would you mind if I pretended we were somewhere else
doing something we wanted to?
'cause all this living makes me wanna do
is die ‘cause I can't live with you
and you don't even care
Jensen figured that he’d held himself together pretty well, all things considered, but of all the places to have a breakdown, he had to go and pick a beautiful beach in Belize.
“Earth to Jensen.”
Jensen started at the sound of Danneel’s voice as she dropped down onto the towel next to him, flicking salty droplets of water from her hair onto his face. "Hey."
“You know, if I’d known you were only going to be here in body and not mind, I would’ve brought a book instead.”
“Sorry, sorry,” he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and hugging her close, “I’m a dick, I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right. Hey,” she smacked him in the stomach, “I found someone to take you diving.”
“Yeah. It takes four days to get certified, though.”
“We’re only here for six!”
“I know,” she chuckled, “you’re gonna have to flash someone those pearly whites and turn on the charm.”
“It’s in the bag, then,” Jensen joked, striving for levity. It fell flat and Danneel just stared at him, one elegant eyebrow arched up in question.
“I keep telling you to talk to me, Jensen,” she reminded him. “I wish you’d trust me.”
“I do trust you…”
“Then talk already!”
“I’m in love with Jared.”
In all the years he’d known Danneel, he’d never once seen her rendered speechless; it was a good look on her. She looked like a cute little googly-eyed, gaping fish.
When she finally spoke, it sounded like all the breath had been punched from her body. “What?”
“I love Jared.”
“Well, Danni, sometimes when two people meet, they click and they have chemistry and sometimes they fall in love with each other,” Jensen deadpanned acerbically, and then heard his own words resound in his head. He let out a derisive snort. “Or, one of them goes gay and falls in love, and the other one’s an oblivious ass who’s now flirting with his on-screen demon lover and showing her around San Antonio and letting her stay in his parents’ house with him and maybe they’re even sharing the same goddamn bed, the bed he slept in when he was a teenager, in the house that he grew up in, and I hate her.”
“Christ on a cracker, Jensen, come here!”
And then Danneel put her arms around him and Jensen tucked his face into her shoulder, biting his lip hard to hold back a sob. As much as he tried not to cry, though, he couldn’t stop hot tears from flooding his eyes. Shit. He pushed away from her and scrubbed a hand down his face, wicking the wetness from his eyes and trying to compose himself in the same stroke.
“I hate feeling like this.”
“I know, baby,” she soothed him, rubbing her hand up and down his back. “I’m so sorry, Jensen.”
Jensen picked up a random shell from the sand and stared at it. “I love him so much.”
“I can imagine,” she said as she stroked her fingers through his hair. “I remember watching the two of you sometimes and thinking…well, what a cute couple you’d make. And then I had to remind myself that you were with me and he was with Sandy…” The soothing motion of her fingers stopped. “Sandy, shit. When did this start?”
“Was he the reason we broke up?”
“Yeah,” he confessed quietly, feeling bad, but Danneel just nodded when he finally turned to her, looking strangely satisfied.
“So at least then…or before then?”
“Before then, maybe, I don’t know.” Jensen blew out a frustrated breath and stared at his toes, and then buried them in the sand, wishing he could do the same with his head, just to keep from having this conversation. “I don’t think it was like that in the beginning; I just remember thinking – I like him, he’s annoying as hell, but I like him. Then, later on, I used to think – jeez, what a dork, but he’s so fucking cute. With that stupid, ridiculous hair always in his eyes, that I just keep wanting to brush back, and those adorable dimples that I keep wanting to poke, and that smile – God, I love his smile – that I keep wanting to kiss, and he’s just so…big.” Jensen blinked and looked at Danneel, his eyes widening of their own accord. “And then he got bigger…”
Danneel fucking snorted before collapsing into a fit of giggles. “Oh, Jensen.”
“I hate you,” Jensen grumbled, well aware that he sounded like a teenage girl with her first crush, thank you very much; he just couldn’t fucking help it. If he was in Danni’s place right now, he’d probably be laughing at him too. “I don’t know what to do.”
“What did he say when you told him?”
Jensen pulled back to look at her in surprise. “I didn’t tell him.” She smacked him upside the head. “Ow! Danni!”
“You’re a moron!” she yelled. “You tell each other everything, and you didn’t tell him this?” She blew the drying, frizzy bangs off her forehead in frustration. “For Chrissake, Jensen, you two even went to take a leak together when we went out! Even Sandy and I didn’t do that, and we’re girls!”
“It’s not exactly conversation for the urinal, you know!”
“Of course not, idiot! But you live with him now… Oh. My. God.” She clapped a hand over her mouth as she gasped, her eyes bugging out in shock. “You live together now! Holy shit! How the fuck are you handling that?”
“I’m handling it,” Jensen started, and then stopped to think. “I was handling it. Before she came along. I don’t know how I’m gonna handle it now.”
