Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the motion picture The Mummy. That's all you, Universal Studios. And I'm not going to profit off this story, so calm down. There's no reason to sue, and you all make too much money anyway. Vultures.
AN: Big, huge thanks to The-Lady-Isis, Illinois Rose, Padme4000, Nelle07, benzene, IKeepGoldFishInMyBra, idkaname, zentry, Ravenclaw Samurai, Jac Danvers, Misplaced Angel, Typhoid-Candy, bones881, pirate hero, and VanillaBubblez for the reviews!
Whoo! Hurray! After three – going on four – long weeks, poorpiratelass' computer has finally been returned to her! It's so good to have my baby back home. And not just for me… the final chapter of Self Esteem is here at last! I know, I know… a couple weeks are not equal to a couple days, but there was only so much I could do about it. Sorry! Thanks to everyone who kept up with this story… it is finally finished! Be on the look out for the sequel… yes, it's a TMR rewrite. Enjoy!
Chapter 30: The Friend
The rest of the ride into Cairo was – at least on Madeline and Ardeth's horse – spent in complete silence.
When the Med-jai caravan finally entered the city, the sun was just rising, painting the sky grapefruit and watermelon. The breeze blowing in off the river reeked of freshly caught fish. As the procession of black-robed men wound its way through the narrow, dusty streets, they attracted the stares of street merchants, customers, pedestrians… everyone they passed stopped to gawk at the long line of desert men on horseback.
The procession finally came to a stop in front of the Drunken Scarab. For a moment, everyone simply stared at the tavern in silence. The windows had been smashed in, the front door stood wide open, and broken glass littered the ground outside. The shutters were hanging off their hinges, and perfectly round little bullet holes were Swiss-cheesed all throughout the building's face, evidence of the Berkley onslaught.
"Whoa," Madeline said finally, breaking the silence. "The bar, it's… shit, I am so sorry Jonathan."
"Yes, well," Jonathan shrugged, hopping down from his horse. "So am I."
He made his way towards the debris that was once the finest establishment in Cairo, and stepped through the open door. The sound of glass crunching underneath his shoes echoed out into the street. Madeline was floored at how calm he was being… until she realized he'd already come home to this once before. He must have had enough time to adjust.
She glanced sideways at Evie, Rick and Nasira. Only Rick looked back at her. The two exchanged raised eyebrows.
"Oh, bloody hell!" Jonathan shouted suddenly from within. "Blasted looters! Oh, if I get my hands on them…!"
His shouting faded into unintelligible grumbling. Rick smirked at Madeline. Both of them muffled a laugh. Now that sounded more like Jonathan.
Evie immediately leapt down from her horse. "I'd better get in there," she said, rushing inside to comfort her older brother.
Rick shrugged, jumping down from his own ride and following his wife.
Ardeth dismounted behind her, saying something to Yasir about supplies. His younger brother nodded, repeated the order for the rest of the congregation, and then led most of them back towards the market place.
Nasira stayed behind. She climbed down from her horse and walked into the bar without looking at either Madeline or Ardeth.
Ardeth reached for Madeline, gripping her tightly around the waist and swinging her down from the saddle. He set her gently on the ground and then stood there silently, staring at her, not letting her go.
Madeline stared back at him for a moment, feeling half fearful and yet half expectant – and then she ruined whatever might have been about to happen by breaking eye contact and shooting the tavern a nervous glance.
He immediately released her waist, following her gaze. She looked back at him again, but he didn't look back at her. Instead, he headed for the bar. Madeline started to follow him – but then, quite unexpectedly, he stopped and turned back around, suddenly sweeping her off the ground.
Her eyebrows arched upwards in surprise and confusion. She parted her lips slightly, intending to ask what the hell he was doing. "The glass," he answered before she could ask. "It is everywhere."
And she still had no shoes. Fair enough. She nodded. Ardeth carried her inside.
Within Jonathan's dim, devastated den, they found Rick, Evie and Nasira lounging around the battered bar, watching the tavern-keeper as he paced behind the counter, counting the liquor bottles on the shelves. Jonathan's dark, thick brows were bunched together in an exasperated frown as he took inventory, totaling his losses. "Gone," he kept muttering. "Gone, gone, gone, all bloody gone… no! No, not that one! That one was bloody expensive!"
