Coming Out of the Shade

Donovan Residence

The top three floors of a five floor mansion on Fifth Avenue, the Donovan home is quite large. The outer walls are a beautiful white limestone with a wrought-iron gate blocking the entrance. The home has eleven large rooms and has wonderful details throughout including the original staircase, elevator to all floors, 11-foot high ceilings, hardwood floors, three wood burning fireplaces, a solarium with skylight and a great south facing terrace. There is a grand foyer on the main floor, a beautiful living room with three large windows overlooking Central Park. Other rooms include a formal dining room, powder room, a service kitchen and a staff room and bath. The next floor is the sleeping floor with 4 bedrooms and baths, including a spa like master bath. On the top floor there is a wonderful den that opens into a windowed eat in chef's kitchen that over looks the 400-square foot south facing terrace with views of the Empire State Building, a powder room and a solarium also looks out to the terrace. There are also two large storage rooms.


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Preston Van de Mark Jenna Donovan

Preston can't put it off any longer. He needs to "come out" to Jenna and Siobhan. The thought amuses him a little because it's almost deja vu in that he's done this before, except that it wasn't quite so complicated at that time. Or maybe it was, and in hindsight it just feels like it was a whole hell of a lot simpler. He could say with confidence back then that he liked boys and girls didn't do it for him. Now, it's not as cut and dry, black or white, and usually these sexual revelations tend to skew the other way on the spectrum, right?
He doesn't want to put it off any longer. Outside of the fact that he knows Jenna, and even Chance, are getting curious after last weekend, it's not fair to Ariel. She's moving out here, and his roommates need to know what's going on between them.
Might be going on between them.
More than that, he doesn't want to hide his affection for the musician any more than he hides how he feels about Cooper. Ariel's been patient (more than) and understanding and she doesn't deserve to be hidden in a closet like a bad secret.
Jenna first, because Siobhan and Harper are spending the weekend at their new home, decorating and shopping for furniture. It's a rare night when neither Chance nor Coop has slept over, and with Jenna going off to Texas with her boyfriend, it'll put some distance between them and this reveal while she deals with it.
Because there's no way to tell your best friend whom you dated when you realized that you were gay that you've found a woman who does it for you without it not hurting her feelings on some level.

The only reason Chance isn't here, really, is because Jenna needs to focus on packing for their trip without being distracted by her boyfriend. He may not think he's a distraction, but when he's trying to help her pick out sexier clothing and she's trying to choose clothing that'll have her fit in and not look like 'that tramp from New York' (as she put it), she needs to focus.
Clothing for barbecues, picnics, family outings, and horseback riding are the more important things.
Though she has been fussing over a few 'sexier' outfits so that they can go out at night, and of course there's also swimsuits (at least one for hanging with the family), and lingerie (just for Chance).
Taking a break, she's actually sitting in the living room with a nice big glass of lemonade iced tea.

"How's the packing?" He knows it's important to Jenna that her wardrobe is 'just right' for meeting Chance's extended family and that she'll spend the rest of the weekend fretting over it. He's given his input and done what he can, and suspects it's yet another reason Siobhan and Harper made themselves scarce this weekend.
Preston has a bottle of beer in one hand as he enters the living room. It's afternoon, so he's allowed. Also, there's nothing wrong with a little liquid courage. He settles into the armchair and kicks his feet up on the table, taking a drink from the bottle.

Wrinkling her nose, the little empath sets her glass down onto a coaster on the coffee table.
"It's going, I guess. I'm trying to balance it because I've got no idea how much time we'll be spending with his family, or if his grandparents will want to have dinner alone." Which means she's going to have to bring at least two fancier outfits, or need to run out and buy one down there.
"Why didn't you go and hide like everyone else?"

"Hide? Is that what you think they're doing?" Preston knows that they are.
He rolls one shoulder in a shrug, "I'm not afraid of an anal-obsessive-compulsive Jenna in the middle of a packing marathon."
"I can answer that first one. From what I know of the Cowboy? You'll be spending as little time as possible with his family. It sounds like he's really looking forward to taking you to his dad's ranch anyway."

