The Mask
Chapter Three

Brian picked up the phone only to slam it back down, for the third time. He had been sitting here for over an hour trying to work up the nerve to call. He was Brian Kinney for fuck’s sake! Never mind the fact that he had never actually been on a date. If anyone back in good old Pitts could see him now. The great Stud of Liberty Avenue, nervous about calling some blond twink and asking him out, for a DATE, not a fuck! He knew none would believe it, hell he couldn’t believe it. But there had been something special about the young blond, and he did come here to try and change after all…

Hell he was 34 years old. And for the last year, Brian had finally started to admit to himself that something was missing from his life. His friends and family had all moved on, and watching them settle happily had stirred something in him, perhaps the Peter Pan of Liberty Avenue was growing up? Mikey and Ben had settled into Queer married life, raising the littlest hustler. Lindsey and Mel were happy in Dykedom with the birth of Jenny Rebecca, shit, even Debbie and Carl had settled in Hetro-happy land. Brian had tried, he really had, to change his life’s direction, but it seems he had not only been facing his own demons, but his reputation, and the expectations of his family. Obstacles, that proved impossible to over come in glorious Pittsburg.

Brian thought back t his first tentative steps towards something different. It had been after a Friday night fuck that he had brought back to his loft. The trick had been good, so good in fact that Brian broke his first rule and ask someone to stay after he had pulled his cock from their body. He could still see the look of stunned disbelief on the tricks face, and his confused, “What for?” had Brian harshly telling him to get the fuck out. That had been the first blow. The second had come when he had expressed interest in another local gay business man. Patrick Donovan was Pittsburg first gay bank President. Brian had already used Pittsburg National’s services, but he had gone to the reception to meet and greet hosted for the new President. Kinnetic, being one of the banks best customers assured Brian of a personal introduction by the out-going executive, and Brian had shook Donovan’s hand warmly, his eyes immediately picking up on the interest in the other mans.

They had pussyfooted around for a couple weeks, running into each other at various business functions, and restaurants. There had been several “business” related calls, until finally, one night at a cocktail party for some local business; Brian worked up the nerve to approach Donovan. The other mans response had been regretful and he hoped his words would not effect their business relationship, but Donovan had went on to tell Brian that he was not into casual fucks, for which Brian was known for. It seemed that Brian’s reputation had beaten him to the punch, and Brian had been so pissed that he had not listened to any more of Donovan’s excuses. He just grabbed the nearest waiter and proceeded to get a medicinal blowjob in the men’s room. That had been his last attempt in Pittsburg.

Kinnetic had kept him so busy the first couple of years. Brian had worked liked a dog to make it the best Pittsburg had to offer, but after that challenge had been won, he had been left at loose ends. The business practically ran itself now days. The talented staff he had wooed and won dealt with the day-today stuff. Now Brian only worked on a few choice campaigns, and those he could have turned over to Cynthia. His once assistant now was his top-ad executive, and with Ted handling the financials, Brian had many a day been a third or even fifth wheel. Hell, even his once favorite playgrounds had lost their appeal. Babylon was now filled with twenty-something twinks. There was always some new stud looking to dethrone the King, and Brian had gotten fed up with the constant shit to stay on top. He began asking himself was it worth it? And then he finally admitted, at least to himself, that it wasn’t enough anymore.

Brown Athletic was still his baby, Leo Brown had flat refused anyone else, no matter how much Brian praised and reassured the owner. Thus, his trips to Chicago stayed a part of his life, and he feel in love with the city. He did not intend to move here, but he could see himself traveling back and forth. Hell his only joy left in Pittsburg was Gus. So he bought himself a penthouse loft with a fabulous view of Lake Michigan and began creating a life different and away from Pittsburg and Liberty Avenue. Here, there was no Stud of Liberty Avenue, just plain old Brian Kinney, successful, handsome, and best yet, a mystery.

Now, if he could just worked up the guts to call the blond. Brian could close his eyes and see those twinkling baby blues and feel the warmth that had shot through him when the young man had smiled- pure sunshine. Brian looked down at the business card from the gallery, earlier that week; the paintings had been delivered and hung to his specifications. Brian looked over at them, their silent messages to him making up his mind; and with a much more confident air, he once more picked up the phone.

*********

Justin had not been able to forget Brian. The past ten days he had done sketch after sketch, frustrated by his own inability to exactly capture the look in those hazel eyes. Their exact color and shape had mystified him. Everything else about the man had been amorously recreated, detail after detail; the perfect strawberry color and shape of his lips, the auburn hair with its gold highlights, the beautiful, graceful neck…leading down to his perfect form, with those long, long legs… Image after image flashed through Justin’s mind. He had wanted to call Brian; he could ask about the paintings, make sure the customer was satisfied, but he had been unable to work up the courage. MG had been overjoyed for him at his first sale, and had immediately had him fill the empty space with two more of his works.

Justin stepped back, cocking his head, he carefully studied the placement and angle of his latest work. MG had given him a much better slot in the gallery than his first two had held, and he wanted them to look just right. This time instead of abstracts, Justin had chosen two of his portraits to hang. The first was of his best friend, Daphne. The portrait had captured the sparkle of joy and life in his friend’s eyes, the abominable spirit that helped him survive high school. The second was of an old lady that feed the ducks along the banks of Lake Michigan. Every weekend during the warmer months, Justin took advantage of the scenery along the Lake. The old women had been a fixture at the Lake, and Justin could not resist the joy she showed in something as simple as feeding the ducks. Justin reached forward and slightly tipped one painting to the left. There, he thought, perfect!

Distantly, he heard the ringing of the phone. But Justin ignored it, Mark one of the other employees could get it. Justin sighed with annoyance when his name came over the intercom, the call was for him. “This is Justin,” he said, answering the phone.

Brian grinned at the young man’s professional tone. “Justin, this is Brian Kinney. We met-,” before Brian could get out any more, the voice on the other end called his name, excitement evident in the tone.

At the sound of the voice on the other end of the receiver, a shiver shook Justin’s frame. “Brian!” he said, unable to keep the joy from his voice.

Brian laughed his earlier anxiety about calling forgotten. “I’d like to take you to dinner, say this Friday night, 7 o clock?”

He listened, a huge smile on his face, and his surroundings all but forgotten. “I’d love to,” he answered honestly and perhaps a bit too eagerly. Justin gave Brian his address and once more confirmed the time. When he hung up the phone, Justin did a happy little wiggle right there in the middle of the gallery.

He had a date, and not just any date! It was with Brian!

To be continued...