A Closer View of the World

Brian rubbed his eyes and focused on the computer screen.  He could feel another headache building.


"Justin," Brian called, "have we got any aspirin?"

"In the medicine cabinet in the bathroom," Justin said from the alcove where he was working on his school assignment.


"Could you get me one?"


"Can't you get it yourself?"


"I guess so."

"Then do it," Justin said.  "I'm busy."  He mumbled to himself, "And I'm not your fucking maid."

He heard Brian get up and go to the bathroom.  When he heard him come back out, he asked, "Did you find them?"


"Have you got another headache?"

"I hope not, but it felt like one was coming."


"That's the third time this week that you've had a headache from working on the computer."

"Yeah … I guess it is," Brian admitted.


"Maybe it's your eyes.  You should get them tested."

"There's nothing wrong with my fucking eyes."


"Just that you're getting older and your eyes are probably getting weaker," Justin thought to himself, but knew better than to voice it.


Brian went back to work on the computer and Justin went back to the paper he was researching.


When Brian flicked off the computer an hour or so later he did have a headache in spite of the aspirin he had taken.




"What do you think about that copy?" Cynthia asked Brian.


"It's … okay."

"Not up to snuff, is it?" she asked understanding Kinney-speak pretty well.  "That's exactly what I thought."


"There's nothing exactly wrong with it, but there's also nothing really right.  Get Kevin to do it over," Brian said bluntly.  "I want to see two or three possible new versions by tomorrow."


"Will do," Cynthia said.  "You need to read this," she added handing him a folder containing a large stack of papers.


"What the fuck is this?"

"Vance wants your take on this company.  He's talking like he wants to buy them out."

"Expansion?" Brain asked somewhat surprised.


"Apparently, at least according to the office grapevine."

"Well, well, well," Brian said.  "That's interesting.  He's been letting on to me that we're not doing so well.  I wanted to hire a new junior account exec, but he wouldn't let me."


"He's probably saving up for this takeover, if it happens."

"I should have clued in to this sooner.  I'm not seeing things so clearly these days."


"You've been swamped.  Vance gives you the bulk of the actual work to do."


Brian shrugged and opened the folder.  "Shuleck Advertising," he read aloud.


"Have you heard of them?"


"They're small potatoes, but they do compete against us in this region of Pennsylvania.  Vance must want to get rid of the competition," Brian speculated.


"Are there any people there that might make a good addition to Vangard?"

"I'm not that familiar with their work.  I guess it will be in the file," Brian sighed flipping through the stack of papers.


"Good luck," Cynthia said sympathetically.  "Your meeting starts in five minutes."


Brian grimaced.  He had so much work to do himself and then he had to attend these planning and creative and team building meetings.  Being partner was the pits sometimes.  Now Vance wanted him to read all about this company.  He was willing to bet that Vance had already made the decision to buy out Shuleck.  He didn't really care about Brian's opinion on anything.  Giving this file to Cynthia to give to him was Vance's way to tell Brian what was happening.  They rarely talked face to face. 


He decided he could get away without reading about Shuleck Advertising, but if he did he'd be out of the loop.  He wanted to be on top of things.  He wanted his opinion to count for something.  That meant that he would have to spend all evening plowing through all that fucking information.  He dropped the file in his briefcase and headed out for the meeting with the art department about some new equipment that they thought they needed.




Midnight came and went.  Justin turned off his computer and moved over to the sofa where Brian was still reading.  He had a mound of papers of which he seemed to have read about three-quarters.


"Are you ready for bed?" Justin asked grinning at Brian.


"I have to finish this shit first."

"How long?"

"About another hour."

Justin groaned.  "God, how do you stand all this fucking paperwork?"

"By fucking you when I'm through."

"Well, hurry up.  I'm going to sketch for awhile, but if you're not ready to fuck me by the time I'm done, I'll have to take matters into my own hand."  Justin grinned mischievously making the obvious motion with his hand.


It was Brian's turn to groan.  He would have liked to throw the damn papers in the garbage and nail Justin to their bed.  But, he had promised himself to get through this stuff and be prepared if Vance asked him about this company tomorrow.  He had already found one interesting thing.  Shuleck had done a campaign for a frozen pizza recently.  He had found the commercials very impressive and very entertaining.  It appeared that one of their execs was responsible for that and for another series of ads for a local winery.  Brian had been impressed with them too.  The person responsible for those ads might be someone worth bringing on board at Vangard.  He wondered if Vance knew about this George Abrams.


