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    C James
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Let the Music Play - 3. Outing

Chapter 3: Outing



Pushing his chair back, Jon laughed while rising from his seat, "You want to see his face, huh? Well that, my friend, can be arranged..." Jon grabbed Brandon by one arm, Eric taking the other, hauling the puzzled Brandon over to a wall mirror, turning him to face it.

Reacting to Brandon's dumbfounded look, Eric chortled, "You did just say you wanted to see his face when he found out, right? Well, keep looking..."

Brandon stared at his own reflection for a full two seconds before the light finally dawned, "What? You can't be serious... You just said your manager had seen you play with the new guy?"

Jon slapped Brandon on the back, "Yep. She was in the old projection room; she saw the last song you played with us and called right after we got back here."

Still staring at the reflection of his shocked face, Brandon mumbled, "But I've never been in anything bigger than a garage band before."

Chase ruffled Brandon's hair, "So? You sing better than Lump ever could, and that's the first time we played together. Plus, you kick ass on stage! Lump just stands there, like... a lump."

"I'll be blunt; not only are you one hell of a singer, but you've got a great face and a killer body. Hot looks are a great thing for a lead singer to have," Jon added in a serious tone.

Brandon couldn't believe what he thought he was hearing... His eyes locked with Jon's as Jon asked, deadpan, "So dude, want to give it a try?"

Looking in turn at each of the grinning brothers, Brandon broke into a huge grin of his own, "That's like asking somebody if they would like to win the lottery. Hell yes I will!"

With slapping backs and high fiving all around, they headed back to the table as Brandon asked, "But, what about the concert schedule? You guys have a concert two weeks from today. Instinct play stadiums, so that's at least twenty thousand people, no matter where it is."

With a concerned look, Eric asked, "Don't tell me you've got stage fright?"

"Hell no, it's like my greatest dream to play in front of a big audience, and man, a stadium full, I never even dreamed... Guys, I'll do everything I possibly can to get ready for this, I'll practice every spare hour every day..."

Jon interrupted Brandon, "Whoa, don't even think that. If you did try to practice that much, you'd shred your vocal cords before we ever got near that stage. No, trust me on this, all you need to do is practice with us, and from what we heard today, you're already up to speed."

"I've got so much to learn, I've got to practice the songs and work up a real stage performance routine, I've never done anything like this before, but I've got to be really good; fans are really finicky about new band members, even temporary ones, especially lead singers. I've got to totally nail this, or they'll all be like ‘the new guy sucks'."

Jon laughed, "Brandon, relax. You're already way better than Lump, so you'd be fine if you walked out that door and just slept until the concert. Your stage work is great; Lump didn't even have any at all."

Chase shook his head, "Most of ‘em didn't like Lump much anyway; I've seen our fan mail. Don't stress, you'll be fine. The only thing most new front men need to learn is stage work and the tech side. Your stage work is primo, and you are a sound tech so you already probably know more of that than any other singer out there..."

His eyes glazing over slightly, Brandon sat down in an available leather chair, "I'll do whatever you guys say, but I really want this, especially the concert. This is the greatest career break that anyone could ever wish for."

Once Brandon's shock wore off, all four guys sat around their lounge, enjoying each other's company. The three brothers, so often bereft of outside friendship due to the isolating nature of their lives, enjoyed the experience of making a new friend. Brandon, for his part, felt amazed to be welcomed so openly and easily, his own largely solitary existence making him crave the proffered friendships even more than the career opportunity. Thrown together by circumstance, driven by their own pasts, the three brothers and the roadie formed a solid, comfortable friendship within hours, rather than the months or years, which would normally be the case.

Far more comfortable with his three new friends than he had been just hours before, Brandon returned to the subject of music, "I'll sure miss you guys after the concert. I know this is just temporary, but I'll give it everything I've got, I promise."

After exchanging a concerned glance with Eric, Jon replied, "We didn't say it was just temporary, exactly. We just want to be sure this works out, for you, and for us. It's more a probation, I guess. That's partly our manager's idea, but partly us too. We just want to be sure we can all get along; we've had enough of the shit we had with Lump. We just want to make sure we can all work together, be honest with each other, and Helen will probably want to check for any skeletons in the closet before giving her stamp of approval..."

