This is Part 2 of Chapter 94 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "A Perfect Drift -- Part 1", the previous section.
Narrated by Justin Taylor, featuring Brian Kinney, Lindsay Peterson, Melanie Marcus, Gus, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: The vacation on the island comes to an end. August 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.
On Friday, after the big rain the night before, I wake up before Brian and get dressed right away. I put on a pair of baggy shorts and my PIFA sweatshirt because there's still a chill in the air. I'm a little cold, but I know it will warm up a lot and I don't want to get overheated.
Brian and I are supposed to eat lunch with Lindsay, Mel, and Gus before they drive back to Pittsburgh, so I want to get an early start. I also don't want Brian to decide to tag along with me into town, because he would stop me for sure -- and that would ruin everything!
"Where are you going?" He opens one eye. Only part of his head is poking out of the sleeping bag. He's moving slowly from being wedged into the bunk all night.
"I have some things I have to do in town this morning, Brian."
"Like what?" He sounds a little suspicious.
"A couple of things," I say, trying to be nonchalant. If I hesitate, he'll be up in a flash and insist on going, too. I lean over and kiss him -- then go out on the deck, lift the flap of the canvas, and climb onto the dock before he sits up in the sleeping bag. "I'll see you at lunch over at the cottage." And I dash off down the road.
At the cottage the Jeep is parked next to Lindsay's Toyota. I unlock it and drive into Put-in-Bay. It's still early and none of the stores are open yet. So, I go into one of the cafes and order breakfast. I start to feel a little bit nervous about what I'm going to do, but eating usually settles me right down -- just the opposite of what it does to Brian! And I do feel a lot better after some cereal, toast, and orange juice. They don't have any Captain Crunch, which is my current favorite, but Rice Krispies aren't too bad.
A lot of people from the boats tied up at the downtown docks start to come in for breakfast. There are a few hetero couples and families, but mainly they are men. Like Brian says -- boating is very much a straight guy pursuit, no matter what those fashion layouts in "OUT" suggest!
The whole waterfront seems so much busier on a Friday morning. I guess everyone is gearing up for the big weekend, when all the partiers -- again, mainly straight guys -- pile onto the island from the ferry or the Jet Express boat for a two-day binge. It apparently goes on from Memorial Day to Labor Day, every weekend, without fail. Lindsay and Melanie are leaving today mainly to avoid the uproar, but Brian and I will get a taste of it tonight. He's promised to take me over to the Beer Barrel Saloon, one of the bars on the square, for a sample of the frat-boy lifestyle. Another bar up here is called the Roundhouse, which I thought was ironic after the filming at that place in London with the same name. Both are heavy party bars, so we'll have one last fling before Brian goes back to California.
And Brian's leaving is one of the main reasons why I'm here in town so early in the morning. Because of what I'm planning to do. What I'm planning to get.
Finally I see some of the shops begin to open. I watch a bearded man and a woman open up the storefront I've been waiting for and go inside. I pay for my breakfast and walk across the street to their door.
Two hours later I pull the Jeep up to the cottage. Mel is already starting to load their car with some of Gus' beach toys and bags of dirty laundry. "You got an early start today," says Mel. "What have you been up to, Justin?"
"Nothing," I say. "A couple of things, maybe," I revise, when Mel looks at me skeptically.
"Like what?" Jeez, she's as bad as Brian!
"Um, Melanie? Do you think I could use your bathroom?"
"Sure, hon. Are you feeling okay?" Melanie comes over and tries to feel my forehead. Why do women always want to feel your forehead?
"I think so. Do you mind if I use it right now?" I go into the cottage, greet Lindsay and Gus, and close the door of the bathroom behind me, locking it.
"Justin -- are you all right in there?" Lindsay is knocking on the door and jiggling the knob.
"I'm okay. Really, I am." I take off my shorts and look at the bandage on my hip. I'm afraid to pull it off.
"Justin." It's Mel. "Open this door. Now!"
Fuck but they are nosy! The problem is that I need their help. I really do need it. More than I thought I would to do this. To finish what I have already done. I take out the instruction sheet that the man in the shop gave me. I also take out a little bottle of Lubriderm lotion that I bought from the pocket of my shorts. But I still need them to help me -- at least for now. So I slip my shorts back on, unlock the bathroom door, and let them come in.
"Justin, what is going on here?" says Lindsay. "Why are you hiding in there?"
