This is Part 19.
Other recent stories in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Nowhere Man -- Part 18.
Features Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor, Jack Kinney, Joan Kinney, Daphne Chanders, Jennifer Taylor, Molly Taylor, Craig Taylor, Others.
Rated R for language and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Justin deal with their parents. September 2000.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Thursday, September 7, 2000, continued:
Brian came into the house, dragging his shopping bags and then dumping them out on the carpet in the middle of the living room.
"Hey, what did you do to your hair?" growled the old man from his usual position in the recliner in front of the television.
"I decided to get it cut -- what do you think?" said Brian, turning around.
"Jesus, I can actually SEE your neck! I think that's a first. Where did you go? Not up to Mario's, that's for sure," said Jack, mentioning his own barber.
"Some place on Liberty Avenue. A 'salon' -- not a barbershop."
"And that means you paid double, huh?" snorted Jack.
"Hey, Pop -- haircuts don't cost ten bucks anymore," answered Brian. He wondered what his father would say if he knew that the cut actually cost him $45 -- and Brian got the impression that he was getting a 'deal' from the stylist, who had asked him out for Saturday. The guy had been disappointed when Brian told him that he would be going back to Indiana that day to get ready to go back to work, but he -- Barney -- had also slipped his phone number into Brian's back pocket. Brian was beginning to have quite a collection of those numbers. Maybe he should pass them on to Michael -- or Emmett. Or even Ted. Because there was only one number he was interested in -- Justin's. And he didn't dare call him at it. Not when his parents might answer.
"So, what else did you do? Buy out the goddamn mall?" The old man leaned over and looked into one of the shopping bags.
"Practically," said Brian, pulling a shirt from another bag and shaking it out. "Have you got a pair of scissors?"
"On the desk," Jack said, pointing.
"Thanks." Brian grabbed the scissors and began snipping off tags.
"Aren't you going to try that stuff on first? You might want to return something!" exclaimed the old man.
"I've already tried everything on -- And if I don't cut off the tags now, I might lose my nerve and take everything back."
"Kinneys don't lose their nerve, Sonny Boy."
Brian lifted an eyebrow. "Speak for yourself, Pop. Because I'm right on the verge of losing mine."
"What? Over a bunch of shirts and underpants?" sniped the old man, eyeing Brian's large pile of purchases.
"You can't believe what this load cost! Whenever I think about it... So I'm not going to think about it." Brian clipped the tags off his leather jacket. "Especially this thing."
"Hey -- that's a beauty!" said Jack. "Let me see that." Brian handed him the jacket. "I could use one like that!"
"To go along with your new motorcycle, Pop?" Brian smiled.
"Why the hell not? You only live once, Sonny Boy. Only once," Jack mused.
"Yeah," said Brian. "That's for sure."
Joanie Kinney came down the stairs and stopped when she saw her son, sitting on the living room floor, next to his father's chair. "What's all this?"
Brian looked up at his mother. "Shopping."
Joanie frowned. "What in the world do you need all these clothes for, Brian?"
Brian took a deep breath. "To wear, Mother."
"Yeah, Joanie. You don't want him going out with my doctor looking like a bum, do you?" Jack guffawed and nudged Brian with his foot.
"Humph," snorted Brian's mother. It wasn't as if she was exactly comfortable with her son's sexuality, but it bothered her even more to see just how un-bothered her husband was by it. Which proved to her how much Jack had been affected by his illness. How much he was letting things that had formerly driven him into a frenzy just pass over him calmly. To see him joking about Brian going on a date was unbelievable to her -- and troubling.
Jack was even encouraging Brian to leave Ron. To go out with other men! To do Lord only knows what! Not only was it not safe -- it was foolish! Ron had a good job -- a prestigious job! And, regardless of Ron's little episodes of unfaithfulness, he was devoted to Brian. Joan knew THAT for certain. Ron had told her so, most recently that morning when he had called her to commiserate, frustrated by Brian's petulant lack of response to his phone messages. Brian ought to grow up and see that 'romance' was NOT reality! That Ron was Brian's 'reality'!
And to have Jack encouraging Brian to run around town like a horny teenager was NOT helping the situation. And now Brian was out buying a lot of clothes. And accepting 'dates' from strange men. Joan didn't care if this man WAS Jack's doctor, to Joan, he was just some opportunist, and Brian was -- well, Brian didn't have a lot of common sense in such matters. He didn't have the experience to deal with the flattery of some stranger who was obviously only interested in one thing! Joan sighed, remembering similar struggles with Claire when she was a teenager. But Claire had never been beautiful, like Brian. Joan was fearful that once Brian had an inkling of the power his good-looks had over people, he'd be out of control. And Jack would think that was just great!
