This is Part 1 of Chapter 105 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine -- Part 4", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, featuring Dorian Folco, Kenroy Smith, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian arrives in London and is met by Dorian. London, October 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.
The plane trip from Los Angeles to London seems like the longest journey in the world. Maybe because all you really have to do on an airplane is sit there and think -- and that's never a good idea where I'm concerned. Thinking too much has always been my downfall. Also, thinking too little. I just can't seem to work out that middle ground.
I try to sleep. I try to watch the movies. I try to listen to the music. I try to stop thinking about the mess my life is in. I also try to avoid my old standbys -- drinking and fucking the flight attendant -- and, to my surprise, I manage it. By the time we are over London, I'm about to go out of my mind, but at least I'm sober.
It would be so fucking easy just to knock myself out. Then I wouldn't have to think about what I've done to Ron. And what Ron said. That I've destroyed him -- and that I'll destroy Justin, too. Maybe not now, but eventually. And I believe that. Because it's true. So fucking true. And I can't get it out of my mind.
I've always believed that I was bad for Justin. Nothing but bad things have happened to him since he met me, from his estrangement from his father, to getting bashed and ruining his hand, to ending up with his innocent ass on Ron's magic video tape. It's fucked up and that's all my fault! I tried to push him away again and again, but he refuses to go. Because he is "On to me" -- that's what he always says! And now... I have to stop thinking about this or I'll end up having to get drunk in order to stand myself.
Unfortunately, we have to circle Heathrow for another hour. Too much ground fog. I ask the female attendant for a fucking parachute, telling her that I'd rather take my chances that I'll hit the target in one piece than sit in this flying prison for one more minute! But she just laughs. She thinks I'm very amusing. All the flight attendants in First Class think I'm a riot. It's the other passengers -- who aren't crazy about being ignored -- who don't like me much.
Finally, we land and I breathe a sigh of relief. I need to walk around, get some fresh air -- do anything but sit and think!
"Mr. Kinney," says the female attendant who has 'claimed' me. "Would you please remain seated until all the other passengers have deplaned?"
I look at her in alarm. "Why? Are you sending me back?" I glance around for a window to jump out of.
"You are SO funny!" She laughs. "No, Mr. Kinney. Please wait until the VIP Liaison comes on board to escort you through Customs."
So, I sit. While every other fucking person on the plane walks by me. And every single one of them takes a good, long look. Like they are looking for someone else. Not me. Someone famous. I feel like a total freak. Now I understand why Jimmy wears his sunglasses on airplanes.
Finally, a very prissy man in a gray Savile Row suit comes onto the plane. "Mr. Kinney -- I am prepared to take you and your entourage through now."
I look around. I'm fucking sitting there, completely alone. "My entourage?"
"Ah," says the functionary. "No entourage. What about your Personal Assistant?"
My Personal Assistant. He's in Pittsburgh, getting ready for his Midterm Exams.
"I don't have one. Unless I'm hiding him under the seat." I stand up and drag out my carry-on instead. The flight attendant hands me my leather jacket, which she had hung up when I got on the plane at LAX.
"So -- it's just you, Mr. Kinney?"
"Well, then -- shall we proceed?"
I nod and follow the guy out of the airplane and down the long hallway. "And what are your transportation arrangements, Mr. Kinney?"
I frown. "Fuck if I know."
"Then how are you planning to get to your hotel?
I shrug again. "Fuck if I know." I don't know much, it seems.
The VIP Liaison seems exasperated. "You see, Mr. Kinney, a Personal Assistant would know these things. He would have made these arrangements. If you had a Personal Assistant we wouldn't have this... bit of confusion."
"Right," I say. "And if my aunt had a nine inch dick she'd be my uncle. But she doesn't and she isn't. So, there you go."
"Um, rather," replies the prissy Liaison.
He leads me up to the Emigration counter where they go over your passport and all your documentation. But this time I'm not here to work, I'm just here to attend the 'Hammersmith' premiere, so it doesn't take too much time. Then we collect my bags and it's on to Customs, where I try to look as innocent as possible. Which I am -- I'd really be an idiot to try to take anything illegal into the country at this point in my life, especially after my little misunderstanding with the police over the summer. That really would be wanting to self-destruct totally. And there are much more pleasant ways to self-destruct available in London. Some of which I'll be looking into a little later in my stay.
