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Grapes of Wrath and other Forbidden Fruit - Chapter 2

- For header and disclaimer, go HERE -




After their making-out session on the beach and a belated lunch, Jeff proposed watching a movie. Jensen didn't feel much like going out, and had so opted for DVDs instead, seeing as the beach house was hooked up with a bona-fide home entertainment system.

Now that at least was something familiar about his fiancé. Otherwise Jensen might have started feeling like he was rooming with a doppelganger. Or an evil twin, only not so evil, he giggled to himself.

Jensen knew Jeffrey had a brother. Younger? Older, maybe? Jensen couldn't remember. Jeff hardly ever talked about him anyway. Not that it was surprising after that bastard had tried to swindle Jeff out of his share of the family company. And to top it off, when he'd been found out, he'd tried to pin everything on Jeff. Revolting.

Jeffrey, who had busied himself in the kitchen so far, came back, carrying a huge bowl of popcorn and Jensen's eyes widened. "Do you expect a whole football team to come over? We're never gonna finish all that."

Jeff grinned. "What do you mean we? This is for me. You want popcorn, get your own." He sat down on the couch, balancing the bowl on his lap.

Jensen playfully stuck out his tongue at him. "Glutton."

"You calling me fat?" Jeff asked with mock hurt.

Letting his eyes travel over Jeffrey's muscular torso, Jensen's eyes darkened behind his glasses. "I wouldn't say fat, exactly. But you sure are one freaky giant."

"Pfft, you only say that because you're short."

"I'm not short," Jensen protested.

"Hey, I'm not complaining. I like my guys cute and cuddly."

"That makes me sound like a teddy bear."

Jeff's eyes sparkled. "Well, I wouldn't mind taking you with me to bed tonight..."

Ignoring the innuendo, Jensen went for diversionary tactics. "We still haven't decided on a movie."

Jeffrey made a show of giving the question some deep thought. "How about Brokeback Mountain?"

Jensen threw a handful of popcorn at him, Jeff of course retaliated, and soon both of them lay amidst a battlefield, laughing. Jeff reached out, tucking a strand of too-long hair behind Jensen's ear.

"Wow, is this a bad time?" An amused voice called from the door.

Jensen pushed his glasses back onto his nose and looked up, spotting a young man about his own age, completely bald and wearing an ensemble that could only be described as incredibly loud.

Jeff, who had frozen upon the intrusion, jumped up hurriedly and went over to the guy, throwing an arm around his shoulders. "Mike, this is my fiancé Jensen. Jensen, this is Mike. He is an old friend."

Jensen looked at Mike curiously, he hardly ever got to meet any of Jeff's friends. And this one didn't seem the type at all. "Nice to meet you."

Mike gave them odd looks but nodded at Jensen. "Likewise."

Seeing an opportunity to learn a bit more about his boyfriend, maybe even some juicy embarrassing details, Jensen was about to ask this Mike-guy a few questions when Jeff gave him a curt, "Excuse us for a minute, this is about business," and dragged his friend away.

Jensen sighed. Jeff alternating between hot and cold in the span of minutes was too familiar. Things - and people - probably didn't really change that much after all.

* * *


"What the hell are you doing here, Rosenbaum?"

Mike currently found himself manhandled out onto the lawn by his very irate boss. And this time he didn't even know what he'd done wrong. "Easy, easy," he soothed, "That's a brand new suit."

"Which should be burned as the fashion travesty it is," Jared bellowed angrily, but he loosened the death grip he had on the other man.

"What the hell is going on here? Since when do you get hitched to your boy toys?"

"Not that it is any of your business, but it is not me who got engaged. Jeffrey did."

Mike's eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets. "Jeffrey, as in your twin brother Jeffrey? The son of a bitch who nearly got you thrown in jail and made you an outcast in your home town -- that Jeff?"

"Wow, thanks for that bout of needless exposition. No, I'm talking about Jeffrey, the friendly mailman." Jared rolled his eyes.

"Just checking your level of craziness here." Mike waved his hands in front of him as if to ward off any insanity that might be coming from Jared. And wasn't that ironic, considering Michael Rosenbaum was renowned for being the king of crazy. "So the kid thinks you' re Jeff?"

"Pay attention here, Rosenbaum, what have we just been talking about?"

Apparently Mike still had trouble making sense of Jared since he switched to slow and easy questions. "Why does he think you are your brother again?"

"He ran into me at Murray's party last night, thought I was Jeff."

