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
When Brian returned to the kitchen a few minutes later, two pairs of eyes looked up at him questioningly. “He’s asleep,” Brian informed them. “He’s pretty wiped out.”
“So, what do we do now?” Michael asked.
“I’m going to the police station,” Brian replied. “I’m going to tell them exactly what happened last night and who was behind it.”
“What if they don’t believe you?” Vic asked.
“They might not as a denizen of Liberty Ave., but as one of this city’s more successful businessmen, they’d better at least fucking listen.”
Michael and Vic shared a smile.
“What?” Brian asked suspiciously.
“Nothing,” Michael replied, still smiling. “We were just wondering how long it was going to take for the superhero persona to kick in.”
Brian grimaced. “Save the superhero shit for your comics, Mikey. Think of me more as a concerned citizen.”
“Ahhh,” Vic mused, raising his coffee cup to his lips. “A citizen concerned about a certain hot blond, perhaps?”
Brian glanced toward the stairs and then back at the other two men. “What he’s going through would have most grown men shitting bricks,” he said with only a hint of a proud smile. “He’s got a lot of guts.”
“That’s not all he’s got a lot of,” Vic murmured under his breath, only to have Michael nudge his foot under the table. Looking up, Vic raised his eyebrows at Brian. “Any message in case he wakes up before you get back?”
Brian smirked. “You wish. Any message I have for Justin, I’ll give him myself.”
“I’m sure you will,” Vic replied with a knowing wink.
Rolling his eyes, Brian headed for the front door.
Brian glanced at the clock above the door and breathed a frustrated sigh. He’d spoken to the desk sergeant twenty minutes ago and had been waiting for someone to take his statement ever since. Just when he was about to return to the desk to ask how much longer he’d have to wait, a man in a slightly rumpled suit approached the area where he waited.
“Mr. Brian Kinney?”
Brian got to his feet. “Yes.”
The man extended his hand. “Detective Carl Horvath. Sorry to keep you waiting. If you’ll follow me, I’ll take your statement now.”
Brian followed him to a small room with a table and two chairs.
“Have a seat,” Horvath said, nodding toward one of the chairs. Once Brian was seated, he lowered his sturdy frame into the other chair and retrieved a pen from his pocket. “So, I understand you have something to report regarding an assault last night.”
“Yes,” Brian replied. “An assault on the same young man you consider a suspect in last night’s stabbing.”
“And that young man would be?” the detective prodded.
Brian smirked, knowing that the other man was concerned about putting words in his mouth. “Justin Taylor,” he answered.
Carl made a note on the legal pad on the table in front of him. “Did you see Taylor last night, Mr. Kinney?”
“If you mean Justin, yes, I saw him.”
“Where and when?”
Brian took a deep breath. “I was at Babylon on Liberty Avenue.” He paused when Carl looked up with a raised eyebrow.
“Go on,” the detective urged, returning his eyes to the pad before him.
“As I said,” Brian continued, his voice slightly colder. “I was at Babylon and it was about 11:30 when a guy came in and said there was an injured kid outside asking for me. I went out and found Justin lying on the sidewalk. He’d been hit in the abdomen and in the face.”
“Did you see who hit him?”
Brian shook his head. “I didn’t,” he admitted. “Some other witnesses claimed they chased the guy down the alley but lost him when he took off in a car with another guy.”
“So you couldn’t describe these alleged assailants,” Horvath surmised.
“No, but I can describe what they did to Justin and what Justin said to me.”
“What just what did Mr. Taylor say?”
“He said that his father had sent those to men to … to cut him up.”
Horvath looked up with a frown. “Cut him up?” he repeated. “Any idea what he meant by that?”
Brian considered how much he could tell the men while still keeping Justin’s profession out of it. “He’s a good looking kid and he’s gay,” he answered. “He’d recently been seen at certain functions with at least one known associate of Craig Taylor’s. Apparently, the old man didn’t like that and decided it would be best if his esteemed colleagues didn’t find Justin quite so attractive.”
Carl winced a little and cleared his throat. “I see,” he said simply.
Brian leaned forward, crossing his arms on the table. “Do you?” he challenged. “Do you realize what could have happened to him if he hadn’t escaped when he did? Do you have any idea how sick a man has to be to send someone to do that to his own son?”
Horvath met his eyes with a steady gaze. “Believe me, Mr. Kinney, I’ve seen more sick people in this job than I care to remember and some of the most horrific brutalities are those inflicted by family members.”
Brian saw the sincerity in the other man’s eyes and leaned back in his chair. “So what are you doing about this particular brutality?”
“We’ve talked to Mr. Taylor. He denies knowing anything about an assault on his son.”
