11:13 AM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER
“Thanks, Ruth,” Bo said as Ruth Collins slid two plates onto the table.
“No problem, Bo. Can I get you boys anything else?” Ruth asked.
“All good here, Ruth. Thanks.” She nodded before walking away from the table. Bo reached out, lightly stirring his straw through the glass of pop in front of him. “Question time?” he questioned.
Jensen chuckled. “Sure, babe. Ask away.”
“You said you went to college. What major?”
“Engineering,” Jensen said. “I mean, at first. After the, uh, issue with my friend, I considered dropping out so I’d never have to face him again, but I just settled on switching majors. Criminology,” he explained.
“You… wanted to be an engineer?” Bo asked.
“No offense, Jens… but math isn’t your forte,” the blonde said quietly.
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “I used to be pretty damn good at it. It was always one of my favorite subjects, right next to my writing courses. But after I decided to switch majors, I pretty much made myself forget all the advanced shit. I only wanted to know what I had to know for my math courses, and I switched all of those to the easy stuff.”
Bo frowned. “I’m sorry you had to give up on your dream, Jens.”
Jensen shrugged, grabbing a curly fry from his plate. “It worked out for me in the end, Eli. Ended up with you, didn’t I?” he asked. He gestured to Bo, dropping the fry into his mouth. “Next.”
“What’d you do after college?”
“Did you like it?”
“Well, it’s a piece of cake compared to Jamal’s training,” Jensen said with a chuckle. He reached out with one hand, pushing Bo’s salad closer to the blonde. “If you don’t eat, I won’t keep answering questions.”
Bo nodded, looking down as he picked up his fork, stirring the ranch dressing into the salad. “When did you first meet Jamal?”
“Technically when I was in the hospital after I was beaten by the family Kathy fucked over, but I was basically on enough drugs that I don’t remember much about him or what happened then. So, in reality, after I graduated from Academy. Chance and Mercedes were out of town for a second honeymoon or… or something like that. I don’t remember the details, but because of that, Jamal was the only one to show up at the graduation ceremony,” Jensen said. “I mean, he was there when I graduated college, too, but I didn’t meet him then.”
“Why was Jamal the only one there? What about Kathy?”
Jensen snorted. “She had been arrested at that point. But even if she hadn’t been arrested, she was with Dallas and sporting three new kids on her hip, kids she cared about more than she cared about me. She didn’t give a shit about me,” he said. He reached out, swiping a fry through his ketchup. “Too bad I didn’t realize that sooner,” he muttered.
“I’m sorry, Jens.”
The younger man shook his head. “Don’t be. Next.”
Bo stabbed several pieces of lettuce with his fork, clearing his throat. “You met Jamal at the graduation. What’d he say?” he asked, taking a bite of his salad.
“He… actually apologized that Kathy wasn’t there. He said that if he knew she’d abandon me like that…” Jensen cleared his throat, scratching the side of his neck. “If he knew, he would’ve made sure she was never involved in my life in the first place. He took me out for some unbelievably expensive lunch with him and Frank, he co-signed so I could get an apartment, and then he asked if I wanted to work with him at the station or not.”
“And I said no. I wasn’t ready to be a cop just then. I wasn’t even planning on staying in L.A.. I would’ve been in the station with Kathy, and I didn’t want that. We had a long ass talk about what I wanted to do in life, and we eventually decided that I’d go through his training so I could bodyguard for his… people,” Jensen said.
“What made you say yes?”
“Umm…” Jensen cleared his throat, rubbing at the back of his neck. “Jamal showed me pictures of who I might get to work for. Profiles, you know? People he thought I could work well with. One of them… was you.” Nervously, his green eyes lifted to Bo’s face. “I thought you were cute.”
“That would’ve been in 2018. We were trying to find GBK back then,” Bo said. “He hated me. He wanted me dead,” he said.
Jensen shook his head slowly. “You don’t know as much about as him as you think you do, Eli,” he said softly. “He was scared to care about you. Everyone he cares about is dead or wants nothing to do with him. He was worried you’d leave him once he showed any sort of affection toward you. It came out as hate and rage most of the time,” he explained.
Bo stared at the younger man for a moment before nodding. Jamal had informed him that he’d been drunk most days during 2018, anyway. Jensen’s story almost made sense to the blonde. “So you took the job because you thought I was cute?”
“Give me a break. I was basically a closeted gay man.”
Bo smiled, rolling his eyes. “So you were just hoping that eventually, you’d end up guarding me?”
“And damn proud of it,” Jensen reminded. He picked up his hamburger, his gaze flicking to Bo’s face. “Next?”
“Was there another reason for agreeing to the training?” Bo asked.
Jensen lifted his shoulders. “I dunno. I guess I liked the idea of basically running through a more intense Academy again. It made me feel useful for a while.”
