This is Chapter 18 of the "Queer Identities" series.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Avi Massarsky, Joe, Rexford Walcott.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Hotels aren't just for sleeping. Arizona, June 2003.
Disclaimer: You know the drill. This is for fun, not profit. Enjoy.
Apparently the paparazzi don't know where we're staying -- at least not yet.
They start to follow us, but they can't keep up. Joe drives like James Bond on crack, weaving in and out of traffic, circling around the city and then circling back for a half hour, until he's sure there are no reporters behind us. That's when he finally heads for the hotel, which is only five minutes from the hospital. He steers into the underground parking garage, where the manager and two bellboys are waiting for us.
"Jesus!" says Brian as his wrapped food hits the concrete. He's still unsteady as Avi and I help him out of Expedition. Joe carries the crutches, which Brian, naturally, refuses to use. "What the fuck did you do? Take one of those 'evasive action' courses for bodyguard wannabes?"
"Nope," says Joe, puffing up with pride. "But 'Bullitt' is my favorite movie! I told you I'd lose those bastards, Mr. Kinney!"
"Don't get too cocky, Steve McQueen," Brian sniffs. "They'll find us before the day is out. But since I'm not planning to go anywhere until it's time to get back to the set, they aren't going to see a fucking thing!"
The manager leads us into the elevator and up to our suite on the seventh floor. The bellboys trail along without anything to do, since we don't have any luggage except the plastic bags Avi filled with the odds and ends he'd gotten on his shopping excursion.
"As I told Mr. Massarsky, this is our finest free suite, Mr. Kinney," says the manager, indicating the fridge, the mini-bar, and the entertainment system. "Our penthouse is currently occupied, but if it becomes free, we can move you into it."
Brian holds up his hand. He just wants these guys to get the hell out. "That won't be necessary. All I need is a decent bed for a couple of days. We'll be out of here on Sunday."
"We're so pleased to have you with us, Mr. Kinney!" the manager gushes. "Anything you want, at any time, just call for it. And I'm available 24/7 in case you have a problem."
"Thanks. But everything should be fine." Brian turns his back and limps into the bedroom.
"There's a Jacuzzi in the tub," the manager calls out to him. "This suite was remodeled last year. This entire floor was completely redone."
"Thank you," I say, guiding the manager and bellboys to the door. "If Mr. Kinney needs anything I'll call for it. We appreciate your concern."
Avi and Joe go down to check out their rooms, which are on a lower and apparently non-remodeled floor, while I see to our 'star.'
He's already stripped off his clothes and is turning on the shower.
"Hold it!" I grab his arm. "If you get your bandage wet we're screwed."
"Then take it off," Brian grouches. "Because I'm getting into that fucking shower in about two seconds. I stink like a warthog!"
"Hm," I reply. "I always liked pork. But hang on. I've got an idea."
I go out into the living room and empty out one of Avi's plastic bags. It's full of toiletries from Walgreen's. I carry the bag into the bathroom, where a naked, bruised, and filthy Brian is waiting impatiently.
"What are you going to do with that? It better be filled with condoms and lube."
Shit. That's two things I forget to tell Avi to buy! "No. It's going to keep your foot dry." I manage to wrap the bag around his foot and secure the top with the tape the nurse gave me in the E.R.
"You're actually quite a clever little devil, aren't you?" Brian says.
"I do my best. I may be a mediocre personal assistant, but I'm a damn fine boyfriend."
Brian winces. "Please don't use that word! I'm a sick man!"
"Yeah, right." I test the water in the shower. Hot enough for Brian, but not hot enough to boil a lobster. "Okay. Get in, but slowly. If you fall on your ass, I won't be able to pick you up. I'll have to call the manager for help!"
"Anything but that!" Brian climbs into the tub, which is very deep. "Christ! This thing is like a fucking swimming pool!"
"It's the Jacuzzi." I point to the jets along the inside of the tub. "It's so you can really sink in."
"I'll save the whirlpool for later." He closes his eyes as he lets the hot water cascade over him. "That feels good! I thought we'd never get out of that goddamn hospital!"
I strip off my clothes and climb in with him. "You're lucky they didn't want to keep you overnight." I soap up his chest, which is the hairiest I've ever seen it. No waxing back in the Old West. But I really like it. It feels butch.
