Pairing: Brian and Justin
Summary: The rising star ad exec needs to get the blond he met out of his head...or into his bed.
OUT OF THE SHADOWS
Brian entered the Silver Pagoda a few minutes before four and spotted the blond almost immediately. He sat alone at a small table, staring out the window with obvious disinterest in what was happening on the other side of the glass.
Taking a deep breath, Brian approached the young man with an air of confidence he was far from feeling. “Hey,” he said quietly upon reaching the table.
The blond head turned quickly, Justin’s face registering first surprise, then anger. “What are you doing here?” he demanded coldly.
“Looking for you,” Brian replied. “Mind if I sit?”
“I’m expecting someone,” Justin said, turning to once again stare out the window.
“Pendleton can’t make it,” Brian informed him. “He asked me to tell you.”
Justin looked at him again, eyes narrowed. “Why?”
Brian raised an eyebrow. “Why can’t he make it? Or why did he ask me to tell you?”
“Pick one,” Justin retorted.
Taking a seat even though it hadn’t been offered, Brian sighed. “We were in a meeting when he got a call about a robbery at one of his stores. He had to leave right away and said he didn’t have any way to reach you since you don’t have a cell phone.”
Justin frowned slightly. Prescott knew his cell phone number.
“He asked me to call here at four and have you paged,” Brian concluded.
“So, why didn’t you?” Justin asked suspiciously.
Brian took a deep breath. “I wanted to talk to you in person,” he finally admitted. “I know that guy last night was your father.”
“Prescott told you that?”
Brian nodded. “Not in so many words, but yeah.”
“What else did he tell you?” Justin asked warily.
“Nothing,” Brian assured him.
Justin processed that information before getting to his feet. “Well, thanks for delivering the message.”
“Wait a minute,” Brian urged, getting to his feet and grabbing Justin’s arm in a light grip.
Justin looked pointedly at where Brian was touching him and the older man dropped his hand. “What’s your hurry? The least you can do after I dragged my ass all the way down here is buy me a drink.”
Justin threw a twenty on the table. “Here. Knock yourself out.”
“Jesus Christ, Justin,” Brian said, his anger building. “I don’t want your fucking money.”
“Then what do you want, Brian?” Justin demanded, just as angry. “You made it quite clear what you thought of me this morning in your office. I’m the same person now that I was then.”
Brian tried to rein in his temper. “You were right,” he finally said. “I don’t know anything about you. I shouldn’t have said what I did without knowing all the facts.”
Justin’s chin lifted slightly in defiance but he didn’t say anything. He suspected that was as close to an apology as he was going to get.
They stood there silently staring one another down for another moment before Brian spoke again. “I don’t know about you, but I could use that drink.”
Justin’s expression didn’t change, but after a brief hesitation, he nodded and returned to his seat, watching Brian warily as he did the same.
Brian signaled the waitress who was at their table almost immediately. “Beam,” Brian said before looking over at his companion.
“Two,” Justin said simply.
“So, tell me about your father,” Brian said once she’d left to retrieve their drinks.
Justin huffed a wry chuckle. “You read the papers. You probably know as much as I do.”
“I know he’s a successful land developer that has his fingers in a lot of pies.”
“Unfortunately, family isn’t one of them,” Justin scoffed.
“You two don’t get along,” Brian surmised.
Justin had to think about his response. “He was never around much,” he finally said. “When I was younger, he did the family thing, I guess, but I think it was more my mom’s influence than any real desire to spend time with me.”
Justin smirked. “Now he’s still traveling more than he’s home and when he is here, he has a lot more free time on his hands since he no longer has a son.”
Brian frowned slightly in confusion.
“You see,” Justin explained sarcastically. “The great Craig Taylor couldn’t possibly have a gay son. It’s better not to have a son at all.”
“He said that?” Brian asked.
Justin barked a harsh laugh. “No. His exact words were ‘as long as you continue with this disgusting lifestyle, you’re no fucking son of mine’.”
Shaking his head, Brian let out a weary sigh.
“He kicked me out with the clothes on my back and twenty bucks in my wallet.”
“That sucks,” Brian commiserated. “Where did you go?”
Justin ran his finger along the rim of his glass, staring into the amber liquid as he answered. “Prescott Pendleton was at the house that night for dinner. He and Craig have some common investments they were discussing.” He paused for a moment before continuing in a distant voice. “Maybe if he hadn’t been there, things might have been different.”
Justin looked up and him and smiled wickedly. “He was showing Prescott the addition to the pool house and caught me fucking the shit out of the groundskeeper.”
