Word Count: 8212
Summary: Jensen Ackles works a nine to five job, along with his friends he’s a cubicle captive but he has an escape, he writes. Now his hobby has become something more, he’s become an internet author and now his writing has a fan following. Unfortunately for Jensen one particular fan wants more than just his autograph. Can detective Jared Padalecki stop Jensen’s devoted acolyte, before it’s too late.
Disclaimer: Once more I proclaim with great sadness that I neither own, nor know the men I have generally abused during the writing of this story. All ideas are pure fiction and I meant no harm, ok mostly no harm, and Jensen I’m really sorry.
Notes: first and foremost, I'd like to thank bigj52, a beta in a million.A woman who puts up with my mutilation of the English language with the patience of a saint. And secondly sorry this has taken so long to arrive, but I'm in the middle of a BB for the spn_gen_bigbang, but soon I shall return to my first love, J2, and as always Jensen I can't say sorry enough
Jensen leant against the wall in the office kitchen; he was on his third cup of black coffee, and it was only ten o’clock. He had been kept awake most of the night by the phone ringing - every time he thought it was over one of his phones would start to ring again. He was shattered; he just wanted to crawl under his desk and go to sleep. As he was drinking his coffee he was unaware he was being watched by his friends. Misha, Mike and Tom observed the bleary-eyed Jensen as he drank his coffee, staring blankly at the wall.
Misha leaned towards Tom, “What do you think is wrong? Could it be his muse has up and left him for James Paterson...for better money and fame? Or do you think, Beaver’s emailed a nude photo of himself to Jensen, to let him see what to expect after the wedding.” He mused to his friends.
Tom nearly dropped his coffee and Mike started to make retching sounds. Jensen looked over, a horrified expression on his face at those words. “For Christ’s sake, Misha, I just had a bad night. After hearing that, I may never sleep again.” Jensen had gone even paler and slumped against the wall, a traumatized look on his face at the thought.
Misha looked round the room and grinned, “What! I only suggested that Jensen is receiving romantic advances from our esteemed leader, Beaver. Had to woo him back somehow. In that case is the wedding back on? Only, if that’s what happened, we need to get Mike on a diet so he can fit into his dress.” As he finished speaking he was relieved to see that Jensen couldn’t help but smile.
Then Mike stood up straighter, pouted and flicked at his hair, “How dare you! I’ll have you know I still have the girlish figure I had in high school, when I was a cheerleader. I was always top of the pyramid.” Mike struck a pose with his hands on his hips and they all burst out laughing.
As they were laughing Kane walked in and poured himself a coffee. He took one look at Jensen, and smirked. “Looking at you, boy, someone got lucky last night. Anyone we know? Oh God! Don’t tell me it was the detective with the puppy dog eyes. Did he let you use his handcuffs?” Kane gave an evil smirk.
When Jensen only gave a weak smile in return, the smirk drained off his face, “Shit, Jen! That bastard, Acolyte ain’t been bothering you again, has he? Because I don’t give a damn what the cops said, if he’s back then we are goin’ back to see those two idiots. Trust me. By the time I’m finished, they’ll be happy to stop eating donuts and get off their asses.” Kane glared over at Jensen.
“Don’t worry, Kane. I just had a bad night. Nothing for you guys to go all Magnificent Seven...well, more like the Mediocre Four over this. And they don’t spend all their time eating donuts....Jared prefers muffins, especially chocolate ones.” He grinned back at Kane, and Kane just rolled his eyes at his friend.
“I don’t even want to know how you know that. Just don’t let Sasquatch keep you up all night again. After all, you got responsibilities to your fans and, Mike really wants that holiday in the Caribbean. Seriously, Jen, if things start to get bad, you tell us, right? I know you, man. You don’t have do this alone. Get me, Jen; we’re here for you. And I want a full report about what you were doing with that cop. Am I gonna have to talk to him?” He gave a soft growl, and cracked his knuckles in anticipation.
Jensen grinned at the expectant faces of his friends, “Relax, Kane, you haven’t got to take your club around to the station and beat him to death with it. How about I tell you guys at the next fan club meeting? Is that alright by you?” He looked round at his friends; they seemed to have been placated by this. He didn’t want to tell them about the silent phone calls just yet; it might have been a one-off thing and there was no need to worry them.
Mike walked over, threw his arm round his shoulders, and started to guide him back to his desk. “How about we let you slump over your desk, and if we see Beaver coming, I’ll get Misha to distract him and Tom can throw a glass of water over you?” He patted Jensen’s shoulder reassuringly.
Jensen laughed, “How are you going to get Misha to distract him?” Jensen yawned as he asked the question.
“That’s easy. I’ll just tell Misha that Beaver’s going to drag you off to the stationery cupboard and molest you. Then Misha will probably leap over the cubicle, and beat him to death with his keyboard.” Mike said happily.
