Timeline: Future, about 3-4 years after 513
Rating: R
Warnings: Slightly angsty, maybe a bit sappy?
Author Notes: Many thanks and kudos to a great beta bluebirdgirl for her suggestions and corrections.


“Tell me your weirdest most fucked-up fantasy,” Michael’s looking at me with his eyes wide open, the weed has made them a pinky white colour.

“Like, no way,” I tell him with a disbelieving laugh.

“Like, no way?” Brian cuts in, shaking his head, “Why is it when you get stoned you sound like a fucked up teenager?”

“He is a fucked up teenager!” squawks Michael.

I turn and give him one of my most withering glares, “I’m twenty six.”

“Really?” He looks shocked.

“Yeah, really.”

“Jesus, when did that happen?” His question hits me and I realise that I don’t know the answer. I cannot believe that is truly my age.

“The same day your hubby turned forty,” Brian tells him. He’s rolling another joint, I watch his long dark fingers intricately peeling the thin papers, it‘s weirdly erotic, but then it is Brian so............maybe not so weird.

“Ben’s forty?” squeaks Michael. Jesus, I didn‘t realise marijuana killed this many brain cells. I take a long pull of my beer and let the cool fizzy liquid slosh around my mouth.

“Yes, I am.” Ben sounds so solemn that I want to laugh out loud. He gets up from the floor and disappears somewhere. I watch him go. He has huge thighs.

“Did we - did we celebrate?” Michael’s still looking confused.

“Yeah, you arranged this big surprise party,” I start telling him. I'm lying. I really have no fucking idea what Ben and Michael did to celebrate his birthday as Brian had just moved here at the time and we were very busy ignoring the outside world, not moving out of the apartment and fucking until every muscle group in our bodies ached. “It was amazing. It was held in Babylon and there were acrobats wearing sparkly cocksocks and naked mimes performing interpretations of West Side Story and four Elton John impersonators singing his greatest hits. Naked.”

“I arranged all that?”

“Yeah you did, but Emmett helped,” I nod enthusiastically. “And there was - “ I falter a minute, “there was butthole bingo and a really hot guy making balloon animals - but adult themed balloon animals of giraffes and elephants and pandas except they all had really big cocks. And he was naked.”

“Was there anyone at the party who wasn’t naked?” Michael asks, staring at me with narrowed eyes.

“Well...all the guests were wearing togas. But the performers were naked,” I tell him. I’m thinking about Brian in a toga, imagining the white sheets against his light brown skin, “I can’t believe you don’t remember this Mikey,” I shake my head at him.

“Don’t fucking call me Mikey, Boy Wonder!” he bitches back. I can feel the old animosity rising between us. I can almost hear his voice over the phone “You’ve ruined everything Justin, he‘s not the same anymore“. I return his glare.

“Now, now children play nice,” Brian butts in using his condescending voice and I look away, upwards, at our high ceilings. I stare at the light fixtures and feel Brian shift next to me, rearranging his long form into the huge throw cushions.

Michael hands me the joint with a glare, “You know what, I think you’re lying about Ben’s party.”

“Yeah?” I don’t care.

“Yeah. I think you made all that shit up about togas and naked acrobats - “

“Don’t forget the naked Elton John impersonators Mikey,” adds Brian.

“Yeah, I think it’s all bullshit.”

“Is that so?”

“Yeah! Ben doesn‘t even like Elton John.”

I burst out laughing then and fall backwards onto the floor. I miss the throw cushions; the wooden floorboards meet me hard and I feel the breath knocked out of me, but I’m still laughing, and now I'm also coughing from the smoke which is floating above my head in a hazy cloud. Brian’s face swims into view above my head.

“Fuck! Justin, your head - “ He looks annoyed.

“You’re so hot,” I tell him.

He looks relieved and his mouth segues into a small indulgent smile, “You’re so wasted.”


Later, when we’re lying in bed and the ceiling has finished spinning. Brian turns his head in my direction and I feel his eyes on me, "You never answered Mikey's question Sunshine."

