Movie Prompt: Say Anything
Rating: R (for one explicit sex scene)
Word Count: 11.5K
Tags/Warnings: bottom Jensen, fluff with some angst but a happy ending, college AU
Summary: Jensen Ackles is the hottest guy in school, Jared is the goofiest. When Jared decides to ask Jensen out, his friends think he’s crazy. But Jensen has had a secret crush on Jared since he saw him in the spring musical. The boys embark on a summer romance that they both believe will end with Jensen leaving for Los Angeles to begin his medical training with a prestigious scholarship. Then the impossible happens.
Link to Fic: A03 | PART ONE | PART TWO
A/N: This story takes place in the summer of 2001 in a little fictional college town in Texas. It’s based on the 1989 film, “Say Anything” for the 2020 spn_cinema. Many thanks to candygramme for the quick beta!
“Jensen Ackles? Are you kidding me?”
Chad and Danneel stare at Jared like he’s suddenly grown two heads. They’re sitting in Chad’s dorm room, sharing tequila shots and a bowl of nachos, created by heating tortilla chips covered with Velveeta cheese and a few canned jalapeños and olives, dipped in Tostito’s salsa. Even Jared has to admit it’s pretty disgusting. Jared’s strumming his guitar just to avoid eating it.
Jared’s a little tipsy, but he knows what he wants. He’s been thinking about this for the past six months, ever since he first noticed Jensen from across the room in his physiological psych class. He’d just never shared his plan with his two closest friends until the moment he made the big announcement:
“I’m going to get Jensen Ackles to go out with me.”
“You know he’s perfect, don’t you?” Danneel notes as she reaches for her water bottle.
“Also straight,” Chad comments.
Jared frowns. “You don’t know that.”
Chad shrugs. “Pretty sure. He hangs with a lot of jocks.”
“So he’s athletic,” Jared says. “Besides. How do you know those jocks are straight, huh? Tom Welling looks like he could swing either way, if you ask me.”
“Oh my God, that’s such a homophobic thing to say!” Danneel chides.
“It’s not!” Jared insists. “I’m gay, so I can say whatever the hell I want. Welling’s lips are super kissable. Almost as kissable as Jensen’s.”
“Maybe they’re fucking each other,” Chad suggests slyly.
Jared flushes. “You don’t know that, either, so shut up. I’ve been keeping my eye on Jensen since Christmas, and I’m pretty sure he’s unattached.”
Chuck waggles his eyebrows. “Fucking, Jay-man,” he says with a wink. “Nobody said anything about going steady.”
“Oh my God, shut up!” Jared strums his guitar idly. “Anyway, I’m gonna ask him to Matt’s party.”
“Wow,” Danneel says. “Specific.”
Jared frowns. “I mean, it’ll be easy for him, right? He can be anonymous, doesn’t have to pretend we’re actually on a date. No pressure. Besides, I feel like I’ve got a bigger chance of his saying yes to going with me to a party, rather than dinner and a movie.”
“You’ve really thought this through,” Danneel says, arching an eyebrow.
“I don’t want to fail,” Jared says, nodding. “I want him to want more. I’m going to show him how great I am at parties. How many friends I have, even though I just finished my freshman year. And then he’s going to agree to see me again because he will have so much fun at the party.” Jared bites his lip. “He’s not a partier, so this will be good for him. He works too hard, keeps to himself a lot. It’ll be good for him to loosen up and have some fun.”
“You stalker!” Danneel accuses. “You’ve been watching him all this time! Damn, Jared, you really are something.”
“What?” Jared frowns. “I like him. I want to get to know him. If he’ll let me, I want to spend the summer with him.”
“So you’ve been stalking him for six months.” Danneel shakes her head. “You’re amazing. You probably know everything about him by now.”
Jared blushes, strums, bites his lip. “Not everything,” he says softly.
“Oh yeah? What kind of coffee does he drink?”
Jared licks his lips as a memory of Jensen ordering coffee at Starbucks comes into his head. Jared might have been standing behind a pillar when Jensen ordered, but he made sure he could hear Jensen’s order. He took notes.
“Americano, black,” Jared admits.
Danneel and Chad exchange glances. Chad cracks up.
“Oh man, you’ve got it bad!”
“I just want to be successful,” Jared insists. “I want him to know I cared enough to get to know him.”
“Before you even met him?” Chad and Danneel exchange flabbergasted looks. “Better hope he doesn’t find out you’ve been stalking him for six months, bro. That shit ends a potential relationship like a bucket of cold water over the head.”
Jared takes a deep breath. “I’m gonna get him to come with me to Matt’s party,” he says determinedly. “Goal number one. Then we’ll see what happens.”
“I guess we will,” Danneel agrees.
Graduation Day dawns bright and sunny. Because Middleton’s such a small school, all the junior classes attend, sitting in the rows behind the seniors in their robes and caps on the huge back lawn of the college. When Jensen’s name is called, Jared practically leaps to his feet to give him a standing ovation. Luckily, Danneel and Chad hold him down.
Jensen’s valedictorian speech is pretty lame, but Jared doesn’t care. Jensen looks gorgeous standing at the podium, mustering the courage to speak in front of the whole school. His deep, melodious voice trembling only a little as he talks about the future, all the meaningful things the Class of 2001 will accomplish in the world.
Jensen’s mother seems to be the only member of his family in attendance. On the reception lawn after the ceremony, Jared watches Mrs. Ackles greet her son with congratulations and the keys to a shiny new convertible.
