One last box and everything was packed into the moving van. Jensen took a step back and looked at the collection of boxes and furniture that constituted his life. Former life? He wasn’t sure anymore. All he knew was that staying in the apartment he and Carrie had shared for four years was just too damn hard now. And he wanted their daughter to grow up closer to her remaining family.
“That the last box, kid?” Jeff asked, walking up with Kaylee resting on his hip.
“Yeah that’s everything. Thanks again, dad.”
“Don’t thank me,” he said and patted his son’s shoulder. “I’ll get her settled in the truck.”
Jensen nodded and looked back at the building. It really wasn’t anything to write home about, but he had made a lot of memories there. He recalled the day Carrie and he had moved into their apartment on the fifth floor. Their “honeymoon” had consisted of not leaving the apartment for nearly a week because they couldn’t afford to go anywhere nice. They had always planned on it, but fate seemed to have other plans for them.
After locking the back door of the truck, Jensen stepped up into the cab. Kaylee was secured in her car seat and gnawing on her teething ring. Jeff looked over at Jensen, concern showing clearly in his dark eyes.
“Yeah, let’s go,” Jensen replied, looking from the windshield to his baby daughter.
The drive took a little over an hour on the interstate. Jensen knew the route well from his trips home from college. Back then he only had a basket of dirty laundry and a duffel bag in the backseat. He wondered what had happened to some of his college friends. A few had come to Carrie’s funeral to pay their respects, which had been kind of them. A noise from Kaylee interrupted his thoughts of the funeral.
“What’s up, baby girl?”
“Da?” she held up her teething ring to him.
“That’s okay, Kaylee. I don’t need that,” he said with a smile. With his index finger he gently tapped her nose and she giggled. Always such a happy baby.
Jeff pulled the truck up to the new house and put it in park. Jensen looked at it through the window. It was a nice ranch style home with a fenced in back yard. He wanted Kaylee to grow up with a yard to run around in, not a parking lot.
“You know, that is your house and you can go inside.”
Jensen nodded and climbed out of the truck with Kaylee in his arms. He walked up the short stone path to the front door and fished out his key. “Well, this is it, Kaylee Marie, this is home.” He opened the door to the empty house and stepped inside, his footfalls echoing loudly against the bare walls.
Shortly after their arrival, Samantha Ackles arrived with a stack of Tupperware almost above her head. She walked in the open door, calling out to her husband and son as she did. Jensen saw her by way of the pass through window in the kitchen and jogged over to take the containers from her.
“Thanks, sweetie,” she kissed him on the cheek, “but I can handle it. I just need to know where the kitchen is.”
“I got it and it’s right over there.” The containers were freezing cold and heavy. “Mom, did you freeze me dinner for the next month?”
“Yes. I have to take care of my boy and grandbaby, don’t I?”
“Mom, I know how to cook.”
“Ordering Chinese does not count.”
There was no arguing with her and he wasn’t about to refuse free food. “Thanks, mom.”
“You’re welcome, baby, now where is my little peanut?”
“With dad in the kitchen.”
Samantha walked through the small dining room to the kitchen with Jensen behind her. He set the Tupperware on the counter beside the refrigerator. Kaylee was busy being talked up by her adoring grandmother. It hadn’t occurred to him just how much he missed his family being so close. All throughout high school, he had been ready to get out on his own. Now when he really needed them, he was very glad they were there for him and Kaylee. He put the meals in the freezer and took a seat beside Jeff at the table.
“Jensen, why don’t I take Kaylee to the park while you two finish unpacking?”
“You don’t mind?”
“Of course not.”
“That’d be great. Her bag is in the living room and there are some bottles in the fridge.”
Later that day, after Jensen’s parents had said goodbye, he sat on the couch with Kaylee lying on his chest. From the sounds of her breathing, she was already asleep. Jensen stared up at the unfamiliar ceiling. Even with all of his old things scattered around the house, it still didn’t feel like home. He wondered when that feeling would go away, or if it would ever go away. What he thought had been too much stuff turned out to be not enough to adequately decorate a house. Maybe tomorrow he would see if he could find anything. He didn’t really know much about interior design, so he figured asking his mother would just be the best idea. She didn’t like anything too flowery, so he could trust her.
Jensen eased onto his feet, holding Kaylee against him. He turned out the lights in the living room and wandered back to the nursery. Somehow he had managed not to wake her in the process of putting her into her crib.
“Sleep tight,” he whispered and kissed her forehead. “Love you.”
He put the gate back up and left the room, making sure to turn the baby monitor on beforehand. In his own room, Jensen changed into a pair of pajama bottoms and got into bed. Unlike his daughter, Jensen found it difficult to sleep that night. Once he did fall asleep, however, it was far from restful. He dreamt of Carrie's sudden death after she had given birth. Then he was standing at her grave with a tiny baby in his arms not knowing what the hell to do next. At five thirty, he had had enough and went into the kitchen to start a pot of coffee. There was a lot to be done in the house today, might as well get started early.
About a week following the move in, Jensen had found his rhythm pretty well. The house looked a lot better with some extra furniture. His mom had put an arrangement of framed photos of Kaylee on the wall above his desk. He loved it and thought it was better than just leaving the pictures on a memory card. The house had lost its initial strangeness. All those noises Jensen wasn’t used to hearing in the middle of the night no longer caused him to go for the bat in his closet.
With his Internet hooked up, he was able to get back to work. One of the perks of being a freelance writer was that you could more or less set your own hours. Also, he could watch Kaylee during the day and not have to pay a babysitter to do it for him. His work had been pretty steady since college. During his time there, he had made some very good contacts who always pointed him in the direction of a decent paying job. Though lately, he had considered looking for editing jobs at a publisher or maybe working for the local paper.
He had met a few of his neighbors, all of whom were very nice and brought him some sort of baked goods. The double chocolate chip brownies from Mrs. O’Malley across the street were high on his list of favorites. Like most people he knew they were all completely taken with Kaylee. A few even offered to watch her if he ever needed to get out of the house for a few hours.
An old friend of his from high school, Christian Kane was still in the area. He came over one afternoon and caught up with Jensen. It had been a very long time since they had seen each other, each having gone to different colleges. Chris had opened his own bar downtown and business had been going great.
“You have to come by some night, Jen. I usually just work the bar on weekends. Rest of the week I’m up in the office being a grown up.”
“Being a grown up is overrated. Kaylee, don’t grow up, okay?”
Kaylee responded with a few random sounds and patted his hand. Both men smiled at her.
“So how are you holding up?”
“Fine, I’m getting the hang of things here. Mom and dad have been a big help.”
“I have to hand it to you, man. I don’t know if I could be this together in your situation.”
“Yeah, well it’s not always easy but raising Kaylee has kept me from going too crazy.”
“Damn, who’d have thought you’d have a house and a family and I’d have my own business at our age?”
“Definitely not me. I did expect you to be getting thrown out of bars, but not owning one,” Jensen added with a grin.
That Saturday, Jensen and Kaylee took a trip to the local library. The stone building was old and just to the right of a park. He thought of taking Kaylee over there after picking up some books. Inside, it was pretty calm for a Saturday afternoon. Jensen took Kaylee over to the children’s room after getting his library card. Little kids were scattered all over the brightly decorated room. Some were playing computer games. Others were at tables with their parents and reading books. Jensen found some books for Kaylee and took a seat in one of the armchairs in the corner. She took one of the books and held one side while Jensen held the other and began to read.
About a half hour later, Jensen decided to check out the adult section of the library to get something for him. Most of the books he came across, he had already read or had no intention of reading. He finally found one that looked pretty interesting and when he looked down, Kaylee was gone. Immediately, a cold wave of panic hit him. His eyes scanned the area for the little blonde head of his daughter. He ran to the end of the row he was in and looked to either side, still nothing.
“Kaylee?” he called, not caring about the “quiet, please” policy.
Where the hell is she? She was fast, sure, but there’s no way she could’ve gone that far, he thought as he searched each row. Just as he was going back to search the children’s section again, he heard Kaylee’s voice call to him. He turned around and saw Kaylee holding the hand of a very tall, young man who Jensen had seen at the reference desk.
“I think you’re missing someone,” he said cracking a smile.
“Jesus,” Jensen sighed, his entire body relaxing. He grabbed up Kaylee and held her like he’d never let go. “Don’t run away from daddy like that, Kaylee.”
For a moment, Jensen forgot the guy was there.
“Thanks for bringing her back.”
“Not a problem,” he said before turning and walking back to his desk.
Jensen’s eyes followed him all the way back. He looked back at Kaylee and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “You scared me,” he kissed her once more, “c’mon, let’s go home.”
Their second visit back, Jensen found himself looking over at the reference area to see if the guy was there. He wondered to himself why he was looking. The guy was definitely good looking, but Jensen wasn’t interested. Or, at least, he hadn’t planned on it.
