Jensen still didn’t know whether he bought the ticket because he wanted to see his old cast mates again in all their glory or he had just bought it to torture himself. Or maybe he’d actually bought it so that he could finally have closure - he was clinging onto the latter as the truth. Now, though, torture was at the top of the list as he wandered along the edge of Hyde Park stopping briefly to admire the Albert Memorial, the gold shining in the winter sun. It was quite a sight, huge and elaborate - a testament to the love of a queen for her spouse, and Jensen wondered if anyone would ever love him with that intensity, or if he could love another that way. He checked his watch. It was nearly time and from his position near the memorial he could see the crowds of people start to enter the Royal Albert Hall, yet another tribute to the late Prince Consort. Making his way slowly and painfully across the street, he entered the hall and followed the throngs of people up the stairs to the circle before taking his seat. He had purchased a restricted view seat as that was all he could afford but the view seemed fine, and the stage area looked spectacular. There was an incredible looking set, impressive lighting and already some evocative music was playing. Jensen adjusted himself on the small seat, his hip was particularly painful today. Maybe the cold air was aggravating it or maybe it was just deteriorating as the doctor said it would. His elbow was also quite painful but the pain in his hip eclipsed it tenfold.
As it was an afternoon showing, the house wasn’t quite full. There were a few empty seats dotted around the auditorium, but the atmosphere was still electric. Jensen felt his heart beating overtime as he waited for the start of the show. Watching the crowd to distract himself, he saw couples and families, school groups and singles. They were all waiting excitedly for the start of the show. Then almost without preamble, the lights went down and the show commenced in a blur of lights, special effects and incredible circus performances. Jensen was riveted and it felt as if the years just blew away like the seeds from a dandelion and all of a sudden, he was years younger, fit, healthy and whole.
Jensen loved this, practicing, the stretch of his muscles as he formed shapes on the trapeze. He had been a flyer in the past but now he was part of an act with Jared, just the two of them using a static trapeze. Moving in tandem, their bodies working together closely and intimately as Jared supported and Jensen moved sinuously. Dropping and twisting, his body was that of a gymnast - elegant and strong. His upper body strength was the best and he knew that the shapes he could hold were breathtaking. He hung under Jared, his legs in the splits position as he tightened his stomach to pull his legs forward into the pike and gained momentum to bring his legs up and back over his shoulders to link his feet around Jared. They always moved together like a well-oiled machine, their movements far more intimate than sex. Jensen had total trust in Jared. He trusted that his hand would be where it was needed, that his strength would hold him as required. The trust was borne of years of working in such close proximity and of being lovers for nearly as long.
That was years ago now, though and Jensen wasn’t the man he once was. He was less, much less. Watching the girls manipulate their unicycles, their balance spectacular as always, Jensen felt a pang of regret. These people had been like family to him, until the accident. Instead of letting his family take care of him, he had run as far and as fast as he could from them… well, from Jared really.
The music reached a crescendo as the static trapeze was lowered and Jensen’s heart started to hammer. He hadn’t checked who was manning it in this show. In fact, he had made a conscious decision not to check who was in the cast, but he found he wasn’t surprised when Jared ran onto stage. He was dressed in a sparkly unitard which should have looked vaguely ridiculous but didn’t. It served only to accentuate his fine muscle tone, particularly his rounded ass and sturdy thighs. His shoulders bunched and then stretched as he pulled himself up onto the trapeze. It was then that Jensen noticed his partner. Small, lithe and pretty, the years had been kind to Gen. Petite and gorgeous in a matching sparkly leotard, she reached for Jared’s hands and he pulled her up to himself as they began the erotic dance that used to be Jensen’s. Jensen was surprised at how much it still hurt to see her with Jared.
