strangeallure: (j2 l.a. con 2008)
[personal profile] strangeallure
Title: Work Ethic
Fandom: CWRPS
Pairing: Jared/Jensen
Rating: mild R
Summary: Jared works at a phone sex hotline. Somehow, listening in on his hot new colleague's calls is much more exciting than taking his own.
Word Count: ~2,100
Warnings: none

A/N: Edited version of a fill for [livejournal.com profile] dugindeep's request at the Working Hard for the Money comment fic meme hosted by [livejournal.com profile] transfixeddream. Original post can be found here.

Work Ethic

The truth is, Jared is kind of glad to be working in a cubicle.

He knows that a lot of people in his line of work prefer to work from home, but Jared likes having a place to go to for his shift and a set period of time to work before he gets off. He likes having somewhere he can set up all the stuff he needs: Crazy Bands, a metal key-chain, a ruler and a wet sponge, all for various sound effects; a bottle of water, a thermos with honeyed tea and some cough drops to keep his voice healthy and smooth; and a computer with a low-noise keyboard, so he can look up stuff without clients getting suspicious.

It also helps him to have all kinds of reference posters taped to his cubicle walls: lists of different verbs, adjectives and nouns to use, so his vocabulary will be somewhat fresh and exciting; pictures of props and toys with short descriptions/instructions beneath and their names on top; photos depicting different ways to use those items, and, of course, drawings of a few dozen sex positions.

Jared's kind of lucky none of the colleagues who use the same cubicle when he's not on shift seems to mind the décor. On the other hand, they might get some use out of it, too.

So yeah, Jared likes working in a cubicle because it means he can be organized and prepared for pretty much every possible demand of the job. It allows him to not mix his work and his home life and to always be a complete and utter professional. Jared has a great work ethic.

That is, until Katie quits and they put a new guy into the cubicle next to his.

Okay, so maybe the problems don't start right away. Usually, Jared is pretty focused on his own job and his own clients, so he doesn't exactly make it a habit to listen in on his colleagues' calls. It's just this one time, on a slow day. He's waiting for his next call when, somehow, he really notices the voice next to him for the first time.

Sure, when the guy, Jensen, had taken over Katie's cubicle, they had introduced themselves. Said "Hi", shook hands, exchanged a smile. The guy had seemed nice enough, healthy and clean-shaven. Was pretty hot, too. Jared remembers his voice: nice – just like the guy himself. Nothing too dirty, nothing too rough. There's demand for that, Jared knows from talking to the operators. Apparently, a lot of guys – and some women, too – liked the idea of corrupting (supposedly) fresh-faced, wholesome college freshmen. Jared had figured that those jobs would be right up Jensen's alley.

What he hears when he listens in on Jensen's call is nothing like that, though. Jensen's voice is dark, slow with filthy promises, as he tells the caller exactly how the guy is gonna take it from him, tells him how much he needs it, craves it, loves it.

Without even making a conscious decision, Jared slumps back into his chair and pulls himself close to his desk.

He knows he should go get a drink from the water cooler, or maybe put on his headphones and surf the web until the next call comes in, but he doesn't. Instead, he pushes the busy button on his extension, so the operators won't put anyone through. He has no idea what he's doing, he can hardly think. All he can do is concentrate on the deep reverb of Jensen's voice.

Of course he doesn't get to hear the other end of the conversation, but frankly, he doesn't need it. He's pretty sure the guy Jensen has on the line is a whimpering mess by now, not able to say much more than "yes" and "please" and "god" – because, fuck, if those aren't the only words Jared's mind still seems able to come up with.

It's pathetic, but he's actually surprised that he manages to keep his hands resting on his thighs, feeling the weight much too heavy, pressing heat against the suddenly tense muscles. Suddenly, it already seems like a sign of incredible self-restraint that he doesn't do anything stupid, like rubbing his palm over his fly or getting a hand inside his pants. At his desk. In his cubicle. In his fucking place of work.

Apparently, Jared's not the complete and utter professional he thought he was.

Jensen is, though. He's almost there, surely has his client almost there, and Jared scrapes together all his remaining willpower to push himself away from his desk and go to the bathroom before Jensen's finished.

What he does there is no one's business but his own.

--

The problem is that it only gets worse from there. Now that he knows, now that his hearing is attuned to the rough drawl Jensen uses on his clients, Jared cannot stop listening in. His number of calls taken goes down, just like his minutes-per-call average. It's hard (ha!) to admit to himself, but the truth is that he doesn't draw calls out like he used to – like they're supposed to – because he'd rather hear Jensen talk someone off than talk a random guy off himself. It's a little sad.