Just then Misha appeared by their sides, “No, I’d challenge him to a duel. Staplers at ten paces. Tom, will you be my second?” He called over his shoulder.
“Sure...hang on, what does a second do?” Tom asked nervously.
“Nothing too much. Just hold my jacket and if I should mysteriously vanish, or hide in the gents, you will have to take my place in the duel. That’s alright, isn’t it? Only I hear that Beaver is a crack shot with his stapler, and I know his is a rapid-loading model.” Misha only just managed to avoid getting a smack round the head by Tom.
They arrived back at their desks. Mike pulled out Jensen’s chair and Misha guided him to his seat, then Mike pushed him to his desk. “Are you guys going to tuck me in as well?” Jensen settled back down and started to work.
Mike shook his head, “No, that’s Kane’s job but I’ll read you a bed-time story if you like. Once upon a time there was a handsome prince by the name of Michael of Rosenbaum. He was fair and beloved by all the hot women within his kingdom. But a jealous wizard by the name of Thomas plotted to steal the prince’s beauty, and lock him away, pining in a tower, until his true love would rescue him.” Just then Jensen yawned, and Mike returned to his desk.
“Ahh, come on, don’t stop. It was just getting interesting. What’s the princess’s name, and does she get to battle dragons?” Jensen said as he began to review the latest batch of reports, left for him by Beaver.
Mike’s voice floated over the cubicle, “Of course she does. The fair Princess Christina battles long and hard, and uses her long brunette hair to climb to the rescue of her handsome prince, and they live happily ever after.” Jensen laughed at the image of Kane in a long dress and cowboy boots, fighting off a dragon and Tom dressed in Harry Potter’s Quidditch uniform.
The rest of the day was uneventful, except for when Beaver approached their desks, Misha faked a coughing fit to make sure Jensen was awake. Now Jensen opened the door to his apartment, relieved the day was over. He had the headache from hell, due to being tired and from all the coffee he’d drunk. He stripped off his jacket then decided to go for a run to clear his head. After the run he’d taken a shower and now he was sat in front of the television - so far no phone calls. But he couldn’t help the sense of apprehension that ran through him then his phone rang. He licked his lips, hoping that when he answered there would be a voice on the other end. “Hello?” Jensen hated hearing the quiver in his voice when he spoke. He expected silence; instead what he got was...
“Good evening. I’m calling from Paradise Gardens. We specialize in landscaping properties. Can I interest you in our services?” A cheery voice came down the phone, and Jensen just gaped at it.
“Thanks for the call, but I live in an apartment on the second floor, and I don’t even have a balcony to put plants on.” There was a hesitation as the saleswoman processed this information.
“Oh, I’m sorry to have disturbed you. Have a pleasant evening.” The call ended, leaving Jensen looking at the phone, as if it had suddenly sprouted legs and was running around his lounge. He thought, ok weird, but better than silence. He was probably on some call list the company had purchased.
He was settling down to watch television when the phone rang again, “Now what!” he muttered to himself. This time it was a company offering his home a new roof. Again he patiently explained the situation. And so began a new form of torture. Every time the phone rang there was another cold calling salesman or woman on the line. He tried to ignore the incessant ringing, but he always succumbed to the sound and answered.
By the time ten o’clock came Jensen had lost count of the amount of times he answered his phone. It had come to the point where he was longing to hear the silence on the line of the previous night’s phone calls. Finally peace reigned once more; he glared at his phone, almost daring it to ring, “Is that it? Are we done for the night? Thank fuck for that, I gotta go to bed.” He got slowly to his feet and prepared for bed.
He lay in the dark, trying to unwind, but he was unable to relax. He knew who was behind this. There was no way it was coincidence. He rubbed tiredly at his eyes, and inhaled deeply, trying to keep calm. At long last he looked over at his alarm clock. Crap! He’d been lying there for nearly two hours, unable to sleep. His mind kept turning over and over, then his mobile phone beeped; he stared at it as if it was a snake about to strike at him. Finally he plucked up the courage to pick up the phone, there was a text message. He opened it and his heart raced with fear. All the message said was.....“Goodnight, my love.” After that Jensen didn’t sleep at all.
I close my phone; I see you got my message, Jensen. I’m sorry but this is just the start. You have to come to me for help, for my protection. I know that soon you will see me for who I am, and you will come to love me. But for now I must watch you suffer and it breaks my heart, but I promise it will all be worth it when we are together, where no one will ever bother us again. As I lie here on my bed I look at the ceiling, and I know that you are in the room above me. Perhaps I should come to watch you sleep. I have done it before; you’ve never known I was there. But soon, mine will be last face you see as you go to sleep, and mine will be the face you wake up to. I can’t wait for that day, but I must be patient a little while longer. I have only a few preparations to make and then we can be together forever.
