At Your Doorstep (alternately titled: Dick in a Box). Jensen/Jared, NC-17, AU. 7000 words. Jared is unemployed and addicted to the Home Shopping Network; Jensen works for UPS. Written for valiant. The soundtrack can be found here.
Jared started ordering things when he lost his job. When people asked, back when he still talked to people, he usually blamed his period of unemployment on the economy.
"Over saturation," he'd say, shrugging helplessly. Usually someone had seen something on Newsweek about that, and would sympathetically back off.
The truth was, flipping through home shopping channels was about the only thing that made him happy anymore. It had been a double blow: the lay-off from Panopticon and the break-up with his girlfriend, and he transitioned pretty smoothly from wearing a dress shirt and working at a computer to wearing sweat pants and sitting on a couch.
He had acquired a lot of handy things, too, like a Wonder Mop and Handy Switch and three different kinds of lint rollers. His girlfriend had seemed to genuinely enjoy her QVC earrings, even though they broke up about a week after he gave them to her.
By the time he switched to UPS, it had become a full-fledged hobby. Months had passed, and like the survivor of a snowed-in winter, he found outside contact more and more of a problem. Other people just didn't get him anymore.
Even the switch in delivery services felt like an unpleasant bump in an otherwise steady routine. He liked FedEx, but after three different packages showed up crumpled or crushed, he knew it was time to make the switch.
And that's what led to the new guy standing at his door.
"Can I get your signature?"
"Um." He held his hands out for the clipboard; it was difficult to look at anything but the guy in front of him. "Sure."
He gave Jared a little smile as he took the clipboard back, tilted up more at one side than the other, and touched his fingers to the brim of his brown hat.
"Have a nice day," he called as he walked down the path to the street.
"You too," said Jared dumbly. He suddenly felt all too aware of the fact his chin was covered in a thick layer of stubble, his t-shirt hadn't been changed in three days, and his house smelled like popcorn.
He shook his box a little as he closed the door, listening to the Veg-o-Matic clank around inside.
Two weeks later, the Home Shopping Network had a great sale on stereos. A home theater system for two hundred bucks? Jared was totally there.
He only hesitated for a moment when the operator asked him what kind of shipping he wanted; a niggle of self-consciousness compelled him to go back to the burly, unattractive arms of FedEx, or—as barbaric as it was—plain old USPS.
The truth was, the previous few months had been kind of hard on Jared. His new lifestyle didn't have a dress code, and taking care of himself had dropped further and further down on his list of priorities. It hadn't been an issue when the only people he saw were pushing fifty or ringing up groceries, but whatever he had experienced at the door last time had set off some long-dimmed spark of self-awareness.
"UPS," he said firmly, when the woman at the other end of the phone cleared her throat gently. He didn't have much self-respect left, but he was determined to not lose his last shred by avoiding hot delivery men.
It was actually somewhat of a surprise when, three to five business days later, the person on the other side of the door was the same one it had been last time. His FedEx packages were rarely brought by the same person, and it had been easy to assume—or hope—that would be the case here.
"Hey," said the delivery guy. He was smiling in a friendly way, and when one of the dogs forced his way around Jared's legs, he even crouched down to pet him. "Well, how are you doing, big guy?"
"Back inside, Harley," said Jared.
"Aw, he just wants to say hello. Don'tcha?"
Jared seemed unable to respond to that. There was something about this guy that he liked, in a way that was utterly inexplicable. It was similar to seeing someone that he recognized and couldn't place; he just felt like he wanted to look at him, to talk to him.
"Don't you use digital these days?" he finally asked, when the guy deigned to pass him the clipboard.
"Some branches. Ours is pretty old school," he said. Sunlight glinted off his hair as he got to his feet.
"Have a nice day, Mister..." Jared watched his lips moved a little around his last name before it came out. "Padalecki."
"Jared," he said with a smile, and the guy smiled back.
It was a QuikVac after that, and then a George Foreman grill.
He didn't really need the former, and he definitely didn't need the latter; he already had a Wolfgang Puck grill that cost twice as much. He got his dogs new beds, he got his father a set of Bob Villa tools, he got himself the same outdoors jacket in three different colors.