"Yeah -- did Brian do something to you? Did he hit you? Let me see it!" says Mel, spoiling for a fight.
"No one hit me! Brian didn't do anything!" I protest. "How can you even think that, Mel? Jeez! Brian would never hit me! He doesn't even know about this. I did it to myself. I didn't even tell him -- so don't go blaming him for anything! And please don't tell him -- yet."
"Tell him what?" Mel demands.
"No one is blaming Brian for anything, Justin. Don't be silly," soothes Lindsay, thinking, I'm sure, of our conversation at Cedar Point on Wednesday.
"I did it to myself," I repeat, feeling the ache starting to grow. "I wanted it. I wanted to do it."
"Jesus! Just show us what happened, will you?" Mel is ready to shake me.
"Please, hon," Lindsay coaxes.
And I unzip my baggy shorts and show them. Then I tell them. All about what I've done. And why I've done it. What I'm trying to prove. To show Brian that what I feel for him is permanent. Indelible.
"Oh my God! Justin!" Now I think Melanie really IS going to shake me. "You MUST be crazy!"
"I don't care what you say. Just help me -- please? Here are the instructions," I hand the sheet to Lindsay. "You'll have to help me with the bandage. And everything else. I don't want Brian to see it like this."
"Well, I don't know how the fuck you think you're going to hide THAT from Brian!" roars Melanie. She really acts pissed at me.
"I'm not hiding it. I don't plan to. I just don't want him to see it yet."
"It's okay, hon. We'll do it," says Lindsay, getting a small bottle of liquid soap out of Gus' bag. I hand her the Lubriderm lotion.
"Is it too late to stop the thing? I mean, really stop it?" says Melanie, squinting at my ass.
"No. And I don't WANT to stop it!" I say.
Lindsay pulls the bandage off gently. "There. Did that hurt?"
"No," I lie. "What does it look like?"
"Icky!" exclaims Mel. "Jesus -- it's even worse than I imagined!"
"You aren't helping, Melanie," Lindsay says. "It isn't bad at all, Justin. We'll just follow the instructions here and it will be just fine."
"Yeah -- fine!" snorts Mel. "I'm surprised you didn't get that thing on your forehead! Why not?"
"Please don't say anything to Brian. I'll tell him about it after you guys leave."
Lindsay takes care of everything as I stand and try not to flinch. The whole time Melanie bitches abut Brian and tells me what an idiot I am. But I don't give a shit. I don't care what Mel says. And I know Brian is going to say exactly the same thing. But there's also nothing he can do about it.
Just before noon, Brian walks up from the boat. Lindsay has lunch ready, using up the last of their hoard of food. As we sit down to eat, Mel keeps throwing evil glances Brian's way, but he just ignores it. Brian is used to Melanie's negative vibrations, so I guess it washes right over him. I think Mel still thinks what I've done is somehow Brian's fault -- even though he doesn't know anything about it!
But, regardless of that, Lindz and Mel are in a good mood. Even with me and Brian horning in, they've had a nice vacation. And I know they enjoyed riding in the boat and going over to Cedar Point with us. I feel sad that they are leaving, that it's all ending. Brian hands me his camera and I take some pictures of the Mommies sitting at the picnic table with Gus, then Mel takes Lindsay holding Gus. Then I take some of Gus with Brian. And, finally, Lindsay takes a few photos of me with Brian on my own camera. It seems there's something about this moment that everyone wants to remember. I picture Gus, some day in the future, looking at these photos in an album. I picture myself, looking, too -- with Brian.
"So, are you going to clean yourself up before you go back to Pittsburgh, Brian?" says Melanie, putting her camera away. "You look like a drug dealer, you know."
"Glad you like my 'new image,' Mel," he says, sipping the last of the ice tea.
"I can't believe you've gone this whole week without shaving!"
"So have you, Mel."
"Fuck you, Brian. Justin, tell me -- you don't like all that stuff on his face, do you?"
"Sure, I like it fine," I say, feeling Brian's face with my hand. "It feels nice and fuzzy. Especially when it's rubbed against certain areas."
"Yuck." Mel curls up her lip as Brian laughs.
"You asked, Melanie."
"Now I'm sorry I did."
"Maybe you'd like a little demonstration?" says Brian, grabbing me and nuzzling my neck.
"No! Please, don't! I said I was sorry I asked!"
Brian helps Lindz and Mel load the Toyota and I dump their garbage into some plastic bags for the dump. We are going to close up the cottage after they are gone. That's when I'm going to tell Brian. As soon as Gus and the girls are gone.