My new buddy takes me by the elbow and hustles me along. I think he's got something in mind for the two of us and he's eager to get to it! Could be interesting. But instead he says, "Here is where things get a bit sticky, Mr. Kinney."
"That," he says, pointing. I see a hoard of people, waiting beyond the doors to the Custom area. I see some of them looking in our direction and pointing. I turn around to see who they are pointing at.
"So?" I say, getting impatient. I just want to find a cab and get into town before next year.
"They are waiting for YOU, Mr. Kinney."
"Me?" I say. "Who's waiting for me?"
The guy looks at me like I'm the densest person on Earth -- and maybe I am. "The Press, for one. Photographers from the tabloids. And a quite a pack of females, mainly teenagers." Who have ALL spotted me by now -- and are screaming and jumping up and down!
"Jesus," I say. "This is all I need!" Now I'm more than a little concerned. From far away, the girls looks pretty harmless, but I seem to remember that back in the days of Beatlemania guys used to get their clothes torn off and their hair pulled out by such 'harmless' young things! "What the fuck do I do now?"
"You'll have to get by them -- or through them. I have Security here. Are you certain that no one is meeting you, Mr. Kinney?"
I look through the glass again and see even more of those bouncing teenagers. And I thought some of those Hollywood starlets were bad news! At least they don't travel in a small army! "Maybe -- someone might be waiting for me. If you page Mr. Dorian Folco.... Could you do that?"
"Certainly," says my buddy. "Anything." A few minutes later I hear the page. And then Dorian appears. He's looking elegant in his immaculate Prada suit, while I look like a bum in faded jeans and my leather jacket. But Dorian is smiling broadly. This airport scene is a nightmare for me, but a goldmine of publicity for his picture. Fucking directors -- they are all the same!
"Brian," says Dorian, embracing me. "Quite a greeting you're getting today!"
I sigh. "Why, Dorian? Why is the Press here? I mean, I haven't even been arrested -- yet!"
"Brian, posters for 'Hammersmith' are plastered all over this city. You can't go into the Underground without seeing YOUR face. Not to mention that your voice is all over the radio."
"Shit!" I'd completely forgotten about that.
"And you wonder why you have a large and vocal contingent awaiting you? You are a star, Brian." Dorian puts his arm around me and pats me, consolingly.
"And you are loving it, Dorian. Loving all this hype for 'Hammersmith'!"
"I can't say I'm displeased," Dorian admits.
The Liaison guy is practically wetting himself. He can't wait to get us out of his airport. "Gentlemen?" he urges. "If you will?"
"I have a car waiting just beyond," Dorian says. He turns and confers with my buddy and another man in a Security uniform. Then they take my bags. I also hand them my carry-on, and off they go to the car, while Dorian and I wait.
"So," says Dorian. "I take it that L.A. was a bit quieter than this."
"Not really... quiet -- but I sure haven't been subjected to anything like this out there."
"Just wait, Brian. It will happen. Of course, they are more used to celebrities in Los Angeles."
"Oh, come on, Dorian! In L.A. I'm barely on the radar screen."
Dorian raises his eyebrows. "Think again, Brian. The hysteria just hasn't begun yet. 'The Olympian' hasn't opened. Think of this as your dress rehearsal."
"Christ," is all I can muster to say.
Security pushes their way through the crowd -- and Dorian and I get pushed along behind them. The photographers are pissed because they don't get the pictures they want. They want me to stand still for a clear shot they can title 'Brian Kinney arrives at Heathrow to attend 'Hammersmith' premiere.' But I'm not exactly able to cooperate with them, and we all keep getting jostled by the shrieking girls! That's the thing that really freaks me out. These teenagers! They're yelling out "Brian! We love YOU!" like they're at a rock concert. They want me to stop and sign autographs. But Security just powers through everyone.
