I climbed up to the window as I had done countless times, though not for a few years. Being that the window was on the second story, it had its complications, but luckily for me this particular window looked out on the roof of the patio in the back.
Jack's form came into the room, and he slid the door shut behind him. Within a second, his shirt was off, and he was starting for his jeans. Jack, easily, is the kind of guy girls would go crazy over. 23 years old, he had a perfect smile pearly white teeth, perfectly straight and even, the whole nine yards.
It was coy, charming, mischievous, and heartwarming, sometimes all at the same time. He had a few scattered, subtle freckles stretched across his face, only adding to the overall charm. His hair was a huge focus of many.
Brown with a slight hint of blonde highlights, it did whatever he wanted it to, and looked good longer with the just-rolled-out-of-bed style or short with a bit of spike in the front. It was the kind girls just wanted to run their fingers through, and currently was set in the former style. The deep rumbling voice was a mark in his favor, giving him a bit of a mysterious/bad ass edge.
He stood a bit over six feet and sported a perfectly chiseled body-six pack abs, strong arms, but he was lean rather than bulky. A few tattoos found their place on his arms and torso. Finally came the eyes. They were bright green and full of emotion. The kind of eyes that could get a girl in trouble, and they only lit up further when he smiled. I was more of what might be considered pretty in a plain sort of way if you could even count me as pretty at all.
My blonde hair reached past my shoulders, almost mid-back, with subtle highlights and a slight wave. I was only about 5'5" and a bit underweight, on a good day maybe reaching 110lbs. I was a little curvy, but mostly in proportion to my small frame.
My eyes were my favorite feature, icy blue and always full of life, and I had been told more than once that my smile could light up a room. It was just a little past my 19th birthday. Since I was still perched outside his window and he was still undressing, I decided I did not want to be taken for a peeping Tom and tapped on the window. Jack looked up from his undone jeans and squinted towards the window. Even knowing he wouldn't be able to see me until he turned the light out in his room, I waved, thinking how funny it was that he didn't instantly know who would be perched on a rooftop in the middle of the night- on a night in the middle of winter no less.
Finally, he turned off the light and was able to get a good look at me. One of his charming smiles spread across his lips causing me to smile in return. After refastening his jeans, he rushed towards the window, unlatched it and threw it open; I fell through it and straight into his arms. "What are you doing here?" He asked in his deep rumble.
"Aren't you freezing?" "Damn right I am." I responded with a bit of a laugh. "Close the window." He reached behind me and slammed it shut while I rubbed my hands together for heat "Come here." He turned to me and wrapped his arms around me again. It had been years since I felt a hug from him, and it was a sensation I missed every day. Even better, his body was warm against my cold skin.
Jack let out a sigh. "It's so good to see you, Kellie." "You, too, Jack. I still can't believe you left this town without me, you jerk." We both laughed, pulling out of our hug as I gave him a playful punch to the arm. "How are you?" His smile faltered, and what was left was habit without a hint of truth or joy. "I'm good. You know, just good." "Don't lie to me, Jack.
I didn't just climb on top of a frozen rooftop for that. There's no way you're okay." Jack's adopted mother had been gunned down in a robbery-gone-wrong less than a week earlier. He was the youngest of four adopted brothers and easily the most fragile, though he tried to play it off that this wasn't true and was constantly trying to live up to Bobby's- his oldest brother's- "accomplishments" and tough guy attitude. Jack sat on the bed, looking down at his hands. After a few quiet seconds, I sat down next to him, resisting the urge to curl into a ball or wrap his blankets around myself.
The bitter cold was clinging to my clothes. I put my hand on his arm, trying to be comforting. He pulled away sharply, with a slight gasp. "Sorry." He chuckled a bit. "You're hands are freezing. Get out of that coat, it's keeping in all the cold air." Jack glanced around, then picked up a fleece blanket.
"Here, take this blanket." I shook out of my snow covered coat and pushed my shoes off my feet. He wrapped a blanket around my shoulders as I curled into myself. I guess I didn't have to resist that urge for too long. Jack kept both of his arms around me, rubbing his hands up and down my arms through the blanket trying to get me warm.
I caught his eye while he looked down at me and we both smiled. "I've missed you." Silence followed my deepest sincerity. It was the one absolute certainty in my life. He stopped rubbing, though his arms stayed around me, more out of lack of movement than conscious choice. His eyes did not catch mine again.
Rather than remain in the nothingness, I broke the tension with a repeat accusation. "You always promised you'd take me with you when you got out of this neighborhood." He slid away from me and picked his shirt up off the floor, beginning to pull it back on.
"You know I would have if I could, Kellie, but you had school, and I didn't even know where I was going to end up. I was running around the Midwest with some shitty band trying to tell myself that something would actually happen. As if I would make it as a rock star." His voice was soft.
He wasn't growing annoyed or short tempered, but merely stating what he saw as facts. "I could have been the world's best roadie." I said with a smirk. "School." "And when did you ever care about something as mundane as school, Jack?" "Since my best friend turned out to be one of the smartest people in this neighborhood.