“Ugh, as if I would tell him. He’d just use it as an excuse to tell me his. And I really don’t want to know about Captain Astro and the Vibrating Dildo of Death.” Brian laughs under his breath and twists onto his side, he looks into my face, “You really want to know?”


“You’re my biggest fantasy,” I tell him using my cheesiest voice. He rolls his eyes and snorts a laugh.

“Be more specific.”

I smile slyly at him and bring my own hand to my face, I lick my palm and lowering my hand I begin to slowly stroke his dick, coating it with my saliva. He half shuts his eyes, and I lean forward to kiss him on the lips.

“Well, I have this one where we're stranded on a tropical island and we’ve lost our clothes somewhere along the way and we’re just wearing loin cloths - “ Brian starts sniggering and I still my hand which, up till now, had been slowly running up and down his hard dick.

“Don’t stop,” he moans.

“Well then, don’t laugh at my fantasy.”

“But Sunshine, it’s so lame.”

“You asked.”

“Yeah, fine, just get on with it!" he thrusts his hips in exasperation and I resume stroking him, running my fingers deliberately over the head, slicking him with my sticky saliva.

“Well we would eat fruit and catch fish and swim in pools of rain water and at night we would fuck over and over by a campfire until we could barely move and during the day we would surf - “ The words taper off as do my ideas.


“And.........well that’s kinda it, we just fuck and roam around the island wearing loin cloths.”

“That’s it?”

“Well it’s an ongoing sort of fantasy,” I shrug and squeeze his dick harder as I increase the speed of my hand, "It’s a work in progress.”


I’m checking my email account and desultorily sipping coffee. I am devoid of energy and my brain feels like oatmeal. I feel like shit. I am never smoking weed again. I turn the brightness of my screen down for about the fifth time in succession and blink, shifting in my uncomfortable desk chair. I finish the rest of my coffee with a grimace and pick up the bottle of water resting by my elbow, I swallow its entire cool watery goodness in one long thirsty drag and immediately feel like vomiting. I sit for a moment perfectly still letting the wave of nausea pass and turn my eyes back to the screen. My email reminder is flashing at me and I move my cursor to open the new message. I have to read it three times before I can process what I'm reading.



I start from my hour long reverie when I feel Brian’s arms snake around me from behind. He’s looking over my shoulder at my screen. The screensaver is playing, it seems to have been playing for a while.

“You’re back early.”

“Yeah.” He kisses the corner of my mouth and I twist slightly in my chair to meet his lips. He presses his face into my neck.

“I have something to show you,” I tell him.

He removes his face from my neck and gives me a leer, “I think I’ve seen it before.”

I roll my eyes in response, "This.” I pick up the email I’ve printed off and hand it to him. He stands, moving away from me and reads it. I watch his face carefully for signs of what he’s really thinking. From this distance, the words I have read over and over look like a blur of black against the deep white of the paper.

“This is fucking amazing,” he says turning to face me with a wide smile.

“You’re pleased?”

“Course I’m fucking pleased. This can make your career. It is what you want, right?”

“Yeah,” I still don’t know, it’s what I’ve been thinking about all afternoon as I watched my screensaver repeat over and over.

“Have you replied yet?”

“No, I - I wanted to see what you thought.”

He comes up to me and places his hands on my shoulders, I let my body fall back against his, “You should go.” His voice breaks slightly, “I don’t I think I could forgive myself if you didn’t.”


Over a day has passed and nothing more has been said about the email. I feel its unsaid presence in the air between us and it makes me angry, resentful. I escape from the boring tales of Michael and Ben’s Day of Culture at MOMA and the Whitney and walk into our bedroom.



“We should talk.“

He’s standing by the closet, halfway clothed in his home uniform of jeans. He removes a black t-shirt from the closet and the muscles of his back ripple in golden brown spasms as he moves. I watch him closely and feel the habitual yearning in my stomach to touch him, feel his smooth skin under my palms, sweeping my hands across his back, caressing, worshipping him. “God, I hate that phrase,” he mutters under his breath as he pulls the t-shirt over his head in a clean easy movement.

