Brian’s internal alarm clock woke him up early, too early to wake up Justin or to be mobile. He left the comfort of the bedroom and his lover peacefully sleeping. After an hour of working on his laptop he called down for a pot of coffee and dry toast…scones. It arrived with efficiency, delivered by a handsome young man with thoughts on his mind that didn’t include scones. Brian politely turned him down. The young man left disappointed with his virtue intact and a generous tip. As he closed the door, Brian smirked. For a man a few years shy of sixty, it pleased him that he could still turn heads. He shook all extraneous thoughts out of his mind, poured himself coffee and got back to work.
Several hours later Brian stood, stretched out the kinks in his spine then walked into the bedroom. Justin was still sleeping the sleep of the innocent. Brian sat on the edge of the bed to watch his sleeping angel or devil in disguise; he grinned. He gently pushed back the blond locks to see Justin’s beautiful face all pink and flush with sleep. Brian leaned over to kiss the lush full lips. Justin stirred, kissing back then smiled.
“Mmm, coffee flavored Brian, almost as good as ice cream flavored Brian,” Justin murmured as he stretched then pulled Brian down on top of him. They kissed for several minutes until a familiar noise broke their magic. They stopped kissing to look down toward Justin’s stomach.
“Come on, I have breakfast waiting outside,” Brian said as he stood and reached out his hand. Justin took it and was pulled up and out of bed into Brian’s arms. Brian gave Justin a strong hug then handed him a robe. Brian led Justin into the main suite and settled him at the table to serve him a hearty breakfast.
“This is nice,” said Justin in between bites. Brian grinned behind a napkin; Justin’s stomach must be obeyed. Conversation was at a minimum until Justin’s appetite was satisfied. After a while, Justin picked up his own napkin and primly wiped his mouth before speaking. He glanced up and noticed Brian’s open laptop on the desk. Next to it there was the coffeepot and remnants of his earlier light breakfast.
“Just how long were you working before you woke me up,” Justin asked, his eyes narrowing on his spouse. Brian shrugged as he sucked in his lips. “Oh Brian,” Justin exclaimed as he shook his head. “No more, Brian. You told me that it’s okay to take a break. Now, I’m asking you to follow your own advice. Give it a rest, Brian. You deserve it just like the rest of us. I know you want to be the bread winner for a while as you put it, but you can still take a break at least until we get home,” Justin said. He knew if he could get Brian to make this small concession, Justin could work on him when they got back to the lane. Brian nodded.
Brian poured out the rest of Justin’s tea into his cup asking, “Are we going to the gallery today?”
“No? Then what would you like to do? We can go sightseeing,” Brian suggested as they started cleaning up in preparation of calling down to have the room service dishes taken away.
“No, for now the only sight I want to see is your naked ass in bed,” Justin stated with authority.
Brian watched Justin saunter back into the bedroom. Brian stared at the bedroom door for a few seconds before picking up the room phone. “Please have the dishes picked up and ask the waiter to put the do not disturb sign on the door when he leaves. Thank you.” With that taken care of Brian quickly high-tailed himself back to bed and to Justin.
After several hours of rigorous lovemaking, the boys were lying shoulder to shoulder catching their breath. Brian inched his hand over to intertwine his fingers with Justin’s. “What is it, Bri,” Justin gently asked as he turned his head toward Brian. Brian remained silent. “Come here,” Justin demanded. Brian rolled over to lower himself onto his mate; he gazed into the deep blue eyes that had a way of piercing into his soul.
Brian nibbled on the kiss swollen lips as he slicked back the sweaty blond hair. He continued to stare into Justin’s eyes.
“Tell me,” Justin whispered.
“You still love me,” Brian murmured with ambiguity.
“Of course, I love you, you dork,” stated Justin.
“But I’m your dork.”
“Yes, you are,” Justin said as he grabbed Brian by the ears to shake some sense into him. He pushed Brian down to tuck him under his chin. “I love you, Bri; I am in love with you. Always have been, always will be. And if I have to remind you one hundred times a day for the rest of my life, I will.” Justin felt Brian nod. Justin petted the soft brunet hair and rubbed lazy circles across Brian’s shoulders and down his back. Eventually, Justin felt the tight muscles under his fingers relax as the residual tension of the past few months finally escaped. Minutes later Justin heard a slight wheeze indicating that Brian had fallen asleep. Justin smiled, yawned, then also drifted asleep.
“How long was I out?” Brian asked as he stretched his lanky body against Justin.