A half hour later we are waving goodbye as they head out to catch the ferry back to the mainland. The minute they are gone, Brian is dragging me into the bedroom. The sheets and blankets have been stripped off, but that doesn't seem to matter, because Brian picks me up and tosses me down on the bare mattress.
"Brian, wait a second!"
"Huh?" He has already pulled off his green tank top and is unbuttoning his jeans.
"Brian -- stop a minute. We have to be careful."
"What? Careful? Why? What's the matter?" He leans over, concerned. "Are you all right?"
"I have to watch out... because of my new... tattoo," I say, hesitating.
"What did you say, Justin?"
"I did it. I got a tattoo."
"What the FUCK did you say you did?"
"I got a tattoo." I repeat it quietly, but firmly.
"A tattoo? What the FUCK did you do THAT for?" He is almost shouting now. I knew that Brian wouldn't take this well. "Let me see that thing. Now!"
I unbutton my baggy shorts and gently pull down my briefs, showing him my left hip. "I wanted it right here, on this spot. That's where our hips touch when we walk."
Brian stares at it in disbelief. It's a little golden star, with the name 'Brian' underneath. It looks sore and oozy right now, which is why I needed Lindsay's help to take care of it, cleaning it and then putting on lotion. "Don't touch it, please. It's still a little ouchy."
"Oh my God! Your mother is going to fucking KILL me!" He puts his hand up and holds his forehead, like a huge headache is boiling there.
"She'll never see it, Brian," I say. "And if she does, what difference does it make?"
"What difference does it make? Justin, she's going to blame ME for that thing! Shit! I mean, Justin -- what the fuck? Why didn't you ASK me before you did that?"
"I'm nineteen years old. I don't have to ask anyone's permission. Not yours. Not my mom's. YOU have a tattoo, Brian."
"Yes, I know. I got it when I was young and stupid!" he exclaims.
"Besides, no one can see it."
"I can see it, Brian," I reply. "And if someone happened to look very closely at your...."
"Never mind! That's not the point!"
"Then what IS the point?"
"It's just that... that...." He really IS flustered. He just keeps staring at the gold star and his name.
"Brian, I wanted it -- and I got it. Just like my nipple ring." I pull up my shirt and indicate it. "You said at first that you didn't like THAT -- but you seem to like it well enough when you are pulling on it with your teeth when we are fucking!"
"Okay -- I like the nipple ring! I fucking LOVE it! But you can take your ring out! I mean, that thing is fucking permanent!"
"I know, Brian. I want it to be permanent. I might lose my bracelet or my necklace. But I can't lose this. And no one can take it away from me, either. Nobody."
He just keeps staring at me, his mouth hanging open.
"You're leaving soon, Brian. Sooner even than I thought... and I want this. I wanted to get one before, but I was afraid. I wasn't sure about... things. But I'm sure now. Really sure. I love you, Brian -- and I don't care who knows it. So, I got the tattoo to prove it." I pause, watching his face. I pull my briefs back up, gingerly, and button my shorts. "And there's nothing you can do about it."
"Oh, there isn't, is there? Come on!" He seizes my arm and marches me out of the cottage to the Jeep. "Get in."
"What are you going to do? Brian? Brian!" I dig in my heels. "Brian -- you aren't dressed!"
"Just get IN!" And I get in. Brian goes back into the cottage and comes out a minute later, pulling on his green tank top and buttoning up his jeans. "Fuck!" is all he says. Then he climbs into the Jeep and guns the engine. We get to town in record time, dodging cars, bicycles, and golf carts as we speed down the narrow road. He screeches to a halt in front of the tattoo parlor, Tribal Body Art, and drags me out of the Jeep and into the shop.
"Who did this?" he demands to the woman at the counter. "Did YOU do THIS?" He reaches down and undoes my pants, then shoves my underwear out of the way, revealing the little golden star.
"My husband." She gestures towards the back.
"Could you have him come out here, please, ma'am?" Brian never sounds more dangerous than when he is being business-like.
The woman disappears and returns a minute later with the man who did my tattoo.
"Did you do this... thing?" Brian points to the star again. Now I'm squirming with embarrassment, my shorts around my knees and my briefs pulled down in the middle of the shop.
"Yeah. So what? YOU ain't his father, that's for sure." The man is gruff. Even a little defensive. "He showed me his I.D. He's over eighteen."
