Part One: Mothers
“Brett swears it’ll be just a couple more weeks.”
“Brian, I told him three weeks max and then I’m leaving, no matter what.”
“You’re going to miss next term.”
“I’m not. Brian? I’m not. I told you I registered on-line, it’s all set. And I’ll be there when the term starts - if not before.”
“Can we change the subject now? Your nagging is getting really old.”
“Your excuses are getting old.” I can hear him take a drag from his cigarette and exhale, then he draws a quick breath and adds, “But do whatever you want, it’s your life. If you want to fuck it up, that’s your business.”
“I’m not going to fuck it up.” We’re back where we started, this conversation has come full circle. “Please,” I soften my voice, “Let’s not waste our one call arguing. I miss you.”
There’s a long pause, then Brian grudgingly admits, “Me too. And the one-call-a-day rule was your idea.”
That’s true. Partly it’s because of the time difference – Brian’s at work before I’m even up in the morning, and by the time I finish what’s usually a ten or twelve-hour day, Brian’s gone out for the evening. Even so, when I first came to LA, Brian and I were calling each other constantly. Not only couldn’t I concentrate on my job, but somehow it made me miss him even more, to hear his voice ten times a day without being able to see him, to touch him.
Brian is a great multi-tasker, he compartmentalizes everything, effortlessly closing one door and opening another. I’ve tried to emulate him but I can’t do it, my thoughts spill all over each other. I know that those times when we’ve had heated arguments on the phone, Brian can hang up and go calmly about his business while I am left emotionally wrecked, replaying and revising dialogue in my brain. “No regrets” is a great philosophy but it doesn’t seem to work for me.
Now I feel guilty. “I’m sorry, Brian,” I murmur, hurrying on before he can tell me that sorry’s bullshit. “Let’s talk more often.” I press my lips together tightly to keep from blurting out, “Talking to you on the phone is what I look forward to most each day.” That’s way too lesbianic for Brian.
Then I say it anyway, lowering my voice and almost whispering, “Talking to you is the best part of my day.”
I’m expecting an acerbic reply or at least a teasing taunt, but Brian surprises me by gently admitting, “Yeah, me too.” Then he quickly appends, “Well. . .you know.”
We’re silent for a moment, then we both sigh at the same time. Brian recovers first. “That’s only,” he brags, “Because I get you off better from three thousand miles away than any of your hunky Hollywood tricks can do in person.”
I won’t pander to his ego by admitting that he’s right. “Oh,” I change the subject, sitting up in bed, piling pillows behind me so I can lean back against the headboard. “How’d your meeting go with the new client?” I push away the crumpled bedspread and wrinkle my nose at the big wet spot on the sheet.
“They loved me, of course. A two-year contract with an option to renew for two more.”
“Brian, that’s fantastic!”
“Yeah,” he agrees, then adds, “Except. . .the client’s flying me to Chicago to meet with their in-house marketing staff next week. I have to cancel on you – again.”
Brian’s visited me twice in California but he’s also had to cancel three times. Swallowing my disappointment, I try to be upbeat by adding staunchly, “Well, you know that I understand. And I’ll be home in two weeks – three, tops.”
“Tops nothing, bottom boy,” Brian scoffs. “Get all that ass-pumping out of your system in LA. You know where you’ll be once you get home, Mr. Taylor.”
“Hunh,” I snort, “That is negotiable, Mr. Kinney.”
Though he tries to stifle it, I can hear Brian yawn. It’s only midnight in LA but it’s three a.m. in Pittsburgh, and a weeknight. “I’m sleepy,” I say, faking a yawn of my own. “I’ll talk to you tomorrow night, okay?”
There’s a long pause, then Brian says, “I wish I didn’t have to go to Chicago, but I really do. This isn’t something that Ted or Cynthia can handle. I’d send them if I could.”
“I know.” I’m impressed that Brian feels the need to reassure me, he never used to explain himself or express any regret when business interfered with our plans.
“Christ,” Brian exclaims suddenly, “I just realized – if you come home in three weeks, that’ll be almost two months since we’ve fucked.”
“Lucky for you I didn’t suggest that we be monogamous while I’m gone.”
“Yeah.” I sigh again. As if. Then I shake off this sudden surge of melancholy and say cheerfully, “Good night, Brian, have sweet dreams.”
“Mmm,” he agrees sleepily, “Night.”
Flipping my phone closed and tossing it onto the night stand, I slide down beneath the sheets – being careful to avoid the wet spot – turn on my side and close my eyes. It’s easy to imagine Brian lying behind me, curled around my back, holding me tight in his arms as we sleep. Just two more weeks – or maybe three – and I’ll be back in Brian’s bed. Our bed. And I’m not leaving it ever again. Not willingly, anyway.
