This is Page 2 of Part 2 of Chapter 103 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Outlaw Blues -- Part 2", the first page.
I pull into the lot of the Austin Gallery at a quarter past 8. I would have been on time, but I made the wrong turn and had to backtrack. That should teach me to know exactly where I'm going and not be in such a fucking hurry. Wade told me where to turn, but I ignored him. So, who's a dick, now?
I park the Lexus and turn to Wade. "You go in. I'll come in a minute. And if you see Justin -- or anyone -- don't tell them I'm here yet, all right?"
"Oh, I won't tell anyone! I'll do whatever you say, Brian," the kid says, practically batting his eyes. He's an ingratiating little fucker, that's for certain. I can't imagine how Ted keeps up with him. Maybe that's why he needs Justin, too. But I toss that thought out of my head for now. The last thing I need to do is get myself all worked up and ruin things with Justin tonight.
Wade goes into the gallery and I sit in the car for a couple of minutes, getting my head together. And trying to get my hair in place, too. It's hopeless today, even after the shower. Maybe I'd be better off shaving it all off and starting over again. Then I think of my odd-looking melon without any hair to cover it and fucking put THAT idea out of my head. Justin would probably have a heart attack if I walked in with no hair! I know I'd have one if he did anything to fuck up HIS beautiful hair!
But I was pleased that I found my old sleeveless black shirt with the snaps down the front. I wore it to Justin's first art show at the Gay and Lesbian Center two years ago. I remember that night pretty well, but I also have a photo of the two of us there, so I knew exactly which black shirt it was out of my varied wardrobe. I rooted through the back of the closet and it was hanging right there. I knew that even if Justin decided to do any 'Spring Cleaning' when he got back to the Pitts there was no way that he'd ever throw out this shirt. It smells a little bit of cedar chips, but otherwise it fits perfectly. All my old clothes fit perfectly. Always.
I wish I had a cigarette to steady myself, but I don't even carry a pack with me anymore. That's how much I've managed to shake off at least ONE addiction. I guess I'm working on the others. Slowly but surely. One at a time.
Finally, I climb out of the Lexus and propel myself to the door of the gallery. It's really packed in there. I don't know why I'm surprised. I knew this gallery show was kind of a big deal. But to see all these people here -- most dressed up a lot more than I am -- makes me realize that Justin's art is serious business. Serious adult business. This isn't a little show for a bunch of gay kids, this is a real Pittsburgh 'cultural event.' 'The Fourteenth Annual Austin Gallery Juried Art Show.' That's what the sign says. And Justin is in it.
I recognize a couple of reporters from the newspapers and one from 'Pittsburgh' magazine who have interviewed me at various times. The one talked to me a couple of years ago for a story on advertising, and the other two nailed me last spring when I was here for two weeks recuperating from 'The Olympian.' I duck back slightly because I don't want these guys to see me and start asking questions. The last thing I want is for this to end up a hype-fest for the film. This isn't about me and I don't want the attention taken off of where it SHOULD be. Which is squarely on Justin.
I sidle in and stand against the back wall. I can see Debbie and Jennifer Taylor up near the front. I also see Emmett, with Wade now standing next to him, off to the side. I look around, but I don't see Michael and Ben. Or Ted, for that matter. But I see Lindsay and Melanie here, chatting with an older, bearded man. None of them sees me. But I don't see Justin. Anywhere. I want to prowl around, looking for him, but I decide that I better stay back here for now. Out of the way.
A tall guy in a black suit that looks stolen off of a funeral director is reading out the prizes. It's hard to hear the bastard, between his mumbling voice and the talking throughout the gallery. I want to shout out for everyone to shut the fuck up, but I don't, of course. I don't want Justin to be mad at me for embarrassing him in front of all the art fags in town.
A toad-like man goes up and takes something out of the tall guy's hand. An envelope. I guess that's the big 'award.' Then he starts making a speech about the value of art in a civil society and some such shit. So this is the big winner. I wonder which thing is his? I hope it isn't the sculpture that looks like piles of dogshit painted in different colors. Or the mobile that looks exactly like some plastic thing Lindsay had dangling over Gus' crib when he was about two months old.
I look over and see Justin's piece very clearly. 'Bringing It All Back Home.' I watched him work on it in August. Putting the pieces together. Moving them around. Matching the video to the music. And I never commented on anything -- unless I was asked. But I thought everything he did and how he did it was fucking perfect, so what could I possibly have to say about it? It's not like a know a fucking thing about art, after all. I know what looks good in an ad for headache pills or jock itch spray, but nothing about REAL artistic achievement. But sitting here in the gallery, with all the people and all the other works around it, Justin's piece still looks like the most interesting thing in the place. I know that I'd go right over and want to know what it was. Want to know who made it. How he came up with the idea. I'd want to know everything.