He started buying his Cheetoes in bulk.
The delivery guy was always friendly and courteous. He introduced himself as "Jensen" around the time of the Royal Treatment Papaya and Aloe Dog Wipes with Paw Cream, and by his fourth visit he had treats for the dogs in his pocket. There were days when he was the only person Jared saw, and after awhile the formalities dwindled in place of chit-chat.
It was a nice little reprieve from his life.
When Jared thought about what he missed from before, he couldn't quite put it into words. Certainly not the job, and maybe not even the girlfriend—it was more like the things they represented. He had enjoyed the stability of his life, the power that came from knowing he was taking care of himself. The power that came from being successful.
The sad fact remained that most of his days were now spent sitting on his sofa, eating Cheetoes and playing Halo.
"When was the last time you left the house?" his sister demanded when he finally started returning her calls.
"I go places," he said, stung.
"Tell me. Tell me where you've been in the last two weeks."
"ShopCo." He willed more names to come to him, but none did. "And stuff."
"I have someone I want you to meet."
"Someone," he repeated. "Like a blind date, or a therapist?"
She sighed. "A date."
"I appreciate the concern either way," he said, "but I'm fine. Totally fine."
"Uh-huh," she said. He set his TV dinner on the floor, letting Sadie finish his meatloaf and mashed potatoes. "If you're depressed about losing your old life, Jared, go get a new one. It's not just going to show up at your doorstep."
He remained unconvinced.
The thing about Jensen was that they never had enough time to do anything more than scrape the surface. Three to five minutes, give or take, and then Jared shut his door and Jensen was back on his route.
Jared gathered little facts here and there: Jensen was single, he didn't know what ramekins were, he came from Texas. If Jared made him laugh, his entire face lit up. He also had a dog, and a sister who nagged him about his personal life. He had a band with some friends. He liked golf and football and Tex-Mex and PlayStation.
Jared's old friends had mostly belonged to his girlfriend. It wasn't a fact he was overly aware of at the time, but when she was gone it seemed like they had mostly disappeared, too. He ducked the calls of the rest of them, not wanting to talk about how bad things had gotten or how strange it was to suddenly be alone.
The services that Jensen provided were twofold in that regard. Their interludes were short and sweet, and there wasn't any time for disappointments or awkwardness. He provided just the right amount of social interaction to stop Jared from going insane, and if he had any opinions about Jared's shopping habits, or why he was always home on weekday afternoons to receive his packages, professional courtesy stopped him from digging too deep.
It was the perfect relationship. Of course it couldn't last.
Three months was too long to go without any outside contact; that's what Jared decided to blame it on. He was seriously starting to unspool in some ways, and all the downloaded porn in the world couldn't scratch the itch that was building.
It started with thoughts of Jensen drifting into his head at random times, when he was washing dishes or walking the dogs. He'd wonder what he was doing, or what they'd talk about the next time a package came. He contemplated what Jensen might look like in something other than his UPS uniform—and then he started to think about what he'd look like without the UPS uniform.
It's not as though Jared had been blind to the fact that Jensen was attractive. There was a delicate quality to his features, both pretty and severe. It reminded Jared of fine Alpaca craftsmanship, the way something elegant had been made out of pieces that were alternately rugged and polished.
He just hadn't expected to suddenly become fixated on him, in a way where he picked up Harley's bad habit of lingering at the window to watch the street and wait, seemingly endlessly, for the brown truck.
"Dude, nice sweater," Jensen said, not long after these revelations made themselves known. Jared's complete Shakespeare set was under one of his arms.
"Thanks." He looked down at himself, taking in the purple and blue stripes. It was from Overstock.com; he just liked the colors.
"That's—what is that, angora?"
"Uh. I don't even know."
"May I?" Jensen asked, and before Jared could figure out what he was even doing, he leaned right in, pulling up the back of the neck so he could look at the tag.
Their faces were practically brushing together, and for a moment all he could smell was the cool, clean scent of Jensen's aftershave. It smelled sharp and crisp, like something expensive, and he realized that somewhere beneath that he could catch a whiff of sweat. Jensen's body heat was like a physical thing that brushed over Jared's skin, warm from the spring sun. The side of his throat looked a little damp with it, and Jared shut his eyes, breathing in.
