Disclaimer: I do not own "Newsies" or any of the genius associated to them. Disney owns them, no infringement intended. I am not making money from this in any way, I claim no rights to the characters mentioned from the movie, but I do claim the plot and the ideas surrounding this story. Don't steal, don't sue, and I'm sure we will all be grand friends. Also – I don't own Stress. Stress own Stress – I just get to play with her.

A/N: Happy birthday Stress! Here is a nice, angst ridden birthday fic! Aren't I the best for giving you a fiction to make you depressed on your birthday? Hey. I tried happy. It didn't work. So this is what you get. Happy 23rd!

Warnings: PG-13 (Adultery, angst, non-explicit sex, language, not proof-read)

Title: Paradox

"Oh no…" the words escape from her lips as she disentangles her legs from around his waist. "Oh no…" she looks at the floor and presses the disheveled hair away from her face.

His hand joins hers in the process of smoothing the hair that he had just rumpled so violently. With a shudder – she closes her eyes against the sensations that shiver down her spine at the contact. Those feelings are an unwanted reminder of the pleasant glow which still tingles at the apex of her thighs. Hastily she pulls her hands away from her hair in order to avoid any more unnecessary contact with his and looks down at her feet.

Her clothing is a mess. The buttons on the back of her little black dress had all been pulled from their holes and the garment had crumpled to the floor at her feet. Somewhere along the way her black bra had found its way to the floor as well, but her provocative garters and thigh high stockings had stayed in place. She remembered the light of approval in his eyes when he had discovered her choice of hosiery and blushes furiously. His dress shirt and sports jacket are in a similar situation as her dress (her lipstick had stained his collar) and she feels nauseous at the simple thought of how little their appearances left to the imagination.

Nervous hands sloppily re-button the back of her dress after she had quickly collected her articles of clothing. She finishes with her troublesome chore when she hears him zip his pants. The metallic sliding of the zipper cuts through the silence and her heart like a knife. She freezes. Funny how such a simple sound could muster such an overwhelming wave of reality and the truth of her actions punch her viciously in the gut.

She has just had sex.

She has just had sex in a janitor's closet.

She has just had sex in a janitor's closet of the fanciest hotel in the city.

She has just had sex in a janitor's closet of the fanciest hotel in the city at the celebration of her husband winning a Pulitzer prize for his work in journalism.

She has just had sex in a janitor's closet of the fanciest hotel in the city at the celebration of her husband winning a Pulitzer prize for his work in journalism with a man who was not her husband.

With a pained exhale she looks up at the man who had just been inside of her moments before and her knees go weak when she sees him staring back at her. There is a distinct smell of bleach and copulation in the air, and the single light bulb in the ceiling gives a dim glow to the room and casts strange shadows on their faces. Various mops, brooms, vacuums, and cleaning sprays are littered around them, but that doesn't matter as she looks up at him and sees the darkness burning behind his eyes.

Her mouth is dry and she can't swallow. She knows that her hair was messed up beyond repair, her makeup must be a sight, but he is looking at her with that same hunger she had seen when he'd first walked into the banquet hall earlier and spotted her across the room. Some of her lipstick is still stuck in a ring around his mouth.

Love is simple, but lust is simpler.

"We should go." She whispers – unable to draw her voice up any louder.

"We should." He doesn't move, but neither does she.

There is a fear reflected in both of their faces. A fear, a vulnerability, a guilt that is very tangible and as real as the smell of disinfectant surrounding them. They are both aware of the line which they have crossed – so neither brought it up. Instead he simply raises a hand back up to her hair and presses back the pieces which had come lose during their passion. His touch mirrors the expression in his eyes: lustful, tender, and so damn scared.

She knows that she looks exactly the same way which is probably why she doesn't deny him when he bends down once more to kiss her. Hot breath brushes against her face and it burns the same way her guilty desire scorches her insides. Just before his lips meet hers she hears him whisper her name like a prayer against her mouth:


Love is simple, but lust is simpler.

She loves her husband. She respects her husband. She is so proud of him and all of his accomplishments. She is thankful for all that he gives her (even if it isn't an orgasm). She wouldn't take back marrying him for anything in the world, but when she is backed against a wall or pressed hard against her desk by this other man she wonders what it would be liked to be married to him instead.

