?

Log in

 
 
12 May 2006 @ 05:31 am
SILENCE AND TEARS, CHAPTER 11  
Brian and I are spending a weekend at the lake with friends. We leave this evening. Not back until Sunday night. As far as I know, I won't have internet or blackberry coverage, so this is my last post until we return. Taking my laptop in case I'm wrong, but anyway, here's something to think about. Talk amongst yourselves. Here's a topic: Are Brian and Justin at an impasse or will they find a path to troo wuv? BWHAAAA! Have a great weekend, all.



Chapter 11: Brian’s POV

I wake up, not sure when, not sure how I even fell asleep. I hurt so much it’s hard to believe I could ever fall asleep. Waking up hurts. I adjust the recliner, trying to redistribute my weight. Nothing really helps. The lights are off except for the ambient glow from the television that’s broadcasting yet another showing of “It’s A Wonderful Life”. I see a brush of blond hair on the arm of the couch and I know he’s fallen asleep there, instead of going to bed. So much for making sure I didn’t slip into a coma.

Oh God, I am so sore.

Muscles I never knew I had are screaming. I want drugs. I need to piss, again. I’m a miserable, helpless, useless, fucking baby. And now I feel like crying, going full circle on the baby thing. I hate feeling dependent on anyone. I hate it when my body turns on me. First, the fucking cancer, and now this. I’m so fucking over having to deal with health issues. I know people have it worse. I know people live with torrents of pain every day. I acknowledge that sad truth. But I still feel a little sorry for my own plight, and that makes me mad at myself.

I lower the footrest to the floor and put my weight on my good arm and my good leg and slowly manage to stand. Unsteady. Now what? One foot in front of the other, I make it three steps then brace myself on the back of the couch to keep from falling. I stare down at him, watching him sleep. The sleep of the innocent, he’s oblivious to my drama. I resent that, unreasonably. I resent everything, unreasonably.

“Could you at least help me walk to the bathroom?” I bark at him, unfairly, and he instantly hops up and says,

“You shouldn’t have stood up on your own. You can’t fall, Brian. Your head, your ribs…”

“Just help me, god damn it.”

He steadies me with his arm and I make it to the john and shut the door in his face. Why am I being such an asshole? He’s helping me when no one else would. Why do I resent it? I sit on the edge of the tub when I’m through and try to garner the strength to walk out. He lets himself in and places a hand on my uninjured shoulder.

“You okay?”

“No, I’m not okay. I’m in pain. I’m miserable. Will you get me some Advil?”

“Yes, come on. Want to try the bed?”

I shake my head. I know if I lie down in that bed, I could never have the leverage to get out of it again. Totally dependent. Shit! I limp back to my chair, grabbing a pillow on the way. One goes under my ass, this one will be for my back. “Is it cold or is it me?” I ask as he covers me up with the afghan. He leaves and comes back with the comforter from the bed. It’s huge, but the soft warmth is soothing. He makes me eat some crackers with the Advil. I drink water. I wait for the relief that doesn’t really come. The edge goes off the pain, maybe, but I’m never free of it.

Free of pain. Nice concept. Something I know little about.

“Please turn off that ludicrous movie,” I beg him. He does. Watching him flip the channels and land on something on MTV, I experience a revelation. Call me a prophet, I don’t know, but it hits me with such clarity that it’s as if someone lit the burning shrub. The pure, white knowledge that I receive is jarring to me. I want to erase it from my brain. I want to make it go away. I want to do something to myself to make it stop.

Wait, didn’t I already do that? On my fourth run? Why do I always have to be my own victim? I look at him. Bad alternative. Don’t do it, Brian. “Do you have to listen to that crap twenty-four hours a day?” I can’t help myself. He calmly switches off the television and turns on a lamp.

“What’s wrong?”

“Besides being in agonizing pain?”

“Yes.”

I reach up with my good arm ( hurts to do so because of having to use some muscles in my torso) and rake my hair. It feels grungy. I want a bath. “I don’t think I should talk right now.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m in a foul mood. I might say something I’ll later regret.”

“Maybe you’ll just tell me what you really think, for once.”

Don’t go there, Justin, I think to myself. Not tonight. It’s not fair for me to fault him for going to New York to follow his career. Even if I don’t really understand the necessity for New York, it’s his call and his career is as important to him as mine is to me. I won’t do it. This is my problem, not his. He didn’t do anything wrong by leaving. He was right about how stupid the whole marriage sham was. He saved us from a fatal mistake. How do I know this isn’t the right thing, as well? He’s a lot better at this than I am, apparently.

Or is he?

