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The Escort

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PROLOGUE

March 2001

Brian hung up the phone with a sigh. Another failure. Another one of his former clients who had heard what had happened with Kip, and who had responded to his proposition with a "thanks, but no thanks."

Since the incident, Brian's life had fallen apart. Kip Thomas had filed a complaint for sexual harassment, no less, after Brian had refused to promote him. As a result, fucking Marty Ryder had bailed on him faster than a nuclear missile. Never would Brian have imagined that fucking that son of a bitch would have cost him so much - his job; his career; his self-esteem.

This was such bullshit. Being unemployed at twenty-nine was truly not part of his plan. Brian would be damned before he gave up on his career. Accomplishment meant everything to him, especially since he'd been a teenager, witnessing his father's life go down the drain. He'd made a promise to himself back then, and he wouldn't let one fucking mistake take away his dream.

Easier said than done, though. For weeks now, he had been trying to woo his former clients, without any discernible result. Brian was becoming more desperate with each passing day.


 

When Cynthia called to inform him that Alex Remsen from Remsen Pharmaceuticals was expected to be in town for business by the end of the week and that he would stay at the Four Seasons Hotel, Brian didn't think twice about what he was going to do. He spent the next couple of days working on a presentation, bribed someone to create mock-ups, and finally, on a cloudy Friday evening, he dressed in a spotless Armani suit, before heading off to face his fate. This was his chance to make things right. Nobody would employ him anyway, not when Marty had seemingly done all he could to destroy his reputation to avoid dealing with any unhappy, homophobic clients.

Fucking morons.

Thus, elegantly attired, Brian now walked through the doors of the Four Seasons Hotel, displaying the perfect image of self-confidence and charisma, even if he could feel his heart beating erratically. Truthfully, he was anything but calm inside. He knew he was chancing his entire career on this, as it was his last opportunity to reclaim his life and start his own firm. If it didn't work, then…he couldn't even think about it.

He headed towards the bar. He definitely needed a drink before going in search of Remsen.

"May I get you anything, Sir?" The bartender - a young, lean, sandy-brown haired man in his early twenties - asked.

"Beam. Neat." Brian responded with a nod, as he sat on the bar stool in front of the gleaming mahogany counter. The young man prepared his drink and then put the glass down in front of Brian, along with a small cocktail napkin.

Brian gulped it in one go. He set the empty glass back on the counter and began playing with it, rolling it between his fingers while staring through it absentmindedly.

"Brian?" A familiar voice called.

Brian peered over at the man standing by his side and smiled when he discovered Alex Remsen gazing back at him with a friendly look on his face. Immediately standing up, he extended his hand. "Mr. Remsen, it's good to see you! How have you been?" He greeted him cheerfully, inwardly thanking his good luck that the businessman had chosen this exact moment to come over and order a drink at the bar. "I heard you got the green light from the FDA for your new drug. Congratulations!"

"Thank you, Brian. That was a hard row to hoe, but we did it," Remsen confirmed, obviously proud, before gesturing to the bartender to serve them two glasses of Beam. He turned to look at Brian again and shared, "I have great hopes that this new drug will improve the lives of many HIV positive patients in the future."

"That's great news." Brian had always liked Alex Remsen. He was the kind of man who fought for what he believed in, and the brunet appreciated that quality.

"What about you? How have you been, Brian?" Remsen inquired with a friendly touch on Brian's arm, just as the young bartender placed two identical glasses of Beam in front of them.

"Well, you know… I don't work for Ryder anymore. We had a… falling out of sorts." Brian hesitated, not comfortable talking about what had happened to make him lose his job.

"I heard about it," Remsen informed him, confirming Brian's suspicions that Marty was spreading the news among all his clients. God only knew what his former boss was really telling them about Brian's departure.

Remsen took a sip of his bourbon and seemed to ponder something, before adding, "Just so you know, I don't believe you were culpable, Brian. I've known you long enough to see that, for all your devil-may-care attitude and your sharp repartee, you're a good man, and my gut feeling tells me that you didn't do what Ryder accused you of."

"Thank you, Mr. Remsen. That means a lot to me," Brian replied with a genuine, relieved smile. He was grateful that not all his former clients were jumping to conclusions and that some of them were choosing, instead, to give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, Remsen's revelation also answered his question. Marty was definitely bad-mouthing him. Fucking Ryder.

"Mr. Remsen…" Brian started, but Remsen cut him off by lifting his hand.

"I know what you're going to ask me, and as much as I'd like to help you, I can't." Remsen sighed, shaking his head almost imperceptibly. "Not when I'm dealing with a new, potentially revolutionary drug. I need it to be successful and can't afford to fuck it up. No offense Brian, but while I don't doubt that you're one of the best in your field, I would be a fool to hire you when you have absolutely no staff or resources to help you build an entire campaign."

Ouch. Shit. "Mr. Remsen, I…"

However, before he could try to defend himself, a deep voice interrupted, "Excuse me? Mr. Remsen?"

Annoyed, Brian turned to look at the intruder, ready to tell whoever it was to fuck off, but his murderous glare turned into a more impassive gaze when he beheld a beautiful man in his late thirties wearing a long, elegant coat, with a silk scarf around his neck. The stranger had thick, grey hair, and his deep, piercing, green eyes were staring back at him intently.

Brian knew that look. Interesting. It was almost enough to make him forget about his own disastrous situation.

Almost.

Remsen's voice broke their connection. "Yes?"

"I'm Matthew Gallagher," the man introduced himself.

"Of course! Matthew... I was expecting you. Brian, this is Matthew Gallagher, from Jensen's agency, the firm that will deliver our drug. Matthew, this is…" Remsen paused, obviously not knowing exactly how to introduce a former advertising genius, freshly accused of sexual harassment, and soon to be fucked - literally - and not in a positive, life-affirming way.

Brian decided to resolve Remsen's dilemma. "Brian Kinney," he extended his hand.

"Nice to meet you, Brian," Matthew greeted him in return. Brian felt a spark as their hands touched and he couldn't keep a little grin from appearing on his lips. Matthew was definitely gay. Sure enough, the man smiled back at him, and Brian could tell that he, too, appreciated what he was seeing. Hell, Brian knew he was hot.

Suddenly, the three men heard a ringing sound. Remsen, realizing that it was his cell phone, excused himself and walked a few feet away to take the call, leaving Brian and Matthew on their own.

"My room number is 107," Matthew announced unexpectedly in a low, serious voice with a seductive look on his face. "If you want to join me when you and Mr. Remsen have finished your… business."

Brian smirked. "Sure. Why not?" He wasn't used to being accosted so boldly – he was usually the aggressor – but the man was too hot to let such an opportunity pass. Moreover, if Remsen turned him down, he would need to let off some steam; fucking all night while drinking champagne in a first-class hotel might definitely fit the bill then.

"I'm sorry," Remsen interrupted them as he returned. "I need to go. My daughter was in a car accident, so I need to catch the first plane home."

"Is she alright?" Brian immediately asked, concerned. He had a son himself, and he would be devastated if anything happened to him.

"Good Lord, yes, but she is quite shaken," Remsen revealed. "I will have to reschedule our meeting, Matthew. I'm sorry about that."

"Your family comes first. Please, let me drive you to the airport," Matthew proposed.

"No, I will just check out and take a cab, but thanks anyway," Remsen refused politely.

"Then please go pack, while I will ask the desk clerk to call a cab for you," Matthew suggested.

"Okay, thank you. I will call you next week," he added before addressing Brian, "Brian… It was good to see you again."

"Likewise." Brian didn't know what else to say. "Go now; go home to your daughter."

Remsen gave them a little smile and a nod before turning around and heading hastily towards the elevator.

Brian stared at his retreating form, until the elevator doors closed. Shutting his eyes, he took a deep breath to stop the unwanted, yet overwhelming feeling of failure from completely overtaking him.

He finally opened them again with a sigh and gazed back at Matthew as he bit down on his lower lip. Without breaking their gaze, he grabbed his forgotten drink and gulped it before slamming the empty glass back down on the bartop. "Wanna fuck?" he asked sarcastically with a fake smile on his face.

Twenty minutes later, Brian was senselessly pounding into the man. An hour later, he was being fucked into the mattress, the feeling of being used and full making him forget for a little while that he didn't have any more cards up his sleeve to save his career.

Oh yes, he was well and truly fucked.


 

The next morning, Brian woke up in an unfamiliar bed to the smell of coffee. Sunlight was shining through the gauzy curtains covering the windows and flooding onto the carpeted floors of the large room. Brian might have appreciated the sight if he hadn't been dealing with a pounding head.

Besides, he was having difficulty comprehending how he'd ended up there. Frowning, he tried to recall the previous night's events and squeezed his eyes shut as soon as he remembered his encounter with Alex Remsen.

Shit.

"Morning," a man's voice greeted him. He was sitting at a table situated a few feet away from the bed, drinking hot, steaming coffee.

"Hrff…" Brian mumbled, too tired to form a coherent word.

"You want some coffee?" The man – Matthew, that was his name - offered.

"Hmpfh…" Brian shook his head and grimaced. That wasn't a good idea.

"Here…" Matthew came to sit on the bed, a cup of hot coffee in his hands. "You look like you need it."

Brian peered up at the man, and his eyes lingered on his bare, toned chest for a few seconds, before he finally straightened up and accepted the cup Matthew was offering. "Thanks…"

"Hmm…" Matthew replied vaguely. "How do you feel?"

Brian contemplated blowing the man off, but he eventually decided against it. "Sore," he responded with a brief smirk, before squeezing his eyes shut again, as he tried to fight off his headache. "Shit…"

"Here," Matthew leaned forward to retrieve two pills from a bottle on the nightstand. "Take these; you'll feel better." It made Brian eye him quizzically. "It's Advil," Matthew informed him with a laugh. "I'm not a drug dealer. Well, not really. I'm a businessman, remember?"

Brian took the pills and swallowed them with a sip of his coffee. "Jensen's agency…right."

"You know the firm?" Matthew asked, seeming surprised.

"Sure," Brian answered curtly. He was getting annoyed with the small talk. As good a fuck as Matthew had been, now that it was over, Brian couldn't wait to get out of there.

Matthew must have sensed that Brian wasn't the talkative type because he inquired, "You want to take a shower before you leave?"

"No, it's okay," Brian declined as he finally stood up, in all his naked glory, and went in search of his clothes, which were spread all over the carpeted floor. He heard Matthew clear his throat loudly behind him as he bent over to retrieve them and couldn't help but grin. He wasn't in the mood for an encore performance, though, so he began to dress, intending to leave as soon as he was fully clothed.

"Wait," Matthew requested, as he stood up and removed his wallet from his coat. Brian frowned, wondering what he was doing. The grey-haired man opened it and took out five one-hundred-dollar bills as well as a business card. He then took a pen and wrote something on it. "I'm not sure how much you charge for an entire night, but this should cover the bill. If you don't mind me telling you this, my best friend, Jeffrey Miller, manages the most exclusive, premium escort agency in the Pitts. I'm giving you my business card as well as his name and number. You should definitely give him a call."

"You think I'm a fucking escort?" Brian asked, astounded. Even if he had no problem with his sexuality, someone mistaking him for a professional was a first.

Matthew realized what Brian was implying and blushed. He fucking blushed. "You're not?"

Brian barked out a laugh. "Well, I've been called a slut more than once in my life, but no, I'm not," he retorted with a false smile.

"I'm sorry, I… I really thought…" Matthew stammered.

"Keep your bullshit apology to yourself; I don't care," Brian countered dryly.

He walked towards the door and paused, frowning, "You know what?" Brian turned around and approached Matthew again, plucking the business card from his hand. "I will keep the number. Who knows? If I need an escort, I'll know who to call. I'm sure you will ask your friend to give me a discount, won't you?"

Matthew looked at him with a stunned expression on his face, obviously not knowing if Brian was kidding or not. "Sure."

Brian stepped back with a nod, adding one last thing, "Bye, bye, Mr. Gallagher. It was good fucking with you," he quipped, and Matthew rolled his eyes, his lips turning upwards.

Brian gave him a last, knowing smile before walking out the door.


 

When Lindsay called him a couple of days later, Brian was at the loft staring at his bills, wondering one more time how he was supposed to pay them without any income. He thought it was the worst situation he would have to deal with in the coming months. He was dead wrong.

When he finished his conversation with Lindsay, the dial tone buzzed in his ear for too long, indicating that the mother of his only child had finally hung up after having cried on the phone for over twenty minutes. Brian thought he was going to suffocate from the deep, cutting pain filling his chest.

Kidney failure. Peritoneal dialysis. Months of treatment.

Expensive care.

Gus… Jesus Christ.

That evening, Brian drank an entire bottle of Beam and passed out on the floor.

The next day, he retrieved Matthew's business card from his jacket and called Jeffrey Miller.

Chapter Text

April 2002, Bloom Gallery, 7 p.m...

 

“I’m really sorry, Justin,” Daphne repeated for what felt like the millionth time.

Justin groaned, exasperated, slumping in his chair. “Stop worrying. It’s not your fault you have an exam. You’ve studied for weeks, and I don’t want you to fuck up your chances because of me.”

“But I’m letting you down.” Daphne insisted.

“You’re not. I’ll be fine. You said you’ve found some help for me.” Justin reassured her. He hated for Daphne to feel so protective of him, as she had ever since that fateful night. She had been working so hard for the past months; she couldn’t afford to fail.

“Yeah, I found an escort company. These people are professionals who are used to this kind of situation.” Daphne confirmed. Her voice broke slightly as she reached out to stroke his hair, professing, “I’m so proud of you...in case I didn’t mention it before.”

Justin smiled, taking her hand. “Thank you so much. I doubt I’d be here if I didn’t have you around to kick my ass.”

“Anytime,” Daphne squeezed his hand back. Releasing Justin, she cleared her throat and stood up from her chair, informing him, “I’ll go outside for a few minutes. I need a smoke. Want to come?”

“Nah. I’m good. I need some time for myself before the show, anyway,” Justin declined, straightening his sunglasses.

“Okay. I’ll be back in a few,” Daphne informed him, giving him a kiss on the cheek before walking out of the lounge, leaving Justin alone with his thoughts.

Justin tried not to think too much about why he was here, or he feared that the immensity of the situation would crash down on him. In less than an hour, the doors of the Bloom Gallery would open, and people would come especially to see his paintings.

After everything he’d been through, he had never imagined himself in this position. Not only was Pittsburgh filled with many artists, but Lindsay Peterson had also overlooked his disability in order to offer him the opportunity to display his work in a known gallery. She genuinely thought that he was talented enough to be here. Justin remembered that rainy day a few months ago, when he’d been out grocery shopping with Daphne and a hell of a storm had made them take refuge in the gallery. At first, Justin hadn’t liked the idea of being there. It had reminded him of his own passion for drawing, a passion that had been cut short by his accident; but now, he was so grateful he had walked into the place.

 

Flashback, October 2001…

 

Daphne and Justin rushed into the gallery as the storm began to strike the city, dark, threatening clouds covering the sky. Once inside, Daphne managed to convince Justin to stay and walk around the place. Justin reluctantly agreed since they had nothing better to do although, truthfully, he would have preferred to leave or just wait for the pouring rain to stop. Resisting his best friend when he had no valid excuse was not something Justin wanted to do, though. He owed Daphne too much not to try to please her once in a while.

He therefore let Daphne lead him towards the large paintings adorning one wall, pleasantly surprised to realize he could discern some raw, colorful, broad strokes, even though it was difficult for him to admire art he couldn’t really see. However, he still responded emotionally, almost able to grasp the essence of each piece of art.

Daphne helped him, describing the paintings more thoroughly, relating details. Thanks to her, he could imagine them in his mind.

He was about to comment on the portrait of a young, angry man when he heard a gentle voice speaking next to him.

“These are the best paintings I’ve seen in a long time. You should be very proud,” a woman’s voice stated. Justin realized that, whoever that woman was, she must be talking to the artist. He couldn’t help but listen more closely, curious as to how the painter was going to answer.

Sure enough, a deeper, feminine voice responded, “Enjoy then, because this may be my last show for a while. It took me years to complete these, Lindsay, and I doubt I will ever participate in an exhibition like this one again.”

Justin frowned, wondering why it had taken so long for that woman to finish her paintings. Not thinking about what he was doing, he blurted out, “I like your style. It feels raw and honest.”

Daphne stilled by his side, and Justin realized he had interfered in a private conversation.

He was about to apologize when the artist responded, “Thank you, young man. Do you like art?”

“Justin is an artist too,” Daphne spoke up.

“Not anymore,” Justin countered defensively, embarrassed. He turned to face the woman and was surprised when he didn’t discern a shape in front of himself. He focused harder, realizing he could distinguish someone sitting, immobile - probably in a wheelchair - and another person standing by her side.

“I’m Adrienne. And this is my friend Lindsay,” the artist introduced herself and her friend.

“Justin and Daphne,” he reciprocated.

“Now, what’s stopping a young man like you from painting?” Adrienne asked curiously. She might have guessed Justin’s disability since he never went out without his sunglasses hiding his injured eyes anymore, but she waited for him to elaborate nonetheless.

Daphne rubbed a hand over Justin’s shoulder, disclosing, “Justin had an… accident a few months ago. He can’t really see… or, barely.”

“Daph…” Justin chastised his best friend softly, hating how easily she spoke of his condition. He then addressed Adrienne, clarifying, “I can barely distinguish anything a few inches in front of me and, even then, I just see blurred shapes, shadows, but not much more. Moreover, focusing on something for too long gives me horrible headaches.” He sighed, rubbing his neck nervously.  Hesitating, he finally shared, “So… even though I love drawing, I really can’t do it anymore.”

Adrienne barked out a laugh. “How do you think I paint, being a tetraplegic who can only move the fingers of her more or less obedient right hand?” she asked with an amused voice, before answering her own question. “The way two snails fuck. Very slowly, with a brush attached to my arm. It took me three years to finish these seven paintings.”

“Really?” Justin was astounded by Adrienne’s revelation.

“Would you mind if I take a look at some of your stuff, Justin?” Lindsay intervened. “I majored in art, worked here as a curator until recently when family problems conflicted with my job, and I plan to return to work as soon as possible. But in the meantime, I would be glad to give you an honest opinion.”

“I don’t know…” Justin was surprised that Lindsay would offer such a thing. She didn’t even know him.

“Say yes, you idiot!” Daphne hissed, elbowing Justin in the ribs and making their companions laugh.

“Lindsay is a great judge, Justin. You should accept her help. Nothing is worth giving up on your art. And certainly NOT a disability, believe me,” Adrienne stated convincingly. “Haven’t you heard about John Bramblitt’s* works? The guy may be completely blind, but his art is phenomenal. Believe me when I say that most seeing artists are nearly not as talented as he is.”

Justin frowned, considering Adrienne’s words. He also was curious as to who this John Bramblitt was. If what Adrienne said was true, it was astonishing that this man could paint and earn a living from his passion.

Eventually, he relented. “Okay, maybe… I can show you some of my sketches, although I will be rusty since I haven’t tried to draw anything for a while.”

“How about you work on something, whatever you want, and we meet… say, in the next couple of weeks?” Lindsay proposed. “Here’s my card.”

Justin accepted the card. Congratulating Adrienne again, he and Daphne bid their goodbyes and left.

Later that day after they returned home, Justin locked himself into his room. He lay on his bed for a long time, reflecting on his encounter with Adrienne. He imagined what she looked like, how she used to move when she had full use of her limbs. And, for the first time in months, he felt the urge to grab a pencil and a piece of paper.

So, he did.

 

April 2002, Bloom Gallery, 7:30 p.m...

 

Now, six months later, nine of his drawings and paintings were prominently displayed in an exhibition at the Bloom Gallery. Justin was feeling reckless, his loud breathing betraying his anxiety, even though he knew, deep down, that this exhibition was already a victory over his disability.

Half an hour before the opening, Sidney Bloom himself walked into the small lounge adjacent to the main room where Justin was waiting for Daphne and his escort to join him. The gallery owner encouraged and congratulated Justin, praising his work, his words touching the blond deeply.

A minute later, a hand touched his shoulder, startling him.

“Sorry,” Daphne whispered in apology.

Directing his gaze up, Justin noticed someone standing next to her. “Who’s here?” he questioned.

“This is Brian; he’s going to assist you tonight,” Daphne announced, helping him up. “Brian, this is Justin, the best artist ever!” Daphne quipped cheerfully, and Justin felt her hand guide Brian’s around his arm. “As for me, I really have to go, so be careful, okay? I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Brian’s touch on Justin’s arm felt strangely soothing. Justin frowned, puzzled, before refocusing on his best friend. “Stop worrying. Just go, study, and ace that exam!”

“Love you!” Daphne exclaimed as she kissed his cheek before leaving in a rush.

Justin’s heartbeat increased. He could feel his palms burning and sweating as he tried to make out details of the man standing next to him, but all he could discern was a tall figure. He could also smell the intense fragrance of some expensive cologne, combined with a manly scent. Leaning closer to get another whiff of the delicious smell, Justin surprisingly felt his stomach coiling as arousal shot through him and his dick twitched in his tailored pants.

“So, you’re a big artist?” a velvety, honeyed voice asked, at last. The man’s breath washed over the side of Justin’s face, causing an involuntary shiver to ripple down his back.

“You’re a better judge than me. Look at my stuff and decide for yourself,” Justin responded. He was pleased that his voice didn’t shake.

“Ah, spoken like a true artist. Are you one of those pretentious snobs, who feigns not to love his own work in order to have people fawn over you, praise your work, and kiss your ass?” Brian inquired boldly.

Brian’s words threw him. How could the man mock him like that? Either he was a huge asshole, or Daphne hadn’t divulged anything about Justin’s sight problems. “Has Daphne told you anything?”

“About the fact that you’re a narcissistic little shit? No, she omitted that part,” Brian drawled sarcastically, Justin shaking his head at the man’s nerve.

“Don’t be so condescending. I really need you by my side. You’re going to be my eyes,” Justin revealed, absolutely hating admitting that part. He used to be an independent and carefree soul before his nemesis took his freedom away, and he hated having to rely on people as much as he did now.

“You mean, you can’t see?” Brian asked, the surprise evident in his voice.

“No, I’m simply doing a Stevie Wonder impersonation.” Justin was getting aggravated by this man. “So, here's what we're going to do,” he declared, taking a step back and trying to locate his chair. “Do you mind helping me?” he muttered, bitterly.

“Oh.” Brian guided him to the chair, helping him sit down. “You were saying?”

“When the show opens, you're going to stay by my side. We'll mingle and smile. If someone asks something about a specific drawing or painting, you're going to tell me its name. It's displayed on the card next to each frame. I know all of them, so unless the ones who placed the names made a mistake, I'll be able to talk about a specific piece to whomever is interested.”

“I see. Anything else?” Brian drawled.

“That’s about it.” They stood in silence for a short while, before Justin shifted uncomfortably. “One more thing,” he said quietly.

“What? Do you need to piss?” Brian inquired mockingly.

Justin snorted, deciding to focus on getting through the evening without sending his escort away. It was the smart course of action considering he needed him, even if he was going to have a long talk with Daphne after the exhibition was over. He had no idea where she'd found this man, but one thing he was sure of was that he was crass and had no manners. So far, the only good things about him were his smell and his touch, but those were irrelevant.

“Actually, what I wanted to say is that you'll have to help me home when the show is over,” Justin retorted sternly. He frowned as he thought he could distinguish the man’s head inclining to the side - it felt like Brian was smiling smugly at him.

In that moment, Justin decided not to let Brian know that he could see anything at all. Let him believe I’m blind as a bat , he thought, amused. It would surely play to his advantage.


 

Brian was pissed. He had planned to spend his evening with his son but, of course, Jeffrey had called to inform him that he had been booked. Justin Taylor, a nineteen-year-old artist - Jesus Christ, he was an escort, not a fucking babysitter - needed a puppet to play the pretty boy on his arm for the evening. So, now, he’d had to cancel his plans with Gus and ask Lindsay to stay home tonight because Melanie was out of town for a couple of days. This job was really going to be the death of him.

Except, he couldn’t afford to open his big mouth or he would find himself out of a job. Naturally, being an escort had never been a career plan and he would have never considered it before... but that was before, indeed. Amazing how a child’s serious disease could make any man change his perspective on what was or wasn’t acceptable.

Brian really couldn’t complain. The job wasn’t so bad; the pay was pretty good; and even the company of his clients was bearable most of the time. He didn’t even have to have sex if he didn’t want to, something he’d had trouble understanding at first. Really, what was the point of hiring an escort if you didn’t get laid at the end of the night? Brian had been amazed to once again discover how stupid some people were, preferring to engage a first-class, no-sex-guaranteed, but oh-so-classy escort for hundreds of dollars - what a joke - instead of going for a hustler who would charge them ten times less and ensure the client got the kind of satisfaction he really craved.

Well, it was their loss and his gain. The added benefit? He could still decide to fuck a client and earn a good bonus as a result.

When he arrived at the Bloom Gallery, he was greeted by a petite woman with milk-chocolate skin and curly chestnut hair, smoking a cigarette on the sidewalk. She looked pleased when she saw him, and Brian decided to entertain her for a while. He discovered that Daphne - that was her name - was the one who had hired him for her friend, an artist whose big opening was tonight. Brian aahed and oohed over her enthusiasm, but she must have been a smart cookie because she eventually gave him a warning look and told him that he needed to behave with her best friend and play the perfect gentleman during the show. Brian refrained from rolling his eyes over the Best Friend Forever card and smiled brightly at her instead.

They walked into the gallery and headed toward a small lounge. A young, blond man was sitting there, a pair of sunglasses on his nose. Brian couldn’t refrain from making a face this time, being careful that Daphne didn’t see his reaction. At the moment, he was more convinced than ever that the artist in question was not only young but also full of himself. Who would wear sunglasses in a gallery if not a pretentious prick? Although, now that he was getting closer to Justin Taylor, he was pleased to discover that he was easy on the eyes, if not his usual type. Brian would at least be able to get laid tonight. The thought was sufficient to brighten his mood.

“So, you’re a big artist?” Brian inquired as soon as Daphne left them on their own, trying hard to avoid being too sarcastic. He took his job seriously.

Right.

“You’re a better judge than me. Look at my stuff and decide for yourself.” Justin retorted sternly.

Brian had to remind himself that he needed to behave, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t respond to Justin with witty repartee of his own. If the boy wanted to play, he needed to understand who was the master here. “Ah, spoken like a true artist. Are you one of those pretentious snobs who feigns not to love his own work in order to have people fawn over you, praise your work, and kiss your ass?”

Okay. Maybe he’d really gone too far with that comment, considering the kid soon revealed that he had a problem with his sight, a serious problem, in fact. He was fucking blind.

Well done , Kinney.

So, Justin needed him by his side to be his eyes for the evening and, as the perfect escort he was, he also would have to go home with him after the show. Brian could live with that; it was what he was paid for, after all. And he wasn’t sure why exactly, but he couldn’t wait to fuck Justin Taylor. There was something about that kid that really turned him on.

All in all, this mission wasn’t so bad.

 

Bloom Gallery, 9 p.m…

 

Justin questioned the need to keep an arm around Brian’s. The man was inconsiderate at best, and he was really wondering how Daphne could have picked such an undisciplined escort. Weren’t they supposed to act like perfect gentlemen with the people who hired them?

Well, apparently, Brian hadn’t gotten the memo. After leading Justin to his paintings several times so he could discuss them with potential buyers, the man seemed to get bored - making lustful comments about the waiters he was very obviously ogling - so much so that Justin had to remind him that his job was to stay by his side and not to abandon him in the middle of the room. He soon realized he should have kept his mouth shut. He would rather have stood awkwardly in the gallery, bumping into unknown people in his quest for a safe place, instead of being dragged over to the refreshment table or having to stop when a staff member walked past them with a tray full of champagne glasses. He truly regretted not having brought his cane.

“Justin!” A familiar voice called out.

Sighing in relief, he turned in Sidney’s direction with a smile. “Mr. Bloom.”

“You’re a hit, my boy!” Sidney clapped Justin’s shoulder, making him stumble. Fortunately for him, Brian’s firm grip prevented him from falling. “Oh, and who is this? I had no idea you had a boyfriend,” the middle-aged man inquired, seemingly surprised, as he peered over at his companion.

Justin felt Brian’s arm slipping away and, for a short moment, he figured it was the man’s way of telling him that he didn’t like the idea of being mistaken for his boyfriend, but the thought had barely formed before he felt Brian wrapping his arm around his shoulders, pulling him close. He couldn’t help but lean in then, the heavenly scent of the man soon invading his senses.

“It’s really new. We don’t want to jinx it,” Brian declared smugly.

Justin’s eyes widened, and he was grateful that his sunglasses partially hid his expression. Conversely, he didn’t need to see Brian’s face in order to understand that the man was probably grinning stupidly over his own lie.

He plastered a smile across his own face, too, wishing that he could witness Sidney’s reaction.

“Well… what can I say, except, good luck! You two make a beautiful couple,” Sidney unexpectedly stated before walking away, and Justin heard Brian chuckle quietly at his side.

Once they were alone again, Justin distanced himself from Brian. “What was that?” he asked, annoyed, even if he was also pleased that Brian had not freaked out over Sidney’s assumption. “What if he says something?”

“To whom? And more importantly, who cares?” Brian questioned before Justin felt him freeze next to him as he drawled, “Wait, don’t tell me... You’re not out.” The tone of his voice didn’t leave any doubt as to how he felt about closet cases.

“Cut it out!” Justin retorted immediately. “This has nothing to do with being out, so stop assuming you know everything when you don’t know shit. You’ll be doing both of us a favor.” He looked down briefly and softened his voice as he directed his gaze back at Brian. “I wouldn’t be here tonight, with you standing by my side, if I was some silly faggot afraid of what people would think of me just because I’m gay. That is not who I am.”

Justin could feel Brian’s intense stare on him. He was convinced that after his little outburst, his companion would just tell him to fuck off or, even worse, leave him standing right here without a second thought.

However, that was not what happened. Instead, Brian surprised him as he declared, “You’re not a silly faggot. In fact, you seem to be a talented young man. I can’t draw for shit but you painting without being able to see anything is fucking impressive.” The blond felt Brian come even closer to him, his breath caressing his face as he added, “I’m pretty sure you can fight your own battles without anyone ‘holding your hand’.” Brian paused, obviously questioning what he had just said. Sure enough, he clarified, “Well, you know what I mean.”

“You really think that?” Justin asked almost bashfully, not having expected Brian to treat him like a decent person.

“Sure.” Brian confirmed before adding, “You’re also a brat but, hey, no one’s perfect.”

Justin actually laughed out loud after that last remark. “No one has ever told you that being an escort meant that you have to please the client and act like a gentleman?”

“Where would be the fun in that?” Brian countered playfully, and Justin could hear the smile in his voice. “Believe it or not, I can be the perfect escort if I want to be.”

“Good to know. I was afraid you were suffering from a social disorder,” Justin quipped.

“Careful, little boy, or I will have to punish you for being disrespectful towards more… experienced human beings,” Brian responded, lowering his voice and whispering huskily in Justin’s ear, causing a shiver to course through his body.

Justin didn’t know why Brian’s innuendos affected him so much, except for the fact that it had been so long since a man had showed any interest in pursuing him. In fact, he couldn’t recall the last time it had happened. Maybe that night on Liberty Avenue? At the time, Justin had just started his last year in high school, and getting laid was all he could think about. Consequently, he had convinced Daphne to drive him into town, but he had crossed the path of a psycho almost as soon as he had left the car. The man had been drunk out of his mind and had tried to push him into an alley in order to force him to suck his dick. Scared shitless, Justin had attempted to reason with him, but he’d ultimately had to kick him in the balls in order to escape. Needless to say, the idea of returning to Liberty Avenue had never crossed his mind again.

But that was all in the past and Brian’s attention was actually nice.

“Mr. Taylor?” A female voice called, bringing Justin back from his revery. Realizing that he needed to be the perfect host himself, he put a smile on his face and responded to the woman’s inquiry about his works.

They walked around for another couple of hours and, finally, Justin decided that he was ready to head home. Having sold four pieces already, he was quite satisfied with his accomplishment. So, he informed Brian that he wanted to leave, and they both went to bid their goodbyes to Sydney before exiting the gallery.

Outside, in the warm spring night, Justin patted his pockets, searching for his smokes.

“You want one?” the blond offered as soon as he retrieved the pack from his jacket.

“Sure,” Brian responded, grabbing a Marlboro and placing it between his lips, before leaning closer with a lighter. “Here, let me…”  Justin felt a warm touch graze his skin when he placed his hand briefly next to Brian’s as the man lit his cigarette.

Justin inhaled deeply and asked, “Do you mind if we sit on the bench over there while we wait for a cab?” He wondered if Brian would realize that he could actually distinguish more than he had let on until now.

“I drove here, so I’ll drive you home. But we can sit there while we smoke if you want,” Brian proposed, before helping him to the rainbow-painted bench. He suddenly asked, “How did you know where the bench was, anyway? I thought you couldn’t see.”

“I’ve sat on this bench numerous times,” Justin replied. “As for my sight…” He paused, knowing Brian would understand what his silence really meant.

“Awesome, you’ve played me. Well, in that case, you won’t mind if I leave your sorry ass sitting on that bench, will you?” Brian retorted with a snort and crushed out his cigarette on the sidewalk before pretending to leave. In truth, he walked a few steps out of Justin’s immediate range before pausing to peer back at Justin.

“I can’t see… much,” Justin revealed quickly, panic bubbling up his chest as he heard Brian walking away. “Please, Brian... don’t go!” he exclaimed, but as he listened carefully, he realized he didn’t hear his companion anymore. “Brian...Brian? Shit!” he cursed when he didn’t get a response after a few seconds. Shaking his head at his own stupidity, he shouted loudly, “How the fuck am I supposed to get home now?”

“I’ll take you,” Brian’s reassuring voice declared as he positioned himself in front of Justin.

“Shit!” Justin jumped, startled. Directing his gaze up even though he couldn’t see anything now that the night had descended over the city, he inquired, annoyed, “How long have you been standing there?”

“I didn’t even leave,” Brian revealed.

“Oh.” Justin pulled a hit from his cigarette, feeling foolish. “Don’t do that again. I mean it, Brian.” He sighed, disclosing, “It’s worse at night. I can’t see at all. Not even shapes…”

Brian sat back down next to Justin, placing his left arm tentatively around his shoulders. “I shouldn’t have messed with you.” He paused, before murmuring, his voice surprisingly soft. “I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”

“Thanks.” Justin nodded, leaning thoughtlessly into Brian’s embrace. The brunet placed his other hand on Justin’s arm, briefly moving his fingers up and down in a soothing manner. Justin frowned at this unexpected gesture. He generally hated physical contact, even though he had no other choice but to accept help when he navigated unknown places. He was therefore pleasantly surprised to realize feeling Brian’s comforting touch felt right, and he purposely chose to ignore the resulting shiver running down his spine.

They fell into a comfortable silence for a while, just listening to the sounds of the night. Eventually, Brian asked, “Aren’t you too young to smoke?”

Justin huffed, responding, “I’m nineteen and if you had my life, you’d smoke too.”

Brian barked out a laugh. “That’s your excuse? A shitty life?” He placed his hand on the back of Justin’s neck. “I’d bet good money that my life is more complicated than yours, kiddo.”

“I’m not a kid!” Justin scolded, standing up and effectively breaking all physical contact between them. “Take me home.”

“Demanding, much?” Brian inquired before standing up, too. “Your wish is my command, pretty boy,” he teased.

Justin wanted to be exasperated with his escort, but he couldn’t help but be amused by the man’s sarcastic reply. So, he let Brian guide him toward his car without further complaint.


Brian actually enjoyed the company of Justin Taylor. The young man was smart and funny, even if a little defensive every time Brian couldn’t help but mess up with his head; he also had a very attractive ass, which was actually his best asset as far as Brian was concerned. So, when Justin finally announced that he wanted to go home after parading around for a few hours in the gallery and playing the happy couple, Brian gladly agreed with his request.

What he hadn’t planned, though, was for Justin to play him and he soon discovered that the kid had let him assume that he was totally blind, when the truth was, he wasn’t. Yet, from his reaction when Brian pretended to leave him on his own, his disability was real.

After Brian helped Justin get into his car, the drive was mainly silent, Justin’s directions to his place being the only words spoken between the two men.

“Here we are,” Brian finally announced as he parked in front of an old building. He noticed that Justin lived only a couple blocks away from his own place.

“Okay. Thanks.” Justin fiddled with the seat belt. He seemed uncomfortable all of a sudden and Brian inwardly questioned his apparent uneasiness. Was it because of what they were going to do? Brian suspected a nineteen-year-old kid didn’t hire escorts on a daily basis and, therefore, he was probably nervous. It was kind of cute.

“Let me help you to your apartment,” Brian offered and got out of his Jeep. Apparently, the boy was too shy to make the first move, so Brian had to take matters into his own ‘hands’, so to speak.

“I can find my own way, thank you.” Justin weakly declined Brian’s proposition as he opened the passenger door.

“I’m not letting you go up without me by your side. Deal with it,” Brian insisted, helping Justin out of the car and keeping an arm wrapped around his shoulders on the way to his place.

Little did he know that the night would not end like he had imagined.


When they arrived in front of Justin’s door, the young man fumbled with the key but refused any assistance. He had to put some distance between himself and Brian. They were alone, and the older man smelled entirely too delicious. Brian’s hand on his shoulder radiated heat and Justin could only imagine the way it might feel on other parts of his body.

Once Justin managed to get the door unlocked and opened, he stepped inside and then turned around, bumping into Brian. He hadn’t expected him to be so close.

“Sorry,” Justin apologized.

“It’s okay,” Brian whispered, walking him backwards, his sweet breath fanning over Justin’s face.

“Uh… has Daphne paid you yet?” the blond blurted out, taking a step to his right, completely forgetting Daphne had moved the sofa, and knocking into it, losing his balance.

Brian steadied him before getting closer and purring in his ear. “Don’t worry about the money. I’m not that kind of slut.”

Justin gulped thickly. “I… I didn’t mean... I don’t think you’re a slut.”

“That’s good to hear. How about I show you how good I am in other… ‘areas’, aside from looking pretty on your arm? I bet I’d look even better naked by your side,” he dropped his voice, breathing out seductively, “Maybe, inside you,” and, finally, he leaned in to kiss his neck.

Justin felt Brian’s hot breath on his skin for a half second, wanting to savor the moment and let this man take what he wanted. But, he placed his hands in front of himself instead and pushed Brian away. “Stop this! It’s not what I want.”

Liar .... Justin’s inner voice snickered at him.

He shook his head, determined not to let his lust dictate his actions, before stating firmly, “I’m sorry if I led you on, Brian. I only wanted someone by my side to help me at the gallery. Nothing else.”

Brian didn’t seem pleased with Justin’s rejection. “Is that so?” he snapped in irritation. “Well, in that case, I will find a willing participant elsewhere. At least, the smart ones know when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is too good to pass up, unlike you, Mr. Taylor...” he pronounced Justin’s name in contempt, before spinning on his heel and walking out the door.

Well, that went well, Justin thought as he slumped against the arm of the sofa, shakily touching the spot on his neck where Brian’s hot lips had been a moment ago.

He’d never been so close to another man, except for his first and only attempt at kissing a guy. And it had ended badly both times, even if Brian’s ego being hurt could be seen as an improvement in Justin’s book, compared to the reaction of the first guy he had tried to kiss. That was maybe why, even if he might otherwise have felt bad about Brian’s cruel comeback to his refusal to have sex with him, Justin actually felt pretty good about it.

So, when he was sure he could stand without falling, Justin went to the fridge to grab a bottle of water. Then, he got ready to go to bed and kept thinking of Brian. He wished he could have really seen him. He must be drop-dead gorgeous, with that voice, that unique scent, that heated touch…

Justin lay down in his bed and, soon, his hand slipped under the blanket, his fingers wrapping around his erection. He hadn’t touched himself with a specific person in mind since high school and therefore relished the feeling of his hand going up and down his shaft, amazing sensations soon invading him. The memory of Brian so close to him, of his lips on his throat, of his arms around him, were turning him on; he felt himself getting harder, a moan escaping his lips when pleasure rushed through his body. At the thought of Brian fucking him, he exploded in his hand, coming harder that he could ever remember doing. He didn’t even care about the mess he had created, simply sitting up and wiping himself off with his shirt before falling back onto the bed in a boneless heap.

He slept better than he had in months.


 

Meanwhile, in a dark room full of moans and groans, Brian chose the man he wanted to fuck. When he finally came, his cock buried deep inside the nameless, blond trick’s ass, he couldn’t help but fantasize about the look on his face if Brian had fucked him instead.

Fucking Justin Taylor.

 

Chapter Text

April 2002, Saturday morning, Justin’s apartment...

The shrill ring of his cellphone pulled Justin out of his slumber. He was grateful for the oversized display which informed him who was calling because, if he hadn’t known it was his mom, he wouldn’t have responded at all.

Fumbling with the device, he managed to accept the call.

“Morning, Mom,” he greeted her with a yawn.

“Don’t you ‘morning, mom’ me, young man! What’s this I’ve just read in the newspaper?” Jennifer inquired loudly, way too loudly for Justin’s taste, who momentarily pulled the phone away from his ear.

He then scrubbed at his face, stretching in bed. “How should I know what you’ve read?”

“Justin, you’re showing your work in an exhibition at the Bloom Gallery! Why didn’t you tell me?” she asked, clearly upset.

Justin tried to come up with a plausible explanation. “Oh, I figured you wouldn’t be able to make it. You’ve been so busy lately, between divorcing that asshole, taking Molly to all her extracurricular classes and, hopefully, having a little time for yourself.”

“Justin,” Jennifer scolded him over the ‘ asshole ’ comment, even if Justin suspected she agreed with him one hundred percent. “That’s nonsense, and you know it. Of course I would have come if you had invited me! Does it have to do with your boyfriend ?” she questioned, stressing the last word.

“My...what?” Justin sat up, suddenly fully awake.

“Justin, the whole review is glowing, but the reporter reveals that someone was by your side all night. He might have been blinded by the man’s good looks, since he reports, and I quote, ‘ The young artist hung onto a godlike man’s arm, smiling and staying close to him the entire night. “A romance is blooming between the two men," Mr. Bloom confirmed later that evening.’ Jennifer relayed in a shrill tone.

Maybe those who spotted us are the blind ones , Justin thought, amused, possibly because they didn’t hear us bitching at each other . “Oh, that…”

“I’m so happy for you, sweetheart!” Jennifer declared sincerely. “I’ve been so worried that you wouldn’t find someone. Why didn’t you tell me?”

Justin didn’t know what to say. “Because...” it’s not true?

“No need to be embarrassed. I understand. You don’t want people to pry into your love life.” Jennifer assumed, and Justin was more than happy to let her reach her own conclusions. “But, don’t say you didn’t want to upset me. I left your father because I couldn’t stand his narrow-minded views on homoxesuality anymore, remember? You’re my son and I want you to be happy.”

“Hmm, okay?” Justin replied, puzzled with the whole conversation, yet grateful at the same time for his mother’s support.

“Now, when do I meet this ‘godlike man’, as the reporter described him?” Jennifer inquired cheerfully.

“Mom…” Justin tried to get out of the mess. It was all Brian’s fault. If he hadn’t misled Sydney that they were dating, Justin was sure that none of this would be happening now.

“Oh, I know the perfect opportunity! Your cousin Dorian, whose best friend is a lesbian? He is getting married at the end of the week. So, you must come with me and Molly! And of course, you have to invite… What’s his name?”

This is not happening. Justin almost pinched himself to make sure he was really awake . “Brian.”

“Brian,” Jennifer repeated. “And don’t worry about presents or money. I’ll take care of it. I can also book extra rooms for Saturday night,” she proposed, obviously over the moon at the idea of meeting her son’s lover.

Oh, for fuck’s sake! Justin couldn’t believe it, and yet, he gave her his blessing. “Fine. I’ll see if Brian is available but don’t get your hopes up too high. He’s a busy man,” he half-lied. He was busy alright, just not for obvious reasons.

“Great! Dorian is getting married in Presque Isle State Park, on the beach.”

That was my dream wedding , Justin thought mournfully. “Wonderful!” he answered ironically. “What time?”

“Saturday evening. It says five p.m. on the invitation.” Jennifer paused and Justin sensed her hesitation. “I didn’t tell you about it because I wasn’t sure if you were up to being in a crowded place.”

“I still hate crowds, Mom. But sure, I’ll be there.” Justin confirmed, trying hard once more to understand how he’d ended up agreeing to something like this.

“And don’t forget about your boyfriend. Maybe we can carpool. That would be fun!”

Justin tugged the pillow over his face. “Awesome,” he mumbled.

“I can’t hear you anymore. I guess the connection is bad. I’m going to email my sister and let her know there will be two others with me and your sister,” Jennifer informed him, and Justin could hear how thrilled she was with this unexpected turn of events.

“Yippie.”

“Okay, then...I’m so happy Justin! I’ll call you later with the details. I love you!”

When she hung up, Justin tugged at his hair. Truthfully, he wanted her to be happy. Though he didn’t doubt that he and Brian could play their parts - if the man agreed to be his pretend boyfriend again after the way he had treated him the night before, that is - it would all be a lie. The only way to stop this charade would be to fake a break-up and, even then, Justin didn’t doubt that his mother would be sad for him. So, why in hell had he confirmed that he had a boyfriend in the first place?

“Aargh!” He threw the pillow across the room, screaming.

“I take it there were some problems last night?” Daphne’s voice startled him.

“Make some noise, will ya? You fucking scared me!” he muttered, getting out of the bed before deciding to share the reason for his queen-out. Daphne had to put up with it considering she was the one who had initiated the whole thing. “I’m fucked. Why do these things happen to me?”

“Did something go wrong at the show? What happened?” she asked with a concerned look on her face, following him as he navigated carefully toward the kitchen. Justin could walk around the apartment pretty easily since he was very familiar with the place, he and Daphne having furnished it to accommodate his disability.

“Mr. Bloom mistook me and Brian for a couple and the man must be a real gossip queen because, now, it’s in the Pittsburgh Gazette . Can this get any more complicated?” Justin pulled out the milk carton from the refrigerator. “The answer is, yes, of course!” he snapped, before Daphne could open her mouth. After drinking straight from the carton, Justin wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Mom just called me and she asked me to accompany her to my cousin’s wedding. The one I haven’t seen since I was, like, fourteen. The catch?” Justin went on, getting even more riled up. “She told me to bring my boyfriend!”

“You don’t have a boyfriend,” Daphne reminded him with a frown.

“Well, according to the newspaper, I do and, so, Mom is now assuming that... Brian is my ‘godlike’ man! So, I need to call and ask him to go with me to this stupid wedding.”

“Boy, you move fast! I will give you that,” Daphne quipped, before inquiring, “What really happened last night?”

Justin threw his hands up in the air, forgetting about the milk carton, getting a milk shower in the process. “Urgh! Fuck!” He shook his head and blinked to get rid of the drops of milk in his eyelashes. Eventually, he revealed, “Brian told Mr. Bloom we’re dating. Nothing happened.”

Of course that was a lie; moreover, he couldn’t help but blush as he recalled how Brian had tried to kiss him when they had arrived at his apartment.

Daphne used some paper towels to help him clean up the mess he had made. She didn’t believe him for a second, though. “Nothing, my ass. Did you…?”

“Almost,” he finally admitted in a small voice. “I can’t believe you got me that kind of escort, though.”

“What kind?” she asked, dumbstruck.

“The kind that was willing to end the night naked in my bed. He helped me get up here last night and, as soon as we walked in, he attacked me.”

“Whoa! I didn’t know he would do that, Justin. I swear!” she exclaimed, vehemently denying being aware that Brian would try to have sex with her best friend. “Maybe you should just forget about him, then. Call your mom and...”

“No, Daphne. I’ll do it. Granted, Brian may not accept considering I nearly punched him,” Justin paused, imagining Daphne’s eyes going wide, so he specified, “I panicked when he started kissing my neck.”

“Oh! That’s so sweet!” Daphne responded, obviously grinning.

“No, it’s not.” Justin refuted. “It’s what he does. I’m sure he fucks his clients all the time. Now, give me his number.”

Daphne touched his arm briefly. “I don’t have his personal number; I called the agency directly when I searched for someone to help you but, maybe if you ask nicely, they will give it to you. Or, if they don’t, maybe just ask for him to escort you next weekend.”

Justin rubbed his temple, feeling a headache emerging. “How much did you pay for the few hours that I spent with him, anyway?”

“It doesn’t matter. I got it covered,” Daphne hastily responded before unsubtly changing the subject. “By the way, I nailed my biology exam!”

Justin beamed before engulfing her in a tight hug. “Well done, Daphne!”

Daphne exclaimed enthusiastically, “And I got the highest grade in the class!”

“That’s great,” Justin congratulated her. “But I still want to know how much you paid Brian to be there for me. I will have to pay him to go to the wedding with me, remember?”

“Oh…” Daphne realized he was right, and she also knew the information he was requesting wasn’t going to be an easy pill to swallow. “Maybe...you can get a discount?” She tried to distract him, sporting a silly smile on her face.

“Just tell me the amount,” he insisted.

“Four hundred,” she muttered under her breath.

“Holy fuck! You mean one hundred per hour?” Justin inquired, dumbfounded. “That’s insane! I don’t have that kind of money!” He slumped into a chair, his head in his hands.

How the fuck was he going to pay for this? And more importantly, why on earth was he willing to do it? Justin could deny it all he wanted, but he wanted Brian to say yes.

He was screwed.


 

A couple of hours later, after he had paced and thought it over for the millionth time, Justin dialed the number of the escort company. He took a deep breath as soon as he heard the ringtone for the agency and tried to calm his beating heart.

A woman’s voice greeted him cheerfully. “Hello! Thank you for calling the ‘One Life’ agency. My name is Grace. How may I help you?”

Grace? Seriously?

“Hi, Grace,” Justin greeted the woman nervously, his voice shaking. “Mmm… uh, I’d like to speak to Jeffrey… Miller?”

“Mr. Miller is out of the office this weekend, but it will be my pleasure to help you, sir. Are you familiar with our agency?”

“I… uh, yes. Yes, I’d like to… ask if Brian is available for next weekend?” Justin stammered, scolding himself over how uncomfortable he sounded. He was sure Grace had guessed he wasn’t used to calling an escort agency.

“Brian? Which one? We have two working for the agency.”

Oh, fuck. What was his last name? “Uh… He was with me last night. Justin Taylor?”

Justin waited for Grace to check the information. After a moment, she answered, “Kinney, then…. Okay, let me check his schedule. I think I booked him already.”

Justin was disgusted by the way she talked about Brian, as if he were just a piece of meat, and by the way he was talking about Brian, too.

He heard her typing on her keyboard. “Sir? I’m sorry. Brian is not available that weekend.”

“Fuck!” Justin cursed, before realizing what he’d just done. “Sorry...” he apologized, “it’s really important.”

“I’ll have to talk to Brian myself then and see if he can…”

But before Grace had finished her statement, Justin cut her off, blurting out, “I’ll pay three hundred dollars more than what he’s usually paid.”

“Three hundred,” Grace repeated.

“Make it five,” Justin outbid himself with a sigh.

A short pause later, the typing started again. “When did you say you wanted him, again?” Justin could hear the eagerness in her voice and could almost see the dollar signs in her eyes.

“Early Saturday morning. No, Friday evening through Sunday night.” Justin demanded.

“Is this an out-of-town event?” Grace inquired.

“Yes,” Justin confirmed.

“Mhmm.” More clicking. “May I have your name, please?”

“Justin Taylor.”

“Very good, Mr. Taylor. Brian is yours for the upcoming weekend. I need you to send us an email request through the contact link on our website. I will then send you some paperwork and a booking form that you will need to complete and send back to me, before tomorrow morning, in order to confirm your reservation. It will cost you two thousand eight hundred dollars. You will need to make an initial payment of nine hundred dollars with your reservation and pay the remaining one thousand nine hundred dollars by Friday morning at the latest. Is there anything else I may assist you with?”

An ambulance? Justin was ready to faint. “No, no. Thank you very much, Grace.”

“Anytime, Mr. Taylor. Thank you for calling ‘One Life’ . I wish you a very good day and a memorable weekend with our high-class escort!” Grace finished the call and hung up without waiting for Justin’s answer, the blond not even noticing since he was too busy glaring at the phone in his hands as if it were the enemy.

“Daphneeee!” Justin yelled the second he disconnected the call. “What the fuck did I just do?”

“Did you talk to him?” he heard her respond from the living room.

“No, I talked to Grace …” Justin pronounced her name sarcastically, before specifying, “from the agency.”

Daphne laughed out loud as she walked into his room.

“I booked him for the next weekend. I have to pay two thousand eight hundred dollars. I don’t have that kind of money!” Justin revealed, as he sat on his bed, defeated.

Daphne joined him, rubbing his back soothingly. “We’ll figure something out.”

Yep. We’d better. Justin thought, still astonished by what he’d just done.


The next day, Brian’s loft...

“You like those funny clips?” Brian cuddled Gus on his lap as they both laughed at the cartoon characters on his laptop. He’d found some Hanna - Barbera cartoons on a website, and they were killing time, watching the funny animated characters.

Brian had no idea how aware of the outside world Gus really could be at twenty months, but the toddler clapped and laughed every time a character on the screen made a funny comment. Furthermore, Brian couldn’t help but smile at his son’s enthusiasm and was once again amazed to realize how much he cared about him. He had never felt this way before, but every time he looked at Gus, he wanted to smile. His son was erasing all his doubts, all his fears over what his life had become. He would do anything to help the little boy become the man he was destined to be.

When The Yogi Bear Show ended, Brian was ready to search for some good old Flintstones , but his email box pinged with a new message, so he clicked on that desktop icon instead.

Gus whined and squirmed on Brian’s lap.

“I know. I don’t want to stop either. Give me a sec,” he reassured his son in a soothing voice before opening the message, only to discover that it had come from the agency. Groaning, he frowned, inwardly thinking that his time with Gus was too precious to again be cut short because of his job.

To his relief, he found out that it was just information about his mission for the next weekend. Even better, it seemed his meeting with his regular, creepy old dude was cancelled. Brian actually didn’t mind most of his clients, but Mr. Jones was one man whose company he didn’t enjoy at all. The overweight man acted as if he were a Ken Doll. They always went to the same private hotel on the outskirts of the city, and Mr. Jones relished the sight of Brian stripping for him after they shared dinner on the hotel patio. Brian could always refuse of course, as it wasn’t part of the deal with the agency, but Mr. Jones paid him an extra five hundred bucks just to admire his body. Once, he had even allowed the man to suck his cock for an additional three hundred dollars, but he had eventually understood that there was only so much he would allow, if he didn’t want to lose his last bit of self-esteem. Therefore, it had been a one-time thing. He had kind of hoped, though, that Mr. Jones would drop him after that - he knew some of his colleagues wouldn’t have minded being fucked for some extra money - but, unfortunately, the old dude had continued to book him every last Saturday of the month so far. Sadly, Brian needed the cash too much to be picky, or he would have asked Jeffrey to replace him with someone else.

However, it seemed that luck was on his side this time. Not only was his mission with Mr. Jones cancelled, but he would be spending the entire weekend with none other than Justin Taylor. Brian couldn’t help but grin at this unexpected turn of events, as he had thought that the kid was too much of a prude to ever try contacting him. However, he had been wrong, considering Justin had not even waited forty-eight hours before asking for Brian to escort him again.

Brian looked through the information about Justin that Grace had forwarded and was pleased to note that she had forgotten to mask his contact details.

“One second Sonny Boy, daddy has to save this. It’s important,” he stated, reaching for his phone and efficiently storing Justin’s phone number.

Suddenly, Brian heard a knock on the door. Frowning, he checked the time and realized it must already be Lindsay, coming to pick up their son.

“Sorry, Gus. It seems The Flintstones will have to wait until your next visit.” He stood up with his son in his arms and went to open the door.

Sure enough, Lindsay’s smiling face appeared in front of him. She immediately reached out to Gus and took him into her arms before greeting Brian, a little smirk playing on her lips. “Hey, ‘godlike man’! How are you feeling today?”

Godlike man? Don’t you have any sexier labels to describe me?” he drawled playfully as he placed a chaste kiss on her cheek.

“I’m not the one calling you that; a reporter is,” Lindsay replied with a huge grin on her face as she retrieved a newspaper from the bag slung over her shoulder.

“What’s that?” Brian questioned with a frown, as he headed towards the kitchen to retrieve the hot pot from the coffee maker.

“It’s yesterday’s Pittsburgh Gazette . I assume you didn’t read it, did you?” Lindsay asked, putting the paper on the kitchen counter, and sliding onto a bar stool with Gus on her lap.

“Let me think…” Brian feigned concentration, squinting and rubbing his chin. “I was busy getting my thorough weekly waxing. Sorry.”

“I thought so… Well, according to this article, you were also really busy with your boyfriend on Friday night.”

“My... boyfriend.” Brian made a face and chuckled as he poured two fresh cups of coffee. “Is that what this reporter called my ‘dates’? So generous of him! That is a real improvement in my social life. I must have so many boyfriends all over the state by now.”

Lindsay rolled her eyes at Brian’s stupid joke. “Justin Taylor.” Brian raised his eyebrows and gazed at her. She noticed he didn’t have a witty comeback this time. Interesting . “You’re lucky I know he’s not your ‘everything’, considering I’m the one who engaged him for the new exhibition at Sydney’s gallery.”

“You know him?” Brian inquired, while placing the beverage in front of her.

“I do. When you told me you had to work and would be at Sydney’s gallery, I didn’t realize you were escorting Justin. Not until I read the article and put two and two together anyway; although, I must admit I’m surprised he hired someone like you,” Lindsay informed him, taking a careful sip of her drink. Gus decided that he had enough of sitting in her lap and squirmed, indicating he wanted to get down. Lindsay stood up and let him toddle a short distance away, watching as he settled down to play with one of his toy cars.

Brian looked at his son and smiled. Then he dropped his voice and shared, amused, “He didn’t. His best friend did but, for your information, I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was that kind of slut.”

“You’re not a slut. You’re…” Lindsay denied, trying to determine what term she could use to describe her friend’s ‘job’.

Brian proposed, “A man who parades on the arms of rich, old men to earn his salary and who might consider a little fucking on the side for some extra cash?” He finished his sentence with a bitter smirk before taking a sip of his coffee. “I’m a S.L.U.T., Lindsay. Deal with it.”

“Brian…”

“If you give me the sympathetic talk of the year right now, I’m throwing you out and I’m keeping Gus with me,” Brian threatened half-seriously.

Lindsay sighed. “In any case, I hope you behaved with Justin. He is a sweet kid.”

“Don’t worry. He rejected me and as I’m not into forcing people to have sex with me, his honor is safe,” Brian revealed.

“What? What did you do?” Lindsay asked, astonished.

“Do you need hearing aids?” Brian teased. “Don’t worry, I promise I will behave like a perfect gentleman with Justin.”

“What do you mean, you will behave?”

“He booked me for the entire coming weekend. He has already fallen for me; they all do. I’m sure you’re not surprised,” Brian stated with a smirk.

“Seriously? How can he pay you for an entire weekend, anyway? You’re not exactly cheap, are you?” Lindsay inquired.

“Well, he must have some savings. How the fuck do I know?” It really wasn’t Brian’s problem how Justin would pay him. If he had booked him for two days, surely he had the money to do so, didn’t he?

“Hmm…” Lindsay frowned. “But, either way, don’t fuck with him, understood? Or I swear, I will have your balls,” she warned him, and Brian had the strange impression that she wasn’t kidding.

“Kinky,” he quipped, while checking that his balls were intact and discreetly trying to protect them.

“Okay. Gus? We need to go if we don’t want to be late starting your treatment at home,” Lindsay announced as she went to pick her son up from the floor. “And Mama is waiting for us.”

Brian walked them to the door. “Do you need me tomorrow? I’m available in the afternoon if you need someone to look after Gus. And I’m not working on Tuesday; I can spend the night with him and monitor his dialysis so that you can rest,” he proposed and smiled at his son, who was extending his arms to give him a hug. Lindsay let Brian take Gus, the little boy actually putting his arms around Brian’s neck and squeezing for several seconds. Brian responded by placing a soft, lengthy kiss in his hair.

“You know how happy he is to have you at his side,” Lindsay stated softly as she gazed fondly at father and son. “The doctor actually comes to visit at 2:30 PM. So you’re more than welcome to come by then. And sure, I will have your bed ready for Tuesday night.”

“I’ll be there,” Brian replied once Gus finally relaxed his grip. “Bye, Sonny Boy. See you tomorrow.” He smiled gently at his son again and gave him back to Lindsay.

He stayed there, staring after them, until they disappeared from his sight down the stairs.

 

Chapter Text

Three days later, Wednesday night…

“Harder…” Matthew breathed out, kneeling on the bed, as Brian thrust inside him again. “Yes!”

Brian changed his angle to bring Matthew to climax and, sure enough, the man cried out loudly as he came. Hearing the man’s orgasm and feeling the constriction around his cock, Brian let go too before collapsing on Matthew’s back, both men falling onto the bed, exhausted.

After a minute or so, Brian withdrew and tossed the used condom into the trash. He then rolled over onto his back and grabbed his pack of cigarettes as well as his lighter from the bedside table. Placing one between his lips and lighting it, he inhaled deeply, before turning to look at Matthew and extending his hand to offer him a puff.

“No, thanks,” Matthew declined, lying down on his side, facing Brian.

Brian shrugged and took another drag.

“So, how have you been lately? How is your son?” Matthew asked.

Brian rolled his lips under. Matthew Gallagher had become one of his regular clients, and Brian knew the other man was hoping for something more between them. It was strange because Brian hadn’t been an escort the first time they’d had sex. A lot of things had changed since then, beginning with his own opinion of the man he had become. Matthew’s attention helped him deal with his new reality, though. It seemed the man didn’t mind that he was an escort, not when he understood why Brian had made that choice in the first place.

The first time Matthew had called to hook up with him again, after having been informed by his friend Jeffrey that Brian was one of his new employees, the former ad man had resisted him. He’d been angry with Matthew, even if he’d known that, rationally, it wasn’t the man’s fault that he had decided to work for ‘One Life’.

Although his anger had been nearly uncontrollable, Matthew had not even blinked when Brian had behaved like a bastard all evening. They’d finally had sex at Matthew’s place - the man having just relocated to the Pitts a week earlier - and it had been hard and dirty. But Matthew hadn’t complained. In fact, he had confided afterward that it was some of the best sex he’d ever had. The former ad man had laughed as they relaxed together, and they’d finally talked about their lives, Brian even revealing why he had chosen to join the ‘One Life’ agency.

Ever since, the two men had shared a strange relationship, Matthew booking Brian every couple of weeks. Brian had refused, however, to let Matthew pay a bonus just because they fucked regularly.

Coming back to the present at Matthew’s house, Brian smirked as he finally responded to his companion’s question. “Life is great!” he half-jested. “The monthly rendezvous with my creepy old dude has been cancelled, and I’m meeting with a delicious blond kid instead.” He paused, once more surprised to realize that he was actually looking forward to seeing Justin Taylor again, before adding, “And Gus is doing fine. The doc just informed us that transplant surgery can be scheduled in a few months.”

“That’s great news!” Matthew smiled, before specifying, “For your son, I mean. So, I assume you’re still doing it?”

“Donating a kidney to my son? Yes, I’m doing it, as soon as the medical team gives us the green light,” Brian confirmed. He was the only compatible match for his son, and he would have given his life for him, so it had been inevitable all along. “He is not ready yet. They don’t want to risk a transplant until he is at least twenty-two pounds. He is getting there, but the peritoneal dialysis is working well so far, so they don’t want to rush it.”

“How old is he now?” Matthew inquired.

“Almost twenty months,” Brian answered, before crushing out his cigarette in an ashtray on the nightstand and grabbing the alarm clock to check the time. “Okay, time’s up. It was a pleasure to fuck you, Mr. Gallagher.”

“You can stay if you want,” Matthew said tentatively, straightening up on his elbows as Brian stood and began to dress.

Brian huffed, “That’s not part of the deal. Never will be.” He knew he was being an ass, but Matthew needed to understand that Brian wasn’t Julia Roberts playing Pretty Woman .

Matthew sighed and flopped back onto the bed. Brian glanced at him one more time before leaving the room and walking out of the house.


 

Friday morning...

Justin had woken up early. He was feeling a little restless, considering today was the day he was going to see Brian again. Not only that, but he needed to come clean and tell him why he had hired him for an entire weekend, but he had no clue how he was going to convince him to agree with his plan.

Thankfully, his financial situation had improved immeasurably. His drawings and paintings had sold unexpectedly well at the exhibition. Therefore, he had been able to pay for Brian’s company for the next couple of days. He just hoped that Brian would not bail on him after learning the truth about the coming weekend.

Right now, he was curled up on the couch, a sketchpad on his lap, as he tried to draw the man from memory. He could still remember how it had felt to be in his arms, to feel his lips on his neck, and to inhale his addictive aroma. Daphne had done her best to describe him to Justin and, consequently, his imagination was running wild as he envisioned: a sharp jaw; perfect, rosy lips; dark eyebrows; chestnut hair; expressive hazel eyes; and pronounced cheekbones. He was sure the man had to be drop-dead gorgeous.

Suddenly, the phone started ringing, disturbing Justin’s fantasy. Annoyed, he answered curtly, “Yeah?”

“Hello, Mr. Taylor,” a velvety, smooth voice greeted him, sending shivers down his spine.

“Brian?” Justin responded tentatively, even though he already knew it was Brian. He hadn’t forgotten that distinctive, sexy drawl.

“Justin,” Brian replied huskily as his voice dropped even lower, and Justin felt himself blushing. Seriously? How could he blush just from the tone of his voice? It was ridiculous, so he took a deep breath to steady his rising heartbeat, just as Brian added, “I’m calling in regard to our meeting today. I thought you might want to… well, tell me what you expect from me this time,” he drawled, and Justin could hear the grin in his voice as he pointed out, “it’s not every day someone books me for an entire weekend.”

“Right,” Justin answered eloquently, clearing his throat. “It's a long story. Do you mind if we meet somewhere? I’d rather not have to explain myself over the phone.” Truthfully, Justin felt embarrassed at the mere thought of what he’d be admitting to Brian. It was going to be humiliating.

“I had a feeling you'd say that,” Brian replied unexpectedly, “I'm parked downstairs.”

“You are?” Justin gasped and swallowed. “I mean... that's great!” Right... “Give me a few minutes and I’ll join you, okay?”

“Take your time,” Brian responded. Of course, he couldn’t help teasing Justin a little more. “By the way, do you need any help doing… whatever you’ve got to do?”

Justin chuckled, grateful that Brian had offered his assistance, even if he’d used sexual innuendo to do so. “Nah. I've got it. Just wait for me.”

As he hung up and rushed to change out of his sweats and t-shirt, Justin pondered how he was going to deal with his current situation. How was he supposed to explain what he really expected from Brian, without the man taking him for a nutcase? Pretending to be his boyfriend in front of his mother and sister, no less? Hell, at a wedding, in front of his extended family, too?

This was going to be a challenge, but Justin was persistent, and when he put his mind to something, he always got what he wanted in the end. So, he would not back down now.

Ten minutes later, he stopped abruptly after walking out of the building. Truthfully, he was fucking nervous, and he’d forgotten to ask Brian to wait for him in front of the main door. Now, he feared that he must look like a fool, standing in the middle of the sidewalk, unsure what to do next. He was about to call out for Brian when he felt a hand wrap around his arm. He froze.

“B-brian?” Justin stuttered tentatively, his heart beating furiously in his chest, adrenaline coursing through his veins.

“Lucky guess,” Brian purred in his ear, and Justin was assaulted by the man’s essence all over again. Jesus, he smelled so fucking good.

“Don't you ever do that again!” Justin scolded him, willing his heartbeat to slow and his cheeks to cool down.

“Sorry. You looked a little lost,” Brian commented knowingly. “Come on, your carriage awaits,” he quipped as he pulled on Justin’s arm, moving toward Brian’s car.

Once he was sitting in the Jeep, Justin pulled his shades off and scrubbed at his eyes, squeezing them shut.

Brian, who had positioned himself behind the steering wheel, noticed Justin’s discomfort. “Is everything okay?” he asked, surprising Justin, who didn’t think his companion would care.

“I’m okay, It’s just…” Justin rubbed at his face some more, as he explained, “I mixed up my shades. These don't help much with the light.”

“Try mine,” Brian offered, handing his expensive sunglasses to Justin without a second thought, before informing him, “We're going to the diner on Liberty.”

“Liberty…you mean Liberty Avenue?” Justin inquired in a bashful tone, his last memory of discovering gay nightlife in the Pitts not at all pleasant.

“Are you sure you’re gay?” Brian asked disapprovingly, before adding, “We'll be indoors, so there’ll be no need to whine about the sun or the neighborhood once we arrive.”

