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Hey again!

I'm about to tell you all something I'm not telling even my best friends or family...
MY PEN NAME. *gasp!*
Anyone who's interested in reading any more of my writing can find me on Amazon/Kindle as...*drumroll*

Avery Rush. Oh yeah.
Contactable at averyrushbooks@gmail.com

So far, I've published the revamped Appassionato there, and plan to publish In Paris as well. And within the next lil while I'm gonna finish a full length original romantic novel, non-bj-based (though probably at least one bj in there, ifyaknowwhatimean ;D)

I know there's not much temptation to buy a story you've already read for free, but if you feel like showing support, you can perhaps put it in your shopping cart? Or recommend it to readers? If you wanted to go as far as to buy it...
**LIMITED TIME OFFER**
If you email me a little proof (screencap, whateva) of you buying one of my stories, I will write you a romantic/funny/dramatic story, custom to your requests. I'm trying to really make a go of living as a writer, and if you guys have it in your heart to help me, you could be the difference that gets this off the ground!
Plus, I extended all of the sexy scenes in Appassionato, so there's that.

I love you all!!

<3Jules

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Hey all!!
I know I've been fairly absent from this community for the past few years but many of you have been delightfully supportive and enthusiastic about my stories, and so I thought some of you might be able to give me some advice/help.
I love writing, obviously, and with yet another waitressing job falling through, I'm nearing the end of my rope with this dang business, and wondering if there's a method by which I could actually make a small living with my writing (imagine!) so I'm looking into self-publishing, particularly through Amazon. I thought this might be a good community to ask about this venue; do any of you buy self-published work off of amazon? Do any of you sell self-published work, know people who do, etc.? I have a friend who does the audiobooks for some sexy sci-fi adventures and he was singing the praises of this world. Also, and I want to ask this in the least arrogant way possible, would any of you (if any remain) who have read my work be interested in seeing more? Is there any interest in commissioning me to write your dream fic? If any of you lovelies have any insight, advice, warnings, etc. I would love to hear them! I hope everyone is kickin' ass!

Love,
Jules

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In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (part 6 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (part 6 of 6)]That weekend, he broke the cycle and went to Raccoon Creek State Park. It was Gus’ birthday party, and apparently a day at the beach in the unseasonably warm Autumn was the genius plan.

And wasn’t it great, Lindsay commented, that Justin agreed to come up for the party as well?


So Brian was trapped, in the middle of nowhere, two hours out of Pittsburgh, outside, unable to escape being in the same vicinity as Justin, with all his friends, family and child as witnesses to however this whole thing would implode.


There was, indeed, a picnic, with sandwiches and soda and birthday cake, there was tossing the wiffle ball back and forth with Gus, which was alright, there was a water gun fight, from which Brian protected his armani sweater. He managed to avoid speaking with Justin all day by interacting either with Michael or directly with Gus at all times. Michael would sense when they talked that Brian wasn’t really listening, because he was looking over his shoulder at Justin. Gus stuck by Justin’s side like he was tethered to him, and Justin didn’t mind at all. The two of them were just a wash of smiles and laughs and frequent high-fives.

“What the hell happened in Paris?” Michael asked, following his eye line. Clearly he’d been gossiping with Lindsay over Justin’s significance.

Brian shook his head. He didn’t have the energy to make light of this whole situation.


“Don’t fucking ask.”


He’d successfully kept his distance until the mini fireworks display at dusk. He ducked away for a cigarette behind a beach grass-covered hill, and the hairs on the back of his neck stood up as, a few minutes later, Justin materialized at his side, barefoot in the sand with his pant cuffs rolled.


“Hey.”


Brian rolled his eyes, somehow managing to say “hey” sarcastically in response.


“So, you’ve been avoiding me” Justin retorted.


Brian snorted. “Don’t be dramatic. If I haven’t talked to you, it’s not because I’m sneaking off to write about you in my diary, it’s-”


“Ok, ok. I got it. I was just hoping that things could be okay between us.”


“What the fuck are you talking about? Things aren’t anything between us.”


“Brian, I’m not asking for anything, I just wanted to assure you I’m not going to get all clingy on you. So you don’t have to freak out.”


“Yeah, don’t worry, Sunshine, you made that clear as fucking crystal.” Brian said dismissively, turning away.


Justin’s brow furrowed. “Made what clear?” Brian just shook his head and took a drag off his cigarette.


“Whatever.”


Justin took a step back and stared, perplexed at Brian. “Wait. Are you mad at me?!”


Brian mustered up his most incredulous look. “I’m not anything at-”


“Stop doing that, stop saying that. I thought you were just freaking out as usual about things getting too serious, but… no, you’re clearly mad at me.” Brian chuffed out a skeptical laugh. “Why??” Justin pressed. “What could you possibly be upset about? We did everything your way!”


“What?” It was Brian’s turn to look perplexed.


“I didn’t get sappy, I didn’t say a fucking word, not one word. We fucked and then I let myself out so you wouldn’t have to be an asshole and kick me out when you would inevitably freak out about what happened, I did everything your way-”


“Nothing about this is my way, Justin. None of this is my way. I don’t think you-” Brian ran a frustrated palm through his hair, regretting his outburst. “Fuck this.” He turned back towards the crowd on the beach.


Justin grabbed his wrist and pulled him back.



“No. No, I’m sick of this elusiveness, I’m sick of not knowing what the fuck is going on here.”


“What the hell do you want, Justin? What’s the point? You don’t even live here, you’re planning to go back to Paris just as soon as you fucking can! And if it’s anything like the other night, you’ll just evaporate without a word, never to be seen again. So why the hell are you trying to drag me into some weird soap opera bullshit? I’m not interested.”


“I didn’t say I was going back to Paris!” Justin said exasperatedly.


“What? Yes you fucking did.”


“No, that’s- that’s not what I meant. And are you seriously calling me out for leaving without saying goodbye? At least I didn’t get on a fucking plane and leave the country afterward. So forgive me if I’m playing with my cards close to my chest, because it killed me when you left, Brian. It fucking killed me. So I’m not sure I can do this again, this whole dancing around between nonchalance and- whatever this thing we’re doing is.”


“No one’s asking you to. Go get on a fucking plane, we both know that’s what you’re gonna do eventually anyway. Why the fuck would you stay?” Brian averted his gaze to inspect his cigarette.


Gradually Justin had been feeling the smallest flicker of hope grow in his chest. It was a dangerous substance to be messing with, but he couldn’t let it go. The thought that what the two of them were feeling was the exact same thing. That his fears were less to do with actually being with Justin, than losing him.


Justin sighed, and chose his next words slowly and carefully.


“It’s different, Brian. When I left Pittsburgh last time, it was because there was nothing for me here. And I mean, now I know there’s not really anything for me in Paris either, but at least it’s pretty.”


They stood in silence, Justin staring at Brian, Brian staring at the lake. Justin thought he might crawl out of his skin if Brian didn’t say something, and yet he was dreading whatever he might say. Finally:


“So what’s different, then?” He shrugged and shook his head, throwing his cigarette to the sand.


“What, are you gonna make me spell it out for you?” Justin half-chided, half-genuinely asked.


