This is Chapter 2 of the "Queer Realities" series.
Go back to "Queer Theories" for the beginning of this saga.
Features Tim Reilly, Brian Kinney, Kevin, Frank Scanlon, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Flashback -- Father Tim Reilly helps Brian to succeed -- but not in the way he had intended. Pittsburgh, Late Summer/Early Fall 1988.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
As the summer drew to a close and it was almost time for 17 year old Brian Kinney to leave the St. Lawrence Group Home, return to his own family, and begin his senior year, Father Tim Reilly had to admit to himself that he was feeling a strong sense of panic. Everything was ending, as Tim knew that it must. But Tim didn't want things to end. Every night, after lights out, Brian still came into his bed. Still made love with him. Still put his arms around the man and slept with his head on Tim's chest. Tim had done little to stop Brian when it began that spring, and now Tim understood that he never wanted to stop it. That he never wanted Brian to be away from him. Tim had even begun to have wild fantasies about packing their few belongings into the Datsun, taking Brian, and leaving Pittsburgh for good. Maybe going out West, to Colorado, or even San Francisco. The Datsun was far from new, but it could make the trip. And they wouldn't need that much cash, with just the two of them....
Then Tim would wake up to the harsh light of reality. Brian needed to leave. To go home. His parents had been in counseling in their own parish and they now seemed willing to take back their wayward son -- at least until he finished high school in the spring. And beyond that -- Tim was working on possible scholarships for Brian. He had even lined up a wealthy sponsor who might be willing to cover a portion of Brian's college expenses. Yes, that was the reality: Brian going back to his life and resuming his education. Not a faithless priest running off with a boy entrusted to his care. That wasn't reality, but total insanity!
In late August Father Tim took the St. Lawrence boys on an outing to the Retreat House. His superiors had invited Tim to bring his charges there for a day of swimming and a cook-out. The Retreat House was an old donated mansion situated by a private lake. It was the perfect place for an end-of-summer party. Tim was able to relax for a few hours, wearing a tee-shirt and shorts, even sharing a cocktail with Father Russell and Father Mike, two priests in residence at Retreat House, while they watched the boys jump in and out of the water.
The priests discussed funding for St. Lawrence House -- always at the forefront of Tim's thoughts -- and some upcoming events. Tim asked the older priests for advice on the scholarship prospects of his prize student, Brian Kinney, and they outlined some tactics that they had used in the past.
"He's got to make a good impression, that's paramount," advised Father Russell.
"He will," Tim assured them, gazing out at Brian. He had grown and filled out over his 17th summer and his skin was golden from the sun. Brian was even more beautiful than he had been when Tim first saw him. And a lot less fragile. Tim had gotten him onto a summer soccer team and Brian worked out a lot of his enormous nervous energy on the soccer field. The coach at his high school had already said that Brian would be welcome on their team, as well. That was a plus for his scholarship prospects. Good colleges were looking for boys who were well-rounded, athletes as well as scholars, and Brian needed all the pluses he could muster to overcome the realities of his recent past. "Yes, he'll make an excellent impression."
Just that week Tim had taken Brian to a local mall and bought him a decent suit with Tim's own money. Brian needed to look good to meet possible sponsors and on interviews with college recruiters. Tim wanted Brian to be at his best, and standing in the store, tall and handsome in that new dark blue suit, Brian had looked every inch the successful young man.
When it was time for the cook-out to begin, Tim searched about, but Brian was nowhere to be seen. Tim walked around the lake, looking for him. As he approached the old boathouse Tim could hear voices. He knew Brian's voice, that whispery purr with a slight break in it, but he wasn't sure of the second voice. One of the other boys, certainly.
Tim didn't know why he suddenly had the urge to spy on Brian, but he could not stop himself. It was almost as if Tim already knew what he would find behind the boathouse. After all, he knew the ways of boys -- and he knew Brian. And Brian was no longer the cowed, depressed boy who had come to St. Lawrence House after a horrific stay in drug rehab at the bleak Kensington-Welsh Center. He was no longer the boy who had been victimized by bigger, rougher kids. No longer the boy who cried in the darkness until he fell asleep. Brian's months at St. Lawrence had transformed him. He had thrived under Tim Reilly's care and Tim was proud of that. But Tim was under no illusion that Brian was entirely healthy. He knew that the tall, handsome boy was underneath a very damaged creature.
