Jensen, 7th November 2009.
Jensen worked for three hours, pretty much non-stop, pausing once in a while to flex his drawing hand. Months of physical therapy had restored his broken bones but the deftness of his fingers wasn’t quite what it used to be. At eight in the evening, no longer able to remain heartless to Jared lying in the same position on the floor all this time, Jensen decided to take a break.
Dinner was a quick and light affair. Jensen heated up some leftover lasagna and tossed a great salad to go with it. They complemented the meal with a couple of Coronas, followed by a cigarette out on the terrace. All that time, Jared stayed dressed in the bathrobe because his clothes were still in the dryer.
And they barely said a word to each other.
Silence never did bother Jensen. He’d never been much of a talker to begin with. He felt no need to opine, to be heard, or be proven right, no inclination to expend energy expressing thoughts or emotions he would much rather save for his canvas. In a group, he was most comfortable just kicking back and listening, sometimes not even that, and zoning out instead, lulled by nothing more than the sounds of a loved one breathing beside him.
So yeah, Jared was, in fact, ideal company far as he was concerned – quiet, undemanding, unassuming, but here. Still here.
After dinner, they went to the studio and Jared disrobed and lay back down again. Two hours later, Jensen had discarded a couple of rough starts and was on his third attempt. Something about Jared… nothing he drew, no matter how he approached it, nothing seemed to match up to the intriguing 'unusualness' of Jared. Those awkward, somewhat crooked lines of Jared’s body, like he hadn’t stopped growing, just momentarily stunted by scars of violence and malnutrition… they were possibly the second hardest thing Jensen had ever had to capture in paint.
The first were those damn eyes.
Meanwhile, Jared lay perfectly still, not fidgeting, not complaining, only blinking now and then or surreptitiously licking his parched lips.
“You need a break?”
“Guess you’re used to it, huh?”
“Used to what?”
“Staying still, not moving, like you’ve done all month.” Outside my apartment in the freezing cold.
Jared didn’t respond, just rubbed his cheek pressed into the floor back and forth against the wooden surface. Jensen stood up and wiping his hands off on a rag, he stalked off to the kitchen to get himself a Perrier. He figured Jared would make use of the reprieve as he saw fit in the mean time. But when he got back he found Jared in exactly the same position that he’d left him in.
“Sonofa…” he hissed and went to Jared. “Get up.”
Jared looked like he wanted to roll his eyes, like he might just be starting to get sick of being ordered around. But he seemed to suppress the urge instantly and got himself into a kneeling position.
He was kneeling, naked, right in front of a standing Jensen.
Jensen cursed under his breath.
He held the bottle of slightly sparkling water out to Jared’s lips, and the boy craned upwards ever so slightly to reach it. He drank deeply, long eyelashes falling shut as his Adam’s apple bobbed up and down. When he was done, he withdrew a little, allowing Jensen to pull the bottle back and take a gulp himself. Jared’s lips were red, glistening with the moisture, and droplets of water started to trickle down one side of his mouth down to his neck. Jensen reflexively reached out for it, noticing Jared wasn’t flinching from his touch anymore, catching a stray drop on the tip of his index finger, and rubbing it back into and across the soft lips. Lips that automatically fell open under his ministrations.
That was the moment he looked into Jared’s eyes, and saw the same heat and longing he’d seen in there once before. Part of him was almost angered to see it – did Jared really think it would be that easy? That he could just waltz in here and pick up where they left off after everything he did?
He grabbed the boy’s hair with one hand and kissed him then, furiously, falling to his knees in front of Jared and holding his head with both hands, immobilizing him as he plundered the offered mouth. He was still surprised when Jared’s hands came up to rest on his shoulders, pulling the older man closer to himself.
“Is this what you came for?” Jensen demanded, not kindly at all.
Jared just dove back into the kiss, avoiding a response or maybe the kiss was his response. Jensen slid his hands down Jared’s back to his narrow waist and finally his butt, cupping and squeezing the cheeks with one hand each. Jared kept clawing at the artist’s shoulders, neck, and stubbled face. And then he boldly grabbed Jensen by the back of his head and pulled him deeper into the kiss.
