This is Part 1 of Chapter 115 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "When I Paint My Masterpiece -- Part 5", the previous section.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Michael Novotny.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Justin try to help Michael. Los Angeles, November 2002.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
"Michael, just stay another week," says Brian. "It'll give you some time to think. I finally have some time off and you can stay with me and Justin. We'll do something special for your birthday. How about it?"
We're sitting on the back deck of 'La Diva.' It's after midnight and so it's already Sunday, the day Michael is scheduled to go back to Pittsburgh with Debbie and Vic. Ben, of course, has already left.
Brian relights the joint that he bummed from Larry, our hippy neighbor. He's completely different from Earl up at Put-in-Bay, but they're both friendly guys. Larry always has a spare joint or a spare beer or a spare sleeping bag. The guy lives on his messy boat and is always stoned. It makes me wonder how he survives. Does he have a job? He doesn't seem to, so where does he get the money to pay his dock fee? According to Brian, it's not cheap keeping a boat in Los Angeles, so that's one of life's mysteries, I guess.
Brian has pumped up his two air mattresses and zipped our two sleeping bags together, spreading them on top of the mattresses. It's just like when we were up on the Island, except the back deck of 'La Diva' is roomier than on 'The Colleen.' And Michael wasn't in the sleeping bag with us up on the Island. But I can't complain too much about having an interloper because poor Michael has barely stopped crying for even five minutes during the past 24 hours. Because he and Ben broke up. And although their break up really had nothing to do with him, Brian still thinks it's all his fault.
"Brian, it was Ben's place to tell Michael that the two of you were together in Miami," I said to him last night after everyone but Michael had left and we were lying in the joined sleeping bags on the back deck. Michael had finally fallen asleep in one of the bunks inside the cabin.
"Then why do I feel like I'm to blame, Justin? Like I should have done something to stop this whole fucking fiasco?" He was on his back, staring up at the stars.
"Do what, Brian?" I asked him. "It was Ben's decision not to tell Michael. It was HIS responsibility, not yours. It's their relationship. And as for Ben doing it with Ron -- that has nothing to do with you, either," I added, uneasily. Yes, it's one thing to get suckered in by Ron like I did, but it's another thing to know exactly what you're doing. For Ben to make the decision to sleep with Ron when he was in Hawaii and then hope that Michael never found out. Ben admitted to Michael last night that he knew it was fucked up, but he did it anyway. I mean, it would have been pretty lousy with any other guy, but with Ron! And that was the last straw for poor Michael.
"I can't stand to see him hurt like this," said Brian, putting his arm around me. "But I don't know what the fuck I can do."
"You can't fix everyone's problems, Brian. I know you want to, but you can't."
"I know," he sighed. "That's what makes it so shitty."
Just 24 hours ago, while we were all sitting on the boat, shooting the breeze and enjoying a gorgeous Friday evening, Ben and Michael took a walk and were gone for a long time. So long that Deb started to get worried. When they came back it was pretty obvious that something was up. Both Ben and Michael were really quiet, and Michael would hardly even look at Ben. Jimmy and Ron left shortly afterwards. Ron seemed especially in a hurry to get away all of a sudden. And then Ben suddenly stood up, got out of the boat, and walked up to the main pier. And he never came back. Michael stayed with us all night and Brian tried to put him back together, but it was pretty hopeless.
Then on Saturday morning Ben called Brian's cellphone to apologize and tell him some stuff about Ron that Brian needed to know. Ben told Brian that he just couldn't sit there on the boat anymore with Michael and Deb and Vic feeling like he'd betrayed them all, so he walked back to the parking lot, called a cab, and returned to the hotel. Then Ben flew back to Pittsburgh this afternoon, a day early. And that's why Michael is still with us on the boat. He just couldn't face going back alone to their empty hotel room.
Brian thought maybe the two of us could talk to Michael and reason with him. Maybe even convince Michael that Ben deserves another chance. That Michael and Ben should discuss the whole thing and not do anything rash. This is BRIAN talking! Telling someone to talk about their relationship! And the funny thing is that Brian means it. He likes Ben and thinks that he's a good guy for Michael. And he knows that Michael is happy. WAS happy. And now it's all fucked up because of Ben's revelations.
