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TRANSITIONS
Episode 308
by Phantom of QAF

The Phantom Speaks: I was sidetracked in my tunneling by the siren's call of a beautiful blonde with a beautiful voice. Fresh off her singing engagement, Thea was warbling a tune when I popped up in her trailer. She didn't even seem surprised to see me. She offered me tea and cookies, and I commented on how homey her trailer was! Pictures of husband, stepkids, stepgrandkids, she's a sweetie! I like her much better than Lindsay! And she's GORGEOUS. Anyway, she warned me off of Gale. Besides being STRAIGHT, she says he's such a free spirit, he would make me crazy...not like Brian at all. Humm, intriguing! With her autographed CD in hand, I continue in my trek for the elusive Mr. H...

Last week on Transitions:

Justin went to Daphne's house after leaving the hospital. Ethan met him there, apologized, and took him home. Brian and Trevor celebrate their successful retreat with champagne and Brian admits to Trevor that he believes what went wrong with his relationship with Justin, is that Justin stopped loving him. He is convinced he is unworthy of love. Brian makes a tentative pass at Trevor who gently turns him down, telling him that isn't what he needs right now. Their friendship continues to develop.

Trevor awoke first. The room was dark. The blackout shades shielded them from outside light. The television was still frozen on the menu option that allowed viewers to order pay-per-view movies. Illuminated by the faint glow, Brian's handsome face was in profile against the pillow beside Trevor's. Trevor sighed. Brian was so beautiful. The high bridge of his nose was straight and dominated his features. The thick fringe of his eyelashes cast a spidery veil against his cheeks. His full, coral lips were parted slightly and his dark chestnut hair spilled in disarray to frame his face. The face of a fantasy lover.

But that's just what Brian was: a fantasy. Despite their one experience in the alley behind the Meat Hook, and despite the fact Trevor spent the previous night in Brian's bed, they were not lovers. The most that happened last night was that they got drunk together on expensive champagne and watched movies until they fell asleep. Well, that wasn't all, he realized. Brian opened up to Trevor, sharing some intimate details of his breakup with Justin and his insecurities about love in general. Trevor could have seduced him when he was so vulnerable, but his instincts told him that would be a terrible mistake.

Trevor rolled over on his back, and realized he had a slight hangover. A chirping ringing sound interrupted and he picked up the mobile beside the bed and said, "Yes?" He kept his voice down to avoid waking Brian. Trevor left the bed and carried the phone into the bathroom, relieving his bladder at the toilet while he talked. A hesitation on the other end, then;

"Uh, is Brian there?"

Young, male. Trevor held the phone out to arm's length, realizing it wasn't his model. He winced, realizing he had answered Brian's phone by mistake. He sensed this voice was the elusive Justin. "He's asleep. Shall I wake him?" Trevor flushed and paused in the doorway, awaiting Justin's answer.

"No," Justin responded. "It's not important."

"Wait," Trevor said, but the line went dead. Trevor set the phone beside the bed, picked up his own mobile and quietly left the room. He knew his dog was overdue for a walk. That he could handle. Justin was a problem Trevor couldn't fix.

An hour later...

Cynthia sat on the edge of Brian's bed. She moved a steaming mug of strong black coffee back and forth near his nose, so he could pick up the scent. She was dressed in a navy blue windsuit, lined with fleece, Her tennis shoes were red. She was ready to battle the chill of a sail on the lake. Brian moaned, stirred, then raised himself on one elbow, squinting at her. "What the fuck?"

She smiled as he automatically took the coffee from her. "It's nine. We're supposed to sail in an hour and you wanted to meet with our team first to get a status on the project."

Brian's head ached. He really needed to find a recreational drug less painful than alcohol. He still wore his drawstring silk pajama bottoms, although his kimono robe had been discarded. "Where's Trevor?" he asked, looking around the room.

Cynthia was surprised by that question. She looked up from placing two empty Cristal bottles in the wastepaper basket. "Trevor spent the night with you?"

"I thought he did. I got up to pee awhile ago and he was still here. I guess he left."

She shrugged. "Well, I guess that means we got the account."

Brian chuckled. "We didn't fuck. We just got drunk and watched straight porn. That was counter intuitive to fucking. Order me a pot of this and some granola, okay? I'm going to take a shower."

