Desert Vacation

Brian and Justin settled into their seats in coach.  They were several rows apart, but the flight wasn't full and the flight attendant had agreed to see if they could move closer together after the plane took off.


Justin craned his neck over the back of his seat.  He could see Brian sitting on the aisle about five rows behind him.  Brian gave him a goofy little grin and shrugged his shoulders.  Justin's heart melted a little more.  He hoped he had made the right decision when he had agreed to go to Phoenix with Brian.  He loved the big oaf, almost too much, but sometimes like the last few days he wondered if they were ever meant to live together.  It seemed too complicated, too hard, too unbearable when it all fell apart.


Brian settled into his seat cursing that he didn't shell out for first class.  But when he had bought the ticket he had really had no intention of getting on the plane.  He had merely wanted to be allowed through security so that he could find Justin and convince him to come home.  When he and Justin had met face to face, Brian had to admit that he had been taken aback by the bitterness in the boy.  He didn't think he had done anything so bad when he had asked Justin to leave so that he could have some time alone to think, especially at the moment that he had asked.  Justin had apparently read a lot more into it.  He was ready to leave Brian permanently, to leave Pittsburgh, even to leave the state.


Brian shook his head.  He had promised Justin to talk, really talk, when they got to Phoenix.  He hoped he could do that.  He prayed he could do that.  He realized now how much depended on that talk, on always talking to Justin about his life … no … about their life and their future.  He had finally understood that Justin wasn't so much angry about Brian asking him to leave as he was angry and hurt that Brian wouldn't tell him the real reason that he wanted him to go.


He was going to have to tell Justin what he thought about the rings and why he wanted them to wear them.  He would have to abide by Justin's answer whatever it turned out to be.  He knew Justin didn't want to hurt him, but the boy had become so important in his life.  He could only hope for the right answer from his partner.


Hope!  He didn't know when he had started to hope for things in his life, only after he had met Justin that was for sure.  Hope had never been part of his way of life before that.  He had always grabbed what he wanted and made it happen.  Hope had never had anything to do with it.  Until Justin!  Justin had opened a whole new world of possibilities to him – things to hope for and plan for … together.


Brian shifted uncomfortably trying to find a way to ease the pressure on his knees from the too short space he was in.  He glanced up and noticed that Justin was looking back at him again.  He smiled and Justin beamed at him.  He probably understood that Brian was uncomfortable and was trying to give him encouragement.  Justin knew him so well, most of the time. 


The plane taxied to the end of the runway.  They would take off momentarily.  Maybe then he could sit with Justin and hold his hand.  He needed to touch him.  To know that his lover was so close and yet so far up the aisle and out of reach was almost unbearable.  Brian frowned.  Christ, he had become a lesbian!  He was pathetic.  But the funny part of it was that he really didn't care.  Justin's hand in his would make everything all right.


Finally they took off and as soon as the seat belt sign went off, the flight attendant signaled to Justin to come back.  The attendant had moved someone who wanted an aisle seat to Brian's spot and convinced the other person in that row to move up to Justin's seat.  Brian and Justin had a row all to themselves and an empty seat to boot.  That meant that Brian would have some place to put his long legs.


Justin brought his backpack with him as he joined Brian in their new seating arrangement.  Brian stood up and allowed Justin to take the window seat.  He slid in beside the boy claiming the hand that he had been longing to hold.


Justin smiled at him.  "What are you going to do for clothes?" Justin asked practically.


"I'll buy whatever I need," Brian replied staring into Justin's eyes.


"Where will you stay?"


"Where will I stay?" Brian repeated looking puzzled.


"That's what I said."

"Why with you!"


"I'm staying with Dale.  He doesn't know you're coming and I doubt he has room for another person."



"But what?"


"I thought we'd stay together," Brian said looking pathetic.


Justin stifled the giggle that welled up, but Brian caught the tail end of it and gave him a swat.  "Asshole," he said with a grin.


"You deserved it," Justin said bluntly.


"Yeah, I guess I did."


Justin smiled again.  He liked it when they could joke with each other.  They really did have a good time together … most of the time.  He wished they didn't have to fight.  He wished Brian could be more open.  A sigh escaped his lips.


"What?" Brian asked looking quizzically at him.


"I was just thinking that it would be great if we could always have a good time together.  We often do, but then we fight."

"I think you have to take the highs with the lows," Brian said philosophically.


Justin looked at him.  "Aren't you the philosopher today?"


"I try."

"I know you do," Justin said raising Brian's hand that held his, their fingers entwined, and he kissed the back of Brian's hand.


"I'm sorry," Brian said barely above a whisper.


"I know.  I'm sorry too."

"What are you sorry for?" Brian asked eyebrows raised.


