CHAPTER TITLE: The Sam Auerbach Factor_Thirty-Seven_of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 1,625
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: ‘If it works for both of them, if it get his foot in the door and if no one is hurt, it’s no one’s business why or what.’
Just one of the ways in which two lives can influence each other
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
The Sam Auerbauch Factor
One Week Later - New York
Apparently it had been a good thing, in fact, a positive thing that he’d attended Sam Auerbach’s installation awhile back even if it had meant missing out on Babylon’s reopening because, interestingly, he’d almost immediately started receiving invites to other openings…some big-time…some not-so-big-time, but all very cool and what was even more interesting, Auerbach was almost always there. And attentive….to him. Paying much attention…to him. Interesting? Oh yeah.
He wasn’t even sure why he’d been invited to Auerbach‘s installation in the first place, still, he’d just played along for obvious reasons. Why rock the boat when the boat was such a sweet place to be. Sam had been introducing him to some major players…people who were actually taking an interest in his work. Not to even mention all the free food and booze, but now that he’d gotten used to the way of things, he realized that he needed to know why. So, champagne glass in hand, dressed in his gallery-opening uniform of skinny black jeans, an amazing black leather belt Brian had given him -- always leather with that guy -- a tight-fitting black cashmere turtleneck -- one his mom had given him for his last birthday -- and his black leather boots -- he’d actually bought them for himself -- he looked around for Sam.
But Sam found him first, coming up behind him; he confided “Glad to find you, these things are always so much more bearable when you’re around.”
“Seriously?” Justin asked. Sam nodded, so he continued, “No…really?”
“Interesting. So listen, we always talk art. Art, art, art, and I was just wondering if maybe we could go somewhere a little more quiet because I have a couple of questions I’d --”
“I was wondering when you’d get around to this, I really was,” Sam said, while moving him through the crowd to a quieter part of the gallery. “Ask away.”
And he did. ‘Why, Sam, am I even here? How do I rate…this?” With a sweep of his hand, he indicated the space which was important enough, but the occasion of an art opening which was seriously even more so
“Lindsay contacted me a few months ago, told me that her very talented friend was now living in New York. She mentioned how it had been some time since she and I had last talked and that maybe we hadn’t parted on the best of terms which, frankly Justin, is putting it mildly, even acknowledging how maybe she was being a little pushy, I believe the term she used was ‘intrusive’, but if I could see my way to showing her friend around, maybe introduce him to some of the right people, that kind of thing, that she’d owe me one. That’s what she said, Justin…that she’d owe me one. One of what I can’t even imagine, but still, it’s nice to be owed.”
“But Sam, she was just here last week and she never said anything. I even mentioned you a couple times when she asked about gallery openings. Why didn’t she say anything?”
“Perhaps she doesn’t want you to know she instigated this. Perhaps she wants you to imagine that I remembered you from my time in Pittsburgh when I did my installation and that I just came to you of my own free will. The problem is that such a scenario wouldn’t have happened. I don’t do business that way. And I actually also met with her while she was here, we had lunch at that little deli I‘ve taken you to, all very covert and clandestine since I’m pretty sure her woman would bust my balls if she ever gotten wind, but…I digress.“
“Mel was civil to you at the portraits ceremo --“
“What could she do, Justin? It was a solemn occasion; she could hardly throw a hissy fit even if her eyes did shoot daggers at me. I’m convinced she would still like to do me bodily harm. Nonetheless, Lindsay and I talked, mostly but not inclusively, about you. I told her how, in a limited way, I was in fact taking you under my wing and that we’d see where it went from there. She was…I’d say grateful but that’s not right. She was…pleased. She reminded me of how, initially I didn’t want to get involved --”
“You didn’t? Well no…actually I can imagine you didn‘t, you’re a busy busy man what with gallery openings and commissions, your own work and without even the remotest possibility of getting laid --”
“Let’s just say she convinced me that you ‘might -- even without the possibility of getting laid -- be well worth my time.’ And I quote.”
“She talked about the getting laid --?”
“No, Justin,” Sam chuckled.
“And have I been worth --?”