Brian continued his reading, the pile of papers gradually decreasing on one side and growing on the other as he worked his way through.  He flipped through the last few pages not seeing anything worthy of his attention.  He stretched and rotated his neck which was stiff.  It cracked as he leaned it back and forth.  He squeezed the bridge of his nose.  He had been fighting another headache for the last couple of hours.  He had lost the fight.


He stood up slowly and walked to the bathroom.  He grabbed the bottle of aspirin and downed the last two pills.  He would have to remember to get some more.  He seemed to be going through them in short order these days.


He looked at Justin who sat Indian style on the bed still sketching.  "I see that you didn't have to start without me," Brian noted.


Justin grinned.  "I'm just adding the finishing touches."  He continued to move the pencil across the page as Brian began to get rid of his clothes.


"Can I see?" he asked as he dropped down beside Justin on the bed.  It was often a sketch of him and he liked to see what Justin had found interesting about him to draw this time.  He looked at the sketch and frowned.  Something wasn't quite right.


Justin watched his reaction.  "What?" he said.


"Something's wrong."

"What?  That's what I saw."


"Look at the way you have me holding those papers," Brian explained.  "It looks like my arm with the paper is twice as long as the other one."


"I just drew what was in front of me," Justin protested.  He took the sketchbook back and studied the drawing.


"Get it right next time," Brian griped.


"But…" Justin began, but that was as far as he got as his lips were captured by Brian's.


They kissed for awhile and Justin began to wonder if Brian was going to fuck him.  Then it dawned on him.


"Do you have another headache?" Justin asked pushing him away.


"I took some aspirin.  It should be gone soon."

"You should get your eyes tested," Justin said knowing that Brian had spent all evening reading which may have been what gave him the headache.


"Will you stop telling me that!" Brian responded.  "There's nothing wrong with my eyes."


Justin sighed.  "Roll over," he said.


Brian looked quizzically at him but did as he was told.  Justin straddled Brian's torso and began working on his shoulders and neck.  He heard the man sigh and could feel him relax as he continued to work on the knotted muscles. 


After a few minutes he said, "Roll over."  Brian obliged.  "Feel any better?" Justin asked.  Brian nodded and smiled weakly up at him.  Justin straddled Brian's stomach and used his fingers to gently rub Brian's temples.  Brian's eyes closed and Justin could see the muscles in his face relax.  He continued to rub softly and regularly making circles around the temple area.  Brian's mouth opened slightly revealing how relaxed he was.  Justin sat still, continuing to rub.  Soon Brian's even breathing indicated that he was asleep.


Justin continued a bit more of his gentle circles wanting to be certain that Brian was fully under.  Finally he climbed slowly off the man doing his best not to wake him.  He snuggled down under the duvet with his partner and studied the beautiful face beside him.


He was so stubborn.  Justin was sure he was getting all these headaches because he needed glasses, but try to tell Brian that.  It would be another reminder that he was getting older and Justin knew that would simply set the man off if he broached the subject again.


Justin squirmed around getting comfortable but not losing contact with his man.  There would be no sex tonight, but in a relationship there were sometimes other things that were more important.  He smiled slightly as he began to doze off.




Vance wanted Brian to attend the final meeting of his takeover of Shuleck Advertising.  As Brian had suspected Vance had already made up his mind about the transaction.  He was holding this meeting with Albert Shuleck who owned the company and seemed ready to be bought out.  They would finalize the deal with Shuleck and then leave the man to inform his employees.  Brian wondered how long it would be before the employees would hear Vance's patented "show me why I shouldn't fire you" routine.


Brian and Vance drove to the offices of Shuleck Advertising in Philadelphia.  They took Vance's Mercedes, since Gardner could never understand why Brian was driving a vehicle as primitive as a Jeep or as impractical as his Corvette.


There was not a great deal of discussion during the trip.  Neither man particularly liked the other.  Vance asked about Justin and Brian said that he was fine.  Brian wanted to know what his role was at this meeting.  Vance said he wanted him to meet Shuleck and get his read on the man and the way he ran his company.  Brian wasn't sure what that meant because Vance rarely listened to Brian's ideas about anything other than ads, slogans or artwork.  Vance finally said that he was hoping to have Brian assist in the division and incorporation of Shuleck into Vangard.  Brian was about to mention George Abrams, but then decided against it until he got the lay of the land.  He asked Vance if he had any plan mapped out for the takeover.  Vance was non-committal but Brian was pretty sure he had already thought it out.  He wondered if Vance had made a decision about Abrams or even knew who he was.