The apartment melted away around them. All that seemed to be left in its place was decades of suppressed desperation bursting to the fore. And along with it came lust, scorching hot, unbounded, unbelievably limitless.
One thing led to another and soon Jensen was pushing Jared backwards, forcing him on his back on the floor. Jensen continued to suck on Jared’s tongue like his life depended on it while Jared spread his legs and allowed Jensen in between them. One hand traveled downwards to the quivering navel, circling it, making Jared shudder into the kiss. Jensen pushed his fingers downwards, into the peach fuzz left behind on his groin after two runs of the razor. Blatantly ignoring the rapidly stiffening erection and the tightening balls, the fingers crept down further seeking the orifice underneath. Jared pulled out of the kiss and gasped.
“You’re so tight,” Jensen murmured, as he forced one finger through after a bit of a struggle. “This… is this… are you a…?”
“No,” Jared blushed as he confessed his lack of virginity. “Just out of pra-practice.”
Jensen stood up, pretending not to notice the sudden falling of Jared’s face at his actions. “Be right back.”
And he started walking before his resolve broke. It’d be a kind of revenge to take Jared dry, make him bleed and feel but a small fraction of the physical hurt and pain Jensen had suffered. But Jensen couldn’t bring himself to do that, he just couldn’t.
That didn’t mean he didn’t still feel vindictive.
He stopped at the door and turned around. And then he started walking back. “Stand up.”
Jared, who was still panting, got up slowly without argument. He didn’t utter a word as Jensen took his arm and went willingly as Jensen pulled him towards the mahogany desk that stood in a corner. If Jared knew what was about to come next, he didn’t let it show. Jensen pushed him down, bending his long body across a long edge of the table, kept a hand pressed into the middle of the model’s back and waited.
Jared turned away, refusing to look at Jensen. But apart from that, he gave no other reaction.
Good. “Stay,” Jensen grunted.
A couple minutes later, Jensen returned with lube and condoms, once again to find Jared in the same humiliating position he’d left him in – prostrate over the desk. It gave him a sense of sadistic satisfaction even as he chided himself for being a total jerk. He decided to compensate for it by thoroughly preparing him instead. Jensen lifted a giant dollop of the water-based lube with two neatly manicured fingers and spread open the pale ass cheeks with the other hand.
Jared barely stirred at the first sensations, the cold finger pushing through the very tight ring of muscle. But his composure didn’t last too long.
“So you do know how to fidget.” Jensen snorted, when Jared started to whimper and wiggle around the fingers impatiently, first two, then three, inside his ass.
“Just hurry, please…”
Jensen continued to take his time, and not just because the orifice was super-tight. Jared grunted and writhed and reached out to palm his own aching hard-on, but Jensen batted his hand away. He wasn’t sure who he was teasing and torturing more, Jared or himself. And when he couldn’t take it anymore, he undid his jeans and pulled himself out, pumping the shaft with a lubed hand until he was weeping pre-cum. Soon after rolling up a condom he sank into Jared, moving slowly at first, then thrusting all the way through until he was seated deeply within the slender ass.
“Ahh,” Jared moaned, banging his forehead into the desk, expressing his helplessness while his impaler continued to stand frustratingly still behind him. It pleased Jensen considerably.
“God, I’ve wanted to do this for so long,” he muttered, not really intending to say it out loud but the harm was done. Jared stilled, but did not comment. And then Jensen started to move.
He pounded Jared’s ass at a fast and rough pace, in no mood to take it slow or leisurely. What he needed was release, frantic and right-the-hell-now. Jared, to his credit, moved well, pushing back against Jensen’s forward thrusts to take him in deeper and tighter every time. He also rotated his hips ever so slightly in an effort to get his own sweet spot grazed every now and then, as if he expected Jensen to not give a damn anyway. Jensen bit his lip, decided to not be so selfish after all.