*****



Brian was really having trouble figuring himself out in this moment. He couldn’t bring himself to look at Justin, he put out his cigarette because he didn’t want Justin to notice his hands shaking, his lung capacity had been reduced to about a teaspoon. Brian wanted nothing more than for him to spell it out for him. Make some part of this whole thing clear. He turned to look at Justin imploringly.


Justin, the image of calmness and confidence, probably the bravest person Brian had ever met. Braver than him by a long shot. Justin squared his hips and planted his feet to directly face Brian, his mouth a firm line of resolve. He took a deep breath.


“Brian, I’m fairly certain that I’m in love with you.”


Brian stopped breathing completely, and felt the world go quiet.


“But I’m not some sad loser.” Justin continued. “I am perfectly capable of living my life entirely without you. But only…”


His resolve softened a little. His mouth turned up at the corners and he shrugged his left shoulder.


“Only if I have to.”


They stared at each other for what had to be the billionth time. That familiar, heavy electric stare, times a million.


“...So…” Justin muttered.


It was odd, Brian noted, how the moment he had been so fucking afraid of felt so simple, how it had come and gone and they were both still here, still breathing. Maybe he’d do well to borrow some of the kid’s courage. But it was easier said than done; everything felt fragile, like something might break if he moved or said a word.  


*****

Fuck it, Justin thought. In that moment, he didn’t regret anything. He couldn’t stomach it anymore; nothing would be done until Brian knew, and pretending otherwise was just pulling the band-aid off slower. However, Brian’s reaction made him start to wonder if he’d made the right choice. He expected him to storm off, or freak out, or scoff, but instead he stood there, motionless. After a long, long moment, Justin spoke up.


“You have to say something.”


Brian’s eyebrows twitched up for a second and opened his mouth, but all that came out was a defeated sigh.


“I talk so fucking much,” Justin continued, “I’m sick of my own voice. It’s your turn.”


Brian looked like a deer in the headlights. Justin could not interpret the look on his face to save his life. After a moment, Brian’s eyes closed, his brow furrowed, he pinched the bridge of his nose, shook his head and sighed, as if in defeat.


Justin’s hopes were crumbling. He was embarrassed that he started to feel a lump in his throat and his face blush. He had to get out of dodge, and fast, if he was going to avoid crying like a princess in front of the adult man to whom he just professed his love.


“Okay. Okay.” He said quietly and turned away.


“Justin…” Brian rumbled.


“No, it’s ok, don’t worry, you don’t have to-”


“Justin will you quit running away and just give me one fucking second? Just one second!” Brian snapped. Justin stared at Brian, stunned and slightly incensed out of his tearfulness. He watched as Brian took a deep breath, opened his eyes to look directly at Justin.


“You…” Brian started, gesturing vaguely with his hands. “You’re different…you’re different from anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve never…” he sighed. Justin could sense that might actually be physically painful for him. “But I think I’m different too. This year’s been so fucked up, I’m...not who I used to be.”


“So what does that mean?” Justin cut in apprehensively.


“I’m fucking getting to it!”


“Alright!”


“I think…” Brian sighed and closed his eyes. Justin’s heart raced. “I think I want you around,” he declared with gravitas.


Oh for fuck’s sake, Justin thought. He raised both eyebrows. “You think you want me around?”


“What?” Brian looked confused and perturbed.


“I just told you I was in love with you, and your response is ‘I think I want you around’. You’re gonna have to do better than that.”


“Ok, fine, I want you around!”


“Well, lucky me, you want me around.”


Brian groaned in frustration, pacing away, rubbing his face. “Come on!” he exclaimed at the lake.


“What for?” Justin continued. “To TIVO Jimmy Dean movies? Help you pick out new outfits-”


Brian spun back around to face him. “Because I’m fucking in love with you too, you fuckin’-!”


He froze. If it had been silent before, this moment was some sort of sonic vacuum.


Justin’s mouth hung open for a moment. Brian was rooted to the spot, looking at him apprehensively, and Justin cast his eyes to the ground to mask the grin taking over his face. When he looked back up after a moment, he was suppressing a smile, and Brian pretended he couldn’t see the tiniest glassy shimmer in his eye. “Well,” he nodded, “that’s a start.”


A loud blast went off behind them and shattered the silence, scaring them both out of their hypnosis. Justin looked up at the sky and grinned ironically, shaking his head. If Brian Kinney was ever going to declare that he was in love with someone, it was only fitting that it would be followed by a rain of fireworks.

Some of the weight of the moment had been lifted, and Brian took the chance. Each step felt like the ones you take in a dream, heavy and slow, running away from the monsters, towards the happy ending.


The kiss felt better than anything leading up to it. It felt like the truth.


They clung to each other, and stumbled backwards in the sand. Justin felt his butt plunk onto an adjacent sandy hill, and Brian’s hand and knee landed to his left. Justin felt Brian’s smile against his mouth, and laughed until he sensed that Brian wasn’t. He opened his eyes to see Brian’s cast to the ground. He grabbed Brian’s shoulder and squeezed.





“Hey.”


Brian looked fragile in a way he’d never seen, not when he told Justin about his cancer, or why it was that Justin freaked him out so much, not even at the hospital.


“Shit. I don’t-” Brian muttered. A chill briefly ran through Justin’s veins.


“-I don’t wanna fuck this up.”


Justin exhaled, smiling sadly and cupped his face in his hands. “So don’t.”


“I might” he replied immediately, looking Justin in the eyes. Justin looked up, shaking his head.





“Okay. Well then, we’ll deal with it. We’ll survive. Okay?”


Brian sighed, and leaned in. “Okay.” he said against his lips.



“Uh, hey guys!” Michael’s nasal call rang through the air. Brian closed his eyes and groaned.


“Fuck. What?” He called back to Michael, accentuating the “t”. When he looked up to see Michael 30 feet away at the crest of a hill, he was met with the most perplexed and amused face he’d seen on Mikey since he’d walked in on Brian singing along to “Smooth Operator” by Sade.


“Um, Gus is 100% asleep, so we’re gonna head back. Do you guys wanna come with, or…?”


Brian looked down at Justin.


“Can we stay here a little longer?” Justin asked quietly. Brian nodded. Justin turned his head towards Michael. “I’ll catch a ride back with Brian, thank you Michael!”


“Ok! Justin, your shoes and bag are still back here!”


Justin’s face lit up. “Oh! Wait here.” He somehow wiggled out from under Brian and took off like a dart towards the bigger part of the beach, kicking up a hurricane of sand behind him. Brian stood and brushed the sand off of his jeans. When he looked up, Michael was already only 8 feet away from him.


“Goodnight, Mikey.” He said firmly. Michael stopped in his tracks and gave him a shit eating grin. He took a few more steps forward and pointed a finger in Brian’s face.


“Don’t think you’re getting off that easy. You’re telling me fucking everything when you get back.” He turned around and started trudging away through the sand.


“You’re welcome to believe that as long as you like.” Brian called after him. Michael flipped him the bird over his shoulder.


Justin came stomping back with a backpack and his converse.


“Check it out.” He unfurled a flannel blanket, laid it across the sand, sat down on it and started pulling items from the bag.


