Previous chapters: One | Two | Three
Chapter Four …
The third time happened two nights later. Even Luke was surprised by how frequently it’d been happening of late.
“He must be under a lot of stress lately,” was all he could offer by way of explanation.
Okay, so, curiosity got the best of Jess and he ended up doing some research of his own.
Apparently, Forester had gotten into State university, but after one and a half years, he’d had to take a break because his dad left. Just up and left one fine day, no explanation, nothing. No one even saw it coming. He also made a bunch of bank withdrawals draining years and years of the family’s savings and left behind a giant mortgage on the house to pay back. It was bad enough that Dean figured he couldn’t afford his college tuition any longer. So he took a break and came home, to support and take care of his mom and sister – be the man of the house.
Not to mention the very bitter and very messy divorce from his wife, Lindsay something, that he was still paying monthly for.
Dean worked three jobs – his old one at the grocery store, a new one at a local construction company, and another at a landscaping firm. All physically strenuous jobs that should exhaust him so completely and utterly that he’d sleep like the freaking dead. Except, he didn’t.
Sleepwalking is more commonly experienced in people with high levels of stress, anxiety or psychological factors and in people with genetic factors (family history), or sometimes a combination of both.
That’s what Wiki had to say about it. And as per Luke’s conversations with Dean’s mom, the Foresters didn’t know of anyone else in the family tree with this particular disorder.
Jess tried hard to ignore the pangs of guilt throttling his guts. Surely his visit to Stars Hollow and his blatant attempts to rile the guy up had nothing to do with this elevated level of stress? Technically, if Jess was the reason, Dean should not still be sleepwalking to where Jess was, should he?
Apparently somnambulists didn’t have any conscious awareness of what they were doing while they sleepwalked. Maybe it was just force of habit. Sleepwalker-Dean probably had no idea that Jess even existed, or was in Stars Hollow, let alone in that room he’d taken such a shining to.
And that sort of… stung. It shouldn’t. But it did.
The third time, Jess had stubbornly held on to the bed and again Luke had made Dean lie down on the futon. But once again, five minutes later, he’d sleepwalked back out of that bed and into Jess’, displacing the other boy again. Jess had cursed under his breath, seeing how there was nothing much else to do anyway, and collapsed onto the futon with a muted thud.
The fourth time though, which happened the very next night, Jess decided he wasn’t going to give in so easily. Enough was enough. This time, he wasn’t going to so much as move.
He waited for Luke to switch off the lights and leave. And he stayed on his side, looking at Dean’s sleeping (or not) form on the floor, so peaceful and still, like a statue. Just under five minutes later, the body rose. His movements were robotic and seamless, no fumbling, no clumsiness, like he knew exactly what to do.
Jess swallowed and waited, and then just as Dean approached the bed, conveniently forgetting his resolution, Jess slid over to make space for the other boy in his bed.
He didn’t quite understand why he was doing this. All he could fathom of his own scrambled thoughts was this… dimly lit realization that, he didn’t actually mind lying so close to Dean after all.
He really didn’t.
Dean lay himself down, flat on his back on the bed and promptly closed his eyes. He had no idea he was sharing it with someone, a guy, and that made Jess smirk. It was probably something else he could use to make the boy’s life miserable the following morning, just to see his long nostrils do the sexy flaring thing again.
Sexy? Jess pretended he didn’t just think that.
Confused, conflicted, and kind of furious (with himself, with Dean, with the whole damn universe) but not sure what to do about it… Jess just propped himself up on one elbow and watched the other man sleep. He knew he’d have to get out and take the futon eventually. But for now, there was something about a serene Dean that kept him enthralled enough to stay just a few more minutes.
“Dean…” he whispered, softly, expecting no response and getting none. He just liked the way the name rolled off his tongue.
It was Friday, the morning after, and Jess was having a beautiful dream.
He was lying in a hammock, somewhere on a beach in Hawaii. The sun was bright and high but not harsh, warming the cold, clammy skin of his naked chest and arms. He wore a pair of grey cargos snipped at the knees, and brown aviator shades covering his eyes but nothing else. He lay on his back, his head cushioned in his own entwined hands, and his ankles were crossed at the other end of the hammock.
A cool breeze swayed him gently from side to side, and Jess felt so utterly relaxed, like he had nothing to worry about, nothing at all. The business was doing great, he trusted Dillon with his life, he’d finally found a purpose and a way to keep himself comfortably in books, booze and the company of good friends who seemed to like him well enough. Luke seemed to have forgiven him, and his mom didn’t need him anymore, nor he her. There was no girl trouble, or boy trouble for that matter - not anymore.
Semi-conscious as he was, Jess knew his face was split into a wide smile, even in his sleep. It couldn’t possibly get any better than this, could it?
Jess sighed deeply, and only then did he realize he wasn’t alone on the hammock in this island of paradise. A long, elegant body was curled up beside him, facing away from him.
