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Fear Is The Lock, And Laughter The Key To Your Heart - 3/?
JRA
jolieblon



Rated: M
Categories: Jared/Jensen Alternate Universe
Characters: Jared; Jensen; Sandy McCoy; Christian Kane; Steve Carlson; Tom Welling; Lauren Cohan
Fun Genres: None
Genres: Romance; First Time
Warnings: Jared/Other; Jensen/Others
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 3/?
Completed: No
Word count: 3,459
Published: 2/2/2012

Chapter 3


Jensen had made his next appointment with Jared for Saturday, which Jared found odd. He had only given Jensen Sara’s information on Wednesday. So either he went out with her the next evening, and called on Friday to set up the appointment, or he had set up the appointment before he went on the date Friday evening, and that just didn’t make sense. It was his noon appointment so it would be the last one for the day. His stomach was already starting to rumble its dissatisfaction with the small breakfast he had that morning.

While waiting for Jensen to show up Jared pulled out his folder and reviewed all of the information he had gathered on the man. He remembered what Sandy had implied at their dinner at Friday’s, and tried to reconcile that with his own impressions of his client.

The man had specifically requested his match to be female so he presumed Jensen was straight. But it was entirely possible the man was bisexual, in which case Jared was reducing his chances of finding his perfect match by fifty percent if he excluded arranging dates with his gay clientele. After all, it wasn’t just the straight population who wanted to find their perfect match, and his office didn’t discriminate. He didn’t ask someone their sexual preference, relying on the customer to let it be known what they were looking for.

Tapping his pen against the folder he knew he wanted more personal information on Jensen. No, he corrected himself; he needed more information on Jensen, for the dating profile. Wanted implied it was for personal use. The conversation with Sandy the other night still had him rattled, and not thinking straight. Or, thinking correctly is what he should say. Shaking his head he laughed at himself. This giddy feeling he had must be from the lack of sleep he was experiencing since that disturbing conversation with Sandy. He was so lost in his thoughts he didn’t hear his office door opening, didn’t notice that anyone else was in the office until Jensen was standing in front of him.

Jensen stood in the doorway to Jared’s office. He was a little early for his appointment, and was about to take a seat in the reception area when he noticed Jared seemed to be all alone in the office. It appeared the receptionist and other consultants either didn’t work on Saturdays, or had already left for lunch. He was about to enter Jared’s office when he noticed the man seemed lost in thought. Jensen could practically watch the thoughts flitting through Jared’s mind as they were clearly revealed on his face and in his eyes. My god, he had to have the most expressive eyes Jensen had ever seen. Jensen wondered; was Jared always this unguarded, like some innocent child, or was this just some moment that he had the good fortune to happen upon. He felt a little guilty all of a sudden, like he had intruded on something private. He was about to back out of the doorway when Jared suddenly laughed at something clearly only he was privy to.

Jensen could feel his own tension dissipate at Jared’s laughter, and entered his office. “I’m a little early, hope that’s okay,” he said, standing behind the big arm chair. He could tell he had startled his consultant when the pen flew out Jared’s hand at his voice.

“No, that’s good, come on in. The earlier we get this done the sooner I can go to lunch,” he laughed again as he leaned over to retrieve his pen. His stomach took that as a cue to begin rumbling once again.

“I’m pretty hungry too, maybe we could do this over lunch,” Jensen suggested.

Jared was going to refuse. He should keep things between clients and himself strictly professional. But he was very hungry. And Jensen said he was too, and he certainly didn’t want his clients to be uncomfortable during their meetings, right?

Deciding that his client’s comfort was important, and a working lunch was still professional, he picked up Jensen’s folder and stood up, “There’s a good sandwich shop around the corner. Let’s go.”

Sitting across from Jared in the diner, watching him slowly pop a fry or two into his mouth, then suck the salt and ketchup off his fingers was waking up Jensen’s libido. He was having a hard time dragging his eyes away from the long fingers being sucked into those pink lips. It was making concentrating on answers to Jared’s questions difficult. Jared had asked for his impression of Sara. Who really cared? How was he supposed to think about Sara when he was being treated to the show across from him?

