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Justin was sitting on the bed in the loft eating a cucumber when the roof fell down.
He was eating a cucumber because it was one of the only food-like substances left in the fridge. When the roof collapsed in the living room he dropped the cucumber and stared.
“Huh,” he said.
Picking his way across the room, carefully stepping over the piles of drywall, he looked up at the brand-new hole, about fifteen feet wide. All the pipes were exposed and they were leaking. Huge puddles spread under the mass of broken ceiling and dust, getting his socks wet.
He put his hands on his hips, looked around at the mess. “Huh,” he said again, vaguely wondering how much it would cost to repair an entire ceiling.
He left a message with maintenance, finished his cucumber, and went to Daphne’s for the rest of the day.
The mess was still on the floor when Justin got back, which meant that Brian probably hadn’t seen it yet. Brian was supposed to have a job interview that day and Justin had asked him to call to say how it went. Brian hadn’t called, so Justin assumed it didn’t go all that great. Sure enough, Brian stumbled in drunk and wild-eyed just as Justin was making dinner.
“Yo, Sunshine,” he said, swaggering over, “I got something for you.” He grabbed Justin’s hand and placed it on his cock.
“That’s nice,” Justin said, turning the heat down on the pasta. “The ceiling broke today.”
Brian made a confused face. Justin pointed over his shoulder. Brian swiveled, rocking a bit on the balls of his feet. He stared at the ceiling for a minute. Then he swiveled back and stared at Justin, eyes comically wide.
“What the fuck did you do?” Brian blinked.
“Nothing! It just fell down. There was a lot of water. I think the pipes were leaking. How old is this building?”
Brian sighed heavily, rubbed a hand across his nose. “Ah, well. So the living room is gone. We don’t need it! We’ll just fuck in the bedroom instead.”
On cue, the ceiling above the bed collapsed. They both looked at it in silence.
Justin patted Brian on the head and said, “Maybe we should call a plumber.”
It turned out that the plumbing had been flooding for quite some time, gradually building up pressure on the ceiling until it had finally given in. The explanation was that the plumbing was old and the ceiling cheaply built. But when the repair guys came to look at the ceiling they discovered the electricity was shot to hell from water damage, plus if they didn’t fix it right away, the bathroom ceiling would probably go any minute. Luckily, Brian’s insurance covered the cost of repairs, but maintenance recommended that Brian and Justin find somewhere else to live for two weeks while the building was fixed.
“Where the fuck are we going to go?” Brian scoffed, as they took shelter in the diner one Saturday afternoon. “My sister’s?”
“What about Melanie and Lindsay’s?” Justin volunteered hesitantly.
“The lezzies, a toddler and a newborn? I’d rather live with my sister.”
“Emmett and Ted’s?”
Brian made throat-slitting motions.
“Michael and Ben would take us.”
But as luck would have it, Ben was leaving for a series of conferences in New York that week and Michael was going with him. They would be gone for three weeks. Michael did not seem very sympathetic to Justin’s plight. “So, just go live in a hotel or something. Oh! Did I show you the brochures I got for the hotel Ben and I are staying at? It’s five stars and it has this incredible bar and you can take these tours of Central Park and--”
“But Michael, wait. If you and Ben are leaving, can’t we just crash in your apartment?”
“Do you want to take care of Hunter for two weeks?”
That was a valid point.
“Okay, fine,” Justin said to Brian, as they got blowjobs together in the back room one night. “Daphne doesn’t have room for us, so we can go live with my mom.”
“Oh my God, don’t say those words when I’m getting my dick sucked,” Brian groaned.
“We have to live somewhere!”
“You can go live with your mother. I will find somewhere else.”
The next afternoon, Brian came home from yet another crappy job interview to find Justin lugging boxes of clothes and art supplies out the door. “Where the fuck are you going?”
Justin glanced up at him in surprise. “To my mom’s, of course. We talked about this.”
Brian just blinked. “You’re really going to live with your mother.”
