Chapter 21: Friday Part I
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Jared picked Jensen up at the Arts building at 5:00. Everyone they worked with, or were related to, knew about the art contest held each year by the Fine Arts Museum. When they arrived at the house, Jensen took Gus for his afternoon walk. Jared went inside and poured two glasses of iced tea and made two subs. He cooked some French fries and set everything on the table.
Jensen entered through the side door and went to the kitchen to get Gus’ afternoon meal.
“I’ve got a meal for us. I know we decided on eating out at Bud Hill’s steak house, and we will, but we need something to tie us over.”
Jensen entered the breakfast nook and leaned over to gently kiss Jared. The man reached out and put his arm around the professor’s neck, pulling him closer and into a deeper kiss. Jared loved how Jensen’s mouth opened to him without any sign of fear or disinterest. He released his hold and watched Jensen pull his chair out and sit down.
“Thank you, Jared. I…I..,” Jensen blushed adorably as he stuttered over what he was trying to say.
“It’s all right.”
“Yes, it is. I don’t feel as if it was wrong. I like it.”
“Good. I’ll make sure there’s a lot of it.”
After the meal, the cleanup was done and both men headed towards their rooms and a shower. An hour later, Jensen walked into the family room. Jared looked up and set the book he was reading on the end table.
“Are you ready?”
Jensen went to the side door and reached for Gus’ leash. Leaning down, he clipped the leash to the dog’s collar. Both men headed to the truck.
The Museum of Fine Arts was located near the Theater and several other museums. Jared pulled into the parking lot and a man who was helping with the parking leaned in and told them they would need to use the parking garage. He looked into the back seat and saw Gus with his vest.
“I’m sorry, Sir. Handicapped parking is over to the side. There are still vacancies there.”
“Thank you,” Jared said, giving the man a smile.
He parked the truck and watched Jensen climb out and open the rear door for his companion to exit. He thought that Jensen would outshine many of the people at the Awards Ceremony. The man should wear a tux regularly. He carried it off so well.
The two men walked close together towards the museum. Upon entering the complex, they were stopped by a guard who asked to see the ticket. Jensen held out two invitations.
“I’m sorry, Sir. I did not realize you were one of the competitors,” the guard said. He motioned to one of the men behind him. The gentleman walked over and looked at the invitations and smiled.
“Will you come this way, Mr. Ackles,” the man said as he turned towards hallway that led to the theater. The three men went down the hallway that led to offices and an elevator that went underground. They took the elevator and entered another hallway. The next elevator led to the theater entrance.
When they entered the theater, the man who led them introduced them to another man. He was shorter than both Jensen and Jared. He was a handsome man, Jared thought, with those piercing blue eyes and wavy black hair.
“How do you do? I’m Misha Collins, the Fine Arts Museum Curator. Mr. Ackles, you have garnered a lot of notice due to your disability. I am anxious to see how you do tonight.”
“Really? Jensen blushed again and felt uncomfortable at the interest.
“Yes,” Misha said. He turned towards Jared and asked his name, his voice showed interest in the large man. Jared introduced himself and shook the curator’s hand.
“He’s my boyfriend,” Jensen said, possessively.
Jared grinned, surprised but highly entertained. Misha looked at the other man and turned back to the taller one.
“It would seem you are both taken. What a shame.” He motioned to an usher and told the man where the two were seated.
Jensen had turned white, confused at his own reaction to the man. Jared was grinning, wondering how long it would take for his love to realize he had been both jealous and possessive. Most definitely not a sign of disinterest at all. He was highly encouraged.
They were led down to the front of the theater and seated on the front row. Jared seemed surprised, and asked the usher.
“All those who are competing are placed near the front. We put you on the front row to accommodate the dog.”
“Thank you,” Jensen replied.
The theater filled quickly. A man sat down next to Jensen and smiled at him.
“Hi, I’m Chad Lindberg. He noticed Gus and asked if he could pet him.
Jensen held out his hand and they shook. He introduced Jared. Chad touched Gus’ head.
“What field are you competing in?” he asked.
Jensen replied, “Sculpture. You?”
“Metal art. I weld.”
“I hope we get to see the admissions,” Jensen responded.
“You can see the art?”
“He sees by touch,” Jared explained.
They talked for the next twenty minutes until the Curator took the stage.
“Did he hit on you?”
Jared grinned, “Yes. He hit on me. Jensen made sure he understood I wasn’t available.” He watched Jensen blush again.
“Me too,” Chad replied. “We’re going to meet for lunch tomorrow.”
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” Misha said. “Welcome to the Twenty-fifth Fine Arts Competition. The rules governing the competition state that the winning piece for each category will be awarded five thousand dollars. The over-all winner will be awarded ten thousand dollars more. After the ceremony, you will be led to the grand ballroom for a gathering to visit. There will be champagne and hors d’oeuvres while visiting and conversing with the artists. You may take this time to walk over to the museum and see the pieces that will be up for bidding in the auction.”
The ceremony went smoothly. Each winner was called to the stage to get his/her trophy and check. An acceptance speech was expected. Chad had won for his metal work piece. The two men congratulated him.
Jared felt his companion go tense when the Sculpting category was announced. There were ten pieces in the group. Jensen held his breath when Misha gave the name of the winner.
“And the winner is” the curator announced. “Jensen Ackles for his piece entitled, ‘Can You See What I Hear.’ Mr. Ackles, if you would please come forward and receive your award.”
Jensen sat there for a moment, not completely understanding that he had actually won the award. Jared stood, and leaned down and took the man by his arm and led him to the stairs. He climbed the stairs with Jensen and Gus and stood at the end of the stage and watched the two walk towards Misha.
The people had been applauding, but when they saw Gus, the volume grew louder. Gus led his companion towards the curator and stopped a foot away from him.
Misha reached out and took Jensen’s hand to congratulate him, handing him both a crystal trophy and an envelope with the check for five thousand dollars. He led the man towards the microphone.
Jensen stood there, listening to the loud noise, and waited for it to die down. It slowly quieted and he leaned in towards the microphone and spoke shyly.
“Thank you, so very much. I never really thought that I was good enough to enter this competition. The head of my department at the college forced the issue and had me entered. Ellen, if you’re out there, thank you. Thank you again for the great honor you have given to me.”
The applause was loud again as Jensen shook Misha’s hand one more time and he and Gus left the stage.
Jared led both down the stairs and back to their seat. It grew quiet as everyone waited to see who had won the Art of the Year award. The head of the museums’ board of directors walked out on the stage with a large crystal trophy and a ribbon tied envelope.
Misha listed the winners and then announced, “The winner of this year’s Art of the Year award is Jensen Ackles.”
The room erupted. Jensen sat there in shock. Chad slapped him on the back.
“Way to go, Jensen!”
“Thank you, Chad,” Jensen said softly, barely heard over the noise.
Jared stood up again and helped his companion go up the stairs. Jensen and Gus walked towards the center stage. Misha handed him the large trophy and the envelope. The artist turned toward the microphone.
“I…I don’t know what to say,” he spoke quietly. “This was my first major piece and I never in my life thought it would be worth anyone seeing it. I appreciate this so very much. Thank you.”
Jensen left the stage to a standing ovation. Watching the audience, Jared wished Jensen could see it. As the man he loved walked towards him, He reached out to take his arm and led him down the stairs.
Misha announced that the grand ballroom was open. He pointed to the double doors on the right.
“Let’s sit here and wait until the crowd dies down,” Jared suggested. Chad stayed with them.
To be continued.