"Yup, angora," Jensen confirmed, stepping back to a sociable distance. His hand lingered on Jared's arm for a second before falling away.
"I was thinking of sending it back," he admitted. His mouth felt a little dry; his pulse had picked up, making his skin feel warm.
"No way. It's nice," said Jensen. His gaze was raking down Jared's chest, and then back up. "Makes you look downright respectable."
Jared felt a little ridiculous for being pleased, and even more ridiculous for replaying the scene in his head as the days wore on. It wasn't that weird; it was just unexpected. It was nice.
For some reason being touched like that—even as casual and easy as it was—felt like being shaken awake from a long, cold stupor.
There were lots of reasons why it was ridiculous to have a crush on his UPS carrier, Jared realized. For one, he wasn't entirely sure he was gay. He had experimented some in college, but no real identity-changing decisions had been made. And then there was the fact that he didn't have any clue whether or not Jensen was gay, or already taken.
That wasn't even considering the problem of their professional relationship.
Jared did his best to keep this new development to himself. The last few months of humiliation and rejection had been enough for a lifetime.
He bought himself a new recliner and three sets of eucalyptus shampoo. Jensen delivered them all with a smile.
It wasn't a conscious decision to start cleaning when he was expecting a package, but he found himself tidying the foyer, throwing out the Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap that tended to collect there. He quit letting the newspapers gather on his doorstep in damp plastic bags, and even tugged on a clean t-shirt more often than not.
"Shut up," he said to the dogs when he finally realized what he was doing.
The change could have been a lot of things, like maybe the essence of barley and wheat grass supplements he had started taking. The bottle claimed they boosted energy and "revitalized", and while he didn't really know what that meant, he did seem to have more of a spring in his step. He even blew the dust off his rarely-used weight room, and discovered that the BowFlex actually was a pretty good workout. He hadn't realized how much he missed doing something until he finally did it, but the hum in his muscles after his thirty short minutes a day really made all the difference in the world.
None of it was really for Jensen; he didn't think of it like that. That was too fucking creepy.
No, it was simply that with Jensen showing up at his door, he had the impetus to do more, to be more.
"Dude, what the hell is this?" Jensen huffed.
Jared couldn't help but laugh; the package was at least as tall as a refrigerator box, and seemed to dwarf him.
"Uh... my new pool table."
Jensen perked his eyebrows at him; his clipboard was tucked under his arm, one hand on the wheeled dolly he used to drag it up the walkway. "Is it made of rock?"
"Not that I know of."
Jared tipped the package back a little; it was heavy, so heavy that he wasn't actually sure how to move it.
Jensen dropped his clipboard and hat on the doormat and bent down to get his hands around the other end.
"Yeah," said Jared, surprised.
Once Jensen was inside his house, Jared wasn't entirely sure how to feel about him being there. It was a little overwhelming; a little embarrassing, almost, although there didn't seem to be anything incriminating lying around.
Jensen, for his part, didn't seem all that fazed by Jared's enormous, mismatched collection of stuff—he just turned on the spot, taking it all in.
"I like to buy things," said Jared, scratching at the back of his neck. It was the only explanation he had, and Jensen grinned.
"I noticed." He paused in his rotation, staring at the far wall. "Dude. Is that a Gibson?"
Jared laughed and trailed after him to the wall. "Um, yeah. A 1964. I found a guy on eBay who didn't even know what he had."
Jensen's whole face had lit up with delight. "Sweet." He turned to Jared with that same rapt expression, and Jared felt inexplicably warm.
"Here." Jared paused for a second, and then reached up and snagged the guitar off the wall. "Give it a try."
"What—seriously?" Jensen hesitated until Jared practically shoved it on him, and then, with caution bordering on reverence, slid it over his head and settled the strap over his shoulder.
Jared watched, lips tilted in a little grin as his fingers ghosted over its sides. His truck was still parked outside, the package still sitting nearby, but it felt like something was happening right there, right in Jared's overstuffed living room. He put his hands over Jensen's and led them up the neck of the guitar, right to the tuning knobs.
