Log in

No account? Create an account
04 May 2006 @ 07:39 am

Chapter 7: Brian’s POV

The conversation with Justin, coupled with the internal revelations about Lindsay, left me feeling ragged. I can fool other people about how I feel, but there’s no fooling the man. I let the hotel valet park my car. I don’t want to deal with even a minor hassle. The hotel is predictably nice, gracious, and while I tell them I need no help with my luggage, a bellman volunteers. It’s late, it’s quiet, and again, I’m too tired and stressed to deal. As we await the elevator, I stare at the all-white Christmas tree decorating the lobby. It’s wired with white lights and decorated with silver ornaments and it makes me feel sad for some reason. It’s an illusion of a Christmas tree, a perfect reflection of what should be lopsided and messy and littered with a collection of family and homemade ornaments.

This is the kind of tree I would have, if I had a tree, a perfect reflection of what doesn’t exist. And that makes me feel saddest of all.

“In town on business?” The bellman tries to distract me. He’s young, he’s cute, he’s cruising me, but right now I’m not sure if the cruise is to gauge my tip meter or because he wants to fuck me. I’m not sure I care.

“No,” I answer, not feeling compelled to explain further. We board the elevator and he pushes the button for my floor. I stand at the back with my hands braced on the polished brass bar, my eyes closed. He says,

“Do I know you? You look like an actor.”

Please. Without opening my eyes, I respond, “No, you don’t know me.”

“You’re handsome enough to be an actor.”

I do not respond. Definitely, aggressively, cruising me. Slow night. He leads the way to my room and opens it with a flourish. He proceeds to explain the mysteries of the HVAC system, the remote controls for the electronics, even the fucking bathroom amenities. He offers to get a bucket of ice for me after pointing out the wonder that is the mini bar. Fine. He’s getting a ten-dollar tip. That’s it. He can adjust my thermostat, bring me ice, even lick the film off my soap, but he’s getting a ten-dollar tip. I guess that makes it a little more in Canadian currency. I throw my coat and scarf on the bed and stand at the window, staring out at the crescent of lights before you hit the black void of Lake Ontario. Water views may be lovely in the sunlight, but at night, they make you feel as if you’re perched on the edge of an abyss.

Which I am.

He returns with my ice. I hand him the ten. He smiles as he takes it and causes his hand to brush mine. “Anything else I can do for you, sir?” he says with a knowing smile. I sigh. What the fuck? I’m too tired to go out, too wired to sleep, and he’s hot enough.

Five minutes later, he’s seated on the edge of the bed sucking my cock. I rest one hand on his shoulder, the other behind my neck, my eyes closed and mind elsewhere. He’s maybe a six on the cock sucking scale. No blow job is bad, unless they bite you or gag on it, but some are better than others. He rates a six, enough to get me off fairly quickly, which he does. Afterwards, he starts to undress, but I shake my head.

“Don’t bother.”

“That was just the preliminary,” he leers at me. I zip up and walk towards the door.

“Tonight, there will be no encores. I’m tired, I’m going to bed.”

He looks disappointed as he leaves and tells me to ring the bell desk if I change my mind. I won’t. It took the edge off so maybe now I can sleep. I close the drapes, take off my clothes, climb under the heavy down comforter and instantly fall into that void.

Christmas Eve.

Gus and what’s-her-face, Michael’s kid, are so hyper over the holidays that they don’t notice the tension between their mommies and me. Which is good. I don’t want to spoil their joy, none of this is their fault. I shipped my presents to him early so I wouldn’t have to deal with excess baggage at the airport. The plan is that he will open them today, and I’ll fly to Banff on Christmas morning so they can have their little lesbo holiday without my testosterone poisoning their home.

I spent a lot of time, with Cynthia’s research assistance, selecting gifts online that seemed appropriate for a kid his age and with his interests. A couple choices missed, but most were direct hits. I even bought a few things for his sister so she wouldn’t feel left out. I have one for Lindsay in my bag, but I’m rethinking it. They give me one from Gus. He watches expectantly as I shred the paper and then says, “It’s goggles for skiing, Daddy.”

“Gus!” Lindsay reprimands him with a laugh. “It’s supposed to be a surprise!”