"Where is your shirt?"
Brian looked up and frowned. "What shirt? I have four new shirts here."
"Not those, dear. Didn't you wear a shirt today? You didn't go out to the mall in nothing but your undershirt, did you?"
"Mother, it's not underwear, it's a tank top. And it's okay to wear it without a shirt over it."
"Well, I think it looks a little... trashy."
You would, thought Brian. You and Ron. It figures. But he kept his mouth shut and continued cutting the tags off his new pair of 501's. Joanie shook her head and went back into the kitchen. Maybe she had better call Ron again. It might be a good idea for him to come to Pittsburgh. Right away. Before it was too late. Brian seemed to be getting a little too used to his new found 'independence' -- and that was bad news for Ron.
"What are you going to wear tomorrow, Sonny Boy? To the big dinner?"
"I don't know. Maybe this blue one." Brian held up the silk shirt for his father to see. "I have this red one, too, but I thought I'd wear that tonight."
"Tonight?" said Jack, cocking his head. 'Where you going tonight?"
"To this club down on Liberty Avenue. I stopped in there last night with a couple of guys. You remember Mikey Novotny? I went to school with him."
Jack frowned. "Short kid? Dark hair? Was he the one with the wacky mother?"
Brian nodded. "That's Michael. I ran into him last night and went over to this club with him and two of his buddies. We're going again tonight."
"Jesus, Brian, you aren't wasting any time, are you?" Jack laughed.
"You told me to make the most of things, Pop. Especially if I have to go back this weekend and 'face the music' with Ron," said Brian. He looked at the blue silk shirt and put it aside. He'd want to press it before he went out to dinner. Silk wrinkled like a bitch. He'd have to bring the shirt with him tomorrow and borrow his mother's iron.
"Brian," his father said, catching his arm. "If you need any money -- I mean when you get back there -- just ask me. I don't want you to get back with that guy just because you can't afford to leave. You know what I'm saying?"
Brian laughed shortly. "That sounds a little crazy, considering that I'm sitting here surrounded by all this shit I bought today! But I'm okay, Pop. I can afford to pay for this stuff -- AND to do what I have to do -- at least for the moment." Brian turned and looked at his father. "Indiana isn't that expensive. I can get an efficiency apartment. I'm not THAT 'high maintenance'! But I'll have to start looking for another job, too, right away."
"Why the hell do you have to do that?" asked Jack, frowning.
"Because, Pop, without the 'Ron connection,' the English Department isn't going to bother to keep me in the position I'm in now. Ben Bruckner said that he'd look around for me at Carnegie Mellon. And there are probably instructor jobs at Pitt that could open up next semester -- or next year. There are a bunch of schools in this area, Pop. I should be able to snag something. It won't be tenure-track -- but it will be a job."
"So, Brian -- you are really thinking of coming back here? To the Pitts? For good?"
"Why not?" Brian looked up. "When in doubt, head for home."
"Might be okay," conceded the old man. "I mean, to have you around for a change. Permanently."
Sure, thought Brian. Don't strain yourself begging me to come back here. But when Brian looked at his father again, he could also see in his father's face that he WAS begging -- or as close to begging as Jack Kinney could do. "You know, Pop, maybe if I do move back here...." But Brian was interrupted by the sound of his cellphone, bleating in his back pocket. He looked at the unknown number displayed. "I better get that," said Brian, standing up and going outside to stand on the front steps. "Hey?"
"Hey!" came the now familiar voice. "I borrowed Daph's phone to call! Say 'hi,' Daphne."
"Hi," said a female voice.
"Right. Hi. So, what's going on?"
"The last bell is about to ring, so we get out of here in a couple of minutes. I would have called sooner, but I was in class! Sorry about that, Brian."
"No problem. You want me to come and get you?" Brian said, grinning now.
"I take that as a 'yes'?" Brian replied.
"Yes! Get your gorgeous ass over here!" said Justin, his voice cocky.
"Giving orders now, are you? Maybe I should go out and find a twink with less of an attitude?"
"Briiian! I'm only kidding!" Justin wailed. Then his voice softened to a more seductive tone. "Please come and get me? Please? Brian?"
"I'll be right there, Brat." Brian closed his cell and went back into the house. He gathered up his purchases and shoved them back into the shopping bags. Jack watched his son intently.