Justin tried Brian's sunglasses and was pleased with the result, but he still scoffed at Brian. “Hey! I’m not whining! Harsh light upsets my eyes and gives me headaches.” He didn’t elucidate that he had been assaulted by a psycho the first time he had set foot on Liberty Avenue.

“If you say so…” Brian responded, obviously grinning, unaware of his companion’s slight anxiety.


 

Ten minutes later, Brian was sitting in a booth at the back of the diner, with Justin facing him. Luck was on his side this morning, because neither Debbie nor his friends were there. Honestly, he didn’t need his foster mom’s twenty questions or the gang’s nosiness about his business. He loved his acquired family - although he’d never admit that out loud - but, sometimes, Brian felt like he was a character in a fucking bad movie, with his friends prying into his life all the time, fantasizing about his job as an escort, and hoping for Richard Gere to appear and rescue him. Emmett, especially, always made puppy-dog eyes at him every time Brian foolishly shared that one of his clients had treated him like a human being.

Although, right now, he kind of saw the irony in his situation. Justin Taylor was really too innocent for his own good.

“Okay, Picasso . Out with it. What are we doing this weekend?” Brian demanded as soon as the new waiter had delivered their order.

Justin slowly took a sip of his coffee, before gazing up at Brian. He breathed deeply, once, then twice, and Brian was about to ask him if he practiced yoga shit in his spare time, when he finally answered the question. “Remember how you told Mr. Bloom that we're dating?”

Brian raised his eyebrows before realizing that Justin couldn’t see his expression. “So?”

“Well, unfortunately for us, he's a big gossip, and a stupid reporter published that tidbit in the Pittsburgh Gazette.”

Brian scoffed. “I know. Big deal.” He then reached for his cup of coffee, bringing it to his lips.

“It IS a big deal,” Justin countered hotly. “My mom thinks we're dating! And she invited us to my cousin's wedding!”

Brian’s drink went down the wrong pipe, and he started coughing uncontrollably. He eventually got his breathing back under control and asked incredulously, “A wedding?”

“There's more,” Justin whispered.

“More? What? You’re actually the maid of honor and half your family hates your guts for being a fag? ” Brian inquired sarcastically.

“Worse.”

“What could be worse than that?” Brian replied with a frown.

“We're carpooling with my mom and my little sister,” Justin explained, not minding Brian's verbal jabs.

Brian looked at him as if he had grown two heads. Justin was right. It was worse. “No way! I'm not doing that,” he refused as he stood up from the booth with the firm intention of leaving.

Justin heard Brian get up, and he stood up quickly, ready to beg Brian to stay, but he tripped when his foot caught the table leg. “Please, Bri… oh, fuck!” he cried out, toppling over.

“Shit!” Brian cursed as he grabbed Justin to prevent him from falling. As he stood there with the young man in his arms, he felt a spark run through his body and froze.

Justin had stopped moving, too.

After a few seconds, Brian cleared his throat and helped Justin to straighten up. Once the young man was standing on his own, he jested, “You have a special talent for falling into my arms, you know that?”

“Hurff…” Justin eloquently replied, and Brian realized he wasn’t the only one who was affected by their evident chemistry.

Good to know… Brian thought, as his lips turned upward without his consent.

“Why is this so important to you?” he finally asked Justin, as the two men reseated themselves in the booth, Brian making sure Justin didn’t fall down again.

Justin responded to his question with a sigh. “My mom is really relieved that I have a boyfriend, and I don’t want to disappoint her. I had a rough time not so long ago and she is... so happy, you know?” He swallowed, looking away, although Brian doubted that he could see anything.  

Brian could understand that Justin wanted to please his mother, but as far as he was concerned, it was still bullshit. “You expect me to do this so that you can please your mom? Seriously? You do realize that’s not a good reason, right?”

“No, it’s not,” Justin declared. “But, I mean, it’s not the only reason. I…” Justin hesitated, and Brian could see that what he was about to share was important. So, he kept quiet. “Not so long ago, I was this happy, careless, stupid kid who thought that the world was a beautiful place to live in, but then I was bashed at my prom…”

“Bashed?” Brian repeated, astounded.

Justin nodded. “I came out and it cost me my sight. So, I want to reassure my mom, but I also want to show the world that I’m not some fragile, stupid fag that needs his mother to hold his hand all the time. I’m queer and you being my boyfriend this weekend is the perfect fuck you to all the haters, all those narrow-minded pricks who think they are so much better than I am, just because I like cock more than pussy.”

Brian stared at his companion in awe. Justin was obviously holding back, the details of his attack probably much darker than the little he had divulged, but the brunet actually admired his will to move on and not let what had happened to him dictate his life and affect his future. Besides, he could relate. Life hadn’t exactly spared him, either.

Brian could still say no, though. He wasn’t obligated to do anything. He probably should refuse, right here, right now. But he wanted to say yes. So he did.  

Leaning across the table, he took Justin’s hand, squeezing it briefly before releasing him. “Okay,” he breathed out. “I’ll do it.”

Justin sighed heavily. “Thank you,” he answered, his voice betraying how grateful he was. “Really. This means a lot to me.”

“Wait for the rules…” Brian responded playfully.

“What rules?” Justin squirmed, suddenly uncomfortable. He discerned Brian’s form moving and standing up, before he sat down next to Justin, placing his arm around his shoulders. “What are you doing?”

“Boyfriend stuff,” Brian snorted, leaning closer. His hot breath caressed Justin’s skin as he whispered huskily in his ear, “You know that you'll have to allow me to kiss you without punching me, don’t you? I personally can’t wait for that…”

Brian leaned back and grinned when he saw Justin turning crimson in response to his blatant flirting.

Oh, yeah. This is going to be fun…


 

They had finally chosen to eat at the diner. As they had talked about simple things, like Justin’s art and Brian’s love of photography, Justin had been surprised to discover how much he was enjoying himself. However, Brian had suddenly declared that they needed to leave, even though Justin hadn’t finished savoring his dessert. The young man could have sworn that Brian was avoiding the waitress - Debbie - who had just begun her shift and had come to greet both of them a little too loudly for Justin’s taste. He had therefore complied with Brian’s decision without asking any questions. No need to push his luck, after all, considering it was already a miracle that Brian had acquiesced to playing his perfect, pretend boyfriend for the weekend.

They had driven by Brian’s place so that the man could pick up the bag he had already prepared for the weekend, as well as one of his best Armani suits to wear at the wedding. Justin had not accompanied Brian upstairs, though, opting to stay in the car instead of navigating an unknown place.

When the Jeep stopped in front of his building, Justin became nervous all over again, and he wasn’t even sure why. Maybe the enormity of their situation was finally dawning on him now that they were just a few hours away from meeting his mother. What if all of this was a huge mistake? Maybe he should just cancel the whole thing and come clean to his mom. Surely it would be…

“Are you going to stay here all day?” Brian’s amused voice brought Justin back from his reverie. The blond hadn’t even realized that he had not moved since Brian had killed the ignition.

“I…probably not,” Justin answered awkwardly.

Brian chuckled and Justin realized that he was standing by his side, the passenger door open, obviously waiting for him to get out of the car. “Come on, Sunshine! Stop daydreaming about me and move your ass, would you? I can even give you a kiss to help you set the mood for the next couple of days if you need a better incentive,” Brian quipped.

Sunshine? Justin frowned at his new nickname and chose to ignore Brian’s teasing.

“No?” Brian questioned innocently.

Justin responded by rolling his eyes, even if Brian couldn’t see him. “I could use a hand, if you don’t mind.” he finally answered.

“Is that so? I assure you, I can do a lot of pleasurable things with my hand…” Brian added, obviously smirking as Justin grabbed his arm and got out of the car, cursing inwardly when he felt himself blushing, yet again .

They headed towards the entrance of the building and stepped into the lobby. In the elevator, Justin informed Brian that he would be grateful if he could help him pack. They needed some time to come up with a convincing story for his mother about how they’d met and ended up as a ‘couple’.

He suddenly smelled Brian’s fragrance, so close, invading his senses. The man had leaned in, and whispered in his ear, “Sure, I will help you. I’m a master at quickly tucking stuff in. You could even demand that it be part of my job description for the weekend. I really, really , wouldn’t mind.”

Justin felt his heart pounding in his chest, completely unable to control his physical reaction to Brian’s words, and he groaned, wondering if everything had to be a sexual joke for his companion. Unfortunately, his reckless mind also pondered what it would feel like to be intimate with the brunet, betting that it would be oh so good . He tried to ignore that possibility, even as he felt himself getting impossibly hard. As if Brian hadn’t embarrassed him enough as it was... Now, he had to hide the boner he was sporting. Moreover, he really, really , didn’t need Brian to become even more smug than he already was.

Furthermore, the problem with concentrating really hard on appearing nonchalant - when he was utterly consumed by his yearning for the man next to him - was that he had trouble getting the door open.

“You need a hand?” Brian asked.

“I’ve done it a hundred times. And stop talking about your hands,” Justin ordered curtly. He heard Brian chuckle, just as he realized that the door was already open.

Then, he felt Brian’s breath on his skin, his velvety voice doing nothing to calm his hard-on. “Why, am I making you nervous?” Brian leered, playfully biting Justin’s earlobe.

Justin almost moaned. But the sound caught in his throat when he heard another familiar voice, and NOT a velvety one, obviously addressing him, as they entered his apartment.

“Thank God you’re home, Justin, Honey! Where were you… Oh, is this your boyfriend? I’m so happy to finally meet you, Brian! Justin has talked so much about you!” his mother greeted them both, and Justin froze in the doorway, with Brian stilling by his side.

Needless to say, never did a boner dwindle so fast as at that moment.

It was going to be a long weekend.

 

Chapter Text

One hour later...

Justin had the distinct impression that he was navigating one of his worst nightmares. Okay, maybe not the worst, considering Brian’s presence was inexplicably provoking a strange, yet soothing sensation whenever he heard his voice or smelled his scent. But traveling in a car with his mom and his sister while faking a romantic relationship with a man he barely knew - and who, unbeknownst to them, made a living escorting clients for money - wasn’t exactly easy. It was especially nerve-wracking when he considered that they hadn’t had any time to come with a plausible story regarding their supposed romance.

His mother had decided to drop by unannounced to help her son pack a couple hours earlier than planned. She’d then thought it to be a wonderful idea to leave early when Justin and Brian had unexpectedly appeared together, claiming that they would all be able to enjoy the evening at the resort. Justin suspected it had more to do with her desire to pry into his supposed relationship with Brian, and he honestly didn’t know how he was going to deal with her inquisition, much less how he would successfully hide the truth from her. His mother on a mission was unstoppable, and to say he was nervous as hell about being caught out didn’t begin to cover it.

Now, they had about a three-hour drive ahead of them, cooped up in his mother’s Volvo. Apparently, they were on I-279 headed to I-79 according to Molly, who loved reading the road signs.

Brian was in the passenger seat next to his mother, while Justin was in the back with his sister. He wished Brian could have convinced her to take the Jeep but, of course, she had been adamant about not letting his ‘boyfriend’ drive when he was their guest. Justin had rolled his eyes at her argument, hating how much of a WASP she could be sometimes. Sitting in the back with his sister made him feel like a child, while Brian was left to deal with his mom in the front; he listened carefully anytime he heard the brunet respond to one of his mother’s questions.

“So, Brian, what do you do for a living?” Jennifer asked conversationally. Justin closed his eyes, inwardly screaming ‘disaster coming’ and, for a second, he envisioned Brian responding with the truth and his mother’s expression at the revelation. He chuckled briefly, entertaining the idea that disclosing Brian’s real job would almost be worth it, before shaking his head and refocusing on their discussion.

“I’m in public relations.” Justin heard Brian answer. Well, he wasn’t exactly lying and, from the tone of his voice, Justin could tell that he was proud of his imaginative reply.

“You’re in PR? That’s so great!” Jennifer exclaimed happily and Justin could already imagine how she was going to brag about her only son dating a successful businessman. If she only knew... “Is this your first job?” his mother continued her interrogation.

Oh, God. Talk about putting someone on trial. Justin couldn’t believe her boldness.

“Actually, no,” Brian surprisingly responded. “I was in advertising for a few years, before making a… career change.” Brian continued, clearing his throat. Justin momentarily wondered if it was true and, if it was, why Brian had decided to become an escort when he’d had a real career to begin with. However, he didn’t give it too much thought at that moment, sensing that it would be a good time to intervene and save Brian from this painful cross-examination, a.k.a. dealing with an over-protective, insufferable, ‘supposed’ - emphasis on the last term - mother-in-law.

But he didn’t have the time to say anything, as his mom suddenly inquired, “How old are you anyway, if you don’t mind me asking? I mean, you already had a career, so I assume you’re a few years older than my son?”

Justin’s interest was piqued. Well it was, until he heard Brian chuckle, indicating that Jennifer might not like the answer.

Fuck. How old was he?


When Brian had realized that Justin’s mother and sister were waiting for them at the blond’s place, he had been momentarily disappointed to be sidetracked from his quest to pursue his first kiss from his companion. He didn’t know why, but he wanted to taste those tempting, beautiful lips and erode the blond’s futile resistance. It would have nicely set the stage for the coming weekend, since Brian wouldn’t at all mind having sex with Justin. Not only was the young man very attractive, he also was smart and funny and, now that Brian had agreed to accompany him to the wedding, he was also anticipating that potential payoff. Being buried deep in Justin’s ass and making him scream in pleasure would fit the bill perfectly.

Unfortunately, any sexual activity would have to wait. Justin’s mother had insisted on all of them leaving as soon as possible. Crammed into her compact Volvo, Brian had to play the ideal boyfriend. He had made a promise to Justin, after all, and he never reneged on a deal.

Jennifer Taylor wasn’t the subtle type, though. As soon as she got onto the highway, she began to interrogate Brian, who regretted not having used the time he’d had with Justin at the diner to come up with a plan. The only thing he could do was to improvise.

“So, Brian, what do you do for a living?”

That one was easy. “I’m in public relations,” he responded with a grin, hoping to catch a glance at Justin’s expression in the side-view mirror.

“You’re in PR? That’s so great!” Brian bit the inside of his cheek to avoid laughing out loud at Jennifer’s enthusiasm. “Is this your first job?”

“Actually no,” he responded. Staying as close to the truth as possible seemed to be the best option. “I was in advertising for a few years, before making a… career change.”

Brian cleared his throat and gazed over at Jennifer’s profile, noticing her furrowed brow. “How old are you anyway, if you don’t mind me asking? I mean, you already had a career, so I assume you’re a few years older than my son?”

Brian couldn’t prevent himself from chuckling. “I’m thirty, for a few more weeks anyway.”

“That makes you…” Jennifer’s smile faltered slightly.

“Twelve years older than your son, more or less.” Brian pinched his lips between his teeth to stop himself from smirking at her expected reaction.

“That’s…” Jennifer tried, but failed to find the correct response.

Brian decided to play his role to perfection. “...Incredible, you’re right. I would have never guessed that I would date someone as young as Justin, but I can assure you that I have never been happier in my entire life. When you love someone, the years just disappear and all that is left is the bliss of knowing you’re with the right person for you.” Brian wanted to barf at his own explanation, but he maintained a sincere facade.

“Wow, Brian. I…” Jennifer was at a loss for words, and Brian sensed that he might have gone a little too far.

“I’m sorry if I appear a little too sappy. It’s just, your son is a wonderful person.” He decided to play it safe and refocus the conversation on Justin.

“Brian, stop.” Justin intervened, and Brian could hear the embarrassment in his voice.

“What? You know I’m being sincere, Justin. I treasure the day I met you,” Brian drawled with a stupid grin on his face. Jennifer, fortunately, was staring at the road.

Brian was sure that if he had been able to see Justin’s face, the young man would have been rolling his eyes.

“When was it?” Jennifer asked, totally oblivious.

“Hmm?” Brian returned his gaze to Justin’s mother, not sure what she wanted to know.

“The day you two started seeing each other? When was it?”

Brian bit his lips and hesitated briefly, before responding. “Three weeks ago.”

The only problem was, Justin chose to answer, too. “Two months ago.”

Brian glanced at him, silently cursing Justin’s unwise decision to intervene at that point. Observing Jennifer’s quizzical expression, he hastily added, “Well, your son is right.” From Brian’s admittedly limited experience, it was always preferable for a mother to think that her son was the smart one while the boyfriend was the one desperately in love. “To be specific, we started dating two months ago. But I declared myself to him three weeks ago. I didn’t want either of us to rush into something we might not be ready for, especially considering that I’m…” Fuck, he hated that word. “... older than him.” Gah .

When Jennifer nodded her approval, Brian congratulated himself on his genius bullshit. He really could sell anything to anyone.

“That’s very thoughtful of you, Brian,” she finally declared out loud.

“Justin is worth it. He is worth more than I will ever deserve,” Brian responded, an unexpected, almost sad feeling invading his mind, but he pushed it away as soon as he saw Jennifer was satisfied with his reply. Then, he rolled his lips inward and stared out the window, trying to stop his laughter from escaping at the ludicrousness of the situation.

“Brian, stop,” Justin suddenly demanded, but Brian could hear the amusement in his voice, maybe tinged with a hint of nervousness. “And, Mom! Enough with the inquisition!”

Jennifer feigned not to notice her son’s annoyance. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Justin. I’m your mother, I have the right to question the man who sleeps in your bed at night.” Brian bit his lips harder at her response. He liked her more and more with each passing minute.

“Jeez, Mom,” Justin mumbled, before falling silent again.

A few seconds passed before Brian had a sudden realization. If Justin’s mom assumed they were sleeping together on a regular basis, maybe she had booked a single room for them? “Mrs. Taylor…”

Jennifer cut him off. “Please, Brian, call me Jennifer.”

“Okay… Jennifer,” Brian replied with a small smile on his lips, before asking, “I assume you made reservations at a hotel for the next couple of nights?”

“Don’t worry everything has been taken care of,” she happily confirmed. “Dorian - Justin’s cousin - is marrying the daughter of the Paradise Resort’s owner. The hotel is situated at Presque Isle State Park and houses many wonderful rooms. According to my sister, you’ll be staying in a suite, which includes a king-size bed, a huge tub, and even a private pool. So, boys, you will have a lot of space to play!” she quipped awkwardly, before adding with a wink, “I’m not as uptight as my son thinks I am, you know...”

Brian was becoming suspicious of her motives in wanting to please her son so much. It seemed that the two shared a history he wasn’t privy to, apart from Justin’s accident. But, whatever; he was thrilled with this new development. The suite they would be sharing would surely provide him with multiple opportunities to get better acquainted with his attractive client.

“Mom!” This time, it was Molly who seemed embarrassed by her mother’s behavior.

“Okay! I will just shut up and concentrate on driving since both my children are so ashamed of my behavior!” Jennifer exclaimed loudly, peering over at Brian and rolling her eyes. Brian silently thanked Molly for having succeeded in shutting up her mother with a single word, while smiling warmly at Jennifer.

The Taylors were definitely a lot of fun to be around. Brian was actually looking forward to the rest of the weekend.


They arrived at their destination a couple of hours later. As he entered the resort with Brian’s arm safely secured around his waist, Justin had to admit that, as per his mom’s description, the place sounded gorgeous. High ceilings, beautiful furnishings, a red-carpeted floor covering the entire reception area... From the moment a client walked into the resort, it truly reflected its name, Paradise - ‘the land of love’.

From what his mother had told them just before they reached the resort, the place was made for entertainment and romantic escapades, with rooms which included not only en-suite pools and whirlpool baths but also live nightly experiences - whatever that meant - a spa, a piano bar, the Colosseum Restaurant, even a private club for members only. Moreover, many weddings were hosted on the resort’s private beach.

They all headed to the reception desk. A beautiful, tall, black-haired woman wearing impeccable yet sexy clothes came to greet them with a warm smile on her face. “Welcome to Paradise Resort! My name is Jane; may I help you?”

“We have reservations for the next two nights,” Jennifer confirmed. “We’re here for the wedding of Dorian Parson and Mary Anderson.”

“Of course! Give me your names and Jeremy will show you to your rooms.” Jane responded as she peered over at the bellboy standing a few feet away.

“Jennifer and Justin Taylor.”

Jane clicked away on her computer. “Mrs. Taylor, you and your daughter will stay in our Double Oasis Room; here is your key card.” she informed her a few seconds later when Jeremy came to take care of their luggage. Jane then turned toward Brian and Justin. “As for you gentlemen, you will stay in our Paradise Fantasy Room.”

“Sounds interesting,” Brian whispered into Justin’s ear, his warm breath sending shivers down the blond’s spine. “Maybe they have a Paradise Orgasm Room, too?” he added with a chuckle, and Justin could feel himself blushing.

“Thank you.” He extended his hand towards the counter, searching for the key card Jane had placed there, unsuccessfully trying to distance himself from Brian.

“Sweetheart, how about we all settle into our rooms and meet up later tonight?” his mother proposed. “I could really use a shower.”

“Me too,” Brian responded as he placed his hand on the small of Justin’s back. The blond elbowed him in the side, as he visualized a goofy smile on the brunet’s face. He heard Brian laugh playfully and inwardly groaned.

Justin eventually responded, his hands firmly gripping the keycard. “Sure, Mom. I’ll call you in about an hour, okay?”

“Perfect! Okay, then… See you later boys!” she exclaimed with a little wave of her hand before following Jeremy with Molly, who was rolling her eyes at her mother’s silly behavior.

Another bellhop arrived to take their luggage. Brian actually behaved this time, as he continued to describe in great detail everything Justin couldn’t see clearly and to provide information that made it easier for the blond to navigate his way to their suite.

When they finally made it to their room, the porter left them as soon as Justin tipped him.

“Holy fuck!” Brian exclaimed, as he moved away from Justin and walked around the suite. “This place is fucking huge! It could use a little more masculine, refined taste but still...”

Justin stood still next to the door, with their bags at his feet, while Brian continued exploring their home for the next two days.

“There really is an indoor pool and a jacuzzi! You should see this!” Brian’s voice echoed from another room.

“Oh, yeah. I so should see the suite,” Justin drawled bitterly.

“What was that?” Brian asked distantly.

Justin sighed, irritated by his companion’s callous behavior. “Get your ass over here! I’m not paying thousands of dollars for you to abandon me in order to explore a fucking room!” he spat out. He knew he was being a prick, but a new environment always increased his anxiety tenfold. He was still adjusting to the loss of his sight, and he had rarely been in a completely unfamiliar place since the bashing. He had certainly never spent an entire weekend with a man he had met just a week earlier.

Justin leaned against the door behind him as he heard Brian approaching; the man stopped in front of him and stated in a surprisingly gentle tone. “I didn’t mean to abandon you. I just wanted to check the room before leading you in there.”

“I…” Justin lowered his head, before straightening. “I don’t know this place, Brian. Just... warn me if you have to leave me so that I’m aware of my surroundings first, okay?”

“Okay,” Brian agreed, actually sounding a bit remorseful. “So, let me introduce you to our suite properly.” He gently grabbed Justin’s hand, sliding his fingers into Justin’s, the blond experiencing a familiar spark at the contact. Brian placed his other hand on the opposite shoulder, positioning himself behind Justin, before whispering in his ear, “It truly is meant to be a fantasy, you know?”

Justin’s heart beat more rapidly as his body reacted to Brian’s words. He was quite sure that Brian was doing it on purpose, as he continued in a slow voice. “We’re standing in the living room of the suite. A few stairs to your left…” He took three steps and paused, so that Justin could feel the first stair beneath his foot. “... lead down to the bedroom.”

“How many stairs?” Justin asked.

“Five.” Brian responded, before explaining, “There’s a railing on the wall on the left side of the steps, but for now…” Brian turned Justin’s body and returned to their starting point so that they were again facing the suite. “...we’re in the living room. The sofa is about three steps in front of you on your left, the loveseat at the same distance on your right.” He guided Justin so that the young man could verify the number of steps he had to make to reach each piece of furniture. “There is also a TV on a small table near the sofa and a fireplace at the back of the room.”

After Justin had navigated around the room a few times with Brian, he actually did it on his own, sensing Brian’s reassuring presence the whole time. “Okay. I think I can move around on my own now,” he stated, relieved that the place wasn’t cluttered with furnishings, making it easier for him to situate himself.

“Now, the bedroom…” Brian took Justin’s hand again to guide him, but Justin almost lost his balance as he miscalculated his first step onto the stairs.

“Fuck! I’m going to break my neck with those stairs.” he cursed, adrenaline coursing through his body.

“No, you won’t. I’m right here.” Brian firmly asserted, squeezing Justin’s fingers, and the blond felt his heart beating faster again.

Fuck. You shouldn’t let him mess with your head like that, he chastised himself silently, unhappy to realize that the more time he spent with Brian, the more he felt something he didn’t want to identify or even acknowledge.

He truly didn’t know how he would survive this weekend.

Oblivious to Justin’s inner turmoil, Brian murmured, “Remember… five stairs down and the railing is at your left to support you.” He kept their fingers entwined and counted the stairs as they descended slowly.

“Okay.” Justin acknowledged when they’d made it to the bedroom.

“Now, immediately on your right, are two chairs near a dinner table. There is also a mini-fridge right here.” Brian indicated, before leading Justin and helping him count the steps between each item.

Finally, he turned Justin’s body again, placing his hands on the blond’s shoulders before announcing, “And right in front of you, there is a bed. It’s huge, round, kind of kitschy, but also everything you might want in a bed.” Justin could hear the satisfaction in his voice.

“I was beginning to wonder if there was one at all,” he teased with a laugh. Knowing Brian, he had expected him to introduce the bed first and foremost.

“I saved the best for last...” Brian bantered, stroking a hand along Justin’s arm before breathing out seductively, “And I wouldn’t mind testing it with you.”

Justin shivered, half-tempted to let Brian do what he wanted with him, but he was so nervous that he freed himself from Brian’s embrace when he felt the man’s warm breath on his neck.

“You said something about a spacious bathroom? Truthfully, I really could use a shower.” A cold shower… Being so close to Brian was waking up his dick dangerously.

Brian wasn’t fooled though. “You need a hand?” he purred, using the same lame joke he had already used earlier that day and emphasizing the word ‘hand’ to inform Justin that he was aware of the boner tenting his pants.

“No.” Justin curtly retorted, feeling his cheeks burn. “Just…lead me to the bathroom and describe it to me.”

“Sure. Whatever you need.” Brian placed one hand on Justin’s waist again and leaned in, whispering, “I’m here to please.”

Justin felt himself getting harder and cursed silently.

Brian walked with him to the adjacent bathroom and barked out a laugh when he observed the room. “Jesus, it’s so cheesy…” he shared, before clarifying, “We have a red heart-shaped-tub/jacuzzi along the right wall, and the double sinks are immediately at your right. There is a walk-in-shower along the left wall, as well as a toilet immediately on your left.”

While he described the space, he walked with Justin, the young man counting the steps again.

“And right in front of you, there is a door leading to the private pool.” Brian finished his description.

“I will check on that later; I really need a shower.” Justin reiterated. He could barely wait for Brian to leave him alone. “Do you mind getting my toiletries from my luggage? As well as bringing in a chair and a change of clothes? Feel free to choose any outfit you want; I’m not picky.”

“Okay, I’ll be right back.” Brian agreed, as Justin navigated around the bathroom a few more times. Fortunately, the space was fairly simple, so he wasn’t too anxious about falling.

A couple minutes later, Brian came back. He set the bag with Justin’s toiletries next to the sink nearest the shower and then helped the blond with the chair, placing it in the corner between the sink and the shower entrance. After draping his clothes over the back of the chair and setting clean towels on the seat, he stepped back so that Justin could check what he’d done. The younger man touched the chair and frowned when he realized Brian had already put everything he needed on it. “I could have done it,” he stated in a stern voice.

“I know,” Brian replied, before adding sincerely, “I just wanted to help.”

Justin cleared his throat and nodded, finally muttering, “Thank you.”

He was about to take his shirt off when he heard Brian’s velvety voice behind him. “Let me do that.” Brian didn’t wait for Justin’s answer, grabbing the back of his shirt and beginning to lift it up.

“Brian, don’t...I’ve got it.” Justin stopped him, not pleased when he heard the quiver in his voice, betraying how affected he really was by Brian’s attention. But he insisted, “Just wait for me in the bedroom.”

Brian suggested, obviously amused as he leaned against Justin’s back. “On the bed? Naked?”

“NO!” Justin blushed furiously before turning his head sideways. “You’re joking, right?”

“Maybe…maybe not,” Brian responded mischievously, ignoring his request and pulling his shirt up and over his head, brushing his skin softly in the process.

Justin shivered, unable to stop him.

Once his shirt was gone, Brian’s fingers ran along his arms, stopping at his hips, his palms moving imperceptibly up and down. Justin could hear his own loud breathing and felt the warmth of Brian’s body against his back, breathing deeply to maintain control and keep himself from succumbing to Brian’s torturous teasing. He also needed to put an end to what Brian was doing or he would soon be well and truly fucked.

“Brian…” He turned around to face Brian and reached out, intending to push him away gently but when he felt the man’s bare chest beneath his fingers, he gasped and froze.

Time stood still for a few long seconds but, eventually, Brian’s voice broke the deafening silence. “Stop worrying, Sunshine. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to do,” he reassured him, and Justin didn’t know if he was relieved or disappointed that his companion had finally decided to stop torturing him. However, Brian added purposefully as he walked toward the door. “Take all the time you need to see to your…‘business’. If you need any help, though, don’t hesitate to call me. I’ll be happy to oblige.”

Justin was mortified. Bare-chested, with his shirt no longer partially covering his groin, his raging hard-on had to be even more evident to the brunet. He took several deep breaths before moving to lock the door behind Brian.

He leaned briefly against the door, trying to calm his nerves. Truthfully, he didn’t know if he was angry that Brian had taken advantage of his disability to tease him so torturously or if he was just pleased by the attention. The only thing he was sure of was that he was fucking horny.

Sighing, he headed towards the chair and took off his pants before stepping into the shower with some body wash and shampoo. Then, as the water ran down his skin, ignoring the likelihood that Brian could hear him, Justin soaped himself, soon shamelessly fucking his fist as he remembered the delicious touch of Brian’s fingers on his bare skin.


Meanwhile, Brian was lying on the bed, his jeans open, underwear pushed down, his cock coming and going in one hand, while his other hand caressed his balls.

He didn’t know why he couldn’t restrain himself around Justin and, yet, there was something about the blond that made him act recklessly. He’d never pursued a client. He’d never had to because he always knew when somebody wanted him; so, anytime he proposed to a customer that they fuck, they immediately agreed.

Justin was different. How and why, Brian didn’t know. But he was, and the fact that he kept resisting Brian - even though the brunet had no doubt that Justin wanted him just as much as he wanted the blond - made him even more intrigued. It wasn’t just all about sex. Of course Brian wanted to fuck him but he was enjoying his company a lot, too. That rarely happened. Well, that wasn’t exactly true, since some of Brian’s clients, like Matthew, had actually become more than just clients. Still, since Brian had become an escort, he’d never felt this way about anyone.

Right now, he needed to relax. He hadn’t fucked anyone since Wednesday, and touching Justin all the time was turning him on badly. So, he let his mind travel to the shower stall where he was sure Justin was also jerking off, picturing the naked blond pleasuring himself.

Imagining a blissed-out Justin ejaculating into his own hand, Brian came with a muffled cry. As he caught his breath, deeply inhaling and exhaling several times, he started to laugh, thinking...

Welcome to the Paradise Fantasy suite, indeed.



Chapter Text

Thirty minutes later...

Brian walked out of the bathroom with only a towel hanging low on his hips. Hearing Justin’s voice, he looked around and noticed that he was on the phone, sitting on the edge on the bed. Regretting that the blond couldn’t see him, he decided to get dressed while his companion finished his conversation.

When Justin hung up, Brian was putting on a white shirt after having already thrown on a pair of faded blue jeans. Justin was looking in his direction, his gaze indicating that he had heard Brian and knew where he was standing.

“My cousin invited us to his bachelor party,” Justin announced. “I was just talking with my mom and informed her we wouldn’t join her tonight. She was delighted that I consented to go out and have fun.” He finished his sentence in a high-pitched tone, doing a poor imitation of his mother and making Brian chuckle.

“Come on then,” Brian demanded as he grabbed Justin’s arm to lead him to the bathroom. “Your hair needs a little fixing.”

“My hair is fine,” Justin whined.

“Stop being a princess,” Brian replied and slipped his lightly gel-coated fingers through Justin’s hair. Justin sighed but didn’t stop him. “There,” Brian said, smiling at his handiwork. “Now you’re ready. This outfit really suits you, you know.”

“You think?” Justin asked with a frown, wondering what he looked like in his jeans and pale-blue shirt. He recognized each piece of clothing thanks to a little Braille sign sewn onto the tag. “Daphne helped me choose everything. I mean, I’ve never seen myself in them, but she swore they fit me perfectly.”

“That outfit suits you, alright,” Brian confirmed, emitting a little whistle as he took a step back and peered down at Justin’s ass.

“Brian… I may be almost blind, but I can still feel your gaze on my ass right now.”

“It’s not my fault your ass is so round and full and…” Brian jested, but the blond turned around and hit him, missing his arm and actually punching his abs.

“Enough!” Justin ordered, laughing.

Brian smiled wider, as he realized that he loved hearing Justin laugh.

*************************

Justin's cousin had asked them to meet him at the reception desk at seven o’clock. As Brian walked him through the corridors toward their destination, Justin felt himself growing more apprehensive, since he hadn’t seen his cousin in a very long time.

A couple of minutes later, they were waiting for Dorian to join them, and Justin couldn’t keep himself from tugging at the collar of his shirt. Brian eventually had to bat his hands away, chiding, “Stop already. You look fine. No man on my arm would ever look like a troll anyway, so you don’t need to be nervous.”

Justin snorted but stopped fidgeting nonetheless.

“And for Christ’s sake, stop frowning or you’ll get age lines prematurely.” Brian warned, playfully smoothing his thumb over the skin between Justin’s brows. Justin just frowned some more to annoy his companion, biting his lip to hide his amusement when he heard Brian sigh exasperatedly.

A man approached them hurriedly, apparently intending to wrap his arms around Justin as he exclaimed, “Justin! It’s really you!”

However, Justin felt Brian get in the way before the stranger could come too close to him. Surprised, yet pleased by Brian’s protective behavior, he suddenly realized that this man had to be his cousin. “Dorian?”

“Man! Of course it’s me!” The sandy-brown-haired man answered and took him into his arms, hugging him tightly. Justin forced himself to relax while Brian stepped back to give them some privacy.

“I should have known! I’m happy to be here; it’s been so long since we last saw each other!” Justin blurted as they parted. He heard Brian clearing his throat and turned to introduce his companion. “Dorian, this is Brian, my… partner.”

Justin thought that Dorian had extended his hand for Brian to shake it, but he wasn’t sure. However, he heard him say, “Brian... It’s nice to meet you!”

“Likewise,” Brian responded and from the tone of his voice alone, Justin guessed that the brunet appreciated the view. His cousin had always been a looker, well a straight looker.

“I’m so happy for you, cuz! You deserve someone by your side after everything you’ve been through,” Dorian stated sincerely, before addressing Brian, “You’d better not hurt him.”

“That’s the farthest thought from my mind,” Brian answered automatically.

“I hope you two aren’t too tired and that you have everything you need?” Dorian inquired.

“We’re fine and the room is perfect, thanks.” Justin responded with a smile. “You said you were going to your bachelor party tonight?”

“Yes! And I would be delighted if you joined me and my friends.” Dorian confirmed.

Justin tilted his head to check that Brian wouldn’t mind spending his evening with strangers - probably all straight guys or lesbians even - and he was surprised when he thought he discerned a smile on Brian’s face. He wasn’t sure, though. “Brian?” he questioned, hoping the man would say yes, but not wanting him to do something he didn’t want to.

“Sure. Anything you want, my sweet love. You haven’t seen your cousin for so long, and you know all I want is for you to be happy,” Brian drawled purposely, knowing exactly how Justin was going to react to his stupid endearment.

Justin discreetly tried to crush Brian’s foot with his heel before focusing back on Dorian. “We’d be thrilled to spend the night with you and your friends. And you need to tell me everything about Mary!” He accepted his cousin’s offer, even if the thought of being surrounded by strangers inevitably made his heart thump erratically. He wanted to do this, to reclaim his life, to be able to enjoy an evening with friends without freaking out and, strangely, knowing Brian would be by his side all night helped soothe his anxiety.

“Awesome! I’m so happy you two are coming.” Dorian stated warmly.

“We are too,” Brian declared a bit too enthusiastically, placing his hand on Justin’s back. “Right, Justin?”

Justin wanted to elbow Brian and erase the stupid grin he must be sporting right now, but he refrained. Fortunately, if Dorian found Brian’s behavior a little weird, he didn’t acknowledge it.

“The party is being hosted at the hotel’s private club. Let’s say…” Dorian paused, probably looking at his watch. “...in a couple of hours? That way, you two will have plenty of time to get settled and have some dinner.” He paused, before sharing in a conspiratory tone, “And for your information, there will be booze, plenty of it. It’s going to be a great night!”

“As long as you’re not too hungover for your wedding tomorrow.” Justin quipped, chuckling.

“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine,” Dorian affirmed. “So, I’ll see you later? Just come to the club, and let the doorman know who you are. I’ll add your names to the list.”

“Perfect,” Justin confirmed with a smile. “And congratulations on your wedding, Dorian.”

“Thanks!” Dorian said, as he stepped back. “Don’t be late!” he demanded cheerfully, before stepping energetically in the opposite direction, leaving the two men on their own.

Justin stood still for a few more seconds, with Brian waiting patiently for him to decide what he wanted to do next. As if on cue, Justin’s stomach growled loudly.

“Hungry?” Brian asked in an amused tone.

Justin snorted at Brian’s stupid question. “You’re a perceptive man.”

“Well, you’re still a growing boy. You need to eat to stay ‘in shape’, especially since we have plans tonight,” Brian advised mischievously as he leaned in closer.

“Considering your behavior, I could safely say that I’m as much an adult as you are, and fuck you! My shape is just fine,” Justin retorted immediately, playfully pushing Brian, but he couldn’t prevent his lips from turning upward at Brian’s silly banter.

Brian chuckled and grabbed Justin’s hand to lead him to the restaurant.

A waiter greeted them warmly and offered to seat them at a secluded table. Brian thanked the man, the two of them then following the waiter.

After ordering, Justin decided to fill Brian in on his cousin’s life. Dorian was twenty-two years old, had graduated as a physical therapist in June 2001, and had a best friend named Lily, who was a lesbian. He had met his future wife, Mary, during the party celebrating his graduation, which had been organized at the Paradise Resort.

Justin hadn’t seen Dorian since he was fourteen and Dorian seventeen, but they had kept in touch via email over the years. Still, the last time Justin had emailed Dorian, the bashing hadn’t yet happened. Jennifer had informed her sister - Dorian’s mother - of her son’s condition, though. The young man had therefore sent an email to Justin during his recovery, notifying him among other things that he had met a girl, but the blond had not been able to respond at the time.

Truthfully, Justin had been surprised not to receive an invitation to the wedding. Dorian had probably assumed that he was still living with his mother, and Jennifer must have forgotten to inform him that he was invited until last week. Moreover, she probably had thought that he wouldn’t go, and he couldn’t blame her. This was the first time since the attack that he would attend such an event.

“He’s hot,” Brian stated conversationally, as Justin was trying to describe more about his cousin’s family.

“Well, I haven’t seen him in years except for a few pictures, so I will have to trust you on that.”

“Don’t worry, he’s not as hot as you are,” Brian whispered knowingly, obviously grinning.

“Thanks… I think,” Justin responded with a playful frown. “By the way…” he added, “I think we should come up with a plausible story about how we met. I don’t want any more awkward moments to occur over the weekend.”

“Hmm… what places do you frequent? Do you go to clubs on Liberty Avenue?” Brian asked curiously.

Justin shook his head. “No. I usually stay indoors. I don’t like crowded places.”

“You have shows at the gallery,” Brian pointed out.

Justin shrugged. “Yeah… but I rarely get out on my own. Except for the art supply store. I could spend hours at that place.”

“Well, that’s perfect,” Brian stated. “We have the art supply store in common.”

“Why would you go there?” Justin inquired.

“One of my closest friends is an artist,” he explained. It wasn’t exactly a lie. Lindsay loved to paint, after all. But he usually visited the store to buy sketch pads and painting tubes for his son. His little boy loved getting his fingers dirty and slapping his little hands on blank pages.

“Oh?” Justin nodded.

“Hmm… actually, you know her. It’s Lindsay, Lindsay Peterson,” Brian revealed.

“Lindsay is a friend of yours?” Justin asked, dumbfounded.

“She is,” Brian confirmed. “I saw her last Sunday. She is the one who brought me the article about our supposed romance. She told me she suggested you for the exhibition.”

Justin was surprised by this new information. “She did. I wouldn’t have had my first show if not for her,” he disclosed, still amazed to have been so lucky. “Does she know…” He wanted to ask if she was aware of Brian’s job, but he didn’t finish his thought, sensing that it could be a sensitive topic. Unfortunately, Brian had already guessed what he meant to ask.

“What? That I’m an escort?” Brian barked, and Justin shifted uncomfortably in his seat, but he confirmed his question with a small nod. The brunet sighed. “She does. I’m not hiding who I am. Especially not from my friends.”

“I’m sorry, I…” Justin began.

“Don’t.” Brian cut him off immediately. “There’s nothing to be sorry for. It’s my life, not yours, and I’m not apologizing. I do what I have to do and I surely don’t need your pity.”

“I’m not…” Justin countered, but Brian interrupted again.

“Whatever. Can we move on now?” The brunet half-questioned, half-ordered, a fake smile on his face.

“Sure…”

However, neither man knew what to say to break the tension filling the air. So, they pretended to focus on their meals, staying silent for a long time.

*********************

Nine p.m…

Brian didn’t know exactly why he was pissed at Justin, but he was. His opinion shouldn't matter. Hell, HE shouldn’t matter. And still…

For now, he had to suck it up because they were walking to the bachelor party. The club was situated outside the hotel, about one hundred feet from the water, allowing the sleeping guests to remain undisturbed by the loud music in the middle of the night.

Arriving at the door of the club, Brian eyed the doorman, an average looking but very muscular redhead, before giving him their names. The man checked his list and let them enter.

The club was nothing like Babylon, but it was spectacular. The dance floor was twice the size of the ones in Pittsburgh. The back of the club could be opened to the outside, with a large, secure, outdoor swimming-pool area and private access to the beach a few feet away. The music - some electro song - was already loud and upbeat, the lasers amplifying its rhythm, while the dimmed lights created a sensual atmosphere. The bar was quite large and well stocked.

When they reached the bar, Brian noticed Justin was sticking a finger in his ear and wincing.

“Is the music too loud?” Brian wondered, after ordering a neat Beam for himself and a light beer for his companion.

“I just need to get used to it. Since I lost my sight, my hearing has become more sensitive.”

“Hmm…” Brian nodded slightly before taking the beer and placing it in Justin’s hand. He then took a sip of his own drink.

“Justin! Brian! You made it!” An already buzzed Dorian approached them.

“Hey, Dorian.” Justin smiled. “This is really nice!”

“Wait until you see the pool...” Dorian winked, before wrapping one arm around Justin’s shoulders and the other around Brian’s. “Come meet my friends!” He didn’t wait for an answer before guiding them toward the back of the club and then to the pool. As they headed outside, though, Dorian lost his grip on Justin.

Brian allowed Dorian to drag him to a table where several of his friends were already drinking and laughing, but he kept his eyes on Justin, who was stumbling in this unfamiliar space. When Justin almost missed the step leading down to the patio, he hastily disentangled himself from Dorian, catching Justin’s elbow just before he fell.

“Okay, Justin?” he checked quietly, his heart beating surprisingly fast as he gripped the blond's elbow tightly.

Justin nodded, but Brian could feel him shaking.

“Whoa, cuz! I’m so sorry!” Dorian stared at Justin, worried. “I didn’t hurt you, right?”

“I’m fine, Dory,” Justin teased. Brian figured that was one of Dorian’s childhood nicknames and, from the look on his face, it was safe to assume that he hated it.

“Glad to hear it, Jussy,” Dorian bit back.

Jussy,” Brian repeated, laughing wholeheartedly.

“I dare you to call me that again!” Justin jabbed a finger into Brian’s chest, making Brian laugh even harder.

Dorian introduced them to his friends, and they mingled with the group fairly fast, especially when Brian commented about being at a bachelor party and wondered why there was a woman amongst them.

“Lily is not a woman, she’s a lesbian,” one of Dorian’s friends - Stephen - commented, as he plopped down next to Brian on the sofa, his arm stretched out along the back behind the brunet.

“Lesbians are women,” Brian retorted dryly, peering at the new guy. He raised his eyebrows when the guy briefly grazed his neck.

“If you say so…” Stephen drawled with a seductive look, moistening his lips before standing up and moving to the dance floor.

“Fuck. Even the straight ones aren’t straight anymore…” Brian distractedly commented, as he stared at Stephen’s ass while the man walked away.

“What?” Justin asked, confused. He was sitting on the other side of Brian, but he hadn’t noticed Stephen hitting on his supposed boyfriend.

“Never mind.”

“Hey, guys. You have to stay hydrated,” Lily - Dorian’s best friend - stated with a mischievous smile as she arrived with a tray full of cocktails. She placed the tray on the coffee table in front of them, as well as a bottle of Tequila, slices of lemon, and shot glasses.

“Well…” Brian took a deep breath. “Tequila and cocktails, Sunshine. What do you say?”

“I’m game if you are,” Justin responded with a grin. He seemed excited about drinking alcohol without worrying about being carded. Certainly, no one in their group seemed to mind that he wasn’t old enough. “A cocktail first. Surprise me.”

So, Brian did. First, a light cocktail, then another one, stronger this time. And finally, a couple shots of tequila. By the time Justin had gulped the last shot, the young man felt pretty good. Scratch that, he felt great. He couldn’t help himself and leaned closer to Brian. Not that Brian seemed to mind.

Sensing that Justin had more than enough alcohol in his system, Brian suggested they head to the dance floor. Justin accepted happily, apparently forgetting all about his fear of crowds and his disability. The second he stood up, though, he started to sway and almost lost his balance.

“Easy, Sunshine.” Brian chuckled and wrapped an arm around Justin’s waist, supporting him. When he was sure that Justin was ready, he led him to the dance floor, joining Dorian and his friends who were dancing uninhibitedly to a techno song.

As soon as Brian found a less crowded spot, he placed his hands on Justin’s hips, and his companion looped his arms around his neck, smiling widely as he started to move his body to the music. He looked… so thrilled and carefree, as if he were letting go for the first time in a very long while. In fact, Brian was surprised but happy at how comfortable the young man seemed to be. It was like being with a completely different person.

“Having fun?” Dorian asked, stepping closer but not losing his rhythm as he danced with Lily.

“Oh yeah, I feel amazing! It’s so good to be here!” Justin beamed, moving closer to Brian and caressing his neck, as he breathed out, “Right, Brian?”

“Yeah... It’s great to see you like this,” he stated sincerely, staring at Justin’s smiling face. An unexpected feeling spread through his chest as he stroked the blond's sweaty hair with his fingers.

“You really are cute together,” Lily shouted over the music, before advising with a laugh, “Maybe Justin’s next drink should be water, though.”

“I think so, too.” Brian agreed, not sure exactly what was happening. The word ‘cute’ usually made him want to barf but, right now, he didn’t care. Especially with the way Justin was rubbing deliciously against his body.

They swayed together for a long time. Eventually, Brian decided that Justin needed to stay hydrated if he didn’t want to get sick by the end of the night, and he pulled the blond’s hands away from his neck to signal that they should stop dancing. “Come on, Justin,” he whispered in his ear and dragged him to the bar, where he ordered two bottles of water.

Once they had their water, they walked back outside. A light breeze caressed their skin as Brian looked up at the sky. It truly was a beautiful night.

They headed towards the pool. Stephen was there, sitting slouched low on the sofa. A stripper was standing over him, slowly moving her hips and accepting the shots he offered her, while his hands traveled across her bare stomach, his eyes feeding on the sight of her scantily covered body.

Brian steered Justin to one of the love seats, away from the scene. Glancing one last time towards Stephen, he noticed that he was now licking the girl’s bare stomach.

“Is that Dorian here with us?” Justin questioned. “Why are we sitting so squished together?”

“I like being close to you,” Brian declared playfully. “And no. Dorian is still dancing with Lily.”

After a while, Stephen sent the stripper away, locking eyes with Brian. Once he was sure that the brunet was looking at him, he blatantly rearranged his hard-on and licked his lips, making it pretty clear what he wanted from him.

Brian resisted the urge to roll his eyes. One moment ago, Stephen had been all over that woman, and now the guy was openly hitting on him.

“Drink your water,” Brian demanded softly as he focused on Justin again, uncapping the bottle in his hands.

“I want more cocktails. The one with vodka was delicious,” Justin replied as he took a sip of his water.

“I bet.” Brian chuckled, playfully ruffling Justin’s hair, who pushed the brunet in response. “Though not until you drink all of that.”

“Quite the lightweight, huh?” Stephen joked, insinuating himself into their conversation and nodding towards Justin.

Brian chose his words carefully, in order not to offend Justin or disclose his age. “We don’t indulge so much back home, and Justin isn’t used to drinking Tequila.”

“Mmmhmm! Those shots were so good!” Justin stated dreamily before whispering in Brian’s ear, “Between you and me, I’d love to drink body shots off you.”

Brian couldn’t help but laugh. His supposed boyfriend was well and truly drunk. “Maybe I should remind you that we have a wedding to attend tomorrow. But if you keep drinking like you were, I foresee a night spent in the bathroom and, I can assure you, it will not be a pleasant experience.”

“I never get sick when I drink booze,” Justin stated, jutting his chin out. Brian had to wonder exactly how many times Justin had gotten wasted in the last couple of years. He truthfully doubted it had happened very often. Fortunately, Justin finished his bottle of water without further complaint, and soon he seemed to be less fuzzy-headed.

“I need to go to the restroom. Can you help me?” Justin finally asked in a low voice, so that only Brian could hear him.

“Sure,” Brian agreed before escorting him. In the men’s room, the brunet watched Justin discreetly so that he wouldn’t slip and hurt himself; then, after Justin had washed his hands, they headed back outside and Brian guided his companion to the sofa. Turning to look at Stephen, who was still sitting in the same place, Brian demanded, “Keep an eye on him. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay,” Stephen replied with a nod, still eyeing him avariciously, but Brian ignored him and left to order a light cocktail, intent on making this Justin’s last drink.

What he had failed to notice, though, was that Stephen had already ordered a bottle of Beam.

The club was packed now, so it took a while for Brian to get the cocktail. When he finally had drinks for both of them, he started to walk back to the pool but, on his way, he found Justin dancing with Stephen, obviously more inebriated than when he had left him.

“Justin?” Brian called out with a concerned frown.

“Oh, you’re finally here!” Justin responded with a goofy smile on his face and, from the tone of his voice alone, Brian knew he was wasted.

“I got you a cocktail but I’m not sure you need it anymore,” Brian stated, an accusatory edge in his voice.

“Oh, thanks, but Stephen already got me a drink,” Justin replied as he raised his glass of Beam, which Stephen had just refilled from the bottle that he’d carried onto the dance floor.

“Justin...” Brian said sternly. “You shouldn’t have…”

“Relax, Brian! You’re worse than my mother!” Justin chastised him. “Come on, let’s dance!” he ordered, but he miscalculated the distance between himself and Brian and spilled the drink Brian was holding all over the brunet’s shirt.

“Oops!”

This wasn’t happening. Brian sighed and put the empty glass on the nearest table. He then attempted to dry his shirt with some paper napkins, before coming back to Justin and taking the young man in his arms, being careful not to press his damp top against the blond.

“You know what? I think you should take this off,” Stephen suggested, positioning himself behind Brian and pushing his shirt up.

Brian let him, wondering how far he would go, especially considering his ‘boyfriend’ was in his arms.

“What’s going on?” Justin frowned when he felt Brian’s shirt moving up. “Stephen?” Brian could hear the hard edge in Justin’s voice as the blond figured out what was happening. “Why are you trying to undress my man?”

That word made Brian laugh. He ignored the fact that his heart skipped a beat.

“Oh, I thought we could have a little fun...” Stephen purred in Brian’s ear and, soon, the brunet found himself sandwiched between Justin and Stephen.

If he’d previously enjoyed such situations, he now didn’t. Firstly, he was with his client, who was supposed to be his partner. And Stephen was far too desperate to appeal to Brian.

“We’re not interested.” Brian addressed Stephen curtly, before wrapping his arms around Justin and walking him backward, away from the man. Sadly, the interloper didn’t get the message and remained glued to Brian’s back.

Stephen breathed out into Brian’s ear, “Don’t be like that. The three of us could spend an amazing night together. Although, I’d rather have you all to….”

He didn’t have the time to finish his sentence. Justin lifted his hands, smacking Stephen in the face and forcing the man to step back. Then, he slipped his fingers into Brian’s hair.

Next thing Brian knew, Justin’s soft, pliant lips were on his. The kiss started out chaste, but soon Brian felt Justin licking his lips, seeking entrance. Brian was so surprised that he didn’t respond initially, but once he felt Justin’s tongue against his lips, he fervently attacked the man in his arms, slipping his tongue into his mouth and eliciting a beautiful moan from the blond. He pulled Justin closer, one hand clasping the back of Justin’s neck while their tongues danced together.

Jesus. It felt so fucking good.

Eventually, Brian had to break the kiss to breathe and, when he did, he rested his forehead against Justin’s, inhaling deeply. Justin didn’t move at first, but suddenly he stepped back, realizing what he had done.

“Oh, my God, I’m so sorry...” Justin apologized, even if Brian was sure the blonde wasn’t that sorry. Hell, Brian wasn’t sorry at all. In addition, Stephen was nowhere to be found, Justin’s message having been delivered loud and clear.

“Don’t be. That was the highlight of my night,” he quipped with a soft, playful smile, his forehead touching Justin’s again. He eventually leaned back and declared in a low voice, “Though, I do think it’s time for little boys to call it a night.”

Justin smiled. “I assure you, I’m not a little boy. There is nothing little about me.” Apparently, there was still some alcohol running through his veins.

Brian laughed out loud at Justin’s boldness before taking his hand and leading him to find his cousin.

They discovered Dorian at the bar with his friends, trying to talk all of them into participating in a little contest involving multiple shots of tequila. Brian tried to decline, pretending that they had to leave because Justin was tired, but the blond didn’t cooperate at all, and all too soon he had downed several shots.

He could be so infuriating. After the fifth shot, Justin was about to climb onto the bar to perform a sensual dance - that was the new contest - when Brian intervened and dragged him out of the club, ignoring Justin’s complaints, as he whined all the way to their suite.

When Brian finally locked the door behind them, he realized that Justin had disappeared from sight. Sure enough, he heard a loud yell and ran to find the boy sprawled on the floor in the bedroom, laughing hysterically.

“I think I missed the stairs. Stairs are so mean to me, Brian!” Justin giggled stupidly.

Brian rushed to his side. “Are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?” he asked, the worry evident in his voice as he inwardly cursed Justin’s reckless behavior.

“I’m awesome!” Justin reassured him excitedly as he tried to stand up. Brian helped him, keeping a hand on his arm as the blond added, “Though, I’m bummed you didn’t let me use your beautiful body to drink those shots...”

Brian rolled his eyes. Justin was so fucking wasted. “Another time. For now, you need to sleep it off,” he advised as he led the blond towards the bed. “Sit here. I’ll get you some water and something to eat. You’ll need that if you want to have the tiniest chance that you won’t get sick.”

“I won’t get sick. I’m great!” Justin refuted before inquiring unexpectedly, “Was that stripper any good?”

Brian searched inside the fridge for something to eat and frowned at Justin’s question. “Did you see her?”

“I could hear high heels… and saw a body swaying to the music when we were sitting by the pool. I figured it was a stripper.”

“Yeah, well, I couldn’t care less… since she didn’t have a dick,” Brian replied as he retrieved a granola bar and a bottle of water, closing the fridge before turning around.

He gasped.

Justin was standing on the bed, trying to unbuckle his belt.

“What are you doing?” Brian asked incredulously.

“I bet you a thousand dollars that I can strip better than she can,” he stated with conviction, finally succeeding in taking off his belt without falling. He threw it away carelessly, barely missing Brian’s head. The brunet glared at him, even though Justin couldn’t see him. “Do we have some soft music? I want to strip to a sexy song. For you...”

“Justin,” Brian sighed loudly. He felt like he was spending an afternoon with Gus. And even then, his son wasn’t such a troublemaker. “I think you should concentrate on drinking some water and eating a little solid food before trying to sleep. You’ll end up breaking your neck if you don’t listen to me.”

Justin didn’t listen to him, of course. He continued to strip, barely managing to take off his shirt, but tossing it aside with a satisfied grin nonetheless, obviously aiming for Brian. “Woohoo!”

Brian sighed again but let him be, approaching the bed just in case he needed to help Justin.

Justin moved his hips languorously - well, as languorously as a wasted man could - before he unzipped his pants. Brian was about to stop him when Justin exclaimed, “Oh, my socks! I need to take them off first!”

In his defense, he tried very hard not to fall but of course, he was doomed. Brian barely managed to catch him as he lost his balance and almost belly-flopped off of the bed.

Brian smiled as he rubbed Justin’s back. “Come on, Stripper Man. You’ve had your little show; now it’s time for you to listen to the grown-ups.”

“Hurff…” Justin responded drowsily.

“You’re kidding me,” Brian scowled. Mere seconds later, Justin started snoring, indicating he had passed out. Brian’s hand stilled on Justin’s back, and he stared up at the ceiling, saying to no one in particular, “Kill me now.”

He was convinced that it was going to be a long night and, unfortunately, he was right.

***************************

Forty minutes later…

Justin woke up, feeling like he was going to die because of the pain in his stomach. He had a hard time remembering where he was or what he had done, so he started to panic, his breathing becoming frantic.

Before he panicked even more, however, he heard Brian’s voice and felt the man’s reassuring hand slipping through his hair. He must have been sitting next to him, and Justin briefly wondered what had happened before he felt a sudden rush of nausea overtake him.

“Bathroom...” was all he managed to say. Brian reacted immediately and helped him get up, Justin barely having enough time to get there before he started to puke his guts into the toilet.

He would have been mortified for Brian to see him like this, if his brain had been functioning properly. But for now, all he could focus on were the overwhelming waves of nausea. He had never been so sick.

He wouldn’t remember much of the night come morning. Yet, his mind would remind him that the man sitting next to him right now, waiting for him to feel better and even rubbing his back in circles, had stayed by his side and had given him the most beautiful kiss of his entire life.

 

Chapter Text

The next morning…

“Justin, are you alright?” Jennifer questioned, as she peered over at her son.

It was ten o’clock on Saturday morning. They were having breakfast in the resort’s restaurant, and Justin thought that he was going to murder Brian. The man was currently laughing silently, sitting across the table next to his oblivious mother, just staring at him, as if expecting him to be sick any moment. Well, it wasn’t so unlikely, considering that every time he got a whiff of the food on the table, he felt like throwing up.

Jennifer then turned to look at Brian, who assumed his best ‘I’m so concerned about my lover’ face. She was about to interrogate her son, when Brian intervened, gazing at his pretend boyfriend and declaring, “Your mom is right, Justin. You’re a little pale. You should eat more to feel better! Those pancakes look delicious.” Justin felt his mother’s stare return to him, and he would have sworn that Brian was grinning.

Traitor… Justin couldn’t help but think. “Where is Molly, anyway?”

“She is at the pool with Lily, Dorian’s friend. Some of us didn’t get up so late,” his mother answered knowingly, before directing a look at Brian, probably assuming that they’d enjoyed their private time the night before, after having gone to Dorian’s bachelor party.

“Well, you’re right. I don’t feel very well. I must have eaten something that just didn’t agree with me,” Justin opted to lie and, this time, Brian actually chuckled, earning a questioning look from Jennifer.

“That must be it,” Brian stated innocently, faking a serious mien, “You obviously swallowed something that didn’t agree with your stomach.”

Justin pressed down on his foot underneath the table but, instead of Brian wincing, his mother actually yelled, “Ouch! Justin! That is my foot you’re crushing!”

Brian’s lips turned upward once more as Jennifer bent over to remove her shoe and massage her foot.

“Sorry Mom. I thought it was the table leg,” Justin apologized, glaring at Brian even though his dark glasses probably prevented the brunet from seeing the laser beams he was aiming at him. Then, Justin felt his mom glancing back at him, probably frowning; he wasn’t sure if she believed him or not, but she didn’t comment any further. He decided to move the conversation toward a safer topic. “So, what’s the schedule for today?”

“The wedding is at five. I’m meeting with Diane for lunch, but I’m available in the afternoon if you want,” Jennifer proposed.

“Who is Diane?” Brian inquired.

“She is my sister, Dorian’s mother.” Jennifer answered. “We will have an early, light lunch, so I should be available by 1:30 p.m.”

“Do you think Diane needs assistance with anything?” Justin inquired, wanting to be as helpful as he could.

“No. I think everything is under control.” Jennifer declined. “You, on the other hand, could maybe use my help getting ready for the wedding?” she proposed excitedly, before turning to put her hand on Brian’s forearm. “No offense, Brian, but I’m just so pleased to have Justin here with me; I’d love to spend a little time with him.”

“Of course, Jennifer, I understand perfectly,” Brian replied, his voice entirely too sugary to be sincere, although Jennifer apparently lacked the ability to detect bullshit where her son’s boyfriend was concerned. “Why don’t the two of you spend the afternoon together? I’ll accompany Justin to your room by 2:00 p.m. with everything he needs to get ready and will return at 4:30 p.m? Justin?” Brian proposed, waiting for his boyfriend’s approval.

Justin wanted to murder Brian more painfully with each passing second. “Sure,” he nonetheless agreed with a fake smile. The prospect of spending a couple of hours in his mother’s presence while she bombarded him with questions regarding his ‘relationship’ with Brian was so appealing.

“Okay, then! I’m so happy Justin.” Jennifer beamed at her son as she stood up from her chair. “I will see you both later. Behave, boys!” she teased, and Justin turned red at his mother’s innuendo.

He heard her walking away, and he waited until he was sure she was far enough away so that she wouldn’t hear him, before barking at his so-called partner. “What was that?”

“Your mother is so much fun to be around, and she is so eager to please you. How could I stand in the way?” Brian responded playfully.

“Brian, seriously, can’t you just shut up and be pretty?” Justin retorted, astounded that Brian would deliver him to his mother like he just had. He didn’t really mind spending time with her, but it was obvious Brian was taking way too much satisfaction from his predicament.

“No. It’s such a joy for me to tease you after the way you acted last night,” Brian drawled, the smugness evident in his voice. The blond had to admit that he didn’t recall a lot from the previous night, and the few images that crossed his mind didn’t make much sense. Except, he had obviously acted pretty carelessly in regard to how much he’d drunk, but he wasn’t ready to admit it just yet.

So, he retorted, “I acted just fine.”

“You were wasted out of your mind.” Brian immediately countered.

“I was not.” Justin denied vehemently, even if he knew he was full of shit. He unfortunately did recall sitting by the toilet and throwing up half of the night, with Brian staying by his side. Now that his mind had cleared, he was amazed by the brunet’s kindness but he would be damned before he admitted it.

Brian chuckled. “You tried to dance on the bartop at the club.”

It couldn’t be true. “You’re lying.”

“You think? I had to bodily catch you and drag you back to our room to stop you from dancing naked in front of a room full of straight guys. Then, you stupidly tripped and fell down the stairs, before starting a strip-tease while standing on the bed, completely wasted.”

“I’m…” Oh fuck. That bad?

“You even kissed me,” Brian revealed as he rolled his lips in.

Justin felt his heartbeat increasing. He had kissed Brian. He really had. “Okay. I must have been totally wasted.” He wasn’t sure why he felt obligated to lie to Brian, pretending that it had meant absolutely nothing, when the truth was that he remembered the kiss. It was blurry, of course, but it was one of the few things he hadn’t forgotten. Because, seriously, how could he forget how amazing it had been to feel Brian’s lips on his?

Brian didn’t respond, and Justin cursed his disability. He wanted so much to see the brunet’s expression right now. Moreover, what was he thinking? He didn’t want to hurt his companion’s feelings and, even if he was convinced that Brian didn’t care, he was still acting like an asshole by dismissing their kiss.

“Brian…” Justin tried, the tone of his voice sounding like an apology. Brian had been nothing but amazing since they had arrived at the resort, while he had acted like a brat, getting drunk and now rejecting whatever had happened between them. Sure, Brian was an escort and was getting paid to stay at his side, but that didn’t mean Justin had to keep him at arm's length all the time, just because he was scared shitless of the desire he felt for the man.

“You should take a nap.” Brian didn’t let him continue, touching Justin’s arm to indicate that he was waiting for the blond to get up.

“Okay.” Justin agreed with a sigh. He stood up from his chair and reached for Brian’s hand. Brian was about to guide him when Justin squeezed his hand, silently preventing them from moving. He felt Brian pause and stare questioningly at him. “I didn’t thank you. You’ve been amazing to me and I didn’t even thank you. I don’t know what is wrong with me.”

“You mean, apart from the fact that you’re hungover for the first time in your life?” Brian responded.

Justin felt relief wash over him when he realized Brian wasn’t angry. “It’s not the first time I’ve been drunk but, yeah, I’ve never been so wasted before. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

“You were celebrating your first night out since your… attack. Seems like a good enough reason to me.” Brian reassured him, before placing his arm at his waist. “Come on. You need to rest if you want to survive the whole day.” He leaned closer to Justin’s ear as he requested, “I will join you. Somebody kept me awake half of the night, so I won’t take no for an answer.”

Justin smiled. “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he responded, realizing that it was true. He wanted Brian by his side.

“Good boy.” Brian drawled, before leading him to their room.

Once inside, they went straight to the bed to lie down, and Brian took Justin into his arms. The blond didn’t resist and placed his head on Brian’s chest. He nodded off within seconds, his hand resting over Brian’s heart. He therefore didn’t see Brian smile when he realized his companion had already fallen asleep, as he placed his free hand on top of Justin’s. Brian joined him in slumber a few minutes later, listening to the soothing sound of Justin breathing, and ignoring his hard-on.

************************

A few hours later…

After Brian dropped off Justin at his mother’s room, he went back to his suite and called Lindsay. He spoke to his son briefly - having a conversation with a twenty-month-old toddler was quite a challenge - but ever since his son’s disease had been diagnosed, Brian tried to be as present as possible for him, either in person or on the phone. He didn’t know if he would have been so invested if not for Gus’ sickness, but he was happy to be there and never questioned his place in his son’s life anymore.

After his phone call, he enjoyed the private pool for a while before deciding to take a leisurely shower, letting the water massage his shoulders as he rolled his neck, his head down. He couldn’t help but think about his client, wondering once again why just the taste of his lips had felt so fucking good. Brian chose to believe that the knowledge of what had happened to Justin, combined with awareness of what the blond was living through every day, was awakening his protective instincts. And, of course, he had made a deal with Justin, and acting the perfect boyfriend was part of it. He was being well-compensated and, truthfully, he was having a good time so far.

If only he weren’t feeling so protective of Justin, he probably would have fucked him by now. A kiss was definitely not enough to satisfy his needs, instead only increasing his desire to dive into the blond’s ass. The real question, then, was why he hadn’t acted on it until now, especially since he suspected that Justin wouldn’t resist him anymore. They’d taken a nap together - a nap, for fuck’s sake. Brian shrugged off his uncharacteristic behavior, blaming their exhaustion for his moment of weakness.

Rather than thinking about it any longer, Brian took his hard cock in his fist and squeezed it, imagining himself entering the blond, while pleasure covered his companion’s face. A moan escaped his lips at the vision, and he had to take deep, slow breaths to pace himself. He was so fucking horny. As he listened to Justin’s voice in his head, urgently begging Brian to take him and fuck him hard, his hand started to move on its own, his cock appearing and disappearing as he jerked off furiously.

He felt sparks as his orgasm built, the tingling in his balls unmistakable, and slowed down to delay the inevitable. Just the feeling of his hand on his cock as his mind feasted on Justin’s blissed-out expression made him feel so good that he didn’t want it to end. He wanted this feeling to last for as long as possible.

His hand was now moving oh so slowly on his dick and, yet, Brian felt like he was in heaven. He imagined Justin begging him over and over, imploring him to fuck him harder, to make him come, using his hands on Brian’s body to urge him, licking his skin, panting, moaning in his ear. The vision he’d conjured was too much. As Brian increased his pace, he felt his cock go rigid in his hand, coming so hard he couldn’t help but whimper, his face transforming into a picture of overwhelming pleasure.

The water washed away any proof of Brian’s fantasy. However, Brian’s breathing stayed labored for a long time, his hands on the tile keeping him from falling.

