Justin fidgeted in his seat.  The lecture had been going on for over an hour.  When would this guy be finished?  He needed to get to his space and work on the big project that was due in three days.  He was stuck.  He had no idea what he was going to do for the assignment, and it was a big one, worth forty percent of the semester's mark.


He had never really had artist's block before.  There had been times when he had been stuck for an idea, but that usually only lasted for a week or so.  Then something would come to him, and he would be off to the races.  He had known about this assignment for over a month and still he had no idea what to do.


Maybe it was the topic.  He was supposed to depict "Anxiety" by whatever means or methods he could come up with.  He was rarely anxious anymore, so maybe the emotion was too unrelated to him. 


He used to feel anxious about the bashing, about the possibility of meeting Chris Hobbs again, about being hit in the head all over again.  Those feelings had gradually disappeared, or he had pushed them so deep that they rarely surfaced.


He used to be anxious about money.  He remembered his ill-fated attempts at earning more money.  There had been his stint at Babylon as a dancer, and that awful party at the Sap's.  He had almost worked himself to death last summer, all for a few extra bucks.  He was glad he wasn't doing that anymore.  He and Brian had come to an agreement about money and he could live with it until he actually was out in the workforce, no longer a student.


He used to be anxious about his father, about his rejection.  He still wanted, somewhere deep inside, for his father to accept him for who he was.  That was highly unlikely to happen, so he had put behind him whatever anxiety that had caused.


He used to be anxious about Brian.  Would he come home and find him fucking a trick on the couch, or worse, in their bed?  For a long time he had walked on eggshells around the man.  He never wanted to upset Brian, afraid that he would be turfed out or scolded like a little kid.  Since he had come back from New York, their relationship had changed.  He was more of an equal, and he spoke his mind.  He knew Brian loved him, was faithful to him and would never hurt him, no matter what he said or how he stood up to him.


None of these seemed like the basis of a piece of artwork.  He sighed inwardly, wondering what the hell he was going to do.  The only thing making him anxious right now was this fucking assignment.


Justin realized people were standing up and starting to leave the lecture hall.  The boring ordeal was finally over.  He had missed the last thirty minutes of it entirely, his mind engrossed in running through the list of anxiety-filled moments he had experienced.


He headed for his space wondering if anything would come to him.  He had no idea what he was going to do if it didn't.


Hours later Justin cleaned up his space and put the empty canvas away.  He was no further ahead than he had been after the lecture.  He figured he might as well go home, as wander around his space, stare at the ceiling and get nothing accomplished.


He wearily pulled back the door to the loft.  He looked around.  Brian wasn't there.


"He must be working late," Justin thought.


He decided to make them a nice dinner instead of having the usual takeout.  He looked in the fridge thinking that he had bought some chicken yesterday and then they had opted for takeout.  Both of them were too tired and too impatient to want to cook.  He pulled out the chicken and looked to see what else he had to work with.  He found some veggies and knew there was pasta in the cupboard.  He decided a nice pasta dish would hit the spot.  A little comfort food always made things seem better.


He had everything bubbling away on the stove when he thought he heard the elevator come up to their floor.  The knock on the door surprised him.  He had been sure that it was Brian.  He quickly turned down the stove and went to the door.


"Michael?" he said with surprise as he opened the door.


"Hey Boy Wonder, is Brian here?"


"He's not home from work yet, but he should be here soon," Justin told him.


"Do you mind if I wait for him?  I need to talk to him."

"Sure.  Come on in.  Would you like a beer?"


"That would be great," Michael said plopping down on a barstool as Justin grabbed him a beer and stirred the pasta.


Michael took a swig of the beer and watched Justin cook.


"Would you like to stay for dinner?" Justin asked.


"Oh, I don't know.  I don't want to intrude."

"You wouldn't be intruding, and I'm making plenty.  You know Brian eats like a bird."

"That's true," Michael chuckled.  "Maybe we should incorporate something about that into Rage."

"Yeah," Justin said thinking.  "Maybe carbohydrates after seven turn him into a raving lunatic who fucks anything that moves."


They laughed.  "No," said Michael, "that's how he is without carbohydrates."


"Right.  I forgot."  They both broke into gales of laughter just as Brian opened the loft door.


"What's so funny, you two?" he asked.


"You had to be here," Michael said between snorts and gasps for breath.


"Yeah," Justin agreed wiping his eyes.


