"It's a bastardization," Jensen declared.
Jared snorted. "Of what? The noble sport of Scrabble? Come on, man, it's fun with words."
"You want fun with words, I'll play a game of Scrabble with you," Jensen offered, already turning back to his crossword puzzle. Sure enough, Jared shrugged and picked up his phone. Once he got a new obsession, he was like a dog with a bone, and Words With Friends was a t-bone steak. And thus far 'Sir Caseus' had proven to be the only opponent capable of taking on Jared's 'Mooseman.' Jensen would have objected to the game based on the ridiculous monikers alone, never mind his other reasons.
"Mmm?" Jensen murmured. Twelve down was a Shakespearean heroine. Ah, V-I-O-L-A.
"Cas just played 'nipple.'"
Jensen rolled his eyes. "Sophisticated. Your Sir Caseus is probably a fratboy from Wisconsin named Buzz."
Jared's comeback was cut off by the phone ringing, the brrrrr-ing, brrrrr-ing of a rotary.
Jared moved around his desk and pressed his finger to the tip of his nose and started oinking quietly. Jensen rolled his eyes and turned away again, the phone cord wrapping around his chest. They should get better phones, or at least phones from this century, but they never seemed to get to it.
"Uh, no, ma'am. That is indeed a word. As are 'cockbill,' 'cockshut' and 'cockup.'"
Jared gave him an incredulous look, then stuffed his tongue in his cheek and brought his fist to his mouth. Jensen felt around on his desk, grabbed a pen, and threw it at him. It hit him in the arm and went skittering across the floor as Jared tried to laugh silently, without much success.
"Thank you for your concern, ma'am. You have a nice day."
He slammed the phone down as Jared howled with laughter.
Jared was wiping tears from his eyes. It wasn't that funny. Jay just had the sense of humor of a twelve-year-old boy.
"You're awfully cocky with your word choices!" Jared choked out.
"How long'd it take you to come up with that one? I thought we'd be here til cockshut." Okay. It was a little funny. Jared grinned at him.
"So, what, she didn't like cock?" he asked.
"Not exactly." Jensen's eyes sparkled. Okay, it was rather funny. "Cockshy."
Jared had to go into their little bathroom to compose himself.
The rest of the morning passed at a glacial rate. Jensen busied himself with answering Scrabble fan mail (they did get some, from time to time, and some people sent pictures of well-played games and the longest words they'd formed) while Jared went back to his phone and another game of Words With Friends until his Sir Caseus couldn't play anymore. Jensen's stomach started to growl around 11:30, but he forced himself to wait another fifteen minutes, even though it was Wednesday, the best day of the week. His mouth started to water at 11:45.
"Jay." Jensen leaned around his monitor and tapped his watch.
Jared's head fell forward off the platform of his palm. He barely caught himself from taking a header into his computer screen. "Huh?"
"Dude, wipe your spittle. Come on, it's lunchtime." Jensen stood up and carefully rolled his chair back under his desk. Jared stretched, cracked his knuckles and yawned widely. "You look like a lion at the zoo. Lazy-ass fat cat."
He cuffed Jared lightly on the side of the head as he made his way to the door.
"Ouch! Geez." Jared rolled his own chair out from under his desk and left it in the middle of the room. "I'm not going to make you late for your crush."
Jensen stopped dead. "He is not my crush."
"You keep telling yourself that." Jared smirked and brushed past him on his way out the door. Jensen watched him go with his mouth open. Jared was terrible at guessing stuff like this. And maybe Jensen had stared at Misha's hands the last time they went to the Cheese Emporium, but that was because he was showing them how he'd rolled this cheese pastry. Which was, admittedly, extremely phallic. And tasty.
But he did not have a crush on the cheese man! Misha Collins made the best sandwiches in town. That was all. Jared was insane, and typically wrong. Misha was sociable and charming and untouchable, aggravating and flighty, and just too different from Jensen. Jensen gave himself a shake and followed Jared, locking the door behind him.
"You're insane," he informed Jared, easily catching up. Despite having such long legs, Jared was a slow walker. He sauntered, Jensen walked.
"Mmm, am I?"
Jared was also a baiter, and it worked on a lot of people, but Jensen hadn't fallen for one of his reverse psychology leading questions in years. He kept his mouth shut, and sure enough, Jared was the one who gave in just a block down the road.
"Dude, we go there every Wednesday!"
"We go to the grill on Mondays, burgers on Tuesdays, Cheese Emporium on Wednesdays, gelato on Thursdays, and Chowder Bowl on Fridays. What's your point?"
"Um…you're a part-time lover?"
Jensen shot him a dirty look. If Jared started singing…
"Mmm-foo shwubunga itis, somethin' PART TIME LOVAH!"
"You are such a freak." Jensen moved aside for a couple of high tourists stumbling out of Aldo's coffee shop. They blinked through bloodshot eyes at the two of them as Jared continued mangling lyrics.
"I don't know what the fuck you think you're singing, but it is in no way Part-time Lover," Jensen said.