The inside of Jonathan's bar looked like a battle had taken place among the tables and chairs and liquor bottles. Of course, when Madeline really thought about it, that was exactly what had happened. As a result, the floor was now littered with broken glass, the furniture turned upside down, and the whole room reeked of spilt booze.
Evie tore her eyes away from her brother's theatrics when she heard Ardeth's step on the floorboards. Her eyes widened first, and then she immediately crumpled her nose. "Oh, Madeline, I forgot you didn't have shoes!"
She sounded very distraught. "It's ok, Evie," Madeline replied.
"Oh, and there's glass everywhere too!" Evie carried on as if Madeline hadn't said a word. "Ardeth, would you take her upstairs? I'll find something for you to wear, Madeline."
She didn't wait for either Ardeth or Madeline to reply before racing upstairs.
By the time all was said and done, Madeline was exhausted. Ardeth set her down on Jonathan's guest bed and then quickly backed out of the room, leaving Madeline alone with the crazed whirlwind of activity that was her sister-in-law. She couldn't blame him for bailing, as cowardly as it was. It was quite overwhelming, watching as Evie ran from one corner of the room to the next, flinging clothing about and muttering unintelligibly. Madeline was suddenly, vividly reminded of Jonathan.
Finally, Evie plopped a pile of Rick's clothes on the bed beside Madeline, and set a spare pair of his boots next to the bed – seeing as nothing Evie owned could possible fit her, Madeline thought ruefully – and then she vanished out the bedroom door, leaving Madeline speechless in her wake.
Quickly, Madeline exchanged the dusty dress for a pair of pants and an overly large shirt, and then she yanked on Rick's boots. Lastly, she dragged Evie's hairbrush through her tangles, wiped some of the dirt off her face, and then stepped out in the hallway.
She was hurrying towards the stairs when Ardeth suddenly appeared at the top of them. Madeline froze. So did he.
They stared at one another for a moment, and then Madeline lowered her eyes to the floor. Carefully not looking at him, she rushed towards the steps, brushing past Ardeth.
He caught her arm. She was forced to stop. "Madeline," he murmured.
Madeline swallowed hard, closing her eyes. "Yes?"
Ardeth's finger hooked her under the chin, tilting her face towards his. She slowly opened her eyes and looked up at him, attempting nonchalance. "You are avoiding me," he announced.
Madeline forced herself to snort. "Don't be ridiculous," she returned. "I'm not avoiding you. Hell, I can't avoid you. I mean, we've been sharing the same horse for over two days, so… it would be impossible to avoid you."
"And yet," he said softly. "You've managed it."
She swallowed hard again and stuttered out, "I… I don't…"
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Then why are you avoiding me?"
Madeline sighed harshly, frustrated with both Ardeth and herself. "Ardeth, I'm not… I just… I can't…"
He pressed his lips against hers, forcing her against the wall. Her sentence cut out halfway, petering out into a high squeak. Automatically, her lips pumped back against his, and she grabbed hold of his arms to keep her balance, promptly forgetting what she'd planned to say.
Ardeth's tongue pushed its way inside her mouth, his teeth grazing her lower lip. Madeline moaned against him, her hands moving up to grasp his face and then twisting in his hair. He wrapped his arm around her waist, yanking her against him, his chest pressed against hers, her hips molded into his. One of his hands crept up her spine to grab the back of her skull, his fingers burying themselves in her hair. He opened up his lips wider, his tongue making its way deeper inside her mouth.
She forced herself to pull away, tearing her lips from his and twisting in his grasp, attempting unsuccessfully to break free. He didn't let go. She pressed her palms uselessly against his chest, not exerting anywhere near enough pressure to actually push him away.
"No," she murmured, her lips inches from his.
"Why not?" he asked quietly, still holding her against him, his lips directly against her ear, his breath tickling her skin.
A creak on the stairs startled them both, sending them flying apart. Nasira appeared on the top of the steps, frowning at both of them.
Madeline wondered, rather guiltily, exactly how much she'd seen.
"O'Connell wants to speak with you, Ardeth," Nasira announced, her voice low.
Ardeth nodded. "Thank you, Nasira."
