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Four Letter Word For Intercourse

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The phone rings a couple too many times, and Dean nearly ends the call before the operator even picks up. He actually jumps a little when he hears her voice, and his headboard smacks against the wall.


“Stimulating Conversations,” the woman announces, like it’s some kind of high class intellectual thing instead of a euphemism. “Who are you looking to speak with tonight?”


“Who you got?” Dean asks, because he can do this. No sweat. He’s tried the porn. This is the next step. He can do this.


“We have a variety of conversationalists,” the operator says, and Dean snorts. Continuing over him, the operator adds, “Would you prefer a certain gender or ethnicity?”


Dean opens his mouth and nothing comes out.


“Sir?” the operator asks after the longest five seconds in the world. “Would you prefer a certain gender or ethnicity?”


“A, uh,” Dean says. He’s gotten this far. He’s already entered his credit card information. He swallows. “A guy? I mean, chicks are great too, but if you, uh. If you got one.” He clears his throat before he can choke on his nerves. “A man.”


There’s a slightly too long pause from the operator, like she’s judging him for his blabbering or his sexuality or having this bad idea in the first place. Then she says, “From what you’ve said, James would be our best match for you.” From what Dean’s said ? What is that supposed to mean? “He’s available right now,” the operator adds. “Would you like me to transfer you?”


“Yeah, do it,” Dean says, and his hands aren’t shaking or anything. He is sitting on his bed in his apartment, in his underwear and a t-shirt, calling a sexline as part of a sexual experiment. The garage below has closed up for the night, too, so there’s no risk of noisy interruptions blocking out this call. This call that Dean may have been putting off for a couple weeks. No big deal.


The operator transfers, and Dean listens to some other guy’s phone ring. Once, twice, and, “Hello.”


The voice is light. Pleasant.


And very male.


“This is James,” the man continues. He sounds all warm, like he’s actually glad Dean called. “What should I call you tonight?”


“My, uh.” No real names. His brain stalls. “Call...”


“Michael?” James asks.


“Michael,” Dean agrees, grabbing the path of least resistance with both hands.

“Michael,” James repeats, again with that pleased voice. “Michael, if you don’t mind me saying, you sound straight.” He says it like it’s something he’s checking, something he’s almost wistful about. “Are you?”


“I, um,” Dean says, very eloquently. He’s vibrating with tension, a human tuning fork that must be ringing in James’ ear. “I’m.” Bi. Say it.


Fucking say it .


“I’m straight, yeah,” Dean says.


“I’m going to try to respect that,” James promises him, “but you also sound very attractive.”


It’s a line, stupid and easy, but Dean’s entire head flushes. “You got good ears, buddy,” he says, mumbling a little.


“That and more,” James says. “I’m betting the same is true of you.”


“I ain’t bad,” Dean says, fidgeting with his comforter. It doesn’t do much comforting. “But, uh. When you do this. With other guys.”


“They’re also attractive,” James says. “When in person and I’m off the clock. On the clock, I take it on faith.”


“Risky,” Dean says. “But, uh. Not what I was going to ask.”


“Yes, Michael?”


“What do you… do.” Jesus, he sounds like a tenth grader in sex ed, not a man in his early thirties.


“Whatever feels good,” James answers smoothly, his voice light and steady. And it does kinda sound like he’s doing a voice. Like a customer service phone voice. “What feels good to you?”


“Uh.” If he says fucking, they’re going to talk about anal, and he’s not ready for even the talking. Frottage is way too blatantly gay. “Blowjobs. I like getting blown.”


James hums like Dean’s picked a particularly fine dessert off a menu, one that James was considering ordering himself. “Now I understand,” he says, voice inching deeper, and fuck if that doesn’t make Dean’s dick start to pay attention in his boxer briefs. Dean had started with a bit of a chubby while considering this whole thing, but since he dialed, he’s been scared back to start, un-pass Go, pay up two hundred dollars.


“Most female operators can’t describe what it feels like to receive a blowjob,” James continues, the clinical tone at odds with his dropping timbre. “Some can, some try well, but if you want to talk to someone who knows how it feels, I can see why you asked for a man.”


For all there’s no trace of judgment in his tone—and Dean listens hard for it—this is still clearly an excuse. It’s a lifeline, it’s guardrails. It’s a cop-out.


