Mouthwatering scents filled Theodora's nose as she watched Jack prepare their meal with such ease and familiarity. He had asked what she wanted for dinner their
first night away from the city, the only thing she desired was something flavorful and Italian. So chicken and sun-dried tomato Bruschetta it was, his hands moved with such grace he'd always been
one for cooking something good always looking for something new.
“God that chicken smells so good.” Theodora moaned with anticipation her mouth watered at the thought of that first perfect bite.
“Better than your usual I'm sure” His comment interrupts the fantasy going on in her head.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“Hamburger Helper on a daily basis, really?”
“It's quick and easy, I've already told you I don't cook.”
“Yea I've noticed.” He smirks. Theodora gasps with a little laughter
“Again, what the hell is that supposed to mean?”
“You can't even manage the Hamburger Helper your noodles tend to be a bit crunchy. Sorry to break the news to you.” He dodges her pinching fingers as she exits the kitchen and glares back at him for a moment.
“Huh, Really now?” She raises one eye brow he knows he may be pushing the teasing soon.
“You're talking to a master chef here.” He retorts semi sarcastic with an er of arrogance's
She knew he believed it was true to some level and she agreed compared to her he certainly was, still she wasn't going to admit that aloud.
“Well then I guess that's why I have you then huh? My slave.” She adds her evil laughter but it soon dissolves into a flirtatious giggle.
“Slave?” He smiles
“Yes indeed my dear, my slave”
“Don't we need to be married for that?” He jokes rinsing his hands
“Hmm” She glances down at his dog Cowboy a lab mix that lay content on his bed.
“Don't get any ideas” He looks up from his task slightly to see a sly smile on her lips.
“Do you hear him?” She teases. Cowboy stares at her with cute puppy dog eyes as if to say he has no opinion on the matter, Jack just shakes his head and continues with his task. She hops down from the bar stool and finds a seat on the couch.
“Let me know if there is anything I can do”
“I thought I was your slave?” He mocks
“I thought we had to be married?”
After a successful meal Theodora leans back holding her stomach with one hand and sips at her wine with the other.
“For a slave, I suppose” He takes his last bite.
She finds herself smirking into her glass of wine.
“How about a walk? It was warmer than usual today” He glances out the window. The dining room table sits warmly in front of a big bay window that gives perfect view of the water. It was beautiful but it was starting to get dark too. Theodora about inhales her wine trying not to laugh Jack looks up mildly worried.
“Yup, it was a balmy 55 degrees! Break out the flip flops and tank tops! Get your snorkel Cowboy!” The dog doesn't seem to stir from his slumber, Jack laughs a little.
“Eh, shut it.” He says tossing his napkin on the table momentarily defeated. They clear the table and wash the dishes playfully splashing water at each other somehow Jack finds it humorous to whip her in the butt with a hand towel.
“Ouch!” She laughs smacking him with the back of her hand in the stomach.
“Owe” He chuckles
He continues to put the last of the dishes away while Theodora leans her elbows on the counter facing the bay window and admires the last of the day. It had been the first time in months that she'd been able to let go and have fun, to take a moment to breath in the utter peace she felt at that moment.
He stopped what he was doing when he didn't hear a reply and looked over to see her sudden fallen mood.
“Oh geez, what's wrong?” Jack pulls her closer for a hug she couldn't help her crying as she felt his comforting embrace. His strong arms held her tight as Theodora shook with tears she tried to breathe and take deep breaths inhaling the sweet scent of his fleece shirt, the scent of him. It was strangely calming.
“I'm sorry” She tried to speak between sobs
“Hey, its okay, everything will be okay.” His hand gently strokes her head holding her close. It wasn't every day that she cried like this usually she told herself to keep going, don't cry, but after months of telling herself this it wasn't possible the damn that held her together cracked.
“Both my parents are gone now” Theo continued to sob “I'm all alone”
“You have me.”
She could hear the smile in his tone
“I won’t leave you, I'll always be here.”
“I know” Her voice is at a whisper now.
“What's wrong with me?” She asks Jack laughs
“I mean I just don't understand why my best friend left me alone, she's just gone what did I do? I don't even know.”