"And you didn't immediately correct this little error, why? ' Cause I gotta tell you, boss, playing those twin games is a bit middle-school and all."

"I played along because I have a plan to get back at Jeff. And you nearly screwed it up." Jared explained, huffing with righteous anger.

Mike looked at him in shock. "You play that poor kid for a fool to get back at your brother?"

"Jensen Ackles hardly is a kid. He is twenty six, for god' s sake! And if it weren't for his father, I would have PadaCrest back by now. Jeff was done for. No way he would have gotten the money to pay off his debts in time and hold onto his majority shares. If Ackles hadn't set him up, Mevaroge Industries could have swooped right in and bought him out." Jared raged.

"Mevaroge Industries being you, of course," Mike supplied. Then he smirked. "I never did like that name, you know. An anagram for game over? Seriously lame, boss."

Jared shrugged but couldn't help a slight blush spreading over his cheeks. "Would have worked. And I could have marched right into PadaCrest and shoved it into the bastard's face. But no, Ackles had to be an early Santa."

"Oh, so you're playing Jensen to get back at your brother and his father. That makes it so much better." Mike's voice was dripping with sarcasm.

"Listen, I don't need to explain myself to you, but for the record, I don't feel great about it. Yet I'm not gonna let this golden goose get away from me."

"What are you gonna do, anyway? Do the guy, and then run off to your brother and tell him?"

"You'll just have to wait and see." Jared smiled unpleasantly. "And now I'd really appreciate it if you were leaving."

"How about I leave PAVE while I'm at it. Maybe I don't like working for a guy who acts like an even bigger asshole than he usually does?" Mike challenged.

Jared was thrown for a second, but quickly slipped his "pissed off boss" mask back on. "If that's what you think you have to do…"

"And Tom? You feel the same way about him? The only friend who stood by you when all your other fancy friends treated you like a leper?"

"As my friend, he'll understand," Jared said evenly, giving Mike a pointed look. Then he sighed. "Look, I don't really want to lose either of you, you know that. And I know you don't really want to leave, either. But I'm going to do this. I have to."

Mike huffed unhappily. "I know your brother screwing you over like that, it hit you hard. But I don' t like this. I should march right in there and set the poor kid straight."

Shoulders tensing Jared asked, "Will you?"

"No… for now and against my better judgment." A deep sigh. "But I will totally stay for dinner and watch you squirm." With that, Mike walked past Jared, entering the house once more.

"Oh joy." Defeated, Jared moved to join him. Next time he was planning some big revenge, he'd make sure to have no friends left.

* * *

Curled against Jeffrey on that big, comfy couch, Jensen nearly purred with contentment. After Jeff had invited Mike to stay, the three of them had enjoyed a delicious dinner, and now Jensen felt completely sated and a bit sleepy.

He liked Mike, or "Rosey" as Jeff had called him. The guy was the polar opposite of Jensen himself, outgoing and talkative, but the two men had hit it off immediately.

Jensen had been a bit disappointed not to learn more about his fiancé's deep, dark secrets, although Mike had entertained him with a few anecdotes. Jeff tensed up whenever the bald man opened his mouth and Jensen had a hard time hiding his amusement. Obviously there was still plenty of blackmail material to uncover.

Both men had been tight-lipped about their work, though Jensen had caught on about Mike being Jeff's employee. He'd asked him a few casual questions about the wine business that had quickly been deflected by Jeff.

Apparently Mike was working a desk job and didn't know that much about the hands on parts of it. Jensen thought that a bit odd, but didn't want to embarrass his new friend, so he stopped asking after a while.

Jensen smiled when one of Jeff's big paws, as he secretly - and adoringly - thought of them, lazily began stroking his cheek. He pressed closer to him, like a kitten demanding to be petted and Jeff obliged by drawing Jensen's head down on his shoulder, massaging his scalp. Okay, now Jensen definitely felt like purring.

"Happy?" The question wasn't much more than a warm breath in Jensen's ear and he could only sigh dreamily in response. "Mmmmm."

Jeff chuckled. "I guess, that means yes."

Jensen smiled. "You know that I become the cuddle-monster once my stomach is full, Jef-Jay." Jensen quickly corrected himself, getting better with the slip-ups.

"Hm." It sounded non-committal.

Jensen lifted his head to look up at Jeff curiously. "What?"

"Nothing, I… guess I had forgotten when I was away."