“Yeah,” Dean says, taking it like the fucking coward he is. “Yeah, that’s exactly it. I wanna, uh. Hear… that. About that.”


James hums, a noise of consideration rather than doubt. “Do you have a favorite part?”


“Favorite part?” Dean echoes.


“Of being blown,” James says. “Do you like your partner kneeling or crouched over you? Does that matter to you?”


“I, uh.” Dean swallows. “I kinda thought you’d be the one doing the talking here, Jimbo.” He’s got exactly enough courage to jack it while this guy talks, and maybe not even that. His hand keeps wandering away from his crotch and he kinda wishes he was sitting under the covers instead of on top of them.


“I’d like to imagine it with you. If that’s all right,” James says, more haltingly than teasingly. His voice keeps dripping further down the scale, like he’s actually getting turned on himself, talking to an awkward fuck like Dean. Maybe that’s his kink or something. Maybe that’s why Dean got transferred to him.


Dean must be silent too long, because James continues, “I can keep talking without your input, if you prefer. But I am curious. I know what I like, but what does a straight man look for in his blowjobs?”


It’s another lifeline, like the guy knows Dean is five seconds away from panicking and hanging up.


“No teeth,” Dean says, and James laughs.


Not a big laugh. Not a snicker or a chuckle or anything all that audible, really. More like a hard exhale, but still somehow a laugh.


“Your favorite part of a blowjob is ‘no teeth’?”


All the blood that should be in his dick floods his face instead. Almost all of it. Something about the hint of the guy’s actual personality makes Dean’s dick perk up. “Hey, man, you asked me what I look for.”


“I’d think a lack of discomfort is the bare minimum you can look for,” James says. “What do you want ? When you think of good head you’ve received, what do you think of?” His deep voice softens. “Close your eyes. Picture it.”


Dean closes his eyes. He licks his lips, visualizing a number of women, remembering the touch of their mouths and hands and eyes. “She’d, um.” He licks his lips again. “Just a couple times. But she’d sit me down, and then she’d slide down. Get between my knees and just kinda, uh. Pet my thighs. While she waited for me to whip it out.” It’s not what Dean’s paying a stupid amount to hear this guy talking about, but it’s still a very good memory.


“You like the anticipation,” James says, not entirely wrong. The way he says it, Dean’s almost ready to completely agree anyway. Shit, he is down there in one hell of a sex octave. “You liked how she made you wait for it.”


“Kinda,” Dean says when he really means no . Or maybe . The part of him that comes hard at being teased isn’t a part he looks at too closely.


“Was it how she looked at you?” James asks, taking a quick turn toward mind-reading. “She petted your thighs while she waited. While she wanted you.”


Dean’s mouth goes dry. He clears his throat, his nods going unseen.


“Is that right, Michael?” James asks. The name throws Dean off his stride to the point he stops touching himself through his boxer briefs—and he’s not sure when he started doing that. Just a little touching. A light stroke while he plumps up, the kind of touch that starts as a readjustment.


“Yeah,” Dean forces out.


“Did you take your time? Taking it out. Did you savor it?”




“Did she breathe on you through your underwear? I love that.”


Dean’s always been more of a cut to the chase kind of guy, even in the situation he was describing. “Nope. What does that feel like?”


“Hot,” James answers. “In every sense of the word. The only pressure on you is the pressure of your underwear, but the fabric gets damp and hot. When your cock twitches, there’s friction. All without a hand on you. And your partner has to be close to do it. They have to crouch over your lap or lean in between your legs. They have to get up so close and breathe in your scent between each exhale. They have to want to be close.”


Licking his lips, Dean keeps his eyes closed, leans back against his pillow and headboard, and slips his hand furtively beneath his waistband. “Sounds like we’re talking about what you want.”


“Do you mind?”


“Nuh-” Dean clears his throat. “Nah. You go ahead. Put your mouth where my money is.”


James makes that almost laugh again, that amused exhale that’s closer to silence than noise. “There’s a lot of things to like about a mouth around your cock. But I like the build up. The teasing. I think I’d have liked that too, someone kneeling between my legs with their hands on my thighs. Reaching for my fly, too impatient to wait for me to do it. But stopping there. To pull me out of my underwear and just look .” His voice is gravel now, dropped so deep into the gutter that it can only be described as filthy. “Have you ever watched someone want to suck you, Michael?”