As they neared Philadelphia Vance asked Brian to get the map of Philadelphia and the instructions on how to get to Shuleck's offices out of the glove compartment.  Brian pulled them out and began reading Vance the instructions that his secretary had written on a piece of paper.  They followed them quite easily and arrived at the office tower that housed Shuleck.  They parked in the parking garage, found the elevator and made their way to Shuleck Advertising.


The offices were nice but nothing impressive.  Vangard was much nicer.  Both men reached that same conclusion.


The receptionist indicated their way to the boardroom where she said Mr. Shuleck would be waiting for them.  Albert Shuleck greeted them warmly and complimented them on some of the work Vangard had recently done.  The fact that he specifically mentioned the Brown Athletics ads pleased Brian no end since they were his baby and Vance had known nothing about them until it was a done deal.


All parties signed the letters of agreement.  When they were about to take their leave Shuleck said he would like to summon his staff and make the announcement that he was selling while Brian and Gardner were there.  He would then introduce them to their new employees.  There were many shocked faces on the men and women who attended the meeting when Shuleck made his announcement.  A few seemed to be less surprised and Brian wondered if they had assistants like Cynthia who monitored the gossip grapevine.  Brian wondered which one was George Abrams.  Several of the executives looked nervous wondering what their future might be now.  Unemployment was a real possibility.


Shuleck asked Gardner to say a few words.  He was rather blunt about the prospect of keeping them all on.  He said they might decide to keep the Philadelphia office open, but if they decided to close it he couldn't guarantee how many of them he would be able to absorb into Vangard.  He said decisions would be made within the next two weeks.


The staff began to filter away and Brian was ready to get out of there.  As big an asshole as he was supposed to be, he had never enjoyed, and in most cases had studiously avoided, firing people.  This was no exception.


A few people had Gardner cornered wanting to make him aware of who they were and how valuable they would be to his company.  No sign of escape seemed evident.  Brian fidgeted near the door wishing Gardner would hurry up.  


Suddenly he felt a hand on his arm and turned to look into the face of a beautiful young lady.  She was tall, about the same height as Lindsay, with dark brown hair that she wore in a blunt cut that suited her perfectly.  Her smile was warm and seemingly genuine.  Brian groaned inwardly.  All he needed was to be hit on by one of the Shuleck staff.


"Mr. Kinney," she said with a low slightly gravelly voice that made him think of Kathleen Turner.  "I've admired your work for a long time."

"Really?" he replied wanting to see if she really knew anything about his work or was just sucking up. 


"Oh yes, you're well known around here for the Brown Athletics campaign.  That was a master stroke."


"So I've been told," Brian said still doubting that she knew anything else about his work.


"Your Liberty Air work was also excellent," she added with a smile.


"So she does know something about me," Brian thought.  He didn't respond to her compliment aloud.


"But you know what I think was your most masterful campaign?" she asked.


Brian raised an eyebrow.  She had mentioned his most high profile and well known campaigns.  Most people would say they were his best.  "I'm sure you're going to tell me," he said.


She chuckled, low and tantalizing.  "The Open Fire Steakhouse campaign was to die for," she gushed.


Normally Brian hated gushers, but he was impressed that she even knew about the steakhouses since they were out of state and not well known other than in the south.  "You liked that one, did you?" Brian asked remembering where he had gotten the inspiration for "Eat the Meat".


"It was so clever, so hysterically funny when you thought about all the things it could mean.  How did you get the owners to go along with it?"


Brian appreciated that she got all the nuances and could see the humor in them.  "It came to me one night when I was … out on the town."  He didn't know her well enough to get into the backroom situation that had actually produced that idea.


"Well, I loved it!" she said.  "I think you have some of the best campaigns out there.  No wonder you have won so many awards."

"Well, thank you for the tribute," Brian said with a little sarcasm, becoming slightly embarrassed by her fawning.


"I bet you think I'm trying to butter you up so I can keep my job," she said bluntly.


He chuckled.  "The thought did cross my mind."


"She raised her eyebrows and stared into his eyes.  "I won't lie.  I don't much like the idea of looking for a new job, but I have every confidence that I will get one, maybe one even better than this one."

"You don't sell yourself short, do you, Ms….?"