"Come on. I know that's what they're doing." Jenna grins a little, and curls her feet up under her on the couch. It's one of the few rare times that she's wearing a pair of cut-off shorts and a tank top for comfort while she goes through her entire closet.
"Yes, but there's what Chance wants, and what his grandfather will dictate. So I have to be prepared for everything. Though I can't wait to see the ranch. I got the cutest outfits to wear while we're just hanging out there."
"I'd demand a fashion show, but that would involve unpacking half of what you've packed, and I don't want to be responsible for the mental breakdown that would lead to." Preston raises his bottle and gives her a wink.
"Amazing isn't it? He's taking you home to meet the extended family, and just this time last summer you were crushing on him." Siobhan and Harper had just finally gotten together, and he came back from visiting his uncle abroad and wondering what the hell he missed while he was gone.
"How things change …"

Grabbing a pillow, she tosses it lightly at him and sticks her tongue out. "I'm not that bad." She is when she needs perfect outfits though, and she knows it. Hell, they all know it by now.
"I've met some of them. You know, last year at this time I stripped down in front of his cousin after he tossed me off the side of the boat we were on in the harbor."
Jenna clears her throat and lifts up her glass. A little sip is taken, and then she nods.
"Now my brother and best friend are married, and you've got Cooper… and Quin and Kay are so wrapped up in each other we rarely see them anymore."

Lifting his free arm, Preston deflects the pillow into his lap and gives her a mock scowl. He holds up the beer again. "Beer. What if you had hurt the beer?"
The actor snorts. "I never had the pleasure of meeting that little douchebag, however, I would have loved to have seen you stripping down and being all threatening."
"Yes, I have Cooper." Preston says quietly. He never expected to be in the position where he could think of himself as being with Cooper and not just having sex and hanging out with the dancer.

"Then you'd have cleaned it up and gone to get another." Grinning at him, Jenna takes the other pillow and sets it behind her. Shifting positions, she sits cross-legged on the couch, and looks over at him.
"He is what he was raised to be. Entitled, and witch-hating. It's what most sorcerers are like, I think. Chance, his father, and Robert are an entirely different breed."
"I guess I can almost lump Liam in with that too. He wasn't really an ass either."
Frowning, she tilts her head. "Is everything alright with Coop? I mean, I know he freaked when you told him you loved him and all, but he seemed okay when we were up in the Hamptons."

"Or made you clean it up. Give you an opportunity to practice being the perfect little sorcerer stepford wife," Preston teases.
"I think … there's a lot more to Robert's family than we know. It's not all about the witch-hating, though I'm sure that was part of what chased him away." After meeting and talking to Liam, Preston is convinced the story is a bit deeper than what Siobhan has been told. However, it's not his family and it's none of his business. That's for Siobhan (and Christian) to sort out, if they want to do so.
"Yeah, everything is great with Coop. We survived his freak out about magic being real, and he's really trying to work his mind around that and accept it." Really trying. Preston thinks about how his boyfriend was with Ariel and has to force his thoughts elsewhere. "You saw him with Ariel.
"He's not so freaked about me saying the l-word either anymore."
"It was great in the Hamptons." He really hates his brain sometimes because it takes the window of opportunity and slips back into the place that Preston is trying not to go.

"My only two black marks, as far as Chance's grandmother is concerned is that I am best friends with the 'hybrid' my brother married, and I want to be on Broadway. She's like my grandmother quite a bit. I'm sure she'd rather I focus my attentions on 'projects' or charities all the time." Jenna knows that eventually, once she has children, she'll likely settle into that and only take roles that don't take up all of her time. For now though, she's happy enough to get as much exposure on Broadway as she can.
"I did. He wasn't weird around her or Shiv, which is a great start. If he's warming up to it, then he may not get all weird when he finds out what he is."
"Pres, I don't think he was freaked out about you saying that so much as… you're probably the first person ever to say it to him outside of his parents and he doesn't know how to react to it, you know?"