“We should talk about the offer,“ I repeat.

“I thought we decided yesterday that you’d accept it, that you’d go.”

“That’s what you told me to do.”

“That’s what I’d do in your place. Nothing should stand in your way, as far as your career is concerned.” His voice is dismissive.

“Even you?”

His head twists round, his hair is slightly mussed and he directs me a sardonic smile, “Especially me.”

“You know that it would mean me going to live over in London for at least eighteen months, probably a lot longer?”

“Yeah. So?“

“So? Brian, when I applied for this, I was in a totally different place. It was over a year ago and although I didn’t think I had a fucking chance of winning, I wanted to. I wanted to go away, leave New York, leave this fucking country, to go somewhere else and be someone else. Now everything’s different, everything’s great. You’re here and we’re together and we‘re great and I’m so happy just being with you. I don‘t know if I could give that up again and you and me - we don’t work very well apart. We need to be together in the same place so we can touch each other and fuck each other, you know that. I’ve thought about it lots and I’ve made my decision. I’m going to say no.“ I finish and pause for breath, I can feel the blood thumping in my head.

“Bullshit.” He turns and gives me a scathing look, “I’m not letting you turn this down. This is your future. A once in a lifetime thing.”

“Brian - “ my voice sounds plaintive, pathetic. “Didn’t you hear what I was saying?”

“Yeah, I heard you and you‘re right. We don‘t work well apart, but this time we don‘t need to. I’ve got it covered.”


“Sit there,” he’s indicating the bed. I sit down as he goes to open his briefcase. From this angle, I can’t see what he’s removing. He turns back around and tosses the ugliest sneaker I have ever seen onto the bed in front of me.

“What’s that?”

“That, Sunshine, is the future of Kinnetik Europe and why you won’t be going to London on your own.”


Ben and Michael read the email as we’re sitting around the kitchen table eating Lebanese take out. Their eyebrows rise, their faces are impressed as they offer their congratulations.

“How’re you going to cope if Justin moves to London?” Michael asks Brian, “It’s not like the two of you managed very well before.”

“I won’t have to cope Mikey, as I’ll be in London too,” he speaks expansively, not looking at his friend. He reaches for a cigarette.

“What?” Michael’s face is an artist’s expression of dumbstruck.

“Thanks to the Dare! sneaker.” Brian gives him a mocking smile and lights his cigarette with a clean snap of his Zippo lighter.

“The what?”

“That piece of shit.” He waves one hand in the direction of the microwave, the ugly sneaker is sitting by it like an abstract work of art.

Ben gets up from his stool and retrieves the sneaker, passing it over to his still dumbstruck partner. “I have to say Brian that this is truly the ugliest piece of footwear I’ve ever seen.”

“Yeah, how the fuck are you going to sell that piece of crap to anyone?”

“Well, I was hoping you could give me some tips Mikey. Seeing as you used to sell crap for a living.”

“Yeah, but I can’t imagine that thing is going to retail at $19.99.”

“You would be right,” Brian sits back in his chair and lets a smug smile play across his face. “This piece of shit, also known as the Dare! sneaker, and don’t ask me what fucking brain trust thought of that for shit name, is worth a hell of a lot more than that. That ugly ass shoe represents an account worth, potentially, tens of millions of dollars. Plus, the head office of the company that makes those things is based in London and as they want the agency that they eventually choose to also have a base there......ergo,” he looks appraisingly between Ben and Michael, “a new European branch of Kinnetik.”

“If you get the account,” interjects Michael.

“What d’you mean if Mikey?” Brian’s looking at him with a wide shit-eating grin. I catch his eye and smile at him.


“Tell me another of your fantasies,” Brian whispers when we’re in bed.

“You said the last one was lame,” I point out.

“Well, try another one, and make it more action-packed.”

I laugh into my pillow, “This one’s kinda corny,” I warn him. “I sometimes think about it when I’m jerking off.”

“Tell me.”

