Matt and Tom, 9th August 2010.
Matt Bomer stands in front of the newly unwrapped painting that’s just arrived. His arms are crossed, his horn-rimmed glasses dangling from a silver chain around his neck, his feet set apart and body weight pushed to the right one a little more than the left. So engrossed is he in studying the painting that he doesn’t hear a tall, dark man approach and wrap his arms around Matt from behind.
Matt relaxes into the warm embrace, letting the back of his head rest on the broad chest just as the man lowers his head to kiss Matt’s temple tenderly. Matt cranes upwards until his mouth becomes accessible. And they stay lip-locked for a while, forgetting the world and its worries for a short, heavenly minute.
Tom Welling loves to stare into Matt’s meridian blue eyes; he can do it for hours on end. Eyes that are as intriguingly unreadable as they are expressive, that change color with his state of mind. And when Matt smiles shyly, Tom grins right back before glancing up at the new artwork about to go up on the center wall of the E.Durance.
“So this is the one, huh?”
“Yep. Isn’t he beautiful?”
“He’s gorgeous. Not as gorgeous as you, of course, my love.”
“Mm, flattering indeed, thank you. Thou shalt get laid tonight for sure.”
They chuckle and kiss again before looking back at the painting. It is huge for one, seven feet wide and five feet tall, an exquisite contemporary charcoal-and-oil rendition of a subject clearly very close to the artist’s heart. The work’s already created waves while on display at a charity exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art, and caused quite the stir in the critics’ community too. The New York Times calls it “Sublimely evocative” and “Striking two curiously entwined chords of empathy and desire to the point that you just can’t quit staring at it.” The Interview, rather lacking in originality as always, claims it is “Wickedly innocent or innocently wicked. Either way, a true contemporary masterpiece.”
“I wasn’t sure we were gonna get it.”
Business has been slow, thanks to the recession. So for the E.Durance to get a hold of the hottest painting of the year is an immense achievement.
“Jensen wouldn’t have given it to any other gallery for the world,” Matt rebuts just as he beams with pride. Pride for his rekindled friendship with Jensen, pride for finally owning this tour-de-force that’d been three years in the making.
“Look at the details on this thing. Remarkable.” Tom whispers with his art collector hat on. Everything from the elaborate Manhattan skyline to the tiniest of moles by the side of the smooth straight nose… no wonder it took Jensen so long to get it done.
“What’s he calling it?”
“The folie à deux.”
“Psychotic disorder shared by two? Fits.”
“Now, Tom. You promised.” Matt cranes his neck backwards to give Tom a mock-scathing look.
“Fine. Unsuitable romance, then. Still fits.”
“Smartass,” Matt lightly elbows his business partner and best friend in the chest, who by the way had also been secretly in love with Matt for awhile. Tom just never realized it himself. Until one night when, once it became clear Jensen was not going to return, Matt decided to get completely shit-faced.
He relied entirely on Tom to take care of him both during and afterwards, and Tom did. He was gentle and kind, and protective, and passionate. Four days later, he screwed up the courage to confess his feelings, first to Matt and then to his beloved wife, Erica, who surprisingly took it much (much) better than anyone could have possibly expected.
“Finally!” She’d exclaimed, jumping out of the chair to throw her arms around her gob-smacked husband. “I thought you two were never going to figure it out.”
How she’d known, when even the two of them didn’t, was beyond Matt. Nor did he understand how it soon progressed from two distinct sets of couples to one single threesome and before he knew it, he was the object of not one but two lovers’ affections every night.
Matt suddenly laughs. “Do you remember Jensen’s face when we told him about us?”
Tom snorts into the crook of Matt’s neck. “He was so shocked he couldn’t say a word the rest of the evening. What did he say, finally, just before we left?”
Matt deepens his voice to try and mimic Jensen’s baritone. “Sonofabitch, only in Chelsea.”
They share another laugh, before Matt turns within Tom’s arms. They automatically fall into a slow waltz, high on the gallery’s beautiful ambient soundtrack by Susumu Yokota. Tom wraps both arms around the other man and leads easily.
“So they’re really moving to Paris, huh?”
“The French do love their art, even in this economy. Jensen must have broken it to his folks today. Hope they’re not too disappointed he’s going back.”
Tom raises an eyebrow. “The Ackles’ are alright with all the… gayness right?”
Matt waves it off lightly, “Oh, absolutely. It’s the other side that’s the problem.”
“Hmm, didn’t Jared’s mom separate from that asshole second husband of hers? Maybe with that guy out of the picture, they can start to mend some fences.”
Matt shrugs. “Don’t know how one goes about forgiving their own mother for giving up on them. Guess that’s for Jared to decide if he wants a relationship with her or not.” He makes a mental note to call his own mom tonight and thank her, for everything.
Tom presses another kiss into the top of Matt’s head, rocking him from side to side. He’s having a little trouble taking his eyes away from the painting, but he’d die before admitting as much to Ackles.
“What about Jared’s dad?”
“Still in Zurich, happily re-married. They talk, now and then, I think.”
“You know what, if I were in his place, I’d just say ‘the hell with you and your fucking incompetence as parents’ and never look back again. He’s got Jensen now.”
Matt sends his boyfriend a squinty-eyed look. “Look at you, former card-carrying member of the ‘We hate Jensen that ginormous asshole’ club!?!”
Tom rolls his eyes. “President, and okay, I know he’s a changed man. Nobody’s perfect, obviously. We’re all flawed one way or another. But seems to me, Jared brings out the best in him, somehow.”
