This is Part 3 of Chapter 116 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Inside Out -- Part 2", the previous section.
The narrator is Brian Kinney, and features Justin Taylor, Jimmy Hardy, Tess Hardy, Ron Rosenblum, Dorian Folco, Henry Townsend, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Justin deal with the aftermath of Brian's public outing. London, December, 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 Dorchester Hotel, right in the middle of London, is like a castle under siege.
And I feel like the fucking Princess in the Forbidden Tower! The DRAMA Princess!
Yes, it's all my own fault. Yes, I allowed so many things in my life to get out of hand. Yes, I let Ron and the studio make decisions that I knew were bullshit. Yes, I made some lousy choices, not only for myself, but for other people who deserved better. Yes, I tempted Fate and thought I was above getting caught doing some very stupid things. Yes, I've been a fucking jerk! But not anymore. I'm taking back control of my own life! Finally. Once and for all.
And the first step in that process is the interview with Henry Townsend tonight at the Dorchester.
But just GETTING from the airplane to the Dorchester will be a fucking miracle! There is so much press out there, and so many fans, that I have no fucking idea how we can get through them without being trampled. I know that back in the days of Beatlemania, they used to smuggle the Fab Four in and out of hotels in laundry trucks, but that's where I'm drawing the line!
"I refuse to get into a laundry bag with someone's filthy underpants!" I tell Justin as we stand and wait to leave for the hotel -- and he proceeds to spit the mouthful of Diet Coke he's drinking all over my good silk shirt.
"Thanks a million, twat," I say, wiping off my shirt.
"Don't mention it!" he replies, laughing.
We've just cleared Customs -- with help from Dorian and our nervous-as-hell VIP liaison -- and Jimmy and Tess and Ron and Dorian are standing with Justin and me in a narrow corridor, wondering what's going to happen next. I can hear the noise of the mob over my head and it's freaking me out! And that's when they sweep us up and carry us through an underground tunnel and into an armor-plated limo. It's supposed to be like the one they use for the Queen. I only wish it were Kenroy Smith quietly picking us up in the Rolls and taking us to the Chatterton. Faint fucking hope!
Instead there are cops and security guards and fucking SWAT Teams for all I know -- all clearing the way for the limos to get through the hordes of reporters and photographers and screaming fans -- and even a few innocent bystanders who are just trying to catch a fucking plane. Jimmy and Tess and Ron go in the first car and a majority of the reporters take off after them. Then Justin and I, along with Dorian, get in the second car and the rest of the mob follows. There's no use trying to shake them because they know we're headed into central London. Most of them probably also know we're going to be staying at the Dorchester, so there will be another swarm waiting for us there. Once we're out of Heathrow and onto the highway, about 15 cars full of press are chasing after us. Even a few motorcycles are buzzing the limo. Jesus! Now I know how Princess Di must have felt right before the crash!
I tried to convince everyone that we should go to another hotel -- or even somewhere out of the city, but Dorian and Ron, along with the security people, nixed the idea. The Dorchester knows what's happening and they're prepared -- supposedly -- for the onslaught, so everyone agreed that it's the best place to go. Once we're up in the suite the floor will be secured -- again, supposedly -- and no one can get at us. Yes, great. Then we'll be virtual prisoners. That's just what I was hoping for on this trip. One of these days I'm going to have a nice, uneventful visit to London -- sometime before the next millennium, I hope.
Once we get to the hotel they drive us into an underground parking garage. The door of the limo is yanked open and Justin and I are practically carried into a freight elevator. I mean, my fucking feet haven't touched the ground since I got off the plane! I catch a glimpse of Justin's face and I can see that he's scared -- but he's also doing his utmost not to let me know just how scared he is. Justin is so much better now than he was when he came home from rehab, but crowds still overwhelm him sometimes. I know all these people grabbing at us, and the noise, and the general uproar all have to be getting to him, because I know it's getting to me.
Even the hotel suite is hardly a Fortress of Solitude.
Dorian is on one phone and Ron is on another and Jimmy has his cellphone out and everyone is talking at once. Then Sir Miles Hadleigh arrives, looking like he's just come back from the Russian Front -- which he has, in a way, as he had to get through the insanity in the lobby to get up here. The only eye in this hurricane is Tess. She's calmly making coffee, putting the suite in order, banishing a bunch of hangers-on from the studio who have somehow gotten in here, as well as a bunch of useless functionaries the hotel sent up to 'make us comfortable'!