“Dude, no one wants to give head,” Dean says, scratching his fingers through his pubic hair, holding off from the goal. He’s not sure he’s enjoying this enough for the rate he’s paying, but he’s enjoying it enough not to race to the finish.


“You don’t enjoy going down on a woman?”


“That’s different,” Dean says quickly. “That’s… A chick can ride your face, you know? Get her thighs around your head…” He starts jerking it slowly, furtively hidden inside his boxer briefs. It’s not like this guy can see, but he can probably hear, and Dean’s not all that ready to be overheard just yet. It’s getting pretty uncomfortable down there, though.


“A man can do that too,” James says. “Have you never been teabagged?”


Dean sneaks his hand down lower to tug at his balls. He plays with them a little, his dick hard against his wrist. Even the incidental friction feels good. “A, uh, couple times.”


“What did you like more?” James asks. “The tongue pressing up or the lips tugging down?”


Dean switches his grip to his dick. He has to. Damn thing practically jumps against his stomach. “I like both,” Dean says, and it’s the closest he’s come all night to admitting he’s bi. He tries to shift on his bed and ends up turning sideways to lie down, trying to pull off his underwear that way. It’s a little bit of a contortion, but he gets them off.


While Dean does this, James keeps talking. About good head he’s gotten. About bad head. He actually bitches a little in a digression that has Dean laughing a bit, even while he’s jerking it. James gets right back on track after that, and there’s a new smile in his voice, like James knows what Dean’s doing, but they’re in this together now.


Dean’s jerking it nice and fast, eyes closed as he pictures all the sex acts James is talking about. And not on himself—on another, faceless man. A man with a voice that arousal drops down a mine shaft. That man groaning as another man frenches his dick, and it’s, fuck, it’s good. It’s really good, and Dean is jerking it in earnest now.


“Do you know,” James asks, his voice digging into Dean like a tongue up his ass, “what my favorite part of a blowjob is?”


Dean tries to think through all the shit James has already said. It’s like a porn montage in his brain. “Getting, mm. Getting your balls played with?”


“Almost,” James says.


Dean’s surprisingly close by now, his pre-call momentum finally returned now that he’s in the thick of it. He slows down his strokes a little, wanting to hear the answer. “Then what?”


“Ask the full question, Michael.”


An annoying sense of foreboding crops up between Dean and his orgasm. “If you’re gonna say some kind of joke or a fucking pun, I’m hanging up.”


“Not a joke. Not a pun. Ask me.”


Rolling his eyes and braced for a punchline, Dean asks, “What’s your favorite part of a blowjob?”


“The way a cock fits in my mouth.”


Dean’s hand locks down on his dick. He stops moving. He stops breathing. The slightest twitch could have him tripping over the finish line, it’s so damn abrupt.


“I like the way it stretches my jaw,” James continues, half dirty, half matter of fact. “I clench my teeth too much, so I like to think the stretch is good for me. It makes me relax my jaw, taking it all in. I know you don’t know what it feels like—maybe you don’t want to know—but I love it. The way a cockhead fits against my soft palate, it feels like an argument for intelligent design. It fits all of my mouth.”


Dean’s own mouth opens, but nothing comes out. He risks moving his hand again, just barely.


“Is it all right?” James asks. “If I talk about this. You don’t mind indulging me?”


“Go...” Dean clears his throat. His hand starts moving again by itself. “Go ahead.”


“I love sucking on the head while my partner is pulling out to thrust back in. I love the way it tugs at my lips. I can feel so much.” So can Dean, working himself faster, the pace picking up despite the deliberate delivery of those words. “Do you have any idea how sensitive your mouth is, Michael? How many nerve endings there are in your lips? I can feel the slightest change. Did you know the texture changes right before you come? The way the skin of your cock stretches just a little bit more, it’s like your dick is kissing me back, it’s-”


Dean interrupts with a groan, coming all over his hand and thighs.


“It’s like that,” James continues flawlessly. “Can you feel the difference with your hand? Do you know how good your cock is, just to touch?”


Dean keeps going, works himself all the way through it and keeps pumping until the aftershocks clear.


As with a lot of poorly thought out sexual interactions, this whole scenario is abruptly less okay now that he’s had his orgasm.


