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Old 11-19-2013, 02:02 PM   #1
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Rose Part 5.

Greetings girlies. Once again, thanks for the feedback. I hope you continue to enjoy Rose. Although I've changed all the names I still see a certain Joshua Tree singer whenever I write/read about Jack. And Keiron? Well, he makes me think of a guitarist. I hope you do too.

Ok, last bit from last bit>>


He tried to get up. With one hand nursing his jaw, he used his free hand to brace himself against the ground. I took another step back and watched as he straightened up, still ready for him, still wanting to smack him one. He cursed again. “Of course I was following you! Fuck! You coulda broken me jaw! Look what you did! I’m fucking bleedin!”
And I knew that voice. I knew it!

Next bit>>>

My breath caught in my throat and my heart? Well, it suddenly beat way too fast. I couldn’t believe what was unfolding before me. Hot statements hammered in my brain. You went away. You left and married that girl; Saint Fucking Rebecca.

Cold and confused I watched as he rose unsteadily from the ground and I stood there impatient suddenly, desperate for a glimpse of that face because I still hadn’t seen it properly. We were stuck in the darkness see, in the middle where the street lamps didn’t quite meet.

And I had to see it; needed to see it. I had to prove to myself that this was not Jack. He couldn’t be back. It was too much to hope for. But he was speaking again. “I’m tryin’ to get to the station”. He mumbled into the material of his sleeve. “Same as you; shite! And I can’t believe you just did that!” He continued to complain. His voice was exactly the way I remembered it though right then it was a little high. He was still speaking. “I wanted to, I wanted to say…. Fuck; it’s swellin’ up!”

I watched wide eyed as he finally took his hand away from his face to consider the blood there. That was when I felt the blood drain from my face. I needed no further proof; none. When I gazed across at his beautiful face; his bloodied yet beautiful face, I knew. I knew. It was Jack; my Jack. And he was home.

:-:

As long as I can remember, I’d always liked his hair. It’d always been unruly. He’d always been flicking it away from his face or blowing it out of his eyes. I suppose not having any mother to look after him his father probably didn’t worry too much about the length of his son’s hair. And it was still doing what it wanted. Although a half hearted attempt had obviously been made to tie it back, most of it had escaped its binding and hung around his face. It lent him a somewhat wild look, gave him a kind of rugged masculinity. And of course, the bloodied jaw only added to the image.

And me? Well, I probably looked very silly chewing my bottom lip and standing there gazing at a man I knew but didn’t know. I was still shaking my head. He was the last person I’d expected to be standing before me.
As he stared back, he seemed to sense my confusion because he spoke, tentatively touching his face with hesitant fingers.

“It’s me, Rose, Jack! I came back! And now I wish I hadn’t; shite! Och, I’m gonna look like I did five rounds and lost every one! Why did you hit me, for fuck’s sake?” He continued to stare at me whilst he fingered his jaw. And me, I just stood there feeling confused and trying to hold in the threatened tears. “Well?” He persisted, “I thought you’d be pleased to see me, not try to knock me friggin’ block off! Jus’ look wotcha did to me face?”

“I thought you were going to rob me”.

“And why would I do that?”

I still had problems accepting that it was him. I still wasn’t convinced. Maybe I wasn’t standing with him at all. Maybe I was home in my bed and dreaming. “I don’t understand”. I heard my own shocked voice whisper. “You moved away!” I blinked at my tears as I spoke. They irritated me and I didn’t want him to see them. I was shocked, shocked and angry. “I haven’t seen you in so long I can’t remember when. What are you doing here? You left; went away”.

“Well, I’m back now. Shite and you have a punch there! It’s gonna bruise”. I didn’t take his in words. I was too busy with my thoughts. But you went away. I thought you were never coming back. Why have you come back? I don’t want you back. It’ll all start again. I don’t want you back. I don’t. Oh but I do.

And it’d all been too much; what with the mugging and then him turning up out of the blue like that. I wanted to let go and cry but I didn’t. “You left”. I stated in an accusing voice. “You went away. You got married to, to…” I let my voice trail away because I couldn’t stand her name.

“Rebecca”. He said flatly. “I married Rebecca”. A silence lengthened between us broken only by my sharp breaths. For a few seconds we just stared at each other then his face softened and he spoke. “Hey… Honey, what’s up?” He took a step towards me and held out his hands. My eyes dropped to them but I didn’t move.

“What are you doing here?” I whispered. “You’re supposed to be away somewhere. Why have you come back?”

