after.midnight // v.naked
Title: California or Bust
Summary: Michael comes back from visiting Justin. Brian wishes he'd shut up about it.
Disclaimer: Cowlip owns them. I don't.


Michael comes back from California with a slight tan, a smile as wide was Texas, and eyes that sparkle with some sort of inner joy that he can't wait to share with friends, family, and random people he encounters on the street.

He talks endlessly about the sun and the beaches and the shopping. He goes on and on about the parties and the clubs and all the hot men. He spends fifteen minutes gushing about how cool the movie is and how much Brett really listened to all his input and how everyone was all excited about Rage and how big a success the thing is going to be.

As soon as he opens his mouth to talk about Justin, who is, apparently, as happy as he's ever been being a glorified gofer in LA, Brian makes up some excuse about a dinner meeting with a potential client and leaves everyone sitting in the diner hanging on Mikey's every word.

Unfortunately, he can't quite think up an excuse when Mikey stops by the loft the next morning, smile still a mile wide and eyes still shining with happiness. Brian tells him to go the fuck away, but his usual grumpiness is lost to Mikey's new shiny happy view of life.

Brian swears if Justin comes back from LA acting the way Mikey is, he's going to toss him out on the street and never speak to him again. Knows he'll be so over the moon that Justin's back in Pittsburgh, he'll probably forgive him anything.

It's Justin this and Justin that for the next hour and a half, and as much as Brian likes Justin, he's damn sick of hearing about him. But he listens as Mickey tells him about how Brett introduced Justin to this famous director, who introduced Justin to that famous actor, who introduced Justin to his artist wife, who took Justin to some big name gallery, where the owner was so impressed with Justin's work she offered to hang some of it on the walls. Brian is both proud and amused, because only Justin could go away to LA and less than two months later have his shit hanging in some gallery for all of LA to see.

Brian's happy for Justin, really, truly is, because Justin deserves every good thing that happens to him, but he's not happy, because Justin is three thousand miles away, instead of here with him. He feels stupid about being pissy that Justin's gone, since he practically packed Justin's shit himself and all but pushed him out the door, but not stupid enough to stop feeling pissy that he's gone.

He thinks about booking a flight to LA and is composing a list of all the things he and Justin can do in California in his head before he remembers he has a meeting on Monday, a presentation to give on Wednesday, and Gus coming over to spend the weekend. Theodore could handle the meeting and Cynthia could do the presentation, but pawning Gus off on someone else isn't an option.

On the other hand, taking Gus with him is.

Brian comes back from California with a really great tan, a genuine, honest-to-God smile, and the happiest four and a half year old in the world. Over pancakes and sausages at the diner, Gus tells the family all about Disneyland and swimming in the ocean and finding shells on the beach and naming all 20 of Justin's tropical fish. It's Justin this and Justin that for the next half hour and Brian figures he could listen to it go on and on forever.

It's the best vacation he's had in years. In two months, Brian thinks he'll be ready for another.