Three more fucking weeks. Or non-fucking weeks. Not that I'm playing the monogamy game of course; but I can't deny that it's just not the same without Justin in my bed.
Our bed. Christ, why can't I remember to call it "our bed?" I asked him to move in and he did - briefly, before he had to leave for this temporary job in LA. But since I invited him to live with me and since we've gone well beyond the point where I can deny that we're partners, then my bed has become our bed. And my loft is our loft. Our home.
Funny, although I've owned the loft for six years now, it never really felt like a home until Justin began to push his way in, always bringing more and more bits and pieces of his life along with him.
Almost from the beginning Justin has claimed at least one drawer as his own. And there've always been piles of his dirty laundry on the bedroom floor, stacks of sketchbooks on the table, and his CDs have become almost inextricably mixed in with my own. Some of his unhealthy foods still live on in the cupboard and the freezer even though he's not been around for months. Well, there used to be stuff, I should have thrown it out. Instead, insomnia-driven munchies have more than once caused me to raid his supply of Ben & Jerry. And his Count Chocula. I must remember to replace them before he gets back. Or maybe I'll just say that Gus ate it.
Three Weeks Later
When the buzzer sounds I’m annoyed, she’s early and I’ve just stepped out of the shower. Though I’m pissed enough to be tempted to answer the door naked – it wouldn’t be the first time Mother Taylor has seen me naked – I take a deep calming breath before padding down the steps and across the floor. Without comment I hit the buzzer to let her in downstairs then return quickly to the bedroom to pull on jeans and my long-sleeved gray tee – Justin’s favorite shirt, he says he always wants to jump me when I’m wearing it. Of course it goes without saying that he always wants to jump me anyway, but might as well give the lad a special treat today.
We’re driving to the airport together to claim our wayward child, Jennifer and I – her idea, not mine. I offered to swing by her condo but she suggested picking me up here, since she says she’s meeting a client downtown this afternoon. Maybe she’s trying to be considerate, figuring that once I get Justin home, neither of us will be anxious to leave the loft for at least a few hours. More like a week, as horny as I’m feeling. Carrying my shoes to the living room, I move forward to slide open the door – I can hear that the elevator has just stopped on my floor.
The metal door shrieks a loud protest as I pull it open, and I nearly shriek my own protest when I see who’s standing there. Not Mother Taylor – instead it’s Mother Kinney.
Christ, I haven’t seen her for months, why’d she pick today to come torture me?
“Hello, Brian, may I come in?”
I’m frozen in place, unmoving, my shoulders and neck taut in spite of myself. And in spite of the fact that I really have no desire to see my mother, I pull back the door another few inches.
“I’ve got plans,” I mutter ungraciously, “I’m leaving in a minute. Can’t this – whatever it is – wait for another time?”
“Oh.” She stops just inside the doorway and I watch as she swings her head around, surveying the empty apartment. Satisfied that there’s no orgy of naked sweaty men in progress, she turns back to me and apologizes. “I’m sorry to barge in on you.” She does sound sorry but as always around my mother, I don’t let down my guard.
Normally I don’t let good manners stand in the way of getting rid of unwanted visitors, but I surprise myself by gesturing Mom toward the living room as I mutter, “Come in,” my voice thick with the suppressed desire to tell her to fuck off. I follow behind and wait as she sits down gingerly on the edge of a chair.
Mom hesitates, then says slowly, “Brian, this is really difficult for me, but – well, I’ve come to make peace with you. We left things on such a bad note the last time.”
If she considers me making an ass of myself in front of most of my staff at Kinnetik a “bad note,” she should see me when I’m fucked up on Special K.
I say nothing, just nod, and she asks, “Won’t you please sit down for a minute?”
Reluctantly I perch on the edge of the sofa facing her but halfway across the room, out of striking range. Who’s likely to do the striking, I’m not sure.
The silence between us goes on too long, finally I shrug and say, “If you’ve come with more advice on how to save my soul, don’t bother. I sold my soul to the devil years ago.”
“Shush,” Mom hisses, sitting up straight and fixing that righteous stare on me. “That’s nothing to joke about.”
“So, IS this about saving my soul, or what?” I’m getting antsy, Jennifer will be here soon, I don’t want her to walk into the middle of this – whatever this is.
“No,” Mom denies, shaking her head but holding my eyes with that piercing gaze. “It’s about saving my own. My own soul.”
Snorting, I stand up again and pace away from her, demanding, “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“Brian, I’m sick. I – I might die.”
