Note to readers:

This is the final chapter of It Started With Brian. I wrote the first eight paragraphs, to transition between chapters. The rest was written by Sam. He told me he wrote it immediately after the therapy session and aftermath he describes in the chapter.

I know it's a little non-standard to make the request I'm about to, but I'd like to ask readers to find the song "Everything" by Lifehouse in a YouTube clip, or at Grooveshark, or somewhere, and to listen to the music as they read the final words of the story, especially if you're not familiar with the song.

This final dedication is to my departed and much-loved friend--rest in peace, buddy--and to his "Brian," whom he loved with all his heart and soul. Thanks for helping me keep my promise to your man. And for your ongoing friendship.

--Adam Phillips

Chapter 34

There's not much more to say. Brian selected a psychologist and called him the next week, set up an appointment, and we started seeing him.

The help helped. It wasn't easy; not at all. Brian had to work through some of his own insecurities, and I had a lifetime's worth of unhealthy defense mechanisms to unlearn.

The sessions were often mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes I'd get mad at Brian, or at the therapist, or at myself, or at all of the above. One thing never faltered, though: I never doubted that Brian loved me anymore. That's one of the only things that kept me going when the therapy became grueling and painful. Well, that and the fact that little by little, it was becoming easier for me to let him know how much I loved him, and beyond that, how much I needed him.

Still, I felt like therapy was twisting me into knots sometimes. I'd never had to work so hard on my emotional problems. It was so much more comforting to retreat into a numb state, so much more natural-feeling. It was hard--and scary--to stay in the moment and face my feelings and fears. I was tense much of the time, and I could feel it in my whole body. My muscles would tighten up during therapy and never fully relaxed, even after we left the office.

One late afternoon we'd had a terrible session. It was the absolute worst. The therapist kept pushing me and pushing me to deal with some memories from my dysfunctional home-life, and I was torn between resisting and cooperating. Part of me wanted to drift away to some safe place. Part of me wanted to fight through the pain of those memories and deal, so that they wouldn't have me in their grip anymore. The end result was that I was wasted by the time the session was over.

Brian drove us home. He tried to engage me in conversation, and I tried to stay in the moment and talk to him. That in itself was an improvement, because previously, I would have gone into my head and shut him out.

When we got home, we unwound a little bit. As evening came on, Mary ordered pizza for all of us. When it arrived, everybody cheered and headed toward the kitchen. Everyone sat around the table, chattering a mile a minute. It was a good scene, and it was great to have a home filled with kids and happiness. But given that I didn't have much gas left in my tank, it was difficult to participate. I worked at it, though.

The rest of the crew decided to watch a movie. Brian declined for both of us.

He took me to bed. I was so exhausted, both emotionally and physically, that I didn't put up much of a fight. He led me to our bed and sort of gently tipped me over into it. I started to protest when he began pulling my t-shirt and boxers off.

“Hush. You're getting a massage. Your back is in so many knots it's a wonder you can sit up at all.”

Brian finished undressing me and rolled me onto my stomach on the bed. I'd always hated that position. Nothing felt more vulnerable, even with him. I couldn't deny that my back was a mess though, and there wasn't really another way to arrange me, so I held my tongue. I felt Brian's weight shift as he covered me with the blankets and got off the bed.

“I'll be right back. Just try to relax.” So, I did. I was so tired that it really wasn't all that difficult. A short while later I heard a match strike and smelled a candle being lit. The lights went out and some soft music turned on in the background.

“Now, we work on those muscles,” he said as he sat back down next to me.

I felt him pull the covers back off and shivered as the air hit my skin again. I tensed when Brian straddled my hips. I know he felt it, but he ignored it. I heard a bottle open and smelled almonds from the massage oil I had bought him last Christmas. As soon as his hands hit my back, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. His big hands were moving up and down my spine, working all the muscles. He kept working up and down my back for what seemed like forever. Somewhere my brain registered moans – then I realized it was me. I could hear Brian's low chuckles when I made a particularly loud moan. My muscles were like cooked spaghetti, and for the first time in weeks, I wasn't in pain. I was sure he was finished when he shifted to sit at my side.

I took a breath to thank him, but he interrupted me, “Don't even think about getting up. I said massage, buddy, that means all of you.”

I was about to protest that he didn't have to do that when his hands dug in to my right bicep. What came out was a moan instead.

Brian started laughing, “Yeah, that's about what I thought you'd say. Now dammit, just relax!”

He worked both arms and both legs. I began to tense as he worked up my thigh, but he carefully avoided anything remotely sexual, and I finally just relaxed into his touch. By the time he rolled me over, I was barely aware of anything. Once I was on my back he started with my face and head and worked his way down. As aches I didn't even know I had melted away one after the other, my brain left for the stratosphere. I couldn't have moved if the house had been on fire. He rubbed down my arms again, then worked on each hand, rubbing away all the tension that had been building for years probably. Then he went to my chest and massaged my pecs, then rubbed my sides and down my hips. He worked the top of my thighs, down my legs and to my feet.

My mind was somewhere else. Every touch served to send me higher and higher, almost like a drug. I had never felt so safe or so utterly right. Brian worked back up my legs, kneeling between them rubbing my inner thighs. I felt him lift my leg to get a better angle. I was like a rag doll in his hands, lost in another wave of bliss.

