“YOU, SON OF A BITCH”
Justin watched in shocked silence as Brian launched himself over his desk. The man, whose back had been to the door, and Justin, toppled over with his chair as Brian’s initial punch landed squarely in his eye. The two quickly jumped to their feet, and the client, his back still facing the door, wiped a hand across his face and said in a low, sneering voice.
“Good one Kinney. But, not good enough.” He said as he suddenly swung with his left hand, catching Brian in the right cheek. The ad exec stumbled back a few steps, then straightened as he caught his balance.
Cynthia, who had rushed to the open doorway at Justin’s shout, stood behind her blond friend, her hands digging into his shoulders as they watched the fight. The two men began to circle each other; and she noted that each seemed equally matched in height although the other man was slightly heavier than her boss. As the men began raining blows on each other, she didn’t notice that Justin’s body had gone ridged when the taunting voice of the man had reached their ears, until she felt a violent shudder go through Justin’s body. She tilted her head slightly to the side as she glanced at Justin’s face and her gaze held. Justin’s normally pale skin had drained of all color as his wide blue eyes watched the fight; he seemed to be in some sort of trance.
As soon as that threatening voice had reached Justin’s ears, he’d known instantly who it was. Somehow, in some inconceivable, horribly unbelievable way, Glen had finally found him. His mind flashed back to another day, and another time.
“Why do you make me do this Justin, it would have been so much easier if you had just done what I asked”
Of course Justin had been unable to answer, tied to the bed as he was, with the dark grey duct tape covering his mouth. Justin heard the whir of the whip as it started its downward arch again. Felt the horrible sting as the leather strip landed on his already abused back, he arched his head back and …….Screamed.
Justin was startled out of the terrifying memory at the sound of Cynthia’s scream right next to his ear. Then his eyes focused on an equally terrifying sight. Glen had somehow managed to get Brian on the floor; the slightly heavier man straddled his lover as hard fingers tightened around Brian’s throat. Brian clawed at the fingers trying to get a grip on the long digits pressing down brutally on his airway. He knew without a doubt that Glen would go after Justin next; he had to get out of this, had to protect his young lover…..
Suddenly, Glen wasn’t there anymore as the other man’s head snapped backwards from a well aimed kick to his face. Brian rolled to his side, clutching his throat as he struggled to breathe and gentle hands grasped his arm and shoulder as Justin knelt at his side.
“M’ok, Jus” Brian muttered a bit roughly, placing a hand over the one that was on his arm. A movement out of the corner of his eye sent his head whipping around and he struggled to sit up, trying to push Justin behind him at the same time.
Two security guards held the struggling man between them as Glen held both hands over his bleeding nose. He glared at Justin as bright red blood dripped through his fingers.
“You little fuck, you broke my nose” he exclaimed as the security guards began to haul him bodily from the office “you’ll pay for this Justin.”
As Justin and Cynthia helped Brian over to the couch, they could still hear Glen’s threatening exclamations as he was drug through the reception area toward the main doors.
“This isn’t over Justin, you hear me? You owe me!” Glen’s voice died out as the doors closed behind him.
Jennifer finished wiping off the counter as she gazed thoughtfully over at her son and Brian sitting on the couch. She noted the tender way her son stroked his hand across Brian’s cheek as low murmurs reached her ears. She couldn’t hear what they were saying but it was obvious that both men were deeply affected by what had happened.
She thought about all that had transpired in the two hours since she had gotten the call that had sent her racing to the loft. All she had known at the time was that Glen had been at Kinnetik and Brian had been hurt, it wasn’t until she’d arrived and gotten a look at Brian’s face and neck that she realized how bad it could have been.
A quickly applied ice pack had stopped the swelling on Brian’s eye and some of the reddened fingermarks on his neck were beginning to turn purple. Soon after she had arrived, she had voiced her concerns that Glen would press charges against Brian but the man had assured her that that was highly unlikely, Glen would be too afraid of the police finding out about his illegal activity to take the chance.
Jennifer faintly smiled, remembering Brian’s recount of how Justin had come to his rescue, but at the same time she feared what Glen would do now that he knew where Justin was. From all she had learned about the man since they had fled California, Glen wasn’t the type to take Justin’s fighting back lightly and she feared the retaliation of her son’s former lover. She wondered if they should just pack up and leave, but as her eyes fell once again on the two men snuggled together on Brian’s sofa, she knew in her heart that wasn’t an option.
She turned to put the container of food that Debbie had sent over in the refrigerator and as she straightened back up and closed the door she felt a hand gently squeeze arm as Justin stopped next to her to put the now limp, mushy ice pack back in the freezer.
“How’s Brian?” she asked.
“Still beautiful” Justin smiled, his blue eyes fastened on the man now walking toward them. Jennifer reached out to gently touch the area under his bruised eye, concern for the man who had become like a second son to her written on her face.
“I’m so sorry Brian” she said, wishing that she had been able to warn him earlier, she drew him into a quick hug, thankful that he hadn’t been hurt worse. Brian awkwardly returned the hug while a suspicious lump rose up in his throat. He still had a hard time comprehending how Justin’s family had accepted him into their lives so quickly.
“So what happens now?” Jennifer asked as she watched Brian pull her son into his arms, his hand rubbing soothing circles on Justin’s back. She noticed how Justin seemed to melt into Brian’s embrace and realized that, although her son was putting on a brave face, he was still extremely shook up over what had happened.
Brian looked at her over Justin’s shoulder “I think you three should move in here for a while”
Jennifer was about to protest when Justin beat her to it “Brian, no, thank you but no” he said, pulling away and shaking his head “I won’t hide from him, not anymore.”
Jennifer watched as Brian’s big hands settled on Justin’s shoulders, then moved up to gently cradle the pale face “I need to know your safe, sunshine” he said quietly, then added as he glanced at Jennifer “all three of you” the hazel eyes then shifted back to the blue ones staring back at him “If you won’t do it for yourself, then do it for me.”
Jennifer stood still, hardly daring to breathe until slowly Justin’s arms rose to wrap around Brian’s waist as he nodded and burrowed his face in the crook of Brian’s neck.
“Jen what time does Molly get out of school?” Brian asked, as he fished his cell phone out of his front pocket.
She looked at her watch “in twenty minutes”
“Fine, pick her up, go back to the house, and pack for at least a week, maybe more. I’ll have Mikey meet you at your house” he finished, punching a few numbers on the phone and holding it up to his ear.
Later that night after they gone to bed, Jennifer lay awake on the large futon Justin had pulled out for her. Molly had opted to sleep on the sofa even though Brian had warned her that the piece of furniture wasn’t very comfortable. She heard a startled gasp then a quiet voice in the bedroom as Brian once again comforted her son after another nightmare.
“Its okay Justin, you’re safe”
“Right here, its okay, go back to sleep”
Jennifer smiled in the darkness, when the first nightmare had woken Justin she had started to get up to go to him then heard Brian’s quiet voice. Her own inner voice had told her not to disturb them and she was glad she had listened. The quiet tones in the bedroom had carried to her ears and it was clear that the older man cared just as deeply for Justin as her son did for him. It wasn’t the words that told her, but the gentle, caring tone of Brian’s voice. She knew without a doubt that she was loosing her son to another man, again, but this time it didn’t bother her. Justin was in good hands.
Silence filled the loft once again and Jennifer turned on her side and closed her eyes, wondering what tomorrow would bring.