This is Part 2 of Chapter 121 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "Pale Blue Eyes -- Part 1", the previous section.
The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Diane Rhys, Angie, Gary, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian gets a surprise for Christmas. Los Angeles, December 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.
"If I could make the world
As pure and strange as what I see,
I'd put you in the mirror, yes,
I'd put in front of me.
I'd put in front of me.
Linger on your pale blue eyes.
Linger on your pale blue eyes."
From "Pale Blue Eyes," by Lou Reed.
I drive Brian back to the house in the PT Cruiser. The security guards open up the gate for us and we're home. Or whatever this house is. Ron's house, now Brian's house. Home, at least for these few days.
I pull the Cruiser into the Jeep's old spot. Brian gets out very, very slowly. I can tell he's hurting, but he'll never admit it. The doctor gave Brian some pain pills to take -- Percocet -- but Brian handed them to me to dole out to him only when he really needs them.
"So, that's the second Jeep I've totaled," he sighs. "This is going to play hell on my insurance rates!"
"Brian, the first Jeep wasn't your fault!"
"No, it was your fucking father's fault!" He grimaces as he takes a few tentative steps. "Jesus, my father used to lecture me about being careful not to get some girl into trouble because then her father might come after me and try to kill me. Little did I know I'd have the same problem with the fathers of blond twinks who also wanted to murder me!"
I tilt my head at him. "Luckily you didn't get me into trouble or there would have been a shotgun wedding for sure." I flash him a smile. "Besides, you wrecked the second Jeep without any assistance at all."
"I couldn't help it. It was fucking raining!" he moans as we go into the house. "Now you know why I always had Mikey drive me home."
I make Brian go upstairs and get right into bed. He must be aching pretty badly because for once he doesn't make a stink about it. I help him undress. Besides the clunk on his forehead, he's got a number of ugly bruises on his body where he took the impact of the airbag. Otherwise he seems okay. "It could have been a lot worse, you realize that don't you, Brian?"
"I know. You keep saying that. It could have been worse! So? I'm a fucking idiot," he says dejectedly. I really feel sorry for him because he looks so down. I sit next to him on the bed and stroke his arm. There's a big bruise there, too. "Does that hurt?"
"Not really," he lies.
"Do you want your pain pill now or later?" I ask.
"Yes, I want it," he says immediately. "But I don't really need it yet. Wanting it and needing it are two different things, you know?" And he smiles slightly.
"Yeah, I know something about that," I say. I start to get up from the bed. I need to call Diane and Tess and also I need to call my mother and confirm that we will definitely be coming in on Christmas Day. I know she's going to want to pick us up at the airport, but Brian says it's easier to get a cab.
"Justin," he says. "Don't go right now."
"Okay," I say, and lie down next to him. I'm tired and it feels good to snuggle up to Brian. He puts his arms around me and pulls me closer. I can make my calls any time. There's no hurry, especially since we are 'grounded' until we leave for LAX tomorrow night.
Brian isn't usually a snuggler unless he's feeling really insecure. He's getting better about it. He's always felt pretty free to hug Mikey, and now he's much less hesitant to hug me and just cuddle spontaneously.
Brian is so funny. He has no problem fucking or doing incredibly intimate things with total strangers, but with people he knows and even loves his first instinct is to pull back. I think he's afraid of rejection. I never met Brian's father, but I imagine he wasn't exactly a touchy-feely kind of guy. Brian's mother certainly isn't the warm and cuddly type! So it's no wonder that it's hard for him just to hold someone quietly.
But with me he doesn't have to pretend. I want him to realize that. He doesn't have to be afraid of being rejected because that will never happen. It's a good thing that I can read Brian's moods and his body language as well as I do because when it comes to articulating what he wants and what he needs Brian is like a brick wall. I can never be absolutely sure about what he's thinking, but I think I'm better at reading him than anyone else. Maybe Michael could do it better at one time, but not now. It's frustrating to be in a relationship with someone who is so closed off. Sometimes I just want to scream about it. I guess it would be easier with someone else. Someone who was simple to read and who let you know what was going on all the time, but that isn't Brian. I don't think that will ever be Brian. I also think that I would get bored with someone who was too easy. I've been spoiled. How could anyone ever be interesting after you've had Brian? I plan never to find that out.
