Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Ninth story in the Rainbow Inn Universe. It took some time and went through several rewrites, but here it is. Finally! I hope you enjoy this one; it has a lot of surprises! Jules
Justin set aside his paintbrush and decided that he simply wasn't going to get any more work done today. Between the workers scurrying all over the property outside the studio windows, Emmett's voice shouting orders, and his own excitement at the coming wedding, Justin's mind just wasn't on work. It was exactly one week before the wedding and there were a million things to think about. The guys from the Inn were coming on Wednesday and they were having their bachelor party that night. Gus would be arriving on Thursday with his moms and Jenny Rebecca. Then Friday was the rehearsal dinner and Saturday the wedding.
In the meantime, Emmett had landscapers going over every inch of the property to make it look spectacular. There was a large tent being erected near the pool. And the pool… Justin rather thought that was one of Emmett's best ideas. He and Brian had found a guy who was able to construct a platform made entirely of plexiglass to form a dance floor over the pool. Emmett had worked with a lighting designer, the same one who designed the lighting at the loft, to add lighting to the pool that would light it up from below like Babylon at its best. Justin couldn't wait to see how it all looked after it was put together.
Brian had insisted that if they were going to do this, they should do it their way. At first, Justin had images of orgies at the loft or a night in Babylon's back room running through his mind. But the more Brian and Emmett talked, the more Justin pictured Babylon at it's best: fun and bright and glittery and filled with throbbing music. That was a reception that Justin could live with, so he let Brian and Emmett handle the entertainment.
Justin concentrated on working with Emmett on the location, the decorations, the food, the ceremony, the minister, the vows… all the sentimental shit that Brian refused to acknowledge. But Brian had kept the rings from their first attempt and that was enough sentiment from his lover for Justin.
Calvin had taken over their kitchen and there were now two massive appliances—a rented professional grade refrigerator and freezer—in the space where their kitchen table usually stood and portable ovens and warming boxes lined the back windows, blocking the view. Justin knew that both refrigerators and freezers would begin to fill with food in the days to come as Calvin began preparing the food for the wedding. In the interim, they had been banned from the kitchen and were living on takeout and delivery food.
"Justin?" Brian's voice came from down the hall, and Justin called back to him as he finished cleaning his brushed and palette. "I don't know why I bother looking anywhere else. I should just check here first. You're always here or the kitchen, but since the kitchen is closed…"
Justin accepted the kiss to his cheek that Brian offered as he wrapped his arms around the shorter man from behind. "Yeah well, I think I'm done trying to paint this week. This place is a fucking madhouse. I can't concentrate at all. I was trying to paint, but I would spot one of the workers doing something and suddenly, I'm staring out the window for twenty minutes and I've got green paint in the middle of the sky."
"Good, then you have no excuse not to go to the tailor's with me for the final fitting of our suits," Brian said as Justin walked to the storage cabinets and began putting away the tubes of paint and brushes he had used that day. "We'll need to lock up the studio when Gus gets here. Can you imagine the damage he and JR could do with tubes of oil paint?"
"I always lock the studio when I'm not in it," Justin said. "And don't think you're distracting me from protesting this needless fitting. Neither of us have gained or lost any weight since Giuseppe did the last fitting a week ago."
The blond rolled his eyes and huffed. "Fine, but I want a decent dinner out of this. I want to go to that new place we pass just off the highway."
"No," Brian said adamantly as he followed Justin from the room and waited for his lover to lock the door behind them. "I don't know how you can class that place as decent. I refuse to eat at any place that has clowns in their décor. It's the principle."
"It's your prejudices showing," Justin said. "There is nothing wrong with a restaurant that caters to a family clientele. My mom's been there with Tucker and she said that the food is really good and they do great steaks. And if we eat in the bar side, there won't be any kids around us."
"If we ate at Le Chat Blanc there wouldn't be any kids at all," Brian pointed out.
"And we'd pay five times as much for half the food and I wouldn't like anything on the menu," Justin said. "Besides, we can see if it's a good place to take Gus when he's in town."
"It's not five times the price," Brian muttered. They were walking towards the back of the house, presumably to tell Emmett that they were going out. Brian grabbed Justin's hand and dragged him the other direction. "You can call him from the car. Now, don't try and tell me that you don't love the plateau de fromage at Le Chat Blanc."