And as I'm looking at it, suddenly Justin is there, standing next to his piece. A blonde girl is with him, whispering to him. She's so familiar, but I don't know her name. She was there this summer -- at the country club.
But it's Justin who stuns me. He's wearing tight black leather pants and a silk shirt done in different shades of blue, with lacing up the front. But he has the laces half undone, like he's just about to let the thing drop off of him. And he's wearing his cowrie shell necklace. And his slave bracelet around his right wrist. My dick stands straight up in my black jeans at the very sight of him.
And, almost at the same moment my dick salutes, Justin looks directly at me, as if he can hear it calling to him. And he startles. Does a perfect double take, his mouth open. I just gaze steadily back at him.
Justin makes a move to come over, but we both hear someone call his name. It's the funeral director in the front. "... although he was the youngest artist to be nominated for the show this year and the youngest to be accepted in many years, the Jury felt that his piece was so original and so accomplished for a student only in his first year at the Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Art, that we are offering a special Jury Prize of Honorable Mention to Mr. Justin Taylor." And the tall guy reaches out his hand, beckoning Justin to come up.
Of course, Debbie and Jennifer are clapping and crying. And Emmett and Wade are jumping up and down. And Lindsay and Mel are nodding and applauding, too.
But Justin hesitates for another second, his eyes on me. I make a pushing movement with my hand, telling him to get his rear end up front. And I see Debbie's head swivel over -- and she sees me, too.
Justin pauses another second -- and then he walks to the front. The funeral director shakes his hand and hands him the envelope. Not even a fucking trophy or anything? Maybe it's a check. Or a gift certificate for art supplies. Who knows what these guys hand out for prizes? But it's the 'honor' that matters, right? Still, some cash would be appreciated, I bet. He's got to pay for those silk shirts, after all. It's not like he's got some sugar daddy handing out money just because he has the world's sweetest ass.
"Thanks, Mr. Hamilton. And I'd also like to thank Professor Minton for nominating me to the show. It was for his class that I made the original version of 'Bringing It All Back Home,' and he was extremely encouraging at every point in the process."
Lots of applause all around. Justin smiles. He's a fucking natural. The blonde girl and a bulky woman -- her mother, as I remember from this summer -- are leading the ovation. Right. This woman is a big muckety-muck in the art community here. Maybe SHE would like to buy some drawings of my dick? Justin might have a few he'd be willing to part with. After all, he can draw a bunch more over the next few days.
"But," continues Justin. "I also want to thank the person who is really responsible for this piece -- and for all of my art. The one who made it possible for me to be an artist, or even be at PIFA in the first place."
I glance over and Mel is prodding Lindsay to stand up and take a fucking bow. And over in the other corner, Deb is nodding to Jennifer Taylor, who is grinning broadly. Everyone wants to take credit for Sunshine's success. I have news for you, ladies -- it's ALL him. And no one else. No one.
"Because over a year ago I was badly injured in a hate crime. Some of you may be aware of it. I was told at the time that there was only a small chance that I would ever use my right hand again, whether to draw or paint or do anything. But this person never gave up on me -- or let ME give up on myself."
Shit. Now I feel Deb's eyes riveting on me. And Jennifer follows her gaze and she sees me, too. And to say that it isn't a very pleased look would be a fucking understatement.
"So, I'd like to thank my...." and now Justin really hesitates. He looks at me. Because now that he's come this far he's afraid to say anymore. Not because of HIM, but because of ME. Now I'm the coward. The one who has to hide everything. But I don't WANT to hide anymore. I try to signal to him. Then I see one of the reporters turn and recognize me. Justin sees him, too.
"My friend, Brian," he finishes, his voice soft. Something inside me flips over. He's protecting ME. Like always. Especially now, right before the 'Olympian' premiere. How fucking ironic!
Justin smiles and holds up the envelope. Then he rushes into the crowd, as everyone claps and pats him on the back. I see Lindsay and Melanie glance around until they see me, too. And Wade points me out to Emmett and whispers to him. But Justin is pushing through the people like a swimmer moving in the water. Until he's right here. Pressing against me.
"Hey," he says.
"Hey," I reply, my arms going around him automatically.
"Where did you find your black shirt?"
"In the closet. I can't remember why I decided to wear this old thing tonight."
"You can't? That's funny," Justin says. "I thought you never wear anything else -- at least in my imagination you don't."
