[identity profile] rainbow-rose1.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] queer_as_fics
Author: rainbow_rose1

Characters: Brian, Justin, Gus, J.R., Ben, Michael, Lindsay, Melanie, Ted, Blake, Debbie, Carl, Jennifer, Emmett.

Rating: Adult; sexually explicit.

Warnings: There are several situations of angst.

Beta: Yes.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters associated with 'Queer As Folk'. No infringement intended.

Summary: Gus is now a teenager, with all the usual teenage growing pains, and some not so usual. There are other family problems with his parents that will come to light, but carry consequences. But when Gus starts making decisions and choices for himself, one set of parents fight against it, while the other, encourages him. Brian and Justin, too, will face their own dilemmas, some of which are unalterable. *This story is the sequel to, 'To Be, Or Not To Be'.*





CHAPTER 19 (part 3 of 3)


The Kinney’s Loft – Tribeca, New York City



Ever since returning home from Pittsburgh, following Jenny Rebecca’s graduation, Brian, Justin, Gus, and Shane spent their time focusing on packing for their move. But when the chore started to become boring for Brian, he insisted they all needed a break to go shopping for new clothes or new items for Britin. And most shopping excursions nowadays also included selecting a new toy or doggie treats for Shadow. Even Justin and Gus began teasing him that he loved the puppy more than them. Brian would always scoff and roll his eyes at them, of course, telling them to shut the fuck up and that they were full of shit, but it only caused them to laugh even more.


Less than one week after their packing marathon began, however, Ted telephoned Brian and Justin to tell them about a particularly amazing contract he was desperate to sign with a high-end client, one he’d been trying to add to Kinnetik’s portfolio for years. He prattled on about all the various and creative attempts to even get this client to simply accept a pitch from him. Obviously, Ted had pestered the client enough to where, probably out of frustration, he had agreed to come to Kinnetik to hear the presentation.


Amidst Brian’s declaration that Theodore was simply doing his job as he balked at his friend and employee’s enthusiasm, inwardly, he was impressed with Ted’s tenacity and skill at getting the client to agree to a presentation. However, there was one major glitch to the good news… On the only day the client said that he had available, Ted already had two other client presentations scheduled. He truly couldn’t afford to reschedule them, and therefore, Ted insisted he needed Brian to be the one to pitch to this new perspective client. Brian agreed, but when he did, he also said that Justin and Shane would be the ones to do the presentation boards.


Justin glanced over at Brian and beamed; he still loved how Brian always wanted it to be him who he wanted to do the boards for potential clients. Every time they landed a contract, Brian made it a point to tell Justin it was because of his brilliant artwork that the client signed with Kinnetik. True, Shane did most of the drawing for him, but in Brian’s opinion, it was Justin’s genius vision that brought his ideas to life.


Of course like any other news, the rest of the family soon knew of the interruption in the Kinney’s packing for their move. So only a few days later, early on a Saturday morning, an entire crew of family showed up at Brian and Justin’s loft to help them pack; Jenny, Ben, Michael, Drew, Tucker, and Jennifer.


Their arrival wasn’t a surprise to Gus and Shane, although they had forgotten to tell Brian and Justin about it the night before, after Jenny had texted her brother to let him know. (Those who couldn’t make it, had previous obligations… Emmett, because of a party he was catering; Kelsey was with her parents visiting family; Debbie and Carl were away on a mini-vacation; Ted was overloaded with work at Kinnetik; and Blake was busy at the rehab center.)


The two young men were already awake and were in the middle of breakfast when the family arrived, but Brian and Justin were still in bed. “Oh, shit!” Gus exclaimed when he answered the door.


“We’re here!” Jenny said excitedly, throwing her arms around Gus first, and then Shane.
Justin’s mother, Jennifer, hugged Gus next, while saying with a smile, “You don’t look happy to see us.”


“No, grandma, it’s not that; of course we’re happy to see you. It’s just…well…I forgot to tell my dads that you all were going to be here.”


The group of people all chuckled simultaneously, now understanding why Gus had initially greeted them the way he had. “Come in,” Gus told them, he and Shane stepping to the side of the opened door and motioning them all inside. The group entered, and after Gus closed the door behind them and asked them to take a seat in the living room area, he lamented softly, “I guess I need to go tell my dads.” Gus knew his dad and papa would be upset that he’d failed to mention this earlier, and now that some of their family had arrived, he needed to tell them immediately. But suddenly, within seconds, the unthinkable happened…the discernable noises of Brian and Justin’s morning lovemaking became loud and clear to everyone.


As the sounds echoed through the loft, Jenny began laughing; she’d heard it all before on her many visits to the loft. Shane, too, chuckled along with Jenny, while Gus shook his head in disbelief and mumbled, “Oh, fuck!”


“Apparently, that’s exactly what they’re doing,” Michael offered blandly.


But it was Jennifer’s face whose was the reddest. Clearly, it was no secret to her that her 39-year-old adult son and 51-year-old son-in-law were very sexually active, but actually hearing him and Brian as it’s happening, was something she was utterly unprepared for. “Um, honey,” she said to Tucker, “I think maybe it’s better if we wait downstairs.”


Tucker chuckled, finding the situation amusing. “Okay, sweetheart,” he agreed, placing his arm around her waist as she quickly walked to the front door.


“Maybe we should go with them,” Ben said to Michael.


“Yeah,” Michael answered critically while rolling his eyes, “I’ve heard enough of Brian’s sex noises during my lifetime; I don’t need to hear them all again.”


“I’ll join you,” Drew said, stepping in line with Ben and Michael as they exited the loft.