And apparently, now that the dam had come down, every single feeling he’d been suppressing so well just came spewing out of him like water out of a spigot with no shut-off valve. “Why can’t he love me like I love him?”
“Oh, honey.” She hugged him again.
“I came out to my mother.”
“Yup. That pretty much sums it up.”
“What’d she say?”
“She asked me to choose between them – my family – and Jared,” Jensen told her as he stared off into the sunset, oddly mesmerized by the orange-pink sky, “because I can’t have both. Had to pick one.” He blinked and looked into Danneel’s shocked brown eyes. “I picked Jared.”
“Jensen – you have to tell him! You have to!”
“I don’t know how!”
“Just sit him down and say it!” Danneel shouted, her voice drowning out the waves crashing on the shore. “You can’t ignore it, Jensen. It’ll eat through you if you bottle it up; it’ll rot and fester until it kills you from the inside out!”
“I know that! Don’t you think I know myself well enough to know that?” he asked, frustrated. “I just don’t know how to start that conversation!” Jensen buried his head in his hands. “I don’t know how to handle the rejection. What if it changes everything? What if…what if he’s disgusted by me, like my mom seems to be? What if he can’t stand to be around me, or touch me anymore? I mean, I can’t even sleep without him in my bed anymore, how the hell am I supposed to get over not having him around at all?”
“First of all, Jared Padalecki is never going to be disgusted by you, you idiot, he touches you all the damn time!” Danneel rolled her eyes so hard, it was a wonder that she was still sitting upright. “And neither is your mom… Wait a minute. You can’t sleep without him in your bed? What the hell does that mean?”
Jensen scrunched his eyes shut in misery. “We sleep together.”
“I will kill that sonofabitch!” Danneel actually growled, the expression on her face so ferocious that Jensen was taken aback as she tried to regulate her breathing and calm down. It didn’t work. She jumped to her feet as if she wanted to book it on the next flight out to LA, but instead she paced angrily in front of him. “That bastard. He’s fucking you and he’s still flirting with someone else? You’re fucking and he doesn’t love you back? God, I will kill him with my goddamn bare hands!”
“Jesus, calm down, Danni! We’re not fucking!” Jensen winced as he said it, the accompanying mental image socking him in the gut with want. “We’re just sleeping. That’s all it is. It’s completely platonic.”
Danneel abruptly fell to her knees. “What?”
“He wasn’t sleeping well when he broke up with Sandy, and we had to work, you know? And sometimes, you just need a warm body in bed with you. Makes you sleep better or something. We didn’t even touch each other,” he explained, not quite meeting her eyes, “at first.”
“At first?” she asked skeptically. “And now?” Jensen mumbled his response. “What was that? I didn’t quite hear you. Jensen?”
“Now, we spoon, okay?” Jensen huffed out a breath and pinned her with a look, daring her to say anything. Of course, Danni being Danni, it didn’t faze her one little bit. She laughed at him, down in the sand, hands clutching her stomach.
“Oh God. Oh my God!”
“Sure. Laugh at my pain.”
“Oh, Jensen. Sorry. Sorry, little spoon.”
Jensen pouted mightily. “He’s the size of a mountain, okay? Of course, I’m the little spoon! Jesus Christ. I hate you both.”
Once her breathing had returned to normal and her eyes were dry again, Danneel stroked his cheek. “You share a home, you share a job, you spend every waking hour together and you spend every night cuddling in bed and you don’t think he loves you like you love him?”
“Then why hasn’t he done anything yet?” Jensen asked, trying not to sound like a petulant five-year old and failing, if the look on Danneel’s face was anything to go by. “Why hasn’t he made a move yet?”
“Hopping into your bed…”
“His bed now.”
“Fine. Sharing a bed every night sounds like a pretty big move to me.” She sighed as Jensen frowned. “Have you made a move?”
“I’m…working up to it.”
“Look, we work all day and then we’re dead tired when we get home and there’s dinner to cook and the dogs to walk and feed and then, before you know it, it’s time for bed and there’s no time to think about other stuff.”
“Jesus. You realize that you two are already married, right?” she joked, and then her brow furrowed in thought. “Other stuff, as in sex stuff?”
Jensen cursed himself as he felt his cheeks heat, and then groaned when Danni noticed and smirked at him. “Yes. I wasn’t thinking…sexual thoughts. It was hard enough trying to bring Jared back to himself after Sandy, I didn’t want to upset the balance, and now that I want it…”
“This demon bitch gets in the way?”
“Okay, I know she only plays a demon on TV, but is she really bitchy?”
“Yes! No. I don’t know. With my luck, she’s probably sweet and perfect, but I still hate her.”
“Understood.” She bit her lip. “Maybe you should just kiss him.” Jensen’s face flushed from the roots of his hair to halfway down his chest. “Oh my God, you did kiss him.”
“He kissed me first.”