He picked up his phone as she left the room to do what he said. As was his habit, he was going to check for messages. Instead, he realized the last number to dial him was Justin's. He hit redial. Justin answered. He sounded flat, exhausted.

"Did you call me?" Brian asked, and Justin responded coolly.

"Yes."

"How are you feeling?" Brian persisted.

"Who's the Brit?"

Brian was thrown for a moment, then realized Trevor must have answered his call. "A friend."

"A FRIEND?" Justin repeated with a sarcastic edge. "Is that what you call them now? Used to be called tricks."

Brian sighed. "He's not a trick."

"Then what is he?"

"Justin, if you ever had the right to ask me those kind of questions, you definitely don't now."

Justin was quiet for a moment, then he said, "I guess that's true."

"But tell me how you're feeling?"

"What do you care?"

"I care, god damn it!" Brian bristled, but Justin was defensive now.

"When do you have time? If you had taken the time to go out of town with me instead of this Brit, maybe you'd know how I feel because maybe we'd still be together!"

"Wait, am I being punished for something? Because this is a business trip, Justin."

"No doubt. There was never a time you couldn't score, Brian, no matter where you were or what you were doing."

"Why are you being such a twat?"

"Forget it. And that song...the one you gave me?"

"Yes."

"It's corny and lame. When did you turn into our parents?"

Brian winced. "Goodbye Justin." He ended the call, and was still sitting there, staring, when his room service order was delivered.

Scene 2: Ethan's apartment (continuous)

Justin hung up the phone and squeezed his eyes shut, massaging his eyelids with his fingertips. What the fuck was wrong with him? Why was he taking off on Brian? Brian didn't do anything. Why was he so mad at him? And why was he so bothered that some trick answered Brian's mobile? What did he think? Brian would remain celibate for the rest of his life? Justin almost smiled at that. Brian couldn't remain celibate for twenty-four hours.

He cleared the last number dialed off the read out, a precautionary measure, and stretched out on the ratty sofa he and Ethan had rescued from the trash truck. It had a funny smell, and no amount of cleaning it, or spraying it with various products meant to remove odors from furniture seemed to help. Justin wondered if someone died on the thing and was not found for a few days, but Ethan insisted it was Justin's often hyper exaggerated sensory impressions, a result of his injury, that caused his disgust. Ethan said it was nothing more than a faint moldy scent, but Justin noticed the cat would not go near it. With an afghan under him and two pillows insulating his face from the fabric, it was almost tolerable, Justin thought, as the door opened and Ethan came in with two large bags of food.

Debbie had invited them over to the diner to pick up some free vittles, but Justin didn't feel up to the trip, and Ethan kindly volunteered. "Lots of good stuff!" he beamed as the scent of it, combined, flipped something in Justin's still touchy stomach. A bad migraine was like a bender. It took a few days to get over the after effects of it.

"Veggie soup, lemon bars, tuna salad, two omelets with biscuits and jam, baked beans, meat loaf, we'll be dining in style for days!"

Justin sat up to look over the back of the sofa at him. "I just want some soup."

"You have to eat the omelet while it's hot," Ethan was slipping the omelets onto two plates, after stuffing the rest of the food in the small ice box.

"I don't want an omelet. Too greasy."

"You need the protein. Here. Take a bite." Ethan brought it over, and cut a bite off, scooping it onto a fork and poking it at Justin who pushed it away as his stomach churned. The bite fell on the floor to be gobbled by the cat. Ethan glared at him. "Quit being such a drama princess! Try a bite of it. Deb went to all the trouble of having it made for you. She said it's your favorite kind, now taste it!" He shoved another bite at Justin, who put it in his mouth, then ran for the bathroom, throwing up what little there already was in his stomach. When he came out, Ethan was on the couch, casually eating the omelet.

"Happy?" Justin asked, sitting down on the edge of the bed, feeling wobbly. "I told you I didn't want it!"

"You should be glad to have the food. You have no idea what it's like to go hungry. You've been spoiled your whole life."

"And when did you go through this starving in the garret phase, Ethan? You're my age. You tell me you lived for a year with an older man who had money. Your parents fed you when you were at home. This place may be a dump, but you always have enough money left over to buy CD's and things. Exactly which meal did you skip?"

"Why are you being such a shit?"

"I'm just tired of your created history. I have no idea what's true and what's bullshit. It's as if you wanted to build a story to fit your image of the artist struggling in society. Because it will look good on a jewel case or something."