Meanwhile, I drop my ass in a chair and stare into space, trying to figure out what the fuck is happening. I still can't get my head around those pictures of me and Justin. On all those front pages! I mean -- shit! It would be bad enough if it were just me in them. Or me and some trick that I didn't give a fuck about. I'm a big boy. I've done a lot of moronic things in my life and I can take one more. But to have Justin involved -- that's hard. To see Justin's face (and ass!) splashed all over the papers, to read that they are calling him ugly names, to see his life picked apart just because he's with me! Just because he's fucking me! Just because he's... whatever it is that he is. My... boyfriend... God I HATE that word! It sounds so high school. My... lover. That's bad, too. It's what Emmett Honeycutt would say. It's what Lana Turner would say! Why does every fucking thing have to be defined or named? What's the point? Can't some things just BE? What's the big fucking deal? I mean, why does he have to be anything but my... my Justin. That's all it should be. And that should be enough.
Now everything I tried to avoid in my stupid 'deal' with Ron is crashing down on top of me -- in spades! I only agreed to Ron's shit in order to protect Justin. To keep him out of the public eye and OFF the front page of 'The National Enquirer'! And now the deal and all the attendant angst was for nothing! I should have known it would be. What kind of dumb fuck am I to think I could get away with what Justin and I were doing on the boat? Or what we've been doing everywhere? Let's face it, I've been having outlaw sex, in one way or another, since I was 16 years old, but no one gave a damn. Because I was nothing. First, a nameless hustler, then an unimportant kid, and then... well, by then I didn't give a shit! If someone complained or called the cops, I just laughed. Or invited them to join in.
But now the rules have changed. Yes, everything has changed. I just didn't want to acknowledge that fact. Or acknowledge my 'celebrity.' What a ridiculous concept! Celebrity. Jimmy tried to warn me. Ron tried to warn me even before I started filming 'The Olympian.' He said that my life would change and that I had to be prepared for it if I was going to do the film. I remember that conversation so fucking vividly. I was so miserable that night. It was after Ron and Jimmy brought me in to freak out Ross Preston, that little creep the studio had cast as Bobby. After I was so devastated when I thought that Justin and Mikey were fucking! Where was MY head at to believe THAT? But I was so fucking confused about what I wanted and where I should be in my life. Staying in L.A. and doing the film seemed the one way to give my aimless existence some kind of purpose. But I never thought about the consequences. Not at all. I couldn't see beyond just doing the film and surviving the filming. Yes, that was difficult enough! I never looked far enough ahead to the day that the fucking picture would actually be released, let alone realize that my own life would be transformed. And not just mine, but Justin's, too. That never occurred to me.
Yes, Ron's been trying to warn me all along, in his clumsy, paranoid way. Maybe now I understand his paranoia a little better. After all, he's survived in the Hollywood fishbowl a lot longer than I have. He's seen what it does to people. And I've seen what it's done to him. That's the really horrible part. What it's done to Ron. How the homophobic atmosphere and competitive culture of the place have made him hard and relentless and even a little bit crazy. Because I can still remember what he was like before -- kind and caring and shy and a real nerd, too, in a lovable way. Yes, I remember that -- even if Ron can't remember it himself.
I look around and I don't see Justin. Jimmy and Ron are still on the phone, Dorian and Sir Miles have their heads together in the corner, and Tess is talking to the concierge of the hotel, probably ordering dinner or whatever we're going to need up here, since we can't leave! But I don't see Justin anywhere. I suddenly have this fear that he's hiding somewhere, having an anxiety attack all alone! I get up and go looking for him. Tess sees me glancing around and she points to one of the doors. Our room. I nod. I owe Tess a fucking lot. More than I can ever repay, I'm afraid, and all she's ever gotten out of me is shit over Jimmy. Payback IS a bitch, it seems.
I go into the room. Justin's in there, but he's not freaking out. No, I'm doing that enough for both of us. He's unpacking. He's got my big suitcase open on the floor and he's hanging up my shit.
"Justin, stop that!" I say, pulling at his arm. "How many times do I have to tell you? You aren't the goddamn maid!"
But he just looks up at me serenely. "Until Leslie can take over the job I'm still your personal assistant. I know Jimmy decided not to bring Peggy on this trip, but that doesn't mean YOU don't need help, Brian. Because you do -- obviously!"