When he opened his eyes again, coming back to reality, he breathed out, “Fuck...” before stepping out of the shower. He dried himself and walked into the bedroom naked to retrieve his suit. He dressed, refusing to question the strange feeling that his fantasy had evoked, and checked himself in the mirror. The reflection looking back at him was the same. So why did he feel different somehow?

He shook his head, checked the time, and grabbed his tie. He knotted it as his eyes swept around the suite, before exiting the room. Two minutes later, he knocked on Jennifer’s door.

Molly opened the door, obviously relieved to see him. “Not a moment too soon. Mom is going to smother Justin to death with her maternal love,” she announced matter-of-factly, before stepping back to let him enter.

“That bad, huh?” Brian responded, smirking at Molly, who was attired in a beautiful green dress, her hair now slightly curled, a little flower holding back two strawberry-blonde locks. “You look lovely, Molly,” Brian complimented her, causing her to blush at his praise. She averted her gaze and went back to her room, making Brian chuckle quietly; it must be an adorable trait that ran in the family. However, he immediately frowned at his own qualification - adorable? Where the hell had that come from?

“Brian! You’re here! Wow, you look great!” Jennifer’s voice reached his ears. He turned and watched her cross the room to him. She’d dressed up in soft, silky, cream-colored pants, a matching jacket, and a pale grey top, a strand of pink pearls complementing her outfit.

“Jennifer, you look pretty good yourself. If I weren’t dating your son, I think I would ask you out right now,” Brian playfully declared, and Jennifer gave him a tentative smile as she blushed slightly.

Brian’s inner self was grinning smugly over his accomplishment. Three blushing Taylors: check.

Jennifer recovered quickly, though, and announced, “Your partner is ready, too. Justin, come here, Sweetheart!” she called out, and Brian briefly wondered what was going on; Jennifer seemed overly enthusiastic all of a sudden.

However, Brian understood immediately why Justin’s mother seemed to be so excited, as he stared in shock at his client walking hesitantly out of the bathroom.

“Brian?” Justin bashfully asked, standing in the doorway awkwardly, obviously waiting for Brian’s comment on his outfit.

Brian just stared some more, feeling like a cartoon character with their mouth dropping to the floor, before pursing his lips. “Turn around,” he requested, as he took a step forward.

Justin obeyed and Brian’s gaze immediately lowered to his ass, which was perfectly highlighted by his tailored pants.

The brunet approached more closely and finally leaned in to place a chaste kiss on Justin’s cheek, while murmuring huskily in his ear, “Not bad. Not bad at all.” The tone of his voice left little doubt of his complete approval. As he leaned back, he noticed that Justin had turned crimson again - he unfortunately couldn’t see his eyes, which as usual were hidden by his sunglasses - and he grinned, pleased by the blond’s reaction.

Jennifer cleared her throat behind them, but Brian just smiled and placed his arm around Justin’s shoulders. Turning to look at his ‘mother-in-law’, he jested, “You’ve done a marvelous job, Jennifer. Remind me to engage you the next time I need one of my friends dressed for a special occasion.”

“I must say, I’m quite proud of myself,” Jennifer happily replied as they made their way to where she was standing. “Even if I have a wonderful model,” she added as she caressed Justin’s cheek.

“Mom!” he chastised her, leaning back to avoid her touch, embarrassed by her display of affection.

“Okay then.” Brian decided to save his supposed boyfriend from his loving mother. “We should probably get going. The wedding starts in about twenty minutes.”

“You’re right. Molly? We’re going!” Jennifer called out.

They all left the suite and headed toward the elevators, Justin and Brian moving ahead, with Jennifer and Molly following them.

Brian wrapped an arm around Justin’s shoulders, bringing him closer. “You look hot,” he purposely whispered into his ear.

Justin emitted an embarrassed sound, squirming uncomfortably, but didn’t reply.

“It’s true,” Brian insisted.

“I bet you say that to all your dates,” Justin whispered hotly.

“Only the ones who live up to that compliment. And believe me, there are just a few.” Brian had no clue why he wanted to reassure Justin, but he didn’t want the blond to think that he was just like all his other clients.

They arrived at the elevator and entered as soon as the doors opened. Brian kept his eyes on Jennifer, who was trying to watch her son and his partner discreetly in the mirror, but failing. Thinking it was his duty to give her something to observe, Brian leaned in closer to Justin, witnessing the startled expression on his client’s face, while his breath caressed the blond’s skin. Emboldened, he cupped his cheek, nudging Justin’s nose with his own, before softly brushing his lips over the blond’s.

A low moan escaped Justin, which would have made Brian chuckle, if it weren’t for the sliver of tongue he felt on his lips.

Suddenly, the elevator dinged, announcing they’d reached the ground floor and unfortunately preventing Brian from exploring Justin’s mouth any further.

“What… Brian!” Justin swatted at Brian’s arm, as they stepped out of the elevator.

“Don’t be embarrassed honey,” Jennifer intervened, giggling. “I know what it’s like to be young and in love.”

Brian interlaced his fingers with Justin’s, rolling in his lips as he added, “Yes, Justin. Moreover, that’s nothing compared to last night.”

“I don’t want to know!” Molly exclaimed, tugging at her mother’s hand to escape Justin and Brian. Jennifer laughed but followed her daughter, leaving the two men on their own.

“Awesome job, Brian,” Justin muttered as they ended up alone in the reception area. He couldn’t prevent himself from enjoying Brian’s playful behavior, but he didn’t want the man to know how much his actions were affecting him. He preferred to feign annoyance.

“Come on, it’s all in fun! Stop being a drama princess.” Brian retorted.

“Well, could you refrain? That was uncalled for!” Justin scowled.

Brian stared at Justin, an indecipherable mask in place. “You mean, you don’t like kissing me anymore? That’s really funny, because I distinctly recall that it was YOU who attacked me last night. I assure you, you couldn’t get enough,” he pointed out, one eyebrow raised sardonically.

Justin remained silent after Brian’s diatribe, averting his gaze. Brian stared at him for a few more seconds and sighed, deciding to drop the subject for now. Instead, he guided Justin to the beach, where the ceremony was about to take place.

In front of the seats, a gazebo had been erected, with soft white voile fabric undulating in the breeze. Strings of lights decorated the canopy and helped secure the drapes. Flowers adorned the columns, their scent drifting on the breeze and mingling with the ozone from the ocean.

Usually, Brian would have commented on how lame it was and how much he hated those stupid, hetero attempts to play happy couple until death do us part; but right now, he couldn’t. Sure, he wanted to gag at such a display of romanticism, but he was here for Justin, so he refrained. When he spotted two free chairs in the front row, he walked over there with Justin, knowing that spot would provide the best opportunity for the blond to distinguish anything during the ceremony.

Sadly, as soon as they took their seats, the cad from the night before arrived and claimed the chair next to Brian.

“Hello there! We meet again!” Stephen smiled cunningly.

Brian didn’t even acknowledge him, turning toward Justin and describing the decorations and the layout. Five minutes later, Dorian arrived and Brian couldn’t hold back an amused comment, “Your cousin looks like he is going to puke any moment now.”

Justin chuckled. “Has Mary arrived yet?”

“No,” Brian informed him before checking again. “Correction. Here she comes,” he announced.

“What’s she wearing?” Justin questioned, needing Brian to help him imagine the scene.

“A simple, frilly white dress and Roman-style sandals. I guess heels are overrated in the sand,” Brian described. “She has a pretty white flower in her hair, which is gathered in a loose bun. She and her dad have nearly reached Dorian.”

“How does Dorian look now?” Justin inquired.

Brian peered at Justin, then back at the scene in front of them. “He’s… nervous. He’s getting married after all. He should be,” Brian joked, “Actually, he looks like he is going to shit his pants. But hey, Mary’s father looks like Schwarzenegger with a mustache.”

Justin giggled, shifting closer to Brian, and Brian rubbed his hand with his thumb as the ceremony began.

“We are gathered here today to celebrate the holy union of Mary Anderson and Dorian Parson….”

Brian tuned out the minister, focusing on his companion, who seemed to relish every word spoken. The smile on Justin’s face was brighter than ever.

As Dorian and Mary made their vows, Justin rested his head on Brian’s shoulder, surprising the brunet.

“Okay?” Brian asked softly, squeezing Justin’s hand, wondering why Justin seemed overwhelmed all of a sudden.

“This is absolutely beautiful.” Justin shared, before playfully disclosing, “I’m no longer mad at Dorian for stealing my idea of a dreamy wedding on the beach.”

Brian snorted. “You want to get married on the beach?”

“I’ve always dreamed of a small, cozy wedding on the beach, ever since I was like, four years old. I’m just happy that this dream came true for him. And, you know, considering I’m gay, and that marriage is not even legal for us, it’s not like I could actually get married anyway.”

Brian sighed but didn’t comment. Even if he hated the notion of marriage, he hated Justin’s conviction that he couldn’t get married even more. Why? Because some stupid politicians thought queers didn’t deserve the same rights as straight people? So what if it wasn’t fucking legal? If Justin found the right man, he should marry him. Lindsay and Melanie had exchanged their vows a few months earlier and, even though Brian hadn’t been there and despised everything that marriage represented, he supported their choice to say fuck you to the bigoted society they all lived in.

Yes. Justin should be able to have his dream marriage on the beach.

Shaking his head, Brian realized that the minister was about to finish the ceremony, and he instinctively pulled Justin closer.

A bright smile appeared on Justin’s face as the minister declared Dorian and Mary husband and wife. When the gathering erupted in loud applause, Justin asked curiously, “What are Dorian and Mary doing?”

Brian couldn’t help himself. He raised his hand to caress Justin’s face and placed his palm on his cheek, causing his companion to gaze up at him. He paused and, when he felt no resistance from Justin, he leaned closer, his hand moving down to grab the blond’s chin. His lips touched Justin’s, their taste as well as the small, startled sound the blond made becoming so addictive. Justin started to kiss him back, apparently feeling the same electric spark as Brian, but he suddenly pulled back as if he’d done something wrong.

“What was that?” Justin whispered, once he had recovered sufficiently to form a coherent sentence.

“Just a demonstration. You asked what your cousin and his wife were doing, remember?” Brian teased, brushing his lips across the blond’s temple, feeling a shiver course through Justin’s body as a result. “Come on,” he drawled. “Let’s congratulate the happy couple!”

Justin smiled bashfully in response, and Brian helped him stand up, before leading him to greet Dorian and Mary.

“Justin!” Dorian exclaimed as he saw them approaching. He took his cousin into a tight hug, clapping him on the back, before stating happily as he released him, “I’m married, man!”

“Congratulations, Dorian! Mary...” Justin smiled, turning to hug her briefly. Brian witnessed the whole scene, satisfied that Justin seemed more at ease with the touching than before. Reassured, he offered the customary words to Dorian but, before he could move to do the same with Mary, Dorian grabbed his arm.

“You make Justin happy, Brian. It’s so obvious he is completely in love with you,” Dorian stated sincerely. “Don’t hurt him, okay? He’s been through enough shit to last a lifetime.”

“I won’t.” Brian responded softly, but he felt his throat close up at Dorian’s words. What did he mean by saying Justin was in love with him? Justin couldn’t be in love with him. It was supposed to be a prank, with benefits. Surely Dorian was mistaken, right?

Peering at Justin, who was laughing with his mother a few feet away - Jennifer must have joined them while Brian was talking with Dorian - Brian felt that foreign feeling again. At that moment, he wondered for the first time since he’d met Justin Taylor, if accompanying him weren’t a huge mistake. Their relationship was supposed to be a farce, with Brian just doing a job.

So why did he feel overwhelming uneasiness now?

“Brian?” A man’s voice interrupted his thoughts. Turning around, he noticed Stephen standing nearby, an inviting look on his face. The man nodded imperceptibly towards the restrooms, which were situated not far from the beach.

Brian blinked and looked over at his client to make sure he wasn’t alone, before walking over to Stephen.

Chapter Text

Saturday, 6 p.m.

The door to the restroom closed loudly behind Brian. He was ready to confront Stephen once and for all, since he'd grown tired of the man's advances. Although he usually enjoyed any kind of male attention, he was vehemently against cheating, which he would be doing if he played Stephen's game, at least according to his own standards. He was there to spend the weekend with Justin and had been well paid for it; screwing another guy while he was working was not on his agenda.

Brian had barely opened his mouth to voice his opinion about Stephen’s behavior, however, when the man unexpectedly pinned him to the door, his lips sucking at his neck.

“What the fuck?!” Brian pushed him away, wiping at the slobber on his skin. “In case you haven't noticed, I'm not interested. I’m here with Justin.”

“Yeah, so? I came here with Vickie. Can't say I've seen her,” Stephen replied with a smirk, again approaching Brian, who stopped him, placing a firm hand on his chest.

“The girl who lap danced for you?” Brian asked, disgusted by the man’s actions.

“Pshhh. That hot piece of ass was better than Vickie,” Stephen drawled, before devouring Brian with his eyes again. “Your boyfriend doesn't have to know. I can be discreet.” He leered at Brian.

Brian doubted the man even knew what that word meant. The more time he spent around Stephen, the sicker it made him. “You? Discreet? Stop making me want to vomit,” Brian retorted with a cynical chuckle. He then stepped toward Stephen, a murderous glare on his face, and the man, who had been quite cheerful until then, leaned back suddenly, understanding Brian was definitely not joking anymore. “If you value your balls at all, you won’t push me. This is my last warning.” Brian’s face was very close to Stephen’s, as he ordered, his voice cold as steel, “Stay out of my way.” He enunciated the words slowly and distinctly, his eyes blazing, waiting until Stephen nodded before stepping back, intending to leave. He had one last thing to say, though, “And if you dare to use Justin again like you did last night, if you hurt him, I can assure you I won’t be held responsible for my actions. I doubt that your balls will ever function again, capisce?” he concluded angrily.

Stephen had the good sense not to respond as he stormed out of the restroom. Brian thought he heard him mutter something like ‘asshole’, but he didn’t care. His message had been received, loud and clear. Thank God for small mercies.

Shit, Brian was angry. Stephen was a dickhead, a poor excuse for a man, but Brian was quite shaken to realize that he was pissed off on Justin’s behalf. Although Brian would ordinarily have told the man to fuck off, he didn’t want to analyze why he was so furious, why he felt so protective of Justin. When he left the restroom, he walked toward the bar at the resort, slumping onto a stool and knocking back a couple shots of Beam, as he tried to calm down.

Lily appeared next to him and ordered a Bloody Mary, peering at him with a smile. “Good to know I'm not the only one drinking before eating,” she joked.

Brian smirked. He liked this girl. “I don't know about you, but I wouldn’t survive without the booze in this hetero haven,” he quipped as he stared at a straight couple making out on a red couch nearby, the man’s hand dangerously trailing down the blond woman’s body. Brian made a face and shuddered.

Lily laughed when she saw who Brian was watching, before raising her drink for them to clink their glasses together. “Bottoms up!” she toasted.

Brian glared at her mockingly. “Ha ha!” He gulped his drink and slammed the glass back on the counter in front of him, before standing up. “Speaking of bottoms, I’d better go find Justin.”

“He was with Dorian the last time I saw him,” Lily revealed, giggling at Brian’s bad joke. Brian leaned over and placed a chaste kiss on her cheek, making Lily blush. It seemed like Brian was the blush master this weekend.

“Later, darling,” Brian drawled in a jesting tone but, before he could leave, Lily grasped his arm, making him look at her questioningly.

She released him and stated gently, “You two are really perfect together, and that's a compliment I rarely give.”

“Uh, thanks…” Brian responded uncomfortably. It was the second time in the past hour that someone had congratulated him for being Justin’s partner. Brian dismissed the thought that it meant something, preferring instead to believe that - as always, under any circumstances - he was the best at what he did. Always had been and always would be. Truthfully, being a genius ad exec or a fucking slut didn’t change anything. He would always be on top. And a top. The top of the tops.

Okay, Kinney. Your ego is even bigger than your balls.

Brian crossed the lobby and stepped outside. The reception dinner was being held in another building close to the beach where the ceremony had taken place. Brian walked along the lighted path leading to that building, enjoying the gentle breeze. When he arrived, he discovered a large room, with beautifully-decorated tables, gold napkins and white roses placed elegantly on each one. At the back of the room, a band was softly playing jazz on a large stage. The huge picture windows offered breathtaking views of the beach and the lake. Even Brian had to admit that the place was truly beautiful, although a little too romantic for his taste.

Most of the guests were already there, enjoying the appetizers displayed on a couple of long tables on each side of the room. Brian’s gaze swept around the space, landing on Justin, looking happy and glowing, where he was seated next to Dorian,. Brian couldn’t help but smile at the scene. His pretend boyfriend was fucking beautiful.

Jesus Christ, Kinney. Brian chastised himself, checking his balls discreetly to make sure he hadn’t turned into a lesbian. Reassured that they hadn’t disappeared, he walked confidently toward the two men, nabbing the chair next to Justin.

“Hey,” he whispered into the blond’s ear, as he gently touched his knee so he wouldn’t startle him. “I hope I'm not interrupting…”

Justin turned and graced him with his sunniest smile. “Not at all! Dorian was keeping me company until Mom and Molly join me.” He then turned in his cousin’s direction and declared, “I guess you can go now and perform your groom duties.”

“Yes. I’d better go.” Dorian nodded at Brian, before squeezing Justin’s shoulder. “See you guys later. And remember, save me a dance, cuz!” Dorian smiled, before leaving with a wave.

Brian watched as Dorian’s form disappeared from sight. As soon as they were alone, however, Justin leaned into him, and Brian instinctively wrapped his arm around his shoulders. Justin peered up at him with a funny expression on his face. “If you see him coming to claim that dance, I’m begging you, whisk me away.” Realizing what he’d just said, he clarified hastily, as he chuckled, “Shit. That came out wrong. You know what I mean.”

Brian laughed. “You know what they say about that kind of slip...” he teased the blond. “And just so you know, you won’t escape at least some dancing tonight, even if I wouldn’t be opposed to you performing a different, more private kind of dance. Maybe even finish what you started last night,” Brian breathed out huskily into his ear.

“Well, if you play your cards right, maybe I could do something for you,” Justin unexpectedly jested, making Brian grin.

Justin was melting in his arms and, to everyone around them, they looked like the perfect couple. Brian wasn't sure, though, why he was teasing Justin so much. It wasn’t the first time he’d played the boyfriend role, but it had never felt so natural. Truthfully, he should be freaking out now. The prospect of a lap dance from Justin was more enticing than one of his queen-outs, however, so he simply covered Justin’s lips with his own. Justin didn’t resist, not even for a second, and Brian’s heart flipped as his tongue entered Justin’s mouth. Fuck, this boy’s taste was so addictive.

Of course, just when Brian was about to attack him more fervently - all observers be damned - he heard Jennifer clearing her throat loudly. Reluctantly leaning back, he peered over at his ‘mother-in-law,’ who was standing next to them with Molly. Jennifer gave him a pointed look before sitting down at the table. The look of embarrassment on Justin’s face was almost worth being interrupted. Almost.

“So, Brian…” Jennifer began as Brian served himself some water and took a sip. “Have you ever considered asking for someone’s hand in marriage? My son has always wanted to get married, you know,” she pried boldly, which resulted in Brian choking on his drink.

“Mom!” Justin intervened, preventing Brian from replying to her meddlesome inquiry.

“What?” Jennifer feigned ignorance at her son’s reaction. “It’s a legitimate question! I want to know if Brian shares your view of marriage.”

“And I want you to back off,” Justin retorted immediately, surprising Brian. “Our… relationship is none of your business and we’re not discussing it with you. Period.”

Jennifer sighed heavily. Brian could sense the tension in the air. Why on earth he spoke up then, he would never know, but he surprised himself when he responded, “Jennifer, the reason Justin doesn’t want to speak about it with you is because I don’t believe in marriage.” He watched Jennifer’s face fall. “That being said, I can safely say that the guy fortunate enough to marry your son would be one lucky bastard.”

Brian couldn’t believe he’d said those words, but he couldn’t take them back. He didn’t want to, honestly. He felt Justin grab his hand and squeeze it in silent support. He squeezed back.

Jennifer nodded but persisted, “What about children? Justin has always…”

“Mom! Seriously, stop it already or we’re leaving!” Justin threatened his mother, Brian sensing he was getting really angry with her now.

“Okay, Okay! Jesus, you’re so sensitive…”

Brian could have sworn that Justin rolled his eyes at her then. Fortunately, Lily chose that exact moment to join them, taking a seat next to Molly. “Hey, guys! I’m eating with you tonight!”

“Not a second too soon…” Brian whispered in Justin’s ear. “Remind me to avoid your mom at all costs once the weekend is over,” he drawled, not realizing he was implying that they would see each other again.

Justin noticed though and smiled broadly.

************************

A few hours later…

The dinner went smoothly. Justin enjoyed the easy banter with the rest of the guests, his mother thankfully having stopped bombarding him and Brian with questions about their relationship. Justin didn’t escape Dorian when his cousin asked him to dance, Brian too eagerly pushing him into his cousin’s arms. But in the end, Justin had a great time as he lost himself in the music, soon joined by Brian, who didn’t leave his side again. Justin couldn’t remember the last time he had felt so good, and he suspected that Brian’s presence had a lot to do with his current state of mind. He didn’t want to think about that too much, instead preferring to enjoy the moment while it lasted.

When Brian proposed that they escape, it was already past two in the morning. Justin didn’t want to go to bed yet, so he suggested a walk along the beach. Surprisingly, Brian agreed.

They walked in silence for a few minutes. They could still hear the music but, for the first time that day, they were alone.

Justin decided that he wanted to walk barefoot into the lake, so he stopped and took his shoes off. When he felt the cool sand under his feet, he declared, “God, I’ve missed that. Come on!” he urged, shuffling toward the water.

“Hey! Where are you going?” Brian exclaimed, as he, too, took off his shoes hastily before running after Justin.

“I want to feel the water,” Justin announced, reaching out. “Here, take my hand.”

Brian complied and interlaced his fingers with Justin’s so they could walk along the shore. He was seriously questioning his own sanity, though. Walking barefoot on a moonlit beach, even with the excuse of pleasing a client, was definitely not something with which Brian was comfortable.

Unaware of Brian’s conflicting emotions, Justin kept walking. He felt so deliriously happy that he couldn’t stop smiling. “What are you thinking about?” he finally inquired after long minutes of silence.

“I’m thinking that, with a kickass campaign, this resort could be the future destination for all the couples in love… or in lust,” Brian responded with a chuckle, choosing not to disclose how he really felt. “Seriously, it’s in a good location; the staff provide excellent service; and it’s less expensive than traveling to Cancun or some other exotic resort.”

“Spoken like a real tourist agent.” Justin laughed.

“Actually, more like an ad man who knows what sells. And believe me, sex does, so this resort could make a lot of money. Imagine the profit!” Brian replied.

Justin frowned. “You said something in the car… about being in advertising?”

“I was,” Brian confirmed, but Justin could feel the brunet tensing next to him.

“Hmm...” Justin couldn't understand why a man like Brian would give up that career to become an escort. It didn’t make any sense. “Why did you...” he began, but he suddenly stopped, not knowing how to interrogate Brian without appearing judgemental. In addition, the last time they had talked about Brian’s job before going to Dorian’s bachelor party, it hadn’t gone very well.

“You want to know how a man like me who had everything - a good job, a great loft, designer clothes - how I could sink so low as to become an escort?”

“That is not…” Justin attempted to clarify, but Brian stopped walking, forcing Justin to pause and turn back.

“I was fired because one of the employees at the firm I worked for claimed that I harassed him,” Brian revealed.

“Harassed him…” Justin echoed, his brow furrowing.

“Sexually,” Brian clarified. “And, well, it’s true that I fucked him a couple of times before he tried to blackmail me into giving him a promotion. But when I refused to promote him, my soon-to-be business partner didn’t give a shit about the truth. He couldn’t fire my ass fast enough,” Brian disclosed, anger and disgust filling his voice.

“Shit,” Justin succinctly replied. “Couldn’t you start your own firm? I mean, I bet you were good at your job.”

“I was the best.” Brian immediately responded. Justin wasn’t surprised by his answer. “I won’t lie. I fucked some of my clients. But I also gave them the best campaigns they could have wished for. I was about to make partner, for Christ’s sake. But, being accused of sexual harassment is like being branded for life for a gay man. Especially when your boss destroys your reputation with all your clients.”

“Fuck…”

“More like, I was fucked… and not in a good way,” Brian bitterly retorted.

“That’s why you became an escort? Because you needed money?” Justin questioned, although it still didn’t make sense.

“You could say that,” Brian responded with a sigh, obviously hesitating to reveal more about himself. Justin doubted he was used to confiding in anyone. He was surprised, therefore, when Brian explained, “My son… he has kidney failure. I needed to pay for his treatments and, well, let’s just say that fate was against me. But I don’t regret a thing. If it means he can live a normal life in the end, it’s worth it.”

Justin was speechless. He had many questions zooming through his mind, but he kept them to himself. He was already amazed that Brian had confided in him like he had. Justin wanted to comfort Brian, but he couldn’t. Brian would think he pitied him, although that wasn’t true.

When the blond didn’t respond, Brian admitted, “I rarely talk about it.” He hesitated, before simply saying, “So, thank you for just… listening.”

Justin realized that Brian must be used to people judging him for being an escort. “It’s nothing really. You love your son. How could anyone dare to judge you for that?” he responded sincerely, as if that reason alone was enough to explain everything.

The blond felt Brian’s staring at him, but the man remained silent. Then, Brian’s breath grazed his skin just before the brunet’s lips covered his own. Justin didn’t resist, welcoming Brian’s display of affection, his heart beating furiously in his chest. He deepened the kiss, soon cupping Brian’s cheek to taste him more thoroughly.

They eventually broke the kiss, and Brian rested his forehead against Justin’s while they caught their breath. After a moment, they wordlessly resumed their walk, gradually getting closer to the reception, which was still going on. The faint music became louder as they neared the building.

“We should get some rest,” Brian advised. Talking about his job and his son must have perturbed him.

Justin shook his head. “Let's sit for a while. I have a confession of my own,” he revealed as he sat on the sand, not leaving Brian any choice except to agree with his request.

Brian sighed, settling onto the beach behind Justin. “Come here,” he demanded softly, enveloping the blond in his arms. Justin leaned into the hug, resting his head against Brian's shoulder, grateful that his companion had instinctively understood that what he was going to share was difficult for him to disclose. Brian’s protective embrace helped Justin stay calm.

Justin took a deep breath, already feeling his heartbeat increase. He began, “My high school days were a nightmare. I was constantly bullied by everyone, except Daphne, for being the gay kid; she always supported me, but Chris Hobbs was another story.” The name tasted like poison on Justin's tongue. “Chris was pretty much the only guy in my class who was friendly to me. I figured he liked me but was maybe too shy to say anything.” Justin paused to let the night air fill his lungs, before resuming, “Chris was the star quarterback. Imagine the scandal if people learned that he liked me. That he was a queer. Fuck, I was so stupid,” he spat dejectedly.

“Was he?” Brian inquired gently, tightening his arms around Justin.

“Who the hell knows?” Justin huffed, sensing his throat closing up because of what he was about to share with Brian. Since it’d happened, he hadn’t talked about that night with anyone except Daphne and his shrink. “We went to prom, and we talked and joked around, like we always did. And then I… I followed him to the restroom.”

Justin paused, before clarifying agitatedly, “I had to know, you know? He was pretty hot, and it was worth a try now that school was ending. So, we were alone... I kissed him on the lips and he pushed me away,” Justin revealed, his voice breaking because of the onslaught of emotion inundating him at the memory. “He called me a faggot. He screamed at me: ‘Faggot, you’re a fucking faggot!’ Daphne found me in the bathroom half an hour later. I was a wreck. She consoled me and told me to forget about him.”

Justin felt Brian rubbing his hands down his arms, calming him and giving him strength to keep talking.

“When we had to leave, I went ahead to start the car. Chris was waiting for me. I didn’t see him, but Daphne did. She saw Hobbs following me into the parking garage with a baseball bat. By the time she realized what was happening and screamed my name, it was too late.” Justin heaved a deep sigh before uttering the next words. “He bashed me. Would have probably finished me off if not for Daphne interrupting him and calling for help.”

“Christ,” Brian cursed. Justin could feel how tense Brian was becoming as he listened to Justin’s story.

“I was in a coma for three days.” Justin continued. “I suffered head trauma and hyphema, which later resulted in corneal blood staining. The outcome? I’m almost blind today. God's way of mocking me. I can still see but not really.”

“Tell me that motherfucker was convicted for nearly killing you,” Brian demanded, the edge in his voice unmistakable.

“Yeah, right,” Justin mumbled derisively. “Chris Hobbs was declared guilty alright, but he was only sentenced to community service. However, the judge ordered that I be compensated financially so that I could deal with the medical bills at the time, to cover my injuries and my suffering.” Justin disdainfully spat out the last word, his voice growing bitter.

“Fuck...” Brian concurred with Justin’s reaction. “Fucking homophobes,” he added under his breath. “I'm surprised your mother let you out of her sight after that.”

“I didn't want to stay at my parents’ house. My fucking father rejected me when he heard that what happened to me was because I was gay. I was in the fucking hospital… and he said he wanted nothing to do with me anymore.” Justin divulged. “So I found that little apartment with Daphne. I hated to burden her like that - I still do - but I'd rather have Daphne see my epic failures and stumbles than my mother, even now that she has finally divorced my dad. I mean, you should have seen me at first. It took me several months to get used to my new life. Daphne stayed by my side and even met with other blind people, so she could teach me to count my steps, to keep my hands outstretched, how to fall in case it was necessary. She's my rock. I don’t know what would have happened to me if not for her.”

“Is there anything that can be done? For your eyes, I mean…” Brian inquired.

“If I sell all my other organs, sure.” Justin snorted. “I mean, I’ve heard about experiments to remove the accumulation of red blood within the anterior chamber of my eyes. I don’t have the money or the connections to participate in a trial right now, though. But if I have anything to say about it, I can assure you… I will have my sight back one day.”

“You’re a fighter; you’ll make it.” Brian professed wholeheartedly, making Justin’s heart miss a beat.

They stayed silent after that, just enjoying the quiet, the sensation of each other’s bodies pressed together. After a while, they started to talk about unimportant things, and before they realized it, it was dawn. The sun was about to rise above the lake.

“Describe it to me,” Justin demanded when Brian informed him that the darkness of the night was about to be replaced by a new day.

“The sun is appearing on the horizon. The sky is changing colors now. It’s cloudless, except for a few small ones lingering in the air. The sunshine is reflecting on them, tinging them pink,” Brian spoke in Justin’s ear. Justin smiled, imagining this particular dawn in his mind. “If you concentrate enough, you can see the slow rise of the sun. Some birds are flying over the lake, too.”

“It must be beautiful.” Justin replied with a smile.

“It is,” Brian confirmed quietly. Justin suspected his companion wasn’t the type of man who had ever watched the sun rise with another man. He was grateful, therefore, that Brian was being so kind to him. In fact, he felt a surge of love, so he turned in Brian’s arms and raised his hand to caress his lips. He then leaned into him to taste them.

He heard a moan escape Brian as the brunet tightened his arms around him.

They kissed for what felt like hours, unhurriedly. It wasn’t even sexual, not really. Justin would have been lying if he said he didn’t want to have sex with Brian - because, really, he wanted it badly - but this unexpected moment wasn’t about that. Justin felt like Brian’s arms, his lips, but most of all, his presence, was helping him to move on, after recalling the darkest days of his life. For the first time since his attack, he felt like his life wasn’t as bad and scary as the day before.

Justin knew this escape wouldn’t last. As soon as both of them returned to their daily routines, things would inevitably change again. But for now, he refused to think about it.

“Come on, you need to rest,” Brian breathed out as he broke their kiss.

Justin allowed him to take him back to their room. They undressed and lay down, exhaustion washing over them.

Brian fell asleep before Justin, with the blond’s head on his naked chest.

Shortly thereafter, Justin joined him in slumber, listening to the man’s heartbeat.

Chapter Text

 

Sunday, Pittsburgh, 9 p.m.

Brian and Justin woke up late on Sunday and had to join Justin’s family right away. The afternoon passed in a blur, before they finally drove back to Pittsburgh in the evening.

Fortunately, Jennifer was too busy gushing about the wedding to drill them with more intrusive questions. She left them in front of Justin’s building after nine o’clock.

Justin didn’t resist when Brian helped him to his apartment. Truthfully, he had enjoyed his time with Brian so much that he dreaded saying goodbye. He felt like they had connected in a way neither of them would have expected before this weekend, but he also felt anxious about the future.

He walked tentatively into his apartment, expecting Brian to tell him that he had to leave, but when the brunet followed him, he turned around and whispered with a small smile, “Aren’t you sick of me yet?” He honestly had no idea how to say goodbye.

He was surprised, however, when Brian, instead of responding to his question, stepped closer, invading Justin's personal space. Brian’s breath caressed his skin and Justin’s heart skipped a beat. He almost jumped when he felt Brian’s hand on his hip.

“What are you doing?” Justin inquired, feeling like it was more and more difficult to breathe.

“Relax. You will love it,” Brian’s responded in a low voice, leaning closer and finally kissing Justin’s neck, as he moved his hand and covered Justin’s hardening dick through his jeans.

Justin’s breath caught in his throat. A moan escaped his lips when Brian began to move his fingers up and down. He wanted to move away, but he was paralyzed, overwhelmed by the rush of pleasure coursing through his body.

Brian’s tongue was dancing on his skin, and when Brian pushed him, making him walk backward, Justin let him.

He felt his ass bump into the back of the couch. He was breathing fast now.

“Brian,” Justin called his companion’s name like a prayer, and Brian suddenly opened his jeans and grabbed his underwear to lower them, freeing his cock from its confinement. Justin moaned as Brian’s slender, strong fingers wrapped around his dick, stroking it slowly. Too slowly, in fact. It was a pure, blissful torture and, before he realized what he was doing, Justin started to pant as his hips thrust forward into Brian's hand, his forehead resting on Brian’s shoulder.

Fuck, Brian’s hand felt so good, his fingers dancing along his cock. Justin couldn’t believe how turned on he was. He had lowered his head when Brian had started the handjob, but as he threw his head back and opened his eyes, his gaze glassy with lust behind his shades, the brunet captured his lips hungrily, his tongue invading his mouth with a guttural grunt, as if he wanted to possess Justin. The thought was too much for the young man who thrust a couple more times before spilling into Brian’s hand.

“Not bad,” Brian breathed out huskily into his ear, and Justin didn’t want to think about what the brunet meant about that. In fact, he couldn’t think at all. If a mere handjob could feel so good, Justin wanted to experience everything about sex. Why the fuck hadn’t he sequestered Brian in their bedroom during the weekend instead of going to his cousin’s wedding?

“Hey! Justin, you’re…” Justin heard Daphne’s voice die out as she entered the apartment and discovered the two men.

“Daph? Shit!” Justin exclaimed, stuffing his softening dick back into his pants. This wasn’t happening. He couldn’t believe his best friend had come home now.

Brian, however, seemed unfazed by the situation, as if being caught pleasuring Justin amused him. Justin heard him chuckle, before he leaned in to place a chaste kiss on Justin’s lips, whispering in his ear, “I think that’s my cue.”

“I…” Justin began, but before he knew it, Brian had left his side.

“Daphne. You missed the best part,” Justin heard Brian declare playfully. “Later, stud,” the brunet then called out before leaving.

Justin couldn’t believe it. Brian had given him a handjob, and Daphne had almost walked on them. Then, he had simply left. What did it mean? Justin had just spent the weekend with the most wonderful man he had ever met and, now that it was over, he didn’t know what to think. Was he going to see Brian again? Did Brian even care? Or had he just been gentle with him because he was paid to be? What the fuck was he…

“Justin!” Daphne’s voice finally registered, prompting Justin to turn in her direction with a scowl on his face.

“Awesome timing, Daphne,” he drawled sardonically, annoyed by the whole situation. It seemed like Brian couldn’t leave fast enough as soon as Daphne had appeared, and Justin felt genuinely confused.

“What was that all about?” she asked, positioning herself in front of him.

Justin stared at her pointedly. He tried to anyway, knowing Daphne could read him better than anyone else.

“Oh my God!!! You did it! You did it??” she squealed, clapping.

“No, we didn’t… And you just ruined any chance of it happening,” Justin complained, rubbing his face in frustration.

“Aw, fuck! I'm so sorry to have interrupted what could have been your first time, but we need wine and tissues. I think I'm breaking up with Hank.”

“Again? You always break up with him!” Justin threw his hands up in the air, but he chuckled nonetheless. Daphne was a real drama queen. She would have made a wonderful gay man.

“It's real this time, I think. Urgh! BFF time. Meet me in ten,” she demanded, before quipping, “Gosh, Justin! There's jizz on the sofa!”

At least Justin hoped she was kidding. He squinted while touching the sofa to check if Daphne was joking or not, but he couldn't see or feel anything, although his inspection left him with a pounding headache.

After a shower and a change of clothes, Justin met Daphne in her room. They curled up on the bed, sharing a bowl of ice cream and a bottle of red wine. It wasn’t the best combination, but they were both in mourning.

For the next hour, Justin listened dutifully as his best friend whined and cried over her moron boyfriend - Justin had never understood what she was doing with him anyway - but he nonetheless tried to cheer her up as best he could. After Daphne had finally repeated for the hundredth time that she hated Hank and wanted nothing to do with him anymore (it would be true until the next morning anyway), she eventually inquired about Justin’s weekend with Brian.

He smiled widely. “It was fantastic. I mean, I was anxious at first knowing I’d be surrounded by so many people I didn’t know, but Brian helped me more than I can say.”

“Are you sure you didn’t fuck?”

“I am. And it wasn’t about sex,” he half-lied because, seriously, having sex with Brian had crossed his mind more than once during the weekend. Besides, after the spectacular handjob Brian had given him, he wanted it even more. He just hoped that time would come eventually, although he wasn’t even sure if or when he’d see Brian again.

“Since when?” she asked mockingly, as she took another spoonful of chocolate chip ice cream.

“Since I’m telling you! Brian was… Fuck! I know he is an escort and that I was supposedly just a job for him, but it felt real to me. And the way he kissed me, Daph!” Justin sighed dreamily, reaching for the bottle of wine, Daphne helping to make sure he didn’t spill it. “On the other hand, Mom was a nag. She kept pestering us with indiscreet questions. She even asked Brian what he thought about marriage and kids.”

Daphne giggled. “I’m sure it was embarrassing. How did he respond?”

Taking a healthy gulp of wine, Justin revealed, his face sobering up as he remembered Brian’s answer, “He doesn’t believe in marriage. As for having children, he has a child, so...” his voice trailed off.

“He has a child?” Daphne echoed his words.

“Yes,” Justin confirmed. “But the kid is sick, with kidney failure. That’s why Brian became an escort in the first place. To pay the medical bills.”

“That’s so...touching.” Daphne responded hesitantly.

Justin frowned, trying to distinguish her expression. “What?” he inquired, understanding she wanted to say more.

She took his hand, squeezing it. “You know I love you and want the best for you, right?”

Justin nodded, but he was sure that he wouldn’t like what she was going to say.

Sure enough, she advised, “Please be careful. To me, it seems like you have feelings for him and… As much as you want to think that he might feel the same way about you, he is an escort, Justin. Pretending is what he does as a living.”

“Wow, Daphne. Since when do you judge other people so critically?” Justin couldn’t believe what he’d heard. He expected to get this kind of reaction from his mother if she ever found out about Brian, but definitely not from Daphne.

“Since they seduced my best friend,” she responded gently. “I don’t want you heartbroken...and Brian is heartbreak material.”

“You’re wrong,” Justin retorted calmly. “I don’t know how he feels about me, but I can’t believe I was just a job to him. I just can’t.”

“Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you if you call him again and things don’t work out,” Daphne replied dryly, before softening her words, “Although, I hope you’re right and I’m wrong. I truly do.”

Justin snorted loudly. “Yeah, well, I’m tired. I’m going to bed,” he announced, standing up and heading carefully to the door.

“Justin…” Daphne tried to stop him, understanding she had upset her friend, but Justin didn’t turn back, leaving her room without uttering another word.

Justin entered his room and immediately went to lie down on his bed, huffing in frustration. He was angry at his best friend but, most of all, he was confused. No matter how much he didn’t want her warning to be valid, the truth was that there was a possibility that Brian didn’t care. Or at least, not in that way.

He grabbed his phone and played with the keys as he searched for Brian’s number, squinting hard to distinguish the letters on the screen. Brian’s name appeared, and Justin was half-tempted to forsake all reason and call him right away, demanding answers. But he couldn’t. Growling in frustration, he let his hand fall to the bed and cursed.

Sleep didn’t come easily that night.

************************

Brian started to freak out less than half an hour after having left Justin at his apartment.

He’d never expected to enjoy the weekend with the young artist as much as he had. In fact, he had more than enjoyed it. That’s why, once he found himself alone with his thoughts, relaxing at his loft, he started to question his sanity.

Firstly, Brian hadn’t fucked him. Sure, he hadn’t been able to resist when he and Justin had finally got some time alone after they had come back from the resort and, if not for Daphne’s interruption, Brian might have pushed things further. God knew he had wanted to. Hearing Justin’s moans as he had given him a handjob had turned him on so much that he had inwardly cursed Daphne when she’d interrupted them, although Justin’s embarrassment had vastly amused him.

But, yet, he hadn’t fucked him. Hell, he hadn’t fucked anyone. Brian couldn’t remember the last time it had happened for a whole weekend. The worst part was knowing that he could have. It was clear that Justin wanted him just as much as he wanted the blond. So why on Earth had he just made out with Justin and fucking loved it? Why had he stayed to watch a sunrise on a fucking beach, instead of dragging Justin to their bed to fuck him? And he hadn’t just watched a sunrise, he had also told Justin about his life, about his son.

Christ.

He could still remember the way he’d felt when Justin had talked to him about being bashed. He had wanted to kill the son of a bitch who had hurt him. In fact, he had been overly protective with Justin the whole time they had spent together at the resort.

So, now, he was freaking out. And he was also fucking horny.

Refusing to think about what he was doing, he grabbed his keys and his jacket, before storming out of his loft. Fifteen minutes later, he was banging on Matthew’s door.

“Brian?” Matthew greeted him, astonished to discover the brunet at his doorstep after ten thirty on a Sunday evening. He was about to ask him what he was doing there but, before he could voice his question, Brian attacked him, kissing him hungrily.

He pushed Matthew inside the house, not stopping for one second to ask his permission as he slammed the door behind him with his foot and began to undress Matthew right there in the entryway. Clothes landed on the floor on the way to the living room and, less than a minute later, Brian was pounding Matthew’s ass over the back of the couch. From the noises escaping the man, though, Brian knew he was enjoying every second of it. Matthew’s moans and grunts were loud and echoed throughout the house.

As for Brian, he tried desperately not to envision the face of another man as he kept coming and going into Matthew’s ass with powerful thrusts.

Of course, he failed. Miserably.

************************

Twenty minutes later, Brian was sitting on Matthew’s couch as the man came back from his kitchen with two glasses of Chivas Regal. He handed one to Brian before taking a seat on a chair next to the couch.

“So,” Matthew began, as Brian peered over at him. “Although I’d love to think that you came here tonight because you wanted to see me and couldn’t resist the idea of having sex with me, I have to ask…”

Brian raised his eyebrows at Matthew, waiting for him to spit out his question.

“What the fuck was that?” Matthew demanded forcefully.

Brian snorted. “Well, you know… my dick, your ass. I’m pretty sure you can figure it out.”

“Cut the bullshit. You barge in here and don’t even utter a word before attacking me. I think I have a right to know what pushed you to come here tonight.”

“No special reason,” Brian responded as he gulped from his glass. “I hadn’t fucked in forever. I thought you’d be pleased to release me from my predicament.”

Matthew sighed, understanding Brian was hiding the real reason of his presence at his place. “Where were you this weekend?”

“With a client,” Brian answered, before clearing his throat.

“Was he ugly?” Matthew asked, his eyebrows rising.

“No.” Brian snorted.

“Bald?” Matthew insisted.

“No.”

“Impotent?” Matthew began to chuckle.

“No! What’s with the twenty questions?” Brian retorted a little too loudly.

“Was he fuckable?”

“He’s a virgin,” Brian revealed, cursing himself as soon as the words popped out of his mouth.

“A virgin... and you didn’t fuck him? Why? He didn’t want you to?” Matthew inquired, his brow furrowing.

“Could you fucking stop with the inquisition?” Brian countered uncomfortably. Coming here suddenly seemed like a very bad idea.

Matthew stared at Brian for a long moment, but he didn’t push. “Sure.”

The silence that ensued was deafening. Brian left Matthew’s house a few minutes later, feeling even more confused than when he had first arrived.

************************

The next morning, Brian met with his friends at the diner.

“Hey, Brian!” Michael greeted him cheerfully, as Brian plopped down next to him in the booth, while Emmett and Ted echoed Michael’s greeting.

“Soooo... how was the weekend at the dreamy resort?” Emmett asked playfully. It was obvious the boys had been talking about Brian before he had entered the diner.

“Huh?” Brian eloquently responded, raising his hand to capture the new busboy’s attention. “Coffee, here,” he ordered, watching the redhead’s ass. The man blushed under Brian’s intent stare, as he went to pour some coffee into a cup.

“Your weekend…” Michael repeated. “Lindsay told Emmett that you had to pretend to be the boyfriend of an artist for his cousin’s wedding. That even his mom was there.”

“Yeah, so?” Brian avoided the question.

“So? I bet that was awful!”

“It wasn’t so bad.” Brian replied as nonchalantly as possible, as the busboy came to deliver his coffee. Brian just stared at him some more, before looking back at his friend.

“Huh?” Michael was obviously confused. “Since when do you enjoy yourself at a wedding?”

“Fuck off, Mikey.”

“Someone is in a bad mood!” Emmett sing-songed.

“I’m sure he fucked the groom,” Ted stated matter-of-factly.

“I didn’t fuck the groom.” Brian countered, as he took a sip of his coffee. “Fuck! It’s hot!” He almost burned his tongue.

“Who did you fuck, then?” Michael inquired.

“No one,” Brian disclosed, immediately regretting it. He peered at his friends, and sure enough, they were all looking at him as if he had gained twenty pounds.

As if that would ever happen...

“You didn’t have sex…” Michael repeated.

“For Christ’s sake, it’s no big deal!” Brian retorted too quickly. Of course, Brian fucking Kinney not having sex for an entire weekend made it seem like the world had come to an end.

“But…” Michael began, at a loss. “Lindsay said your client was young and hot.”

“And your point is?” Brian could feel the beginning of a headache hammering at his skull.

“You actually liked him enough not to fuck him?” Michael asked incredulously. “Not to fuck anyone else?”

“Not everything is about sex, Michael.” Fuck. Had he really said that out loud?

Michael’s mouth opened and closed several times, but he was too flabbergasted to respond. He was staring at Brian as if an alien - or worse, a lesbian - had taken possession of his body.

“You know honey, from where I’m sitting, I could almost swear you actually like your client,” Emmett drawled, a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

“Considering Brian Kinney giving a shit about a guy is statistically more improbable than winning big at the lottery, I think I will take my chance and play today.” Ted commented with a straight face.

“Oh, fuck off!” Brian had finally had enough. “I didn’t fuck Justin, but I still have my balls, thank you very much.”

“Justin…” Michael echoed.

“Yes, Michael. He used his first name.” Emmett stated with a knowing smirk, giving Brian his most innocent smile. “He gives a shit.”

Brian was fuming. “I’m outta here.” He suddenly stood up and gave his friends a murderous glare. “Get a life,” he snarled, before leaving the diner.

************************

Brian didn’t want his friends to imagine that he had ‘feelings’, just because he had enjoyed the company of a client he hadn’t fucked. After having met them at the diner, he therefore invited the boys to Babylon the next day, and fucked random guys for hours in the backroom.

Fortunately, although Emmett, Michael, and Ted teased him unmercifully about his ‘crush’ at first - jeez, they made him sound like an innocent schoolboy, which was hilarious, really - after his demonstration at Babylon, they stopped torturing him, and Brian didn’t mention Justin again.

In fact, after that night, the brunet avoided thinking about Justin at all.  

************************

Meanwhile, all Justin could think about was Brian. He spent all his free time drawing him, some of his sketches turning quite graphic as the blond remembered the intimate moments they had spent together. Daphne tried to warn him again when she realized her friend was obsessing over the escort, but after Justin told her to fuck off for the umpteenth time, she understood that her friend would not give up and decided to support him.

After a couple of weeks, Justin finally gathered enough courage to contact Brian. Sadly, Brian didn’t answer his phone. Justin called three other times that day before giving up.

Frustrated, he hesitated briefly before turning on his phone again and contacting ‘One Life’. Refusing to think about what he was doing, he called to arrange an evening appointment for the following night. But, when he asked for Brian, Grace informed him that he was unavailable for the entire weekend. Justin then tried to charm her over the phone, which was ridiculous since he was asking for a male escort. Grace eventually disclosed that Brian was not working for the next three days.

Justin hung up with a sigh, wondering what to do next. Should he call Brian again or not? He wanted to, but considering Brian hadn’t returned his call, he wasn’t sure it was a good idea.

“Shit,” Justin cursed, hating how desperate he acted. If Brian wanted to see him again, he could call him back, couldn’t he?

Justin was so lost in thought that he was startled when his cell began to ring in his hands. “Hello?” he answered without checking the display, knowing it would take too long for him to read the number.

“What have you done, you twat?” Brian barked.

“What?” Justin less-than-eloquently replied, his heart starting to thump erratically in his chest. Brian seemed upset, but Justin wasn’t sure why. Fuck, Brian was calling him. Brian was calling him?

“I don’t pick up the phone a couple of times, and you decide to call the agency to get hold of me? Seriously?” Brian was pissed.

Justin didn’t understand Brian’s reaction. “Well...I had no idea where we stood. I mean, can I even see you without calling them?” he inquired, knowing he was full of shit. Or maybe not, considering he didn’t know whether Brian wanted to spend time with him again. Maybe Brian wouldn’t agree to see him unless it was under the terms of a signed contract with the agency. Possibly not even then.

Fuck, Justin needed to stop over-thinking where Brian was concerned.

Brian let out a heavy sigh. “Justin, I’m a free man. The agency doesn’t own me. Sure, I’m not supposed to befriend my clients since that’s likely to take revenue away from the agency, but it’s still my choice.”

“Okay,” Justin responded quietly. Truthfully, he didn’t know what to say.

“Why did you call?” Brian inquired, and Justin felt his hope that Brian would want to see him plummet. Brian didn’t seem all that pleased to hear from him.

I want you. “I’d like to see you,” Justin chose to respond instead.

Brian didn’t answer at first. Justin was afraid he was going to hang up, but then the brunet asked, “When?”

Now? Justin considered his response, feeling his heart miss a beat at Brian’s question. “I don’t know... Whenever it’s convenient for you.”

“I’m not sure,” Brian responded. “My son was hospitalized last night.”

“What?” Justin exclaimed. “What happened? Is he alright?” he asked, the concern evident in his voice.

“He is,” Brian reassured him. “He threw up all night. Because of his condition, we had to rush him to the ER, so that they could check that the medications weren’t malfunctioning. Turns out he had eaten something that didn’t agree with him. He is better now. He should be able to go home tomorrow.”

“That’s why you have the weekend off,” Justin surmised.

“That’s why I have the weekend off,” Brian confirmed Justin’s assumption.

Justin nodded, even though nobody could see him. “I’m glad he’ll be okay. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have a sick child.”

“It’s scary,” Brian revealed quietly. “Listen, I need to head back to the hospital now.”

“Of course,” Justin agreed, ready to hang up.

“I will be at your place tomorrow night at eight thirty,” Brian announced unexpectedly. “Put on some dancing clothes.”

Justin didn’t respond, astounded by the fact that the brunet had just asked him out.

“Justin?” Brian recalled his wandering attention, clearly amused. Justin was sure the man was smirking now.

“Tomorrow. Eight thirty,” Justin repeated. “Dance club. You really like to make me dance,” he stated matter-of-factly, shaking his head. “ Fuck...”

“If you insist,” Brian teased. “I’d be happy to.”

Justin blushed, thankful that the brunet couldn’t see him.

“Later,” Brian disconnected the call, ending their conversation without waiting for Justin’s reply.

“Later,” Justin breathed out, as the dial tone buzzed in his ear, a smile spreading across his face.

When Daphne got home half an hour later, she was shocked to discover all of Justin clothes had been strewn across the bed, with the blond pouting next to them. “Justin, what’s wrong?” she asked, concerned.

“I don’t have anything to wear!” Justin exclaimed.

“Nothing to wear . . .” the young woman echoed, glancing in confusion as the pile of clothes on the bed. “I know you’re almost blind, but I can assure you there are about twenty outfits on that bed.” She picked up a pair of black jeans and nodded in approval, knowing how perfect Justin’s ass looked in them.

“Brian’s going to take me clubbing tomorrow,” Justin reported delightedly. His dejected look quickly returned, though, as he muttered, “But I need to look hot. And all these clothes are old!”

Daphne began to chuckle uncontrollably. “Justin, you’re such a Drama Queen. If I hadn’t already known you’re gay, I would now.”

Justin glared at her, before picking up a random shirt and throwing it in her direction, laughing.

 

Chapter Text

Saturday night...

Justin was fresh out of the shower when he heard the doorbell ring. “Shit,” he cursed, managing to grab a towel and put it around his hips before hastily heading towards the entryway, drops of water still running along his body.

“Who’s there?” Justin demanded as he carefully unlocked the door.

“Who do you think?” Brian drawled.

Justin sighed, contemplating making the brunet wait so that he could put on some clothes and his sunglasses, before deciding against it. Opening the door, he wasn’t surprised when he heard Brian voicing his approval. “You can greet me like this every time.”

“You’re early,” Justin countered, embarrassed, as he stepped back to let Brian enter the apartment.

“Actually, I’m late. It’s eight-forty,” Brian pointed out, walking in. “Though, I bet you had fun in the shower and lost track of time. Not that I blame you. I did the same.”

Justin blushed furiously, thinking about his jerk-off session a few minutes earlier.

Brian brushed his fingers across his crimson-tinted cheek. “Now, now. No need to be embarrassed.”

“I’d better get dressed.” Justin hastily responded, turning around towards his room.

He took a couple of steps, before pausing as a sudden idea popped into his mind. Brian wasn’t the only one who could have fun playing the seductive part.

“Want to help me?” Justin inquired, sporting the most innocent expression on his face.

“Sure,” Brian agreed, and Justin was certain his companion was grinning. He could also feel his eyes on him, especially on his towel-covered derriere.

Justin walked into his room, Brian following him. Once he had entered and put his sunglasses on, he demanded, “Turn around,” knowing Brian wouldn’t obey.

He then grabbed a pair of underwear from his bed and slowly, very slowly, let his towel slither to the floor before bending over to put one foot into his boxers.

He heard Brian clear his throat loudly behind him.

Bingo.

“Brian, can you help me with my jeans?” Justin then asked the brunet, emboldened by Brian’s reaction.

Brian had to clear his throat again before he could speak. “You sure you want to get dressed?”

“Well, since we’re going out, yes, please,” Justin had been half-tempted to give Brian a different answer, but he still wanted to go out and dance with him, before hopefully engaging in more… pleasurable activities.

“You owe me a lap dance, by the way,” Brian whispered huskily in his ear, as he helped Justin into his jeans, letting his hands caress Justin’s hips for a moment.

Justin shivered. “I remember,” he responded in a low voice as he leaned back against Brian’s chest, the brunet’s breath raising goosebumps on his neck.

“Put your shirt on,” Brian rasped, grabbing it off of Justin’s bed and helping him pull it over his head.

Justin had a feeling Brian had rarely asked anyone to put their clothes on before, which made him laugh.

“What?” Brian asked.

“Nothing,” Justin shook his head, before turning into Brian’s arms. He raised a hand to Brian’s chin and let his fingers touch his lips. Brian’s breathing stuttered.

“If you don’t want me to fuck you now, you really should stop teasing me like this,” Brian gasped.

“I want you to fuck me,” Justin replied. No need to pretend otherwise; he had wanted Brian since their first meeting. “Just not right now; I want to dance first. And eat. I’m starving!”

Brian chuckled and leaned in, covering Justin’s lips, before dragging Justin out of his apartment.

************************

Two hours later…

Brian couldn’t wait to secure Justin’s body in his arms. Ever since he had joined him tonight, the blond’s mission had been to torture him, so much so that Brian had barely been able to restrain himself from fucking his companion earlier tonight.

When they stepped into Babylon after having eaten at a fancy restaurant, however, Brian felt Justin tensing at his side. The club was packed, and since Justin looked way too edible in a pair of ripped jeans and a too-tight t-shirt, he was drawing a lot of attention. Brian could feel hands trying to touch them both as they walked through the crowd, heading toward the bar.

“Don’t worry. Just hold onto me.” Brian reassured the blond, squeezing his hand.

“I’m fine,” Justin replied, although his too-tight grip on Brian’s arm belied his words.

“You’re not,” Brian disputed. “But you can be proud of yourself, Sunshine. An evening at Babylon is good therapy for you. With a bonus. It’s the best place to molest me,” he added with a smirk as they arrived at the counter.

Justin laughed. “That’s good to know,” he commented. “You know what else would help me? Besides taking advantage of your body?”

“I knew you were shallow. What about my soul?” Brian quipped in mock outrage.

“Fuck off!” Justin protested. “I’m not shallow. But I’d love a drink,” he declared, using his most captivating smile.

Brian bit his lower lip, before warning Justin playfully, as he raised his hand to capture the bartender’s attention. “If you try dancing on the bar again, I’m leaving your sorry ass.”

Justin punched his arm. “Hey! I’m a great dancer. I bet you would ask for an encore. And, besides, what about the lap dance?”

“The lap dance is just for me, not anyone else,” Brian drawled mischievously. “Two Beams, neat,” he then addressed the bartender before peering toward the entrance to the club. “Shit,” he cursed when he saw Michael, Ted, and Emmett heading in their direction.

“What?” Justin asked, his brow furrowing when Brian positioned himself in front of him.

“My friends are here,” Brian announced as the bartender placed their drinks on the ledge.

“You want to go?” Justin inquired, obviously sensing that Brian wasn’t pleased with this new development.

“Too late for that,” Brian grunted dryly. He grabbed both their glasses of Beam and placed one in Justin’s hand. “Cheers to the queers,” he toasted sardonically, before downing his drink in one gulp.

“Looks like Brian already found his first victim,” Ted’s voice echoed in Brian’s ear. Brian growled to himself in irritation.

“Though, blonds are not his type… but I understand why he chose this one. What a plump butt!” Emmett exclaimed as he moved behind Justin to check out his ass.

“Back the fuck off!” Brian barked, pushing Emmett away while simultaneously pulling Justin toward himself. “Christ, Emmett! Have some decency.”

Michael was taken aback by Brian’s reaction. “Sorry Brian,” he apologized to his friend, deducing that Justin was a client. If he’d know the truth, he would have cheered Emmett for his boldness instead. “We didn’t know you were working.”

“I’m not working, Michael,” Brian retorted, annoyed that, once again, his friends couldn’t mind their own business. Maybe he should have kept his mouth shut, however, since Michael was now looking back and forth between him and Justin with a frown. Brian therefore prayed that Justin would not politely intervene, or he feared his friends would never let it go. Or, worse, they would assume something was seriously wrong with him, since he had never invited a former client out before.

Of course, Justin chose that precise moment to introduce himself, “Hey, I’m Justin.”

Brian glared at the blond and grabbed his hand, squeezing it too tightly. “Ouch!” Justin cried out, jerking his hand away and punching the brunet’s bicep.

“Justin?” Emmett repeated. Brian knew he was screwed. “Ohhhh! You’re the artist, right?” he asked, now eying Brian knowingly and grinning triumphantly.

Brian wanted to murder Emmett very slowly. He peered over at Justin and noticed the puzzled look on his face. The blond was probably wondering how Emmett knew he was an artist.

Realizing that the guys wouldn’t leave him alone if he just ignored them, Brian eventually slid his fingers through Justin’s and turned him toward the trio. The three men looked at him questioningly, as they tried to comprehend why Justin needed Brian’s assistance to greet them. When Ted pointed at Justin’s glasses, obviously surmising Justin’s disability, Brian confirmed his assumption with a slight nod. He then glared at Michael and Emmett, daring them to made a comment about this revelation.

Satisfied with his friends’ ‘subtle’ reaction - there was a first time for everything - Brian decided to introduce Michael first. “This is Michael, my oldest friend,” he declared, guiding Justin’s hand towards the brunet.

“That’s me,” Michael shook Justin’s hand, his eyes never leaving Brian’s face.

Brian avoided Michael’s inquiring gaze and guided Justin toward Ted and Emmett. “Ted is the guy you want if you need to crunch numbers. And Emmett, our personal queen, well… he simply loves numbers, if you know what I mean.” Brian drawled as he leaned his head sideways against Justin’s.

“Yeah, as in sixty-nine and nine inches. Even his favorite porn site is three-little-pigs@bigbad.com,” Ted enthused.

“What can I say? I like hot numbers, cute numbers, tall numbers - the more the merrier,” Emmett clarified. “And since you’re not Brian’s client, maybe we could get… better acquainted?” he proposed playfully, as he trailed his hand up and down Justin’s arm, causing the blond to stiffen and step back.

Brian gave Emmett a murderous glare as he placed his arm around Justin’s shoulders. “Fuck off, Honeycutt!” Not waiting for Emmett’s answer, he grabbed Justin’s hand, leading him to the dance floor.

“That was pretty intense,” Justin observed once they had begun dancing, Brian’s hands firmly resting on his hips.

“They can be a bit overwhelming. Just forget about them,” Brian replied, leaning in closer, their bodies now touching.

The brunet couldn’t help it. He cupped Justin’s cheeks and leaned back briefly, searching for any sight of discomfort on the blond’s face. When he was sure Justin wanted this as much as he did, he captured Justin’s lips, immediately using his tongue to deepen the kiss, forgetting everything else.

Meanwhile, Michael, Ted and Emmett had ascended to the catwalk and were now staring avidly at the scene unfolding before their eyes.

“What is he doing?” Michael asked incredulously.

“I’m pretty sure he is having more fun than I am,” Ted lamented.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d almost believe Brian had turned into a complete lesbian,” Emmett commented. “Whoa! He is going to smother the boy if he keeps kissing him like that.”

“You think it’s possible to die of suffocation while kissing someone?” Ted inquired with a straight face.

“Well, until now I would have said no, but Brian has always been known to shatter all sorts of records.”

“Or to explode. Period.” Ted added in a jesting tone.

“Stop it!” Michael exclaimed, pissed at his best friend. “Brian will fuck him, ‘explode’, and forget all about him.”

“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” Emmett replied.

“You definitely would,” Ted countered. At Emmett’s dismayed look, he added, “What? Brian may be an asshole, but even I can admit that he is hot when he fucks.”

Michael frowned, before asking, “Since when do you know what Brian looks like when he fucks?”

Ted cleared his throat in response, a ‘deer caught in the headlights’ sort of expression on his face.

On the dance floor, Brian and Justin were oblivious to their gossip. They were swaying to the music, smiling at each other between kisses. Moving as if they were alone in their own world, Justin felt safe enough in Brian’s arms to let go and fully enjoy the moment.

Brian was pleased to see Justin so happy and relaxed. He ignored the horny men looking at Justin hungrily. Justin was his, and his only. Sure, the thought should scare him, but he couldn’t fight it. Maybe tomorrow. For now, he needed to feel Justin. He needed more.

“I want you,” he breathed out into Justin’s ear, as his companion kept swaying softly in his arms. Peering down, he wished that he could look into Justin’s eyes. They were hidden behind his shades, and Brian wondered if Justin really needed them all the time, or if he used them because he was ashamed, self-conscious of what people would think if they looked too closely into his injured eyes.

“I want you, too,” Justin admitted.

Brian smiled, grabbing his hand. “Let’s go,” he suggested, before leading Justin towards the exit and leaving Babylon.

************************

Fortunately, Daphne had made plans to spend the night at September’s place, which meant they’d have the apartment to themselves. Justin fumbled with his keys, anxious to get inside, Brian’s incessant kisses on the side of his neck distracting him from his task.

“Brian, stop,” he weakly demanded, although his voice sounded desperate.

“I can’t,” Brian responded, running his hands down Justin’s back and rubbing his asscheeks. He then moved them up, sliding his fingers under Justin’s jacket.

Justin let out a sigh of relief when he finally succeeded in opening the door. He wasn’t sure he would have been able to stop Brian from fucking him right there on his doorstep if he hadn’t prevailed at last. As soon as Brian had entered behind him, he slammed the door shut and attacked Brian’s lips fervently, Brian’s back hitting the door.

Brian grunted as he pushed Justin, turning him around forcibly, the blond now the one trapped against the door. Justin didn’t mind. He wrapped his leg around Brian’s, eliciting a moan from the brunet as their hard, cloth-covered dicks rubbed against one another. Brian responded by pushing harder against him. When Justin felt the brunet hastily shoving his jacket off his shoulders, he grabbed Brian’s and did the same, before walking him backward. He didn’t care where they ended up. The couch, his bedroom, and the kitchen table were all perfect options if it meant he would finally feel Brian’s body covering his own.

He’d fantasized about it for so long. Of course, he was scared, but his desire for Brian overshadowed everything at the moment. He refused to think about the pain he was going to feel. Since he was a virgin, he knew it would inevitably hurt.

They removed their shoes and socks. Then their shirts, Brian immediately trailing kisses along Justin’s shoulder before claiming his mouth again. The brunet hurriedly unbuttoned Justin’s jeans and slid his hand inside, fondling his cock through his underwear. Justin gasped as he tried to do the same to Brian, but he was so consumed by his desire that he didn’t succeed. He was about to try again when Brian lowered his pants and underwear in one move, freeing his dick from its too-constrictive confinement.

They had somehow entered Justin’s bedroom, and Brian turned them around before pushing Justin onto his bed. Justin blushed, knowing Brian was looking at him as he landed on his back, completely naked, his hard, heavy cock bouncing on his stomach. He immediately propped himself up on his elbows and waited for Brian’s next move.

Justin heard Brian breathing heavily. A few seconds elapsed. The blond’s heart was hammering in his chest as he realized that this was it. If he didn’t stop what was happening, he was going to have sex for the first time in his life. God knew, he wanted to, but while he had refused to think about what it meant until that moment, a rush of fear now overwhelmed him. What if something went wrong? Or if Brian didn’t like it? He was a virgin, whereas Brian was an experienced, sex-driven gay man. How could he compete with all the men Brian had already fucked?

“Justin,” Brian’s voice recalled him.

Justin felt the bed moving as Brian joined him, soon covering his body. The brunet had removed his jeans and underwear, and Justin stopped breathing as he felt Brian’s naked skin - his chest, his legs, his dick - on him. Brian then shifted to his side, his hand slowly caressing Justin’s skin, moving up and down his stomach and hips.

“You’re afraid,” Brian declared softly, still caressing Justin’s skin.

“I’m not,” Justin denied as he covered Brian’s hand with his own.

“Liar,” Brian countered with a small chuckle. “It’s normal to be afraid the first time,” he reassured the blond.

“I…” Justin rubbed his forehead, frustrated.

Brian took Justin’s shades off. Justin winced.

He hated feeling that way. Brian had seen his eyes before - he hadn’t been wearing his shades when they had slept in the same bed at Doran’s wedding, or even when he had answered his door hastily to greet Brian earlier that night - but without them, he felt vulnerable.

“I promise you, it will be good for you. I will go slow. I want you, Justin. You have no idea how much I want you, ” Brian whispered, the edge in his voice unmistakable.

Justin’s heart missed a beat again. He reached out to his nightstand and turned on his bedside lamp, the soft glow of the light reflecting on Brian’s features. Justin then raised his hand to touch Brian’s face, tracing every line, memorizing every curve and flaw. He stared for what felt like hours, trying to see, really see Brian. And somehow, he forgot his discomfort and allowed Brian to look into his eyes, even though his formerly blue irises were now mostly darkened by an accumulation of blood.

Justin saw a soft smile. Brian’s eyes seemed so kind. The blond knew Brian was handsome since Daphne and his mother had told him so, but right now, he could almost grasp how beautiful he was.

Justin was going to give his virginity to a man he was in love with. That thought enthralled him as much as it terrified him. If he felt so connected with Brian already, having sex with him would probably make him fall even harder. Was Justin ready for that?

The answer didn’t matter because it was too late. Justin wanted Brian too much to back down now.

An unforgettable night was about to unfold. As Brian eventually leaned across Justin’s body to turn off the light, the blond sighed happily, feeling the first shiver running through his body before welcoming Brian’s tongue into his mouth.




Chapter Text

Several minutes later…

Brian rolled Justin onto his chest, kissing his way down his back. A shudder traveled through Justin’s body when Brian’s lips made contact with his spine. Brian reached his ass, his warm hands kneading the flesh there before he spread Justin’s cheeks, his hot breath washing over his skin.