“How on earth can you be so stupid?”
“It was an experiment. It was two years ago!”
“Yeah. Just ‘cause he read some of those stories about us online and he wanted to experiment. Kissing a guy. We never talked about it and we never did it again.”
“Oh, to be a fly on the wall at your house,” Danneel mumbled. “So you kissed once, two years ago, and he hasn’t shown any interest in kissing you again.”
Danneel hummed. “Why not, I wonder?”
“Er… Because he’s not gay?”
“Too easy. Did you try anything with him after that?”
“How do you know he wasn’t waiting for you to try something and when you didn’t, he assumed you weren’t interested? Because technically, if the kissing was his idea, then that was the first move, genius.”
“Jesus, Danni – he was still with Sandy!”
“They were just dating. My question still stands.”
“I don’t know!”
“So he cuddles you in bed and he hugs you and is generally all up in your business every other minute of the day, but there’s been no more kissing…” Danneel mused, more to herself than to him.
“On the mouth.”
“He doesn’t kiss me on the mouth,” Jensen clarified, embarrassed and not quite sure why he was boring her with all the details, but his mouth was running off on its own accord again and he still couldn’t seem to find the off-switch.
Danneel regarded him quizzically, interestedly, not looking even the least bit bored. “Where else does he kiss you?”
“Cheek. Forehead. Umm…my nose. My arm or my shoulder.” Jensen shrugged, but as the memories of Jared’s platonic little kisses suffused his entire body with heat, he sighed a little dreamily. “The top of my head when I do the dishes, right here on my temple when he gives me my coffee every morning, the back of my neck just before we fall asleep…” Danneel smacked him upside the head. Again. “Ow! Fuck! Quit hitting me!”
“Men are so stupid!” She snorted. “See? This is why you need women in your lives! But if you insist on being gay, then you need a fabulous girl friend who can guide you through these trying times, and lead you on this path of self-discovery.” She smirked impishly. “Just so happens, I’m fabulous and a girl and I haven’t got anything better to do right now.”
“Well, you’re better than Chad, that’s for damn sure.”
“Er…he’s been leading me on my ‘path of self-discovery’ up until now.”
“I know, right? I need my head examined.”
“Chad Michael Murray?”
“My co-star Chad?”
“Well, fuck me sideways.”
“What exactly has he been telling you?”
Jensen groaned. “It’s very…Chaddish. And I hate to admit it, but he’s made some valid points.”
“He does that sometimes,” Danneel agreed. “It creeps me out.”
“Yeah. You start thinking, what’s my world coming to if Chad makes sense?”
“You’re the only two people, besides my mom now, who know the truth.”
“You need to make Jared one of those people, Jensen.”
“You need to do it now.”
“Slight problem with that,” he snarked. “I’m here and he’s back home playing Texas tour guide to that…”
“Demon bitch. I hear ya.” She flopped back down onto the towel, studying the sky. Then she sat up, snapping her fingers. “You need to seduce him.”
“Yeah! Absolutely. Not overtly, though; little things.”
Jensen immediately thought of the book he’d found on the plane. Sure, that advice had been good in a general sort of way, but Danneel knew Jared; perhaps she could give him some real-world guidance. “Like what?”
“Look, you know him better than practically anyone else on the planet at this point, probably even better than his mother…”
“So use that to your advantage,” Danneel said, a sly smile growing on her face. “Like when he kisses you, lean into his body just a little bit more. When he touches you, touch him back a little bit more, trail your fingers over his arm, or through his hair or down his back…” Christ, Jensen felt his temperature spike. “When he cuddles with you in bed, wiggle your ass a little closer to his crotch and…”
She laughed delightedly. “Getting ants in your pants there, cowboy?”
“Shut up. I am not talking to you about this.”
“You’d rather talk to Chad, then? ‘Cause those are your options.”
“Buck up, Jensen,” she soothed. “See, the way I figure it, you’ve already done most of your wooing without even realizing it. ‘Cause let’s face it. Jared’s all man, but he’s also all sweetness and light and everything nice, and he’s the kind of guy who’s into romance; he needs to feel the love. You’re already doing that, day in and day out. You’re halfway there! You just need to crank it up a notch.”
“I’ve been wooing him?” Jensen blinked at her in surprise. “I don’t think I’ve ever even used that word in a sentence before!”
“Doesn’t make it any less true.” Danneel grinned at him. “You’ve been courtin’ your sweetheart.”
“I don’t do anything with Jay that could be construed as courtship!”
“Oh, really? So, when he’s had an especially hard day at work, you don’t take him out to Morton’s for a fancy steak dinner, where you both dress up real pretty, like a date?” She put her had up to forestall him when he opened his mouth to defend himself. “Uh-uh, let me finish. You don’t cook for him, or take care of him or his puppies or rub his head when it hurts or his feet when he’s tired or his shoulders when he’s tense or…?”
