Queer As Folk FanFic by Morpheus
Season 3 – Episode 3-08
I was not expecting the kiss.
I'd known, of course I'd known, that Justin was - not very subtly and not very expertly - trying to put the moves on me. Trying to worm his way back into my good graces. Trying, as Deb might say, to slip back in under the wire. And I knew that I would not let it happen, I knew that I was safe.
But I was not expecting him to kiss me.
And when I fired him, when I ordered him to go, I was expecting - well, I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but no matter what it was, I knew I was safe. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. And I'm not a fool, I've never been a fool.
Okay, except for a few times, and every one of those times was because of Justin Taylor. And maybe one time it was Lindsay, convincing me to help make a baby.
So when I fired him and when I easily and coolly resisted his heavy-handed attempts to make me change my mind, when I told him to pack his shit and get out, I expected him to go, to walk out the door and that would be the end of it. What amazes me, what absolutely fucking amazes me, is that he was going - he was walking out the door - and I stopped him.
Why the fuck did I stop him?
When Justin was hired as an intern at Vangard, even to myself, I'd had to admit that Justin had got the best of me. When Murph introduced him, I could feel my mouth drop open in complete and utter surprise. Looking at Justin standing there, long wisps of blond hair curling around his face, I felt my mouth begin to turn up in a smile before I had a chance to stop it. It was not a smile of happiness of course, merely surprise, complete and utter surprise. When he said, "Pleased to meet you, Mr. Kinney," immediately I figured out the game he was playing.
I turned to Murph and raised my eyebrows. "Since when do you hire somebody without consulting me?" Which was not exactly fair, several times in the past couple years Murph had taken on interns and student assistants and I couldn't have given a fuck. He looked surprised but said, "Sorry Brian, but Justin came highly recommended, would you like to see his application?"
With a wave of my hand I dismissed his apology. "No. But I'll interview the candidate in my office in half an hour." Then I turned on my heel and got the fuck out of the art department. As soon as I reached my office, I closed and locked the door, grabbed my cigarettes and lit up. I knew I needed to be calmer before Justin arrived. After a few minutes I ground out the cigarette, unlocked my door, and got down to business, checking out some paste-ups for the Big-T Tire campaign.
When Justin's knock came on the door I was prepared for him, and I told him flat out he could find someplace else to do his internship. But he was prepared too. With tongue firmly in cheek, Justin challenged me, hinting that what he called our former relationship was bothering me, which was a crock. I denied it of course but then he had me. If our previous association didn't bother me, why should I mind Justin's presence at the office? In a way I had to admire how he handled that interview, all the while cursing him under my breath and wanting him out of there, wanting him to get the fuck back out of my life. Finally I acquiesced, but I warned him not to expect any special treatment.
Over the past couple years Justin has learned to mask his feelings to a certain extent, something no doubt he learned from me. I remember that while we were - associating with each other - I remember feeling both glad and sorry that he was hardening up somewhat. In the early days I'd enjoyed his transparency, his open expression of his feelings, even while decrying it and sometimes being annoyed by his naïvete. But when Justin showed up at Babylon the night he was hired at Vangard, his transparency was almost laughably obvious once again. He pretended running into me was an accident, he offered to buy me a drink, he practically begged me to ask him to dance. I wasn't even tempted and I walked off without a backward glance.
During the next couple days I tried to avoid the art department, all the while telling myself I was not avoiding the art department. If I expected Justin to dog my steps, to follow me to lunch or corner me in the Xerox room, he didn't do anything so obvious. So I let down my guard, and when circumstances forced my hand and sent me charging into the art department to demand immediate revision of the Eyeconic display boards, who should be the only occupant of the place but Justin Taylor, very much at his ease, feet up on a desk while he perused a magazine.
