Sunday, October 24, 2010
MacKenzie woke to utter stillness. She lay on her side, her head resting on her hand which palmed flat against a warm chest. She smiled and blinked, adjusting to the room only lit by the skyline in the distance. Arms wound tight around her shoulders keeping her close and secure. She sighed, it had been a long time since she let a man be her security, probably not since Brian to be truthful. She felt protected instead of being the one protecting. The steady rise and fall of his chest with the gentle pulse of his heart beat under her hand could have been right out of a romance novel. She fingered the downy hair on his chest and wondered how she ended up here.
Stop over thinking for once Mac.
It had been hard to love or even consider love again after Brian. Brian was such puppy love as well and MacKenzie never had really recovered from losing him so young. She doubted that deep down she ever would. What she and Jon had was different, of course she was much older now so the love was richer. She chuckled, love. Who would have ever thought? And in typical MacKenzie style it had taken something ridiculous and dangerous to make her realize it.
She patted around for his phone that must have fallen to the side somewhere. A few games of that damn pig smashing game, and she'd be right.
He stirred under her. "You ok?" He mumbled sleepily and attempted to sit up.
She touched his arm. "Shhh I'm fine, sometimes painkillers keep me awake...I'm fine Jon." She groaned when he flipped the bed side light on. "Ugh. You didn't have to do that." She buried her head into his side until her eyes adjusted.
"I could make you that tea."
She rested her chin on his chest and looked up into sleepy blue eyes. "You don't have to Jon. I'm ok, I can play some games on your phone--on silent."
He flipped back the bed cover. "You silent? Yeah right. I'll make some tea babe and get you those cookies." He rolled her gently off him, got off the bed and padded towards the kitchen.
She flopped back down into the pillows. She wasn't used to having someone run around after her either and care for him the way he was for her. She'd always taken care of herself for so long. It was kinda nice though she had to admit, having a man fuss around after her. Her man. Now that would be something to get used to. She arched back and rubbed her forehead. David had forbid her talking about any work but she was anxious to know if he'd uncovered anything more or if they had figured anything new out. But he repeatedly told her that they were safe in the apartment and that's all she had to worry about for now.
She flopped over onto her side, she was restless. Would she be able to date a guy that had an instant family? His kids were fantastic but there was a difference with a playful picnic and a longer responsibility with them. She'd never seen herself with kids this late in her life, maybe if things had been different with her and Brian she might have. She reached out for his phone but before her fingers could curl around it he came back into the room steadily carrying a wooden tray.
"Oy. No playing with the toy." He rested it down gently on the bed looking pleased with himself. "The only toy you play with is me."
She raised her brow and smiled coyly. "Is that so?" He fussed and made the tea and handed it to her. "I don't think anyone has made me tea in bed ever." She picked up a cookie off the plate he offered and took a bite.
He lay back, propped himself up against the pillows beside her with his own tea. "No boyfriends have ever made you breakfast in bed? Hell even I can stretch to that."
She smiled. "Nope. I never stuck around long enough for that sort of thing." She glanced over at him as he took a sip of his tea.
He arched one brow. "We're totally going to have the talk aren't we?"
She took a bite of her cookie and shrugged. "Depends, there's not much to talk about really is there? You're divorced and I've been single for a long time, probably because my college boyfriend died." She rubbed her chest, the small niggle still surfaced every once and awhile when her mind flashed back to that day with him and the blood, god there was so much blood. The sadness was still heavy in her heart but with each moment and each year that passed by it faded slowly. Part of her was scared to let it fade completely but now she was sitting here with an opportunity to truly let go and love again. She loved Jon but could she give absolutely everything over to him? Everything.
He was silent and then turned on his side to face her. "How hard was it to get over it?"
She didn't meet his eyes, she swirled her tea around in the cup and waited until it calmed. "Pretty tough." She closed her eyes as he stroked the top of her head.
"We don't have to talk about it Kenzie, I'm sorry baby."
She traced her finger around the edge of cup and shrugged. "It's ok, everyone has a chink in their armour right? This is mine." She'd trained in the armed forces, she'd been through hell and back, dragged a two hundred man on her shoulders waist deep in mud but nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the pain of losing her best friend. It hadn't been all bad, if Brian hadn't died she wouldn't be who she was today. She wouldn't have ever gone into this field and done many awesome things she'd only have dreamed about.
The tips of his fingers traced around her jaw. "You don't blame yourself for what happened do you?"
She shook her head. "No, I don't blame myself for what happened. I only wish I knew what to do in that situation to save him, maybe if I stayed there...maybe if I just..." Her voice was barely a whisper as the words choked in her throat.
"Kenz, you were just a girl. You don't truly believe that do you?"
She shrugged. "I honestly don't know."
Jon lifted her cup and rested it down on the bedside table. He wrapped his arms around her and killed the light. "C'mere."
