Chapter 2: Jared to the Rescue
Jensen shows an insecurity about his own abilities. Jared wants to help him. It reaches a head.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“Are you all right?”
“I…I guess so. My head hurts.”
“I saw them running away, but didn’t get a good look at them. They wore letter jackets.”
“I couldn’t see them,” came a defensive reply.
“Hey, your lack of sight doesn’t bother me, so back down a little. Let me help you.”
The young man on the ground turned red and Jared felt a twinge inside of him, and a growing urge to protect him. He shook his head to clear his mind of those thoughts and suggested calling the police.
The young professor attempted to sit up. He felt dizzy and nauseated. Jared took out his cell phone and dialed 911. He explained what had happened and his concern for the campus. He hung up and dialed campus security.
Within ten minutes there were two policemen and three security guards. The officers walked the area and could find no clues about the attackers. They did pick up the remains of Jensen’s cane.
The professor refused an ambulance saying it was just a bump on his head.
One of the security guards suggested going over to the sport complex to get Coach Ackles. Jared looked up at the guard and then down at the injured man. He could see the resemblance.
“He’s gone for the day. I’ll call him and take care of Jensen.”
It was Jensen’s turn to be surprised. He remained quiet but wondered who this man was.
Soon the two men were alone. Jared got on the telephone and called Josh. He explained what had happened and how Jensen refused treatment. Josh told him he and his girlfriend would pick Jensen up.
Jared looked at the man sitting on the ground.
“Jensen, Josh and his girlfriend are coming to take you home.”
He noticed a look of frustration on the man’s face and he started shaking his head ‘no.’ Jared stared for a minute and made a decision.
“Uh, Josh, don’t worry about it. Jensen’s hungry and we’re going to go and get a bite to eat. Just let your mom know he’s okay. I’ll have him home later in the evening.”
Jared listened to Josh, stared at Jensen, and responded, “What time will you be home and will your father be there?”
“Well, I’m not taking him back until he’s calmed down and able to face her.”
Jensen listened to the one-sided conversation. He took a deep breath upon hearing he had a reprieve.
“Eleven? Okay, I’ll have him home after that. Yes, I understand. I won’t leave him at the door to face this alone.”
‘What?’ Jensen thought.
“I don’t know why. Yeah, I know that. Yeah, drive out to the Padalecki Ranch Estate tomorrow afternoon and we can talk.”
‘Estate?’ Jensen had a feeling his life was being arranged for him. He wanted a say in it.
Jared hung up and turned to the man on the ground. He touched Jensen’s shoulder and the young man looked up at him.
‘Damn! His eyes are like shining emeralds,’ he thought.
“What’s going on?”
“Everything’s okay, Jensen. Josh won’t be home until eleven tonight. You and I are going to get a bite to eat, and maybe go to the park and listen to the free symphony concert. I’ll have you home after Josh and your Dad are there.”
Jared stared at the man on the ground and noticed the freckles. He smiled. They looked good on him. Reaching down again he took Jensen’s hand and helped pull him up.
Picking up the remains of the cane the policeman had laid on the grass, Jared commented, “It looks like you will need a new cane.”
“Damn it! Mom’s going to be pissed.”
“We’ll figure something out.”
Jensen felt around on the ground, looking for his briefcase. Jared walked towards the tree the man had run into and found the case along the side of it. Walking back to the professor, he handed the case to the man.”
Jensen held the briefcase in both hands. Jared place a hand on his shoulder and led him to the parking lot and his huge truck. Jensen reached out and touched the truck as they walked next to it towards the passenger door.
“It’s big,” he murmured.
“Yeah but then, so am I,” Jared said with a grin.
He keyed the entry and opened the door. Jensen set the briefcase in the floorboard and moved his hands over the entry, looking for a hand hold to pull himself up and into the vehicle.
Jared wanted to help him; give him a boost up, but thought better of it. Josh had said that Jensen and his mom butted heads over freedoms and abilities. The taller man backed up and let the other man find his own way.
“Dinner? Where would you like to go?”
“I don’t know. I don’t get to go out to eat much. Mom says I’m embarrassing.”
“In what way?”
“I won’t wear the sunglasses. The doctor said my eyes look normal. You can’t tell I’m blind so I won’t wear them. The things I do at the table bother her.”
“It won’t bother me. I hang around athletes all day. Nothing bothers me.”
A look of confusion crossed the face of his passenger. Jensen wasn’t sure if the man was making a joke or poking fun at him.
“Hasn’t anyone ever cracked joke around you?”
“Josh used to, but mom said I wouldn’t understand jokes since I can’t see.”
Jared’s mouth dropped open in surprise but he bit his tongue and made no comment about Mrs. Ackles.
“Well, I’m a funny kind of guy. You’ll get used to me.”
