How Did I Fall In Love With You?

Lyrics taken from, 'How Did I Fall In Love With You?' by The Backstreet Boys.

Jonny's speech is taken in part, and slightly altered from Holden's monologue (written by the late Kevin Smith) from the movie 'Chasing Amy'

"Do you, Jonathan Richard Quest, take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"

His smile was more blinding than his sun-bleached blond hair as Jonny said, nervousness only apparent to his wife-to-be, "I do."

"Do you, Jessica Anne Bannon, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?"

Taking a deep breath and smiling just as widely – though her lips wavered tremulously from anxiety – at her soon-to-be-husband, Jessie said firmly, "I do."

Remember when we never needed each other.
The best of friends like sister and brother.
We understood, we'd never be…alone.

When I first met Jonny Quest, I really didn't like him. He was brash, arrogant, rude, and so self-assured it was enough to make my blood boil. He acted as if he was so superior to me simply because he was male and I was female.

In short, the typical ten-year-old boy.

He stopped treating me so inferiorly pretty soon after I proved I could hold my own in a fight, but we still didn't get along all that well for a while. Part of it was me – I've always been one to hold a grudge; I'm not sure whether I get that from Mom or Dad, really – I was jealous. He'd had Race as a second father all his life, and I'd only just met the man. He and Race had the parent-child relationship I'd always wanted with my mother.

But Jezebel Jade Kenyon really wasn't a maternal person. She liked the fast life – though despite that fact that it gave her the adrenaline rush she craved, being an operative for I-1 was a bit too dangerous even for her – and didn't liked being tied down. Emotional attachments were hard for her to make stick.

She only managed to stay married to my father for a week, after all.

She was good to me – did the best she knew how with what she had – but she and I were more like sisters than mother and daughter. One of the things she taught me – though I'm not sure she meant to – what that you didn't need a man for anything. Not to change a tire, not to make you happy…not to raise a child with.

And I think some of that overt feminism bled into my relationship with Jonny. When I first met him, I was convinced I didn't need him fucking up my life. If it hadn't been for all the hectic chaos – kidnappings, shootings, hostage situations, bombs blowing up and other terrorist activities – during the first couple of months after Race and the Quests took me in, Jonny and I might never have become friends, let alone best friends.

After we got over the initial rocky start, I was like his sister. He was like a brother, just like Hadji. Dr. Quest was like another father; I started calling him Dad Benton when he and Race got together my junior year. Jonny had always called my father Race, but every once in awhile he'll call him Dad as well. Once Hadji got over his polite reserve, he called them Dad Quest and Dad Bannon. We were one weird, lopsided family, with two dads, two boys, and a girl.

But while Benton Quest is just as much of a father to me as Race Bannon…I never felt about Hadji the way I do about Jonny. I never needed Hadji like I do Jonny.

But then, back when we were kids, I didn't really need Jonny, either.

At least…I didn't think so.

And now, we're getting married. It seems like I've waited forever for this day – forever for us to be tied together in such a way, that no matter what happened, we'd never be alone again.

We'd always have each other.

Those days are gone, and I want you so much.
The night is long and I need your touch.
Don't know what to say;
I never meant to feel this way.
Don't want to be alone tonight.

I remember when I first started feeling more for Jonny than simple friendship. It seems like so long ago – I was thirteen, barely out of childhood; Jonny was only a few months shy of his own thirteenth birthday.

Race had let Jonny, Hadji and I go camping on our own. Granted, it was just on the beach of Dolphin Bay, but despite all the times we'd helped saved the world – or just our small corner of it at the Quest Compound – we were still kids, and this was the first real adult responsibility we'd been given.

It was a clear, warm night, so there was no need for tents. We spaced our sleeping bags out around the campfire; Jonny and Hadji taking one side and leaving me on the other as the token gesture towards me being a girl and them wanting to be 'gentlemanly' and give me what privacy there was.

