When the truck came to a halt. the bottom dropped out of his stomach. “We’re here!” Jared’s voice was upbeat, nothing to betray that he had just abducted someone. He heard the door on the driver’s side open and close and Jensen stayed still focusing on breathing. His door opened and then there was a hand on his arm guiding him out of the truck and onto the ground. Gravel crunched beneath his feet and he listened for any other sound that might indicate where they were. The air smelled like pine trees and he could hear the song of birds close by, but there was nothing else. No sound of traffic. Which gave him an idea of where they were, but not one that he liked. Jared was leading him, excitedly talking and, all Jensen caught were snatches of his words: “you’ll love it here!” and “don’t worry, everything is blind-friendly.” Jared took him up two steps onto a wooden porch that creaked under his feet. There was a pause and the jingle of keys and then a door creaking open. Jared guided him past the threshold and into the house.
“I wanted to wait to show you until everything was ready. I’ve been working on this ever since I realized we were going to be together. It should have everything you need. I know you’re going to like living here with me. I got this place a long time ago, I wanted somewhere out of the way. Somewhere quiet and away from people.”
Jensen’s heart sank at that. It was a confirmation of what he had feared that they were far from civilization.
“Anyway, this is the main room. Here’s the couch.” He put Jensen’s hand against the soft fabric and gave Jensen a chance to run his hand down the arm to get a feel for the height and position of the sofa. Jensen paid close attention, this part, it was important. If he had any hope of getting away, he was going to have to remember how to navigate the house without Jared’s help. Jared led him a short distance and Jensen kept one hand out to feel for walls and any obstructions. The living room led into an open kitchen.
“Here, check this out. I did a lot of research on this stuff. I wanted to make sure you could be independent.” Jared pulled his hand up to brush against smooth wood and then pressed it against something. It was a shelf filled with plastic bottles. It didn’t take him long to figure out what it was, he had a similar set up back in his apartment. He pulled one down and ran his fingers over the brail label, “thyme”. Each spice was similarly labeled in braille. The stove had small shaped tabs next to each heat indicator. The whole kitchen was set up in the same way as his kitchen back home. He didn’t cook for himself often, but he liked having the option. And Jared had apparently recreated it… That was… he didn’t know what that was.
“Here, you’re going to love this.” Jared pulled Jensen along with him, the excitement in his voice matched by the way he pulled Jensen along. He was like an over eager puppy happy to show off for his master. This time Jensen found his hand placed against the spines of books, his books to be exact, all in braille. As he ran his hand along the spines, he discovered that the bookshelf contained a wide variety of different titles covering several genres.
“What do you think?” Jensen could just imagine him bouncing on his heels like an excited kid. What did he think? He had been kidnapped by a psychopath, and this was the last thing he had been expecting. This was… he didn’t know what this was. Right now he hated his inability to see more than ever. For all he knew this was just an act and Jared was playing mind games with him, acting this way while he planned out all the horrible thing he would do to Jensen. Not that being able to see would allow him to see Jared’s true intention. But for all he knew he could be standing in the middle of a torture dungeon right now. He couldn’t even see what was right in front of him. He slowly reached out one hand and felt along the bookshelf and along the wall next to it. A short distance away he felt the wood and hinges of a door.
He was unreasonable relieved by this, because what did he expect? That he Jared kept an iron maiden next to his Braille library? Or stocks in the kitchen right next to the spice rack? The problem was he didn’t know what to expect. He hated feeling out of control. He had spent his life withdrawing from everyone around him and carefully constructing a life of independence. He didn’t depend on anyone for anything. But now he was vulnerable and completely at the mercy of someone he thought he knew. And it was fucking terrifying.
“Jensen?” The tentative question brought him back to himself.
“I don’t read my own books.” Jensen blurted out. It was the first thing that came to mind and he hadn’t been able to stop himself from saying it. There was a long awkward pause before Jensen finally decided he was committed now. He couldn’t pretend he hadn’t just said something pretty irrelevant to his circumstances. He cleared his throat then continued, “I mean the braille editions were a nice touch but not necessary. Once I write something and publish it, it’s no longer mine. I put it out into the world and I don’t go back and reread them.”
“Oh! Actually I’d love to know more about your process, I want to know everything about you.” The enthusiasm was back in Jared’s voice. Jensen had never had anyone be as singularly enthusiastically about him as Jared was. If it wasn’t unsettling it would actually be flattering. He took a minute to take a deep breath before speaking again, trying to gather his thoughts.
“Jared… I don’t know what to say. This is unbelievable. Seriously, I can’t believe you did all of this.”
“I was hoping you would like it! Look, I am sorry about earlier. I hadn’t intended for things to go quite like this. I had hoped to give you more warning about moving in. But then after what you said, I just sort of panicked. My uh… my problem, my illness, I have a handle on it most of the time. But sometimes when I get stressed my thoughts get sort of muddled and it’s difficult to think straight.”
“Yeah, I understand. It’s okay.” He did understand, weirdly enough. He knew that without his sight there were certain things that were difficult for him that others took for granted. And he understood for someone who was mentally ill certain things were more difficult than they would be for other people. That did not, however, make him feel any better about having been kidnapped. He felt as if he were hanging from a cliff on a frayed rope, desperately praying it didn’t snap and send him to his death. All he could do was go along with this until he found a way to get away.
“Jared, this place is amazing,” he continued, “I appreciate all the effort you went to for me. No one has ever done anything like this for me before.” He tried to keep his voice natural, hoping Jared didn’t hear the tension in it. And then there were strong arms around him and he was being pulled in close.
