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28 April 2013 @ 11:19 pm

(many thanks to the amazing tatjana_yurkina for my beautiful banner)

Title: The Making of an Artist
Author: later2nite
Pairing: Brian and Justin
Time Frame: Fluctuates between 3 distinct periods in
Justin's life: his childhood, his years in NYC, and the present.




You need, well, everything. You'd crammed your duffel bag with clothes, toiletries, sketchbook, and pencils, which seems to be roughly three days' worth of stuff when you wake up and empty it into a drawer. Ideal if you'd been going on a long weekend.

Fortunately, before you left Pittsburgh you'd packed linen, pillows, and towels in two large boxes and the rest of your clothes, computer, and art supplies in several more. You'd mailed them to yourself at your New York address, figuring that was the easiest way to relocate your life. By early evening, you're pacing the floor and glancing out the window every ten minutes to check for the UPS truck because hey, you didn't pay through the nose for your shipment to arrive eighteen hours after you did for nothing.

You've used up half your sketchbook drawing detailed likenesses of Brian from memory by the time you're reunited with your belongings, the driver wheeling stack after stack of boxes up to your door on a dolly and disappearing as soon as he obtains your signature. Scooting them inside one at a time, you look forward to sleeping on your own sheets and having more than three shirts to choose from the next time you get dressed.

"Looks like Christmas. Or else the building's been converted into mini storage units while I was at work."

You're partially hidden behind a mountain of cardboard when you hear your neighbor's friendly voice. "Meg. Hi." Stepping out of obscurity, you scratch the side of your head and smile. "My stuff finally got here. Oh, sorry."

"Big move, isn't it?" She waits for you to clear a path to her door and unlocks it. Then she turns to face you again. "Justin, I want to apologize for last night. I don't usually drink that much. I didn't mean to . . . act so . . ."

"No problem. Don't worry about it." Giving her a pass on the bizarre scenario she'd put you in just seems like the right thing to do. You push a few more boxes out of the middle of the hall and into your apartment.

She's still there when you come back out. "Why don't you be my guest for dinner tonight? Let me make it up to you. I've had beef stew cooking in the Crock-Pot all day." Her flower child look's been slightly upgraded to boho-chic for work, the weirdness of your first meeting evaporating away. "Joshua used to have dinner with me all the time before he started working nights."

Your first instinct is to politely decline, although the mere mention of homemade beef stew makes your mouth water. Hanging around all day for the UPS guy prevented you from venturing out to find food, and you didn't want to just help yourself to Josh's sparsely stocked cupboards. "Well . . ." You raise one shoulder and scratch at the side of your head again. "I guess I could do that."

"Good! How about a half an hour from now? Does that work for you?"

"Yeah, sure! Thanks, Meg." You grab a pullover out of the last box you bring inside and wash your hands and face in the bathroom. With twenty minutes to kill before you can walk across the hall to a hot meal, you break down and eat a couple of crackers to tame your growling stomach. You promise you'll replace them in the morning, a trip to the nearest grocery store at the very top of your to-do list.


You carry a mug of steaming coffee up to the attic at eleven forty-five a.m., finally spurring your butt into gear. The quality time you'd spent in your sunny kitchen with your bacon and eggs and the morning paper was just what you needed, but after placating Lindsay and her gentle nagging, you suppose taking the entire day off is out.

"Are you still thinking four pieces?" she'd inquired in that saccharine-sweet timbre she reserves for goading you into production. "Sidney's so excited. He's cleared the west wall for you."

You'd rolled your eyes at the phone. Inking the deal with Sidney Bloom to show exclusively in his Pittsburgh gallery has turned you into royalty as far as he and Lindsay are concerned, the name you'd made for yourself in New York their veritable cash cow. "Yeah, four pieces." You'd yawned and stretched and then yawned again. "I need a few more days, but they'll be ready in time for the opening. It's the fifteenth, right?"

"Yes, Justin, it's the fifteenth. I've got the framers coming out to your place on the tenth, though. That's okay, isn't it?"

