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The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

It's just a little snippet, one I felt compelled to write. It's not the kind of story you send to a beta, so if it's rough or ungrammatical, or misspelled, I apologize. Here it is. Randall

Written from Brian's POV.
Time: A week after the Rage Launch Party (Final episode, season 2)


It's almost midnight. I'm in the Admiral's Club at LAX, waiting for the red eye back to Pittsburgh. We were in L.A. to pitch to a big client. I think it went well, but what the fuck? Even if it didn't, it's done. I'm too tired now to analyze my own performance. I order another Jim Beam from the too friendly attendant who hasn't yet realized that we play for opposite teams. The piped in music is abysmal, but I ran out of battery life for my headphones, and the closest convenience shop in the terminal is closed. Nothing like traveling in the dead of night, chasing dawn across the country.

I hear Roberta Flack begin to sing, "The first time ever I saw your face..." My immediate reaction is to groan at this ancient, overly sentimental love song. But tonight, I'm bored. Tonight, I stop myself mid-groan and listen. I'm not sure what I'm trying to hear, but I'm listening while quieting my inner censor.

"The first time ever I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes. And the moon and the stars were the gifts you gave, to the night and the empty skies..."

What is it like to feel that emotion, I wonder? To look at someone for the first time and feel such awe, such enormity? It's bullshit, I decide. No one ever looks at a face for the first time and sees the sun rise in "those eyes" or feels that the empty sky was about to get a moon from this perfect person. We all know the kind of moons we get in the real world, usually shot at you from the window of a speeding car while you're still in high school. Cynical? Maybe, but get real.

"Nuts?" The attendant is still trying her best to interest me.

"No, just a little strung out," I quip, then realize she takes that as a flirtation, and I have to look away from her and direct my attention back to the music to make her go away.

This cynicism of mine is not because of the recent "disappointment" with Justin, as my friends so delicately put his leaving me for another man. That result was what we call in business, "outcome determinative". It had to end the way it did. No doubt about it. No one thought it would last as long as it lasted. I more than anyone was surprised that a trick I met late one night on Liberty Avenue in Gaytown, Pittsburgh turned into...something else. Not sure what, but something else.

He wore plaid, three layers of shirts, like some kind of armor against what he thought he was so ready to do. He stood under that streetlamp like a teenybopper from a Pepsi commercial. Looking back, I realize how fucking brave he was. How terrified he had to be. He showed very little of that fear, hiding behind a false bravado.

"The first time ever I saw your face..."

The light hit his pale hair, turning it into a blond beacon. I caught a glimpse of him from the corner of my eye while I was getting into my jeep. I did a double take. Mikey was talking to me, but I heard nothing he said. The kid had eyes that cut through the bullshit. I wondered if those eyes could laser through the steel in which I wrapped myself for protection. I was pulled towards him as if by an invisible rope connected to my dick. But there was no sun rising in those eyes, no gift of moon and stars. Just a face in the empty night, compelling me.

"The first time ever I kissed your mouth, I felt the world turn in my hand."

Yeah, right. A little heavy to hold the world in your hand, isn't it, Atlas? Even Atlas used his whole body to support the world. Kiss... world turning in your hand...no relevance. The first time I kissed him was in my loft. He was so scared by now, that I could smell his fear. I went into my ultra-stud routine and he was immobilized by my performance. I enjoyed the power of mesmerizing him. His cool act was as transparent as glass. I could barely stop myself from laughing at him. When I pulled him against my body and covered his mouth with mine...it was a good kiss. It was the kind of kiss that made my toes retract, like a cat pulling in his claws. It was the kind of kiss that sizzled across my electrical system with the force of a heart attack.

It was the kind of kiss that left me wanting more. Much more. But did I feel like the earth was turning in my hand? No. How does that happen? It was just a kiss that built into a raging fire.

"The first time ever I lay with you, and felt your heart beat close to mine. I thought our joy would fill the earth, and would last til the end of time."