Each week, Jensen and Kaylee made a trip to the library for more books. Jensen also made a habit of looking for the guy. Jared. He had heard his name once when another library worker was talking to him. It was nice to have a name for him other than “the guy”. Watching Jared from the stacks made Jensen feel a bit like a stalker. Not looking at Jared was proving more and more difficult every week.
While Jensen and Kaylee were in the children’s section one afternoon, Jensen saw Jared walk into the room. He leaned on the edge of the desk and began talking to the brunette librarian behind the desk. There was something wrong with her computer. Clearly, from the look on her face, she was just as happy as Jensen was to see Jared. And it had nothing to do with him being able to fix her computer. He was pretty sure the black button down Jared was wearing had something to do with it.
Jensen turned his attention back to finding books with his daughter. And this worked as a good distraction until Jared came over to talk to him. He hoped to whoever was listening that Jared hadn’t noticed him staring at him the past couple weeks.
“Hey,” Jared said, and then turned his attention to Kaylee. “Hi, sweetheart.”
Jensen smiled. “I think she remembers you.”
“Well, I certainly remember her.” He stuck out a hand. “I’m Jared, by the way.”
“Jensen,” he said, shaking his hand. “This is Kaylee.”
“That’s a pretty name,” he cooed at the little girl, who smiled and leaned her face into her father’s neck. “How old is she?”
“Almost two in a couple months.”
“Jared! It’s doing it again!” called the librarian, panicky.
Jared looked back at Jensen apologetically. “Sorry, duty calls.”
“It’s okay, we probably should get going.”
“See you next week, maybe?”
“Bye, Kaylee,” Jared said before going back over to help the woman.
“Bye bye!” Kaylee called, one little hand waving at him.
Jensen felt his face getting hot and decided to exit as quickly as possible. This time, he didn’t look at Jared. It would’ve just made things worse.
That night, with Kaylee sound asleep in her room, Jensen had time to unwind with his book. Its plot had finally picked up pace and was now getting more interesting than before. Trouble was, Jensen couldn’t focus on the book. His mind kept wandering back to Jared. That dark shirt that he had worn that day fit tightly around his biceps. A little odd, Jensen thought, for a computer guy. Other parts of Jensen’s body responded to that image as well. God, it had been song long since… well, anything. Raising his daughter was his whole life. Carrie’s sudden death had been incredibly difficult to get over. He just had other things on his mind. Until now, that is.
Jensen set the book on his bedside table, removed his glasses and placed them on top. He rubbed a hand over his face. Obviously his mind wasn’t going to let this go tonight. Jared wasn’t even his type, if he had a type of guy. The last, and only, time he had been with a guy was college. That had just been bad all around. Too much Jaeger and a drunken dare ended up with his roommate’s dick in his mouth. There had been nothing remotely sexy about it. His roommate had watched entirely too much porn and confused Jensen with one of the performers. Some people could deep throat very well and Jensen wasn’t one of them. Gagging is definitely not sexy, especially when you’re drunk. He shook his head and laughed at that somewhat fuzzy memory. Regardless of that incident, he still had been interested in men as well as women. Soon after, he started dating Carrie and never really looked back. He turned out his light and settled down under the covers. Soon after, Jensen was asleep.
Jared led Jensen into the back of the library until they found an empty office. He made the first move, his large hands cupping Jensen’s face and his mouth covering his. So soft, so damn soft and sweet. He kissed Jared back without any hesitation or reserve. Jared’s tongue slipped past his lips and teased and coaxed until Jensen moaned into the kiss.
“God, Jared just fuck me,” he growled, breaking it.
Jared grinned and kissed along Jensen’s jaw line, his teeth nipping at the skin there. One hand had moved down to cup Jensen through his jeans. Jensen pushed his hips into his touch, trying to create some kind of friction, to feel something. Jared continued to tease him through the fabric and his mouth sucked at his neck. The jeans were too tight now and he ached for some skin to skin contact. Closing his eyes, Jensen dropped his head back and groaned.
“Want me to fuck you right here? Want my cock buried deep inside of you, hmm?” Jared purred in his ear. He undid Jensen’s zipper, fitting his hand inside against his straining erection.
A small whimper escaped Jensen’s mouth and he happily complied. He leaned his weight against the desk in front of him. Jared fitted himself up against Jensen’s back, his breath was hot against Jensen’s ear. “Going to take those off or do I have to do it for you?” he breathed, running a hand over the front of his jeans. Without a word, Jensen pushed them off his hips and then pulled his white t-shirt off. Jared grinned and did the same, leaving only their boxers between them. His hand rubbed up Jensen’s abdomen and he smiled against his shoulder. He pulled Jensen’s head back for a rough kiss, tongue delving deep into his mouth. They pulled back panting.
“Please,” Jensen begged breathlessly.
“Since you asked so nicely…”
Jensen awoke to the sound of his alarm beeping angrily at him that it was 6:30 in the morning and time to get up. God fucking damn it. He dragged himself out of bed, smacking at the off button and stumbled into the bathroom. After turning the shower on to just the right temperature, he stepped in and let the warm water cover his body. The dream had left him achingly hard. With one arm against the wall for support, his hand enclosed his cock and he stroked up and down steadily. Disjointed images from the dream still flashed through his mind. Hazel eyes burning into his own with a desire he’d never seen before. A pair of strong arms pinning him against the wooden desk. The feel of Jared’s hardness against his ass. Before he knew it, he was coming hard, nearly falling forward with the force of it. “Shit,” he gasped. If these dreams kept up, he might have to drive to the next town over to use their library. He hoped to God there weren’t any more ridiculously good looking workers there as well. Why the hell couldn’t they have just hired bitter, old women who shushed you at the drop of a hat?
Jensen looked up from his laptop when he heard the doorbell ring. He picked up Kaylee, who had been playing with some toys on the floor beside his desk and answered the door. On the other side was his smiling, now brunette, little sister, Mackenzie, who he hadn’t seen in almost six months.
“Hey!” he exclaimed, hugging her to him with his free arm.
“Hey, loser,” she said with a laugh and then took her niece from him. “Hi, sweetie pie! I missed you so much! You are such a big girl now!”
Jensen guided his sister into the house and shut the door behind them. Mackenzie took a seat on the couch and placed Kaylee in her lap, who seemed interested in tugging on her aunt’s long hair. She carefully removed it from the girl’s grip and pulled it all back into a pony tail.
“Want something to drink?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
Jensen sat beside her. “So how was Italy?”
“It was amazing! I actually picked up a lot of Italian while I was there. We got to see so many historical monuments. I can barely name them all. It was so cool! Did some shopping, too. Met a guy there…”
“A guy? Do I have to go kick some Italian ass?” He asked, nudging his sister.
Mackenzie rolled her eyes. “No. Besides, we only talk online. It’s nothing serious. And you’d have to get in line behind dad because he already asked the same thing.”
“I loved your pictures. So do you think you’re going to go back?”
“Not any time soon, I’m poor.”
“Probably from all that shopping.”
“It wasn’t that much shopping and don’t complain because I brought you presents.”
“Well, in that case…”
“Tell your daddy to stop complaining, Kaylee,” Mackenzie said and kissed the crown of Kaylee’s blonde head.
“I really did miss you, kiddo,” Jensen said fondly.
“I missed you too, loser. So what’s been up with you?”
Jensen hadn’t talked to his sister about being bisexual. In high school, he had desperately tried to ignore the fact that he had a massive crush on one of his teammates. So acknowledging it back then was the last thing he wanted to do. During college, he had been with Carrie so he never had been interested in anyone else. His feelings were getting harder and harder to ignore and he needed to get it off his chest. Better do this now, he thought.
“I need to talk to you about something.”
Mackenzie stiffened, looking like she was preparing for bad news.
“I met someone.”
“Oh, Jesus! The way you said that sounded like you were going to say you had a month to live!” The look of worry immediately left her face.
“No, no, I’m perfectly healthy…” he trailed off, staring at his hands.
“So why are you being all weird about telling me?” Mackenzie touched his hand.
“It’s a guy.” Jensen kept his eyes on his hands, hoping her reaction wouldn’t be too horrible.
“What’s so terrible about that?” she asked innocently.
“You aren’t surprised?”
“Jen, we both had a crush on Brandon Parker in high school.”
His eyebrows shot up in total surprise. “You knew about that?”
“Well, you never shut up about the guy. Jen, I’m totally fine with you liking guys. Christ, I’m in the Gay-Straight Alliance at school! I’m more than fine with it. Am I the first person you’ve told?”
“Oh honey, I am so happy to be your first!” Mackenzie smiled, looking almost exactly like their mother and hugged him. “If anyone gives you shit about this, I’ll kick their ass. So tell me about the guy. Is he cute? Did you go on a date yet?” she said all of this in one breath, or at least that’s how it sounded to Jensen.
“No, no, not really. We’ve just talked a bit. He works at the library.” Jensen couldn’t hide the smile as he thought of Jared.
“A sexy guy librarian? Nice!”
“He isn’t a librarian. He works on the computers.”
“A hot nerd, then, even better! You’d never have to pay for tech support again.”
“I’m not marrying the guy, Mac.”