Jenny Rebecca stayed behind, and as Gus walked down the hallway towards his dads’ bedroom to break the news he dreaded, Jenny turned to Shane and asked hopefully, “You don’t happen to have any Starbuck’s Frappuccino…Vanilla flavor?”


Shane chuckled at Jenny and playfully flipped her hair, which she had pulled back into a ponytail, “Sure do. Just for you.”


When he turned around and began walking towards the kitchen, Jenny said, “Wait a minute.”

Shane stopped; he knew. “Okay, hop on.”


Jenny giggled and jumped onto Shane’s back, all 90 lbs. of her. She loved the piggy-back rides she got from her brother, as well as the man she also looked upon as a brother. It didn’t matter how old she was, it always made her feel like a kid again, and she cherished the adoring moments she still shared with them.


Meanwhile…


Hesitantly, Gus lightly tapped at his dads’ bedroom door. Fuck how he wished he’d told his dads earlier about the family coming to help them pack. For a few moments, he thought that maybe his knock hadn’t been loud enough, as the noises coming from the other side of the door remained the same. He then knocked again, louder this time.


“What!?” he heard his father’s voice bark in a harsh, panted breath.


“Um, dad, I um, need to talk to you and papa.”


“Can’t it wait?!” Brian called out.


“Well, um, n-no, not really.”


“Fuck!” Brian almost yelled, at the same time Justin uttered, “Shit!” Brian got out of bed and practically stomped to the door to open it, uncaring that he answered it in the nude. “This better be good. What do you want?” he questioned Gus.


“I um, I need to tell you that…well, you see, I was texting with my sister last night and I forgot to tell you afterwards that some of the family was coming here today to help us pack.”


“What the fuck are you talking about? And why the fuck do we need help packing?” Brian was getting more perturbed by the second. He hated for his and Justin’s fucks to be interrupted. There was no better place on earth that he’d rather be than buried balls-deep inside his husband’s ass, or feeling Justin’s lips on his lips, in a kiss, or feeling Justin’s warm, damp skin gliding against his own. His husband was his private heaven-on-earth.


Determined to sound more positive about his news, Gus said confidently, “Everyone heard about you, papa, and Shane, preparing for this new client. Since it cut into our packing time, they thought they’d come and help us out.”


“We don’t need any damn help in packing, Gus.”


Gus sighed, “I’m sorry dad. When Jenny told me they were coming, she was just so excited, and I too thought it was a great idea. I should have told you and pop about it.”


Brian calmed down when he saw the apologetic expression on his son’s face. He placed a hand on Gus’s shoulder and gave it an affectionate squeeze. “Okay, son, we’ll deal with it. Who’s all here, anyway?”


“My sister, of course, and Grandma Jen and Tucker, Uncle Ben, Uncle Mike, and Uncle Drew. But they’re all downstairs waiting for us. Except for Jenny and Shane, they’re in the kitchen.”


“Your papa and I are busy at the moment. We’ll be there in a little while.”


“Okay. Thanks, dad.”


Brian closed the bedroom door and turned around to face Justin. His blonde-haired husband was still sprawled out on the bed on his back and was slowly stroking his cock. He looked at Brian with lidded, lust-blown eyes, his gaze staying fixed on Brian’s own rigid dick. Justin groaned in such a way as to tell Brian that he better get his ass back in bed and hurry and fuck him.


Brian growled from deep in his throat and returned to the bed. He laid down on his stomach, positioning himself between Justin’s legs. Brian then wrapped his arms securely around his husband’s thighs and dove his face into Justin’s mound of soft, curly pubic hair, inhaling the intoxicating, musky scent, a split moment before he swallowed the engorged, well-endowed cock down his throat and began sucking Justin off with famished yearning.


After fucking in bed, and again in the shower, the two Kinney husbands shaved, brushed their teeth, and dressed in comfortable jeans and basic t-shirts. “I can’t believe they’re here,” Brian told Justin.


“They’re just trying to help,” Justin replied soothingly, slipping his hands under the hem of Brian’s t-shirt and running his palms up and down his taut chest.


“I don’t need anyone’s help,” Brian said weakly, trying to convince himself more than he was trying to convince Justin. Besides, feeling his husband’s hands on his skin proved distracting. Brian glazed his fingers along the sides of Justin’s face then webbed them through his soft, shiny blonde hair. Some of the strands along the hairline at the back of Justin’s neck were still damp, and Brian twirled the tendrils around his fingers when he amended, “We’ve been so busy preparing to land the new client that Theodore has a hard-on for, I guess it’s okay that they all came to help us pack.”


Justin’s arms interlocked around Brian’s waist and he smiled beautifully at his sexy, strong-willed husband. Damn…he loved this man! He fucking adored him, just the way he was! “Thanks, honey.”


Brian added, “Still, Gus should have fucking told us. Having our groupies show up on the doorstep at eight-fucking-o’clock in the morning and interrupting our morning fuck, was not how I envisioned our day beginning.” Brian virtually pouted, and looked aggravated at the memory, so much so that Justin laughed.


Beginning to kiss Brian’s chin, jawline, and throat, Justin whispered, “I love you, Brian.”


Though his head was tilted slightly backward as Justin’s wet and welcoming kisses peppered him, Brian smiled broadly and replied, “I love you, Sunshine.”


The tender moment was broken when both men heard the soft scratching at their bedroom door followed by Shadow’s whining. Apparently, he’d heard Brian’s voice and was wanting to be where he was.


Brian and Justin both laughed, and walked over to the door to open it. Immediately, Shadow darted inside the room and stood on his hind legs, whining even louder for Brian to pick him up. As if Brian was the one who was the obedient one, he scooped the puppy up in his arms and held him close, soon feeling Shadow’s little tongue lick at his neck. “Hey!” he said, “Stop that. I’ve already been kissed this morning,” attempting to sound tough; but Justin knew better.


