Sharing The Burden
The sun streaming through the window felt completely delicious on the bare skin of her back. For once, the scars crisscrossing her shoulders didn’t ache or burn. She flexed her injured hand and found it sore but not unbearably so. The sheets felt unusually cool on her skin and she realized with a start that she had never slept on them nude before. That was also a new sensation, so many from the night before.
She opened her eyes to find herself alone in bed. One arm stretched reverently over to the side of the bed, seeking out Kurt’s warmth. Jordan sat up, clutching the sheet tightly to her chest for modesty’s sake even though Kurt had seen it all before and what was missed had surely been discovered last night.
Pulling her knees up she rested her arms on them, then her chin, mentally replaying what had proved to be a day of substantial firsts. The first time she had truly expressed herself to her sister. The first time she had admitted out loud that she no longer wished to be a hero.
Then there were the good ones.
The first time Kurt had undressed her without some dire injury. The first time she had ever returned the favor. The first feel of their bodies pressed together without barrier. And then… Jordan blushed slightly. She wondered if Kurt had been aware of that very important first as well.
She still felt conflicted about the act. There was no regret in her choice. She loved Kurt more than she ever thought herself capable of. He had demonstrated for most of the night how he felt about her in return. He had kissed every scar with reverence, quietly worshipping all her perfect imperfections, acknowledging her badges of courage. Yet she couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that she was setting a poor example for their daughter. Then again, she and Kurt had done things a little differently from the beginning.
Surely her living in his home had led many people to the assumption that what happened last night was a regular occurrence. Nona had often hinted at it with suggestive looks and her father often asked how Kurt was enjoying his room. Thinking back, she had tried to set a good example for her sister as well but in the end, Julio was much more persuasive than she could ever be. Jordan stared out the window with a sigh.
She knew that if CLU truly wanted her dead, there was very little she could do to stop him. However, he couldn’t stop her from living until then. It seemed likely that whatever he was doing in the city would be concluded soon, possibly in the next few days. At that point, they would see if he would hold up his end of the bargain. It was out of her hands now so she resolved to enjoy her friends and family as much as she could until that moment came. The first thing she needed to do was work things out with Nona; their conversation had been interrupted by spontaneous bleeding and fainting. There were a few more things she wished to hash out with her little sister. A small kiss on her shoulder startled her!
“I’m sorry, love! I didn’t mean to scare you.” Kurt placed both hands on her shoulders, resting his cheek lightly against her upper back. She pushed back into him, seeking his warmth and smiled at him over her shoulder.
“It’s okay. I was just … thinking. I didn’t hear you come in.”
“Thinking? About this?” He placed a small kiss on her neck, then her jaw before claiming her mouth. The kiss was deep and slow, Jordan melting further into his caresses with each passing second until he had somehow managed to lie her back on the bed, his large frame hovering above her.
“Mmmmm… No. But it is hard to think when you keep doing that.” She whispered against his lips when they came up for air. Kurt chuckled and kissed the tip of her nose before meeting her eyes.
“No regrets?” He asked quietly, concern clouding his blue eyes.
“Never. Why do you ask?”
Kurt shifted so he was lying on the side of her, keeping his weight from crushing her. He reached a hand out and gently ran it from her cheek down to her jaw before he answered her question.
“Because I would never do anything to hurt you.” He looked away from her for a moment before asking tentatively. “Jordan, was I your first… everything?”
Now it was her turn to look away nervously. So he had noticed. She didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t have. Kurt had been with other women, she was sure of it. He would have spotted her inexperience immediately. He turned her face back towards him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you…”
“No!” He moved back over her to cuddle her protectively. “You have nothing to be sorry for. I feel honored that you chose me. I just wanted it to be special for you.”
“I always knew I wanted that moment to be with a man I truly loved. So it was special.” She told him simply before stretching up to kiss him lightly. “I always knew you would be my first… and my only.” Kurt’s smile grew wider before returning her kiss more deeply.
