CHAPTER TITLES: The Hell You Say &
Only Up To A Point_Seventy-Six of One Hundred
RATING: these chapters: PG
WORD COUNT: these chapters: 680 &1,150
WARNINGS: these chapters: some angst_Jayden POV & 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
SUMMARIES FROM THE EDITORS:
‘At one time, they’d mattered to each other, he and Brian, but that time was long gone…’ &
‘Still, they rode on in continued silence, each lost in separate yet intimately related thoughts.
While smart, Jayden still isn’t always the brightest bulb on the block &
Where Brian’s priorities lie
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 Hell You Say
A Few Minutes Later
He stood anxiously at the curb hailing a cab. A cabbie approaching must have sensed his urgency because he pulled across three lanes of traffic just to get to him. He climbed in, said, “The Whitney, please,” while securely slamming the rear door after him.
“Madison at E. 75th?” the driver said and nodding, Jayden settled in. He’d always admired cabdrivers, especially those in New York City, because of their constant and public displays of bravado. He may have actually envied them on occasion because he was not a man who‘d ever even driven, let alone one who would cut across three lanes of traffic while doing so. He didn’t even own a car, never had…never would. As a child, one of his parents’ drivers would take him wherever he’d needed to go and since then, a cab had. Just better that way for the wellbeing of society in general and for his own in particular. Yet, that wasn’t what he loved the most about cabs. What he loved most was that they allowed him quality time to think. He’d had some of his most creative ideas over the years in the backs of cabs, and that alone made his dependence on them worthwhile.
And, no great surprise, this time his thoughts went immediately to them. After giving Frankie his standard sudden-&-serious-headache excuse, more true than not, and also after having made a follow-up appointment for the next day, he’d made a quick exit. Had gotten the hell out because there was absolutely no way he could’ve handled being there any longer. It‘d felt like he was about to crawl out of his skin. Seeing him, seeing Brian again had sucked the breath right out of him, had collapsed the two years since he’d last seen him to a second and had hurt him to his very core. Yet wanting nothing more than to be held by him, he’d somehow understood that it wouldn’t have been advisable to melt wantonly into his arms. Had been his gut reaction to do so, but then, when Brian had moved into him and whispered, ‘Justin’s here’, he was grateful he’d trusted his instincts.
Still, he looked so good. So amazing. So fucking beautiful. And happy. At one time, he’d thought Brian might have loved him…a little and maybe still did… a little. Maybe he saw that in his eyes; maybe he even heard that in his voice, but not enough. Not nearly enough. Never enough. Brian was happy, that much was obvious, and that was all that really mattered. So seriously…whatthehell? This should not have happened. Maybe no one On The Planet would’ve believed him, but he knew the truth. He hadn’t meant for this to happen. At one time he and Brian mattered to each other, but that time was long gone and what remained wasn’t worth the risk to Justin. All he’d wanted was to add to the kid’s coffers and get a painting in return. But really, Justin wasn’t a kid anymore. He’d grown, had changed in the way he held himself as if more assured, more self-confident. Not so much in Brian’s shadow anymore, but his own man. Yet, still so very sweet on the eyes and in no way deserving of any of the doubts or insecurities seeing him with Brian might have brought him. Despite his cockiness, he had felt Justin’s fear.
So, from now on he’d work through an agent, maybe buying directly from private showings, that kind of thing. Somehow he’d make this work because he knew he couldn’t allow himself to be yet another person to hurt him, Justin had had enough, more than enough in his young life already. Bashings. Bombings. Even Brian. Enough was enough. His name wouldn’t be added to the list. From now on he’d play it much safer, but Christ, it had been so fucking sweet to see Brian again.
And so as the cab drifted through midtown traffic, Jayden drifted through the briefly combined time of his and Brian’s lives.
Only Up to a Point
Near the Same Time
They left immediately, found a cab almost as immediately and within five minutes, start to finish, were on their way home, quietly on their way home since neither of them felt much like talking. He leaned over to Justin, laid his forehead against Justin’s temple and said, “I’ll fill you in when we get --”
“Then there is something, I knew it. I could feel it.”
Christ how he hated that I-could-feel-it bullshit, so now annoyed himself, sighing, he shifted away causing Justin to fold his arms over his chest -- the international sign for ‘leave me the fuck alone’ – and to fall into the cab door and he sighed too. Loving partner that he was, he grabbed Justin’s elbow and tugged. Justin relented after about three seconds of what was obviously some pretty fierce internal struggling, allowing him to bring Justin close, where they both knew he should be instead of wishing himself through the side of the cab as he had been. Still, they rode on in silence, each lost in separate yet intimately related thoughts.
