This is Part 2 of Chapter 104 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine -- Part 1", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Ron Rosenblum, and features Brian Kinney, Carmel, Diane Rhys, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Ron finds that Brian has taken him at his word about getting out of the house. Los Angeles, 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.
I wake up Friday morning with one mother of a hangover. They used to laugh at me because I almost never drank -- one glass of white wine before dinner would put me to sleep before dessert. But lately I've discovered Scotch. It's amazing how a double will make you forget your troubles, and how a triple will make you forget everything. But that's what I get for taking those fucking drinks and then that Xanax on top of them. I feel like I'm coming up from being underwater for the last twelve hours. I fumble around, looking for the clock. I'm already late for some 8:00 a.m. meeting, but screw it. When I try to sit up, my head feels even worse.
And then I remember.
Why I was drinking. Why I took the Xanax.
I stumble over to the window and look down at the poolhouse. And I don't see anything. Or hear anything.
I told Brian to get out. Christ! And suddenly I'm underwater again. I'm fucking drowning!
I grab my robe and practically kill myself coming down the stairs. I push open the kitchen door and almost knock over Carmel, carrying a pile of folded towels.
"Where is Brian?" I'm shouting now.
Carmel looks at me with pity, but I don't give a shit! "He's gone," she says, brushing by me with the towels.
"When did he leave? Last night? This morning? Did... did he take all his... stuff?" I'm fucking panicking!
"He said he was going shopping. And then he took the car," she says, oh so casually. I feel like strangling her.
"Shopping?" I answer. "Just... shopping? Did he take anything with him? A suitcase? A bag? Anything?"
Carmel looks disgusted. "He didn't take nothing. Just his bad attitude." And she sashays away.
I get dressed and go in to my office at the studio, but I'm not very productive. Instead of concentrating on the promotional plans for 'The Olympian' or the negotiations with Eastwood over the 'Red River' script, I spend the day upset about Brian. Wondering what the hell I'm going to do if I get home and he's not there. And what I'm going to say to him if he IS there. When I come home around 6:00, the Mustang is in the garage and the lights are on in the poolhouse. And Carmel's eye-rolling and melodramatic sighing also lets me know that he's in there.
It was all a fucking false alarm! Christ!
I'm so relieved that I have to sit down. Have to get a drink. Just a small one.
I have to learn to keep my big fucking mouth shut from now on. Brian LOVES to pull my chain and I can't let it get to me anymore. I truly thought he would leave. That I had pushed him too far this time. But he doesn't really want to go. Of course. It's obvious. He's just playing the prima donna. Flexing his muscles after all those publicity people have been making such a big fucking fuss over him. He just wants some attention. A little pampering. Maybe a new car... one of those Italian sports cars....
Because he isn't really going to leave. He's never going to leave. I know it. And Brian knows it.
Because it's all Fate, isn't it? And nothing but Fate.
On Monday I spend a lot of time with the Promotions Team. Over the weekend the issues of 'Vanity Fair' with Brian on the cover and the 'Entertainment Weekly' with Jimmy named as the 'Most Powerful Actor in Hollywood' both came out. The Promo Team is ecstatic. They are planning to milk this newstand bonanza for all it's worth. They also think that 'Movieline' and maybe even 'Premiere' will fall into line with covers -- or at least major stories.
I only wish I could work up any enthusiasm for that 'Vanity Fair' piece of shit. The promo boys LOVE the article because Brian comes off as the Great Straight Hope. That idiot woman who wrote it never did get a complete interview with Brian, so she just cobbled together a bunch of quotes she got from him on the phone and asides she heard at the photo shoot with Eugene Majeski. Brian never told her one thing about his personal life, he just made general comments about the film. However, she apparently DID sit and talk with Lindsay, the mother of his son, during the shoot. And that Lindsay is so in love with Brian it isn't even funny, so I can just imagine the impression that writer got from HER!
So the article portrays Brian as Mr. Hyper Heterosexual -- even while the photographs that accompany it tell a completely different story. At least they do to me. Yes -- the story of Brian and that goddamn Justin! The Stud and the Boy Toy! But the publicity guys -- who are so straight they might as well be Republicans -- don't seem to see it at all. They see 'the girlfriend's brother' -- that's what the article says, and that's IT as far as they are concerned. Shit! People really ARE blind!