I couldn't resist knocking his feet off the desk but when he offered to help, I relented. I even asked him how it was going and he grabbed the opportunity to slyly suck up to the boss by attributing the dedication and hard work of the department to my influence. Of course what he said is true but that's not why he said it, and he could barely restrain a smirk, so I gave him some of his own back, pretending to fall for it. I left him to his magazine and forgot about him during the next two hours, as I scrambled to fine-tune the Eyeconic presentation.
Vance joined me in the board room, we welcomed the client, Marge Capstan - a scrawny hard-edged bitch - and of all people, Murph sent Justin to set up the display boards. I thought I was okay with that, I never pay attention to interns so ignoring Justin would be no problem, but then he dropped one of the foamcore boards and I realized I was grinding my teeth. He moved over to the window and tried to look invisible while we began our pitch. Ms. Capstan surveyed the displays and she took Justin by surprise when she asked his opinion of the ads. I could feel Vance slightly shrug his shoulders, something he does when he's tense, and I realized that I was grinding my teeth again.
When Ms. Capstan challenged the ads' font color, she ignored Vance's and my assurances that focus groups preferred blue and instead jumped on a murmured comment from the fucking intern, who had no business opening his mouth, much less spouting off a ridiculous art-school smart-ass opinion that 'orange is the new blue.' And when the client insisted on changing the font color to orange, Vance smoothly glossed it over. But I could feel my annoyance turning into outright anger, which of course I was forced to conceal behind an ill-fitting smile, while shooting a deadly look at Justin that should have dropped him in his tracks.
After the meeting, Vance glad-handed the client out of the board room and I turned my back on them and on the inappropriately grinning intern and marched down the hall and right out of the building, pausing at Cynthia's desk to tell her I'd be back in a couple hours. I'd skipped lunch to work on the presentation, nothing unusual, I often skip lunch; but since I knew my calendar was clear, I decided to drop in at the gym and work off some of my annoyance. An hour on the stairmaster and the treadmill worked up a good sweat and I relaxed in the sauna afterwards, turning down a couple offered blowjobs, one from an over-muscled pinhead and another from a redhead with freckles on his shoulders.
Back at the office, most of the staff were packing up for the day and heading home. Cynthia handed me a stack of pink phone messages, and I spent an hour returning calls and checking through my e-mail, then red-penciled a draft of the Overhill presentation and decided to walk it over to the art department; most of the lights were off and the staff were gone for the day. Not all of them, as it turned out: Justin was still there, stacking display boards.
"It's quitting time," I told him brusquely, "Go home."
"I wanted to finish clearing up," he replied, some of his bluster obviously gone; so he HAD intercepted my death-stare in the board room after all. This was the first sign of uncertainty I'd seen from him since he showed up at Vangard and I jumped on it.
"Orange is the new blue?" I demanded. He tried to excuse himself, blaming the client for asking his opinion but I was having none of it. I told him he'd fucked up and he was through.
"Are you firing me?" He was incredulous. I expected him to put up a fight but he gave up pretty easily, going into some pathetic hangdog routine he'd probably practiced in front of a mirror, whining that he should have expected me to get rid of him, that he'd hoped not only that I'd get used to seeing his face but might actually. . .and he dropped his voice dramatically. It was more than I could stomach.
"So you thought when your little romance with Paganini Junior was over, you could come running back?" I didn't even try to keep the scorn from my voice.
"Yeah, something like that," he admitted.
"I know. It’s stupid."
"Almost as stupid as falling for his bullshit in the first place." Then I relented slightly, gave him an excuse. "But you're young, inexperienced - "
And just like that he lost it. "And you're so smart?" he snarled back, coming at me, getting in my face. "If you had any fucking brains at all, you’d never have let me leave.” He was almost shouting. "You would have told me that I was making the biggest mistake of my life! That I would live to regret it. That what you gave me was worth a thousand times, a million times more than anything he had to offer!"
I could only stare at him, keeping my face, I hoped, blank.
When I said nothing, he went on. "You would have told me that you loved me.” I looked away but he went on, “That you'd go on loving me even after I was gone."
