This is Chapter 25 of the "Queer Realities" series.
Go back to "Queer Theories" for the very beginning of this saga.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney.
Rated R for language and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Justin at Earl's cottage. Cardinal Lake. February 2003.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
"You know what, Brian?" I say. "I don't think this cottage has a TV set."
Brian makes a choking sound. "I have my dick up your ass and you're looking for the TELEVISION?"
"I only want to see the News, Brian. And the Weather. To find out about the snow."
"This is what you need to know about the snow, Sunshine," Brian says. "There is a shitload of it out THERE. The Jeep is stuck in it. And it's still coming down. End of the Kinney Weather Report."
Brian turns me over on my back without pulling his cock out of me. He's already come once, but he's still hard.
"But what if we can't get out of here before you have to be back at Springhurst on Monday morning?" I ask.
"Then they'll have to send a team of sled dogs to retrieve me," says Brian, logically. "Are you in that big of a hurry to get out of here?" He doesn't say it out loud, but he's also thinking, "And to get away from me?"
"Nope. Just the opposite." I shut my eyes as Brian begins to move his cock in and out of me oh so slowly. "I'm trying to figure out how I can make this weekend last for as long as possible."
"And I'm trying to make this fuck last as long as possible, so we're on the same page," Brian grunts.
"Can you make it last three days?" I whisper.
"I... I don't think so," Brian gasps. "Because I'm going to come again! Now! Fuck!"
I wrap my legs around Brian's waist and hang on as he bucks and thrusts into me deeply until he finally comes again. The logs on the fire snap and flare as a gust of wind swirls down the chimney. It smells like come and smoke and wet wool and Brian's green tea shampoo. I don't think I'll ever forget that combination of smells.
"Justin, I... You know...." Brian sighs. "What I'm trying to say is... I mean... Shit." Brian grimaces. "You know what I'm trying to say, Justin. Help me out here." He's still looming over me. Looking down at me. Right into my eyes.
"No, Brian," I answer. "I don't know what you're trying to say." I'm NOT going to let him off the hook. I want to hear him say it. Not when he's coming. Or when he's panicking. Or when he's high or drunk. But now. Right here. I need to hear him say it. And he needs to say it. To make this moment real. "You have to TELL me what you mean."
He's quiet for a while, like he's thinking about it. Or about something. He pulls his cock out of me gently and wraps the condom in a tissue. How many times has he performed that little act in his life? Thousands, I guess, since Brian is obsessive about being safe. But it still makes me kind of sad every time he does it. Because he has to do it. We have to do it. Maybe one day... Yes, I still have that fantasy.
"I was talking to Dr. Gorowitz about some things," Brian says, finally. He's lying next to me on the rug, propping himself up on his elbow.
"What things?" I can only imagine. Brian has layers and layers of shit and denial that he needs to get through to figure out what he really feels about himself. And about me. I have to wonder how Brian even knows where to begin.
"About when we first got together. About how it was... different. I mean, different from the usual trick."
"Yeah," I say. "I think it was."
"But WHY was it?" he asks. "I mean, I've fucked hundreds of tricks. Thousands even. Why would one night of fucking and a great rim job be so different?"
"So, that's all I was?" I breathe. "An all-night fuck and a rim job?"
Brian hesitates. "This is coming out all wrong. No, you weren't just that. You're not. That's what I mean. WHY weren't you like all the others? I mean, from the start? Why the fuck would I pick up a twink to begin with? I don't even LIKE twinks! And an inexperienced one, too! I HATE inexperience. It's a fucking waste of time. But I did it. Why?"
"You told me once it was because you were bored, Brian," I offer.
"I was. Sort of... But that's not all of it." He frowns. "But even after I picked you up, took you back to the loft, and made you come that first time... I could have been finished with you then. Why the hell would I take you with me to the hospital when Gus was born? Do you know how fucking out of character that was for me?"
"I didn't at the time," I admit. "But later I realized that it was. Mainly because of Michael's reaction! He couldn't believe it!" I laugh.
"I know. Poor Mikey!" Brian smirks. "He still hasn't completely gotten over it. And then I took you back to the loft AGAIN! And drove you to school in the morning. I'd never done anything even remotely like it before! I must have been... I mean... I must have... I...." Brian stops.
"It was all that E you took, Brian. The bad stuff from Anita's bathtub," I decide. "That was it." I run my fingers through his messy hair. Bed head, even when he's not in bed. It always looks hot.
"I must have been in love with you," he says, gazing right at me.