And waiting on the other side of a security barrier is a very familiar classic black Rolls Royce -- and Kenroy Smith. "Welcome back to London, Mr. Kinney!"
"I'm glad to see you, man!" I say, clapping him on the back. "Since when are you driving for Dorian?"
"I'm always available for YOU, Mr. Kinney," he replies, formally, opening the door of the Rolls.
"Call me Brian -- remember?"
"I like your welcoming committee, Brian," laughs Kenroy, giving me a wink. Behind us, the photographers are regrouping, trying to get some decent shots, but the Heathrow Security guys are keeping them behind the barrier. I turn and wave at them, reluctantly. Then I duck into the Rolls.
"I thought it would be easier to have Mr. Smith on call while you were in town, Brian," says Dorian, sliding into the backseat next to me.
"So I won't wander around, getting into trouble?" I answer, as we pull away from the curb.
"I'm just trying to make your stay easier, Brian," says Dorian. And we head into the city.
London feels the same. Cooler, maybe. And the leaves are changing. Actually, it looks beautiful. I've always liked Autumn. The colors. That whole forlorn aura. And London in the Fall looks especially melancholy. It's a perfect place to feel depressed. The perfect place to mull over relationships, past, present and future, that are doomed to fail. The perfect place for me.
"So, Brian," begins Dorian. "I... heard that you and Ron have split. Again."
I roll my eyes. "Jesus, word travels fast! It only happened yesterday!"
"Brian, the queer gossip grapevine is faster than the internet -- and much more reliable."
I think of one of Emmett Honeycutt's favorite phrases. "I guess it's true what they say, Dorian. There's telephone, telegraph, and tell a queen!"
"Just so, Brian," Dorian replies. "So, are you going to tell me what happened?"
"You already know everything you need to know, Dorian. You know what Ron was doing with Hughie? Well, he was doing it to me, too. But I ended it. Finally." It sounds so simple when you repeat it to another person, in a distant place. So simple. So why wasn't it simple?
Dorian shakes his head. "I thought as much. Blackmail. I knew there must be a reason why you'd go back with him after you and Justin seemed so happy together when you were here this summer. And what about the boy?"
"He's still in Pittsburgh. Still in school. And that's where he's going to stay. Away from all the shit," I say. "And away from me for a while."
Dorian frowns. "And why away from YOU, Brian?"
Because I'm Gay Kryptonite and I don't want Justin to be another victim, I want to yell! But instead I say, "Because it's better for him to be away from me. It's better for him to be as independent as he can. And better for me not to... to get too emotionally involved right now."
Dorian throws me an incredulous look. "Complete bollocks, Brian! You are as 'emotionally involved' with Justin as ever I've seen a man! Why are you punishing yourself by saying such rubbish out loud? I hope you aren't saying that to the boy?"
"No, Dorian -- but I need to get some distance from... from Justin. AND from Ron. And from the whole mess out in L. A. Just for my own piece of mind! Things with Ron ended with a pretty nasty scene. I even... got my lawyer involved."
"Did it really come to that?" Dorian sighs. "That's unfortunate."
"I tried to avoid it -- but I couldn't. Ron kept acting like he was going to let go and I hoped that he would. Then everything could just fade away and be forgotten. Maybe then we could even be... friendly to each other. Or at least not constantly trying to kill with each other. But with Ron it's all or nothing."
Dorian laughs shortly. "I could have told you that, Brian!"
"Well, yeah, I know. I... was hoping that it wouldn't come to... threats. But since Ron's main method of operation is threats and blackmail -- that's what it came down to."
"And you had something on him, I assume?" Dorian is dying to know every detail, but he's being cool.
I nod. "Something worse than what he had. Something... I can't talk about it. It's... too personal."
"Obviously!" Dorian snorts. "It's sad, actually. Ron is a talented man. And his film is going to be a huge hit. Critically, at least."
"Don't you think it's going to be a box office draw, Dorian?"
"That's more difficult to discern, Brian. The subject matter is... controversial, let's face it. It's a 'hard sell,' as they say. It might end up making back its investment, but the real importance of 'The Olympian' will be in the critics' arena. And in Awards Season."
