On The Move
“You appear to be minus a pair of lesbians,” Brian said as he saw John walk into the loft with Jennifer. John made a face as Jennifer breezed past.
“You explain it. I need something warm and sweet,” she said as her nose caught wind of coffee and Emmett’s treats.
“What happened?” Brian asked John.
“To keep it simple, JR likes the idea, Jacqueline has reservations. We left them heading to Danny’s,” John succinctly explained.
“Well, you can lead a fag to the baths but you can’t…” Brian began before John’s raised hand stopped him.
“Spare me. I really think the bungalow will look wonderful on that lot. I’d hate to see that design go to waste,” John said as he chomped down on one of Emmett’s large cookies.
“Then build it,” Brian said as he searched the goodies trays. He smiled broadly when John broke off a small piece of his cookie to share.
“What do you mean, build it?”
“Buy the lot, or better yet, I’ll buy the lot. You build your dream bungalow then we can rent it out until someone or some pair of stubborn munchers decides to buy it outright. Either way, your design won’t go to waste. The Village gets nice new neighbors and maybe we decide to go into the real estate business. Kinney Bros. Inc.,” Brian announced as he poured himself more coffee.
“How much coffee have you had today?” John asked incredulously. “I’m surprised you’re not floating out of here,” he commented, ignoring Brian’s suggestion for the moment. Brian said nothing. “You’re serious about buying the lot and having me build the house,” John finally said.
“I am. Think about it. What was a major contributing factor as to why that part of town got run down in the first place?” Brian asked.
“Vacant lots that became junkyards.”
“Got it in one. Now, Jamie and Leda have been living alone on that street for some time. No one’s complained but Leda mentioned to me not too long ago that it would be nice to have a neighbor or two. Maybe a couple of pretty ready-to-move-in type homes would make it easier for that to happen,” Brian said as he casually sipped his coffee. He could see the wheels turning in his brother’s head.
John took his cookie over to the office area where he had left his notepad. Brian saw John sit, turn to a clean page and start to draw. Brian smiled.
“Why do you look like the cat who ate the canary?” Justin asked as he searched the treats then selected a sweet sticky bun. He sat next to Brian at the counter.
“No reason,” Brian innocently replied.
“Sure.” Justin knew Brian all too well.
“The trip to the Village didn’t go as planned.”
“Mom told me. She got the impression that Jacqueline isn’t ready for that type of commitment. So what does this have to do with John?”
“He’s worried that his pretty wittle house will go to waste.”
“Behave,” Justin admonished as he shook the bun at him. Brian captured Justin’s hand and took a nibble of the bun. “So what did you suggest?” Justin pointed the bun in John’s direction.
“I merely suggested that we buy the vacant lot, John builds his bungalow and we rent until the right family comes along to buy it.”
“That’s not a half bad idea,” Justin commented. “Not everyone can visualize something out of nothing. The both of you can, that’s what makes you guys so good at what you do.”
“You too, O artist of mine,” Brian teased as he gave his artist a loving peck on his nose. “But you’re right. Trying to make a vacant lot look good isn’t easy.”
“So if John builds some nice simple homes with perhaps some ready-made gardens, it’ll be more enticing,” Justin surmised. “And renting with an option to buy will make the concept of owning a home a little more palatable.” Just then Brian swooped Justin up into his arms to give the younger man a proper kiss.
“I love it when you use big words,” Brian said with a grin. Justin laughed as he hugged his crazy spouse.
“So what did you name your new real estate venture?” Justin asked knowingly when he was released.
“Kinney Bros. Inc.”
“Not very imaginative but practical,” Justin commented. “Let me ask you something, and I want an honest answer. Are you okay with the boys’ plans for the loft?”
“I am,” Brian said. Justin searched his eyes. “I’ve had time to think about it. This place hasn’t been mine for a very long time. We don’t even use it if we have to stay in the city. We go to the hotel. It’s time, Sunshine. And I’m all right with it.”
“I love you,” Justin said as he pulled Brian close. “I love you so much.”
“Love you too, Sunshine,” Brian said then whispered, “I’m having John bring home the leather chaise.” Their bodies had an immediate response.
“Ice cream kisses?”
“Oh yeah,” Brian replied.
“Get a room,” Bobby declared. “And what have you done with my husband? This is supposed to be a party and he’s stuck in builder mode.”
“Not my doing,” Brian declared as he pulled Justin away from the counter and into a relatively quiet corner.
“Now why am I not convinced?” Bobby snarked as he shook his head.
“Hey Pop!” Gus called out as he plopped himself on the sofa near Brian. Justin was conveniently settled on Brian’s lap sharing his sticky bun. “Don’t you guys ever get enough?” Gus asked. Two sets of glittering eyes with matching smirks turned his way. “Never mind. Listen, I had a look at the Liberty Air file. Do you think they’d freak out if I did something a little different with their ad? Kinnetik’s done similar ads for years now. Granted they work well but I think it needs something,” Gus said; his mind was in full adman mode.
“Go for it, Sonny Boy. I’ve been trying to get them to make some changes for years. They don’t take change very well,” Brian stated, ignoring the poignant look Justin threw his way.
