Okay, so please don't be mad that it took so long to get up. First off I have two really good excuses, 1) I fell and sprained my ankle and in my old house the only internet connection was upstairs and I was told by the doctor I wasn't allowed to walk up stairs or I would come back with a broken ankle. 2) I just moved into my new house and it took a week for the internet connection to be set up and I can now officially post the latest and last (how sad) chapter of "Running Out of Pain". But there might be a small one chapter separate story update of Jack/Isabelle and Bobby/Lyn if enough people actually want to read it.
4 Months and 29 Days Later….
Isabelle woke up with the absence of Jack's arms around her waist. She sighed disappointedly and rolled over onto his side of the bed, pressing her face against his pillow trying to take in the scent of his cologne. Recently, this was normal for them. They would have a little 'fun' then they would fall asleep in each other arms and then, only an hour or so later, Isabelle would wake up to find the room devoid of Jack. Usually, she would find him downstairs in the living room or kitchen, his notebook open before him, pen stuck behind his ear and his guitar in his hands.
Reaching down, Isabelle groped the floor, searching for something to put on. Her fingers wrapped around the t-shirt that Jack had been wearing earlier, she quickly slipped into it and got out of bed. She quietly headed down the stairs to the living room, stopping in the middle as she heard Jack muttering curses under his breath and the stop and start of him strumming on his guitar.
"Fuck," he said angrily, as an out of place chord rang out.
"Jack, are you down here?" Isabelle called out, continuing down the stairs acting like she didn't hear him.
"Yeah, Belle," he replied.
As soon as Isabelle reached the bottom step, Jack was already there, a smile spread across his face like he hadn't just been cursing at his guitar. He wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her up against him. Instantly, Isabelle could feel some of his tension releasing, as he hugged her tightly.
"Why aren't you in bed?" Jack questioned, kissing the top of her head.
"Because you aren't," she answered. She smiled and ran her hand through his hair, looking up at him. "The bed's so cold without you in it."
"Oh, so you're cold?" he asked. He looked down at her and smiled. "Could that possibly be due to the lack of appropriate clothing?"
Jack picked her up and ran into the living room with Isabelle in his arms. He collapsed onto the couch with her beneath him and smirked as he leaned down, peppering her with small pecks along her neck. She laughed softly and pressed her arms against his chest gently trying to shove him upwards but to no avail.
"Jack!" she gasped, in between giggles. "Baby, stop, it tickles!"
Reluctantly, Jack pulled away from her Isabelle and sat up. He reached out for her hand and she just smirked, pulling him down on top of her. He looked down at her confused but before he could say anything she pressed her lips firmly against his, taking any words or thoughts away from him. Repositioning himself so that he hovered over Isabelle, Jack pulled away a bit, just watching her look up at him. Admittedly, Jack cherished those moments when he could just look down at her and feel loved. Without words or actions, Isabelle always let him know that he was truly loved by staring up at him, never blinking and barely breathing.
"I love you, Belle," Jack whispered, as if it were a secret between the two of them. To him those words needed to be said softly, like a hushed secret or part of the magic of the feeling was lost. "I really do."
"Forever and ever?" she questioned, laughing.
"Always," he sincerely replied.
Isabelle stopped laughing and furrowed her eyebrows together as if she was trying to understand Jack. She gave up only a moment later as she wrapped her arms around him. One arm slid around his waist, her hand beneath his shirt and rubbing the soft skin on his back, while the other snaked up his neck and pressed against the back of his head, her fingers entangled in his wild mane.
Leaning up to kiss him, Isabelle closed her eyes tightly and instantly felt Jack's hands in the space between her body and the couch cushions. He trailed her spine with his finger tips and continued kissing her, pressing his hips into hers. Isabelle pulled away, breathless and dazed.
"You know, you were working before I came down…Maybe I should let you get back to that," Isabelle suggested.
"I'm tired of working, it's playtime now," Jack replied, shaking his head and leaning in for another kiss. Isabelle instantly pulled away, pushing her head into the cushion beneath her. "What now?"
"Playtime was earlier, don't you remember?" she questioned.
"Oh, I remember quite vividly," he said, kissing her clavicle. "I remember it so vividly that if I don't get some more playtime soon, I might just revolt."
"Revolt against what exactly, Mr. Mercer?"
"Well, the house rules, of course, Belle." He smirked and slid his hand lower so that it now rested in the small of her back. "Leave wet towels on the floor…Dirty dishes in the sink…Blast loud, obnoxious music while everyone else is trying to sleep…"
"I highly doubt that because then you'd have to deal with the wrath of Haven and Jane. You aren't dealing with your brother's anymore, women are much scarier than Bobby could ever be," Isabelle replied, a humorous tone to her voice.
"Wanna test the loud music theory out right now?" he questioned.
"No," she replied. "Jane and Haven have work in the morning and Keith has school. We make enough noise without blasting music so let's just try to stay on their good side."
"Speaking of morning, what time is it anyway?" Jack asked.