"I shouldn't have flown off the handle and run out."

"You thought I wanted to get rid of you," Brian said sadly.  "I never want to get rid of you."


Justin looked into the hazel eyes and smiled.  He shifted in his seat.  "How much longer is this flight?"




"My cock is hard as a rock and I want you so bad I can taste it."


Brian chuckled deep in his throat.  Justin saw him shift in his seat and knew the effect his words had had on the man.


"We always had the sex part down pat."

"Still do."

"We could use one of the restrooms," Brian suggested.


"I don't think so," Justin replied.


"Why not?"

"I … I think we should wait till we get on the ground and have our talk."


"Didn't you just say your cock was hard?" Brian asked rather sarcastically.


"Yes, but that doesn't mean I have to act on it," Justin replied. 


"Oh yeah?"



Brian shook his head.  He could tell Justin wasn't really over what had happened.  The blond was going to make him pay in more ways than one.


"Do you want to talk now?" Brian asked hoping maybe they could get things settled and then retire to the restroom for a little needed relief for each of them.


Justin rubbed his temples and shook his head slowly.  "Let's wait till we're on the ground."

"Are you getting a headache?" Brian asked noting that Justin continued to rub his temples.


"A bit.  I haven't had much sleep since I left the loft," Justin admitted.


"Here, lie down.  Use my lap for a pillow."  Brian folded up the moveable arms of the seats.


Justin slid over and laid his head in Brian's lap.  He turned on his side his face away from Brian and drew his knees up so that his legs rested on the two empty seats.  Brian caught the flight attendant's attention and mouthed "pillow and blanket".  The woman brought him one quickly.  He slid the pillow under Justin's head on his lap and flipped the blanket over the boy making sure he was covered.  Brian's arm fell protectively over Justin to make sure he didn't roll off of the narrow seat.  He heard Justin let out a breath, and then he was pretty sure his partner was asleep.


Brian looked down at the slender body on his lap.  He had some time to think while Justin slept.  He wanted to be sure about what he was going to say to Justin.  He began to run it all through his head.


Suddenly the bell bonged indicating that they were preparing for landing.  The flight attendant announced that all seats were to come to the upright position and seatbelts needed to be secured. 


Justin stirred as the level of noise and movement had increased and the binging sound interrupted his sleep.  "Are we landing?" he asked sleepily.


"Soon.  Do you feel any better?"

"Much," Justin replied sitting up and stretching.  "You make a good pillow."

"Just one of my many talents," Brian said with a grin.  "You need to buckle yourself in."

Justin did up his seatbelt.  "I can't believe I slept the whole flight."


"You needed it."

"I guess I did."


"Is Dale meeting you at the airport?"

"I think so.  I phoned him before I met you at the gate."


"Are … are you going home with him?"

"Do you want me too?"

Brian flashed back to Justin's question about whether it would make any difference if he stayed or not.  "I want you to stay with me," Brian said firmly.


Justin smiled at him as the plane touched down.  "Done," he said.


"You're not going to give me any more flak?" Brian asked.


"I didn't say that," Justin said with a knowing grin.  Brian groaned.  "But how are we going to talk if we're not in the same building?"


"Good point."

"I always think ahead."

"Do you now?"  Justin looked at him.  "What are you going to tell Dale?"


"That I'm giving you another chance.  He wanted me to do that before I came out here, but I wouldn't listen to him."

"Why would he want you to give me another chance?"


"For some unfathomable reason he seems to like you and he thinks that you wouldn't intentionally hurt me."


"He does?" Brian asked looking a bit strangely at Justin.


"Seems you had arranged a protection team for me when I was in New York, and Dale was a big part of it."


Brian groaned.  "Busted," he said.


"Busted," Justin agreed with a grin.  "But I forgive you.  That was a scary time with Noel."


"I was worried about you."

"I know.  I wish you could talk to me though before you did some of these things."


"And you would have refused, told me to mind my own business, and that you were fine and could look after yourself," Brian declared.


"Probably," Justin admitted.  "I don't like being treated like a child who needs looking after."

"I don't mean for it to seem that way, but I worry.  I wanted to protect you."

"And I make that difficult."

"In spades."

"Asshole," Justin grinned as the seatbelt sign went off and they got ready to disembark.




"Justin!" Dale called and was swept into a hug by the blond.  "Brian?" he added as he saw Brian over Justin's shoulder.


"In the flesh," Brian stated.


"What are you doing here?" Dale asked looking from one to the other.


"I caught him at the airport and made him let me come too," Brian explained.


"He was so pathetic that I couldn't refuse," Justin added.  Brian scowled at him and then grinned.


"Well, I'm glad.  I told him to talk to you," Dale said.