Right. It was...I hesitate. I take a drink from my glass. I remember that feeling, stretched out on top of him, trapping him under me. I had ejaculated inside his tight ass, and I lowered his calves from my shoulders to the bed. His cum was like glue between our sweaty bellies, pasting us together in that bed. I took his virginity that night, and gave him what in return? An orgasm? Followed by hundreds of orgasms? A near death experience? Lessons in how to trick and how to fail in a relationship? Cum one, cum all, the Brian Kinney School for How to Fuck Up a Relationship is now in session! He was the first student. How unlucky for him.

Send in the clowns. Oh, that's a whole other schmaltzy song, isn't it? One at a time, Brian, one at a time. Compare how fucked up your life is to a standard sung at every roadside bar before you move up to Sondheim.

"The first time ever I lay with you, and felt your heart beat close to mine..." Yes, my eyes were closed, and my fingers were interlaced with his. I was so much taller, but somehow he compensated so that I felt inline with his body, chest to chest, belly to belly, hip to hip. His valleys fit my protrusions, and vice versa. Our breathing regulated, and then I felt it. Like a little bird trapped between us, desperately beating its wings against our bodies in order to fly free. It was his heart, pounding against mine. I tried to match it, beat for beat. I wanted to feel like one complete organism, with a huge heart beating in both halves. I wanted to be him, but I didn't want to stop being me. I wanted us to be each other. Just for that moment, I wanted all physical division between us to end.

"I thought our joy would fill the earth and would last 'til the end of time..."

I listen to that lyric. I never believed...I never let myself believe...I don't believe...and I was right. Our joy. There was joy. Not just the bliss of sex, and the warmth of the afterglow. We made each other laugh. Sometimes we could be as playful as small boys. We chased each other, we roughhoused, we spoke to each other without words. We understood what the other one needed. He could puncture my egomania and still make me want to pull him against my body as we slept. Little pleasures seemed enough. Coming home to find him there, working on his art or messing up my kitchen with some culinary disaster. My kitchen? Was it always my kitchen? My loft? Would it ever become ours, if he had stayed with me? How long would he have to endure my fear of the collective before he passed some magical test and one became two?

How long before I could trust him enough to let him in?

Probably never. The gates of Oz are steep and impenetrable. No one gets in to see the wizard, not no one, not no way. Pain management 101. No one gets in, no one hurts you. Well, that crock of shit was blown apart by the circumstances, now wasn't it, Bri', old boy?

"....and would last til the end of time..."

Never believed it. Never. Nothing lasts. No one hangs in for the long run. No one can tolerate that much Brian Kinney. Not even Brian Kinney. I'm one silk scarf away from the ultimate escape. Til the end of time, my ass. How about until the end of the party? That might have been nice. Let's fall apart in private instead of with everyone we know watching us disintegrate.

"The first time ever I saw your face, your face...your face."

I wish I had never seen that face. We'd both be better off. I wish I could stop seeing that face now, in every blond boy I walk past, in every ad featuring a young male, in every shadow that moves across my empty nights, unlit by moons or stars or sunshine.

"Brian?" Cynthia's hand is on my arm. "They called our flight. We should go to the gate."

I look at her, as if we have never met. She meets my eyes as the song fades out on the sound system. She knows. She doesn't have to say anything, but I know she knows. Her expression says it all. She moves her hand to my shoulder and squeezes it gently. "It's going to be fine," she says softly.

What's going to be fine, I wonder? The pitch? The trip? My fucked up life? I want to pop off with some appropriately sarcastic remark, but I find I have no voice. So I nod, and down the last swallow of my drink. I gather my brief case and follow her over to the rest of our team. She slips my arm through hers, as if relying on the big strong man to hold her up if her fatigue brings her down. We both know who is holding up whom, but I appreciate her effort.

I leave the club with the rest of them, haunted by Ms. Flack's melodic voice as a stray verse of the lyrics reminds me of the fragility of love. "Like the trembling heart of a captive bird, that was there at my command..." Love was there, in my hand, so close, so close, and then...it was gone. Fuck, I never believed in it, anyway. Never have, never will.

Cynthia winces and uses her other hand to lighten the grip that I have on her arm as we walk. I didn't realize how tightly I was squeezing her, as if to hold onto that captive bird a little longer. As if to convince myself the bird was still mine to command. As if I believed in love.


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