The Mask
Chapter Four

Justin glanced nervously at the clock, just ten more minutes. He had been ready for over an hour. Brian was due in exactly ten minutes, and Justin’s stomach grew more unsettled the closer the time came. He glanced in the mirror one last time. The soft dove-gray dress slacks and light blue Armani-exchange T-shirt looked dressy casual, and he hoped it was okay. He had not thought to ask Brian where the older man was taking him, too excited that Brian had called. Justin couldn’t remember when he had this much anticipation about a date. With his classes, work at the gallery, and his own art, there hadn’t been much time for dating, nor had there been anyone like Brian Kinney asking him out.

The older man was beautiful and obviously successful, judging by his clothes and the price he paid for Justin’s art. He just hoped they had something in common, this date would tell. The knock on the door stopped Justin’s mental wanderings, and with one last deep breath and a hand to his nervous middle, he answered the door with a smile. His smile grew at the sight before him. Brian look delicious in black pleated Prada slacks with a deep crimson pullover, and Justin was glad he had worn what he had. “Hi Brian,” Justin beamed.

Brian had done his own looking as well, and the vision before him brought a smile and had his dick stirring. “Hi yourself, Sunshine,” he replied.

“Sunshine?” Justin asked with a grin, moving back from the door and waving Brian in. He hadn’t been aware that the older man knew his nickname.

“I heard your boss call you that and it fits,” Brian answered, his hazel eyes already busy looking around Justin’s apartment. There really wasn’t much of it; just one large room with a closed door Brian assumed was the bathroom. But the young artist had placed his signature on it that was for sure! The walls were a deep emerald green with Justin’s art work decorating the walls. The blond had chosen bright-colored abstracts that surprisingly given the rich colors, lent the room a tranquil feel. The sofa-sleeper had bright jewel-toned pillows and the large bay window was bare except for a royal blue swag at the very top. It was a vibrant room and very welcoming.

“I like this, Justin,” Brian said, turning back to his date. “And I see you kept the best paintings hidden here for yourself,” he said, hazel eyes smiling into blue.

Justin couldn’t stop the blush or the rush of pleasure Brian’s words gave him. “Thanks, It’s not much, but it beats student housing,” he said, gesturing towards the kitchen, he asked. “Would you like a drink Brian?”

Brian shook his regretfully. “No thanks. We have to be going if we are going to make our reservations.” Brian waited by the door as Justin gathered his keys and cell phone. Brian opened the door to a sleek dark green Jag, and Justin sank into he buttery soft leather seats with a sigh. As Brian joined him and pulled into the early evening traffic, Justin once again inquired where they were heading.

“I thought we would go to the Blackbird, have you ever been there?” Brian asked.

Justin shook his head. “I haven’t. But I have heard great things about it. My boss, MG said that they have great works of art on the walls that change every month.” Justin watched Brian as he drove. He hadn’t been able to take his eyes off the older man since he had opened his door to him. He glanced down at the elegant hands on the steering wheel. Brian had long graceful fingers, and Justin shivered as he imagined those hands on his body. His eyes traveled back up to those raspberry- colored lips, and he blushed as he saw them curve into a smirk. Brian had been very aware that he had been watching him.

Brian shot Justin a smile as they waited for a traffic light. He said nothing of the looks, only remarked on the fact that the restaurant was supposed to have an excellent and ever-changing wine list. Justin relaxed, and enjoyed the smooth expensive ride, and sitting next to the equally smooth chic man. The ride to Randolph Street didn’t take very long, and before Justin knew it, the door was being opened by the valet and Brian’s hand was on his lower back, escorting him into the plush restaurant. The two beautiful men, a contrast in light and dark, attracted attention, eyes followed, some envious, but in the modern,” beautiful people” atmosphere of the Blackbird, none were disapproving. Brian seated Justin himself, and Justin couldn’t ever remember being this focused on a man.

Conversation flowed easily, at first. They discussed and admired the art work on the wall, and discussed their wine and meal selections. Justin told Brian of his classes, his art, and spoke about his dreams. But it wasn’t until Justin asked Brian about himself, that the air between them became tense and uncomfortable. Justin had ignored the shifts in conversation at first, how Brian kept turning the subject back to Justin, but finally, he had asked again, and Brian had grown silent and uncomfortable. Justin started to apologize, even though he was confused. But Brian gave him a nervous smile and started talking.

Brian spoke of his son, Gus, who was four. He explained that the child was a result of a favor to a lesbian friend and how he never knew he would love the boy so much. Justin relaxed at the affection and joy in Brian’s voice and on his face as he spoke of his son, and any unease dissipated. Anyone who could speak of their child with such love and acceptance could be trusted, Justin thought. Brian told him how he was from Pittsburg and had only recently settled in Chicago, but that he did travel back to the Pitts, as Brian called it, frequently to see Gus.

“I am not close to my family, my blood family, that is.” Brian shrugged. “I have a group of friends that are more of a family than my own have ever been,” Brian stopped as their waiter placed their dinners before them, he appeared to welcome the interruption, and Justin could see him release a relieved breath.