Brian came over and gave Michael a welcoming kiss.  "What brings you here," he asked, "other than the chance to laugh yourself silly at my expense?"  He glanced knowingly at Justin.


Justin and Michael looked at each other and broke out laughing once again.  Brian shook his head and went up to change his clothes.


"I asked Michael to stay for dinner," Justin called after him.


"Fine," Brian said rather testily.  "Where's the good professor this evening?"


"Working on his book at the library.  I guess I'm staying," Michael said shrugging his shoulders and looking towards Justin.


"Then set the table," Justin ordered.  "It's almost ready."


Michael set out the plates and cutlery.  Justin dished up some food.  They all sat down when Brian came down the steps in his T-shirt and jeans.


"Smells good," Brian said to Justin and gave him a sweet kiss.


Michael watched their interaction and smiled to himself.  He couldn't remember when Brian had seemed so happy and content.  He had to give credit to Justin.  He seemed to have tamed the wild one.


"So, Mikey, what brings you to our happy abode?" Brian asked his old friend.


"I wanted to ask you about some business dealings."

"Business?  Are you having trouble at the store?"

"Actually it's just the opposite.  I'm making a decent profit and of course Rage has helped.  I'm thinking of expanding."


"Wow, Michael, expanding!" Justin reacted.  "That's great."


Michael smiled at Justin.  They got along so much better these days.  "The store next door is closing and I could rent it and open up an entrance from my store.  It would almost double my space.  Everything's so cramped in there right now.  I could have more inventory and attract more customers."

"Do you think you would get enough new business to cover double the rent?" Brian asked sensibly.


"I think so," Michael said, "but I'm a little anxious about doing this so soon after opening the store.  I don't want to get in over my head."

Justin heard the word "anxious" and paid closer attention. 


"You could definitely use the space," Brian said.  "I think you should start advertising in some of the local throwaway papers.  The cost of ads in them is cheap, but it would bring in new business.  You could advertise as 'The Home of Rage' and all other superheroes," Brian suggested.


"That sounds great!" Michael enthused.  "Could I get some of your expertise to do that … cheap?"

"How about … free!  For old times sake."


"Brian, that would be wonderful."

"Anytime, Mikey," Brian replied.  "Dinner was great, Justin," Brian said pushing back from the table.


"If you two don't mind, I'm going to eat and run," Michael said.  "I want to make some measurements at the store and check a few things.  I want to move fast before somebody else rents the other store."

"Sure, Mikey, I'll see you later," Brian said as he walked to the door with Michael.


When Brian returned to help Justin clear the table, the boy stopped what he was doing and looked at his partner.


"What?" Brian asked.


"That was nice, offering to do the advertising for Michael."


"Thanks," said Brian without further explanation.


Justin grinned to himself.  "Michael may have helped me," Justin stated.


"Oh, how?"


"I have this big project that I have artist's block about.  Something he said sort of got me thinking in a different way about it."

"Why didn't you talk to me about it?" Brian asked.  "I've helped you before."


"I kept thinking I'd get an idea, but it's due in three days and I haven't even started."


"Justin!" Brian said in an accusatory tone.


Justin laughed out loud.  "If you had said "Young man" instead of "Justin" I would have sworn you were channeling my mother just then."


Brian made a face.  "So what is this assignment about?"


"And what's the problem?"

"I couldn't think of what really made me anxious anymore.  Since you're so sweet to me these days, I have no anxious moments."


"Yes you do," Brian stated mater-of-factly.


"What do you mean?"

"You were pretty anxious when you thought I was going to make you wear our rings."


"That's true," Justin admitted.  "When Michael talked about being anxious about the store I realized that he was afraid of failure, that failure causes a lot of people's anxiety.  I was afraid those rings would set us up for failure."


"You're right," Brian said thoughtfully.  "Anxiety about work, money, relationships, you know, separation anxiety."

"It's related to worry, about things we can't always control."


"There's also being anxious in a good way," Brian said.



"I'm anxious to take you to bed and fuck your brains out."

"Now that is definitely a good type of anxious," Justin said with a grin.


Brian held out his hand.  "Come on.  We can worry about the bad anxious later."


Brian leaned against Justin's back.  His dick was firmly planted up Justin's warm channel and he rocked into the boy.  Justin grunted his satisfaction and met each thrust with a counter thrust.  Brian leaned his forehead against Justin's neck and took a deep breath.  He loved the smell of his lover.  It always made him hard and he plowed deeper into the waiting hole.  Justin moaned under the new onslaught.


