This is Part 3 of Chapter 115 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "I Threw It All Away -- Part 2", the previous section.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Diane Rhys, Tess Hardy, Jimmy Hardy, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Ron's mother calls Brian for help. Los Angeles, November/December 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.
"I once held her in my arms,
She said she would always stay.
But I was cruel,
I treated her like a fool,
I threw it all away.
Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand,
And rivers that ran through ev'ry day.
I must have been mad,
I never knew what I had,
Until I threw it all away...."
"So, which do you like better, Justin?" said Brian, crossing his arms. "You've got to make a choice eventually, because we are due in London in exactly ten days."
"I don't know! I'm trying to decide, but I want to be really, really sure, Brian!" We're standing in the middle of a lot on Santa Monica Boulevard, surrounded by a sea of PT Cruisers in all colors and designs. I've narrowed it down to a choice between the purple 'Hot Rod' with the 'Red Flame' detailing or the electric blue 'Woody Wagon' with the wood grain paneling on the sides and back. Both look totally cool and have sunroofs, full CD systems, and all the extras, so it's really a matter of which one 'feels' right. Our salesman is young, stylishly dressed -- and a total queen. Leave it to Brian to find a gay car dealership. Of course, this IS West Hollywood, so maybe it wasn't all that difficult.
"Well, I'm not going to pick the car out for you," says Brian, with determination. "This is YOUR call, Justin, so you're going to have a settle on the model that you want. That is if you want to take a car home today."
"I do! I really do!" Yes, I DO want to take it home today and I want to drive it all this weekend! Besides, I promised Diane when we were over at her place for Thanksgiving Dinner that I would take her for a ride in my new car this weekend and I'm going to do it. Diane was almost as excited about my getting a car as I am because she knows that means I'm going to stay out here in Los Angeles with Brian.
"Which is where you belong, Cutie!" she said as she piled another helping of some Polish potato dish on my plate next to the mound of turkey, gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes, and green beans that I already had on it.
"Please don't make him overeat, Diane!" Brian begged. "I don't want him up all night with a stomach ache!"
"Stomach ache?" I exclaimed. "That sounds more like YOU, Brian! I never get a stomach ache no matter what I eat. You, on the other hand...."
"All right! Whatever! I just don't want you to make yourself sick." Brian looked down at his plate, which resembled a diet special more than a Thanksgiving Feast. But for Brian it was actually a lot of food -- two medium slices of turkey, white meat only, but no gravy or dressing, a spoonful of green beans, and a tiny pile of the sweet potatoes. I really don't know how Brian lives on the amount of food he eats -- or doesn't eat. And he still claims he's watching his weight! Diane made the whole meal just for herself and me and Brian. Diane is a really good cook but Brian says she doesn't know how to make anything that doesn't have a ton of butter and cream in it. I think Polish food must be pretty rich.
We ate up quite a lot of Diane's turkey and fixings and then we all went over to Jimmy and Tess' house for their annual Thanksgiving Bash. They have an Open House every year and invite all 200 of their most 'intimate' friends. We showed up pretty late, but Brian said that a lot of the bullshit would be out of the way before we even got there. People who just want to be seen at the home of "The Most Powerful Actor in Hollywood" come early, schmooze all over Jimmy and Tess, suck down some free booze from the bar and food from the huge buffet, and then move on to the next party. So we thought that the party would have thinnned out by the time we got there, but there were still plenty of expensive cars jamming the driveway and the street out front. But Brian didn't care. He just drove the Jeep right up to the front door and made the hired attendant park it. He can do that because he's Brian Fucking Kinney. Diane snickers when Brian plays the 'movie star' card, but sometimes it comes in handy.
Tess greeted us at the door and she kissed me about five times. She's really happy that I'm out here in L.A. -- and not simply because she thinks I'm so adorable! She's also happy because when I'm here Brian tells Jimmy to go home whenever he shows up looking for Brian. And Jimmy shows up at the boat and the apartment much more than I would ever have thought. A couple of nights ago -- the same day they did the interview with Henry Townsend, that British reporter -- Jimmy came down to the boat after we were already in bed. Or in our sleeping bag. Jimmy sounded drunk and wanted to stay on the boat with us -- he probably wanted to get into the sleeping bag with us, too, the jerk! I got the impression that he and Tess had a big fight. But Brian would NOT let him stay. He told Jimmy that he was a fucking idiot for driving all the way out to Marina del Rey when he was smashed. Then Brian took away his car keys, called a cab, made certain that Jimmy got into it, and sent him back home to Tess.