“We were out for about an hour,” Justin replied with a smirk.
“It must be close to teatime,” Brian commented.
“I believe you’re right, Holmes.”
“Then I propose tea at Harrods, Watson.”
“I like your proposal.”
“I further propose we invite the girls to join us.”
“You’re serious,” Justin said as he leaned back into his pillow to take a good look at Brian’s face.
“Like the clap,” Brian snarked.
“You do know they make drugs to fix that,” Justin teased.
“Thank you for your PSA. Look, we have to eat; they have to eat. There’s nothing that says we can’t eat at the same place at the same time. Besides, it’ll do the girls right to be pampered a little.”
“Okay, who are you and what have you done with the real Brian Kinney?” Justin asked as he pushed Brian off, got out of bed to head into the bathroom.
“I’m going to call and make reservations,” Brian said loudly as he heard the shower come on.
“You want me to call Melanie,” Justin offered as he poked his head out of the bathroom.
“I’ll call her, you call Lindsay.”
“You sure about that?”
“Yes. If you call Mel, she’ll try to find a hundred excuses to say no. If I call, she won’t argue with me, besides I can make it an order,” Brian said with a sneer.
“Be nice,” Justin said as he went for his cell phone.
“I’m always nice,” Brian mumbled as he walked into the main room for his cell.
“Shane, me lad, I’m planning to take the girls to dinner. Does Mel have anything respectable to wear?” Brian asked, getting some choice words from the head of Isles. “I can so fire your ass,” Brian softly grumbled. “Please put Melanie on the phone, thank you,” Brian politely requested. “Melanie, dinner at Harrods, in an hour, I’m sending a car for you. Try to look posh, a little lip gloss wouldn’t hurt either,” Brian said then quickly held his cell away from his ear. “And you kiss your kids with that mouth? Geez. One hour Mel,” Brian commanded then snapped his phone shut and strolled back into the bedroom.
“Done,” Brian said as he joined Justin in the shower. “And yes, I was nice,” Brian added as he began to wash Justin’s back.
“Uh huh,” Justin mumbled, unconvinced.
A little over an hour later, Brian and Justin were seated at a lovely table at Harrods. A few minutes later the girls entered the restaurant to join them. Brian and Justin stood as the maître d’ guided the girls to their table. Brian handed Lindsay into her seat as the maître d’ assisted Melanie.
“This is nice,” Lindsay said with a pleasant smile after a few awkward moments of silence.
“Yeah, nice,” Mel mumbled as she picked up the tea menu.
“Melanie,” Lindsay admonished. Brian grinned.
“Brian,” Justin shook his head with a frown, he had noticed the grin. “Behave,” Justin mouthed.
“Ladies, gentlemen, may I take your tea order,” asked their waiter.
“I’ll have English Breakfast, please,” Lindsay replied first.
“Same,” Mel added.
“Justin, what do I like?” Brian asked as he snatched the menu out of Mel’s hand pretending to read it. Mel rolled her eyes.
“He’ll have the same,” Justin politely said as he coyly smiled at the waiter.
“And for the gentleman,” the waiter asked Justin, stressing the word gentleman. Mel snorted.
“Justin, stick to what you know, please,” said Brian in a serious tone before Justin could answer.
“English Breakfast, please,” said Justin.
“Very good sir. Your order will arrive momentarily.” The waiter nodded before leaving the table.
“Bri, I’m going to…” Justin cocked head toward the restrooms. Brian nodded.
“Do you always have to treat him like a child,” Melanie attacked when Justin was out of earshot.
“No, Linds, he does this all the time,” Melanie snapped back. “Justin’s a grown man.”
“It’s okay, Linds,” Brian quietly stated as he placed his hand on Lindsay’s arm. “Mel, it may seem like I’m babying him, but you don’t understand what these past few months have done to him physically. Yeah, he’s tired, we all are but the stress of it all lowered his resistance. It makes him more susceptible to allergy attacks. It wasn’t that long ago that I watched over him in a hospital bed. I, we, can’t go through that again. I promise, I’ll beg his forgiveness later.”
“His doctor…” Mel began, her attitude immediately changed.
“We see his allergist every six months, more if necessary. Sometimes his meds need to be tweaked,” Brian explained. “He forgets sometimes and wants to try something new. I don’t blame him but we have to be careful. We’ll experiment when we’re home, not this far away from the doctors who know him.”
