This is Chapter 34 of the "Queer Realities" series.
Go back to "Queer Theories" for the very beginning of this saga.
Features Brian Kinney, Father Tim Reilly, Frank Scanlon, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Father Tim Reilly gets a call from Frank Scanlon. Pittsburgh. April 1989. Flashback.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Tim had not had any contact with Brian since March when Tim had walked out of the bar while Brian's band was playing.
It was over. Brian had moved beyond Tim and into another place altogether. And it wasn't a pretty place. Not pretty at all.
Tim thought about Brian when April 10 came around. The day Brian turned 18. Tim had it marked on his calendar with a little red star. No name, just that little star. Tim thought about Brian all day, but he didn't pick up the phone.
That Friday Tim took the boys to see a movie. It was their reward for cleaning up the common room and then keeping it clean -- or at least relatively clean. They got back late and Tim went directly to bed. He was due to go on retreat in two weeks and he was looking forward to the break from his hectic existence at the St. Lawrence Group Home.
It was after 2:00 a.m. when the phone rang.
Tim's head was foggy, but the voice sounded familiar. "Who is this?" he demanded.
"Frank Scanlon," said the voice. Scanlon sounded hoarse. And frightened. Not at all like his usual confident, lawyerly self.
"What's the matter?" asked Tim, sitting up in bed. Something was horribly wrong. Otherwise Scanlon would never call Tim Reilly.
"Can... can you come here?" Scanlon croaked. "Please, Father! Come now!"
"Where are you?" said Tim. And then a cold wave swept through him. "What's happened to Brian?"
That was the only reason that Frank Scanlon would call Tim. Something about Brian. Something bad.
"I don't know!" Scanlon breathed. "There's something the matter with him. He... he said to call you. We're at the Liberty Motel. Just off Liberty Avenue. Do you know where that is?"
Tim swallowed. He knew exactly where it was. And what it was used for.
"Yes, I know the place," Tim replied. "Maybe you should call 911?"
"No!" cried Scanlon. "Just hurry! It's Room 14." The man paused. His voice was shaking. "Please, Father! Hurry!"
"I'm on my way."
Tim threw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt and then drove through the darkness to Liberty Avenue. It was a seedy, rundown part of town, but well familiar to Tim because of the gay bars that were mixed in with the punk rock clubs, the head shops, and the massage parlors that lined the street. And also places like the Paradise Motel and the Liberty Motel, where rooms were rented by the hour instead of for a whole night.
The Liberty Motel seemed quiet, but it had a shabby, depressed aura around it. A dumpster was overflowing in the corner of the parking lot and the paint was peeling from the doors. Tim pulled up in front of Room 14.
He looked around for Frank Scanlon's big sedan, but there was nothing even remotely new or luxurious parked there. Tim got out and knocked on the door of Room 14. There was no answer and the room was dark. Maybe it was all a mistake. Maybe Scanlon had simply panicked for no reason and now they had gone away. Back home. Brian back to the Kinney house and Scanlon back to his large home in Sewickley Heights. Back to his wife, Grace, and all of his blonde daughters with their perfect white teeth.
But Tim couldn't leave without being certain. He turned the knob and the unlocked door swung open.
The room was dark, except for a light shining from behind the partly opened bathroom door. Tim walked through the room quietly, listening for any sound of life. He pushed the bathroom door, but it hit against something. Tim recoiled. Brian was lying on the tile floor, his head leaning against the toilet at an awkward angle. There was no sign of Frank Scanlon.
"Brian! Can you hear me?" Tim dropped to the floor and shook the boy gently. Brian's head flopped like a broken doll. "Brian!" he called frantically. He slapped Brian's face. Then slapped it harder. "Brian! Wake up! It's Tim."
Brian shuddered and moved his hand slightly.
Tim held Brian's head and eased him into a sitting position. The boy's eyes flickered. "Brian, what did you take?" Tim asked urgently. "Tell me!"
"Tim," he mumbled. "Tired."
"No, Brian, you aren't tired!" Tim insisted. "What did you take? Try to remember."
