Brian awoke with a start. He sat up and looked around. He listened carefully. Nothing. He wondered what had awakened him. Gus was staying with them for the weekend. The little boy was asleep on the couch. He listened more intently but heard nothing. Gus must be sleeping peacefully. He glanced at the clock noting that it was after 2 am.

He looked over at Justin who had his back turned to him. The steady rise and fall of the sheet indicated that he was sleeping. Nothing had disturbed him.

"Great!" Brian thought as he fell back onto his pillow. "Now I'll be awake for hours."

He stared at the ceiling willing himself to sleep. After what seemed like an eternity he looked at the clock again. A whole thirteen minutes had gone by. He was never going to get back to sleep.

He thought about getting up and going to watch TV or fooling around on the computer, but they were both out in the living room with Gus. The last thing he wanted was to wake Gus up.

He turned on his side so he was facing Justin's back. He watched the sheet rise and fall with the boy's breathing. He smiled slightly thinking about what he was going to do to Justin once they took Gus home today. He tried to match Justin's even breathing, hoping that the steady cadence might lull him into matching Justin's sleeping state. After a few minutes he gave that up. He was wide awake.

His gaze shifted from Justin to the dresser across the room. He could clearly see Justin's sculpture of the intertwining hearts and their claddagh rings hanging in the hole at the center of one of the hearts. Those rings had been his declaration of love and Justin had turned them down. Hanging them in the sculpture had been their compromise. Brian actually liked them there now. They were so symbolic - hanging close together, filling the empty space that had existed in Justin's heart. Neither of them wanted to take them out of there. The sculpture would cease to mean what it did to both of them.

He could always get more rings, he supposed. Somehow Brian knew their relationship had moved on to a new level since they had returned from Phoenix. He had almost lost Justin, had almost driven him away forever. It had all been because he was too chickenshit to come right out and tell Justin how he felt. He had tried doing that ever since, and Justin even said he was getting better at it.

That still didn't solve the dilemma of the rings. He knew Justin's reluctance came partly from Brian's hatred of marriage. That is what people would assume if they started wearing the rings, that they were married, and then they would have to deal with all that implied. That is what the family would pester them about. People had such distorted ideas of what they should do. Why couldn't they just let them alone, let them wear the rings if they wanted? Why did they have to put meaningless expectations on their actions?

Brian sighed and turned onto his back.

"Dada," Gus' voice said.

Brian sat up immediately, enough to see Gus standing at the bottom of the steps. "What's wrong, Gus? Did you have a bad dream?"

"Un unh," Gus said shaking his head. "Have to pee."

Brian chuckled. "Come on up. You know where the bathroom is."

Gus climbed the three steps and entered the bathroom. Brian decided to get up and make sure everything was all right with his son. It didn't look like he was going to sleep anyway. He walked into the bathroom. Gus was standing on his little stool peeing carefully into the toilet. It had become a matter of pride with the little boy that he never made a mess or never waited too long before going to the toilet. Brian hoped the little guy wasn't becoming as anal as his father.

"Done," Gus said and flushed.

"Good job, Sonny Boy," Brian said. "Wash your hands."

The little boy moved his stool to the sink and climbed up. He carefully washed his hands and took the little towel he used to dry them off.

"I'm thirsty," Gus said when he was finished.

"Then let's get you a drink of water," Brian said holding out his hand. "So you can pee again in another hour," he thought. Gus took his hand and they made their way down to the kitchen. Brian retrieved a bottle of water from the fridge and poured about a third of it into Gus' special glass. The little boy started drinking immediately.

"Cold," Gus said taking a deep breath and then continuing to drink.

Brian watched. "You really were thirsty," he observed. Gus nodded as he continued to drink. Brian took a long draught from the water remaining in the bottle. Gus finished off the water in his glass and smacked his lips.

"Good," he said.

Brian chuckled. "Nothing but the best for us Kinneys," he said with a grin.