He brushed past her, rushing down the stairs – and subsequently evading an incredibly awkward situation. No fair. Madeline leaned against the wall, avoiding Nasira's eyes. This didn't stop Nasira from staring at her for what had to have been a millennium. Finally, Madeline got uncomfortable enough to look up and make eye contact with the other woman. "What?" she asked, unable to take Nasira's unwavering stare one moment longer.
Nasira stepped off the top step and leaned against the wall opposite Madeline. "I know what happened between you and my brother," she said evenly.
Great. Madeline had been afraid of this. She stood stock still, staring somewhere to the left of Ardeth's little sister, squirming under Nasira's gaze. She had no response for Nasira's announcement. What exactly was she supposed to say to something like that anyway?
"I am unsure if this is a good thing or a bad thing," Nasira continued.
Really? Was she? Madeline raised an eyebrow. Join the club.
"I know it stopped Nitocris. I know it saved your life. And I am grateful for both those things. Once, I would even have been happy that you and my brother had gotten so close. I like you, Madeline. You are good for my brother in so many ways. But… I just don't know."
Nasira lowered her eyes to the floor, searching the floorboards as if she expected them to provide her with her next sentence. Madeline chewed her bottom lip, wishing there was some way to escape this awkward conversation. She wondered if Nasira had been talking to Yasir. It certainly sounded like she'd been talking to Yasir.
Not that Madeline disagreed with either of them.
"My brother cares for you very much," Nasira said finally.
Madeline was absolutely miserable by this point. "Nasira, look… I… I don't want to…"
"Don't worry," Nasira interrupted, smiling sadly. "I am not trying to give you the obligatory 'if you hurt my older brother' speech."
"No," Nasira shook her head. "I am aware it would be pointless. You have already made up your mind to hurt my older brother. I see it in your eyes."
Her words ripped through Madeline as painfully, as though Nasira had used a knife on her instead of conversation. She wanted to protest but although her mouth opened, no words came out. She couldn't exactly deny Nasira's accusation. Ardeth did care for her, she knew that now. And honestly, that only made things worse. Because Nasira was right; Madeline was going to hurt Ardeth. Not on purpose, exactly, and definitely not because she wanted to… but because she had to, plain and simple.
"I know you think it is for the best," Nasira went on. "But I cannot agree with you. You could fit among us. We are not too good for you, Madeline – or anyone, really."
Madeline frowned. "You…"
"Yes," Nasira interrupted. "I have been talking to Jonathan."
Madeline rolled her eyes. "Fantastic."
"Listen to me," Nasira practically ordered. "The Med-jai are an ancient tribe, and we have done much good in our time. But we are not the good, noble, pure and flawless people you make us out to be. We are human. Like everyone else, we make mistakes, we can flat out fail, and we are capable of dark things – even despicable things. Our past speaks for itself."
"Maybe that's true," Madeline whispered. "But it doesn't mean I belong out there."
"Trust me, Madeline. The wise among us would not hold you to some impossible standard of perfection that we cannot even meet ourselves."
"Nasira," Madeline said slowly, seriously. "Trust me; I'm not the person you think I am."
"No," the young girl shook her head. "You are not the person you think you are. You are much more."
Again, Madeline shifted uncomfortably under Nasira's brown-eyed stare. Nasira sighed. "I can see you are not ready for any of this. And neither is Ardeth – not really. I just wish what happened had not occurred so soon, so fast… too soon, too fast. Maybe under different circumstances…"
Nasira trailed off, shaking her head and sighing again. Madeline frowned at the other woman. Where exactly was Nasira going with this?
Suddenly, a small smile twitched on Nasira's lips, and the young girl stepped forward, folding Madeline into a warm and friendly hug. Her frown growing still deeper, Madeline very awkwardly hugged Nasira back, surprised by the sudden show of affection. "I do like you, Madeline, so much," Nasira said into her ear. She released Madeline and took a step back. "We are friends, no?"
Confused as hell, Madeline nodded. At least, she thought they were friends. "Of course we are. I mean, I like to think so."
"Good," Nasira said, her smile widening ever so slightly. "I will keep in touch."
Madeline smiled back. "Good. I'd like that."
"So would I."
They stood silently – awkwardly – for a moment. Then Nasira turned to go. She'd already started down the stairs when suddenly she froze, glancing back at Madeline over her shoulder. "I will say this one more thing," she announced. "And then nothing else. My brother Yasir is of an old-fashioned mind. He believes happiness and duty cannot coexist; that if he were to be happy, he would ultimately neglect the sacred duties he has sworn to fulfill. A silly philosophy. I do not believe that. I know better. Duty and happiness can go hand in hand – I've seen it done before."