“Just saying. So what does he look like?”
Jensen described Jared to his sister, who looked increasingly interested as his description became more and more detailed. He was more than relieved that she had immediately accepted him. Honestly, he had expected Mackenzie to be the easiest to open up to about this. She was always a very open and caring person, even from a young age. His parents and older brother were next, but he felt less nervous now. Mackenzie would always have his back.
“We’re going to the library, now.”
“I gotta see this guy,” Mackenzie said, standing up and grabbing her bag. “C’mon.”
“Mac, I don’t know…”
She tossed him his keys. “Let’s go!”
At the library, Mackenzie looked around at every tall guy she saw, trying to match up Jensen’s description to their faces. She walked through the library like a woman on a mission. Jensen felt the urge to turn around and walk right out of the library. Then, he saw her take a seat at one of the computers near Jared’s desk, just staring at the screen. What the hell is she doing? Mackenzie stood and went over to the desk after a minute, talking to Jared. Oh, no. No, no, no. Jensen walked over with Kaylee as Jared was explaining how to use the computer.
“Oh, I’m really bad with computers,” Mackenzie said, giggling and actually blushing. She caught sight of her brother. “Oh hey, Jen!”
Jared turned, his face brightening when he saw Jensen. “Hey.”
“Jared here was just explaining how to use the computer. You know me, I’m computer illiterate.” Her voice was pure saccharine. She had used that voice on their dad a few times when trying to butter him up about going out with friends or buying something she really didn’t need.
Computer illiterate, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. Mackenzie knew how to use a computer better than anyone in their family. She coded her entire blog by herself and made weekly podcasts to keep in touch with friends and family when she was abroad.
“Jared, this is my sister, Mackenzie.”
“Oh, I didn’t know. Nice to meet you, Mackenzie.”
“You too. So, you two know each other?” She was actually twirling her hair around her finger! Mackenzie Ackles was truly evil sometimes.
“We see each other when Jensen and Kaylee come in on Saturdays.”
Jensen prayed that Mackenzie wouldn’t tell Jared that he talked about him. He pulled her close to him a little too roughly to make sure she wouldn’t blab. Mackenzie smiled sweetly at both of them.
“We were thinking of going to the movies tomorrow, why don’t you come along?” she asked and Jensen felt slightly panicked.
“I’d love to go. My friend canceled on me anyway. His fiancée wanted to go over flowers for their wedding.”
“What’s your number, Jensen can call you later,” Mackenzie asked, flipping open her phone and entering in the digits as Jared repeated them to her.
“I guess I’ll see you later.”
“See you tonight, Jared,” Mackenzie said, grinning.
Jensen quickly said goodbye and practically dragged Mackenzie with him away from the desk. Once they were out of the building, he turned to face her. “What are you doing?!”
“Getting you a hot guy’s number since you can’t do it yourself. He is GORGEOUS, Jen!”
“I don’t even know if he’s interested, Mac!”
“That boy wants you. Does your gaydar not work? You know you love me.”
“Not right now! Let’s just go home before you embarrass me anymore.”
Mackenzie rolled her eyes and got in the passenger side seat. With Kaylee fastened in her car seat in back, Jensen got in and drove out of the parking lot. As much as he hated to admit it, Mackenzie did do him a huge favor by getting Jared’s number. Still, she was a big pain in the ass sometimes. On the way home, Mackenzie plugged in her little purple iPod and flicked through until she found “It’s Raining Men”, which she sang at the top of her lungs. Jensen glared at her and switched off the sound.
The following day, Mackenzie was over at the house for lunch. They were sitting at the kitchen table when she handed him his phone with a new contact on the screen. “Hot Gay Nerd” appeared above a series of numbers. He scowled at her and changed the name to “Jared”. Then he wondered what this guy’s last name was.
“Call him and tell him that I can’t make it, but you still would love to hang out,” Mackenzie stated.
“You don’t have plans. What are you doing?”
“I have to spend time with mom and dad,” she answered matter of factly.
“Since when? And who’s watching Kaylee?”
“Since now and Chris.”
“You outed me to Chris?!”
“He’s gay too, loser.”
“Yeah, he owns that bar of his with his boyfriend, Steve. What? You didn’t know?”
“He didn’t tell me! How long have you known?”
“Since high school. I had a big ass crush on him back then and caught him making out with one of my friends from drama at homecoming.” Mackenzie told this to him like it was old news.
“Wait, when did you even see Chris?”
“I ran into him at the store earlier today. We had lunch together.”
How did he not know about any of this? Chris was his best friend in high school. Why wouldn’t he have told him? Their school hadn’t been very big at all, so everyone always knew your business. Chris was always pretty reserved when it came to his love life, more so than Jensen, but he never even hinted at liking guys. Jensen had to process this all in a matter of seconds. Back to the matter at hand.
“Exactly how long have you been planning this?”
“Since one o’clock this afternoon. Now call him or I will. Chris will be here at six thirty.” Mackenzie kissed Jensen and Kaylee goodbye and went to the door.
“Bullshit, you love me!” she returned and was gone.
Jensen looked at the phone, looked at his daughter who was busy stacking things on the floor and sighed. He knew he had to call Jared either way. It had been a while since he went out. Holding his breath, he pressed the green “call” button and held the phone to his ear.
“Jared? Hey, it’s Jensen.”
“Hey! What’s up?”
“Okay, she’s already had dinner but you can let her have something to drink if she wants it. I always read to her before bed, so if you could do that it would be great. She goes down a lot easier if I do. Uh, her toys are…well, everywhere so don’t worry about picking them up. Emergency numbers are by the phone, as well as the restaurant, movie theatre and Jared’s cell in case you can’t get me on mine…”
“Seriously, I can handle myself, Jensen. I watch my sister’s kids all the time,” Chris reassured him. He looked at Kaylee and smiled, “Tell your daddy that you’re safe with me, would ya?”
Kaylee wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning her head against his and smiled at her father.
“See? Now go or you’ll be late for your date.”
“It is not a date! Besides, he’s picking me up.”
“That’s sweet that he’s picking you up for your date.”
“There's no point in taking two cars and stop calling it a date. We’re just going out.”
“On a date.”
“It is not a date!”
“That’s not what your sister said.”
Jensen jumped about ten feet when he heard the doorbell ring. Chris watched with interest as his friend nervously smoothed his clothes before opening the door. He wanted to see just what about this guy made Jensen so nervous. It was pretty clear when he saw him. There was no way in hell that guy worked at library. Jared stepped inside and smiled at Jensen like they were the only two people in the room.
“Jared, this is my friend Christian Kane. He’s watching Kaylee for me tonight.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jared said, extending a hand to him.
“Likewise.” He shook his hand.
“Hey there, Kaylee,” Jared smiled at the little girl in Chris’ arms.
Jared kissed one of her little hands and turned back to Jensen. “Ready to go?”
“Yeah.” Jensen picked up Kaylee and kissed both of her cheeks. “You be good for Chris, baby girl. I love you.”
He handed her back to Chris and started out the door with Jared. Unable to resist one last jab, Chris called after them, “You two have fun tonight! Remember no glove, no love!” Jensen shot him the best death stare ever and shut the door. Chris looked back at Kaylee’s sweet little face. “Your daddy is a closet case, babydoll.”
“That was a lot of fun, Jared. I haven’t been out with an adult since before Kaylee was born.”
“My pleasure, man. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself.”
A slightly awkward silence settled between the two as they sat in Jared’s car. Jensen found himself not wanting to get out of the car. He wasn’t sure what he was expecting. After all, this hadn’t been a date. So why did it feel like one all of a sudden? He rubbed his palms on his jeans and tried to think of something to say.
“You want to come up for a beer or something?” Jared asked.
Jared’s apartment was a three floor walkup in a converted warehouse not far from the movie theatre. Jensen spent the entire walk up in full on panic mode. He went through at least a hundred different ways the night could end up: some good, some very good and some very bad. He took a look around the apartment which was nicer than the one he had lived in back in college. Jared walked into the kitchen just to the left of the door.
“Make yourself comfortable!” he called.
Jensen moved the Rock Band guitar from the couch and took a seat. Just to his right was a computer desk with a stack of games as tall as Kaylee. Three different gaming consoles were placed in front of the television, wires crisscrossing on their way back to the entertainment center. He assumed the two dogs Jared mentioned having were in the bedroom. Jared handed Jensen a bottle and took a seat beside him. He settled one foot against the coffee table. Jensen gave a half smile and sipped his beer, unsure of what to do or say next.
“So that movie was pretty damn terrible, huh?” Jared asked in an attempt to break the silence that had returned.
“Oh God, yes. Why do they have to remake old horror movies, anyway?”
“I have no idea, man.” Jared laughed and took another swig of his beer.
Jensen’s eyes wandered over Jared’s long denim covered legs. He swallowed hard and tried to think of something else. Anything else. Something to keep his mind off of the incredibly sexy man sitting next to him. Noticing the wheels turning in Jensen’s head, Jared cocked his head and smiled slightly. “Everything all right over there?”
