Jensen loved the beach and the ocean. He'd known he would, even though he had never really seen it like this. Sand so white it could blind you on a bright day, water so blue it looked like a painting, all against the back-drop of a place so lush and green it didn’t seem real at first. That was why he came here after all, to this paradise in the middle of the Pacific to see it for himself. Everywhere you went there were beaches and water and lush life. It was completely different from home, which was another reason it was perfect for him. Anything that wasn’t home was perfect for him right now. Hawaii was about as ‘not home’ as he could as he could get on short notice without a passport.
He had 3 weeks left. 3 weeks to get his shit together, figure things out and carry on. He was pretty sure there was no going back. The thing he was stuck on was what going forward would even look like. He had been on track for so long Jensen hadn’t ever really stopped long enough to consider his options.
He was stopped now though.
Completely at a standstill in fact, while he decided what the hell he was going to do. Stay in Dallas, go back to school like his family expected, keep going the way he had been? Or get the hell out of there, away from his family’s not entirely unspoken “Stop being ridiculous, Jensen”. Did he need to get away from Darren and all the shit associated with him? He wanted away from a life time of other people’s expectations he had no hope of living up to.
Instead of chasing his tail and getting bombarded with what everyone else wanted him to do, Jensen had turned off his cell phone, booked a hotel, got on a plane and come to Hawaii. If nothing else, he needed to clear his head about his “relationship” with Darren. He'd thought it had some meaning beyond a convenient roll in the hay. For him it had been incredible and life changing, maybe even the pivotal experience in his young life. God he'd been so young and dumb and naive. He was still young and dumb but he was lot less naive now.***
For all the tourists on the island, it was surprisingly easy to find places to get away, even on the beach. All you had to do was get off the beaten track.
Jensen rented a scooter to get around and by the end of the first day he was in love with it. He could go anywhere he wanted. With no one telling him what he 'should' be doing it was the most free he had ever been.
For now, today, he was content to sit and eat his lunch while watching the boats in the little marina he'd found. He didn’t even give a shit about how many freckles he was hatching, not today. A few freckles weren’t going to change things in the long. Today he was just going to breathe.
It was weird not having anywhere he had to be. Every day for as long as he could remember, Jensen had a schedule. All the way through grade school there were lessons: tennis and clarinet; tutors: math, biology, and embarrassingly English; after school sports: lacrosse, soccer and one season of ill-advised football.
When he was done high school he went right into college do not pass go do not collect fuck-all and do not take even a moment to breathe.
He'd put his head down and worked as hard as he could even though it wasn’t going to get him through business school any quicker. He worked for his Uncle Jimmy in the summers, stuck in a different obscure corner of the company every year in the belief that before he started full time employment there, as a member of the family, he should have a working knowledge of critical positions. As far as Jensen was concerned working in the mail room of the company his grand-father founded was a little excessive. Turned out no one really cared what Jensen thought.
And that right there was the problem wasn’t it? No one cared what Jensen thought. They just expected him to go where he was told and do what they wanted without question, presumably until he died of old age.
He might have, if it weren’t for Darren, and wasn’t that just a kick in the pants. Darren who had sucked him in (and sucked him down... repeatedly), screwed with his head and casually dumped him. He was what had finally opened Jensen's eyes. Before Darren he had been a good little worker bee doing what his mother and his Uncle Jimmy expected him to do. He went to the schools they wanted, dated the girls they recommended and spent his days how they thought best. He even took the summer job they suggested every year.
This year it had been upper mid-level position as personal assistant to up and coming Marketing Manager Darren Yeager.
Darren was smart, funny, hard-working, driven and so damned good-looking it was painful. Jensen might have been only 19 and ridiculously inexperienced but it didn’t take long for him to realize it wasn’t admiration or hero worship he felt every time Darren looked at him and smiled. It didn’t take Darren long either. It was only a matter of a couple of weeks and they were … not exactly dating. You couldn’t call it dating because they never went on an actual date.
What they did was work. And fool around. And eventually fuck. A lot. But there was never any actual dating, which should have been a clue. But Jensen wasn’t really paying a lot of attention to clues. He was too busy first freaking out and then figuring out and eventually (in a spectacularly ill-advised and badly handled argument with his Uncle Jimmy) coming out. He should have known better.
He should have known his Uncle Jimmy would be horrified not that he was gay but that he was crass enough to think it was important. “I don’t care where you stick it boy! Just as long as you keep your little flings to yourself and remember what’s important to this business!”
He should have known that it wouldn’t mean anything to his mother. “Jensen, really! I don’t see why that has to change anything! Erica is a perfectly nice girl and as long as you are discreet no one will care about any... extra-curricular activities.”
And the thing he really should have figured out from day one “You can't be fucking serious Jensen! Fucking around is fine. It's been a lot of fun. But I worked too hard for my career to jeopardize it for a quick fuck!”
The worst part was the disappointed and faintly pitying look on his brother’s face when Jensen asked to be re-assigned “Maybe you should take a couple of days little brother. Get your head together. This will all be here waiting when you get back.”
At least he was smart enough to take his brothers advice.
So here he was sitting on the grass overlooking a small harbor 6000 miles from home, trying to get his shit together. It had been more than a couple of days though. Jensen was on his third week before he even got on the plane to Honolulu. For the first time in his life Jensen Ackles was taking a summer off. It was the first time for a lot of things.
Jared was damned sick of barnacles. Well not barnacles in general, just the ones stuck on boat hulls where he had to scrape off. The work was smelly and gross and never seemed to end.
He cursed his Uncle Jeff for the hundredth time and in the next breath thanked the cranky old bastard for giving him this chance. He might be sick of stripping and painting but he was also damned near done. Soon he would be on the water where he belonged, not trapped in a marina. He could be back in California in less than a month. Then all he had to decide was what he wanted to do with this damned boat.
In the meantime, he really hated scraping barnacles under the sun, even if he was in paradise.
The awesome thing about this particular hull was that he owned it, and if wanted to be done for the day then he was done. Jared pulled his filthy t-shirt over his head and used it to wipe the sweat off his face. He was really going to enjoy his shower today.
