His cock is in my hand and it’s hard to the touch. His face is flushed, the way it always looks when his heat is up. I want him so much I can feel it in my core as well as everywhere else in my body. And then the knock intrudes. I see the frustration in his eyes as he sighs, audibly. I unstraddle him and walk away. His gaze follows me and then he laughs as I veer from the door and go into the bedroom, returning with lube and condoms.
“Fuck them,” I say as I strip off my clothes and then his. “Or maybe I should say fuck me. To hell with them.”
I’ve wanted to fuck him for so long. If they think they can stop this locomotive, they’re wrong. I don’t care if they stand right here in the room. I’m going through with this.
And we do.
Somewhere in the middle of it, the banging on the door stops as the banging on the chaise gets hotter. Or either I just blocked the noise. Sex, done right, is always good, but sex with Brian is like no other for me. He fits my body, he knows what I need, and he gives it to me. Even hurt, limited in movement, it works for us. I close my eyes as I ride him, careful to keep my weight back, off of his torso, opening my eyes when his breathing and motion tell me he’s about to shoot. I love to watch his handsome face when he comes. The grimace of his features, as if in exquisite pain, the high color in his complexion, the way his relief starts with a gasp and ends with a smile.
Watching him makes me come, and only then do I really think about the fact I just spunked his bandages. Normally I would fold over him now, pressing his body to mine, but not today. Not with those ribs. I reluctantly dismount and come back with a wet cloth to dab the traces from his mummy wrap. He laughs. “Hope they don’t run a blue light over me.”
“Expecting the CSI crew?”
“Well, someone was hammering my door.”
“You should be so lucky that it was the CSI crew,” I toss him an afghan to cover up. “I’m going to take a shower and then go out and get some take away and also refresh your supply of Advil and mummy wrap.”
“Can you walk?”
I shrug. “It’s a block. I’ll manage. You stay put. I’ll help you shower when I get back.”
“It was…” he hesitates and I smile.
“I know. It was.”
When I’m dressed and headed for the door, I pause to kiss him goodbye, but he’s asleep. I kiss his forehead and leave him there. My ankle is sore, yeah, I’m not running any marathons, but I can manage this pain. I still take the elevator, and take my time walking to the drug store to be followed by the Chinese place we like. Being back in the ‘hood feels as strange as it feels good. I miss the familiarity, the sense of belonging to this community. Plenty of fags in East Village, but not this sense of community. I’ve met artists, and we have a lot to talk about, but in a way I get sick of them. If I’m not painting, I don’t want to sit around and talk about painting. And the act of creation isn’t really verbal, anyway.
As I fill a small red plastic basket with Advil and bandages and hot and cold packs and cigarettes and condoms and other necessities of life, I hear my name being called in a distinctive whine. Michael. “I heard you were in town,” he says as he walks over to me and curiously eyes my shopping choices: Brian’s brand of cigarettes, Brian’s brand of condoms. “I called your mom’s house and she said you went skiing.”
“As it turned out, yeah.”
That look I know so well. Half suspicion, half envy, all pathetic. “Interesting. I thought you two had sort of put it on ice.”
“You never know with us,” I throw in a couple power bars, a couple Hershey bars, you decide who gets which.
“We were just over at Brian’s place, my mom and me, but he didn’t answer the door.”
“I know. We were in the middle of it. Bad timing. Next time you may want to call first.” As if that concept would ever enter his dictionary of rude behavior.
“Are you limping?” He chooses to ignore the sexual confession, as always preferring to believe Brian and I have never touched each other intimately. It’s easier for his fantasies that way.
“I sprained my ankle snowboarding. It’s no big deal.”
“And naturally Brian can’t be bothered to go out and let you rest.” This is another thing he does. He never misses a chance to dis Brian behind his back. I don’t consider this appropriate BFF behavior.
“Brian also had some bad luck on the slopes, worse, in fact. Broke several ribs, wrenched his knee and shoulder, and had a concussion. He couldn’t go out shopping if his life depended on it.”
Now he gets that winsome, puppy dog eyes look that says “I’m so worried about my poor widdle Bwian.” I just roll my eyes and put the basket on the counter. I picked up Brian’s wallet on the way out since I have virtually no cash. I get carded on the cigarettes. I try to show him Brian’s ID. “Six-two?” He asks and I sigh and produce my own. He obviously thinks it’s fake, but sells them to me anyway. Damned baby face. He bags the items and Michael walks out with me.
“Has he seen a doctor?”
“Duh, Michael. Yes.”
“He’ll be fine, but he’s laid up for now.”