“How long was it?”
“A year and a half.”
Bo nodded, his gaze falling to the salad before him. “You thought I was cute.”
“That’s been established.”
“How’d you feel driving me around to have sex with random women?”
“I… I don’t know,” Jensen said dismissively.
“No, you know. How’d you feel?” Bo asked.
“Like I wanted to kiss you and let you know that you didn’t have to stick your dick in some chick to feel like you mattered, because you fucking mattered no matter what you were doing with your life,” Jensen said, his tone tense. “I wanted you to know that I liked you, that I thought you were attractive. I wanted to tell you that you never had to hurt yourself again, that you didn’t have to spend your nights with women you didn’t know because I would’ve gladly laid beside you if it meant making you feel better.”
Bo’s blue eyes shifted back to the younger man’s face. “I wish you had told me that.”
“I wasn’t going to embarrass myself.”
“You still kissed me.”
“And then apologized profusely,” Jensen said.
“I know. I thought you were going to cry.”
“I wanted to. I was pretty sure I had fucked everything up at that point. I thought you were gonna tell Jamal, and I was about ninety percent certain he’d kill me for touching you,” Jensen said. “And then… and then we had sex,” he whispered.
“You did cry after that. You went into the bathroom for a shower, but I could hear you. You thought you had ruined everything? I thought I had broken you,” Bo said.
“I’d slept with another drunk guy. Repeated history. I thought for sure you’d forget it by morning and I’d have to pretend that I wasn’t falling in love with you. It made me sick to my stomach, just thinking that I’d have to look at you every single day but never get to touch you or hold you or kiss you ever again,” Jensen said quietly. “Do you know what a relief it was to me when you told me that Jake knew we had slept together? It meant you had remembered it, and… God, I felt relieved, that’s all.”
Bo reached across the table, grabbing Jensen’s hand. “I’m sorry, Jens. I wish I hadn’t been so damn blind to you and how you felt. I wish I had known how you felt about me.”
Jensen looked down as Bo’s thumb rolled over his knuckles. “It’s not your fault. I tried to hide it the best I could. You were grieving, and I thought you were straight, so… I knew I had to control whatever feelings I had for you.”
“I’m still sorry,” Bo whispered, lifting Jensen’s hand to press a kiss to the back of it.
“I know, baby,” Jensen murmured. He squeezed Bo’s hand. “Next?” he asked.
Bo nodded slightly, clearing his throat. “You said I was the first person that remembered you were gay. Who else did you tell?”
“Kathy, during high school.” Jensen lifted his shoulders. “She was beyond wasted. I should’ve known better in the first place.”
“What’d she say to you?”
“Boys were disgusting pigs and the fact that I wanted two men in one relationship proved what a pig I was,” Jensen said. “She called me an abomination,” he whispered. He swallowed, glancing upward for a moment. “I thought it was because of how she was raised. I thought it was Jamal’s fault for raising her that way, and I hated him because of it. But when he found out about us? God, that’s how a parent’s supposed to react to their child being gay. They’re supposed to support their kid and let them know they’re loved. That was when I realized it wasn’t Jamal at all. Kathy was just…”
“A bitch,” Bo said quietly.
“Yeah,” the younger man breathed.
“We don’t have to do this any more, Jens,” Bo said.
Jensen shook his head. “We can keep going.” He smiled faintly. “I love you, Eli. I’ll tell you anything you wanna know. So ask away.”
“When did you actually realize you were gay?” Bo asked.
“I didn’t know what that meant at the time, but I was six,” Jensen asked. “The kids in my class were having some bullshit wedding ceremony on the playground, and we were all ‘invited’ to it, you know? Everyone was dancing after the, uh ‘wedding’, and the only person left to dance with was Jeremiah Roberts. Adorable boy, by the way. He said that was gross because I wasn’t a chick, so he totally wouldn’t dance with me. I didn’t have a problem with the idea. The idea of dancing with a girl made me feel weird, but the idea of dancing with him made… made my heart skip a beat and it made me feel flustered, but it felt like the idea was totally normal.”
Bo smiled softly, ignoring the sudden annoying thought that when Jensen was first figuring out he was gay, Bo was nearly ready to graduate high school, still entirely unsure who he was attracted to, entirely unsure of how attraction even worked. “Why were you homeschooled?” he asked after a moment of silence.
“Broke a kid’s jaw in, like, third grade because he called a girl in my class a retard.” Jensen lifted his shoulders. “No regrets there. Next?”
“How close are you with the Taylors?”
“There was a period of time in middle school where I was calling them Mom and Dad,” Jensen said. “I love both of them. They treated me like their own kid, even though Kathy was supposed to be my actual guardian.” He smiled. “Chance even took me to football and baseball games. He was father material, and I loved him for it.”
