This is Chapter Two -- "Clarke's Hotel."
Go back to "Wayfarers -- Chapter One -- Riverfront" the first chapter in the series.
The other stories in the "Wayfarers" series.
Other recent stories in the "Queer Theories" series.
Features Brian Kinney, Justin Taylor, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian gets acquainted with his new friend. Pittsburgh, December 1858.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Pittsburgh, December 1858.
"Sit awhile wayfarer" -- Walt Whitman, 'Song of Myself.'
"Where are we going?" asked the boy, almost stumbling as he attempted to keep up with the man.
"Are you going to direct me to your home?" the tall Irishman threw back at him.
The boy considered for a moment. "No," he said. "I can't."
The man sighed in exasperation. "You're worse than a miner's mule, you know that?"
The boy shrugged.
"Come on, then."
They walked a ways into town and finally paused in front of Clarke's Hotel, an elderly but still stately edifice. The place offered rooms by the hour, the day, the week, and the month, and was a favorite with the salesmen and drummers passing through with their goods and young bachelors about town who were employed in the various concerns connected with the mining industry. The place offered clean rooms and breakfast included -- no cooking within, but smoking was allowed. And no pissing or spitting out the windows facing the main thoroughfare.
Brian took a sheet of cheap paper out of his pocket and folded it into a square. "Come up in fifteen minutes. If the clerk asks you your business, say you have a message for Mr. Kinney." He put the folded paper into Justin's hand. "Room 24." He paused. "Or else -- go home." He watched the boy's face, but it never wavered.
"Room 24. Fifteen minutes," Justin repeated. "Got it."
Brian went into the hotel. The lobby was quiet on a Saturday night. This was an orderly hotel with no barroom and meals for residents only. That was one reason Brian had selected it. He liked to write in peace and he liked to drink in peace. He'd had enough of rowdy houses in his youth. He first went out to the backyard donniker to piss, then he climbed the backstairs to the second floor, unlocked his door, and lit the oil lamp on his desk, turning it up. The next thing he did was to remove his coat and his boots. Then he washed his face and hands in the basin. The water was cold, but Brian didn't mind because he preferred to be clean at all costs. It was one of his affectations.
He dried his hands on the rough towel and thought about sitting down at the desk and beginning his story. Thinking about writing it made him suddenly very tired. It was a complex story about corruption in the courts, a troublesome tale with many diverse elements. His editor had assigned him to write it -- and he knew that he would do a good job. But Brian preferred simpler stories chiefly because his readers preferred them. Straight-forward narratives about straight-forward people. He thought about the letter that another editor in a far-off city had written to him, admiring his work, asking to see more of it. He'd sent off a batch of it -- his best stuff -- but he'd heard nothing more.
He HAD to get out of this town, Brian thought. Pittsburgh was oppressing him. As many times as he'd tried to get away, he always seemed to end up back here! And why? His immediate family were all dead -- his mother, sister, the old man. And the woman he had courted -- with vigor at first, but then half-heartedly in recent years -- had put him off so many times, mainly because she couldn't see her way to overcome the differences in class that separated them, even as they both approached the age of thirty. And Lindsay was now well on her way to being left an old maid with her damned shilly-shallying.
But, thought Brian, it was probably just as well, as he was less and less keen on marrying Lindsay as the years went by. Yes, he loved her. For a long time he'd thought that he was IN love with her, but he had come to realize that it was his idealization of her, her reserved beauty, her educated ways, her Society family, and his general belief in the notion of 'The Good Woman,' that had kept him interested for so long. But the last thing he needed now was a damned wife. Brian had known that all along, but didn't want to admit it to himself. It was too bad that Reynolds wasn't still alive. He would have had a number of cutting things to say about Brian's gallant notions of Romance. Yes, Reynolds would've put him in his place -- and fast.
The whiskey he'd drunk at the barroom and the double he had at Mae's had only served to give him a headache, rather than making him drunk. He had another bottle in the drawer, but he was saving that for a more desperate occasion. And he wasn't desperate yet. He stretched his long arms and hung up his waistcoat in the press. He was just about to sit down at his desk with paper and pen when he heard the knock.
"Damnation," said Brian, frowning as he swung open the door. "I thought you'd gone home."
But the boy strolled in, folded piece of paper in his hand. "Message for you, mister?" he said, grinning.
"You think you're very fresh, don't you?" said Brian, his hands on his hips.
"This is a fine room," said Justin, looking around. "I've never been in a hotel room before. My parents hate travel. My father says that unless it's for business it is a waste of a man's energy."
"What a broadening philosophy he holds," Brian commented.