Justin had never met anyone who seemed to dislike talking about himself as much as Brian appeared to. It was kind of refreshing. Justin had been out with self-absorbed assholes enough to appreciate the difference. Dinner was everything promised by the Blackbird. Justin and Brian both had the chef’s recommendations, Justin the Lamb and Brian the scallops. They exchanged samples so both could enjoy the entrees, and for dessert, which only Justin partook in, chocolate tort with Bourbon liquor, was polished off.

“Yum, that was good!” Justin licked the last off the bourbon flavored chocolate off his fork, his pink tongue darting out and unknowingly, teasing the man across from him.

“Ready?” Brian asked in a husky voice, and caught at the tone; Justin looked up and became caught in hazel eyes light with desire. He could only nod yes in response.

The heat from the older man’s hand, again pressed against Justin’s lower back; grounded and provided a sense of safety to Justin, but it also had his cock twitching in his pants. Rather than getting the car right away, they decided to walk along the old bridges along the Chicago River. The fall evening was warm, but the brisk breeze off the River kept them comfortable; as was the silence between them. Justin could only smile as the older man took his hand.

“Thank you for dinner, Brian. It was great,” Justin smiled up at the taller man, shivering slightly as the evening deepened towards dark.

“You’re welcome.” Seeing the shiver, Brian pulled Justin close with an arm around his shoulders, and turned them back towards the restaurant and the car. Justin took a deep breath, his lungs filling with the enticing scent of Brian’s cologne. He could feel the blood rushing into his lower body at the older man’s proximity; and he tuned the world around him, focused on the feelings within his own body.

“Justin?” he heard at the same time Brian tightened his arm around him. Justin shook himself and flushed, looking up into amused hazel eyes. “I will be heading back to the Pitts this weekend to see my son, but I’d like to see you again when I return?” Brian asked a question in his tone at that last bit.

Justin’s smile grew and he slipped his own arm around Brian’s trim waist. He squeezed with affection. “I’d love that Brian,” he said simply, meaning every word and not hiding the happiness in his voice.

Brian seemed to relax even more at Justin’s actions and words. Brian once again held the car door for Justin, but this time instead of just allowing him to get seated in the car; he leaned forward and buckled Justin’s seatbelt himself, all the while eyes locked with Justin. It was on the ride home that Justin asked Brian what he did for a living. Justin turned half in his seat to address the other man. He saw Brian look at him briefly before returning his attention to the road.

“I am semi-retired. I own an advertising agency in Pittsburg,” was all Brian provided; and Justin frowned, wondering what semi meant.

“You still handle accounts?” he asked, confused.

“One or two,” Brian replied. “I have a couple of favorite clients who still prefer for me to handle their business, but most now deal with my staff back at the office,” Brian looked over and grinned. “You’ve heard of Brown Athletics?” he asked.

Justin nodded, of course he had. Their ads were on almost every billboard and bus in Chicago, their corporate home. “That’s one of your favorite client’s?” Justin asked, impressed.

Brian nodded and the rest of the ride he filled Justin in on their latest campaign. He had the younger man laughing with tales of the modeling woes that Brown had to deal with. Before they knew it, they were pulling up in front of Justin’s building. The pair grew silent and their steps were slow and dragging as they arrived at Justin’s door. Justin sighed disappointed by the evenings end. He couldn’t recall when he had such a good time and been filled with such a feeling of anticipation. He unlocked his door and turned back to Brian, looking up at the older man, he could see the same regret at the evening’s end that he felt.

“I had a great time tonight, Brian. Thank you,” Justin said, forcing himself to smile his sunshine smile.

Brian took a step closer, bringing their bodies into contact. “No, thank you, Justin, I enjoyed tonight very much.” Brian ran a finger across Justin cheek, enjoying the silky feel of the younger man’s skin.

Justin tilted his face up and met Brian’s lips. The kiss was tender and slow; at first just the barest brush of their lips, then Brian deepened it with a grown. Justin felt himself pulled flush against the other man’s body, and moaned himself as their erections brushed together. He opened his mouth to Brian’s tongue, curling his own sliding it along the other man’s. They kissed until breathing became a necessity. Pulling away, Brian leaned his forehead against Justin’s; both stood with their heads together, eyes closed, breathing heavily.

Justin finally opened his eyes, staring up into the almost black eyes, he whispered. “Would you like to come in?”

Brian gave a harsh sounding laugh and reluctantly pulled away. He placed one more to brief kiss on Justin’s plumps lips. “I’d love to, but I won’t,” he said.

Justin quickly covered his disappointment, but the older man saw it anyway, and kissed Justin forcibly once more before stepping back. “I want to take this slow, Justin. It’ll mean more.” Brian put a little more space between himself and temptation.

Justin let him. He couldn’t help the thrill Brian’s words brought and they went a long way towards easing his disappointment. “I’d like that,” he said simply. “Call me?” he asked, turning towards his door.

Brian nodded, and with one last smile and a “later,” he left. And Justin floated inside, already impatient for Brian’s return.

To be continued...