You'd squinted at the clock above the breakfast nook. "Um, it's eleven thirty. How long does that give me?" Fucking with her has become somewhat of a game. You were loading your plate into the dishwasher when you heard her sigh.

"A week. It gives you a week. Tell me now if I should reschedule the opening."

"Relax, Lindsay." You'd laughed. "I'll be finished in time. Are you still using Thomas Brothers Framing?" Adam Thomas is the owner of one stellar ass, not to mention his remarkable deep-throating skills, both of which you and your husband have exploited together on more than one occasion.

Setting your coffee down on a work table, you eye the four canvases with their looming deadline in mind. You'll handily meet it. You might even throw in a fifth as a surprise. Never hurts to up the ante.


"Careful, honey. Put this arm over here." Your mom arranges you on your dad's easy chair and wedges the cushions under your elbows. Then she lays your baby sister in your lap and picks up the camera. Her terribly fat stomach is mostly gone, a small lump left in its place.

You're happy because she's happy, not quite understanding what's so nice about the crying mess in your hands. "She's screaming again. Why can't she be quiet?"

"Here. Let's see if she wants her pacifier." Turning off the shrieks for a few minutes, your mother snaps a roll of film before she takes the tiny bundle back and feeds her. "Are you going to draw a picture of Baby Molly?"

"What for?" You really like the new drawing paper and colored pencils she gave you this afternoon, but sometimes your mom has the craziest ideas.


"It smells great in here. Thanks again for inviting me." You step into Meg's homey apartment and instantly recognize the lived in look, macrame hanging plant holders, lava lamps, and other vestiges straight out of the seventies kind of comforting when you glance around.

"You looked hungry." She pats you on the back and closes the door before she goes to the kitchen and grabs a corkscrew out of the drawer. "I was just about to open a bottle of red. Would you like a glass?"

A thousand warning signs flash in your head, an overabundance of exposed skin leading the pack. "Well, maybe just one." You don't want to come off as rude. Besides, you have an escape this time if things get out of control.

"Go ahead and sit down." Meg gestures toward the table and busies herself with opening the burgundy and ladling up two bowlfuls of piping stew.

Your eyes bug out of your head when you see the magazines scattered in front of you. "You read Art Forum?!"

"Sure. Doesn't everyone have a subscription to the best publication in the field?" She tosses them on the sofa and brings the bowls and wine glasses to the table, settling into the other chair.

"Thanks." You smile at her and dig in. Wondering just how much information she'd had on you the previous night when she referenced the East Village art scene, you begin to put two and two together. You look over at the couch. "So, um, do you have like every issue?"

Meg peers at you and drinks some wine. "If you're asking whether or not I've read the review Simon wrote about you, the answer's who hasn't? Considering all the buzz it's generated in the art department here at NYU, I'm surprised you've waited this long to hit the Big Apple." She nods at your dropped jaw. "You're very humble, Justin. With a write-up like that, I was expecting a little attitude."

"Simon Caswell? You know him?" You wipe the sneer from your face with a napkin. Thankful you didn't nix the alcohol when you had the chance, you lift your glass and take a big sip. "You know he's a cunt, right?"

Peals of boisterous laughter indicate her agreement. "Come on! Tell me what you really think! It's nice to finally meet you, Mr. Taylor!" Thrusting her arm out across the table, she gives you a firm handshake.

"Sorry to be so crude, but his lecherous manner—"

"Is well known," she jumps in. "Simon has a harem of young men at his beck and call. His stable of handsome blonds is impressive. I could tell you're his type the minute I saw you last night. I'm sure he'd love to add you to the fold."

"How do you know him anyway? NYU art department? What exactly do you do, Meg?"

"I work at the Grey Art Gallery." She holds the bottle of burgundy out toward you, pouring more for herself when you tell her you're fine. "I've been the director's personal secretary for years. We've gotten to know Simon from the guest lectures he presents every semester at the gallery for the art department's senior class."