The blue silk of his shirt feels like baby's skin, warm and sensuous. And the leather pants mold against his ass like they grew there. There are about a hundred people staring at us, but I really don't give a fuck. And I know that Justin doesn't, either.
"Brian!" I hear Lindsay calling me from across the room. Later, Lindz -- I can call you tomorrow. I'll come over and see Gus. Take him to the Big Q-Mart and buy a truck-load of Huggies. But I'm busy right now.
"Are you finished here?" I breathe into his ear.
Justin leans back and looks up at me. "I've got my prize -- Oh, and the envelope, too!" He laughs. "And I've thanked and thanked and thanked again everyone I know for coming. And Mrs. Worthing is 'featuring' me at her next Art Afternoon. And I even autographed a program! So, yes, I think I'm finished here."
"Then what are we waiting for? Because I haven't even started yet," I growl into his ear. And I pick him up, bodily, and sling him over my shoulder and carry him out of the gallery to the parking lot. I hope those reporters got a good look. Let them print THAT, if they have the balls!
"Which are we taking? The rental or the Jeep?" I say.
"Who the fuck cares?" Justin breathes. I set him down on the asphalt. He reaches into his pocket and hands me the keys to the Jeep. We can always pick up the Lexus tomorrow.
It's pretty difficult to drive even the Jeep with your lap full of squirming Justin. But I know the way back pretty well by now. And I don't make any fucking wrong turns or run into anything! I park right out on the street. I can't be bothered to put the Jeep away for the night. Maybe if I think of it later I'll come down and move it. But not now.
I get the front door open and Justin dashes up the stairs. He can't wait for the elevator. I think he wants to give me a heart attack! But I dash right up the stairs after him. I guess I'm still in decent shape, because when I get to the top I'm not even winded. In fact, the run has pumped me up. As if I needed to be pumped up.
Justin already has the door unlocked. He slides it open and steps in. I follow him.
"Shut the door," he says.
This is an old, old routine. I slam it and lock it. And deadbolt it. The last thing I want is Mikey wandering in here and reaming me out for something like the LAST time I showed up in the Pitts unannounced.
"Can I get you a drink?" Justin says, stopping at the refrigerator and pulling out a bottle of water. He drinks about half of it down. "I needed that. I was so nervous I couldn't even swallow before the reception."
I come up behind him and take the bottle away, drinking down the rest of it. It tastes good. Cold. I didn't realize how thirsty I was. "That was quite a speech. Did you have it all planned out? Did you know you were going to win that award?"
"Not exactly," says Justin. "Professor Minton was hinting at it, but he couldn't say. I'm glad I won it, though." He turns around and faces me. His eyes are glowing. "So I was able to say what I wanted to say. About you."
I smirk. "Lindsay thought you were talking about HER!"
"Well, she DID help me, Brian. But not when it really counted. Not when it was the hardest. She and my mom were there when it was easy. But you -- you were the only one who kept me going when I was ready to quit. Both times. When I almost went to Dartmouth, and then when I couldn't regain control of my hand. It was all you."
I shake my head. "I don't think so, Justin. YOU are the one who accomplished everything. You're the one who wouldn't give up. Who kept trying and trying until you could do it again. YOU are the only one you have to answer to, Justin. And you're the only one you owe anything to. Always. I didn't do anything." I look away. "And then you couldn't even acknowledge that... that...." I have to stop because I'm so used to pulling back from the truth these days. "Because of ME, you couldn't even tell the truth about THAT!"
Justin smiles. "You are so full of shit! And that's what I love about you, Brian."
"Oh? You love that I'm a big fucking idiot who's also a lying sack of shit?" I ask.
"Of course! What else?" Then he grabs me by the front of my black shirt and pulls me up the steps to the bedroom. I almost make a snarky comment about finding Wade in there earlier this evening -- but I don't. How strange is that? I tell myself it isn't important -- and it isn't. It really isn't. Everything that's important is right here -- finally within reach.
He stands me there and unsnaps the black shirt, slowly, one silver snap at a time. He always DID like this shirt. And the snaps! He takes it off and drops it on the floor. The red heart charm is resting in the hollow of my neck and he rubs it lightly with his finger, then he kisses the spot underneath it.
Then he reaches down and unbuckles my silver belt and undoes each button on the jeans. I just stand and let him enjoy himself. Why not? I'm enjoying it, too. He loves unwrapping packages, so I let him unwrap this one. And right then is when he pushes back my jeans and eases them down. He runs his left hand over my tattoo, tracing the heart, tracing his name. He smiles.