Jensen bristled defensively. “He does the same shit for me!”
“So essentially, you’ve both been romancing each other for the past four years and you’re both too oblivious to have noticed. I reiterate my initial point: Men. Are. Stupid.”
“Fine! I bow down to your superior feminine intellect. Now, tell me what to do!”
“Fine. Tell me what he’s really like. Not the him that he shows the world, the him that he shows you.”
Jensen huffed and shrugged. “He’s pretty much your typical Cancer man.”
“That’s his sign,” Jensen mumbled, more than a little mortified, “and he says he doesn’t believe in that stuff but he totally does, and we read our horoscopes every day and this woman in the Vancouver Sun is really uncanny with her predictions…”
“Oh my goodness, you two are killing me with the cute!”
“Please don’t ‘aww’…”
“I hate you.”
“C’mere. I don’t even recognize you anymore and it’s, like, the best thing ever!” She giggled and hugged him. “Between you, me and Chad, we’re gonna get you your happily ever after, Jensen. I promise you that.”
Jensen rested his head on her shoulder and tried not to sound like a goddamn coward. “What if he doesn’t feel the same way?”
“Not gonna happen.”
Two weeks later, back in Vancouver, it happened.
Jared was having his usual welcome-back-to-shooting shindig and Jensen was making it back to Vancouver only just in time for the party, as usual. He was in a good mood, though, in spite of the fact that he knew she was going to be in attendance.
Jensen rolled his eyes at his internal melodrama as he accepted his third cup of coffee from the flight attendant and took a sip; it wasn’t as good as what he had at home, but it would do until he got there. He stared out of the window, tracking the fluffy cloud cover beneath the aircraft, and once again contemplated skydiving – not that the producers of the show would ever allow it, but it was nice to daydream. Maybe someday.
He sighed as the plane started its descent not long afterwards and the woman sitting next to him looked his way. She’d been giving him furtive little glances ever since he’d sat down next to her, and he wondered if it was because she recognized him and was too shy to say anything, or if he had something on his face and she was politely trying to tell him. He ventured a tentative smile in her direction and she practically beamed at him in return.
He could have kicked himself, because now suddenly, there was conversation to be had. And yeah, that was a dirty word as far as he was concerned.
“Going home or just visiting?” she asked, her voice soft and lilting.
“Going home,” he replied, and then realized how much it meant to him to be able to say that.
“That sounded vaguely like an epiphany.”
“Could be,” he agreed with an absent smile.
“Ah,” the woman smiled benignly at him, “someone special makes it home.”
Jensen flushed. “I guess you could say that.”
“Hmm. That’s hard to find,” she imparted with the sort of wisdom that came from knowing. “Hold on with everything you’ve got and don’t let go.”
“I’m trying,” Jensen murmured, feeling it with every cell in his body.
“New love?” He nodded, not at all sure why he was confiding in this stranger. “Have you declared it yet?” He shook his head and she smiled, her eyes lighting up. “The thrill of discovery. The pleasure of exploration. The joy of endurance. The delightful domesticity that ensues. And they say ignorance is bliss. Knowing has its merits, too. The best of luck to you.”
Jensen laughed at her vehemence. “Thanks.”
He was going to need all the luck he could get.
As the flight touched down in Vancouver, Jensen thought about the book he’d found, and the lady sitting next to him, and smiled, unable to believe the direction his dewy-eyed thoughts had taken. Never in a million years would he have imagined this: Jared and love and destiny all meaning the same thing to him. Was finding the book a sign? Did Chad and Danneel have a point? Was he perhaps meant to hear it from a complete stranger who didn’t know him or Jared from Adam?
He sighed and smiled, hope flaring bright in his chest.
Maybe, just maybe, fate was trying to tell him something.
An hour and forty odd minutes later, he realized that fate was trying to tell him to get his fucking head out of his ass.
It served him right. He had no business getting his hopes up; that was so unlike him. In fact, this person he had become over the past few months, over the past year, was unrecognizable to him. He’d become sappy and sentimental and a pussy and it ended now.
Before it had even had a chance to begin, it ended.
Danni and Chad and that woman on the plane knew shit; that book was bogus, and Jensen, watching from behind the glass patio doors as Jared and Genevieve kissed on the back deck, felt like the biggest fool on the planet.
with courage in love and war?
I used to think that's what I was
but now this lying hurts too much
and I don't know what for
He backed out of the kitchen and right into Chad, the other man’s gaze darting over his shoulder to focus on the kissing couple before he ushered Jensen out and into the crowded house, both of them nodding and smiling until they reached the sanctuary of Jensen’s room. Chad shut the door behind them.
Jensen glared at Chad before collapsing on his bed. “Fuck my life.”
“Oh no!” Chad snapped, stalking towards him. “You do not get to do this again! You want him, fight her for him!”