"Sick," gasped Brian, grabbing at the toilet.
Tim helped Brian kneel and steadied him over the toilet bowl. Brian puked up a froth of liquid and half-digested pills. Tim wiped his face with a damp towel. Then Brian vomited again. And again.
"My throat. Hurts," he moaned.
"I know," whispered Tim. "But you need to get everything out of your stomach and out of your system. Then you'll feel better."
"No!" Brian wailed. Then he threw up again and collapsed against Tim on the cold bathroom floor.
Tim sat him up against the wall and filled a plastic cup with water, making Brian sip it slowly. The boy's eyes were red and he was shaking, but he didn't seem in danger. At least not anymore.
"What did you take?" Tim asked again. "It's important."
"I don't know," Brian rasped. "Everything I had."
"Why, Brian?" Tim asked softly. "Tell me."
"Why not?" the boy sniffed. The black dye in his hair was growing out, leaving a weird two-toned effect all over his head. And he was thin. Much thinner than the last time Tim had seen him only a month before. Brian was holding Tim's hand tightly and Tim noticed that his nails were bitten down to the quick.
"Brian," Tim sighed.
"So what? Who gives a fuck?" he sobbed, his red-rimmed eyes filling with tears.
"Many people, Brian," said Tim, sadly. "I do. I care."
"It's useless!" Brian whispered. "Fucking useless!" And he began to tremble uncontrollably.
"Put your arms around my neck," Tim ordered.
Brian clutched at Tim, who half-carried, half-dragged the boy to the tumbled bed and laid him on it gently. Tim pulled the thin covers up around him.
"It's cold in here," Brian whined.
"No, it's not, Brian," said Tim. "It's you."
"Fuck," Brian said, shaking desperately.
"I'm calling an ambulance," said Tim. "You need to go to the hospital."
"No!" Brian cried, clawing at Tim's arm. The boy was surprisingly strong for someone in the middle of a drug overdose. "I can't go to the hospital! You know I can't!"
"Brian, you have to," Tim said. "You need to see a doctor."
"NO!" Brian begged. "If I go to the hospital they'll call the cops. They'll call my parents. They'll send me back to rehab. And I don't mean to St. Lawrence. They'll make me go to the Kensington-Welsh Center and lock me away again! Or else they'll send me to jail. To Juvenile Hall. And you know what'll happen to me there, Tim!"
"You're panicking, Brian," Tim soothed. "Panicking for no reason."
"You know I'm not, Tim! My parents are only waiting for an excuse to send me away. I'll end up in Juvie, getting fucked by anyone who can catch me. You know that's true, Tim." Brian turned his face away in misery. "The best thing that would happen to me if this gets reported is that I'll get kicked out of school. And that means I'll lose my scholarship. I'll never go to college. And it'll be your fault, Tim. All your fucking fault!"
"But Brian, you should see a doctor," said Tim, wavering. He knew that Brian needed medical attention, but he also knew that Brian was right. At the hospital they'd ask questions. They would call his parents. And they would call the police. Brian had a rehab record and Tim knew that he would probably be sent back to Kensington-Welsh. But maybe that's what the boy needed.
"I'll be okay," said Brian, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. "It... it wasn't anything. Just some bad shit I got hold of. It was an accident! Really, Tim. I swear to God!"
"That doesn't matter, Brian. You need to get help." Tim was torn. He knew it wasn't an accident. Brian had taken the pills on purpose. Tim had been around young addicts long enough to know the difference between an accidental overdose and a suicide attempt. He desperately wanted to call an ambulance or at least take Brian to the nearest hospital, but he also didn't want to ruin the boy's life.
"Where's Scanlon?" Tim asked. "Why did he call me? Why didn't he call 911?"
Brian blinked his hazy green eyes. "Because I told him to call you instead. You think he'd call the cops to come here, Tim? To a sleazy motel where he's shacked up with a teenage boy? Frank's not fucking crazy!"
"Then where is he now?"
Brian's mouth twitched. "He bailed."
"I can't believe that man walked out of here and left you lying on the floor!" said Tim in disgust.