"You were gone three weeks, Jay, planning to stay three more," Jensen reminded him jokingly.

"Still, feels a bit like back when we first started dating." Jeff shrugged.

"I guess so… a little bit. Does this mean you're gonna start in with the flowers and presents again?" Jensen asked, grinning.

"Do you want me to?" Jeff asked, studying him intently.

"No man, that was a joke. I'd rather you… " He stopped himself.

"You'd rather what?"

"You tell me something about yourself."

Jeffrey's features darkened but his voice stayed even. "What do you want to know?"

Jensen gestured helplessly. "Everything. Something. You hardly ever speak about your job, for example."

A shrug. "I didn't think you were all that interested in the wine business."

"How do you figure? You didn't even try. I know you aren't all that fascinated by teaching, but I still tell you about my work."

Jeffrey tilted his head. "Who says I wasn't fascinated?"

"I… did get the impression," Jensen said uncertainly. "Was I wrong?"

Hazel eyes didn't meet his own for a moment, then Jeff looked back up. "Maybe I wasn't the most attentive listener in the past, but I want to change that. You can tell me anything."

Trying to shake off the distinct feeling that there was something, an undercurrent, he didn't quite get, Jensen tried to steer things back on track. "That's nice and all, but you're evading me. I want to know something about you."

Jeffrey made a face, but Jensen already smelled sweet, sweet victory. As much of a turn-on the mysterious stranger act had been in the early stages of their romance, he still felt there was precious little he knew about his fiancé. And seeing as they were going to spend their lives with each other, that seemed really really wrong.

He cupped Jeff's stubbled cheek. "You've never really talked about your home, for example. What' s it like?"

"Padacrest is a vineyard in the south of Napa Valley. It's about 1.500 acres of pretty fertile ground and… humpf." Jeff looked annoyed when Jensen covered his mouth with one hand.

"You sound like a tourist brochure or an investment portfolio. You know this wasn't what I meant."

"What? What did you mean? Childhood stories about me and my brother maybe? How we went on a camping trip in middle school? Or would you rather I tell you how he screwed me over, threw me out of my home, huh?" The last was practically a growl.

Jensen raised his hands in a calming gesture, a bit shocked at the sudden outburst. "Take it easy, okay? He got caught out after all. Look, I didn't mean to upset you or hit on any sore spots but I don't care for your tone."

Jeff looked surprised with himself, nodding. "Sorry, didn't mean to get all up in your face like that. Just… sorry."

"It's okay, just don't make a habit of it." Jensen tried to break the tension with a little smile and Jeff grinned sheepishly. Then something struck Jensen. "What did you mean, he threw you out of your home?"

"Oh… that." Jeff's cheeks coloured. "It happened when we were teenagers. Kinda long story. Wasn't that big a deal. I just… Thinking about him makes me cranky."

"That's perfectly understandable. After… what was his name? Jason? Jeremy?"

"Jared. His name's Jared." Jeff's tone was strained.

Trying to be supportive, Jensen started anew. "Anyway, after what Jared did to you…"

"Can we not talk about him?" Jeff cut him off sharply. "Please?"

Jensen's face softened. "Okay, we'll just declare him persona non grata, alright?" He didn't receive a grin this time but Jeff's shoulders visibly relaxed.

"So after we now thoroughly killed the mood, what's up next?" .

"I don't know, we could play a game or something?" Play a game? Real smooth Jensen, like, one of your students at a sleep over.

Luckily, Jeff seemed to have noticed him earlier checking out the impressive PlayStation console. His smile turned smug. "Think you can take me, Ackles?"

"Having slight delusions of grandeur, Padalecki? We've tried that about four times in the past and I seem to recall you being destroyed every single time."

Jeff looked pained for a second, but quickly grinned again. "I wouldn't count me out so fast if I were you. Maybe I'll surprise you."

"Don't forget, I teach middle schoolers, which means I regularly deal with the champions. So unless you make these things, you'll be going down. Again!" Jensen laughed.

Jeff looked at him like Jensen had said something hilariously funny. "We'll see about that." He moved to get something from a drawer, returning with a spanking new video game. "Ready for Target Practice 5?" Jeff asked.

"TP 5? I thought that wasn't out yet?"

Jeff seemed flustered. "Oh… I got my hands on an early copy."

Shrugging, Jensen motioned for him to put it in. "Okay then, prepare to be annihilated."