“Yak, yak, yak,” I grumble. “What’s the point?”

“Some might call it communication,” he gets up and comes back with that damned messenger bag of his. He pulls out a familiar looking present. I wince.

“You haven’t opened it?”

“I was saving it. Then this happened. I’m going to open it now.”

“Don’t.”

“Why not?”

I sigh. “It was a stupid, impulsive gesture.”

“Of course it was,” he says with a smile. “You bought it.” He rips open the paper and stares at the red leather box with the gold scroll trim. A small gold button is pushed to open it. He doesn’t push it. “Cartier?” he says with a shocked expression. I shrug. He finally opens it and removes an eighteen-karat yellow gold band with flat screw heads evenly spaced around the bracelet. He turns it over on his palm and tries to slip it over his hand, but it won’t get past his knuckles. “Is it a puzzle? It’s beautiful, but…”

“There’s a note.”

He looks in the box again. Under the lid is my handwritten note that reads: “Cartier first made this bracelet before either of us were born. It was called the “Love” bracelet because it can only be opened and slipped on when you use a special little screwdriver. So one lover “cuffed” the other and it was supposed to be symbolic. Come see me and I’ll give you the screwdriver to open it. Merry Christmas, Brian”.

He looks over at me, his eyes glistening. “I’m here.”

“Not really. You came here to ski, not to see me. And the screwdriver is at my loft.”

“I would’ve seen you. You’re the one who left town for Christmas.” That’s true. “I’ll bet the hotel has a screwdriver I can borrow.”

“It’s a proprietary fit, you have to use the jeweler’s screwdriver. It’s a little piece of art on its own, hangs from a little chain. The original concept is the giver wears the key to the cuff.”

He stares at me. He then gets up and goes over to the table where my stuff from the hospital was tossed. My torn sweater and parka, my ski gear, an envelope with my personal effects, all are where he left them. He rips open the envelope and sorts through my watch and lift pass and small zippered nylon thing that holds some cash and my room key and ID. A slim gold chain with a small eighteen gold cylinder hanging from it glistens. It looks like art, but the top of the cylinder reverses to reveal a ridge that acts as a screwdriver. He shakes his head. He knows me too well. He knew I’d be wearing it, and he’s right. Damned bloody scarf. That was the giveaway, I guess.

“Now you’re lying to me?”

I shrug. I guess I am. The necklace has become a talisman for me, a connection. Something ephemeral. He brings it over to me, along with the bracelet. “Open it.”

It’s hard to do when one of my arms is so tender, but I manage to unhinge the screw that closes the latch. The bracelet expands to fit over his hand. Once it’s in place, I tighten the latch and he puts the screwdriver back in closed position and slips the chain over my head. It looks stupid against my bandages. He holds up his right hand, admiring the classic look of the band. “I hope it’s paint proof.”

“It’s gold. Gold is tough.”

“It’s way too expensive, Brian.”

“You can pawn it if you need the money one day.”

“Yeah,” he sits cross-legged at my feet, using the overflow of the comforter as cushion. He looks about fifteen with his hair a mess, his sweat pants and t-shirt rumpled, and white socks on his feet. He looks fucking beautiful, breathtaking. “That’s exactly what I’d do. So far I’m managing to keep the wolf away from my door.”

“You’re never going to be my equal,” I tell him. “And I’ll never be yours. So what the fuck are you trying to prove? If you’re trying to prove something about your art, your talent, okay. I understand that, I guess. But if you’re trying to prove you can be my equal, forget it. We’re two different people. I’m older than you, more experienced in a lot of ways, a better businessman, better with money, better at the ad game, more capable of dealing with sharks on both sides of the conference room table, and I always will be. You’re a better artist, more attuned to the emotional side of life, able to capture that emotion and vision on canvas, more intuitive, better with people, and you always will be. Why are we supposed to be ‘equal’? What does that mean, anyway?”

He stares at me. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say anything so straight-on about our relationship, Brian.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“I’m serious. I’m impressed.”

“Am I wrong?”

“No. But it’s not that I’m trying to be your equal in the boardroom, or in any of the theater where you operate. Or that I’m trying to match your bankroll, even. Maybe someday I will. But that’s not it. I just don’t want to be your boy, at home, you pay all the expenses, I live off your money, paint, dabble, become…one of those guys. I can’t respect that, and while you may think it’s okay now, sooner or later you’ll start to resent it. I know you, Brian. Any partner you ever take on will have to have their own personal drive and ambition or you’ll ultimately lose interest and start feeling like you’re being used.”

I’m listening. He’s not wrong. “You do have drive and ambition.”