The exposed box gave it away, anyway. It’s not like I don’t have state-of-the-art goggles, but these have some sentimental value, coming from him. I try them on to his appreciative giggles. “You look like a monster, Daddy!” he compliments me and I go into monster mode, chasing him around the room and up the stairs, then down again to his delighted laughter and Melanie’s glare. He finally makes a lunge for his newly acquired super water canon and slays me with it, even though it’s not currently loaded with liquids. I fall on the floor with a groan and lie very still until he comes over to me and pries the goggle off my eyes and asks,

“You dead, Daddy?”

I spring up with a growl and grab him, laughing at his squeal of surprise. I roll him onto the rug and tickle him until he squirms free. “Can we have a little less rough house and more inside-appropriate fun?” Lindsay cautions. I slump onto the sofa, returning the goggles to the box as Gus climbs up on my lap.

“Mommy is no fun,” I tell him. She glares at me.

“Mommy has to live with a hyper-stimulated child. Daddy gets to go back to his fancy hotel and crash.”

“Gus will go skiing with Daddy!” Gus suggests. Not exactly the ski trip I had in mind, but I shrug.

“Why not? Could be fun.”

“Absolutely not,” Melanie says. “And how dare you say that in front of him so that now we get to be the villains again.”

“But I want to go!” Gus puffs up to signal an impending crying session that Melanie cuts short by snatching him off of my lap. She carries him into the kitchen, saying,

“It’s time for your dinner.”

I can hear him protest and cry a little, as Lindsay shakes her head. “Did you have to do that?”

“It was his idea.”

“He’s a child, you’re not. It’s Christmas, Brian. Do you honestly think I wouldn’t want Gus here with his family on Christmas?”

“I’m his family too.”

“You’re a drop-in father.”

“Only because that’s the way you fucking want it!”

“As do you, Brian. You just want me to provide you with the way out.”

“Do I? Okay, Lindsay. Here it is. I’m happy to take Gus to Banff with me. Period. Pack him up and we’re gone.”

“We don’t even trust you to care for him in your home,” Melanie rejoins us after settling Gus with his food in the kitchen. “Do you think we’d let you take him up on a fucking mountain?”

“Yeah, Melanie, that’s what I would do. I’d take him up the Black Diamond slope with me and watch him tumble down the mountain. That’s such fun and so like me.”

“You wouldn’t know what the fuck he was doing while you were off chasing the ass of some Scandinavian ski instructor.”

Enough. I see Gus enter the room, his face and hands bearing the traces of spaghetti sauce. His large, Bambi eyes look from the women to me. His lower lip trembles. He looks like I did at that age. I’ve seen the pictures. I don’t want him to have the same fucked up memories I have of childhood Christmases with the Kinneys. I hold up my hands in surrender. This isn’t going to be settled in this manner. This is going to be much more complicated than they think. But the one thing I won’t do is to traumatize my son. I pick up his water canon and say, “Come on, Sonny Boy. Let’s go upstairs and test this out in the bath tub. You look like you could use a blast or two.”

He lights up at that possibility and Lindsay calls after us, “Don’t let him soak the bathroom!”

I just ignore her. I’ve run out of things to say to her that would be considered civil.

One of the sadder places to be on Christmas Eve night is a gay bar in a strange city. One of the more miserable aspects of these places is that there are a lot of people gathered there, because their homosexuality has alienated them from their families and the greater community. Those of us without partners, those of us without ties, shunned by organized religion, congregate here to drink and cruise, but mainly to avoid being alone.

In Toronto, the gay part of town is clustered around Church Street. It’s bigger than I expected it to be, with the usual rainbow identified buildings, shops, bars, clubs, and even condos, with rainbow flags displayed on terraces. It’s bitterly cold and I go into the first bar I find, just to escape the chill. It’s more Woody’s than a fern bar or slick big city dive, which is fine. The crowd is homogenous, white, very Canadian.

The bartender is cute. I’m not really in the mood for company, but he seems to be flirting, so I’m rethinking my options. Anything to turn off the mind, to stop the pain for awhile. And then I feel a strong hand close on my shoulder. “Brian Kinney. Of all the gin joints in Gayopolis, you come into mine.”

I glance over my shoulder at someone I definitely didn’t expect to see. I know I did him, but I can’t remember exactly where and when. It seemed like a good encounter, one he obviously remembers, and then he says, “You said you were going to call me. That was, what? Four years ago? Lose my number?” His smile is more mischievous than accusatory.

