Jack had taken off from work, and at 11am the next day, he and Kallie drove towards the city to Drew’s neighborhood. Kallie dressed carefully- jeans and a thin sweater- so Drew would have no reason to think that she was there for any other reason than to help an old friend in trouble. When they arrived at the diner, Drew was already there, in a corner table.
“Kal, I’m going to sit at the bar stools over there. Holler if you need me,” Jack said, giving her a long, loving kiss.
“I love you, baby,” Kallie answered, and kissed him back.
Kallie walked slowly over to Drew’s table; Drew stood and pulled out Kallie’s chair.
“Thank you,” she said to Drew, sitting down and scooting her chair in under the table.
“How are you?” Drew asked her.
“I’m fine; thank you,” Kallie replied curtly.
Drew paused. “Nice ring.”
“Thanks Drew. Jack and I got engaged on Saturday. We’re getting married in January.”
“Wow; congratulations Kallie. I’m really happy for you.”
“I am. I want you to be happy Kallie. I was a fool; I should have never hurt you. You’re an amazing woman, and I’m an idiot. I’m sorry.”
“I know you are, Drew. And I forgive you. How is everything with you?”
“It’s okay, I guess. I’m seeing a counselor a few times a week to work everything out. We talk about you, mostly.”
“Oh? What about?”
“About how I could have done everything differently, and how I need to do things differently in the future. About how broken up I am that you were the casualty of my learning experience.”
“I’m not a casualty, Drew; I’m a triumph. I overcame, and I survived. That’s a victory. Both of us can have a victory in this; I think I’ve achieved mine, and I see that you are well on your way to yours.”
“We can be amazing, Kallie. We’ve both grown so much and learned so much. We can be epic.”
“I’m already epic. I didn’t become a statistic. I’m stronger,” Kallie smiled and wrapped her arms around herself, proud of the strength she showed, strength given to her by Drew, and Cam, and Jack.
“I know you are. You’re so different Kallie, but I am too. We can pretend that we’ve just met and start from the beginning.”
“I don’t think you understand. I want you to get better, and I want to help you. But Jack is everything to me, and I’m everything to him. He didn’t need to be ‘awakened’ to confirm that; he just knew. That’s how it should be, Drew. Right from the start.”
“I know. You’re absolutely right. You make me better, Kallie; I hope you don’t change your mind about being my friend because of the stupid things I let come out of my mouth.”
Kallie smiled. “Of course not. I just hope you realize that although I’ll talk to you for as long as you need me to, I won’t trust you ever again. That’s something you can’t change,” she said, and stood up out of her chair, “I’ll see you soon, Drew; keep in touch.”
Kallie walked over to Jack, who had been watching her the whole time. He stood quickly, and took her hand. Kallie smiled faintly and squeezed his hand. Jack led her out to his car and opened the door for her. Kallie got into the car and lay her head against the cool window. Jack drove in silence the whole ride home, not forcing Kallie to make any conversation. When they got home, Kallie went right up to her room and into the bathroom to take a shower. Jack went into the office, where Cam was working on the restaurant’s inventory order on his laptop.
“Hey Jackson. How did it go?” Cam asked with concern.
“I honestly don’t know man. I didn’t listen because I don’t want Kallie to think I don’t trust her.”
“I don’t think she’ll feel that way, Jack. She knows that you are only trying to keep her safe.”
Jack looked into his brother’s eyes. “I think I’m losing her, Cameron.”
Cam swallowed hard. “Why do you think that?”
“You haven’t seen her since we got home. She didn’t talk to me once in the car, and she went right upstairs as soon as we got home.”
“Maybe she just needed a second to think. Was she cold to you?”
“No, not at all. She held my hand the whole way home. She was just quiet.”
“I wouldn’t worry Jackson. She’s got a lot on her mind right now; let her think.”
Jack agreed with his brother, and then he went upstairs to check on her. She was curled up on her bed in a fluffy robe, fast asleep. Kallie hadn’t slept in her bed once yet; she’d spent every night in Jack’s bed since she came back from California. Jack pulled her door shut, and sadly went downstairs to get some work done, anything to keep his mind busy.
That night, Jack lay in his bed with the lights off, watching the news. Kallie hadn’t come out of her room once all afternoon. Jack knew she wasn’t sleeping because he could hear her moving around, but he didn’t want to smother her either. He knew she had her phone and computer, and he secretly prayed that she wasn’t talking to Drew in there. Jack looked away from the TV, and saw Kallie standing in the doorway. Her blonde hair had airdried and was wavy, slightly unruly, and sexy as hell. She was wearing just a sports bra and a pair of pajama pants, sitting so low on her body that Jack could see her hip bones and rock solid abdomen.
“Hi beautiful,” Jack said, carefully.
“Hi baby. Do you want company?” she asked.
“I always want your company,” he answered, lifting the covers and inviting her over. Kallie got under the blankets and cuddled close to Jack, draping her arm across his midsection and laying her head on his chest.
“Sorry for being weird this afternoon; I just needed some quiet time. My brain was exhausted.”
“I understand, baby. You just worried me that something was wrong.”
“Nothing’s wrong,” she replied, smiling, “Everything is fine.” Kallie tilted her head up and placed a line of kisses from Jack’s jawline down to his collarbone, trailing her fingertips in light circles around his chest. She kissed back up to his jaw, the corner of his mouth, and then finally, his lips. Jack kissed her back lightly for a moment, and then fisted his hand in her hair and kissed her with more urgency. He pulled Kallie up onto his lap so that she was straddling him. They continued to kiss, and Jack removed his clothes and hers.
Jack couldn’t keep his hands off of his fiancé. It took Kallie’s breath away; Jack had never made love to her with the urgency that she felt right now. She was breathless and heady, but she loved every second of moments like this with Jack. Jack kissed her, and when his face was over hers in the midst of their passion, Kallie felt a tear hit her face.
“Jack, baby, are you crying?” Kallie asked breathlessly.
He kissed her again as a response, and she could taste the salt of his tears on his lips.
“Baby, please,” Kallie pleaded, “Talk to me.”
“I feel like I’m losing you baby; don’t let me go.”
Kallie grabbed Jack’s face with both of her hands and looked into his pain filled eyes. They were still connected intimately, which made this moment so strong and emotional to her.
“Jackson Williams, you have me forever; I swear it. Nothing and no one could take me from you; you’ve made my heart whole. You have nothing to worry about; ever. I love you, and only you, for the rest of my life.”
Jack kissed her neck, her face, and her mouth. She was so close to release, and could tell that he was too. “I love you, Kallie. I need you, I want you, and I’m yours, forever,” Jack said, finding his release only moments after Kallie found hers. Jack disconnected himself from her and lay down by her side. He pulled her as close as possible to his chest and wrapped his arms tightly around her. Kallie buried her face into his chest and kissed him lightly.
“We’re like fireworks, baby,” Jack said, smiling against her hair.
Kallie smiled too. “More like a nuclear bomb,” she corrected, “I love you, Jack.”
“I bet I love you more,” he challenged, remembering the night in Montauk when they first confessed their love for each other.
“Not a chance in hell, babe,” Kallie answered, and they drifted off into a restful sleep, wrapped up in each other.