Rose. Part 9. The end. - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-25-2014, 02:55 PM   #1
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Rose. Part 9. The end.

Ok, finally finished. Let's not waste any more time.

Last bit from last bit>>>

We turned the corner and approached the café. When we got there, Keiron held the door open for me. I took a step inside but when I saw who was in there I stopped abruptly, having Keiron almost trip over me in the process. My heart was in my throat. I turned quickly and faced Keiron’s shoulder. “I have to go!” I said.

“Rose”. I heard my name, soft on recognized lips. I knew who the voice belonged to. I needed to leave but Keiron wasn’t going to move. He was blocking my escape and the voice came again. “Rose”.

Next and final bit>>>

Jack was rising to his feet as I turned to look at him. Kay was at the table, her gaze fixed on my face. My breath caught in my throat and eyes heated up. I twisted back round to look at Keiron but he said nothing. I was shocked. I widened my eyes, glaring at him; asking him what he thought he was doing without actually saying anything but he just stood there, blocking out the light and staring down at me. “Keiron”. I said quietly focusing on his chest. “Let me pass”.

“What?” He said.

I repeated myself. “Let me pass”.

“Y’know I really must get my ears cleaned out. Sometimes I can’t hear what people are saying. Well, in you go then”.

I looked up at him, ready to protest but I knew that he wasn’t about to move out of the way. I could see it in his eyes; the intensity there, the way his stare was unwavering. I felt desperately uncomfortable knowing that there was no escape for me. I was lodged between the wall that was Keiron’s chest and the table where Jack sat. I chewed my own lips. In the end I gave in. I hauled in a hot, ragged breath, straightened myself out and turned to face the table but I was determined that I wouldn’t meet Jack’s eyes.

:-:

Kay was calling out. “Come on, come and sit down. There’s a seat next to Jack”.

It was a set up. The bastards had it all planned. I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to run away and cry but knew that I wouldn’t. Ignoring Jack’s intense gaze on me, I padded quietly across the floor and sat. Jack sat down next to me. I felt his eyes on me still. He waited until I was settled and then spoke; his voice whisper soft. “Want a coffee?” I closed my eyes. I wanted him so much it hurt but I wouldn’t look at him. Instead, I nodded, refusing to make eye contact and stared instead down at the table.

“I’ll get these”. It was Keiron. The waitress came over and took our order. After she’d gone we all fell into silence but then Keiron broke it. “Well, this is nice”. He said. We all looked at him at the same time and scowled and then everyone grinned; well, everyone except for me. I stared unseeing across the table; looking through the salt and pepper pots; the menu stuck between them.

In my line of vision, I saw Jack’s black clad upper arm and elbow where he rested it on the table. I thought about the night we walked back from the station together. How lovely it had been, the touch of his hands on me after such a long time. How he’d made me laugh. The stream, the stepping stones, the river bank, and the mess we both ended up in.

The coffees came. I managed to raise a smile for the waitress before looking down at my cup. Beside me, Jack spoke; that voice, that voice so whisper soft, the word breathed out through warm lips. “Sugar?” When I looked at him he was grinning. My eyes dropped to his mouth. His lips were slightly parted and I groaned inwardly. There’d been so many times when I’d wanted to bruise those lips with my own; when I’d wanted to push my tongue in between them. Instead, I managed a half smile before nodding.

“Three, isn’t it?” He said. I frowned as his smile lengthened.

“You know I only have two”.

It was his way of breaking the ice. The grin on him was elastic. “Ok” He said pleased with himself. “Two it is”. And he proceeded to put two sugars into my coffee. He even stirred it for me. I thanked him but still felt uncomfortable. After sugaring his own coffee he leaned in towards me. Across the table Keiron and Kay were talking quietly. Jack glanced at them and then turned his attention back to me. He spoke; his voice was whisper soft once more, the grin no longer there. “Are you alright?” I nodded and looked away. I felt his eyes burning on me. He touched my arm very gently with one finger. “Are you sure?”

“Yes”.

He studied me for a few seconds then spoke again, his voice still low, seductive. “I’m sorry”. He said. “…About last night”.

“It’s ok. It doesn’t matter”.

“Yes, it does”.

I thought about his words for a moment whilst he continued to watch me. I had to say something, anything. “You followed me home”. I stated to my coffee cup.

“Yes”.

“And hit Geordie on the nose”.

“Yes”.

“Why?”

He drew in a lengthy breath. “Will you come for a walk with me Rosie?”

“We’ve got coffee”.

“When we finish it then?”

I still wasn’t looking at him though I knew he was looking at me. I thought about what he’d said and then nodded towards my coffee cup. “Ok”.

Jack sat back in his seat with a huge sigh. I wasn’t sure if it was a sigh of relief or a sigh of someone who had something unpleasant to face. Me, I was pleased that his eyes were finally off me. Keiron struck up a conversation with him. I wouldn’t look up from my cup. I knew that Kay was watching me but I didn’t mind her looking. It was Jack whose unwavering gaze I couldn’t stand. Beside me, Jack drank his coffee as he talked. He seemed relaxed, comfortable, whilst next to him I got so nervous that I left mine; couldn’t face it. My stomach was in knots. I was feeling sick. What was he going to tell me?

:-:

“Are you not drinkin’ your coffee then?” His breathy voice always made my insides heat up; the way he spoke, his soft accent. It was a seductive kind of voice and yet it wasn’t put on for any purpose. It was just his natural way of speaking and although the circumstances made me feel uncomfortable, his calm, almost whispered tones still made my body react to him. I shook my head. He spoke again. “Rosie?”

I replied to him in a whisper. “What?”

“Are you ok?”

“Not really”.

I heard him sigh softly. I chanced a look at him. His eyes searched my face and he drew his lips into a thin line as though sympathizing with me. “Its gonna be alright, Rosie”.

“Is it?” I didn’t believe him and the way I spoke told him so.

“Of course it is. Come on, shall we go?”

I let out another sigh. All this shit and all because I loved someone who didn’t love me back. What was wrong with me? I’d told Jason I had pride but did I? Did I really, because if I did, I wouldn’t be sitting next to a guy who would ultimately reject me. Beside me Jack watched. Kay cast me a look. It was designed to give me courage. It didn’t. Jack touched my arm again. The whole hand this time though just as light as any finger. “We can stay so you can drink your coffee if you want”.

The close contact made me want to weep. “I don’t want it”. I said.

Jack sighed. “Ok. Shall we go then?”

Time to get it over with. I nodded, pushed my cup away and stood. Now that the time had finally come; I wanted it to be done with. There was no point in dragging things out any longer. Opposite us Kay and Keiron watched. I gave them a wistful look. They knew I didn’t want to do this but said nothing. Jack was standing already, pushing the chair back with his legs. I hauled in a deep breath and held onto it. He held out his hand, smiled. “C’mon”. He said gently.

Just for one second I closed my eyes and then glanced across at Kay. I needed encouragement. I saw that one corner of her mouth had risen. She nodded discreetly again. I let out my breath and Jack, well, Jack stood waiting for me. As I cast a swift glance in his direction, he laid his hand on my shoulder and walked me to the door.

:-:

Outside he took his hand from my shoulder and I spoke. “Where do you want to go?” I wouldn’t look at him. I felt nervous and uncomfortable. I wanted to run away but this was Jack. We couldn’t go on the way we were. We were in danger of falling out forever.

“The park; it’s only round the corner”.

I nodded and we fell into step. He made no attempt to touch me, no attempt to hold my hand and I made no attempt to speak. When we got to the park we made our way across the grass, passed the swing park, towards a bench that was set back on its own. Jack sat down first and then patted the space next to him. “Sit down, Rosie”. He said smiling. “Sit with me.”

I looked down at the damp, wooden bench, almost green with weather and must have scowled because he spoke again. “C’mon. It’s not too bad”. I let out a sigh and joined him. We sat in silence for a while. I still wasn’t sure what he wanted to talk about so I’d let him begin. After all, it was he who’d called the meeting. I would wait. I would perch stiffly on the edge of the seat. I would clench my hands in the pockets of my coat. I would press my knees together. I would sit quietly with my mouth pinched into a defensive scowl.

I was all tensed up. I was afraid of what he might say; certain that he knew of my feelings for him but didn’t feel the same about me. I was sure that he’d let me down gently, suggest that we could still remain friends. Friends; I didn’t want friends. I wanted lovers! I wanted soul mates! I certainly didn’t want stupid friends!

Whilst I sat there with my stomach digesting itself I wondered how he might let me down. Maybe he’d tell me that he felt bad and that he wished
things could be different. Or, on an entirely different note, maybe he was going to announce that he was going away again. Maybe he’d regularly been seeing donkey chops; the girl I’d seen him with this morning and had taken a deep liking to her. Maybe he wanted to put me straight on that. Whatever it was, I didn’t need it; didn’t need any of it.

As I mulled over all of this, we sat in silence and I decided that he was working himself up to letting me down; deciding how best to approach the subject. So whilst we sat there not speaking, my eyes were drawn to a small group of children who were playing on the swings and slides. I looked at their animated faces; faces flushed with excitement, their screams and shouts mirroring their enjoyment. I snorted inwardly. They’ll grow up I thought; grow up and have to face all the shite that adults have to face. Why does it have to change?