“Yes, I really am. What’s wrong with that? Unlike you, I love my mother. Her house is warm and the fridge is full of food and the ceiling is intact. And she’s happy to take me.”
Brian shuffled his feet and poked Justin in the stomach. “What about me?”
“Go live in a hotel.”
“I can’t afford a fucking hotel.”
Justin shrugged. “Then come live with me and my mom.”
Brian rubbed his hand over his eyes. “I’ll borrow the money from somewhere.”
“Okay. Later.” Justin kissed him and trotted out the door.
Brian checked into a hotel with his only working credit card. He lasted three nights. The problem was that he was actually kind of used to living with Justin. Justin was entertaining and had a very welcoming ass and made him coffee. The hotel was quiet and boring and Brian hadn’t had sex with Justin in two days. And every time he tried to get together with him, Justin had an excuse. He was helping Molly with homework or going to dinner with his grandparents or his mother was keeping a close eye on him and didn’t like him going to clubs until three in the morning.
“My God, it’s like you’re in high school all over again,” Brian groaned. “At least extend some common courtesy and grant me some phone sex.”
On the other end of the line, Justin hesitated for a moment and said, “Uh, Brian, I can’t really talk right now, I have to take Molly to soccer practice.”
“You little fucking twat--”
Justin hung up.
The next day Brian showed up on Jennifer’s doorstep with a suitcase, bottle of champagne, and a smile.
Jennifer sighed but let him in.
Brian found Justin up in his bedroom, sitting on the bed sketching. He gaped at Brian. “What are you doing here?” he asked, sounding exactly like his mother.
Brian decided to be honest. He stood before Justin by the bed, looked down at him, and sighed heavily. “I really missed your blowjobs,” he said.
Justin laughed, startled. “You’re coming to live with me and my mother because of sex?”
“Pretty much, yeah. Also, there isn’t any food at the loft.” He cupped Justin’s face and smiled. “Now will you PLEASE suck my dick before I explode?”
Justin batted his hands away. “Brian, my sister is right down the hall.”
“Okay, let’s give her a sex ed lesson, then.”
“Fuck you. If you want my mother to like you, you should go downstairs and help her with dinner.”
“Your mother likes me plenty. Who was the one who took her precious baby boy in and fucked him in the ass to make him all better?”
Justin narrowed his eyes. “You can be replaced, you know.”
Brian swatted his cheek and swaggered out of the room. “You can’t get any better than me.”
Of course, on their first night together under Justin’s mother’s roof, Jennifer walked in on them having sex. Justin had been expecting it to happen, the way you expect the corny plot twists in a bad movie, with a hint of dread and yet a thrill for what’s to come.
And of course Jennifer couldn’t walk in on them doing something innocent and PG-13. Nope. Justin was on his back, knees up to his ears, gasping as Brian made that first exquisite thrust inside him, when Jennifer walked in with clean towels.
“Um,” Justin said, and thought it was lucky Brian’s hand was on his cock because he really did not want his mother to see his erection.
“Hey, Mrs. Taylor,” Brian said easily, and waved as she fled from the room.
“Oh my God. Oh my God,” Justin said, staring up at Brian in horror. “Oh my God, my mother saw me having sex.”
“Calm down,” Brian said, grinding his pelvis against him, “it’s not the first time your mother’s seen me naked.”
‘WHAT?” Justin spluttered, but then Brian was thrusting into him again, pulling on his cock in rhythm, and even as Justin protested he came despite himself.
“Oh my God, oh my God,” Justin repeated. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, as Brian pulled out and flopped next to him. Brian sighed in a satisfied sort of way and reached for his cigarettes.
Justin watched him blow smoke rings and hum to himself. “Do you really not care that my mother just walked in on us?”
“Nope. Want some pot?”
“You are NOT getting high in my mother’s house. Put that away. Brian. Brian!”