"Huh?" That stops me.
"I must have been," he continues. "From the moment I saw you. Under that streetlight. That's the only explanation," he says firmly.
"Brian, did Dr. Gorowitz tell you to say that to me?" I have to ask.
"What?" he says. "No, of course not! But he and I were talking about how things started and I've been trying to remember everything. What I was thinking. How I felt at the time. And that's a hard one -- trying to remember how I felt about something at any point in my fucked up life. But that's it. And that's how I felt. I really did."
Brian is staring at me in a way that's kind of creepy. He's looking at me so intensely. Looking INTO me. Now he's totally freaking me out!
"I... I have to get the pasta ready," I say, sitting up. I don't know why I suddenly feel like bolting, but I do. "Are you hungry?"
Brian nods. "I am, actually. Starving, in fact."
"Good!" I stand up and pull on my pants and sweater. "You want to eat in front of the fire?"
"Sounds good," says Brian, stretching out. His body looks all golden in the firelight. "I feel like a caveman. So bring on the bear meat!" he laughs.
I go into the kitchen and check the sauce, which is on a very low simmer. Then I put on the water for the pasta. Trying to make myself busy.
I don't know why I feel so unnerved by what Brian said. It isn't as if it's something that I don't believe or feel myself. I've believed in it from that very first night. Love at first sight. Such a fucking cliche! But it WAS love. At least it was to me. So much more than a great fuck and rim job.
But for Brian? I don't know. He said, "I love you" to me that night, but he was high AND he was coming at the time. But what does it mean when he says it now? Why at this particular moment? Is it because he's in therapy? Is it something Dr. Gorowitz wants him to say, like a kind of test? I don't know. Maybe at the end of this weekend I'll know. Or maybe not.
Brian comes into the kitchen. He's got his pants and sweater back on. It's warm in front of the fire and in the kitchen where the stove is on, but the rest of the cottage isn't heated at all, so we can't really walk around naked without freezing our balls off.
"I'm taking the bags and seeing what's upstairs," says Brian. He gives my butt a smack and tries to peek into the sauce pot, but I push him away.
"Which bedroom is mine?" I ask. "Earl said there are three up there."
"I don't know," Brian grimaces. "But we might have to share."
"Eww! Sleep with another GUY?" I groan. "Gross!"
"I'm afraid that pressing our bare bodies together is the only way to keep warm in this place, so you'll have to make the sacrifice," Brian reasons.
"Only if you promise never to tell." The water is boiling, so I put in the rigatoni.
"Oh," says Brian, breathing down my neck. "My lips are sealed. Sealed right around your cock!"
We start making out in the kitchen -- until I remember that I forgot to set the timer for the rigatoni. "Take the suitcases upstairs and let me finish doing this or we'll never get to eat!"
"Yes, dear!" he says in that silly falsetto he does. He calls it his 'dickless fag' voice.
Brian goes out and I hear him carrying the suitcases up the narrow stairs. While he's gone I reach into one of the grocery bags and take out a small paper bag. It's a Valentine's Day card that I bought to give to Brian. Because that's what it is today. Valentine's Day.
It was only a year ago that I was sitting alone in the loft, so fucking miserable. I think that Valentine's Day might have been the lowest of the low points that winter. It had only been a week since I'd punched out Ted and quit at the diner. Michael had moved into the loft with me and accidentally answered the phone when Brian called. And that's when Brian stopped calling.
It's almost impossible for me even to remember what I was feeling during those awful weeks. I think I was too numb. Just going through the motions. I could never have projected what it would be like a year in the future, any more than I can imagine what it will be like one year from now. I've given up trying to figure out my life in advance. It's better to take it as it comes. Take what I can get. Take it and hang on to it for as long as I can.
When I bought this card I was almost afraid. Brian hates sentimental crap. And he hates fake holidays, especially Valentine's Day. But here we are anyway. In this ridiculously romantic place. Alone. Just the two of us. I mean -- fuck! It's a perfect Valentine's Day Fantasy! And then Brian says... what he said in front of the fireplace. It's hard for me to get my mind around it all.
Brian can be so changeable. He can say something or give something and then take it back in an instant. That kills me. I always feel off-balance. Always feel like I never know what's going to hit me next. I'm on a constant tightrope, walking that thin line. Wondering if I should take that chance....
I pull out a packet of colored gel pens that I brought with me and I sign the card. I also draw a little picture on it. Then I seal it up and write Brian's name on the envelope. Then I hide it.