“I’ll probably never see you again, but thank you.”
“Not treating me like I’m an invalid.”
“You’re just one of the guys as far as I’m concerned. I know your name but you don’t know mine. I’m Jared Padalecki. I’m the new assistant defensive coach. I work with your brother.”
Jensen nodded and remained quiet.
It took around twenty minutes to reach the Mexican restaurant Jared had decided on. He pulled into the cobbled parking lot and parked in the handicapped parking. Jensen opened his door and slid out of the truck. Jared walked around the truck and met him as he neared the front of the vehicle.
Jensen could tell the pavement wasn’t smooth so he reached out and barely touched the taller man’s elbow. Jared looked down and smiled. They entered through large wooden doors. The woman at the dais asked, “How many?”
“Two, in one of your smaller dining areas.”
They followed the woman across a large open area. Jensen could hear voices and smell wonderful odors. The music was soft. They were seated in a room that held three tables, and they were the only ones in it. Jensen felt for the chair, pulled it out and sat in it. He scooted the chair back towards the table.
“The room is fairly dark. The table has a large candle in the center. The table is tiled in shades of green and gold.”
Jensen listened, then slowly laid his hands on the table feeling for the silverware and napkin. He touched the tiles, smiling. A waiter arrived with two glasses of water with a lime in them. He handed both of the men a menu and asked for a drink order.
“One of your better red wines. We’ll have some queso and green sauce as well as the red.”
“I’ve never had wine,” Jensen commented after the waiter had left.
“It will be you first time.”
“Mom will kill me.”
“How old are you?”
“What? Oh, twenty-six.”
“Jensen, you were legally of drinking age at twenty-one and your mother has no legal right to tell you no.”
“As long as I live in her house, she makes those decisions.”
“Maybe it’s time you moved out.”
“I don’t have the means to do that.”
“You make a living. Use it to pay the bills and things.”
“She handles my checking account.”
“That needs to stop. It’s your money.”
“I don’t know.”
The waiter arrived with the wine and the queso and sauces. He brought out fried tortillas and some soft ones. After he poured the wine, Jared lifted his glass and gave a toast to ‘new friends.’ He told Jensen how to lift his glass and to drink after the toast.
“How’s the wine?”
“It’s very good. Thank you.”
The two men munched on the appetizers and waited for the Mexican steaks. They discussed books, music and their jobs. Jensen was a quick learner. Jared quickly taught him how to use a knife to cut a steak. He could barely see the slight redness on his dinner date’s face. Jensen was either embarrassed or ashamed he didn’t know how. At this point, Jared was cursing Mrs. Ackles in his mind.
The waiter arrived with the check. Jared place a card in the holder.
“We have time to attend the free concert. I hope you like classical music.”
“I heard some of the students say it was ‘Peer Gynt. I love Grieg. I would love to go.”
Jared signed the tab, left a tip, and rose from the table. He pulled Jensen’s chair back. The two men left the restaurant and drove to the park to the outdoor theater.
Jared laid a blanket on the hill where they were joined by many others. The sky grew dark with the stars shining brightly. The music started to play. Jensen lay on his back and listened. Jared briefly described the stars and the darkness around them. He heard his companion sigh.
When the music finished, neither man moved. Jared waited until some of the crowd had left. They slowly walked down the hill towards the parking lot. When they got to the truck, Jensen reached out and touched Jared’s arm. The taller man looked down at him in the light of the street lamp.
“I just wanted to say thank you. I’ll never forget this.”
“There will be more, Jensen. I like you and I think you need a friend. I want to be him.”
“I’ve never had a friend.”
“You do now.”
The two men drove to the Ackles house in silence. Jared parked on the street and helped Jensen across the grass to the front door. Jensen reached out to open the door when it swung open.
“How dare you stay out all night and not let me know where you were? You did not have my permission to go anywhere with a stranger.”
The woman at the door dragged Jensen into the house and proceeded to slam the door in Jared’s face. The coach grew angry and opened the door, following them into the living room.
Mrs. Ackles was ranting and shouting at her middle son. The family stood there, not sure what to do.
When Mrs. Ackles stopped to catch her breath, Jensen spoke up.
“I’m not a child, Mother. I’m packing tonight and leaving here. I’ll get a motel room for the night and find a place tomorrow.”
“You can’t even take care of yourself.”
“Whose fault is that? I’ll find a place.”
“You can live with me, Jensen. I need a roommate. Someone to keep an eye on things when I’m not around. I trust you.”
“You! Get out of my house!”
“Donna, that’s enough.” Alan Ackles looked at his son. “Go pack, Jensen. Josh, Mac, give him a hand”
Thank you for reading. This will be a fairly long story. Enjoy and remember a writer’s food and drink is comments.