KEY CARD

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Page 2 of Chapter 118 in the "Queer Theories" series.

Go back to Page 1 of "Key Card".

I hesitate for a moment. Is this really why I came over here tonight? For a nostalgic fuck with some guy I knew 14 years ago? Because that isn't like me. Not at all. I don't do nostalgia. And I don't do pity-fucks!

So what the hell AM I doing here? Why did I leave my warm loft and my... my warm whatever Justin is to me, to come over here and sit out in my freezing Jeep for almost two fucking hours waiting to see some guy who literally didn't even know I was alive? And why am I doing THIS?

How the fuck should I know? But I know that I can't stop myself.

He's kissing me. I remember the way he used to kiss me. Like I was a human being. Like I was important. He was the first one to do that. The first guy who didn't treat me like I was a fucking piece of meat. Something to be used and thrown away. I remember the man in the fancy apartment who fucked me and sucked me and played with me half the night -- and then told me he didn't kiss whores. Then he sent me out into the darkness and the snow. I remember telling Ron about that man one night in his little bedroom. He had turned on an old black light as a night light so that I wouldn't be afraid of the dark. "I would never send you away, Jack," he told me. "I never want to stop kissing you."

Now he's taking off my shirt and then my wifebeater. And I just let him do it. Usually this is where I would start to make myself clear. Let the other guy know that I'm in charge. Always fucking in charge! But I don't. I can't somehow. I can't. Instead I close my eyes. I let this guy -- no, not just some guy, but Ron, the guy who saved me, who loved me, all those years ago -- push me down on the bed. Gently. Very gently.

I open my eyes. The room is dim. There's only a small lamp on low in the corner and a little light seeping from the bathroom. It's too dark, suddenly. Too dark. I hear myself make a sound like a whimper. I can't believe it's coming out of me -- Brian Fucking Kinney! But it is coming from me.

"Don't be afraid, Jack. Don't be afraid of the dark." He can see it in my eyes. He can hear it in my breath. That I'm afraid. I'm still afraid. Ron puts his arms around me and pulls me close. It feels comforting. Like he won't let anyone get to me. Or hurt me. "I'm here, Jack."

"Brian," I murmur. "Please don't call me Jack."

"I'm sorry -- Brian," he whispers. "I won't do it again," he says. "I know who you are. And I know what you need."

"You don't know me, Ron," I whisper back. I don't know who we think is going to hear us. But it's so silent in the room. So silent in the world. "I'm a stranger to you. Just a stranger. I'm no one."

"You're everything, Brian. And I know everything about you that I need to know," he says. He sounds so certain. Certain of me. Completely accepting. It's hard to understand. This kind of unconditional love. Of someone wanting to give it to me, instead of taking it from me. "I've been waiting for you for so many years, Brian -- and now you're here. I don't need to know what else you've done, or who you've been with, or any of that unimportant shit. I just know YOU... Brian. That's all I know. And all I want."

My mind can't deal with how fast things are happening. And I don't mean the sex. That I can do and then be gone before I even have to think about it. No, it's something more. "This is too... weird, Ron," I say, starting to sit up.

But he stops me. Pulls me against him. Holds on to me. I've had a lot of guys holding on to me over a lot years, whether because they wanted me, or were pissed off at me, or were coming on to me, or were being fucked by me. But only a few just wanted to... to understand me. To love me. Only a few....

"Brian, don't run away. Don't leave me now. Don't do it to me again. Because I couldn't handle it. Not again."

That brings me up short. Because for years the shadow of what happened to me in New York has been the great unspoken event of my life. The one thing I could never talk about, but also never get past. I couldn't talk to Mikey about it. I couldn't really talk to Father Tim about it, or Vic, even when they were both trying to help me. I couldn't talk to my therapist at the Kensington-Welsh Center about it. And I can't talk to Justin about it. It's all been too buried inside me. No one could understand the things I've seen -- or some of the things I've done. And I didn't want to remember those ugly things.

And then I find out that it was all on film. That people have been looking at me, the way I was, the me I've been trying to hide all these fucking years, it blows me away! And to find Ron here, after all this time, that is the most fucking amazing thing of all. Because all the times I thought about my life in New York and on the Bowery and what I'd run away from, it was always about me. About how horrible I felt and about how it changed MY life. I had never really considered how me leaving him must have affected Ron. How it must have hurt him. Broken his heart. All because I'm always running away....