That grabbed me. Rearing back my head, pushing my face close to his, I scornfully demanded, "Is that what you were waiting to hear?"
"Yes," he snarled back, "But as usual you never said it. So it’s just as well that I go." Suddenly the wind went out of his sails, his body drooped. And he turned away, shouldered his backpack and moved to push past me and out the door.
Without thinking - without thinking at all - my hand shot out and grabbed his arm, whirled him back around to face me. "That's so like you! You don't hear what you want so you leave. Try standing up for yourself for a change. Have some balls!"
I don't know where the fuck that came from.
Neither did Justin, he stood stock-still, staring at me. Then suddenly he grabbed my neck and pulled down my head and he kissed me. He kissed me hard, smashing his mouth against mine, and just as suddenly he pulled away again, let go of me so quickly I almost fell over. He turned away and he walked out, and I just stood there, frozen to the spot, while my guts spilled out on the white-tiled floor.
Now I know. I was pretty sure before, but now that I've kissed him, I know that Brian still loves me.
I've had a lot of time to think about our relationship, to remember all the things Brian did for me, and not just money things, though he's always been generous. But he's generous with everybody so spreading money around doesn't prove anything. Somehow, in my frustration that Brian wouldn't say the words, wouldn't say I love you or do anything that remotely smacked of romance, somehow I'd forgotten all the things he'd done that showed he loved me.
Afterwards, after I'd walked out on him, left him for the romance that I craved, I discovered that romance was like cotton candy - sweet and delicious till it melts on your tongue and disappears, leaving a bad aftertaste. Then I started remembering all the things Brian did for me. Taking me in when Dad kicked me out, standing up to Dad right in the living room of my home. Coming to my prom, showing up and dancing with me, just because I asked him to. I still can't remember that dance but I do remember afterwards, in the dimly-lit garage smelling of exhaust fumes and fear, when Brian tried to save me from the baseball bat. And how could I forget that he kept me safe afterwards, walking the streets with me, a protective arm around my shoulders when I was scared of people touching me. Hanging on to me when I'd wake up sweating and screaming from nightmares. Somehow I'd convinced myself that Brian did all that merely out of guilt. Michael told me as much, and when I confronted Brian, he didn’t deny it.
When I walked out on Brian the first time, he came after me. He wouldn't say he loved me but he said he wanted to come home to me at night, and I tried to settle for that, tried to believe that meant he loved me. Looking back from this distance and knowing what I know now, Brian probably did mean he loved me. But I wanted the words.
Time passed and the nightmares went away, we settled into a routine. Things were good for a while, but somewhere along the way we changed, both of us. Something happened to me, made me begin to act differently to Brian and he was different with me too. Maybe it was repercussions from the bashing, we never really talked about it, Brian refused to talk about it. Mom had nagged me for a long time to see a shrink, even Brian tentatively suggested it when the nightmares were at their worst but I wouldn't do it. I think I was afraid that if I did, Brian would see it as a weakness in me; after all, he scorned psychiatry and self-help stuff as so much mumbo-jumbo. Doing the comic helped dispel some of my anger about Chris and the damage to my hand; Brian buying me the special computer also helped. Yet I remember thinking that something important was missing from my life.
Brian got caught up in work, I was busy with school and working on the comic, and more and more of our time together was spent fucking around, picking up tricks, going to the baths. Sex is not just recreation to Brian, it's a major part of his life, and I began to feel like I was just a buddy he'd drag along to play with. If I wanted to go with him he was fine with that, if I didn't want to go, he seemed equally fine. I began to feel dispensable. We talked less and less about important things, it seemed like there was less and less time for me, for us. I had a sense of waiting - waiting for things to change, waiting for Brian to talk to me, waiting for something that never came. Distance grew between us and I didn't understand it, didn't know how to change it. Somehow I decided that what was missing from my life was Romance, Romance with a capital R. So I tried to impose romantic ideals on Brian, on our relationship, and the result was - predictably with hindsight - a disaster. Brian rejected romance, and by extension, I felt he was rejecting me.