Gus nodded in approval. "Stay with me, Dada?" Gus asked.

"Okay, for a bit," Brian said setting Gus' glass at the back of the counter. He started walking towards the sofa and immediately found Gus' little hand deposited in his own. He smiled in spite of himself. He had discovered that the feel of Gus' hand in his was one of the very best things in life.

Gus climbed onto the sofa into his makeshift bed. Brian pulled the covers up and tucked them around his shoulders. He slid onto the side of the couch so that Gus was snug up against the back and he was hanging off the edge. Gus seemed to sense his discomfort.

"Covers," Gus said. "Come in with me."

Brian smiled. He stood up and raised the covers. Gus scrunched up against the cushions at the back of the sofa. Once Brian had laid down Gus promptly deposited himself on Brian's chest and let out a sigh of satisfaction.

"Comfy, Sonny Boy?" Brian chuckled his arms going around the little boy's back.

"Uh huh," Gus replied. "Tell me a story."

"That's Justin's job," Brian said always fascinated by the stories that Justin seemed to be able to make up at the drop of a hat.

"You, Dada. Tell me about Prince Brian and Princess Justin and Prince Gus."

"You like that story, don't you?"

"My very most favorite," Gus averred.

Brian chuckled and tried to remember the story. It had started with Prince Brian being bored at the ball and finding Princess Justin standing under a lamppost outside the castle. Brian began to recount the story as best he could. Gus corrected any parts that he didn't think were quite right. Brian's son had an even better memory than his father. After a while Gus stopped correcting him and Brian realized that the boy had fallen asleep on top of him.

Now he was stuck there. If he tried to go back to his own bed Gus would probably wake up. Brian knew he wasn't going to sleep anyway. He slid down farther taking Gus with him. He made sure the sheets covered the little boy, closed his eyes and pretended to sleep.


"Hey, sleepy head," Justin's soft voice broke into his consciousness.

"Um," Brian responded. He opened his eyes. He was lying on the sofa. He sat up. Gus should be on top of him. "Where's Gus?" he asked looking around.

"Here," Gus said from behind his head.

Brian turned to find his son standing with his hands clasped behind his back at the end of the sofa. "How long have you been up?" Brian asked.

"Forever, Dada," Gus said solemnly. "We've been waiting for hours so we could have breakfast with you."

Brian frowned and looked at Justin. "Fifteen minutes," Justin said with a grin.

"You could have eaten without me," Brian said trying to stretch the knots out of his back. If they ever got a new couch they needed one long enough for him to stretch out on.

"No, we couldn't," Justin said. "Someone was most definite about wanting breakfast with his daddy."

"Breakfast, Dada, now!"

"All right, I'm up. Shall we go the diner and see Debbie?" Brian asked.

"I could cook," Justin suggested thinking that might be faster.

"Debbie, Debbie, Debbie," Gus chanted.

"The diner it is," Brian said. "Let me grab a quick shower."

"Gus, let's go eat some Fruit Loops while we wait for daddy," Justin suggested as Brian went up the steps.

"Yum," Gus responded.

"Not too many Fruit Loops for you two," Brian called. "There are enough of those at the diner."

Justin chuckled and Gus looked confused. "Come on, Gus, we'll eat them out of the box without milk. They taste like candy."

"Yay," Gus cried as he made a beeline for the kitchen. Justin laughed and then wondered if he might regret doing this later. Sometimes these high sugar foods set Gus off. Oh well, he had promised.


Hours later the threesome returned to the loft. They had had brunch at the diner and talked to Debbie. Gus was the center of attention and loved every minute of it. They had gone to the park afterwards and Gus had played on the slide and swings and every other piece of equipment. Finally as he started to tire he got a little cranky. All the Fruit Loops he had eaten earlier seemed to have kicked in. Although he was obviously tired, he refused to admit it. He was running on nervous energy and starting to drive Brian and Justin a bit crazy.