He freezes, hand sticky and wet, paying out the nose to hear this stranger talk. This poor fucking guy whose goddamn job is to hear dudes fapping and jizzing down the line. Because Dean clearly isn’t pathetic enough in his day-to-day life. He has to go and do this and still be closeted about it. Can’t just be a pervert, have to be a coward about it, too. He can’t even-


“Are you still here?” James asks.


Dean pulls his phone from his ear, lifts his other hand and stops short of hanging up—but only because there’s jizz all over his hand.


“Did I cross a line?” James asks, and he sounds worried enough that Dean actually puts the phone back to his ear.


“No, you, no, you didn’t-”


“Good,” James says firmly, emphatically. “I’m glad.” He takes an audible breath before letting it out slowly. Then again. Dean finds himself breathing along too, his heart rate gradually slowing down. “Can I ask if you liked it?”


Dean coughs, clearing his throat. He wipes his hand on his discarded boxer briefs and then ends up sitting there with his come-covered underwear over his dick, like that can possibly hide him from the shame. “What, you got a customer satisfaction survey or something?”


“Your feedback is important to us,” James deadpans.


A laugh shoots out of Dean, as quick and sharp as it is unexpected. “Screw you.”


“If that’s a scenario you’d like to roleplay...”


It’s really not that funny, but Dean’s still biting down a smile. “Okay, smartass. I mean, no, not okay. I mean, it’d be okay—I mean, I guess, maybe, I don’t know, but it’s not—not now.”


“Michael,” James says. “Breathe.”


Dean breathes.


“You’re all right,” James promises. “If this was a bad experience, that’s on me. You’re all right.”


“I’m okay,” Dean says, still trying not to freak out. The breathing helps. “No big deal.”


“We’re just talking,” James agrees.


“Right, yeah.” Dean licks his lips, staring down at his lap. “Talking.”


James keeps taking those pronounced breaths and Dean keeps following along. He’s paying money for this, a complete waste of funds, but he can’t seem to stop. It sounds very nearly restful. Like Dean’s listening to James breathe in his sleep, like Dean should be lying down with James cuddled up behind him.


It’s calm. Soothing.


When James finally speaks again, he doesn’t even break the mood, his voice too soft to burst the flimsiest of bubbles. “If you’d ever like to talk again,” James says, no pressure, no presumption, “ask the operator for Jimmy.”


“Thought you were a James.” It’s a fake name anyway. It shouldn’t matter.


A smile in his lightening voice, James—Jimmy—says, “I think we’re a little past that formality at this point.”


Dean blushes so hard, it’s like all the blood from his erection went on vacation in his face. “Oh, uh. Yeah, okay. Jimmy.”


“Would you like to talk some more tonight?”


“No, I’m, I’m good.” Dean pauses way too long, his mouth wanting to say something else, his brain coming up with nothing. “Bye, I guess.”


“Good night,” Jimmy answers.


Dean hangs up. He cleans up. He flops back on his bed to stare up at the ceiling, his mind buzzing. Out of all this, he has one hell of a bill and a couple of conclusions:


He’s a coward and a pervert, but he’s definitely a bisexual one.

The next day, Dean forces himself to pack his shit, head into the city proper, and march into the campus library. He gets fewer stares there than he does in his undergrad classes, more people willing to simply assume that this guy in his thirties is working on his PhD or something. If it weren’t for his splurge the night before, he wouldn’t go, but the garage under his apartment is loud during the day and he needs to get his studying back on track. He’s itching to be down there, adding to the noise, but Bobby’s smacked him upside the head more than once over his priorities.


See, the thing is, when they put Sam through school, Dean figured that would be it. Get Sam through pre-law and then law, celebrate when he passed the bar, and that would be the extent of Winchester education.


Sam, on the other hand, had waited until he landed a well-paying job before turning around and springing the trap on Dean. Sam’s argument had essentially boiled down to “It’s your turn,” and all of Dean’s counter-arguments had fallen to the wayside when Bobby joined in, too. Because apparently Dean’s not just a mechanic in Bobby’s eyes: he’s heir-apparent to the entire company. And by “company,” he means two garages and a salvage yard, but it’s still enough that a guy might want a degree in business and finance.


When Dean had pointed out that Bobby was doing well enough without a college education, Bobby had gone unexpectedly quiet. Worse, he’d gone wistful. When push came to shove, that had been the biggest deciding factor, not that Dean’s ever going to admit to it.


