I SHALL BE RELEASED

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Page 2 of Part 4 of Chapter 119 in the "Queer Theories" series.

Go back to Page 1 of "I Shall Be Released -- Part 4".

Tess and I lead Brian upstairs to tend to the cuts. The door of Ron's room is shut tightly. I try not to even look that way.

Tess takes Brian into one of the guest rooms -- the one Lindsay and Gus stayed in when they were here last June -- and sits him down on the bed. Tess is very collected and cool. She speaks to Brian like she must have spoken to Annie when she was little and hurt herself and needed to be comforted. She wipes the blood off his hands gently with a warm washcloth, making sure there aren't any slivers of glass under his skin. I'm pretty useless except to sit next to Brian, keeping guard over him. After what Freddy Weinstein said, I'm really worried. Because I don't know what the fuck is going to happen now.

Brian is completely passive as he lets Tess work on his cuts. Passive -- a word I never before associated with Brian. I know he must be in shock, because I know I am. He just seems numb. Actually, I think that's the best thing for him, this numbness. I know it's a defense against his emotions, but maybe that's exactly what he needs right now -- a defense against emotions he can't handle. And Brian can't handle much emotion in the best of circumstances.

I keep thinking back to how happy we just were in London for the premiere. How I could see the happiness on Brian's face. Feel it whenever he touched me. I didn't imagine it. It was true. And now all this shit. All this misery. All because of Ron. Even dead, he's throwing a shadow between us. But I can't let Ron win! I just can't!

The cuts on Brian's hands are bleeding, but they aren't deep. Even so, the blood freaks me out. I think of all the other times he's been covered in blood. When his father beat him. When my dad smashed his Jeep. When he was attacked in London. And when he held me in that parking garage. Brian just stares at the blood, swallowing. I watch the way his throat moves. The way his jaw moves back and forth, as if he's chewing on something. I can't even imagine what he's thinking.

"This may hurt, hon," says Tess, as she dabs his knuckles with alcohol on a cotton ball that she got out of the guest bathroom. Brian flinches, but he doesn't move otherwise. "There must be some bandages in this house. Where would they be, Brian?"

"In... in the kitchen," he answers softly. "In the drawer nearest the stove. Carmel had some down there. She was always burning herself."

Tess stands up. "I'll be right back." She goes downstairs, leaving me with Brian, a towel wrapped around his hands to staunch the blood.

Brian and I sit in silence. I mean, what can I possibly say? That I'm sorry? That's so fucking lame. That I love him? He knows that. That I'm glad Ron is gone? I am, but not this way. Not this way at all. I just wanted him out of our lives. I didn't want him to be... dead. To kill himself that way. It's too horrible to think of. And it's too horrible to think of what it will do to Brian, too.

I pick up the washcloth that Tess left and wipe some smears of blood away from his face and neck. I try to wipe it off his white tee shirt, too, but it won't come off.

"Justin?" he says, as if he can't see me.

"I'm right here, Brian," I tell him, caressing his cheek. "I'm always here." But he doesn't say anything more. He just stares straight ahead. "Brian -- it's okay to... to cry if you want to. If you'll feel better. Fuck, I cry all the time! It feels good sometimes. There's no shame in it. It doesn't mean you're a little fucking faggot. It just means you're a human being." But he doesn't say anything at all.

Then Jimmy is in the doorway. He looks in at the two of us sitting there, Brian staring off into space and me with my arms around him. And then Jimmy disappears. I hear him open the door to Ron's room next door. I get up to see what he's up to.

"Jimmy, what are you doing in there?" I peek into the room. It's all tumbled around from the cops searching around -- and from everything that happened in there.

Jimmy is on his knees, looking under the bed. "Fuck!" he cries. "Fuck!" Jimmy stands up slowly and looks at me. "They took them! The tapes that were under the bed. Thank God they didn't get the one I gave you. The one Ron had in the VCR!"

"But... tapes under the bed? Ron's... videotapes?"

Jimmy nods. "Ron's private videos, Justy. So, you know all about them, too, don't you?"

I feel my hands shaking. "You mean tapes of... Brian? That Ron made with his Nanny Cam? Of Brian... in the poolhouse? Those tapes?"

Jimmy sighs and nods. "And the fucking cops took them! Do you know what conclusions that detective could make from looking at those tapes? Videos made secretly by Ron of his boyfriend jerking off -- and fucking other guys? If the cops think that Brian found out about them... and was angry at Ron..." Jimmy cringes. "That might constitute a motive for... for Brian doing something to Ron."

"But Brian already knew about the tapes! He's known since...." I hesitate. Because one of Ron's tapes interests me more than anything else. A tape that Brian knows about, that even Jimmy seems to know about, but one that I don't want anyone else to ever see again. And I have no idea where THAT video is. Unless the police have it now, too. "Brian has known since last June. Ron had been taping him for months. It made Brian so mad that he started bringing tricks back here so that Ron would tape them and then watch them on his videos. It was a big 'fuck you' to Ron! That's one of the reasons... that... that they broke up," I say, biting my lip.

