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Just Coffee
Days passed and Jensen didn’t see Kaleb at all. When he finally worked the nerve to inquire why, he was informed that the Agent had been reassigned. They wouldn’t tell Jensen where nor how long he would be gone, and no amount of internet searching revealed anything of Kaleb’s fate. The guilt tore him up.

A great deal of time had lapsed since Jensen last took to his knees. Not since those last prayers with the Carpenters, and while he was sincere in his desire for Cayli’s safety, hope was never quite restored and he felt like a fraud. Yet despite the trepidation, Jensen went through the motions one night. Not for himself, but for Kaleb, and asked that the agent be spared hardship and eventually find the peace he deserved. That was all, though, and Jensen was quite numb afterward.

He was introduced to a new agent, and Jensen intended to behave according to the rules this time, but he was informed there were no missions that night nor for the next several after that.

Jensen was also allowed to go home, but as he locked the door to Doulou’s loft, he could practically feel Custody eyes watching him. A sigh was the extent of action they would witness, and Jensen spent the night alone... Again.

The next morning he realized he was out of coffee, and while an order could be delivered relatively easy, he looked around the empty loft and saw nothing but solitude. He briefly wondered if Doulou was well since the man hadn’t sent a message in a long time, and with a furrow of his brow, Jensen opted to go out instead. Surely nobody cared if he went to a coffee shop.

Several years in Moscow and he was still not quite accustomed to their winters, and the leaves indicated it was only autumn even if the wind said it was promising a deep freeze. He wore a denim jacket over a sweater as a result. A scarf was wrapped around his neck and gloves wrapped his hands though they were plunged deep into his pockets. He wore slacks and nice shoes also, but the wind tousled his attempts to style his hair as soon as he stepped outside. There was a shop nearby that he used to visit, though that hadn’t visited since before he went to America with Jay and Natalie.

He didn’t recognize any of the workers, and a quick scan of the patrons was just as unrecognizable. He ordered his drink black with cream in a mug along with a muffin, and sat near one of the windows to watch people walk. The room was comfortable, though not full to the brim, and yet, he still felt alone.
[Image: Ezvin.jpeg?fit=5760%2C3024]

Ezvin stepped into the upscale coffee shop, a haven set amidst the sleek, futuristic elegance of their affluent neighborhood. As he entered, the rich aroma of freshly brewed artisan coffee enveloped him, immediately lifting his spirits.

Dressed in a style that effortlessly blended casual and creative, Ezvin's presence was that of a man comfortable in his own skin – a confidence earned through years navigating the world of artists and musicians and simply being himself. His eyes, observant and curious, scanned the room, eventually settling on the barista. Her enthusiastic greeting was met with Ezvin's warm, engaging smile.

"Morning, Ezvin! The usual?" she asked, already reaching to begin his preferred order.

"That sounds perfect," Ezvin replied, his voice carrying a hint of melody, a subtle nod to his artistry.

Having paid, collecting his coffee, and now searching for a place to sit, Ezvin's gaze was drawn to a solitary figure seated near the window. The man was posed with a distant, contemplative look, his eyes fixed on the world outside. There was a certain elegant stillness about the way he sat, a quietude that piqued the interest. Ezvin waited to see if the man would look up and notice him in turn; the fact he was gorgeous made Ezvin linger, and he moved as if to select a nearby table for himself. As he did, he attempted to catch the man's eye.
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
+ Maksim +
Jensen sat by the window, his gaze lost in the quiet ballet of people passing by. To the casual observer, these were just ordinary individuals going about their day, but to Jensen, each person was a story, a novel written in strides, glances, and gestures. He had always found solace in people-watching, discovering in it a bittersweet reflection of the human experience – the subtleties that spoke volumes about lives and inner struggles. He knew much about both.