Though the children were noisy and engaging I still felt Jack’s strong presence. His thigh was touching mine and the heat and firmness of it radiated through my clothing to warm my skin. His nearness almost overwhelmed me but I wouldn’t look at him. I just wished he’d begin. I wished he’d say what he had so say and then bugger off so that I could be alone with my disappointment, so that I could wallow in my sorrow but he sat as quietly as I did.

The silence between us was horrible. I was glad of the noise that the children created. I can’t think of anything worse than a stony silence between two people. When I cast a discreet look at him I saw that he was studying the children too. I returned my gaze to them; my eyes drawn in particular to a little girl in a red coat and matching red shoes. She reminded me of me yet she didn’t have an older hero with her like I had. I snorted inwardly. I didn’t have him either these days did I?

And, I always wanted children, you know; always wanted them, well. always wanted his anyway; the man now sitting in silence next to me but I already told you that, didn’t I? Yep; only ever wanted his, only ever thought about having his kids. I pulled in a noisy breath and Jack’s eyes swiveled round to look at me. I began to fidget. I couldn’t stand it any more. “Ok,” I said and I brushed at an invisible speck on my coat. “I know you didn’t bring me here to watch children play, so why are we here?”

I heard him pull in a deep, steadying breath. He looked away from me, back at the children. “Ok”, He began, leaning forward so that his arms rested on his knees and his hands dangled limply between them. Me, I pulled in a breath and held onto it; waited. And here it begins. Jack spoke. “Jason phoned me earlier”.

“Oh?” I said innocently. My insides began to churn. I wanted to go find Jason and bash him. He’d betrayed me. I knew that as soon as I’d got on the bus, he’d be getting on the phone to Jack. He’d gone and told him. I’d trusted him not to say anything but he had. Tears filled my eyes at Jason’s treachery. He was out of order but Jack was speaking again. “Jason tells me that you’ve got very strong feelings for someone”.

“What?” I looked at him in confusion. When Jack saw the tears in my eyes he straightened back up and shook his head.

“Oh Rosie! Why are you crying?”

I looked away from him, pretended to study the trees to the side of us. “Just tell me why you brought me out here then maybe we can leave”.

“But Rosie; you’re…”

I cut him off. “Just tell me. I’m cold and I want to go home”.

I heard him sigh; knew he was still looking at me even though I couldn’t see his face. “Ok”. He said on a sigh. He resumed his earlier position, his hands dangling between his open knees once more. “Jason told me that you had very strong feelings for someone and that you’d like to talk to me about it”.

My heart fluttered in my chest. So Jason hadn’t betrayed me. He’d only given Jack a half truth. Relieved, I answered him. “Yes”. I said. “I have”. I faltered for a moment, wondering whether I should tell him that it was he
to whom Jason was referring and not some stranger but I found my voice saying words that I hadn’t even thought about. “I did want to speak to you but, well, it seems a stupid idea now”.

“No, no it’s not. Talk to me, Rose. Talk to me”.

I laughed. It was supposed to come out as genuine but it didn’t. Jack would have known that it was forced. I tried to speak lightly but that didn’t work either. “It’s silly really”.

He turned his head. “Look at me Rosie”. He said. “Look at me”. So I did. My eyes sought his mouth and at once my heart leapt into my throat. How many times had I imagined kissing those lips? How many times had I wondered what he tasted like? My gaze rose. He was so fine; such blue, blue eyes, had such unruly hair that it had a mind of its own. He tormented me. Simply by having his undivided attention, he tormented me. I waited whilst he studied my face. I knew he’d already seen my tears so I made no effort to hide them. “If you need to talk to me about it then clearly it’s not silly”.

I continued to stare back at him through my tears. I examined his face; the face I’d grown up with. The face I’d be forever drawn to. The face I’d missed for such a long time. “No. You’re right”. I breathed, genuine at last. “It’s not silly. It’s… it’s important; at least to me”.

“So tell me what’s bothering you”.

Still staring back at him I told him. At least inside my head I told him; You; you’re bothering me. I love you so very much and you don’t even know; can’t even see it. You’re far too busy to notice. He was watching me back, waiting for me to speak so I did. “It’s hard, I…” And my voice trailed away. Where to begin? What to say?

“Just say it, Rose”.

“Look, I’m sorry”. I said at last and then, quite suddenly I bottled it. I stood abruptly, surprising both him and me. I prepared to leave. “It doesn’t matter. I need to go”.

Knowing that I was upset, he reached out and touched my hand causing me to gasp softly as his big fingers slipped between mine and then curled round them. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the feel of all that strength and heat. “Rosie,” He whispered. “It’s ok. Tell me”.

A lump had formed in my throat. I waited until it had gone down. “I can’t…” I said.

His voice was soft. “Sit down, come on. Sit down”. I was reluctant but sat down anyway. It was all going wrong and I needed to escape. I didn’t want to sit there with him, watching it all go down the pan. I needed to go home and lick my wounds. But I didn’t leave. Instead, I sat there, knees pressed
together and scowling once more. He didn’t let go of my hand though. He used the opportunity to grasp my hand properly and I felt his grip tighten.
I took the chance to look down at our wrists, the way our arms touched virtually all the way up to our elbows and our fingers, how they rested on the edge of my knee; all curled in together, not seeing where one set of fingers began and the other ended. They were entwined; as I knew they always should be. My eyes filled again. When I pulled in a breath, it was noisy, broken. The ragged sound of it made Jack move in that little bit closer.

With his head almost touching mine, he spoke. “Rosie, honey,” He touched my face with one finger and made me look at him. When he spoke his voice was so soft it barely left his mouth. “What is it? Talk to me”. I couldn’t answer him. How could I admit to loving him? I couldn’t; could I? Instead I just stared at him, took in his eyes, his mouth, his jaw and thought my thoughts. I want you. I want you so very much.

As he stared back at me I thought that maybe he was going to tell me he had feelings for me but instead he went and ruined our intimacy with his next words. “You know, if you’re gonna run off with some bloke then just say it”.

I was shocked; offended and angry at what he’d just said. I ripped my face out of his grasp. I wanted to die. If he’d thought I had eyes for someone else then he could at least have sounded disheartened! Instead, he’d just told me to get on with it and tell him. I was disgusted; heartbroken but I had a question of my own to ask. Looking way off into the distance I spoke. “Would you mind if I did?” He continued to stare at me. I could feel his gaze on me as powerful as any touch.

At first I thought he wasn’t going to answer. I thought he was just going to sit there examining me but then I heard him pull in a breath. “Yes,” He said finally. “Yes; I would mind”. It was my turn to study him. I stared at him like he had two heads. Would you? Would you really?

He sighed and turned away from me, taking my hand out of his and leaning forward again, his knees apart, his hands dangling between them. He took to gazing across the grass to the swing park. I tried to read his posture. It was hard though. He appeared troubled, as though he’d meant what he said, as though he would say more. But then that was probably just me, seeing things that weren’t there. When I didn’t say anything else he spoke again, quietly asking me a question. “Is it serious?”

Without hesitation my reply came out in a whisper, as though I was ashamed and yet had to say what I would. “It is for me”.

He said nothing, just continued to stare into the distance before letting out another, much longer sigh. I watched him intently. He began to chew the inside of his mouth as he studied the children in the swing park. When he finally did speak, his voice was soft; mildly curt. “I haven’t seen you with anyone new”.

I joined him in watching the children. “You’ve probably been too busy”.

He spoke again, to himself this time. “I never realised…”

“It doesn’t matter”. I whispered trying to make him feel better. “You’ve had a lot to deal with”. I was referring to Rebecca The Betrayer; that cow who’d turned his life upside down.

“It’s not the point. I should have noticed”. He turned to look at me again.

“Have you been worrying about telling me?”

“Yes”.

“Why? You could have just said”.

And there it was again; I could have just said. I continued to study him, aware of my eyebrows coming down low in my forehead. As I stared at him I asked him another question but again it was inside my head; [I]don’t you care? Are you going to accept it just like that? You think I’ve met [/I]someone else and yet all you can say is; you should have said? Knowing I’d never say those words out loud I shrugged and took my eyes from him. Two children were going home. “I dunno”. I lied. “Maybe I didn’t want to say anything”. No, I didn’t and now I’m glad.

He frowned; turned away again. “I wish you had. I wish you’d told me earlier”.

“Would it have made a difference?”

“Yes”.

“How so?”

“I would have…”

“What, what would you have done?” And don’t tell me you’d have done anything different. You’ve been way too busy shepherding your cattle; parading those cows before my face, having the nerve to ask me what I thought of them. Have you no compassion? Couldn’t you see what you were doing to me?

As these dark thoughts ran through me he continued to sit quietly chewing the inside of his mouth and when he spoke he didn’t bother answering my question. Instead he asked one of his own. He didn’t look at me. “And, do I know him; this guy you’ve set your heart on?”

Would it matter? I was sullen by then. Filled up as I was with all the pain of unrequited love something inside me wanted to hurt him. As I still hadn’t told him it was he whom I was referring to, I simply answered “Yes”.
He turned back to face me, questions in his blue eyes. “It’s Jason, isn’t it? Why didn’t he just tell me?”

I smiled. As much as I loved Jason, he wasn’t Jack. I answered him flatly, truthfully. “No, it’s not Jason”.