He ignored my questions. “Rose? Rose?” He said. “What gives?”

I was angry suddenly; angry at him for all the hurt he’d put me through even though deep down I knew that I did it all to myself. Jack had nothing to do with the pain I’d felt all these years. It was totally my own doing. Even so, I blamed him; blamed him for my own stupidity.

“So where is she?” I spat “The Saintly Rebecca; where is she? Why isn’t she with you?” I wasn’t about to say wife. The very thought of it made me shudder.

“Rebecca? Well, she’s not here that’s for sure. C’mere, lemme give you a hug. You look like you need one”.

I took a wide step back so that I could stay out of his reach. “Rebecca”, I echoed ignoring him. Yes; Rebecca Reflux. Someone else I could pin the blame on. It didn’t occur to me right then that I was being a total bitch and blaming everyone but myself for how I felt.

“Rose?” He was speaking again. “C’mon. It’s me, Jack. You’re obviously upset about something. Tell me what it is”.

I was still angry with him for coming back; still scowling at the thought of that bitch, Rebecca having him. I wanted to know all about her so that I could sulk later but when I looked across at Jack something in his eyes told me that he didn't want to talk about her. Instead he was waiting for an answer. I hauled in a breath. Ok. Rebecca and her pretty cow bag face would have to wait.

I decided to tell him; tell him why I was upset. The words just came right out. I never even thought about them. They just came out and hung in the night air. “I’ve been mugged”.

“Mugged?”

I hauled in a breath, recalling that horrible mugger, suddenly feeling the need to cry; to be comforted. “Took all of my money; made me take it out of the hole in the wall; all of it. I couldn’t remember my pin number. I tried but I couldn’t remember and he was standing so close”. The memory of him released the tears. I knew that they wouldn’t stay in. The enormity of what had happened and what else could have happened hit me hard. I began to weep; my words coming out in a breathless rush. “What if he comes back for more? What if he’s not finished? I haven’t got anything else to give him… What if…” I wasn’t looking at Jack as I spoke and knew that I was talking to myself and not him. Jack took a step forward. I took one back. I held up my hand to ward him off. “No!” I said focusing on him at last. “No”.

“Rosie, baby girl; it’s me; Jack. It’s ok. C’mon. It’s me”.

I let out one word whilst blinking away the tears. “Jack”.

“Yes baby girl; It’s me, Jack”. And when he came towards me I didn’t stop him from taking me in his arms. In fact I welcomed it. “He’s not gonna come back, honey”. He said and I clung to him, pressed myself into him; physically drew in his heat like a sponge draws in water. I melted against him, molded my shape to his until we became one and so I wailed, needing to tell him everything.

“He said he’d do something horrible to me if I didn’t give it to him”. I cried against him. “Said there was a dark alley across the road and…”

“No baby girl. No. It’s over; done with. I’m here now. You got your Jack back”. At his words I looked up at him, recognizing the strong beat of his heart, the warmth of his arms, the softness of his breath. His words hovered between us. “It’s ok” He said softly. “He’s not comin’ back, an’ if he does, well, I’ll just knock his block off, won’t I”.

My fingers somehow found his chest and without any prompting from me they made their way inside his coat and around his waist. I pulled him closer against me and settled myself back in against him. And you know, I did it all without even acknowledging that I was doing it. It was just a totally natural thing for me to do. Jack was speaking softly. I heard a slight chuckle in his voice. “Course, I don’t think you need any help in knocking someone’s block off. You did a pretty good job on me there, missy”.

For a few seconds I just stood clutching him and then it struck me what I’d done. I moved back a little though still in his arms. I studied his face in the half light; saw the split lip, the crusting blood there. “I’m sorry, I…”

He grinned but then winced when his mouth stretched too far. “I’m surprised you didn’t break me jaw”.

I moved back into the centre of his embrace. “I didn’t mean to”. I said. “I didn’t know it was you. He won’t come back, will he?”

“No, baby girl; he won’t come back”.

“You won’t leave me, will you, Jack?” I sounded pathetic but I didn’t care.

“Leave you? I think I did that once too often already”.

“Eh?” I didn’t know what he meant.

“Never mind”.

As he held me I forgot about the mugger. Instead I leaned into him so that I could soak up his heat. I spoke to his shoulder. “You went away. Why are you back?”

“Does it matter why?”

“No”.

“You are pleased to see me, aren’t you?”

“Yes”.

“Good, cos of all the people at home, I knew I could count on my Rosie to be pleased to see me”. His Rosie; he called me his Rosie. “It’s all ok now, honey. I’m home, baby girl! I’m home”.

