Jesse’s Smile

"It's more than a bit OCD," Jesse starts to protest but stops when Drew snorts. His glasses are back in place. Jesse thinks he's the handsomest man he's ever seen and that's strange because his Dad wears glasses for reading and he's not handsome. Maybe his mom thinks he is.

"Dude, you have never seen my mother with housework, trust me you have a long way to go." Drew crunches on a cracker he's smeared with blue cheese. "Jesse, you know, you're not broken, you're just different. And I'd still like to take you out tomorrow night."

Sighing, Jesse sits back in his chair for a moment, unsure of what to do. Part of him wants to run home, lock the door behind him, grab Wicket, and rub his hand over him until his heart stops pounding. Part of him wants to go out tomorrow night and see what happens. And an entirely different part of him wants to climb in Drew's lap and kiss him again. He decides he should probably ignore that part. For now.

"Okay, what are we going to see?"

Jesse's Smile, Angelique Jurd ©2017-2018

Jesse Peterson is 26 and loves his job in a pet store. He loves the cats and dogs and Sniffles the rabbit. What he doesn't love is the way people assume he's retarded. That he can't look after himself, that he's isn't a man.

So, when the store's newest customer, buying supplies for his kitten asks him out, Jesse has trouble understanding why. Jesse knows he's not stupid, but nobody else seems to know that. They just see a good looking young man whose smile seems to be the smartest thing about him.

Drew Oliver isn't other people.  A high school teacher with a history of bad relationship choices, Drew is patient, loving, and doesn't care that Jesse is different. He just cares about being able to make Jesse smile as often as he can.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about the differences between Drew and Jesse, few notice the things they share. Can their relationship survive the scrutiny and judgement passed by everyone around them? And when one of Drew's bad choices shows up, will love be enough to help them survive the aftermath?

Photo: Guillaume Paumier (Own work) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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