Hanover, N.H., June 2005
Justin trudged slowly back to campus from the restaurant.
He was almost glad that his parents had taken off without
him. Walking gave him time to think.
And he needed to do a lot of thinking.
Was he really doing the right thing? His father was correct
about one thing. There was no guarantee that he'd ever make
enough money as an artist to support himself. And although
Brian had offered to lend him any money he needed to make
his dream come true, Justin worried that it would seem like
he was taking advantage of Brian. Already Brian's best friend
Michael had taken to referring to Brian as Justin's 'sugar
daddy,' and although Brian told him to forget it, that Mikey
was only jealous, Justin couldn't help think that what Michael
was saying was partly true.
That's not what Justin wanted to be. Brian's pretty little
blond boyfriend. Brian's boytoy. Brian's trick that came
No, Justin wanted to be more than that. He wanted to be Brian's
real partner. An equal. Someone Brian could be proud of and not
a joke all of his friends snickered about behind their backs.
It was funny, but when the two of them were alone together,
Justin never had these worries. All he had to do was lose himself
in Brian's arms and all of his fears dissolved. But whenever he
was in Pittsburgh and they went to Woody's or Babylon or got
together with the gang at the Liberty Diner, then all of Justin's
insecurities came to the fore. Even Emmett, who out of all of
Brian's friends seemed to like Justin the most, often made bitchy
comments that cut Justin to the quick. And they all constantly
referred to Brian's reputation as the Stud of Liberty Avenue.
The man who could never be tamed by any one guy. Brian
Fucking Kinney, who had a thousand notches on his bedpost
and would probably have a thousand more before he was
finished. The guys seemed proud of Brian's legend and their
tenuous connection to it.
That was the thing -- Brian's sexual experience was centuries
ahead of Justin's and always would be. Maybe Justin was a silly
romantic, but he didn't feel the need to fuck every guy he saw,
especially not when he already had the most beautiful man he
could ever imagine.
At least for now.
But how long before Brian grew bored with him? Justin
thought of that a lot when they were apart. He knew that
Brian still tricked with other guys, especially when weeks
went my when they didn't see each other. Brian assured
Justin that those encounters were only about sex, but what
if that changed? What if he decided that one of those guys
was better than Justin? What if he fell in love with one of
Justin also worried about owing Brian, especially now that
his father had officially cut him off. If he took Brian up on
his offer to support him while he pursued his art, then how
would Justin ever pay him back?
Justin yawned as he approached his residence hall. It was
getting late and Justin had to get up early the next morning
to get ready for Commencement. His robe and mortarboard
were hanging in his room. And his bags were all packed,
ready to go as soon as the ceremony was over.
But where was Justin really going? That was the question.
He'd already burned down one bridge -- his business career
-- with his father. Was he really ready to burn down the
final one? Was he ready to tell Craig Taylor that his only
son was gay?
"Hey, stud," said a voice in the dark. "Looking for some
Justin whipped around to see Brian in the shadows, leaning
against a black Jeep and smoking a cigarette. He was wearing
faded jeans and a leather jacket and looked dangerous and sexy.
He tossed the cigarette to the ground and crushed it with the
toe of his boot.
"I was beginning to think you weren't coming!" Justin cried
as he launched himself into Brian's arms.
Brian lifted Justin up and spun him around, laughing. "You
know that I always come when I say I'm going to. But that
drive up here was a lot longer than I thought it would be."
"I missed you!" Justin breathed as he buried his face against
Brian's leather jacket, savoring Brian's musky essence. "It's
been over a month since I've seen you!"
"I know," said Brian, holding him tightly. He was almost
surprised at how happy he felt to have Justin back in his
grasp. "I... I missed you, too, twat."
"Really?" Justin was surprised to hear Brian admit it.
"Really." Brian pulled back. "Get whatever you need and let's
get going. It's a twenty minute drive out to that haunted house
you booked me into!"
"It's not a haunted house!" Justin laughed. "It's a bed and
"You haven't seen the place," Brian huffed. "But I have! I
checked in earlier this evening. And believe me -- it's a
fucking haunted house! With two resident ghosts!"
"Are you talking about the two old guys who own the place?"
asked Justin as he and Brian walked up to the dorm and
Justin opened the front door with his card.
"Yes, the Ghosts of Discos Past," said Brian. "And I'm talking
1969 at least -- maybe longer! I think those two guys knew
Oscar Wilde personally."
They walked up to the second floor where Justin's room was
located. There were last minute parties going on all over the
floor, spilling out into the lounge.
"Hey, Just!" called one of the guys who was sitting on the
sofa. "We're all getting wasted. Wanna toke?" He held out a
"Don't mind if I do," said Brian, stepping forward. He took
the spliff and sucked it knowingly. "Not bad." Brian passed
it to Justin, who took a more tentative puff.
"Are you Justin's brother?" the guy asked.
"No," said Justin, handing back the joint. "Brian is my...."
"Lover," Brian interjected. "Any of you guys have a problem
The boys exchanged glances. They all knew that Justin was a
fag, but they'd never seen this man before. And he was a man.
Not another college student, but a tall, masculine-looking
man in a leather jacket. A man who looked like he could easily
kick their collective asses.
"No, sir," said the guy with joint. "No problem. We're all cool
with it. Right, guys?"
And even the guys who weren't that cool with it nodded.
"Your weed isn't bad," Brian commented before they both went
into Justin's room. "But next time roll it tighter. There's
nothing worse than a loose joint rolled by a clueless amateur.
Nighty night, boys."
And Brian leered at them as he shut the door firmly and locked it.