Playing Second Fiddle to Himself: Chapter 3

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Isaac listened to his phone go straight to David's voicemail. He frowned. That wasn't helpful. He wanted to talk to David. He needed to talk to him. They hadn't spoken in over 24 hours, and that made Isaac feel antsy and unnerved.

David made everything better.

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The next day, when Isaac arrived at work, he ran into the new model, Lauren. She was smirking as she looked him over.

"Isabella, I've been absolutely dying to meet you. I've heard so much."

Isaac felt his hackles rising at the statement. He could practically feel her insincerity. But he was good at being the bigger person. He offered his hand to shake.

"Lauren is it? Like the job so far?" Isaac was intensely congenial.

Lauren's lips curled smugly. "It's wonderful. David had been absolutely fantastic." She noticeably emphasized David's name.

Isaac's anger rose and he didn't know if he could play nice anymore, not with David mentioned.

Isaac was opening his mouth to cattily respond, when Jared popped into their conversation. "Hey Isabella, I've been looking for you everywhere! Can we go to your office? I need to speak with you alone."

"Sure." Isaac forces a smile. "Good to meet you Lauren."

He followed Jared up to his office.

"So, what was so urgent that you needed me alone?" Isaac asked.

Jared looked extremely sheepish and didn't quite meet Isaac's eyes. "Well, there wasn't really ummm…anything?"

Isaac stared at him for a minute.

"What?" He asked flatly.

"Well, it looked like it was getting tense between you and Lauren. It seemed like a good idea for me to jump in?"

Isaac was silent.

Jared's brows furrowed in concern. "Was that not a good idea?"

"No, it was fine," Isaac reassured him, then added, "It was getting a little tense."

"As much as I would love to see a cat fight and hope that I see one in my lifetime, I'd rather it not be one with you," Jared joked, smiling once more.

Isaac couldn't help chuckling. "I hope you get your wish. But I would think you'd want to see me in a cat fight, you know because I'm so fantastic looking and it would be hot," he teased.

Jared turned a little pink. "Well, that I cannot deny Isabella. I bet you'd win. In a cat fight."

Isaac couldn't hold back laughing outright. "Thanks for the confidence in my cat-fight abilities." He was still grinning. "So, what's on the agenda for today?"

That sentence got Jared into assistant mode and they got down to business.

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When Isaac had a break in his schedule, he went up to David's office. He was hoping to catch him to talk or invite him to dinner so they could discuss their relationship. They had only been apart for a couple days, but the absence was driving Isaac nuts. He needed to see David, he needed to be with him. Without him, he felt as if he was missing a limb or a vital organ.

Luckily, David's secretary wasn't at her post when he arrived, so he stealthily cracked open the door to David's office.

And was greeted by the sight of David and Lauren on his desk.

They were kissing passionately and it looked as if David's hand was up her mini-skirt.

Isaac was shocked into place. He felt like one of those people who couldn't look away from an accident or a gruesome scene. He couldn't tear his eyes away. He must have made some sort of noise though because their attention was drawn to him.

David unlatched his mouth from Lauren's with a sigh. "Was there something you needed?"

Isaac couldn't find words. "I…I…no, I'll come back later."

He fled from the scene as fast as his high-heeled feet could carry him.

His brain felt numb and frozen. He couldn't wrap his mind around what he'd just seen. David didn't want him anymore? Could it be possible?

Then who would want him?

Tears began to track down Isaac's cheeks seconds before he reached the security of his office. He shut the door, grateful to be out of the open before making a spectacle of himself. He hated crying.

His crying turned into sobbing as he slouched against his desk. He couldn't seem to keep his emotions in check. He was that overwhelmed.

David, how could David do this to him? He loved him. He treated him so well. It all just seemed like one big nightmare. But Isaac wasn't waking up from it, so unfortunately it was real-life.

He was so consumed by his thoughts and his sorrow, he didn't notice the door opening and Jared stepping in.

"Isabella?" Jared's voice brought him back to reality. Jared's face was a picture of concern as he strode over to where Isaac was slumped. "Are you okay?"

Isaac attempted to answer, but the only thing that came out of his mouth was a weak sob.

Jared put his arms around Isaac and drew him into a close hug. "Hey, hey…Isabella, it'll be okay." His large hands stroked down Isaac's back soothingly.

Jared whispered comforting words and held Isaac until his sobs were beginning to subside. Isaac was down to sniffling when Jared pulled back to examine his face.

