This is Chapter 57 of the "Queer Realities" series.
This is Chapter 57 in the "Queer Realities" series.
The narrator is Justin Taylor and features Brian Kinney, Dorian Folco, Sylvia Schacter, Richard, Heather, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: The video shoot concludes. McKinley, NY. April 2003.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Read the stories and enjoy.
"I'm really close tonight,
And I feel like I'm moving inside you.
Lying in the dark
I think that I'm beginning to know you.
Let it go.
I'll be there when you call.
Whenever I fall at your feet,
And you let your tears rain down on me,
Whenever I touch your slow turning pain.
You're hiding from me now.
There's something in the way that you're talking,
The words don't sound right,
But I hear them all moving inside you.
Go, I'll be waiting when you call.
Whenever I fall at your feet,
And you let your tears rain down on me,
Whenever I touch your slow turning pain...."
"Why do you keep calling my cell and then not leaving a message?"
Brian's question brings me up short.
We're standing in the park, taking a break from the shoot. Dorian and Richard have their heads together about something. Conferring. Planning. I'm supposed to be the director of this video, but it's pretty obvious that I'm out of my depth, so I let Richard and Dorian pretty much take over this shoot. That means I won't be able to enter this video in the Festival, but it doesn't really matter at this point. I only want to get it finished and get the fuck out of McKinley. And away from Brian and his questions.
"I... I'm sorry," I say finally. "I didn't want to bother you. I know you've been... busy."
"Busy?" Brian frowns. "Justin, I'm in fucking rehab! There's no way that anyone could say that I've been 'busy' here. If you want to talk to me, then leave a message and I'll call you back. But don't play games with me."
I recoil at that statement. Because that's what Dylan said -- don't play games with me! Is that what I'm doing? Playing games? Because this doesn't feel like a game at all. It feels deadly serious.
"I said I'm sorry." I turn away. "I... I just wanted to hear your voice. That's all."
"Hey!" Brian says softly. "Look at me!" So I turn back and face him. "You don't think I want to hear your voice, too? What the fuck, Justin? Tell me what's going on!"
I start to answer, but I see Dorian and Richard waving to me frantically. Dorian has his cellphone in his hand.
"They need me right now, Brian," I say. And I hurry away, leaving Brian standing there.
"Justin!" Richard says in excitement. "Dorian got us a crane!"
I guess my mouth gapes open like a fish, because Dorian laughs. "They're bringing it down from Toronto tonight. We can borrow it because they aren't shooting this weekend. But we can only have it one day, so we'll need to finish as many scenes as we can today and do the crane shots tomorrow. Then, if we need any pick-up shots, we can do them on Sunday morning."
On my storyboard I had sketched out some scenes that were to be shot from above, which can only be done with a crane. At the time I never thought I'd actually be shooting the fucking thing! It was just the vision in my head. But Dorian and Richard are determined to carry out everything I have in the storyboard.
"That should work out fine," I say, trying to figure out how many more shots we still need to do. "We can do the inside scene with Brian this afternoon instead of the final scene with the two of us by the lake," I say. "Because we'll want the crane for that end shot."
"That's what I was thinking," Dorian agrees. "You need to do the finale from above. You better go and tell Brian."
Brian is standing with Sylvia when I go back over there to talk to him about the scene we'll be shooting next. I feel so uncomfortable around Brian. Like I have something to hide from him. But there's nothing I'm hiding. And he has nothing to hide from me, either. We aren't together, so what difference does it make?
I tell Brian and Sylvia about the crane coming tomorrow. "I told you so, Sunshine," Brian smiles. "That crane will give you that 'flying through the air' effect you wanted!" He laughs and nudges Sylvia. "The director has big ideas!"
"I see," says Sylvia. Her mouth is tight. She used to be so nice to me. Now she hates me, I guess. Maybe she thinks that I've fucked up Brian's recovery. Or that I made promises that I couldn't keep. I did, but it doesn't matter now. I don't give a shit what she thinks.
