This is Part 5
The other sections in "The Angel Stream".
Pittsburgh, August 2005
"We're going out for a drink at that new bar on the North Side," said Bryce. "Want to come along?"
"Naw," Justin replied as he changed into his jeans. It had been a busy Friday night at the Watermark. Justin had made a lot of tip money, but he was tired and anxious to get home. "I don't think so. Brian is waiting for me."
"Give him a call," Bryce suggested. "Have him meet us there."
Bryce thought Justin's boyfriend was hot. Some evenings he came and sat at the bar, watching Justin and waiting to catch a few minutes with him on his break. Bryce had heard a lot about Brian Kinney and knew he used to be a major stud on Liberty Avenue, but he seemed to have settled down recently.
Maybe settled down. Or maybe not. Bryce was up for a threesome with a couple of hot guys. Or even a foursome if he could prod Clarence into it. Clarence liked to fuck a lot of guys, but he usually preferred to do it one-on-one -- behind Bryce's back. Or at least he thought he was doing it behind Bryce's back. He was wrong.
"Not tonight," Justin said firmly. "I don't want to stay up too late tonight. Brian and I are going out to the Antique Market tomorrow and I want to get an early start."
"Antique Market?" Bryce grinned. "Brian doesn't seem like the antiques type. Where is this place?"
"Out in the country, near Wiley." Justin put on his rugby shirt and stuffed his dirty Watermark shirt into his gym bag. It had a tomato sauce spill right in the front. He'd have to soak the thing in pre-wash to get it out. "It's beautiful around there. You guys should drive out there sometime."
"I'm a city boy," said Bryce. "And I'm not big on antiques."
"If you and Clarence ever want to go on a romantic weekend, I know a great place," Justin advised. "Brian and I stayed there last spring."
Bryce rolled his eyes. "Clarence isn't big on romance. The last time we went away together was to go to Clarence's aunt's funeral in Scranton. Believe me, it was no fucking honeymoon!"
"No, that doesn't sound very romantic," Justin agreed.
The two walked out of the restaurant together, glancing around. The Watermark parking lot was well-lit, but it never hurt to be careful. When any of the waitresses went out to her car, Clarence or Bryce or one of the bartenders walked with her -- just to make sure she was okay. And even the guys usually walked in pairs. Maybe it was paranoia, but Justin was glad they all looked out for each other.
Clarence was smoking a cigarette by their car as he waited for Bryce. "You coming with us to the bar?" he asked Justin.
"Maybe next time," Justin said. Then he headed for the Jeep and climbed in.
It was another stifling night. It had been a hot, humid summer and Justin could hardly wait for fall to come and give a little relief. Fall also meant a new school year. He was also supposed to start two art classes at Carnegie Mellon very soon, but if Brian wasn't working....
Justin shook his head. Gardner Vance had to take Brian back! Brian was a partner at Vangard! He wasn't someone Vance could simply dismiss out of hand. But the reality was that Brian was still on suspension. It was proving a long, depressing month for his lover. And Justin was really beginning to worry.
Justin decided to stop at the Liberty Diner and pick up a couple of lemon squares. Brian liked lemon squares and Justin loved them. It would be a nice little treat before they went to bed. Brian usually didn't like to eat any carbs before he went to bed, but if Justin promised to help him work them off... That would tempt him!
Liberty Avenue was busy, even for a Friday night. It was like everyone was trying to enjoy the last days of summer before it all ended and the real world took over again. Justin saw a long line outside of Babylon and even Woody's looked like it was bustling.
He found a parking space way down the street, beyond the Liberty Diner. It was a little dark there, but not too out of the way. A cop car cruised by, but it didn't slow down.
"Hey, Sunshine!" called Debbie, going by with a loaded tray. "Whatcha doing here at this time of night?"
"I just got off work," he said. "Can I get some lemon squares to go?"
"Sure, hon," said Debbie. "Be with you in a minute."
Justin sat at the counter and took out a few dollars of his tip money. It always seemed like a lot, but not compared to what Brian made. That is, when Brian was working. What would they do if Vance really fired him? He knew that Brian had been quietly putting out feelers for another job, but there were only so many advertising agencies in Pittsburgh. Justin also knew that Brian had been searching the internet, looking at agencies in other cities, other states.
What if Brian decided that he had to leave Pittsburgh? Well, that wasn't a difficult decision -- Justin would go with him, of course. He could get a job in a restaurant anywhere. Or in a store. Or even an office, if he had to. And he could work on his art anywhere, too. As long as he had his drawing pads, pencils, some paint, and a place to set up a canvas, he'd be in business. He could do that in Pittsburgh or Peru, in New York or New Zealand. It didn't matter, as long as they were together.