I was pretty happy to see Tess, too. I really like her and I understand how hard it must be to keep Jimmy in check all the time. But I know that Tess is my ally when it comes to Brian -- and Diane says that I can trust Tess not to play games like most people out here in Hollywood do.
"Where's Annie?" I asked Tess. I had been looking forward to seeing Tess and Jimmy's daughter again. Last week Tess came by the apartment to give me a 'house-warming' present -- a full set of fancy French cookware, which we really needed! -- and Annie was with her. She's 15 now and getting really tall. When she heard that I'd been taking riding lessons in England, Annie invited me to go out and ride with her. She has a horse out at a stable in the Valley.
"Annie is at my mother's place in Palm Springs," Tess replied. "She is not into Jimmy's big holiday 'productions.' But she'll be sorry that she missed you, Justin. She's looking forward to you going horseback riding with her."
"I really want to go," I answered, and I meant it. "I took lessons this summer, so I should be able to keep up with Annie pretty well. I hope."
"Yes, she's a good horsewoman. And she's very excited about your 'riding date,'" Tess smiled. "She keeps asking if you boys are going to stay with us in Maui over New Year's this year, like Brian did last year."
"I don't think Brian's decided yet," I told her. "I've never been to Hawaii. I guess it depends on what else is going on." The mention of Maui and the New Year makes me more than a little uncomfortable. It makes me think of exactly one year ago when I was so fucking miserable. Brian had just left town without any explanation at all and I was so depressed that nothing could snap me out of it. It wasn't exactly a Merry Christmas or a Happy New Year. And Brian was in Hawaii -- and I notice that Tess doesn't mention that Brian was staying there with Ron -- which is another sore subject for me and for Brian these days.
"Well, you know that you two have an open invitation," Tess said. "We'll be there for a few weeks over the Holidays and then right after the New Year Jimmy has to be up in Toronto to start filming that awful cop movie he's doing with Chuckie Ranger. I don't know why Jimmy is so hot to do some ridiculous 'Buddy Flick' at this point in his career. But he just can't seem to turn down work. I think what Jimmy really needs is to sit back and relax on the beach for at least a month."
"You guys must like Maui a lot," I said, looking around. I seemed to have lost track of Brian.
Tess nods. "It's getting to be a regular ritual for us to go there and Freddy Weinstein's Agency is happy to oblige. They keep hoping that Jimmy will leave Lew Blackmore and go with Freddy as his agent. Jimmy was even talking to Freddy about buying the Maui house outright. I think that's much more likely than Jimmy switching agents after all these years with Lew, but you never know."
Finally Brian and Diane appeared, with Brian carrying a big glass of Coke for me and a soda water for himself. Diane was drinking hot cider. "I don't think we can avoid paying homage to our host for much longer," Brian said, dragging me away from Tess.
Jimmy waved us all over to where he was holding court in the Hardy living room. He hugged Brian, patted me on the back, and gave Diane a kiss and asked about her new series. He was smiling and joking around as usual, but he also seemed kind of subdued for Jimmy. He was drinking soda and Tess kept checking up on him, like she was making sure that he wasn't drinking anything harder. Jimmy just kept staring at Brian like he was about to say something to him, but he couldn't because there were so many people around. Or because Tess was around. Or because I was around. At least, that's the impression I got. And Brian looked typically gorgeous in a new pair of Prada pants and a red cashmere sweater that was so thin and soft it looked like silk. I was wearing one of my own silk shirts -- blue, of course -- and a decent pair of pants -- no cargo pants for a change! I looked pretty hot -- at least Brian told me I did and that's the only opinion I care about. Daphne should see me getting dressed now! She would really laugh at how much time I spend picking something out. But next to Brian I'm still an amateur.
Brian kept glancing nervously around the room, but Ron was nowhere in sight. Later Tess told us that he never showed up and never even called, which isn't at all like Ron. "He probably heard that we were coming," Brian said, quietly.
"Maybe," answered Tess. "But that's never stopped him before."
"You know, we don't have to do this now, Justin," Brian says, bringing me back to the reality of the dealership and my new PT Cruiser. "We could come back next week. Or you could look around some more and then order the exact model you want, or...."
"No! I want to get my car NOW! Please, Brian?" And then I blush because I sound like a spoiled little brat.