"It's over," Michael cried. I kept handing him fresh tissues to wipe his eyes. And Michael also kept staring at me in my little blue Speedo. I knew that he was looking at my tattoo. Michael knew all about my tattoo -- everyone in the Pitts knows about it now, especially since both Emmett AND Wade have big mouths. And so do Lindsay and Mel, if you want to know the truth. But knowing about it and seeing it are two different things, I guess, and Michael had never seen it before. He especially stared at where it says 'Brian' right under the yellow star on the left cheek of my ass. My hand went instinctively to the tattoo and I brushed Brian's name with my fingers. I never thought about just how revealing my Speedo is. Out here in California people just seem to take a skimpy bathing suit for granted.
"It'll be all right, Michael," I told him, handing him yet another tissue. Brian took a deep breath and ran his hand through his hair, compulsively. Brian can deal with a lot of things, but tears aren't one of those things.
"I just want to get on with my life now -- if that's possible," Michael said. "Get back to my store. I left Emmett and Wade in charge, so you can imagine what I'll find when I get back." Emmett has been helping out in the store occasionally ever since Michael opened up. He knows retail and he's a good salesman, even if he's clueless about comic books. And Wade has been working at the store after school for a couple of weeks. It's his first real job. Wade doesn't know anything about running a store, but he knows comic books. So Michael decided to leave Em and Wade in charge, especially since he found Dooley, the guy who had been working the counter on weekends, stealing from the cash register.
"You talked to Emmett on Thursday, Mikey, and Emmett said everything was fine," Brian pointed out.
"Yeah, fine! The place will probably be painted pink and redecorated to look like Liberace's living room!" Michael sniffed. "I'm sorry, Brian. Normally I'd love to stay out here with you." And Michael got a wistful look on his face. Then he shook it off quickly. "But not now. I just want to go home. And...." He paused. "I need to get my stuff and move back in with Emmett -- if he'll let me. Otherwise I'll be back in my old room at Ma's house." Michael glanced at me, his lip trembling. "Your old room, too, Justin." And then he started to cry again.
So Brian gave up trying to make Michael stay another week and just worked on getting him high. Yes, the trademark Brian Kinney Pain Management. Why not? Brian thinks that if it worked for him, then why not for Mikey? But just blocking out the hurt doesn't make it go away. It's a quick fix, but it isn't a cure. I know that from my own failed attempts at Brian's brand of pain management after I got out of rehab -- and after Brian left for Los Angeles.
So tonight Brian orders a couple of pizzas, buys some beer and a bottle of Jim Beam, and borrows a few more joints from Larry's stash. Brian told me about how Michael tried to comfort him after his Dad died and I know that Michael has also been there for him in the past, so I know Brian is trying to return the favor. It makes me wish that I'd been the one doing the comforting for Brian, but things were different between us back then. And I know that I'm the one he turns to now. The only one.
Eventually Michael passes out from being stuffed with that combo. I feel like passing out, too, and I only had a couple pieces of pizza and a few hits off the joint, so I'm surprised that Michael remains conscious for as long as he does. Then I help Brian carry Michael into the forward cabin and put him to bed in the bunk. "What IS Michael going to do when he gets home, Brian?" I ask, zipping him up in one of Larry's extra sleeping bags.
"Fuck if I know." Brian looks down sadly at his oldest friend.
Brian shakes his head and walks back out onto the deck, leaving the door of the cabin slightly ajar in case Michael starts crying again, just like he does when Gus stays over. But Michael is worse than Gus because at least Gus sleeps through the night!
"It's my fucking fault, Justin!" Brian says, vehemently. "I KNOW that Mikey blames me for all this. I KNOW he does! I can see it when he looks at me. Like I fucking betrayed him!"
"Understand how he feels, Brian," I say, unable to look directly at him. "It's HIS boyfriend and HIS best friend -- together. What if you found out that... that Michael and I had fucked? How would YOU feel?"
