This is Chapter 36 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Sugar Daddy II -- Part 2", the previous section.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Justin gets a few things off his chest. Pittsburgh, May 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.
I know. I shouldn't get angry.
I have to learn to control my emotions.
That was one of the things they worked on when I was in the hospital -- controlling my emotions. My actions.
So ironic, because in a WASPy family like mine that's ALL they do -- control their emotions. Hide them. What's the word? Sublimate them.
That makes me a real freak, then. Almost even more than being a queer.
The first time I remember really letting go was when I confronted my dad.
Nothing's going to change! I told him. No matter what he said or what he did, I would still be his queer son.
And that's when he hit me.
I knew then that I'd crossed the line. Brian told me once that there's no turning back. I think THAT was the moment from which I couldn't ever go back.
And there have been a bunch of times since then, both before and after I was bashed, that I totally lost it. Telling my homophobic asshole teacher to fuck off. Confronting Chris Hobbs on Liberty Avenue. Yeah, that was probably a mistake, but I couldn't help it. It was something I had to do. Like when I blew up at Ted in the diner. Or that time with my mom, when I found out she had forbidden Brian to see me. I really lost it then. I felt bad later, but sometimes -- you just have to vent. The emotions have to go somewhere -- or else I think they burrow their way down inside of you and begin to live there -- feeding off of you like little parasites, until they kill you.
That's what has happened to Brian, I think. Too many years of burying everything. Ignoring what you feel, until you no longer feel anything. Or until you can't handle it any more and things explode, like a volcano. The problem is -- what's left after the volcano blows? Not much. Not much at all. Nothing can live. Nothing can grow.
But it's still not too late for him. I can see that. I've been able to see that all this week.
At first, Brian really scared me. When I looked at him I wasn't sure what I was seeing. I always knew he was a damaged soul, but it was always so well hidden under all the other defenses and masks and bravado that he does so well. But all that was stripped away -- especially in the loft. He could hardly do even the basic things, like eat or get out of bed.
Brian wanted to go to Babylon that first night he was back. I think he figured it would be the 'normal' thing for him to do. But I could barely get him dressed. It was like he was sleepwalking. Of course, when we got there everyone thought he was his old self -- even I was beginning to believe it. But I sensed things weren't right.
Emmett could tell, too. He's very insightful about people. He can talk to you about things and really get to what you're feeling. He should be some sort of therapist or something. I'd actually talk to someone like him. Or at least a bartender. You can tell your troubles to Emmett without worrying.
That night Brian had some hair-raising dreams. Now, I know something about bad dreams. I've had them constantly for the past year. Not so much recently, but enough. Michael told me that I scared the hell out of him more than once when he was staying here, yelling and grabbing him in the dark. It's one thing to have nightmares -- that's bad enough -- but another thing to watch someone you love having them. Maybe I understand better a lot of my mom's distress when I got home from the hospital. And how upset Brian was when I first moved back into the loft and used to wake up screaming my head off night after night. Yes, now I understand.
The thing is -- at least they KNEW what was causing the nightmares. I knew what was causing mine, even if I couldn't remember exactly what had happened. With Brian, it's a mystery. He won't say. Maybe he can't make himself say. But it's something bad. Or an accumulation of bad stuff that now has overwhelmed him.
Which means I have to take charge. It's up to ME, now, to take care of HIM. Whether he likes it or not.
Tuesday he never got out of bed. And not in a good way. I went to my classes -- he's making me -- but when I got back in the afternoon he still wasn't up and dressed. Hadn't eaten. Hadn't unpacked his suitcase. Hadn't done a fucking thing but talk to Lindsay on the phone.
So I made him a sandwich and stood there while he ate it. And I mean all of it. Then I unpacked. Hung up all his clothes and put things away. Stowed the big suitcase in the closet -- I don't want to have to look at that thing every time I walk into the bedroom. Be reminded that he's got to repack it and leave at the end of next week.
Then, into the shower. That was the easiest thing of all. I didn't even have to coax him up for that. Then I made him shave. At that point I assumed he'd be hyped to go out. Maybe over to Woody's. The diner to get something to eat. Anywhere.
He got back into bed and virtually pulled the covers over his head. Nothing I could say or do would get him out of there.
Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. So I did. And he had some more of those bad dreams all that night, too. Maybe not as bad -- or maybe I'm just getting used to them. But it still disturbed me.
