DISCLAIMER: Don't own 'em. Thinking the coup may no longer be necessary, but ready, willing and able to stage one should it become necessary.
When You Let It: Chapter Four
Jordan and Woody had moved on.
Right back to each other.
He picked up the beer bottles and took them to the kitchen, returning with two fresh ones, which they drank in contemplative silence. "You ever think about it?" he asked after a long while.
"Lily. The whole… baby thing."
"Oh…that." She made one of those faces that was uniquely Jordan. Then she nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I have."
He motioned for her to go on.
She sighed. "Couple years ago…longer than that, I guess… there was this little girl. Emily Logan. Parents were… well, read the case file. I – I thought about – about seeing if I could keep her. I mean… not seriously. I'd pretty much just moved back here, wasn't… all that stable, you know?"
"You?" Woody flicked up his brows. "Hard to imagine."
She gave him the enigmatic smile that made his heart race. "I wanted to." She shook her head, took another swallow of beer and went on. "Probably just… biology."
"That's the only time?"
She looked over at him, her mouth set. "Well, last year. Kayla. But – that was different."
"Have you ever thought about having one, Jordan?"
"I'm serious. And I don't mean when you were seven and playing with dolls."
She snorted. "I never really played with dolls, but…okay, yeah, I guess. Does being late count?" She gave him a wicked grin.
"Late for… oh." He reared his head back. "Really?"
"Why not, Woody?"
"Well, you're a doctor and…you know."
"I'm also human."
"Oh." He nodded. "But… it wasn't…? And it was probably a while ago."
She scooted back a bit, to study him, watch him as he squirmed. This was not where he'd planned on taking this conversation, she'd be willing to bet. She did so love hijacking him like this. "Last year," she informed him coolly.
"Last… year?" He gulped.
She nodded, her eyes wide and innocent, dancing with merriment, letting him twist just a bit longer; if when last year? had been tattooed across his forehead it would have been more obvious, but not by much. "Right after New Year's. Big party and all…Pollack and I got … a little carried away."
She watched the wheels in his mind go around, slowly at first and then the little mental hamster must have sped up because it all clicked into place for him and he breathed a sigh of what could only be relief. She hid –or tried to hide – her wide grin behind the beer bottle.
Woody looked at her, his eyes narrowing. After a moment, he shook his head. "You did that on purpose!"
"Of course, I did!" She leaned back toward him. "You walked right into it."
"So…none of that… happened?"
Her lips twitched up. "No… that big party happened. And… but, no… false alarm."
He watched the spasm flit across her face, wondering if she even knew it gave her away. That brief flash of pain and grief in her eyes, the minute tightening in her jaw muscles and the sharp intake of breath, held just a little longer than usual. He nodded slowly. "So you thought about it then."
"Yeah," she murmured. There was still a plastic rattle in her underwear drawer. Pollack had bought it before the blood test results had come back. The fact the possibility hadn't freaked him out had let her ponder it without freaking out herself. When the results came back, they'd both declared it a huge relief, but- but had it been? No doubt it had been for the best – they'd never have made it as a couple, but a relief? She wasn't so sure now.
Woody reached for her hand and wrapped his fingers around hers. He smiled at her.
Now he shook his head lightly. "Nothing."
"No, that looks means something."
"Just thinking." He squeezed her fingers. "The Jordan Cavanaugh I met five years ago would have – have-"
"Freaked," she finished for him, smiling.
"I was going for 'wigged,' but, okay." He grinned. "You've changed a lot, Jordan."
She shrugged. "You're hardly the same naïve Farm Boy I thought would be eaten alive by the big city." Slowly, she rested her head on his shoulder.
Idly, he drew his hand through her long hair. He looked down at her; her eyes were closed, her face relaxed. He smiled. "Some things haven't changed."
"Like what?" She asked, her eyes still closed, smothering a yawn now.
"You're still the hottest M.E. I know."
Her eyes snapped open and her body tensed for a moment. Then she gave him a lazy grin. "Don't tell Garret. He'll be devastated."