"If it happened before I knew you -- YEARS before, like with me and Ben -- then it would be none of my fucking business!" Brian says. "And I mean that! And if it was after I knew you. After we had... whatever... then I'd deal with it. I might not be happy about it, but I'd... just deal with it." Brian turns and looks at me and I feel my heart sink all the way down to my feet. Because... Brian knows that I... that Ron... that in Ron's office I....
"I'm sorry," I say, starting to turn away.
But Brian grabs my hand and pulls me close to him. "I was trying to say that I would never blame the other person, Justin. How could I blame anyone for anything, after all the things I've done? All the people I've hurt? All the fucking mistakes that I've made? Do you know what I mean?" He cups my chin in his hand, making me look up at him. "Do you?"
"I think so," I answer, kissing him. And I do understand. But I know that it will still be hard for Brian to deal with it if he ever sees that video of me and Ron. Almost as hard as it's been for me to deal with. I go over and start straightening the sleeping bags and the pillows on top of the air mattresses, getting them ready for bed.
Brian strips off his jeans and leans on the edge of the back rail. Now I understand better why his apartment looks so unlived-in. Brian sleeps most nights on 'La Diva.' And for the past three nights I've been sleeping here, too. We've been driving back over to the apartment, which is kind of halfway between Marina del Rey and Venice Beach, to take showers and get some clean clothes, but otherwise we've been on the boat. No wonder Brian didn't do his laundry -- he was never in the apartment long enough to run the washing machine!
Even after the premiere and the after party, we went back to the apartment, took off our tuxes, put on jeans and tee shirts, and came over to sleep on the boat. Actually, I haven't worn anything other than my blue Speedo and a tee shirt for the past two days. But sometimes I wear even less than that, especially after the sun goes down. And why not? Larry in the next boat does his yoga naked every morning. And the people around here live in the smallest bathing suits imaginable, so Brian doesn't always seem all that concerned about even keeping his pants on once it gets dark and most of the people on the boats either go home or go into the cabin and close the door.
And Brian doesn't seem as worried as he was up on the Island about anyone seeing or hearing us fucking on the deck. In fact, he doesn't really seem to think about it at all. Larry had a buddy and a couple of girls on his boat on Thursday night and it was obvious that they were all stoned and doing their heterosexual stuff over there all night, so Brian said we should just fuck it. And we did. And I don't mind. It's OUR boat. It isn't like doing it in the alley behind Woody's or the backroom at Babylon or the Liberty Baths, although we've done it there plenty of times. The boat is like your own home, even if it IS in the open. No one pays any attention down here. Everyone "hangs loose," as Larry says. Live and let live.
But then again, none of these people is the star of a major motion picture which is opening in selected cities this weekend!
I go back over to Brian and press up against him. "Do you think Mikey will wake up?"
Brian snorts. "Not with all that weed in him. Although I want to check him again before I fall asleep and make certain he's okay. I feel sorry for him, Justin. And I feel sorry for Ben, too. What a fucked up situation." He slides his hands down the back of my blue Speedo and kneads my ass gently while he kisses me hungrily. His finger slowly traces my star tattoo. Although he got Michael wasted, Brian is still pretty sober. He had some of the pot and one shot of the Jim Beam and that was all. I almost had more than that! Actually, we both had just enough to get buzzed but not altered, if you know what I mean. Enough to heighten the sensation without numbing it. And I feel anything but numb right now.
But as much as I enjoy what we're doing, there's still something we need to discuss. "Brian? What are you going to do about... Ron?" I ask, hesitantly.
Brian blinks, but then he looks right at me. "I called him when you took Michael over to the coffee shop to get some breakfast," he admits.
"You did?" That must have been late this morning after Ben called. I know that Ben told Brian exactly what Ron had threatened to do, which was to blackmail Ben. I'm not certain what Ron was trying to accomplish by blackmailing Ben. I don't understand what Ron expected Ben to do and Brian wouldn't go into detail, but it must have been something really crummy. But I can sense that I'm involved somehow, and I know that Brian is trying to protect me again.