Finally they had convinced him that they needed to go back to the loft and have a rest. Brian and Justin both said they were tired and needed to lie down for a while. Gus had finally agreed and so they had returned.

Gus had eventually settled on the sofa and dozed off. Brian and Justin had gone to lie down on their bed hoping that if Gus thought they were sleeping, he would do the same. They were pretty sure the little boy was asleep now, but Brian had other ideas about what he wanted to do, and sleep had no part in it.

"Brian, we can't," Justin said trying to stop Brian from removing his clothes. "We'll wake Gus up."

"We can be quiet."

"Since when?"

"We can try."

"I don't want to have to explain to the little guy about how we were wrestling or playing tickle once again. I don't think he believes us anymore. He always wants to come up and play too. Hiding my hard-on is tricky."

"Don't they say you should start sex education while they're still young?" Brian asked nibbling on Justin's now bare nipple.

"Brian, stop, please."

"Fuck!" Brian griped but gave up and fell back on the bed.

"I'm sorry but Gus needs a nap. We don't want to wake him."

"He needs a room of his own."

"We could maybe have a section walled off at the end of the loft," Justin suggested. "I could stick all my junk in there when Gus isn't here. I know how you hate to look at my clutter."

"Maybe…" Brian replied. Justin could see the wheels turning.

"Why don't we take a shower? We could close the bathroom door and we should have a little privacy," Justin suggested.

"I like the way you think, oh wise one," Brian replied kissing his partner on the top of the head. They quickly made their way to the bathroom.

Steamy glass frosted their activities from view. Brian had Justin shoved against the glass while he thrust into his partner seeking the ultimate release. Justin took it all and asked for more with the action of his hips. They worked their magic on each other until they came with explosive force. Afterwards they clung to each other letting the water cascade over them as they regained their equilibrium.

"That was masterful," Justin whispered leaning back into Brian's chest and letting the shower water hit him full force.

"Thanks for the critique," Brian replied with a smirk. He kissed the top of Justin's wet hair as his dick gently slid from its recent home.

Just then they heard a tapping sound. Glancing out and down Brian saw Gus standing outside the shower door staring at them.

"Dada?" Gus said.

Brian groaned. He wondered how much Gus had seen. Lindsay would kill him for not taking greater precautions and Melanie would lambaste him about how he only thought with his prick. "What is it, Gus?" Brian asked holding Justin a little tighter.

"Can I play too?" Gus asked wanting his favorite game of being held up close to the spray of the shower.

"You were supposed to be sleeping," Brian said.

"I did sleep. All done," Gus said holding out his hands from his sides and smiling. He looked so much like his father when he did that.

"By all means, come in, Sonny Boy," Brian said holding the door open.

"Brian," Justin warned knowing by Brian's tone of voice that he had just about reached his limit.

"Clothes, Dada," Gus said. "I still have clothes."

"Doesn't matter," Brian said scooping up his son, clothes and all, and holding him under the spray. Gus squealed partially in fright and partially because he loved this game. Brian pulled him away as Gus sputtered and spit out the water he had got in his mouth before he could close it in time.

"Dada!" Gus shrieked as Brian held him up to the showerhead once again.

"Brian, let him out," Justin said.

Brian relented and they all stepped out of the shower. "We need some fucking privacy," Brian stated as he began removing Gus' soggy togs.

Gus was a little upset at being soaking wet with all his clothes on. He whimpered as Brian pulled them off him.

"It's all right, Sonny boy," Brian whispered giving him a kiss as he dried him off. "We have other clothes for you."

"Cold, Dada," Gus said shivering.

Brian pulled him close rubbing all over with the towel and warming up the little boy. "We'll get you dressed in fresh clothes and then we'll go see Mama."

"No, stay with you, Dada," Gus cried holding onto Brian's neck.

This was always an ongoing battle. When the end of a weekend together approached Gus would get all clingy and sad, wanting to stay with his father and refusing to go back home. It was always a difficult ending to what otherwise was a happy time together.


