denyce: (CW RPS: TRoM Chad2)
[personal profile] denyce


part 1
part 2

On autopilot, Chad left the studio feeling numb, knowing he wouldn’t be back. He lost a job he’d had for the last six years and didn’t have a job, or anything else waiting in the wings. With only a small handful of scripts, each one offering a similar role that cast him as a cheating asshole.

Typecasting was something that he had always been concerned with. It was one of the reasons he’d left Gilmour Girls’ resident bad boy Tristin behind to play Lucas. Now after playing Lucas for so long, he’d been concerned that he would be too identifiable with that character that he’d be typecast in a comparable role and he was typecast just not as Lucas, but a caricature of himself. It was painfully defeating.

Not that Megan gave him much of a chance to wallow in self-pity.

By the end of the week she had him packed and off to California, renting a house for him in the valley where she practically moved in and made herself at home pushing him around, nearly strangling him with to do lists. Their plan was to counter, get him out there to face the critics, going with the old adage of, no such thing as bad publicity. That was something he disagreed with, but Chad wanted a career, and allowed her to push him to read various scripts, to start auditioning. One of the scripts was for a pilot, a sitcom. On the surface it was just another typecast, but one that in reality he felt was a little too close to home. The character he’d play heavily implied he was gay, his womanizing over compensating for his true feelings and orientation.

Chad was hesitant, but couldn’t deny it was slightly refreshing against the other roles he was being offered. This one, he allowed Megan to push and prod to go to the audition. She went on lecturing him then told him to think of successful come backs, like Charlie Sheen, or the more recent Britney Spears. Reminding him that it had worked for Charlie, playing a similar caricature of the public’s initial perception of Charlie when his private life went public and he had to testify as one of famed Madam Heidi Fleiss’ clients.

The encouraging prep talk worked. He auditioned and surprised himself when he landed the role.

Chad tried to ignore the distortion of his character—instead he had a list to keep him focused: one, it was only a pilot, and second, his character was the breakout character, third, it was a drama/comedy, fourth, filming for the pilot would commence immediately. Starting in one week.

After filming, waiting around was the last thing Megan and Ted had planned. Once he finished filming the pilot, their plan was to throw him out there, to attend various celebrity charity events and parties, especially those that tied in with popular celebrities during the upcoming Paley Festival. He had nixed the idea, but neither would give up and had even manipulated him into going to the CW’s party highlighting their fall season line-up.

Hoping that it’d ease his mind, Megan mentioned that Jared would be there, that Jared was going promoting Supernatural’s pick-up. She was despondent that he didn’t respond as she hoped. Megan then took it a step further and called Jared. It was the one time Chad had considered firing her. Not that she had a clue why he’d actually be upset, and he couldn’t tell her the truth. That he didn’t know how to deal with being near, or around Jared—that he was in love with him, and Chad was terrified that this time he wouldn’t be able to hide that fact. Afraid that if Jared knew the truth, this time he’d lose Jared’s friendship.

He’d had been in love with Jared for a long time, that hadn’t changed and wasn’t Chad’s issue. Though somehow now that Hilarie knew, his ability to close that door—to pretend was suddenly gone. Not too mention that he hadn’t stopped having erotic dreams about Jared.

Explaining himself and his reluctance about Jared definitely wasn’t a conversation Chad was going to have with Megan or anyone else.

Megan ended up leaving Jared a message to let him know that she had wrangled Chad an invite, and she needed Jared’s help to get Chad there, to maintain groundwork that the network and Mr. Murray didn’t have any harsh feelings, a spin of positive publicity.

When Jared called back, Chad had accidentally picked up. First, he had to put up with Jared’s lecturing and bitching about not returning Jared’s umpteen earlier calls, before he pushed Megan’s agenda, agreeing with Chad’s manager. Chad’s immediate response was no, an answer that Jared flat out ignored. Instead Jared vocally hit certain pitch notes, adding to his emotional plea—one that Chad couldn’t resist, and he didn’t.

Things steamrolled from there, plans were made; Megan was to be his date.

Thankfully, between Megan and filming the pilot, he didn’t have any time to think.

At the last minute on the day of the event, Megan showed up at his place sick dragging a model a new client of hers, Tracy, behind her. Tracy had the dubious pleasure to be Megan’s replacement as his date. Their game plan was simple, and stayed the same. To go, stay and mingle, be seen.

Megan had to keep reassuring him it’d be better to show up with a casual date, a friend rather then go stag, to combat lingering rumors about Hilarie. Though he had been engaged, she had to continually remind him that it was almost two months since he broke off their engagement, and that Kenzie had already been seen going out. Meaning by rules of Hollywood’s social etiquette he could go out, be seen; not going out only added fuel to the rumors that he and Hilarie were secretly together.

