BETWEEN THE SESSIONS
Ok, here it is. I have carpel tunnel now! LOL! May or may not make Tuesday, I am EXHAUSTED, but I had to get this out. Thanks for your understanding and patience. Randall
When Brian reached Molly's hospital room, he found a quiet, almost soothing environment; the only noise the occasional blips and bleeps from her monitoring equipment. He stood at the foot of her bed staring at her tiny, still form, as if he could miraculously find a solution to her illness if he thought about it long enough. He straightened her bedcovers and then noticed the chair was empty, and her brother was dozing on the sofa/bed, a Harry Potter book tented open on his chest. Jennifer was not there. He gently lifted the book >from Justin's chest and placed it on the floor. He pulled the blanket up over him and was turning away when Justin grabbed his hand. He stopped, looked down at him.
"Don't go," Justin said softly.
"Where's your mom?"
"I told her to take the night off. They gave Mol morphine for the pain so she's really out of it. Mom needs a night in her own bed."
"I won't keep you from sleeping, I..." he hesitated, rubbing his tired eyes with his thumb and forefinger.
"You're falling down tired, Brian. Come here."
He sat down on the sofa, his face in his hands. "I'm exhausted. I need to take something, but Lydia made me get rid of my Ambien."
Justin sat with his back against the arm of the sofa, his legs spread slightly. "Come here. Take that jacket off."
Brian let the jacket fall to the floor. He glanced quizzically at Justin who opened his arms to him. "Here?" he said with incredulity and Justin smiled.
"Not THAT, fiend. Lie down with me."
"Not enough room."
Brian stretched out above him, resting his face on his shoulder, his back to the wall, his long legs overhanging the sofa. He was half on Justin, half on the bed. He closed his eyes, snaking an arm over Justin's torso. "I just can't sleep," he whispered, but as soon as he said it, the soothing comfort of Justin's body next to his seemed to fill him with a delicious ennui. Justin combed his fingers through Brian's brushy hair as he said, "Yes, you can, Brian. Just let your mind go free. You're safe. I've got your back. I love you."
"I love you too," Brian whispered, but that was all he remembered before slipping into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Ben stared vacantly at Emmett and Ted as they leaned in the doorway of his apartment. "Do you know what time it is?" He finally said, and Emmett smiled, admiring Ben's boxers that featured a print of alarm clocks.
"Well, I know where the BIG hand is, but how do you keep track of the hour?" Emmett teased, and Ben sighed, waving them in.
"Let me guess, you want to see Michael."
"Sorry, Ben," Ted said with an apologetic shrug. "But we really do need to see Mikey."
"About WHAT?" Michael came from the bedroom, wearing a pair of tighty- whiteys, rubbing his sleepy eyes with his fists like a kid.
"Brian," they said in unison, and Ben shook his head.
"Guys, we're all grown ups, here. Including Brian. Brian perhaps more than any of you. Is there ever going to be a time when you boys stop living vicariously through Brian's ups and downs?" Ben insisted.
"You just don't know him, Ben," Emmett said quietly. "He's not like other people."
Ben sighed, sitting down on the sofa, refusing to leave them alone with their gossip. "You know, I may know Brian better than you think. I knew Brian before I knew any of you."
Michael winced. "Please don't bring up your one-nighter with Brian at the White Party, Ben. It makes my skin crawl."
Ben glanced at his lover, absently stroking his hand over the hard planes of his bare torso. "It wasn't just a one-nighter, Michael. It was more of a two day fling. It's amazing how well you can get to know someone in forty-eight hours."
"You never told me that," Michael whined and Ben shrugged.
"You never asked."
Emmett and Ted exchanged a look. Each had their own fantasies of Brian in bed for forty-eight hours. You couldn't hang with Brian and not wonder what it would be like to fuck him. But they were there on a mission. They didn't want Mikey to be distracted by jealousy over his lover's former fling. "Listen, we saw Brian at Babylon tonight."
"There's an emergency," Ben said sarcastically. Michael glared at him.
"Forty-eight hours? Did you spend the whole time in bed?"
"Most of it," Ben admitted, and Emmett frowned.
"HELLO? Call the Smithsonian on that lost weekend, it is HISTORICAL! I'm talking about the here and now!"
Michael forced his attention to his late night guests. "Ok, so you saw Brian at Babylon. So?"
"So, he came in, went straight over to Jeffrey..."
"Jeffrey? He was there already?"
"Yes," Ted said with a wince. "Em and I asked Jeff to come with us. Since Brian was tied up with Justin or so we thought."
"Oh, nice," Michael said with a frown, feeling unfairly betrayed by that action by his friends. "So Brian shows up and walks over to Jeff. So?"