Woody laughed, his arm tightening around Jordan. "I'm serious, you know."
She shook her head. "And you still have awful taste in neckwear," she teased gently.
He continued to play with her hair, curling one long lock around his fingers and then releasing it, watching it spring back and fall against her shoulder. He watched her for what seemed like a long time, enjoying the quiet, intimate moment. "Were you disappointed? When… you… weren't?" he asked finally.
She gave his hand – the one still holding hers – a gentle squeeze. "Yeah. A little," she answered. "I mean… it was probably good. Pollack and – it wouldn't have worked. But… yeah." She sighed. "So what about you?"
"What about me?" he evaded.
"Have you ever thought about it?"
He looked down, his blue eyes dark, veiled. "Me? Uh, Jordan, if you hadn't noticed, I'm not – uh – equipped to have a baby."
She thumped his chest. "You know what I mean." He remained silent. "Come on, Woody. I told you."
"Oh, so it's 'show me yours and I'll show you mine' time?"
She snorted. "You wish!" She pinned him to where he sat with her whiskey gaze.
He took a breath. "All right. Yeah. I've thought about it." His hand in her hair stilled. "I – um – I worried a little actually. After – After… that night. I mean, I didn't know if you were – taking anything and… we didn't exactly stop to…."
"No, we didn't," she replied softly. "So you worried?"
He lifted one shoulder. "The way… everything happened. You. Me. Pollack. Lu. It was messed up."
"That's an understatement," she said wryly.
"I guess I just always thought it would be a little less complicated, a lot more traditional."
"Is there going to be something about a picket fence, minivan and Golden Retriever?" she grinned at him.
"Well, no." He shook his head. "Okay, yes. At least… sort of."
"What? A Suburban and a Black Lab, instead?"
"Jordan…." He growled. "I don't know – I – I figured you find the right girl, get married, have a kid or two."
She looked down. "Not 'find the right girl, tap dance around each other for three years, screw things up so badly it doesn't matter?'"
He reached down and tilted up her chin. "Do you really think that? That it's screwed up so badly it doesn't matter?"
She shrugged. "I don't know." Her eyes darkened. "Isn't it?"
Woody studied her for a long moment, long enough to make her squirm. She pulled her hand away from his, disappointed and saddened when he didn't stop her.
She need not have been either.
The moment his hand was free Woody used it to snake around the back of her head and draw her mouth to his. The kiss that followed was slow and delicious. His lips coaxed hers open and their tongues darted softly against each other. He pulled away from her gently, keeping his hand at the back of her head, the fingers now tangled in the dark curls. "No," he said, his voice husky with desire.
"No?" Even the single syllable sounded languid, drugged.
"It's not screwed up so badly it doesn't matter, Jordan." His lips found hers again, a brief, teasing pressure. "It will always matter. You will always matter to me." He smiled at her. "This is supposed to be where you tell me I'll always matter to you."
She swallowed pas the lump in her throat. "Can I just show you?"
He chuckled. "So there is going to a little 'show me yours and I'll show you mine' after all?"
The punch she delivered to his shoulder was playful and mostly gentle. When he'd stopped whining about it, she reminded him, "We've done this before."
"Yeah." He twirled a lock of hair. "Things were… different. You'd grown up a lot." He gave her a half smile. "I hadn't."
"Woody, about that-"
"Don't say it, Jordan. You were right. You were trying to do the right thing with Pollack and I – I – I didn't like it. Then I ran – ran off after Lu and didn't have the guts to tell you. I kind of… I made everything about me. Until Pollack was killed and Lu died."
She nodded slowly.
He captured her head in both hands. "I want it to be all about us from now on, Jordan."
She nodded again. "Are you sure?"
He grinned. "No more reporters, no more shrinks, no more tap dancing around each other. You. Me. And whatever comes next."
She kissed him in response, sliding over to straddle him and letting her hands begin to wander beneath his shirt. As she drew away from him, she murmured in his ear, "I don't like dogs."
A bit breathlessly he replied, "We'll get a cat."
Her throaty laughter was soon lost in another kiss and much more.