“Yes, I do. But it needs to go somewhere. It’s not just a desire to paint. It’s a desire to get my work out there, noticed, sold. I know some artists, great artists, didn’t sell their work, and didn’t care if their work sold. Others, not so great, seem to paint only to sell their work, they’ve become a business. I think I’ve got a foot in both camps. I’m not motivated to paint by whether I think my work will be commercial, but I do want to sell. Someday I want to walk into Cartier’s and buy you a matching bracelet with my own money.”

“Don’t you see how unimportant that is to me? If I wanted a bracelet, I could buy it myself.”

“And don’t you see why it is so important to me to be able to buy it for you?”

We stare each other down and then I sigh. In a way, I do see. My dependency issues are not unique to me. Just as I hate being dependent on him right now because I’m hurt, he hates being dependent on me for everything financial. That’s not unreasonable, and he’s right. If he were willing to settle for that indefinitely, I probably would tire of it. “Why can’t you let me be the breadwinner until you do start selling?”

“Because I need to be a little hungry to be motivated to get my work out there. I’m a perfectionist about my art. It’s never good enough. I need to be able to say, stop. It’s finished. Put it in a gallery and see if someone bites. So long as I’m completely supported by you, I can tweak a painting forever. I think once I get some pieces sold for real money, I’ll learn more about when a work is ready to pitch. I think I’ve already learned something about that. You’re not an artist, Brian, so it’s hard for you to understand. I suspect it’s like an author writing a book. Sooner or later he has to say, this is it. It’s ready, otherwise it dies in eternal editing. No one ever reads it.”

Smart and beautiful, he makes it so damned hard to shoot holes through his theories. I like that. But then there’s that damned revelation of mine. What about that? It won’t go away. I can’t ignore it. It explains so much to me. My anger, simmering beneath the surface, my dissatisfaction with everything, even tricking, my self-destruction, all become understandable in context. The core of my life is not what it used to be. For the first time since I’ve been old enough to understand what I want from life, I’m not living the way I want to live. And that is alien to me. I take a deep breath, it hurts, my fucking ribs remind me, but I do it anyway. It’s now or never. I have to tell him about the burning shrub, or there’s never going to be any hope for us. And that’s not okay.

“I’m no longer happy living alone,” I throw it out there. “I don’t know what that means for us, but I don’t want to live this way anymore.”

The silence expands. The crickets in my head chirp. Time is suspended. Neither one of us knows what to say next.
 
 
Current Mood: frustratedfrustrated
 
 
 
connorblondconnorblond on May 12th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
Ouch, that hurt. And one wishes they would've been tough enoughto show something like this on screen.
rand_altrand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:12 am (UTC)
I guess its just not good drama
gabe616gabe616 on May 12th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC)
Whow, love it.
Finally they are talking. Really talking. And Justin is still on to Brian, lol.
I hope they keep talking and find a way to get what they both want plus what they each want for themselves worked out.
It's gonna be a bumpy ride I suppose.
But what fun for us to go along on the ride.
Have fun at the lake.
rand_altrand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
thanks gabe. yeah, its tough.
southernlilsouthernlil on May 12th, 2006 10:25 am (UTC)
Well, Justin wanted Brian to communicate- and he finally did.

Love the bracelet-lots of tell in that gift.
rand_altrand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
be careful what you wish for
Audra: Screwedrgrandixie on May 12th, 2006 10:37 am (UTC)
Oh yay! Brian actually threw it out there on the table. Good for him. Love the crickets in his head chirping. I could almost hear them. Brian and Justin are communicating but they still seem very far apart. Have fun at the lake!
rand_altrand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:15 am (UTC)
thanks. sometimes truth speaking is really painful
Still want him in your pack?: loved 513 by paddies_alicesprings on May 12th, 2006 10:57 am (UTC)
I don't know if it was your intention or not, (I don't think so) but you've got me siding with Justin here.

He told Brian why he needs to be away at the moment, and Brian understands, even agrees. So what's up with the ultimatum?

Brian knows that if Justin comes back before he's ready it's only going to cause problems a few years down the track. He's being honest yeah, but also kinda selfish. And if there's one thing Brian's not, it's selfish. He always does what's rght for those he loves, even if it means making himself unhappy. That's why he let Justin go in the first place.

I just hope they manage to come to an agreement that they can both live with.