"So," Ted took up the charge. "He must have bribed the DJ to put on this sexy Latin music and he took Jeff in his arms and led him into this sensual samba."
"It was a tango," Emmett corrected him.
"Are you sure? I think it was a samba."
"Honey, my grandmother had a ballroom dancing school. It was definitely a tango."
"Who gives a SHIT?" Michael insisted as Ben groaned.
"Tango, samba, whatever," Ted said as Emmett mouthed the word "TANGO" in silence beside him. "It was hot, slow, and sexy. Incredibly sexy. Everyone stopped and watched them. They cleared a space for them to dance. But they were only looking at each other. I found it incredibly romantic."
"Oh god, girl," Emmett leaned in to enhance Ted's depiction. "There was not a soft dick in the room. They were drop dead gorgeous together. And when the song ended, Brian took his hand and they LEFT. He didn't even stop to get his sweater and coat."
"Where was Justin?" Michael insisted with a dour expression.
"EXACTLY!" The other two said, and Ben shook his head.
"This is the business of absolutely NO one in this room," he said, as Michael glared at him.
"Why are you protecting Brian?"
"I'm protecting Brian's privacy. There's a difference."
"I told you that fucking Jeffrey was after him!"
"Michael, if there's one thing Brian can do, its take care of himself where another man is concerned."
"That's what you think. And who is protecting Justin?"
"The same people who protected Brian when Justin left him. Remember that? You guys were such good friends to him, he ended up leaving town, he was so unhappy. Because not one of you, not even you completely, Michael, were able to accept the fact Brian, the GOD, was less than invincible. That he was in serious pain. You just let him slide. And now what? You're going to attack him for cheating on Justin?" He stood up, walking towards the bedroom, pausing at the door. "You guys have done enough damage to Brian in the name of so- called friendship. Why don't you just leave him the fuck alone?" He closed the door and Michael shrugged.
"He doesn't understand."
"It's Brian we want to help," Emmett said self righteously. "Although, helping Justin is helping Brian, isn't it? We weren't bad friends to Brian, were we, Teddy?"
Ted shrugged, thinking back. Brian's first reaction to Justin's leaving was a fašade of nonchalance. No one tried to look behind it. They all secretly believed he brought it on himself. His fucking around, his emotional isolation, what did he expect? He went from forced nonchalance to withdrawal. Days would pass when they would neither see nor hear from Brian. Did anyone go over to his loft to see how he was doing? Did they inquire if he was well? No, they just presumed he was shacked up with someone. Then he seemed to invest in excess, drinking, drugs, sex, Brian squared. Did that trigger an inquiry? Was he trying to hide something? Was he running so fast to escape something painful? And then...he was gone. Ted sighed. He remembered the many times Brian helped him out of a jam. "You know, Ben may have something."
"What do you mean?"
Ben came out of the bedroom, dressed in jeans, a sweater and a jacket. Michael glared at him. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"I fucking think I'm going out, is that okay?"
"Just out, Michael. I need some air."
"Don't be a drama queen, Ben."
Ben just glared at him and left as Michael frowned. "I can't believe him."
"What do we do, Mikey?" Emmett insisted, and Michael formulated a plan as Ted got to his feet.
"Where are you going?"
"I think Ben does have a point. I think maybe I wasn't as good a friend to Brian as I might have been, and I want to think about it before I make another mistake."
"That's crazy, Teddy!" Michael insisted. "Ben doesn't know how close we all are. He doesn't get it."
Ted paused at the front door. "Sometimes someone a little less close to the center can see the whole picture. Later, guys." He left and Emmett shrugged.
"He'll come around. What do we do, Mikey?"
"I say we confront Jeffrey."
Emmett clapped his hands, following Michael into the bedroom so he could dress, always up for a battle.
Jeffrey awoke to a persistent pounding on his door. Believing Brian had come back, unsure of the hour, he threw on a robe and opened the door, squinting into the light, focusing on Michael and Emmett. "Is something wrong?" Emmett pressed his sweater and coat into his arms and Jeffrey took them and shook his head. "Couldn't this wait until tomorrow?"
"Tell Brian to come out," Michael huffed and Jeffrey glared at him.
"Brian isn't here."
"Don't even bullshit me, Jeff. Tell him to come out."
"I'm telling you he is NOT here."
"Then where is he?"
"How the hell do I know? Asleep, if he has any sense at all. Did you try HIS room?" Michael and Emmett looked at each other and Jeffrey groaned. "Oh for chrissakes, come in! You should know Brian better than to think he would HIDE from you if he were here. Take a look around? Let me know if you find him."
They did so, noticing how orderly the place was. When Michael went into the bathroom, Emmett looked in the closet, fingering a soft gray mohair jacket. "Ohh, is this Armani?"
