|Maybe in Another World
Author: Nectar-Ambrosia PM
With the Keefe job between them, there was never a way for it to end well. Five times Jackson Rippner dreamed about having Lisa Reisart and one time he didn't have to. Hints at AU.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Jack R. & Lisa R. - Chapters: 4 - Words: 19,442 - Reviews: 33 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 18 - Updated: 09-16-12 - Published: 07-14-12 - id: 8320470
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: It's not supposed to be fluff, precisely.
Just...hypothetically, what might have happened if they'd met without the Keefe job between them, in various scenarios.
Maybe in Another World
The world is a mad spin of antiseptic white, disinfectant blue, and sanitation napkin green.
Frantic medical personnel hurtled around the corner. The stretcher jolted, making Jackson clench his jaw. He stared at the blurring ceiling. His breathing came fast and sharp, and his lungs- no, everything- hurt like death.
Close your eyes.
Eight weeks of surveillance had crashed and burned after a few hours with Lisa Reisert. Lying, deceitful Lisa Reisert, who blearily shoved scrambled eggs into her mouth at 3am. Later, desperate, furious Lisa Reisert pounding him with her high school sports memorabilia.
We'll talk again, he remembered rasping. Well, maybe not anymore.
Jackson Rippner let out a groaning sigh as the hospital bed lights blared into his eyelids and the doctors began to bark orders, allowing himself to drift off into disinfected, chalk green hospital sheets.
The morning was bright and chirpy, the crystal blues of the pools sparkling lazily under the sun.
Jackson rose with a yawn, kicking off the hotel sheets with a practiced motion. The Lux Atlantic would be his quality host for the next two weeks, helping him unwind after days of wrapping up paperwork in the company's Miami office. He liked the spacious suite he was staying in, and the management so far was excellent.
Downstairs, Jackson ignored everything else and focused on his primal and immediate need.
At the front of the hot foods line, he gripped his complimentary Lux breakfast card, inhaling deeply. Bacon, you temptress, he thought indulgently. Without realizing it, Jackson leaned forward to fill his nostrils with the heavenly smell.
"Excuse me." He was interrupted from his sniff by a late-middle-aged couple, both with indigant expressions plastered over their faces. "No cutting, please!"
Charming. "Oh, I was just... smelling the delicious aromas wafting from your breakfasts."
The woman exchanged glances with her husband. "What's a handsome young man like you doing fetching breakfast alone?" she grumbled, reluctantly charmed. "Get yourself to the back of the line- plenty of single young ladies there to talk to."
With a meaningful glance, she grabbed two trays from the counter and marched off with the old man to find a table.
Jackson couldn't help but to snicker. He was no stranger to the grumpy retirement community, another cute token of Miami. Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. Jackson was goddamn hungry, and he wanted his breakfast now.
"Are you in line?" he asked the woman behind him. He smiled charismatically at the forty-something blonde, and suddenly the next place in line belonged to him. He cheered when the person in front of him left with a laden tray.
"Ah, yes. Could I take…" Jackson stepped to the serving counter, examining the food choices sizzling behind the glass panel. "Scrambled eggs." He gestured, and the young waiter nodded, having no time for eye contact as he scooped yet another customer his first meal of the day.
The tray was handed over. "Now, your card, sir?" The waiter held out his gloved hand, waiting impatiently.
"What?" For a moment Jackson was confused, until he remembered the Lux Atlantic's system. The damn card. With a nod, he fished his meal card out of his pockets, handing it over.
He smirked as he watched the food clerk swish the card into the system, confirming that Jackson was indeed a Lux Atlantic customer. Well, of course he was. The Company paid well for fine hotels.
"Err, this doesn't seem to be registering, sir." The clerk held out his card, looking a bit miffed. "Sorry. You'll have to see our manager here, Lisa Reisert. You can find her at the front desk, don't worry. This doesn't usually happen here, and she'll help you-"
"That's fine," answered Jackson, groaning inside. He pocketed the card, biting the inside of his tongue to avoid cursing. Fine, then. Time to meet another forty-something-year-old woman, no doubt with some wheedy voice and inefficient actions.
He passed the rows of chattering people around him, a vibrant mix of casual v-necks, advertisement t-shirts, and expensive business suits. People varied at the Lux Atlantic. Jackson himself was an example of just how exotic a customer here could be.
Jackson stopped at the front desk, glancing over the manager before him. Lisa Reisert, her nametag read. His eyes trailed up as he refocused on wavy auburn hair. It framed a delicate face. Very attractive, he immediately decided. She looked up from her phone call, meeting his eyes. Green eyes, momentarily jolted.
"Ah, excuse me for just one second, Mr. Hartman." The young woman put the call on hold, glancing at Jackson with a professional smile. "Sir, just a minute, please." She nodded at him and resumed the call.
"Yes." She nodded again, and scribbled something on a notepad. "We'll have maintenance up to take care of your plumbing in five minutes. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Hartman. In the meantime, feel free to enjoy tonight in our bar with Mrs. Hartman. It'll be on us." Pause. Bright laugh. "All right. Enjoy your stay."
Shaking her head, Lisa Reisart hung up the phone, only to brighten into a smile again when she looked up. "Hello, sir," she said. "How may I help you?"
"Well, Ms. Reisart," he said slowly, "I was hoping to enjoy some scrambled eggs this morning." He jerked his head in the direction of the hot foods line, which, to his annoyance, was lengthening. Lovely.
"Aaaand your card wasn't being recognized by the system," finished the woman, already typing into the computer. She held out her hand, meeting his eyes with a smile. "May I?"
Jackson glanced back at the manager, briefly forgetting his hunger. In its stead, he felt something else. A personal interest. He wondered if she would accept his invitation for a later meet-up.
