THE QUIET MEN
Okay, still spoiling you, but won't post again until Sunday. I think.
Chapter 4 Justin's POV
I lean my head against the small rectangle of glass between me and being sucked out of this jet to my death. I watch as London disappears beneath the clouds. I feel inexorably depressed. Not because we're leaving London, not because we're going to Dublin, not sure why, in fact. I suspect it has to do with the elephant that rampaged through the café before Brian managed to wrestle it roughly back into its box and then repair the three-week seal.
London is gone now.
Only clouds to be seen below.
I turn away and stare at the back of the head of the man seated on the row in front of ours. He's mostly bald and his scalp has these odd oversized freckles or age spots or something. Vomit. Time is cruel. Brian's hand closes over mine and I give him a half-hearted smile. He jostles my hand gently.
"Hey, part of this three-week hiatus was the agreement we wouldn't pout about it or fight because of it, remember?" He reminds me.
"Is it possible for me to be quiet without being accused of pouting?"
"Yeah, when you're not pouting."
I slip my hand free of his. Asshole. I hate it when he's right. He's doing something with his palm pilot now, entering some information or changing some text. He's always fiddling with his portable gadgets, he's such a wannabe techno-geek. Slowly, I realize he's playing a game. For some reason that irritates me. Here I am, pondering our future, and the future of our as yet unconceived and unagreed-to child, and he's playing some dumb electronic game! He glances at me, takes in my anger, and keeps right on playing. I bump him with my shoulder, sending his stylus careening across the screen, fucking up his play.
"Sorry, I was just trying to get comfortable."
He sighs, shuts off the palm and puts it back in his pocket. "Spill."
"Spill what?" Now that I have his attention, I don't want it. Color me bratty. I feel Brian turn cool. I don't even have to look at him, to feel that chill. He has an incredible way of withdrawing from confrontation by encasing himself in ice. My natural reaction to confrontation is to engage and engage loudly. His is to either retreat or stoically take it. Unless....he does have a point beyond which he cannot be pushed. And I've learned to recognize that point like a red light on a railroad crossing. If his anger limit is reached, he turns cruel, even lethal. Right now, he's a long way from there. He's just mildly miffed.
The stewardess, that is flight attendant, I forget myself, is flirting with him like crazy. I don't get women when it comes to Brian. Okay, he's gorgeous and he's butch and no one would read him as gay upon meeting him. But when he's sitting here with his lover and his hand held mine at take-off, and our body language broadcasts an intimacy that goes beyond buddies, why can't she see it? I get sick of this dance, and I really hate it when he lets it happen. It's as if his ego requires proof that the whole world wants to fuck him, not just the ten per cent he is willing to even consider as a sex partner.
"Is this your first trip to Ireland?" She coos, batting her big green eyes at him as she offers him yet another drink, while I have to ask for a refill of my diet Coke. He says it is, that he's returning to the "old country", where his family originated, as if it was his idea all along! I don't usually "out" Brian, but now I'm mad.
I loop my arm through his and lean my chin against his shoulder as I say, "Honey, did you remember to give the office the number of our hotel in Dublin in case we're needed while we're on this little second honeymoon?"
He looks at me and smirks, knowing exactly what I'm doing and what is motivating me. "Why yes, honey, I did. Don't you worry your pretty little head about a damn thing. Big Daddy took care of everything, like I always do."
I giggle, unable to stay mad in the face of that response and the perplexed stew flounces off to less gay victims of her charm. "You silly twat," he murmurs when we're alone and I grin at him.
"She was working my last nerve."
"Well, take a Midol and get over yourself."
I punch his biceps and lean away from him, trying to recapture my sulk. He puts his seat all the way back and closes his eyes. I look over at him and I really, really want to jump his bones right now. Because I can't. He looks so hot, charcoal cashmere sweater, black trousers, his hair in need of a trim and falling across his forehead to cover his peaked brows. I run my hand up his long, hard thigh and he reaches down and covers my fingers with his hand, without even opening his eyes. He pries it off his leg and places it on the armrest between us with a little pat. I smile.
"In the old days, you would have taken me into the bathroom and fucked me," I murmur and he opens one eye to squint at me and says,
"It's a one-hour flight. Get a grip on yourself."
"I'd rather get a grip on you."
I put my seat back to be level with his. He turns his head to look at me. "Why do I feel like I'm the post and you're the dog and you're marking your territory?"
I shrug. "Maybe I am."
"Why? I already have your scent all over me."
"I don't know, Brian. I feel insecure all of a sudden."
"Well don't. That's my job."
I laugh. For all his arrogance, Brian has an incredible insecurity when it comes to believing that I really love him and will never leave him. This all goes back to some of those family dynamics I would love to straighten out. To be fair, it also goes back to that bad old time when I left him for Ethan. How the fuck did I manage to do that? Was I ever really that stupid? And how did I ever get Brian Kinney to take me back? I guess he really does love me, the old grump.
I reach out and trace his upper lip with my fingertip. I love the shape of his mouth. I love the taste of his mouth. I love the feel of his mouth. I want to be in his mouth. He smiles. I lean over and kiss him. He spreads his hand on the back of my head, letting his tongue flicker against mine before he withdraws.
"Perversion," the man across the aisle says to his wife or whomever the old broad is who is seated next to him. He makes certain it's loud enough for us to hear. The kiss ends and Brian turns his head to look at the man. Gays may have made a lot of strides in the last five years, including the right to marry in most countries, even the U.S., and the right to have children together courtesy of science in the EU, but the prejudices die hard and we're still confronted with the ugliness on a daily basis.
"Eat your heart out," Brian says with a winning smile and the man turns away, disgusted.
A little later, I nudge Brian who has slipped into a doze, and he glares at me. "Look!" I insist, and he leans over me to peer out my window at the landscape. There's an odd gloaming that takes place in Ireland where the lateness of the hour brings a purple twilight, rather than inky darkness. This can last until ten p.m. or even later. From the sky, it gives the island a magical glow, as if it is illuminated by wild lavender. The clouds have lifted and we have a perfect vista of our destination. Sometimes Brian doesn't hide his enthusiasm behind his icy veil of control, and I love it when that happens. It happens now.
"Wow, the light is beautiful, even at this hour! It doesn't look real, does it?" He says with a kid's delight at finding this magic garden.
I grip his hand in mine and beam at him, loving him so much at this moment that it almost aches. He smiles back and kisses me. His enthusiasm is visceral. I did good. This was a smart move on my part. I'm just sure of it. "Welcome home, Brian," I say softly, as the plane dips down to land.
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July 25, 2004