Feb. 10th, 2013 08:55 pm
manicdak: (Default)
[personal profile] manicdak
Title: Purple
Prompt: N/A
Rating: PG-13
Series: This Thing That Happened This One Time
Content Summary/Notes/Warnings: Dahna has some news

It had happened so fast, and Jared was still adjusting. Living in a condo with Amos was a far cry from the student housing he’d inhabited for his first two years at school. Jared was starting to think that agreeing to take the plunge was the best decision he had ever made, even though it meant tightening the purse strings. Jared hoped that Amos felt the same way, despite his complaints about the cheap particle board furniture that was the only thing they could really afford. 

Jared could only sit and listen to him upon the single piece of solid furniture they owned, the only chair left from Amos’s thesis show that he hadn’t sold off. Not all of Amos’s pieces were successful as comfortable items to lounge around on, but that chair was one of the functional ones, and it was Jared’s favorite.

They both knew it was a compromise, the same as the freezer and pantry full of instant meals that Amos stocked the kitchen with as if he were still on his own. If there was one tool Jared was grateful for his mother having bestowed upon him for embarking on life in the real world, it was teaching him how to cook. He only wished he was around more often to make proper meals. Though, he had a feeling the look of consternation in Amos’s eyes when faced with a bag full of fresh vegetables was never going to fail to be amusing. 

On a Thursday Jared was in the kitchen attempting to make drinks but not paying much attention while he was watching Amos over the counter. He was sprawled out on the living room floor in front of the television and had moved both the sofa and the coffee table aside in order to make room for an enlarged technical drawing of a chair. It was pinned to the floor by an anatomy textbook and an ergonomics textbook as he made revisions with the aid of a red sharpie, a protractor, and a compass. 

“You’re working way too hard on that,” Jared said as he exited the kitchen into the living room and set his tray of martinis down on the coffee table then crossed the room to nudge the couch into a more appropriate TV viewing angle while keeping it out of Amos’ way.

“This commission is paying our rent for months,” he said. “I want to do it well.”

Jared grew suddenly quiet, and his silence was enough to finally grab Amos’ attention away from his drawing. He placed his marker aside, sat up, and looked at Jared.


“Nothing, it’s just...” He glanced down at his hands in his lap. “All I do is go to school...for free. You make me feel kind of useless sometimes.”

“Oh, come on,” Amos scoffed. “You contribute. I don’t want to get into a pissing match over who the breadwinner is, okay? It’s not important. Besides you do have a job. Pitching is, for all intents and purposes, your job.”

“I know,” Jared muttered. “I just wish you’d take a break. Come watch the game with me.” He nodded towards the flickering screen in front of them.

Amos glanced at his drawings then up at Jared and sighed.

“Okay,” he said. “Just this once.”

Jared smiled, pleased with himself and patted the cushion next to him indicating his preferred seating arrangement. 

“Grab the drinks while you’re up,” he said.

Amos nodded, procured the martinis from the opposite end of the room, and returned to curl up next to Jared, his feet nestled snugly beneath him, his knees in Jared’s lap.

“Cheers!” He held his glass aloft, and Jared clinked his own against it and watched while Amos took a sip.

He briefly choked on the hit of alcohol and then started to chuckle.

“What the hell is in this, Red?”

“Vodka, and...I don’t know. I just grabbed one of those mixers you have in the pantry. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

“Tastes like vodka with a splash of vodka,” Amos laughed. “If it wasn’t for the slightly blueish tint... Maybe next time you should measure?”

“Measuring is for wusses,” Jared assured him.

Amos laughed and took another sip, easing himself into the feel of the liquid he was pouring down his throat. 

Jared watched him down the drink in no time flat and smiled happily to himself when Amos leaned heavily upon his shoulder. He relished the feel of Amos there beside him so warm and tangible, and vaguely recollected the summer not so long ago that he had spent alone and miserable, unintentionally ignoring his friends and regularly mouthing off to his parents. That was the summer without Amos: a summer spent dwelling on everything he had said and done wrong and realizing just what he had carelessly thrown away.