"The Grey Gallery?!" Your head is swimming. "I've always wanted to visit NYU's fine arts museums. Grey has the largest collection, I think. Something like five thousand objects? I can't believe you work there!"

"Neither can I at times. I get to view hundreds of famous works every day. I pretty much lucked out, though." Meg starts to laugh again and nearly polishes off her second glass of wine. "My art sucks, but my art degree came in handy for something!"

You can just imagine her stash making an appearance from some quaint little hiding place any time now. But that's not what makes you wince.

"Of course, with your talent and degree from PIFA, Justin, the art world is your oyster, isn't it?"



"Hey, Sunshine! Guess what your partner brought you?!"

You're sitting on your bedroom terrace with a sketchpad and pencil when he gets home and scours the mansion looking for you.


"Up here with the sunset." It's all you have to call out, Brian walking through the French doors to join you soon after. "Hey." You look up as he leans over, your lips eagerly meeting his.

"Hey, yourself." He throws his suit jacket and tie back inside on the bed. Then he rolls up his shirtsleeves and climbs onto the chaise lounge beside you. "You okay?"

"Not really."

He draws in a long anxiety-ridden breath and slips his arm around your shoulders. "Justin, I—"

"I need pink and gold," you cut him off. "This isn't working." Holding up the stub of graphite, you cherish the way he studies the horizon, wanting to see what you see.

"How many sunsets have you painted in your lifetime? All of them pink and gold. And orange and yellow and lavender. I've personally seen a hundred and sixty-two."

"But none of them were this one." Your head dips to rest on his chest. "So what'd you bring me? And I hope it's Rocky Road this time."

"Butter Pecan. Sorry."

Your jeans and tee shirt litter the terrace floor when Brian comes back upstairs with the pint of ice cream and two spoons. "Care to relive our wild and adventurous youth?" You point to his chaise lounge and open the carton, setting the lid and the spoon you won't be needing on the low table between the chairs.

His clothes join yours in a matter of seconds. "You're not seventeen anymore, Sunshine. Sure you can still fold yourself into a pretzel like that?"

"Lie down. Let's find out." Straddling his thighs, dusk descends as you share spoonfuls of Butter Pecan and sensual kisses, his appreciation abundantly clear when twelve years haven't diminished your ability to contort yourself into a pleasure-giving vessel in the least.

Afterward, he pulls your torso up flush with his and clamps his arms around your back. "Are you gonna talk to me yet, Justin?"

"Brian." Closing your eyes, the sound of his beating heart fills your ears. "Don't do this. Not tonight."

JonDH: Pooh & Pigletthespian15 on April 29th, 2013 07:45 am (UTC)
More great story telling. :)
Intriguing ending. :o
I thought Debbie was the only one that called him Sunshine? I really need to start rewatching the show. :p Maybe when the current tv season ends I will find some time. :)
Hugs, Jon
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. I'm glad to hear you liked it.

Debbie started it and used it the most, but Brian called Justin Sunshine on occasion, too.

I think you'll like it if you start rewatching the show. I love it when I find something new I've missed before.
bksbraceletbksbracelet on April 29th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
Arrggg just as I get my teeth into it the chapter finishes lol I want to know what is going on lol
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:21 am (UTC)
Sorry . . . didn't mean to frustrate you. All will be revealed in the coming chapters.

Thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. ♥
sjmpetssjmpets on April 29th, 2013 10:24 am (UTC)
Seems that he lucked out as far as getting help with his painting while in NY. Meg turned out to be a real surprise.
Loved his attitude towards baby Molly. "What for.",when she asked if he was going to draw her.
What's he hiding from Brian? Must be bad if it brings him to tears.
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:23 am (UTC)
Yeah, Meg did end up to be surprising. Thank you so much for reading and leaving this sweet comment. It means a lot to me. ♥
shadownyc: B/J forehead txt-Touching You by furriboshadownyc on April 29th, 2013 11:08 am (UTC)
I'm thoroughly enjoying this fic and look forward to more.

I love the points of view that are illustrated in all three stages of Justin's life.