"What's not to like?" Justin shrugged and grabbed his jacket from the entry hall closet before they walked out the front door. "It's a plate of cheese. But I can get cheese from the store; I don't have to spend $25 for a few smears of brie."
"You don't have to," Brian said. "But you can afford to. And Gus can learn to like French food." Justin glared at Brian over the roof of the corvette. "Fine we'll eat at the clown place."
"It's called Circus Steakhouse," Justin said. He climbed in the car beside Brian and smiled happily. "And thank you. You'll like it, I promise."
"I had better," Brian muttered and started the car.
The lights were on in the first floor of the house when Brian and Justin arrived home a few hours later. The landscaper's vehicles were all gone, as was Emmett's little compact, but there was a little Japanese sports car in the driveway.
"That looks like Chase's car, doesn't it?" Justin asked.
"It does," Brian said with a frown. "And those are New Jersey plates."
"What are they doing here so early?" Justin asked.
"Why don't we go inside and find out?" Brian asked dryly. Justin stuck his tongue out at his lover, but he did start walking towards the front door.
They found Chase in the living room reading a book, but House was nowhere to be seen.
"Hey!" Chase greeted them with a smile. "Emmett let us in. Said you would be home soon."
"Why are you here?" Brian asked. "And where's your worse half?"
Justin frowned at his partner. "We weren't expecting you until Thursday."
Chase set the book down and walked over to where Brian and Justin were still hovering near the entryway. "House is being nosey and decided to look around the place. He does that. As for why we're here early… well, I think we should wait for House for that."
"House!" Brian shouted and Justin covered his ears a moment too late to prevent the painful blast of noise.
"You bellowed?" House said as he limped into the hall from the dining room. "Great mansion you have here. You weren't kidding when you said you have room for everyone here. Chase, they have nine bedrooms besides the master suite."
"I thought our place was big," Chase muttered.
"But you need a music room," House told them. "Not a piano to be found."
"Is that why you went snooping?" Chase asked. "I could have brought the keyboard in from the car if I'd known you'd be like this." They'd spent a small fortune on the damned keyboard, more than most people paid for a piano. But House had insisted that he needed a professional quality keyboard.
"The keyboard sucks," House shrugged. "But it'll do for a few days."
"I'm going to pour us some drinks and then you are going to tell me what the fuck is going on," Brian told House.
"Why don't we go to the den," Justin said. "It's more comfortable and we can get the fire going. Have you eaten?"
"Yeah, we had dinner Just outside Pittsburgh," Chase said as they followed the blond down the hall to the cozy room off the kitchen at the back of the house. Brian went directly to the bar and began pouring three fingers of bourbon for each of them. Once the drinks were distributed and everyone was settled, chase said, "Do you remember me telling everyone that House had once been shot?"
"Yeah," Justin said.
"Well, they never caught the guy who did it," Chase said and took a drink from his glass. "About a week ago, House started getting threatening letters, and they said they were from the guy who shot House."
"The writer claimed that, but there was no proof," House said grumpily.
"Not then," Chase agreed. "But there is now. Yesterday, the same guy walked up to us in the parking garage at work and pulled a gun. He didn't say anything, just pointed the gun at House. A woman came by and screamed. She had her two kids with her. I think if the kids hadn't been there, he would have fired, no matter who else was around. He shot him in front of three witnesses last time."
"Idiot couldn't kill me the first time, now he runs away from a couple brats," House muttered, but everyone could tell he was shaken by the whole thing.
"The police are looking for him, but they suggested that we get away from the hospital for a while," Chase said. "We were supposed to come here anyway, and since there's very little to connect us to you, we figured there would be no way he'd find us here."
"Have you talked to Booth or Jethro about this?" Brian asked.
"No need," House said. "The local police are handling things."
"They obviously did a piss poor job the first time," Brian muttered. "Fine. You can hide out here until they catch this nut job. But at the first sign of trouble, I'm calling our friend Carl—he's on the Pittsburgh PD—and then I'm calling Jethro, Tony and Seeley."
"If that guy bloody well finds us out here, I'll be on the phone too," Chase told him. "I have no desire to see that maniac pointing a gun at House again."