He wasn’t going to let it get away again.

“Stop squeezing me,” Amos murmured into Jared’s chest as he tried to wriggle out of the vise-like grip around his shoulders.

“Sorry,” Jared said as he loosened his grip.

He abandoned his drink on a nearby side table along with Amos’ empty glass then returned to the embrace with both arms.

“What’s gotten into you?” Amos said. His voice sounded as if it were fueled more by curiosity than annoyance. In fact, he settled himself in Jared’s arms, burrowing as close as he could.

“Nothing,” Jared replied as he stroked Amos’ hair. “Do I need a reason to want to touch my boyfriend?”

“Yes,” Amos replied. “And forms filled out in triplicate.”

He chuckled and craned his neck to look up at Jared, a mischievous glint flashed in his eye.

“You’re drunk already,” Jared laughed. 

“Nah,” Amos said. “I’m just drunk enough.”

Jared smiled down at him. His expression was open and inviting, and Jared didn’t need any further prompting to kiss him.

“Mmm, you taste like...”

“Blue tinted vodka?” Amos supplied.

“And red Sharpie,” Jared said.

“Purple! I taste like purple!” 

Amos announced the color with no hint of amusement, and his serious expression nearly caused Jared to chuckle. Amos laughed at him.

“Come on,” Jared said. He placed a hand upon Amos’ neck to steady him. He instantly quieted and leaned in to the touch.

“Okay,” he said.

Jared kissed him again on the lips, then on the cheek, then to a spot behind his ear, where he hovered, softly breathing upon Amos’ neck. 

“That’s nice,” Amos whispered.

Jared kissed him again. The doorbell rang, but it didn’t register in his conscious. The only thing he could think about was right in front of him. That was Amos, breathing softly and craning his neck so that Jared might have better access. He reached down and tugged at the hem of Amos’ T-shirt. Amos took the hint and quickly pulled it over his head then settled back down. Jared brushed his hand across Amos’ abdomen down to the buttons on the jeans. 

The doorbell rang again, finally capturing Jared’s attention. He looked up from where he was kissing on Amos’ collar bone.


“Ignore it,” Amos interrupted him with urgency. 

“K,” Jared said. 

He kissed Amos’ chest and rested his head there as he gazed down at Amos’ navel while slowly running his fingers up and down the trail of fine hairs there. He could hear Amos moan softly and shift his weight back and forth. One hand was clenched in the back of Jared’s shirt, and the other came to rest lightly upon Jared’s.

It was a brief touch and a subtle reminder of how much Jared loved the feel of Amos’ hands, calloused from work in the shop, just as his were from throwing pitches. He sat up with a sudden grunt and the intention to rid himself of his own shirt as fast as humanly possible, but managed only to pull it halfway over his head before the doorbell began a clanging stream of sound that filled the room and reverberated in Jared’s ear, followed quickly by a loud banging.

“Open up! I know you’re in there!”

“Dahna,” Jared said between clenched teeth as he put his shirt back in place and rose from his position on the couch to take one step toward the door.

“She’ll go away,” he said, sparing a hopeful glance at Amos who was slumped with his arms crossed over his chest.

“Forget it,” he muttered. “It’s not happening now. I’ve really got to finish these redlines anyway.”

Jared bit back his disappointed sigh and made his way to the door. He flung it wide, and opened his mouth, prepared to give his friend a stern talking to about doorbell abuse and taking a hint, but the expression on her face stopped him cold.

She was standing in the doorway with tears streaming down her face and she pushed her way into the apartment. He quickly followed behind her.

“Come on in, Dahna!” Jared said loudly enough so that Amos would know that she was heading inside.

He needn’t have worried. Amos had resumed his post in front of his drawing and barely looked up at Dahna as she entered. He waved over his shoulder at her.

“Oh, you’re here,” she said as she sniffed and wiped away her tears.

“I live here,” he grumbled. “What are you doing here? It’s kind of late for a friendly visit.”