"It's Part-time Awesome Lovah. I made it up just now."
Jensen sighed heavily. Two blocks to go. Jared whistled an off-key rendition of "Part-time Lover" the whole way.
They entered the Cheese Emporium at precisely noon.
Misha Collins, the owner/head chef of the Cheese Emporium and man whom Jensen definitely did not have a crush on, didn't even turn from his place in front of the stovetop.
"You guys are going to love what I have in store for you today," he called out. "Especially you, Jen."
"What if we'd been Lydia and her granddaughter?" Jared asked, flopping gracelessly into his side of their usual booth, the one with the battered Scrabble board and 'T' tile made out of cardboard. They'd tried sitting at the Battleship booth once, but Jared had lost so bad and put up such a sulk that it wasn't even fun for Jensen to lord it over him, and they'd stuck with Scrabble ever since.
Misha shook his head. "They don't leave until the door's closed behind your ass. I give them three minutes to get here."
Jensen peered out the front window. Sure enough, Lydia of Lydia's Antiques was hobbling across the street, leaning heavily on her granddaughter and her antique cane.
Misha turned then and looked them up and down. Jensen caught his eye for a second before busying himself with his own tiles. He was going to beat the snot out of Jared. "Yours," Misha said. "But Jensen's isn't going begging for the occasional lascivious leer."
Jensen refused to blush. It wasn't as if Misha had said he'd been the one leering.
"I always enjoy the view," Misha continued, approaching with the coffee pot and two mismatched mugs extolling the virtues of Wisconsin cheddar on one and goats on the other. He handed Jensen the goats as Jared cackled with laughter.
"You've been checking out the Ackles Hills?"
Jensen kicked him in the shins. He was losing his war with his blush, too. It was very disconcerting, the effect Misha had on him. Jensen was not a blusher, and he could dish it out and take it in equal measures. That's what he and Jared did all day, every day. But when it came to Misha, he felt tongue-tied. And pissed for being tongue-tied. A former national Scrabble champ should never be at a loss for words.
"What did you make today, then, that you're so sure we'll like?" Jensen managed to ask, valiantly ignoring Jared's howl of pain and everything else that had come out of his mouth.
"It's a surprise. Open yourself up to the wonder," Misha said, gesturing broadly with his coffeepot.
Jensen was spared needing to make a remark to that by the arrival of Lydia and her granddaughter, Genevieve.
"Ladies!" Misha greeted them. "The counter beckons."
Jensen had a feeling Lydia always insisted on sitting at the counter so she could have an unobstructed view of Misha making her lunch. The man was also an incorrigible flirt, one more reason why Jensen did not have a thing for him. He flipped over a tile, 'E.'
"Jay," he said quietly, trying to bring Jared's focus back to the game. He'd been obviously staring at Genevieve with his mouth slightly open. It was a little embarrassing.
"No, you got an 'E,' and I got," Jared attempted to turn one tile over with a fancy flourish and succeeded in knocking his whole tray over. "Shit."
Jensen rolled his eyes. "I think we know the real reason you like coming here."
"What? No, I'm being your Wing Man!"
"I don't need one because I don't have a crush!" Jensen hissed. "Pick up your tiles, man, I want to get this game started sometime this century."
Jared shot him a thunderous look, but drew forth seven new tiles and flipped the last one. "An 'A.' You happy?"
"Indubitably." Jensen gestured for him to start, and finally the game got underway, for about five minutes – until Jared cheated.
"You can't play it unless you know what it means," Jensen grumbled.
Jared leaned back in his booth and folded his arms. "No point. You already know what it means."
"But I'm not the asswipe who just played it," Jensen argued back. Over by the counter, Misha laughed and reached across the Formica to touch Lydia's age-spotted arm. Lucky stiff.
"You could talk to him, you know," Jared said. Jensen's eyes darted back to their board and his hand groped blindly for his coffee mug. He took a fortifying sip before glancing up at Jared's smirk.
"Toyon is an ornamental evergreen shrub," he said. "Try to remember that."
"Of course, Jen. You never know when I'll need to compliment someone's toyons."
Jensen grunted sourly.
"I considered having some toyons in here, but they really didn't fit the rest of the décor." Misha had snuck up on them. It was his surprise appearance and not his presence that caused Jensen to fumble putting his mug down. A little coffee splashed over the side. Misha wiped it up with his t-shirt, flashing a bit of skin above his waistband in the process.
Jared grinned at him. "Shrubs and cheese don't mix?"
"Au contraire, mon frère. Everything goes with cheese." Misha slid his tray onto the table, deftly shoving the Scrabble board to the side. "Case in point: grilled cheese-apple sandwiches." Jensen's stomach rumbled, and Misha smiled broadly. "See?"
Misha was staring at him, and he wasn't going to stop until Jensen took a bite. Jensen tried to pick it up nonchalantly, but there was nothing nonchalant about strings of melted cheese. They hung from his mouth as he took a big bite, looking for all the world like – whatever, the sandwich was delicious. His mama taught him never to speak with his mouth full, though, so he swallowed before offering up his praise.