"Do you live here all the time?" asked the boy. He was a regular chatterbox -- and a busybody, too. Brian noticed that his blue eyes seemed to miss nothing.
"For the past six months or so," Brian found himself replying. "And, yes -- it's a fine room. Not fancy, but serviceable. I'm glad you approve of it. Are you thinking of moving in?" he asked, his eyebrow cocked. He watched the lad appraise the furnishings. He even walked over to the press and opened it, looking at Brian's well-ordered array.
"You have a lot of clothes," Justin remarked.
"I have only as many as I need and want. I like to dress well."
"I like the waistcoat you were wearing earlier. My father's clothes are dull. Nothing but black and gray. He works in an office. It's dull, too. Black and gray. He wants ME to work there." The boy slipped off his short brown jacket and hung it up among Brian's more colorful wardrobe. "The family business."
"Doing what, may I be so bold to ask?"
The boy made a sour face. "Leasing something. Equipment. To the mines. Writing up orders. Figuring prices on sheets of paper. That sort of dull thing." He looked back at Brian. "But I won't do it."
"No. I'm an artist." He said it as if that were a sure thing rather than a mere fancy. "I'd rather run away than have to toil my life away there." He was fingering Brian's new linen shirt.
Brian sat down on the settee, crossing his long legs. "And have that ugly bargeman use you like a three bit whore?"
Justin cocked his head. "That wouldn't have been very agreeable, I admit. He smelled foul." The boy touched the sleeve of one of Brian's frock coats, a dark blue broadcloth. Then he closed the press and turned around. "Not like you. You smell pleasant."
Brian raised one curved eyebrow. "I try my best."
The kid walked over to the settee and crouched down in front of Brian. "Rose water and glycerin," he said, quietly. "I can smell it on your hands now."
"I spend hours holding my pen. I can't afford chapped hands," the man replied.
Justin picked up Brian's right hand, stroking the long fingers. At his delicate touch, as nimble as a girl's, Brian felt his stomach making strange turns. "Your hands are soft, but they aren't womanish," Justin said.
"I should hope not," Brian snorted. But before he could speak another word, Justin had taken Brian's right hand and pressed it against the front of the lad's britches -- and against his extremely rigid member. At this more intimate touch, Brian's own organ came to swift attention.
"What do you think you are playing at here?" asked Brian, attempting to keep his voice even. He also snatched his hand away, but his cock gave a protesting lurch within his wool trousers.
"Isn't that what you want to do?" Justin asked, confused. "Isn't that why I came here?" His wide blue eyes looked so guileless. "You pull me and I'll pull you? All right?"
"And where in hell did you learn this little game?"
Justin hesitated. "At the Academy. We often do it when the schoolmasters aren't about. But the other fellows are always saying that they are thinking of girls while they do it. That quite spoils the mood for me. At least, they SAY they are thinking of girls."
"But not you?" Brian stared at the boy's open face.
"Naw," he replied. "I don't mind girls, but I never think of them like THAT! They are all right to talk to, but I certainly wouldn't want one of them to... to touch my... thing! Or pull at it!" Justin grimaced. "I can't even pretend to like THAT! So when they all pull at their things and talk about some girl or another that they know -- I just don't say anything."
Brian smiled slightly. "Because instead you are really thinking of...?"
The boy frowned. "Sometimes my drawing master. He has brown eyes and long fingers -- like yours. Or of the boy who holds the horses outside our church. He's a lowly boy, but he wears very tight britches. I'd like to draw him, but I'm afraid to approach him."
"But not afraid to approach that loathsome bargeman?" said Brian, sternly.
"I did NOT approach him!" Justin insisted. "He was disgusting. And HE approached ME. Just as YOU approached me." The boy smiled shyly.
"Put your brake on, lad. I NEVER approached you! No sir-ee."
"But you did!"
"No. I RESCUED you. That's another thing entirely," said Brian. He reached up and unconsciously brushed his forefinger against the kid's golden hair. "I was performing a gallant service and NOT making a lewd request. There's a world of difference."
"Certainly. You ought NOT go around borrowing strange men to use in your fantasies. You could get into trouble that way. Most men would not look kindly on it." Although Brian knew that he himself would not be opposed to appearing in the lad's musings.
"I know," the boy sighed. "More often than not I just make up someone in my head."
Now Brian laughed outright. "You must have an active imagination!"
"I told you that I was an artist, didn't I?" Justin insisted.
"So you did. And I'm a writer," Brian answered. "In fact, I was just about to sit myself down and write something when you so rudely interrupted." The man stood up. He turned away quickly so that Justin wouldn't see the obvious standing of his cock within his trousers. The proximity of the delicious boy wasn't making it easy for Brian to continue this conversation without betraying his desires. Brian went to his desk and looked at his notes, spread out on the blotter.