"Everyone doesn't lie, Justin. Don't tar me with your old boyfriend's habits."

Justin wrinkled his nose in confusion. "Brian doesn't lie. Say what you will about him, but brutal honesty is his hallmark. The only person Brian lies to is Brian."

"Of course he doesn't lie. And he doesn't get angry and he doesn't box you in and he doesn't try to tell you what to do...all he does is fuck everyone in sight and not give a shit how you feel about it. Oh, and Brian doesn't bother to love you, either, now does he?"

"I'm not fighting about Brian again."

"Why not? It's what we do."

Justin fell back on the bed, wincing as Ethan came over and stretched out beside him. He turned on his side, his back to his lover. Ethan put a hand on his shoulder, frowning when Justin flinched. "Let's not fight, you're right. Kiss me," Ethan insisted.

"No, not now," Justin burrowed into the pillow.

"Yes, now. Look, I went all the way down to the diner to get food for you, brought it back, tried to feed you and all you can do is bitch and turn your back on me? I already have a cat, Justin."

Justin smiled and turned over to look at Ethan. "I'm sorry."

"You should be."

"I am."

Ethan leaned down to kiss him, and Justin closed his eyes, letting it happen.

Scene 3: Brian's Jeep

"Are you pouting because we FINALLY beat your team at something?" Trevor teased. "And you're right. You're a terrible sailor."

Brian nodded. "Told you. I let my team down."

"Brian, you're not serious. It was all in good fun, and the weekend was tremendously successful. A stroke of genius on your part. Now, if you can show that same genius in the ad campaign, we should be on the road to a successful arrangement."

"Don't know if it's genius, but we've worked hard on it."

"What's up, chum? Hungover?"

"Not really."

"Don't want to go home?"

Brian glanced at him. "Why would I not want to go home?"

"It wasn't entirely a serious question, Brian. But is there a reason you don't want to go home? The empty bed syndrome following a breakup? Very common."

"Why didn't you tell me Justin called and you answered my phone?"

"It slipped my mind. I didn't think about it much. It was only a couple of sentences. I thought it was my phone or I wouldn't have answered at all."

"Well, I called him back and he was pissed."

"I assure you, I was very polite to him."

"What did you say?"

"I said you were asleep, shall I wake you?"

Brian sighed. "Implying we slept together."

"It wasn't a purposeful implication, but what if it were? Brian, you two are no longer a couple. Are you supposed to be celibate from now forward?"

"No, but...I don't know why he's angry with me. That song made the wrong impression, I guess."

"In what way?"

"He said it was corny and lame. I guess it is, but the emotion is real. I think things may be better if I don't talk to Justin for awhile."

"I'm sorry," Trevor closed his hand over Brian's forearm. "Let me do something to thank you for this lovely retreat, okay?"

"The account would be nice."

"Short of that. Let me cook you dinner. Come up to my place when we get there."

Brian smirked at him. "I know about British cuisine. Pass."

"Cruel and absolutely wrong, but just so you know, I pride myself in my Italian cuisine. Studied it as a hobby for years. Not the usual pasta crap. Real Italian. What do you say? We'll take a short detour by this Italian market near my home so I can pick up a few fresh ingredients and the rest is up to me."

Brian hesitated. He was planning to go to Babylon, later, to get laid. But he supposed he could do both. A good meal sounded appealing and he wanted to see Trevor's home. "Okay as long as you don't expect me to help you cook. I hate it when people do that. I don't like to cook."

"You can sit on your arse and watch my big screen television."

"Deal," Brian said with a smile, as the skyline of Pittsburgh came into view on the horizon.

Scene 4: Trevor's penthouse, late evening

Brian sat on the white suede sectional, watching the city lights reflect on the surface of the river, twenty stories below. Trevor's penthouse had fantastic views from every plate glass wall, and his furnishings were carefully chosen to complement the environment. White was dominant, with slashes of crimson, eggplant and black to warm it up or cool it off where needed. The artwork, exhibited under lights, was contemporary abstractions that brought the colors together in one canvas. The rug thrown over black slate floors also carried on with the theme. Brian tossed a throw pillow at Trevor as they shared some grappa after the meal.

"What faggot designed this place for you?" Brian teased.