“Oh, I don’t know.” She threw her hands to the side in a gesture of frustration as Jared frowned disapprovingly at Amos while shaking his head.

“I thought I might come and talk to my best friend.” She whipped around to glare at Jared. “I mean, if you still are. I don’t know. We barely talk, and all you do is hang out with him.”

“Okay, calm down.” Jared approached her and ushered her towards the bedroom. “We can talk in here. Ames is working on his project, he won’t bother us.”

“With his shirt off?” Dahna regarded him skeptically.

“Yeah,” Amos replied as he glanced over to the sofa where his shirt was lying crumpled between the cushions.


She trudged into the bedroom leaving Jared alone with Amos.

“She’s upset,” Jared hissed at him. “Could you be nice for two seconds?”

Amos nodded at him, and stood from his spot on the floor.

“I’ll just be in the kitchen,” he said softly. “Take your time.”


“I’m sorry,” she said as soon as he’d entered the room and closed the door. “I just wanted somebody to talk to. It all just kind of hit me tonight. I’m dealing with a lot right now, and my best friend is IMA.”

“You mean MIA?” Jared replied.

“Don’t correct me right now, you smart asshole,” she grumbled at him, but was laughing anyway in between errant sobs.

“What’s wrong?”

He took her by the hands and led her to the bed, where he sat her down next to him.

“Everything’s wrong, Jare,” she said. “You haven’t been yourself for, like...a whole fucking year. What happened that you won’t even talk to me anymore? What exactly did I do? I thought the break-up was mutual. We were only together like...a month freshman year. Was it that big of a fuck up?”

“We didn’t fuck up,” he said. “It wasn’t that. That was such a long time ago, and...I was...busy.”

“Too busy for friends?” She scowled up at him, sniffling away the last of the tears and suddenly feeling a bit angry. “I know you’re not. You hang out with Terry Tyler, and...”

She waved an arm toward the door and what was beyond.

“His name is Amos,” Jared replied softly.

“I know. And he has replaced me,” she said.

“You are being really over-dramatic,” he replied. “It’s not like you haven’t met a bunch of new people too, and you know I’m not big on the party scene, so...”

“I know,” she replied with a frown. “You big nerdy stick in the poop.”

“Please don’t give away all my secrets,” he said. “I’ve somehow managed to convince some people that I’m kind of cool.”

“Well, I kind of need your stick right now,” she replied.

“Wait. Your what now?” Jared leaned away from her, his eyes wide with surprise at what he thought she might be insinuating.

“No,” she replied, holding her hands up in protest, a tiny smile reached the corner of her lip for a fraction of a second. “No, no, no, no. Not like that. That’s definitely the last thing I need. Ya’lls can keep your sticks away from me for the rest of time. I mean, I just need a little bit more calm and focus in my life, with this...with what’s going on with me now. You Dawes’ are the most focused people I know, between you working your ass off to be some sort of mega star pitcher genius scientist and Brooks will surely be the head dancer of something somewhere if he has anything to say about it. I dunno.”

“Yeah, on tour with Melodie Monzel if he has anything to say about it,” Jared replied with a chuckle.

They sat there in silence for a while before Jared spoke again.

“What is going on with you? You were really upset when you got here.”

“I’m just feeling really overwhelmed, Jare,” she replied, took a deep breath and plowed forward with the news she had come there to share.

“Jared, I’m pregnant. Alison was having another party tonight, and I just...can’t take it there anymore. Every night. I love the girl, but I can’t hear a thought in my head and now... I can’t be doing that anymore.”

“So you’re...”

“Yeah.” She glanced up at him. “My mom is really angry, but fuck it. I’m going to do this.”

Jared could tell by looking at her that she had already made up her mind by the glare of determination she was shooting at him, as if he was her mother by proxy, and proving her wrong was Dahna’s life mission.