"Just for you." He passed his meal card into her hand, purposefully brushing her hand for half a second longer than was necessary. Jackson withheld a smirk, seeing how Lisa Reisart's gaze flickered for a moment, though her smile guiltily widened.
"Thanks," she gulped, swiping it. More typing. Then, withdrawing the card, she neatly deposited it on the desk between them. "Your scrambled eggs should be calling your name by now, sir. Enjoy your breakfast, and-"
Jackson laughed. "Name is Jackson. Please."
She smiled, cocking her head to regard him. After a slight hesitation, she offered her hand. "Lisa."
For a moment, they held their breaths like cautious hunters, searching each other's eyes for some kind of green light.
Finally, Jackson cleared his throat, feeling less interested in his breakfast by the moment. "So, since I'm pretty sure you haven't eaten yet today, what breakfast can I get you, Lisa?"
Her eyes darted from the serving lines back to him, before settling back down, as if caught off guard. "Err…"
He fixed as much intensity into his gaze as possible, forcing her to meet his eyes again. "If I can guess," he said quickly.
Lisa smiled again, ducking to hide it. "Okay…"
"Ahh, I'm feeling something hot," he said, watching her for microscopic hints. A slight blush. "Definitely richly flavored." A slowly growing smile. "Bacon?" he suggested.
She laughed. "No, not me."
He pouted. "Of course. Too common…something more zesty. But subtle." A rap of fingers on the desk. "Grits?"
Lisa shook her head, curiously watching him.
"No, too boring. So that leaves me with only one choice." Jackson regarded her thoughtfully, wearing a solemn expression.
Lisa drew herself forward without realizing it, seemingly holding her breath.
Jackson raised an eyebrow, taking his time. "Eggs," he said simply. "Scrambled eggs are the best things in the early morning anyway." He brushed the meal card in his hand. "I heard the Lux Atlantic has some great servings, but just in case…"
He sneaked a look. Perfect. Lisa looked slightly flustered, but definitely charmed. "I know a great corner café a few blocks away from here," he said softly.
Lisa cleared her throat and made a show of shuffling a stack of papers. "Oh," she said. She seemed to be trying to formulate a response.
Jackson leaned on the desk with his elbow. "Save you a seat one day?"
There was a pause, and he felt a twinge of worry. Would she reject him? She had seemed interested, but there was too much pause for it to end well-
"It's just," she started.
He shook his head, bewildered. Usually he had better luck with attractive women. "No, no," he said with an apologetic laugh. "I just thought –since we both seemed to be scrambled eggs people-"
At this, Lisa's face split into a big smile, the natural gesture lighting up her entire face. She regarded him with a curious look. Despite himself, Jackson found that he was the one leaning forward in anticipation this time.
"I have a call to make," Lisa sighed, sounding apologetic. "There's a customer who needs some help from maintenance, and he's going to raise hell if I don't do it soon." She glanced at him from behind her lashes.
Lisa took a deep breath, as if mustering courage. "But. But...Cynthia, the new girl, arrives in ten minutes. And I'll have to check if the Hartmans will be enjoying their stay at the Lux bar tonight." She sneaked him a look, and found the pale blue eyes scrutinizing her, trying to read her intentions.
That, and her secrets.
She rushed on, trying to get the words out. "They're tough. I might need some backup if case, you know, clients and all-"
The tension broke suddenly as Jackson caught on, grudgingly admiring the way Lisa had turned the balance of power on him.
"Oh." He raised an eyebrow. "You're not dealing with them alone?"
"Hmm…I may have to."
"Are you sure about that?"
Lisa groaned slightly, but in good humor. "You sound like my dad."
Jackson frowned slightly, not liking comparisons to late-middle aged family men. "Does he not trust you around...people?"
"He…" Lisa dropped his gaze for a moment, looking confused. "He just always asks me if I'm alright. If I say 'yes,' he has to ask again…'are you sure, Lisa?'" She huffed a little, softening. "But he means well. Unless someone chases after me with a twelve-inch knife or something...I'm sure he'd get mean pretty quickly then."
"I see." Jackson laughed. "But I do insist. About the…Hartmans? About them, at least. You seem to have the ball rolling, but just in case…"
Lisa looked down at some paperwork, as if her falling auburn tresses could cover her smile of delight. Gotcha, thought Jackson smugly. "Maybe," she admitted. "I did kind of say they were, ah-"
"Asshole customers?" he asked teasingly. He thought of all the murderous –that made him chuckle- clients the Company had made him stand up to, soothe, and please over the years.
Lisa shook her head, and he intently memorized the way her auburn curls tossed around her skin. So smooth. Jackson wondered if she would let him brush his fingers along her cheek. Probably not.
"There are no customers who are assholes," said Lisa with a snort. "Only those with special needs."
Jackson nodded in understanding. "Oh, I know," he deadpanned. "That's what I'd tell them. Before I killed them."
Lisa started, then laughed again, making him crack a smile. "Right," she said with a straight face. "Seven o' clock, okay? And if you can guess my favorite drink too..."
"Then I'd be a stalker," he said, smirking. But a good one.
Jackson straightened from the counter. "We'll talk again."
When they met at seven o' clock in the Lux Atlantic bar that night, he failed miserably to guess her drink. And for some reason, that didn't bother Jackson one bit.
A/N: Since people are wondering, these scenarios are supposed to be several things.
First and foremost, they're Jackson's daydreams/fantasies. Secondary to that, they're also AU (alternate universe for newbies) situations where they didn't meet as rivals/enemies over the Keefe job.
I mean, they can be other things, like "unrealistic" or "long-winded," but those two are the primary intents here.