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25 April 2006 @ 05:26 pm
SILENCE AND TEARS, CHAPTER 3  


Chapter 3: Jennifer’s POV

Who the hell buys or sells real estate during the Christmas holidays? Everyone, it seems! My phone won’t stop jangling and my assistant is off to visit her family. I thought it would be quiet. I thought I could leave early and stop at the grocery store and then go home to prepare a nice dinner for Justin’s homecoming and finish my gift wrapping, and so on and so forth, the life of a working mother. The stress of this particular Christmas is miserable.

Molly is at that hateful age, not a kid, but not yet a woman, and Justin is still bleeding over the whole Brian Kinney debacle. Brian is, too. I can’t blame either of them for what happened, because I don’t have all the facts. Those two are so stubborn, so foolish to risk what appears to be the “real thing” over the inconveniences of establishing a life together. They’re young, they don’t understand how rare that “real thing” really is, how unlikely either of them will find it again.

Unfortunately, this is not the kind of lesson you can teach people. This is the kind of thing they have to learn for themselves, and often, they learn it too late. I hear the buzzer, telling me the front door has opened, and I wave in that direction to signal I’ll be right with them. I’m trying to tie up a phone call with a title company. Putting on my best, non-frantic face, I turn and smile at my visitor when I hang up. I see that it’s Brian.

My almost son-in-law.

He looks predictably tall and devastating in his black cashmere long coat, dusted with snow. A red cashmere scarf forms a bleeding wound around his long, elegant neck. The cold temperature gives him a flush, and he disguises his eyes behind dark glasses. Gloved hands hold a small box wrapped in silver paper with a red velvet bow. I walk over to greet him, feeling him tense as I put a hand on his arm and stretch to kiss his cold cheek. “Sorry, Brian. I’ve just been buried today.” The phone rings. I ignore it.

“Need to get that?” He tucks his glasses into a pocket. His eyes, he does have the most beautiful, expressive eyes, are still carefully shielded. I feel sad that he feels the need to hide his emotions from me. Sad, but not surprised.

“No, they can call back. Sit down. Do you want some coffee? It may be a little strong, but…”

“No thanks. I can’t stay,” he hovers, but doesn’t sit. “I just thought you could give this to Justin. It’s completely impractical, but I don’t believe in practical gifts.”

He thrusts the package at me, but I don’t immediately take it. “Give it to him yourself, Brian. Come to dinner this evening.”

“I can’t,” he sets the package down on my desk. “I’m on my way to the airport.”

“You won’t be here for Christmas?” I know this will be a blow to Justin. I’m sure he was hoping to see Brian. How could he not be? Do they never even talk? God, I wish I understood what was happening between these two. Whenever I try to approach the subject with my son, up goes the Great Wall of China. I know better than to even try and pierce Brian’s armor.

“I’m going to Toronto to see Gus.”

“Oh. I was hoping the girls were coming here.”

“No, they want to establish a home base for the kids. Get them accustomed to their new environment. They see the holidays as part of that process.”

“Is Michael going with you?”

“No.” The “thank God” is implied in his tone. “I think he and Ben are driving up after Christmas.”

“When will you be back?”

“I’m not sure. I’m going to fly to Banff from there and ski for a few days. I need a break.”

A very smooth, superficially disconnected way to avoid Justin. “He’ll only be here for a few days, Brian. I know he wants to see you.”

“Did he tell you that?” The hope in his voice, in his eyes, is so raw that I almost lie and say ‘yes’. I know Justin does want to see him, despite the fact they’ve imposed this cone of silence. Or whatever the hell it is. But I can’t lie. It just wouldn’t be fair.

“No, but…”

“Yeah,” he cuts me off. “Give him that, okay?” he leans down to kiss my cheek. “Merry Christmas to you and Molly, too.”

“Brian, what’s going on with you two?”

“Nothing,” he says with a flat smile. “Nothing at all. Ciao.” He gives me a little wave and then he’s gone. The ringing phone startles me out of my melancholy.