“Wow, Sunshine, you’ve managed to turn this into a romantic date five minutes in, that’s gotta be a fucking record.”


Justin pulled a flask out of his backpack and held it above his head with a flourish. Brian made a beeline for the blanket.


“Thank fucking Christ.” He took a pull off of the flask. Sweet, merciful whiskey. He handed it to Justin and watched intently as his adam’s apple bobbed up and down with each admirable chug.


“You brought liquor to my kid’s fifth birthday party?”





“Mmhmm.” Justin said matter of factly, wiping his mouth. “I still can’t believe you have a kid.”


Brian snorted. “Neither can I, and I’ve known about it way longer.”


Justin flopped onto his back. “Oh wow, you can see all the stars!”

Brian looked up for a moment, then cast his gaze down to Justin. He laid back, leaning on his arm placed above Justin’s head. He marvelled at how much he had stared at his face within the last few weeks, and still hadn’t gotten used to it. Part of him hoped he’d never get used to it.


Justin smiled wide, and brushed a piece of Brian’s hair out of his face, trailing the hand down his bicep, then sighed and cast a pensive gaze back to the stars.


“This has been a really weird day,” he remarked.


Brian paused, then fell onto his back laughing. Justin turned to face him, leaning on his elbow. “Right??” He exclaimed. They laughed together genuinely for the first time in months. Justin shuffled over and laid his head on Brian’s chest, and Brian’s arm wound around Justin’s shoulders as their chortles died down. Justin’s hand drew patterns on Brian’s stomach. They stayed in that place for what seemed like hours, until Justin broke the silence.


“How you doing?” he asked quietly.


“Fucking exhausted” Brian yawned. Justin smiled, and wrapped his end of the blanket around his shoulders, turning to face Brian.


“Yeah. Me too.” he murmured. Brian followed suit, his lips grazing Justin’s forehead. And those were the last words they said for the next several hours.


****

Justin's groggy voice faded into Brian's consciousness. "Shit. Brian, wake up."


Brian opened his eyes to a gorgeous sunrise. Justin was sitting up and rubbing his face.


"We slept here all night," He remarked.


"Yeah, I got that," Brian groaned, massaging his neck.


Justin laid back, resting on his elbows. Brian leaned over him, and noticed he was suppressing a smile.


"What?" Brian asked suspiciously.


"We kinda look like the cover of a harlequin romance novel right now,"Justin grinned, casting his eyes across Brian's partially unbuttoned shirt, the beach, the orange and peach sunrise.


Brian rolled his eyes, smirking, before his eyes landed on something behind Justin. "Or try the beginning of a cheap porno." He said with a snort.


"What?" Justin asked confusedly, before turning around and realizing what he was referring to.


"Oh my god is that a park ranger?" Justin murmured under his breath. Brian was doing a terrible job stifling his snickers.


"Gentlemen! The park is closed to the public between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am!" The ranger shouted towards them, walking over a sand bank.


"Yes! We're just... We just um..." Justin realized there was no simple explanation.


"Fraternization in the park is strictly prohibited!" He shouted, coming closer.


"Just trying to spice things up, Ranger, you know how things are!" Brian gave the ranger a small salute.


"Jesus Brian, shut up!" Justin whisper-shouted. "We're very sorry, officer! Just fell asleep, we'll be on our way now!" He scrambled to pick up and shake off the blanket and his shoes, and took off at a hurried walk. Brian followed after.


They reached Brian's car and Brian unlocked and opened the passenger side door for Justin. Justin flashed him a smile as he got in. As Brian sat himself behind the wheel and started the ignition, Justin was staring at his hands and chuckling quietly to himself. Brian’s eyes ran unabashedly across that face as it looked up at him, each freckle, each eyelash, each crease in the lips that were stretched in a giddy incredulous smile, knowing his life was different now. Wondering if this was the reason he’d survived this year, imagining how much better his humdrum daily life was going to be from now on with that smile in his peripheral, that body in his bed. He wasn’t able to conceal the soft smile taking over his face, and in any case, he didn’t want to. As the sun finally rose and streamed in through the windows, he and Justin exchanged the simple words, the only ones that seemed appropriate, the ones they’d continue to say to each other hundreds of times in the years to come;


“Good morning.”


“Good morning.”

FIN






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In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (part 5 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (5 of 6)]

It was Justin who freaked out this time. Brian had the momentary thought that he might never forgive him. They’d laid there staring at each other in this new ephemeral world, until Brian’s eyes drifted closed. He’d let himself fall asleep with his arms around Justin, and slept better than he had in half a year. He slept so well, in fact, that he didn’t even notice Justin slip out of bed and disappear sometime in the early morning.


Brian paced around his apartment for about an hour. This was absolute bullshit. He had gone with it. He’d let himself trust Justin. And now he was having the lamest pussy thoughts such as “I trusted him” and “how could he just leave?” which caused him to hate himself even more. He’d felt it, the way he'd felt it in Paris, compounded by months of thoughts of him consuming his mind. But he’d be damned if he was going to call him, mewling “Where did you go? Why did you leave? What are we?”  So he let his hopes erode, hour by hour, each moment he didn’t hear from him.


He went to work, he ate pad thai, he went to the gym, he went to Woody’s, he went to work, he ate pad thai, he went to the gym, he went to Woody’s. He could almost fool himself into seeing a day in the future when he would be able to take his mind off Justin, and carry on with his life without all this bullshit, until the eighth day of this cycle. Cynthia was giving him his itinerary for the day when he noticed a small paper bag on his desk that he hadn’t seen before.


“Is this mine?” He asked, curiously picking it up.


“Yeah, didn’t you see that? I put that there weeks ago.” Cynthia told him. “Sorry, I guess it must have gotten buried under paper work.”


“What is it?” He opened it and slid a small box tied shut with a string.


“Beats me. That guy left it here for you,” she said as he untied the string and opened the box. “The guy...what was his name…”


Inside, sitting on a folded piece of sketching paper was the pocketwatch he’d bought with Justin.  Brian felt like he’d been punched in the gut.


“Justin.”


“Justin, right. Oh wow, is that a pocket watch?” Cynthia craned her neck over his desk.


“Thank you, Cynthia. That’ll be all.”


Cynthia had learned by now not to protest to his sudden mood swings, and promptly left with a sigh.


He tilted the watch between his fingers and relearned each ridge in the design on the front. He remembered how the sun reflected off the slightly tarnished silver when he found it on a merchant’s table. Justin had admired it, said “you should get it.” He bought it without a second thought. He’d planned to give it to Justin, but decided against it upon leaving. He didn’t want to bring it with him to Pittsburgh, he didn’t want to have some little memento that was going to torture him. He’d left it behind for a reason, goddammit.


He noticed a few small pencil lines on the piece of paper in the box. He removed it and unfolded it, and the smell of oranges and paint thinner hit him in the face.  It was a sketch of Brian, slightly smudged from being folded. It wasn’t the one he saw at Justin’s apartment; his face was split by an enormous grin, his hand reaching for his mouth, mid-laugh. Brian couldn’t remember the last time he laughed like that. He brought the top of the page to his nose and inhaled, and his chest ached. He considered how furious he should feel with Justin for turning him into this, and with himself for letting him.