"It's really great, Misha. The apple really cuts the saltiness of the cheese." He'd been paying attention to that stuff because Misha liked to talk about it, and he hated looking ignorant. He'd learned the names of more than a dozen cheeses, too, though he hadn't told Jared that.
Misha beamed at him, nose crinkling, and reached out to thumb a fleck of cheese off his chin, the palm of his hand sweeping underneath and his thumb brushing through Jensen's stubble.
Jared cleared his throat, and Misha snatched his hand back. For once, the other man looked as flustered as Jensen felt.
"I could go sit at the counter if you two want the booth for yourselves," Jared suggested. He even waggled his eyebrows. Jensen was going to kill him. Or better yet, make him answer the fan mail.
"Eat your sandwich and tell me I'm wonderful," Misha said, turning around. "The counter is mine."
Jensen would be lying if he said he didn't watch him go. It was possible, just slightly, that he might have a teensy tiny crush on Misha. He could still feel the warmth of Misha's hand against his skin. He took another bite of his sandwich and tried to concentrate on his game.
It was no use. Misha was laughing over by the counter, and Jensen kept sneaking looks at the way his nose crinkled, how his head bent and his eyes closed, as if he was hunching over the laugh, protecting it. At one point Misha caught his eye, and Jensen was thrown into such a tailspin that he wasted his 'X' on a square with no extra letter or word points.
Jared beat him handily for the first time in awhile and lorded it over him as they got ready to leave, looking around to see if Genevieve had noticed his superior Scrabble skills. She had, but only to give Jensen a sympathetic smile at how much of an asshole Jared was being. It cheered Jensen immensely and promptly shut Jared up.
Jared eyed him speculatively over the next couple days, but he seemed distracted himself. The days passed with Jared staring out one window whenever he wasn't on his phone playing a game, and Jensen staring out the other window.
Normally, Jensen only saw Misha on Wednesdays at the Emporium. Despite it being such a small town, he'd never run into him at the IGA or getting coffee or walking down the street. But the Friday night after Jensen admitted to himself that he might have a crush on the cheese man and it might be teeny (or really huge, there was only so much self-deception he could indulge in, after all), he and Jared literally bumped into him at one of the wineries. The tasting room was packed with tourists, and Jensen had wanted to just grab a bottle and go anywhere else to drown his sorrows. But Jared had insisted on this particular winery and promptly walked into Misha, spilling his glass of Winter White all over the poor man.
"Jay! This is my neck shirt. You just wined my neck shirt." Misha's tongue darted out and licked at the soaked collar. "Though it's good, there's a reason why that one's so popular."
Jensen wordlessly handed Misha his napkin. He didn't trust himself to touch the other man while Misha was wearing his 'neck shirt,' a dark button-down that showed off not only his neck but his perfect collarbone.
"Dude, I didn't see you!" Jared protested. "Cause you're so short. Sorry, man. Jensen lives close by; we can go there and you can borrow a shirt."
"What?" Jensen asked.
"Thanks, I hate smelling like a lush," Misha said, slipping his dry arm through Jensen's and forcibly steering them towards the exit. "Even if I act like one on occasion!"
"Wait, I was…" Jensen's voice trailed off. It would be rude to back out, now that Jared had volunteered him. Which was weird, as both of them had suffered much worse at the hands of spilled alcohol in the past. So Misha had a little wine on his shirt, big deal.
It wasn't until he was in his car, Misha buckled in next to him with no Jared to be seen that he really got it. And he was going to kill Jared.
"So, um, I'm Jay's designated driver," he started.
"I don't think you'd be driving him home tonight," Misha said brightly. "Did you see? Lydia's granddaughter was working the bar in there. I think he was trying to get rid of you. But nicely! Well, for you, not for my poor neck shirt."
"Oh." Jensen couldn't think of a single other thing to say, but Misha didn't seem to mind, humming softly to himself as Jensen drove them the three miles to his house. Damn Jared and his damn match-making, Jensen's apartment was not at his acceptable level of clean for hosting company. He walked ahead of Misha when they arrived, and surreptitiously nudged a pile of old magazines under the couch on his way to his bedroom for a clean shirt.
"A t-shirt work for you, or you want a button-down?" he called out.
"Any old thing will do," Misha replied from right behind him. Jensen jumped.
"Dude! I hadn't realized you followed me," he said, turning. Misha was right there, gazing avidly around his bedroom. Jensen's eyes flicked to the nightstand. The lube must have been in the drawer, and thank God for small favors.
"I wanted to see where the magic happens," Misha said brightly. He had already unbuttoned his shirt and was pulling it out of his pants. Jensen tried not to stare. Misha had a mole near a nipple, like it'd been strategically placed there.
"Uh, here," Jensen thrust an old shirt into Misha's hands. "Let me have that one, I can rinse it out and we can get back to the winery."
Misha flashed him a wide smile. "Thanks, Jensen." The man had a perfect smile, perfect collarbone, perfect lean stomach muscles.