“Here, take my picture with him,” Jared instructs, handing his camera to Danneel before he makes a mad dash behind Jensen, diving and waving toward the camera so that the picture looks like a nice shot of Jensen and his mother with Jared wildly photo-bombing in the background.
It’s better than nothing. Now at least Jared owns a photograph of him and Jensen, in the same frame if not exactly together.
Jensen, of course, never even notices.
“Okay, let’s do this,” Jared says to himself as he drives home to the little rental house he shares with his older brother Jeff and his little sister Megan, who’s still in high school.
“Let’s do this, let’s do this, let’s do this,” he repeats as a mantra as he heads into the house.
“Let’s do what?” Megan asks. She’s making mac and cheese in the kitchen with that vaguely bored attitude that teenage girls think makes them seem cool.
“Nothing, nothing,” Jared mutters, grabbing the phone out of its cradle on the wall. “Let’s do this, let’s do this.”
“How was the graduation?” Megan asks.
“Later, Megs,” Jared says as he heads to his bedroom with the phone. “I gotta do this.”
The Ackleses probably aren’t home yet, he realizes. They’ve probably gone out for dinner to celebrate Jensen’s graduation. All Jared will get is an answering machine.
He dials anyway, practicing his message before the machine beeps.
“Yeah, hi, this is Jared. Jared Padalecki. You might remember me from your phys psych class? The one I took, too? Uh, anyway, I was wondering if you might want to go to Matt Cohen’s party tonight. With me. I could pick you up around 8? If you do, that is. Anyway, I hope you do. My number’s uh 214-555-6666. Thanks. Okay. Bye.”
Jared dances back into the kitchen to put the phone back, practicing his kick-boxing moves. He’s full of energy after the phone call and the courage it took to make the call in the first place, so he decides to go for a run, even though it’s over 90 degrees out and humid as hell.
When he comes back, dripping with sweat, Megan’s holding the phone, which clearly has an open line on it.
“It’s Jensen Ackles,” she tells him, and Jared practically collapses. Sweat flies everywhere as he reaches for the phone, and Megan flinches back with a look of disgust. “Ew! Wipe off first, at least!”
She throws him a dishtowel as Jared puts the phone to his ear. “Hello?”
“Jared?” Jensen’s deep voice makes Jared shiver from head to toe, despite the heat.
“Yeah! Jensen! Hi!”
“Yeah, I’m not too sure who you are,” Jensen admits. “You said we were in phsys psych together — are you the tall freshman who always sat in the back row?”
Jared’s so flattered to be remembered he almost drops the phone.
“Yeah! That’s me! Wow, I can’t believe you remember.”
Jensen huffs out a laugh. “You always came in late,” he says. “Of course I remember.”
“Yeah, kind of a drama queen, that’s me,” Jared flushes. “Anyway, I was hoping you might want to go the party tonight at Matt’s.”
“As your date?”
Jared flushes hotter and almost drops the phone again. He gasps, and his words come out sounding breathless.
“If you want? Or we could just go — not together,” he stammers. “I could meet you there. Or I could pick up a couple of buddies and we could all go together...”
“Naw, it’s fine,” Jensen assures him. “It’s a date, then. I’ll see you at eight. You said eight, right?”
“Yeah, or we could make it later...” Jared can’t believe his luck. He thinks he might be hyperventilating. He’s definitely dizzy.
“Eight’s good,” Jensen assures him. “You know where I live?”
“Yeah,” Jared gasps, suddenly terrified that Jensen will think he’s a total stalker.
Which, he pretty much is, so.
Jensen pauses, and Jared thinks he’s figured out that Jared’s into him a little too much. He braces himself for Jensen’s rejection, his change of mind as he reconsiders.
When Jensen finally says, “Good. See you later, then,” Jared struggles not to shout with joy.
He thinks he can hear a smile in Jensen’s voice, and he tries not to get too excited about that, but he can’t help himself. As soon as the line goes dead he leaps into the air, pumping his fists as he does a ridiculous split-spin in mid-air, nearly hitting his head on the ceiling.
“He remembers me!” Jared crows to anyone who will listen as he returns the phone to the kitchen wall.
Megan has left the room, so Jared’s only audience is the small black cat they adopted as a stray a year ago. It’s curled up on the sofa in the living room and barely opens one eye in that disapproving way that cats have when they’re disturbed from deep slumber.
“Take a shower!” Megan calls from her bedroom.
After he showers, Jared calls first Danneel, then Chad, who both agree to meet him at the party to witness his arrival with the elusive and painfully attractive Jensen Ackles.
The community of Middleton College includes the small town surrounding it, employs many of the residents who aren’t current students, and keeps tabs on each other in a way that could be described as overbearing. Nobody who lives there stays anonymous for long, and word gets around fast when residents and/or students hook up or begin dating.
So when Jared Padalecki walks in the front door of Matt Cohen’s parents’ home with Jensen Ackles beside him, everybody already knows they’re coming together.
Jared can’t really blame Chad for that, but he sort of does anyway.
“Jay-man! Heard you were coming!” Rich Speight accosts him with a jovial back slap once they’re through the door. “Jensen! Good to see you, too!”
Rich shoves a large knit beanie into Jared’s hand. It jingles and sags with keys.
“You’ll be key-master, won’t you, Jared? Since you don’t drink,” he winks at Jensen. “Being only 18 and all.”
Jensen turns to Jared as Rich bounds away into the next room, where the music is already pounding.