"And what about 'Hammersmith'?"
Now Dorian really smiles. "Now THAT is truly amazing, Brian! The word on the film is astronomical! We are opening on double the number of screens that we had originally planned. And we are looking to surpass the film's break even before the New Year. Of course, 'Hammersmith' was made on a British budget, which is nowhere near what 'The Olympian' cost. But the studio is pleased as can be. Sir Ken is over the moon with the prospect of a hit!"
"Sure -- he has a piece of the picture's profits! He's got reason to be delighted!"
"And much of that success is due to you, Brian. The Soundtrack is on high rotation on the two major pop stations in London and is selling great guns. We have already signed up foreign distribution deals all over -- mainly on the strength of the buzz the previews are generating. And on the assumption that 'The Olympian' is going to open well, too. You being in two hit movies at the same time can only help both of them at the box office!"
"And all those teenage girls at the airport?"
Dorian raises an eyebrow. "You aren't quite a Teen Idol yet, Brian, but you may have your share of 'screamers' at the premiere! See? Just like James Hammersmith!"
"Um, not EXACTLY like James Hammersmith, Dorian! No groupies, please!"
"You are close enough for our purposes, Brian."
Kenroy opens the glass partition. "Did you say The Dorchester, Mr. Folco?"
"Yes, Mr. Smith. That's where you have reservations, isn't it, Brian?"
"Yeah," I reply. "Ron made them." I feel restless in my seat, thinking about the last time I was at that hotel. "You know, Dorian, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I'd rather NOT go to The Dorchester. I have a feeling it'll be crawling with Press and all sorts of people I'd rather avoid." I think of meeting Marc Gerasi in the bar there. And that Fiona woman confronting me and Ron in the lobby. No, The Dorchester isn't the place for me right now.
"Indeed? Where would you rather go?" Dorian takes out his cellphone. "Shall I call The Chatterton and see if they have a room available? I'm certain they will be as discreet as usual."
"No, Dorian," I say. "Not The Chatterton!" The thought of staying there without Justin depresses me even more. "Do you think that -- I mean, if it wouldn't be too much of an imposition -- that I could stay at your place? Maybe just for the first few days? I think I'd feel more relaxed in a house rather than a hotel."
Dorian looks at me strangely, but then he says, "Certainly. I would have offered my hospitality to you earlier, but I didn't want you to think I had an ulterior motive for inviting you. And I assumed you'd want the privacy of a hotel."
"Believe me, Dorian, a hotel isn't all that private -- especially if everyone knows you're there."
"Like Mr. Rosenblum, perhaps?"
"Like anyone, Dorian."
"Then, I'd be very pleased to accommodate you, Brian. Very pleased, indeed." Dorian leans up to the partition. "Mr. Smith, take us to Bloomsbury, if you will." And then he sits back and smiles at me. "Well, then, Brian. Well then, indeed." And he reaches over and puts his hand on my leg.
It was a forgone conclusion that I would end up in bed with Dorian. I mean, it wasn't even up for debate. We both knew it when I asked to stay at his house. That wasn't really my purpose in wanting to stay here. Dorian's house is on a quiet street in a quiet part of town, away from all the commotion and that's what I'm looking for, really. But the other was inevitable, I guess. Ron was right about that. We probably would have gotten together last summer if I hadn't had Justin with me. And fucking actually takes away a lot of the underlying tension of the situation.
And it releases a lot of my own tension. That's another part of it. Because I have a shitload of tension to release. And Dorian is more than willing to help me release as much tension as I can manage.
See, Dorian doesn't expect anything. He doesn't mistake a casual fuck for anything but what it is. He's not going to start ordering commitment rings or hire a hit man to take me out when I decide to leave. There's something good to be said for someone who isn't expecting anything from you. There's no pressure to live up to anything. Not your reputation or someone's else's image of you or your own history of fuck ups. It's like a clean slate -- there's no past or future. You only have to think about now. And after those weeks in Los Angeles, that's a fucking relief.