He’s handsome, probably my age but well-preserved, well-dressed, understated. “You’re going to have to help me,” I tell him. “I’ve slept.”

He laughs and sits on the stool beside me, motioning for refills for us both. “Let me set the scene for you,” he says. “You have a friend in the hospital, close to death. Comatose.” I wince. Justin. The bashing. He goes on. “You apparently were chosen to make the decision on whether to pull the plug.”

I brighten up at that. Ted, not Justin. Suddenly the tiles fall into place. The handsome intern, the empty bed next to where Ted vegetated in a drug-induced coma, precursor of things to come for him in that arena. While I’m plowing the doc, Ted decides to revive. Funny story. And this is the doc. No clue what his name is, although I’m sure he told me, once. He says it again as he extends his hand to me.

“Brent Matthison. What the hell are you doing here on Christmas?”

I shake his hand and say, “Visiting my son. What are you doing here?”

“You have a son?”

“The first time you cruised me was in a hospital corridor on the night my son was born.”


“Why are you here?”

“I live here, now. I’m an orthopedic surgeon. My partner was Canadian, so it made sense for me to start my practice here.”

“He let you out on Christmas Eve?”

“He let me out a year ago,” he said with a laugh. “And changed the locks. You?”

“Single,” I say, ignoring the internal wince.

“Of course.”

I want to defend that it hasn’t always been like this, but I don’t bother. A half hour later we’re in his waterfront condo that is very Bauhaus, faggot style. Like I should talk. Ten minutes after that, we’re recreating the scene in the hospital, only the mattress is Tempur Pedic and there’s no vegetating Ted beyond the curtain. Lying side by side, afterwards, I smoke, he doesn’t, and then he says,

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Catching a plane to Banff.”

“Ah, skiing. More work for me.”

“Not from me. I’m an expert.”

“They’re the most likely to need my services. Take more chances.”

“Maybe you should relocate to be closer to the slopes.”

“There are plenty of amateur athletes in Toronto. Maybe I should look into a ski trip. I haven’t been in years. It sounds inviting. Some rigorous exercise followed by hot buttered rum and fireside fucking.”

I cast him a sharp glance. “I’m not looking for a ski date.”

He smiles. “You’re not the only hot top at the lodge.”

I get up and dress, reminding myself of why “do-overs” are such a stupid idea. I tell him I can see myself out and escape to the elevators. I’m ready to leave Toronto, now. I feel disconnected, angry. Angry at Lindsay, at my circumstances, just angry. Alone and angry. Potent combination.
Current Mood: angryangry
claudj28claudj28 on May 4th, 2006 12:42 pm (UTC)
Oh... this left me angry and depressed. I felt tense and sullen from the first word till the last, and this chapter felt appallingly real. It was a tought one, and I hope Brian will get some kind of happyness soon (and not from this doc, please?!).

Brian being with Gus was adorable to read. Lindsey's 'inside-appropiate fun' left such a bad taste in my mouth (and not only because I work with children)... I don't even want to talk about Mel... Argh, I've gotten a very uneasy feeling now, thank you! (j/k) Seriously, you've captured what Brian is going through very, very well and made me feel like I'm living it, and it isn't pretty.

Now I need to go outside and try to breathe easy again. *sigh*
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC)
yep its def a very volatile time for brian.
damietta on May 4th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
If little boys were allowed more "outside-appropriate" fun, there would be less Ritalin in the world (my rant for the day). Entries like this make me wonder what Gus is going to remember and what his life will be like.

You successfully weaved a spell of ennui. I'm hoping Brian gets mad as hell and won't take it anymore.

rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 01:33 pm (UTC)
interesting about ritalin. I know my mom used to say go outside and run around. BWAHAAAA
grneyedwomangrneyedwoman on May 4th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC)
I've been sick with a bad flu and am finally feeling like a person. I'm all caught up now! I love this story! You're painting an sad, hopeful picture.Honey you are good.
Love, Cindy
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:14 pm (UTC)
sorry you've been sick cindy. I had it not long ago. it sucks and not in a good way. Welcome back
asm614: Brianasm614 on May 4th, 2006 03:43 pm (UTC)
Lindsay... grr. I mean I expect it from Melanie, but how Lindsay changed (or maybe she didn't change at all - I think some things just became much more pronounced) as the show continued - and into this.... My heart aches for Brian.