You've got me on tenterhooks, well done. I'm so anxious for the next chapter already! Have a good weekend :)
rand_altrand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:19 am (UTC)
I don't have an agenda and am not taking sides. I think it only fair that brian is as free to say what he wants as it is for justin to say what he wants. And if he doesnt want to live a separated life than he's right to say it. I dont view it as an ultimatum at all. I view it as a simple truth from his pov. why should he have to pretend or be a martyr about it? I'm throwing it all out on the table from both of their views and you guys can pick and choose what you think is right or wrong or who is right or wrong. Personally I dont think either of them are right or wrong. They both have needs. its time they said what those needs are. let the chips fall.
Truth - film102 on May 12th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Truth - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 09:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 06:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 12th, 2006 11:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - fiercediva on May 12th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - germansoulmate on May 12th, 2006 09:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _alicesprings on May 12th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Thank God - film102 on May 13th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - court1429 on May 13th, 2006 02:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 10:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
A fanjustinlovesart on May 12th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
Either they find a compromise that meets at least partially both of their needs, or I think they have hit the wall. I honestly don't know how the relationship can be saved, at this point. I hope neither of them will be forced to sacrifice what is really important to them.

I am also vaguely worried by Brian's final statement, because he said he doesn't want to live alone anymore, but he didn't say he doesn't want to live without Justin. I think it is implied, but, I don't know....I am just worried.

I must say this story is anything but predictable. Can't wait for the next chapter.
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:05 pm (UTC)
when did sacrifice become such a bad concept anyway? But I think compromise is a better word for this set up.
asm614: Brianasm614 on May 12th, 2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
As hard as this conversation may be for them to have, I think it's a complete necessity, and I'm so glad you've "forced" them to do so, rather than the neverending dance that we sometimes got from C/L.

And I love how they know each other so well. They have such an amazing gift, that not everyone in relationships is quite able to develop.

Have a great weekend :)
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
yeah, it was a shame to waste that gift.
grneyedwomangrneyedwoman on May 12th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
Randall, beautiful chapter!!! Finally an author addresses the issues that have bothered me.I have never understood why Brian was the one to sacrifice his happiness for others. At some point I expected him to stand up and shout hey what about me? It is refreshing to have him state what he wants. Looking forward to Justin's response. He hasn't had a chance to react to Brian's honesty. Justin has always been able to fill in the blanks without a true challenge.I'm hoping that Justin will find a response that will lead to more conversation. Compromise at this point seems necessary. I think they are listening to each other. Love this chapter!!
You and Brian enjoy your weekend. My daughter is coming in with son in law for the weekend. He's never seen Yosemite or eaten real Mexican food. Should be fun filled.
Much love, Cindy
film102film102 on May 12th, 2006 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, just got it
Brian doesn't want to live alone. He's telling Justin he may find someone else if they can't work it out. He's going to be open to it from this point on. He wants it to be Justin, but if not, then, he wil meet his need for companionship and relationship that means he doesn't have to be separated. Oh, my.

Lyn

Well, this certainly isn't what Justin expected when he left for New York. He has needs to meet and is going to find out what is most important to him. Most interesting to see this all play out and the chips fall. Brian won't be just tricking anymore. I always wondered what would happen when one of them wanted more. If Brian wanted more and it changed their dynamics.

Looking forward to his response, too, Cindy.

Enjoy the son-in-law, the food, and seeing your daughter. I haven't been to Yosemite since a year after the fire and most of it was beginning to grow back except where the ground burned, too. It was amazing to be there and see how the fire jumped whole sections and how quickly the undergrown began to return. That was 89 so I bet it's really changed since then. I've got pictures of that. It was quite an experience.

Lyn
Re: Oh, just got it - film102 on May 13th, 2006 02:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Notincin: (paddies) New creditsreader1 on May 12th, 2006 03:30 pm (UTC)
This saddens me.
If ever I got a flashback to ABBA, this was it, Randall. You've set us up here to have Brian falling in love with someone else, and although I know that there are some of us who have explored that option, and others who prefer it, I still have hope that in this little angsty world you've created, B/J will somehow work it out.

I've never had any problem understanding how people make long-distance relationships work. Particularly two such independent and strong-willed characters such as Brian and Justin. After all, up here, people work two weeks on and two weeks off on the slope, and they seem to have very successful marriages and long-term relationships. But right now, Brian is understandably very vulnerable and needy, and I hope that he and Justin can see a way to a compromise, before Brian starts looking around for someone else to live with, if not to love.

Every time I start off on one of these diatribes and then pause to look back, I marvel that you have created such a real set of emotions that there are so many of us that spend so much time in a fantasy world, discussing the motivations and vulnerabilities of fictional characters. I don't know if that is more of a tribute to your talents or a statement about us, but I choose to believe the former, LOL!