He seemed satisfied with my answer though he was clearly mulling it over in his head as he turned back to watching the children. At length he spoke. “Ok, so, this guy; does he feel the same about you?”

“No,” I admitted sadly. “I don’t think he does”.

“So, he doesn’t know; how you feel? He doesn’t know?”

“No”.

“Why not?”

“Well, because, because for one thing, I don’t want to look a fool”.

Lowering his gaze to his fingers he spoke. “You wouldn’t be a fool, Rosie”.

“I think I would. I think I am”.

“No”. He said moodily. “That’s been my mistake; not saying how I felt, giving up too easily”.

I shook my head, uncaring if he saw it. He still aches. He still aches for Rebecca. “She hurt you, didn’t she?”

He tensed. I could see it in his body language. A wall went up between us. His teeth ground together. “Don’t speak about her”.

“You should. You should speak about her. You might feel better”.
His answer was curt. “I brought you here to speak about you; not me”.

“We can still speak about you”.

“Maybe I don’t want to”.

“Maybe that’s where it’s all gone wrong. Maybe that’s why we’ve been arguing so much lately. We don’t tell each other things like we used to”.

“That’s because we’ve grown up, Rosie”.

“I don’t want to be grown up”. I want to be that little girl again. I want my hero back.

“Yeah, well. We don’t always get what we want, do we?” He was sullen; staring into space like the whole world let him down.

“No”. I said as sullenly as he. “You’re right. We don’t get what we want, do we?” But I still want you. I want to brush away what that cow did to you. I want hold you and tell you that I’m here but you just don’t see me, do you?

He spoke; still moody, his gaze still far away. “So, are you gonna tell me?”

“Tell you what?”

“Who he is, this wonderful bloke you’re so madly in love with?” His voice had turned sarcastic but I wouldn’t rise to it.

I hauled in a breath. “He’s very special”.

“I never asked if he was special. I asked you who he is”.

“I’ve loved him for a very long time but he’s always, like, I dunno, too busy or…”

“Or what?”

“Just not interested”.

He seemed happy with my answer; if happy was the right word. He inhaled deeply and then let his breath out very slowly. “Well,” He said turning his gaze back onto his fingers. “He’d better look after you”. I didn’t say anything. I was deeply disappointed and already growing resigned to the fact that he was letting me go; that he’d never be mine. He looked up from his fingers to consider something in the distance. His eyes narrowed as though he’d seen something bad. “Cos, you know, Rosie, if, he does anything out of hand, if he mistreats you or says anything about you that I don’t like, well, you know I’m gonna be right there in his face, doncha?” I was watching him intently by then. He was staring far off into space and looking as though he were talking to himself. “I won’t care if you protest”. He said. “I won’t care if you tell me to fuck off and mind my own business. I’ll gonna be there, watchin’ every move, listenin’ out for every word”.

If you feel like this why aren’t you fighting for me? Why aren’t you pledging your undying love for me? Why are you simply accepting that I’ll go off with someone else? I drew in a long breath. It was all a waste of time, wasn’t it; us sitting side by side on a stupid, damp bench, in a stupid park, watching stupid children playing on stupid swings. I felt negative. There was no point in continuing. I snorted. “Look, you don’t need to worry on that score”. I said abruptly. “He doesn’t want me anyway”.

Jack turned to face me though he still had his elbows on his knees. “How come you’re sure of that all of a sudden?”

I tried to stay calm; tried to keep my voice steady. “I was stupid to think that he did”. I said. “That he might, you know, might…” My voice trailed away as he examined me. I ignored his eyes and instead watched the children; watched the mother’s get them ready to go home. “He doesn’t want me”. I said on a long, resigned breath. “…Doesn’t want me at all. Probably never did. Ok,” I finished off airily and finally looked at him. “We should go. I’ll let you buy me a coffee if you like”. I had to make light of it; had to pretend that I’d come to my senses and that I was fine.

Beside me, Jack’s eyes were still narrow as he scrutinized my face. He straightened up. “Och, I know you Rosie! I know you’re puttin’ on a face”.

“I’m not. Come on”. I stood.

“No”.

“Well, I’m going anyway. It’s cold”. And I wanted to get away from him. I wanted to go home and have a word with myself. I wanted to tell myself how stupid and desperate I’d been; how I should have known Jack would have eyes for other people and not for me. How I’d wasted my whole life wanting a man I’d never have.

“Sit down, Rosie”. His voice was commanding, as though he wouldn’t take no for an answer.

I protested; shook my head. “Look, I’ve told you that there is or rather was someone I was interested in. Now I’m not so can we please go?”

“No. Sit”.

“I’m not a dog”. Although I know you’ve been out with a few. I screwed up my face and sat down heavily next to him. Once more I had my hands clenched in my coat pockets and my knees drawn together, my mouth in a thin line.

He spoke. “Talk to me”.

“There’s nothing to say”.

“Well, you might not have anything to say but I have”. He fixed me with his intense blue gaze to make sure that I wasn’t going to stand up again, then he looked away; back at the kids who, by now had dwindled to only a few. I saw that his forehead was wrinkled, that his eyes were focused and I waited.

“I want to know who he is”.

“Why, so you can bash him on the nose too?” The words just came out. I never thought about them. Perhaps if I had, I’d have realised that I’d just asked him if he was going to bash himself.

“I want to know who he is, Rosie”.

“Well, I’m not telling you”.

“Why not?”

“Because; and anyway, why do you want to know?”

“Is it Keiron?”

I was horrified. I liked Keiron, yes, but I knew that Kay had her eye on him so I wasn’t about to go there. I screwed up my face even though I knew he wouldn’t see it. “Of course it’s not Keiron!”

“Someone new then; someone I don’t know”.

I snorted and folded my arms across my chest. “Oh you know him very well; very, very well”.

He turned to look at me, his eyebrows low in his forehead. “For fuck’s sake, Rose! Tell me who it is!”

“No. I won’t”.

“Why not?”

“You already asked me that. And anyway, I can’t”.

“Why not?”

“You asked me that as well”.

“I’m not messin’ Rosie! Tell me who this fucker is!”

I scoffed and pretended to be bored. “Goin’ all masculine now, are we?” He narrowed one eye to almost a slit, threw me a cold look and then looked off into the distance. Knowing he’d backed off I plunged in. “And anyway, why do you want to know?” You’ve already made it quiet clear you don’t give a shite if I go off with someone else. I continued. “Well; why? And since you’re insisting I answer your questions, perhaps you’d like to answer mine!” Beside me, he snorted and shook his head though he didn’t look at me so I goaded him some more. If we were going to have this argument the least I could do was win it. “Come on! Why is it so important to you? You’re not bothered about me! You practically said so”.

“I did not”.

“So why then? Why do you want to know who it is? What difference will it make? Why is it that Jack The Lad needs to know who Rosie has her heart set on?”

He turned on me, his face so screwed up with anger that it frightened me. “Because I’m jealous! Ok! I’m fucking jealous!” He let out a hot snort as he glared at me and shook his head. “Och fuck this!” And he jumped up and stalked away.

:-:

Back on the bench I was numb. I watched his broad shoulders as he stalked off; watched them through someone else’s eyes, heard him swear through someone else’s ears, felt someone else’s hand touch my throat, then slide across my mouth and suddenly someone else’s voice ringing in my ears. “Jack! Jack!” I was calling out to him. I was up on my feet, running after him, shouting at him to wait. But of course, he ignored all my pleas, dismissing me with a flick of his wrist. “Jack! Jack!” I ran after him. When I finally caught up with him I touched his shoulder. “Jack wait!”

He shook me off. “Fuck off!”

“No! I won’t fuck off! Just stop!”

“I said fuck off!”

“And I said… wait!” And I tore into his shoulder, spinning him round to face me.

His eyes flashed with anger. I’d never seen him so irate. “I’ve nothin’ to say, Rose! Fuck off an’ have a happy life!”

“I can’t!”

But he didn’t seem to hear me. He waved me off irritably. “Just don’t expect me to be there when things go fucking wrong!” And he stalked off again leaving me standing near the now empty swing park with my mouth hanging open.

I mouthed his name; watched him stalk across the grass. He was almost at the park gates before my brain kicked in. I called out to him again but he ignored me. I had to stop him before he went through them. We couldn’t have a scene in public and I so had to have my scene. I had to know why he said he was jealous.

I ran after him. Full pelt, I charged across the grass, desperate to get to him before it was too late. I called and called out to him but he ignored me every time. I knew I’d never make it and by the time he’d reached the gate I was almost hysterical. I stopped running. “Jack!” I screamed, knowing that I’d never reach him. “Jack!”

That did it. The desperate tone of my voice brought him to an abrupt standstill. When I saw that he’d stopped, I began to run again. This time he waited for me and when I caught up with him he reeled on me, his face dark; eyes narrowed, lips a harsh, thin line. I forced his name out through quivering lips. “Jack!”

:-:

“What?!”

I lowered my voice. “Don’t go. We can’t just leave it like this”.

“Yes we can!”

“Ok, look, will you… will you just answer me one question?”

“What?!”

“I…” I was scared but I had to go for it. Ask him! Ask him! “What, ok, what did you mean when you said you were jealous?”

“What do you think I meant?”