As long as Justin and Brian keep communication open during a tense time they'll keep doing well.

Great chapter!
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Thank you for the great feedback. I appreciate it. ♥

Agreed, they need to keep the lines of communication open. Brian's trying; Justin needs to get with the program!
7WildWaysUp7wildwaysup on April 29th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Please don't tell me Justin wants to return to New York... Hearts breaking... ~ Kathleen
techgirl_on_ijtechgirl_on_ij on April 29th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC)
Oh god, I hadn't even thought of that possibility! Now you got me all worried that that's going to happen...
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:32 am (UTC)
Didn't mean to worry you. ♥

All will be revealed in the coming chapters.
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
Oh, please don't break your heart.

All will be revealed in the coming chapters.

Thank you very much for this great feedback. I really appreciate it. ♥
techgirl_on_ijtechgirl_on_ij on April 29th, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
This is so good! I love that young Justin isn't a big fan of Molly:)

Great that Meg turned out to be okay, I'm sure he can use someone to help him out in NY.

Wonderful chapter!
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. Glad you liked it. ♥

Yeah, 7 yr. old Justin isn't impressed with a baby sister. LOL

Meg did turn out to be okay - even though she's rather eccentric.
urugwaj: kontururugwaj on April 29th, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)
Child Justin is great! And aunt Meg... I still love her. Great story! All 3 periods keep in suspense.
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:41 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Glad you're liking the 3 periods in this story, and also child Justin and Aunt Meg. I'm happy you still love her. ♥
guavejuice: b/jicecream1guavejuice on April 29th, 2013 08:14 pm (UTC)
I love love love this chapter!!
Please tell me you've written 20 more chapters already ;)
Thank you so much for sharing your amazing talent.
*hugs you tight*
I adore this image LOL
macrame hanging plant holders
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on April 30th, 2013 04:47 am (UTC)
OMG! Your icon is so perfect for the last scene in this chapter. I love it!

Thank you so much for this awesome feedback - you make me so happy to know you like it this much. I really wish I had 20 chaps already written, believe me! LOL

Glad you liked the image of the macrame plant holders. They were really big in the 70's. (but you're probably not old enough to remember. LOL)

Oops! My age is showing!

*hugs back*
guavejuice: 512bedguavejuice on April 30th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC)
My dear I'm def old enough ;)
One of my fav 'hobbies' way back in the mid 70's was my weekly arts and crafts after school activity where me and my 5th grade friend would spend hours creating plenty of macrame plants holders and more 'docerative arts' items ;)Glad you liked the icon ;)
landlady_4rentlandlady_4rent on May 1st, 2013 06:16 pm (UTC)
Omg! I love this story. Meg is a surprise. I remember those ghastly plant holders. lol. Ahhh...Little Justin is funny. He could care less about painting his sister. lol. Why is Justin so upset? Need to know. Always loved the ice cream scene. Another great chapter, Linda! Hugs! Annie
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on May 1st, 2013 06:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, Annie! I'm so happy that you love this story. ♥

Yeah, the macrame plant holders - I've had a few in my day. LOL

Don't worry, all will be revealed in the coming chapters.

Pam81pam81 on May 9th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
I was finally able to find time to catch up and read this story...
Linda, you're doing such a great job with this! I'm loving it.
I love all the flashbacks...
It intrigues me and I'm curious to see where you'll take us with this story….

Well done!

Thanks ♥ Hugs
later2nite: vered bdaylater2nite on May 9th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
Hi Pam, Thanks for this wonderful feedback. I'm really happy that you wanted to read my story and that you're loving it so far. That's so nice to hear! ♥

I'm working on the next chapter right now. It should be posted this weekend.

908718908718 on November 14th, 2014 08:36 pm (UTC)
throw back kiss:)
Ice cream kisses good times.
later2nite: j at PIFAlater2nite on November 14th, 2014 09:16 pm (UTC)
Re: throw back kiss:)
Yeah, definitely good times!

Thanks for this feedback. Love knowing you're still reading. ♥