Brandon grinned, his face freezing as he processed the words, only Eric noticing as his grin faltered for a moment. His voice level and calm, calm enough that only Eric noticed the hidden concern. Brandon asked, "Where did you guys say the concert will be?"

Eric smiled, watching for a reaction as he answered, "I don't think we said, but it's in Phoenix."

Brandon's face showed a slight reaction at first, though the growing look of despair was soon evident to all three onlookers. Sinking into the chair, he stared off into empty space for a few moments, wrestling with his conscience, searching in vain for some way out. His head falling forward to rest in his hands, he muttered, "Fuck... Why did it have to be Phoenix, damn it..."

Reacting the fastest, a bewildered Eric asked, "What's wrong?"

Sighing, still with his head in his hands, staring at his knees, Brandon knew damn well that even if a background check came up clean, his parents would make sure his secret came out once the news of his concert appearance spread. Cringing a little as he remembered some of the things he thought the guys had implied about Lump, he said, barely above a whisper, "In all the excitement, I kinda forgot something... When Jon mentioned skeletons in the closet, I, uh, it made me realize I couldn't go through with this without being honest. There's something I need to tell you that might make you guys not want me around anymore... I'm gay, and there are people in Phoenix who know. Please, I'd do anything to play that concert, anything, but I can't lie to you guys after you offered me this opportunity."

The three brothers shared a stunned glance, while Brandon began to look even more miserable, as the one thing over which he had no control; ripped the dream from him once again - a dream which had been so close, away from him once again.

Not wanting to meet anyone's eyes, Brandon steeled himself to get up and walk away, only to hear Jon's voice, "There's something you need to know. A big part of why you're provisional is because of the problems we had with Lump, and the biggest problem we had with him," Jon paused for a moment as he received a warning glare from his brother, "is Lump's a blatant homophobe. We needed to make sure that you aren't one too. I had no clue you were gay, but would it be safe to assume that, being gay, you aren't a homophobe?"

Startled, Brandon looked up into Jon's grinning face. Suddenly, his dream was alive again, and his new friendships were apparently intact. His reply was as eloquent and witty as he could manage, "Huh?"

With a chuckle, Jon explained, "A hell of a lot of people in the industry are gay, and some very publicly. How public you are about it is a concern, but the fact is, one of us three is gay. I won't say which just now, but our biggest concern was that you would not be tolerant. I'm damn glad you opened up to us, because we were planning on spending a lot of the next two weeks trying to figure out where you stood. I'm guessing that I'm right, that you don't hate gays?" Jon finished with a laugh.

Brandon broke into a relieved smile, "Yeah, I think it's safe to say that most gay people are okay with other gay people being gay; I sure am. As for being public, only a few people know about me, very few, but we might have a problem with certain ones spreading the news, especially in Phoenix, but I'm out to very few people and I'd prefer to keep it that way."

The phone rang, and Eric, being the nearest, answered it. He listened for a few moments, hanging up without a word before telling the others, "That was Helen, she's coming over to meet Brandon. She didn't give me a chance to get a word in edgewise."

Jon and Chase laughed, their eyes sparkling, as Chase added, "Helen takes some getting used to. She's bossy as hell, but really great once you get to know her. Give her a chance, but I've got to warn you, she's really blunt."

Checking his watch, Jon commented, "It's after five and the studio staff are gone, so I better go down and let her in. Her office is only a few blocks away so the way she drives she will be here in seconds." Jon left the room, and Brandon tried to make sense of the whirlwind.

Brandon looked at Chase and Eric for a few seconds each, and Chase asked, "Whatcha thinking?"

Brandon grinned, "Just about a few things. Jon didn't want to say which one of you three is gay, so I was trying to guess. Then I realized it was kinda obvious." Eric looked perplexed, and Chase a little perturbed, so Brandon quickly added, "I didn't mean in a bad way! It's just that a few things clicked now that I know one of you is gay."

Eric asked with a sly grin on his face, "Okay, so who is it?"

Certain of his answer, Brandon grinned, "Jon."

Turning to stare at each other, Eric and Chase were silent for a moment, until Chase began to gasp, clutching his side as he doubled up, desperately trying to keep from collapsing in a fit of laughter. Eric maintained a little better, managing to gasp out to the perplexed Brandon, "Jon... Okay, what tipped you off?"