"I've got to go, Pop."
"Sounds like you're meeting someone."
"Could be," answered Brian.
"Not that Novotny kid?" Jack's eyes narrowed. "He was always a little punk."
"No, not him, Pop," said Brian. "Somebody else. Somebody I met last night."
"Last night, huh? Like father, like son!" Jack laughed. "Sort of. Just don't blow off my doctor tomorrow night! You don't want to make him mad. He might take it out on me, Brian!"
"Don't worry, Pop. I'll do my duty with the doc. I promise." Brian picked up the shopping bags and headed out the door.
"You better, Sonny Boy!" called Jack. "And I mean it! Don't screw me over!"
Brian paused in the doorway. "I'll be here tomorrow morning at 9:00 to take you to your other appointment. So be ready when I get here."
"I will. Goddamn quacks," Jack mumbled. "So long, Sonny Boy."
"So long, Pop."
Brian loaded his bags in the trunk of the Volvo and then drove to St. James Academy. Kids were spilling out the front door and down the walkways. Brian pulled up behind a line of cars, mostly driven by mothers picking up their children. Brian craned his neck, but didn't see any sign of Justin. He was pretty far down in the train of vehicles. Brian put the car into park and got out, thinking that it would help if Justin could see that he was actually there.
Justin and Daphne were sitting on the edge of the wall that lined the top steps of the front entrance. Justin had changed into his uniform when he got to school and his other clothes were in a plastic bag. Justin also had a backpack full of books that he needed to take home. He was two days behind in his homework already, he thought, and unlikely to do any more tonight when he was at the club with Brian! But he was taking the books with him anyway. He had to at least LOOK like he was trying to study!
"Justin, what are you going to tell your parents?" Daphne interrupted his thoughts. "Because you cannot tell them that you are over at my house again tonight! I'm really sick of having to lie to your mom!"
"But Daph, you have to help me! You HAVE to!"
"Forget it, Justin! If your mom comes over looking for you at my house and you aren't there -- she is going to flip out and MY mom is going to flip out, too! And I'll be in so much trouble, Justin! We BOTH will!"
"I'll think of something, Daph. Leave it to me." Justin was scouting the road, looking for a sign of the Volvo, but then he noticed the line of cars parked down the street in front of St. James. "Daph -- I think that's Brian! Over there!" And he started to scramble down the steps.
"Justin! Wait a minute! Wait for me!" called Daphne. But Justin kept going down the steps and then dashed across the lawn, while Daphne trailed much more slowly behind him.
"Brian!" Justin yelled. Brian, leaning against the Volvo, looked up and waved. He was smiling. "Brian!" Justin was flying and practically launched himself at the man and into his arms. "You got your hair cut! It looks SO great!"
"Whoa!" cried Brian. "I think you ARE trying to kill me! Ouch! Watch that backpack!"
"Sorry," said Justin, dropping the backpack and the plastic bag full of clothes onto the sidewalk without letting go of Brian's neck. And, without thinking, Justin kissed Brian full on the mouth. Pressed himself against the man. Lost himself in the reality of Brian's presence right there and then.
"Justin!" yelled Daphne. "For God's sake!"
"Huh?" Justin stopped and looked back. Not only was Daphne standing there, watching him open-mouthed, but about twenty of his classmates were also there, on the lawn and the sidewalk, gaping at the sight of Justin Taylor plastered against a tall, sexy-looking man. Kissing him the way you should NOT be kissing another man -- at least not if you were an upstanding St. James Academy senior. A straight St. James Academy senior.
Brian grabbed Justin's arms and pushed him back -- gently, but firmly. "Maybe picking you up at school wasn't very good idea after all, Justin." Brian had a horrible feeling that he'd just caused the boy a whole slew of trouble with his classmates.
"Hey, Justin!" called out Wes Smithson, a guy in Justin's Chemistry class. "You want to suck ME off next!" And he laughed derisively. And a couple of the other guys laughed, too -- and they weren't friendly laughs. But the group of girls the guys were standing with weren't laughing. They were looking on with much interest. Whispering among themselves. "They're hot," one girl breathed to another.
But Brian bristled at the boy who had called out and he took a step forward without thinking. "No, but if you'd like, I can fuck your virgin ass so hard that you won't sit down for a week!" Brian shouted. "So come over here now, why don't you? You can deal with ME!"
And Wes started and fled in the other direction, while even more of the gathered students laughed. Justin and Daphne laughed, too.