Madeline stared at the teenage girl wordlessly. It amazed her, to hear something so wise come out of the mouth of someone so young. Nasira could not be older than seventeen or eighteen, yet whenever she spoke, she always left Madeline with some sort of surprising wisdom. A wisdom that Madeline, who had to be nearly ten years older than her, could never have thought up on her own.
"I just wish you could realize it too," Nasira murmured. Then, having said her piece, Nasira turned away and walked down the stairs.
Madeline stood still and silent in the upstairs hall, her eyes fixed on Nasira's retreating back, the other woman's words still echoing in her head. For the first time, Madeline began to wonder if she was doing the right thing.
Nearly an hour had passed, but the scene on the bottom floor of Jonathan's tavern remained the same as it had before. The Drunken Scarab was still a frightful mess – glass everywhere, sticky puddles of liquor congealing on the floor and the countertop. Jonathan was still taking inventory and getting very close to finishing… and consequently, getting very close to hysterics. The more liquor he found missing or broken, the higher his voice got, the more theatrical his gesturing, and the more colorful his cussing.
"I'm certainly glad Alex isn't here," Evie murmured as she watched her brother with a mixture of sympathy and irritation. She was leaning against the table that Madeline was sitting at, her arms crossed over her chest.
Madeline smirked. "I'm sure Rick has already taught him more than enough dirty words… and without Jonathan's help."
Her words produced a wince in Evie that suggested she'd hit pretty close to the truth.
Nasira was seated at the bar, watching Jonathan with mostly worry and sympathy, but also some amusement. Every once in a while, she would offer Jonathan some words of encouragement or comfort… only to be silence by a cold and stony glare from the distraught tavern owner. Rick and Ardeth, on the other hand, were standing on the opposite end of the tavern, as far from Jonathan as they could get. Madeline spared her older brother and the Med-jai chieftain a glance over her shoulder. They were leaning against the back wall, side by side, arms crossed over their chests. Rick looked more relaxed than the chieftain, with one knee bent so that the sole of one boot rested against the wall, whereas Ardeth stood in a tense, watchful stance… a warrior's pose. Still, both men watched Jonathan with raised eyebrows. The similarity of their expressions would have made Madeline laugh if it hadn't been so creepy.
Personally, Madeline found nothing amusing about Jonathan's distress. This tavern was one of Jonathan's most prized possessions – excepting his car, of course. He was more proud of the success of the Drunken Scarab than anything else he'd ever done in his life, and now, between the stolen goods and the countless damages, Madeline worried his business might never recover.
Suddenly, countless hoof beats thundered from outside the Drunken Scarab. A large cloud of dust exploded in the street. The sound of the horses' trampling feet was punctuated by the occasional shrill, high pitched cries of Med-jai warriors.
Yasir and his men had returned.
Slowly, all the people in the in the tavern began to head out into the streets. Even Jonathan left off his bottle-counting to step outside and greet the returning Med-jai, although he grumbled under his breath the whole way.
Finally, the only two people left in the bar were Ardeth and Madeline.
She sat still in her chair, staring awkwardly at the tabletop. She swore she could feel Ardeth's eyes on her back. Unable to take the uncomfortable, heavy silence in the tavern, she got quickly to her feet, making her way towards the door. She heard Ardeth push himself off the wall and cross the room. Madeline quickened her step, but Ardeth suddenly came up on her right side and then stopped directly in front of her.
Madeline wasn't sure what to do. Apparently, Ardeth wasn't sure either. For what felt like eternity, they simply stood silently in Jonathan's tavern, staring at one another. The tension hung heavy on her shoulders as she looked into Ardeth's huge, dark eyes, trying desperately to think up something to say.
Finally, Ardeth broke the silence. "I must go."
She nodded. "Good bye."
He stare a moment longer. "Good bye."
Madeline forced a smile for him. Then she turned away quickly, again making haste for the door.