The next day Justin came in late from school. As he rounded the corner coming up the stairs he heard Brian talking to someone.

"So you'll let me know the projected cost?" Brian asked.

"Yeah, give me a couple of days and I'll get back to you," a strange voice replied.

As Justin came up the last flight of steps to the loft he heard the grate slide down on the elevator and the whir as it began its descent.

"Hey," he said seeing Brian still standing outside the loft door. "I heard you talking to someone. Who was that?"

"It was a contractor."

"A contractor?" Justin repeated frowning. "What did you have him here for?"

"I was talking to him about making a room for Gus," Brian said.

"Oh. Did he think it was doable?"

"They always think it's doable as long as you have unlimited amounts of money to throw into it," Brian said with a sour look on his face.

"What did he suggest?" Justin was curious about where they could put a room without ruining the look of the loft. It was really a rather limited space.

"He suggested that we take the alcove where I have my computer and wall it in."

"Oh," Justin said surprised. He hadn't thought of that. He thought they would have taken his alcove by the fridge where the chaise was.

"Don't you agree?" Brian asked watching Justin's reaction.

"I … I guess that would work. But what would you do with your computer and bookshelves?"

"We'd have to share your area," Brian said nipping at his neck.


"You've said a lot of 'ohs' since you came in, but not much else," Brian observed.

"I guess I'm just surprised."

"So what do you think?"

"It could work."

"Do you like the idea?" Brian asked wanting Justin's opinion.

"Um …" Justin replied. He thought for a minute and Brian waited to hear what he would say. Justin was pleased that Brian seemed to be taking his opinion so seriously. "I love the loft the way it is. But … we do need a space for Gus. It's your loft, Brian. What do you think?"

"I'm not sure. The contractor's supposed to have an estimate in a couple of days. Maybe that will make the decision for me."

"It will be strange to change the loft," Justin said looking around. "I'm not sure I would like it any different than it is now."

"I know what you mean," Brian agreed.

Justin never heard any more about renovations in the loft. He thought Brian would tell him what the contractor had given as an estimate of the work, but after four days had gone by, Brian still said nothing. Justin was worried about what that meant.

Saturday morning Justin was awakened by lips caressing his neck, a hand squeezing his cock and a hard, blunt object sticking into the crack of his ass.

"Brian," he moaned sleepily. "It's Saturday. Can't we sleep in?"

"There are more pressing things that need to be taken of, Sunshine," Brian whispered against his ear, his voice heavy with lust.

Justin stretched and rolled over right into Brian's embrace. Their cocks came together with an exquisite thud and both of them gasped. Brian's lips found the juicy ones he wanted. He kissed them softly swirling his tongue against them until Justin opened his mouth and let him in. Their hips bucked against each other causing them both to moan into the deep kiss.

When the kiss ended, Brian leaned back and said, "Still want to sleep?"


"You said you wanted to sleep."

"And you said there were more pressing things to do. Can't you feel what's pressing into your groin right now?"

"Oh, is that what that is?" Brian asked with a smirk.

"Did you wake me up to annoy me, or are you going to fuck me?"

"I'll take the second category, Alex," Brian said.

"Then get to work before you make me put certain of your vital parts in big jeopardy."

"Yes, sir, Princess Sunshine, sir!" Brian chuckled. His hand went behind Justin and pulled the slim body tight against his own. His index finger found its way to the wrinkled hole that it knew so well. Brian pressed his finger in causing Justin to jerk in pain.

"Jesus, Brian, lube!"

"Sorry, honey. I just thought after last night that you would be as loose … as a goose." Brian chuckled crazily at his joke.

"Were you drinking, or smoking something before you woke me up?"

"I'm high on life," Brian said positively giggling.

Justin pressed his hands against Brian's chest trying to get far enough back to get a clear look at all of Brian's face. Something was definitely the matter with the man.