"I don't know, I can't move to look at the clock since you're on top of me cutting off most of my motor skills," she answered, squirming underneath him.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, it would definitely make us have another playtime."
Isabelle raised her eyebrows and continued to wiggle beneath him, smiling and laughing. Jack pressed a hand to the side of her face and smiled down at his pre-fiancé. As he bent down to kiss her the red glow of the digital clock caught his eye, it was midnight. Officially five months to the day of when Jack proposed pre-marriage to Isabelle.
"Baby, is something wrong?" Isabelle asked, her voice bringing him out of his thoughts.
"No, nothing's wrong," he replied.
Smirking so widely that his usually full lips nearly disappeared, he leaned down and kissed Isabelle, praying in his mind that his proposal went over better than the last one had. As he pulled away from her he took in a deep breath and then sighed nervously.
"What is going on in your head, Jack?" she questioned, smiling in amusement.
"Isabelle Marie Leary Houston Mercer…" he started, covering all the last names that somehow pertained to Isabelle and causing her to smile. "…Will you marry me?"
Isabelle looked like she hadn't been expecting those words to come out of Jack's mouth. She felt the weight of his body bear down on her and she tried to sit up as she glanced around the room.
"Jack, I'm not ready yet," Isabelle replied.
Instantly, Jack felt crestfallen and he sat up, sliding off of Isabelle. He rested his elbows on his knees, shoving his hands through his hair. He didn't know what to do or say, but he felt the biggest sense of rejection he had ever experienced in his life. If a person who loved him as much as Isabelle did wasn't ready to marry him twice then he thought there must be something wrong with him, something he hadn't seen all this time.
1 Month After the Pre-Engagement…
"Is that all of your stuff?" Isabelle asked, as Jack placed the last box labeled 'Jack's Shit' on the living room floor.
"I think so," he replied. He turned towards Isabelle and walked over to her, arms open to pull her into a hug. "I have to pick up two speakers tomorrow, otherwise all my possessions from Detroit are boxed up and now in your house."
"Our house," she corrected. She smiled at him and looped her arms around Jack's neck. "It was nice of you to move out so that Lyn and Bobby could turn your old room into a nursery for the baby."
"I had to. I mean, had they turned Bobby's old room into a nursery the kid might of found a gun or a six pack of beer somewhere in the room in the middle of the nigh," he said, smiling. "I gotta protect my nephew or niece. Anyway, I was spending nearly every night at your house anyway. My room was collecting dust from being empty."
"What's the baby going to find in your room?"
"At most some guitar picks and strings, maybe a missing blunt from when I was fifteen," he admitted.
"Speaking of which…"
"No pot in the house," Jack continued for her. He squeezed her tightly and kissed the top of her head. "You hate it and I've been trying to stop anyway. Also, if I want to smoke cigarettes, I have to do it outside. I know the rules."
"I sound so strict."
"You know strictness isn't always bad."
"Really?" Isabelle asked, smirking up at him. "And how is that, Jack?"
"You know how much I love to play naughty sch-"
"Okay, I get it," she replied, laughing. Isabelle looked at boxes on the floor and sighed. "You sure it wasn't too early to move in together?"
"Given our track record, this was a decision made very slowly." He looked down at her and gently brought a hand up to the side of her face, pushing her hair behind her ear. "Why? Are you regretting offering to let me move in?"
"No. I love having you here," she replied. "Keith needs a good male influence."
"I'm a good influence?"
"As long as you never ever tell him the stories about you and groupies," Isabelle said.
"What about me and 'girls who aided me in my pursuit to end my sexual frustration'?" Jack questioned,
"Maybe when he's sixteen and even that's up for debate. I mean, I'd be okay with it, but my sister, his mother, might just castrate you."
"Well, we don't want that, do we?"
"Not at all."
Isabelle laughed and kissed Jack, pressing her body close to his. Without further provocation, Jack picked Isabelle up from the ground and walked her over to the couch, gently lying her down on it. He carefully slid on top of her, resuming their show of affection only this time they were horizontal, with a bit less clothes and lot more noises, without regard to the fact that the rest of the house was due home at any time.
Only moments later, Isabelle heard the faint humming of Jane's car engine as it pulled into the driveway. She quickly pushed Jack off of her and they both frantically searched the living room floor for their missing garments. Just as the door swung open, Jack had managed to pull his shirt up over his head and fall back onto the couch pretending to be interested in the show that was on the television screen.
"Didn't you two hear me pull up?" Jane asked, walking into the room holding two large bags of groceries.
"Um, no, sorry, we were really immersed in this show," Isabelle replied, self-consciously fixing the way her shirt laid on her body.
"Really?" her sister questioned, looking at the screen. "I didn't know you two would be so interested about the mating rituals of the wild boar."
Isabelle laughed, noticing that the television was on Animal Planet and looked over at Jane, a soft grin on her face, while Jack sunk lower into the cushions on the couch.
"Okay, I know this is technically your house, Isabelle, but at least give me warning when you and Jack decide to get it on in places other than your bedroom. I'm probably going to have to sanitize that couch now," she joked, walking into the kitchen.