There's only one scene in the video that takes place indoors and that's Brian in bed and then at the window, looking out as he hears the music calling him. We've gotten permission from The McKinley Inn to shoot there because the rooms are big enough to get the camera and lights and crew in there, and the hotel faces the park and Chautauqua Lake beyond it. We're using Dorian's actual room for the scene.
Heather, our continuity person, brings the storyboard over so I can show Brian what we're going to do next. The board shows a drawing of a dim room with a beautiful, dark-haired man -- Brian, of course -- on a bed. "Then he sits up and cradles his head in his hands," I explain. "The lyrics go:
'There's a battle ahead,
many battles are lost
But you'll never see the end of the road
While you're traveling with me.'"
"I'm familiar with the song," says Brian, shortly.
"Okay then," I reply uneasily. Brian is now being cool and professional. That feels worse than him being angry at me. "The man goes to the window. He's backlit, his naked body in silhouette, as he opens the window and lets light into the room. 'Hey now, hey now/Don't dream it's over/Hey now, hey now, When the world comes in.' Then the camera moves past him and out of the window, panning the sky and then the town below, with the park and the lake. We'll do that tomorrow when we have the crane, along with the final shots from above."
"Sounds impressive," says Sylvia, looking closely at my storyboard.
"It's more complicated than I thought it would be," I tell her. "After all, this is only a three minute song. I thought it would be pretty simple."
"Three minutes of screen-time can take hours to film," Brian adds. "Or days, depending on the location and complexity of the set-up. Weeks even, if it involves special effects. Making a movie, even a three minute one, takes a lot of work. I ought to know." Then Brian pauses. "Sorry, Justin. I didn't mean to butt in. You're the director here and that means you're the boss."
"That's okay, Brian." I want to step away from him, but I can't. "You and Dorian are really the experts, not me. I don't know what the fuck I'm doing."
"You're doing fine, Sunshine," he says without any mockery in his voice. And he touches my arm, very gently. "It'll look great."
"I... I better get back and talk to Dorian and Richard about the inside set-ups," I say. I have to get away from Brian. If I stay too close to him I won't be able to stand it. I want to touch him so fucking much!
It takes about two hours to get Dorian's room prepared for filming. Carlos and Jon are in charge of the lighting, while Louise and Roddy arrange the set. They move the furniture so that only the bed will be in the shot. Then they argue about how the sheets should look and whether the drapes are all right. "They're too heavy," says Roddy, pulling at the thick blue material. "They should flutter at the window."
"You're right," I concede. "They should flutter."
So Roddy and Louise ask the manager of The McKinley Inn if he has any thinner drapes, ones with more 'flutter' in them. And it turns out that he does have some white muslin curtains in another room, so they make the change.
Finally, we're ready to film. The room is fairly large, but it feels cramped with the entire crew, plus Dorian and Sylvia, crowded inside. No one wants to miss Brian's big scene.
"Get into the bed and we'll walk through the take first," I direct. Brian nods -- and proceeds to take off his clothes. All of his clothes. The kids on my crew stare at him, bug-eyed. But Brian never misses a beat as he drops his briefs and stands there, looking like a golden-skinned god. Dorian and Sylvia just stand in the back, smiling and shaking their heads as if to say, "That Brian!"
"The storyboard says 'naked,'" Brian declares as he looks at the stunned faces gaping at him.
"Justin, do you want any... um... make-up on him?" asks Tiffany. She's in charge of make-up and costumes, but so far all she's really done is powdered my face so the sun wouldn't glare off of it. And now she has a tall and very naked man to deal with. Tiffany was definitely not expecting that when she agreed to do this shoot!
"Only if you see a little shine," I tell her. What the fuck do I know about make-up?
Brian stands there patiently while Tiffany tentatively pats some powder on his nose while she ignores the other things right in front of her! "Do you want me to get into the bed under the covers, or just on top of them?" Brian asks as she finishes and then flees.
