Chapter One

Chloe was walking up the steps to her apartment around 9 PM, after a particularly long day at work. Darkness had fallen a few hours ago, and she was more than ready to pass out in bed, never mind her lack of a dinner. She wasn't hungry, anyway. In fact, hunger was something she hadn't felt in awhile.
This had been her life for the last 4 months - wake up, go to work, go home, go to sleep. Incidentally, it had also been 4 months since she'd helped Jack fake his death. Maybe the events were related, maybe they weren't - it didn't really matter, since she couldn't change Jack's situation. At least that's what she told herself.

Either way, Jack was the last thing on her mind as she mindlessly unlocked her door and walked inside her 1 bedroom apartment, her place of residence for the last three years, to find it completely dark as she'd left it. She flipped up the main light switch on the wall beside the front door before a familiar hand violently grabbed her mouth shut from behind, terrifying her before a voice whispered, "Chloe, it's me, it's Jack."

She stopped resisting and he let go, leading her to turn and face the man who was supposed to be dead, the man who just scared the crap out of her."Jack? What the hell are you doing here? Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"

"No, listen, I had to leave Nevada, but I didn't have time to call you, and...I didn't know where else to go," he replied,somewhere in his subconscious wondering how he must look to her. He was wearing the second of two outfits he owned, his hair was long and unwashed, and living on the street had given him a distinctly rougher look.

She didn't care. His eyes hadn't changed. "Are you safe? I mean, am I in danger now too?" she asked as he turned to nervously look out a window through its blinds.

"No, I don't think so. If I did, I wouldn't have come to you."

"Staring out the window like you're waiting for somebody to crash through it isn't exactly boosting my confidence, Jack," she replied, her heart still pounding from the fact that he was even there.

He turned, saw the worry on her face, and slowly left the window, walking past her her to a nearby couch.

Chloe sighed and followed him, opting for an opposing chair. "Tell me what happened, Jack."

His head resting in his hands, he wearily repied, "I don't want to talk about it."

"Well, I do, because if I'm going to help you, I need to know what I'm dealing with."

He finally raised his eyes to her. "Here's all you need to know: I can't stay in Nevada anymore, I need to start over again somewhere else, some place where I can have a life outside of my car."

She knew when Jack didn't want to talk about something, he ususally had very good reasons. She trusted him enough, more than enough. "Okay."

With that, she stood up and walked to a nearby desk that held all three of her laptops, sat down with her back facing Jack, and got to work.

He watched her in silence, stunned that she trusted him so easily. He shouldn't have been stunned - it was hardly the first time she'd demonstrated her loyalty, and they both knew it wouldn't be her last.

He was almost afraid to interrupt her, but he didn't have a choice. "Chloe, do you have any food I can eat?"

Her fingers stopped dead in their tracks as she closed her eyes and thought to herself, Chloe, you idiot...here's Jack, who lives out of a car, and you didn't even offer him any damn water...he probably thinks you're a jerk, and he's right. "Of course, Jack, whatever you want," she replied.

"Thanks," he muttered before leaving the couch to walk the few feet to her extremely minimalist kitchen.

He didn't find much. His friend apparantly lived off of pizza, as shown by the random empty boxes strewn about, and TV dinners, as shown by the fact that it was one of the few items she had stocked in her freezer. Her refrigerator contained only beverages. And he thought his diet was crappy.

Chloe had all three computers running at full speed as Jack scarfed down the best meal he'd had in weeks. Neither said a word to the other.

That is, until he had eaten to his content and then moved on to priority #2:
"Chloe, do you mind if I take a shower?" he asked, from over her shoulder.

She looked away from the computers long enough to give him her best "duh" look.
"Jack, do whatever you want to do. You don't have to ask my permission."

He nodded. "Just trying to show respect," he replied before walking away.

She shrugged and got back to work. She couldn't have been more emotionally confused than she was that night.