Seconds later, Keith walked into the house with Haven alongside him. Jane looked over at the couple and laughed, instantly aware of what had been going on before they got home. Keith just looked up at Haven like she was ready to be committed and walked into the kitchen.
"Shut up," Isabelle said, before Haven could utter a word.
"I wasn't going to say anything," she replied. She laughed once more and nodded her head towards Jack. "Just a warning though, Jack, you might want to cover yourself or jump into a nice cold shower."
Jack grabbed a pillow and placed it in his lap as Jane walked into the kitchen. Looking over at him, Isabelle couldn't help but to smile. She lightly kissed his cheek and stood up.
"Why don't you go take a shower while I help the others bring stuff in," she said.
"Are we going to finish this later?" Jack asked. He stood up and walked over to her, wrapping his arms around her waist.
"Of course…Now go."
"They're fighting again," Isabelle said, walking up the pathway to Bobby and Lyn's house.
"Bobby's never done this family man thing before, he's nervous about Lyn's pregnancy," Jack replied, wrapping his arms around her waist. "You know when we get pregnant I'll probably be the same way, except for the whole fighting thing…Hopefully."
"When we?" she questioned, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah, I already have it planned out."
"You have it planned out?" She stopped walking and turned to face him. "Have you given any consideration to your girlfriend, namely me, who has to push this future little darling out of her body?"
"Darlings, baby," he replied. "Five, maybe more…I want lots of kids."
"I am not a cat, Jack Mercer, don't expect me to have a liter of children. Besides, I don't plan on having kids until I get married."
"Three months until we're engaged," he reminded her.
"If I say yes."
"And you were planning on saying no?" Jack asked.
"Well, you have three more months until you find out, don't you?" she teased.
"You're really going to make me wait three measly months?"
"Well, if three months is such a measly amount of time you shouldn't have any problem waiting," she said, smiling.
"Twisting my words to get what you want," he joked, sighing.
"It's my specialty," she replied.
Isabelle knocked on the door and then let herself in. When Bobby and Lyn were in a heated argument it was best to just barge it since they wouldn't be able to hear over the sounds of their own yelling voices. Just as Jack shut the door behind him, a large book came flying at him, nearly missing his head.
"I always told you reading was dangerous, Belle," Jack joked, wrapping his arms around her waist.
Isabelle looked back at Jack and hit him on his good shoulder. He laughed softly and she smirked, it was hard to pretend to be mad at him. She turned away from him and walked towards the kitchen, the source of the noise.
"Are you two okay?" Isabelle called out.
"Izzy!" Bobby yelled, striding across the kitchen. He put his arm around her and looked over at his pregnant girlfriend, pride beaming across his smug face. "Finally a fuckin' rational person. If Jack came home late one night-"
"Night? It was five in the morning, Bobby!" Lyn yelled, waving her hands.
"Fine, if Jack came home at five in the mornin' without callin' ya the night before to tell ya that he was gonna be late would you be this pissed?" he questioned, looking at her.
"Yes," Isabelle stated.
"Actually, Belle would be worse," Jack corrected. He walked over to the mess on the kitchen floor and started to help Lyn pick up the fallen, or thrown, cookbooks, pots and pans. "She made me sleep on the couch one time when I was two hours late and it was only ten at night."
"That is true," she agreed, nodding.
Jack looked up at Isabelle, a smirk spread across his face. Instantly, they were both thinking the same thing. Isabelle may have made him sleep on the couch, but it doesn't mean she didn't join him on it in the middle of the night.
"Fuck," Bobby said, interrupting their thought. He released Isabelle from his grip and walked over to Lyn. "Babe, I'm sorry."
"You better be," she said, standing up, the small swell of her stomach brushing up against Bobby. "I don't know what the hell you do when you go and quite frankly I don't want to know, but I also don't want to wake up one morning to find out that the father of my child is dead. Do you understand me?"
"Yeah," he replied.
Isabelle and Jack both resisted the urge to laugh. The so-called untamable Michigan Mauler had been whipped and it was quite a sight to see. Bobby kissed the top of Lyn's head and took a step away from her.
"Why don't you and Izzy go relax, Jack and I got it from here," Bobby said, looking over Lyn's shoulder at his youngest brother. "Right, Jackie?"
"Yeah," he replied. He stood up and placed pieces of broken glass into the waste bin. He walked over to Isabelle and gave her soft peck on her cheek. "You two go relax."
Isabelle nodded and walked out of the kitchen, Lyn in tow. As they left, they both heard Bobby mutter something about hormones but chose to ignore it. Plopping down onto the couch, perfectly content to just relax while the boys cleaned up the kitchen, Isabelle grabbed the remote and started to flip through channels. Just as she reached something interesting, Lyn walked over to the television set and stood in front of it, her arms crossed over her chest, making her slightly inflated stomach more obvious, and began to tap her foot impatiently.
"What?" Isabelle questioned, looking up to face her.
"When were you going to tell me?" Lyn asked, smiling.
"Tell you what?"
