Seeing You Again

an excerpt

Chapter One

"I'd drive forever to see Depeche Mode in concert," Brandon said. "Seriously, forever."

"Depeche Mode?" Aydin sighed. He loved Brandon, even if he didn't share Brandon's taste in music. "If you drive forever, you'd never see them. You'd be driving."

"You knew what I meant." Brandon stuck out his tongue. "I'm going to sit on that website until the tickets go live."

"The radio station's been promoting the concert pretty heavy all week. What if you don't get the tickets?" All Brandon had talked about was getting into the concert. He had no real plan other than to hope he'd be quicker than everyone else trying to get tickets. The concert hadn't been announced until three weeks before the event. The tickets weren't going on sale until two weeks prior to the concert. "You might not get on the site, let alone nab those elusive tickets. Everyone wants to see the band."

"I'm thinking positive." Brandon grinned. "My parents or sister might be able to help. Chris knows people."

"He's only got a part-time job reading the news at the radio station. He's kind of low in seniority." But Chris, Brandon's brother-in-law, did know people in the music business and could help.

"So? They owe me." Brandon fluttered his hand. "My birthday's coming up."

"I know." Aydin plunged the last plate into the soapy water. He'd been with Brandon since the beginning of the year. He hadn't thought he had a chance with Brandon. His boyfriend was so flamboyant and loud. Brandon knew everyone. He wore makeup and colored his hair according to his mood. How he'd ever noticed Aydin was beyond Aydin's understanding. He was plain, quiet and nothing like Brandon, but they worked as a couple. Opposites attracted. He washed the plate and tried to ignore Brandon's whining.

"I'm dying here. Do you know how it feels to need to see the band that's been the soundtrack to your life? How it feels to not get to see them live? It's killing me," Brandon said. "Killing me."

"Aren't you being overly dramatic?" Aydin asked. He rinsed the plate. "Your entire life? You listened to Depeche Mode at age three?"

"You knew what I meant."

"I did." He dried his hands, then wrapped his arms around Brandon. "Don't freak out about not getting those tickets until you don't have them." He paused. "Oh, and I know how it feels never to see my favorites live. I'll never see Glenn Miller's orchestra, Judy Garland, or George Michael since they're all dead. I never saw any of them on stage, but I'm still breathing."

Brandon frowned.

"Can't argue, can you?" He kissed Brandon. "I know what you mean about the band, though." He had to smooth it over. Brandon hated to lose arguments or be discounted. Aydin let go of him. "I do understand, though. You've had music at each of your gallery shows, and most of the songs are Depeche Mode. I listen to you working to music." He was more of a showtune kind of guy, but he appreciated Brandon's taste. "You go with what you like best."

"Then you know why I have to be there. My creative spirit depends on this concert," Brandon said. He dried the first plate. "I need it."

Aydin rolled his eyes and resumed washing the rest of the dishes. "Careful. If you get any more dramatic, people will think you're auditioning for a film role or a play over at the theater." He bumped shoulders with Brandon. "Thanks for helping me finish these."

Brandon sighed, drawing the noise out. "I've got to see that band."

"I know."

"I need a plan."

"You do." He wouldn't argue. Brandon was too driven.

Brandon snapped his fingers. "I'll get your computer and mine going at the same time, and whichever one gets onto the site, plus to the ticket page first, that's the one I'll use."

"Whatever works."

"Aydin."

He rolled his shoulders to crack his spine. "What?"

"I wish you understood. Glenn Miller and Judy Garland have been dead for years. You'd never be able to see them. You don't get how important this is," Brandon said.

"I do understand." Why wasn't Brandon letting this go? "You love them. You want to see them. Do it. I don't care."

"You're making light of this," Brandon said. "For me, it's do or die."

"No, it's not. You won't drop dead if you miss the concert." He finished washing the dishes and drained the water. "But I do get the importance. What I meant with the 'whatever works' comment was, do whatever you have to do in order to get those tickets--as long as it's not illegal. I'll help you and won't get in the way."

"Thank you." Brandon hugged Aydin, then scooped suds out of the sink. He wiped the suds on the tip of Aydin's nose. "You're the best boyfriend a guy could have."

"I try." He rinsed the soap down the drain, then dried his hands again. "Are you going to the studio tonight?"

"I need to. I've got that painting to finish and should go through my photos for that review." Brandon shrugged. "Why?"

"I'm needed at the theater, remember?" When Brandon didn't answer, Aydin continued. "For credit for my production class? I volunteered to work the light board for a concert next week--the OboeUboes."

"That's the name?" Brandon frowned again. The lines around his eyes crinkled, and he curled his lip.

"I didn't come up with the name."

"Interesting."

"Anyway, I signed up to help." He'd told Brandon four times and wrote his schedule out on the dry-erase board on the fridge as well as added the information to the calendar on Brandon's phone, but his boyfriend still never remembered Aydin's plans.

"Mike won't be there?" Brandon stared at Aydin.

"Nope. He has a date with Darren. Says he found the love of his life. I don't know the guy, but if they're happy, then I won't argue." He draped the towel on the rack. He hadn't wanted to work with Mike anyway. The guy leered at him and made comments Aydin didn't like. Mike didn't understand personal space or social norms, but he wouldn't be there tonight. "Mike's dating life is his problem, not mine."

"Are you going to be late?"

"I shouldn't be. It's a rehearsal for the concert. They wanted to set the lights and make sure the changes work." Aydin leaned on the counter. "They didn't have any special requests, and I've done the lights for a hundred of these concerts. It's easy work. Why?"