“Well, obviously. He got a Christmas tree for Chrissake! He’s never done that before, not with me, not until Jared asked for it.”
Tom kisses the side of Matt’s face, almost as if to soothe the hurt he senses in Matt’s words, but it doesn’t matter anymore. The way things have turned out for Tom and Matt and Erica, their only regret is all the time they could’ve had together if they’d realized their feelings sooner.
“And what’s this I hear about him quitting smoking too?”
“Yeah, that’s what the kid wanted for his birthday. They both quit together.”
“Wow, who is this Jensen, really?”
Matt smirks again, knowing what it’s taken for Tom to admit that he actually doesn’t hate Jensen so much anymore. He suspects his hatred was subconsciously driven more by jealousy than anything else, but he knows better than to voice it and incur the famous Welling wrath. Unless he wanted to incur it of course, preferably on his bare ass, across Welling’s lap, surrounded by a hundred rose-scented candles…
“Mattie,” Tom drawls, reading the tell-tale signs of his lover’s body that he’s so intimately familiar with. “Please tell me it’s not all this Jensen-talk that’s turning you on?”
Matt glares up at him once, before melting right back into his arms. “What makes you think it’s not this painting we’ve been gawking at for the last ten minutes?”
Tom raises an eyebrow, “Hm, think the kid could be interested in a foursome?”
Matt jabs his bony fist into Tom’s ribs, hard.
“Ow, I’m kidding!” Tom kisses the annoyance off the adorably pouting lips, even if they both know it’s just pretense.
“We should lock up,” Matt sighs reluctantly, after the kiss lasts longer and gets more intense than they plan it to be.
Tom lets him go with even less enthusiasm, and Matt goes to his desk at one end of the gallery to retrieve his satchel.
“You know I’m glad that you’ve re-connected with Jensen and all, now that I see, and believe Jared to be a truly reformed kid. But, I still wonder…”
“Why was he hanging with petty criminals if he was so traumatized by his first prison experience? Didn’t he realize that a life of crime would someday inevitably lead him right back to jail?”
Matt frowns as he reaches his desk. “Maybe it was his way to get even, like a screw-you to the justice system that let him down so badly?”
“Maybe,” Tom puts his hands in his slacks’ pockets, still looking at the painting. “Maybe he was bordering on suicidal all this time, just hiding it under a tough-guy routine.”
Matt doesn’t know what to say. He slings his bag across one shoulder and walks back up to Tom, who apparently isn’t done wondering yet.
“Do you think he really would’ve done it?”
Matt gazes up at the painting. Jared's eyes, like little charcoal-edged pools of liquid resilience, on the verge of revealing a thousand secrets… they’d been frighteningly vacant that day. “I don’t know. Guess everyone has a breaking point. Maybe his was then.”
He can’t help but think back to that fateful December morning last year, when Jensen brought Jared home from the precinct. He remembered how broken the boy’s spirit had been, and how he’d unintentionally pulled the trigger with the Colt still aimed at his jugular.
Luckily for everyone, the trigger went off, but the gun didn’t. It was empty.
Matt sniggers recalling how Tom had valiantly pushed Matt behind himself, only to realize the gun wasn’t loaded and practically bent over, folding himself in two with relief. He also remembers vividly how stunned and lost Jared looked, how Jensen had calmly walked up to him… and whacked him upside his head.
“I never bought any bullets, you moron,” he’d muttered desperately. “Who’s the stupid Southerner now, huh?”
Jared’s knees had given out then and he buckled to the floor. Jensen followed right after, holding the kid tightly to himself, comforting him every which way possible as Jared finally, finally, let go of the storm he’d been holding at bay behind his hazel eyes.
Matt and Tom slipped out soon after, still not entirely convinced that Jensen hadn’t gone off his rocker but mildly assured by Jared’s complete illiteracy when it came to guns. Of course things have changed a lot since then.
Meanwhile, Erica made the whole legal hassle go away, although admittedly she herself had very little to do with it. She suspects there was someone else pulling the strings in the background (illegally), someone who got to Ellen Geer who suddenly was no longer sure of the ‘face she could never forget’. The press got completely cock-blocked too, as if someone really didn't want Tristan Winslow to make any kind of headlines whatsoever. And that’s not exactly easy to pull off.
But she helped, without asking too many uncomfortable questions. And that allowed the boys to pick up the pieces and build themselves a whole new life, a better one, without the agonizing undercurrents of guilt or distrust. They know how Jared spaces out sometimes, even today. But they also see how hard Jensen works to ensure Jared never veers as close to the abyss as he did that day.
Tom puts an arm around Matt, breathes in the sweet fragrance of his short hair deeply. “Come on, time to go home. Erica wants to double-cuddle you tonight.”
Blushing lightly, Matt nestles against Tom, his slighter frame disappearing within the larger expanse of his lover’s. Tom slides one hand down to cup his bottom and Matt mewls. “God, one of these days, you two will crush me to death with your double-cuddles.”
“Stop bitchin’, you know we’re both so madly in love with you, baby. Psychotic disorder shared by two, and all that.”
Matt laughs and lets Tom lead him out the E.Durance. They turn off the music and all the lights behind them, casting into darkness acclaimed works of eighty-two renowned contemporary artists. But they leave a single strobe light on, softly illuminating the gallery centerpiece: The “folie à deux” by Jensen R. Ackles.
*** THE END ***
A/N: Do let me know what you think?