Closing his eyes to banish the sight across the table he concentrated on last evening. Sara. “She was nice, but I think she was a little too young. She’s still a little too career driven. I think if I settle down with a girl to raise a family, I would want someone who is at the same point in their life, ready to settle down. Someone who’s first priority would be the family, not their career. I know that sounds a bit selfish considering I would still have to be very involved in my own career, but there you have it.”

“And what about physically, what did you think about her? Was she your type? Maybe someone taller? Different eye color, maybe blue?” Jared asked, telling himself this wasn’t about the guy he saw Jensen with the other night.

Taller? Blue eyes? Strange questions, Jensen thought to himself. Then he remembered his last meeting with Jared, thinking the man had blue eyes, but he must have been mistaken, because sitting across from him now they certainly looked more green than blue. How had he not noticed that before? Maybe it was the color of the shirt he was wearing, the forest green bringing out the color. Looking up into Jared’s eyes he noticed for the first time the long lashes and tilted, cat shape to them, accentuating the high cheek bones. The boy really needed to get a haircut, so his eyes could be seen easier. Every time those stupid bangs fell in his face Jensen had an urge to reach across the table and brush the offending hair out of the way.

Clearing his throat to give himself time to collect his thoughts and return to Jared’s questions about Sara, he finally responded, “Taller isn’t necessary. As long as the girl isn’t too short, it’s fine. And I guess I didn’t even really notice what color her eyes were,” neatly sidestepping the whole eye color issue. Every time Jared had asked him that question for some reason he had been unable to answer it, and wasn’t even sure why. It just seemed like he got stuck on Jared’s eyes every time the subject was broached.

“Okay, what about her personality? Was she friendly enough? Too outgoing, too shy? Any feedback you can give me here?” Jared wiped his fingers on his napkin, all that salt and ketchup he had sucked off of them had made them wet with his spit.

“She was nice, friendly, smiled a lot,” Jensen told him, and then blushed a bit, laughing involuntarily, remembering he had thought he might tell Jared he wanted his next date to have dimples.

“What’s so funny Jen?” Jared smiled up at him, pushing his plate to the side and picking up his pen and opening the folder.

A little thrill of pleasure shot through Jensen at the use of the nickname again. Feeling a little embarrassed by the answer to that question, he looked down at the table top and fidgeted with his silverware. “I was thinking, that, um, if maybe, um.” Realizing how absurd his request would sound, Jensen let it die before completion.

But Jared was intrigued. Why was Jensen suddenly embarrassed about his answer? What had he been going to say? “What? What do you want Jensen. Just tell me what you want and I’ll see what I can do about it. I’m sure it’s nothing I haven’t heard before,” Jared said softly, trying to put the man across from him at ease.

What did he want? Why did that question have an effect on his cock? Why did it decide to take interest in that question and start to twitch awake? It might be his downstairs brain, but it certainly had a mind of its own. He needed to get his upstairs brain back in charge. He decided he may as well blurt out the answer and get it over with, because he couldn’t think of another answer with most of his blood flow going south. “Dimples. I was thinking I would really like to have a partner who had dimples.” Now Jensen was blushing furiously, it sounded even more ridiculous out loud than it had in his head.

Jared’s smile widened. The man was so adorable when he was embarrassed. And what was so embarrassing about dimples anyway? He had them himself and knew people liked it when he smiled because of them. “Well, I’ll just see what I can find when I go back to the office.”

Two hours later Jared was still thumbing through his files, searching for the right female who also had dimples. He hadn’t been able to come up with one yet. Pulling out the file of the girl he had been considering before Jensen had brought up the dimples, he thought that while Lauren Cohan didn’t have dimples, she did have a great smile. Jared hit the send button to forward her information to Jensen.

*****

Jensen had decided his next date would not be a dinner date. He was tired of trying to make small talk during dinner while hoping not to get indigestion from the stress. The next date would be something fun. Maybe go to a comedy club, or even something outside, like miniature golf. He would let the girl decide which one she liked more.

