This is Chapter 51 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Vanity Fair II", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, featuring Brian Kinney, Diane Rhys.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian takes Justin to meet Diane. Los Angeles, June 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.
"Brian -- where are we going?"
"That's not an answer."
We continue to drive through the city and I begin to notice something.
"Brian -- where are we?"
"Why do you ask?"
"Because I've never seen so many hot guys in one place. What is this -- Gay L.A.?"
He laughs. "Ding ding ding! You win! Because we are in West Hollywood. Hang on."
He makes a sharp turn into a parking lot. Even the parking attendants look like gay porno stars -- sun-bleached blonds, with tight tees stretched over their pumped up chests. I look at them and feel about 12 years old.
Between Brian and the Mustang, we are drawing a small crowd. The parking attendant who takes over the Mustang definitely knows Brian. Too well, maybe. It makes me nervous. I'm always nervous around Brian's old tricks -- especially when they look like this guy. He promises to take good care of the car. He puts his hand on Brian's arm.
"Got something caught in your throat, Sunshine?"
He always calls me that when he's mocking me.
"Well, we'll have to get the boy a drink, then," he says to the attendant, who looks at me like Brian must be babysitting me for the day.
We walk a short way down the street and Brian causes at least fifty cases of whiplash. He looks extra, extra hot, in the tightest pair of black jeans ever, with his black, sleeveless shirt open almost to his waist, and black cowboy boots. He bought those yesterday when we went shopping after the photo shoot. Leave it to Brian to wear black from head to toe on a super hot day when every other person is wearing white. He stands out like an exclamation point. Once more, I feel like the little Armani-type dog trotting in the wake of the champion Doberman. And he's completely unaware of it. Typically.
Lindsay is spending the day getting ready for the big dinner party at Jimmy Hardy's house tonight. The thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. It's going to be a real "Ron" evening and that makes me nervous. But Lindsay is having what Brian calls a "spa day."
"What the fuck is THAT?"
"You go to this place and spend the entire day being washed, soaked, massaged, plucked, prodded, painted, and basically turned into mush. I'm told it's a necessity before a big event."
"And that takes ALL day?"
"Apparently. Women take a lot of maintenance -- especially out here. It's fucking expensive. too. But I was told that Lindsay would appreciate it, so...."
Brian has been particularly conscientious about Lindsay while she's out here. I think he really wants her to have a good time so she'll keep bringing Gus back. I can tell that he misses Gus, During the photo thing yesterday it was obvious from the look on his face. When Gus was really small I know what mixed feelings he had about the whole father thing. But I saw how he agonized when he decided to give Melanie his parental rights. Most people thought it was something he did lightly, but I saw what was happening behind that facade. It killed him, really killed him. So, he's stroking Lindsay. Making sure she's pampered. I think he'd love for her to move out here with Gus -- but he knows it will never happen and that also kills him.
We stop at a cafe and the hostess also greets Brian like he's a regular. So strange to think of this parallel universe where all these people I've never seen before in my life know Brian. It makes me very insecure. The hostess calls him 'Mr. Kinney' and asks about the movie, about other people I don't know, about Ron. She looks at me like I'm something he picked out of a discard bag at a rummage sale. Maybe she thinks I'm his Big Brother project. I'm suddenly very aware of my plain old cargo pants and my blue and white pullover and how they just don't translate as anything that would be considered 'hot' in Hollywood. But Brian -- he defines 'hot' and everyone in the place knows it.
We are seated outside on a terrace at a round table with a big umbrella over it. I have the funny feeling that I've been there before.
"Brian, this reminds me of that scene in 'Annie Hall' -- when they are sitting outside at the cafe!"
He smiles. "I knew you would love this place."
My mouth drops open. "This is SO great!"
Brian orders an iced coffee and I get an Italian ice drink. We are definitely waiting for someone. Brian keeps scanning the street, watching every guy that passes. I get the awful impression that we are waiting to meet an old trick of Brian's. Or -- even worse -- a current trick of Brian's. But why would he bring me along, then? I have another horrible feeling that I'm going to be expected to do something with Brian and this unknown guy. It's just like the worst days of 'The Rules.' I drink my Italian drink and sink down in my seat a little more with each guy that cruises Brian.
"What is the matter with you? Are you freaking out here?"
My face must be showing something bad to him. "No, I'm just nervous."
"I don't know why we're here or who we're waiting for -- but I don't think I'm going to like it."