Brian puffs with exasperation. "Didn't you even try to talk him out of it -- or anything?"
"Hey, man -- it's not my job to talk people OUT of tattoos. It's my job to make 'em." The tattoo artist frowns. "And that's what I did."
"Brian -- can't we just GO?" I put my hand on his wrist. "It's already done! This guy isn't going to erase it! And I don't want him to erase it! I WANT it!"
"So, you're 'Brian,' huh?" The man looks over at his wife and raises his eyebrows.
"Yes, I am. And Fuck YOU!"
"I didn't say nothing. Just asking." The man shrugs his shoulders.
Brian narrows his eyes at the artist and I think for a second that Brian is going to hit him. With his muscular arms, longer hair, and stubbly beard, Brian looks like someone you don't want to mess with. It's kind of exciting thinking of Brian as a hard, tough guy -- especially when I know that the exact opposite is true.
The tattoo artist moves back, a little intimidated. But Brian doesn't hit the guy. Or threaten him. Instead, he turns to me and then stands me up straight, touching the tattoo on my left hip. He gently bumps his right hip to it, noting the spot on his upper right thigh where it touches.
"Okay. Right HERE." Brian indicates the spot.
"Brian," I say. "What are you doing?" Now I'm the one staring at him.
"None of YOUR business, you little Fiend." Then he addresses the tattoo artist again. "A heart. Red. About the same size as that one." He points to mine, then he reaches under his tank top and pulls out his heart charm, showing the man. "Sort of like THIS."
"Brian...." I start smiling, but Brian frowns at me. This is serious! But I can't stop smiling.
"Give me a piece of paper." The man hands him a notepad and a pencil. Brian draws a heart and prints something underneath. "And DON'T fuck it up!"
The man leads us into the booth and closes the curtain. Brian unbuttons his jeans. Of course, he isn't wearing any underwear. The spot on his upper thigh looks all golden under the artist's light. "And you better not blab about this to anyone, Justin. I fucking mean it!" Brian winces as he observes the man preparing the needles. For someone who is constantly putting himself into painful situations, Brian doesn't like pain at all. He's actually a big baby.
"I won't say a word, Brian. I promise." My heart is beating so loudly I'm sure the man and woman can hear it. Then I put my hand out and take hold of his. I know he's going to squeeze it like crazy the minute he even hears the sound of the needle. "Brian?"
"What?" He's trying not to look at the tattoo artist and his instruments.
"I do love you, you know?"
"Obviously," he says. Yes, obviously. To everyone, now.
"What are you going to do when Ron... sees that?"
But he just gazes at me. "Nothing. I'm not going to do anything."
"What are you going to... say?"
"Nothing. It's none of his fucking business. And if he asks -- that's exactly what I'll tell him."
I also keep a close watch while the guy makes the heart. And I especially take care when he does the other part. To make certain that he spells my name correctly. And no mistakes. None at all.
That evening Brian takes me into town for the Friday night blow out. The square is transformed, surging with people -- mainly guys -- drinking and partying. It's still early, but a lot of them are already drunk. Brian shakes his head. "Nothing sadder than a bunch of straight boys who can't hold their booze!"
We make the circuit of the bars, including the Beer Barrel Saloon and the Roundhouse, as Brian promised. The places are loud, crowded, and obnoxious. A guy lurches against me, spilling beer on my shorts. Brian grabs him by the shirt and shakes him, but he's too smashed even to notice and stumbles off.
"Did you really used to come up here with Lindsay?"
"Yeah, I did. And I thought it was kind of fun." He looks around. "I guess my idea of fun has changed a bit."
"Did you really pick up some frat boys?"
Brian shrugs. "When they're drunk, they don't give a shit what they are doing. You'd be surprised how well some of these so-called hetero boys can suck cock. And it obviously wasn't the first time they'd done it, either."
I watch a guy topple over on the beer-covered floor nearby. A couple of his friends try to pick him up, but they end up dragging him outside. "I don't know, Brian. This just isn't my idea of a good time, I guess. At least at Babylon the guys are dancing and having a little fun. These guys just seem desperate to get plastered."
"Yeah, they think they are going to come up here and get laid -- but all they find is a bunch of other horny, drunk guys!" Brian is sipping a Diet Coke and I have a beer. We are about the only sober guys in the whole place. And certainly the only queers. Brian snakes his arm around me. He doesn't give a shit. No one else seems to care either.