“Yeah… fine… what makes you say that?”
“You’re just really quiet.”
“It’s okay. You seem nervous. Do I make you nervous?”
Jensen nearly choked on his beer. “What? No! Why?”
“You tell me.”
What is he, a mind reader?
“Just what?” Jared’s voice was soft.
“I haven’t been with anyone in a while. I’m out of practice. I’d been with my wife for five years.”
Jared’s smile was sweet. He set the bottle on the coffee table and edged a little closer to Jensen, who straightened and felt the urge to back up. Jared held up a hand to show him he wasn’t about to go any further.
“It’s okay, Jensen. Look, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. Can I ask you something?”
“Have you ever been with a guy before?”
“Once, but it was pretty terrible. My roommate my freshman year of college and I got really drunk and started fooling around. I decided to go down on him and he got a little too into it. So I ended up gagging and getting a mouthful in the process.” He felt himself blushing. This was something he had never told to anyone.
“Oh shit, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh,” his laughter cut him off. His whole body shook with it.
“No, laugh, it was bad,” Jensen said with a smile.
“So that was the last time?”
“And only.” Sadly, Jensen added in his head. He noticed how late it was and stood up. “This sounds bad, but I really should get going.”
“Right, of course.”
Jared walked with Jensen to the door, pausing before he opened it and kissed him. Jensen stiffened against him and then immediately eased into it. One of his hands came up to the back of Jared’s head. Jared pulled him closer with one hand on his hip. The sweet innocent kiss Jared had intended quickly changed into a desperate one. He pressed Jensen up against the door and broke the kiss. Their foreheads pressed together and they let themselves calm down a bit. Jensen’s lips were so red and full Jared couldn’t help diving back in for more, his teeth biting at the soft flesh. His tongue soothed over it and elicited a soft moan from Jensen. Jared grinned against his lips.
“Pretty good kisser for someone so out of practice.”
Jensen blushed and averted his gaze. “Thanks…”
“Well, c’mon, honey let’s get you home with your reputation in tact. Wouldn’t want Chris thinking you put out on the first date.”
Jensen laughed. “He already does think that and I’m sure he’s called my sister already.”
They pulled up outside of Jensen’s house, hoping Chris didn’t hear the car and was watching from the window. Jared pulled Jensen in for another kiss. Again, the chaste kiss that they had intended to not last long turned into a short make out session in the front seat of Jared’s car. Jensen pulled back, catching his breath and got out of the car. He leaned down and wished Jared a good night through the open passenger window. Before going inside, Jensen made sure he didn’t look like he just was groped in the front seat of a car. Chris opened the door just as he reached for the handle. The biggest, most evil grin Jensen had ever seen stretched across his face.
“Our little girl is growing up!”
“I hate you so much.”
Eight the next morning, Jensen received a call from Mackenzie demanding to know all about his date. He left out every single detail, but from the sounds of his sister’s giggles and squeals, she figured it out. Jensen wondered if his sister was trying to vicariously through his experiences.
“Mac, you need to get your own boyfriend.”
“Yeah, I know. So when are you seeing Jared again?”
It continued like that for a few more weeks. Mackenzie was no longer needed to set up their dates. At least one night, Jared and Jensen would go out and see a movie or get drinks at Chris’ bar. There would be some front seat making out before parting ways.
The night of their fourth date, they were in the middle of kissing when Jensen felt Jared’s hand undoing his jeans. Feeling Jared’s hand slip into his boxers and grasp his hard cock, Jensen moaned into Jared’s open mouth. Jared kept a steady rhythm, Jensen’s pre-cum making it slick. He desperately fucked into Jared’s fist, wanting so badly to come.
“Gonna come, Jen?” Jared breathed into his ear.
Eyes squeezed shut, Jensen bit down on his lower lip. He could feel his face flushed and hot. Jared’s teeth closed over his neck, gently sucking and following it up with a lick. It was all too much for Jensen and he came with a loud gasp, pulsing hot and thick over Jared’s hand. His breathing was ragged as he came down from his high. He forced his eyes open and saw Jared watching him.
“God, you’re beautiful, Jensen.”
Jared licked his hand clean before putting Jensen’s clothes back in order. That sight nearly killed Jensen and he willed himself to sit up. He felt a little self conscious now that he realized he was parked in front of his house. Any of his neighbors could have guessed what was going on from the fogged up windows. But, fuck, it was totally worth it.
“So, um, next week?” he asked.
Jared leaned over, kissing him deeply before answering. “Count on it.”
“Night,” Jensen said, biting back a grin.
Jensen walked back into the living room after putting Kaylee down for the night. Jared looked up from the television and smiled.
“Sorry, she wanted two stories tonight.”
Jensen eyed the television for a moment and tilted his head in confusion. “Why are you watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians?”
“It’s like a train wreck, I can’t look away.”
“Let me help,” Jensen said, switching off the set with the remote and pulling Jared close.
This was more than welcome distraction. Their mouths found each other easily. Jared pushed Jensen down into the couch, his full weight pinning him. Jensen licked into Jared’s warm mouth and purred when Jared’s tongue slid against his. He rolled his hips against Jared, who pulled back, looking down at him, his breathing uneven and shallow. His hand stroked Jensen’s cheek. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.
“What?” Jensen asked, wondering why the hell he had stopped.
“I love you.”
Clichéd as it was, Jensen felt his heart skip a beat when he heard it. He smiled brilliantly up at Jared. “I love you too, Jared.”
The couch wasn’t the most comfortable place in the house and they retired to Jensen’s bedroom. Jared drew Jensen to him, gazing down with warm, hazel eyes in the dim light. Jensen reached up and touched his cheek to make sure it wasn’t a dream. This time, he was happy to find, it wasn’t.
“Sure about this, Jen?” he asked, his voice low.
“More than anything.”
Jared leaned down, his mouth claiming Jensen’s and maneuvering them towards the bed. Jensen broke the kiss by falling back onto the mattress and Jared followed him down. His forearms rested on either side of Jensen’s head. His knees framed Jensen’s thighs, keeping him pressed down into the mattress. They kissed like they hadn’t stopped. Jared’s tongue delved into Jensen’s warm, inviting mouth. Their cocks rubbed against each other through layers of fabric. They groaned at the contact. The clothing had to go and fast. Reaching down, Jensen grabbed hold of the hem of Jared’s t-shirt and pulled it up over his head. Jared lifted up on his knees and finished removing the shirt. He tossed it on the floor.
When he looked up at Jared, Jensen felt his mouth go dry. Jared smiled down at him. His tosseled hair framed his face beautifully. The word “perfect” came to mind. This kind of body was rarely found outside of classical Greek statues… or porn. His hand reached up and ran appreciatively over Jared’s abs. Jared responded by grabbing it and pressing a kiss to the inside of Jensen’s wrist. He took Jensen’s index finger into his mouth, swirling his tongue around it and Jensen moaned deep in his throat. Another finger was taken into that warm, wet mouth and Jared’s tongue slid between the two of them. If he kept this up, Jensen was sure he would have a heart attack. And like that, Jared slid Jensen’s fingers from his mouth. He leaned back down, their noses almost touching.
“I can’t be the only one without a shirt, can I?”
Jared’s mouth moved down lower with each button undone. Each kiss to Jensen’s skin felt scorching hot. The idea of being marked by Jared made Jensen even harder. By the time Jared had completely unbuttoned the shirt, Jensen had trouble staying still. He felt Jared grin against his stomach. Before he knew it, they were both completely naked and Jared’s lips were back at Jensen’s. One hand palmed Jensen’s ass, causing them to grind together. They were panting when they finally pulled away from each other.
“Condoms and lube are in the drawer,” Jensen rasped.
A grin split Jared’s face. “Planning this?”
Their mouths fused together again. Jared reached over to get out what he needed. He kissed along Jensen’s jaw line, all the way up to his ear and whispered, “Tell me what you want.”
Jensen was quiet at first, his response almost inaudible. “You.”
“You’ve got me,” he paused, licking along the shell of Jensen’s ear “tell me what you want me to do.”
He swallowed, almost embarrassed to say the words out loud. But seeing the look of absolute desire in Jared’s eyes made him forget all about his hang-ups. His hand came up to touch Jared’s cheek, thumb rubbing gently over his lower lip.
“Fuck me, Jared. I want you to fuck me.”
Without a word, Jared kissed him roughly, their tongues sliding together, making Jensen want it so fucking bad he couldn’t stand it. Jared flipped open the bottle’s cap, smoothing the liquid over his fingers and moved lower on Jensen’s body. Jensen widened his legs, leaving him completely bare to Jared’s gaze. His eyes shut as Jared slid one slippery finger slowly inside of him, circling and carefully stretching as he pushed deeper. Jared’s tongue licked up the length of Jensen’s cock and he gasped. Jared swirled his tongue around the sensitive head, carefully sliding in another finger, getting Jensen ready for him. He removed them and slid them right back inside, his finger tips grazing Jensen’s prostate and he arched off the bed.