He had known from early on in their relationship that Jared needed more: more sex, more partners, just more than Jensen could offer. After he had found Jared with one of the acrobats the first time, they had argued. Jensen had screamed, cried, and packed his bag until Jared had sworn not to do it again. It wasn’t one of Jensen’s finest moments, but he agreed to stay and they reached an uneasy truce that lasted until Jensen found him backstage getting a blowjob from one of the riggers. The argument that followed was of epic proportions and this time Jensen did move out, his heart broken. Jared for his part, wooed and courted Jensen the old fashioned way, with flowers, promises and love notes. Jensen broke down and took Jared back and for five years to the best of Jensen’s knowledge Jared did not cheat. Jensen loved Jared with all his being and Jared loved him back, Jensen was sure of that. Their home life was ridiculously domestic. Jensen enjoyed cooking. As he was a scientist, he loved to follow a recipe with the conscientiousness he would a formula, with certain adjustments for their personal tastes. His food was outstanding.
‘What’s this again?’
‘I call it boef de Jensen’ Jensen snorted
‘mmm’ Jared sighed, the sound dirty. ‘I’ll eat your beef anytime honey,’ he said as he pecked Jensen on the cheek, then cradling his face and turned Jensen for a more satisfying smooch. The dinner forgotten, they explored first each other’s mouths then their bodies. Jared went to his knees and opened Jensen’s fly and peering up at his lover, he took him into his mouth and made good on his promise.
Jensen watched the way their bodies melded then came apart, the symmetry and beauty of their movements was like a knife cutting across Jensen’s skin, but he couldn’t help but admire the pair. They must have been a couple now for over five years as it had been that long since the accident. And every minute of their time together showed in their well-executed movements. Jensen realized then and there that this excursion was not about closure but had always been an exercise in torture. He was punishing himself for his stupidity, for not having it out with Jared before he took to the stage that night. For letting his personal life encroach on the show and for letting his mind wander during the act. Well he was paying for it now and Jared, well he was just fine, Jensen thought with a tinge of bitterness.
Without a backward glance, Jensen quickly made his exit from the auditorium, the usher hissing to him that he wouldn’t be allowed back in until there was a suitable lull in the performance. That didn’t matter - Jensen wasn’t planning on going back. Enough was enough, and Jensen wasn’t going to live his life in the past anymore. Jensen limped down the stairs and exited the building into the frigid London sunshine. As he made his way to the tube, his cane caught between the paving slabs and as he was moving forward with such momentum, he crashed to the ground. Londoners who were always in such a hurry, their time seeming to be at a premium, ignored him and wove their way by him as he struggled to his feet, his hip hurting just a little more now. But not as much as his pride. Dusting himself off, his face red with embarrassment, he moved off a little more tentatively, thinking how his day couldn’t get any worse.
Jensen still remembered that day in stark, brutal detail. He had gone to the library to study. He knew if he stayed home, Jared would moan and gripe, demanding attention, like the needy three year old he was...mentally anyway. Jensen knew he would give in and although there would be a lot of fun, probably naked fun, he needed to get his essay finished. He was finding it hard enough to study for his Masters long distance as it was. He was already at the library when he realized he had left his calculator behind, with a sigh he jumped back in his truck and headed home, letting himself in, he was surprised that Jared didn’t rush to meet him like he normally did, in fact the house was preternaturally quiet.
Humming quietly to himself Jensen made his way to the study that adjoined the master bedroom, on reaching the top of the stairs he heard a giggle, a decidedly female giggle and his heart lurched. He heard Jared’s voice; he couldn’t make out the words… just the low rumble of the voice he used when he was in bed and although Jensen knew what was happening he couldn’t stop himself from peering around the bedroom door. Jared was lying on the bed, naked. His body was a work of art. A sculptor would have hours of fun carving his musculature from a block of marble, defining each plane and valley until the finished product would surely rival Da Vinci’s David. Jensen watched as Jared rolled on top of Gen, his body swamping her tiny form. Their breaths quickened as he entered her. It wasn’t the fact that Jared was fucking someone else that brokeJensen’s heart again. It was the intimacy, the quiet words, the soft kisses, the fact that he was in her, joined to her and Jensen was on the outside. Shocked, Jensen realized Jared was fucking her raw and he wondered abstractly if this was the first time or if Jared had been with her previously, unthinkingly putting Jensen at risk.