Wednesday he was a lot better. We got up and went to the diner for breakfast. Deb was practically dancing around the place, she was so happy to see us. And when Brian invited her and Vic to a big dinner at Papagano's for Friday night, she was ecstatic. She's so funny. Deb is the first person to ream Brian out for any little thing -- or big thing, I admit -- that he does. But she's also the first one to forgive him. Which reminded me that Michael was still pissed off at both of us, but mainly Brian.
"This is something that has to be fixed before Friday," he told me. He can't stand Michael being angry at him, for whatever reason. Deb said she'd work on Michael. And after he dropped me off at PIFA for class he went to see Ben over at Carnegie Mellon.
I like Ben. I think Brian likes Ben, too, even if he IS a former trick. I guess I shouldn't put it that way, since I'm also a former trick. And, although Brian doesn't know I know it, that Emmett is, as well. So Brian's carefully stated 'rule' about never having any contact with tricks after he's 'done' with them is another line of Kinney bullshit. Brian couldn't get his haircut in his town without running into an old trick, so that's just another Great Brian Myth.
So, Wednesday he was back into status quo. Kind of. But I could tell there was still a lot on his mind. A lot of conflicts going on inside there. The surface looks so calm and smooth and beautiful -- and underneath it's Storm Central.
That fucking Ron. I don't know him, I don't want to know him. But I sure as hell want to know what is happening with that. What went on out in L.A.? What is STILL going on out there? I picture this sunny, rich, idyllic place -- and it's all a nightmare. How can that be? But that's the sense I get from Brian -- a gorgeous nightmare.
And every time I think of him packing that suitcase and going back, I get physically ill.
Wednesday night we went over to see my mom.
Yes. I couldn't fucking believe it. But Brian wanted to. To invite her personally to come to dinner. Molly, too.
"I have to do this right and NOT fuck it up."
And he didn't. He was Mr. Charm personified -- even though my mom wasn't exactly in the most receptive mood.
When Brian first left town she was soooo happy. Thinking, you know, the Wicked Witch is dead! Little Boy Blue is going to come home to Heteroland and all will be well in the Taylor Family Sitcom. Not.
Then she got mad. At me. At Brian. At everyone. Even Debbie. Blamed everyone for 'hurting' me again. Because she didn't want to blame herself. Or couldn't blame herself. Or my dad. Or who was really at fault for my gayness, which was Nature, or God, or Fate, or whatever you believe controls what happens.
So, I didn't come home and start dating a girl from the Country Club. I went to school and moved into the loft full time and just lived my life. Had good days. Had bad days. But I survived. Just as Brian said he knew I would. Not that that makes it okay for him to have left. But he was right about me getting by. Being independent. Paying my bills. Doing my art. Leaving the diner and working with Michael at the store. Doing the website. Like I said -- living my life.
So, we showed up at my mom's condo. She almost fell over when she saw us there, but -- being the perfect WASP hostess -- she never let on. Watching her and Brian interact is always a trip. They have such a bizarre history together. But each one has come such a long way to get to this point where they can sit and have a civil conversation. Or even a friendly conversation.
The result is -- she and Molly are coming to dinner. My mom even seemed -- could it be? -- excited about going. And Molly was bouncing off the walls. I mean, who can resist Brian? Really? Especially if he wants you not to be able to resist? If even a fraction of that force shows up on the screen -- it scares me to think about how powerful it might be.
Makes me afraid that Brian will change into something I won't recognize. Or that won't recognize me.
Or that the Brian I know -- love -- is being destroyed and replaced with an image Another gorgeous nightmare.
Thursday was great. I got back from morning classes and we went to pick up Gus.
Watching Brian and Melanie snark at each other was like old times. Lindsay and I had to laugh. The two of them could be going down on the Titanic and they'd be arguing over who was going to get to drown first.
But Brian was in a good mood. A little crabby, as usual, but good. He didn't even make that much of a stink about going to the Big Q. And Gus loved it. We got everything on Lindsay's list, plus a ton more stuff. And we met Tracy, Michael's friend from when he was the manager, there. She was so nice -- even to Brian. Even after that awful thing at Michael's 30th birthday party. That wasn't too cool. But Tracy didn't seem to hold a grudge -- although Brian acted like she was going to reach out and twist his balls off any minute.
I'm definitely going to go back over there and get that Palm Beach Ken doll. It was too funny. I think I'll save it and give it to Brian as an unexpected present sometime in the future and it will remind him of that day at the Big Q-Mart with me and Gus.
Sometime in the future.
After we dropped off Gus and went to get something to eat before going to Woody's, Brian said something in the Jeep.
"What day is today?"
"You mean the date?"