As Tim looked around the side of the boathouse he could see the other boy, a lively, freckled little truant named Kevin, sucking Brian vigorously and expertly. He did it with such practiced ease that it was obvious that the two had done it many times before. Tim watched, his heart pounding. There was no force and no hurry. Brian was lying on his back, his long, perfect body revealed, his head resting on his rolled up beach towel, while Kevin worked enthusiastically on his big cock. When Brian came, shortly after Tim began watching them, he sat up slightly, gasping and holding the other boy's head in place.
Kevin swallowed Brian's come completely and then sat back, laughing. "See? I told you I could take it all! Aren't I better than Eddie?" Kevin prodded, naming another St. Lawrence boy.
"I don't know," Brian speculated lazily. "Eddie's pretty good. He has a nice, hot mouth."
Kevin moved up and stretched out next to the taller boy. "But?"
"But you have a tighter ass. Too bad there isn't time for me to fuck it right now!"
Kevin whispered something Tim could not hear and both boys giggled. "Then I could be your boyfriend!" Kevin exclaimed.
Brian frowned. "I don't DO boyfriends. I just like to fuck. And that's it!"
Kevin sniffed. "What about Father Tim? Aren't you his boyfriend?"
"He's just another fuck. Like you. Like Eddie. Like all the rest," Brian replied coldly, his face hard and scornful. "That's all anyone is. Just a fuck. I don't believe in love and all that shit! That's for breeders -- and pussies!"
Tim stumbled back up the path to the Retreat House and then stopped, leaning against a tree. What had he done? What had happened to this gentle boy who had come to him last spring, his emotions like an open wound? What had happened to the boy who cried every night for the love of some man who had been kind to him when he was desperate and sick in New York City? That boy HAD believed in love. He'd run away from that love so that he wouldn't inflict a whore, a failure, and a damaged soul on this same man. So that he wouldn't have to care for a hopeless addict. That's how Brian had seen himself back then -- as hopeless, beyond redemption. Brian had come a long way physically since last spring, but that innocent boy was gone forever. And emotionally Brian was obviously still in a downward spiral.
When the boy first came to St. Lawrence, Tim had tried over and over to get Brian to tell him the identity of his New York lover and how to contact him. Tim believed that if Brian could simply speak to the man and be reassured by him, then it would help him to heal. But Brian refused to tell. Later, Tim had heard his first name one night when the boy mumbled it in his sleep or cried out in the darkness, but by then Tim had stopped asking about this other man. His rival. Tim no longer wanted to find out his name or how to get in touch with him. Because Tim knew that if he were to summon this stranger that he would fly to reclaim the boy. Who wouldn't? And by then Tim didn't want Brian reclaimed. He wanted Brian for himself. Tim alone would heal the boy. And love him in a way that no one else could.
But Tim knew now that he'd been a fool. Brian had healed, but he'd also hardened. The open wound that was the boy's heart was now a deep, ugly scar, without any feeling. Brian was tall, beautiful, and healthy -- but he was also cold. Cynical. Even calculating. He no longer believed in love -- so he said. He just believed in himself and his own power to get what he wanted, in any way he could.
Tim now realized that he had been seeing this evolution in the boy for a long time now. He'd seen Brian become emotionally distant, closing himself off day by day. It was not something visible, but it was there. But Tim had pushed it out of his mind because, at least on the outside, Brian was a true success story. Clean of drugs and at the top of his group academically, Brian was ready to rejoin the world -- and even conquer it. Yes, Brian had everything that a man needed to succeed and Tim burst with pride in that accomplishment every time he gazed on the boy.
But it was apparent that on the inside Brian was as troubled as he had ever been. And now Tim understood that he himself had had a hand in that trouble. He'd used Brian, just as everyone in his life had used him. He had desired the boy and been unable to keep those desires to himself. Tim had rationalized it as help and comfort, but it was in fact Tim's own lust and greed that had prevailed. And the protective shell that had been growing up around Brian for so many years had now solidified, perhaps never to be broken into.
"Boys!" Father Tim called loudly. "Dinner!" Then he turned and walked slowly back to the Retreat House.
He heard laughter and then Kevin, wearing his bathing suit and carrying his towel, raced by him. "Come on, Father! I'm starving! I'll beat you to the house!"