"What are you writing about?" Justin followed him over to the desk and stood close behind Brian's chair.
"Corruption in the courts," Brian explained. "In the city. In the mines. Corruption everywhere. It is a subject that will never grow stale as long as there are governments, men, and money."
"Why don't you write something adventurous?" Justin suggested. "This city is boring! Why not write about war? Or shipwrecks? Or massacres by savages?"
Brian could feel his pulse begin to race as Justin's warm breath touched the back of his neck. He cleared his throat. "Because I don't know about those things. And because we are not surrounded by those things. Or I am not -- at least not yet."
Brian sighed. He thought about that editor out in California. THAT was where interesting stories were to be had! Gold rushes and boomtowns and outlaws and Indians and wild country that no white man had ever traversed. Brian had been saving all of his money -- well, except for buying some fine new clothes whenever the urge struck -- in order to have enough cash to make the journey West. It was an expensive proposition. But if he were offered that position with the newspaper in San Francisco -- well, he would take it in a heartbeat and leave Pittsburgh behind forever.
Brian opened the bottom of the chest of drawers and pulled out a blanket. He handed it to the boy.
"What's this for?" Justin looked up at the tall man, dismayed.
"If you're going to be my guest -- for tonight ONLY -- then you'll need this." Brian pointed to the settee. Although there was plenty of room in the wide bed, he thought the boy would be safer on the settee. And Brian thought HE would be safer as well. "You can sleep here. And tomorrow we'll discuss your return home."
Justin sighed heavily. This particular adventure was NOT turning out the way he had expected. Not at all. Here he was, in a real hotel room with the most beautiful man he'd ever laid eyes on -- and he wasn't being corrupted at all! Not even a little bit! Instead he was getting lectures. He could have stayed home for that!
Justin undressed down to his long woolen undergarments. Brian threw the old washbasin water into the slops bucket and indicated that Justin could wash. The boy poured in some water, which was very cold. At home the servant girl usually brought him water warmed on the stove downstairs.
Brian handed him a bar of pink milled soap. It was fragrant and soft. "This is nice," Justin said, washing his face and his neck thoroughly.
The tall man then handed him a towel. "I hate rubbing my skin raw with lye soap when I can get better -- especially in the Winter. And your skin...." Brian hesitated, eyeing the tender flesh. "It doesn't look used to harsh treatment." He watched as the boy washed himself, the water trailing down his pale neck.
"Thank you," Justin said, drying his face and hands. "I know I've been nothing but a bother tonight and that you have no obligation to be congenial to me."
"Will you tell me your home so I can take you there?" Brian asked, gently now. He felt sorry for the boy and his dilemma, but he couldn't remain in Brian's room indefinitely. He could not. "You can't continue roaming the streets. Winter is setting in good now and you would never survive. If the weather doesn't kill you outright, then hunger will. Or else you'll be found by some actual street urchins -- tough gangs of youths who will then make a meal of you."
"Can I consider until the morning?" Justin said in a small voice. He climbed onto the settee and spread the blanket over himself.
"Yes, sleep on it. Things often seem brighter when you first wake up. Unless, of course, you have a devil of a hangover."
"I wouldn't know about that," Justin said. "I've never had a hangover."
"Then you've had better luck than I," Brian replied.
The man undressed to his shirt, hanging his trousers in the press, well aware that the boy was watching him avidly. Brian had long been in the habit of not wearing undergarments, even in extreme weather. The things were bulky and chafed his sensitive skin. Besides, they ruined the smooth line of his tight trousers.
Brian lit a small candle on the table next to the bed and then turned down the oil lamp on his desk. He got into bed and thought about having another pipe. He had a lot of things on his mind and smoking focused his thoughts. There was something about puffing and watching the smoke rise up over your head that calmed his nervous disposition.
"What now?" He'd almost forgotten about his visitor. Almost, but not quite. In fact, he had been trying very hard NOT to think about his guest lying there on the settee and had almost succeeded. But he could not ignore the charge of electricity in the air of the room.
"I'm still cold."
He sighed. "I don't have another blanket. You'll have to make due." But Brian shivered in the bed. It WAS chilly in the room. It caught the western wind on this corner of the building.
He looked up and saw two wide eyes looking at him in the flickering candlelight at the bedside. "Do you truly want me to freeze myself on that settee all night long?"
"Oh, for godsake!" exclaimed Brian. "Get into the bed! That's what you've been wanting, isn't it?"