:-:

“I’m sorry I hit you”. I said when he released me.

“I’m sorry you hit me too. Shite, but it hurts”. He was touching his jaw again and I felt an enormous guilt. I gazed at his mouth; that beautiful elastic mouth; the one I’d dreamed of kissing so many times. He tried to move his lips but he winced and grunted. “For a girl you certainly pack a punch, lady”.

I swallowed, eaten up with guilt. “I wanted it to count”. I said. “If I’d known it was you, I’d…”

“Have hit me harder?”

“What? No!”

He chuckled. “Just promise me you won’t be tellin’ Keiron how I came by such a fat lip. He’ll have a rare old time knowin’ I’d been decked by a girl”’.

“It’ll be our secret”.

“Och, c’mere. Lemme hug you again”. And he pulled me in once more; held me in an embrace that I’d be waiting all my life for. “Feels like I’ve been gone forever”. He said giving me a final squeeze before letting go again. “Ok. Come on,” He said. “…if you wanna catch that train. I’m skint as well; only got my ticket back, so we’ll hafta walk from the station”. He held me away from him, our hands entwined; looking down at me and snorting in a happy kind of way then he slid his arm about my shoulder and attempted to grin but changed his mind. “Be like old times”. He said. “We’ll walk together. I’ll walk you home”.

“Will you?” I asked rather stupidly. I didn’t want to be on my own again that night.

“Course I will. You think I’d let you walk home alone, especially after what happened? Come on; let’s get that train before we have to walk all the friggin’ way”.

:-:

Of course we missed it, didn’t we? But I didn’t mind that too much because it gave me an excuse to spend some time with Jack. And I did. We arrived at the station just in time to hear the guard’s whistle. Jack had grabbed a hold of my hand and we’d broken into a run but it’d been too late. We’d looked on with not a little dismay as the guard gestured to us to keep back and then watched as the train’s tail lights slipped away into the darkness.

Jack swore. “Well, that’s fucked it”. I didn’t say anything. I just stood there watching those two red lights become two red spots and then two red dots and then nothing at all. Beside me I became conscious of Jack looking at me. “I’m sorry”. He said.

“What for?”

“Swearin’ in front of you”.

I snorted. “I shouldn’t worry about that. I do have a brother you know. You can’t say anything that he hasn’t already said a thousand times over”.

He turned to face me, taking both my hands in his. “Well, I’m not your brother and I do, believe it or not, hold a respect for you”.

“You do?” I was genuinely surprised.

The way he answered and looked at me caused my stomach to do a little dance. “Yep; always did have a respect for you, Rosie”. The words were softly spoken, the blue eyes intent on mine and I knew a hint of excitement. When I never said anything he stretched his face into an elongated grin, winced, thought better of it and spoke again. “Well”, He said on a long breath. “I guess it’s a walk for us then”.

“It’s a long way”. I said.

“Yup but we’ve got all night”.

I smiled at that. It pleased me. We have, haven’t we? “Ok, I’m up for it if you are”.

“Are you sure?”

“Of course; I can keep up with you, you know. I’m not some dainty, fragile little woman”.

“Nope, you were never anything like that Rose. Didn’t your father call you a farmer in drag?”

“Shut up”.

He grinned in earnest then and still keeping his eyes firmly on mine he spoke softly as he let out his breath. “Prettiest farmer I ever saw”.

My insides did another little dance and I pulled my eyes from his but not before catching something written there. Something passed between us. I didn’t know what it was though I was to think about that look for a long time afterwards.

:-:

“Shall we go then?” He was holding out his arm so that I could place my hand in its crook. Leaving the station behind us we walked back the way we came. As we passed the spot where I’d floored him he began to chuckle.

“What?” I asked as our footsteps echoed and bounced off the high Victorian walls on either side of us.

“And I don’t know what I’m gonna be tellin’ Keiron an’ the others when I see ‘em”.

“What about?”

“Gettin’ decked by a girl”.

“You could tell them it was a bloke; a big bloke”.

He chuckled then and patted my hand as it lay on his forearm. “You’re still a minx, missy”.

“Yep”.

“So what are you doin’ these days?”

“Walking home with you”.

“And that I never expected”.

“What?”

“To be comin’ back and havin’ some strange girl deck me an’ then havin’ that same strange girl insistin’ that she walk me home”.