This is painful to read, but in a beautiful, moving way. Thank you.
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
thanks and sorry about the painful part,
isolated - film102 on May 5th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Notincin: Gale Haroldreader1 on May 4th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
Poor Gus!
This whole chapter had its desired effect on me, Randall. I wanted to take my kids down to the paintball place, get dressed up in those ridiculous suits, and let them run wild! I can't imagine what kind of terrible mothers those two must be to be able to squash the enthusiasm, fun, and beauty of a father and son like Brian and Gus playing and roughhousing together. The sadness and quiet desperation that Brian showed in this chapter just slayed me, and you did a wonderful job of displaying Brian's emotions for all of us.

You are really setting a compelling scene here, Randall, and we can't wait for you to get Gus out of that situation ASAP! Anyway, you have really made me think here, and I loved the images, though sad, you gave us here. Thanks for the wonderful post. Hope Brian's week improves. Sherrie
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Poor Gus!
thanks sherrie and I know its hard to read, but this cant rush to the end
Madam: Blond Boy Asssweetmadamblue on May 4th, 2006 04:59 pm (UTC)
*deep sigh* This was depressing. Frankly, I don't even know why he is going through the motions & putting on the charade. He is NOT fine... Why go skiing when he doesn't even want to be there? Why go out when all he wants is to be "home".

I think another phone call or a face to face is in order here. This is just too depressing. Maybe we should hide the scarves... God I hope things get better here or I may open a vein. *shakes head*

rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
i guess for the same reason he was dancing and grinning at babylon at the end of the show. Pretending to be the brian they all expect him to be. and he did want to see gus, that was why he went there. I never said it was going to be a FUNNY story! BWAAAHAAA
ROTFL - film102 on May 5th, 2006 11:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Zoe: my beautiful galestraberrikyss on May 4th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
I’m his family too.”
“You’re a drop-in father.”
“Only because that’s the way you fucking want it!”
That bitch. How dare she say that to Brian, he loves Gus more than anything (except for Justin of course) and she knows that. Great choice of having that doc make an appearance. i remember him. i bet ted would too. heheh. yet in the end, this has left me feeling sad. i hope brian kidnaps gus and takes him skiing. the girls would deserve it.
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
not his style. and then he'd never stand a chance with gus from a legal perspective
Oh, no, - film102 on May 5th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Oh, no, - rand_alt on May 6th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC) (Expand)
Thymeoasis6028 on May 4th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
So sad!
That was a very powerful chapter, Randall. Brian seems so sad without really being able to put his finger on why, or else he just refuses to admit why, even to himself. The scene with Gus is lovely but then ruined by Gus' mothers. It's worrisome when even mindless sex can't bring Brian Kinney out of his funk.

rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
Re: So sad!
yep he's on a downward slope right now
vegamytevegamyte on May 4th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
Excellent chapter and comments from everyone above...ITA. I'm really feeling Brian's emptiness too, but I enjoy the real character evolution.
rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:24 pm (UTC)
thumpathumpa on May 4th, 2006 06:05 pm (UTC)
I thought I was having a bad day!!

This was depressing, not that you haven't heard that already.

He tries to be a good father, be more available to Gus, and Lindsay just shoots him down. What a bitch!
Is it a case of too little, too late?!

She's no angel! I don't know where she gets off reprimanding him for everything he does when he's with Gus!!

rand_altrand_alt on May 4th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
gus is still a young thing. way too young to say brian's interest is too late
(no subject) - thumpathumpa on May 4th, 2006 11:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
connorblondconnorblond on May 4th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
Mel didn't surprise me in this one .That's just the way she is. Resentful, hateful, spiteful. Not caring that she is hurting Gus in the process. It makes me sad. But even worse is that your look on Linds is spot on. I really, really, really resent that woman. And yeah, I said it before. But I'm saying it again. She is such a B.I.T.C.H.

“He’s a child, you’re not. It’s Christmas, Brian. Do you honestly think I wouldn’t want Gus here with his family on Christmas?”

Oh, this is so cruel. And it's just the kind of cruelty with a smile on her face and understanding in her oh so blue eyes I came to expect from Linds. I want to go there and hurt her - bad.
rand_altrand_alt on May 5th, 2006 12:05 am (UTC)
I feel ya. lucky for us she's fictional! BWAHAA
flamencanycflamencanyc on May 4th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC)
Interesting chapter Randall. I love that you're trying to really get into Brian's head, and I'm eager to see where you're going to go with this.