“Jennifer Taylor,” I answer, back on auto-pilot.

“Jesus, Mother, do you ever pick up? I’ve called three times!” My son’s annoyance is clear.

“I’m sorry. I was talking to Brian.”

Pause. “Brian?”

“Yes, he dropped off a present for you.”

“Is he still there?”

“No, he just left.”

“Why did he give it to you?”

“Justin, do you know he’s going to Toronto to see Gus?”

I can hear his slow exhale. “No. But I guess it makes sense.”

“You two never talk?”

“We’ve talked.”

“And yet you don’t even seal plans to meet at Christmas?”

“Mother, if my visit is going to be an unending inquisition about what happened with Brian and me, forget it. Not interested.”

“Ok, calm down. Where are you?”

“I’m on the plane, about to be told to turn off my phone so we can take off. You’re picking me up, right?”

“Of course. I have all the information.”

“Okay. I’ll see you in a little while.”

“Safe trip, honey.”

“Mom, how did he look?”

“He’s Brian. He looked gorgeous.”

“Right, of course. Okay, later.”

As we hang up, I rethink my Christmas gift to my wonderful son. Instead of a gift certificate to that art supply house in the Village that he likes so much, and some money on his rent, I should give him a group discount to a marriage counselor, and make sure Brian gets in with him for free. Maybe they aren’t married, but they need something to break this log-jam of stubborn determination that blocks their happiness. If I thought Justin didn’t love him anymore, or vice versa, I’d be less bothered. It would hurt, I’d be sad, but I’d move on.

He does love Brian, and Brian loves him, which makes this all the more ridiculous. It also makes me angry. No one has the right to waste love. It happens so rarely and is such a precious gift that we all have a stake in nurturing it. If I thought they were better off apart, or happier, I’d stay out of it. But they aren’t.

“What’s this?” Molly has come into my office and she picks up the package, examines it, shakes it, until I finally take it from her.

“It’s for your brother.”

“I thought you already got him what he’s getting,” the two of them still measure their gifts against each other like little children.

“It’s not from me. It’s from Brian.”

Her big blue eyes grow wide and she flips that red hair behind her shoulder. She’s as pretty as Justin is, in her own way. That worries me. She’s not that much younger than Justin was when he met Brian and his whole life changed. “Oh. Why do you have it?”

I explain the drop-off and she sighs. “They're so weird.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean,” she says with all the wisdom of someone who’s never experienced great love. “Why don’t they just sit down together and figure it out? What’s the big drama?”

I smile at my daughter. May she always have such clarity about her own love life. “Sometimes that’s easier said than done, Molly.”

“Whatever,” she shrugs. “Can I have twenty-dollars? I need to get another present for someone.”

“Who?”

“Someone, Mother!” She sees no need to explain and I see no need to give her twenty dollars, so she leaves in a huff. I pick up the present Brian left. I give it a little shake. I recognize the store on the silver label. Not cheap. He’s right, it’s impractical, but so Brian. The door opens and in walks a delivery man carrying a huge pot of white poinsettias. “Where do you want this, lady?”

I motion to the window that faces the street. The flowers have a card attached, and I open it to read, “Merry Christmas, Brian”. I sigh and slip it into my pocket as my fingers drift over the velvety petal of a bloom. Pretty poison, that’s what poinsettias are. Lethal to pets, but pretty to look at. Once, I would’ve thought the same thing about Brian Kinney. Not anymore. Now I see Brian as every bit the victim as Justin, if not more so. Because Justin believes in love, and for Brian it was a big leap of faith.

This has got to be fixed. But what can I do besides “butt out” as my son so delicately puts it? I phone a familiar number. A familiar female voice answers. I identify myself and say, “I need your help in a conspiracy.”

Her laugh convinces me that my instinct in calling her was correct.
 