"No fucking way." Brian squirts some hotel shampoo into his hair. Ordinarily he'd rather eat pussy than use anything but his special French herbal blend, but this is a hair emergency. "I'd have walked out. I hate hospitals!"
"Watch your foot," I warn. I bend over and adjust the plastic bag.
"You better watch out yourself," Brian says, eyeing my butt. "That's a pretty tempting target."
"We don't have any condoms or lube, remember? And your balance isn't the greatest."
Brian braces himself against the tile. "Call one of those bellboys to bring up some prime lube and extra-large Trojans with the heavy-duty ridges from the hotel gift shop."
"This isn't San Francisco, Brian," I remind him. "I don't think the gift shop here will have a wide selection of fuck paraphernalia."
"When send your pal Avi out to get some." I feel Brian's long fingers probing my crack.
"The thought of asking Avi to make a lube run isn't all that appealing," I reply.
"Why not?" Brian's fingers delve deeper. "Avi's a go-fer. This is something he can actually go for. While I go for this."
Luckily there's a rail along the outer edge of the tub. I hang on to it while Brian plunges in and out of my ass, using some of the hotel shampoo to slick up his fingers and my hungry hole. I almost tell him to screw the condoms and get his dick into me, but I know better. He'd freak out, I'd get my eight millionth safe sex lecture, and then he'd be in a bad mood for the rest of the night. I mean, a worse mood than he'd usually be in after spraining his ankle, spending hours in the E.R., and then having to evade the paparazzi.
I jerk myself off, and then, as Brian's fingers slip out, I turn around and finish him off, too.
"That was hot," Brian sighs as I help him out of the tub and wrap a towel around his waist. There are two white terry cloth bathrobes with the hotel's name embroidered on them. I slip on one and put the other over Brian's shoulders. Then I untape the plastic bag and hang it on a hook to dry. We might need it again. "Better than Xanax, Percocet, and a shot of Jack Daniels combined. I think I'll sleep like a baby tonight."
Brian hobbles to the bed -- a king-sized monster that takes up half the room -- and flops down. I pick up the remnants of his clothes. His trousers are basically in shreds.
Brian opens one eye. "Don't throw that stuff out."
"But these pants are ruined. And your briefs are disgusting."
"It doesn't matter. It's wardrobe. If I don't bring them back and turn them in, the costumers will have my head. Wrap them in something and we'll take them back on Sunday. In the meantime, I'm planning to stay in this bathrobe for the duration."
I get a pillow and lift Brian's left foot, slipping the pillow under it. "Don't forget -- you're supposed to keep the foot elevated. And I need to get an icepack, too. The doctor said you need to remember 'RICE' -- rest, ice, compression, and elevation."
Brian gives me an amused smile. "Thanks, Nurse Nancy, but I know what to do with a sprained ankle. I was a hard-assed jock in high school, remember? King of the soccer team!"
Yeah, Brian was the world's unlikeliest high school athlete. "Didn't I see pictures of you in your soccer uniform wearing black eyeliner? And black nail polish?"
Brian rolls his eyes. "I was non-heteronormative. Testing the boundaries of gender identification. Plus, I was blowing the coach and half the team, so they let me get away with any shit I wanted to!"
"You're impossible! Now, don't move your leg!"
"And if I don't follow your instructions, what's next, Doogie Howser? Amputation?"
"Asshole. Just do it." I lie down next to him on the bed. "This isn't bad, you know. Big bed. Big television." I nod towards the plasma screen TV on the wall.
"Don't forget this." Brian opens his robe to show his impressive erection. "Big dick."
I roll my eyes. "Are you ready again? You're supposed to be resting!"
"This is the way I rest."
I take care of Brian's dick -- again -- and leave him snoring in the bed, his foot still on the pillow.
While Brian is sleeping, I explore the suite. There's a great view of Tucson from the seventh floor. You can see the mountains that look incredible, rising up like a curtain around the city. It seems strange to be in a big city after so many weeks in the middle of nowhere. Tucson isn't that far from the location, but Brian and I have basically stayed there, with only a few trips to the little towns in the area. Brian is usually too wiped out to do much sightseeing on the weekends, and I'd rather hang out with him when he has some off-time.
But now we have almost three whole days in this luxury suite. In the king-sized bed. In the Jacuzzi. With room service. And the mini-bar.
