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smackenzie: (jared)
[personal profile] smackenzie
He rode his Harley into town because he could and because it had been a while since he’d gotten a chance to take it out. He’d have to be very careful going home - he guessed he’d be tired and there was always more risk riding at night than during the day, because he was harder to see.

Jared's first motorcycle experience happened when he was thirteen and went to live (and theoretically work) on his grandparents' ranch. One of the guys who worked there had an old Harley chopper, and as soon as Jared could find a helmet (and someone could distract his grandmother), he made the guy take him out on it. The guy was a little worried about what might happen to him if he got his boss' grandson killed, but Jared reassured him that grandpa knew, everything was cool, see, he even had a helmet and had put on a jacket.

He thought it was the most amazing thing he'd ever done up to that point, and in his thirteen-year-old, never-really-done-anything kind of way, he thought it was even better than sex. Sitting pillion on the ranch hand's old Harley, zooming down the road at seventy miles an hour, Jared felt fast and dangerous and grown-up, and like he could go anywhere at any time, without having to answer to anybody. He laughed in exhilaration and swallowed a bug, but he didn't care. And even though he wouldn't even be able to drive a car for four more years, he started pestering his parents for a motorcycle as soon as he got home at the end of the summer.

His parents both said no.

But he managed to wear them down enough for them to get him a motorbike when he turned fifteen, which he was only allowed to ride after several lessons and even more lectures about safety. It made him - briefly - very popular, and he moved on from helping his dad and brother tinker with the car to tinkering with his own ride. When he graduated from high school, he sold the bike to buy his first car, a 1996 Chevy Blazer, which wasn't a great vehicle but did have excellent four-wheel drive, and moreover was cheap. He'd grown too tall for the motorbike by then, and was much more interested in motorcycle ownership anyway. Two years after buying the Blazer, he traded it for the F-150 and two motorcycle lessons, and two years after that, he was in Nashville looking at Harleys.

Jared's bike was a Harley-Davidson Softail Custom painted Pacific Blue and black, with saddlebags to hold some tools and other stuff and a pillion seat with sissy bar because Sandy had gone with him when he went to buy it, and she insisted that she be able to ride on the back. It was so far the only vehicle he'd ever bought new, and he loved it as if he'd built it himself. There were a couple of auto parts shops on Nolensville Road that he liked - some for work and some for when he needed a part for his truck - as well as one motorcycle-parts place that was pretty good about trying to get weird bits for the Triumph and had actually found a starter for the Ariel, and if it was a weekend and he didn't have to pick up anything big, Jared always rode his bike out there. He was almost guaranteed a motorcycle-related conversation with someone. The shops he patronized were all owned and staffed by Hispanic guys, and his Spanish was pretty terrible, but they could communicate back and forth well enough to talk about their bikes and their cars.

It was a good way to meet people, showing off your bike. But it wasn't necessarily a surefire way to make friends - the guys on Nolensville Road would probably never be more than acquaintences, although they were generally pretty friendly, and Jared had met (for a given value of "met") a bunch of people on the various online message boards he haunted, but the only motorcycle friend he'd actually made was a Scottish guy named Tony, who Jared met when he started looking around for old bikes to restore.

Tony had been a motorcycle racer in his younger years, but had moved to Nashville and opened a garage specializing in old bikes - buying and selling, restoring, rebuilding. The same way that Jared had met and become friends with Misha when Misha taught a class that Jared enrolled in, he met and became friends with Tony when Tony sold him the Triumph.

Tony had since closed his shop and moved away, although he kept in touch through email and the occasional phone call, and when Jared couldn't tell if he'd found the right part for a fair price, he trusted Tony to tell him the truth.

(Tony had laughed his head off when Jared told him he wanted to buy a rusty 1959 Ariel and restore it. But Jared hadn't been swayed, and now any time he sent Tony any email along the lines of "Fixing this bike is gonna drive me crazy and make me poor," Tony answered with a very simple "I told you so".)

But now as he cruised down the road on his Harley, headlamp lighting up the asphalt, the wind in his face and his saddlebags packed with surreptitious snacks, all Jared was really thinking about was whether he'd beat Jensen to the movie theater or if Jensen would get there first.

He did beat Jensen to the theater, but maybe he shouldn't have been surprised. He knew where he was going, for one thing, and he liked to drive really fast, whether he was in his truck or on his bike. He found a parking spot, got in line to buy tickets - it wasn't a long line but it was still a line - and found a text on his phone that Sandy had apparently sent him earlier that day and that he'd completely missed. But it was about karaoke tonight, and he would've said no. He texted back an apology anyway - "Just saw your text about karaoke, sorry for not answering. Am at the movies. Will call you tomorrow." Unlike Katie, Sandy wasn't going to tease him mercilessly about having a crush on Jensen, so he felt entirely comfortable sharing any details of his evening with her.

Jensen was fifteen minutes late, which gave Jared enough time to buy tickets and play a few games of Bejeweled on his phone.

"Sorry about that," he said. "I had a hard time getting out of the apartment. Chris wouldn't shut up. Why are we here so early?"

"There's gonna be a crowd." Jared gestured to the growing line of people buying tickets. "The midnight movies sometimes get a lot of people. And I figured we could sit at the bar or get a hot dog or something."

"There's a bar?"