“You’re 18?” Jensen asks.
“Nineteen in two months,” Jared rushes to say. “July 19.”
Jensen shakes his head, small smile playing at the edges of his lips. “I knew you were younger than me,” he says. “But I didn’t know you were still a teenager.”
“A teenager who’s been working full-time since he was sixteen,” Jared says. “After my folks died, my brother took over guardianship of me and my sister. I had to work my way into college.”
Unlike you, Jared doesn’t say. Everybody knows Jensen got a full ride to Middleton. He’s been their star student since the day he arrived on campus.
Jensen frowns indignantly. “I work! I work so hard I never go to parties.”
“This has been noted,” Jared says with a nod. “Hence, here we are.”
Jensen peers thoughtfully at him. “You really had to raise yourself,” he notes. “Wow. I’m so sorry for your loss. That can’t be easy.”
Jared shrugs. “It’s the way it is,” he says. “We make it work. At least we’re together, even though we drive each other crazy most of the time. Nobody had to go into foster care, so we win.”
Jensen looks like he’s about to say something, but Jared’s suddenly tackled by Chad and Danneel, who introduce themselves to Jensen and hand him a drink. The house is filling up, the music getting louder, and people start to dance. Jared takes his duty as key-master seriously, keeping his post at the front door to catch people on the way in while Chad and Danneel drag Jensen away to introduce him around.
“So, you brought Jensen Ackles.” Genevieve Cortese gazes up from her vantage point at Jared’s elbow. “Impressive.”
“Yeah,” Jared shrugs, casually smug.
“How did you manage that?” Genevieve asks, obviously jealous. “I tried asking him out a dozen times over the past two years. He always turned me down.”
Jared shrugs. “I asked, he said yes, and here we are.”
“As your date,” Genevieve clarifies.
“I guess,” Jared nods.
“Wow.” Genevieve whistles. “I did not see that coming.”
Jared feels someone watching him, looks across the heads of the people in the room, and meets Jensen’s gaze. They’re the two tallest people in the room, and Jared’s grateful for that. He pretends Jensen’s watching him as he chats with Genevieve. Sometime later, when Tom Welling arrives with his buddies, Jensen becomes the third tallest man in the room, but he’s still noticeable. He’s obviously keeping himself within sight of Jared, and it makes Jared feel better. Everybody’s happy to see Jensen. Every time Jared looks over, Jensen’s talking to Danneel or Tom or Rob Benedict. He’s obviously having a good time.
At a certain point, people stop arriving, so Jared’s able to leave his post at the door and make his way through the crowd to Jensen’s side. Jensen’s eyes are twinkling, and although he’s got a plastic cup in his hand, he doesn’t seem drunk. Just happy.
“Rob says there’s some guitars in Matt’s room,” Jensen says, smiling up at Jared. “You play?”
“A little,” Jared admits. He follows Rob and Jensen down the hall, into a quiet bedroom with low lighting, posters of rock-stars on the walls, and several guitars lined up on stands.
Time passes so quickly that Jared forgets he’s supposed to be key-master, forgets everything except playing and singing with Jensen and Rob. When Matt comes crashing into the room, demanding keys because people are leaving, Jared blinks up at him incomprehensibly. Then he remembers.
He gives Jensen and Rob an apologetic look as he climbs to his feet. The music from the party gets louder as Jared follows Matt down the hall to the front door to begin handing out keys to designated drivers. When he gets there, he’s surprised to find Jensen beside him.
“You didn’t have to come with,” Jared says, pleased nevertheless. “You can hang out with Rob. You guys are really good.”
“I’d rather hang out with you,” Jensen says simply.
Jared grins so wide his face hurts.
It’s a couple of hours before the last keys are finally handed out. Chad fell asleep for hours in the laundry room and only woke up as the party was ending, still pretty drunk and probably high, so Jared and Jensen drive him home.
The sun is just starting to come up as Jared pulls up in front of Jensen’s house. Jared’s been thinking about kissing Jensen since before they dropped Chad off — hell, since forever. But now that the moment has arrived, he’s nervous. He puts the car in park and waits for Jensen, hopeful but determined not to push it.
Jensen shakes his head and gives Jared a shy smile.
“I had fun,” he admits. “Thanks for making me go.”
“Sure,” Jared says. “People were really glad to see you.”
“I didn’t realize I’d made so many friends here,” Jensen admits. “I’ll be kinda sorry to go.”
Right. The UCLA scholarship. Jensen’s going to medical school on a special grant. It was announced at graduation, when the college president introduced Jensen, but Jared already knew.
“You’ll be missed,” Jared says. “But you’ve still got all summer, right? Before you have to go, I mean.”
“Right.” Jensen pauses, and Jared waits. “Hey. Do you want to come over for dinner tomorrow night? Today, actually. My mom’s having some people over and I’d like them to meet you.”
“Oh.” Jared huffs out a laugh. “I’m not very good with adults.”
Jensen laughs. “I can’t believe that,” he says. “You’re good with everybody.” He blushes, and Jared grins broadly again. He can’t help it. Everything about Jensen makes Jared smile his face off.
“So, about 6:30?” Jensen coaxes.
Jared nods. “Okay, if you really want to watch me embarrass myself.”
“I do,” Jensen says. He leans toward Jared, eyes on Jared’s mouth, and Jared tries not to tense up. The angle is a little weird, but Jared manages not to slam his nose into Jensen’s as their lips press for the softest of chaste kisses before Jensen pulls back again, far too soon. “I’ll see you tonight.”