"I don't want to spend forever in the studio, and if I know you'll be here, then I'll try to get home before it's late." He kissed Aydin, caging him between his body and the counter. "Do you believe in six weeks and four days, it won't be my place but our place. You'll be here full time."

"I will." Aydin tucked his fingers into Brandon's front pockets. "You're still sure?"

"That I want you to live with me? Uh, yeah." Brandon ground the bulge in his pants against Aydin's crotch. "I've never felt this way before. I'm in love with you. You see the real me--not the artist or punk kid."

"I do." He'd seen beyond the fa├žade to the angsty young man and tried to be the soft landing for Brandon. There was so much more to the artist than just a guy who put paint to canvas or hid behind a camera. Brandon wasn't just the man who stood up at the galleries. True, he basked in the attention and seemed to come alive when people noticed him, but Brandon was more than the artist with the ego. He was a tender lover, a sweet man, and a big shoulder to cry on. Aydin couldn't see his life without Brandon.

"You balance me." He kissed Aydin again. "You inspire me." He bumped noses with Aydin. "And make me whole."

"I try." Aydin was honored to be the man Brandon had selected. Things had moved quickly since they'd gotten together, but he wouldn't change a moment of their past. He'd found his other half, too.

"You're doing a great job." Brandon pinched Aydin's nipple through the fabric of his button-down shirt. "Don't take forever at the theater. I need you."

"I promise I won't." He swatted Brandon's ass. "But I need to go if I'm going to get back here as fast as you want."

"Okay." Brandon kissed him one more time. "Want a ride?"

"It's nice out, and the buses are running through ten tonight. I'll be okay." He needed a few moments without Brandon around to make his phone call.

Brandon let go of Aydin and stuck his bottom lip out. "Fine. I'll see you around eleven?"

"Make it ten, and I'll be here." He tweaked Brandon's chin. "Fix your makeup. You're smeared." He moved past Brandon and swatted Brandon's butt again. "I'll be back before you realize I'm gone." He picked up his jacket, keys, ID, and phone. "Love you."

"Love you," Brandon called.

Aydin left the apartment and made his way down to the bus stop at the end of the complex parking lot. He should've called Amy before then, but he hadn't been able to get out of the apartment. He sat on the bench under the shelter and pulled his phone from his pocket. He dialed Brandon's sister's number.

Amy answered after three rings. "Hi you," she said. "Is he keyed up?"

"Do the words 'I've loved them for my entire life' mean anything?" Aydin chuckled and kept an eye out for the bus. "I believe he mentioned his life won't be the same if he doesn't get to the concert."

"He's on a roll."

"Sure is. I'm shocked he didn't follow me to the bus stop. He really wants those tickets, and if he knew I was on the phone with you, he'd be begging you to get Chris to hook him up." He liked Brandon's sister. Amy could be blunt and hug too much, but she'd warmed to him right away. She spoke the truth and could get through to Brandon when few others could.

"Think you can stall him or persuade him to let you get the tickets?" she asked.

"It'll be tough. I don't think he trusts me enough. He figured out a plan to use the laptops simultaneously to get the tickets. He swears he'll be glued to the screens starting an hour before the sale and until he gets what he wants. He's even blocked out the time on the calendar." Brandon couldn't be bothered to notice anyone else's schedule, but everyone had to be aware of his.

"Brandon...that man will drive us both nuts," Amy said. "He needs to get over himself."

"He wants the tickets. I can't blame him. I'd be the same way if I had the chance to see George Michael." He shrugged. "He won't back down, and he'll never totally get over himself. That's just not going to happen."

"Okay, well, stick to the plan. We'll figure something out." Amy paused. "I've got it...we tell him to call Chris to get the tickets. If he does, then that'll give us the interference."

"Do you have the tickets in hand?" Aydin asked. "Like...there's no chance it won't happen?"

"Brandon won't get them until his birthday, but yes, Chris got them through the station last night," she said. "Promise."

"Awesome." What a load off his mind....

"You're telling me. Brandon needs to relax." She paused. "I'm sorry he's being so Brandon."

"He doesn't know the meaning of the word 'relax.' He won't settle down until he finishes the painting he's working on and gets the tickets."

"Well, Depeche Mode doesn't come around often. The tickets are hot items. Everyone wants them. Hell, Chris had to work a deal with the guy who did get them in order to score them for Brandon. That concert will sell out in minutes."

"I'm sure it will," Aydin said. "Brandon's sure he can beat out everyone else." He didn't think Brandon would be successful, but he refused to say so. Brandon wouldn't listen to him anyway. He doubted he'd be able to keep Brandon off the computer, though.

"I'll handle my brother. I'll call him tomorrow and mention he'll have a better chance if he calls Chris," she said. "That'll derail him long enough to get the plan finalized."

"Good luck," Aydin said. He noticed the bus down the street. "He's on a mission, so if you get this to work, hooray. I need to go. The bus is here."

"Call me tomorrow," she said. "Be careful. I like you and will thump my brother if he doesn't see how fabulous you are."

"I'll be safe. Bye, Amy." He shook his head as she clicked off the line. He tucked his phone into his pocket. Once the bus stopped, he made his way into the vehicle and found a seat. He needed time to talk to Amy one more time. Between the three of them--him, Chris, and Amy, they'd get Brandon to the concert, but Aydin wondered if the relationship would last. He wanted to give Brandon a birthday his boyfriend would never forget, but Brandon's burning desire to get what he wanted took a toll on Aydin. He loved his boyfriend but sometimes wondered whether Brandon loved him, too, or just wanted to satisfy himself.