Author's notes: At the risk of sounding like I'm giving a lame speech at some award ceremony, many, many thanks to all you wonderful readers/reviewers. I'll take my gold statue and leave the podium now... (pfft.)
(Hope you enjoy… Oh, and to you Americans, I hope you had a happy 4th of July!)
((A/N - I love all these pictures but I just adore that last one; it's so candid. I know it doesn't much fit this story but none of them do that much... I just thought you might enjoy anyway.))
If I never hear the name "Novotny" again, it'll be too soon. Michael hurts both Justin and Gus and then Debbie screams at me, further scaring and hurting Gus? Fuck that!! I grimly stare straight ahead as I stride to the Jeep, not looking at Justin struggling to keep up beside me or at Sonny Boy in my arms.
I put Gus down when we're there and soon we're all in the car ready to go. Then Emmett comes running up to the driver's side, breathless and looking very upset. He knocks on the window and I reluctantly roll it down.
"What!?" I bark, even though of all the people in the world besides the two with me in the car, I like him the best right now.
"You guys, I'm so sorry for what happened in there," he says, looking a little like Gus with his teary eyes.
I take a deep breath. "Emm, not only is sorry bullshit but you have nothing to be sorry about. You really stepped up to the plate defending Sunshine and my boy in there; thank you. I really appreciate it." I've always been one to give credit where it's due and Emmett deserves it in spades right now. I give him as much of a smile as I can manage but my lips are tight.
He waves off my gratitude dismissively. "Brian, when you left, Debbie burst into tears and I know she regrets what she said. She knows how Michael is when it comes to you—she just doesn't like it and lashes out at you when her son's stupidity rears its ugly head. I think—well, I'm pretty sure that you're the kind of man she wishes Michael was. She's not really disowning you, for lack of a better term… please don't let this blow up into something even bigger than it already is…"
"Emmett, I know you mean well but right now I don't have a lot of patience for Debbie or Michael. I don't want to see them, hear about them or hear their apologies. Although from what I observed, Michael's feeling pretty pleased with how things went so no apology would be forthcoming from him anyway.
"And pfft, I'm not trying to 'blow this up into something bigger than it already is'. It's as big as it's gonna get. I'm fed up. That's it. Michael's snide treatment of Justin, his creepy possessiveness of me in general, his rudeness to my only son—it's too much. I just don't want to bother trying to deal with him anymore. And then there's Debbie's conditional love for me which is understandable - but when she makes my son upset to the point of crying when she berates me in front of him, it's unacceptable. Period. So, if you'll excuse us, we're leaving. You can call later if you want but please don't try to patch shit up between me and the Novotnys. I don't believe that's possible at the moment." With that, I turn the ignition and we pull away, leaving Emm in the street looking all torn up. "God, I've never met someone who is so fuckin' empathetic. Why is he crying over what's going on between me and Deb and Michael?" I mutter to myself.
Guh! Startled, my head swings around to see Justin next to me in the passenger seat looking sorry, worried and weirdly: In love. Lord.
I'd almost forgotten he was there.
"He really cares about you; and Gus. That's why.
"And I believe you're that empathetic in your own way, if not more so," he adds in a whisper, trying to smile. I ignore that crap-comment and we're all silent as I speed our way back to the loft, until: "Your friend Emmett is really cool but I wanna say how sorry I am that I caused all that animosity in there. You warned me Michael wasn't likely to be nice to me and you told me why. I must admit, I didn't expect that though… that was borderline frightening. I'm so sorry I caused it all," he repeats quietly.
Christ. "As I told Emmett, sorry's bullshit and besides, you did absolutely nothing to 'cause' anything or to be 'sorry' about. And yeah, Emmett kinda surprised me in there." I pause. "He was, as you say, 'cool'." Out of the corner of my eye, I see Justin nod slightly but I can sense he's still upset and feeling responsible. "I didn't expect any of that shit either, Sunshine, or I'd have never relented and agreed to go to the damned diner in the first place. What I said to Michael was a long time coming, as I told him. He's not my best friend or even my friend. Friends want the people they care about to be happy, or so I've heard. Michael doesn't care if I'm happy - he wants me to be his fourteen-year-old obsession. Maybe my delivery left something to be desired but it had to be said.
"Well," I finally say with a sigh. "The up side is that at least now I don't have to listen to Emm's gossip mongering for a while. Hopefully he won't bother since I'll be the center of it and already know it all first-hand."
"Daddy?" Gus says meekly from the backseat, making me nearly jump. I thought he'd fallen asleep. I glance in the rearview mirror and see that he's full-on crying, albeit almost noiselessly. My son is utterly overwhelmed by the drama that just unfolded and it makes me want to scream and cry myself.