“You've done nothing wrong.” he comforts
“I'm so tired of being sad, and scared, hurt and even used I'm tired of pretending to be happy”
“Are you unhappy when you're with me?” He asks
She didn't give much thought to how her words might affect him.
“No, I'm usually genuinely happy around you.”
“Usually?” He seems offended but light hearted.
“Shut up” She manages a smile even laughs a little wiping some of the tears away.
“Maybe I should go back on my anti-depressants”
“Oh Theo, you can’t expect drugs to help you until something good comes along. Don't let others bring you down either, happiness is a choice and it's a hard one to make. Being unhappy is easy, it's lazy but being happy takes a lot of work.”
“I'm not druggy Jack, Jesus” She laughs
“I'm not saying you are, just saying you have a healthier more rewarding choice.”
Theodora took a moment to think, still hugging him, still rocking side to side. What he said made sense to her but to just be happy also scared her.
“You're right, I just don't know where to start or how to start.”
“Like I said it's a choice, take it one day at a time.”
“Ugh.” She hated that saying, no matter how true it was.
“Ooh I know” he babies teasingly
“Ugh, OK.” Theodora pulls away slightly his hands hold her waist close to his, she found that she liked his hands on her, liked being close to him. Was he thinking the same?
“I'm sorry” She wipes her tears and laughs at herself.
“Do you still want to go on that walk now?” He asks sweetly, Theodora nods
They walk silently along the rocky beach as the sound of the water gently rushes on to the shore. Jack kicks a few rocks and shells as they make their way, he even
finds a good stick to toss in the water for Cowboy. Theodora seems to have gotten lost in thought her face scrunched up with concern. So pensive.
“Always thinking, Theo” Jack seems a bit exasperated but still manages a smirk. She finds herself looking up and forcing a smile.
“You think too much.”
“Sorry” She mumbles
“Don't be, just makes it hard for conversation is all”
“Oh, well what do you want to talk about?”
“Now you're just forcing it.” He jokes
Theodora huffs in frustration. “I'm sorry... I-”
“I'm just teasing, chill out.” He laughs gently nudging her.
“Do you think it's at all cold out?” Jack asks, Theodora can't tell if he has an agenda with his question.
“No..? I'd say it's warmer than usual.”
“Hmm” Is all he responds before stopping at the shore line he kneels down picking a couple of flat stones and stands again.
“Can you skip stones?” Jack disregards her question as if he didn't even hear her.
“Umm maybe, I don't know it's been a while.” With that he hands her 2 stones seeming to be suppressing a smile. It's been so long since she's found anyone even remotely attractive but his smirk, God he's so cute perfect jaw line, dark raven hair. He was the tall dark and handsome type.
He skips his stones perfectly each one bouncing along the surface at least 4 or more times. Theodora knew this wasn't going to go well for her, with a flick of her wrist the 1st stone didn't make two skips.
“Aw, man.” She laughs
“Last one” Jack reminds
“Don't get your hopes up.”
Her last attempt was just as bad as the first she feels her cheeks grow hot with embarrassment but she's still smiling.
“I know” Theodora sighs.
The sky was sparse with clouds only a few stars were visible and the moon seemed to be playing peek-a boo with the clouds, the beach still managed a blue gray glow. As they continued down the beach their conversation carried into many different subjects until finally.
“What do you think about skinny dipping?” Jack asked this as casual as possible, she was caught off guard though and wasn't sure how to respond.
“Um, I've done it once a few years back, why?”
“My cousins, Why?”
He gives her one eye brow raised
“They were all female and we're close, why” She's giggling now he won’t answer her question.
“Would you ever do it again?”
“Maybe..?” Oh god what was he getting at.
“Would you do it now?”
His question rendered Theodora speechless she stares at Jack trying to read him.
“Are you serious?”
“What makes you think I'm not?”
“You have to be” She's got a grin on her face but believes whole heartedly that he is. Which is why he whips off his shirt and walks towards the water, Theodora covers her mouth as a gasp of shock escapes her.
“Oh my God you are serious!” She's laughing though
Next came his pants she looks away not that the view is unpleasant but that's her friend... Naked! He walks into the water eventually diving in.
