Who'da thought, baby? We're civilians. (dugindeep) wrote,
Who'da thought, baby? We're civilians.
dugindeep

<3 Why I'm Talking to You Timestamp <3

Title: That Time Jared Freaked Out
Words: 3,200
Summary: Jensen's planning the perfect event, but Jared doesn't really wanna go.
Notes: Holiday timestamp to Why I'm Talking to You for ebcdic! Set after the original story, a few months after, before most any other timestamp.




They’re halfway up the second flight of stairs, second flight of three, and Jensen’s grumbling to himself while Danneel’s heels slip every few steps in the thin, dark stairwell.

“This place don’t have an elevator?” Jensen asks.

“Be nice,” Danneel quietly chides.

“Actually,” the woman walking ahead of them, a 20-something that Jensen can’t believe is actually in charge of anything that doesn’t include a slurpee machine, says lightly. “It’s on the historical registry. So, we can’t modify the building structure.”
She’s the party and group events manager; Jensen refuses to buy into her credibility.

“Awesome for the registry,” he mumbles.

Danneel elbows him then takes a sharp, happy breath. “Oh, look at the size of that bar.”

It’s true that the bar is quite impressive, with it taking up nearly one entire wall of the party space. Jensen nods, a tiny bit awed with the size of it. Then he logs the tables in the room; they’re all bar height and add up to a total of ten.

“This all you have?” he asks the woman – girl – child. “We’re expecting nearly two hundred.”

“Well,” she replies awkwardly. “Between the stools at the bar,” – of which there are six – “And the tables, and the open space, we can accommodate, like, two-twenty.”

“So, like,” he says slowly and in mocking, along with a tired look to Danneel. “Every twenty minutes we can cycle in the next fifty people to sit and eat?”

“Jensen,” Danneel scolds.

He stands up straight and gives a flat smile. “Thank you very much.” And he ambles down the three flights of tight stairs.

*

Jensen roams the brightly-lit banquet room, feet slow but eyes fast across the space. He bites into the corner of his mouth and mentally counts bodies and chairs and tables. Then he winces.

“Too small,” he says definitively. He turns to Danneel and actually takes the time to frown, because she looks entirely too put out. “Thank you very much,” he nods towards the general manager, who looks even more put out.

“It was not too small,” Danneel whispers as they exit the restaurant.

“It was.”

“Was not.”

“Was, too,” he complains when they hit the sidewalk. Then he sighs. “We are not fighting over this. It’s my responsibility. My decision.”

“Why’m I here, then?”

“To offer opinions.”

“It wasn’t too sm-”

“Yes it was,” he says with even more determination than he had used inside. “What’s next?”

Danneel sighs and drags a clipboard from under her arm. “Olde English.”

He gives her a long look. “What? How is that on the list?” She shrugs and he
rolls his eyes. “Tom suggested it, didn’t he?”

“Tom has good ideas sometimes!” she snaps back at him.

They both stare at each other in horror: Danneel for having said it and Jensen for having to even consider the possibility.

A taxi pulls up to the curb and Jensen buttons the top button to his suit jacket before pulling the back passenger door open. “Tom has awful ideas,” he says tightly as she gets in. He scoots in next to her and, after giving the driver directions to the restaurant, he goes on, “Do you not remember the time he suggested removing red from the Surecell template to save on ink?”

“It saved on ink!” Danneel says, exasperated. “It saved ink and money and time, Jensen. Time to print the stupid handouts.”

“It looked ugly, Danneel.

She sighs and slinks low in the seat. “I’m hungry,” she complains quietly.

“And crabby.”

Rolling her eyes, she goes on. “The whole point of my coming was to offer opinions on taste tests. We haven’t tasted anything.”

“They haven’t offered anything. When they do, I’ll let you eat.”

“Oh, my God,” she groans.

*

“Coat check?” he asks lightly, face trained into a tight mask.

“You can use the extra space in the extension,” the very kind, open 40-something event manager says as he walks towards the exact spot he’s talking about. “Or we can open up the check stand right outside for fifty dollars.”

Danneel looks over, hopeful and sweet. “Per hour?”

“Per night,” the guy smiles easily.

She makes a face at Jensen, now happy and impressed. Jensen … kind of feels it, but he’s perfected his game face; he won’t say or show a thing.