He angled every third or so thrust right into Jared’s prostate gland, making him shake and whimper with insanely intense, pleasure-ridden agony. He also took Jared’s shaft in hand and fisted it to the rhythm of his own thrusts. They came together, almost, Jensen teasing the climax out of Jared with a fingertip pressed into the cock’s tip, Jared in turn convulsing around Jensen, pushing him over the edge.
It was erratic and dirty and almost cathartic in its crudeness, and it was over all too soon. For the few minutes that followed, Jared stayed slumped over the table, and Jensen threw his head back with his mouth open, drawing rapid breaths, his heart pumping away like that of a racehorse.
“Your desk…” Jared whispered.
Jensen couldn’t care less, but that’s not what he said. “You will clean it up, obviously.”
When Jensen pulled out and re-dressed himself, Jared straightened up and turned around, lube trickling down the insides of his thighs uncomfortably. He pressed them together, watching dazedly as Jensen got rid of the evidence. His face was flushed and his eyes were wild, both with pleasure and some kind of anxiety. Night had fallen outside, the soft hum of traffic eighteen floors below now completely mute.
“Are you going to throw me out?”
Jensen started. How long did he think he’d invited Jared up for exactly?
“My painting’s not done yet.”
He turned away, not ready to face Jared’s questioning glances yet. Instead he went to his couch beside the easel and pulled it open to turn it into a bed. He used to use it often, once upon a time, just to rest his eyes for awhile in the middle of working on one of his paintings. Jared could sleep here for now, he figured.
“Can I sleep in your room?”
Jensen snorted. “You’re kidding me right?”
“That way you can do me again, if you want.”
Jensen just frowned, thoroughly confused.
Jared took a step closer. “You can fuck me all night.”
It was the deadpan voice and the completely straight face that threw Jensen off. It didn’t sound like Jared wanted to be fucked all night, no. Jensen spotted a disturbing hint of desperation in Jared’s eyes that promptly turned him away.
“Yeah, well, thanks but no thanks.”
He pulled out a comforter from the nearest cabinet and flung it carelessly over the makeshift bed. He also found a spare t-shirt and boxers (also splattered with paint) in the same cabinet, which he placed on one corner of the bed for Jared.
“I don’t want to be worried about getting strangled or stabbed to death in my sleep. So I will be locking my door too. Just so you know.”
Jared swallowed, his eyes calm and resigned once again. Not outraged, not shocked, just blank.
“And there is nothing valuable in this house, except for the electronics in the living room, I guess. Take ‘em and leave if you want, just keep it down. I get cranky if I don’t get my eight hours of sleep.”
He didn’t turn to look at Jared’s reaction. Nothing was going to ruin this moment of poetic justice for him, especially not that haunted look on Jared’s face that Jensen was sure could undo him completely.
And he walked away, leaving Jared still standing by the mahogany desk, still naked.
Jensen, 8th November, 2009.
Well after midnight, sleep continued to evade Jensen. He tossed and turned, flipped his pillow over again and again, threw away the blankets and comforters, took a long hot shower.
His mind was a mess of conflicting emotions – guilt with vengeful satisfaction, giddiness with nervousness, relief with trepidation. He wondered if he was going to find out this night or next morning what a colossal mistake he’d made inviting an apparently homeless, probably (or maybe not) retired con into his home, again. He reached out with one hand to check the .45 in the top shelf of his bedside drawer. The one he bought soon after he’d gotten back up on his feet again after the assault. For protection, of course. Back in Texas, he’d practically grown up around guns. Everyone in the extended Ackles family had trained to shoot at one point or another in their lives.
Jensen prayed he wouldn’t need to use the damn thing, especially not against Jared.
He finally managed to drift away around three and got about four hours of sleep. The next morning he unlocked his door and cautiously stepped out of his room, already showered and dressed in a pair of black-and-gray sweats to get another (hopefully) productive day started. The living room looked exactly as it did the night before. Nothing was missing. He tiptoed his way to the kitchen, counting the knives in their holder, relieved to find none missing. Then he looked back at his entertainment center – the Bose speakers were by far the most expensive investment he’d made, and they were still there.