They shared a brief laugh before Justin sighed and continued. “Anyway, I think he was more embarrassed because Prescott was there and witnessed the whole thing. Craig threw a fit. Demanded to know what the fuck I thought I was doing.” With a shrug, he went on. “There was no point hiding it by then. I told him I was gay. He suggested Prescott wait in the study while he had a little ‘talk’ with me. A black eye, a concussion and two cracked ribs later, he told me to get out and not to bother taking anything his money had paid for. Which, of course, was pretty much everything I owned. Even the money I made working for him during the summers was Craig Taylor money.”
“Asshole,” Brian muttered.
Justin allowed a wry smirk in agreement. “I just started walking. I didn’t know if I needed a doctor but I did know I didn’t have the money to pay for one. Prescott picked me up about an hour later.”
“He went looking for you.”
Justin nodded. “Prescott said there was blood on Craig’s jacket when he got back to the study. He asked if everything was alright and Craig told him how he handled things with his former son was nobody else’s business. They managed to conclude their business and Prescott found me stumbling down the street on his way home.”
Brian pictured the beautiful young man before him, bruised and bloodied with nowhere to go and no one to turn to. “I’m glad he did,” he said softly.
Justin’s eyes darted to the other man’s in surprise before allowing a sad smile. “Anyway, Prescott took me to his place, cleaned me up, had his doctor check me over. He let me stay there for a few days while I healed up.”
“Then what?” Brian asked, genuinely interested in the rest of the story.
Justin sighed. “I had no money, no job and no place to live. Prescott offered to let me stay there but I knew that would cause problems for him if my father found out. Instead, he loaned me enough to get a small apartment.” He lowered his eyes to his glass as he continued. “And helped me get a job.”
“Hustling,” Brian said flatly. “With all his stores, he couldn’t have given you a job selling jewelry instead of peddling your ass to every rich fag in Pittsburgh?”
Justin’s eyes turned cold. “I have to go,” he said, getting quickly to his feet.
“Thanks for delivering the message,” Justin cut him off, his tone polite but icy. “Now stay the fuck away from me.”
Brian watched the blond storm from the bar and shook his head wearily. When would he learn to keep his mouth shut?
Justin lay on the single bed in his cramped apartment. Hours after he’d left the Silver Pagoda, he was still unable to get the sexy, auburn haired man out of his mind. He couldn’t believe how much he’d told the virtual stranger, but something in the depths of those hazel eyes had compelled him to reveal himself in a way he seldom did to anyone.
He emitted a harsh, scoffing sound as he remembered the result. Hearing the circumstances hadn’t made a bit of difference where Brian was concerned; he still saw him as a whore.
He closed his eyes against the reality of the situation. That’s what he was now. A few months ago, Brian might have seen the confident, happy teenager he’d once been. He might have seen the guy who got 1500 on his SATs and had his heart set on attending the Pittsburgh Institute of Fine Arts. He might have seen the boy his mother adored, the kid who never gave up, the young gay man so in touch with his own sexuality that it never occurred to him to try to be anything other than what he was.
But that was then.
When the phone rang, he hastily rubbed a hand over his eyes before reaching for the receiver. “Hello?”
He closed his eyes once again upon hearing the voice on the other end of the line. “Yeah,” he said after a moment. “I’ll be there.”
He lay there for a moment longer before pulling himself wearily from the bed. Walking to the small closet, he opened it and took out the sports jacket and slacks he’d bought with the first money he’d earned totally on his own. Looking at the outfit, he breathed a resigned sigh. “Show time.”
After leaving the Silver Pagoda, Brian had tried to work out his frustrations with two willing asses at the baths, then with a few drinks and two blow jobs at Woody’s. Nothing had worked though. The blond was as ingrained in his memory as his own name. Stripping off his suit, he allowed his mind to wander to the kiss they’d shared. The feel of the silky blond strands through his fingers, the softness of the full lips parting to allow his tongue entrance to the warm recesses of his mouth. He closed his eyes as the memories engulfed him. What the hell was it about that kid that affected him so strongly? Sure, he was hot, but a lot of guys were hot, and Brian didn’t have any trouble getting them when he wanted them. So why did he want Justin Taylor to the point where the man occupied nearly his every spare thought?
The answer came to him in a vision of the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. Eyes that could sparkle with mirth one moment and darken with anger the next. Eyes that could draw you in with warm promises of pleasure or cut you to the quick with spears of sheer iciness.
Add those eyes to that brilliant smile, the creamy smooth skin and the perfect bubble butt and the combination was enough to bring a grown man to his knees.
“Fuck,” Brian breathed, shaking his head slightly as he realized he’d been standing there thinking about the blond. “Get a fucking grip, Kinney,” he muttered as he headed for the shower.