"That you're pregnant," she whispered, raising her eyebrows for emphasis. "It's perfect. The two of us pregnant at the same time, making our favorite Mercer boys miserable at the first time."
"What are you talking about?" Isabelle muttered, standing up. She grabbed Lyn's arm and pulled her into the hallway so that they were out of Jack and Bobby's hearing range, although they wouldn't be able to hear them in the living room over their brotherly fighting. "I'm not pregnant. What makes you think that?"
"I'm pregnant, Izzy, it makes me more perceptive to the vibes that pregnant people send out. Consciously or not."
"I'm not, Lyn," Isabelle insisted, shaking her head. She started to walk away but Lyn reached out and grabbed her hand. "What?"
"Are you one hundred percent positive?"
Isabelle looked down at the ground and shook her head softly. She couldn't be positive, after all, it was her and Jack. Sometimes, despite their best effort to be careful, they got a bit forgetful in the heat of the moment. Plus, she hadn't had her period in three weeks, not that it had ever been normal. Nervously, she looked up at Lyn, who just smiled.
"Bobby, honey, Isabelle and I have to run some errands," Lyn called out. She turned towards Bobby and waved goodbye. "We'll be back in a couple of hours."
As soon as they got out of the house, Lyn wrapped her arms around Isabelle's shoulder, unable to hide her excitement of her friend being pregnant at nearly the same time as her. Isabelle seemed more nervous than anything. She slid behind the wheel of her car and looked over at Lyn, who was slowly getting in on the passenger side. Isabelle has a dazed look on her face as he hands gripped tightly onto the steering wheel, despite the car still being off.
"Isabelle, what's wrong?" Lyn asked, gently pulling her friend's hand from the steering wheel.
"What if I am pregnant?" she questioned rhetorically. "What am I going to do?"
"You think Jack's going to be upset?"
"No, Jack would be fucking thrilled. When we were walking up your pathway today we were talking and just out of the blue, Jack mentioned how he wanted five kids."
"Then what's wrong?"
"I don't know if I do. I mean, I'm a waitress and Jack doesn't have a job, he has ideas of grandeur in the music scene and that's it. We barely make enough money to survive and now we might bring a child into this world. It's not responsible."
"Isabelle, sweetie, don't get ahead of yourself, maybe I'm wrong," Lyn reminded her.
Nodding softly, Isabelle looked out the windshield, seeing Jack coming out of the house. She quickly tried to regain her composure as he neared the car. Rolling down the window, she turned to face him, and put on the best smile that she could muster.
"You forget something?" Jack questioned, swinging the keys in front of her face.
"Well, that's why the car didn't start," she replied. She reached out for the keys and gently slid them out of his hands. "Thanks."
"No problem, baby," he said.
The term of endearment made Isabelle feel nauseous. She looked down at the keys in her hand and then back up at Jack. He leaned into the open window and kissed her softly, his hand resting on the back of her head. He pulled away slowly, sensing that something was wrong but was unable to identify what it was.
"You okay?" he asked.
"I love you," Jack softly told her.
"I love you, too. I should probably get going though so that we'll be back on time."
"Okay." Jack looked across the car towards Lyn who had her eyes facing the dirty floor mat beneath her feet. He looked back at Isabelle and smiled, reached out and squeezing her hand softly. "Drive safely."
Jack stepped away from the car and just as soon, Isabelle rolled up the window and peeled out of the driveway. She drove all the way to the local drug store without she or Lyn saying anything. It wasn't until she parked the car and shut off the engine that the silence was broken.
"The one thing that a baby needs is the one thing you and Jack have to spare," Lyn said, looking over at Isabelle .
"And what is that?"
"That's an idealistic answer."
"Really?" Lyn questioned. She shrugged, undid her seatbelt and reached across the car, grabbing Isabelle's hand. Lyn placed Isabelle's hand on her stomach and looked up at her. "That's all that Bobby and I have for this one."
Looking at her hand placed on Lyn's stomach Isabelle felt the tears sting her eyes. She pulled her hand away quickly and rested her head on the steering wheel, trying to hide the fact that she was crying. As she started to sob she realized and that it wasn't possible to mask her feelings and even felt comforted by Ly as she gently rested her hand on Isabelle's back.
"I'm scared," Isabelle whispered.
Jack ran through the doors of Harper Hospital, the blood running through his body so fast that he could hear the thumping of his heart in his ears. He ran past the waiting room and towards the nurses' station. There was no way he was going to idly sit by and wait for some prick doctor to tell him what was wrong with Isabelle after making him first wait for two hours.
"Where is my girlfriend?" Jack demanded, breathless and probably acting much like his eldest brother.
"Sir, are you-"
"Where is my girlfriend?" he repeated, angrily.
"Sir, I need to know her name," the young nurse replied calmly.
"Isabelle Leary," he said. He looked down at the desk and sighed as he shoved his hands harshly through his hair.
"She's in the emergency room still," she informed him.
"Where in the emergency room?"