"No, the day -- Thursday? Right?"
"A week ago, I... it doesn't seem possible."
"What? What about a week ago?"
"I shouldn't tell you. You'll start acting like a mother hen again."
Now I was alarmed. "Well, now you HAVE to tell me."
He was driving, keeping his eyes on the road. "I week ago I was on the set."
"Of 'The Olympian' -- it must have been one of the last days."
"Almost THE last. I fucking collapsed on the track. While I was lying there I thought I was going to die. I couldn't get up."
"No shit. But they got some fluids into me and I went home. It was like 100 degrees in that stadium. I missed the whole next day and had to finish everything on Saturday so I could leave L.A. on Sunday. And that was only a fucking week ago. It seems like three years."
"Jesus, Brian! No wonder you looked like shit when you got here!"
He sneaked a look at me. "You told me I looked great. So much for you and the truth."
"I meant it was great to see you. That you looked great compared to everyone else in the world! But for you -- you looked like hell!"
"And right now?"
"Great. You always look great."
"Such a fucking liar!"
"Can I say something?"
"Why not? Trying to stop you has never worked yet."
"I'm serious." He didn't say anymore, so I plunged right ahead. "Please don't go back."
He sighed. "I have to. You knew that when I got here."
"But I didn't know how it would be! Or how it's been out there! It's fucked up, Brian! Don't go back!"
"I have obligations." He pulled the Jeep up in front of the diner. "I'll be back here. I'm keeping the loft. I still LIVE here."
"You say you do -- but you don't. Admit it -- you are never going back to work at Ryder...."
"How do you know? When my acting career fizzles, I'll need that job!" He laughed.
"It isn't funny! Not to me...."
"Hey. Look at me."
I glanced over at him. I was trying not to get all whiny or teary and fucking ruin what had been a excellent day so far. But I had to open my stupid mouth.
"I'm right HERE." And then he moved over against me and kissed me on the mouth, running his tongue over my lips and inside. That drove me practically on top of him -- but the seats made it impossible.
"I think this isn't the best place for a make-out session," he said, pulling back.
"Let's save it for later. Besides, I'm hungry." I pushed against him again. " I mean, for food."
I gaped at him. "YOU are HUNGRY? Call CNN!"
"I know. I can't believe it either. Let's get the double bacon burger with the extra fries AND onion rings. This time I don't have to worry about how many minutes on the Stairmaster it will take to get rid of them."
And he really did eat everything. And we even had ice cream for dessert.
"I'll pay for THAT tonight."
"I think it's all your nerves. Ice cream never used to make you sick before. Far from sick, if I remember correctly."
"You reduce everything to sex, you know that?"
I shrugged. "I learned it from my role model."
But then he frowned. "Don't say that. Don't even pretend that I'm your role model."
"Not even for being the best homosexual I can be?"
"Especially not for that."
"Too late. Way, way too late."
At Woody's we met up with Ted and Emmett. Brian had asked them to meet us there. It was a little awkward between me and Ted, sort of like it had been at Babylon on Monday night, but I think we're over our 'estrangement.'
Brian also arranged with Ben to have him and Michael come over after Michael closed the store. Brian really wanted to make it up with him -- and Emmett and Ben were helping. I knew that Emmett was also hoping he could get Michael and Ted talking again. So it would be the whole gang at Woody's. Everything would be right for the first time in ages.
Then I walked in and saw that guy leaning over on Brian at the pool table. Some hot guy. Always a fucking hot guy! Always!
Yeah, I could see Brian moving away from him. Trying to ignore him. But still -- he wasn't getting rid of him THAT hard. Or so it looked to me. And I realized that was the way it would always be. ALWAYS! Every time I walked into a room, there would be a hot guy pressing himself on Brian. And if I spent my whole fucking life being a whining doormat, then I might as well pack it in right now!
And so I launched at the guy. I didn't realize how much bigger than me he was until I got right next to him. But by then it didn't matter. I wasn't going to let it go this time! Fuck that! Brian might steal himself away and be beyond my reach for months at a time -- but not while he was on MY territory! In MY town!
And this red-haired creep. All I saw was Hotlanta. And that Goodfuck guy. The zucchini man. A thousand guys at this same pool table. Or in the backroom at Babylon. Or the baths. Or fuck knows where else. And I wasn't going to put up with it again! Not today . Not on our perfect fucking day!
"Hey, you! Get your fucking hand off and take OFF!"
"Who are you pushing, you little fucking twerp?"
"You, you big, stupid lunkhead."
