HAPPY THANKSGIVING, GUYS!
Mrs. Brian Kinney
Why did he always have to do everything himself?
Justin was wallowing in self pity as he suffered the crowds, food shortages and shitty weather associated with shopping for groceries just two days before Thanksgiving. When he'd suggested the gang come over to the loft for Thanksgiving dinner, silence fell over the group gathered at Debbie's for a pasta dinner.
"What?" Justin asked innocently. "It's roomy enough and we can watch the Steelers on the flat screen." All eyes shifted to Brian. If there were any doubts remaining among these friends that Brian and Justin were truly a couple, Brian's next words dispelled any last uncertainties.
"Only if you agree to do all the work. I'm not doing anything. I'm not cooking, I'm not cleaning up, I'm not making pilgrims and turkeys out of colored paper and Elmer's glue. All I plan to do on my day off is eat until I throw up and then watch the game."
"You would actually play host to this whole gang of people on a national holiday?" Lindsay said incredulously. Brian shrugged.
"Under my rules, yeah. What do I care? I'll even supply the wine myself, because I'm not drinking that cheap nail polish remover you guys swill."
"There goes my contribution," Ted said with a sigh.
"Can I invite my mom and Molly too?" Justin asked hopefully and Brian glared at him.
"Invite Barbara Bush, for all I care, Justin. Just don't invite my mother, or my sister or my demonic nephews."
And that was how it started. Everyone wanted to bring covered dishes to simplify the burden on Justin, but he was determined to do the main meal without help from his friends. They could bring desserts, chips and dips, relish trays and six packs, but he wanted to supply the bird and the trimmings. Thinking back to all the years his mother and aunts and other female members of his family worked for days to prepare the house and the meal, he was astounded, because he had found a better way. He meticulously listed what he would need, sat down at the desk and dialed the number for "Gourmet to Go".
He told them how many people would be there and ordered an adequately sized, roasted turkey, two kinds of dressing, cornbread and oyster, brown and giblet gravies, mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, fresh Dijon green beans, candied yams with walnuts, carrots in lemon sauce, Parker House rolls, and cranberry-pecan-orange peel chunky relish. He read off the number on Brian's Centurion Card, picked a delivery time and then dialed again.
Ducky Bob's would deliver the table and chairs they would need, along with all the china, glasses and cutlery. The linens supplied by the rental agency would provide a cheerful fall-like ambiance. Again, the American Express card got a workout. Finally, he called a local florist and ordered the centerpieces and door decorations he had in mind, and some candle circlets to break up the stark monochromatic décor in the loft. In one hour, without leaving home, he had planned and executed on an entire Thanksgiving feast.
Brian came home from work on the Monday before Thanksgiving, expecting chaos. He was pleasantly surprised to find Justin working on his computer, the loft clean, music playing softly on the sound system. He dropped his briefcase on the table, and retrieved a bottle of water from the fridge. He circled Justin's neck with his arms, kissing his cheek. "How goes the holiday planning, Martha Stewart?"
"All done," Justin grinned at him, turning his head to kiss his lips. Brian stepped away, a suspicious look on his face as he took off his coat and tie and headed for the bedroom. Justin followed, watching him shed the armor of his workday.
"What do you mean, ‘done'? Where are you hiding the groceries? I expected the old Sub Zero to be bulging with raw birds and other ingredients."
"I have it all under control," Justin said with a smile, stretching out on the bed and beaming up at Brian as he replaced his suit with a pair of faded jeans and a t-shirt. Brian flopped down beside him and lit a joint, taking a long, relaxing toke.
"What did you do? Hire a bunch of little elves to come in and do the work while we sleep?"
Justin took the joint from him, sucked in a mouthful of ganja and blew it out slowly. "Sort of," he said, reaching down to cover Brian's crotch with his palm. Justin felt Brian's big cock respond, and he smiled and leaned over to kiss him. Brian let the kissing and caressing go on for awhile, enjoying the titillation, and then he asked,
"What do you mean, ‘sort of'?"