"Tess told Jimmy to choose either her or Peggy -- he couldn't bring both," I say. "Tess knows that Peggy is a psycho bitch who is not-so-secretly in love with Jimmy and she doesn't want her getting in the way!"
"Well, duh!" says Justin. And he continues unpacking. I try to grab a shirt away from him and he slaps my hand. "Brian, this gives me something to do besides sit around and watch YOU hyperventilate. So let me just do it, okay?" He pulls me by the hand and sits me down on the bed. "Why don't you try to relax a little bit? I know you didn't get any sleep on the plane, so you have to be exhausted."
"Whose fault is THAT if I didn't get any sleep?" I sniff, watching his ass move around in those cargo pants.
"Hey! I slept -- AFTER we fucked," he says, matter of factly. "You could have, too,"
"I was too keyed up! Besides, Jimmy wanted to gab."
"Well, there you go, then," he says. "You've got to set your priorities, Brian. I know that fucking is always Number One, but you have to get some rest, too. So lie down! I mean it!" And he pulls off my boots and swings my legs up on the bed.
"Aren't you going to undress me?" I ask coyly. Yeah, I know. Justin says I'm a fuck pig -- and I am. This is how I always get into trouble -- but I can't help it. He's hot and I'm horny. That's just the way it is. And the way it probably always will be.
Justin rolls his eyes. "They may need to talk with you soon, Brian. I saw Sir Miles come in. He'll definitely want to discuss stuff with you. I know it isn't your image these days to be fully clothed in public, but it might be good in this situation."
"You really ARE getting to be a twat, aren't you?"
"Takes one to know one, Brian," he says. And I lie on the bed and watch him unpack the rest of my clothes.
I'm looking forward to this interview with Henry Townsend like I'd look forward to major surgery without any anaesthetic. Townsend is a nice guy and I liked the way he interviewed Jimmy and me for 'The Independent' -- but this is still going to be fucking torture! I don't even like talking about myself and my personal life to people I KNOW, for godsake! I have a hard enough time talking about important things with JUSTIN, let alone with a virtual stranger, but there's nothing else I can do. This really is something I can't avoid.
Of course, before Townsend gets here Jimmy is following me around the hotel suite with the phone in his hand, making deals. "Bri!" he shouts -- Jimmy always shouts everything. "I've got the guy from 'The Advocate' on the line! He wants to do a cover story!"
I just stare at Jimmy, shaking my head. "Jim, they are already doing a cover story on us and 'The Olympian'! Remember? We posed for the pictures?" And I cringe as I say the word 'pictures'! Every time I hear a camera shutter click from now on I'm going to jump through the fucking roof!
"Oh, right," he says. "Then this one is just about YOU coming out!"
I shrug and run my fingers through my hair. "Tell them to call Lew Blackmore when I get back to Los Angeles. I don't have time to think about this shit now!"
But about 45 minutes later he's back again. "Bri!" he yells. "Hold everything! I'm trying to get you an hour with Barbara Walters. Prime time! Guaranteed!"
"Fuck THAT, Jim!" I yell back from the bedroom, where I'm trying to get a little rest. "The last person I want to spill my guts to is Barbara fucking Walters! 'If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?' She's as bad as Larry King with that shit!"
"Hmn," muses Jimmy. "What kind of a tree WOULD you be, Bri?"
"Poison Oak, Jimmy! Now STOP making deals! You aren't my goddamn agent!" And I slam the door of the bedroom and lock it.
"If I were a tree, I'd be a sugar maple," says Justin. "I think they're beautiful. Long, thin branches and bright red leaves. And all that sweet sap inside waiting to be sucked out." Justin is stretched out naked on the bed. From where I'm standing he already looks beautiful -- and nothing at all like a tree. But he IS full of sweet sap, which I'm planning to suck out, drop by drop. I flop down beside him and bury my face in his stomach, right where that little trail of almost invisible blond hair begins to make its way south. I start to lick my way around his cock just as it begins to rise... But I don't get very far because Tess knocks on the door to let me know that Henry Townsend has arrived.
"Shit! Talk about bad timing!"
"At least Tess knocks," Justin comments as he reaches for his cargo pants. "Jimmy walks right in!"