"I don't get that." Preston shakes his head. "There are so many other, bigger problems in the world than hating someone because she's a witch." Beat. "Or he's a sorcerer." Preston knows that witches aren't immune or above that prejudice and bias.
"No, he wasn't weird around her." Quite the contrary. His boyfriend was very … effusive. More than once Preston had the distinct feeling that Cooper was just waiting for it to all end and was trying to connect with Ariel as much as possible before she changed her mind. She didn't; from their few recent conversations, she isn't even leaning in that direction.
"It's alright. We've talked about and dealt with it," Preston gives Jenna a grin. "We had our moment and our bump in the road and we moved ahead, bigger and better men for it."

"I've never understood it either, but old prejudices…" Jenna shrugs a little. There's a lot of that in the Upper East Side society, even the ones that aren't supernaturals. The ones who talk down to their 'servants', to the people who might live in Brooklyn, or even racial differences. It's petty, but it's prevalent.
"That's good. I'm glad he didn't actually run from you. That you two worked it out. You're good for him, Pres. You really are."

"You don't have to tell me." Preston is more than a little familiar with the 'standard' non-supernatural bigotry and prejudices among UES society. He often sees it and deals with it at his parents' functions. The people who smile at him, because it's the polite thing to do and being gay/lesbian is 'in' now, but have those shadows of disapproval behind their eyes. The kids at Dalton who openly scoffed at him. The people who smile and dote on his younger brother and sister, but throw around racial pejoratives about Latinos and blacks like it's breathing air; then make distinctions by saying 'Oh but, they're Van de Marks, they're not like those others of their people'
Sometimes, Preston lets his tongue slip.
There are reasons that he'll go months without having to put in a social appearance.
"I like to think that I'm something," Preston smiles. "He's sticking around."

"I know I don't."
Moving over toward him, she curls up against him. Her head resting on his shoulder. Jenna smiles at her best friend, knowing what he's gone through. She's been there nearly every step of the way, and can feel how much the callousness of the socialites around them hurts, and annoys him.
"You're definitely something."
"So are you alright with Coop and Ariel? They seemed pretty cozy at the party, and I know in Vegas you said that sometimes Coop's talked you into… you know… and I was thinking that you're okay with it, so that he's got a woman closer to home so to speak…"

"I know," Preston wraps an arm around her shoulder and kisses the top of her head. Jenna is truly his person, his best friend. He's close to Siobhan, but closer to Jenna. Which is why this is more difficult than it would be otherwise. He knows Jenna's mind set and how she'll react to things.
"Yes, my parents say the same thing, but not with the same affection."
"They were very cozy at the party." Understatement. "I'm good with it. Really good with it. They were - " Fucking hot together. " - doing a good job of getting past their own hurdles."
"I like her."

"Parents never say things with the same affection as someone who loves you does."
Jenna arches a slender eyebrow at that, and tries to think back to the party. Granted, she was pretty distracted and not paying as much attention to Cooper as she maybe should've been.
"That's good, at least. I'm glad he's trying for you. I just hope he doesn't wind up hurting either of you."
"We all like her, Pres."

Preston laughs, "Yes, but I don't think they mean it the same way either."
Drawing a breath, Preston shifts so that he can look down at her. "No, I mean that I like her, Jenna."
Taking another swallow from the beer, he looses another sigh. "I don't know why or what happened, but she's different somehow. I'm really attracted to her. Not just socially, but physically. The way I'm attracted to Cooper and you're attracted to Chance."

