This is Chapter 37 of the "Queer Realities" series.
The narrators are Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor, and features Dr. Julius Gorowitz, Walker Talmadge III.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Justin finds a new patient at Springhurst. Springhurst. February 2003.
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 haven't been sleeping too well.
It's too goddamn quiet in this place. Besides, I'm used to a decent orgasm before I can fall asleep. Nature's fucking sleeping pill. My right hand is my best friend, but it's not my lover of choice. Not by a longshot.
"Am I boring you, Brian?"
"Huh?" Shit. He caught me yawning. Busted. "No, Doc. Sorry."
"Are you getting enough rest?" he asks. "Because that's important to your general health and well-being."
"Ask me again after the weekend," I reply. "Because that's when I'll sleep like a baby. I'm not kidding."
So," Gorowitz says. "Justin is coming this weekend. Are you certain?"
"Of course." What the fuck? "Last weekend he had to catch up on his work. He's not sitting around the loft on his ass, you know. Not only is he going to the Institute of Fine Art full time, but he's also working on his own art. Remember? He has some of his pieces at an exhibit at the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh that opens on March 8. He used his computer to make portraits of people he knows dressed as celebrities. He took the photos of us and then 'Warholized' them. That's the name of the exhibit, too. You have to see these things, Doc. They're fantastic!"
"Apparently you aren't the only one who thinks so, if his work was accepted for an exhibit."
"He's a fucking genius. What else can I say?" And I'm not exaggerating. It's only the truth. "One of the first times Justin was 'out' as a gay man was at an art show at the Gay and Lesbian Center. The Center is total bullshit, Doc, but I had to go and see what he'd drawn."
"And?" Gorowitz has a hint of a smile on his face.
"Me, of course. Among other things. Me -- and my dick," I laugh. "Justin's mother freaked out when she saw that! She must have figured out immediately that the dick she saw in Justin's drawing was... um... something he was pretty well-acquainted with!"
"And that excited you?" he asks.
"Sure," I admit. "I don't mind freaking out straight people."
"Even your lover's mother?"
"Justin was hardly my lover then," I remind him.
"No?" Gorowitz says. "Then what was he?"
What the fuck was Justin then? "The trick who wouldn't leave! That's what the guys called him."
"You've mentioned that before, Brian. Justin as a trick." Gorowitz twirls his silver Cross pen between his fingers.
"That was a long time ago, Doc," I counter. "But every guy I fuck is a trick -- or started as a trick. Even Justin. Even Ron."
"Every guy you fuck. You say that in the present tense, Brian." Gorowitz gazes out the window of his office, not looking at me. This is one of his stupid techniques, I think. The 'off-camera gaze' they call it in Hollywood. It's to make you think he isn't really paying that much attention. Then he comes in for the kill.
"Theoretically, Doc. I mean, I'm not doing it now, but you never know."
"So, you might continue tricking in the future?" he says. "When you leave here?"
"I don't know," I shrug. "Maybe, maybe not. When I have Justin it's pretty pointless, but if we're separated for a long time, like if I have to go on location or be in Los Angeles for a while, I can't guarantee that I won't trick occasionally."
"But isn't that part of your addiction, Brian? Part of what you are trying to get away from? Having sex with many nameless men?"
"As long as it isn't out of control and as long as I'm not doing it for fucking pain management, then what's the harm?" I reply. "I didn't say I'd do it! But I'd be a liar if I said that I'd never do it again, ever. Shit, no one can say that! No more than I can say I'll never take a drink again in my entire life. Or never smoke a joint now and then. You told me yourself that isn't realistic, Doc! So what the fuck?
"What the fuck, indeed, Brian?" he says, still gazing into the distance. It's sunny outside. The snow has stopped falling -- for now. "What about having sex here? In rehab?"
"I told you! That's why I'm looking forward to this weekend!" I grin at him. "I'm horny as hell and that's no lie!"
"No, Brian. I mean with men here. Or men in the town."
"You show me the hot guys, Doc!" I snort. And I try not to think of Dr. Harry, the hot nerd. Or of Walker Talmadge, the new meat in town. "Let me at 'em!"
"So, given the opportunity, you would do it? You would trick? Even though you have a commitment to your partner?"