Jeffrey just glared at him. Michael came out of the bathroom and sighed. "He's not here. Of course that doesn't mean he WASN'T here."
"You have a reason for this?" Jeffrey asked and Michael threw a dagger like stare in his direction.
"Yes. We do. Leave Brian alone."
"Or what?" Jeffrey said with a laugh. "You'll break my kneecaps?"
"He's in love with Justin!"
"Then Justin has nothing to worry about, now does he?"
"They've already been through so much," Emmett said, holding up a black silk shirt, still on the hangar, in front of his torso. Jeffrey took it from him and returned it to the closet.
"You don't know Brian," Michael argued. "You don't care about him!"
"Don't I? I think I do, MIKEY. I know the grown up Brian, not some insecure little Mick kid you used to dream about jerking off. I know the successful ad executive with an investment portfolio and a future. I know the father of a young son. I know a man who has a brilliant mind and a creative curiosity. I know a man who can talk about whether the Beaujolais crop came in this year, and what continuing influence the Q'ing dynasty has on modern Chinese culture. That pretty, jock, bitch stud wet dream you boys carry around in your memory lobes is no more. Brian's a big boy now. And he needs a big boy for a partner, and neither you nor you nor that blond twink can fulfill that role for him. You understand me?"
Jeffrey paused, poured himself a glass of wine from a bottle on the table in the small sitting room of the suite. "He's outgrown you, all of you, and I'm just waiting for him to let go of old loyalties and move on with his life. He doesn't need you barnacles on his bow. You just slow him down. When he did need you, you weren't even there for him."
Jeffrey sat down on the edge of his unmade bed, totally in control now as Emmett and Michael listened like contrite schoolboys. "You want to take everything he gives, but you give nothing back. You let him sink into a black depression when the Boy Toy left him, and what did any of you do about that? Not a damned thing. Well, I would have. I am, in fact. I'm showing him it's time to shed the past. And believe me on this one, boys. If it's important enough to me, I get what I want. And he is that important. And I will get him. And we'll have you all over for dinner and bury the hatchet."
"I'll bury the hatchet in your head!" Michael lunged, but Emmett restrained him. Emmett felt certain Jeffrey knew martial arts or some other twisted method of killing an attacker instantly. He felt as if they were in the same room with Damien from "Omen, the Doctor".
"I'm sure Brian will find all this very interesting," Emmett snipped, and Jeffrey shrugged.
"Yes, especially the part where you confront me at, oh, say, four in the morning to make your accusation? Don't leave out a word, boys. I mean everything I said."
Emmett herded Michael towards the door and into the hall. As he started to shut it, he asked Jeffrey, "Do you have a place in New York where you get those designer clothes at discount?" Before Jeffrey could respond, Michael pulled Emmett away and slammed the door shut.
Jeffrey bolted it, and finished his wine. He then picked up the phone and calmly punched zero. He asked to be connected to Brian's room. When he got no answer, he asked for voice mail, and began a long and carefully crafted message.
When Jennifer Taylor entered Molly's room, she found Justin gamely trying to convince Molly to eat some of her breakfast while Brian slept soundly under a blanket on the sofa bed.
"Don't wake him up, Mom," Justin pleaded with her. "He was utterly worn out."
"Why didn't he just sleep at the hotel? He's much too tall for that sofa."
"He wanted to protect me," Molly said, and Jennifer looked confused.
Justin smiled. "Molly had this dream that she was being chased by bad guys and Brian came out of nowhere and scared them away."
"He did kung fu," Molly said, and Jennifer nodded, amused to see yet another of her children had fallen under Brian Kinney's spell.
"Who the hell is that?" Craig Taylor entered the room, glancing from his family to Brian's sleeping form, and back again.
"Daddy!" Molly said enthusiastically and he patted her foot in greeting, not responding to her outstretched arms. He hadn't been able to embrace her spindly body since the disease took hold.
"Hi Punkin. Jen, who is that man?"
"It's Brian, Dad," Justin said coolly and his father flashed an angry glare.
"Get him out of here. I won't have him around my daughter!"
"At least he IS around your daughter, Craig!" His wife flared. "Which is more than can be said for you!"
"I'll call security if you won't do it!"
"Daddy, Brian is my friend!" Molly began to wail and Brian sat up, throwing off the cover, forcing his grainy eyes open and scrubbing his fingers through his bed hair. He looked from Craig Taylor's furious face to Justin's stricken expression to Molly's tears, and frowned.
"What happened? What's wrong, Mol?"
