This is an angsty chapter in large part...
I hope you like it!
(Big thanks to beta, Judy/BigJ!)
FUCK!!!! What the hell?
My eyes fly open in an instant; my head jerks down to identify what just caused this sudden excruciating pain and I dimly see that a sleeping not-so-small seven-year-old has just kneed me in the crotch. Owowowowow!! ARGH! I inhale sharply and bite my lip so I don't moan out loud, not wanting to wake either father or son. Then I hear a low chuckle. I look over; I guess Brian isn't sleeping after all or else I woke him up when I grabbed my balls -- 'cause he's laughing softly at me, eyes closed as if asleep, arm resting over Gus. Gus is between us and Brian's on his side facing me, spooning his son. Again, were Brian not so obviously laughing, he'd look like he was sleeping.
"I gather that my sleeping Sonny Boy has an unfortunate sense of aim?" he murmurs, his eyes still closed and his shoulder shaking a little as he continues snickering.
While I don't appreciate his finding humor in my pain, all I can do is clear my throat and whimper a little. "Uhhh…!"
Articulate I decidedly am not when my balls have just been kicked into my molars - waking me from a deep sleep, no less.
"I'll take that as a yes…" he whispers, still snickering. "It's Sunday, by the way."
"Uhhh…!" Good lord. I'm so fucking brilliant at the moment. But shit, I'm in pain and not even fully awake yet!
"Workday for you, Sunshine…" Brian finally opens his eyes, focusing on me sleepily and giving me a wink. Fuck. Why and how the hell can he look so… gorgeous and even cute at this hour? I want to be pissed at him but I'm not. My balls are complaining too much to bother.
Then he looks down fondly at his sleeping son; "Gus gets the day off this week," he adds quietly with a lazy grin.
"…Uhhh." I have GOT to stop 'uhhh-ing'! After a few moments of me gasping a little, finally the pain in my nads dissipates somewhat and my ability to form words seems to return. "… The choir isn't performing so I have this week off too. Er, this Sunday. Er, today." Okay, so 'er' is a step up from 'uhhh'. Right? Damn.
A few minutes later, the distracting pain in my balls is completely gone. I look at Brian's face in the faint pre-dawn light as he continues to gaze at his child with a look of love so pure he'd slap himself silly if he saw his own expression.
Now I hear myself humming quietly at the wonderful ache and slight burn I feel in my ass. Shit. Last night was so fantas-- OMIGOD. It was REAL! It actually HAPPENED!
All that went down last night hits me like a ton of bricks - why it hasn't until just now, I haven't a clue. But it does and shit!… look what I just fucking…DID last night!!! What I practically INSTIGATED!!!!
Daph would laugh and clap me on the back, congratulating me. Just last night, I would have laughed with her and taken her out to celebrate (well, I'd wait 'til Brian was busy with other things one night and I couldn't be with him…) But now as daylight slowly lightens Brian's loft, I realize how impulsive, careless, bad – dirty – wrong I am! I'm a… a sinner!
I want to cry… my parents will surely cry and turn away from me in shame! Permanently! So will every parent of my boys in the choir! Fuck! I'll be fired! What was I thinking???
I wasn't. I wasn't thinking - not in my right mind anyway. Since meeting Brian, I've been almost obsessed with him. Without knowing it, he completely swept me off my feet just by being himself and my only goal quickly became to lose my virginity to him and even hopefully to develop an ongoing sexual and personal relationship with him. It's kind of unbelievable that we were just friends for so long before something like last night happened—but then again, I felt and still feel a sense of disbelief that someone so beautiful would even look twice at me. I was never bold enough to make any move towards Brian that was anything but platonic until last night. And it was really Brian who made that first move.
But anyway, my appearance was really my only nagging doubt after I met Brian. The doubts and fears that had plagued me my entire life about, hmm, let's see: HELL and my family DISOWNING me were they to find out I was gay—those little niggling worries were suddenly fairly easy to ignore. Ha! …Oh God…
And now that It's happened with Brian - after my relentless pursuit, not his! Those "doubts and fears", those "little niggling worries" are more enormous and menacing than they have ever been!
I find myself sweating, overwhelmed with a sense of doom, with shame and doubt; I'm going to hell! All I can do is just lay here frozen, staring at Brian with widening eyes as panic takes root. I barely see him.
"Justin?" Brian looks at me oddly, sensing the change in my demeanor. "Justin? What the fuck?
"Justin, are you freaking out?" He's no longer looking at me oddly. Now he looks concerned as I start to breathe harder.