Brian scratched the top of Shadow’s head and behind his ears, cuddling the soft fur ball closer against his chest. The two men walked down the hallway, chatting together as Shadow rested happily in Brian’s arms.


The rest of the family were now back inside the loft, Gus bringing them all back inside after he was certain his dads were in the shower, and he no longer heard noises coming from their bedroom. When Brian and Justin entered the main living area of the loft, some of the family were seated at the dining table eating breakfast, and some were in the kitchen refilling their coffee cups.


“Hey, everyone,” Justin announced.


As all eyes turned towards them, it never ceased to amaze any of them how loving and gentle Brian Kinney was in regards to Shadow. Seriously? Even Michael blinked in quick succession, gaping at the scene.


“Sonny-boy?” Brian called out, not immediately seeing where Gus was.


Jenny Rebecca dashed up to her two favorite uncles, receiving big hugs from both Brian and Justin. She then answered Brian, saying, “Gus is in the supply closet, getting more empty boxes.” Taking Justin by the hand, Jenny pulled him in the direction of the dining table. “Gus ordered breakfast. He even got your favorite…egg, cheese and bacon soufflé. Oh, and your favorite too, Uncle Brian. He got you the avocado, egg white, and spinach breakfast-sandwich. Gus also got a bunch of bagels, cream cheese, and oatmeal with blueberries and almonds. It’s really good…come on.”


Before sitting down, Justin went over to his mom, greeting her with a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Likewise, Brian did the same for his mother-in-law. Justin then went to the kitchen and filled his and Brian’s coffee cups then joined his husband at the table, along with the rest of the family. Shadow curled up on Brian’s lap and stayed contentedly quiet while everyone ate breakfast and talked amongst themselves.


After finishing breakfast, Gus fed Shadow and then took him for a walk, while Shane and Jenny took charge of the clean-up.


The rest of the family took instruction from Brian and Justin on continuing the packing; Jennifer and Tucker were put in charge of packing-up the kitchen; Ben and Michael were in charge of packing-up items in the two-and-a-half bathrooms; Shane helped Justin with packing his art supplies in his home studio; Gus worked in completing the packing in his and Shane’s bedroom, and Brian finished up in his and Justin’s bedroom. Lastly, Jenny was in charge of organizing the Kinney’s men clothing in the specialty, clothes-hanging boxes.


As the day progressed, and people shifted assignments about the loft, finishing in one area and moving on to the next, Brian and Gus alternated in taking a couple breaks to take Shadow to the park for a walk and to potty him. In the afternoon, lunch delivery was ordered, and by early evening, the entire loft was almost completely packed, the main living area now filled with boxes, each one neatly stacked and labeled.


The entire family then gathered on the living room furniture, earning a much-deserved break. Brian and Justin passed around bottles of cold beer, or in Jennifer’s case, a glass of exquisite red wine, and they all praised themselves for accomplishing what they did.


“Uncle Brian,” Jenny Rebecca said, looking expectedly at him. “Gus told me that there’s a fundraiser in the city tonight, a gay pride carnival. We were thinking about going; do you want to go?”


Brian balked, “Another fundraiser? Christ, I hate those things.”


“Come on, honey. It sounds like fun,” Justin cooed, sitting on his husband’s lap and running a hand through Brian’s hair, in an effort to convince him. “You might actually enjoy yourself.”


Brian kissed Justin’s pouty lips, quite liking his Sunshine’s attempts to flatter him into going. “Sorry, Sunshine. I think I’ll stay here. I’m still not finished with preparing for our pitch at Kinnetik. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, remember? I don’t have a lot of time to get it done.”


Justin knew his husband was simply making excuses. True, Brian hadn’t completed his work yet on the pitch, but honestly, it wasn’t rocket science. After all, it wasn’t unusual for Brian, the cleverest man he knew, to give a presentation on the fly, and totally nail-it, as if he’d prepared for weeks. Oh, well. If his husband wasn’t comfortable in going, then it was okay; he wouldn’t try to force him. “In that case, maybe I should stay home, too.”


“No, you go ahead and go, Justin,” Shane told him. “I can stay here with Brian and finish up on the boards. They’re essentially done anyway; they only need a few minor touch-ups.”


Brian offered, “If you all want to go to the carnival, I’ll call the Greenwich Grand Hotel and make reservations for you for the night, and you can head back to Pittsburgh tomorrow. I’ll call our limo driver and have him drop you off at the festival.”


The rest of the family contemplated Brian’s generosity for a moment before each of them stated they appreciated his offer, and agreed to take him up on it. Coincidently, all of them had arrived with overnight bags, just on the chance they would need to stay the night in New York. Now, they were glad they’d come prepared. After they all washed up and changed clothes, the group left, minus Brian, Shane, and of course, little Shadow.


A few hours later, Brian’s cell phone rang. Looking at the screen, he saw that it was Gus. “How’s the festival? Don’t tell me…you’re bored to tears and want to come home?” he joked, answering the phone.


Gus’ voice was tight and strained, “Dad. You um…need to get here right away.”


A paralyzing chill ran down Brian’s spine; something was wrong. “What the fuck happened?” he barked into the phone.


“It’s Papa. He’s…he’s okay, but he’s hurt. I don’t know if he’s in shock or having a panic attack, but he won’t let any of us get near him; he needs you.”


Brian flashed a terrified look at Shane as he bolted out of his chair. He grabbed the young man by the arm and pulled at him as he dashed past. Shane scooped Shadow up with one hand, and then collected his keys with the other as Brian ran out the door. Shane locked the loft and set the alarm, and was surprised that Brian held the elevator for him.