It's weird how Brian feels comfortable touching me when it's about sex, but it's much harder for him when it's about emotion. And that's what it's about this morning -- emotion. He needs someone to be close to him. No, scratch that -- he needs ME to be close to him. But on some level he's still afraid that I'm going to say no. So I don't say no, of course. I just wrap myself against him, taking care not to bump against his bruises. I can hear him sighing. It feels good. Like when I got into the bed with him at the E.R. I just drift off.
I wake up a little while later and feel Brian shivering slightly. "Brian? Are you cold? You want me to get another blanket?"
"No," he says. "I'm okay."
But I can tell there's something wrong. "Are you sure?"
"I... Yeah," he says. "I think I better sleep now," he says, sniffling a little. I climb off the bed and stretch. I should go to sleep, too, but I have a lot of stuff to do before we fly to Pittsburgh tomorrow night.
Since Brian isn't supposed to leave the house and since I'm not about to leave him alone, Diane and Angie and Armani come over for dinner. They bring the food, of course. Angie also brings me some wrapping paper. I didn't have a lot of time to Christmas shop, but I was able to buy some things for my mom and Molly and Deb and Emmett. And for Brian, too. That's a given. Ron didn't have anything even remotely like wrapping paper in the house, so I asked Angie to get me some.
"Here you go, hon -- a complete take-out meal from Silk AND the prettiest Christmas paper I could find!" Angie sets the food down on the kitchen table and shoves a large shopping bag at me.
The bag is full of red and green paper that looks like brocade. "Angie, this paper is great! I can't thank you guys enough!"
"And I brought my presents for you and Bridie, too," says Diane.
"You didn't have to, you know, Diane. You've already done so much." Of course, I have presents for her and Angie and Armani, too, waiting for the wrapping paper!
"Nothing too fancy," Diane insists. "Just a couple of fun things. And NOT to be opened until you two are back in Pittsburgh! Christmas presents are to be opened under a nice big Christmas tree and not in this gloomy freakin' House of Dysfunction!"
I shrug. "Brian's never had a Christmas tree in the loft, so I guess that means we'll open them at my mom's condo."
"You get Bridie's ass out and make him BUY a Christmas tree. AND make him decorate it! It won't kill him to participate in a few normal human rituals, especially now that you're living with him." Diane smiles and gives me a hug. "You realize that's exactly why you're good for him, don't you? Bridie needs to be around someone who isn't afraid of a little human emotion. Someone who isn't embarrassed to get all choked up over a freakin' Christmas tree or a sappy movie or something. That shows him that it's okay for him to do those things, too. That there's nothing weak or stupid about a little honest sentimentality."
"That's funny," I tell Diane as I get out some plates. "I was thinking of that just this morning after we got back from the hospital. How he's afraid to show his feelings about things."
"Poor Brian," says Angie, taking the plates from me and setting them on the kitchen table. "Is he really all banged up?"
"A little, but he could have been a lot worse." I keep saying that, but it's true.
"No shit!" says Diane. The take-out dinner consists of a couple of different fancy pastas and salads, with a chocolate torte for dessert. Since Brian is still asleep, I put aside a portion for him to eat later before we all dig in. "I told Mario, the maitre d' at Silk, to give us the special. Looks pretty good, I must say." Diane tastes the pasta. Armani is jumping up, begging. "You have your own dinner, you little monster. So let me eat mine!"
"That dog is so spoiled, Diane," Angie comments.
"I know," she answers. "But he's my widdle baby, aren't you, Armani?" Diane gives him a goat cheese ravioli. Angie just shakes her head in disgust.
"Tess offered to come over tonight to keep us company, but I told her you guys were coming," I say. "Tess has already done so much. All you guys have done so much."
"You're worth it, hon," says Diane. "Don't you know that I love you to pieces, Justin? And I'm kind of fond of Bridie, too, when he isn't being the world's biggest jerk!"
"No," I say. "Brian is only the world's SECOND biggest jerk. The title of Biggest Jerk of Them All is reserved for Jimmy Hardy!"
"I know," says Diane. "Yesterday at the reception Jimmy was out of freakin' control. I thought Tess was going to give him the heave ho right there and then! She probably should have and saved herself a lot of grief down the road."
"Maybe Tess really loves him," I say. "Or maybe she has too much invested in her marriage to leave it now." I take a bite of pasta. "But Jimmy has called here five times today, wanting to talk to Brian. I've told him the same thing every time he's called -- that Brian is all right and resting. The last time I told him not to bother us anymore. I thought he was going to start crying! Jimmy and Tess are leaving for Hawaii in a couple of days on vacation, then he's going to Toronto to start his new picture. Jimmy was acting like he HAD to talk to Brian or he was going to march over here and break down the door! I think Jimmy is freaking out."