Jensen stared into the distance, a small grin on his face. Jared wanted to lick his throat.
"Yeah," he said, and Jared's fingers hovered there for another moment, until Jensen turned his gaze to look at him, breath warm and near.
"I—" he started, but it seemed the dogs had suddenly noticed Jensen's presence. They both bounded in at the same time, tails thumping merrily against the floor as they snorted and sat next to him, waiting attentively for their treats.
Jensen laughed and then Jared laughed, and the moment was gone.
Jared knew the minute he woke up that he had been having a sex dream. The details of it were already fuzzy, but his cock was half-hard in his boxers, and there was a wet spot at the front of them that was sticking to his skin.
He also knew, without really knowing, that the dream had been about Jensen.
"Fuck," he groaned, rolling over and pressing his face into his pillow. Shame didn't stop him from humping against his mattress.
"Jared," said Jensen that afternoon. He held his name out in a fond way, until both syllables were fully realized. "How's it going?"
"Good," said Jared. "Good. Really good. Great."
"Glad to hear it," he said, chuckling. "Expecting anything good?"
Jared stared at the box under his arm; he was pretty sure there was something in there from a store called His Pleasure. It had been an impulse buy as he downloaded gay military porn in the dull blue glow of his monitor.
"Nope," he said, smiling. "Just more kitchen stuff."
"You must do a lot of cooking," said Jensen, raising his eyebrows. He initialed the slip and handed the clipboard to Jared.
"Oh, you know," said Jared. Jensen nodded.
Jared spent the weekend doing his best to block all thoughts of Jensen out of his head. He reorganized his duster collection, polished the silver crap that was on the top shelf of his bookcase, and rearranged the exercise machines in his weight room. He went jogging with the dogs, and later, in the shower, did pretty well with not mentally casting Jensen in his latest porn-inspired fantasy.
"Change begins inside yourself," said the first CD of his Taking Control: Making Your Life Your Own in 3 Easy Steps set.
"Change begins inside yourself," repeated Jared. He scratched behind Harley's ears and popped open a new bag of Cheetoes.
Jensen's legs were covered in gold-colored hair. It ran from the top of his boots up to the sliver of thigh visible beneath his shorts as he squatted down to pet the dogs. Jared had a theory that it went all the way up, thickening around his cock and then trailing off to smooth nothingness right under his belly-button.
"How you liking that new Kitchen Chopper?" Jensen asked. He produced two Milkbones from his pocket and handed one to each of the dogs.
"Not as good as the Veg-o-Matic." Jared tucked his new box under his arm. It, like the last one, was entirely without markings on it, conspicuously bare of any company name or logo. He wondered if Jensen knew what that meant.
"I just can't stand those things," he said, getting to his feet. He held his hands out a little, squeezing them into loose fists; Jared could see similar wisps of golden hair on the first knuckle of each finger. "I like to do it manually. It tastes way better."
Jared didn't even make it to the bedroom before he was ripping into the box and tearing out the smooth, plastic toy.
It wasn't any bigger than a finger, but it had a wicked curve to it. His cock was already half-hard in his jeans, and when he shoved them down around his knees, it slapped up against his stomach, full and thick. Eager hands tugged open the packet of lube in the box and squeezed it generously over the narrow thing, and he sucked in a slow breath as he spread his legs and slid it into his ass.
His hips gave a stutter, the images behind his eyelids still of those thick, bronzed hands, fingers curling. He could still imagine what those legs would feel like, too—Jensen's body up against his, muscled and sleek. How those lips would look wrapped around his cock, hands holding his thighs open as he swallowed him down.
He wrapped his other hand around his cock and jerked mindlessly, desperately. Lube-slick fingers slipped over the prominent veins, thumb catching on his slit. His whole fucking cock seemed to pulse in his hand, throbbing with the heavy weight of his pulse. Yeah, Jensen would be good with his mouth, and even better with his hands. He'd spread him open, dig two fingers into his hole. Spread him like a girl and find that spot—Jared's hand moved the thing relentlessly in his ass, too high on the heat of it to notice or care about the slight chafe of it, the roughness of the carpet on his bare knees. All that mattered was the vision in his head of Jensen licking come off his stomach, watching a load smear over that perfect, hot mouth.