Knowing this was the end, that there was no coming back from this betrayal, Jensen retreated quietly but at the bottom of the stairs, he kicked the hall table over, cascading everything onto the floor in an obscene clatter. As he left the apartment he heard, Gen shriek and then Jared’s footfall on the stairs, but Jensen was in the truck and back on the road before Jared made it to the front door.
Jensen limped his way to South Kensington tube station, leaning more heavily on his stick now than he had earlier in the day. The stresses of the day had left him exhausted and having sat still in that uncomfortable seat for an hour had caused his hip to seize. He needed a hot bath and some heavy-duty painkillers and he needed them now. Jensen struggled his way onto the tube. It was rush hour so the tube was packed and despite his obvious disability, no one offered him a seat. Not that he expected it. Struggling through two tube changes, Jensen finally arrived at his stop and fought his way up the escalator to street level and then it was a five-minute walk, on a good day, to his apartment. Today the walk took about fifteen minutes; Jensen had to stop a couple of times to catch his breath as the pain literally stole it from him. By the time he climbed the stairs to his first floor flat and opened the door to let himself, in he was sweating and shaking with pain. He managed to make it to the bathroom and dry swallow a couple of oxycontin. Collapsing on the sofa, he maneuvered himself into the most comfortable position he could find and waited for the pills to kick in. As the fuzziness started to creep round the edges of his pain, his mind wandered back to that day.
They had a performance that evening and Jensen just knew he should cry off, but he had the mantra ‘the show must go on’ so firmly embedded in his head that he knew canceling wasn’t a serious option. Chris was already at the venue. He always got there first, his conscientiousness meaning he felt the need to check and double check his equipment prior to the show.
‘Dude what are you doing here, you and Jay normally turn up last minute.’
Jensen didn’t want to let Chris know what a fool he had been, so he said, ‘Just finished studying earlier than expected and thought I would come here as it was nearer. Had a bit of a falling out with Jared,’ he admitted.
‘Nothing too serious I hope,’ Chris looked worried. ‘You know you’ll have to make up before curtain up.’ Jensen smiled in acknowledgement, but he knew there was no way that he and Jared would be making up anytime soon. The time for curtain up was fast approaching and Jensen had changed into his unitard earlier, it was made of form fitting lycra and liberally adorned with sequins and stones. Jensen knew that they would catch the light and that they were positioned in such a way that they accentuated his muscle tone. He knew that whenever Jared wore his costume it always made his mouth water, and Jared for his part could hardly keep his hands off Jensen when he was similarly dressed. Jensen had managed to avoid Jared so far but clearly that avoidance could only last just so long as sooner rather than later they would have to share the stage and a trapeze together. Taking the bull by the horns Jensen went looking for Jared and found him sitting in the dressing room with a miserable expression on his face.
‘Jensen,’ he moaned, jumping to his feet. ‘I’ve been so worried about you.’
‘I’m fine.’ Jensen gritted. He was far from fine, but Jared didn’t need to know that.
‘I’m so sorry.’ Jared said as he crossed the room, his hand extended as if to touch Jensen, but Jensen just flinched away.
‘It’s fine,’ Jensen responded ‘Come on its nearly time.’ A confused look crossed Jared’s face.
‘Not now Jared,’ Jensen snapped as he walked to the curtained entrance and quietly waited for their cue.
Jared looked at Jensen unhappily, ‘We need to talk.’
‘How many times do I have to say not now?’ Jensen raised his voice and then bit his lip to stop a further outburst. Jared waved a placating hand and Jensen could barely stop his violent urge to punch his erstwhile boyfriend. Too many emotions were racing around his head. Betrayal was vying with devastation for top billing, Jensen wondered why he was even surprised, it wasn’t the first time or even the second time that Jared had strayed. He should have prepared himself for this; if he had, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much.