"What's going on?" Justin asked.

"I'm going to fuck you senseless," Brian declared.

"You did that last night."

"Are you saying I can't do it again?"

"Oh, I know you can do it. I'm just not quite sure why you sound slightly hysterical about it."

"Shut up and I'll get the lube."

Justin chuckled as Brian rolled away, but that didn't last long as Brian rolled back and trapped his blond beneath him. Lubed fingers began to probe and lips sucked and kissed. A long, hard cock made a slow and pleasure filled entrance. Justin felt the familiar jolts of penetration as Brian drove into him. He knew something was different, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Soon it didn't matter as Brian's hard cock filled him again and again. The waves of ecstasy crashed over him as Brian hit that one spot that drove him wild. His fingers raked Brian's shoulders as the man leaned over him bending him in half.

He always felt so safe and so protected and so complete when Brian made love to him. There was something more to it today though. He wished he could figure it out. It was part of Brian's body language that he could usually read so well. But this was different. Brian drove in hard and they both exploded in a scalding orgasm.

"Christ!" Justin whispered a minute or two later. "What's got into you this morning?"

"Don't you mean what's got into you?" Brian smirked.

"Something's going on. I know it. I feel it. Are you going to tell me?"

"Let's have a shower. I'm going to take you somewhere this morning."

"You are?" Justin asked as Brian hauled him up from the bed and walked him into the bathroom.

"That's what I said."

"Where are you taking me?" Justin asked stepping into the shower. His heart was pounding and he wasn't sure why. Everything was strange, out of kilter this morning.

"You ask too many questions," Brian said soaping Justin's back.

"So I've been told. Now where are you taking me?"

"And they call me anal," Brian smirked.

"Brian?" Justin said. He was slightly worried by this whole turn of events.

"If you won't tell me where we're going, will you at least tell me if it's a good place? Will I like it?"

"I certainly hope so," Brian said pulling Justin back against him as the water flowed over them.

"Then … I trust you," Justin said softly hoping that he wouldn't be proved wrong.

"Thank you. Now dry off because your mother will be here in fifteen minutes."

"My mother?"

"Will you stop repeating what I tell you?"

"Why is my mother coming here?"

"We're having breakfast with her."

"We are?"


"When did you arrange all this?"

"Just relax and let things happen," Brian told him as his lips captured Justin's to prevent him from saying anything further.

An hour and a half later they finished up their breakfasts at a little café that Jennifer had driven them to.

"This was a good choice, Mom," Justin said. "I'll have to remember this for another time. Maybe I can get a certain someone to take me here for brunch on the weekends." Justin looked meaningfully at Brian who shrugged noncommittally.

"I'm glad you liked it, honey," Jennifer said with a smile. "Shall we get on with the rest of the morning?" She looked at Brian.

"The rest of the morning?" Justin asked looking from one to the other.

"There's more to the surprise," Brian stated leaning in to give Justin a kiss on the cheek.

"What do you mean?"

"Your mother is taking us to look at houses," Brian said. "I think it's time that we had a bigger place, a place that is ours, not mine."

Justin stared into Brian's eyes and then his face lit up in a glowing smile. No wonder everything had seemed so strange this morning. They were going to start a new phase of their life together. He leaned in and kissed Brian softly.

"Let's get started," he whispered. "I can hardly wait."

Jennifer drove them around from house to house that she had selected from Brian's price range and description. There were several nice looking homes, but none that really caught their interest in the way that both wanted. By early afternoon Brian and Justin were getting worn out, but Jennifer put on a brave front.

"There's one more place that I selected," she said, "but it's a little more than the price range you gave me."

"Is it worth looking at?" Brian asked trying not to sound too testy.

"It's very modern, has kind of a Miami feel to it with glass block," she said. "I know you asked for something more traditional."

"You did?" Justin asked surprised.

"I did. I thought that's what you would like, but none of the houses have caught either of our fancies so far," Brian said in a dejected voice. He would have thought this would be easier.