“We’re all going to die.” I keep my face noncommittal but I feel my shoulders slump. Not another dying-parent visit. I don’t want to ask but I ask anyway, “You have cancer too? We should get a family rate at the hospital.”
“Always a joke, Brian, don’t you ever take anything seriously?” When I don’t answer, just cross my arms over my chest, Mom shakes her head. “I don’t expect you to care,” she mutters bitterly, “You’ve never had time for your family, never cared about any of us, so why am I surprised that you don’t care now?”
“Why indeed?” I raise an eyebrow and look down my nose at her. But the famous Brian Kinney sneer has no effect on my mother, and with all the heart I used to think I didn’t have, I wish I really could be unfeeling. But some little asshole has chipped away too much of my protective ice shield.
Giving in, I move back to the sofa and sit down again. “Okay,” I resign myself. “Just tell me - what’s wrong with you? And do you need help, or something? Money?”
“I’d never take your money,” Mom curls her lip disdainfully. “That’s not why I’m here.”
That may be true, but she’d be the first Kinney to turn it down, since Pop and Clare always had their hands out. “Then cut to the chase,” I’m growing impatient, glancing at the clock. Jennifer’s due any minute.
“Heartless,” Mom mutters under her breath, then she sits up straight in her chair and says, “All right, I’ll tell you. I have liver disease, pretty bad the doctors say. I may need a transplant.”
“Sorry,” I say now, “Mom, I’m sorry. Are you sure you don’t need anything?”
“No, I told you that. I’ve got insurance, and Medicare. But I – “ Her voice falters and unconsciously I lean forward as her next words are almost inaudible. “I – I know that I am being punished. I’ve brought this on myself.”
Well, yeah, Mom drinks like a fish, always has. So did Pop. Between the two of their gene pools, it’s no wonder I’m a heavy drinker. Less so since the cancer, but still. . .
“Mom,” I’m surprised to hear that my voice has grown almost gentle, “Mom, you are not being punished, it’s not unusual for people who drink a lot to have liver damage. You – “
“It’s not from that!” Mom exclaims angrily, her eyes flashing daggers at me. “Besides, I don’t drink a lot, just an occasional social drink, like everybody else.” Her eyes dare me to disagree but I’ve got my lips pressed tight together to keep from contradicting her.
“No, it’s not that,” she repeats, “It’s God’s will. God is punishing me. And because of me, he’s punishing you, too.”
Oh Christ, here we go again. “Don’t start that,” I warn her, getting to my feet and feeling heat rise up my neck to flare in my cheeks. “Don’t you dare come here and start preaching at me again. No more!”
“I’m not preaching!” Mom’s on her feet too, and she’s glaring right back at me. “I just need to tell you, to tell you about my sin, and the wages of sin is death! That’s why I’m going to probably die, and that’s why my only son is a sinner too. Jesus said – “
“No!” I hold out both hands to stop her. “No, you will not bring Jesus into my house. Get out! Get the fuck out of here!”
“Brian – “
“No!” I’m shouting now and waving my hands at her, shooing her toward the door. She backs up but she keeps talking, though I’m closing my ears to her ridiculous rant.
“I’m just trying to explain, Brian, that it’s not your fault! It’s my fault that you’re a homosexual! Because I sinned, and now – “
“GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE!” I’m bellowing now, and I don’t know what Mom sees on my face but she stops spouting her bullshit suddenly and moves more quickly for the door. I’m on her heels as she moves out but she turns once more to face me.
“Brian, you have to listen,” she insists, but I cut her off.
“Get the fuck out, and don’t ever come back. Do you hear me? Don’t EVER come back here again!”
I grab onto the door and begin to pull it roughly closed when suddenly the elevator burps open and Jennifer Taylor steps out, right into the middle of what I hope to bloody Christ is the last fucking confrontation I’ll ever have with my mother. I take one look at Jennifer’s shocked face before letting go of the door and turning to move back inside. Hurrying to the liquor cart, I pour myself an inch of JB with hands that shake.
I hear the two women murmuring, there’s the sound of the elevator descending, then my metal door is pulled closed and I hear the clicking of Jennifer Taylor’s expensive high heels tapping across the hardwood floor. I swallow the last of the bourbon in my glass as I feel Jennifer move to stand near me.
“Want a drink?” I ask lightly, holding up the bottle as I turn to face Jennifer.
“No, thanks.” Her face is noncommittal but she adds, “And I hope you’re not going to have another, since you’re driving my car to the airport.”
I want to say, “Don’t fucking tell me what to do, you’re not my fucking mother,” but instead I just nod and screw the lid back on the bottle. What the hell, she’s right.