So here they were at the 18th hole, date almost over. After this he would take her for an ice cream cone, and then head home.

He thought Lauren was fun and interesting. She had a nice laugh, and laughed a lot. She was in advertising and was used to putting people at ease. He liked her, but something was off as far as a ‘love connection’. She was someone he would like to know better, as a friend, not as a love interest. He was already looking forward to his next consultation with Jared.

*****

Jared could feel that vague sense of foreboding rising once again, “Sandy, we’ve been engaged for two months, don’t you think it’s time to think about setting a date?”

“There’s no hurry Jared. We should take our time. Make sure everything is perfect.” She gave him a sweet smile, but that didn’t alleviate the feeling that something was off. They were sitting on his sofa, watching Friday the 13th, eating popcorn. It was their regular Saturday movie night. Sometimes they would go out to the movies to see a new release, and sometimes they would rent something and stay in. This night was a stay in time.

Trying to reassure himself that he was just being insecure he pulled her into a hug, “You know I love you, and I just don’t see any reason to wait. We should set the date and start planning everything.” He didn’t sound desperate he told himself, he just wanted to have his life settled. Being engaged without a wedding date just seemed like a holding pattern for someone who wasn’t sure of what they wanted. Didn’t Sandy really want him, really love him?

“And I love you too,” she cooed at him. “But there’s no reason to rush into anything,” she told him as she snuggled into his side. “Shush, let’s watch the movie.”

The movie! Really! He was trying to talk about their future, their whole life together and all she could think of was the movie. She practically badgered him into the marriage proposal, and now she didn’t want to set a date. What the hell was going on with her? Was she having second thoughts? Jared really wasn’t prepared for those thoughts to progress any further. Sandy may have egged him into the proposal, but he did love her, didn’t want to lose her.

“Okay, we’ll watch the movie. But Sandy, some day soon we have to talk about setting the date.” Jared let the subject drop for now, but knew he would need an answer soon.

*****

They were at the sandwich shop again. It was a week since his date with Lauren and Jensen had made sure to make the appointment for Saturday at noon once again. That way he didn’t have to take time from work to get to the appointment on the days Jared’s office closed at 6:00. Or to go there after work feeling tired on the days the office closed at 8:00. Plus he could have lunch at the same time as the consultation, making it feel more personal, like he was talking to a friend instead of a consultant. It wasn’t because he had enjoyed their lunch date so much last time. Because it wasn’t a date. It was a consultation.

“So, why don’t you tell me about your date with Lauren,” Jared prodded as he looked the menu over.

Jensen studied the younger man. He hadn’t seen him crack a smile the whole time they had been together so far today. His whole demeanor was down, his voice flat and expressionless. This was so unlike the Jared he had met every other time that it was disconcerting to see him like this. He wanted to ask if everything was okay, but didn’t want to make things worse if there was something seriously wrong.

“She was nice, I liked her,” Jensen started out, only to be interrupted before he could finish his sentence.

“That’s nice. So you’re going to see her again then?” Jared asked without taking his eyes from the menu, his voice still a monotone.

“No. You didn’t let me finish. I liked her, but as someone I would like as a friend, not as a romantic interest.” Jensen was getting depressed about the way this consultation was going. He had been looking forward to this all week, now Jared was silent and uninterested in him. Frowning, he picked up his own menu to give himself something to concentrate on, other than his disappointment.

Sighing Jared put his menu back in the holder and looked over at Jensen “I’m sorry, that was rude. I’m just having a little bit of a hard time concentrating today. So, you liked Lauren, but not romantically. Why don’t you tell me all about the date,” Jared finally smiled at him, but Jensen noticed it didn’t really reach his eyes. They still looked sad and distant.

“We played mini golf and then had ice cream,” Jensen told him, returning to his own menu.

“Not exactly full of details there Jen,” Jared finally gave him a real smile. And for some reason that lightened Jensen’s own mood.