Jensen’s out of the car, leaning back in the window to give Jared another shy smile before Jared realizes he didn’t say goodbye.
“You’re meeting his parents?”
Danneel’s stupefied. She can’t believe Jared when he tells her how well things seem to be going with Jensen.
“And he kissed you? He kissed you?”
Jared’s been asleep for the past four hours, so he can be excused for being a little incoherent, but he’s pretty sure he was clear on the kissing point.
“It’s just his mom, actually,” Jared clarifies as he pulls himself to sitting and positions the phone at a better angle. “I think his parents are divorced. She runs the old folks home on Mountain Street. Montview.”
“Oh my God, Jared,” Danneel gushes. “Did you warn him that you’re not very good with adults?”
“I did,” Jared nods. “He wants me to come over anyway.”
“It’s just so weird how he lived at home with his mom while he went to college,” Danneel comments.
“Why?” Jared’s hackles go up. “Lots of kids do that to save on room and board. Just because you and Chad live on campus does not mean everybody does.”
“I just think it’s possible he’s a tiny bit over-attached to his mom, that’s all,” Danneel suggests. “You might need to watch out for that, if you guys get more involved.”
Jared’s angry now. “You know what? I’m going to hang up now. I have to sleep another hour before I take a shower and get ready to go.”
He shakes his head at the phone. He might need to think about pulling back from his friendship with Danneel now that he’s starting something with Jensen. She sounds just a tiny bit jealous.
Jared arrives at Jensen’s house promptly at 6:30, showered and dressed in his best jeans and button-down shirt. He doesn’t own a tie, but Jeff let him borrow one of his. It’s too warm for a jacket.
Jared didn’t spend thirty minutes changing clothes in front of the mirror until he chose this white dress shirt. Really, he didn’t.
He’s too young to buy wine, and flowers felt like too much, so he clutches a box of cookies as he rings the doorbell.
Jensen’s dressed even more casually, in slightly-worn jeans and a t-shirt, but he looks fabulous. The t-shirt stretches across his pecs and accentuates his biceps and Jared might be a little flushed in the summer heat.
“Did you get those for me?”
“Huh?” Jared might still be staring, and he’s definitely forgotten he has anything in his hands.
Jensen reaches out and gently tugs the box out of Jared’s hands, smiling that gorgeous slight smile of his that makes all of Jared’s insides turn to mush. Among other things.
“Why don’t you come in, Jared?” Jensen moves back from the door, gesturing for Jared to come inside. “I want you to meet my mom.”
Donna Ackles shakes Jared’s hand warmly enough, but Jared can see the calculated way she looks at him. Jensen is her only child, and it’s clear she’s both proud and protective of him. She introduces him to two of her employees from the old folks home, then enlists his and Jensen’s help to get the food on the table.
“So Jared,” she addresses him when they’re all seated together around the dinner table. “What do you do?”
“He’s just finished his freshman year, Mom,” Jensen tells her. “I told you that. He’s a student.”
“Do you have a summer job?” she presses.
“I actually have two jobs,” Jared says. “I’m a barista at Starbucks three afternoons a week, and I also work at the Fitness Center teaching kick-boxing.”
“Huh,” Donna nods. “Do you have plans? A major?”
“Well, for now I’m an engineering major,” Jared says. “I was a mathlete in high school. But I also love acting, although there’s not much to do with that here except community theatre. And I really do love kick-boxing. I see it as an up-and-coming sport, something everybody can benefit from. I’d like to move up at the Fitness Center, maybe make manager one day.”
“Well, your interests sound very diverse,” Donna notes. “Although I must say your engineering interest is probably the most practical.”
“Totally,” Jared agrees.
“And you met my son how?”
“We had a class together this past semester,” Jared says.
“And I saw his performance in the spring musical,” Jensen notes.
“You did?” Jared stares. He literally didn’t know that. He’s a little shocked.
“Yeah, I didn’t know you were the same guy until you picked me up last night,” Jensen says. “Then I realized it was you. You were really good.”
“Jensen used to love acting, in high school,” Donna announces.
Jared blinks. “You did?”
“Of course, with his double-major in biology and chemistry, he really didn’t have time for extracurriculars in college,” Donna explains. “And I made sure he didn’t need to work, of course. No reason to take all that time away from his studies.”
“Right. Of course,” Jared agrees dumbly. “Jensen’s so smart. It would be a shame to waste his time working if he didn’t have to.”
Jensen flushes, looks down at his plate. “I love acting,” he says softly.
“Of course you do, dear,” Donna nods. “And someday, after you finish your medical degree and land your first position, you can go back to it. Like a hobby.”
Jared watches Jensen’s eyelids flutter. He keeps his eyes on his plate and doesn’t respond, but Jared can see the little twitch in his jaw.
“Ms. Ackles, I just want to assure you, your son is safe with me,” Jared says. “I know Jensen’s headed to LA at the end of the summer, but till then I plan to spend as much time with him as he’ll let me.”
Jensen’s eyes lift to his briefly, and Jared coaxes a smile out of him before he looks down again.
Donna smiles, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “I’m sure Jensen knows what he’s doing,” she says, lips tight. “A little summer romance can’t hurt.”
Donna changes the subject then, turning to her other guests to talk business, and Jared’s mind wanders. Jensen’s eyelashes are long and lush. They lie on his pale, freckled cheeks like palm fronds on a beach. They look very soft, Jared wants to touch them, to slide his finger along the half-moon shape of them.
