Brian Kinney In Love
Brian Kinney isn’t fooling anyone anymore.
My name is Michael Novotny and I’m Brian’s best friend. I used to be secretly in love with Brian, but that was before my thirtieth birthday and I realized what a raging asshole Brian was when it came to my feelings. I could handle his assiness as his friend, but as someone who’s supposed to be his partner and lover? No, I’m better off just being his friend. Besides, I wouldn’t have Ben if I was still in love with Brian and Ben is my everything. I couldn’t be happier the way things turned out.
But back to Brian. He is not fooling anyone. He had gone and done the one thing he said he’d never do – he’s fallen in love.
It’s fucking hilarious. Well, at first it wasn’t, because of the pain and bitterness, and then the whole punching me thing, but now it’s comedy gold. Brian is in a relationship. The commitment-phobe has a partner. He is completely whipped, and the funny thing is: he doesn’t even know it. Sure, he still tricks, but when Justin Taylor says, “Jump,” Brian leaps off the Sixth Street Bridge. He is that much in love.
“You are whipped.”
“Are too.” Michael glanced over at Brian, who was sprawled beside him on the couch in Michael’s living room. Brian had been there since noon, annoying the shit out of him. “You’re sulking because Jus-Jus—”
“Whatever you call your boyfriend, went bye-bye for two weeks,” Michael said. “And you miss him already.”
“I do not.” Brian’s icy glare had no effect on Michael. “I could care less that Justin is gone.”
“If I’m lucky, he’ll stay gone.”
“You keep telling yourself that.”
Michael reached out and patted Brian’s cheek. “You’re so adorable when you’re pouting.”
“Stop channeling your mother.” Brian knocked his hand away.
“There weren’t enough ‘fucks’ and ‘goddamn-its’ in that sentence for me to be my mother,” Michael said.
“True.” Brian sighed and dropped his head on the back of the couch. “I’m bored.”
Michael grinned. “You could call Justin.”
The glare returned and Michael laughed. “I’m going to get years of material out of this.”
“You won’t if you’re dead,” Brian said pleasantly with a shark-like smile.
Michael was saved from demise by Brian’s cell phone ringing.
“Yeah?” Brian said into the receiver. Michael saw Brian’s features soften, something Brian would be livid about if he knew what he looked like when talking to Justin. He taunted the reaper by making kissy faces and leapt up from the couch out of reach when a hand flew his way.
Wandering into the kitchen, Michael shamelessly eavesdropped on the one-sided conversation, gathering more gossip and blackmail from the Brian-and-Justin Love Affair.
“I don’t know. I’d have to go home and look. Why?… She’s known you how long and doesn’t know you’re allergic to roses?” Brian stood and grabbed his coat off the coffee table. He headed to the door with the phone at his ear. “You’re not going to die… I’m on my way now. Stop being such a drama princess… Yes, but it’s not as effective over the phone…”
Brian barely glanced at Michael before he left, his conversation cutting off as the apartment door closed. Michael wasn’t offended. Instead, he grinned madly. Brian was so whipped.
I wasn’t the only one who noticed Brian’s behavior, either. Before the Fiddler, when Brian and Justin were together, Brian acted as Brian always had, only with a vocal fixation on one person. After the Fiddler and the two lovebirds having forged a new relationship, Brian acted as Brian always had, only with a non-vocal fixation on one person.
With Brian, it’s always about what isn’t said.
Breakfast at the diner was its usual chaos, with Michael, Ben, Brian, and Emmett gathered at a table. Debbie breezed by with coffees and hellos, dishing out their orders with her usual side of perv. Their morning chatter was about Emmett’s newest client, punctuated by speared eggs and toast.
“They want an eighties theme, can you believe it?” Emmett looked aghast. “Big hair and legwarmers and shoulder pads.” He shuddered. “I tried telling Tony: ‘Honey, shoulder pads should only be worn by football players,’ but he was adamant. I’m just waiting for the call about hiring a breakdancer for entertainment.”
“The eighties weren’t that bad,” Ben said.
Brian snorted a laugh. Michael made a face. “Maybe not for you, but I spent the eighties getting my head stuck in a toilet.”