Brian tried to intervene -- trying to 'save' me once again from making a fool of myself. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do.
"Who are you to put your hands on people?"
"That's none of your business." The guy was a big talker, but he also kept retreating.
"It IS my business."
"Maybe once," he said, eyes taunting me. "But I think that was a long time ago, buddy."
So. That's what he thought. That's what they all thought. I was a joke. Always a joke. The stalker. The fan club president. The annoyance that wouldn't go away. And they're right -- I WON'T go away. I've earned the right NOT to go away. I have!
"A year ago. Yesterday. Tonight. Ten fucking years from now -- it's MY BUSINESS! Understand?"
And the guy caved! He was a total pussy! I saw his eyes -- he was afraid of ME! Of the emotion he saw. Of the anger. Of the frustration. I think he knew that if he pushed me back, then I'd unleash everything I had right on him. I knew I had it in me to really hurt the guy.
I'm glad he bolted.
I ran him all the way out the door of Woody's, right down the street, past Babylon, and beyond.
"Don't come back, you fucking thief. Don't even think of it!"
A bunch of guys had followed us outside and were cheering me on. "Stand by your man, baby!" yelled one queen.
Yeah. That's right! That's what I was doing! I realized it now. That's what I should have done a long time ago, instead of being such a pussyboy myself.
So I marched back into Woody's and did what I needed to do.
I didn't even care that Ted and Emmett and even Ben were laughing at me. Michael just stared at me sadly. He understood. I know he did.
And I didn't stop to think what I would do if Brian suddenly decided to turn surly. Or to make a big joke out of it. Or put me in my place like an annoying brat, the way he often does.
The key moment was when I took his drink away. He wasn't even finished with it. It was like taking a bone away from a big dog. Can you be sure he isn't going to bite you?
"I'm not finished with that."
"Yes, you are. We're leaving. Right now."
He's always hooking his long fingers in my belt loops and dragging me around. So I took hold of his black leather belt and gave it a pull.
Nothing. He looked at me. They were all looking.
I gave it another pull.
I caught his eyes. I knew that one look from him would end everything. I'd seem like a silly twink once again and they'd all have a great big laugh over it. But his eyes were veiled. You could read whatever you wanted to in those eyes.
I jerked the belt now. Harder.
"We're going. NOW!"
It was like trying to move a big piece of furniture. Suddenly, it gives just a little -- and then you know it will give way completely in a minute.
And we moved out the door of Woody's, down Liberty, and into the Jeep. I drove. And I didn't even sputter it going into second gear. It went smoothly. So smoothly.
And so did he. No sniping at me once we were alone in the Jeep. No remarks at all. It was like he was waiting to see what I'd do. Watching with that detached interest.
And I couldn't back down now. Couldn't turn back into my mushy self, handing myself over to him, as usual. I kept my eyes on the road and just drove.
I parked the Jeep and he sat there until I came around and opened the door. Then I used my own key to get into the loft. I slid back the door and dragged him through it by the arm, as if he'd never been there before. I think he was enjoying it all. But his expression never changed.
I pulled my sweatshirt off over my head. Then I took his leather jacket off, one arm at a time, and tossed it next to my sweatshirt on the sofa. Now he was smirking. I knew he wasn't going to stop me.
I grabbed him by the belt again and towed him up the steps of the platform and sat him on the edge of the bed. I paused a few seconds to see if he would do anything, but he just waited.
Then I pushed him back a little and stood up on the bed, between his legs. I undid the front of my pants. I wobbled a bit and he took hold of my hips to steady me, then pulled down my pants and boxers, reaching up to take me in his mouth. I held on, wobbling a little more. The last thing I wanted to do was fall over backwards -- although it was becoming more and more a possibility as I began to move with him.
Finally I pushed him back onto the bed. He reached up to finish me off, but I pushed his hand away.
He didn't say anything. He waited, amused. Anticipating. I didn't give a shit about his amusement. I pulled my pants all the way down and let them fall on the floor. Then I tugged off his jeans. Then I dropped on top of him.
"So," I said. "What do you like to do?" This was a running joke by now.
"I don't know. Watch some television?"
I smacked him on the shoulder. "So, are you a top or a bottom?"
Now he was definitely smiling. Not a smirk, but a real, lazy smile. "Oh, I'm versatile. Very, very versatile."
"Really?" I reached over and took a condom out of the dish. "Let's find out."
Continue on to "Open Lines III".
©Gaedhal, June 2002
Pictures of Gale Harold and Randy Harrison from Showtime.
Updated June 25, 2002