“God, don’t tease,” he warned.
It seemed Jared ignored that and added a third finger. Jensen wasn’t sure how much more he could take. He took hold of Jared’s hair and made an insistent noise deep in his throat. Jared let Jensen’s cock slip out of his mouth and he pressed a kiss to his inner thigh. He took his time moving back up Jensen’s body, stopping every so often to lick, kiss or bite at his skin. This made Jensen a little wild and he grabbed Jared’s face, kissing him so hard he knew there would be bruises. He needed him right the fuck now and Jared knew it.
Getting up on his knees again, Jared quickly removed a condom from its wrapper and slipped it over his achingly hard cock, then slicked it with lube. Jensen watched him, mouth open slightly and heart thudding loudly in his ears. Jared pushed into Jensen’s body slowly, almost too slowly. Jensen’s eyes grew wide, feeling the delicious stretch and slight pain. It was almost too much, Jared was so big. Jared withdrew and was right back where he was. The pain melted away, leaving Jensen feeling full. He dug his nails into Jared’s back to show him that didn’t want to take it slow anymore. Jared happily obliged him.
“Feel so good, Jen,” Jared groaned. He changed the angle just enough to start Jensen keening.
“Fuck, Jared, please,” Jensen begged.
“Uh, please what?” he gasped, control beginning to slip.
“Please touch me, please?”
One of Jared’s large hands gripped Jensen’s erection, moving up and down in time with his hips. Jensen’s breath came in quick pants and he closed his eyes tightly, just feeling. This was better than any fantasy he could imagine. From the sounds of Jared’s breathing, he was close too. He could feel himself teetering on the edge, so fucking close…
“C’mon, Jen, come for me. I wanna see it.”
Jensen’s orgasm hit him hard, leaving him breathless. A warm sensation spread throughout his body and Jensen felt dizzy with pleasure. He opened his eyes, watching Jared’s movements. Jared let go of his sensitive cock and focused all his attention on fucking him. Every muscle rippled as he pushed in and out of Jensen. He threw his head back when he came and ground into Jensen as he rode out his orgasm. Slipping out of him, Jared moved to the side of Jensen, still gasping for air. With one hand, Jared pulled Jensen in for a long, lazy kiss.
After disposing of the condom in the bedside trashcan, Jared brought Jensen close, their foreheads resting against each other. Jensen smiled at him, feeling a sense of absolute peace. He ran his fingers through Jared’s hair.
“Keep this up and I might not let you leave,” Jensen purred.
“Guess I’ll have to keep it up then.”
The following morning, Jensen woke to something heavy draped over his waist. For a moment, he forgot what had happened the night before. He looked down to discover it was an arm. Jared’s arm. Then it all came back and Jensen couldn’t help but smile.
“Mmm, morning,” Jared whispered against Jensen’s neck, cuddling up closer to him.
Jensen closed his eyes, relishing in the moment of quiet. Kaylee would be up soon. For the time being, it was just them. He relaxed in the combined warmth of the sun shining into the room and Jared’s embrace. Jared pressed kisses along Jensen’s shoulder. He could feel Jared’s erection pressing insistently into his back. Jensen teasingly ground against him.
“Tease,” Jared rasped and bit down on his shoulder, then smoothed over it with his tongue. Jensen turned and pressed Jared flat against the mattress and with a grin he slid down his body. He hovered over Jared’s cock, letting his breath tease him and was rewarded with a groan. His eyes flicked back up to Jared’s face. Oh yeah, he had him right where he wanted him.
Wrapping one hand around the base of Jared’s cock, Jensen flicked his tongue to taste the fluid gathered at the head. Jared sucked in a sharp breath. Jensen wrapped his lips around Jared’s cock and sucked. His hand jacked the base as his mouth worked the rest of him. Up, down, up, down. He kept that rhythm and soon felt Jared squirming underneath him. Jared’s hands tried to grab onto Jensen’s short hair and when that failed, he felt one at the back of his head, guiding and urging him on.
“Oh fuck, Jen, just like that.”
Jensen couldn’t get enough of Jared’s deep, sexy voice rasping out his name like that. He kept up the pace and Jared kept up the noises. Jensen knew it wasn’t long until –
“Fuck!” Jared shouted.
Warmth flooded Jensen’s mouth and he swallowed it down before pulling off of Jared’s spent cock. Jared pulled him up to kiss him, tongue invading Jensen’s mouth, trying to suck the taste of himself from it. Jensen tangled a hand in Jared’s hair, purring into his mouth. When their mouths separated, Jared whined at the loss.
“Gonna shower real quick,” he said and leaned back in for a quick kiss and he headed into the adjoining bathroom.
After Jensen finished showering and brushing his teeth, he came back into the bedroom dressed only in a towel. Jared catcalled after him, causing him to blush. He changed into some clothes, much to Jared’s dismay.
“Feel free to shower. There are some clothes that should fit you in my dresser. I’m going to go get Kaylee and make breakfast.”
“M’kay,” Jared said, leaning back on the bed.
Jensen set Kaylee in her high chair, taking a seat in front of her. He fed her spoonfuls of pureed banana between sips of coffee. Breakfast consisted of bagels and cream cheese, like always. He looked up and saw Jared walk in, hair still wet and one of his shirts stretched almost too tightly over Jared’s chest. Jensen swallowed hard. Jared kissed him, and then knelt down just to the side of Kaylee’s chair.
“Morning, beautiful.” He kissed one chubby cheek.
“I made bagels and there’s coffee ready,” Jensen informed him, spooning more banana into Kaylee’s mouth.
At the mention of food, Jared bolted for the plate. Jensen couldn’t help but laugh. He practically wolfed down the food, consuming three bagels in one sitting. Noticing Jensen’s surprised look, Jared grinned sheepishly, his cheeks stuffed like a hamster’s.
Later that day, Jensen finished up the revision of his latest article and got up to see what Jared and Kaylee were doing. They had been a little too quiet over on the couch. He walked over and found Kaylee passed out on Jared’s chest. Like Kaylee, Jared was also fast asleep, one hand on her back. Jensen was tempted to take a picture. Instead, he took the blanket from the back of the couch and draped it over them. This was a sight he could get used to seeing.
“I don’t know if I can do this, Mac,” Jensen said nervously as they both stood on the front porch of their parents’ house.
“Of course you can, honey. Kaylee and I will be right there, won’t we?” Mackenzie said to her niece. She took Jensen’s hand. “C’mon, let’s go inside.”
Jeff and Samantha were sitting across from the couch when Jensen, Mackenzie and Kaylee entered the room. They both looked concerned, and rightfully so considering Jensen had been vague with them on the phone. “We need to talk” isn’t something any parent wants to hear. Mackenzie sat beside her brother on the couch and placed Kaylee on her lap. She kept her brother’s hand in her own.
“Mom, dad, I have to tell you something,” he began. Jensen looked at both of his parents and faltered for a moment. Mackenzie gave his hand an encouraging squeeze. Okay, he could do this. “I’ve been seeing someone, a guy.”
“Oh,” Samantha said after a moment. “Well, what is he like?”
As Jensen told his mother about Jared, he noted his father’s silence during the entire conversation. This worried him. He wanted both of his parents to be happy for him. From the looks of it, only one was happy and genuinely interested in hearing about Jared. His heart sank when Jeff stood and walked onto the porch. Samantha called after her husband and Mackenzie stood to go talk to him.
“No, I’ll talk to him,” Jensen said and walked out after Jeff. He saw him staring out at the front yard and stepped closer. “Dad, talk to me, please.”
“You were married.”
“Yes and I loved Carrie. I still do, that hasn’t changed, dad.”
“Is this something new?”
“No, dad. I tried to hide it for a long time, but since I’ve met Jared I can’t do it anymore. I love him.”
“Does he love you?”
“Are you happy?”
Jeff nodded and looked at his son. “That’s all I want for my children, I don’t care who it is.”
Jeff smiled warmly at Jensen and hugged him. Jensen felt tears in his eyes and all of that worry and fear was gone as soon as his dad embraced him. Both men stepped back to look at each other.
“When do I get to meet him?”
Jared got out of his car, letting Harley and Sadie out from the backseat. They made a dash for Jensen’s backyard and Jared quickly caught up so he could get the gate open. He followed them and found them on top of Jensen. Kaylee seemed incredibly happy to have dogs to play with. The little girl giggled as she watched them crawl all over her dad. Harley paused for a moment to lick the side of her face as not to leave her out of the love fest.
“It’s okay,” Jensen laughed. “They aren’t hurting me.”
“Hey, sweetheart!” Jared exclaimed, scooping up Kaylee. She smiled at him and then looked back to the dogs. “See the doggies?”
“Gies!” she squealed happily.
Jensen managed to wrestle out from beneath the two excited dogs and stand up. He came around to the other side of Jared, tilting his head up to kiss him. “Just using me for my yard?”
“I see how it is. Want a beer?”