First though he was going to enjoy a beer. He tucked his shirt into the waistband of his shorts and headed up to the marina store. It wasn’t the cheapest beer around but it was the closest. Maybe after he had a shower, and a beer to take the edge off, he'd head over to the resort to see if he could find some company more agreeable than barnacles. He'd been working every day since he got off the plane from LA 3 months ago and now the end was in sight. Jared had earned a break even if it was short lived.
The marina store was small, quaint and surrounded by flowering shade trees and a broad expanse of mowed grass that from one afternoon to the next could be occupied by anything from a gaggle of lost tourists to the store owners Great Danes. Jared was kind of hoping it was the dogs today. Jared missed his own dog and they were a welcome substitute.
He was looking for them as he approached and as a result he almost missed the real treasure tucked up in the shade of one of the trees. It was a guy bent over a notebook writing furiously, bottom lip gripped firmly between his teeth, apparently oblivious to Jared’s approach.
Holy hell not just any guy either. This guy was smoking hot in all the best ways! Young and beautiful, square jawed, lush full lips and a slight cleft in the chin, a fine yet strong brow currently furrowed in concentration. His hair was longish in the front and the way he was hunched obscured his eyes. Jared really wanted to see the rest of him, see if his eyes where the match for the rest of that face.
“Afternoon!” Jared said as he got close, letting a bit of Texas slip into his voice.
The young man’s head snapped up and at the same time Jared was registering the fact that he wasyoung, Jared was also being knocked over by wide and soft and startled eyes. Green eyes! Shit he wasn't just good looking he was gorgeous. Jared hoped this kid was legal because shallow it may be but he really wanted to talk to him.
“Afternoon.” The guy said back smiling a little as he looked up at Jared.
“Didn't mean to startle y'all” Jared said grinning, hoping.
The guy laughed a little “It's alright. I get caught up, forget where I am.” He looked uncertain but his smile was genuine.
“Nothing wrong with that” Jared smiled.
He couldn't help the smug little glow when the young man looking at him swallowed and practically ogled his mouth. Jared was not unaware that he had a decent smile.
He carried on to the store knowing the guy was watching him go. While he sped his way through snagging a six pack and paying for it Jared kept one eye on where the guy was still sitting in the shade. Jared rushed back out before he got away making no attempt to disguise the fact. Jared wasn’t much for being coy or playing games. If he saw something he liked he went for it. He was pretty sure he hadn’t imagined the flicker of interest in those beautiful green eyes.
He left the store as soon as he'd paid and went back over.
“Mind if I hang out for a bit?”
The guy seemed a bit surprised by the request but replied “Sure if you want” and sat up a little straighter.
Jared settled down on the grass beside him and offered a hand to shake “I'm Jared.”
“Oh hi' I'm- uh Jensen” he replied and shook Jared's hand.
“Haven't seen you here before” Jared said “You on vacation?”
Jensen took a moment to answer and Jared wondered fleetingly what that was. Jensen’s answer didn’t clear it up much. “Sort of” he said and flipped his book closed.
“You liking it?”
Jensen smiled wide then eyes lighting up “Yeah, a lot! It's kind of amazing here. Not much like home.”
“Where's home?” Jared wanted to know.
“Oh uh- Dallas. Texas.” and the way he said it Jared could hear it in his voice for s second
“No shit?” Jared laughed “I grew up I San Antonio!”
“Wow , really?” and Jensen's grin got bigger. “ My aunt lives there!”
They got to talking and before he knew it an hour had gone by, spent talking about places they'd both seen and even places to eat in San Antonio. That lead around to Jared asking “Hey you wanna go grab something to eat? I know a great place not far from here, not to touristy and they have great burgers” Jared didn’t feel like he was being pushy or anything but he wasn’t completely sure what Jensen's answer would be.
“I could eat” Jensen told him and smiled again.
Jared was already thinking of ways to keep that smile right where it was. The way it banished the sadness from Jensen’s eyes was doing things to Jared's stomach and he didn’t mind one bit. The guy had a great smile to go with a very enticing laugh.
There was a problem though. “Well shit. I got to shower. I'm kind of gross from working on the boat all day.”
“Boat?” Jensen asked.
“Yeah I'm getting an older sailboat back in shape. I'm kind of covered in sweat and dead barnacles!” he said waving at the grubby state he was in. “Will you hang around while I shower and throw on some clean jeans? It'll only take me a few minutes?” he asked not afraid to sound as hopeful as he really was.
Jensen looked at him for a moment or two and Jared watched him come to a decision of some kind. “Sure. I'll just hang out here and finish up what I was working on while you make yourself pretty”
Jared was pretty proud of himself for withholding a fist pump.
His restraint did not extend to taking his time getting ready. He was showered and standing in front of Jensen 15 minutes later.
Jensen wasn’t really sure how he ended up doubling on a scooter across Hawaii with a hot ass giant of a man behind him but he couldn’t really find a reason to complain about it. When Jared had first stopped to say hi to him at the marina it never occurred to Jensen that the guy would ask him out. Jensen was really glad he had though.
Jared was funny and smart with an easy way that had none of the contrived charm of the guys Jensen met back home. He threw his head back and laughed with abandon when something struck him funny and the hour- had it really been an hour?- they had spent taking at the marina slipped by fast and comfortable before Jared to ask him out.
Jensen was glad if for no other reason than that he would get to keep talking to this great guy.
They were half way through the best meal he's had in months before it occurred to Jensen he hadn't thought about Darren or the mess with the family once since he had started talking to Jared. It had to be a couple of hours at least and that was some kind of record, recently at least. If he was nothing else Jared had proved to be a great distraction from problems Jensen wasn’t having much luck resolving anyway.
It occurred to him he could just let it all go for a while and enjoy himself. That was after all the whole point of getting away. Jensen just smiled and went with it.
The place Jared took Jensen to was a little hole in the wall with a liquor license and only a few tables. The burgers were as good as any he'd ever had, it more than made up for the lack of great décor.
“You old enough for a beer?” Jared asked only half joking and really hoping it was the case.
Jensen laughed answering “Nope.”
“ But you’re old enough for me to buy you dinner, right?”
“I turned nineteen in March” Jensen answered and they went on from there.