Megan only mentioned Kenzie going out twice, she had quickly gotten the message that Chad didn’t want to hear it. It only saddened him to think about Kenzie. Not to mention it pissed him off that he felt twinges of jealousy, when he had no right. Though like Sophia, he still loved Kenzie; admittedly it was just very different from what he felt for Jared. Though it didn’t change the reality that he was.

For the most part he zoned out most of Megan’s constant chatter of who to see, and why. Before Chad knew it he was escorting Tracy toward the entrance with cameras going off in their faces. At seeing the cameras Tracy perked up, paused and modeled for them. He didn’t exactly blame her; she had her own agenda, reasons why she even agreed to go, and all of them had nothing to do with helping him.

Once inside things had taken a definite left turn. Only an hour after they got inside. Now stag, Chad stood on the sidelines watching exasperated as Tracy, his former date, worked the room. Not that he really gave a shit, and maybe that was part of the problem—and she knew it. She was just a stand-in for Megan and he had every intention of using her to deflect questions and curious eyes, just as she was using him for her own agenda, to gain an invite into a private celebrity bash.

Disgusted with himself, Chad poured a hefty shot. Swirling the drink around, he decided that in order to survive tonight he needed a hell of a lot more than beer to distract his sorry ass from tonight’s events; he downed the drink in one go. As far as established plans go, this one was a bust. With more annoyance then interest, his eyes automatically found Tracy. He couldn’t take his eyes off her as she flirted outrageously with everyone. To be honest, he was only pissed she did it now, after he had already introduced her around. That people knew she had been on his arm; was Chad’s date when he arrived, and more importantly Chad had already introduced her to Jared.

Earlier, after they arrived, Jared had spotted them right away. When Chad introduced Tracy to Jared and Genevieve, who was with Jared. Relieved, Chad had the misguided hope that he wouldn’t have to be alone with Jared.

Sadly, looking back, it had also been the only bright spot of Chad’s evening. Somehow with Tracy on his arm, and Genevieve’s on Jared’s arm it was easier than Chad expected—as he fell into a persona, acting, portraying a role just to be around Jared.

Though at some point during their conversation Jared started to get suspicious and to eyeball him funny. Enough so that Chad overplayed his hand; the persona he was performing started to crumble under Jared’s steady gaze and Chad fell silent.

Luckily for him Genevieve and Tracy kept Jared fully engaged in conversation.

Bemused, Chad didn’t think it could get any better than watching Jared attentively hold a conversation with both ladies then crank his neck very unnecessarily over Genny and Tracy just to stare at Chad every two seconds. Silently demanding what the fuck?

Chad just stood there oddly entertained as Jared’s eyebrows danced about in every direction. Chad would have laughed outright in Jared’s face if he thought he could’ve gotten away with it. Knowing that if he did Jared would drop all pretense of politeness in front of the ladies, to pull Chad to the side demanding, what the hell was going on. Instead Chad just shook his head, and shrugged, hoping to convey a it’s nothing sentiment.

It didn’t work. The wide lopsided smile did nothing to deter the concerned look Jared threw his way pointedly making it clear that he and Chad were going to be talking—and soon! That whatever shield Chad thought he had with Tracy wasn’t going to work, nor was it going to last. Then, like a switch, Jared was fully animated, and gave the ladies his undivided attention.

Ignoring the earlier memory and the burn of alcohol as he swallowed, Chad downed his third, or was it his fourth shot, chasing it down with another beer. After leaving Jared and Tracy dumped him, Chad found refuge by a bar that was closed. Overhead lights were off drowning the bar in darkness. Peeking behind the bar saw they were using it only for extra supplies. Alone, isolated from the crowds, hidden within the shadows, able to observe, Chad’s eyes found and devoured Jared’s figure dressed casually in plain jeans and pinstriped cream-colored shirt. Chad couldn’t help but note that Jared’s jeans were hugging a pinch tighter around his hips than what Jared usually wore. Taking advantage of the moment, Chad stared, his gaze traveling up then down Jared’s back until his view was blocked.

The crowd shifted, Jared and Genevieve were gone; in their place he spotted Tracy.

Tossing the empty bottle he had finished in the bin, Chad bent over to snag another he had stashed at his feet. Straightening a bit too quickly, the rush left him lightheaded. After a moment, decidedly still too sober, Chad pointedly ignored his buzz and opened the bottle and took a long pull.

He stood there openly staring at Tracy. Suddenly he felt a presence and belatedly realized he wasn’t alone, his gut pinged, anxious that it could only be one of two people he wanted to avoid, Jared or Jensen—it was Jensen.

Neither said a word as Jensen took a swig from his own beer then gestured toward Tracy, quietly asking, “Isn’t that your date?”

They both stared across the room at her engaging in a dirty make-out scene with some guy. Chad took another long swallow, nodded, and answered, “Was.”

Jensen simply stated, “Ouch!”

Chad tried to shrug it off, but the single word vibrated with empathic compassion— brushing beyond the edge of any politeness, and coming from Jensen, he hated it even more.

