Title: Promise Not To Tell
Summary: The story of Ep. 209
Justin threw his leg over Brian the way he did most nights when they were ready to fall asleep, spooning himself and his spent, semisoft dick up against his partner's backside.
Sighing into his pillow, an equally spent Brian felt the arms of an angel tighten around him. To live without this would surely be hell.
Soon condemned to that fiery fate by his own mother, Brian chose to have mercy on the one person who'd spared no mercy for him, his maverick character infused with a decency upon which all else rested. Living hard and playing harder, the enigma of a man shared his joyride through life with his cherub-faced boyfriend, few grasping the vastness of his heart or the complexities of his soul.
He liked it that way.
. . .
"I haven't seen Brian." Emmett scanned over a jam-packed Babylon, searching for the MIA.
Michael took a swig of his beer and rolled his eyes. "He's with Justin. It's date night!"
. . .
The Liberty Baths, out on the seamier end of Liberty Avenue, provided a welcome diversion from Babylon's back room. Different setting. Different guys. Different kink.
Brian knelt behind his trick and asked himself why he didn't do it doggie-style more often, only one element missing from the better than average fuck. With the gold cross dangling from his doggie's neck, he turned his face sideways. Justin's lust-glazed eyes told him that he missed it, too.
Wearing matching expressions that tattled on their utopian world, Brian and his boyfriend leaned their upper bodies toward each other and started to kiss.
Justin's trick, down on all fours beside Brian's, lurched under him.
. . .
"I tell you, Brian, she's driving me out of my mind since Daddy died."
"Why don't you kill her?" Brian lay in his contoured leather chaise, watching his sister's meltdown. "No jury on earth would convict you. They've got mothers of their own."
"She's your mother, too. You can't just stick me with her."
"It's worked so far." Brian checked the time. What the hell was taking Justin so long to get home from his class?
"Well, not anymore." Annoyed out of her mind, Claire collected her bratty sons and herded them out of the loft. "Either you help me out or, I swear, she's yours. All yours!"
Fuck! Why didn't humans just fall to earth from the sky with no family connections?
. . .
Brian showed up at his mom's house Sunday morning and found a well dressed, slightly tipsy woman. She was grayer than he remembered, yet some things never changed. "Isn't it a little early for that?" He nodded at the cordial of sherry she'd plopped on the counter.
"It's just something to calm my nerves. When was the last time I saw you?"
She thought back a few months. "You stayed for an hour. Brought me flowers." Then she polished off her sherry. "We better go. We don't want to be late."
"Church. Claire said you'd take me."
"I never said that."
"We have this wonderful new minister. Are you coming?"
"Well, that's fine. I don't need you to take me. I can get there myself." Joan Kinney walked over to get her purse off the kitchen table, the chair she stumbled into screeching across her freshly waxed linoleum floor.
Her son wondered how much time he'd do for strangling his sister.
. . .
Brian could hardly recall the last time he'd set foot inside of St. Cecelia's Catholic Church. He had to have been about ten, back when his mother was still dragging her two young children with her to mass every Sunday. Following her into a front pew, he stood with the rest of the congregation for the opening procession of the priest to the altar.
Now if there's one immutable truth to be told of Brian Kinney thus far into his life, it's that he automatically erases the memory of his nameless tricks as soon as they've served their purpose. Unless they come back in the form of spiritual leader. Then he remembers every lip-smacking tidbit.
He glanced over at his mom as they sat for the first reading. She was so devout.
"Wasn't he wonderful? I want you to come and say hello." Joan took Brian's arm as they filed out of the church. "I've told him all about you . . . how successful and good-looking you are. He's just dying to meet you."
"I bet he is," Brian deadpanned, he and his mom waiting for their turn to speak to the relatively young, attractive clergyman.
"Brian, this is Reverend Tom Butterfield." Joan smiled when the priest clasped her hand and greeted her warmly.
"Reverend Butterfield." Brian beamed his gorgeous smile. "My mother's told me so much about you." He extended his hand out toward Almost Forgotten Trick. "It's uncanny. I feel as if we've already met."
"Oh, there's Ruth. Excuse me for a minute." Joan left them alone while she wandered off to catch up with her friend.
Brian nodded at his uncomfortable new acquaintance. "Great service."
"I'm glad you enjoyed it." Reverend Tom had spent long hours on his sermon.