On the ride down in the lift, Brian demanded his son for the second time, “Where the fuck are you? And what the fuck happened?”


As Shane quickly hailed a taxi, Gus told his father where they were, and in turn, Brian gave the destination to the cabbie. With Gus staying on the phone, Brian told his son to fucking answer his other question! Gus then explained: “We were leaving the festival when we started getting heckled by a bunch of homophobic protesters.
The cops who were monitoring the exits intervened, and we walked away. We decided to go get something to eat, and as we were walking to a nearby restaurant, we started hearing these assholes behind us yelling out anti-gay bullshit. We turned around and they started making vulgar gestures and calling us names. We recognized them as some of the moterfuckers who had been among the protesters. It was then that papa and Uncle Drew stood up to them and told them to fuck off. One of the guys punched papa, and so Uncle Drew punched the guy back. He punched him so hard the guy fell to the ground, and that was when one of the other guys smashed a beer bottle over papa’s head. Uncle Ben, Uncle Drew, and Tucker, took on the group and punched several of them pretty good before they all ran away. But now, papa won’t let anyone get near him; he’s yelling at anyone who tries. I called 911 for an ambulance, but pop won’t let anyone get close enough to check him out.”


Within a few more minutes, the cab arrived, and Brian bolted.


One of the paramedics tried to stop Brian as he ran past him, and towards Justin. “Sir,” the paramedic said, intending to place a hand on Brian’s arm. Instead, he grabbed nothing but air.


“Justin!” Brian said tensely, the pitch of his voice sounding high and strained, almost in a shrill cry.
Justin’s head, face, and neck, were covered in blood, and the rest of his visible skin was abnormally pale. It took every ounce of strength and willpower for Brian to hold himself together at the sight of Justin, once again, covered in blood.


Jennifer made an attempt to approach her son, his demeanor and head injury eerily reminding her of another time, many years ago…his bashing. “Sweetheart,” she managed to say, only taking a few steps towards Justin.


“Don’t touch me!” Justin shouted, backing further away.


“Grandma, don’t,” Gus whispered in her ear, placing a hand on Jennifer’s shoulder as he did while guiding her to step backwards a few feet. “I’ve seen papa have panic attacks before, and dad is the only one he’ll let get near him.”


Justin appeared confused and scared, but the instant Brian approached him, he found himself enveloped in his husband’s arms. “B-Brian!” he mumbled, feeling his legs go weak and his body melting into Brian’s embrace. “I…d-don’t feel good; my head hurts.”


“Sir!” the medic called out to Brian again, “He’s in shock from the head injury. We need to check him out and get him to the hospital as quickly as possible.” The two medics were now standing directly behind Brian and Justin, ready with the stretcher to place Justin on it.


Michael stated quizzically, “Gus said he’s having a panic attack, but the medic said he’s in shock. Which is it?”


“The symptoms can be very similar sometimes, depending on the circumstances,” answered one of the other paramedics, who was standing nearby, although he kept his gaze glued to Justin. The medic then stated to Brian, with more authority in his voice, “Your husband, sir, he’s becoming more distressed the longer we wait to administer care. Please, let us get him into the ambulance now!”


Brian heard the paramedic, but he didn’t respond, instead keeping his attention on his husband. “Come on, Sunshine, we need to get to the hospital.”


Justin looked at Brian with a confused expression, his eyes turning glassy and fixed. He tried to say something, but what happened when he opened his mouth, was he threw up, and then fainted.


“Fuck!” Brian yelled, scooping Justin up in his arms. He placed him on the stretcher and the medics hurriedly got him secured in the ambulance, with Brian sitting beside him and holding Justin’s left hand.


As one of the medics turned on the siren and lights and sped away, the other monitored Justin’s vitals and got pertinent information from Brian. He answered all the questions, robotically, his attentiveness focused more on Justin. Brian autonomously played with Justin’s wedding rings without thinking, twirling them around and around the blood-covered finger of the soft, milky-white skin. He felt like he was in a living, waking nightmare, that this horrific anomaly couldn’t be real…they were once again in the back of an ambulance, once again with Justin covered in blood, and once again suffering a goddamned fucking head injury! Was it truthfully real?


At the hospital, it was discovered that Justin had a concussion, and that he needed quite a few stitches to close the large gash caused by the beer bottle, as it had shattered upon impact. Given the sedative and pain medication that was administered to Justin, he didn’t wake up until a couple hours later, now cleaned up from all the blood and a section of his head shaved, along with a sterile bandage that covered the stitched wound.


When Justin’s eyes started to flutter open and he softly moaned, his face beginning to grimace, Brian cupped the side of his husband’s face in the palm of his hand. “Sonny-boy,” Brian said to Justin, in a whisper-soft voice, before he leaned in to kiss him.


Justin welcomed Brian’s tender kiss, but then furrowed his brow and squinted his eyes in the harsh ceiling lights, “Oh, my head,” he groaned.


Still holding Justin’s hand, Brian turned his head to get his son’s attention. “Gus, go find the doctor and tell him your papa’s pain medication is wearing off.”


“Okay, dad,” Gus answered. Before leaving the room, he approached Justin’s bedside and took hold of Justin’s other hand, giving it a squeeze, “I’m glad you’re going to be okay, pop,” he said, his voice choking on his emotions.


Justin smiled at his son and squeezed his hand affectionately in return, then watched his back when he turned to go. Slowly and gingerly repositioning his head on the pillow to look at Brian, Justin muttered softly, “I fucking hate hospitals.”


Brian stared at him intently, his eyes, the doorways to his soul, were open and dark. “I was so fucking scared,” he whispered, his chin slightly quivering and his hand shaking as he lifted Justin’s fingers to his mouth and kissed them.