It was my turn to chuckle. “I suppose”, I said, “Actually, I suppose you could say your homecoming started with a bang”. I giggled at my own joke and he cast me a sideways look. “And anyway”, I continued. “I didn’t expect it to be you”. And then in a softer tone I added; “But I’m glad that it was”.

He turned his head to look at me and cocked it to one side as we walked. “Really; are you really?”

I dropped my gaze to the pavement as though embarrassed to admit my feelings, “Yes, I said softly. “I am”.

Next to me I heard the smile in his voice. “Well, I’m glad I turned up too. Mind you, I could have done without the bashin”.

“I’m not going to live that down am I?”

He chuckled. “You’re not gonna live it down? The guys are gonna have a field day over this. It’ll give Keiron somethin’ to laugh about for weeks”. And then as an afterthought; “Does he still laugh like a goat?”

The question made me giggle. “I haven’t seen him in a while but last time he was around, yes, he still laughed like a goat”.

“Geez, I’ve so missed him and the others”.

“Are they expecting you back?” I needed to do a little innocent digging.

“Nope, nobody knows I’m here”.

Why have you come back? Instead; “They’ll be surprised then”.

“Yep, I think so. I just hope that they don’t greet me in the same way as you did”.

I scowled, though I wasn’t irritated, not really. “Look,” I said. “I’ve explained about that”.

“Yup, you have”.

“And anyway,”

“What?”

“You shouldn’t go skulking around at night, running up on people from behind”.

“Well, you wouldn’t stop”.

“Yeah, what do you expect? You were chasing me!” I expected him to say something about that but he didn’t.

Instead he fell into silence so I had to prompt him. “What? What are you thinking?”

He hauled in a breath and looking into the distance, he spoke very softly. “I was thinking that it wouldn’t be the first time”.

I was confused and wondered why he was talking so quietly. “What wouldn’t be the first time?”

“That I chased you”.

My confusion grew. “I don’t understand”.

“No. I don’t think you ever did. Anyway, shall we take the short cut?” We’d reached a long alleyway which ran downhill between two old Victorian buildings. At the bottom it fanned out onto a small, private car park and beyond that a gently wooded area. We both knew it well having crawled all over those woods throughout our early childhood.

We knew the track that wound through it. We knew the stream that bubbled gently over ancient stones; stones we’d stepped across so many times in order to get to the other side. And we knew where the canopy above us would open up to reveal a huge, white moon. Oh yes, it was a very fine idea to take the short cut. I didn’t need to answer him.

We turned down the alleyway, our footsteps echoing over the cobbles. Clearly the local council had run out of money before reaching this alleyway as it was one of the few remaining which still had the original cobble stones that hadn’t been concreted over. It’s very quaint except that half way down one of my heels went and got trapped between those same cobbles and I pitched forward. Without thinking I scrabbled at Jack’s arm to save myself and instinctively his hands were reaching out to save me.

And the strength there; in those hands and arms as he plucked me away from splaying my nostrils on the ground ran clear and true. Of course, I giggled with embarrassment on straightening up but unlike me, he wasn’t embarrassed at all. Instead, he chuckled with amusement and asked if I’d do it again some time so that he could witness the horrified look on my face properly. I yanked myself out of his grasp at that and told him to bugger off whereupon he chuckled again. “And I always knew that you’d fall for me one day Farmer Rosie”. Another chuckle. “Never could walk properly in high heels, could you?” Those words earned him a slap on the chest but he caught it easily, capturing my wrist and holding on to it whilst fixing me with his intense blue gaze.

After a short silence I knew I had to speak; break the spell. “Well, that’s not true!” I protested sarcastically.

“What; that you can’t walk in high heels or that I knew you’d fall for me?”

The question was loaded and I didn’t know how to handle it. Well, I did. All I had to do was admit it; say, yes. I’d fall for you any time but I didn’t. Instead, I stared back at him whilst embarrassment warmed my skin. Heat rose from my chest all the way to my forehead and I was thankful that it was night time so he wouldn’t be able to see.

After a couple of seconds I recovered myself reasonably well; well enough to go all haughty on him. “Of course I can walk in high heels!” That caused him to chuckle again and I scowled up at him.

He spoke, innocent words leaving a suggestive mouth. “And the other part?”

“What other part?” Of course I knew exactly what he meant.

In reply he simply raised his eyebrows. We both knew what he was referring to but I chose to ignore him because I knew exactly what I wanted to say; of course, I’ve fallen for you! And, if you must know that happened a very long time ago; so long ago in fact, that I can’t even remember. And you stand there looking down at me with your beautiful eyes and grinning at me with the mouth I’ve always wanted to kiss! Of course, I’d fall for you, you rat bastard!