“You’re punctual,” I make myself smile as I carry my glass to rinse it in the sink. “Ready to go?”
Brian told me that Mom was coming with him to the airport but I forgot. I forgot that, I forgot everything in the world when I spied Brian waiting for me at baggage claim. Gasping, a huge old dopey smile splitting my face open, I sprinted forward and threw myself into his arms. Brian grabbed onto me with a laugh, and I was happy to see his face reflecting my own silly grin. We kissed – never minding the hordes of heteros surging all around us.
I was the first to pull away, something else that pleased me inordinately, and then I saw Mom hovering behind Brian's shoulder. I let him go then and grabbed onto her, hugging her tight and laughing. I was just so fucking happy to be home! Then I was talking a mile a minute while we waited for my luggage, and Brian and I stood as close together as possible without lube. Moments later the luggage carousel starting turning and spewing out luggage. When my big suitcase surged out, Brian grabbed it. I carried the smaller one, and Mom took my carry-on, then we moved out of the building and into the parking lot. I was surprised to see that Brian drove Mom’s Lexus to the airport but then I realized that there’s not room for three in the ‘vette.
Now we’re heading downtown. Brian insisted that Mom should sit in front, but I’m leaning forward on the edge of the backseat, with one arm wrapped around Brian’s neck and I keep pressing my face into the back of his head, smelling his hair, tickling his ear when I exhale.
“Justin, you’re distracting Brian,” Mom nags me, for the second or third time. “Sit back, please.”
“It’s okay,” Brian tells her, and then I notice that he sticks his tongue into his cheek as he adds with a shrug. “He’s done much more distracting things while I’m driving.”
Mom blushes! And I have to laugh, but a glance in the rearview mirror shows that I’m also blushing. I catch Brian’s eye in the mirror and he has the grace to laugh. “Sorry, Mother Taylor,” he apologizes demurely.
“You should be,” she answers severely, but she’s smiling too.
I see Brian do a double-take as he glances quickly at my reflection in the mirror again. “What happened to your hair?” he demands suddenly.
I thought he’d never notice – but, “What d’you mean?” I raise my eyebrows at him.
Mom turns sideways on the seat to look at me, then she exclaims, “Good Lord, I never noticed, till we got outside in the light. Your hair’s so blond, Justin. You didn’t – did you bleach it?”
Brian stops at a red light and twists around in the seat to regard me more closely. “You did, didn’t you?” he demands.
“It’s the sun. California sunshine. From lying on the beach.”
“Bullshit.” Brian leans sideways and peers closer. “You have fucking dark roots. Or,” he clarifies, “They look dark, compared to the rest. What the fuck were you thinking?”
“It’s cool.” Damn it, I hate that my voice sounds defensive. I really thought he’d like it. “Don’t you like it? It’s the in thing in Hollywood.”
“What is – looking like an albino monkey?”
“It’s. . .it’s nice,” Mom tries lamely. “It’s just different. Actually,” she adds, her face relaxing into a frighteningly motherly smile, “It’s almost the same color as when you were a baby. Like corn silk.”
Ugh. I really, really don’t need my mother to start reminiscing about my childhood, so quickly I explain, “In California, blond hair with dark roots is majorly hot. And,” I add with a quick glance at Brian’s frowning profile as the light changes and he pulls out into traffic, “And it’s very popular in the clubs. I was very popular in the clubs.”
That’s as close as I want to come to broadcasting the special relationship rules that Brian and I share. Mom doesn’t need to know that we’re both still tricking. Probably because I’ve moved in with Brian, she thinks we’re a couple in the way that Michael and Ben are. Without the marriage part, of course.
I expect Brian to comment but luckily he says nothing, and now we’re almost home. Mom changes the subject, she says that Deb has invited us to a big family dinner Sunday night. Brian doesn’t answer so I say, “Oh, it’ll be great to catch up with everybody again, I’ve missed Pittsburgh so much!”
“Anyone who misses the Pitts must be fucking nuts,” Brian says dryly as he parallel parks the Lexus around the corner from the loft. “The peroxide fumes must’ve addled your tiny brain.”
We pile out of the car and Mom pulls me into her arms for another big hug. “Welcome home, Justin!” she exclaims happily.
“Aren’t you coming up for a while?” I inquire, crossing my fingers behind my back that she says no. I really, really need to get naked with Brian in the next five minutes or I’m going to explode. He busies himself opening the car’s trunk and pulling out my bags as Mom shakes her head no.
“I’ve got an appointment cross town, I’m showing a property this afternoon.”
“See you tomorrow at Deb’s then!” And I hold the door for her as she gets into the driver’s seat.