"I... I never apologize for anything, Ron. I don't believe in it."

"I'm not looking for an apology, Brian. You were just a kid. You were trying to escape the pain. Running from something you didn't understand. I realize that now," Ron says, staring at me. His eyes are a penetrating blue, like they can see through me. See what I'm thinking. What I'm feeling. Who I really am in a way no one else ever can. Because he knows Jack. The whore, the addict who lives inside of me every fucking day of my life! And he doesn't care about that -- in fact, he loves me anyway.

"Do you really, Ron?"

"Yes. But you aren't a kid anymore, Brian. You're a man. And I think that you didn't come here tonight just because you were curious about an old lover. I think you came because you had to -- like Fate. You came to find me. To come back to me."

I flinch, like he pinched something deep inside of me. "It isn't that simple, Ron. I have responsibilities here. I... I have a life. I even have a son."

"Really?" he says, smiling. "How did that happen?"

"His mother's a dyke and a good friend of mine. She wanted a baby, so...." I hesitate, but Ron seems interested. "His name is Gus and he just turned one in September. Unfortunately, he's just like me."

"He sounds wonderful, Brian. And I bet he's beautiful." Ron is stroking my hair, my back, like you'd stroke a fearful cat. Something about this feels safe. I look out the window -- the curtains are only drawn halfway -- and see the snow falling. The snow was always falling outside of Ron's window in New York that cold, cold February. But it was always warm inside. It's warm in here, too.

"He is wonderful," I reply. "But my life is... I don't know, Ron. It's complicated. So fucking complicated."

"Then make it simple, Brian. It can be so simple," he says. "I want to take care of you. I want to make you happy. That's all I've ever wanted to do. Because you don't seem happy. You seem successful, but I don't sense that you're very happy."

"Like I said, it's complicated... I...I don't have time to be... to think about shit like that. Because... because there are so many other people who... who need me...."

How can I fucking explain everything to Ron? Especially about Justin and his problems? How I feel so fucking responsible for everything that's happened to him? How I've tried so fucking hard every day to try to make him right. He expects me to work miracles. I know he does. To fix things, even when he gets frustrated and screams to me that I can't fix him -- that no one can. And then the way he looks at me -- I have to try. First I tried to jog his memory, even though it cost me more than I can ever admit to go back into the fucking parking garage. Then I tried to fuck his problems away. That made both of us feel better for a while, but even Brian Fucking Kinney and all the fucking in the world couldn't straighten out Justin's gimp hand and make it the way it was before he got bashed. Then I tried with the computer. Watched him struggle every minute. Watched him give up and try again and then try even harder until it was so painful that I couldn't watch anymore. I'd have to go out to the baths or the backroom and numb myself to shut out my own fucking helplessness.

But Justin still needs more. Always more. More from me emotionally than I'm able to give. He wants a lover, a friend, a father, a protector, a savior -- and I can't be that. I can't be everything to him when I can't even be those things to myself. I can't fucking save myself. I never could. I feel guilty -- and Justin knows it. He even called me on it that night at Babylon. So I tried to make things better by agreeing to his fucking Rules. It was a stupid move, I admit. I know that Justin has broken those Rules already, even as I'm breaking them right this minute. And I know we'll just keep breaking them. Keep letting each other down. Because I'm NOT a fucking superhero! I'm not a character from one of Mikey's comic books! I can't be everything that Justin wants me to be. Can't be what he needs me to be. It's too fucking much to expect from any person, but especially from me. I'll always let him down. That's what I do.

I know that Jennifer Taylor blames me for his bashing. She told me as much, right to my face. But she'll never know how much I blame myself for it! For being there. For putting Justin there, at that moment. For not getting to Hobbs in time... And I know that Justin, somewhere in the back of his mind, even though he might never admit it, must blame me, too. That some day it will all come out and then he'll resent me. Hate me. Stop loving me. That's a fucking weight that I carry around every day of my life. And it gets worse as I watch him labor over something that used to be easy for him. It gets worse every time he wakes up with a nightmare. Every time his hand cramps up. On those days I just want to turn back the clock and put myself in front of that bat instead. That would have been better for both of us. Because every time I look at Justin I know that I'll just end up hurting him more and more as we go on. Because I'll never be what he wants. What he needs. And he'll end up hurting me in a way my heart can't afford. I can't stand the thought of that. I have to get myself out of it all before I lose my fucking mind!

