Author's Note: LSR7: I know, sorry! That was kind of a downer. But I'm glad you enjoyed it. Abbi: Aww! You're so sweet! No, they were very happy tears. :) that AWESOMEST WINNER OF WINNERS: No, I didn't think it was harsh. I'm glad you told me what you were thinking. And it WAS a good point. Thank you so much! And I don't really get tired of hearing how people like my story ;) As conceited as that sounds. No need to apologize for rambling ;) I enjoyed you're review. Sure Snowflake: Wow, thank you! That's so sweet :)
Wow. Thank you so much! You're reviews are so incredibly encouraging! I can't thank you guys enough for reviewing my story :) You're like my sunshine! ;) Little rays of sunshine, encouraging me throughout the story, which goes along with the theme for this chapter. This chapter is for all of you. Please tell me what you think!
The soothing, rhythmic thrum of rain on the roof woke Elsa. It made a soft hushing noise as millions of rain drops pattered to the ground. Elsa savored the feeling of the rain-cooled air around her; the temperature had dropped considerably. Elsa slid out of bed. She felt a warm hand gently grasp her wrist.
"Where're you going?" Jack asked sleepily. Elsa couldn't help but smile at his slightly drooping lids and boyishly tousled hair.
"I'm just getting something to read. I'll be right back."
Jack's beautiful azure eyes met hers. He let his hand drop from her wrist. "Alright." He reclined against the soft, plump pillows on the bed. Elsa padded down the stairs, the cool floor boards creaking underfoot. The chilly air enveloped her; she loved it. Elsa glanced at a bookshelf, flushed against the wall. Her fingertips brushed the spines of the book as she browsed the titles. Some were so worn, their covers peeled back, revealing soft, age-worn paper, but most were pristine and fresh, smelling wonderfully of new paper. Elsa picked out Pride and Prejudice, one of her all-time favorites. She hadn't read it in years.
Elsa ran back up the stairs, her footsteps thumping soundly against the creaking wood. She crept back into bed, pulling the cozy comforter around her. She heard Jack exhale with relief as he drew her close, wrapping an arm around her waist. Elsa tried to read. Jack would occasionally caress her, or smooth her hair, or rub her arms, as if constantly reassuring himself of her presence. After five minutes, Elsa realized she hadn't read a page. Jack was proving distracting. She set the book down and craned her neck to look at him.
"Is something wrong?"
Jack paused. "No. Why? Am I disturbing you?" He scooted away from her and was preparing to draw his hand away when she gently touched his wrist.
"No, you're not. Are you sure nothing's bothering you?"
Elsa turned to face him fully. They both knew he was lying. For the past few days, he'd been sullen and quiet. Elsa sensed he was still worried about Abitha. What good brother wouldn't be? She set the book down on the nightstand and turned towards Jack, wondering if he found her presence as soothing as she found his. She gently rested her hand against his cheek. Jack pulled her close again, hugging her tightly. He buried his nose in her silky hair, inhaling her sweet, comforting scent deeply. He wove his fingers through her sleek, soft tresses, savoring how it felt against his hands. She was so delicate and petite. He laced his fingers through her and gently kissed the inside of her wrist, where he could feel her pulse softly thrum underneath his lips. He held her and cuddled her and cradled her. He felt a rush of euphoria and gratitude when he touched her. He'd spent countless hours in the past three years simply dreaming of what it'd be like to hold her again.
Jack was flat on his back, Elsa lying on top of him with her head resting against his chest. He traced the length of her curving spine with his fingertips. Elsa shivered and nestled closer. He cautiously kissed her forehead, not wanting to make her uncomfortable, not wanting to drive her away. She rose and fell in synchrony with his chest, as he inhaled and exhaled. His stomach rumbled and Elsa giggled. Jack loved her tinkling, bubbly giggle. He hadn't heard it for so long.
She shyly rested her forehead against his. Her long lashes fanned against her soft cheeks as she blinked. "Shouldn't we go get breakfast?"
Jack moaned, not wanting to end his precious moments with Elsa.
She sat up and Jack missed her presence immediately. He liked her to stay close. Elsa gently tugged on his wrist. "Come on."
Jack sighed, her sparkling blue eyes begging him to come. He stood with her, protectively wrapping an arm around her shoulders so he could keep her close.