"Sir, I really-"
"Please, stop with the sir crap and tell me where my girlfriend is," Jack begged. "Look, I got a call from my brother's girlfriend telling me that something had happened and that my girlfriend was here. Because my brother's girlfriend is pregnant I couldn't tell if the fear in her voice was from hormones or if something is really wrong with Isabelle. And I can tell you right now that I will not be able to sit calmly in that nice little waiting room of yours without disrupting the rest of the families waiting for news about their loved ones if I don't see my girlfriend first."
"I'm sure that everything is fine and as much as I would like to tell you where…"
Jack zoned out as the nurse continued speaking. He could see that he was getting nowhere by being the panicked boyfriend that he was. It was humiliating, but he knew what he had to do. With a silent thought of groaning, Jack looked down at the nurse's uniform and read the tag that supplied him with her name.
"Look, Kylie…Wow, what a pretty name that is," Jack said, trying his best to put on his charm while worrying about Isabelle. "I just need one little number from you." He smirked and leaned across the desk, pushing Kylie's hair behind her ear. "Come on, you can break the rules just once…For me?"
Flustered, Kylie looked down at her keyboard and quickly typed something into the computer. Her eyes scanned the screen and she pulled out the pen from her pocket then jotted something down on a bright yellow Post-It. She folded it and slid it across the desk to Jack, a small shy smile spreading across her face.
"What's this?" Jack questioned, picking it up.
"The examination room she's in as well as my number," she replied. "You know, in case you two don't make it."
"Thanks Kylie…That is a beautiful name," he repeated.
Jack turned the corner and opened up the Post-It, he looked down at the room number and then tossed the paper in the nearest trash can. He ran towards the emergency room and searched for exam room eight. When he finally found it the door was shut but instead of knocking, he threw it open. Rather, he would have thrown it open, had it not slammed against something hard only inches from it.
"Fuck!" a loud, gruff voice yelled out. The door was pulled open from the inside and Jack saw his brother standing there, a scowl upon his rough face. "What the fuck, Jack? Learn some fuckin' manners."
"Shut up, Bobby. Where's Belle?" Jack asked, stepping into the room.
"Jack," Isabelle whispered, looking over at her frazzled love.
Looking over at her, Jack didn't see anything physically wrong with her. Granted, she was a bit paler and she looked exhausted, but nothing that a few hours of sleep wouldn't cure. He walked over to her bed and gently grabbed her hand, letting his thumb ran against the back of it.
"Baby, what happened?" Jack questioned.
The room immediately got tense as Isabelle cringed. Jack looked over at Bobby, but caught his brother staring down at the ground, an uncharacteristic move for him. When he looked for Lyn's gaze she too was looking down at the ground but her hand was firmly plastered to her small bump, nearly hidden by an oversized sweatshirt that belonged to Bobby.
"What's going on?"
"Guys can I have some time alone with Jack?" Isabelle questioned.
"Yeah," Bobby replied, nodding. He took Lyn's hand and walked over to the door. "We're gonna try to find some coffee, ya want some, Jackie?"
"No, I'm fine," he replied.
As soon as the door shut behind the pair, Isabelle closed her eyes tightly. Jack looked at her, afraid to move or say anything. However, when he noticed the tears that escaped her reached out and softly brushed them away.
"Baby, what is it?"
"Please stop calling me baby," she begged, opening her eyes. She looked over at a confused Jack and sighed softly, pulling her hand from his. "Do you remember last month when we went to Lyn and Bobby's for dinner and Lyn and I disappeared for a few hours?"
"We left because we thought that there was a chance that I was pregnant. Turns out I was."
"Why didn't you tell me? Isabelle, that's amazing," Jack said, smiling and leaning closer to kiss her. She pulled away before he could make contact with her. "What?"
"Jack, listen to me…I was pregnant."
"Keyword being was," Jack whispered in realization. "What happened?"
"I don't know. My stomach was hurting really bad but I didn't think much about it. I was lying on the couch and it just kept getting worse and worse, so I decided to go call Lyn, I thought she might know something since she was a nurse. When I went to get up though, my legs went out from the pain and then there was blood and…"
Isabelle stopped talking as tears replaced the words she was trying to say. Jack quickly slid onto the bed and wrapped his arms around her. He held her against his chest, the sobs shaking her body and the tears soaking his shirt. Her whispered sweet words to her as he placed his chin on the top of her head. He knew what she was thinking, knew that she was blaming herself for something she had no control over.
"I was going to tell you tonight," Isabelle whispered between sobs. "I knew you were going to be excited. You know, the first of our five kids."
"It's going to be okay, Belle. We're young, we have our entire lives to try to have kids. Lots of them, maybe we can have more than five…How about seven?" he whispered, kissing the top of her head.
"What if it happens again?"
"Then we can adopt like Ma did. Whatever it takes, we're going to have kids and raise a family together. I promise you, Belle."
"It's my fault. I didn't want to be pregnant at first. We're being punished because I was afraid at first," she said. Jack started to protest but she pulled away from him and shook her head. "But last week I went with Lyn to get her sonogram and I saw her baby and I wanted ours more than anything after that, Jack…I really did."