“I think in this case,” Jensen lamented with a forlorn sigh, “basic human anatomy has me beat.”
Chad sat down next to him, his body flush against Jensen’s, too bony and not warm enough. “We could revisit our bound-rebound argument.”
“What’s the goddamn point?”
“You know what?” Chad asked, and it was probably rhetorical since he just went right on talking. “I’m sick of this. Aren’t you sick of this? I mean, make up your mind, man.”
“My mind is made up!”
“And yet, here you are, hiding in your room!”
“What exactly do you want me to do?” Jensen asked in exasperation. “Body-check her over the backyard wall?”
“Might get his head outta his ass.”
“It’s a losing battle, Chad.”
“Say it is,” Chad began, “say, for argument’s sake, that Jared is straight. Then what? What are you gonna do, dude? Are you gonna pine for the rest of your life? Waste away to nothing? Are you gonna write bad poetry, Jensen?”
Jensen glowered at Chad and then at the wall in front of him. “I’m gonna go on with my life.” And try not to die inside.
“How? With whom? Because unless I’m mistaken, you haven’t gotten any since Danneel, right?” Jensen’s skin heated, and his jaw clenched taut, and Chad laughed humorlessly. “Dude, it’s been what, a year? Should I have asked if you’re gonna run off and join a convent next, Jenny?” Jensen couldn’t bring himself to comment; he had been living like a monk. “I stand by what I said earlier. Let her be the rebound. Let Jared realize his mistake. You’re still the one he’s gonna come home to.”
“Your logic is seriously flawed.”
“How is it flawed?”
“Everything he wants,” Jensen explained, looking beseechingly at Chad, “I can’t give him. A home, children, a family of his own. I can’t give him all that. No matter how close we get, no matter how much he cares about me, he is always going to pick a woman over me, because, oh yeah – he’s not gay!”
“Why don’t you tell him how you feel and let him decide? And gay guys do all those things – marriage, kids – hell, up here in Canada, it’s even legal.” Chad sighed when Jensen ignored him, choosing instead to stay silent. “You just don’t get it yet, do you? It’s not about being gay with the two of you! It’s about the two of you! That’s why I told you about this shit in the first place! I could see this thing with you two that I…I can’t even explain, man! It’s like when chicks watch their flicks and they’re breathlessly waiting for the two leads to find each other and fall into mushy love and live happily ever fucking after – I watch you and Jaybird, and that’s how I feel! Like I’m rooting for you!” Chad snorted, his disgust directed solely at himself. “And dude, watching the two of you is like watching a fucking rom com, and not a cool one with lots of nakedness, like Sex and the City, no, but like one with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan where they keep their clothes on and all they do is kiss in the end just before the credits roll! Zero action, zero satisfaction, zero tits and ass!” Chad blew out a frustrated breath. “Do you realize how not me that is? Do you, Jensen? ‘Cause I don’t think you do!”
Jensen just stared at him. “Our lives are like a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie to you?”
“Yeah! It’s sickeningly sweet,” Chad groaned. “And I can’t take it anymore, Jensen. You gotta spice things up! I keep telling you that you can’t have love without sex, because this is real life, not the movies! Have you thought about that? I’m pretty sure if you turn up the heat with Jared, he’ll crumple like a house of cards.”
Jensen did a double take at that. “You are truly stupid.”
“Nope. I’m a genius; I got the girl I wanted. You’re the idiot pining away for the guy you love.”
“I’m not gonna jump Jared. If all I get from him is friendship, then I’ll take it.”
“Fine, whatever. Be BFFs with him. What about you?”
“What about me?”
Chad tapped his chin thoughtfully. “Maybe he needs to sit up and notice you. As in, notice you as someone potentially fuckable.”
“You are the epitome of class.”
“Thank you,” Chad said, the sarcasm not even making a dent. “Come to think of it, Jared’s been taking you for granted…”
Jensen bristled. “He has not…”
“And you’ve been letting him,” Chad continued as if he hadn’t spoken. “You need to give him a wake-up call. Show him that you’re not just gonna be around for kisses and cuddles indefinitely while he’s doing…” Chad had the grace to look slightly abashed, “…whatever it is he’s doing.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Bring a chick home. Or for bigger shits and giggles, bring a dude home.” Jensen flushed hotly, his face undoubtedly a riot of red as Chad considered him shrewdly. “You are kind of hot. Shouldn’t be too hard.”
“I am not interested in anyone else right now.” And who knew Jensen was a one-man man? Not Jensen, that’s who.
“That’s your problem. You need to get out there and take care of some personal business, man,” Chad chided. “Are you even keeping the pipes free and clear, or are you saving yourself for your one true love?”
“I’m gonna kill you and salt ‘n’ burn the body.”
“I’m wondering if you would even know how to come on to a guy.”