"That would be this faggot. I like to do my own interiors. Who did your place?"

"I did. Where did these Asian things come from?"

"I traveled a lot on the job and was on an overseas assignment for awhile. Singapore."

"Nice. The dinner was incredible, man. I thought I knew Italian, growing up eating Deb's pasta, but I guess I don't."

"Thanks. There are all kinds of Italian cooking, all of them are good. Have you been to Italy?"

"No, but I want to go."

"You absolutely must! Portofino, Venice, Tuscany, Rome....a dream."

Brian smiled. "It's nice to meet someone who's actually done something, been somewhere. My best friend, Michael, went to Paris with his boyfriend, once. Even that is more than I've done. I travel a lot in the U.S., but not abroad."

"If you get our account that will change, Brian. At a minimum, you will have to go to London to meet the home office."

Brian nodded, his smile broadening. "Cool. I was thinking of going to Babylon tonight. Want to go with me?"

"The club?"

"Yeah."

"You like to dance that much?"

"Yeah, I like to dance, but I like to get my cock sucked even more and Babylon has an active back room. Pretty boys."

Trevor shook his head slowly. "Somehow, I don't think I'd like to see some boy give you a hummer against the wall in the back room."

"Why is that?"

"Not sure. But I think I'll take a pass."

"What do you do to get off, Trevor? You're not dating anyone. You don't club. I don't see you at the baths. Do you hang out at Meat Hook?"

He laughed. "God no, not since that one time when I met you. Occasionally, I go to bars, like Woody's, in hopes of meeting someone nice. I'm active in gay causes, hoping to meet like minded men. I guess you could say I masturbate a lot. I don't have some kinky private sex life, Brian. I'm just no good with numbers. Never was. I need at least the allusion of a relationship."

Brian looked down at his boots, studying them as if to find a solution, then looked back at Trevor, discovering no answers in the smooth Italian leather. "What is it you don't like about me, Trev?"

"I like everything about you. Too much. The idea of a casual fling with you, now that I have seen into your soul and like what I've seen, is absolutely hopeless. You're still in love with Justin, which makes anything deeper impossible, so I'm content to be your friend."

Brian sighed. "Could that ever change?"

"Of course. Everything changes. But let's not worry over it. I enjoy your company and I dare say you enjoy mine. Let's have fun with it."

Brian nodded, and got to his feet, setting his grappa glass on the table. "I'd better shove off. I have a meeting with some Brit asshole in the morning and need to get my beauty sleep."

"After you get your cock sucked?"

Brian smiled. "Probably. Goodnight, Trevor. Thanks for dinner. It was great. The next one is on me. But I'm not cooking it." He kissed his cheek, and Trevor walked him to the door.

"Be safe, Brian."

"Always."

As he left, Trevor closed the door, leaning against it with a sigh as he realized just how much he was bothered by the fact Brian was going out to have sex. He shouldn't care, none of his business, Brian was free and perfectly capable of deciding what to do with his libido...and yet....

"And yet nothing," he said aloud to his dog, who raised his head to grin at the man who fed him. "Let's go for a walkie, Sam, old boy. I need to clear my head."

Sam only understood the sound of his own name and the word, "walkie", but it was enough and he loped over to the man, thrilled for the attention.

Scene 5: Babylon.

"BRIAN!" Michael pulled free of Ben's embrace and cut through the crowd to throw his arms around Brian's neck. "Where have you been? Why haven't you returned any of my calls? You're not still mad at me, are you?"

Brian pried Michael's arms off of him and nodded an hello to Ben as he ordered a beer at the bar. "I'm not mad, Mikey. I was out of town on business."

"You could have told me," Michael gave him a sullen pout and Brian shrugged.

"I didn't know you had me on such a short leash."

"He was worried," Ben said gently and Brian met his eyes.

"Yeah, well, maybe he worries too much. Excuse me, I think I see someone I want to know." Brian went after a young stud in jeans and no shirt. Michael watched him walk away, then sighed.

"He's still mad."

"Is mad the right word, Michael? I don't think he was ever really mad. I think he was hurt. He may still be smarting a bit, but smothering him isn't going to help."

"What am I supposed to do? He's my best friend, Ben!"

"Yes, I know. Give him some breathing room. He's been through a lot. Don't expect him to be the same old Brian. He needs some time to recover his equilibrium."