Tim lagged, waiting. In a moment Brian was walking in step beside him. His hair was damp and his moist, golden skin glistened in the late August sun.
"I saw you," said Tim.
"I know," answered Brian. "It took you long enough to figure out what was going on."
"Figure what out?" said Tim, looking at the boy sharply.
"That you weren't the only one, Tim." Brian held his head up arrogantly. "That I've been messing around with all of the boys. But like I told the kid -- I don't DO boyfriends, no matter who they are!"
Tim closed his eyes and swallowed hard. "I'm not your boyfriend, Brian!"
"So, there's no problem. Right?"
"Yes, Brian, there is a problem! I may not be your boyfriend," Tim said, as his heart turned over. "But I AM your friend. And you know that what you are doing isn't right!"
Brian laughed harshly. "They wanted it -- and I gave it to them. Simple as that."
"Those bigger boys forced you a few months ago, Brian," said Tim, fiercely. "And now YOU prey on the others? Is that the way it goes?"
"No!" Brian cried angrily. "I told you! I don't 'prey' on anyone! They come to me. They always have! I don't have to chase anyone. I've NEVER had to chase anyone! You think the kids aren't doing each other, Tim? Haven't been doing each other forever? As long as you want to fuck, what's the harm?" Brian stared at Tim. "They fight each other over who is going to get me -- and don't believe any different! And if you were one of them -- you'd fight to get a piece of me, too! So don't act so high and mighty, FATHER Tim!"
And Brian broke into a run as he approached the Retreat House, leaving Tim behind on the overgrown path.
Dressed in his new suit, his hair freshly cut, tall, smiling, and charming, Brian Kinney cut an impressive figure. Even Tim Reilly, who had coached him so diligently, was surprised at how at ease the boy was in the Scanlons' large house in Sewickley Heights, sitting in the living room, making small talk.
Francis Scanlon was a distinguished Pittsburgh attorney and senior partner in the prestigious law firm of Whelan, Scanlon, O'Donnell, and Moscowitz. His wife, Grace, was active in many local charities. Their four daughters were either in college or attending exclusive Catholic high schools. They had no sons. Tim watched the way Frank Scanlon looked at the handsome Brian and knew that the lack of a son was the man's greatest regret. In fact, Tim was counting on that regret to carry Brian through the college education that his own abusive father, Jack Kinney, refused to contribute towards. The Scanlons were looking for a cause -- and Tim Reilly hoped that Brian was it.
Tim and Brian sat with the Scanlons and chatted about Brian's interest in business, his favorite books and music, and his summer league soccer team for about an hour before Grace Scanlon took Brian into the kitchen for a snack. Now Tim moved in, trying to gauge the impression his protégé was making.
"He seems a bright boy, Father," Frank Scanlon commented, lighting a cigarette.
"He's brilliant," Tim bragged. He didn't think he was exaggerating.
"He's quite well-spoken." Scanlon paused. "But I admit that the drug thing bothers me."
Tim took a deep breath. "You know why he was at St. Lawrence, Mr. Scanlon. He did have a problem and he's beaten it. I assure you that Brian was never a chronic drug user or a hard-core case. His father...." Tim hesitated. "His father is an alcoholic and abusive. The abuse had been going on for quite a while. Earlier this year Brian's father beat him and he ran away. It was only then that he fell into drugs while he was on the streets. He was trying just to survive then. However, the boy has been very well-motivated to stay off them now that his life is more settled. He easily caught up to his class over the summer through the home-schooling program we use at St. Lawrence. He was an Honor Student before he ran away and he will be again, I assure you, Mr. Scanlon. I wouldn't bring him here if I didn't believe strongly in this boy."
"Still, it's a risk." Scanlon blew some smoke out into the air as if contemplating his options.
"What isn't?" asked Tim. "I work with these risks every day, Mr. Scanlon. To me, every boy is worth saving. But only occasionally does a boy of Brian's caliber appear at St. Lawrence. And I want to see that he receives every opportunity. Because he deserves it."
"You are quite passionate about this boy, Father." Frank Scanlon smiled at the priest.
Tim's heart skipped a beat. "I... I believe in what I'm doing, Mr. Scanlon. I believe in Brian."