He was a little puzzled by Chase and Eric's hilarity, but thought they were just having a good laugh over someone figuring out their brother so easily. Jon had the air of a tough guy to him, so he'd probably felt that his secret was safe, or so Brandon thought as he said, "Well, it's just that, being gay myself, I know what to look for, and..." Eric and Chase doubled over even more, both turning crimson, bursting out with laugher as Brandon continued, becoming a little less sure of himself, "Just some of the things he said, they just clicked when he told me one of you is gay... He said I have a great body, which I can't really see a straight guy noticing, let alone saying, and he said how good I looked on stage, stuff like that... I mean, he's sure no flamer or anything, but it's just things another gay guy would notice. Sort of a gaydar, I guess, and I picked up on him..."

Already in dire distress, Chase and Eric totally lost control, Eric doubling over the table, head in his arms, laughing hysterically and gasping for breath as he slipped off his chair falling to the floor, shaking uncontrollably, his face turning crimson as laughter shook his body.

Chase attempted to get up, stumbling sideways to collapse in a heap on the floor, howling his head off. At that moment, Jon and Helen arrived, entering the suite and staring in bewilderment at the scene before them.

Growing more and more puzzled by Eric and Chase's extreme reaction, Brandon glanced at Jon in bewilderment. Jon shrugged as he said, "Helen, this is Brandon, Brandon, this is Helen. Now, could someone tell me why my brothers are rolling around on the floor, laughing their asses off?"

Eric managed to lean up on his elbows, still laughing, and gasp out, "Brandon, we need to tell Helen about you, is that ok?" Brandon nodded, wondering where this was going.

Jon turned to tell Helen, "We don't need to worry about Brandon being a homophobe like Lump; Brandon's gay, but I've got no fucking clue why the hysterics... Brandon?"

Brandon shook his head, "I'm not really sure..."

"Nobody told Brandon which one of us is gay, but he figured it out all by himself... using his gaydar." Eric gasped, slowly getting himself back under control.

Eric lost it again, as Chase sat up, leaned over to Brandon, and whispered, still giggling, "It's not Jon."

Brandon blanched, suddenly realizing exactly why Eric and Chase thought this was so hysterically funny. He whispered back to Chase, "Oh God, please don't tell him."

Chase collapsed again, hysterics overcoming him, and gasped out, "Sorry, man, but this is just way too good."

"Would somebody please fill me in," growled Jon.

Eric recovered enough to gasp out, "Jon, that's exactly what Brandon thinks somebody is doing..." as he totally lost it again, leaving Jon even more perplexed.

Brandon tried in vain to disappear into his chair, dreading Jon's response when he found out what he'd said.

Chase, still giggling furiously, his face a deep red, almost purple, leaned up on an elbow and sputtered, "Brandon was just telling us that he figured out who was gay, that it was obvious, and, oh shit, gaydar!" Chase collapsed on the floor again, and slowly the light began to dawn for Jon.

Jon turned to stare at Brandon, who studiously avoided his gaze. Helen too figured it out, and began to chuckle as she said, "Well, Jon, I guess you weren't as straight as you thought?"

Jon tried to glare at the cringing Brandon, but couldn't suppress a grin at his obvious discomfort as he said, "Dude, I think your gaydar needs a tune-up."

Brandon began to sputter, "Jon, I'm sorry, I didn't mean..."

"Relax, but I gotta ask, why?"

Brandon began to sputter again, and Eric recovered enough to say, "He said there were some things that, being gay himself, were kinda obvious, so he picked up on them, like that you said he had a hot body, and then he said it was his gaydar..."

Eric and Chase continued to howl, as Helen tapped Jon on the shoulder to say, "He's got a point, you know." Jon began to laugh, and Brandon relaxed enough to sport a very sheepish grin.

Finally, everyone calmed down enough to talk, and Jon said, "Dude, I was just being objective. You do, even a straight guy would know it, and I was just pointing it out because it's a major plus for a front man. Helen, you saw him shirtless, you tell him."

"Brandon, you do have awesome looks, there's no denying it."

Brandon blushed, "Yeah, but you're a woman..."