Jensen grabbed the shirt and beat a hasty retreat into his bathroom. He couldn't remember if the water was supposed to be cold or hot, if he should wring out the shirt or lay it flat to dry. Misha was in his bedroom. Half-dressed in his bedroom.
"Jensen?" Misha knocked on the wall outside the bathroom and leaned against the door frame, watching him. He looked soft and rumpled in Jensen's old t-shirt, his hair mussed. "The shirt's really not that important."
"Still want to do a good job with it. I mean, it's your neck shirt." He turned off the water and lifted the shirt out of the sink and promptly had no idea what to do with it. He put it on a hanger filched from the back of his bathroom door and hung it up in his shower. Droplets got all over his floor. "That's… supposed to happen."
He brushed past Misha, getting a whiff of white wine and Misha's aftershave (though from the amount of stubble on his chin, he certainly hadn't shaved) and Jensen's own scent that still clung to the t-shirt. He cleared his throat. "You ready to go back out?"
"Hmm," Misha said. "I noticed you had a very large Scrabble board out in your living room. Very polished. And I doubt Jared would appreciate it if we interrupted his attempt to woo the lovely Ms. Genevieve."
Jensen paused. Was Misha asking him on a date to his own living room? It sounded like it. And he was smiling again and looking delectable. But it probably didn't mean anything. Misha liked games, they were all over the Emporium. And it wasn't like he knew about Jensen's crush on him. They could play a game; it was that or play chicken with the tour buses in the winery parking lot.
"Yeah, okay. To help Jared."
"Jared. Of course," Misha agreed mildly. Jensen wasn't sure, but it looked like Misha's smile had gotten smaller. It was back after they sat on over-sized cushions on the floor, the game set up on the coffee table between them. Misha kicked off his shoes and peeled off his socks.
"Make yourself comfortable," Jensen said, raising his eyebrows.
"Why thank you, Jensen, I intend to."
Jensen let him pick his letter first and tried not to focus on the delicate way Misha's long fingers pulled a tile from the bag.
"Well what do you know, I got the 'J,'" Misha said, flourishing his square. Jensen fumbled with the bag and pulled out an 'M.' Figures.
Misha started off the game with J-I-L-L-I-O-N. Jensen had a sudden flash of insight that playing with Misha would entail a lot of words that sounded completely made up, though 'jillion' was real enough and netted Misha almost that same number of points. Jensen couldn't remember the last time he'd started off a game using all his tiles, but it took a very specific kind of luck to accomplish it. Misha crowed with delight and reached for the bag, their fingers brushing.
Jensen snatched his hand back and looked down at his tiles. He could spell 'lube.' His fingers itched to spell 'lube,' but it would send completely the wrong message. Or too much of the right one. There was no way in hell he was going to spell 'lube.' He settled for 'built' and blushed heavily when Misha murmured, "I would agree with that assessment."
"So, uh. You like Pindar Winery, huh?" Jensen asked, fishing for a safe topic, hand in the bag to choose new tiles.
"Hmm?" Misha asked absently, his fingers toying with an 'E,' hovering over the board.
"Because of the wine," Jensen clarified. He should've brought Misha a washcloth or something; Jensen could smell the wine on his skin. It was distracting.
"Well, Genevieve had said she'd be working at it, so…" Misha carefully played an 'E-T-E' down from the 'J.' "I was punished with low pointers," he mumbled.
"I guess it's a good idea to support your customers," Jensen said softly. Like him and Jared. So this definitely was not a date, then. Good to know.
"Gen's a friend. And yes, she does come in every week. I've bought antiques from her grandmother, too, you know. That doesn't mean I don't like them."
Misha was looking at him with a strange expression on his face. Jensen looked back down at his tiles, realized he had the letters for 'penis' and closed his eyes to count to five.
"Aren't we friends?" Misha asked bluntly.
Jensen blinked at him. Misha was hunched forward, a deep line creasing his forehead, his eyes boring into Jensen.
"Yeah," Jensen said. He realized he meant it. Misha's face cleared. If Jensen never went to the Cheese Emporium again to save himself from the embarrassment of a crush, he'd also lose a friend. And he even had a good word he could play, definitely a Misha-word, the 'u' beckoning him over. P-F-U-I.
"Creative!" Misha exclaimed. "I'm sure you know what it means?"
"Phooey," Jensen supplied.
"I'm stuck with 'pert.'"
Jensen snorted. They laid down several more words in quick succession. Jensen had finally made up part of the deficit when Misha played 'sexual.' Of course he did. Jensen glanced at him from beneath his lashes. Misha looked completely nonchalant. He flexed his toes. Since when were toes sexy? Since Misha flexed his. Jensen quickly looked back down at his tiles.
He could get a triple letter score by playing the 'k' with the 's,' that was the only reason he chose to spell out S-L-I-C-K off of 'sexual.'
Misha laughed, sounding more like a giggle. Jensen half-expected him to say something; no, he completely expected Misha to say something. Misha didn't let opportunities like that pass him by. But Misha let his tiles do the talking.