Justin had trouble concentrating on anything other than Brian’s touch. He shivered, barely hearing Brian’s words. “Lesson one, Sunshine. Rimming.”

Before Justin could respond, Brian’s tongue touched his hole. Justin tensed up, but his momentary discomfort soon became a memory, indescribable sensations flooding his body under the heat of his companion’s tongue. He had never imagined that anything could feel so good. As a result of Brian’s attention, his dick grew impossibly hard.

Justin enjoyed Brian’s ministrations for as long as he could. He tried to hold back his orgasm, but when Brian hummed against him, he felt himself relaxing and getting impossibly close. Brian’s tongue then pushed inside of him, feeling deliciously hot and wet, and he was lost. He cried out, his fingers clutching the sheets as his hips bucked.

“I love how responsive you are,” Brian teased him gently, as he moved to cover Justin’s body with his own, shifting slightly to the blond’s side to talk in his ear.

“Urgh,” Justin mumbled into the pillow.

“I take it you like rimming,” Brian chuckled, caressing the blond’s neck before kissing his shoulder.

Justin snorted. “You could say that,” he muttered, ashamed of coming so quickly. “I’m sorry I came. It was just…”

“Hey, no need to apologize. It was the first time for you, right?” Brian inquired, sliding off to lie beside Justin.

Justin had never told Brian that he hadn’t had sex until now, but he wasn’t surprised that the brunet had figured it out. Sharing his story about Chris Hobbs had given Brian insight into Justin’s life. Justin had kissed a boy for the first time when he was eighteen years old and had been bashed for that kiss. He therefore had never felt comfortable enough with anyone to try again, least of all to initiate sex. Until he’d met Brian.

“It was,” Justin confirmed. “And now, I want you to...make love to me.”

Justin felt his companion freeze. After long seconds, Brian finally breathed out, “Are you sure?”

Justin reached out to run his fingers across Brian’s face. “I am,” he responded quietly, before leaning in to capture Brian’s lips.

Brian sighed, opening his mouth in invitation. The blond loved it, loved the feeling when their tongues first met - just a soft, gentle touch, which quickly became raw, almost animalistic, as they succumbed to their overpowering desire. Justin felt so close to Brian when they kissed, sensing that the escort was unable to hide what he really felt.

Brian reluctantly broke off the kiss when Justin started to rub against him. “I’ll be right back,” he announced quietly.

Justin frowned, feeling himself panic as Brian moved. Where was he going?

“Brian?” Justin questioned as he grabbed his companion’s arm, preventing him from getting up.

“I’m right here,” Brian responded, briefly squeezing Justin’s hand in reassurance. “I’m getting supplies. I doubt you have condoms stashed in your nightstand,” he volunteered, picking up his jeans from the floor.

Justin’s eyes widened, a deep blush covering his cheeks. “I have lube.”

“What brand?” Brian inquired.

“Kama Sutra Love?” Justin responded.

Brian approved, “I’ll take it then.” He returned with a few condoms, which he threw on the bed. He then opened the nightstand and grabbed the lubricant. “Did you think I was leaving?”

“No. I just… I don’t know,” Justin stammered, before admitting, “I might feel a little insecure, since, well, I’m a virgin and you’re…”

“Not a virgin, that’s for sure,” Brian finished Justin’s thought. “Listen,” he sat on the bed next to Justin, interlacing their fingers and pulling him up so they were sitting together. He then cupped his cheek and leaned over to rest his forehead against Justin’s temple. Justin covered his hand with his own.

“It may be your first time, but I do want you,” Brian murmured. “I can show you how good sex feels, if you let me.”

“I want you to show me. I mean…” Justin hesitated briefly before confessing, “I want it to be you .”

Brian leaned back to peer at Justin’s face. “Good,” he stated, guiding Justin down until he was flat on his back.

A rush of adrenaline coursed through Justin as Brian lifted his legs and began to caress his ass.

“Relax,” Brian advised. “This is going to be a little cold.”

Justin felt himself getting more apprehensive about what was going to happen. He tried to concentrate on the feeling of Brian’s hands on him, on his smell. He heard Brian uncap the tube, the coldness of the lube making him flinch.

Brian chuckled as Justin squirmed.

“You weren’t joking,” Justin exclaimed, smiling as Brian started to rub against his hole.

“It will heat up.” Brian promised huskily.

Brian’s fingers kept circling, coming and going along Justin’s crack for what felt like an eternity.

“Feels good,” Justin breathed out as he began to push against Brian, wanting the man to do more than tease his entrance unmercifully. However, when Brian complied and pushed the tip of his finger inside and past the first ring, Justin winced. The blond already knew what that felt like, but he had never gone any further. All too soon, Brian had a whole digit in his ass, and Justin had a hard time relaxing. Another finger eventually joined the first.

Brian used his other hand to draw comforting circles on his stomach, patiently waiting for Justin to adjust to his ministrations. He kept pushing and pulling gently, and Justin suddenly felt a rush of exquisite pleasure inside of him. He grunted, sparks of arousal flooding through his veins. Brian must have sensed it, because he chose that moment to add another digit. The blond cried out loudly, now wanting it more than anything.

“That’s it, Sunshine,” Brian breathed out hoarsely, as he leaned over to lick his neck, while scissoring his fingers inside him more fervently. Justin was lost, blissful moans now escaping his lips.

“More,” Justin grunted after a minute of this agonizing torture. He wanted, needed to feel Brian inside him or he would go insane.

“More?” Brian teased, capturing Justin’s lips playfully.

“Please. I need it,” Justin confirmed, before moaning loudly when Brian responded to his plea by pushing more forcibly inside of him. He threw his head back, allowing Brian to pepper his neck with kisses. Justin was feeling Brian’s desire with every move, lick, and bite, Brian’s hard cock brushing against his hip.

Suddenly, the brunet grazed a sensitive spot inside Justin, making his toes curl and his back arch up off the bed.

“Damn. You’re so responsive,” Brian smiled against Justin’s cheek.

“What was that?” Justin panted, sagging into the pillows and breathing harshly.

“Your prostate,” Brian volunteered. “The magic gate to gay heaven. It will feel even better in a few minutes,” he promised.

Brian withdrew his fingers and grabbed Justin’s hand, guiding it to his own cock. Justin was in such a state of arousal that he immediately started to slide his fingers up and down the heavy, throbbing shaft, while straightening himself to kiss and lick Brian’s chest. He heard Brian’s lustful gasp in response as the man ripped a condom open.

“Justin,” Brian tried to slow his lover down, but Justin was having none of it.

“Hurry,” the blond demanded as he grabbed the rubber from Brian’s hand and unrolled it onto the brunet’s dick.

Brian pushed Justin down onto his back and placed one of Justin’s ankles on his shoulder, the other curling around his hip. He positioned his cock at Justin’s entrance before breathing deeply a couple of times, as if just realizing what he was about to do and wanting to pace himself.

Brian then moved his hips teasingly, probably hoping to turn Justin on even more, so that the penetration would be easier to accept. “Do it,” Justin rasped after a few seconds, grabbing Brian’s asscheeks to force the man inside him. “For Christ’s sake, Brian…”

Sensing Justin’s urgency, Brian pushed inside his lover slowly. He had barely passed the first ring of muscle before Justin grabbed his forearm tightly, however. “Fuck! Stop!” he exclaimed. The pain was excruciating.

“I know. Pain is part of it,” Brian uttered as he stilled, his dick half buried inside Justin. He leaned down to kiss the blond gently before placing his forehead against Justin’s. “You need to relax,” Brian reminded him.

The words had barely exited his mouth when Brian was kissing Justin again and caressing his chest. “Focus on me. On me touching you. And nothing else,” he whispered softly to reassure his lover, even though the tone of his voice couldn’t disguise how much being inside Justin truly affected him.

Justin felt Brian’s words reach a place deep inside him. Their kiss intensified, Brian’s warm hands on his skin feeling more and more heavenly. Justin began to reciprocate, using his own hands to caress his lover’s back and arms. Without realizing what he was doing, he reached for Brian’s ass, pushing against him and forcing him to resume his thrusting. He opened his mouth in wonder when he felt a wave of pleasure overwhelm him. Brian felt it, too, and gasped into Justin’s ear.

Now buried completely inside Justin, Brian marveled, “You feel so good,” making Justin want to weep with joy. After all the pain he’d been through and the dread of never being able to feel close to someone, Brian making love to him was a victory over his own fears. More than that, having sex with Brian made him feel complete.

Brian pulled back and then pushed in. He did it again. And again. When Justin moved against him, meeting him thrust for thrust, he accelerated his pace, grabbing Justin’s right ankle. Justin responded and pushed back, the two men now snapping their hips together to intensify the pleasure they were both feeling, beautiful moans and grunts spilling from their mouths. The friction caused by his lover’s cock moving inside him was the most wonderful, fascinating, arousing sensation Justin had ever experienced.

Grabbing Justin’s other ankle, Brian bent his lover even more to pound into him harder with short, powerful thrusts. The sudden change of angle caused Justin to cry out when Brian brushed his prostate. The blond could feel himself losing it, as each of Brian’s strokes caused shivers of bliss to ripple through him.

Brian must have sensed that Justin was dangerously close and therefore slowed down. How in the world he could do that while all Justin wanted was to come was beyond him; yet, when Brian released the blond’s legs and covered his body with his own, Justin instinctively locked his feet at the small of Brian’s back. Brian kept fucking Justin nice and deep, now devouring his lips hungrily, too, Justin’s dick trapped between them. Justin was sure he had died and gone to heaven, his cock being rubbed in the most delightful way.

Brian leaned back eventually, placing both his hands on the bed to support himself. The blond felt his gaze on him as Brian rasped out huskily, “Now, you’re going to come harder than ever before.”  

Surprisingly, Brian stopped moving. Justin could still feel sparks of rapture as Brian’s cock throbbed inside of him. “I want you to come with me,” Brian whispered as he dropped his head down beside Justin’s before licking his lover just below his ear, moving his tongue along his jaw until he reached Justin’s mouth. As soon as their lips connected, he resumed his thrusts, fucking Justin deeply, and massaging his prostate on each stroke.

“Brian... Brian!” Justin chanted as Brian brought him closer to the edge. “I can’t… I’m coming, I’m coming!” he cried out in ecstasy as he exploded between them, his channel contracting around Brian’s shaft with every surge of come. Brian thrust a couple more times before he, too, fell over the edge, his orgasm so intense that he couldn’t prevent a loud groan from escaping his lips.

They were both breathless when Brian collapsed on top of the blond.

Once the brunet had recovered enough to move, he pulled out carefully and tied off the condom, Justin sighing at the loss. Brian tossed it into the wastebasket before rolling over to lie next to Justin.

They stayed silent for a while. Justin didn’t know what to say, truthfully. He had never expected sex to feel so good, although he had a feeling Brian had made the experience better than any other man could have. After a while, he felt Brian’s hand begin to caress his forearm. “Okay?” the brunet inquired.

“Yeah. It was amazing.” Justin answered, a dreamy smile gracing his lips. “I’m sore, though,” he realized, frowning.

“I bet.” Brian rolled onto his side to face Justin, covering the blond’s dick with his hand and playfully giving it a couple of strokes. “Take a nap to recover. You need to practice.”

Justin burst out laughing, gazing at Brian. “You’re so full of shit,” he countered.

“There’s so much more than missionary, Sunshine,” Brian jested, pulling Justin against him.

Justin smiled, snuggling into Brian’s side. He briefly wondered if Brian had loved it as much as he had, hoping that, maybe one day, he wouldn’t have to pay for his presence by his side. Justin wanted the man to be a part of his life. Truthfully, it was scary how fast and hard he had fallen for Brian. Reckless, even. But there wasn’t anything he could have done to prevent it.

It seemed like he’d just fallen asleep when Brian woke him up in the nicest way, kissing his face and his neck while languorously caressing his half-hard dick. The brunet was spooning him, and Justin sighed, pushing against him and covering Brian’s fingers on his cock so they could stroke it with their entwined hands. Brian grunted as he rubbed his shaft against Justin’s ass before he removed his fingers from Justin’s dick to prepare his lover. A couple of minutes later, he was penetrating the blond, sighing in relief.

Justin moaned loudly. Brian covered his mouth. “Shh. I think I heard the door earlier. Your friend must be back.” he informed the blond, before playfully pushing deeper inside Justin to elicit another grunt from him.

Justin barely refrained from shouting. “She…” he tried to speak, but Brian’s cock felt so fantastic that it was difficult to form a coherent sentence. “...was supposed to… come home later,” he managed to breathe out, before gasping again when Brian brushed against his prostate. How in the world could he have waited so long to have sex?

Brian moved his leg to fuck him deeper, a new rush of pleasure coursing through them both. His thrusts became more erratic as he obviously fought to delay his orgasm, the blond enjoying every second of the ride. When Brian rolled him onto his stomach, Justin raised his ass to accommodate his lover. Brian slammed back into Justin, but the heat of his lover’s ass seemed to be too much for the brunet, who cried out loudly within a minute. He kept fucking Justin, however, as he reached for his cock to stroke it until, at last, Justin came with a loud shout into Brian’s hand.

Again, Brian collapsed on Justin, both men having trouble catching their breath.

“That was… fantastic,” Brian commented, refusing to move.

Justin responded by interlacing his fingers with Brian’s and rubbing his thumb against the brunet’s palm. They lay together, waiting for their breathing to even out, simply enjoying this intimate moment that only those who had just made love could share.

After a while, Brian pulled out. He threw away the condom before taking Justin in his arms and falling asleep almost instantly.

Justin, though, was wide awake, wondering once again how he’d been so lucky as to lose his virginity to Brian. The escort had been so amazing with him, prompting Justin to believe that he was NOT just another client for him. What they’d shared was too intense not to be real. Brian cared about him.

However, even though he was sure of himself in regard to Brian’s feelings, Justin didn’t want to rush the brunet into something he wasn’t ready for. Things weren’t that simple. Brian had a life. More specifically, he had a job, a family, a son, friends, and falling in love with one of his clients was certainly not something Brian had ever considered. So, the wiser course of action for Justin was to abide by the rules for now and hope for the best.

He got out of the bed, leaving Brian sound asleep, and went to the bathroom. On his way back, he retrieved a few bills from his wallet - he could recognize the bills thanks to a trick he used, folding each denomination in a certain way - before heading back to his room. He placed the money, along with Brian’s clothes that he had picked up from the floor, on a chair next to the nightstand before lying down again next to Brian.

The next time he woke up, Brian was gone.

************************

Brian had accepted the fact that he wanted Justin. Truthfully, he wanted him more than he had ever wanted anyone. That’s why he kept pushing the thought out of his mind anytime he acknowledged that Justin was different. He couldn’t explain it, and he should probably run away from it. But he wanted the blond too much for that.

When he decided that there was no fighting whatever was happening between them, he accepted that he was going to take Justin’s virginity, with all the implications that would hold. Brian wasn’t stupid. He knew Justin had a crush on him and that having sex with him would definitely connect them even more. But he was ready to deal with the consequences. Sure, he flinched when Justin used the phrase ‘making love’, but words were not going to prevent him from introducing Justin to sex.

It wasn’t about love, being in love, or whatever shit people wanted to call two men appreciating each other. It was about confidence, trust, and feeling good. Analyzing what it meant more thoroughly wasn’t something Brian wanted to explore, at all. However, he wanted Justin to enjoy his first time and to discover how amazing having a man inside him could feel. He knew ignoring his own feelings was fucked but, again, it wasn’t about him. It was about Justin facing his own fears and moving on with his life, regardless of what a stupid, clueless prick had done to him.

He therefore took his time. He rimmed him and prepared him thoroughly, wanting his lover to feel minimal pain. When he entered him, he marveled at the warmth of Justin’s body. Justin was in pain, but Brian reassured him, using his touch to soothe him, so that he could finally bring him to this place where nothing mattered but the sparks, the exhilaration, and the rapture they felt as they moved together in perfect synchronization.

Brian briefly wondered how it felt for Justin, since his quasi-blindness made him more aware of other sensations. The thought was a fleeting one, though, thrusting inside Justin being entirely too breathtaking and overpowering. He almost lost it a couple of times, so enthralled by the delicious heat surrounding his cock. Not only that, but Justin was kissing him and caressing his skin, alternating between soft touches and brutal grips depending on their rhythm, turning Brian on even more. In the end, Brian needed to feel Justin come so badly that he guided them towards their climax, brushing against Justin’s prostate with every one of his thrusts, knowing that Justin wouldn’t last. He felt Justin coming between them, his warm seed covering his stomach, before he, too, succumbed and fell over the edge.

The sex had been amazing. Brian couldn’t stop himself from wanting more, and he soon woke Justin up to fuck him again. And again, their coupling was extraordinary, leaving Brian exhausted, but content. He fell asleep almost as soon as he disentangled himself from his lover.

Brian woke up in the early hours of the morning, the sun shining through the curtains covering Justin’s window. Peering sideways, he smiled as his eyes landed on his lover sound asleep on his stomach. He needed to use the bathroom, so he rolled onto his side, careful not to wake Justin, before standing up.

A couple of minutes later, he walked back into Justin’s bedroom, just before he heard Daphne exiting her room, obviously heading to the kitchen. He was contemplating what to do next when his eyes landed on the chair before him, where his carefully-folded clothes had been placed. That’s when he noticed several bills on top of his shirt and froze.

He swallowed thickly as a feeling of dread crept over him. Justin had left him money? Why the fuck had he…?

As the realization of what it meant finally dawned on him, Brian felt his chest tightening painfully.

Justin had paid him to have sex. That meant he thought Brian had taken his virginity as a part of his job. He hadn’t listened. And Brian hated that it affected him but fuck, it hurt. It hurt like hell.  

Brian couldn’t believe how betrayed and angry he felt. Angry at Justin for acting like an innocent virgin whose sole purpose had been to make Brian care about him, make love to him, just to throw everything they had shared back in his face as soon as he had gotten what he wanted. But most of all, Brian was furious with himself for allowing any of this to happen.  

He was an escort. Justin’s actions reminded him once more that he was nothing more than a first-class slut, a prostitute. Certainly not someone whose feelings mattered.

He grabbed his outfit and glared at Justin’s sleeping form on the bed. Picking up the bills, he stared at them in disgust and crumpled them before leaving the room with his clothes still in his hand. When he noticed Daphne as he passed the kitchen, it was too late to escape unseen.

“Morning,” she greeted him, blushing. She was trying to look anywhere but at Brian’s naked body and failing. That’s probably why she eventually noticed his murderous look and frowned. “Are you alright?”

Brian chuckled sardonically as he finally donned his underwear and jeans before putting on his shirt. “I’m out of here,” he drawled, noticing his jacket on the back of the couch. He grabbed it and checked for his wallet and keys before walking to the door.

“Brian,” Daphne called after him. “Wait! What’s going on?”

Brian glared at her, daring her to defend her best friend as he snarled, “You should never trust anyone, Daphne. Believe me, it’s a waste of time.” He then announced, eyeing Justin’s bedroom door coldly, “Tell him not to call me again.”

Before Daphne could respond, Brian dejectedly threw the crushed bills on the floor and slammed the door shut behind himself.

************************

When Justin woke up, it took him a few seconds to remember where he was and what he had been doing before falling asleep. His lips turned upward, remembering the fabulous night he had shared with Brian, but his smile faltered when he felt the cold sheets at his side. Frowning, he straightened up and glanced around the empty room.

“Brian?” he called softly, his voice quivering slightly as a foreboding feeling swept over him. He pushed the sheet from his body, and sat on the edge of the bed. Getting up, he fumbled around for any sign of Brian’s presence but found none of his clothes or any other indication that Brian had ever been here in the first place.

Confused, Justin walked out of his room to check the bathroom and heard noise coming from the kitchen. “Brian?” he called out as he headed toward that area.

“No. It’s me,” Daphne responded quietly. From the tone of her voice, Justin immediately sensed that something was wrong.

“Where is Brian?” Justin asked, now truly bewildered. The brunet couldn’t have left without saying goodbye after the memorable night they had shared, could he?

“He’s gone,” Daphne responded, shattering Justin’s last hope that Brian hadn’t taken off.

“What?” he snapped.

“Justin…” Daphne tried to recall his attention, but Justin was too astounded by Brian’s departure to listen to her.

“He left? He fucking left?” Justin repeated, his disappointment now replaced by seeds of anger.

He was startled when he felt Daphne’s hand on his arm. “Justin… calm down and sit down,” she demanded, leading the blond to one of the kitchen chairs. He let her, hearing her drag over another seat for herself. Once they were both sitting, she explained, “I was making coffee when Brian stalked out of your room an hour ago. He looked… murderous. And glorious. God, he was naked… and so hot…”

Justin gave her an incredulous look. Daphne must have realized she was stalling, because she resumed, “When he noticed me, he seemed furious. He couldn’t leave fast enough and….”

“And what?”

“Did you give him money?” she questioned, Justin hearing the disapprobation in her voice.

“What does that have to do with anything?” Justin avoided her question.

“Justin, he was upset. He told me he didn’t want you to contact him ever again,” Daphne revealed.

Justin’s heart sank at Daphne’s announcement. It didn’t make any sense. “But why? We were good when we…”

“The money, Justin,” Daphne interrupted him. “You gave him money,” she repeated, grabbing his hands and placing the crushed bills in his palms.

Justin peered down at the bills. Brian’s declaration to his friend at Babylon popped into his mind.

“I’m not working, Michael.”

At the time, Justin had thought that Brian had denied it to help him feel comfortable around his friends. He hadn’t even considered that Brian had wanted to spend the night with him for the sole reason that he genuinely liked him and therefore didn’t want any financial compensation for his time.

Brian had just wanted to be with him.

What had he done?



Chapter Text

Three weeks later, June 2002…

Brian sat behind Gus on the floor of the loft, supporting himself on one arm, his knee bent at the boy’s side. A couple of sheets of paper were spread out in front of them. Grabbing the pencil with his free hand and giving it to his son, Brian suggested, “Here. Use the yellow one.”

He helped the toddler grab onto the large yellow pencil and guided his hand on the blank paper. Gus squealed when the tip of the pencil connected to the paper, leaving a small mark on it. The little boy did it again, before doodling furiously on the page.

“Easy…” Brian stopped him with a laugh, since Gus’s ample movements were now threatening to color the wooden floor. “You can use another one. Here.” He picked up the green pencil and gave it to Gus, who seemed to question whether or not he wanted to use it, before accepting it to complete his artwork.

Brian stared as Gus dotted, amused. The boy was now sporadically tapping his pencil on the paper, leaving small spots everywhere. “Hmm…” Brian hummed, inwardly questioning Gus’s intentions.

That’s when Gus decided that the floor seemed to be a wonderful place to draw, too.

“Gus, no.” Brian reprimanded, grabbing the pencil, which resulted in the toddler squealing in frustration. “No,” the brunet repeated. “If you want to use it, color on the paper. Not on the floor.”

Gus gazed up at his father with those eyes.

Brian burst out laughing. “Try again,” he advised, standing up to go in search of a wet sponge, before coming back and erasing all traces of Gus’s mischief.

It had been three weeks since he’d seen Justin. He had ignored all his calls, having learned his lesson the hard way, his ego having suffered the biggest blow of his life. He should have seen it coming, truthfully, but he hadn’t and that pissed him off.

Justin was persistent. He had called him so many times that Brian was surprised he was still trying, although the calls had decreased. No surprise there, since Brian had never answered them, much less listened to the numerous messages Justin had left on his cell. Whatever bullshit excuse Justin wanted to give him, Brian didn’t want to hear it. In fact, he didn’t want to hear about Justin anymore, determined to never see him again.

It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, though. Brian couldn’t help his thoughts from drifting to that night, time and time again. It was annoying, counterproductive, and useless. But even though he was trying as hard as he could to forget about Justin, he had failed so far, which was ironic since he hadn’t meant to care in the first place.

Only time would help ease the pain and betrayal. In the meantime, Brian spent a lot of time with his son. Gus’s presence was the only thing in his life that made sense these days. Not that he wasn’t grateful for his friends, too, but things had been a little tense lately. The last time he had met with them at Debbie’s customary Saturday dinner, it hadn’t gone well. Michael had kept asking questions about his relationship with Justin; Ted had spent his time commenting about Justin bringing out his ‘hetero’ side; and Emmett had downright teased him for being a ‘closet romantic case’ who needed to come out. Needless to say, Brian had lost it, yelling at all of them before storming out of Debbie’s house. Since that day, he had met them a couple of times, but while they had avoided bringing Justin up again - they valued their balls too much for that - Brian hadn’t been in the mood to listen to their gossip or to entertain them with juicy stories about his clients. Moreover, he didn’t go out as much anymore because he needed to refrain from drinking or doing recreational drugs in order to be ready for Gus’s transplant, which would hopefully take place in a few months.

So, almost all of Brian’s free time revolved around his son.

Lindsay had stayed home with Gus ever since the diagnosis to deal with everyday matters. Melanie was working a lot to help with their financial situation, which strained their relationship. Both women were extremely tired and stressed by their son’s condition, not to mention that Brian was now a part of their life, too. He had slept at their house quite frequently over the last year, since the three of them needed to look after Gus while he was dialysed during the night, at least thrice a week. While his presence helped keep his friends from succumbing to exhaustion, Brian knew it was still difficult for Melanie. Before Gus’s diagnosis, they hadn’t been able to abide each other. They’d had to call a truce and stand together to help their son.

Gus’s disease had changed Brian. It had changed his vision of life and mortality. Gone was the carefree, proud, gay man who didn’t give a shit about anyone but himself. His needs didn’t come first anymore. He wouldn’t be an escort if not for this damn disease. But anytime Brian looked at his son, he had no regrets.

He couldn’t wait for Gus’s surgery to be scheduled. Brian hoped for a life where he wouldn’t have to witness his son being sick and exhausted from his treatments and diet. Most days were okay, but when his little boy suffered, the brunet wanted to kill the rulers of the universe for allowing any of this to happen. The doctors were optimistic that surgery would be possible in the next few months, as soon as Gus’s abdomen was large enough to accept Brian’s kidney. Its size could still be a problem, since Gus’s heart would need to work harder for the kidney to function. The first year following the transplant would therefore be decisive.

Today was a good day. That’s why Brian had brought Gus to the loft with him, so that Lindsay and Melanie could enjoy some time alone. He also planned to look after his son for the night since he didn’t have any appointments scheduled with clients before the next evening.

“Da!” Gus exclaimed, lifting his arms.

“You want me to hold you? Come here,” Brian responded, hefting his son from the floor.

Gus smiled weakly at his father. “Tire,” he said, before putting his arms around Brian’s neck and resting his head on his shoulder.

“You tired?” Brian questioned, placing a soft kiss in the toddler’s hair. “Come on. Let’s eat something before going home. I’m sleeping with you tonight,” he whispered softly.

Gus didn’t react to his words. It happened sometimes. One minute, Gus would be squealing and smiling, and the next, he would barely be able to keep his eyes open and would become sullen or cranky.

Realizing that eating would have to wait, Brian went to retrieve Gus’s coat, grabbed his jacket, and picked up a bag he had prepared for his night at the munchers. He locked the door behind him, his son sound asleep in his arms.

************************

“Careful,” Brian slowly secured Gus in Melanie’s arms before entering the house. “Where is Linds?”

“Still asleep,” Melanie responded, indicating the door with a tilt of her head. Brian closed it, smirking at her. Melanie noticed and rolled her eyes, knowing exactly what Brian was implying with his stupid grin. “Don’t you dare jump to conclusions.”

“Me? Believe me, thinking about women having sex is not something I secretly jerk off to. Especially lesbian sex, with not a dick in sight.” Brian quipped, before putting his bag down at the foot of the staircase. Looking back at his son, he informed Melanie, “He hasn’t eaten dinner yet. He fell asleep after our drawing session.”

Melanie peered down at the sleeping form in her arms. “I’m going to lay him down in his bed for now.”

“I’ll go outside for a smoke,” Brian responded, sliding his hand into the inner pocket of his jacket to retrieve his pack of Marlboros.

“You should really quit that shit,” Melanie admonished as she began to ascend the stairs. She paused, “No need to have another sick Kinney.”

“This is the last of my vices,” Brian complained. At Melanie’s pointed gaze, he specified, “I already gave up booze and drugs. Sex doesn’t count. And no fun is bad for my health.”

Melanie kept staring at him.

He snorted, “What? You think I’m kidding?” His brow furrowed as he selected one cigarette from the pack and placed it behind his ear.

“No,” Melanie surprisingly responded. “What you’re doing for Gus, giving him your kidney, is… amazing,” she declared before clearing her throat, obviously uncomfortable, although Brian could see she was sincere.

“You would have done the same thing. It’s no big deal,” Brian immediately countered.

“No big deal my ass,” Melanie retorted. “You should be proud of yourself, Brian,” she asserted, not giving him any time to react before ascending the remaining stairs to the second floor.

Brian frowned as he stared at her retreating form. Since when had Melanie become his personal cheerleader? And why should he give a fuck about what she thought anyway?

Brian headed towards the back door and stepped outside, retrieving a lighter from his pants. He lit his Marlboro and thought back to Melanie’s words.

You should be proud of yourself.

His phone began to ring. Brian grabbed it from the back pocket of his pants and gazed at the name on the screen. Justin’s name.

He hesitated briefly but finally hit the red button, sending it to voicemail. He then replaced it in his jeans, and enjoyed the soothing effect of the smoke filling his lungs.

************************

Several hours later...

Brian opened his eyes as he heard a lustful moan.

It took him a few seconds to comprehend where he was, but when he did, he straightened up immediately. Gazing around, his eyes traveled from the dialysis table to the sleeping form lying on the small bed next to him. Brian was sitting on the twin bed placed by his son’s.

Rubbing his eyes, the brunet leaned over to check if the little boy was still asleep, eyeing the connections and carefully lifting Gus’s pyjamas to make sure everything was in place and functioning properly. When he was sure that everything was okay, he replaced Gus’s shirt before frowning at the door.

He was sure he hadn’t been dreaming.

Realizing that he needed to pee, he stretched before getting up. Careful not to make too much noise, he exited his son’s bedroom and was tiptoeing down the corridor when he heard THAT noise again.

He froze.

The door to the girls' bedroom was ajar and, in a few seconds, he would wish for the rest of his life that he had acquired the superpower to turn deaf and blind on command.

“Yeah… like that. Oh, God, Mel! This is soo… ooooh!” Lindsay’s raspy voice echoed through the room, unfortunately resonating in Brian’s ear.

“Hmmmm,” he heard Melanie react to her partner, apparently unable to speak. Brian winced as he forced himself NOT to think about what the bulldyke was probably doing to his friend.

He failed.

“Oh, yes! There, there! Melanie!” Lindsay cried out.

A turned-on Melanie responded to her wife’s plea by moaning incessantly. Brian briefly considered dying and going to hell instead of listening to the munchers’ coupling - definitely the best idea he’d had in months. He grimaced, almost gagging at the sounds of pleasure filling his ears, hoping that somehow he would suffocate enough to pass out.

It didn’t work. But his brain must have been deprived of some much-needed oxygen, since he nonetheless moved to open the door, ready to bark at the girls to tone it down. Before he could say anything, though, Lindsay exclaimed on a high, gasping note, “Melanie!”

Brian heard his friend reach satisfaction. Too loudly. Unfortunately, his brain - which was a traitor of the worst kind - chose that moment to focus his vision toward the bed. It was dark, sure, but not dark enough.

He saw a shape under the white sheet. Then, as his eyes traveled up, he discerned Melanie’s head between Lindsay's legs.

Brian fervently wished he had fainted instead of having to deal with that traumatic image for the rest of his life.

“That’s it!” Brian found his voice and snarled at his inconsiderate friends. How could they have allowed this to happen, submitting him to lesbian sex? The brunet really questioned whether they cared about his feelings at all. “First thing tomorrow morning, you’re having the house soundproofed and a deadbolt installed on your bedroom door. I’m not kidding,” he barked, not allowing them to respond before he slammed the door shut behind him.

Forgetting his need to use the restroom altogether, he ignored Lindsay’s outraged voice calling his name, returned to the safety his son’s bedroom provided, and lay down, highly traumatized. That night, he prayed to God for the first time since he had been a teen, asking him to erase his memory of the last five minutes.

************************

The next morning, Brian was in the kitchen when Lindsay appeared in the doorway. He refused to look at her as he replaced the carafe in the coffee maker before plopping down on a chair with a fresh cup of coffee in his hands.

Grabbing a bun from the bread basket, he gulped it down and chewed quickly. He hoped that Lindsay would take that as her cue but, as usual, she ignored his obvious wish to be left alone and greeted him politely.

“Did you sleep well?” Lindsay asked, as she went to pour herself a cup of coffee.

Un-fucking-believable.

Brian snorted sardonically as he grabbed five sugar cubes from a box, unwrapped them, dropped them down into his cup, and stirred the hot drink with a spoon. “Would you be able to sleep well if you had stumbled on Theodore fucking a ball-gagged Michael while using a whip on his booty?” he eventually responded to his friend’s inquiry.

Lindsay grimaced, feigning indignation, unable to prevent a chuckle from escaping her lips. “Brian!”

“My point exactly. You’re lucky I’m not suing your ass,” he pointed out, taking several gulps of his coffee before adding with a straight face, “or should I say, your pussy.”

“Stop it!” She punched his arm as she took the seat next to him. “We weren't that loud.”

Brian peered at her in disbelief. Was she for real? “You really should have your hearing checked. You’re going deaf.” He scowled, “But I’m not.”

“And maybe you should tell me what happened with Justin,” Lindsay countered unexpectedly.

Brian kept his mouth shut this time, suddenly fascinated by his almost empty cup of coffee.

Lindsay tried to capture his gaze, but Brian evaded her, gulping the last of his hot beverage. She sighed heavily before revealing, “The boys told me you brought him to Babylon a couple of weeks ago.”

Brian frowned as he stared into his empty cup, bringing it to his lips as if he were just now drinking the last drop.

“That you two were very...close,” Lindsay pushed.

Brian wanted to gag her for real now. Too bad Melanie hadn’t thought about that the night before.

He turned the cup upside down instead.

“You slept with him, didn’t you?”

Brian couldn’t help it. He chuckled dryly.

“God. You did!” Lindsay exclaimed, surmising the truth from Brian’s reaction.

Brian didn’t want to listen to Lindsay patronizing him about how wrong he’d been to have sex with Justin, especially since she had explicitly asked him not to after his first appointment with Justin at the art show. No way he was going to take the blame for this. Standing up brusquely, he snapped, “You know what? I’m off.”

He threw his empty cup into the sink and was about to walk out of the kitchen when Lindsay asked, “But why?” It wasn’t so much the question, but the tone of her voice that made him pause.

Brian turned around, glancing quizzically in her direction. “Why what?”

“You like him.” Lindsay stated emphatically. “It’s obvious you do or you wouldn’t back off now. So why aren’t you answering his calls?”

Brian stared at her, bewildered. How the fuck did she know about the calls?

Seeing her friend’s astonishment, Lindsay explained, “Debbie told me. She saw him at the diner. He was a wreck, Brian.”

Brian frowned, trying to understand what he’d just heard. He should have expected it. Ever since he had left Justin’s apartment, the young artist had stalked him through phone calls and messages, even contacting the agency. Justin must be feeling really desperate if he had now visited a place where they had eaten together only one time.

“You should really call him back,” Lindsay suggested when Brian stayed silent for too long.

Brian glared at her. He didn’t need his friend to interfere in his life, especially since she had no clue what had really happened between him and Justin. Moreover, knowing Debbie must have already concluded that it was all his fault pissed him off. Because of course it was always the escort’s fault, right?

Brian could feel himself getting angry now and snarled, “And you should mind your own business. But we don’t always get what we want, do we?”

“Don’t…” Lindsay began, but she was interrupted as Gus’s cries started to echo through the baby monitor, indicating that he was awake.

Brian didn’t wait for her to elaborate, and walked out of the kitchen.

************************

Two days earlier, the diner…

The cab stopped at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Stanwix Street. Justin took a deep breath as he stepped onto the sidewalk after having paid the driver, who drove off as soon as the blond was out of his car.

It had been three weeks since he had given his virginity to Brian. Justin was growing more frantic with each passing day and each new rejection from the man. He had tried calling him so many times, even contacting ‘One Life’ to resolve the mess. After several unsuccessful attempts, Jeffrey Miller - the boss of the agency - had politely but firmly informed him that Brian would be unavailable for an indefinite period. Justin wasn’t stupid. It could only mean that he had been vetoed as Brian’s client.

That was unfair. First, he had been bashed when he had thought one of his classmates found him attractive. Now, Brian was shutting him out of his life because he had made a mistake. How could he be so wrong at reading people every single time?

If only he could explain to Brian why he had misread his intentions. Ever since the bashing, Justin had had a hard time trusting people. He now lived day after day with the harsh truth that hatred and fear were the most dangerous weapons a man could use to justify his decisions. Chris Hobbs had almost killed a part of him that night. He hadn’t won, however. Against all odds, Brian had reawakened his joie de vivre. At least until the escort had rejected him without giving him any chance to fix his mistake. Since then, Justin’s nightmares had worsened and become more frequent. Previously, Chris’s face had been the only one to haunt his dreams. Now, when Justin awoke, Brian was holding the bat, laughing at him unmercifully.

Daphne was worried about him, and Justin didn’t blame her. He was worried, too.

Justin knew visiting Liberty Avenue on his own was not his brightest idea. He could feel his agitation and fear threatening to overtake him, but he wanted to find Brian so badly that he refused to acknowledge he was in no condition to face a street crowded with pedestrians or a diner filled with people at rush hour.

He hesitantly slid his foot forward another step, his cane helping him navigate around obstacles on the sidewalk. Someone rushed by him as he did, shouting an annoyed “Watch out!” before hurriedly walking away. Justin was too preoccupied to care, his heart thumping hard in his chest. Breathing became more difficult but he took another step, followed by another one, until his cane encountered the concrete wall of a building at last. He moved his left hand up, finding a window, before someone bumped into him again.

“Don’t touch me!” he yelled, wrapping his arms around himself in a protective manner, while turning to lean back against the window before sinking to the ground, his cane clattering to the sidewalk. He couldn’t focus enough to see anything. All he felt was his lungs closing up, an overwhelming terror petrifying every part of his body, except for the rapid rising and falling of his chest.

Kiddo,” Justin heard a soothing, yet concerned voice call out. He jumped when he felt a hand on his shoulder. “Hey. It’s okay. It’s okay. I won’t hurt you, Sweetie. I’m Debbie, the waitress from the diner. We met briefly a few weeks ago.”

“Debbie?” Justin repeated, his panic attack slowly receding thanks to her reassuring touch, her hand now slowly moving in circles across his back.

“You remember me? It’s true I’m pretty unforgettable,” she quipped awkwardly, probably to calm him down. Justin was grateful she didn’t asked him if he needed to be committed. “Come on. You’ll feel better inside.”

Debbie placed her hand over Justin’s, helping him retrieve his cane and then stand up. Having seen him interact with Brian before - the cane probably also giving him away - she must have guessed he was blind and could barely navigate alone in an unfamiliar environment. She might also have thought that he was a fool for making the trip on his own, but if she did, she didn’t say so.

Justin followed her, the clamor of the diner overwhelming his hearing as soon as he passed through the door. He tensed, but Debbie must have felt his apprehension, and she squeezed his hand in reassurance. Justin let her lead him to a booth where customers were already sitting, their conversation dying out as he and Debbie joined them.

Once Justin was safety seated, Debbie declared, “Boys, this is…” she hesitated, and Justin realized she probably didn’t remember his name.

“Justin,” he finished, introducing himself properly. He tried to discern more about the man next to him, having no idea who he was seated with, which didn’t help lessen his anxiety.

“Justin…” Debbie echoed, and the blond could have sworn she seemed surprised. He was right, and if he hadn’t lost his sight, he would have noticed the look of curiosity on her face as she stared at the boys, silently mouthing, ‘What the fuck is going on, here?’ Michael scowled; Ted’s lips moved as he slowly enunciated Brian’s name and pointed at Justin; and Emmett rubbed his hands together, obviously anticipating that his craving for gossip was going to be satisfied.

Justin could sense that something was going on, but before he could voice his suspicions, Debbie resumed, “Justin, you’re sitting next to Emmett. Teddy and my sweet son Michael are opposite you. Now, I’ll bring you a burger and fries. On the house.” From the tone of her voice, Justin knew he couldn’t refuse, and he was almost amused by her bossy attitude.

“Take care of him, or you will answer to me. Understood?” she eventually ordered, the other three men sharing the booth agreeing to her request more or less enthusiastically.

As soon as Justin heard Debbie walking away, he tried to stand up, but Emmett’s grip on his arm prevented him from moving. “Oh, no. You heard Debbie; you’re not leaving until you eat and tell us what you’re doing here. From what I can see, you came for a reason.”

“He came for Brian,” Michael snorted. “But Brian isn’t here.”

“No. What a shame. I would have loved to see you two going at it again.” Ted commented.

“Ted!” Michael reprimanded his friend.

“What? Just because you are on a Ben-only-diet, that doesn’t mean I can’t look at the ‘menu du jour’!” Ted quipped forcefully.

“I’m not a dish you can eat,” Justin surprisingly rediscovered his voice.

“Who are you, then?” Emmett riposted. “You have done what no one has ever succeeded in until now. Don’t be surprised if we want to know everything about you.”

“What are you talking about?” Justin inquired, not understanding what Brian’s friend was insinuating.

“Brian,” Emmett pointed out. “He has never introduced anyone to us mere mortals before.”

Justin shook his head. “He didn’t introduce me. You just showed up at Babylon,” he countered.

“Believe me, Sweetheart. If Brian Kinney hadn’t wanted us to meet you, well… we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.” Emmett stated mischievously.

“Brian doesn’t want anything to do with me anymore.” Justin refuted, unable to hide the rejection he was feeling.

“What did you do?” Michael inquired disapprovingly.

“Maybe the problem is that he didn’t do anything?” Ted questioned, briefly entertaining the idea that Brian and Justin hadn’t had sex. He finally decided against it. “Nah. It’s impossible. You can’t fake chemistry. Believe me boys, I know all about chemistry. Or in my case, lack of chemistry. Whatever,” Ted eloquently explained.

Justin ignored Ted’s diatribe. He was there for a reason. “Do you know how I can contact Brian? He’s not answering my calls. I don’t know what the fuck to do. If only he would agree to listen to me, I know I could make things right again. I really…”

“I think we get it,” Michael interrupted him. “But if Brian doesn’t want to see you anymore, I don’t see what we can do.”

“Maybe you could talk to him? Convince him to give me another chance?”

“Convince Brian to... give you another chance,” Ted echoed, astounded. “Do I look suicidal to you?” he asked in a high-pitched voice.

Justin was about to tell him to grow a pair if he ever wanted to be respected by a man like Brian - or by any man for that matter - but before he could speak, Ted suddenly inquired enthusiastically, “But now that I think about it, why don’t you tell us about the first chance he gave you? Don’t leave out any details out… Ouch!” Ted suddenly exclaimed. “Michael, that hurts!”

“I don’t need details,” Michael pronounced the word disdainfully before scolding Ted, “What the fuck is wrong with you? Haven’t you had any lately?”

“Excuse me if I don’t have a partner to keep me warm at night, one who is even sexier than our favorite escort. Maybe Mr. ‘I’m the hottest gift to all gay, straight, and undefined men on earth’ should worry more about his line of business, considering the competition,” Ted retorted.

“Ben is not sex…” Michael began to respond, but his voice trailed off as he realized what he was about to say. Instead, he barked, “Since when do you fantasize about Ben?”

“Boys, boys… you’re not helping,” Emmett chastised them playfully. Justin sighed in agreement, prompting Brian’s friend to continue. “Listen, from what you’re telling us, you fucked up, although I have a hard time imagining a gorgeous angel with a bubble butt like yours doing any harm to a man like Brian, but …”

“Here’s your burger, kiddo!” Debbie exclaimed cheerfully, cutting Emmett off as she placed a plate in front of Justin.

Truthfully, Justin was grateful for her intervention. It was obvious that hoping for help from Brian’s friends was pointless. Michael didn’t want to interfere; Ted apparently believed Brian would have him murdered if he interceded on Justin’s behalf; and Emmett… well, Emmett seemed to be fascinated by his ass, even though Justin could tell he was joking. Mostly.

“Thanks,” Justin replied as he fumbled around for the cutlery, finding it wrapped in a napkin next to his plate.

“You’re treating him well, aren’t you?” Debbie inquired, the sharp edge in her voice making Justin chuckle. He doubted anyone was ever able to say no to her.

“He has all our consideration,” Ted answered like a perfect boy scout.

“Well, make sure it stays that way. And Justin?” Debbie called out.

“Yeah?” he responded bashfully. He doubted he was going to like what she said next.

He was right. “After you eat, Michael is taking you home.”

Her demand was met with vociferous protest, as Justin and Michael both voiced their disapproval vehemently, Michael addressing her with a flabbergasted “Ma!” while Justin exclaimed loudly, “Debbie!” Of course, she didn’t care.

“Do as I say. Both of you. It won’t kill you,” she stated pointedly, before rushing to the kitchen to pick up and deliver another order.

Yes, coming here today was definitely NOT Justin’s brightest idea.

************************

In the end, his escapade on Liberty Avenue turned out to be futile. Justin hadn’t found Brian, and he was sure his friends now thought he was a nutcase in addition to being almost blind.

It didn’t stop Justin from trying to contact Brian again. Sometimes, he considered just giving up, but he doubted he would succeed in moving on before the brunet agreed to see him one last time. If - no, when - it happened, Justin would explain himself and do all he could to prove that he had genuinely cared about Brian since the day they’d met and hadn’t meant to hurt him.

And he would tell Brian the truth. That he was in love with him.

Maybe it wouldn’t be enough. If so, Justin would respect Brian’s wishes, even if Brian never wanted to see him again.

Until then, Justin would keep trying.

 

Chapter Text

A few days later, Saturday…

“Okay! That’s it!”

Justin was startled from his spot on the sofa as Daphne stormed into the living room. He had been trying to avoid her as much as possible for the past couple of weeks, mainly because he felt way too depressed to deal with her intrusive concern but, of course, his best friend had never let his bullshit stop her before. She wasn’t going to start leaving him alone today.

“Stop moping around! Get up!” Daphne ordered, pulling him up and pushing him toward his room, or so Justin thought until his bare feet hit the cold bathroom tile. She forced him to shrug his cardigan off, before demanding, “Take a shower. We’re going out.”

“Do I stink or something?” Justin questioned, sniffing at his armpit and gagging. “Where are we going?” he asked, as he bent over to turn on the water.

“It’s a surprise,” Daphne responded.

Justin frowned, but before he could protest, Daphne slammed the bathroom door shut behind her. Letting out a heavy sigh, he undressed and stepped into the shower cubicle.

Justin stayed under the spray, the hot water cascading down his back as he rested his forehead against the wall. He knew he needed to get a grip and climb out of his depression, but ever since Brian’s rejection, Justin couldn’t help but feel down, empty.

He missed Brian so much.

Justin therefore doubted that Daphne’s surprise would cheer him up, not if it didn’t involve going back in time and fixing the damage he had caused. Fuck, he was such an idiot.

Turning off the shower, he carefully stepped out, grabbing a towel to dry himself, before putting it around his hips and exiting in direction of his room. In his bedroom, he picked the first clothes he found, without bothering to check if he would look good in them or not. Truthfully, he didn’t care.

Daphne was waiting for him in the living room when he returned. She seemed very pleased to take Justin out. As they locked the door behind them, she confessed to him that she was happy to go out with her best friend and that she had missed their escapades, just the two of them. Justin felt guilty about that. If he were honest with himself, he’d have to admit that he, too, was pleased to share a special moment with his best friend, as well as curious to find out about the big surprise.

Once they were seated into Daphne’s VW Beetle, the brunette exclaimed, “You’re going to love this!”

“If you say so…” Justin shrugged, straightening his sunglasses on his nose. He wasn’t convinced that anything Daphne had arranged would be enough to lift his spirits, but he also didn’t want to spoil her excitement, so he refrained from commenting any further.

After driving in silence for a long while, however, Justin finally couldn’t resist and inquired about their destination.

“You’ll find out soon enough. This is going to lift your mood for sure,” Daphne exclaimed.

“I doubt it, but I’ll humor you.” He sighed, leaning his head against the side window.

A few minutes later, Daphne announced, “We’re here.”

She killed the ignition before stepping out of the car. Navigating around the vehicle, she helped Justin out, too, hooking their arms together to lead her friend toward their destination.

“We are at a service dogs’ demonstration sponsored by the Guiding Dogs Center of Pittsburgh.” Daphne revealed cheerfully.

Justin gasped, turning to her. “What are we doing here? We filled out a service dog request months ago... You know they’re too expensive for me to get one without government assistance.”

“You don’t have to get one. I saw an announcement in the Pittsburgh Gazette informing people they could come today and meet the dogs, see if they’d like one, stuff like that. I know you love dogs. What harm can it do to walk around and see what you think?”

Justin considered Daphne’s proposal. “Fine,” he conceded before warning, a stubborn look settling over his face, “but we’re not getting a dog.”

“Great!” Daphne enthused, evidently not put off by his surly response, as she guided him towards the entrance of the former train station. They walked inside the building, which had been renovated a decade earlier to accommodate different animal welfare organizations, including the Guiding Dogs Center. Moving forward, they advanced through what seemed to be a long corridor, Daphne apparently following the signs to reach the correct room.

Justin let Daphne guide him to a wooden bench. He could hear several people interacting nearby, indicating that the room was already filled with other participants.

“The guy standing in front of us is handsome,” Daphne whispered in his ear. “I think he is the one who will do the demonstration. His dog is a cutie.”

Justin didn’t have any time to respond before he heard a strong voice resonate throughout the room. “Hello, everyone! And welcome to the Guiding Dogs Center of Pittsburgh! My name is Brandon and I am the lucky guy leading this demonstration. Later today, the center’s volunteers are going to introduce you to a few of our dogs. But for now, my Border Collie, Jazzy, will be my assistant,” he declared, referring to a dog. “For the demo to be a success, Jazzy will need an assistant of her own. Any volunteers?”

Daphne pinched Justin’s side. “Go on! She is adorable!”

“No way!” Justin refused, shaking his head.

Out of the blue, he suddenly felt something wet on his hand. He jumped, yelling loudly - not his proudest moment for sure - before realizing that Daphne was giggling hysterically at his side. He huffed at her as he realized ‘Jazzy’ had been the one to make him squeal, and he leaned down, trying to discern the dog, which was now licking his hand profusely.

“Oh, Jazzy! You want him to be our assistant?” Brandon asked with a laugh as he walked over to Justin.

Justin’s lips turned upward when the dog pulled gently on the sleeve of his shirt.

“Would you mind joining us?” Brandon addressed Justin, “It seems that Jazzy wants you to help us.”

“Shouldn’t the dog be less excited and playful?” Justin asked with a broad smile as he began to scratch Jazzy’s head, the Border Collie soon insistently pushing his hand toward her ear.

“Jazzy is still young, just eighteen months old. And not the most disciplined dog I’m training. But she has chosen you as her assistant, so you can’t really refuse her demand, now can you?” Brandon questioned playfully.

“Yeah. Okay,” Justin laughed when he felt the dog placing its paws on his knees to lick his cheek. He pushed her away gently before introducing himself, “I’m Justin, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you, Justin,” Brandon responded, and Justin could have sworn the man was openly cruising him. As soon as the thought formed in his mind, however, Brandon suggested in a strictly professional tone, “If you take Jazzy’s harness, she’ll guide you through the first part of the program.”

The dog’s muzzle touched his hand again, allowing him to lean forward and find the harness easily. He took hold of the handle before petting the dog’s back.

“Is this allowed?” Justin questioned, not knowing if showing her his gratitude was the right thing to do.

“Don’t spoil her. She’s a sucker for attention,” Brandon replied as Justin stood up and started to follow the dog for the first part of the demonstration.

Within a couple of minutes, Justin relaxed, his smile widening a little more as they successfully avoided the obstacles that had been placed around the room - a table, several chairs, a couch, and other items. Brandon gave direct orders to Jazzy at first, but soon Justin took over. With every step, his confidence was boosted.

“Okay. That’s great, Justin,” Brandon praised. “Now, we’re going out to the training field. Jazzy will guide you. The door leading outside is right in front of you. Everyone? Please, follow Justin.”

Justin waited for Jazzy to move so as to follow her through the door and along an outdoor path. He walked for a couple of minutes before arriving at the field dedicated to training the dogs.

“Careful!” Brandon cautioned as Justin, becoming a little too confident, almost stepped on a ball. Before he could stumble and fall, however, Jazzy stopped and blocked him. “Good girl, Jazzy!” Brandon shouted at the dog’s quick action.

Justin could feel his heart thumping.

“Now, the last demo for today.” Brandon informed the group. He whistled at Jazzy, the dog leading Justin to a specific spot in response. “Justin, you’re going to let Jazzy guide you through the course in front of you. Use the order ‘walk’ for this one. She will understand. She is eager to please you for some reason.”

“Okay,” Justin agreed. “Here we go. Jazzy…” he intoned loudly, “walk.”

Jazzy complied, guiding Justin around the obstacles, poles having been placed at various points to provide a more difficult environment to navigate. The dog suddenly pulled away, forcing Justin to halt abruptly just as he was about to walk into one of the poles, only his arm brushing against it. Stopping and whining, the Border Collie rubbed her head against his knee in apology for failing to redirect him in time.

“It’s okay, Jazzy. You did well.” Justin crouched down to pet her. “I’d probably have killed myself ten different ways if you weren’t here.”

The dog whined some more, trying to lick his face.

“Hey, none of that!” Justin laughed, evading the dog’s tongue.

“You did well, Jazzy!” Brandon praised. “The demonstration is over. Thank you Justin for being such a willing participant today,” the man teased as several people applauded, even though Justin wanted to roll his eyes at the innuendo. He was sure Brandon was grinning now. “Okay. Jazzy, lead Justin back to his friend,” Brandon eventually commanded. Justin suspected he was using a specific signal to make the dog obey.

To his surprise, Jazzy refused to leave his side once she had completed her task.

“I think she’s in love with you,” Daphne commented with a giggle.

“She is not the only one in love,” Justin confessed, patting Jazzy’s head. “Thank you for bringing me here, Daph.”

“Anytime,” Daphne replied, grabbing Justin’s hand and squeezing it briefly.

Brandon’s voice echoed across the training field. “Okay, everyone! The next demonstration will occur in a couple of hours. In the meantime, Aileen, Sandra, and Patty are going to show you more of our facility and introduce you to some of our other dogs. I’ll be available to answer your questions.”

Justin heard people moving around him and he frowned, wondering when Brandon was going to come retrieve Jazzy.

“What is Jazzy’s owner doing?” he inquired after a few minutes. Daphne was caressing the dog, speaking to her in a high-pitched, childish voice, but she stopped to answer Justin’s question.

“He is with an old dude. He seems bored,” Daphne reported, before adding with a sigh, “Fuck, this Brandon guy is really hot, Justin.”

“He has a nice voice,” Justin agreed with a laugh. “Come on, we’re not going to stay here all day. Where is he?”

Understanding Justin wanted to join Brandon, Daphne led her friend to the man, who was standing only a short distance away.

“Uh, sir?” Justin asked uncertainly.

“It’s Brandon,” the man answered quickly before addressing someone else, probably the old guy Daphne had mentioned.

Justin waited for their exchange to end and, when he was certain that they were alone, he offered, “Okay, Brandon... Here’s your dog. It was a real pleasure to be around her.” He smiled, crouching to hug Jazzy. “Thank you, girl.”

“That’s it?” Brandon questioned, obviously not pleased with Justin’s decision to leave so quickly. “I thought you’d be interested in getting…” he paused, his voice sounding almost flirtatious again, “...a service dog.”

“We don’t have the money to afford a dog,” Daphne interjected, preventing Justin from answering. “I guess I shouldn’t have brought Justin here, but I know how much he loves dogs.”

“I had a good time,” Justin agreed, beaming at his friend before bending to give the dog one last hug. “And it was an honor to meet you, Jazzy.”

As he stood up, ready to leave, Brandon caught his elbow. “Not so fast…” Addressing Daphne, he asked, “Miss, would you mind if I talked to your friend alone?”

Justin froze at the sudden heat of Brandon’s fingers on his arm. Brandon probably sensed his discomfort and dropped his hand, waiting for Daphne’s answer.

“I’m going to see the other dogs,” Daphne volunteered. “I will be right back. Okay, Justin?”

“Yeah. Whatever,” Justin waved at her. He wasn’t sure what was really happening here, but he had a feeling Brandon didn’t want to talk solely about Jazzy.

“I’ve rarely seen Jazzy obey a stranger like that, you know?” Brandon disclosed. “It’s a shame you can’t afford a dog like her.”

“I told you that I can’t. I don’t have… 5,000 dollars,” Justin stated dejectedly.

“5,300 dollars,” Brandon specified. “Maybe you could pay in installments.”

“Why would you allow that?” the blond asked in surprise.

“Well, I’m sure you could use the dog’s help,” Brandon insisted, moving to stand next to Justin. Justin felt the man’s fingers brushing against his arm again. “Besides, I wouldn’t say no to a special kind of thanks.”

“Right…” Justin answered, before realizing what Brandon had just said. “Sorry, what?” He leaned back, not sure he had heard the man correctly.

Brandon laughed at Justin’s reaction before declaring, “You’re a very attractive young man.”

“You’re gay?” Justin inquired, flabbergasted by Brandon’s boldness.

“I hope so,” Brandon quipped, as he moved closer to Justin to whisper huskily in his ear, “or you wouldn’t be able to thank me properly.”

Justin wasn’t sure how he felt about Brandon hitting on him, truthfully. Nobody had ever approached him so boldly before. It was unexpected, especially in a place like a guide dog center; yet, Justin would be lying if he said he wasn’t flattered by the man’s attention. He could feel the man’s body heat, lending this moment an intimacy Justin hadn’t felt with any other man, except for Brian.

Fuck. Brian.

Justin hastily stepped back. Brandon ignored his sudden withdrawal, questioning in a low voice, “Do you believe me now when I say I want to know you?”

“I’d better go find Daphne,” Justin avoided answering his question.  

“You’re sure?” Brandon insisted, not letting Justin move away.

“I’m perfectly sure. But thanks for offering,” Justin confirmed, wanting to escape the man’s advances.

“Your loss.” Brandon countered.

Five minutes later, Justin and Daphne left the center. The blond didn’t utter a word during the ride home. Although Brandon hitting on him had surprised him and made him even more aware that Brian was the only man he wanted to be with, he’d had a great time with Jazzy, and he was grateful that Daphne had insisted he accompanied her today. When she turned off the car in front of their apartment building, he impulsively grabbed her hand, murmuring a heartfelt thank you.

He might not be able to afford a dog, but he had the best friend in the world.

************************

Saturday evening, Philadelphia…

Brian took a sip of his champagne as he stared at his client talking into the microphone on the ballroom stage. Holding the medical award he had just received a few minutes earlier, the ophthalmologist enthusiastically droned on and on about the new technique he and his staff had been developing for the past couple of years to treat specific diseases and post-traumatic eye disorders. Brian, who had been half listening to the doctor’s speech until that moment, found himself suddenly enthralled by his client, even though he couldn’t understand half the medical jargon the man was spouting.

Dr. John Lewis had been Brian’s client for over a year, and the two men appreciated and respected each other. That’s why Brian ended up in the man’s bed every single time John booked him, the brunet becoming five hundred dollars richer in the morning. The doctor wasn’t really Brian’s type - in his late fifties; graying, receding hair; many wrinkles - but he was also smart, funny, and desperate for Brian’s attention. Brian therefore didn’t see any harm in fulfilling the man’s fantasy when they hooked up and, surprisingly, John wasn’t half bad in bed either.

Later that night as they made their way to their room - John had booked one in the same hotel in which the annual medical award ceremony had been held - Brian kept the conversation light and easy. He wanted to ask more about corneal blood staining, but he didn’t know how to direct the conversation to that particular topic.

“Thank you,” John said when, after walking down the corridor to their room, Brian retrieved his designer suit jacket from the man’s shoulder. John had spilled some wine on his own earlier that night and, since they had both worn black suits, Brian had lent him his. Armani, of course.

“It was my pleasure, Dr. Lewis,” Brian drawled huskily.

“It’s John. I’ve told you a hundred times,” John responded with difficulty. As always, just a touch from Brian had a strong effect on him.

“John,” Brian purred, his warm breath tickling the side of John’s neck. Smirking when he noticed John’s hand shaking while he tried to slip the card into the lock, Brian murmured, “Let me help you with that.”

“Damn Brian! You’re going to kill me,” John breathed out.

“And here I thought I was going to make you feel, very, very much alive,” Brian countered playfully, enunciating the words ‘very much alive’ in a low, sexy voice.

John eventually managed to open the door, entering with Brian following him. The brunet headed to the living room area to place his folded jacket over the back of a chair, while John walked toward the minibar. On his way, he set his trophy down on a nearby table.

Brian noticed that John was stalling for time. It wasn’t unusual. John had always been surprisingly shy about his sexual needs and wasn’t always comfortable when Brian shredded his composure.

Fortunately, a shy man had never stopped Brian before. He walked over to John, but instead of ripping the doctor’s clothes off, he halted and stared at him. The man quirked an eyebrow, prompting Brian to state, “Before we get naked, I have a proposition.”

“A proposition?” John echoed.

Brian nodded. “Your award…” he began, walking to the table to pick up the glass trophy. He stared at it for long seconds before refocusing his gaze on John, as he put it down. “What do you know about corneal blood staining?”

John looked at him with a frown, obviously puzzled by his question.

Brian raised an eyebrow teasingly, deadpanning as he covered the distance separating him from the man, “Yes, I’m actually interested in your job, doc.”

John must have understood from the expression on his face that Brian was in fact deadly serious because he replied, “Corneal blood staining occurs for different reasons. Is there a specific reason for your query?”

Brian noticed John leaning closer and staring into his eyes. He chuckled. “No. Don’t worry, it’s not for me. It’s for a friend who is suffering from a post-traumatic… hyphema which occurred about a year ago, I think.”

“That’s a long time, especially with this kind of trauma. The damage could be irreversible.” John stated solemnly. “Has your friend seen an optometrist or ophthalmologist?”

“I guess. Financial considerations have probably held him back, though,” Brian responded, running his hand through his hair. Thinking about what had happened to Justin still made him irrationally angry at the injustice the young man had suffered.

John stared at Brian expectantly, waiting for the escort to verbalize what he wanted.

Brian exhaled heavily. “I want you to help him,” he clarified as he placed his hands on each side of John’s neck.

John nodded but warned, “It all depends on how advanced the blood staining is.”

“Well,” Brian began, lowering his hands to unbutton John’s shirt. “I have a proposition. You agree to see Justin at your office, pro bono, to determine whether you can do anything for him. And because I like you, I won’t charge you extra for this weekend.”

“Brian!” John exclaimed, his voice conveying a mixture of outrage and arousal.

“Say yes, John,” Brian whispered, leaning down to kiss the man’s neck. “It’s an offer you can’t refuse.”

John’s breathing became ragged, “Yes.”

“Smart man,” Brian drawled, before tugging off John’s shirt and biting his shoulder playfully. He then raised his head, placing his lips at the man’s ear, “It’s a pleasure to do business with you, doc. Now let’s focus on your pleasure. You deserve a special reward, ” he purred, before dropping to his knees.

************************

Sunday night, Pittsburgh, Brian’s loft…

Brian was lying on his bed, nude, a cigarette burning between his fingers as he looked contemplatively at the smoke rings evaporating before his eyes. Rubbing his face, he rolled onto his side to reach the ashtray on his nightstand and crushed out his Marlboro. He then resumed his former position, bending his arm to let his hand rest on the pillow next to his temple.

His phone, which he had carelessly thrown on the bed earlier that night, suddenly started to ring, assaulting his ears. Brian picked it up and stared at the name on the screen. Refusing to think about what he was going to do, he accepted the call.

“Justin,” he greeted with a fake smile, even though the blond couldn’t see him. He would be able to hear the unmistakable edge in his voice, however.

Justin stayed silent, probably completely astounded that Brian had finally deigned to answer his phone after a month of incessant calls and messages.

“I can hear you breathing,” Brian stated when it became obvious Justin wouldn’t respond to his greeting.

Still no response.

“For someone who has stalked me and harassed my employer to the point of driving him insane, which, believe me, is a huge accomplishment with a man like Jeffrey, you’re awfully rude not to answer my greeting,” Brian half-quipped, but he couldn’t disguise his slight irritation, caused by his mixed feelings.

Justin found his voice at last. “Shit. I mean sorry. I… fuck! I… how are you?” he mumbled, and Brian couldn’t keep a little smile from forming on his lips.

“Just peachy,” Brian replied, not wanting to appear like he actually was happy to talk to Justin. He was not. He was not . NOT. “Listen, I need you to do something for me.”

“Uh?”

“Can you focus for one fucking minute?” the brunet complained, his brow furrowing.

Brian heard background noises through the phone, as if Justin were moving around. The blond finally responded, “Tell me what I can do. I’ll do anything.”

“Anything?” Brian couldn’t help but echo sarcastically.

“Brian…” Justin pronounced his name in THAT way, obviously about to tell him how sorry he was, how much Brian meant to him, and all that fucking shit Brian didn’t want to hear.

Brian therefore cut him off before he could add anything else. “You have an appointment with Dr. John Lewis this Friday at 10 a.m. at the ‘Vision’ clinic. Take your medical records.”

“Excuse me, what?” Justin exclaimed, totally caught off guard.

“You heard me. Someone cancelled his visit, and you’re the lucky guy who will take his place.” Brian informed him.

“I…This...How...” Justin stammered. Brian was sure what he really wanted to ask was how the brunet had made it possible, but the blond thankfully refrained. “You know my financial situation. I’m not sure I can afford to go.”

“The first appointment has been taken care of. After that, I’m sure you can work out something with the doc. You could afford to pay me after all,” Brian drawled bitterly.

“Stop it, Brian,” Justin demanded, his voice cracking slightly, and Brian felt his resistance weakening momentarily as he heard Justin’s pain. The blond breathed out, “I made a mistake.”

Brian resisted the urge to believe his words and forget about the past month. A part of him wanted to overlook the whole fiasco of their last encounter but, in the end, his ego and pride prevented him from caving in.

“Yeah. Me too,” he answered instead, before disconnecting the call.



Chapter Text

Friday morning, Pittsburgh, Vision Clinic, 11:15 a.m.

Justin and Daphne were both sitting in Dr. Lewis’s spacious waiting room with a couple of other patients. Justin was losing patience, as they had arrived at 9:45 a.m. and had filled out a medical history before giving Justin’s medical records to the doctor’s receptionist. They were now waiting for him to be called.

Could you fucking stop already?” Daphne’s exasperated voice resonated in Justin’s ears as he kept tapping agitatedly on the floor with his foot.

I’m nervous,” Justin snapped, rubbing his hands on his thighs.

You’re annoying,” Daphne corrected quietly, glancing around to make sure no one was looking at them.

Justin countered defensively, “I’m entitled to be annoying, since we’ve been waiting here forever. If you don’t allow me to express my impatience with my foot, I can always throw up on your shoes instead because, yes, I’m fucking nervous. I mean, this is just a meeting that could change my future, or just dash my hopes for good. No big deal, right? So why don’t you...”

Mr. Taylor?” A woman called his name, interrupting Justin’s queen-out.

Here,” Justin responded, standing up immediately.

Dr. Lewis will see you now. Please follow me,” she asked, leading the way to Dr. Lewis’s office.

I’m coming, too,” Daphne interjected. Despite threatening to vomit on her shoes, Justin knew better than to try further to stop his best friend from mothering him to death.

They followed the woman - Justin supposed it was the doctor’s medical assistant - and finally entered an office.

Mr. Taylor, Miss… Chanders? I’m Dr. John Lewis. Please, have a seat,” a rough voice welcomed them as they walked over to the doctor’s desk. Daphne had given her name to the doctor’s receptionist earlier, when she had helped Justin complete his medical history. Justin therefore wasn’t surprised that the doctor knew Daphne’s last name.

Your office is very… bright,” Daphne commented. Justin chuckled, since her statement could only mean she hated how the space was decorated.

Dr. Lewis ignored her. “So, Mr. Taylor, your records are very interesting.”

Uh?” Justin eloquently replied.

I was talking about your medical records,” Dr. Lewis clarified, visibly amused.

Oh, yes! Sorry,” Justin exclaimed. “I gave them to your receptionist.”

Daphne intervened, “Everything is in that folder.”

I studied them briefly after you handed them in,” Dr. Lewis revealed. Justin heard him rifling through some papers, probably his medical records. “Our common friend told me you suffered a trauma about a year ago?” the man inquired eventually.