But Brian wasn't laughing. "Fuck! That was definitely a mistake! I should have kept my big mouth shut!" He opened the door of the Volvo and got in. "Maybe you should go home with your friend, Justin," Brian said, looking over at Daphne. "It would be better if you went. Now."
"No way!" the boy cried. "I'm going with you, Brian! I don't give a shit what THEY think!" Justin held his head at a defiant angle.
Daphne came over and touched his shoulder. "Maybe you better come with me now, Justin. Your mom is going to worry if you're late."
"But...." Justin felt like he was falling. After waiting all day -- well, half the day, actually, but it SEEMED like more! -- Justin knew he'd never survive if he didn't get into the car with Brian right this minute! "I thought we were going to go back to... your place, Brian? I mean, you said that we could..." Justin glanced over a Daphne. "You said we could go back there again!"
"I know, Justin. But your friend is right. Go home," said Brian. "I'll come and get you later and then we can go to the club."
And Justin began to panic, thinking that Brian was getting away from him. Thinking that he needed to touch Brian! Now! "YOU can take me home." Justin ran around to the other side of the car and opened the door. "Come on, Daph -- get in. We'll give you a lift. Is that okay, Brian?"
"Sure, Why not?" sighed Brian, feeling like a real member of the suburban carpool set.
And Daphne reluctantly climbed into the backseat of the Volvo and she sat there while Brian drove and Justin perched next to him, never taking his eyes off this strange, tall man in the black tee shirt. Occasionally reaching over to touch his bare arm or his hair. And it gave Daphne a funny feeling. A scared feeling, but also an excited feeling. And a feeling that things would never be quite the same ever again, for any of them.
It was almost 6:00 and Justin had been hiding in his room since Brian had dropped him and Daphne at the end of the street two hours earlier. Justin had already changed from his uniform into his new cargo pants and his tightest top -- he didn't really know what to wear to a gay dance club, but this seemed the best he could do until he saw what all the guys were wearing. Until he got some better clothes. Some really hot clothes.
But now Justin was in the kitchen, trailing Jennifer Taylor and still trying to figure out what to tell his mother to get her to let him leave the house tonight. And time was running out.
"Mom, could I talk to you about something? Right now?"
"Sure, Justin, but will you slow down a minute? I haven't even seen you in days, it seems!" said Jennifer. "Molly! Will YOU wait for a moment, too?"
"But MOMMY!" whined Molly.
"Come on, Mom! I was only gone ONE night over at Daphne's," Justin said, trying to concentrate on what he was going to say to her now, instead of the tales he'd already told her. Justin didn't like playing around with the truth. It wasn't the way he'd been brought up and it wasn't the way he liked to do things. And now he found it hard to look his mother in the eye. Luckily, she didn't seem to notice.
No, Jennifer was too busy getting dinner ready and trying to gather together some supplies that Molly needed to take to school tomorrow, as well as answering her husband, Craig -- who was shouting out a variety of questions from the living room, where he was watching the news -- to pay all that much attention to her son. "I want you to wash your hands and get ready for dinner. We're eating in about fifteen minutes."
"Mom, can you listen to me for two seconds? I need to ask you something really important!"
"Mommy! I need pipe cleaners! And glue, too!" said Molly, pushing between Justin and his mother.
"Molly, I'll get them for you," said Jennifer. "Just sit down, please. Now, what is it, Justin?"
"Mom...." Justin hesitated for a second, taking a deep breath. Then he plunged ahead. "I need to go over to my friend's house tonight and work on a project. For my AP History class."
Jennifer looked up. "What? Tonight?"
"We have to get started on it, Mom!" insisted Justin. "It's important. He asked me to go over there and work on it with him. He's my... study partner."
"Justin, who is this boy?"
"His name is... Brian," stammered Justin. "He's new this year and he's really smart. And this... project is very important, Mom. So, can I go? He'll pick me up and if it gets too late... I can stay over there. He said it was okay. So -- is that all right, Mom?"
"Mommy! I can't find the glue!" Molly yelled.
"Molly, get down from there -- I will get the glue for you!" Jennifer pulled her daughter off the chair and closed the cupboard she was trying to reach. "Don't climb up there! You might fall! Now, Justin -- will you explain this to me? Who is this boy? Brian?"
"He's new, Mom! School just started and there are a lot of new kids this year. He's a transfer. From Indiana. And he's my new study partner. So we need to start working on this project right away. So -- is it okay? Can I go? He's picking me up at 7:00."
"Justin, I don't know about all this."