"Jimmy Hardy gives drama queens a bad name," says Diane. "I feel sorry for Tess!"
"Then Jimmy pretended like he couldn't remember any of the stupid things he said to me while he was drunk," I add. "He always claims he never remembers, but I think he remembers plenty!"
"What was he saying to you, sweetie?" asks Angie, curiously.
"Stuff," I say shortly. "I'd rather not repeat it."
Angie raises her eyebrows. "That bad, huh?"
I just make a face, while Diane rolls her eyes.
After we eat, Angie clears the table and Diane gets out the scissors, tape, and wrapping paper. I go upstairs to get my presents. I check on Brian while I'm up there. He's still asleep -- I think the Percocets knocked him out -- so that's good. I also check on something else. I have my suitcase out and ready to pack to go back to Pittsburgh, but I make certain that two things are already safely in my bag and undisturbed. Wrapped in an old tee shirt I have the 'Jack' video tape and the letter that Ron wrote to Brian sealed in an envelope. When I get them to Pittsburgh maybe then I can decide what the fuck to do with both of them. And that video of me and Ron? I assume that the cops have it in that box of tapes they found under Ron's bed. If I'm lucky they'll just seal that box up and it will end up in storage somewhere with all of Ron's other stuff. I cross my fingers and pray that it never sees the light of day ever again.
In the kitchen Diane, Angie, and I wrap the presents, while Armani plays with the extra bits of paper and ribbon. I even go into the living room to wrap their gifts -- and then I hand them over. "Not to be opened until Christmas Day, right?" I say.
"You are so cute!" says Diane. It's perfume for both of them. Brian actually picked it out, since I don't know one perfume from another. Brian says that when in doubt give women perfume or jewelry or flowers. Those are real 'girly' gifts. For Armani I got a collar with fake diamonds on it.
The girls leave around 9:00. Diane has another early rehearsal tomorrow morning. I'll be finishing our packing to leave for the Pitts. Things really seem to be settling down now, thank God. Of course, I thought that after Put-in-Bay. And after our drive through England. And after the London premiere of 'The Olympian.' Maybe things will never completely settle down for me and Brian, but I can always hope.
I go upstairs to take a long, hot shower. I'm surprised when Brian gets in with me and starts soaping me up. "That water feels good," he comments. "I fucking ache all over."
"I can think of something that will feel even better," I reply, stroking his cock up and down in my soapy hand.
"Oh, yeah," he groans. "Yeah. You are so fucking good at this."
"Don't come yet," I warn. I hop out of the shower quickly and retrieve a condom and lube from Brian's kit. Then I hop back in. "You aren't too sore to manage this nasty chore, are you, old man?"
"I'll try my best," he says, an evil smile on his face. I slip the condom on him and slather plenty of the lube up and down its length. The water pressure isn't very good in this house and I'm afraid the hot water will run out before we're finished. But Brian's timing is, as usual, expert. He's got me positioned before I even know it. He must have been a seal in a former life, or a penguin, because he loves to fuck while he's wet. I brace myself against the tiled wall and push back to meet every stroke of his cock.
The first time he took me in the shower was in the loft, that very first morning after we woke up. Every time we make love in the shower I think of that first morning. Of the feeling of just being with Brian. Of being fucked by Brian. We couldn't keep our hands off each other, right from the start! How many times have we fucked since then? I can't even count, but I know one thing for certain -- Brian has never fucked anyone as many times as he's fucked me. Not by a long shot! Not Ron, not anyone else. Not even close. And I know he's not tired of me. And I'm certainly not tired of him. No, we've only begun to figure out what we're doing when we fuck. I think Brian is learning as much as I am. Because there's a new emotion in the way he fucks. I can see it on his face. It isn't just mechanical, like it was with the tricks we'd pick up together. He'd enjoy doing them, obviously, but there was always a part of Brian that seemed missing then. But it isn't missing with me. It isn't 'just' a fuck -- it's really making love. I know it is.
The water starts to go cold and Brian pulls out. "We're not finished!" I say.