“Ooh My God he's serious, he's naked in the water.”
He comes to the surface hooting and hollering at the bitter cold water but there's a huge shit eating grin on his face. The moon was bright enough to see that much.
“You going to make me swim alone?” Jacks arms rose with question, Theodora nods.
“Yes, yes I am.”
“It's- I-.. No!” She's laughing even more
“No one will see you.”
His face frowns “Please like it's not something I've ever seen.”
“Oh my god”
“Stephan's birthday party-”
“You were totally drunk I think I recall finding you in the bathtub.”
Her face is turning beat red.
“Shall I continue with the story? How I took you home helped you shower and got you to bed?”
“Alright!.. Alright fine... Just stop talking. But you can't look.”
“I could leave you naked in the water right now.” She would never do it but her tone was convincing enough.
“Fine.” He laughs.
As quickly as she could manage she took her clothing off, the air was cooler than she had previously thought.
“Cowboy, you have wandering eyes sir.” She squeals “-And a cold nose!” She can hear Jack laughing.
“Stop getting fresh Cowboy.” He continues his laughter.
As she stepped into the water she had not thought about what the temperature would be.
“Aren't you freezing?”
“Yes, which is why you should hurry up.”
“Thanks for not sugar coating it.”
She takes a few deep breaths 'Like a Band-Aid just jump in like he did.' Theodora walked in knee deep and dove in, with in a matter of seconds she came up gasping for air and hollering.
“Holy fuck it's cold!”
“I told you.”
“Oh shut up! You didn't tell me anything!” Her teeth chattered they're both giggling and splashing each other like little children.
“Come here” Jack flirts pulling her in close by the waist she stares at him questioningly but still smiling. In instant things are a little more serious as the closer her lips get to his the harder it is to breathe.
“Hm.” Theodora is thinking again and pulls away swimming further out.
“Theo?” Jacks tone was reprimanding he wasn't ready for her to leave just yet and he knew those wheels of hers were turning; she was over thinking things again. He swims after her Theodora finds herself giggling like a teenager as she desperately swims as fast as she can away from him, but he's too fast and catches her only this time they're further out. Cowboy sits on the shore ancy not sure whether he wants to chase after them he whines in his indecision.
“Stay boy” He demands Cowboy seems to calm himself and sits still watching as they rough house in the water. They were further out than planned and the tides were in the back of his mind.
“What are you going to do now that you've caught me huh?”
“What? Speechless for once?”
“No, I just think we should start swimming that way.” Theodora looks in the direction he points it was a ways away from where they entered.
“The shore is right there.”
“Well now that the tide has us it's a little pointless to swim back.”
“Oh shit, are you serious?”
“Be my guest sweetheart swim away, I'll see your body on the 6 o'clock news tomorrow.”
“Alright, don't be dramatic.”
“Come on.” He leads the way she does her best to keep up and not get separated, he seemed to be calm so she had no reason to start panicking... Yet. Swimming diagonal to the beach Theodora noticed they were swimming a lot further from their original spot than she was comfortable with.
“Jesus, will we make it to shore?” Now she's starting to think about how cold she is.
“Yes we will be fine, just keep swimming”
Cowboy is barking now as he sees they’re swimming away, Jack stops a moment to tell him to go home, Cowboy seems very unsure about the situation but sits back down again.
“That dog man.”
“What?” Jack asks
“He's awesome” She laughs “My dog would have joined the party.”
Jack laughs a little and continues to swim alongside Theodora.
When they finally make it to shore there are no houses around just woods and rocks.
“This is just perfect.” Theodora states chattering her teeth.
“We are going to have to walk through the woods for a little while.”
“With no shoes?” She finds that she's crossing her arms to hide her boobs the only thing she was grateful for right now was the fact they were both alive and it was dark.
“Are you going to complain the entire time?”
She rolls her eyes
“No, but how will we see where we are going? I don't want to get lost.” Theodora is finding herself more worried now the thought of going into the woods naked in the pitch black, how much more vulnerable could this get? He senses her fear and gently caresses her face with his surprisingly warm hand.
“Just stay calm please, I will get us out of here.”