"Things happen for a reason, this happened for a reason. Maybe we won't know for a long time why, but eventually we will."
Isabelle sat on the couch, the blanket from Jack and her bedroom wrapped tightly around her. The DVD that they had been watching was paused, leaving Eric Stoltz mid-punch towards the end of "Mr. Jealousy" as Jack whispered on the phone in the kitchen. Isabelle could only hear bits and pieces of the conversation from Jack's end, but the only thing that he continuously repeated was "it's not a good time" and it made Isabelle suspicious. She knew that she had been distant lately, but she thought that Jack would understand it after the incident the previous month, now she was beginning to think that he may have been cheating on her. It was a terrible thing to think, but the thought still took control over her mind.
Hanging up the phone, Jack sighed and leaned his forehead against the wall. He turned to look into the living room, Isabelle was sitting on the couch staring at the motionless television screen. He slowly walked into the room, hoping that she would lift her head and acknowledge him, but she didn't, par the usual course lately.
"Who was on the phone?" Isabelle questioned, as Jack sat down beside her.
"No one important," he replied. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against his chest. "Let's put the movie back on."
"Come on, you don't want to find out what happens in the end?" he asked lightly.
"I know the end of the damn movie, Jack, what I want to know was who was on the phone," she replied. Isabelle slipped out of Jack's arms, the blanket long forgotten and turned to face him. "Are you cheating on me?"
"Don't play dumb, Jack. I know I've been different lately, but I thought you would stick with me through it. Or at the very least understand somewhat, not go and find another person to be with."
"Isabelle, I am not cheating on you," Jack replied earnestly. He placed his hands on her shoulders and peered into her eyes. "I swear I am not cheating on you. I promised you that I would never do that to you again. I know better."
"Then why won't you tell me who's on the phone?"
"Because I didn't want you to get upset. It was a booking agent for this club called Spyder," Jack said with a small sigh. "He was just calling because he had heard me at this dive bar back when I was with my old band and was asking if I was available to fill in for the lead singer of their house band, apparently their singer is rehab."
"Jack, that's great," Isabelle said, excitedly. "Well, for you, I mean, not so much for the old lead singer. So why did you say that now wasn't such a good time?"
"So you were listening in on my conversation," he said, ignoring the question.
"Belle…" He sighed defeated and closed his eyes. "It's in New York."
"We can move there if you want. I mean, I'm sure it's probably better there than it is in Detroit," she replied. "I can find a waitressing job there and you'll have a job. It will probably make things a bit more easy financially."
Jack shook his head softly and got Isabelle to turn around so that her back rested against his chest. He snaked his arms around her waist and held onto her tightly. With a small sigh, he kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes.
"New York isn't where we need to be right now."
"And Detroit is?" Isabelle questioned.
"Isabelle, we went through a lot last month, you need family close by."
"Don't tell me what I need, Mercer."
"Fine, I need family near right now," he replied. His arms tightened around her, comfortably gripping onto her so that it was as if she was nearly the same entity as him. "I don't know how we would have made it to this point without Bobby and Lyn, or your sister and Haven…Hell, even Keith."
"I know, but this could be your big break."
"And it will come again, I have faith in that."
Isabelle craned her neck around to face Jack, a smile present on his face. She smirked at him, unable to understand the confidence he had in the situation. She turned back around and placed her hands over his, cuddling closer to him.
"Can I ask you something?" Jack questioned.
"Why would you think I was cheating on you?"
"I've been less than approachable lately," she replied. She rolled over in his arms so that she was lying down on top of him, chest to chest. "I mean, since what happened I haven't really been there for you in that way anymore."
"What way?" Jack asked teasingly. "You can't say it, can you?"
"Leave me alone," she replied, laughing.
"Not until you say it," he said
"I've said it before."
Jack grabbed tightly onto her waist and rolled over so that she was beneath him. Isabelle reached behind her and grabbed one of the pillows off of the couch and smacked Jack with it. He laughed softly, shaking his head.
"A month of being abstinent and you can't even say sex, can you?" He kissed the side of her neck and smiled as a small moan emitted from deep within her throat. "Do you miss having sex?"
"You are being as perverted as you can possibly be, aren't you?" Isabelle question, half-distracted by the feeling of Jack's lips brushing against her skin.
"No sex in a month, how are you not mauling me?"
"Easy up, sweetie. Keith and Shelby are going to be home any minute," she replied, pushing him away. She smiled at him as he pulled away dejectedly. "Seriously, who would've thought that we would like sex…Yes, I can say it….So much? I mean, just look at what we went through."
"I have a theory."
"Is this a real theory or an I'm-trying-to-get-Belle-into-bed theory?"
"Wait and see, will you?" he muttered. "Anyway, as I was saying, my theory is that we don't really love sex all that much, we just love sex with each other. I mean, it's twenty times better with you than it ever was with some random girl."