I didn't realize he was fingering me until he slipped a third finger inside me and began to stroke me. I felt the cold air hit the puddle of pre-cum that had accumulated under my cock as he lifted it up and blew across the head. I gasped and my eyes flew open to meet his gaze. All I saw in those blue, blue eyes was love. Suddenly, I wanted him inside me in a way I had never wanted it before. My eyes were locked with his as he lowered his mouth to me and slid his tongue under my foreskin, licking around my head in a slow circle. I could feel every bump and ridge of his tongue as it went around and around. His broad, strong fingers were still moving inside me, every movement increasing my desire until I couldn't take it anymore.

I wrapped my legs around him and pulled him to me, saying, “I want you now.”

Concern clouded his face, “Are you sure? We don't need to do that. This - “

“NOW!”  I cut him off with a growl. I was frantic to have him inside me.

Brian leaned down to kiss me. I felt him coating himself with massage oil as I deepened our kiss. I felt him press at my entrance, so much bigger than his fingers had been. I kept waiting for the blast of pain as he slowly pushed further and further into me, but it never came. There was nothing but a blissful stretching as he sunk deeper and deeper inside of me. When he finally bottomed out, he paused to give me time to adjust, but I was having none of it. I needed to feel him moving inside me, pounding into me. It was a primal collision of his body with mine. He started slow, but soon all I could do was cling to him as he crashed into me, our mouths smashed together as our tongues dueled for dominance. I was lost on a high like nothing I had ever felt. My perception had narrowed to his body and mine. When he thrust deep inside me one final time, clutching me to him as his orgasm wracked his body I felt a wave of total ecstasy followed by the most profound feeling of peace.

Brian collapsed on top of me, his body pressing me into the bed, both of us gasping for air, my legs wrapped around his waist, his softening cock still inside me. I have no idea how long we lay entwined like that. I felt as if every connection in my brain had flown apart and was slowly reassembling. When Brian's breathing finally returned to normal he propped himself up on one elbow and looked down at me, his face filled with wonder.

“Holy shit! What the hell was that?”

I said the first thing that came into my mind: “Surrender.”

I could see the concern cloud his face the second I said it. I started explaining before he could say anything, “It's a good thing. I've never been able to let go like that. I've always had to be in control. Always. I never trusted anyone enough to not be. That's the first time I haven't had fear clawing at the back of my mind somewhere.” I took his face in my hands, looked into his eyes, and said, “Thank you.”

I could see tears in his eyes as he leaned down to kiss me gently then buried his face in my neck, “I love you, Sam.”

“I love you too,” I whispered back into his ear.

When Brian finally tried to roll off of me, our chests were glued together. We both winced as our chest hair was yanked. He pulled me up with him and led me to the shower. We were silent as the hot water coursed over us. No words were needed as we held each other. As the water began to cool Brian quickly soaped my body and turned me into the water to rinse as I soaped him. We finished just as the water was getting cold. We began kissing as we toweled each other off. The kisses were tender and gentle, conveying all the love and intensity of close to twenty years spent longing for the other.

We didn't stop as we made our way back to the bed. We spent an eternity kissing and touching every inch of each other's bodies. I was drunk on the feel of his hard body under my hands, the way his coarse chest hair rubbed my face as I licked his nipples, the taste and smell of him – spicy like ginger but slightly sweet. When he finally entered me for the second time that night our lovemaking was slow and gentle. We came within seconds of each other. Brian kissed me and murmured over and over how much he loved me as he pulled out and cleaned us both up.

He blew out the candle and spooned in behind me. I realized that Brian had turned the music back on.

“I'm not good with words, Sam," he said, "but this song says what I can't ever seem to get out right.”

Find me here
And speak to me.
I want to feel you;
I need to hear you.
You are the light
That's leading me to the place
Where I find peace again.

You are the strength
That keeps me walking;
You are the hope
That keeps me trusting;
You are the light to my soul;
You are my purpose...
You're everything.

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this?

You calm the storms
And you give me rest;
You hold me in your hands;
You won't let me fall;
You still my heart
When you take my breath away!
Would you take me in take me deeper now?

And how can I stand here with you
And not be moved by you?
Would you tell me how could it be
Any better than this?

The End


This concludes the story of Sam and Brian. Thanks for reading, everyone.

If you're interested in any of my writing, I invite you to check out Crosscurrents, a work-in-progress I set aside two years ago to help Sam finish It Started With Brian.  I'll now be returning to it and will finish it this year; it can be found, among other places, here at Nifty:  


Thanks for the emails about It Started With Brian and for the appreciation. I took on this project out of my love for Sam, and in response to his desire that the story be finished even though he didn't have the time or energy to work on it anymore. I hope your hearts were warmed by the story. Even with all his troubles, and even knowing that he'd be leaving this life sooner than he'd expected, Sam was always struck by the ways he'd been blessed in life, and always grateful. If there's anything I could wish for you to get from this story and take with you, it's that we all need to cherish the good things in our lives and to hold them close to us when the going gets hard.

--Adam Phillips