[identity profile] finkpishnets.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] ivoryandgoldd
i dream of the day we find ourselves
food network rps | jason/joshua | r | warning: adultery | ~1,723
through the years.

a/n: this was originally very locked comment fic i hid away because, you know, writing about dudes from the food network that no one really knows tends to lead to easy google results. and then today i found it and figured, fuck it, i might as well put it somewhere.

+++


Their first kiss is short. Awkward. Joshua leans in too close too fast, Jason turns the wrong way. They’re nineteen years old and the world stops, rewinds, High School fantasies.

“Sorry,” Joshua says, blushing.

Jason nods and kisses him again.

The world starts moving again, quick, quick, quick, a shout in the corridor and they pull away.

“We’re doing that now,” Jason says, hoping it doesn’t sound like a question.

“Yes,” Joshua says and walks away.


+


They don’t talk about it, this thing they do. Joshua tries sometimes, the words shaping on his lips as Jason changes the subject; they don’t need to quantify it. Jason’s always worked best with approximations anyway.


+


They don’t take it further.

One day, Jason thinks.

Apparently Joshua doesn’t agree.


+


“This is Sam,” Joshua says. “He’s my boyfriend.”

Jason throws a cake tin at him and storms out.


+


“We weren’t together,” Joshua says through a closed door Jason refuses to open. “We weren’t anything.”

“We were best friends,” Jason says.

He doesn’t know if Joshua hears him but it goes quiet so he assumes he did.


+


Jason forgives and doesn’t forget.

They don’t kiss anymore though, even when Sam disappears from the picture.


+


Jason becomes an adult and meets Matthew. The two seem to go hand in hand.

“He’s boring,” Joshua says, the smile on his face fixed to look like a joke, more for the sake of pretense than because either of them believe it.

“He’s the one,” Jason says just to see Joshua’s heart break.


+


Joshua moves away.

Jason doesn’t kid himself that it’s anything but revenge.


+


They go on Challenge, sometimes together and sometime apart. They win and they don’t, and it feels like validation.

(There’s also that little while, locked amidst fondant and sugar, when they can forget.

For a day they’re just Jason & Joshua, and it’s everything.)


+


This is our new address, the card says, Josh and Ricky signed underneath in handwriting he doesn’t recognize.

It’s the first Jason’s heard of it.


+


Matthew proposes and Jason says yes.

He’s not cruel enough to tell Joshua in person.


+


“You’re getting married,” Joshua says, crowding Jason against the hotel room door, the handle digging into the small of his back.

“Yes,” Jason says. It’s been two months. They’ve set a date.

Joshua bites at his shoulder and Jason melts into it.


+


It’s the kind of sex he wouldn’t have been able to imagine at nineteen.

It’s desperate and angry and claustrophobic and everything Jason’s always wanted. Joshua fucks him in time to their heartbeats, curls shaking fingers around Jason’s cock and breaks him apart from the inside out.

Jason kisses him for the first time since they were twenty and naïve, and hates that it feels like a goodbye.


+


Jason marries Matthew and feels like someone else.

He doesn’t look at Joshua in the second row, sitting next to his boyfriend, his smile sad but real.

(Later Joshua asks him to dance, wrapping his hands around Jason’s waist and pulling him close. Hiding his feelings in plain sight.

Jason rests his head on Joshua’s shoulder and breathes.)


+


They see each other on the show and they call more than they should; it’s enough except for how it’s not.

Jason has his business and his husband and his best friend, and nothing feels right.


+


“It’s Last Cake Standing,” Jason says like Matthew will understand, and then, when all he gets is a distracted nod: “$100,000 prize.”

Matthew sits up, smiles, tells Jason to go for it and doesn’t ask questions.

Jason doesn’t tell him that Joshua’s been invited on the show too; the response would have been very different if he had.

(It was a stupid mistake and they haven’t talked about it but Jason knows that Matthew heard the wrong name spill across his lips, buried into a pillow, eyes squeezed shut to memories he was never supposed to have in the first place.

Maybe denial’s why this relationship works.)


+


Joshua grins and hugs him close, and Jason tightens his fingers around Joshua’s shirt and wishes he didn’t have to let go.

Marina smiles at them as she walks past, waving to Richard and Orlando, and Jason hopes she doesn’t think he’s being rude when he can’t bring himself to move and say hi.

“This should be fun,” Joshua says, breath hot against Jason’s ear.

“It’ll be hard,” Jason says, cheeks flushing when Joshua laughs.

“That too,” he says, and Jason feels it all the way down to his toes.


+


The competition’s tough, nonstop, draining. Jason sketches and decorates and listens to the judges.

At night he curls up in bed and calls his husband, listens to Matthew talk about his day and downplays his own.