Jensen had crawled out of the bed the following morning in desperation; he’d gone for a dawn run, followed by a freezing cold shower. Now he was sat, slumped at his desk, squinting at his screen. He could hear what were supposed to be quiet voices, talking about him.
“You don’t think he got lucky again last night, do you?” Mike whispered over to Misha.
“If he did, then I think we should hunt the man down and shoot him. It’s cruel, keeping Jensen awake like that two nights in a row - the poor boy needs his beauty sleep. After all he needs to look his best for the wedding, and if he isn’t in prime condition then we may have to offer Tom as a replacement.” Misha hissed back.
Jensen leant back in his seat, and looked up at the two men leaning on the top of the cubicle. Just then Tom stood up, grinning down at Jensen, “For the sake of my Jamie, please get some sleep, Jensen. I don’t want to be a virgin sacrifice to Beaver. We all know you’re the prettiest here and that’s why you’re taking one for the team.” Jensen laughed at that then weakly held up his empty cup to his friends.
Misha grabbed the cup, “Alright, I’ll get you another, but I feel I shouldn’t be enabling you in your caffeine addiction. I feel like a pusher. Should I get some baggy jeans and a baseball cap or something?” Misha looked to the others for help.
“No, but what you should get me, is another coffee. Better yet, how about a double espresso shot? Relax, guys, it’s just a little insomnia. Nothing to be concerned about. Before you start, my little Acolyte is not sitting beneath my window, serenading me all night, if that’s what you’re worried about. Ask Kane, he’ll tell you I get this from time to time. Now help me out and keep the coffee coming, please, guys. If I get this wrong, Beaver will kill me.” Jensen went back to squinting at the screen. The three men looked at one another. Misha just shrugged his shoulders, and went to fetch yet another cup of black coffee.
At the end of the day Jensen returned to his empty apartment; he hesitated to open the door. He dreaded just what lay in store for him tonight. He straightened his back and walked in. There seemed to be nothing untoward in the room and he relaxed. He went to brew himself some more coffee then he paused. “No, I think I’ve drunk enough today. Come on, damnit, pull yourself together. It’s just some phone calls. Stop freaking out. That’s just what the bastard wants.” Instead, he got himself some orange juice.
Now he found himself waiting for the phone to ring, the silence of his apartment oppressive. He turned on the television just for background noise, and after a while he drifted off to sleep. He was woken by the phone ringing; he felt the familiar twist of apprehension in his stomach before he answered it. “Hello?”
“Jensen, sweetheart, are you alright? You sound stressed.” His mother’s voice floated up through the phone and Jensen managed to relax a little; he talked to her for nearly an hour. He never mentioned the problems he was having, either with the stalker or the calls. Just like he hadn’t told the guys about the calls - he wanted to deal with this on his own. He felt so weak. He was being terrorized by some faceless bastard and he was scared, scared to be alone in his own apartment, frightened by the ringing of his phone. But he refused to give Acolyte the satisfaction of running back to the police, even though he wanted nothing more than to speak to Jared and ask for his help. Yup, he thought, it’s official; I’m pathetic, wanting a big strong man to take care of me.
His mobile beeped and there was a text message from a blocked number. He felt sick and reluctantly opened the message. It was a spam message. Jensen squeezed on the phone. Great! Even the sound of his phone beeping was tearing his nerves to shreds. He realized he hadn’t eaten; he dragged himself up off the couch, and walked to the kitchen. He wasn’t really hungry, so he made himself a sandwich. He’d only taken a couple of bites when both phones started to ring.
Jensen put down the sandwich and answered one. There was silence on the line, and Jensen waited. He couldn’t even hear breathing which unnerved him more than he wanted to admit. His mobile kept on ringing, and so it began again. It wasn’t constant like the other nights, and the uneven rhythm just served to stress Jensen out even more. He even tried to write, managing to get some more of his novel worked on, but the constant disruptions made it impossible to concentrate. He never noticed that the sandwich lay untouched on the table.
Finally Jensen surrendered and went to bed, and once again he lay there staring up at the ceiling. He was waiting for the phone to ring and the whole ordeal to start again. The darkness felt threatening and he jumped at every creak in his apartment. In the end he gave up and got out of bed. He sat down in front of the television and began to watch infomercials.
Jensen jerked awake, his mobile phone was ringing. Shit! He’d fallen asleep in front of the television; he looked at the display... “Holy flying fuck!” Shit, it was eight-fifteen. He flipped open the phone and yelled down it. “Not now, Kane, I’m gonna be fucking late.” With that he ran for the shower, panicking as he went.
It was eight fifty-five and four men sat, watching the clock, their faces tight with tension. Misha looked over, concerned. “He’s not gonna make it and Beaver’s on the war path. You know how he hates anyone being late.” Misha’s knee bounced up and down as he waited.