I turned my head away breaking the eye contact and hauled in a steadying breath. I had to move so I wriggled out of his grasp because I knew I’d give myself away. If I remained close to him, he’d know. He’d sense my need of him; sense my want and I didn’t want that to happen; not ever.

So, we resumed our walk home but not before one last chuckle left his throat. When we moved off I had to slow him down a little as my foot hurt. It didn’t matter to Jack as he didn’t seem to be in any hurry. Once we’d fallen into step together we resumed our conversation and me, I made the most of a deliciously slow stroll home.

:-:

A few minutes into our walk he told me a little of what he’d been up to whilst he’d been away but Saint Rebecca was never mentioned. Me, well, I wanted to ask him outright. I’d wanted to say, ok; so where’s the harpy bitch then? But, of course, I couldn’t. And besides right then I didn’t care that much. After all, I had Jack all to myself and I wasn’t about to waste precious time thinking or asking about her. She’d had enough of him already. That night was my night.

:-:

I woke up and before my brain even registered the daylight, there he was; in my mind in full, glorious colour. His image was clear and strong and he was grinning right at me.

I’d missed that grin so much and the voice; how I’d missed that voice, so soft, so seductive; didn’t matter what he’d had to say. Just listening to it had awoken my need to have his babies and then of course, there’d been his scent; his own individual scent. The scent I thought I’d never come across again.

I suppose you could say he’d given off some serious pheromones as we’d walked home but then he didn’t really need any help in that direction, least, not with me. I’d always loved him no matter what. It made no difference to me what clothes he wore or whether his hair was long or short. In fact, he could have turned up completely bald and I’d still have eyes for his beautiful face. Although I’m glad he’s not bald cos well, you know, I kind of like the long hair thing going on, oh, and the clothes; the dark jeans, the black shirt and neckerchief, the earring, only one mind, the three quarter length black coat, sleeves rolled up, forearms, black shoes.

And anyway, he could have been wearing a bin bag you know and I’d still have wanted him. He could have had a week’s growth of stubble and look like he hasn’t slept in a month and I would still love him. Oh yes. And there was something comfortable about him too, you know; something laid back, relaxed and he wasn’t carefully tailored or designed either. Nope. It was all just good old fashioned honest to God masculinity; broad shoulders, broad chest, finger nails that were a bit chewed off, clothing a little ruffled. Hair tied back in an excuse for a loose, simple pony tail. And a mischievous twinkle in those blue eyes. Oh yes. He practically seeped masculinity.

:-:

As we’d walked home we covered a great many topics. In the main though he’d wanted to know about everything that had gone on in his absence and of course, about everyone we both knew; who’d gone and got married, who’d had kids either in or out of wedlock, who’d grown so old that they’d up and died and did I have a boyfriend.

Oh yes, that one caught me by surprise. The way he’d slipped it into the conversation without actually saying anything. He was clever like that; always had been. Ask a question without actually asking it.

I hadn’t really known what to say. I didn’t want to tell him anything. There’d been blokes, of course there had but I didn’t want to tell him that I’d happily have given up each and every one of them to be with him. I was wary see, afraid of coming across as too needy; too desperate for him and yet I didn’t want to make out that I wasn’t interested.

In the end, it didn’t matter what I’d said because it’d turned out to be simply another topic of conversation. When I’d answered him that yes, there was someone (although he paled into insignificance now that Jack was back), he didn’t seem to care either way. I was disappointed at his apparent lack of interest but then the main thing was that he’d returned. I just had to find out if he was back to stay and if he was, would I have time to work on him?

:-:

“Rosie!” Mother’s voice cut through my visions from the night before bringing me back into my bedroom. I that wasn’t interested in whatever she had to say but she wasn’t going to let me be. “Rose! Are you up yet?” So, I lied and told her that yes, I was up.

I stayed where I was though and decided to give myself a few more minutes so that I could wring the last drop of contentment from my memories of the night before. And he was so fine. It was almost worth getting mugged just to have him back home and seemingly without Saint Rebecca.

As I lay there for my extra few minutes I recalled how we’d stepped across the stones at the stream that ran through the wood. How the moon had reflected its creamy whiteness in the brook’s shallow depths. How I’d stopped dead in my tracks on the banks and announced that I was apprehensive about crossing it in the dark. A smile lit my face as I remembered that bit. Oh yes, that had been an adventure in itself.