"We still have some more talking to do, Dale," Justin began.  "I think I'm going to stay with Brian if you don't mind.


"I think that's a very good idea," Dale said with a smile.  "Have you got any place in mind?"

"This was kind of spur of the moment," Brian said.


"How long are you going to stay?" Dale wanted to know.


"Until I can convince him to come back with me," Brian stated.  "I hope a week will be long enough."

"A week?" Justin asked.  "Can you spare that much time away from work?"


"More if I need to."

Justin beamed at his partner.


"If you're staying for a week," Dale began, "there's a nice resort out near me in Scottsdale.  There's the usual hotel chains here in town of course."

"A resort might be nice.  What's it called?" Brian asked.


"The Scottsdale Princess."

Brian and Justin both grinned.  "That's it," Brian said.  "Can I call them from here and make arrangements?"

"Use those hotel phones over there," Dale said pointing to a bank of phones with direct links to various accommodations.


"Justin, why don't you go catch up with Dale?  I'll go talk to some people and meet you back here in fifteen minutes."

"Okay," Justin said and he and Dale moved away to find someplace to talk.


Brian watched them go and then went to the bank of phones.


When they returned about a half hour later, Brian was seated in the waiting area reading a newspaper.


"Decided to come back to me, did you?" he said with a smirk.


"Maybe," Justin said with a serious look on his face.


That wiped the smile off Brian's face.  "You are coming with me, aren't you?" Brian asked with a frown.


"Yes," Justin said and allowed a big grin to wash over his face.  He saw Brian visibly relax and allowed the grin to grow even bigger.  He liked this business of keeping Brian guessing.  Usually he was a pushover for whatever Brian wanted to do, but Brian had hurt him and he wasn't over it just yet.  Besides he rather enjoyed these touches of insecurity that he had caused so far.  It was an appealing side to Brian that he rarely saw.  "Why didn't you come get me?" Justin asked.  "We were just down the concourse in the coffee shop."

"I wanted to give you and Dale some time to talk before I whisked you away and kept you all to myself."


"Is that what you're planning?" Justin grinned.  Brian nodded.  "Well, Dale says he will drive us out to Scottsdale."

"That's very nice of Dale, but not necessary."  Justin looked at Brian wondering what that meant.  "I rented a car," Brian said by way of explanation, "and I have directions to the resort and a room booked, and they have some shops where I can get some clothes."


"Think you've got everything under control, don't you?" Justin asked.


"Everything except you," Brian said seriously.


"I'm glad you realize that."

"Ahem," Dale cleared his throat.  "I'm still here," he said weakly.


"Sorry, Dale," Justin said quickly.  "Do you mind if I go with Brian?"  Dale shook his head.  "We have to get some things settled."  Brian didn't much like the way Justin phrased that.


"Call me in a couple of days when you come up for air," Dale said with a smile.  Brian grinned back but one look at Justin's face caused him to remove the grin very quickly.


"If I don't like the way things are going," Justin said, "can I call you and come stay with you?"


"Of course," Dale replied, "but I certainly hope that doesn't happen."


"Me too," Brian said.  "Thanks Dale."

"I'll call you in a couple of days regardless of what happens," Justin promised.  He gave Dale a final hug and the young man left to find his car.


"Are you ready to go?" Brian asked.


"I guess."

"Justin, are you all right?  You seem … funny."

"I have to tell you, Brian, that I'm not too sure about all this.  I hope we can come to an understanding, but I … I don't know."


"We can," Brian said more forcefully than he really felt.


"I don't know," Justin repeated.


"Come on," Brian said taking him by the elbow.  "Let's go get the rental car and I'll try to show you that you made the right decision."


They drove through Phoenix following the map and the instructions that Brian had been given.  The SUV hummed along and they quickly found themselves heading out of the city into more obviously desert conditions.  Buildings had more and more land between them.  They passed a couple of resort type hotels.


"How much farther?" Justin asked.


"I think another mile or so," Brian said.


"Oh," Justin said.  "Look."



"That sign just said Taliesin West.  Isn't that Frank Lloyd Wright's home?" Justin asked.


"Yeah, I remember reading about it.  They have tours," Brian replied.


"I'd like to see that," Justin said.


"I've always admired his work," Brian said.  "Maybe we could go one day while we're here."

"I'd like that," Justin said with a smile.  "I wonder if it looks anything like the Guggenheim."

"I don't think so," Brian said.  "More like Falling Water perhaps, but without the water in the desert."


Justin glanced over at Brian.  They did have a lot of interests in common and they discovered more all the time.  Justin knew that Brian had a great sense of style reflected in his clothes and the loft, but till this moment he hadn't known that Brian was interested in architecture, most notably the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.