I swallow, my eyes riveted to Brian's body. "In... in the bed. Under the sheet. That should be enough."
"Okay," says Brian, getting in and pulling the white sheet over his dick, but leaving the rest of his naked body revealed. We rehearse Brian getting out of the bed and walking to the window again and again as Richard looks through the camera and keeps adjusting things. Then he has Carlos and Jon move the lights. And then he looks through the camera again. Then Dorian takes a look and they all confer.
"Can we try a take?" I say. "It's getting late and soon we won't have any light coming in through the window."
"Yes," says Dorian. "Carry on."
We start rolling film. Brian gets out of the bed, but the sheet keeps tangling around his legs when it should be floating off of him. Plus, Brian's dick keeps getting into the shot. We stop and shake out the sheet, trying to get it to move better. Finally, we get a couple of good takes and Richard and Dorian move the camera to shoot Brian standing at the window in silhouette with the light flowing in around him.
"That looks great!" Richard cries as we look at the take on the monitor.
"Do another take to cover yourself," Dorian suggests, and we do. And that's a wrap for the day.
Brian pulls on his pants and then his sweater, never even looking at me. "What time tomorrow?" he asks Dorian.
Dorian glances over at me and I nod. "Early, Brian," he says. "I'll call you. We can film you walking down the street first. By that time the crane should be here. Then we can do the shot from the hotel window and the overheads."
"All right," says Brian. "I'll see you guys then." And he walks out.
The crew cleans up the room -- Dorian is staying in there, after all -- but it doesn't take long. Everyone is extremely hungry by now, so we go with Dorian to the Golden Pagoda, the little Chinese restaurant on main square. The food isn't fancy, but there's plenty of it. Afterwards, it's back to the motel for us and back to the inn for Dorian. Tomorrow is going to be another very long day.
I'm sharing a room with Richard, which isn't bad except that all last night he snored like a fucking freight train. I sit on the bed and look over my notes for tomorrow. But Richard isn't getting ready for bed. He's changing his shirt.
"Where are you going?" There aren't exactly any late-night hot spots in McKinley, New York, unless he's thinking of driving the van into Erie or all the way to Buffalo.
"Over to Dorian's room," he says. "We're going to discuss... a few things."
"Oh, yeah?" I say. This is interesting. "What kinds of things?"
Richard curls his lip. "Some technical things. Not that it's any of your business, Justin."
"Sorry I asked." I guess Dorian is just like any other guy -- always looking for an easy lay. And the starry-eyed Richard is as easy as they come. At least I know that Dorian isn't spending the night with Brian -- unless they're planning a three-way. "I didn't mean to pry into your personal life. It's no skin off my ass what you do, Richard."
"I'll be back later," he says as he goes out.
Of course, he never comes back. I know because I don't close my eyes all night long.
"We need to do this again before we lose the light," Dorian tells me.
It's the final scene of the video and we've been working on it for three hours already. But the clouds are moving in quickly and it looks like rain.
The crane arrived from Toronto this morning around 8:30 and Dorian and Richard worked with the men who brought it to set it up and figure out how we were going to use it. First we did the scene where the POV seems to move from the window of the bedroom to the outside and then we shot a bird's-eye-view of the town, the park, and the lake. Richard dollied his camera over Brian's shoulder and then pushed the lens out to make it seem like the POV was flying out the window and up into the sky. Then we moved the camera to the crane and Richard panned as the arm lifted him up for a sweeping view of McKinley.
"Fucking awesome!" he yelled right before they brought him down.
"Just don't fall off!" I called. But Richard only laughed and kept filming.
That took all of the morning and into the early afternoon. So we are now racing to finish the final shot before it gets too cloudy, or -- even worse -- starts to rain.
"Begin at ground level," I tell Richard. "Brian will kiss me and then pick me up and spin me around. We already have a few takes of the camera moving around us. We'll do it again now -- that's when you start the lift. But don't lose sight of us as you go up."