He imagined his life without Jared and all he could imagine was a barren landscape. Jared, for all his faults, brought color and beauty to Jensen’s life. Unfortunately, he also brought pain and sadness in his wake. Jensen had a decision to make: end his relationship, this time for good, or stay with Jared and realize that Jared would never be able to be faithful.
Hearing the familiar music heralding their entrance the pair ran onto stage, smiles painted on, they were nothing if not professional. The act started as always, Jared performed some impressive moves that drew attention to his incredible body and sheer strength. Hanging upside down by his legs, he reached for Jensen and then the trapeze rose in the air until it was about 25 feet above the ground. Jensen moved with the elegance and poise of the accomplished athlete that he was. He found the familiar movements soothing and concentrating on the act meant he couldn’t dwell on Jared’s betrayal. Jensen was gracefully moving into shapes and poses that stretched and displayed his body as Jared supported and guided him. The act was nearing its end and Jensen positioned himself to complete the complex drop and grab move that was the highlight of the performance. He let go of Jared’s hands and completed the spin, reaching to grab Jared’s hands to finish the move, but they weren’t where he expected them to be, or maybe it was his hands that weren’t in the right position. Then he was falling, he was only twenty-five feet off the ground so he expected the fall to take microseconds, but it didn’t. Jensen fell for what felt like hours, his body turning. No thoughts raced through his brain, his life didn’t pass before his eyes and there was remarkably little fear. In fact, his last thought before his body hit the ground was ‘maybe this is for the best’. Then there was a horrible crunching noise, terrible pain and then sweet black release.
Jensen woke up when the cold of the evening started to seep through his clothing. He managed to drag himself from the couch to the bedroom. The painkillers were still working, thankfully. He knew he should probably have something to eat but the wooziness caused by the tablets had stolen his appetite so he snuggled under the covers and passed out sleeping dreamlessly until the morning.
Jensen was running through the fields, it was all very romantic, long stalks of barley waving in the breeze. It would have been perfect but Jensen knew something wasn’t quite right. He felt no pain and he was running fast and for some reason that seemed...odd. Also, he really needed the bathroom, but there didn’t seem to be any public bathrooms anywhere in this vista of endless meadows. Jensen was vaguely aware he was dreaming but it was a bit of a battle to wake up and when he did, his mouth felt as if it had been stuffed with cotton wool, very unpleasantly flavored cotton wool at that. With a groan, he pulled himself from bed and staggered to the bathroom, his limp pronounced today. Once he had relieved himself, Jensen cleaned his teeth, all the while avoiding thinking about what had happened the previous day. He knew that he would have to address his feelings at some stage, but right at this moment, he felt too raw to contemplate it. He switched on the shower and as it warmed, he gave his face a perfunctory shave, eyeing himself in the mirror. His face was pale, making his freckles stand out all the more. His eyes normally a bright forest green looked washed out. Jensen wasn’t vain but he could appreciate that he wasn’t a bad looking man, but today, he looked exhausted and ill. With a sigh, he struggled into the shower. Today he was glad of the disability bars that had been fitted. He was unsteady on his feet and the thrum of pain was just starting to make itself known in his hip. It was painful enough that he had to use the bars for support. He showered as quickly as he was able, all the while ignoring the itch at the back of his mind that was demanding attention. Jensen briefly considered calling in sick as his hip was protesting today, but he knew that they would be short handed today. Besides, he really loved his job.
Dragging himself out of the door, he prepared for the torture that was his trip to work. Arriving at the Science Museum, surprisingly none the worse for the wear, Jensen made his way to the front desk. Smiling at his colleagues, he sat himself down and awaited the onslaught of visitors. Considering it was a Saturday, it turned out to be quite a light day, but busy enough to keep his mind off Jared. Jensen smiled to himself. He felt lucky to get this job. It allowed him enough time to study for his PhD and he was working in the freaking Science Museum. When things got bad, when his hip was hurting or he found that it was deteriorating faster than the doctors thought it should, he only had to think about how grateful he was at finding this job and he felt a little better. Thoughts of Jared prickled at the back of his mind as the day progressed and by the time Jensen was waving farewell to his workmates and crying off going for an after-work drink, those thoughts were pressing in on him. Jensen took the long way home, knowing the extra walking distance would probably make his hip unbearable. The pain chased any bad thoughts away, the bright white pain was all he could concentrate on and for a brief moment, Jensen wondered if he was becoming a masochist, or if he was purposefully causing himself pain so that he could take some painkillers and chase away both the pain and the thoughts with fuzzy oblivion. But at the end of the day, Jensen knew it was neither of those. He was using pain as a distraction, pure and simple.