“Double team them,” Justin suggested as he slid off Brian’s lap and onto the sofa in between the Kinney boys.
“What?” came a two part chorus.
“When it’s time to make your presentation, both of you attend. You don’t have to say much,” Justin said as he looked at Brian. “Let Gus run the show but with you being there, it will give credence to Gus’ pitch.”
“Wow!” Gus exclaimed. “He really is the brains of the outfit.”
“Shhh, we don’t say that too often around him; it might give him a swelled head,” Brian whispered, a raised finger to his lips.
“Ah. Gotcha,” Gus teased.
“This is where I go mingle and leave you boys to talk shop,” Justin said as he left the sofa and left the Kinney boys to their own devices.
“You’re upset,” Bobby stated as he stood next to the desk where John was busy making notes.
“Not really,” John replied.
“Yes, really. What’s got your knickers in a knot?”
“What about them?”
“JR and Jacqueline are two highly intelligent women but they can’t seem to get their act together regarding buying a home,” John said in frustration.
“They’re young and this is a big step. Not everyone is prepared for such a big commitment,” Bobby stated logically.
“I know,” John said with an exaggerated sigh. “I guess I worked myself up at the thought of building them a home.”
“You can still build it.”
“Brian said the same thing. I think he wants a new hobby. He’ll buy up all the vacant lots in the Pitts and I’ll build something on them,” John said as he waved his arms around for an added effect.
Bobby chuckled. “I can see that happening. I bet he already named your joint venture.”
“Kinney Bros. Inc.” John and Bobby burst out laughing. When they calmed, Bobby leaned over to give John a kiss. John smiled up at him.
“There he is,” Bobby said as he gently traced John’s smile lines. “It’ll all work out. And if your crazy brother does buy up a few lots, then build till your heart’s content. I’ll support whatever decision you make,” Bobby assured John. “Now, no more work; time to party,” Bobby declared.
“Yes, sir,” John agreed as he packed up his notes.
The cab door swung open and JR got out. She waited for Jacqueline to join her.
“Aren’t you coming?” JR asked.
“Then fuck off and go home without me,” JR stated decisively as she headed for the door of the loft building.
“Wait, wait, wait!” Jacqueline called as she quickly paid the cab driver and hurried after her partner.
JR had already buzzed up to the loft and had the outside door open. She was prepared to let the door close behind her without heeding the fact that Jacqueline was hurrying to catch her.
“Didn’t you hear me?” Jacqueline asked as she grabbed the door before it slammed shut.
“There’s nothing I want to hear from you at the moment.”
“Don’t Babe me!”
“Look, we just need to talk this through,” Jacqueline pleaded, but JR kept walking toward the elevator.
JR jabbed at the elevator button like she could poke its eye out. She whirled around to face her lover. “I think we’ve talked this to death. Don’t you?” When Jacqueline said nothing in reply, JR sighed and said, “Why don’t you go home and leave me alone.”
“I don’t want to go home without you,” Jacqueline pleaded.
“Well, I’m going up to my brother’s housewarming party. You can suit yourself.” JR entered the elevator and waited to see whether Jacqueline would join her.
Jacqueline hesitated for a moment and JR reached up to pull the gate down. “Wait,” she said as she entered the elevator with her partner. JR allowed her in and then pulled the gate down. As she reached for the button to ride up to the loft, Jacqueline gently took her hand before she could do so.
JR looked into her partner’s eyes. “What?” she asked.
“I don’t want to fight about this,” Jacqueline said with all sincerity.
“You think I do?” JR challenged.
“Of course not,” Jacqueline said quickly. “But that seems to be all we’re doing lately.”
“I know, and I hate it. Buying a house was supposed to be a good thing.”
“Maybe we jumped in too fast … without thinking everything through.”
“Certainly seems that way,” JR said with a sad look on her face. At least that was one thing they agreed on.
“Can we just put this aside for a bit. I want to think about it some more,” Jacqueline pleaded.
“O-kaaay,” JR said with another big sigh. “I’d like to enjoy this time with my family today.”
“Then let’s do that,” Jacqueline said as she pushed the elevator button that would take them up to the loft.
“Are you sure about this?” JR asked.
“We’re going to be putting on a show when we go in there. They’ll want to know what we decided, and … we don’t have any answers,” JR stated.
“Well, I say we tell them to fuck off. It’s our business, not theirs.”
“I can’t tell my family to fuck off,” JR said, aghast at the suggestion.
“You don’t have to. I will.” The elevator stopped and Jacqueline pushed up the gate. “Let’s go.” She took JR’s hand and half pulled her into the loft.
JR felt paralyzed as she trailed behind her partner. She held her breath waiting for all hell to break loose. After a few seconds she looked around. Nobody seemed to have noticed that they had returned. People were eating and drinking, talking and laughing, and not paying the least attention to them.
“Hey, sis, glad you came back,” Gus said as he sauntered up to the girls.
“Wouldn’t want to miss your party,” JR managed to say.