Kane was perched on the edge of Jensen’s desk. In his hands were a cup of black coffee and a bag of muffins. After ringing Jensen and hearing his voice, Kane knew something was wrong. That’s why he was here, down from IT, waiting for his best friend.
Mike stood up, “He’s not gonna make it. I say we send Misha into Beaver’s office with a bunch of crapped up reports and buy Jensen some time.” He ran his fingers through his short brown hair.
“Hang on. Why is it me going in to face certain death? Why can’t you or Tom...or Kane go in, for that matter?” Misha’s voice was plaintive, bordering on whining.
“Well, my fellow founder of the AC fan club...Tom has kids and you can’t deprive them of their dad. As for me, think of all the women who would never know the joy of being in my arms, and Kane would just staple Beaver to his desk. I know that’s appealing but Jensen would never forgive us if Kane ended up as someone’s bitch in prison.” Kane turned to face Mike, swallowing when he saw the murderous look in his ice-blue eyes. “On second thoughts, make that prison boss, probably with one of us as his bitch for being an accomplice to murder.” Then they turned their attention back to the clock on the wall.
The clock clicked round to eight fifty-nine and the elevator doors opened. Jensen shot through the narrow gap and ran for his desk. Kane swiftly moved out of the way, placing the coffee on the desk along with the muffin. He pulled the chair back, just as Jensen flung himself into it and started to type, furiously logging onto his systems with seconds to spare.
Jensen slumped in relief; he’d never gotten to work so fast. He jumped into the shower, got dressed, all within the space of five minutes. He’d driven to work like a maniac, lucky not to get a ticket. As he’d sprinted through the office he’d seen his friends watching him. Now he sat, trying to gather himself together, breathing like he’d been for a five-mile run. He grabbed the coffee and downed half of it in one gulp.
Kane watched Jensen, his eyes narrowed; he hadn’t been able to catch up with his friend since the last fan club meeting. Now looking at him, he could see Jensen was stressed - he was pale and there were dark smudges beneath his eyes. Kane leant forward and placed his hand on Jensen’s shoulder, “Ok, Jen, you look like crap. Unfortunately I better return to my pit...I mean, office, But we are gonna talk and soon, and if I find out that you’re having trouble with our little friend, then, Jensen, you better be ready to have yourself a roomie.” With that Kane slunk away, as Beaver came storming out of his office to speak to Jensen.
The rest of the day passed with Jensen going from meeting to meeting and by the end of it he felt like crawling out of the building on his hands and knees. But due to Beaver’s temper tantrum from earlier, Jensen was forced to work late. He sat and rubbed at his eyes. Crap! It was nearly eight o’clock! That was it; he had to get out of there. Jensen got to his feet, and logged out. As he approached his car, a shiver ran down his spine. He felt as if he was being watched. He picked up speed, got to his car and opened the door. He got in quickly, closed the door and locked it, his breath coming in short pants.
Jensen noticed how tightly he was gripping the steering wheel, his knuckles white, “Christ, pull yourself together. You’re jumping at fucking shadows now.” He sat in the dark, almost scared to put the key in the ignition and drive home. It was getting that bad but just then his phone rang. He relaxed - it was Kane’s ring tone, “Hi, Kane, what can I do for you tonight? Listen, if you want the apartment, just let me go home and grab a change of clothes.”
“Where the fuck are you? Tell me you’re not still at the office! Jensen, don’t make me come over there, and drag you back to mine.” Kane growled down the phone, the familiar sense of being mother henned by his best friend helped to relax Jensen. He already felt stronger, and he couldn’t help the smile that spread over his face.
“Ahh, I didn’t know you cared, but won’t Abby be jealous when she finds me tucked up in your bed? Anyway, I’m just about to leave.” He knew that would incense Kane, and he waited for the explosion.
“Listen to me, Ackles. It’s bad enough you working yourself into the ground. But now you got some psycho on your tail, of course I’m worried. Jen, you look like road kill. Is it because Beaver’s workin’ you to death, or is there another reason I should be worried? And as for Abby, she’d love to feed you chicken soup, if you were tucked up in my bed. Come on, Jen, talk to me, please, man.”
Jensen wanted to tell Kane all about the calls but he couldn’t bring himself to. So instead he said, “No, it’s just being worked to death. Something crawled up Beaver’s ass and died. He’s got me going through all sorts of weird crap. But mine is not to reason why. I really don’t feel like being taped to a table in the canteen then being publicly flogged with USB cables, because I asked too many questions. ” He heard Kane’s laughter coming down the phone at that.
“God! I can see it now! Misha would stand weeping, and Mike would be selling tickets to all the female staff members. God, just imagine the riot when they took your shirt off. I get it. Wage slaves like us are meant to be abused. Listen. Go home and get some rest, Jensen. Don’t forget we’ll be round tomorrow for the Alec Cale fan club meeting. I think Mike’s got a new T-shirt or something he wants to show you. See you tomorrow, dude.” Jensen said goodnight to his friend. He felt a little better for talking to Kane; he started the engine and drove off.