Jensen stared at it for a long moment. His apartment was awfully quiet. He should have put on music or something. Seductive music.
"How long have you been waiting to play that?" he asked finally.
"Three turns," Misha admitted.
"'Huh' is not very promising, Jensen." Misha leaned across the narrow coffee table and tapped the 'c' in 'seduce.' "I could have kicked your ass with this 'c,' you know. There's a triple—"
Jensen shut him up by kissing him, leaning in and knocking over his tray of tiles. Misha's eyes went wide and his mouth opened. His hand spasmed on the board, sending more tiles astray. They'd have to do a rematch. The thought flitted across Jensen's mind, and then Misha's hands moved up to his neck, to cradle his head and tug him closer and all thoughts that weren't about the wet glide of tongue against tongue went out the window.
It was glorious. Jensen slid his hands down Misha's sides, gripping his ass and pulling him into his lap. Misha was – Misha was buzzing against his hip.
"Mish," he moaned.
"Jensen," Misha breathed.
"Dude, your phone's ringing." Jensen pushed him back as Misha laughed softly and fumbled in his pocket for his phone.
"A-ha!" he crowed triumphantly, brandishing the phone and hitting the 'ignore' button.
"Wait, who was that?" Jensen asked.
"Who cares? I'm with you right now."
Misha hissed exasperatedly through his teeth. "Less talking. More making out."
"You didn't even look at it," Jensen argued back. "What if it was important?"
Misha stared at him. "Then they would call back. Are we really arguing about this?"
They really were. A part of him knew he was being ridiculous, but a bigger part of him was saying that it was a bad sign, it was one of those reasons why he'd never made a move on Misha before. He imagined he could see Misha's thought process flit across his face: first incredulity at Jensen's analness, then disgust, and finally holding Jensen at arm's length, just one more customer to be charmed and fed.
"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," he muttered.
"What?" Misha's voice was clipped and cold, despite the fact he was still half in Jensen's lap.
"We're just very different." And despite knowing Misha for a few years, Jensen didn't have a complete grasp of the man. "I don't think we're looking for the same thing here."
"Bullshit," Misha shot back. "It sounds to me like you think I can't take you seriously."
"No. I just meant," he sighed and crossed his arms to keep Misha from seeing him tremble. "I meant, you always look like you're having a good time. And I don't–" He cut himself off. He was not going to tell Misha that he didn't want to be just another good time for him. It was humiliating for both of them.
"Jensen. I started my own café. I still own it three years later, and I haven't had to lay anyone off in this economy. I'm here now because I want to be with you. I even threw a Scrabble game that I was totally winning, by the way. I don't do things half-assed." He looked deadly serious.
"I wouldn't do you half-assed, either."
Jensen stared back at him, disheveled hair and clothes, but with a firm set to his jaw and an intense blue gaze. He cracked a small smile. "That would be awkward."
"Tell me about it. You have a magnificent ass. I definitely want the whole thing."
Jensen couldn't help the laughter that burst forth at that. His whole body shook with it.
"There's that laugh," Misha said. "You should laugh more often, Jensen. You have a beautiful laugh."
Misha's hand came up to trace the lines around Jensen's mouth. He looked so earnest, Jensen had to wonder what it would be like to be around him on a more permanent basis. To let Misha get him to laugh more. He turned into Misha's touch and kissed the palm of his hand. A heady warmth suffused him at the widening of Misha's eyes and parting of Misha's lips.
"Okay," Jensen said. Misha swallowed and tried to recover his aplomb.
"Despite the cheesiness of my pick up line?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow.
"I'm not going to say it's fitting because you're the cheese man, you know," Jensen said, a small smile playing about his lips.
He laughed again at that, and Misha grinned widely. Jensen shoved at him, gently, and stood up, leaning down to extend his hand to Misha.
"Come on," he said. "Doing things whole-assed requires a bed."
They didn't really need a bed, but there was something to be said for the comfort of his own mattress at his back, the polished wood of his own headboard gripped in his hand as Misha moved above and inside him. He certainly didn't do things half-assed, employing tongue, fingers and cock until Jensen was slack-jawed and writhing in pleasure.
"Jensen," Misha panted.
"I thought of a word I could've used that 'c' for."
They'd left the nightstand's lamp on, and it gave Misha's hair and skin a golden sheen. He looked… perfect, was the only word Jensen's brain could supply.
"Perfect," he mumbled. It was hard to talk. He'd never understood people who could keep up whole conversations during sex. He wanted to concentrate on the act, on the way Misha was setting him on fire. If he talked, he might actually say that kind of thing out loud, which would be horrifying.
"No-o," Misha said, his breath hitching in a wholly satisfying manner as Jensen shifted and Misha thrust in until their bodies were practically flush. "Cravat."
Jensen gaped at him. Cravat? He started to laugh, helpless and loose. Condom, come, cock – no, Misha had thought of cravat. Misha paused half inside him and watched him, Misha's face transported by wonder. Jensen had put that look there.