“How hard can it be?” Jensen shrugged. This was not really something he had considered. In fact, he couldn’t remember the last time he had looked appreciatively at a woman, let alone look at one and think he’d like to fuck her, but he knew that he’d certainly never looked at a man that way before.
A man other than Jared, that is.
“What if a dude did hit on you? What if you find out that you’re not just gay for Jared but gay, period?”
“Oh no?” Chad asked, deceptively nonchalant. Jensen turned to look at him, and right before his eyes, Chad transformed and Jensen was reminded why this guy got the roles he got; he was good…at being bad, and sexy while he was at it. Jensen knew this on a clinical level but seeing it was something else entirely. “What if…?” Chad asked, his voice low and husky as he leaned in close. “What if a seriously hot guy came on to you?” He grazed the back of his hand down Jensen’s jaw and Jensen’s pulse leapt in alarm, and suddenly he felt like the walls in the big bedroom were closing in on him.
“Er… Chad…” Chad edged closer, so close that Jensen felt his eyes cross when he tried to look at him.
“What would you do if I kissed you right now?”
In the next instant, three things happened at once: First, Jensen panicked. Then, when the door banged open just a split second later, he thanked his lucky stars. Profusely and profoundly. Especially considering the fact that it was Jared who stood on the threshold, happy and then confused, because Jensen didn’t know how he could have talked himself out of that predicament. Finally, he shoved Chad away from him with so much force that he knocked the son of a bitch down on his ass.
“The hell is going on here?”
They’d all spoken at once, but it was Jared who moved first, pulling Chad to his feet before looking from one to the other in confusion. “What were you two doing?”
“Nothing,” Jensen said just as Chad mumbled, “Jensen had something in his eye.”
Jared’s furrowed brow cleared. “Oh.” He patted Chad’s shoulder and pulled Jensen up off the bed. “Let me take a look. Which eye?”
And suddenly Jared was in his space, closer than even Chad had gotten as he tipped Jensen’s face up and smiled down at him, rendering Jensen stupid and breathless. “I think Chad got it.”
“Both your eyes look a little red. You should take your contacts out and wear your glasses, man.”
Jared cupped Jensen’s face between his palms, his thumbs brushing across Jensen’s cheeks. “Welcome home.”
“Thanks,” Jensen replied, his voice barely a whisper when he wanted to scream at the top of his lungs. Yell and rail at Jared for treating him with kid gloves like he loved him when only a few moments ago, he had been kissing Genevieve.
“Momma baked you some of her famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.”
Jared leaned in until their foreheads touched. “How much longer before I get a hug?”
Jensen wanted to do a lot of things right then. He wanted to shove Jared off him. He wanted to tell him to fuck off back to Genevieve and get the hell out of his face. He wanted to pick up his already packed suitcase and leave, find his own place and dodge the inevitable heartache that staying would bring.
Coward that was, he did none of those things. Instead, he wound his arms around Jared’s neck and hugged him, relishing the warmth of his big body, as he and Chad looked at each other over Jared’s shoulder, a ghost of a smile on Chad’s mouth as he quietly left the room.
in front of all your friends?
would you mind if I got drunk and said
I wanna take you home to bed
or would you change your mind?
The rest of the night was spent…acting. Acting happy, acting normal, acting sane.
Chad stayed close to him all night, a sort of solid presence that Jensen was grateful for, especially once the guests started leaving. As the night wore on, he regressed into himself, ignoring the puzzled and concerned looks Jared, and even Tom, shot in his direction; Tom’s wife Jamie, Jim, Misha and his wife Vicki, didn’t really know him well enough to notice anything off, and Genevieve didn’t know him at all.
Jared was worried, Jensen could tell that much, but whatever concern he felt hadn’t been enough to pry him away from Genevieve’s side all night.
Jensen leaned into Chad while the others were having an animated conversation about something he couldn’t care less about. “Maybe I should give it a shot,” he whispered, surreptitiously eying the newly minted couple seated on the couch across from where he and Chad were sacked out on the floor together.
“Give what a shot?” Chad whispered back, and then looked in the direction of his gaze. “Make your move? Hell to the yeah!”
“No. Get some.”
“Get some what?” Chad considered him quizzically.
“Action. Ass. All of the above.”
Chad’s jaw dropped. “Do you do this just to be contrary and piss me off?”
“The hell are you talking about?”
“This.” Chad gesticulated ineffectually with his hands. “Just when I’m starting to understand where you’re coming from, now you want a random hook up?”
“And where do you think I’m coming from?” Jensen asked, mostly to humor him.
“I saw that. In the bedroom. The way you are with each other, it’s escalated. It’s not obvious when there’re other people around, but that…in the bedroom, man, that was intense,” Chad murmured so quietly that even Jensen had to strain to hear him. “So I get it, Meg Ryan. Why you want to wait for him. It’s okay.”