"I have to talk to my lawyer on Monday," Brian says. "And make sure Walter sends Ron a warning to cut the crap. Maybe even a restraining order, if that's necessary. Because this really WAS the last fucking straw!"
"What did Ron say to you on the phone?" I'm almost afraid to ask.
Brian shrugs. "The usual. He called Ben a fucking liar. But I know better. Ben is full of shit a lot of the time, but he's an honest person. And Ben exploded his relationship with Michael so he wouldn't have to lie anymore, particularly not for Ron's benefit." Brian runs one hand through his unruly hair again and then he rubs that hand against my arm, pulling me even closer. "I just don't understand what Ron thinks he has to gain, especially now that I've made it so clear that we have NO future together! It's just his final attempt to gain control of a situation that he never had control of to begin with."
"You mean a PERSON he never had control over, don't you, Brian?" I say, softly.
"Maybe," he says. "Definitely. But it's fucking done with now. I'm finished with Ron completely."
I can hear the water lapping against the boat. Even Larry's boat is silent because he went to some concert. The other boats around us are also dark and unoccupied tonight. The marina is so still it's uncanny. From the back deck of 'La Diva' you can see the whole marina and the ocean beyond. It makes me feel like Brian and I are the only two people here -- just him and me together on this beautiful night.
We stand there for a while, kissing, with me leaning into him while he braces himself against the rail. He finally slips my Speedo down and I step out of it. The night air feels cool on my skin. It was another hot day in Los Angeles. It's hard to believe that next week is Thanksgiving. And this will be the first time I haven't been home for Thanksgiving Dinner. But those are the choices you make and I'm not sorry. No, I'm not sorry at all. Because now Brian is my family and I can't think of anywhere else in the world I'd rather be at this minute.
Brian pulls my tee shirt up over my head. I can feel where the sun has burned my arms slightly, even through all the sunblock I've been rubbing on myself. And I can feel the heat on Brian's shoulders and arms, since he hasn't been wearing a shirt at all lately. He also hasn't shaved since he and Jimmy did 'The Tonight Show' a couple of nights ago, so he's getting that pirate look again that he had last summer. His face feels rough against my throat. Nice and rough. I gasp as the stubble rasps against my reddened skin.
"I'm going to have to keep you locked up inside unless you protect yourself from the sun better," Brian murmurs. "What if I never let you leave the cabin, Sunshine?"
"That would be interesting, considering that Michael is asleep in there."
"I mean AFTER he leaves."
"Seems a shame to waste all this outside," I say, leaning up and kissing him again. The boat rocks gently in the wash of the water. Then I hear a funny sound and look around. "What was that?"
Brian stops. "I didn't hear anything."
"Like a clicking or creaking sound." We both hold still, listening.
"It's nothing, Justin. These boats do nothing but creak," Brian replies, finally. "You should be used to that by now. I don't even pay attention half the time. It's just the sound of the water and these old wooden docks. And those noisy gulls. But we're going to add a few more sounds to that repertoire right now." Brian gives me that wolfish smile that means he's already hard as a rock.
Brian has a few little things tucked away in a little recess under the back railing. I think you're supposed to stick extra lines or other boat supplies in there, but Brian has his own stock of extras. I squat down and pull out condoms and lube.
He squirts the Super Glide on his fingers and massages up and down my crack, letting them slip gently into my hole. I let out a sigh. I'm already sweaty and slick with all that sunblock I'm constantly putting on, but the feel of that slippery lube just sliding home is like heaven. It doesn't take much before I'm all ready.
That's when Brian smiles and leans back, letting me do the honors. I like getting Brian's cock all prepared -- it's like a ritual. And it doesn't take long before he's ready. I slide the condom on his already rigid cock and then slick up the sheath, running my lubed hand up and down the long shaft.
