Pictures of You B/J post 513 for babylonqueen.
I asked, many weeks ago, for a B/J vid to be made of the Cure song, 'Pictures of You'. The wonderful and talented babylonqueen answered the challenge and now it's time to pay her back, as promised. Here's a story for babylonqueen, a companion piece for this beautiful vid she made.
The lyrics can be found here.
"I've been looking so long at these pictures of you that I almost believed that they're real."
It was the weirdest thing. Like, seriously fucking creepy. So creepy that Brian had never dared to fix the glass or replace it. He got chills just considering it, as if doing so might set a long-dormant curse into motion, cast it out into the air where it would finally be free to do mischief.
Sunshine had left for the last time, his hair rumpled because Brian couldn't keep his fingers out of it, his eyes and cheeks wet with tears, his heavy duffle slung over one shoulder. He had refused to let Brian take him to the airport, despite promises of chaste goodbyes free of public histrionics. He'd looked back at Brian once more, who stood naked in the middle of the loft while silent tears streaked his perfect face, and mouthed the words, 'I love you.'
Brian had nodded in acknowledgement and then Justin stepped out, slamming the creaking old door shut with a heavy thump that shook the floor beneath Brian's feet.
From the bedroom, something had toppled to the floor, drawing Brian's startled attention. He'd crossed to the bed, his eyes scanning in the dark. On the floor, laying face down, was the only picture of Justin he'd ever allowed himself to display. It had been sitting amidst a jumble of framed photographs in the middle of the dresser, where it was placed more than a year before.
Brian had bent and retrieved it, turning it over in his hand. That's when he'd noticed the fracture in the glass. It ran almost exactly down the middle, between the image of he and Justin. Emmett had taken the photo of them embracing outside of Woody's on the night of Pride 2002, and Brian had always loved the aesthetic of the photograph. The scene surrounding them was a mere blur of color and motion as people moved in and out of the frame, but the image of he and Justin was sharp and clear. Em must have snapped the shot at exactly the right moment to capture them so perfectly.
Rubbing his thumb over the crack, a feeling of loathing crawling over his skin at the way the break cleaved the two smiling, happy figures from one another, Brian had shivered. He'd replaced the photo quickly, setting it carefully back in the center of the other photos. He hadn't even wanted to think about how it'd been surrounded by frames but was still the only one to fall.
He'd stretched flat across the bed, burying his nose in the sheets, breathing in Justin's smell one more time, and had fallen asleep thinking about Justin flying through a deep black night on his way to somewhere else.
It was four months later, and he'd still never replaced the glass in the frame. On good days, he didn't even glance up at it on his way through the bedroom. On bad days, days when worked sucked and Gus wasn't home to answer his calls, and Justin couldn't have seemed farther away than if he'd been in Beijing, Brian would lay on Justin's side of the bed, his head turned just enough to see the arrangement of photos out of the corner of his eye, and wonder how he'd ever thought his life could be easier without the blond artist cluttering things up.
But today was a good day.
He glanced around the loft once more, making sure he wasn't forgetting anything he'd need in the next week. The movers had been in yesterday and, under his critical eye and sharp tongue, had packed nearly everything in neat little boxes, all meticulously labeled by Brian, himself. The cartons had sat in stacks all over the empty space, waiting for the truck to come this morning and load them aboard, along with all the furniture.
Haltingly, hating the silly, nervous feeling it gave him in his stomach, he'd ordered the packers to move the cracked photo of he and Justin to the kitchen counter, assuring them he'd make note on the cargo sheet of the already-existing damage to the frame. Even these four months later, he couldn't bring himself to touch it again.
Now there was nothing left in the space but dust kitties, his briefcase, a plane ticket and the framed photo, laying face down on the bar. He opened the briefcase, checked the ticket for the hundredth time that day, and slipped it into a leather pocket that held a 500.00 calculator he rarely used and a tri-folded copy of his newest contract with Nike that he'd need to read on the plane. He reached for the photo, but hesitated, his hand hovering over the frame.
Heavy, jogging footfalls climbing the stairs to his floor mercifully yanked his attention away to the door and his heart squeezed painfully when Justin stepped through and hit him with a blinding, white smile.
"Ready to go? You have everything?" Justin was slightly winded from his climb and Brian had to rip his eyes away from the way his chest rose and fell with each breath.
He reached again for the photo, his heartbeat thundering in his ears.
Snatching it off the bar and turning it over in his hands, he studied the photograph. It was the same as it had always been- he and Justin, the warm night swirling with color around them, their foreheads pressed together, matching smiles lighting their faces.
"What's that?" Justin moved towards him, leaning over his arm to see.
"Oh, that," he grinned up at Brian. "I love that picture. It's a shame the glass broke, though. We'll fix it when we get to New York, ok?"
Brian shook his head faintly, his fingers gently brushing over Justin's face in the photo.
"Fuck that," Brian answered softly. He flipped the frame over, pried it open and pulled the picture free. He tossed the frame haphazardly onto the counter and removed his wallet from the back pocket of his worn and faded jeans. Looking once more at the picture of the night he'd begun to admit to himself that he probably did love Justin after all, he tucked it away carefully and slipped the wallet back into his pocket.
Grabbing his briefcase in one hand and wrapping his free arm around Justin's shoulders, he lead them out of the loft, pausing in the stairwell as Justin slid the door shut.
Left behind on the kitchen counter, the cracked frame laid forgotten in the settling dust.