“I… I don’t know. I…”

He was breathing heavily, his chest rising and falling with the power of his emotions. When my gaze rose to his stony face I saw a muscle twitching in his jaw. He snorted. “Forget it Rose. Just forget it!” He turned to leave; gave me his back. I reached out and touched his arm. “Don’t go!” I was desperate. “Don’t go. Please, don’t go!”

Keeping his back to me, I waited whilst he thought about it. It was the longest ten seconds of my life. Eventually I saw his shoulders sag. I plunged in. “What did you mean you were jealous? I mean, why? Why would you be… why would you be jealous? All those girls; you had all those girls…I don’t understand”.

“It doesn’t matter”.

“Look at me. Turn round and look at me. Please”.

I heard him sigh. “Rosie; go home. Just go home”.

“Please, Jack”. The tears streamed down my face. It was all finally coming out; all of it and it wasn’t going well. “Please”.

He turned. “What?”

“Did you mean it?”

“Mean what?”

“That you were jealous?”

That muscle still twitched in his jaw as he considered me, those warm, summer blue eyes so very icy cold. He spoke quietly, curtly, without a hint of kindness. “Yes, Rose. I meant it. I was jealous. I am jealous and, I’ll very probably be jealous of every guy you ever look at, ok? And now I’m going home”. He turned away again and but I wasn’t having it. I spun him back round. I wouldn’t let him dismiss me like that.

“What are you saying?”

“Nothing; it doesn’t matter”.

“It does. What are you saying?”

He rolled his eyes before looking back at me and sighing. “You really want me to spell this out to you, don’t you?”

“Yes”.

He chewed the inside of his mouth as he glared at me. His eyebrows went up in his forehead and his eyes bored into mine. When he spoke his voice was mildly sarcastic and very abrupt. “Ok. Ok. I’m jealous, all right; jealous! I’ve been jealous since before I went away and I’ve been jealous since I’ve been back”.

“But…” And I didn’t believe him. “Then why did you go away?”

“Why not? You weren’t interested, Rose! In fact, as I recall, you made it clear you didn’t even like me”.

“That was before”.

‘Before what?”

‘When I was younger. You know what it’s like; you don’t admit to anything because you don’t want to suffer rejection”. He snorted, obviously not believing me. I shook my head. “But you’ve never known that have you?”

“Known what?”

“Rejection; wanting someone when they haven’t wanted you”.

“You serious; you really believe that?”

“Oh come off it! All the girls you asked out were practically salivating before you even called round for them!”

“Is that what you think?”

“Of course it is. You and Keiron, Jason, my brother; you all went out on the pull all the time”.

He was sarcastic again. “Well, you know, that’s what people are inclined to do when they’re young; when they want a bit o’ fun”.

“Clearly you haven’t grown up much since then”.

“What do you mean by that?”

“Because, you’re still having fun aren’t you?”

“Yeah, and you should try it some time”

“I will! I am!”

He was getting the better of me and I didn’t like it because he was straight in with yet another sarcastic retort. “Didn’t look like you were having much fun with that Aidan creep and Geordie!”

“Oh and that’s why you bashed him on the nose was it; because I wasn’t having much fun?!”

He scowled. “I bashed Geordie on the nose because… and anyway, why are we having this conversation?”

“You started it! And for your information I did like you and I was interested”.

“Well, you never showed it”.

“And you got in with that, that, Rebecca cow! I wasn’t going to show my feelings for you when you were with someone else! I have my pride you know!”

He shook his head. “When I came back I thought we had something, Rose. I thought maybe we could get together, but you, oh you, you decide to go out with one dickhead after another!”

“What?” I was horrified. “Me; go out with dickheads; what about all the sluts you’ve been seeing? And you started seeing them first”.

“They’re not sluts”.

“They all slept with you, didn’t they? Therefore, they’re sluts!” I knew I was being ridiculous but he had me so wound up.

“Did you sleep with all your dickheads?”

“I…”

“Well? Does that make you a slut?”

“Of course not! And anyway, I didn’t make my way through an entire town!”

“Neither did I”.

It was my turn to snort. I folded my arms across my chest and looked away, irritated. “I don’t believe you”.

He was still staring down at me, his eyes narrowed. “And wait a minute,” He said. “Why should it matter how many women I’ve slept with? What’s it got to do with you?”

I fastened him with my own stony gaze. “Because, because…”

“What; you jealous too?”

“No. No, of course not!”

He snorted again. “No, you’re not are you?”

“I…” Admit it! Admit it! Tell him!

Jack was shaking his head. When he spoke next his voice had lost its anger. Instead it came out resigned; as though he couldn’t be bothered any more. “Forget it Rose. We’re not getting anywhere, are we?” I went to speak but he cut me off. He held up his hand as though to stop me from saying anything more. “Look, Rose, lets just leave it, eh? I’m through with fighting. I’m through with sparring with you. It’s not doing either of us any
good. I’m going home, ok. You should too. It looks like rain”. He turned to go; put his hand on the gate. I watched his broad back.

“I love you!” I cried out in desperation and then more quietly, “I love you’. There; it was out; admitted, said. He stopped in his tracks, keeping his back to me. I saw his shoulders rise and fall as he drew in a breath. He said nothing and I filled up with cold despair. He either hadn’t heard me or didn’t want to. I repeated myself. “I love you”. My heart sank along with my voice. “I love you. I always have”.

He drew in another deep breath. The silence following it was so thick I could almost taste it. Finally he spoke. “Rose,” He said. “Don’t say that. Don’t say that unless you mean it”.

I was still talking to his back. I wished he’d turn round but I didn’t want to touch him in case he shook me off again. “I do. I do mean it”.

“Then who is this guy; this guy you wanted to talk to me about?” I couldn’t answer. He turned round, fixed his eyes on my face. “Well; this guy? The one Jason said you had feelings for…” I felt guilty for not being straight with him. I couldn’t bear his searching eyes so I looked away. He spoke again. “Rose?”

I knew shame so I had to tell him. “There isn’t anyone else”. I whispered, unable to meet his gaze. “There never was. Jason only gave you half the truth”.

“What?”

“I wanted to tell you,” I said quietly. “I wanted to tell you it was you but I was too scared. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long but I could never bring myself to do it…”

I broke off to haul in a breath. He held up his hand as though he’d heard wrong. “Whoa! Wait!” He said. “You wanted to tell me what?

“I tried to tell you last night!”

He thought about what I said as he examined my face. “You told me you missed our conversations last night. You told me that you’d missed me last night. That’s all. You never said anything else”.

“I never got the chance. Geordie…”

He looked away. “Ah yes, Geordie”. There was distaste in his mouth. I knew he didn’t like Geordie but I never realised how much.

I tried to explain. “If Geordie hadn’t come along I…”

“What?”

“If Geordie hadn’t come along…” I couldn’t bring myself to tell him. Instead, “And I hated all those women! One after another; there was always some woman”.

“What?” I knew he was still confused.

“You; you with all those women…”

He eyed me for a moment, studied my face and then grunted. When he spoke he seemed shocked. “So, you are jealous. You actually mean it, don’t you?”

“Yes”.

He shook his head. “Rose; I don’t understand”.

“You know what,” I began on a ragged breath. “For ages now, I’ve watched you parade your women in front of me. For months, I’ve listened to your voice when you spoke so very highly of them and you always had to ask me what I thought of them, didn’t you? You’d always tell me about them and then ask me about each and every one; what did I think, were they ok, did they meet with my approval?”

“You always came across as being ok about it”.

I scoffed, irritated. “Well, I wasn’t and they didn’t! They didn’t meet with my approval! I hated it! I hated them! And really, did you ever think to ask yourself how I might feel about that?!”

He spoke as though dismissing what I’d just said as rubbish. “You never said anything. In fact as I recall you were only too pleased to say what you thought of them”.

“Ok, well, now you know; I did mind. I minded a lot! And whilst I think on it; do you honestly think I told you the truth?”

“What?”

“You think I told you what I really thought about them?”

He was hesitant. “Well, I…”

“Ok, ok, now that we’re actually on the subject, maybe I should tell you what I thought of them!”

“Yeah; maybe you should”.

He’d got me so mad I went for it; went for him. “They were horrible, ok! I loathed them, hated them; all of them; with their pretty faces and painted nails; fancy perfume”. I spat out my words as though they tasted bad. “The way they hung onto your arm or kissed you on the cheek; seeing you with your arm about their waists, knowing what you’d be up to later with them; all of them looking at you like you were the best thing to ever walk God’s good earth”. I snorted. “And you kept on, didn’t you; what did I think of Amy, what did I think of Linda or any of the other mooses you chose. As if I gave a shite about fucking Amy or Linda or any one of those slappers!” I shook my head and looked away from him unbelieving myself of how blind he’d been. “You just didn’t get it did you” I said to myself though addressing him, “… parading yourself with those women, putting me under all that stress; making me feel so fucking ugly and uncomfortable!’

He snapped back. “So why didn’t you say?! Why didn’t tell me?! I had no idea it made you uncomfortable! What; do I look like I can read minds?”

I curled up my lips and looked at him through narrowed eyes. “Are you really that stupid? Couldn’t you have asked one of the guys about your women instead of me?”

“Oh and they’d have told me the truth would they?”

“And I did?”

He snorted. “Well, I know that now, don’t I?!”