 
Current Mood: deviousdevious
 
 
 
caelirishcaelan on April 25th, 2006 09:59 pm (UTC)
Interesting.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
Alrighty then.
Gondor's Finest Brothersfaramir_boromir on April 25th, 2006 10:11 pm (UTC)
Hm. The list of suspects includes 4 people, but I tag Lindsay. Jen needs help in Toronto to make this work.

Very interesting.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
Two interestings in a row. interesting.
(no subject) - qafaddiction on April 26th, 2006 01:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mi_nion on April 26th, 2006 11:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Jen and Cynthia very cool.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC)
could be but maybe not.
Wren: brian_wifebeater_sadwren_kt7oz on April 25th, 2006 10:18 pm (UTC)
The hope in his voice, in his eyes, is so raw that I almost lie and say ‘yes’.

God! Killing me here, Ran.

Her laugh convinces me that my instinct in calling her was correct.

Wish I shared Jen's confidence. Conspiracy ... Brian ... not a good mix.

Bad feeling about this.

But I love this take on Jen. I, too, had the feeling that by S4 she'd come to see Brian pretty clearly for who he really is, and that she actually liked him a great deal.

Now I see Brian as every bit the victim as Justin, if not more so. Because Justin believes in love, and for Brian it was a big leap of faith.

Exactly. That's what I mean about her seeing him so much more clearly.

I hope that her interference doesn't drive them further apart, but it's such a Mom thing not to be able to sit back and watch while they both hurt themselves so badly.

And why do I have the feeling that the younger Taylor woman has her own little conspiracy in mind?

Well, now it's off to work, and I'm running very very late. Sigh.

Must go.

rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:32 am (UTC)
I think she did too, feel that way about brian, that is. hope you weren't too late.
Totallyfrelledtotallyfrelled on April 25th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
Jen was one of the few people I actually liked more as the series progressed, she annoyed me, hugely, to begin with, but I warmed to her, as she warmed to Brian, and I was pleased with her attitude in season 5. I would like to see her try to make things right here. I hope she can help.

You are handling this with such sensitivity. It's a truly beautiful story.
Thanks! Just what today needed!
Totally Frelled.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC)
thanks frelled. I think she was one of the few who improved over time rather than disintegrated.
qafaddiction: feetqafaddiction on April 25th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
I think Jennifer knows a thing or two about the importance of hanging onto a great love; her separation from Craig no doubt made her realize how precious a gift it is to find someone you could spend the rest of your life with. Maybe a push will help get our boys together, but I'm not sure they're ready for an intervention just yet. There's a lot of water under that bridge.

It’s completely impractical, but I don’t believe in practical gifts.

LOL! I remember a time when Brian Kinney didn't believe in gifts at all -- sentimental tokens of affection. Now he's getting flowers for Jen and something that will no doubt bring tears to Justin's eyes when he opens it.

Loved the line about how the "thank god" was implied re: Mikey. Sometimes small blessings are the best. LOL

Wonder who the co-conspirator is... Deb? Cynthia? Guess we'll have to wait and see.

H.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
I think sometimes people miscalculate what will be viewed as helpful when people are in crisis. road to hell.....etc
(Anonymous) on April 25th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
This Jen fits the woman we saw S5. She'd come a long way by then and was much more understanding of her son and of Brian. (Of course the rest of us had stopped understanding them by that point, but that was Cowlip's doing!) I'm curious as to her other conspirator. Deb was my first thought, but I can't think what she could do in this situation. Lindsay could help in Toronto, but I'm still so fed up with her after S5 that I cringe to think of her being "helpful" in her wretched way. Cynthia is a more appealing possibility. Then again, I don't imagine you plan to fix this all neat and tidy in just a few chapters, either.
Ann Marie
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:36 am (UTC)
Ann Marie, you know me too well.
Sorcha: Hawksorcha5 on April 25th, 2006 10:57 pm (UTC)
Beautiful series and maddening too! We know where we want it to go and it's going to be a slow process (sweet torture) to wait for each chapter. Still your writing is superb in description! The hurt in Brian's eyes, the question in Justin's voice...May the scheme the girls are working on be swift! =)
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC)
I like your eagle. Or is he a hawk? Swift...moi? Uh oh.
Thymeoasis6028 on April 25th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
Hmmm!
Very curious. I read all the possibilities of the conspirator that people have suggested. You sure know how to suck people in and keep them interested. Very clever.