Thanks for another great post, and I hope you have a wonderful time at the lake. Tell your mother from me that I only hope that I will be as successful at raising a wonderful son as she was, and wish her a happy mother's day from all of us, your loyal fans. By the way, I'm binding all of your fic, and I was wondering if you are going to archive this like you did P/CP. If so, I will wait until the archives come out. If not, I'll print as I go. Thanks, and safe travels. Hugs, Sherrie
film102film102 on May 12th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's a tribute to both
Randall's abilities to work hard to develop his talents and about us to be willing to let a character be real to the extent that it is organic to us. It's a tribute to the power of the written word and people to allow those words to change our lives in the process. Let the chips fall. We are never the same.

Lyn
Re: This saddens me. - court1429 on May 13th, 2006 02:52 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - dreambee3 on May 13th, 2006 09:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - film102 on May 13th, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - court1429 on May 13th, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 10:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: This saddens me. - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Thymeoasis6028 on May 12th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Wow!
Brian Kinney self-examination, and then he reveals it to Justin. The apocalypse must be coming soon.

I know that seems like an impasse, but I think it's the beginning.

Excellent chapter, Randall, and I loved the discussion about being equal. That was so well done.

Gayle
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:14 pm (UTC)
Re: Wow!
Thanks gayle, I'm glad you're staying with it.
Dreambee3: Kinney - by paddiesdreambee3 on May 12th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
Beautiful chapter, so intense and complex. Brian is so tightly wound, so hurt by everything that is not right in his life, emotionally and physically - I think he was right that it probably wasn’t the right time to talk about this. But, they did, and some of it was beautiful, and some of it was painful, and the end was downright scary! Where to now for them?

The bracelet’s meaning even surpassed its beauty, and Brian’s note to Justin was amazing. I was anticipating something like this, but I couldn’t have imagined it being as beautiful and significant. Justin knowing that Brian would have been wearing the chain rather than it being at the loft, was just another glimpse of the understanding between these two.

I completely agree with Brian about the futility of striving for equality, and I can appreciate Justin's different view of it, as well as his impressive clarity on the issues surrounding independence, drive, ambition and motivation. His standards and his logic can’t be faulted - except that they are keeping Brian out of his life! They won’t be able to keep walking in circles around the same issues for too much longer, Brian’s brought his concerns to the surface rather spectacularly (and sadly) and it needs urgent attention:

“I’m no longer happy living alone,” I throw it out there. “I don’t know what that means for us, but I don’t want to live this way anymore.”

This must have been so difficult for Brian, and especially identifying that his anger and dissatisfaction comes from this unhappiness. Justin has said to him all along – say what you mean, say what you want. And finally, he did. So, what does he mean? He is feeling too sharply the loss of what he had with Justin. Does he mean that if Justin doesn’t want the same thing, he may look for it elsewhere? I think Brian’s tired of being alone, of living his life around everyone else’s needs – he seems to have been reacting to his life rather than driving it. He needs it to be different and better, and he wants someone to share his life with. I think Brian would try to find a way to keep Justin in his life, I wonder if Justin is willing to give up or modify any part of the mechanics of his dream for Brian.

I think I’ve been a little heavy in allegiance to Brian again, but I can only imagine how his revelation and admission has further knocked his fragile emotions around. I'm not underestimating the effect on Justin, but will deal with that in his pov, next!

Uttering the words “…I don’t want to live this way anymore” is both frightening and liberating – it creates the opportunity of either bringing about change for the better, or accepting that it can’t be any other way thereby leading to some necessary decisionmaking. eek! ♥ Happy weekend on the lake, to you and Brian and friends. (oh god, very long, very sorry!)
Create Your Realitycourt1429 on May 13th, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
This must have been so difficult for Brian, and especially identifying that his anger and dissatisfaction comes from this unhappiness. .. He is feeling too sharply the loss of what he had with Justin.

And probably needed to feel that loss in order to allow himself this revelation. He's so frightened of his emotions. With pretty good reason, really.

I think Brian’s tired of being alone, of living his life around everyone else’s needs – he seems to have been reacting to his life rather than driving it. He needs it to be different and better, and he wants someone to share his life with. I think Brian would try to find a way to keep Justin in his life, I wonder if Justin is willing to give up or modify any part of the mechanics of his dream for Brian.

ITA, DB-3. And I think he's really just now realizing that he's not maybe been as much a participant in his own life as he's thought. Emotionally, I mean, not business-wise. And Lindsay really kicked it up a notch, too.

I think I’ve been a little heavy in allegiance to Brian again, but I can only imagine how his revelation and admission has further knocked his fragile emotions around.