Awareness crept up on him slowly, of certain parts of that body in warm, electrifying contact with certain other parts of his. Like the soles of two feet planted carelessly against Jess’ shins, a head full of floral smelling, silken hair nestled in the crook of Jess’ arm, his own hand resting languorously in the dip of a narrow waist, and a slim but curvaceous butt pressed right up and wiggling sexily against his rock hard…
Jess’ eyes snapped open with a jolt.
“Oh fuck, oh fuck! Oh fuck!!”
Weirdly enough he stuck to whispering because he still didn’t want to wake the other guy up, and just as quietly he cursed himself for falling asleep before getting off this stupid bed. His first instinct was to bolt out now (too fucking late) and put as much distance as he could between himself and Forester. For God’s sakes, Forester!!
But moving would require getting his arm out from under Forester’s head and that would definitely wake him up. At least the awkwardness of the situation was inflicted only on him, for now. Maybe Dean would shift away on his own in some time? So long as no one else, including Forester, saw the two of them like this, Jess could always push it under the carpet and deny it ever happened. Brilliant plan, right.
Dean wiggled again, and Jess gasped as soundlessly as he could. He held his breath and his mouth stayed tautly open for what felt like hours until his jaw started to ache. Forester seemed to be pushing his ass into Jess’ groin, making space for himself in between Jess’ legs with absolute wantonness.
“Don’t do that, Dean, ah, God… fuck!!” Jess pled silently, his eyes rolling back into his head at the sudden waves of pleasure coursing through him, still unable to move even an inch.
Of course this wasn’t the first time Jess found himself getting so hopelessly turned on by a guy. He‘d in fact, spent a good time in the last few months exploring this new side of him. He wasn’t averse to being gay in any way. Jess just figured he was one of those fortunate ones who got to swing both ways. No big deal.
What he couldn’t quite deal with yet was – the fact that this was a guy he didn’t even like, heck, had hated for years and years. This was Dean Forester.
And Dean Forester was fast asleep. Unaware of his own actions. And in a manner of speaking, this could easily be seen as Jess taking advantage. He winced pathetically, and started to slide out as slowly and gently as he could from under Dean’s head. And that’s precisely when (or why) the other man decided to wake up.
Jess stilled. Dean stirred.
The taller boy sighed, rubbing his face languidly against the elbow he was resting it on. An elbow that, he belatedly realized, did not belong to him.
Jess knew the exact second in which Dean realized what he was doing and where he was. The entire length of his body from head to toe froze. He wondered if Dean was doing what he’d done when he first woke up – taking inventory of every single part of his body in contact with a warm, living body part behind him. Parts that, if Dean was recognizing his surroundings correctly, could only belong to a certain dark haired ex-teen rebel, construction worker who went by the name of Jess Mariano.
And when Dean gasped, it was anything but soundless.
He jumped straight out of bed and turned, his face once again twisted into a terrible expression of shock and embarrassment. His chest heaved with outright panic and his fists were shaking at his sides, actually all of his was shaking pretty visibly at this point.
Jess gulped hard and slowly sat up in bed, praying his pants wouldn’t give his stiffness away . “Forester…”
Dean winced at the sound of his voice, but he didn’t respond. Maybe he wasn’t capable of it yet.
“It’s not as bad as you think.”
And that, for some reason, made Dean find his voice – the annoying accusatory one that always blamed Jess for everything. “What the hell were you doing?”
Jess sat up straighter. “Me? I wasn’t doing anything! You’re the one who – ”
“You were molesting me in my sleep, you sick bastard! What are you, a Manhattan fairy now?”
Jess’ face turned red. “Watch it, Forester.”
“Why are you in this bed at all?”
“I could ask you the same question.”
Dean wheezed harder. “I… this… I – you were supposed to take the floor!”
“Yeah well, this is my bed. Why do you get to throw me out of it every night just because you’re a sleepwalking freak?”
And he should have stopped while he was ahead. Except Jess never really learnt how to do that.
He watched and kicked himself mentally as Dean’s face crumbled before him a second time in two days, the almond shaped eyes filled rapidly with tears that made Jess feel all of two inches tall. Shit.
Jess got out of bed and stood up. “Look, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to – “
Forester didn’t wait to hear the rest of his apology. He turned on his heels, bare as last night, and ran as fast as he could.
“Dean, wait. Dean!”
The tall man flew out of the diner just as Luke came striding out of his bedroom to see what the commotion was all about. “What happened?”
Jess just swallowed tightly, standing at his door with his arms crossed, hoping he didn’t look too guilty. Luke’s expression of question melted into one of realization, and he shook his head and sighed.
“Why couldn’t you just pretend to be asleep when he woke up?”
Jess grimaced, yeah. Hindsight’s twenty-twenty alright.