It was one of the best nights Jared could ever remember spending with a guy. Jared was a healthy guy in his mid-twenties and he had done this dance or some version of it a lot of times. Sometimes just to get laid and sometimes to get to know someone better. Jensen was something special. Despite being initially a little reserved Jensen turned out to be open and honest in a way a lot of guys weren’t. He answered every question Jared asked. He also gave as good as he got. Smart and well educated but ultimately dissatisfied with his life Jensen freely admitted he was at a pivotal moment. Jared loved his candor.
Jensen had had his heart broken by the first guy he'd fallen for. By the time he was done telling Jared a very brief version of why he's hopped on a plane and left Dallas, Jared wanted to hunt the guy down and punch him in the face. Or maybe thank him for being a dick so Jared got to meet this terrific guy.
They spent the meal alternating between talking about life and family and lightly teasing about each others taste in sports teams and music. It was long past dark by the time Jared snatched the check away and paid it.
“ I asked you” Jared told him when Jensen tried to argue “ I don't go Dutch on a date.” he grinned at the flush that spread across Jensen's cheeks at the word date event though they both knew that was what it was.
“Fine” Jensen huffed “I’ll pay next time.” he said.
“Deal!” Jared grinned completely pleased with the idea of next time.
They walked to Jensen's little rental bike. Instead of dancing around Jared just said right out “I’m not ready to let you get away” and stepped in close when they came to a stop by the bike. He leaned in a bit anticipating Jensen's answer.
It was the best surprise of a great night when Jensen tipped his head up a bit and kissed him. A startled laugh bubbled up before Jared quickly got with the program. He did it quick in case Jensen was unclear about how Jared felt about the idea of kissing him.
Jensen kissed liked he talked open and all in. Jared pressed close and Jensen just opened up and let him.
Jensen had been thinking about kissing Jared from the get go and it had only gotten more imperative when Jared started talking about his boat and how much he loved being on the water. He didn’t stay on the topic long clearly not wanting to risk 'boring' Jensen but there was no hope that would happen.
The passion in Jared's voice and eyes and gestures when he tried to explain why he loved to sail was mesmerizing.
Jensen really kind of wanted to know how a good old boy from San Antonio developed such a love for the open ocean. Jared changed the subject before he got a chance to ask. Jensen filed it away for later along with way Jared looked, eyes shining and gestures broad.
Jared was kind of stupidly hot to begin with but being this engaged made him ten times more so. Jensen thought for a second about just leaning across the table and kissing him, but he wasn’t that brave. He was also sure he was going to get a chance later if he wanted to take it.
Jensen pressed up and brushed his lips across Jared's mouth, invitation clear. It only took a second for Jared to respond. It figured he was a great kisser. Perfect pressure, tongue pressing in asking entrance without being overwhelming. Jensen opened up and kissed back. Jensen couldn’t help the gasp that slipped out when Jared's work roughed hands came up to his face, thumbs touching his cheek bones and long graceful fingers folding around Jensen’s neck. As they carried on deepening the kiss one hand carried on cupping his head and the other slipped over Jensen’s shoulder and traveled down his back.
Jensen reached out and grabbed Jared ''s belt loops to pull the other man in closer and steady himself as well. Jared's hand slipped lower and as it reached the curve of Jensen's ass Jared’s huge hand gripped there and pulled him the rest of the way in leaving no space between them. Jensen couldn’t help the slightly desperate groan, it just felt so good!
They kissed until they were both starving for air. Neither on pulled away exactly only made a little space and shared air while they got their breath back.
“You want to go back to the boat?” Jared asked looking him right in the eye, clearly really wanting the answer to be yes.
“My hotel is right over there” Jensen answered grinning and pointing over Jared's shoulder.
The ride to the hotel was mercifully short and they only got distracted a little between the parking lot and Jensen’s room. He fumbled the key card twice before Jared took pity on him and stopped groping his ass and kissing his neck while Jensen tried to swipe. As soon as the door was closed behind them Jensen gave him what he’d been asking for and pinned Jared against the wall, their legs slotted together,
Jensen was a pretty damned good kisser, focused and intense in a way that robbed Jared of all ability to concentrate on anything except the feel of lips and teeth and tongue, the feel of Jensen’s warm skin under his hands as Jared slid his hands up under Jensen’s t-shirt. Jensen groaned and pushed against him, pressing himself against Jared’s thigh.
It was easy to lose track of time while they held each other in place, kissing and exploring over-heated skin. They lost their shirts and kicked off shoes. The feel of their bodies pressing together belly to belly , chest to chest was sharp and hot.
“Fuck” Jared panted against Jensen’s mouth when they broke for air.
“Okay!” Jensen’s eyes never left his as they moved. He pulled Jared towards the bed by the belt loops.
It’s not as if Jared really expected Jensen to be all soft and compliant just because he was younger and more inexperienced but he was surprised and pleased by the way
Jensen just went after what he wanted. The heat Jared felt spread through his belly when Jensen dragged him onto the bed pushed him down on to it was nothing compared to the way it felt to have this gorgeous man push his own jeans off and press that stunning naked body against him. Jared groaned and gripped Jensen’s well-muscled ass, held him in place while he thrust upward consumed with want.
“Jared!” Jensen gasped against his mouth.
“Jeans” Jared squeezed his ass again and Jensen laughed “ Your jeans” Jensen said and slid his hands down to undo the button and push at the fabric.
His hand pressed against Jared’s cock and Jared thrust against the pressure almost against his will. God he felt so good. They felt so good.
It was so much better the instant they were both naked legs tangling together , skin sliding against skin. Laying on their sides facing each other Jensen’s hand cupping Jared’s ass and Jared’s hand wrapping around both their cocks, spit and pre-come all the slick they needed. The high desperate noises Jensen was making adding to intensity of the moment. Jared was poised on the edge of coming right up until Jensen slipped a finger down and pressed against his hole then Jared was gone, thrusting and coming and losing track of everything except the fierce sweet burn spreading out from the base of his spine. Jared couldn’t help crying out when he came.
Jensen kept on kissing him through it, kept rutting against Jared, his cock slotting into the cut where Jared’s abdomen met his thigh. Jensen hadn’t come yet and he sounded desperate. Jared wrapped one arm around his back and one hand around Jensen’s cock, jerking Jensen off fast, hand slick with come. Jensen threw back his head and came without a sound every muscle strung tight, and collapsed completely when it was done.
Jared kept right on kissing him.