The subject was dropped when Justin returned to the table. Soon after, two waiters approached with a cart that held two large pots of tea and several tiered towers of delicately cut sandwiches.
“Oh my!” exclaimed Lindsay. “It’s beautiful.”
The maître d’ approached the table while the waiters were arranging their meal and whispered something in Brian’s ear. Brian nodded then thanked him.
“Please enjoy your meal; we are at your service,” the maître d’ stated as the waiters left the table.
“Dig in,” said Brian. “This may be the only time that you won’t get your hand smacked for not using utensils.” Brian reached over, grabbed a dainty cucumber sandwich then stuffed the entire thing into his mouth. Melanie groaned as Justin and Lindsay giggled.
“Pig,” Mel whispered as she piled various sandwiches on her plate. She felt eyes on her. “What? I worked through lunch, I’m hungry,” she admitted. “And this beats hotel food.” Everyone agreed.
“As much as I like having someone cook for me every night, I miss my own cooking,” Lindsay stated.
“Yeah, I know the room service menu by heart. Sometimes, I’d really like something simple like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” said Mel as she nibbled on another sandwich.
“I know what you mean. A couple of times I went to the local McDonalds just to feel like I was home,” Justin sadly admitted.
“Home,” Brian murmured. “While I was at the Plaza, I went to dinner a few times at the diner but it wasn’t the same. One night I went over to Mikey’s house with a bucket of chicken and a six pack.”
“You’re kidding,” said Justin.
Brian shook his head. “I was miserable. Mikey worked his charm,” Brian snarked. “But that only helped for a few hours.”
“You could have gone back to the lane,” Lindsay said.
“I think it would’ve been worse. Everyone there would’ve gotten on my nerves trying to cheer me up. No, being in the city was better, besides, I was closer to the airport.”
“I went to the local grocery store trying to buy a small jar of peanut butter and jelly but all they had was marmalade. It wasn’t the same,” Mel said with a frown as she stuffed a chicken salad sandwich into her mouth.
Suddenly Brian sat up straighter. ‘Uh oh,’ Justin thought to himself.
“A house,” Brian said out loud.
“What house?” Mel asked.
“A house here in London.”
“Excuse me,” said Mel.
“I’ll buy a house here, in London!” Brian crowed; Justin cleared his throat. “We’ll buy a house in London,” Brian amended his statement.
“Can you afford a house in London and why?” Lindsay asked.
“I don’t know, ask your wife. She’s the one who worked her ass off and made a gazillion dollars for Kinnetik.”
“Oh no, don’t get me involved in one of your crazy schemes,” Mel protested, vehemently shaking her head.
“You and the boys are here often enough. So is Lindsay and for that matter, so are we. Plus, it can be home base if one of us goes to Rose. We buy a two-family house or a duplex, whatever the fuck they call it,” Brian tried to explain.
“You mean like North,” Mel asked, trying to keep up with Brian’s warp speed brain.
“Almost but not. We have it fully staffed with live-in domestic help, including a cook, and a Hudson type person. Someone business savvy who can keep a schedule and the books. We, the family, live upstairs, separate entrance and all, and rent out or AirBnB, downstairs to help pay the rent. Think about it. Upstairs, you can cook for yourself or buy the groceries and have the cook do the work. And you can make your own PB and J sandwiches whenever the fuck you want one.”
“But what if Lindsay comes over on gallery business, she can’t ethically stay upstairs,” Mel conjectured.
“No, she can’t if either gallery was footing the bill. However, she could stay downstairs. We’d have business rates, family and friend rates, and Air BnB rates,” Brian rambled.
“Brian, I’m not sure if I like the idea of strangers being in the house,” Justin warned.
“They’d be highly vetted; I did just hire a security consultant. And that’s one of the reasons why I want fulltime staff living on the premises. It’ll be like Lady Whatshername, when she rents out her home. We only rent to people we know or have been referred by a reputable agency.”
“Isn’t that a little snobby?” Mel asked.
“Yes, it is. It’s my,” Justin coughed, “our house, after all,” said Brian.
“This is all well and good if you can afford it,” Mel said reasonably.
“Let’s find out,” Brian said as he reached over to check the time on Lindsay’s watch. Then he pulled out his phone to text. After Brian hit send, he started a countdown.
“5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” Brian’s phone rang. “Theodore, long time no bellow,” Brian snarked then quickly held his arm away from his ear. “The blond and I want to buy a house here in London near Isles. I need you to crunch some numbers.” Brian then described his idea. “Can I afford it?”