Two hours later Jensen was impressed to how close Jeff had come to actually beating him. He refrained from voicing that sentiment - much - seeing as the poor guy had been utterly dumbfounded at being on the losing end again. Well, Jensen had warned him. After all, it wasn't like he did this for a living.

* * *

Jared looked dubiously at the little chopping board in front of him. Normally his only expeditions into the kitchen were of the beer-grabbing kind, or maybe, if he was feeling adventurous, fixing himself a sandwich.

Just because he liked to eat, didn't mean he wanted to make all this stuff himself. And his beloved candy came custom-made and ready for ingestion anyway. Tasting a good wine, yeah, that Jared could get behind, but cooking?

Therefore, Jensen's little plan to prepare their dinner themselves had taken four days of consistent persuading to get Jared on board. Jensen had promised to go easy on him and so Jared had been assigned to chop the vegetables. Sighing, he grabbed the large knife and looked them over.

"They won't bite." Jensen called from his place at the stove, his tone clearly amused. He had taken off his glasses, lest they fog up in the steam rising from the pots, and his emerald eyes sparkled.

Jared mumbled under his breath, but dutifully began his task. Chop… chop… chop. Jensen's giggling broke his concentration. "What?"

Jensen pressed a hand to his mouth to stifle the bubbling laughter - only being half successful. "Sorry, it's just, you look like you're trying to perform open heart surgery."

"I just don't want to do anything wrong," Jared pointed out.

Jensen's eyes sparkled. "Like what? Lose the carrot right there on the table, Dr. Padalecki? I promise, they' re dead already. They won't feel a thing."

Jared folded his arms in front of himself. "Very funny. I told you, I'm no good at this kitchen stuff, Jen." His fiancé hadn' t protested this particular shortening of his name and true to his word, Jared had renounced the use of "Jenny." Even though he secretely thought it to be kind of cute.

"You're adorable when you pout."

"I do not pout," Jared said, lower lip sticking out even more.

"Still adorable." Jensen took pity on him and came over, holding out the big stirring spoon to Jared. "I'll do the veggies. You can stir the sauce in the meantime. Unless you don't think you can manage that?" he asked before cracking up again.

"Ha ha. Gimme." Jared reached for the spoon and, in making his way over to the stove, used it to deliver a hard slap to Jensen's backside. Earning himself an indignant "Ouch."

Jared whistled innocently. "Serves you right."

"That spoon was dripping with sauce, you jerk, now my pants are ruined." Jensen picked at the garment, trying to get a good look at the damage.

"I'll buy you new ones. Something that brings out your ass better," Jared said leeringly.

Jensen huffed but ignored him and busied himself with the vegetables. Jared had to admit, Jen was a damn fine cook. Quick and easy the knife slid through the carrots and the paprika, turning them into neat little squares that Jensen dropped into the waiting pan. He added a few onions, salt and pepper, olive oil, and soon a heavenly smell filled the kitchen.

The steaks were already frying on the little kitchen grill and Jensen expertly flipped them over. After checking on the rice, he came over to Jared and his little stirring project, tasting the sauce and adding a few more spices. He looked so natural at this, so at ease in this particular habitat. It was a striking contrast to the shy nervousness he displayed elsewhere.

Jared thought it was too bad he didn't have one of these frilly little aprons for Jensen to wear. The thought made him giggle.

"What?" Jensen asked, still bent over the pot, which led to his bangs falling in his face. Jared tucked a stray strand of hair behind his ear, looking thoughtful. "Hm? Nothing. Just had an idea."

"About what?"

"Nah, it's nothing. Let' s focus on dinner."

Jensen grinned. "Me making it and you eating it, you mean."

"Hey, I was stirring," Jared pointed out.

Jensen raised an eyebrow. "Uh-uh, think you can manage the salad? It involves more tearing than chopping."

Jared flipped him off. "Bring it on, Ackles."

"Alright." Jensen led him over to the sideboard and handed him the lettuce. "Chop it up in the middle and then just rip it apart," he instructed, already moving back over to the stove to check on everything.

Jared was all geared to make the best salad ever when the knife slipped and nicked him in the finger. "Ow, ow, damnit," he cursed.

With a few, hasty steps Jensen was beside him. "What happened? Let me see." He checked the wound and led Jared over to the sink to wash away the blood.

"Are you always this clumsy?"

"I'm not clumsy, the knife just slipped," Jared said, sounding even to himself like a petulant five-year old.

"Uh-uh," Jensen said, then eyed the now clean finger critically again. "It's not too deep, so it won't need stitches."