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In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (part 4 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (4 of 6)]

Justin had found himself a studio apartment that suitably doubled as an art studio, which basically meant he had found an art studio where he could fit a single mattress in the corner.

He had only secured one commission since he got back, but combined with the bit of cash coming from Lindsay and Melanie, it was enough to scrape by. His commission wasn’t coming along very well; a portrait of the most white bread family he’d ever laid eyes on, except perhaps his own. He was distracted, and quickly learning that sketching Brian couldn’t silence those thoughts.


It was Friday night. He was fairly confident that he knew where Brian would be, and he was done dancing around the issue at hand. He put on his most flattering chinos, a charcoal V-neck and trusty cream-coloured cardigan, put a tiny dab of product in his hair as he did on special occasions, and headed to Babylon.


What he had pictured in his mind was gliding into Babylon, seeking out Brian, passionate exclamations and celebratory sex. Or on the other hand, a blow-out fight and storming out and crying at home. What he hadn’t imagined was Brian not being there and having to awkwardly wait at the bar for an hour. This was the part all those romantic dramas left out; the time spent doodling on a napkin and hoping that he wouldn’t have to climb back off this barstool and walk home with his head hung Charlie Brown-style.


He was about to order another drink to maintain his courage levels when he turned his head and saw Brian. Looking like a fantasy in a deep Carmine V-neck and Oxford Blue jeans, staring right at him unwaveringly. Justin’s breath caught in his throat. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now, and really all he could do was stare. Brian seemed to have settled on the same choice. All the other moving bodies were just a blur occasionally passing between them, and Justin caught when Brian finally gave the tiniest of head tilts, signaling for Justin to follow him, before turning and walking back out the door.


****


Brian would be lying to himself if he said he wasn’t going to Babylon to find Justin. Then again, lying to himself was something that Brian was prone to doing, but in this case, there wasn’t much point. He even found himself picking out an outfit based on what he thought Justin would find the hottest; Red shirt, brown shoes and dark blue jeans, the exact colour shades of which he assumed Justin could list off the top of his head.


Brian spotted him immediately at the bar. He always looked a bit out of place in Pittsburgh, but in Babylon in particular it was almost comical. Among the half-naked glittering bodies, there was Justin, sitting at the bar dressed like a character from a Wes Anderson movie. As the sweaty homo drones seemed to part to reveal him, it made things all the more clear to Brian; their running into each other last week hadn’t been any more of a coincidence than it was tonight. He had come to his office practically the moment he arrived in Pittsburgh. It might not be a news flash, but in that moment, it was more obvious than it had ever been.


Whatever Brian was feeling, Justin was feeling it too.


Brian wanted to shove his way to Justin and smash his mouth into his, but it couldn’t be like that. Not at Babylon, with twinks elbowing them to get a drink, other guys trying to get between them to be their third. Fine, Brian thought. One more small test to make sure. He gestured towards the door and headed out, making every effort to not look back.


******


Justin’s heart was pounding as he passed through the doorway into the alley. It took him a moment to see Brian, and only one more moment for Brian to put a hand to Justin’s chest and back him up to the wall. He had anticipated Brian would stick his tongue down his throat, but instead he just looked at Justin. Justin could feel his insides tingling, his breath shallow, and waited. He took the moment to relearn Brian’s face. Their history hung between them, just a few months, a few months of their realities changing into something unrecognizable. For a moment, they felt it together.


Justin curled a hand around Brian’s neck and covered his mouth with his. Brian’s arms furiously grabbed Justin’s hips and pulled them to him, winding strong arms around his lower back and shoulders.

Some tiny voice in the back of Justin’s head started lecturing him on caution and self-preservation, and he felt himself pull away. He wanted to tell him how abandoned he’d felt for the past few months, like he’d been annihilated. He wanted to tell him no one had scared him like this, that he had a bad feeling about how this would end, but he knew he couldn’t resist him. But all he could do to articulate this was say Brian’s name, softly but firmly. He looked into Brian’s eyes and to his surprise, he swore he could see something soften. His eyes flicked over Justin’s face.


“I missed you,” he said. Justin felt a shiver run through his entire body.


Good enough, he thought. He crashed their mouths back together, and in between furious kisses, Brian muttered, “Come home with me.” Justin nodded, and Brian grabbed his hand and led him to the ‘vette.

And to have Justin there, under his touch, on his breath...it was everything he’d anticipated and dreaded, the feeling as if he was pushing himself into something searing hot, ignoring his urge to recoil. Pushing into it,  past it and through it, where he wasn’t sure who he would be on the other side.


When he would later think back on it, trying to grasp at what he could remember, there were only sensory flashes; the pressure of his thighs on Brian’s hips, his hand brushing the hair out of Brian’s face before pulling him down by the back of the neck to kiss him, the desperation of everything, his eyes, clear like sea glass, nothing to hide, which, ironically, was the biggest mystery about him.

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In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (Part 3 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (Part 3 of 6)]

“I’m so glad we could work this out, Justin, Gus has been so excited!” Lindsay exclaimed, untucking her hair from the back her jacket.


“It’s absolutely my pleasure! I’m sure we’ll have a great time. I’m not sure how much teaching I can offer beyond encouragement, but I’m looking forward to it!” Justin smiled. Lindsay’s house was so beautiful, he had a moment of wishing to stay in Pittsburgh because it actually meant he might afford a house like this one day.


“So, we’ll be back in about three hours tops. We’re sorry to leave you but Mel and I have been putting off lunch with this friend of ours forever. There’s food in the fridge, help yourself, here’s a list of his allergies and his epipen is in this bag along with band-aids, polysporin, and some pepto-bismol, he usually has a snack around 3:30, so I set aside some apple slices and goldfish crackers. Our numbers are on the fridge if you need anything, and I left Brian’s too in case my phone explodes or something. I left his jacket on the back of the kitchen chair in case it gets colder-”


“Lindsay, he’ll be fine” Melanie’s husky voice drifted in from the front hall. “Thanks again, Justin, it was nice to meet you.”


“You too, Mel!” Justin waved.


The afternoon was actually quite fun. Gus was just about the cutest kid Justin had ever met, and he really did love to draw. Gus whined until Justin agreed to take the arty party out to the backyard, and after he completed two commissions from Gus (a kitten and a power ranger), Gus had retired from drawing to go jump around in the leaf piles while Justin worked on the third request (drawing a shark body on the cat’s head).


Every few minutes, Gus said or did something that just seemed to scream out Brian’s influence on him. He was practically a mini carbon copy of Brian, except with bright blue eyes and an enormous smile that was on his face more often than not, which Justin had only seen once or twice on Brian, mostly when he was high. Brian had a kid. A fantastic, smart, funny little kid. His mind was still wrapping around that.


Justin leapt to his feet when he heard a scream that turned into a wail.


“What’s the matter, Gus??” He ran down to see where Gus had hurt himself. Gus didn’t form any words, but held up his arm toward Justin. There was a big red spot in the centre of his forearm that was swelling practically before Justin’s eyes. He picked Gus up and carried him into the kitchen.