“I don’t doubt it,” Brian scoffed. “I suppose he also convinced you that Justin was capable of stabbing that man.”
Horvath leaned back in his chair and regarded the man across from him thoughtfully for a moment. “He hinted at the fact that the kid had some emotional problems.”
Brian barked a wry laugh. “Yeah, being kicked out of your home with nothing but the clothes on your back will do that. Any emotional problems he’s got stem from learning that his father would rather have him sliced up than accept who he is.”
The detective nodded once in sad acknowledgement of those words. Returning to his notepad, he continued the questioning. “After you saw Justin Taylor on Liberty Ave., did you see him again?”
“He didn’t want to go to the hospital so I took him to my place,” Brian informed him.
Carl looked up. “Is he still there?”
“No, he isn’t,” Brian said truthfully. “He left as soon as he saw this morning’s paper.”
“And you have no idea where he went from there?” the detective pressed.
“I came down here to report a crime,” Brian reminded him. “Am I being interrogated now?”
A hint of smile touched Carl’s lips. “No, of course not, Mr. Kinney. So, you say Justin Taylor was at your place of residence from 11:30 until some time this morning?”
“That’s right,” Brian concurred.
“Can anyone verify that?”
“Justin can. There was a doctor who examined him at my loft around midnight, but he left shortly after that. So did my best friend, Michael.”
Horvath perked up at that. “A doctor treated his injuries?”
Brian nodded. “Yes.”
“And this doctor’s name?” Carl asked, pen poised.
“I’d rather not say,” Brian told him. “If he wants to attest to the fact that he saw Justin, that’s up to him.”
“How am I supposed to corroborate your story if I don’t know who he is?”
“That’s not my problem,” Brian informed him flatly. “But I’m sure you can understand why he might not want it to get out that he was on Liberty Ave. when Justin was hurt.”
Carl nodded reluctantly. “I can,” he admitted. “But if I can verify that Justin was at your place and injured, it will go a long way in clearing him of suspicion in the stabbing of Steven Wyatt.”
“Justin identified this Steven Wyatt as one of the men who abducted and assaulted him. I’m betting your star witness is the other.” Brian could practically see the wheels turning and suspected the detective was coming to the same conclusion he had.
“The paper said the stabbing occurred around 3 a.m.,” Brian continued. “I can assure you Justin was at my loft, out like a light, from shortly after midnight until nearly six.”
The terminology piqued the detective’s interest. “Did this doctor give him something?”
Brian smiled slightly. “For the pain, yes. Between the medication and the ordeal itself, he slept like a log.”
Horvath’s expression was thoughtful as he let out a long breath. “For what it’s worth, I believe you, but Chief Stockwell might be harder to convince.”
Brian’s eyes narrowed, knowing that the chief of police had very little regard for Liberty Avenue and its residents. “Why, because he’s a homophobic asshole just like Craig Taylor?”
Horvath smiled wryly but didn’t respond. “Anything else you have to tell me?”
Brian shook his head. “That’s all I know.”
Horvath slid the pad over to him. “Read what I’ve written. If you agree that these are your words, please sign at the bottom of the page.”
Brian read the transcript carefully and signed the sheet. “Is that it?”
“For now,” Carl replied, getting to his feet as Brian did the same. “If I have any further questions, I’ll be in touch.”
Brian handed him a card with his personal information. “Thanks.”
Just as he reached the door, Horvath said, “We’ll still need to talk to Justin.”
Brian turned, one eyebrow quirked. “If I see him, I’ll be sure to tell him that.” He left the room without noticing the small smile that crossed the detective’s face.
Brian’s intention was to head straight to Deb’s after leaving the police station, but the sight of a dark car in his rearview mirror made him change his mind. His suspicion grew as he neared the loft and he smirked as he watched the car park behind his in front of the building. He was getting out of his vehicle when two men in suits approached him.
“Brian Kinney?” the shorter of the two men asked.
“Yes,” Brian said simply.
They each flashed a badge. “Detective Munroe and this is my partner, Detective Williams. We have a search warrant for your loft, Mr. Kinney.”
“We’ve had several reports that you brought a young man, a Mr. Justin Taylor, home with you last night,” the second detective said. “Is he on the premises?”
“No, he’s not,” Brian replied. “But you’re going to look anyway, aren’t you?”
“Your cooperation would make it easier, but it’s not necessary,” Munroe said.
Brian gestured wearily toward the door and the two detectives followed him into the building.
Once in the loft, they asked Brian to take a seat. Williams headed toward the bedroom area while Munroe took a notebook and pen from his pocket. “When was the last time you saw the suspect?”