"What is it that Steve Martin says in 'The Jerk'? 'First my name in the Phone Book, and now my name on your ass! This has been one great year!' And it's true." he says. Then he tilts his head against me. "Do you have to explain it to all your tricks? Are they jealous?"
"Yes," I whisper. "They all want to know who this 'Justin' is. What he's like. If he's really and truly the greatest fuck Brian Kinney has ever known. You're legendary in West Hollywood. Like the Holy fucking Grail. You have your own fan club out there."
My cock is really like iron now. With all the anticipation and waiting and longing.
But Justin stands and makes me wait a moment longer. I know why. He guides my hands up to untie the lacing on his shirt. Little peasant boy -- except no peasant would wear silk. Or those shades of blue, like a rainbow made up of different parts of the sky. I lift the shirt over his head, passing it over eyes that are bluer than any blue they can dye on a piece of cloth. And the black leather pants. They're new. They smell like sweat and saddle-leather. Makes me think of that picnic by the river in Sussex this summer. Too bad we aren't outside, on the wet, cool grass, in the middle of summer. I ease the leathers down over his perfect ass and push them down to the floor, pausing to feel those creamy globes. I've missed them so much, I can't even think about it.
But now that we both have our clothes off, we stand a little awkwardly, for a moment. Then I lean in, quietly, putting my hand on his little tattoo, the golden star. It feels like fire against my palm. "I hope I didn't fuck up any of your plans," I say. "But I had to come here. I had to be with you. I was going out of my fucking mind."
"I don't have any plans. Except that. Fucking you, I mean." And he pushes me back onto the bed. "You want the lights on?"
"Whatever. You're the master of the house these days."
"Okay," Justin says. And he gets up and goes over to the tall dresser and, instead of snapping on the neons, he lights one of the big candles. I can smell sulfur from the match and vanilla from the candle suffusing the room. He lays back down on the duvet. "I like the candle. It gives a different feel."
"You're the boss," I say. And I mean it. I let him take over. I'm so sick of being expected to be some kind of fucking machine that it's a relief to let Justin do what he does the best -- just take every sensation as it comes. Not expecting some big production. Not pushing it. Not getting in there and digging a fucking ditch. But... making love. To me and with me. That sounds so... corny. But that's what I want. That's what I need.
And I let him do it. He's all over me, but methodically. He's got a map of my body in his tongue and he's following every trail he can find. There's no hurry, either. Because I can hold off as long as I need to. As long as it's necessary. I think I can hold off until the fucking sun burns out. Or as long as this night lasts. Whichever comes first.
But that ends up to be me. I come before I even know it. I surprise myself when I realize that I'm not in control at all. Justin is. And he lets me know exactly when I'm going to shoot -- when HE wants me to. And his tongue is telling me NOW. And I do.
But I'm still hard. He gets out the sheath and the lube and does what he needs to do. Then guides me where I need to go. And THIS I'm going to make last. Face to face -- that's the only real way with Justin, although we've done it in every position known to men and monkey. This was the first way and it's still the best, for us. THIS is what it's about. Not just fucking -- which I can do and do and do and go on my way untouched. But THIS. Making love while watching every emotion cross his face in an instant. Joy. Hope. Sadness. Triumph. The only face I really want to see when I'm fucking. Or HAVE to see. Because I can't go on and be untouched now. It isn't just a fuck anymore, and can't be, ever again. Not after Justin. And that's why I'm so miserable when I'm with anyone else, even when I tell myself it's okay. It doesn't matter. That's a lie. It isn't okay. Not ever. And now I have to admit that.
And as I plunge deeper and deeper, again and again, my only real fear is what will happen when this ends? This act, this feeling, this moment. Because the morning will come, and then another day, and then another. And I'll be gone again. And I don't know what I'm going to do to survive without him.
If I do survive.
But for the moment THIS is the only reality. Because I've been fucking full out since I was sixteen years old, but I'm only now beginning to understand what it's really all about. And this is it. All my philosophies and rules and pompous pronouncements were all so much terrified bullshit. I can hear my own words echoing in my head -- 'I don't believe in love, I believe in fucking!' Well, Kinney, you've fucked half the known world and where has it gotten you? To the realization that it isn't just the fucking, after all. It's the feeling that you get when you're with the person who is right. The person who belongs.
That's what it's all about. Now, all I have to do is try to keep it. If I can. If I'm allowed to.
If we BOTH survive everything. Because it could be something wonderful.
Continue on to "Outlaw Blues -- Part 3", the next section.
©Gaedhal, December 2002
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your feedback on this chapter.
Updated December 12, 2002