"Who do you think we are meeting today?"
"Well, you're all dressed up in one of your fuck-your-brains-out specials, so I assume it's a trick. But I really would rather not. No offense. I can wait somewhere, really. I don't mind."
He looks at me with a strange expression on his face. Then he starts laughing loudly. Very loudly. People turn around. The hostess glances over to see what's wrong.
"We are NOT meeting a trick or a fuck-buddy or even the love of my life!"
"We're meeting my girlfriend, that's who."
"Your fucking WHAT?"
He just laughs. Then, suddenly, he stands up and a small, blonde tornado literally bounces into his arms. She has a round, snub-nosed face and carefully messed-up hair. And boobs -- big boobs. Like fake big ones, that look odd on her short, skinny body.
"Bridie! What's the big mystery? Order me one of those huge ice cream things and tell me the whole dish!"
Brian gestures the waiter over, while the blonde looks around and notices that I'm sitting there.
"Hiya, cutie," she says to me. Then she turns to Brian. "What the freak did YOU pick up today? I thought you told me you were NOT going to be tricking at all because...."
"Diane! Not TODAY -- almost two years ago."
"Huh?" She looks at me again. "No shit? No shit!" She is almost shouting. Then she punches Brian's arm, really hard. "You bitch! Why didn't you tell me?"
I am completely lost now.
"I wanted it to be a surprise."
"Well, no shit, Sherlock!" She hones in on me, reaching out her hand. "Hey, cutie -- give me five."
She laughs, then takes my right hand and shakes it. Squeezes it. Squeezes it again. I squeeze back. She squeezes harder. That's when I realize she's testing my grip.
"Are you a physical therapist?" She sure doesn't look like anyone I ever met in rehab, but this is Hollywood! Maybe she met Brian when -- he was in the hospital.
But she just laughs. "I used to be -- in a way." She slides her eyes around at Brian.
"Diane -- be nice! Don't start filling the boy's head with your X-rated breeder stories. He's very impressionable."
"Oh, pooh!" She still has hold of my hand. "My mom worked for years at a V.A. hospital in Buffalo. I grew up with long-term physical rehab issues, believe me. But you're doing a-okay. Good grip there."
I look at her and then Brian. "Can I ask -- who ARE you?"
"Excuse me. I'm rotten with these pleasantries," says Brian. "Justin -- this is Diane Rhys. Diane, I think you've already guessed that this is Justin."
"And you know me? I mean, know about me? ALL about me?" As far as I know Brian has never really discussed my being bashed with anyone since those times he tried to trigger my memory. Especially out here I didn't think he'd mention me or what happened. Not even to Ron. Brian's always just wanted to forget the whole thing, right? But this woman seems to know. Know everything.
"Oh, I know a lot. More than you'd think, I bet you. I know about your art stuff. About your mom and your nut-case dad -- no offense, but he's an asshole -- and your sister. And you go to Whatsis...."
"Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Art."
"Thanks, Bridie. What he said. And you live in the loft and drive around in a big old Jeep. And you like margaritas and 'Yellow Submarine' and Moby and... maybe I better stop there... I'm supposed to keep it clean in front of minors."
I am amazed. This woman really does know about me. Things that only Brian could tell her in deep conversations. About me. "How do you know all this stuff?"
"He talks a lot in bed."
"WHAT?!" I almost jump out of my seat.
"Well, maybe not a LOT -- but what he says has great weight."
"You've been... in bed... with BRIAN?"
"Sure. Who hasn't?" She strokes my bad hand. Her hand is soft, with little pink nails.
"NOW who's the bitch?" Brian snarks at her and she gives him another punch on the arm with her other hand. Meanwhile, my mouth is hanging open.
"Don't catch too many flies there, cutie. Yeah, what was it, Bridie? Three days?"
"More like four."
"Four days. Gawwwd! You don't even know HALF the shit Jerry gave me about that. He is STILL bringing it up. Especially after he got a good long look at your cock. Jeez Louise!"
"I always thought Jerry was a size queen. When are you going to let him out of that closet, Diane? He's way too into getting blown to be totally straight."
"I thought we weren't going to go into distasteful subjects in front of this virginal boy? After all, he's out here to have some fun and not listen to a bunch of gossip about my pervy old boyfriend. Or YOURS."
"Ron isn't pervy."