Brian somehow managed to convince him with a nice rim job, and Justin was up half the night giggling and eating chips as a result, Brian laughing at him for being a fucking lightweight the entire time. By the time they got up in the morning Jennifer had already gone to work, leaving a note on the counter:
Molly was fascinated with Brian. She watched him during every meal, blushing when he asked her to pass the pepper, giggling with wide eyes when he cursed. The second morning of Brian and Justin’s stay, she begged Jennifer to let Brian drop her off at school, and then asked for his help with her homework that night.
In the shower Brian was jubilant. “Oh yeah,” he bragged to Justin, running the soap over his chest, “I have the entire Taylor family wrapped around my little finger.”
“Not the entire Taylor family,” Justin reminded him.
Brian kissed his cheek. “All the ones that matter.”
Justin snorted. “Thanks.”
Brian tried to squeeze himself behind Justin, but the shower was made for normal people who did not have sex in it. They were too used to the outrageously large shower at the loft. Justin did his best, pressing himself close up against the shower wall. Brian tried to get his cock in line but when he arched his back he rammed his skull into the showerhead, and when Justin turned to make sure he was okay he jostled him and Brian just hit his head again. Justin spilled all his shampoo and Brian cut himself twice shaving. Then they both slipped trying to get out and they landed on the floor in a wet heap.
“Maybe we should just take separate showers,” Justin said.
Brian fucked him on the floor instead, and Justin spent the rest of the day with a considerable limp, trying to hide his bruises from his mother.
On Friday of their first week, Jennifer went to visit her parents for the night. She left strict instructions for Justin: no wild partying, keep the house tidy, and be good. As soon as she was out the door Molly hesitantly approached Brian, who was flipping through TV channels disgustedly.
“Brian? Can I have a sleepover tonight?”
“No!” said Justin from the kitchen.
“Sure,” said Brian, grinning easily.
Justin came out of the kitchen looking pissed. “Brian, this is not your house and it’s my sister, so do what I say. No sleepovers, Molly.”
“I could rent you guys some movies,” Brian offered. “And get snacks.”
Molly beamed. “Thanks, Brian! I like your shirt.”
Brian preened. “Maybe we could go shopping sometime, if your big sister will let us.”
Molly sat next to Brian on the couch, eyebrows raised. She moved closer to speak intimately. “So...did you really corrupt Justin? That’s what Daddy says.”
“Well,” Brian said, “it all started one day outside of Babylon...”
“What’s that?” asked Molly.
“Oh my God,” Justin said, despondently.
Things were still quiet in the Taylor house when Justin left to pick up groceries and run his mother’s errands. He warned Brian against any funny business while he was gone. “If you let Molly have a sleepover, forget blowjobs,” he seethed. “You’re jerking yourself off for the next fifty years.”
Justin walked in the front door a half-hour later to find Brian sitting at the kitchen table with ten giggly girls, teaching them how to play poker (or something) and doing shots of tequila.
“Okay, now this is a full house,” Brian said through the cigarette between his lips. He laid down his cards smugly.
“Is that good?” Molly asked. Her voice sounded suspiciously slurred. “I have a four, a six, and a King, is that anything?”
“Omigod!” a blonde girl shrieked, sloshing a bottle of beer everywhere. “I got a gin rummy! Look, Brian, a gin rummy!”
Brian looked at her cards. “Close enough,” he shrugged.
One tiny girl who was smoking a joint enthusiastically suddenly threw down her cards and yelled, “Uno!”
All the girls shrieked in jubilation and shared victory hugs.
Justin gave up and went to bed.
The next morning during breakfast Jennifer beamed. “Thank you for being so well-behaved last night, boys. Katie’s mom called and said she had the best time! She couldn’t stop talking about what wonderful brothers Molly has.”
Over his egg-white omelet, Brian and a hungover Molly shared a conspiratorial smile.