Justin slowly tried to sit-up in bed, and reached over with one arm in an attempt to hug Brian, but almost immediately, his face winced when an instant, sharp pain rippled in his head. “Shit!” he groaned, closing his eyes, hoping it would help block out the pain, while burying his face in Brian’s neck. Feeling the skin-on-skin contact against his cheek, helped calm him a little. A moment or two later, he let out a sigh, his lips vibrating against Brian’s neck as he mumbled, “Why the fuck do I keep getting hit in the head?! Am I target practice?”


For the briefest moment, Brian smirked, but the fear and seriousness of the situation erased it quickly. He didn’t know what words he could say that could comfort his husband. He simply strengthened his arms around Justin and tenderly kissed his forehead.


The doctor and an accompanying nurse soon entered the room. As the nurse gave Justin an injection of pain medication, the doctor told Brian, “Justin’s going to be fine. He’ll of course have a headache for a few days, but I’ll give you a prescription for pain medication, and another prescription for an antibiotic to prevent infection. Justin will need to keep the area on his head clean and dry, and the bandage will need to be changed daily; I’ll also give you a script for a topical ointment you’ll need to apply each time the bandage is changed. The stitches in Justin’s head will come out on their own in about 10 days. I want him to take it easy for the next few days and just rest.”


The doctor exited the room, and as Brian and Gus were assisting Justin in getting out of the hospital gown and into his own clothes, Justin asked, “Where is everybody?”


Gus answered, “They’re all out in the waiting room. They only allowed two people in here at a time, so my sister and I took turns coming in and sitting with you and dad. Shane and grandma Jen also came in a few times, to see how you were doing, but you were still pretty sedated.” Gus paused for a moment then softly said, “Jenny’s been taking this hard. She’s so worried about you, pop.”


Justin’s face was a combination of compassion and guilt, knowing how much Jenny Rebecca loved him, and realizing how frightening all this must have been on the young girl. “Gus,” Justin softly requested, “Now that I’m awake, can you go get Jenny?”


“Sure thing, Pop.”


When Jenny Rebecca entered the room a few minutes later, Justin was dressed, and sitting on the side of the bed. She hesitantly walked over to him, but before she uttered a word, she began crying, and sat down beside Justin, the two of them embracing. “I was scared, Uncle Justin.”


“I know, sweetie,” he whispered.
Brian stood beside them, and soothingly ran a hand down Jenny’s hair. She turned her head to look at him and asked, “Is he going to be okay, Uncle Brian?”


Brian smiled sweetly at the teenager and replied, “The doctor said he’s going to be fine. He’ll have a headache for the next few days, and the doctor told him to just rest and take it easy, but he’s going to make a full recovery.”


“Can I stay at the loft with you? I can help take care of him!” Jenny offered hopefully.


The neediness in the girl’s voice prevented Brian from saying, ‘no’. “Yes, you can; as long as your dads say it’s okay with them.”


“I’ll go ask them right now,” she said excitedly, practically jumping to her feet from where she was sitting.


After the discharge papers were all signed, a nurse reentered the room and handed them to Brian, along with the prescriptions and the instructions on changing Justin’s bandage. She then got Justin situated in a wheelchair, and Brian took over, pushing Justin down the corridor and to the waiting room where the family was. No sooner had they appeared, when everyone hurriedly surrounded Brian and Justin.


Amidst the overlapping questions and, “We’re so glad you’re okay” sentiments, Brian managed to get their attention and relay what the doctor had said.


“Brian,” Michael said, “I know you said it was okay for Jenny Rebecca to stay a few days with you, but maybe now isn’t a good time.”


“Dad!” Jenny said, looking hurt that her father had made such a remark.


“I said it was fine, Mikey. Do I ever say anything I don’t mean? Anyway, having her at the loft will help us out. Shane and I need to finish up the presentation, and I’ll probably need his and Gus’ assistance with doing the pitch.” Everyone knew how much Brian loved Jenny; hell, look at all the times he’d come to her rescue over the years. Yet, at the moment, he was simply exhibiting his bravado and bluster.


Jenny couldn’t help but smile, though, because she knew, too, how special she was to both her Uncle Brian and Uncle Justin.


Ben offered sincerely, “If you’re okay with it, Brian, then it’s fine with us if Jenny stays with you.”


Brian simply stared at Ben and arched an eyebrow, which elicited a small chuckle through the group of family members; they all knew that voiceless expression…all too well.


The Kinney’s limo driver was already waiting for them when the group exited the hospital. Since everyone needed to reschedule their airline tickets, there was time for them to all accompany the Kinney’s to their loft and collect their luggage before they had to be at the airport.


Once at the loft, Brian and Gus got Justin situated comfortably on the sectional sofa, while Shane and Jenny went out to get the prescriptions filled at the pharmacy, then order food from a nearby restaurant to take back to the loft. Little Shadow curled up on the sofa next to Justin, and soon he, and Justin, drifted asleep.


Later, with the rest of the family now gone, Jenny stretched out on the futon cushions on the floor in front of the sofa. Justin was still lying on the sofa, sleeping soundly, partly due to the medication, and all the while, Jenny would periodically look over at him to make sure he was okay, as she quietly read a book.


Brian and Shane had elicited Gus’ help for any last-minute changes to the boards or presentation notes. They, too, noticed how devotedly Jenny was keeping an eye on Justin, and not one of them could keep from smiling at the tender scene.


Anytime Justin would want a cold drink of water, or a snack, or an extra pillow, or whatever-the-fuck, Jenny would jump to her feet, “I’ll get it Uncle Justin!” and exuberantly go get the requested item.