“Brian, thanks for letting me tag along today,” she smiles up at him as he hands her the car keys.
“Of course, Mother Taylor,” Brian gives her his most sincere smile. “Any time.”
Then we grab my suitcases and move quickly into the building, not waiting to wave Mom goodbye. “Hurry,” Brian growls in a deep throaty voice, the urgency of his command going straight to my dick.
We pile ourselves and my bags into the elevator, Brian pulls the door closed while I push the button, then we’re grabbing onto each other as we begin to creak slowly upwards, the rickety shaking of the elevator an aphrodisiac, a reminder of all the times we’ve been nearly naked before reaching the fourth floor. Today’s no exception.
He’s pulled off my shirt and thrown it on the floor, I’ve got my hands under his gray tee, shoving it upwards as I lick his chest and nibble on his right nipple. When the elevator halts, we pull away briefly, both of us gasping, he throws open the gate and we kick and shove my bags across the hall. Panting audibly, Brian fumbles the key into the lock, and the door is shoved back with a loud screech.
“Leave it, leave it,” Brian urges, grabbing my arm and pulling me away from the pile of luggage and into his arms.
It’s a three-legged race as we hump and bump our way to the bedroom, neither of us wanting to let go of the other. Somehow we manage to get most of our clothes off before we hit the bed, then we just sort of fall over sideways onto the duvet. I totally stop thinking for a while as we succumb to an orgy of kissing and touching and rubbing and sucking. My senses are filled, overwhelmed; warm Brianscent filling my nostrils, the feel of his smooth skin taut beneath my fingers, the taste of his hard cock hot on my tongue.
When Brian flips me over and I’m trapped between the quivering muscles of his strong thighs, I’m shaking with the desperate need to feel his cock plunged deep inside me, possessing me completely. Brian leans over me, pressing his chest against my back, his mouth kissing my neck and his face against my hair, his breath hot in my ear as he whispers, “Justin, Justin.”
My eyes are squeezed shut and I’m nearly shaking to death while I wait for him to grab a condom and roll it on, shivering in anticipation of the chilly lube that warms quickly on Brian’s probing fingers. My ass rises up of its own accord, as I reach my left hand back to grab Brian’s knee, urging breathlessly, “Now, Brian, now-now-now!”
Then suddenly he’s inside me and we both gasp out loud, freezing for a micro-second before Brian pushes further in, and even further. I exhale a shaky breath and then I gasp loudly again as Brian’s cock sinks up to the hilt deep inside my ass. In moments we’ve picked up momentum, our bodies melding together, Brian plunging his cock inside and my ass rising up to meet him, my right hand grasping and pulling my own cock in rhythm with his thrusts.
It’s not long till we’re ready to come, we’ve waited almost two months to physically reconnect and neither of us needs to prolong this first hungry fuck. I reach back to slap Brian’s thigh and after two or three more urgent thrusts, I feel Brian let go with a mighty grunt, and he collapses onto my back, slipping slightly sideways to keep from crushing me under his weight. He hangs on tight to my shoulders as my own orgasm rocks my body and I shudder with the enormity of sweet release.
Brian slides completely off me then, deftly pulling off the condom, knotting it and throwing it over his shoulder onto the floor. I slide into his arms and we lie still, chest pressed to chest, my head tucked underneath his chin. When we’ve caught our breath, Brian pulls back his head and his lips find mine for a gentle kiss. We open our eyes then and smile, and sigh, and hold each other even more tightly.
“I’m really here,” I murmur inanely, and Brian smiles.
We lie pressed together a few more moments without speaking again, then I shiver slightly.
”Cold?” Brian asks.
“Yeah,” I admit. “I forgot the loft is so drafty.”
“The loft isn’t drafty,” Brian denies it. Then he pulls himself upright and glances across the room. Suddenly he laughs, and raises his hand to point at the door.
We’ve left it wide open. Outside the open door my luggage is in a jumbled pile in the hallway, and there’s a trail of clothing leading directly from the elevator to our bed. I join Brian in laughing, but I feel my face flush pink with embarrassment.
“Brian, what if somebody had come by!”
“Well,” he answers practically, “The downstairs door is locked.”
Yes, but. So many people have keys to the loft, someone’s always walking in on us.
Brian peels himself away from me and moves to the door, drags my luggage inside, pulls the door shut and locks it. He comes back to the bedroom and stands by the ledge looking down at me. “Want to take a break before round two?” he raises an eyebrow in inquiry.
“No.” My answer’s stark and makes him laugh.
“Okay, Peroxide Boy,” Brian drawls agreeably, crawling toward me across the rumpled duvet. “Here I come, ready or not.”