Kallie, Jack, and Cam said their goodbyes at midnight, and when they went inside the house, Jack pulled Kallie aside.
“Can I show you something, Kal?” he asked her shyly.
“Of course! What’s up?”
“How adventurous are you feeling?”
“I trust you. With my life, actually. What do you have in mind?” Kallie asked curiously.
“Go change out of your dress into something comfortable. Not shorts.”
“Okay,” Kallie said carefully, intrigued. “I’ll be right back.”
Kallie hurried to her room, pulling off her dress and hanging it carefully in the closet. She put on a pair of black cotton Capri pants and a grey, lightweight sweatshirt that matched her eyes. She left her hair in it’s elegant style and slipped a pair of loafers on her feet. Kallie met Jack in the foyer and stopped in her tracks when she saw him, in awe of how he could look just as sexy in a pair of sweatpants and a hoodie as he did in a tuxedo. Jack grabbed her hand excitedly and pulled her outside to the garage. He typed numbers into a keypad on the wall of the garage, and one of the large, heavy doors lifted mechanically. Parked inside was a sleek, black street motorcycle, clearly meant for driving fast.
Jack looked at Kallie, his eyes sparkling. “Care for a midnight ride?”
“Really?” Kallie squealed excitedly. “I’ve never ridden a street bike before!”
“There’s a first time for everything. Are you ready?”
“More than ready,” Kallie answered, unable to stand still from her excitement.
Jack laughed at her giddiness and took a helmet off of the shelf. He placed it gently over Kallie’s head and secured it. He then grabbed one for himself and secured it on his head; he lifted the visor so he could talk to Kallie.
“You don’t have to really know how to do anything except relax,” Jack explained. “ When I move, you move. Other than that, just hold on tight!”
Holding on tight to you; that will be really hard for me, Kallie thought, noticing that her inner voice was full of sarcasm. Jack mounted the bike, and then offered Kallie his hand to help her on. She couldn’t help but feel butterflies at this close, intimate proximity with Jack, and wondered if he felt the same thing. Kallie wrapped her arms around his waist and lay her cheek on his back, making herself comfortable. Jack walked the bike backwards out of the garage and started its engine with a loud hum. The feel of the hard muscles in his back against her body and the clean, musky smell that belonged only to Jack made her breathless. Kallie snuggled into Jack and held on tighter. He pulled the motorcycle’s throttle and accelerated down the driveway, quickly picking up speed. He turned on to the main road and opened up the throttle. Because it was the middle of the night, there was no one on the road to get in his way, but Kallie could tell that Jack was holding back, and she couldn’t help but think it was because she was on the back. Either way, the experience was breathtaking. Freeing, even. Kallie felt like the weight that had been on her shoulders was getting lighter and lighter the farther they drove.
Jack drove for about a half an hour before slowing the motorcycle down. He took them down a narrow side road that climbed higher and higher as they drove. The road was heavily lined with trees, so Kallie couldn’t figure out where Jack was taking her, but she knew that she trusted him fully and that he would never put her in danger. Jack stopped the bike, and Kallie looked up to see that the road had ended abruptly. He got off and then helped her, taking off both of their helmets and leaving them on the bike. Without a word, he clasped Kallie’s hand and led her through a canopy of trees in front of them. He stopped, and pulled Kallie directly in front of him. Her jaw dropped at the sight she saw.
In front of her was the ocean, wide and vast. They were on top of a high cliff, and even though it was night, the light from the stars and the bright moon lit the sky. Kallie could see lights in the distance from boats, dotting the horizon like fireflies. A large lighthouse swept it’s beam of light across the water, guiding those boats in the distance.
“Jack,” Kallie breathed, “This is…”
“Say no more. I understand completely. I used to come here a lot when I was younger. The quiet has helped me make a lot of life decisions. It still has that effect on me, I think.”
Kallie thought the same thing, but she didn’t say anything. Being with Jack in this place, at this time, made her see things clearly. Her thoughts were life-affirming, and they rocked her to the very core. She turned towards Jack, careful not to touch him in fear of what she would do with the feelings she felt in that hasty moment. “Thank you for bringing me here. It means a lot, Jack, that you shared this with me.”