Jensen craned his neck this way and that, ears pricked and ready to pick up any untoward noises that didn’t belong in the apartment. Once he was satisfied that everything was in place, he trudged barefoot, quietly, into the studio, wondering if he was going to find the homeless boy home or not.
Home? What the hell made him think that?
His rambling thoughts came to a halt when he found the bed empty... and Jared sleeping on the hardwood floor beside it. Oh well. At least he used the comforter. Jensen felt ridiculously pleased and told his thumping heart to can it already. Quietly, he closed the door behind him and headed to the kitchen to put on the coffee.
Twenty minutes later Jared came out, dressed in the clothes Jensen loaned him the night before, head full of sleep-mussed hair, wobbling on a pair of still shaky legs.
Jared nodded and came around to sit at the kitchen counter, continuing to rub his eyes open in that atrociously adorable way. Jensen looked away, shaking the insanely strong urge to smile.
“Why did you sleep on the floor?”
Jared shrugged. “Not used to soft surfaces, I guess.”
Jensen bit his lip. He poured out two mugs of black coffee, slid one towards Jared along with the jars of cream and sugar. Jared ignored the cream but picked out four cubes of sugar and dropped it into his coffee. Jensen licked his lips, not wanting to know what that tasted like.
“So how did you know I was back in town?”
Jared took a sip of his coffee first. “It was in the Chelsea Art.”
“The journal?” Somehow Jensen found it hard to imagine a homeless man shelling out money to buy an art magazine, until he remembered circulation was free in the tri-state area. Maybe Jared really was keeping tabs on Jensen’s whereabouts all this time?
“Paper keeps you warm.”
“Okay. What’s with the hobo gig these days?”
Jared shrugged again, but he didn’t reply.
“Seriously, what are you doing out there on the streets, Tris… Jared?”
“Would you prefer I was still breaking and entering instead?”
Jensen glared at Jared, who just glared right back.
“Did you go to school?”
“Everyone goes to school,” Jared took a loud slurpy gulp of his coffee, avoiding eye contact.
“Did you finish high school?”
Jensen didn’t need a response. He just leaned against the counter, studying the lowered head beside him. “There are jobs you could do, you know. It’s New York for Christ’s sake.”
“I suppose you’re not going to tell me why you dropped out of school. And what you were doing hanging out with those punks?”
Jared looked up, eyes wide with curiosity. “What makes you think I wasn’t one of them?”
Because I know, Jensen thought instinctively. But I’ve been wrong before.
He didn’t respond, just continued to sip at his coffee.
Jared sighed, slumping forward onto the counter. “I-I followed a guy.”
Jensen snorted, Jared glared, but he carried on. “From San Antonio. His name was Chad Murray, and he was… cute, and dangerous, and wild… not a nice guy at all, really.” Jared drawled disdainfully before looking back down into his lap.
Jensen couldn’t believe the rush of empathy that surged through him at those words. Guess they were both victims of their own iniquitous love interests.
“You loved this guy?”
“I thought I did.”
“Let me guess, the guy takes off, leaving you behind with nothing but a bunch of hooligans for homies?”
“Something like that.”
‘Why didn’t you go back home?”
Jared still wouldn’t look up. “Too proud, I guess.”
“You ever try getting a real job? Or was the lure of a glamorous life of crime too tempting to resist?”
Jared shrugged again, but didn’t comment, which was answer enough. The abrupt silence made Jensen realize they needed a new topic of conversation, if one at all. He finished his coffee and started toward his room.
“Do you want to get out for a bit?”
“Are you throwing me out?”
Jensen halted mid-step. Funny that Jared kept asking him that, while the thought hadn’t yet occurred to Jensen once.
“I was thinking more on the lines of a Sunday brunch. Unless you want to stay in? I vote out.”
“Uh, okay. Can I use the shower?”
“Sure. And the bath too.”
Jared frowned. “I don’t need another bath.”
Jensen looked him up and down and smirked, sniffling disapprovingly. “Yes, you do.”