Things were quiet at the house all weekend. Too quiet. Brian sat by the pool in the morning, went out shopping again in the afternoon, then was out at some club or bar most of Saturday night -- but he came home fairly sober. I saw him sitting down there, staring at pool in the dark. It was very late. I almost went down -- just to talk -- but... I didn't. I was afraid that we'd get into another argument about those 'Vanity Fair' photos. Or about that stupid press tour. On Sunday he was out again -- probably having brunch with that bitch Diane, as usual. So any possibility of talking things out a little was lost. But there will be plenty of time for that. Plenty of time.
I actually manage to get quite a bit of work done at the studio. Around 11:00 a.m. a messenger from Jimmy's office stops by. He's got the tickets to the Dylan concert at the Wiltern Theater on Wednesday night! Jimmy and Tess are going and last week Jimmy invited me and Brian to go with them. This is exactly what we need to get our minds off all these misunderstandings about our relationship and the film -- and everything! It'll be just like when we went to see McCartney at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas last spring, before all the stress of filming and Brian's hysteria and my slight over-reaction started things down the wrong road. This is a way of making up. When I told Brian that Jimmy had invited us, he seemed pleased. Of course, that was before this latest little blow-up. But that's all over now. All over. I'm in such a good mood, I take off early and head back to the house.
But when I get home Carmel greets me at the door, her face stony. I thought it was a rough weekend, but things are about to get worse. Much worse.
"What now?" I say, heading for my office with the mail.
"Well, he's gone, Mister Ron," she answers. "Finally."
I stop dead. "What did you say?"
"Gone. He packed his clothes and things and he's gone away." Now she's smiling. Yes, smiling! "ALL of his things."
"What?" I say, trying not to get crazy. "When? Where did he go?"
"That boat, I guess."
"Was anyone with him?" Even though I know that he's in Pittsburgh, in school, I picture that fucking kid, Justin, carrying bags of Brian's clothes out to the Mustang.
"No. He was by himself. He just took the stuff -- and he's gone!" She throws up her hands.
"And you didn't try to stop him?"
"Mr. Ron, it's not my job to stop him," Carmel huffs. "If he wants to go, he goes! He's big and strong! I'M going to stop him? That Brian could pick me up over his head if he wanted to! He scares me!"
I throw the mail and my briefcase down on the desk. "Don't be a drama queen, Carmel! Brian wouldn't hurt anyone. You know that!"
"Maybe he hasn't yet -- but he could," Carmel warns, smugly. "I told you it's not good to let him spend all that time downstairs in the gym, lifting those weights all day! He's dangerous!"
"I am just saying it! He is going to HURT you one of these days, Mister Ron! Even KILL you -- you mark my words!"
"I don't need your fucking melodrama, Carmel!" I yell.
But she just shrugs her shoulders at me. And smiles. Smug. She's SO fucking smug!
And all I can think of is, what happened to Fate, now?
From 'The Hollywood Reporter' --
"Terra Nova Studios is planning a big Oscar campaign for 'The Olympian,' the new Jimmy Hardy pic helmed by vet documentarian Ron Rosenblum. Although this is his first big studio release, Rosenblum has a trunkful of credits on the small screen and in indie productions. His name has also been attached to a number of upcoming projects, including the long-awaited Clint Eastwood remake of the old John Wayne oater, 'Red River,' which he's also scripting. In-the-knows say that 'Olympian' newcomer and close Rosenblum protégé, Brian Kinney, would be picture perfect for the Montgomery Clift role. We are waiting to see how Kinney fills out his running shorts before passing judgment on how he'll look in leather chaps!"
From 'Movieline' --
'Guess Who? Don't Sue!' --
"Let's Play House! That should be the title of the next movie made by this hot director and his even hotter young headliner. Because that's what they've been doing for oh-so-long! Everyone knows, but nobody says nuthin'! The studio smells a real hot property in Pretty Boy and they don't want to rock the boat! But if Pretty Boy keeps foolin' around, Mr. Director may spill the beans himself, he's such a jealous guy! And that's not good for business, baby!"
I drive down to Marina del Rey and look for 'La Diva' in the maze of boats. Finally, I find the right dock, the right slip.
And I see Diane, wearing a trashy bikini, sunning herself on the back deck. As if this day doesn't already suck enough!
"Well, well, well. Mr. Rosenblum, I presume," she says, sitting up. "Come to see how the fun people live?"
"What the fuck are you doing here, Diane?"
"Hanging out," she replies. "Take your shirt off and relax, Ron -- if that's possible."
I gingerly climb onto the boat. I learned my lesson last time and am wearing shoes with soft soles. There are two folding chairs on the deck and I sit down in one. My fucking hands are shaking.
