Disclaimer: I am a poor college student – don't own any of the characters here and I'm not making any money off of this. Woe.
A/N: I totally do not need a new fandom to obssess over right now, but I can't resist the pull of the Lisa/Jackson interaction. Fair warning: plot is not my strong point, I'm better at character vignettes, so I'm working out some things as I go along. It'll get shippy as it goes along, though it starts of slow in that department. It'll be worth it, I promise.
After her fifth drink of the night, Lisa Reisert was drunk.
She hadn't planned on going quite this far. No, her plan had made perfect sense in the daylight – she would go out to one of Miami's larger clubs and try out a few new drinks. With any luck, she'd find something that would make her forget every Sea- or Baybreeze she'd ever had. Especially that one in Texas.
But one drink led to another, and now here she was, lightheaded, every cell in her body pulsating along to the bass beat and flashing lights and gyrating bodies. It was hot and hazy, and she wanted some fresh air, but when she craned her neck to find the closest exit, the room started to spin. She slumped forward against the bar to cradle her head in her hands and gave a small moan.
Lisa allowed herself a few minutes to gather up the last few shreds of her motor control before she grabbed her purse and slid off the bar stool. Her first few steps were unsteady, but her brain finally got into contact with her legs and levelled things out. Weaving her way through the crush of people was no easy task.
It could have been five minutes or five hours between the bar and the door; Lisa couldn't tell. What mattered was the welcome glow of the exit sign and the rush of cool evening air that followed. Lisa paused to steady herself against the wall of the club – the sidewalk had started to tilt dangerously, and she didn't trust her own body to stay upright.
"I'm not normally such a lightweight," she said with an embarrassed smile as she took her seat by the window. He just smiled and finished stowing her luggage above their seats.
"No," Lisa whispered, squeezing her eyes shut against the memory. She'd thought these vivid flashbacks were over. Those ice blue eyes still haunted her dreams – and would, for a long time, she thought – but these waking glimpses of the past unhinged her every time. The best she could do was wait for the upswell of terror to fade and push through the rest.
So she shoved off from the wall, flagged down a cab, and was back at her apartment building thirty minutes later.
In her alcohol-induced haze, Lisa failed to notice the black Mercury Sable that had been following them pull up and park behind the cab, so it didn't seem at all strange to her to see it still parked there the next morning when she left to run errands.
He'd watched her for a week before making his move. It gave him time to learn her new routine – interesting that she had changed it so radically, interesting and very informative, but utterly futile – as well as compose himself for the job. The white-hot rage that had burned so furiously in the early days of his recuperation at the hospital, stoked by his numerous injuries, had faded into cool calculation. He still wanted revenge, of course, but he was determined to have it at his leisure, and that meant control was of the utmost importance.
So he watched Lisa come and go, smirking at the little quirks he had come to know so well already, and wondering at the new ones. At first glance, it seemed as if she had moved on surprisingly quickly, but Jackson suspected that she was overcompensating. He made it a point to pay closer attention to her, to her character, since it had been his downfall in their previous encounter. Facts and figures were useless now – he needed to know exactly what made her tick so he could use it against her later.
Jackson knew that threatening her father again, or even her mother, would be useless, not to mention repetitive, and that just wasn't his style. It hadn't been that effective in the first place, anyway; Lisa had hemmed and hawed despite her father's immediate peril. He had another, better reason for leaving the rest of the Reisert family out of his plot, however – this time, his business with Lisa was personal.
Jackson saw his chance when Lisa left the apartment around noon on Saturday. He waited fifteen minutes to make sure she wasn't coming back anytime soon, then casually exited the car and made his way up to her apartment. Lockpicking was one of his specialties, and he made short work of the lock on Lisa's door; with a satisfying click, it gave way. Jackson allowed himself a brief smile.
He was inside, then, inside her apartment, her personal space, for the first time. Jackson locked the door behind him; there was no use in telegraphing his presence too soon. He knew the layout by heart – hallway entry, kitchen off to the left, living room straight ahead, and the bedroom off to the right of that. Jackson paused at the sofa table just inside the door. It was adorned with a host of framed pictures and little trinkets, along with a lamp and a fake plant. "Still too busy to take care of a real plant," he murmured to himself as he picked up the most prominent photo on the table – it showed a smiling Lisa standing between her parents, her arms thrown over their shoulders. Her resemblance to her mother was strong. Jackson felt a sudden pang of jealousy. Lisa was so lovely, so happy there with her parents - it was something he'd never experienced.