"It hurts." Jared cradled the injured hand closer to himself, disappointed in Jensen's lack of sympathy. The least you could expect from your fiancé was a little oh-ing and ah-ing, right?

Jensen apparently wasn't that kind of guy. He just raised an eyebrow and scolded, "Don't be a baby, Jay, it's barely even bleeding anymore."

"And they let you work with children?" Jared asked, sounding petulant.

"My students don't cry over a paper cut."

Jared stuck out his tongue. "Florence Nightingale, you are not. See if I take care of you when you get sick."

Jensen rolled his eyes. "Come here, you big baby. Shall I kiss it to make it better?"

"A kiss definitely would help." Jared moved closer, wrapping one arm around Jensen's waist, but Jensen pushed him away. "Seems like you're feeling better already, so I'm gonna go back to our dinner, which is in great danger of getting burned. Which means you are not getting fed tonight."

Since the threat of starvation outweighed the cut on his finger, Jared reluctantly let go of Jensen. Though he caught himself wishing that they truly were two lovers joking around in their cozy little kitchen.

The last days had been like the vacation Jared hadn' t had found the time for in years. Not that Jared had planned on it. In fact his plan had been quite simple, con Jensen for a day or two to get a few saucy pictures of them, then reveal himself and send the guy on back to his life. Easy as pie.

Only Jared hadn' t counted on the Jensen-factor. The guy was like a puzzle box, one minute he appeared timid, almost afraid of his own shadow, the next he was expertly kicking Jared' s ass at PlayStation and making fun of Jared for it. He would blush self-consciously when Jared complimented him on his looks yet chatted animatedly about the middle-schoolers he taught.

It was painfully obvious that no one had really made the effort to unravel the mysteries of Jensen Ross Ackles and Jared viewed it as a personal challenge to be the first. So far, Jared had been intrigued by the results.

Two days ago, in an attempt to coax Jensen out of his shell a bit, Jared had made sure they had both gotten a bit wasted. Okay, a lot wasted which had ended in a Karaoke session and damn, if the sight of a drunk-of-his-ass Jensen smokily intoning Fever, while gracefully moving his body to the tune, hadn' t been enough to make Jared rock-hard in two seconds flat. It had been a long, cold shower that night.

So Jared continued the charade, he simply wasn' t ready to give up on Jensen just yet. He figured Jensen' s appeal of being something shiny and different would fade soon enough, like it happened with most new people he met.

Yeah, a few more days and he' d probably have gotten bored of the guy by then and happily send him on his way, Jared thought. He ignored the cynical, little voice in his head asking whom exactly he thought he was kidding there.

Later, when they enjoyed their home-cooked dinner Jared closed his eyes in wonderment and enthusiastically pointed his fork at Jensen, "I forgive you for being such a bad nurse. This is to die for."

"I had a feeling you like it with the way you've been digging in," Jensen remarked dryly.

Jared savoured the last piece of his steak. "Mmmm, dawing a shef suwe haw if awantages."

"Maybe you can repeat that when you're not in the process of chewing on your food?" Jensen looked at him pointedly.

"I said dating a chef has its advantages." Jared remained unperturbed. Then he grinned devilishly. "The perfect little housewife, Jen."

Jensen simply threw his napkin at him. "And that's why you can fill up the dishwasher all on your own."

Jared was struck again by how he hadn't felt this relaxed in years. His shoulders sagged a bit at the thought. Damn you Jensen Ackles, why do you have to make this so hard on me?

* * *


He was trapped. The only way out of this tiny cubicle would lead him into the waiting arms of that obnoxious shop owner and his evil minions. And Jeffrey, that traitor, had delivered Jensen right to them under the pretence of "outfitting" him. Jensen didn't understand why his fiancé suddenly made such a big fuss about this.

Over the course of the week the guy had showered him with ridiculous compliments, starting out with the miraculous wonders of his emerald eyes which had resulted in Jensen getting contact lenses.

The other day Jensen had been dragged to the optometrist for testing and earlier this day they'd already picked them up in the adjoining shop.

Jeff had then proceeded to ritually destroy Jensen's old, wire-rimmed glasses by stomping on them. When Jensen had pointed out to him he' d still need a pair of glasses for emergencies at least, Jeff had grudgingly marched them back to the display cases, and gotten him what he called the "hot dork" model.