It's not the words so much as the emotion behind them that has Jenna drawing back a little. In the time she's known Preston, the only person who's elicited those feelings in him has been Cooper.
"Oh," she says quietly, looking down. She's really not at all sure what else to say. The little empath wants to be supportive, because she loves and adores Preston… and she wants him to be as happy as her brother and Shiv are, but at the same time, to say she's confused is an understatement.
"Yeah," Preston says.
He finishes off the bottle of beer and taps the base of it against the arm of the couch. "It confused me for a while. It still confuses me because she's, well, she's female and I could walk into a women's locker room right now and not care but with Ariel …"
Thinking about her even half-undressed elicits the same response as it would in any man who identifies as straight heterosexual when thinking about a beautiful woman.
"I've wanted to tell you for a while, but there just hasn't been a right time and I didn't want to do this while Ariel was here." It's going to be awkward enough for a couple of days and he didn't want her in the middle of it.

"That's good, I guess."
It only takes Jenna a few seconds to affect that cheery smile, and lock away how she's really feeling. It's part and parcel of being both an empath and an actress.
"As long as you're happy, and it doesn't adversely affect you and Coop."

"Jenna - " Preston isn't an empath, but he likes to think that he knows his friend. She's a little too cheery, a little not too inquisitive, and a little too brief with her words. He knows she's going into her head, and what she's going to come away with is going to be depressing.
He tilts his head back and looks up at the ceiling. So long as she's faking it, he's going to get it all out. "I … had sex with her. When I went to San Francisco." Beat. "And when I took her out that night."
"And in the Hamptons." Not the night of the party. He doesn't think he or Coop would have said 'no' if she showed up at their room, but she didn't that night. The next night, she did, shortly after midnight when everyone had gone to bed … or were otherwise engaged. He and Coop were otherwise engaged and a little surprised to come up for air and find the witch perched on a chair watching them intently.
"You deserve to know because she's moving in here and I'll understand if it's weird. I can move out, and I'll still cover my share of the rent, but it'll be hard for her to find a place as safe as this with someone she knows and trusts."

"Well that's definitely got to make Coop happy," she comments. Jenna is not going to act hurt around Preston, though she's extremely happy that she's getting a few days away from the city.
"I guess you really like her then."
"You now I'm not going to ask you to move out, and I can handle the rent for this place on my own." Since her parents are really just charging them a minimal amount for the upkeep, and they handle all their own bills, it's not like it'd break the bank.
"It's fine."

It's not fine. Preston knows it's not fine, but he's not going to force Jenna into a conversation she obviously is trying to avoid having right now.
He finally looks over at her at the Coop comment, frowns a bit and gives that one to her. He supposes he had it coming. "Now that he's coping better with the idea of her being a witch? I'd say he's enthusiastic about it."
Again, with the understatements.
"I do. I don't get it, but I do like her." Preston picks at the wrapper on the beer bottle with his thumb. "I mean, if an equally hot man and woman came to the door right now, I wouldn't even notice the woman, right? I mean, I'd notice if someone told me she was hot, and I'd look to be objective about it, the way you or Shiv would look at her, but I wouldn't feel anything."

No, it's not fine, but Jenna's doing everything in her power to not break down and ask him if he was so turned off by her that he decided to be gay. It's stupid, and part of her knows that it is, but the larger part of her can't help but wonder how many other guys said they were gay just because they didn't like her. After all, she's always just been Siobhan's 'ugly' friend.
"That's good. I mean about him coping. It'd be awful if he couldn't cope with the witch thing, especially around Shiv."
Plucking a piece of lint off her shirt, she rolls it into a small ball between her fingers.
"Are you sure? I mean, you obviously feel that way about Ariel, so who's to say you won't… y'know… feel that way about another woman?"