I’d come to a standstill by the side of the water, you see. Jack was already half way across. He’d messed about by standing on one leg and holding out his arms, he’d made to dance his way across them, some song softly leaving his lips. Me, I’d stood grimly on the side having taken my shoes off and holding them limply between my fingers.

“I can’t cross that”. I’d said and he’d stopped midway and turned round to face me.

“And why would that be?”

“Because I can’t”.

“Rubbish. C’mon”.

“No”.

“Look, there’s no other way home an’ I’m not about to be walkin’ back the way we came. C’mon Rosie. It’s not like its deep”.

“I can’t”.

“Och”. And he’d made his way back to my side of the brook. “So”, he’d said on reaching dry land. “Why can’t you go across? You must have crossed this stream a thousand times”.

“Not in the dark, I haven’t.”

“But it’s not dark. Look; we have a wonderful full moon. What; you afraid there might be nasty werewolves in the woods over there then?”

“Bugger off. I just can’t. That’s all”.

“Ah hah. I know why you’re stallin”.

“I am not stalling”.

“You’re stallin’ so’s I’ll carry you across, isn’t it?”

“Don’t be ridiculous”.

“You’re wily Rosie, did you know that?”

“I am not wily”.

“So, why you can’t cross it?”

“There might be slugs”.

“Slugs”. He said flatly. “Now, why would there be slugs on the stones?”

“Well, I dunno. They like wet places don’t they?”

“And how do you propose that they, that is, the slugs, would get upon the stones? I don’t believe they’re good swimmers”.

“Ok then, some other kind of slimy creepy”.

“Slimy creepy”.

“Yes. Look, I’ve had to take my shoes off as I can’t step on the stones in these stupid heels. And I’m not walking across them in my stocking feet”. I shuddered at the thought of squelching some slimy, unfortunate creature under foot; under a shoeless foot. “What?” I said.

He was eyeing me openly. “Stockings; you’re wearing stockings?”

“What? No! It’s a figure of speech”.

“Shame you know, cos I do like a pair of stockings”.

“And I’m sure you have perfect legs for them but right now, what are we going to do?”

He thought about our situation for a moment, all the time looking directly into my eyes and trying not to grin. After a while, I became bored and scowled. “Well, come on. We can’t stand here all bloody night”.

“Ok, well, way I see it, we got three options”.

“Which are?”

“One, you put away your fear of slimy, creepy things, although I’d expect you to be used to those, what with some of those ex boyfriends of yours, two; no wait”, He held his hand up when I went to protest but carried on.
“I carry you across which probably won’t work too well and we’ll both end up in the drink or, or I could lead you across, checking for slimeys before you tread on them”.

The latter sounded quite a good idea so I nodded. “Ok,” I said. “You go first; and make sure there’s nothing on the stones”. I shuddered again at the thought of them and then hoped that I could trust him not to mess about and have me squashing something.

:-:

So Jack went ahead of me. He took the first stone and then waited for me on the second. “Its fine”, He said. “No Squelchers”.

I scowled and gingerly put my big toe onto the first stone. “It’s freezing”. I announced as the coldness stung my skin.

“Well, it is night time you know. Come on”. And he moved onto the third.

“Second one’s fine”.

I did as he bid me and placed an entire foot onto the first cold stone. It froze the sole of my foot and I let an odd noise leave my throat. I didn’t like any of it. I was terrified I’d tread on a frog or newt or something so I took my time and let my toes examine each stone before putting any weight on it. Already, Jack was on the forth stone and had turned round to face me. “Come on, Rosie. You can do it”.

“The stones are freezing”. I protested, knowing that my arms were outstretched in an outlandish balancing act; that my shoes dangled like dead birds from my fingers but you know, his beautiful voice reached my ears, coaxing, persuasive; encouraging.

“Come on there, Rosie, you’re doin’ fine; just a little further. You’re almost half way”.

That end bit I didn’t want to hear. It meant I couldn’t go back; that I had to continue, that the banks were out of reach on both sides. Consequently, I wobbled at the thought of being stuck in the middle. I had my feet on separate stones. My toes were already cold and wet and slippery and I knew I was going to fall. I knew that my moment’s hesitation would cost me. I screamed. “I’m goin’ in! I’m goin’ in!” But I didn’t go in. Jack did though.

