Here's the last chapter. Sorry it took so long to update! Things have been crazy around the bourbon household!
It's a pretty short chapter, but my head is swimming with ideas after that AWESOME season finale last night! I can't wait for September!
Jordan woke shortly after dawn. Woody slept still. She propped up on one elbow and watched him for awhile and ran a hand down his rough cheek.
He stirred when he saw her there. "'Morning, Jordan," he said groggily. "Don't let my Aunt Betty catch you. She grounded Cal for a month once for trying to sneak a girl up here."
There was the first hint of a smile she had seen from him in days. She smiled back and smoothed his dark hair. "I'll take my chances."
His smile faded, and he was silent for a long moment. "We've got a couple of hours until we have to get to the airport. Come with me. I want to walk around the old place before we go." His voice dropped. "I don't think I'll ever come back here."
He eased himself out of bed and pulled on a pair of pants. She sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. "Are you sure you don't want to be alone?"
He turned to her and offered his hand. "No, Jordan. I don't want to be alone."
They strolled around the grounds together, mostly in silence. His mind was racing this morning, she knew. He pointed out the remnants of a rope swing on the branch of an old oak tree by the pond where he and Cal had swum during many summer vacations. They passed the old barn where he and Cal had told ghost stories on hot nights.
He laughed a small, bittersweet laugh and walked away from her. She watched as he stood some distance away with his back to her. When he returned, his eyes were dark and red-rimmed.
He slipped his hand into hers. "Come on. It's time."
He said little on the flight home. There was an awkward moment when she pulled up in front of his building. They both fumbled for words as they sat in her car, unsure of how to end things.
"Well, I guess I'd better..." she started with uncertainty.
"No. Please." He reached over and squeezed her hand. "Please. Come up. I could use the company."
She smiled, and they went upstairs. He dropped his bags in the doorway and immediately curled up in his bed, where he slept long and hard.
It was the middle of the night when he finally stumbled into the living room. Jordan sat wrapped in a blanket watching some grade z movie on cable.
"Jordan..." he said with surprise as he rubbed at his eyes. "What are you still doing awake? It's 2AM."
"I don't know." She shrugged. "I thought you might wake up and need something."
She clicked off the TV as he shuffled over and curled next to her on the sofa. She wrapped her arm around him and he leaned his head against her shoulder. It was the same position they had been in at the morgue several days earlier. So much had happened since then.
"Did you really mean what you said before about not going back to Kewaunee?" she finally asked quietly.
"No. I guess not," he answered evenly. "I've got too many reasons to go back there. Three graves to visit."
She nodded, and there was a long silence. She gently stroked his hair.
"I was thinking," he finally said in a small voice. "Cal and me. Why is it we turned out so differently? Why is it he went one way, and I went the other?"
"You're different people, Woody. You made different choices."
"I don't know, Jordan. Maybe in my own way, I'm just as screwed up as he was."
"Show me somebody who's not screwed up," she said ruefully. "I can't imagine going through what you've been through in your life. You are kind and generous and decent and funny, and despite what you've been through, you always manage to see the good in everyone and everything. Believe me, if that's screwed up, there are worse ways to be screwed up. And that's from an expert."
She smiled down at him with humor. She went on gently. "But you're not alone, Woody. You're never alone."
He closed his eyes and curled tighter against her. He slipped his arm around her waist. Somehow in their shared sorrow, they had managed to find each other. There seemed to be a silent understanding as she kissed his cheek. It would come slowly, but they both knew. They weren't alone, neither one of them.
"That kiss in Kewaunee," she said. "So...it really didn't mean anything?" She teased mildly.
"Nah. Not a thing."
"You sure about that?"
"I don't know, Jordan. Maybe when I'm back on my feet, we should try again. Just to be on the safe side."
"Oh, of course. Just to be on the safe side."
"But we'll need to be very thorough. For scientific purposes only." She could hear the traces of a smile in his voice.
She quickly brushed away the tears in her eyes. "Of course."