"I am glad that he's coming around and coping with it. Or at least compartmentalizing and ignoring it." Cooper will have to deal with it eventually, but Preston isn't pushing the issue and Ariel didn't either. He can get to know Ariel and her magic in his own way and his own time. What's important is that he's willing.
"He likes her, too and I think it's obvious that she likes him." Preston glances up at the ceiling again for a few moments.
"I've looked?" Preston offers, glancing down at her again, with a faint, sad smile on his lips. "I've … this isn't new, exactly. It sort of crept up on me in Vegas. It confused the hell out of me, but I knew that I was attracted her then." Not just because of the sexual shenanigans. He was genuinely attracted to and turned on by Ariel.
"That's why it's … confusing. I don't feel like I'm a bi. Or like I should identify that way. I'm attracted to men. If there's a crowd of people, I'm going to check out the men, not the women. Trust me, I've been paying more attention, just to see if I've been denying myself. Ariel is … different." There's only been one other woman that he could say he was attracted to, and he's not sure if that's not some sort of vampire lure now that he knows about Sera.
"Coop says that I shouldn't worry about labeling and identifying. I should just accept and embrace it."

"He's obviously not ignoring it," Jenna points out. If he were, he'd likely be more apt to avoid them all.
"Oh." That almost makes it worse. That he's known for so long and hasn't said anything. The little empath rolls the ball of lint more tightly between her fingers. Focusing on it. She knows that she's got to focus on something, and not how upset she is. Flooding the apartment really isn't a good idea, so she's trying not to burst pipes.
Cooper would say that. It's on the tip of her tongue to say that aloud, but what she says instead is, "He's probably right."

"I've had to work it out, Jen." Preston knows it's not easy for her to hear, especially knowing how long he's kept it to himself. "I was confused by it. It was like being thirteen again and wondering why I'd rather look at the Firefighters calendar behind the nurse's desk than the Playboy and porn the other guys passed around the locker room.
"I knew who I was and what I wanted, and then … I got thrown a curve ball. I had to work it out for myself. I needed to know that it was real and not just because of something Coop said to me or because of what was happening at the time."
Preston sighs. "It didn't really click for me and I didn't really want to accept it until I saw her on my own, alone, in San Francisco." That was an important piece of the puzzle. He needed to interact with Ariel without Cooper's presence and influence to be certain that he was reacting to Ariel.
"He probably is," Preston agrees. "I'm used to orderly and logical though. I still want to be able to put words to it." He shrugs. "I guess I'll have to settle with accepting that I'm not as far to the end of Kinsey's scale as I thought I was."

"I get that."
Jenna drops the piece of lint onto the table, drawing herself a little more away from Preston. He's likely disgusted by the thought of her touching him anyhow.
"I mean, that I get that it had to be confusing, and you needed to work it out. Especially if you were identifying as one way, and you find yourself as something completely different now." It's one of those things that hits home, and she worries again that Chance may want to add another to their relationship.
"You don't need a label. You're Preston. That's really all that matters."

When she moves away, Preston sighs heavily and turns to face her fully. He reaches for her hand, wrapping his around hers because he wants her to feel him. "Jenna, it wasn't you." He says it because she hasn't said it and knows that she has to be thinking it.
"I was a confused teen before I started dating you. I was in middle school looking at Victoria's Secret catalogs and boobs on the internet hoping that I'd get an erection. I dated girls and went to parties and played spin-the-bottle and seven minutes in heaven on the off chance that I was wrong."
"I don't know why this part of my sexuality revealed itself now. Maybe I was too busy obsessing over my attraction to boys that I missed the subtle signals that I might have a two percent chance of being attracted to a girl."
He sets the bottle down and rakes his free hand through his hair. "Hell, Jenna. I don't even know what I am, alright? I know that I really like men. I know that I really like Ariel and … that's all I've got right now."

Looking down at his hand, her first reaction is to pull back. She doesn't, only because they both don't need to be feeling hurt.
"It's okay if it was, Pres. You don't have to hide that from me."
Tossing a somewhat forced smile at him, Jenna retreats a little more into her own head.
"Stop trying to find a label for yourself. You're Preston Van de Mark, and you don't need one."