“It’s not okay,” Jensen huffed, ignoring the jibe. “It’s the opposite of okay. You’re right,” he spat quietly, his jaw clenching as he saw Genevieve’s small hand pat Jared’s thigh, “I need to get laid. I’m gonna do it.”
“No!” Chad yelled, and every head in the room snapped in their direction. He had the grace to look sheepish. “Er...Jensen’s trying to cut me off.” Goddamn, but the moron was good at ad-libbing. Then again, Jensen supposed, shooting Chad a tiny little smile, he wasn’t the one going crazy in love.
“Fine. One more beer, man, and you’re done,” Jensen said, playing his part, he and Chad smirking at each other.
“Maybe we should all call it a night,” Jim ventured, and Vicki quickly agreed, stifling a yawn.
“Well, your designated driver is good to go,” she said with a smile. “Does anyone need a ride?”
Jim beamed at her. “I’d love it if you dropped me off at the hotel.”
“Sure thing,” Vicki graciously replied, and then looked to Genevieve who was staying in the same hotel as Jim. “What about you, Gen?”
“I’m staying the night,” she replied with a smile, and Jensen’s world as he knew it came crashing down on his head.
It was only Chad’s arm suddenly, nonchalantly, slung around his shoulders that kept him from flying apart as everyone said their goodbyes and only Tom, Jamie, Genevieve and Chad stayed behind. Chad had come to Vancouver with Jared, so he had the spare bedroom, and Jensen offered Tom and Jamie his room as Jared led Genevieve upstairs.
How he held it together and made small talk with Tom until he got a change of clothes and an extra blanket and pillows from his closet, he would never know, but he was stupidly grateful to see Chad camped out on the couch waiting for him.
“I’m done,” Jensen declared, falling into the soft cushions and stretching out his legs on his end of the couch, the short end of the ‘L’; Jared’s end was, of course, the longer. He vaguely wondered if he would ever again be able to think of anything and not somehow link it back to Jared. “Can’t fight fate.”
“What are you gonna do?”
“I don’t know,” Jensen muttered, his head lolling back against the cushions in defeat. “Kinda new at this.”
“Want me to do some research?”
“You gonna make me another PowerPoint? How to Get a Guy in Gay Ways?” Chad sniggered, and it got Jensen going, until both of them were laughing, Jensen’s with a hysterical edge to it as they tried to muffle the sound.
“What the hell are you two doing?” Jared’s irate voice had them both guiltily snapping to attention, slowly putting some space between them from where they’d collapsed on each other in laughter.
“My bad, dude,” Chad apologized, “didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Wasn’t asleep yet,” Jared muttered, shaking his head. “Sorry to put you on the couch, Chad.”
“Huh?” It was funny, the way Jensen and Chad both said it in unison.
Jared huffed and rolled his eyes. “I didn’t think Genevieve would spend the night. I didn’t mean to kick you out of the guestroom.”
“Oh.” Again, Chad and Jensen spoke in tandem.
Jared pressed a finger to the furrow between his eyes as if a headache was forming right there. “Jensen, are you coming up soon?”
“What?” And really, his sudden synchrony with Chad was getting a little ridiculous.
Jared exhaled impatiently, blowing the bangs off his forehead. “Chad, go to sleep. Jensen, come to bed.” Orders given, he turned and disappeared up the stairs.
Jensen and Chad stared at each other for a good long minute. Jensen broke the silence. “Did I imagine that kiss?”
“I saw it, too.”
“So, why is she in the guestroom?”
“Color me confused.”
“You and me both, dude.”
Jensen huffed. “Now what do I do?”
“Go upstairs and make the most of the fact that you’re sharing a bed with him tonight,” Chad replied, and Jensen was thankful that the dim lighting hid his flushed face. Danni had been sworn to secrecy about his and Jared’s true sleeping arrangements, so Chad was in the dark about that. Thank God. “Molest him in his sleep or something.”
“You’re a class act, Murray,” Jensen drawled, rolling his eyes. “Goodnight.”
Chad smirked, looking way too pleased with himself. “Sweet dreams, Jensen. Cop a feel!”
but I'll stand if you want me to
my legs are strong and I'll move on
but honey, I'm weak in the knees
Jared was already in bed when he went upstairs, the lone light in the room coming from the lamp on the nightstand on Jensen’s side of the bed.
He was a step over the threshold when that thought gave him pause. His side of the bed.
“What’s the matter?” Jensen blinked at the soft sound of Jared’s voice.
“Nothing,” he replied, coming all the way inside and turning to shut the door. As he did so, his eyes grazed the closed door of the guest bedroom and he bit his lip, not quite knowing what to think.
“What’s up with you and Chad?” Jared asked guilelessly, and in the same breath, he said, “Don’t forget to take out your contacts.”
Jensen nodded; he would’ve forgotten without the reminder – a little too much on his mind, go figure. Tossing his contacts in the trash, he climbed into bed and turned off the light, staying as close to the edge as possible, his body turned away from Jared as usual as he surveyed the blank wall, picking out shapes in the shadows cast there by the moonlight streaming in through the window.
