In the morning, Kallie woke up before Jack. They were both still naked, and Jack’s strong arm was draped possessively across her body. She stared at his face, smiling at her overwhelming happiness. Last night was….perfect. Jack was perfect. He was so good to her; Kallie felt like the luckiest girl in the world. She wanted to get up and get a shower, but as soon as she moved only an inch, Jack was awake.
“Good morning, beautiful,” he said, his voice deep and thick with sleep.
“Good morning baby. How was your night?” Kallie asked coyly.
“Honestly, it was the best night of my entire life,” Jack answered, smiling, “How about you?”
“Mine was even better,” she answered, and she kissed Jack so passionately that it was only a matter of minutes before he was ripping open another foil packet from his bedside table.
When they were both fully satisfied, Jack let Kallie get a long, steaming shower in private, in her own, luxurious bathroom. She spent a long time washing her hair and body, relishing in the memory of Jack’s hands on the very places she was washing now.
Jack showered quickly and dressed, and he went downstairs to the kitchen to get some breakfast. Cam was already there, eating a bowl of cereal and reading the daily news on his iPad. He looked up when Jack came in, registered Jack’s mood first thing in the morning, and a goofy grin spread across Cam’s face.
“Morning, bro. Where’s Kallie?”
“Taking a shower in her room,” Jack answered innocently.
“Where did you take a shower?”
“My room,” Jack answered, again leaving his answers short and sweet.
“Jackson, where did Kallie sleep last night?”
Jackson bit his lip, trying to conceal the smile that was plastered on his face. “My room. But I’m not sure how much sleep she actually got,” Jack added.
Cam laughed loudly. “Dude! I knew it when I went to check on Kallie this morning and her bed was perfectly made! How was it?”
“For real though, Cameron. I’m not talking about this. I respect Kallie and love her; I know we’re best friends, bro, but this is none of your business.”
Cam raised his hands in mock surrender. “I get it, Jack. No worries. You don’t have to say anything, anyway. I can read you like a book.”
Cam clapped his brother on the shoulder, and the two boys turned to look as Kallie came bounding down the stairs. Seeing Kallie would never get old to Jack; as always,she looked absolutely perfect in a short, flowy hot pink skirt and a white halter crop top, her long, wavy blonde hair pinned back from her face and her cute feet bare.
“Good morning boys,” Kallie said happily, kissing Cam on the cheek and then kissing Jack full on the mouth.
“Well, good morning to you, gorgeous,” Cam answered, “How did you sleep?”
Jack shot Cam a dirty look, but Kallie didn’t miss a beat.
“I slept great, when I slept. Your brother is quite the entertainer,” Kallie said boldly, grabbing an apple from a bowl on the counter and sashaying her way to the patio, but not before winking at Jack and running her fingers through his still damp hair.
Jack watched her go, his mouth hanging open at her gall. He smiled and shook his head in amusement; he would never get enough of this girl. Cam laughed out loud and nodded a silent “congratulations” to his big brother. Jack went out the sliding back doors, where Kallie was sitting on the patio wall, eating her apple and staring at the ocean. She spun around when Jack approached, putting her legs on each side of Jack and looping her arms around Jack’s neck.
Jack leaned down and kissed her softly. “How are you feeling today?”
“I’m fine, Jack. A little sore, but like, a good sore. No complaints,” she answered, smiling.
“Promise?” Jack asked, his voice full of concern.
“I swear. Jack, you’re the sweetest guy in the world. I can bet you that no one has ever treated a woman like you treated me,” Kallie answered, kissing Jack on the cheek and beaming up at him.
Jack could hear the phone ring inside, but he didn’t want to leave this moment for anything. Cameron came outside, the cordless landline dangling from his hand.
“It’s for you, Jack; it’s Evan,” Cam said, tossing Jack the phone and hopping up next to Kallie on the wall.
“What’s up, Ev? How’s it going?”
Jack listened intently, and Kallie watched his face change from relaxed and calm to tense and anxious.
“Are you kidding me?” Jack said into the phone, in a tone of voice that Kallie had never heard him use before. It made her nervous, and she looped her arm through Cam’s and lay her head on his shoulder.
“No, of course not. Thanks, Evan. Keep me posted.” Jack hung up the phone and looked right at Kallie, his mouth set in a hard line.
“What?” Kallie asked anxiously.
“Drew. He is getting out of jail next week. They decided to put him on house arrest instead of holding him.”
Kallie’s eyes widened, and Cam looped his arm around her shoulder to comfort her.
“So what now?” Kallie asked.
