STORY TITLE: A Time From Now
CHAPTER TITLE: MEET ME _Forty-Five_of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 1,140
WARNINGS: this chapter: none, Justin POV
DISCLAIMER: Nothing I can say that hasn’t been said already? Not mine.
Originally Beta’ed by herefordroad, all subsequent mistakes are mine
Story throughout contains excerpts from The Brian Kinney Operating Manual including commentary from the Editors
SUMMARY FROM THE EDITORS: “Good, good,” Alex said, refocusing back to Justin. “And ya know? I had a sweet day, too, thanks for asking. Oh, and Jus, by the way, some guy came by looking for you…”
For Justin, some days just keep getting better and better
AUTHOR‘S NOTES: This story projects 59 years into the future and reflects all that that entails, many of the loose ends are tied-up. I dance with POV, I dance with time, in essence, I just dance to the song Brian & Justin sang to me.
Contains: Brian_others, Justin_others. They grow old, they are always together for just as long as time allows, but, ultimately, they will die.
As someone wise once said, ‘In the end, it’s all about Brian and Justin’ and I can only agree
A Time From Now
Same Week - New York
Bone-tired, waiting in Starbucks, apparently along with the rest of humanity, to place his order for a mocha latte, when done, he hovered around pick-up reflecting on his career in general and his long night of productive, frustrating yet ultimately very satisfying work in particular.
Once he’d finished the mural, he’d taken some time off, like a day or two, possibly even three before he’d gotten so itchy he’d felt compelled to start something new, and in a new direction. Something a little softer this time and a little brighter but not much, overall his mood wasn’t very soft or very bright. And why was that?
Invariably, pathetically, and not surprisingly it was because of Brian, not that far away and yet might as well have been a million miles between Pennsylvania and New York. He’d certainly been doing his part having been back to Pittsburgh how many times now? four, possibly five? And how many times exactly had Brian been to New York? Oh, right...none and again, why was that? Too busy with his little semi-permanent whatthefuckevers, right? Possibly and just thinking about what Brian might be doing made him feel a little queasy, so when the barista called ‘Justin’, grabbing his drink, he found an empty table next to the quieter side-street window and he sat for a minute easing from one space into another, from studio to home and from negative thoughts to positive, from Pittsburgh to New York.
He couldn’t have imagined that anywhere else could’ve ever taken the place of the diner, especially a Starbucks, but this one had. Partly because it was conveniently located next door to the corner grocery store, which was conveniently location three-quarters of a block from his apartment, but mostly because of the place itself. That simple.
And after three long, long months of painting in the corner of his apartment’s living room, it had been in this very Starbucks that he’d found the notice for his studio on its community bulletin board, a notice which had gone on about the great light, the sort of great location, and the semi-great price blah blah, he’d read a hundred before just like it, but what had caught his eye had been the design of the notice itself, very cool, very original.
Deciding that they must be pretty interesting people, he’d gone directly there and basically he was in. That simple. Seemed timing was pretty much everything plus, when trying to impress them, he mentioned Simon, they’d not only heard of him, but they even had the issue of ArtWeek with Simon’s article about his Pittsburgh show in their six stacked orange-crates art library. That probably would have been enough to cinch the deal, but when he’d also casually mentioned that he’d already had a couple of commissions and was a close, personal friend with Sam Auerbach, well…they had been impressed. Four months later and their arrangement could not be better.
And today, it was like he’d been in that zone Ben sometimes talked about, that Zen zone of total concentration; he’d felt he could do no wrong. So maybe he had gotten a little internally pissed when Jake had shown up, he’d become one with his aloneness, but Jake had offered some very constructive criticism, had helped him work out his singularly disturbing compositional problem proving, apparently, that discourse could be a good thing when done with someone who had a clue and Jake did.
Deciding to finish his latte while walking home, he started to leave, but suddenly remembering they needed milk and something else from the store, he lidded the drink tightly, tucking it gingerly into his book bag, and he change course, wandering through each grocery store aisle hoping that somehow he’d just spontaneously remember whatever the something else was.
“Not food, not drink. For me or for Alex?” he mumbled. Would help if he could at least remember that much. “What? What? What?” he fretted, still wandering from place to place. “Oh wait, I know, he wants some magazine, the newest issue of some music magazine.” Heading to the newsstand, after scanning the titles, when he found the right one, he said, “Yes, they have it. And while I’m here, I might as well pick up ArtWeek.” Back out on the sidewalk, he slowly walked the three-quarters of a block home, sipping his latte and still so tired. Punching in the front door code, he even more slowly walked up the two flights of stairs to his floor where, once at his door, when he was finally able to be home, he jealously found Alex curled up in a soft blanket, and yet somehow still sprawled across the living room floor, watching TV.
“Hey, babe,” Alex called and Justin chuckled. “Where ya been, huh? Thought I might have to send the po…lice out looking for you or…something.” And he drifted as he refocused on the TV.
“Got a lot of work done,” Justin said, setting down his bag, putting the milk in the refrigerator, and joining Alex in the living room. He handed him his magazine all the while scanning the front cover of ArtWeek. “It was real good.”
“Good, good,” Alex said, refocusing back to Justin. “And ya know? I had a sweet day, too, thanks for asking. Oh, and Jus, by the way, some guy came by looking for you…”
Some guy, whatthe? He found Alex’s eyes.
“…told him you were probably on your way home or y’know? whatever…?”
Whatever? You told some guy whatever? He drilled into Alex’s eyes.
“…or that maybe you were at Starbucks, he seemed to kind of like that idea so anyway, I told him how to get there ‘cause y’know…he asked. Hey Justin, wait, don’t take off, he left you a note.” And going back to the TV, Alex laughed. Still, he noticed Justin’s scrunched-nose look of confusion, so he clarified, “What? he asked for paper, I gave it to him, no great mystery, it’s on the counter.” Having successfully delivered his message, Alex did finally return to the TV, but not before quietly adding, “I can see why you’re with him, Justin, even I can tell he’s smokin’ hot.” Alex grinned.
And so did Justin. He threw the no-longer-needed magazine on the counter and downed his now luke-warm coffee. Picking up his book bag and the note, waving it in front of him, he thanked Alex while bolting back out the door, along the hallway and down the two flights of stairs and out the door to the sidewalk below. He was still bone-tired, he just didn’t care anymore. Stopping just outside the building’s doorway, he read the note by streetlight. MEET ME was all it said in Brian’s distinctive upper-case scrawl.
Next Chapter: Brian tries to get it right and, by almost anyone’s standards, pretty much does
for original post & additional chapters, please see here