Jeff had mumbled something about a guy in a TV show going undercover as a piano teacher being the inspiration for that. Jensen hadn' t really gotten the reference, he mostly only watched the Discovery Channel.

And okay, that had even been a bit cute but now Jeff and his compliments had zeroed in on Jensen's body. And while he no longer believed Jeff was silently mocking him, Jensen didn't attribute much weight to them in general. After all, love was supposed to be blind, right?

"How is it going in there, Jen?" Jeff called out.

Jensen nervously picked on the new clothes once more. He knew he looked silly. The pants were way too tight and the dress shirt wasn't any better. His lover had picked them out and insisted on Jensen trying them on.

"Coming," he huffed unhappily. Well, it was now or never. Taking a deep breath, Jensen stepped out of the dressing room and into the main shop area.

All eyes turned on him but the shocked silence was short-lived. The manager descended upon him like a lion on a wounded gazelle. Only the lion probably wouldn't squeal. "Exquisite… what a transformation…"

Then those grabby hands were back on Jensen, running all over his body under the form-fitting clothes that made Jensen feel utterly naked. There was no help from his fiancé, either, not with the way Jeff grinned at him, blatantly undressing him with his eyes.

Jensen blushed, then flinched as he felt fleeting touches on the more intimate parts of his anatomy.

"Hm, the pants… Maybe I should measure the inseam again?" The shopkeeper mused.

"No." Jensen and Jeff answered in unison. Well, maybe Jeff would be at least a little helpful.

"Are you sure? I could…" The man wasn't ready to call defeat just yet, but a quick angry glance from Jeffrey made him wise up.

"The pants are fine. We'll take them. The shirt too," Jeff ordered. "Now let' s try something else. How about those?" He indicated another pair of even more miniscule looking pants.

"Of course, of course, Mr. Padalecki. Excellent choice."

Jensen wasn't even acknowledged, let alone asked to contribute to the discussion. Obviously his input in the matter was not required.

Outraged, he opened his mouth to set Jeffrey and the shop's people straight on a few things, when his lover thrust the offending pants into his hands and shut him up with a quick but intense kiss.

Grinning faces all around him, Jensen felt mortified and didn't even try to protest when Jeff turned him around with a whispered "Can't wait to see your tight little ass in them," before proceeding to give said ass a slap. Jensen practically fled back to the dressing room.

They spent the whole afternoon in pretty much the same fashion, and Jensen finally gave up on trying to fight it. Resigned to his role of dress-up doll, he let himself be poked and prodded, turned this way and that way and even struck stupid poses. The only thing that was missing was the "Pretty Woman" theme going on in the background, Jensen thought.

When they left the store, the chauffeur was loading up the trunk of their car with what must have been dozens of bags filled to the brim with new clothes for Jensen.

Jeff hadn't bought one single article for himself, yet he had even insisted on new underwear for Jensen. God, that had been embarrassing, and Jensen swore to himself he was not going to wear these boxer brief things. I' d rather go commando, Jensen thought.

When he was stupid enough to mention this to Jeff, the man had just grinned that infuriating grin of his and winked. "If that's the way you like it, fine by me."

He even made Jensen wear some of his new clothes already. When Jensen pointed out he had come to the shop in perfectly good clothing, Jeff mumbled something about burning them.

Jensen was hoping he had gotten it wrong, but feared for the worst now. Once he stepped out of the shop, he got quite a few looks, both of the female and the male variety, that made him long for a large, baggy coat to wrap himself in.

Thankfully the hellish trip was over now and they would be going back home… only it turned out their driver was not taking the way to their cozy little beach house, Jensen was sure. He looked at Jeff questioningly, but the other man only gave him an enigmatic smile.

Soon after, they reached their mystery destination when the car stopped in front of a small, harmless-looking building. When Jensen got out of the car, however, he finally noticed the neon lettering over the entrance. "Giorgio's Salon", it said. Filled with disbelief, he turned to Jeff, "You brought me to a hairdresser?"

"You say that like I'd delivered you to your executioner, Jen. I assure you, Giorgio is the best. He does my hair." Jeff joyfully pointed to the shaggy mop he was sporting today.

"And that's supposed to be a recommendation, because?" Jensen didn't care if he sounded bitchy. Enough was enough.

Jeffrey actually looked wounded. "Hey. I thought you liked my hair."

"I thought you liked mine." Jensen folded his arms over his chest, ready to make a stand.

