Complications of the Mind

Chapter 15

Brian was doing reps when a shadow cast him in darkness. He looked up and saw the glaring countenance of his best friend's husband looking down at him. Brian reached for the towel and sat up. "Ben," he said cautiously.

"You hurt him, Brian. You really hurt him."

"He let himself into my home and proceeded to criticize my visitors. Then he had the nerve to say that Justin isn't my family, that he's just a trick. I have every right to be pissed off at him. I don't need you stepping in to save your wife's honor."

He started to walk away when Ben's words stopped him cold. "Sometimes I wish you had fucked him. I put a ring on his fucking finger and you still have this mysterious, mystical hold on him. We were the ones who fucked, Brian, and you're still fucking me over."

Brian turned back to face him and said, "I offered to fuck him, Ben. He turned me down flat. And what happened between us was a long time ago."

"It still makes me hard. Can you deny that you get turned on remembering that weekend?"

"Not the point, Ben. But, to answer your question, no. I still remember most of what happened that weekend. It was fucking hot. What do you want me to do?"

"Fix this."

Brian sighed and finally said, "He's your husband. I've got a partner, Ben. I love Justin and I'm not going to allow some petty shit with Michael to fuck that up. Michael needs to grow the fuck up."

"What if I gave you carte blanche?" Ben didn't like making the suggestion but he knew that it still bothered Michael that he'd had something with Brian that Michael hadn't had with Brian.

Brian hated himself for the moment he gave to considering Ben's proposition. "Justin made the same suggestion. I'm going to tell you the same thing I told him. If I fucked Michael, I'd be cheating on him. I'd really be unfaithful to him."

"Every time you fuck someone else you're being unfaithful to him," Ben pointed out, ever the practical one.

Shaking his head, Brian said, "No, because if I fucked Michael, we'd all know that it wasn't just a trick. It would be something more. And it would cement things between me and Mikey. For a long time he was the one I needed, Ben. He was the one I'd call in the middle of the night when I was feeling on edge. He's the one who picked up the pieces in the hospital after Justin got hurt. But Justin's the one who was by my side when my mom found out that I like fucking guys. Justin's the one who had my back when the shit went down with Stockwell and after I lost my job. Justin is the one who came back to me when I had cancer and fought for us. Justin is the person who gave me the incentive to push myself across that finish line when every muscle in my body was just screaming for me to give up. We're not a dynamic duo, Ben. And we're not a clusterfuck."

Ben stared at Brian for a moment and then nodded slowly. "Okay, Brian. Okay."

"You pissed?"

"No, just glad that you finally made a choice."

"It would never have worked between me and Mikey, Ben. He and I would never have worked. He would never have the patience to deal with me when I close down emotionally. Justin has the strength that Michael doesn't. And he loves me because of my faults. I love Justin, Ben. And it's in a whole different category than what I feel for Michael. He forced me to make a choice and he doesn't like the choice I made."

"I bet Debbie doesn't like it either."

"I think Debbie understands. She's known for a long time that I was in love with Justin, that if I was ever going to find someone to stick it out with me, it wouldn't be her son." Brian picked up his towel and glanced at Ben. "I won't offer to fuck Michael again. Until he accepts the fact that I've grown up and am capable of making my own choices, I can't talk to him or hang out with him. And keep the little hustler away from me and mine."

"I understand," Ben said, extending his hand to Brian. Then Brian's words about Hunter penetrated his brain and he said, "Hunter paid you a visit?"

"He paid Justin a visit saying that it was up to Justin to fix things between me and Michael."

"Christ, Brian, I'm sorry. I didn't know."

Shrugging, Brian said, "I know you didn't know. I also know that Hunter came of his own impetus not because someone sent him. But he's still a kid even if he's a former hustler. Justin told him that he wouldn't fix this between me and Michael because Michael's fucked things up between us too many times. It's the truth, Ben."

"Got it," Ben said, nodding sagely. "I'll talk to my partner and my son. Family dinners are going to be awkward for a while, I guess."

"No family dinners until my life gets a little less fucked up." Brian glanced at the clock on the wall and cursed. "I've got to get back."

He hit the showers and returned to the loft a half hour later to find Justin and John playing video games. "Hey, John, can you pause that for a moment?"

John made a sound of protest but hit the pause button on his controller, turning to face his uncle. "What?"

"My friend Miranda Jameson wants to talk to you and me."

"A shrink?!"

Brian winced at the tone and then nodded. "Yes, she's a shrink. But she's also a really good friend of mine. She's helped me and Justin get over some rough patches. And if you're going to be staying here with me and Justin, we need to talk about some stuff."