"I'm trying to keep the camera as steady as possible when we go up, Justin, but it's difficult when you're moving," Richard gripes. Then he looks to Dorian for reassurance.
"Justin is your director," Dorian says firmly. "You can do it, Rich. Simply remember to keep your actors in view and your camera in focus. This is the climax of the video, so it's important."
We go for a take. Brian puts his arms around me and kisses me. I know it's only for the video, but I shiver and close my eyes. He pulls me against him, off my feet, and spins me around, never taking his mouth away from mine. I should be paying attention to where Richard is and whether the crane is working, but I don't give a fuck at this point. I hold on tightly to Brian as he keeps turning and turning, holding me in his arms. We've done this four times already and it's not getting any easier. But I don't want to let go.
"Justin!" I hear Richard yell. "Can we try it once more?"
Brian releases me and steps back. "Sure. Let's do another take."
Tiffany comes over and powders Brian's face. There's sweat trickling down his neck, even thought it isn't really hot today. Then she fluffs our hair back into place.
"Ready for another try, Sunshine?" Brian asks.
"Huh?" I'm flustered for a second. "Oh, yes. I'm ready for another try."
We do another take and then once again. I know I should be concentrating on the video, but my heart and my head is in that kiss. I finally notice that the sky is darkening. The clouds are beginning to move over the sun. "Can you film some of those clouds, Richard?" I ask him. "That might look really good."
"Sure!" he says. Richard doesn't want to get down off the crane. He's having too much fun. But we need to pack up our equipment before the rain begins. And we just make it, getting everything into the van right before the downpour begins. Sylvia didn't come to the shoot today -- I guess she felt that Brian was all right without her watching over him -- so he's been hanging out with Dorian all day. I look around, but the two of them have disappeared. I don't know where they went. Maybe back to Dorian's hotel room to talk. Or maybe to do more. Whatever. It's none of my business.
The crew and I run into the local pizza place. They're all hungry, as usual, and also very happy with the way the shoot turned out. I'm happy, too. I feel exhilarated, like a major head-rush. But I don't know how much is because the filming went so well and how much is because I was touching Brian. Holding him. Kissing him. Even if it was only acting. Even if Brian was only pretending that he was still in love with me.
We're eating our pizza when Dorian walks in with Brian. My appetite immediately flies out the window. Brian says something to Dorian, leaning down to whisper to him, and Dorian laughs. But then Dorian comes over to the table and sits next to Richard on the bench, nudging him with his elbow. Richard's face lights up like a fucking Christmas tree.
"Hey," Brian says to me.
"Hey. You want some pizza?" I ask, trying not to let him know that my heart has completely stopped.
"Not really. I'm not very hungry." Brian stands there, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. "I need to get back to Springhurst, but it's raining. Do you think you can give me a lift?"
"Sure, Brian," I say slowly. I stand up and put a fifty down on the table to pay for the pizza.
"I'll get that, Justin," says Dorian, reaching into his jacket.
"No, this is on me," I say. "I want to thank everybody for helping with the video. I know it's going to look great when it's finished. Richard and I will be editing it this week and I'll let you all know when you can come over and see the finished product."
"Thanks, Justin!" says Heather, holding up her glass of beer. "Hear, hear!" And my whole crew raises their glasses for a toast.
"I'm going to take Brian home," I tell Richard. "I'll be right back.
The rain is coming down in buckets now. There aren't many streetlights in McKinley, so it's very dark as I drive along the narrow road. It seems strange to have Brian sitting in the passenger's side of the Jeep. Like our roles have somehow been reversed. I remember when I used to ask him if I could come over. Or I'd simply show up at the door of the loft, uninvited. But Brian almost always let me in. Now I'm in the driver's seat, but the truth is that Brian is still in charge.