"I meant at the baths."
That's what Reverend Tom thought he meant. He looked around and lowered his voice. "I'd appreciate it if you'd keep this between us."
"You think I'm gonna tell my mom? She doesn't even know I'm gay." Brian took his cigarettes and lighter from the pocket of his leather jacket. "And I haven't talked to your boss in years. So don't worry, Rev. Your secret's safe with me."
. . .
Not only did Joan Kinney possess no knowledge of her son's private life, but her husband had also been in the dark until shortly before his death the previous year. Brian made the disclosure to his father in person for the sake of - of - exactly what he hadn't been sure, but it just seemed wrong to let the man die in peace.
His mother could have retained her blessed ignorance for years to come if only she'd left well enough alone that Sunday afternoon. But what did she decide to do? She decided to bake.
. . .
"So you fucked your mother's minister?" Melanie shook her head as Brian entertained the brunch set with his unbelievable story. He, Justin, Emmett, and Ted had all been invited to sample Lindsay's culinary talents.
"Uh-huh! You should have seen it!" Justin scarfed down a piece of bacon. "It was totally hot!"
Ted would have loved to have heard the kinky tale, but he missed it due to the fact that he was standing outside on the front porch.
"Oh, that's me!" Emmett giggled while his phone vibrated in his pocket. "Teddy? Where are you? What do you mean you're on the front porch? What do you mean you can't come in?"
"Just come out like you're gonna check on the weather," Ted whispered into his phone. "But don't let the others come with you!" He was staring at five and a half people a moment later when the door swung open. (Melanie balanced Baby Gus firmly on her hip.) Wrapped in his beige trench coat and sporting a serious tenting problem, he was a bit overdressed for the mild spring day. "I took your Viagra last night!" Ted yelled at Emmett, clearly in a panic. "It's been eighteen hours and it won't go down! You said it would last for a couple of hours! What am I gonna do?"
Ted's friends fought amongst themselves for an unobstructed view of his catastrophe. They offered what help they could.
"Have you tried soaking it?" Emmett asked.
Lindsay looked worried. "How about a cold shower?"
"How about scaring it?" Brian suggested.
Justin eyed his whacked out boyfriend. "That's hiccups." You moron, he thought.
"Boo!" Brian shouted at Ted's problem.
"Thank you all for caring. I've gotta do something!" Ted yanked the bottle of Viagra from his pocket and handed it off to Justin, as if getting rid of it would somehow be his magic solution.
"What about something that would absolutely turn you off?" Melanie asked.
"That's a great idea!" Brian grinned at her first and then Lindsay. "Why don't you two show him your tits?"
"Brian!" they yelled at him together.
Justin held up the pills and nodded at Brian. "Maybe you should take some. Our sex life isn't what it used to be."
Everyone lost interest in Ted and focused on Justin.
"Well, we're down to like four times a day," he explained.
Emmett went with Ted to seek medical attention, the rest of the insanity traipsing back inside. The food was cold, but Justin finished his before he helped Lindsay clear the table.
Brian picked up his glass of orange juice and the bottle of Viagra Justin left by his plate. He'd never needed any supplemental help before, and didn't then, but he was always game for something new. Popping a couple of the infamous little blue pills - it might have been more than two - he wondered what effect they'd have on him.
Thirty minutes later, he gave Justin The Look. It was time to go.
. . .
"I c-can't believe you're . . . f-fucking me . . . again!" Justin stuttered between impacts, holding onto Brian for dear life.
Brian simpered at his boyfriend. "Well, it was your . . . idea . . . to steal . . . Ted's . . . VIAGRA!"
Head and shoulders shooting up from his pillow, Justin crushed Brian into himself upon explosion. Breathless, they clung together, only to be jarred by a knock on the door a second later. Brian relaxed his tense muscles, lying down on Justin's chest.
Justin slowly straightened out his legs and caressed Brian's back with his fingertips, another ill-timed knock interrupting their private moment. "Are you gonna answer it?"
"They'll go away." Brian willed it so. Groaning, he pulled out of Justin's ass when the persistent son-of-a-bitch at his door knocked again, dragging himself out of bed and throwing on some gray sweatpants. Not bothering with shoes or a shirt, he again gave Justin The Look. "Don't go anywhere."
Justin wondered just what the fuck was in those pills.