Tim prayed that he knew what he was doing. He had selected the Scanlons specifically for Brian. Frank Scanlon was very proud of his Irish heritage and was prominent in the Hibernian Society, an elite Irish-American club. That was where Tim Reilly had met Frank Scanlon -- when Tim addressed one of their meetings about his work with troubled teenagers. The older man had approached Tim about sponsoring a boy and when Brian began applying for college, Tim knew that he'd found the right match. Tim was certain that Brian Aloysius Kinney, who was every inch the consummate Irish lad, was almost perfectly designed to be of interest to Francis Xavier Scanlon.
"I would like to follow his progress in school this year. See how he does."
"Of course," said Father Tim, eagerly. "He'll be needing some money for college visits and the like. Fees and things."
Scanlon nodded. "I think that can be arranged, Father." And then the man smiled.
Tim beamed with pride. "Brian won't let you down, sir! He's a gifted individual!"
"Ha!" Scanlon laughed. "He's already got my wife wrapped around his little finger, I fear."
Tim laughed, too. "Oh, Brian is a charmer! But that should serve him well in business. He's a born salesman."
"I can see that," said Frank Scanlon, standing. And he and Tim Reilly shook hands, sealing the deal that would change Brian Kinney's life.
A week later Brian moved back home and began his senior year at his old high school. He called Tim Reilly after the first day to tell him how well things went. That he got into AP English and AP Chemistry and that he had the same lunch period as his old friend, Mikey. Things seemed to be looking up for Brian and Tim was glad.
But he would have been fooling himself if he did not admit that he missed Brian. There was plenty to do at St. Lawrence -- new boys entering the halfway house who needed evaluation, the endless paperwork, and the round of charity functions where Tim had to ask for funding for the facility. But at night, after lights out for the boys, after he had said his prayers and written in his journal, Tim Reilly was lonely.
A few days after Brian went home, Tim headed out to a bar on Liberty Avenue, a place called Woody's. He met an old friend there, a guy he'd hooked up with in the Marines who was now a parole officer in Pittsburgh. Ironically, his name was Frank, too, just like Brian's new sponsor.
"What are you smiling at?" Frank asked Tim later, back at Frank's apartment.
"Thinking of a kid I'm trying to get a scholarship for," said Tim.
"He must be pretty hot if you're thinking about him while you're in bed with me!" griped Frank with good humor.
"He is," admitted Tim. "But that's not the point. I'm worried about him. I just sent him back to the same home where he got knocked around last year."
"Yeah, Brian's a big kid. But he's not violent by nature. He'll defend himself, but... I'd hate to see him back in the same boat he was in before," Tim sighed.
"You have to push them out of the nest eventually, Tim. You've told me that yourself many times," said Frank.
"I know," sighed Tim. "And it's less than a year before he goes away to college. But sometimes it's difficult. Too difficult."
A few weeks later Tim took a group of the boys over to the Irish Fest, which was being held at a park not far from St. Lawrence House. They were holding an old fashioned ceili, an Irish dance party with lots of Guinness and Harp on tap and plenty of food. It was also a beautiful early October day and Tim felt better than he had in a long time. Things were settling down at St. Lawrence and Tim's mind felt more at peace now that Brian was home and his future seemed set. Tim was still lonely, but he tried to fill his days with activity and his nights with prayer. Anything to keep his thoughts away from Brian.
And that's when he saw Brian. The boy, wearing a green silk shirt, was standing near the stage, watching a traditional band play reels. Tim felt a rush of happiness, and he was about to go over to him when he saw Frank Scanlon walk up to Brian and hand him a beer. Brian took the beer and smiled. And Scanlon reached over and put his hand on Brian's slender waist.
Tim stood perfectly still, not certain of what he was seeing. It was such a casual gesture. Perhaps too casual. Tim watched the two as they looked at the musicians. Watched Scanlon brush himself against the boy lightly, but intimately. Watched the way Brian moved back against the man. And Tim knew Brian too well to be fooled by that nonchalance. He knew the way Brian's body behaved. Knew Brian's every movement and gesture. Intimately. And Tim watched as Frank Scanlon moved forward and, with a touch, took possession of his boy.
Tim turned and walked in the other direction.
