Chapter 4: Morning
This chapter is shorter than the others because it is an interlude.
Jensen’s watch alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. He slowly opened his eyes and froze. He was not in his bed…his room. He climbed out the bed and walked the room, mind going 100 miles an hour. Where was he?
He smelled bacon and coffee. Suddenly, it hit him. Jared. Sitting in the reading chair, he allowed his mind to go back over yesterday. He had actually done it. He’d stood up to his mother and he had left. His father had supported it?
Jensen jumped up and hurried to where he remembered the closet was. He read the hangars and found a pair of dress jeans and button down shirt. He wished he had some knock around clothes.
Opening the bedroom door, he allowed his nose to lead him towards the kitchen. He heard pots rattling. Jensen had never been in a kitchen. His mother’s had been off limits.
Reaching the kitchen, he stood in the entrance and listened and smelled. Jared could be heard moving around. The coffee smelled heavenly.
Jared had bacon draining on paper towels and was busy cooking pancakes. He made buttermilk ones and had cane syrup. He placed the last pancake on the plate and went to pour himself a cup of coffee. He looked up and saw Jensen.
“I was trying to be quiet and let you sleep.”
“My alarm goes off at seven.”
“Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“Come fix you one. I’ll put the food on the table.”
Jensen stood still in surprise while Jared passed him with two plates filled with food. He slowly walked into the kitchen, carefully touching items on the counters. He felt the warmth of the stove and backed away from it. A strong whiff of coffee reached him and he followed the aroma. Feeling the heat of the pot on the coffee maker, he pulled away and felt the counter. He was right. Jared had left him a big coffee mug. He reached out and felt for the handle on the coffee pot. Sticking a finger into the mug, he poured coffee into the cup. When the coffee touched the tip of his finger he knew it would be about 2/3 full and stopped. He put the pot back on the coffee maker, picked up the mug and walked towards the exit. On the opposite side of the hallway was a large entrance into another large room. A heavy rectangular wooden table with ten chairs was in the center of the room. Jensen walked around the piece of furniture, running his hand over the pieces, feeling the strength of the wood. Jared was a big man. He guessed the man needed a big house and massive furniture.
Jared, seated at the head of the table, watched his new companion explore the room. When Jensen had walked completely around the massive table and chairs, he reached Jared. His hand ran over the man’s shoulders and Jensen stopped.
“Oh! I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine. How else can you see what’s in here.”
The tension eased and the full lips moved into a beautiful smile.
The two men ate breakfast. Jared read the newspaper. Jensen listened when the man shared an article or two with him. It was comforting.
Jared set the newspaper down and looked at the man sitting next to him. He realized he liked having someone to share the day with.
“Jen, I’d like to talk to you about something.”
Jensen stiffened and took a deep breath.
“First off, I want you to make your stay here permanent or for as long as you’d like. I never could find someone I felt comfortable enough with to ask them to stay. It’s strictly platonic. I’m not trying to take it further. We don’t know each other well enough for that. You need a place to feel safe and protected. You need to learn how to rely upon yourself and I can help with that. Most of all, you need a friend. I’m offering you all of this. I don’t want you to have to pay right now. We can sort out the bills and rent later, once we know your mom is off the account. I have an idea how much you make. I’m a coach there.”
“I couldn’t live off you.”
“I’m not asking you to. I want to help you get on your feet. We need to get you some clothes that are more suitable.”
“I don’t make that kind of money, Jared.”
“Consider it a gift, Jen. I inherited a lot of money and this estate from my great grandfather. I was named after him. I’m not hurting financially. I understand your pride. You need things your mom never thought of as necessary. Let me take care of it. You can pay me back when you become wealthy.”
Jensen lowered his head, not sure what to do. No one had ever tried to do something nice for him. But, he didn’t really know Jared. How could he take gifts from him?
“I don’t know you very well, Jared. We just met.”
“You’re living with me, aren’t you?”
“But that’s different.”
The blind man sat there, his mouth opening and closing. Jared knew he had no answer.
“Come on, Jen. Let’s clean this up and head to town. We’re going to your bank first.”
Jared headed into the kitchen to clean the pots, leaving the other man to bring the dishes into the kitchen and wipe down the table. Jensen was surprised Jared trusted him with the job.
Within fifteen minutes the men were finished and they headed out the side door towards the garage.