STORY TITLE: A Time From Now
CHAPTER TITLE: Alone_Twenty-Nine_of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 725
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: ‘In Marie’s e-mail, she’d assured him that he was the only one she trusted to paint Dusty‘s portrait, that she just knew he was the only one who could.’
Justin paints with welcomed feedback from Dusty
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
One Week Later - New York
It was better this way, working alone with only darkness outside the studio’s large, dirt-streaked windows. What stars he could see were muted pale by exterior city lights and interior grim. And the same darkness existed inside the rundown turn-of-the-19th-century warehouse with the exception of one small spotlight Justin had attached to his easel. Shining directly on the Post-Gazette photograph of Dusty, it illuminated both her and his painting of her. The rest of the studio was as dark as the 2:00am New York nighttime, unseen in shadows and that was just the way he liked it. Who knew what evil lurked in those cobwebbed corners? He’d decided he’d rather not know, the sounds that lurked there were enough. There was soft music to keep him company, but otherwise, he painted alone as he had for the two weeks he’d been a part of this four-way shared studio space. He was nearly done now with both portraits, both Dusty’s and Jeremy’s, having completed most of the preliminary work in his and Alex’s apartment living room. There was only some detail left, some highlights and shade, the final layer of illumination that would, he hoped, make the paintings come alive.
Dusty’s eyes were always on him, she watched him from the photograph, she watched him the painting, he knew she watched as he painted and he sense she was pleased, believing that she would have been, if really given the chance to see what his work. When she talked to him late at night, she mostly handed out compliments, but now and then, she would sagely point out a problem or two. Like the time when he hadn’t quite gotten her nose right, she’d casually pointed out how it was a problem of proportion and he’d finally understood, coming eventually to rely on her input.
Other than Vic and his great-grandparents, he’d never known anyone who’d died and even if he hadn’t been too close to Dusty, he’d known things about her that others didn’t, like the exact brown of her eyes, the deepness of her laugh, the sincerity of her smile and that was why it’d been important that he’d gotten her to paint. In Marie’s email to him, she’d assured him that he was the only one she’d trust to create Dusty’s portrait, that she’d just known he was the only one who could. She’d asked for his best and he would give that to her.
He only he‘d known Jeremy better, he’d feel more confident. Had he finally saved up the money for school? Was anime even what he’d still wanted to learn? Had he met someone or was he still hooking-up with strangers like he had with him and Brian. Justin wondered if Jeremy had ever found someone to love, like he had with Brian, like Dusty had with Marie. He could only hope.
And the small portrait of Vic for Grassi House had turned out perfectly. Since it hadn’t been a commission, but his surprise contribution, he’d been able to be freer with it, the way he would do portrait painting if that was his genre. Vic would‘ve loved it, that he knew, and so would Debbie. In just one more week he’d be done and then he could ship the two large portraits to the center while the small one would fly with him the following week. Then, the seven portraits would be unveiled during a ceremony at the center, which would be attended by everyone or so he‘d been told and he’d give his portrait of Vic to Grassi House.
So that hopefully when he was finally done, maybe then he’d finally be able to put all this behind him. Maybe then he’d be able to stop seeing their calm eyes, stop hearing their concerned voices in his thoughts before he slept and in the dreams of his nights. When finally done, maybe then he’d be able to stop spending his nights -- night after night -- alone with the dead.
It was 4:30am and time to go. He wiped his palette, wrapped his brushes, cleaning up, but only minimally because he knew he’d be back before too long. The ceremony was in two weeks and there was still plenty of work to be done. Last thing before leaving, he switched off the small easel light and standing before the large window, he watched as the new morning sun lightened the highest reaches of the eastern sky, he watched as the new day began. Then he was gone, taking a bus back to his apartment and as most of New York was waking up, Justin was finally and gratefully crawling into bed.
Next Chapter: Ted & Mikey surprise Justin big time
for original post & additional chapters, please see here