“I’m glad you’re here. I’ve wanted to have you with me since the first moment I saw you. Every moment without you is Hell. And now I have you with me, all the time. I don’t know what I would do without you Jensen, I don’t think I could live without you.” His words were slightly muffled as he rested his head against Jensen’s shoulder.
“I’m not going anywhere, not anytime soon.” Unfortunately that was probably true. “Hey, uh… Do you think I can call Danneel?” He was relieved when Jared finally let him go, he was so tense he was getting worried that Jared would be able to tell something was wrong.
“Why do you want to talk to her?” Anger edged Jared’s voice as he spoke.
“Jared are you seriously jealous of Danneel?” The incredulity in his voice was sincere. It hadn’t even occurred to him that Jared was jealous, of Danneel of all people.
“No, of course not.” Jared sounded petulant, like a child that had been caught being bad. “I just don’t know why you’re thinking of her on a day like this.”
I’d like to tell her the good news. She’s been trying to set me up with you for so long, I’m sure she would be interested to hear what’s happened. That’s all.”
“There’ll be time for that later. Today is about us. Come on, I’ll show you the bedroom.” Jared’s voice had snapped back to him, no more hint of suspicion.
He took Jensen’s hand again and led him into the room, the edge of which Jensen had felt next to the book shelf.
The bed creaked as Jared sat down, pulling Jensen down next to him.
“So what do you want to do now?” They were sitting on the edge of the bed and Jensen had a clear idea of what Jared wanted to do. If he had had any doubts, the warmth of a hand sliding up his leg would have clued him in.
“How about a movie?” He asked, intentionally misunderstanding. Just this morning the contact would have been more than welcome. But right now, he didn’t think he could handle it. He was doing his best to remain calm and act like everything was normal. But there was a constant thrum of anxiety and fear just underneath the surface. He didn’t think he would be able to handle being with Jared right now. But a movie was safe. He didn’t need to talk or do anything but sit still.
“Okay.” Jared sounded disappointed. “Are okay? You seem… off.”
Jensen sighed and decided the best lies were mixed with truth, “Yeah, I’m fine. It’s just been a lot. I have spent the last decade cutting myself off from human contact as much as possible. And now there’s you and all this. It’s just a lot to take in, that’s all.”
“I get that. It’s been a lot of changes for me too. This is all new to me, and I’m still trying to make sense of everything myself."
Jared seemed content to let the subject drop.
Jared showed him where the movies were and he grabbed one at random. He didn’t care what they watched, he was just happy from the reprieve from trying to act normal.
Jensen didn’t try to focus on the movie, instead thinking about what he was going to do. Even if Jared let him make a call what could he possibly say that would alert anyone to his situation without letting Jared know what he was doing? He could just let it play out, hang out with Jared and hope for the best, bide his time until an opportunity presented itself. But how long until Jared got bored with playing house and decided there were more fun games he could play with Jensen as his captive? He didn’t actually have that much information on the behavior of the mentally unstable. A reviewer had called his work, “trite, cliché and overly sensationalized, doing nothing to reflect the reality of mental illness and psychopathy.” As much as it had raised his hackles to have his work criticized even he couldn’t deny that it was true. He spent little time trying to understand normal functioning people with mental illness. Because that wasn’t exciting, his work was meant to be terrifying and unsettling. It wasn’t real. He didn’t even know for sure what was wrong with Jared. True sociopaths were incredibly rare, he did know that much. He had no idea if Jared was one. What he did know was that Jared had kidnapped him and he was acutely aware of the danger of his situation. But he had no way to predict what was going to happen to him, what Jared would do next. He felt a drift in a sea of doubt and uncertainty with no way to find his way to shore.
The rest of the day went by in a haze. Jared made them dinner. They were both quiet for the most part, probably because both of them were overwhelmed with the new change. Going from being alone, to being together, it was a lot to take in.
He laid in bed that night, listening to the sound of Jared breathing next to him. It was too much, it was all too much. Having Jared so close, knowing what he now knew about the man, it was too intimate, too wrong. He moved slowly, trying not to wake the other man. He slid out from under his arm and sat still on the edge of the bed. There was the creak of springs and the rustle of movement, and then silence again, Jared’s breathing slow and even, and it seemed he slept on. Jensen’s heart raced painfully as he made his way through the room. He didn’t have his cane, and it seemed pointless to look for it. Jared had taken it when they got out of the truck, leaving Jensen to rely on him to guide him, and he had no way of knowing where it might be.
He had paid attention when Jared was showing him around, so he felt reasonably confident in his ability to navigate the house without running into anything. He made his way to the bed room door, and opened it slowly, trying not to make any noise. The hinges squeaked, and in the silence of the room the sound seemed deafening. He froze listening for any sound that might indicate that Jared had woken up, but there was nothing. He moved slowly through the living room trying to remember where Jared said everything was. He made his way carefully through the space until he reached the comforting coolness of the door that led to the outside. His hand on the knob, only then did he hesitate.
What was he going to do? He had no idea where he was no way to get a phone, and if by some miracle he managed to make it to a road without getting hopelessly lost, then what? He could wait and hope someone stopped to help him. But he might encounter someone worse than Jared. But then, wasn’t it better to take a chance, no matter how slim his chances of success, than stay here and wait to see what Jared had in store for him? An almost undefinable feeling welled up in him when he thought of leaving and never seeing Jared again. A deep empty ache in his heart. He had loved Jared and if he left that meant the Jared he knew was gone forever. His thoughts went round and round as he stood stupidly holding the door knob paralyzed with doubt. What the hell was he supposed to do? He may only have one shot if he made the wrong choice it could end very badly for him.
Then the decision was made for him when he heard the soft sound of footsteps right behind him.