CHAPTER TITLE: So Professional, So Personal_Twenty-Five of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 890
WARNINGS: Brian implied other_Mark, Brian 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: ‘“I knew they would approve your sketches because I know your work, I know what you’re capable of…”’
Brian and Justin discuss relevant things pertaining to art
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
So Professional, So Personal
One Week Later - Pittsburgh
“Brian, you won’t believe this.”
“Probably not, Justin,” And I could almost see him dancing around his apartment or I would have been able to anyway, if I’d ever actually been there. His eyes were bright and his skin was flushed, the way he always was when excited. I shifted in the bed, the phone cradled between the pillow and my ear. “So…enlighten me.” I even knew why he was calling, but I feigned ignorance…I’d let him tell.
“You sound tired. You okay?”
And now I could hear that the dancing had stopped. Shit. Not what I’d wanted. I couldn’t tell him the truth, so I told him only enough to get him back where he should be, telling me his news. “I didn’t sleep much last night.” No need to recount nightmares that I knew were only getting worse. I’d let it go at that.
“Ahhh,” he said, implying he had me all figured out. He did know me well, too well sometimes, but he did not have me all figured, but I’d let him think he did this time though, I said nothing. Let him think it was just another late night at Babylon. Better that than his knowing that I’d spent another late night in my nightmare hell. He had better things to do than come play nursemaid to me.
“Well, anyway, the center’s accepted my preliminary sketches with only minor changes. Brian, this is so real, it’s so…so --”
“Yeah,” he said, laughing a little, “yeah and so…personal. I have to do well, their families, Dusty’s and Jeremy’s, they’ll see my work. I…I don’t know, I’m just…I’m just a --”
“Of course you’re scared, Justin,” Getting up from my so comfortable bed and following the wonderful smell into my kitchen, I suddenly realized I was hungry. I took a seat on a kitchen-counter stool, close to the action. “Aren‘t you?”
“Yeah, I am, I…I really am, I don’t want to fuck this up, I want everyone to be proud. I want you --”
“Justin,” I wanted him to know, “we are proud of you, understand? We are all proud of you. I am proud of you.”
“I know,” he almost whispered.
“You do, Justin, you do know.” I needed him to understand.
“But shit, I don’t even have studio space, how am I supposed to work without studio space --?”
“Justin.” and maybe I did say his name a little too sharp but shit, I really was tired and hungry and…whatthefuckever. “You’ll find your space and until you do, you’ll be just fine in your little apartment with…with…what’s-his-name.”
“Justin, listen to me --”
“His name is Alex, Brian…Alex Hanks. This is what? like the millionth time --?”
“Justin, are you listening to me?”
“I knew they would approve your sketches because I know your work, I know what you’re capable of. You’re going to make this work; you’re going to make everyone proud…me, your mom, Marie, Debbie, Ted, definitely Emmett, probably even Mikey --”
“You really are tired, aren’t --?”
“Yeah, I really am. I just --”
“I should probably let you go before --”
“You probably should.”
“Okay, well then…later.”
“Later and Justin, listen, we trust you to do this. I trust you to do this.”
“Yeah Brian, okay.”
I closed the phone, sliding it across the counter, not too far away, just far enough.
Mark assured me, “He’s going to be okay, y’know.” I watched as he sliced carrots for soup. “From everything you’ve told me, from everything everyone’s told me, he’s going to be fine.”
“How long?” Nodding toward the pot, I needed to know, as he added the carrots, if he’d noticed the little drops of drool starting to form at the corner of my mouth.
“Needs to simmer for a while, maybe 45 minutes, we could watch some TV? Anyway, getting back, I was kind of wondering if you’ve…well, if you’ve told him anything about me --?”
“No, and I’m really not in the mood to --”
“Yeah, I know, you’re not in the mood to discuss it. Why am I not surprised? So like I said, we’ve got a while, come on.”
He held out his hand and I took it. I followed him, I was too tired not to. I hadn’t felt like this since the cancer. Once on the sofa, I leaned into him, the TV not much more than a distant drone and I reflected on how if it wasn’t one fucking thing, it was another. First my body betrayed me and now my mind was and I couldn’t decide which betrayal was worse. What I did know was that every once in a while I got this clear glimpse into the abyss and doing that didn’t bother me nearly as much as it should have. “Is there any bread or crackers or anything, 45 minutes is really --”
“I beg to differ, it’s only forty now --”
“Forty minutes is really --“
“Hold on,” and he got back up and wandered into the kitchen. “I’ll see what I can find. I‘m pretty sure I saw some crackers in one of these cupboards, but who-the-hell knows how long they‘ve…” As his voice is overtaken by the opening and closing of cabinet doors, I wondered just when it was that Mark had started knowing what I had in my kitchen better than I did myself.
Next Chapter: Brian and Justin continue discussing ever more relevant things as they relate to life
for original post & additional chapters, please see here