He grabbed her by the arm. She froze. Slowly, she looked back at him over her shoulder. Ardeth met her eyes, holding her gaze for a moment. And then, suddenly, he was dragging her towards the back of the bar, around the corner and into the long hallway that led to the storeroom. She stumbled into him as they rounded the corner and he took hold of her other arm as well, backing her against the wall. Once hidden from the curious stares of their friends and family, his lips crashed down on top of hers.
Madeline gasped against his mouth, her hands rising up against his chest. Her intention had been to push him away – but instead, her fingers grasped the front of his robes and yanked him closer. He wrapped his arms around her, pressing her against his body, his tongue invading her mouth. Half of her mind shrieked angry orders at her, demanding she push him away at once, while the other half – the victorious half – kissed him back furiously, passionately, as she clutched at him desperately.
Suddenly, he wrenched his mouth from hers, leaving her gasping for air. He too seemed breathless as he held her against him. "I cannot do this," he murmured into her hair.
Good, she thought, ignoring the painful somersault her heart suddenly performed. Ardeth was rationalizing now. He would reject her at last, as well he should. Still, an awful twisting sensation spread through her gut, as though some cruel, crazy person had taken hold of her stomach and, mistaking it for a wet towel, was viciously wringing water from it.
"Can you?" he asked. "I remember what you told me. That this could not work, that it would detract from my duty, foster resentment among my people… but I have decided that is, in your words, bull shit."
Madeline blinked. "I'm sorry; did you just say bull shit?"
He ignored her sidebar. "No matter how many times I repeat your words to myself, I cannot believe them. We could make this work, I am sure of it. All we have to do is try. All you have to do is try."
She stiffened. "Come with me," he said.
"Come with me," he repeated. "Marry me, Madeline."
There it was. Exactly what she'd been afraid of. A marriage proposal. That was so the opposite of rejecting her. Although she had been wondering if this would happen, Madeline was still shocked. "Are you asking me or telling me?" she managed to blurt out, stumbling over the words.
"Marry me, Madeline," he said again, tightening his hold on her. His eyes were boring into hers, twitching about as if he were searching for something in her gaze.
She stared back. "Ardeth, I can't…"
"Why?" he demanded. "Why can't you?"
Her mouth moved uselessly. She had so many answers to that, and yet none of them came out. "Because you are not good enough?" he supplied. She winced. He sounded angry, even bitter. "Don't you dare tell me that."
She blinked, trying to ease the sudden burning in her eyes. Then she swallowed hard. "You can't just ask me to marry you," she said in a small voice. "What will your tribe think if you bring me home to the desert? When you bring home some silly white girl – some silly American – and announce she's going to be your wife?"
Ardeth's dark eyes grew even darker. He released her roughly. "This isn't America," he returned harshly. "This isn't England. The Med-jai do not follow the same rules. Is that what bothers you? That I am…"
"No," Madeline interrupted fiercely, shaking her head as hard as she could. She hadn't meant that at all. "Of course not."
"Good," he replied. His voice was sharp and his expression stern. "Then why won't you marry me?"
"You know why! I've told you why! Your family, your tribesmen – you know they won't accept me! You know I'll interfere…"
"I don't know any of that! And you don't either! Why are you so afraid to try?"
Madeline took a deep breath, trying to push aside any lingering doubts that might have taken root in her mind after her talk with Nasira. This was the right thing to do. She was certain of it.
"It's more than your people," she said slowly. "I am not the right person for this. There are so many rules, so many expectations… and I can't live up to them. I saw the way you spoke to Nasira. I remember how I spoke to you. I won't ruin you, Ardeth. and if you marry me – me, with my fighting, and my big mouth, and my inability to keep my opinions to myself – that's exactly what I'll do. I will destroy you."
He shook his head in disbelief. "Why can't you understand? All those things you claim as flaws… they are the reasons I fell in love with you."
Madeline stared at him, speechless. What was she supposed to say to that?
"You think you cannot handle the responsibilities of being a Med-jai? That you cannot live up to our expectations? Most of the Med-jai cannot do that. Madeline, I have failed my people more times than I care to count. I am not perfect. I never have been. I allowed the creature to be resurrected, I allowed that necklace to be stolen, to be placed on your neck, I…"
"All right!" she interrupted him, almost shouting. "You aren't perfect! I get it! You make mistakes! Well, guess what? Marrying me – that's another one of those mistakes you've been making. And I won't be another one of your mistakes! I won't!"