I get myself a Diet Coke from the fridge and sit on the sofa, putting my bare feet up on the coffee table. I could get used to this. The trailer is really nice, but a hotel is nicer. Even nicer would be Ron's house. I mean, Brian's house. The remodeling is almost finished -- Tess warned Brian that remodeling your house is a never-ending project in L.A. -- and my new studio is amazing. I can hardly wait to start using it. Hardly wait for Brian and I to really begin our new life together.
But there are a couple of problems. The first is that once we get back to Los Angeles in July, Brian will be starting the 'Eastern Front' shoot. Some of the filming will be at the studio, but most of it will be on location. Brian showed me the tentative schedule and they'll be shooting all over Europe, including London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Prague -- you name it! This movie is huge, an epic, and Brian thinks it'll take at least a year to finish, maybe even longer.
Which brings me to the second problem. I still haven't finished my degree at PIFA. Whenever I think about that, I'm inclined to say 'fuck it!' and follow Brian around the world. But he'd give me that Brian-like glare and ask me what the fuck he's been paying for if I was just planning to throw away my education for an extended vacation/fuck-fest, especially when he's working his ass off.
He's right. I know he's right. Graduating from the Institute is important. Getting my degree is important. But that doesn't mean I want to be separated from Brian for long periods of time. We already went through that last year and it was horrible. It almost tore us apart and I'm not going to let that happen again. So I have a real dilemma.
I think I need something stronger than a Diet Coke.
That's the other thing. Brian's rehab. He's been doing great, but there's a ton of pressure in being a movie star. He's working hard, there are all these expectations on him, and he's surrounded by temptation all the time -- drink, drugs, and hot guys are everywhere. I'm under no illusion that Brian is going to remain totally sober or monogamous for the rest of his life. That's a ridiculous assumption. I'm not even sure I want a Brian who is like that, because it's so fucking NOT who he is! But what I do want is a Brian who is in control of himself. Who isn't self-medicating or using pain management or random fucking to avoid things he doesn't want to face.
And I don't want to see myself becoming a bad parody of a jealous wife. I don't want to be Brian's warden. That's what Brian says his father used to call his mother. The warden. The bad cop who always gets in the way of what you want to do. That's not me and I don't want to become that! I'm not Brian's fucking warden and never will be!
I love him and I want him to be happy -- and to be himself. And I want to be happy, too. I want us to be happy with each other.
But there are so many people around who want a piece of Brian. Who want his time. Who want his talent. And who just want him. That's never going to change as long as Brian is working in the film business. As long as he's a fucking movie star.
Sometimes I still can't get my mind around it all. Brian the movie star. And what it all means.
My cell rings. It's Avi, wanting to know if I need anything. We discuss how Brian and I need some basic clothes besides underwear. And condoms and lube, too. I feel uneasy telling him that one, but Avi is very professional and asks what brand? How many? Will do! Avi's going out to get them for us tonight, then tomorrow the two of us can hit a local mall and buy clothes for me and Brian. He'll lend me a clean tee shirt and shorts to shop in.
I set down the cell and wonder how long Brian will be content to lie in bed, doing nothing, before he goes nuts and starts stumbling around the hotel, testing out his ankle. Or before he decides to call a cab and check out the local bars and clubs. That would be pretty crazy. I wonder if the crutches would improve his dancing skills? Probably not.
The cell rings again and I pick it up.
"Justin Taylor? Comfortable in your suite, I see,"
Goddamn it! It's that fucking reporter, Rexford Walcott.
"Goodbye!" I say. "Lose this number and don't call me again! I mean it!"
"Now, Justin," purrs the smarmy voice. "I'm concerned about Brian's injury. I know it's only a sprain, but is it going to hold up filming? When are you returning to the set?"
"Sure! Inquiring minds want to know! Forget it! Now go away!"
"Stop!" Walcott commands in his slimy upper-class twit Brit accent. "Hear me out! What I have to say will be to your advantage."
Yeah, right! "Nothing you have to say to me is to my advantage -- or Brian's!"
"I would disagree, my dear. What about knowing that I am sitting on a rather large story about your boyfriend that could impact his career? But that I would be willing to suppress that story in exchange for an exclusive about his accident. With photos, of course."
