The Mask
Chapter Twelve



Justin silently rose from the table. He took his and Brianís plate, not even looking at the older man as he headed to the kitchen. He wasnít petty, didnít slam cabinets or dishes, but his displeasure could be felt regardless.


Brian sighed and leaned back. Justin had been giving him the cold shoulder ever since he had said no to Justinís plea to go with Brian to Pittsburgh. His eyes followed the blond as he reentered the room, but Justin wouldnít look at Brian, instead picking up a sketchpad, he curled up on the sofa. Brian frowned, he was getting slightly ticked off, and, before he could stop himself, the words poured out of his mouth.


ďStop being such a damn drama queen! Youíre not my warden!Ē he snapped at the younger man. Throwing down his napkin, he rose and stalked over to the bar pouring himself a hefty shot of bourbon.


Turning back toward the living room, Brian winced at the look on Justinís face. The blond eyed Brian like he didnít know who he was and, in his eyes, was hurt. Brian set his glass down and sat beside Justin. Placing his hands on the young manís knees, he looked into the swimming, blue eyes.


ďIím sorry, Justin,Ē he said running his hands soothingly up and down Justinís crossed legs.


Blinking, Justin looked away. He still felt the sting of Brianís words and at the older manís inexplicable anger at him. Lately, heíd had an ideaÖa horrible idea, but it made sense. He had to ask even as his stomach rebelled at the very thought.


Looking back into regretful hazel eyes Justin gathered his courage. ďBrian, are you ashamed to be with me?Ē


Justinís head was filled with the doubts raised by his mom, his previous relationship with Ethan, and Brianís own refusal to share any of his past with Justin. He didnít want to believe that he was some kind of dirty secret, or worse some type of rent boy, hidden, for Brianís pleasure.


He could hear Jenniferís words - Ďyou donít know him,í Ďhe hasnít introduced you to any of his friends or family,í Ďwhat do you really know of this man?í The ringing in his ears grew worse, and he knew his face was pale, upper lip dotted with beads of sweat. Ethanís lies flashed behind his eyes, the night he found the groupie at the door, roses in hand, guilt written all over Ethanís face.


Justin mentally added up everything he recalled Brian telling him of his past and his life in Pittsburgh. He almost bent double in agony as he realized that he could list what he knew of his lover on one hand, but he couldnít look away from Brianís eyes.


Brian shook his head back and forth, a heavy frown on his face. He looked into Justinís eyes. He really thought that! Fuck, now what! Brianís rage came back in full force, and he fought with himself for several seconds, needing not to strike out at the blond again. There was also the brief desire to run, not to deal with this shit, but that too quickly passed; he had already made the commitment to Justin. Brian wasnít a quitter. He couldnít treat Justin like he would anyone else who dared to push him like this, didnít want to subject Justin to that Brian.


ďJustin-ďhe began, stopping to shake his head again and gather his thoughts. Finally, he turned to look the boy in the eye. ďWhy the fuck would you think that?Ē he asked, genuine puzzlement in his tone.


ďHow the hell could I not,Ē he practically yelled. Jumping up from the sofa, he paced furiously in front of Brian. ďLetís see, youíve told me nothing of your family, your friends, or your life before we met,Ē he said, ticking each off with his fingers, breath catching as he tried to control his emotions.


ďYou told me you have a son that you leave me to go see every weekend, but I have never seen a picture of him. You donít get any calls from anyone not business related. And letís not forget the big one! You wonít let me meet your son or go with you when you visit,Ē Justin continued, pausing to pin Brian with tear-filled eyes. He felt like with each word that poured from his mouth, he was one step closer to pushing Brian away, but he couldnít/wouldnít stop now. He deserved answers.


ďWhat am I supposed to think, Brian? That youíre hiding me? That you are ashamed to introduce me as your partner?Ē Justin fought not to let the tears fall, he wouldnít cry like some little faggot!


ďJustin,Ē Brian said softly, rising, he stepped close to the furious blond and tried too hold him, but Justin turned away.


That hurt, Brian felt the stab of rejection as he gazed on Justinís rigid back.


He didnít intend for any of this to happen. He didnít want to hurt Justin. He just wanted something untouched and untainted by his life in the Pitts. He should have known it would all go to shit! He was going to have to give Justin something he had never offered another, an explanation, but there was only so much he was willing to tell the blond. Brian took a hesitant step forward and carefully laid his hands on Justinís shoulders.


ďPlease, sit down.Ē Brian turned the younger man, hating that he had put that look of hurt on Justinís face, but the blond allowed him to lead him back to the sofa.


Justin looked into Brianís eyes. He couldnít recall ever hearing the other man say please before, but the expression in the hazel eyes was regretful and caring.


Brian took a deep breath. How did he admit that, after 30 plus years, there was nothing for him in his hometown? No family, friends that he wasnít so sure were ever really his friends; and a child that he had to fight to see? That was his worth in Pittsburgh. Why wouldnít he want to hide that from Justin, that nothingness?