“No wonder your hair has that blue tinge to it,” Emmett said.
“It does not!” Michael protested.
“I think the blue makes you look cute,” Ben said in a low voice, kissing Michael’s temple.
“I’m trying to eat here,” Brian said in disgust.
Michael looked with mock seriousness at Ben. “Yeah, no lovey dovey stuff in front of Brian. It makes him miss his boyfriend.”
Brian stabbed a piece of sausage. “I do not have a boyfriend.”
“Excuse me, partner,” Michael corrected. He earned a glare, which he only grinned at in response.
“Where is Justin, anyway?” Emmett asked Brian. “You two are usually joined at the hip.”
Brian was not pleased with that observation. “Justin is in Rochester with his mother and sister, visiting his aunt,” he said in a clipped voice.
“By your tone, I’d say he will be gone for at least two weeks,” Emmett said. He dared to pat Brian’s arm in condolence. “Don’t worry, dear. He’ll be back before your bed gets cold.”
“My bed is never cold,” Brian sneered.
“But it’s lonely, even with someone in it,” Emmett said sagely.
Brian scoffed, his tongue pressed against his inner cheek, and continued eating. Michael exchanged smiling glances with Emmett and Ben. They all noted Brian didn’t refute the statement.
No one ever thought Brian would fall in love, even me, despite my secret fantasies. For one thing, Brian was too much of a jackass to put up with on a long-term, daily basis, so who would spend time enough with him for that connection to be made? Second of all, Brian didn’t believe in love. How could he put faith in an untouchable, invisible emotion?
Then came this little blonde twink, who didn’t seem to understand the word ‘no.’ He latched onto Brian like a leech and wouldn’t let go. It was just the type of thing that Brian despised and he complained loudly about it. But, instead of putting the boy into place, what does Brian do?
He falls in love with Justin. Three times.
The first time he fell in love with Justin, Justin died in a parking garage. The only thing that remained of that love is a bloodstained scarf and memories of an unfettered smile.
The second time he fell in love with Justin, Justin broke his heart to violin music. That love scabbed over and healed with a scar, a reminder of what went wrong.
The third time he fell in love with Justin, well… they say third time’s the charm.
Emmett nodded subtly with his head towards the stairs. Michael pretended to need a refill on his drink and turned in that direction. He saw Justin on the steps, looking around the crowded, thumping club. Michael nudged Ben and leaned close to whisper, “Incoming,” in Ben’s ear.
Ben spotted Justin, winked at Michael, and rested his elbows back against the bar. “So, Brian,” he said casually, to the man on his left. Brian was studying the crowd of dancers with little interest, a longneck in his hand. “When’s Justin returning?”
“Tomorrow,” Brian said, shooting the evil eye at Ben. “And don’t start with me. I don’t miss him, I can wait for him to come home, and I don’t give a fuck if that happens never.”
“Looks like never has arrived,” Emmett said, gesturing grandly towards Justin.
Brian’s beer paused partway to his mouth as his eyes alit on Justin. He feigned casualness, but no one believed it with the way he seemed to brighten from the inside. He took a pull on the beer, set the bottle aside, and made a beeline for the stairs without a word of goodbye.
“Five bucks says he’ll give Justin a porn star kiss and then drag him to the back room,” Emmett said.
“You’re on,” Ben said. “But my five bucks is on Brian dragging Justin out of here.”
“Michael, are you in?” Emmett asked.
“No,” Michael said, because he knew how this was going to end.
Justin spotted Brian as he came up the stairs. A small, but wholly happy smile curved his lips. Brian stopped on the step below Justin, settled his hands on Justin’s waist, and said something. Justin’s laugh was swallowed by the loud music of Babylon and he draped his arms over Brian’s shoulder. He dipped his head, rested his forehead against Brian’s, and said something to make Brian smile widely.
“That’s it?” Emmett sounded disappointed, as Justin turned and headed up the stairs with Brian behind him. “No claims of possession? No smoldering looks? No floor show?”
“I think Brian showed plenty,” Michael said with a fond smile. No matter how much it was denied, no two people could look that besotted with each other and not be in love. And now everyone who saw them knew it.
Brian Kinney wasn’t fooling anyone anymore.