“Okay, Gus, it looks like you got a bee sting. It’s gonna hurt for a second, but we’ll get some ice on it and you’ll feel-”


The blood froze in his veins as the thought hit him. He plunked the sobbing Gus into a chair and lunged for the list that Lindsay had left him.

"Oh God."

******


Brian tried calling back the number that had called him several times over his short drive to the grocery store. He was taken straight to voicemail, but, surprise, it belonged to none other than Justin Taylor. Part of Brian stirred with excitement, but he wouldn’t be caught being as eager as him. He’d wait for a voicemail or text and gauge from there.


It rang once more, and there was the tinkle of the voicemail a moment later.


“Brian, it’s Justin. Mel and Linds’ phones are going straight to voicemail. I’m with Gus on the way to UPMC, he’s having an allergic reaction. Please call me back when you c-”


The cashier must have been confused to see Brian sprint out of the grocery store through the wrong exit, leaving his half-full cart in the middle of the aisle.


Everything was a blur of panic and nausea. It took all of his concentration to drive to the hospital. His heart was pounding. He knew what could happen to Gus if he didn’t get his epipen immediately, he’d been briefed on it a million times, he didn’t even like to think about it, and had hoped he’d never have to again after the first time.

When he arrived at the hospital, Lindsay and Melanie were about twenty paces ahead of him, at the nurse’s station, and he followed them when they took off at a dash toward wherever the nurse had directed them.


Gus was sitting up in a bed, his face tear and snot-stained but seemingly alright, and a doctor was talking calmly to Mel and Linds. Justin stood in the corner, anxious.


“...could have been pretty dangerous, but luckily he got his epipen immediately and we were able to treat him right away. You’re pretty lucky, he knew exactly what to do.” he gestured to Justin who looked like he wanted to disappear. “He’s fine for the time being, we’ll hold him for a couple more hours, but he should be able to go home by tonight. I’ll have someone bring him some dinner, and I’ll be back in an hour or so to check up on him.”


As the doctor left, Lindsay started walking toward Justin. “Lindsay, I’m so so sorry, I didn’t-” Lindsay enveloped him in a giant hug.


“Thank you. Thank you. You saved his life” she whispered tearfully. Melanie rubbed her back. Justin was the first to notice Brian standing in the doorway. Lindsay turned to Brian, wiping her face.


“It’s ok, he’s alright. Justin did everything right, thank God.” Lindsay told him.



“I shouldn’t have let him play outside, I was so stupid-” Justin stuttered.


“We let him play outside all the time” Mel said warmly. “You think we built that swing set for ourselves?”


Justin laughed gently. “I’d better leave you guys alone.” He started to walk out the door as Mel and Linds descended on Gus. Brian followed him outside.


*****


“Justin.”


Justin turned to see Brian walking toward him down the hallway. He looked more spooked than Justin had ever seen him, and he could’ve sworn there was a glimmer of wetness in his eye, a clench in his jaw.


“Mel and Linds were on the subway apparently, I’m sorry-”


Brian swept him into an all-consuming embrace. The warmth of Brian’s shoulder met Justin’s cheek and took the breath right out of him. After a moment, he curled his arms around Brian’s waist and they stayed like that, their first real embrace in nearly six months.


“Thank you.” Brian mumbled into his hair. He was thankful for the solemnity of the moment that gave him the excuse to stay here.


“Of course” Justin said quietly. They could feel each other’s hearts pounding, still reeling from the panic. Brian reluctantly pulled away and his hands went to his back pockets. Justin crossed his arms across his chest. The image of casualty, the two of them.


“I can’t believe I let him run around the yard like that when he has a fucking bee allergy. I feel like such an idiot. I guess I probably won’t be looking after him anymore, huh?” Justin half-smirked.


“Are you serious? You’re gonna be the first person they call for the rest of your life. You better prepare yourself for that.”


Justin smiled. Brian shook his head, trying to clear the fog caused by that smile.


“You knew what to do, and you acted immediately” he continued. “Most people would have panicked and freaked out and he would be…”


Brian gazed fixedly at something on the wall behind Justin.


Justin cleared his throat.


“Well, I’ve been doing it to myself since I was about his age. I’m allergic to pretty much everything that’s good in the world. Penicillin, tylenol, codeine, shellfish, strawberries…”


Brian nodded. He found himself regretting pulling away from that hug. He stared as Justin’s voice trailed off, and Justin stared right back.


To Justin, the weight of everything seemed to increase the longer the silence stretched. He thought this could be either the most appropriate or the most inappropriate moment to tell him everything. And how he wanted to tell him. Absolutely everything.


After a moment, he opened his mouth to say, “I miss you.” But it came out as,


“I should go.”


He didn’t turn and walk away as someone who just said “I should go” normally would. There was no “reading into it too much”, no denying that their mutual stare spoke volumes. In Brian’s eyes, Justin saw the night sky from a balcony in Paris, heard softly spoken words in a hotel bed, felt his head against a clothed knee and Brian’s long fingers in his hair. He’d always thought it was stupid in movies, when a character says to someone “ I know you feel it too.” No, you don’t know that, and if they don’t, what an idiot you look like, he always thought. His opinion was quickly changing.




Brian broke eye contact, and it really felt like something physically breaking.


“Ok.” he said.


Justin nodded, and turned and walked away rapidly. He felt like he was walking against a gale of wind, but he did it, he walked all the way down the hall, into the elevator and out the door.


**********


Gus was blowing his nose into a tissue held by Mel when Brian came back in.


“Thank God, huh?” Lindsay sighed.


“No fucking kidding.” Brian shook his head. Mel shot him a look, and Brian raised his eyebrows at her.


“Apparently he’s had bad allergies all his life.” he continued. He swooped in when Mel got up to throw the tissue away, and sat on the edge of Gus’ bed.


“How ya feeling, sonny boy?” He placed a hand on his head.


“Sleepy.” Gus whispered.


“I bet. You had a pretty exciting day from the sounds of things.”


“Tell Daddy about all the other things you did today.” Lindsay suggested. Gus’ face lit up noticeably.


“Mama made cookies and I ate em and then she said I’d had enough!” Gus piped up.


“What else?” Lindsay pressed.


“I drew lots of pictures with Jussin. He drew pictures and then I drew the rest of them. And he drew me a power ranger and a cat shark.”


“Sounds like you made a friend, huh?” Mel said gently.


“Yah, Jussin is my friend. Can we go play with him more?”


“Maybe another day, Gus” Lindsay chuckled.


“He poked me with the pokey when the bee bit me, and it felt owie but then it went away and then the other owie went away and I got sleepy but I’m ok now.”


“Sounds like Justin is a pretty special guy, huh?” Lindsay said.


“Yup, he’s a purdy spuchel guy.” Gus agreed quietly.


Brian sighed, and quietly agreed. Lindsay absolutely caught it.



Tags:

In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (Part 2 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4 2 of 2 (Part 2 of 6)]

Brian had been reeling for the past three days. He didn’t come back into work until the next afternoon, and sequestered himself in his office to prevent the pryings of Ted and Cynthia. He hadn’t bargained for the little shit coming back to Pittsburgh, though in retrospect he had known on some level that he had to come back at some point.

And now he had to deal with the mother of all bullshits; attending an interview in Mel’s place for a yuppie private school where Linds wanted to enroll Gus.