Jesus Christ. Gorowitz doesn't understand at all. Time to enlighten the good doctor with a little bit of the Brian Fucking Kinney Philosophy of Life. "We're with each other because we want to be, Doc, not because we have to be. I haven't fucked anyone else since...." I stop, like I've been slammed up against a brick wall. I know I fucked some guys after my drug-fueled escape from Haven of Hell, but I don't remember those days too clearly. But I do remember that last time with Ron. That was the night he killed himself. I remember that time all TOO fucking clearly. That was the last time that any fuck besides Justin counted in any way. The last time with someone who wasn't merely a trick. Someone who wasn't Justin. And it's the fuck that I regret the most in my whole miserable life.
But I sit up and steel myself. No fucking apologies. No fucking excuses. "If I wanted to, I would, Doc. IF I wanted to."
"And what about your partner, Brian?"
I cross my arms in front of me. "He knows the score. Justin knows that for me sex is just that -- sex. It doesn't mean anything more than a simple physical response."
"No, Brian," says Gorowitz. He turns and stares at me. "That's not what I meant. I'm asking you how you would feel if your partner was having sex with a lot of others. What if he were behaving the way you have in the past? Tricking, as you say, with many nameless men."
Another fucking brick wall. Slam! But this one almost knocks the air out of me. "But Justin isn't doing that!"
Stare. Stare some more. "And you are saying that if your partner were doing that, it would not bother you?"
"Of course it wouldn't," I sniff. Shit. "But he's not! He's not doing that!"
"I hear a change in your voice, Brian," says Gorowitz. "Does that mean it WOULD bother you? It appears to bother you merely to think about it."
"Fuck you, Doc!" I blast. "It wouldn't bother me! I'd be a hypocrite if it did!"
Gorowitz looks away again. His voice is calm. Cool. "Don't lie, Brian. Lie to yourself, but not to me. I'm not your lover and I'm not your partner. I'm your doctor. You're not planning to trick with me, Brian -- or excuse yourself to me for doing it with someone else. You are here to tell me the truth."
I'm not your lover and I'm not your partner. I've heard those words before. I said them, but I don't remember when. A long time ago. But I know who I said them to. Justin. Fucking words! And fucking Gorowitz!
"What do you want me to say, Doc? That I want a huge wedding with Justin and I wearing matching Vera Wangs, followed by a white picket fence surrounding a rose-covered cottage where the two of us will live in monogamous bliss? Because that's breeder bullshit! That's not our realty! That's not what I want. And not what Justin wants, either."
But Gorowitz only stares at me. He doesn't say anything. He just stares back at me.
"Fuck you again, Doc!" I rub my eyes. They feel hot and tired.
"Are you afraid to think about what your partner might truly want, Brian? Which may include so-called 'breeder bullshit'? Or perhaps you are afraid of your partner doing what you have always done? Tricking? Or sleeping with someone who is not you? Except that you are secretly afraid that when Justin does it, it might actually mean something. It might be something serious enough to test your relationship. Or that Justin may do it for a different reason than simple physical release or your so-called pain management. Maybe because he is looking for something that you cannot give him, Brian. Or that you refuse to give him."
I have to laugh at that. "What can't I give Justin, Doc? Excitement? His tuition? My loft? Every fucking thing I own? My cock? How about the best sex he'll ever have in his life? Let's see someone else give him that!"
But Gorowitz doesn't even crack a smile. "What about a real commitment, Brian? Honesty. Fidelity. Being there when he needs you, every time he needs you. Being there every day. Being there forever. Knowing that he is more important to you than anyone else. Or anything else. Including more important to you than yourself."
"He knows that!" And suddenly I'm shouting. I don't know why I'm shouting, but I am. "You don't know Justin, Doc, so how can you tell me what he wants? That's complete horseshit! Just because I don't make some kind of promise and sign it in blood doesn't mean that Justin doesn't know how I feel. Justin knows the difference between reality and romantic crap -- and so do I. He's not some bubble-headed twink who doesn't understand his own mind. So don't lay any fucking guilt on me, Gorowitz!"
I stand up and pace around the room. This office is too fucking small.
"Why are you so upset, Brian?" Gorowitz asks. He's so smug. So fucking calm. "Did I hit a nerve? What are you afraid of? Really? Why don't you tell me?"
I stand there for a minute. Then I sit back down in the chair. "Nothing. Everything." I need a goddamn cigarette. And a drink. And a lot more. "I'm afraid of what will happen when Justin finally figures it out," I tell him.
"Figures what out?"
"Me," I whisper. "When he realizes what a goddamn fake I am. When he's had enough. When he... he finds someone better. Because you don't have to warn me, Doc. I already know it'll happen. I know he'll leave. Everyone leaves me -- eventually. I... I just don't want it to be now!"