Jared made it a point that night to go out in the world and do something. He wound up at the Cineplex and saw three-quarters of a movie. The main character reminded him too much of his ex-girlfriend, so he came home early and bought a crockpot.
Sadie licked his face before he went to sleep, and he dreamed about Jensen getting him a job at UPS.
Spring was starting to blossom outside when Jared picked up the phone and called his sister again.
"I think I want to do that thing," he said. "That date thing."
"Oh, Jared," she said, and he didn't know if she was emotional or exasperated.
He wore the sweater that Jensen had liked and met the girl, Amy, at the restaurant. It didn't go that well.
"These things take time," his sister said. "Come on, she really likes you."
The second one went a little better, and by the third they seemed more comfortable with each other. She made him laugh a few times and he made her laugh a few times. They related stories about their exes and talked about where they grew up.
There was still something off about it, though, something he didn't quite understand. She was smart and nice and reasonably pretty, but there was a gnawing sense of unease in his stomach. It was like a steady knot of dread, constantly reminding him that this was his second choice. Not really what he wanted at all.
He chose to attribute the sensation to his wheat grass and barley supplements.
They went ice skating for their fourth date, and when he got home there was a UPS tag on his door that said: Sorry we missed you!
Jared felt that ache of dissatisfaction in his gut again, sinking like a stone.
When he answered the phone on Thursday, he figured it would be Amy arranging plans for the weekend; instead, it was one of his old friends—from the fringes of Sandy's crowd—asking him over for some Guitar Hero.
"Uh," he said. "Sure."
It wasn't really fair, since Jared was a master of "Freebird" on expert level, but his friend clapped him on the shoulder afterwards and said, "It's good to see you, dude, let's do it again on Sunday," and he couldn't think of a good way to decline.
When he dropped Amy off at her house the next time, she leaned across the armrest and pressed her mouth against his.
It was soft and glossy and sweet, but for some reason it was a struggle to get into it. His mind wandered as she leaned into the kiss, and the whole way home he clutched the steering wheel with white-knuckled hands.
Things that had been simple before had suddenly become complicated, confusing.
"Aren't you happy?" his sister said. "It's great. You're finally getting back on track."
When he got back from a lunch date two days later, there was another slip of paper hanging from his doorknob. He let out a slow breath as he let himself into the house.
A check had been made through the box next to "2nd Attempt" and at the bottom, in the area labeled "Comments", was spiky handwriting. It said, simply: Where are you, J?
He hadn't intended to invite her over. In fact, he hadn't actually invited her over in any real sense. Her car hadn't wanted to start after the movie, and Jared gave her a lift back to his place so she didn't have to wait around in the cold for a tow truck.
Having her in his living room wasn't at all like it was with Jensen. His skin prickled with agitation as she looked around; he wasn't really interested in what she thought of it, but he didn't want her in his space, around his lint rollers, kitchen gadgets and porn.
If he was honest with himself, there wasn't anything wrong with her. When he tried to put his finger on what didn't seem right, it felt elusive, even silly. He was living his life again, after all, and there wasn't room in real life for fantasies. He figured that had to be enough.
He was letting the dogs out when there was a knock on the door, and he didn't think—didn't realize what it could be until he was halfway through the kitchen and heard her say, "...not the pizza guy."
"Uh, no," said Jensen. "I'm not."
He nearly tripped over the coat rack to get to the front door.
"Looks like you got a package," she said, leaning against his arm. "Expecting anything good?"
It had only been a week and a half since he'd last seen Jensen, but somehow he had managed to forget so much. He felt hit anew by his body—the muscular fitness, the wiry strength. His eyes were bright and clear, mouth full and pink.
Jensen looked at him for a long, raw moment, and Jared suddenly didn't have any idea why this girl was in his house.
"Jensen," he said.
"Sign here, please," said Jensen, and all at once he realized the clipboard was being shoved at him. He scrawled his name without thinking, and took the cardboard box as it was handed off to him.
"Jensen," he said again. "Uh."