Me, too. Totally unapologetic Brian apologist here. Justin, for all Craig's miserable behavior after coming out, grew up in a home that supported him emotionally. He isn't as fearful of putting his heart on the line. Brian, as we all know, has excellent reasons for all his walls. And while the Novotnys and Linds have been helpful to him in many ways, in equally many ways emotionally-speaking, they've been no good at all. Each of them with their own agenda and he's so accustomed to coming last, he doesn't trust it if he doesn't and in fact, doesn't even realize he's got a reason to feel bad about it. Hence, the angst over his internal revelation. I can only hope and assume it will lead to wonderful things for them together!
(no subject) - dreambee3 on May 13th, 2006 10:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Oh, Ladies, - film102 on May 13th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
vegamytevegamyte on May 12th, 2006 05:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, this is a really tough place. I can't wait to where it takes them. Have fun this weekend!
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
thanks, had fun!
qafaddiction: kisses bjqafaddiction on May 12th, 2006 06:51 pm (UTC)
He knows me too well. He knew I’d be wearing it, and he’s right. Damned bloody scarf. That was the giveaway, I guess.

I think Justin's always known how Brian felt. Some might think that Brian wore the bloody scarf to remind himself of the tragedy, and the part he played in it by showing up at the prom (guilt factor); in my mind, it was just the opposite. I think Brian wore that scarf to stay close to Justin, to feel that connection they shared on "the best night of [my] life" (to quote Justin).

I think that's why Justin stayed as long as he did, in the beginning, despite Brian trying to push him away. He knew deep down that they were meant to be together, as cliché as it sounds. They've both made mistakes, they've hurt each other in different ways, but the love was always there. And I think it always will be there.

Sometimes the truth hurts, and it's not often easy to express (or to hear). But for better or for worse, Brian's truth is out there now. It's important that Justin know Brian doesn't really want to be alone, despite his protestations. It's even more important, I think, that Justin know Brian is able to admit it. The ball's in his court now. The question is... will he volley it right back, miss it altogether, or hit Brian with an unexpected backhand?

I guess we'll ponder this while you and Brian enjoy your weekend! ;)
Wrenwren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 10:17 am (UTC)
It's important that Justin know Brian doesn't really want to be alone, despite his protestations. It's even more important, I think, that Justin know Brian is able to admit it.

Yes. Exactly.

I guess we have to remember that Brian has always been so good at pretending he was coping - when Justin was with Ethan, when he was in LA. Maybe Justin actually believed some of that Kinney bullshit.

Perhaps because he wanted to believe that Brian was quite happy for him to be off doing his thing (especially when he was in LA).

Perhaps he wanted to believe it this time.

Now he knows it isn't true.

Brian has finally been honest with him.

He can't say now that he doesn't know how badly Brian misses him.

And, as you say, that puts the ball in his court ...
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
claudj28claudj28 on May 12th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
Well...

This was really, really difficult for me to read, and now I'm having a hard time to express what's going on in my head.
I'm feeling now what I've felt a couple of times before. Brian and Justin wanting or needing different things, and that they'll never find common ground. But unlike before, Brian says what he needs. It has always been what he didn't want or just accepting what Justin wanted. I'm so proud of him for saying the truth this time. But on the other hand, it is the opposite of what Justin wants (needs) which is equally important. So... I'm at a loss here! I've been there before, at the end of season 2. I just couldn't see them together anymore. The situation is, of course, different here, but reading this... both of their explanations...
It's not that silly marriage-family-home-or-seperation-crap like at the end of S5. This is honest, and real, and understandable. Both are right, and no one is wrong. This is what I've always needed from Brian and Justin, a real dilemma. But more important - a real resolution, whatever that will be. So thank you so much for this. Right now I'm expectantly interested in the journey and the outcome. Amazing! This ride is getting better and better!!!

I want Justin to be happy, and I want Brian to be happy. And I want them to be happily together. These has been my 3 wished for QAF since it started. I rarly (rarely?) got that, and right now in this story they are both unhappy. Maybe Brian could get happy with someone else, maybe Justin as well but I know what you said about this story, and I trust that 100%. I'm not able to read Brian in love with another guy, and I know that isn't what this story will be about. I'm confident in B/J, more than ever after reading this. This is because of you, Randall. I have no idea how they will solve this, but that's why I'm just the reader, lolol! Damn... how incredible their story in canon could have been...

Back to this entry... I love, love, love how well Justin knows Brian. Brian's present... *sigh* The symbology knocked me off! That was just beautiful!