I bite my lip, “Well it‘s a sort of costume drama.”

“Costumes can be fun,” he comments.

I smile to myself, “Yeah, well, in this one I’m a Victorian street urchin who steals to keep himself alive and you’re the Lord of the Manor with a really, really big…estate... “ he snorts at this and I smile. "And I’m starving and poor and repressed so one day I steal some of your apples from your special prize orchard -”

He pulls me onto my back and leans over me with an expectant raised eyebrow. I look back into his face and huff out a laugh. Reaching with my hand to find his dick, I start stroking slowly, he relaxes back into the pillow and closes his eyes, “Continue with your story poor repressed street urchin.”

I lower my voice to what I hope is a sultry murmur, “But because you’re so rich and so powerful and have such an enormous estate, you have many servants to do your bidding and unfortunately, the poor, starving, but extremely hot, young apple thief is caught in the act and manhandled into the scullery - “

“Scullery? What the fuck’s a scullery?”

I ignore him, I’m beginning to enjoy telling him this fantasy. I press my hard cock against his thigh as I resume speaking, my voice is low and breathless, “- And I’m half naked with my ragged clothes all torn showing off my poor abused body, I’m waiting in the scullery, terrified and trembling, waiting to meet the famous rich Lord Kinney - stud of the county, then you walk into the scullery and dismiss your servants who all bow and whimper 'Yes Lord Kinney, right away Lord Kinney' as they leave and we’re left all alone. I’m shaking with fear, but I’m also secretly really aroused as you’re so fucking hot. You watch me cowering helplessly on the floor as you stalk around the scullery. I watch you slowly remove your intricately… made especially for you by your Saville Row tailor.” Brian actually moans at this point, he’s such a clothes whore. I smile to myself and continue my breathless storytelling. “Then you remove your white…silk…shirt…and you’re standing there bare-chested in your breeches and your brown…shiny…knee…high…leather…boots.“ Another moan, “And you’re pacing around me the whole time and the leather boots are creaking and I’m still on the floor, on all fours, submissive and trembling like the bad, bad street urchin boy I am, but my cock is really hard at this point. Can you feel it?” I press it against his thigh again and gently rub myself, he whimpers in response. "And then you pick up your leather riding crop and bring it down over my poor starving naked body.” Brian comes all over my hand at this point and I grin in triumph.


We say goodbye to Ben and Michael at the airport.

“Sorry for all that shit I made up about Ben’s birthday,” I tell Michael. “I was high, stupid.” I don’t know why I’m apologizing, but we have to discuss something whilst we await for the departure information to update.

He turns to me with a confused expression, “What? Oh yeah, sure.”

“We really enjoyed being here and seeing you guys again, thanks for letting us stay.” Ben’s voice floats over to us from where he‘s shaking Brian‘s hand in a tight, manly movement. I catch Michael’s eye and we share an awkward smile. I’ve been looking forward to them leaving as soon as they arrived. I had been dreading this visit. Were we ever friends, Michael and I? Were we ever really close? I used to think so at one point. But then I left Pittsburgh and things changed.

“Just, look after Brian, you know,” he tells me and again I feel it. That stab of annoyance at the intimation in his words that I’m not capable of doing that, “He was, well you know how he was before he came over here for good.”

I nod in response and bite my tongue. I, more than anyone, know how he was.


Daphne is incredulous. “I can’t believe you guys are going to live in London!” she exclaims for the twenty-first time on the phone. “That’s so amazing Justin. You’re so lucky.”

My mom is ambivalent, “I am really happy for you honey, but is Brian really ready to move with you to London?” her voice is dubious as it echoes down the line. “You‘ve only just settled in New York together.” She sounds wistful, I feel a twinge of guilt and tune out her words, I’m thinking about walking in Hyde Park, clubbing in Soho, riding the tube, shopping on Bond Street, fucking in the bushes on Hampstead Heath, “And London’s so far away.” I don’t listen.


Our fucking gets desperate as the day of the Dare! pitch gets closer. Brian whispers to me at night to describe more of my fantasies. I make them up, each one more clichéd, more bad porn and more equestrian than the last.