Yes,” Justin confirmed, his heart skipping a beat at the allusion to Brian. Their conversation on the phone the previous Sunday was still weighing heavily on his heart. While he should be happy Brian cared enough to ask for the doctor’s help and therefore had answered his call, the brunet claiming their relationship had been a mistake still hurt deeply.

Moreover, Justin couldn’t keep from pondering how well Brian knew Dr. Lewis. He had a pretty good idea of how they’d met ,which in all honesty, pissed him off.

I will need to study your records more closely and have you take some tests. I won’t be able to assess your case any further until I have the results.”

Of course,” Justin answered with a nod.

From what I’ve read so far, you suffered a post-traumatic hyphema, resulting in a corneal blood staining?” Dr. Lewis questioned.

Yes,” Justin confirmed, before clearing his throat uneasily.

Corneal blood staining typically occurs after significant and prolonged hyphema - usually the result of ocular trauma, and especially in cases of chronically elevated intraocular pressure. The opacification consists of old blood that has become embedded in the corneal supportive tissue. My colleague explained all that to you, right?”

Yeah. Probably,” Justin volunteered. Honestly, the memories from his long recovery were foggy. The only thing he remembered was his doctor’s announcement during his last visit. “My doctor at the time told me that the gravity of my injury precluded additional surgery. He advised me to enter a trial or go to a renowned ophthalmologist for a second opinion; unfortunately, I didn’t have the money for private care, and I was unaware of any trials.”

Dr. Lewis mumbled quietly, while obviously still reading the file. Justin was pretty sure he heard the word ‘moron’ in reference to his former doctor.

Look,” Dr. Lewis eventually resumed, “we’ll administer some tests now, and my receptionist will schedule another appointment for you next Tuesday.”

So fast?” Justin inquired, surprised. He had thought he wouldn’t have another appointment for at least a couple of weeks.

Daphne poked him in the ribs to make him shut up.

I had a series of appointments already scheduled with another client, but he cancelled,” Dr. Lewis disclosed. “So, yes. Is that too soon for you?”

No, it’s just…” Justin’s voice trailed off. He sighed heavily, before admitting, “I’m not sure I can afford your services.”

Brian warned me you would say that,” Dr. Lewis revealed. “So, I took the liberty of asking the clinic’s board to handle your case pro bono, if I can do anything for you, that is.”

Why would you do that?” Justin questioned, frowning. Dr. Lewis didn’t even know him.

Well, your type of injury - post traumatic hyphema leading to a corneal blood staining - is part of a research program I’ve been working on for five years. For the technique to be validated by the board, we need volunteers to enter the program. And considering your financial situation, I figured you would be interested.” Dr. Lewis explained. “And well, Brian is...a good friend, too.”

I bet he is,” Justin sardonically muttered. Although he should be thanking the doctor profusely - maybe even kissing his ass - he wanted to snarl at him for his obvious involvement with Brian.

Dr. Lewis pretended not to hear him, though, and volunteered, “I know Brian well enough to realize that he wouldn’t have asked for my help if this wasn’t important to him. I can safely say that he cares about you a great deal.”

Justin frowned, surprised by the doctor’s declaration.

He didn’t have a chance to respond, however, since Daphne blurted out, “Justin cares, too. In fact, if Brian would stop being stubborn, annoying, stupid, and...” She sighed dreamily, “Have you seen his attributes? It’s so unfair that he...” she paused, suddenly realizing she’d confessed that out loud, not just to Justin but also to Dr. Lewis.

Justin suspected that Dr. Lewis was now staring at her, equally puzzled and bewildered by her unexpected intervention. Honestly, Justin was probably looking at her the same way.

Obviously remembering the point she’d been trying to make, Daphne resumed quietly, seemingly addressing Justin this time, her tone taking on an irritated edge, “What I wanted to say is, if Brian would stop letting his fucking, ‘oh sooo bruised’ ego rule his life, my life would be much easier.”

Daph!” Justin chastised, annoyed by her boldness.

You’re not the one who has to live with a flaming drama queen because of him,” Daphne stated firmly.

Okay,” Dr. Lewis curtly interrupted their squabbling. Justin suspected the man wasn’t interested in hearing them argue about his relationship with the escort. “Mr. Taylor, we’ll do the tests now; they’ll take about an hour. Stop at the front desk on your way out so that the receptionist can tell you the time for your appointment for next Tuesday.”

I can do that,” Daphne interjected. Addressing Justin, she clarified, “I’ll get the card for your appointment from the receptionist, then meet you in the waiting room. You’ll be okay without me, right?”

Yes, Mom,” Justin mocked. He knew she had surmised his mixed feelings about the doctor.

Fortunately, the hope that his sight would ultimately improve with Dr. Lewis’s assistance exceeded the irrational jealousy he felt toward the man. He therefore squeezed Daphne’s hand to indicate he was okay and followed Dr. Lewis.

************************

A few hours later, Jennifer’s apartment…

That’s such wonderful news, Honey!” Jennifer gushed, holding her son snugly in her arms. He had just informed her that he’d had tests which would hopefully show he could receive treatment to partially or fully restore his sight, thanks to one of Brian’s acquaintances. “I’m so happy, Justin,” she added joyfully, the perceptible quiver in her voice indicating that she was on the verge of crying.

Justin could barely breathe, with the tightness of her embrace matching her emotional reaction. She finally released him and sat back down on a bar stool at her kitchen counter, while Justin did the same, facing her. “Don’t get your hopes up too high. We’re only doing tests for now,” he reminded her, but even he couldn’t contain his excitement as a bright smile graced his lips.

We need to celebrate!” Jennifer exclaimed, standing up. “What about going to that violin recital at the Apostrophe Gallery tomorrow? I read about it in the paper and, apparently, this violinist… Ethan Gold, is going to play at eight in the main room of the gallery. Plus, the painting exhibit is receiving wonderful reviews! What do you say?”

Sure,” Justin agreed, although he really didn’t care about violin music.

He heard his mother pouring coffee into a couple of cups, the sweet aroma of the beverage filling the air.

Perfect!” Jennifer enthused, guiding Justin’s hand toward a hot cup she had placed on the counter.

Justin tasted it carefully.

All you need to do now is call Brian. It’s going to be a great night!” Jennifer declared, over the moon with joy.

Justin froze. Shit. “Brian is out of town,” he lied thoughtlessly, knowing Brian would never agree to go with him whether Justin paid for his presence or not.

He is? That’s unfortunate,” Jennifer complained. “Well, since your sister is with her father, I guess it will be just you and me.”

I guess so.” Justin shrugged, blowing on his coffee. “What is this Ethan Fraud going to play tomorrow night?”

It’s Gold. Not Fraud,” Jennifer replied with a chuckle.

Fraud rings better to me. I mean, violin? Really?” Justin playfully inquired.

You teenagers… Aside from Christina Aguilera and Moby, you don’t know anything about music,” Jennifer mocked, probably remembering Justin listening to those singers constantly during his last year in high school.

Oh, please Mom, the Moby reference is so two years ago!” Justin jested.

And the violin is a wonderful instrument. You will love it. You’ll see.” Jennifer insisted.

Does the player have a nice bow?” Justin smirked.

Justin!” Jennifer reprimanded loudly, even though Justin knew perfectly well she, too, was amused.

I guess I will have to check it out myself,” Justin added, earning a playful swat on his arm from Jennifer.

In truth, he was actually looking forward to spending a night out with his mother. But he would be damned before admitting it to her.

************************

Saturday night, Pittsburgh, Apostrophe Gallery…

Ethan Fraud was nothing like Justin had expected him to be. According to his mother, he was a PIFA student, the institute Justin would have joined if Chris Hobbs hadn’t destroyed his chance to attend the school. Justin talked to the musician briefly before the recital, immediately noticing he was not the subtle type. Within a couple of minutes, Ethan tried to serenade him with his bow, producing a few notes on his violin. Justin politely pretended to be impressed, when, in truth, he didn’t like it much.

Jennifer must have surmised Ethan’s interest in her son because she mentioned Brian’s name at least ten times in less than two minutes, making sure Ethan understood Justin already had a boyfriend. Justin had to laugh at his mother’s protective behavior, even though he felt his chest constricting at her assumption. He needed to come up with a plausible lie to explain Brian’s estrangement from his life, but so far, he hadn’t wanted to. He couldn’t give up on Brian yet.

The recital lasted forty-five minutes. Justin enjoyed it for the most part although he needed to pee desperately. Jennifer led him toward the restroom as soon as the applause died out and, refusing to let his mother enter the men’s restroom, he went in on his own. Fortunately for him, the area was easy to navigate and Justin managed without any assistance.

When he returned, however, he froze. Someone was talking with his mother and, as he listened to her conversation to figure out who that person was, he realized, flabbergasted, that it was NOT Ethan Gold this time.

It was Brian.

************************

Brian was bored.

When Matthew had asked him a couple of weeks ago to attend a recital with him, Brian had initially refused but eventually relented. Maybe he shouldn’t have, since Matthew’s crush seemed to have strengthened even more of late. Brian had never lied about his feelings for the businessman, however, Matthew knowing exactly what to expect from him or - more accurately - not to expect. They weren’t going to fly away into the sunset anytime soon.

He arrived fashionably late - the violinist already lost in the midst of a lyrical piece - and he spotted Matthew sitting in the third row, wearing an elegant dark blue suit brightened by a light brown silk scarf.

Sorry I’m late,” Brian murmured as he took the seat next to Matthew. When the man gave him a look, he asked in mock-offense, “What? I’m a civilized man. I can apologize if I want to.”

Matthew chuckled quietly. “Yeah. As if you didn’t do it on purpose.”

Or course I did it on purpose,” Brian countered with a scowl. “Believe me, you didn’t want me to be on time. I would have drunk all the champagne so I could forget you’d made me attend a classical recital in the first place.” He peered at the violinist. “Is the chin rat supposed to help hold the violin?”

Matthew peered at him disapprovingly although his lips turned upward against his will, and Brian leaned closer, placing his hand casually on his friend’s shoulder. They focused on the musician for a while, but after a couple of minutes, Brian yawned, bored to death. As a result, his interest shifted, his gaze sweeping around the other people in the audience.

He would never have expected to see Jennifer Taylor sitting on the other side of the room, and he stilled as he recognized Justin’s mother. The person sitting next to her was hidden by a large column, but no matter who it was, Brian needed to think fast. There were quite a few people attending, but not enough to make sure she wouldn’t spot him during the course of the evening.

As soon as the recital ended, Brian therefore informed Matthew that he would rejoin him in a few minutes and walked in the direction of Jennifer’s seat, only to realize she had already left. He paused, looking around the spacious main room of the Apostrophe Gallery, and his eyes landed on her again, standing alone in front of a painting.

Brian sauntered over and just stood there, waiting for her to realize he was standing next to her.

Brian?” Jennifer asked in an astonished voice.

Brian greeted her with a small smile. “Jennifer, it’s nice to see you again.”

I thought you were out of town! Don’t tell me: you’re here to surprise Justin, aren’t you?”

Brian’s smile faltered as he understood what she was implying. Justin was here, somewhere.

Well done Kinney . What the fuck are you going to do now?

Yes. I will surprise him for sure,” Brian replied. It wasn’t a lie.

You’ve heard the good news, haven’t you?” Jennifer continued, assuming Brian knew what she was talking about.

Of course,” Brian answered, chastising himself for still playing Justin’s game. But he didn’t know what the fuck else to do. He hadn’t anticipated his former client being there when he had accosted Jennifer. Even though Justin was no longer a part of his life, he didn’t want to jeopardize the blond’s relationship with his mother by telling her the truth about their supposed great romance.

I think I need to thank you for that, right?” Jennifer inquired. At Brian’s puzzled expression, she clarified, “Your friend said he will try to help him. Who knows? Maybe Justin will get his sight back! And if he does, we will have you to thank for this miracle. Really, Brian, I know I was a little cautious at first considering your age difference, but you’ve done so much for my son. You’re… part of the family now.”

Jennifer...” Brian wanted to stop her, feeling more and more uncomfortable with this conversation.

Jennifer ignored him and resumed, “Has Justin demonstrated how grateful he is for your help?” she questioned, too happy on her son’s behalf to notice Brian’s bewildered stare. “I’m being silly. Of course he has!” she assumed, winking at him.

Brian Kinney had a supposed mother-in-law who was his number one fan. The thought made him want to burst out laughing.

Brian?” Justin’s shocked voice interrupted them. Brian turned around, a rush of adrenaline coursing through him as he peered down at his former client for the first time in a month. Justin glanced in his direction and asked, “What are you doing here?”

Brian heard Justin’s voice quivering, as well as hints of anger and pain lacing his words.

He wanted to surprise you! Isn’t it wonderful?” Jennifer volunteered, totally clueless about the drama unfolding before her eyes.

Justin snorted, ignoring his mother’s enthusiasm. “Brian. A word?” he inquired sternly.

Brian flashed Jennifer an apologetic smile before grabbing Justin’s arm and leading him toward a more secluded spot at the back of the gallery. The simple touch caused a shiver to run along his spine. He ignored it.

What the fuck are you doing here?” Justin questioned curtly as soon as Brian had stopped walking.

What do you think?” Brian sardonically retorted. “I’m working.”

Great,” Justin muttered. “Who is it this time? A creepy dude? A young stud? A fucking ophthalmologist?”

Brian ignored Justin’s angry tone. “Jennifer told me John is going to help you if he can.”

Oh, yes. John is such a wonderful man,” Justin mocked, enunciating Dr. Lewis’s first name derisively.

Oh, come on, Justin! Stop being such a princess!” Brian was beginning to get pissed off. How dare Justin be angry with him? He wasn’t the one who had suffered the biggest blow to his ego of his entire life.

I’m the princess?” Justin repeated incredulously. “What about you, huh? Ignoring me as if I meant nothing to you at all! I made ONE fucking mistake Brian! I was wrong, but so what? How was I supposed to know you wanted me to acknowledge that what was happening between us was real?”

I didn’t…” Brian began, ready to deny any connection with Justin at all, but Justin didn’t let him, as he pointed with his index finger and then pushed him, making him step backward.

Oh no, you don’t! Don’t try to pretend that it wasn’t real. It was, Brian! Ever since that night, I haven’t been able to eat or sleep because I’m thinking about you all the time, berating myself for what I did to you, replaying what happened over and over, constantly reminding myself of what an idiot I am! I’m driving my best friend so nuts that she has tried countless subterfuges to get me out of my fucking funk; I’m lying to my mother; and I’ve become a pathetic, insufferable stalker. So if you dare tell me now what happened between us wasn’t real, I swear I’m going to kill you.”

Before Brian could respond to Justin’s outburst, however, he heard someone calling his name in a low voice.

Brian let out a heavy sigh as he recognized the man’s voice. “Matthew…” he acknowledged, taking a step sideways to gaze at the man standing right behind him. He wondered how much of his and Justin’s conversation the man had heard. From his closed-off expression, he’d say Matthew had heard more than enough.

I’m…” Brian stammered. Fuck. Now what? “This is Justin Taylor. Justin, Matthew Gallagher, my...” he cringed, “...date.”

Neither man moved. Brian wanted to dig a hole and disappear into it.

Couldn’t you date an old, disgusting woman for once?” Justin asked. He couldn’t see Matthew, but the businessman had a deep, velvety voice. He was certainly not a woman.

One Life is a gay male escort agency, Justin,” Brian reminded him. “No old women for me.”

What are you talking about? Not me, I hope!” Jennifer quipped, choosing that exact moment to join them.

Jesus!” Brian couldn’t help but curse, rubbing his face nervously.

Is everything alright?” Jennifer inquired, sensing the three men’s uneasiness.

Justin chuckled cynically.

Excuse me, who are you?” Matthew questioned.

I’m Justin’s mother, Brian’s mother-in-law,” Jennifer answered with a smile, which faltered when she noticed the man’s expression and the way her son flinched.

Brian’s mother-in-law…” Matthew echoed, staring at Brian questioningly. Brian shot him a pointed look.

I’m sorry, who are you?” Jennifer asked, noticing something obviously wasn’t quite right. She kept gazing between Matthew and Brian.

Okay. Let’s stop with this farce,” Justin finally declared.

Justin...” Brian cautioned, not liking what was happening. “You don’t have to do that.”

I shouldn’t have lied in the first place,” Justin countered with a shake of his head. “I’ve learned my lesson, believe me,” he added.

Brian swallowed. No matter how furious he had been with Justin, he hadn’t wanted any of this to happen.

Mom,” Justin murmured, as Jennifer grazed his arm with her fingertips.

Honey, what’s wrong?” she inquired, the concern evident in her voice.

Brian is not my boyfriend,” Justin disclosed. “He is an escort I booked to go to Dorian’s wedding.”

Jennifer froze. “But…” she stammered when she recovered her voice.

Justin didn’t let her speak. “I was desperate for you to stop worrying about me, so I paid Brian to come with me. He’s here tonight, not to see me but because he’s with a client.”

That can’t be,” Jennifer refuted, not ready yet to accept the truth. “I’ve seen the two of you together, and I know you, Justin. You can’t lie to save your own life! I know you love that man!” she exclaimed, pointing at Brian before turning toward him. Brian held her gaze.

He could barely breathe, however, his heart hammering in his chest. Justin hadn’t denied his mother’s words.

You’re an escort?” she asked incredulously.

I am,” Brian confirmed quietly. Matthew was going to be furious with him for ruining their night together, but at the moment, Brian couldn’t care less. The only thing that mattered was that he felt like his heart was going to explode out of his chest. He could see Justin was barely holding it together, and it was killing him.

So much for being an insensitive shit.

I still don’t understand,” Jennifer stated with a shake of her head. “If you’re an escort, why did you help my son get that appointment? It doesn’t make any sense, unless…” her voice trailed off. She suddenly stared directly at Brian, and the brunet felt like she could see right through him.

Mom,” Justin captured her attention, Jennifer turning back to him. “It doesn’t matter, does it?” he uttered sadly.

Justin,” Brian whispered his name.

Brian, we should go,” Matthew grabbed Brian’s elbow.

I…” Brian hesitated, but before he could say anything, Justin left, using the nearby wall to guide his steps. Jennifer directed one last glance at Brian before following her son.

************************

An hour later, Brian was lying on Matthew’s bed, smoking a cigarette. They hadn’t had sex yet, his friend having gone downstairs a little while ago, supposedly for a business call with Japan. Brian therefore had gone to lie down, his mind replaying the events that had taken place earlier that night. He was confused, truthfully.

He had done all he could to forget Justin, but it hadn’t worked. Seeing him tonight had completely thrown him off his game, but more than that, he had realized he couldn’t forget Justin. His feelings ran too deep for that.

He was the first to be surprised by the revelation. Never once had he felt anything like this for another man. Sure, he had experienced a couple of crushes when he was a young, naive teenager, but falling in love? It hadn’t been a part of his plan, ever.

You look wistful,” Matthew’s voice brought him back from his musings, and he turned his head toward the still fully clothed older man standing next to the bed, staring at him.

Brian turned to crush out his cigarette in the ashtray on the nightstand - another thing that showed him Matthew cared for him a bit too much since the man didn’t even smoke.

I think we should stop seeing each other for a while,” Matthew stated softly.

Brian didn’t move or reply. He knew Matthew was right.

You love him, don’t you?” the man then questioned.

Again, Brian stayed silent. He didn’t know how or what to answer, truly having no clue how to explain something he didn’t understand himself.

Matthew’s calm demeanor crumbled. “For God’s sake Brian, answer me!”

What do you want me to say?” Brian snarled. He hated feeling like he’d been pushed into a corner, but as much as he wanted to be annoyed at the businessman for demanding answers, he also hated himself for what he was putting Matthew through. Brian might not care about Matthew the way the man would like him to, but he did care nonetheless. The man didn’t deserve any of this.

I don’t know! Maybe, just try being honest with me?” Matthew exclaimed, glaring at Brian. “I mean, it’s not like you don’t know how I feel about you, is it?” he asserted, his voice cracking slightly.

Brian couldn’t stand to hear his friend’s pain. He stood up from the bed and moved toward him.

Matthew raised his hand to stop Brian from approaching any closer. “Don’t…” he warned, taking a step back.  

Brian stilled. He refused, however, to avert his eyes from Matthew’s face. “I didn’t mean for it to happen. Justin…” he tried to explain, but the words died out in his throat. Breathing heavily, he gazed down, feeling himself becoming more and more frustrated at his inability to understand why he felt the way he did. He hated this situation, hated himself for not knowing what to say or do to fix this.

Matthew stared at him, his previous agitation seemingly vanishing, a disturbing calmness descending upon him. “So, you admit that you were full of shit when you claimed that you would never get romantically involved with a client or anyone else?” he eventually stated quietly.

Brian swallowed. He closed his eyes briefly before confessing, “I believed it then.”

I know.” Matthew nodded, resigned. “This is just…” he began with a wave of his hand, but he never finished his thought. He shook his head instead, professing, “It doesn’t matter anymore.” Then, peering at Brian one last time, he intentionally put an end to their conversation, declaring “I’m going to take a shower.”

Brian held his gaze for a few seconds, until Matthew looked away and left the room.

Brian kept staring at the door for a moment before finally moving. He headed downstairs, noticing the money on the entryway table. He didn’t stop to take it, though, and walked out the front door without looking back.



Chapter Text

Saturday night, Babylon…

After leaving Matthew’s house, Brian got in his car and sat there, unable to move and turn on the Jeep. Leaning his head against the steering wheel, he wondered how his life had become such a mess in such a short time. The one thing he was sure of at the moment was that he desperately needed to forget about his disastrous night. And there was only one place he could think of for that.

He parked his car near the diner fifteen minutes later and walked toward Babylon with only one goal in mind. Entering, he made his way through the crowded space, shamelessly checking out the men bold enough to touch a part of his body. At the bar, he quickly downed several shots of Beam, his body craving the burning sensation of the liquor, before turning around to face the dance floor. He scanned the guys dancing, but no one succeeded in capturing his attention. They were either too tall, too skinny, too ugly, too toned, or too tasteless - with another major flaw.

They were not Justin.

“Fuck!” Brian cursed loudly as he turned back to face the bartender. The guy looked at him quizzically, but he quickly grabbed the hundred bill Brian handed him. “The bottle will do,” Brian volunteered with a fake smile, prompting the bartender to push a full bottle in his direction. Brian snatched it and picked up his glass.

Emmett, Michael, and Ted found him trying and failing miserably to pour himself another shot of whiskey.

“You shouldn’t bother with the glass,” Ted quipped.

Brian stared at Ted, already too wasted to catch the humor. Giving up on his attempt to use a glass, he muttered, “Good idea,” and took four large gulps from the bottle. He grimaced, wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his Armani shirt, while his friends stared at him as if he had perpetrated the ultimate sin.

In a way, he had.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Michael asked. He hadn’t seen Brian drink that much since Gus’s doctors had started talking about his surgery. “Weren’t you suppose to go to a recital tonight?

“And this is your business because...?” Brian snarled, not in the mood to answer his best friend’s annoying inquiry.

Michael scowled. “No need to be rude!” he exclaimed offendedly, before walking away with Ted.

Emmett, though, stayed and positioned himself next to Brian, leaning on his side against the counter. Brian eyed him as if questioning the man’s sanity.

“You seem like you could use a sympathetic ear right now,” Emmett eventually claimed.

Acknowledging that his intimidating gaze wouldn’t be sufficient to make his friend disappear from his sight, Brian gave up and gulped again from the bottle of Beam, before slamming it back on the counter.

Emmett stifled a smile at the glare Brian had directed at him. Indicating with a toss of his head the bottle the brunet was still holding, he asserted, “You’re going to be sick if you keep drinking like that.”

Brian huffed derisively. “I can hold my liquor, thank you very much,” he sneered, taking another couple of gulps to demonstrate his point. The truth was, he could already feel the effects of the alcohol flooding his veins, but he didn’t care.

“Not when you haven’t drunk like that in months,” Emmett refuted.

Brian ignored Emmett’s statement, glaring blatantly at the half-empty bottle. While he had been aware that drinking like a fish wouldn’t resolve anything and that it was counterproductive to his goal of helping his son, it had been the only solution he could come up with to forget about Justin. Now, though, it seemed it had not been his best idea, since he felt like he wanted to talk about Justin with Emmett.

Alcohol was such a bad influence.

“He is going to be the death of me,” Brian declared as he started to roll the bottle between his hands.

Emmett frowned, propping himself up on his elbow. Brian was now staring absently into the depths of the bottle as if it held all the answers to his problems. “I assume you’re talking about...Justin?” he asked on a hunch, not one hundred percent sure who Brian was referring to.

Brian didn’t respond, but he didn’t have to. The expression on his face said it all.

“What’s the matter?” Emmett bravely inquired, before divulging, “The last time I saw him, Justin seemed to really like you. I mean, more than like you. And from what I can see, you’re far from being indifferent to the kid’s charms, too, aren’t you?”

“So what?” Brian questioned, scowling. “What difference does it make… if we keep hurting each other?” he drunkenly voiced his thought out loud.

However, as soon as the words had escaped his mouth, Brian froze, berating himself for opening up to a gossip like Emmet. He peered at his friend, who seemed very proud of him for admitting he had feelings like the rest of the mere mortals.

The thought made him want to gag, although the booze he had consumed probably didn’t help either.

“If you did something that hurt Justin, maybe you need to come clean?” Emmett suggested, placing his hand on Brian’s shoulder.

Brian stared at Emmett’s hand, then at his sympathetic face. It was funny how eloquent his friend could become when he was drunk. “You’re right. If I don’t come clean, I won’t come at all,” Brian eventually quipped, snickering at his own stupid joke.

“Brian!” Emmett exclaimed. “Not that you’re not right, but that’s not… Brian?” he called in consternation as he witnessed Brian suddenly turning around and taking a step toward the dance floor, almost losing his balance in the process. “Where are you going?”

“To Justin,” Brian answered, unperturbed, even if his head was definitely spinning. Driving drunk was probably not the best course of action, but the brunet didn’t want to waste any more time now that he had made up his mind. Although, there was only one way to find out if he could drive or not.

“You’re kinda drunk,” Emmett remarked, preventing him from falling as Brian stupidly tried to balance on one foot.

“Ikinda don’t care. That’s what cabs are for, right?” Brian lied, certain that he wasn't too drunk to navigate his way to Justin's place. That he would have fallen if not for his friend’s help ‘kinda’ didn’t register his brain. “Toodles!” he drawled foolishly, saluting Emmett before leaving, bumping into nameless bodies on his way out.

The ride to Justin’s place took much longer than he had anticipated, since he missed the correct turn twice. He ultimately pulled his open Jeep over in front of Justin’s building in one piece but, once he killed the ignition, he didn’t get out of his car. He searched for his stash in the glove compartment instead.

The joint soothed his inebriated self a little more. He leaned his head back against his seat, contemplating the big moon in the sky, which looked an awful lot like a bright street lamp. The night was cloudy and the moon therefore couldn’t be seen, but that didn’t faze him at all.

A few minutes later, Brian swayed dangerously as he entered Justin’s building.

He surprisingly pushed the correct button to put the elevator in motion. After getting out on Justin’s floor, he arrived at the blond’s door and pressed his finger against the doorbell, not lifting it until he heard significant movement, followed by some colorful cursing. Grinning goofily, he started knocking. Loudly.

“Hold on!” Justin shouted, obviously not happy to be awakened at three in the morning. Brian heard him unlocking the door. “You can’t keep forgetting your key, Daphne!” Justin complained, before opening it. However, he froze when he noticed the overpowering aroma of booze. He questioned, “Are you drunk? Did you have another fight with… what’s-his-name?”

Brian couldn’t look away from Justin’s sleep-tousled hair, his pajama pants clinging to his slim hips, his bare chest looking warm, soft, and just damn perfect. He wanted to touch his skin, to lick it, suck it, caress it, and more. He briefly wondered if Justin would be okay with him cuddling his skin. Could a skin be cuddled and adored? Justin’s skin so deserved to be worshipped. Not just his skin, though. Maybe a shrine would do, then?

“Justin, I want to cuddle your skin,” Brian slurred. He was totally wasted.

Justin’s eyes widened. “Brian?” he pronounced the brunet’s name, astonished. He was apparently so astounded, in fact, that he didn’t react when Brian walked in without his consent.

As Bran squeezed in next to Justin, he grabbed the door and pushed it closed. Taking a step sideways, he tripped over air, falling into Justin’s arms. Justin barely caught him and helped him straighten up.

“What are you doing here?” Justin inquired, but he didn’t ask Brian to leave.

“I told you. I need to cuddle your... No, wait. I don’t cuddle. I don’t cuddle?” Brian questioned dubiously, before squeezing his eyes shut, trying to stop his head from spinning so fast.

He opened his eyes again and noticed Justin was still waiting for his explanation, a puzzled expression on his face.

Since he couldn’t think of anything to say, Brian enveloped Justin in a hug.

Justin’s hands pushed against his chest. “What the fuck are you doing?” His tone wasn’t truly angry, but Brian could hear the confusion lacing his words.

“I was at Babylon and…” Brian frowned, trying to remember his conversation with Emmett. “I realized I needed to see… you,” he volunteered, the alcohol running through his body making it difficult to form a coherent sentence.

“I thought you had a client tonight,” Justin reminded him curtly, before heading in the direction of the couch.

“Yeah…” Brian responded dazedly, just realizing Justin had moved and was now standing, very, VERY, far away from him.

Brian took the two steps separating him from the couch.

Justin sat and shook his head. Brian carefully came to sit next to him, feeling the beginnings of a headache hammering at his skull.

Justin turned his head toward Brian, obviously trying to decide what to do with him. Ultimately, he asked, the exhaustion evident in his voice, “And? You have nothing else to say? Really?”

“I have plenty to say,” Brian answered stubbornly, but couldn’t think of another thing to say. He felt suddenly sick.

Justin huffed when Brian didn’t elaborate. “You’re fucking wasted.”

“I think… you may be right,” Brian grimaced, trying to control his breathing. “...right back,” he breathed out as a wave of nausea suddenly overwhelmed him, before standing and hastily stumbling towards the bathroom.

Brian’s threw up profusely, his stomach heaving with every spasm as he retched into the bowl. He wasn’t sure what was worse - the fact that he felt like he was going to die from the pain in his stomach, or the pounding headache he was experiencing.

He didn’t know how long he stayed kneeling on the tile, his forehead resting against the cold porcelain. After a while, he pulled the toilet seat down and sat on it as he waited to feel steady enough to stand up. Then, he headed toward the sink and turned on the water, cupping it in his hands and splashing the cold liquid on his face. He braced his hands on the edge of the sink, his eyes closed, and focused on breathing for a moment, before shuffling out of the bathroom.

As he came back into the living room, Brian noticed Justin was holding a pillow in his hands.

Justin heard him approaching, and he stood up, frowning. “Are you okay?”

“You made a bed for… for me?” Brian inquired almost audibly, ignoring Justin’s question, as he peered at the white blanket covering the usually red couch.

Justin didn’t respond. He placed the pillow on the makeshift bed. “Come here and lie down,” he demanded. Brian didn’t need to be told twice and he fell face first onto the couch with a groan of satisfaction. “Turn around,” Justin then instructed, making Brian smile as he felt his eyes closing against his will.

“...’re bossy tonight,” he teased, feeling Justin tugging on his shirt. “Trying... undress me?”

“Shut up,” Justin countered, but Brian could have sworn the blond was smiling, although he couldn’t open his heavy eyelids.

Brian then felt the blond opening his jeans, and he managed to lift his hips off the couch enough to help Justin get rid of his pants. The fact that his dick wasn’t hard would have been a life or death matter if he’d been sober but, fortunately, he wasn’t.

“I failed…” Brian slurred again, feeling himself slipping farther and farther away into unconsciousness.

“Uh?” Justin responded, as he covered Brian’s body with a warm blanket.

“...forget you…” Brian garbled drowsily, before falling into a deep slumber.

************************

When Brian woke up the next morning, he realized three things.

Firstly, he wasn’t in his comfortable, king-size bed, wrapped up in his silky soft Ralph Lauren sheets, but on a lumpy old couch adorned with a cheap white blanket. It gave him a pretty good idea of the reason his back was killing him.

Secondly, he had drooled copiously during the night, Brian’s chin as well as Justin’s pillow underneath his head now showing the evidence. Frowning, he rubbed his chin and rolled onto his chest, burrowing his nose further into Justin’s pillow, the blond’s unique manly scent assaulting his senses. He smiled, before realizing how lesbianic he was behaving and forced himself to scowl instead.

Thirdly, he had just been awakened by a hard, unidentified object hitting his already throbbing head. Needless to say, he was NOT in a good mood and doubted his morning could get any worse.

Of course, he was wrong.

When he heard Jennifer Taylor’s voice echoing in his ears, calling for her son, he froze. He would have groaned, but he didn’t want her to notice he was there. It was stupid since she was bound to discover his presence, but he still harbored the wish that if he prayed hard enough, she would magically disappear; or, at least, she might not feel the need to retrieve her purse - the one which had encountered Brian’s head - and find him lying half-naked on her son’s sofa.

However, the sound of her heels clicking away from the living room informed Brian she was heading toward her son’s bedroom. The brunet sighed in relief, contemplating the possibility that he would be able to sneak out of Justin’s apartment before she returned.

He rubbed his temples, trying to fight off the hammering in his skull. It was a lost cause, and he winced as he tried to get up, the sudden pressure in his head nearly unbearable. A few seconds elapsed before he could focus again, when he noticed his jeans neatly folded on a nearby armchair. Leaning forward, he grabbed them and pulled them on slowly. He was about to don his shirt when he heard Jennifer storming out of Justin’s bedroom, with her son on her heels trying to stop her.

Jennifer halted abruptly when she discovered him standing shirtless by the couch. “Brian?” she called his name in astonishment. The look on her face also showed that she was not pleased to see him there.

Brian was about to complain that he couldn’t stomach a possible meltdown without having at least gulped one cup of coffee and two Advils, but he was pretty sure she wouldn’t appreciate his request. And, truthfully, an upset mother was not something Brian wanted to deal with right now.

“Mooom! I’m asking again. Why are you here?” Justin exclaimed disapprovingly, as he fumbled to grab his mother’s shoulder.

“I came to check on you, obviously! I thought that after last night, you could use a little TLC,” she retorted. “But then, I discover Brian is here? What is this all about, Justin?” she demanded, as she pointed at Brian, who hastily put on his shirt.

“None of your fucking business!” Justin surprisingly yelled back. “Now, I want you to leave,” he ordered, his voice demonstrating how deadly serious he was.

“Justin, you can’t…”

“Now!” he added forcefully, guiding his mom toward the door.

“Always a pleasure, Jennifer,” Brian bid goodbye in a jesting tone, waving at Jennifer as he handed over her purse on her way out, unable to keep his lips from turning upward. He sobered up, however, when he saw Justin glancing in his direction, looking fairly pissed.

Justin closed the door behind Jennifer, his hand lingering on the handle as he took a deep breath. He then turned in Brian’s direction and inquired dryly, “Coffee? I could use a cup.”

“Sure,” Brian acquiesced, following Justin into the kitchen. “Let me help.” He grabbed the carafe, filled it with water from the sink, and poured it into the coffee machine. Meanwhile, Justin had opened a cabinet and retrieved a tin with coffee grounds and a filter.

Brian took them from Justin, their hands brushing lightly. The brunet cleared his throat, feeling a spark at the simple touch. He swiftly returned to his task and finally turned on the coffee machine, watching the drops slowly fall into the carafe. “How are you?” Brian eventually questioned in a low voice.

Justin leaned back against the counter, his hands supporting him. “Okay, I guess,” he responded with a shrug.

“You don’t seem okay,” Brian replied, touching Justin’s face to make the blond look at him although, as usual, his shades hid his eyes. Justin was paler than normal, betraying how tired he was.

Again, Justin didn’t respond to his statement. He straightened up and stepped away, escaping Brian’s grip.

“You still take your coffee black?” Brian asked, sensing Justin needed some space and therefore deciding that light conversation would help with the blond’s weird mood.

“Sure. The sugar is in the cabinet next to the microwave,” Justin replied as he took a seat at the kitchen table.

Brian turned away, smiling as he realized Justin had remembered how he liked his coffee. He opened a couple of cabinets, locating two mugs and the sugar bowl. “Do you have something for headaches?” he asked, wanting to ease his throbbing head.

Justin snorted before answering. “In the bathroom. On the top shelf of the medicine cabinet.”

Brian placed the cups on the counter and added five teaspoonfuls of sugar to one as he waited for the coffee to finish brewing. Once it had, he poured the hot beverage. Clasping the mugs carefully in his hands, he turned around and took the two steps that separated him from the table. He placed a cup in front of Justin, gently reaching for Justin’s hand as he cautioned, “Your coffee's ready. Careful, it’s hot.”

The touch lasted for a moment too long, and Brian had to restrain himself from doing something stupid. Justin, too, had stilled at the touch.

“Breathe. I’m not going to take advantage of the situation,” Brian volunteered as he withdrew his hand from Justin’s, sensing that his companion was as affected as he was.

“I…” Justin began, his voice trailing off as he shook his head. He raised the cup to his mouth and blew on the liquid a couple of times before carefully taking a sip. Setting the cup back on the table, he chose to ignore the sexual tension between them, and instead reminded Brian, “Don’t forget to take some pills for your hangover.”

Brian decided to respect Justin’s unspoken wish to let it go and repeated Justin’s directions from earlier, “Top shelf in the bathroom?”

Justin nodded.

Brian walked out of the kitchen and into the bathroom. He paused when he saw his reflection in the mirror, with dark circles adorning his face. Getting drunk had definitely not been his brightest idea but, at least, it had led to him spending the night at Justin’s place. The blond hadn’t pushed him away so far, even though Brian could feel an uneasiness between them that hadn’t been there before.

Brian needed to show Justin that he genuinely wanted to make amends. Justin might not be so easily convinced since Brian had still been very adamant about shutting the young man out of his life a couple of days earlier, but Brian had never backed down from a challenge and wasn’t going to start now.

As he stared at his reflection, Brian vowed that he was going to make things right. He turned the faucet on and bent over to splash his face with cold water. Drying himself with a yellow hand towel hanging to the right of the sink, he opened the cabinet, checked the top shelf, and grabbed some Advil.

************************

Justin didn’t really understand what was happening.

Seeing Brian at the gallery had caught him totally off guard. As he had related the truth behind their supposed romance to his mother, Justin had realized Brian’s silence for the past month had hurt more than he had anticipated. After their encounter at the gallery, the blond had gone home feeling depressed, with Jennifer hovering over him, refusing to leave his side before eleven.

Brian showing up at his place in the middle of the night had been a complete surprise. The brunet had been drunk out of his mind, ready to demonstrate his undying love for Justin if only the blond had been inclined to let him.

He hadn’t.

Justin wanted the man just as much as the last time they’d been together, maybe even more. For a month, Brian’s absence had increased Justin’s yearning, each rejection nourishing his craving and turning the blond into a pathetic mess. But their reunion at the gallery had made Justin realize he wouldn’t be able to deal with a new rejection in the morning, next week, or next month - whenever Brian freaked out again.

So, he had resisted. He had offered Brian a bed and had helped the inebriated man undress. Brian had mumbled incoherently just before passing out, Justin’s heart skipping a beat at his words. He hadn’t dared read too much into them, considering the brunet couldn’t possibly comprehend what his alcoholic brain had him confessing.

Justin had gone back to bed but had barely slept. His mother’s visit in the morning had simply been the icing on the cake. Moreover, now that he was alone with Brian, he didn’t know how to deal with him.

“I want to go to the Pride Parade,” Justin heard Brian declare. He’d been so lost in thought that he hadn’t heard his guest come back from the bathroom.

“Uh?” Justin replied, surprised by Brian’s announcement.

We’re going to the parade. The boys will be marching with the LGBT Center. I need to take pictures - blackmail material to hold over Michael’s head for the rest of his life.”

Justin’s brow furrowed as he turned his head in Brian’s direction. “Again, uh?”

“Are you deaf? Or just blind?” Brian mocked, Justin hearing the grin in his voice.

“Fuck you!” Justin retorted. “Why do you think I’d want to go?”

I’m going,” Brian responded as if that explained everything.

Justin snorted. “You will have to find a better reason than that.”

“I want you to go with me,” Brian volunteered.

“Why?” Justin questioned. If Brian really wanted them to start seeing each other again, Justin would make him work for it.

“You’re going to make me say it, aren’t you?” Brian huffed. “Okay, then…” he began, breathing deeply before professing, “I’ve been a shit to you for the past month. But I have an oversized ego and I’m queer, which is sufficient to explain why I acted like a…” he paused, before complaining dryly, “God, I hate that expression.”

“Like a what?” Justin pushed, thoroughly amused now.

Brian sighed. “A drama queen.”

“You forgot to add that since you’re the best at everything, you queen out better than anyone else,” Justin jested.

“Don’t push your luck, Sunshine,” Brian warned, although Justin could hear the brunet’s grin.

Justin’s own smile faltered as he sobered. “I shouldn’t have given you money,” he declared solemnly.

“You shouldn’t have,” Brian agreed. “But what’s done is done.”

“So…” Justin carefully rose from his chair. He didn’t know exactly where he stood with Brian. The man might have forgiven him, but Justin wasn’t sure what it meant. Did Brian want them to be friends now? Lovers? Something in between?

Brian walked over to him, Justin feeling the nearness of his body, the brunet’s warmth and scent enveloping his senses. “...friends?” the blond eventually asked bashfully.

Brian didn’t respond, raising his hand to slip his fingers into Justin’s hair. His hand finally rested on the blond’s cheek for a few seconds, before Brian dropped it by his side. “Friends,” he confirmed softly.

The truth was, it was impossible for Justin to be just ‘friends’ with Brian. The pull was too strong, impossible to ignore, the sparks overwhelming him every time the brunet touched him.

But it didn’t mean he couldn’t try to refrain from having sex with Brian right away. So, he smiled, and declared, “Okay, Buddy. Let’s go to the parade. But first, we need to shower. Especially you.”

Brian chuckled, before suggesting in a husky voice,“We could shower together.”

So much for trying to take things slow.

“I think I’m going to shower alone, if you don’t mind,” Justin responded, although he blushed, of course.

“You’re boring,” Brian drawled. “Don’t you know that the spirit of Pride means to love your neighbour as yourself?”

Justin burst out laughing as he headed toward the bathroom.

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, 13:45 p.m., the Pride Parade…

Justin stood with Brian, listening to the loud music, applause, and yelling accompanying the parade. They had arrived half an hour earlier, Brian never letting go of Justin’s hand as they had made their way through the crowd of people who had come to watch the floats and other participants walking down the street.

Justin realized how much he’d missed the intimacy he had only ever felt with this man. He was also aware that not everything was fixed between them. He wouldn’t be able to deal with another rejection and therefore needed to confide in Brian about his fears regarding their relationship. Being in love with an escort wasn’t exactly easy, and Justin wanted to avoid future misunderstandings, especially now that his mother knew the truth.

As a loud whistle echoed in his ear, Justin heard Brian laugh next to him. He was about to question the brunet when the man informed him, “Debbie is there. She is marching while wearing an ‘I’m so gay that I can’t even think straight’ shirt. Suits her just fine… but where the fuck is Michael?”

Justin smiled, imagining Debbie marching with a gigantic rainbow flag. “Michael was supposed to march with her?” he inquired, knowing that was the main reason Brian had wanted to come.

“Yeah, but I can’t…” Brian’s voice trailed off. After a few seconds, he stated, obviously flabbergasted, “No way...”

“What?” Justin prompted Brian to elaborate.

“I think...” Brian began, obviously not sure, “...the drag queen holding her hand is… Holy shit!” Brian exclaimed.

“Is it Michael?” Justin asked, grabbing Brian’s arm a little tighter when someone bumped into him.

“Easy, Sunshine,” Brian reassured him, pulling the blond in front of him and placing an arm around Justin’s upper body, his other hand coming to rest on the blond’s stomach. “Hey, Michael!” he then shouted loudly in the direction of the man he thought to be his friend.

Justin leaned back against Brian’s body. “Is it him?”

Brian chuckled. “It’s him alright. In a pink sequinned dress and a blond wig.”

“Is there a problem, young stud?” Justin heard a high-pitched voice asking.

“Mikey... you’re fucking hot as a blond,” Brian approved as he leaned forward to greet his friend.

“You’re not bad yourself, Stud,” Michael responded playfully, using a light, sugary voice to stay in character. “You’ve found yourself someone to play with, too?”

Justin wasn’t sure how to react to Michael’s question, so he asserted, “I’m his stalker. He can’t get rid of me. He tried, but the truth is, he is miserable without me because he loves my company so much. Oh, and I have the tightest ass in the Pitts, too.”

Brian burst out laughing at the blond’s over-the-top declaration. He squeezed Justin’s hand and whispered in his ear, “Don’t give Mikey a heart attack. I still need him alive.”

Justin gave Michael his most innocent smile. He couldn’t see his expression but, after a few seconds, Michael unexpectedly purred, addressing Brian, “Well, my favorite stud stopped moping around and being rude. It’s a huge relief!”

Justin would have loved to see both Michael’s grin and Brian’s outraged face. “Later, Stud! Blondie...” Michael bid his goodbyes, and left.

“I wasn’t moping around!” Brian yelled after Michael, even though the man had already walked away.

Justin turned toward Brian and raised his arms, placing them on Brian’s shoulders. He started caressing Brian’s hair, slowly grazing the man’s neck with his fingers. “You have interesting friends,” he quipped, very pleased by Michael’s revelation.

“Shut up,” Brian replied as he leaned his forehead against the blond’s, the warmth of his breath tickling Justin’s face. “Or, I swear I will make you shut up,” Brian threatened in a low, sexy voice.

“And how are you going to do that?” Justin inquired with a smirk, not resisting teasing Brian back, the promise of a kiss from the brunet being way too tempting to ignore.

“I can show you,” Brian drawled as he softly cupped Justin’s cheek.

“Brian!” Lindsay’s voice resonated in Justin’s ear, making him wince.

“Fuck,” Brian cursed, leaning back, Justin’s hands coming to rest on his arms. “Linds, you really know how to…” He paused, and Justin could immediately feel the tension invading his companion’s body. “What the fuck is he doing here? Are you insane?” Brian shouted disapprovingly.

“Jesus, Brian! He is sick, not a prisoner in his own home. He can leave the house once in awhile,” Lindsay responded, before exclaiming, “Justin? Hey! It’s good to see you!”

“Hi, Lindsay.” Justin smiled, raising his arm to give her a quick hug, once again annoyed at not being able to see her expression. His nearly complete blindness had led him to understand when two people were speaking silently in his presence and, right now, Brian and Lindsay were probably exchanging meaningful glances. The tone of her voice as she had greeted him betrayed the fact that she knew more about his relationship with Brian that she had let on.

“You’re Justin? THE Justin? Hi, I’m Melanie, Lindsay’s partner. It’s really, really nice to meet you,” Melanie introduced herself, obviously aiming at annoying Brian with her too cheerful greeting.

Again, Justin hated feeling like he was being left out of a private joke. He plastered a smile on his face nonetheless, responding to her, “Likewise.” He wasn’t really sure in which direction to turn - the noise from the parade and the crowd surrounding them making it difficult to locate Melanie - although he felt her hand briefly resting on his back.

“Let him breathe,” Brian intervened, pulling Justin back into his arms. “And give me my son.”

“Gus is here?” Justin questioned, having only been focused on Lindsay and Melanie until now.

“Yes,” Brian confirmed, releasing Justin from his embrace, his hand lingering on the blond’s arm before moving to his hand. He then leaned over to speak into Justin’s ear, instructing, “Here, put your hand around my arm and don’t let go. Okay?”

“Okay,” Justin nodded, feeling the muscles move under the man’s skin as he obeyed Brian’s order.

“Gus, come here, Sonny Boy!” Brian called to his son, taking him into his arms. A smile appeared on Justin’s face as he heard the pride in Brian’s voice. “I want you to meet someone,” the brunet stated, speaking to the child. “This is Justin. Say hi, Gus.”

“Hey,” Justin grinned as he felt a small hand touch his fingers on Brian’s arm. He raised his other hand, playfully tapping Gus with his fingers as he moved them up the child’s leg, making him giggle. He then hesitated, itching to feel the boy’s face.

“Do it,” Brian urged, having surmised what Justin intended to do. “Gus? Justin’s eyes don’t work very well, so, for him to know what you look like, he is going to touch your face, okay, buddy?” he cautioned kindly.

Gus seemed puzzled by his father’s announcement. “No see me?”

“No, Sonny Boy. Justin can’t see you,” Brian confirmed.

Justin breathed deeply as Brian grabbed his hand and gently placed it on Gus’s cheek. The blond felt a smile appearing on the child’s lips beneath his searching fingers and he paused, relishing the sensation for a moment. Eventually resuming his exploration, careful not to move too fast, he slid his hand over Gus’s forehead, then along his eyes, nose, and cheeks, making the little boy giggle again.

“Jussin!” Gus squealed before burying his face in his father’s neck. Justin dropped his hand, smiling broadly.

“He likes you,” Brian volunteered, before questioning his son, “Hey... where are you going?” Justin felt Gus’s hands suddenly gripping his shirt.

Before he comprehended what was happening, Justin’s arms were full of a twenty-two-month-old boy. “Hey, Buddy,” the blond beamed as he held the child, who grabbed his hand and placed it on his face again, earning a laugh from both Brian and Justin.

“I’m jealous,” Brian feigned offense at his son’s gesture.

“Da je’ous?” Gus asked, not understanding what his father was talking about.

Brian chuckled, Justin’s heart skipping a beat as he listened to the brunet laugh. Witnessing Brian interact with his son was amazing.

“Wanna go home, Gus?” Brian asked gently, placing his arm around Justin’s shoulder to be closer to the toddler. Justin shivered as he felt the brunet’s breath grazing the side of his neck. “You should tell your mommies a pride parade is no place for a little boy like you,” Brian drawled, before adding in a jesting tone, “I’m really questioning your moms’ ability as parents more and more.”

“I heard you,” Lindsay stated, amused by Brian’s declaration.

“I hope so,” Brian countered teasingly.

Meanwhile, Gus had rested his head on Justin’s shoulder, and the blond began rocking him from right to left slowly. “He’s tired,” Justin observed, raising his hand to slip his fingers into Gus’s hair, hoping to soothe him with a reassuring touch.

“We’re taking him to the house,” Brian decided, before questioning Lindsay, “When do you think you will be there?”

“One hour?” Lindsay responded, obviously waiting for her partner to agree. She soon confirmed, “One hour.”

“Okay,” Brian acceded. “Sonny Boy?”

“Let him rest. I don’t mind holding him,” Justin proposed as he noticed Gus was seemingly too tired to react to his father calling his name. “Just guide me and we’ll be fine.”

“Fine. Let’s go, then,” Brian agreed, again placing his arm around Justin’s shoulders and guiding him through the crowd.

They reached Brian’s Jeep ten minutes later, Brian lifting Gus carefully from Justin’s arms and securing him in his car seat. The brunet then helped Justin into the passenger seat and finally took his place behind the steering wheel.

Arriving at the girls’ house, Brian immediately brought Gus into his room, Justin following him.

“There,” Brian uttered as he gently laid his son on his bed. “He is going to be out for a while.”

“You’re not worried?” Justin questioned quietly, not used to dealing with a toddler suffering from a serious disease.

“No,” Brian responded. “He needs to sleep a lot, even more so with his treatments. But even without them, he is still very young and couldn’t go an entire day without sleeping. The noise and excitement from being outside the house must have made him more exhausted than normal.”

“He doesn’t go outside usually?” Justin inquired, wondering if Gus needed special care he wasn’t aware of.

“He does,” Brian countered. “Lindsay takes him to the park, and we even went to the zoo a couple of months ago, but the pride parade isn’t exactly quiet. Gus isn’t used to that kind of event.”

“You’re so in love with him,” Justin teased, his lips turning upwards. In truth, he was completely enamored with this side of Brian. He’d known the brunet loved his son, but he hadn’t realized how much until now. Sure, Brian had chosen to accept work as an escort so he could provide for the child, which already showed he cared about his well-being. But sharing this moment with Brian and Gus allowed Justin to really grasp the depth of the brunet’s feelings.

Brian didn’t respond to Justin’s declaration. “Come on,” he whispered, pushing slightly on Justin’s shoulder.

They descended the stairs, heading for the kitchen, where Brian offered him a drink. Justin accepted and listened as Brian retrieved two glasses from a cabinet as well as a bottle of water from the fridge. Leaning against the counter, Justin could distinguish the brunet moving around the space, until he stopped in front of him, grasping the blond’s hand to give him a glass. Justin’s breath caught in his throat when Brian gulped his own in one go, carelessly putting the glass down on the counter, before placing his hands on each side of his body, trapping him.

Justin drank a sip of his water, his heart hammering in his chest at being so close to Brian. He could feel the brunet’s breath washing over his face, the heat of his body brushing against his own. Justin placed his glass on the counter too and stilled, waiting for Brian’s next movement.

He should stop this. It was counterproductive to his wish to take things slow, and he knew if he caved, he wouldn’t be able to keep himself from wanting more. But, honestly? Every time Brian touched him, he wanted the brunet to do more than hold his hand or grab his arm. He yearned to pull him closer.

He made the first move. He raised his hands, placing them on Brian’s chest. Letting them drift slowly, he felt Brian’s nipples harden beneath his shirt, the brunet shivering at his touch. Brian exhaled and narrowed the space between them, earning a gasp from Justin when he felt the brunet’s erection against his hip.

The sound must have triggered something in Brian, because he covered Justin’s right hand with his own before cupping his chin to raise his head. A few more seconds elapsed before Brian finally kissed him.

Justin sighed, opening his lips. He welcomed the brunet’s tongue into his mouth. As the kiss deepened deliciously, his cock became impossibly hard, brushing against the brunet’s a little more with each new taste of his lips. Brian’s hands traveled down his back until they settled on his ass, squeezing forcefully. The men groaned loudly as they both lost themselves in the moment, desperate for more friction. Justin’s grip on Brian’s neck became more intense, and he gasped when the man picked him up, setting him on the counter, before grabbing his legs and pulling them tightly around his waist.

The new position allowed them to grind against each other while their lips kept clashing fervently, their tongues dancing. Justin began to thrust against Brian’s hard dick with renewed purpose as he lost all common sense, forgetting about Gus, about the outside world. All that mattered now was Brian, his scent, his hands touching him, the feeling of his tongue, of his cock expanding in his pants. He tugged on Brian’s hair, wanting to devour his lips again and again. He felt completely high.

Justin vaguely registered that something had crashed to the floor, but Brian didn’t slow down. He slid his fingers between their bodies, aiming for his lover’s pants. The thought that Brian was going to free his cock from its confines made Justin’s dick twitch even more. He grunted when Brian’s lips abandoned his mouth to attack the skin of his neck, licking and biting the tantalizing flesh.

Justin threw his head back as Brian’s fingers finally popped open the buttons of his jeans, sliding into his underwear to envelop his impressive erection. When Brian’s fingers immediately travelled up and down his shaft, he began to pant uncontrollably. “Brian...” he breathed out, not having a clue as to what he wanted to convey by murmuring his name. He was too far gone to care. He could already feel his balls tingling, sparks of rapture flooding his groin. Brian’s hand on his dick kept moving, reaching for his balls on the way down.

“Christ!” Justin cried out, totally immersed in the blissful sensations coursing through his body.

Brian stopped worshipping his neck, and Justin felt his pants being lowered down his hips in one sudden move. Before he could protest, his dick was released from his underwear, and engulfed in the most wonderful heat he had ever experienced.

Brian focused on Justin’s dick while fumbling with his pants to free one of his legs. Once he had achieved his goal, he placed the blond’s thigh over his shoulder, the new position allowing the brunet to consume him more completely. His lips moving along the excited cock, his hand encircled the shaft and followed the rhythm of his mouth. Brian hummed as he lost himself in Justin’s scent, alternating his pace so Justin wouldn’t come.

Even so, Justin couldn’t last. “Brian,” he warned as his lover’s tongue licked his shaft, before he engulfed him again, one of Brian’s hands keeping a light grip at the base, and moving up and down in time with his mouth. Brian repeated his ministrations a couple of times, until he took him deeper, swallowing him whole. “Brian… Brian!” Justin chanted, as the brunet’s throat closed around the head of his dick for the third time in a row. Justin couldn’t hold out any longer, and he climaxed, feeling every surge of come shooting into Brian’s willing mouth, the brunet still earnestly sucking him to intensify his orgasm.

Justin’s whole body was trembling when Brian released his cock from his lips. His ragged breathing slowly calmed down, but he didn’t move immediately. “That was… I felt… Jesus...” he marveled hoarsely, rubbing his face as reality began to return.

“Not Jesus. Just a blowjob,” Brian joked, before adding smugly, “from the best, I agree.”

“You’re definitely the best. No one else could make me feel like you do,” Justin concurred, unable to move.

He eventually slid from the counter, bending over to put his jeans back on. He then straightened up and leaned toward Brian, the brunet immediately responding by kissing him again. Justin sighed happily, before remembering that they were not alone in the house. What if Gus had awakened? “Maybe we shouldn’t have…” he voiced his concern, but Brian interrupted him unhesitatingly.

“If you dare tell me you didn’t want this as much as I wanted it, I swear to God, I’m never blowing you again,” he avowed, trapping Justin against the counter again.

“But Gus…” Justin insisted.

Brian cut him off. “...is asleep and won’t wake up anytime soon. Believe me, I know my son,” he declared, slowly pushing a lock of hair back from Justin’s face. “The only thing that could have happened would have been the girls coming home early and finding two fags fucking on their kitchen counter.”

Justin chuckled. “You would have loved that.”

“Payback is a bitch,” Brian stated in agreement, the blond instantly understanding there was more to the story than he was aware of.

“You saw them fucking?” he inquired, astounded.

Brian confirmed, “Yeah. Don’t remind me. I’ve been trying to forget the horrid image of Melanie going down on Lindsay ever since.”

Justin laughed, before leaning in to kiss Brian again. The brunet responded by pressing his body against the blond’s.

“Fuck, you’re hard,” Justin noted, as he boldly lowered his hand to Brian’s erection, giving it a firm squeeze.

“You plan to do something about it?” Brian breathed out teasingly.

“Maybe…” Justin drawled purposefully. “But not here. I’m not keen on Lindsay and Melanie walking in on us while I’m blowing you.”

“But you have no problem with the munchers walking in on me with a fucking boner? How nice of you,” Brian jested.

“I have a feeling it wouldn’t be the first time,” Justin replied, laughing.

************************

Showing up at Justin’s in the middle of the night wasted out of his mind hadn’t exactly been the best course of action Brian could have come up with to apologize. Therefore, when the brunet had proposed going to the parade, he hadn’t been sure how Justin was going to react, since the blond had been distant and tense ever since they had awakened.

Brian hadn’t had anything to lose by trying to make amends. He had apologized for being a drama queen, purposely ignoring his own discomfort. Justin must have sensed that it wasn’t common for him to admit he’d been wrong, because the blond had finally relaxed, the constant uneasiness Brian had felt between them thankfully vanishing.

Their trip to the parade was going better that Brian had expected. Justin seemed content, almost carefree. Brian had never seen him smile so much in the middle of a crowd, his happiness even more evident as the munchers joined them with Gus.

Brian realized he wanted Justin to meet Gus. The thought made him pause, but he wasn’t really that surprised. He was slowly accepting that Justin was different, and that there was no fighting it anymore.

However, it wasn’t quite that simple. Brian was an escort, and even though he had never hidden who he was from anyone, he wasn’t sure Justin really comprehended what it meant. If they ever decided to be together, whatever ‘together’ truly meant, Justin would have to share him with other men, men who paid him for his company. Besides, Brian doubted he would ever want to be exclusive. He didn’t know if Justin would accept that, if he would care enough not to freak out and leave. Because claiming you had feelings and actually accepting that your boyfriend, partner, or whatever, made a living by parading on the arms of countless men, even fucking them, were two entirely different things.

Whatever was going to happen between him and Justin, Brian wanted to make the most of it. He doubted that they would last, truthfully. Justin might have forgiven him for his shitty attitude, but how long could he stand Brian’s life? He was only nineteen, and his first relationship with a man was already becoming way too complicated. He deserved better than to be with an escort who wouldn’t give up his job because his son was sick. His tricking could also become an issue, since having sex was like breathing for Brian.

All those thoughts were swirling inside Brian’s head as they made their way back to the house with Gus. The brunet hated feeling so insecure, especially considering he wasn’t even sure what Justin wanted anymore.

Stop it, Brian chastised himself as they entered the kitchen after having settled Gus in his bed. He offered a glass of water to Justin and, not resisting temptation any longer, he positioned himself in front of the blond, trapping him. He loved witnessing Justin’s answer to his touch, his hypersensitivity. Justin’s body reacted to every brush, every graze.

Brian shut down his thoughts as he leaned in to kiss Justin. He needed to feel him, more than anything. His eyes closed, he reveled in the feeling of Justin’s tongue against his own and focused on the responsive body pushing against his.

He hadn’t planned to suck Justin off. But as he felt Justin’s cock pushing between his lips for the first time, he thought he would come from the sheer pleasure of the shaft slowly progressing into his mouth. The truth was he wanted this, not just for a night or a week, but for a long time.

Feeling Justin come in his mouth, hearing his cries of pleasure, aroused Brian. He wanted nothing more than to take Justin right there and then on the kitchen counter, the thought of entering him making his cock throb inside his pants. However, fucking Justin senseless would have to wait since the munchers were going to come home soon. He had to take a deep breath to control his raging hard-on, happy that Justin was still too high from his orgasm to notice how affected Brian really was. By the time Justin marveled at his technique, Brian could pretend he was alright.

As soon as the munchers returned home - Gus was still out like a light - Brian announced that they were leaving. Lindsay protested, but Brian was adamant about not keeping Justin in the lesbians’ presence a minute longer than necessary. Being discreet had never been a strong suit in Brian’s little ‘family’, and he preferred for them to gossip behind his back rather than subjecting Justin to their probing, knowing it would be worse than an inquisition.

“Where are we going?” Justin asked as soon as Brian had helped him into the Jeep.

“My loft,” Brian responded. “You owe me a blow job.”

Justin laughed. Brian smiled in response, and a moment later, he slowed the car down, stopping at a red light. His breath caught in his throat when Justin leaned closer, his hand grazing Brian’s thigh and moving confidently toward his denim-covered cock. “I don’t want to wait until we reach your place,” the blond drawled, giving Brian’s semi-erect dick a firm squeeze.

“You want to kill us?” Brian half-quipped, half-gasped. It wouldn’t be the first time someone had blown him in his car, but he had never indulged himself while driving before.

“Focus on the road,” Justin demanded mischievously, opening Brian’s pants.

When Justin’s mouth engulfed him, Brian’s complaints ceased, though he did maneuver the car down the first quiet side street he came across, stopping and turning off the ignition in front of a vacant lot. Leaning back in his seat, he closed his eyes, and let Justin’s talented tongue pleasure him, the blond’s shy touch more intimate than that of any of the other men Brian usually had sex with. Justin’s almost blindness made the experience even more intensely erotic. His lips, his tongue were probing tentatively but, most of all, they were making love to Brian. As a result, the brunet uncontrollably pushed his hips upward, pulling at Justin’s hair, nearly agonized by the slow, torturous pace of his mouth roaming up and down his shaft.

Within a couple of minutes, Brian was panting as Justin moaned around his cock. He felt the familiar tingling in his balls and stilled his hips, gasping, “Careful,” to warn Justin that he was about to shoot, and leaving the young man a choice. Gazing down, he groaned as Justin suddenly went down on him more forcibly, not releasing Brian from his mouth, while also brushing the brunet’s balls with his fingers. Brian threw his head back, arching his back and crying out loudly as he came copiously in Justin’s mouth.

It took Brian a while to regain full consciousness, his powerful orgasm having left him breathless. When he did, he peered down at Justin who was still worshipping his cock, peppering it with soft kisses while avoiding its sensitive head. The sight made him chuckle, and his heart skipped a beat as he observed Justin finally stop his ministrations, re-covering his now softened dick with that smile on his face.

Brian had never felt so connected to anyone before, and he knew, without a doubt, that he was lost. Justin made him feel so fucking much, probably too much.

But the truth was, he didn’t give a damn because it was the best feeling in the world.

 

Chapter Text

Sunday, 3:45 p.m., the loft…

“Home sweet home.” Brian announced, anchoring Justin’s hand around his arm after having shut the loft door. As he gazed at the blond’s face, he noticed the young man was trying to suppress a yawn. “You tired?”

Justin snorted. “I didn’t sleep much last night. I had an unexpected guest at three in the morning. Some people really need to improve their manners,” he declared with a straight face.

“Ahh. If I were you, I would have told them to fuck off,” Brian quipped as he headed toward the bedroom. “Careful. Three steps,” he cautioned when they arrived at the foot of the stairs.

Justin carefully followed Brian. “Luckily for you, I have manners,” he eventually responded.

Brian grinned at Justin’s repartee as he walked to the right side of the bed and stopped. “The man without manners wants you to rest now. You’re exhausted. And… luckily for you,” he deadpanned, “I have the best bed in all of Pennsylvania,”

Justin smiled. “Don’t tempt me,” he breathed out before raising his hand to Brian’s face. His fingers traveled across his skin to his neck, sending shivers down the brunet’s spine, the touch reflecting what the blond really wanted.

Securing Justin’s head by placing a hand at the back of his neck, Brian sighed as his mouth covered Justin’s, the blond’s lips immediately parting to allow his tongue in. Fuck, he would never get tired of kissing Justin, feeling those warm, plump lips pressing against his. He moaned in appreciation, his cock hardening in his pants. However, he knew if he didn’t stop this now, he would never be able to let Justin rest.

Reluctantly breaking the kiss, Brian placed his forehead against Justin’s and cupped his lover’s face. His eyes closed, he whispered, “You’re exhausted. We shouldn’t...”

“Do you have any idea how long I’ve waited for this?” Justin cut him off as he leaned back, his hands pulling on Brian’s shirt. Brian opened his eyes as Justin disclosed quietly, “I’ve constantly thought about having you inside me for the past month. I don’t want to wait any longer.”

Brian felt the last of his resistance vanish, and he grabbed Justin to bring their lips together again. Only this time, he didn’t hold back.

They both fell on the bed, thirsty for each other’s skin. Clothes were hastily pulled off, landing negligently on the floor. For once, Brian didn’t care about his clothing. All he wanted was Justin. It was insane how much he yearned to be inside him.

Brian finally covered Justin’s naked body with his own, abandoning himself to the overwhelming, feverish sensations flooding him. Relishing the incomparable feeling of skin on skin, he kissed Justin again and again, needing to hear him moan, to make him his, desperate to elicit cries of pleasure. Not wasting any time, he grabbed the lube from the nightstand and squeezed some onto his fingers, rubbing the liquid between them to warm it up. He nudged the blond’s knee so he would spread his legs and, within a few seconds, he was teasing Justin’s entrance, feeling his hole opening under his touch. Brian groaned, enthralled by the responsiveness of his lover.

Justin’s lips were parted, his head thrown back as he began to push against Brian’s fingers, wanting them inside him. Brian didn’t respond to his silent plea, but he knelt over Justin’s body to claim his lips, his hand moving to his lover’s balls and unmercifully teasing them. Justin’s muffled cries echoed against his lips.

“Brian,” Justin murmured as he broke their kiss. “Please…”

“Please what?” Brian inquired, leaning back, enraptured by the look on Justin’s face.

“Take me, suck me, fuck me. Just do something. Anything,” Justin half-demanded, half-groaned, Brian immediately shifting to lie next to the blond. Supporting himself on his elbow, he pushed one digit inside Justin. The blond pushed back, sighing in delight, begging for more. Brian complied and, adding a second finger, started to slide them in and out smoothly, his eyes feasting on the blond’s blissful expression.

The brunet felt a sudden, unexpected rush of delight as he stared at his lover’s face, and he had to close his eyes to stop himself from just lifting Justin’s legs and pushing inside. “I want to fuck you so much,” he whispered, lowering his head to Justin’s ear, breathing heavily.

It was nothing like their first time together. That night, Brian had been so focused on Justin that he had refused to let himself go. Their coupling had been phenomenal nonetheless, but his current feelings nearly overpowered him. Brian suspected Justin’s absence from his life for the past few weeks was amplifying his desire, making this moment even more special.

“Brian…” Justin called out.

Brian let out a sigh and, as he understood the blond was ready, he grabbed a condom from the nightstand, and quickly put it on his dick before applying some lube.

“Hurry,” Justin tried to rush him as Brian placed both Justin’s ankles on his shoulders, before lining his cock up with the blond’s hole.

He was so fucking turned on by Justin’s obvious desire for him. Pausing to look at him, Brian felt something swell inside his chest, something he couldn’t explain.