The girl slid two fingers through one of his belt loops.
"Have a nice day," Jensen called, smiling bland and wide and walking away down the path to the street.
Jared clutched his six-piece tea set; he wanted to walk away with him.
For four days, Jared waited for Jensen to come back. He turned his cell off and spent the afternoons sitting on his couch with the dogs, blinds closed and the TV on.
It felt indescribably homey.
When he opened a bag of Cheetoes and breathed in deeply, it was like what those instant relaxation aromatherapy crystals claimed to do. He could feel the tension in his body leave in one fell swoop, until it was just him and the Home Shopping Network in surround-sound.
"Yeah," he said, as Sadie rubbed her slobbery head on his leg, "me too."
On the fifth day, he realized with a jolt what the problem was: he hadn't ordered anything. The last time he had picked up the phone to get something, he'd been told it would be on back order indefinitely.
It was with a quickened pulse he dialed the eight-hundred number and bought the day's special—a set of James Madison presidential dollar coins, complete with authenticity certificates.
It all seemed so clear to him as he sat and listened to the tinkling piano of on-hold music. It didn't matter what he did anymore—whether or not he left the house and ate decent food, whether he socialized and dated and combed his hair in the morning. He was still going to have a thing for Jensen. He was still going to have a crush on his UPS carrier.
He was going to have to tell him; that was all there was to it.
The next few days passed in a blur. He found a way to explain to Amy that he didn't feel comfortable doing any more dating, he spent time on his BowFlex, and he tracked his package online with the patience of a saint.
At night he lay awake and thought about how to put his feelings into words, and then jerked off.
When the knock finally came to his door, Jared felt honest-to-god jitters. He tugged the door open with a grin on his face, and then paused.
The uniform that he knew so well now—that he had fetishized one more than one occasion—was the same. The person in it, however, was not.
This was a woman, surly and hard-looking and at least forty. She thrust a clipboard at him.
"What's—is Jensen sick today?"
He frowned down at the clipboard, but it was the same form he always signed.
"Sorry?" She had a blond-gray ponytail pulled through the back of her cap, and it swung as she tilted her head.
"Jensen. This is his route."
"Oh," she said, shrugging and taking the clipboard back. All he had managed was a feeble J, but that was apparently satisfactory. "He switched routes. Over in the hills now."
Jared stared after her until she was back in her truck and took off down the street.
The door seemed to close of its own volition; he was clutching the box in nerveless fingers as he slumped against it. Alerted by the rumbling noise of the truck, the dogs had loped to the mouth of the hall, and they trotted down to him hopefully as Jared slowly sank down, bare feet slipping on the linoleum floor. He rested his elbows on his knees and his face in his hands, the package of coins sliding away with a thud.
Jared hadn't fully realized how dependent he'd become on that steady stream of stuff. Once it was gone, his world seemed to shrink exponentially.
The impulse that had been there for so long seemed to dim away completely; there just wasn't a point anymore. He didn't want to talk to Barbara, the formidable UPS woman, or go back to reckless FedEx. He missed the thrill of finding something he wanted and ordering it, but it didn't feel good anymore. It just reminded him of another kink in his life, a situation that could have gone one way and went another way instead.
For two weeks, he did nothing but watch daytime TV and eat cereal from the box. Twice he mustered the energy to make Kraft dinner and cut up some hot dogs in it, but it wasn't very good.
When he finally got tired of watching reruns of Days of Our Lives, he brought in the newspaper at the top of the pile and started to look for jobs.
"Change begins inside yourself," he said to no one.
He thought he might get further if he knew the second or third step, but he never got that far in the audio book.
Jared placed his palms on the wall of his shower and leaned into the spray of water. His supply of eucalyptus shampoo was running low, and soon it would be back to Pert Plus.
The day's interview was for a low-level position. It was taking a cut both in pay and dignity, but it was work. He had already sat through similar interviews at two other jerk-off companies in the last three weeks, doing his best to explain what he had been doing since he had been let go. So far no one had been receptive to his "on sabbatical" explanation.
He was rising his conditioner when the dogs began to bark—not the yippy barks they gave when playing with each other or wanted something, but the commanding, noisy barks that accompanied a knock at the door.