“Did I tell you that one of the servants at Lord Kinney of the Manor’s estate is a very disobedient but extremely hot blond stable boy?”

“No. Tell me,“ he demands and I murmur the words to him.

Afterwards Brian sleeps but I can’t. I pad into the living room, I’m bored and listless and I slump onto the sofa. I switch on the DVD player and watch some of the shitty eighties porn Ted gave Brian for his last birthday. One of the Dare! sneakers is sitting on the DVD player, I get up and toss it behind the sofa where I can no longer see it.


At Kinnetik Dare! sneakers litter the office like ugly colourful turds. The entire staff seems focused on the pitch in a few days time and no one notices me. I stand outside Brian’s office and watch him work, he’s pacing around the room on speakerphone, his voice echoing through the closed glass doors in an indistinct trail of sound. I push open the door and enter quietly, slumping into his desk chair.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” He asks when he finally finishes his call.

I watch him pick something up, “Are you really busy?”

He casts his eyes up and looks at me with a distracted expression, “I’m always really busy, you know that.” His eyes go back to the sheet of paper, he strides across the room to the conference table and sets it down there, “D’you wanna fuck?”

I feel like laughing out loud at such a romantic offer, “I don’t know, I guess.”

“You guess?” He strides back towards me and leans across his desk. I lean towards him and kiss him. When I break away he raises one questioning eyebrow.

“Yeah, okay then, Let’s fuck,” I say eventually.

Brian looks at me again and laughs sharply, “Jesus, you’re blowing me away with your enthusiasm.” He sits on the corner of his desk and picks up something else. I get to my feet and walk around his desk until I’m standing in front of him. He looks up at me, “You look like shit, you should go home and sleep.”

I lean forward and rest my forehead against his, “I just wanted to see you,” I admit as I kiss him again.

“I know,” he answers and kisses me back.


I’m working on a new canvas when Brian comes into the studio, I’m not sure what I will do with it. My studio is virtually bare, I’ve packed everything up already. Our apartment will be sublet and half-finished canvases are not a good selling point, but the urge to create is prickling at my skin.

“D’you like it?” I look up at him.

“I don’t know,” he answers and I can see the truth in his face. His eyes are strangely blank, something is missing in his expression. He flicks his gaze quickly over my face and then removes it as if there’s something there that burns, “It’s unnerving.”

“That’s what I was going for.”

“Well you got it.” He continues standing in front of the canvas, staring at the half-finished painting. It feels like a long time and I move towards the deep set sink in the corner to wash my hands. “You’re so good at what you do.”

I look up at him, "I know,” I tell him with my smug face. He flashes me a wry smile and looks away again.

“We didn’t get it. The Dare! sneaker account.”


“We didn’t get it.”

“What? But I thought it was a done deal!” I’m swallowing something in my mouth but there’s a blockage somewhere at the back of my throat.

“No such thing as a done deal.” His words are bitter. He removes his eyes from me and focuses back on the painting.

“So, what does that mean?” I’m trying to talk over the heaviness in my throat, over the clenching in my stomach.

“It means that for the moment there won’t be any Kinnetik Europe, no London office. Maybe in four, five years time,” he shrugs and seems to tear his gaze from the painting, looking around the rest of the room. "You’ve managed to pack a lot of your shit away,” he comments. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it look so tidy in here before.”

“Four, five years? Shit, no that’s not right.”

“It wouldn’t have happened anyway.” He lets out a breath then and I hear the dull acceptance in his voice.

“What d’you mean?” I’m still standing by the sink, the taps are still both running, water dripping from my hands. I twist them off slowly.

“Even if we had gotten the account, we’d need more than that to start up an office - “ he breaks off and moves towards the window. I watch him stand in front of it, his outline throws a disjointed shadow back over the wooden floor. “And we‘ve only just started here. We need to establish things here. I - it,” his face twists into an embarrassed grimace, “it was just a fantasy.”