Once again Jensen stood outside his apartment door. It was slowly becoming an ordeal to return home, and finally he let himself inside. He saw the message waiting light flashing on his answer machine. He sighed, wondering what was on the machine. He had to listen to the messages, just in case his mother needed to speak to him.
There were twenty messages waiting. He hit play. Message after message were nothing more than sales calls. Jensen moved to the freezer and found himself something to nuke in the microwave. He wasn’t really hungry but he knew he’d have to eat. As his meal spun sedately in the microwave, he heard the machine beep once more...this time there was nothing but silence. Jensen stared at the machine, opened the fridge and got a bottle of beer. He opened the beer and took a long drink; he moved to the machine and stared down at it. He lifted the bottle in a salute and gave a smirk. “Is that the best you can do, Acolyte? Make silent phone calls and spam me to death? Keep it coming, man, because I won’t give you the satisfaction of caving. I’m sure you’ll get bored before I do.” He heard the microwave ping and he took out his meal.
As he picked up the plate he was dismayed to see his hands shake. Despite all the bravado he was terrified. He sat and ate his meal, and as he ate there was the now familiar accompaniment of the phone ringing. Now he just let the machine pick up; he ate half of the nuked food and gave up. He stared at the ceiling, contemplating just giving in and calling Jared for help. He shook himself; no way was he doing that. The next time he saw Jared, he wanted it to have nothing to do with Acolyte0301 and he was determined to keep it that way.
It’s late and I must be quiet. I let myself in and move with ease round your apartment. I know these rooms better than I know my own. I’m here for two things, one I must see you, Jensen and secondly, I need to pick up a few things for our new home together. I’ve been doing that for some time now, you have never noticed anything missing. I’ve always been very careful and tonight is no exception. I move silently towards your bedroom. I want to take some clothes for you to sleep in. I want to preserve your natural modesty; there will be a time when you’ll sleep next to me naked. But I mustn’t rush things; I open the drawer where you keep your older clothes. Perfect. There is a pair of grey sweat pants and an old T-shirt. I move back out of the bedroom, and I stand and watch you sleep; you did not make it to the bedroom. You fell asleep in front of the television again. I feel a pang of regret at what I’m putting you through, but it will all be worth it in the end, you’ll see, Jensen
I watch you sleep. You seem to be at peace, but I can tell our heart is troubled. I can ease that pain for you, Jensen, and I know you will be happy with me. I watched you tonight as you left work. That man works you too hard, but soon that won’t matter. You’ll be free from that place. I see your mobile and I pick it up and set the alarm. I don’t want you to have to rush again like you did this morning. You may have had an accident, and I couldn’t bear to be parted from you if you were in hospital. I place the phone back on the table; I reach out towards your face. I long to be able to caress your cheek, but I daren’t. I retreat the way I came, secure in the knowledge that all my hard work will be rewarded very soon. Yes, my love, soon there will only be you and I.
Jensen was woken by his phone’s alarm. Shit! What time was it? He glared blearily at his phone. He couldn’t remember setting the alarm, but with how tired he was, he was unsurprised by that turn of events. At least he wouldn’t be late today.
Jensen glanced round his apartment; he’d cleaned it quickly after he’d gotten home from work. He felt even more exhausted although he’d managed a few hours sleep. Work had dragged by. The special project that Beaver had him working on was kicking his ass, but he had to keep on top of it. Now he was waiting for the guys to come around. They were looking forward to the next fan club meeting; at least he had something to show them. With his sleep being disturbed he’d managed to make a few notes, and during lunch he’d typed it up. It was either that or fall asleep at his desk.
Now he was nearly ready for the guys to descend on him, he just had one more thing to do. He went to his phone and unplugged it. Then he switched off his mobile, happy that the evening wouldn’t be disturbed. He waited for his friends.
The door bell rang and Jensen threw the door open, expecting to see the guys. Instead there was a man stood there. Jensen’s heart raced on seeing a stranger at his door. “Can I help you?” Jensen sounded nervous, and the man extended his hand towards him.
“Good evening, my name is Andrew Jones and I’m here to tonight to explain to you the endless opportunities and reassurance that investing in our life assurance will offer you.” Jensen relaxed then rolled his eyes. Great! Another salesman.
“Listen, I don’t want to be rude, but I have friends coming round and I don’t have time for this, sorry.” Jensen was about to close the door when Andrew looked down at the file in his hands and frowned.
“Oh, I’m sorry; there must have been a mistake. Only it’s down here that you booked an appointment for tonight. Perhaps we could reschedule? Say, when you’re not busy.” Andrew looked hopeful.