"Yep. There's a bar." Jared grinned. "Sometimes the concession stand has pizza, too."

"Well let's go in and check that out."

They had enough time for Jared to get a hot dog and a giant popcorn and for Jensen to get a box of Raisinets and admire the bar, before they figured maybe they should get in line with everyone else waiting to go in and sit.

"What did you have to do this afternoon?" Jared asked, while they waited.

"I got called in for some studio work." Jared must have looked confused, because Jensen explained "I know a guy who works for a recording studio, who got me on their list of potential studio musicians. You know, if they need a backing band for someone or for someone to fill in on a song or an album or something. He totally came through for me and got me a few hours laying down a guitar track."


"Very. It took a stupid amount of time to get my guitar tuned correctly, but I'm pretty sure that was their fault and not mine. I was there five hours but really only got to record for three and a half, but they paid me for the whole time so I'm not complaining. It's not the greatest job, I mean I want to play my stuff and not three hours of someone else's, but it's experience and networking - and money - and it got me out of the house."

"Are you gonna, I dunno, play somewhere I can listen to you?"

Jared wasn't sure, but he thought that made Jensen blush, maybe a little. He hadn't thought it was that embarrassing a question, but he'd already figured out that Jensen was kind of an introvert, kind of a shy guy, and not always ready to answer a direct question about his potential musical performance. He would probably be the wrong person to bring to karaoke, although maybe he liked to sit in the audience and watch, rather than get up in front of everyone and sing. Jared couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, so he usually just sat and watched too, and cheered people on.

"Actually," Jensen said, "the drummer in Chris' band, her name's Aly, she's a bartender, and the bar where she works is starting open mike nights this coming week. They'll be Thursdays. I, uh, I told her I'd go to the first one and sing. You can come, if you want."

Oh, now he was definitely blushing. It was kind of cute.

"Sounds like fun," Jared said. "Tell me where, I'll be there. I can even bring the guys from the garage. To bulk up the audience, you know." Sometimes Beth took pictures at these kinds of events and put them up on her Facebook page, but Jared thought maybe he shouldn't mention that to Jensen in case it gave the guy stage fright or something.

"I don't know how good it'll be, but - oh, hey, we're moving."

Jensen wanted to sit as close to the middle of the row as possible, but Jared had learned that not only was an aisle seat better for his long legs, but he was less likely to get someone sitting behind him bitching about how he was blocking their view. Sometimes it really sucked being that tall.

Interestingly, though, he and Jensen were about the same height sitting down.

Jared had finished his hot dog while they were waiting to get into the theater, and now he had to restrain himself from starting on his popcorn. Instead, he got the details about Jensen's open mike night thing and gave him the phone number for the garage, saying "If you need to get ahold of me during the day, call the garage. I can take like five minutes to talk."

Jared pointed out that the audience seemed to be mostly people who looked old enough to have seen The Goonies when it came out in theaters the first time, but there was a not-inconsiderable number of people who seemed to be Jared and Jensen's age or younger, people who could've only seen the movie on TV or on video or a DVD.

"Thank the babysitters," Jensen said, grinning.

"Have some popcorn," Jared said. He liked to wait for the movie to start before digging into his movie snacks, but he had no problem offering them to his movie-going companions before then. And then he remembered that he'd brought snacks to sneak into the theater - a bottle of water, a couple packs of Twizzlers, a big bag of sour gummy worms. "Well, shit," he muttered.


"I got candy in my bike's saddlebags and I totally forgot."

Jensen snorted. "Doofus."

"Yeah, well, it'll keep. I'd probably have gotten popcorn anyway, just a smaller bag."

"That is a giant tub of popcorn."

It took both of them most of the movie to finish it, too.

The Goonies hadn't aged badly, Jared thought, and the audience got really into it. People laughed at the funny parts, quoted some of the lines along with the movie, went "Ooh" and "Ahh" at the appropriate times, and were quiet when quiet was called for. (Someone's phone did go off, but it only rang twice before the person managed to shut it up.) But most importantly for Jared's purposes, both he and Jensen enjoyed it.

"I felt bad because I couldn't make it this afternoon," Jensen said, as they followed the crowd out after the final credits, "but I really liked that. If it wasn't so late I'd suggest we go somewhere else, but, well, it's almost two."

"And there really isn't anywhere to go around here," Jared said. "And if there is, I don't know where." He yawned. "I gotta go home and go to bed. I was up early this morning. You know what the world needs? Cat flaps big enough for my dogs. Although a cat flap tall and wide enough to fit Harley would take up half the back door, so maybe not." He yawned again. "Someday you gotta come over and meet the dogs. They don't bite, I promise."

"Maybe, yeah. I'd kinda like that."

"Oh wow, now this does sound like a date." Jared chuckled. "I'll go to your open mike night thing on Thursday. I promise I won't wave from the floor and mess you up." He grinned.

"I'll ask Chris to keep an eye out, and if you do heckle, I'll tell him he can smack you upside the head." Now Jensen grinned too.

"My mom would be so embarrassed.... Drive safe. See you later."

"You too, man. 'Night."

Jensen waved as he walked up the sidewalk, presumably towards his car, and Jared went the other way to where his bike was parked. He dug into one of the saddlebags for the bottle of water, which was now lukewarm, and guzzled it down before straddling his bike, turning it on, and driving home.

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