"I thought I would want a more traditional house too," Justin said thoughtfully. "Maybe living at the loft for so long has spoiled me for that."

"Do we want to see it?" Jennifer asked. "We're in the neighborhood."

"Sure," Brian said. "The least that can happen is that we cross it off our list."

Jennifer continued driving and turned into a street with fairly spacious lawns in front of each house. Brian could tell the price tag had just gone up a hundred thousand by the amount of land on which each house sat.

"This is it," Jennifer said, turning into the driveway of a gray stucco house with a circular section next to the front door. That section was all glass block base to roof. It made a striking statement to anyone who saw the house.

"Wow!" Justin said. "I like it already."

"Don't get your hopes up, Sunshine," Brian replied getting out of the car and taking a better look at the house and the surrounding area.

Jennifer smiled to herself. She loved this house even if it was a bit over the price she had been told to work with. Justin loved it, and the look on Brian's face told her that it came closer to what he wanted than anything else they had looked at.

"What's behind the glass block?" Brian asked.

"That's the stairs to the second floor. It's open to the living room and lets in lots of western light. I bet it's beautiful in the afternoons," Jennifer explained. Want to look inside?"

Both men nodded so she used her code and retrieved the key from the lock box. They stepped into the foyer where the stairs began their ascent. Everywhere was hardwood gleaming and golden. It made the whole place feel warm and inviting even if it was totally empty.

"No one's living here?" Brian asked Jennifer.

"The family that owns it got transferred suddenly to Chicago. It's been on the market for awhile."

"And no one snapped it up?"

"There was lots of interest at first, but it is expensive. No offers were accepted and it's been empty for a couple of months now."

"Would they come down on their price?"

"They might," Jennifer said. She could see that Brian was really interested. "I would imagine they might like to be rid of it."

They walked through to the kitchen where the floor became ceramic. It had a breakfast area at one end and the other end opened into a high-ceilinged family room. A doorway led to a formal dining room.

"There's so much space," Justin said glancing around. "And there's a pool." He gushed looking out into the back yard.

Brian came to look out through the French doors. They opened them and noted the overhang of the upstairs provided a covered area to sit by the pool or they could move out into the sun and sit closer to the water. The water was crystal clear.

"Who looks after the pool?" Brian asked.

"They have a service according to the specs. I bet they didn't want it to get all slimy or they would never be able to sell the place."

"I don't know about the pool," Brian said shaking his head.

"We had one at … the other house," Justin said and immediately wished he had kept his mouth shut. "Let's see the upstairs," he added trying to change the subject.

"There are four bedrooms," Jennifer said reading from the spec sheet. "These two on the front of the house each have their own bathroom." She opened doors into traditional bedrooms on one each side of the curved stairway they had just come up. "The master runs almost the full back side of the house. There is a tiny bedroom at the end but it has been used as an office. And this is the master." She flung open the door.

Brian and Justin both took in a breath. It had hardwood like all the other rooms but the space was huge, and looked even more so with no furniture. A bank of windows with French doors led to a balcony that overlooked the pool. The bedroom had a large ensuite with a Jacuzzi tub and a walk through shower that both men ached to try out.

"I love it," Justin said coming back into the master bedroom. "And look at this, Brian." Justin pointed to the doorway that led into the smallest bedroom/study.

"They had that doorway put in for easy access from this room, I would imagine," Jennifer said. "It could be closed off or locked if you wanted it as another bedroom. It makes a great study or studio with all the windows. Or it would give you close proximity to Gus as a bedroom for him."

"Thank you, Madame Real Estate Salesperson," Justin said with a smile. "But I meant this." Justin walked over to a niche that was recessed next to the door.

"That could hold a vase of flowers or a piece of artwork," Jennifer offered.

"I know exactly what it could hold," Justin said staring at Brian. Brian smiled back and nodded. He understood exactly what his partner was telling him.