He slammed the picture back down, and the others shivered in response, but refused to topple. Biting back a snarl – even these inanimate objects seemed to defy him – he forced himself to remain calm, objective, and returned to the pleasure of inspecting Lisa's apartment. Walking through the kitchen, tracing fingertips along the formica countertop, straightening the pillows on the sofa in the living room – these little acts of control and ownership soothed him and he settled into the overstuffed chair in the corner of the living room to wait for Lisa. With any luck, she wouldn't return until nightfall.
She would never even see him coming.
Lisa struggled to climb the stairs to her third-floor apartment without dropping the drycleaning, or the groceries, or the bag of take-out she'd picked up for dinner. It was stupid, she knew, to try to get everything at once, but she liked to minimize the number of trips she had to make up and down the stairs. To make matters worse, her cell phone began to ring insistently from the depths of her new purse – probably Dad again, or maybe Cynthia. The two had grown closer since the catastrophe at the hotel, and Lisa was grateful for the younger woman's friendship.
"Hold on, hold on," she told the phone as she hurried the last few steps to her door. Carefully setting everything down in one big pile, Lisa fished around until she found the phone and her keys and withdrew them simultaneously. "Hello?" She cradled the cell phone in the crook of her shoulder while she unlocked her door and started ferrying her purchases inside.
"Hey, Leese," a warm, gravelly voice said.
"Dad!" Lisa said with a smile. She set her keys down on the sofa table in the hall and flicked on the lamp there, illuminating a small part of the dark apartment. "Are you calling to remind me about lunch tomorrow?" Her accusation was playful.
"Just wanted to make sure your schedule was still clear," he said, unabashed. "You know me, Leese – not much else to look forward to."
"Oh, Dad. Don't say that." Lisa finished putting away the groceries and returned to the front door to retrieve her dry cleaning. Switching the phone to her other ear on the way to the bedroom, she reached out to turn on the floor lamp beside the sofa, only to let out a scream when light flooded the room.
She froze, eyes wide, unable to speak, transfixed by the sight of Jackson Rippner in her own living room.
"Lisa!" Her father's frantic voice faded away as Jackson rose smoothly from the chair and took a step toward her. That galvanized Lisa into action – she threw the bundle of clothes at him with as much force as she could muster and ran for the front door. Behind her, Jackson threw off the impromptu projectile and vaulted the sofa with the agility of a cat.
Lisa made the mistake of looking back to check his progress, unintentionally slowing just enough for Jackson to make a grab for her. She cried out as his hand tangled in her sweater and swung her around to crash into his chest. The air left her lungs with a whoosh as their momentum carried them into the sofa table, scattering pictures across the hallway. Too stunned to struggle, Lisa coughed weakly as Jackson groaned and hauled her to her feet by her wrists, ignoring the pain of the collision. "You always were trouble," he hissed, pressing her against the wall with only enough force to keep her still.
She found her voice. "What are you doing here!" Terror and anger suffused her words and she tried to ram her knee into his groin. Jackson simply hooked her leg with his, effectively immobilizing her lower body.
"Now, now, Lisa, is that any way to greet an old friend?" he taunted, gratified to feel her struggle against him even more. He wanted her to recognize her complete helplessness against him; he wanted to taste her fear. But there was time enough for that later. She tried to angle her face away from him to avoid meeting his eyes, so he said, "Look at me, Lisa, and listen very carefully. I'm going to let you go, and here's what we're going to do. You're going to get back on the phone with your dear old dad," he threw in a smirk for good measure, "and tell him that you screamed when you saw a rat run across the room – nothing to worry about, right? Am I right, Lisa?" She looked up at him with fierce hatred in her eyes but nodded. "Good. After that's done, we're going to clean up this mess and get out of here, with none the wiser." Jackson paused, shifted his weight against her, and brought his right hand up to run his thumb across her cheek, uncharacteristically gentle. "No tears? I'm impressed. But Lisa-" he said, sliding his hand around the back of her neck and squeezing hard enough to make her wince, "Don't try anything foolish. The only life at stake here is yours."