Brian took another deep breath smelling citrus and cigarettes and sweat.  "Ready?" he asked feeling his balls draw up.


"Almost," Justin gasped.


Brian took another sniff of his delectable lover and felt the ripples course through him, and he was coming.  He felt Justin buck back and knew the boy was finding his release as well.


They lay on their backs waiting for their breath to even out.  Justin could feel his heart thumping in his chest.  No wonder they said that sex was a good cardio-vascular workout.  He felt Brian run his hand along his hip.  He opened his eyes and looked into the hazel ones he loved.


"That was great," Justin said.  "I'm so happy after we do that that I can't even think about anxiety.  You fuck it all out of me."


"That of course would be true, but you still have to get this project done."

Justin turned on his side and laid his hand on Brian's chest.  He could feel the man's heart pumping rapidly beneath it.  He stopped what he had been about to say and thought.


"Brian, when we're anxious our hearts beat faster, don't they?"


"Yes, why?"


"I have an idea," Justin said.


"For your project?"






Two days later Brian had seen little of Justin.  He spent all his spare time in his space at the IFA.  He had finally gotten an idea for his project and had been working feverishly to get it done.  It had to be submitted tomorrow.


Brian had eaten take-out for dinner and had worked on the computer.  It was almost eleven o'clock and Justin was still not home.  Brian wondered if he should call the boy, but he didn't want to interrupt him if he was making good progress on his assignment.


Suddenly the phone rang.  Brian picked it up and said, "Yeah."

"Brian," Justin's voice said.  "I finished it."

"Great!  Are you coming home now?  I'm anxious."

Justin chuckled.  "In a good way?"


"In a very good way, but I need your help."

"I want you to see my work.  Can you come pick me up and I'll show you?"


"Don't you have the Jeep?" Brian asked.


"Yes, but I want you to come over here."


"Will you make it worth my while?"


"Do you have to ask?"

Brian snorted.  Shit!  He loved this boy.  "I'll be there in twenty minutes."

Brian slid the Corvette into a space near Justin's Jeep.  There were few other cars around this time of night.  He walked up the steps and into the building that housed the working spaces for the art students.  He strode down the hall to the area where Justin worked.  He could see light shining from Justin's cubicle.


"Hey," he said stepping through the opening and giving Justin a gentle kiss.  "So where's the masterpiece?" he asked looking around.


"Under that sheet," Justin said pointing to something covered with a gray cloth sitting on his easel.  It appeared to be quite large.


"You must have found lots of anxiety judging by the size of what's under there."

"Take a look," Justin said.


Brian lifted the edge of the sheet and pulled it carefully off.  He stared at the work underneath.  It was a long piece of board cut in jagged peaks and valleys that looked like the readout on an EKG machine in a hospital.


"It looks like a heartbeat," Brian stated studying the green line that ran through the black paint covering the rest of the board.


"You got that right.  Remember when I asked you about anxiety causing your heart to beat faster?"


"Is this what you were thinking about?"


"Kind of.  It was the beginning of the idea.  Once I realized that I didn't have to stick to a rectangular piece of canvas, it took off from there."


"What's this?" Brian asked looking at the ends of the board.  There was one small male figure at one end and a large group of writhing, contorted figures at the other.


"What do you think it is?" Justin replied.


"It looks like a lonely man at this end isolated from the masses at the other."


"Phew!" Justin let out a breath.  "I remembered what we talked about with anxiety separation, being lonely, being afraid that a relationship would break up, being trapped in a crowd.  I was trying to get all that into it."

"So this single figure could be alone because he is ostracized or because he's lonely or because he chooses to leave the demands of the masses?  Interesting."


"I'm glad you think so."


"Do you realize that the masses are mostly made up of asses," Brian asked with a smirk.


"Briiiaaannn," Justin whined.  "Speaking of asses."


Justin moved close to Brian and his hand squeezed one of Brian's ass cheeks.


"Feeling frisky, little boy?" Brian asked with a grin.


"Nobody's around," Justin said moving to the door and shutting it.


"Why, Mr. Taylor, what are you suggesting?" Brian asked in his best imitation of a southern belle.


"I'll show you," Justin said huskily.  "Now that this albatross is off my back, I thought we could relieve a little built up … anxiety."


"I like the way you think, young man."  Brian gasped as he felt Justin's hand close around his dick.