Justin leaned over Brian's body, rolling up his shirt to kiss his pecs, his hard brown nipples, the ridges of his abdomen, opening Brian's fly to free his erection. He began by licking the tip like an ice cream cone, then made barber pole stripes down the engorged shaft with wide swipes of his tongue. Brian moaned, the tension of his day dissolving in that divine sensation. He raised his hips so Justin could slip his jeans down and free his balls. Justin coddled the oversized globes on his palm, rubbing one against his smooth cheek and then licking the other.
Brian felt the steam build to critical mass. He forgot about their conversation until he'd fed Justin a serving of his salty margarita flavored sperm. Brian then returned the favor with smooth expertise. Sated, they lay in each other's arms, enjoying the simple pleasure of being together and alone, when Brian said, "I invited Gardner to join us for Thanksgiving. His family is back in England for a visit and he couldn't go, so he would be on his own."
Justin sat up, looking horrified. "You invited your BOSS?"
"He's my partner, not my boss."
"I thought I was your partner," Justin teased and Brian hit him with a pillow.
"No, you're the little woman."
"What did you mean by ‘sort of'?"
Justin smiled as he explained his busy hour of ordering Thanksgiving. Brian listened quietly, then nodded. "So your idea of having our friends over for Thanksgiving is to have the meal catered and everything else supplied by professionals?"
"Yeah. I don't know why my mom hasn't done this instead of making herself crazy every year."
"And how much will this little soiree cost me?"
Justin told him, and Brian's silence stretched out into what seemed an eternity. "I'll give you this, Justin. You can rent the table and china and stuff, we'd have to do that anyway. I'll even let you have the florist. But if you think I'm paying that kind of money for a catered dinner for all these people, you're fucking crazy. Thanksgiving is not about how good a cook a caterer is. Thanksgiving is about the dry and overcooked bird you leave in the oven too long, the lumpy mashed potatoes and that nasty green bean casserole with canned onions on the top. And the cranberry sauce that still bears the scars from the can. You invited everyone over for a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner. You refused their offers to bring dishes. Now cook it."
Justin's eyes grew wide. "I can't cook all that stuff by myself!"
"Then you shouldn't have invited them."
"Brian, if it's about the money, I'll pay you back..."
"It's not about the money. It's about tradition and it's about serving your friends something you made yourself."
Brian kissed his forehead and left the bed, walking over to the computer to check his email as Justin sat there in mute terror.
TURKEY DAY- MINUS TWO
When Brian left for work on Tuesday, Justin was already up, printing recipes off the computer and composing a shopping list from the ingredients. Brian smiled wryly as he paused to kiss him on his way out. Justin tensed, still miffed by Brian's unreasonable demands. "I suppose I can still use your credit card to buy the groceries," Justin said coolly and Brian smiled.
"Of course. And while you're out, buy some more lube. We're almost out. We go through more lube than a dorm at a boy's reformatory." Justin had the Jeep for the day. Brian had arranged to ride in with Cynthia, who was already idling at the curb, waiting.
Justin glared at him. "It's not my fault you're hung like a mule. I prefer not to be ripped in half every time we fuck."
Brian smiled and slipped into his alpaca overcoat. "You say the sweetest things. Have fun today."
"Bitch!" Justin replied. Brian just laughed as he left him alone with his gargantuan chore.
Daphne had a class, preventing her from assisting in the shopping. His mom was showing a house in her new job as a real estate agent. Justin couldn't even think of anyone else to call and try to rope into such a thankless task. So here he was, alone at the grocery store, his cart so loaded with food that he wasn't sure if all of it would fit in the Jeep.
When he finally made it to checkout, Justin began unloading the goods onto the conveyor belt while the last shopper paid. "Late start?" The woman paying said to him with a good natured smile. He sighed and nodded. "Hope that big bird defrosts in time to cook it," she added, increasing his anxiety. He had to go bigger than the recipes suggested he would need, for all the smaller ones had been sold. All that remained were tiny birds, turkey breasts, or huge ones, like this monster. Justin thought it looked like a plucked ostrich in the bag, hoping its size would not mean tough.
As the checker tallied his total, Justin swiped Brian's black Amex card through the auto approval machine, and watched the number on the total climb. As it peaked over three hundred dollars, Justin realized it was still a fraction of the cost of a caterer. He couldn't believe Brian was being so cheap. What good was a credit card with an unlimited line of credit, if you didn't use it? He had to present the card to the checker, who glanced at the signature on the back and then at him.