"Not at all.  I know my worth, and the name's Abrams, George Abrams."  She extended her hand which Brian took and shook.  He did his best to cover his amazement that George Abrams was a woman.


"Nice to meet you Ms. Abrams," Brian said.  "I'm an admirer of your work too."

"Really?" she asked.  "Even though I'm a woman?"

Brian knew he had been had.  "Even though," he admitted with a little grin.  "Is George your given name or do you use it to confuse the competition and future employers?"

It was her turn to grin.  "My name's Georgia, but I've been called George ever since I can remember.  I think my father wanted a boy.  I don't do it to deliberately confuse … anybody, but sometimes it opens doors when they think I'm a man," she admitted.


Brian nodded.  He knew that was true.  Hell, if he was honest, he sometimes dismissed women in advertising much too quickly.  He wondered if he would have been as impressed with her work if he had known it was a woman who did it.  The answer was yes.  It was good work, but would he have bothered to look at it if he had simply known that it was done by woman?  He wasn't so sure, but he hoped he would have.  He'd have to remember that in the future, and not jump to unwarranted conclusions.


George had been studying Brian while these thoughts ran through his head.  She finally said, "You said you admired my work?"

"Fishing for compliments?"

"Just testing," she said, "like you did a few minutes ago."

"Touché," he replied knowing she was on to him.  She was as smart as a whip, and he had every confidence that she could wield a whip too, if need be.  "I really liked those pizza commercials you did," Brian admitted with a grin.


She chuckled.  "I liked those too."


"Anytime you can use humor and still make the point ..."



"I also liked the winery ads.  They were different from the pizza, but very effective."

"Thank you, Mr. Kinney.  You have good taste."

"It's Brian, and it's been a pleasure talking to you."

"I hope to see you again if I'm still around after the merger," she said pointedly.


Brian grinned at her blatant ploy.  "I hope so too," he said sincerely.


Gardner had managed to extricate himself from the last Shuleck executive who was trying to convince him what a valuable part of his company he could be.  Brian gave him the high sign and they beat a hasty retreat.


They found their way back to the Mercedes and followed the signs to the exit of the parking garage.  Gardner paid the fee and asked Brian to get the instructions out of the glove compartment again.  They would follow them in reverse to get back to the interstate.  Brian took them out as Gardner pulled out onto the street.  They both looked around not recognizing any of the things they had seen on the way in.


"Fuck!" Brian said.  "We must have come out a different exit."


Gardner gave him a look.  "Take out the map that's with the instructions," Gardner told him.  Brian fished it out.  "There's a little map of Philadelphia on the back."  Brian turned the map over and folded it to the section marked Philadelphia.  He stared at the map trying to make the tiny lettering form words that he could recognize.  "See any street names that look familiar?" Gardner asked.  Brian shook his head and looked for street signs of the roads they were crossing.  Then he looked back at the map trying to match configurations.  He refused to admit that he couldn't read the names.


"Maybe we should stop and ask someone for directions," Brian said hoping he could nip this in the bud before they really got lost or Gardner found out that he couldn't read the map.


"We have to cross a street that's on that map soon," Gardner said stubbornly.


"I haven't seen any yet," Brian told him.  That was true because even though he could read the names on the signs, he couldn't read them on the map.


"This is ridiculous," Gardner fumed.  He pulled the Jeep over to the curb.  "Give me the map," he ordered.


Brian gratefully relinquished it.  "Why don't I drive and you navigate.  I've never been very good with maps," Brian said to hide his embarrassment of not being able to read the map.


"You mean there's something you can't do?" Gardner said sarcastically studying the map.


"I didn't say I couldn't do it.  It's just not one of my best things," Brian replied with his patented smirk.  All the while he was praying that Gardner would let him drive.


"Here's where we are," Gardner said triumphantly, finally matching a street name on the map to one he could see from the car.  "You were letting me drive in the wrong direction."


"Then why don't you let me take the wheel and you can let me drive in the wrong direction."

"Fine," Gardner said unbuckling his seatbelt.  "Get out."  Brian did so with only a fleeting suspicion that Vance might put the car in gear and drive away without him.


Once they were settled with Brian behind the wheel and Vance holding the map, Gardner said, "Make a U-turn and let's get out of this place."


"You got it!" Brian retorted and peeled the car locking the wheel and spinning around to face the other direction.  He glanced over at Vance who was beet red.


"Are you fucking nuts?" he exploded.