It was the longest conversation Jensen had had in ages. He pretended to himself it was no big deal.
After Jared came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist, he found Jensen waiting in the bedroom for him. Jensen handed the younger man his newly washed jeans, battered and torn as they were, but cleaner. He scratched the back of his head.
“Uh, the rest…”
Jared’s mouth fell open.
“Sorry, they didn’t make it through the second rinse cycle.”
Jared’s face turned to stone but his eyes were tearing up already.
Jensen panicked. “Hey, it’s cool, alright? Here, take some of my clothes.” Jensen led Jared to his closet and threw it open. “Whatever you need.”
Good thing the jeans survived because no way in hell would any of Jensen’s own pants fit him.
“Take whatever shirts or cardigans you need, oh and here’s a jacket that I think will look good on you.”
Jared still looked seriously upset. Jensen could only imagine how long he’d been wearing those clothes to have grown so hopelessly attached to them. He felt sorry for Jared, even though he was trying very hard not to show it. Or feel it even.
“Guess I owe you a bunch of clothes. Let’s go shopping, how about that? Huh?”
Jared stared at him for a few seconds then just crossed his arms and looked sheepish. “You don’t have to do that.”
“It’s no problem,” Jensen cleared his throat. “I’ll adjust it against the money I owe you for modeling for me. Cool?”
Jared shrugged which Jensen took to mean affirmative in this case. He handed Jared a thick blue and white flannel shirt along with a white full-sleeved undershirt. He also took out a jacket, the smallest size he owned that no longer fit, and placed it on the bed.
“Uh, you can get dressed here. I’ll… uh… yeah.”
Jensen quickly stepped out, feeling stupid and like an outsider in his own bedroom.
Breakfast was at a quaint little place called Sarabeth’s Bakery in Chelsea market. It took about ten minutes to walk down to it, and throughout Jared fidgeted, eyes darting this way and that, as he walked two steps behind Jensen at all times. If Jensen thought he’d be fine once they got inside the café, he was dead wrong. Slumped in his chair as low as he could go, Jared seemed even more self-conscious, looking thinner and paler than ever in the over-sized clothes he wore.
“Relax,” he tried when Jared wouldn’t stop jiggling his knees under the table. “No one’s looking at you.”
Jared gave him a look that said, ‘yes they are’, and put his hands on his knees as if that would help his nervous tick, which it did, for about three seconds.
Jensen rolled his eyes and looked around. Like anyone in Manhattan would have time for anyone else but themselves. Just for this, he didn’t miss Richardson so much. There, everyone was in everyone else’s business all the time.
This café was a place he and Matt used to frequent a lot. Which reminded him: Jensen hadn’t tried calling him since yesterday – since he brought Jared home.
“Excuse me, be right back.”
Jensen stepped out, leaving Jared alone at their table. He stood outside on the street and tried Matt’s number again. As always, it went straight to voice mail.
“Hey, me again, your friendly neighborhood stalker.” Jensen tried to laugh. “I just wanted you to know that… I, I’m painting again. That’s right – my muse is back, yay me…” he turned to look through the glass window at Jared inside.
He couldn’t tell Matt about Jared, not yet. Even though he wanted to so much, like a piece of good news one craved to share with a close friend. Too bad Matt, or anyone in their right state of mind, wouldn’t think of this as anything but bad news, horribly disturbing institutionalize-Jensen-now news. So he rambled on instead about useless shit until, as usual, the service cut him off.
When he went back inside, Jared looked up at him with mild accusation in his eyes. You left me alone. Jensen sent a scowl back, completely devoid of the sympathy he couldn’t help but feel inside.
Breakfast was an extremely tense affair. Was it Jensen’s intention to make Jared feel so uncomfortable, so exposed? Not really. And after awhile, Jensen couldn’t take it anymore. "Do you want to leave?"
Jared shrugged noncommittally.
"Fine, let me just finish my coffee and we'll go."
“Are you afraid someone will recognize you and report you to the cops?”
“They had my sketch.”
