Author: Lamia Astaroth PM
[One-Shot] WillJack The episode "Bully Wooley" - How it should have gone. Read and Review!Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 15,677 - Reviews: 26 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 5 - Published: 03-12-05 - Status: Complete - id: 2302369
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer-I own nothing. The show belongs to its creators.
Author's Note-This is a story that uses the episode "Bully Wooley" (the episode where Will and Jack meet Patty LuPone) and uses that as a backbone to go into a Will and Jack story. Also, if you couldn't tell, this is written as a (long) one shot. Enjoy, read, and review! Thanks!
Oh, and if there are any diehard Will and Jack fans here, you should join the WillnJack LiveJournal group. Since I can't really put a url on, just go to LiveJournal and type in willnjack. Please join!
That's all from me! Ciao!
By: Lamia Astaroth
Clarity of mind means clarity of
passion, too; this is why a great
and clear mind loves ardently and
sees distinctly what it loves.
We all have big changes in our lives that
are more or less a second chance.
And you've given your love to me
In spite of everything I, I don't
deserve you. From this day forward
I'm truly yours. It took me awhile to see
That we were meant for one another.
Thank you for loving me.
-Monica "Breaks My Heart"
'Cause I can't fight this feeling anymore
I've forgotten what I've started fighting
for, and if I have to crawl upon the
floor, come crashing through your door
Baby I can't fight this feeling anymore
-REO Speedwagon "Can't Fight This Feeling"
"I can't believe my wig collection is finally complete!" Jack McFarland said, grinning as he stroked the hair on his Patty Lupone wig. "And she didn't even scream. It was amazing."
"Yeah, but I think that was mainly a result of her near-stroke," Will Truman said as he sat down on his couch. "I still can't believe you did that for me."
"Oh, Will, I didn't do it for you. I did it for the mere joy of finishing a project." Jack smiled as he sat down beside Will on the couch. "And it feels good."
"No, I mean...standing up for me like that. You didn't even have to do it; I would've understood if you had gone to be with her. I mean, when you promised me that you'd spend time with me, you didn't say 'even if Patty Lupone, the woman I've been hunting for the past few months is there.' It meant a lot to me."
"You just doubt how much I really care for you. I know I think about myself a lot of the time, and how could I not? Look at me; I'm adorable." He flashed Will a large smile, cocking his head. "But that doesn't mean that you don't mean a lot to me. 'Cause you do."
Will smiled, looking at Jack. When had his best friend grown up so much? It seemed like just yesterday that Jack had been sneaking off with Will's crushes and ex-boyfriends. Jack hadn't even tried to make a pass at Vince when he and Will had been dating. And never in the past would he have shouted at a theatre actress just so that he and Will could talk.
I guess it's true; everyone does grow up eventually, Will thought, staring down into the glass of water he held in his hand. He stirred the water around, watching as the ice cubes spun around and around. He had been noticing Jack's growing maturity a lot more lately, and, quite frankly, he liked it.
"I still can't believe we actually sang with Patty Lupone," Jack said, snapping Will out of his thoughts. "It was like a dream. Except instead of waking up in a puddle of drool, I got her hair!"
"I know. We sounded pretty good, too, didn't we?" Will said, taking a sip of his water.
"Of course we did. Remember, I used to be in the theatre, and you've always had a nice voice." He stood up and walked into the kitchen. "I'm going to get something to eat. Want anything?"
Will shook his head. "No, I'm fine. Just try not to get anything that'll make a big mess. I don't want to clean until tomorrow morning."
"Right, right, I know," Jack said, opening the door to the refrigerator. As Jack began to rummage throughout the refrigerator, Will found himself staring at Jack, without even realizing that his eyes had followed him.
I wonder if those are my pants or his, Will thought, eyeing Jack's pants carefully. They fit like mine, but I don't remember buying them. They could be his, I suppose, but when was the last time Jack wore his own pants? Well, whosever's they are, they look really good on him -
Will sat up suddenly, tearing his eyes away from Jack, back to his water glass. Don't even go there, Will, he warned himself, setting his water glass down on the table, on a coaster. It's Jack, it's Jack. It's Jack.
"Hey Will!" Jack said, causing Will to look back over at him. Jack was wearing his Patty Lupone wig and smiling, his blue eyes twinkling. "How cute do I look?" he asked.
"Very," Will replied. Then, under his breath, so soft that he could barely hear himself, "Like always." He took another long drink of his water. Don't, Will. You're heading down a bad path. This is your best friend. It's wrong.
"What's wrong, William?" Jack asked, taking off his wig and tossing it onto the breakfast table. "You look confused." He tilted his head at Will, looking at him more carefully. "It's not your best expression."
"I'm sorry, Jack. I guess I don't pull it off as well as you do. Then again, you have much more experience with the look then I do," Will said, standing up, his hand on his hip.
Jack pointed at him and moved his finger up and down, as though inspecting him.
"Something is wrong," he said, raising an eyebrow. "Your voice got high and squeaky. That only happens when you're angry at yourself, or if you're trying to figure something out." He walked over to Will and placed each of his hands on Will's shoulder. "What's wrong? Still worried about Vince? Listen, it's like I said before: you still haven't met a guy good enough for you yet."
Will inhaled deeply in exasperation. "It's nothing, Jack," he said, avoiding Jack's gaze by looking everywhere else in the room. Why can't I look at him? It's Jack, not some random hot guy. Although he's just as adorable as any other - stop it, Will! He's Jack! Jack McFarland. Nothing more. Nonetheless, he felt the skin on his shoulders tingling under Jack's touch.
"If it's nothing, then why won't you look at me?" Jack asked, trying to lock eyes with Will. "Was it tonight? Did I not do good?"
Will sighed, looking up into Jack's eyes. Almost to his amazement, he saw pure hurt and concern glistening in Jack's crystal blue gaze. "No, of course not, Jack. Tonight was great. I mean, you proved how much you care about me, we scalped an actress, and we got to spend time together for the first time in...God, a long time. It was great. I promise."
Jack smiled. "Thanks Will," he said, almost sheepishly. He dropped his hands down from Will's shoulders. "You know, we should do it again. Ever since I started working for Out TV, I've been feeling really exhausted. Work is tiring stuff!"
Will chuckled, shaking his head. "You'll get used to it. It goes away once you've really settled in."
"No, I'm doing fine with the actual work. It's that damn straight assistant of mine. Whenever I try to get him to write a letter for me, he always asks me which 'gay words' he should use."
Jack scoffed, shaking his head in forbearance. "So, after a week, I just wrote him up a list of the words he should use. I just wish he would get replaced. Like with that cute assistant of Bill's. Bill's too old for him, anyway. I'd have more use for him." Jack grinned, sitting down on the couch again.
Will slowly sat down again beside him. He felt a slight churning in his stomach. It almost felt like...jealousy? No, it couldn't be jealousy. Why, because Jack's talking about a cute guy? God, I make it seem like we're dating or something. "I thought you were going to get something to eat," Will said, noticing Jack's empty hands.
"Oh, I was, but I couldn't find anything in there that I wouldn't make a mess with," Jack replied, shrugging. "I almost chose those marshmallows, but I'd probably drop them onto the carpet or something, and remember what happened last time that happened?"
"Oh, yeah...it took me three hours to get all of that off of the rug. It probably would've been easier had you not stepped on it trying to get me."
Jack nodded, crossing his legs. "But, really, we should get together more. When you and Vince were dating, I barely ever saw you. I missed you," he added, almost under his breath.
"What?" Will said, looking over at Jack, a look of curious gratuity upon his face.
Jack shrugged, a faint pink spreading across his cheeks. "I missed you. So? Can't a guy miss his best friend every once in a while?" he added in defense to the smile that had appeared on Will's face.
"That's sweet, Jack. It makes me feel good to know that you would take time out of the day to stop and think, 'I wish Will was around.'" His smile widened as he took another sip of his water. Nearly all of the ice cubes had melted, he noticed, with the exception of two.
"Okay, that is not how it went at all, okay?" Jack said, chuckling nervously. "First of all, I wouldn't randomly think it. It's when I would come over to see you and Grace would say, 'Oh, no, sorry, he's out with Vince.' That's when I would think, 'I wish Will was here so we could do something.' See? It's completely different than what you said." Jack chewed on the inside of his cheek, the pink still lingering over his cheeks.
"You're something else, Jack," Will said, looking into Jack's embarrassed eyes. "Sometimes I think you couldn't give a damn about anyone else, and then you turn around and say that you care for me, that you missed me, and that you want to spend more time with me. It makes me feel so good to know that you feel that way."
"You know, I don't understand why you have so much trouble believing it. I mean, we've known each other for, what? Years and years. And you still can't believe that I care about you?"