The four men couldn’t resist a few chuckles at the girl’s enthusiasm. “Jenny, sweetie,” Justin would tell her, “I’m fine, really I am. I’m not an invalid, I can go get…”


“No!” she replied, bordering on sounding hurt, “I said I would help you, and that’s what I’m doing.” She smiled so broadly, so genuinely, that none of the four men, especially Justin, had the heart to dampen her more-than-helpful, “Nurse Jenny” moment.


It was quite comical, however, when Justin stood up from off the sofa, with Jenny instantly jumping to her feet as well, and saying to her Uncle, “What is it? What do you need? I’ll get it for you.”


Justin chuckled, “I have to go pee, Jenny.”


“Oh! Well, I can help…” Instantly, Jenny stopped mid-sentence and caught herself before she finished. “Oops!” she said, while blushing sheepishly. “I…um…guess I CAN’T help with that.”


Brian, Justin, Gus and Shane roared with laughter. “That’s okay,” Justin said while still chuckling, “Thanks for the offer.”


Jenny’s face blushed even a deeper red, and she quickly buried her face in her hands, shaking her head.


Gus went over to his sister and put an arm around her shoulders, “Good one, sis,” he teased, still laughing.


When Justin had only taken a few steps, he wobbled a bit on his feet and grabbed onto the back of the sofa to prevent himself from falling. In a flash, Brian was at his side, his arms firmly securing around his husband. “Guess I’m still a little lightheaded,” Justin softly muttered.


“Another dizzy spell?” Brian whispered.


“Yeah. They make me a bit queasy, too,” Justin told him, as they both walked slowly down the hallway, towards the master bathroom.


“The doctor said that’s to be expected with a concussion,” Brian offered, not really knowing what else to say. There weren’t any quick-fix words he could say; and saying, ‘cheer-up’, would have been grossly out of place. Instead, Brian knew, just like with every other calamity they’ve been through, they would go through it together.



**************



**Two Days Later**



It was Tuesday morning, the day that Brian and Justin were scheduled to fly to Pittsburgh to do the major presentation they’d prepared for. But Justin had suffered with an extremely painful headache all night long, and the pain medication the doctor had prescribed had done little to ease it. Brian had done everything he could think of to help; giving Justin his pills, putting a cold compress on his head, massaging the muscles of
Justin’s neck and shoulders, and tenderly rubbing Justin’s temples.


Finally, exhausted, Justin’s painful headache began to slowly dissipate, though it hadn’t gone totally away. As he began to drift asleep, he whispered to his husband, mumbling the words as sleep overcame him, “Can you do the presentation without me? I…I don’t think…I’d be much help…” And before Brian could answer him, Justin was soundly sleeping.


Brian laid on his side, taking Justin securely in his arms and draping a leg over the blonde’s hip. In no time at all, he too, fell asleep.



*****************



Pressing his ear against his dads’ bedroom door and hearing nothing but silence, Gus lightly knocked. Not hearing a response or the normal rustling of someone getting out of bed, he timidly, and very slowly, opened the door. Seeing both Brian and Justin still sleeping soundly, he padded softly to his father’s side of the bed, and gently laid a hand on Brian’s shoulder. Gus whispered, “Dad? Dad, wake up.”


Brian stirred, and slowly opened his eyes, squinting against the bright morning sunlight shining through the windows. Blinking rapidly to focus his vision, Brian could see that Gus was freshly showered and was wearing his navy-blue Gucci dress slacks, and a plain white undershirt. “Do you have any idea what time it is?” Brian whispered, chiding Gus for waking him up.


“It’s time to get ready. Hurry up, or we’ll miss our flight.”


Brian’s eyes widened with instant recognition. “Oh, fuck! The presentation!” Brian gently unwrapped himself from around Justin’s body, getting out of bed as carefully as he could so he wouldn’t wake him up. As Gus followed his dad to the bathroom and watched him turn on the shower, Brian told his son, “Justin had a long night,” by way of an explanation.


“Headaches again?” Gus asked.


“Yep. He said he’s not going with us. I’ll need Shane to present the boards today while I give the pitch.”


“We already suspected,” Gus said, grinning at his dad. “Shane and Jenny are in the kitchen now, making breakfast.”


Brian opened his mouth to say something, but then Gus quickly added, anticipating his dad’s statement, “Yes, dad, and a full pot of coffee.”


Brian smiled sleepily and stepped into the shower, calling out, “Thanks, Sonny-boy.”


When Brian entered the kitchen, the smells of brewed coffee, bacon, eggs, and toast, tempted his nostrils, and caused his stomach to rumble with hunger.


“Morning, Uncle Brian,” Jenny said cheerfully, handing over the cup of coffee she’d prepared for him.


Brian smiled at her, “Thank you, honey,” he said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “I have a favor to ask of you,” he stated, “Can you stay here today with Justin? He’s still not feeling well and I’d feel better about going to Pittsburgh if I knew he wasn’t all alone.”


Jenny’s face brightened even more, and her grin grew wider. “I’d love to!” Suddenly, upon remembering that her dads had expected her to return to Pittsburgh today with her brother and Uncles, she asked, “What about my dads?”


Now reentering the main part of the loft as he slipped on his suit jacket over his dress shirt, Gus answered, “Don’t worry, Squirt. We’ll call them and explain.”


After a quick breakfast, Brian, Gus, and Shane collected their laptops, briefcases, and portfolio bag with the presentation boards inside. The three men exited the loft, all giving Jenny a quick peck on the cheek, causing the 18-year-old to laugh with amusement.


A few hours later, when Justin groggily padded out into the main living area of the loft, his hair mussed and looking disheveled in a worn pair of gray sweatpants and an old t-shirt, he found Jenny and little Shadow cuddled up together on the sofa, watching a movie.