"You have ID?"
"Yeah," he fished for his driver's license, and handed it to her.
"You're not Brian A. Kinney."
"No, he's my boyfriend."
"Your boyfriend? Wait a minute," Justin heard the person who was next in line groan as the cashier called for a manager. Swell. Just one more thing to make his day perfect.
Brian was working on a campaign when his secretary interrupted. "Justin on line one."
"Tell him I'll call him back."
"He says it's an emergency."
Brian grumbled as he reached for the phone. To Justin, the term "emergency" was broadly defined. "This had better be good. I'm in the middle of something."
"Brian," Justin's voice was tense, and Brian was seeing images of a wrecked Jeep. "I'm in the manager's office at the grocery store. They don't think I'm authorized to use your card. They're calling the police. Can you come down here? Please?"
"Fuck! Let me talk to that manager."
Justin handed him the phone and a man's voice said, "Yes?"
"This is Brian Kinney. He has permission to use my card."
"Sorry, sir, but I have no way of verifying your identity over the phone."
"I'll call American Express and tell them to authorize him."
"If you are Brian Kinney, I suggest you get down here with appropriate identification before the police are summoned. We checked with American Express, and there is no one authorized on that card other than the cardholder."
Brian sighed. "I'm on my way."
He took a cab to the grocery store, and asked directions to the manager's office. Once there, Justin ran into his arms, obviously terrified by the experience. "They said they were going to have me arrested for credit card theft, Brian! They accused me of stealing your card!"
Brian frowned, holding tightly to him as he glared at the manager. "We're in here together all the time. This is the store we shop. Why are you putting him through all this drama?"
The manager, bursting out of his polyester shirt and too short tie, sneered at Brian. "I can't keep up with all you...BOYS...in this neighborhood. You change partners more often than a square dance. And some ex boyfriend is always stealing his sweetie's card on his way out the door. I've been burned once too often by you people."
Brian raised a single brow. "We people? You mean the homosexual community that pretty well keeps this store in operation almost single handedly? Those people?"
"Didn't use to be a GAY store until you people moved in all around it. Ever since then, it's been a pain in the ass to manage this store. Gotta have your frou-frou specialties, your fancy brands, your six different kinds of mushrooms."
Brian glared at him. "You know, my firm handles the advertising on this chain of grocery stores, and I read where this particular unit has doubled their revenues in the last two years. That's gay money. We cook. We entertain. And you get the benefit of it."
"And your bad checks because you boys can't balance a check book and your stolen credit cards and all the cards that don't go through because you've exceeded your limits."
"I assure you my card's not over the limit, there is no limit, and Justin's been added as an authorized user. I called on the way over."
"You have some ID?"
Brian produced identification, and the manager wrote down his driver's license number and then said, "Okay, I'm making a note. Justin Taylor is now MRS. BRIAN KINNEY, according to American Express. You can run the charge, take your groceries and go."
When Brian glanced at Justin's downcast face that was bright red with embarrassment, his jaw clenched. "Tell you what. You take that big fat bird and you wedge it up your big fat ass sideways. I'll never buy another egg from this store, and neither will the rest of the gay community by the time I'm through with you. And by the way, the vice president over sales for your entire chain is a friend of mine. I work the account with him. He'll be very interested to know of my friendly experience at your little establishment..." Brian squinted at his name tag. "Henry."
He took Justin's hand and they walked out together, and got into the Jeep. Brian patted his thigh gently as he started the car and turned on the heater. "You okay?"
Justin sighed. "I guess so. They treated me like a criminal."
"I know, kid. The fucking homophobe."
"I'm glad you did what you did, Brian, but now I have to go somewhere else and recreate that whole shopping nightmare, and I just don't want to do it after this."
Brian glanced at him, realizing how his making a point with Henry had disadvantaged Justin, who was already under the gun. "We'll go somewhere else and I'll help you."
"What do you mean?"
"You give me half the list, I'll pick it up in one cart, you do the same with the other half and we'll meet at checkout. That should cut your time."
Justin brightened. "But you have to go to work."
"I'll give them a call. Come on, the turkeys are dwindling."