“Chad and I were just talking,” he said, what seemed like an eon later.
“About what?” Jared asked, the sheets rustling as he came closer. Jensen blinked, still confused. What the hell was going on? Why wasn’t Genevieve here instead of him, like that kiss and every look on her face had implied she would be? “It’s like, out of the blue, you two became best buds.”
“You and Chad.” Jared sounded grumpy.
“Oh. No. I just… We were just talking shit. It’s nothing.” Jensen stilled when he felt a tug on his t-shirt.
“Why are you so far away?” Jared asked, his voice sounding small and a little scared. “Come closer or you’ll fall off the bed before you wake up for once.”
“I don’t always fall outta bed in the mornings.”
“Nine times outta ten, Jen. That’s why I put that thick rug there, to cushion your fall.”
Jensen scooted back a little, stopped to think, gave up, and then scooted back some more, Jared’s words and the sentiment behind them warming him to his core. Really, how was he supposed to fight that? How was he supposed to defend himself against that sort of sneaky maneuver? How the hell was he supposed to live the rest of his life without Jared doing sweet, silly little things for him that made him feel like he was the most important person in Jared’s life?
How was he meant to move on and find this with someone else? Because right now, he was pretty damn certain he could search the world over and not find anyone who cared for him more than Jared did.
Jared flung a heavy arm over his waist and closed the miniscule gap between their bodies, and suddenly, Jensen was swamped in his scent and heat. “Missed you.”
“You enjoy Belize?”
“Yeah. I went diving.”
“You got certified? Cool.”
“Nah. They showed me a video. On VHS, no less. Then they took me out on a boat and that was it – strapped a tank on my back and went overboard. It was awesome. You need to come with me next time,” Jensen said, and then bit his lip. He really needed to stop making plans for the future with Jared; castles built in the sky tended to fall down to earth with alarming regularity.
Jared frowned, the downward turn of his mouth obvious against Jensen’s nape. “That doesn’t sound safe.”
“Probably wasn’t. But what the hell, it was fun and I’m still alive…”
“Shut up,” Jared growled in his ear, the arm he had around Jensen tightening like a vise. “What if you had gotten hurt, huh?”
“Would’ve welcomed the pain,” Jensen mumbled to himself, but Jared heard him and he shook him angrily.
“I don’t want you risking your life…”
The hell would you care? Jensen wanted to ask peevishly. He wanted to point out that Jared had Genevieve right now, a replacement waiting in the wings to take Jensen’s place and okay, maybe he was getting a bit maudlin. Cork it, Ackles.
“I was fine,” he said instead. “I am fine. Relax. Only the good die young.”
“You really need to shut up right now.”
“Or I’ll make you.”
“You wish, sasquatch.”
Jared sighed and kissed him in lieu of a comeback. Right there on that sensitive spot behind his ear that made him shiver. “I thought you’d bring Danneel up here with you.”
“She would’ve come but she got side-tracked.” By the guy on their flight who had asked her out, Jensen thought with a smirk.
“Oh. Okay.” Jared must have licked his lips or something because the next brush of his mouth across Jensen’s skin left a little moist streak in its wake.
Talking about the last leg of their vacation made him wonder though, and he couldn’t help but ask. “How was San Antone?”
“Good. Great,” Jared said, the smile back in place. “Genevieve said she had a pretty awesome time and my family really liked her. I mean, Momma was exchanging recipes with her and shit, so I guess she fit right in. It was nice. She’s nice. We should hang out with her more.”
Funny, that. How a few random words strung together in a simple sentence or two could do so much damage, could cause so much pain. There was so much tightness in his chest that, for a moment, he was half-afraid he was having a heart attack, but he supposed it could’ve been indigestion.
Fuck it. Sarcasm had always been his go-to defense mechanism, but it was doing jackshit for him now.
Jensen tuned Jared out as he spoke, talking about the rest of his holiday, and focused on the wall again, the shadows there mocking him as he recalled the words he had read in that book on the plane. He wondered if Genevieve had somehow gotten hold of a copy, because she seemed to be doing everything right when it came to Jared, and this time, Jensen had no idea how Jared felt about her.
Although that kiss he’d witnessed between them was admittedly a pretty good clue.
The shadows on the wall took on the silhouette of a couple kissing in his mind’s eye. Eyes screwed shut, mouths fused together, big hands tightly gripping a waist so small they could have spanned the circumference of it without much effort. It had been those three things his eyes had focused on when he saw them out on the deck. Then he’d had to look away.
Jensen blinked as the specter of a kiss faded from the wall in front of him, the shadows shapeless once again. He closed his eyes and willed himself to sleep, Jared’s soft breaths puffing against the back of his neck.
Right now, he was loath to give this up; time enough to move on in the morning.