Dean’s life makes no sense to him sometimes, but here he is: thirty-two and a college freshman.


He gets into the library and heads in deep, making a beeline to the serious study area. He passes tables of chatting teens and twenty-somethings and gets annoyed at just the snippets of conversations he overhears. He heads past the second reference desk and the myriad No Talking signs. It’s surprisingly busy for an early Friday afternoon, or at least surprising to Dean’s mind. There’s someone at every single one of the tables, all studious and all studiously ignoring each other. If it’s this crowded only a couple weeks into the semester, how bad will it be come finals?


Hanging back, Dean turns his phone to silent while he makes up his mind. There’s an unassuming twenty-something chick with her crap sprawled over the entire table. There’s a pair of teens sharing earbuds while peering at a computer screen together. There’s a tired looking guy who might be around Dean’s age, maybe even older, and Dean’s feet start heading that way before he can second-guess himself.


The guy’s at one of the smaller tables, a two-person affair tucked to the side. He’s gotta be banking on solitude there, but he doesn’t look too upset when Dean stops across from him and, eyebrows raised, points down to the empty chair. The guy nods, blue eyes flicking up to Dean’s face only momentarily before he returns his attention firmly to his laptop. He’s doing some kind of online reading but taking notes by hand.


Dean shrugs off his backpack and jacket, sticks one on the floor and the other on the back of his chair, and grabs a seat. He pulls out his books and starts the mind-numbing reading assignment of the week. One of them. Out of many. Out of many, many more to come.


He reads until he can’t take it anymore, and then he pulls his dad’s old camping thermos out of his backpack. This is no soup canister for a child’s lunchbox. No, this is a monster-sized metal cylinder as long as his forearm and even thicker. It may not contain enough caffeine to kill a racehorse, but it definitely has enough coffee to make a man piss like one.


The second Dean unclasps the top, the guy across from him looks up from his laptop. His eyes narrow.


Dean is almost positive drinks are allowed at the tables. He’s new to this whole college library business, but that girl over there has a Starbucks cup with a tea bag string flopping over the cardboard holder. Dean points to her before looking at the guy with the universal expression and posture of The fuck is your problem?


Blinking, the man shakes his head. He shifts his hand up his page of notes to write on the top. He turns the notebook sideways for Dean to read and, tilting his head, Dean does.


Envious , the note reads in slanting print.


Once he’s turned his notebook, the man reaches down to something on his side of the table and he comes back up with a travel mug of his own. He shakes it lightly, the thing clearly empty. The guy sighs a little with a shrug before putting it away.


Dean nods back to him with a little shrug of his own before carefully lifting this giant mass of metal and ceramic to funnel piping hot coffee into his mouth. The guy watches with yet more envy, eyes again narrowed. Being a complete shit, Dean winks back before swallowing and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. He takes his time clasping the lid back down, the better to watch the guy roll his eyes—his entire head, really—and return to his own work.


Brain still stupidly numb from stupidly expensive textbooks, Dean takes a minute more to lean back and look around. To get comfortable, as far as that’s possible in these chairs.


He takes an extra look at the guy across from him, because, c’mon man, he’s allowed to look. Nothing wrong with having his eyeballs pointed at a dude who’s sitting right in front of him. Who happens to be attractive in a dark-haired, stubble-jawed kind of way. He’s got the blue eyes, dark hair combo, which Dean is always weak for. Hell, just brunettes in general. And now, apparently, brunets, too.


The longer Dean thinks about it, the more it becomes clear that this is a very attractive man. He’s got the sleeves of his white button-down rolled up to nearly his elbows, showing off gorgeous forearms as the guy takes his notes. Which Dean is allowed to notice. Nothing wrong in noticing that. Just taking the sexuality for a spin, not doing anything, not making trouble and not looking for any.


The guy looks up at Dean.


Caught, Dean makes small talk the only way he can. Closing his eyes, he mimes dropping off, letting his head loll to the side before jerking it back up. Opening his eyes, he sees the guy nodding.


With that piece of social interaction completed, Dean goes back to keeping his eyes on his book. Which is torture. He rubs at his eyes and tries to force himself, but his brain keeps insisting it’s at its limit. He struggles on anyway, mind wandering, not absorbing any of it.