Gorowitz is quiet for a few minutes. It seems like an eternity of minutes, actually. He hands me his fucking box of Kleenex, but I push it away.
"You have talked about this fear before, Brian. Of your partner leaving you. But it is you who are always the one running away."
I try to make it all a joke, but I can't. "That's to save everyone else the trouble, Doc."
"And that's why you never wanted to see any man more than once, isn't it, Brian?" he says. "You dismissed them before they could see the truth behind your perfect facade and therefore reject you?"
I think about that cold day in New York so long ago when I ran away from Ron's apartment and back to the streets. And I also remember an even colder day in December when I left the loft and flew to Los Angeles, thinking that I'd never return. Always running so I wouldn't have to face the inevitable. So I wouldn't have to be the one to watch them leave me.
"Get out of my head, Doc," I plead. "Leave me alone. Please?"
"No, Brian," he counters. "You're here to face your fears, not hide from them. To understand them, not to blur them with sex or drugs or alcohol. If you don't work out these feelings now then you will go right back to doing what you've always done to smother them -- pain management."
Fuck you, Doc! I say to myself. Yes. Fuck you. I blank out his words. Nothing but goddamn words.
Two days. Two fucking days and Justin will be here. Two days and I can bury myself in him. Because that's what I need! All that I need.
The whole way up the interstate to the New York line and then on to Springhurst I try not to think.
That's all I've been doing lately. Not thinking.
I don't want to fucking think about anything!
I have to tell Brian.
I have to. Have to. Have to. Have to. Have....
I fucking can't.
How could I have gotten myself into this mess? How could I...?
I have to tell Brian.
I fucking can't.
But I have to.
I turn into the long driveway that leads to the buildings that make up Springhurst. It looks so beautiful. The snow hangs on the low branches of the trees, all white on black shadows. I should take my pad out here and sketch them before the snow melts away. Before everything melts away.
Maybe I'll never come here again.
I don't know what to do!
I slow down in front of the main building, looking for a parking space in the Visitors' Lot. I pull into an empty spot and put on the brake. I have to think. I have to figure out what to do.
But there's no time. Brian is out the door and running up to the Jeep before I can even get the door open.
The second I see him I know.
I can't tell him.
I can't. Ever.
He yanks open the door and drags me out into his arms. He's all over me. Kissing my neck. Burying his face in my hair. Smelling me.
What... what if he can smell it? Smell him? What if I stink the way I feel that I do? But that's just stupid. There's nothing to smell. Nothing to be afraid of.
I disentangle myself from Brian and get my bag out of the backseat, but he immediately snatches it away from me.
"I missed you last weekend," Brian says. He's almost shy, like he really did miss me and he's embarrassed by it.
"And I missed you, too," I answer as we walk towards the main building. But I'm not looking at his eyes. I can't look into his eyes.
Brian opens the door into the lobby. He's carrying my bag and holding my cold hand. I should have worn gloves. It's still freezing out. I'm freezing.
"So -- did you get a lot done? Did you cover your ass?"
"What?" I'm startled by his words.
"I said did you get a lot of your work done? On the Warhol project? Is your ass covered?" Brian is smirking at me.
"Oh, yeah," I say. "My ass is well covered."
"That's good!" Brian affirms. "I know your pieces will be the best, but I want those other assholes to know it, too!"
"They're good," I say, vaguely. "As good as I can make them."
"Then that's the best," says Brian, grinning. "Like I said. I wouldn't tolerate anything less!"
I hear music coming from the main recreation room. The tune sounds so familiar. But I don't remember anybody in Springhurst being able to play like that. Or playing that kind of music. Unless it's someone new.
"Who's that playing the piano?" I nudge Brian's arm.
He raises his eyebrow. "That's the surprise I wouldn't tell you about on the phone. Because I know you'll shit, Justin! I mean it. You'll absolutely shit!"
"What is it?" I demand. "Who's that playing?"
"Okay." Brian steers me towards the rec room. "I was going to introduce you at dinner, but that's been blown to hell."
I can hear the song much clearer now. It sounds like 'Crying in Chelsea' from Walker Talmadge's 'Chelsea Original' CD. And it sounds like... like Walker Talmadge singing. That swooping voice with the weird little catch in it. But it can't be.
And then I see him. Or I see his long hair bobbing over the keyboard. It's dark with bleached blond tips. And I hear that voice. There's no mistaking it. Walker Talmadge looks up and smiles.
He immediately stops 'Crying in Chelsea' and starts playing that old Disney song, 'Someday My Prince Will Come.' He bats his eyes. At Brian.
