Saturday, February 20, 2010
Jon popped the knuckle on his thumb, then fiddled with the dial for the radio in her car. Man, if he wasn't in his city car with his driver, he preferred to be the one behind the wheel. Instead of yelling at him--yet again--for touching her shit, she simply rapped his hand.
He sighed and sat back. "C'mon, where are we going, Kenzie?"
She chuckled and her fingers curled tight around the steering wheel. “If you play with my knobs one more time...” she rolled her eyes when his lips curved into a smirk. “We’re going to infinity and beyond.” She checked the rear view and signalled for the exit on the freeway. Everything was going smooth, this was not a bad idea she kept telling herself. She’d run it past David and they had high security all over them, so it should go off without a hitch.
"If you know Toy Story then you are so going to be a hit with my two little guys," he said conversationally. He recognized the byways, but it wasn't even close to his house in Red Bank. They were in NJ, that was about all he could figure out.
She tried to fight the grin from spreading across her face, she’d be meeting those little guys in a matter of moments. David had found out that the family were taking a day trip out of town and after careful planning and discussion, she’d agreed it would be safe to take him there for the day with the appropriate controls. As his girlfriend.
She took a right jamming her directional on. The call the night before to his ex-wife was interesting. She had to pretend to be his girlfriend, which Dorothea knew of and that she was planning a surprise visit for Jon to his kids as he needed to "relax" as she had put it so faithfully. She hated lying but Jon wanted to keep it a cover for as long as he could for their protection, and MacKenzie respected that.
She glanced sideways as he'd found something on her dashboard to start on next. "Do you not know how to sit still? Seriously?"
He crossed his leg knee to ankle, then dropped his foot back to the floor. "I'm a guy, I don't know how to sit in the passenger seat. It's a genetic thing." Flicking the cell phone holder one more time, he went back to cracking his knuckles. "What exactly are we doing?"
She ran her tongue across her bottom lip and grinned. "I'm kidnapping you for the day, are you scared?"
He glared at her from behind his shades, pushing them up against the bridge of his nose. "The kind of kidnapping I'd be interested is not on the agenda." She seemed strangely relaxed considering the last couple of days.
She flicked her gaze into the rear view mirror to double check they weren't being followed for the tenth time, and if the Granny with no sense of direction behind her in the red bomb was a gang infiltrator, she was pretty sure she could take her.
She pulled into the entrance of the state park she'd arranged with Dorothea to meet at, the arching Pine Trees lined the drive. As the tires crunched along the gravel she gave his knee a squeeze. "Well, as much as I'm sure that'd make you happy. I will still be the best bodyguard in the world after this...trust me." She was a little nervous to meet the kids. She wasn't a kids person to be honest, and really something like this should have been discussed with Jon and how she would meet them. Too late now.
He looked over his shoulder, but not out the back of the car. Did he miss a picnic basket? "Did you have something in the trunk I don't know about? And seriously, did you include bug spray?"
She rolled her eyes, "Jesus Christ Jon – is all you do whine? I am sure that will be taken care of where we are going... is that all you can say when we're here away from everything... Bug spray?" She arched her eyebrow.
He peered over his shades, then back to the picturesque park he'd been to every year since he'd been about eleven. "At least it's not Manhattan," he said and pushed his shades back up, leaning back in his seat, crossing his arms so he didn't touch anything else.
"Well if that's thanks I'm taking it. But I swear, you owe me after today -- I'm giving you something you have wanted for awhile now." She was going to let him think what he liked at that statement. Two could play this game.
Uncrossing his arms he rubbed his palms down his jeans. "Sorry, just restless. I've been cooped up way too much." He looked out the window. "Kinda wish I'd known we were coming here. I'd have brought my jogging clothes."
The thought of spending the day out of the house with Kenzie was a little too tempting. He knew he was being a shit, but--Christ. He was sick if playing games. Danger or no danger, it was doing his fucking head in.
Or...he grinned. They were in public.
"They're in the trunk...you're going to need them if what you've told me is correct." She rolled to a stop in the impromptu parking lot that a few cars were scattered beneath the trees and sighed. Through her own shaded eyes she could see a small congregation across the field, just where they said they would be. She wanted to do this for Jon -- not just as a client but as a friend. If that's what she could even call him.
"Well we're here." She said proudly.
He looked around. Hell, she even brought him to the spot his family--He saw a familiar golden cowlick on a little boy running full steam into his eldest son's knees. Oh man, how many times had Romeo done that to him? He swallowed down the quick lump of response.
Giving into instinct he leaned over, pressing his lips to hers softly. When she gave a startled jerk, he settled in. There was no heat in the kiss, just an easy meeting of mouths. He brushed his lower lip along hers then drew back. "Thanks," he said softly and climbed from her truck.