His orgasm took him completely by surprise, still laughing, his back arching off the bed, his come hitting Misha in the stomach and chest. His laughter died to low moans as Misha thrust in harder, gripped his shoulders and stared into his eyes as he came.
Apparently Misha didn't like to pull out right away. He collapsed on Jensen's chest and nuzzled at his collarbone, his left hand sliding down to stroke Jensen's still quivering thigh. Jensen added it to his list of things he was figuring out about Misha. Misha's likes: laughter, connection, cravats. Misha's dislikes: distractions during makeout sessions, losing, used condoms. He made quite the face when Jensen had to finally nudge him off before his legs staged a revolt, and he pulled it off, eliciting another laugh from Jensen.
"C'mere, you wimp." He reached over the side of his bed and pulled up a waste paper basket.
"I just think it looks obscene," Misha said tartly, dropping the full condom in the basket.
"Obscene? Mish, look at your chest. Look at my wet dick!"
"I am. They look beautiful, not obscene."
"You're full of it," Jensen said, smiling.
"The opening's too easy there, I'm not even going to say it." Misha stretched languidly. "So does this count?"
"Count as what?" Jensen asked.
"Our official first date, of course!"
Jensen looked around his bedroom at the rumpled sheets hanging off the bed, Misha's (Jensen's) shirt, his own pants, the spent bottle of lube.
"I guess it does."
Misha gave him a knowing look. It was a little disconcerting how knowing his looks were.
"But you want to be wooed."
"What is it with you and that word?"
"It's a good word." Misha pulled him back down against the pillows. "And woo you I shall." His arms encircled Jensen's chest, fingers brushing lightly at his nipples before tickling his ribs. "I already know what we're going to do for our second date," he whispered, his tongue teasing the shell of Jensen's ear. Jensen shivered despite himself.
"What?" he asked.
"Shhh. No more talking now. I'll let you know." Misha pressed his lips to Jensen's shoulder and drew the sheet up over their bodies.
Jensen was soon lulled to sleep by the warmth of Misha's body at his back and the cool cotton sheet snug beneath his chin. He woke the next morning at 5:00 AM, blinking groggily at Misha, leaning over him.
"Mish?" he asked. His voice sounded like ass and his breath smelled no better, but Misha kissed him anyhow. Misha's breath smelled like Jensen's toothpaste and in fact, the other man was showered and dressed in the shirt Jensen had loaned him the night before. "Why're you all clean?"
"I make scrumptious breakfasts and lunches, six days a week, all featuring what is, basically, a bacterial process. Remember?"
Misha scrubbed his hands through Jensen's hair, looking delighted when it stood on end. Jensen squinted at him.
"Yeah, I remember. I like your bacterial processes."
Misha grinned wide, his eyes crinkling. "Good. Come by for brunch today."
"Are you asking me on our second date?" Jensen asked.
"Don't be silly. Brunch at my Emporium, with a hungover Jared sitting with you? That is not a date. No, I will contact you with details." He kissed Jensen again and Jensen snaked an arm around his waist, tugging. Misha fell into the bed with a muffled "oomph."
"I really do have to get going, you know," Misha said as Jensen nosed at his neck. "That whole not-half-assed thing."
"I'll be quick," Jensen mumbled. He gave Misha's neck one last lick before half-falling out of the bed to kneel between Misha's legs.
Misha's bunched-up jeans were scraping his chin and he was enthusiastically sucking Misha's cock when his phone buzzed with an incoming text message. Misha groaned and propped himself up on an elbow to look at him. Jensen just kept right on sucking. Misha was close, so close, and just the barest scrape of Jensen's teeth here, the swirl of his tongue there, the suction of his lips everywhere, and Misha was coming with a wordless shout, his ankles drumming the side of the bed.
Jensen solicitously pulled the condom off, careful not to get anything on Misha's clothes, and chucked it. He was already looking forward to when 'safe sex' with Misha meant 'exclusive with no need for condoms' and he could taste skin instead of latex. He wondered if it was too early to have that conversation.
"You didn't answer your phone," Misha said, still a bit breathless as Jensen tucked him back into his pants and zipped him up.
"This early, it's a text from Jared, wondering where his car is. In a few minutes, there'll be another one when he realizes that he didn't drive last night. Then after that, he'll text again to tell me why he forgot the whereabouts of said car. Anyhow, the rule is, when dicks are out, the check-the-phone rule is nil."
Misha watched with a bemused smile on his lips as Jensen gave his explanation. "Good to get ground rules established."
Right on cue, Jensen's phone buzzed again. Misha laughed and stood up, offering Jensen a hand to pull him up. He kissed him deeply, and Jensen was starting to think he was going to make Misha very late indeed when Misha finally broke the kiss.
"I have to go," Misha said regretfully, eyes trailing down Jensen's body.
"'S'okay, I can take care of it. Go make some cheese crumpets."
"No making fun of my crumpets! They're a big hit with the tourists."
Jensen kissed him again. "Then go make some."
He was loose and relaxed, showered and even wearing a touch of cologne, a few hours later when he met Jared outside the Emporium.