It was like a punch to his gut, leaving Chad in turmoil, inwardly wincing. His reaction was completely irrational, that he was making more out of the one word then he should have. The question of why lingered in his mind. Like why Jensen would offer Chad any kind of sympathy or compassion, especially after the way he had treated Jensen from the first day they met, always playing a first-class dick whenever he was around Jensen.

Basically, long before he ever met Jensen, Chad had used him as a ruse. An infatuation initially used to deflect Jared from Chad’s growing feelings toward him - pretending that he had moved on. Jared knew the truth that he was in the closet. Had learned the truth back when they first met on the Gilmore set, and Chad had developed a crush on Jared. It was the first time in Chad’s life he didn’t want to hide. He liked Jared, felt safe and let his guard down. Even after Jared realized Chad’s feelings it hadn’t seemed to faze Jared. Instead Jared simply let Chad know that he wasn’t interested, that he didn’t swing that way, but it didn’t affect his desire for them to remain friends.

For Jared it didn’t matter and they still hung out and got to know each other and subsequently they got closer. In fact, they still got together whenever they could. It was at that point Chad suddenly realized Jared was interested and invested in their friendship and in it for the long haul. It was shortly after that in-between auditions that he got hooked into watching Dark Angel, initially crushing on Jessica Alba until Ackles took on the role of X5-493.

At first Jared had teased him, until Chad played it up and Jared realized it wasn’t just a crush. And it wasn’t a crush; only Chad’s feelings were for Jared not Jensen.

He remembered when Jared called to tell Chad he got the part on Supernatural, mentioning that Welling was hosting a send off for his new co-star, and wanted him to come up for the weekend. To meet his new co-star that had turned out to be Jensen.

At the time Chad’s life was falling apart, too focused on his recent fuck up a few months earlier, and what had ended his marriage. Chad had honestly married Sophia because he loved her- it just wasn’t enough. Something Chad discovered while filming House of Wax. Facing Jared again every day, was wonderful, but torturous. It was then he realized his feelings for Jared had gone beyond lust and infatuation that he actually loved Jared, not as a friend, but was in love with him.

Even while married, while with Sophia, Chad had found it difficult to stay focused, and in denial. He hadn’t done anything - yet. He couldn’t; trapped, his emotions raged. With every illicit thought he had of Jared, his guilt grew. It was enough so every time Chad got hard, and had held Sophia, he thought of Jared. It was tearing him apart; he wasn’t the good guy that Sophia believed—he was living a lie. Chad didn’t even remember how he ended up with Paris, or even why. Only that everyone on set including Sophia and Jared found out. It was fucked up, and Chad felt bad for hurting Sophia, and even shamed for feeling relief—that she finally knew the truth that he wasn’t the good guy, the man of her dreams, that he really was fucked up.

So afterwards when Jared requested his presence, and was still there as his friend, Chad didn’t question it. He just showed up, as instructed, to be a friend, to be supportive. Only to find out and come face to face with the living, breathing in 3-D version of Jensen fucking Ackles. That Jensen was Jared’s new co-star, that it was Jensen who was going to be Jared’s TV brother.

He wasn’t sure what Jared thought, Chad didn’t ask and they didn’t talk about it. Whatever Jared was thinking didn’t matter; Chad was angry that Jared didn’t get it—didn’t see, or want to see the full truth. That Chad didn’t want Jensen, even if Chad had told Jared that in an immature roundabout way. The truth was he still wanted Jared.

Though Jared obviously saw it differently, and that was no one else’s fault but Chad’s. He didn’t have the balls to really come out. Then coming face to face with Jensen, his personal ruse, the pawn Chad had used to deflect Jared. Chad only saw red. It was from that point on, any time Chad saw or had to be around Jensen, it only fueled a helpless anger he felt toward Jared and himself—though it was unfair that Chad had redirected that hostility onto Jensen.

It was Jensen’s initial reserve that allowed Chad to work out a needed persona to deal with him, to create an immediate distance. He quickly settled on being loud, rude, and a sexist tool - basically an all-round douchebag. With the not-so-whispered rumors of what he’d done with Paris and that he and Sophia were already having problems it was easy for Jensen and everyone else to believe Chad was the dickhead he portrayed. It was a role he learned to perfect. Though no matter what he did, if Jared was near Jensen he never lost sight of his civility.

So the question now was why the fuck was perfect fucking Jensen offering him any compassion? Jared wasn’t within eyeshot.

It wasn’t like Chad and Jensen were friends; Chad had made that clear enough and put enough distance between them. Unless… Jared had said something, painted Jensen a different picture then what Chad wanted Jensen to see.

Low, though just loud enough for Chad to hear the true ring of sincerity in Jensen’s voice, he heard, “Gotta be hard after everything…”

That had to be it—Jared opened his fucking mouth. He wanted to scream, there were a lot of things Chad could handle, but Jensen dishing out unsolicited sympathy wasn’t one of them.