Jensen looks up, and Jared almost gasps. His eyes are like tropical ocean water, something Jared’s only ever seen on TV but always imagined would feel warm and inviting. Jared wants to swim in them.
Jensen winks, breaking the illusion, making Jared blush and look down at his plate.
After a dessert featuring a perfect peach pie made by Jensen himself and the cookies Jared brought, Jensen tells his mother he and Jared are going out for a walk. As they leave the house, Jensen slips his hand into Jared’s.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me you saw the show,” Jared accuses, heart soaring at the feel of Jensen’s hand in his.
“You were really good,” Jensen says. “I can’t believe you didn’t tell me that was you when you called. I almost turned you down. Of course, once I saw you, I was really glad I didn’t.”
Jared blushes. “You were crushing on me,” he accuses, and Jensen laughs.
“Who wouldn’t?” he says. “You’re gorgeous and smart and funny. Obviously very talented.”
“It wasn’t a very big part,” Jared says. “I don’t sing, so they had to cast me in a role that didn’t require much of that.”
“You were perfect,” Jensen insists. “You are perfect.”
They’ve reached the corner, walking hand-in-hand the whole way. Jared’s so happy he thinks he could die right now and claim to have lived the best possible life.
Then Jensen pulls him around the corner, pushes him up against a tree, and kisses him. It’s soft and patient at first, like Jensen, but when Jensen tugs on his tie and slides his fingers into Jared’s hair, the kiss grows a little more heated.
“Take this off,” Jensen directs, pulling back and tugging on the tie. “And this.” He tugs on Jared’s button-down.
The sun has mostly set and it’s quiet on the street, but Jared’s self-conscious anyway. He nods toward the park a couple of blocks down.
“Let’s take this to the swing set,” he grins. “Or maybe the slide.”
He turns as Jensen laughs — outright laughs! The sound is so joyous and carefree it makes Jared’s heart ache. He has the feeling Jensen doesn’t do spontaneous, fun things very often. He’s been under the controlling thumb of a domineering mother far too long.
Jared grabs Jensen’s hand, pulls him along toward the park as he slides his tie off and unbuttons his shirt with his free hand.
They collapse on a park bench, out of sight of the street, giggling and pulling each other in for another kiss. Jensen tastes like laughter and lazy days at the beach, and Jared realizes with a shock that he’s in love. It’s a feeling he’s never known before, but it feels so real and so important it makes him gasp.
“What’s wrong?” Jensen asks as he pulls back, sensing Jared’s shock.
Jared stares, holding Jensen’s face between his hands as he gazes into Jensen’s eyes, dark in the dim light from the streetlamp.
“I just realized something,” Jared says. His voice is shaking.
“I — I might be a little in love with you,” Jared announces.
Jensen’s eyes soften, and Jared leans in for another kiss.
“No, no,” Jared murmurs as he kisses along Jensen’s jaw to his ear. “I’m definitely in love. A lot.”
He feels Jensen smile, feels Jensen grab the collar of his shirt. “Off.”
Jared complies so quickly he almost chokes himself. He dumps the shirt and tie on the bench next to them, turns back to Jensen for more kisses.
Jensen’s looking at him, at his chest and his arms in his t-shirt. Jared waits, letting him look, hoping he likes what he sees but not quite brave enough to ask.
“You’re so beautiful,” Jensen breathes when his eyes finally return to Jared’s. “Like a Greek god.”
Jared blushes. Nobody ever called him beautiful before. All his life, he’s felt awkward, too big, limbs too long and in the way all the time. He’d always been too aware of his knobby knees and elbows, of his own growing body getting in the way of the grace and fluidity he craved.
“You’re the beautiful one,” Jared insists, shy for the first time in a long time. “You’re incredible. In every way.”
Jensen shakes his head. “You don’t even know,” he breathes softly. “You have this quality about you. People love you. Even my mom loves you. That doesn’t happen, trust me.”
Jared grins, looks down at their clasped hands. “I meant what I said to your mom, Jensen. I want to spend the summer with you. I want to spend every minute I can with you before you leave.”
“I won’t say no to that,” Jensen assures him. “I can’t.”
Jared looks up, into Jensen’s eyes, and for a moment time stands still. For a moment, it’s like Jensen’s just agreed to something more than just a summer fling.
Jared can’t help hoping, but he can’t believe his luck, either. It’s all too good to be true.
Jensen’s looking at him with such affection it makes Jared’s heart flip in his chest. He doesn’t deserve this. He doesn’t deserve Jensen Ackles.
But apparently, good things happen.
“Okay then.” Jared nods as he leans in for another kiss.
It’s going to be an awesome summer.
They spend the next few weeks together, minus Jared’s work hours and the hours he spends sleeping. He turns down an offer to double his hours at Starbucks because he needs to spend as many hours as he possibly can with Jensen.
“You’re an idiot,” Danneel announces after Jared tells her why he turned down the extra hours. “You’re in love.”
Jared says nothing. Grins. Danneel stares.
“You are in love! Oh my god, Jared, that’s crazy! You do realize the guy is leaving for LA in August, right? Like, never-to-be-seen-again leaving?”
“Yeah,” Jared says, still grinning.
“You are unbelievable,” Danneel says, then does a double take. “Wait. You’re serious. You’ve actually fallen in love with Jensen Ackles.”
“I think so, yeah,” Jared admits with a shrug. “He’s pretty awesome.”