“I’m glad that you decided to come. It means a lot to me that you trust me so much. I wouldn’t ever do anything to break that trust; I hope you know that.”
“Honestly, Jack, I do. I’ve only known you for a short period of time, but from the second I met you, you’ve done everything in your power to look out for me. I’ve never had that, and that security means the world to me.”
There was still space between the two of them, but Jack reached out and ran his hand down Kallie’s clothed arm, his fingers just brushing her hand before he dropped his arm back to his side. Kallie’s stomach turned a slow somersault, and she let out a ragged breath that she didn’t realize she was holding.
“You’re a sweet girl, Kallie; you deserve to be taken care of.” Kallie walked into Jack’s arms and he held her for a moment, running his fingers through the bottom of her curly hair. Kallie could hear his heartbeat, strong and even, the same beat that brought her out of the only anxiety attack she’d ever been able to control. Jack pulled back from her, but still keeping his hands on her and running his thumbs lightly on her upper arms.
“Ready to head back?” he asked her.
“No, but yes,” she replied, making Jack grin. He tucked Kallie’s hand into his and led her back to the motorcycle. The ride home was just as quiet as the ride out, expect Jack drove slower and Kallie held tighter. When they arrived home, Jack helped Kallie off of the bike; he kissed her hand and bowed to her dramatically like he had just saved her from the evil queen and they had ridden his gallant steed off into the sunset. Kallie giggled and curtseyed with an invisible skirt, and they went inside to their respective bedrooms. She was tired, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to sleep quite yet. Kallie opened her bedroom door, and quietly crept down the hallway. She knocked softly on Cameron’s door, and opened it.
“Cam,” she whispered, “are you awake?”
“Yeah, Kallie, are you okay? What’s wrong?” Cam asked with concern.
“Nothing, I just wanted to talk to you.” Kallie walked across the room and sat on Cam’s bed by his feet, pulling her legs up to her chest and facing him.
“I have all the time in the world for you, Kal; whats up?”
“I have a huge problem,” Kallie said, biting her lip and pulling her legs closer to her chest.
“Kallie, you’re scaring me. Whats going on?” Cameron touched her leg gently.
“Cam, I think I’m in love with Jack. He’s amazing; like, everything about him is perfect in my eyes. I can’t get him off my mind, and I’m freaking out about it.”
Cam laughed. “Kallie, I’m not stupid. I know you’re in love with him. It’s written all over your face every time you look at him, or even when someone mentions his name.”
Kallie hid her face in her arms. “Oh my gosh, really? Jack knows?”
“Kal, Jackson has no idea. I tried talking to him about you but he kind of just, like, shut off. Jack and I talk about everything, but I honestly can’t get out of him how he feels about you.”
“So do you think that means he doesn’t feel the same? Ugh, Cam, this is driving me crazy. Like, when he is around I just want to be right next to him, and when he’s not around, I’m looking for him and wondering where he is. When I first met Drew, I thought that I was head over heels in love with him. Now that I’ve met Jack, Drew doesn’t even compare. Drew made me feel like I was living in a nightmare, and every second I’m with Jackson makes me feel like I’m in a dream. I don’t want to wake up, Cameron.”
Cam smiled and wrapped Kallie in his arms, pulling her next to him. “It’s not a dream, girl, it’s real life and you aren’t waking up. You are probably the most amazing girl I’ve ever met, and you deserve every second of this.” He hugged her tightly and kissed her hair.
Kallie sat up suddenly and looked at Cameron seriously. “Cam. Are you in love with me?”
Cam pursed his lips and contemplated the best way to answer. “No. I’m not. Honestly, I think I felt like I was, at first. I think that you are amazing and perfect, Kallie, but way too good for me. You deserve a man, and for right now, I just feel like being a ‘boy’ for a little while longer. Jack’s my best friend, and now you are too. There is nothing I would want more than for my two best friends to be happy together.”
“The funny thing is, I’ve never been closer to anyone in my entire life than I am to you, Cam. You’re my best friend too.”