"That's not the reason, Baby Blue," says Jimmy, taking another glance around the room. At Ron's possessions strewn all over. At the empty cardboard box the tapes were in. At the messy bed where Ron... I shudder. Jimmy pushes me out the door and shuts it. "It wasn't those tapes, or 'The Olympian,' or Brian's tricking, or anything like that broke them up. Brian broke up with Ron for only one reason."

"What reason was that?" I ask, almost afraid to hear it.

"It was you, Justy," says Jimmy. "It was all about you. And you know it."

"But Jimmy...." I start to say. But I don't get to say anything more, because both Jimmy and I turn to see Detective Parra and one of his uniformed officers coming back up the stairs, with Tess and Howie Sheldon close at their heels.

"Where's Kinney?" the detective rasps.

"He's in here," says Jimmy, pointing to the guest room. Brian stands up when he sees everyone crowding into the room. He gapes at the two cops.

Tess pushes to the front. "I was just getting some bandages. Brian cut himself. Accidentally."

Detective Parra snorts. "Sure he did. Your friend Mr. Weinstein stopped by the squad car on his way out and mentioned that he and Kinney had a little dust-up in here. He also told me a few other things of interest. Yeah, Mr. Weinstein was full of information. So, Mr. Kinney, how come you didn't tell me that Rosenblum changed his will recently?"

"I didn't know," answers Brian. Which is the honest truth.

But the cop is relentless. "You say you didn't know? You were living with him -- and you didn't know? I find that difficult to believe, Mr. Kinney."

"But it's true," Jimmy offers. "I'm the executor of Ron's will. I knew. But Ron didn't tell Brian."

Parra grimaces. "Why do I not believe any of you people? Huh? And I suppose that none of you knew that Rosenblum changed his will AGAIN, only a few days ago?"

Jimmy frowns. "No, officer. I'm sure that's not correct."

"Mr. Weinstein insists it IS correct. He says that Rosenblum told him just the other day, right after he made the changes. And that Mr. Weinstein warned the deceased that he was making a big mistake. But apparently Rosenblum didn't listen. We'll be contacting Rosenblum's lawyer..." The detective takes out his notebook. "Mr. Emmanual Fishman. For the details. It seems that Mr. Rosenblum altered his will to leave the bulk of his estate to Mr. Kinney here -- with a sizeable bequest to a Mr. Taylor. Justin Taylor."

Brian gasps. "To Justin?" And I feel faint. "That's not fucking true!" Brian shouts at the cop.

Detective Parra smiles. "That wouldn't be Blondie here, would it?" But he can see by the stunned look on my face that it IS me. "That's very neat. Rosenblum changes his will three days before he 'accidentally' overdoses -- on drugs prescribed to his ex-boyfriend -- and leaves almost everything he's got to that ex-boyfriend AND the ex's new little pal. How fucking convenient!"

Brian grabs my hand and almost crushes it. "It... I... I don't know anything about that!"

"You don't know much, do you, Kinney?" Parra's face is grim.

"Now, Detective Parra," says Jimmy, turning on all the Hardy charm he can muster. "It's just a coincidence. Really. I'm certain that with a few more facts everything will be easily explained."

"Yes," puts in Howie, bumping Jimmy out of the way. "It's all a misunderstanding, Detective. Freddy Weinstein has an axe to grind against Brian. That's what this is really about. Brian would have no reason to harm Ron. They were good friends -- and working partners. And more than that, too, as you know. Their relationship was very long and very, very loving. So, what would Brian have to gain by Ron's death?"

"That's what I will have to figure out," Parra replies. "Come on, Kinney. We're going downtown."

"NO!" I hear myself screaming.

"Justin, don't get involved!" says Brian, as the uniformed cop moves forward and takes Brian's arm firmly. "Please!"

"I'm already involved, Brian! This is MY life, too!" I say, looking around. But no one is doing anything. No one is stopping this! And they're taking Brian away!

"Detective, his hands!" pleads Tess. "Let me just...."

"We'll take care of it downtown, ma'am," says Parra. "Please step back."

Howie Sheldon blocks the cops in the doorway. "Is he being arrested? On what charge?"

"No, he's not being arrested," says Parra. "But we'll need to question him further. There are a lot of things that will have to be cleared up. Do YOU want to go downtown, too, Mr. Sheldon?"

"No, Detective." Howie shakes his head and moves away from the door.

I throw myself at Brian, trying to kiss him, but the cops elbow me away. "I love you, Brian! Never forget that! Never forget!"

"Later, Sunshine," he says. And the cops lead Brian out and down the hallway. He turns and looks at me desperately. "Later."

"Brian! Your lawyer! I'll call him! I'll call Diane!" I yell as I follow them down the stairs.

Howie is right next to me. "The studio attorney will meet you downtown, Brian! Don't worry!" Howie reassures him. Yeah, some fucking reassurance! The lawyers will meet you at the jail!

Thankfully, the cops have brought a car right up close to the back door, so the press misses their chance to get photos of Brian being put into the police car. And of me -- trying to push my way into the car after him. Or of Howie Sheldon and Jimmy Hardy dragging me back as the squad car moves down Ron's long driveway and then out the gate -- and out of sight.

Continue on to "Shooting Star -- Part 1", the next section.

©Gaedhal, October 2003.

Updated October 7, 2003.