rating: even your grandma could read it
warning: fluffy schmoop about two guys getting together.
words: approx 6000 total 2500 this part
Disclaimer: This is just a fluffy au. No harm or disparagement is intended. I'm just casting these beautiful people in my written fantasy.
Summary: Taken from a prompt on tumblr: Jensen is a street musician and Jared is the guy always getting to work late because all he wants to do is to watch Jensen play his guitar.
Finally. Finally the weather had turned for the better and stayed decent, and Jared loved it. After spending nearly eight months trapped indoors, people were venturing outside. The weather was the one thing Jared hated about moving north. Back home it never got so cold that people preferred being indoors. Now, with the weather warm and mild, it was like living in a new city. People were everywhere, enjoying the beautiful weather and making the most of the longer days.
Jared had taken to walking to work just to make the most of his time outdoors. He hated being in a cubicle so much that he would eat his lunch outside, too. He begged his co-workers to join him, but they all refused and blamed their 'slave driver' boss Mr. Collins as their reason. “You know we only get thirty minutes for lunch,” Aldis replied when Jared invited him. “Where are you going to go to get food and have time to eat it and still get back on time?”
Jared shrugged. “I don't know. I'll pack a lunch. I don't care. I've just got to be outside when it gets nice like this.”
Aldis shook his head. “Man, you know Collins will have your ass if you're even a minute late. Why do you wanna risk it?
Jared beamed, “I'm a boy of summer, my man. I need to get some sun. Next time you see me, I'll be this much closer to tan.”
“Won't make a difference to me, dude, I'm always tan,” Aldis joked and turned back to his computer screen.
Jared, however, used his smart phone to find some food trucks serving nearby and left the building.
Less than five minutes later Jared was grinning ear to ear over his lunch from Guanaco Food Truck. Before that moment, he had no idea what El Salvadorean food would taste like, but he found himself loving the tamales and revueltas. He was walking around the open square, looking for a place to sit and relax while he ate, when he heard music. He turned to the sound and saw a guy strumming a guitar. 'Cool,' Jared thought to himself as he walked a little closer. 'Dinner and entertainment.'
He sat a little behind the guy, close enough to hear him well, but not near enough to look like the guy's 'biggest fan'. After his first song, something by Dylan Jared thought, there was a smattering of applause. Jared had meant to clap, but his hands, and mouth, were full of his lunch, he just couldn't. As the street musician began his next song, Jared checked his watch, he had time for one more song.
He walked to the nearest trash to dispose of his food wrappers, then turned to face the performer. The guy had a nice crowd gathered around him. It was well deserved Jared thought, as the guy had talent, his guitar playing was flawless and he had a great voice. When Jared moved to stand with others gathered in front of the man, he was truly gobsmacked. The guy with the amazing voice and guitar skills was the best looking guy Jared had ever seen. Jared wanted to push through the crowd to get closer look just to prove the guy was real.
The crowd shifted as some left and new people approached. Jared pulled back realizing he was much too tall to stand anywhere but the back of the crowd. The woman next to him jostled him a bit when she checked her watch and turned to leave. Jared figured he should do the same when he recognized the opening lines of No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems. The Texan twang in the singer's voice hit Jared with such a rush of homesickness that he couldn't move if he had to. He clapped a bit louder than he intended when the song ended and threw a couple bills into the open guitar case, earning him a smile and a nod from the singer.
He was fifteen minutes late returning from lunch. Mr. Collins was nowhere to be seen, so Jared thought he would get away with it. Of course, that wouldn't be his luck. As soon as he sat at his desk, his phone rang.
“Jared Padalecki, IT, how can I help?”
“You can stay an extra fifteen to make up for the long lunch,” his boss snarled over the line.
“Yes, sir,” Jared answered, but the line was already dead.
At ten after five, Jared sensed Mr. Collins' presence behind him. He ignored him and continued typing his T680 report only to have Mr. Collins clear his throat to announce his presence.
“Padalecki, here's the thing,” he began which caused Jared to stop working and spin in his chair to face him. “I like you. Hell, everybody likes you. I'm pretty sure the women in HR break their computers just to get you up there once a week, but that doesn't mean I can't have you not putting in your time. In fact, it means the opposite.”
Jared's brow quirked.
“Look, I need you and your massive brain at least eight hours of every day. So if you're late, you gotta stay to make it up. Understand?”
“Yeah. I got it. Eight hours.”
Collins nodded. “Good. Back to work,” he mumbled as he left Jared's tiny cubicle.
The next morning found Jared reestablishing the network connections on the HR department's computers. Felicia shrugged her incomprehension as to how it could have all been dismantled and Katie blamed the cleaning crew.
Jared rolled his eyes but had the department up and running in only a few minutes. “You know, Collins thinks you guys mess with your computers just to get me up here,” Jared teased as he crawled out from under Felicia's desk.
Felicia's eyes jumped from his butt to his face the moment he cleared the desk. “That's not true--- wait, what?”
Jared chuckled. “I'm joking. I know y'all have actual issues when you call me up here.”
Behind him, Katie's eyes bugged out of her head and she even blushed a little. But Felicia was focused on the other half of Jared's statement. “No, Jared. What did Mr. Collins say –exactly?” she demanded.