"Ha! Fat lot YOU know." Diane leans over to me. "He thinks he's so smart and knows what's what. Lemme tell you -- he's a freakin' babe in the woods in this town. If it wasn't for ME being here to look out for him, he would have been eaten up and spit out months and months ago. Or else...."
She raises her pale eyebrows at Brian, questioningly. She has baby-blue eyes that look all innocent while all this amazing shit is coming out of her mouth.
"Fate worse than death, Brian. I WARNED you about that. Didn't I TELL you not to go to Maui? And I was RIGHT, wasn't I? You could have been wrapped up in white satin and already chained in the tower, surrounded by toasters and espresso machines. Jerry told me what happened when Ron showed up by himself. Jerry couldn't stop laughing about it. And Ron couldn't stop crying."
"Jerry is a prick. If I'd known HE was going to be there to rub Ron's nose in it I would have gone just to spite him."
"Then you're an even BIGGER idiot than I thought!" She still has my hand and she squeezes it again. "I'm sure I don't have to tell YOU that this one is THE biggest freakin' drama queen in this town -- and THAT'S saying something! He doesn't always know what's in his own best interest, either -- that's where I come in. I know this town like it's my own bedroom -- which it kind of is. But I can't spend ALL my time keeping tabs on the Queen Bee here. That's why I'm happy to see YOU out here. You can take over for me a bit while I have a breather. This one is exhausting, lemme tell you."
"I'm not staying. I have to go back to Pittsburgh on Sunday."
"What the freak?" She looks pained. "Is that right, Bridie?"
Brian shrugs and looks away, out at the hot guys passing by on the sidewalk, out at hot cars going by on the street. It's a bright day and he's squinting. He takes a drink of his iced coffee and I realize that he really doesn't want me to go. I can see it in his face. He DOESN'T want to get rid of me. It's a revelation. It means -- everything, I guess. I just stare at him.
Diane puts her face close to mine. "Can't you just stay here? Why are you going back now? You don't still have school, do you?"
"No, I have to go back with Lindsay and Gus. I came out with them. It was... Brian didn't know I was coming. It's kind of awkward at the house, if you know what I mean."
"Lindsay and Gus. Right. I forgot THEY were coming out here this week. I've been preoccupied with my career -- strange as that may seem! It's been kind of hectic. It's pilot frenzy and I've been shooting almost every day on this new series. I KNOW it's going to get picked up as a mid-season replacement. I can feel it. Right, Bridie?"
But Brian isn't even listening. He's put his Ray Bans on and is staring out at the parade, his eyes shielded.
I feel Diane press my hand again and I look around at her. "Listen, cutie, you can stay at my place. Brian's used it as an escape hatch himself. I don't have a lot of room, but I'm gone a lot during the day and it's right around the corner from here so you'll be close to all the action in Boys Town. I've got a boyfriend who comes over once or twice a week for a couple of hours, but Santa Monica's a main drag, so you can just come up here and hang out or go over to a club on the Strip until he's gone. You won't have ANY trouble making friends at all. And Brian can meet you whenever he wants. You won't have to worry about dealing with Ron or all that shit at the house. What do you say?"
I know that she's really sincere and I wonder what the story is with her and Brian. I had realized after a few minutes that she's the girl he went to all those premieres and events with that we saw on 'Entertainment Tonight' and in those articles that Vic saved from gossip magazines and the internet. I had thought that was some sort of put up job, like rent-a-girlfriend, and it's a shock to think that she and Brian really are friends and they really do have some kind of relationship. She obviously cares about what is happening to him. She thinks I should stay out here and now I'm torn.
Brian breaks into my thoughts. "He has to go back. On Sunday, as scheduled."
"He's coming over to London with me, so he has to go home and get his shit together. I didn't know he was coming out here this week and it's been a little... uncomfortable."
"I bet! I can imagine how uncomfortable with Ron on his tail all the time."
"It isn't bad. He doesn't know who I am. He thinks I'm Lindsay's little brother."
Diane looks skeptical. "Ron NOT knowing what's going on would be a first, that's all I have to say about it. I still think you'd be safer at my place. You can sleep on the couch or take the bed -- either way, you'll be snug as a bug."
"Take the bed -- with you? You mean -- sleep in your bed?"
"Why not? Bridie does it and he's still gay! I have that effect on some guys."
"Why do you call him 'Bridie'? I've never heard that before."
Brian makes a face and she laughs. "Inside joke -- sort of. It's like Bridie Murphy. Ever heard of her? She was some old Irish washerwoman who got reincarnated. It's famous."