Someone who could actually make something of herself if she stayed at it. Someone who could do better than what this neighborhood had to offer her. Someone utterly brilliant in every way. Someone who deserved more." He looked me straight in the eye as he spoke, but as soon as he was done he looked away.
His eyes searched around the room. My stomach flipped at his admitting to thinking of me as his best friend. I was nearly four years younger than him, but from the time I was 11 and he first moved to the neighborhood, I spent more time with him than anyone else.
I was 13 the first time I crawled through his window, my parents constantly too doped out to notice or care that I spent my nights sneaking into the bedroom of a 17 year old boy. Of course, any concern they would have had would have been misplaced. He and his brothers were the siblings I had never had.
They teased me and looked out for me. I imagine his mother even knew that I spent nights there, one of us sleeping on the floor; nothing ever got past her. She allowed it, though. I suppose because he'd found someone who he could actually open up to, which was exactly what he needed. Nothing had ever gone beyond friendship between me and Jack. I hadn't noticed until he sat down next to me again that I had allowed myself to disappear into a day dream, remembering the past.
When he looked at me again, I couldn't help but smile. "So, where did you go? What did you do? I want to hear everything." He began to tell me about everything he'd done in the past few years. Occasionally I would press him for more details, or call him out on obvious fabrications. We poked fun at ridiculous things that had happened, and I scolded him for any time he got himself into trouble. All the while we kept our voices down as to not bother any of his brothers in the house.
It was exactly how things were before. We even sat cross-legged like children across from each other on the bed. It finally came time for me to ask him the question that had been on my mind, though the answer was something I was not particularly anxious to receive. "So, how long are you staying?" All of the laughter went out of his eyes, and it became obvious that the answer was something he was not anxious to give. "I don't know, but we're definitely not leaving before we find whoever." ".Jack." I wanted to reach out to him, but held back.
He shook his head. "Kellie, they killed my mom. How could anyone even think to." His eyes began to shine with the onset of tears and endless pain.
"She was the sweetest lady in the world." "I know." "No you don't!" I was taken aback. He had never raised his voice toward me before, but when I saw the tear fall from his eye I knew that he wasn't truly angry with me. He took a deep breath, wiping the water from his eyes, and looked at me. "I'm sorry." Jack move toward me and shifted himself around so that he sat directly next to me, his back and mine sharing the headboard of the bed.
There was nothing else to be said at that moment. So we sat in silence. I looked down and noticed that I was half under the covers of his bed. Strangely enough, I had no recollection of pulling them over myself. I hadn't even time to begin laughing at myself before Jack's voice cut off my thoughts.
"You're staying tonight, right?" Again my stomach lurched, though I tried to give nothing away in my face. "I mean, for old time's sake." He qualified.
This only slightly lessened the excitement going through me at the thought of him wanting me there. "I guess I can do that." We sat up for nearly an hour after that, talking, joking, and catching up some more.
We avoided any more serious conversation, the closest thing being reminiscing about life before he went away and the good times we'd had with his mom. At some point he picked out one of his t-shirts and an old pair of shorts for me to change into.
They were both way too big for me, but they smelled like him and were much more comfortable than my jeans so I was glad to change. The entire time, I was very aware of his body next to mine.
He was warm, as always, and sat a bit closer to me than would have been necessary on his full sized bed. A few times, his arm would brush mine, sending a jolt through my heart, but mostly I felt the rumble of his voice through the mattress.
He was just finishing up a story when my head began to droop and my eyes grew heavy. His words turned to mush in my mind. I was almost lost from consciousness when I felt his body move away from mine on the bed.
Most logically, I thought that he was moving to the floor, as one of us had always done when the other fell asleep. Instead, his arms moved under my body and slid me down until I was flat on the bed, no longer propped up against the wall. His touch was gentle.
He pulled the blankets further up around me and then, with a moment's hesitation, climbed back onto the bed himself, staying above the covers. The movement pulled me out of sleep a little, but I was quickly returning. Jack's breath steadied, and I assumed he was already out. Then, as if making a last minute decision, he rolled to face me. My eyes were closed and my breathing was even; all signs pointed toward my being asleep.
He ran a finger across my face, anyway, his breath warm against my cheek. "I missed you, too, Kellie." He whispered. "More than I could ever explain.
I'm so glad you're here." With those words, we were both taken by sleep. His hand still on my skin. In the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a door opening. Only the tip of my head was exposed from under the covers. The door closed again. My guess was Bobby had come in to rouse his lazy little brother out of bed and was confused to find the form of a girl in bed with him.
Bobby made of habit of questioning his brother's sexuality, the way only big brothers can seem to. Lifting my head, I saw the clock.
It was only a bit past eight in the morning. The thought had barely passed through my mind that I should get up before my head was back on the pillow and I was asleep.
About an hour later, I woke up again, this time ready to rise from bed. I picked my clothing from the night before up off the floor and exited the room, moving toward the bathroom. I started a hot shower for myself and stepped in, enjoying the felling of the water against my skin. Being used to a very limited water supply, and limited time, I washed quickly. I was just rinsing the last of the shampoo from my hair when the door opened.