He drinks his coffee. He bounces in his seat. He tries. He really fucking tries, but then he gets to the chapter review questions and can’t remember even the basic terms they’re asking about. When he finds them, he remembers the pictures on the page but none of the contents of that page. Naturally.


Dean Winchester: a fucking idiot.


Fighting down a sigh, he starts all over again, now skimming for the answers. That goes a bit better. Faster, at least. It’s all duller than bricks and weighs him down just as heavily. His answers are terse and lifted almost verbatim from the textbook itself, but he gets it done. Eventually. He rewards himself with another coffee break and another casual glance at the guy sitting opposite him before pulling out his finance homework.


Progress slows down. It grinds to a halt. He reads and rereads without understanding simple, basic words. A kid in middle school could do better. He’s two weeks into the semester and already going under. He’s just some mechanic with a GED, he’s not a businessman or an accountant.


Dean doesn’t realize he’s sitting there with his head in his hands until he hears a hard tap on the table. Dean looks up from the textbook. The hot guy across the table slides him a sheet of loose leaf with a single sentence printed on it in pen.


Switch subjects every half hour .


Dean frowns at him, but the guy just nods like he’s handed Dean the Holy Grail. But that doesn’t even make any sense, it hasn’t been…


Dean checks his watch.




He nods at the guy. The guy nods back. The guy also takes an exaggerated breath and Dean finds himself doing the same. They let it out together. Very faintly, the guy smiles. Just the lips, no teeth, but it’s still a pretty nice smile.


Dean rubs at his head.


The guy’s eyebrows rise slightly before he ducks back down behind the table for his bag. He comes up holding his travel mug and a bottle of Advil. Both go on the table in front of the guy’s notebook. With a hopeful look, the guy signals between Dean and his own dinky travel mug before tapping the Advil.


...Come to think of it, his head does hurt.


It’s a very careful exchange, Dean pouring coffee into the guy’s thermos, but Dean did bring enough to give himself an ulcer and the headache isn’t helping his overall health either. Dean pops the Advil, the hot guy drinks his bartered coffee, and they toast with expressions of mutual misery. In any other setting, Dean would stall with a conversation at this point, but he saw his first week here just how fucking scary the librarians can be about enforcing the No Talking zone. Instead, he has to carry on.


Before long, despite the medicine kicking in, Dean’s mind goes back to wandering. Financial homework makes him think of his own finances. And then his own expenses. Because, sure, Sam’s chipping in for Dean’s education—and isn’t that a fucking bizarro world thought—and yeah, Dean’s living in the apartment over Bobby’s second shop rent-free ‘cause Bobby says Dean basically owns the place already, but there’s got to be something Dean’s missing, right? Some hidden expense that’s going to come up and smack him hard, and not in a kinky way.


He ends up making an Excel sheet from scratch, estimating his income on the low side, estimating his expenses on the high side. He still comes out weirdly comfortable because Sam really is being fucking ridiculous about this whole paying Dean back thing. It’s so ridiculous, Dean pulls out his phone to text Sam over it, but then his eye snags on his recent call list and his mind takes a sharp turn down a dark alleyway made entirely of gutters.


What if, whispers a niggling little thought, he really does have some money to burn?


What if he calls Jimmy again?


What if he calls again, actually manages to come out to the guy, and then gets to listen to Jimmy talking about how much he’d love to suck Dean’s cock, specifically?


It’s a genius, expensive kind of idea, but it’s way more genius and way less expensive than the whole college thing.


But no, that’s an unreasonable splurge. Hell, last night alone was an unreasonable splurge.


He can’t do it again.


Even if he wants to.


Which he does.


Maybe he does. It was kind of awkward before it got hot.


But it did get hot.


Really hot.


Dean zones out a little, remembering. The awkwardness fades away in the recollection. What stands out instead is the sheer gravel of Jimmy’s voice when he said how much he loved having a dick in his mouth. Dean hadn’t heard the guy jerking off down the line, but the guy had definitely been aroused thinking about it. Dean’s had a couple flings with girls who seemed to like sucking dick well enough, but always as a favor to him, never something they wanted to do for their own pleasure. Which is fine. When a chick sits on his face, Dean’s definitely more into the amazing thigh action on either side of his head than he’s into having his tongue going where his dick wants to be.


Jimmy was probably making it up anyway. James. Whatever his name really is. Just a guy making shit up on the phone for money.