“Nothing changes,” Jack answered firmly, “My feelings are the same. If he even comes near you, I’ll kill him. End of story.”
A tear slipped down Kallie’s cheek, and she wiped it away with the back of her hand. “Jack, I’m scared.”
Jack put his fingers under her chin and tilted her head up. “Don’t be, baby. He will never lay another finger on you. I swear it.”
The next day, Jack and Kallie went to visit Sophie at Jack’s parents’ house. Cam took an early morning flight back to San Francisco to help Linc, and Sophie wanted to see Kallie since it had been so long since they last saw one another. Kallie had been so leery since Evan had called the day before. She constantly had to know where Jack was, and preferred to be within arm’s length of him, something that Jack didn’t mind, because he wanted her to be that close anyway. His main priority was to ensure Kallie’s safety, and he’d spent the previous night wrapped up in her, trying and failing to push away dreaded thoughts of bad things happening to her.
As soon as she stepped out of the car, Kallie laced her fingers through Jack’s. Jack squeezed her hand, pulling her closer to him and making her feel more secure. He looked down at her and smiled; she was wearing red khaki shorts, a white tanktop, and white flip flops. Jack loved when she was dressed down and wearing flip flops; it made her seem so small and real, and well, nothing more than his perfect Kallie.
Sophie had made them lunch, and the 3 of them sat outside eating grilled chicken and fresh grilled vegetables. They talked about how much Kallie really did enjoy San Francisco, and when there was a pause in the conversation, Sophie spoke up.
“So Kallie, tell me about Walter.”
“Mom-“ Jack started.
Kallie touched Jack’s arm gently. “No, it’s okay, Jack. It was a lesson well learned. I don’t mind talking about it,” she said, “It was fun, at first. I felt like a real celebrity. I actually did a shoot for a friend of Walt’s; he probably won’t use it now because I left but it was still amazing.”
“Did you do the shoot through an agency?”
“Yes, the Garrett Agency in San Francisco. It was for a new clothing line that a man named Greg Murphy was releasing, called ’Lovely and Lies”. The clothes were gorgeous.”
Sophie got up quickly. “I’ll be right back,” she said, hurrying into the house.
Kallie watched her go, confused. Did she say something wrong? Sophie came back as quickly as she left, carrying her cell phone and a Macbook with a large screen.
“There is a database that agents and designers can use to view new clothing lines and up and coming models. Let’s see if your pictures are on it!” Sophie grabbed her phone and quickly selected a phone number on the screen. She spoke briefly with someone on the other end of the line and jotted down a name and a numerical code, before thanking the person and hanging up.
“I don’t have a login for the database anymore, but a good friend of mine just gave me his. It will just take a moment to pull it up,” Sophie explained, quickly typing on her keyboard. She entered “Garrett” and “Walter Wheton” and “Lovely and Lies” into the search boxes, and sat back as the computer worked. In a few moments, a link popped up in the middle of the screen with the words “Lovely and Lies- Miss Kallie”.
“Found it!” Sophie exclaimed excitedly, and clicked on the link.
Shots of Kallie’s photo shoot flooded the large, crisp screen. These were the edited photos, so they looked even better than the proofs that Kallie had originally went over with Walt and Greg. Kallie looked at Jack, and he was watching the slideshow of images with unreadable eyes. Kallie nudged his arm with her elbow.
“You’re mad?” she whispered to him, biting her lip.
“Mad? Oh, Kallie, no. These pictures are…amazing. I can’t believe it. They look like they came straight out of a magazine centerfold. I’m upset that I wasn’t a part of it, and that that asshole made your experience so negative.”
“Kallie,” Sophie breathed, “these are flawless. I actually want to contact a friend of mine in Manhattan who has a clothing line; would you be interested in pursuing this further? With someone more reputiable?”
“Oh my gosh, yes! I’ve always wanted to get into print modeling, and after everything with Walter, I was sad thinking that that might be the extent of my dream. Thank you, Sophie!”
“I’m going to shoot him a text right now and try to set up a meeting sometime this week,” Sophie said, her long, elegant fingers moving quickly over her phone’s screen.
Kallie turned to Jack. “Would you be comfortable with this?”
Jack squeezed her thigh. “Can I come to your shoots?”
“Of course!” Kallie exclaimed, smiling.
“Okay then,” Jack replied, kissing her forehead.
A few days later, Cameron returned to New York. Kallie had been in a whirlwind of happiness at having so much alone time with Jack, but she missed her best friend so much. Cam filled her in on details from Shantelle’s, even admitting that he and Alexa had gone out on a date! Kallie had called Alexa, and listened for an hour about how perfect and handsome Cam was. Alexa was even planning on taking a trip to New York in a few weeks.