Once home, Jensen didn’t immediately reach for the painkillers he let himself revel in the pain. He thought that although it was exquisite and devastating, it also proved he was still alive. It proved that he could live without Jared. After all, he had lived without him for five years.
Agony was the only word for the way he felt when he dragged himself back to consciousness. Jensen didn’t think he had ever felt pain like this. Not the time he reached for the hold awkwardly and Fred had caught him but managed to dislocate his shoulder, and not the time he had fallen while trying the high wire when he was just nine and had managed to break his ankle on the safety net. Everything was aching from his hair follicles to his nails and teeth. He tried to open his eyes but his eyelashes seemed to be stuck together.
‘mmmgh’ he moaned.
‘Jensen,’ He heard a voice, soft and welcome, and felt a cool cloth move gently across his forehead and eyes, removing the gunk holding them together.
‘Chris…’ he moaned.
‘Boy we were so worried.’ Jensen opened his eyes and after a moment of blurriness managed to focus on Chris. ‘Let me go get Jared. He’s been so worried.’ Jensen’s heart soared for a moment until Chris continued. ‘He just stepped out with Gen for a while,’ and Jensen’s heart plummeted again. Stupid heart should know better by now.
‘Don’t want to see him,’ Jensen managed to croak
‘What? Of course you do’ Chris responded, confused
‘No, Chris,’ Jensen managed to sound firm, although his voice was cracked. ‘Don’t let him in here.’
Chris looked like he wanted to argue but when he saw the broken look in Jensen’s eyes he didn’t argue, but just said sadly, ‘What did he do this time?’
‘Gen,’ Jensen responded, tears filling his eyes. He tried to move his right hand to wipe his eyes and nearly passed out from the blinding pain that followed.
Chris pushed the bell to alert the medical staff all the while berating Jared. Now that Jensen’s concentration was back on his own broken body, he started to notice that some parts were more painful than others. His right hip was probably the most painful but his right arm was also causing concern.
‘Chris, how badly injured am I?’ Chris flinched and that pretty much told Jensen what he feared.
The doctor entered the room and said, ‘Nice to see you awake young man, how are you feeling?’
Jensen gave him a withering look. ‘Ah I suppose that was a stupid question,’ he said as he took Jensen’s blood pressure and pulse. ‘You’re very lucky you know, that fall could have killed you.’
‘Doc, how bad is it?’ Jensen asked.
‘Well you shattered your hip on impact so we’ve had to rebuild it. You’ve got a fair bit of hardware in there, but I’m confident that you’ll walk again. You also sustained a nasty injury to your elbow, but I think that should heal quite well, you may experience some stiffness, but with physio, I expect you to have almost full range of movement there.
‘What?’ Jensen thought, shocked. ‘That didn’t sound good.’
‘Doc, am I going to be able to fly again?’
‘Of course,’ the doctor replied, misunderstanding Jensen’s question ‘You may set off some of the metal detectors, but there’s no reason to think you won’t be able to go on a plane.’
‘No,’ Jensen snapped, his head was throbbing and the pain was making his vision blur and making him less diplomatic than normal. ‘Will I be able to use the trapeze again?’
The doctor looked uncomfortable. ‘That’s highly unlikely,’ he eventually conceded. ‘But you have to look on the bright side, you should be able to walk and your elbow will have a good range of movement.’ he repeated as Jensen just slumped in on himself. The trapeze was his life. He had been flying since he was five, first with his family then later with Cirque. He couldn’t imagine life without it… what would he do now? He could feel the room spinning around him and could hear the doctor’s voice in the distance telling him to breathe slowly before everything went dark around the edges and the darkness crowded in and surrounded him.