Kallie had tears streaming down her face, and Cam wiped them gently with his thumb. “Don’t cry Kal; you’re way too pretty to cry.”
“Can I tell you another secret?”
“Of course you can.”
“I was with Drew for 4 years, and I never slept with him.”
“What?” Cam asked incredulously, “Never once?”
“No. I think deep down I always knew who he truly was, and I didn’t want to give him that part of me that he would never deserve.”
Cam looked confused. “Kallie…”
“I’m a virgin, Cam; I’ve never done anything with anyone, except kiss, I guess. I got scared tonight when I had this huge epiphany. I’m so in love with Jack, and I realized that after that whole undercover sting, and after my confrontation with that guy Tom, that I don’t want anyone to ever touch me again… but Jack.” Kallie hid her face, embarrassed by her revelation to Cam that she had never told anyone.
Cam drew in a large breath. “Damn girl. That’s a load of information that I never expected.” He squeezed her shoulder.
“Do you think Jack will be mad when he finds out?”
“Mad? No. Nervous and pressured? Probably. Jack’s a really sensitive and caring dude; he will take that information to heart and really dwell on it.”
Kallie swallowed hard. “Okay, I understand that. Let’s not tell him then; it will be our secret.”
“Don’t worry Kal; your secret is safe with me. You can trust me with anything.”
“I know,” Kallie said, smiling, “I’m going to bed now; it’s been a really long day.”
“Goodnight Kallie, love ya.”
“Love ya too, Cam.”
The next morning, Jack and Cam got up early. Jack hated that Kallie didn’t have a cell phone, so he thought he would go see Kev Anderson. Kev was an old family friend who dealt with private company communications. Jack and Cam’s dad had been using Kev for company and personal cell phones, landlines, answering service, and fax machines, since he’d opened his first restaurant in Miami in 1980. Kev had always made sure that the lines were secure, safe, private, and traceable only by himself. The whole Williams’ family had cell phones that were guaranteed safe by Kev. Jack wanted to make sure that Kallie got a good phone, one that she could find entertainment on, but more importantly, that Drew couldn’t find out about and find her in the process.
Jack had called ahead to make sure Kev would be in the office. Kev knew how Jack felt about the secure lines, and assured Jack and Cam that Kallie’s would be just as secure- if not more secure- than the lines that the family had. After looking at all the selections, Jackson decided on a sleek white iPhone 5. He knew that Kallie would have fun with the picture and audio features. Cam chose a glittery hot pink case that he knew she would love. Then, Jack got an idea for something else that he knew would go perfectly with the new phone, and that he knew Kev sold as well. He told Cam about his idea, and Cam laughed at him… and then helped him pick one out.
Back at the Williams’ house, Kallie had just woken up. She took a long shower, reflecting on her conversation with Cam the night before. After turning off the shower and towel drying off, Kallie decided to put her hair into French braided pigtails; it was supposed to be hot out today and she didn’t want her long, heavy hair hanging on her neck all day. She dressed in loose khaki shorts, a white, v-neck tshirt, and white flip flops. She closed the bedroom door behind her and went in search of Jack or Cam, finding them both on the back patio, in the shade of a large canopy tent.
“Good morning, guys,” Kallie said.
“Well, aren’t you just a teeny bundle of cuteness and fun with your pigtails,” Cam exclaimed in a baby voice, pulling Kallie onto his lap and tickling her gently.
“Shut up Cam,” Kallie said, swatting his chest playfully.
“No, I’m serious, they’re cute,” he said, tugging on one of them. “Don’t you think so, Jack?”
“Kallie always looks cute, no matter what she’s wearing,” Jack said nonchalantly, while reading his newspaper.
Cam looked up at Kallie, who was already peeking at him out of the corner of her eye and smiling an almost unnoticeable smile.
“Alright, Jack, I can’t wait anymore. Give Kallie her surprise!”
Kallie looked up quickly. “No. Absolutely not. I don’t want anything else Jack; you have already been way too generous to me.”
“Too bad Kallie,” Cam said, “This is a really good one. You have to take it.”
“I’m not taking anything. I’m sorry, Jackson, but you can’t keep- Cam!” Cam had reached over and put his hand over her mouth, silencing her.