“I’m no longer happy living alone,” I throw it out there. “I don’t know what that means for us, but I don’t want to live this way anymore.” You know... I have always seen B/J get together again some time in the future. Both of them doing their own thing in the meantime, but always getting together again. But that declaration from Brian made me unsettled. This Brian makes me unsettled, and that is a really wonderful thing!


“Don’t you see how unimportant that is to me? If I wanted a bracelet, I could buy it myself.”
“And don’t you see why it is so important to me to be able to buy it for you?”
Brian and Justin in a nutshell...

I'm pretty sure this took me longer to write than you writing this post (lol) but that entry proved why you are an amazing writer. Oh.. and this...

I suspect it’s like an author writing a book. Sooner or later he has to say, this is it. It’s ready, otherwise it dies in eternal editing. No one ever reads it.”

That wasn't some 'random' comparison, was it?!

Have a wonderful trip!!!
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:22 pm (UTC)
no comment on the author writng a book catch. BWAHAAA! Thanks for the rest though, very thoughtful and interesting
leticiafrostbite_las on May 12th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
Joder is all i can say. I only wish the show could have been like this. Hope you have great weekend. Cheers, leticia
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC)
Joder?
armandyouidiotarmandyouidiot on May 12th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
“I’m no longer happy living alone,” I throw it out there. “I don’t know what that means for us, but I don’t want to live this way anymore.”

The silence expands. The crickets in my head chirp. Time is suspended. Neither one of us knows what to say next."


Wow, that's intense. Definitely the Big Badum.

You laid out Justin's motavation so it actually made sense, even if I didn't like it. He is so strong, the way he can make himself forego the cushy route and "be a little hungry."

Cool bracelet. I love that Justin knew Brian would have the screwdriver.

Enjoy the lake! Kim
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
my mom has had that bracelet as long as I've known her. she rarely goes without it. the relationship behind it is over, but she still loves her some cartier!! BWAHAAA
qafhappy: Brian smoking brown tonesqafhappy on May 12th, 2006 08:33 pm (UTC)
They've had such great conversation, arguably the best they've ever had about their relationship. And now they've come to the crux...

Where do they go from here? What does the future hold?

Bravo, Randall, on an excellent chapter! Enjoy your weekend, and come back to us raring to write more!
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:24 pm (UTC)
Thanks and I posted just for you!
sixpackokittens: b/j how did I ever get along without yousixpackokittens on May 12th, 2006 08:52 pm (UTC)
great conversation between the two. I hope they reach a mutually acceptable compromise, something the show never resolved.
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:25 pm (UTC)
we'll see how it goes. tough one.
Deb: rareouldtimesdamietta on May 12th, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC)
Brian hates being dependent on Justin emotionally and Justin hates being dependent on Brian financially. What an interesting conundrum.

I am in agreement with everyone the gift was lovely. Even more, the realization that the key was with Brian all the time. Hmmm, the key was with Brian all the time........
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
nice catch there.
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
Some commenters are worried by this post, but it made me more optimistic. Finally, Brian and Justin are talking to each other, not past each other, and being honest about their own wants and needs. For Brian, even admitting he has needs (other than sex) is a big deal.

Brian lays out all the objections I and others have made to Justin's need for "equality". Then Justin comes back with an explanation of what he's looking for that actually made sense to me. That's way more than Cowlip ever gave us. Instead of the fanciful "I'm going off to NY and the art world will fall at my feet" that was the implication of the S5 story, your Justin has a practical desire to learn more about art as a career and a laudable desire to support himself. (and yes, I too thought you might have some personal knowledge of the "eternal editing" issue -- when's that book coming out?)

Of course, what he didn't figure into the equation was how all this would affect Brian. That's at least partly Brian's fault, because, even though he asked Justin to marry him, he never really made it clear to Justin that he wanted, needed, to spend his life with him. Problem is, Brian didn't realize that himself until now. I think when Brian says he's no longer happy living alone, it's clear he wants to be with Justin. It does, however, leave open the realistic risk that if they can't work it out, Brian will pursue other opportunities. It wasn't an ultimatum, it was a statement of Brian's own needs. For them to have a serious discussion, those needed to be on the table too.

It's going to be difficult to make this work. This is one of the problems with a big age gap between partners -- they are at different stages in their lives. One is just starting and exploring, the other is (finally) ready to settle down a bit (not completely -- this is Brian, after all!). I think they can work it out, if they care enough, trust each other enough, and continue to talk honestly, but it won't be easy.