I'm completely blank on that one.
"I like to picture the Queen Bee as an old washerwoman in a past life. Cleaning up after everyone's messes."
"I'd never live any kind of past life where I had to put my hands in hot water all day, you know that."
"A little manual labor would do you good. And I don't mean just hand-jobs!"
"And WHO is the foul-mouthed bitch?"
"I think we both qualify."
She finishes up her ice cream drink and picks up her bag. "Come on over to my place for a few minutes. You'd like to see my bachelorette pad, wouldn't you, cutie?"
"I don't know." I look to Brian for a cue.
"We don't have time."
"Sure you do."
"We have to go over to Tess and Jimmy's tonight for dinner."
"Well, Jeez -- it isn't even 2:00 yet. Let's get out of this heat." She's signaling Brian with her eyes, but he's trying to ignore her. Finally, she just takes me by the arm and marches me away from the table and out of the cafe. "He'll follow along after he pays the tab. Just keep walking."
"Sometimes you have to take the bull by the horn. Even a very tall bull with a very big horn."
"Where are we really going?"
"To my place, just like I said."
I keep glancing around to see if Brian is following. I can imagine him getting pissed off and stomping away, leaving me here in the middle of the city with this crazy little blonde.
But I see him trailing along a little way behind us. Guys keep coming up to him, or brushing against him, but he shrugs them off. Finally, he sprints a little and catches up with us.
"I wanna show off my place!"
She lives in a nondescript apartment in a nondescript building. I can't figure out why she wanted me to see it. It isn't a cool place like the loft or anything. The window looks out on a parking lot, so there isn't even a view.
Diane gets me a glass of lemonade with lots of ice and pours Brian a beer. "Can you believe that I'm all out of beer now! On a hot day like this -- and it's going to get hotter all this week. If you boys will excuse me, I'm just going to run up to the market and get some more. Keep yourselves amused while I'm gone." And she's out the door.
"That was subtle," Brian says, draining the beer.
"Why is she going out now? We don't have time to drink a bunch of beer all afternoon, so...." But I don't have a chance to say anything else because Brian has me on my feet in the middle of the little living room and is pulling my top off over my head.
"Brian -- what are you doing? Diane will be right back!"
"No she won't. Why do you think she left?"
He jerks my pants down and engulfs my dick with his mouth, shoving me back against the couch. I unsnap his black shirt and push it off his shoulders. I can see where his arms are turning red from the sun and I run my fingers over that redness, feeling the heat radiating from his skin.
He works all over my dick, practically drinking it in. He pauses to take a breath. "If they sold this at that cafe, they'd have to have cops at the door to control the crowds of horny guys trying to get in."
"Brian, YOU were the one who was stopping traffic on the street. No one even noticed me at all."
"That's because they haven't had a free sample," he says and then goes back to business, not letting up until I cum with a surge that I feel all the way back into my teeth. He falls back onto the couch next to me. "Shit. No cigarettes."
"Seems you've already satisfied your oral compulsion for the day."
"Are you fucking kidding? I'm just getting started. I was so horny last night I even...." He stops. He didn't come to the poolhouse because Ron was really acting paranoid all evening. "Never mind that."
"We better get dressed." I start to pull up my briefs and pants, but Brian catches my hand and instead pulls them all the way down and off, tossing them on the floor. He draws off his new cowboy boots. Then he stands up and eases down his black jeans. They are so tight I almost hear a pop as he slips them past his hips.
Take the bull by the horn, Diane said. I reach out, but he catches my right hand and squeezes it. "How did she say that grip was?"
He squeezes it again. His face is smoothed out of all emotion, like he's in that weird place in his head he escapes to. Then he leans down and PICKS ME UP.
"Brian! You're going to drop me!"
"No I'm not." I can't believe how much stronger he is than he was Pittsburgh only a month ago. Then he couldn't have lifted me to save his life. Now, he carries me like a doll. He moves to a door and pushes it open. It's her bedroom. He drops me on the patchwork quilt that covers the bed.
"We might mess this up...."
"That spread has seen more action than you'll ever have in your life. Just leave it." And he stretches himself over me. "Leave it. Leave everything. Fuck it. Fuck everything. Everything but this. Everything but right NOW."
And, for the next hour and a half, I do. We do.
Continue on to "All the Good Ones Are -- Part 1", part one of the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, July 2002
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions.
Updated July 16, 2002