Helen added with a laugh, "And a lesbian. Lump never knew that, but these three do. So, as a lesbian, I can vouch for Jon; you're a really hot looking guy, and that's a huge asset for a front man. I'll also opine that your gaydar stinks; you got Jon, but missed me."

Finally, they all sat down at the table, and Helen got right to the point, "It looks like things are working out well. You guys sure seem to get along okay and I really liked what I saw on stage, all of it. I'm now confident that the Phoenix concert will be a hit, so you guys can start concentrating on the new album. Brandon, I want to see you a minute in private; follow me."

Helen led a puzzled Brandon from the room, taking him down the hall before spinning to face him, her friendly demeanor gone, "This is a chance of a lifetime for you, I hope you know that. Those three guys in there are like family to me, and I'll skin you alive if you ever hurt ‘em."

The fire in her eyes left Brandon with no doubt that she meant ever word, so not knowing what else to do, he nodded.

Helen softened somewhat as she continued, "They're good people, you'll find out their story from them soon enough, but they've been hurt, bad, and I don't mean by their former singer. They're also pretty damn lonely; the life they lead and you've been offered has some major drawbacks; fame is isolating, more so than you can ever imagine. It's also damn hard work; long hours of practice, grueling tour schedules, a life that is no longer your own. The money's good; their father used his influence to get them a good contract with their label, the kind of cut most bands have to wait years to get. But money can't buy happiness, and you need to think about all the downsides to this business. Make sure this is what you want, because no one will think the less of you if you walk away now."

Shaking his head adamantly, Brandon was about to reply when Helen cut him off, "Fair enough. Now, I know you're new at this, so if there's anything you need, anything you want to ask, you can call me anytime, day or night. Those are three great guys in there, be good to them and they'll be good to you. I like you a lot, don't get me wrong, but I'd have pushed them to replace Lump with a tree stump if I had to. That guy was bad news all around."

Finally able to get a word in, Brandon replied, "I'm sure I'll need lots of help and advice. There's so much I don't know."

"That's a great attitude. So many front men have egos the size of Texas." Helen said with a faint smile.

Brandon laughed, "I can't even get used to the idea of being a front man, especially for Instinct. No worries about the ego; I'm not like that. I'm also smart enough to know when I need help, so I'll be happy to do whatever is asked of me."

Giving him a light punch in the arm, Helen smiled as she said, "Great. Welcome to the team; I like how things are going."

His mind returning to his three new friends, Brandon asked, "I hope I didn't put my foot in it too bad back there?"

"No worries. Everybody, even Jon, thought it was hilarious. I would however take your gaydar in for a tune-up, or I'll have to take away your queer card. Say, you still don't know who it is, do you?"

With a shrug, Brandon replied, "Nope... But I've got at least a fifty-fifty shot at being right next time."

"With your gaydar, I definitely want to be in the room when you try; I need every good laugh I can get."

Brandon laughed as they headed back to the suite, feeling more at ease than ever before.

Looking at the door, Eric said, "I guess he's getting the talk. I think everything is going really well so far, right?"

"Easy for you to say; he hasn't pegged you with his gaydar yet." Jon grumbled.

As his brothers laughed, Chase said, "Yeah, I think we're going to be reminding you of that for a long time."

"Just what I needed... hey, can we go ahead and tell him? I feel weird keeping him in the dark now, but it wasn't my place to blurt it out."

With a nod, Chase replied, "I don't see why not. I really like him."

Jon and Eric shared a concerned look as Eric asked, "Chase, don't get your hopes up, okay? We know he's gay, but he might not like you like that."

His shoulders slumping a little, Chase shook his head as he replied, "I didn't mean it like that..."

"Yeah, you did," his brothers replied in perfect unison.

Looking dejected, Chase sighed before replying, "Am I that obvious? Okay, don't answer that, but what makes you think I'm wrong? I'm good looking..."

Jon stood up, walking over to put his hand on Chase's shoulder, "Yes, little bro, you are for sure, but you might not be his type. He's really good-looking himself, and guys like that are often real particular, and might not be looking to commit. Plus, he's a year older than you. He's also new; we don't really know him well yet and this is a huge change in his life, so don't make him uncomfortable, ‘k?"

"He's more like months older, I turn eighteen in six weeks, but okay, whatever, I'll be cool if he doesn't like me like that. You both promise you won't tell him how I feel, right?" Chase asked, the unease clear in his voice.