"Shit," he muttered, running both hands through his hair. It felt silky, like it might still have some conditioner in it.
One of the dogs had trotted down the hall to bark right outside the bathroom door, whimpering a little and scratching when it didn't open. Jared twisted the knobs off and batted back the shower curtain, banging his elbow on the wall as he tugged a towel around his waist. He was still dripping when he stumbled to the door.
"Woah," said Jensen when he wrenched it open.
A gust of air from outside prickled his nipples to stiff points, catching on the heavy droplets of water and cooling his skin. He could feel the steady drip of his hair onto his shoulders, slipping all the way down his torso to catch in the white terry-cloth of his towel. His skin still felt slippery from moisturizing soap.
Jensen's eyes seemed stuck somewhere below Jared's chin, and for the first time in months, he felt his ego swell a little.
Then the phone rang and the dogs barked again, and the realization hit that he was half-naked and dripping in the doorway.
"Hey," he said, turning to look behind him and then back at Jensen. Pulling his gaze from him for more than a minute seemed impossible. "Here, uh, you wanna just—come inside? For a second?"
"Sure," he said, giving Jared that little grin he was so familiar with.
Jared left the door open and took off for the kitchen, where his phone was vibrating forlornly in his fruit basket. It was Omnitech, the place he was interviewing; by the time he got there, it had already gone to voicemail. He debated calling them back, and finally chucked the phone back in among the apples.
In the living room, Jensen was standing between the maple coffee table and the teak bookcases.
"Um," Jared said.
Jensen turned to look at him and held out a small square box. The printed name on top said Pierreware, and understanding hit him like a ton of bricks: the back-ordered salad plates.
Jared looked from the box to Jensen again.
"What are you doing here?" he finally blurted, and Jensen flushed a little. "They said you had a new route."
"It's, uh." He paused and looked away, one hand holding the back of his neck. It was the most unnerved Jared had ever seen him, and it warmed his heart a little. "I wanted to see you. Look—I'm sure this seems totally out of the blue, but I really like talking to you. Like, so much that bringing you a package has been the highlight of my day for months."
Jared dripped into his towel a little more.
"When I saw you with—I don't know. It's stupid. I thought maybe if I switched routes, I'd stop obsessing. But, uh, I didn't. I think I'm just, you know, really fucking into you. So I'm here to tell you that."
Jared wasn't entirely aware of dropping the box or moving until he was already halfway across the living room, but when he was close enough to touch Jensen's shoulders, close enough to feel his breath on his mouth, he was aware of everything.
The first kiss was gentle, almost unsure, like he wasn't totally convinced that Jensen actually wanted it. Jensen rocked forward, swaying on the spot and rising up against Jared's mouth a little; it was the shortest distance anyone had ever had to stretch to meet him in a kiss, and Jared's pulse picked up as he licked his way past those plush lips.
His mouth tasted like coffee and cinnamon gum, and one of his hands came up to grip Jared's face as they stumbled across the room sightlessly. He was distantly aware of a crunch and rattle from the box of salad plates, but all he really had time for was the shape of Jensen's body up against his as they landed on the couch.
"God," he whispered, and Jensen ducked his head in to bite right at his throat, teeth and tongue and lips all working together down the line of it, all the way to his collarbone. The uniform hadn't given him a clear enough idea of what Jensen's body was like, but running his hands down his back—warm, so warm from the sun—he could make out the dip of his spine, the thick muscles of his shoulders.
His cock swelled under his towel, pressing the soft terry-cloth right up against Jensen's hip as he slid his mouth down to one of Jared's nipples. His mouth was a tight, merciless squeeze of damp heat around it, and Jared groaned, lifting his head a little just to drop it back against the arm of the couch with a mindless thud.
"So fucking hot," Jensen hissed, pulling back to look down at him. His lips had flushed red now, and Jared leaned up to bite at the bottom one, tugging it between his teeth while Jensen made a wounded noise.