"Then again," Diane continues. "You don't look as good in a bikini as I do, Ron, but I'm sure no one around here will be looking at you and your pasty form. Of course, Brian likes pale, but not pasty. That's a big difference! Pale and creamy. And a lot younger. There isn't much you can about THAT, Ron. But you might have tried to buff up a little, just to make an effort. Just to show that you give a damn!"
"Fuck you, Diane." The sunlight reflecting off the water is giving me a bitch of a headache.
"Right back at ya, Ron."
She looks beyond me and I turn to see Brian, walking down the long dock, carrying a grocery bag and a six-pack of beer. He's wearing those jeans that are practically falling off his hips and a white tee shirt with no sleeves. His arms look all golden in the late afternoon sun. He sees me and sighs.
"Diane," he says, climbing onto the boat. "Why don't you go and sit up on the bow?'
She shrugs and clambers around to the front of the boat, dragging her towel behind her.
A speedboat with two guys in it buzzes by. "Hey, Brian!" One of them waves. Brian waves back. The first guy points to Diane in her bikini and gives a thumbs up. Brian throws the boaters a salute.
"So, Brian," I remark. "It's big-busted babes and beer all the way, huh?"
"You know me, Ron," he says, leaning against the railing. "I'm always up for the bizarre and on-the-edge stuff."
I decide to get right to the point. "Carmel said you took ALL your shit out of the house today. Where did you take it, Brian? There's no room for it here."
Brian takes a deep breath. "I rented an apartment, Ron. In Venice Beach."
"Rented an apartment." I blink a few times, taking it in. "At Venice Beach." Where else? West Hollywood By the Sea! I think of all those muscle cases walking along the Boardwalk.
"Diane went with me on Friday. We looked at a bunch of places. Then I went back on Saturday and signed the lease. I moved my stuff over this morning." Brian moves his head around, as if his neck is stiff. "Sorry, Ron -- I should have told you about it before. But it's not like we talked much this weekend. Or at all." He turns his back on me, putting the beer away in an ice chest. "Besides, I wanted to avoid a scene."
"But why, Brian?" I ask. "Why move out? You could have... have kept your stuff at the house. You have the boat here if you... need to get away for a few days. I understand that. You need to unwind sometimes...."
"I don't think you do understand, Ron," he says. "You wanted me to leave -- and I left. Simple."
"Brian! I didn't tell you to leave the other night! I really didn't!" I argue. "I don't WANT you to move out! Far from it! I want you to stay. It's... your home, too."
Brian turns and gives me a look that stops me dead. "My home? Is it? Ron, you TOLD me to GO. To get out. In fact, 'Get the FUCK out' were your words, if I remember correctly."
"You know I didn't mean that, Brian. You... I... We were fighting!" I don't know what else to say, except, "Just come home, Brian."
"Ron, it's NOT my home! And it's bullshit for me to stay there! Even YOU really want me gone! YOU said you did and you meant it!"
"I DIDN'T mean it, Brian! I... was angry. Thinking about those pictures. About you and... that kid."
"You mean Justin, Ron," he says. "You can say his name now -- all bets are OFF, remember?"
"What 'bets' are off?" I say, feeling a horrible chill. Recalling that part of 'The Deal' where I wasn't supposed to talk about Justin. And what it must mean that Brian says that now I can. "I only said that about getting out of the house in the heat of the moment, you know? Come on! You said shit I know you didn't mean, too, Brian."
He just looks at me. "I did? What didn't I mean, Ron? What didn't YOU mean?"
"Everything! I... don't care about you and... Justin. I don't. Really! Whatever you two do is... okay with me." Right. It's okay! I don't care! Really!
"No, not much you don't care, Ron," whispers Brian. "You care so little about Justin that you... you taped him and then threatened both of us. 'The Deal,' Ron? Remember 'The Deal'?" Brian says, his mouth grim.
I swallow. "You aren't still worrying about that, are you, Brian? Don't be ridiculous!"
Brian doesn't even blink in the hard sunlight. "Then what the fuck have I been doing here since the end of August? What have I been doing with YOU, Ron? Tell me that, why don't you?"
I swallow again. My throat is very dry and I need a drink badly. "What have you been doing? Living! Having a life! Having... a relationship! That's what!"
Brian laughs, but it isn't an amused laugh. It's ironic and angry and... tired. "And that's what, huh? A relationship? That's what you think is going on at the house? With US? That's what you think?" Brian shakes his head. "Are you fucking delusional, Ron? Are you?"
"That's bullshit, Brian!" I say, trying not to let the panic infect my voice.
