COUP DE GRACE
Brian crossed his arms over his chest as he watched Justin bring yet another bag from the bedroom of the loft and place it on the floor near the door where three other pieces of luggage had already been left by him. This one was a garment bag so overstuffed that it looked as if it was about to give birth to quads.
“What the fuck is in there?” he asked as Justin looked around, trying to remember what he forgot.
“Our tuxes. I didn’t want them to get wrinkled so I packed a bunch of tissue around them.”
“New invention. It’s called sending your suit out to be pressed. Let me see now, this is mine,” Brian moved a single leather duffel to one side and then crouched over the remaining debris. He unzipped one of the remaining bags, took out several pairs of Justin’s underwear, his doss kit, two pairs of pants, a few shirts, a jacket and a pair of shoes with several pairs of socks. He opened his own duffel, carefully made room for these items, then forced it shut.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Justin asked, mesmerized,, and Brian shrugged.
“Packing. This and the briefcases are all that are going with us. I’ll tell Cyn to ship the rest of it and have it delivered to our hotel in L.A. the day we’re due to arrive.”
“We’re taking a Corvette, Justin. Remember? A fucking Corvette, not an SUV, not a truck, a sports car. It has virtually no storage room. I said we should fly out there. But oh no, you think it would be good for us, would be a vacation, an adventure, to drive across the country in my car like the modern gay version of Route 66.”
“Weren’t they gay in the original version? I mean watching them on TVLand, they seem so hung up on each other.”
“George Marharis is gay, I think, but….don’t change the subject. Why are we doing this when we could be there in four hours by jet?”
Justin smiled as he wrapped his arms around his lover’s waist. “Because it will be some intense together time. Between Kinnetik getting off the ground, and my working on the film, we haven’t had a lot of peaceful time together these last few months. Now we get to see the premiere of the film, and I want us to reconnect by the time we arrive into all that craziness.”
Brian pulled him close with an evil grin. “Aren’t we connecting on a daily basis, sometimes more than once a day?”
Justin laughed. “I meant connecting without the use of dick.”
“You mean you’re cutting me off throughout this long drive across our fine country?”
“Yeah, like that could happen. Come on, we’ll have fun. I told you I’d share the driving chore.”
“That’s supposed to make me feel better? I’ve seen you drive. Only Mikey drives worse than you.”
Justin kissed Brian and wiggled out of his arms, pulling a few sheets off the printer. “This is the route.”
Brian winced. Any route that takes up multiple pages is too fucking long for his tastes. Road trip was taking on a whole new meaning. If they didn’t hate each other after being locked up in a small car for so long, then they were truly fated. He mentally ticked off all the chores remaining before they could go. He had to run through the roster of hot items with Cynthia and Theodore to ensure they were handled appropriately, he had to visit Gus and kiss him goodbye, he had agreed to meet Mikey for lunch at the diner and something else. What was it? It would come to him.
Justin sidled into his arms and said, “This is your last chance to fuck me in the loft while I’m still a nobody. Once the movie premieres, I’ll be a stahhhh!”
Brian smirked at his pronunciation of star and said, “Yeah, name the art director for Gone With the Wind. No, excuse me, the assistant art director. For The Godfather? Jaws? Superman one through infinity? Batman?” He was really proud of what Justin had accomplished but he wasn’t going to be gushy about it. The kid’s ego was inflated enough without help from Brian. Justin glared at him.
“Okay, you make a point. Asshole.”
Brian grabbed him as he started to walk away. “Not so fast, babycakes. Your original thought was a good one. Let’s have one for the road in the comfort of our own place on a decent mattress before we start a series of swaybacked, cum-stained hotel posture-pedics.”
“As if this bed hasn’t had more action than any ten hotel rooms.”
“Complaining?” Brian asked, slipping his hands under Justin’s shirt to massage his silky skin. Justin smiled.
“What do you think?”
Brian kissed him and waltzed him over to the bed, throwing him back with a flourish before hopping on top of him and grinding him into the bed with cinematic urgency. Justin groaned under his weight and then giggled. “What the fuck are you doing?”
“Sorry, I just got carried away at being so close to a stahhhhhhh.”
“Enjoy it while you can. Once I’m famous, I won’t need you anymore. I can do better.”
Brian kissed him, knowing it was a joke, but not entirely amused by it. As the sex unwound between them, he remembered the one thing he had forgotten to do. This. Fuck Justin. Somehow that was always on his list, no matter what else he was doing.
Cynthia and Ted were a few blocks away in the offices of Kinnetik, going over the To Do list Brian had left for them earlier that morning. He said they would meet on it before he was gone, but Brian didn’t always come through on those commitments. Ted sighed.
“I don’t think we can do all this without him.”
“Like we have a choice?”
“Why can’t they just fly out there, like everyone else, and work up to the time we have to go, instead of turning this into an extended vacation? This is Justin’s idea. Brian would never do this on his own. It’s so typical of how he manipulates the big lug.”
Cynthia leveled a blue-eyed gaze on Ted’s scowling face. Lately, she had seen Ted’s attitude towards Justin change and she feared she knew why. Over time, Ted’s gratitude for the opportunity Brian gave him when he was at a low ebb and his admiration for Brian’s skill as an ad man had morphed into a huge, pathetic crush. Brian was absolutely oblivious to it, but Cynthia recognized the signs. She had her own crush on Brian Kinney, once upon a time. She was long over it, admiring him on a more reasonable basis now, but it had to be rougher for Ted. She knew Brian was gay and was unlikely to change his ways for her or any other woman. Ted was gay too, but sadly for him, Brian was always going to be equally unavailable. He was just plain out of Ted’s league.