Silence descended on them once Madeline's tirade came to an end. They stared at one another for a very long time. Finally, Ardeth said quietly, "I love you."
Madeline looked away.
"I love you," he persisted. "You make me happy. For the first time in… I won't be happy without you. I know that."
She said nothing. "Do you love me?" he demanded, her silence provoking his impatience.
Maybe she should just say no. That would probably be best. If he thought she didn't love him, maybe he'd let the subject drop.
But she couldn't. Try as she might, she could not force the lie from her lips. It didn't matter anyway. He'd see through it – through her. He always did.
Ardeth seized her chin between his thumb and his forefinger, tilting her face towards his. "Do you love me?" he asked again.
"Yes!" she exclaimed, shaking her head in frustration. "Yes, all right? I love you, ok? I love you!"
"Good," he whispered, his hand moving to cup the side of her face. He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "That is very good."
"No," she whispered back, shaking her head. "It's not."
"Madeline. Look at me."
She forced herself to comply.
"I love you," he said again. "And you love me. We should be together."
"I wish it was that easy."
He sighed. "It is only difficult because you are making it so. Madeline, I love you and I want you to marry me. Will you?"
His hand was still holding her face, and he was looking directly into her eyes. She stared at him, unable to reply. "Will you marry me?" he asked again.
Madeline stared at him for a moment longer, and then slowly shook her head. "No."
Ardeth stared at her. Then, very abruptly, he released her cheek and walked away.
Madeline waited until the sound of Ardeth's footsteps had carried almost all the way to the front entrance. Then she ran around the corner, stopping just inside the tavern area and leaning against the back wall. She watched as Ardeth stepped out into the sunlight. As she stood there, spying, her eyes began to burn again. He and his younger sister said goodbye to her small family and climbed onto their horses. Then Ardeth hollered at his men in Arabic, and they all kicked their horses into a trot. The Med-jai and their horses rumbled down the street, away from the bar, towards the outskirts of Cairo.
He only looked back once.
The burning in her eyes gave way to actual tears. Her chest began to ache as the warm liquid trickle down her cheeks. She couldn't stop the sob that escaped from her throat.
Before anyone could come back inside, she ran back around the corner and then directly upstairs. Once she'd reached the second level, she tore down the hall to the guest bedroom, flew inside, and quickly closed the door behind her.
She leaned against the closed door and took a deep breath, attempting to compose herself. Then she walked slowly to the bed and sat down on the mattress, where she buried her face in her hands and began to cry.
After a while, there was a timid knock on the door. Madeline ignored her visitor, but the door creaked open anyway. "Maddie?" Jonathan's voice drifted into the room.
She didn't even look up. There was a click as he shut the door behind him. She heard his light footsteps on the wood floor as he crossed the room, and felt the sag of the mattress as he sat beside her.
"What happened?" he asked softly.
Madeline didn't want to look at him. She was too embarrassed. It was always embarrassing to be caught crying, even if it was only by your best friend. "He left," she said into her hands.
"Yes, I know. Is that why you're so upset?"
She didn't respond. "What did he say?" Jonathan pressed.
Another small sob escaped her throat, despite her valiant attempt to suppress it. "He asked me to marry him."
There was a short silence. "Oh," Jonathan said finally, sounding surprised.
Her shoulders started shaking. "I take it you said no," he added.
She nodded, still hiding her face in her hands.
"But you wanted to say yes?"
She nodded again.
"Oh, Maddie," Jonathan sighed. He took hold of her wrists and pulled her hands from her face. Still, Madeline refused to look at him, embarrassed by her red face and puffy eyes. Jonathan reached out and took her chin in his hand, turning her face towards him in a gesture that reminded Madeline painfully of Ardeth. She tried to compose herself as she met Jonathan's eyes, but her lip kept right on trembling, and there was no stopping the tears still rolling down her cheeks. Jonathan gave her a smile.
"You'll always have me, old girl."
Madeline tried to smile back, but she couldn't. Instead, she sobbed once again, completely losing it. Jonathan opened his arms and she buried her face in his shoulder.
Really, it wasn't surprising that Jonathan's fireside prediction had come true. As usual, Jonathan was the one picking up the pieces, the one person who was always there for her – her best friend.
And he'd always be there for her. She knew he would, just as she would always be there for him.
Yes, she'd always have Jonathan.