"Then I'll just wait until you finally pick out SOMETHING," Brian sighs melodramatically. "Because I am NOT buying you a car for every day of the week! Or one to match all those silk shirts that are hanging in the closet!" he smirks at me. Brian tosses a knowing look at the car salesman.
"Good thing you don't need a different car to match every change of your clothing, Brian," I counter. "Because this lot wouldn't hold them all!"
"You ARE a brat, aren't you?"
The salesman is listening to our exchange avidly. Let's face it -- he's paying attention to BRIAN avidly! He can't seem to decide what HE wants more -- to make this sale or to get Brian into his office alone. It's MY car that we are buying, but the guy still addresses everything to Brian and asks him questions right over my fucking head. I HATE that! Brian keeps directing the salesman to talk to me instead of him, but it's hopeless. It was bad enough when Brian was just an amazingly hot and hunky guy, but now he's an amazingly hot and hunky movie star, so people are falling all over him even more than usual. Gay guys. Women. Even straight guys.
"They don't give a fuck, Justin. If they think you're a celebrity they'll suck your dick just as soon as they'll kiss your ass," Brian said to me the other day after two straight college guys made a big fuss over him when we stopped in a convenience store to pick up some toilet paper. "If your name was on 'CNN Headline News' or 'Access Hollywood,' or 'The National Enquirer' that's good enough for most people to make a big fuss. It's all the same bullshit. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some tell-all article on Auntie Roo's gossip site -- 'I Saw Brian Kinney Buying Toilet Paper! The REAL Story of Whether This Hot Hunk Prefers Ultra Soft Scented or Regular Two-Ply!' Some fucking people!"
I stand between the two cars and look back and forth between them.
"The purple car with the flame design is hot, but the blue with the wood panels is the same color as that shirt you got in New York," Brian says, trying to move the process along a bit. We have already been at this dealership for almost three hours. But this is a big decision for me and I don't want to rush it!
"I know. I love that color," I agree. "And the purple is really cool, too. But...."
"The Woody," I say, finally. "It looks like something from an old Beach Party movie. I can picture myself packing up my surfboard and heading to Malibu! It's so California!"
"That's a very popular model with the kids," the salesman tells Brian. 'Asshole!' I think! That's all this guy sees -- just some kid! But I smile at him anyway -- my polite WASP upbringing, I guess.
Brian reaches over and squeezes my hand, turning his back on the salesman. "But you're NOT a kid, Sunshine -- and you don't have a surfboard," Brian mentions. "I thought you were looking for a car for a serious artist to carry his projects in? Besides, if you spend too much time down at the Beach Party then you're going to end up in the Emergency Room with sun poisoning!"
"I know. But it's the fantasy, isn't it?" I grin at Brian. "Like in a movie? Frankie and Annette? Or the Beach Boys? You know -- 'Fun! Fun! Fun!'"
"Now THAT I understand. That fantasy," he smiles back at me. Then he suddenly steps over and puts his arms around me, just like that, and kisses me. Not that long ago Brian would not have been very comfortable doing that outside of Liberty Avenue or the loft. But he doesn't seem to care who sees us anymore, even here in Los Angeles. Yes, even in front of the salesman and a bunch of other people who are standing over to the side of the lot, watching the movie star buy a car for his boyfriend. "So -- the Woody?"
I nod. "Yes. That's the one. It's cool and it has plenty of room in the back to carry my art supplies AND my projects -- like a serious artist needs to do. And... the Woody just feels right." I took each car for a test drive and the Woody was the one I felt most comfortable in. And Brian pointed out that the Woody had the most 'fucking room' in it. He notices things like that. The Mustang, for instance, was very low on the 'fucking room' scale, while the Jeep is a little above average. "But nothing beats a Buick Roadmaster," Brian commented as I drove the Woody down Santa Monica Boulevard. "That thing was like a master bedroom on wheels!"
"A Roadmaster?" I replied. "Really? When did they make those?"
"Back in the 1950's when people fucked in cars almost exclusively. Or so I'm told!"
"Are you sure? This is it?" Brian says as he kicks the tire of the Cruiser with the pointed toe of his cowboy boot. I don't know why people do that, but you always see them kicking the tires in movies. "I think that the name 'Woody' just reminds you of hanging out on Liberty Avenue -- or else your dick."
"That too," I admit. "So what better reason to pick a car?"
"None that I can think of!" Brian laughs. And then Brian and I walk back to the office to fill out the paperwork so that I can drive my new PT Cruiser home. Back to OUR home!
Continue on to Page 2 of "I Threw It All Away -- Part 3".