"Are you okay?" Jared asked softly, fingers still circling Isaac's shoulder blades.

"No," Isaac whispered.

"Hey, I'll cancel the rest of your appointments for today okay? And then I can drive you home?" Jared suggested.

"To your house?" slipped out of Isaac's mouth before he could stop those needy words.

Jared's eyes widened a little in surprise, but he gently asked, "You want to come to my house?"

Isaac nodded. He didn't want to go to his apartment where it was empty and lonely. He needed to be with someone else and he didn't have anyone he could call. And he liked Jared, but what if Jared didn't like him?

"Jared, is that okay? I don't want to bother you?" Isaac felt extremely vulnerable in that moment and couldn't quite meet Jared's gaze.

"You don't bother me Isabella. I would love to have you over," Jared stroked down his back again. "I just was hoping it would be a fun circumstance, like watching a movie or me barbequing dinner for you or something."

Isaac was taken aback by that statement. "You were planning on inviting me to your house?"

Jared looked embarrassed. "Well, yeah. I know you're my boss, but I thought we were becoming friends too?"

Isaac nodded and moved closer to rest his head against Jared's shoulder again. Jared didn't seem to mind, pulling Isaac close and holding him. It was nice to be held, to be able to relax against another person and know that was all that was expected of him. To just be. He sighed softly. Jared was still rubbing his back.

He could get used to this.

That thought caused Isaac to stumble backwards, out of Jared's embrace. "Can we go now?" he asked.

Jared nodded. "Yeah, I just have to make a couple calls." Jared flipped open his phone and smoothed over the cancellations, using an excuse that Isabella had gotten food poisoning.

Meanwhile, Isaac flipped open his compact to check on his face. "Thank God for waterproof mascara and long last lipstick," he muttered as he touched up the tear streaks on his cheeks.

Jared chuckled at that comment, overheard as he finished his phone calls. "You look great. You don't need to primp to impress me," he joked.

"But what if I want to baby?" Isaac teased.

Jared blushed at that. "Come on gorgeous, let's get out of here."

Isaac paused at the word 'gorgeous.' That's what Jared called him when he was dressed as a man. He had thought it was a special compliment just for him. Did Jared call everyone that?

"Gorgeous?" Isaac whispered.

Jared blushed redder, if possible. "Sorry. Don't know why I used that word. I mean, you are gorgeous, but I kind of call someone else that and…Damn it, I'm always putting my foot in my mouth around you."

"No, it's okay," Isaac gave him an impish look. "I like it when you have your foot in your mouth. It's a good look for you."

Jared chuckled. "I aim to please, beautiful."

"I'm sure you do please." Isaac meant the comment to be light, but it came out a touch husky and a lot like an innuendo.

Jared only paused for a minute and didn't respond to it, before leading them out of the office and down to the car.

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Jared's house was really wonderful. It was a small one-story with a spacious yard area and it looked like it had a deck in the back. As soon as they entered, they were bombarded by two golden retrievers.

"Down…Harley, Angel, get down. I'm sorry," Jared apologized.

But Isaac didn't mind. He got down on his knees and allowed the dogs to lick his face. He giggled and stroked their fur. Their tails were wagging a mile a minute and their muscles were straining with obvious excitement.

"Hey, they can go in the backyard. It's fenced." Jared gave him a hand up and led him through the house to sliding glass doors, which revealed a small deck and a spacious back yard. The dogs eagerly pushed to go outside. Running around the yard happily.

"They're beautiful dogs," Isaac complimented.

"Thanks. I found them as puppies. Someone had dropped them off on the side of the road. They were in a cardboard box and it was raining. They were soaked and whimpering and I just fell in love with them."

Isaac was touched by the story. "Jared…" He wanted to convey how wonderful he thought it was, but couldn't seem to find the words.

Jared seemed to understand, giving him a smile. His eyes ran over Isaac's body. "Did you want to change into something more comfortable? I have some sweats, they're probably a little big, but comfy. Or did you want to shower?"

"No!" Isaac practically yelped out, and realized he probably overreacted. "um…no shower. Sweats would be fine though," he answered more calmly.

"Okay, I'll just be a minute."

While Jared was gone, Isaac played with the dogs. He found a Frisbee in the yard and was throwing it at them and watching them compete to grab it first and bring it back to them. They looked so triumphant when they reached him. It was adorable.

Jared came back a few minutes later, clothing in hand. "Hey, they love that. You're their hero now. They'll love you forever."