Eric and Jon nodded as Jon replied, "Okay, only that you're gay, anything else is up to you," Jon looked thoughtfully at Eric before adding, "Instead of just telling him, how about we make him guess again?"

Chase snickered, and Eric agreed just as Brandon and Helen re-entered the room, Brandon smiling weakly, sitting back down at the table.

Helen immediately announced, "Brandon, I'm going to need your employee ID to make some changes. Could you go get it please?"

Brandon got up to head for his locker. As soon as he was out of the room she told the three brothers, "I just wanted to tell you, I think you made a great choice."


The aging man, out of nervous habit, swept his hands through his hair or, where his hair would have been if he still had any. Finding the scar, just above his forehead, he touched it, shuddering inside as he remembered the impact of the bullet. It had been years in the past, but memories of that disastrous encounter still haunted his dreams. The small-caliber bullet, impacting at a shallow angle to the bone, had ricocheted off his skull, tearing away a chunk of his scalp.

With the passage of time, his hairline had retreated well past the scar. He wore it now with pride, making no effort to conceal it. Indeed, he was known in some circles in which he traveled, the ones where anonymity was paramount by necessity, simply as ‘The Scar.'

Reaching for a phone, The Scar considered his plan. It was, he admitted to himself, daring, even reckless. Hesitating for a bare moment, he recalled one of his favorite mottos, ‘fortune favors the bold'. With a wan smile, his decision made, more by the amount of time, effort, and money already spent than by an objective chance for success, he dialed the fourteen-digit number. There could be no turning back now; he could only succeed, or die trying.


After Brandon returned from his locker, Helen took his employee badge, parting company with the four guys as she left for home, and they headed back to the stage. Chase, as usual, took off his shirt before getting behind the drums. After two sets, Jon and Eric shed their shirts, and Brandon did the same. The only difference was that this time, without conscious thought, they threw them all in the same place, instead of Brandon's ending up apart.

The rehearsals went well, the three brothers getting used to Brandon, and he to them.

Exhausted, they wrapped up, amazed to find that it was after nine.

Eric, his smooth chest glistening with a sheen of sweat, grinned at their accomplishment as he said, "Okay guys, that was great, but I think we need to unwind a bit." Eyeing their new lead singer, he added, "We've got a lot to celebrate. Brandon, we've got rooms in the hotel next door. Feel like some partying? Let's head on over..."

All four had worked up a good sweat, and Brandon knew he needed a shower and clean clothes, so he asked, "Cool, but can I meet you guys there later? I don't have any clean clothes here so I've got to head back to my place; it's about a half hour each way."

Jon gave their new singer a re-assuring smile, "I'm sure we can scrounge up something for you, so let's just head over to the rooms and unwind? You can grab a shower there if you want."

"Cool, thanks," replied Brandon with a smile and a sigh of relief; he hadn't been looking forward to the long walk to his room and back.

They grabbed their shirts, and all but Chase threw them on to head over to the hotel via a connecting door to the studio. Brandon had to struggle not to stare at the confident Chase as they passed through the busy lobby, he seemed to revel in the attention and admiring glances his appearance attracted.

With a soft chime, the elevator reached the top floor and the guys headed down the hall, Eric digging in his pocket for the key card. Unlocking the double door, he opened it and stood aside, theatrically waving the guys inside. Brandon stepped in and stopped, awestruck by what he saw; a full suite, large and elegantly decked out, causing him to exclaim, "Wow, this is awesome."

Eric showed Brandon around, "It's got a living room, plasma TV, a wet bar, and a bedroom. We leave the connecting doors unlocked, so we usually just go in and out from mine because it's the middle one."

Brandon spun and gaped, "You mean you each have a suite?"

Jon laughed, placing his hand on Brandon's shoulder, "Yep, mine is much like this one except its got two bedrooms, but Chase has a Jacuzzi in his."

Chase, nodding with enthusiasm, agreed, "Yeah, it's great to unwind in... That sounds good right now. Okay, I'm going to grab a shower first, and I'll get the tub fired up."

Jon and Chase left via the opposite connecting doors as Eric told Brandon, "I'll fix you up with some stuff to wear if you want to grab a shower? I'm just throwing on some shorts then getting in the tub as is, and if nobody likes it, tough."