“And I don’t need the lecture on responsibility, or what I should or shouldn’t be doing. I already heard it from Mom. I don’t needed it from you too. Besides, I’m going to be the best fuckin’ mom ever,” she said. “So...that’s it. I’ve just got to figure out how, and how to get hold of the father. I want to tell him at least, but I haven’t got his number.”

“When did this happen?” Jared asked. “And where is this guy? I’ll save my lecture for him.” He pushed one fist into the opposite hand and growled to illustrate his point.

“Stop it. His name is Charlie. I knew what I was doing,” she replied. “The Spring Break blow-out at Rachel’s house? You decided you didn’t want to come with me. Remember? You were probably off being a sad sack again like this summer...and Thanksgiving, and Christmas....”

“I wasn’t being a sad sack,” Jared replied. “I was...just training. I went to San Francisco for a couple days with friends. I’m not totally irredeemable in the party area of life.” 

“I’m sure Andrew WK would be proud.” She shrugged at him. “Anyway, he’s like a friend of a friend of Allison’s cousin or something, so...who knows what will happen there.”

“You’re seeming really calm about this all of a sudden.”

“Yeah, well. What can I say? That’s why I came here. You calm me down. I mean, especially now that I know you’re really still here. You still like me.”

“Of course I like you!” Jared placed an arm around her and hugged her. 

“Good,” she said as she snuggled in close. “Because I missed you. I missed this. I think it’s going to be alright now.”

“Of course it is,” Jared replied. “You’ve always got me. Whatever you need. Whatever you decide, I’m behind you 100% Don’t doubt that.”

“Well,” she replied. “Your new BFF doesn’t like me much, so...”

“He likes you fine. Come on. I want you guys to get along.” Jared looked pleadingly at her, unable to hide the slightly desperate tinge to his voice. He didn’t know what he was going to do if Dahna and Amos actually got to know one another and still decided to hate each other.

“I’ll try, if he does. Can I stay here tonight?” She said. “I just don’t want to be around my roommate right now, not to mention a party. I just want to get some rest for once.”

“Yeah, Sure.” Jared hugged her close again and kissed her on top of her head. He released her then, and hopped from the bed, making his way toward the door.

“Help yourself to a t-shirt.” He pointed to the top drawer in one of the two dressers that that lined opposite walls of the room. 

“I’m just gonna ask Amos to get the guest bedroom ready...” He paused. 

“What guest bedroom?” She yawned and stretched out on his bed. “I’ve been here before. I know you only use one of those rooms as a bedroom. Your roommate already doesn’t like me, I don’t want to put him out of his room. I can just stay in here can’t I?”

“Uh...” Jared felt awkward with his best friend sprawled out in front of him and his boyfriend none the wiser in the other room.

If there ever was a perfect moment for telling her the truth, it was this.

“You can’t,” he murmured as he looked around the room everywhere but at her.

“Jared, I’m not trying to get into your pants,” she said, apparently still able to read him despite having spent most of the summer and subsequent school year estranged. 

“We used to do this all the time. What’s the problem? I miss my best friend. It’s because we dated isn’t it?” she murmured. “It made you all weird around me and it happened forever ago. I just want everything to be like it was before college. Why does it have to be so hard? Did I really blow it that bad? If I lose you too...”

“Oh, god, Dahna, stop it.” He sighed and sat back down on the bed. “It’s not about that. That’s all water under the bridge. There are perfectly good reasons why we didn’t work out and never will, the biggest being, well... Nothing is your fault. The truth of it is, you can’t share the bed with me because that side already belongs to somebody.”

Her eyes opened wide and she looked like she was about to burst out into tears again. Jared had the distinct feeling that he’d stuck his foot in it again. He wondered if he would ever outgrow his uncanny ability to say exactly the wrong thing in every situation.

“Ooo, you’ve got to be kidding me. How could you have a girlfriend and not even tell me?” she cried. “Is that why you’ve been so withdrawn?”

“Oh!” Jared shook his head furiously at her before she could continue down the wrong path of assumptions. “No...of course not. That’s not... Okay, it kind of is. I’m doing a terrible job at explaining this.”