When Ethan came along, I was bursting with frustration and unfulfilled poetic dreams of romance, and Ethan became almost immediately the embodiment of all that was missing from my relationship with Brian. As I got more involved with Ethan, things got worse and worse between me and Brian, we were hardly speaking at the end. I was shocked when he discovered us, when he outed me and Ethan in the diner, and I was overwhelmed with guilt. I rubbed Brian's face in all the ways Ethan was different from him, all the while hoping that Brian would admit he loved me, would grab me in his arms and beg me not to leave.
I can almost laugh at myself, looking back at that moment in the loft. Almost. The pain is still too real even after all this time to laugh, instead I shake my head and remind myself what a fool I was, to expect Brian Kinney to let down his guard so completely. And yet tonight at Vangard as we faced each other in the dimmed light of the art department, I saw it, for maybe the first time: Brian letting down his guard. Brian telling me, with body language, with his face showing tumultuous emotion, shouting at me to stand up for myself. To have some balls. To go after what I want.
And then I kissed him and in that moment I knew. I knew that Brian loved me, had maybe always loved me, still loved me now. As he'd proved it so many ways since I walked out on him - by paying my tuition, by giving me the computer, even by punching out his best friend when Michael was bad-mouthing me at the party. Everything Brian has done since I left him is proof that he still loves me. And maybe proof that he still wants me, that maybe he will take me back. If I have the balls to stand up to him.
I almost didn’t check for e-mail on my computer at home this morning, I was running a bit late and remembered that I had to stop for gas on the way to work, but something made me flip on the computer and run an eye down the messages accumulated since Tuesday. And there it was, an e-mail from JustAnArtist@pittsnet.com. My fingers hesitated only briefly before I clicked on the message. It was brief, merely saying that he had something important to discuss with me and could he have an appointment? I stood staring at the screen, unblinking, for about thirty seconds before typing my terse reply: 'This afternoon, 6:15, my office.' Virtually all the staff would be gone by then, there'd be no interruptions.
The day passed quickly and I didn't think about Justin at all, I put him in the 'later' room in my brain and locked the door. Several times I visited the art department to talk to staff working on various projects; I wouldn't ask about Justin, but I did overhear Murph telling Barb that the intern had called in sick today; I'd wondered if Justin would tell Murph he'd been fired and I was somewhat relieved to discover that he'd said nothing. I don't really know why I cared at that point. I had lunch with a client and allowed myself two glasses of wine which smoothed out some tension in my neck. By five o'clock I became aware of the office emptying out and was glad to have a peaceful hour to work on details of a draft presentation for Monday. I sensed Justin's presence in the doorway before I heard his knock; he called me Mr. Kinney and I called him Taylor, invited him to come in and sit down. He perched on the edge of the chair.
"You wanted to see me?"
He nodded, then sat back in the chair and seemed to relax. "I gave it some thought," he began; "I decided you should take me back."
"Oh?" I kept my face noncommittal.
"Even though I have made a few mistakes, I think you'd be making an even bigger one not to give me a second chance."
After a moment, Justin continued, “Because now I understand what it is you want from me. And I know what I can expect from you.”
Pausing, taking a deep breath, I countered, "You also understand that you'll be required to work long, hard hours, sometimes deep into the night?"
Barely able to hide his smirk, Justin answered, "It’ll be a pleasure to work under you. . .sir."
I hoped he would realize I was serious when I lowered my head and stared hard at him. "And you're never to play violin music in my presence again."
Always quick, Justin got the message immediately. Staring back unblinking into my eyes, he whispered, "I promise."
“Good. Well, then." I stood up, walked around the desk and moved the lamp so that I could sit down on the corner, crossed my arms and added, "You can start. . .immediately."