"Thanks..." Brandon said, as he strolled into the bathroom, expecting the normal hotel layout. He was shocked to see a big sprawling bathroom; fancy fixtures, and a shower with jets that looked big enough for a group. After his shower, he reached for a towel, amazed to find that the towel rail heated, evidently to keep the towels warm.

While Brandon showered, Chase came back into Eric's room with something in his hand. Eric had changed into swim trunks and settled into a recliner, looking with curiosity at what his brother carried. Chase said, a little uncomfortably, "I thought I'd give Brandon these to wear, if you haven't fixed him up with something yet?"

Chase put the pair of black Lycra swim shorts on the arm of Eric's chair, and Eric looked back at his brother, and noticed that Chase had changed into white jogging shorts, which really accentuated his tan. Deciding to have some fun with Chase, Eric asked, "I notice you're dressed to impress, and you picked out really small, tight shorts for Brandon. Now, why would that be, bro?"

As his cheeks reddened, Chase replied, "Okay, okay, you know why, but remember your promise, don't tell him or tease me about it around him... and could you please give him the shorts?"

Eric snickered, "Dude, why don't you go give them to him? He should be almost done with his shower by now..."

Chase was half tempted, but knew his brother was teasing him, "Eric, come on, please?" he pleaded.

"Yeah, ok... but you owe me one," Eric said, taking the shorts as Chase spun on his heel to head back to his room.

Brandon finished drying himself off and realized he didn't have anything to change into, so he dried his hair, wrapped the towel around his waist, and padded out to the living room.

Seeing Brandon approach, Eric asked, "Hey, these ok?" as he tossed Brandon the black Lycra shorts.

Catching them in mid-air without really looking at them, Brandon replied, "Yeah, thanks," and headed back to the bathroom. He noticed they were a tight fit while pulling them on. He was far from shy, and looking at himself in the mirror, deciding that the tight form-fitting shorts looked really good on him, his smile growing as he realized something else entirely.

Brandon joined Eric in the living room, flopping down in a nearby chair. Eric tossed him a bottle of beer, which Brandon happily opened, taking a long drink. Eric took a pull on his own, hiding a mischievous grin as he asked, "So, Brandon, I was kinda wondering... Remember when you were telling us that you first heard about us in that article in drummer magazine? I was thinking... That mag doesn't have much in it for non-drummers, and you aren't a drummer. I also noticed you hedge a little when Chase asked you about it. So, I'm just curious, what's up with that?" Eric smiled to indicate that he was merely curious.

"Uh, what do you mean?" replied Brandon, trying without success to hide his sudden nervous fidgeting.

"Just wondering what, exactly, prompted a guy who happens to be gay to pick up that particular magazine, one that Chase happened to be on the cover of?" Eric grinned, knowing now that he had Brandon pegged, and figuring to have some fun at his new friend's expense while sounding him out.

Brandon fidgeted some more, realizing that Eric must suspect why. He remembered the reason all too well; a full cover photo spread of Chase sitting at his drums, grinning at the camera, shirtless, and playing around by flexing his arms and looking sexy as hell. He'd bought that magazine for the cover pictures, and only later looking inside hoping for more photos of the drummer, to find a poster and a print article about the new band.

Deciding he might as well fess up, Brandon shrugged, attempting to hide his unease, "I think you know why; Chase looked great in those cover shots."

Zeroing in for the kill, his mischievous smile growing, Eric brushed his hair back as he said, "Yeah, that's why we chose those shots for the cover. So, do you like Chase?"

Taken off guard by the sudden, direct question, Brandon sputtered "Uh, yeah, he's a great guy, you all are."

Not letting up, Eric grinned, "You know what I mean. Do you like him?"

"I don't even know which one of you is gay yet." Brandon hedged.

Eric chuckled, "I'll take that as a yes..."

They were interrupted as Chase returned, grabbed a beer, and Brandon tried hard not to stare at Chase in his white jogging shorts. Brandon noticed that Eric was watching him for a reaction, and wondered what it meant, several possibilities coming to mind.

"Jon still showering?" asked Chase as he popped open the cap.

Eric nodded in reply, "Maybe, he had to call Helen, but he should be right..."