Will shrugged. "Sometimes you gotta' wonder," he said, setting his glass down on the coaster again. He glanced at his watch. It was nearly midnight. "Oh, I didn't know it was getting so late. I think I should be getting to be. I've got work tomorrow."
"Yeah, me, too," Jack said, standing up from the couch. "I'll see you tomorrow, Will."
"Lunch?" Will asked as he stood up from the couch.
Jack turned, looked at Will, and nodded. "Yeah, lunch sounds good," he said, smiling. "I just hope I can get outta' there; sometimes you've gotta' fill out all these forms and..." He trailed off, grunting in exasperation. "I'll be there," he said, opening the front door.
"Okay. And Jack?" Will called, causing Jack to pause in the doorway. "Just so you know, I really care about you, too."
"Thanks Will," Jack said with a small smile, before exiting Will's apartment and closing the door behind him.
Will chuckled, picking up his glass from the table and taking it into the kitchen. As he began washing out the glass, he looked up at the sound of someone opening and closing the door. "Hey Grace," he greeted as the red head entered the apartment.
"Hey, what's up?" she said, walking up to him and peering over his shoulder at the sink.
"Oh, cleaning. Nothing big there. So, how was your night with Jack? I saw he didn't dump you again; I passed him in the hallway coming over here."
"Yeah, he stuck with me the whole night. Actually, he did something pretty amazing. Can you hand me that towel?" Will asked, jerking his head toward a towel sitting on the opposite counter.
"Yeah, sure," Grace said, picking up the towel and placing it in Will's waiting hand.
"So, what'd he do that was so amazing?" she asked, leaning against the counter.
"You know that Broadway star he's been hunting down for God only knows how long?"
"Patty Lupone?" she asked, and Will nodded. "Yeah, he might've mentioned her, oh, a lot. What about her?"
"She was at the restaurant we were at," Will said, turning from the sink and walking over to the cabinet. He opened the cabinet door and placed the freshly cleaned glass inside.
"Ouch. I bet Jack had a hey-day with that," Grace said, closing the cabinet door, just barely missing closing Will's fingers into it.
"Hey, watch it! Actually, no, he didn't. He did everything he could to try and ignore her."
"Wow. That doesn't sound like Jack at all. I mean, ignoring a famous person to pay attention to his friend? What happened to the Jack we used to know?"
"I don't know. But, anyway, Patty Lupone leans over to Jack and asks if we want to hear her sing. Jack ignored her the first time, but then she asked again and he blew up. He started yelling at her, saying that he wanted to just talk to me and to 'shut her trap.'" Will widened his eyes in amazement as he walked out of the kitchen into the den.
"Whoa," Grace said, following Will into the den. "That's...almost a miracle. The miracle would've been if he had bitch-slapped her."
"Yeah, well, then he told me that he just wanted to show me how much he cares about me. It really was amazing. I've never seen him act so sincere without following it with an insult or a fat joke."
"No fat jokes?" Grace asked, gasping.
"Not...not in a long time that I can remember," Will replied, crossing his arms. "I've got to tell you, Grace, I like this mature Jack a lot more than the other Jack. I mean, this Jack is so...caring and supportive and...for some reason, I keep thinking to myself, 'God, he's so cute.'"
Grace eyed Will suspiciously, before her mouth opened in a wide grin. "Sounds like you've got a little crush on this new Jack," she giggled, poking Will gently in the arm.
"What?" Will said, sounding taken aback. "That's ridiculous! I don't have a 'crush' on Jack. I'm just enjoying how much he's grown over the years."
"And how much cuter he's gotten?" Grace said, leaning toward Will and giving him a taunting look.
"Stop it, Grace," Will snapped, turning away from her and sighing in annoyance. "God, this is worse than when he was looking in the fridge and I was - " Will stopped himself abruptly, hoping that Grace wouldn't question him on it.
"And you what?" Grace asked, raising her eyebrow. When her only response was a thick silence, she walked toward Will and looked at him. "What'd you do? Come on...tell Grace. I won't say a word," she said dramatically, her voice low.
"I - I...look, it was nothing, I just happened to look...down and wonder if he was wearing my pants or his, because you know how he always steals my pants - "
"You were looking at his ass?" Grace squealed, chuckling. "So," she began, placing her chin on Will's shoulder, "how'd it look? Did you like what you saw?"
"Grace!" Will shook her head off of his shoulder and stepped away from her. "Look, I don't want you putting any bad ideas in my head about my best friend, okay? I don't want you making it weird for me."
"Why would me saying that make things weird? Unless you already have feelings for him." She gasped, mockingly. "But you do, don't you?" Will rolled his eyes and began to walk back toward his bedroom. "It'd be okay if you do, you know? I mean, he probably still has feelings for you, anyway."
"Grace, that's redicu - really?" Will paused, looking over his shoulder at Grace, who was looking at the ceiling, a knowing expression on her face. He eyed her curiously. "What are you talking about?"
"Come sit with me," she said, sitting down on the couch and patting the spot next to her with her hand. Will hesitated, but the look on Grace's face and his own curiosity caused him to walk back over to the couch and sit down beside her. "Thank you," she said once he had sat down.
"This is probably going to be stupid," he mumbled, shifting around nervously on the cushions. "Probably something that's either not true or means nothing."
"Will, don't worry, okay? It's fine if you're curious about this. And it's also okay if you've got the hots for Jack - "
"Which I don't."
"Fine, whatever. Anyway, you remember when we all went to Queens to visit Vince's family?" Will nodded, and Grace continued, "Well, it was right after you and Vince had said that you loved each other. When everyone sat down, Jack was still standing there with this weird look on his face. At first I thought he was just thinking, but I've looked back on it, and he looked...hurt. Or really upset or something. That was a really powerful look, Will. I still remember it."
"Wow. You - You think he was upset about me and Vince being in love?" Will asked, his voice shaky.
Grace rolled her eyes. "No, I think he was upset over Vince's sister coming out," she said, sarcastically. "Of course I think he was upset about you and Vince. And besides, he's always had feelings for you."
"Yeah, well, that's what you said after Jack and I thought we'd slept together on Karen's yacht. Although he did say that he'd be lying if he said he'd never considered it. Maybe...maybe you're right."
"About Jack loving you or about you loving Jack?" Grace asked.
"...maybe both," Will said, swallowing the lump that had formed in his throat. "After tonight, seeing how great Jack can be towards...other people, and after he said that he cared for me and that he missed me...I don't think it's impossible anymore. And I did get a little jealous when he mentioned some 'cute' assistant down at Out TV."
"God, you've really got the hots for him," Grace said, chuckling. "And it's about time. Karen and I thought that we'd end up getting together before you two did."
"Should I...tell him?" Will asked, shifting around on the couch and wringing his hands together. "I mean, would that be moving things along too fast? I'm not even sure how I feel yet - "
"You love him."
"God, Grace, let me figure it out, would you?" Will said, giving Grace an irritated look.
"Oh, and don't forget about what Psychic Sue said: you will spend of the rest of your life with a man named Jack," Grace said, tapping her forehead with her index finger. "You see, I do remember things."
"Congratulations. You've now got the intelligence of a four year old. But, I don't know...I can't say I can't imagine it, us dating. I have before, and it never really seemed impossible, but...I don't want to do it, especially if I'm - we're - wrong about him having feelings for me."
"Hey, want me to have Karen talk to him about it? He'll tell her anything. He's like her bitch. Well, is her bitch. But in a good way. Anyway, she'll do anything if I let her bring Bartender into the office for a day. Want me to give her a call?"
"Are you sure? It seems kind of late - "
"For Karen? Will, have you ever heard the song, 'It's Five O'clock Somewhere?'" Grace said as she picked up the telephone. "It's Karen's theme song. I don't even think she sleeps anymore," she continued as she dialed Karen's home phone number.
"Apparently, Pharmacist got some new stuff in from Mexico last week. Karen's eyes have been dilated ever since and I can actually see the whites around her eyes even when she's looking down. Hello, Karen?"
"Hello? Who is this? Is this Driver? Driver, get your scrawny, white ass over here! I need you to pick me up some - "
"No, no, Karen, it's me. Grace," Grace said, giving Will a "Don't Ask" look.
"Who? Listen, Driver, I don't have time for this. I'm down to five bottles of Jack Daniels and I need you to go down to Walgreen's and get me some more."
"Umm...okay, sure. But would you like to talk to Grace Adler first? Your boss?"
"Grace? Driver, why is Grace with you in the phone booth? Are you two fooling around? I knew it would happen. You've always stared at her in the rear-view mirror. Lord, are your children going to be ugly - "
"Karen, listen; if you do, I'll let you bring in Bartender and as much alcohol as you want for a whole week."
"Well, hello, Grace. It's been such a long time. How are you?"
Grace rolled her eyes and made circles around her ear with her finger. "I'm fine. Listen, Karen, would you do me and Will - well, mostly Will - a big favor?"
"That depends. If it has anything to do with shaving or chickens, you can count me out right now, honey!"
Grace cocked an eyebrow, glancing around in confusion. "Umm, you know, luckily for you, it doesn't. Could you talk to Jack tomorrow? Go to his office in the morning and ask him something?"
"Of course. Grace, you don't have to ask me to talk to my poodle. He's my little cutie - " Karen began cooing loudly into the phone, making inaudible baby-talk noises.
Grace held the phone away from her ear, still able to hear Karen's voice through the earpiece.
"She's completely wasted," Grace mouthed to Will, who, in return, gave her a "You're surprised?" expression.
"So, what do I have to ask him?" Karen asked, and Grace returned the earpiece to her ear.
"About him and Will. See, I think that he still has feelings for him, but we want to make sure, before - " Grace paused, noticing Will making cut-off signals with his hand. " - before the weekend?" she finished, shrugging at Will.
"Oh, well, sure, honey. I'll ask him for you. But why do you need the answer before the weekend?" Karen asked, sounding as though the alcohol was beginning to wear off a bit; her common sense was starting to return.
"Well, because...because that's when the...new movies usually come out," Grace said, and Will gave her a push on the shoulder.
"What the hell are you saying?" Will hissed, a worried expression on his face.
Grace covered the mouthpiece with her hand and turned to Will. "Will, I can hear her opening up a new bottle of pills as we speak; she's not really listening to the reasons." She uncovered the mouthpiece and returned her attention back to the voice on the opposite line.
"Okay, that makes sense. I'll let you know what he says tomorrow, okay honey? Oh, I've gotta' go. Driver's back from his little rendezvous with you and I need more stuff. Bye honey."
"Yeah, bye, Kare," Grace replied, hanging up the phone. "She says she's going to do it," she told Will as she placed the phone back onto it's receiver.
"Wow, I'm actually...nervous," Will said, laughing uncomfortably.
"It's like I said; you love him," Grace teased, giving Will a gentle shove on the arm. "You want to hug him and kiss him and - "
"Don't go any further than 'kiss,' please. I'm nervous enough as it is," Will said, standing up. He rubbed his hands together, then looked down at them in disgust. "See what I mean? My hands are all sweaty. I'm going to go wash them again, and then I'm going to bed."
"Okay," Grace said, standing up and making her way toward her bedroom. "Just make sure you let me know if you have any erotic dreams about Jack," she said, before dashing into her room and closing the door behind her.
"Very funny, Grace!" Will shouted after her as he entered the bathroom. "Like I'd tell you about that," he added to himself, turning on the faucet and sticking his hands underneath the running water. It's amazing how one night can completely change the way you think about someone, he thought to himself, smiling.
As he dried his hands on the towel hanging on the towel rack, he couldn't help but wonder what Jack was going to tell Karen the next day. What if he was getting his hopes up, and Jack really didn't have any feelings for him? But, according to both Grace and that Psychic Sue, Jack was destined to be with him.
I just hope Jack feels the same way about it, Will thought, flipping off the light in the bathroom and heading toward his bedroom. As soon as he touched the door to his bedroom, he heard Grace shout from her bedroom, "Sweet dreams, Will!"
Will rolled his eyes, but said, "You too, Grace!" He entered his bedroom, undressed, then crawled into bed. The last thought to crawl through his mind before he drifted off to sleep was: I wonder if Jack's sleeping right now, too.
"Hey Kare," Jack said, looking at her in confusion. "What are you doing here? You didn't say you were gonna' drop by."
Karen's mouth dropped open. "Honey, I'm hurt. Why wouldn't I want to see you? I mean, it doesn't have to do with Bartender, or the fact that he's waiting for me at work with a big suitcase filled with my favorite drinks. I'm insulted!"
"I'm sorry, Kare. I'm glad you're here, really. It's nice to talk with someone who's not a straight hetero" Jack shouted out the door at his assistant, before returning his voice back to normal: "So, what brings you by?"
"Oh, I just was wondering...how your night was last night," Karen said, sitting down in the chair in front of Jack's desk.
"It was great! Not only did I get to spend time with Will, I got Patty Lupone's hair! And we sang 'Don't Cry for Me, Argentina' with her - "
"Wow, that's great. What about Will?" Karen asked quickly. "I mean, I thought you dumped him at that dance club two nights ago."
"I know, and I feel really bad about that. I mean, Will thought that I didn't care about him. Isn't that sad? He knows I care about him more than anyone." A hurt expression flickered over Jack's face for a moment, and then disappeared.
"Oh, honey, that's sweet," Karen said, smiling at him. She snuck a quick glance at her watch, then returned her gaze to Jack's face. "You really care about him, huh?"
"Yeah, of course I do. He's been one of my best friends since...forever. Do I really act that bad towards him?" Jack asked, cocking his head.
"Not always. I mean, sometimes you make light of him being fat and hairy and annoying, but who wouldn't? I mean...I don't blame you, honey."
Jack looked down at his desk. Have I always been a bitch to Will? he asked himself. Because I don't mean to. "I guess I don't blame him for being surprised when I told him how much I - "
"Oh, Lord, honey, do you like the guy or not?" Karen interrupted, sounding both exasperated and annoyed. Off of Jack's confused look, she added, slowly, "Do you have homosexual feelings for Will?"
Jack opened his mouth to reply, and then closed it. He opened his mouth again and said, "I - I...what do you mean? Why?"
Karen rolled her eyes, then leaned on Jack's desk so that her face was mere inches away from Jack's face. "Grace called me last night and told me to ask you how you felt about Will," she said, glancing around, as though there might be a spy in Jack's office.
"What?" Jack snapped, pulling back. "Why would she do that? God, she has to know everything about everyone! Why is she so - "
"Actually, she said that it was for Will," Karen said, squinting her eyes as she tried to remember how her conversation with Grace had gone. "Oh, and she said she needed to know before the weekend, because some new movie's coming out, or something."
"Will wants to know if I have feelings for him?" Jack said, slumping down in his chair. "Why? I mean, because of last night? I don't think I acted that way towards him. I just said I cared for him and that I missed him..."
"Poodle, don't you see what's going on?" Karen interjected, leaning closer to Jack. "I mean, it doesn't take a genius to figure it out. Will has feelings for you, so Grace called me to find out if you have feelings for him, so that he won't seem like an ass when he tries to ask you out."
Jack stared at her, his eyes wide. "You...you think?" he asked, his voice low.
"About what? Oh, well, I think so. But that doesn't explain why Grace wants to see the new movie that's coming out this weekend. Unless Will is going to ask you to the new movie. That would make sense, right?"
"Wow, Kare...this is really...I don't know. I'm kind of confused. No, I'm really confused. When did Will develop feelings for me? He's always been really into keeping our relationship on the 'girlfriends' level."
"Well, of course! He was probably afraid to develop a serious relationship with you in the past because, let's face it, honey; you weren't exactly his type back then."
"Maybe, but what changed, then?"
Karen sighed, shaking her head. "Isn't it obvious? You've grown up, and he likes that. He wants to be in a relationship with a grown-up, not a child. Which is actually a good choice, once you think about it. Less legal problems that way."
"Wow. I - I don't know...how to feel about this. I feel kind of sick. But in the good way," he added, after Karen recoiled from him in fear.
"So, what should I tell Grace?" Karen asked, leaning back in her chair, staring across at Jack.
"Tell her...yes," he said. "I have feelings for Will. Besides, why lie about it?"
"I knew you did!" Karen said, smiling. "You know, that just shows you how much Will and Grace pay attention; I thought you made it pretty obvious. I guess that shows who's really the attentive one in this group."
She smiled, standing up. "Honey," she began, turning back toward Jack, "when'd you get your own office? I thought actors worked in studios."
Jack smiled at her. "I work here, Kare. You know that. Out TV?"
"Out TV? Oh, right! The channel for gays. You see? It's all coming back. It's just the new pills wearing off. Well, I'm off to tell Grace that you love Will. Oh, it's going to be so cute watching you two get together. I'm so excited!" She gave Jack a quick wave before walking swiftly out of his office.
Jack watched her leave, then let his gaze fall back down to the desk. I hope this isn't some sick joke, he thought, drumming his fingers on the desk. I don't want to get hurt by Will...again. It was bad enough the first time; now that I've grown up, it'll probably hurt even more. Because this isn't just some teenage crush like before; this is the real thing.
He took a deep breath before continuing his work. "Crap!" he said, as something flew into his mind. "I have lunch with Will today!" I don't want to confront him already! Knowing Grace, she's probably already told him. His chest tightened out of a result of nerves.
I'm not ready for this, he thought, leaning back in his seat. But I can't cancel, because then I'll have to call him. Maybe I just won't go. That's it! I'll just sit here and make my straight assistant make me lunch. Jack grimaced. Screw it, I'll go see it. Besides, maybe Karen's right, and he does have feelings for me. Oh, God I hope so. I've waited for over fifteen years for this.
He sighed deeply, staring up at the ceiling. "Don't hurt me again, Will," he whispered at the ceiling. "Please don't hurt me."
"Bartender's here," Grace said, her eyes glued to the sketches on her desk. She pointed her pen at the man standing next to Karen's desk, a whole bar set up beside her desk.
"Oh, that's great, too!" Karen said, setting her purse down on her desk. "Bartender, a martini, make sure it's dry, and don't forget the olive. Listen, honey, I did what you asked; I talked to Jack."
"Oh!" Grace looked up from her sketches and walked over to Karen. "What'd he say? I bet he does! Does he? Oh, I just know I'm right. Am I right?"
"Well, if you'd shut your trap for a minute, I might be able to tell you," Karen said, scoffing. "Lord, what is it with you and the sound of your own voice? But...yes, you were right. He does have feelings for Will. And, let me guess; Will has feelings for Jack."
Grace opened her mouth to respond, then snapped it shut. She gave Karen a wondering look, then said, "Yeah, he does. How'd you know? I didn't say anything even close to that last night, and you were completely hammered."
"Well, that's true, but I could just tell. Hate to break it to you, honey, but...you two are really predictable. Anyway, what are you waiting for? Call that queer husband of yours and tell him that Jack is in love with him."
"Okay," Grace said, grinning, dashing over to the telephone. As she picked it up and began to dial, she said, "You see, that's why Will should keep seeing Psychic Sue. She's right about everything." She pressed the earpiece to her ear and listened to the line ring once, then twice. It was about to ring a third time when there was a click, followed by:
"Hey Will," Grace said, in a sing-song voice. She ignored the disgusted look Karen gave her and continued: "Guess what? Karen just got back from visiting with Jack."
"She did? And...and what did he say?"
Grace opened her mouth to reply, when Karen shouted, "Oh, he loves you, you big homo!"
Grace looked over at Karen in shocked anger. "Karen! I wanted to tell him!"
"Hey, I'm the one who found out. I deserved to be the one to tell him," Karen said, shrugging, before going back to sipping on her martini.
"Grace, did I hear that right?" Will asked, his voice dripping with joy. "Jack...does have feelings for me?"
"Yes, he does!" Grace said, smiling. "Oh, are you going to tell him?"
"Tell him to ask Jack to a movie this weekend," Karen interrupted, sitting down at her desk. "Hey, Bartender, do you have any of those half-blue, half-yellow pills I got last week in that suitcase of yours? If so, pop 'em out!"
"Anyway, are you going to tell him?" Grace asked again, sitting down at her desk. "Oh, this is going to be so cute. You should take him to dinner, a romantic dinner, get down on one knee, and say, 'Jack, I want to date you.' Oh, it'd be so beautiful!"
Will sighed, and Grace could almost see him rolling his eyes. "Actually, we're going to lunch. We planned it last night. I'm going to tell him over the main course. You know, long enough so that I can get comfortable, but not too long so it seems like I'm putting it off."
"Well, that's not as good as my idea, but okay," Grace said, switching the phone from one ear to the other. "But just make sure that you tell me what happens. Promise?"
"Yeah, I promise. But don't I usually tell you everything?"
"I don't care. You've never had a crush on Jack before."
"Okay, I'll see you tonight. Bye."
"Bye! And good luck!" There was a click on the opposite line as Will hung up. Grace hung up her phone as well, still grinning like a madman. "This is so exciting. Best friends coming together as lovers."
"Yeah, but then Ross had to go and cheat on Rachel and then..." Karen shook her head, grunting loudly. "It's just so sad. I'm just glad they ended up together."
"Yeah. I meant Will and Jack, but that works too, I guess," Grace said, giving Karen one last awkward glance before returning to her work.
He leaned back in his chair, then let his gaze fall back down toward the telephone. Should I call him? he wondered. Maybe then we can decide on a place to eat.
He picked up the phone and quickly punched in Jack's work number without giving himself another chance to think about it and change his mind. "Jack McFarland, Out TV," Jack said after answering his phone.
Will smiled; Jack sounded so professional over the phone when he talked like that. "Hey Jack. It's Will."
There was a sound on the opposite line that sounded lie someone sucking in their breath. There was a moment's silence, and then, "Oh, Will, hi! How are you?"
Jack's voice sounded rushed and, at least to Will, uncomfortable, like someone who's talking on the phone with someone when they'd rather be doing something else.
"I'm fine, thanks. Listen, about lunch today" There was another sucking-in sound at the other end. "Jack, are you all right?"
"What? Yeah, of course. No problem."
"Okay. Anyway, about lunch. I was thinking maybe trying out that new Italian restaurant down the street from your office. I saw it opened up last week."
"Oh! Well, of course that's why you called. About lunch...right. Yeah, sure, I could go for Italian. We'll meet there at, say, noon? Sound good with you?"
"Yeah, that's fine. And Jack?"
"I can't wait to see you." Will could almost see the smile appearing over Jack's face after saying that statement. Imagining it made Will smile as well.
"You too," Jack replied, his voice now void of the discomfort it had held earlier; now sounding both happy and excited, as it usually did.
"Okay. I'll see you at noon, Jack," Will said, smiling at the joyous sound of Jack's voice.
"Bye." Will dropped his phone back into its receiver, the smile still etched across his face. Jack had sounded so genuinely happy that he didn't feel as nervous as he had.
Well, not quite as nervous...
What's wrong with me? he wondered, dropping his pencil down on the desk and resting his hands on top of his head. This was not at all like him; not wanting to work. Usually he was a borderline workaholic, and damn proud of it. But now...something was different.
Maybe the fact that he did not feel the same way for his best friend as he usually did. After all, when was the last time he had felt sexually attracted to Jack, of all people?
Never, he answered himself, sighing loudly. He glanced in impatience at the clock in his office. "Eleven thirty?" he said aloud, barely aware that he had spoken the words. "How did that happen? Even with all the waiting, it still feels like it's been five minutes."
He stood up from his chair; it groaned as his weight was released. "Maybe I can leave for lunch early," he whispered, pacing around his room, staring down at his moving feet. "I'm sure it wouldn't matter; everything's been pretty slow..."
He began to walk toward the door when he stopped short. This lunch with Jack could be the thing that would change their relationship, and their lives, forever. This might be the last time we get together as single friends, Will thought excitedly. We could end up a serious couple. For better or for worse, he thought, not even slightly aware that he was quoting marital vows.
"Mr. Truman?" Will's secretary buzzed in, causing Will to turn back toward his desk and walk over so that he could respond. "There's someone here to see you. Should I send him in?"
Him? Had Jack been thinking the exact thing Will had been not two minutes earlier? Will desperately wanted to see him, but could not help getting butterflies at the thought of being with him. Butterflies? he thought, placing a hand on his nervous stomach. After all these years, this has to be when the butterflies start?
"Yes, send him in," he replied over the intercom. He smoothed out the front of his suit, then gently touched his hair. Footsteps approached his door. I guess this is it, he thought, inhaling deeply through his nose, then releasing it through his mouth. For better or for worse...wait, why am I quoting marriage vows -
A turning of a doorknob. More butterflies fluttering in his stomach. A door opening.
"Will?" The butterflies disappeared. That wasn't Jack's voice. It sounded more like...
"Vince?" Will said, turning around to be greeted with the nervous, almost shameful, face of his former boyfriend, Vince. "What are...I mean, why are you here? Now?" This hadn't been what he expected and, to be frank, Will wasn't sure how to feel about it.
"I needed to see you," Vince replied, taking a step inside and closing the door. "I've given it a lot of thought and I think I'm ready to start things up again. You know, end the break."
"But...we broke up, and" Will was stammering and his heart was racing so quickly that it felt like it was going to burst out of his chest.
"No, we took a break. That's what we agreed, remember?" Vince's eyes scanned Will quickly for any signs of betrayal. "I know you remember, because I remember it perfectly."
"Of course I remember. I never thought I'd get over it. But 'taking a break'...isn't that just another way of saying 'breaking up'? Because that's how it felt."
"I never thought of it as that, Will," Vince replied, his eyes finally settling back on Will's. "But...you did. Does that mean you don't want to get back together? Is there...someone else you've...met who you want to be with?"
"I - I don't know. About us getting back together, I mean. And you're right; I really did think that we were over. So I tried - really tried -to get over you, and...I'm starting to think that I did."
"So...that's how it's going to end? I say, 'Let's take a break,' you think, 'That must mean we've broken up,' so you go chasing after tons of guys until you've forgotten about me? All I wanted was a break, Will. Not a damn alimony."
"You found someone else, didn't you?" Vince's hurt, yet angry, eyes were burning fire into Will's. "Some...some willing guy who was willing to put out as soon as you met him. Some guy who sleeps around with tons of guys and will probably end up hurting you -"
"Stop it, Vince! He's not like that! He's the best thing I've got in my life, and he always has been! And he would never hurt me!" Will spat these defenses back at Vince with a sudden fury. He didn't want Vince insulting Jack, which confused him. Usually he didn't give a damn about other people insulting Jack. I guess it comes with the territory, he thought.
Vince pulled back, looking taken aback by Will's sudden outburst. His expression quickly changed to one of a curious understanding. "I think I understand. It's Jack, isn't it? You've got feelings for Jack?"
Will nodded, all anger evaporated from his body as quickly as it had come. "I do," he replied, and the relief he felt in saying it to another human being - his ex-boyfriend, no less -had to have been one of the greatest releases he had ever experienced.
"And he has feelings for you?"
"That's - that's what I've been told by...people," he replied, nodding. And I really hope it's true, he added in his mind.
Vince nodded, a hurt expression crawling slowly onto his face. "Well, I should've known, I guess. You two always were close; all it needed was that one push to convince you two to get together. But why couldn't you have figured it out before we got together?"
"I'm sorry, Vince...but it's the way it worked out. I don't want to hurt you, but I don't want to let this go. I want to be with him." His mouth went dry as he said the words and he blushed. "I...I want to be with Jack," he said again, softer. It felt like he was realizing all of these pent-up feelings that had been deep inside for so long. How long had he really felt this way?
"Well, I'm not going to stop you," Vince replied, hanging his head slightly. "But, Will, I just wish you'd understand that a break is not a break-up. And, for me, this moment right now is the real end of our relationship."
"And for me, it's been longer," Will said, nodding that he understood what Vince was saying. "I've had more time to get over it. But you must've had some time to - "
"Realize I wanted to be with you? Yeah, I did. But not everything works out how you plan, I guess." Vince turned and opened the door to Will's office. "Have a good life, Will," he said, giving Will one last glance before walking out of his office.
Will stared at the doorway long after Vince left, a tightness clutching at his chest. He had been wrong all along. He and Vince had never been over. If he had just waited, been patient, it would have all been okay -
But you have feelings for Jack now, a voice inside reminded him. Jack. Will's eyes widened and he practically sprang over his desk to get a good look at the time. It was already past noon, which meant that Jack was sitting in the restaurant, waiting for him. Maybe even thinking that Will had stood him up. And if he thought that...
He'll never want to see me again, Will finished in his head, rushing past his desk and out the door, which Vince had conveniently left wide open. I hope he's late, Will thought, in an almost prayer. Please be late, Jack. Please.
"Yes. It's a party of two, under the name Truman," Jack replied, tugging nervously at the sleeve of his jacket. He had made a reservation just after Will's call and simply was unable to resist the urge to use Will's name.
"Yes, here it is: Jack Truman." Jack's face flushed and he nodded. Thank God Will probably won't check to see if there's a reservation, he thought. Besides, I'm going to watch the door and call him over before he can.
"Follow me, please," the maitre d', whose nametag read, Thom, said, picking up two menus and leading Will to a two seat table in the center of the restaurant. He placed each of the menus in front of each chair. As Jack sat down, he asked, "Will the rest of your part be joining you soon?"
Jack nodded. "Yes. He'll be here soon. I'm going to watch for him; don't worry."
"I wasn't," Thom replied, before turning and walking away without another word.
Jack stared at the back of Thom's head as he walked away and mumbled, "Well, I could've used some water, but whatever..." He picked up the menu and opened it. "I wonder what's good," he wondered aloud, reading over all of the selections. "It might be easier if I could read Italian, but, sadly, I...cannot."
He set down his menu, looking around the restaurant for any sign of Will. His eyes flew down to his watch. It was only a few minutes after noon and Will was one to be reasonably prompt. I can't believe this is finally happening, Jack thought, fiddling with the napkin in his lap. After over fifteen years, I finally get the one guy I really want.
"Would you like me to take your drink order, sir?" A waiter appeared next to Jack's chair so suddenly that Jack snapped his head up in surprise at the voice.
"Umm..." Jack looked at the entrance and, when he did not see Will, said, "Sure. I'll have a water and an iced tea. But could you put actual sugar in it - I hate this artificial stuff. I think it's worse for you than actual sugar is."
"...yes, of course, sir," the waiter -his name tag read, Bruce - replied. "And would you like to order for your friend as well?"
After today, he might be more than just my friend, Jack thought, holding back a grin. "No, that won't be necessary. See, he's going to be here any minute. He's very anal with things like that."
As the waiter walked away, he thought to himself, I am growing up. I just used the word "anal" to a complete stranger without making a joke and giggling. I guess this is why Will got feelings for me out of the blue.
He rested his hands in his lap, locking his fingers together. As he glanced around the restaurant, seeing no sign of Will, he felt himself beginning to panic. What if it was all just some sick joke? he asked himself. It's not completely out of character for Will to do something like that...
Jack shifted uncomfortably in his chair, moving his hands from his lap to on top of the table. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone moving toward him. He snapped his head to his left, a smile creeping over his face. The smile quickly fell, however, when the person he had seen turned out to be his waiter, Bruce.
"Here's your iced tea," Bruce said, placing the glass next to Jack's hands on the table. Jack saw Bruce glance at the empty seat in front of him. "Are you sure you don't want to order for your friend?" he asked, giving Jack an unmistakable I'm so sorry you've been stood up look.
Jack shook his head, lightly touching the glass with the tips of his fingers, staring at a droplet of water that was sliding slowly down the side of the glass. "No. Really, he's going to be here. He has to come from work, and that's kind of far away. Don't worry, it won't be long."
He glanced up and saw that Bruce was no longer standing beside him. How long had he been talking to himself? Trying to convince himself that Will was not standing him up. That Will really did return the feelings for him that Jack had held deep inside for so, so long.
Well, it's not like it would be the first time he's broken my heart, Jack thought, thinking back to that day when he had confessed his love for Will, then played it off. There's not going to be any "playing it off" this time, though, Jack told himself, sternly.
That is, if he ever comes. Jack stared at the empty seat in front of him for another ten minutes, a monotonous voice chanting in his head, He'll come, don't you worry, he's coming for you.
But it didn't seem so. Jack let his gaze fall down to his lap. He should have known that Will would never return his feelings. His stomach churned. He felt foolish for even sitting where he was. For ever believing that Will would be - although he wanted nothing more - in love with him.
Tears of embarrassment and hurt sprang up unannounced. Jack tried with all his strength to hold the tears in, but his eyes began to strain. "I can't stay here," he whispered to the table, picking his napkin up from his lap and dropping it on the table. "This is stupid..."
He pushed out his chair and stood up. With one last longing glance at the empty chair sitting at the table, he turned away and began to walk toward the exit of the restaurant.
As he approached the glass doors labeled "Exit - Push", he reached out his hands, ready to push the door open, leave the restaurant, and get back to his apartment, alone and betrayed, where he belonged.
"Sir!" a voice called from behind him. Jack let his hands fall down to his sides as he turned around. It was Bruce, standing not five feet away from him. "You still have to pay for your drink."
Bruce was still giving him that pitiful look and it made Jack sick to his stomach to know that people could just...tell that he had been stood up. But what they didn't know was that he had been stood up by his best friend...and his love for the past fifteen years.
"Right," Jack mumbled in response, sticking his hand in his pocket and pulling out his wallet. "Sorry."
"It's all right," Bruce said with a flight attendant smile. "No harm done."
Jack walked over to where Bruce stood, holding Jack's receipt in his hand. How did he know? Jack wondered, not wanting to bother with actually asking. He took the bill and looked down at the price: 2.05. Two dollars for a drink? Damn expensive restaurant, he thought in irritation, pulling out two ones from his wallet.
"I have a nickel," he told Bruce after placing the two dollars into the waiter's outstretched, waiting hand. He unzipped the change section of his wallet and began, using his index finger, poking around the coins in an attempt to find a nickel. "Found one!" he said, pulling out a coin. Under closer observation, he shook his head. "No, that's a quarter. Sorry."
As he began searching through his change, he felt something brush against his arm. He turned his head and was met with the apologetic, unsettled face of Will.
"I'm...so...sorry," Will said, in between pants. He had been running, Jack could see, by the way he was breathing and the sweat on his forehead. "I ran into...Vince and...I had to..."
"Look, Will, I get it, all right? It was some joke to you. Well, congrats, Will! It worked. You got me...and good. I think I've just had my heart ripped out and spat on. So, good job. You got me."
Jack turned away from him in anger, returning his gaze to his wallet. He continued searching for the nickel, but found he could not see because his vision had become blurred with tears.
"No...no, that's not it at all," Will said, shaking his head. "It was an accident. I was just...I was about to leave and - "
"I told you, I got it!" Jack snapped, looking back at Will long enough so that Will was able to see the tears in his eyes.
"Jack," Will whispered. "Let's go to the table, okay? Is it still available?" he asked, turning his attention to Bruce.
Bruce nodded, obviously uncomfortable with being involved with the situation. "Yes. It's that table right there." He pointed at the table where Jack had been sitting. "I'll be right over to take your order."
"Okay, but could you give us a while?" Will asked, giving Bruce an I really need to talk to him about something important look.
"Sure. Why don't you just call me over when you're ready?"
"That sounds perfect. Come on, Jack. Let's go sit down." He led Jack back to the table. As he helped Jack sit down at the table, he began to become more and more aware with how much he loved being around him. He had always enjoyed spending time with Jack, but now he noticed a certain...something that he never wanted to be without again.
"Jack, I just want you to know," he began, after he had sat down, "I would never do something like stand you up."
"I know...I was just so...scared that you weren't going to come after..." Jack trailed off, shrugging his shoulders.
"After what?" Will asked, shifting his head in an attempt to see Jack's face.
"...Karen came in to my office today. And she wanted to know...if I...still had feelings for you. She said that you and Grace - but mainly you - wanted to know."
Will swallowed, suddenly feeling guilty for having to put Jack through all of that just to know how Jack felt about him. "And what did..." he said, asking the question that he wanted to know the most. "...what did you say?"
Jack looked up at him, his eyes surprised. "Didn't they tell you?" he asked. Will saw that the moisture had disappeared from Jack's eyes, but the hurt was still there.
"I want you to tell me," Will said, staring back into Jack's eyes intensely.
Jack breathed in a shaky sigh. "I...do," he whispered. "Ihavefeelingsforyou," he said, the sentence coming out as one long word. "Karen said that you probably felt the same way about me," he added under his breath.
Will smiled softly. "Well...Karen's right," he said, reaching over and placing his hand on top of Jack's. "I don't know what happened to you, Jack, but there's something there that I never noticed before. You've grown up so much and..."
He looked down at his and Jack's hands. Jack had wrapped his fingers around his hand, holding it tight. "...and I just...can't help it. Maybe it's always been there, but I had to see you as someone I could really be with...not just a fling, like you probably would've been a few years ago."
Jack nodded. "I thought that was it," he said. "But for me...it's always been there. What I said that day at that supermarket...it's still there. I still lo - have feelings for you."
Will held back a smile, knowing that Jack had resisted an urge to say the word "love."
"What do we do now?" Jack asked, breaking through the silence.
"I don't know," Will admitted. "I mean, are we...together now?"
"I don't know. I mean, do you want to be?"
"Well, yeah. I do."
"So do I," Jack said, quickly.
"Then I guess we are." Will swallowed, staring into Jack's blue eyes. He could read the joy they held, and he hoped his eyes showed Jack just how happy he was. He chuckled nervously. "Should we...date?"
"I think that's what couples do," Jack replied, chuckling in the same nervous way Will had. "Like, tonight? A dinner and a movie, maybe?"
"That sounds...great," Will said, giving Jack's hand a quick squeeze. "This feels kind of weird, because it's you. But I think that's what makes this so great."
"I know what you mean. It's weird, because you're my best friend. But that's what makes it so much better; we already know each other so well," Jack said, smiling - Will thought - shyly.
"Are you hungry?" Will asked. "Because I'll call that waiter - "
"Bruce," Jack corrected, giving him a smartass grin.
"Right; him. I'll call Bruce over." Jack nodded and Will glanced around the restaurant in search of the waiter. "Bruce!" he called, waving his hand at the young man.
Bruce saw his waving and nodding, walking over to their table. "I guess you're ready to order?" he asked, pulling out a notepad and a pencil.
"Yes, I'll have a water," Jack said. "I had an iced tea while I was waiting for you," he added to Will.
"That sounds good," Will said before turning back to Bruce. "I'll have an iced tea."
"Okay," Bruce said, scribbling it all down on his notepad. "Just let me know when you're ready to order your lunch." He walked away, leaving Will and Jack in an awkward silence.
"So," Will began, "what movie should we see? I've heard Hitch is pretty good."
"Yeah, a nice romantic comedy would be good," Jack said, nodding. "I'm all for that. Besides, that Will Smith is still pretty cute -" He paused, looking at Will in slight concern. "But not like you," he added, quickly.
Will chuckled. "Thanks. You're pretty cute yourself."
"I know. I thought we covered this last night," Jack replied, and they both laughed.
They were glad how easily they had been able to switch from "just friends" to "boyfriends." It probably should have seemed more uncomfortable than it was, but all Will could assume was that his feelings for Jack had been there for a while - it just took a while to reach the realization of it.
And that night was their first official date. Although they did not talk about it the rest of their lunch, it was all the two of them could think about the rest of the day.
"Yes, Grace, thank you. You've used the words 'cute' and 'adorable' over fifty times each since I told you; I think you killed them," Will said, pulling a shirt off of a hanger. "What do you think?" he asked, holding the shirt up against his chest.
"It's the perfect shade of blue," Grace said, nodding.
"Grace, it's black," Will said, looking at the shirt.
"No, it's definitely navy blue," Grace said defensively, looking closer at the shirt. "I mean, it's got the navy blue hue on it."
"Where do you see this?" Will asked, moving the shirt so that it was only a few inches away from his eyes. "It's black; it's gotta' be."
"All right, fine. Let's compare, shall we?" Grace turned to Will's bed, noticed a book on the nightstand - a book with a black cover - and picked it up. She placed the edge of the shirt against the book, looking at the difference closely. "Fine, it's black," she spat, tossing the book onto the bed.
"I told you, Grace. Never doubt a gay man when it comes to clothes," Will said, grinning. "Oh, I'm so excited. I mean, I've never been this excited for a first date before. Not with Michael, not with Vince. Do you think that says something?"
"Yeah, that you love him and want to marry him."
"Grace, you know we can't get married. Although it is a nice thought." Will smiled dreamily, laying the shirt out on the bed. "But I'm getting too far ahead. For now, I'm going to think about something else. Like...should I kiss him tonight?"
"Well, of course you should! I mean, it's not like you haven't done it before," Grace said, sitting down on the bed. The sudden movement caused the shirt to almost slip off of the bed. Will caught it, then placed it back where it had been.
"Not as a dating couple, we haven't. It's always been friendly...playful. You know what I mean. It was different."
"Uhh, how?" Grace asked, rolling her eyes. "You used to take practically every opportunity to touch each other or hug each other or kiss each other. You were so close to dating and being in love it was sickening."
"Whatever you say, Grace," Will said, his attention now back to his closet as he searched for a pair of pants. "What about these? Will black on black say, 'I don't really want to be here, I'm so depressed'?"
"Actually, I think it'll look very good," Grace told him, nodding. He nodded back, sticking the pair of pants back into the closet. She frowned. "Why do you even ask me if you don't care what I think?"
"I dunno'," Will said, poking around the closet. "Maybe because I want to get an opinion from someone who's pretty much always wrong about stuff."
"Was I wrong about Jack?" she asked, cocking her head. "Hmm?"
Will turned back to her and gave her a half-smile. "No, I guess not." He paused, glancing back quickly at the closet. "So, black on black is good, then?" he asked, pulling the black jeans out of the closet again.
Grace nodded. "Yes, I think so. Besides, black is very slimming, remember?"
"Black it is," Will said, quickly, laying the jeans down beside the shirt on the bed. "Great!" he said, looking down at the ensemble. "Now all that's left is…hair and cologne and…where we're going after and…oh, God, Grace, I'm not ready at all!"
He sank down beside her on the bed and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders.
"Don't worry," she cooed softly, gently patting the back of his head. "Remember, he's loved you for fifteen years. Do you really think he's instantly going to stop loving you just because you wear the wrong thing? Or the wrong shoes - "
"Oh, dammit! Shoes! I forgot about those!" Will sprang up off of the bed and moved back over to his closet. He kneeled on his hands and knees as he searched through his shoes.
Grace sighed, shaking her head at him. "Does he ever listen to me when I talk?" she asked herself, lying down on the bed in exasperation. "I guess this is what it's going to be like when I have a daughter."
"What was that?" Will asked, his face covered by the hanging pants and tee shirts.
"Nothing," Grace said quickly and Will continued rummaging through the shoes. "I wonder if Jack is stressing out this much," she whispered to herself.
"Honey, what does it matter? In the end, someone ends up on top and on bottom." She shook her head, taking a swig from her martini glass. "Besides, what does he care?"
"He doesn't have to; I do," Jack said. "I mean, this is my first date with Will. A real date. Do you know how long I've waited for this?"
"Poodle, I don't answer stupid questions."
"Fifteen years, Kare. That's a long time. I've really grown up - I think that's why Will's attracted to me now. Well, that and my beautiful face. And body." He smiled, pulling his knees up to his chest.
Karen nodded in agreement, swirling her martini. "It's a date, Jack, not some…Queer Eye wedding. He's not going to judge you; he's just going to take you out, hold your hand, and stare at your ass a little."
Jack pointed a finger at her, nodding. "I see what you mean, Kare. You think that I should wear something that say, 'Hey, look at my tush!' Right?"
"Again, honey, I don't answer stupid questions." She rolled her eyes and pushed a heap of clothing out of her way with her foot as she walked over to Jack. "Now, Jackie, you will listen to me. Please just get dressed and get ready, because I want to leave."
"You know, you don't have to stay, Kare - "
"Oh, honey." She held out her hand, which Jack took in his. After a moment of silence, Karen and Jack staring at each other, a sweet smile on each of their faces: "That's true." Karen pulled her hand out of Jack's and carefully maneuvered her way out of his bedroom. "Just make sure you tell me how your homo date went, okay?"
"I will, Karen," he promised, waving at her before she left. After she was gone, he glanced at his watch. "Ugh," he groaned. "Only two hours left. When did this become so stressful?"
He pushed himself into a standing-up position and looked down at the mess of clothing covering his bedroom floor. "There's gotta' be something," he mumbled, his eyes dancing from pile to pile.
"That's it!" he said suddenly, pointing at a baby blue long-sleeved tee shirt. "Blue to match my eyes," he said as he picked it up. "Okay," he said, tossing it on the bed. "…now where are all the pants?"
Grace looked him up and down, a considering look upon her face. He was wearing the black shirt and black jeans he had picked out earlier, and had put them on without any debate, much to Grace's surprise. "Great," she said finally, smiling.
"And how do I smell?"
She rolled her eyes, but leaned toward him, inhaling deeply. "Wow, really good. Oh God, is that Calvin Kline's Obsession?"
"Maybe. Look, I just wanted to smell good, okay?" he said, his voice shaky, and Grace held up her hands in submission. "Anyway...how's this for a before-movie restaurant? La Rosée de Matin?"
"Wait." Grace stood up to face him, her mouth agape. "You got reservations at that restaurant? But it's always so full. It's like TGIFriday's on a weekend."
"I know. But I figured it out. If you call and order a reservation for them using real French - or fake French, whatever -the odds of you getting a spot are really good."
"Wow. French restaurants are weird," Grace said, raising her eyebrows.
"Yeah, but it doesn't matter. I just got us reservations at one of the best restaurants in town. Well, actually sixth best, but who's gonna' know?" He tugged anxiously at his collar. "Are you sure I look okay?" he asked.
"Yes," Grace said instantly, rolling her eyes at him in annoyance.
"I know it doesn't really matter, but I want to look good for him. To, you know, show him that I care enough about him to look my best."
"And you do," Grace said, standing up. "Now," she said, smoothing out a wrinkle on his shirt, "calm down. And go over there and pick up Jack for your first date," she finished, pointing at the door. "And have fun, will you?" she added, smiling up at him. "You really do look good. And happy."
"Thank you, and I am happy. I mean, can you believe it? Exactly one day ago I found out that I had feelings for Jack, and already I'm dating him. This is...pretty amazing." He could not suppress his grin any longer and he smiled.
"Go," Grace said sternly, giving him a gentle push toward the door. "Before he thinks you're standing him up again."
"I didn't stand him up today," Will said, sounding annoyed.
"I never said you did," Grace said. "I said, before he thinks you're standing him up again."
Will nodded, not wanting to get into an argument over it. He inhaled deeply, taking one last glance at himself in the mirror above the fireplace. "Here I go," he said, more to himself then to Grace. He approached the door, inhaled and exhaled loudly, then opened the door, closing it behind him.
"There he goes," Grace said aloud, smiling at the closed door. "Will and Jack, finally hooking up. Looks like you were right about them, Stan," she said, looking up.
Outside the apartment, in the hallway, Will stood in front of Jack's door, his hand poised to knock on the door. C'mon, Will, he thought in an attempt to encourage himself. Don't back down from this. It's only Jack - you know Jack.
Sighing, he knocked on Jack's door once...then twice. His hand was about to come down a third time when he heard the doorknob turning. He dropped his hand back down to his side as the door opened.
"Hey Will," Jack greeted with a smile.
"Hi Jack," Will replied, his voice shaking slightly. He just hoped that Jack could not hear how nervous he felt. "Ready to go?" he asked, feeling - much to his relief - less anxious now that he was with Jack.
"Yup," Jack said. He stepped out into the hallway and pulled his door shut. As he locked the door, Will looked at him, relishing the fact that he could look at Jack like that without having to tell himself to stop, but enjoying more the fact that the idea of him and Jack dating did not make him feel uncomfortable or doubtful. He just hoped that Jack felt the same way he did.
"To dinner?" Will asked, walking with Jack to the elevator. Jack nodded as he pushed the down arrow for the elevator. "You seem quiet," Will said after a moment's silence.
"Really? It's probably because, well...I've been really nervous about this," Jack said, blushing slightly. "I mean, it took me a good hour and a half to get dressed. You must think that's pretty...obsessive."
Will chuckled. "Trust me, I'm just as nervous as you are." Off of Jack's taken aback expression, Will said, "I made Grace check over my clothing, look at my hair, and smell me."
"Well..." Jack glanced at the elevator, then returned his eyes to Will. "I probably would've made Karen do the same thing, but she wanted to leave. But I will say this - " He leaned in towards Will and inhaled. " - you smell great."
"Thanks. I should; it only took me ten minutes to choose which cologne to use," Will said, shaking his head in embarrassment. "It's pretty ridiculous; we really have nothing to be nervous about. It's not like we're dating strangers. We know each other, and we know that we like each other, so...what's there to be nervous about, really?"
"Dunno'," Jack said as the elevator dinged. The doors opened and they stepped inside. Will quickly pushed the L button and the doors instantly shut. "I guess it's because we know each other so well...why we're nervous, I mean."
"Makes sense to me," Will said, finding himself at a loss for words. As the two stood in a silence, he racked his brain for something to say; a way to strike up a conversation. He opened his mouth to say something - he did not quite know what - and ended up coughing instead.
"So, where're we going before the movies?" Jack asked, obviously unsettled by the silence as much as Will was.
Will instantly perked up, standing up straighter. "Well, Jack, I'm glad you asked," he said, smiling at him. "I got us reservations at Le Rosée de Matin, that French restaurant."
"The place with the waiters who speak French and have French accents but look like they're from California?" Jack asked excitedly and Will nodded. "Oh my God, how'd you get reservations for that place? Isn't it pretty much impossible?"
"Not when you know how to say it in French," Will said, and Jack gave him a doubtful look. "Online translator," Will explained.
"Ahh," Jack said, nodding in understanding. "But that's amazing, Will! Why'd you do something so...expensive for our first date? I can only imagine what you're going to do for our one year anniversary."
"I just wanted our first date to be special; something we'll always remember," Will said, not able to hold back a grin at the knowledge that Jack could see them together even a year later. A long-term relationship - Jack really had grown up.
"Trust me, Will, I don't think that my first date with you is something I'm just going to up and forget," Jack said as the elevator doors opened, allowing them to step off into the lobby.
As they walked toward the exit, Will gazed at Jack, a smile on both his face and in his eyes. "What?" Jack asked after noticing the way Will was looking at him.
"You really are incredible," he replied, opening the door and allowing Jack to walk though. Once they began walking down the sidewalk, Will continued, "All this time I thought that you were still 'Do everything for me, don't care about anyone', but you've changed. You've become everything I want. It's you...but it's the grown-up you. If I had known that was what I had wanted, I would've just waited for you to reach maturity."
"Thank you, Will," Jack said, and Will could see a blush forming in his pale cheeks even in the dusk's light. "And you've always been what I want. I'm just glad I can be with you like this. You know, be in something that - I feel -can last...forever."
"Yeah, me too," Will replied, moving slightly closer to Jack as they strolled together on the sidewalk. His finger's brushed against Jack's and he took the opportunity; he wrapped his fingers around Jack's hand, linking their fingers together. He looked over at Jack happily when he felt Jack give his hand a quick squeeze.
"You know, this doesn't feel much different then when we used to do this," Jack said, glancing at the growing-dark sky. "Are you sure you never had feelings for me? Because you did give me a lot of signals."
Will chuckled, shrugging. "Actually, I'm not completely sure. I might've, but...I don't really know."
"Well, in my opinion, you could've lit a fire with the sparks that were flying between us. You flirting with me, me flirting with you...why'd this take so long?"
Will shrugged again, enjoying the softness and warmth of Jack's hand. "It was probably the fact that neither of us were ready."
"I guess so," Jack said in agreement, looking away at the passing-by cars that were zooming by, sending a gust of chilly air into their faces.
"This is new," Will said in amusement. Jack looked back over at him, confusion glowing in his eyes. "Just," Will began, explaining himself, "seeing you like this. All shy."
"It's not every day your best friend says he loves you and asks you on a date," Jack said quickly in an attempt to defend himself. "What would you do?"
Will shrugged. "In all honesty, the same thing. But...I've never really seen you like this. It's adorable," he added, causing Jack to blush and smile.
The two strolled together in a sweet silence all of the way to the restaurant, each smiling and simply enjoying the feeling of being together. Has he been this sweet for long? Will wondered as the restaurant came into view. God, why am I just noticing these things? He smirked, thinking about all of the times that day and the previous night he had asked himself why he had not noticed Jack's changes in personality.
"Why are you smiling?" Jack asked, looking either curious or slightly panicked.
"No real reason," Will replied, shifting so that he could give Jack a gentle push with his shoulder. Jack returned the push and they smiled. Flirting with him is so much fun, they thought in sequence, never knowing that the other had thought the exact same thing.
"There it is," Will said so suddenly it made Jack shake a bit. Jack looked at Will, then at where Will was pointing. "Le Rosée de Matin." The yellow-white lights flowed out from the windows of the restaurant onto the street. Through the windows, Jack was able to peer in and see that there were people – older folks, mainly, he noticed – at almost every table.
"I still can't believe you got a reservation to this place," Jack gushed, tightening his grip on Will's hand as he stared into the restaurant, a look of incredulity etched onto his face.
Will grinned at the childlike wonder Jack had, continuing to lead Jack toward the front door. "Please, just believe it," Will pleaded, lightheartedly, trying to pull Jack away from the window. "Our reservation is for - " He glanced at his watch. " – five minutes from now."
"All right," Jack said, allowing Will to lead him by the hand through the entrance.
They stopped at the desk of the maitre d', Jack still gazing around the restaurant in wonder. "Bonjour," Will greeted the maitre d' in less-than-perfect French.
"Bon nuit" the maître d' replied. "You have a reservation?" he asked, placing his hands on top of the papers where a long list of names had been scribbled down.
"Yes," Will replied, struggling to pull his hand out of Jack's grabbing fingers. "Party of two; the name's under Truman."
The maitre d' nodded, then began scanning the list with quick-moving eyes. After a few seconds of silence, Will's stomach clenched. What if they lost the reservation? he asked himself in a panic.
"Ahh, yes, here it is," the maitre d' said finally. "Truman. We are ready for you to be seated," he added, grabbing two menus from beneath the desk.
"Wow," Will mumbled to Jack as they began to follow the maitre d' to their table. "That's lucky for us, huh?"
"I'll say," Jack murmured back, inhaling loudly. "You really do smell good," he whispered and Will smiled.
The maitre d' sat them at their table, placing the menus down in front of each of them. "Your waiter, Jean-Paul, will be here momentarily to take your order," he said before turning and returning to his post at the entrance.
"My God," Jack said, rolling his eyes. "What a nervous wreck." He chuckled, and Will could hear his voice shaking.
"Yeah." Will touched his fingers to the menu, then looked back up at Jack. "What do you want to drink?" he asked. "Wine?"
Jack nodded. "Sounds...sounds great," he said, staring down at the menu. He breathed in deeply, and his voice shook, even more dramatically than before.
"Jack?" Will said gently, reaching over and gently touching Jack's hand. Jack recoiled, stuffing his handsbeneath the table. "Jackie, what's wrong?"
"It - It's just..." Jack stammered, and Will could hear the tears in his voice. "...you shouldn't..." His voice trailed off and he covered his eyes with his hand.
"I shouldn't have what?" Will asked, swallowing. His heart was racing, practically ready to burst out of his chest. "Taken you here? Is it too much?"
Jack shook his head. "No, no, it's not that," he said. "You shouldn't...be here...with me."
Will pulled back, cocking his head to get a better view of Jack. "Wh - what? Why not? I want to be...I've never been so - "
" - neither have I...but it's like I've said...any man would be lucky to have you. I'm not him, Will. I'm not that man." His voice dropped off and he raised his other hand, covering up the remainder of his face.
"Jack," Will whispered, placing a hand on Jack's shoulder. "You...you are. You are that man. You shouldn't be the one who feels inferior. It's me. I'm the one who ignored the feelings, the signs...I should be the one who thinks that he's not good enough. You knew your feelings, Jack. I refused them." His hand slid down to Jack's neck and he rubbed the top of his back gently. "I want...I want you."
Jack looked up, but not before wiping the excess tears from around his eyes and face. "You do?" he asked with the naive innocence of a child. "But - "
"No," Will said, interrupting him. "Don't. There's no buts. It's just you...and me...together. And trust me; it feels like it's all I've ever wanted."
Jack laid his head upon Will's hand, which was resting upon his (Jack's) shoulder. "You're sure?" he asked, his eyes shimmering with desire.
Will nodded. "More than anything. I promise."
Jack smiled a watery smile. "Thank you, Will," he whispered.
"I told you, just being on a date with you will make me remember this," Jack said, leaning his shoulder against his closed door. "That sounded stupid, never mind - "
"No," Will said, leaning against the door as well, facing him. "No, it didn't. It sounded perfect."
They stood in that position for a few minutes, looking into each other's eyes. Jack moved first, shifting closer to Will and pressing his chest against Will's, their eyes still locked on each other's. Will moved next, placing his forehead against Jack's. His lips moved closer; so close that Jack could feel the warmth being emitted from them. In one quick movement, he pressed his lips gently to Jack's.
And sparks flew.
Will's hands moved to Jack's waist. He wrapped his arms around it and pulled Jack closer, deepening the kiss. Jack's eyelashes brushed against his closed eyelids. Their lips parted and Jack leaned his forehead against Will's once again. "Thank you," he whispered for the third time that night, so quietly that Will was not sure he had heard what he had said.
"What? For what?" he asked again; it had taken a moment for him to comprehend what Jack had said.
"For...this. It's all I've ever wanted, since we first met when I was sixteen. And it was worth it. The wait, I mean. I mean, why do you think I always slept around with guys and made fun of you and constantly accused you of being in love with me?" he asked, locking eyes with Will, a small smile on his face.
Will smiled back at him, taking Jack's hands in his. "I guess it makes sense...now. But I just thought you were being, well...the annoying best friend you can't help but love."
"And what am I now?" Jack asked teasingly, but his eyes had a serious undertone, as though he had really meant the question.
"You're..." Will began, pulling his head back so that he could see Jack's entire face, "the caring, sometimes - but not too often - annoying boyfriend who I love to love." Jack gave him a slightly disappointed look, and Will added, "With the pretty hair."
"Thank you, Will," Jack said, smiling. "And you're no longer the obsessive-compulsive, overly serious lawyer...not to me. You're the gorgeous, obsessive-compulsive, not-so-serious lawyer boyfriend who I love."
Will chuckled, looking down at his and Jack's hands, which were intertwined so tightly he could barely tell which fingers belonged to whom. "Is it weird that we said we love each other on the first date?" he asked.
He felt a soft breeze of wind as Jack shook his head. "No," Jack said, causing Will to look back up at him. "Like I said, I've always loved you. And I guess you did, too...you were just a little oblivious to your feelings."
"I guess so." Will frowned. "It's strange; not being able to know what your own feelings are."
Jack shrugged. "Maybe. But it's okay now, right? You know what they are now." He paused; it was now his turn to look down at their hands. "Not to spoil the mood," he began, unsurely, "but you said that Vince came to see you today. Why?"
"He - He wanted to get back together. I guess...I was wrong when I thought that his wanting for us to take a break meant that we had broken up. But he was the first person I've ever met who didn't consider the phrase, 'Let's take a break,' a break-up line."
"Huh, me, too," Jack agreed. "What'd you tell him?"
"That I couldn't do it, because I had feelings for someone else. He guessed it was you right off the bat - it was kind of surprising. Maybe I made my feelings for you a little more obvious than even I noticed."
"Looks like I was right all those times when I accused you of being in love with me, huh?" Jack teased, giving Will a gentle push with his shoulder. Will pushed him back and the two laughed softly. Jack leaned in to push him back, but instead pressed his lips against Will's again, continuing their amazing first kiss.
Their hands unraveled, wrapping around each other. They stayed like that for a matter of minutes - kissing and embracing and taking in each other's presence. "No, Jack McFarland," Will said after the kiss had ended. "Thank you."
Now please click the box below and review!