When the food is ready I bring out two little bowls of salad first. Brian is sitting on the rug in front on the fire, jabbing the burning logs with an iron poker and watching them spark.
"I poured one more glass of wine for you from the bottle and then I corked it up," Brian says. "I thought you might want to save the rest for tomorrow -- or however long we're stuck in here. But no more for me tonight." Brian pauses. "I probably shouldn't have had even one glass, but Gorowitz says that I've got to make those determinations for myself. That I have to set my own limits and then stick to them. That's the only way I can live in the world AND control my compulsions. Besides, the Doc says that alcohol isn't my primary problem. At least wine isn't. And I don't need it to enjoy my meal. That's the thing -- I'm not in pain management mode and don't really have the desire to numb myself at all. I guess that's progress, right?"
"I should have told Earl not to leave the wine and beer, but I didn't think of it," I admit. "But Earl doesn't know you're in rehab. And I didn't want to tell him."
"That's okay. You brought bottles of water and juice, and no-fat milk for my cornflakes, so that should keep us well-hydrated. Or else we can melt the snow and drink that!"
I pick up the glass of wine and put it to one side. I don't really need it and I don't really want it, either. Then I hand Brian his salad, a fork, and a napkin. "I thought about opening a can of green beans and boiling them, but I figured the salad would be enough."
"Canned green beans?" Brian makes a face. "Let's wait until we're desperate, okay?"
We eat the salad and then I bring out the rigatoni with meat sauce. It's good, even if I did use a jar of sauce and pretty much just added the meat and spices.
"Not awful," says Brian, which in Brian-speak means that he really likes it. I wish that I had more opportunities to cook, especially for Brian, but there's just no time. I hate living on take-out, but that's reality, I guess. Brian doesn't eat a huge amount of food in general, but when he's hungry he can pack it away with the best of us.
"Too bad we don't have a nice big loaf of Italian bread!" I say. "And garlic butter!"
"You love to pile on the carbs!" Brian grumbles.
"We may need a lot of carbs if we're going to have to dig our way out of here," I remind him. "Have you looked outside lately? Hey, while I was looking for a colander to drain the rigatoni I found a radio and some batteries in the cupboard, so we can at least get a local weather report."
"Good job, Sherlock," Brian laughs. "Go get it and we'll see if it works."
I gather up the empty plates and take them into the kitchen. Then I bring out the radio and batteries.
"These look kind of old," says Brian, holding up one of the batteries. "But they'll have to do." He puts them in and tunes in a station. "Great! Now we can have some mood music."
But all Brian can find is a country music station. And then another one. And another one! This IS rural Ohio, after all.
"Jesus, this is ridiculous!" he says. Brian hates country music almost as much as he hates the Gay and Lesbian Center, the 'National Enquirer,' and George W. Bush. He snaps off the radio in disgust and tosses it on the sofa. "So much for mood music!"
"I didn't even think to bring the CD player, Brian. Sorry," I tell him. "No music. But I can hum for you!"
Brian frowns as he looks around the room. In the corner is a big wooden cabinet. He gets up and examines it. "I think we found some music."
"Is it a radio?" I ask.
"Not exactly." Brian opens up the cabinet. Inside are record albums, the old fashioned kind. And a record player. "An old Hi-Fi system. Didn't Earl tell you this was his father's cottage? Because this vinyl pre-dates Earl. This is stuff from the 1950's. And a few more recent disks -- if by recent you mean 1964!" Brian laughs and pulls out the albums one by one.
"Barbra Streisand!" I cry, picking one up.
"Give me that!" says Brian. He shoves it back in the cabinet. He hates Barbra. And Bette. And all the Divas. Brian is a pretty lousy fag in some ways.
"We have Sinatra. Robert Goulet. Mel Tormé. Johnny Mathis." Brian laughs. "This is a treasure trove of ancient fuck music, Justin! Now we know what they really used this cabin for -- and it wasn't for swimming and canoeing!"
"Do these still play?" I've seen old vinyl records but I've never played one.
"I don't see why not." Brian cleans off the turntable with a piece of cloth that's stuck inside the cabinet. He turns it on and the thing goes around and around. He checks the arm and blows on the needle. "These might be a little scratchy, but what the hell?" Brian points to two speakers mounted on either side of the fireplace. "Let's see if we hear anything, okay?"
"Sure!" I say. "Which do you want to play? Frank Sinatra?"
"Sinatra's always good, but I think that we should acknowledge the Home Team first." Brian slips a record out of its sleeve. He puts it on the turntable and sets the needle down. And it plays!