"Here you go," said Debbie, setting down the box with the lemon squares. "I put three in there. In case you get hungry in the middle of the night."
"Thanks, Deb." Justin put the money on the counter and slipped from the stool.
"If they don't treat you right at the Watermark, Sunshine, you can come back and work here!" Debbie asserted as Justin walked to the door. "You tell 'em that!"
"I'll tell them!" Justin laughed.
He pushed open the diner door and the humid air hit him full force. It was getting late. He hurried back down the sidewalk in the direction of the Jeep.
Two cops were blocking his path. Two men in the black coats and boots of Mayor Stockwell's Vice Squad. His Anti-Sex Brigade.
"It's after curfew!" barked one of the cops, an older man with a hard face and a gray crewcut.
"I'm over 21," said Justin, clutching his box of lemon squares.
"What are you doing on the street at this hour, punk?" asked the cop. "Hustling?"
"I'm on my way home from work." Justin felt a sudden chill in the humid air.
"Let's see your ID," the cop snapped. "Step over here." He gestured to the mouth of an alley. "Hurry up!"
Justin followed them into the alley. He fumbled for his wallet, trying not to drop it or his box of lemon squares. He finally pulled out his driver's license and handed it to the first cop. "Here."
"Here, what?" He grabbed the front of Justin's rugby shirt and pulled him closer.
"Watch it, Kenny," the second cop nervously warned his partner.
But the first cop ignored him. "I asked you a question, punk!" he pushed Justin back against the brick wall. "And I expect an answer!"
"Here... sir?" Justin breathed, praying that was the answer the cop wanted.
"Sir... or Sergeant!" the cop snarled. He let go of Justin's shirt. Then he pointed to the stripes on his black coat. "See that, faggot? Treat that with respect. You hear me?"
"Yes, sir." Justin swallowed. It wasn't good to show them he was afraid. They wanted him to be afraid. That's what they got off on -- fear.
The cop tossed Justin's driver's license on the ground. "Pick it up."
Justin bent over slowly and retrieved his license, aware that the cop was watching his every move.
"Nice ass," the cop whispered. But Justin heard him clearly. And another chill rushed through him.
"Let it go, Kenny," the partner urged. "Forget it."
"Shut up!" the first cop lashed out.
But his partner stood his ground. "Let's get the hell out of here! Now!"
The first cop sneered. "Don't let me catch you stepping out of line, punk." His dark eyes were riveted on Justin. "Ever spend a night in the Queens Tank? You'd like it there. We know what to do with little bitches like you down in the Queens Tank. Next time you and your pretty ass won't get off so easy...." He let the threat hang heavily in the air.
Justin stumbled out of the alley and began to run. Behind him he heard Stockwell's cops laughing.
Brian was sitting at his computer when Justin came bursting into the loft.
"Jesus!" Brian laughed. "Who's chasing you?"
But he stopped laughing when he saw the look on Justin's face. Brian stood up and walked over to him, putting his arms around Justin's neck. And Justin hugged Brian back. Hugged him hard.
"I'm okay." Justin took a deep breath. He needed to steady himself. Act normal, he told himself. Don't let Brian know you're scared. "Really."
But Brian frowned. "You don't look okay. Did you have a problem with the Jeep?"
Justin shook his head. "No. It's fine. Everything's fine." But he didn't relinquish his hold on his lover. "I brought home lemon squares. From the diner."
"Where are they?" Brian asked. Justin didn't have anything in his hands.
"I...." Justin was at a loss. "I guess I left them in the Jeep. Sorry. I'll go back down and get them."
"Forget it," said Brian. "We can get them later."
He led Justin over to the sofa and sat him down on it, easing himself next to him. Then Brian waited. But Justin didn't say a word.
"Was it busy tonight?" Brian asked. He could feel Justin trembling slightly.
"Yes," said Justin. His heart was still pounding. "I was running all evening. It was crazy."
"Maybe it would be better for you to go back on the lunch shift," Brian said carefully. He knew that Justin was proud of the money he was making at the restaurant -- and of the contribution he was making toward their expenses.
"I can't," Justin said firmly. "My two classes at CMU are both during the day. I can't work and go to class at the same time. Besides, I'm making more on the dinner shift."
"I'll be going back to work soon," said Brian. "Sooner -- if Gardner comes to his senses."
"Is that why you're on the internet, checking out ad agencies in other cities?" Justin asked.
Brian bit at his lower lip. "I want to know all of my options. Just in case."