Finally, Jensen decided that he had tortured himself enough and took some painkillers. Being in pain was exhausting and Jensen knew it had also aged him. Every time he went to see the specialist he was berated for not looking after himself properly. Apparently he didn’t manage his pain correctly. The doctor wanted him to take painkillers on a regular basis so that he wouldn’t end up in screaming agony, and then he would only have to take the more serious painkillers infrequently. Jensen knew he was being stubborn by not following the doctors instructions but he couldn’t help but think that taking the pills regularly would be a sign of weakness and worried more that it would mean that he was an addict. And what would happen when the pills he was taking lost their efficacy? The doctor had argued that Jensen would have a far better quality of life if he followed his instructions, but Jensen just smiled and nodded and then went home and totally ignored him.
Jensen kept telling himself that nothing had changed. Yesterday, Jared was his ex boyfriend - his cheating, lying ex boyfriend at that, and today he was too. It just all felt a little closer today and Jensen cursed his weakness. If he hadn’t gone to see the show yesterday then his emotional pain wouldn’t be so raw now.
The pills blurred not only Jensen’s physical pain but also the emotional and as such, he found himself drifting into a restless sleep. Sometimes sleep was his friend, and he would find himself flying from trapeze to trapeze, the memories so real he could feel the whip of the wind in his hair and the grit of the talc on his hands. Other times, like now, Jensen was transported back to his time in hospital.
‘Well Jensen,’ said the doctor. ‘I think you’ll find The Blackthorns an excellent rehabilitation unit, before you know it you’ll be back on your feet.’
Jensen groaned as he was moved from the bed to a wheelchair. To be honest he was looking forward to getting out of the hospital and getting on with the physio. He always did like a challenge.
‘I bet you’ll be glad to get back on your own two feet again’ said the perky little nurse who wheeled Jensen to the waiting ambulance. ‘Yeah’ thought Jensen, ‘but I’d be even happier to get back on the trapeze.’ The ambulance staff helped situate Jensen until he was almost comfortable and they started on the long trip to Blackthorns. Jensen had purposefully asked the doctor to arrange the transport for 3.30 on Friday as he knew the cast would be onstage and he could make a graceful exit without too much drama. ‘Thank God I’m an orphan,’ thought Jensen erroneously as the ambulance meandered down the country lanes moving ever closer to his new home for the next several months. ‘At least none of the cast has any right to find out where I have gone and I have no parents for them to pester’. It was cold comfort but Jensen couldn’t help but want to isolate himself. He definitely never wanted to see Jared’s cheating ass again and the rest of them, well family or not, it was all just a little too painful at the moment.
Blackthorns Respite Home was as imposing as its name sounded, set in a remote locale in the South Downs. The main building had clearly once been a stately home, It’s grey walls rose from the sparse heath land appeared hewn from granite. The many paned windows met Jensen’s gaze like a multitude of watching eyes. For all its stern exterior, it didn’t look forbidding and once inside, it was obvious that someone had tried to temper its institutional nature with a smattering of soft furnishings here and a splash of bright color there.
‘You must be Mr Ackles,’ said a portly nurse. She was dark haired and round of face, but smiled openly as she greeted him. ‘We’ve got your room ready for you,’ she said as she signed a form and bade the ambulance staff away. ‘You got a nice one too,’ she continued. ‘You must have good insurance, we don’t normally get American gentlemen here.’ Jensen listened to her chatting as he curiously looked around his new home. It felt OK, it felt right, he thought abstractly as he was pushed into a large airy room, and he found himself on the other side of one of those multi paned windows.
‘I’m Sister Jones,’ the nurse said as she stopped the chair and moved around to face Jensen.
‘Jensen.’ he replied holding out his good left hand for the shake. Sister Jones took it and with a wide beaming smile showed Jensen where the bathroom was and the lovely view from the window.