The crush had led to an unreasonable, if predictable, resentment by Ted of Justin’s place in Brian’s life. She had tried to warn Brian about it, so he could at least try to be sensitive to Ted’s feelings, but he always cut her off, not even interested in discussing such a ludicrous possibility.
“Ted,” she used her patient voice. “I think this is something Brian really wants to do. He and Justin both have been so busy that they’ve spent a lot of this honeymoon period of living together, working. He not only gets to take his precious Corvette on the road, but he gets to be alone with Justin for days. This is really a honeymoon for them, one they’ve never had.”
He glared at her. “Brian Kinney doesn’t do honeymoons, Cynthia. Don’t sentimentalize a road trip.”
“Don’t underestimate it, either.”
His expression turned cold. “Cynthia, a man like Brian is beyond your experience. You try to fit him into your knowledge of straight men, and it will never work.”
“I would never do that with Brian, Ted. I don’t have to be gay to understand that he is. But I do understand love, and he is madly in love with Justin.”
“That shows you what you know. Brian doesn’t do ‘madly in love’, either. My bet is he’s never even told the kid he’s in love with him, because he isn’t.”
She sighed. Poor Ted. No point in arguing the fact that Brian was head over heels in love with Justin. She knew it, Justin knew it, Brian knew it, in fact everyone but Ted seemed to know it. Poor Ted.
“Theodore!” Brian’s voice boomed as he entered the offices and she watched Ted brighten up like a rainbow on a gloomy day.
“Yes, Brian?” he quickly approached him. Cynthia repressed a mental image of seeing Ted wag an imaginary tail. Brian had that lazy, half-caste look he often got after a bout of sex with his lover. Another clue Ted chose to ignore.
“I’m looking at my desk, Theodore,”
“Notice anything missing?”
Brian’s desk was always perfect. His work papers were neatly organized. His black suede blotter matched his black suede trimmed in and out boxes and his black suede business card holder. Even the two photos on his desk were dressed in black suede frames: one of Gus, one of Justin holding Gus. Clue bus, Cynthia thought to herself. Poor Ted.
“No, Brian, I’m sorry.”
“Spreadsheets, Theodore? The sales projections for West Enterprises?”
Ted quickly jumped through a hoop. “Oh! Sorry, I was giving it a final check, Brian. I have it finished. Should I get it for you?”
“No, Theodore, why don’t you just leave it where it is and let’s test my ability to levitate objects and bring it to my desk through my own superpowers.”
Ted laughed too loud and too long at Brian’s sarcasm and then hopped to get the spreadsheet as Brian looked at Cynthia and rolled his eyes. “What is wrong with him?” he asked, a rhetorical question. She wanted to answer, but didn’t. Ted returned with the sheets and spread them out before Brian, leaning close to him so they could read it together. Brian was unfazed by Ted’s proximity, but Ted was transfixed to be so close to Brian. Cynthia watched and sighed, expecting Ted to fall on Brian, covering him with kisses any minute now. That should end it once and for all.
“You’re breathing on me, Theodore,” Brian said suddenly and Ted apologized and moved back a little. Drooling on him is more likely, Cynthia thought with a wry smile.
“Brian, with all we have going on, have you thought about canceling your plan to drive to Los Angeles? I can book you a flight and…”
Whoops, Cynthia thought, reading Brian’s reaction to that plan. He leaned back and crossed his big feet on the edge of the desk, pausing for a moment before he said, “Theodore, I’m not sure when you took over as the boss of my personal life, but I’m relieving you of that responsibility forthwith. How I choose to go to California, and whether I intend to take some much earned time off, as boss of this little enterprise, that decision is mine. Alone. All I ask is that you perform the delineated tasks I’ve assigned to you and stay the fuck out of the rest of my life.”
Even that directive failed to diminish Ted’s worshipful smile. Instead he giggled as if Brian had made a huge joke. “Of course, Brian. Whatever you say. You can rely on me. You know that.”
“Whatever,” he glanced at his watch. “I have to go. I’m late for lunch with Mikey. Are we all together on what needs to be done?”
Cynthia laughed. “We haven’t discussed your list at all, Brian. You just bitched at Ted and never did anything with the damned spreadsheet.”
He leaned over to kiss her cheek as he said, “You have my mobile, if you need me. But I have faith in you.”
She shook her head and watched him grab Ted’s face in both hands and plant a kiss on his forehead. “You too, Theodore. See you in Hollywood!” He left and Cynthia stared at Ted’s pathetic expression and shook his arm gently. “Can you hear me Major Tom?”
He snapped out of his fugue state to sigh and say, “He’s so magnificent. Can anyone look any better than Brian in jeans?”
“No, Chandler, they can’t. Roll your tongue back in your mouth and let’s discuss how we’re going to split up this work. And Ted…go to Babylon or somewhere tonight. Get a date. Get laid. Get a life. Brian has left the building in more than ways than one.”
Ted turned cool as he said, “Let’s just stick to the work, Cynthia.”
“Gladly,” she agreed, tired of handling Brian’s casualties.
|Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004