At my panicked cry he sprinted back over the stones to grab me. In his efforts at counter balancing, it was he who ended up doing a little dance on the stones in a vain attempt to save himself before he went shin deep into the water whilst I remained nice and dry thank you. He was about to protest when I made a grab for his shoulders and practically wrapped my entire body around his in order to keep myself balanced on the stones.
Grabbing me, he snorted. “Well,” He said. “Much as I like to have women wrapping their legs around my thighs, I prefer them to be doin’ it naked and out of the water. Look at wot you’ve done now, Rosie”. He was still holding me and I was still clinging on. “First of all you clock me and gimme a fat lip and now I’ve got soakin’ wet feet. What are you gonna be doin’ to me next, eh?”

“I’m sorry”. I said. “I am”.

He snorted. “Well, seein’ as I’m already soaked, I might as well escort you to the other side, keep you nice an’ dry why don’t I?” His voice dripped sarcasm yet I knew he wasn’t angry with me. He was just sounding off that’s all. “Well, you certainly made an impression upon me this night Rosie”.

“I’m sorry”. I repeated, shivering in the cool air. “But can we at least get back on dry land?”

“Dry land? And will it make any difference to me if I get onto dry land eh? I’ve half a ton o’ river in me socks. Och. Come on”.

So we did. I reluctantly eased myself from his chest and allowed him to take my hand. At each stone he stopped, giving me time to get an even if not hesitant footing on its watery surface. When we finally reached the other side he pulled me up the slippery grass. Twice I slipped and ended up on my knees. Twice he stopped and giggled like a girl whilst I swore and tried to regain my balance.

When we reached the track above the banks we stopped to catch a moment’s rest. The moonlight above us illuminated the track and we stared at one another. Jack’s eyes travelled up my legs, stopping briefly at my knees so that he could laugh at the holes in my tights and all the mud gathered there.

I knew I looked a mess. My hair, which I’d earlier coaxed into some kind of reasonably attractive style was now limp and wet and sticking to my damp face; thick strands of it glued to my lips and getting into my mouth whilst yet more of it clung to my cheeks and eyelashes. “It’s not funny”. I protested. “Look at the state of me. My mother’s going to have a fit when she sees me”.

“Oh and I suppose I’ve fared so much better with my fat lip and soaking wet clothes. You’ve certainly made my homecomin’ a memorable one, Rosie”.

“Yeah, I won’t forget your homecoming in a hurry either. Just look at my legs!”

“I am, Rosie. I am”. I looked across at him to see an elastic grin on his face.

I scowled. “Stop that!”

“Why? You just told me to look”.

“Yes; I meant look at the state of my legs, not look at… och, you know what I mean”.

“And there’s nothin’ wrong with your legs Rose. At least there wouldn’t be if it weren’t for all the mud and holes in your tights. Oh no; watch out!”

“What?!” I shrieked echoing his panic.

“What’s that stuck to your leg?”

I screamed again and slapped at my legs, doing a little dance in order to dislodge whatever disgusting mollusk thing might be there. However after a few seconds of total panic I realised that he was laughing. “There’s nothing there, Rosie”. He laughed. “I was joking”.

I stopped my swiping and straightened up; grimaced. “I suppose you think that’s funny don’t you?”

“Yup”.

“Well it’s not! Can we go home now?” I turned away from him and headed
in the direction of my house, muttering about his childish sense of humour. He caught up easily and fell into step beside me.

“You know, Rosie”.

“What?” I was grumpy and I didn’t care.

“I haven’t had this much fun in ages. I mean, I have a split lip. I have half the stream in my shoes and I daren’t even look at what might be crawlin’ up the inside of my leg, but I haven’t felt so free in a long, long time”. I turned my head to look at him; to gage if he were telling the truth or not. “It’s true”. He said when he saw my questioning eyes. “Everything’s been so…”

“So what?” I was curious.

“So… och, I dunno. Everything’s been so serious for such a long time”.

“Serious? There’s nothing wrong is there?” I was afraid for him suddenly.

“No, there’s nothin’ wrong. At least nothin’ I can’t fix”.

“Do you need to fix something?” I was fishing but I couldn’t help it.

He sighed and looked at the ground as we walked. “Aye”, He said. “I do. But it doesn’t matter. It’ll all come clean in the end. Does your foot still hurt?”

He’d changed the subject; something else he was good at doing when he wanted to avoid answering a body.

“Not as much. It’d help if my feet weren’t soaking though. And these heels aren’t exactly good on this track either”.

“Want me to carry you?”

“Don’t be ridiculous”. Yes please.

“I will if you want me to”.

Would you? “No, you’re ok. I can manage. I’ll probably end up with blisters though the way these shoes are pinching my feet”.