But what I like most is the sensitivity you show to this damaged relationship. Even Jennifer knows that things need fixing. Hope she can carry it off. At the least, get them together.

Gayle
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
Re: Hmmm!
well, gayle, I look at it this way, you have to try to keep it interesting so that people will want to read what you think you have to say. That make sense? probably not, I'm sooooo tired.
Deb: rareouldtimesdamietta on April 25th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
Well, I first thought Lindsay, but since she was largely responsible for some of this, I say, no. Cynthia, my favorite, it's got to be.

I like that there are some of the gang that want this to work out and are not against the guys.

I thought it was interesting that Justin wanted to know how Brian looked, not how he was.

Deb
har2har2 on April 25th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
Ok, now I was thinking it was Deb that she called. She would be a great co-conspirator in whatever Jen has planned. She loves interfering in everyone's life! LOL!
Karla
(no subject) - rand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
armandyouidiotarmandyouidiot on April 25th, 2006 11:29 pm (UTC)
Lovely image of Brian:

“He looks predictably tall and devastating in his black cashmere long coat, dusted with snow. A red cashmere scarf forms a bleeding wound around his long, elegant neck.”

Tough situation to see this happening to your son and “almost son in law,” my heart goes out to Jennifer. Thank God she is going to at least try to do something. Ouch that it was Justin calling when she didn’t answer. A missed opportunity to mediate?

"Molly is at that hateful age," isn't it though! (Not that *I* was ever that snotty, just other people I knew... really.)
Kim
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC)
if it was my mother she would definitely disown me in favor of my partner. BWAHAAAA
A fanjustinlovesart on April 25th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
Great update, with one my favourite QAF women (the other are Cynthia and Daphne). She speaks for most of us when she says that "No one has the right to waste love".

So they have spoken? I wonder what they have said.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:44 am (UTC)
you might find out
Vivvivrbn on April 25th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
It’s completely impractical, but I don’t believe in practical gifts.
Hm, from the man who once stated that he only believed in celebrating achievement and passed on buying Justin flowers, I would have imagined practical gifts would be the only way he'd go. Hm.

Instead of a gift certificate to that art supply house in the Village that he likes so much, and some money on his rent, I should give him a group discount to a marriage counselor, and make sure Brian gets in with him for free.
lol...Jen's got a wicked sense of humor there.

"I mean," she says with all the wisdom of someone who’s never experienced great love. "Why don’t they just sit down together and figure it out? What’s the big drama?"
Out of the mouths of (not quite) babes. From her mouth to their ears. If it were only that easy.

Her laugh convinces me that my instinct in calling her was correct.
Why do I have visions of Debbie??

I like Jennifer. I didn't approve in the beginning how she handled things with Justin - or didn't handle them, as the case may be - but she turned it around when she finally came to accept (and dare I say embrace?) the relationship between Brian and Justin.

rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
Remember this is the brian who held on to those specially made wedding rings
(no subject) - vivrbn on April 26th, 2006 03:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Bow ties are cool.: Brian's neckmi_nion on April 26th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Love this Jen, and I hope that's Cynthia or even Debbie she's calling. Sounds like Molly may have a bit of a plan brewing as well.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
teenaged girl plan? scary, very scary! BWAHAAA
(no subject) - mi_nion on April 26th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
mnyclp: Made by Marishna  (shades)mnyclp on April 26th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC)
I like seeing this Jennifer that has not only accepted but wants to help Brian and Justin's LOVE.