"No, it isn't, Ron, and you know it. There's only one reason I've been living in your house and that's because of 'The Deal.' But 'The Deal' is finished, isn't it, Ron? YOU wanted me out -- and I'm OUT! And even if you hadn't said it -- it's over! IT's been over for a while. And now anything you try to do to Justin -- or to me -- will just recoil back on you. It will fuck your film and fuck your whole career! I thought so before, but now I'm certain of it. Because my career doesn't depend on YOU anymore, Ron. And, yes, I have Dorian to thank for that. Dorian -- and Sir Ken. And 'Hammersmith.'"
"That fucking movie is drek, Brian! 'The Olympian' -- that's what's important! THAT'S your big opportunity!" I stand up and grab his shoulders. I want to shake him, but he stares me down. I move back -- and then sit back down on the deck chair. My legs feel weak.
"You're right, Ron. 'The Olympian' IS the big film. And I'll do anything to make it succeed -- even be nice to you. Even... even PRETEND that we are together -- just as long as we AREN'T!"
Another boat, much larger than 'La Diva,' cruises by. A shirtless blond hunk waves from the steering wheel. "Brian! Hey! Brian!" he calls. This guy has such white teeth and white shorts and almost white hair that it's unreal. He's unreal.
"Hey, Derek!" Brian answers.
"Give me a call. Any time!" The hunk looks like he was ordered from an International Male catalog. "You have the number!"
I bet Brian has his number. I just fucking bet! "Nice neighbors, Brian."
"I'm popular with the boys around here. ALL the boys," he replies, grinning at me. "Didn't you see that nice mention in 'Auntie Roo's Online Gossip Net,' Ron? I bet your Promotions Team didn't plant THAT little blind item, did they? That Auntie Roo -- he sure knows his stuff! I HAVE given the run-around to half the hotties in West Hollywood. But then you know that better than anyone. Once a slut, always a slut -- right, Ron?"
"Jesus, Brian." He's trying to bait me. Trying to get me to lose it. But I attempt to backtrack and not get into a different argument altogether. "Brian -- just come back to the house. You don't have to stay with me. You already have the poolhouse. You can live in it full-time. You know that. This time -- no strings attached. Really."
"I don't think so, Ron. There are strings attached to everything you do. I just needed to figure out which ones I wanted to have attached to me -- and which ones I needed to cut. Right now."
Diane interrupts, yelling from the front deck. "Bridie! Can I have a cold beer up here?"
"Just a sec." He climbs along the side of the boat to take her a can and then he climbs back and leans back on the boat rail, looking at me.
"Brian," I say. "The 'Olympian' premiere is coming up soon. Very soon. Come back and stay until then -- and then you can decide what you want to do. Like we planned."
Brian frowns. "Like WE planned? Like YOU planned. Haven't we already made enough 'deals,' Ron? Now you want to make even more? I already KNEW what I wanted to do. I wanted to move out. And I DID. Fuck! You THREW me out!"
"Wrong, Brian. I never did!"
"NOW you say you didn't. You are wonderful at revisionist history, Ron. Like you rewrote my backstory for all your 'respectable' friends. For the studio. For the papers." He reaches into the cooler and opens a can of beer for himself. "And now the 'Olympian' premiere. You want me to stay with you? To stick around for 'appearances sake'? What next, Ron? You want us to hold hands at the premiere like Sir Ken and poor little Hughie did at the Oscars last year? Is that what you're driving at?"
"Of course not!" I reply. "Don't be an ass! Jesus -- the studio is fucking nervous enough about all the gay stuff!"
"Because... just because," I mumble. This is too much for me to deal with. It feels like my whole world is crashing in on top of me -- and I can't do a fucking thing to stop it! "Because I don't want our relationship to end, Brian. You know that," I say, finally.
Brian laughs. Right in my face! "What relationship? There ISN'T any relationship, Ron! There hasn't been one in a long time -- if there ever really was one. Ever since I came out to Los Angeles -- ever since I came out here to be with you -- the whole thing has just been a mutual destruction pact. YOU saw to that, Ron. YOU sealed the Fate of 'Our Relationship' when you put those fucking cameras into the poolhouse and taped ME. And you demolished it totally when you filmed Justin. YOU killed it, Ron. YOU!"
"No, Brian! That's not the way it was at all!" I jump up and try to confront him. Try to reason with him. I open my mouth -- but nothing more will come out.
"Besides," he says, looking out at the marina, at the water, and at all the boats going by, like he's remembering something. "After this summer it's ridiculous for me even to pretend to be having a relationship with anyone but Justin. It isn't fair to you -- and it definitely isn't fair to him. It makes Justin seem like an afterthought and that's not the case. Far from the case."