‘Right I just want to get you settled now, and tomorrow the hard work begins.’
Jensen groaned as he awoke. His hip was still aching, but at least it had dulled to a manageable level. In fact, it was probably the same level he lived with day in and day out. The last vestiges of his dream were fleeing away but he remembered the nurse’s last words about the hard work and smiled as he recalled just how hard it was. Hard but so worth it. At least now he could walk, after a fashion, and could use his right arm almost as well as his left. Well, he wouldn’t be swinging on the trapeze or anything else for that matter, but he could write and shake hands. Life could be a lot worse, he thought as he decided to settle down and do some work on his thesis.
A week passed, and then two. Jensen was slowly getting a grip on his emotions again. Work helped, as did the long hours he spent in the library polishing his thesis. Things were almost back to how they were.
Jensen struggled home from work on Friday, his hip was complaining loudly and Jensen wasn’t sure if it was because of the damp weather of more likely because he had jarred it misstepping earlier on that day. At least this was his weekend off, and a good long rest was in order. Jensen looked at the stairs that lead the way to his flat with a groan. Whatever had possessed him to rent a first floor flat? Steeling himself, he forced one leg after another up the stairs, grunting with effort and pain at every step. Coming around the corner to his door, he noticed a man sat on the floor leaning against his door; his head was in his hands as if weeping or dry scrubbing his face.Jensen didn’t need the man to look up to know it was Jared, his hair was as long and unruly as it had been when they were a couple.
Jensen considered trying to sneak out, but he knew his arrival had been less than silent so Jared was probably aware that he was there.
‘What the fuck are you doing here?’ ‘The best defense and all that’ thought Jensen, going in for the attack.
Jared jumped, maybe he had drifted off and Jensen could have escaped.
‘Jensen,’ Jared said pleadingly. Well Jensen was in no mood for that.
‘Where’s your girlfriend?’ Jensen snapped and watched confusion slide over Jared’s face.
‘Gen, that whore you were banging while you and I were supposed to be monogamous.’
Jared looked sheepish, hell this was like going back in time and Jensen didn’t have the time or emotional strength for this.
‘What do you want Jared?” he said tiredly.
Jared took a deep breath ‘I just needed to know that you’re alright Jensen,’ he took another breath he sounded like he had been running ‘You disappeared and I didn’t know...I didn’t know whether I had dropped you, whether I missed your hand...’ he tapered off.
‘I’m fine Jared.’ Jensen sighed ‘you didn’t miss anything; I think I missed your hand.’ Jensen unlocked the door and limped into his flat, Jared following closely behind.
‘What the fuck Jensen?’ Jared spat. ‘You’ve left me worrying that I did something wrong for years,’ he grabbed Jensen.‘Years, damn you!’ he let go and paced over to the fireplace and looked at the lone photo displayed there. It was a picture of the two of them in happier days. Before Jared took to philandering. Back when their partnership was shiny and new. Their smiles were full and open and really only for each other, the photograph capturing that intimacy perfectly.
Jensen was looking at him bewilderedly. ‘You thought you did something wrong, well guess what Jared. You did - you fucked a girl in our bed.’ Jared turned around guilt, written over his face.
‘I have no excuse,’ he murmured ‘Well, she threw herself at me and it was just really hard to say no.’
‘Look Jared,’ Jensen said, maneuvering himself onto the sofa, ‘You’ve got your answer, your trapeze skills are no longer under question. So do me a favor and fuck off.’
Jared looked like he had been smacked across the face but then he visibly steeled himself and sat next to Jensen on the sofa.
‘I want a second chance,’ he said softly taking Jensen’s hand.
Jensen coughed. ‘Second,’ he said bewilderedly. ‘Wouldn’t this be like the fourth or something? I was a fool to believe you all those years ago. If I hadn’t, I’d still be a whole man.’
‘You are a whole man, Jen. I know I messed around on you, but you’re the only one I love and I’ve spent the last few years sorting myself out, my priorities. I’ve had therapy and I want you back,’ he said the last bit with a stubborn tilt to his head.