Jensen just shook his head, “No, thank you. Like I said I’m busy and I’m fully covered. Excuse me? Did you say I’d booked an appointment?” The man nodded. Jensen smiled apologetically and closed the door. He walked away, his mind racing. Was this a new tactic by Acolyte? He shook himself. No, it was probably just a con to get him to let the salesman in.
The door bell rang again. Jensen went to answer the door but hesitated then took a deep breath. He opened the door and was engulfed by Mike and Tom. He found himself being carried backwards as his two friends talked.
“So I’m telling Jamie it’s fan club night and she doesn’t believe that I know a published author. I don’t know what to do to convince her?”Tom carried on talking to his friend, ignoring the fact he was helping to drag Jensen towards his couch.
Mike looked as if he were deep in thought, which made Jensen think he was constipated. “I say we wrap Jensen up in a ribbon, take him around to yours and hand him over to Jamie.”
Tom shuddered, “Good god, no! I want to stay married. All the women I know are convinced they can turn Jensen straight, and I’m not about to risk finding out if Jamie subscribes to the theory. And anyway, all Jamie thinks we do is sit around, drink beer and have a good time.”
By now they had reached the couch. They deposited Jensen in the middle of it and sat either side of him. Just then Kane walked in, went to the fridge and came back, carrying four beers. As the men opened them and took a drink, Mike looked at his bottle and smiled, “No, we have serious literary discussions, and ok, maybe a few beers. Hey, Jensen my man, lovely to actually see you awake and functioning. Feeling any better?” Mike spoke to him as if he’d just realized Jensen was there.
He found himself being stared at by Mike, Tom and Kane - he shifted uncomfortably. Kane narrowed his eyes as he studied Jensen. Just then the door slammed and Jensen nearly shot off the couch. Misha came into the room, carrying some more beer. “I don’t know why I got to be the pack mule for the alcohol...what’s going on? It looks like Kane’s going to start interrogating someone. Hey, Kane, if you are gonna start with the water boarding, at least ask Jensen if he minds his carpet getting wet.” Misha was looking from one man to the other; he could feel the tension in the room.
Jensen slid down the couch and smirked, “Misha, don’t worry. Kane was just about to ask after my wellbeing, in light of me being a little tired and emotional this week.” Jensen was trying for flippant, but he knew it was strained.
“Tired and emotional? Is this the man who spent yesterday lunch-time passed out at his desk?” Tom asked the room in general.
“Mike does it all the time; I’m just having a little trouble sleeping, that’s all.” Jensen took another drink.
“So, no more trouble from your Acolyte, then? Nothing we should know about?” Mike’s question threw Jensen. This was the moment of truth. Did he tell his friends about what was happening or did he try to battle on alone? He looked over to Kane, and saw his best friend willing him to share what was bothering him.
Jensen sat up straighter, looking Chris right in the eyes, “Why don’t you check my memory stick? He’s still sending his declarations of love and devotion, and generally being a pain in the ass. Like I said, it’s work that’s getting to me. Now can we please just chill out and enjoy ourselves? Besides I want to see this new T-shirt I was promised. I want to know my fan club presidents are taking good care of my reputation.” Jensen slumped back down. He knew what he’d just done was possibly the single most stupid thing he’d ever done in his life. But he was determined to handle this alone for now; it was only phone calls, nothing more. He could always change his number soon.
Mike had stood up as he stripped off his jacket. There was applause from the room. This T-shirt was bright orange and on the front bore the legend....Alec Cale book tour 2011 Official Roadie, Kiss me I’m with the author. And on the back tour venues were listed - Hawaii, Barbados, Bermuda and Boston.
“Boston? Why Boston?” asked Misha as he laughed.
“I’ve heard New England girls are hot, and you need a little culture for our author. It can’t be all beaches and bikini babes, and I promise we’ll find you a few hot lifeguards to give you the kiss of life, Jensen. Failing that, Misha, get the lip balm ready.”
Misha turned round and fluttered his eyelids at Jensen, and made kissing noises. Jensen was laughing at his friends. “That’s it! I’m never swimming again, just in case Misha feels the urge to rescue me.”
Misha sighed, put his hand on Jensen’s knee and smiled at him, “Jensen, who says I’ll wait for you to go swimming. As of now I’ll be on standby whenever you take a shower! Anyway we’re here to discuss your latest works of literature, or failing that, written any good porn lately?” After that the evening continued in rounds of beers and jokes. Acolyte was forgotten.
The next morning there was another kind of meeting. Kane, Tom, Mike and Misha were in the break room; they were all worried. “I’m telling ya, that bastard is back. I know Jensen and he’s hangin’ on by a thread. Did you see how high he damn well jumped when the door bell rang? It was only the damn pizza.” Kane took a swig of coffee; Tom was keeping a watch in case Jensen suddenly appeared.