“Blah, blah, just take your damn gift and love it.” Cam said, which made Jack laugh out loud. Jack placed two boxes in front of Kallie on the table, one small and one big.
“Open the small one first,” Jack said in excitement. Kallie folded her arms stubbornly in front of her chest and looked Jack squarely in the eye. He still couldn’t get over those damn gray eyes; they were captivating and always made his breath catch. Kallie didn’t look many people in the eyes, but if she did, one could expect to be involuntarily stopped in their tracks.
“Don’t look at me like that; open.” Kallie didn’t budge.
“I’ll be mad at you,” Jack teased.
“No you won’t,” was all Kallie said.
“No, I won’t. But please open it. I promise not to get you anything after this.”“Liar.”
“I know. Open it.”
Kallie moved her hand slowly and pulled off the bow, not breaking eye contact with Jack. She knew how she felt about him and had no idea how he felt about her, but one thing she did know was that her intense gaze made him squirm, and she loved the powerful feeling. Opening the box and looking in, Kallie found a brand new, glistening iPhone in the cutest pink case.
“Oh my gosh! I love it!” Kallie exclaimed.
“We noticed you didn’t have a cell phone,” Cam explained, “so Jack thought you should have one. We feel better if we know you can get ahold of someone if you need to.”
“Um, Drew wouldn’t let me have one. He didn’t think it was necessary for me.”
“We think you need one. That’s all that matters now,” Jack said lightly.
“Open the other box!” Cam interrupted, lightening the mood.
Kallie used her fingernail to slice open the tape on the big box. Jack was sitting next to her and watching excitedly, so close that Kallie could smell the light fragrance of his bath soap. She felt intoxicated by it, and suppressed the overwhelming urge to snuggle her face in his neck and inhale. Cam watched her cheeks flush, and cleared his throat, smiling. Kallie narrowed her eyes at him; she was happy to have gotten her secrets off of her chest, but she knew Cam was going to tease her mercilessly from now on.
Kallie opened the box and her eyes widened to huge round circles. Inside was a sleek new Macbook Pro. It was white like her new phone and had the same glittery pink cover on it. The box also contained a small white carrying case and a pair of white and pink Beats headphones.
“Jack, you’re out of your mind. I don’t deserve all of this.”
Jack tilted her chin up so that she had to look into his eyes. “Kallie, you deserve all of this and more. It’s about time someone treated you right and showered you with nice things and affection. Cam and I are just happy that it’s us you chose to be around.”
Kallie wrapped her arms around Jack’s waist and gave him a huge hug, feeling his strong arms wrap tightly around her. Then, as she hugged Cam, she whispered in his ear, “I’m not dreaming, right?”
“Nope,” Cam whispered back.
“I have one more surprise,” Jack said. “It doesn’t cost any money, and you have to change your clothes.”
“What should I wear?” Kallie asked curiously.
“Workout clothes. Cam and I will meet you outside at the car.”
Kallie hurried inside to change, bringing with her the new toys that Jack had bought her. She put on a black pair of fitted Nike shorts, a tshirt from a gymnastics meet that she won when she was 16, and her pink Nike shocks. She glanced quickly at the phone and computer on her bed, secretly excited to play with them when they got home later. Kallie met Jack and Cam at Jack’s car that was parked in the driveway, and Cam grabbed her and blindfolded her.
“Hey!” Kallie yelled.
“No complaining Kal- it’s not a surprise if you see where you are going.”
Kallie folded her arms and pouted, but she let Cam help her into the car and buckle her seatbelt like a child. Kallie felt the car driving straight, turning left, turning right- but since she didn’t know the area at all, she had no idea where Jack and Cam were taking her. After 20 minutes, she felt Jack put the car in park and heard him turn the engine off.
“Can I take this off yet?” Kallie whined.
“NO!” Both Jack and Cam exclaimed simultaneously.
One of them opened the car door and helped her out. She tried to feel the arms so she could figure out who it was, and when the person understood what she was doing, he laughed out loud and Kallie found out that it was Jack.