"He knew you were coming," said Brian, weakly. "A guy like that doesn't want to be around in case the cops show up."
Tim took a deep breath. "But what if... what if I hadn't gotten here in... in time?"
"You mean what if I'd croaked?" Brian shrugged. He was so pale, sweating and shivering at the same time. "So what? I told you it was all useless, Tim. I'm useless. Fucking useless!"
"That's not true, Brian!" Tim touched Brian's tangled hair. "You have your whole life ahead of you."
"Sure," Brian breathed. "Some life. Some lousy, fucking life."
Tim held the boy quietly for a while before he spoke again. "Why did you take those pills, Brian?"
Brian's eyes were half-closed. Fluttering. "We were partying. We've come here before. Frank knows that he'll never be recognized in a dump like this. They don't look twice at a guy coming in with a kid. The place is full of hustlers and their tricks. Frank always brought the booze and I always brought the pills. Sometimes 'E' if I could get it, but usually downers. Whatever I could score on the street or in one of the bars. If I didn't have enough money for the dope, then...." Brian shook his head. "The dealers could take it out in trade. Whatever the fuck."
Tim shuddered. He'd always been afraid that if push came to shove and Brian needed money that he'd start hustling again. It was easy money and once you'd done it, then it didn't seem too bad to do it again. It was almost a compliment, some guys thought. That another guy would be willing to pay you for sex. And for a beautiful, sexy boy like Brian -- his entire life must seem like hustling. Always trading his body or his time or his attention to get what he needed out of life.
"Brian, I'm so disappointed to hear all of this," Tim said finally.
"You're a great one to judge me, Tim!" Brian sniffed. "A priest who likes dick! Yeah, you're no fucking saint!"
"I never said that I was, Brian," Tim replied. "I have plenty of sins to answer for, just like any other man. But you're so young. I hate to see you so cynical. And I hate that you are endangering your life and your future taking drugs and... and doing what you're doing with Frank Scanlon."
"Don't blame him, Tim. He didn't know jack-shit about drugs or fucking guys before I got hold of him. But he learned fast. Real fast!" Brian laughed, but it was a hurting, horrible laugh.
"But Scanlon is a grown man, Brian. He's not a young, confused, and vulnerable boy," Tim insisted. "Frank Scanlon should know better."
"And s...s...so should I, Tim," Brian stuttered. The shaking was getting worse. "I d...d...do know better. But what the fuck am I supposed to do? I can't catch a break in my whole fucking life. Never a break!" Tim could see the silent tears trailing down Brian's soft cheeks. "No one wants me. No one really cares. They only want to use me. And when they're finished -- they throw me out like garbage."
"I care," whispered Tim, sadly. "You know that I care."
"So you say!" Brian spat. "But it's all bullshit."
Tim held the boy in his arms. He wanted Brian so badly. Wanted to touch him. To love him. But he knew it was wrong. Knew that it was the worst possible betrayal of his vows and of the trust that had been given to him with St. Lawrence House.
"Brian," Tim said quietly. "Last summer, before you left St. Lawrence and went back home, I used to have this fantasy. I would pack up a few things in the car and leave Pittsburgh. I wouldn't tell anyone where I was going because I wasn't planning to return -- ever."
Tim licked his lips, thinking about the dream he had gone over in his mind so many times. And of the boy who was in that dream with him.
"And... and I would take you with me, Brian," Tim continued. "Just the two of us. We'd drive to San Francisco and when we got there I'd find a job. We could live there surrounded by other gay men. We wouldn't have to hide what we were. No one would care what we'd been before we came there. Life would be about the present and not about the past. No one would think it was strange -- an older man and a younger one, living together. Being lovers. And no one would judge us. That was my fantasy."
Brian sat up in bed slowly and leaned against Tim, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand. "Let's do it! We can leave tonight. We can leave now! Just go! Get out of this city and away from my parents. Away from all the shit! I want to go to San Francisco with you. I can find a job, too. It isn't a fantasy! It could be true if we just do it!"
"No, Brian," Tim breathed. His heart was pounding. "It's impossible."