Dean should pick up an actual guy. A real guy. Maybe see how well he does with a dick near his face. Someone else’s dick, not just his obligatory stupid teenage attempt to fold himself in half upside-down against his bedroom wall. It hadn’t worked then and it certainly won’t work now, but maybe a nice sixty-nine session would be a good start.


Except for the fact that it would involve picking up a dude. And coming out to a dude. And maybe being seen by other people. Plus, where’s he even going to find a guy who’s into guys? Sure, the university probably has one of those gay clubs or support groups or whatever they’re called, but Dean feels like enough of an old fart without walking into a den of children secure in their sexualities. He needs someone his age. He can deal with people his age or older knowing more than him, being better than him, but with the begrudging exception of Sammy, he can’t deal with anyone younger.


Maybe he should give this a bigger run-up. Call Jimmy again, actually come out to the dude, and maybe roleplay a little. Pretend to pick him up at a bar or something. Talk it out, figure it out. Ask Jimmy how to pick up hot dudes. The guy’s gotta have a ridiculously huge spank bank of fantasies, if nothing else, with all the people calling in to jerk off to him. Maybe there’s some psychological insight there or something.


So Dean should call back.


A tap on the table breaks him out of his thoughts. He’s been staring at his Excel sheet on his laptop—Sam’s old laptop—blankly for who knows how long now, and when he looks up, the guy across the table taps his sheet of loose leaf again.


Switch subjects every half hour , it still reads.


Blinking, Dean checks the time on his laptop, and okay, yeah. He’s not even doing any work, either.


The guy pulls back the sheet and writes on it some more. He pushes it back.


I have a silent alarm on my laptop. Do you want me to keep mentioning it?


Dean nods. Might as well give it a shot. He swaps out the finance textbook open beside him for a different one, trying to force himself back into the groove, as if he were ever in that groove to start with. His mind keeps straying, though, and he winds up back on his spreadsheet. He plugs in a couple calculations, subtract these, add these, see how that’ll look a couple weeks and months down the line, and while he doesn’t get any progress on his homework, he does sort out how much disposable income he has.


That he even has any is fucking weird, but paying for a college educated Dean is a very different expense than paying for a college educated Sam. This ain’t no Stanford. It’s the next step up from community college, and Dean would have settled for that if Sam hadn’t gotten a research bug and pulled out all these scholarships Dean could apply for.


The point is, even after bills, comfortable living expenses, and trying to put some away for saving, Dean has some fifty, sixty dollars floating around. Each week. Minimum.


He should tell Sam. Make the kid take it back before Dean spends it all on booze.


With a sigh, he saves and closes Excel before turning back to his reading. Closing his laptop helps cut down on further distractions, but Dean can always make his own. He must be fidgeting or something, because when he glances up, the other guy is already staring at him. He looks down real quick, though. Dean takes a second to grope around in his backpack for a pen before pulling over the sheet of paper.


That can’t have been half an hour .


The guy shakes his head.


Dean looks back, questioning.


The guy writes, Where did you get your thermos?


Dean shrugs. He snags the paper to write It was a gift. Probably army surplus.


The guy nods back a thank-you. They both pretend to focus on what they’re meant to be focusing on, but now that the distraction has opened up, it looms, that sheet of lined paper an ample temptation.


Dean keeps eyeing it, but, true to form, chickens out. He does math problems instead, because at least that’s the easy shit for the finance side of his classes. He’s been checking over Bobby’s books for him for years, not to mention pitching in to do the taxes. Here, at least, Dean knows what he’s doing. Time passes a lot faster because of it, and before Dean knows it, the guy taps the table again. Dean nods back and switches over to his business reading with a strange combination of regret and energy. His headache starts coming back, but what else is new?


Dean’s in it tonight for the long haul, trying to slog through on his class-free day before using the weekend to get back to his actual job. It’s not all that surprising when the other guy closes and stows his laptop first, packing up his stuff. It’s dinnertime, according to Dean’s stomach, but Dean’s pushed through while much hungrier. This guy, though, he’s leaving. He rolls down his sleeves before shrugging on the trench coat he had lying across the back of his chair. Dean pretends to ignore him, but he does offer a tiny wave as the guy passes him.


The guy turns and waves back, and then Dean’s back to being alone, the oldest guy there, sticking out like a sore thumb.


He hunkers down anyway.