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Episode 502

Coupe de Grace - episode 502

Brian leaned back in the booth, as if to escape the torrent of photographs Michael was pushing at him. He was sick of looking at pictures of Michael’s daughter every time he saw him. Michael acted as if he was the only man in the world to father a child. Finally, Brian interrupted the photographic assault.

“Mikey, I have one of my own, remember? A little boy named Gus? I’ve been through the whole goo-goo stage. Yes, she’s cute, yes, she’s amazing, yes, she’s the smartest, most advanced child in the creation of the universe. Can we talk about something else now?”

Michael pouted as he gathered up his photographs and slipped them back into his messenger bag. “Excuse me if I’m proud of my kid, Brian.”

“I’m proud of my kid, too, but I’ve managed to develop other topics of conversation along the way. Give it a try. You’re boring the shit out of everyone you know with your obsession with this baby. I think you may be even worse than Debbie about her, and who would think that possible?”

Brian’s best friend slumped in the booth to offer his companion a hurt puppy expression. “So what would you like to talk about? The situation in Iraq?”

“In case you haven’t heard, President Kerry fixed that little problem.”

“Oh yeah.”

“How about the premiere of your movie? That seems like a rather momentous topic of conversation. Are you excited about it?”

Michael brightened up. “Isn’t it amazing? Who would think some comic book I wrote about a gay crusader would be turned into a major motion picture? You know, with the points Justin and I have, if the movie hits big, we could make some real money.”

Brian laughed. “Good, I can retire, and he can keep me in the circumstances I so richly deserve.”

“You always wanted to be a toy boy.”

“I think my toy boy days have passed me by. More like a toy geezer.”

“Yeah, right, 33 is so ancient.”

“It is in our world.”

“Brian, how are you doing? Really?”

Brian’s dark glare was not unexpected. “Fine. Really.”

“No problems?”

“I’ve had this ongoing issue with the back of my hair. I seem to have developed a new cowlick and no matter how I style it, it pops up like a follicle erection.”

His friend returned his glare. “You know what I mean.”

Brian sighed. “My fake ball is just fine, thanks for asking, and the doctor tells me there’s been no sign of any nasty little reappearances. Can we drop it?”

Michael reached over and slipped his hand over Brian’s. “I love you and I worry about you. Is that so bad?”

“I love you too, Mikey, but quit worrying about me. It makes me nuts. So to speak.”

Michael nodded and grew quiet as the waiter refilled their coffee cups, then said, “Ted had dinner with Ben and Hunter and I last night.”

“He should have been completing my spreadsheets.”

“Brian, you have a problem there.”


“With Teddy.”

“Tell me about it. But for the most part, he does pretty good work.”

“Not that. He has a huge crush on you.”

Brian winced. “Have you been talking to Cynthia?”

“No, why? Does she think so too?”

“Theodore does not have a crush on me, Mikey.”

“Trust me, Brian. Speaking as someone who carried that torch for years, I know the signs.”

“What do you mean? You aren’t carrying that torch anymore?” Brian teased and Michael laughed.

“Only occasionally, but let’s just say I finally saw the writing on the wall and it’s spelled J-U-S-T-I-N.”

Brian shrugged. “It’s a thankless job but someone has to do it.”

“You are so in love.”

“Mikey, I swear to God, I am walking out of here if you start that crap. Did you ask me to lunch just to bring up every topic of conversation I find objectionable? Your baby, my ball, Theodore’s love life and my relationship with Justin. Want to talk about my mom while we’re at it?”

Michael laughed. “I love making you squirm.”

“You do it so well.”

“Thanks. Years of practice. About Ted…”

“Please shut up.”

“Are you telling him that Teddy has a huge and pathetic crush on him?” Emmett waltzed straight to their table from the door and slid in beside Brian, resting his hand on Brian’s forearm. “Honey, it’s so raw. You really need to do something about it before he makes a complete fool of himself.”

“Did either of you consider the possibility that Theodore has learned to appreciate my business acumen and that maybe it’s simply a case of admiration on a corporate level, nothing to do with…anything else?”

Michael and Emmett exchanged a look, and responded in unison. “Naaaw.”

“Girls, I know Teddy,” Emmett continued. “Believe me, I know Teddy. And Teddy loves Brian.”