The sun was shining right on the bed when Jensen woke up. The cranky distressed noise he made when the sun hit his face was Jared's first clue he was not dealing with a morning person. Jensen rolled away from the sunshine and snuggled right into Jared’s chest, so it wasn't all bad.
Jensen was warm and plastered up against him, so of course Jared’s morning wood was also very interested. He brought his arms up to Jensen's shoulders thinking about a little morning action.
The mumbled, barely coherent “G'way m'sleepin'” was a good second clue. Jared just grinned and kissed the top of the sleeping man’s head and rolled carefully away. Jensen hadn't really said it but Jared got the definite impression he could use the sleep. Jared slipped back into his jeans and flip-flops and went to find coffee.
The first thing Jensen was aware of when he came fully awake was the fact that he was in the bed alone. He barely had time to start formulating his response to that when he heard the door open and Jared's warm voice.
“You awake?” half a question.
“Mmm. Mornin'” Jensen croaked. He clumsily sat up and blinked a few times trying to banish the dry-eye from his contacts. He looked up in time to see gorgeous beautiful
Jared holding coffee! “One of those for me?” Jensen asked hopefully.
Jared grinned and handed over the biggest cup before settling on the bed bedside Jensen. It was perfect. Coffee creamy and a little sweet and Jared settling in for a snuggle; the morning pretty much couldn't get better as far as Jensen was concerned. He leaned into the warm body next to him and wallowed in it for a bit.
“Got any plans for the day?” Jared asked him when their coffee was almost done.
“Not really” Jensen answered.
“Have breakfast with me. Then come see The Escapade.”
“The Escapade?” Jensen asked a little confused.
“My boat.” Jared said grinning.
Jensen only had to think about it a second “Okay.” It was the best offer Jensen had in months, spending more time with a funny gorgeous smart guy . He looked at the grin he got in response and thought to himself ‘Maybe the best offer ever.’
Jensen got an extended tour and an explanation of why the boat was sitting on what looked like stilts on a patch of grass instead of in the water. Jared showed him a little of the work of scraping hard barnacles off the hull. The cabin was surprising, the ingenious way the designers had managed to fit an entire living space into an area roughly thesize of Jensen's childhood bedroom. The kitchen, called a galley, with the clever hinge-mounted stove so you could cook even with the constant motion of the sea. The ‘head’ was a weird yet clever combination of shower and toilet. And the master ‘berth’ that was really a huge if oddly shaped bed. There was even an office of sorts in a converted second berth.
Jared's obvious pride in The Escapade was clear.
“I can hardly wait to get her on the water!” he said as they climbed back up on deck. The light in his eye told Jensen how true that anticipation was.
Afterward they sat on the deck of The Escapade drinking soda and eating the sandwiches Jared made for lunch. “So how did you end up owning a sailboat?” Jensen asked him genuinely interested in the story of how a boy from Texas ended up with such a deep love of the sea.
“My Uncle Jeff left it to me when he died last winter.”
“I'm sorry.” Jensen told him sincerely.
“Me too” Jared said “He was a great guy, weird, but a great guy. I kind of really miss him” he said softly.
Jensen saw Jared’s eyes water up and tried to think of something to make it better, even while he admired Jared’s lack of self-consciousness.
He remembered when his Daddy died and the only thing that made him feel better.
“Tell me about him.” Jensen said reaching for Jared's hand.
Jeff Morgan was, by his own admission, an adventurer and a shit disturber in equal measure. He was Jared's Mom's older brother and every year Jared got to spend part of the summer with Uncle Jeff at his place on the gulf coast.
His “place” was a shack on the beach and a slip in a local marina where The Escapade was docked. They spent day after day far out in the gulf, Jared learning to sail and navigate and handle a short sea. The summer before Jared left for college they crossed the gulf to Florida and sailed to the Caribbean. They spent the rest of summer on the Atlantic coast. When it was time Jared got on a plane and Jeff headed for the Panama Canal.
“I got the call from my mom in May, right in the middle of finals. There was no funeral or anything. When school was finished I flew home and she gave me his ashes and the paperwork for the boat. I am going to put his ashes to sea when I sail back to the mainland.”
“What are you going to do when you get there, the mainland?”
“I don't know yet.” Jared told him. “Not much use for a degree in economics at sea.”
“Economics! Wow smart and gorgeous!” said without thinking.
Jared just grinned and then they were off on a discussion about their respective educational choices. Jared's choice made because it was challenging and interesting and Jensen's because it was what would be the most appropriate in his families publishing business. The minor in English was, he could admit, a smoke screen to indulge his love of writing. It was then that Jared learned Jensen had yet to complete his degree program. He also discovered Jensen might never finish.
“I just- I don't know if I can do it, you know? Spend another two years in school to learn how to do something I don't even want to do. I mean I kind of assumed it would fall into place for me working for my family. But I-” Jensen looked away out across the water and said out loud for the first time ever “I kind of hate it.” After a second he glanced at Jared guiltily. “I don't want to work for my family. I want to write novels not help other people publish them.”
He didn't want to say out loud that he was certain his most of his family was going to be pissed, possibly even his brother Jamie who's opinion carried the most weight. He wasn’t ready to think about that yet.
Rather than dwell, Jensen lobbed out the most obvious subject change ever. “You should take me sailing.” He told Jared. “I have never been on a sailboat. Do you think we could rent something and you could show me what you love about it?”
Jared gave him the distraction Jensen wanted “I know just the thing.”
It turned out the hard part about renting a sailboat was getting Jared to agree to let Jensen pay. Jensen's reasoning that he had a limitless credit card at his disposal was the deciding factor because Jared didn't even have a credit card and you couldn’t rent without one.
Jensen got his way by default but Jared was cool about it. He just wanted to take Jensen sailing and it had been weeks since Jared had been out on the water. He had been land-locked working on the Escapade. Now he was practically bouncing he was so excited to be out on the water again, more than that he was thrilled to be the person who got to introduce Jensen to sailing. Jared just hoped he liked a little.
It turned out he liked it more than a little. As soon as the sail filled it got exciting. Jensen never would have ever considered how physical it was, at least getting underway. He didn’t understand a lot of what Jared was doing but he could do what he was asked and the thrill he felt when they were cutting through the water was no less because Jensen had no clue. They never left sight of land but it was still great. It was late afternoon before they motored back into the marina sails safely furled.