Jared paused as her serious expression drained the fun from the moment. “He said, that the women in HR --” the way her brow raised made him reconsider his next statement. “Look, it wasn't like he was bad mouthing you. The thing is I was late returning from lunch yesterday and Collins felt like he had to explain why I was needed here for every minute of my eight hours.”
“Why were you late?” Katie asked diffusing the tension in her co-workers.
Jared smiled sheepishly. “I had lunch on the square and got distracted by a guy playing guitar.”
Katie made a disgusted face. “A street performer?”
“Yeah. He was really good.”
Felicia brushed away Jared's defensive attitude. “Ignore Katie. She thinks street performers are homeless people.”
“Well, they 'work' on the street and --”
“They work,” Felicia argued in return. “They get plenty of money from people in their audience. I'm sure they're not homeless.”
Jared backed up, hoping to escape the latest crazy argument between these two, but Felicia noticed. “Jared, sadly, Misha's right. You do have to work eight hours, but you can choose those hours as long as your requirements are being met. So, if you want an hour for lunch, take it. Just be sure you make up the time and fill out the proper form.”
As she spoke, Katie sorted a file. “Here. Just fill this out and Collins won't be able to say anything if you take a long lunch.”
At lunch he debated with himself whether to risk the square again, but one look at the blue sky and Jared was out the door. He bought a falafel and once again joined the ranks that surrounded guitar guy or GG as Jared called him in his head.
Today, a little girl, a toddler actually, danced to the music in the small area right in front of the musician. The guy didn't seem to mind, though. He grinned and laughed as she spun and stomped to the music. When the song ended, the child bowed and kissed his check before scampering off to rejoin her family at the edge of the crowd. The guitar player rose to his feet and bowed in return and led the crowd's applause for the tiny girl.
There was something in his enthusiasm that warmed Jared. Smiling as he once again faced the crowd, the man asked for any more requests. He eyes briefly landed on Jared and left Jared feeling like a star struck pre-teen girl. Or at least how Jared thought a star struck pre-teen girl would feel. His memory had not been exaggerating the guy's looks. He truly was gorgeous and Jared changed the name he had for the guy to G3 for gorgeous guitar guy.
After listening to one more song, Jared realized he would be late again if he didn't leave immediately. He made his way to the front and dropped a couple dollars in the guitar case before rushing back to work.
Before leaving the office for the night, Jared completed the paper work from the HR department. If he was going to be taking the his lunch on the square, he wanted the extra time to admire guitar guy properly.
The next morning Katie held up Jared's form for Felicia to see. “Looks like Jared is pretty serious about this street performer. He filled out the HR4040.”
“Hmm, you wanna check out this guy at lunch?” Felicia suggested.
“Hells yeah. We need to see if he's hot enough for our boy Jared. And of course if he isn't interested in Jared, maybe he'll like one of us.”
Jared was slightly surprised that Katie and Felicia joined him for lunch. He figured they would eventually get nosy enough to check out his lunchtime entertainment, he just didn't think it would be so soon.
“Holy crap, Jared, you weren't kidding. That guy is hot,” Katie said just loud enough for Jared to hear.
“Katie!” Jared hissed. “I never said he was hot. I said he was a good singer.”
“Well then you missed his best features, cuz that boy is scorching.” Katie sauntered up the open guitar case and discreetly dropped a business card with her dollar.
The summer went on like that. Every day it didn't rain, Jared would grab a lunch and listen to G3 play. Most days, he was alone, but sometimes Katie or Felicia joined him. Once in a while, Aldis did, too. To Jared's great surprise, Mr. Collins made an appearance more than once.
It was near the end of the season when Aldis asked, “So when you going to ask that guy out?”
Jared was shocked. “What? How am I supposed to do that? I only see him when he's playing and he's gone when I'm off work.”
Aldis shrugged. “I don't know man, but you've been pining after the guy all summer. You should make your move.”
“He's right, you know,” Katie said as she gathered their garbage to throw away. “Summer's nearly over.”
His friends made their way to the front to leave their donations in the guitar case while Jared hung back. He would stay at work a little later tonight to make up the time. He decided to wait until the end of the set and then he'd walk right up and ask the guy out.
He reviewed and practiced several different scenarios in his head as he waited, and nearly missed the crowd's applause signaling the end of the set. Most of the crowd began to make their way back to the several office buildings that surrounded the square, so Jared found himself feeling like a fish swimming upstream as he worked his way to the front. By the time he got to where G3 was packing up, Jared had forgotten his rehearsed scenes. He had just worked up the courage to say 'hi' when another guy called out, “Jensen!” and clapped G3 on the shoulder. “You set to go? I'm double parked.”
G3 – now known as Jensen, grabbed his stool and hurried after the guy, leaving Jared to stare after them.
He knew he was in trouble for the extended lunch he took, so Jared worked late that day and came in early the next. He decided to take his lunch later than normal just so he'd be there when G3 – no Jensen, was done performing.
His plan was for naught. Jensen wasn't there that day. Nor the next, nor the one after that. It was soon obvious that he wasn't returning to the square that season.