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11 January 2012 @ 09:14 pm
QAF WIP - "Article"  

Somehow, I get the feeling that this one is finished, and I just didn't know when to stop. I kept rearranging paragraphs and sections, because I wanted to have that middle bit in some writing somewhere, and must have figured that it would fit in with this, except that doing so seemed to mean to me that I should get some sort of conclusion or something. But every time I decide to cut it off somewhere I save the other material for something else, I just can't figure out where. It's getting to the point where I'm tired of agonizing over it.

So it's going up as a "work in progress" for now.


He shouldn't have brought the magazine home. He shouldn't have let the article get to him. But still, he sees Ethan smiling out at him with his girlfriend, and Justin can't stop thinking what if. He wonders if Ethan has a guy in the background somewhere, a secret lover, with whom he has those secret rendezvous and and torrid encounters. And he thinks that, if they had stayed together, would Justin have become Ethan's dirty little secret?

Justin had long since ceased to be angry at Ethan. Not that the violinist had been right that night, and he shouldn't have lied, but Justin now recognizes that he had acted like a complete basket-case, and perhaps overreacted a little. Somehow, he had always been a bit of an emotional wreck when he didn't have Brian there, and if he ever needed reminding, he thought about how he treated his mother when he first found out about Tucker.

It was with these feelings that he first saw the magazine at the bookstore. At twenty-nine, Justin had had his own share of reviews, and even a full article to himself once, which Brian had insisted on reading aloud through his entirety—“God, Brian, stop, please!” “What? I'm allowed to be proud of my Sonny Boy.” “And are you still seriously calling me that?”—so he was intrigued when it came to seeing other people he knew in the media.

What set him off was reading that Ethan had, upon having his sexuality questioned, deigned to go further into the closet. He had a girlfriend, apparently of nearly a year, now.

Now he's on the floor of his studio in Britin, looking at the sketches he'd discarded and the two angry paintings, which he hadn't even bothered with an easel for. To the side was the magazine he'd picked up at the store earlier, a picture with Ethan Gold hugging his violin on the cover. It's late—or early, depending on how he looks at it—and Justin figures he should just go to bed. He'd been working for hours; not on the same painting, even. It's not often that he works on more than one in a single day, and Brian had seemed to realize Justin was on a roll, because he only interrupted long enough to ask if Justin was hungry.

Justin didn't really consider it 'on a roll,' though. It was more just getting as many emotions out as fast as he possibly could in a way that wasn't counter-productive. He worked in total silence, and after a while he could hear Brian moving around upstairs, and finally quiet.

He didn't show Brian the article, didn't even mention it. It wasn't that his partner would care much at this point; they had exchanged rings two years ago while Justin was still living in New York, and are feeling secure in their commitment, and Ethan is a complete non-threat to this. But Justin wants to get sorted out in his mind.

He sits for a lot time staring at the last painting he had finished, a mash of colors done in two hours, and wants to destroy it. It feels petty, a creation that should never have happened. He had been angry, and now he's just drained.

Justin's apparently so absorbed in his thoughts he doesn't hear Brian entering the studio. But he leans into Brian's hands when the older man buries them in his hair.

“You coming to bed?”

“Yeah,” Justin sighs. “I'm done wasting my night.”

Brian doesn't question what Justin is talking about, for which the blonde is glad. They're past the point of needing to know all of each others problems in order to feel reassured of affection.

~ ~ ~

Justin can't remember most of the dreams he had between breaking up with Ethan and going after Brian. However, there was a very specific one he had the second night at Daphne's that sticks with him.

He had spent the evening smoking pot, and in a fit of nostalgia, had put on 'Rubber Soul.' Hearing his life sung out by the Beatles had made him so deliciously depressed, he went on to the White Album, falling asleep partway through.

He didn't hear it, but knew in that way you do in dreams, that he was Ethan's driver. They were in Babylon, where the Brian and Ethan were brandishing dildos—or maybe it was their dicks, or maybe even dildos that were shaped like their dicks—at each other. Justin woke suddenly, with a quiet 'whoa...' When he told Daphne about it, she broke out in a fit of laughter.

“But everyone knew him as Sunshine,” she managed to sing out between giggles.

Justin had thrown a pillow at her, but couldn't stop the slight stomachache; he had woken up with a single thought, and it kept repeating in his head, and he knew who was saying it.

I'll be better...I'll be better, Doc, as soon as I am able...

He was glad he hadn't told Daphne that part. She would have had a field day with the interpretations, and it was bad enough that she was already living her life vicariously through him; she hadn't found the straight version of Brian yet.

He recalls the days when he had been, quite officially, a cheater, and the emotional stress that came with it. The irrational need to sneak into the loft, which made the sliding door sound like a fucking freight train and the floorboards squeak only on those nights. The showers three times a day, guiltily scrubbing his balls so that Brian wouldn't find out, as if he didn't notice already.