Sliding his door open a few inches, Brian planned on turning the intruder away. Of all the shitty luck. "Mom."
"I'm sorry. Is this a bad time?" Betty Crocker's arms were weighted down with her large homemade cake, going in the only plan on her mind. "I baked your favorite. Chocolate chocolate chip."
Brian, who couldn't wait to get back to his real favorite in the bedroom, let out a heavy sigh and opened his door the rest of the way.
Joan Kinney marched past her son and placed the chocolate chocolate chip cake down on his breakfast bar. "It's just my way of saying thank you for going with me to church."
"Yeah. Let's do it again." Brian slammed the door shut, his voice dripping with enough sarcasm to choke a horse. "Soon."
"I know you don't mean that. I probably won't see you again for another six months." Joan looked at Brian, awaiting his assurance that nothing could be further from the truth.
His kitchen grew so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. A liar he could never be called.
And then - the dead silence was perforated by a third voice. "Brian? Are you coming back?"
Startled, Joan turned her head toward the sound. "I didn't know there was someone else here."
Justin hobbled down the bedroom steps in his own gray sweatpants, barefoot and shirtless as well. His ass on fire, he padded toward the kitchen, not even realizing that his fingers gingerly picked at his wedgie. He stopped on a dime when he spotted their visitor.
Brian felt nauseous. "Justin," he started after procrastinating as long as he could. "This is my mother. Mom . . ." He exhaled a queasy breath. "This is Justin."
Ever the courteous young man he was raised to be, Justin waved in a stunted sort of way. "Hi."
Joan gawked at a disheveled blond teenager and then back at her rumpled son. Tousled hair. Bare chest. Athletic pants slung low on his slender hips. Reality stinging, she walked out of Brian's loft without a word and leaned on the elevator button, her eyes filling with tears.
"What? You're not going to talk to me?" Brian lingered in his open doorway, needling her just seeming to be mandatory right then.
Still jamming her finger into the button, she quietly revealed her stance. "I hope you know it's a sin."
"That I fuck guys, or that I didn't tell you?"
"You can make all the jokes you want." Finally lifting the elevator's slatted side, Brian's mom stepped in and turned to face him. Her somber expression was scary. "The bible makes it clear. You're going to hell."
. . .
They went to Woody's instead. Emmett and Ted were already there. Michael walked in and joined them, the five musketeers drinking their beers and listening to people sing karaoke badly.
"I need a stiff one," Ted announced just as a horrendously sour note resounded throughout the bar. Picking up his beer bottle, he rolled his eyes when his four friends checked out his lap. "Not that kind!" he snapped at them.
Emmett patted him on the back. "You heard the doctor. It'll go down."
Brian glanced at Justin. "Mine did."
"Yeah, thanks to your mom." Justin narrated the embarrassing episode in minute detail.
Emmett laughed at the mental picture. "She just needs time to get used to the fact that her baby boy fucks guys!"
"Don't worry." Michael gave Brian the puppy dog eyes. "God still loves you no matter what."
Brian killed his third beer, lining the bottle up beside the others. "Like I give a fuck what God thinks about me. He better be worried what I think about Him. In all this cold, dead universe, we're the only ones who know He exists. Without us, He's nothin'."
. . .
Halfway through the next week, the incongruity of it all drove Brian back to his mother's minister. "Hello, Rev," his voice echoed through the empty church up toward the altar, where Reverend Tom had appeared to collect his notes from the lectern. "I just came in for a few minutes of quiet prayer."
"Well, don't let me disturb you."
"You see, I have this terrible burden," Brian confessed, fully intending to disturb Reverend Tom.
"And what is that?"
Brian rose from his pew and walked toward the priest, facing him toe-to-toe on the altar. "My mother recently discovered that I'm a homosexual, and she thinks I'm going to hell."
"That is a problem."
"But what she doesn't know is that so's her minister. What would she say if she knew her man of God was at the baths, down on all fours, taking me up the ass?"
"I spend time with your mother now that she's alone." The reverend looked at his foulmouthed troublemaker. "I try to offer her comfort."
"By telling her that I'm going to burn in hell?!" Brian was irate.
"I don't teach that lesson. I teach love. I teach truth."
"The truth is you're a liar!"