Defensive and determined and with more than enough alcoholic fortitude to back him, Chad needed to put a permanent healthy distance between them before he did something a hellaofalot worse regarding Jensen’s one-man sympathy party. Without thinking, he just needed to push back, to let Ackles know exactly what kind of asshole he was… because that was better than facing the truth, easier than emotionally dealing with the who, why, or what he was really feeling. However Chad didn’t have to scratch the surface to know he wanted Jared, and he didn’t need the reminder that it was never going to happen.

His mind muddled with alcohol, if Chad couldn’t have Jared, maybe he should move on go after the next best thing, someone Jay thought Chad already wanted… and if that didn’t work and he insulted Jensen enough to provoke him into action – say getting punched in the mouth instead, that’d be even better, something that he’d deserve.

Surprising himself, as casually as possible, Chad looked Jensen up and down, not hiding the leer in his voice, “Doesn’t matter, you’re pretty enough. Wanna?”

Clearly confused, Jensen shook his head, “Huh?”

As if the cameras were rolling Chad leaned in, his voice pitched to convey the right amount of sincerity edged with seductiveness and he asked, repeating the Jet’s song that had just played, “Be my girl?” Chad couldn’t stop himself as he slicked his lips, his tongue playful in blatant invitation into a perfected pout. Outwardly he appeared to be calm, cool and collected; inwardly was another matter as his stomach clenched and rolled. He was almost too eager awaiting Jensen’s response, and only hoped Jensen didn’t break any of Chad’s bones.

Jerkily Jensen pulled back then snorted with a half laugh, “Fuck you.”

Chad’s mind raced, pleased, but it wasn’t enough. He needed and wanted Jensen pissed, to push him to the edge, to the point where he’d haul off and hit him. Hiding a sadistic grin, Chad silently answered, Let the games begin.

Stepping it up a notch, Chad took another sip of his beer then answered seriously, “Maybe…” his eyes boring into Jensen’s. The word just hung there far longer than he intended. Neither said a word, and Chad didn’t waver, in the end it was Jensen who turned away first.

Glancing out toward the crowd, Chad finally took a needed breath and ignored the screaming in his head, what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck? The thing was he didn’t have an answer. Instead he shocked himself further as he turned and leaned in closer. Suddenly Chad found it hard to swallow as he realized how far he had leaned in, well within Jensen’s personal space, the sprinkle of freckles more prominent as he continued staring, amazed at Jensen’s beauty. Even with Jensen purposely avoiding looking at him, his eyes downcast, lashes too long for any girl, Chad couldn’t deny Jensen had starred in more than a few of his fantasies—with or without Jared.

His voice hitched in what Chad hoped was a husky intimate whisper rather than the hopeless whine he feared, “but I was under the distinct impression you preferred to be on the receiving end.”

Beer suddenly spewed from Jensen’s mouth. Jerkily looking up, Jensen’s eyes bulged as he stared at Chad, neither of them laughing, Chad’s offer hung out there unable to be taken back. Forcibly he kept his eyes opened and waited. Inwardly, Chad cringed and cursed as he tried to brace for Jensen’s fist once Jensen came out of his self-imposed shock. But it was Chad who was shocked when Jensen suddenly blushed and turned away, nervously taking several long swigs of his beer.

It was one of those moments where time stretched. Chad swallowed at the implication and started to connect the dots. It definitely took him by surprise.

Eyes transfixed, Chad watched as Jensen’s fingers fidgeted with the bottle, before Jensen finally tipped the bottle back to chug the last swallows. Chad stared, his imagination suddenly fueled, replacing the bottle in Jensen’s hands, a fantasy vivid of Jensen’s lips wrapped and stretched wide around a cock sliding down—his cock.

Shaking himself from the image, Chad refocused and zeroed in on Jensen’s panicked eyes as he tried to speak, “I don’t know who…” Jensen’s blush deepened as he stumbled unable to finish the sentence.

Without thinking Chad broke character and blurted out, “It’s true?”

Not that any of it was his business—except he did just proposition Jensen. He had visualized Jensen’s lips around his cock, had even offered his own ass to be fucked. Suddenly fighting for air Chad swallowed, a whimpered, “fuck”

Ridged shoulders slumped; Chad watched as the realization hit Jensen that he had just given himself away, that Chad had just played him—that Chad hadn’t known. The stunned look on Jensen’s face of what he just revealed, Jensen stood there, his face open and vulnerable, eyes scrutinizing and gauging Chad.

Whatever Jensen saw wasn’t good, he straightened, using his full height and leaned in close, his breath ghosting over Chad’s face, green eyes blazing with fury, his voice low, cold and hard, accentuating every syllable. “Just keep your fucking cakehole shut.”