Jensen launched into a detailed description of the date, starting with the call to set it up. By the time their lunch was brought to the table he had completed his recitation and was looking expectantly at Jared.

“Well Jen, it sounds like you had a good time with Lauren, found her attractive, intelligent with a nice personality. So I guess maybe I’m a little lost as to why you don’t feel you should give this a chance with her.” Jared tilted his head to the side, raised his eyebrows, looking for an answer to the question he hadn’t asked.

And there it was again, Jared shortening his name, making Jensen smile. “You really think I should? “I mean, I liked her, but like I said, it felt more like someone I wanted as a friend than a lover.”

Jared smiled back at him, dimples finally coming out in full force. Finally, Jensen thought, the air feels so much lighter when Jared is in a good mood. “Jen, some of the strongest marriages are between people who were just friends to begin with. Take me and Sandy for instance. We were friends for six months before we went on a first date, and that was supposed to just be me doing her a favor. Taking her to a party she didn’t want to go to alone. And now, four years later, we’re engaged. So yeah, I think you should give Lauren a chance.”

The whole time Jared had been talking to him Jensen had been lost in his own thoughts, watching as Jared engaged in that nervous habit again, playing with his pen, sliding it through his fingers, turning it, sliding it again. When he saw Jensen watching him he dropped the pen on the table, but only moments later he was doing the same thing with his knife, then the fork. Every time he caught Jensen watching him he would self consciously put down whatever he was fiddling with, only to pick up another object seconds later.

“Okay, I’ll think about that. You don’t have to send anyone else’s information this week.” Jensen thought that although what Jared had said was reasonable, he was pretty sure that Lauren was not the right one. But he didn’t want Jared to think he was being difficult or unreasonable. “So, your fiancé, Sandy, she was the one who made the first move, hum?” Jensen asked, both amused and curious.

Jared shrugged his shoulders, “It was just supposed to be a favor, a one-time date, but, well, it turned out we had a great time, and we’ve been together ever since. She would still be one of my best friends even if she weren’t my fiancée.”

“So, when is the big day? When are you getting married?” Jensen squirmed in his seat, suddenly as twitchy as Jared. He wanted to express friendly interest in Jared’s life, establish a more personal connection, but he felt strangely uncomfortable with this topic.

Jensen watched as the same sad look from earlier returned to the younger man’s face. Why would that question upset him? Jensen wanted to apologize for making him feel bad, to say something to make him feel better, but had no idea what was wrong.

“We haven’t set a date yet,” Jared replied, eyes downcast as he drew slow circles on the table top with the fingertips of his right hand.

Christ, does he have to caress everything he touches! Jensen struggled to tear his eyes away from those long fingers. His mind was filling with thoughts of other, more personal things he would like those fingers to stroke.

He tried to focus on his plate, to will away his growing erection. The man was engaged and Jensen was meeting with him to discuss his own possible girlfriend. He did not need to complicate matters by becoming attracted to his consultant. Yes, he did find him physically attractive, but who wouldn’t. Yes, he would like to get to know him better, but as a friend. And clearly his possible new friend needed cheering up. But he had no clue how to do that, he didn’t know enough about Jared. He was going to need more personal information on the man.

*****

Jared wasn’t going to let Sandy avoid the subject again. Tonight they would go out for their Saturday night movie, but before then, during dinner he would demand they set a date, or to know why Sandy suddenly seemed so reluctant. Just thinking about the night left him once again experiencing that vague feeling of dread.

Trying to shake the feeling he recalled the working lunch he had again shared with Jensen. The man was fun to talk to besides being easy on the eyes. It was so cute today when he had been rambling on about Lauren. Clearly he liked her, so Jared was surprised when at first he indicated that he didn’t believe Lauren was the right one. Jared was happy Jensen had decided to give her another chance. He was pretty sure that they could make a good match. Like him and Sandy, friends first, then something more. At that thought his gut tightened up again, and Jared presumed that was because his thoughts had returned to Sandy. He let his thoughts roam back to Jensen once more, hoping that Jensen would make his next appointment for Saturday again. He was getting used to these working lunches with him.


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