There

You know, on one hand, she almost felt bad, leaving him standing there all the time, irritated and confused that she wouldn't let him help her. On the other hand, she was really getting tired of his just being there all the time, not letting her be, not letting her ignore the obvious and push it to the back of her mind.

Jordan frowned. And yet… oh, shoot. She was running out of hands.

She didn't want surgery. She didn't want to die. She couldn't have it both ways.

"Why, Garret? Why do I have to have the surgery? Why can't I just…" her arguments had fled from her mind and she had trailed off, "not?"

He hadn't said anything to that, just staring at her, looking hurt, and she'd left yet again, alone in his office.

Now she sat on her couch, replaying the day's events over and over in her head, getting more defensive by the minute. A clicking sound and a quiet thud brought her head up with a snap, glaring at whoever it was that had just entered her apartment.

"What do you want?" Her voice was undoubtedly angry as she scowled in his direction, making a move to get up and stalk over to him. He waited until she was a foot away.

"I know why," he said softly, and, if she didn't know better, he even sounded a bit sheepish in his apparent state of anxiousness, very rare in Garret. "Ask me again, Jordan." With that, he looked her straight in the eye, sending her heart into triple-time, and didn't flinch as her breath caught. "Ask me again why you have to have the surgery."

She swallowed, nervous. Broke eye contact. Stared at the floor. "Why," she muttered, not really sure she actually wanted to know if he was using that tone of voice on her.

"Jordan, look at me." His commanding tone drew her dark eyes to his. They were filled with tenderness and simple understanding as he gazed at her. "You know why? Because I love you, that's why."

Her knees buckled. His reflexes were incredible; she saw a hint of a smile on his face as he caught her elbows, swept one hand behind her back and one under her knees, and carried her over to the couch like a newlywed. As soon as his arms slipped away she curled into a ball, wrapping her arms around her knees, pulling them to her chest in a protective barrier.

Her position made him chuckle. He sat on the other end, making himself comfortable. "I didn't come here to scare you, you know."

"You're serious."

"Which part?"

"Both."

"Yeah, Jordan." Surprise was reflected on his features as he stared at a speck on the couch. "I'm serious. Do you think this is some sort of joke, something you can just run away from and hide from the world forever?"

Her voice broke. "I wish."

"Oh, sweetheart-"

And she crumbled, sobbing, and he pulled her into, once again, the safe security of his embrace. Whispers, soothing comfort in her ear helped her calm down, and after a while, the cries became sniffles.

He could read her mind when she glanced at him for a split second. "Yeah. Believe it or not, Jordan, you're my sweetheart. I'm just sorry it took me so long to figure it out."

"Yours?"

He grinned. "And don't you forget it."

Her lower lip disappeared between her teeth. "I don't… know."

Indulgence flashed in his eyes. "I don't blame you. Sleep, Jordan, and let me know, okay? I'm not expecting you to develop feelings for overnight."

"Well, I didn't mean… It's not like I don't… I kind of… Augh. Why do you have to be so damned nice and non-judgmental about it?"

"What else would I do?"

She lightly hit his arm. "You goon."

"Oh, so now I'm a goon."

"Yeah, that's right." She pulled back, just a little, to grin at him. "Garret the goon."

"You're tired," he stated.

"Terribly."

A smile tugged at his lips. "I should get going. Don't bother getting up; I can find my way out. I got in, didn't I?"

"True," she reluctantly conceded.

After standing, he glanced down at her with a sparkle in his eyes. In one swift movement, he ducked down, brushed his lips with hers, and straightened, tucking her hair behind one ear and letting his hand trail down the side of her face.

He stopped at the doorway, turned around. "Goodnight, Jordan."