Brian’s jaw clenched slightly at the label, but he answered truthfully. “He stayed here last night and left this morning after he saw the article in the paper.”
The phone rang and Brian’s heart sank. Praying it wasn’t Justin, he started to get to his feet.
“I’d rather you didn’t answer that, sir,” Munroe said.
“Why not?” Brian asked with a frown.
Williams came out of the bedroom and walked over to the phone. “There’s a machine,” he informed his partner.
“Then I think it best you let whoever it is leave a message,” Munroe said to Brian.
Brian swallowed. The last thing he wanted was for the two detectives to overhear the message, especially if it was from Justin or Michael.
After the third ring, the machine picked up. “Kinney here, leave a message.”
Munroe glanced at Brian who only shrugged.
“Brian, this is Dr. Malcolm. Please call me when you get this message…”
As the doctor went on to leave his number, Munroe turned his attention back to Brian.
“My proctologist,” Brian explained, tongue in cheek.
Munroe cleared his throat and continued with his questioning. “Any idea where Mr. Taylor went when he left here?”
“I already gave my statement to Detective Horvath,” Brian said.
“We don’t know anything about that, sir,” Munroe responded. “Our orders come straight from Chief Stockwell.”
That figures, Brian thought. Aloud, he said, “For the last time, the kid was hurt, I brought him here around midnight, he slept until around 6, woke up, saw the paper and took off.”
Williams joined them. “There’s nobody else here,” he reported.
Munroe turned back to Brian. “Do you expect him to return?”
“Fuck no,” Brian scoffed. “The kid was scared shitless when he heard about that phony stabbing accusation. If he’s got any brains at all, he’s in the next state by now.”
Getting nothing else out of the ad exec, the detectives left a few minutes later. Brian looked out the window until he saw them get into their call before going to the phone. Playing back Malcolm’s message, he jotted down the number and returned the call.
“Brian Kinney. You called?”
“I read about Justin in the paper. What’s going on, Brian?”
Brian took a deep breath. “From what I can figure, Craig’s trying to discredit Justin so that he doesn’t go to jail himself.”
“Was he at your place all night?”
“Yes,” Brian replied.
“OK,” Malcolm responded. “I’m going to report what happened last night. I wasn’t going to, for Justin’s sake, but I think it’ll do him more good than harm at this point.”
Brian let out a breath of relief. “Ask for a Detective Horvath,” he suggested. “I gave him a statement about an hour ago. I told him Justin had been seen by a doctor, but I didn’t give him your name.”
“I appreciate that,” Malcolm chuckled, “but this is more important than what I do in my free time. Where’s Justin now?”
“He’s safe,” Brian said evasively. “The cops were here looking for him when you called.”
“If you talk to him, tell him I’m going to talk to the police right now.”
“Thanks,” Brian said with a small smile. “I will.”
He disconnected the call and placed another to Deb’s house.
“Vic, it’s Brian.”
“How did things go?”
“Fine. I was going to go back there, but I had two cops follow me from the station. They had a search warrant for the loft.”
Vic sighed. “Michael told me they were asking a lot of questions around Liberty Ave. this morning. I’m sure more than one person told them he went home with you, but they probably didn’t realize why they were asking at the time.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Brian assured him. “How’s Justin?”
“He slept for about an hour. Michael’s up there with him talking comics while I fix lunch.”
Brian chuckled. “Good ol’ Mikey. Tell them I’ll get there when I can, OK?”
“Do you think the cops know you know where he is?”
“I think they suspect, anyway,” Brian answered. “Don’t worry; I’ll take care of it.”
“Yes, Deb,” Brian replied with a smirk.
Vic chuckled. “Asshole.”
Brian hung up the phone and grabbed his keys. He was almost to the door when he returned to his bedroom and grabbed his gym bag out of the closet. They were still looking for Justin, he knew that, and they probably thought that Brian would eventually lead them right to him. Smiling to himself, Brian drove to the gym and parked the Jeep out front.
“A little later in the day than usual,” Tony, the gym manager, greeted him.
“No time to work out, today,” Brian informed him. “I need a favour.”
Tony flashed a blinding smile. “Anything.”
After listening to Brian’s story, Tony gestured for the other man to join him and headed toward the office in the back of the building. Handing Brian his keys, he said, “My car’s out back.”
Brian traded the Jeep keys for the ones Tony held. “Thanks,” he said. “I appreciate this.”
After leaving through the back exit, Brian took Tony’s vehicle and left the gym. He drove aimlessly for a while, making sure he wasn’t followed, before he finally made his way to Deb’s house.
Michael and Vic were in the kitchen eating lunch when Brian walked in.
“Hey,” he greeted them with a small smile. “Where’s Justin?”