‘Well I’m sorry to burst your bubble Jared, but I don’t want you back, there’s no way I can ever trust you again.’ Jensen let the years of anger and despair out in that one short sentence realizing all the while that it was lies, he wanted Jared back, and he just didn’t want the heartache that came with it.
Jared looked at Jensen his manner determined, he put his arm around Jensen’s neck and before Jensen was able to shrug it off, he planted a small soft kiss onto the smaller man’s mouth. ‘I will get you back’ he said quietly, then got up and moved to the door. Jensen was confused.
‘But you’re with Gen now; I mean you were with her when I was in hospital. You’re doing the act with her for God’s sake’
Jared looked back. ‘I’m not with her Jen, that time you saw us was the first and only time, and that was the only time I cheated on you... well since you took me back that time,’ Jared scuffed the floor with his foot as he looked down. ‘I know you have no reason to believe me. I have screwed up time and again, but I’ve waited five years for this. There’s been no one,’ He walked back across the floor and kneeling down, he took Jensen’s hands. ‘I’ve gotten help and I waited until I knew I could be the man you deserved.’ he sighed. ‘I was so worried about you, Jensen’ he was looking into Jensen’s eyes with such devotion Jensen literally didn’t know what to do with himself.
‘No, Jensen, you have to give me a chance. I’ll spend the rest of my life proving my love to you.’
Jensen knew that he had never stopped loving Jared, even when he hated the son of a bitch, but this was too much. His mind raced, could he take a chance with Jared? How would he feel being around the trapeze again, seeing others doing what he so longed to do? He had built a life for himself here.
‘Jared, you can’t expect to swan back into my life after five years and for me to just fall back into your arms,’ Jensen said tiredly, this whole meeting was wearing him out.
‘I know,’ Jared responded ‘Just don’t write me off completely, OK?’ and Jensen knew then that he was lost. He had listened to Jared and he hadn’t thrown him out, he wanted to believe him. He wanted to believe in him.
‘I can’t make you any promises’ Jensen said and he moved awkwardly causing the pain in his hip to shoot down his leg and making him wince with pain.
‘God, Jensen, is there anything I can do?’
‘Get my painkillers from the bathroom,’ Jensen forced out between his clenched teeth.
Jared hurried to the bathroom and returned with a glass of water and a selection of painkillers, Jensen chose his bog standard, day-to-day painkiller and downed two with a swig of water. He needed to keep his wits about him with Jared there.
‘Do you want me to help you to bed?’
Jensen nodded, the pain outweighing his shame at needing the help.
Jared helped him to his feet and supported Jensen with an arm around his shoulder helped him lurch his way to the bedroom. Once there Jared helped him undress and tucked him in. As Jared was about to leave the room, Jensen took his hand and murmured, ‘Stay’ and the answering beam of Jared’s smile lit up the room, making Jensen’s heart swell. He gently crawled under the covers and pressed his fully clothed form to Jensen’s underwear clad one. Holding each other, they drifted to sleep.
Jensen dreamt that night that he was whole again and Jared and he were performing on the trapeze. Jared looked like a god in his unitard his muscles flexing as he caught Jensen, the sweat on his brow trickling down into his hair as he hung from the trapeze. His gaze never leaving Jensen’s making him feel loved, adored even.
And when Jensen awoke, he felt refreshed and happy; his shoulders aching as if he’d had a good workout, almost as if his dream were a reality. There was a warmth at his back and a well-muscled arm was pulling him against a broad chest, and Jensen felt something he hadn’t felt for a long time. He felt happy. He didn’t know what the future held for him, but he was ready to meet it head on. ‘Maybe now,’ he thought, ‘maybe now I should let go of the past.’ He knew it wouldn’t be easy, and maybe their problems would be insurmountable but having made his decision, he felt lighter and happier than he had in years. Closing his eyes, he snuggled into Jared’s arms and fell asleep again, thinking that this was only the beginning.