On a Friday morning, Cameron was in the city and Jack was working. Kallie was at home and bored, so she decided to go visit Jack, something he told her she could do whenever she wanted, since he was the boss. Kallie showered and dressed in a short, black tiered skirt and a light, off the shoulder, wide knit sweater with a camisole underneath, and she slipped her feet into gold flats. Jack had recently gotten her a sleek white 2-door Audi, which Kallie was obsessed with. She got behind the wheel and drove to the police station, parking in the parking garage one block over. She walked in, said hi to the receptionist, and made her way down the hall to Jack’s office. When she opened the door, Jack had his elbows on the desk and his head was resting in his hands.
“Hi Jack. Are you okay, baby?” Kallie asked, standing cautiously in the doorway.
Jack looked up, surprised but happy to see Kallie. “Kallie. Hey sweetheart. I’m fine; I just have a migraine.”
Kallie took two aspirin out of her bag and handed them to Jack. “From what? Bad day?”
Jack smiled at Kallie, and she could see in his eyes that he was tired and stressed out. She rubbed his shoulders, digging her small hands into his tight muscles. Jack couldn’t tell Kallie the main reason why he was so anxious. The previous day, Kallie spent the day with Sophie, getting her haircut and a spray tan for her meeting with Sophie’s designer friend, Leslie Leels, that had been scheduled for this Saturday. Jack and Cam had gone into the city, so Jack could look at engagement rings in Tiffany’s. He was in love with Kallie, and he planned on asking her to marry him. He wasn’t sure yet of when, he just knew he was going to. The thought of it was stressing him out to no end. What if she said no? What if she didn’t love him as much as he loved her? Jack had a beautiful, 3 carat diamond solitaire burning a hole in his bedside table drawer, and he wanted nothing more than for it to be on Kallie’s finger. Both Cam and Linc had told him that she would say yes, and that he was crazy to make himself so stressed out over it, but Jack was still unsure. Not unsure of wanting to spend the rest of his life with Kallie, but unsure if he was deserving of being her everything.
“No, everything is fine Kal. I’m just happy you’re here,” Jack said, pulling Kallie into his arms.
Kallie kissed him, and then pushed herself up off his lap. “Do you mind if I just stay here for a while? I’m lonely at home,” she said, pouting dramatically.
Jack laughed. “Of course you can stay. You’ll be bored out of your mind though.”
“I brought my laptop and headphones. I’m good for a while,” Kallie replied, and she made herself comfortable in an overstuffed arm chair in the corner of Jack’s office.
Kallie was still there 3 hours later. She had downloaded 6 new albums and had read almost every new juicy entertainment story there was on the internet. She loved watching Jack work, and he would occasionally look up at her and beam that bright smile of his. This job was so much different than his job in the city; he looked so comfortable and at home. It made Kallie so happy to see Jack so content.
At around 4:30, as Jack was wrapping up his work, there was a knock on his office door. It swung open, and there stood Drew Roberts. Kallie froze in her seat. Jack immediately got up from his desk and went to stand in front of her.
“Get out,” he said, unwavering.
“Jackson, I know you don’t want to see me but-“ Drew started.
“You think? You tried to kill someone I love, and now you are getting away with it. Of course I don’t want to see you. Get the hell out.”
Kallie stood up behind Jack, linking her fingers through his. Jack placed his arm protectively in front of hair, pushing her back behind him.
“Jackson, I’m truly sorry for everything I’ve done to you and to Kallista,” Drew began.
“Her name is Kallie,” Jack interrupted.
“Kallie. I’m sorry. I know I’ve done awful things to her that I can never make up for. This new part of my life requires repenting for everything bad I’ve done, and hurting Kallie was the worst thing I’ve done.”
“Worst things you’ve done,” Jack corrected, “You’ve hurt Kallie more than once, more than twice, more than three times even. That’s a hell of a lot of repenting; I don’t think you have enough years left for that.”
“I know. The word sorry will never make up for anything, but I want to try.”
“Jack-“ Kallie began, stepping out from behind him. Jack tried to keep her behind him, and Kallie touched his arm reassuringly and moved closer to Drew.
“Kallie, baby, please let me make up for all this. I love you. I’m so sorry. You look beautiful, baby,” Drew pleaded.
Kallie looked at Jack, whose mouth was set and his eyes were cold. He still wouldn’t let go of her hand, but Kallie wouldn’t let go of his either. “It’s okay, baby,” she whispered to Jack, accentuating the word baby so that Drew would realize that that wasn’t his term to use.