"It wasn't," Preston gives her hand a squeeze, delivering the words emphatically.
"It had nothing to do with you or us. I did what I needed to do at the time, because it felt right to finally acknowledge it and come out."
He turns fully toward her, green eyes locking to blue. "Maybe I don't need a label, but I need to know that you realize that it wasn't you and it wasn't us. It wasn't how you look, or how you acted or anything about you that I rejected. The worse that you did back then was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being that girl whose boyfriend came out."
"It could have gone a lot differently and a lot worse for me, too. I don't think I could have handled it the way I did or survived it without you."

It's difficult for Jenna to really believe that. No matter how much truth is coming through his words, she feels like she's got a flaw. She's always into the guy who likes men, and if she wasn't already insecure about Chance needing something more in their relationship, she definitely is now.
"But what if it was me, Pres? I mean, we were both young back then, and maybe it was just a string of bad girlfriends that made you decide to come out."
Biting her lip, Jenna gives her head a shake and holds up her hand.
"No. Don't answer that. It's just… my old insecurities coming back."
"Are you happy, Pres?"

Preston opens his mouth and closes it. Anything else he says now will probably make it worse. She doesn't need to know about his few forays into experimentation before meeting Coop, even if one was a colossal flop.
"I am," Preston says without having to think about it. "I love Coop and I really like being with Ariel. There's something about her and the way that Coop responds to her. It should be the weirdest thing, but it doesn't feel that way." He didn't realize it, but it's never really felt awkward with Ariel, not even when he's been alone with her.
It feels more natural for her and Coop to be with her than any other woman they've been with together.
"Coop is … right now, I can't imagine being with any other man. Even with his … appetites. I love him and this is what I want. I //am/ happy."

"Okay," Jenna says quietly.
Taking a deep breath, she exhales slowly and looks up at the ceiling, trying to process how she feels. She's hurt, sure. Confused. Insecure. A little bit angry.
The little empath may have only dated Preston for a short while, but he was her first boyfriend, and she was extremely understanding when he came out to her. She can't help but feel now that it was just his way of saying he didn't like her in that way.
Not that it matters. She is happy with Chance, but her emotions are all jumbled right now.
"Okay. Then I'll do my best to be happy for you too. Will Ariel still need her own room?"

"I love you, Jenna. You are my best friend, and you know that I would never want to hurt you. If I thought that this was just something that I was experimenting with or happening because it's what Cooper would like, I wouldn't even bring it up. But I know it's more than that, and I really haven't been completely comfortable keeping it from you and Shiv."
"It completely wasn't fair to Ari while she was here either." He is going to make that up to her when she moves out here. If she's still interested in pursuing whatever it is that the three of them are pursuing.
"Yes." Preston gives her a half smile. "I don't know what's going to happen when she moves out here, but I think it's better if we don't act like my … partner is moving in." Preston isn't sure what to call Ariel, considering they haven't made any real decisions about their relationship. "She might come to her senses and change her mind completely. So, yes, her own room and her own space. If that changes somewhere down the line, we'll worry about it then."
They'll also be discreet until Jenna's more comfortable with the idea. Preston can't hide his emotions from an empath, but they don't have to flaunt it in Jenna's face.

"I love you too, and I know you wouldn't do it intentionally." Jenna gives his hand a brief squeeze, but she still keeps her eyes on the ceiling. If only because it's giving her focus so that her own emotions don't pour out. This has to already be difficult enough for Preston without her freaking out about it.
"Okay, so she'll keep Shiv's room, and I'll make sure the renovations she wants done are gone ahead with before she moves out here."
Glancing at him slowly, she shakes her head. "She won't. She's had a crush on you since she met you. She won't give you up that easily, even if that means her having to accept Cooper."
"Not that she needs to come to her senses. You're all adults, and if you're all happy in a poly-amorous relationship then that's all that matters. You deserve happiness too, Pres."
"Good. I think us having our own space is a good idea no matter what happens," Preston says thoughtfully. "Even Sharper has their own personal spaces in their house." They have all been over to see the house a few times, to offer advice or just approve what's already been done and let the happy couple show off bits and pieces.
Ariel hasn't had a lot of her own space any way. Preston thinks she'll want to indulge in it, given the way her eyes lit up when she realized how truly large Siobhan's bedroom was and that the dancer was giving it up to her cousin.
"She has," Preston admits. He's been thinking back on that and their interactions over the years from time to time, trying to see if there were signs there that he missed. He was always sweet to her, but he always assumed that was just his nature and next to boisterous Siobhan and perky Jenna, she needed a little coaxing out of her shell.
The jury is still out on whether or not he's been drawn to her this whole time.
"Accepting Cooper isn't a problem," Preston chuckles softly and shakes his head. Accepting that Cooper is still something of a wanderer and pleasure seeker might be, but again, that's to be handled when it needs handling.
"Thank you." Preston leans over and presses a light, sweet kiss to her temple. "If it works out that way, I don't imagine that her family will be as accepting and I don't even want to think about dealing with my mother."