"And I'm not planning to be an ice cube!" he says, putting a towel around himself and another around me. He hustles me into the bedroom, grinning like a loony, grabbing another condom and the tube of lube as he goes. He pushes me down on the bed and unwraps the rubber. "At least my dick is still warm!" he laughs, falling on top of me. He puts his arms around me and leans down to nibble at my neck. Then he eases his way back inside me slowly. His wet hair is down in his face, like it was that first night when he doused himself with the bottle of water. Standing in the middle of the loft, I almost came in my jeans just by looking at him. I couldn't believe that I was about to touch a man for the first time. This man. This perfect man. And it was even more incredible than I ever imagined. But I was so fucking naive that I thought when Brian came and said, "I love you" that he meant it. I'm so fucking naive that I still believe he meant it when he said it. But now Brian believes it, too. Because he does love me. I don't have a single doubt about that.
He rolls me over on top of him without even breaking our connection. "Lean back," he says, holding my hands to balance me. He holds me steady as his cock delves into me from a different angle. "Remember the bucking bronco by the river in Sussex?"
"How could I forget!" I reply. "But I've been taking riding lessons since then!"
"I can tell," he says, smiling. Then he leans down and licks at my cock, which is hard as a rock and pointing directly at him. "Should I suck you off while you're bouncing on my dick, huh?"
"Oh, God!" Now I'm moaning.
"Not yet," he says, taking his mouth away from my straining dick. "I want this to last a long time." Brian pushes me backwards on the bed until my head is almost hanging off the end. Now he's on top of me again. And Brian is staring into my eyes, looking right into me. Into my soul. That's what it feels like. And I can see into his soul, too. It's that intense connection that we have when we make love. That emotional power that doesn't exist anywhere else but here, in our bodies, in our hearts. It doesn't exist outside of ourselves. Everything else, everyone else, no longer matters.
Sometimes I dream about those other lives that we've lived together. Those Alternate Streams. Brian always laughs at me when I tell him about those dreams. But I know they aren't just my artist's imagination. They are true glimpses into our other selves. I believe that they are. That our connection exists throughout time, in the Past and into the Future, too. That knowledge makes me understand where I have to be, even when it's difficult. Even when Brian is difficult, which is a lot of the time.
He begins that harder thrusting and gasping that means he's ready to shoot. I pull him down to kiss me at that moment. Our lips are connected just as I feel that jerking, that wave go through his body, and then through mine a moment later. I can feel him shudder deeply. And I shudder myself from the intensity of it. "I do love you," he whispers. "I really do."
"I know," I say. "Did you think I was having any doubts?"
"Don't talk," he orders. "Please don't talk." And I don't. Brian strokes me softly with his long fingers, mainly my face. Touching me and then kissing the spot he's touched over and over again. My forehead. Each eyelid. The hollows of my cheeks. My throat. And my lips. Always my lips.
"Brian, what are you doing?" I smile.
"Shhh. Remember?" he says, his voice like a shadow. "No apologies. And no regrets."
Then Brian pulls the covers up around us and we let exhaustion take over.
The phone in the kitchen rings just as I'm popping in bread for some toast. It's one of the security guards down at the gate. I look at the clock. It's just after 9:00 a.m. Brian is still in bed and I want him to stay there until it's time to get dressed for the airport.
"A delivery from the studio," he says. "For Mr. Kinney. Personally."
I frown. "Delivering what?"
"You'll have to see for yourself, Mr. Taylor. Should I let him in?"
"I don't know...." I hesitate. "Mr. Kinney is still asleep."
"You know it's Christmas Eve," says the guard. "I think this is a gift from the studio. So you might want to wake him up. I'd want to wake up if it was for me!"
Now I'm very curious. "Okay. Let him in. We'll be out as soon as possible."
I go upstairs. I can't imagine what kind of gift the studio is giving Brian, especially when he's been such a problem child recently. Maybe it's a peace offering from Howie Sheldon. Or something that says that Terra Nova Studio appreciates all the great reviews and award nominations 'The Olympian' has been getting -- mainly due to Brian, in my opinion. Although he doesn't like to admit it, besides the Golden Globe nomination, Brian has gotten recognized on a bunch of end-of-the-year lists from different film critic organizations, including the ones in L.A., New York, and Boston. Jimmy and Ron have also made a lot of lists, too, giving the studio hope for a bunch of Academy Award nominations. Jimmy is already making a space on his shelf for his second Best Actor Oscar.
"Brian, there's someone here from the studio," I say, nudging him.
"Tell them to fuck off," he grunts. "Jesus, I feel like I've been run over by a Mack truck!"
"No, Brian, you didn't get run over. You only totaled your Jeep, remember?"
He hides his face in the pillow. "Don't remind me!"