"That's why I make sure to lock ALL the doors from now on!" I say. "See? I'm learning my lesson!" But we both know it's too little, too late. And every time I close my eyes I can hear that fucking clicking sound! The sound of some asshole taking pictures of us on the boat. It had to have been from another boat nearby. From the angle of the photos, the only place I can think of is Larry the Hippy's old tub. But he wouldn't do that to me -- would he? I just don't know. I fucking do not know!
Henry Townsend comes in, alone and very low-key. Jimmy tries to hang around to put his two cents in, but Tess takes him into their bedroom and keeps him occupied. Who knows? Maybe they'll have a little 7 pound reconciliation and name it 'Henry'? Or maybe 'Infra-Red Camera Hardy'! Ron skulks through the sitting room a couple of times on phony errands, but he knows that he's not welcome and he doesn't stay. So it's just me and Townsend. And Justin, of course, who sits there next to me, holding my hand and making certain I don't fucking fall over.
I know Townsend is gay and sympathetic, and also that he's trying to make this as painless for me as possible, but under the circumstances ANY questions are gut-wrenching. He has a whole range of areas that he needs to cover, giving me a chance to talk about myself and my life. And I'll get to answer Howard Bellweather and all the homophobic morons who went after Justin about the bashing, as well as all those questions about my so-called 'promiscuity' -- well, maybe not exactly 'so-called' -- and all the shit about the photographs, of course. And about Ron and 'Red Shirt.' I have to talk about THAT, too, because Townsend says that the press has information about that phase of my life that they are planning to use in a second wave of "scandalous revelations"! Shit! And it just keeps coming! I figured all the hustling stuff would come out, but I was hoping NOT to have to add that into this already ignoble little witches' brew right now.
Some of the questions start getting way too personal and Justin squeezes my hand tightly, knowing how impossible this is for me. Townsend begins asking about my family and my old man and 'child abuse' and all that stuff -- and I just don't want to answer. I fucking CAN'T answer this! And he asks about Gus, too. Why drag a baby into this? Please, don't! And he asks about drugs. And all the tricks. A million fucking tricks! Jesus! But I have to say SOMETHING. I try to, as best I can. And he asks about Justin and his bashing. About... about too much. It's... I can't say anything and Justin has to take over. He very matter-of-factly fills in the blanks about almost getting murdered and the whole aftermath. Townsend is recording the interview, but he also takes notes very steadily. He's cool and business-like, which is a relief after all the hysteria. And at least he isn't salivating gleefully over his exclusive Brian Kinney scoop. Instead, Townsend seems sad for me. Sad for us -- for me AND Justin.
"There is a LOT of material here, Brian," says Henry Townsend as we finish. Justin and I stand up and walk the reporter to the door of the suite. "I know you are giving that press conference tomorrow at 3:00 pm, and I'd love to have the real story out by then, but I'll only be able to file a partial story by my deadline for the morning press run. The rest will run in Wednesday's issue of 'The Independent.' Is there any part of it that you want me to put up front, in order to forestall questions at the press conference?"
I shake my head. "Listen, Henry, you make that call. There's just so much shit involved here -- and nothing is going to stop those guys from asking embarrassing questions. And I mean nothing! Even if I've repeated my story 20 times already, those vultures are STILL going to want to ask the questions and see me squirm. So, you go with what you think is the 'big revelation' -- or whatever the fuck." I look at Justin and his face is very pale. This was harder for him than even I thought it would be. His life and mine are so inextricably entwined together that it's impossible to say where my story stops and his begins anymore.
"Thank you for being so candid, Brian," Townsend says, shaking my hand. And then he shakes Justin's hand, too. "You, too, Justin. I know how difficult this must be. I'd tell both of you to 'keep your peckers up' -- but I'm afraid that doesn't translate very well into American vernacular!"
"No," says Justin. "But we'll definitely do it anyway. Keep our peckers up! That's how we got into this mess in the first place." And he actually smiles. At least he can still do that. But it isn't exactly a Sunshine smile.
Day One of our London Pleasure Cruise was not good, but Day Two is even worse, if that's possible. If I had ever believed that the whole scandal would begin to die down after a day or two, then I certainly underestimated the British tabloid press. And I'm told that this story is now 'Number One with a Bullet' in America, too!