Brian spent a few days lying around the house, smoking, going to Babylon, and generally congratulating himself on winning Jennifer over. There was food, there was TV, there was a nice blond boy waiting for him every night. Molly loved him and constantly brought her little friends over so they could gawk and giggle whenever he and Justin kissed. Brian had even grown accustomed to sex in Justin’s hideously tiny double bed.
Just when he was thinking that life wasn’t too bad in the Taylor residence, Jennifer sat down with him when he was watching TV one evening with a very serious look on her face. Brian knew that look. It was Justin’s “I’m trying to be a grown-up” look. The “you drink too much and shouldn’t accept drugs from strangers” look. It meant he should be afraid.
“Brian, I think we should have a talk,” Jennifer began.
Brian stubbed out his cigarette and braced himself. “You do.”
“Justin has informed me you’ve been going through some tough times recently...losing your job, your pride, your self-respect--”
“Yeah, thanks for reminding me.”
She placed her hand on his knee and gave him big, earnest eyes. “I care for you, Brian, and I know you’ve done a lot to help my son. But you must do something to turn your life around. Bring some meaning to your life! Do something you love to do!”
Brian considered saying, “I don’t believe in love, I just believe in fucking,” but thought better of it. “Uh...right.”
“I know money is important, but that’s not all that matters.”
“Drugs, sex, alcohol...what does it all really mean, anyway?”
Brian kept nodding.
“And now that you’re getting older--”
“--I mean you’re almost thirty-two.”
Christ. Don’t say it like that, he internally begged.
“Don’t think it’s time to settle down?”
“You deserve better than the life you’re leading. And,” Jennifer leaned in closer, “Justin does too.”
Brian reluctantly shrugged.
Jennifer looked pleased. “So! Will you take some initiative? Really start looking for a job?”
“Whatever,” Brian mumbled.
Jennifer’s tone became very pointed. “What was that?”
Brian sat up a little straighter. “Yeah. Yes, I will.”
Jennifer beamed and patted his knee. “Thank you, Brian. I’m glad we had this talk. Now how about you help me fix dinner?”
Despising himself, Brian followed her into the kitchen and chopped vegetables. As Jennifer talked about work and the weather he thought of all the different ways he would take revenge out on Justin for landing him in this situation. Tying the little fucker up and forcing him to watch as Brian jerked off, slowly, ignoring Justin’s whimpers, getting all the pleasure out of it for himself while giving none to Justin. Oh, that would be sweet.
Of course, Jennifer probably didn’t have any bondage equipment lying around the house. Unless he had seriously underestimated her.
He was still scowling when Molly and Justin came home and he continued to scowl as they ate dinner together like one big happy family. Justin looked confused and tried to play footsie with him under the table. Brian just kicked him.
They were getting started on dessert when the doorbell rang and the door opened.
“Hey, Molly, come give your dad a hug!” they heard Craig call.
Jennifer, Molly, Justin and Brian froze.
Craig came into the kitchen, smiling. His face very quickly fell. The look he shot Justin was like ice.
“What are you doing here with him?” he spat.
Molly looked at her mother with wide eyes. Justin looked at the tablecloth. Brian just looked at Craig and thought, please don’t do this.
Surprisingly, it was Jennifer who saved the day.
“Oh, hi, Craig,” she said brightly. “We’re just having dessert, would you like some?”
“Get away from my daughter and get out of this house,” Craig said, advancing on Brian.
Jennifer stood up and stepped in front of him. “Craig--”
“Molly, come with me. Right now, young lady!”
“Craig. My son and his boyfriend are having dinner with my daughter.”
Brian, Justin, Molly and Craig blinked.
“If you can’t accept that,” Jennifer continued boldly, “then you can get the fuck out of my house.”
The kitchen was absolutely silent. Brian hid a smile.
Craig gaped at her for a moment. Then he squared his jaw, slowly turned, and walked out. They heard the door shut with a resounding slam.
Jennifer took a deep breath and smiled. “Cake?”