“He wouldn’t even be going for another two years!”


“Yes Brian, but they have a waiting list, you have to prepare for these things early.”


Brian flopped back onto the white leather of his couch, tucking an arm behind his head, tossing an apple in the air and catching it.


“What’s wrong with public school anyway?”


Lindsay cocked an eyebrow at Brian. “I’m sorry, do you remember public school?” Brian shrugged. She had a point. “He’s such a bright kid. I don’t want him being shoved into a generic mould of mediocrity. This school will encourage him to be unique, enrich his God-given talents. Your son is quite an artist.”


Brian rolled his eyes. “He’s four.”


“Yes, and already he’s showing a lot of talent! I’ve been looking for a good art tutor for him for ages.” Lindsay insisted.


“Are you sure you’re not projecting your broken dreams onto our darling son?”


“Fuck you, Brian. Don’t think you’re getting out of this. Could you put on a dress shirt, please?”


Brian groaned and heaved himself off the couch, stomping into the bedroom and pulling off his black tee.


The first treat of the interview was the headmaster calling Brian “Mel”, and Lindsay not leaping to correct him. When Brian shot her a venomous look, Lindsay reluctantly explained their situation, and to her surprise the headmaster practically bounced in his chair with approval, saying how they were longing to “diversify” their student body. Brian wanted to mention how having a kindergartener who was raised by a couple of dykes wasn’t quite the equivalent of an Iranian refugee, but to his credit, he just gave a small smile and nod.


What Brian wasn’t expecting was, upon exiting the school, to see Justin leaning against a concrete parking partition, fiddling on his phone. Holy shit. What was he doing here? How did he even know Brian would be here? He stopped in his tracks, and told Lindsay he’d meet her at the car.


As Brian strode up to him, Justin looked up from his phone and met Brian with bewildered saucer-like eyes.


“Brian!”


“What are you doing here?” Brian asked.


“What am I doing here?”








“Did Cynthia tell you about our interview??”


“Who tell me what?”


“About Gus’ interview!”


“....Huh?”


“What are you doing here??”


Just then, a bell rang loud from somewhere across the parking lot. Justin pointed into the air, signifying the bell.


“Picking my kid sister up from school. I haven’t had a chance to see her yet. What are you doing here?”


“...Oh. I um…” Brian rubbed his chin. “We had an admissions interview for Gus. Just now.”


A look of understanding, Brian noticed, did not come over Justin’s face.


“Who’s Gus?”


No, Brian thought. It had to have come up at some point.


“Gus. My son?”


The saucer eyes increased in size by about double. “Your son?!”


“No. No! Come on! I told you I have a son!” Brian pointed at him accusingly.


“Nope! Nope.”


“I absolutely told you!”


“You know, I think I would have remembered that bit of information, Brian. So, wait, did you think I followed you here or something??”


“Brian! What’s going on?” The voice came from over his shoulder. Lindsay had snuck up behind him and was smiling between him and Justin. He sighed frustratedly.


“Lindsay, this is Justin. Justin, this is Lindsay. My…” he rubbed his forehead defeatedly. “Baby Momma.”


“I think the term ‘friend’ works just fine. Hi!” Lindsay laughed. She extended a hand to shake Justin’s. “How do you two know each other?”


The moment of silence was about a thousand pounds. Justin stuttered,


“We- we met in Paris actually.”


“Oh really! What are you doing in Pittsburgh?” Lindsay inquired. Brian felt the odd impulse to run.


“I’m from Pittsburgh, originally. I was studying art in Paris, but my Visa recently expired so I’m back for the time being, ‘til I figure out what to do next.”


“Oh wow! Visual art, you mean?” Lindsay asked. Justin nodded. “Well, I don’t know if you have anything planned, but we’ve actually been looking for an art tutor for Gus!”


Justin looked directly at Brian. “Wow! Really?”


“Yes! He’s only four, but he’s a sweet kid and he really really loves drawing. I’m a curator at an art gallery here in Pittsburgh, actually. Here’s my card. If you’re interested, please call or email me with your fee. It would be really great. Right Bri?”


Brian was focusing his eyes determinedly on the “B” in the school’s sign. “Hmm” he responded.


“Sure! That sounds great! I’ll get in touch.” Justin smiled.


Just then, an avalanche of children started to pour out of the door to the parking lot.


“Well I guess we should probably get out of here if we want to avoid plowing down a bunch of kids with my car.” Brian turned and marched away from the conversation. Lindsay apologetically bid Justin goodbye while half-running toward Brian’s quickly-retreating frame.


“What the hell, Linds?” Brian snapped as he slammed the door to the corvette.


“What? He seemed really nice!”


“Are you gonna consult me at all before choosing people to look after our son?”


“I never have before. Don’t get your panties in a knot just because it weirds you out to have a former trick looking after our son. If I’m not allowed to hire anyone you’ve slept with, I’ll have to start outsourcing our tutors and babysitters from Murrysville.”


“He’s not a former trick.”


“...Oh really?” Lindsay probed. Brian sighed.


“Butt out, Lindsay. There’s no juicy story here” he lied.


As they pulled out of the parking lot, Brian glanced out of the rearview mirror to see a small blond girl launching herself into Justin’s arms to be lifted up off the ground. Their grins were practically identical.


****

Of course he was at Babylon. Like with his emails, in the flesh it would seem that Justin refused to leave him alone. Brian chugged a bottle of water as he watched Justin’s shoulders swaying, his head down, the back of his neck glistening with a shock of short blond hairs going down his spine. From his position against the bar, he could just make out the tiny reservoir of sweat just hovering in the dip between his collarbones. His eyes were squeezed closed, but every time he opened them, he’d caught Brian looking and smirked as he turned his head away. Brian managed to escape to the bathroom, but not for long.


He saw Justin enter behind him in the mirror. As he turned around, Justin held up his hands and slowed his pace.

“Relax, relax, just coming in to pee. Not stalking you, I swear. I’ll resist the uncontrollable urge to throw myself at you.”


Brian scoffed. “Good luck.”


“You’d be the lucky one.”


Brian felt a tingle going down his body, but Justin shot him something almost resembling a glare as he went to the urinal.


“You know, I apologize if I ever came off as some desperate loser. I assure you, I’m not. Hope I didn’t get your hopes up.”


“Did I say you were a loser? As I’ve always said, you don’t have to be desperate to want me to fuck you. And, to clarify, you showed up at my work, my bar, and now you’re gonna tutor Gus, too? The whole aloof act doesn’t really work when you’re wedging yourself into every aspect of my life.”


Justin zipped his pants back up and spun around exasperatedly to face Brian.


“Yeah, I need the money, Brian, especially if I ever hope to go back to Paris. There are only two half-decent gay bars in Pittsburgh, this is the one I happened to choose tonight. And I thought it would be the right thing to do to let you know I was back, because I’m such a pathetic idiot, right? I’ll tell you what, Brian-” He started walking towards Brian, and stopped just short of him so that they could hear each other at regular volume. “I’d be happy to decline Lindsay’s generous offer if it makes you uncomfortable. Really, I would. Provided-” He took a step forward. Brian could smell his cologne. His whiskey and cigarette breath. God. Him. “You tell me exactly, in detail, why you don’t want me to do it.”


