better get a move on before all those fish go elsewhere.  Come on you two, let's have a quick shower."


Brian wanted to swat Justin for his cheerfulness, but he bit his tongue and got out of bed.


Thirty minutes later after a shower, a piece of toast and a hasty filling of the cooler, they were out at their spot in the lake.  Justin had bought some worms at the last village they passed through on their way up, so they hadn't needed to dig any this time.  Justin baited Gus' hook and his own.  He looked at Brian silently asking if the man wanted to try his luck too.  Brian shrugged so Justin put a worm on his hook and dropped it over the side.


They sat in silence for awhile, when suddenly Brian jumped.  He had a bite.  He looked at Justin who just sat there smiling at him.


"Fish, Dada," Gus said seeing the line dip and hearing the reel unwind.  "I help you."  Gus handed his rod to Justin and moved over to stand between Brian's legs.  He placed one hand on the rod.  The other hand went to Brian's hand on the reel and pushed it to start reeling in the fish.    


In a few minutes father and son had brought the fish to the side of the boat.  It was a good sized trout.  Brian pulled it out of the water and Justin unhooked it and dropped it into the cooler.  The smile on Brian's face was one of pure pleasure.


"How does it feel to have caught your first fish?" Justin asked beaming back at him.


"Not bad," Brian responded trying to wipe the silly grin off his face.  "Thank you for helping me, Gus," he said giving Gus a kiss on the cheek.


"It's okay, Dada.  Now you know how to do it."  Gus smiled back at him.

Brian snorted.  This kid was too smart for his own good.


They fished for a couple of hours more.  Gus caught two fish and it was Justin's turn to not have any bites.  Finally Justin said they should head back and get out of the sun for awhile.


Back at the cottage the two men cleaned the fish for supper, while Gus played in the sand near the dock.


"Do you feel like talking?" Justin asked.  They both knew what he meant.


"Do you?"


"I'm not laughing and I'm asking," Justin stated.


Brian had known this was coming so he had mentally prepared what he wanted to say.  Now all he had to do was say it.  He decided to start with a question.  "What's your definition of commitment?"


Justin stared straight at him and with unwavering eyes said, "I've actually given this a lot of thought.  I think it means sticking together through thick and thin, like the Eamonn thing and then Ireland.  They were like the best and the worst.  We love each other and help each other no matter what."


Brian looked at this young man who was so smart and so handsome and so giving and who loved him for some unfathomable reason.  "I couldn't have said that better myself," Brian said softly.


"You mean we finally agree on something?" Justin joked.


"Guess so, but you left out one part."


"No, I didn't."

Brian looked questioningly at him.  "What about the faithful stuff?"


Justin sighed.  "I love it that you're only with me.  Make no mistake about that, but I also think we have to be realistic about it.  I know Trip Bedford is waiting in the wings for something to happen between us."  Brian made a face and opened his mouth to say that nothing was going to happen between him and Trip.  Justin raised his hand to stop Brian.  "Don't say it.  I know you think nothing will come of that, and maybe it won't.  But look at what happened with me and Ethan." Brian's scowl was even more evident.  "I never intended for that to happen, but it did.  I'm just saying that I like where we are now.  We love each other and we're being faithful.  I hope that lasts forever, but you know from Eamonn's definition of 'forever' that that isn't always the way it turns out."


Brian took in a long breath.  He liked what Justin had said.  It was realistic, not a schoolboy fantasy that could never be true.  "What if one of us does … wander?" Brian had to ask.


"We deal with it," Justin said simply.


"Sounds good," Brian had to agree.  He thought about what was tucked away in his overnight bag and decided it better stay there for now.


"Is that all you want to say about this?" Justin asked.


"For now."

"Last night it sounded like you had something major that you wanted to tell me."


"I do, but now is not the right time."


"Brian, you can't say something like that and then leave me hanging."


"Can't I?" Brian said with a smirk.


"Briiaann," Justin whined.


"Jussttiiinn," Brian drew out the name in imitation of his lover.


"You are so dead!" Justin yelled throwing a little piece of fish gut at the man.