"More rules?"

Brian and Justin exchanged smiles at the question, both remembering the discussion at Debbie's table after Justin's ill-fated flight to the Big Apple. "Yeah, more rules. But I don't think it's anything you can't live with. It won't be like living with the Warden, or your mom."

"What about school?"

"I need to talk to the school but I think we can get you the makeup work and then enroll you next semester."

"I don't want to get too far behind."

"How were your grades?" Did I just ask someone how his grades were? Brian avoided looking at Justin, knowing that the younger man's eyes were bound to be sparkling with humor. It was a fucking joke, like a fucking French farcical comedy of epic proportions that Brian Aidan Kinney, the fucking sex god of Liberty Ave, was asking about someone's grades.

"Some 'A's and some 'B's, a 'C' in my science class."

"I can help with that," Brian said.

Justin grinned at him. "Don't teach the kid how to make synthetic cum, Brian. Or how to make a stink bomb. The administration is likely to think he's making some terrorist threat or some bullshit even if it is just a stupid prank."

Brian glared at him while John watched with widened eyes. "Fuck you, twat," Brian spat out. "I'm not gonna turn the kid into some fucking juvenile delinquent."

"Simmer down, Mufasa."

"Fuck you, Simba. I know how to raise a cub and I think I did a pretty damn good job. Look at you!"

Brian stood and stomped over to the drink cart, magnificent in his ill-conceived rage. He poured a few fingers of scotch into a crystal tumbler and clomped up the stairs, flopping down on his back in bed. "And he calls you a drama princess?" John whispered, glancing at Justin, who looked torn between amusement and irritation. Irritation seemed to be winning out over amusement.

"Yeah, he calls me a drama princess. And Brian can be a drama queen of epic proportions when he wants to be."

"How long is he gonna sit up there and sulk?"

Justin shrugged and said, "Wanna watch a movie?"


In the bedroom, Brian set the tumbler down on his night table and got up to find the ornate box which held his party favors. He opened the box and withdrew an amber vial and a straw along with a mirror. He set the accoutrements out on the top of the dresser and proceeded to lay out a couple of lines. Justin was fully aware of his lover's actions and so he found his boyfriend about to snort a line. "Don't do it, Bri."

"I can get high if I want to. You aren't my mother," Brian snarled at him.

"The kid doesn't need to see you fucked up on anything more deadly than pot or whiskey, Brian. And I know that you are a consenting adult but he's not. He's pretty fucking fragile right now and he needs you. You are his family."

"I just wanted to spend time with you. I didn't intend to get wrapped up in a family drama that the Greek tragedians would have loved. All we need now is for you to go on a voyage and return home to find out that your lover has married your mom, or some shit like that." But he picked up the mirror and carefully returned the contents to the vial. He glanced at Justin and said, "One of these days you aren't going to be around to stop me from making a stupid decision, sunshine."

"But that's not today, Brian. Come watch a movie with us," Justin suggested. "It'll take your mind off your problem."

"One of these days you're not going to be able to talk me down, Justin."

Justin stared at Brian and said, "You are losing it, Kinney. I'm not going anywhere. I love you, you strange, fucked-up man. And even when it's bad between us it's better than being alone and miserable."

"You do realize, of course, how very fucked-up that is?" Brian asked, but he knew his nerves were beginning to settle. "How some would say that we play out the classic roles of sex addict and codependent?"

Justin emitted a squeak, that sounded very girly and had Brian giggling before he could stop the very unmasculine sound. He glared at Brian and that had Brian dissolving into a fresh fit of laughter. All they needed was the Doors' song People Are Strange to start playing and the day would be complete.

Halfway through the movie, it was nearing nine o'clock and Brian was drifting into a state of near-slumber when the insistent buzzing of the downstairs intercom intruded. Brian's head was pillowed on Justin's lap and he said, "Don't wanna get up."

John looked at the two men, scowled, and then snatched the remote, hitting the pause button. "You two are pathetic," he said, as he made his way to the intercom. "Who is it?"

"John, it's your grandmother. Buzz me up, please, sweetheart. I want to talk to you." Joan Kinney's icy voice sounded tinny coming through the call box and he looked at Brian, who had suddenly returned to full consciousness at the sound of his mother's voice.

"Your call, John." He ignored the pinch Justin gave him and gave him a warning glance. This had to be John's decision. Even if he thought his mother a she-wolf and no warmer than a viper, she was still John's grandmother.