"But it's all set, Mom! I'll just go in to school with Brian tomorrow. So -- it's okay, right?"
Craig Taylor walked into the kitchen. "Jen, have you seen my new box of tees? I'm playing with Andy White first thing tomorrow morning and I need those tees."
"Craig, look over on the sideboard in the dining room. There's a pile of odds and ends there."
Justin swallowed and turned to his father. Justin hated lying to his dad -- but telling the truth was simply impossible! What was he supposed to say? 'Hey, Dad! I'm going to a gay dance club with my much older male lover and he's really hot! And afterwards we're going back to his motel room and fuck our brains out all night! Just like we did LAST night!'
But Justin couldn't say that. Not in this or any other universe. So Justin did what he hated doing more than anything else. He lied. "Dad -- is it okay if I go over to my friend Brian's tonight and work on a project? It's okay with you, isn't it?"
"What?" said Craig, walking out into the dining room to look for the tees. "Who is this kid?"
Justin followed his father. "Brian. He's my study partner and we're working on a project together."
"I've never heard you mention this kid before. Where does he live?"
"On Bentley Drive," said Justin, thinking of a street another classmate lived on that was just far enough away to make driving over there necessary. "They just moved from Indiana."
"I don't know, Justin. Weren't you over at Daphne's last night?" Craig found the box of tees and carried them over to his golf bag, which was leaning next to the front door.
"Um, yes -- but we were just watching TV and fooling around. THIS is serious." Very serious, thought Justin.
"Two nights in a row -- and on a school night? I don't think so, Justin," said Craig.
"But, Dad, it's all set!" Justin tried to think. This was bad! He HAD to get out of the house tonight to see Brian -- to make love with Brian -- or he'd DIE! He knew he would. And Brian was picking him up in an hour! "You know, Dad, you're always saying that I spend too much time hanging out with Daphne."
"Maybe I've said that a few times," said Craig, feeling decidedly uncomfortable. "Nothing against Daphne, you understand, Justin."
"I know, Dad," said Justin. "But you think I hang out with the girls too much. I know you do."
Craig looked at his son. "I've never said THAT, Justin. I...." Craig was at a loss for words. He didn't want to have this conversation with Justin. He was afraid to have this conversation with his son. Yes, in Craig's mind, Justin spent entirely too much time doing 'girly' things. Drawing pictures. Reading. Playing with his computer. Ever since that disastrous summer five years ago when Justin had attempted to play Little League, Craig had realized that sports wasn't his son's thing. Instead of playing baseball, Justin liked going shopping with his mother or his friend, Daphne. Or staying over at Daphne's house. And neither Jennifer nor Daphne's parents ever questioned a seventeen year old boy sleeping over at a girl's house regularly. Why not? Because they knew somehow that his son was no 'threat'? That made Craig intensely uneasy. And Justin's lack of ANY male friends -- that made him uneasy, too. But now....
"But when I make friends with a guy, Dad -- a really GREAT guy! -- and I want to go over to his place, you won't let me! ALL the guys hang out together! Why can't I? I'm a senior now, Dad! You're always trying to get me to make more friends -- I mean besides Daphne and some of the other girls... And now...." Justin looked down at his shoes. His almost new Nikes. He pictured Brian slipping them on his feet this morning as he sat on the bed and slowing lacing them. Justin smiled to himself thinking of Brian's long fingers touching his feet. He felt himself getting hard.
"You say this kid is new in school?"
Justin's head snapped up as his father broke into his thoughts. "He's from Indiana. He's... really athletic," said Justin, thinking of Brian's long, lean body, his hard, smooth arms. "He's on the baseball team."
Justin's father sighed. "If your mother says it's all right with her, then it's okay with me." Craig absently brushed his hand through his son's golden hair. "Maybe this Brian could come over here and have dinner some time? Or we could all go to a baseball game?"
"Um, maybe, Dad. That would be nice. I'll... ask him." Jeez, thought Justin, THAT would be quite a scene -- Brian having dinner with his folks! Or going to a game with him and his father! Yes, quite an interesting scene! "Thanks, Dad."
"Sure, Justin." Craig's mind went back to his golf game in the morning at the Arcadian Country Club. How he was determined to beat Andy White in this round.
And Justin went back into the kitchen to inform Jennifer that his father had said it was all right for him to spend the night with his friend, Brian.
Continue on to "Nowhere Man -- Part 20.
©Gaedhal, December 2002
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your comments on "Nowhere Man." Without your feedback I don't know if you are enjoying this series!
Posted December 2, 2002