And I wasn’t finished with him. “And besides, I’m not going to tell you that your choice in women stinks am I?” I knew that my words were slipping into sarcasm but I had no control over it. “Oh wait; maybe I should have, because you haven’t been slow in telling me that I have shite taste in blokes have you, hmmm? No. So lemme think; basically, I save your feelings by telling you they’re great, these women; these lovely, pretty women; well done you. And yet you; well, you tell me exactly how it is, don’t you? My blokes stink. You don’t like them. They’re not good enough for me. Do you not think that’s exactly what I thought of your women? Well, don’t you?!” I let out a derisive snort. “Double standards here I think”.

He was shaking his head; his eyes wide with shock. I knew his expression was genuine. He really didn’t realise how I felt about his girlfriends. “Rose, Rosie?” He said. “I never knew. I had no idea you felt that way”.

“Yeah, well”. I was sullen. “I wasn’t about to tell you was I?”

He drew in a deep breath and looked up at the gathering rain clouds before letting it out again. “Ok,” he said more to himself than to me. “Ok. No one else; you said there was no one else. So, it was me; this special guy? All along it was me?”

I didn’t want to say it but I had nothing left. It didn’t matter any more. I let out a hot sigh before replying. We were being truthful with each other at last. “There was never anyone else”.

He drew in another breath and shook his head before speaking as though he needed to hear his own voice. “Me. It was me all along”.

I took in his chest. “Yes”.

“And I never knew?”

“No”.

“Fuck”.

“Yes; fuck”.

He sighed. “Rose…”

“Don’t say anything”. I was still sullen. I let out a resigned sigh. “I didn’t want to embarrass you. And I certainly didn’t want to embarrass me. I didn’t want you to feel you had to avoid me. And, I didn’t want to loose our friendship…” My voice trailed away but now I’d started I thought better of it; might as well get it all done with at once. “…It’s always been you, ok? There’s never been anyone else. Nobody even came close”. I didn’t bother hiding my resignation. I’d finally told him how I felt. And although I couldn’t bear it if he walked away at least I knew I’d done the right thing; even if it was a bit late.

His eyes slipped from me and I studied him from under my fringe; watched as he ran his fingers through his hair. He let out a long, ragged breath. And I wanted him so much but it was no good. For too long I’d held my breath; for too long I’d been patient, waiting like a fool for him to see me; waiting for him to recognize my love for him. Well, I wasn’t going to wait or be patient any more.

Suddenly, I couldn’t bear to be near him. I had no need to be standing there waiting for him to take it all in, waiting for him to decide how best to tell me that he didn’t feel the same. I didn’t want to witness his dilemma. I didn’t want to witness any of it because I knew you know, I knew he’d be embarrassed; that he’d feel guilty. And he shouldn’t; should he? After all, the problem was mine; not his. And, it had been very clear to me that he hadn’t expected me to reveal such deep feelings for him.

And now he was silent; silent and I couldn’t stand it. “I’m sorry,” I said finally. “It’ll have come as a shock to you but at least you know now and I can go home without trying to hide everything. I’m sick of all that, you know; really sick of it. Look”, I made to finish my speech off. “Look, I have to go”. I walked round him as he stood there thinking about everything that had been said. I knew that my eyes were glittering with unshed tears but I didn’t care. I left him standing in his own silence and ventured out on the street. I felt alone; like I’d left something behind. The street was empty now. The threatened rain had begun to fall and had dispersed all the people. Its miserable greyness suited my mood. Behind me I heard the gate swing closed. It put a barrier up between us. It was over. It was done.

:-:

Rosie No Tits, that’s what they called me during puberty; Rosie No Tits. My brother’s friends gave me that name when it became clear that my boobs were never going to flourish. Well, all of them did save one: Jack. Jack; whose eyes were so blue they made me think of summer. Jack whom I’d decided from a very young age was the one for me; Jack and Rose. It was written in the stars.

Except now I knew that it wasn’t, didn’t I. There was never going to be Rosie and Jack, or Jack and Rosie. Yes, I’d always loved him. Yes, fate had given him eyes for other people and yes, I’d been patient. But you know there’s only so much a body can take; only so many lows one can weather and besides, we’re grown ups now. Time had linked us once. Now that same time has pushed us apart.

And I felt drained, you know; totally drained. I had nothing left to give. He knew the truth now. At least there’d be no more hiding it, no more bland expressions painted on my face to hide my true feelings. I didn’t have to pretend that I didn’t care for him because now he knew and that was that; finished, done with. I’d given it all up, hadn’t I, told him of my misdirected love for him. At least now I could go home and heal myself. I could stop hungering after him. I could move on. And I would. I would.

:-:

“Rose!” I heard the playground gate swing shut behind him. He was calling out to me but I chose to ignore him; continued to stride away even though the sound of his voice made my heart leap. Knowing that I was deliberately
ignoring him, I heard his footfalls pick up speed. He was running up behind me. It reminded me of how he’d run after me before; on the night I’d decked him. I wasn’t going to deck him this time. “Rose! Rose; wait!”

But I wouldn’t. Instead, I carried on walking. I’d said everything I needed to say. He could bugger off; leave me alone to get on with it; leave me to wallow in my own sorrow and shame. He didn’t though; didn’t bugger off. Nope, within a few footfalls he’d caught up with me and had put his hand on my arm.

I shrugged him off. I couldn’t be doing with it; not any more but he wasn’t going to let me be. Quite suddenly he was in front of me, getting in my way and trying to make me stop which I did, but only long enough for me to throw a scowl at him and for my brain to tell me to walk around him.

“Wait”. He said.

“Go home, Jack”. I snorted, side stepping him. “Go home. I think we’ve said enough don’t you?”

“Rose”. He stepped in front of me again and made me stop by trying to put his hands on my arms. Of course, I fought with him; attempted to shake him off but he got a good hand hold anyway so I gave up. I knew he’d win but I at least had to try, didn’t I? So, there I was; standing before him, his big hands on me, waiting for him to speak. I wouldn’t acknowledge him though. I wouldn’t look at him so I turned my face away; stared at the ground beside his feet. Besides, I didn’t want him to see my tears, did I? I’d humiliated myself enough for one day. He tried again. “Rose, Rose; c’mon!”

I closed my eyes and shook my head; hauled in a breath. I didn’t want to hear or say any more. “No Jack!” I insisted. “I’ve got nothing more to say. I’ve said it all”.

I felt him slide his fingers down my arms so that he could take both my hands in his. They were cold, his hands; cold from the weather. Mine were still warm as I’d had them stuffed inside my coat pockets for most of the time. At the feel of those cold hands, I opened my eyes and pulled in another breath. He never failed to ignite a fire within me every time I looked at him. And what; with those cool hands covering mine, my reserve began to waver.

He felt so good even though he was cold and when I looked into his pleading blue eyes I wanted to give in. I wanted to wrap my arms around him. I wanted to warm him and then eat his face off but I knew that I wouldn’t. Mentally, I’d had enough. I’d bared my soul and got nowhere. We’d argued, been horrible to each other; said things we shouldn’t have. I didn’t want any more of it. “No, Jack”. I said pulling out of his grasp and then pushing at his chest. “No”. And I walked round him again.

“No, Rose. Wait, wait”. He was in front of me once more. I didn’t stop though and he had to either move out of the way or walk backwards. He chose the latter almost tripping up in the process so I stopped and waited, showing him my best impatient face. He was animated. All his anger had fled and he was smiling. “It was me all the time?”

I sighed; rolled my eyes. “I’ve said so haven’t I? Look, why don’t you just bugger off and leave me alone?” I tried to push him out of the way but he caught my hands again and held onto them; keeping them tightly fixed inside his.

He spoke. “Look, Rose”.

I looked down onto our hands and then back up again; back into the blueness of his eyes. “What?”

“Och, Rosie. You’re crying”.

“I am not”.

“Don’t cry, baby girl. You know I hate to see you cry”. And he let go of my hands so that he could hold me but I tensed up so he changed his mind, simply staring at me instead. “Ok, look, there’s something I need to tell you”.

“I don’t care. I’ve had enough”.

“No, Rose. You must listen”.

I snorted. I didn’t want to hear any of it. I shook my head, raising my eyebrows in my forehead to emphasis my words. Even though I knew he was concentrating on my tears, I would say what I wanted. “No! I don’t care any more, Jack. I don’t care if you have a harem full of women hidden in your loft. I don’t care if you’ve got another wife, or maybe two, secreted away somewhere. I don’t care and you know what; I don’t want to know, ok. I’m through. And no, I won’t be vetting your girlfriends any more; not unless you want the truth and even then I’m not going to be doing it. I can’t be arsed any more. Now; if you’d like to move out of the way…” I tried to side step him but he matched me, move for move. I sighed. “Jack”. I said irritably. “Would you just let me go? Do you really think I want to be standing here looking at you after I just spilled my guts all over the pavement? Do you, eh? You’re just embarrassing us both. Now, let me go”.

“No, Rosie. I won’t”. I sighed again. He raked his hand through his hair and then slid it across his face before speaking. “Rosie…”

I glanced down at the pavement. “I can’t do this, Jack. I can’t”. I spoke softly, aware of the rain becoming heavier. It began to run off my hair onto my forehead and then lower, to mix with my tears. We were both getting soaked but he didn’t seem to notice. When I looked up at him I saw that he was staring at me with those blue eyes.

“Five minutes.” He said quietly as the rain ran down the back of my neck.
“Give me five minutes”.

