It is Jared’s first week in Austin, having just moved into the first apartment that is just his, and having just started his first real job after graduating college in the spring.
Money is tight, and the school where he teaches Freshmen English is only a few miles from his apartment so Jared walks to and from school every day. The route takes him to a busy street where there is a coffee shop he never passes by without picking up a vanilla latte or an iced coffee. And sometimes a few sugary treats. For the energy they bring. Teaching ninth graders takes a lot of energy.
On his second day, he notices a man playing guitar. He’s standing on the corner next to the coffee shop. He’s playing “Simple Man” and he sounds amazing. There is a crowd standing around him, and Jared steps closer, looking over the head of a bald man recording the musician on his phone.
Jared’s iced coffee, temporarily forgotten, almost slips out of his hand as he catches his first glimpse of the singer.
He is drop dead gorgeous; the picture-perfect epitome of every wet dream Jared has ever had.
The musician scans the crowd as he sings and for a second Jared thinks maybe their eyes meet and, holy moly,.the singer’s eyes are as pretty as the rest of him.
But he realizes the singer is looking at the man in front of him filming on his phone. He stops singing and and says, “I’m Jensen, hi, thanks for the free publicity and be sure to tell them where they can find me when you post that.”
When he starts singing again, it’s a different song.
I've just seen a face
I can't forget the time or place
Where we just met
She's just the girl for me
And I want all the world to see
We've met, mm-mm-mm-m'mm-mm
Had it been another day
I might have looked the other way
“Never heard this one, it’s kinda lame,” a teenager says beside him before cupping his hands over his mouth and yelling. “Go back to Lynyrd!”
“Don’t be knocking the Beatles, they are like – fuck man, look at the time, we are going to be late to school,” his friend says in reply.
The schoolteacher in Jared wants to chide the teen for swearing but then he looks at his watch and realizes the teenagers scurrying away are right, fuck he’s going to be late.
He reluctantly walks away, the sound of Jensen’s voice fades, but he finds himself humming random Beatle songs for the rest of the day to the teasing delight of his students.
Jensen isn’t there for the next few days, and he tells himself it’s silly to be disappointed, that he doesn’t even know the guy. But when he makes his way to the coffee shop on Friday, he hears him before he sees him and he’s goofy grinning as he orders his double espresso with three shots of cream.
Jensen’s singing “Welcome to the Jungle” and he’s got a sexy growl in his voice that does things to Jared, makes him want things too.
Jared may or may not have been leaving his apartment fifteen minutes earlier every day in case Jensen happens to be singing, so he joins the crowd surrounding Jensen and plans to stay a while and enjoy. He also has a few crumpled tens in his pocket that he drops into the guitar case. This close, he can smell Jensen and how the fuck does he smell as good as he looks?
Jared wonders how he tastes.
There is a trio of women standing close to Jensen, whispering to each other every time Jensen looks their way and Jared isn’t sure why he has a sudden urge to stand in front of them and block their view.
But he’s an adult, so he makes his way to the back, watching the musician charm everyone around him. Including the admiring women.
Jensen is just finishing the song, when Jared settles.“Thank you,” he says to his audience, as a few more dollars are dropped into his guitar case. “I’d like to dedicate this next song to someone I’d very much like to get to know.”
It's a little bit funny, this feelin' inside
I'm not one of those who can easily hide
I don't have much money, but boy, if I did
I'd buy a big house where we both could live
If I was a sculptor, but then again, no
Or a man who makes potions in a travelin' show
Oh, I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do
My gift is my song and this one's for you
The women have a dazed look in their eyes, like maybe they have just fallen head over heels in love.
Jared kinda knows how they feel.
Jared comes by the coffee shop a couple of times that weekend, but no Jensen. It wasn’t like he was going there specifically to see Jensen of course, hell they had never even really met, and it seemed like maybe Jensen had his sights on someone.
He just really likes coffee, that’s all.
He likes it a lot, like six visits to the coffee shop in two days, lot.
Jensen is just setting up on Monday morning as Jared enters the coffee shop. The employees inside smile at him as they fill his order. In the two weeks he has lived here, he has already become a regular.
The song has just started when Jared joins the crowd gathered around Jensen. A few of the onlookers nod at him, he’s become a regular here as well.
The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you
And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you
No, I don't wanna fall in love (this world is only gonna break your heart)
No, I don't wanna fall in love (this world is only gonna break your heart)
Jared feels hot, because of the coffee of course, and fuck his life, fuck everything. Jensen’s voice is just pure sex. Jared thinks Jensen looks over at him once or twice, but really he is looking around at the crowd and not Jared specifically, of course he isn’t. Even if their eyes lock as Jensen sings the chorus.it’s because Jared is so tall and stands out, it’s not like Jensen is singing the words directly to him.