Justin opened the buttons on Brian's jeans and inserted his hand.  He could feel the thick mass grow and harden under his fingers.  He watched Brian's face, seeing the man shut his eyes and let out a long breath.  Justin continued to stroke as he shoved Brian's jeans down.  His other hand then began opening the buttons on Brian's shirt.


"I want to fuck you," Justin said.


Brian opened his eyes and stared into Justin's blue ones.  He nodded slightly giving tacit approval to Justin's demand.  His own hands began undoing and stripping off Justin's clothes.  Soon they were both naked and Justin grabbed a couple of cushions he had on a stool and threw them on the floor.  They kissed hungrily dropping to their knees on the cushions.


Justin snaked around behind Brian and pushed the man forward so that his weight rested on his elbows and his ass stuck up in the air.  He kissed each cheek of Brian's ass and ran his hands over the smooth globes.  He loved Brian's ass almost as much as Brian loved his.  They were quite different, but both delicious in their own way.  Brian's was tight and firm and sleek.  Justin's was round and firm and luscious.


Justin's tongue licked across Brian's pucker.  Brian's head went up and he pushed back toward the tongue wanting it inside.  Justin nipped around the hole and across the cheeks.  He saw the spots redden and licked them with his cool tongue.  He felt more than heard Brian sigh.  He smiled.


Suddenly Justin's tongue pushed in through the first ring of muscle.  "Aaahhh!" Brian groaned.


"Like that?" Justin asked already knowing the answer.  He pressed his tongue in again.


"Oh, God, yes!" Brian gasped.


Justin darted his tongue in and out.  Brian rocked back into each probe asking Justin to go deeper.  He felt Justin spit on his hole and felt fingers replace the tongue.  He groaned at the sensation.  He heard a condom pack being ripped open and felt Justin position his cock at the spasming hole. 


Justin pressed forward and Brian felt himself being filled with the hard thick cock.  Justin waited and Brian moaned, "More!"


Justin pressed the rest of the way in, loving the tightness he always found there, loving the way Brian asked for more, loving the feeling of unity it gave him with his man.  He leaned forward and kissed Brian's neck, he nipped and sucked at Brian's ear and Brian turned his head to get a kiss from Justin's soft lips.


"I love you," Brian said softly.  He saw Justin's sunshine smile for a fraction of a second before the boy began pounding into him.  He growled his approval and gave himself over to the sensations that Justin was creating.


The ride was long and deep and satisfying for them both.  When Brian felt his balls contract, Justin sensed it and began stroking Brian's cock in time with his thrusts.  They came almost at the same moment collapsing onto the tattered cushions as the spasms wracked their bodies.


Justin raised his head realizing that he had Brian pinned beneath him.  He rolled off and found his ass on the hard, cold concrete floor.


"Shit!" he said aloud.


"What?" Brian asked turning over.


"My ass is going to be frozen to this god-damn floor."


Brian sat up and grabbed Justin's wrist.  He pulled the boy over into his lap wrapping his arms around the slight frame and cradling Justin against his chest.


"Better?" Brian asked.


"Much better."

"I like your piece," Brian said nodding toward the work on the easel.


"But you like this piece better," Justin grinned placing Brian's hand on his ass.


"I love that piece," Brian conceded, "but seriously, I do like what you did with anxiety over there."


"Thanks," Justin said pleased that Brian thought his work was good.


Justin wiggled around on Brian's lap feeling the effect he was having on Brian's bare dick.  It was already hardening and lengthening.


"You know," Brian said, "it's almost six months since we've been … exclusive with each other."


"Yeah, I guess it is that long," Justin agreed knowing where he thought this was going.


"We should get tested again."


"And …"


"And then we could … forget about the condoms."


"You mean it?" Justin asked flashing his most radiant smile.


Brian nodded.


"You'd be all right with it if we did bareback, wouldn’t you?" Justin asked.


"I never thought I'd be in the situation where that would be a possibility, but now I am.  I think it's time."

"Oh, Brian!" Justin gushed, his eyes full of tears.  "We are so close now, but that would make us even closer.  I love you so much."


"I love you too, and I trust you.  You know that we have to be very sure before we do this, and if anything ever happens we have to be honest with the other one.  We can't risk infecting each other."


"I understand," Justin said.  "Let's get tested tomorrow."


"Okay," Brian grinned at him, "but right now my dick has other ideas."


"I can feel it," Justin grinned back.


"No more anxiety."


"Only love and trust," Justin stated, sealing their bargain with a long and sensuous kiss.

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