“Well, yeah, but...” Danneel stops, shakes her head. “Okay, I’m officially floored. You are either the biggest idiot I ever met or...” She hesitates, then plows ahead. “You’re doomed. You realize that, right?”
“Because I’m a hopeless romantic,” Jared finishes her sentence. “That’s what you were about to say. Admit it.”
“Oh my god!”
On his birthday, Jared takes Jensen to the amusement park two hours away. They spend the day riding roller-coasters and eating hot dogs. They stop at the lake on the way home, swim and cool off. They lie on a blanket and watch the sun set, drying off in the evening breeze. There’s no one else around, so they make out, kissing and feeling each other up until they’re both panting and desperate. They’ve never dared to do more than give each other hand-jobs, mostly because they’ve never had enough privacy, but tonight feels different. Tonight is special.
“I’m gonna give you your birthday present,” Jensen murmurs against Jared’s mouth. Jared’s only got a couple of seconds to realize what he’s talking about before Jensen slides down his body, pulls his cock free from his shorts, and slips the head between his lips.
“Oh god!” Jared keens and squeezes his eyes shut, barely controlling the urge to come.
Jensen’s mouth is hot and wet, his tongue slick and talented. He might not be able to get much of Jared’s oversized cock in his mouth, but he makes good use of what he can do, tonguing under the head and along the slit, licking along the underside as he gets a rhythm going with his hand.
“Oh god, I’m gonna... I can’t... “ Jared warns when he opens his eyes, gets a good look at Jensen going down on him.
Jensen looks up at him, deliberately pumping faster while keeping as much of Jared’s cock in his mouth as he can manage, and that’s good enough for Jared. He comes with a barely contained groan and Jensen swallows every drop, strokes him through the aftershocks as he comes down.
Afterwards, Jared lies lax and loose, almost dozing. Jensen curls up next to him, arm across his chest, one leg tucked between Jared’s legs. He kisses along Jared’s shoulder to the crook of his neck, breathing deep as Jared pulls him close, tucks his nose into Jensen’s hair.
“Good?” Jensen purrs.
Jared nods, lets out a satisfied growl of affirmation that makes Jensen grin against Jared’s skin.
“We need to do this more often,” Jensen observes.
Jared blinks up at the stars. The darkness makes him bold, and he rolls toward Jensen, gathering him close, kissing him deep.
“We could do more,” Jared murmurs as he nips at Jensen’s lips, then kisses him deep again. His hands slide down Jensen’s back to his ass, kneading the tight round globes suggestively through Jensen’s swim trunks. “It’s still my birthday.”
Jensen squirms, then wraps his legs around Jared’s waist and rocks up against him.
“Did you bring any lube?” Jensen asks.
Jared nods. “Always prepared for everything,” he breathes, grinding down. He’s hard again just thinking about sliding into Jensen’s body for the first time.
“Such an exhibitionist,” Jensen teases.
“Nobody ever comes here,” Jared murmurs as he digs into his pocket for the condom and tube of lube. “There’s nobody to see us but the stars.”
“We need to come here more often.”
Jared wiggles out of his shorts, Jensen does the same, and for a moment all Jared wants to do is look. Jensen’s skin is smooth and pale in the moonlight. His cock lies dark and thick on his belly. He gazes up at Jared with adoration and tenderness, and when Jared leans down to kiss him he arches up, gasps as Jared takes his cock in hand. Jared kisses down Jensen’s body, worshipful and reverent, amazed that this beautiful man is his. When he reaches Jensen’s cock, he takes the head into his mouth, gets a rhythm going with his hand, and Jensen comes fairly quickly, arching up into Jared’s mouth with a quick intake of breath.
Jared swallows every bitter-salty drop, crawls up Jensen’s body to kiss him deep and dirty. He kneels between Jensen’s spread legs and makes quick work of the condom package, smears the lube over his fingers and Jensen’s hole, watching Jensen’s face carefully as he pushes a finger inside. Jensen tenses for a moment, then relaxes and bears down as Jared pushes further in, feeling for the little bundle of nerves that makes Jensen hiss and clench up when he finds it. Jared works another finger inside, opening Jensen up slowly and carefully, watching his face for any sign of discomfort. He’s pumping three fingers into Jensen when Jensen starts to keen, hands scrabbling on the blanket.
“Need you inside me, Jared,” he gasps. “Now!”
Jared pulls his fingers free and lubes up his cock. When he reaches to turn Jensen over, Jensen grabs his wrists.
“No.” Jensen’s voice is hoarse, broken. “I need to see you. Need you like this.”
“Okay,” Jared breathes. He tucks Jensen’s legs up over his shoulders, lines himself up, and pushes. As soon as he breaches Jensen’s rim, he stops, waits for Jensen to adjust, watching as his face relaxes before he starts to push again. When he’s all the way in he stops again, waits. Jensen’s panting, sweating, his neck muscles straining as he clenches his jaw. His channel clenches around Jared’s dick and Jared almost loses it, squeezes his eyes shut and thinks about dead puppies to keep from coming. Jensen’s hot and tight, feels incredible, looks like a wet dream. Jared leans down to kiss him and Jensen moans into his mouth. His dick is hard and leaking between them, and when Jared takes it in hand Jensen’s head goes back.