And it doesn't end there, with Justin. I always say that I never have any regrets, but that's bullshit. Regrets? Fears? Anxieties? Right up my ass! What about Gus? My kid. My son. How can I ever live up to his expectations? Already he looks at me like I'm someone special -- and I know I'm not! I know I'll fucking let him down. And then there's Lindsay and Melanie and all their shit. Nothing I do emotionally is ever enough for Lindz, and nothing I do financially is ever enough for Mel. And my fucking job. Even Marty Ryder expects me to work miracles every single time I walk into a pitch. Sometimes the pressure is way too much. The anxiety level rises every time I go into the office.

Then I have Mikey and Deb and Vic and the Boys and all their trials and tribulation. My fucking mother and my sister and her kids -- and just every fucking thing. What do they all expect from me? I know what they expect. They all expect ME to fix things. To be there, always, and take care of everyone and everything, whether it's making the impossible happen or writing a large check. So then I push myself right into the center of things -- Brian Fucking Kinney, here to save the fucking day! But sometimes I just can't... I can't. It's too fucking much! I'm exhausted! Then all I can do to escape is to fuck and drink and drug myself into oblivion -- and then I hate myself and start it all over again. A fucking vicious cycle.

No wonder I often think about ending it all. No wonder I dread the future. Dread getting old. Dread what I'll become if I just let things continue the way they are. Numbing myself. Blocking out the feeling. Pushing away everyone I love. The same way I pushed away and ran away from Ron when I was 16. I take a deep breath. "I can't be happy, Ron. Because I'm fucked up. That's the way I've always been... and I haven't changed. I fucking ruin everyone I touch. Everyone that I... I...."

"Everyone you love? You can say it. You always had trouble with that word, Brian. Always. You never wanted to hear me say it to you -- but I said it anyway. I don't have any trouble with it. Or with you," he tells me. "Because I love you. I think you're perfect the way you are. You always have been and always will be perfect to me. And nothing will ever change that."

"I... I shouldn't even be here, Ron," I answer. I can't deal with declarations of love, even when I know they're true. Especially when I know they're true. "It's just that I wanted to know... to see for myself...to... to...."

"Brian," he says sharply. "You WERE meant to be here. Don't you see that? Just like you showed up, out of nowhere, and saved my film back on the Lower Eastside. You saved ME then. You showed me what I was -- a queer -- and you showed me what love was supposed to be about. Real love."

"Yeah," I laugh bitterly. "And then I ran away! I'm an emotional coward, Ron!"

But he doesn't condemn me. "You ran because you were afraid. Because you couldn't handle the emotion. You were so hurt and abused that you didn't know how to respond to someone who really loved you. And that's me. Because I really loved Jack -- and I still love you -- Brian."

Suddenly I begin to panic. This is too much. I... I can't deal with this. Not at all. The room feels like it's closing in on me! "It's too dark in here," I gulp. I'm starting to sweat. "Too dark!"

"I'll protect you," Ron says, looking into my eyes. He's still stroking me softly, the way he used to do. "I'll take care of you, Brian. And I mean it. I told you that I won't let anything happen to you in the dark. Ever."

And that's when I lose it, totally. I start shaking and the tears are running down my nose, my cheeks, hot and fast. Ron wipes them away with the back of his hand.

"I want to take care of you, Brian. I want to make you happy. And I will," he says. "You'll never have to worry about anything -- not ever again. Not money or being hurt or the dark. I'll make certain of that. I promise."

I can feel Ron slipping off my jeans. Caressing me. Kissing me. I just let him do it. Let him do what he wants to do. What he has to do. Because it's what I want him to do. I don't have to think at all. I don't have to play games or uphold my image as the Stud of Liberty Avenue. Because none of that shit matters to Ron. He doesn't know about Liberty Avenue or my image or any of that shit. He doesn't even know Brian A. Kinney! He doesn't know anything -- except ME. A nameless boy. A man without a past worth remembering and with a future that he can't face. Just Brian. What's here, in front of him. And that's all he wants to know. All either of us need to know at this moment.

I only let myself be fucked when I'm in total control. When I orchestrate it, usually out of town, or in a group scene, or with an internet trick, or a hustler I bring in for a special occasion. I don't do it often and never with anyone I'm ever likely to see again. And never when I'm drunk or stoned and not completely in charge. To be the Super Top who will allow this to be done, just for my own pleasure. For my own sense of reverse domination. It's my own payback to myself for all of those times I was fucked without having a choice. Without having a say. When I was just a thing to be used and thrown away.

