This is Chapter 21 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "The Devil's Candy", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Diane Rhys, and features Brian Kinney.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Diane befriends Brian at a bad time. March-April 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.
"I know this was not your idea."
That 'idea' being in the limousine and on our way to the premiere of the new Jill Atwood film, 'Mitzie and Bunny' -- billed as 'An Absurd Romantic Comedy.' Meaning it was another Jill Atwood stinker. Lucky she's married to the head of Apex Productions. He can afford to greenlight her shitty films. How do you fall into a freakin' deal like that, I want to know?
"My idea? Of course it wasn't my fucking idea, Diane!"
"Well, don't get pissy with me, Brian. I didn't invite you to this thing -- YOU invited me. If you didn't want to go, why not tell them all to screw off?"
"I tried." He sank down in the seat of the limo. "They just fucking ignored me. And here I am. With YOU."
"I'm sorry I'm not your idea of a hot date." Unfortunately, Brian WAS my idea of a hot date all the way. Fag or no fag!
"I don't do 'dates.'"
I had to roll my eyes at that one. "You can give other people that bullshit, Brian, but don't try it on me! You don't do 'dates'! What are all those 'things' you go on with Ron?"
"You go out -- that's a freakin' date! THIS is a freakin' date! Just because you don't want to call something by the name everyone else in the known world calls it, doesn't change what it is."
"Christ! Why am I doing this?"
"Because it is now part of your JOB, that's why! Just like going out with YOU -- which wouldn't be my first choice, either, dickhead -- is part of MY job."
"How is it your job?"
"I'm a professional starlet. That's my job -- until I'm a full-fledged star, that is."
"Good luck. What does your boyfriend, Jerry, think of these little put-up jobs?"
"Oh, he encourages them. Good exposure is always an asset. Who knows? We might get on 'Entertainment Tonight'!"
"Why would they put a couple of nobodies on 'Entertainment fucking Tonight'?"
I didn't want to tell him that it was possible because of how incredibly dishy-looking he was. I would never tell him that because he already has an inflated opinion of himself -- which is only natural, considering that he has to look in the mirror every day. But he doesn't need to hear it from me. I'm not paid to feed his ego. And I'm not paid to be his friend. Although I'm sure that Ron would do that, too, if he could.
Or that it was possible because the studio would make it possible. Seeing that they had gone into overdrive making sure this little 'date' came off without a hitch. I had to feel sorry for Brian, thinking for even two seconds that he could buck the whole system. Still thinking he can, even when he's in the limo and on his way! He's so freakin' naive, it kills me! It's so cute!
Jerry, Freddy, and Ron spent so much time 'selling me' on this date I guess it never occurred to them that I didn't need any convincing. I like Brian. I would have gone with him to a hardware store opening if he wanted me to. I don't think they have any idea that we've been having lunch together and going shopping together and just doing shit together for weeks now. Even the shoot hasn't stopped it, because I come over and eat with him in his dressing room so he won't be alone. And when he goes for training I've been coming along, too, carrying his gym bag, sitting on a blanket on the sidelines and holding the Gatorade, just like I used to do for my old high school boyfriend. Again, otherwise he'd be there alone. Brian doesn't 'do' paid assistants like all these other guys do to look like big shots. But I'm there if he needs me. I get the feeling that he has someone back home -- meaning where he's from, Pittsburgh -- who used to do this job and gladly. And I don't mind taking it over here. This is a lonesome town, otherwise.
I wonder if Ron even asks where Brian goes half the time? Or if he cares? And I'm sure that Ron doesn't know that sometimes when I'm sure he thinks Brian is out in the clubs or doing God knows what, he's over at my place, watching videos or playing Scrabble (he holds himself back for me, I know -- my vocabulary stinks). Or making cookies -- I know, this is hard to picture, but it's true. I'm sure Ron wouldn't believe that even if I told him.
Brian would never ever admit it, but he is lonely. And since the flick began, he's tired. And nervous as heck. I get nervous just going to auditions and doing the little bit parts I'm able to get (or that Jerry gets me, let's be honest). I can't imagine what it must feel like to be thrown into this shoot -- especially opposite that asshole Jimmy Hardy -- and be expected to do all the shit they want him to do. The physical stuff alone -- I mean the running and track stuff -- would wear anyone out, let alone the sex scenes (I love sex, but I hate those kinds of scenes myself), and the big emotional crap. I read the script -- it's one downer after another, ending with getting shot in the freakin' head! Talk about a 'date movie'! This isn't it! Cripes!
But I don't think they see how it's affecting him. Or they don't want to see. Ron -- he should freakin' know better. He should have SOME sensitivity. But he wants his picture in the can -- who cares what price Brian has to pay for it? And that Jimmy Hardy, with his creepy smile. He's a weird one. He's playing mind games. That's his thing. Mind games with Ron, for sure. And some kind of game with Brian. He won't talk about it, but it's freaking him out.