That's as accepting as Jenna can be at the moment. There's still a niggling sense that something is wrong with her, and that Chance will realize it sooner rather than later. This just makes that insecurity even stronger than it was before.
"Having personal space is a good thing, yes. It's different with my brother and Siobhan though, because they've been married nearly a year and haven't had to live with one another before. It's all been long distance, and they're both used to being on their own now."
"You're kidding me, right? Your mother will be ecstatic. It could mean grandchildren for her. Non-adopted ones. She'll consider Cooper your… plaything, and tell all her friends that you were just rebelling and experimenting."

"I don't think that Ariel has ever had space that she wasn't somehow sharing with someone else. We had siblings too, but we grew up in huge homes," Preston says. "I did live alone before moving in here."
"Yes," Preston snorts. "That's exactly what I don't want to deal with from her. I'd much prefer that she accept my relationship as I present it to her." His mother does tend to be a bit elitist as well, and Ariel isn't his mother's definition of a proper match anymore than Cooper is.
"It's too early to worry about that now, though."

No, Preston's mother's definition of a 'proper' match would more than likely be someone like Jenna. A proper Upper East Sider, who comes from a family of WASPs.
"You know she never will. At least your father seems to be accepting of who you are." Which is a good thing. Besides which, Mr. Van de Mark is a smart man. He likely sees the theater for Preston as branching out the media business.
"Thank you for telling me, at least. I promise I won't enter your room without knocking."
"He is." Beat. "I got lucky there. A lot of his generation wouldn't accept any of it, but he's never tried to change me or pretend like I'm something I'm not." Preston is comfortable with his father because of that.
"Yes, well she'll have to accept them both on some level eventually. I hope." Meaning he hopes that his relationship with Cooper and Ariel can work out.
"It's only fair and I don't like keeping my friends in the dark."
"I promise to be as discreet as you and the Cowboy are." He's teasing her now, because he fully intends to be far more discreet than that, at least until she and Ariel are comfortable.

"That's a good thing, Pres. You got really lucky." Then again, she's always gotten a good feeling from Preston's father. At least moreso than his mother.
Jenna looks back up at the ceiling, and nods.
"I hope she can. If not… we're your friends." No matter what, even if she has a hard time dealing with things and takes a few weeks to stay at Chance's, Preston is still her friend.
"This is your house too, Preston. I want you to be comfortable in it."

"I know and I'm grateful. I have the best friends."
Preston gives her hand another squeeze. He'd like to reach over and give her a hug, but he thinks this is probably best for now. "I want you to be comfortable." Ariel too, and that's all going to take some time. Once Jenna is comfortable, Ariel will be arriving in the city. If he knows Ariel like he thinks he does, she'll be feeling like a fish out of water, and awkward and uncomfortable as well and she'll have to get settled and feeling comfortable.
He's been sitting the fence about going on tour with Cooper, and now it's seeming like more of a good idea. Let Ariel and Jenna get comfortable together without the added complication of the possible relationship with Preston.