But, strangely enough, I also realize that I wouldn't want to go on like this indefinitely. In fact, the thought of going back to that life again is as depressing as thinking of having to go back to Ron. I try to remember what I was feeling all those years before Justin came along when I was doing nothing but mindless tricking, and I can't. Because I wasn't feeling anything. Nothing at all. It's like my entire past is an emotional Black Hole.
Tomorrow is the 'Hammersmith' premiere and I'm beginning to get nervous. Dorian, as usual, is completely unflappable. It's my third night in town and we go to dinner at The Ivy, then to a private club Dorian belongs to. The club is a bit too 'British' for me. The young waiters are all dressed as schoolboys and there's a lot of spanking going on. Not my scene at all. And those schoolboy uniforms -- that made me very uncomfortable. I kept picturing Justin innocently putting on his St. James uniform in the morning before I would drop him off at school. And these guys would get off on that in a way I think is creepy and sick. Just another thing that is 'wrong' about me and Justin, I guess.
After we leave the club, all I really want to do is go back to the house and go to sleep. But I have a certain obligation to entertain my host.
"Brian, I have a question to ask you. Just out of curiosity," Dorian asks me afterwards. He's one of these guys who likes to talk after he comes. I prefer the type that just passes out from exhaustion. Or gets his ass out of bed and goes home. But since this is HIS home, that's not an option. "Why didn't you bring Justin with you? When it's so apparent that you are thinking about him constantly?"
"It's that obvious, huh?" I say. And hard not to do after looking at those school uniforms all evening. "Sorry about that, Dorian."
I hate to tell Dorian that I'm not in the mood for a big, deep conversation right now. But it's impossible to shut up my talkative host. Especially when I've just finished fucking him.
"Nothing to apologize for, Brian. Nothing at all," says Dorian. He hasn't exactly been neglected -- even with my mind elsewhere, I always deliver the goods. My mind may have been on Justin, but my dick was definitely with Dorian. "If I didn't already know you quite well then I'm certain that it never would have occurred to me. But, since I DO know you, I must ask -- why didn't you just bring him here with you? It doesn't make sense to me."
How can I explain it to Dorian? How can I even rationalize it to myself? "He's in school now, in the middle of the semester. Sure, I'd like to take him out and bring him here. But I don't want to disrupt his education any more than it already has been. And it seems that it's always something involving me that is getting in the way. I can't be constantly asking Justin to drop everything just so... so I won't be fucking lonely when I'm over here!"
"Why not?" says Dorian, matter of factly.
"Because that would be totally selfish! I'm already enough of a bastard as it is without constantly putting the needs of my dick before Justin's need to get his school work done!"
Dorian lights a cigarette and then offers me one. I've been cutting back quite a bit, but it's hard to stop completely in England, where everyone smokes like a chimney. So, I take it. Yeah, there's something about having a cigarette after fucking that seems right.
"It amazes me," continues Dorian. "Just how literally Americans take the word 'education.' As if the only place one learns is in a schoolroom and the only person one learns from is a schoolmaster. I would think that traveling the world with your lover, meeting interesting people, experiencing what the world has to offer -- that is an education in itself. Perhaps a different kind of education, but one no less valuable, especially for a budding young artist."
"But if he gets behind in his studies, Dorian, then...."
He stops me. "I'm only saying, Brian, that there are many ways to learn. And what YOU have to teach your boy, what you have, in fact, already taught him -- both good and bad -- will likely be the lessons that he remembers most clearly in his life. Much more so than anything he might take down in an Art History class or be exposed to in his Drawing Studio. You forget that I was an art student, too, Brian. I began my career as a set designer and I attended a design school. But my real knowledge was gained out in the world."
"That's easy for you to say now, Dorian!"
"I am simply offering my own experience as example, Brian. For instance, when I was fourteen I was seduced by a friend of my father's...."
"Jesus! Dorian!" I really don't want to hear details of Dorian's sexual odyssey. At least not at this hour of the night. Still -- it could be hot. Dorian is about seven or eight years older than I am, but he looks younger. Maybe it's because he's short, with delicate features and huge dark eyes. His father was Italian and his mother was French. He must have been a real beauty when he was fourteen.