It was all happening too fast for him to process, and he knew somewhere at the back of his mind that the delivery truck was still at the curb, that the things he knew about Jensen didn't actually constitute a relationship, that his brand-new salad plates had probably just been crushed—but all that seemed to matter anymore was that Jensen's hand was sliding down to tug his towel open and one of those broad, thick hands that liked to do it manually was wrapping around his cock.
Jared pushed his tongue past Jensen's lips, swiping across his own tongue and catching on the sharp edges of his perfect, straight teeth.
"Jesus," he muttered, hips jerking up into the friction of Jensen's callused hand.
"Wanted this for so long," said Jensen. He pulled back enough to yank open the front of his uniform shirt, brown buttons pulling through the holes as he tossed it onto Jared's coffee table. The fabric of his undershirt clung to his muscles in a way that made Jared pretty sure he was just gonna blow, just like that. "You have no idea."
"Let me—let me just," he breathed, reaching to yank open the button fly of Jensen's shorts. He was wearing briefs underneath, his cock so hard the head of it was pushing out the elastic top.
"Yeah," Jensen groaned. "Yeah, yeah, just like that."
It was crazy; it was amazing. He wrenched down Jensen's shorts and briefs until he could touch him, get his cock in his hand and tug him in steady, grinding jerks.
"Fuck, fuck," he muttered, and then arched, coming all over Jensen's blunt fist. It hit him so fast he gasped, rattled past the point of coherency.
Jensen didn't even seem to care when Jared's hand went slack. He just rutted against him, the warm underside of his cock rubbing over his stomach and catching in that hot, smooth space between them. It was sticky and good and it wasn't a pathetic sex dream, it was happening—
Jensen groaned when he came, a deep sound that seemed to hit Jared's nerve endings. He could feel Jensen's cock move against his skin, twitching as he lost it all over Jared's stomach.
It was a long moment before he could say anything, and when he did, it was just a fairly dazed, "God."
They stayed like that for several minutes, until all Jared's senses returned to him and he realized he could take deep, greedy lungfuls of that Jensen-smell, and keep touching the warm muscles of his body.
Jensen lifted his head lazily and gave him a private little smile.
"You gonna stop ordering sex toys now?" he asked.
Jared mashed a hand against his hot face and laughed.
Jared scrubbed out the pan from Jensen's casserole with his Ultimate Scrubber and hummed something to himself absently. The TV was blaring in the background, and over that he could hear Jensen strumming on the Gibson. It was a light, soft noise, and Jared grinned a little down at the dishes, aware that Jensen wasn't entirely ready to treat it like a real instrument yet.
"Is that 'Crazy in Love'?" Jared called over the running water, and there was a twang from the guitar in answer.
"It's a beautiful song, Jared."
"Douchebag," he said fondly.
Jensen started up again; Jared was pretty sure it was the new song he'd been working on for his band. He still wouldn't let Jared come to any of their bar shows, but sometimes when Jared played the guitar—and he really played it—Jensen would sing for him, quiet and a little shy.
"Hey, come check this out," Jensen called after another minute, and Jared turned the water off and grabbed his beer.
Jensen shifted over as Jared settled on the arm of the couch, leaning in against him. He helpfully jacked up the volume a few notches.
"It's leather," Jensen said, sounding genuinely enthusiastic. "Look, you can put stuff in it."
"What would you put in a footstool?"
Jensen stole Jared's beer and took a pull from it, and leaned the guitar against the coffee table. "I'd think of something."
"Believe it or not," started Jared. He rubbed a thumb over the bristles of Jensen's hair, right under his knit cap, and then slid his fingers under the neckline of his t-shirt. It was buttery soft against his skin; he was pretty sure it was his. "I actually thought for awhile there that you were going to, you know, redeem me from this existence."
"What can I say," said Jensen. With languorous grace, he eased over on the couch and tugged Jared down over him, reaching out to plunk the beer down on the table. Jared could feel the warm places on the fabric where he had been sitting all afternoon. Jensen shifted until their hips were lined up; his sweat pants were riding low on his waist. "You're a bad influence."
Jared smiled slowly and put his lips against the slight dip in Jensen's chin. It was rough with at least two days' worth of stubble.
"I can live with that."
Jensen hummed as Jared kissed him; in the background, a voice promised five easy payments of $19.95.