"Wait… Honey," I interject before he can answer, using a term of endearment I rarely use with my son (but use only with my son. And usually only when he's very unhappy or he doesn't feel well. Right now, he's so confused and frightened, I'd use any term of endearment possible to make him feel better…) "I'm so sorry for what just happened." (And I'll readily apologize, as well… another habit I'm hardly notorious for…) "I shouldn't have lost my temper like that; I was wrong. I'm so sorry I upset you."
"Daddy," he sobs; Justin turns around and takes his hand to give him the physical reassurance that I'm unable to right now since I'm driving. "Daddy," he repeats, trying to keep his hiccupping under control. "It wasn't you… it -" (he hiccups) "-it was Uncle Mikey… what he said about what Justin's doing, that he's bad and using you!" (He hiccups again.)
"Gus, you know Justin much better than that. He would never and is not using me. You know for a fact he's not 'bad', either," I tell him.
"I know, Daddy. But then," he sniffles, thoughtful. "Then Grandma said all those mean things to you! I don't understand it. Why did she blame you for what Uncle Michael said? She… she even said that you're no longer like a -" (he hiccups) "-like a son to her!! She was so angry Daddy! At you and not Uncle Michael! I don't understand!" he says again. He starts bawling and I simply have to hold him. I swear. This is going to the top of my list of SHIT days.
I pull over and get out of the car, going to the backseat. Gus throws himself into my arms, undoing his seatbelt so I can fully embrace him. I just hold him, kissing his soft hair and whispering comforting words, waiting for him to cry it out. I feel so fucking angry at Michael and Deb and myself and feel so damned helpless right now, I want to explode. I look to Justin still up front and his eyes are red-rimmed and he looks incredibly sad. Fuck. Talk about empathetic.
I'm pretty sure my face looks the same if not worse. Keeping Gus close in one arm, I reach out the other and rest my hand on the back of his seat. He puts both his hands on mine and rests his cheek against his knuckles.
"I'm sorry," he whispers quietly and I know Gus doesn't hear him over his sobs.
"Don't be. For fuck's sake, don't be," I mouth back at him. "But I sure as hell could use about a thousand drinks right now," I add, still mouthing my words. I don't think he can read my lips that time but it's more to myself, anyway.
Ten minutes or so later, Gus's crying winds down and I can tell he's totally wrung out. I feel him beginning to rest more and more heavily on my now-very-tear-soaked shoulder as he starts falling into an exhausted sleep. I gently pull away, buckle him in and get back in the driver's seat.
"I fucking knew going to the diner was just going to make for more drama on this fine Sunday," I whisper to Sunshine as I start the Jeep and pull back into traffic to continue home. "I just didn't realize the drama was going to rival one of Ted's tragic, horrible operas."
Despite the gloomy mood we're all in, Justin chuckles weakly. "It'll be okay, Brian. I can feel it. Gus will come out of this opera as one of the victorious survivors… you will, too."
"So long as neither of us are victorious sopranos, I hope you're right."
His chuckling bubbles up with a bit more energy this time. "Well, Gus already is a boy soprano, Brian…"
"As I understand it, he's considered a 'Treble', not a 'boy soprano'," I grumble.
"Wow! I'm impressed, Brian! I didn't think that'd be something you'd know!"
"If it involves my son, I know about it. Or at least, I should and hope that I do… Especially if people mistakenly call him a 'soprano'."
Justin smirks and we're finally home and go up in the elevator to the loft, me carrying a spent, sleeping child. I immediately put him in his bed, only changing him into his pajama bottoms and leaving his tee-shirt on.
When I get to the kitchen, Justin's at the counter resting on his elbows and smiling softly at me. I sigh, exhausted myself and smile back. I go to the opposite side of the island and lean over to give him a gentle kiss which he readily returns. "Glad you're here, Sunshine," I whisper when we pull apart, deciding not to think too hard about how out of character I sound. Whatever; since waking up on this unbelievably bizarre day my typical Kinney character seems to have left the building.
"Me, too. But I still say that me being here is what started all this mess," he says quietly, looking down.
I stand back and glare at him. "Will you shut up about that?" I demand, keeping my voice down because of Gus. "You and your Catholic indoctrination have you overly guilt-ridden about fucking everything! Nothing that happened was your fault and Michael has been on my last nerve for a long time now! Ted and Emmett's too, particularly when I'm with them all! Michael just gets weird around me and it's been getting worse. I would have eventually told him what I did whether you were there acting as an unwitting catalyst or not. Okay?" I wait, still fixing him in my angry stare. He finally nods. "Okay. So quit with the mea culpas and let's go to bed."