When we arrive at the premiere and he steps out of the limo you can hear the buzz. I'm dressed in about the most expensive dress I've ever worn -- borrowed, of course -- and wearing diamond earrings that look like Princess Di could have worn them -- again, borrowed for the night. But no one is freakin' looking at me.
The flashes are going off and Brian is blinking -- you have to learn NOT to look right into the light, but sometimes you can't help it. That suit is way more gorgeous than my stupid dress, now that I really look at it. And it's his own suit -- he refuses to wear clothes that have been worn by other people, he says. There's some kind of golden shimmer in this material that catches the gold highlights in his eyes. He IS too good-looking to be straight, that is for certain.
I mean, I really love Jerry, but.... What would it be like to have a guy like this? Yikes!
"Diane, can I talk to you?"
"Brian? What's the matter? You sound so funny."
"I need to talk to you."
Shit. It figured that this is the one night this week that Jerry can come over. His wife's charity committee night.
"Brian, I'm kind of busy right now. Can it wait until tomorrow? I could meet you for Sunday brunch? At our usual place? Brian?"
He'd already clicked off the cell.
Less than five minutes after Jerry left there was a knock on the door. I thought Jerry had forgotten something, but when I opened the door, Brian stumbled in.
"I thought your trick would never leave."
"You mean my boyfriend? Jerry?"
"He had to go home. He has to beat his wife home from her meeting."
"That's one fucked up relationship. He fucks you up and then scoots home to mommy."
"And YOU are saying someone else's relationship is screwed up, Brian?"
"Does Ron really not care who you are out with and what you're doing?"
"I don't believe that."
"He's being realistic."
"He's pretending he doesn't care. He does."
"No, he really doesn't care. He's aware that I'm a promiscuous moron who's had his beak in more holes than a flock of woodpeckers. In fact, he sends me out many nights to get me out of his way. Like tonight."
"Now I definitely don't believe you."
"Then he doesn't have to deal with me or listen to me or watch me drink myself into a stupor."
"Then why do you continue with it?"
"It's too late to do anything else. I've successfully burned my bridges behind me. And now I have this lovely movie. I have a fine life out here! I'd be foolish to fuck it up, right?" He was prowling around my apartment like a cornered cat.
"Did you go to the clubs tonight?"
"I started to. I meant to."
"I just bought a bottle and sat in the car. Now I have finished that bottle and am looking for alternate entertainment. Oh -- have you seen my car? It's quite the number."
"No, I didn't know you had a new car."
"Actually, it's an old car. A 1965 Mustang. Red convertible. Another little gift. I'll put the top down and we can cruise the Sunset Strip. Come on."
"Not while you're drunk." I sat him down on my couch and went into the kitchenette to put on a pot of coffee. It seemed like a long night might be ahead. "I'm getting you some coffee."
"I'm hardly drunk at all. Why, I've not yet begun to drink!"
"Why don't I drive you home? You can pick up your car tomorrow."
"Did you go to your prom?" He said, suddenly.
I looked around at him. Odd question. "Why do you ask that?"
"No fair! I asked you first!"
"Yes, I went."
"Have a good time?"
"I guess so. I dressed up. Danced. Got a little drunk. Fumbled around with my date. Came home at dawn. Pretty typical."
"I, too, attended the prom."
"Good for you. It's nice to know that you did at least one normal thing in your life, Brian. I was beginning to think that you were created in a parallel universe."
"But I didn't have such a good time as you did, Diane."
"No hot guys there to chase?"
"Au contraire! But you tend not to have a very nice time when some lovely person bashes your date in the head with a baseball bat to cap off the perfect evening."
"Brian! You love to shock, don't you?"
"I'm not saying it to shock you, Diane. I'm saying it because it's true. But if you're shocked and disgusted and horrified -- that's good! That's a good, good response! You get an A for effort."
I brought a cup of black coffee into the living room. "Are you serious?"
"Very, very serious. Don't you know by now? I'm always serious! Especially when I'm loaded. In vino veritas, don't you know?"
"I don't speak Italian. I'm Polish." I put the cup into his hands. "Drink this and don't spill it."
"Oh, all right." I got more sugar.
"And that's not Italian. It's Latin. In wine -- the truth!"
"See why I can't beat you at Scrabble? So, what's the big secret? Your big 'truth'? Was your date really hurt? I mean, badly hurt? Was she okay?"
"Not 'she' -- 'he' -- why do you think some asshole tried to kill him?"
I sat there on the couch next to him, my mouth open. "Oh my God, Brian! You really aren't joking."