"So what's the astronomical price on this place?" Brian asked.

"A hundred and fifty over your upper limit," Jennifer said holding her breath. She loved this house, and they both did too. She so wanted them to have it. "I hope that's not too out of line."

"Can we at least get rid of the fifty part of that?" Brian asked.

"We can try. Want to make an offer?"

"What do you think, Sunshine?"

"I think it's next thing to perfect," Justin said moving over to hug his partner.

"Then go for it," he said to Jennifer who squealed and hugged both of them.

"I'll do my very best," she said solemnly. "I want you to have this house."

"We want it too, mom," Justin said giving her a kiss.

"I'll start on all the preliminary paperwork right away. We can submit an offer today if you want. Are you going to sell the loft?" she asked Brian. He nodded. "I think it'll bring a great price, maybe even enough to make up some of the difference in the price of this place."

"I fucking hope so!" Brian stated. He suddenly felt kind of funny. He was losing the loft and gaining a whole new set of responsibilities. It was slightly overwhelming.

Justin noted the look on Brian's face. "Can you take us home, mom?" He thought they needed to talk some more before anything else happened.

"Certainly, honey. I'll get things underway, but I won't do anything until I have the final okay from you, Brian."

"And Justin," Brian added hugging the smaller man against his body for support. His knees felt slightly weak.


Later that day Brian and Justin lay in their bed at the loft. They had discussed the house, pros and cons, ad infinitum, since they got back. They both agreed that they loved the place. They had even discussed some of the possible decorating ideas. They both knew they wanted the house, but they also knew there were some underlying fears that neither of them wanted to bring up.

Finally Brian had taken his partner to bed and fucked him senseless. That had stopped the seemingly endless discussions of the house. Now as they lay sated and tired, Justin thought he should bring up one more thing.

"You understood what I want to put in that niche in the bedroom, didn't you?" Justin began. They both looked over at Justin's sculpture. That was where they both knew it belonged. "I loved the house from the moment I first saw it," Justin continued, "but when I saw that niche I knew that it was the only place for us … and for the sculpture."

"I agree," Brian said kissing the top of Justin's head as the man lay on his chest.

"Can we … you … afford it?"

"We can swing it, especially if your mother works her magic and beats down their price, and then gets a great price for the loft."

"That's a lot of 'ifs'."

"Not so many. I think we can do it."

"Why now, Brian?"

"We need more space. Remember what happened with Gus last weekend. He can have his own room in the new house."

"I love it when you talk like it's already ours," Justin said with a smile.

"It will be ours. I feel it."

Justin smiled and traced around one of Brian's nipples. "What's the real reason you want to do this?" he asked.

Brian smiled. Justin knew him so well. "You graduate in a few weeks and then you will be working. We can both contribute to the house."

"I like the sound of that, but I want you to tell me the real reason."

"What do you mean?" Brian asked not ready to give in yet and explain himself.

"I'm onto you."

Brian sighed. He knew Justin was right and he needed to tell his partner what was behind his motivation in buying a house. "Since we came back from Phoenix, I've felt like things have changed between us."

Justin tensed up at those words. "For the better?" he asked.

"I … don't know, just different. I wanted us to wear the rings, but I understand your reluctance, and I love them in the sculpture…"


"You know what I think about marriage for fags." Justin nodded against his chest. Brian's fingers sifted through the blond hair, soft as silk. "So it suddenly occurred to me that we could make a commitment to each other by moving into a place together, a place that would be ours, that we would select and make our own."

Justin felt the tears well up. He fought them back. "Do you have any idea how that makes me feel to hear you say that?" he asked softly.

"Give you an allergic reaction?" Brian asked with a gentle smile.

"Something like that," Justin admitted. "I thought if we ever did get a house that you would just buy one and we would move."

"You mean without me consulting you?"


"Why would you think that?"

"You're older, you have all the money, you make the decisions."

"But this will be our place. Of course I would want your approval."