She can hear the sincerity in his tone, 'If he's calm I'm calm.' She thinks
They make their way through the woods and she does her best to stay quiet, if he was going to get them out of there she was going to give him all the time he needed to concentrate. Walking barefoot in the woods was no walk in the park her feet were sore from stepping on jagged rocks but mostly sticks.
“What are you thinking there Theo?”
“Ouch! Fuck! These fucking sticks!”
“Ah, I see.”
“Do you know where we are?”
“Yes my dear, I'm naked, in the almost pitch black woods. The only luck we have on our side is the fact that the moon is out.”
“Was that supposed to make me feel better?”
“Oh, right. Yes we are fine.”
“Ugh.” Theodora rolls her eyes again.
“it’s fine Theo we will get out of here.” He laughs
“I'm glad one of us can find this funny, it's getting colder out. I can't stop shivering.”
After what seemed like an eternity for Theodora they finally come upon a road.
“Oh thank God! And it's paved! So it's a main road.”
“Let’s keep going, I know your tired but we have a long walk ahead of us.”
“What about Cowboy?” She had completely spaced about him and didn't think they would be gone so long on this damned adventure.
“He's fine, I guarantee he'll be sitting on the porch when we return.”
“You mean if we return, if we don't freeze to death first.”
“Theo, stop it we will be fine.”
They hadn't made it out of the brush before they were greeted with bright headlights; they had been in the dark so long it hurt their eyes. Jack stood from the bushes.
“What are you doing?” Theodora exclaimed pulling at him to get back down.
“-You're naked, I'm naked!” She was horrified
“Do you feel like walking 5 miles home?” He asks
“God, if my mother knew.”
“She's not going too, come on.”
The look on that man’s face was a cross between humored and awkward, he reluctantly gave them a lift.
“Do you happen to have a blanket by chance?” Jack asked somehow Theodora believed he was feeling just as embarrassed as Theodora. It was either her or him in the middle and he knew it was going to be him.
“Yea, actually I have an extra sweat shirt too.” He reaches over grabs it and tosses it at Theodora.
'Thank God someone decent stopped' She thought as she quickly put it on it was big enough to cover other areas as well, Jack wrapped the blanket around himself and
they hopped in.
“Thank you so much.” Jack says awkwardly as he slides in next to the driver trying to keep the blanket on. Theodora hops in beside him and they head home. The man didn't hesitate to turn on the heater and turn up the radio to drown out the uncomfortable silence that stirred in such a small space. The only talking that either of them did was to communicate turns and roads, Theodora found herself exhausted and rested her head on his shoulder.
“We're almost there don't fall asleep on me yet.” His voice was so soothing.
“OK.” She mutters already half way there, she can feel his hand hug her tight.
“There it is, turn here.”
Jacks words startle Theodora awake she sees them approach Jacks house and is all too eager to get out of the truck, she slips off the sweatshirt.
“Hey would you mind shutting off your headlights?” She asks still half asleep and tosses the sweater over Jacks shoulder back into the cab of the truck. The man does as he's asked and she makes a run for the house.
“Thank you sir!” She hollers over her shoulder.
“Hi Cowboy.” She says patting him on the head and opens the door, he sits there happy to see they made it back.
Jack turns to face him still holding the blanket, before he could say anything the man holds his hand up.
“Yeah I wouldn't want it back either.” He shuts the door and heads towards the house. Cowboy greets him nudging his hand with his nose.
“Hi boy, let’s go inside.”
When Jack enters the house he could hear that she had already jumped in the shower, he hoped that she wouldn't take long because the thought of a hot steamy shower was more appealing than usual. For the time being he put on a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt, finding his way to the kitchen where he puts on a pot of coffee. Cowboy finds his spot on his bed curled up in a tight little ball at this point there was nothing left to do but wait. Soon enough she exited the bathroom steam flowed from the door way.
“God, that was probably the best shower I've ever had.”
“I'm glad one of us is happy.”
“Well by all means get in there I didn't use all the hot water.”
As he makes his way into the bathroom he says over his shoulder.
“There's a pot of coffee if you want some and creamer in the fridge, have at it.”
Theodora does just that, with comfort as if it were her own home she pours herself a cup of coffee and admires Cowboy as he's obviously out for the night.