They had spent the whole day together. Jensen was in no hurry for it to end. The adventure of sailing completely aside Jensen could not remember an easier, more comfortable day spent with someone he liked this much. He didn’t really want it to end.
“Have dinner with me” Jensen asked hoping Jared didn’t want it to end yet either.
“Love to!” Jared said and that was that.
They ate seafood at a tourist bar and walked back to Jared’s boat just after sunset. They didn’t sleep until almost dawn.
They spent the next several days in a kind of a bubble. Jared still worked on his boat and Jensen spent a good portion of his time writing. now that he’d given himself permission to do what he loved. They did both these things pretty much within reach of each other, sometimes working quietly and a good portion of the time talking and laughing getting to know each other. Jensen discovered Jared’s inclination for goofing around and Jared discovered Jensen sharp dry wit and great intelligence. They ate their meals together. They fucked a lot and spent every night wrapped up in each other.
Jared dragged him out dancing one night. Jensen loved being wrapped up in those gorgeous arms, sweaty and laughing and letting the music drive them. He sucked Jared off in a dark corner of the club and didn’t care if anyone saw them. He never spent one second thinking about anyone else while he was doing it, so caught up in the sight and smell and taste of this great guy.
They explored on the bike together. Finding great places to eat, or going to a local market to buy fresh fruit. Jared even spent an afternoon on a beach watching Jensen try to get his feet under him on a surf board. It was one of the things Jensen had been working on before he met Jared and while very carefully not thinking about what would happen when he left Hawaii, Jensen was still determined to surf before he left.
Mostly they just get to know each other.
Jared talked about his parents disapproving of pretty much everything about him form a very early age. They weren’t cruel about it, just disappointed. It was compounded when Jared came out and cemented when Jared told them he would rather be sailing than making his life about money. They did not understand that his degree was mostly an extended mental exercise. He would have been happy to go to work right out of high school. They insisted he go to college.
He'd done it to make them happy and when he realized that it hadn’t worked Jared decided he needed to make himself happy.
“I feel like Uncle Jeff saved my life when he left me the boat. He gave me exactly what I wanted. My mother cried for two do days and all she said to me was that I was going to turn out just like him. I don’t think I was supposed to be happy about that” Jensen didn’t say anything to that, just let his hand rest on Jared’s back while they watched the
sun go down over the water.
Jensen told Jared about feeling redundant and invisible in his own family. His uncle’s insistence that Jensen's purpose was to serve the company. He talked about growing up in the shadow of a brother he loved and admired and the feeling of never measuring up, his mother’s dismissal of his sexuality. The only thing she had asked him when he came out to her was if someone had done something to him when he was a child to make him “like that.” She was pretty clear about expecting Jensen to get over it and find a nice girl to marry.
Jensen talked about Darren and how the older man had bowled him over pursued him until Jensen gave in and then dropped him like a hot rock at the first hint that being with
Jensen might affect his career, despite the fact that they had been together for months.
“I don't regret it” Jensen told Jared “Even though the way it ended hurt like a bitch. And I am actually glad it’s over. It wasn’t real no matter how great it felt at the time.” he didn’t say anything about how he felt now and how real this felt. He thought the little smirk on Jared’s face probably meant Jared got it.
Jensen tried very hard not to think about the passage of time. He just wanted this for a while, to let himself be, separate from the weight of his families expectations and his inability to live up to them.
He didn’t think he was going to get to keep this thing with Jared. He was not unaware of the concept of a holiday romance, and he was far less naive than he used to be. He knew he was hiding and that soon enough he was going to have to go back to Dallas and deal with some shit. But for now he wanted to have this, just for a little while before
Jared sailed off to where ever he was going and Jensen got on a plane back to Texas.
He wasn’t exactly wallowing in misery but he was storing experiences and memory up for when it was over.
The day arrived soon enough.
It came in the form of a phone call from Uncle Jimmy. “Where the hell are you?” No hello, not “is everything okay Jensen?” just demands for an explanation.
“I am in Hawaii sir” Jensen said stepping a little away from Jared.
“What the hell for!”
“Vacation?” Jensen tried.
“Well holiday is over! Get home and get back to work. Jesus Christ kid I don’t work my ass of so you can spend 2 months chasing girls!” The line went dead before Jensen had a chance to say anything else. ‘Has it really been 2 months?’ he thought.
“What's going on?” Jared asked standing close behind him but not touching.
“Well I guess I've been summoned.” Jensen told him. “Time to go home and face the music.”
“Oh.” Jared said very quietly. “Right away?” he asked, tentatively touching Jensen shoulder.
“Not right away” Jensen told him turning into Jared, letting his arms slip around him as his own eyes closed. ’ It hasn’t been long enough’ Jensen thought. Somewhere in the back of his mind he thought nothing short of always would be enough. He stayed on The Escapade with Jared that night, instead of going back to the hotel room paid for with his family’s money.***
Jared was thankful that they stayed on board and Jensen didn’t want to go back to his motel. Jared wanted his last taste of this beautiful, smart tough, kind-hearted man to be here. Jared wanted the picture in his mind of Jensen spread out across his bed flushed and sweaty and desperate, and finally, so fucked out he was exhausted. It was all he was going to get and he wanted it to be good. It was. It was slow but not particularly gentle. There was an element of desperation to the night. Jared wanted so badly to ask Jensen to just stay but he couldn't. They hadn’t talked about it but they both knew neither one of them would be staying. Jensen was going back to Texas and Jared was sailing to the mainland.
He watched Jensen sleep most of the night. The alarm on Jensen’s phone went off and then it was time.
It only took Jensen a couple of hours to book a flight for later that day and pack his belongings. They rode the scooter back to the rental place and took a cab to a diner near the airport. They ate lunch together and neither could think of much to say.
Jared went with him to the airport. Jensen's flight was being called when Jared pressed a piece of paper into his hand and said “My email. I would really like to hear from you again Jensen. Even if it’s just to tell me that you are okay or that your bored or that it’s too hot in Dallas.” He wrapped those huge hands of his around Jensen s face and pulled him in to a kiss that took everything including all his breath. “Don't want to say good-bye to you” Jared whispered in his ear before letting go and spinning on his heel. It took Jensen a second to realize Jared was gone and by the time he did all he saw was Jared’s back retreating through the crowd.