“Tell me about it, and when Misha spotted the phone was unplugged, and he plugged it back in I thought he was going to be sick.” Tom said as he looked over his shoulder at the other three.
“I agree there is something up, but what can we do? We can’t force him to tell us what’s wrong, we all checked the emails. They were the same as usual - all hearts, flowers, and you’re mine eternally crap. But until he tells us what’s going on, I don’t see what we can do.” Mike sounded worried as he spoke.
Misha took a breath, “For now all we can do is support him in whatever way he needs us. You know he hates being seen as weak, as this is just messing with his head completely. If it comes to it, I say we descend on his place, and refuse to move until he talks. But for now we just keep on pumping the coffee into him and all the Tylenol he can take. Come on, guys, we better get back. Jensen will be wondering where his sixth cup of coffee for the day is.” Misha looked round at his friends, and saw the concern mirrored in their eyes. Kane nodded and got ready to leave.
“By the way, any of you know what the hell Beaver’s got him working on?” Kane’s question started a chorus of head shaking.
Tom led the way out of the room, “Jensen won’t say but we get the feeling that Beaver’s got his pants in a bunch over some old accounts, and he wants Jensen to clean ‘em up. You know how he gets when everything isn’t falling into a nice neat line.” Kane nodded at that, and the men went their separate ways.
As they reached their group of four cubicles they saw Beaver stalking away, his face grim. They stood by Jensen’s cubicle; if he’d looked tired at the beginning of the week now he looked exhausted. His eyes were circled with dark rings and he was rubbing tiredly at those eyes. His shoulders were slumped and by the way he was twisting and turning his neck, there was hell of a headache brewing.
Jensen looked up when he realized there was someone stood by his desk. He gifted his friends a tired smile then held out his hand. Misha passed the mug of coffee over with a reverential bow. “Thanks, dude, you’re a life saver. Thank God it’s Friday. I really don’t think I could take much more.” Jensen took a drink.
“What? Of work or your little friend?” Tom asked quietly. Jensen just shrugged his shoulders and went back to work.
When five o’clock came around Jensen looked up and found Misha and Tom staring down at him, then suddenly his chair was pulled backwards by Mike, “You know, whatever the hell it is you’re working on can wait until Monday. You are going home to get some rest, so help us if we have to come over and tie you to the bed. And you know exactly what I’ll do if that happens.” Mike was pulling Jensen to his feet as he spoke.
He was being pushed towards the elevator, and Misha and Tom fell in either side of him, “If that happens, then Mike will take photos of you, and post them to the office bulletin board. Do you really want to see Misha have cat fights with all the women who come by to ogle?” Tom asked.
“True, and it would go against all my pacifist principles, but I swear if that blonde-haired bitch from HR starts, then I’m beating her to death with her Jimmy Choos.” Jensen couldn’t help himself; he burst out laughing when he heard that.
He turned to Misha, “Are you absolutely sure you’re straight? I’ve met Vicky and I know she’s a woman, but, Misha...come on, dude. Beating Karen from HR to death with her shoes? Dude, that’s way too gay, even for me!” Jensen was smiling happily at Misha who returned the smile.
Misha just threw his arm round Jensen’s shoulders and pulled him close, “I’ll let you into a little secret. I was a woman in a previous life, and I just embraced my feminine side. Besides you really are the prettiest member of staff here....sorry, Tom, and I can appreciate hotness when I see it. Now please, will you help me with that damn presentation?” The four men laughed as the elevator doors closed.
For the first time in a week Jensen felt relaxed when he arrived home. The guys had been a great help and he drew strength from their friendship. He was hoping that tonight he might get some peace from his Acolyte. He opened the door and stepped inside, dropped his jacket on his couch and undid his tie. He walked over to the fridge and got himself a beer. As he took a refreshing drink the doorbell rang.
Jensen approached the door cautiously; he checked the peep hole. Two men stood there; he opened the door, “Can I help you?” The two young men beamed at him.
“Good evening, brother, we are bringing you the word of the Lord this fine evening. We want to thank you for your interest and invitation to hear our gospel.” Jensen held up his hand to stop the men in mid-flow. He knew most of the faiths that knocked at the door would not welcome him or his ‘kind’ in their congregation.
“I hope you don’t mind but I didn’t call for you. Would you mind telling me how you got my address please?” The one young man looked taken aback.
The other man looked at his mobile phone, “I’m dreadfully sorry about that, but I received a text asking for an evangelic visit to this address. There must have been some mistake. But while we are here may we bring the word of the Lord into your life?” There was a hopeful note in his voice.
Jensen shook his head. He was a believer, but he chose to keep his faith to himself, rather than see the look of horror in the eyes of the two missionaries when he told them he was gay. He said instead. “Look, I’m sorry you’ve had a wasted journey, but I’m not ready to hear the word. Goodnight.” He closed the door quickly.