"Possibly," Brian said as they began the long trip back to the Pitts.




A couple of days later Brian came home from work as Justin was setting the table for dinner.


"I have a bit of work to do on the computer before we eat," Brian said after he had changed his clothes.


"Oh," Justin said.  "It's almost ready.  How long will you be?"

"Not long."

Brian sat down at the computer and logged on.  He retrieved his newest possession from his briefcase and read the information on the site he was interested in.  After a few minutes Justin called him to the table.  Brian moved over to the dining room table and sat down.


"I hope you don't get another headache tonight," Justin told him as they ate.  "Do you have much to do on the computer?"

"About an hour or so," Brian replied.


Justin groaned.  "No sex tonight," he was thinking.  Brian had taken to getting Justin to rub his temples and help him get to sleep when he was suffering from one of his headaches.  Justin wished he'd get his eyes tested or find out if he had a fucking brain tumor, because they had no sex when Justin did his temple rubbing therapy.


After dinner Justin worked on an assignment in his alcove and Brian spent the time on the computer.  Justin kept waiting for Brian to ask for an aspirin or go up to the bathroom to get one.  Neither happened.


Suddenly Justin felt Brian's arms rest on his shoulders and pull him back against Brian's stomach.  "I'm ready for bed," Brian said with a grin.


"No headache tonight?"


Brian shook his head and bent over to kiss Justin softly and luxuriantly.  "Are you coming?" Brian asked heading up the steps.


"Be right there," Justin said with a smile.  He finished up the last paragraph he was reading and stuffed some books in his backpack so that he didn't forget them tomorrow.  He turned out the light and walked up the steps to the bedroom.


Brian sat naked on the bed propped up against the pillows reading a magazine.  He was wearing his new reading glasses.


Justin grinned at him.  "When did you get those?" he asked.


"Today.  I had my eyes tested the day I came back from Philadelphia."

"What made you do it?"

"It was time," was all Brian said.  "How do you like them?"

"You look sexy as hell," Justin replied divesting himself of the remainder of his clothes.  "Am I going to get fucked by a guy in glasses?"


"That's what I was thinking."


"Are they just for reading?" Justin asked studying the glasses as he dropped down on the bed beside Brian.


"And the computer."

"Good, maybe they'll stop those headaches."

"They fucking better," Brian retorted.  "Besides I may be able to find some things I never noticed before."


"Like what?" Justin asked.


"This pimple on your ass," Brian said giving him a pinch and pulling the boy against his body.


"I don't have pimples," Justin said confidently.


"I know.  That's why I keep you around.  You're flawless."

"Thanks, I think," Justin looked at him funny.  "What's got into you?"

"These glasses have made me view the world in a different fashion."


"I see things more clearly now."

"Brian, what's going on?  It's like you're talking about something more than the glasses."

"I think we have some decisions to make in the next little while."


"We do?"

"Yes," Brian said kissing Justin and beginning to roam his body with his hands.


"About what?"

"We'll talk about that later.  There are more important things to do right now."


They bucked together rubbing their swollen cocks across each other.  Justin looked up into Brian's eyes.  Brian stared back from behind his new glasses.


"They look good," Justin said lustily.


"Not going to call me four eyes?"

"Why would I do that?"

"That was standard for kids who wore glasses."

"Ah, the good old days, when all you had to worry about was being teased because you wore glasses."

Brian was sure that Justin had meant that to be funny, but he heard the sadness in the boy's voice.  Brian knew he must have been thinking about the high school bullying he had to endure which was much more severe than anything that happened when Brian was in school.  And then there was the bashing.  Brian shuddered involuntarily.


"I'm sorry," Brian said.


"For what?"


"For reminding you."  They both knew what they were thinking about.


"It's okay," Justin said softly.  "Are you going to fuck me anytime soon?"

"Maybe, but I need a better look at you though, to make sure you're up to snuff."


Justin snorted.  "I'm the best thing that ever happened to you."

Brian stared into the blue eyes.  "Yes, you are.  I see that clearly now."  Justin beamed one of his trademark smiles back at Brian.  The man softly kissed the lips of the man that he had learned to love with all of his heart and soul.


Gradually the kiss deepened and they both could feel its effects.  Just before Brian entered his lover he removed his glasses and glanced over to their rings hanging in the sculpture on the dresser.  They had some big decisions to make.  And then he plunged in eliciting groans of pleasure from each of them.  The big decisions would have to wait a while longer.


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