Yes, Tim had taught Brian well. Taught him to use all of his many resources to make certain that Brian made a good impression on his sponsor. To make sure that he got his scholarship. And it looked like Brian was making sure. Sealing the deal the best way he knew how.
Tim found the row of port-a-johns set up to serve the Irish Fest. He went into one of them and threw up again and again. He felt sick to his stomach and sick at heart.
About an hour later Tim was sitting at a picnic table with three of the boys, watching them eat stew and baked potatoes and apple pie.
"Hey." Tim heard a voice and turned around. It was Brian, grinning at him.
"Hey yourself. What... what are you doing here?"
"Oh," answered Brian. "Just hanging out." He sat down next to Tim at the table. "Hey, guys." He nodded to the other boys and they gaped back at him. Brian Kinney was legendary at St. Lawrence.
"I saw you earlier. With Mr. Scanlon," said Tim. His throat felt dry.
Brian shrugged. "Yeah, the Hibernians are sponsoring this shindig. It's kind of fun."
"How's school?" Tim asked, trying to keep his voice calm.
"Great. Everything's great." Brian drummed his fingers on the table. Tim noticed that he was wearing a new and very expensive watch. "I have an interview set up at Penn State."
"Yeah. Frank is going to drive me there." Brian glanced at Tim.
"Boys, why don't you go and get ice cream?" Tim took out some money and handed it around. He and Brian watched the kids run off, laughing and pushing each other. "You're spending a lot of time with Mr. Scanlon, aren't you?"
"Wasn't that the idea, Tim? To secure my scholarship? " Brian turned his dark green eyes on the priest. "What's the matter? Are you jealous?"
"He's supposed to be sponsoring your education, Brian!" Tim said angrily.
Brian crossed his arms defiantly. "He is. Like I said, Frank's taking me for my interview at Penn."
"And springing for a motel, too? And a fancy watch?" Tim grabbed Brian's wrist and looked at the watch. "Not bad. Not bad at all. What part of your 'education' does THIS cover, Brian?"
"The School of the Bowery, Tim!" growled Brian, pulling back his hand. "The fucking School of fucking Reality! Not that it's any of your fucking business!"
"Oh, it IS my business, Brian!" countered Tim. "Since I introduced you to Frank Scanlon!"
Brian snorted. "That doesn't make you my pimp, Tim. It just means that for a guy who has been all around the world with the Marine Corps, been a priest for fuck-all number of years, and run a rest stop for punk junkies, you are still pretty fucking naive! So get over it." Brian stood up. "I have to get back. Frank is waiting for me."
"Brian," pleaded Tim. "Don't do this! That guy is married! He has four kids! His wife had you in her home!"
"So? I've been over there a lot. I've been going to Mass with the Scanlons every Sunday and then to brunch afterwards. I've even met his daughters. And Frank's wife, Grace, just loves me." Brian smirked. "Being married means shit!" Brian lowered his voice. "Just like being a priest means shit! As you well know -- FATHER Tim. So don't give me that fucking song-and-dance! Most of my tricks in New York were married men. Out and proud faggots don't NEED to buy a quickie from some kid on their way home from work. They can go to a bar and pick someone up. Which is probably what you've been doing ever since I left. Am I right?"
"Jesus, Brian!" said Tim, recoiling.
"Your Boss -- not mine." Brian smoothed his green silk shirt. It looked expensive, like the watch. He also had on designer jeans and a new pair of Nikes. "I'm in business for myself from now on!" Brian turned and began walking away.
Tim got up from the picnic table and followed him. "Brian, please...."
The boy stopped and faced Tim. The priest realized that Brian was a boy no longer. That he was already as tall as Tim and had still not reached his full height. And the hard look in his eyes told Tim that Brian was every inch a man. A determined man who knew exactly what he wanted and would get it any way he could. And Tim's heart fell into the dirt.
"What, Tim?" Brian question. "What do you have to say to me now?"
"Just that... I... I'm sorry, Brian. I...." Tim stumbled for the right words.
"No apologies, Tim. And no fucking regrets." Brian smiled cynically. "Okay?"
He put his hand up, cutting Tim off. "Later, Tim. Later." And then Brian Kinney moved through the crowd, on his way back to find his sponsor.
Continue on to "I Say a Little Prayer for You", the next chapter of "Queer Realities."
©Gaedhal, January 2004.
Posted January 13, 2004.