Eight words accompanied by a handshake and a smile was all it took for Jared Padalecki to be a goner.
He had been a nervous mess right before, arriving an hour early with jittery hands and bouncing legs, his script scrunched and wrinkled from his fingers gripping it too tightly, and he talked a million miles a minute to the receptionist, a young girl with an amused smile. There wasn’t a single thing Jared would later recall about the room she told him he could wait in except for the fluorescent light fixtures that hummed in his ears. Nothing else was memorable, not when he was hunched over in a too-small chair and nearly giving himself a black eye with his jumping knee. In fact, he didn’t even look up from the fray at the end of his shoelace until the door handle twitched to life, breaking the drowning hum of the lights and the repetition of Sam Winchester’s first monolog in his head. And when he did finally look up, it was as though his feet had a mind of their own and he stood, colt-legs knocking and words sputtering off of his tongue, immediately telling too much and nothing of importance all at once.
Jensen Ackles looked sure. He closed the door behind him with the same soft click it had opened with and looked at Jared. Texas fields. It was then Jared began to analyze, during that first breath-catching moment; he analyzed the way Jensen’s gaze darted just over Jared’s shoulder, giving the appearance of eye-contact but not keeping it, the way his chest was held high and tight, the way his skin itself was trembling, all betraying who he was trying to be.
It wasn’t uncommon for Jared to fall quickly. He had always been that way, ask his momma. Whether it be friends, love, life itself, he was quick to fall and, in this instant, there wasn’t a soul who could or would blame him, hold him at fault, for wanting to know everything about Jensen Ackles. In those first ten seconds of looking at him, Jared knew nothing would make him happier than knowing what Jensen’s laugh sounded like and knowing how he could make him laugh again. Nothing would make him happier than knowing if the freckles on Jensen’s nose matched the ones disappearing under his shirt, at his fingertips, at everywhere else. Nothing would make him happier than knowing if Jensen watched football and if he wanted to grab a beer sometime. Jared was twenty-one now.
Between all the staring and the heart-racing, Jared must have introduced himself or said something of some relation because Jensen smiled – Jared noted his teeth were perfect and his eyes crinkled at the corners. Just perfect – and reached out with a piano-hand to grasp Jared’s outstretched one. He was sure Jensen could feel the palpitations of his pulse at the jut of his wrist.
And then Jensen spoke. Eight words accompanied by a handshake, smile still in place.
“Hi, I’m Jensen. Nice to meet you, Jared.”
A complete goner.