Except … he loves the space. It’s wide open with bar-height and regular tables, space for drinks and socializing, enough seats to let people actually sit to eat their dinner, floor-to-ceiling windows on the second floor to show off the neighborhood, and an elevator.

“Anything else?” the manager asks. “Otherwise, you wanna hit the restaurant and try some of the goods?”

Danneel grins at Jensen and he finally smiles. “Yeah, I’m pretty hungry,” he nods.

*

The day of the event, Jensen’s jittery all day and Danneel can’t handle it.

It’s worse than ever.

Because he’s anxious and moody and whiny, and Danneel mostly stares in response before snapping at him.

“Man up, Ackles!” she orders from the doorway.

Jensen’s head snaps up with his hands frozen around his tie as he’d been pulling it out from under his collar. “What?”

“It’s just the Christmas party–”

Holiday party.”

She rolls her eyes. “Okay, whatever.”

“Don’t whatever me. I was put under precise orders that it’s a Holiday party. Tom’s the idiot that typed it wrong.”

Again, Danneel rolls her eyes but she gives them both the courtesy of moving into his office and shutting the door behind her. Her sharp attitude is softened by her cocktail dress, but he still scowls at her. Especially when she harps on him: “Would you calm down? This is the third time you’ve tied this tie. And stop blaming Tom. You’re giving him a complex.”

Jensen gives her a strange look. “What? You have some new bond with Tom?”

“Yeah. You make his life hell, and mine, too. We commiserate.”

He frowns and snaps his tie away from his shirt. As a change of subject, he stalks to the tall cabinet in the corner, which stores a few shirts, ties, and a jacket, all for nights he gets stuck at the office until morning. Or tragic coffee incidents.

Both have happened an alarming amount of times lately.

Jensen ignores her latest strike and lays a slate tie over the handful of oxford shirts that are hanging in the cabinet. He pulls on the sleeves to get different lighting and drapes the tie across them, unable to decide.

Danneel moves right in, tugging the pale blue one off its hanger and tucking it under her arm. She gets to work on unbuttoning the white shirt he’d worn all day, all without looking at him. “You’re so impossible. I thought you’d be more bearable with Jared coming with you, and all. But apparently I was dead wrong there.”

At Jared’s name, Jensen inhales sharply then keeps the breath, chest tight with the effort. He looks clear across the room, eyes just over the top of her head so he doesn’t have to look at her, but he sees when she picks her head up to try to meet his eyes.

“Oh, my God,” she murmurs.

He chews on his lower lip, trying his best to keep quiet and not show any other crack in his normally cranky yet perfectly professional façade.

“Oh, wow,” she quietly laughs as she closes the last button then tosses the tie around his neck. “You’ve got it bad.”

Jensen continues staring at the framed portrait of the John Hancock Tower on the opposite wall, focusing on the glare of sun on the blue tint of glass.

As she ties the slate piece into place, she’s shaking her head and humming. “All this. All the months of looking at places and bitching at managers. All the picky eating. All of it because you wanted to impress Jared.”

“No,” he replies flatly.

“Mmhmm.”

Jensen pushes his tongue into his bottom lip and attempts to speak as levelly as possible. “Randy charged me with arranging the party.”

“I’m pretty sure he meant oversee, not sweat the small stuff.” He doesn’t answer, and she goes on. “You’re nervous because of Jared.”

“I’m nervous because Jared’s not here yet.” It’s not a total lie; Jared being nearly half an hour late is absolutely making him flip.

“Fashionably late?” she asks with a sad smile.

Jensen sighs and continues staring straight ahead. “Probably not coming at all.”

Danneel tugs on his tie, trying to get his attention but he won’t dare look at her. He knows she’s got a sad smile in place and he doesn’t want to see it.

There’s a short knock at the door, and in the decorative window stretching the length of the wall, Jensen can see the bulk of Jared’s side and the promising little flip of hair at the back of his neck. He takes a sharp breath again though it’s eased a bit when Danneel finishes the tie and smoothes her gently down it. “Relax,” she murmurs just before punching him in the stomach.

He flinches back and she smirks at him, then winks, and lets Jared in. She and Jared share smiles and she makes a little approved noise but leaves him with Jensen alone, with the door closed.

Jared smiles oddly at Danneel on her way out but then he nods at Jensen and mashes his lips between his teeth.

He looks about as nervous as Jensen feels, which is strangely comforting.