Justin glances at the clock on the range. "But it's only four o'clock…" he protests.
"I didn't say go to sleep… I said, go to bed…" I leer, waggling my eyebrows. "But even though Gus is basically down for the count after this afternoon's craziness and an earthquake wouldn't wake him right now, we have to be careful… and very quiet." I pause and think a second or two. "Better yet, let's take a shower - a shower," I repeat, articulating suggestively, "And then take a nap - a real one. I'm pretty tired."
"For a virile thirty-three-year-old, you're starting to sound a bit over-the-hill," he teases with a grin, following me into the bathroom where I start the shower.
I push the door closed and lock it, then turn and grab him suddenly, surprising him. "I'll show you over-the-hill, smartass," I husk and kiss him deeply, feeling his body melt against mine. Ah yes: So many rules; so many rules to be broken…
But I'm having fun breaking them. Most of them.
CHAPTER 9, PART 2
The hot water sprays like strange, soft, thudding needles on my shoulders and back as Brian spins me around with a ferocity that feels almost desperate. I have to be careful that the side of my face doesn't smash completely against the tile shower wall when he pushes me almost violently against it; I feel his probing fingers in my ass, opening me up roughly. Christ. I feel safer than I ever have before when I'm with Brian and I know he remembers that until last night, I was a virgin… but the animal-like way he's treating me takes me aback. I understand it completely: This is release, the anguish and high emotion of practically this entire day is WAY more than Brian Kinney is accustomed to. Certainly never when it has to do with his only son and the shy choir director who (I'm hoping) he's developing feelings for.
I hear him growl (that's the only word I can think to describe it) while simultaneously, his fingers leave my body and then re-enter me abruptly, shockingly cold in contrast with the hot spray; my ass constricts involuntarily in reaction. I'm confused for a split second and then think: Lube. I hear foil ripping and see the corner of a condom wrapper fly past me, stick for a moment to the wall, then slide down in a big drop of water to the shower stall floor. I stare at it a second as it circles around the drain. Oh my God; this is for real. I mean, for real real!
Despite my surprise at his near-but-not-quite brutality, I'm turned on to the point that soon I'm wantonly pushing back on his fingers and moaning. I find I hardly feel the water pounding down, hardly feel the cool-but-warming tile against my cheek, hardly feel fucking gravity; all I feel are his fingers brushing and jabbing my prostate, his hard cock pressing against my right ass cheek and the genuinely painful grip he has on my left hip, holding me up and turning me on further.
"Guuuuhhh! Brian… Bri…!" I stutter stupidly, the want and need coursing through my body and overwhelming all other sensibility.
"Shhhh…" he whispers hoarsely. "Not so loud!"
I bite my lip. I take one hand that had been bracing myself against the wall and slap it wetly over Brian's grip on my hip, not to move it or loosen it – just to hold his hand. But Brian misinterprets my frantic move and pauses, his fingers releasing their bruising grasp on my side; NO! I keep his hand in mine and put it back on my hip. Right now, words are failing me and it's my incoherent way of telling him not to stop; that he misunderstood what I was doing when I grabbed him.
He doesn't try to remove his hand from my hip again but now it's only resting there lightly and he withdraws his fingers from my hole. I can't help but whimper loudly and pathetically in disappointment. "Did I hurt you?" he asks quietly.
I violently shake my head "no", nearly smashing my nose against the tile that had been at my cheek. "N-no! Don't stop Brian!" I finally manage. "I love it!" And I do. I'm definitely not used to this side of Brian but it turns me on and I know he'd never hurt me in a million years; he wouldn't hurt anybody.
But he still doesn't move. I hear him take a huge, hitching breath and I think he shakes his head to clear his thoughts because I feel a spray of water splash on my shoulder from his hair. I force myself to open my eyes and I twist my neck to look at him behind me, the back of my head now sliding against the tile wall. A quiet thought enters my brain how I wish – pray – that I feel myself against this wall many, many more times in the future in whatever way Brian wants. I notice that I'm panting and I see Brian staring at my back, looking almost lost – distracted - his breath heavy too. His brow is furrowed and suddenly his eyes snap to mine; his beautiful, milk-chocolate, green-tinged eyes pin me in a troubled, somehow scared stare. For SOME bizarre reason, that scares me more than anything else I've ever seen. I immediately turn around, still holding his hand on my hip and I search his eyes, trying to understand what the fuck is going on. "Brian?" My voice sounds small and frightened. I feel "small and frightened", of course, but I'm more perplexed.