“There’s some pizza and salad left. Everybody’s mostly on dessert now. Help yourself. It’s on the table.” Gus walked away.
“Have we ended up in the Twilight Zone?” JR asked.
“I thought we’d get bombarded with questions,” Jacqueline replied.
“Me too, but you know this is one crazy family. Maybe they decided to leave us alone or … maybe they’ve all become pod people.”
“Enough with the sci-fi references,” Jacqueline joked.
“I do run a comic store, you know,” JR teased.
“I know, and I love that person who runs the comic store.”
“And I love you.” The girls shared a quick kiss.
“JR!” a voice boomed out.
“Shit!” JR said before turning to face her father. “Dad, how are you?”
“You know the house on our street is sold, don’t you?” Michael confronted her.
“Dad, for heaven’s sake, you called me after that happened.”
“I know and I still can’t believe you let that house get away.”
“I don’t think it would have been right for us anyway,” JR stated.
“It was a great house, a lot like ours.”
“That doesn’t make it right for us.”
“Are you saying you don’t like our house?” Michael demanded.
“Of course not, your house is perfect - for you.”
“But not for you?”
“It’s not what we’re looking for,” JR said, wishing she hadn’t got out of the cab and was safe in their loft with Jacqueline. “It’s a perfectly fine house, but not for us.”
“Well … at least you admit that,” Michael conceded. “Have you found another house?”
“If … if I can be of any help, I’d be happy to look at properties with you,” Michael said, his voice softening.
“You’re helping a lot by looking after the store when I need to go out,” JR said. “I could really use something sweet,” she added.
“Allow me to escort you to the sweets table,” Michael said with all the gallantry that he could muster. He held out his arm for JR to take it. They made their way through the loft full of people to the table laden with goodies.
“Miss Jacqueline,” Brian said in his best southern accent. He was holding out a glass of white wine toward her.
“Kinney,” she replied taking the glass and downing half of it.
Brian watched trying not to laugh. “Has it been that bad a day?” he asked.
“You better believe it … not that it’s any of your business.” She finished off the glass of wine.
“Care for another?” Brian asked taking the empty glass from her.
“Sounds like an excellent idea, even if it does come from you,” Jacqueline snarked.
Brian raised an eyebrow but didn’t respond in kind. He led the way over to the counter where the open bottle of white was resting in an ice bucket.
“Fill her up,” Jacqueline ordered.
“Certainly, ma-dame!” Brian bowed slightly before refilling the wine glass and handing it to Jacqueline. She immediately downed several mouthfuls.
“You might want to slow down a bit,” Brian advised.
“I don’t need advice from you.”
“Apparently you do by the looks of things,” Brian said seriously.
“And just what would you advise me to do?” Jacqueline asked sarcastically taking a sip of her wine. She knew Brian was right that downing several glasses of wine would probably lead to even more trouble than she was already in.
“Hm, I’d advise you not to get drunk and to talk things out with JR.”
“Is that right?” Brian nodded. “And when did you become a relationship expert?”
“Just trying to help,” Brian said as he turned away.
“Wait!” Jacqueline said quickly. “Usually we don’t get along very well. Why are you trying to help? I don’t understand.”
“I don’t like to see things get screwed up. You and JR have a good thing together. I would hate that to be ruined over a house.”
“I would too,” Jacqueline whispered.
“Then do something about it.”
“Do you want to get a house with JR?”
“I don’t know anymore,” Jacqueline said trying to get her voice to steady. She was not going to cry in front of Brian Kinney.
“Then that’s the first thing you need to settle.”
“We, um, did decide that was what we wanted to do.”
“And have you changed your mind?”
“Not really, but we see things very differently.”
“Probably not as differently as you think.”
“How can you possibly know that?”
“Just an educated guess.”
“Or an uneducated one.”
“Take your pick,” Brian said. “But you know I’m probably right.”
“I hate to admit it, but you could be right.”
“See, was that so hard? Discussion and compromise are the order of the day.”
“I mean it.”
“I can see that you do. Is that how you and Justin have lasted so long?” Jacqueline asked.
“That, and certain other reasons…”
“That I shouldn’t ask about.”
“We’re sharing, but there is a limit,” Brian said with a smirk.
“Sharing, who would have thought?”
“Neither of us apparently,” Brian said with a chuckle.
Jacqueline raised her glass in a tribute to their ‘sharing’. “I think I need a bit more,” she said. “But not too much.” She poured herself half a glassful.
“If you and JR decide you do want a house, I might have a possible solution for you.”
Jacqueline watched Brian walk away. He found Justin and immediately gave his partner a kiss on the temple. She found that oddly touching. That had been one strange conversation for Brian and her to have. In fact any conversation between the two of them would be strange, especially since they rarely spoke to each other in more than monosyllables. Today’s conversation was definitely a first.
Jacqueline looked around the room searching for JR. She finally spotted her talking to her brother in the far corner. Maybe Brian was right. Jacqueline decided that she needed to fully explain what was going on with her. JR had the right to know.
And what the hell did Kinney mean about having a possible solution for them? Arrogant bastard!
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