As usual, the plan called for Justin to be picked up in front of his building by the agency limo and then driven to a spot pre-arranged with his ‘date’. From there, they’d go to dinner or to whichever function Justin had been hired for. Since the agency had suggested the sports jacket and slacks, he had to assume the current engagement wouldn’t be a formal affair. As he leaned back for the ride, he couldn’t help wondering who would be picking up the night’s tab. He hoped it was someone he already knew. It always made it more difficult to play his role if he knew nothing about his companion. When the limousine stopped, he let out a long breath and waited for Gerry to open the door. Flashing the driver a smile, he thanked him and looked up at the building before him. “Is this it?”
“No,” Gerry informed him. “You’re to wait for another car.”
Great. Another fucking closet case worried about being seen meeting the agency limo. Not that anyone could tell, of course, but he’d discovered a whole new meaning of paranoia since he’d started with the agency.
“There you go,” Gerry said, pointing to a nondescript sedan rounding the corner and slowing down.
“Thanks,” Justin said with a smile. “See you later.”
Gerry nodded and got into the car, pulling away from the curb just as the other one pulled up. The driver got out and opened the back door for Justin. He was just about to get in when he recognized the man in the back seat. “No fucking way,” he hissed, pulling back. The driver was directly behind him, blocking his escape and a large hand reached out from the back seat to drag him in. He found himself sprawled half on the seat, half on the floor, the meaty hand still grasping his wrist in a painful grip. “Let go of me,” he demanded, wrenching his arm free with little resistance.
The man laughed. “All you had to do was ask, Mr. Taylor,” he sneered.
Justin righted himself in the seat, his back to the door, his eyes glaring hatefully at the other man. “What do you want?”
“It’s not a question of what I want, Mr. Taylor,” the man replied sarcastically. “It’s what your father wants.”
“You can tell my so-called father to go to Hell,” Justin hissed.
The man laughed. “I’m sure he’s already booked us all tickets on that particular train.”
Justin looked past the man and out the window on the other side of the car. “Where are we going?” he demanded. He saw they were heading in the direction of Liberty Avenue and knew there was no way his father would be caught dead there.
“Come now, Mr. Taylor,” the man crooned, the name dripping off his lips like acid. “Surely you recognize your surroundings. Isn’t this where you and all your fag friends hang out?”
“Where’s my father?” Justin asked, ignoring the question.
The man shook his head in mock sadness. “Now you know your father is too busy to handle every little detail himself. That’s why he surrounds himself with loyal employees such as myself.”
Justin swallowed hard. He’d seen the man with his father on several occasions and suspected what his job was. At close to six and a half feet and over two hundred pounds, the man was a solid mass of hard muscle. He’d always made Justin feel nervous in his company but never more so than he felt now.
“What’s he paying you for this time?” he asked flatly.
“You understand he can’t be made a laughing stock, Mr. Taylor. His position just doesn’t allow for that sort of role.”
“What’s that got to do with me?” Justin asked, though he suspected he already knew the answer.
The man grinned evilly. “He knows you’ve been whoring your ass out to some of his most cherished business associates. That has to stop, you see, and since he doesn’t want to risk his association with them, he’s decided that maybe it would be best if you weren’t quite so … attractive to them.”
Justin’s mouth went dry at the words.
“Don’t worry,” the cruel man laughed upon seeing Justin suddenly pale. “You’ll live through the exercise. You just might find it a little harder to attract the clients you’re used to in the future.”
Justin fumbled with the door handle, but to his dismay it wouldn’t open.
“Quite the handy safety feature, don’t you think?” the man asked. “Wouldn’t want little kids opening the door and falling out while the vehicle’s in motion now, would we?”
Justin’s panic level rose as the car turned into an alley and he glanced furtively out the window. He recognized the buildings on either side, but it was of little comfort to him. One had long been deserted and the other was already locked up tight for the night. Silence permeated the immediate vicinity though voices could be heard in the distance along with the distant thrum of techno music whenever Babylon’s doors opened to admit another patron. Babylon. It was only a block away through the alley but it might as well be a mile.
The car stopped and Justin’s eyes flew to his large companion. “We’re hee-eeere,” the man sing-songed cruelly as he grabbed Justin by the arm and pulled him toward the opposite door already being opened by the driver. “Just another dark alley, another senseless gay bashing. Nothing new on Liberty Avenue.”
Justin tried to scream as he was dragged from the car, but a meaty hand covered his mouth as the man whispered hoarsely in his ear. “Scream and I will kill you, got it?”
His only response was a renewed struggle against the man holding him.
“You’re going to anyway, right?” the driver asked urgently. “I mean, the kid can ID us.”
The man only chuckled. “If we do our jobs right, the kid here won’t remember a fucking thing, let alone be able to tell anyone about it.”
Justin’s heart sank as the full gravity of the situation settled over him. Escape wasn’t an option, not with two of them, one being the size and strength of the man holding him. He was in for the beating of his life.
Continue to Chapter Five