Have a great weekend, Randall!
Ann Marie
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
With all that long-winded epistle, I forgot to mention -- "burning shrub"? Are you channeling Molly Ivins now?
Ann Marie
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on May 14th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 10:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on May 14th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Create Your Reality: cliffhangercourt1429 on May 13th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
My anger, simmering beneath the surface, my dissatisfaction with everything, even tricking, my self-destruction, all become understandable in context. ... It’s now or never. I have to tell him about the burning shrub, or there’s never going to be any hope for us. And that’s not okay. “I’m no longer happy living alone,” I throw it out there. “I don’t know what that means for us, but I don’t want to live this way anymore.”

Holy shit. This is one dedicated reader voting for true luv. Of the Brian & Justin variety. I am so proud of Brian for speaking his mind but that is some scary shit he just said. That's Adrian-scary. To me. And you know that fic nearly killed me dead. But still! Brian spoke up. He didn't censor himself and he didn't put himself last. That is HUGE!!! Now *this* would've made for some excellent tv.

I can well imagine time is suspended. I only hope Justin receives this truth with love and grace. They each make perfect sense. And while there's absolutely nothing wrong with a substantial age difference between a couple, there will always be some practical, life-type issues to deal with. And an already well-established, financially independent half of the couple vs the not-yet-set-in-the-career other half of the couple is definitely one of those issues. I've never been of the opinion that there couldn't have been more discussion of this and ways to work around it successfully so it didn't seem so all or nothing. Relationships are always about compromise and communication, with each party being willing meet the other. Not that that's ever been our boys' strong suit... Fantastic chapter, Randall. Can't wait for more. *iz nervous*
film102film102 on May 13th, 2006 04:37 pm (UTC)
Court,
Great icon, as usual for the place they are in, especially Brian, without words, like I am doing right now.

Hope you get to use it for a while.

Lyn
Re: Court, - court1429 on May 13th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Court, - film102 on May 13th, 2006 11:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Court, P.S. - (Anonymous) on May 13th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
mdlawmdlaw on May 13th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
Wow, that's huge for Brian. Wow, that's all I can say. m
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)
posted more.
TKtclark1922 on May 13th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC)
Beyond the gift, which says so much about how deeply Brian loves Justin, Brian's best gift is letting Justin know how he feels. Justin's explanation rings true, which is why Brian can't argue what he'd normally do in canon. What is especially wonderful about this chapter is that Brian is willing to voice his truth...that he's no longer happy living alone. He has changed in one of the most fundamental ways possible...he has come to realize that he needs someone, Justin, to be happy. One more of his truisms biting the dust. Loved it...how will Justin react to this very important declaration? AWBR....Ha said it before you did!

Peace
TK
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:31 pm (UTC)
damn you beat me to it!!!!
(no subject) - tclark1922 on May 14th, 2006 09:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on May 13th, 2006 04:02 am (UTC)
B/J
Ran:

I've had many conversations about the ending of the show and how I felt that they should end it. My daughter and I were just having htat conversation again tonight. I really like the way you are having B/J talk and share. When they were alone, I think they did talk and that Justin really had Brian's number. Your talent and vision shine through and I appreciate you putting into words my thoughts.

sfscarlet
rand_altrand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:32 pm (UTC)
Re: B/J
I think maybe justin didnt have brian's true number. he missed this big one. in my world, anyway. I'm glad you're enjoying it
Wrenwren_kt7oz on May 13th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
I want to erase it from my brain. I want to make it go away. I want to do something to myself to make it stop.

I have to tell him about the burning shrub, or there’s never going to be any hope for us. And that’s not okay.

And there it all is. The ways in which Brian is still the same damaged soul. And the ways in which he's changed and grown.

The realisation that he no longer sees being alone as being the only way to live his life still terrifies him, as it would have right back at the beginning.

But this time he doesn't let that fear stop him from actually being honest about what he's feeling.

Gods, I hope Justin appreciates how brave he's being.

And on the subject of Justin, what a perceptive comment about him needing to be hungry to actually put his work on the line and get it out there.

Makes so much sense, and makes so much sense of why he feels he needs to be in another city to do that.

But maybe he's just going to have to find another way, another form of self discipline, one that doesn't have both of them paying such a heavy toll.

I know, I know. AWBR.

As for the impasse thing ... you know what I think. I have to believe that two intelligent men, operating from a place of mutual love, can find a way to be together. It might require sacrifices and compromises from both of them, but they can surely work something out.

I trust that the same applies to an intelligent man writing this story. *g*

I mean it literally. I trust you.




film102film102 on May 13th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, Wren,
I chatter about what I want and here you are saying it.

Well done.

Lyn
Re: Oh, Wren, - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 09:01 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Oh, Wren, - film102 on May 14th, 2006 09:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 14th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - wren_kt7oz on May 14th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)