I have to laugh! "That's the oldest trick in the book! Even I'm not dumb enough to fall for bullshit like that!"
Walcott's voice takes on a dark edge. "Don't underestimate me, Justin. I'm not like the run-of-the-mill tabloid runner, content to hang around in the bushes, waiting to take a photo of Brian Kinney kissing his little blond boyfriend. Frankly, photos of you two kissing are a dime a dozen."
"So hang up and go away!"
"I want an interview," Walcott insists. "My organization can print what we have, but I'd rather use it for leverage to get an exclusive with Brian. And to continue to get exclusives from the 'Red River' set. This is an important production and our readers are eager for information about it. You could be our 'ear' on location, Justin. Our inside man. We could make it worth your while. We pay extremely well. Your boyfriend need never know. And no one else would ever suspect that you are giving us material. It's a win-win situation, as they say."
This guy is fucking unbelievable! "You think I'd sell out my lover to a sleazy tabloid? What do you think I am?"
I can almost see Walcott's vicious smirk. "You'd be surprised at what most people are, Justin. At how many lovers, and even husbands and wives, not to mention mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sell out their nearest and dearest for a quick pay-out. That's the way the world works, my dear. So it never hurts to test the waters."
"You really are a fucking sleazebag!"
"I'm a professional journalist," Walcott states. "And I'll do whatever I need to do in order to get my story. And I want this story. Brian Kinney is on the verge of becoming a huge star and I want an 'in' to him. You are my 'in' and I'm not giving up."
"Fuck off! I'm not anybody's 'in' to Brian!"
"Let me see." I hear some papers rustling. "Springhurst. Somewhere in the state of New York next to a lake I can't pronounce. Chit-ag-waw? Is that close enough?"
Springhurst! This guy knows all about Brian's rehab! That information is supposed to be confidential. But I can't let him know how much that shakes me. "So? Lots of people go to rehab. It's not a big deal."
"I see quite a long list of drugs your man has been using over the years," he continues. "Hemp. Cocaine. Ecstasy. Amphetamines of various sorts. GHB. That's a date-rape drug, isn't it? And ketamine. That's an animal tranquilizer. Sounds rather unpleasant. Oh, here's a good one. Heroin. That's ugly. Has very bad connotations. Fans don't like to hear that one of their favorite stars is not only a queer, but a heroin addict as well. It's so distasteful."
"Go away," is all I can say. "Just leave us alone."
"Image, my dear," Walcott explains. "Image is everything in this business. The wrong perception can ruin an entire career. And considering that your boyfriend is already walking the edge in that respect, one mistep might well send him over that edge. After all, he's trying to do something that's never been done before -- be a leading man and also an out gay man. Personally, I think it's impossible. And so do a lot of insiders, and that includes producers and studio heads, many of whom are gay themselves. No one wants to pay money to watch a fag act like a straight man. No one wants to watch a fairy romance a female. It ruins the illusion that the studio has spent millions of dollars to create. That's not the image people expect to see. Your boyfriend is a handsome man and a decent actor, but he's replaceable. His career is on shaky ground. If it wasn't for Mr. Dorian Folco's raging crush on him, he wouldn't be filming 'Red River.' That's a fact, Justin."
My whole body feels numb. "What are you trying to do? Why do you hate Brian?"
"I don't hate him. I'm simply a realist." Walcott pauses. "Hm. Police reports about Ron Rosenblum's death. These are also bad. Very bad. It almost looks like Brian Kinney was involved in that death. That's what the detective in charge suspected. There also seems to have been some sort of cover-up. That doesn't look good, either. So, Justin -- did your boyfriend kill his lover? Did he murder Ron Rosenblum in order to be with you? And did you and Jimmy Hardy -- who is also one of his old lovers, obviously -- help him cover it up? Is that what happened?"
"I'm hanging up. Now."
"Work with me, Justin, and this information will never see the light of day."
I snap the cell shut. Clutch it in my hand until it feels hot. Hot enough to burn me.
Then I throw it across the room as hard as I can. The sound of the phone shattering against the far wall makes me feel powerful. Makes me feel like I've done something.
But then I hold my head in my hands, realizing just how powerless I really am.
Continue on to "I Won't Send Roses".
©Gaedhal, April 2008.
Posted April 24, 2008.