"It works!" I cry. "Yay!"
"Of course. Earl wouldn't have this stuff here if they didn't still listen to it sometimes." Brian grins. He's so smug that he's found some music, even if it is corny old music.
And it really IS corny. The singer has a weird, throbbing voice that floats out of the speakers and envelops the room. "What do you mean by the 'Home Team,' Brian?"
"This!" he says. "This is Johnny Mathis! This guy is an icon of Queer Music -- pre-Bowie, pre-Elton, pre-Queen, pre-George Michael. He even has a ROOM in the Los Angeles YMCA named after him, for fucksake!"
"You're kidding, right?" Brian loves to pull my leg.
"They say that more babies were conceived by breeders listening to Johnny Mathis records than to any other music, and that includes Barry White AND 'Bolero'!"
I shake my head. "I don't get it, Brian."
"Like this," he says. Brian pulls the rug away from in front of the fireplace and pushes back the sofa and the easy chairs, leaving a small space of hardwood floor. Then he grabs me in his arms.
Brian never dances like this. Not since the prom. Or not since that time when he tried to recreate the prom for me in his loft in an attempt to jar my memory. I didn't appreciate what he was trying to do at the time, but I do now. I understand how he was trying to make me remember that romantic moment, but I couldn't do it. Not until later. Much, much later.
Yes, Brian and I dance all the time in clubs, but that's different somehow. It's about displaying your body. It's about moving inside a moment and letting everyone know you're together. It's public -- sort of like fucking in the backroom. But this is... strange. Intimate. Old-fashioned, but also connected in a different way. The music makes me feel sort of woozy. It's so slow and there's no beat at all. It's like dancing to water, not music. It flows around us. And the singer's weird voice is hypnotizing.
Brian is holding me so closely that I can feel every movement of his body against me. I feel his erection, but so much more than just that. We're moving together, our bodies a single entity. Melting into each other as we turn and turn so slowly.
"This is it. THE song. This is the one, Justin," Brian whispers as another song oozes out of the old speakers. "The one that made all those uptight, rigid, middle class breeders want to fuck their brains out."
'cause I wear a silly grin
The moment you come into view,
Chances are you think that I'm in love with you.
My composure sort of slips,
The moment that your lips meet mine,
Chances are you think my heart's your Valentine..."
Brian is breathing along the side of my face, in my ear, and down the vein of my neck. I can feel his eyelashes brush against my skin. The music is so heavy and lush that it makes me feel heavy and lush. And I go all limp in Brian's arms.
He reaches underneath my sweater and circles my nipple with his fingers. Slowly. Very slowly. Everything is in slow motion. Circling. Slowly. He tugs my nipple ring gently. It sends a little shock directly to my dick. He pulls my sweater over my head and discards it.
And I don't even realize that Brian is undoing my pants until I feel cool air against my bare ass. Brian has one hand on my waist and he eases me down on the sofa, stroking my cock lingeringly with his other hand. Brian pulls off his own sweater and steps out of his pants. Then he lies on top of me on the old, deep sofa. Moving his whole body against me, sensuously. Kissing my mouth. Kissing me. I want Brian to swallow my entire being. But he just keeps rubbing up and down against me, our hard cocks together, our mouths together. Our hearts beating together.
"I've never fucked another man the way I fuck you, Justin," he whispers. "Never. I never fucked anyone the way I fucked you that first night. So thoroughly. So completely. The way I want to fuck you now every single time. With every part of myself. Do you understand? Do you, Justin?"
I almost can't breathe. "I understand. That's what I want, too, Brian. I've never wanted anything else in my life. But I was always afraid to ask for it. Afraid that you'd think I was asking for too much. Afraid you'd push me away. Or that you'd run away."
"I'm sick of running away," Brian says against my ear. "Besides, there's no place to run. We're snowed in."
"I know. Maybe we'll be snowed in here forever," I smile.
"Would that be so bad?" says Brian.
I laugh. But he's serious. His face tells me that he's serious. The way he looks at me makes me blink. Brian's never looked at me like this before. His eyes searching me like this. His breath touching me like this. Sensing me. I have to close my eyes because they are burning.
"Why did you take me home that night, Brian?" I ask. "Why?"