We stared at each other, our eyes locked, for what seemed an eternity. Then Justin stood up, turned and slowly walked to the door. He closed it, then returned to stand in front of me. When he leaned down and his lips touched mine, my mouth opened beneath his and he melted against me, his arms going around my neck.
We kissed and began pulling off our clothes, urgent but not frantic, just hungry. In my case, starving, starving for kisses I'd been denying myself since Justin walked away from me. There was only one mouth I've wanted to kiss, one mouth whose sweet delicious taste had left me with such hunger that I immediately had to eat his mouth, taste the silky skin of his neck, feel the gentle bristle of his baby-whiskered cheeks. I touched his hair, longer now than I'd ever seen it, I tweaked and twisted that fine soft hair in my fingers, buried my nose in a handful, snaked out my tongue briefly to taste a few strands, the remembered scent taking my breath away.
I wanted Justin at home in bed, wanted the leisure to explore his body slowly and thoroughly, to kiss and lick every remembered inch of him. But I couldn't wait, and it seemed that Justin couldn't wait either, to rid ourselves of clothing and to rub skin on skin, to be naked together after an eternity apart. Hearing his ragged breathing, each gasp thrilling along my spine like a tiny electric shock, my whole body literally quivered with a lust held so long in check that now it threatened to shake me apart if I could not possess him this very moment, this instant, right this fucking second! Oh my God. . . my God. . . .
Walking into his office, sitting down across from him, I did not expect to feel so calm. I didn’t have to pretend to be relaxed, I actually felt relaxed. Brian’s demeanor gave nothing away, but I’d had my clue last night when I kissed him. And when he stood up, walked around to perch on the edge of the desk and said, “You can start immediately,” I sat staring up at him. The message in his eyes was clear, both an invitation and a challenge at the same time.
So I got up, walked to the door and closed it and walked back again. Hesitating only a moment to see if he’d reach out to me, I was not really surprised that he did nothing, merely waited. But a tiny smile turned up the corners of his mouth, and that was the only confirmation I needed. Bending my head to bring our lips together, I felt Brian’s mouth open beneath mine, a warm invitation.
The rest is a blur, blurred images burned on my brain as if I were standing back behind the glass wall of Brian’s office, watching our shapes come together, move apart, come together again, blurring the lines between us as we struggled to pull off our clothes, anxious to be naked again to feel and smell and touch each other’s skin.
I wondered if he’d be rough, either from passion or from some desire to punish me, maybe punish himself at the same time, but he wasn’t, he was urgent but gentle, or as gentle as he could be under the circumstances. Once we were naked he turned me around and made me sit on the edge of his desk; when the condom was on and his fingers prepared me, Brian lifted my legs and wrapped them around his waist; once he was inside me, he lifted me in his arms, taking my whole weight, my arms wrapped tight around his neck. Then he fucked me just like that, all the time holding me in his arms, his hands firm on my ass, moving me backward and forward with each plunging thrust of his cock.
It didn’t last long – we were both so eager, so hungry, so urgent, it had been such a long time. I know Brian wanted us to come together, he always loves for us to come together, but he couldn’t wait for me, and when I felt his shudder and heard him groan with release, that was just enough to put me over the edge into orgasm, all without touching myself once. My cock trapped against his hard belly exploded and I held on even tighter, fell against his chest as the vibration of my orgasm made me shudder and gasp for breath.
Still Brian held me in his arms, my head collapsed on his shoulder, and he buried his face in my neck, murmuring non-words that sounded like mmmjustinmmmjustinohgodjustin.
“Brian,” I gasped, when my breathing slowed enough so that I could talk, “Brian, don’t let me go again. Don’t ever let me go.”
“No,” he murmured, raising his head at last and looking into my eyes. “No,” he said it again, raising his voice and staring hard at me.
He smiled then, just a curve of his lips and a lift of one eyebrow. “Words, Justin. Remember? Promises are words.”
Then he closed his eyes and he kissed my lips. The kiss was Brian’s promise.