"God, you make it sound like he got a divorce or something."

"Why isn't it like that? He lost the lover he's been living with. A man he loved. Why isn't that like a divorce?"

Michael wrinkled his nose. "Brian was never really in love with Justin. He was infatuated maybe, with his youth and all that, but not in love. Brian doesn't do love."

"Loves you, doesn't he?"

"That's different."

"How? If he's capable of loving you and loving Gus, then he's capable of loving Justin, and in fact, does love him. Come on, Michael. Grow up. Your bad boy best friend was deeply in love with someone else. Get over it."

Michael glared at him. "Why do you care so much?"

"Because your denial about Brian stands in our way to complete happiness. It's not Brian's fault. It's yours. You want to be with me, you know you can't really have Brian, but you don't want Brian to find love. That takes him even farther away from you. It's not fair to him and it's not realistic."

"Just because you fucked Brian once doesn't mean you know him," Michael shot back at Ben.

Ben glared at him. "And just because you haven't fucked him, doesn't mean you ever will. I'm going home."

"Ben..."

"Goodnight, Michael. See you later, I hope." Ben left and Michael was torn between following him out and trying to find Brian.

Brian stood with his back against the wall in the backroom, his feet planted far apart, his shirt rolled up and jeans open. The shirtless young man was on his knees laving Brian's erect cock with wide swipes of his tongue. Another man had joined them and was sucking on Brian's tits and pecs, while Brian closed his eyes and surrendered to the sensation. And then...

"Brian! We need to talk!" Michael had an unerring ability to interrupt at the wrong moment.

"Leave Mikey."

"No, not until we talk."

"Do you mind? I'm getting my dick sucked!"

"I see that. So? The sun will rise tomorrow, too. Neither fact will make the headlines."

"Fuck off," Brian grumbled, combing his fingers through the young man's hair as his sucking intensified and Brian felt his orgasm build with matching intensity. He needed this more than he realized and he wasn't about to let Michael fuck it up for him.

"You're just being a big baby about this, Brian. All it was was a simple pasta dinner and..." Michael droned on until Brian turned to him and flared,

"Get the fuck out of here, Mikey! Let me have this moment to myself for fuck's sake! GO!"

Shocked and hurt, Michael withdrew, shooting a wounded look at his friend as Brian slipped back into the nirvana of strange sex. Within minutes, it was over. He took a second to let the pleasure roll through him, then zipped up and walked away, politely refusing the cocksucker's proffered number. His mission accomplished, he went to the parking lot and was lighting a cigarette beside his Jeep, when a voice intruded.

"Giving up already?"

"Trevor!" Brian was unreasonably happy to see him.

"Am I too late to have a voyeuristic thrill or did you bomb?"

"You're too late," Brian said with a sly smile.

"Congratulations," Trevor teased.

"It was nothing," Brian countered. "Literally. But he knows his way around a cock. Want me to point him out to you before I go?"

"No, I want to go home with you."

Brian raised a brow and Trevor shook his head. "Not that. I want to share my favorite movie with you. We talked about it once, our favorite films. I brought the DVD with me."

Brian winced. "Not Casablanca!"

Trevor laughed. "See? You remembered."

"I remember. Jesus."

"Humor me," Trevor teased. "You don't have that account just yet."

Brian laughed, and put his arms around Trevor, pressing his forehead against his. "I like you."

"I like you too," Trevor said, resting his hands at Brian's waist. Their lips touched in a quick caress.

"Want to ride with me or follow?" Brian invited.

"Follow. I'll have to go home sometime to shave and change. Lead on."

Brian got in the Jeep, Trevor in the Porsche. Before they ended their embrace, they were being observed by a sullen and angry Michael. It was one thing to be rebuffed by Brian while he was getting off. It was another for his best friend to act all jokey and cuddly with this blond stranger. What the hell was Brian up to? He treated Trevor as if he were an old, trusted friend, or... more. That forehead touch, that hug, that little kiss, that was how Brian treated Mikey, not some unknown trick or whatever the hell he was. Furious, Michael stalked off, not seeing them leave in separate cars headed for the same destination.

Next week on Transitions:

The day of decision for Trevor's account. Brian takes Justin to lunch. Ethan spies them. Trouble ensues. (WARNING: Episode 309 is very intense.)

Transitions

Episode 309

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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Beginning
July 25, 2004