“Do it,” Justin encouraged and Brian obliged, his face turning into a mask of pure pleasure as he felt the tip of his dick slowly entering Justin’s ass. As his shaft progressed, Justin tensed, making Brian stop immediately. “Don’t you dare,” Justin warned quietly as he felt his lover’s hesitation, placing his hands on the small of Brian’s back to encourage the man to resume his progress.

“Ahh, fuck!” Brian groaned in ecstasy, lowering his head as he felt the most wonderful, incredible heat surround his cock. Unable to control himself as arousal shot through him, he plunged in with a lustful gasp, the sound of his balls slapping against Justin’s skin echoing in the loft.

“God!” Justin shouted, making Brian instantly freeze. He would not forgive himself if he hurt Justin because of his impatience.

“Alright?” Brian breathed out in concern in Justin’s ear.

“Yeah…” Justin reassured him, caressing Brian’s back for a brief moment, before moving his hand along the brunet’s spine to his neck, guiding him down for a kiss.

As Brian’s lips captured Justin’s, he felt the tight grip on his cock slowly relaxing. He kissed his lover some more and caressed his hair, savoring the warmth of Justin’s mouth. Eventually, the blond tilted his hips, encouraging him to resume his thrusts. Brian leaned back, searching for any sign of discomfort on the blond’s face. When he saw none, he entwined his fingers with Justin’s, before slowly retreating and then pushing back in, his eyes never leaving his lover’s. He did it again, more forcibly this time, evoking a gasp from the blond. The sound caused a new rush of pleasure to ripple through Brian’s body, and he leaned in to claim Justin’s lips. Their smothered moans reverberated in each other’s mouths, causing a burning need to consume Brian, who began to rock in and out with renewed purpose.

“Fuck me,” Justin pleaded as he broke off their kiss. “Fuck me!” he repeated emphatically. Bending his lover’s legs so that he could penetrate deeper, Brian pulled back before slamming in effortlessly. He let go of all restraint, making beautiful moans spill out of Justin as, between hungry kisses and powerful thrusts, he licked and bit at that expanse of irresistible flesh.

Soon, both their bodies were coated with sweat. Brian slowed down his pace, wanting their coupling to last as long as possible, although he knew they couldn’t refrain from falling over the edge for much longer. Justin’s patience vanished pretty quickly, however, and he slammed his hips against Brian’s to spur the brunet to fuck him harder. Brian obliged, beginning to pound Justin’s ass again, sliding in and out, over and over, as he felt the tight channel milk his cock deliciously.

He suddenly released Justin’s legs and rolled them over. The sudden movement pulled Brian out of Justin, but the blond immediately positioned himself on top of the brunet’s cock and slid it back in. Adjusting to the new position with ease, he proceeded to drive Brian crazy with lust, moving up and down his shaft while squeezing it delightfully. Brian couldn’t look away from the perfect image of Justin wantonly fucking himself on his cock, while sporting a elated expression on his face. He eventually closed his eyes as he pushed his hips upward, matching Justin’s rhythm and feeling Justin tighten around him with each one of his thrusts. Raising one hand, he caressed Justin’s chest, flicking his nipples, and he cried out loudly as Justin’s channel constricted around his shaft more forcibly in response. He felt himself expand and swell inside his lover, while he aimed his thrusts at the blond’s prostate.

“Ohh… ohhhhh!” Justin screamed as he grabbed his lover’s hand. Brian opened his eyes and gasped as he witnessed Justin losing it, the blond’s hand covering his own and stroking rapidly up and down his shaft. The brunet’s thrusts became more erratic as he felt the first drops of Justin’s warm come spurting all over his skin. Hearing the bliss in Justin’s voice, he stared, mesmerized, at his lover’s face as he climaxed. His expression and the feeling of Justin spilling in his hand as the blond’s channel squeezed and milked his cock, made the brunet pass the point of no return. He froze deep inside Justin, crying out uncontrollably, the ultimate pleasure only the best orgasms could provide causing endless surges of come to erupt from his very core, almost overflowing the condom.

Brian collapsed then, with Justin in his arms. In truth, he probably passed out. He didn’t remember ever coming so hard in his entire life. Neither of them moved. They couldn’t move, their coupling having completely drained them.

Brian regained awareness, realizing his nose was buried in soft, blond hair. Justin had passed out and was sleeping plastered to the brunet’s body. Brian frowned as he felt something wet at his groin and he realized he hadn’t pulled out of Justin after his orgasm, his soft dick having partially slipped out nonetheless. He took hold of the condom very carefully, smiling as he felt more than heard Justin groan in protest against his shoulder.

Careful not to wake his lover, Brian disentangled himself from his embrace and slowly sat on the edge of the bed, tying off the condom and tossing it into the nearby trashcan. Once he had checked that the blond was indeed lost in a deep slumber, he stood up and walked to the bathroom, naked. He turned on the shower and stepped inside, letting the warm flow massage his shoulders, supporting himself with his hands on the tile. He then shut out thoughts of everything but the man sleeping in his bed.

He wasn’t sure exactly what the fuck it all meant, what Justin really meant to him. Why did he feel so connected to him? Why him? It didn’t make any sense.

Brian knew he was in love. For the first time in his life, he felt like he understood all those pathetic queers he had accused of turning into hetero wannabes. Love had always been a foreign, ridiculous concept for him, convinced he would never experience it. And yet, here he was. Pathetically in love.

All Brian had believed in until he’d met Justin was fucking. Sex couldn’t lie. When Brian desired someone, he just gave the man a look conveying exactly what he wanted. He didn’t try to be gentle, never asked for names. The men hanging out at Woody’s, at Babylon, the ones responding to a single flirtatious gaze, didn’t want a relationship. They wanted to get laid. It was perhaps inconceivable for people who couldn’t separate emotions from sex, but for those who could, it was the most honest thing on this fucking planet.

Sex. Personal satisfaction. Since his teens, it had always been Brian’s world. Love, on the other hand, was something he knew nothing about, for good reason. Until Justin, he had been convinced that was the biggest sham human beings had ever imagined.

As an escort, Brian responded to desire. Men wanted to feel good without worrying about their partner’s feelings. It was as simple as that. Brian was a body, nothing more, nothing less, most of the time anyway. There were always idealistic guys who fell in love with their escort. Matthew, for instance, cared too much. A couple of clients had fallen in love with his body, his attitude, and his good looks. Once Brian had fucked them, they’d fervently thought it was their duty to save him. They had proposed helping him out of this horrific business, mistaking him for a victim. Only, Brian wasn’t a victim. He had chosen to become an escort. He had accepted that his body could secure the income he needed. And he had made peace with his decision, mostly. Moreover, even though he didn’t have sex with a lot of clients, he still was hired as a sexual conquest.

In the end, it was always about sex.

Sex had defined his life until now, either as an ad man trying to reach the top, or as an escort offering sexual favors to earn a living. But all of a sudden, everything he believed in was challenged for a single reason.

He had fallen in love.

Brian felt like a newborn regarding his emotions. That’s probably why he didn’t trust himself not to fuck it up with Justin. Talking about how he felt wasn’t an option, since he wouldn’t have a clue as to what he was supposed to say.

However, there was one thing about love that he would never have anticipated. He didn’t feel trapped or smothered. He didn’t feel like he was being forced to turn into a stupid, straight caricature of himself to prove his feelings.

He felt truly happy, and as he stood there under the cascading water, he laughed at his former self for being so clueless.

************************

Justin opened his eyes. Feeling the softness of the sheets covering him, he remembered what had occurred earlier that day. To say that his plan to take things slow hadn’t really worked would be an understatement, especially considering he was the one who had pursued Brian. Truthfully, the brunet touching him all the time to guide him could only have resulted in them falling into bed. But more than that, ever since this morning, Brian had been even more gentle than usual, demonstrating he genuinely wanted to move past their falling out.

That’s why Justin had caved in, and remembering the connection he’d felt with Brian brought a smile to his face.

He rolled onto his back, sighing contentedly while stretching his arms. Listening attentively, he realized he couldn’t hear anything except for pouring rain hitting the windows. From the intensity of the rain’s echo, Justin surmised Brian’s place was surrounded by large panes of glass.

“You’re awake?” Brian’s voice brought him back from his reverie. Justin had been so focused on the storm that he had failed to hear Brian moving closer.

Justin nodded, questioning, “What time is it?”

“Eight,” Brian responded as he sat on the bed, the mattress dipping. “You crashed for two hours solid.”

“Your bed is heavenly,” Justin groaned, stretching again. “Besides, I was really relaxed when I fell asleep.”

“I fucked you so hard you passed out,” Brian countered, amused.

“Oh, shut up!” Justin groused playfully, raising his hand in Brian’s direction to push the man away. Brian grabbed his wrist and crawled over to Justin. Lying down next to the blond, he placed the palm of his hand on his lover’s face before covering his lips with his own. Justin moaned happily at the touch and let Brian deepen the kiss momentarily, before pulling back.

“What?” Brian questioned, sensing Justin’s hesitation.

“I…” Justin whispered, feeling his lungs seizing. He knew he needed to talk to Brian about his fear of being rejected, or he wouldn’t find the courage to do so later on. But no matter how much he wanted to speak, the words wouldn’t come out.

Brian leaned back then, allowing Justin to straighten up and sit at a safe distance from his naked body.

“I’m not sure,” Justin began, rubbing his neck. “I mean, it’s going to sound…”

“Justin,” Brian cut him off. Justin heard the hint to just spit it out, and sighed, knowing it was now or never.

“I’m in love with you,” Justin revealed quietly. He figured that cutting right to the point was the best course of action. If Brian couldn’t deal with that truth, there was no point in them continuing to see each other in the future. “And I know I’m only nineteen and that you’re an escort twelve years my senior, which means the odds are clearly against us lasting. But fuck it, Brian. It doesn’t make this any less real,” he proclaimed, gesturing with his hand between Brian and himself.

Brian didn’t respond. Justin hated not being able to see his eyes, to understand what might be going on in his lover’s head. For all he knew, Brian would tell him to fuck off. It wasn’t like he didn’t have enough to deal with in his day-to-day life, without the hassle of dealing with someone who claimed that he was hopelessly in love.

“Say something,” Justin urged when the silence had dragged on for too long, causing his anxiety to increase.

Brian cleared his throat. Justin felt him scooting closer. “I’m an escort,” was all he finally said.

“I’m aware,” Justin asserted, raising his hand to touch Brian's shoulder, before slowly letting his fingers roam across his arm. He wasn't sure what the brunet was getting at, so he preferred to wait for him to open up, without pressuring him.

Brian didn't elaborate for a while, but he finally snorted and inquired dryly, “You’re ready to live with it? To accept what it means?”

Justin frowned as he dropped his hand. Did Brian doubt him? “Of course,” he responded confidently.

Brian chuckled sardonically. “So, you’re okay with me escorting clients? With tricks? With men touching me? Me touching them? Making them come?” Brian insisted, almost as if he wanted to make Justin run away from him.

Justin’s chest tightened.

“Because this is reality, Justin. I’m an escort. Sex is my livelihood,” Brian stated wryly. “And feelings… complicate everything.”

“What are you saying?” Justin demanded, wondering if Brian’s intention was to push him away.

“What I’m saying is, you’re only nineteen. You can’t possibly know what you're getting into by… wanting to be with me,” Brian declared in a low voice.

Fuck. This was not the way Justin had imagined the conversation would go. He couldn’t restrain himself and lashed out, “And so what? You’re not going to let me love you, just because you think I can’t handle your life? What? You think I’m going to wake up one day and realize I want out?” The blond questioned, scooting back on the bed.

“I believe you think it won’t happen,” Brian argued as Justin decided that he needed to get up from the bed, wrapping the sheet around his waist as he did so. “But you can’t know how you will feel if I let you in.”

“If you let me in...” Justin echoed, his back to Brian.

“Justin,” Brian called his name, prompting the blond to turn around. “I’ve never been… I’ve never been involved with anyone. Ever.”

“You’ve never been in a relationship?” Justin inquired, stunned. He’d thought that a man in his thirties would have already experienced a few relationships.

“No,” Brian replied. Justin heard his lover stand up from the bed and walk around until he was next to him.

“Okay. I get it. You’re scared, and that’s something I can understand. But when I want something, I’ve never given up, ever. And I don’t plan to start today.” Justin stated as he grabbed Brian’s hand and squeezed it briefly before letting go. “Now, the real question is, do you want to let me in?” he whispered, afraid Brian would not give him the answer he hoped for.

Brian stayed silent. He placed his hands on Justin’s shoulders, forcing the blond to face him. He then leaned in and captured his lips.

Justin didn’t react immediately, caught off guard by Brian’s gesture. The more time he spent with the man, the more he realized that Brian had a hard time talking about his feelings. He briefly questioned the reasons for that, wondering what his childhood had been like. Moreover, Justin knew becoming an escort had changed him, and it was obvious Brian was still coming to terms with that life-altering choice. Justin deduced he hadn’t been an escort for long, since Gus wasn’t even two years old yet.

He let Brian take charge, feeling his tongue slip into his mouth as the kiss deepened. Brian moaned, one hand cupping his cheek as he pulled Justin to his body. When Justin felt Brian hardening against him, he broke the kiss, sensing his lover’s inquiring gaze.

“Is that a yes?” Justin asked, referring to his last question.

Brian leaned his forehead against his own, breathing out a quiet, “Yes,” before claiming his lips again.

************************

Tuesday afternoon, Vision Clinic...

“You didn’t have to come with me,” Justin repeated for the third time that day, as he sat in the passenger seat of Brian’s Jeep while the brunet navigated the clinic’s parking lot and finally halted the car.

“I wanted to,” Brian responded curtly as he killed the ignition and unlocked his seatbelt.

“Why? Because you want to see John?” Justin mocked.

Brian rolled his eyes and got out of the car, walking around the front of the vehicle. Opening the door to help Justin out, he guided him, stating firmly, “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. Deal with it and shut up.”

Justin had told Brian about his appointment at the clinic on Monday morning. He’d spent Sunday night at the loft, both men losing count of how many times they’d had sex before falling asleep at two a.m. When Justin had revealed during breakfast that he was supposed to go to the clinic the next day to receive his test results and the prognosis, Brian had informed him that he was driving him and staying, without giving him any choice in the matter.

Truthfully, Brian was nervous. He knew how important this meeting was, and he wanted to be there to console Justin if the results weren’t the ones he was hoping for. Brian was supposed to meet with a client Tuesday night, but he’d call in sick if necessary.

He’d picked Justin up half an hour ago, and the young man had understandably been on edge. The blond had told his lover not to bother accompanying him, but Brian had known he hadn’t really meant it. Justin had kept rubbing the palms of his hands on his legs during the entire ride, complaining about his sunglasses, even purposely trying to irritate Brian by criticizing John.

As they stood next to the Jeep, Justin sighed frustratedly, his posture betraying his anxiety. Brian therefore decided to ignore any further remarks from the blond, linking their arms together to indicate they were about to move.

He had never seen John’s office before, and he couldn’t help but be curious about observing the man in his professional environment. He hoped that his presence wouldn’t make the ophthalmologist uneasy, considering their ‘relationship’, but he didn’t really care if it had that effect. He was there for Justin.

When the nurse came to the waiting room to lead them to John’s office, Brian took Justin’s hand in his, squeezing it in support. “Ready?” he asked gently as he studied Justin’s face.

Justin took a deep breath, gazing down at the floor. He finally responded, “I’m as ready as I will ever be.” He then raised his head, trying to appear more confident than he undoubtedly felt. “Let’s do this.”

As they stood up from their chairs, Brian felt his heart beating faster in anticipation.


Chapter Text

Tuesday afternoon, Vision clinic, John Lewis’ office…

The first thing Brian noticed as he walked into John’s office was the bewildered look on his client’s face. Brian raised an eyebrow, daring the ophthalmologist to question the reason for his presence, before greeting him in a strong, firm voice and extending his hand.

“Brian,” John gave him a slight nod as they shook hands, then directed his gaze toward Justin. “Mr. Taylor.”

Justin barely responded to John’s greeting. He was so nervous that Brian was almost surprised the blond hadn’t snapped at him for addressing the doctor in a friendly manner.

“Have a seat,” John invited, indicating the two chairs in front of his desk. “I’m sure you’re eager to have your results.”

“I am,” Justin confirmed as he sat with Brian’s help, the brunet taking the seat next to him. Brian felt a rush of adrenaline coursing through him as they waited for John to speak. The suspense was nerve-wracking.

“Well,” John cleared his throat, perching the glasses hanging from a chain on his nose and giving Brian and Justin a brief glance. He opened the file on his desk and focused, leafing through a couple of pages. He finally took off his glasses, announcing, “Your eyes have suffered a lot, Mr. Taylor, especially the left one. The blood pressure has caused some pretty serious damage to your cornea, and the surgery will therefore be more difficult to perform.”

Brian felt his anxiety increase. “What does that mean?” he inquired, not liking what he was hearing, although John had yet to say that a medical intervention wouldn’t succeed.

“It means,” John began, peering at Justin, “that I can try to restore your sight, especially in your right eye. But that there is no guarantee that it will work.”

“But there is a chance, right?” Justin questioned.

“Yes. Or, I wouldn’t even try, considering you’re a pro bono case, which means I have to report to the board,” John assured him. “To be honest, I wouldn’t operate on a man older than sixty. You’re young, though, so it’s worth a shot.”

“You’re not really optimistic, are you?” Justin asked softly. Brian could feel the blond was trying to be strong, but that the news of a possible failure was hard to take.

“I’ve seen things in my career, Justin. Miracles, really.” John stated, Brian noticing that he was now addressing the blond by his first name. “So, do I think that the surgery will fail? Not necessarily. But I won’t lie to you either. Your current condition could be permanent.”

Brian directed his gaze at Justin, who was nodding absently, no doubt trying to process everything. “What are the odds?” the brunet inquired quietly.

John breathed deeply. “Hard to tell. I’d say 50/50 for your right eye, and maybe… 20/80 for your left one,” he volunteered. Noticing that Justin flinched slightly, he hastily specified, “I know this is not necessarily what you wanted to hear, Justin, but there is a chance it will work.”

“If I had come to see you sooner…” Justin’s voice trailed off as Brian slipped his fingers through his lover’s in support, placing their joined hands on the the blond’s lap.

John surmised what the young man meant. “It would have increased your chances, it’s true. But it doesn’t mean the surgery can’t succeed now. Or that it would have been a success then for that matter.”

“He’s right,” Brian breathed out, squeezing Justin’s hand. “And if your sight doesn’t improve much in the future, it will suck, but we will deal with it.”

Justin frowned as he heard Brian’s profession. The brunet realized he had used the word ‘we’, like he already knew he wasn’t going anywhere. Justin might feel down right now, afraid that his chance of seeing again had already passed, but Brian wanted to show his full support, to help Justin anticipate what his future might hold if his condition didn’t improve. Truthfully, he couldn’t imagine walking away, not as long as Justin allowed him to stay.

Justin disentangled his fingers from Brian’s, placing his hand on top of the brunet’s and caressing it softly. He then gazed up with a new resolve. “Tell me more about the surgery,” he demanded resolutely.

John answered, “We will operate on one eye at a time, beginning with your right eye. The first surgery must be scheduled quickly, in the next couple of weeks. You will first have to meet with the anesthesiologist and also with the pre-op team - a psychologist, a nurse, and myself - so that we can explain the surgical procedure to you as well as making post-op recommendations. We will also answer all your questions, of course. I strongly recommend that someone accompany you to that meeting.”

“I’ll be there,” Brian immediately announced.

“Brian, you don’t have…” Justin instantly countered.

“Don’t even think of dissuading me,” Brian replied sharply. Addressing John without allowing Justin any time to react, he asked, “How many days will he be hospitalized?”

“A couple of days at the most,” John answered. “I was thinking about scheduling your first surgery on Tuesday, the 2nd of July, with the pre-op meeting sometime next week. The second surgery needs to take place rather quickly, too. Probably a couple of weeks later.”

“So fast?” Justin questioned.

“Yes. The faster we operate, the better your chances will be, since your corneal blood staining could still deteriorate. But you do need some recovery time between the two surgeries, and we can’t operate on both eyes at once.”

“Okay. That makes sense,” Justin commented as he kept moving his thumb across Brian’s knuckles.

“I’m referring you to my assistant to schedule the pre-op appointment for next week. In the meantime, try not to stress about it too much, but don’t hesitate to write down any questions you may have, no matter how stupid they seem to you,” John encouraged.

Justin nodded in response as Brian waited for his reaction. He was trying to gauge his mood, but the young man’s expression was indecipherable.

“Brian…” John caught his attention. “Justin will need to be surrounded by his friends, his family. Whatever the outcome.”

“We got it, John,” Brian dryly acknowledged as he kept staring at his lover. “You ready to go?” he questioned, hoping Justin would finally snap out of his trance.

“Sure,” Justin responded as he got up from his chair, his poker face firmly in place. “Thank you,” he addressed the doctor before extending his hand for him to shake.

Both men bid their goodbyes to John and walked out of the office to the front desk. With the receptionist, they scheduled a pre-op appointment for the following Tuesday. A few minutes later, they exited the clinic, heading for Brian’s Jeep.

The brunet suddenly halted, forcing Justin to pause. “You’re alright?” he demanded, his brow furrowing.

Justin sighed. “I’m fine, Brian,” he responded. “It’s just... I was hoping for a different outcome.”

“You heard him. There’s a possibility you’ll get your sight back,” Brian tried to reassure the blond, although he knew it was pointless.

“I know,” Justin pinched the bridge of his nose. “You don’t need to remind me. I was there.”

“You’ve hardly said a word since John told you the prognosis.” Brian pointed out defensively.

“What do you want me to say?” Justin retorted curtly. “It’s not like I have a fucking choice but to wait and see what happens.”

“I know, but-”

“Can we go?” Justin cut him off.

Brian stared at Justin. The blond was closing off, but Brian couldn’t really blame him. He would be terrified if he were in Justin’s shoes. He therefore decided not only to give him some space but, more importantly, something else to focus on. “I’m horny,” he declared boldly as he neared his lover. He was relieved to notice a slight grin on Justin’s lips as he took him into his arms.

“You’re always horny,” Justin countered, accepting Brian’s hug.

“True,” Brian agreed. He pulled back and cupped Justin’s face, running his thumb across his cheekbone. He then leaned in, covering Justin’s lips. The kiss was brief but impassioned. “Now, I need to get you home,” Brian announced. “I have a client in…” he checked his watch, “a little less than two hours.”

Justin placed his forehead against Brian’s chin. “Don’t remind me,” he breathed out.

“Hey,” Brian gripped his chin strongly, forcing Justin to gaze up. He couldn’t see his eyes behind the glasses, but he needed to look at his face.

“What?” Justin inquired, feigning not to understand what his lover was getting at.

“Don’t play the jealous boyfriend. It doesn’t suit you,” Brian remonstrated.

“When will I see you?” Justin chose to ignore Brian’s remark as his hands roamed up and down Brian’s arms.

Brian cleared his throat, before proposing, “Thursday night? We could go out. I’m staying with Gus tomorrow and will be working all weekend, but I’m free on Thursday,” he reluctantly revealed. He was dreading Justin’s reaction, but it wasn’t like he had a fucking choice to begin with.

Justin didn’t react, except to mumble, “Thursday night is good.”

Brian nodded, even though Justin couldn’t see him. He urged, “Come on,” before leading the blond to his car, choosing not to voice his fear that Justin wouldn’t be able to handle him being an escort for long. For now, though, it was unimportant - considering the blond’s surgery was imminent. Brian needed to be there for Justin, and letting his life get in the way wasn’t something he would allow.

************************

For the next couple of days, Justin tried to keep the pessimistic thoughts at bay as much as he could. He didn’t want to think about the surgeries not succeeding, or about Brian escorting other men. If he allowed himself to venture down such dangerous paths, he feared that he would lose it, even though that wouldn’t resolve anything. Therefore, every time Justin felt that surging fear - the one reflecting those unwanted feelings - trying to take over, he forced himself to breathe slowly. In and out, he inhaled and exhaled, focusing on the sound of his breathing and blocking out everything else. It was actually one of the good things he’d taken away from the therapy after the bashing. He had learned some effective techniques for coping with overwhelming fear. And it worked, most of the time anyway.

Brian had been incredible ever since they had reconnected a few days ago, and Justin couldn’t have been happier with their reunion. The day they had spent together - with them going to the parade and meeting Gus - had been like a dream come true, reinforcing the blond’s conviction that falling in love was the most beautiful thing that had ever happened to him.

Except, after the high, reality had settled back in with a bang. First, with Brian reminding him that he was now involved with someone whose job was to decorate the arms of other men. Then, with Dr. Lewis crushing his illusion that he would indubitably have the happy ending he craved.

Reality really sucked sometimes.

By Thursday, Justin felt restless. He’d spent the last two days mainly alone with his thoughts, except when Daphne was there. His friend had grilled him endlessly after coming back home on Tuesday, having immediately noticed his weird mood. Weird was really the best word, since Justin felt like he wanted to scream his joy at being in a ‘relationship’ with Brian one second, and to wallow in misery the next. Too many feelings fucked up his brain.

Now, he was standing next to his bed, his back to the door, dressed only in his underwear and trying to decide what to wear since Brian was supposed to pick him up soon. They had talked the day before while the brunet was at his son’s house. Justin had listened as Gus had alternately babbled incomprehensible words over the phone and squealed in delight - his father apparently tickling him, making the blond smile like a fool. Hearing a child laugh definitely was one of the most gratifying things in this world.

Deciding to don a pair of dark blue jeans and a camel-colored shirt, Justin picked them up from the bed. The doorbell rang, and he smiled when he heard Daphne greeting Brian a few seconds later.

Quickly slipping into his pants, Justin felt a shiver run up his spine as Brian walked into the room, the movement of the door causing air to graze his naked skin. Then, the brunet’s breath softly tickled his bare shoulder.

“Good evening,” Brian drawled seductively, burrowing his nose deeper into the blond’s neck.

“Hey,” Justin responded, shivering at Brian’s touch. The man’s hands were now roaming across the blond’s arms.

“Miss me?” Brian inquired knowingly, earning a chuckle from Justin.

The blond turned around, raising his arms to embrace Brian. “Yeah…” he answered quietly, a hint of arousal tinging his voice.

Brian leaned closer to cover his mouth, and Justin’s legs turned to jello within moments. Brian’s kisses were the most addictive thing about the man. And his body. His skin. His dick. His-

“Justin,” Brian’s voice recalled him from his thoughts. Justin blinked. “We’re supposed to go out, remember?” the brunet asked, amused.

“We are?” Justin questioned, although he already knew that. Moreover, as much as he wanted Brian right now, he would prefer to fuck at the loft, where he needn’t fear that his inquisitive best friend would listen at his bedroom door. “I guess I’d better get dressed then.”

“Hmm…” Brian sort of agreed, before kissing Justin again, grabbing his lover’s waistband and making it difficult for the blond to pull his shirt on.

“Brian,” Justin chastised with a laugh before pushing him away. “Let me pull this on. And then I’ll be all yours.”

“I like the sound of that,” Brian murmured, Justin hearing the smile in his voice. The brunet pulled him back into his arms as soon as he had succeeded in donning his shirt. Their mouths met again, Justin feeling Brian’s lips turn upward against his own. “Fuck,” Brian breathed out hoarsely. “You have the most perfect lips, I swear...” As soon as the words had escaped Brian, Justin felt him smirk against his mouth.

The blond rested his forehead on his lover’s, responding playfully, “They were meant to suck your cock, I agree.”

Brian snorted, obviously pleased with Justin’s reply. “Don’t tempt me, or we will never make it to Woody’s.”

“Woody’s?” Justin asked. “That’s a bar on Liberty Avenue, right?”

“Yes. We’re meeting my friends,” Brian revealed nonchalantly, although Justin immediately realized that it was a big deal. If Brian had decided to officially introduce him to his closest friends - the time at Babylon having been unintentional - it meant he was dead serious about this, about them.

It made Justin want to jump up and down while singing ‘Like a Virgin’ at the top of his lungs to share his utter delight. He opted to render his feelings in a more subtle way, simply nodding instead, refusing to let his happiness reflect on his face. “Okay.”

“Justin,” Brian challenged, leaning back.

“Hmm?” Justin acknowledged, still pretending to be unaffected.

Brian gripped his chin. Justin felt the brunet staring at him intensely before declaring in a serious tone, “You’re… glowing.”

“I’m not glowing!” Justin protested, but he couldn’t keep from smiling. Widely.

“You are,” Brian responded teasingly, “I’m banging Tinkerbell.”

“Hey!” Justin playfully punched Brian on his arm. “I’m not a fairy!”

“Oh, but you are,” Brian replied, chuckling genuinely. “Come on, Sunshine,” he pushed, guiding Justin toward the door, “you don’t want to be late for your trial.”

“My what?” Justin echoed as he halted, preventing Brian from walking him out of his bedroom.

“You honestly don’t think that you can get away unscathed with dating a man like me,” Brian quipped, even though Justin wondered if his observation was really a joke. Brian’s friends had been quite intrusive the last time he had met them at the diner, and he therefore wasn’t surprised when Brian specified, “You showing up with me will undoubtedly lead to your cross-examination. Michael will question your motives; Ted will counter Mikey’s arguments by marvelling that you’re Superman since you’ve managed what no man has done before; and Emmett will focus on your best assets very, very closely.”

Justin pressed his lips together firmly to stop himself from grinning. “Superman? You mean, I’m Clark Kent and you’re Lois Lane?”

Justin sensed Brian glaring at him and laughed before following the man out the door.

************************

8 p.m…

As Brian helped Justin up the stairs leading to the front door of Woody’s, he felt a rush of anxiety overwhelm him. He wanted his lover to meet his friends, for them to understand the blond was special to him, but he was also scared. Never had he introduced a man to the gang, and he suspected they would not take it easy on him, not after all the times he had mocked the ludicrous notion of being in love. Brian knew he had to be careful and not let his ‘heterophobic’ side take over. Justin didn’t need him to freak out, not when the blond was already dealing with his own demons in regard to his sight.

The buzz in the lively place assaulted his ears as soon as he opened the door. He felt Justin pause by his side. Peering at the blond, Brian noticed he was listening to the loud chatter, music, and laughter resonating around them.

“Follow me,” he demanded as he squeezed Justin’s hand. His friends were already there, sitting near the pool tables.

“Brian!” Michael’s voice greeted him as the dark-haired man stood up from his chair and came to give him a hug. “We’re glad you could make it!” Mikey enthused, before acknowledging the blond’s presence, “Justin.”

“Hello, ladies!” Emmett exclaimed from his seat with a salute, while Ted greeted Brian and Justin with a nod.

Brian stared at Ted sharply. “Of course,” Ted mumbled, realizing that Justin couldn’t see him. “Hey there!” he volunteered cheerfully.

“Hi guys,” Justin responded.

“Where is your ball and chain, Mikey?” Brian inquired, noticing the professor was nowhere to be seen.

“He had a conference tonight,” Michael answered as he sat back.

“Come on! You’re not going to force this hot little number to stand all evening, are you?” Emmett quipped as he got up and walked to Justin. Placing his hands on the blond’s shoulders, he guided him to a vacant seat. “Please, sit your precious bubble butt down on this chair, Darling,” the flamboyant queen requested.

Before he could push Justin down, Brian snatched Emmett’s hands from the blond’s shoulders. “Don’t touch him,” he dryly said. “I don’t want Justin to be traumatized so soon.”

“What are you insinuating?” Emmett feigned outrage. “I will have you know that your little angel couldn’t meet a better host than me for an unforgettable evening.”

Brian rolled his eyes at Emmett’s reply while Justin laughed softly. Noticing Emmett wanted Justin to sit between himself and Ted, while Brian would have no choice but to sit next to Michael on the other side of the table, the brunet let out a heavy sigh. Why had he ever befriended these three nitwits?

“Theodore?” Brian called, leaning over the table and snapping his fingers in the accountant’s face.

“Yes, Bri?” Ted responded with a frown.

“Two beers,” Brian ordered, as he walked Justin toward the pool table behind them. If his purported pals wanted to fuck with him, he would fuck with them, too.

“Huh?” Ted eloquently responded.

“Shoo,” Brian waved him away with a smirk, before leaning in to capture Justin’s lips and giving the patrons a little show. He soon understood it had been the best idea he could have come up with, since Justin relaxed in his arms, and he lost himself in Justin’s scent, his tongue, his lips. Fuck, those lips. They were fucking perfect - warm, sensual, plump, and… he needed to stop, or he would fuck Justin right there and then. Although, he had a feeling most of the customers wouldn’t mind being privy to a fucking session on the pool table, but alas, even Brian Kinney had more manners than that.

What a shame.

When he pulled back, Justin sported a dreamy expression on his face. Satisfied, Brian turned to look at Ted, who was still sitting in his chair and staring at them. Brian glared at the man. “We’re thirsty, Theodore. Could you please shut your mouth and move your flat ass from this chair?”

“Sure!” Ted exclaimed, as he realized he had been openly staring.

Brian guided Justin back to the chair before plopping down where Ted had been sitting a few seconds earlier. When he noticed the look Michael was giving him, he raised one eyebrow, daring his best friend to make a comment about him kissing Justin on purpose. He was satisfied when Michael gave up and glanced away.

“So, Justin, the two of you…” Emmett speculated, “when did this happen? I mean, I knew the last time we saw you that there was definitely something more going on, but it seems like you have taken it to the next level, right?” He then peered over at Brian.

“Uh,” Justin smiled slightly, but Brian sensed that he wasn’t comfortable answering the question.

“Honeycutt,” Brian intervened, giving his friend a fake smile. “Fuck off.”

“Don’t be rude. What kind of queen would I be if I didn't ask for exclusive information from Brian Kinney’s very first boyfriend?”

“You’d be a decent one, for a change. Believe me, you should try it sometime,” Brian growled.

“But I’m a more than decent guy, Kinney. In fact, some would say that I’m nothing but fab,” Emmett countered with a playful gesture of his hand, batting his eyes as Ted came back to the table with Brian and Justin’s beers.

“Here, that’s for you,” Ted handed Brian his drink and placed the second one in front of Justin. Brian was grateful for the interruption.

“Justin,” he grabbed the blond’s hand and placed it around the bottom of his beer. “Your drink.”

“Thanks,” Justin picked it up and took a sip.

Brian also focused on his beer but when he glanced at his friends, they were all looking at him. “What?” he barked, nonchalantly placing his arm along the back of Justin’s chair.

“I was wondering…” Ted began and Brian inwardly cringed. Ted thinking was always a very bad sign. “How does it feel? Being involved with an escort? It must be… exciting! But also… well, you know...” he stammered, peering at Justin.

Jesus Fucking Christ. With friends like these, Brian didn’t need enemies. Although, he was pretty sure Ted jerked off to the fantasy of meeting a sex worker - a handsome, well-hung prostitute who would fulfill his every dirty dream. They would fall desperately in love, and Ted would offer his soulmate a home in his boring apartment, promising to take care of the Adonis forever, and worship his cock until the end of time. Gah.

“What do you mean?” Justin answered Ted’s inquiry as if he had no clue what the man was getting at. Brian suspected the blond had guessed part of the reason why Ted had asked that particular question - although Justin couldn’t possibly imagine how corny the accountant could be. The blond was no fool, though, so if Ted thought that Justin couldn’t see right through him, he was deeply mistaken.

“Uh,” Michael interjected, “Brian is seeing all those men. It can’t be easy to accept. If Ben was fucking around, I wouldn’t be able to deal with it.”

“My job has nothing to do with it, Michael,” Brian defended himself. “I’m not a priest. Never have been, never will be.”

“It’s not fucking around if you both agree on what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship,” Justin piped up.

Brian was surprised by Justin’s reply. They had never really talked about him having sex with other men outside of work. The brunet didn’t know exactly what Justin thought about that. Maybe it was time to find out, then. “You’d be okay with me fucking other men if not for my job?” he inquired.

Justin thought for a minute. “I don’t know,” he finally admitted.

“Brian used to fuck lots of guys. You had what, fifteen, twenty tricks a month back when you worked at Ryder?” Ted questioned.

Dear old Theodore. Always keeping count of something.

“Make that thirty,” Brian answered emphatically. “Although, my new job has kind of taken away the fun of tricking.”

He wasn’t sure why he’d said that out loud, except it was the truth. Ever since he had become an escort, his sex life had shifted. He still tricked, but not as much as he used to. And he hadn’t fucked random guys since he’d agreed to give his relationship with Justin a try. In fact, he didn’t plan to fuck his new clients in the future either. But he also didn’t want Justin or anyone else to know about his decision not to have sex with other men. It wasn’t about him choosing to be monogamous, or some other heteronormative bullshit, but merely that he was tired. Being an escort had impacted him much more that he’d care to admit. No matter how low the probability was that he and Justin would last, damned if he would deny himself a chance to be happy. Because Justin made him happy. And when Brian wanted something, he had always done all he could to ensure that he would get it. It was as simple as that.

Brian wanted Justin not to leave him.

“You were that kind of guy, huh?” Justin demanded, bringing him back from his musings.

“What can I say? I’m a legend,” Brian drawled, opting not to respond to Justin’s observation. A part of him knew this conversation could easily get out of hand. He especially didn’t need his friends to regale Justin with his former exploits.

Fortunately, the trio decided to give him a break. Emmett began relating a story about his last one night stand. Brian took advantage of this reprieve to peer discreetly at Justin, who was apparently listening to his flamboyant friend, but the brunet soon understood the blond was just being polite. Something was bothering him.

“Excuse us,” he announced, standing and pulling Justin upright, the blond gazing at him in confusion at the sudden move. “We’ll be right back,” he stated, before guiding Justin toward the bar, walking around it to reach their destination.

Once they had entered the restroom, Brian pulled Justin inside a stall and slammed the door shut. He pushed the blond against the wall, and let his hand travel down his chest and stomach.

“Brian, what are you doing?” Justin questioned, his breath catching in his throat.

“I’m lifting up your mood,” Brian answered in a low voice, as his fingers reached Justin’s crotch. The blond inhaled sharply in response.

“I’m not sure…” Justin tried, but Brian didn’t let him finish his thought.

“Have I mentioned the perks of public sex before?” he drawled huskily as his fingers traveled up and down the blond’s denim-covered cock.

“N..no,” Justin stammered.

“Well,” Brian rasped suggestively, turning Justin against the wall, and starting to unbutton his jeans. He grinned when Justin didn’t resist. “For one, public sex is… hot.” he breathed out into Justin’s ear, his arousal evident as he pronounced the word ‘hot’. “Two, it really turns me on,” he said, rubbing his half-hard dick against Justin’s ass as he popped open a second button. “And three…” he leaned down to kiss Justin’s neck, just above his ear, licking at the skin for a couple of seconds. “It’s a pleasurable way to make an important contribution to the community. Our neighbors are going to thank us. Profusely,” he drawled, abandoning Justin’s opened pants to lift Justin’s shirt up.

Justin inhaled. “How come?”

“Your cries of pleasure are going to profoundly inspire them,” Brian revealed before nipping playfully at the blond’s shoulder.

“Are you…” Justin began, Brian’s mouth as well as his hands now playing with his nipples and making it difficult for him to speak, “trying to sell me on public sex?”

Brian licked the tantalizing flesh before responding, “Maybe...” His hands traveled down, lowering Justin’s pants and cupping his crotch through his underwear. He was pleased to notice Justin was definitely up. “Is it working?”

“If…” Justin had trouble focusing on the conversation, his lover’s hands causing waves of arousal to assault him. “...I hadn’t known you were an ad man before… I…” Justin moaned as Brian gave him a firm squeeze and started to jerk his dick. “I’d know... it now. You’re very… convincing.”

“The goal is to collect my fee and fuck you,” Brian teased, Justin’s responsiveness to his ministrations exciting him.

The blond’s breathing became heavier, his cock twitching under Brian’s fingers. “What… are you waiting for...” he whispered as he pressed himself more firmly against the brunet’s boner, wanting to turn him on too, as Brian started to move his hips.

“I love when you’re bossy,” the brunet drawled, slipping his fingers into the blond’s underwear to fondle his shaft.

Justin gasped loudly in response, arching his back to enjoy the fullness of Brian’s cock as well as his hand. “Feels good... Don’t stop.”

“Not planning to, Sunshine,” Brian groaned, although he slowed down the movements of his hips, kissing Justin’s neck, his ear, then his cheek, so that the blond would turn his head to kiss him. He swiped his tongue across Justin’s lips as he withdrew his hand from Justin’s cock, his fingers sensually roaming up and down Justin’s crack.

“You’re a fucking tease,” Justin complained breathlessly after breaking their kiss. He turned to rest his forehead against the wall before him, as he tried to push against Brian’s fingers.

“You like that?” Brian questioned boldly, as he began to slowly circle Justin’s hole, feeling it relaxing beneath his touch.

“Hmmm,” Justin growled.

Emboldened, Brian grabbed a packet of lube from his pocket, opening it as quickly as he could. “You want me to push my fingers into your tight ass and fuck you with them until you beg nicely?” Brian breathed out, enthralled by Justin’s obvious delight.

“I…,” Justin groaned, just as Brian inserted a finger inside of him. “Oh, fuck!” the blond exclaimed hoarsely, not caring if his voice sounded desperate, or if other patrons of the bar could hear his cries of pleasure.

The lustful tone sent a shiver down Brian’s dick, prompting him to insert another finger. He took his time, moving slowly to let Justin adjust to the fullness, before lightly brushing against his prostate.

The blond throatily begged, “More, more… Jesus Brian, I’m...ahh!” he cried out as Brian aimed for his sweet spot.

Brian loved Justin’s reaction, relished the blond now rocking shamelessly against his fingers, trying desperately to pleasure himself. The brunet felt his cock hardening painfully while he stared down hungrily at the sight in front of him. He grunted, the desire to be buried deep inside his lover becoming too strong.

Hurriedly grabbing a condom from his jeans, he pulled his fingers out of Justin. “I’m going to fuck you so hard,” he rasped out, grabbing both Justin’s wrists and trapping them above the blond’s head.

“Please do…” Justin encouraged as Brian slipped his free hand under Justin’s shirt, running his fingers up his side to caress his chest, playing with his nipples briefly.

Pleased by his lover’s reaction - he could feel Justin quivering with desire - he ordered, “Don’t move,” before opening his own pants to free his dick, letting the piece of clothing slide down his hips. Tearing the condom open with his teeth, he unrolled it in a hurry before applying some lubricant to his shaft.

As their breathing increased in anticipation, Brian vaguely registered that another couple was now fucking in the next stall, the grunts of pleasure melding with their own.

Taking hold of his cock, Brian placed his other hand back on Justin’s wrists, warning, “Here it comes,” before lining up his erection. He grunted as the tip of his manhood entered the tight, indescribably welcoming heat, lowering his head until it rested against the back of Justin’s. “Fuck… you’re so tight,” he marveled.

“You feel so big,” Justin responded mindlessly. “I love to feel you inside me...” he sighed.

“You have no idea how good you feel,” Brian replied, his eyes shut as he moved deeper inside Justin. “This is going to be quick.”

Justin pushed back. “I don’t care… Go on, fuck me!” he urged, loving to feel the brunet’s shaft pushing forward, filling him.

Justin tightened around Brian’s dick. “Christ!” Brian cried out, the sudden movement sending a rush of euphoria up his spine and into his balls. Brian felt his cock swell as the last of his restraint vanished.

He began to pull back, only to immediately plunge back in, nice and slow. Justin’s body accommodated him instantly, meeting him thrust for thrust. Brian felt a burning need to just push in and pull out more forcibly, and he groaned as he let his desire take over. He fucked Justin hard, and the blond loved it. Every sound escaping Justin’s lips made Brian want to make him grunt, groan, moan, and shout even more, as each motion of his hips caused their bodies to shudder from the force of their coupling.

Brian could hear the guys next to them, the energetic sound of skin slapping against skin. He briefly considered that hearing him and Justin fucking was assuredly urging them toward their climax. The fleeting thought vanished in a flash, though, because Justin’s sounds of pleasure became louder as he spread Justin’s legs more, the new position allowing him to better stimulate his prostate. A new surge of elation coursed through them, and Brian marveled at how uninhibited Justin was being and how much hearing the blond’s intense rapture affected him. His body was on fire as he slammed into Justin with deep, vigorous thrusts. His balls felt like they were going to burst.

When the brunet reached around the blond’s hip to stroke his dick, Justin called his name. “Brian… I can’t,” he said, lost in sensation. “I’m going to come...” he revealed as he threw his head back, the expression on his face reflecting how close he was.

“Me too,” Brian breathed out as he kept fucking the blond furiously while jerking his dick. He felt Justin tightening around him. “Yes!” he exclaimed, too far gone to realize he was being as loud as his lover. Within seconds, the first surge of come erupted from Justin’s dick onto Brian’s hand, some drops reaching the wall before them.

Brian felt a feverish sensation in his groin, the rhythmic grip of Justin’s orgasm milking his cock, as warm come slid through his fingers. “Ahhhhhh!” he cried out in ecstasy, his orgasm ripping through him as he shot copiously inside his lover, his deep moans echoing Justin’s.

“Ohhhhh! Yes, yes! Yes! I love you Marvin!” one of the men in the next stall exclaimed as he climaxed right after them.

“My name is Marlon! Ahhhhh!” the second guy replied as he came, too.

Brian and Justin’s ragged breathing echoed in the narrow space as they heard their neighbors reach satisfaction, their laughter soon joining the chorus of sounds filling the restroom at Woody’s.

Chapter Text

Friday evening…

Brian was lying nude on a king-size bed at the Hotel Monaco downtown, waiting for John to join him. Earlier that evening, he had accompanied his client to a private event held in the Rialto Suite on the rooftop of the same hotel, most of the doctors from the Vision Clinic having gathered to talk about their plans to expand the facility.

Brian was always entertained when John introduced him to his colleagues. All of them knew the middle-aged ophthalmologist had never gotten married and was most certainly gay, but being escorted by a younger man as good looking as Brian inevitably raised questions among his peers. Every time the brunet attended this kind of event, he could see it in their gazes - the mixture of awe and incomprehension as they scrutinized his relationship with John. They presumably thought Brian was involved with the doc because of his healthy finances and, truth be told, they were not entirely wrong. In any case, the escort never interacted with the guests much, opting to play the pretty, quiet boy on John’s arm instead. Most doctors were just plain boring as well as way too egocentric for Brian’s taste anyway.

When they had retired to the suite John had booked for the evening, the man had surprisingly disappeared into the bathroom, Brian hearing him lock the door behind himself. Frowning at this unexpected turn of events, the brunet had shuffled toward the bed, undressed, and lain down, waiting for his client to join him.

When John walked out of the bathroom a few minutes later, he seemed surprised as he peered at Brian lying naked on the bed. Still fully dressed, his brow furrowing, he headed over to sit on the mattress after a brief hesitation.

Brian didn’t understand John’s sudden shyness. The brunet had thought that his client would want to collect his payment after having helped Justin enter the trial. In fact, Brian intended to demonstrate exactly how grateful he was. He therefore crawled over John and reached for his zipper.

“What are you doing?” John asked as Brian slowly opened the fly of his pants.

“I’m going to suck you,” Brian responded to the man’s silly question.

“Brian, no…” John tensed, but he didn’t move away, Brian’s fingers now grazing his dick through his underwear.

“You don’t have to pay me. I want to do this.” Brian ignored John’s reluctance, puzzled that the man wanted him to stop. The doctor was usually a sucker for sexual attention.

“Do you? Really?” John inquired dubiously, but his breath caught in his throat as Brian released his dick from its confinement and began to jerk him slowly.

The truth was, Brian didn’t want to do this, not really. He had decided not to fuck his new clients, although that would prove difficult with those he already had sex with on a regular basis. Brian didn’t know how he would proceed with them, though it was different with John. The brunet owed him and wanted to give him something to remember. The ophthalmologist had always loved it when Brian took charge, but he fortunately wasn’t the kind of man who would expect more than a good fuck. John just loved sex, and from the brunet’s perspective, there was nothing wrong with selecting the best partner.

That’s why he ignored John’s question and lowered his head to lap at the man’s cock, before engulfing him in his mouth, proceeding to give him the blowjob of his life. John caved in - he would have been a fool not to - and for the next ten minutes, his loud gasps of ecstasy echoed around the comfortable suite.

Ultimately, the older man climaxed in Brian’s mouth and then collapsed onto the bed. Satisfied, the brunet got up and went to spit out his client’s come in the bathroom’s sink. He rinsed his mouth and stared at his reflection for a moment, before walking back into the room, naked and half-hard. Sitting back down on the bed, he peered at John, waiting for him to recover enough to speak.

“You’re holding up, old man?” Brian teased as he patted John’s thigh, the man having yet to regain the power of speech.

“I will miss that,” John replied, ignoring Brian’s reference to his age.

“What are you babbling about? I know you came hard-” the brunet mocked, but John cut him off.

“This is the last time we’ll meet for anything related to sex. We won’t fuck again,” John declared as he straightened himself, putting his dick back into his pants and zipping up.

Brian leaned back, surprised by his client’s announcement. “Why do you think that?”

John gave Brian a pointed look. “You know why.”

Brian, surmising what the man meant, shook his head and sighed.

John insisted. “I’ve seen the way you look at him as well as witnessed what you’re ready to do for him, and I get it, Brian. You don’t want to be an escort anymore. So why on earth are you still doing it?” he questioned. From the look on his face, Brian understood John wasn’t talking about the part of his job that involved escorting his clients, but rather about the sex.

Brian glanced at John incredulously. “Why do you think? I need the money,” he barked in irritation, although that wasn’t exactly true. Sure, the extra cash was nice, but Brian didn’t need it as much as when he had first started this job. Gus’s treatments were already covered, the brunet having acquired the best health insurance possible as soon as he had enough money to do so. John didn’t know about his son, however. They had never been close enough for Brian to talk about his private life, even though he liked John and truly respected him.

John must have sensed that Brian wasn’t being completely honest with him, as he responded, “I don’t believe you,” challenging the theory that Brian wanted to have sex with his clients for additional money.

Brian gazed down and pinched the bridge of his nose, before standing up and snapping, “Fine! I don’t want to, not anymore. But it’s just sex. And, what? You think all my clients will be as sympathetic as you are if I tell them I won’t rim and fuck them into oblivion anymore?” he asked frustratedly, grabbing his pants from the nearby chair and hastily putting them on. Lounging around naked with a fully dressed client while they discussed Brian being paid for sex was not his idea of fun.

John must have sensed that Brian didn’t like where the conversation was heading, because he didn’t react to his outburst. He merely asked, “How many clients do you fuck on a regular basis anyway?”

Brian paused, feigning to think. “I don’t know. Five, six? Who’s counting?” he snarked as he leaned over the chair to pick up his shirt.

John stood up from the bed. “Well, then, screw them. It’s your body, Brian. Your choice.”

Brian chuckled sardonically as he buttoned his blue shirt.

John frowned at Brian’s reaction. “What?”

Brian shook his head and turned around, walking toward the minibar in the lounge area. John followed him. “You make it sound like it’s so easy to make that choice. To just... be a pretty boy and not a whore.” He bent over to retrieve a mini bottle of Beam.

“You can just say no,” John insisted. “And I’m sure you can live without the extra money, can’t you?”

Brian stared at John as he took a sip of the bourbon. “Probably.”

“What’s stopping you then?” John pushed as he extended his hand for Brian to give him the liquor.

Brian complied, an amused look appearing on his face. “You’re not even going to pretend that you would miss my dick up your ass?”

John chuckled at that, making Brian grin slightly. “I will but, somehow, being fucked by a man who wants to be with someone else is not that pleasant. I’m just saying, it’s okay to want out. You could find another job.”

Brian’s smile vanished. He snatched the bottle of Beam from John’s hands. “Right. I need money, John, you know that,” he declared, before drinking some more.

John wasn’t satisfied with Brian’s reply. “Why?”

The man’s question made Brian pause. The brunet had no intention of sharing any personal information with him, although the ophthalmologist seemed to be trustworthy. “Look, I’m not going to confide in you about the shit the rulers of this fucking universe have put my family through. I’m not a pathetic whore, at least. But I need a steady income, and I can’t afford to find myself out of a job.”

John considered his response for a moment and then nodded. “Okay. But I still stand by what I said. The contract I signed with the ‘One Life’ agency doesn’t mention sexual favors.”

Brian stared at John. He was well aware that his employer had never expected more from him that to parade around on the arms of rich, egocentric men. In fact, Brian had already made a decision, but John hadn’t realized that until now.

The man’s eyes widened, however, as Brian kept gazing at him, silently conveying that he had, indeed, already made up his mind. “You won’t fuck your clients any longer, will you? I’m trying to convince you when you have already decided to stop.”

Brian shrugged. “I’m not quitting my job. But I’m cutting back on the sex,” he announced, his lips turning upward. “This was a farewell blowjob. I hope you enjoyed it since I put in a lot of effort.”

“You’re unbelievable,” John replied with a dry laugh.

“Say it. You will miss me,” Brian drawled, smirking. “Not just anybody can suck a cock like I do.”

“I like your modesty,” John countered playfully. “And yes, I will miss the sex. We’ve had a lot of fun together.”

“You’re not half bad in bed, you know,” Brian commented. “You should be more confident when you approach a man. You’d be surprised how turned on tricks can be when a hot gay man promises them a night they won’t forget.”

“You think I’m hot?” John inquired, astonished.

“You’re not my usual type,” Brian bluntly responded. “But you’re hot, in an ‘I want a sugar daddy’ kind of way.”

“Oh my God, Brian,” John burst out laughing. “You know how to make a man feel special.”

“That’s my job, Doc. I’m an expert,” Brian drawled, smirking, as he drank one last sip of Beam. Recapping the bottle, he asked, “Now that we can’t fuck anymore, what about playing Scrabble?”

John pushed him playfully as he revealed with a slight smile, “I love Scrabble.”

“Of course you do. You’re a nerd.” Brian grinned back.

************************

Sunday...

Justin had spent his weekend alone. Daphne was studying at a friend’s for her final exams, which would take place next week, and Justin had taken advantage of her absence to paint all day on Friday and Saturday, once he had returned home from Brian’s loft in the morning.

Brian had been working for the last couple of days, but the brunet had asked Justin to pick him up on Sunday, so that they could go to the park with Gus. The blond had gladly accepted, happy that Brian wanted him to accompany them. He knew how precious those moments were to his lover, and he was grateful to play a part in that outing.

Brian picked him up at three in the afternoon, Justin joining him on the sidewalk in front of his building so that Brian wouldn’t have to move Gus from the Jeep. The brunet greeted him with a deep, fiery kiss, before helping Justin into the car, while Gus babbled happily in the child’s seat in the back. Justin leaned back to greet the child and tickle him playfully from his position in the passenger seat, waiting for Brian to get in.

A moment later, Justin asked playfully as he locked his seatbelt, “How was your weekend, Dear ?”

Justin could tell Brian was glaring over his use of the endearment. “It was alright,” he responded nevertheless as he put the car in motion.

“You saw Dr. Lewis on Friday?” Justin inquired. Brian had informed him he was escorting John to a hotel downtown for an event related to the clinic’s business.

“Hmm,” Brian sort of acquiesced.

“And your new client yesterday?” Justin continued.

“Steve MacPherson.” Brian confirmed, “CFO of Aston Industries. He’s a cunt.” he added matter-of-factly. “What about you?”

“What do you mean he’s a cunt?” Justin questioned with a frown.

“Just that,” Brian responded. “He is the kind of condescending shit who feels superior to everyone else. I’ll let you imagine how he behaved with a man like me.”

“You didn’t... I mean, he didn’t hurt you, did he?” Justin asked, fear suddenly lacing his words.

“What? No,” Brian denied, yet Justin heard the slight hesitation in his voice.

“You’re lying,” Justin stated forcibly, annoyed that Brian would hide what had really happened with his client.

“Justin…” Brian warned, but Justin cut him off.

“Stop trying to protect me and tell me the fucking truth.” he adamantly demanded.

Fortunately, after a short silence, Brian relented, revealing, “He made it perfectly clear that he wanted to fuck me, or should I say ‘to fuck my face hard and come down my throat’. But since I don’t have a kink for being forced into sex with some stupid, arrogant dickhead who gushes about his clueless wife and his stupid tricks, I politely declined. Apparently, though, he didn’t like being denied, so when I walked out on him and left the restaurant, he followed me and shoved me against a car in the parking lot before basically assaulting me.”

“He WHAT? That mother fucker!” Justin barked as he felt a rush of adrenaline coursing through him, wincing when he realized Gus had probably heard him curse. Brian laughed at his outburst, however. Justin shook his head, trying to ignore that the brunet could have been hurt, which made his blood run cold. “I hope you reported him to the police.”

“Right. Who do you think they would have believed? Me, the prostitute? Or a rich businessman?” Brian retorted, before disclosing smugly, “Besides, I punched him. And let me assure you that his balls will remember me, too. And not in a pleasurable way.”

“You punched him and kicked him in the balls?” Justin surmised, astounded and proud.

Brian hummed in agreement. “A damsel in distress needs to know a few tricks to defend herself,” he jested, before resuming, “Of course, he called my boss and threatened to have us arrested, but Jeffrey is used to dealing with that kind of nutcase, so we’re good.”

“Wow...” Justin wasn’t sure how to react. He sometimes forgot that Brian had not chosen to become an escort for any reason other than to help his son. He wasn’t sure he would ever have been able to deal with that kind of situation if he were in Brian’s shoes.

“Welcome to my world!” Brian intoned sardonically, before informing Justin as he killed the ignition, “We’re here by the way.”

Justin nodded in acknowledgment, unlocking his seatbelt before grabbing the door handle. As he exited the car after checking with Brian that he would be stepping out onto pavement in the parking lot, he heard a familiar voice calling him.

Shit. That’s all he needed right now.

“Justin?” his mother’s voice echoed in his ears, making him inwardly cringe. He had avoided her calls ever since that morning when she’d caught Brian sleeping on his couch, and he had barely taken the time to text her during the week. She wasn’t even aware of the news regarding his surgery.

“Mom,” he greeted her sharply, waiting for Brian to join him with Gus. She hadn’t done anything to deserve his annoyed reaction, but explaining his relationship with Brian wasn’t something he wanted to do right now, and he knew she was going to question the reason they were together. Not to mention Gus.

“Jennifer,” Brian noticed her as he walked around the car, Justin hearing his shoes tapping against the asphalt, until they stopped by his side.

“Brian… what…” Jennifer stammered. Justin could hear the stupefaction in her voice. She must have just noticed Gus.

“Mom, this is Brian’s son, Gus,” Justin decided to introduce the child, since he didn’t have superpowers to either go back in time or to make her disappear on command. He regretted not being able to see her, though. It would have been easier to deflect her if he’d known what she was thinking, although he had a pretty good idea of how she would react.

“Say hi to your grandmother-in-law, Sonny Boy!” Brian exclaimed too cheerfully. The blond scowled, understanding his lover wasn’t going to make this encounter easier.

“You have a son?” his mother asked, flabbergasted. Brian didn’t respond but Justin realized he must have communicated silently with her, since she suddenly clarified, “I didn’t know that you… well… he looks like you, though, so he must be yours. I mean… How did you…”

“Mom, what are you doing here?” Justin cut her off.

“I have an appointment nearby,” Jennifer informed him. “What are you doing here?” she retorted.

“Brian and I are seeing each other,” Justin challenged. The sooner his mother accepted their relationship, the better.

“For real this time?” she inquired sardonically, although they probably deserved that one.

Brian had the audacity to laugh at her reply, causing Justin to glare at him. “Sorry, Sunshine, but your mother has a point,” the brunet remarked.

Justin behaved very maturely then. He stuck his tongue out at Brian, earning a giggle from Gus. When the child laughed, the blond reached out and began to tickle the toddler, who burrowed further into his father’s arms. “Oh, you find it funny?” the blond quipped while Brian chuckled at his playfulness.

As their laughter died out, Jennifer declared out of the blue, “I knew I was right about you,”

Justin could have sworn she was mocking Brian. “Sorry, what?” he questioned, not understanding his mother’s observation.

“Nothing, Justin,” Jennifer dismissed, making her son frown quizzically. “Brian, you’re still working as an…” her voice trailed off.

Justin guessed she wasn’t comfortable talking about Brian’s job in front of his son.

“An escort, Jennifer. You can say it out loud without fearing someone will bite your ass, you know,” Brian volunteered before adding as an afterthought, “Sorry, Gus. Daddy used a bad word.”

“I’m not…” Jennifer countered, clearly uncomfortable.  

Brian took advantage of her embarrassment to clarify, “But since you mentioned it, my job has nothing to do with my relationship with your son, not anymore. Justin is a grown-up. He can make his own decisions.”

Knowing his mother wouldn’t leave them alone, Justin intervened, not giving her any time to respond to Brian’s declaration. “Yes, I can. And Mom, I will call you later. I have news regarding a possible surgery.”

“What?” Jennifer exclaimed. “How? Why didn’t you-”

“Mom!” Justin cut her off vigorously. “Later, okay? We need to go now. And I’m sure you’re going to be late for your appointment.”

“My appointment…” Jennifer echoed, before realizing what her son was talking about. “Oh, shit! My appointment! I’m late!” she cursed, making Justin scowl some more. “I have to go, Sweetheart! But you call me tonight, you hear?”

“Will do,” Justin promised, sure that she was now pointing her finger at him. “Bye!” he dismissed her with a wave of his hand, hearing Brian chuckle at his side as the brunet kneeled to lower Gus to the sidewalk.

“Give me your hand, Sonny Boy,” Brian demanded. Placing his other hand on Justin’s arm, he vowed, “I like your mother.”

“You do?” Justin inquired in puzzlement. Brian had a funny way of showing that he liked someone.

Brian's hand traveled down, before he interlaced their fingers. He added a little pressure to caution that they were about to move. “She took it pretty well. I was expecting her to kick my ass for perverting her son.”

“You had Gus in your arms,” Justin reminded him as he let Brian guide him toward the park. “She couldn’t be mean in front of your son.”

“You hear that, Gus? You’re my hero!” Brian exclaimed in a jesting tone. “We should go on the swings to celebrate! And we’re lucky today, since Justin is our personal cheerleader. See? He is going to dance and perform a little French cancan just for you!”

Justin heard Brian chuckle as Gus squealed, “Jussin dance for me and Dada!”

A couple of minutes later, the blond was raising his legs in a perfectly choreographed dance, making the child giggle as he kept repeating, “More, Jussin! More!”

************************

Ten days later, Monday evening, the loft...

Justin’s first surgery was scheduled for the next day. A week earlier, Brian, Justin, and Jennifer had met with the pre-op team. Justin’s mother had been adamant about being present at that appointment, and Brian had understood that she didn’t fully trust him with her son. Why should she? Both he and Justin had lied to her face before, and the brunet respected her stubbornness, even though his lover had claimed he would have preferred for her not to interfere.

Justin’s wish to see again felt more than ever within reach. During the meeting, Brian had listened and observed his lover interacting with John and the medical team, while the brunet had mainly stayed silent. For the first time, however, he had realized that the outcome of the surgery could have irreversible consequences, and maybe even impair his relationship with the young man.

If it succeeded, his lover would be able to function in his everyday life without any help, and knowing Justin like he did, Brian suspected he would claim his independence. But most of all, he would be able to see. Somehow, that thought was the most disturbing for Brian because he felt like that might change everything between them. Brian wasn’t afraid of Justin’s reaction if he could look at him. Most men found him hot, and there was no reason for Justin to feel any different. However, their dynamic would inevitably shift if the blond could see him and read him .

On the other hand, if the surgery failed, he didn’t know how Justin would react or how that would impact their relationship.

And the truth was, he was scared shitless no matter what the outcome might be.

For now, Justin was kneeling on the dark blue bedsheet, Brian’s body hovering over him, the warmth of his skin grazing the blond’s back as he came and went inside his lover.

The thrusts were uncharacteristically slow. Brian took his time, peppering Justin’s back with gentle kisses. Somehow, more than love or lust was reflected in this instant. These moments mirrored their fear and anguish of what the future might hold.

Brian came before Justin, unable to hold back. He collapsed on Justin’s back, his breathing labored and ragged. He felt emotionally drained.

“You okay?” Justin’s voice reached his ears. Brian winced, his face buried in his lover’s shoulder.

He refused to move or answer.

Justin sensed his turmoil, of course, and he shifted under Brian, dislodging the man from his back. Brian inwardly cursed the blond’s disability. He was so much more perceptive than anyone else he knew.

“It’s going to be okay. You will see,” Justin uttered softly.

Brian chuckled dryly. “I should be the one comforting you, not the other way around.”

“Says who?” Justin countered. “Come here,” he demanded, opening his arms.

“You haven’t come,” Brian reminded his lover.

“And I don’t fucking care. Come here,” the blond reiterated firmly.

“Alright,” Brian didn’t resist. He rested his head close to the blond’s heart, wrapping one leg over Justin’s body while his lover instantly covered the hand on his chest, rubbing it with his thumb.

“You’re scared,” Justin stated quietly after a moment.

“I’m not scared,” Brian denied, although they both knew he was full of shit.

Justin didn’t push and kept caressing Brian’s hand. But in the end, he confessed, “I love you, Brian.”

Brian stayed silent. And maybe he didn’t reply, maybe he didn’t move, but his hand tightly gripped Justin’s as he listened to the blond’s heartbeat.

 

Chapter Text

The next day, Vision Clinic…

“Okay, Justin. We’re ready to go.” John announced as Brian stood up from his chair.

“How long will it take?” the brunet asked, approaching Justin’s bed. Jennifer was there too.

“A couple of hours, probably longer. If you’d like to leave, we’ll call once the surgery is over.” John offered as he placed Justin’s chart back into the slot at the foot of the mattress, before unlocking the medical bed to roll it outside.

“I’m not leaving,” Jennifer retorted resolutely.

“Neither am I,” Brian concurred, although he was peering at Jennifer with a quizzical gaze, as if debating the wisdom of his statement.

“Hmm, both of you stuck together for a couple of hours. You’re sure that’s a good idea?” Justin interjected in a jesting tone; however, the small quiver in his voice demonstrated he wasn’t entirely comfortable with that prospect.

“We’re adults, Justin. We can socialize for a couple of hours without you to babysit us.” Jennifer responded, her eyes fixed on Justin’s face, as if she couldn’t look at Brian without betraying how ecstatic she really was.

Brian couldn’t help but smirk. Being stuck with Jennifer was going to be oh, so much fun! “Yeah… We can gossip about the size of our last one night stands’ dicks without having you interfere.”

“Brian!” Justin couldn’t help but chuckle. He knew Brian was trying to help him relax, but he wasn’t sure his mother appreciated his bold sense of humor.

“We really need to go. Do you want to…?” John looked at Brian and Jennifer, offering them one last moment with Justin.

Surprisingly, Jennifer announced, glancing at Brian, “I will wait outside.” She then peered down at Justin, her cool demeanor breaking slightly as she stuttered, “I love you.”

“I love you too,” Justin responded as she squeezed his hand and placed a kiss on his forehead, before straightening and exiting the room, John following her.

Brian stared at the door for a moment before refocusing his gaze on Justin. Sitting carefully on the bed, he placed his hands on each side of Justin’s body and inquired softly, “You okay?”

“I’m nervous as hell.” Justin replied with a dry chuckle, moving his fingers to Brian’s. “You?”

Brian straightened up, starting to absently caress Justin’s knuckles with his thumb. “Well, I’m trapped with your mother for the next couple of hours.” he deadpanned.

“Yeah…” The blond smiled, knowing Brian didn’t really mind being alone with his mom, more concerned about his surgery, although he was trying to hide it, for Justin’s sake. “Brian…”

“Hmm,” Brian responded quietly, his gaze affixed to their joined hands.

“Thank you for… well, everything, I guess,” Justin mumbled the final words.

Brian stared down at Justin, his eyes not leaving Justin’s face for a while. He then leaned in, placing a chaste, yet heartfelt kiss on Justin’s temple. His lips lingered on the skin, before moving to find Justin’s mouth. Breathing deeply, Brian answered Justin’s gratitude the only way he knew how.

“Later,” he whispered, standing up and walking backwards to the door before turning around and exiting the room.

************************

Brian and Jennifer were sitting in the clinic’s main waiting room and had not exchanged a word since they’d settled in there half an hour ago. The only sounds echoing around them were the usual hurried steps of the staff, the ones of visitors walking across the open space near the main doors, the wheels of trolleys rolling on the floor, and Brian’s right foot repeatedly hitting the linoleum.

“Could you please stop tapping your foot, Brian?” Jennifer demanded, a hint of exasperation tinging her voice.

Brian realized he was driving Jennifer nuts with all his fidgeting. He stopped, forcing himself to relax. “I hate waiting,” he stated mindlessly, frowning at a loud, elegantly-dressed elderly woman snapping at a member of the staff a few feet away.

“Me too,” Jennifer revealed, prompting Brian to look at her. “To know that so much depends on this surgery, it’s just… Justin has been through so much already…”

Brian didn’t respond, since he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say. He just cleared his throat anxiously.