Jensen sat by the window in first class and imagined he could see Jared watching him as the plane lifted off.
He was home by dinner time. By dinner time the next day he had completely taken his life apart. It took him weeks to put it back together the way he really wanted it.
Jared 15 July
It's really hot in Dallas. I'm not bored though.
I quit school. I really hated it. I told you that though right? My Uncle Jimmy is so pissed off he doesn't even talk to me. It's kind of great.
My Mother has plenty to say though. I'm really sorry she doesn’t get it but I can't do it anymore live for people who are never going to be happy with me any way.
Jamie just laughed and called me an idiot. Poor dumb Jensen.
I don’t care. Well, I do care. But not enough to keep going on like that.
I have no idea what I am going to do now.
How’s the boat coming? Are you ready to re-launch yet?
Hey Jen! 16 July
I was stupidly excited to see your e-mail in my in-box! I didn’t know if you would really want to stay in touch. I'm glad, really glad.
I'm also glad you quit.
Well more accurately I am glad you are doing what you really want. I'm sorry to hear your family wasn't thrilled but that’s what families do right?
They are just worried for you. In the long run I am sure they will see how much happier you are when you are making decisions about your life based on what you feel is best for you.
Your mother has a lot to say because she cares about what happens to you and doesn’t want to see you make a mistake. She'll come around. At least she gives a damn.
And if your brother thinks you are an idiot he hasn’t really been paying attention.
I'm proud of you. I hope YOU are proud of you.
The last coat of paint is almost done curing. She is going back into the water tomorrow. I will be doing a shakedown cruise at the end of the week. I can hardly wait!
I haven't been back on the water since we went sailing.
Any way she looks really good. If everything goes according to schedule I should be able to set sail for the mainland in the next week or two.
I thought about taking on crew but I decided to solo.
Are you still writing? Not letting anything stop you I hope.
Jared 18 July
That's great news about The Escapade! You must be pretty pumped. How long will it take to reach the mainland? I guess you won’t be able to check your e-mail when you are at sea.
Should I keep e-mailing you? Would that be weird?
I am writing a lot. I have more time on my hands since my Uncle Jimmy fired me. He said he didn’t think it would be prudent to invest in someone who lacked ambition or investment in the job. It was a relief because I could stop working myself up to quit.
Jamie came to see me afterward. He said he thought it was petty bull-shit. I was kind of surprised. My brother has always been focused on the company, but he told me he just wanted me to be happy and if it didn’t make me happy I shouldn’t do it.
I have been thinking about going to hang out with my buddy Chris for a while. I think I need to get out of here. I mean I'm 19 and I still live at home and frankly it's a little awkward now. My mom doesn’t say anything but I keep getting these confused looks like she has no idea what to do with me. And she keeps trying to set me up with girls. I am tired of telling her she is wasting her time. It's not like she’s listening.
Anyway, if you want me to keep you posted while you are underway drop me a line or two before you leave port. Maybe when you are on the mainland we could meet up somewhere? I would really like to see you again if it wouldn't be too weird. I miss you.
Jen 22 July
I would love it if you kept me updated on what's going on with you. I won’t get any of it until I land again but I still want to know. I miss you too.
I'm glad your brother saw some sense. You should be happy Jen, you are really nice guy and you deserve at least to be happy.
It is great to hear that you are writing. Keep doing it.
Maybe you should go stay with your buddy Chris. He's the guy you were friends with in high-school right? I don’t remember if you said where he lives but I remember you said he invited you to stay. It might be good to be with a good friend while you figure out what your life is going to look like.
I am leaving in the morning. The shakedown was fine I no real problems.
I should be back in port in approximately 4 weeks. If you don't hear from me right away it could (and probably will) take longer. I will e-mail when I make landfall again.
Take care of yourself Jen.
Jensen kept Jared up-dated just like he promised even though it felt weird writing to someone who wasn't going to respond or even read his e-mails for weeks.
Between e-mails he finally got his shit together.
Instead of looking around for another job he bought a pick-up. He had never actually owned a vehicle of his own before, just always drove one of the family cars. He didn’t buy some shiny new piece of excess though. He bought a used truck that would get him and his crap where he wanted to go. He loved it.
He talked to Chris on the phone a couple of times to be sure it was okay and then made plans for California. Jamie was excited for him, his mother looked relieved.
His Uncle Jimmy threw a screaming shit fit. What it boiled down to was as that Jensen had better start towing the goddamned line, stop this foolish crap, go back to school or he was on his own. It took Jensen a couple of minutes to realize he'd just gotten an ultimatum. Go back to doing what he was told or he was cut off.
Jensen stared at his uncle, thinking about the price he was willing to pay for comfort and security in exchange for the right to determine his one future. “No, sir” he said and waited for the rest of the explosion.
It turned out his Uncle Jimmy was actually more of a control freak than Jensen suspected, and a vindictive one to boot. Jensen’s credit cards dried up. His phone was canceled. His allowance was cut completely. It turned out those things were all paid for by the family and entirely at his uncles discretion. The only thing it changed was Jensen’s determination. It turned out Jensen had a stubborn streak.
It didn’t take him long after the shit hit the fan to leave. He figured it wouldn’t be long and Uncle Jimmy would be threatening to kick him out any way, even if it was his mother’s house. From what Jensen had seen the last couple of weeks he didn’t think his mother would resist Jimmy anyway.
Jamie surprised him again. Jensen was having breakfast alone out by the pool when his brother came out with a cup of coffee. “So when are you leaving?” he said sitting down across from Jensen.
“Couple hours” Jensen said warily.
Jamie looked at him and Jensen swore he could see real sadness in his brother’s eyes. “I’m really proud of you Jensen. It takes stones to stand up to Uncle Jimmy, especially when he's being such a dick.”
Jensen couldn't hold in the surprised laugh “I guess.” he looked at his brother and continued “I’ve got to do it, though. I can't – I can't give my life away, you know? Even if I spend the rest of my life working shit jobs to support my writing at least I’ll be doing something I love.” He looked his brother right in the eye and hoped Jamie would get it.
For the first time Jensen saw admiration in the gaze his brother returned.