"Shut the fuck up, Walker!" Brian laughs.
"Anything my Lord and Master desires!" He giggles. He's very thin and very pale. Long arms and long fingers like an alien that nervously sweep over the keyboard. He's wearing a dark purple tee shirt that says 'Drama Queen' across the front in glitter. It looks like something Emmett would wear to Babylon and isn't exactly the usual fashion for rehab.
Brian pushes me right up to the piano. "Walker, this is my partner, Justin. He's finally here!"
"Enchanté," says Walker Talmadge. His eyes are greenish blue and they look more than slightly wasted. He looks wasted in general, like a strong wind would knock him over. If he's here at Springhurst that means he must be in for some kind of addiction. Fucking great!
"Hi." I don't know what I'm supposed to say. "I'm a big fan." That sounds so lame.
"So my Beautiful Brian tells me." Walker isn't smiling at me. Not at all. His face looks passive, but his blue-green eyes are glaring at me. Glittering like his purple tee shirt. "You look exactly like he described you, darling. The All American Boy. Super Twink! Wouldn't that make a good song title, Brian? 'The Revenge of the Super Twink'?"
"No," Brian sniffs. "That's an awful title! Who would want to listen to a song with such a crazy fucking title?"
"Brian, please! Why must I always fall in love with such cruel and beautiful men?" Walker sighs melodramatically. "Every one of them a critic. That's my dismal Fate!"
"Shut up, Walker!" Brian laughs again. "This guy is so full of shit, Justin. But he certainly can play that fucking piano. Now if they would only get the thing tuned."
"I've begged the good Dr. Gorowitz to PLEASE send for the musical medics, STAT! C'est urgent! But so far...." Walker shrugs. "One must make due with what one has available." And Walker licks his lips as he eyes Brian. And then he glances at me.
That's about as clear as crystal, which is probably what this moron is in here for. He looks like a tweaker.
Brian is fucking him.
I knew he was fucking someone. Now I know who.
Nothing's changed. Nothing.
Brian will never change. He can't. That's who he is. Who he has to be. I know it and I've always known it.
And I'm who I have to be.
"Walker, we'll see you at dinner, okay?" Brian puts his arm around my shoulder. "Right now we have to get... um... unpacked!"
"Unpacked, huh?" Walker repeats. "But before you go I want you to listen to something I've been working on! Only a few bars?"
Brian grunts. "I'm kind of in a hurry here, Walker!" He presses his hard dick against my ass.
"One verse!" Walker insists. "I wrote it for you! Please, darling?"
And Walker Talmadge launches into his new song. The melody is languid and melancholy. And there's no mistaking who it's about. No mistaking it at all.
"My Dark Prince --
All I can do
Is bow to you.
You lock yourself up
In a tower of gold,
You look at the Moon,
But the Moon's eyes are cold.
My Dark Prince --
All I can do
Is plead to you.
You send out your Army,
You send out your Fleet,
You conquer their hearts,
They kneel at your feet.
Under the Stars
And under the Moon --
Under your power,
Under your grace,
I climb to your tower,
I touch your face.
They offer you riches,
They offer you land,
If I were a Princess
I'd offer my hand.
You offer me darkness
Where we'll be as one,
We'll empty the Ocean,
We'll bury the Sun.
My Dark Prince --
All I can do
Is give myself to you."
As I'm listening to this song I get the creeps up and down my spine. Walker is looking at Brian as he's playing. And he's also glancing at me. He's smirking at me. Sending a message to me. Telling me that Brian is his, too. That he loves him. And that I'm just going to have to accept it -- or fuck off.
I look up, but Brian isn't watching Walker. He hardly seems to be listening to him or his song. His eyes are on my face. His eyes. Brian's eyes. Looking at me. Only me.
Walker Talmadge finishes with a flourish of notes at the end.
"Very nice," says Brian, politely. "Sounds fine."
I squeeze Brian's arm. "Let's go to your room. Now!"
Brian smiles at me. "Anxious, Sunshine?"
"Brian, I want you inside me!" I whisper. "I want your cock up my ass! Now!"
Brian hugs me. "Sorry, Walker, but duty calls! We can listen to some more later, okay?"
"Okay," he replies. "I have all the time in the world, Beautiful One."
He might have all the time in the fucking world, I think as we go down the long hallway to Brian's room.
But not me. Not anymore.
I have to tell him. I have to. I have to. I have to....
Never. I can't. Ever.
Continue on to "God Only Knows".
©Gaedhal, March 2005.
Posted March 13, 2005.