His lips trace the scar along her shoulder as if he is trying to make it disappear. One time he asked her how she had gotten it and she had told him in a knife fight. He'd thought she was joking and she hadn't bothered to correct him (how much did they really need to know about each other anyway?). What did it matter anyway as long as his lips kept working magic across her skin?

When they have time – it is slower, gentler, and like they aren't trying to hide something. However most of the time it is so frantic half of their clothes stay on their brazen bodies. She never wears underwear when she knows she is going to see him. It's such a waste of time, but she always wonders if her husband knows about her dirty little secret.

She's never been able to keep a secret – especially one of this size – but she's kept it now for six months. Her husband really shouldn't be one to complain. Ever since she started her affair she'd been having real orgasms with him (never mind the fact that she is imagining someone else inside of her beside her husband). It is a weak justification, but it is just enough to keep her from going insane. He's gone so frequently on business trips she has to get her pleasure somehow (doesn't she?).

Sometimes she almost says the wrong name in bed and there is a clenching fear in her chest like a steel vice squeezing her whole torso (it makes her come harder). After all – her husband would know his name. He is her husband's best friend. So she is careful never to close her green eyes when she is with her husband so she won't forget entirely who she is letting into her most intimate of places.

Tonight she doesn't have to worry about calling the wrong name, however. She knows the feel of him. She knows his smell, his taste, the sounds he makes in the back of his throat when she touches him, and the way his face contorts when he is inside of her – almost like he is in pain. He is more familiar to him than even her husband and she ignores that thought because she won't feel guilty right now (there are too many pleasant sensations building for her to have room for guilt anyway). Instead she throws her head back, clenches her eyes shut, digs her nails into his back and calls her lover's name:


He swallows the last of her scream with a searing kiss.

She should say something. She knows that she should. It is out of her character to be this quiet, but it is hard to think with the looks that Jack is giving her and the way that his foot occasionally brushes up her ankle underneath the dinner table. All of her energy is focused in not reacting and not blushing furious red. Words, which were normally never hard to come by for her, are sticking on the back of her tongue (along with the taste of the kiss he gave her in the two minutes they were alone). Amidst the paradox of her husband holding her hand and her lover undressing her with his eyes from across the table coherent thought is hard.

These were the strangest dinners – just the four of them. Her husband would always play the reserved, business gentleman and was very chaste with his affections with her in public. Jack, however, made sure to lavish attentions to his wife. He also made sure to glance at her afterwards and she knew that he was promising those caresses to her later.

Those looks alone are enough to send shock waves of pleasure through her whole system.

Her husband had met Jack in college when they both had co-started a protest against the rise in textbook prices at the bookstore. Jack's wife, Sarah, had helped them with making their signs and organize the rallies. They'd gotten married within six months and Jack had left college to work to support his new wife. Jessa was a foreign exchange student from Ireland and had met her husband in the campus library during their senior year. They hit it off and two months after graduation they were married. It wasn't until her wedding day that Jessa met Jack.

She immediately felt a connection to him and his hazel eyes (he held a twinkle in the corner of them just for her). It made her feel inexplicable cheap to have such a strong attraction to a man while she wore virgin white for someone else. Falling in love with her husband had been so easy she couldn't imagine anything being easier – until she saw Jack. Their dance had been careful for the first year, but they finally broke down to the desire they both couldn't drown (it wasn't like they were trying).

Love is simple, but lust is simpler.

Sitting at this table with just the four of them was always impossibly compromising. Could her husband possibly know about how she is fucking one of his best friends whenever she gets the chance? She feels dirty using that word, but it is what it is. Whenever they come together it is primal. Even if it is gentle - it is reckless. Could Sarah know? Jessa isn't sure how she couldn't; Sarah may only give her the sweetest smiles and the kindest compliments, but she has to know. They don't wear the same perfume or the same lip color (which stained more than one of Jack's collars). Was it that Jack is so careful that she never stumbles across any evidence? Or maybe it was that Sarah was the type of woman to not bother into her husband's business or become jealous of affairs.