Jared took a seat on the back patio and set Kaylee on his lap. She was still completely intent on the dogs. A girl after his own heart. He kept one hand around her body to keep her from sliding off of his lap. Both dogs came up and sniffed at Kaylee, trying to figure out what exactly she was. Soon enough, she was going to be too big even for him to keep still. Jensen walked out and handed him one of the beers. To Kaylee he gave a juice filled sippy cup. He sat in the other deck chair, watching the dogs dash from one end of the yard to the other in something that resembled a game of tag.
“So I get to meet the folks tonight, huh?” Jared said, taking a sip of beer.
“That’s the plan. You nervous?”
“A little. I haven’t had a guy introduce me to his parents before.”
“Well, I’ve never introduced a guy to my parents before, so we’re in the same boat.”
As if on cue, Jensen heard the sound of his dad’s truck out front. Both dogs began barking and dashed for the gate. Jensen gave Jared a comforting smile and headed inside to get the front door. Samantha had another armful of food and Jeff just had a case of beer.
“Hey, c’mon in.”
“When did you get dogs?” Samantha asked, leaning in to kiss his cheek.
“Those are Jared’s, he brought them over so they could run around.”
Samantha rejoined them after putting her things in the kitchen. All three walked outside onto the deck and Jensen made the introductions. He wasn’t surprised that his mom hugged Jared like she had known him for years. Jeff settled for a handshake and a smile. Jensen brought out some more drinks and they all sat down together on the deck. Sadie and Harley eased over to see who the new additions were. Jared handed Kaylee over to her grandparents with a smile. Even though they seemed very nice and he had been assured that they were perfectly accepting of them being together, Jared still felt nervous as hell. Sensing Jared’s unease, Jensen put a hand on his knee. They looked at each other and smiled, Jared’s nerves calming instantly.
“Aw, look at them,” Samantha said and caused her son to blush profusely.
Jensen cracked a smile watching his mother’s look of surprise as Jared finished off his third, full plate of food. His father looked impressed. Samantha laughed.
“That was great, ma’am, thank you.”
“You’re very welcome, sweetie. Good to know someone likes my cooking that much.”
“I like your cooking. I’m just watching my figure,” Jensen interjected.
“Whatever you say, dear,” Samantha turned back to Jared. “And none of that ma’am stuff anymore.”
“Yes, ma… okay,” Jared said with a smile.
Jared and Jensen watched his parents driving off from the front door. The evening had gone extremely well. Even the dogs behaved. Jensen kissed Jared before walking into the kitchen and starting on the dishes. Just as he closed the dishwasher, Jensen felt Jared’s arms around his waist.
“Your parents totally love me.”
Jensen laughed. “Yeah, they do.”
“Well, good, because I like them too.”
“What about me?” Jensen asked, turning to face him.
“Nope, I don’t like you, not one bit,” he said, grinning, “I love you.”
“That was lame, Jared.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“Still love you, even if you’re lame.”
Jared held Jensen’s face in his hands and kissed him. Jensen wrapped his arms around Jared’s waist, pressing their bodies together tightly.
“Bed?” Jensen asked.
The sound of Kaylee’s cry through the monitor woke Jensen from a sound sleep. Jared’s arm was heavy against his waist and he had to remove it before getting to his feet. In the dark, Jensen searched out his pajama bottoms that had been forgotten on the floor hours earlier. They were slipped on hastily and Jensen made his way into his daughter’s room. Kaylee was standing at her crib gate, still crying and one hand extended to him.
“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” he cooed as he picked her up.
Kaylee continued to cry and Jensen couldn’t find anything that would have bothered her. He sat in the rocking chair beside her crib and moved slowly, humming to her. With his fingers he stroked her soft, blonde hair. Gradually, her cries subsided and she rested her head against her daddy’s shoulder. Kaylee yawned and closed her eyes slowly. Jensen rubbed small circles against her back. The sound of the floorboards creaking caused him to look up. Jared was at the door, looking like an overgrown confused little boy.
“She okay?” he asked sleepily.
A few more steps and Jared was kneeling beside the chair, his head pressed against Jensen’s arm. Jensen looked down at Jared and it all clicked together. This was right. This is what he wanted his life to be.
“Love you,” Jensen said.
About a month following Kaylee’s second birthday, Jensen arrived home with very good news. He was now working for a publisher as a publication assistant. While he loved doing freelance writing, he wanted something permanent. This new job also offered better healthcare coverage for Kaylee as well as him. Jared insisted they celebrate his new job that night.
Jared and Jensen walked up to the bar, taking a seat on the leather stools. Steve walked over after finishing up a drink for another customer. “Hey guys, how’s it going?”
“We’re celebrating, Jen just got an editing job,” Jared said excitedly.
“I’m a publication assistant,” Jensen clarified.
“Either way, that’s great, drinks are on us tonight,” Steve said, patting Jensen on the shoulder.
“Thanks, man,” Jensen said.
Jensen looked at Jared, who was still beaming proudly at him. He knew that look and it was all for him. Chris came over and talked to them about Jensen’s new job, offering his own congratulations. They took their drinks to a round booth. Jared put one arm behind Jensen.
“I’m really proud of you, Jen.”
“Thank you,” he said and leaned in for a quick kiss. “So, I’ve been thinking.”
“About you moving in. You said your lease was up soon and you’re always over at the house as it is.”
They looked at each other for a moment. And it was all true: Jared spent more time at Jensen’s house than his own apartment. Most of his clothes were there. Harley and Sadie even had beds there and loved being able to run around in the yard. It was a lot closer to work than his apartment. Jared loved being there and loved being Kaylee’s “Jay”. Even though Jensen knew all of this, he held his breath.
“I’d love to.”
Two weeks later, Jared moved into the house. To Jensen, it felt like he had always been there. They settled into a comfortable rhythm almost instantly. Jared was the first one to get home at the end of the day, relieving Samantha from her babysitting duties. Jensen came home an hour later, usually a bit frazzled from having sat in traffic the better part of that hour. He still wasn’t used to commuting. Though, coming home to Jared and Kaylee made it all better. Some nights, Jared got up to check on Kaylee if she cried. For the first time in a long time, Jensen felt completely happy. Even if Jared’s stuff was everywhere, Jensen liked having it everywhere. Though, more than a few times, he had to tell Jared not to leave the game controllers on the floor.
Christmas time rolled around and things were still going great. Better than that, even. As usual, Jensen’s family gathered at his parents’ house. Kaylee looked like a little princess in her green velvet gown. Mackenzie was home for the holidays and had her family meet her new boyfriend via Skype. He lived in Ohio and couldn’t spend the holidays with her. He seemed like a nice enough kid, Jensen thought. His older brother, Josh came with his wife, Liz, their five year old, Brandon and their new baby boy, Will. A few months before, Jensen had come out to his brother and everything went well. Jensen had never felt happier to have his family.
Upon hearing the doorbell ring, Jensen got up and answered it. He was a little more than surprised to see Carrie’s parents, Nancy and George. They had mentioned that they would try to come to visit, having missed Kaylee’s second birthday, but nothing had been set in stone.
“Oh, wow, hi!” he said, trying to cover his surprise. “You should’ve called. I would have gotten you at the airport.”
“It’s not a problem, we got a taxi. Now where is our granddaughter?” Nancy demanded, looking into the house expectantly.
“Living room. Let me take your coats.”
Jensen took both of their coats and put them in the closet. George shook his hand in greeting, asking after him. Her parents weren’t as warm and eager to hug like his, which was okay, that was just how they were. He followed them into the living room and thought of how to explain Jared to them. From the looks on his parents’ faces, they were just as surprised as he was.
“Nice to see you again,” Samantha said warmly.
“Your house looks lovely, Samantha.”
“Thank you. I hope you guys are hungry, we went a little overboard with the cooking.”
While they spoke, Jensen made his way back over to Jared, who had been sitting with Mackenzie and Kaylee. They exchanged glances, Jared’s confused and Jensen’s worried. Jensen picked up Kaylee and handed her to Nancy. George came over to see his granddaughter, his coolness seeming to melt. There was no doubt that they loved Kaylee. For the time being, he just let them spend time with Kaylee. It wasn’t about him.
At the dinner table, Jared and Mackenzie sat on either side of Jensen and Nancy noticed. “Mackenzie, why don’t you sit next to your boyfriend?” she asked, seeming to be under the assumption that they were together.
“Oh, uh, he’s not my boyfriend,” Mackenzie answered, caught off guard.
“He’s mine,” Jensen said.
“Excuse me?” Nancy’s eyebrows shot up.
“Jared is my boyfriend.”
Jensen looked around the table and saw his entire family watching the two of them. Their faces were showing their discomfort and concern. His stomach tensed. He waited for Nancy to say something, to get up and leave, make some kind of scene. George coughed.
She did nothing. And that was probably worse than any insult or gesture. Jensen didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know if he should tell them more or just keep quiet.
“Kaylee is a wonderful little girl, ma’am,” Jared offered, trying to break the tension a little.
“Yes, she is.”