I shook my head, knowing that my words were going to come out ragged, as though I were trying not to cry; which I was. “I want to go home, Jack. I just want to go home”.

“Not yet baby girl. Not yet”.

“We’re getting soaked”.

“Ok, come on”. Next thing he was moving. He’d grabbed one of my hands and was dragging me along the wet pavement, splashing us through puddles so that our feet got wet and then taking us round a corner. Once off the main street he hauled me up five marbled steps that led to the recessed doorway of an abandoned office block.

:-:

I complained the moment we stopped, crabbed at what we were doing. “This is ridiculous”. I moaned. For effect, I shook my head to dislodge my wet hair from my even wetter face. “It’s chucking it! We’re drenched. We should go home”.

“No, Rosie”. He said pushing his hair behind his ears. “You’re not going anywhere until you’ve heard what I have to say, besides…” and he looked round the confined but dry doorway.

“Besides what?”

“It’s private here. No one can see us”. And he pulled me inside and into the shadows. “…Not if we stay at the back”.

I snorted just to let him know I wasn’t impressed. “What is it Jack? Just tell me so that I can go home”.

“Ok,” At first he looked uncomfortable as though he was unsure as to how much information to impart. I stood in mute silence as he hauled in a deep breath. The raindrops that had collected on his jawline now dripped onto his coat. He shook his head, blowing a rogue lock of hair out of his eyes and then attempted to sweep it back from his forehead. Finally he spoke.
“Those women,” He said but I didn’t want to hear it. I clicked my tongue, opened my mouth to insult them and got told off in the process. “No, Rose!” He snapped. “I need to tell you about them!”

I cut him off anyway. I didn’t want to hear any more. “Look”. I said. “I don’t want to know, Jack, ok. I don’t want to discuss your sex life with you and I certainly don’t want to discuss mine!” And as an afterthought; “Not that I have a sex life right now…” I pushed passed him. I intended to stalk down the steps and leave him standing there alone, but he grabbed my arm as I went by and pulled me round to face him. Time stopped for a moment. It could have been a second. It could have been an hour. It wouldn’t have made any difference. The blue intensity of his eyes skewered me. I gave in.

He didn’t get it all his own way though. I stared pointedly at him; let out a hot sigh; let him see that I was finished with it all. I made to fold my arms across my chest but he reached out and pulled them loose so that he could envelope both my hands in his. They were still cold and in spite of myself, I found myself automatically wrapping my warm fingers around them. Something in me wanted to offer him that small comfort.

He half smiled at the gesture and then spoke, his voice low, almost pleading. Leaning in towards me and giving me the intensity of his blue gaze, he began. “Rose”, He said. “I went out with those women because well, because I didn’t want to rush straight into another relationship. I needed space. I needed freedom”. As he spoke I became sullen. My head filled up with images of those smiling whores; each one of them having him; most likely all of them sleeping with him. I felt sick at the thought of it; sick at the idea of him humping them and I scoffed inwardly. Those women; all of them with their smiles and ladylike titters and not one of them like me. Not one of them to be accused of walking like a farmer in drag; not one of them guffawing at a joke like a happy fat man.

I shook my head. “Jack,” I said. “I don’t need to know, ok. It’s none of my business. Who you go out with has got nothing to do with me”.

“Actually, it has”.

I shook my head. “No, Jack. It hasn’t and I’m going home. Let me go”.

“No”.

“Jack”.

“Rosie;” He raised my hands to his mouth. I wasn’t expecting it and hauled in a shocked breath as he brushed his lips across my knuckles. I changed my mind about leaving him, even though I knew that I should. I couldn’t move. I liked the touch of his lips on my skin way too much. “It’s got everything to do with you”. He said.

Common sense suddenly kicked in and I pulled my hands away. I shook my head. This wasn’t fair. He was seducing me with that mouth, forcing me to concentrate on the heat and softness of his lips preying on my skin. My voice faltered. “No…” I said. “No, it hasn’t! I need to…”

It was his turn to scowl. His eyes widened. He let go of my hands. “Och, would you just shut up and listen!”

I stuffed my hands under my armpits in an attempt to keep them from him. “No, Jack. I’ve had enough, ok; enough! Now shift so that I can go home”.

He wasn’t to be moved. “Rosie. I’m not gonna let you go until you’ve heard me out”.

We faced each other off for the longest time; stared each other out. Eventually, I could see that I wasn’t going to get anywhere by arguing with him so I let out an irritated snort, rolled my eyes and gave him my best scowl. When he saw he’d won, he inclined his head. “Good”. He said but before he could say anything else I got in with a few words of my own.
“I don’t want to think about those horrible women, Jack ok?”

“They weren’t horrible women, Rosie”.

I knew he was right but wouldn’t admit to it. Instead, I turned my face away from him and stuck my nose in the air. I’d have the last word. “Yes, they were”.

He grew irritated. “You’re being difficult Rosie. I’m trying to explain something to you an’ you’re just making things twice as hard”. I scowled. A large drop of water dripped from above me and landed square between my collar and my skin and made me curse. I shivered involuntarily as it ran down inside my clothing, its coldness pimpling my skin. Watching my reaction, he took the chance whilst I wasn’t paying him any attention to pull my hands out from my armpits and take them inside his once more.

“Rosie”. He said.

I hauled in a breath. “If you don’t let me go, I’ll have to call for help. Do you want me to scream?”

“Rosie! Shut up an’ gimme five minutes!”

I tried to pull my hands free from his but he held them too tightly. “No”. I complained. “I’m not interested! You said yourself. You said this isn’t getting us anywhere. Now, if you don’t mind I want to go home”. I tried to plead with him, to shake him off but he wasn’t listening so I shook my head in frustration.

He spoke; his voice low. “Look, Rose!” He said. “I’m not proud of myself, ok. When I came back,” I rolled my eyes but he ignored me and repeated himself. “When I came back”, He said. “I thought that… I thought that you and me might… but then, well, it was easier just to take out a load of random women”.

I stared openly at him. He’d got my attention. “Random women?”

He was squeezing my fingers but not hurting me. “I know. I know Rose. It’s not something I’m proud of, besides…”

“Besides, what?” He had me interested and I hadn’t even noticed.

“I went out with all those women because it was my way of getting back at Rebecca”.

“…Your way of getting back at Rebecca?” I echoed. Though I was still irritated with him I was prepared to listen so I stared into his face with open curiosity. I wanted to read what was written there. I narrowed my eyes as I thought about his statement. “Wait,” I said. “You screwed your way through half the town to get back at Rebecca?” My voice had gone up an octave and he looked away from me and focused on the wall as though ashamed. I watched as he drew in a deep breath; waited to see what he was going to say but nothing came forth. Me, I had plenty to say. I snorted. “Yeah; that seems like a man thing to do”. I grew sarcastic. “Good on you, mate” I shook my head. I was disgusted. “You used all those women and whilst I disliked each and every one of them, I’m disgusted with you”.

He shook his head, still staring at the wall beside us, only now he was chewing the inside of his mouth. “I know Rose. I know it was wrong but I’m tellin’ you the truth”. He hauled in another breath and let it out before looking back at me. His eyes were pleading. He needed me to understand. “At first I just wanted some fun. Then I wanted her to know I was with other women. I wanted it to get back to her so that she knew I didn’t want her; didn’t need her; couldn’t give a shite”. He sighed and let go of my hands so he could rub at his jaw. “I thought that if I surrounded myself with lots of women, my confidence would come back and maybe I’d feel kind of…”

“What?”

He chewed his lip as though considering his words. Then he shook his head and returned his gaze to the wall. I think he was embarrassed because he wouldn’t look at me. “Och, I dunno”. He whispered. “…attractive, I guess”.

“Attractive?” I echoed. I found his statement hard to understand because me, well, I’d always found him attractive. I shook my head. “How can you say that with a face like yours?”

He pulled his gaze from the wall to look at me and sighed, his expression serious. He shook his head. “I didn’t feel it, Rosie”. He breathed. “I felt, I felt like the ugliest fuck in the world”.

And suddenly I felt a great sorrow. Here was a man who’d been betrayed; a man who’d suffered humiliation and rejection. A man who’d had to come back home alone and own up to his wife leaving him for another. His self esteem must have hit rock bottom. He continued; his eyes still on my face. “She left me for someone else Rosie. She was seeing another guy right under my nose, having him in my house whilst I was out earning a living for us both, doing it in my bed. It knocked my confidence, Rosie. It knocked my confidence”.

At his words, I reached out to touch his face. His skin was cold and wet against my warm palm. I was no longer angry with him. “Jack”. I whispered. I had my free hand pressed against his chest and he caught it in his, curling those big fingers around it. “I’m so sorry”. I whispered.

“Why?” He said quietly. “It wasn’t your fault. None of it was your fault”.

“I’ve been such a cow”. I whispered. “I’ve been so shallow and unthinking”. And I couldn’t believe how horrible and inconsiderate I’d been. “I didn’t know. Well, I did know but I… I guess I never really gave any thought to just how badly it affected you. All I’ve done is bitch and crab and…”

“I’m not angry with you Rosie”. He whispered. “I’m angry with her. That’s why I needed to get back at her. I needed some kind of revenge”. He snorted and pulled me towards him so that I could nestle against his chest. “Ridiculous, isn’t it?” He said wrapping his arms around me. “I went out with all those women just to make her jealous, just to make me feel better about myself”.