Justin's mother gets through to Justin's cellphone, and Mikey and Lindz get through to mine after the story breaks at home. It's early Monday evening in the Pitts, but after midnight here in London and the lines have been jammed all evening. What a great way to begin My Second Day in Hell! It seems that once again Brian Fucking Kinney is in the center of a firestorm on Liberty Avenue. I hadn't even considered just how much this would impact everyone I know. I thought maybe Jennifer would be upset about the pictures, and she IS upset, but it's already gone way beyond that. Jennifer tells Justin that the reporters at her door make what she endured after the bashing look like child's play. She and Molly are now staying at some friend's place to avoid the thundering hordes. Apparently those assholes even followed little Molly to her school. Real classy.
And Liberty Avenue is awash with the 'gentlemen' of the press. Every trick that I ever fucked and then blew off is going to be heard on 'The Kinney Question,' not to mention every freak and troll I ever rejected outright. Mikey also clarifies to me where the press got the info on Judge Roy and the toilet seat. I guess Mikey told Deb, Vic, Emmett, and Ted when those guys were all at Woody's a long while back haranguing me for not participating in their stupid demonstration against fucking Hobbs' suspended sentence. They were all criticizing me for not caring about what happened to "poor little Sunshine"! If they only knew just how much I fucking cared! So, Mikey told them that I was the one who glued the bastard's ass to the can. With an audience of those four is it any wonder that the story is now common knowledge all over Gay Pitts? Mikey apologizes to me, but I tell him there's no need. That incident is one thing I'm not the least bit sorry that I did! No fucking apology necessary! And no fucking regrets!
"Are you really okay, Brian?" Mikey asks. "I'm worried about you. And about Justin, too."
"We'll be all right," I reply. "Both of us. Just hold down the fort at home."
"We're all trying, Brian. And we're all on your side, defending you and Justin to everyone! Even Ted was sticking up for you!"
"Thanks, Mikey. It's nice to know some people are." And I'm touched, truly. "What about you, Michael? Have you talked to Ben at all?"
I hear Michael sigh. "No, Brian, I haven't. It's over. It's really over. And I'm okay with that." But I can tell that he isn't okay. Not by a fucking longshot.
I hang up with Michael and Lindsay calls a bit later. After speaking with her and hearing what's going on, I'm worried sick about Gus and how this is going to affect him! Lindsay downplays it, but I can hear the anxiety in her voice. I remember my old man railing one time about having kids. He used an old Irish saying that a child was a "hostage to Fortune." Which means, I guess, that having a kid makes you aware of the consequences of your actions. It also makes you have to care about things you never gave a shit about before -- like what other people think and what they say and do. And the thought that someone might judge Gus by MY stupid actions just crushes me. Then Justin reminds me that Melanie is even more of pitbull about people she cares about than Justin is in his most protective, pittbullish mode, and that puts me at ease -- a little. But just a little!
Which brings me to my other slightly larger, but no less rabid, pitbull -- Ron. I have to admit that I was so fucking angry at Ron on the airplane when all this shit was dropped on us that I was ready to kill him. The thought of someone taking secret pictures of me and Justin is just too close to Ron and his little video tricks up at the House of Dysfunction. I just saw red and took a lot of shit out on him. But I know that even though Ron took pictures of Justin and me in the poolhouse, he wouldn't EVER do something like this! Especially not when he's invested so much of his life in the success of 'The Olympian' -- and in my success, too, I have to admit. He has the room right next to ours and I can hear Ron getting up and being sick all night long -- that's how upset he really is. I feel so bad for him that I want to go in there and tell him that I'm sorry for what I said. But I don't go in there because I know Justin would take it the wrong way. He thinks that if I'm alone with Ron, no matter what the reason, that he will try to hurt me somehow. Justin is obsessed with that notion because of those fragments of the vision we saw with Fiona! It's all ludicrous, obviously, but I have to take Justin's wishes into consideration. I mean, isn't that what being partners is supposed to be about?
And I'm sure Ron would take my going in there and trying to apologize to him the wrong way, too. He'd think that I was trying to make up with him again -- that's what he always thinks! And then he'd get all fucking possessive and... Jesus! I've got to stop myself from running to Ron every time I... I need to be validated, I guess. To be reassured that I'm not a completely worthless piece of shit. But Ron can't help me with that stuff anymore, I realize that now. There's only one place I need to go for that kind of validation and reassurance -- and I'm already right here, lying next to him.
Continue on to Page 2 of "Inside Out -- Part 3".