CHAPTER TITLE: While I was Away &
An Impressionistic Painting of a Beautiful Man_Seventy-Four of One Hundred
RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: these chapters: 1,250
WARNINGS: this chapter: none_Jayden 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: The house had been his first commission, designed just for the two of them.’
Jayden returns to the city where he was born full of hope and good intentions
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
While I was Away
Around Four and a Half years - New Yor
The Brian Kinney Operating Manual - A Life Examined
the chapter titled - ‘ ‘Brian & Others - As to Their Outcome’
While on the west coast, Jayden throws himself into his work in a sincere effort to forget. Downtime becomes his enemy because downtime means thinking-about-Brian time and he realizes that no good can ever come from that. So instead, he works hard to become well respected in his field and within a year of arriving in Seattle, his name is already synonymous with clean classic design, enhanced by an almost playful use of materials and always with an eye to history and the environment. If we could afford it, we’d hire him ourselves, but alas…no.
Several of the Seattle elite do though, through AdamsHenry&Jones, specifically for his architectural skills, but also for more than just that. They like him because he is one of them, if maybe a little eccentric and honestly, isn’t that just part of his charm? He makes them feel comfortable, yet daring. He knows how to give them what they want, but also how to challenge them to push their own envelopes. One of the five projects he completes while on the west coast makes it between the covers of Architectural Digest. Brian actually calls to congratulate him on that one and another will win him the coveted Residential Architect’s Merit Award for Custom Homes, under 3,550 sq. feet. Brian doesn‘t call to congratulate him on that one because, by then, they‘ve lost touch. And awards and recognition aside, knowing, to our mind anyway, that all five will be cared for and loved for generations to come is ultimately the real point.
Also while there, he lives in a rented house he will never even consider buying, not even after meeting Max, sweet, sweet Max who, for over a year, Jayden thinks might actually be the one, his forever. But, sadly, they just aren’t meant to be so, while he never will buy a home during his time in Seattle, a city he truly does come to love, he will buy two more of Justin’s paintings.
And whether he is consciously aware of it or not, the timing between his decision to leave Seattle and open his own firm in New York -- after all, it is the city of his birth -- and the call he receives from an associate in Manhattan telling him about a new big-deal gay dance club called Babylon@newYORK that’s being built, can’t have been coincidence. He might think it is, but as is so often the case in these situations, he will be wrong.
He arrives in New York several months after Brian and almost immediately buys a smallish building in a neighborhood just seedy enough to be considered chic by his prospective clientele, but not so seedy that they’ll shy away. He renovates the turn-of-the-century, three story high potential landmark as a testament to his design philosophy, and low and behold, his plan works. Initially he receives referrals, his old client base in New York and his new client base on the west coast refer their friends from Manhattan and its environs -- after all, they really do all know each other -- but soon enough, he will simply be bringing them in on his own. He has every intention of staying the hell away from Brian and we have every intention of believing him. He knows that he and Justin are happy and doing very well and we’re sure he has no desire to fuck with that.
Still, life just has this way of laughing in the face of people’s very best of intentions and, for better or worse, this is one of those times. Should blame need be placed, then the fates are always the very best way to go.
An Impressionistic Painting of a Beautiful Man
Five Years - New York
On his way home, he once again used cab-time as think-time because really…what else? But as it had been initially in Seattle, quiet time really meant thinking about Brian time, that he was here in New York and while the thought of that reality didn‘t occupy his every waking moment, especially since their two very separate worlds would not be allowed to collide, it probably occupied a little more time than it should. But things had worked out in Seattle the way he’d wanted them to and things would work out just the same here. He would simply will them to work, no big deal and anyway, the longer he avoided Brian, the easier it would be should they finally run into each other. Hadn’t it already been almost two years? The chance was there, sneakily lurking, but since Brian was as yet blissfully unaware that he’d even left Seattle and would remain in that oblivious state, the onerous sat squarely on his fairly slender yet well-defined shoulders and he knew he could handle it.
How ironic though, would it be to live in New York again and not be able to partake of Brian’s third brand new baby? Pretty fucking ironic indeed. But really, why would he take that chance, simply because he wanted to see what Brian had built? There were other fine dance clubs where he could indulge, so Babylon would not be a problem, except he had after all helped Brian renovate Pittsburgh, had helped him design Boston and had spent hours with him dreaming about New York. He had been to the other two, he couldn’t help but want to see this one, plus new Babylon, new mural. What had Justin created this time? He was starting to build up a reputation around his murals, was even getting commissions based on them for other large interior spaces. So far, he’d done work for a of high-rise lobby and for an upscale restaurant, both in New York, both visited and admired by him since his return. A great future lay ahead for ’the kid’ and following along, from a reasonable distance, would be amazing.
A small-time collector himself, he now had three of Justin’s smaller-scale works. Two were at his parents’ home upstate, actually, now his home upstate since they had both died and within months of each other last year. He never could have imagined one without the other anyway, and it appeared that his mother had felt the same. Their unexpected deaths had been one of his main reasons for coming back home. Their house in the woods had been his first commission, designed just for them, their little sanctuary and he wasn’t about to sell it or rent it or allow it to sit neglected, wouldn’t have been right. So, since neither his sister nor his brother lived in New York, the house, by general consensus, was his. Weekends he would live there, surrounded by memories, sheltered by those very same woods as his parents had been and during the week, he’d live where Justin’s other painting hung, in his brand new and supremely designed condo that had views that went on forever and where memories were still waiting to be made to fill the quiet understated spaces.
Finally arriving home, taking the elevator up to the fifty-sixth floor, unlocking his front door, he turned on the stereo system, flicked on the gas fireplace to take the chill off the early fall evening and, on his way down the hall to his bedroom to change, he paused by the open doorway to his library, his favorite room in the house. He gazed, as he did every night, at his Justin Taylor original, an impressionistic painting of a nude and elegantly slender man who, leaning back against the textured wall behind him, held a cigarette dangling from his fingertips as he gazed quietly out at a windowed nighttime city skyline. Loving painted by Justin, he was beautiful. Justin had an opening tonight, but he wouldn’t be attending. In a couple of weeks when the time was right, he’d go take a look because next up, something for his office. He understood that by waiting, he’d probably miss out on some of Justin’s better work, but that was simply a chance he’d have to take.
And even though he’d only been living in the place for a month, Jayden had already determined that in case of fire, the painting would be the very first thing he’d grab and next his laptop. And then, if time allowed, he’d gather up his small but steadily growing collection of first editions, but only once the painting and the laptop were safe and only if time allowed.
Next Chapter: The fates do work in mysterious ways and for Justin, as is so often the case, it can take a long time for the reasons why to be fully appreciated
for original post & additional chapters, please see here