"Hey." Bobby's voice rang against the walls. "This ain't no bed and breakfast, honey. We don't supply hot water to just anyone, so you're going to have to scram." I laughed a bit to myself. "Oh, come on Bobby-bear. You really think your fairy of a little brother found some floosy to shack up with last night. Very unlikely." Finished with my shower, I shut the water off.
"Bobby-bear?" He muttered to himself. "Listen, chickie, I don't know. Oh, shit. Kellie?" I slipped my head out from behind the shower curtain, reaching for the towel against the wall. "Who else?" I gave him a smile as I wrapped the towel around myself and stepped out of the tub. "I'll be damned." He looked at me squarely. "I should've known you'd be showing up here.
I'd give you a hug, but you're a bit under dressed." We both laughed as I began to dry myself, carefully not baring anything that wasn't meant to be bared. It was a magical gift most females seemed to be born with. "Oh come on, Bobby-bear, you know you want me." For the last few years he had been around, before all the brothers split, he and I had joked around about such things.
As he was over ten years my senior (me being freshly 17 at the time that they left), it was just meaningless banter. Even now as I stood almost naked in front of him, fresh from the shower, I meant it nothing more as a joke and knew that he saw it only as such. "Come to think of it, you are over 18 now. I guess that makes me less of a creep when I have dirty thoughts of you." I lifted up the nearest object, a tissue box, and threw it at him.
He caught it with a laugh and pretended to throw it back, nearly causing me to lose my towel. Bobby started to walk away, but turned back at the last moment. "Hey, uh, how's he doing? He may be a little fruitcake, but he's still my brother." "You know, Bobby, it wouldn't kill you to lay off the gay jokes a bit.
I will personally chop your balls off if you tell him or anyone else that I told you this, but he thinks the world of you. Half the shit he does is to impress you or prove himself to you. And as for how he is, I have no idea.
He won't talk about it." "Not even to you?" "Not a word." "Well, if you can't get that out of him, at least see if you can be a bit more successful at getting him out of bed" "Sure thing, now get out of here. I need to get naked in order for this showering and drying process to finish." He started to make a joke, but chose to leave the room instead.
Then, right before he closed the door, he turned back one last time. "You know the other half is for you, right?" My expression showed that I didn't understand.
"Half the shit he does is to prove he's good enough for you. Kid loves you." Then he was gone. I got dressed, ran my fingers through my hair and returned to Jack's room.
When I saw him, I couldn't help but think about hearing him admit to missing me. That and then his brother saying that Jack loved me.
The thought was silly, though. Love me like a sister maybe, but definitely not anything more than that. He was still sleeping, sprawled out on his back with an arm over his eyes, blocking out the reflection of the sun off the snow.
I went and laid next to him, poking him in the side. "Hey sleepy head. You brother has charged me with the task of getting your butt out of bed." He groaned at me and started to roll over, but I grabbed his arm.
"None of that, now." He stuck his tongue out at me. "Very mature. How old are you, again?" "23 and a half." I continued to poke him.
Jack grabbed my hand quickly to keep me from continuing. I was so distracted by the electrifying feel of his hand on mine that I almost didn't hear his next words.
"How's this for immaturity." He latched onto me then and started a tickle assault on my ribs. I squirmed and fought against his arms, but there was no way I was going to be any match for him. Not that I'd actually want to get away. I loved the feeling of his hands on me and the closeness of his body.
For a second, I managed to tickle him back I had always loved the fact that a big "bad ass" like him was ticklish and he lost his grip on me allowing me to start to roll away. That, obviously, did not last for long. With my back to him, he wrapped his arms around my middle and pulled me on top of him, pinning my back against his stomach and really attacking my sides. There was absolutely nothing I could do but thrash back and forth and laugh, trying to catch my breath.and trying to not kick him in the balls.
A minute or two passed, and he was not letting up. "Truce! Truce!" I cried as a final tactic. Finally, he stopped tickling, but did not let me move. I was panting and my chest heaved. "No more questioning my maturity?" "None, absolutely none. You are the most mature person on the planet." He grabbed at my ribs quickly.
"Ah! What?" "Your sarcasm is unappreciated." "Okay. Okay! No more questioning your maturity, and no more trying to get you out of bed for Bobby if it can be avoided. I'll just leave that to him from now on." I looked down toward Jack and his face changed to one of contemplation. "That actually sounds like a terrible idea. There tends to be cold water involved on Bobby's days, and that's when he's being nice.
It'd probably be better if you kept with the wake up calls. This one was actually quite effective, not to mention enjoyable." He slipped me to the side so that I slid between him and the wall, my body still pressed up against his. His arm was underneath me and he was also breathing heavily. He rolled a bit, then, to look at me. My heart was racing, no longer because of the tickling.
Our faces were only a few inches apart, and he looked straight into my eyes. For the longest second of my life, we both lay there, breathing heavily and looking into each other's eyes. My gaze dropped to his lips. Too soon, he broke the moment. "I should, uh, probably get up." With that, he slid his arm out from under me and moved away, getting off the bed. "I'm going to shower." And he left. It would be an understatement to say that I was disappointed, but, with a heavy sigh, I accepted defeat and got up.