Until Jensen takes the time to really look at Jared, and his stomach clenches at the chocolate button-up, with an equally chocolate and soft looking undershirt, all tucked into charcoal pants. Jensen tugs on his tie, unable to think or say anything.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jared says carefully with an uneasy shrug. “Couldn’t find anything to wear,” he tacks on with a chuckle.

Jensen can’t figure out what to say at the moment, as though he’s swallowed his own tongue, and then he feels worse because he can see in Jared’s eyes that the silence is making things more awkward.

He’s thankfully distracted when Randy knocks and enters, sharp suit and tie himself, as always. Randy smiles at Jared, patting his shoulder then squeezing, as he’s taken to doing whenever he sees him.

“How’re you doing, son?”

Jared shuffles on his feet with an anxious smile and nods, answering Randy and chattering on but all Jensen can see is how Jared’s arms keep fussing: crossing with his jacket held against his body; dropping; hands on his waist; into his pants’ pockets; shucking up the folded sleeves of his shirt; anything.

After a bit of small talk, Randy points at Jensen. “Just checking that you got everything done for the Morgan?”

“Yes, sir,” Jensen nods. “I have lunch set up for next Tuesday. You’re welcome to join us,” he adds, a bit worried for not letting his boss know about the plans before.

Randy waves him off. “If you’ve got it, you’ve got it.”

“I do,” he nods again.

“Gonna see you both at the party?” Randy asks with a playful smile. “Wear your Sunday best and all that. First round’s on me.” Then he winks, pats Jared on the back, and leaves.

Jared immediately turns to Jensen “First round? I thought you said it was an open bar?”

Jensen swallows and chuckles lightly, ringing a finger underneath his collar. He thinks Danneel tied his tie too tight. Or he just can’t stand the moment, air going thick with his nerves. “I think he was kidding.”

Palming his stomach, Jared frowns. “I brought a jacket. A real jacket,” he adds as he lifts the piece of clothing into the air.

He finally shakes his head, shakes himself out of it, and rounds the desk to meet Jared at the doorway. “Don’t worry,” he insists.

“He said Sunday best,” Jared mumbles as he looks into the hallway, as if he’s making sure Randy’s not there.

“You look fine, Jared.”

He smiles a little, shrugging and chuckling to himself. “I’m a college kid on a budget. I really couldn’t find something to wear. I had to charge these pants.”

Jensen chuckles with him and rubs a hand over Jared’s shoulder, down over his bicep, and curling around his elbow, holding lightly. “You’re not a kid. And you look … well, more than fine.” Jared’s eyes move between Jensen’s, and Jensen feels his face go warm as he nods.

Jared shrugs and messes with the edge of his folded shirt cuffs as he continues to awkwardly laugh. “I wore this shirt to my sister’s graduation. The sleeves are too short.”

“They look okay to me,” Jensen attempts to placate.

“I didn’t wanna be the worst dressed,” he mumbles.

“You’re not.”

There’s a turn to Jared’s mouth and a furrow to his brow that Jensen’s never seen before. For all of his height and build and infectious smile and personality, Jared suddenly looks young. He looks intimidated and a little green around the edges. “This might’ve been a bad idea,” Jared says softly.

Jensen’s stomach turns at that, thinking of how hard he worked on this party, harder than years past, just to, ridiculously enough, impress Jared. And now Jared thinks him being here, with Jensen for an event Jensen’s been crazily looking forward to, is a mistake. “What? Why?”

Jared sighs, pushing a hand through his hair, soft and tucked back behind his ears but now fussed up as he scratches at the back of his neck. “Just. Randy, you, this place. You’re gonna be all,” he says as he motions at Jensen. “And I’m,” and he drifts off with a hand sweeping in front of him. “Randy’s suit. Danneels dress. Kinda freaking me out.”

Jensen huffs out a laugh, disbelieving. “Are you kidding me? You’re freaking me out. You’re looking really good, Jared. You’re not gonna be worst dressed.”

Another long look and Jared still seems unconvinced.

“You won’t. Trust me,” Jensen insists as he slips his hand to Jared’s neck and pulls him in for a gentle kiss. As he feels Jared relax with it, he realizes that he needed it to calm himself, too. “Wait ‘til you see Mike from Accounting.”

Then they’re chuckling together, breathes shared through the laughter and the few quick yet comforting kisses.