"Lindsay e-mailed me some new pictures of Gus and the baby," Brian says as I pull into a parking space in front of the main building of Springhurst. He's been silent during the entire ride over. "You want to come in and see them?"
"Yeah, I'd like to see them." I turn off the engine and pull out the key. "You want to make a run for it?" It's raining much harder now, so we're both soaked as Brian pushes open the door. The reception area is deserted. "Where is everyone?"
"Still at dinner or at the big movie screening in the Rec Room," he reminds me. "A typical Saturday at Springhurst. Sorry you missed Bingo last night."
"I forgot all about Bingo Night," I reply. I picture me and Brian sitting at the table with the Bingo cards spread out in front of us.
"Yeah," says Brian, shaking some water out of his hair. "It's easy to forget things here when you have much more important things to do out in the real world."
I inhale as if Brian had slapped me. "I haven't forgotten anything, Brian. I... I'm sorry. Just show me the photos and I'll get out of here."
"No, forget it. I'm the one who should say I'm sorry. I'm being an asshole." Brian turns and begins walking down the corridor. I hesitate, then I follow after him.
In his room I sit cautiously on the bed while Brian takes out his iBook. He opens a folder labeled 'Kids' and I see about twenty pictures of Gus and Charity. In one Gus is sitting on the sofa in Lindsay and Mel's living room, solemnly cradling his baby sister in his lap. "Can you send me some of these pictures, Brian?" I ask. "I mean, if it isn't too much trouble?"
"It's no trouble," Brian insists. Then he closes his eyes. "I didn't know if you were... were still interested in my kids."
"Of course I'm still interested!" I almost shout. "But I don't want to get in your way, Brian. I don't want to butt into your... your new relationship."
Brian's face is blank. "What the fuck are you talking about?" he says. "What relationship?"
"I called here on your birthday," I inform him. "Your cell was off, so I called the room phone. And... Jimmy answered. So I hung up."
Brian makes a hissing sound. "Fucking Jimmy! He showed up here and acted like a goddamn idiot. Telling me all about some kind of statement he wants to make to the media about 'coming out'! And that I should be with him when he does it! As his fucking partner!"
"Jimmy wants to come out?" I gasp. I never expected that. "Jesus! Is he crazy?"
"Yes!" Brian blasts. "He's crazy as a fucking loon!" Then Brian stares at me. "Do you think I want to be with Jimmy? You think Jimmy and I have a 'relationship'? Seriously? Is that why you left me in L.A.? Is it, Sunshine?"
My head begins to throb. "No! Yes! I mean, I don't know! I don't really understand why I left, Brian. I was angry at you. And hurt. I wasn't thinking clearly."
"Do you think I LOVE Jimmy Hardy?" Brian demands. "Do you?"
"No," I whisper. "I know you don't love him, Brian. But you might decide to be with him anyway. Jimmy... he's a huge movie star. And he was your co-star. The two of you... it might be a good thing for... for your career."
I look up and Brian's face is bright red. "That's what you think of me? That I'd fucking sell myself to Jimmy Hardy for the sake of some goddamn career? That I'd fuck him in order to get ahead? Then you're just like all the rest of those fuckers in Hollywood! Except you should know better, Justin. If you think I'll never be anything but a fucking whore, then fuck you!"
I jump off the bed. "That's not what I think! You know I don't think that!"
"Then how could you ever believe I'd want to be Jimmy's partner, especially when you know I don't love him? There's only one person that I...." Brian pauses. "But that person doesn't want to be with me. He's made that perfectly clear." He turns his back on me and pulls off his wet sweater. "I'm going to catch pneumonia and so will you if you don't get dry. I'll give you a clean shirt to put on."
I stand there for a moment, trying to process it all. Brian still loves me! He really does! And he never stopped, not even after I walked out on him in L.A. I should have known that Brian would never be serious about Jimmy. I should have trusted my own heart. I knew that Brian loved me, but I let everything else, all the unimportant crap like that fucking interview, get in the way. I let my own pride get in the way. But I'm still onto Brian. I really am! I walk towards him, wanting to touch him. Dying to touch him. "Brian... I...."