"Brian!" She opened her arms to him, and he went over to her, sitting on the edge of her bed, careful not to move any tubes as she clung to him. Her feverish face was pressed to his chest, her little arm not even covering the span of his ribcage. Craig was furious at Brian's ability to so casually embrace his daughter, and how she calmed down as soon as they touched. "Don't let Daddy make you leave!" She whimpered and Brian glared at him.
"Is that what you want?"
"Get the hell away from my daughter."
Brian felt Molly's weakened arms grow as tight as they could around him. "Is that what you want, Jennifer?"
"Craig, Brian has been wonderful for Molly. You can see that, can't you, and isn't she the focus?"
"I don't give a shit what you want, Jennifer. Get him out of here."
"Nooo," Molly insisted, clinging to Brian still, and they all looked up as Jeffrey entered the room, wearing a lab coat over his street clothes.
"What's going on?" he said calmly. "I was at the nurse's station, looking at her chart, when her monitors jumped up. Brian? What's happening?"
Brian shook his head, his rage barely repressed, and Justin answered with a sigh. "Jeff, this is my dad, Craig Taylor. Dad, Jeff is a specialist from New York City who came in to consult on Molly's case."
"New York City? Is the insurance paying for that? Because I sure as hell will not! She already has a million doctors on this thing!"
Jeffrey smiled slightly. "May I speak with you in the hall, Mr. Taylor?"
"You can speak with me right here."
"Let's step outside, shall we?"
He reluctantly followed Jeffrey out and Justin went with him while Jennifer and Brian remained behind with Molly. In the hall Jeffrey's pleasant demeanor vanished. He shot lasers into Craig's face with both eyes. "I realize you are under a tremendous amount of stress, Mr. Taylor, but there is absolutely no excuse for upsetting your daughter. None."
"You don't understand. That man is a pedophile. He..."
"Stop it, Dad!" Justin insisted. "Stop that shit! I was seventeen, not seven! Almost eighteen! Get the fuck over it! How old were you when you lost your virginity?" Jeffrey held up a hand. "I don't care about your issues, nor do I care what you think of Brian, Mr. Taylor. Unless you think he poses some threat to your daughter's well being, and I don't think that's likely, then you need to allow her whatever comfort she can find from whatever source. She's the one fighting for her life. She's being filled with poison that makes her sick and makes her ache and causes all of her hair to fall out. She gets thrush and rashes and bruises. Then she is irradiated with such powerful doses of radiation that she'll never be a mother if she survives this disease. And in the mean time, every joint, every bone causes pain and she is so weak, she can hardly walk across the room. Add to that her fear and inability to comprehend, and you have one needy little girl. If you aren't man enough to stomach some discomfort to be around your son's lover, than you need to take a hard look at your priorities."
"Excuse me, doctor, but what the fuck business is this of yours?"
"I treat the whole patient, not just the disease, and I know how important peace of mind is to sick kids. She'll have enough reasons to cry and be scared as she works through this treatment. Don't impose unnecessary ones on her. She does not deserve that. And as for my fee, what your insurance won't cover, I'm absorbing. Including my travel. I'm doing this as a favor for a friend and because I genuinely care about your daughter's health."
"Justin," Jeffrey said, slipping an arm across his shoulders. Justin tensed, but stood firm. "And Brian. We faggots stick together in hard times."
"Gay?" Jeffrey completed the sentence for him. "Yes, I am, Mr. Taylor. We're everywhere."
Justin repressed a smile as his father shook his head. "Fucking perverts. I came here to have a bone marrow test with the rest of my family. Now I think I'll just go. Tell Jennifer if it's really important to her that I test, she can call me and I'll give her my conditions."
"You would do that to Molly?" Justin confronted him, restrained from going in his face by Jeffrey's arm that tightened on his shoulders.
"It's up to your mother."
"Fuck that," Brian joined them in the hall, holding his jacket. "I'm leaving."
"No!" Justin went into his arms and he held him in a close embrace that caused Jeffrey to flinch.
"It's ok, Sunshine. Molly said she wanted a cream filled donut, so I'm going to go find her one. There's a bunch of strip malls around here, I'm sure at least one has a donut shop. You guys visit. I'll be back."
"Don't bother," Craig Taylor said, and Brian smiled coolly at him.
"If you duck this bone marrow test for your daughter, using me or anything else as an excuse, I promise you I will hunt you down and stick a needle in you myself. You won't like it very much, I have these big clumsy hands, but I will do it, Craig, old boy. Because you're her father and if you have any chance of prolonging her life, you will." He kissed Justin's cheek, waved at Jeffrey and walked away.
Jeffrey and Justin both watched his retreating form, and so did Craig Taylor, who made a mental note to find a way to keep Brian Kinney out of his daughter's life.
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July 25, 2004