“And you will be my last, love. I could never want anyone else. Which is why whatever happens with this whole CLU thing, I would die before I let him hurt you again.”
“I know that’s what you were thinking about. Is that why last night happened? Because you think he’s going to come back? You think you might die?”
“No! I don’t know… I can’t be sure how this will all turn out.” She paused to gather her thoughts, wanting to set Kurt’s mind at ease. “I do know that I had wanted last night for a long time… It was very hard to stop the other day.” She blushed at the acknowledgement of her own need. Kurt’s smile grew another two inches at knowing he wasn’t alone in his desire. “I just needed to be sure…”
“Of what? Did you really doubt how much I love you?” Kurt looked slightly hurt and irritated as he moved to slide off her but she frantically pulled him back.
“I could never doubt that! You’ve shown me all these months how much you care, nursing me back to health and not pressuring me into anything I’m not ready for. I just needed to be sure I was good enough… for you.” She finished quietly, burying her face in his chest so he wouldn’t see her cry. He lifted her chin gently with one finger.
“No one could be more perfect for me than you. I knew it the day we met.”
She pushed upwards again and kissed him fiercely. She should have known; should have known Kurt would say the perfect thing because he was perfect for her; she had just been so wrapped up in her emotional prison that she nearly missed it. Nearly let this beautiful man walk out of her life; had nearly snatched herself away from him in her moments of profound despair.
“Guess I said the right thing…” He murmured against her lips with a smile.
“Yeah, you’re pretty good at that…” She replied never moving her lips from his.
“That’s not the only thing I’m pretty good at…”
Kurt pressed her deeper into the mattress as he claimed her mouth again. The kisses had grown more passionate after their declarations of love and Jordan turned her head happily to the side to allow Kurt to continue planting kisses along her neck when she noticed the tray beside the bed.
“You made breakfast?”
“Hmm… yeah,” Kurt responded distractedly, intent on his current task.
“It’ll get cold.” She murmured while he pulled the sheet down as it was impeding his progress.
“It’s fine,” He replied. “You can warm it up…” Then he ripped the sheet completely away and she found no more words were possible.
After several more hours of enjoying one another, Jordan was finally able to peel herself away from Kurt. She had a few more things she wanted to do that day and while Kurt was definitely one of them, he would have to wait until later that night before it was his turn again. She climbed out of her SUV and walked into the shop. A few of Nona’s mechanics greeted her happily, surprised to see her at the shop but pleased with her recovery. Most of them had not seen her in several months since the incident. She returned their well wishes with a grateful smile as she made her way to Nona’s office. The door was closed so she knocked lightly on it.
“Yeah?” Came an irritated tone from within. She turned the knob and pushed the door open before stepping in. She closed the door lightly behind her but noticed her sister hadn’t bothered to look up. “What do you need?”
“Nona?” Her sister’s head snapped up immediately.
“Jay? Hey. You’re up? Are you okay?” She seemed genuinely concerned as she stood and approached her sister cautiously; her eye was instantly drawn to the bandage. Part of her wanted to pull Jordan into a fierce hug but she wasn’t sure where they stood after their argument the day before.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I mean a little tired, more stitches obviously…” Jordan realized she was rambling a little. “Wait, Kurt didn’t text or call you?”
“No. After he stitched you up, he checked me out then said he would call but I never heard from him last night.”
Jordan could feel the heat rising in her cheeks at the mention of last night. Kurt had been rather…occupied. He’d had good reason for forgetting to text but she wasn’t quite ready to share that with her sister or anyone for that matter.
“I hope you weren’t too worried…”
“Of course I was worried! We didn’t leave things on the best terms yesterday.”
“I know, I’m sorry too!” Jordan stared at her sister with a shocked expression.
“That’s not what I was going to say.” Now it was Nona’s turn to look shocked. “I mean, I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings but my feelings matter too.”
“I never said they didn’t!”