“You have been. I like the way they look at us when I’m with you, like they’re trying to figure us out…who you are…what you mean to me. Having you with me keeps them confused and I’ve always liked fucking with their minds, even more so the older I get. But, what about you? Now that you know that I am, on some level, using you for personal gain…any thoughts?”
“On what, pretty boy, does our arrangement depend?”
“Pretty man, please. And our ‘arrangement’ depends mainly on whether or not you actually think I have talent.” Dropping his eyes, staring into his nearly empty glass, he waited for Sam‘s to speak.
“I know how I’m supposed to answer if I want this to continue. I’m supposed to tell you that I greatly admire your work, but that would be a lie and I don’t lie, I may use subterfuge, but I never outright lie. You’re good Justin, from what I’ve seen, you do have talent, but it’s raw and you have a long way to go, kiddo, a long way. You stick with me and I’ll ease the way but no more. I won’t do your work for you. It will be up to you to take advantage to what opportunities I’m able to provide to you, understand?”
“I do understand. So, the gist is…I’m here meeting all these great people, having all these great experiences, getting all this great exposure because you’re playing with them? Making them wonder about us, making them unsure if we’ve maybe hooked up or something. In other words, you really are just fucking with their minds?”
“Primarily…yes. I also believe you will do well and that I can assist you, but honestly, that’s secondary. Plus, you amuse me, I like you so…win/ win”
“Must be good to be at a place in your life where you can get away with shit like this.”
“It is good, very good. Hopefully, one day, you will also find yourself in just such a place.”
“Hopefully. Okay, so to confirm, we are just playacting --?”
“Justin, while you really are beautiful and while I admit I do love beautiful things, Lindsay comes immediately to mind, and that in another earlier part of my life maybe I would have attempted to get you into my bed, not now. Right now, all I want is for you to walk through these sacred spaces laughing at my insights --”
“You really are pretty scathing.”
“Why, thank you. Also, you must let me impart my wisdom to you --”
“You really do know a lot of shit.”
“I doubt I could have said it better. And finally, I want you to look just slightly smitten while I’m being scathing and wise and whatever. I like talking with you. You’re young and fresh and yet already damaged and no…I am not making light of what you’ve been through because all of that does show in your art, makes your work stronger than most your age, more focused. You’re still all about expectation and, in that, you remind me of when I was young and I like that. I don’t doubt you can do well, if you’re serious and work damn hard. And knowing some of the right people, being seen in some of the right places can’t hurt. Come along, let’s get back. Looks like you need a refill and there’s a collector I’d like you to meet.”
“I was thinking, Sam, you want to come to my studio sometime, see more of my work? I’d really value your opinion and --”
“You know what I think, Justin?”
“No, Sam, I really don’t.”
“I think we’re going to get along just fine.”
“So do I Sam, now that I understand our arrangement. So do I.”
They returned to the main space where he now noticed the discrete looks of interest that came their way, how their eyes followed the two of them as they made their way to the bar and he wondered why he‘d never noticed before. Smiling, Justin moved just a little closer to Sam.
The Brian Kinney Operating Manual - A Life Examined
the chapter titled - ‘Justin Actually Does Have a Life of His Own. No…Really’
So, maybe it does turn out that his introduction into the New York art world happens because he’s pretty and because some older straight man wants to appear not so old and not so straight, maybe just a little more controversial, a little more worthy of gossip and speculation. Maybe all of that is true, but Justin decides…whatthehell. If it works for both of them, if it gets his foot in the door, if no one gets hurt, it’s no one’s business why or what.
From now on, Justin will stand a little closer to him when he and Sam are together. He will be a little more flirtatious with him, laughing at his jokes, admiring his understanding of how the world operates and, while in the beginning it may be a little forced, eventually he will come to understand that Sam really is worthy of his admiration. He will do wonders for Sam’s mystique and he will learn.
And for his part, Sam will work quietly and steadily where he’s able to help Justin find his way…helping him to find patrons and collectors, agents and galleries. If asked, Sam would undoubtedly have admitted that he had little concern that Justin would have been a success without his help, but he would also undoubtedly admit that helping him move toward that success was a hell of a lot more fun. In his old age, Sam Auerbach will come to understand that mentoring Justin Taylor was one of the very right things he did with his life.
Next Chapter: Lindsay finds where she was supposed to have been all along
for original post & additional chapters, please see here