Jared and Jensen exchanged looks. Beneath the table, Jared’s hand closed over Jensen’s. The dinner continued in relative silence, members of Jensen’s family exchanging pleasantries in an attempt to keep the dinner from being completely uncomfortable. At the end of the night, Nancy and George left with a few words to the family. Jensen was left very unsettled by the experience. He sat in the living room staring at the television screen but not really paying attention.
He looked up and saw Jared standing beside him. Jared’s forehead was lined with concern and he knelt down beside Jensen’s chair.
“Are you okay?”
“I just have a really bad feeling.”
“What the fuck was that all about?” Mackenzie said angrily as she came into the room. She noticed her brother and Jared. “Seriously, what the hell?”
“It was a little shocking for her to hear that the man who married her daughter is living with a guy,” Jensen replied in an attempt to be diplomatic.
“She was rude. No one asked her to come.”
“Actually, I did. I just didn’t think they would make it.”
“Well… still, she didn’t need to be such a frigid bitch.”
“Maybe she was just not sure how to act. Not everyone is in the Gay Straight Alliance.”
“I don’t care! She should have that stick removed from her ass as soon as possible.”
Jensen stood and informed them, “I’m going to go check on Kaylee.”
Standing over his daughter’s crib in the spare bedroom, Jensen’s eyes filled with tears, a few sliding down his face. With one hand he rubbed them away and took a ragged breath. He couldn’t shake the feeling of dread. Behind him, he heard the floorboards creak. Jared’s arms encircled Jensen’s waist and Jared’s chin came to rest on his shoulder. Jensen’s hands settled on top of his arms. He closed his eyes, letting the comfort of Jared’s embrace wash away some of the worry.
“Let’s go home,” Jared said softly.
Within two weeks of Nancy’s and George’s impromptu visit, a notice came in the mail. They were suing Jensen for custody of Kaylee, claiming his lifestyle put her emotional well being at risk.
Jensen felt cold. He wanted to scream, or cry, or punch something or all three at once. How could they have done this? During his marriage to Carrie, they had been kind to him (in their own way). They hadn’t been thrilled that their daughter married a writer. Sure, they had been on the religious side, but he had never gotten the impression that they were homophobic. Then again, the subject had never come up. Looking at his daughter in his lap, Jensen felt his heart break at the idea of never seeing her beautiful green eyes or hear her laugh. He was so deep in thought, he barely noticed Jared sit down beside him.
“Jen, talk to me.”
“I’m going to lose my daughter,” he said quietly.
“No you’re not.”
“I can’t afford a lawyer and what if the judge sides with them? I’ll never see Kaylee again.”
Jared put his arm around Jensen. “I’m going to help you.”
“Jen, I love Kaylee and I love you. I’m helping you fight to keep her.”
And Jared would, Jensen was absolutely certain of that fact. Jensen wiped away the tears and looked at Jared. Just seeing the love reflected in Jared’s eyes made Jensen feel a little better. He held Kaylee closer and kissed the top of her head. Jared rubbed circles on his back. Jensen felt him lay back on the couch and curled up with him, Kaylee resting in his arms. She watched them both with a look of curiosity in her eyes. She knew something was wrong and clung to her father. Jensen kissed one of her hands. Jared wrapped his arm around them both and his chin on Jensen’s shoulder. How could this be wrong?
The calls started later that day. First, his parents called to tell him that they would do all they could to help out. They didn’t want to lose their granddaughter and were more than ready to go to court in his defense. Mackenzie and Josh were next, both very upset at the news. His sister had a few choice words to describe his former in laws. She also told him that she was looking into gay-friendly lawyers to take his case. Chris and Steve both offered to hold some kind of fundraiser at the bar. A good number of their customers were gay or supportive of the gay community. Jensen was grateful that his family and friends were so eager to help him, but he still was terrified about what might be. He felt overwhelmed from it all. That night, Jensen found it hard to sleep and spent the night in Kaylee’s room.
On the insistence of his sister, Jensen made an appointment to see Michael Rosenbaum, who practice family law and won many cases for gay parents. He waited nervously outside the office. The place was a very typical law office – imposing, dark wood and leather as far as the eye could see.
“Sir? Mr. Rosenbaum will see you now,” the petite secretary announced.
The blonde woman led Jensen into the office and returned to her desk, closing the door behind her. The room was filled with light from the floor to ceiling windows that lined the wall behind the desk. For a lawyer, Michael looked fairly young. He stood and walked out from behind his desk to shake Jensen’s hand and offer him a seat. Along the walls were framed degrees and pictures of Michael with various people. Jensen noted the picture on his desk of Michael with a tall, dark haired man with incredibly blue eyes. It was a photo taken at a commitment ceremony (since gay marriage in California was still illegal).
“Your in laws are suing for full custody of your daughter, Kaylee.”
“Because you live with a man.”
“They say it’s for her emotional well being, but yes, because I live with a man. My sister told me that you’ve won a lot of cases like this.”
Michael nodded. “I have. Now, I would like you to describe your home life,” he said, grabbing a pen.
Jensen detailed a typical day in his home. Their morning routine, who does what around the house, everything he could possibly need to know. He also answered questions about his job and Jared’s job.
“And you’re fully prepared to go to court to keep your child?”
“Jensen, I am going to take your case. We’re keeping your daughter.”
I hope so.
Jensen went home that day and started making lists of the people he knew who would testify for him. Jared’s parents, who had been to visit after Jared moved in, happily agreed to speak on his behalf. It felt good to be doing something proactive about the situation rather than sitting and waiting and praying to not lose his child. Just hearing the support from his family and friends brighten Jensen’s outlook.
As the court date approached, Jensen had thrown himself into preparing for the case that he didn’t sleep much. More often than not, Jared woke around one thirty in the morning and found Jensen sitting at his computer. Jensen looked up from the screen when Jared came in to check on him. This was probably the third night in a row. He removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.
“I’ll be in in a minute.”
“C’mon you need to get some sleep,” Jared said, yawning around the words.
“I’m almost done.”
“No, you’re done now. You need to sleep.”
“Jared, just give me a minute, seriously,” Jensen shot back.
“Fine, but if you want to get fired for being late again, don’t let me stop you,” Jared called, retreating into the bedroom.
This pissed Jensen right the fuck off. He was on his feet and in the bedroom before he knew it. Jared turned to face him.
“What the hell is your problem, huh? Do you WANT me to lose my daughter?”
“Did I say that? No.”
“You fucking implied it! I’m doing all this work for HER, Jared!”
“I know that! I’m just worried about you,” Jared said and stepped closer to him. He touched Jensen’s shoulder. “You have to relax and act like everything is going to be okay.”
“What if it’s not?” Jensen asked quietly, his voice breaking just a little.
In truth, he had been keeping busy to not only know as much as he can about similar cases and advice on winning, but to keep his mind off the fact that he very likely could lose his daughter. Tears ran down his cheeks. Jared wrapped his arm around Jensen, kissing him gently on the lips. His hand rubbed his back. “No matter what, Kaylee is your daughter and she wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.”
“I can’t lose her, Jared,” he sobbed into his shoulder. Jared’s grip tightened on him.
“Shh, it’s okay,” Jared whispered. “C’mon, just lie down and try to sleep.”
Jensen nodded in agreement and got into bed beside Jared. He laid his head on Jared’s chest, his steady heartbeat making Jensen relax. Jared gently stroked his hair and they listened to the sound of each other’s breathing in the dark. Jensen’s mind still remained unsettled.
“Why are you still here, Jared?” he asked, amazed that he would still stick around after all that had been going on.
“Because I love you. I love Kaylee and I want us all to be a family.”
Jensen looked up at him, fresh tears shining in his eyes. Only this time, these were tears of joy. “I’m so happy you came into our lives, Jared.”
Jared smiled at him. “So am I.”
Sitting in the courtroom made Jensen more uncomfortable than he’d ever been in his life. His entire life was being examined, his parenting skills questioned and the real reason his former in laws brought him to court, his relationship with Jared. He listened to Michael’s arguments and those of the opposing counsel, who tried to make him out to be irresponsible and selfish for “picking” his lifestyle. Not really a choice, asshole, Jensen thought, biting down hard on his tongue to keep the words from really coming out.
Michael had made a call to a psychiatrist who explained to the judge that Jensen was a person, not defined by the gender of the person he loved, who cared deeply for his daughter. Of course, the other side tried to show evidence that the children of gay parents suffered insult, sometimes injury, in life which lead to a number of horrible things that Jensen couldn’t even imagine for his daughter. Not everyone would be kind to her, but not everyone would be unkind. The social worker that had come out to the house to see how they functioned and what kind of environment Kaylee was being brought up in gave her testimony. Thankfully, it was very positive.
Members of his family and some of his friends gave their statements. Mackenzie was at home with her niece, due to her inability to keep from “telling it like it is”. He loved his sister, but having her get up on the stand and shout at his in laws wasn’t in his favor. Jensen steeled himself against the well worded insults to his character from the opposition. He did his best to keep a straight face during these interviews. Nancy and George were made out to be more involved in Kaylee’s life than they were. Luckily, Michael had the facts and countered that statement beautifully. The judge seemed to lean in Jensen’s favor, but he still felt uneasy.