"Will we have to leave Pittsburgh?" There, thought Justin. I've finally said it out loud.
Brian couldn't lie to Justin. Not about this. "Maybe." He paused. Truth was the best way to go. "Probably."
"I don't care," Justin maintained. "If we have to go, it's all right."
"What about your mom?" said Brian. "And your classes?"
"I haven't even started my art classes!" said Justin. "And Mom... she'll have to deal with it. After all, I was at Dartmouth for four years. People leave home all the time. They go to school, or get jobs, and they move away. But it would be sad to be far away from Gus."
"I know," Brian whispered. "But we could come back to see him. And he could visit us. Wherever we end up."
It was hot in the loft -- Brian had the windows wide open and the white gauze curtains swayed in the faint breeze -- but Justin shivered. If they left Pittsburgh it really would be just the two of them. But that didn't matter. Not as long as they were together.
"Brian?" Justin murmured.
"What?" Brian knew that something had spooked Justin. He wanted to force it out of him, but he couldn't. He wasn't Justin's fucking father. He wasn't his keeper. Justin was a grown man. "You can tell me. What happened tonight?"
Justin hesitated. He didn't want to make more of his encounter with the cops than it was. But he also didn't want to pretend it never happened.
"It was nothing. I got stopped on Liberty Avenue. Two cops asked to see my ID."
Brian tensed. The fucking cops! Stockwell's Stormtroopers! It was one thing to arrest him -- he'd been breaking the law, after all -- but another thing to harass Justin, who had only been walking down a public street. Picking up fucking lemon squares at a diner!
"Is that all?" Brian demanded. "Nothing more?"
"No," said Justin slowly. "Nothing more."
"I'd like to kill those fuckers," Brian breathed. "The self-righteous bastards!"
"Nothing happened!" Justin insisted. "I'm okay. They only stopped me. That's all." Justin got up from the sofa. "I better go down and get the lemon squares. And I also left my gym bag in the Jeep. I need to wash my shirt. I spilled sauce all over it."
"You can get them tomorrow," said Brian, standing and stretching. "It's late."
He took Justin by the hand and pulled him towards the bedroom. Up the steps. Over to the bed.
"I should take a shower," Justin whispered. "I'm all sweaty. And I smell like grease and tomato sauce."
"You can take a shower in the morning." Brian pulled Justin's rugby shirt over his head. "I like the smell of grease and tomato sauce. And the taste of it." Brian trailed his tongue down the side of Justin's neck. "That's good. Basil, with a hint of oregano. And garlic. Plenty of garlic. The special tonight must have been Chicken Parmesan."
"Close," said Justin. "Chicken Cacciatore. With green beans and a side salad."
"Even better." Brian pushed Justin back on the bed and pulled down his jeans and briefs, tossing them on the floor. Then he went down on Justin's cock, sucking it deep into his soft mouth. Brian was an expert at sucking cock. He'd been doing it since he was 14 years old and he knew the power that he had over a man when he had total control over his dick.
But Brian also knew that his reputation on Liberty Avenue was as the ultimate top. He'd never once gone to his knees in the backroom at Babylon. And there was no one in Pittsburgh who could claim, "I topped Brian Kinney!" Yes, he sucked cock. Yes, he'd been fucked. But not in public. And not in the Pitts. With one important exception....
Justin wasn't very tall. And he had slender hips and not much of a chest. But he had the cock of a man twice his size. Brian had been surprised the first time he'd taken it out, that Christmas Eve not so very long ago. Surprised at the thickness of it. Surprised that this prime young dick had never been touched. Never been sucked. It excited him that he'd be the first. This was his -- and his alone. Brian had never felt that way before in his life. Sometimes he wondered what that meant.
"Brian!" Justin cried out. His fingers were entwined in Brian's dark hair. "I'm going to come!"
But Brian didn't pull back. He worked Justin's cock even harder, moving up and down faster. Come on. Come on.
Justin let out a strangled sigh as his cock jerked inside Brian's mouth, filling it with his warm come.
"That was good," Justin murmured. "So fucking good."
"Amazing," Brian smiled. He moved up next to Justin, their heads on the same large pillow.
"I love you," said Justin. Directly. Sincerely. What did he have to lose by telling his lover the truth? "I really do."
"Whatever happens, we're in this together. Right?" said Brian.
"Whatever happens," Justin repeated. "But nothing is going to happen. We're like Michael's superheroes. We're invincible! Aren't we, Brian? Aren't we?"
"Yes," said Brian, resting his head on Justin's chest. "Invincible. Forever."
And for that night, at least, it was true.
©Gaedhal, January 2006.
Posted June 14, 2006.