Jared took one look at him before breaking into the widest grin Jensen had ever seen on him, which was saying something. "Dude, you so got laid last night!"
"Keep your voice down," Jensen admonished him, but his eyes sparkled. "And what about you, you look like shit."
Jared waved his hand dismissively. "We have not been mooning over each other for years. We'll get to that. Besides, I passed out in her living room."
"You're a regular Casanova."
"Yeah, yeah, not my finest performance. Wait," Jared stopped him as Jensen's hand was on the door. "I just have to know: is it true love?"
"Fuck off, Jay," Jensen said cheerfully and pulled the door open.
Misha looked up from the counter as they entered and smiled, his nose crinkling. Jensen could feel an answering grin paint his face.
"Oh my God," Jared whispered loudly, "I'm already on the brink of hurling."
"You should maybe drink less," Jensen responded, deliberately misunderstanding. He slid into his spot at their usual table and glanced at the counter again. Misha was picking them a couple of coffee mugs.
Jared rolled his eyes, but he looked smug, despite his hangover. "No, I think this is the time when I get to say, 'I told you so,'" he said, flopping into his half of the booth.
"What did you tell him?" Misha asked, coming up with the coffee pot. Jared's mug was in the shape of Bullwinkle, and Jensen's had 'Vermont is for (cheese) lovers' written in flowing script on the sides. Jensen stared at the moose head, something tickling his memory.
"Only that he had the biggest girly crush on you and he should make a move already, it was getting pathetic." Jared took a big swallow from his moose mug as Misha chortled and turned to Jensen, his eyes shining.
"One thing. He got one thing right. Sir Caseus." Jensen said, and sat back in the booth. A good call, as Jared sprayed coffee all over the table.
"What?! But – dude – and you're right here?" Coffee dripped off Jared's chin and his eyes were open almost comically wide.
"Yes, Mooseman, I am right here," Misha said. His eyes cut to Jensen. "How'd you know?"
"'Caseus' from the Latin for 'cheese,' and then with the moose mug." Jensen took a sip from his own mug, enjoying the way Jared was gaping like a landed fish. "And besides, you're really good at Scrabble."
Misha smiled at the compliment and leaned down to kiss him on the lips. Jensen froze for a moment at the unexpected PDA before relaxing into it. This was the Cheese Emporium, and their public was Jared and two tables of regulars in the back, concentrating on their games of Risk and Mousetrap as they ate their brunches. Misha's kiss was short and familiar, as if they'd been doing it for years. Jensen had to marvel at how easily and quickly they'd fallen into this, but really, it'd been a long time coming. He stretched his neck to give Misha another kiss.
Jared made a gagging noise.
"I can't believe you've known me all this time," he groused. "And will you stop that?"
"Sorry, Jared, I can't resist those delectable lips," Misha said with a grin. "And if you want to keep things hidden, don't leave your phone out all the time. Mooseman." He picked the coffee pot back up. "I'm going to go make you a brunch that'll change your outlook on life. Clean up your spilled coffee, Jared."
He walked away, Jared spluttering at his retreating back.
"Can you believe that guy?" Jared asked, pulling napkins out of the canister.
"Yeah. He's pretty great," Jensen answered, and drank more of his coffee.
Misha brought over a truly astounding brunch a few minutes later. He must have been planning it since before they showed up – cheesy scrambled eggs, maple bacon, French toast, Parmesan home fries and fruit salad. Jared perked up at the sight of it and even gave Misha a grudging nod of thanks.
Jensen's phone buzzed, vibrating across the table, soon after he took his last bite. Jared glanced at the counter, where Misha was trying to look nonchalant, and turned back to Jensen, waggling his eyebrows. "Jensen and Misha, sitting in a tree," he sang softly.
"Yeah, that's mature," Jensen mumbled, clicking on his text.
It was from Misha. He'd sent coordinates. And unless Jensen was mistaken, they were coordinates for someplace in Greenport. Another message popped up.
COME BY FOOT. 7:00.
"So what'd your boyfriend say?" Jared asked, leaning his head on his hand and batting his eyelashes.
"We're making plans to have sex on every surface in your apartment," Jensen said absently, pulling up Google Maps. "Messy sex."
"Well, then, prepare yourself to get dog hair all over your nether regions," Jared grumbled. He leaned over and poked at the remnants of Jensen's brunch. "You gonna eat that?"
Jensen turned down Ninth Street at 6:55. Driftwood Cove, an unfortunately named retirement community, was on his right. He'd been there a few times to arrange Scrabble nights in their common room, and checked his phone nervously. He still had a few yards to go to reach the location of his date. Thank God.
Despite living in Greenport for the past few years, he'd never been this far down Ninth Street. It was residential and opened onto a little inlet bordered by private property. He was rather curious as to what Misha had planned, as he was fairly sure he lived in the opposite direction, near the Emporium. Though that was something he was going to get to figure out.
His steps slowed as he hit the intersection with Brown Street. Misha stepped out of a car, parked half in the grass on the side of the road.