Actually, I really think that was because of Dad's own brand of 'encouragement' – I'd gotten my period for the first time that summer, and I think it threw him for a loop. He'd realized that his little girl was growing up and he'd gone into protective overdrive – he realized that Jonny and Hadji, while we only have been friends then

Well, who knew better than I that things can change at any time? That your whole wolrd can turn upside down?

Anyway, that night was a full moon, but while it wasn't stormy, there were still clouds in the sky – blocking that moon.

Now, I'd never had an actual, full-blown fear of the dark, but there was no light anywhere. We'd put the fire out when we got ready for bed – didn't want to burn the island down, after all – and the lightning bugs had headed for parts unknown back in July.

Hadji, bless his overly serene soul, had just dropped off like a baby in his mother's womb. I didn't know if Jonny was awake – I thought about listening for snoring, but Jonny only does that when he has a cold – but I hoped he was, if only so I wouldn't be alone in the dark.

Not that I was really alone, but it seemed comforting to think that I wasn't the only one kept awake by the dark.

I don't know how much time went by, but it seemed like about half an hour before Jonny spoke up. "Jess?" he whispered. "You awake?"

"Yeah," I answered.

His head popped up out of his sleeping bag and grinned sheepishly. "I, uh…can't sleep."

"Neither can I," I replied needlessly.

He opened his mouth to say something and then blushed slightly. Ducking his head, he started fiddling with the zipper on his sleeping bag. "You, uh…wanna move over here?" he asked, and I could tell he was trying his best to be nonchalant, act like there was nothing untoward with his suggestion.

Not that there was at our age, but certain things could be read into his offer and we both knew it.

"Yeah," I said, and a few moments after, accompanied by quiet rustles, I'd rearranged my sleeping bag next to his. It was a bit closer to his than Hadji's was, but he didn't say anything. He looked pleased, actually.

So then we settled down, and while I wasn't so scared of the dark anymore, I still couldn't sleep. Noticing how Jonny was tossing and turning in his own sleeping bag, I could tell he couldn't, either.

I have no idea what prompted my next action. Maybe it was instinct; maybe I'd just seen too many romance movies.

Or maybe I just knew that someday…

We'd fall in love.

In any case, I reached out, and took his hand in mine. He stiffened, and for a moment, I thought he was going to shake my hand off, but then he relaxed. His eyes flicked to me, and I could tell he was blushing once more. I could see there was so many things he wanted to tell me, but all he said was, "'Night, Jess."

I smiled back. "Goodnight, Jonny."

And we both dropped off to sleep. The next morning, we were, luckily, the first ones awake, so neither of us would have to explain to Hadji why I'd moved.

But I noticed, as did Jonny, that when we woke up…our hands were still joined. It made me smile.

Jonny smiled, too.

But those days of taking such simple pleasure in innocent childhood touches are gone. We're adults now, and even though we still have lots of growing up to – we'll be learning new things even when we celebrate our golden anniversary, I'm sure; that's just the way we're programmed – we're ready. I want him by my side so much.

What can I do to make you mine?
Falling so hard, so fast this time.
What did I say? What did you do?
How did I fall in love with you?

I've heard it said that when you fall in love – really fall in love – you fall forever. Fall in love a little bit more each day for the rest of your lives.

But I've always thought that if that's true – and I believe it is; how can I not, when that's how I fell for Jonny? – then it starts off as friendship, growing stronger each day, each of you growing closer as time goes by.

Even if it does seem that we fell faster than the speed of light. It seemed like one day, we were 'just' best friends, and the next, we were…more

I'm not sure what I said, or did – well, aside from asking him to marry me – but I have no idea what action on my part got Jonny to fall in love with me.

Then again, I have no idea how Jonny got me to fall in love with him, so…

I don't suppose it matters, really. We're in love now, so how it happened is irrelevant. Love isn't logical, like a scientific experiment where you have to document everything. You don't have to understand love…in order to know it's there.

I haven't known Jonny all my life…but at times like this, it seems like I have. Times like this, when we're both so perfectly in synch it feels like we're one person. When I know what he's going to say before he says it, and vice versa.