I open my mouth but nothing comes out except a small squeak as my chest constricts in my rising panic. I know I'm about to have an all-out attack and nothing can stop it…
"Justin?" he says gravely. "Shit, Justin, stop it; relax." He reaches out and places his warm hand on my shoulder to ground me. "Sunshine, it's okay. Stop wigging. Really! Whatever it is, it's okay… what the hell IS it?" He's clearly baffled at the sudden change in his reasonable, composed bedmate of just the night before.
He looks at me critically, his worry deepening as my rapid breathing starts to escalate into total hyperventilation.
'I'm going to hell!' Is all I can think. 'My parents will disown me!' I feel my chest heave and my lungs start to hurt. 'I'll become a public disgrace and I'll bring shame to Father Charles and the church! I'll…'
"Sunshine. Please!" His voice is starting to sound a little panicked too. All semblance of sleepiness has left him as he studies me intensely, trying to figure out what's going on. His eyes shift for a split second to the cell on the nightstand as I'm sure he's wondering if he should call 911.
Then abruptly, a look of complete understanding washes over his features and he relaxes a little. "Oh, Sunshine," he whispers softly, knowingly, his thumb making smoothing motions on my shoulder. "Listen, nothing that happened last night should make you feel ashamed. Or embarrassed. Or sinful! You aren't going to hell because of what we did! There's no reason to feel dirty for what happened! Fuck," he adds to himself under his breath, his quiet tone tinged with disbelief at my reaction.
"Sunshine. Listen to me. Are you listening?" I try to nod, try to truly listen. "You are not suddenly on some bizarre pair of pink, "gay" roller skates careening directly to hell!" If I could, I'd giggle right now. I can't. "There's no all-seeing Power out there condemning you for being who you are or doing what we did. If God is love and loving, why would He have you deny who you are? Now, if we'd gone on a killing spree, He might have more to say about things." I want to laugh but I can't feel much except the panic tightening my bowels. "But no-one got hurt, nothing happened except us giving each other pleasure. You aren't a sinner, Justin. If there is a God, I refuse to believe that He'd have the inclination (or in this day and age, the time) to condemn a creature He created Himself for simply being true to himself—especially in your case. You're a good man," he whispers over his sleeping son. There's a small lucid molecule waaaay in the back of my terrified mind that is rather stunned by the fact that Brian Kinney is voicing all of this to me. I guess he must be a little desperate given the trembling, wide-eyed person he's facing at this hour of the morning.
"And among us lowly earth people," I'd giggle again - again, if I could. "Nobody who would find fault in you for who you are could possibly know you, and anyone who would condemn you for what we did ever has to know. It's nobody's business but yours and mine. You spent the night. Big deal. Who gives a shit?" He looks at me and it must be obvious that I don't see it that way as my panic isn't subsiding.
He takes a deep breath before continuing. "Think about it: Even if someone in your family or the church or whatever does find out you were here last night, no one would consider it suspicious that you spent the night at Gus's Daddy's; not after you had gone out of your way to help the choir by dropping off its little leading soloist's music books at the loft," he says with a wink, since that's not what happened at all. No, I came to the loft after that kiss to clarify that Daph isn't my wife, that I'm gay and that I'm unbelievably attracted to Brian. Hff. "...Then just happened to get to chatting with said soloist's Daddy, losing track of time," he goes on. "And at an ungodly hour had then gone with this Daddy to pick up his sick, little soloist from a sleep-over - offering support since this Daddy isn't used to that sort of emergency.
"You spending the night here after all that wouldn't be considered anything but normal and I'd be pretty fucking surprised if anyone would think otherwise.
"...Shit, if anything, you'll come off as the next official Good Samaritan! They'll hold a special service in your honor, reminding everyone what it means to be a good man!" he smiles softly at me. "Sunshine, breathe… just slow down, relax… it's fuckin' okay!
"And if you're worried about Father Charles finding out, I know him and he should be the last of your worries - honestly."
I'm still breathing hard, staring at him; but slowly—oh-so-slowly-- I feel myself actually giggling, albeit in a peculiar, panting way. The giggles taper off as the panicky thoughts that had been galloping through my head and heart seconds ago slow a little as all of Brian's words sink in; as his confidence and his capable, pragmatic nature and his gentle humor instills me with a sense of tentative but growing calm.
He continues to soothe me by caressing my shoulder gently, eyeing me carefully but not saying more. After a few minutes focusing on his kind face and tender touch, I feel my nerves settle totally and I give him a small, apologetic smile. He chuckles softly at that, shaking his head now that he deems the crisis to be over. "Christ, Choir Boy—you are the quintessential drama queen, you know that? You… you go from shy choir director to child mentor to aggressive virginal vixen to confident snot to compassionate freak -- and then wake up this morning as a drama queen extraordinaire!!" Now I blush and laugh outright, despite myself. "Will the real Justin Taylor please stand up? You have fuckin' multiple personalities, twat! To the extreme! You'd give Sybil a run for her money!!" he goes on with that small disarming smile still on his face; he's obviously relieved that I'm now laughing instead of hyperventilating.