Ha! Friends, Brian snorted to himself that was debatable. One didnít have to pay for friends, or you werenít supposed to have to. He did, constantly! Michael and Deb had been his haven, discovered at 14; they were who he had to run to when things at home got rough. But he had to pay for that haven. He had become a crutch for them both, a place to lay their blame and woes. It became Brianís job to accept that blame and to correct those woes no matter what they cost Brian personally.


How in the hell it became Brianís job to make Michaelís life easy and fulfilling, he had no clue. It had started in school; Mikey would have never graduated without Brianís help or survived mentally intact. The bullies would have eaten Mikey alive without Brianís threats to halt them. It became Brianís task to manage Michaelís feelings, to walk the fine line of keeping his friend that he needed, close, but not as close as Mikey wanted.


Michael could never accept that it wasnít to him that Brian would turn to for love and sex. So he told himself it was in Brian that the problem lay. If Brian didnít believe in love, in happily ever after, then that would explain why Mikey wasnít his choice. It couldnít be Michaelís fault that Brian refused to grow up; it was too convenient for Michael. As long as he kept Brian in that time warp where it was just the two of them, then there was always hope; hope that someday it might be Michael that Brian turned to.


There was also the desire of Michaelís to never grow up himself. Debbie loved to point out that Brian never learned to let go, that he kept Michael tied tightly to him. Of course, the very idea that she contributed to his child-like view of life through her circulation-cutting apron strings never occurred to her. Oh she couldnít possibly be at fault! If Michael failed at his latest relationship, it was Brianís fault. Michael hated his job; blame Brian! The list went on and onÖ


Debbie may really want Brian to be happy, but sheíll never really believe him capable of it. She would welcome Justin to the family, but, at the same time, warn him of the evils of Brian Kinney before the night was over. Sheíll never see him as anything other than that battered boy that ran to her house to escape. Brian couldnít even count the number of times she has said he needed to grow up, but, when he would step out of the ĎKinneyí norm, she would be the first person to say he would fuck it up!


Then, there was Lindsay. Talk about ties that bind; she came up with the perfect one to tie Brian to her forever, their son. They thought Brian blind, but he saw their motives all too well. Deep down, Lindsay would never be able to let go of that WASP idea of the husband, 2.5 kids and the white-picket fence. It didnít matter that she called herself a Muncher. Fuck, even Mel knew Lindsay still harbored some hetero-fantasy with Brian as the leading man.


How she had known that Brian would fall so hard for Gus, Brian didnít know, but he had, and, in doing so, had given her the ultimate weapon. ĎBe a good father for Gus, Brianí he could hear her saying this, Ďbut not so good that Mel feels threatenedí that was the tightrope Lindsay had him walking.


As for the others, life was never more interesting, never more such a great drama unless Brian was the uncaring asshole they could all point to.


It struck a blow to his pride to admit this, but Justin demanded some answers. Loosing the blond wasnít an option Brian would even consider.


ďThereís nothing for me in the Pitts, Justin.Ē Brian couldnít look at the boy as he confessed, didnít want to see the pity in those blue eyes. ďIf it werenít for Gus, I would never go back there. One of his motherís hates me, Justin, so itís a battle every damn time I want to see him. I wonít subject you to that.Ē Brian stopped, he clasp the hand that was laid on his thigh, grateful for Justinís forgiveness. The lie stuck a bitter cord through him, but the truth would be an even more bitter pill to swallow.


He couldnít tell the Justin the truth. That it was him that was too much of a coward too spend time with his son, that he was afraid of a four-year-old boy.


ďAs for being ashamed of something?Ē Brian finally looked up, meeting Justinís gaze head on. ďIím not ashamed of you, Justin. I am ashamed of where Iím from.Ē


Justin only nodded, keeping his gaze locked with the older manís. He could see the cost of the explanation Brian gave, and he could also sense that the other man didnít explain himself often. Justinís stomach unclenched and the sickness eased. He could accept this, for now; but, sooner or later, he was going to discover what demons Brian was running from. And he was running, this Justin knew.


ďOkay,Ē he said simply, but his remained serious. ďBut I still want to meet Gus.Ē


Brian almost let his body sag in relief. He nodded, letting Justin know that he heard him and understood...this was just a reprieve. ďIíll talk to his momsí to see if I can arrange to bring him here for a visit.Ē


Justin nodded and leaned forward, brushing a soft kiss on Brianís lips. He couldnít stay mad at the other man, and he hated that he had hurt Brian.


Brian closed his eyes at Justinís kiss, and Justin took advantage of this opportunity to press tender kisses to each closed eyelid. He trailed his lips slowly across high cheekbones and down Brianís elegant nose to those red lips that waited eagerly for his touch.


They kissed leisurely and gently, no hurry in their exploration of each otherís mouths. Gradually, Brian leaned back, sinking into the soft leather sofa and pulling Justin with him until the younger man lay atop Brian, lips still connected. Justin broke the kiss reluctantly, but then his eager tongue swept down to taste and nibble along Brianís graceful neck.