At the end of the week, their boss prints out the statistics for every agent, like she always does, and they get pinned to the wall next to the elevator. Jared slipped from number 3 overall (and number 2 in minutes-per-call) to number 8. It's not horrible. It's not like it's going to cost him his job or anything, but still … it doesn't exactly put him in the best mood.

As he turns around, letting out a long, exasperated breath, he runs straight into Jensen. Figures.

"Uh," Jared says eloquently as he takes a step back.

"Hey." Jensen gives him a wide smile that's all boyish charm and has none of the dirty-sexy-hot of his work voice. Jared can't help thinking it's cute.

He's so screwed.

"I, uh, saw that you moved up a couple of places," he says with an awkward wave in the direction of the stats – because he obviously has no pride to keep him from admitting that he looked up Jensen's position. "Congrats."

"Yeah, thanks," Jensen says, looking down for a moment before his eyes find Jared's, giving him an intense look Jared can't really read. "I've been kinda inspired lately – by the new work environment and all," Jensen says. Only he doesn't just say it, but positively drawls. And then he honest-to-goodness winks at Jared, too, and Jared really wishes he had enough brain power left to decipher what Jensen's saying.

Instead, he just mumbles, "That's, uh, that's good." His face feels hot, and he can't deal with the way Jensen's eyes seemed focused on only him, so he looks away. "So, uh. See you later." Jared's clearly an idiot.

"Yeah," Jensen's smile dims a little. "Later."

The next few days, Jensen suddenly seems to be everywhere: He's standing in the foyer, chatting with a colleague, when Jared comes in for work; he enters the break room just when Jared started a new pot of coffee; he even packs up right when Jared does, so they have to take the elevator together.

It would be an awesome opportunity to get to talk to Jensen, to get to know him – if only Jared didn't feel so guilty for perving on the guy. A co-worker. His fucking cubicle neighbor. Jared feels like such a creep.

So obviously, he tries to avoid Jensen as much as he can. When Jensen catches him in the break room, Jared pretty much runs out the door with an apologetic shoulder shrug, throwing the words, "More creamer" in Jensen's direction. (There's still plenty of half and half in the fridge, he checked). And when he finds himself in the same elevator as Jensen, Jared only mutters a quick,"Hi" or "Morning" before pretending that he needs to fully concentrate on his phone – like sending a text to Chad about poker night couldn't possibly wait another minute. He even ditches the monthly get-together at the bar across the street that week, just to avoid having to talk to Jensen.

He's so pathetic.

--

On Thursday, Jared stays late after his shift, glad that no one needs his cubicle tonight. He organizes some files that don't really need to be organized and plays Minesweeper, just to make sure he'll leave after Jensen. Maybe he should change shifts, so they won't run into each other anymore – and Jared can go back to not being a creepy stalker.

He's just lost another game – Jared sucks at Minesweeper, always has – when he hears someone clearing their throat behind him.

When he turns around, it's Jensen. Of course it is.

"Hey Jared," he says, his eyes darting from Jared's face straight to his feet.

"Hey," Jared replies, already feeling like a tool. He pretty much has a hot flash thinking about why Jensen might be here, in his cubicle. In Jared's cubicle. He probably found out that Jared's been listening in on his calls; probably found out where he usually goes right after; what he does there. Oh God. Jared feels his face grow hot, but he can't make himself say anything, can't make himself apologize.

"I'm … I'm sorry for making you feel uncomfortable," Jensen says in a soft voice, and it takes a moment to compute with Jared.

"Uh, what?"

"I- it wasn't very professional, saying what I said. And doing what I did, I guess." Jensen's still looking at his shoes, a self-deprecating snort accompanying his last words.

Jared's lost. Totally lost. "I have no idea what you're talking about," he finally admits.

Jensen looks up for a moment. "Come on, Jared. You've been avoiding me since I made that comment." His eyes cut away again. "And I should know, 'cause I was seeking you out."

Oh. So the last days weren't just full of coincidental meetings. That was Jensen seeking him out. That … doesn't sound so bad. If only Jared could figure out what the problem is.

"I still don't … I mean, what comment would that be?" he tries, voice still uncertain, but undeniably curious.

Jensen's stare is disbelieving, eyes squinting and bright, flecks of red high on his cheekbones. His perfect, perfect cheekbones. "Oh, I don't know," he almost spits. "The one where I said you turned me on and it made me better at my job here."

"You never said that! I would remember if you had said that." That's one thing Jared's one-hundred percent sure of.

Jensen seems to deflate right away. "Maybe not those exact words, but … you know." He makes a vague hand gesture and goes back to staring at his shoes.