“Fuck me, damn you,” he whispers hoarsely, so Jared does. He draws back and pounds into Jensen, then does it again, watching Jensen’s face. Jensen’s eyes close, his eyelashes lie long and thick against his pale cheeks. His open mouth makes Jared wish he had another dick, makes Jensen look wanton and depraved. Vulnerable. Virgin and slut in one. Beautiful beyond anything Jared can imagine.
Jared reaches down between them, pumps Jensen’s dick in time with his thrusts. He leans down and kisses along Jensen’s exposed throat, sucks his adam’s apple. Jensen turns his head and Jared kisses along his jaw to his ear, sucks his earlobe into his mouth as Jensen buries his fingers in Jared’s hair and pulls.
“Gonna come,” Jensen whispers, throat working as he swallows against Jared’s lips.
That’s all it takes. Jared comes hard as Jensen spills over his hand, his own belly. Jared gives a few more shallow thrusts as Jensen’s cock twitches and spurts, then he rolls to the side so he’s not crushing Jensen as his dick slips free of Jensen’s warm body. His throat is sore, his ears ring with the loud grunting moans he didn’t realize he was making as he came. His body feels light, loose. Collapsing next to Jensen on the blanket, all he wants to do is drift, boneless and happy, eyes leaking.
Jensen reaches out, runs his fingertips along Jared’s cheek, wiping the moisture away.
“You’re crying,” he murmurs, worried or in awe, Jared’s not sure which.
“I love you,” Jared answers.
Jensen smiles. “I love you too, Jay.” He strokes Jared’s cheek as Jared closes his eyes and dozes.
He wakes with a start. Jensen’s gone. Jared reaches his arm out, hand flat on the the warm spot on the blanket where Jensen lay, and frowns. Then he hears water splashing, looks up as Jensen walks toward him from the lake’s edge. He’s got his swim trunks on but nothing else, and it’s obvious he was washing himself off. He lays down beside Jared, rolls toward him and cups his cheek, leans in to kiss him.
It’s a warm night, and the lake is dark and quiet except for the sound of crickets chirping. The moon is setting, leaving a trail of moonlight across the water to where the boys lie, arms and legs tangled together. It feels like the end of the world in a way, like a place outside time. The summer is half over but they’ve still got time. There’s still another month before Jensen has to leave.
Jared can’t remember ever being this happy, even when he was a little boy and his parents were there to give him birthday presents. This beats even that.
“We should get home,” Jensen says finally. “Mom will worry about me.”
Jared sighs, leans in for one more kiss before he lets Jensen go.
The drive home is quiet. Jensen sits next to him on the bench seat, pressed close as Jared drives one-handed, his other arm around Jensen. When they pull up in front of Jensen’s house, it’s already getting light. Jared turns the car off and they kiss for several minutes, both reluctant to let the evening end.
“Best birthday ever,” Jared says when Jensen finally pulls away.
“Best sex ever,” Jensen answers with a wink. “Will I see you tonight?”
As Jared drives away, his heart races. Jensen said he loved him. He’s pretty sure that was Jensen’s first time. It was definitely Jared’s first, although he’d been imagining it and working up to it for a while now. He’s so deeply in love with Jensen he’s not sure he’ll be able to let him go.
He’s beginning to wonder if he won’t have to.
“You’re thinking of dropping out of school?” Danneel practically squeaks.
Jared hadn’t meant to tell her about last night, but when she showed up on his doorstep in the early afternoon of the next day, he realized how much he needed to talk about it.
“Maybe I could transfer to UCLA,” Jared suggests. “I could get a job in LA, right? I mean, there must be a million Starbucks there. Plus I could keep up my kick-boxing...”
“And live where?” Danneel demands. “With Jensen?”
“If he’ll have me,” Jared says with a shrug. “He did tell me he loves me.”
“Because you had sex with him for the first time,” Danneel sputters. “Everybody gets emotional after their first time.”
Jared bites the inside of his cheek. “I think he meant it.”
“Of course he meant it!” Danneel rolls her eyes. “He just didn’t necessarily mean it the way you wish he meant it.”
“I think maybe he did,” Jared insists, stubborn. “I mean, we get along really well, Dani. We have a lot in common. We both love music, acting, sports...He’s like a quieter, more intense version of me.”
“He’s got his whole life planned out,” Danneel reminds him. “Whereas you just started college. You don’t really know what your plans are yet.”
“I wanna be with Jensen,” Jared insists. “That’s the plan.”
“Oh honey.” Danneel sighs, pats his cheek. “I just don’t want to see you hurt, that’s all. When he dumps you, I mean.”
Jared scoffs. “He’s not gonna dump me! He loves me!”
Danneel smiles sadly but says nothing, and Jared wonders why he bothered talking to her in the first place. She seems hell-bent on watching him fail.
A week later, Danneel’s prediction comes true.
Jared’s parked outside Jensen’s house, waiting for him so they can drive down to the old folks home to help with dinner and Friday movie night. Jared picked “Grumpy Old Men” as the feature for tonight, and he looks forward to introducing it. After starting the movie, Jared’s hoping he and Jensen can slip out to the car for some serious alone time.
But as soon as Jensen gets into the passenger seat, Jared can tell something’s wrong.
“I can’t go tonight,” Jensen tells him. “Something’s going on with my mom, and I need to stay in tonight.”
Jared’s heart sinks, but he does his best to show his concern. “Is she okay?”
“Yeah, she’s not sick or anything,” Jensen rushes to explain. “It’s nothing like that. It’s something to do with her job.”
“She’s not about to lose that job, is she?” Jared says, confused. “She practically owns that place!”