Brian braces against the rail, his hands gripping to steady himself, although he has to bend his knees a bit to get the right angle. I reach my arms around his neck to hang on and then I lower myself onto his cock, slowly. Very slowly, so that I can adjust myself. His dick is so long that sometimes it's a bit awkward in this position. We usually can't stay standing like this for too long, but it's a good way to start out, face to face. Half the thrill of fucking for me is watching the pleasure on Brian's face while we make love. It was true that first time and it's still true. It's almost a better feeling even than having him inside me. So face to face is my favorite and I always like to at least begin that way, even if we end up in a different position. Just not with me bent over the rail and Brian fucking me from behind. That's how I fell overboard last time!
Brian mainly holds himself still while I push up and down. I'm a little nervous tonight for some reason and it feels extra tight. I try to relax, but he can tell I'm slightly uncomfortable. "Let's get on the sleeping bag," he whispers, pulling out slowly. He gets another condom and discards the old one. Brian is always extra careful with me, but he's been especially so since that thing in London. I know he's okay, that he's not positive, but he never wants to take the chance of exposing me to anything. He puts me on my hands and knees and then adds even more of the Super Glide to his dick.
"I'm going to fly off the deck if you use any more of that stuff!" I joke.
"I just want to make sure that the neighbors don't hear you squawking."
"What neighbors?" I scoff. "You said there's no one else out there -- just the seagulls and the boats and the water. So get busy and fuck my ass before I fall asleep over here!"
"Oh, you're going to fall asleep? Are you that bored?" Brian breathes into my ear. And in another second I'm anything but bored. And if there are any neighbors around they can definitely hear me squawking. Because Brian is thrusting into me from behind, rocking on top of me while he presses his face into the back of my neck. Now along with the slapping of the water against the hull of the boat, I hear the slapping of Brian's balls against my ass. The sound makes me gasp until I'm ready to come, and then Brian jacks my cock until I shoot all over the sleeping bag. A minute later he comes too.
"That was pretty intense," I say, as we both collapse. He smirks and kisses my hair, smoothing it down while he's still panting. "Yeah," I laugh. "I love you, too, Brian!"
"You little twat!" he whispers, kissing me like he's still starving.
A little while later I get up and retrieve a bottle of juice from the little fridge in the galley. I take it back to the air mattress and flop down on top of it, climbing into the sleeping bag.
"Careful! Don't spill that all over me!" says Brian as a little of the juice sloshes out of the bottle.
"Oh, I wouldn't want anything sticky to get on you," I laugh.
"Well, I guess it IS too late for that," he admits. "And we'll have to wash these sleeping bags when we get back to the apartment."
"When is that going to be, Brian? Not that I'm trying to get rid of Michael or anything, but we need to get back to the apartment and take care of a bunch of things. I still have a lot of laundry to do. And all your shirts need to be dry cleaned. And I want to buy some more furniture, too," I remind him. "A couple of chairs for the living room wouldn't be a bad idea, you know. What if we wanted to have guests over? Where would they sit?"
"Jesus! That's a good reason NOT to buy any furniture," he grouses. "Then we have a perfect excuse NOT to have anyone over." And he turns over onto his stomach. "We better get some sleep. I have a feeling that Mikey is going to be up early and we'll need to dry his tears again before he leaves to go home." Brian sighs. "All my best intentions turn out to be full of shit."
"No, Brian, your intentions were good. You wanted everyone to come out to L.A. and have a great time. You wanted Deb and Vic to have a wonderful vacation. You wanted Michael and Ben to share your movie premiere. You wanted everyone to have a fun day on the boat. There's no way that you could have known what was going to happen with Ron and Ben," I say, turning over onto my stomach and looking at him. "How could anyone guess that Ron would try to blackmail his old friend? That's crazy, Brian! And what Ben did or didn't tell Michael -- that's about THEM. That's something THEY are going to have work out. There's nothing you can do except...."
"Stay out of it. Don't get in the middle of them. Or Michael really WILL blame you. And that's the last thing you want."
"I know." He hugs me closer to him and also pulls the sleeping bag up to our necks. It gets cool late at night on the water. "I know." And that's how we fall sleep, our arms and legs intertwined under the stars.
Continue on to Page 2 of "I Threw It All Away -- Part 1".