Isabelle nodded and laid her head on the couch cushion, all the while knowing that Jack wanted the same recognition of how she thought Jack was better than her past lovers. She smirked secretly as she noticed the flustered look on Jack's face. She met his eyes, pretending to not understand what he wanted.
"Well..." Jack started.
"Aren't you going to say something here?"
"Oh, well, you were better than Ian, but Gavin, that's a close one, honey."
Jack kissed her gently, his hands tracing the length of Isabelle's arm as his tongue pried open her welcoming mouth. She closed her eyes, focusing all her energy on the feeling of the intense kiss, so that when Jack pulled away she felt lost for a moment
"You kiss better than Gavin ," she replied after regaining her composure. "But I was trying to figure out who fucks better."
"But we don't fuck, we make love, don't you remember?"
"I guess you'll have to show me tonight."
Looking down at her, Jack carefully searched her eyes, trying to figure out if that was what she really wanted. Isabelle sensed it and reached one hand up to gently embrace his face.
"I wouldn't have told Jane, Shelby, and Keith to clear out of the house later tonight if I didn't want this," she informed. "Well, it was either our sexual reunion or the night I castrated you for being a cheating bastard."
"I'm glad it's the first one."
"Maybe we should put the movie back on," Jack suggested, slowly sliding off of her. "Or I'm just going to be continuously think of you in a sexy black negligee."
"Who said anything about negligees?"
"Come on, don't ruin the image that this sex starved man has had for the past month."
"Fine, but I do need to ask you something." She paused for a moment as she sat up and watched his face, gently taking in the sight of her. "Do you still want five kids?"
"Yes," he said without hesitation.
"Then we have a lot of work to do, don't we?"
"But there is a condition to this family thing," Isabelle said sternly.
"Next time you have a chance to go do the rock star thing, do it, Jack. I don't want you being with me or having a family to stop you from that. Do you understand me?"
"So, when does everyone get home and, more importantly, when do we get to kick them out again?"
Jack stood up trying to rationalize the reason for Isabelle rejecting his proposal but he couldn't do it. Sure, they had hard times but there was never a moment where they weren't there for one another. Isabelle slowly slid into an upright position on the couch and watched Jack pace around the room. She didn't mean to hurt him, that wasn't her intent.
Isabelle looked across the room at the glowing red lights of the digital clock that had started it all. She stood up and walked over to Jack, gently pressed her hands against his chest and causing him to stop pacing. She squatted slightly so that she could get a look at his eyes but he just quickly looked up out the window.
"Tell me why you won't marry me? Is it because I can't afford a new ring?" Jack asked, ashamed. "I promise as soon as I can I'd get a beautiful ring. Gold and diamonds, whatever you wanted."
"No, sweetie, I love Evelyn's ring, I'd be so honored to wear it."
"I don't understand, Belle."
Jack took a step away from her, burying his hands so deep in his hair the little tuffs stuck out between his tightened fingers. He plopped back down onto the couch and closed his eyes. Too many emotions were flooding him.
"Do you love me?" he questioned.
"Yes, so much," she replied. She kneeled down in front of him, looking up at him sympathetically. "Jack, honey, I didn't say no because I don't love you. I will always love you. It's impossible not to fall in love with you."
The glint of the clock caught Isabelle's eye one last time and she sighed, a soft smirk gently crossing her face. Jack opened his eyes and upon seeing this got slightly angry.
"I'm glad you find this amusing," he muttered.
"Jack, ask me again," Isabelle said, resting her hands on his knees.
"Why? So I can be humiliated again? No thanks," he said.
"Jack, ask me again," she insisted, persistently.
"Fine…" He leaned back so that he was resting far into the couch and looked down at Isabelle, kneeling on the floor. "Isabelle, will you marry me?"
"Why must you humil…Wait, yes?"
"Yes," she repeated, smiling.
Jack quickly lifted her off of the floor pulled her on top of him. He moved so that they were lying down flat on the couch, her on top of him and he leaned up, kissing her passionately and smiling at the same time.
"Say it," Jack whispered sweetly, kissing her neck.
"Yes, Jack Mercer, I will marry you," she replied.
Isabelle gently tangled her hands in his hair and moaned softly at the intensity of his lips on her skin. After a minute, when the passion of the positive answer had passed, Jack pulled away, confused at Isabelle's easily changed mind. Before he could say anything Isabelle gently kissed his lips and smiled.
"The clock is five minutes fast, it wasn't midnight yet," she replied.
"And that was worth getting me worried?"
"Kind of," she said. She laughed, running a hand against his cheek. "You get all cute when you're flustered. Plus, I'm not doubting that I made you a bit mad, and that just means we get to have great make-up sex combined with engagement sex, which I am sure is going to blow our make-up/pre-engagement sex out of the water."
"Better believe it," Jack said, raising his eyebrows.
Isabelle hurriedly slid off of Jack and grabbed his hand, pulling him off of the couch. He eagerly pulled her back up against his chest and started to kiss the side of her neck. She felt her feet slowly leaving the floor as Jack slid his hand beneath her legs and lifted her up into his arms. She didn't resist as he carried her up the stairs to their room.