"Are you staring at me?" Brian asked.


"I guess I was.  I was thinking that the more I know about you the more there is to know."

Brian snorted.  "I could say the same."  Justin smiled back at him.  "Here we are," Brian said suddenly nodding to a large sign that said Scottsdale Princess.  He turned into the long driveway that led to a complex of buildings.  They followed the signs and pulled up in front of the hotel part of the resort.


"It's beautiful here," Justin said looking around.  He took in the gardens full of cacti and other succulents, so different from the gardens in Pittsburgh.  Brian went into the lobby to check in.  Shortly they had their room and made their way up to it.


The room contained a king-size bed and all the amenities.  Justin went out onto the balcony to see the view.  They overlooked the pool which looked warm and inviting even though it was technically winter.


"Want to go for a swim?" Brian asked coming up behind him.


"Sounds good."

"Did you bring a suit?"

"Dale told me too.  His parents have a pool at their house."


"I guess I'll have to skinny dip," Brian said with his tongue in cheek.


"Go right ahead," Justin replied.  He was prepared to call Brian on all his bullshit right now.


"I could go down to the shop off the lobby.  I'm sure they must have suits for people who come here unprepared."


"Sounds like a plan," Justin replied and went back into their room.


"Justin," Brian said.


"We can get another room with double beds if you … want."

"Thanks for the offer.  In all truthfulness I don't know whether I'm ready to have sex with you right now, but I know you won't force it if I don't want to."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, I think."

"I'm going to lie down for a bit.  I'm still tired," Justin said slowly.


Brian frowned and looked carefully at his partner.  Justin did look tired.  This had obviously taken a lot out of him.  "I'll leave you alone to nap and go get some clothes.  Let's go for a swim when I get back and then we can talk over dinner."


"Okay," Justin said.


Brian grabbed the keycard and left the room.  Justin watched the door close behind the man.  They still had a lot to talk about and a lot of things to settle.  Justin was tired, so tired.  He threw back the bedspread and kicked off his shoes.  He left the rest of his clothes on as he climbed into the huge bed.


His eyes closed almost immediately.  His last thought before he fell asleep was about the dinner talk that Brian had promised.  That would decide so many things.



Justin sat up with a jolt.  The sun seemed to be setting so he had been asleep for awhile.  He looked around to see if Brian had returned.  There was no sign of the man.  He got up to check the bathroom which was also empty.  He decided to pee while he was there.


That done he went back into the bedroom and walked out to the balcony.  He felt a strange buzzing in his ears.  He stared out at the desert and could see a slim figure far out beyond the fence for the resort.  He could hardly make out the figure but it seemed familiar.  He put his hand above his eyes to block some of the sun.  He was sure it was Brian and he was walking away.


"Brian!" Justin called.


The man kept walking, probably too far away to hear him.  Something was wrong.  What was Brian doing way out there?  Why hadn't he come back to the room?


Justin felt panic race through his body.  It would be dark soon and Brian would be lost.  There were snakes and other bad things out there.  Justin's heart pounded in fear.  He had to catch Brian before he went any farther.


He raced out of the room and impatiently pushed the button until an elevator took him to the lobby.  He raced through it following the signs to the pool.  At the pool he gazed out into the desert and saw the tiny figure almost too far away to see anymore.  Justin began running as fast as his legs would carry him.  He ran and ran and ran until his lungs ached and his heart felt like it was going to explode.  He seemed to be no closer to the figure of Brian than he had been when he started.


"Brian!" he screamed with all his might.


"Justin … Justin!  Wake up.  It's all right."  Strong arms came around him and he opened his eyes to see Brian's very concerned face staring down at him.


Justin gulped for air.  "You're here?  I couldn't catch you.  I was so afraid."

"You were dreaming.  I'm right here.  You don't have to catch me," Brian said holding on tight and rubbing Justin's back.  "Was it a nightmare … like you used to have?"

Justin shook his head.  He'd never had a nightmare like this one, although he had had many others after the bashing.  "It was a … bad dream," Justin said haltingly.


"What about?"


"You were walking out into the desert and I couldn't catch you.  I was afraid that snakes or the cold or something would get you."

Justin's breathing was slowing and he was more coherent.  Brian released him a little bit so that he could look into the boy's eyes.  "I'm here, Justin.  I wouldn't go into the desert without you," he said solemnly.


"So we could die together?"


"We're not going to die … at least not right now."


"I wonder why I dreamed that now," Justin said shaking his head.


"Are you worried about our talk?" Brian asked with a frown.


"A little," Justin admitted.


"I'll do my best not to fuck it up," Brian promised and Justin snuggled back against his chest, not ready to be released from Brian's warm and steadying embrace just yet.



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