A/N: I can't believe I got another chapter out this quick! I wish I could say that this is normal, but if you've ever read anything of mine before then you'd know that it so isn't! I'll try to keep on top of the updates as best I can, but I'm not promising anything. But remember, reviews are a writers fuel, so please keep all the wonderful comments coming! Thanks a ton to all of you who have reviewed, it means a lot!
Disclaimer: See Chapter 2
The Waiting Game
The minute the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to ghost himself. Trust him to fuck this up; he hadn't seen her in over five years and the first thing he can think of is how beautiful she'd smell when he was coming inside her. All the slam psychologists had been right; he really was an animal. An animal that hadn't been laid in five years. Jesus, he knew he should have stopped at a whorehouse before he showed up here. Five years alone in the freezing cold was enough to make any man desperate, but Richard B. Riddick wasn't just any man. Modesty wasn't one of his strong suits, and he knew damn well that he had a sex drive most women only dreamt about. Too bad that it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth. Well, he'd said what he'd said, and all he could do now was to try to play the comment off. It wouldn't be too difficult, considering the way she was blankly staring at him. Shit, for all he knew she hadn't even heard him. That only made him feel marginally better.
"Jack? Think I could get a hug or something, kiddo? It's been a while". Nice job, he'd slipped that "kiddo" in there without even breaking his stride. She'd be none the wiser now. Only problem is that she's still looking at him like she's seen a ghost.
"Jack?" His voice was deeper this time, more intense, and he steped a bit closer. Maybe not sucha good idea, cause now he can smell her even more strongly, but his libido's been dampened in the face of his rising unease. Standing with the blood drained from her face was not of the good, and if his sense of smell didn't so deny it so strongly, he'd say she was afraid. Deathly afraid. He reached his hand out hesitantly, thinking to soothe her with a reassuring hug, but stopped in his tracks when he heard her voice.
"Riddick?" It was that same voice she'd used the night she had the nightmares, the night when she'd called out for him in her sleep. It was the same word, his name, spoken like it was something holy and revered. His guts twisted violently inside him, and his eyes began to sting as he remembered the scene for the millionth time. Even now, he couldn't believe he'd ever had the strength to leave her.
"Yeah kid, it's me." He was still standing close to her, so close he could feel her breath against his chest, but he made no move to touch her. He wasn't about to risk scaring her away.
"You came back." She didn't even looking at him when she spoke, her eyes glazed and slightly unfocused as she stared blankly ahead. Her voice held no emotion, no infliction; it was as blank as her stare.
"I promised I would, Jack. Did you doubt me?" He couldn't help himself; he let that last sentence come out as a challenge. He figured that at least he could glean some of her thoughts from her response, because her voice and face sure as hell weren't giving anything away. After all, it'd be nice to know if she was happy to see him, or just ready to shove a shiv up his ass.
"No." The word was just as blank as the rest of her. But then, she seemed to snap awake, as a broad smile broke her face and youthful enthusiasm filled her voice. In all of five seconds, she turned from an emotionless stranger to the young girl he'd saved. "Never had a doubt!" And the next thing he knew, he was encased in a fierce hug.
Having his arms full of Jack was a lot different than he remembered it to be. Gone was the little tomboy with the shorn hair and pointy elbows, she was all soft skin and curves now. She was still a bit lanky, her legs a little too long to be perfectly proportional, but that was to be expected. She'd been all legs and arms since he'd met her. And honestly, it was one of the things he'd loved about her. He'd loved how she was awkward when she moved, how she'd always seemed to be on the verge of losing her balance, how she'd wrap her entire body around him when he hugged her. He was no pedophile, and hadn't gotten any sexual gratification from those kinds of hugs; no, it was more of an emotional gratification, because she was displaying her inner dependence and trust by literally latching on to him. It had made him feel like he was a part of her. But things were different now, and if he ever got another one of those hugs, he would want become a part of her in every physical sense of the expression.
He held her for a long time, just held her and didn't speak. He couldn't bring himself to ruin the moment. When they finally did break apart, it was at her insistence. She pushed back slightly from his chest, and smiled up into his face. Jesus, he'd never see anything like that. She was glowing, literally glowing, her face all lit up and her eyes sparkling. She could be an angel, if there even were such things. Then, she drew in a deep breath, as though preparing to speak. He wished she'd just keep smiling at him.
"Riddick, I'm so glad you're…" The rest of sentence was swallowed up the obnoxious blare of a hover horn. The hover in question, silver and obviously expensive, pulled up to the front of the house. A teenaged girl with long blonde hair and impossibly pink lips was behind the wheel, and the back seat appeared to be filled with at least 3 or 4 other teenagers. Her friends, he thought. Coming to take her out for her the big eighteen. Wonder if any of their parents taught them that it's rude to stare.
They were staring, eyes wide at the strange sight before them. None of them knew why the hell Jackie was wrapped around a guy who, for all intents and purposes, could be homeless. The others thought to ask Claudia, but it appeared that she was just as confused as the rest of them. Tentatively, she called out the window.
"Umm…you coming, Jackie?"
Riddick could see the indecision on Jack's face as plain as night. He could also see that he was going to win, hands down.
"Go with your friends, Jack."
She looked at him, clearly surprised, and maybe just a bit angry. "Are you serious? You think I'm gonna leave to see my sorry-ass friends when you're here? Sorry Riddick, but you're just a little bit more important to me."
He grabber her shoulders, and looked at her seriously. "Go with your friends, Jack. I'll be here when you get back. Have a good time, you only turn eighteen once."
"I said, go with your friends." He raised his voice just a little, to keep her from arguing. Looking slightly hurt, Jack nodded her head. She turned to walk past him, her eyes damp. He watched her for a second, and then, cursing, he sprinted forward and grabbed her arm. Spinning her around, he looked down in to her eyes.
"Hey, don't be upset. I want you to have fun tonight, so then I won't feel any guilt for making you stick around me for the next couple of days."
Her face perked up instantly. "Richard B. Riddick, feel guilty? Just what have you been doing these past five years?"
"Freezing my ass off on some godforsaken snowball, but we'll talk about that later. Bye Jack."
Shit, there was that smile again. She gave his arm a squeeze and turned, walking towards her uncharacteristically silent friends. He watched her get into the hover, and listened to the explosion of sound as she shut the door. He watched the girl behind the wheel start the car and pull out of the driveway. He watched until he couldn't hear the whir of the electronic engine anymore. Then, turning, he walked back up to the house. Imam was standing in the doorway, his arms crossed and his expression mild. If he was at all surprised, he didn't show it. Standing to the side and a little behind Imam was a woman, probably about five years older than himself. So the holy man finally got married. Interesting.
When he reached the door, Imam grasped his hand and shook it warmly. "Welcome back, Mr. Riddick. You've been greatly missed." It was foreign to him, the idea of being missed. Something he'd never thought would apply to him. Strange how different things were for him, now. Imam continued on.
"This is my wife, Laijun." The woman gave him a small, polite nod. He could smell the fear coming off her in waves. So maybe things hadn't changed too much. The thought was oddly comforting.
"I take it you're planning on staying with us, Mr. Riddick?"
"Yeah, or I could get a hotel if you don't have room." He answered the question knowing full well that Imam wouldn't allow it.
"Please, don't be ridiculous. We have more than enough room, and my wife and I, as well as Jack I'm sure, would be honored to have you here." Imam paused, and then looked him straight in the eye. "You do intend to stay for awhile, correct?"
He nodded his head. "Yeah, holy man. I'm not leaving any time soon."