What a wicked game you play, to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say, you never felt this way
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you
Um, maybe the coffee is too strong or something because Jared is feeling really, really flushed.
He makes it to class a few seconds before the bell rings, still trying to catch his breath because he had to run all the way.
It is raining the next day, a cool fall rain that is relentless and Jared prepares himself for an empty corner.
But Jensen is there, underneath the awning of the coffee house, and though the crowd is smaller, and hidden underneath umbrellas and jackets, they are still gathered around.
Jared ducks into the coffee house to a rollicking version of “You Really Got Me” and comes out with his expresso to Jensen singing
Do you love me do you want to be my friend?
And if you do
Well then don't be afraid to take me by the hand
If you want to
I think this is how love goes
Check yes or no
It isn’t surprising that Jensen sings country too, they are in Texas after all, but it is kinda fun to stand there, umbrella in one hand, espresso in the other, and sing along with Jensen.
It also isn’t surprising that Jared wants to check yes.
This time when their eyes meet, Jensen winks at him.
Jared thinks about that wink the rest of the day.
The days follow a kind of pattern. Jensen isn’t always there, but when he is, his eyes always linger on Jared.
On Wednesday he sings “I wanna be your lover” and if spontaneous combustion is a real thing, Jared is in a lot of danger.
On Thursday it is “Call Me Maybe” and the crowd just goes with it, laughing and clapping their hands. Instead of leaving his usual $20 Jared leaves twice that because after pulling that off, Jensen deserves it.
Jared is pleasantly surprised to find Jensen singing there on Saturday. Pleasantly in the sense that he’s grinning so hard his cheeks are in danger of cracking.
For the first time, he is able to stand there and drink him in as Jensen sings several songs in a row.
The first song is a version of “I’m on Fire” so hot that Jared can literally feel the flames
It’s followed by “Crazy for You” and then “My Eyes Adored You.”
“One more song then I’ve got to pack it in,” Jensen says, and Jared groans his disappointment with the rest of the crowd.
Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A boy with kaleidoscope eyes
Jared might be a little on the slow side on picking up when someone is flirting with him, but Jensen changing the words to “boy with kaleidoscope eyes” as he stares right at Jared, he is beginning to get the picture. And what a glorious picture it is.
Still he watches Jensen pack up his things and says nothing. Jensen smiles at him as he passes Jared in the street, and Jared smiles back and the butterflies deep in his belly begin to dance.
Jared spends all of Sunday planning his first move.
All of Monday, a dreary day with no Jensen, re-planning.
And on Tuesday morning, when he exits the coffee shop as Jensen sings
I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates and you’ve got a brand new key
He laughs and changes his plan again.
He can’t wait to find out what Jensen comes up with next.
By Thursday of that week, Jensen is so obviously flirting with him that the rest of the regulars look at Jared just as much as they look at Jensen.
Jensen is dancing as he strums his guitar and sings.
I thought love was only true in fairy tales
Meant for someone else but not for me
Love was out to get me
That's the way it seemed
Disappointment haunted all of my dreams
Then I saw his face, now I'm a believer
Not a trace, of doubt in my mind
I'm in love, and I'm a believer
I couldn't leave him if I tried
It’s infectious and joyful and Jared wants to live here, right in this moment, for always.
Jared walks to school whistling the whole way.
It is Monday before Jensen is at his corner again
I gotta take a little time, a little time to think things over
I better read between the lines, in case I need it when I'm older
Now this mountain I must climb, feels like the world upon my shoulders
Through the clouds I see love shine, it keeps me warm as life grows colder
In my life there's been heartache and pain
I don't know if I can face it again
Can't stop now, I've traveled so far to change this lonely life
I wanna know what love is, I want you to show me
I wanna feel what love is, I know you can show me
Jensen’s wearing a green plaid shirt that matches his bewitching eyes, and his pants are so tight that Jared is a bit scared he is actually drooling.
And he sings so achingly beautifully that Jared aches too.
Friday it is a poignant version of “Come to My Window”.
On Saturday Jared cleans his apartment, presses his best blue shirt, and wears the expensive cologne his mother bought him for his birthday.
Jensen is there, one leg pressed against the wall, strumming his guitar while he chats with the people standing around him.
“Any special requests?”:he asks.
He sings.”Simple Man” again, “Hotel California”, a killer version of “Radioactive.”
Jared steps closer.
The rest of the crowd steps back, anticipating. The bald man holds up his phone and begins to record.
“What’s your request?” Jensen asks and then adds. “Jared.”
Jared’s heart sings because Jensen knows his name, probably asked one of his students.
He steps even closer. “What song do you have for me today?”
Jensen pulls off his guitar, lays it carefully in its case. He reaches up, trails a finger over one of Jared’s cheeks, traces his dimple.
“Kiss me,” he sings softly.
So Jared does.