Again Jack's foot brushes her ankle and this time it traces up the line of her calf and she shivers. Simultaneously the guilt she feels from being so aroused by his simple, but forbidden, caress in this situation creates a nauseous churning in her stomach. Her head is already throbbing from all of the racing thoughts and careful cover-ups, but now she is going to be sick. Her husband notices her tremor and silence and turns to her with concern filled blue eyes.

"Are you okay, Jessa?" He asked plaintively and she looks at him stupidly for a moment.

The conversation has come to a screeching halt and she feels three pairs of eyes on her, but it might as well have only been one because she was only aware of Jack. Turning her head to look at the couple who have accompanied them to dinner she looks at the woman and sees the honest concern in her eyes which only makes the situation worse. She doesn't think that it can be any more compromising until she looks at Jack and sees the darkness in those glowing orbs and her stomach clenches once more.

This time she can taste the bile on her tongue.

"I'm not feeling well at all." She said looking back at her husband. She needs to get out. She needs to get away. "Please take my home, David."

David had told her on occasion that it was strange to have his best friend from college married to his sister, and Jessa couldn't help but wonder how strange he would find it if he knew that his wife was sleeping with him. It was all so convenient, too. So convenient that they could have conversations at the dinner table with their spouses and know so much about each other without a single suspicion. It was so convenient that David's job took him out on the field frequently which meant anywhere from a few days to weeks of time where he wasn't around. The loneliness works against her and that is why she finds herself in this motel room with her heart pounding in her ears and someone pounding into her.

She is crying and Jack is kissing those tears (he can taste her remorse – but there is no regret in them). Even with him filling her – she feels so hollow. You'd think that since emptiness is nothing it wouldn't hurt (but it being nothing is exactly why is does hurt). The burning pleasure, overwhelming and excruciating, can only last so long. So when it is over – she cries silent tears. She knows that this is wrong but she can't stop (she addicted and there is no eight step program to get over him).

"How long can this last, Jack?" she asks into the darkness and he buries his nose into her curly brown hair.

"It doesn't matter as long as you spend every second with me, Jessa." The hot breath from his words trickled into her ear canal and she reaches out for him again.

Love is simple, but lust is simpler.

They have complicated things.

He touches her tonight like she is a piece of broken glass (he's afraid of getting cut on her edges). She feels just as shattered as he makes her out to be. After all – David had found out about them. He doesn't know that it is Jack, but he knows that he isn't the only one who sees how she dances between the sheets. Jessa doesn't know how David figured it out, but she is only surprised that it hadn't happened sooner. She's always hoped he would never learn the truth and after three years it looks like he wouldn't, but something must have slipped. He is an investigative journalist. It is his job to figure things out.

This is the last time that Jack will touch her. She knows it and she hates it. They are only meeting so that she can tell him goodbye, but that is never enough for them (he needs this just as much as she does). Familiar callused finger tips run over her scared shoulder once more and she feels the first waves of pleasure sweep through her system. David's touch had never done this to her and she knows that it never would.

"This isn't fair." She murmurs the thought that is pulsing through both of their minds.

They've never said the three words, but it is painfully clear in the way that they kiss how they feel. That is how their lives have worked from the beginning – always just a little bit late and having to settle for second best. They could have been together if the timing had only been slightly different, but now they were sentenced to writhe in constant knowledge of what they will never really have. No matter how hard they pretend they never can forget entirely that they aren't supposed to be holding one another.

She wishes she'd never met him but can't imagine him not being a part of her life (the feeling in mutual).

"Jack I –," she gasps as he moves over her – his lips are blazing trails over her skin.

"Shh…" he presses two fingers over her mouth to keep her from saying those terrible words. They've managed to get by without them before now and he doesn't intend to start using them at the end. "I know."

He kisses her.

She kisses him back.

When it is all said and done she isn't the only one crying.

"We should go." She says through the tears and the words feel like something from a dream.

"We should." He replies but neither one of them move towards the door.

Whoever said love is simple was lying.

A/N: Yeah. So I guess that is a happy birthday fiction if I've ever read one! I mean – so much joy and smiles. Right? Yeah. I know. Hope this doesn't ruin your birthday, Stress! What matters is that we know who Jessa really belongs with – right?