The court broke for recess so the judge could render his decision. Jensen, his family and friends stood outside the room talking about the case. Jared kept a hand on Jensen’s back the whole time.
“Are you okay, baby?” Samantha asked, rubbing her son’s arm.
“Yeah, just nervous.”
“I don’t see how the judge could deny you custody after all that was said. Even with those morons trying to claim you were a bad father. If I could’ve, I would’ve punched them right in the mouth.”
“I think I know where Mac gets her temper from,” Jensen said, cracking his first smile all day.
They all went quiet when Carrie’s parents and their lawyer came into the hallway. It was uncomfortable and Nancy smiled at them. There was nothing warm about that look. Jensen squared his jaw and just stared right through her until she looked away. He wasn’t about to let this go without a fight.
An hour later, they were called back in to hear the decision.
“I have reviewed the facts and testimonies given by both sides today. Both parties are concerned with the well being of this child. In cases such as this, the court does not view the sexual orientation of a parent as a determining factor in their ability to care and provide for their children. It is clear that Mr Ackles has been and shall continue to provide the best care for his daughter. Custody of the minor child, Kaylee Marie Ackles remains with her father, Jensen Ross Ackles. Court is adjourned.”
Jensen’s jaw dropped when he heard the result. Michael grasped his hand, pulling him into a hug. “Thank you so much,” Jensen said to him, his voice thick with emotion.
“You’re very welcome.”
Jared was the first to come over from the audience and he kissed Jensen, his hands cupping Jensen’s face. Jensen was crying and leaned against Jared. It was over. All of that fear, anger, worry and pain was finally gone. Kaylee wasn’t going anywhere. He heard his parents thanking Michael for all of his hard work. The next sound he heard was Nancy’s voice saying his name. He turned from Jared, looking at his former mother in law. Her jaw was stiff and chin pushed out.
“I’m only happy my daughter isn’t alive to see the truly awful way her child is being raised.”
Jensen felt Jared tense beside him. Enough was enough. He stepped over to Nancy, his eyes hard. “Carrie would be happy to know that our daughter has two people that love her and will do anything to make sure she’s happy and healthy. Thank you for your concern, Nancy. I hope you can get over your own prejudices so that you can see your granddaughter one day.”
Nancy’s response was to grab her husband and storm out of the courtroom. Jensen turned to his family and friends. “Let’s get out of here. My daughter is waiting.”
Chris closed the bar that night to host a party for Jensen’s family. Jensen and Jared sat together with Kaylee and watched everyone talking, drinking and laughing. Mackenzie had gotten Chris to dance with her when some older country song came on. Steve pretended to be jealous. Michael and his partner, Tom came to the party as well. Jensen learned that they had recently adopted twins, a boy and a girl. Tom was a good looking guy and worked as an interpreter for the court. They had worked a case together when they met. Apparently, Michael just couldn’t resist those big blue eyes. Kaylee rubbed her eyes and Jared let her lay against his shoulder. Her eyes shut almost as soon as her head touched him. Jensen smiled.
“Maybe we should take her home?” he said, stroking her hair.
“Yeah she’s beat.”
A few goodbyes and hugs later and they were on their way home with Kaylee still asleep in her car seat. Jared’s hand held Jensen’s the entire way back, his thumb rubbing gently over the skin. Jensen felt like he was the luckiest man on earth. He had his daughter, he had someone who loved him, and he had his family. Nothing was going to change that, ever. Once they were home, Jensen put his daughter to bed and went into his bedroom. Jared stepped out of the bathroom, wearing his black pajama bottoms. Jensen was a little surprised at his reaction to this sight. It had been a while.
Jared stepped over, wrapping his arms around Jensen. His usually warm, caring eyes were dark and hot with desire. Whispering an “I love you,” Jared closed his mouth over Jensen’s. His tongue ran over Jensen’s lower lip and slipped inside when Jensen allowed him permission. Jensen rubbed against Jared’s hard body, letting him know that he was more than ready for this. Quickly, Jared removed the tailored shirt and jeans Jensen had changed into for the party. They moved to the bed, laying on their sides and continuing to kiss. Jensen fisted a hand in Jared’s hair, nipping at his lower lip playfully. Jared groaned into his mouth and pushed him back onto the bed. Jensen whined when Jared’s mouth left his. Jared stroked his pouting lower lip, smiling at him before getting out the lube and a condom. The first touch of Jared’s cool, slick fingers made Jensen gasp. He made sure Jensen was good and ready first. In no time at all, Jared had the condom on and pushed into Jensen who was more than ready. He groaned at the feeling of Jared inside of him. Completely inside, Jared leaned down and kissed Jensen slowly and deeply. This went on until they both grew a little too eager to just be kissing. Jared started slowly rocking his hips against Jensen. Jared made smooth, even strokes in and out of Jensen’s ass until he told him to stop.
“What?” Jared panted, looking confused.
Jensen pushed Jared back just enough for him to turn over on the bed. Jared understood perfectly and grinned. Holding Jensen’s hips in his large, beautiful hands, Jared slid back inside. Jensen mewled in response, burying his head into the pillow. With each thrust, Jensen pushed back against Jared, adding to the already delicious friction between them. Their breathing grew unsteady with every second. A loud moan came from Jensen when Jared wrapped a hand around his cock and stroked him in time with his thrusting. He gasped in surprise when Jared pulled him back up against him, kissing him hard and dirty, their tongues instantly finding each other. The new position allowed Jared to drive deeper into him. Jensen felt his orgasm building faster and faster and he gasped against Jared’s open mouth. Jared must have been just as close because his thrusts grew erratic. When he came, Jensen threw his head back against Jared’s shoulder, gasping his name over and over. Both of Jared’s arms held him in place and he soon felt Jared coming, his hips grinding into Jensen as he rode it out and his pants hot against Jensen’s shoulder. They slumped forward onto the mattress, still catching their breath.
As soon as he could move, Jensen turned to face Jared. With one hand, Jensen stroked the hair from Jared’s face. “Love you.”
“Love you,” Jared replied, kissing Jensen’s palm. He reached down and pulled the covers up over them.
That night, Jensen slept better than he had in a long time.
One year later...
Jensen waited outside of the dressing room until Mackenzie stuck her head out and waved him in. Kaylee looked back at her dad and smiled broadly. She was dressed in a light blue dress with a white sash; her wavy blonde hair was pulled back and decorated with white flowers. He had a quick flash of the young woman she would one day grow up to be. Though he preferred she remain three years old, he couldn’t really stop that. His sister stepped over to him and placed an arm around his waist.
“Thank you, Mac,” he said, kissing the top of her head.
“Anytime. I’m going to go make sure mom isn’t sobbing,” Mackenzie bent down to kiss Kaylee on the cheek, “Make sure your daddy gets down the aisle, sweet pea.”
“Okay,” Kaylee said with a smile.
Mackenzie left the room, closing the door behind her. Jensen smiled at his daughter.
“You’re beautiful, baby girl.”
“Thank you, daddy.”
“Ready to go?”
“Let’s go. We don’t want to make Papa Jay wait.”
They walked hand in hand outside to the large terrace where the ceremony was being held. The sounds of strings drifted in the air. Jensen felt a mixture of excitement and something that resembled seasickness. It wasn’t cold feet, not at all, just nerves. When he looked down the aisle and saw Jared beaming at him, it instantly disappeared. Jared looked incredible in his black suit. Jensen’s mind wandered to that night, when he would enjoy stripping it off of Jared. For now, he kept himself in check. Kaylee walked down the aisle first, holding a little bouquet of white flowers and sat with Jensen’s parents. He took a breath. The walk down the aisle seemed to take forever. When he reached him, Jared took his hand and smiled.
Jensen couldn’t keep his eyes off of Jared the entire time. After what they had been through the past year, he felt incredibly blessed to have Jared standing there and pledging his life to him. Mackenzie stood and gave a reading with Jared’s sister, Megan.
“‘The book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thing. It's full of charts and facts and figures and instructions for dancing. But I, I love it when you read to me.
And you, you can read me anything,’” Megan began.
“‘The book of love has music in it. In fact that's where music comes from. Some of it is just transcendental. Some of it is just really dumb. But I, I love it when you sing to me. And you, you can sing me anything,’” Mackenzie continued.
“‘The book of love is long and boring. And written very long ago. It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes. And things we're all too young to know. But I, I love it when you give me things. And you, you ought to give me wedding rings.’”
“‘I, I love it when you give me things. And you, you ought to give me wedding rings.’”
With that they slipped the platinum bands on each others’ fingers. Their officiant announced their union to their guests and they made it really official with a sweet, loving kiss. Kaylee had gotten down from her grandfather’s lap and walked over to her dads. Jared picked her up, setting her on his hip and took Jensen’s hand before walking down the aisle, together, as a family.