Kallie walked forward while Jack steered her in the right direction. Taking a few steps more, she realized she was now inside a building. She could hear a lot of voices but still couldn’t pin point where she was.
“Okay Kallie, you are going to go down 7 steps and then stop.” Jack said.
“Steps?! Are you serious? I can barely walk straight with this blindfold on!” Kallie laughed.
“Alrighty then,” Jack said, and swept her off her feet like she was feather light. He carried her down the steps and gently placed her on the floor.
“Okay, ready? One, two, three.”
Jack removed the blindfold and Kallie looked around. Her jaw dropped. She was in a huge gymnastics training gym. She spun around quickly and looked at Jack, a huge smile spreading across her face.
Jack smiled back. “This is where my mom’s cheerleading team practices. They are running a practice this morning on one floor, and I asked her if the gymnastics coaches had any classes this morning. She said they didn’t, but that they did have a few open hours that you could just do your thing, whatever it is that you do. I’m selfish; I want to watch.”
Kallie clapped her hands in glee. “I can do whatever I want?”
Sophie and Cam came up to them. “Hi Kallie! Are you surprised?” Sophie asked.
“Completely surprised! Nervous too; no one close to me has watched me practice since I was about 8.”
“Well, I have my team practicing on the far mat, but they are almost done. I’ll come over to watch when they finish.”
Jack and Cam led Kallie to an empty floor all the way to the right. Kallie practically skipped the whole way; the only way that she had kept up her gymnastics and ballet skills these past 4 years was when she secretly practiced on the back lawn when Drew was out. She was nervous and excited to use the professional equipment that she missed so much.
Kallie took of her sneakers. She stepped onto the spring mat and jumped a few times, remembering this feeling under her feet. She carefully stretched out her arms and legs, knowing that she would most likely be sore tomorrow anyway, but feeling excited to have that feeling back.
“Kallie,” Cam called to her as she stretched her splits, interrupting her thoughts. “How far can you put your leg up?”
Kallie stood up with a smug look on her face. She pulled her right leg up, stretching it so far that her leg was against her ear and she could grab her foot with her opposite arm. She held it for a few seconds, and made it look perfectly easy. Kallie was happy to find out that it was just as easy for her as it was when she was 16.
“Oh-kay. Can I take you home later?” Cam called, and cat whistled at her. Kallie dissolved in a fit of giggles, and flashed Cam a not-so-nice hand gesture.
“Classy, Kal. Real classy.” Cam teased, which made Kallie laugh even harder.
Kallie practiced her skills, looking like she had never even stopped practicing at all. She was happy to find out that she hadn’t lost any of her Level 10 skills that she had worked so hard to achieve. The longer she went, the more at home she felt in the gym. Kallie kept looking over to see if Jack was watching her, and every time she looked, he was staring so intently that he could have burned a hole in her with his gaze. Sophie was so impressed with her skills that she had some of her team members stay behind after practice to get some pointers from Kallie for their own skills. After about 2 hours, Kallie felt her body begin to get fatigued, so she decided to stop before she hurt herself. She rolled out her wrists and ankles so they wouldn’t get stiff later. Kallie couldn’t believe that Jack had done this for her; it was just so thoughtful and caring that it seemed odd to her that anyone would care enough about her to take the time to do this. Forgetting that she was disheveled and sweaty, Kallie ran off the mat and flung herself into Jack’s arms. Jack caught her and squeezed tightly. After a moment, she released herself from his grip and stepped back to look directly into his eyes.
“Thank you. So much. This is probably the nicest and most amazing thing that anyone has ever done for me. I will never be able to repay you for doing something so perfect for me, right when I needed it the most.”
Jack smiled his thousand watt smile. “You’re very welcome. But like I said, it was selfish. I wanted to see what you could do. And, as I suspected, you’re amazing. Like everything else you do.”
“Not true, but thank you for believing in me.”
Cam came up behind Kallie and scooped her around her waist, lifting her off the ground and spinning her around.
“Damn Kal; you’re amazing! I could watch that all day! Especially the part where you can pull your leg to your head…”
Kallie smacked Cam in the arm and they all laughed loudly.