"Don't worry about me," Jenna tells him quietly. "I don't have a problem with Ariel." Her issues all stem from within, so it's not like trying to feel comfortable in her own home is going to help.
"Besides, I'll be going to Texas in a few days, and once we're back there's the Gala to get ready for, then the week out in the Hamptons… and I'll be going to London the first two weeks of August. After that I'll be busy with rehearsals, and choreography for the new show on Broadway, and in my off time I did offer to help you renovate the old theater. I won't hardly be in your way."
What Jenna doesn't say is that she'll likely crash at Chance's quite a bit too, unless he decides to take her up on the offer to move in here. Though now she thinks that might prove to be a big distraction for him when he's got to study for important tests and get ready for the Bar. (re)

Maybe not with Ariel, but she might have a problem with the relationship. Preston can imagine that she will sit back and compare herself to Ariel. He's done and said all he can, but he really hopes she goes to Chance and is a bit more honest and frank with him than she has been with Preston. He doesn't blame her for holding back; this is one of those moments where it's probably hard for them to be completely honest with one another.
"I should do that," Preston remarks. "Get back out there and start auditioning." He took a break to finish school, but he knows he needs to keep his resume fresh and keep auditioning.
"I do hope we'll see you around here sometime. I'm not worried about you being in the way." Really, he isn't.

"You should," Jenna tells him with a grin. "Your agent has probably sent plenty of things to you in the last few months. I'd say that you need to try out for something soon if you want to be on the stage this fall. There's the Rocky Horror Picture Show in October. I know they're still looking for a Brad. Think you could be on stage in your tighty whities?"
"I didn't think you were, Pres. It's just honestly going to be a busy time is all."

Preston lifts his brows and gives her an amused look. "FYI, sweetie, I don't wear tighty whities. However, if required for a show, I might be able to handle it."
"I'm only saying that I hope that you aren't so busy that we never get to see you around. It's going to be a bitch getting together, once Shiv is dancing again and Harper starts his internship …"

"… and Chance is in law school, and Ariel starts at Julliard, I know." Jenna wrinkles her nose. "Welcome to life after graduation." She knows that's not what anyone wants to hear though.
"Once September comes, I think we should set aside at least one weekend a month to get everyone together for dinner, if not any other time. We need to make time for one another is all."
"I promise I won't get too busy."

"Yes, welcome to the real world." Preston pulls a face.
"Excellent idea. Great idea. Maybe make it a potluck, or cook together every now and then, or order in. Just so we're not spending time at a restaurant where we can't relax nearly as much as we can at someone's home."
"I'll check with my agent on Monday. See what there is for me."

"The good think about Harper's internship is that it's generally Monday to Friday, so he'll have weekends off. Shiv and Coop will get them off as well, so will Chance, unless the firm needs him on a case. The only one who can't do weekends off is me, though I'm sure I can swing a Saturday once a month."
Jenna lifts up her now warm lemonade tea, and sighs.
"Sounds good, on both counts."

Preston looks up at the ceiling for a moment, then shifts his attention back to Jenna. Standing, he runs a hand over the jeans leg. "I was going to head out for a bit. I might stop at the grocer's on the way home. Did you want anything?" Preston had no plans of doing any such thing, but he thinks that Jenna probably needs some space and time alone inside her head. He can always take a book to the park, or drop over to see Coop, or find any number of things to do, just to give his roommate some space.

Jenna stands as well, giving him a strange look. Things are going to be strained between them until she works out her issues, but her concerns aren't ones she can voice to Preston.
At least not yet.
Not until the hurt dies down.
Biting her lip, she shakes her head. Then she steps toward him and gives him a hug.
"You know me too well, Pres, and you likely know where my head's at, but no matter what, you're still my person, alright? I just need to get out of my own headspace is all."

Preston breathes out a sigh when she hugs him. He's a bit more tense than he expected, as he can tell by the level of relief he feels.
"I know." Preston kisses the top of her head. "I know that, sweetie." Just like he knows that he had to get it out and say it all, no matter what.

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