"Yes," said Justin. And he didn't wait for the man to change his mind. He crawled under the covers. He could feel the heat of Brian's body where he had already warmed the bedclothes. Justin moved closer. He was used to sharing a bed with his cousins when they stayed at the house and other times with his schoolmates. But this was different. Very different. And he couldn't resist reaching over and touching the beautiful man beside him.
"What do you think you are doing?" Brian whispered.
"Nothing," the lad whispered back.
"YOU may be doing nothing, Justin, but your hand is extremely busy," Brian replied.
"I'm only warming myself."
"Come here. Speak to me." Brian eased Justin onto his back and held his wandering hands tightly. The boy's face in the light of the candle looked angelic. "I don't think that you understand what you are doing, Justin. You think this is a kind of game. You and the boys at your school play with one another and you think that you know what you are doing. Am I right?"
"No!" answered Justin. "I DON'T know what I'm doing! That's what I'm trying to learn! If you'll teach me. I know you can!"
"Yes, I can teach you. But the question should be if I WILL. Because you have no idea what you are asking! You have no idea what this entails and what the consequences could be."
"Yes I do," Justin asserted. "I know that it's a grave sin -- but I don't care. Many things are sins, but people still do them."
"And that most men do it with women. But I have no inclination toward women. I know that. I always have known it." He moved closer to Brian, pressing against him.
"And how do you know? Perhaps if I took you to a place? My friend Mae could fix you up with a fine, clean girl. You are certainly old enough. And then you would see that...."
"No! I... I've already tried that. One of my mother's maids took a fancy to me. She had long black hair and blue eyes. I thought I'd like to do it with her -- but when it came time to...." Justin paused.
"All I could think of was that boy who holds the horses," Justin admitted. "Of the way his britches fit so tightly over his bottom. And... I didn't want the maid at all then. She was very angry with me."
Brian ran his fingers through his hair. "But why ME? Why not find another boy? You've been happy with your games so far."
"No, I haven't been!" Justin cried. "And I don't want some boy. Some kid who doesn't know anything! That's why I went to the docks in the first place. I heard our minister telling my father about corruption and dens of vice where men did unspeakable things to each other. I took note of where it was!"
"That was quite enterprising of you!" And Brian laughed in spite of himself.
"Yes, I vowed to run away and find those men myself," Justin continued. "But after I ran away I realized that I had no money and no proper coat. Just my jacket. I couldn't bear to go home, so I wandered around, as I told you. Until that vile man picked me up. And then you rescued me. And now I'm here." He moved even closer to the other man until their bodies were practically fused together. Brian's arms went around the boy instinctively. Justin could feel his heart beating swiftly -- and Brian's heart beating almost as one with his.
Brian leaned over and kissed the boy on the mouth, very softly.
Justin was startled. "Why did you do that?"
"Didn't you ever kiss before?"
"Not... another man," Justin replied. Now he was even more confused. He had never considered that kissing was part of doing it with another man. But it felt good and he wanted Brian to do it again.
"Because there is more to this than grabbing each other's cocks until we spend," said Brian, his voice somber. "Do you understand that? There is much to learn -- if you are serious about what you are going to do -- and what you are going to be?"
"Yes," Justin said, swallowing hard. And then he leaned over and kissed the man back. He tasted like the sweet pipe tobacco and the whiskey Justin had watched him take earlier. That taste made his own cock as hard as iron.
He could feel Brian's member, lengthy and stiff, poking out from under his long shirt. Brian pulled off his shirt and tossed it on the floor. Then he guided Justin's fingers to him, stroking them against his cock. Justin took hold with a practiced hand, feeling the span of the thing, pulling back the foreskin and touching the moist head. Justin's heart raced even faster. Yes, he had touched the parts of his school friends. But Brian was a man. A tall and strong and beautiful man. And his cock was longer and thicker than any he had felt before.
Brian unbuttoned Justin's woolen undershirt and opened it, touching his pale chest lightly. He could feel a soft drift of silky blond hair just beginning to flourish there. Then he helped Justin ease his woollies down over his hips.
He kissed the pale chest, then the soft stomach. He moved his lips along the line of faint golden fur that gathered around the boy's firm stand. And Justin gasped as Brian took his privates into his mouth, licking and suckling them. Brian then hesitated for a moment.
"For pity's sake! Don't stop now!" Justin breathed.
"I won't," said Brian, staring up into Justin's astonished eyes. "I can't. I can't stop now. Not now. Not ever."
Continue on to "Wayfarers -- Chapter Three -- The Sleepers" the next chapter in the series.
©Gaedhal, April 2003.
Send Gaedhal any comments, critiques, suggestions. I welcome all of your comments on "Wayfarers." Without your feedback I don't know if you are enjoying this new series!
Posted April 14, 2003.