Plus I learned my new thing for the day from this chapter -- I'd never heard the term "fern bar" before, and now after doing some research, I'm up on the different variations of meaning it's had. Kind of funny that some people are using it to refer to the cheesy bars at chain restaurants like TGIF and Applebee's these days! Quite a change from when it was reserved for upscale places huh?

The only little thing -- though it's totally fine to take this type of creative license with canon of course -- but the guy Brian fucked at Ted's bedside in 104 was a nurse not a doc, and was a different actor than the one who played the guy Brian eye fucked in the hall in 101.

Thanks again for continuing this series!

♥ Flame
rand_altrand_alt on May 5th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC)
Thanks flame, oh well, never claimed to be a perfectionist on canon!
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on May 5th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
Interesting - film102 on May 5th, 2006 11:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Interesting - rand_alt on May 6th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Interesting - film102 on May 6th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Interesting - flamencanyc on May 6th, 2006 07:08 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Interesting - rand_alt on May 6th, 2006 11:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Interesting - flamencanyc on May 6th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
qafaddiction: gale addiction by paddies colourqafaddiction on May 4th, 2006 08:36 pm (UTC)
This story might stir up feelings of anger or sadness, as some other readers have indicated, but the more gut-wrenchingly real it is, and the more emotional I get, the better it is! I want to whoop for joy because you have this wicked ability to pull us right into the moment and show us what Brian is feeling, and that is the best kind of drama. It's meaty, but not overdone. I think it's Lindsay who wants Brian to be the drop-in father, not the other way around. It gives her an excuse to stay connected to him, without having to 'share' her son. It gives her an excuse to continue punishing him for not choosing her -- what I mean by that is, on the surface, it's about Brian not being a responsible dad; but underneath, Lindsay blames him for not wanting to be her husband and raise the boy as a couple. We know she has unrequited feelings for Brian, she's asked him on at least two occasions if he ever imagined the two of them married, raising Gus together. The woman is at best confused about her sexuality (look at what happened with Sam, or whatever that artist's name was that she slept with), and at worst, consipiring to make Brian's life a living hell. These may be tough times, and there may be more ahead, but that's what makes the eventual rewards so satisfying and sweet, because they were won with great determination and respectable effort. I'm with ya all the way, Ran, and feel free to take me on an emotional roller coaster because with you, I know it will be a great ride.

rand_altrand_alt on May 5th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
thanks for saying this, H. I get the feeling many readers want a very fast and sweet reunion, resolution for the boys, maybe because of the frustration we all feel for the end of the show. But when I set out to write this, it was with the idea that it COULD be resolved but it had to be logical for me. And that means working through the drek that we were left with and making sense of the relationship. not an easy task or a fast resolution.
(no subject) - wren_kt7oz on May 6th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
southernlilsouthernlil on May 4th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Not surprised but still proud that Brian took the "high road" and did not cause a scene and add to mucking up Gus's Christmas at "the house of those that need a serious reality check". Yeah, an impromptu ski trip with Gus probably wasn't going to happen and we expect Mel to be a bitch but Lindsay should really be ashamed-she should remember how tough Christmas can be and for no other reason than that be a bit more charitable. Bitch.
Anyhoo- feeling for Brian, hoping that the doc's predictions of chance taking and recklessness won't come to fruition since Brian is in such a volatile state.
rand_altrand_alt on May 5th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
charitable? this crew. As if. as for the rest, awbr.
awbr? - film102 on May 5th, 2006 11:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
hugs - armandyouidiot on May 6th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: hugs - film102 on May 6th, 2006 05:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: awbr? - rand_alt on May 6th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: awbr? - film102 on May 6th, 2006 05:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
bksbracelet: sad brianbksbracelet on May 4th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
I have always disliked Mikey but Lindsay and Mel may just take over the top spot. Lindsay's power over Brian cuts me like a knife as she continues to use Gus to ease her own frustration with life out on Brian on a regular basis. She totally discounts his rights of fatherhood except in the wallet. The very poignant moment when Brian saw his childhood again through his sons eyes just emphasis's how he is not his father, and no one knows how often he gives in to save Gus at his own emotional expense. Well done Randall Cheers Chris
rand_altrand_alt on May 5th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
thanks chris, and yes, I think he does that too.