There was about a foot of space between them, from their faces down to their shoes, and every inch of it was radiating. Justin secretly relished the opportunity to examine Brian’s face up close again, and Brian thought he could maybe see Justin struggling to keep up his steely, challenging gaze. Brian gently shook his head.

The argument could have been over, but they hadn’t broken each other’s challenging gaze and it would seem neither of them wanted to. Justin could tell what Brian was thinking, but he knew what would happen if he let this go on one moment longer, and he’d be damned if he was going down that easy. He flicked his eyes up and down Brian’s figure seductively for good measure.


“Great.” And he turned and left Brian standing in the men’s room. He jogged down the stairs and walked a circle around the perimeter of the dance floor in the hopes that Brian wouldn’t see him going out the door.

Tags:

In Paris Part 4; 2 of 2 (Part 1 of 6)

[In Paris Part 4; 2 of 2 (Part 1 of 6)]

Cynthia sat at her desk, bewildered as she went over every word she said in the five minutes since Brian arrived this morning, looking for any turn of phrase that might have offended him.


“Welcome back, Mr. Kinney!”


“Thank you, Cynthia.”


“How was your trip?”


“Fine. Boring.”


“Oh come on. Gay old Paree in the springtime? I would kill to be there right now.”


“Then you should go, I suppose.”


“I can’t really afford to take the time off right now, in case you weren’t aware. While you were getting yourself cultured, eyeconix has been taking their sweet time forwarding payments for next month’s ad in GQ, and Matt & Nat has about eight million little tweaks for the campaign we designed. All of which I’ve been handling gracefully while you were gone.”


“I wouldn’t have left you to do it if I didn’t have total faith in you, Cynthia.”


“That’s sweet. Make with the descriptions! I have to live vicariously through you if I’m expected to spend springtime in the grey mudpile that is Pittsburgh.”


“There’s nothing to tell. If you wanna know what Paris is like, look at a postcard. I gotta make some calls, so if you don’t mind-”


“Come on! What about the food?! The cheese! The culture! The art! The romance-”


“Cynthia! Leave!”


“...What- I-”


“Would you please! Get out of my office.”


As she hurried out and back to her desk, she jumped as the door slammed behind her. She sat, perplexed as she watched the blinds snap closed, unaware until now that someone could effectively close bamboo venetian blinds with the equivalent anger to slamming a door.


Months later, one would think he may have perked up, as much as Brian Kinney could effectively “perk up”, but if anything, though he eventually mellowed out and let up on the premenstrual-esque outbursts, he never really stopped looking overthrown and underslept. Cynthia had learned by now that there was nothing to be gained from asking him if anything was wrong, or if she could help, as these terms seemed to be great insults to the indomitable Mr. Kinney.


That all changed one particularly miserable Thursday afternoon. It was the second day of a four day monsoon, and Cynthia was struggling to get the last of the pad thai out of the styrofoam container with her now useless chopsticks. Brian had meetings with digital strategists and finance managers for the whole afternoon, so she was using this time to catch up on 30 Rock and online shopping. It was much to her surprise, then, when despite the fact that no outside meetings were set up, a young guy burst through the door shaking a rumpled umbrella. It was clear that he hadn’t spotted Cynthia behind the wall of her cubicle, as he took a few steps in a semi-circle, paused, threw the door back open, and walked back out the door. He must’ve gotten the wrong building, she thought. But a moment later, he was back inside, a bit wet from his moment outdoors. He took one step in, turned, put his hand on the door, paused, let a breath out through pursed lips, then turned back and walked slowly into the office.


“Hi there,” Cynthia said.


“Oh! Hi.” He looked a bit nervous, but gave her a big kind smile. He couldn’t be more than 22, she thought. What the hell was he looking for?


“What can I do for you today?”


He paused, and took a deep breath. “I’m looking for, um, Brian Kinney?” he said quietly.


“Is he expecting you?”


He smiled and let out a nervous laugh “Definitely not”.


Uh oh. Was this some sort of stalker? An obsessed former trick? An illegitimate son?


“I’m afraid he’s in a meeting at the moment.”


“Oh, ok. Is it alright if I wait over here until he’s finished?”


“He’s actually booked solid with meetings all day.”


“Oh, ok. Until when?” He was persistent, but only, it would seem, because he didn’t realize that that wasn’t appropriate information to give out to a stranger. Not persistent in a crazed, charging-the-doors kind of way.


“I can’t say for sure. Would you like to leave your name and I’ll let him know you stopped by?”


“No no! That’s ok, I don’t want him to know-”


And yet again, uh oh.


“-rather, I’ll just catch him some other time. Are you sure there isn’t some time I could see him today?”


“No, I don’t think so-”


“Sorry, I just don’t really live nearby so I’m not sure when I’ll be able to… you know...”


“Oh, I see, I’m sorry.”


“That’s alright, that’s totally alright, it was silly of me not to call. I just wanted to get this back to him.” He placed a small paper bag on the desk, and headed for the door. Crisis averted. “Thanks very much, take care-”


“Justin?”


The voice had come from the other side of the lobby, and Cynthia hadn’t even quite recognized it. Soft, gravelly and apprehensive, she was slightly shocked when she turned and saw Brian, hair messy from scrunching it in frustration no doubt, standing still and looking like he’d seen a ghost. He cleared his throat.


“Justin.”


“H-heyyyyy.”


“What are you...doing here?”


Justin shrugged. “My visa expired. Even after all that, Paris didn’t hesitate to boot me out. Can you believe it?” He huffed a shy laugh.



Cynthia looked from Justin slowly over to Brian. His breath was visibly shallow and his feet were paused mid-step. No way. No. Way.



*********

Brian hadn’t received any emails from Justin in over a week. He figured he was just feeling too vulnerable, or maybe he was pissed about Brian’s advice to “suck it up” in regards to his very real, serious problems. He wasn’t worried. And more importantly, he wasn’t about to email him unsolicited.


The sleeping problems had gotten worse. He’d tried practically every naturopathic remedy, changed the time of day he went to the gym a dozen times, even meditated once (but had to stop out of self-disgust.) The thing that made it the most difficult was that every time he started to drift off, the voice started to fade into clarity, and he had to jump awake to stop it. The voice saying:


“what I was going to say is that you might be the most beautiful person I’ve ever known”


or,


“It’s weird that we’ve only known each other for six days, isn’t it?”


He settled on Ambien as the most efficient method of attaining REM, but it left him with a hell of a hangover as he never had time to let it completely wear off before heading to work.


He was on his fourth meeting of the day. Ted and one of his associates was talking figures for the next quarter, and he was really wishing he’d scheduled this one for earlier in the day because projections and profit margins was not something he was able to concentrate on while running on empty. Ted was stuttering along while someone that had to have been an intern smiled and nodded, thinking that would fool everyone into believing he understood what was going on, and Brian was struggling to keep his eyes open as he leaned back in his chair.


“Oh, I’m sorry Bri, are we boring you?” Ted droned, the eyeroll audible in his voice.


