CHAPTER TITLE: Nighttime-Part One_Thirty-Three_of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 1,275
WARNINGS: this chapter: none
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’d used Cody to purge myself of the bashing; now I’d use my art to purge myself of the bombing.‘
Justin spends some quality time at the studio.
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 - Five Months - New York
Unlocking the three bolts that protect the studio from a probable burglary, entering, I switched on the overhead bulb, its light was harsh, but welcoming and I knew I’d only need it until I was ready to paint. Then I’d use my ‘mood lighting’ instead. Relocking the door, turning on the space heater to take off the chill, Taking a seat on the India-print tablecloth covered 1970’s couch which, according to legend, was a ‘seriously awesome’ street-find, I took off my gloves, I took off the sweet leather jacket Brian had given me last month for Christmas and I settled in.
Babylon’s mural was already coming together and I’d only really just started. Still, and just now and then, I’d get a serious case of nerves, like afraid that maybe I couldn’t pull it off, like the images in my mind could only exist if locked away inside me but…maybe not. And it was coming together even darker…even more personal than the portraits. I’d conceived of the mural as a triptych -- with all of the events of that night broken down into three distinct images, concertBABYLON, explodingBABYLON, and destroyedBABYLON -- on the same day I’d received Michael and Ted’s email. It came to me in a flash…all painted as abstracted emotion, violent and severe, through color and texture, through shape and line…light and shade…dark yet radiant.
Getting up, I got to work, first by covering the large centrally located table with a drop cloth, making sure it was perfectly smooth across its surface and perfectly even on all its sides. Obsessive? A little but necessary. Next, I laid explodingBABYLON squarely on the table. Then I arranged my supplies, my paints and brushes, my rags, everything in its order next to the canvas. My studio slash apartment in Pittsburgh had become a little manic…a solo space but since this space was shared, a different ethic prevailed. Then I circled the table slowly, I observed my work as if I were a critic…detached and with the strong overhead light still on so I could see clearly. Finally, I turned that off and turned on my spot, the table was now washed in a diffused light with the canvas ready and waiting for that next, most perfect stroke of color and I waited too. I turned on the shared CD player, old rock played soft and low, and I let myself move away…into my music, my work, my thoughts.
The murals needed to be different from the portraits. Not done to remember specifics…specific people, a specific place, a specific time but to remember the emotion of destruction, of chaos, of insanity because that was what had happened in Babylon…to Babylon. Nothing less. Whoever set that bomb was insane, so that was what I had to paint. The way I remembered that night awake or asleep, the choking stink, the burst of hot white light, the shock-explosion of madness. So claustrophobic. I still hear myself screaming GET…THEFUCK…OUT and not knowing if I could but when I’d heard him…when I’d heard Brian yelling my name, I knew I’d survive
I probably would’ve painted this out of me, commission or not. Brian had been using email, I would use paint. I’d used Cody to purge myself of the bashing; now I’d use my art to purge myself of the bombing. Brian had only limited me in size, what I chose to paint; he’d left that entirely up to me. He’d said that he believed in me and that was enough.
Before, probably hadn’t been the smartest thing, coming here alone night after night, week after week, getting high and maybe a little too drunk, working until dawn on the paintings of my two dead friends. But, in the end, it had been worth it. But I won’t work that way again. Now, with Jamey keeping me company once in awhile, being here would be better. So, while the mural was one part of my night, Jamey was the other, easier part…maybe. Should be easier anyway, if only I could just make sure there weren’t any misunderstandings. Said he understood, that he was okay with everything and I’d chosen to believe him. Even so, I needed to make sure.
I’d come very close to not going back to Eden Skye. I knew he wanted me, I wanted him and I’d been afraid of disappointing him…of hurting him when he really understood my truth. Had seemed fairer, had especially seemed easier, to maybe just let things go…to let him go but I’d changed my mind, I’d gone back and why? Well, if Brian could play then so could I…only fair and just being the best homosexual I could be…Brian-style. Plus, Jamey was hot…very hot and things were just so easy with these guys. The kind of friends I knew I needed. It hadn’t been painless telling them about Brian, should’ve been but…not so much.
I’d been afraid that when I told them about him they wouldn‘t want me around…that he wouldn’t want me around anymore …why bother. Not the case. Tristan even told me he’d let me know if and when they needed someone at the gallery where he worked, asked me to come around so I could learn ’the biz’ first hand. Then I’d be ready when opportunity presented itself and thankfully, between Hollywood money and Rage money, I had time. And tonight I’ll show Jamey my art. Will be intense. Always made me nervous but especially with someone I wanted to impress and I wanted to impress him. I wanted him to respect what I did.
Still, he was uneasy, maybe even a little scared and he knew why. There will be other Marks, who knew how many before he and Brian would be able to actually live in the same city again. And Brian really wasn’t the same man anymore, no longer the lone wolf even if he wasn’t yet ready to join the pack. He’d learned that he liked having someone around…part-time. Thing was, Brian could claim he’d be able to keep things under control, but what if he couldn‘t. Brian had lost control before…with him. It could conceivably happen again. He’d worked his way behind Brian’s thick protective walls, so someone else could too. He’d assumed it would always be Brian for him but…maybe not. He could find someone more his equal, maybe older, maybe more established, more in control. Maybe just more of everything Brian needed. Could happen.
Justin shook his head, brought himself out of his negative line of thought, focusing instead on how all of this, after all, was what Brian wanted for him so he could learn to live on his own terms without all the baggage of being Brian’s boy. To become more of Brian’s equal himself, to no longer need Brian’s money or his status to define himself and that was just what he was determined to do. As had often happened in their relationship, Brian had pushed him off the cliff. Maybe not in just the same way as he had at the Rage Party, but it had been a solid push nonetheless. This time, though, he was fine. This time he’d seen the cliff coming and had fallen anyway and with his eyes wide open.
As he worked, his focus became more narrowly confined to just the area enclosed by the light’s circumference. And as time drifted, his vision took form with each next brushstroke. When one CD ended and another began, time slowed even more. Justin was no longer someone’s boy or someone’s son, not a friend or a rival, not a student or a teacher. Now Justin was only himself, only an artist, making his vision something tangible…something meaningful, something to be respected.
Next Chapter: Justin spends some quality time, with Jamey, at the studio
for original post & additional chapters, please see here