“Drew. Go home. I don’t want to be around you. You scare the hell out of me. I’m the happiest woman in the world right now, and it’s all because of Jack. If you still love me, you’ll thank him,” Kallie said, raising her chin bravely.
Jack looked down, trying to suppress the stupid grin spreading across his face. His brave, strong Kallie. She never ceased to amaze him.
“Okay,” Drew said, defeated. “I understand. It’s my fault that you are so angry with me, and it’s me that will have to live with that. I’m sorry for bothering you both.”
Drew turned and without another word, left the station. Neither Kallie or Jack relaxed until they saw out the winow that he had gotten in his car and drove away.
Jack turned to Kallie. “What the hell was that all about?”
“I-I don’t know,” Kallie answered honestly, “That was so weird. I feel so sad for him; I don’t even know why I should, but I do.”
Jack kissed the tip of Kallie’s nose. “It’s because you are probably the sweetest person to ever walk this earth. You have a genuine heart and you just trust people. It actually frustrates the hell out of me, because you can’t see how innately bad some people are, and that scares me.”
“That’s why I keep you around,” Kallie teased, winking at Jack.
The next day, Cam, Jack, and Kallie were at home, watching a movie in the media room, when Jack’s cell phone rang.
“Jackson Williams,” Jack said, pausing to listen to the caller, “Thanks Ev, but I could really care less. Talk to you soon.”
“What was that about?” Kallie asked, pausing the movie.
“That was Evan. Drew tried to kill himself last night. He’s in the hospital under observation.”“Oh my gosh,” Kallie exclaimed, “This is my fault.”
“What? You’re crazy, Kal. This is not even close to being your fault. He’s a sick freak. Drew can rot in Hell, for all I care,” Cam retorted angrily. Kallie and Jack had filled Cam in on the conversation with Drew at Jack’s office the day before. Cam was furious that he had even had the nerve to come there, let alone say the things he said to Kallie.
“He’s right, Kallie. I know you’re a kind hearted person, but you can’t keep letting Drew have this effect on your life, baby,” Jack explained, tucking her hair behind her ear.
“I know; both of you are right. I just can’t help but think that I should have said or done something differently when we saw him yesterday. I should have helped,” Kallie answered sadly, “I want to go see him.”
“Hell. No. I will never let that happen,” Cam shouted, surprising Kallie.
“This is my decision, Cameron,” she answered quietly, not looking at him in the eyes.
“Baby, I have to agree with Cam. You don’t need to be around him. He’s bad news, Kal,” Jack said.
“I know, Jack. I just want him to know that I forgive him, and that he shouldn’t be distraught because of me. I don’t want to go alone; I want you both to come with me.”
Cam didn’t answer at all, but Kallie could see in Jack’s face that he was thinking about it.
“Okay,” Jack said, sighing.
Cam whirled around to face Jack. “Jackson, you’re crazy. She has no reason to go there or to even talk to him at all. He doesn’t deserve it,” Cam said, turning to Kallie. “Come on, Kal. Please. Stop being so nice, for once. Take care of yourself.”
“I am taking care of myself; that’s why I want both of you to come with me,” Kallie explained, waiting for Cam to answer.
Cam rolled his eyes. “Fine. Let me get changed.”
When Cam left the room, Kallie turned to Jack. “Please don’t be mad at me, baby. I just need to do this.”
“I know, Kal. It’s okay. I’d be mad if you wanted to go alone. I don’t want you to ever hurt again.”
Kallie smiled at him. “I won’t; you’ll make sure of that,” she said, and kissed him.
Jack couldn’t help but smile at his girl. “Hey, can I take you out to dinner tomorrow night? After your meeting?”
“Of course you can; you don’t have to ask, Jack. I’m all yours,” she said, kissing him again.
After the three of them dressed, they piled into Jack’s SUV and made the drive to the hospital. Cam was still really mad about the situation, but it calmed him a bit to know that he would be there in case anything happened. When they arrived at the hospital, the man at the security desk gave them Drew’s room number, and they took the elevator up to the 6th floor. The door to the room was slightly ajar, and when Kallie went to open it, Jack grabbed her arm.
“I’m going to give you private time. Scream if you need anything,” Jack joked, touching her cheek.
“No. Jackson-“ Cam started.
“It’s fine, Cam. This is Kallie’s thing; she deserves the privacy. We will be waiting right outside the door if you need anything, baby.”
“Thank you, Jack,” Kallie said, and gave him a tight hug. Cam gave his brother a look that said only one thing- Bad move.
