CHAPTER TITLE: Taking Care of the Boss_Seventeen of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 1,045
WARNINGS: this chapter: none, Ted 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: ‘…but now Emmett brought up an interesting point…a very interesting point.’
The boys, while at Woody’s, reflect on Brian and tall, handsome strangers.
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
Taking Care of the Boss
One Week Later - Pittsburgh
Fortunately they found the last table, in the far corner of the bar, away from the door, away from the pool tables, where they could talk. Fortunately because Woody’s was always so crowded since Babylon had closed, but with only one more week until the reopening, expectations were running high. Ted and Emmett hit the bar first, ordering up the first round. Once delivered to the table, once everyone was sufficiently settled, the conversation picked up where it had left off before they’d entered the place.
“He told me he’d meet us here later, Michael said, “Maybe…I don’t know. I don’t get it; he’s just not acting right, not like himself. He hardly ever comes out with --”
“Michael, honey, you worry too much, especially about Brian.” Emmett reasoned. “You always have, he’s gonna be just fine, it’ll take a while --”
“I can tell you this,” Ted confided, “he’s working like a dog. Kinnetik’s doing terrific business; we’re getting new clients every day and with Babylon about to reopen, an enormous undertaking as you --”
“Well, there ya go,” Emmett said. “See? He’s probably just tired, overworked. You just stop all your worrying and let‘s --”
“Even ma’s worried --”
“Well…Michael…” Emmett said, gently smirking and leaning toward Ted, he whispered-asked, “Where’s Blake?”
Ted whispered-replied, “He has group.” After receiving the expected ‘ahhh’ from Emmett, they both redirected their gaze from each other back to Michael and smiled.
Who continued as if never interrupted, “She was saying how she doesn’t think he’s eating enough or sleeping at all. She says she’s been worried for weeks. She actually said he looks like crap --”
“Not to his face?” Emmett exclaimed.
“He’s a big boy, Michael,” Ben said, “He can take care of himself. I see him at the gym a couple of times a week, he looks fine to --”
“Speaking of fine,” Emmett said, leaning in all gossipy-conspiratorial like. ”Did I tell you? I saw him the other night at that little Italian place, you know the one, about a block past the gym and he was with this guy, honey, talk about your fine, I could of --”
“Probably just a client,” Michael said.
Ted glanced at Ben who was just smiling; shaking his head, understanding because really, what else could he do? “When was this?” Ted asked. “Because from what I --”
“This week,” Emmett replied. “Maybe two, three nights ago --”
“Can’t be a client. I know his schedule and he doesn’t have any dinner meetings this week,” Ted said.
“He does with me,” Emmett said.
“He’s your client, Em, big difference.” Noticing Ben’s raised eyebrow Ted explained, “Emmett’s catering the reopening of Babylon, so they’ve had to meet late a couple of times this week finalizing the details, much different than Brian meeting with a Kinnetik client for dinner.”
“Business is business and anyway, it really doesn’t matter because I could just tell that this guy was no client, just by the look of him. Tall. Dark. Handsome. Kind of looked like Brian now that I think of it and the way he was dressed and the way they were talking with each…”
Naturally, Ted started thinking. Rumors had been circulating at the office; well…Cynthia had mentioned something about Brian and one of the art department people, Mark, who actually was Tall. Dark. And very very hot. She’d cornered him in the break room on Friday, wondering if he knew anything. He’d told her she was crazy, Brian go out? With someone from the office? She nodded her ‘really, what was I thinking?’ but now Emmett had brought up an interesting point, a very interesting point.
Times passed, one beer flowed into another, one conversation drifted into another, so when Ted glanced up, finding Brian standing uneasily by the doorway, he was startled, he’d almost forgotten he was supposedly meeting them and he obviously hadn’t completely made up his mind to come in. They acknowledge each other with brief smiles, but Brian didn’t make a move. Ted quickly excused himself, pushing through the crowd to him; he maneuvered Brian back to where they wouldn’t be seen. He said, “We’re winding up soon, maybe you should just go home; you have an early morning meeting tomorrow anyway.” Noting Brian’s just barely perceptible head-nod-of-agreement, Ted continued, “Go home, get some sleep, you really look tired.” Noting then, Brian’s very slight shrug-of-indifference, having accomplished what he’d set out to do, Ted headed back to the table.
He’d made an executive decision that Brian didn’t need any of their shit, Michael’s or Emmett’s, since both of them were likely to ask him questions, too many questions, about tall, dark strangers. Tomorrow, he’d allude to Brian what Emmett had seen, so all things considered, he was satisfied that he’d done a good job of taking care of his Kinnetik boss and, once all the paperwork was finalized, his Babylon partner. And in fact, very shortly thereafter, realizing Brian was a no-show, they did leave thereby making Ted right…in a way.
Brian wondered, as he walked to the Vette, why everyone kept telling him he looked tired. He could almost hear Ted’s unspoken…and you look like crap that occasionally followed. He wasn’t used to being told he looked like crap. He was far more used to being told he looked hot…really hot…really, which was as it should be. Hot was good, crap was not. He really did know why though, he understood it was the nightmares. He needed to get them under control because this could not be allowed go on.
He looked across the street toward Babylon, the risen phoenix, and he silently watched as it exploded, showering the sky with a golden red. He watched as his world, once again, suddenly and completely disintegrated.
He pulled out his cell, pushing speed dial 5, he heard, “Yeah, Brian.”
“Meet me, Mark, and don‘t give me any fucking excuses.”
“I haven‘t been. Look, I’ll be at the loft in 15, okay?”
Maybe…now maybe it would be alright. Before climbing into the Vette, he looked back toward Babylon and, for the time being anyway, it was just fine.
Next Chapter: Babylon’s reopens and what a wonderful thing it is
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