“And did it work?”

“Nope”.

I pulled away so that I could look at him. I wanted him so much. “Jack”.

“What?”

“I know it’s not much of a consolation for what you’ve been through but, but, well, I’ve always found you attractive”.

He nodded. One side of his mouth rose and then he pulled me back in against him, pressing his lips to the side of my face. “You always did know how to make me feel good, Rosie”.

“It’s true”. I said pulling away slightly so that I could take in his face again.

“Since before my boobs came along,” I said. “I’ve found you attractive”.
He laughed then; threw his head back and laughed and it was such a lovely sound. I spoke again. “Do you remember when you found me crying on my bed because everyone was calling me Rosie No Tits?”

I heard the smile in his voice. It was back. “I do”.

“Well, ever since then and well before then, I knew you were special”.

A warm smile took over his face. It reached his eyes and I knew I’d raised his spirits. He began to speak but let his words trail away. “Was I…am I still…?”

Moving my head forward a little so that I could plant a soft kiss on his jaw, I finished his sentence off for him. “Special? Yes. You always have been; at least to me”. He pulled in a deep steadying breath as though it was all too much for him. I continued, confident now, moving my lips along his jawline. “And I missed you, you shite. I missed you so much when you went away”.

I pulled away so that I could look at him. His eyes were blue again, intense blue; so blue they made me think of summer. “Did you?” He asked. “Did you really miss me?”

“Well, maybe I did; a bit”. I was grinning at him. In return his mouth
lengthened into that roguish grin that always made me giggle.

“You couldn’t live without me?” He asked.

“I wouldn’t go that far”.

And I found myself suddenly locked in his tight embrace. He nuzzled into my neck. “I hated you going out with those other guys; Geordie…”

“Ah yes, Geordie. I think you should apologize to him”.

“I know and I will”.

I hauled back to look at him. I had to ask him another question. “Why did you hit him?”

He didn’t hesitate. Fixing me with his blue eyes he answered me. “Because I was jealous of him; he had what I wanted”. As an afterthought he snorted. “And he let her walk home all by herself. He shouldn’t have done that. He deserved that smack on the nose”. As he finished off his words he brushed his lips across mine.

“I liked it”. I whispered into his mouth.

“Liked what?”

I caught his lower lip between my teeth, just for a fraction of a second and then let go. “…The fact that you wanted to see me home safely”.

Our foreheads touched. He breathed out his words. “I couldn’t do anything else, Rosie”.

My voice was a little hoarse when I spoke. I couldn’t help it; I was so fired up for him. In my minds eye I was already undressing him. “So, have you, have you finished?”

As the atmosphere grew heavy between us, his voice became deep and warm and velvet; the natural soft breathiness of his tones filling me up with need. “Finished what?”

“Making yourself feel attractive?”

His breath came out long and slow through his nose. “Maybe”.

“And…would it make you feel attractive if we kissed?”

Another long nasally breath. “Yeah; I think it might”. His words were silken soft and dangerously seductive. My insides liquefied. A heat began to build up inside me. I had to have him soon.

His eyes became serious on me. He gave off such intensity that I could practically feel the heat of his thoughts. I knew what he was thinking because I was thinking the exact same thing. I licked my lips, knowing he’d catch the movement and fry his brain.

When I spoke I heard a huskiness in my own voice; the way I said what I had to say. It seemed that I was capable of being just as seductive as him. I was moving in for his kiss; getting closer and closer to his mouth. No conscious thought made me do it; I just did and, I let my words slip in between his parted lips. “Should we try it and see?”

“Yeah”. And his lips brushed mine, only the softest touch, mind. “I think we should”. And I opened up for him.

:-:

Have you ever experienced the sugary bitterness of a coffee that you didn’t actually drink; ever tasted the soft sweetness that lingers on another’s tongue; felt the vibration passed into your mouth from another’s groan? As I took everything Jack’s mouth had to offer, my fingertips knew the texture of his coat, the warmth of his breath on my face. We were so fired up, so frantic for each other that it was difficult to know where my heat ended and his began. And he was bruising me, you know; bruising my lips with his, giving me everything I needed. A tongue that was warm. A tongue that was experienced and searching and a kiss was every bit as hot as I’d imagined it would be. A kiss that was every bit as exciting, every bit as desperate; after all, I’d yearned for him for so long. I’d known all those years ago; all those years ago, that I wouldn’t stop chasing him until I got him. So I stood there clinging to his chest and fighting back the desire to rip his clothes off, I knew, I knew that I’d finally got what I’d been waiting for. And it was exactly as good I knew it would be.

:-:

He pulled away. I gawked at him. He looked back at me. I noticed that his was chest rising and falling to the same beat as mine and I asked myself why he’d stopped. For a few seconds he examined my face without saying anything then moved back in to lick my lips. Me, I died a little death. He groaned. “Geez, Rosie, you taste so goo…” That’s all he managed to get out before I hauled him back in for another greedy kiss. And he responded. His arms, his hands, held me and fixed my body to his. He pinned me against a chest that I’d waited all my life to feel. Heat radiated from him as he wrapped himself around me. His gorgeous mouth became my centre of attention. I forgot about the rain; forgot that we were both soaked to the skin. I didn’t even feel the rain drops as they trickled off my hair to lubricate our already lubricated lips.

And I burned in his arms; burned with such ferocity that I thought I might explode. His kiss, his tongue, his words; it all caused my breath leave my throat in gasping bursts. I wanted to eat him. I wanted him to press me up against the wall and take me. I didn’t care about the rain. I didn’t care about being caught. I wanted only him. I wanted to become one with him; to join him, to have him join himself to me.

As our kiss deepened I found myself sliding my hands from his chest to press against his hips. I splayed my fingers out on them, digging into him through the dark denim at his thighs and then I slid my hands yet further, round the back to his lovely, strong buttocks. And I clutched at them you know; clutched them in my greedy fingers and brought him fast up against me. And there it was; his need, his want and all of it matching mine. Oh but he felt so damn good. We’d never done anything this intimate before and I couldn’t get enough of him but as I stood welded to him, hip to hip, chest to chest, mouth to mouth, he suddenly ripped himself away from me.
I was shocked. I was deeply disappointed. I felt the unpleasant sting of cold air where once his warm lips had been and I wrote my disbelief all over my face. He must have seen my expression because he spoke; his words showing that he was just as breathless as me as he tried to chuckle.
“Rosie! Rosie! We have to stop this. If we go any further…” But I wasn’t having it. I pounced on him again, letting go off his bum to drag his head back down to mine so I could continue where he’d left off but he resisted me, moving his head out of the reach of my lips. “Rosie, no, no Rosie”.

My eyebrows shot up in my forehead at his withdrawal “What Jack; what? Don’t do this”. I was desperate and disappointed and didn’t bother to hide it in my voice. “Don’t stop. Why have you stopped?”

He pulled in a steadying breath, raking his hand through his hair and let his breath out again before answering me. “You have no idea how close I am to taking you right now”.

“I don’t care”. And I tried to pull him back in against me.

He shook his head. “No, Rosie; not here, not like this”.

“But Jack…” My voice went up an octave. “It’s private, you said so yourself”.

He considered my face; his eyes on me as intense as any predator on its prey. I held my breath; waiting, waiting to see if his reserve faltered; waiting to see if he was going to give in to his animal passion and mate with me. As I returned his intensity something caught my eye and from the edge of my vision, I saw a fat drop of rainwater dangling from a lock of his hair. It dripped onto his cheek, ran down his face and found its way to the corner of his lips and me; well I reached up to lick it away. He grunted. His voice was thick, deep, velvet. His blue gaze fixed on my mouth. “Geez, Rosie!” He breathed. “Don’t do that”.

I wasn’t listening. I stared up at him, frustrated, anxious, willing him to touch me. When he didn’t I gave voice to the words that had gone round and round my in head for such a long time. “I want you, Jack. Jack?”
He’d closed his eyes. I waited with impatience and then quite suddenly he slid one of his big hands around the back of my neck, pulling me towards him. Our foreheads met. “Rosie,” He whispered softly.

I ignored him. “I want you”. I said. “And I want you now”. And I tried to kiss him again.

He avoided my lips and let out a hot breath. “We have to stop”.

“No!” And I made to grab his head. I wanted to bring him to my lips so that I could ingest him again but he caught hold of both my wrists. “Rosie! Rosie. Not here. We need to find somewhere else”.

I was bereft. “Where?” I asked. “Where?”

“Och, I dunno; anywhere and we need it quick”.

We both sighed, our foreheads still pressed together. I was at a loss. I was throbbing with desire. I’d go mad if I didn’t have him soon. After a few seconds of listening to my own breath rushing in my ears, one side of his mouth rose.

“What?” I asked.

He reached down into the pockets of his jeans. The grin lengthened.
“Thought so”. He looked smug. Moving away from me he pulled something shiny from within. It was a key on a chain. “Keiron’s”. He stated. I stared at the chain as it swayed in his grasp. “I have the key to his apartment”. My own smile lengthened. We were in tune with each other. Jack continued. “And it’s only round the corner”.

“It is”. I grinned back.

“Less than five minutes walk from here”.