I poke him with my finger. "At least put your pants on and see what the studio sent you. The guy at the gate says it's a Christmas present."
Brian looks up. "A Christmas present? I don't think so. Those cheap bastards never give anyone anything!"
"Well, they've made an exception for you, I guess."
Brian drags himself out of bed and pulls on his jeans and a sweat shirt. We both go downstairs and I open the kitchen door.
A large, red-faced man is standing there. "Hey, Mr. Kinney? Remember me? Gary? The Car Guy from the studio? I brought you your Mustang last year. Right after Valentine's Day?"
"Oh, yeah," Brian replies uneasily. "The Mustang."
"I'm sorry about what happened to Mr. Rosenblum. That was sure a real tragedy," Gary the Car Guy says, but doesn't sound very sorry. In fact, he sounds downright cheerful. "I was contracted to deliver this to you on Christmas Eve, so here I am. It's been paid for and... well, I guess Mr. Rosenblum would still want you to have it, so...." Gary turns and points to a car sitting in the driveway. An amazing looking car. A sleek silver sports car with a convertible top. It looks like a bullet. The security guards have abandoned their post and have walked up to the house just to ogle it.
"What the fuck is that?" asks Brian, staring.
"Your Christmas present, Mr. Kinney!" answers Gary. "Mr. Rosenblum ordered it a couple of months ago, to be delivered to you today. It's a Jaguar XKR, brand new. And it is one sweet ride! It's got 390 horsepower, V8 engine, comes fully loaded. And this baby can really move, lemme tell ya! You'll have some fun with this car! I've put it through its paces and everything is in perfect working order and ready for you to step into it and enjoy!" Gary hands Brian the keys. Another man is standing to the side, next to a new Lexus. "Junior will drive me back to the lot. Unless you want me to stick around while you take it for a test drive?"
"Um, no," says Brian. He gapes at the car, then at the keys in his hand. "Are you sure this is right? That Ron... ordered this car... for me?"
"You want to see my paperwork?" says Gary. He pulls out a manila envelope. "I'll just give you the whole shebang right here. The bill of sale and the registration is in there, too. Everything's in order and in your name. Merry Christmas!" Gary gets into the Lexus with Junior and they take off, waving. Brian and I stare after them. The security guards walk back down the driveway to open the gate for them to leave.
"What are you going to do with it, Brian?" The car looks fast and dangerous. I think of the Jeep, lying on its side up in the canyon, and I shiver.
"Fuck if I know," he says. His face is like a mask as he continues to stare at the car. He hands me the manila envelope. And then he hands me the keys. "You want it?"
"No!" I say flatly. I don't want any part of the thing. "I love my PT Cruiser."
Brian shakes his head. "I... I can't drive that thing, Justin! I returned the Mustang because... because I didn't want to feel like Ron was... was buying me somehow! Like fancy presents could make things all better between us." He touches the shiny fender of this big silver bullet. "What the fuck was Ron thinking?"
"Maybe Ron forgot that he ordered it?" I offer. But I know that Ron would never forget something as important as this.
"Maybe. I doubt it, but I don't know. I just don't know." Brian shakes his head. "I better put it away."
There is room for five cars in Ron's big garage. Ron's Jag, his Mercedes, Brian's Mustang, the Jeep, and my PT Cruiser were in it. Now the Jeep is gone. I parked the Cruiser in its old spot after we came home from the hospital, so Brian eases the new convertible into the empty space. While he's pulling the car in, I open the envelope and look at Gary the Car Guy's notes. Ron ordered the car in October, after Brian moved out. That doesn't make any sense. Unless he thought this car would win Brian back? But Ron must have known that Brian could never be won over by a car or any kind of gift. Maybe he just wanted Brian to have it. Maybe he truly believed that they would be together now -- one way or another. I think of Ron's letter packed away in my suitcase and I shake my head.
Brian gets out of the new Jaguar and walks over to me. I show him the paperwork. He also looks at the bill of sale. "Jesus Christ," he breathes. He shows me. $125,000. Ron paid cash. "What the fuck was he thinking? What?" Brian repeats.
"I don't know, Brian. Who can tell what was in Ron's mind?" But one thing is for sure, I think -- good old Ron can still fuck with Brian's head even from the Great Beyond.
Brian hits the button to close the garage and we go back inside to finish packing for Pittsburgh.
Continue on to "Pale Blue Eyes -- Part 3", the next section.
©Gaedhal, October 2003.
Updated October 31, 2003.