Afterwards he slides his hand into his boxers and sees the looks Joshua keeps shooting him playing out across the back of his eyelids. Feels the way he stands close, close, too close, and bites into his bottom lip as he comes, tasting blood.


+


(His dreams are even more vivid than his waking fantasies, but no one ever asks why he’s late to breakfast.)


+


Jason gets sick and freaks out.

Matthew tells him to come home. The producers ask him if he wants to. His mom reminds him it’s only a competition, that his health comes first.

Joshua looks at him like he feels every ache and never suggests that Jason leave.

When Jason kisses him it’s a thank you.


+


Things are okay until they’re not, and this time it isn’t about them. Joshua holds his hand and only doesn’t get in the ambulance because Jason and the producers put their foot down.

Part of Jason – the selfish part (if that isn’t all he is now) – wishes he had.


+


“I’m going to be okay,” Jason says, and Joshua nods and doesn’t try and hide the fact he’s been crying.

“I can’t believe they kicked you off,” he says, even though they both know it had to happen.

They sit up against the headboard and watch crap TV and ignore Jason’s half-packed suitcase; when Joshua gets up to leave Jason grabs his hand and pulls him back down.

Joshua sighs and it sounds relieved.

Jason doesn’t sleep but he still feels better than he has in ages.


+


He spends some time in hospital and lets his family fuss over him until he’s better, and then he gets back to work and doesn’t dwell on the fact that Joshua hasn’t come to New York.

Matthew takes him on dates like they’re college kids, bars and restaurants and museums, and Jason lets himself be swept up in his husband’s world until he forgets that it wasn’t always his.


+


Joshua and Ricky come up to New York and Jason offers them their spare room, the ever-dutiful best friend.

Matthew insists they all go to a bar in town, one that’s too loud and too crowded and too overpriced, filled with women ten years younger than them and men ten years older.

Joshua catches his eye and Jason fights to turn his laugh into a cough.

“I don’t feel so good,” Jason says, two drinks in and too early to be anything other than a get-out.

Matthew frowns, eyes glancing over the people who’ve joined them, faces Jason thinks he should recognize but doesn’t.

“You okay to head back by yourself?” Matthew asks, and Jason nods.

“I’ll take a cab.”

Outside it’s starting to rain, and he has to wait ten minutes for a free taxi.

He should probably be surprised when Joshua climbs in next to him.

He’s not.


+


Joshua fucks him in the bed he’s only ever shared with his husband, making him sob with his fingers, his tongue, until Jason can’t take anymore, begging chants of please, please, please over and over as Joshua hushes him and pulls him to his knees.

They don’t rush even though they should.

Jason comes twice before he thinks to hope there are spare sheets.


+


(In the morning, Matthew and Ricky nurse hangovers over coffee whilst Joshua makes them eggs and Jason tries not to squirm in his seat, reveling in his own set of aches and pains.)


+


I’m having an affair, he thinks, and then: I’m just not sure who with.


+


“I don’t know what to do,” he says, because he needs to tell someone.

“I can’t make it easy for you,” Joshua says, picking at his mediocre carrot cake and not quite meeting Jason’s eye. “I mean, I could, but I won’t. I’m too selfish for that.”

“I love you,” Jason says, and Joshua nods.

“I know. I’ve always known. Maybe that’s why I’m your second choice.”

Jason laughs, and it’s bitter on his tongue.

“That’s the one thing you’ve never been,” he says, and Joshua sighs.

“I love you more, you know,” Joshua says, and Jason shakes his head.

“No you don’t. If you did I would have been yours a long time ago.”

“I thought you were mine anyway?” Joshua says, and it’s harsh and true.

Jason doesn’t have a response.

(Or he does, just not one he can give in public.)


+


“I’m not leaving,” Matthew says, and it’s a challenge as much as a plea.

“I know,” Jason says, and: “I’m sorry.”

(It’s an empty phrase; they both know if he meant it he wouldn’t be going.)

“Why?” Matthew asks, eyes narrowed, considering and hurt.

Jason tries to think of an answer that’s as honest and pain free as possible.

“Because this was always my second choice,” he says eventually because one out of two ain’t bad.


+


“Do you wish we’d never started this,” Jason asks, sipping at his beer and watching a couple of frat boys down a row of shots, “back in college?”

“No,” Joshua says. “It was always inevitable. It just took us too long to figure that out.”

Jason nods and cringes when one of the boys falls off his stool.

“We’re kind of a mess, aren’t we?” he says after awhile, and Joshua laughs, head tipped back so Jason can see the pale lines of his throat.

“Yeah,” he says. “Maybe we should work on that.”

Jason catches his eye and thinks it’s a plan.

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