Reverend Tom drew in a deep breath. "Brian, if you want to betray me - if that's what you need to do - then you do it." He waved his finger back and forth in front of Brian's face. "But I know who I have to answer to, and it's not you. Now get the fuck out of my church!"
Hey, even priests lose it now and again.
. . .
It wasn't so much that Brian needed to betray anyone, it was just that his mom needed to know the truth. How faithful could she remain after she learned that her precious man of God would be carpooling to hell with her son? Brian waited a few more days and then decided it was time, tracking her down in an empty St. Cecelia's Catholic Church.
"Mom," he interrupted her mid-Hail Mary.
She looked none too happy to see her sinning son. "What is it, Brian? I'm praying."
"For my soul?" The irony made him ill.
"I always include you in my prayers." Joan Kinney rose from the kneeler and sat back in her pew, surprised when he joined her. "I hope you've come to ask for forgiveness. It's the only way."
"Not exactly." Brian peered up at the large wooden crucifix on the altar. Jesus, dying on the cross for his sins. He knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that his inherent nature wasn't one of them.
Joan's eyes were fixed straight ahead on her Savior. "You've always thought you were so clever. Well, all the cleverness in the world isn't going to help you."
"Save it, Mom, for your fag-free afterlife."
"Go ahead. Mock me. Mock my faith. You're just like your father. He used to mock me, too." She thought of her long joyless marriage and the sot who'd caused her years of misery. "Well, it's hard to love a man who's never given you a kind word in thirty years. Who'd rather spend his time drinking with his friends than with me. Who never cared about his family." Turning her head, she confronted her son directly. "Who never wanted me to have you."
A familiar pang stabbed at Brian's soul. "I know the story."
"You may have heard the story, but you don't know it. You don't know how I had to put up with the abuse. How I had to protect you from him. How I had to let him hit me instead of you."
The dysfunction Brian had been raised in affected every aspect of his adult life, and was not unknown by Justin, yet he learned more about his snarled roots right then than he ever cared to comprehend. "I don't want to hear that."
"Of course, not. Because you're selfish."
Another sin he knew from the bottom of his heart was not his. Would a selfish person withhold the information he'd come there to disclose?
"I could never count on your father, but there is someone I can count on. No matter what."
"Let me guess. Reverend Tom?"
"God. God will always be there for me. God will never let me down. Who can you say that about?"
Let's see. The angelic figure who'd never let Brian down? Who was never far from his thoughts or his heart at any given hour of the day or night? Without whom it was growing increasingly tougher to imagine his life? It's safe to say Justin's spirit had accompanied Brian to the crossroads at which he'd just arrived, and that counterpart to his mother's God had definitely factored in to her getting to keep Him.
All Brian knew, sitting there on that hard-backed bench beside his God-fearing mother and not taking Him from her, was that he was doing the right thing.
Joan Kinney's God smiled down upon her homosexual son. He cared what Brian thought of Him.
. . .
"Two double Jim Beams."
"Coming up." Babylon's bartender reached up and grabbed two tumblers.
Brian went for his wallet. Desiring nothing more than to fulfill Justin's request for doubles and get back to him out on the dance floor, he'd long since made peace with the notion that he liked to make him happy whenever possible.
"Let me get that."
Turning around, Brian saw Reverend Tom Butterfield smiling up at him from a nearby bar stool. "That's a first." He smiled back at him. "A clergyman buying someone else a drink."
"Your mother tells me you paid her a visit."
"Yeah, well . . . not for the reason you think."
"Whatever the reason, thank you."
"Not saying anything."
Brian didn't want him to get the wrong idea. "I didn't do it for you."
Reverend Tom already knew that. "You're a good son."
"Promise not to tell?" Brian took his two double Jim Beams from the bartender. Then he cocked his head toward Justin out on the dance floor. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to hell."
Feeling an attraction to the handsome, humorous channel of the Lord, Tom Butterfield watched Brian wind his way through scores of gyrating bodies with a drink in either hand, noting when he stopped in front of his adorable boyfriend. He saw them clink their glasses together before draining them dry and grinned when said adorable boyfriend affectionately dabbed at the front of Brian's neck, where a few drops of whiskey had spilled. Obviously, they had a beautiful bond.
Reverend Tom tilted his face upward. How could a loving, committed relationship between two males be considered immoral, or worse yet, guarantee eternal damnation? He'd never felt more strongly that when his judgement day arrives, his God will smile upon him, too.