“You're really something little brother!” he grinned and gripped Jensen shoulder. “Need a hand loading that ugly truck of yours?”
Jensen's belly swooped and he felt about a hundred pounds lighter “Hey now! Don't be dissing my baby!”
Jensen wasn't taking much. Chris had a furnished room for him and really there wasn't much here he wanted. Clothes, music, movies, his laptop, and of course his books.
It only took three trips down the stairs for Jamie to start bitching. “Dude don't they have bookstores in California? Couldn't you just get new books out there? Why not just take your favorites?”
“These are my favorites.” Jensen said and slid box number 6 into the back of his Chevy.
Jamie groaned and followed him back up the stairs “How many more boxes?”
“Just a couple” Jensen lied.
It was only another hour and they were done.
“So” Jamie said sitting on the tail-gate. “I guess you're ready to go.”
“Yeah” Jensen said quietly. It was going to be harder to leave than he’d thought, at least leaving Jamie behind. Whatever small resentment he'd felt about being constantlycompared to his older brother did not change the love he had always felt. Jamie was the only one Jensen was really going to miss.
“Well give me a call when you get settled. I'll fly out and you can show me the sights.”
“Really? That'd be- uh that'd be great!”
Jamie pulled him into a hug then and Jensen let him, hugged back tight. They were never a particularly demonstrative family, the way it felt getting a hug from his brother made him wonder why. He didn't bother trying to hide the shine in his eyes when he pulled away.
He was sitting behind the wheel of his truck when Jamie reached in through the open window and handed him an envelope.
“What's this?” Jensen looked inside.
“Gas card. Call it a going away present. I know Jimmy cut you off, the prick. There’s a pre-paid visa for meals while you are on the road.” Jensen pulled out another card “And a Starbucks card. Don't want you going through coffee withdrawal because you're broke.” Jamie grinned.
“Thanks Jamie” Jensen told him quietly, touched.
“Yeah well it’s not like I was going to just leave you hanging. Jimmy's an asshole. I'm your brother”
Jensen turned the key. “See you later Jame”
“Yes you will. Drive safe kid”
It took 2 full days to get to Long Beach.
He ate at roadside diners and drank gallons of gas station coffee and pulled over to sleep in the truck when he was tired. It was the kind of thing he'd dreamed of doing and Jensen could barely believe he had the guts to get in his truck and do it. By the time he saw the Pacific Ocean there was no way Jensen would ever regret this. He pulled into
Chris and Steve's driveway just as the sun was setting.
Chris was wearing his cowboy hat when he answered the door. Jensen wondered if he ever took it off.
“Well holy shit, son. You made it!” was the greeting he got followed closely but a bone crushing hug. “Come on in!”
After 18 hours sleep Jensen came up for air.
He took the first job he found that he could actually do, which meant serving coffee for 8 hours a day. He knew Jamie would probably laugh at him for being the only one around who thought a coffee shop was the world’s greatest job. His opinion may have been colored by all the half price coffee his job came with.
Jared 12 August
So I left. I couldn't stay. Uncle Jimmy threw down an ultimatum and I couldn’t do it so I left.
I really like California.
I got a job at a place called 'Hot Beans!' I know it's kind of stupid but I like it way better. It's really hard and it's minimum plus tips. I'm not very good yet but the people there are nice and this guy Chad took pity on me and I am getting the hang of it. It feels like my first real job.
Steve owns the house and they won't take any rent so I make enough money at the coffee place to live.
Jimmy cut me off so I'm taking care of all my own shit, for the first time in my life. It scares the crap out of me sometimes, I can do it though.
I have time to write, a lot of time actually.
I can see the water from the back yard. Sometimes I come outside to write and end up watching the waves for hours. I feel about a hundred pounds lighter. I never realized how much different this would feel or I would have done it a lot sooner.
I finally got up on a board. Chad lent me his old long-board until I can afford to buy one. He thinks it’s hilarious that I can't surf and rags on me about it but he also told me to keep the board as long as I need it. He pretends to be an asshole but he’s actually a nice guy.
I paddled out the other day even though the water was flat and just rode in lying back on the board. It reminded me of when we went sailing off Waimea. It was so quiet. I could almost hear the water hitting the hull.
Where were you then? It's been three weeks, are you close? Are you still out on the water? Do you think about me sometimes?
Jensen worked as much as he could. When he wasn't working he tried to be writing. Sometimes he sat on the beach just before the sun was gone. Coming to California was the best thing he'd ever done.
When Jensen was in Cali a month Jamie came for the weekend. He teased Jensen for coming home from work buzzed on caffeine and smelling like coffee. “Must be close to the perfect life for you little brother” Jensen didn't correct him.
Chris threw a party and they all drank too much.
There was a fire on the beach like most weekends. Jamie and Jensen shared a bottle of tequila and Jensen told him about Hawaii and Jared and finding his way through the hardest year of his life. Jamie offered to kick Darren's ass. Jensen laughed at him and said “Forget it man. If he hadn’t been such a douche-bag on top everything else I never would have run off to Oahu. Never would have met Jared.”
“So where is Jared?”
“Out there somewhere.” Jensen said drunkenly swinging his arm wide toward the water. He was glad Jared was doing what he loved but couldn't really help feeling like he had missed his chance at a really great guy.
His hang-over the next day was EPIC. He had no plans to repeat it. Ever.
Jared 2 September
Jamie came. He flew in on Friday and stayed the whole weekend. We got drunk on the beach. I told him about you and the things I figured out about myself while I was in Hawaii.
He told me again he was proud of me. I didn't know how much that mattered to me until he said it.
I miss you. I wish I'd got to know you better before I left.
I wonder once in a while what it would have been like if I had just stayed on Oahu.
I'm glad I'm here though. I love it. I am making a good life for myself.
I don't regret anything about you except it didn’t last long enough
Jensen had Mondays off. He slept in when he could. Chris and Steve both worked, so the house was empty. Jensen would usually drink his first cup of coffee out where the front of the house gave way to the beach.
This weekend he'd gone with Chris and Steve on one of their gigs. They needed a roady and he needed to get out and do something. He also kind of owed them. They never made him feel that way for one second but when they asked if he could help out Jensen immediately said yes. It's not as if he'd had any plans for the weekend any way.
So he spent the weekend driving and hauling gear in and out of the van.