“I wasn’t thrilled when I discovered what you do for a living…” Jennifer disclosed out of the blue.

“Well, I didn’t expect you to be my number one fan, either,” Brian countered. It was actually amazing that she hadn’t asked him to stay away from her son. Yet.

“Yes, well… I’m still not comfortable with your job.” Jennifer replied, as expected.

“Luckily for you, you don’t have to be,” Brian snorted, letting out a curt laugh. “I’m not dating you.”

“You really don’t care what I think, do you?” Jennifer asked in a  low voice.

Brian sighed. So much for trying to make things work with Justin’s mother. “I do what I have to. I don’t expect you to understand.”

“And Justin does?” Jennifer questioned probingly. “I’m sorry, but, I don’t get how he could be okay with you…” She didn’t finish her sentence.

“Being a whore?” Brian volunteered sarcastically.

“Jesus Brian… I never thought of you as a whore.” Jennifer vehemently denied. “I just don’t get how you could choose that kind of job.”

“Well, sometimes, life just loves to fuck you over a bit too much.” Brian mocked.

Jennifer stared at him. The brunet knew her curiosity was piqued. He hated having to justify himself to anyone, but this was Justin’s mother.

For his lover’s sake, he therefore revealed, “I needed money. My son Gus - you saw him the other day - needed medical care, which isn’t exactly cheap.”

“I…” Jennifer was obviously too polite to ask for more information. Brian patted himself on the back for rendering her speechless. “Didn’t you have a job? You told me you were in advertising. Is that true or just another lie?” she finally asked.

“I never lied to you. Justin did.” Brian corrected, although he had agreed to play by his lover’s rules. “And since you ask, yes, I was an ad exec and about to make partner. But I was fired because of a bullshit sexual harassment claim and I needed the money. Escorting was the best way to quickly make lots of cash.”

Jennifer stayed silent for a while. Brian was pretty sure she was now even more convinced that he wasn’t suitable for her son. Or maybe not, since she eventually blurted out, “That sucks.”

Brian chuckled wryly, before confirming, “Yeah… and not in a positive, life-affirming way.” He rubbed his face, before adding, “Look, I know who I am. I don’t expect you to like me. But for what it’s worth, I care about your son.”

Jennifer nodded, seemingly lost in thought. “I believe you,” she stated, surprising Brian once more. “And I know seeing our kids in pain is the most insufferable feeling for us parents.”

Brian didn’t respond but he didn’t need to, since Jennifer chose that moment to ask, “Your son’s mother, she… you...”

Brian understood she wanted to know how a gay man like him could have become a father. “Lindsay is a college friend and a lesbian. One day, her motherly instincts kicked in, and considering her partner couldn't exactly play the part, she asked me to make a donation for posterity. I agreed, obviously.”

“For posterity…” Jennifer echoed.

“I wasn’t supposed to be involved much… or to...” Brian trailed off, afraid of revealing his true feelings regarding his son. He knew it was an irrational fear since he had just told her he had turned his life upside down for him, but he couldn’t help it. Opening up about his feelings was fucking hard.

“Love him?” Jennifer suggested.

Brian bit down on his lip.

“Like you weren’t supposed to fall in love with my son?” Jennifer pushed.

Brian couldn’t help it. He glared at Jennifer, but when she just raised an eyebrow at him in response, he admitted defeat. “Something like that,” he half-heartedly responded. No way was he going to confide the depth of his feelings for Justin to his mother. In fact, if she knew him at all, she’d already have guessed how huge it was for him not to vehemently deny her assumption.

Fortunately, Jennifer must have sensed Brian’s discomfort since she stopped her inquiry. “Coffee?” she offered. “I could use one.”

“Sure. Let me get it for you,” he proposed, grateful for the distraction.

************************

Justin tried to open his eyes, but he soon realized he couldn’t open his right eye. He had no idea where he was. He should probably freak out but, actually, he felt pretty good. In fact, he had an irresistible urge to giggle.

“Justin?” a feminine voice called gently. Who was that?

“Hmm,” Justin acknowledged the stranger with a huge grin on his face.

“He is waking up,” the voice said.

“He seems a little off, don’t you think?” He recognized his mother’s voice.

“Well, we gave him something for the pain, so he may act strangely for a while. But don’t worry, it should wear off pretty quickly. The surgery went fine, and all his vitals are perfectly normal. The covering will protect his eye and prevent him from opening it for the next couple of days,” the voice informed everyone. “Do you have any other questions?”

“Will Dr. Lewis come to check on him soon?” Jennifer inquired.

“He will join you in a few minutes,” the voice confirmed. Justin then heard ‘the voice’ walking away and he giggled when the theme song of the TV show began playing in his head. He started to hum along.

“Justin?”  Brian placed a hand on his arm.

Brian was there too! It made Justin deliriously happy. He sang louder.

“Great. He’s high,” Brian stated.

“My little pumpkin...” Justin replied as he stopped singing and started to giggle instead.

“Justin, are you okay?” Jennifer asked in concern.

“Nothing little about my little pumpkin.” Justin flailed about with one hand, as if trying to grope his ‘pumpkin’.

“Justin,” Brian dryly warned as the blond’s fingers immediately moved from his thigh, aiming for his crotch, and prompting the brunet to step back.

“Mommy, he makes me feel so soft and warm inside. Almost squishy. I swear,” the blond emphasized seriously.

“Justin, you don’t want to keep talking, believe me.” Brian tried to stop his lover from saying another word in front of his mother, but Justin apparently didn’t get the message.

“I don’t?” Justin frowned, before his face brightened and he exclaimed, “Of course! If I talk, I can’t eat my little pumpkin, well, that’s not right… You’re so big and hard when I eat you and suck your juice.”

“Oh my God, I so don’t want to hear this.” Jennifer cringed and covered her ears.

“And you think I do?” Brian countered, grimacing.

Justin continued to babble. “I mean, you’re hard at first. But then you get really, really soft.”  A sad look stole over his face as he mumbled, “And kinda little, too.”

“If you utter another word, I swear your little pumpkin will be unavailable for the next decade.” Brian growled menacingly.

“Don’t be upset, please! I’ve never seen such a resurrection! It’s amazing how quickly it goes from such a small, soft baby banana to a big, firm one,” Justin rattled on. “You must be very proud of your dick, right?”

“Okay, that’s enough.” Jennifer intervened. “Justin, get a grip on yourself.”

“I’d prefer to get a grip on Brian,” Justin enthused. “Please? Pretty please?” he begged, stretching out his hand in an effort to find the object of his desire.

“Jennifer,” Brian hurriedly suggested, “please go find John. And do us both a favor - forget this conversation ever happened.”

“What conversation?” Jennifer quipped as she rushed toward the door and exited the room.

Brian stared as she closed the door, before gazing back at Justin. “You twat,” he mocked, taking hold of Justin’s hand and placing it on his denim-covered cock. “Next time you claim I’m small, I swear I’m going to fuck you so hard you won’t be able to walk for a week.”

“You hard? I can’t tell.” Justin asked innocently as he yawned. He absently caressed Brian’s dick before his hand fell to the bed.

“You’re kidding me,” Brian groused as he glared at his lover. “Justin… Justin?”

One final giggle escaped Justin’s lips before his eyes closed completely and he started to snore softly.

************************

John soon confirmed that the surgery had gone well, and that they needed to wait for a couple of days before removing the bandage. The surgeon had succeeded in removing the accumulation of red blood within the anterior chamber of the eye, while making sure the corneal blood staining was under control. Justin’s eye needed to be protected to give it a better chance to heal. In the meantime, Justin would remain at the clinic, in case his eye required immediate attention for any reason.

As expected, Justin had no memory of waking up in the recovery room. Brian and Jennifer both decided not to mention it, albeit for completely different reasons. Daphne arrived an hour later, and she helped Brian deal with an overprotective Jennifer, who was slowly but surely driving her son completely nuts.

Jennifer agreed to leave for the day at six p.m., and Brian decided to go home too. Justin could barely stay awake as it was. In response to Brian’s farewell kiss, the blond barely managed to murmur, “Later,” before he fell sound asleep. Brian fondly brushed Justin’s hair back from his forehead, on which he deposited another kiss, before heading out the door behind Jennifer.

When Brian came back on Wednesday, he discovered that Jennifer had barely left her son’s side, having returned almost immediately the day before to make sure Justin would eat his dinner. From the expression on Justin’s face, Brian immediately surmised that he was about to snap.

“I swear if you offer to feed me like a stupid child one more time, I’m going to call Molly and tell her there is an emergency back home.” Justin petulantly declared.

“Molly is with Craig, Justin.” Jennifer sternly retorted. “And you should stop being so stubborn and start accepting my help, young man. You just got out of surgery!”

“I’m fine!” Justin barked. “I would feel even better if you stopped hovering over me!”

“Bad time?” Brian quipped as he made his presence known, both mother and son having been too busy snapping at each other to notice him.

“Brian…” Justin called his lover’s name, obviously relieved not to be alone with his mother anymore. “Can you tell my mother I’m no longer five?”

“And can you tell my son he needs to accept help and stop behaving like a five-year-old?” Jennifer countered.

Brian chuckled sardonically at both mother and son beseeching him to take their side. “Right. If you need a mediator, call Oprah. I’m not playing that part,” he drawled, earning an adorable pout from Justin and a disapproving frown from Jennifer. “Although, Mrs. Taylor, I’m sure you will agree that Justin could use some rest. So, why don’t you come with me? I need to pick up my son.” Brian proposed, inwardly wondering about his sanity.

“You’re going to see Gus?” Justin questioned, his wistful tone betraying how much he would like to see the boy.

“I’m going to pick him up and bring him to visit you.” Brian nodded, tongue-in-cheek, knowing Gus would be able to lift Justin’s mood. Furthermore, since Brian had told Gus that Justin had been hospitalized, the little boy had been pestering his father to take him to the clinic.

“I’m not sure that Justin should stay on his…” Jennifer began, but before she had a chance to finish, Brian cut her off.

“That wasn’t a question. You’re coming with me,” he ordered with a fake smile before walking to the door, not giving Jennifer a chance to respond.

She fortunately didn’t need more convincing and followed Brian out of the clinic.

************************

Twenty minutes later, Brian parked his car in front of Lindsay and Melanie’s house. Jennifer and he had not exchanged a word since they’d left Justin's room.

“We’re here,” he declared as he killed the ignition.

“Nice neighborhood,” Jennifer commented, making Brian bark out a laugh.

“For hetero wannabes, sure,” Brian snorted. “Pretty houses with white picket fences and perfectly-mown lawns.”

“You don’t like the suburbs?” Jennifer inquired, her brow furrowing.

“Let’s say I prefer hard asphalt to the soft grass of Muncherland.” Brian said sardonically.

“Muncherland?” Jennifer echoed.

Brian raised an eyebrow at her, before exiting the car.

Jennifer hastily followed when he headed toward the front door. Brian rang the bell, leaning against the entryway as Lindsay opened the door to greet them, pausing when she noticed Jennifer at her friend’s side.

At the befuddled look on Lindsay’s face, Brian drawled, not bothering to straighten up, “Lindsay, this is Mrs. Jennifer Taylor, Justin’s mother. Mother Taylor, this is Mother Peterson. Now, where is my son?” He didn’t wait for a reply and pushed his way past Lindsay, immediately climbing the stairs.

Lindsay stared after her friend, before looking at Jennifer, plastering a smile on her face. Ignoring Brian’s rudeness, she invited her unexpected guest into the house, “It’s so nice to meet you, Mrs. Taylor. Please come in!”

Jennifer gave Lindsay a polite smile, firmly clasping the handle of her purse as she tentatively walked into the entryway. Gazing around, she raved, “Your place is very charming.”

“Thank you!” Lindsay enthused, before proposing, “Would you like a cup of tea? Orange juice? Hot chocolate?”

“No, I’m fine.” Jennifer declined the offer.

“Don’t hesitate to ask if there’s something you’d like. And please, let me take your jacket.” Lindsay insisted as she extended her arm in invitation.

“Thank you,” Jennifer replied, shrugging off her jacket and handing it to Lindsay.

“So, you’re Justin’s mother?” Lindsay inquired, going to the hall closet to hang up Jennifer’s coat.

“The one and only,” Jennifer quipped awkwardly.

“He is such a wonderful young man.” Lindsay praised, sliding shut the closet door.

“You know him?” Jennifer wondered.

Lindsay clarified, “Yes, I’m the one who offered him an exhibition at the Bloom Gallery.”

“Oh! You’re the one who encouraged him to display his art! He talks about you all the time.” Jennifer’s stance began to relax as she understood how Lindsay knew her son.

Lindsay chuckled, entering the living room with Jennifer. “Actually, I’m pretty sure he talks more about Brian.”

“Yes, well, you’re right. Justin is very happy to have met him.” Jennifer somewhat ruefully agreed as she paused, standing next to the couch.

Sensing Jennifer’s doubts about her friend, Lindsay probed, “I have a feeling you’re not as ecstatic about Brian as your son.”

“Well…” Jennifer hesitated, peering furtively toward the staircase. “It’s just… I personally have nothing against Brian, but he is… he does…”

“He is an escort? He is older? He is not the man you imagined for Justin?” Lindsay pushed.

Jennifer shook her head, seemingly embarrassed. “I’m sorry. You surely don’t want to hear my qualms about the father of your child.”

“Jennifer… Can I call you Jennifer?” Lindsay requested.

“Of course,” Jennifer assured her.

“I understand you’re uneasy about Brian, but he is a good man. He might appear to be narcissistic, uncaring, and selfish at times but, the truth is, he is the best father I could have dreamed of for my son. He works as an escort for him, to pay for his treatments. He is going to give him a kidney.” Lindsay paused, letting her words sink in, before adding, “Brian would do anything for those he loves, even though he hates when we mention it.”

“Your son is sick?” Jennifer inquired, her brow furrowing in concern.

A brief, pained look crossed Lindsay’s face as she clarified, “He has kidney failure. He was diagnosed when he was an infant.”

“Brian told me he needed medical care, but I never imagined he was suffering from a serious disease.” Jennifer paused before commiserating, “I’m so sorry you have to deal with that.”

“We do what we have to do,” Lindsay responded with a shrug. “You have a son. You know what it’s like.”

“I do.” Jennifer agreed and peered down, obviously lost in thought, before gazing back up. “I would have never imagined that Brian…” she trailed off, before asking, “Does Justin know about Gus?”

“I’m pretty sure he does.” Lindsay specified, “Gus took an instant liking on your son.”

“Justin has always loved children.” Jennifer revealed. “I could use that drink now, if you wouldn’t mind.”

“Sure,” Lindsay smiled. “Follow me…”

A few minutes later, Brian joined them with Gus. Lindsay and Jennifer were enthusiastically chatting about Justin’s art while drinking tea, the women sitting next to each other on the couch. Brian gave them a pointed stare, Gus absently playing with his hair as the brunet held him.

“White!” Gus exclaimed, as he tried to pluck a hair from his father’s head.

“Ouch!” Brian complained, rubbing his head. “Gus, no.”

“Daddy! This’s white!” Gus reiterated excitedly.

“I don’t have white hair, Sonny Boy. Never have, never will.” Brian scoffed, looking at his son in disbelief.

“I hate to burst the bubble you’re living in, Brian, but I can assure you that you will have white hair one day, if you don’t already have some.” Lindsay smirked at her friend.

“Remind me why we’re friends, again?” Brian snarked, completely irritated at the notion of having to deal with the first signs of aging. “And Sonny Boy, say hello to Justin’s mother, would you?” he demanded, playfully poking his son with one finger.

Gus buried his head in his father’s neck in response.

“Gus,” Brian encouraged.

The toddler shyly turned his head in Jennifer’s direction, mumbling something incomprehensible.

“I’m pretty sure she didn’t hear you,” Brian commented. “Go on,” he urged his son as he walked closer to Jennifer, who stood up from the couch to smile at Gus.

Gus smiled back at her, and murmured a small, “Hello,” before hiding in his father’s embrace once more.

“He looks so much like you,” Jennifer declared, visibly amused by Gus’s antics.

“Well, he must be mine,” Brian quipped as he leaned his head against his son’s, striking a pose. “Have you finished playing besties or not?” he then asked mischievously, staring at Lindsay.

“I know you’re eager to go back to your boyfriend,” Lindsay teased him back, earning a very mature response from Brian in return.

“Let’s go,” Brian addressed Jennifer, grabbing a bag with Gus’s stuff from the entryway. “I’m sure you’re experiencing symptoms of mother hen withdrawal.”

Jennifer stared at Brian pointedly, but didn’t reply. Lindsay walked them to the hall, retrieved Jennifer’s jacket from the closet, and helped her put it on. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Jennifer,” she gushed, opening the front door.

“The pleasure was all mine,” Jennifer responded with a broad smile. Brian just rolled his eyes at such a pathetic contest of good manners and headed to his car to install Gus in his seat.

Jennifer soon joined them. Brian stared at her for a few seconds before sliding behind the wheel.

“What?” she asked, as she, too, entered the car.

“Remind me never to leave you alone with Linds’ again.” Brian declared as he turned on the Jeep.

Jennifer frowned. “Why are you saying that?”

Brian grimaced, putting the car in motion. “One WASP is bad enough. But two? Before you know it, you will be exchanging your veggie recipes for organic zucchini and all that shit.”

“I’m not sure why you’re complaining. At least, we didn’t talk about ‘little pumpkin’ or ‘soft baby banana’.” Jennifer retorted, barely suppressing a grin.

Brian didn’t say another word the rest of the way back to the clinic.

************************

Brian walked hand in hand with Gus and stopped in front of Justin’s room. Jennifer opened the door, the little boy immediately rushing to Justin’s side. “Jussin!”

“Hey, buddy,” Justin smiled. “Careful,” he cautioned when he felt the child climb onto the bed.

Gus settled in and pointed his finger at Justin’s bandage, inquiring, “Jussin hurt?”

“Justin had an operation, Gus. I told you about it, remember? We need to be very careful not to touch his eye.” Brian explained as he sat next to his son to prevent him from getting too close to the blond’s face.

Gus frowned, almost glaring at the bandage. “It’s an owie?” he asked his father.

“It’s like an owie.” Justin reassured him, sensing Gus was worried about his well-being. “It will be gone soon.”

Jennifer cleared her throat. “How are you feeling, Sweetheart?” she asked, earning a dry chuckle from Brian. Mother hen withdrawal was really a thing.

“I’m fine, Mom.” Justin assured her drily. “Daphne came by while you were gone. She just went to grab a cup of coffee.”

“And I’m back!” Daphne exclaimed as she walked into the room, having heard Justin’s response to his mom. “Here, I brought you a Hershey bar from the vending machine. It will taste much better than that disgusting sludge they gave you for lunch.”

“You already brought me potato chips and pretzels.” Justin snorted. “You want me to get fat?”

“Oh, come on! You could live on triple burgers at every meal and not gain a pound. That’s so unfair.” Daphne commented with a pout. “Hi, Mrs. Taylor. Brian,” she then greeted them. “And who’s this adorable boy?”

“Daphne, this is Gus. Gus, meet my best friend, Daphne,” Justin performed the introductions.

“Daphe?” Gus repeated, before looking excitedly at his father. “Like Daffy Duck?!”

Justin succumbed to a fit of giggles, while Brian managed to reply seriously, “Yes, just like Daffy Duck. She has a big, big mouth.” He then smirked at Daphne, who punched him in the arm in retaliation.

“And you have a big, big…”  Daphne began her riposte.

“Little ears,” Justin intervened, not wanting matters to escalate.

“You’re not funny,” Daphne asserted, but she was smiling. “I should go. Mrs. Taylor, could you give me a ride home?” she inquired.

Jennifer directed her gaze at Daphne, before peering at Brian, Justin, and Gus. She immediately responded, “Sure.” surprising her son, who glanced in Brian’s direction in stunned disbelief. The brunet simply shrugged as Jennifer gently chided, “I will be back tomorrow. Remember, you need to rest, young man.”

By now, Justin was sure Brian had drugged his mother. “Okay. Great. Yeah,” he mumbled.

“Goodbye, Gus. I hope to see you again very soon, okay?” Jennifer leaned closer to the bed to extend her hand to the little boy, who proudly grabbed hold and shook it.

She then peered up at Brian, who was looking at her, tongue-in-cheek. “Say goodbye to Grandma Jen, Sonny Boy,” the brunet requested, more to fuck with Jennifer than for any other reason.

“Goodbye, Grandma Jen!” Gus dutifully repeated as he waved at Jennifer. She waved back at him, and Brian winced when he noticed she looked very happy to be called Grandma. And there vanished Brian’s hope that she would feel old.

“Behave, Boys!” Daphne chirped as she left the room with Jennifer.

“Alone at last,” Brian drawled as he leaned closer to Justin’s face.

Gus giggled.

“What?” Brian peered down at his son.

“Do kissy-face?” Gus wondered innocently. “Like Mommy?”

Brian scowled “Gus, I really need you to understand that Daddy is nothing like Mommy. I don’t do kissy-face. I’m a real kisser.” He then grabbed Justin’s chin and leaned down to cover his lips, immediately diving in purposefully. Justin responded to his touch with a sigh, smiling against his lover’s mouth. Brian had to stop himself from deepening the kiss even more, although he’d had loved to, but Gus didn’t need to witness his father’s amazing skills in action.

“I’ve missed that,” Justin breathed out dreamily when Brian leaned back. “I missed you.”

Brian rolled his lips into his mouth. “You can’t have missed me. I’m here all the time.”

“With my mother,” Justin reminded him. “I can’t believe how overprotective she’s been. I swear if she keeps hovering over me like she has done for the past couple of days, I am going to disown her.”

“Disow her?” Gus echoed, not understanding what Justin was saying.

“Don’t listen to me, buddy. I’m just being silly.” Justin tilted his head toward Gus, tickling him playfully with his fingers and earning a chuckle from the toddler.

“You mother is not so bad,” Brian surprisingly declared. “She just wants what’s best for you.”

An astonished expression covered Justin’s face. Teasingly pushing Brian away, he exclaimed, “You’re not spending any more time with her. She has contaminated you!”

“Don’t worry. You’re still my favorite Taylor,” Brian grabbed Justin’s hand to trap him against the headboard, before kissing him one more time.

************************

After having spent the night at Lindsay and Melanie’s, Brian came back to see Justin with Gus on Thursday. The next day was going to be decisive for the blond’s future, and even though Justin did his best to hide his anxiety during their visit, Brian wasn’t fooled. Truthfully, the wait was nerve-wracking, and as much as they all tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal, Brian couldn’t ignore the knot in his stomach as he walked out of Justin’s room.

The brunet was working on Thursday night. He had already taken a couple of days off to stay with Justin, and Jeffrey had asked him to go back to work for one night as a favor, one of his regular clients having specifically requested Brian’s company on the Fourth of July. It was a blessing in disguise since it gave him an excuse not to attend Debbie’s cheesy Independence Day extravaganza.

So, Brian did what he did best, hoping this meeting would help him forget about everything else. He donned his best grey suit and a red tie, assumed a bullshit smile, and went to join Mr. Ravi Malone, a twenty-something, average looking, British heir to a shipping business. The brunet had never fucked Ravi, since the guy just liked to talk, a lot. Brian therefore sat at one of the best tables in the city and listened to his client complain about his meaningless life, his countless fucks, his shitty yacht, and his equally stupid best friend Sunny, an ugly, Chinese crested dog.

Fuck, he hated his job. Here he was, listening to some guy complaining about his dog’s hairdresser, and all he wanted to do was turn his napkin into a gag and stuff the thing into Ravi’s mouth. Instead, he nodded, frowned, laughed, and feigned outrage when he was expected to. Ravi left him after a couple of hours, during which Brian had uttered only a few words, such as “Mhmm…”, “Oh!”, “Ah”, “Really?”, as well as a “Thank you” to the waiter.

Brian left Ravi’s tip for the server. Two hundred dollars. At least someone would be happy tonight.

He walked out of the restaurant, desperate to breathe some fresh air. He was worried sick about the outcome of Justin’s surgery. After getting home, he tried to sleep, but he couldn’t, so he surfed the net for a couple of hours before dozing on and off for the rest of the night.  As a result, he felt completely restless and out of sorts when he got up in the morning.

The appointment to remove the bandage was scheduled for eleven o’clock. Brian showed up at ten forty-five. He paused before knocking on Justin’s door, not wanting to appear as nervous as he felt. Bracing his hands against the door, he lowered his head and took a deep breath.

When he entered the room, he immediately sensed Justin’s fear.

“Hey,” he greeted his lover, adding a nod for Jennifer, who was sitting quietly in a chair.

Justin didn't say a word, but grasped Brian's hand in a stranglehold after the brunet sat down next to him.

Seeing his lover so apprehensive helped Brian control his emotions; he refused to freak out and make it worse for Justin. “You’re crushing my hand,” he grumbled after a while, feeling like his fingers would break if he didn’t say anything.

“Sorry,” Justin released his hand, but Brian didn’t let him go. In fact, he gripped Justin’s hand tightly when he heard someone knock at the door. “Come in,” Justin invited.

A nurse entered the room, pushing a wheelchair. “Mr. Taylor?”

“Hey, Danielle,” Justin greeted the woman, his voice quavering slightly.

“I see you’re not alone. That’s good. Dr. Lewis will see you in his office right away. I just need you to sit in this wheelchair so we can go.”

“I don’t need a wheelchair,” Justin protested.

“Sorry, Honey, but you’re taking a free ride, and I’m your chauffeur.” Danielle refuted. “Or maybe you’d like to stay here another night to enjoy my scintillating company?” she teased, clearly trying to ease his nerves.

“Sweetie,” Jennifer urged, “you-”

Before his mother could spit out another word and likely get Justin’s back up even more, Brian - his throat so dry that he could barely speak - rasped out, “C’mon, Justin, be a good boy and get into the wheelchair.”

Justin glowered but allowed himself to be assisted into the wheelchair without further objection. Everyone remained silent during the journey through the hallways of the clinic. It felt like it took an hour for them to reach John’s office, although it couldn’t have been longer than five minutes.

John’s office door was open, and Brian could see the doctor frowning at the file he was perusing. He couldn’t help worrying that might be Justin’s patient record, indicating something had gone wrong with the surgery.

Danielle rolled Justin into the office, the scritch-scratch of the wheels on the floor prompting John to look up, just as Brian and Jennifer walked in behind him.

“Justin. Mrs. Taylor,” John stood up to greet them. “Brian…”

“John,” Brian responded with a curt nod.

“I’m sure you’re eager for me to remove the dressing, so I’m not going to make you wait any longer. Justin, please lie down on my exam table.” John requested. Danielle helped Justin stand up from the wheelchair and step over to the table. “Okay. Now, I’m going to take off the dressing very carefully. Keep your eye closed for the time being and open it when I ask you to. Any questions?”

“No,” Justin promptly replied, his hands clenched into fists at his sides. “I’m ready.”

John peered over at Brian, exchanging a glance with his former escort, before softly informing all of them, “I will count to three and remove it. Here we go... One, two, three,” he counted, before slowly peeling the bandage off of Justin’s face and placing it on a tray to the side of the examination table. “The bandage is off, Justin.”

Justin nodded, without opening his eye. Brian could see his chest rising and falling more rapidly now.

John evaluated the area around the eye, thoroughly scrutinizing it for any unusual bruising or swelling. When he had determined that it looked fine, he informed his patient, “Don’t be alarmed if you can’t see anything at first. Your eye will need time to adjust. In any case, your vision will be somewhat blurry. I will administer an antibiotic eye drop to prevent infection or inflammation in just a minute.”

“Okay,” Justin croaked.

“Alright, then, it’s time for you to open your eye,” John ordered.

As Jennifer and Brian waited with bated breath, Justin’s eye fluttered open…

 

Chapter Text

 

Friday, Vision Clinic...

Opening his eye, Justin was assaulted by brightness. He winced, blinking once, then twice, his heart hammering in his chest as he realized he couldn’t stand the light. A million thoughts raced through his head at this realization, but he couldn’t focus except to acknowledge that his worst fear had come true.

He couldn’t see anything. “I can’t…” he managed to breathe out. “I can’t see. I... Fuck!”

Brian felt his blood run cold as Justin tensed up by his side. He cursed loudly and started to pace back and forth in John’s office. With the blond reacting like that, it could only mean that the surgery hadn’t worked and, therefore, that Justin’s last hope of recovering his sight was vanishing. There was no way the blond could recover his sight in his much more deteriorated left eye, if this operation hadn’t succeeded. Brian felt his lungs closing up as he made eye contact with Jennifer, who was standing frozen at the foot of the examination table.

“Give it a moment,” John intervened, noticing everyone’s anxiety rising in the last few seconds. “It’s perfectly normal for your eye to need time to adjust. Can you tell me exactly what you’re experiencing?”

“I…” Justin began, trying to control his overwhelming panic. He felt Brian tentatively place a hand on his arm. “It’s bright. Too bright. It’s…”

“That’s a wonderful sign, Justin,” John cut him off, the tone of his voice reflecting his satisfaction. “What you’re seeing is most likely the ‘halo effect’ from the dimmed lights in here. Your eye isn’t used to that kind of brightness anymore.”

“No shit,” Brian quipped nervously. Justin was sure he was glaring at John for not having warned them sooner.

John ignored Brian’s remark and proposed, “Give your eye time to adjust. The halo should diminish during the next few minutes.”

Justin responded with a slight nod. Exhaling deeply, he forced himself to relax and open his eye. Again, he couldn’t bear the light, but he continued until he felt comfortable enough to stand it longer. It took several minutes for the irresistible urge to fight the brightness to fade.

During that time, Brian could barely breathe. His gaze never left Justin’s face as he suddenly realized his lover’s injured eye held a different color than before.

************************

When the light become bearable and Justin’s vision began to clear, the first thing the blond noticed was that he could discern the ceiling above him. But most importantly, he could see its color. It was a pale shade of white.

A moment later, he could see a small crack running along the smooth surface. It wasn’t clear, but it was there, undulating on a few inches.

Justin’s heart thumped as his lips curled upward, realizing Brian’s anxious breathing was echoing in his ears, and he blinked, before moving his head. As he did, he knew he would remember this moment - this image - for the rest of his life.

Brian’s face. It was indeed godlike, just as described in the newspaper the day after they’d met at the Bloom Gallery. The unblemished skin; the high forehead; the raspberry lips; the slightly rounded chin; the gently sloping nose with the tiny bump at the bridge - the small imperfection that Justin couldn’t actually see with his still cloudy vision but that he remembered tracing with his fingers; the finely-shaped ears; the dimple winking into existence next to his mouth; the arched brows under which hazel eyes sparkled - yes, all of those appealed to Justin.

But what really made the blond fall in love all over again was the auburn hair in messy disarray - as if Brian had been running his hands through it while he anxiously waited to find out whether Justin could see him, the light stubble on his chin and neck that showed he had been too keyed up to take the time to shave, and, especially, the undiluted joy in his eyes.

“Hey,” Justin breathed out, grinning broadly as he kept exploring his lover’s visage, unable to look away. Brian stared back at him with a huge smile of his own, raising his eyebrow in a silent question. Justin nodded, the bliss overpowering him. “Yes… yes, I can see you,” he said, his eyes tearing up against his will. He repeated, as if convincing himself that his most fervent wish had really come true, “I can see you.”

Brian bit down on his lip almost shyly, and Justin thought it was the most adorable thing he had even seen. Most of all, Justin was awed to read his lover’s face, which reflected a myriad of emotions. He hadn’t doubted the man’s feelings for a while now, but even though his sight was still affected by blurriness, he understood Brian really loved him. This was it. Nothing, no words, no ‘I love you’ could ever make Justin feel more loved than Brian’s gaze on him at this instant.

Justin felt high. He doubted he had ever felt happier in his entire life.

Impulsively grabbing the brunet’s hand, he murmured teasingly, “You’re kind of easy on the eye, you know?”

Brian let out a dry chuckle, replying impishly, “Admit it. Even in your wildest dreams, you couldn’t have imagined a hotter man than me. And you haven’t seen my...”

“Oh, Justin!” Jennifer interjected, as she, too, came to stand at Brian’s side, preventing him from finishing his sentence. Happy tears were running down her face.

“Mom…” Justin laughed as he looked at her. “It’s good to see you. You’ve aged well.”

John was smiling widely, too. “Nice to meet you, Justin,” the doctor jested, prompting the blond to look at him. The slightly overweight man was in his fifties, with grey, receding hair, but there was something beautiful about him, an ‘underlying’ kindness in his smile. For the first time since he’d met John, Justin forgot about the doctor’s relationship with Brian, only remembering what this man had done for him. Justin owed him so much. Not only John, but Brian as well. Without them, he probably never would have gotten his sight back.  

“I really want to kiss you right now,” Justin quipped, addressing John, before murmuring a heartfelt, “Thank you.”

“Before thanking me, let me examine your eye, okay?” John replied, reminding Justin that he needed to be careful. “The fact that you can see us is a very good sign, but I want to make sure everything’s alright.” He peered at Jennifer and Brian, requesting, “Why don’t you go to the main waiting area? I’m going to perform a few tests now, and I need Justin to focus on those.” He then regarded Justin, who was looking at Brian again. Visibly amused, he drawled, “Somehow, I think you’re too much of a distraction for my patient right now.”

Brian stared at John with a smirk. He was about to respond when Jennifer placed her hand on his side and pushed him toward the door. “Don’t answer that. I don’t want to know.” she ordered, although her lips curled upward.

Brian looked at her, his face caught between innocence and outrage, but he didn’t resist her. He stopped in front of the door, however, directing one last glance at Justin. “Be a good boy,” he mouthed jestingly.

Justin nodded at him in response. “I promise,” he whispered, merriment dancing in his eyes.

************************

Daphne was waiting for her friend with Brian and Jennifer when John called them to his office to share the prognosis with everyone. The doctor was obviously thrilled with the results of the surgery, but he nonetheless cautioned his patient about the aftermath of the procedure, giving him a series of strict instructions to adhere to until their next appointment, which was scheduled for the following Tuesday. He calculated that Justin would recover at least 80% of his sight in that eye, if not more. The blond needed to follow the guidelines, but his eye should continue to heal nicely as long as he was careful.

Daphne began to sob uncontrollably as John finished his lecture, availing herself of Brian’s jacket as a tissue. Justin had to hug her for long minutes to calm her down, avoiding his lover’s indignation over the fate of his designer clothing, although he ended up crying on her shoulder too.

He finally realized that this was really happening, that he was allowed to go home, back into a world he had not been able to observe for more than a year.

Jennifer surprisingly left with Daphne after having heard the prognosis from John, about an hour after her son first opened his eye. Thus, Brian was the one to escort his lover out of the clinic, Justin’s hand wrapped around his arm, the blond’s eyes protected by shades. And yet, there was something very different in Justin’s posture, in the way he walked. The artist felt a hesitancy that hadn’t been there before, but at the same time, he felt stronger. It was hard to explain.

Justin let Brian drive them back to the loft. Neither man talked during the ride, nor questioned where they were going. Justin felt out of his mind, as if he were breathing in a dream, yet also wide awake. He kept staring at every single thing his eye fell upon, like an infant discovering the beauty of the world for the first time. His fingers were itching to draw, to carve that beauty into paper. He had never experienced such elation before.

In the end, his eyes were always drawn back to Brian. He had traced every curve of his lover’s face, every inch of his body, imagining the brunet countless times in his mind. Every time, the image he had created had been perfect. How could it not have been? Justin was so fucking in love with this man.

He could see him now, though. And he realized Brian wasn’t perfect, not really, because such a fantasy didn’t exist. Brian was real and fucking handsome, even if that thought was still too simplistic. Justin couldn't find better words, however, to describe how he felt at that moment, observing his lover’s aquiline silhouette, his gaze fixed on the road as he navigated the streets.  

Brian parked, turning off the Jeep. Justin didn’t move as the brunet unlocked his seatbelt and got out of the vehicle. Only when Brian opened his door did he realize he could do it on its own. Peering at his lover’s expectant face, he smiled and slid off the seat. Brian stepped back, allowing Justin to decide his next move. The blond stood still for a moment, looking around at everything on the street, before he reached for Brian’s hand, interlacing their fingers together.

Justin entered the building and walked to the elevator with Brian at his side. He laughed when he saw it, before lifting the barrier with his free hand. They rode to the third floor in silence, and Justin felt his heart thump as they walked out, stopping in front of the door to Brian’s loft.

“Ready to enter the gate to paradise?” Brian quipped with a smirk as he unlocked it and slid it open.

“I can’t wait,” Justin grinned.

Brian gestured for him to walk inside, and Justin finally entered the loft, deliberately taking his time. Brian followed him, but after having closed the door, he stayed there, watching Justin made his way around.

Images of the two of them melded with the place Justin was seeing for the first time. He could envision them laughing at the kitchen counter, fucking on the couch, and defining their relationship in the bedroom, that night when Justin had told Brian he was in love with him. It was mesmerizing, especially because this place was everything Justin had imagined, and more.

As the artist took the three steps separating him from the center of the loft, he paused, staring at the rumpled bed. Closing his eyes briefly, he turned around and met Brian’s eyes.

Without a word, he headed toward his lover and stopped in front of him, never breaking their gaze. He reached out to touch Brian’s face, letting his fingers graze his skin. Everything in that man was waking up a dormant desire, one Justin couldn’t ignore any longer.

“I want to draw you,” he breathed out as he gently pushed a lock of the brunet’s hair back from his forehead. “I want you naked. On your bed. On your back.”

Brian raised an eyebrow. “You probably should rest,” he cautioned, even though Justin could hear the quiver lacing his words. There was no doubt in his mind that Brian wanted this just as much as he did.

Justin unconsciously licked his lower lip, and he heard Brian exhale a dry, “Fuck…” before the man leaned down and kissed him.

They tried to slow down but were consumed by the need to crush their lips together. It was raw, almost animalistic. Justin knew they should stop, John having warned him to take it easy for the next few days, but he couldn’t do anything to prevent what was happening. Even when Brian leaned back, his eyes glazed with lust, Justin couldn’t halt, trying to resume their kiss immediately by placing his hand at the back of Brian’s neck and urging his lover to continue. Brian resisted, which made everything even more unbearable, the blond’s cock feeling so fucking hard and hot in his pants. Justin was pretty sure he whimpered then, and his lover gripped his waist tightly in response, pulling him more firmly against his body and staking his claim, even harder than before.

After kissing for a long time, they collapsed to the floor, Brian’s body covering Justin’s, and he hastily popped the blond’s jeans open with one hand. The brunet hovered over his lover teasingly, his fingers wrapping around the blond’s cock. He wanted to read every nuance of pleasure on Justin’s face as he began to slowly jerk him off. Justin’s mouth opened as he tried to breathe through his grunts and moans, and the brunet kept savoring the moment, his hand moving up and down, again and again, on the blond’s shaft. Of course, having Justin come from a handjob wasn’t enough for Brian, so he lowered his head to taste what he really craved.

The instant the brunet’s tongue traced the tip of Justin’s cock, the artist’s back arched off the floor as he tried to feed his dick to his lover. He was too fucking gone to stop his body from reacting to this delightful touch, the wetness and warmth of Brian’s tongue entirely too heavenly. Brian smirked, ignoring Justin’s undulations, and kept focusing on the tip, until his lover’s breathing became ragged. Only then did he engulf Justin’s cock, relishing the feeling of the hard shaft filling his mouth, and he lost himself in the task, one goal in mind. To make Justin come.

However, Brian also needed to come desperately, so he continued to hum and suck while opening his own pants, and upon freeing his dick, he immediately started to fuck his fist. He would have preferred to fuck Justin, but they weren’t supposed to so soon after the surgery. A blowjob probably wasn’t recommended either, but it was too late.

As a result of his ministrations, his grunts became louder, although muffled by Justin’s cock, and all too soon, the two men were shamelessly moaning in bliss. Brian felt high as immense pleasure rushed through his own cock, and he let go of all restraint, sucking Justin hard, so fucking hard and fast that the first spurts of come surged into his mouth without the blond being able to warn him, except for the loud shout which echoed around the loft. He swallowed and then cried out in ecstasy, feeling his cock pulsate in his hand as he climaxed, his come decorating their clothing.

He couldn’t have cared less, however, since he couldn’t think. Every time he and Justin had sex, his orgasm left him breathless and delirious. Really, he had never imagined how good sex could be when he was with a man he cared about. Everything was more intense, the sensations increasing more than tenfold, his body in sync with his mind, and he behaved like a puppet his lover could easily stimulate without doing much of anything. Every touch, brush, graze, lick, and kiss turned him on so fucking much. It was insane.

Right now, Brian struggled to catch his breath, rolling onto his back next to Justin, who hadn’t moved at all. A minute elapsed before Brian recovered enough to drawl, “You do realize I’m reduced to performing a blowjob on the floor and to finishing myself with my hand because I can’t for the life of me resist you, right? I mean, the bed is inches away. What the fuck are we doing here?”

Justin barked out a laugh. “You could have fucked me.”

“You heard John. Strenuous activity is not recommended. I’m pretty sure a hard, deep fuck has to be avoided, alas,” the brunet complained.

“This is your definition of light exercise?” Justin railed, laughter bubbling from his chest.

“Well, I hadn’t fucked you in nearly four days. My balls were turning blue,” Brian declared shamelessly.

“Hmm…” Justin responded absently, amused by Brian’s logic. He was pretty sure Brian could have fucked him instead of blowing him, and the experience wouldn’t have been any less intense. “Well, I still want to draw you. Do you have a piece of paper somewhere?”

“Sure,” Brian confirmed, but he didn’t move. Feeling Justin’s stare on him, he rolled his eyes. “Now?”

Justin straightened up on his elbows to look at Brian. “Yes, please…” he grinned, before covering the brunet’s lips. Brian sighed happily as he welcomed Justin’s tongue into his mouth, and was about to deepen their touch when his lover suddenly stood up, leaving him all hot and bothered on the floor.

Brian glared at him, but his gaze quickly lowered to the blond’s ass, as Justin hiked up his jeans and walked toward the kitchen.

“I can feel that,” Justin informed him with a chuckle, opening the fridge to retrieve a bottle of water.

“Your ass is a piece of art,” Brian commented as he finally got up. He decided not to bother with his clothes. Making sure to wait for Justin to turn around, he slowly pulled his shirt over his head, letting it fall to the floor, his eyes fixed on Justin’s face. His lover was visibly enthralled by the show, as he stared, mesmerized, at the brunet’s arms, chest, and nipples. Satisfied, Brian then placed his hands at his waistband and stayed still for a long moment, before lowering his jeans completely. Once he had stepped out of his pants, he sauntered over to Justin, purposely undulating his hips, and stopped in front of him. His eyes never swerving, he snatched the water bottle from Justin’s hand, took a few sips, and finally poured it carefully over his head, shaking his now wet hair, the drops running down his body.

Justin swallowed, frozen in place. Brian pretended to lean in to kiss him, but instead of covering his lips, he exhaled, his warm breath washing over the blond’s skin, while his eyes traveled over his lover’s face enticingly. When Justin shivered at the simple gesture, Brian smirked, before brushing against Justin’s body as he walked past him and headed toward the kitchen counter.

Now, Brian was sure Justin’s inspiration to draw him has reached its peak.

Opening a kitchen drawer, Brian retrieved a pad and a pencil and placed them on the counter. Then, he advanced toward the bedroom and climbed the steps, giving time to Justin to pick up the items. A few seconds later, he sensed his lover behind him, just an inch away from his body. He couldn’t help but quiver when the blond boldly reached for the curve of his ass, tracing the separation between his cheeks, his warm lips grazing his neck sensually.

The delicious, unexpected touch didn’t last however, as Justin halted the motion, breathing out, “I want you on your stomach on the bed. Now.”

Brian was surprised that the image of himself spread out for his lover appealed to him so strongly. He had been fucked since he’d become sexually active, but it hadn’t happened often, Brian quickly realizing that he preferred to top rather than bottom. No matter what, he had never liked to relinquish control.

Brian closed his eyes briefly, chasing a picture of Justin fucking him from his mind, and moved to the bed. He slowly lay down and waited for his lover’s next move.

Justin breathed deeply. To say that he was affected by Brian’s beauty was a huge understatement, and even though he longed to have sex again, his need to sketch the brunet’s form was stronger. He therefore went to sit on the edge of the bed and stared at Brian’s naked body. His gaze roamed over Brian’s back, his ass, his legs. He inhaled every detail, every inch of his skin and began to slide his pencil across the paper.

As the drawing progressed, line by line, Justin felt Brian staring at him, but he ignored it. Biting his lip, his hand moving ceaselessly, he gazed back and forth, his brow furrowing. Brian spoke at some point, but he was too focused to actually register what his lover said.

Justin didn’t hear anything, not the vivid scritching of his pencil or Brian’s slower breathing. Artists often claimed to enter some kind of a trance when they created, and Justin would have agreed, if asked. He would also have said that transcendent state was nothing compared to what he was experiencing right now. After being almost blind and meeting the love of his life. After recovering his sight and being able to draw the one person that meant the most to him.

His strokes became quicker and shorter as the indistinct form on the paper turned into a man. Individual features emerged from the elongated silhouette, shadows giving the drawing depth and realism. Brian’s humanity, his essence, surged to life. Justin doubted anyone else could see Brian as he saw him, for the man he really was, but if they couldn’t, the artist would show them.

When his hand stopped moving, the artist lit up as he peered at the result of his frenzy. Of all the sketches Justin had ever created, this one must be the most beautiful. Not because Brian was a handsome man, but because everything Justin felt for the man had come to life on the page.

He stared at the drawing for a long moment. He didn’t even know how long he’d zoned out when he finally looked up at Brian on the bed, sound asleep and snoring lightly, his hair falling into his eyes, his legs slightly spread, his bare ass begging to be touched.

That’s when Justin realized that he was hard as steel and definitely turned on. He had read somewhere that creating produced a euphoria that could only be compared to the feelings one experienced during the best sex of their life, with sex often paling in comparison even then.

But sex never paled with Brian. The brunet elicited so many emotions and feelings - pleasurable feelings - ones the blond never could have imagined. And right now, he wanted even more. In fact, he craved his model, badly.

Deciding not to resist the urge any longer, Justin stopped thinking and acted, standing up and undressing. His clothes landed on the floor next to the bed. His gaze never left Brian’s body as he finally placed a knee on the bed, his hand reaching for the skin he so strongly yearned to touch, feeling the soft fuzz along the curve of his lover’s ass.

He caressed both cheeks and leaned down, a clear goal in mind. He started to pepper the small of Brian’s back with kisses, his mouth slowly traveling lower. His hands never stopped moving over the skin, his fingers reaching for the place he so longed to touch. He resisted, though, exploring hips, thighs, and legs instead.

Brian stirred under him. Justin peered at his lover’s face, but the brunet’s eyes were still closed. The blond smiled, before resuming his kisses.

But Brian suddenly pulled away, rolling onto his side, a disapproving look on his face. “What do you think you’re doing?” he sternly asked, his brow furrowing.

Justin was so startled by Brian’s reaction that he stammered, “I… I was going…”

“Justin,” Brian interrupted him with a sigh, propping himself up on his elbow. “You’re recovering from a major surgery. You can’t ignore John’s recommendations to take it easy. What if you rim me, or fuck me, and something goes wrong with your eye? What then? I shouldn’t have given you a blowjob in the first place.”

Justin frowned. Brian was angry because of the surgery? “I feel fine, Brian,” he weakly argued, although he knew his lover was right. John had specifically instructed them to avoid any strenuous activity, for Justin not to overdo it. He was supposed to sleep with a protective pad over his eye for the next couple of days. And that blowjob earlier had been a little reckless, even though Justin had not done much of anything except enjoy the sensations Brian had elicited.

“We can’t risk it,” Brian firmly asserted, bringing him back from his musings. The brunet sat up, before slowly slipping his fingers into blond’s hair. “I don’t want anything to go wrong.”

“I don’t want that, either,” Justin agreed, closing his eyes briefly. “I just… I really want to…” he trailed off, avoiding Brian’s eyes, anxious about revealing how much he wanted to be inside the brunet.

“...fuck me?” Brian finished his thought, his lips curling upward. When Justin nodded, Brian’s expression became serious. He stared insistently at his lover until the blond peered at him. “I get it, Justin. You’ve never fucked anyone, never experienced what it’s like to have a warm ass surrounding your cock.”

“I don’t want to fuck just anyone,” Justin countered, grabbing Brian’s hand and placing their joined hands on the bed. “I want to be inside you.”

Brian stared at Justin, his gaze indecipherable. The artist realized he couldn’t read him, even if he had regained most of his sight. It had nothing to do with the blurriness still affecting his vision, but only with Brian not wanting Justin to know how he felt about getting fucked.

So, Justin’s only option was to push him. “You don’t get it, do you?”

“Get what?” Brian inquired, shaking his head in confusion.

Justin held his lover’s gaze, “How it feels to have my sight back. How it feels to see you. To really see you.” He glanced away momentarily before stating with conviction, “It’s like… I can’t stop staring at you, because I’m afraid it’s just a dream, that I will wake up and my sight will be gone. That all that will remain will be this... near blackness.” He paused, shuddering at the thought of being almost blind again if anything went wrong.

Feeling Justin’s tension, Brian immediately reassured him, “John said it was almost certain that your eye would continue to heal, that the most difficult part is behind you...”

“I know,” Justin responded. He peered at Brian, searching for the right words for what he really wanted to convey. He gently traced Brian’s jaw with his fingers, before letting his hand fall back. “You’re so fucking beautiful, and I keep thinking this can’t be true. It can’t be possible for a man to look so beautiful when he is already the best man I have ever met.”

Brian was totally taken aback by Justin’s declaration. He had never doubted his lover’s feelings since they’d reunited, but hearing the blond’s sincerity made his heart thump, fast.

“I drew you, and I couldn’t stop those feelings from overwhelming me,” Justin continues. “And I don’t want to fuck you to feel good, or just because I’m horny. I want you because I love you, and I know you love me too.”

Brian didn’t respond, didn’t move. But while Justin hadn’t been able to read his lover earlier, he could now see Brian’s feelings reflected in his gaze, in his smile.  

“You’re such a romantic twat,” Brian eventually drawled, reaching for Justin and pulling him into his arms. Embracing the blond tightly, yet careful not to put any pressure on his eye, he held his lover for a long time, before murmuring softly, “I do love you,” in his ear.

 

Chapter Text

The loft, one-and-a-half months later, Friday, 23rd August 2002...

“Aren’t you tired of drawing my cock?” Brian drawled, as he lay down on the bed, absently caressing his torso before reaching to his right for his pack of cigarettes. Deciding that was too much effort, he let his head drop back onto the pillow.

“No,” Justin laughed. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, his eyes barely leaving his sketchpad. Ever since he’d gotten his sight back, Justin was drawing all the time. On the street, in the loft, anywhere he saw something that caught his eye. And most of the time, that was Brian.

“You should have told me that once you had your sight back, I would be doomed to suffer from your never-ending need to draw. I would have bargained for you to suck me off while you doodle, to spice things up. Staying still is not fun, you know.” Brian complained, arching his back off the mattress to relieve the tension in his muscles.

“Shut up,” Justin countered playfully. “I’m almost done.”

“Thank the Lord,” Brian retorted. “I will finally get compensation. A ‘hot’ shower?”

“I have a check-up with John in an hour,” Justin absently informed Brian. After his second surgery in late July, his left eye still wasn’t as strong as his right one, but even though he couldn’t see as clearly as prior to the bashing and would have to use glasses for the rest of his life, he didn’t care. As far as the blond was concerned, John was a miracle worker.

“Who said shower sex couldn’t be quick? You’re not leaving this place without having welcomed my dick up your ass,” Brian demanded with a smirk.

Justin paused, amused. “You’re so romantic when you express your love, dear,” he mocked, adding the last touches to his drawing.

“I have no problem professing I’m in love with your ass,” Brian said, tongue-in-cheek, as he rolled onto his stomach, then onto his back again, pushing his head onto Justin’s lap. With no choice but to stop drawing, Justin let his sketchpad fall to his side, while Brian grinned at him, waiting for the blond to express his gratitude over his declaration.

“You’re…” Justin’s voice trailed off.

“One-of-a-kind? Hot as hell? The most irresistible man you have ever met?” Brian supplied, before affirming smugly, “Yeah. I know.”

“I was aiming for sweet,” Justin replied in a jesting tone. “You’re so sweet.”

“If I’m sweet, you can suck me off.” Brian declared, raising his hand to grab the back of Justin’s head and pull him into a kiss.

Of course, Justin soon complied with Brian’s request and took his dick in his mouth, much to the brunet’s delight. Unfortunately, the phone started ringing just when Brian felt himself hardening to full mast.

“Don’t you dare,” he growled when Justin stopped his ministrations.

“It could be important,” the blond replied sheepishly, as he reached for the phone in his pocket and stared at the name on the screen. “It’s Lindsay,” he informed Brian before answering. “Hey Linds. What’s up?”

Brian sighed heavily. So much for his reward. Peering up at Justin, he noticed his brow furrowing before the blond exclaimed, “Really?” his face lighting up. The conversation continued with Justin nodding a few times, his lips curling upward repeatedly, but Brian couldn’t figure out what they were talking about. “I will tell him. Later,” Justin finally concluded after a couple of minutes, before ending the call.

“So?” Brian demanded, arching an eyebrow as he propped himself up on his elbows.

“Your appointment with Gus’s doctor is confirmed for next Monday at ten-thirty.” Justin declared, before discarding his cell on the bed and moving slowly to lie next to Brian, lowering his head to pepper Brian’s stomach with small kisses.

“And?” Brian pushed, although his breath caught in his throat when Justin started to touch his cock.

“And,” Justin licked the head sensually before glancing at his boyfriend with a mischievous smile, “Lindsay asked me to show some of my drawings at Sydney’s gallery.”

“Oh?” Brian responded absently, since Justin was yet again teasing him with soft kisses along his shaft. “I assume you’re pleased?”

Justin didn’t stop as he fully devoted himself to Brian’s cock, taking him into his mouth very slowly. He hummed loudly in agreement, though, the vibrations sending shivers throughout his lover’s body.

Fuck. Only Justin could sound so dirty when he hummed around his cock. Brian groaned, propelling his hips upward. “When is the exhibition?” he asked before losing the power of speech. The blond was so fucking good at giving head.

Justin sucked him a little longer before pulling off and answering, “Next week. Now shut up, would you? This impressive cock needs my attention.” he demanded before engulfing Brian’s shaft, humming again.

Brian had no other choice but to obey.

************************

Allegheny Hospital, Monday, 10:50 a.m.

“So, Mrs. Peterson, Mr. Kinney.” Doctor Harris began from behind her desk, with Brian and Lindsay sitting across from her. She was Gus’s nephrologist and had followed the little boy’s condition ever since he had been diagnosed. “I’m happy to say that based on the latest tests, we’re confident Gus is ready for the transplant. But, before talking about what that will involve, I want to make sure you understand this is just the beginning.”

“We get it,” Brian intervened. “Gus will always need medical attention, no matter how the surgery goes.”

“Yes,” Dr Harris confirmed. “The fact that he is just a little boy and will receive your kidney means his body will need to adjust to its size. His heart will pump harder to accommodate an organ which is significantly larger than his, so the first year following the surgery will be critical. It’s going to be tough.”

Lindsay fidgeted uncomfortably in her seat. “But this is his best shot, right? I mean, Brian donating his kidney is better than waiting for a smaller organ to be available?”

Dr Harris nodded. “It is. All research shows that receiving a kidney from a family member gives the patient a better chance for a full recovery, even for a young child. We couldn’t schedule a transplant until now since Gus was too small, but now that he is gaining weight and growing up, I believe this surgery is his best chance. There is still a risk, though, that Gus will reject your kidney, Mr. Kinney. If it comes to that, we will start the dialysis again and wait for another organ to become available. A rejection doesn’t necessarily mean his life would be threatened, but of course, we hope that won’t happen. That’s also why I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important it is that he take his medications following the transplant. That will minimize the risk of rejection as well as making it easier for his heart to accommodate the new kidney.”

“So…” Brian prompted, overwhelmed by the whole conversation. To know all that his son would have to endure made him feel sick. But there wasn’t anything he could do about it. “How do we proceed?”

“You’re going to undergo some more blood tests and the necessary exams to confirm we can schedule the surgery. Talk to my secretary to arrange the appointments. If your results come back clean, we will schedule your son’s surgery in roughly two months. That means you will have to undergo more tests for the preop in October.” Dr. Harris responded, staring at Brian. “Also, there’s one matter we haven’t discussed until now…”

“That matter being?” Brian asked.

“I believe you’re straight?” Dr. Harris inquired, even though Brian felt like she was lying. He was aware that donating an organ as a gay man was not that simple. According to the law, he shouldn’t be able to give his kidney to his son. That’s why when Gus had been diagnosed, Melanie had suggested that he play straight, and for Lindsay and Brian to be the only ones present at medical meetings, avoiding any further questions about their sexuality. The staff already knew Lindsay was a lesbian, since Melanie had gone to the hospital with her when Gus had become sick, but Brian had never told them he was gay. In fact, no one had asked him to confirm his sexual orientation until today. He had found it a bit odd, but he had gladly kept quiet. Not that he would have been surprised if the staff had discovered he was queer, since anybody aware of his sexual orientation could have mentioned it. If it had come to that, Brian didn’t know what he would have done. Knowing you were a match to save your son’s life but being denied the chance just because you have sex with men and not women? The thought angered him, but it also scared him to death.

That’s why he felt his blood run cold when Dr. Harris mentioned his sexual orientation. There was something in the way she looked at him that told Brian she knew.

Shit. She fucking knew.

“Gay men are not allowed to donate their organs if they’ve had sex with another man in the year prior to the transplant. You know that, right? In fact, in some cases, the interdiction could theoretically be extended to five years.”

“So?” Brian tried to respond as nonchalantly as possible. No way was the doc going to prevent him from giving his kidney now, when she hadn’t confronted him about being a fag during the past year. If she had done her job and warned him before, he could have pretended to stop having sex, as well as halting the extra services as an escort. It was not a lie when they made you lie, right? Hell, he could have even stopped having sex for his son. But he hadn’t. He hadn’t had sex with anyone but Justin for a couple of months, but legally it wasn’t enough, even though all the tests to prepare for his son’s surgery over the past year had been negative. He didn’t drink, didn’t do drugs. He ate healthily.

Fuck the law.

“So, since all your blood tests have come back clean for the past year, and since you’re straight, the restrictions applying to gay men are not a problem for you.” Dr. Harris resumed.

Brian frowned when he noticed she was trying to conceal a smile. “Cut the crap, Doc. What the fuck is this all about?” he couldn’t help but snarl.

“Brian…” Lindsay stated sternly, reminding him that he couldn’t fuck it up. Not now.

“You don’t need to worry.” Dr. Harris reassured him. “You see, my brother is gay. Actually, you know him.”

“I do?” Brian asked, bewildered.

“Yes. He’s a psychiatrist. Alex Wilder?” Dr. Harris revealed.

“Alex…” Brian repeated, remembering the last time he had seen him, a few months back. At the time, Gus had been really sick, having a hard time adjusting to his meds. Alex had been at a social event Brian had attended with his boss, and since the man was a shrink, Brian had asked him for advice about how to cope with his son’s disease. Later that night, Brian had repaid him by fucking him at the baths. Alex hadn’t mentioned, however, that his sister, the leading pediatric specialist for kidney failure at Allegheny Hospital, would likely handle Gus’s case. “Yes. I know him,” he acknowledged.

“That’s what he told me when I mentioned your son was a patient.” Dr. Harris confirmed. “He also told me than even if you were gay, you wouldn’t have had sex in years since you’re impotent.”

“Impotent?” Brian barked out a laugh. He had a feeling Alex had not used that word to describe their encounter, but he now better understood Dr. Harris’s motives for ignoring his sexual status. Not only was she sympathetic to queers, she had also obtained the information during a private discussion with her brother. He therefore drawled, “And how exactly does Alex know you’re my son’s doctor? Aren’t you bound by patient privacy rights?”

“We all have our secrets. Now you know mine.” Dr. Harris answered knowingly. “Since, as far as I’m concerned, you are either an impotent gay man or a straight one, I’m officially giving my assent for Gus’s surgery, as long as all the tests remain clear.”

“That’s good to know.” Brian replied with a false smile on his face.

“Thank you,” Lindsay concurred. She had been so tense during the exchange that Brian could feel her relief in those two words.

Brian was about to stand up when Dr. Harris added, “You weren’t smart about this, Mr. Kinney. Some of my colleagues wouldn’t have been so conciliatory if they had learned you were pretending to be someone you’re not. Believe me, I have heard stories about gay men being denied the chance to donate organs to their loved ones because of their sexuality. We still have a long ways to go to gain equality for all.”

“I may have pretended to be straight, but nobody asked me to confirm or deny it until today.” Brian countered, although he knew Dr. Harris was right. Furthermore, Brian remembered not answering the question about sexual orientation on his initial medical form. No one had ever commented on the omission, though, if it had even been noticed.

“Be thankful there weren’t any negative repercussions.” Dr. Harris stated, before declaring, “The subject is officially closed. I will see you soon to talk about the surgery. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions, okay?” she addressed both Brian and Lindsay.

“We will call you if needed,” Lindsay nodded as she shook the woman’s hand.

“Mrs. Peterson,” Dr. Harris bid them goodbye. “Mr. Kinney.”

“Doc,” Brian shook her hand before following Lindsay out of the office.

************************

Lindsay and Melanie’s place, Monday, 7:30 p.m…

Justin joined Brian at the girls’ house at the end of the afternoon. They both planned to spend the night there, since Gus had asked for ‘Jussin’ to come with his father the next time Brian slept at his home. The child had been particularly needy lately, and everyone had agreed that getting together to support him would be a good thing.

After dinner, Gus carried his pencil case and a pad of paper over to his blond friend, who was lounging on the sofa next to Brian. “Jussin, wan’ draw wif me?”

“Sure. Climb up here,” Justin suggested, helping the boy settle onto his lap.

When Gus asked, “We draw Daddy?” Brian couldn’t stop the fond smile that formed on his face.

“How about you with your dad?” Justin suggested. Gus beamed in response while Brian playfully grabbed him and tickled his ribs, making the toddler laugh hysterically.

“Come on,” Brian urged as he put his son down by his side, next to Justin. The blond had placed the sketchpad on the coffee table, with two pieces of paper in front of them. “Let’s show Justin what a real artist is,” he quipped as he gave his son an orange pencil. Gus nodded vigorously and began to doodle away.

Half an hour later, when Lindsay came over to them, looking silently down at Gus, Justin announced, “Come on, Buddy. It’s time for you to go to bed.”

“Daddy?” Gus begged his father.

“Show us your masterpieces, and then Justin and I are going with you to settle you down for the night, okay?” Brian proposed, sensing his son was disappointed to stop drawing. Gus reluctantly nodded, before proudly producing the thirteen sheets of paper he had scribbled on, Justin and Brian pretending to be fascinated by every one of them. Apparently the boy was satisfied with their reactions, since he didn’t protest any further when Justin secured him in his arms.

“Go ahead,” Lindsay murmured, bussing her son on the cheek. She then addressed Brian, “You know where everything is.”

After helping his son change into his pajamas, Brian tucked Gus into bed, pulled out one of his favorite books, and started reading. Meanwhile, Justin whipped out the pad Gus had been scribbling on and sat at the end of the bed, beginning to sketch the scene.

It wasn’t long before Gus began to yawn to the sound of Brian’s voice and the susurrus of Justin’s pencil moving across paper. Noticing his son’s tiredness, Brian helped him getting ready for his dialysis, as soon as he had finished reading.

“Here… you can sleep now.” Brian declared as he finished placing the tubes and programing the machine. Smiling lovingly down at his son, he switched off the lamp by the bed.

“Sleep wif me?” Gus asked hopefully.

“We will,” Brian caressed Gus’s forehead in reassurance. “Even if we will be obligated to spoon together,” he added as he eyed the bed next to Gus’s. It was nothing compared to the king-size one he had at home, but Justin and he could probably fit on it. They would just need to squeeze in a little, not that Brian minded much.

“Night, Daddy,” Gus hugged his father, before calling out, “Night, Jussin.”

“Night, Buddy,” Justin responded as he came closer to place a kiss on the boy’s temple.

************************

When they got back downstairs, Melanie held up a bottle of whiskey, arching her eyebrows in question.

“Fuck, yes,” Brian groaned, collapsing onto the sofa and pulling Justin over to him. He figured one drink couldn’t do any harm, although he would refrain from more.

“What did Gus’s doctor say about the operation?” Justin inquired as he opened the notepad to add detail to the sketch.

Lindsay shrugged at Brian before heading to the kitchen, so the brunet gathered she was leaving it up to him as to how much he wanted to reveal about their discussion with Dr. Harris.

“That being gay sucks when you want to donate a kidney?” Brian answered derisively, picking up the glass Melanie had placed on the coffee table.

“What?” Justin exclaimed as he peered up at Brian.

“Relax,” Brian took a sip of his Beam. “The operation will be scheduled in the next couple of months. But, legally, I shouldn’t be a donor.” He stared at the amber liquid in his glass, waiting for the information to sink in, before drawling wryly, “We live in a wonderful world, don’t we?”

Melanie, surmising what had happened during their meeting with Gus’s nephrologist, snarled, “Dr. Harris knows you’re gay? What the fuck, Brian?”

“Hey!” Brian sneered. “She might know, but she consented for me to give my kidney to my kid, so back the fuck off.” When he saw the frustrated look on her face, however, he revealed, “She is Alex Wilder’s sister. The shrink?”

“You’re kidding me,” Melanie said, bewildered.

“Cheers to you, too.” Brian raised his glass in a jesting manner.

“Fuck…” Justin muttered. “I never thought the medical profession could give you a hard time about this because you’re gay. I mean, I know the law, but it seems so insane not to allow someone to donate an organ, depriving a patient of their best shot at healing as a result, just because of the donor’s sexuality. It’s not like they can’t force you to take as many tests as they want before the surgery ever happens, right?”

Brian let out a dry chuckle. “Yeah, I’ve been tested repeatedly ever since Gus was diagnosed. But laws are made by straight people. And there are only two kinds of straights. The ones who hate you to your face, and the ones who hate you behind your back. Of course they don’t allow us the same rights that they have.”

“I think we’re damned lucky on this one,” Lindsay interjected when she returned from the kitchen, having obviously overheard Brian’s statement. The brunet noticed right away how tense she was, not that he blamed her. For a short moment in that office, Brian had been scared shitless too.

Lindsay resumed, as she started to pace, “If Dr. Harris had wanted to, she could have stopped the procedure. And there wouldn’t have been anything we could have done about it, except wait for a new donor. So, for once, can we just be grateful and stop talking about straight people being stupid jerks? Because from where I stand, a straight doctor saved our asses today.”

Brian nodded. “She must be a dyke,” he volunteered playfully, wanting to dissipate the tension coming from the mother of his child. When she gave him a stern look, he snorted, “What? I’m complimenting you!”

“You’re insufferable,” Lindsay responded, but she couldn’t stop her lips from curling upward.

“You’re realizing that just now?” Melanie mocked.

“Jesus, Justin, this is incredible,” Lindsay ignored her partner’s joke as she noticed the drawing the artist was working on. Coming to sit next to the blond, she peered down at the paper. “May I?”

“Sure,” Justin handed her his work. He was happy with the way he had captured the father and son’s love for each other.

“Can we display it at the gallery?” Lindsay inquired after staring at the faces on the paper for a minute. She was convinced this sketch would be perfect for the upcoming exhibition, where Justin had agreed to show his art.

“I wanted to give it to Brian,” Justin disclosed.

“Of course,” Lindsay nodded in understanding, handing the sketch back to Justin. “What if we display it as ‘not for sale’ and then return it to you? How are your preparations for next Friday’s exhibition coming along anyway?”

Justin smiled, agreeing, “That would be fine. And arranging an exhibition focused on sketches and drafts is a great idea, besides which Sydney seemed very pleased with the work I gave him.”

“He must be. You’re a genius.” Brian declared seriously.

“I’m not a genius,” Justin shook his head, albeit pleased by his companion’s praise.

“No need to play modest Sunshine. You’re fucking good.” Brian insisted, as he placed his hand at the back of his lover’s neck, also gazing down at the sketch.

************************

Later that night, after Justin had just fallen asleep in his arms, Brian held him, feeling the warmth of his body against his own.

He remembered how scared he had been just a few weeks ago, anticipating Justin seeing him for the first time. He’d thought it would change what they shared, that somehow Justin would realize that he wanted more than Brian could ever give him.

It was true that Justin regaining his sight had changed the dynamic between them. The blond didn’t need someone to guide him anymore. He could go out and draw for hours, just sitting on a park bench somewhere. He could walk down the street, sit in a coffee shop, and watch life bustling around him. He could see the world for what it was.

He could see Brian, read him better than anyone else. But what Brian had failed to understand before was that having his sight had nothing to do with the blond’s ability. Justin had always been able to read him.