The darkness surrounded her with his arms and she felt safe again. She closed her eyes and leaned against his chest and took a deep breath. "I look back now and it robbed my last years of being a kid and I let it---I decided to run away from it all and deal. I signed up for the marines just two weeks after his death. I didn't go to homecoming, I didn't walk back into a pep rally or football game again." She shuddered as she kept the memories tight.
"When things like that happen to us Kenzie, they do change us and they force us to be an adult faster than we want. It's not a bad thing you did what you did. Look at you now, you're this amazing strong woman. This is just a part of you that made you who you are. It happens to the best of us."
She rang her fingers through his chest hair. "I know. It feels silly. It was over twenty years ago now and it still hurts as much as it did when it happens sometimes."
He rested his cheek against her head. "It's not silly because it matters to you. Can I ask you a question?"
"Is that why you became a bodyguard ultimately? To make sure that Brian didn't ever die again?"
The tears flowed a little too freely as she nodded into his chest. "Mainly, and it's been the best thing I've done, and then I met you..."
"You say it like it's a bad thing." He chuckled as his hand dragged lightly down her back.
"Of course it's not. I just didn't want to love you...just in case." It was silly really. Mackenzie had learnt in her training to deal with the facts and follow her gut instincts but the one thing it never taught her was how to deal with her heart.
"Because something might happen to me? Oh Kenzie."
"I know that's not what you need to hear from the woman that was supposed to be protecting you, but it's true."
"I'm so sorry for going out there on my own to them, if I had realized that...god I'm stupid."
She rested her chin on his chest and looked up. "No you're not. I know why you did it. No one likes to feel like a caged animal Jon, especially a control freak."
He jabbed his fingers in her side lightly. "Hey, look who's talking."
She laughed. "True true." She shimmied up and found his face. She dropped a light kiss onto his lips. "Thank you." He relaxed his arms around her and clasped his hands, resting them on her lower back.
"Anytime. There's a big soft spot to you MacKenzie Cooper."
She kissed his nose. "Shh just don't tell anyone or I really will have to kill you."
He laughed through the darkness. "You're pretty amazing. If I'm honest, my reservations about this relationship were also to do with past relationships."
It was a rare moment for both of them to be so open with each other but Mackenzie had never felt so at ease with someone talking on this level. "Your marriage? So what really happened?" She heard things, even read them when she did his background checks but she was smart enough to know that the media only ever told one side of the story.
He sighed. "I was an asshole. We both weren't perfect but I certainly didn't help the situation. We may have been married but we were definitely living separate lives for the last few years of it. Dorothea is a lot like you. Strong willed and independent."
"Gee thanks, that's one way to win over the new girlfriend." She linked her finger through the chain around his neck and twisted it gently.
"Brat, what I mean is she was so independent she didn't need me."
"Ahhh so you too have a chink. You need to be needed." She felt him tense but relax again under her.
"Yep, that's me. I need to be needed but Dot grew out of it, and I grew out of needing her or wanting her."
"Did you cheat?"
He nodded. "There were a couple of one nighters in there. And there hadn't been since about 1995, where we hit a rough spot. It's how I knew it wasn't working."
"So the articles are true. You are no saint."
He snorted. "You read them?"
"Research darlin'. I needed to know who you were. And seriously Jon the stuff out there about you in that regard is so minimal, you've done well to keep it out of the limelight in comparison to others."
"Thanks. I always wanted to, for the kids. They don't need to see that crap. Dot and I used to still go to bed as a husband and wife and then once the kids were asleep, I'd go and sleep in the spare room."
"Of course that didn't work too well when you had a two year old son that was going through the terrible twos of nightmares."
"Yikes, did you use the Daddy was snoring excuse?"
"Yep, or the Daddy's too restless and keeping Mommy awake. I am a restless sleeper at times."
"Gee thanks for the heads up." She tucked her face into the crook of his neck. The warmth and the intimacy of the night was a rare comfort for MacKenzie and she decided she liked it, a lot. Her and Jon were similar and she needed this between them. She needed this and it had been missing from her life for a long time.
"Oy. You're getting that smart ass back on, and here I am opening up my heart to you."
MacKenzie slid her leg through his as the tangled themselves together. "Alright then. I have a question for you then. What will the difference be between your marriage and what we have?"
"Jesus. Way to start out with the easy questions."
"Well, I wanna know. I wanna know what made you think this would be any different than your marriage since Dorothea and I have common traits."
He tilted her chin, "Honestly I don't know what will happen here. I want it work and I love you. You may be similar to her but hell, you're different as well. You get me, I can be an ass sometimes but that's just me. I'd like to think I get you too. Dot never got me."
MacKenzie smiled. "I do get you. I know how to handle you. And regrettably I think you know how to handle me too."
He smoothed back her hair and rolled her onto her back. "So I passed?" She groaned as his hand slid under her top and cupped her breast. He met her lips with his and kissed her firm and long. Pleasure crackled between them as the kiss went deeper.
"I think you're going for extra credit now." She murmured as his thumb rolled over her nipple.
He smiled into the kiss. "I always do."