“Who will care for him when you go back to New York?” His unfinished question leaves out the “soon I hope”. Will he ever be over his unrequited passion for Brian? Yeah, when the world stops spinning. He follows me to the Chinese restaurant.
“I’m not going back until he’s on his feet, and after that who knows?”
“What do you mean ‘who knows’? Are you considering coming back? Listen Justin, don’t let him guilt you into leaving New York. He’s been just fine since you left and…”
“Stop,” I tell him. “Just stop. What we decide to do about our living arrangement is between Brian and me. If I want your opinion, I’ll ask for it. Otherwise don’t presume to tell me about Brian Kinney and what he wants and needs. I think I’m in a better position to measure that than you will ever be.”
I’m as shocked as he is by what I just said. Did that come out of my mouth? I remember, in Banff, when Brian said we can’t let those on the outside alter our relationship by poisoning us with their opinions. I think he’s right and I think we were both foolish to do so before. We have enough issues without allowing third parties into the mix.
“I think I’ve known Brian a little longer than you, Justin,” he plays the BFF card. I shake my head.
“In an entirely different way and longer doesn’t mean better.”
I order our usual preferences while Michael steams. “So, how are Ben and Hunter?” I ask with a bright little smile as if I didn’t just eviscerate him. He glares.
“What did you guys do for Christmas?”
“We went to my mom’s. You can’t just keep bouncing in and out of his life, Justin. It isn’t fair.”
“What do you not understand about my not discussing my relationship with Brian with you?”
“Someone has to talk sense to you two.”
I laugh at that. “You mean you?”
“Is that funny?”
“Well, yeah.” The food comes out quickly and I hand Michael a bag as I start back to the loft. It’s inevitable that he’s going with me, I know that. His Brian stalks won’t end until he spies the beast. I should have asked him if he wanted me to order something for him. Whoops.
We’re silent in the elevator, and when we enter the loft, he starts to talk, but I hold a finger up to my lips and nod towards sleeping Brian. He hasn’t moved since I left. I quietly unpack the food, filling a tray with white cardboard boxes and fetch Brian’s favorite ebony chopsticks with the silver tips. I put a couple bottles of Evian on the tray and carry it over to the chaise. Michael follows.
I set the tray on the floor and lean over to kiss his sleeping lips. Sleeping Beauty, for sure. He really is. He stirs and smiles up at me. “Hello, Sunshine. Your face is cold,” his fingers spread out on my cheek.
“It’s chilly out there. Hungry?”
“Yeah, smells good. Kung Pao chicken?”
“Of course. And spring rolls and fried rice.”
I balance the tray on his lap and kneel beside the chaise so I can get to the cartons, after shedding my cold weather gear. Only then does he notice Michael. “Haven’t I told you about letting things follow you home?” He quips and we both laugh but Michael is into puppy dog eye mode.
“Are you okay, Brian? You look like shit!” A glance at me, as if I had beaten Brian with a broomstick. He shrugs.
“I’ve been better, been worse. You want some?” He’s a better host than I am. Michael shakes his head.
“Mom and I came by earlier but Justin said you were…busy,” another baleful look at me that I ignore. “We had your Christmas gifts. She took them with her.”
He nods. I know Brian. He would’ve already had their gifts delivered so they could have them on the day. “Something to look forward to.”
“I was going to use my key but Mom said you might not be alone and she didn’t want to walk in on something.”
“I always knew Debbie had a brain under that fright wig.”
“Brian, do you really think this is a good idea? You and Justin, I mean? You were just starting to…”
After exchanging a look with me, Brian points his sticks at Michael and says, “Don’t go there.”
“Seriously. Don’t. If I need your opinion, I’ll ask for it.”
“Fine. Except I’m always the one who has to pick up the pieces he leaves behind.”
Ouch. That hurts. Brian’s expression darkens. “Eagerly.”
“You eagerly pick up those pieces, Michael. It makes you feel important to me. It keeps me where you want me to be. Alone.”
“How did this become about me?”
“It isn’t about you. That’s my point. Don’t you have a hubby in the ‘burbs somewhere?”
“Fine, I’ll go. But when he’s back in New York and you’re feeling blue again, don’t bother calling me.”
He makes a dramatic exit and I stare at Brian. “He really dislikes me, doesn’t he?”
“He dislikes my loving you.”
“Better that you’re lonely?”
We both wince. Some friend. “I guess the crazy aunt is out of the attic, Brian.”
“New York. We can’t keep dancing around it.”
His eyes meet mine. “What are you about to tell me?”
I stare into his beautiful, expectant, guarded face and I have not one clue about what I’m going to say next.