He moved back into the apartment, kicked off his shoes and threw himself down on his couch; he was just starting to relax when the phone started to ring. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose; he felt the start of a headache building behind his eyes. “And here we go again. Well, is it gonna be silence, or what exciting opportunities I’ll be offered tonight?” With that he answered the phone.
From that moment on it was as if the flood gates had been opened. Both his phones rang constantly, but what was worse were the steady trail of salesmen who rang the door bell. Jensen even had three attempts at pizza delivery, so after a couple of blazing rows he accepted one because he was starving. As he ate he ignored the phones and the door bell. He stared into space; he knew he couldn’t cope with this much longer. The worst part of it was now he had to admit that, not only did his Acolyte know his phone number and email address, but now his devoted stalker had his home address.
Jensen no longer felt safe in his one place of sanctuary - that maniac had taken even that from him. The door bell rang again. He walked over to it, checked the peephole and again there stood a stranger. He turned his back on the door and slid down it, the chorus of ringing phones and the doorbell was driving him mad.
He rested his head on his knees, the room felt small and claustrophobic. It was then he realized he was clutching his mobile. He looked at the display and saw how many missed calls there were. As the phone rang again, he cracked open his address book and scrolled down to Jared’s name. When Jared had been there last week, he’d given Jensen his home number before he left as well as his mobile, in case he wanted to talk. Jensen stared at the number. He felt as if he was drowning and Jared was a lifeline to cling to. He almost didn’t ring then the door bell rang again. That was it! He had to get help; he couldn’t keep living with this.
Jensen pressed dial and Jared’s phone rang out, “Pick up, Jared, please pick up.” He didn’t care how desperate he sounded; he just needed someone to help him.
After the third ring a welcome voice spoke, “Hi, this is Jared. Sorry I can’t come to the phone right now. Please leave me a message and I’ll get right back to you.”
Jensen managed to suppress a whimper, “Jared, it’s Jensen. Sorry to bother you at home. Listen, it doesn’t matter I’ll....it doesn’t matter, sorry.” With that he disconnected the call.
The apartment walls were closing in on him. He couldn’t take this anymore. The doorbell rang again and Jensen leapt to his feet, throwing open the door. He almost hoped it was his stalker, and perhaps all this would be over.
He glared at the man stood there; the man straightened and looked nervous, “Err, cab for Ackles?” This was the fifth goddamn cab company that had knocked at his door; he was just about to tell the man to fuck off when he changed his mind.
“Wait. God, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. Listen, do you mind waiting a couple of minutes? I lost track of time. I’ll be down in five, ok?” Jensen plastered a smile on his face, although he could see the white-knuckled grip he had on the door.
“Sure thing, buddy. It’s your dime. I’ll set the meter running.” With that Jensen closed the door, tore into his bedroom and started to rip off his clothes. He knew what he was about to do was stupid but he couldn’t sit there alone any longer. He pulled a shirt and jeans out of the wardrobe and went to the bathroom to freshen up.
Where are you going, Jensen? I should have realized that you would try to escape, but you forget how well I know you. It looks like we are going out. I get up and move to my own wardrobe. I look at the clothes on your bed. No, not a clubbing outfit. I must be wherever you go to protect you. I check my mobile, and see the GPS signal on your phone is transmitting strongly. Good. There is no fear of me losing you. But I know where you will go; really, you are such a creature of habit; you are not one for clubs or bars - that was Matt’s world. But you do have a favourite haunt when you want to escape the pressure of the world. Don’t worry, Jensen, I’ll be there to watch over you.”
Jensen finished getting ready, unaware that just a floor below him the man who was stalking him was getting ready to go out for the evening as well. Jensen glanced at his watch, it was only ten o’clock. Good! It meant he had a couple of hours’ freedom at least. He looked at himself in the mirror. He was wearing a deep red button-down with black jeans. Nothing that screamed pick me up but he wouldn’t frighten anyone away. All he wanted to do was escape from the constant calls and harassment. He’d have a couple of beers and unwind; he didn’t want company tonight.
For a split second he considered leaving his phone at home, but he slipped it in his jacket pocket along with his wallet. Old habits die hard and besides, how would he call a cab to get home? He left his apartment and went down to the waiting cab; he got in and gave the man the address where he wanted to go.
As the cab drove away, another figure left the building where there was a cab pulled up and waiting. The man got in, “Where to, buddy?” The driver asked in a bored tone.
The man in the back smiled and said, “The Round-up Saloon, please.” The driver quirked an eyebrow at the request, and the man gave him a smile. The driver pulled away quickly. There was something in that smile that made his blood run cold. He’d be happier once he got this particular fare gone. Then Acolyte relaxed back against the seat and the smile changed. Already he dreamed of being able to get close to Jensen without him knowing he was there, and soon there would be no need to hide from him any longer.
Soon Jensen would be his forever.