John stared at the intercom for long moments as if afraid his grandmother could be teleported up to the loft regardless of permission. He looked back at Brian, still laying in Justin's lap, and pressed the intercom button again. "I don't want to talk to you, Grandma."

"I've got Father Tom with me, honey. He wants to talk to you and to your uncle."

At Joan's words, Brian shot up and made his way across to the intercom in record time. "Go away, old woman," he growled. "And take the good Father with you. Where the fuck was he when all this shit was going down?"

"Brian, don't blaspheme."

"Mother, you lost the right to tell me what to do years ago. Leave us the fuck alone."

"What do you think Department of Children and Families will think when they find out that my grandson is living with two homosexuals?"

At that moment, Brian was very, very glad that layers and floors of concrete lay between him and his mother. "Stay the fuck away from John, Mom. Claire has agreed to let him stay here and he's safe."

"Brian, it's Father Tom. I want you to think about what you're doing."

Brian barked a laugh and glanced at his nephew who looked near to tears. "I don't seem to recall you wearing your collar when you were on all fours, screaming for more, my dear friar. John is safe here and he'll go home when he's ready. Just leave us alone."

Down on the street, Tom found himself the recipient of the patented Kinney death glare. Great, just fucking great, the priest thought. Outed by an angry ex-trick. "Is it true?" Joan asked, voice calm, too calm. "Did you have sex with my son?"

"Yes," Father Tom bit out, meeting Joan's glare directly, not flinching as she directed hostility towards him. If he weren't a Christian, he'd kill Brian Kinney, he thought. "I had sex with your son twice, Joan."

Joan gasped and depressed the intercom button. "Is that true, Brian?"

"Yes, Mom, it's true," Brian said. "I fucked your priest twice. I guess we're both going to hell: your son and the man you wished was your son. Guess you never get what you want, old girl."

John hit the intercom button and then said, "Go home, Grandma. I'm happy with Uncle Brian and Justin."

"They're corrupting your soul, sweetheart. Let me take you home to your mother, please."

"No, Grandma. Go home. Leave us alone."

"Goodbye, Saint Joan," Brian drawled out, sarcastically. He watched his nephew cross to the pile of the pillows, flopping down on them. "Thanks for calling but we're not buying martyrs tonight."

He returned to Justin's side and Justin smiled slightly. "Have I mentioned how proud I am of you?"

"No, baby, I don't think you have. But it bears repeating," Brian said, resting his head on Justin's lap, feeling the blond trail his fingers through his hair.

John flipped the TV back to DVD mode and then the controller fell through his fingers as he began to sob quietly and incessantly. His shoulders shook and Brian bit back an acidic comment, realizing that now wasn't the time for sarcasm. The kid was losing everything he held dear, after all, including a relationship with his grandmother.

"What the fuck do I do?" Brian whispered. "I'm not set up for this, sonny boy."

"Do what you always do with me when I'm emotional," Justin suggested, then frowned.

"I fuck you when you're emotional," Brian needlessly reminded him. "I can't do that."

"You are pathetic," Justin said. "Let me up, you big galoof."

Brian glared at him but sat up so Justin could move. Justin crawled up to John and wrapped an arm around the kid's shoulders. "Hey, John, it's okay. It'll be okay."

John continued to cry silently but the tears weren't falling as rapidly. Justin looked at him and said, "Let's go get some ice cream."

"I'm going to get fat," he protested.

"You'll burn off the calories in an hour and you are like your uncle which means you have an unnatural metabolism."

Brian smirked at the comment, finding the comment a compliment rather than a criticism. Rose-colored glasses and all that.

John reached for his sneakers and put them on. Justin crawled back to Brian and looked up at him with big blue eyes and Brian sighed. "Keys are on the counter, cash is in my wallet. Get more condoms on the way back."

Justin pecked him on the cheek and Brian smirked. "You're so easy," Justin remarked.

"Keep it up, Sunshine, and we won't have sex for a week," Brian threatened.

Justin snorted and said, "That's a promise that you won't be able to keep. I think you need sex to breathe, Brian."

"I do so love a high-protein breakfast in the morning," Brian quipped.

John heard the latter remark and wrinkled his nose as his uncle's meaning came home to him. Ugh.

When the door closed behind his lover and his nephew, Brian sighed and turned off the entertainment center. Somehow he figured that the adventures of Lara Croft would spill over into another night. He padded up the stairs, pulled off his jeans and climbed underneath the covers, falling fast asleep as the rain began to pound on the window panes outside, lulling Brian into a dreamless sleep.

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