She smiled, popped the lock and got out. “Its ok -- and I know what you’re thinking. I have security following and watching us. I just wanted you to be here, I know how much you’ve missed them.”
He really had. He didn't even realize how much until Jake screeched and broke away from his ex-wife. He heard her startled yell and waved, running to meet him. "Hey, Jakey." He curled him up and scratched his stubble over his neck until he squealed.
"Dad!" Jake wiggled away, rubbing his hand over his neck. "Prickers."
"I was too lazy to shave, bud."
Jake leaned back, snatching his sunglasses of his nose, putting them on his face. "Where ya been, Dad?"
"Working," Jon said and put him down, clutching his hand automatically. "I'd like you to meet my friend, Mac."
He peered up at her, his smile hesitant. "Hi."
MacKenzie chuckled at the boy wearing sunglasses that took up almost his entire face. She smiled and fought the urge to ruffle his soft blond hair she waved, "Hiya buddy." She'd let Jon lead just exactly how "together" he wanted them to look. It was his day after all.
He slid his arm around her, the flat of his hand on the small of her back as he listed to Jake chatter about school. He was in first grade and had a host of friends at the prep-school he started going to with Jesse. He felt his eyes get a little glazed as he chattered in the way of a six year old, but nodded at the correct times.
Romeo spotted him and the screech was near deafening. His kid had a set of lungs on him, that was for sure. "Hey, bud." His hand slid away from Kenzie as he crouched down to meet his four year old. Romeo climbed up his arm, toppling Jon onto the grass.
She laughed as Jon was tackled to the ground by the most boisterous kid she'd ever seen. What was more intriguing was watching him with his kids, there was really something that pinched her insides the way he was with them. It was a side of Jon she didn't expect but liked, he looked so happy. Jon soon won over the mini-wrestle as he tickled the boy so his shrieks could wake the dead. It was cute, and just from that she knew she’d done the right thing bringing him here.
Both boys had mirror images of their father's eyes, those bright blues that she herself time and time again got lost in. As he regained control with the two boys they headed further towards the picnic table where the rest of them were.
Absently, Jon snagged her hand and laced their fingers as he talked with his kids. The fact that Kenzie had put this together was something he wouldn't forget. He knew she was risking a lot, bringing him here but he really did trust she’d made the necessary arrangements. He headed right for Dot, hugging his daughter tight as he got closer. "Jesse, Steph, Dot," he turned back to Kenzie drawing her closer. "This is Mac," he met Dorothea's eyes, "my girlfriend."
MacKenzie smiled easily. “Hi guys, pleased to meet you all.” Dorothea was pretty, and her smile was warm but cautious as MacKenzie expected. These were her children none the less. “What a great place to get out of the city.” She smiled as he squeezed her hand.
"I've been coming here since I was a kid actually," Jon said to Kenzie. He ruffled Jakes hair and grunted when Jesse sacked a Nerf football into his gut.
"C'mon old man, still know how to throw?"
He looked back at Kenzie. "Will you be all right?"
She raised her eyebrow and winked at Jesse, "what? Are you afraid I can throw better than you?"
Jon opened his arms. "Hey, if you think you can take us Bongiovi's," he said and sidled up to Jesse. "I'd love to see you try."
She snorted. Puh-lease. This was too easy. She held her hand up and caught the football one handed as Jon passed it back to her before backing up with Jesse.
Jake stood about five yards away from her but watched on curiously. "Want to see how girls really throw Jakey?" She shielded her eyes with her hand before taking a few steps back. Complete with a small run up she socked the ball so it hurtled straight towards Jon.
Jon backed up a few more steps as the Nerf made a perfect spiral, landing neatly into the curve of his elbow. Perfect throw and catch.
"Holy crap, Dad." Jesse laughed and waved. "She's SO on our team."
Jon nodded. "We're so going to kick ass after dinner."
Steph took a step forward. "Uh, we're playing girls against guys after dinner, Dad. Don’t get any bright ideas about stealing Mac."
She clapped her hands together as she jogged up to them just in time to hear the trail end of the conversation. "Too right Steph. That's of course unless you're afraid of being beaten by a bunch of girrrls," she teased resting her hands on her hips.
Jon turned his hands, palms up and gave her a c'mon gesture. "Bring it on."
Jesse scooped up Romeo and headed back to the food. "You know we're totally screwed, right, Dad?"
"Screwed!" Romeo echoed happily.
Jon just groaned.
She laughed, how could she not. The day had turned into something she didn’t expect, a side of Jon she didn’t know existed, and of course the side of Jon that was competitive. As among the sat with his family and listened to the chatter among the kids and watched on, the warm feeling in her gut bubble. For a second, she forgot what screwed up situation they were in and felt like this was their true reality. The thing that was worse was MacKenzie wanted this to be her reality.
She was in love with him.