“Did he tell you that?” The hope in his voice, in his eyes, is so raw that I almost lie and say ‘yes’.<-----Awwwww this made my heart hurt for Brian

Can't wait for more
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 01:48 am (UTC)
I've been spoiling you. BWAHAAA
mdlawmdlaw on April 26th, 2006 02:20 am (UTC)
I can see Brian standing there. He look like he did at his father's graveside, his mask firmly in place. But then there would be that spark of hope. Heartbreaking. I can only think what ever plan Jen has will only make things worse, because well, I think you have much to work through. m
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:03 am (UTC)
there's a lot brewing
grneyedwomangrneyedwoman on April 26th, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
I agree with TF I liked Jenn more as the show went on. I found her perspective here, balanced. As a mother of sons I like the way you write the Mother and son relationship. I'm glad she is in Brian's corner as well.
I just spent an hour on the phone with my 22yr old MPI discussing interrogation techniques. He's a cop in the Army I'm essentially a school cop. 5 years ago I never would have believed it would turn out this way.Love my kid.
Much love, Cindy
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:04 am (UTC)
thats sweet, cindy
qafhappy: 1/2 shadowqafhappy on April 26th, 2006 02:30 am (UTC)
So, was it Debbie on the phone? She's the best one to influence both the boys. Daphne would only have a bit of power over Justin.

Ah, the pain, the pain. Loved how you described Brian, with his eyes shielded even when the glasses were off, then the raw hope in them that Justin wanted to see him.

I can't wait to see where you take this!
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:05 am (UTC)
thanks, hang in with me
jealin98jealin98 on April 26th, 2006 03:09 am (UTC)
I was happy when I saw Jen's picture, she warmed up to Brian so much in the later part of the series. I wondered what her take on everything would be.

What a sad beautiful picture you painted of Brian, his eyes still hidden without his glasses, I can just picture that reading it. He was the master of hiding when he wanted too, but a mom knows, especially when her own son is hurting to and because of the same reason.

This co-conspirator...who could it be???Cynthia, Linds, Deb...ahhhh the wondering. I also have to say that I have lovely visions in my head of Brian and Justin in front of a roaring fire, snow falling outside in Banff, what a gorgeous place...What a vision to send me to bed with...Thanks for that!!
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:06 am (UTC)
you're welcome!
vegamytevegamyte on April 26th, 2006 03:11 am (UTC)
I can't tell you how happy I was to come back from my little vacation and find that you're writing this. I'm completely overjoyed...it's like salvation for their individual humanities and for their love as a couple.

This was a great chapter too. I'm voting it's Deb on the phone. Why would Jen be familiar with anybody else's number? I'm friending...don't want to miss anything.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC)
Thanks and welcome back
Audra: Beautifulrgrandixie on April 26th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
I knew I liked Jennifer Taylor for a reason. Loving this so far.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC)
thanks
Zoe: do you want to touch me there?straberrikyss on April 26th, 2006 04:04 am (UTC)
yes yes yes. at first i was thinking, go with the counseling, they wont like it but it would be good for them. but now with jen and debbie working at it, brian and justin might have a shot. p.s. im glad that jennifer loves brian too and that she sees how much the two love each other.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:08 am (UTC)
i think she came around by season's end
sixpackokittens: B/J ear bite photosixpackokittens on April 26th, 2006 04:56 am (UTC)
mmmm... the plot thickens. always loves jen's pov. she is so... rational :)
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
and rational is so rare!!
Dreambee3: beautiful together - paddiesdreambee3 on April 26th, 2006 07:47 am (UTC)
Lovely to feel the love and care and concern from Jennifer for them both. This is beautiful: “No one has the right to waste love. It happens so rarely and is such a precious gift that we all have a stake in nurturing it.” ...thankyu ♥
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
wish more of the gang believed that
connorblondconnorblond on April 26th, 2006 09:52 am (UTC)
geez
The wringer? Forget about the wringer - this is worse. But a good worse. And that sounded weird even to my ears. Anyway, still enjoying the ride.
rand_altrand_alt on April 26th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
Re: geez
thanks connor.