That night, with the groceries all neatly stored, Brian and Justin made love on the chaise in front of the fire. Their team effort at the grocery store had alleviated some of the tension for Justin, even though his biggest task, the cooking, was still before him. For the moment, they were blocking that nightmare and enjoying a quiet moment before the storm. Brian let his hands wander down Justin's naked body as Justin sat across his belly and leaned over to kiss him.
"So how does it feel to be Mrs. Brian Kinney?" Brian teased when Justin leaned back to fondle Brian's erection, stroking it against his hip. Justin glared at him, giving Brian's penis enough of a squeeze to bring a wince from his lover.
"Don't ask me that when I have your dick in my hand."
Brian laughed, reaching down to stroke Justin's erection, jutting out against Brian's abs. "Okay, now we're even."
"I do have my own identity you know. Maybe someday people will be buying my artwork for fabulous prices and I'll be hung in major museums across the world."
"I like how you're hung here," Brian said, bouncing Justin's balls gently against his palm.
Justin laughed, and guided Brian's cock to slip along the tight crack of his ass. "You may be known as Mrs. Justin Taylor when I become famous."
Brian smiled. "I'm the top, you're the bottom. Don't let those occasional forays into role reversal go to your tiny little head, or to your brain, either."
Justin smiled and reached for the condoms and the lube. Foreplay was over, it was time for the main event.
TURKEY DAY-MINUS ONE
Brian came home from work to chaos. Finally, he got what he'd expected. The loft shrank in size with the introduction of temporary tables and chairs. The monastic calm of his monochromatic interior was rudely interrupted by linens and floral arrangements that were a blizzard of fall colors. Orange candles, yellow mums, brick red leaves, forest green filler and a variety of gourds, tiny pumpkins and squashes were artfully designed on every flat space. Justin looked shell shocked as Brian bit his own lip to keep from complaining and kissed his lover's cheek.
"They were three hours late with the tables. The flowers were already here, so I just had them leave them boxed up until the furniture arrived, then I had to move stuff around to make room and finally I had to unpack and arrange all of the flowers and candles and stuff. It's a fucking nightmare!"
Brian noticed the hulking turkey sitting in a pool of water in the sink. "Bathing the bird?"
"It wasn't defrosting fast enough in the fridge, so I'm thawing it out in the sink, the way the package directed. I forgot the sage for the dressing, so I had to borrow some from a neighbor, which was a joke. No one was home. So I walked to that corner grocery store that has nothing, and bought the bottled kind instead of fresh."
Brian held up his hand. "Too much information. Let's go to Babylon."
"Are you NUTS? I have all these people coming tomorrow and I haven't cooked a thing! Your boss is among them, remember? I have to boil the giblets and some eggs and chop them up to put in the gravy and pull the strings out of the green beans and peel the potatoes and carrots, and then slice the yams, and SHIT! I'll never be ready." He gave Brian a pleading look and Brian sighed.
"Remember our deal when you had the big idea to invite everyone over for Thanksgiving dinner?"
"Yeah, you don't have to do a damned thing."
"Bingo. I already broke that rule by shopping with you. God knows I'm paying for everything, and I brought the wine home tonight. I've fulfilled my end of the deal. Now you fulfill yours, Cinderella. I'm going to Babylon."
"I want a divorce, I hate being Mrs. Brian Kinney," Justin complained with an adorable pout and Brian smiled and kissed his forehead.
"Fine, but you have to pay for your own lawyer, and I advise you to get a specialist, not Melanie. Because I will."
"Asshole," Justin said, suppressing his smile as Brian went into the bedroom to change into his Babylon attire.
It was just after midnight when Brian returned to the loft, having found Babylon to be dead and his own interest in the scene limited. The kitchen was a disaster area, and he followed a trail of flour into the bedroom where Justin was stretched out on the bed, stomach down, still wearing an apron and clutching a wooden spoon. The flour was dusted over his clothes, and the smell of something scorched still hung in the air. Brian shook his head and took the spoon out of his hand without waking him, not wanting him to turn over during the night and accidentally smack Brian in the head with it. He kissed Justin's cheek, then grimaced at the powdery taste of flour and began to unbutton his black silk shirt.