“Hey, Uncle Justin,” the girl said cheerily.


“Morning, sweetie,” he whispered, his headache still affecting him, as he flopped down on the sectional beside Jenny.


“Would you like some coffee? Or something to eat?” she offered.


“Coffee sounds great,” he mumbled, managing a smile.


“Okay,” she answered, standing up. Immediately, Shadow limped over to Justin and crawled into his lap, curling up and going right back to sleep. “How long has it been since you took your headache medicine,” Jenny asked, while handing Justin his coffee.”


Without directly answering Jenny’s question, Justin said, “It’s definitely time for more,” rubbing his temple with his free hand.



Quickly retrieving the pill bottle and giving one to her uncle, Jenny then settled on the sofa again, along with Justin and Shadow. The two people and one adorable puppy enjoyed a delightful day together, with Jenny, especially, loving the extra one-on-one time she spent with her most beloved uncle.



***************



**Kinnetik Pittsburgh Office**



Brian inwardly chastised himself for leaving Justin. Truth is, he’d been doing so from the moment he stepped outside their loft. He’d called Jenny’s cell phone, almost obsessively, about every thirty minutes, from the moment he’d left. And when she’d told him that Justin was now awake, he began calling his husband.


Now, however, Brian was only minutes away from giving the presentation. Whether it was caused by his anxiousness to return home, or if it was the classic Kinney confidence, Brian gave a kick-ass presentation. He was forceful, shrewd, and arrogant, and had a quick, decisive answer for every question asked. His pitch, as well as leaving no doubt in the potential client’s mind as to the quality of Kinnetik’s envisioned campaign, along with Justin and Shane’s boards, won his company a signed contract.


Hastily repacking his briefcase and collecting his laptop, Brian told Gus and Shane, “You finish up here with Theodore and the client. I’m heading home. You can get a cab to take you to the airport when you’re done.”


Gus and Shane looked at one another and smiled, with Gus arching an eyebrow in an all-knowing expression. “Go ahead, dad, we’ll be fine.” They knew how desperately Brian wanted to get home to Justin. To them, it had been blatantly evident, and in their opinion, it was why Brian had been so much more dynamic during his pitch. Furthermore, they would almost go so far as to say that Brian had felt a little guilty about leaving Justin at home.


Brian was able to get an immediate flight back to New York, though he had to virtually run through the terminal to get to the gate on time; but he positively didn’t mind. Not having any baggage to check certainly helped the speedy process.


When he arrived home, Brian began loosening his necktie with one hand, while setting down his laptop bag and briefcase with the other. He found Justin and Jenny looking at Jenny’s iPad, discussing the girl’s check-list of things she needed for college. Shadow was curled up in a blanket on the sofa, sleeping soundly, until he heard the ring of the elevator door as it opened, and Brian stepping out. Shadow bolted up and began yelping and whining, knowing exactly who was about to walk through the door! With his crippled leg, little Shadow couldn’t jump off the sofa by himself, so amidst Justin and Jenny’s chuckling at the little guy’s excitement, Justin gently placed him on the floor. Shadow scurried across the hardwood floor, and directly to Brian, hastily finding himself scooped up in Brian’s hands.


Brian petted Shadow’s head while keeping his gaze on his beautiful, sunshine-faced husband. “How are my two favorite women,” Brian teased, with Jenny laughing at the comment and Justin swatting Brian’s arm. But most willingly, Justin puckered his lips at Brian, truly delighted to see him. Following his kiss to Justin, Brian then gave Jenny a kiss on the cheek, and handed little Shadow to her, Jenny quickly cuddling the puppy.


“You’re home early,” Justin said, glancing up to the clock on the wall.


Brian went over to the bar cart and poured two shot-glasses with Irish whiskey. “I gave the pitch and left. I told Gus and Shane they could finish-up with any last-minute details with the client. I’m sure Theodore almost pissed himself as soon as I left, though,” Brian said with a smirk.


Justin chuckled and received one of the drinks when Brian offered it to him. “I’m sure Gus and Shane will tell us all about it when they get home.”


After Brian and Justin both downed their drinks, Brian wove his fingers through Justin’s hair and said softly, his voice low and throaty. “I’m going to take a shower,” and stood up from off the sofa. After taking a few steps, Brian turned his head, “You coming?” he asked his husband, giving him a sly smile.


Jenny laughed at her uncles.


“We’ll be back,” Justin told her.


“No problem,” she reassured him with a chuckle, “I’ll just put on my headphones and listen to some music.”



************



Once inside their shower, Brian softly whispered in Justin’s ear, “I missed you,” as he kissed and nibbled on the soft skin of the blonde’s neck. “I hated leaving you this morning.”


Justin smiled, his eyes closed as he titled his head to the side. “Don’t worry about it. Jenny took very good care of me,” he said with a chuckle. “You did what needed to be done; I understand. Besides, my head’s been throbbing most of the day.”


“Which ‘head’ is that,” Brian said huskily, wrapping his soap-lathered hand around Justin’s dick and beginning to stroke it, watching the shaft grow and thicken under his touch.


Wearing a shower-cap to keep the area of his head wound dry, Justin leaned back against the marble-tiled shower wall, moaning in pleasure. “I was talking about the head on my shoulders, but this works, too,” he rasped, a loud grunt escaping his lips when Brian squeezed his rock-hard cock and pressed his thumb into his slit.


“I think I can help take care of both of your ‘aches’,” Brian said seductively, and emitting a low, half-chuckle.


Following their very sexual shower together, both men now feeling sated and relaxed, they dried off, got dressed, and returned to the main living area of the loft, finding Jenny rummaging through one of smaller packed kitchen boxes labeled, “Recipes”. It belonged to Gus and Shane, who both liked to cook.