Jensen snorted. “No they had my sketch, of you – the one that was half-done and half-faced and distorted beyond recognition. And you were blond then, shorter hair, baby fat on your cheeks, no description of body type, no height, not even any eye color. Besides, New Yorkers have very short memories. Don’t worry so much.”
“They might not remember me. But they haven’t forgotten you.”
Jensen snorted. “Trust me. They care about artists even less than con-artists.”
Unless there were any art publication paparazzi hanging about these parts this time of the day, there was no chance of them being spotted or clicked. But yeah, in the off-chance that they did get clicked, speculations about Jensen’s new companion would be inevitable. He looked up at Jared again.
He was so different from the Tristan Jensen remembered. His face was gaunt, his hair dark and reaching his shoulders. No wonder he’d been inspired to go darker with the portrait this time. Jared looked very eerily like a fallen angel depicted in old Judeo-Christian paintings. And Jensen was a post-modernist, for God’s sakes.
“We gotta cut your hair,” he grunted, pretending to focus on stirring his coffee.
Either Jared felt no attachment to his long tresses, or he’d really restrained himself. Not even a peep from him.
“What’s your true color anyway?”
That was when Jared looked up, his eyes gleaming with hurt or something. Jensen cleared his throat. “I meant your hair color.”
Jared looked away, embarrassed. “This is my true color,” he mumbled, repeating the same mistake Jensen made, maybe on purpose. “Dark brown.”
Jensen’s eyes trailed from the head full of unruly chestnut hair down to the trembling red lips. Somewhere along the line, this kid had learned the power of his breathtaking looks and actively used it to manipulate and dupe folks. In that moment, all sympathy vanished, replaced with just a clawing pang to hurt. Not physically, no. Just to leave Jared fretting a little while longer.
“I'm in the mood for Belgian waffles. How about you?”
After a long breakfast, Jensen headed towards Chelsea Market. Jared continued to walk a couple steps behind him, and Jensen let him. He led the way to the first clothing store which happened to be on their way, one that Jared was so not willing to step inside.
“I know this other place we can get clothes on 8th Avenue.”
The Salvation Army store.
“That place is for folks who can’t afford first-hand clothes. You’re earning hundred bucks an hour. Stop being such a tightwad.”
“I didn’t ask you to pay me, you know.”
“I don’t want your money.”
Jensen huffed, not sure how to respond. It felt stupid (and weak) to admit to Jared that he really considered it fair trade. Jared was helping him get his muse back, and that deserved fair remuneration.
“Alright, fine. Maybe I just wanna be Richard Gere to your Julia Roberts. I love that movie, and yes I know, that’s so gay. Come on now.”
He didn’t wait for a response and started walking in through the showroom doors, pausing only at the sound of the words Jared mumbled next. “Richard Gere married Julia Roberts in that movie.”
Jensen turned to narrow his eyes at Jared. The little shit had the gall to smirk at him.
“That’s because Julia Roberts was a highly skilled cocksucker,” Jensen smirked back, and watching the hot blush rising to Jared’s cheeks was reward enough.
He turned back towards the store and walked in, Jared following behind, no choice left in the matter.
By the time they were done, Jared had two pairs of jeans, four shirts and four t-shirts, two leather belts, a dozen different sorts of underwear, two pairs of boots and sneakers and six pairs of socks, a pair of pajamas and track pants, and two warm jackets that would safely see him through the worst of winter. Jensen even bought him a bottle of cologne that Jared griped about louder than anything else.
He tried to thank Jensen at the end of the day, lugging all his shopping bags in both hands and walking two steps behind Jensen as usual. Meanwhile Jensen held just one small carry bag with two economy-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Sure he liked Jared’s long hair, but already it was starting to take a toll on his bathroom supplies.
“If you really want to thank me, I’ll settle for one true answer.”
Jared didn’t respond immediately. A minute later, he licked his lips. “Anything.”
“When you said you were twenty-one back then… you lied, didn’t you?”
“How old are you, really?”
Jared barely mumbled, not looking up at Jensen once. “I turn twenty-one next July.”
Part Three >>