Bo smiled, nodding. “What’d you want to be when you were younger? Before college, before the bad shit happened. What’d you want to be?”
Jensen lifted his shoulder. “I wanted to fix cars. It’s what my dad did for a job, and I wanted to be just like him, even though Mom hated that idea,” he said. “Can I ask you one?”
“What did you want to be?”
“I pretty much always wanted to be a scientist until I got to college. That’s when I decided on forensics. I could put more of my knowledge to use that way,” Bo said.
“Nerd.” Bo rolled his eyes. “If you could be anywhere in the world other than right here with me in the girls, where would you wanna be?”
Bo folded an arm over the table, aimlessly stirring his fork through his salad. “Good question. Where would you want to be?”
“Lots of amazing food.”
Bo chuckled. “Umm, my answer’s a bit stupider than that.”
“I doubt that. What is it?”
“I’ve always wanted to search for lost cities. The paradises, the ones that religions and people described for centuries, even if they never saw them themselves. Can you imagine what those places would look like after no one’s seen them in hundreds or thousands of years? Manmade architecture overtaken by nature? The earth just doing her thing and taking back her ground piece by piece? It’d be beautiful.”
Jensen smiled. “That’s amazing, Eli. I’ve never… seen that side of you.”
“Because it offers the impression that I believe in religion, that I’m a dreamer. I’m not, so…”
“I’d find all the lost cities in the world if it meant making you smile, if it meant that you got take just a few pictures.”
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Jensen cocked his head to the side. “What’d you think of me when we first met?”
“You had far too much pain and intelligence swimming in your eyes for someone your age. You’d seen too many bad things in your life.”
“I had two thoughts when I saw you the first time, one of which I’m incredibly ashamed of.”
Bo snorted. “Cough ‘em up.”
“You had been through a lot of bad shit, and you deserved so much better than what you had,” Jensen said.
“And then? What were you ashamed of?”
Jensen cleared his throat. “I still wanted to bone you.”
“Oh, my gosh,” Bo whispered. He laughed, leaning back in the booth. “Perv.”
“Hey, I was running on a dry streak that would put Jake to shame,” Jensen said.
Bo chuckled, rolling his eyes. “I looked terrible when you first met me. I had just had my stomach pumped. Alcohol poisoning. I was pale, underweight, and probably sedated. Why would you want anywhere near any of that?”
“When you’ve got a crush on a person, you don’t care what they look like on their bad days,” Jensen said honestly.
Bo shook his head. “I still don’t know what I did to deserve you.”
“I still feel the same way every morning when we wake up,” Jensen said.
The blonde smiled softly. “Favorite thing to do when we’re apart?”
“Count down the minutes until we’re together again.”
“I’d call you out for being a romantic little shit, but I do the same.”
“I know. I picked it up from you,” Jensen said. He took a sip of his pop. “I like purple on you. What do you like on me?”
“Anything or nothing,” Bo said. Jensen raised an eyebrow, a slow smirk tugging at one corner of his mouth. “I–I didn’t mean to say that aloud,” he added almost nervously.
“You. are. adorable,” Jensen whispered. He glanced down at his watch before looking back up at his husband. “Wanna skip the rest of lunch?”
“And do what?”
“Go somewhere private and find out what car sex feels like.”
Bo choked, laying a hand on his chest as he turned his head to cough into his other elbow. “We can’t do that,” he said several seconds later, his voice hoarse.
“Because it… because it’s weird,” Bo whispered.
“So am I, but that didn’t stop you from doing me,” Jensen said.
“We could get arrested.”
“That’s why I said somewhere private, babe.”
“I…” Bo trailed off before sighing. He lifted his hand. “Ruth? Check, please?” he asked.
“Be there in a sec, Bo,” Ruth responded.
Jensen grinned, his eyes trained on Bo’s flustered expression. “I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Bo said softly, pulling his wallet from his back pocket. He handed his debit card to Ruth as soon as she stopped at the table. “Fifty-percent tip, Ruth,” he said quietly, blue eyes locking with Jensen’s.
“You sure, hon?” Ruth asked.
Bo smiled faintly, glancing up at the waitress. “Positive. I’m feeling adventurous.”
Ruth chuckled. “Of course. I’ll be back in a moment, Bo.”
Bo watched her leave before his eyes snapped back to Jensen’s face. “It’ll have to be quick.”
“Tragically,” Jensen muttered. He reached across the table, grabbing Bo’s hand. “I love you, Eli. So damn much.”
Bo smiled faintly, despite the blush that still tinged his cheeks. “I love you, too, Jens.”
Enjoying the story? Consider dropping a comment or a like down below!!
Love what I do and want to help support me? You can ‘buy me a coffee’ on Ko-fi!