“Brian,” I whisper his name and move to grab him from behind. I wrap my arms around him and press my face into his back, feeling his body relax slightly as I hold him. “I won’t go, I’m not going.”

“Bullshit. Yes you are.”


In the kitchen I stand over the garbage disposal and destroy every one of the seven Dare! sneakers that have littered the apartment for the past few weeks. I watch the whirling swirls of white, yellow, indigo and grey leather/plastic/pleather/whatever the fuck disappear crushed and broken with a dull feeling of anger. I'm fixated on the hard metallic grinding in my ears, the swirling colourful lumps of plastic in front of my eyes. Suddenly, Brian is behind me. He reaches up and switches off the power. The unit shudders to a stop and I feel him grab me hard, pulling me away from the sink and onto the kitchen floor. I am wrestled to the ground and as we tumble together, our legs entwine and we grab at each other. He pushes me onto my stomach, straddling me from behind, one hand grabs at a fistful of my hair and the other pulls down my pants. I am not ready, not prepared and when he pushes in me it hurts in a way it hasn‘t for a long time. It’s hard and painful, but I don’t want it to ever stop as he drives into me relentlessly. I grab onto his other hand and squeeze it hard, feeling the bones in his fingers shift and press together.

Afterwards every part of my body throbs and there are blond hairs still tangled around his fingers. I feel limp as he runs his hands gently over my body, “I‘m sorry,” he murmurs and I know he isn’t apologising for this.

“I love you,” I reply.


“Tell me another fantasy,” he commands. He’s holding me from behind, his arms wrapped around me so tightly that my ribs hurt. It’s late and I know that in a few hours he will drive me to the airport, I will get on a plane and leave the country.

“They’re all bullshit,” I tell him, “I made them up.”

“I know.”

“I don’t really think about that shit when I jerk off.”

“I know,” he repeats and I feel sick. “Tell me what you really think about.”

“You,” I whisper, “and me, us, together.” I feel his body relax in agreement.

“What’s your ultimate most fucked up fantasy?” he asks and I don't want to lie anymore.

“You. Seeing you everyday, waking up with you everyday.” It’s the truth but I’ve never dared say it before.


The airport is busy, loud and threatening. We pile my luggage onto a cart and I push it into the middle of the crowded Entrance Hall.

“Let’s get you checked in.“ It’s almost the first words we have exchanged all morning.

I follow him in the direction of the British Airways desk and join the line. We stand there in silence, Brian’s expression is inscrutable. “Get this shit checked in, I won‘t be long.” He takes off then and I watch his long strides until he disappears.

He reappears just as I’m folding my boarding pass into the pocket of my jeans, replacing the cart on the cart stand.


“Where did you go?”

He ignores the question and looks at his watch, “We need to get a move on. Your flight leaves soon.”

I know this fact but I don’t want to go. “Brian - “ I begin, he shoots me a sharp furious look and I look away.

“Don’t even think about it,” he hisses.

“You don’t even know what I’m going to say!”

“Sure I do. You’re going to say you’re not going.”

“I don’t want to go,” I’m still looking away from him at the cart rack sign behind us. “I don’t care.”

He sighs then and moves towards me. He throws both arms around me and holds me perfectly still, “Justin, I know you. If you don’t go then you’ll regret it and you know it too. You'll resent me for it. I can’t do that to you, I can’t stand between you and your future.”

I press my face into his jacket and feel his hand caressing my scalp, playing with my hair, “What about what I want?”

“You want to go.”

“No I don’t!”

“Yes you do.”

“I did before when you were coming as well. But now I don’t want to anymore - “ I can hear my voice as if it’s a third person, a separate entity, a whiny and pathetic entity.

He says nothing but just continues to hold me. I have no idea how much time has passed. Hopefully I will miss my flight and be unable to transfer onto another.

“Come on.” He pulls away from me and I see a momentary flash of something cross his face as he tugs me along.