As he observed, his mind drifted, weaving in and out of his own memories. He thought of Jessika, their journey together, the complexities of a relationship woven with friendship, the sting of betrayals on both their parts, and the inevitable passage of time. His thoughts branched soon to the children, each memory heavy with emotion, shadowed by the hues of joy, yearning, and the pains of loss.

These musings led him further down the corridors of his past, to the days he spent on stage. There was a vividness to these memories, a sharpness that time hadn’t dulled. The lights and singing, the energy of the congregation, the exhilaration of speaking and connecting as one united group – all of it conjured a profound sense of nostalgia, a longing for moments forever etched in the heart that would never be relived.

Lost in this introspection, Jensen took a sip of his coffee, savoring the warmth. It was then that he felt it – that almost imperceptible sensation of being watched. It was not intrusive, rather it was tinged with curiosity. Turning slightly, he caught sight of a man nearby, a figure who exuded a blend of ease and creativity.

As their eyes met, Jensen felt a subtle shift within himself, a gentle nudge that made him uncomfortable in a way that incited anticipation. He gave a nod by way of greeting, accompanied by the polite murmur of a small smile, but that was all.
[Image: Ezvin.jpeg?fit=5760%2C3024]

The man's nod and smile, though reserved, were inviting enough. Approaching the table, Ezvin's intuition told him to tread lightly. There was something about his demeanor, introspection and quiet openness, that suggested a mixture of hesitation and shy anticipation. Perhaps he wasn’t out…

“Hey, how’s it going. It’s too good of a day to sit alone.” Ezvin asked, his voice friendly and unobtrusive. “Mind if I join you?”

The stranger offered a small, acknowledging smile, motioning to the empty chair across from him. He didn't speak, but his gesture was welcoming.

As Ezvin sat down, he placed his coffee on the table, his movements deliberate, giving the space to engage at his own pace. There was an art to starting conversations with strangers, a balance between curiosity and respect for boundaries. Ezvin had always had a knack for it, and he almost always came away with a date.

"It's quite a view, isn't it?" Ezvin started, nodding towards the window. "I always find there's something about autumn mornings that makes everything look more... poignant, I guess." He kept hold of eye contact. Mostly because it was hard to look away.

((JJ's invite to sit pre-arranged))
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
+ Maksim +
Despite his usual reserve, Jensen found himself inviting the interaction, a small smile and a nod signaling the empty chair opposite him.

As the individual sat, Jensen noticed the deliberate, respectful way he moved, placing his coffee on the table and settling into the chair. Jensen was accustomed to observing people, and he could tell that Ezvin was experienced in striking up conversations with strangers. There was once a time when Jensen was the exact same way. Prior to living a life on the run, he welcomed casual conversations and was capable of befriending almost anyone in moments. He recognized a similar ease about this man, which Jensen found welcoming and a little compelling.

After the comment about the view, Jensen looked out the window, taking in the autumn scene. "It is," he finally replied, his voice heavy with the drawl of his Texan accent. "The way the light plays with the leaves... it's like watching a living painting."

He was surprised at his own words, at the ease with which they came out in response. Not so because small talk was difficult, but because Jensen found few such opportunities in Moscow. The ones that found him were rare.

Jensen returned the interested gaze, holding the eye contact a moment longer than he normally would. There was a depth in the stranger's expression, one of genuine interest that felt disarming.

For a moment, Jensen considered the possibility that this person was looking for more than just conversation. There was an intensity to the attention, an underlying subtlety that suggested he might be accustomed to random encounters leading to a second meeting. Jensen wasn't sure how he felt about that – intrigued, definitely, but also cautious. He shifted his attention to his drink then, not sure exactly what to do about the situation otherwise. The last time he felt this way, it was clear the feelings weren’t returned.
He might have remarked on the artistic way that Jensen described the season, but he was too distracted by the man’s voice. It was a distinct accent, comforting and intriguing simultaneously with a slow, melodic drawl that Ezvin never heard before. 