“Yeah, no, it’s nothing like that, I don’t think,” Jensen hedges. There’s clearly something he’s not telling Jared. “It’s just that I think I need to spend more time with her, now that it’s only three weeks until I leave for LA. She kind of needs me right now.”
“Oh.” Jared pauses. Jensen isn’t looking at him. He’s got a pen in his hand which he keeps turning over and over nervously. “Jensen, is there something you’re trying to tell me? You know you can tell me anything, right?”
Jensen takes a deep breath but still won’t look at him. “I just think we should spend a little time apart for a while,” he says in a rush.
Jared’s stunned. “You mean — for how long?” Then it hits him. “Jensen, are you trying to break up with me? Are you breaking up with me?”
“Look, here’s this pen,” Jensen says, placing the offending object on Jared’s dashboard. “I want you to have it so you have something to remember me by.”
“Are you kidding?” Jared’s mouth drops open. “You want to give me a consolation prize? For breaking up with you? Are you kidding me?”
“I’m sorry, Jared. I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear.”
“No shit!” Jared’s livid. He wants to hit something. He wants to scream. He really needs to run.
“Goodbye, Jared.” Jensen does look at him then, large green eyes wide and pleading, as if Jared should somehow accept this most terrible thing that’s suddenly happened because Jensen needs him to. Jensen needs Jared to sympathize with Jensen’s inexplicable decision to dump him, even though it’s the most horrible event in his life, next to the accident that killed his parents.
Wrong, it’s worse. Jensen isn’t dying. He’s not dead. He’s just done with Jared.
After Jensen gets out of the car Jared peels away from the curb with a screech of tires, soon realizes he’s too upset to drive and pulls the car over. He leaves it two blocks from Jensen’s house and takes off running, barely registering when it starts to rain. By the time Jared reaches the center of town, he’s soaked but able to speak without sputtering. At a payphone in the parking lot of the 7-11 he calls Jensen, leaves a long rambling message, then hangs up and calls Chad.
“Don’t tell Danneel,” he says after he tells Chad what happened. “She’ll just say ‘I told you so.’”
“My lips are sealed, man,” Chad assures him. “But you are so lucky, I gotta say.”
“Lucky? What the fuck are you talking about?” Jared howls. “I just lost the love of my life!”
“That’s just it, man,” Chad says, and Jared can almost see him shaking his head. “Love sucks. Love sucks BIG time.”
Jared rolls his eyes. “Yeah, right. The world goes round because nobody ever does it.”
“Oh, they do it, all right,” Chad says in his most lascivious voice. “Just not the love thing. Love is for the birds, man. Never works out.”
“Right. And you’re such an expert.”
“I totally am, man,” Chad insists. “Been dumped more times than a dump truck ever dumped. Done plenty of dumping, too.”
“You’re an idiot.” But Jared’s feeling a little better. Chad’s a much bigger loser in the love department than Jared could ever be. Jared’s had Jensen.
“Had” being the operative word.
“Damn it!” Jared pounds his fist into the side of the payphone. “I just don’t get it! We were doing so good! I was gonna ask him if I could come with him to LA. I felt like he was ready to say yes!”
“Guys like him never stay with guys like us for long, man,” Chad says, and Jared can almost see him shaking his head.
“What are you talking about? What guys like what? Jensen and me are like two peas in a pod. We’ve got so much in common! Plus we’re super compatible, and the sex is pretty perfect, too. It’s like we were meant to be! Then he suddenly tells me he’d rather hang out with his mom. His mom!”
Jared bangs his forehead on the glass wall of the phone booth.
“That’s wacked, man,” Chad says. “I don’t know. Maybe you’re better off. He sounds a little cray-cray.”
“But that’s just it. He’s not!” Jared wails. “He’s poised and mature and funny and perfect. He knows what he wants and he goes for it. He’s got it together better than anyone I ever met!”
“Maybe he just got tired of being with somebody who doesn’t have his shit together yet,” Chad suggests. “I mean, come on, man. You’re only nineteen! How are you supposed to know what you want to do with the rest of your life? You haven’t even declared a major yet.”
“I thought I was getting there,” Jared insists. “Having Jensen in my life was the best thing I ever did. It felt like really accomplishing something. Shit!”
“Love sucks, man,” Chad says. “It’s really not a goal. You shouldn’t let it be so important.”
“Oh yeah? Says the guy who never has a girlfriend for more than a few hours!” Jared bangs his head against the wall again. “Why am I even talking to you? I need to get Jensen back. I need to figure out a way to make him take me back.”
“Hey! Love ‘em and leave ‘em, I always say,” Chad says. “No messes, no stresses. Nobody gets hurt.”
“I need to go,” Jared says, desperate not to cry, determined to muster the courage to convince Jensen to reconsider. “I’ve got to get him to take me back. He loves me. He’ll take me back if I can just figure out what’s wrong.”
“Well, I might wish you luck if I didn’t hope you don’t succeed,” Chad says.
“Thanks, I guess,” Jared mutters.
“Come hang out sometime, man,” Chad says. “We can be single together.”
“Losers, you mean,” Jared laughs. “Okay, man. I hear you. Thanks for the advice.”
“Anytime, Jay-man,” Chad says. “Anytime.”
As soon as he hangs up with Chad, Jared dials Jensen’s number. He leaves another long, rambling voice mail, giving Jensen plenty of time to pick up.
He doesn’t. But Jared can’t help feeling Jensen’s sitting right there, listening.
He’s sure of it.