And the first night back at Babylon, watching Brian watch him fuck some guy, he wondered if maybe he had been the one to pull the trigger, and not Ethan. Bang, bang.

He had never wanted to think about it again. He hasn't, in fact, not in the last ten years. He wants to blame someone for the fact that he is doing so, but really, the only person who he can is himself. No one made him read about an ex-boyfriend, ten years in the past, but himself.

~ ~ ~

Brian finds the magazine, but never says anything. Justin can tell by the way Brian is looking at him; not judgmentally, just knowing. He wonders whether the other man had actually read what it was that was specifically making Justin angry, or had just dumped it. He guesses it was the latter. Brian probably supposes that it was something about the musician that had annoyed his partner, but whatever it is Justin is over it already. He wouldn't be far off.

Justin gets up late the day after finding the article, and enters the kitchen to find Brian sitting at the island, looking through the newspaper.

“Morning,” he says.

Justin gives an indistinct sound in response, going for the coffee. He sits down at on the adjacent end of the counter, and watches Brian for a few moments. After a moment, Brian looks up curiously. Justin shakes his head.

“I have to go away for a while,” he says, finally. “They want me to oversee the final touches for the new show in New York.”

“Mm,” Brian says. “How long?”

Justin considers. “Two weeks, probably. Including the opening.” He rubs the brim of his cup with his index finger. “Will you be there?”

“I'll try.”

It's the only answer Brian had ever given him, never any promises. He's never missed a single one of Justin's openings, though, even if he shows up in the last ten minutes. In some ways, this means more to Justin than if he's there the whole time; it means that Brian knows that Justin cared.

“Is it that the gallery with the hot manager?” Brian asks.

“Would you be more likely to come it was?”

“I wouldn't even bother to fuck him if he wasn't.”

“I promise, if you're there, you'll come, one way or another, no matter who the manager is.” Justin says, rolling his eyes and smiling. “But yes, it is the gallery with the hot manager.”

“We should fuck him together.”

It probably won't happen. They might have someone here and there when Justin goes away for his longer business trips, but they haven't taken anyone home together in a long time. Still, Justin smiles and entertains the idea of sharing a guy again.

~ ~ ~

Justin keeps an apartment in New York for occasions just as this. He hires a cleaning lady to open the place up before he flies into the city, and come in twice a week while he's staying there, then close it back up after he leaves. The apartment large and nice, with a guest room and a view.

Brian takes the week of the opening off work and flies to join Justin in the New York apartment. The night of the show, he takes Justin out to a nice dinner, on what Justin thinks of as their 'date nights'; Brian had claimed that it was because he believed in celebrating achievement, and Justin doesn't care either way why he does, just that it's Brian taking him out without the purpose of getting drunk, high, fucked, or any combination of the three.

It's rare that family members show up at his gallery openings anymore. At the beginning of his career, it had been such a big thing, and everyone showed up for his first solo show in New York. However, in the end it's either just too expensive or too time-consuming for anyone but Brian to attend every single show. This time, though, he sprung for his mother and Tucker to attend, and in the end only his mother is able to show up, as Tucker couldn't take the time off from teaching.

Justin smiles and makes polite comments to critics and collectors while Brian stands beside him, acting the part of the supportive partner, having already seen all of Justin's work. Sometimes they stop in front of a painting, and the older man makes a comment here and there, but mostly they're quiet. About halfway through the evening, they escape to the men's restroom, where Brian fucks him against the side of a bathroom stall.


aaa_mazingaaa_mazing on January 12th, 2012 03:10 am (UTC)
WIP sounds promising.

I always wanted to know where is Ethan after years. What or does Justin or Brian think about him? They never discussed him on the show after 308.

"Justin can tell by the way Brian is looking at him; not judgmentally, just knowing." - The line just killed me. You don't need to put TEH three little words in Brian's mouth, such lines show it all.

Love it!

MissTeacakes: backstorymissteacakes on January 12th, 2012 01:40 pm (UTC)
I keep thinking about chopping off the last part and calling it done, but I keep feeling like, having started the Ethan mess, I need to clean it up, too. I thought about writing about that month between 307 and 309, too, and maybe weaving that with this one, but I'm questioning whether or not I'm getting in over my head.
aaa_mazingaaa_mazing on January 12th, 2012 01:47 pm (UTC)
It could be a oneshot with the last part chopped off, but I like the idea of it being a part of something more. And Ethan coming AND going will be a nice read.
MissTeacakesmissteacakes on January 12th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
And of course, Justin will take the moral high ground.

I look at it, and I realize the tenses are a mess. At the very least, I should get that straightened out before doing anything else.
aaa_mazingaaa_mazing on January 12th, 2012 04:26 pm (UTC)
Hm, if you ask me, I don't think anybody took the moral high ground. Funny, but they all fucked up. And Ethan did the same thing Justin had done - he cheated. So, payback's a bitch, Sunshine.

Hon, you know all too well I'm of no help when it comes to grammar. And you're so good at it yourself. You'll do it in no time.