“Wow,” Ezvin said, curious, "your accent is really interesting. Where are you from, if you don't mind me asking?"

Ezvin’s interest was visibly piqued by the answer. There weren’t many Americans in Moscow, and he’d never encountered one from Texas. Images flashed through his mind straight out of the movies: cacti, trucks and cowboys. Superimposing them upon the person across from him, he nodded with frank appreciation. 

“It’s sexy as hell,” he said, hoping the compliment would be well-received. 

Then he smiled and introduced himself. “I’m Ezvin.”
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
+ Maksim +
Jensen was caught off-guard, his usual composure ruffled by a surprising jolt of excitement at the compliment. The words 'sexy as hell' echoed in his mind, stirring a blend of emotions. It was not just the compliment itself, but the casual, confident way it had been delivered. It made him feel seen in a way that nobody else in years had attempted.

"I'm, uh, glad you like it," Jensen managed to say, his voice tinged with a mix of embarrassment and amusement. He was aware of a faint flush warming his cheeks. “Not a lot of Texans ‘round here.” He accentuated the drawl playfully, hoping for some sort of follow up rise out of Ezvin. Afterward, he returned the introduction with offering his own name. 

“Jensen. It's a pleasure”
[Image: Ezvin.jpeg?fit=5760%2C3024]

He didn’t know which was sexier, the accent or the fact that Jensen amplified the effect for his benefit.

It was an unusual name, Jensen, and like the sound of his voice, one Ezvin hadn’t heard before. All put together, this guy was mysterious, and Ezvin wondered if perhaps he was some sort of intellectual. His reserve certainly seemed like a bookish sort, and Ezvin now understood where that first impression of shyness originated.

There was more, though. Jensen’s presence was completely unique. His tranquil demeanor and penetrating gaze wove through Ezvin in a way that was stronger than their mere eye-fuckery. It felt almost otherworldy; perhaps as though Jensen belonged to another era altogether.

His heart raced with the thrill of their interaction. "Can I get your number? We could go out?" The words tumbled out, his usual poise holding to the hope he’d say yes.
“Money won is twice as sweet as money earned.”
+ Maksim +
Jensen felt a rush of conflicting emotions as Ezvin's invitation hung in the air between them. The directness of the request surged excitement through him, tinged with a nervous energy he hadn't felt in a long time. This was uncharted territory. 

There was a moment's hesitation, a brief internal debate. Jensen didn’t often jump into things, especially not something as spontaneous as this. But there was something about Ezvin, his confident charm, his kind aura, and the way their conversation had flowed, that made Jensen want to agree even if it was likely an unwise choice. There were mountains of obstacles that prevented him from something so simple as having friends let alone going on an actual date. Not the least of which was Jensen was uncertain if he and Jessika were still married or not.

“Yeah, sure," Jensen managed to say, his answer betraying a mix of enthusiasm and apprehension.

He took Ezvin's wallet, fingers briefly brushing against Ezvin's hand as he did, a small but electric contact. As he typed in his information, Jensen was acutely aware of Ezvin's gaze on him.

Handing the wallet back, Jensen met Ezvin's eyes, his own mixed with excitement and uncertainty. "I don’t go out much,” he admitted, a sheepish smile crossing his face. "But I'd like to see you again." The admission was both vulnerable and sincere, and it sounded incredibly awkward to his own ears.
Ezvin's lips curled into a smug, yet charming smile as he took his Wallet back. The brief brush of their hands lingered in his mind; there was an undeniable chemistry between them, one that Ezvin was eager to explore further soon.

“Thanks for making an exception,” Ezvin said, voice laced with amusement.

“I’m attending a launch party this weekend. I’ll send you the address,” he pat the place on his chest where he placed the Wallet inside the jacket.

Then grabbed his coffee and stood, sorry to leave so soon. “See you then,” he said with a reassuring smile before making his departure.

((Continued at The Launch Party))
The Marveet Family

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