But this is different. Completely different. Because Ron doesn't know me any other way except as someone to fuck. No -- someone to be made love TO. That's it. So I don't submit to him, I only have to give myself TO him. That's different. And it's easy. I don't have to play a role with Ron. This is just the way it is. He's not a trick and he's not a john. He's... something in another category. In a world where Brian Kinney doesn't do lovers, that's what he was all those years ago. And I can let myself go physically and emotionally with Ron in a way I haven't been able to since... well, since the last time I was with him. When I was 16 years old. I can be that young and that free again! I don't have to pretend that I'm Brian Fucking Kinney, God's Gift to Western PA, anymore. Because it doesn't matter. I don't fucking care WHO I am! I'm not the same person I've been pretending to be for the last 14 years. I'm someone new. I don't have to be in this same trap for the rest of my miserable life.

I let Ron fuck the shit out of me. Just let him. And he does. Over and over. I've always avoided other older guys in the past. Probably because of Ron. Funny how I thought he was so old, but now I realize that he wasn't old at all. He was only 25 or so back in New York. And I'm 30 now. But when you're 16, 25 seems ancient. He seemed like a man to me. A real grown up man, with a life and an education and a future. Things I thought I would never have. I never believed when I was 16 that I would live to see 20, let alone 30. And I almost didn't. But here I am. And here's Ron, too -- and he's handling me, fucking me, orchestrating ME like no one's business. And it feels right to me. This isn't some misplaced nostalgia. It's what should have been all along -- and how it would have been -- if I hadn't been such a fucking pussy and run away.

"Brian, do you know how much I love you? How much I need you?" He's deep inside me. I forgot that he had such a thick cock. I was a lot more used to being fucked back in the day. But I need this more than I ever imagined.

"I... I don't know." I can't even get my breath.

"I need you to be with me. Always. Say yes! Say yes -- now!"

"I... I...."

I close my eyes and let everything just wash over me.

***

"Ron?"

"Huh?" I say, opening my eyes. He's pulling out of my grasp.

Brian looks at me with his deep green eyes. They seem less sad than they did a few hours ago, but no less beautiful. "I have to go. I have work tomorrow. And... I just have to go. It's almost 3:00 a.m."

I sit up as he's putting on his pants. I can't let him slip away now. I can't let him leave me again. Because I'll go fucking crazy if that happens! "Brian, wait," I say. I get up and go to the dresser. I open up my wallet. He's watching me closely. "Here. Take this."

"What the fuck are you doing, Ron?" he says, challenging me. He picks up his black leather jacket from the desk and puts it on. And I realize that he must, for just a brief moment, think that I'm getting out money to pay him.

"I'm giving you this, Brian. It's my extra key card for the room." I hand it to him. "For later. So you can come and go."

He looks at the key card and smiles slowly. He slips it into the pocket of his leather jacket. Then he leans over and kisses me. It's almost a shy kiss. A questioning kiss. "Maybe I can clear my schedule for this morning. I'll say that I have a meeting over at the university with a possible client. Then I'll come back over here."

I can easily cancel that breakfast meeting with the film festival sponsors. And that class with the feminist film dyke that Ben Bruckner set up for me to talk to. I don't need to do any of that shit now. And tonight I want Brian to come and see 'Red Shirt.' That will make everything so clear. He'll see what the right thing to do is. He'll see that he has to be with me.

"I'll be waiting right here, Brian," I tell him. "For you. I'll wait for you forever -- if I have to."

He walks to the door of the room, looking back at me, expectantly. Seductively. I go over and put my arms around him. Yes, he's come back to me. I have him now. We'll be together forever -- the way it was meant to be. And everything will be perfect. "I'm going to call and make a reservation on Trans Con Airways. For another First Class ticket to Los Angeles. Because I'm not going back alone, Brian. Do you hear me? Do you understand what I mean?"

He smiles shyly again. "I hear you, Ron. I understand." He puts his head on my shoulder. This is just the beginning of our life together. Our perfect life. Brian sighs. "I think I finally understand where I'm supposed to be."

Continue on to "I Shall Be Released -- Part 1".

©Gaedhal, September 2003.

Updated September 14, 2003.