“Brian,” I stop abruptly. A businessman clangs into my ankles and throws me an angry glare, "Promise me that this time it’ll be different. We’ll try harder and there won’t be any of the fucking bullshit from before. You'll come and see me, it’s not like it’s that hard to get to London these days. It would be totally fucking stupid to just give up - “ I trail off lamely. “And I’ll be back. This isn’t where it ends you know, I won't let it, and -”

“Justin - “ he interrupts me. He’s looking at me closely and there’s a strange intensity in his expression, “Shut up. Look.” He pulls something out of his pocket with a small embarrassed shrug of his shoulders. It’s a ticket.

“What? Brian?”

“I’m going with you,” he says and his face seems to relax for a moment.

“What? But you said you couldn’t! You said - “

“I just decided,” he adds and he’s smiling. I can’t believe this, I’m sort of breathless and I don't dare smile in case it’s an awful, terrible joke.

“What? Now?”

“Yes. While you were checking in I went to the desk and bought myself a ticket. It's a good fucking thing they still have seats in first class.”

“First class?” I’m repeating everything he’s saying like a total fucking moron.

“Yeah, you’ve been upgraded Sunshine.” His face is smug, self-satisfied.

“But Brian, I don’t - I don’t get it! You’re coming with me now?” I’m still lost on this part.

“That’s what I said.”

“Bu - but the business? What about Kinnetik?”

“It’s in hand.“

“Brian - “ He’s lost it. It’s in hand? What the fuck? I look into his face and his eyes are shining. The harsh white lights of the airport reflect off them and he looks manic.

"Do you know what one of the definitions of intelligence is?"

What the fuck is he talking about? This is so not the time for his cryptic bullshit.

"Learning from our mistakes," he continues blithely ignoring my irritated incomprehension. "We're intelligent people, we should know that.“ He has gone insane.

"But - but what the fuck has that got to do with anything?"

"It’s got everything to do with it. As far as I’m concerned not being with you is a mistake and I’m a successful businessman I don’t like making the same mistakes over and over,” he looks aside with a small mocking smile. “It’s completely counterproductive to my goals and requirements.”

Counterproductive to his goals and requirements? What the fuck? Does that make me the opposite of counterproductive? I don’t know whether to laugh, cry or hit him, instead I’m just staring at him with a mixture of confusion and amazement. He’s looking at me expectantly, I know it’s my cue to speak but what’s a fucking antonym for counterproductive? Slowly a smile spreads across my face, “So what you’re really saying is that you can’t live without me.”

He half coughs and looks away with an embarrassed shrug of his shoulders. I laugh out loud, and grab him by the shoulders, pulling him down into a kiss. It’s sloppy and clumsy and I want to climb inside his mouth. I mould my body into his and my backpack falls onto the floor as he tightens his grip on my waist. He stares into my face and my mouth is wide, grinning inanely and he’s grinning back at me and we look like a couple of idiots. This is real now. This isn't some dumb dream or fantasy. He is really coming with me. I laugh out loud and tilt my head back, “God Brian! You’re so fucking crazy, you had to leave it till the last minute!” I shake my head again, and take a step back, letting my arms fall to my sides, “But what the fuck will you do in London?“

“Work. What the fuck else would I do?" he shrugs easily. "It would've been easier if we'd won the fucking Dare! account but I think I can do it without." He pauses and directs me a small mocking smile, "As the ad says, ‘Sometimes you have to Dare everything for what you believe in‘.” His voice is ironic, self-deprecating but he's smiling at me, waiting for my response. I picture the words of Brian’s copy so painstakingly wrought, except this time it’s not about a shitty pair of shoes but an echo of another speech, paraphrased from a long time ago.

“What asshole said that?” I murmur under my breath. I see the lack of furniture again, the one king sized double bed, an island and us on it, together.

“This one I think.”

I laugh again and he pulls me back against him. The minutes pass and I can't stop smiling. I press my face into his neck and breathe in the scent of his skin. We continue holding each other until we hear our flight being called. He reluctantly pulls away and his expression turns serious, “If we hurry we can stock up on duty free cigarettes before we board, I hear they cost a fucking fortune in England.”