Brian had never been happier to be proved wrong. Tightening his arms around his lover and glancing one last time at his sleeping son, he closed his eyes.

He didn’t fall asleep immediately, his mind worrying about what was still to come. Gus’s operation, his recovery, their future - so many things could go wrong. But even though he was scared, he held out hope that in the end, they would all be okay. He would do anything to be proved right this time.

 

Chapter Text

Friday night, August 30th, Bloom Gallery…

Justin bit down on his thumbnail as he walked around with Lindsay, watching the guests admire the art. Brian was somewhere with Michael, Ted, and Emmett. His mom had begun raving about her son’s sketches as soon as she had walked through the door, like any loving mother would do. Debbie had immediately waylaid Jennifer, urging her to examine some of Justin’s drafts, which were displayed in another area along with other artists’ works.

“They all love your drawings,” Lindsay commented, her gaze sweeping around the space.

Justin smiled at her compliment. “I didn’t know there would be so many people. Who are they?” he asked, observing the crowd in the gallery.

Lindsay snatched a glass of champagne from a passing waiter, explaining, “Sydney has a lot of connections. And well, Brian gave me a few tips about advertising this kind of event.”

As Justin was about to respond, he heard a vaguely familiar voice calling out, “Lindsay?”

Turning around, Lindsay broke into a huge grin when she noticed the person behind her. “Adrienne! You made it!” she exclaimed happily as she bent over to kiss her friend hello.

“I couldn’t miss this boy’s second show,” Adrienne intoned jestingly, her gaze focusing on Justin and her lips curling upward.

“It’s a pleasure to see you again,” Justin professed as he peered down at Lindsay’s friend with a smile. He was genuinely happy to see her.

Looking at the drawings adorning the walls, Adrienne praised, “You’ve done well, young man.” She then stared straight into Justin’s blue eyes and shared a meaningful look with the artist, as she added, “And I’m not only talking about the drawings, which, let me tell you, are really something.”

“Thanks,” Justin said earnestly. “If not for you, my life wouldn’t be like this today.” And it was true. If Justin hadn’t crossed Adrienne’s path all those months ago, he wouldn’t have exhibited his works, would never have met Brian, and probably wouldn’t ever have gotten his sight back. He owed her, big time.

“You’ve made it possible.” Adrienne countered with a gleam in her eyes, before regarding a man who was standing in front of one of Justin’s sketches.

Following her gaze, Justin noticed the man Adrienne was looking at. The guy wasn’t sporting a disapproving expression per se, but he didn’t seem very inspired by what he was looking at, either. “That man looks like he doesn’t like my stuff,” Justin volunteered.

“Hmm,” Adrienne’s brow furrowed and she proposed, “Why don’t we ask him what he thinks?”

“What? No,” Justin shook his head. “No need to bother him.”

“I’m in the mood for a chat, so you’d better help me get over there,” Adrienne demanded challengingly.

“Okay,” Justin uncertainly responded, surmising he was being manipulated since Adrienne could maneuver her wheelchair just fine, but nevertheless moving behind her and guiding her to the man, who hadn’t moved from his spot. He glared at Lindsay when she gave him a devilish grin, before walking away.

“So, what’s the verdict?” Adrienne addressed the man as they arrived at his side. The guy was an average looking man in his forties, way too skinny to be really attractive, although his casual, yet distinguished style worked well.

At first, the man didn’t react to Adrienne’s words, not even to acknowledge her and Justin’s presence. He kept staring at the drawing of Brian and Gus as if he weren’t seeing it at all. Justin began to feel nervous. There was something about this guy that made him uneasy.

“Are you going to answer my question or not? No need to intimidate the kid. He doesn’t know who you are.” Adrienne berated the man.

Justin frowned.

“You don’t need to pressure me. I’m a grown-up, not a child.” the man responded disapprovingly.

“You’re a Grinch; that’s what you are,” Adrienne countered, before urging, “Come on, you already know what you’re going to say. You wouldn’t have stayed there for more than ten seconds otherwise.”

The man didn’t answer, and Justin felt like he was in an episode of the Twilight Zone. He didn’t have a clue what was actually happening right now.

The man finally detached his gaze from the sketch to look at Justin. With an inclination of his head toward the painting, he asked, “Why did you draw this?”

“Excuse me?” Justin frowned, not understanding what that man was getting at.

“You don’t understand a simple question?” the man asked in a deadly serious tone.

“I…” Justin opened his mouth, and closed it. “I’m not sure that’s any of your business.”

“I told you you needed to improve your social skills, Ferdinand.” Adrienne interjected, visibly amused by the exchange. “Being polite and friendly works wonders, you know?”

The man rolled his eyes, although his gaze softened when he looked at Adrienne. “You’re the first to tell someone to ‘bugger off’ when you’re in a bad mood.”

“Touché,” Adrienne replied fondly as the man placed his hand on her own.

Justin gazed back and forth between them, and for a brief instant, he could have sworn he was looking at two long-time lovers.

As if he had guessed Justin’s curiosity, the man finally introduced himself. “I’m Professor Ferdinand Gilbert. I teach with Adrienne at the Institute of Fine Arts, and I’m here tonight to decide whether you should apply.”

“He always likes to appear more omniscient than he really is,” Adrienne drawled.

“I do not,” Ferdinand refuted.

Adrienne barked out a laugh. Noticing Justin’s puzzled look, she revealed, “There is one student opening available for the upcoming academic year. I didn’t tell you I was a professor at PIFA the last time we met, did I? Well, you know it now. Since I’m not a member of the admissions committee, but Ferdinand is, I need his approval for you to apply there.”

“I…” Justin couldn’t believe it. “PIFA? You… I could apply to the Institute?”

Adrienne nodded slightly. “Lindsay told me you would have gone there if not for what happened to you. So, when Ferdinand informed me that a student had decided not to accept their place in the new intake, I took the liberty of putting forward your name.”

“And she was right to do so,” Ferdinand intervened. “Once the admissions are over, we are supposed to go through the current wait list. This rule allows for only one exception. If a student was admitted previously but couldn’t attend the school for a legitimate reason, he can present his case to a committee, who decide whether or not to accept him. So Justin, I need you to work on a portfolio and to defend your application during an interview next week. Can you do that?”

“I… Sure!” Justin exclaimed, barely realizing what was happening. He’d always dreamed of going to PIFA and had been accepted before. After the bashing, he’d never thought, however, that he’d have another chance to study there.

“Good. The meeting will be next Thursday at 9 a.m. sharp,” Ferdinand informed Justin. “If you’re admitted, classes will begin the following Monday.”

“That won’t be a problem,” Justin immediately asserted.

“What won’t be a problem?” Brian’s voice reached Justin’s ears, just as the brunet materialized next to him. Extending his hand, Brian shook Ferdinand’s and nodded at Adrienne. “I’m Brian Kinney, Justin’s partner,” he introduced himself to the professor, having already met Adrienne with Lindsay a couple of times. Then, placing his hand at the small of Justin’s back, he raised his eyebrows, waiting for his lover to respond his question.

“I have an interview at PIFA next Thursday,” Justin revealed with a broad smile.

Brian’s face remained impassive, but he pointed at the sketch they were standing in front of, proclaiming, “I think that right there is proof enough that they should be the ones begging you to join their school, not the other way around.” He gave Ferdinand a false smile before announcing, “Now, if you’ll excuse us, we need to celebrate. Shall we?” he extended his hand toward Justin in invitation.

Justin bit his lip, trying hard to conceal the smirk that threatened to appear on his face. “It was really great seeing you again Adrienne,” he vowed as he peered at the woman who had changed the course of his life, not once now, but twice.

“The pleasure was mine, Justin. Really. I look forward to seeing you soon in my class,” she replied mischievously.

Justin impulsively bent over to hug her. Realizing what he had done, he suddenly pulled back, but when he saw the kind expression on her face, he relaxed enough to say, “I… Thank you,” He then glanced at Ferdinand once more, before following Brian out of the gallery.

************************

One hour later, the loft…

“Hmm…” Brian groaned as Justin sucked his shaft fiercely. He threw back his head as his lover’s tongue did something utterly fantastic, making his cock throb in the warm mouth. Fuck, it was so warm and hot. Brian would beg shamelessly for Justin’s blowjobs if he had to go even a day without them.

He didn’t realize at first that Justin’s lubed fingers were now rubbing the skin just behind his balls, stimulating his prostate from the outside. He didn’t realize it, because he was in such a state of bliss that he wasn’t paying attention. And, when Justin’s fingers touched his hole, he merely moaned shamelessly and pushed against them, asking for more.

Justin had never topped Brian. He’d never tried to since that time after his first surgery. Brian wasn’t sure why exactly, but it seemed that the prospect of being admitted to one of the best art schools in the country had Justin feeling quite adventurous, and for once, Brian wouldn’t stop him. In fact, he’d waited for some time for his lover to make his move, and he now craved the feeling of Justin’s cock inside him. Just the thought aroused him, truthfully. He hadn’t been fucked since he’d let John top him, nearly a year ago, and he knew this experience would be a million times more intense than any previous one.

“You want me in here?” Justin huskily whispered in his ear, making Brian smirk.

“You want me to beg?” he rasped out as Justin pressed a little more firmly, just outside his hole. Brian opened his mouth, the pleasure he was feeling reflected on his face. He’d never told anyone, but this was one of the most erogenous zones on his body. He could feel intense waves of heat every time Justin’s fingers pushed against his skin. At this rate, he was bound to start begging, especially if Justin kept lapping at his dick.

“You seem almost desperate,” Justin observed impishly, moving up the brunet’s body to cover his lips and pushing his tongue inside his mouth. Brian could taste his own scent, and it drove him wild.

“Just put your cock inside me. I want it,” Brian ordered, pleased to feel Justin’s dick throb against his stomach, merely from the tone of his voice.

“I’m not sure…” Justin hesitated, clearly nervous about topping a man for the first time.

Since Brian was desperate for him, he decided to take charge. He grabbed a condom and ripped it open with his teeth, immediately unrolling it on Justin’s cock. Justin just stared at him, but when Brian cursed, “For fuck’s sake, Justin, move…” he recovered enough to realize that he still needed to prepare Brian.

He pushed a lubed finger inside the brunet, marveling at how tight it felt. “Y-yeah. Like that. Just like… that,” Brian breathed out as he closed his eyes, gasping, “More. Give me… more.”

Something snapped inside Justin then. He didn’t know if it was Brian’s obvious desire for him, or the knowledge he would be inside a man for the first time of his life, but his brain suddenly shut down. He bent over, lowering his head to Brian’s hole and started licking him earnestly. He didn’t think about what he was doing. He just licked and sucked the stretched skin, even entering Brian with his tongue as much as he could, while fucking Brian with first one finger, then two. He was totally gone.

“Justin!” Brian was totally gone too. He suddenly grabbed Justin’s arm, forcing him to stop. But, although Justin listened, it was only to straighten up and attack Brian’s lips again, before positioning the head of his cock at his lover’s entrance. Brian grabbed his hand, linking their fingers together and guiding their joined hands to Justin’s dick.

Their gazes locked. As Justin pushed inside Brian for the first time, he marveled at the feeling of their entwined hands following the progression of his shaft, until they had no other choice but to break that connection. As the blond pushed inside fully, he was certain it was the most hot and erotic thing he had ever done.

“You feel good,” Brian grunted, trying to make Justin move faster. He was crazy with desire now and wanted Justin to take him hard. Brian kept squirming and pushing against Justin, licking and biting as much skin as he could. “I want it. Do it. Do it!”

Justin cried out, starting to pull out and push back in, wondering if he could hold on for even a minute longer. His cock was being milked by the most wonderful heat and tightness he had ever known, and Brian was pushing against him, thrust for thrust. It was hard; it was dirty; and, fuck, he was inside Brian.

“Right there... Yes!” Brian exclaimed as Justin changed his angle, his balls about to explode if he didn’t slow down. But how on earth could he stop thrusting when Brian’s face, his grunts, his groans, made his body feel so good?

“Brian, I can’t…” he tried to warn his lover, but he was lost. It was too intense. He couldn’t stop his cock from coming and going in his lover’s welcoming heat, and Brian was begging, literally begging, for him to keep going. The brunet’s cock was so hard against Justin’s stomach, its wet tip indicating he, too, would soon reach his climax.

“Justin, jerk me off…” Brian demanded breathlessly, “I’m gonna come…”

Justin let out a cry as he responded to his lover’s request, encircling the brunet’s shaft with his fingers, the skin so tight as he moved his hand up and down. When he felt himself falling over the edge, he squeezed with just enough pressure to bring his lover nearer to his release.

“God!” he shouted as he felt his own orgasm rip through him, thrusting erratically into his lover a few more times. The feel of Brian’s warm come as he exploded between his fingers while crying out in bliss intensified his already all-consuming arousal. He shot deep inside Brian, thinking nothing had ever felt so good, except for his lover coming inside him.

************************

Wednesday, September 4th, Allegheny Hospital…

Brian walked through the corridors, searching for the correct room. He would have much preferred to spend his day catching up with Justin, since they’d both been working non-stop for the past four days, but Dr. Harris had requested that he participate in a discussion group to prepare for Gus’s surgery. Truthfully, Brian had no desire to talk about donating a kidney, but unfortunately, this meeting - actually, it would be four meetings - was mandatory, and part of the pre-op procedure. Gus was too little, though, so he was exempted from joining him. Brian was so jealous of his son right now.

He finally stopped in front of the room where he was supposed to be. The door was open, only three others present so far. A few chairs had been placed in circle, with a couple of tables against the wall. Brian spotted the coffee maker, debating briefly before entering and pouring himself a cup.

Of course, the coffee tasted like horse piss. Brian grimaced and grabbed two sugar packets, which he hastily added.

“Here, save yourself the trouble of dying on me and drink this instead,” a grey-haired man offered, handing him another cup, poured from a carafe he was holding. “This comes from my personal coffee maker. The hospital administration insists on treating us to this horrible beverage at every meeting, and I toss it down the drain every single time. Public bureaucracy… you know how it is...”

Brian eyed the man for a few seconds, before accepting the cup. He tentatively tasted the hot beverage, pleasantly surprised when he discovered it was alright. “Thanks,” he acknowledged with a nod, before introducing himself, “Brian Kinney.”

“I’m Richard. I’m moderating this meeting.” Richard shook Brian’s hand after having placed the carafe of freshly brewed coffee on the table. “Nice to meet you.” The man smiled at Brian genuinely, before going to greet the other participants.

Brian frowned. His counselor looked almost normal, although he could have been George Clooney’s brother. When Dr. Harris had called him earlier in the week to tell him she had forgotten to mention these meetings, asking him to attend, the brunet had imagined the counselor to be a homely, middle-aged woman in a long, light blue skirt, a white collared shirt, brown loafers, and holding a Bible. He’d been wrong for the most part. Richard was a handsome man in his early fifties, in a pair of faded blue jeans rather than a skirt, but with a white shirt and black loafers. Brian just had to figure out if he was doing this as a part of his duty to the Lord. For what other reason would someone volunteer to be a counselor?

When Richard requested that all the participants take a seat, Brian yawned but did as he was told. He really couldn’t wait for this torture to be over.

“Hi, everyone, I’m Richard and I will be your counselor for these sessions,” Richard introduced himself to the group.

Brian nodded, while a woman and three other men all parroted, just like in a comic skit, “Hi Richard,” earning a chuckle from Brian.

Richard stared at him with his eyebrows raised, so Brian bit down on his lip - to stop himself from outright grinning - before indicating with a wave of his hand that he was ready to proceed.  

“I’d like you all to introduce yourselves, explain why you’re here, and tell us how it has affected your personal life,” Richard announced, before disclosing, “I myself have been in the same situation you’re in now, since I received a kidney from my brother, Scott, seventeen months ago.” The man paused, waiting for the group to assimilate the information. When he was satisfied that everyone understood his point, he resumed, “So, don’t be afraid to share all your questions. We’re not here to judge. We’re here to help each other through the process of a life-altering operation, either to donate or to receive a kidney.”

Brian looked at the four other attendees, surmising two of them were here with the individuals who would receive their kidneys.

As he returned his attention to Richard, the counselor confirmed his deduction, “I understand your son is too young to attend, Brian, but for Jeff and Sarah, and Julian and Oliver, this is especially relevant, allowing them to share whatever they want before the surgery actually happens.”

Brian frowned, trying to determine if he was supposed to respond to Richard’s declaration or not. Apparently not.

“So, Brian… can you tell us why you’re here?”

“Same as everyone else…” Brian retorted. No way was he going to make it easy for Richard, even though the man seemed like a good guy who just wanted to help. But Brian had always hated talking. Nothing new here.

“We’re not psychic. You need to be more specific.” Richard countered, although Brian was sure the man wanted to smile.

Brian huffed. “I’m giving a kidney to my son.” Noticing the look on the woman’s face - of course she would look at him like that, she was a woman, and women loved that kind of feel-good, family-oriented story - the brunet specified, “He’s two years old.”

“That’s wonderful of you to do that,” the woman gushed, as expected.

“No.” Brian denied, rolling his eyes. It was his son. There was nothing wonderful about giving him his best chance to live.

“Sarah has a point, Brian. Whether you believe it or not, this is not that easy a decision to make,” Richard interjected.

“What? You’re telling me a parent could let his child die? You know it’s bullshit. No normal parent would do that. So, there is nothing wonderful about donating a kidney to Gus. It’s not even a choice to begin with. He needs my kidney? He will have my kidney. Period.” Brian stated with conviction.

Richard lips turned upward. “You’re right. But I bet it’s not that simple. Your daily routine must have been impacted.”

Brian barked out a laugh. If this man knew how his life had turned to shit at the time of Gus’s diagnosis, he wouldn’t even dare to ask that question. “Yeah. I was an adman, one of the best. And then, I wasn’t… but doctors don’t tell you how much it costs to have a sick son, so you have to make choices you might not otherwise make, and you live with them. And I don’t regret anything. If Gus can have a life at all, it’s more than enough for me. All the rest is bullshit. Now if you’ll excuse me, I really need to get out of here.” Brian declared, standing up. He had no idea why he had lashed out like he had, but again, talking about himself had always put him on edge.

He didn’t wait for Richard’s reaction before fleeing from the room. Unfortunately, the man called his name as he was about to complete his escape. Brian considered just keeping walking, but in the end, he halted in the middle of the corridor and turned around, shouting, “What?”

“You’ve just told us you were an adman. Is that true?” Richard inquired as he reached Brian.

“I don’t usually lie,” Brian retorted, annoyed.

“Well, I could use your help, then. If you’ll agree to meet and have a cup of coffee somewhere,” Richard requested.

“Why would I do that?” Brian asked in confusion.

“Because you obviously don’t need group sessions to prepare for your son’s surgery. You could use a shrink, though…” Richard responded, a chuckle escaping when he saw the look of horror on Brian’s face.

“For your sake, I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that,” Brian groaned.

“As you wish...” Richard smiled briefly, before proposing, “Listen, if you’ll agree to have a cup of coffee with me, I’ll consider releasing you from attending these otherwise obligatory meetings.”

Why would you do that?” Brian questioned again, bewildered that Richard would offer him a way out.

“Because I think you don’t need the meetings,” Richard reiterated resolutely. “You’re obviously totally fine with helping your son, while this group’s main goal is to identify potential risky situations within a family and to help those who want my assistance. You don’t need to be here. But I could use your expertise about something. So, now it’s up to you.”

Brian frowned. Either his gaydar was totally failing him, or he really did need to see a shrink. He was sure this man was as straight as they came, so what did he want from him and why was he being so enigmatic about it?

And yet, the prospect of being released from this torture was really too good to pass up, so he relented, “Meet me at the Starbucks downtown on Liberty Avenue tomorrow at nine a.m. No way are we going to drink one more cup of coffee here. Maybe you like to play the good Samaritan by volunteering in a hospital, but I can assure you that the less time I spend in this place, the better.”

“I will meet you there,” Richard agreed.

Brian gave him a small nod before turning around.

Observing the brunet walking away, Richard Aston, CEO of Aston Industries, was eager to discover if Brian Kinney would live up to his reputation. He smiled, satisfied, before returning to his group session.

 

Chapter Text

Thursday, 9:05 a.m, PIFA

“Mr. Taylor? You can come in,”

Justin gazed at the elderly woman before hastily gathering his portfolio from the chair next to his. Standing up, he followed the secretary through the corridors and into an impressive room, which reflected the soul of the Institute. The ancient wooden floor; the high ceilings; the ornate molding along the walls; the paintings, drawings, sculptures, posters, and photographs adorning all surfaces; as well as the piano in one corner of the room: all of these made Justin even more nervous that he already was, especially since he immediately noticed four people sitting behind a large table. He tried not to stare at the art as he walked over, pausing once he reached them, unsure whether he should sit in the wrought iron,  uncomfortable-looking chair, which faced the ‘inquisition’, or wait.

“Take a seat, Mr. Taylor,” an average-looking man in his forties requested, answering Justin’s unvoiced question.

Justin did as asked, barely breathing out an intelligible, “Thanks,” his voice quivering badly. Praying for his heart to stop racing, he repeated, more calmly this time, “Thanks,” while straightening his glasses on his nose.

“I’m Dean Pratt, the head of the visual arts school.” the man who had previously spoken introduced himself. “You already know Professor Ferdinand Gilbert but have yet to meet Professors Rose Lowell and Elizabeth Brown. We’re here to evaluate your motivation for joining our program and, of course, your talent.”

“I’m motivated. And I’m more talented than most of your students.” Justin immediately professed.

“Let us be the judge of that.” the dean cut him off, and Justin wondered if a hint of disapproval tinged the man’s voice.

Justin suppressed a snort, however. He might appear smug, but he wasn’t lying. Dean Pratt was about to find out exactly how talented he really was.

“First of all…” the dean trailed off as he perused the file in his hand. He then gazed up at Justin, interlacing his fingers. “Professor Bennett told us you had a legitimate reason for not attending this school last year, but we want to hear it from you. So… could you please explain why you applied in the first place, why you didn’t follow through after you were admitted, and why we should give you another chance now?”

“I applied here because this is the best art school in the state of Pennsylvania. And I didn’t attend because I was attacked at my prom,” Justin responded without hesitating. “I was in a coma for three days and suffered post-traumatic injuries, which included losing my sight.”

“You’re not blind from what I can tell,” Prof. Brown commented with a frown.

“Not anymore. I entered an experimental trial last June, and now I can see again.” Justin informed the professor. “Last year, though, my situation was different. I still painted, but I suffered PTSD and my… disability at the time prevented me from attending school.”

“You were the victim of a hate crime, is that correct?” Dean Pratt inquired, referring to Justin’s previous statement.

“I was,” Justin confirmed. He hesitated for a second before clarifying, “One of my schoolmates bashed me in the head with a baseball bat because I am gay.”

An uncomfortable silence ensued. Justin looked at Ferdinand, the only one who appeared unfazed by Justin’s reply. Dean Pratt, though, seemed… almost touched? The man must have a heart after all.

“It must have been tough,” the dean finally intoned, confirming Justin’s impression, before disclosing, “When Professor Gilbert suggested we give you another chance based on Professor Bennett’s recommendation, I admit my curiosity was piqued. I don’t remember any of them previously asking that a student benefit from our policy regarding an unexpected opening. So, I went to the Bloom Gallery yesterday evening to take a look at your drawings. Mr. Bloom was nice enough to show me a binder with prints of your work from last year, after your… accident.”

“He did?” Justin wasn’t surprised Sidney would do that, truthfully. Ever since he had met him last year, the man had always been very nice to him, praising his talent.

“Hmm,” Dean Pratt nodded, briefly peering down at the file again, without voicing his opinion regarding Justin’s art. “Why do you want to attend this year?” he inquired suddenly, directing his gaze at Justin.

This was the question Justin had expected since he had entered the room. The one which would seal the deal for good. He stood up from his chair and opened his portfolio, before staring intently at the committee members. “Because I want to be an artist. I’ve wanted to be one for as long as I can remember, and even when I couldn’t see, I still painted or drew. In fact, if being bashed in the head has taught me anything, it’s that I’m proud to be the man I am, and no one can stop me from being that man. Even if I never attend art school, it doesn’t matter; I will always draw, paint, or create. But I also know I’m still young, and I have a lot to learn. I believe PIFA is the best place to start.” Justin declared, his previous agitation having vanished. “Here…” he handed his portfolio to the Dean, “...you will find samples of my work. I’m interested in knowing more about animation, so I took the liberty of adding a few screenshots of projects I’ve been working on. You will also find copies of my recent drawings and a few older paintings. I hope - no, I know - these will convince you I’m the best candidate,” he boldly claimed.

The dean actually laughed out loud. “Self confidence won’t be a problem for you, at least,” he observed, a slight smirk appearing on his face as he perused Justin’s portfolio before handing it to his colleagues.

“I warned you…” Ferdinand remarked. Justin frowned, not sure what he really meant, but one quick glance at the professor told him he shouldn’t worry.

“Mr. Taylor,” Mrs. Lowell interjected after having looked over his work. “One last thing we haven’t discussed… The classes aren’t exactly cheap. Have you thought about that?”

“I have,” Justin tried not to grimace. Money would likely be a problem since the costs were astronomical, and his father wouldn’t foot the bill now that they had severed all ties. Besides, Justin refused to ask for financial help from the man who had given up on him when he needed him the most. “I will figure it out.”

“Be sure you figure it out quickly.” Dean Pratt advised. “Classes start next Monday, and you will need to pay for the semester by the end of the following week. If you can’t, this slot will be offered to someone else.”

“Does that mean I’m in?” Justin inquired, a smile spreading across his face.

“It means…” Dean Pratt’s lips curled upward as he glanced at the three other professors sitting at the table, who all gave him nods of assent, “...that you should be here on Monday. Congratulations, Mr. Taylor.”

Justin beamed. “Thank you...” he said, standing up to shake the professors’ hands, before bidding them goodbye and exiting the room. He couldn’t wait to tell Brian the news, although he still had to decide what to do regarding the tuition. He could probably obtain a loan if he couldn't find any other solution, since he doubted he could get a scholarship now - at least for the upcoming semester. After all he’d been through to get where he was today, however, he refused to let a problem as trivial as paying the tuition temper his good mood.

************************

Same time, Starbucks, Liberty Avenue...

“This ad is bullshit.” Brian dryly professed, tossing the draft on the table. He had arrived a few minutes earlier, to find Richard waiting for him, peering at the prelim of an ad. It was obviously the reason the man had asked him to come today, although Brian still didn’t quite understand what he was doing here.

“Excuse me?” Richard retorted, reaching for the discarded draft and frowning at it.

Brian pointed at the picture, sneering, “The model looks like she’s from a Victoria’s Secret magazine. What are those morons trying to sell? The purse? Or the girl?”

Richard shook his head. “I disagree. The purse looks good, doesn’t it?”

Brian snorted. One thing he was sure of, Richard was certainly not an adman. Maybe Brian should charge him for this informal meeting. “You don’t need a luxury bag to just look good. You need it to look sexy, so sexy, in fact, that your mother, your daughter, even your concierge or your fucking hairdresser wants to have the exact same thing on their arm. And that right there? It’s boring.” He finished his diatribe by once more dropping the draft in disgust.

Richard’s gaze followed the discarded prelim, and Brian glared at him when the man almost reached for it again. With a huff, Richard inquired, “What do you propose to salvage it?”

“I suggest changing this picture so that the bag makes the model holding it look even hotter, not the other way around.” Brian declared.

Richard pursed his lips, seemingly thinking it through. “Interesting concept.”

“Yeah, well, believe me, if Aston Industries had me as the ad man for their luxury leather goods, I’d double their sales for that item in no time.” Brian boasted, not giving a shit if Richard thought he was a smug asshole.

“You’re pretty sure of yourself.” Richard somewhat dubiously replied, although Brian could have sworn he was also amused by their exchange.

“I know what I’m talking about.” Brian asserted. “No need for false modesty. That won’t help you sell this product.”

“Hmmm…” Richard reached for the prelim, pivoting it on the table so that he could study it again. “Okay. So I would totally have sex with her.” he proclaimed as he stared at the elegantly dressed, beautiful woman holding the purse. “Isn’t that a good thing?”

“You don’t admit defeat easily, do you?” Brian barked out a laugh. “It is a good thing when the hot woman doesn’t overshadow everything else. It’s not the model which is the problem, but the way she is dressed and holding the bag. She is the only thing a straight guy will see when he looks at the ad. A woman, however, will look at her perfect legs and her perfect lips and want the same toned thighs and the same lipstick. Even queers will rave about her fashion sense. But your purse? They won’t even notice it. So, I’ll repeat it again, since you’re having trouble understanding this simple concept. It’s not the woman you’re supposed to sell, it’s the purse,” he concluded with a derisive curl of his lips.

Richard stared at Brian.

Brian continued to mock the ad. “Now, I don’t give a shit if you follow my advice or not. I’m not the one who stands to lose a fuckton of money.” He secretly hoped that Richard would react to his harsh tone and tell him what was going on. But the man apparently wasn’t in a hurry to explain himself. When he called the waiter over to their table instead of expounding, Brian had finally had enough. “Okay,” he asked, “are you going to tell me what exactly is going on here?”

“You’re giving me some tips for an ad,” Richard deadpanned, but he couldn’t prevent a smirk from appearing on his face.

Brian snorted. “Thanks. I could not have figured that out all by myself.”

Richard actually laughed, teasing, “I’m glad to see you live up to your reputation after all.”

“You know who I am,” Brian claimed. He’d had a feeling Richard hadn’t told him the whole truth about their encounter.

“I do,” Richard confirmed. “When I saw your name on the donation list at the hospital, I knew I’d heard that name somewhere, so I did a little research.”

Brian’s heart thumped in anticipation. What the fuck was Richard getting at? “And?”

Richard shrugged. “You worked for Ryder.”

Brian let out a sigh. At least, Richard didn’t know what he did for a living these days. He acknowledged, “I did. And, if you know that, you also know he fired me for sexually harassing another employee.”

“Actually, I know it was a false accusation.” Richard surprisingly refuted. At Brian’s puzzled expression, he clarified, “Mr. Thomas worked with my company for the last year. He was fired from Ryder a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t you heard?”

“Obviously not,” a startled Brian replied, curious as to what had happened.

“He claimed another ad exec had sexually harassed him,” Richard revealed. “The only problem was that his assistant heard Mr. Thomas threatening his colleague that if he didn’t do as he wanted, he would suffer the same fate you did.”

“That motherfucker,” Brian snarled. If only someone had overhead such a conversation when he was the one being falsely accused. It was, of course, far too late now. “So, he was fired?”

“He was,” Richard nodded. “He won’t find another advertising position in this city any time soon. You might consider demanding some kind of compensation from Ryder for wrongful termination.”

“I will give it some thought,” Brian responded. Inside, he was seething.

“You do that,” Richard suggested. “That’s not really why I wanted to meet you, however. You see, I know all about you and what you’ve gone through since you were fired.”

Brian cleared his suddenly parched throat, his chest constricting. “And what exactly do you mean by that?”

“My CFO is the best accountant in all Pennsylvania. If not for his exceptional competence, though, I would have fired him a long time ago,” Richard disclosed.

Brian really didn’t like where this conversation was heading, but he also knew Richard expected him to ask, so he did. “Who is your CFO?”

Richard stared right at Brian, as he divulged, “Steve MacPherson.”

Holy motherfucking shit! Brian inwardly cursed, remembering the guy who had assaulted him a couple of months ago. “You’re Richard Aston?” he inquired, putting two and two together. Aston had never been Brian’s client, but Ryder had acquired the account shortly before firing him. And who else would ask for his input on that stupid ad anyway?

“I am,” the man assented, “and also known as the CEO of Aston Industries. The prelim you just dissected is the one Thomas presented to me before being terminated by Ryder.”

Brian snorted. That explained why the ad was so much bullshit. “If Steve MacPherson is your CFO, and if he talked to you about me…”

“He told me you were an escort,” Richard confirmed Brian’s foreboding. However, Brian couldn’t read what Richard really thought about that.

“He told you he was one of my clients?” Brian intoned sarcastically. If Richard knew about his life, there was no point in hiding anything, especially that his CFO was a fucking shithead.

Richard raised his eyebrows. “Of course not. He accused you of being depraved and unreliable. That’s how I know he used your services. Steve rarely holds a grudge for no reason.” Brian grimaced, prompting Richard to add, “Yes. I personally can’t stand him either. But again, he is the best at what he does, and I have a company to run. It’s business.”

Brian laughed at that one. Not so long ago, he would have agreed with that sentiment without hesitation. Now, though, he wasn’t so sure. “This conversation is fascinating,” He eventually drawled, “but I really don’t know what you’re getting at.”

“Brian…” Richard looked right at him. “I’m not judging you. I know how fast life can spiral out of control, and I understand why you did what you did. You became an escort for your son, am I right?”

“What makes you think that?” Brian rasped, his heart beating wildly against his ribcage. He had implied Gus’s diagnosis had guided his choices at the group session the day before, but he was still baffled by Richard’s perceptiveness.

“I became a volunteer at the hospital to help people in this type of situation,” Richard divulged. “You see, when I was diagnosed, there were lots of vultures around me who wanted my job. I almost lost my father’s company while I was fighting for my life.” At Brian’s inquiring gaze, Richard related, “I almost didn’t make it. I had to take a leave of absence for several months, and as I said, many people wanted my job. So, they tried to influence the board to vote to remove me as the CEO, and they succeeded. If not for my attorney, who discovered a breach of procedure - the vote was null and void if I wasn’t present - I would have lost my company. And from where I stand, you’ve not been as lucky as I was; it’s as simple as that.” Richard firmly asserted, before advising, “Maybe you should find a better attorney.”

“Tell that to my lawyer. I’m sure she would be delighted to discuss that with you.” Brian quipped, before inquiring doubtfully, “So, you want to help me?”

“I do,” Richard insisted.

“And you really think I’m going to buy that?” Brian queried, still unconvinced.

“Well, if it will be profitable for my company, sure,” Richard replied, smirking. “I want you to design a new campaign for my line of luxury leather goods.”

“I see. This was a test and if I hadn’t passed, you wouldn’t have taken a chance on me.” Brian quirked an assessing eyebrow at the man.

“First and foremost, I’m a businessman,” Richard stated. “Regardless of our connection through the kidney donation program, I naturally wouldn’t have given you an account if you hadn’t proved yourself. But it was worth a shot to check you out.”

Brian was still astounded that a man like Richard Aston, multimillionaire CEO, would entrust such an important account to a single adman. “You’re sure about this?” Brian asked, genuinely touched by the man’s gesture.

“I’m sure.” Richard asserted. “You have until the end of the year to present me with your concept and the mockups for a two-year contract. I will pay you half the fee upfront, so you can search for a place to house your new company. Deal?”

“What?” Brian exclaimed, flabbergasted. Richard was ready to help him start a new company?

Richard shrugged. “This is a one-time offer. I would take it if I were you.”

“I…” Brian’s throat was so dry that he could barely respond.

“Brian… I know what it’s like to go through what you’re going through. I almost lost everything, too, including my life.” Richard emphasized. “I’ve heard you talk about your son. I know what you did for him. And you just convinced me you’re one hell of an adman. I’m simply making an investment, one I know will pay off for both of us, because you will bust your ass to produce the best possible marketing campaign. So, are we done here? I have a meeting in…” he peered down at his watch, “...twenty minutes, and I can’t be late.”

Brian simply stared at the man. Richard had to be the most insane person he had ever met. But fuck, he was so glad the man was crazy enough to take a chance on him. “I’ll search for a place sandwiched between an Armani store and a Prada shop  for my company’s premises first thing this afternoon,” he jested, trying to conceal how touched he really was.

“You do that.” Richard smiled as he stood up, producing a card, “And give me a call in the next couple of months, after you’ve taken care of your son. He comes first.”

“Richard, I don’t know how…” Brian wanted to say something profound, but of course, the words wouldn’t come out.

“Don’t worry. You will have plenty of opportunities to curse me later.” Richard teased, extending his hand. “And just to be clear. If you fuck up, you will be done as an adman.”

Brian smirked as he accepted the handshake. “It’s such a pleasure doing business with you.”

Richard raised his eyebrows at Brian, a grin on his face, before turning around and exiting the coffee shop. Brian just stood there for a moment, wondering what the fuck had just happened.

He checked his phone as soon as he came to his senses. There was a text message, Justin informing him that he was going home.

Brian gazed up, staring at the street through the coffee shop’s large windows. With a smile, he pulled out two bills from his pocket, dropping them on the table, before heading out.

************************

Twenty minutes later, the loft…

Brian pushed the door open and walked in, listening for any sound indicating that Justin was already there and hearing a noise coming from the kitchen. As he shut the door behind him, loosening his tie and taking off his suit jacket, Justin appeared, smiling widely.

Brian smiled back, a genuine, happy smile he rarely allowed anyone to see. “So, Sunshine…” he drawled, moving slowly until he was standing in front of his lover, “You’re going to become a narcissistic, full of himself, snobby art student.”

Justin raised his hands to caress Brian’s arms. “Something like that,” he beamed, his smile radiant. “I still need to figure out how I’m going to pay for it, but I have an appointment with a loan officer this afternoon, so…”

“Well, I will probably be able to help, if things go as planned…” Brian cut him off mischievously as he placed his hands on Justin’s hips and pulled the young man against himself.

Justin frowned, placing his hands on Brian’s shoulders. “What do you mean?”

“I mean…” Brian stole a brief kiss from Justin’s lips, “...that the man I went to see this morning just offered me a job.”

Justin stared at him. “In advertising?” he asked.

“Uh-huh,” Brian nodded. “In fact, he wants me to start my own company, and he will even pay me right now so that I’m ready by the end of the year.”

“Oh, my God, Brian. That's wonderful!” Justin exclaimed, as he threw his arms around Brian and hugged him.

“Easy…” Brian teased. “I can’t breathe.”

“I’m so happy for you,” Justin breathed out, emotion tinging his voice. As he leaned back, Brian’s voice caught in his throat. Justin was looking at him so intensely, the joy he felt for his lover reflected on his face. Brian wondered once more what he had done to deserve being loved like this by such a wonderful man.

He couldn’t speak, so he covered Justin’s lips with his own and kissed him, wanting his lover to feel how much he loved him. It was slow, his mouth moving against Justin’s, his lips barely parting. He barely felt Justin’s tongue tasting his lower lip, and he simply kept going, kept kissing Justin softly, both of them craving more but also wanting this to last forever.

The kiss deepened. Brian finally opened his mouth, allowing their tongues to touch. He kissed Justin endlessly, for so long that they finally slid to the floor. Justin immediately kneeled over Brian, breaking the kiss as he peered down at the brunet, both men breathing heavily.

Brian’s eyes softened. He raised his hand, caressing Justin’s face. He’d never wanted Justin like this. Usually, his desire consumed him, and their coupling was fantastic, but right now, he wanted to go slow. Fuck, he wanted to make love to Justin, to show him how much he meant to him. Saying I love you would never be enough for Brian. He’d said those words, and he meant them, but they didn't convey how he really felt.

Justin, this determined, stubborn kid, had entered his life with a bang, turning it upside down. Brian had surrendered because he couldn't do anything else. That first night when he’d taken Justin’s virginity, he’d already known, deep down, that there was no turning back.

Something must have showed on his face, because Justin leaned closer to taste his lips again. The blond placed his hands on Brian’s shoulders, pushing slightly for the brunet to lie down. Brian complied, but he grabbed Justin’s neck and pulled his lover into their kiss. Justin released Brian’s shirt from his pants and caressed his skin before breaking the kiss, focusing on unbuttoning the shirt. Brian stared at Justin as he did, the blond giving him a smirk, before lowering his head and licking a nipple, their eyes locked. Brian groaned and finally arched his back, breaking their gaze, and enjoying Justin’s talented mouth working on him.

As a rush of pleasure coursed through him, he realized he wanted more. He wanted Justin’s mouth on his cock. So, he reached for the fly of his pants, and opened it, hoping that Justin would understand.

Justin gazed up at him, visibly amused. Brian raised an eyebrow and growled when Justin began to nuzzle his erection through his underwear. His lover playfully went from his shaft to his balls, and he then used his teeth to grab Brian’s waistband, although he also used one hand to make the task easier. Brian chuckled at the sight, but when Justin managed to release his hard-on, his laugh died away.

Instead of feeling Justin’s hot mouth engulfing him, however, Brian felt his lover move, as the blond positioned his crotch near Brian’s face and started to unbutton his pants, too. Brian smiled, understanding what Justin really wanted.

“Let me do that for you,” Brian suggested, as he reached for Justin’s pants and lowered them down his hips. He then did the same with his underwear, and stared at the blond’s erection, panting in anticipation.

He placed his hands on Justin’s ass, caressing the skin softly before adding a little pressure to communicate what he wanted. Justin obeyed and moved closer, just as Brian felt the first touch of his lover’s tongue on his cock. He started to slowly lick the blond’s shaft. It wasn’t hard and fast. It was gentle and slow. Every lick, every move was deliberately soft.

They were making love to each other’s cocks. The thought made Brian chuckle around Justin’s dick, the blond groaning in response, causing a wave of heat to consume the brunet. But even though Brian knew they could make each other come like this, it wasn’t what he wanted. So, after a few minutes of pleasuring each other, he stopped his ministrations, and pushed at Justin’s hip with his hand.

Brian then sat up before covering his lover’s body and diving in for a mind-blowing kiss. They began to rub against each other, but he leaned back when he felt the first drops of sweat run down his back.

“What?” Justin somewhat breathlessly murmured.

“Bed,” Brian ordered as he stood up, using his hands to tug Justin up too. He immediately kissed him again, feeding his tongue into his lover’s mouth, while manoeuvring both of them towards the bedroom.

Once they were standing at the foot of the bed, naked, Brian pushed Justin onto the mattress and covered his body again, trying to devour him. His cock was so hard, he started to come and go against Justin’s bare thigh. Anytime he pushed in, he could feel the tip of his dick barely grazing Justin’s ass, and the sensation drove him crazy with lust. The friction was too delicious to stop, and to make it even better, Justin was moving in sync under him, his breathless moans echoing in Brian’s mouth as they kissed.

The feelings in his body were so intense, so arousing, Brian could almost taste his blissful release. He was that close. He tried to slow down, moving to kiss Justin’s neck, but the blond thrust against him even harder, Brian's cock now sliding more firmly against Justin’s crack. God, he needed to stop this.

“Brian!” Justin shouted as he shifted so that Brian’s dick slid fully along the warmth.

“Ahh...” Brian moaned, letting go, coming and going hard against Justin’s skin, rubbing against his hole, and feeling his balls ready to explode. It was too intense. The thought that he was that close to fucking Justin raw totally overwhelmed him.

The pressure of his shaft must have felt fantastic for Justin, too, since his lover was shamelessly crying out in Brian’s ear with each one of his thrusts.

“Harder…” Justin breathed out.

Brian grunted, but pushed even harder against Justin.

“I want you in me. Want you to fill me…” Justin professed, too far gone to realize what he was saying.

The words were too much for Brian, who suddenly envisioned his cock entering Justin raw and his come filling his lover. The forbidden notion intensified the elation he was feeling. He thrust a couple more times and froze, crying out, his face contorted as he felt his orgasm pouring out of his cock and onto Justin’s skin, so hard it literally hurt.

Justin stared, reaching for his dick and jerking it fast, as he feasted on the blissful expression on his lover’s face, warm come splattering his body and the sheets under him. He climaxed, throwing his head back with a low, guttural cry.

Brian collapsed on Justin, breathing hard. He moved slightly so that his weight wouldn’t crush his lover. Once he'd recovered enough, he kissed the side of Justin’s neck, caressing his hair absently and burying his nose in the crook of his neck. He couldn’t believe he’d come that close to fucking Justin without a condom.

“That was… fucking intense,” Justin’s voice broke the silence after a couple of minutes.

“It was alright,” Brian smiled against Justin’s skin. “Although, we need to talk about it.”

“You mean, about the fact that you almost fucked me raw?” Justin inquired, a laugh bubbling up from his chest.

Brian nodded. It was so unlike him to do something like that. “I shouldn't...” he tried to explain, but he had no clue where to start.

“Hey… It’s okay,” Justin turned onto his side to face Brian, raising his hand to gently touch his face. “I get that we can’t do that.”

Brian stared at Justin for a long time. He finally countered, “We could. Technically.”

“What do you mean?” Justin frowned.

“I haven’t fucked anyone else in three months. And all my tests have come back clear.” Brian revealed with a shrug, as if admitting being monogamous weren’t that big a deal.

“Really?” Justin exhaled, doing his best to keep a huge smile from covering his face, and failing.

Seeing Justin trying to conceal how happy that revelation made him, Brian felt something he couldn’t define filling his chest. “Yeah…” the brunet whispered with a grin, before his expression turned deadly serious as he pushed Justin onto his back and reached for the nightstand, while his other hand started to stroke Justin’s cock.

“What are you doing?” Justin inquired, his breath becoming more labored as he felt his dick harden again under Brian’s skilled fingers.

“I’m going to make love to you. With a condom.” Brian answered before opening the packet with his teeth and unrolling the rubber onto his cock. He then grabbed the lube, put some on his fingers and on his shaft, before tossing the tube on the bed and reaching for Justin’s ass. He started to rub the cold lube against Justin’s opening, pleased to see his companion seemed to want it as much as he did, although he could also discern a hint of disappointment on his face.

As Brian pushed a finger inside Justin and started to move, he leaned in, placing his mouth next to Justin’s ear, and whispered hoarsely, “I want to fuck you raw.”

Justin groaned, Brian feeling him opening around his finger. He moved faster for a while, enjoying Justin’s responsiveness. When he eventually inserted another finger, he continued, “I want to make love to you, without anything between us.”

“Fuck, Brian…” Justin eloquently reacted, making the brunet laugh.

Brian kept moving inside Justin, peppering the blond with gentle kisses, until he felt his lover was ready. He withdrew his fingers and raised Justin’s ankles to his shoulders as he positioned himself at his lover’s entrance.

Once they were both ready for more, however, Brian stilled. He stared at Justin, and he reached for his face, caressing his cheek softly. “I mean it, Justin. I won’t promise I won’t ever fuck up, but I want this connection between us - whatever it is - to be real. I’ve never wanted anyone as much as I want you. I’m not even sure I understand it myself.”

“And you’re telling me this while I almost have your cock up my ass? That’s really not fair.” Justin teased, although his eyes were smiling.

“In fact…” Brian grinned, moving his hips forward, earning a gasp from his lover as he entered him. “I’m in, now. And…” the brunet leaned down to steal a kiss from Justin. “...if all goes according to my plan, then I will be fucking you raw as soon as we both get tested.”

Justin gasped again, as Brian pulled back and pushed in harder. He knew this proposal was Brian’s way of showing Justin just how much he wanted this, and for them to do this together. Truthfully, Justin was surprised Brian wanted this just as much as he did. He knew all about Brian’s condom policy, so, his lover’s decision was unexpected.

“What made you change your mind?” Justin managed to breathe out. He felt so high. Brian was kissing his neck tenderly now, while coming and going inside of him so gently, Justin could feel his body melting. He was so in love with this man, it was insane.

“You,” Brian breathed out in his ear, between kisses. He licked Justin’s earlobe, before murmuring, “I never thought I would fall in love. Until I met you.”

Justin felt like his heart would burst out of his chest at that confession. “Brian…”

“I love you… Fuck, I love you…” Brian moaned as he kept fucking Justin with deep, yet gentle thrusts. He alternated his pace, both men now feeling feverish. The bliss only true love could cause was increasing their pleasure tenfold, but most of all, inflaming their coupling, every movement and every kiss.

“I love you…” Justin responded as he tightened his arms around Brian, and covered his lips again, losing himself in his lover’s embrace. He felt him move inside him, felt his warm skin under his fingers, the frenzy of their kiss, his own dick deliciously trapped between their bodies, and it hit him.

He smiled, knowing he would never let Brian out of his life ever again.



Chapter Text

One year later, the loft, August 2003…

Life was strange. Sometimes, Justin couldn’t help but think that everything was already written. He’d been so angry regarding the unfairness of his life after the bashing, but today, he felt like he was supposed to have gone through all that, as if it were meant to be. Because if not for that, he wouldn’t have been able to appreciate what life had offered him the day he had met Brian Kinney.

He had moved in with his partner nine months ago, immediately after Brian and Gus’s surgery. Brian had been too worried about his son not adjusting to his kidney to consider himself, so much so that Justin had not waited for his permission before packing his things and barging into the loft with a huge duffle bag. Daphne had fortunately been the best friend ever, as always, understanding Justin couldn’t resist the overwhelming need to take care of and protect Brian.

They’d had their first fight at the time. Brian might have admitted his feelings, but he still was a proud man, and being cared for wasn’t something he could easily accept. Both men were very stubborn, and even if they loved each other, Justin’s rushed decision had resulted in an epic fight. Frustrated, the blond had gone back to Daphne for two days, before giving in and returning to Brian.

They hadn’t talked when he had come back. They hadn’t had passionate, make-up sex either, since Brian was still recovering from the surgery. The brunet had not apologized and neither had Justin, but as soon as they’d touched, the fight had been over. They’d spent all night talking about Gus and about random things, kissing, laughing quietly, holding each other, and refusing to leave the safety of the bed. Furthermore, although make-up sex hadn’t been allowed, Brian - who had always been an imaginative guy - had known other ways to pleasure his partner, and Justin had really had no reason to complain.

Now, Justin was sure Brian was annoyed with how disgustingly happy they were, but it wasn’t like he could do anything to fight it.

“What are you thinking about?” Brian’s voice brought Justin back from his musings. He was smoking a cigarette after having blown the blond a couple of minutes earlier, the younger man’s brain sidetracked by a mindblowing orgasm.

Justin looked at his partner, lying there on his back, completely nude, seemingly fascinated by the perfect rings of smoke rising in the air, his mouth opened in a big O.

“I’m thinking that I really need to feel that magnificent cock move inside me,” Justin answered with a mischievous grin, as he flipped onto his side and reached for Brian’s dick, at first caressing it gently, then more firmly.

Brian peered down at his cock with a frown, noticing his hard-on had barely subsided while he was smoking, since he hadn’t come earlier. “I think I can do that,” he responded to his lover’s demand, smirking. He crushed out the butt of his cigarette in the ashtray on the nightstand, before resuming his previous position, arching his back to accentuate the pressure of Justin’s hand on him.

Justin’s lips roamed over his chest, licking his nipples. “You’re such a fucking tease,” Brian breathed out, before pushing Justin off his body and rolling them over, holding Justin’s wrists next to the blond’s head. “Bad, bad boy.”

“Yeah…” Justin murmured enticingly, and Brian leaned in. He moaned at the first taste of his lover’s tongue, diving in and releasing Justin’s hands to explore more skin. The passion within them took over as Brian kissed his lover fiercely, his hard cock probing, eager to enter that warm place.

Justin moved under him, wriggling frantically, wanting to feel Brian. They kept sucking and licking at each other’s lips and skin, as the tip of Brian’s dick finally found what it was aiming for.

Without a condom, their connection was out of the world. The first time Brian had entered Justin raw, he’d understood sex would never be the same. Everything had felt hotter, more intense, but even more so, the bliss coursing through his body had never felt that good, no matter how great sex had been before. As he had pushed into that previously unfathomed heat, he’d grunted, convinced he wouldn’t be able to hold back. He had wanted to thrust so badly, to let go and just let the pleasure overwhelm him. So, he had. He’d pulled out and pushed back in, the sparks the movements had engendered in his body even more powerful, causing him to close his eyes. It couldn't have been that good. It just couldn’t have been.

He’d felt wave after wave of pleasure, like never before, as Justin’s ass had tightened around his cock. He’d kept coming and going until he couldn’t, until he’d had to claim Justin’s lips to smother his cries, to share the brief moment before he’d come, everything ceasing to exist except for the rising heat in his groin, the indescribable bliss. The thought that he had been ejaculating deep inside Justin, that the blond had trusted him enough to give him that gift, was extraordinary. He’d felt like he didn’t deserve any of it, but he’d been so grateful for Justin’s love.

The first thing Brian had realized when he had come back from his high, was that he’d wanted Justin inside him. So, he had smiled at his lover, leaning in to share a brief, yet heartfelt kiss, while using his fingers to collect his own seed running down Justin’s thighs, gathering some in his hand and caressing the blond’s cock, lubing it. When Brian had pulled back, their eyes had locked, Justin’s breath catching in his throat and his dick throbbing under the brunet’s fingers. Then, he had placed his knees on either side of Justin’s stomach, effectively sitting on his lover. Justin had gasped as Brian had taken hold of his shaft and had pushed it against his own entrance, preparing his ass for a while, before he felt ready to take it. As he had, he’d looked at Justin intently, wanting them to share every sensation.

He’d never felt so full in his entire life. It’d hurt, truthfully. Justin had thrown his head back at the first push and had kept thrusting, unable to restrain himself. Brian had known that feeling, and he had taken it all, wanting his partner to reach the same heights of bliss he’d reached mere moments ago. When the pain had started to fade, however, and Justin had begun to undulate his hips, while gripping Brian’s thighs to prevent him from moving, the brunet had felt himself hardening again. He’d felt an all-consuming sensation spreading throughout his body, overwhelming everything else, and he had unconsciously started to push down, groaning and moaning mindlessly. Justin’s grunts had become louder as his lover had ridden his shaft faster, until he’d yelled, grabbing Brian’s hand and freezing deep inside his lover, crying out his name over and over. Brian had been mesmerized by the sight of Justin climaxing, by the feel of his cock, so hard and big, so fucking hot. He had encircled his own shaft, jerking it off, adding enough pressure at its tip to make spurts of come pour out of him within moments, all over Justin’s chest.

Today, Brian still had trouble pacing himself sometimes.

As he pushed inside Justin, feeling the tightness enveloping his shaft, he marveled once more at his luck. He’d never thought he would be so happy, not so long ago. Before his son, before Justin, he’d thought he would enjoy his youth and be free until death came to claim its due. He’d never understood that real freedom was living with the one you loved and being loved in return.

The love he could read in his blue eyes, it was real.

************************

Lindsay and Melanie’s backyard, a few hours later…

“Gus, watch out!” Justin warned with a broad smile on his face, as he observed Brian running after his son to steal the soccer ball from him.

The child glanced behind himself and squealed, before trying to escape from his dad. As he overtook his son, Brian suddenly lifted the boy in his arms, turning around in circles, with Gus screaming in delight, “Daddy! Lemme go! Lemme go!” between fits of giggles.

Justin decided to play dirty as he jogged toward his two favorite boys, maneuvering the ball away from them with a huge grin on his face.

“Daddy! The ball!” Gus shouted as he kept laughing, Brian placing him on his shoulders before running after Justin.

“Come on! We need to punish this heartless, sneaky thief!” he quipped as he caught up to his lover, lowering Gus so that he could tickle the blond.

“Ahhh! I surrender. Please let me live!” Justin played along with a chuckle, prompting the little boy to raise his arms in victory while Brian kicked the ball away, jogging after it.

“Hey, kids! The cake is ready to be served,” an amused Lindsay announced from the porch.

“A delectable ‘pigs in a blanket cake’ by yours truly, as ordered by our little angel for his birthday,” Emmett boasted loudly as he walked over to Lindsay. “Everybody’s waiting for the prince in front of the house.”

“Yay! I get to eat two pieces! Right Jussin?” Gus exclaimed delightedly as his father set him down.

“Of course, Buddy,” Justin smiled, ruffling the boy’s hair. He gazed up at his partner, who placed his hand behind the blond’s neck, pulling him into a brief kiss.

Gus trotted happily toward his mother as Michael and Ben appeared on the porch. After exchanging a few words with Lindsay, Ben lifted Gus onto his shoulders, carrying the giggling boy inside. Michael glanced at Brian and Justin, smiling at them, before following his partner.

Brian felt that familiar squeezing in his chest, witnessing how happy and healthy his son was. It had been almost ten months since the surgery, and even though there had been some difficult spots during the recovery, the operation had changed their lives. Gus’s body had accustomed itself surprisingly well to his father’s kidney, and Brian couldn’t even begin to describe how he felt about his son finally being able to function without constant medical treatments. Sure, there were still the medications, the special diet, and all the things that reminded Brian that his son had already had to fight way too hard to stay alive, but each day was a new victory, a new step toward a ‘normal’ childhood. Seeing his son so happy on his third birthday, running after a ball, about to eat chocolate cake… it was impossible for Brian to explain how that made him feel, after all the father and son had gone through.

Something must have showed on his face, because Brian felt Justin grab his hand and squeeze it. Peering at his lover, he raised an eyebrow, waiting for whatever Justin needed to say.

“It was worth it,” Justin stated softly, before moving in front of Brian, placing his hands on Brian’s shoulders. “Everything you did for him. He is so happy, Brian.”

Brian rested his forehead against Justin’s. Exhaling, he agreed, “He is,” before placing a kiss on his lover’s lips. Pulling back a little, Brian smiled softly, professing as he pushed his body into Justin’s, “He isn’t the only one.”

“No, he isn’t,” Justin confirmed with a laugh, before leaning in to claim his lover’s lips once more. He could never get enough of Brian’s lips.

“I hate to interrupt you going at it with my boss, but everybody’s waiting for you, especially a little boy who can’t wait to blow out his candles.” Ted’s voice interjected, forcing Brian to reluctantly stop his exploration of Justin’s mouth.

“Theodore…” he enunciated his CFO’s name very slowly.

“Bri…” Ted replied with a slight smirk. Working for Brian had boosted Ted’s confidence, but of course, Brian’s intimidating stare still worked marvelously, so his smirk died out pretty quickly. “I’ll tell them you’ll be there right away,” Ted volunteered, hastily returning to the other guests.

“Come on,” Justin urged as soon as Ted had entered the house. “You don’t want to spoil it for your son.”

Brian prevented Justin from moving though, pulling on his hand when the blond started to walk away. Justin frowned, gazing up at Brian. The brunet had an indecipherable look on his face.

“What?” Justin inquired quietly.

Brian shook his head. “Nothing,” he replied, but he kept staring at Justin with the kind of look that always made the blond’s heart beat faster. Eventually, Brian cupped Justin’s face in his hands, and leaned in once more, his loud breathing revealing how affected he was at that moment.

Justin responded to the kiss, feeling his lover’s smile against his lips.

************************

A few minutes later...

About twenty-five guests had come to celebrate Gus’s birthday. Melanie and Brian had organized everything in and around a small gazebo in the front yard, while Debbie, Vic, and Emmett had been in charge of setting out the food. Justin had decorated with Lindsay - plump, pink pigs peering around corners - and a paper tablecloth painted with soccer balls that ran the length of the food-laden table. Paper plates, plastic cups, and silverware had been placed at the ends of the table. Michael, Ben, and Ted had helped arrange folding tables and chairs near the gazebo, some of them shaded by the canopy of a large oak tree. All the tables were covered by soccer-themed cloths. A rainbow-shaped ‘Happy 3rd Birthday, Gus’ banner flapped in the breeze at the entrance to the gazebo, with balloons of every hue tied on each side.

Brian was standing behind Justin, holding him and watching the scene from the porch. He usually hated this kind of family gathering, but today, he wouldn’t have been anywhere else. Gus had been sporting a huge smile on his face all day, and Brian therefore couldn’t help smiling like a complete idiot, not giving a fuck that he looked like a doting dad.

“So, Gussy, it’s time for you to blow out your candles, now that your father has finally decided to grace us with his charming presence,” Emmett jested as he approached the child with the magnificent cake in his hands. He had created a “mare aux cochons” with Vic, little pigs formed from a pink sugarpaste swimming in a chocolate pond, bordered by a Kit-Kat fence.

Brian was impressed with Emmett and Vic’s patisserie talents. In fact, the brunet was truly touched that all his friends had participated to make this day extra special for Gus. Brian knew that Michael had worked with Justin to create a small comic book with Gus’s ideal superhero as a birthday present, although he had yet to see the result.

“Come on guys! Everybody sing for our little guy!” Debbie commanded before beginning a cheerful rendition of “Happy birthday to you”, the guests following her lead. Brian descended the stairs from the porch to join his son, while the little boy stared at the cake in wonder.

As soon as the last “Happy birthday to you” had resonated, Gus clapped his hands as Brian kneeled by his side with Lindsay. The child inhaled loudly and blew on the three candles adorning the cake. The flames flickered and died all at once, earning loud applause from everyone and a whistle from Ben. Gus looked at his mothers, smiling broadly, before snuggling into his father’s arms.

“Let’s cut this wonderful cake,” Vic proposed.

“I think we have presents, don’t we?” Brian intoned solemnly, winking at his son.

“We do,” Michael confirmed. “Here, this is for you, little man.” He handed Gus the present he and Justin had worked on, before looking fondly at his friend. Brian gave Michael an imperceptible nod.

Gus unwrapped the comic, his eyes shining with joy. As he exposed the cover, he exclaimed, “Daddy, look! It’s you!”, pointing at the image of a superhero holding a child. The man, indeed, looked exactly like Brian, but for the tights and bodysuit with a big ‘SD’ on his chest.

“The SD means Super Daddy,” Justin explained. “Super Daddy has superpowers. He can heal all the children on earth with hugs and kisses.”

“And he is attracted to blonds, with whom he shares most excellent adventures,” Michael quipped with a knowing smile. Justin gave him an amused look in response.

“Yes! He’s my superhero!” Gus enthused, hugging the comic book to his chest, before professing, “But you know, my daddy healed me for real, so he’s the bestest superhero in the whole world!”

While Lindsay and Melanie looked as if they wanted to gobble up their son with love, Brian cupped Gus’s cheeks, making the boy gaze upward as he peppered him with kisses, the little boy laughing wholeheartedly. “Daddy, stop!” he yelled, trying to stave off his father’s assault.

“I’m using my superpowers on you.” Brian countered playfully, experiencing an amazing feeling in his chest once more. He really needed to thank Lindsay again, for stroking his ego like she had to get him to agree to be a father. More proof that being shallow was one of his best qualities.

Brian placed a heartfelt kiss on his son’s temple, as a surge of love flooded him again. Gus hugged him back, squeezing hard. Now more than ever, they shared an unbreakable connection, and fuck if it wasn’t the best feeling ever. Well, that, and being in love with a certain blond.

Gazing around, Brian noticed all his friends staring at him. “What? You’ve never seen a father in love with his son before?” he barked, hoping for a funny reaction.

“Jesus Christ, Sunshine, what have you done to him?” Debbie asked with a false look of horror on her face, pointing her thumb at Brian.

“I’ve done plenty,” Justin jested as he leaned against the porch railing, totally enamored with his partner. He couldn’t look away from Brian and Gus. “Are you complaining?”

“Fuck, no! I’m all for my boys being well-fucked. Nothing better than a satisfied queer to make my life easier.” Debbie quipped, earning gasps from some of the other guests. “What?” she looked around. “Do you have any idea how much of a drama queen a gay man can be when he is not getting any?”

“We get your point, Ma,” Michael intervened. “Now, who wants cake?”

************************

They ate way too many carbs while Gus opened more presents. Justin had painted the child with his mothers and his Super Daddy, so he could hang it on the wall above his bed.  Gus loved it, except for the fact that his “Jussin” was missing. Brian rolled his eyes as he witnessed the boy’s pout. His kid was so in love with his partner, it was adorably embarrassing.

Brian offered his son a trendy bike with training wheels. He took the time to show him how to sit, how to position his feet on the pedals, and how to use the brakes. When Michael joined them and took over, starting to talk about Captain Astro with the squealing three-year-old, the brunet silently thanked his friend and decided to go in search of his partner. He found him in the kitchen with Ted and Emmett, washing dishes.

“Teddy… I really am curious. How is it, working for Kinnetik?” Emmett inquired playfully when he noticed Brian standing there doing nothing, while he used a mild soap and a sponge, vigorously washing the sticky residue from the huge pan in the sink.

“The boss is an ass,” Justin quipped, wiping a plate dry.

“I bet he is a tight ass,” Emmett immediately teased, earning a chuckle from Justin and a glare from Brian.

“Fuck off,” Brian retorted as he snatched the cloth from Justin’s hands. “Besides, I must have a tighter ass than yours, Queen ‘nelly bottom’ Honeycutt!”

Emmett feigned outrage for half a second, before proclaiming as he patted his own butt, “My ass is just tight enough.”

“We know your ass is a wonderful place to be, Em,” Ted interjected as he put a clean glass away in a cabinet. He noticed the look on Brian’s face as the brunet eyed him skeptically, mouthing, ‘We do?” and repressed a smile, before declaring, “But since you asked, Kinnetik is doing great. Aston is giving us more marketing campaigns to work on.”

“You’re telling me you will have samples of the most wonderful perfumes and colognes? Beauty creams, maybe?” Emmett inquired with great interest, since Aston Industries was well known for producing many luxury items.

“We will market their whole range of leather goods for now, which is already huge,” Ted clarified, ignoring Emmett’s moue of disappointment. “And besides, we’ve signed three new clients in the last couple of weeks, including Remsen Pharmaceuticals. My boss is a genius, even though we will be swamped with work for the next two years.”

“Always a great strategy to stroke the boss’s ego Theodore,” Brian drawled as he waved a sharp knife in his CFO’s direction.

“For lack of something else to stroke,” Emmett intoned with a wink.

“Kinnetik is already a former bathhouse. The place has seen enough stroking to last a lifetime,” Ted reminded the boys.

“Nah. Never enough.” Brian handed the knife to Justin so that he could put it away. He then lowered his hand to the blond’s crotch.

“Brian…” Justin giggled, pushing his partner’s hand away. “Ted has a point. I’m sure Richard never thought you’d actually choose a former bathhouse as Kinnetik’s headquarters.”

Brian shrugged. “I tried to warn him the day he hired me. Although, I could never have imagined Jennifer would actually find me a former fuck house. Your mom is a real genius.”

“My mom is full of surprises,” Justin agreed, remembering how Brian had driven his mother crazy with his search for the perfect building for his company. No matter what Jennifer had proposed, Brian had responded with a polite, “That’s great, but not for me”. Until one day, Justin’s mother had mentioned a vacant, abandoned bathhouse near Liberty Avenue, and Brian had immediately fallen in love with the notion. The brunet had raved about Jennifer’s talent as a realtor ever since.

Now though, it seemed Brian was in the mood to tease his friends, demonstrating again how happy he was to celebrate his son’s birthday. Of course, he had always had a strange way of expressing his joy.

Noticing Emmett had stopped doing his good deed and was busy licking the side of the nearly empty platter - the one which had previously contained the chocolate cake - Brian asked derisively, “Honeycutt? You expect me to do all the dishes?”

“Hmm?” Emmett raised his eyebrows, too focused on the delicious taste of dark chocolate to listen to Brian. Looking at Ted, the flamboyant man proposed, “You want some? These leftovers are really divine!”

Brian rolled his eyes, before glancing at the sponge forgotten in the sink. He grabbed it and threw it at Emmett.

“Hey!” Emmett complained.

“Leftovers are never divine,” The brunet mocked, as he placed his arm around Justin’s shoulders. Wadding up the cloth he was holding into a ball, he pretend-aimed it at Ted’s face, finally deadpanning, “Don’t forget the extra workout on the treadmill tomorrow if you want your ass to feel like as good a place to be as it was before you ate all those carbs. Although, with all that cream and butter, I’m sure it will be well lubed.”

“Leave my ass out of this conversation, Brian. It’s done nothing to you.” Emmett ordered, caressing his offended butt reassuringly, while Ted eyed the cloth askance.

“Thank the Lord I’m not familiar with your ass. I’d be afraid it’d gossip as much as you do,” Brian shuddered.

Emmett huffed, pushing at Brian’s shoulder.

Justin laughed at the men’s antics, as Brian finally had enough and tugged him out of the kitchen, tossing the cloth at Em and engaging in a mature facial contest with the man as he exited the room.

“You’re worse than a child at times,” Justin said fondly as Brian took his partner in his arms as soon as they had reached the entryway.

“Why do you think I have Mikey as a best friend?” Brian pursed his lips. “We’re both eternal teenagers. You should be pleased,” he teased, since, technically, Justin had still been one not long ago.

“I’m twenty.” Justin couldn’t help it. He hated being reminded of how young he was.

“Yeah… and fucking hot,” Brian drawled in his partner’s ear, as he pushed him against the wall by the staircase and kissed him before nodding almost imperceptibly toward the stairs.

“You’re not fucking now,” Michael interrupted the brunet.

Brian growled and glared at Michael with incomprehension. “Why not?”

Justin giggled but he pushed his partner off himself, laughing some more when Brian directed his now indignant gaze at him.

“Come on Michael, let’s plan the next issue of Super Daddy,” Justin quipped as he headed out the door to join the rest of the guests outside, with Michael on his heels.

“You two are boring,” Brian complained. When neither Michael nor Justin replied, apparently already exchanging ideas about Super Daddy finding new cures to make every child on earth happy, he repeated, more loudly, “Fucking boring!”

 

THE END