Jensen clears his throat and barely glances at him as his arm rests at Jared’s shoulder and his fingers toy with the ends of Jared’s hair. “In the interest of disclosure, this party’s totally overdone and it’s all your fault.”

“How’s it my fault?” Jared asks slowly.

He rings a few strands around his knuckle and flexes it, keeping his eyes on the movement. Jared’s hair is so soft, and he thinks about how laid back and flexible Jared has been in these few months of dating, how he makes Jensen stop and think about what matters outside of work.

Jensen softly smiles but then it turns a bit guilty. “Because I have high standards. And I wanted to impress you. With my high standards,” he adds dumbly.

Jared stares for far too long; it makes Jensen nervous. But then his lips start to spread and he snorts. “You’re throwing a holiday party in January because you want to impress me?”

“No,” Jensen quickly argues. “I’m throwing a holiday party in January because it’s cheaper and we got a ton of freebies and a pass on room rentals. You know how many people plan parties in January?”

“I’m guessing not a lot.”

“You’d guess right,” Jensen nods. He turns his hand from Jared’s hair to look at his watch and takes a quick breath. “Okay, if we catch a cab now, we’ll only been ten minutes late, give or take.

With a hesitant smile, Jared asks, “How pissed are you that we’re gonna be late?”

“I’m working on it,” Jensen admits quietly. “But it’s kind of nice to know I have company.”

Jared’s smile looks stronger as Jensen turns back to his desk to grab his jacket and shut down his laptop. As Jensen gathers his stuff, Jared takes a sharp breath and lets it out in a calming gesture. “So, how long is the party?”

“Six to ten,” Jensen answers on auto-pilot, hands working his bag shut and checking for keys. As he gathers up his things and approaches Jared, he smiles as easily as possible because Jared still seems uncomfortable. “How about … we go for a few hours, fill up on fancy appetizers and the open bar, then we can head over to one of your bars. Catch the last of the Celtics game?”

It’s near instantaneous, the way Jared’s shoulders relax and he begins to smile – really smile. “You sure?”

Jensen chuckles. “Yeah. If the way you’re suddenly all relaxed is any indication, you don’t mind that plan.”

“Don’t mind at all. Though you might be a little overdressed.”

He snorts to Jared’s smirk. “Let me worry about that.”

“I don’t know, man,” Jared sighs playfully.

“I know how to wind down, okay? I can loosen up, chill out.”

Jared’s nearly grinning by now, happily falling into step with Jensen and heading to the elevators. “People who really can chill out, don’t say chill out.”

At the elevator lobby, Jensen punches the button and turns on Jared, voice going stern along with his dark yet humorous look. “You wanna stay at the party all night?”

“No, sir,” Jared shakes his head with a small smile.

“Then stop picking on me,” Jensen complains, pushing at Jared to get into the elevator when it arrives.

“Danneel’s gonna be there. I doubt I’ll be the only one picking on you.”

“Then you can defend me against her. For one night,” he tacks on when Jared doesn’t seem to be in agreement.

Jared shrugs. “I don’t know. She’s pretty tough.”

Jensen slides against the elevator wall so he’s shoulder to shoulder with Jared, and despite all of his worry of the last few hours, he’s smiling easily. “You’re, like, twice her size.”

“Yeah, but the little ones have more bite,” Jared returns, dipping down to tap his forehead to Jensen’s.

He laughs and leans up to kiss Jared, a quick press of lips. “I’m glad you’re coming tonight.”

The doors open, and Jared leads them into the main lobby. He pushes the front door open as he asks, “Even after freaking yourself out on planning the perfect holiday party for me?”

Another laugh and Jensen nods. “Yeah, especially after.” Once they’re outside, he takes a long, deep breath of crisp wintry air. Welcoming how it cools him down, he easily admits, “Never brought someone to a work party before. Not anyone that mattered, anyway.”

As they step to the curb, Jared slips his hand into Jensen’s, threading fingers and squeezing. He licks his lips even while he’s softly smiling, and his eyes say more than enough. Jensen doesn’t bother adding to the subject, and instead pulls at the door of the first cab that’s waiting at the cab stand.

He knows Jared gets it.
Tags: this christmas j2 gave me a heart, why i'm talking to you
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  • Why I'm Talking to You on AO3

    Hey there! I finally, finally, finally got all of Why I'm Talking to You (along with its ~20 timestamps?!?!) onto Archive of Our Own. The whole…

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