Jenny looked at her uncles and chuckled, then teasingly said, “Do you feel better now, Uncle Justin?”
Brian laughed along with Jenny, while Justin dramatically rolled his eyes and began going through the recipes with Jenny.


“I was thinking I could fix supper tonight,” Jenny said with enthusiasm. “I love the Jambalaya Gus makes; I just can’t find the recipe.”


“I can tell you how to make it,” Justin offered, “I just can’t…well…I find it hard to hold a knife for very long to chop some of the ingredients.”


Brian and Jenny both saw the look of inner-pain flash across Justin’s face, again with the realization of additional limitation he had with his right hand.


“That’s okay. I’m a good chopper,” Jenny said, a wide, understanding grin prettily spread on her face.
As Justin and Jenny started supper, and chatted and laughed with each other all the while, Brian decided to take Shadow for a walk at the park. By the time he returned home, the Jambalaya was almost finished.


Soon, the table was set, and the bowls of Jambalaya and individual tossed salads were put at each place setting. Mere minutes later, Gus and Shane arrived home, quickly washing their hands and taking off their suit jackets and neckties.


“Damn! Dinner smells great!” Gus said.


“Looks delicious!” Shane added.


“Uncle Justin and I made it!” Jenny declared triumphantly.


While they ate, Brian nonchalantly asked the boys, “How did it go after I left Kinnetik?”


Gus sputtered on the bite of food in his mouth, trying to swallow as an unintended chuckle rose from his throat. “Oh, my, god! The client was in shock when you left so suddenly, and when he asked where you’d gone, Uncle Ted spent about 30 seconds stuttering and stammering, not knowing what to say. I thought he was going to piss himself!”


Everyone at the table burst into laughter, with Brian saying, “See. I told you, Sunshine,” looking at Justin and smiling.


Shane said, “We told him you had a previous engagement and you had to get to the airport, but that Gus and I would help with any last-minute details. The client seemed okay with that, but Ted…shit, I was afraid he’d blow the deal.”


“Why do you say that?” Brian demanded.


Gus explained: “Remember when Uncle Ted asked you and Papa to do the presentation? He said that he already had two other presentations scheduled to do, and that was the reason he’d asked you two to do this one?”


“Yes.”


“As you already know, he came into the boardroom with us to greet the client, and then left, so he could do the presentation to one of his other clients. His presentation didn’t take very long, and he came back in the boardroom we were in, about the same time as you were packing your briefcase to leave. He wasn’t sure what had happened with the pitch you and Shane gave, so when he saw you leave, he assumed we’d lost the client. Immediately, he started making apologies to the client and begging for another chance to do a second presentation. THAT is what had the client to confused at first. Then when Uncle Ted started stammering about, Shane and I had to quickly interrupt him and take over, trying to get Ted to shut-up.”


Brian now understood, and he was irritated with Ted. “If a client thinks that the advertising agency is unorganized and non-communicative with each other, how the fuck can they trust the agency to do their advertising and marketing.”


“Ted knows this, Brian,” Justin said, looking at his husband with concern, “Why would he freak out like that?”


“Because he didn’t think. Good ol’ Theodore tends to speak first, think later.” Becoming much more contemplative, Brian softly stated, “Gus, Shane, do you know why, when I first mentioned to you that Justin and I were selling Kinnetik NYC, that we insisted you both learn to do full presentations? You questioned me about it, asking why Justin and I were so set on you learning how to do client pitches if we were selling the New York office. Well, this is ‘why’.”


Gus looked quizzically at both his father and his papa. “I just assumed that you had us learn so that when we move, Shane and I could help you and pop, and Uncle Ted, at the Pittsburgh office.”


“No. It’s so that you and Shane can someday take over running Kinnetik Pittsburgh,” Brian replied, matter-of-factly. Viewing the absolutely horrified and shocked expression on Gus’ face, Brian sternly said to his son, “Don’t you dare fucking queen-out on me,” before the boy had a chance to do precisely that.


Jenny chuckled at Brian’s statement. She couldn’t help it, because she knew how right her uncle was.


“I suspected,” Shane softly answered, slightly grinning at Brian.


Brian and Justin both looked at him and nodded their heads; they had no doubt to Shane’s ability. He was truly a very intelligent and perceptive man.


Jenny sat there, silent and stunned, herself. Wow! This was big news!


“Gus,” Justin said, “Your father and I knew you could do it, and Shane, too. And so, during the last year, we started giving you more responsibilities at the New York office.”


“You mean this was all a test?” Gus said with a bit of irritation.


“Consider it a lengthy interview,” Brian deadpanned, grinning at Gus.


“Are you and papa retiring when we move?” Gus questioned.


“Not immediately. We’re still going to work at Kinnetik Pittsburgh, but now that you’ve graduated, we’re going to start handing the reigns over to you and Shane. We’ll work right along beside you, but you both will have much more responsibilities given to you, and you’ll need to prove you can do the job. Eventually, both of you will take over Kinnetik Pittsburgh completely.”


Jenny Rebecca looked between her two uncles, first one, and then the other, seeing the prideful grin on both of their faces; she knew that they believed that Gus and Shane COULD do it. Then, she looked at the gaping shock still on her brother’s face, and laughed. Wow! She stood up and walked over to Gus and stood behind him, wrapping her thin arms around his neck. She kissed his cheek as he placed his hands on top of hers, a chuckle of disbelief on his lips. “I’m so proud of you, Beanstalk,” Jenny told her brother with endearing pride. “You can do this…I know you can! Don’t doubt yourself; you’re a Kinney, remember?”



TO BE CONTINUED...

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