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i love you in secret, between the shadow and the soul

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(a Jared interlude)

There had been no need to knock since he has a keycard. Nonetheless, he pauses at the threshold, struck at the intimacy he’s seeing and feeling a twinge of not-quite-jealousy but definite oddness.

Jensen and Danni are wrapped up together on the center of the large bed, her swash of red hair a fiery blanket over Jensen’s chest and shoulder. His arm beneath her wraps up and around, fingers flicking idly in her hair. It gives the impression of tiny sparks flying around his hand.

Awkward about intruding, he mutters a soft, “Hey.”

Silently, Jensen lifts his free arm in a clear invitation and, well, Jared doesn’t need to be asked twice. He kicks off his sneakers and climbs in on Jensen’s other side, kissing Jensen’s cheek and then his forehead before propping himself on one elbow to meet Danni’s red-eyed gaze.

“Hey,” Danni says back. She gives him her hand and he takes it and squeezes. Damn, she looks like she went through the wringer. They both do and Jared’s heart clenches in sympathy.

He spent the time away getting a tooth-rotting-sweet espresso concoction from the lobby’s Starbucks kiosk, and frankly, driving himself a little crazy with too many thoughts.

From the moment Jensen had phoned him out of the blue, it felt like time was on a fast-forward setting and every decision was split-second quick. Staring at the large beach painting above the check-in counter it all seemed to come to a sudden stop and maybe it was just the caffeine but he felt jittery with nerves.

It was hard not to start second guessing. He’d called his parents the night before to let them know about the engagement and as much as they’d liked Jensen the one time they’d met him – well, they were aware of how crushed Jared had been both times they’d broken up.

Being questioned led Jared to instant defensiveness of Jensen. But his parents weren’t wrong about the heart break. After the first time, after Jensen told him he could care less if Jared moved three thousand miles away with a cold ‘bye, have a nice life’ Jared refused to believe that Jensen really didn’t care. Though he’d stayed away for a while that time, Jared had left his heart and knew he was going back to Jensen.

Seeing Jensen standing on that lonely beach, he knew he’d been right. Knew that Jensen missed him as much as Jared missed Jensen and that he wasn’t wrong about Jensen loving him. That was the first time Jensen’d said the words aloud. Jared had convinced himself he didn’t need to hear them. But he had, it mattered, it solidified things.

Except, of course, Jensen hadn’t been all wrong about Jared and his education. The UC Santa Barbara program was everything he wanted to complete his graduate work. So, what had hurt wasn’t that Jensen had been right about that, but rather the implacable way Jensen treated the situation.

Or rather, the way he gave in to Donna’s thoughts on the issue.

Donna.

It was hard to think of that woman without a burning rage and Jared knew he had to figure out how to live with that. Right now, Jensen was angry at his mother … but would he actually see what she had done to him or would he forgive her because he couldn’t accept the woman was wrong? Who knew? His boy was definitely a little touched in the head when it came to her. To Jared, it was unimaginable that a woman would keep a man from knowing he had a son unless there were extreme extenuating circumstances.

And that is what is giving Jared pause about the whole thing. While he really doesn’t want to give Donna the benefit of the doubt, they also know nothing about Adam. Perhaps he was abusive? Perhaps both Donna and Jensen were well rid of him?

Again, Jared feels like every reaction has been knee-jerk and until he has time to slow down and think he’s not sure what to advise. At first, it seems a no brainer that Jensen should find his father and let him know of Jensen’s existence. Now he realizes that while Jared thought that immediately, Jensen didn’t say a word about that.

Jensen, as ever, is not easy to read and never reacts the way one expects.

Placing another kiss to his boyfriend’s temple he bites back a laugh because here, again, is a completely unexpected reaction. Not that Jared knew what Jensen’s vague, ‘all ok, come on back’ text had meant. But he hadn’t expected to see Jensen and Danni cuddling.

And now the three of them are huddled in some sort of puppy pile and Jared feels the rightness of it deep in his gut. It’s not a new thought that it will always be like this – he’s thought before that Jensen and Danni were a package deal.

Now, however, he’s admitting to himself that one day they even all might live together. Danni’s small smile pings his heart and he nods silently although it’s not like she knows what he’s agreeing to, what he thinks their future holds.

The sheer number of things that Jensen and he have never talked about scares Jared. Yet he knows that if Jensen does agree to children there is only one person on the planet that could be their mother.

Danni slowly closes her eyes and Jensen’s breathing starts to even out and Jared’s smile just grows. The worries from out in the lobby seem to melt because this is his family and they love him as much as he loves them and it feels sacred being allowed to watch over them as they rest.

In fact, maybe he’ll shut his eyes for a few minutes as well.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sonnet Xvii
By Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.