Jon, in swim trunks, joined them and grabbed a wine cooler from the wet bar. Eric began to snicker, as Chase looked at Eric, and then at the contents of Jon's hand before cracking up, setting his beer down just in time.

"Ya know, bros, it's not real good for my ego when every time I enter a room people start cracking up. What's so funny this time?" Jon asked, with a grin of his own, already suspecting the answer.

Chase grinned back, "I was just thinking... Brandon thought you were gay, and that's before he saw that you like wine coolers. Maybe he has gaydar after all. Is there something you ain't telling us?"

Eric cracked up completely when he heard that, as Brandon blushed at the reference. Jon, in a mock growl, replied, "Shaddap! I just don't like beer. Hell, Brandon's gay and he's drinking beer, so it's not like gay guys all drink wine coolers." Jon smiled wickedly and decided to get even with his brother "So, assuming no one blabbed yet, are we ready to try out Brandon's infamous gaydar again?"

Brandon looked up at Jon, and missed seeing Chase squirm a little. He was close to being sure this time; the signs had been fairly clear, but he stalled for time, "Let me think about it for a minute."

The hot tub beckoned, and as they entered Chase's suite Brandon was again stunned by the lavish and spacious room; everything modern and new, with polished wood darn near everywhere. Chase threw open the balcony doors, revealing a small patio framing a hot tub, with a surrounding railing made of heavy glass. Brandon fought a moment of vertigo as he took in the dizzying view, looking down on Wilshire Boulevard twenty stories below. Easing back from the railing, Brandon turned to enter the tub, sliding into the hot, churning waters, as Jon took the side opposite. Eric and Chase climbed in, on Brandon's right and left respectively, as Brandon warred against the urge to admire the three fine-looking guys. Relaxing for a moment, as the tub's jets eased his tension; he closed his eyes for a moment, reveling in the sensation. Opening his eyes a moment later, Brandon swiveled his head from side to side, seeing three sets of blue eyes boring in on him.

"So, Brandon... which one of ‘em is it?" Jon asked with a wicked grin.



© 2007 C James

feedback.gifPlease let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.

Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"



Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.

Thanks also to Shadowgod, for beta reading, support and advice, and for putting up with me.

A big "thank you" to to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice, and to Captain Rick for Beta-reading and advice.

To Graeme; thank you for your wonderful idea; and your wise council and input at a very critical stage.

Any remaining errors are mine alone.

© 2007 C James
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I bet Brandon feels like the cat anticipating the cream with all these good looking guys in a hot tub. Jon pegged him tho about the magazine. Such a great story!

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Omg, CJames! You had me rolling on the floor with these boys. Poor Brandon - he had no idea what he said! Yeah, his gaydar definitely needs a tune-up.


He should tell Instinct about his family and what they did to him. Does he really think his folks are going to be at the concert? Couldn't he just sort of sneak into Phoenix and sneak back out after the concert and no one will be the wiser?


On a completely different note, who the heck is The Scar?


Ok, on to the next chapter! :)

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I am really liking this story. I love seeing Brandon going from a dismal situation to a dream come true. However, after the ominous prologue, the still absent Lump and this Scar dude, I have a feeling it's not going to be smooth sailing for Brandon.

The scene with Jon was hilarious. I was guessing Chase, but I had a few more clues than poor Brandon.

Looking forward to reading more!

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That "bad gaydar" moment was totally over-the-top, LOL. :P Though I do wonder how he'd have been able to figure Helen out when he was just meeting her now. Then again:



Knowing what's to come, maybe it's not so bad after all if he was able to figure Eric out before Eric had even figured himself out? ;)


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  • Site Administrator

Ah, yes, Another cliffhanger by you CJ :D


Reading the whole 'outing' of Jon had me absolutely roaring my head off. I'm sure my neighbours heard me. I had to stop several times to wipe my eyes from the tears I was laughing so hard :P


Just the idea of Brandon's gaydar being broken has me waiting for the next chapter. Just wish that Helen was there for the scene to unfold.

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With Trump, Lump, Grump, or whoever not yet appearing and the introduction of Scar, you have created your normal level of confusion, CJ. Well, on to the next chapter. . .

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Posted (edited)

Poor Brandon and his gaydar!  This was a hilarious chapter.  It still had me guffawing, and this is my third time around.

Edited by BigBen
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