Apparently Jeff decided to change tactics again and stepped closer, lifting a hand to let it gently glide through Jensen's hair. "I adore every part of you. Which is why I don't want to see your beautiful face obscured."

"So what about the new glasses you bought me earlier? Wouldn' t they obscure my face too?"

Jeff winked at him. "Maybe. But I already told you, I dig hot dorks."

"Idiot." Jensen punched him in the shoulder.

Jeff seemed to sober up. "Please?" Presenting the puppy grin that Jensen was hopeless against.

Sighing deeply, Jensen allowed himself to be dragged into the salon. He made a silent vow, though, that this time he would be the one to call the shots.

Two hours later he was sporting a short, slightly spiky hairdo, that left a few locks falling into his forehead. Giorgio had assured him it was "magnifico."

When Jensen's hand only touched empty air in reaching out for his bangs, he consoled himself with the knowledge that Jeffrey hadn't had any input whatsoever on that decision, either, and had been in fact sent out of the room by Giorgio himself.

Jensen was still basking in this little victory when they left the shop, only to run into Mike and another tall and strikingly beautiful man, who Jensen didn't know. The latter was currently staring at Jensen in a way that made him tingle a bit.

Being gay wasn't easy, even when your father was supposedly fighting the good fight - and his looks hadn't exactly led to many dinner invitations from the male population. Jensen's own shyness ensured that he didn' t issue many invitations, either, so his experience with men was sadly lacking.

Now though, getting checked out like that, by hotties nonetheless, made for a nice change. If he hadn't been already madly in love with Jeff, Jensen might have been tempted to try out his newfound powers of attraction a little more.

For his part, Jeff seemed less thrilled with this little development. He coughed awkwardly. "Tom, Mike, that's a surprise."

Mike elbowed the still-staring man at his side. "You know how my Tommy is with his hair."

Jensen didn't miss the possessive undercurrent in Mike's tone. It seemed he and "Tommy" were very much an item, and he was none too pleased with his boyfriend blatantly checking out a stranger.

Jensen hoped he didn't offend Mike, since he had liked the bald man very much upon their first meeting. To try and diffuse the situation he nodded at the pair. "Hi Mike, nice to see you again. And you must be Tom? I'm Jensen, Jeff's fiancé."

Tom looked deeply uncomfortable, gazing back and forth between him and Jeffrey ,but he politely nodded back. "Nice to meet you too. I'm Tom Welling, Jay… Jeffrey's… friend." Tom stumbled over the last few words.

Meanwhile Mike seemed to have found his cheeriness back. He grinned at Jensen. "Let me tell yah, hon, you look smashing."

"Oh, yeah, you look…you look very nice," Tom added, as if afraid he had insulted Jensen by not complimenting his looks already.

Mike threw Tom a slightly sour look. "Yeah, I think we already all noticed you thought so." Tom blushed. And so did Jensen.

Jeffrey finally decided to join the conversation. "Well, we don't want to keep you. I'll be calling into the office later to check on things, alright?" With that he moved to grab Jensen's elbow, apparently intending to march them back to the car, but Mike cheerfully clapped Jeff's back.

"Come on, Jeff, don't be greedy and keep Jensen all to yourself. I have an idea, why don't we all have lunch together?"

Jeff's eyes shot daggers at Mike, and Tom looked infinitely pained. Jensen had no idea what to make of this. He liked the idea of spending a few hours with Mike - and Tom seemed like a nice guy, too. Maybe a bit shy like Jensen himself.

"I don't think --" Jeff started but Jensen gave him a challenging look.

"Why not, Jay? I'd love to get to know your friends better."

Mike grinned and Tom was giving Jeff an unreadable look. The latter awkwardly cleared his throat. "Well, okay then, I guess. Let' s have lunch."

Jensen smiled sweetly at Jeff and linked their arms together. If the thick-headed behaviour stemmed from jealousy, Jensen would make it clear that he might enjoy the looks he was suddenly getting - but none so much as that look on Jeff's face that made Jensen feel like the innocent maiden in a bodice ripper, about to be ravished by a dashing pirate.

Not that he'd ever intended to share that embarrassing little fantasy with his fiancé. Well, maybe he could persuade the guy to wear a pirate costume on Halloween.

Jensen thought it strange how easily he had slipped into making future plans for himself and Jeff. Even back when they had announced their engagement he hadn't felt this way. Something had definitely changed since his lover had returned from Europe, and Jensen felt he knew the guy so much better now. Which all translated into a proportionate growth of his love for Jeff.