Suddenly it was no longer a game. Chad barely heard Jensen. Instead his pulse pounded, like a dam burst, his own voice, desperate, “I wouldn’t… would never tell.”

Without thinking he reacted and took another step forward “Doesn’t answer my question.” Chad practically purred as he pressed his body closer a hand blindly reaching out to firmly caress Ackles’ side—his breath hot and uneven, and with a slight tilt to the left Chad’s lips hovered over Jensen’s ear. Ignoring both the voice in his head and his thundering heart, he whispered, “Be my girl?”

The question hung in the air. Neither moved, Chad’s panting breath hitched, as his hand seemed to have a mind of its own and weaved a path down toward Jensen’s cock. His fingers moved tracing the length.

Just as Chad palmed Jensen’s length, he was forcibly shoved back.

Between gritted teeth seething with anger, Jensen demanded, “Hands off!

Thoroughly wasted, and in shock, Chad stared dumbfound through a haze of lust

“Let’s get a couple of things straight—I’m not a fucking chick…” Jensen leaned in. His voice lowered to a gritty whisper that carried Jensen’s anger, his tone unforgiving against Chad’s ear. “And I’d never bottom for your fucking dick!” He pulled back slightly, his finger pressed into Chad’s chest poking hard and emphasizing every word.

Jensen swept his hand over his face, raking it through his hair in aggravation. “Fucking knew it! Everything about you was-it’s nothing but a fucking act, lies, that’s all you know, isn’t it?” Disgusted, Jensen shook his head and huffed, “You’re a better actor than I ever gave you credit for. Sadly anything I could say to Jared… he wouldn’t listen anyway. Seriously trusts your ass… just…” Jensen heaved then exhaled, “just stay the fuck away from me.” then turned and started to walk away. With no other words, only the gesture of a hand wave that was meant to dismiss Chad’s presence.

Chad’s head throbbed; anger, panic, hurt and confusion stirred in his chest. In a frantic response, he stepped forward and firmly grabbed Jensen’s arm, spinning him around and up against a wall.

At Jensen’s glare, Chad’s hands immediately dropped to his sides, but he continued to block Jensen from moving away. “Don’t! Don’t fucking bring Jared into this! Whatever this is—was, is between us. Me, my fault!” Shaking his head as if to clear it from the alcoholic haze, “And this… I don’t know what the fuck this is. I was pissed, jealous, afraid that Jared told you anything…” Catching his breath, Chad continued, “I fucked up! Don’t you know I always do! Then you came over…I don’t want your fucking sympathy! Especially not from you, I still don’t. It hurt, ok? And it pissed me off, so I played you. Thought it’d get a rise out of you, wanted to piss you off. Wanted you to hit….” Chad paused and looked to make sure Jensen was listening. Swallowing he lowered his voice and looked up through his lashes, “It doesn’t matter. Honestly I had no clue, it was dumb luck. I wouldn’t say anything… then it changed, I wanted, was interested….” Chad’s voice pitched desperate, “But this isn’t about Jared, I wouldn’t, couldn’t hurt Jared…”

As soon as the words left his mouth Chad heard himself, realizing he just lied. There was a part of him wanted Jared to hurt, to make Jared jealous—for Jared to want him. Chad searched Jensen’s face; trying to find answers to questions he didn’t know and couldn’t answer. Right now Chad’s feelings were there, ready to openly admit he wanted dick—more surprisingly at the moment it was Jensen’s dick that he wanted instead of Jared’s and he still did.

It was a shock, how badly he wanted Jensen. It shouldn’t be a surprise, Jensen was hot, and he had even crept into one or two of Chad’s fantasies. Instantly Chad understood, with Jensen it was purely physical where Chad only wanted a quick hard groping fuck. But as usual, he’d fucked things up. And this time there was a direct connection to Jared, and the last thing he wanted to do was fuck up his relationship with Jay—intentionally or not.

However his biggest surprise tonight wasn’t the drama of everything but rather the sudden depth of his feelings—to willingly say yes to a man, to openly accept and be accepted, something he had only done once, with Jay. Jensen wasn’t Jared, and though it started all wrong part, there was a part of it that felt good, felt right.

The thought of Jensen fucking him hard, Jensen’s hand tanning his hide, had his cock so hard that not even the melodrama of the moment deflated his interest. No, the real problem was he was feeling ahellofalot more than that, and because it was Jensen it should scare the hell out of him, but what really scared him was this time it was screwing everything up with Jared.

If Jared was here, he’d happily remind him that was that one of Chad’s biggest problems in life was jumping into situations—leaping without thinking and allowing either his dick or heart to lead him, and here he was doing it again. Ready to let his dick lead. This time, it wasn’t just anyone, it was Jensen, and this hadn’t even gone anywhere, not to mention Jensen wasn’t interested and was beyond pissed. And wasn’t that just fucked up, because all he wanted to do was kiss Jensen and somehow make it better.

Just as Chad was about to act on that thought he stopped himself short staring into Jensen’s accusing eyes. Freaked by his reactions, guilt for betraying Jared and plagued by self-doubt, and guilt for betraying Jared Chad immediately started to backpeddle. Physically shaken by his own actions and thoughts, he mumbled, “I’m sorry, ok…sorry.” He then quickly turned around and escaped through the crowd.

*~*~*~*

Even after he lost sight of Chad, Jensen just stood there dazed, not ready to name what he thought he had seen reflected in Chad’s eyes.

Suddenly a hand waved in front of his face, “Hey Jen, you ok?”

Startled, Jensen turned to see Jeff. “Huh? I…yes, no, yes…fuck!” Distractingly and more on reflex his hands reached out and patted Jeff’s shoulder and back for a second before he moved past him in his haste to go after Chad. “Sorry man, I’ll catch up with you later, alright?”

Jensen didn’t bother to wait for a response as he hurriedly pushed his way through the crowd in the last direction he saw Chad disappear.

*~*~*~*

Chad maneuvered his way in and out, pushing his way through the crowd going as fast as his legs would carry him, holding it together until he found the bathroom. Bumping past someone, he rushed into a stall and closed the door just making it as his stomach emptied.

Chad barely heard the bathroom door open, or the knock on his stall with his head over the toilet retching. “Murray that you? Tossing your cookies already?”

Chad didn’t answer, instead continued to empty his stomach. The person knocked again, “Hey, you okay?”

It was a voice he recognized, but his head was pounding, and made it too difficult to think. No point making excuses on the obvious. Though for the benefit of whoever it was, Chad quickly replied, with hopes they’d leave, “Yeah yeah, I’m fine. Will be.”

Instead Chad heard the guy chuckle, voice softening, telling him that maybe it was time to go home. That he’d made his appearance, to just take a cab, or if Chad wanted, he’d take Chad home.

Chad shook his head, silently telling himself he was fine, he could handle this —he wasn’t. Nothing in his life was fine, and to top it off he’d just come out to Jensen. Chad coughed, dry heaving, spitting bits of drool into the toilet. Wiping his chin, he stood then flushed the toilet. His head felt pulverized, as he tried to place a name, or even a face to the voice.

Cautiously swinging the door open, Chad saw it was Mike Rosenbaum. With barely a nod in acknowledgement, Chad hung his head silently cursing, Great, just fucking great! and made his way over to the sink to wash his hands, bending down cupping water to drink, swishing, and then spitting it back out. Splashing water over his face and neck, trying to sober up, or just enough to at least fake it in front of Mike. Gripping the counter, he waited, braced himself for the verbal backlash of ridicule he was sure Rosenbaum would be directing his way. Giving him shit, going off on him that he was a pussy, unable to hold his liquor.

He waited, nothing happened. Shutting off the water, though still not ready to move, or turn around to face Rosenbaum, Chad dragged his hands over his jeans wiping them dry, before pulling the tail end of his shirt up, to wipe the dripping water from his face.

Leaving his shirt untucked Chad turned, expecting Mike to start in on him. What he didn’t expect was to find Rosenbaum worriedly staring at him, his face a somber look of concern.

Chad didn’t bother waiting for Mike to ask if he was okay, or for him to play therapist. Instead, Chad let his anger slip and stepped up into Mike’s face, jabbing a finger in his chest. “Fuck off, just fuck off!” Turned on his heel and walked out of the bathroom. What he needed to do was get the fuck out of here. To get a bottle, and this time he needed to find oblivion. He continued walking, ignoring the decisive sway of his body or the lurch from his stomach over the thought of more drinking. He didn’t care it, didn’t matter, not now. Nothing did. He just fucked up to the wrong person - Jensen. The only person Jared would listen to.

*~*~*~

Jensen had already made it through the crowd once, and checked to see if Chad had left - he hadn’t. Finally making excuses and escaping a small group, Jensen worked his way back into the crowd hoping that he’d have better luck this time. Fact was he was nervous, pissed with himself that had he allowed Chad to get to him. He knew how Chad was, didn’t need Jared to tell him that Chad pushed out of defensiveness, was usually a bigger ass. Or he usually didn’t need Jared to tell him. Today, he just wasn’t expecting Chad to come out, or to aggressively come on to him.

Not that he was surprised that Chad leaned in his direction. Jared hadn’t said anything, but everything Jared hadn’t said now made sense.

In regards to the public, Jensen was definitely in the closet. He had made a conscious decision to go as far as he could on Hollywood’s version of don’t ask, don’t tell, at least until he made a niche within the industry, and built a nice nest egg before he got out, and well, came out. Though among family and close friends they all knew the truth, including Jared. Though it had been over a year before he finally told Jared.