Though, you could just write that off to the formulaic wording of wedding vows.

Speaking of which…

"By the power vested in me by the state of Maine…"

I hear your voice and I start to tremble.
Brings back the child that I resemble.
I cannot pretend, that we can just be friends.
Don't want to be alone tonight.

Hearing his voice say those two little words caused her to tremble, bringing with it a wash of déjà vu. She felt so like that innocent child of sixteen, that child – now a woman – who'd shared her very first kiss with her very best friend.

Even if it was because of two ghosts – and the feelings Lady Caroline and Jean felt for each other – that caused it to happen, she couldn't deny that her feelings for Jonny went beyond mere – as if there was anything 'mere' about loving someone with your whole heart and soul, whether or not there was any romance implied – friendship.

Once Caroline and Jean had taken their leave, neither of them could deny that though the impetus hadn't been theirs, the feelings had been real enough. Neither of them could pretend that they could be just friends anymore.

It had been a rocky start – neither of them had any dating experience, and it was hard to tell the difference between spending time together as 'just friends' and as boyfriend/girlfriend – but they'd managed. It had helped to have Hadji's support – she and Jonny both had been worried that he would feel left out, now that she and Jonny had split off from their trio to form their own duo.

Her father and Dr. Quest had been wonderful, as well. The trust they extended to their children helped lessen the stresses with which the strain of a new relationship had burdened them. Neither of them had imposed undue restrictions on their activities – both of them trusted their children to act appropriately.

Jessie had especially appreciated the leniency her father had extended to her. Race hadn't followed them around everywhere, or interrogated either of them too much before their dates.

Though Race had threatened Jonny's continued existence if the younger man hurt his 'ponchita'. He'd reiterated his threat when they'd broken the news of their engagement to him.

She'd always be her father's ponchita, his little girl, but she was growing up, and he needed to loosen the apron strings – or in her case, the jesses – so she could fly on her own.

But not alone, because now she had Jonny to look after her. Just liked she'd take care of him.

God knows he couldn't take care of himself.

After tonight, they'd never be alone again. Never have to sleep apart, never have to be apart.

What can I do, to make you mine?
Falling so hard so fast this time.
What did I say? What did you do?
How did I fall in love with you?

Funny; it seems like one day we were innocent – well, as innocent as we could be, considering the dangerous lives we lived – kids playing tag at the Quest Compound. We'd race cyber-boards across the digital landscape of Questworld, the prize for the winner being only the thrill of victory and the rush of winning a satisfying competition.

The next day we were chasing each other for a whole different prize.

A kiss. Or two, or three, or four or more…

And it didn't matter who won the race, because win or lose, the prize was just as much fun for the loser as the winner.

One day we were best friends; the next day we were more. I can remember our first kiss, I can remember our first date, I can remember the moment Jonny first said he loved me – like that – and the moment I asked him to marry me…

But I can't remember when I fell in love with him. I asked him once, and he can't remember, either.

It doesn't matter, though; the journey is important, but the end is where you spend your time.

And I'm going to spend mine with Jonny.

Oh, I want to say this right
and it has to be tonight.
Just need you to know…

Oh, yeah…

I don't want to live this life;
I don't want to say goodbye.
With you, I wanna spend
the rest of my life…

I can still remember how nervous I was when I asked Jonny to marry me. I hadn't actually planned it – and he had – which is why it's such a funny story.

I knew Jonny wanted to ask me – don't ask me how, but I could tell – but I also knew he was so nervous that he kept chickening out.

So finally, when he had started in on one of his babble fits – the rambling monologues that he got into whenever he started to say, 'Jessie, will you marry me?' but ended up turning it into something like, 'Jessie, will you…go to the beach with me on Saturday?' This was his seventh one, I think – I just blurted out, "Jonny, you wanna get married?"

Definitely not the most eloquently worded proposal, but at least it was heartfelt.

Though no amount of sincerity on my part could account for the gobsmacked expression on Jonny's face. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen – even funnier than the time Jonny managed to get Hadji to take off his turban, let all his hair down and wear a mermaid costume for a photo spread advertising Dolphin Bay.