“Upstairs,” Michael answered.
“He said he wasn’t hungry, but I made Michael take him a sandwich anyway,” Vic added.
Brian nodded and headed for the stairs. When he got to the familiar door of Michael’s old room, he knocked softly.
“Yeah,” came a subdued voice from the other side.
Brian opened the door and took in the scene before him. The lunch tray sat untouched on a table by the window and Justin lay on his side on the bed, staring at the wall.
“You should eat,” Brian said, entering the room and closing the door.
“Not hungry,” Justin replied in a listless tone. “Besides, I hear they don’t feed you that well in prison. I figured I might as well get used to it now. That way it won’t be such a shock to my system.”
Brian couldn’t resist a small smile of amusement. Crossing the room, he stretched out his long frame alongside that of the other man and propped himself up on one elbow. “Nobody’s going to prison,” he said quietly, rubbing his hand up and down the blond’s arm.
It was a moment before Justin rolled onto his back. “Face it, Brian, I’m fucked,” he said in defeat as he stared at the ceiling. “I always knew that he was unrelenting when he went after something but I never thought that something would be me, you know?”
“Well this is one time Craig Taylor isn’t going to win,” Brian assured him, reaching up to brush the hair off the other man’s forehead. “I told the police what happened and Dr. Malcolm is probably down there as we speak.”
Justin turned his head to face him. “Really?”
Brian nodded. “He called me. When I told him what was going on, he told me to tell you he was leaving right away to file a report.”
The blue eyes held a combination of hope and trepidation. “Do you think that will help?”
“Wyatt was stabbed around 3 a.m. according to the so-called ‘witness’. I know you were at the loft then and Malcolm knows what kind of shape you were in when he left. Between your injuries and whatever he gave you for the pain, he’ll tell them there’s no way you could have done it.”
Justin considered that for a moment. “But will that be enough?”
Brian rolled his lips between his teeth. “They’re still going to want to talk to you,” he finally said. “They want your version of what happened last night.”
Justin’s eyes widened slightly. “If I go down there now, even to file charges, they’ll lock me up. It could be months before they can prove what really happened.”
Brian had been thinking similar thoughts. Even with his statement and that of Dr. Malcolm, there would have to be an investigation. Someone stabbed Steven Wyatt and that person had to be held accountable. Justin, as the prime suspect thanks to the bogus eye-witness testimony, could very well find himself spending time in jail until the truth was confirmed – if it ever was.
“I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that doesn’t happen,” he said quietly, knowing he could promise no more than that.
Justin stared at him for a few seconds. “Why do you care so much what happens to me?” he asked.
Hazel eyes searched blue as though looking for an answer. “I don’t know,” he finally answered honestly.
Slowly, almost tentatively, Justin raised one hand to touch Brian’s cheek. His eyes roamed over the other man’s features, lingering briefly on the inviting coral lips. Sliding his hand to the back of the other man’s neck, he pulled his head down for a long, tender kiss. Brian gently pulled him closer until their bodies were touching, chest to chest, hip to hip, thigh to thigh. When their lips finally parted, Justin looked up into the warm, hazel eyes. “Whatever the reason,” he whispered. “I’m glad.”
Brian’s small smile was genuine as he replied. “Me, too.”
They were silent for a few minutes while they thought about their predicament. “I appreciate everything you did for me,” Justin finally said in a quiet voice. “No matter what happens, I’ll never forget it.”
“Whatever happens, we’ll deal with it,” Brian promised, cutting off the word ‘together’ before it had a chance to escape.
He wasn’t sure what it was about the blond man that made him want to even think such words, let alone say them. Brian Kinney was the king of non-commitment, after all. He couldn’t care less what was going on in a trick’s life, so long as he had a willing ass and competent mouth. That’s where his interest ended. Most of the time he couldn’t even be bothered to learn their names, much less remember them.
But the name Justin Taylor had stuck with him since the first night they’d met at Pendleton’s launch party. Sure, the kid was hot and had a great ass, but Brian could take his pick of hot guys any day of the week. What made Justin Taylor so different? What was it that made Brian feel so damned good just holding the man in his arms?
As though reading his thoughts, Justin began to pull out of his embrace. “Where are you going?” Brian asked with a small frown. He hadn’t actually said any of that aloud had he? As tired as he was from all the excitement and lack of sleep the night before, anything was possible.
“Bathroom,” Justin said with a small smile. “Be right back.”
He managed to contain a sigh of relief and just nodded. When the younger man left the room, he closed his eyes to await his return, idly thinking about how empty his arms felt without Justin in them. He was still pondering just how dickless that made him when he drifted off to sleep.
Continue to Chapter Eight