He clears his throat and blinks against the spray. His eyes clear; "Did I hurt you?" he asks again. "I mean… I mean…"
I smile. Shit. I'm not falling hard for this complicated, strange, enthralling man; I've fallen. "No, Brian. God! This day has all of us acting like pod people and you're no exception, you ninny!" He smirks automatically at my pre-schoolish language. I ignore him and continue. "You didn't hurt me, scare me or anything! I was a little surprised at first, that's all. After all, as I said in the diner, I'm still an inexperienced "little church mouse" in many ways. Although, one night with Brian Kinney is like a thousand nights with any other man…" I leer.
He grins and leans a hand against the wall, his shoulders slumping as his tension abates somewhat. The other hand is still holding my hip. "A thousand?"
"I'd say so. That's a little conservative maybe…" I wink. "But mind you, I'm not complaining."
He visibly relaxes. "For a moment there, I kinda forgot how inexperienced you are, Choir Boy. You have a wild side to you that belies your 'mousiness'." I laugh and feel oddly thrilled that he thinks that of me. "Justin, if you haven't guessed already, I tend to use sex in many ways, one of which is to forget about unbelievably shitty days. And by telling you that, I prove your theory about today making us all act like pod people. I'd never normally discuss—"
"—how sex can be pain management for you?" He frowns but my smile widens. "Brian, I know that about you; I'm many things but not dumb. Your 'one fuck only' rule alone is sorta telling…" Now he scowls. "But I kinda dig you anyway. We've talked about all the other sides of you I've seen and grown to… to like a lot." Ahem. "And using sex to deal with today - a day to top all 'unbelievably shitty days' – I'm okay with that. In fact, that whole 'gotta-have-you', animal thing really turned me on," I admit and he looks mildly surprised. But I'm not one to lie and I'm definitely not lying. "Frankly, I'm flattered you were taking me that way. I don't want to be treated like a fragile piece of china or whatever…"
He snorts. "China? I'm more careful with my prized twelve-inch long, four-inch wide–" he looks at me and I'd swear, beneath the flush from the hot water, I can see him blush faintly as he catches himself. Gee. I wonder how to complete that sentence. Brian doesn't typically watch his words just 'cause I'm a church choir director, but right now he seems oddly self-conscious. He clears his throat a little, again. "Well, that's… that's something. That you like it rough."
"Sometimes. I mean, from how things were going, I'd say definitely."
He sighs and starts chuckling, looking away at his hand on the hard, wet wall. He looks back after a few moments and regards me with an amused, incredulous eye. "So, you're a little, slutty Choir Boy?"
"Who is hopefully NOT, as you said this morning, 'on some bizarre pair of pink, "gay" roller skates careening directly to hell'. I mean, from your lips to God's ears, as they say."
He shakes his head. "There's no way you are going to hell, Justin Taylor," he whispers, closing the space between us. "I'll sure miss you when I'm down there." I blink at his comment; it makes me… makes me want to cry – good grief! It was an offhand joke! But, he'll 'miss me?' Awwww, shit! Thankfully, I stave off the weird moisture I feel suddenly building behind my eyes - stave it off by thinking how wrong he is to believe he's going to hell and by thinking that hopefully, we'll be together wherever we end up (I'm such a total sap). It seems Brian hasn't noticed my potential tears but that's maybe because he's looking down at his hand on my hip like he'd forgotten he even had a left arm. He removes his hand and sees the bruises that are already forming under my skin. Crap. What a time to be fair-skinned and easily bruised.
"Christ!" he says, alarmed.
I start to wonder how much damage control I'm going to have to do when it comes to Brian's own psyche beating him up; it's so fucking undeserved and I know it's somehow his family's fault. (That he loves the mostly horrible "surrogate" family I've already met and hates his birth family, I think it's safe to assume the latter is even worse than the former…) As ridden with guilt and shame and loneliness as I am, I can see now that Brian is too. In different ways, of course; but I feel on much more equal footing with him now, "fucked-uppedness-wise". Er. So to speak. "Brian… it's okay. I bruise like a ripe peach – I do. And I like what you were do—"
Before I can finish my sentence or have much time to think further about all this, Brian flips me around again and is apparently no longer worried about being rough; I suck in a sharp breath as I suddenly feel his long, thick cock enter me and it occurs to me that he prepared me, yes, but to be truly ready for Brian's dick entering me so swiftly, I half wonder if I'd have had to be fisted first or something. The thought makes me exhale in a whooshing giggle that soon disappears in the swirling sensations filling my body.
"Stop laughing, Choir Boy," Brian grunts between thrusts and my giggling starts again. I feel so… fuck, I just feel! I feel so alive and happy… and in love…
Before I realize it and can stop myself: "I love you, Brian!"
Oh my God… at this moment, I wish Brian'd used a ball-gag on me.