"Brian -- I...." I begin.
But he holds up his hand, stopping me. Brian paces back and forth across the deck of the boat, shaking his head. "In fact, if I had been honest with myself, I would have admitted that the relationship with him has been going on for a long time. Even from that first night we met, the night my son Gus was born. And it never really ended, even when I came out here to try and escape from him. Even when I tried to make it work with you. And I DID try, Ron. But YOU were always the anomaly, Ron. Not Justin. It was always him I was thinking of. And it always will be."
"That's SO fucking not true!"
"But it IS true, Ron. I admit it. I love him and that's made me feel a lot better about everything. Now I can understand what the fuck I'm doing -- and what I'm going to do in the future. Now YOU have to believe it -- and accept it."
"You talk about the future? What kind of future can you have with some kid? It's a waste, Brian! A waste of your talent -- of your potential!"
"A waste? We're talking about people here, Ron. About a relationship -- you aren't casting a fucking Movie of the Week!"
"I didn't SAY that! But we could do so much in Hollywood, Brian. Think of the films we could make! The breakthroughs! 'The Olympian' is only the beginning! I... I'm out -- you could be, too -- and fuck the studio!"
"I AM out, Ron. I have been for years to everyone who matters to me. It's only Hollywood that won't acknowledge it. And YOU who didn't want me to be too 'vocal' about it. All for the sake of my 'image'! What a fucking joke!" Brian looks over the railing at the water. Then he glances over at me. "But now I have to think of my life beyond this picture. Beyond the premiere. Maybe even beyond being in L.A."
"Shit! The premiere!" I say, my heart racing. "You aren't thinking of taking that little bastard to the premiere with you? Because you fucking CANNOT, Brian! You... just can't...."
Brian looks directly at me. Now his look is softer. Sadder. "Is that ALL you're interested in, Ron?" His voice is almost a whisper. "That I NOT take Justin to the premiere? Like I said, Ron -- you want you and me to walk down the Red Carpet, holding hands?"
Yes! I want to fucking shout! But I can't. "We... can't, Brian," I say instead. "I mean -- not yet! But you can't go with... that kid, Brian! It will ruin everything we've worked for!"
"So, you want me to take Diane? Or bring Lindsay out here? She's pregnant. The studio would love to get a photo of me with my expectant 'girlfriend,' wouldn't they? Well, fuck that! What was the point of this whole picture, then, if everyone has to hide what they are? Really? If I have to be portrayed in the media as 'straight' in order to 'play gay' then what WAS the point of it? Isn't this picture about having the courage to be what you ARE? To be yourself? What did Bobby DIE for at the end of the film, Ron? Why did he get his head blown off by some homophobic prick? Why did Justin...." But Brian stops and turns away, blinking. "You ARE a fucking hypocrite, Ron."
He walks away from me and moves to the door of the cabin, drinking his can of beer. There's sweat trailing down his long neck and down the front of his white tee shirt, which clings to him, all damp. I can see that heart-shaped charm he wears hanging there in the hollow of his neck. The same one in the photo on the cover of the 'Hammersmith' Soundtrack CD and all the other 'Hammersmith' promotional material. That little heart that Justin gave him. He turns back to me. "Oh -- and don't call Justin a bastard again, Ron. Or any other names. I'm serious about that. He's... my partner -- and you'll have to accept that -- or never speak to me again."
I have to sit back down in the deck chair before I fall down. My head is spinning like mad and that fishy smell that always makes me ill when I'm down here is overwhelming. I reach over and take a beer out of the cooler, my hand shaking.
I hate beer, but I need something to wash the Xanax down with. Something to make all the feeling in my body just melt away. And I have a long, long time ahead of me to do it.
"You say you're sorry
For tellin' stories
That you know I believe are true.
You say ya got some
Other kinda lover
And yes, I believe you do.
You say my kisses are not like his,
But this time I'm not gonna tell you why that is.
I'm just gonna let you pass,
Yes, and I'll go last,
Then time will tell just who fell
And who's been left behind,
When you go your way and I go mine."
from "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine," by Bob Dylan.
(Lyrics © 1966, renewed 1994, Dwarf Music)
Continue on to "Most Likely You Go Your Way and I'll Go Mine -- Part 3", the next section.
Go to see Brian's "Vanity Fair" Cover. Another great job by the Fabulous Mia!
©Gaedhal, January 2003.
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback on this chapter.
Updated January 13, 2003.