"Brian, please put away your Puritan Ethos for five minutes. You think you are so 'liberated' because you fuck a lot, but your own guilt about it betrays you as such a typical American! Anyway, I met Simon in Milan, on the set of one of my father's films. I was visiting for the holidays and he was working on a screenplay for my father. He was forty-seven and seduced me almost immediately. And I was quite delighted to be seduced."
"What did your old man do when he found out?" I'm picturing what Pop would have done to that coach it he'd known about the shower incident. And what he would have done to me.
"Nothing, really." Dorian blows a ring of smoke into the air. "He sent me back to my boarding school here in England. Within days I'd climbed out of the window and made my way to London where I lived with Simon happily for a few months before my father arrived back in England, hunted me down, and made me return to school. But in those months with Simon I learned quite a bit about the art of writing a screenplay. Of course, I learned even more about the art of sodomy, but that merely stood me in good stead back at school. British public schools practically invented homosexuality, you know."
"Dorian, these European 'coming of age' stories are SO informative! And indecent, too!" I don't know whether to be properly shocked -- or jealous. I guess jealous would be closer to the truth.
"Why do you say that, Brian? It's quite a fond memory of mine. I still see old Simon out and about occasionally. But I can assure you that nothing I may have missed in class during those months I was away from my school was as valuable as what I learned from Simon."
"A beautiful story, Dorian," I say, sarcastically.
"It IS, Brian. I assure you." Dorian's hand finds my cock under his Irish linen sheets. His Simon story was more stimulating than I thought. "Then, when I was eighteen, I met my future wife, Maria Montgomery. She was starring in another of my father's pictures and I was assisting on the set."
"A woman, Dorian?" I've observed Dorian at very close range and he's as queer as they come. I've never understood his supposed 'marriage.' I imagined it was a put-up job.
"Oh, I was managing things about half and half back then, Brian. Of course, these days I much prefer men, but I enjoy a beautiful woman now and again. And my wife, too, of course. The moment I saw her I knew I wanted to marry her. She was... let's see... thirty-six and the most gorgeous creature I'd ever seen. And when I turned twenty-one, we were married. And we are still married. Always will be, as far as I can see. And whenever we see each other, we enjoy each other -- still."
"But Dorian -- she MUST be in her fifties! How could you... fuck her!" I cringe at the idea of it. People still having sex at that age! I just fucking pray that I'm dead long before then. Because the thought of no longer being young and beautiful, of having to stand in front of the mirror and see someone -- something! -- that I can't bear to look at fills me with dread.
"Because I love her quite dearly, that's how, Brian," Dorian explains. "She's still quite lovely. And she's a splendid lover. Better now, probably, than when she was younger because she has the experience that younger lovers lack. But she certainly taught me more than I could have ever learned at university. And she got me started in set design for the theater by introducing me to a man, who I also had an affair with, who brought me into his theater company as an apprentice designer. And that's how I learned my trade. That's how I learned about my world, Brian."
"In bed? That's your answer to everything?" I remark. "I should pull Justin out of school and fuck him all the way around the world? Is that what you're saying? THAT should be his 'education'?"
"Why not?" Dorian replies. And he's serious! "And Brian, I'm certain that when you are fifty-six years old there will be plenty of people quite willing to fuck you or be fucked by you. Your age will be no deterrent to them. And especially if it is someone who has loved you for quite a number of years. Perhaps even since he was seventeen. Your age won't matter one bit to him then, just as it doesn't matter one bit to him now. You may not believe that at this point in your life, but it will be very true. Trust me."
I shake my head, thinking of myself at fifty-six. But it's too... disturbing. "Bullshit, Dorian. You are so full of it!"
"You'll see, Brian." Dorian says, taking one last drag of his cigarette before stubbing it out in the ashtray on the nightstand. Then he sets about preparing my cock for yet another round. For a small man, Dorian has amazing stamina. "You'll see."
Continue on to "Ground Fog -- Part 2", the next section.
©Gaedhal, January 2003.
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback on this chapter.
Updated January 21, 2003.