How he knew what I was freaking out over without me saying a word; how he knew just what and how to answer all my debilitating fears to make them now seem silly even to me—I can't fathom. But, he's like that I've noticed over the past many weeks. I've seen it a lot in his relationship with Gus and the other children in the choir. It's now quite obvious to me that he has the same calming effect on adults as well. Namely, me. He just exudes this mysterious, magical Kinney confidence and surety that almost makes you trust him and see the molehill that had seemed a mountain in front of you; be it getting the wrong color balloon at your best friend's birthday party - or the certainty you're going straight to hell, that life is hopeless and that you're a sinful, dirty, shameful man.
As I think more and more about what just happened, I've soon completely dissolved into a fit of near-hysterical giggles, feeling sooooo stupid but also relieved; un-judged; understood… loved? I banish that thought-- just for now. As I laugh, I accidentally nudge Gus who's still sleeping between us, oblivious to the rather intense but hushed drama that just took place in the dawn hour.
"Daddy?" he complains sleepily, frowning and raising a clumsy arm to rub his eyes with the back of his hand.
Brian's small, tender smile widens. "Right here, Sonny Boy. Always."
"Quit bumpin' me…! I' sleepin'…!" he mumbles without opening his eyes, sounding bleary but decidedly annoyed.
"Sonny Boy, I would never dare bump you when you're sleeping. I think the culprit was our guest who simply doesn't yet know the consequences of such a dire indiscretion…"
Gus's already-pissed-off expression deepens as he tries to make sense of the gobbledygook his father just said. "What, Daddy?"
My giggling gets worse; I'm utterly smitten as I watch Brian with Gus. Gus is so fucking cute when his sleep is disturbed but I'm quickly learning that he doesn't like it one little bit. I finally calm down. "Gus, I'm sorry. That was me who bumped you. It was an accident. I'll be more careful next time," I tell him sincerely, despite how adorable I find his little sleepy snit.
Gus's eyes then open, a little surprised at the sound of an unfamiliar and unexpected voice. "Justin?" he rasps after a moment, groggily focusing on me.
"Good morning, little man."
He stares at me for about a minute, confused. "What're you doing here?" He's obviously forgotten about last night—he was pretty sick after all, despite his fever breaking.
"I slept over, remember?"
He studies me for another long moment as he fully wakes up. "Oh… yeah," he says finally as the events of the previous evening dawn on him. He yawns and elongates into a stretch that is very telling: He's going to be at least as tall as his father. As his arm comes back down, relaxing, he bonks Brian's nose; Brian's been watching the two of us with a broad grin, resting on his elbow behind Gus.
"Hey!" he protests when Gus's elbow whacks him. He brings his hand up to hold his nose tenderly.
Gus turns at the sound of his Daddy's voice and a huge, still somewhat sleepy smile breaks across his face, reminded his Daddy is right here in bed too. "Sorry, Daddy!" he says happily.
"I dink id's bwoken!" Brian mock-gripes, making himself sound nasal by pinching his nose behind his hand. "You bwoke m'dose, Sondy Boy!"
Gus starts giggling and twists around so he's lying facing his father. "No I didn't, Daddy! Stop being silly!"
"Ndo, Ah'm serious! You bwoke m'dose!" Fuck me, but I'm back to giggling pretty hard - almost as hard as Gus-- who is now laughing so hard his lanky body is doubling over a little as he lays here.
"Daaaaaddeeee!" Gus reaches out to grab Brian's hand from his face but Brian dodges him, pulling back.
"Hey! Are you trying to gib meh ah black eye too, Sondy Boy?"
By now the dawn has broken and weak early morning sunlight is shafting through the windows; the pale yellow beams make long lines on the blue duvet. They kiss the golden skin on Brian's muscular shoulder and highlight Gus's messy auburn hair. My fingers flex automatically with my all-consuming desire to capture this unbelievable sight with charcoal and paper. Instead, I mentally map out and memorize each shadow, each nuance of light, each expression shared by father and son, all of which are filled with love… gawd. If this weren't Brian Kinney and his child, I'd wonder if it were staged as a ploy to bewitch me or maybe was being filmed for the Hallmark Channel… but as I said, this is Brian Kinney and his Sonny Boy; just Brian with his kid. It'd be the same silly, beautiful, touching scene whether I were here to witness it or not.
So I grin and watch them goof around together in the early morning light, and I consider myself blessed that I am here to witness it.