Brian ducked but returned the favor, hitting Justin in the chest.  The fish guts flew back and forth, most missing their mark as the two bobbed and weaved to avoid it.


"Dada!  Justin!"  Gus yelled, stamping his little foot.  They had forgotten he was even there.  They stopped immediately and looked sheepishly at each other.  "Bad boys!" Gus stated.  "You have to go to the time-out chair."

"We do?" Justin giggled.


"Yes!" Gus was emphatic.  "Sit on a chair until you can behave yourself!"


Brian smiled.  "This must be what Mel and Linds say to him when he is bad," Brian thought.  "We're sorry, Gus," Brian said.  "We should know better."


Gus nodded.


"Let's all go take a shower," Justin suggested.  "I smell like fish."


"Me too," Brian said pulling a chunk of fish guts off the front of his shirt.  "You want to come too, Gus?" Brian asked hoping to distract Gus from the punishment he had imposed.


Gus frowned.  "Play in the shower?" he asked hopefully.


Brian knew the games he liked.  Gus thought he was a big boy when he showered with them, but he still liked them to hold him up close to the shower head.


"We can do that," said Justin cleaning off the picnic table where they had been gutting the fish.  Brian picked up their dinner and took it in to the fridge.


Half an hour later they had sandwiches in the gazebo, staying out of the sun for awhile.  They were all clean and Gus seemed to have forgotten about the punishment for the two bad big boys.  When lunch was finished Justin asked if they would like to take the boat around the lake a little later in the afternoon.  Then they could stop and fish for a bit before coming back for supper.  They all voted yes to that plan. 


Brian suggested they all get in the hammock for a little quiet time before they headed out.  The old hammock managed to hold all three of them swinging gently in the shade of the trees it was attached to.  Brian had his arm under Justin and Gus snuggled between them.  He couldn't think of a better place to be.


When they returned from their afternoon expedition, they had no fish, but had had a good time waving to other cottagers on their tour around the lake.  They had stopped at one place and talked to the owners who Justin remembered from the summers he spent up there as a teenager.


They started the barbecue and Gus wanted to play Parcheesi again while they waited for the coals to burn down.  The fish was delicious as it had been last time.  They decided to go fishing in the morning before they left.  That seemed to be the best time to catch fish.  Gus really wanted to take some home to his mothers, like he had done last time.


The evening slipped away and the sky clouded over.  Before the lake could turn pink a little shower hit and the lake didn't do its magic this night.  They were all a little disappointed by that.


When Gus was finally tucked in for the night, Brian and Justin looked at each other.  The unspoken words that Brian wanted to say hung in the air.


"Are you going to tell me what it is?" Justin asked.


Brian knew what he meant, but decided to be obtuse.  "What it is?"


"You know.  Tell me."

Brian sighed.  "Do you remember when I gave you your sunshine pendant?"

"Yes," Justin replied gripping it in his hand.  He rarely took it from around his neck.


"Do you remember what happened?"

Justin made a face.  "Yeah, I got overly excited about it and almost drove you crazy."

"That too, but it was more that you expected too much from that gesture, more than I could give you at that point."


"So we put it away until the time was right," Justin said remembering how that had happened.


"Right," Brian agreed.  "That's the way I feel about this 'thing' that I want to discuss with you.  The time just isn't right."

"Then I'll wait until it is," Justin said easily.


"Do you think you can do that?"


"I'll give it my best shot."

"I love you," Brian said suddenly.


Justin's face beamed his sunshine smile.  "Let's go to bed," he said taking Brian's hand.




By lunchtime the next day everyone was happy and relaxed.  Gus had caught three more fish, Justin two and Brian one.  They had plenty for Mel and Lindsay and enough for another meal for themselves.


They cleaned up the cottage and started loading the car.  Justin took care of the kitchen and Brian packed their bags in the bedroom.  He reached into the side pocket of his bag and pulled out the dark green box.  The little Celtic knot on the top reminded him where this had come from.  He lifted the lid and looked at the two claddagh rings he had had sent from Ireland. 


"Later," he whispered as he dropped them back into his bag.

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