“Less that five minutes. We should run”. I said. “Get there before he gets back”. I turned to slip down the steps. He caught my arm.

“No, Rosie”. He said. “No running”.

“Why not?”

“Because,” And he caught my hand in his before taking to the steps himself. “Because you, missy, you have to preserve all the strength you have”.

“Why’s that?”

“Because I’m gonna make sure that you’re gonna need it”.

:-:

“How come,” Jack began, “We never got together before?” We were lying in a bed in Keiron’s spare room. I was deliciously contented and totally worn out. Beside me, Jack was propped up on one elbow, stroking my stomach.

“Are we getting together now?” I asked.

“That’s up to you, missy. Do you want to?”

“Well, I don’t know”. His eyes narrowed in suspicion. I shrugged. “We do argue a lot”.

He laid his head back on his pillow and gazed up at the ceiling before answering me. “That’s because you go out with a load of dickheads”.
I sat up and looked down at him. And what a sight he was; lying there, his long, dark hair a contrast with the whiteness of the pillow, his strong, darkening jaw, shoulders, square and broad and his chest, his lovely chest, equally broad and softly hairy. “Dickheads?”

“Yup”. He continued to consider the ceiling. I narrowed my eyes as I looked down on him. A slow smile made its way across his face as he deliberately kept his gaze on the ceiling. “…Dickheads. Each and every one of them; dickheads”.

“You’re gonna start again, aren’t you?”

“Not especially”.

“Yes, you are. You’re going to spout on about the men in my life”.

“Like I said; dickheads”.

“And if I start on about the women in your life?”

He let out a contented sigh and stretched. “Och, Rosie. They meant nothing”.

“Nothing?” I was affronted for them. “They meant nothing to you? What you really mean is that you used them”.

At last his eyes focused on my face as he raised a big hand to my cheek to trace a big finger along my jawline. He squeezed his lips together as he stared at his own fingers. “Maybe”.

“Why did you do that?”

“Because I couldn’t have you”.

“But you could have. You could have had me. I don’t understand”.

“No Rosie,” He let out a long sigh, his eyes still on his own fingers. “I couldn’t have you. I had to do what I did without you”.

“Why?”

“I guess, I guess I didn’t want to use you”.

“Like you used them?”

Another sigh left him. “Like I used them”.

I considered him as he considered his fingertips on my jaw. “You didn’t have to use them. We could have got together before”.

“No, Rosie. We couldn’t”.

“I don’t understand”.

With his eyes holding a faraway expression he spoke. “I wanted sex, Rosie. I wanted as much sex as I could get. Sex made me feel good about myself”.

“And?”

“And I wanted sex without any commitments. I knew that if I went straight into another relationship I’d mess it up. I needed all the freedom that casual sex brings but you and me; well, we’ve got something special, haven’t we?” I didn’t say anything. I wanted to hear more. He continued.
“I wanted, no, needed to get it all out of my system. I needed to get Rebecca out of my head”.

“So you had sex with a load of random women?”

He chuckled then though his eyes were still fixed on his fingers at my jaw. “Actually, there weren’t that many”.

“Not that many?” I snorted. I didn’t believe him.

He chuckled humourlessly. “Nope”. He said. “Not that many at all”.

“How many?” I was being nosy and bitchy and I didn’t care.

Finally, his gaze reached my eyes. “Rose; does it matter?”

I shrugged. “No”. Yes.

“Then let it be”. Ok.

I said nothing; just sat looking down at him, examining his gorgeous face.

“So, have you finished?” I asked.

“Finished what?”

“…Screwing your way through town”.

A smile tugged at one corner of his jaw. “I think so”.

“No more casual sex?”

“No more casual sex”.

His answer satisfied me and I smiled. In return, he grinned; looking at me properly for the first time in minutes. His big hand slid to my shoulder. He spoke. “Know what I want right now?”

“Nope”. I said but I did.

:-:

“This isn’t the first time, you know”. We were still in bed, our legs still entwined. Jack had his arm resting loosely round my shoulders.

“What isn’t?” I asked.

“That we’ve been in bed together”.

I scoffed, swirling my fingertips round one of his nipples. “Huh. I think I would have remembered being in your bed before”.

“It’s true”. He said. “I took you back to my place once cos you were so rat arsed your father would’ve gone ape if he’d seen you in that condition”.

I didn’t believe him and the tone in my voice told him so. “I ended up in your bed”. I said flatly.

“Yup. I gave Keiron a tenner to call round to your folks and tell them that I’d taken you back to my place cos you didn’t feel very well”.

“Couldn’t you have told them yourself?”

“Nope; too scared of your father”. And we both laughed. He continued. “So, I persuaded Keiron to call in on his way home. He didn’t mind cos he was drunk as a skunk too”.

I tried to remember but it wouldn’t come back. I wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. He moved so that he could watch my face. And he waited; waited to see if the penny would drop. It did. I widened my eyes.

“What?” He asked still grinning.

“I think I remember. Shite. I was lying in your bed and you came in and joined me”.

“Yup”.

“I thought that was a dream”.

“Nope”.

“Shite”. And then; “Um…we… we didn’t…did we…”

He was grinning, that one sided grin of his. “Did we what, Rosie?” Of course, he knew exactly to what I was referring and was clearly enjoying my confusion. Me, I was angry with myself on account that I might have been too drunk to enjoy him before.

I scoffed. “I don’t believe you”. I stated. “It was a dream. I probably told you about it”.

“Well, it is true, Rosie. I still remember the pink bra and knickers”. I did once have a matching pink pair of undies. He was talking again. “You want to know if we made love, doncha?”

“No”.

He scoffed and stared at me. “Oh, I think you do, Farmer Rosie”.

I gawked up at the ceiling. “And was it good; this love making?”

“Nope”.

I turned to look at him, bristling with disgust. “What? What do you mean; no?”

He chuckled again, still watching my face. “…Because as soon as your head hit the pillow you passed out”.

“So, we didn’t then?”

He pulled in a long breath and traced my jaw with a finger. “I think I’d want you to remember if I’d made love to you, Rosie”. We fell into silence. Jack hauled me in against his chest and wrapped his arms around me. “And you were always sitting on my knee”. He said. “Wherever we went out as a group, you’d end up on my knee”.

“Yeah, only when there was nowhere else to sit. And anyway, I didn’t hear you complaining”.

“That’s because I didn’t want to give up my seat”. I bashed him in the chest and he giggled like a girl, kissing my forehead. His next words were serious. “Rosie”.

“Mmmm?”

“Why did you always laugh whenever someone suggested we got together?”
He’d caught me by surprise. I hesitated but decided to tell him the truth.
“I didn’t want to show myself up”.

“Why would you?”

“I never thought you were interested”.

“But I showed you on more than one occasion that I was interested”.

“I thought you were messing about. You were always joking. What; armed with all that charm and blarney, I never knew if you were serious or if you were flirting and it wasn’t worth my pride to take you seriously”.

“I was always serious with you Rosie”.

I looked up into his lovely face. “Were you?”

“Absolutely”. His mouth found my forehead and his arms tightened around me. I felt sad suddenly. So much time wasted. So much heartache when we could have got together so long ago. “Rosie?” His warm voice drifted into my head.

“What?”

“Look at me”.

So I did. “What?”

His voice was thick suddenly. “Would you have my babies?”

“Excuse me?”

“Would you have my babies and make house?”

I sat up and stared down at him. “What are you talking about?”

“I was just thinking; if you had my babies and kept house, maybe, maybe if we got married; would that be serious enough for you?”

I thought long and hard about what he said; kept his face in my line of vision and my eyes never wavered from his. I felt one side of my mouth rise into a smile. Leaning down so that I could kiss his fine mouth, I answered him. “I think that it would, Jack. I think that it would. But I have one condition”.

“What?”

“That you stop calling me Farmer Rosie”.

THE END...



Ok folks. That's it for now. Got to get back to re-writing the Diaries... I hope you liked Rose. Got some more fic up my sleeve (new ones) but always seem to be fighting time...bleh...

Until next time..
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:51 PM   #2
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BRAVA BRAVA BRAVA
Really enjoyed this one. I appreciate the effort you took to really develop the ending to the story, it made the characters so real! Thanks for continuing to write. :-)

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Old 01-25-2014, 08:16 PM   #3
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You really went out of your way to improve the ending, you outdid yourself! Loved it so much!
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Old 01-26-2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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Loved this story!

The thought that kept running through my mind was that true love is never a neat and tidy experience, is it.

I enjoyed how you kept the tension and conflict going right up until the very end. I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster (in a good way, of course) ~wondering when these two characters were going to finally let down their defenses and be real with each other. And true to character, Jack and Rosie remain stubborn right to the end.

I can't wait to read more of your work. You are a very gifted writer.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:07 PM   #5
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Wonderful
Thank you for your rewrite of this great story. I always enjoy your writing.

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Old 01-29-2014, 03:16 AM   #6
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Loved it! Such a great ending to the story.
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Old 02-02-2014, 09:00 AM   #7
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YDW, I so enjoy your writing style. Your changes to Rose definitely added to the original.

Looking forward to the rewrite of Diaries ... although I think it's great the way it is. Oh, and HINT, HINT, you left us hanging with Midnight and Christine. Any plans to finish those for us? Great stories with such mystery ... so many questions ...

Love your writing, just please keep it coming
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