A couple of girls are trying to buy screwdrivers at the bar next to us. Three frat boys are hassling them and Brian steps in. He looks tough and threatening -- tall and bearded -- and the guys back off. But then we are stuck with the girls, who want to party with us. One of them keeps running her hands up and down Brian's bare arms. The other snuggles up to me. It's kind of fun to hang out with them for a while. But they keep wanting to buy us drinks and can't figure out why Brian is sticking to cola.
Finally, Brian has had enough. We have to return the 'Colleen' in the morning and drive back to the Pitts. And I know that Brian is thinking that he has to get on a plane on Sunday. He doesn't want to waste any more time. "Excuse us, ladies, but we have to get back to our boat now."
"A boat! Oh, we'd LOVE to take a moonlight boat ride! Please? That would be so much fun!" Brian's 'girl' is all over him. The other girl just nods and giggles.
"Sorry, but I don't think so," says Brian. "I'm sure you'll find some other guys to take you for a ride."
"But we like YOU!" The first girl feels her way across Brian's black wifebeater as he smirks. I think he's enjoying the attention a little TOO much!
Now I'm starting to get annoyed. I drink down the last of my beer and slam the bottle on the bar. "Okay," I say. "That's enough." I take the girl's hands and peel them off Brian's chest. "I think it's time for YOU to get your hands OFF my boyfriend -- and for US to leave."
"Huh?" says the girl, blinking.
"Party pooper," Brian laughs at me. I lean up and kiss him hard on the mouth while the two girls gape. Then we get the fuck out of there.
Later, in the sleeping bag, Brian feels at the stubble on his chin -- which is rather more than just stubble. I am lying on top of him and I've sort of been playing with it. The facial hair, I mean. Among other things. It's quiet on our end of the island. Even Earl's boat is over at the mainland for the weekend, so we have the air mattress out and the canvas down so we can see all the stars. "So you told Melanie that you really like all this hair, huh?"
"Sure, I like it," I insist, curling a strand of his hair around my finger. "And I especially like it because I know how much a certain other person would hate it -- if he saw it."
"Oh, shit. That's an understatement!" moans Brian. "One hair out of place makes Ron crazy. He's the world's champion nit-picker."
"I think he's the only person I've ever seen who is more anal than YOU, Brian."
"Well, I'm not so bad, actually," says Brian, frowning. "You'd be surprised what you can get used to. How scuzzy, how dirty, how... nasty. You can survive a lot of shit, Justin."
I know he's thinking about being in New York all those years ago. Which makes me hold him tighter. I put my hip with the star up against his heart -- but very, very gently, because the tattoos are still tender.
"Yeah, Brian -- but not Ron. He could never put up with that. I think he'd freak out if he saw YOU looking like a 'drug dealer'! Leave it to Mel to point that out!"
"Really. I can just see the look on... Shit." Brian sits up suddenly, almost knocking me off the air mattress. "Shit!" He grabs me, pulls me upright, and gives me a shake. Then he gives me a long kiss. "Justin! YOU are a fucking genius!"
"Think about it. What did you just say?"
"That you looked like a drug dealer?"
"And?" He cocks his head at me.
"That Ron would freak out? He'd freak out to see you all... scraggly!"
"He WOULD freak out, Justin. And he WILL freak out! Because THIS is the way I'm going to look when I go back to L.A. And I have to get the right clothes. I mean the WRONG clothes. The most perfectly wrong clothes. We have to find a thrift shop -- or a Salvation Army store!"
I try to picture Brian out in L.A. -- in Beverly Hills -- looking like he does now. It just doesn't fit. "But what is that going to prove, Brian?"
"Maybe nothing. But it also might throw Ron off enough to buy me a little time. Time enough to get myself away from him and work out what I have to work out to finish this thing. Ron thinks he knows exactly how to deal with me." Brian grimaces. "So let's see if he can deal with THIS."
"Shhh." He rolls me over on my back next to him. "Do you remember that Elvis song from this summer, Justin?"
"Sure. I remember it." You couldn't go anywhere in London without hearing it.
"Well, then -- 'a little less conversation -- and a little more action, please' -- okay?"
I lay back on the air mattress as Brian kisses his way down my body. I can see the stars so clearly. And I think I see a shooting star, right overhead, falling somewhere towards the west.
Continue on to "The Difficult Kind -- Part 1", the next chapter.
Wonderful illustration of the tattoos from Mia!!
©Gaedhal, October 2002
Updated October 18, 2002