“Who is she?” The accusatory tone left her voice and was replaced by a shaky curiosity. “It’s that girl with the mohawk isn’t it? What’s her name? Anne?”

Jared stared at a spot on the headboard behind her as he attempted not to laugh at the thought of Anne being his secret girlfriend while simultaneously thinking of the best way to word what he had to say. He was concentrating so intently that he almost didn’t notice Dahna waving a hand in front of his face.

“Jared?” she said as soon as she’d managed to grab his attention. “Are you having a stroke? What’s wrong with you?”

“No.” He chuckled, took a deep breath and ran his hands through his hair. “I just...It’s not Anne. Definitely not Anne.”

He smiled fondly at Dahna and wondered why it was so damn hard just to get the words out. Objectively, he knew she wouldn’t dump him and go running for the hills, just as he would never do that to her. 

“She must really be something, this secret girlfriend of yours.” She rolled her eyes at him.

“Stop saying that,” he said. “You want to know why I was so off this summer?”

She nodded.

“Well...” he took a deep breath before continuing. “I was a real jerk, and the guy I like changed his number, moved to San Francisco, and none of our mutual friends would tell me his contact info. Lucky for me, he came back here for Grad School and forgave me. Now we live together. So, I mean...maybe Amos will let you stay in here with me, if you ask nicely, but I don’t really think he’ll go for it.”

Dahna looked curiously up at him. Her eyes, tinged red from crying, were filled with confusion.

“Why do you sleep in the same bed as your roommate?” She said. “I know it’s a big bed, but... You guys have three bedrooms, that’s, like...unheard of. Why share?”

Jared stared curiously at her, wondering if she was being willfully obtuse, or if it was just a defense mechanism.

“Dahna,” he said. “Why do you think this is some sort of Scott Pilgrim situation we have going on here?”

She stared blankly at him then said, “I have no idea what you mean by that, you gigantic dork-a-zoid.”

He laughed and ruffled her hair.

“Fine,” he said. “We sleep in the same bed, because my boyfriend likes being the little spoon. It would be hard to accomplish if he were all the way upstairs. If you know what I mean. Please say you know what I mean?” 

“Yes,” she said quietly. “You’re gay is what you’re saying. With Amos Grant.”

“And also without him. Don’t get me wrong,” Jared said. He perched on the edge of the mattress and smiled sheepishly at his friend. “I’m so, so sorry it took so long to tell you.”

She reached out and took his hand.

“It’s okay,” she said.

“It’s not,” he muttered. “I’ve been cutting you out of my life, and it isn’t fair. You’re important to me, and you should have been the first person on campus I told.”

“That’s true,” she said. “But I think I understand.”

“So,” he said. 

“So.” She replied. “What now?” 

“We’ll set you up in the guest bedroom,” he said. “I can talk to Amos and maybe you can stay. I mean...if you want. We run a quiet ship here in this condo, what with me being a...how did you put it? A nerdy stick in the poop?”

“I’ll pay rent,” she said, ignoring his tease. “Extra baby rent even. Until I get on my feet and get my own place. ”

“Good,” Jared replied.

“What?” She laughed at his easy acceptance of her proposal. “Really?”

“Hey, if we have a third...and a half roommate, maybe Ames won’t have to spend as much time designing custom furniture and working. More of him to go around. My motives are purely selfish, I assure you.”

“Do you smell something?” Dahna said after a moment of laughter.

Jared cocked his head to the side.

“Yeah,” he said with a slight frown. “That little shit better not be burning my pans.”

There was a knock on the door a moment later and Amos pushed his way in with a basket full of cookies in one hand and a fresh martini in the other as soon as Jared called out for him to enter.

“Did you actually just bake us fresh cookies?” Dahna stared at Amos as he stood in the doorway looking sheepishly down at his confections. “Is he for real? 

“I just though... You were upset. Who doesn’t like cookies? It’s just sugar and eggs and junk. It only takes ten minutes bake ‘em. It’s okay if you don’t want any... I’m kind of drunk. It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

“I love cookies,” Dahna replied. She stretched out her arms toward the basket and Amos deposited them in her grasp.