The house was quiet and so was the beach. He thought about digging out the board and finding a wave, maybe later. Now he just wanted to sit.
His mind turned to Jared and what he might be doing. Jensen was trying not to do that anymore but sometimes it just kind of happened. Today he let it happen.
He looked picture clutched in his hand. He'd taken it at the beach. Jared and his miles of golden skin, with his thumb hooked in the waist band of his swim suit, wearing the ridiculous sailor hat Jensen had bought earlier in the day. At some point Jensen had pulled the striped swim suit off with his teeth. It had been a great day for a lot of reasons.
It had also been over 2 months ago. He was going to have to let the thing with Jared go. If he was going to hear from him again it probably would have happened by now.
So he let himself have those few moments holding the photo and thinking about Jared and the way they were together. It felt a little like saying good bye to a ghost. He sat on the beach until he could make out the details in it anymore and tucked the picture back into his wallet before he walked back to the house
Tuesdays Jensen worked the morning shift with Chad.
Mornings were not his favorite because everyone was so damn tense. They all wanted their coffee NOW and they wanted it perfect.
It was okay though because even though Chad never shut up and all he talked about where the hot girls he hooked up with he wasn't a bad guy. He just talked a lot. Not everyone wanted to work with him but Jensen didn’t mind. He liked it in fact. Chad was fast and personable and he made the morning rush a lot better because he was so good at his job.
“I better be, bitch! I have been doing this shit for four years! Soon as I graduate I am the fuck out of here!” was what Chad said when Jensen mentioned how fast he was.
Today Chad was his usual self, until his phone rang. He looked at the call display and yelled “Taking my 15!” and headed for the back room “Jared! Where the hell are you man?I been waiting all fucking morning, you need to get your ass moving man shift is-” The rest of what he said was cut off as he left the front.
The name made Jensen's gut lurch a little. Guess this getting over Jared thing was a little harder than he'd thought.
Just the sound of the name hit him, just like every time a tall brown haired guy walked into the place and Jensen did a double take. It was stupid because he was certain no matter how many times his heart flipped over at the sight of a tall guy walking through the door it was never going to be Jared. He really needed to get past it. Get over the lost opportunity between his old life and the new one.
The bell over the door rang just as Jensen was busy refilling the chocolate chip muffins. Whoever it was they were tall and male. Jensen didn't look up. It was pointless and stupid.
“So. What's good here?” a warm familiar voice said from the other side of the counter.
“Holy shit” Jensen whispered looking up into familiar hazel eyes and that same huge grin. Jared, looking right at him and smiling like it was Christmas morning.
“Jared! You ginormous fucker! It's about time!” Chad yelled as he threw and arm around Jared's shoulder and pulled him into a bro-hug. Jared hugged him back smiling big
“Jesus you’re such a needy bitch Chad!” and messed his friends hair up. Friends. Jared was friends with Chad. That was Jared on the phone earlier, his Jared. Shit. Not his but the Jared he-
“Hey” he croaked, voice suddenly not working very well. He didn’t know what to say. All the times he wished the tall guy at the counter was Jared and now it was but he was here to see Chad. No doubt thinking his holiday fling was the last person he expected to see. Crap, he needed to be somewhere else before he said something stupid and embarrassing.
“I gotta -” he waved the empty pan vaguely at the back room and beat a hasty retreat.
He just needed a couple of minutes. Maybe by the time he came out Jared would be gone. That would be best, save Jensen from acting like a flustered teenager instead of a grown man.
He scrubbed his hand over his face. It wasn’t really working that well. He was kind of sick to his stomach. He felt cornered, the need to run away almost overwhelming.
God Jared must be horrified to come see his buddy and find the guy he ditched here as well. Jensen could make it easier for him. There was plenty of work to do in the stock room and Jensen could just stay back here until his shift was over. There was no one even in the place. Chad could handle it and catch up with his buddy and all awkwardness could be avoided. If Jared was still there when shift ended Jensen could plaster on a fake smile and -
“Jensen?” Why didn't Jared ever do what Jensen expected him to? Like stay out front and avoid him, make it easy on both of them. Instead of coming back here to talk. “Are you okay?”
“What? Oh yeah I'm fine! Stuff to do back here! Give you guys a chance to catch up in peace” he plastered on a fake smile.
“What's wrong? Aren't you glad to see me? “He sounded hurt.
“I thought -” Jared stopped and closed his eyes for a second. He took a step closer and reached out brushing Jensen's arm “I read all your e-mails, as soon as I got in to port. I only got to the mainland 2 weeks ago. I tried to phone you to tell you that I landed but your number was disconnected. I tried to email you but there was something wrong with my email so I just sailed here. I know I should have tried harder but you sounded so sad in the e-mails and I just wanted to be here so I set sail again right away. I thought I would just surprise you and … you know- just show up.”
He looked at Jensen uncertainty written all over his face. “Surprise?”
The only response Jensen had to that was a watery laugh followed by kissing him until they had to stop to breath. He thought he could hear Chad's laughter somewhere but he couldn’t really care over the sound of a second chance pounding in his ears
“You're sure about this Jensen?” Chris asked.
Jensen just laughed and grabbed the first box out of the back of his truck.
“I mean it's a big step, giving up your book collection for a guy”
“I guess that depends on the guy!” Jensen said as he stepped on-board The Escapade. “ Hi honey I'm home”
“Mmm home. I like the sound of that” Jared purred pulling him into a kiss.
“Me too” Jensen replied, letting the box slip onto the nearest bench so he could wrap his arms around his boyfriend.
“Jesus Christ you two get a room!” Chris bitched.
“We have a room. You're standing in it” Jared said and went back to what he was doing.
“OK then I'll just put these- here!” Chris said and made his escape.
“Are you really sure Jen?” Jared asked when they stopped for breath.
“If you ask me that again I'm going to get a complex. I thought about it. I decided. I'm here.”
“I'm really glad you are” Jared told him giving him another squeeze.
“Great! Everybody is thrilled! You two are covered in fairy dust! Can we get to the beer now?”
They both laughed at that and grabbed the box of beer before heading up on the deck where Chad Chris and Steve waited.
When the beer was mostly finished and their friends had gone home the two of them watched the first of many sunsets together, wrapped around each other, the way they intended to stay.