“Poor thing, you've had a long night too with all that worrying.” She mumbles to herself returning the creamer back into the fridge. The fire had long since died in the fireplace and she hoped that he would get it going again when he was done. Sitting there all on her lonesome her mind started to wander again.
'He's in there naked again. Right now. She smirks 'What would he do if I joined him?' She wondered. The thought was appealing to her but she'd never actually do it, she wasn't brave enough and the thought of rejection? That would be terribly embarrassing still though, he seemed pretty flirty in the water. Maybe he's had time to think maybe he's changed his mind, maybe he wouldn’t be right it could be a bad call to go from simple fun friendship to something more?
Leaning one hand on the wall he let the scolding hot water beat down his back, she was right, to date this is the best shower he's ever had.
'Theo.' His mind started to think about the events of the evening, had he pushed the envelope in flirting with her even trying to kiss her? She pulled away maybe she's not interested but then again she always tends to over think things. He continued with his shower washing his hair scrubbing his body and then it was back to letting the hot water run over his back and down his chest. He couldn't get enough of the warmth it felt so good compared to that fucking cold ass water which is when he remembered their clothing was still on the beach.
“Shit, have to get those tomorrow.” There was no way he was going out there tonight not after this toasty warm shower.
'Maybe I should go for it again.' He thought shutting off the water and stepping out. Theodora was the only one that made him genuinely laugh, sometimes she didn't
even try it was always something stupid she did or ridiculous she said but he liked that about her. She was unique in the best way possible and at this point the thought of her being with any other
guy drove him insane. He knew she cared about him there was no doubt about that, could she love him though? He was starting to believe he could love her but it would be terrible for rejection if he
didn't at least try he'd always wonder. When he came out he found Theodora wrapped in a blanket looking at his shelf of movies.
“Aren't you tired?” he asked as he walked past the couch and into the kitchen.
“Yes, but I wouldn't mind a movie.”
“Make sure you pick something good.” He pours himself a cup of coffee but no creamer he liked drinking it black the creamer was mostly for Theodora.
“You bought them, shouldn't they all be good?”
“Touché in the smallest bit.”
Eventually she found her movie and they popped it in.
“What is it.” Jack asks take a seat on the couch.
“It's a surprise.”
“Is it your movie again?” He whines
“What do you mean my movie again?”
“Pride and Prejudice”
“What's wrong with my movie?” Her hands on her hips.
“Sweetheart you know it word for word and at this point I know it word for word.”
“It's a damn good movie!”
“It's a chick flick” He takes a sip.
“Well sir, you'll be glad to know it is not Pride and Prejudice, I figured something humorous would be nice.”
“Okay which movie is that then?”
“Hangover” Theodora hoped he didn't have any objections it took her forever to pick even one movie.
“Aah okay that's good enough for me.”
She takes a seat on the couch and as the movie carries on she slowly finds herself scooting closer to Jack. Eventually she gives up grabbing a pillow placing it in his lap and lays down. His hand instinctively rests on her back rubbing it a little.
“Do you want to go to bed?” He asks
“No, I'm comfy here.”
“Well let’s fix this situation here.”
He leans forward making Theodora sit up and watches as he sets his cup on the coffee table, he throws the couch pillows on the floor and lays down.
“This is much better.” He smiles
Theodora finds her place snuggled up close covering them both with the blanket, she felt so comfortable and happy. Like all the pieces had just fell into place, that maybe this crazy puzzle piece she has for a life just found it's perfect snug fit. His strong arms wrapped around her he felt wonderful and the stupid smile on her face was uncontrollable.
“Can I please have that kiss now?” He asks his thumb stroking her stomach. She turns over to face him no long paying attention to the movie.
'He's so damn cute, that mouth is more than desirable.' She thought as her lips got closer to his the anticipation was driving her crazy and then it happened the best kiss she had ever encountered there was no doubt in her mind that she would be kissing these lips again in the future. One hand cradling her jaw ever so slightly while the other holds her back his fingers curling with desire and satisfaction. God she felt so good to hold there was no way he was ever going to let her go.
After a long day and an unexpected adventure they fall asleep where they're supposed to be, together.
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