Elsa had a blanket securely wrapped around her body as she sat in the big, wooden rocking chair. It wasn't that the cold bothered her; it didn't, she just liked feeling cozy and safe. A raindrop spattered onto the flat wooden railing fringing the wrap-around patio. The cool air felt lovely against her skin, making her feel vibrant and refreshed. She stretched her hand out and a few raindrops splattered on her palm. The sky was various hues of gray, contrasting beautifully with the deep green of the forest, mingling with the smooth, white trunks of aspen trees and the rough, mocha-colored bark of pine trees. Elsa stood, letting the blanket draped around her fall from her shoulders. She walked to the patio steps, but didn't venture out into the rain. A few raindrops fell in front of her. She watched as the round, transparent drops dripped to the grass-coated dirt below. Elsa gasped sharply when she felt a shove from behind. Suddenly, she found herself standing away from the shelter of the patio, the rain thoroughly drenching her clothing. She gasped with righteous indignation and turned to face Jack, a smug smile on his handsome face. Elsa forgot why she was angry at all when she saw him smile. He hadn't smiled enough lately. Then she felt icy water sluice down her back and she remembered. Elsa stomped over to Jack. Grasping his wrist, she tried to pull him into the rain too, but he wouldn't budge. Elsa huffed and firmly planted her feet and the ground before tugging harder. He still remained unyielding. Jack chuckled and sat back in a rocking chair, putting his hands behind his head casually. Elsa walked onto the patio. Water dripped from her soaked clothing. Jack watched her, his blue eyes twinkling with amusement as she grasped his ankle and tugged. Elsa tried a few more times. Finally, she wrapped her arms and legs around his leg, like a toddler would do to someone they didn't want to leave.
His chest rumbled with chuckled. "What are you doing, Elsa?"
Elsa peered up at him. "Well, if you aren't going in the rain, then you aren't going anywhere."
He quirked an eyebrow. "Oh?" He stood and hobbled with Elsa still clinging to his leg to the edge of the patio. He stuck his leg out, letting the rain wet her again. When Elsa let out a cute squeak, Jack decided she was wet enough. He placed his leg back down. Elsa glared up at him as she released his leg. Jack smirked and took his seat at the rocking chair.
Elsa crossed her arms. Her pink lips puckered into a cute pout. She stomped outside of the protection of the patio into the rain, planting herself on the ground. She sat, her arms still crossed and her shoulders slightly hunched over her. Jack smiled broadly and chuckled again. She was adorable when she pouted. But he couldn't leave her to pout in the rain forever. He stood, walking out into the frigid rain until he was right behind Elsa. Elsa let out a surprised squeak when he swept her into his arms. He walked back inside and sat down on the couch with Elsa cradled to his chest. He plucked a blanket from the back out the couch and wrapped it around her, drying her off. He scrubbed her hair with the blanket until it was frizzy, askew tendrils everywhere. She scowled at him. Jack smiled and gently kissed the tip of her nose, promptly deciding he was the luckiest man alive.
An ominous boom startled Elsa out of her abysmal nightmare. Her cheeks were wet and her body was bathed in a cold sweat. The sheets were twisted around her limbs, probably because she was thrashing in her sleep. Her heart pounded against her chest. Elsa trembled. The room was entirely dark. No light anywhere. The remnants of her nightmare still clung to her mind, haunting her. Elsa had no trouble imagining assassins lurking in the murky darkness of her room. Another flash of lightning illuminated the room in blinding light. Elsa let out a frightened cry and buried her face into her pillow. Even her breaths trembled. She swallowed and once again turned to see the endless darkness of her room. She couldn't see anything. Where was Jack? Elsa frantically felt for him lying beside her. He wasn't there. Elsa chocked back a sob and curled into a ball, hugging her knees tightly. She'd never felt so alone. Her hands were trembling as she flung the sheets off of herself and padded downstairs. Jack's face was illuminated by a dim light as he stared at the pages of a book. He was reclining comfortably on the couch. Elsa stepped forward, a board creaking under her weight. He looked up.
Concern softened his features. "Elsa? Do you need something?"
Elsa began to think how silly she was being, disturbing Jack when she'd only had a nightmare. The lightning flashed, thunder booming angrily. Despite herself, Elsa took a step towards him.
"Elsa?" he breathed softly.
Elsa hugged her middle tightly. She knew it would sound pitiful and child-like. "I-I had a nightmare." She sniffled slightly, instantly regretting her decision to tell him.
He smiled gently, his blue eyes filled with warmth. "Come here, Elsa."
Elsa eagerly approached him as more thunder rumbled. He pulled her into his lap, his arms wrapping around her securely. She gently rested her head just underneath his shoulder and snuggled closer. Jack patiently wiped away her tears, drying her wet cheeks. He began humming a soothing, vaguely familiar tune. Elsa's sobs lessened and she grew quiet as she strained to listen.
He began singing softly, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. Please don't take my sunshine away…"
His deep, silky voice soothed her. Elsa's eyes drifted closed as she felt herself warm at his words, not knowing if he truly meant them or not. She relaxed against him, the strains of the song accompanying her as she fell asleep. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…