Jared grabbed one for himself and pushed himself up off the bed as he took the first bite.

“Surprisingly not bad,” he said. “Who knew you were some kind of drunken cookie baking savant?” 

He reached the doorway and gave Amos a brief kiss on his way out.

“Hey, where are you going,” Amos called after him. 

“Keep Dahna company for a sec,” he said. “I’m going to make sure the oven is off and clean up whatever god awful mess you created in there. You may have managed to get the recipe right, but I still don’t trust your drunk ass in a kitchen.”

“A wise choice,” Amos said. “Did you know that you’re supposed to turn the mixer on after you put it in the batter not before? True fact.”

He giggled as Jared rolled his eyes and muttered disbelief that a man who worked with all manner of power tools on an almost daily basis could be so baffled by common kitchen appliances. Amos sat down on the sofa facing the foot of the bed once Jared had gone and smiled lazily at Dahna.

“Judging by the PDAs, he must’ve told you,” he said.

“Yeah.” She returned his smile. “It’s about time.”

“Yeah,” Amos replied.

They sat in uncomfortable silence with only the sound of Dahna chewing on cookies between them until she finally managed to think of some kind of small talk to ease the situation.

“So...” she said. “I wondered why Jared had so many dressers in here. I always thought he just had a lot of clothes.”

Amos laughed. His smile widened into a grin.

“Are you kidding? If I didn’t do his laundry when he’s on the road, I’d think he only owned, like, three shirts tops.”

“I know, right?” Dahna leaned forward on the bed with her head in her hands. “So you know about the socks too then?”

“Oh, god, the socks.” Amos wrinkled his nose at the thought of Jared’s lucky gameday socks. “SO many holes. At least he washes them.”

“Thank heaven for small miracles,” Dahna replied. “And the shirt! Have you seen the shirt?”

Amos nodded.

“He’s had that thing since our high school won the championship. Wore it under his jersey,” she said. 

“I’ve heard the story,” Amos said, taking a sip from his vodka. “Sometimes, for luck he says, he makes me were it when we...uh...nevermind.”

“Oh, my gosh, are you serious!” Dahna’s eyes widened.

“Sorry, sorry,” Amos replied with an expression of surprise that mirrored Dahna’s. “TMI!”

“No, No, it’s okay!” she said, paused for a moment and then continued.

“You know, he never lets anybody even touch that thing.”

“Really?” Amos said.

“Yeah,” she said. “It’s like a security blanket. He must really like you.”

“I hope so.” Amos looked sheepishly down into his drink.

Jared chose that moment to make a return appearance. 

“Sorry, Dahna,” he said, looking apologetically at his friend. “It’s going to take me a while to clean the kitchen. Somehow this one got cookie dough on the ceiling, so... You guys really don’t have to hang out together if you don’t want to. I don’t want to put you in an awkward situation.”

“It’s okay,” Amos said. “We’re doing alright.”

“Yeah,” Dahna replied. “We were just discussing your lucky t-shirt. Right?” She winked at him causing Amos to erupt into laughter.

“Wait a minute,” Jared said. 

He shot a glare at Amos who managed to suppress his laughter, but still looked pleased if guilty.

“You’re comparing notes?” Jared said. “Ten minutes ago you guys didn’t even like each other.”

“Ten minutes feels like a really long time ago right now,” Dahna said. “I’ve learned so many interesting things since then. Besides, he baked me cookies. As far as peace offerings go...”

She held the cookie up and smiled approval.

“This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” she asked.

Jared looked from her to Amos, who was still drunk and silly with laughter, face red from holding it in. He let relief flood in. He didn’t know if he could have taken it if, Dahna had rejected him, or his best friends couldn’t get along.

She noted the tension leave his face and felt her own misgivings dissipate.

“I think it’s going to be okay,” she said softly.

“Yeah,” Jared replied. “I think it is.”.

February 2013


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