Brian kept his arms lightly wrapped around the blondís waist, letting the blond have his way, enjoying Justinís tender attention. Justin rose up, knees on either side of Brianís hips. A small smile stole across his lips as his fingers danced down Brianís cloth-covered chest. His once serious eyes were now twinkling with a familiar mischievousness that Brian well recognized. Brian laughed softly as Justinís fingers began opening the buttons of his shirt; he much preferred this activity to the drama of a few minutes ago.


Justin spread Brianís shirt open, revealing bronzed flesh and cooper-colored nipples. Despite the playfulness of his gaze, his lips and tongue were serious and soft as he laid kiss after kiss along Brianís chest adding a slow lick to each nipple. Brian started to speak, his mouth opening, but, before he could get the words out, Justin laid a finger across his lips. Brian settled back down, content for now to let Justin lead.


Justinís hands ran soothingly up from Brianís stomach, across his ribs, thumbs brushing over his nipples, before settling on Brianís shoulders. The blond slid down further Brianís body, his mouth once more lowering to the other manís chest.


ďFuck!Ē Brian hissed, his back arching up off the couch. The sharp teeth tugging on his right nipple hurt! He settled after a soothing tongue licked the sting, but his heart was still beating furiously. He removed his hand from Justinís hair where it had fisted the strands at the first feeling of pain.


Justin felt Brianís hold on his hair lighten and then the hand fell back onto the sofa. Justin finally left Brianís nipples. Trailing his tongue down, he left a wet path as his mouth circled Brianís navel, tongue dipping it and out.


Brian moaned and tried to arch away from that teasing tongue, but Justinís followed and Brianís stomach quivered at the play.


ďJustin,Ē he growled, ďstop teasing!Ē


Justin grinned, mouth full of Brianís flesh, but the hand that once again tangled in his hair warned him he was pushing. His hands came down and his fingers made quick work of the snap and zipper on Brianís pants. He folded the sides of the open jeans down, leaving Brianís cock open to the air. Justin looked up briefly, meeting hazel eyes now black with lust.


ďIs this what you want?Ē he asked before leaning down and drawing his tongue along Brianís shaft from root to tip.


Brianís chest was rising and falling rapidly. He felt light-headed as all the blood settled in his dick.


ďSuck me,Ē he ordered harshly, voice rough.


Justin held the laugh inside but a wide grin spilt his face. Before Brian could take him to task for it, he covered Brianís cock with his mouth.


Brian gave a grateful groan as his cock was surrounded with wet warmth.


Justin sucked gently, drawing his mouth up and off before flicking his tongue around the head of Brianís cock. He gathered the taste of the older man in his mouth, humming in pleasure, the vibrations traveling through Justinís tongue to the tip of Brianís dick.


Brian shuddered in pleasure. He hadnít had anyone who gave head like Justin or seemed to enjoy it as much as the blond did. He fought to keep the hand on Justinís hair light, but the other clenched into a fist, digging into the soft sofaís leather. Brian choked off the laugh that bubbled up at Justinís humming. The blond didnít give him a chance for much else before he again covered his cock with his mouth.


Justin sucked slowly up and down Brianís shaft. He never let the head slip from his mouth, and he kept his tongue swirls slow and lazy, flicking the head once as his head rose up and again as he went down. The slow languid pace had Brian on the edge. Justin didnít allow Brian a fast release. Heíd bring Brian just to the point of cumming before heíd back off.  Justin continued this, up until the hand fisted in his hair tightened, clenching and unclenching in the blond strands. With his own dick aching and wet, Justin knew it was time to end this. He let the cock in his mouth hit the back of his throat, stopping it just short of choking him, and he hummed once more and swallowed.


Brian gave a shout, and his body arched high off the couch. He felt like Justin was ripping his orgasm from his body. He shuddered for it seemed like an hour, emptying himself into Justinís mouth. Finally, he felt the gently licks Justin used to clean him up before the blond released his dick and crawled up Brianís body to share the taste. All Brian could do was lay there, chest heaving as he struggled to calm his racing heart. He let Justinís tongue enter his mouth, enjoying the flavor of himself.


Finally, Justin pulled back. He smoothed back a strand of auburn hair that had fallen over Brianís brow. ďGood?Ē he asked in a whisper, laying his head on Brianís damp chest.


Brian brought up both arms, wrapping Justin tightly in his embrace. He placed a kiss atop the bright head over his heart. ďThe best,Ē he answered.


They lay silent, content to hold one another until Brianís breathing returned to normal. Brian moved a hand, cupping the blondís chin and raising his head until their eyes could meet.


ďI want you to meet Gus, and I want my son to meet you. You make me happy, Sunshine, and I could never be ashamed of you.Ē Brian knew he had said the right thing; Justinís bright smile assuring him of that.

To be continued...