“Your actions say it.” Her older sister stated bluntly. “I know I don’t express what I’m feeling often. And maybe that’s why you think I don’t need help or think things don’t bother me but they do.”
Jordan flopped down on the edge of her sister’s desk, picking at her bandage absentmindedly. The atmosphere in the small office was tense and finally Nona sat on her couch across from her sister.
“Am I really that bad at being a little sister?” she asked quietly. Jordan glanced at her before picking more gauze away.
“You’re not a bad sister. You are a brat though…” Jordan was teasing her, a small smile played across her face.
“Well you’re an enabler.” She reached out and pushed Jordan’s knee playfully before standing and enveloping her sister in a hug. Jordan wrapped her arms around her sister’s back, even as she pressed her face into the crook of her neck. “And a cheater. Bleeding and fainting is a pretty good way to win an argument.”
Jordan nodded but couldn’t seem to find her voice. She hated feeling so vulnerable but found it strangely liberating. The brave face she had been wearing for the past few months had gotten unbearably heavy.
“You really want to end the team?”
“Yes.” Her voice sounded small to her.
“Did I totally mess everything up? Do you think he’ll let the bargain stand?”
“I don’t know. I just know I can’t fight anymore, I won’t.” She felt Nona sigh into her hair as she considered their very limited selection of options. The two sisters stayed enjoying the warmth of the embrace for a while before Nona’s fingers began to idly trace the scars on her sister’s back and Jordan instinctively tensed.
“Tell me about that day…”
“What?” Jordan tried to pull back but Nona held her close.
“Tell me about the day we fought… the day I … hurt you…” There was a slight catch in Nona’s voice as she admitted to herself the terrible truth. Jordan had been hurt, was still hurting, because of her.
“Nona, let’s not… It wasn’t your fault. I’m oka-“ She was cut off when her sister pushed her away abruptly, gripping her shoulders tightly.
“No! You are NOT okay! Stop saying that you are. If anything, these last few days have proven that. Let me help you. You need to share this burden.”
Jordan was taken aback by the strength in her sister’s voice. Her mind instantly began to replay her most recent nightmare. A nightmare about the very day Nona was beseeching her to relive. . . a day that her sister would never have guessed the ending to…
“Where am I?”
Jordan opened her eyes to see her sister hobbling towards her, blood pouring down one leg, a frantic look in her eyes.
“Run! You’ve got to run!”
“What? Nona, what happened to you?”
Before her sister could answer a uniformed officer appeared behind her weapon drawn!
She heard the shot like a cannon blast as her sister’s full weight slammed into her before she slumped heavily against Jordan. She stared down at her sister, gripping her fiercely lest she slide to the ground.
“No! Not again… I can’t do this again…” Nona stared back at her, eyes glazed in pain.
“You let them kill me… why… why did you let…” Her head lolled to the side as she took her last shuddering breath.
Nona stood watching her sister with growing concern as Jordan had fallen silent and seemed to be lost in some very troubled thought. She gripped her sister’s hand firmly, willing Jordan to crawl back out of her own head and share this particularly heavy burden, with someone, anyone before it drove her mad.
Finally Jordan nodded and began to recount the painful events of that night to her sister. Several times she had to stop and compose herself. Nona just listened and held her, making soothing sounds. Eventually, Jordan calmed down enough to disentangle herself from her sister. Nona stooped down in front of her, holding her hands gently.
“Wow. So, you’ve been carrying that around for 6 months? Alone?” Jordan nodded, not sure of how to respond. “I’m so sorry I put you through that.” Jordan moved to speak but she held up a hand to stop her. “ You don’t have to say anything. I just wanna be here for you when you need me, okay?”
“And I’ll do my best not to be a brat anymore or discount your feelings. No promises though!” She added with a small laugh that caused her older sister to smile faintly in return.
“That’s all I can ask. Just try to remember that I can’t always be the tough big sister. Sometimes I need a little protection.” Or a lot, she thought as Nona engulfed her in the warmest hug yet.
“Just say the word.”