The next day, Lindsay dropped Gus off for the afternoon. Brian thought he had never been in a stranger situation in his life; he, Justin, Gus, Molly and Jennifer, hanging out in the living room. Gus clung to him and gave him kisses and made him laugh. Brian thought he saw Jennifer looking at him oddly from time to time, but he wasn’t sure.
“I never knew you were a good father,” Jennifer said to him later, as they washed up the dinner dishes together.
Brian raised his eyebrows and looked at Justin pointedly. “Sure you did.”
A small smile quirked her lips. “So, how is the job-hunt going?”
He hesitated for a moment, looked at the plate he was drying. “I have an interview tomorrow. It looks promising.”
That night Jennifer didn’t say a single word when Brian dragged Justin out to Babylon, and in the morning she left them waffles.
The following afternoon Justin came home from picking Molly up at school to find Brian in his bedroom trying on a new dark gray suit.
“Brian! Did you go shopping?”
Brian adjusted his tie and looked in the mirror smugly. “Yep.”
“You don’t have the money for that!”
“Sure I do.” Brian held up two pairs of new shoes. “Which ones look better?”
“Brian. You have to take all of this back, right now. I don’t want you in debt until you’re fifty!”
“No worries, Sunshine.” Brian kissed his forehead. “I got a job today.”
Justin blinked, and grinned. “No shit! You did? Where?”
“It’s a small agency that could really use my help, and are willing to pay me a six figure salary for it. I’m thinking, in five years I’ll be able to buy them out, and we can buy a beach house in Ibiza.”
“Oh my god, Brian, that’s amazing! I thought you had given up.”
Brian thought of Jennifer’s pep talk and rolled his eyes. “Somehow, I found the inspiration.”
Finally, finally, by Friday of their second week, the construction company called and said that Brian’s loft was livable again.
It was all for the best, really. Justin had started to go a bit crazy. “I’m never spending time with my sister ever again. I’ve fulfilled my quota.” He constantly reminisced about the loft shower like a starving man reminisced about bread during famines in early twentieth-century Russia. “Do you remember all the long showers we used to take? And the water would be so warm, and it would never run out. We could stay in there all day, and there were no thirteen-year-old girls knocking on the door trying to see you naked, and…”
When they went grocery shopping to prepare for moving back into the loft, Justin cradled the packages of sushi and gourmet coffee and the bottles of booze like they were his children. “I’ve missed guava juice so much,” he admitted.
Molly and Jennifer came with them to the loft to help them move back in. Molly admired the size of the bed – “You could fit like four people in there!” Jennifer pretended she didn’t see Brian’s stash of weed. They unpacked Justin’s gazillions of bags and set up his easel in the corner by the window. Then Jennifer kissed Justin and, after a moment of hesitation, Brian. He squirmed slightly.
“I’m very proud of you, Brian,” she smiled, and she and Molly left. Justin waved to them from the window and watched as they drove away.
Then Justin and Brian looked at each other and Brian realized they were all alone for the first time in two weeks. They stood on opposite sides of the room for a moment, just looking at each other, and then Justin was throwing himself on Brian and they were laughing and kissing and laughing.
“Finally!” Justin said. “No more sister, no more sister’s friends, no more Mom, no more soccer practice and algebra homework...”
“Mmm.” Brian kissed him. “What should we do with all our free time?”
“Shop and fuck and shop and fuck,” Justin laughed, trailing kisses down Brian’s neck.
That sounded good to Brian, so they fucked on the floor and the bed and against the pillar, and then they went to Prada where they fucked in the changing room and bought Justin a beautiful pale blue sweater.
They came home and toasted their new ceiling with eighty-dollar wine.
“We should go to Woody’s tonight,” Justin said, as they lounged on cushions on the floor. “I haven’t seen the guys in forever.”
Brian’s mind was hazy with wine and sex. “Anything else?”
“Let’s get some really expensive cheese and smoke cigars.”
“Sure. But I forgot to tell you, your mom invited us for dinner next week.”
Justin sighed. “Okay. But let’s fuck in the shower first.”