Chapter 10: Monday Morning
Jensen’s alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. as usual. He stretched, sniffed, and smelled bacon. Smiling, he got out of bed and went to his closet and took out dress jeans, a light green dress shirt, and suit coat. He placed them on his bed, and found a pair of brown loafers. Walking over to the chest of drawers, he found a t-shirt and some socks.
He walked across the hall brushed his hair and teeth. He washed his face and dried off. Hurrying back to his room he dressed, made his bed, and found his briefcase. Grabbing his suit coat, he left the room and headed towards the kitchen.
Setting his briefcase below the coat rack, Jensen hung his suit coat and turned towards the kitchen.
“Good morning, Jared,” He spoke softly as he walked towards the coffee maker. He listened and could tell the machine had finished. One of his hands moved over the counter until he found two coffee cups. He filled both and added Jared’s sweetener to his. Jensen liked his black. Walking over to Jared, he held out the man’s coffee cup.
“Good morning, Jensen. Thanks for the coffee,” Jared replied, taking the offered cup. Jared took a sip, pleased that Jensen remembered how to fix his. He looked at the older man and assessed him. Jensen looked nice. He frowned at the massive bruise on the man’s forehead, but knew it would disappear. It could have been much worse if he had not shown up at the time.
“You’re welcome, Jared. Is there anything I can do?”
“You can take the bacon platter and the bowl of biscuits to the table. I’m pouring the gravy into a bowl and I’ll be right behind you. There’s orange juice on the table.”
Jensen searched and found the two dishes and took one at a time to the breakfast room where they ate all their meals at home. He passed Jared, going back for the biscuits.
The two men went right into their daily routine. Jensen was quiet as Jared read the paper. They ate in silence unless Jared found an article or editorial he thought Jensen would be interested in.
After breakfast, they cleaned the kitchen, putting the dishes into the dishwasher. Jensen grabbed his suit coat and briefcase and the two men headed towards the truck.
“Would you like to go somewhere for lunch? I have nothing going on from 12 to 2.”
Jensen smiled softly. “I have a class at 10 and another at 2. I usually work with the sculptors who come in during their free time.”
“You didn’t bring a lunch? Neither did I. Maybe I can go get something and bring it by and we could eat in your office?”
The smaller man blushed slightly. “That would be nice.”
Jared grinned and they rode to town in companionable silence. Jared turned into the campus and drove over to the Art Building. He pulled into the handicap parking and got out.
Jensen was already out of the truck and was walking towards the sidewalk when Jared caught up with him. Jensen heard him and stopped.
“I thought I would walk in with you to see where you teach and where your office is.”
Jensen was quiet for a moment.
“I walk this area without a cane daily, Jared, but thank you.”
“No, you mistake me. I just didn’t want to waste time looking for you during lunch. I know you’re quite capable of handling this place. You work here.”
Jared watched several expressions go across Jensen’s face. They were so fleeting he couldn’t read them. The older man sighed and then smiled.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
The two walked together towards the sidewalk. Jensen’s shoe scraped the edge of it and he raised his foot and placed it on the sidewalk. Jared watched every move the man made and made a decision. He would have to make some calls and find out what would be involved.
They walked up the steps of the massive building. The halls were cooler than most of the buildings on campus. He wondered why.
“Why is it so cold in here?”
“The building is kept at a perfect temperature for the art.”
The two men took a left at the first hallway that crossed the one they were on. He watched Jensen go to one side and keep his hand slightly out, touching the wall. He realized the man was counting doors. When the professor stopped at a door and opened it, he followed him into a large room filled with large tables surrounded by stools. There was a desk and chair at one end of the room with another stool and a lectern beside it. Jensen flipped two switches on the wall. Jared noticed a door on either end of the room. He followed his companion to the left and into a small room with a desk, two chairs, and walls that were barren except for a framed diploma.
He walked over to a bookcase and looked at the art books. Most were in braille but some were for use by his students.
Jensen placed his briefcase on the desk and turned.
“Well, this is it,” his said softly.
“Your classroom is huge. You have that many students?”
“We have a massive art program here. Very comprehensive.”
“I can see that. Well, I’d better head over to the Sports Complex. Morgan holds meetings off and on all day in preparation. I’ll be here until late in the evening. Can you wait or can you find a ride home?”
“And who are you? Where’s home now, Jensen?”
Jensen turned red, “Hi, Ellen?”
Jared held out his hand, “Hi, I’m Jared Padalecki. I’m the new basketball coach and I’m Jensen’s new roommate.”
“Roommate?” Ellen looked at Jensen. “You finally did it?”
Jensen was still red in the face. “Jared, I’ll see you at lunch.”
“It was nice to meet you, Ellen.”
Jared left the room and Jensen faced his mentor.
Jensen told Ellen about the attack, Jared’s rescue and what happened that night.
“Okay, what did you two do all weekend?”
Ellen sat down as Jensen talked about what happened over the weekend. She realized that Jared Padalecki had definitely taken an interest in the young man sitting across from her. No one took the time, money, or trouble to do what he was doing for Jensen.
“Do you like him?”
“He’s very nice, Ellen. I think I do. He’s been very kind to me. I’m grateful.”
“Well, you need to make sure what you end up feeling for the man is more than gratitude. Don’t lead him on.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Jensen, you are such an innocent and he knows that. I can tell by what you’ve told me. I think he may be looking for something more permanent with you.”
“I don’t think so. I mean…I was naked in the bathroom and he walked in on me. Nothing happened.”
“Oh yes it did.”
“He didn’t touch you, Jensen. Most men would have. He’s wanting something better.”
“We’ve known each other for three days.”
“How long does it feel that you’ve known him?”
The room grew quiet.
“Forever,” came a soft whisper.
“He doesn’t need to know we talked about this. Just let him follow whatever plan he has. Just be yourself, Jensen. Accept him for who he is. See where it goes and what you feel.”
“I don’t know how to love someone. How would I know?”
Jensen sat back in his chair and sighed.
“Remember, Jensen, I’m here for you. Anything untoward, any strange emotion, and reaction you have and don’t understand, come talk to me. And don’t act stiff or scared. Just be you.”
“All right. Thank you.”