"I don't know. I HAD to. I know that much." Brian runs one finger across my eyebrows. "I walked out of Babylon and I was pissed off. A bad blowjob. My head was aching. Michael wanted to leave and he was bitching at me. I walked outside and the air hit me. I took a deep breath -- and something happened. I looked up and... and I saw this image. All golden. Young and glowing." Brian snickers. "You looked like a fucking soda commercial! For X-rated queer soda! And I walked right over. I still don't understand why... except that I had to." He pauses. "It was Fate. Fiona was right. I believe that now. Totally."
"I've always believed it, Brian." I tell him. "You were so beautiful. I thought I would be afraid, but I wasn't. Suddenly everything in my life made sense. I knew that this beautiful man was going to fuck me. That night. And I wanted him to. I wanted YOU to! But not only fuck me -- love me. I knew it. I even told Daphne the next day that I saw the face of God. You know that line from 'Les Miz,' Brian?"
Now Brian really laughs. "No, I don't know any lines from 'Les Miz'! Do I look like Emmett?"
"In one of the songs it says that you see the face of God every time you look at the person you love," I say. "And that's what I saw, Brian. You." And I hold him tightly, as if he's going to get up and run when he hears me say that. I feel the heart necklace pressing against my throat. "From that first moment."
"You are such a fucking dreamer!" says Brian. But he doesn't say it in a mocking way. He says it in a wondering way. "I wish that I could believe in things so deeply. I wish...." He sighs.
"You can, Brian," I say. "You DO believe in things. You believe in your son. And in your friends. And -- on a good day -- you even believe in yourself. And you believe in ME. You believed in me when no one else did. When I saw my drawing of you from the Gay and Lesbian Center Art Show at your loft and realized that you had bought it -- I was so fucking happy! You bought my first real work of art. You gave me the courage to go to the Institute. You made it possible for me to keep going there after my gimp hand kept fucking up. You knew that I was strong when everyone else thought I was weak. Even when you weren't around -- you believed that I could survive."
"And you can, Justin. You always can. Always." Brian sits up slowly. The record finished a while ago. And the fire is burning down to embers and ashes. The room is starting to get chilly. "Let's go up to bed."
Brian goes up the stairs and I go into the kitchen to turn off the lights. But I also get my Valentine's Day card out of its hiding place.
The stairs are very steep and lined with shelves recessed into the wall. On the shelves are stuffed animals -- a groundhog, a quail, a squirrel, a raccoon -- all posed like they're still alive. But they look very dusty and old, their glass eyes dull. My bare feet stumble on the wooden stairs. I don't want to get a splinter.
Brian has the light on in one room. The ceiling is very low and slanted. He's turned down the comforter and climbed in. It's very cold upstairs.
"This is the only room with a double bed. One of the rooms has two twin beds and the other has bunks beds -- that must have been the kids' room. The bathroom is next door.
"Thanks, Brian." I pad to the bathroom, piss, and then wash my hands and face. There's a tiny shower and I pray there's hot water tomorrow.
"Get in here!" Brian orders as I come back into the room. A little lamp with a ruffled shade is the only light. "What's that?"
I have the card in my hand. "I was going to give you this while we were eating, but... It's stupid. You don't have to open it." I get into bed and give it to him.
Brian snorts when he sees that it's a greeting card. "What's the occasion? Dirty weekend at the cottage?"
"No," I say. "Worse."
"Valentine's Day. Which is today. If it's still before midnight, that is."
Brian rolls his eyes. "Valentine's Day?"
"I know." I shrug. "It was... just something I wanted to do. Like I said, you don't have to open it."
But Brian is already opening it. It's a card that is really for a little kid. There's a bee on the front holding a big red heart. Inside the bee has turned the heart around and it reads: "Bee Mine, Valentine!" I know. Corny. But at the bottom I drew a little picture of me and Brian kissing with my gel pens. It's just a doodle, but you can tell it's us. And then I signed my name.
But Brian doesn't laugh at the card. He sort of smiles and says, "I haven't gotten a Valentine's card since the 4th Grade. I think it was the 4th Grade. But this one's nicer. And I like the picture." He points to the doodle.
"I got it at Shop 'n' Save when I bought the groceries this morning. But I mean what it says, Brian. 'Be mine.'"
He sighs and puts his arms around me. "I thought I already was."
"In the magic of moonlight when I sigh, 'Hold me close, dear,'
Chances are you believe the stars that fill the skies are in my eyes.
Guess you feel you'll always be
The one and only one for me,
And if you think you could,
Well, chances are your chances are awfully good.
The chances are your chances are awfully good."
"Chances Are" by Al Stillman and Robert Allen.
Continue on to "Unforgettable".
©Gaedhal, August 2004.
Posted August 29, 2004.