Justin awoke in exactly the same position he was in when he fell asleep. He turned his head and saw that Brian wasn't there. Frowning, he wondered if he had reverted to old habits and spent the night with a trick? What if he wasn't home in time for ...SHIT! He glanced at the clock and saw that it was almost noon. He bounded out of bed, remembering how many hours that damn turkey had to cook, and then realizing he left it out all night. Was it spoiled? Would he be able to tell? He stumbled down the steps to the kitchen, where he stopped cold. Every countertop was clean, except for empty serving dishes waiting to be filled. Every burner on the stovetop was in use, and the light in the oven showed a basted turkey, browning in a roasting pan.
He whirled around to find Brian seated on the sofa in front of the television, using the remote control to scan through the various parades. "Have you ever thought about how scary those Macy balloons truly are? If one came down, I presume it could do some serious damage. Or if we're lucky, take out one of those fucking marching bands!"
Brian glanced over his shoulder at him. "Yes, and ‘where' would make you the perfect reporter."
"The kitchen, who...?"
"Rumplestiltskin was busy so I had to do it myself."
"But the stuffing was supposed to go in the bird before you cooked it."
"It is in the bird. Believe me, I'm good at stuffing large cavities with my fist. I'm just not used to depositing a bunch of squishy breading as I go."
"We have to time it. And I left it out all night, it may have spoiled."
"I put it up, after it was thawed. It's fine."
"The green beans are simmering, the yams are assembled and ready to go in the oven an hour before tee time, the potatoes are cut up and ready to be boiled, and the carrots are diced and ready for boiling as well, although I made an executive decision and decided to go with a mint sauce rather than lemon. I bought some mint when we were at the store, because I like to use it in a facial masque. You need to assemble the Dijon sauce for the green beans, get the stuff ready to make gravy and I think we should have tea or something as an alternative to wine, don't you?"
"When did you do all this?"
"Last night, this morning, I wasn't very sleepy."
Justin walked over to him and took the remote out of his hand, leaning over to kiss him hotly. Brian pulled him on top of himself and ran his hands across Justin's firm ass. "Too early for dessert, babe."
"I love you."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, you just keep me around because I'm such a good cook."
"I didn't know you could cook at all."
"I can read a recipe. The rest is just execution. You went to the trouble to plan it, pull it together, print the shopping list...it's not a big deal to cook it."
"You are incredible. Is there anything you can't do?"
"My knitting sucks."
Justin laughed, pushing Brian back against the sofa, refusing to take no for an answer.
That afternoon, all of their friends and family gathered in the loft to experience a home cooked meal that no one expected to be this grand or this successful. Gardner Vance met Justin for the first time, finding Brian's blond lover an interesting factoid in the evolving picture of his younger partner.
"You so had this catered," Michael teased as Brian deferred to Ben for the carving rights, insisting he was never much good with sharp implements.
Brian shook his head, filling his wine glass with more vino and handing Gus a raw carrot stick to munch on. "Absolutely not. You can see the mess in the kitchen."
"Brian did.." Justin started to say, but Brian interrupted him.
"Brian didn't want to spend the bucks for catering, so he made Justin organize the whole meal himself. Which he did. So, cheers to Justin, and dig in, everyone. I don't want to miss the kick off."
Justin blushed under their applause. As Ben carved the bird, Justin walked around the table to Brian, looping his arms around his neck. He pressed his lips close to his ear and whispered, "You're a big softie, Brian Kinney."
Brian smiled and kissed his cheek, as he responded, "Don't count on it, Mrs. Brian Kinney. And I want my Amex card back before you do me some real damage."
"Isn't a credit card a wifely perq?"
"Not in the alternative universe where we live, Sunshine, so give it back."
"You'll have to pry it out of my cold dead hand."
"Remember, I've been up to my elbow in a turkey carcass today, so don't tempt me"
"You two save that for after dessert!" Debbie chided them gently. "Every time I look up, you're at each other like weasels!"
Brian shrugged, and watched, and listened, and ate, and felt like he was part of something permanent for the first time in his life. That feeling of belonging, more than anything else, was his reason for giving thanks, even if his thoughts went unshared. Justin met his gaze and Brian knew his lover felt the same way. Brian winked at him. Justin smiled. Life, for the moment, was good.
|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