“Why don’t I…” And his voice trailed off as he slipped his arm around me. “Why don’t I take some of your weight?” It was a good excuse for him to touch me, if indeed he’d wanted to although I knew it was simply his way of helping me.

“Thanks”. I said enjoying the feel of his side pressing against mine. “That’s a bit better”.

:-:

Mother had made me a mug of tea by the time I got downstairs. The table was set for breakfast and father was already seated, reading his morning newspaper and drinking his black coffee. He has to have black coffee in the mornings else he doesn’t wake up properly. And if he doesn’t wake up properly he’s moody, cranky, a bit like me really. Only, I’m cranky with or without coffee but not that morning.

Oh no, that morning I was filled with way too much happiness to be cranky. Mother spoke. “Whose were those voices I heard at the front door at 2 o’clock this morning?” A vision of Jack formed in my mind. My beautiful, gorgeous Jack whose eyes were so blue they made me think of summer. “Well?”

“I’m off to work!” Father stated folding up his newspaper and standing. He so doesn’t like my mother and me having girly chats in the mornings; likes his breakfast to be quiet and restful.

“So, who was it? I know it was a man with you. I heard his voice”. Stated Mother Sherlock.

“Jack”. I said trying to keep the excitement out of my voice. “Jack came back”.

She sat upright in her chair, her face morphing into an expression of surprise and then interest and then a hint of desire. “Jack came back?” And her mouth began to stretch into a grin. “Well, well”. She said more to herself then me. “So he came home”.

And I remembered how she’d had a soft spot for him; how she cared about his well being, what, with him having no mother and all and how later on when he was much older; a man, she seemed to have a little more than a soft spot for him. I think, on the quiet, that she saw what he was capable of becoming; something I’d seen way back when I was only knee high to a grasshopper.

“So, you brought him back here?” She asked.

“We met just outside the train station”. I said, omitting to tell her that I’d been mugged. There was no point in upsetting her after the fact. “We ended walking home. We tried for the train but missed it”.

“It’s a good job he was there then. You couldn’t have walked home on your own”.

“And I wouldn’t have. You know that”.

“Yes, well. It’s a good job he was there anyway”.

Yes, it was. It so was.

“So, has he changed? Does he look any different?”

“Yes.” I stated. “He has changed”. He’s got better.

“How old is he now; twenty six, twenty seven?”

“Twenty nine; he’s twenty nine”. We fell into silence and then I said; “He’s broader then he used to be, hair’s grown as well, had it tied back in a pony tail last night”.

“A pony tail, you say”. And I’m sure my mother slid into one of her little fantasies because she went all quiet for a moment. She spoke again. “What’s he been up to then, whilst he’s been away?”

“This and that”.

“And that girl; that girl he went off with?”

I felt an inward shudder at the thought of the bitch harpy but then looked on the bright side; she hadn’t come back with him had she and I felt smug. “He didn’t say and I didn’t ask”.

“Why not?”

“I’m not gonna ask where his wife is, am I?”

“I would’ve done. So he didn’t mention her then?”

“…Only to say that she hadn’t come back with him”.

“Maybe they’ve split up”. At mother’s words my heart took a leap although
I knew that was unkind. “I thought they’d made a go of it”. She added.

“I’m going to work”.



Ok, that's all for now. I hope you like it.
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Old 11-19-2013, 02:43 PM   #2
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He sounds so absolutely masculine and heroic. Love it!
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And if U2 EVER did Hawkmoon live....and the version from the Lovetown Tour, my uterus would leave my body and fling itself at Bono - for realz.
Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:04 AM   #3
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You had me thinking it was going to be one of those 'it was all just a dream' chapters!

As always, love your writing YDW!
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:47 AM   #4
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So, so GOOD More Please
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Old 11-24-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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Oh... I have totally fallen for this Jack. Guuuh! I don't blame Rose for her feelings at all. And was he flirting with her? Can't wait to see where it's going from here...
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Old 11-28-2013, 12:26 PM   #6
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^ Yup! I'm with you! I've totally fallen for Jack, too!

What great imagery:
Quote:
We were stuck in the darkness see, in the middle where the street lamps didn’t quite meet.
I love this:
Quote:
He hauled in a breath and looking into the distance, he spoke very softly. “I was thinking that it wouldn’t be the first time”.
I was confused and wondered why he was talking so quietly. “What wouldn’t be the first time?”
“That I chased you”.
My confusion grew. “I don’t understand”.
“No. I don’t think you ever did..."
AAWWWW!
Looking forward to the next chapter!
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