As soon as the door shut behind them, Jack laid Isabelle down on the bed and slid on top of her. He started to gently tug at his shirt that Isabelle was wearing for pajamas. She sighed softly disapprovingly and reached down to push his hands away from the hem of it.
"What's wrong , Belle?" he asked, a bit breathless.
"As much fun as I know this is going to be, it wouldn't technically be make-up and engagement sex if I didn't have my lovely, Evelyn Mercer passed down to her favorite soon-to-be daughter-in-law ring on, now would it?" she asked, lightheartedly.
"No, it wouldn't," he agreed.
Jack reached over to the bedside drawer where he had kept for five months and smiled. He opened the box slowly and looked down at Isabelle, the two of them unable to stop smiling. He reached for her left hand and delicately slid the ring onto her finger.
"Perfect fit," Isabelle whispered, as she held her hand up so that it was just beside Jack's face and she could see both her ring and fiancé in the same frame. "Absolutely perfect."
Jack leaned down and kissed her again. He was happy, he couldn't hide it, not that he wanted to. He knew that had Evelyn been around she would have been so proud of him. As he pulled away from Isabelle she looked up at him with eyes so loving that he couldn't fathom why he thought he negative reply was nothing more than a miscommunication. He gently ran his hand along his the side of her face, watching her as she closed her eyes in contentment.
"So, Belle, where do you want to get married?" Jack questioned.
"New York," she answered without opening her eyes.
"That club Spyder called again, asked if you would reconsider the house band job, I told them you did and that you would love to work with them," she informed him, opening her eyes and watching his reaction. "We leave in a week."
"Are you sure?"
"It's all meant to be," she replied.
"How can you be so certain?" Jack asked.
"Evelyn told me when I was sixteen that no matter what you and me would always be connected." She smirked at him and shrugged. "I want you to be happy, Jack, and I'm not willing to let you go. So some sacrifices have to be made and if that means New York, then New York will be home. You're worth it, babe."
"I don't deserve you."
"That is true," she replied, laughing. "But I'll keep you anyway. I don't have enough time to trade you in for another hot soon to be rock star and train him."
"Isabelle, I…" Jack smiled and shook his head.
"I know, I'm wonderful and amazing and you love me so much, same goes for you, Mr. Mercer, but I have a better way for you to show me that," she replied. She reached for the bottom of the shirt she was wearing and pulled it off, throwing it to the floor. "Are you getting the idea?"
The next morning when Jack woke, Isabelle lay sleeping in his arms, the thin gray sheet covering her. He gently unwrapped his grip on her and slid out of bed, clad only in his boxers. He made his way over to the mirror, the reflection of his fiancée sleeping in one side and the reflection of his mother in the other, the same clothes she had been wearing the day that Isabelle had left to move in with her sister.
"Things aren't going to be the same between Belle and I, are they?" Jack asked, the same question he had pondered they day she had left.
Evelyn hadn't replied that first time but now she smiled her warmest smile and shook her head. She reached out and touch the side of Jack's face, though he could not truly feel it, seeing it in the reflection of the mirror it almost felt as if he could.
"No, Jackie, things are going to be different. But who said different is bad?" she questioned.
"I love you, ma," he whispered.
There was a slight stirring the bed behind him and he turned quickly to face Isabelle as she woke. She sat up and looked over at Jack, a sleepy smile playing up her features. She stretched softly, the sheet crinkling as she did so.
"Who were you talking to?"
"Ma," Jack answered, knowing that she would understand.
"Was it a good conversation?" she asked.
"Yeah, it was really good," he replied.
Jack turned back to the mirror but Evelyn's image had already disappeared. He watched the reflection of Isabelle slowly get out of bed and wrap the sheet around her body. She walked up behind him and opened the sheet so that she could engulf him in it as well. Jack turned to face her and smiled.
"Having any second thoughts about any of this?" he asked, picking up Isabelle's left hand and looking at her ring.
"No." She laughed and buried her head in his shoulder. "So, who gets to tell Bobby?"
What did you think??? Anyway, thank you all for reading!!! And every review I get for this chapter will get a nice reply, as long as I can reply to said reviewers review. LOL, btw, watch "Alpha Dog" I hate Justin Timberlake and I still liked the movie (which had nothing to do with the otherwise bangin' cast, I promise, lmao.)
4everdreaming (Sorry, not wedding or birth, but if I do indeed do that little follow-up one chapter story there might be, lol.)
LaLaLover (Yeah, I couldn't imagine Bobby being a daddy at first either and I am not really sure why I wrote it, except for the fact that it is a hilarious picture in one's mind...lol.)
Shining Star of Valinor (No need to hunt me down! I wrote it, it just took forever to post...lol. LOL, the where do babies come from thing is hysterical. Like I said, if there's enough interest I will go a finisher-upper in the form of a one chapter sequel story, but I gotta feel the love from the reviewers, lmao.)
Trizzy (Hahaha, Bobby with a baby hammock and of course his usually gun in his pocket taking down the bad guys...LMAO.)