Jared had said he didn’t have any problem with Jensen being gay, and had even gone as far as saying he understood his decision about his career. What had hurt Jared was that Jensen had waited that long before he finally told Jared. Hurt enough that a couple of times with a few drinks in, Jared had gone off about trust, about not hiding in a fucking closet especially to your friends. He got it now that it wasn’t a rant solely directed at him, but also toward Chad.

Chad, fuck! The dude was on self-destruct, and he just might have helped push him toward the edge.

Remembering Chad’s frantic look. Jensen had to admit that at the time it was happening, he didn’t give a shit, he was too pissed. Didn’t really think beyond the fact that Chad had just come on to him publicly, where anyone could have seen or heard. Only to find out seconds later he had been played. It fucking hurt!

He was only thankful he hadn’t said anything, at least not what he wanted to say that danced on the tip of his tongue. It was bad enough that his anger had gotten the best of him, and he had no excuse for it other than Chad got under his skin. Jensen hated to admit it, but he was interested—and that just confused and pissed him off more because he didn’t even think about Jared.

By the time he did think of Jared, he’d just allowed the anger to egg him on. Striking back, angry and defensive throwing it right back in Chad’s face.

Watching the blood draining from Chad’s face as he suddenly sobered enough to realize what he had done, what he had said, but it was Chad’s almost desperate plea that he wouldn’t hurt Jared when Jensen saw the truth, and realized Chad was in love with Jared. Fuck!

Suddenly Jensen had to stop as the pain on Chad’s face swam before him. His voice cracked, desperate as he pleaded, “Don’t! Don’t fucking bring Jared into this! Whatever this is—was, is between us. Me, my fault!” He’s not even sure if Chad knew what his eyes were telegraphing, that whatever mask he usually wore had crumbled. The clear panic and desperation was easy to spot, but Jensen was shocked to see the raw love Chad had for Jared reflected there.

Jensen knew Chad loved Jared, just as Jared loved Chad, but he had read it only as love of a friend, a brother, like he had for Chris. But staring into Chad’s eyes, seeing them so unveiled, his eyes had revealing the truth. That’s when Jensen’s anger really spiked because if Chad felt that way about Jared, why the fuck was he coming on to him? But even as the thought crossed his mind, his own reaction colored his guilt, and clamped his mouth shut, ‘cause he was no better than Chad. Worse, he wasn’t drunk he had no fucking excuse to why he had almost responded.

Shaking himself from the thought, belatedly Jensen decided now wasn’t the time to think about that. What he needed to do was find Chad; Jensen had an inexplicable urge to make sure Chad was okay, safe.

Pushing through the crowd, suddenly someone grabbed at his shirt. Annoyed, Jensen didn’t even bother to look instead he just pulled away. Breaking free he continued through the crowd to lose whoever it was. Fingers suddenly wrapped around and gripped his arm tight, yanking him back, making him stop in his tracks that Jensen had to look. It was Jared.

Jared was standing alone, grinning, his hand anchored around Jensen’s bicep before dropping it. His smile widened further, showing all thirty-two teeth. “Hey, where’s the fire?”

He didn’t answer, but Jared got the message that something was wrong. The friendly casualness was suddenly gone, as Jared easily glanced over the crowd’s heads looking around. He tipped his head in the direction he wanted Jensen to follow.

For a heartbeat he thought about ditching him as he watched Jared get further ahead, but instinctively knew that’d only make things worse. Taking a deep breath he followed, and made his way through the crowd, still glancing around looking for Chad as he did. For a second he did lose Jared, but then suddenly felt Jared’s arm directing him toward the wall and a concealed door, as Jared opened it and guided Jensen through.

Silence followed as the music and noise of the crowds were suddenly cut off.

“Better?” Jared asked as he turned on the lights.

Confused, Jensen just shook his head, “What?” The room was empty; glancing around he realized it was an adjoining room, and they were at the back of a banquet hall, with a dozen large tables each dressed, with a full bar at the far end.

“Alright what’s going on?”

Frustrated, and slightly dazed not exactly sure what to say, or even how to say it. Jensen sighed, rubbing his hands over his face. Heard Jared’s own frustration, “Jen, what the hell…”

Without looking at Jared, swallowing pass the lump in his throat, he choked out. “Chad.”

Jared stiffened, “What? Something happened? Shit. I knew something was going on…”

“He’s fine, or at least he was last time I saw him. Man, I don’t know how to tell you this…” he paused, nervously rubbing hand over the back of his neck.

Jared’s “Jen…” prompted him to talk.

“Shit! Chad, he came on to me.” After a minute of silence, he looked up. Whatever he expected to see on Jared’s face, surprised shock, anger, confusion, betrayal … whatever, but guilt was nowhere on the list. This time Jensen had to ask, “What, you knew?”

Jared didn’t answer him, instead he rubbed the heel of his hand over his eyes, hung his head, his fingers carting through his hair, bending over, and kept muttering, “Fuck!” over and over.

“Jared? What the hell?”