“No Theodore, I’m enchanted by your magical tales about numbers and figures. I can’t tear my eyes away from those beautiful slides of yours.”


“Just give me five more minutes of your concentration. We have to get your sign-off on this before we can move forward.”


“Fine.”


Ultimately, though, his eyes started to drift closed, and the muscles in his neck began to give up the weight of his head. And sure enough, the voice started to fade in. The one that reminded him of jambalaya and cookie dough and red wine and weed…


“Is it alright if I wait over here until he’s finished?”


“Brian!”



He jerked awake. “Sorry Theodore.”


“That’s ok, I don’t want him to know…”


“-As I was saying...”


“...just catch him another time…”


“If we’re able to achieve at least 70,000 views by January-”


“Wait.” Brian practically barked.


“What is it? I didn’t even finish-”


“Shut up, Ted.” Brian didn’t know when he’d stood up, but he was standing with his palm out to Ted, his ear turned to the door. The voice. It wasn’t going away, nor was it saying the stuff it usually said.


“Just don’t really live near by, so I’m not sure…”


Brian’s feet were carrying him toward the door, leaving a perplexed and annoyed Ted in his wake.


He was there. Wet hair, damp grey t-shirt, jeans with the cuffs rolled up and new burgundy converse to replace the tattered ones. Right hand stretching and clenching at his hip. He was there. Though, in a moment he would not be because he was turning on his heel and heading right for the front door.


“Justin?”


And just like a real person who was really standing there would, Justin turned around at the sound of his name. Staring directly into his eyes after this long was like looking over a ledge from thirty stories high; stomach turning, but impossible to look away from. As if confirming it to himself, he repeated,


“Justin.”


He found his mouth asking why Justin was here, and Justin gave a general answer to why he was here, in the United States, not why he was here, in Brian’s firm. He ushered Justin out of the office away from a gawking Cynthia and, met by a downpour, they stood under the small concrete doorway of the building. Justin leaned on the wall opposite him. Brian waited for Justin to say whatever he came here to say, which resulted in ten seconds of radio silence. Finally, he asked again,


“So what are you doing here?”


Justin’s small smile vanished for a moment. “Like I said, my visa expired.”


“You know what I mean.”


Justin nodded. “...Right, here at your office. Um, I just wanted to let you know that I was...in town, and I couldn’t figure out how to tell you over the phone or email…”


“Is that a hard thing to figure out?”


“-I - I mean, it was weird, it felt too informal to shoot you an email, and I didn’t know what I’d say-”


“-So you just showed up here.”


Justin looked dejected, his lips hovering open waiting for the words to come to them. There was a small drop of rain dangling from his hairline that Brian found himself desperately wanting to wipe away. It suddenly struck him as odd how the rain in Pittsburgh looked so different on Justin than the rain in Paris.


Justin’s mouth closed resignedly, his eyes cast down to his umbrella as he unfastened it and shook his head with a wry smile.


“You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry, this was really not appropriate. I blew this whole thing out of proportion. Good to see you, Brian. Gorgeous office, by the way.  I’ll see you around. Sorry again.” He stepped out into the rain and unfolded the umbrella.


“Justin-” Brian took a step forward, and he wasn’t sure why.


“No, it’s fine, Brian. Don’t get your suit wet.” And with that, he was walking hurriedly across the soaking pavement, away from Brian.


He watched him walk all the way down the alley, until he turned a corner. After a stunned moment, Brian went back inside, dismissed Ted and Cynthia, grabbed his coat and umbrella and headed home.


***

“Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! Sorry, um, can I have an americano? Double.”


Justin had ducked out of the rain into a coffee shop around the corner, feeling like a scorned lovesick schoolgirl. The barista gave him a blank look before turning to the espresso machine. Justin left a five on the counter and plunked himself into a chair. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but if he was honest with himself, at the very least he was hoping for a make-out session on Brian’s desk. He had looked so amazing, and terrible at the same time. Like a 1950’s movie star who hadn’t slept in three weeks and just fell down a flight of stairs.

Who knew if he would even see him again, or if they would just spend forever wandering around the same city, just missing each other?

Turned out, he wouldn’t wonder for long.


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


Tags:

Hellooooo out there....?

Hi everyone/potentially no one?
It has certainly been a while! In fact, I just checked my last entry and it's been 4 years almost to the day. Holy crap.
I have to utter the sincerest lowliest apology for my absence. Life just took over. For anyone who's interested in where the heck I've been, here's a summary: I began the dark tunnel which is theatre school in 2010, from which I have since graduated, but it caused me to basically become blind to the people, events and experiences outside of the walls of that institution for a few years. I've since written and directed a play, and I'm working part-time in a bakery and trying to make it as a writer/performer. It's tricky. I fell off the writing wagon and I was trying to find some motivation to get writing again, which led me to review my good ol' livejournal account. So, here are the two points of writing this blog:

1) Is there actually anyone out there who still follows me/my fics? :S If so, if you have a moment to write a li'l comment on here, that would be greatly appreciated. I wouldn't blame y'all if every last person unfollowed me, but I wanna make sure I'm not completely shouting into a void.

2) For the past month or so, I've been plugging away at...you guessed it...the elusive ending of In Paris, which I so unceremoniously abandoned 4 years ago next Monday. If there is a soul out there who remembers this fic, I swear this time I mean it. I'm very nearly finished the rest of this fic, and I'm kind of hoping I might be able to post it 4 years to the day after the last one, but I want to make sure to properly edit and everything before posting.

It's been very odd, revisiting this thing that was such a significant part of my life, but something I haven't really spent much time thinking about in the past few years. It's very much a time warp, and it was an odd afternoon, the one when I decided to finish this story. It's always been in the back of my mind and I never felt right about leaving it unfinished, but I've been so absent from this community I had to go back and watch episodes to remember details, and huge plot points that I'd forgotten about. But it also reminded me why I fell in love with Queer as Folk in the first place.
I don't think I'll be writing any new fics after this. Not to sound dramatic, but as much as I loved the show and the community, I was in a very unhappy place when I was writing this stuff. Everyone has their own reasons for writing fics, but mine stemmed from loneliness, seeking a feeling of validity and belonging, and feeding my borderline addiction for schmoopy romance. I'm happy to say that I've since found satisfaction in these areas in different aspects of my life. That being said, I 100% intend to indulge in reading fics because they're flippin' awesome and fun, but writing them is a lot of goddamn work, and it's becoming apparent to me now how much freaking time I had on my hands back then, and now that I'm actually done school and trying to get out there as a writer, I should probably dedicate writing time and brain space to my career.

Jeez, I really hope I'm not writing this to no one. Thank you to everyone who's given me support over the years and read my stuff. Finishing this story has been really enriching and inspiring, and I really hope there are still people out there willing to read it. Anywho, happy belated valentines, and peace out!


Jules. 

In Paris, Part 4, 1 of 2

 Sooooooo I know you guys have probably forgotten about this story, but I've been so insanely busy that I've only been able to work on it in chunks. I actually finished it, but the ending was crap, so I'm re-writing it. This chunk is how much of the original ending I'm keeping, I don't know when the next part will be up, pleeeeaaasee forgive my stupid lameness.

In Paris Part 4, 1 of 2 Collapse )

 

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