"No, Tim! It isn't!" Brian cried. "I'm 18 now! No one will come after us. No one will care! You can turn in your collar or whatever you do when you quit being a priest and tell them that you're a faggot!"
Tim shut his eyes. He was thinking. It was what he wanted. What he'd dreamed about. And Brian wanted it, too. Tim had never believed that he could love a single person as much as he loved God and his duties as a priest. As much as he loved the boys at St. Lawrence and the work that he did with them. Tim knew that what he was feeling was physical. Sexual. It was lust. Not only a sin, but an unnatural sin. Except that it didn't feel unnatural. It felt like Tim's whole life. And perhaps his only chance at love.
"It's not as simple as that, Brian." Tim turned away. He couldn't look at the boy's face. This was what Tim wanted, but it wasn't what Brian needed.
"Why not?" Brian stared at Tim with contempt. "It's because you don't really love me after all! I'm only a piece of ass who isn't worth your trouble. Just like I am to everyone else. I'm a jerk-off fantasy and an easy fuck and that's all it is, right, Tim?"
"No!" Tim asserted. "You're much more than that, Brian. You're worth so much more than you know."
"And you're a fucking liar, Tim!" Brian replied. "I know because I've met plenty of liars in my life. And I'll probably meet plenty more before I'm finished. One fucking liar after another. But I'll never make the mistake of thinking that they really love me! I'll never make that mistake again in my fucking, miserable whole life!"
Brian turned over in the sagging motel bed. Tim was a coward. All the men he knew were cowards! Tim cared more about the stupid boys at St. Lawrence than he cared about Brian. And more than he cared about both of them being happy.
It was exactly like with Frank. Frank liked sucking cock -- he loved it, in fact! -- but he didn't want to admit it to anyone. He was so fucking afraid that his wife or daughters or one of his law partners would find out. That someone would see him with Brian. Brian sniffed and wiped his nose. They should see Frank Scanlon with his dick buried in my ass! Or -- even better -- with my dick up his ass! And seeing how much Frank liked it!
But Frank Scanlon liked his big house even more than he liked Brian or cock. And he liked his fancy law practice. And all of his money. Well, Brian would make him pay! Yes, Frank would pay through the fucking nose!
Tim reached over and touched Brian's forehead. The boy's breath was ragged and his face was damp. "Brian? How are you feeling?"
Brian shrugged. "Okay, I guess. I'm not going to croak or anything. At least not tonight. So you don't have to worry, Tim. You can go back to the Rectory and nobody will be the wiser."
"I'm not leaving you," said Tim. "You really should go to the hospital, Brian. Will you at least consider...."
"Fuck it!" Brian countered. "Why don't you fuck off, too, like Frank did? I can take care of myself."
Tim got off of the bed and checked the door. He glanced out the window, but it was quiet around the Liberty Motel. He bolted the door.
Tim undressed and got into bed with Brian. This was the end, he told himself. No more! This was the last time he'd be with Brian. Tim was certain this time.
Brian would be all right tonight. He'd bounce back. He was a survivor. Soon Brian would graduate from high school. Then he'd go off to Penn State and start a whole new life. Frank Scanlon would stay away from now on. He'd leave the boy alone after a scare like this. Scanlon had come too close to disaster and he knew it. He was walking on the edge of the volcano -- and Brian was ready to explode at any time.
Tim knew that he was also walking that narrow edge. But he couldn't help it. He was only a man, after all. A very weak man.
Brian turned over and put his arms around Tim. He pressed his hot body against Tim. "Don't be like all of the others, Tim. Don't fuck me over!"
"I won't," Tim murmured. "I would never do that. I would never hurt you. But... but we shouldn't do this, Brian. It's still wrong."
Yes, it was wrong, but Tim didn't move away. Instead he felt his cock guiding him. His cock reaching out for the boy.
"Don't you love me?" Brian whispered sleepily. "I know you do. So prove it to me! Prove that you love me!"
And Tim Reilly closed his eyes and proved it to the boy one last time.
Continue on to "Go All the Way".
©Gaedhal, January 2005.
Posted January 6, 2005.