"They're a lot of fun," Isaac, even though he was sad, couldn't help beaming. The dogs cheered him up a lot. Maybe it was their unconditional affection for him.

Jared handed him the clothes and Isaac went to the bathroom to change. It was good to get out of his dressy clothes and high heels and into clothing that was made for lounging. Jared's clothing was a little big on him. He rolled the waistband of the sweatpants until they settled on his hipbones without threatening to fall down. The shirt was baggy, but more comfortable, with no threats of baring him. He only had to roll the sleeves up a little bit. Isaac left his wig and makeup on and hoped that he still looked more like Isabella and less like Isaac.

When he came out of the bathroom and found Jared, Jared grinned at him. "You look really cute, like a kid trying on his father's clothes."

"You're not that much bigger than me," Isaac protested the comparison.

"But you still look adorable. Did you want something to eat? And we could watch a movie?" Jared suggested.

"Sure."

They ended up warming up some left over pizza from Jared's fridge, cracking open a couple of beers and relaxing on the couch. About halfway through the movie, the doorbell rang.

Jared opened it to reveal a man who greeted him with a huge hug.

"Brent! It's good to see you man! Come on in," Jared ushered him inside.

Brent's eyes fell on Isaac and he let out a whistle. "It seems you're doing mighty fine for yourself with this one son. What's your name beautiful?" His voice was a deep drawl with an accent that hinted of Texas. He took Issac's hand and kissed the back of it.

"This is Isabella, my boss," Jared answered.

Brent appeared puzzled. "Your boss? I thought you worked for a man."

"I am a man," Isaac bluntly replied.

Brent's eyes widened. "Hot damn son, you are beautiful. You make a beautiful woman! I wouldn't even guess," his eyes raked over Isaac's form.

"Umm…thank you?" Isaac wasn't sure if that was a compliment or an insult to his masculinity.

Jared just chuckled. "Isabella, this is Brent. He's a mechanic. I fix up old cars with him on the weekends."

"Oh."

"Did you mind if he joins us?" Jared asked. He looked worried about Isaac, probably because he was breaking down only an hour before.

"It's fine. I don't have a problem with it."

"I wouldn't want you to have a problem with me beautiful," Brent grinned and seated himself next to Isaac.

Jared frowned slightly. "I'll get you a beer."

He returned and settled in the empty spot next to Brent and they continued the movie.

Brent stayed for a couple hours after the movie was finished, just talking. He flirted pretty heavily with Isaac, not to the point where it made him uncomfortable, but it seemed to be bothering Jared. Isaac felt some tension between the two friends and more than once thought he caught challenging stares thrown between them. It got to a point that when Brent decided to leave, Isaac was almost glad because it would clear the weird vibe from the air.

Brent didn't leave without a parting, "Hope to see more of you again, beautiful."

Jared was frowning at the door as it shut.

Isaac put a hand on Jared's arm. "Did you want to go to bed?"

Jared looked a little startled by that comment and Isaac found himself blushing. He just couldn't seem to stop making comments that sounded like come-ons. Luckily, Jared knew they were innocent enough.

"I'm a little tired. Did you want to stay over? Or I can drive you to your apartment?"

"I can get a cab," Isaac answered. "I wouldn't want you to go out if you don't have to."

"It's no problem Isabella. I'd want to make sure you get home safe. Besides, I think the doggies want to come for a car ride."

At the mention of the word 'car', the dogs, who had been laying at their feet, perked up and tails were wagging excitedly.

"Okay, you convinced me. I wouldn't want to disappoint the doggies," Isaac gave in.

They piled into Jared's car and headed on their way. It wasn't too far to Isaac's apartment, only about fifteen minutes away. Jared put the car in park and turned to face Isaac.

"Thank you for having me over."

Jared grinned. "Anytime Isabella. I'm just glad that Brent didn't scare you off. He comes on strong, but he's mostly talk."

"I could tell he's harmless. I had a good time."

Jared was still smiling and looking at Isaac with a strange, contemplative expression.

Isaac didn't get much warning before Jared leaned in and gave him the sweetest short, softly chaste kiss on the lips.

"I'm glad your feeling better. I hated seeing you cry like that. If you need anything, anytime, give me a call and I'll be there. Seriously," Jared's expression was earnest.

"I will. Thank you Jared," Isaac whispered before getting out of the car.

He went upstairs to his apartment, once inside, he leaned against the closed door.

Seems his life was just getting more and more complicated.

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Hope you enjoyed! Thanks!