"You have no idea how happy it makes me to hear you say that."

"I love you, Justin, even if I don't say it often enough."

"I hear it all the time in so many different ways," Justin whispered. It meant so much to him though to hear Brian say out loud that he loved him. It still gave him goosebumps. "And you're okay with leaving the rings in the sculpture?"

"I wouldn't want them any other place," Brian replied in a husky voice.

"I love you so much."

"I know."

Justin sighed. He had got his 'I love you' for today. He knew Brian wouldn't want to say it again, but that was okay. He couldn't believe what Brian had done, arranging the house tour and making him part of the process. This had to be about the best day of his life.

"I thought about buying a new set of rings," Brian said suddenly.

"You did?"

"But they would carry the same set of problems that these ones created." Brian looked over at the sculpture. "And I didn't think you had another sculpture handy to house them."

Justin chuckled and snuggled closer to Brian. "You're right about that. There'll never be another sculpture like that one, one that means so much."

"I thought so."

"What do you think the gang will say about this?" Justin asked.

"I don't really care. Only you and I will have a key to our house and the rest of the world can be locked out."

"I like the sound of that. If they ask if we're getting married, what should we say?"

Brian thought for a moment. "Let's tell them that we have our own special relationship."

Justin noticed that Brian didn't stumble over that word that had given him trouble for so long. "A non-conventional, undefined kind of relationship?" Justin asked.

"Why do we have to name it anything?" Brian asked. "We're together and that's all they need to know. What goes into our relationship is between us, not for anyone else to know."

"I like the sound of that," Justin said sitting up and then leaning over to kiss Brian.

"It's the truth."

"Yes, it is," Justin agreed. "Do you think this bed will look good in the new house?"

"Hunh?" Brian asked startled by the question.

"It's modern looking like the house."

"You want to take this bed?" Brian asked.

"Don't you?"


"Didn't you once tell me that you'd rather lose a kidney than give up this bed?"

"That was then, this is now," Brian replied. "I think we should select a bed together and it should be brand new, only for you and me."

Justin's smile was radiant as he looked into Brian's eyes. "Are you leaving your old life and all the trappings behind?"

"I did that a long time ago. I guess that's part of what I've been coming to terms with since we got back from Phoenix."

"Have you? Come to terms with it, I mean?" Justin asked truly wanting to know.

"Doesn't it sound like I have?"

"Most definitely.

"Oh, one other thing. That sofa goes. I want one long enough for me to stretch out on."

"I think we could manage that," Justin said with a chuckle. "One that is long enough and wide enough for you to sleep on when you're in the dog house," Justin said with a twinkle in his eye.

"Or for when you're in bigtime shit," Brian stated.

"How likely is that?" Justin grinned. He knew Brian could never banish him for long.

"Don't know, but I suspect we're going to find out."

"We have the rest of our lives to see," Justin said philosophically.

"That we do, Sunshine."

"Maybe we could get rings for our tenth anniversary," Justin suggested.

"Or our twenty-fifth," Brian contributed with tongue in cheek.

"Or for both of them."

"Greedy bastard!"

Justin giggled. "We could try for fifty."

"That we could," Brian said as he flipped Justin over. All this sentiment was making him horny. Time for another down and dirty fuck before they got ready for this new phase in their lives. Besides they should get as much use as they could out of this old bed. Ah, the memories!

Brian glanced over at the sculpture. If all they took from the loft was it and themselves, they would have everything they needed to make their new life.


This is the end of "Committed" which followed "Whispers of Doubt" which followed "My Only Sunshine". This has been a long series and I'd like to thank all the readers who gave me such great feedback throughout. Thanks also for sticking with me as I struggled with the whole marriage issue and the rings. Hope you like what I did with them.

I have thought about continuing this story arc in a new series that would deal with the new house and Brian and Justin building their lives together on a more equal footing. If you would be interested in reading that, please let me know.

Thanks again, Thyme.

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