Disturbing, let me to tell you, to realize how…feminine he looked like that. Cute, too.

Anyway, when Jonny's jaw finally stopped doing an impression of a facial speed bump, he managed to stutter out an exasperated, "I should've known you'd beat me to it. You can't stand to let me get ahead in anything, can you, Jess?"

"Well, if you hadn't kept chickening out!" I told him, yanking the little velvet-covered box from his pocket – I'd seen him fiddling with it when he'd started to ask his question.

That caused him to blush. And let me tell you, people always go on and on about how redheads blush like nobody's business – well, Jonny may be a blond, but he inherited his father's blush genes. He turned the same color as a boiled lobster.

"I…I couldn't figure out what to say," he admitted, shame-faced. "I was trying to figure out the perfect way, and I kept thinking that if I could just get the first words out, the rest of it would come to me, but…" She shrugged helplessly. "You know me, Jess. I've never been good with words."

"I do know you, Jonny," I agreed. "That's why I know you haven't even realized that you haven't answered me yet."

Another choked expression accompanied by a blush. "Of course I'll marry you!" he blurted out. "I don't want to live my life without you, Jess," he said softly. "I…I love you. And not…not just in a friendly way, although I think we're great friends. You are the…the epitome of everything I have ever looked for in another human being."

All I could think was, Wow… Talk about a compliment.

He was rambling again, but this time he was actually going somewhere – and I could think, anyway, with him saying such sweet things – so I didn't try to stop him. "I can't…I can't take this anymore, this…not having you beside me all the time," he said. "I can't stand next to you without wanting to hold you. I can't…I can't look into your eyes without feeling that…that longing you only read about in sappy romance novels." He blushed again and licked his lips. "I can't talk to you without wanting to express my love for everything you are. And even though I could never find the right words, I couldn't allow another day to go by without asking you to be my wife." Clasping my hands – ring box and all – in his own, he said passionately, "Jessie, there isn't another soul on this fucking planet who has ever made me half the person I am when I'm with you, and I would risk anything to never have to say goodbye to you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Jessie Bannon. Will you marry me?"

Tears pricked her eyes. "Oh, Jonny…" She sniffed. "That's the sweetest thing I've ever heard."

Jonny grinned and ducked his head self-consciously. "Jess?" he prodded her to answer, embarrassed by his sappiness.

"Of course I'll marry you, you idiot!" she cried, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him senseless.

What was that I said about my proposal not being eloquent? Well, neither was my acceptance.

But, again, it was heartfelt.

And we are getting married.

What can I do to make you mine?
Falling so hard so fast this time.
What did I say? What did you do?
How did I fall in love with you?

Sometimes, she still couldn't believe they were together. That they were getting married. Even as the minister intoned the proverbial words, her eyes locked with Jonny's, and she smiled at the excitement in them. For all that they were both twenty-two years old, a little kid thrill of excitement still thrummed through her veins when she thought that in just a few minutes she'd be Mrs. Jonny Quest.

Of course, she'd still go by her professional name of Jessie Bannon, but personally…

She and Jonny would be tied together forever, by bonds stronger than that of a shared surname.

And as the sun sank down over Dolphin Bay, the last of the minister's words echoed in her ear:

"…I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

What did I do to make you mine?
Falling so hard so fast this time.
Everything's changed, we never knew.
How did I fall in love with you?

As sunset rays of gold, green, blue and red bathed them in a rainbow of colors, Jonny reached out one hand to tug Jessie close, their lips meeting in a gentle joining of souls.

Even the fact that Bandit couldn't stop himself dancing around their feet – and eventually ended up tripping Jessie so she fell into Jonny's arms – couldn't deter their happiness. They just laughed, Jonny not even bothering to scold his oldest friend.

They were married now. Mr. and Mrs. Jonny Quest. And everything – but three things – had changed.

He was hers, and she was his.

And they were in love.

It didn't matter how. All that mattered…was that it was.