"Perfect timing! Welcome to our second date!" He crossed the street and waved his hand in a flourish, taking in the road, the car, the trees, the air.
"Uh, thanks." Jensen shoved his phone back in his pocket and hooked his thumbs through his belt loops. "So…"
"You're probably wondering what we're doing here," Misha said. "Wonder no longer." He slid his arm across Jensen's shoulders. "Observe, if you will, this idyllic little corner. It's, oh, pretty. But it has a very unsightly blemish that has been preventing it from reaching its full potential for years now. Whatever could that be?"
Jensen quirked an eyebrow at him, but obediently began to look around at Misha's insistent nod. "You have something against hydrangeas?" he guessed.
"I love hydrangeas."
"Well, your car's a bit of an eyesore…"
And then he saw it.
"Oh my God."
"How did that possibly get made?"
"Exactly. And we're going to fix it!"
"I have supplies!"
Misha kissed him on the cheek and crossed back over to his car, pulling a large step stool out of the backseat along with a cordless drill.
"Don't we need a permit or something for this?" Jensen asked. He already knew the answer; of course they did. They were about to deface public property. But when that public property declared a road to be 'Nineth Street' instead of 'Ninth Street,' well, it kind of deserved to be defaced.
"Not if we do it when no one's looking! Hold the stool for me, will you."
"You're a bit crazy, you know that, right?" Jensen asked, but held the stool. His face was eye level with Misha's crotch, giving him a pleasant flashback to that morning.
"Tell me this sign doesn't bother you!" Misha shot back.
"No, you're right; it's an abomination."
It was also harder to get off than they had anticipated. There was really no place to unscrew anything. They switched places on the stool, and finally Jensen declared they would have to modify the sign where it was. Misha went back to his car and bust out the paints.
"How much stuff do you have in your trunk?" Jensen asked curiously.
"Well, I've got kitty litter for winter, a top hat for dancing, paint and brushes for wayward signs, blankets to keep sand out of my crotch, and a picnic dinner and wine for wooing this guy I've been hitting on for three years. He finally took the bait, too."
Jensen snorted and cracked open the yellow paint. Misha painted his side of the sign purple, then ran back to the car, returning with a jar of glitter that he dumped into the small can of white, "for reflective purposes."
"Uh, my side of the sign isn't dry yet," Jensen said, eying the glittery paint.
"Yeah, neither is mine. You want some dinner?"
They grabbed the picnic basket, wine and a blanket and walked five minutes down the temporarily-named '_____' to a sandy beach. Jensen glanced over his shoulder at the huge house behind them.
Misha had packed a lot of cheese and crackers. He plied Jensen with a very creamy cheese first.
"Oh my God, that tastes like butter!" Jensen exclaimed, licking his lips.
"It's Saint Angel from France. I sometimes use it as butter," Misha confessed. "Now try this one."
Jensen took a healthy-sized bite. "A Wensleydale with cranberries?" he guessed.
Misha broke out into a delighted grin. "Very good! Have you been researching your cheeses?"
"Well, I have been working up the nerve to hit on the cheese man for three years, so…"
Misha tackled him into the blanket at that, and it was awhile before anymore cheese was consumed. Jensen was devoutly grateful the people who owned the beach were away. Two half-naked men rutting against each other was not the type of thing most people expected to see when they looked out their windows. But then Misha took his cock in his hand and Jensen could've cared less if the entire town came out to watch.
They drank the whole bottle of wine after that, a Riesling, which Jensen usually found a little sweet but that night it was absolutely perfect. They ate cheddar cheese laced with champagne and a surprisingly hard goat cheese soaked in red wine. The sun had set by the time they tugged their clothes back into place, gathered up their trash and folded up the blanket. They walked back to the car, shoulders brushing. Jensen was sure he had a goofy expression on his face, and was glad of the night to cloak it. Misha could see it, but that was all right, as it was intended for him anyway.
They climbed the step stool again, a little wobbly this time and holding onto each other. It was difficult painting 'Ninth Street' with one hand on Misha's elbow, but he did a serviceable job, Jensen thought. He squinted at his work in the dark, and when Misha dipped a brush into the yellow, Jensen dipped his in the purple and went to work in the corner of the sign.
Misha re-capped the paint cans with the deliberate carefulness of the slightly drunk once they had finished.
"What did you paint, Jensen?" he asked as they left the car behind, meandering slowly up the entirely-named Ninth Street.
"A purple people eater," Jensen admitted, grinning sheepishly. Misha laughed, his whole body heaving with it. "What did you paint?"
"I went the traditional route," Misha said, wiping at his eyes. "A big yellow sun with curvy rays."
"Curvy," Misha confirmed.
This time they both laughed. It was easy and natural, and Jensen had to marvel at himself for fighting the attraction for so long, for making assumptions about Misha and letting those guide him. No more. The Scrabble office was just a block or two away. He nudged Misha's shoulder with his own and led him down the road. It was time for a Scrabble rematch. And after that, well, he didn't really have to plan every second of it. He had someone to help him.