“Where is he, does he know? Shit, I should have told him…”

“Yeah, well how about telling me what’s going on, huh? Cause Jay, I’m in the fucking dark here.” Actually he wasn’t completely in the dark, but Jared’s reaction had thrown him off. Helplessly he watched as Jared started pacing, then stated again, “Should have told him” Stopping he turned and faced Jensen, asking demanding, “Does he know? Know about us?”

Jensen couldn’t stop himself from glancing about the room again making sure they were still alone. They were, he nodded in satisfaction. The motion shook the dull headache that had started with Chad and then reenergized until it started to throb. Looking over at Jared, he saw the blood was drained from Jared’s face. What the fuck then belatedly realized he had nodded, Jared thought he had answered Jared’s question about Chad—that Chad knew about them.

Then he blurted out, “Shit! No. No, he doesn’t know. Doesn’t know about us.” At Jared’s shaky exhale of relief, Jensen hastily pulled out a chair demanding that Jared sit. Awkwardly he did. Jensen crossed over to the bar, stepping behind it, opening the cooler and took out two beers, snapping the caps before heading back. Setting the beer down in front of Jared, Jensen sat down. Then he prodded, “Alright, now breathe, then start at the beginning, okay?”

“The beginning, that’s funny.”

Except Jared wasn’t laughing, Jen scooted closer, lowering his voice, trying to convey his sincerity to offer his encouragement, “Jared.”

“Jen, I should have told him, told you… but everything seemed to happen so fast even if it wasn’t. Then it just got to this point and by then I didn’t know how to. Everything in his life was falling apart, you know? I didn’t want to add to it… Thought I’d have more time.” Jared grabbed his beer and took a long swig.

Still confused, Jensen was about to nudge Jared further for more information.

“You know he’s had a serious thing for you, shit, since Dark Angel.” Slouching, allowing his bangs to hide his eyes, his voice softened as he shrugged. “I don’t know, but in the beginning I though it was just a crush. Said he even had one on me before you. Used to tease the shit out of him. But he wasn’t like you, no one else knew. No other friends, certainly not his family. I had asked Rex once… kinda, but.”

Stunned, Jensen took another sip. Careful to swallow, as his heart skipped, beating faster, Jared had mistakenly thought that Chad only had a crush on him once a long time ago not that Chad was head over heels in love with Jared now. And Chad was, Jensen was sure of it, had seen it in his eyes.

“You may not know it, but I don’t actually like Rex. There’s just something, I don’t know, just he can be a bigger dick than Chad ever could. Ended up chalking the extreme in the closet thing up to the fact that his family was homophobic. Probably why he’s stayed in the closet for so long - not just the industry, but his whole family, and I told you about his mother.”

“Jared?”

“I didn’t tell him. Should have when things ended with Sandy. After you, he was there, even before my own brother - that’s when I should have told him, and I didn’t. All I could think about was myself, Sandy…” he sunk lower, and added, “you.”

“At the time it was, I don’t know, I was too fucked up. One week Sandy and I are making plans for the wedding, the next it was over.” Jared turned in his seat, “You know how hard… I was a coward, I didn’t even know. Sandy got it, understood my feelings before I did, shit!”

“Jared, you’re not a coward.”

He didn’t look up, instead Jared’s thumbnail dug into the paper, ripping the label on his beer bottle, raking it free of the bottle. From under his lashes, he gazed at Jensen. “Don’t get me wrong, us, I’m happy—more than happy.” He turned away, gazing at the beer, his voice sullen. “Doesn’t change what I did, or the fact that Chad was always there for me, that I knew how he felt about you - that I’ve had a year to tell him the truth” His voice rising in anger and conviction. “A year Jensen, so don’t tell me I’m not a fucking coward!” In frustration, Jared stood knocking against the table as he did. The beer wobbled, Jensen catching it before it fell. Jared’s terse, “Sorry” followed.

Sighing, Jensen took a shaky breath and stood. Setting both beers down, he walked over to Jared. His finger slid over poking at Jared’s closed fist, until Jared hooked a finger with his. “Look at me, please.” Childishly Jared’s eyes purposely darted away. Jensen waited; Jared rolled his eyes then exaggeratedly sighed before they slowly settled back on Jensen.

Jensen bit back his smile, but squeezed Jared’s finger, pleased he had Jared’s full attention. “I’ll only say this once Jay, so listen up, you’re not a coward, not then, not now.”

He could feel that Jared was about to protest. “No, don’t. I love you, so I don’t fucking care.” He tugged on Jared’s finger hard enough to jerk him forward to kiss him. “Jen.” Jared tried to lean back, but Jensen followed. “No.” His lips ghosted over Jared’s, his tongue peeked out with small licks encouraging Jared to open further, to accept his kiss. “Don’t care.”

Jared relented, opening his mouth further, returning Jensen’s kisses with equal fervor “Jen…”

Either heard or saw that they had an audience.

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January 2017

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