And for him, those thoughts were all about Jayden. Ah Christ…Jayden. Had felt like his heart would stop beating, would maybe even burst seeing him. Walking to him had taken a lifetime, almost like the air had become too thick to breathe because, despite inhaling and exhaling, he’d still felt dizzy, lightheaded.and when he’d touched him, when Jayden had turned to him, all the memories he thought he’d so carefully hidden had come rushing back out. And hadn’t Jayden’s eyes told him everything he‘d needed to know? He hadn’t been forgotten. And now he was here in New York, but hadn‘t let him know. Why? But holding Justin close, Brian knew why. He whispered into Justin’s hair, “I love you,” causing Justin to sigh and to mumble something he couldn‘t understand. He let it go.
Yet once home, despite needing to clear the air, they both decided to further avoid each other, so Justin retreated to his make-shift studio, while he retreated to his office where he was actually able to get some work done on the financing for the fourth Babylon. Finally over the hump with New York, Chicago was up next, but they weren’t in any hurry, it could take a couple of years and then it’d be on to the west coast, to San Francisco.
He felt Justin before seeing him, he looked up from his computer to find him leaning on the doorjamb, chewing on a thumbnail, his head tilted forward, his hair covering his eyes. He looked…apprehensive. Actually, he looked scared. So logging-off, Brian went to him and pulled him close.
Wrapping his arms around his waist, laying his head on his chest, Justin murmured, “Please.” Realizing that he couldn’t avoid the ’Jayden-Problem’ any longer, Brian walked him downstairs and into the living room and leaving him on the cream-colored Italian leather sofa, he could get them a couple of beers. Handing Justin one, he sat next to him and after taking a good long pull, Justin said, “Just tell me Brian. Just…fucking tell me.” He sounded so resigned
So Brian did…up to a point. He told about how they’d met, a little about their eight months together and how, in the end, Jayden had moved on to Seattle
“Eight months?” Justin said. “Didn’t we have a deal, Brian, never more than four?” He took another long pull from the bottle, slouched even lower on the sofa and stared straight ahead into the twilight skyline outside their penthouse windows.
He mimicked Justin, his slouch, his stare, since he really had no legitimate explanation. “I don’t know, Justin, it just happened. He was easy to be around. Nothing demanding, nothing complicated.” Justin grumbled, rolling his eyes, finishing off his beer and Brian ignored him. “He worked as much as I did, we’d meet for dinner maybe once or twice a week. Really, it’s just that nothing happened to make it stop. Until he left.”
“Why’d he leave?” Justin said, placing his empty bottle on the table and when he leaned back this time, he shifted away, his arms crossed over his chest. Not too difficult to realize that his partner was not a happy man.
“Transferred. We kept in touch for awhile since he was working on the redesign of Michael’s store so -- “
“How sweet. So basically everyone knew about Jay…den, but me. Is that right, Brian? Were all those designs we painted on the walls his?” There were tears in his voice, but Brian knew he wouldn’t cry.
“Yeah, they were, but the point is, we let it go. I didn’t know he was here. I --”
“I know you didn‘t. I believe you, really,” Justin said, too quietly as if he was just saying the words, monotone. There were still things he was sure Justin wanted to ask, but he wouldn‘t, maybe afraid to really know.
There was one thing he needed Justin to know though. “Understand, I always told any of them upfront how it was with you, that you were my partner and that that wasn’t ever going to change. I told him that, Justin, and he understood. I remember telling him how one day I was getting the hell out of Pittsburgh and to New York. And to you. I’ve done that, I’m finally here. It’s you and me, you get that, right?”
“I never really understood why you needed any of --”
“Sometimes I just didn’t want to be alone,” Brain said. “Like you with your little Jamey. Don‘t tell me you two have called it quits just because he has Toby now, just because you have me. It’s just that for the most part, the arrangements I made in Pittsburgh worked well for me. Justin, I know you get this.”
Justin leaned forward then, his elbows on his knees, scrubbing his hands across his eyes, he said, “You’re tricking here like you did when we lived in Pittsburgh --”
“Not like in Pittsburgh, but yeah a little. You know who I am. I never made any claims that I --”
“I know, I know. I never expected you would,” Justin sighed, covering his face with his hands. Resigned? Defeated? Nothing good. He took Justin’s elbow and pulling him back onto the sofa, Justin laid heavy on him so Brian soothed him, he whispered, “Kiss me.” And when Justin smiled, when Justin did, he let go completely, something he was slowly but steadily improving at. He told Justin the words he knew he needed to hear. They began slow and easy and this time their fucking remained just that way, lasting long into the night.
As Justin fell asleep in his arms, he resolved that he would do anything in his power to keep him safe, that was what he’d signed on for, that was his job because then, Justin could work and create, because then, he really could become the best homosexual he could be and because then, Justin could live that very well-lived life with him.
Next Chapter: Jameson sees the writing on the wall
for original post & additional chapters, please see here