"Of course not. What's all this drunken angst about if I'm only joking?"
"What a horrible thing to happen to a kid!"
"I know -- he was in a coma for almost two fucking weeks."
"I'm talking about you, too, Brian. What a trauma at that age!"
"Fuck my tender age, Diane! I'm talking about last year!"
"That's what I said. Exactly one year ago tonight. See why I wanted to celebrate?"
He put the coffee down, almost untouched, and closed his eyes. I though for a second that he was about to pass out, but he was just sitting there.
"Brian, does Ron know about this?"
"Of course not. How would he know?"
"Well, because you told him about it? It's obviously upsetting you -- that's a good reason for him to know. You came over here because you wanted to talk about it -- didn't you? Isn't he the logical person to talk to?"
"Why should I tell him? And why should I be upset? Everything's turned out ducky, hasn't it? Everybody's okay now! He's okay! I'm better than okay! Even the lovely homophobic bat-wielder got off with a slap on the wrist. Everybody couldn't be happier!"
"That's screwed, Brian!"
He stood up -- a little unsteadily -- and pulled me to my feet. "Come on, Diane. Let's go to the clubs. It's still waaaay early! Your beautiful bathrobe can pass as the latest disco fashion!" He tried to drag me to the door, staggering. "But remember -- if anyone comes after you with a baseball bat don't expect ME to save you. Because I can't do that. I can't do that...."
With that he fell against the door, crying, and then I lost it myself. I started crying, pleading, 'Stop! Please stop!" as he slid slowly to the floor. But it was no good. The combo of the booze and that awful confession was too much for him and for me.
We sat in a heap on the floor for what seemed like a year before I was able to untangle myself and get him to his feet. I plunked him on the couch and he tried to lay down, but it was only a loveseat and too short for those long, skinny legs. Finally, I led him into the bedroom and he tumbled onto the bed -- which was still a bit rumpled from Jerry's hurried exit. I was having a busy night.
I got his shirt off and hung it up. Then his boots -- he has big freakin' feet, if you know what I mean. Then I tried to pull off his jeans.
"Mikey, you aren't doing a very good job there."
"I'm not Mikey -- and if you'd help me here, this would go easier."
"Sorry, Diane." He lifted up his rear and wiggled his jeans down so I could haul them off.
"Mikey. Is that your boyfriend in Pittsburgh?"
"No. My dresser. My undresser. My best friend. Since junior high. He's had to clean up my drunken messes many, many times, many times. I should put you in touch with him and he could give you some pointers."
"Thanks loads, but I've undressed men before."
"I forgot. I didn't mean to insult a true professional."
"Like I've said before, Brian -- it takes one to know one."
I threw the covers over him and folded up his jeans, putting them on the chair.
"What are you, Brian? 27? 28?"
"That's close enough."
"Then what the freak were you doing at some prom?"
"I've asked myself the same question a thousand times. A million times. I don't know the answer, Diane. Except -- that I had to be there. And look what happened!"
"But what happened was just a horrible accident. It wasn't your fault, Brian."
"It wasn't a fucking accident! Someone did it on purpose! That's NOT an accident!"
"Okay, okay. But that still doesn't mean it was your fault."
"You just don't understand...." He kept mumbling into the pillow until he finally dozed off. I went into the living room and cleared up a little. I dropped Brian's leather jacket over the back of one of my dining room chairs. I also checked the pockets to see if he was holding any shit -- which I intended to flush away. But he just had his keys and a couple of packets of condoms. That boy -- always prepared for duty.
I thought about calling Ron to tell him that Brian was here. I should have called. I know that. But I figured that if he had wanted Ron to know where he was he would have just gone home. That was my second mistake. My first was letting him into my apartment at all.
When I went back into the bedroom he was out completely and making an odd wheezy sound through his nose. I recognized THAT sound from my years in Hollywood -- both at Madame's and on the acting/party scene. A bad dope nose. One too many snorts somewhere along the line. He should get that taken care of.
About 6:30 a.m. his cellphone buzzed from the pocket of his jeans.
I rolled over and poked him hard. "Are you gonna answer that?"
"No. You know who it is." He rolled back over and I listened to the thing buzz and buzz and buzz like a hive of angry bees.
A half hour later it started again. And every half hour for the rest of the lousy morning.
He refused to get out of my bed, or eat, or even talk to me about anything. Like when he was planning to go home. And I knew then that I was going to be getting into huge trouble over this. Because now I was not just sheltering Brian, I was hiding him. From Ron. From Jimmy. From everyone who might be looking for him. And within a day or so that was a lot of people.
Continue on to "Stonewalling", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, June 2002
Picture of Gale Harold from "Flaunt."
Updated January 16, 2003.