After a minute, he raises his head to look at a spot at least a foot to the left from Jared's head. "I guess you're just not into small talk, huh? Or small talk with me, anyway." Jensen exhales audibly. "Sorry for bothering you. G'night."

And yeah, Jared's an idiot, and his work ethic has gone south – along with parts of his brain – ever since Jensen's been working next to him, but he can still see an opportunity when it's about to slip through his fingers.

He jumps out of his chair and follows Jensen in a couple of quick steps, getting a hold of his wrist just outside the cubicle. Jensen turns around, a confused expression on his face. "You're not gonna punch me, are you?"

"No," Jared says, shaking his head at the absurdity of the thought. He lets go of Jensen's wrist. "God no." He swallows. "I just … I love small talk. I usually talk a lot, with everyone. It's just," he shrugs awkwardly, but soldiers on, "I felt bad because I kept listening in on your calls. I was afraid you'd find out, and think I'm a perv." He looks up with a self-deprecating smile. "Which I probably am, a little."

Jensen's eyes seem to gauge him, like he's trying to make out if Jared's telling the truth.

"So," he finally says, a blush back on his cheeks, "it's not just me."

"No," Jared shakes his head, daring to move a step closer, "definitely not just you."

"I know this 24-hour diner," Jensen starts, his eyes crinkling at the corners with a smile.

Before he can so much as finish the sentence, Jared takes his hand and pulls him towards the elevators. "Sounds perfect. Let's go."

Date: 2011-01-11 09:58 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-01-12 06:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you!

And btw, that's such a fun icon.

Date: 2011-01-11 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] write-in-red.livejournal.com
Awww Poor Jared...he's having trouble being close to Jensen. Too bad Jensen is taking it the completely wrong way.

I'm glad they got that straightened out. :)

Date: 2011-01-12 06:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Me, too!

Thank you for your comment :)

Date: 2011-01-11 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dugindeep.livejournal.com
I still love it bb! Jensen attempting to be forward, nervous!Jared! Lovely!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Awww, bb. You're so good to me ♥

Date: 2011-01-11 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] azraelz-angel.livejournal.com
Awww, Jared perving on Jensen was awesome. And I just love that Jensen was trying to flirt with Jared and Jared was just oblivious!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I'm happy you liked it!

Date: 2011-01-12 02:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] goldie3.livejournal.com
Aw, Jensen was just so adorable, and Jared is probably the king of the of the oblivious people. Extremely enjoyable fic.

Date: 2011-01-12 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks so much :)

Date: 2011-01-12 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tcs1121.livejournal.com
Sometimes you just need a good story about two hot guys selling phone sex.

Thank you.

Date: 2011-01-12 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
My thoughts exactly.

Date: 2011-01-12 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oldbatj.livejournal.com
Just to let you know the guys and I really dug this tale of yours. Love Jared's trip to the restroom. Poor guy!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Yeah, well, he got Jensen in the end, so I don't pity him too much.

Thanks for your comment!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:54 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm a sucker for sweet romances. But I've never read one with this kind of premise - yet you made it work!!!! Thank goodness Jensen man-up, otherwise they'll be tiptoeing around each other forever - but in a really cute way!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Yes, these guys are pretty adorable.

Honestly, I didn't think that a sex worker comment fic meme prompt (what a word!) would be the basis for some slightly awkward office romance-type fic either :)

Date: 2011-01-12 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassandra-leeds.livejournal.com
Loved it! So sweet! :D

Date: 2011-01-12 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

Date: 2011-01-12 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jesseofthenorth.livejournal.com
I'm not exactly sure how but you managed tp make phone sex very sweet ;)
Nice work thanks for the fun read!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I know what you mean. When I looked at the prompts, I meant to write something dirty-filthy-hot, but instead this happened.

I'm happy you liked it anyway :)

Date: 2011-01-12 12:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dr-ducktator.livejournal.com
This put a smile on my face when it's way too early in the morning to be smiling. Loved it!

Date: 2011-01-12 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
Thanks so much. (And: Yay, CMM icon!)

Date: 2011-01-12 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scintilla10.livejournal.com
Hee, I don't know how phone sex operators managed to be this adorable! ;D

Date: 2011-01-12 06:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
I don't know either. I think adorabellification might be Jared and Jensen's mutant ability. (To quote Stephen Fry: Is that even a word? It is now!)

Date: 2011-01-12 07:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] scintilla10.livejournal.com
I think adorabellification might be Jared and Jensen's mutant ability. You may just be right about that! :D

Date: 2011-01-20 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fictionalknight.livejournal.com
hehehe! I totally loved this -- the awkwardness and the cluelessness. teehee! <333

Date: 2011-01-22 12:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] strangeallure.livejournal.com
So happy you enjoyed it :)

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