“Brian,” Justin interrupted with a serious tone as he pointed at Brian’s cell. Brian put his phone on speaker. “I will be an equal partner in this venture. Fifty-fifty. You will put my name on the deed and on the mortgage. Do I make myself clear,” demanded Justin.
“Crystal!” said both Ted and Brian.
“Crunch those numbers and get back to me, Theodore,” growled Brian.
“That was fun,” Brian said as he snapped his phone shut. “I think I’m ready for dessert,” said Brian with a smile. The wait staff appeared, cleaned off the table then another set of waiters placed two more pots of tea on the table along with dessert towers.
“Oh my!” Lindsay exclaimed upon seeing the beautifully arranged treats.
They all oohed and aahed as Brian slowly turned one of the towers to take a good look at the delicate sweet treats. His eyes settled on a multi-layered rainbow colored mini cake. They watched as Brian closely examined the tasty morsel. Suddenly Brian grabbed Lindsay’s wrist again to confirm the time. He caught Justin’s eye as he contemplated eating the rainbow treat. Justin smiled as he nodded then mouthed the word “later.” With Justin’s promise to help Brian work off the extra calories he was about to consume, Brian popped the petit four into his mouth to enjoy. They all laughed at Brian’s expression of satisfaction then helped themselves.
After about an hour later when their gastronomical fantasies had been satisfied, they were ready to return to the hotel. The waiters returned to the table with several meticulously wrapped and bagged parcels for the two couples to enjoy later. Brian and company profusely thanked the staff as they headed out.
“Thank you, Brian, it was delicious and a very pleasant evening out,” Lindsay stated as they were getting into Brian’s hired car.
“Yes, very pleasant,” Melanie mimicked. “Why?” she asked as Brian handed her one of the bags.
He ignored Mel’s question as he replied. “I’ve ordered a couple of bottles of wine to be sent to your room. In here,” Brian said as he raised one of the bags, “are a selection of sandwiches and desserts for later. It’s still early, you might need a snack later,” Brian said with a lascivious wink for Justin.
“Oh Brian,” Lindsay said as she laughed and blushed.
“You never change, do you,” Mel said as she shook her head.
“Nope,” both Brian and Justin said at the same time then giggled.
“Lighten up, Mel,” Lindsay stated. “Admit it, you had a good time tonight.”
“All right, I admit it. This was a very pleasant evening. I mean it,” Melanie said. “Thank you, Brian. I didn’t realize how much I needed this, needed us together. And as much as I really hate to admit it, we’re a family the four us plus our kids. I miss everyone,” Mel said as tears ran down her face.
“But you could have…” Lindsay began.
“No, I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave you here all alone. It made sense for me to be here. I know you had a lot of people surrounding you but they don’t know you like I do,” Mel quietly said. Lindsay wrapped her arms around Mel. They stayed locked in an embrace until they reached the hotel.
“We’re here,” Justin whispered as they pulled up.
The boys helped the girls out of the car then escorted them to their room.
“Do you think they’ll be okay?” Justin asked as they went to their own room.
“Yes, they will,” Brian replied.
“Are you okay?”
“I should be asking you that question,” Brian said as he opened their door.
“I never knew Mel could be so…”
“Asshole. No, vulnerable.”
“We all have our moments, including me,” Brian said as he pulled off his tie, remembering his own moment earlier in the day. “We’re allowed to have them.”
“Yes, we are. I love you, Brian. And thank you for this evening. It was perfect,” Justin said as he gave his man a tender kiss. “I love you,” Justin repeated. “By the way, did you have wine sent to our room?” Justin asked just before there was a knock on the door. When he opened the door, in came a waiter with a large silver bucket containing a magnum of champagne. After the waiter left, Brian found his arms full of a jubilant Sunshine.
“Love you, Brian.”
On the other side of the ocean a meaningful phone conversation was taking place.
“Hey, Ted, how’s it going?”
“Good, good. Um, have you spoken to your dad recently?”
“He’s thinking of buying a two-family house in London, preferably near Isles.”
“Okay, and the problem is?”
“Uh, no problem, he’s thinking the family can use the upper floor while the first floor could be rented out.”
“Nothing, just wanted to get your take on it.”
“My take is, crunch those numbers, Theodore,” Gus growled in a very Brian Kinney like manner.
“Yes Boss, I mean Brian, I mean Gus!”
Gus cut the connection then laughed.
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