Brian narrowed his eyes at him. “If you ever say that again, I will feed you to the Christian Right.”

“You’re going to have to deal with it, Brian,” Emmett was unfazed by the threat. “I’ve tried talking to him as his best friend and he denies it. He won’t discuss it. It’s so pathetic.”

“Maybe he denies it because it’s not true,” Brian tried and just then Ted entered the diner and sat down beside Michael, ignoring the sudden silence as he fixed his gaze on Brian and handed him an envelope.

“What’s this?” Brian asked and Ted looked sheepish.

“I thought it might be of assistance while you’re on the road. I made a couple CD’s of your favorite club songs, and put together a list of hotels and restaurants along your route for you to consider. Also the names and numbers of some garages that specialize in sports cars and some towing services, just in case. Finally, the location of emergency rooms, in case you need it, and a couple alternative routes if your main plan hits a detour.”

Silence, and then Emmett began humming “Evergreen”, drawing a poisonous glare from Brian. ”Theodore, you really need to get a hobby.” Brian took the envelope with reluctance. Ted giggled at his remark, as if it were the funniest thing he had ever heard. Michael and Emmett shared a roll of the eyes. The waiter came over and asked Ted and Emmett if they cared to order.

“What are you having, Brian?” Ted asked and Brian glared.

“Calf brains and salted bananas. Sound good?”

Another chance for Ted to laugh. “You are so funny. I’ll have whatever he’s having. Brian always knows how to order from any menu, have you noticed that? He always ends up having the best selection.”

All eyes were on Brian, who winced. Just then Justin came up, and Emmett moved so he could squeeze in beside his lover, joining Ted and Michael on the other side of the booth. Brian accepted Justin’s greeting kiss with a smile and asked, “What happened to meeting Daph for lunch?”

“She cooked. It burned. So here I am.”

“Why didn’t you ask her to join you?”

“She was too pissed about burning the tuna melts. What are you eating?”

“You too? Am I the oracle of the diner now?”

“No,” Justin said, looking over the menu. “I just want to make sure I don’t order the same thing because whatever you order is always the exact opposite of what I want.”

“So much for my reputation as a gourmand,” Brian joked, slapping the envelope into Justin’s hand. “Here. Theodore made us a care package for the road.”

“He did?” Justin looked surprised, glancing at the contents. “Sweet. Thanks, Ted. I thought you were mad at me or something.”

“Why would I be mad?” Ted said coolly and Emmett jumped in,

“Let me see now…”

“Em…” Michael warned and Justin looked from one to the other, confused by this private communication. Brian gave him a “don’t worry about it” pat on the thigh and Justin leaned a shoulder into him and said,

“I told Lindsay we would be by to say so long to Gus on our way out this evening. She invited us to dinner, but I said we’d really rather not take the time. That we’ll get something on the road.”

“That works.”

“You’re starting tonight?” Ted intervened. “Is that wise? Shouldn’t you get a good night’s rest and set out in the morning? No one starts a long road trip at night.”

Justin screwed up his face, confused by Ted’s interest. “What do you care when we leave?”

“I care about Brian’s…and your…safety, Justin. Statistically, driving while tired is as dangerous if not more so than driving while intoxicated.”

The food arrived at that opportune moment and Ted said, “Brian, I have an idea.”

Brian’s expression suggested the level of his interest was low. Ted went on. “What if I rode along with you two? I could share the fuel cost and we could get some work done along the way. Obviously, I’d get my own room but…”

Justin’s eyes widened in horror as Brian said, “It’s a Corvette, Ted. There’s no backseat. And even if there were, there’s no room for your luggage, and even if there were, we want to be alone.”

Ted looked mortified and Justin laughed. “God, Ted, what’s your damage? You have a crush on Brian or something?”

The thick silence that overcame the table made him realize just how right he was. He laughed. “Omigod, you do have a crush on Brian! Sorry, to laugh, but omigod!”

“Shut up, Sunshine,” Brian growled at his lover, reaching over to squeeze his knee. As Justin winced, Brian said, “Hey, Mikey, have any new pictures of Jenny Rebecca to share with the boys?”

And in that way, he enabled Ted to escape with a small shred of his dignity still intact.

Go to Episode 503

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