Brian turns at the same time. "Justin," he interrupts me. "Give me another fucking chance! I can't stand being without you! I thought I could -- but I can't."
I fall against him in relief. It feels like all the energy has gone out of my body, but Brian holds me up. "I was going to ask you the same thing! Take me back! I didn't mean it before when I left you! I was so tired I wasn't thinking, Brian. I believed then that I'd be better off by myself, but I'm not! I'm fucking miserable! When I go to bed at night I don't want to wake up! I hate my life... and I... I hate myself."
Brian lifts up my chin and looks directly into my eyes. "Don't say that, Justin," he whispers and then clutches me tightly. "Never, ever say that. You have your whole fucking life ahead of you."
"But not without you!" I cry, clinging to him. "What the fuck good is having my whole life ahead of me if we aren't together?"
"You're still damp," Brian breathes against my cheek. Then he steps back and pulls off my sweatshirt and my jersey. He unhooks my cargo pants and eases them down, along with my briefs. He drops his jeans on the floor and kicks them away before he takes me into his arms again. "Your skin is fucking freezing."
"That's because I'm cold," I murmur. "So cold. Please make me warm again, Brian. You're the only one who can. The only one. Or I'll never be warm again. I'll never be alive again!"
We sink down on the bed and I lie back, pulling Brian against me. He covers me with his long, smooth body. Buries his face in my neck, in my hair. Puts his ear against my heart. "You're alive," he whispers. "I can hear your heart telling me."
I touch the little red heart that hangs on its golden chain around his neck. "You're still wearing this. That should have told me all I needed to know, Brian. But I didn't trust my own emotions. I was thinking too fucking much."
"Then stop thinking and just feel!" Brian urges, clinging to me desperately now. "I... I feel more than I can ever tell you, but it's so fucking hard for me to say it. It... it fucking hurts to let myself feel like this! But I don't care if it hurts! Just don't turn your back on me again. Don't! Please!"
"I won't!" I reply, holding his hot body even closer to mine. Because now I know the truth. Absolutely and without a doubt. I feel the heat rushing back through my own body like a forest fire. I hadn't realized how cold I was before. How dead I felt on the inside. Not until this momentwhen Brian brings me back to life.
The wind moans outside and I can hear the wild rain beating against the window. But I don't care if the place blows down around us. I don't care if the fucking world comes to an end right now. Because I'm right where I need to be. Right where I belong.
Brian takes a small bottle of lube and a condom out of the drawer and hurriedly puts it on, his slick fingers fumbling nervously. Then he thrusts himself inside me immediately, almost frantically. I flinch at the impact of it, but then I open myself up. Willingly. Yes, even desperately.
"Yes! Fucking yes!"
It seems like forever since we've fucked, even though it's only been a few weeks. But it isn't about the time that's passed, it's about the emotion. Everything's changed. Because now I don't doubt what Brian feels. I never really doubted him. Not in my heart. It was my head that didn't want to believe it. It was my pride that didn't let me accept the truth. That didn't let me understand the reality.
I wrap my legs around him tightly and grip his body with my thighs, urging him to fuck me harder. Harder.
"Oh, shit!" Brian groans. "I'm coming already!"
"Let it happen," I say. "We have all night. We have fucking forever! Don't we, Brian? Don't we?" I'm pleading now. Begging for him to believe it, too. To believe it as much as I do.
"Yes," he answers. "We do. Fucking forever."
At this moment I know we're both alive.
And nothing else matters.
"The finger of blame has turned upon itself,
And I'm more than willing to offer myself.
Do you want my presence or need my help?
Who knows where that might lead?
I fall at your feet,
And you let your tears rain down on me,
Whenever I fall...."
Continue on to "Sanctuary".
©Gaedhal, August 2005.
Posted August 13, 2005.