Lunch with Tom and Mike turned out to be a pleasant affair after all, even though Mike did the lion's share of keeping the conversation going. Jeffrey resorted to mumbling half-answers into his food and Tom didn't seem to talk much in general.

Still, Jensen liked him and he felt the sentiment was returned. What puzzled him were the accusatory looks he felt Tom was giving Jeff and even moreso, the guilty way by which Jeff didn't meet them.

Jensen couldn't shake the feeling that there was something important his fiancé wasn't telling him. It was kind of disappointing after they had grown so close in the last week.

Jensen only hoped that whatever it was, Jeff would tell him soon, because as far as Jensen was concerned, honesty was the most important part of any functional relationship. He could certainly never love a liar.

-------
Chapter 3

Comments

( 12 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
shiny_starlight
Aug. 9th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
I'm loving this so far, and will review at the end. But I just gotta ask - "Jeff had mumbled something about a guy in a TV show going undercover as a piano teacher being the inspiration for that." Was that Jensen's role as Alec in Dark Angel? Cos those glasses were HAWT!!!! *fans self*
astri13
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC)
Yay, you spotted my little Dark Angel reference. *dances* Which of course it was because in that girl Rachel`s role, I would have thrown the boy on that piano so fast. *G* Hawt indeed. *joins you in fanning*

Glad you`re liking it so far. Hopefully the ending won`t disappoint. :)
shiny_starlight
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
I have drooled over that particular episode so many times that it would ahve been hard for me not to spot the reference. Damn, but I think I need to watch it again. So much pretty in one episode..... I'm seriously worried that I'm developing a glasses kink, and dorky, bespectacled Jensen is high up there on the list. And yes, If I were Rachael, there would be skinny dipping in the pool and the boy would have a no uniform policy going to work. ;-)
astri13
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
I have drooled over that particular episode so many times

It`s without a doubt my single most favorite episode of Season 2 and almost like an episode of the show I`d rather have watched: Dark Alec. *g*
shiny_starlight
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think I need to go watch that again. I used to be a Logan fangirl when that first came out, but re-watching it recently for more Jensen Ackles goodness, I'm turning into a Hardcore Alec Girl. He is of the pretty.

Ooh, Dark Alec. That would have made such a great show! And I doubt it would have been cancelled to make a series that didnt last more than twelve episodes. I'm still a bit bitter about that. But then, if that hadn't happened, we probably wouldnt have the wonder that is Jensen as Dean Winchester. *sighs happily*
astri13
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:32 pm (UTC)
That would have made such a great show! And I doubt it would have been cancelled to make a series that didnt last more than twelve episodes. I'm still a bit bitter about that.

I`ll have to blame Fux for both. And I liked Firefly, too, but the network doesn`t know how to build a show to flourish. :/

But then, if that hadn't happened, we probably wouldnt have the wonder that is Jensen as Dean Winchester. *sighs happily*

True. Though they totally could have made Dark Alec in the two years I had to suffer through Dawson`s Creek and Smallville just for Jensen. Oh boy.
shiny_starlight
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
Suffering through Dawson's Creek is right. I honeslty adore Jensen, but I just could not watch that show. Even with him pretting it up abd bringing up the acting standard. It makes me want to hurt people. Ususally the actors and the writers. But he was so hot in Smallville! So that kind of made up for it I suppose. I liked Firefly too, but I would have loved more DA. More Alec smart-arseness and hotness...

Maybe in a parrallel universe... If I ever go to one, I'm so going to see if they finished that show there.


astri13
Aug. 9th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
Maybe in a parrallel universe... If I ever go to one, I'm so going to see if they finished that show there.

Heh. Yes, that would be neat.

son_heir
Aug. 18th, 2007 09:33 pm (UTC)
Sorry I had to say I love your icon!
I can't stop giggling at it!
Where's the clip from?
shiny_starlight
Aug. 18th, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
It's from Hell House where they're starting up the pranks again, and Dean starts the car to loud salsa music. Jared laughs, sits in the car, scores a 'one' in the air and then points to himself. It's a pretty awesome icon, isn't it? Unfortunately I can't take credit for it. I'm not that good. It was made by nyaubaby
soniama
Nov. 13th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
amazing adorable .
this hot.
thiswas awesome
maguie
Apr. 7th, 2013 11:08 pm (UTC)
I really love your story, I really want to know What's going to happen when Jensen finds out the truth
( 12 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )