ACITW AU (Juliper Chapter) - Coffee, Conversation, and Whatever Else Comes Next

Jul 02, 2015 14:03

I've taken a page from Cacophony's original story and added this interim Juliper chapter, reminiscent of Porch Light Confessions. This explains what happened during the coffee date Cooper and Julian made when Julian went to see Cooper after the gala. I've written in a lot of throwbacks to the original story and to that Juliper chapter so it's not required to look up details to understand anything.

Julian pulls his car up to The Lima Bean twenty minutes early. He parks in a spot as far away as he can find, but the parking lot isn’t that big to begin with, making his car noticeable from pretty much everywhere. Besides, a Jaguar? In Lima? He might as well be driving the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. He’d stick out less.

Julian intentionally showed up early to give himself a chance to sit in his car and mentally prepare for this coffee date, but Cooper’s already there, sitting at a table by a front-facing window, twirling a paper cup in his hands, eyes staring off into space. Cooper’s eyes have always fascinated Julian - their inescapable lure, their piercing depths. How transparent and clear they are, but in no way shallow. Intelligent. Mesmerizing. Shrouding pain and so many secrets - secrets he’s collected during their time apart. Secrets that Julian desperately wants to know.

Julian wonders how long Cooper’s been sitting there, waiting for him. Did he just get there a few minutes before, or has he been there a while, preparing himself, too? Julian had been satisfied to let Cooper sweat, but there’s a particular sorrow in his eyes - a mixture of heartache and loss and regret. It pulls at Julian, adding a kick of speed to the rapid thud of his heart. He wants to obey the pull. He wants to go inside and be closer to its source, but Julian doesn’t leave his car and join Cooper right away. He resists a moment and watches Cooper, trying to pinpoint exactly how he’s changed. He’s had a chance to study Cooper twice already, but not like this - alone in the sunlight, lost in his thoughts. Cooper looks remarkably put together considering, enviably so. His hair, which had been fairly disheveled when Julian last saw him, has been combed and smoothed into place. He wears it differently now than he used to. Julian loved the way Cooper styled his hair back in high school. He loved the way it felt sliding between his fingers, or brushing against his cheek when Cooper kissed his neck. But it looks better this way. It suits him, brings out his maturity. His chin has gotten sharper, his cheekbones more defined with every shred of adolescent chubbiness gone (if there ever was any), and his mouth…

Well, his mouth is still as irresistible, still as tempting as ever.

Julian sucks a breath in and curses how it shudders. He should know better than to fall victim to this foolish tendency he has of plunging head-over-heels where Cooper is concerned. He wants to maintain the control he built between them last night. He needs to be the one in charge.

He can’t simply fold because Cooper flashes one of his disarming, pant-dropping smiles Julian’s way.

Julian watches Cooper take a sip from his cup, head tilting back and exposing his neck, Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows, and Julian’s whole body aches.

It remembers, and it doesn’t want that memory ignored.

God fucking damn, Julian thinks while his traitorous body moans. He should have opted for that stiff drink he mentioned before he showed up. If his mind had been less topsy-turvy, less controlled by his heart and, to a degree, his dick, he would have brought a flask of something with him.

Julian opens his car door and steps out onto the asphalt, and immediately Cooper’s eyes flick his way. The man behind the glass smiles with a hesitant slow burn - anxious at seeing Julian, wary at what he has to say, yet sexy as hell. Those eyes of his - gorgeous and impatient, with shameless love pouring from the seams - track Julian’s steps as he walks through the front door.

“You came,” Cooper says.

Not yet. The comment pops quickly to Julian’s mind because it’s easy to flirt with Cooper, but Julian’s not sure a joke like that would set the right tone. Though neither did nearly ripping Cooper’s clothes off, ready to fuck him into the grass of the Anderson lawn last night, but that’s neither here nor there.

Cooper stutters to stand, moving to give Julian a hug, but he only makes it halfway before Julian swoops in and sits in the chair opposite him instead. The move makes Cooper’s shoulders slump, but the last thing Julian needs right now is to have his brain short circuit because Cooper wrapped his arms around him, regardless of the fact that he’s dreamt of lying tangled up in Cooper’s arms every night since they parted.

“So did you,” Julian says, adding a reassuring smile to make up for sidestepping Cooper’s hug.

“I think we both knew I would,” Cooper says with a wink. “Can I get you something?”

Cooper motions over Julian’s shoulder with his chin. Julian turns his head sideways and looks toward the counter, at a chalkboard sign mounted up behind the register, displaying The Lima Bean’s limited fare. Julian’s gaze banks several times around an unnaturally energetic barista racing back and forth serving drinks, her blonde ponytail bouncing behind her with equal exuberance, her very existence an offense to the exhaustion pounding like a runaway jack hammer in his skull. He reads the name of each item on the board and licks his lips at the thought of a somewhat decent cup of java. The barista catches him staring. She misreads his gesture, misunderstands his wide-eyed stare of longing. Her cheeks turn pink and she giggles, hiding her face behind the next customer when she takes their order.

Julian doesn’t notice, his eyes glued to the words Fair Trade Italian Roast. He should order something considering the drama of the past twelve plus hours.

The explosion at last night’s gala, which, if it hadn’t been at Kurt’s expense, would have been the highlight of Julian’s time in Ohio.

Stopping by the Anderson’s house to talk to Cooper and being confronted by the unforgiving specters of their past - one of whom has blonde hair and expensive taste in jewelry.

The long drive back from Westerville to Lima with his heater on full blast to dry out his soaked clothes, with only his masochistic brain for company.

Listening to Sebastian go on and on about flying out to Cali to punch Blaine in the face, then tackling Seb to the ground for his wallet, ensuring that he couldn’t actually leave.

It hurt in too many familiar ways to watch his little brother pace and pace, stuck in his turmoil - helpless to comfort Kurt, unable to kill Blaine - until he simply passed out. Julian had taken up on the floor at his brother’s feet, too tired to sleep, staring at the pictures on the walls. He looked them over with tainted eyes, applying what he had discovered to be the truth - that Kurt and Blaine had been dating, that the two of them and his brother have some “history”...that Cooper had been here in Ohio all this time, hoping to see him again. He smirked and shook his head. Quite a lot of secrets revealed in the space of one night.

He glanced over to his brother sadly. A lot of secrets revealed, and yet a few big ones left to tell.

It was about that time when Julian heard Kurt upstairs in his room, whimpering. His first instinct was to wake Sebastian, but he couldn’t. Not when Seb had literally knocked out on his feet. Julian left Sebastian to sleep and retired to Kurt’s room instead, lying by his side till Kurt settled down and fell back to resting comfortably. Julian stayed mostly awake in bed watching Kurt sleep, thinking about what a lucky bastard Sebastian is (and to a point Blaine, even though he doesn’t deserve to be that lucky). Julian spent most of those early morning hours trying to figure out what the hell he was going to say to Kurt to convince him to give his brother a chance - completely unnecessary, as it turned out, which is one of the reasons he likes Kurt for his brother.

Skip ahead to this morning’s culinary fiasco, fumbling to make breakfast with Sebastian and nearly burning down Kurt’s kitchen.

That was a hoot. Julian regrets not getting any pictures.

When Julian left the boys to their own devices, he raced to The Lima Mall to buy a new outfit (since he’s already used and abused his emergency change of clothes from his car’s trunk), and then actually rented a hotel room to shower and change so he wouldn’t show up looking like a hobo - unwashed, unshaven, in clothes that he slept in.

Luckily, he seems to be pulling off cool, calm, and collected, but emotionally, he’s wrung dry. Physically, he’s running on a shit-ton of adrenaline, so much that there’s a ringing in his ears that won’t stop. Bearing that in mind, he should order the five gallon drum of caffeine.

But he doesn’t want to leave Cooper, and he doesn’t want Cooper to leave him.

“No,” he says, shaking his head. “I’m cool.”

Cooper nods and pushes his own cup aside. Julian follows it with a covert dart of his eyes, curious if it’s actually empty, recollecting on the lame half cup of coffee he brought Cooper the day they first met - the day Julian caught him fucking the infamous Sheila.

The day Julian started falling for him.

Julian stops himself before he thinks love. Even though it’s ever-present - obviously for Cooper, too - he’s not ready to go there yet.

“Thank you, again,” Julian remarks. “You know, for what you’re doing for my brother and for Kurt.”

Cooper’s smile fails, and suddenly he looks more uncomfortable in Julian’s presence than eager.

“I’m still not really kosher about lying to my brother about this,” he admits.

“Are you thinking of reneging?” Julian asks in a hurry, his brain whirling to devise a contingency plan, for the boys at the beach house as well as for himself.

“No, no,” Cooper says, sweeping the idea away with open hands. “My brother made his bed, so to speak. Now he has to suffer the consequences.” Julian breathes a subtle sigh of relief, not wanting to act obnoxious that Cooper seems to side with them on this. He also avoids chuckling at the adorable way Cooper mixes his metaphors. “How are they doing, by the way? How is Kurt after all that mess?”

“They’re good,” Julian says, thinking back to this morning when Kurt came down the stairs and caught them - that charmed look in his eyes when he saw Sebastian, the one he usually gets when he thinks no one’s watching. “They’re kind of running away together for a few weeks, to the family beach house in North Carolina, to get some time alone.”

Cooper’s expression morphs from uncomfortable to minorly sick, but Julian knows it’s not because he’s personally upset by the idea of Kurt and Sebastian vacationing alone together, but on his brother’s behalf.

“My brother really fucked up a good thing,” Cooper says, speaking with a voice colored by experience. “He called me earlier and I talked to him some more, so I have a little better idea why he did what he did. He said…”

“Don’t know, don’t care,” Julian cuts him off roughly.

Cooper stops short, savvy that regardless of the kiss from earlier, he’s treading on thin ice - paper thin ice above a lake miles deep, ready to drag him down and devour him if he falls in.

“I’m just saying that I can sort of see his side of things…”

“Can you?” Julian snaps, sliding to the edge of his seat, feeling more defensive of his brother and Kurt than ever.

“Give me a break, Jules,” Cooper says, closing his eyes, exasperation heavy in every word. “He is my brother. And believe it or not, he’s not always a douche. He’s just following a long tradition of Anderson men, being stupid and fucking things up. But he and Kurt, they made a good couple.” Cooper opens his eyes and locks on to Julian’s standoffish gaze. “I really thought they had a good thing going.”

Julian sits back in his chair. It sounds to Julian that Cooper has strayed from the subject of Kurt and Blaine.

“Really?” Julian says, giving Cooper a hint of his suggestive smile.

“Oh, yeah,” Cooper says playfully, grateful for the levity. “Great-grandpa Anderson - epic failure. And Grandpa Anderson? Well, let’s just say we’re all lucky the Anderson line didn’t end with him.” Julian laughs out loud, missing when Cooper’s voice loses its humorous edge. “And my father, well, he…he’s the worst.” Cooper swallows hard. “I’m hoping Blaine gets far away before my dad can do too much damage.”

Julian’s laughter skids to a halt, and his brow furrows, confused by what that means. Julian knows Cooper’s father is an ignorant bigot. He knows Cooper’s father can be cruel. But maybe Julian has underestimated the lengths Mr. Anderson is willing to go to secure his youngest son’s future.

Julian’s about to ask but a new conundrum has settled onto Cooper’s face, his eyes fixed on his hands, fingers tightening into fists and then stretching out again. “Julian, I need to explain. About Emily, about the ring…”

“Don’t,” Julian sighs, exhaustion accentuating the lines that lack of sleep has already etched on his face.

“But…” Coopers sounds distraught, like he thinks this is the path to getting Julian back, part of an apology too long in coming, but Julian can’t listen. Not yet.

“Look,” Julian says, dropping his head in his hands, rubbing his eyes till they sting, stealing the time necessary to sort things out, “I’ll let you explain, but not now. I can’t hear it right now. I should be able to. I know it all happened a relatively long time ago, but it feels…”

“Yeah,” Cooper agrees. “I know how it feels.”

A bitter silence falls between them, swallowed up in the mud of people talking, the whirring of machines, the bell over the door clanging as customers walk in and out.

Julian laughs. “You know, I pictured this going differently.”

“God, Julian,” Cooper says. “Don’t you have anything else to say?”

Julian opens his mouth, a witty remark at the ready, but he closes it again. He knows what Cooper is hoping he’ll say. Anything else, even in fun, would sound insensitive. He shakes his head.

“I don’t want to say something I’m going to regret.”

And even with Julian being careful of Cooper’s feelings, Cooper looks absolutely crushed by Julian’s answer.

“I should be heading back,” Cooper says flatly. “I have…there are some things I have to do. I don’t want to be late.”

“Wow! You invited me out for coffee, and then you made other plans?” Julian laughs sarcastically. “You arrogant ass!”

Cooper looks confused and hurt by Julian’s ridicule.

“No, I…it’s…I have this lunch thing with my folks,” Cooper defends. “They planned it last minute, and…”

“No,” Julian says, standing from the table, “I understand. I understand completely.”

“No, you don’t understand,” Cooper says loudly. The elderly couple at the table next to them shoots him a dirty look. “They haven’t changed. Eight fucking years, and they haven’t changed. If anything, they’ve gotten worse.” Cooper’s angry yelling becomes a hollow laugh he can’t seem to control. “But I’ve changed. I swear to God I’ve changed. But there’s more people at stake here than just me, Jules, and…there’re some things I have to fix. But, I promise, I’m ready to do this with you. I’m ready to start over, and have it be totally about us.”

Cooper’s outburst throws Julian off, but he doesn’t let it show. He had expected pleading, a copious amount of inappropriate flirting, but not this level of anger. And directed at his own parents? God. What was going on that Julian didn’t know?

Julian’s heart tells him this is a time for compassion and not avenging his singed ego, but he can’t help throwing in one dig.

“Yeah, well…” Julian rolls his eyes. “I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”

Cooper sighs, standing slowly, eyes begging for an exception. “Will you at least give me the chance to prove it to you?”

Julian shrugs. “Maybe.”

“Maybe,” Cooper repeats, shaking his head, and Julian feels a little guilty. Guilty that he can’t just put the past behind them and throw himself into Cooper’s arms the way his heart and his body are begging him to. But there’s too much in between them for that. Thirty minutes of barely conversation doesn’t wipe that all away.

Cooper tosses out his coffee cup and Julian heads for the door, drawing out his steps to give Cooper a chance to catch up. Cooper rushes forward when he sees Julian reach for the door and pushes it open for him.

“Thank you,” Julian says, slightly mocking, bringing a hand up coquettishly to cover his mouth. “That’s very gallant of you.” It’s another dig. They’ve never exactly been gentlemen, not with one another. Cooper doesn’t rise to the challenge.

“Will I get to see you again?” Cooper asks, following Julian out to his car. He doesn’t touch Julian - doesn’t rest a hand on his shoulder or take him by the arm - but Julian can still feel Cooper’s warmth, like it’s a part of him. “I mean, you’re not going anywhere anytime soon - New York or France…are you?”

Julian pulls his keys from his pocket and stops in front of the driver’s side door.

“I’m not going anywhere for a bit,” he says, leaning lightly against his Jag. “And how about you? You winging your way to the coast or something?”

Cooper’s smile comes back, but only by a third. “I’ve got nowhere else to be.”

“That’s good to know,” Julian teases, fiddling with his keys, needing to occupy his hands. Cooper nods, shifting on his feet, stuck between standing pathetically in this one spot, praying that Julian will give him something before he leaves, or going back to his car, sitting in the driver’s seat, and falling apart. Julian can’t stand it. He can’t stand Cooper with his puppy dog eyes looking like he’s staying obediently at heel, waiting to have his heart ripped out. He breaks down and takes Cooper in his arms, their bodies coming together like two magnets breaking the tension of being almost close enough to touch but too far to make a connection.

“I missed you,” Cooper says, whispering against the shell of Julian’s ear. It’s three words, representing the three words Cooper wants permission to say, but he’s respecting Julian’s wishes.

And dammit if that doesn’t make Julian want him more.

“I missed you, too, Coop,” Julian says softly. Cooper squeezes Julian tight, one hand finding the small of his back, the other the mid-section between his shoulder blades. Julian exhales into Cooper’s shoulder at his touch, giving Cooper room to hold on tighter.

Julian wants Cooper, but he needs this. Just this. Julian’s head melts against Cooper’s shoulder and he sighs. He can stay here with Cooper forever - in the parking lot of The Lima Bean, or in the posh and immaculate living room of the Anderson house, or on a deserted island somewhere in the South Pacific. It wouldn’t matter, as long as they’re together.

Cooper has always been an amazing hugger, but he’s definitely gotten better with age…and probably practice. Not that Julian has room to argue. It’s not like he’s been carnally faithful to their tragic love story, but that thought that has Julian pushing Cooper away.

“I’ll call you,” Julian promises. “Tonight. And we can make arrangements to spend some more time together.”

“Yeah,” Cooper says tentatively. “O-okay.”

Julian doesn’t want to leave Cooper disappointed, but Julian tells himself it’s what’s best. There’s so much he needs to do anyway, plans he needs to make. It’s probably a good thing that they called it quits early. Who knows what would have happened if they fell back into old routines. No. Julian wants slow, and this is slow. He pats Cooper lamely on the shoulder before he turns away; he doesn’t know why.

Yes, he does. Because they shouldn’t be leaving things like this. They should be kissing each other unconscious. They should be driving back to Julian’s hotel room and fucking till they break the bed. He thought it would be simple to reignite something that never completely burned out. He kind of knows the truth about Emily. He knows that Cooper loves him. So, where’s the divide? What gap hasn’t he crossed over? When did this become so complicated?

Julian unlocks his car and slides into the driver’s seat. He doesn’t see Cooper standing where he left him, and Julian frowns. He didn’t figure it would be that easy for Cooper to walk away.

Julian has his key in the ignition when he hears a knock on the passenger side window. He unlocks the door and Cooper opens it, climbing quickly inside.

“Jules…” Cooper shuts the door, turns his head, and Julian’s on him, climbing over the center console and into his lap in the passenger seat, kissing him feverishly, all pretense of waiting be damned. He belongs with Cooper. He’s always belonged with Cooper, and no amount of distance or time or other people’s hands tearing them apart can change that. There’s an empty place for him - not only in Julian’s heart, but in his entire being, so immense that it’s left Julian hollow for too long.

He’s never quite gotten used to being empty. He wants to be whole.

“Oh…oh, Julian,” Cooper moans, kissing back, stunned by the feeling of him, how they fit together perfectly, as if they’d never spent a second apart. “I thought for a minute…I didn’t think you wanted…”

“I need you,” Julian says. The words had been tickling his conscience for hours. It’s a fucking relief to finally say them out loud.

“Yes,” Cooper moans, reaching for the buttons on Julian’s jeans. “God, yes.”

“Not here,” Julian laughs, and it feels good to laugh because of Cooper. “Not now.”

“Then when?” Cooper asks, a tiny, immature whine sneaking into his otherwise sultry voice.

The idea comes to Julian like a thunderbolt - the same way it did when he was talking things over with Sebastian at Kurt’s house last night.

“I’m going to the family beach house in a week,” Julian says, breathing the words against Cooper’s neck. “Come with me?”

Cooper’s heavy pants stop moving his chest. “Aren’t…aren’t Kurt and Sebastian going to be there? Will it be okay? I don’t want Kurt to get upset.”

“He’s not upset with you,” Julian reassures him, though Julian’s not a hundred percent sure. He figures if Kurt does harbor any resentment, Julian can find a way to sweet talk it out of him. “But I’ll make sure it is.” Julian sits up to see Cooper’s eyes, dark with raw desire, but soft, boyish and uncertain. “If it is…will you come with me?”

Cooper’s jaw drops. He starts to shake his head, which sends a cold shock down Julian’s spine. But Cooper chuckles, hands coming up to wrap around Julian’s wrists where his hands press Cooper’s shoulders into the leather seat.

“Julian, I’d…I’d love to.”

Julian raises an eyebrow.

“Are you sure?” he asks, slipping unintentionally into a derisive tone culled from years of believing in the apparent fairy tale of CooperandEmily - years of trying to drink, toke, and fuck the image of their make-believe happily-ever-after away. “Are you sure it’s going to be okay with Emily and everything?”

“Stop it,” Cooper says, tapping Julian on the hip though the smack was meant for his ass. “I told you, she and I are just friends.”

“Yeah, well, she did come out here to be with you in your hour of need.”

Cooper takes Julian’s head between his hands and meets his eyes with as sincere an expression as Cooper Anderson has ever worn in his life.

“Julian, I don’t care if it is or if it isn’t okay - with Emily, or my parents, or anyone.” Cooper runs a thumb over Julian’s eyebrow, traveling down his cheekbones to his lips - parted and swollen and hungry to be kissed. “I just want to be with you.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Julian says. He bends low and gives Cooper one last kiss - one that he takes his time with, one that’s not quite as urgent. One that’s willing to wait. One that’s about to give up the glory of dirty front seat car sex if it means he gets to keep have Cooper and keep Cooper this time around.

“I promise,” Cooper repeats, following Julian’s kiss with his own. Julian doesn’t fully relinquish Cooper’s lips as he slides back to his seat, but inevitably they do break apart. With a blissed-out expression and the impressive outline of an erection pressing against his jeans, Cooper climbs out of the car. He closes the door, his fingertips lingering shy of the glass with a wave good-bye, and then he walks away.

Julian watches Cooper walk to his car, the man sauntering in that insufferable way he does when he thinks he’s won - his own cleverly subdued version of an end zone victory dance. Julian waits until Cooper gets into his cherry red sports car before he turns the key in his ignition, but he can’t make himself pull away before Cooper does. Julian watches him drop down into the driver’s seat, buckle his seat belt, and then start his engine. Cooper catches Julian’s gaze. He crooks a brow and grins - less discouraged, more serene, that shit-eating Cooper Anderson grin that he perfected at Dalton. He peels out of his spot, showing off for Julian, and speeds away.

Back to her, Julian can’t help thinking with venom in his lust-blown eyes. Even if they are just friends.

But Julian will have his chance. In a few short days, he’ll have Cooper to himself, then they can pick up where they shouldn’t have had to leave off.

juliper, acitw, frankie writes, sebastian smythe, julian smythe, kurt hummel, acitw au, cooper anderson, kurtbastian

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