When Kallie entered the room, Drew was laying on his side watching TV, facing away from her. He had monitors attached to him and looked so small in the bed. Kallie had such mixed emotions; she hated him but she just felt so sad for him as well.
“Hi Drew,” Kallie said softly.
Drew turned quickly in the bed. “Kallie! What are you doing here? Not that I mind; how are you doing?”
“I’m okay, but I guess I shouldn’t ask the same of you. Why did you hurt yourself, Drew?”
“Oh, I don’t know, Kallie. I just felt so helpless and depressed. After I saw you yesterday, you just looked so…happy. Carefree. Pretty. I’d never seen you like that before. I mean, you were always beautiful, but you’re pretty now. Like, your face is calm. I don’t know how to explain it,” he said in frustration.
“I do. It’s Jack. He’s good to me. He treats me like a queen. I’m not scared when I’m with him, and I was petrified every second that I was ever alone with you.”
Drew had tears running down his face. “I’m so sorry, Kallie. I know I’m an awful person, and nothing I ever say will make up for the things I did to you. I have nightmares every night that include your bruised face and your tears. I miss you; I feel like you make me whole. And I know I ruined that. I just wish I had known how to show you.”
Now, Kallie was crying too. “I forgive you, Drew, for everything. Just be happy for me now, okay? I’m glad that I could be a life lesson for you, and that I could help you learn how to truly treat a woman in the future. I hope you find your happiness.”
“Kallie, baby, please come back to me,” Drew said with a pained expression.
Outside the door, Cam and Jack could hear every word that Drew said, but couldn’t hear Kallie’s responses because her voice was much softer. Cam watched Jack’s face change more and more as the conversation went on, and he felt his brother’s pain.
“I’m sorry, Drew. If you were this person 4 years ago, things might be different. But you weren’t, so they aren’t. I think we can make each other better people though; I can make you softer and you can make me stronger. You’ve already made me stronger, in fact. So thank you for that. I’ll visit you again, if you want.”
“I would love that. Maybe if I keep working on myself, I can change your mind,” Drew challenged.
“You won’t change my mind, but I’m happy to hear that you’re still working on becoming a better person. See you later, Drew.”
Kallie stepped back into the hallway and wiped her tears on the sleeve of her sweater. Jack watched her and waited, not approaching her.
“Okay?” Jack asked, watching her face.
“Fine,” Kallie replied, pulling herself together.
“Are we okay?” Jack asked tentatively.
“Us? Me and you?” she asked in confusion, and Jack nodded slowly.
Kallie snaked her arms around Jack’s waist and held him close to her. “We’re more than okay, Jack; why would you ask that?”
“I could hear that conversation,” Jack confessed sheepishly, “But only Drew’s side.”
“Oh, that must have sounded really bad,” Kallie said, laughing, “I’m sorry; that must have been hard. Jackson Williams, you have nothing to worry about. I’m yours if and when you want me, now and forever. I couldn’t change my mind even if I wanted to, and I don’t want to.”
In the car, Kallie was quiet, and Jack let her sit alone with her thoughts. Right before they reached their house, Kallie spoke up.
“Jack, I want to visit Drew again. He’s a different person than he was before. I think it’s because of me. I want to help him; I want him to get better.”
“Come on, Kallie, no-“ Cam said, and Jack interrupted.
“With or without Cam or I?” Jack asked before answering.
“Oh, with, of course. I wouldn’t go alone; I want him to get better, but I don’t trust him. I just want to help.”
“Kallie, you are an angel on earth. Eventually, you will learn that you can’t save everyone. But I’m not the person who will hold you back from trying. I don’t agree with it at all, and I’ll hate every second of it, but it’s okay with me.”
“I love you, Jackson. Thank you.”
“I love you too, and you’re very welcome. I’ll do anything to make you happy, Kallie; you know that.”
“I know,” she answered, kissing him on the cheek and cuddling up on him.
When they arrived home, Kallie went up to her room to take a shower. Cam cornered his brother in the kitchen.
“Dude. What the hell are you thinking?! He’s tried to kill her, more than once. She doesn’t see how innately bad he is. This is not good, Jack.”
“I know, Cam, I know. Do you think that I feel like this is the best decision ever? I know it’s not. But you can’t make her stop something that she has her mind set on. Kallie’s a good person; she can’t help but want to fix everyone. You’ve seen it before. That’s just her. We just have to make sure that we keep on level heads and keep watching her back.”
“I guess; I just think this whole thing is insane. She’s so frustratingly sweet. I just want to grab her sometimes and make her open those pretty little eyes of hers,” Cam said, clenching his fists.“You and me both, brother.