A/N - It's me with yet another (and most likely my last) Jokachel fic, so I hope you'll enjoy. Bruce will be in the second chapter since he's one of Rachel and Jack's friends, but as of right now he's considered irrelevent. Enjoy! ;0P
CH 1: The Anniversary
"Why are you such a jerk!? Let me go!"
Laughing, Jack continued to hold Rachel in a headlock as he gave her an affectionate noogie, the poor girl squealing as she swatted about with the hopes of coming free of his grasp. Glancing toward their two sunbathing friends, Craig and April (minus Bruce) for help, she irritably demanded, "And why aren't you guys helping me!? This is girlfriend abuse!"
"Sorry, but I'm not getting involved in any domestic disputes until after cop school" Craig returned, a grin splitting his freckly face as he leaned back against his beach towel and closed his eyes.
Realizing that Rachel was now sending her a pleading look, April shook her head before returning, "Sorry Rach, but I am not getting up close and personal with your man. Don't you remember how I told you he's like a Greek god? If I touch him, I'll turn to stone!"
"Or just a lovelorn puddle" Craig mocked, his features wincing when April knuckled him in the ribs.
Before Rachel could give a teasing retort, Jack maneuvered her over his shoulder so that she was kicking and screaming, her eyes widening once she realized he was heading straight for the ocean.
"Jack, no!" she squealed, her hands covering her eyes as her petite body bounced to and fro. "Jack, I mean it, if you throw me in there, I'm going to kill you!"
"Well you haven't killed me after four years of dating, so I think my chances of survival are pretty good" he smugly shot back, a warm laugh escaping his lips upon hearing her ireful shrieks.
Splashing into the chilly foam, Jack grinned as a rather large wave came crashing toward them, Rachel squealing as he dove with her straight through the briny surf. Although Rachel longed to scream, she knew better than to do so unless she wanted a mouthful of water. The prismatic light beams from the surface glinted above them as they swam, Rachel releasing a barely audible squeak when she suddenly found Jack's lips on her own. Abruptly melting into his embrace, she linked her arms about his neck and leaned into the kiss, a delicate blush staining her cheeks when she felt his hand slide longingly over her rump.
When they finally broke the surface gasping for breath, Rachel gave Jack a playful slap before finding her lips entrapped by his yet again, a shrill wolf whistle cutting through the air as Craig and April exploded with laughter.
"Daaayamn, Captain Jack, if you kiss Rachel like that again, the cops are gonna have to give you a ticket!" Craig exclaimed, his head tossing back as he gave yet another gut-busting guffaw.
Rachel hid her face in mortification, but Jack breezily caught her by the hand and dragged her back to shore. "Are you trying to tell me that we'll have to put up with cop jokes until you graduate?" he teased, a grin splitting his features when Craig gave yet another laugh.
"Dude, just shut up and have a beer...King Triton commands you!"
Jack blinked, his eyes now gravitating toward the empty beer cans strewn out across the sand. "Uhh, are you drunk, Craig?"
The redhead sniggered. "Well I'm not not drunk, if that's what you're implying...you two come over 'ere and sit next to Papa Bear."
Knowing all too well where this was going, Jack abruptly turned to leave, but Rachel caught him by the wrist and forced him down onto the beach towel alongside her.
"You are so dead" Jack hissed in her ear, only to grunt when she giggled. "Look, I'm serious! Every time Craig calls himself Papa Bear, he starts reciting poetry!"
"Ah, the perks of being a drunk -- just consider this payment for tossing me in the ocean" Rachel snidely shot back.
When Jack grumbled an unintelligible string of curses, Craig swayed a bit before deciding aloud, "Y'know what, buddy? Since your four year anniversary's this evening, you should make Rachel a poem."
Jack blanched. "Oh, God, no..."
"Ooh, yes! I agree, I think you definitely should!" April chimed in, her gray eyes shining as she clapped her hands. "C'mon, do it right here, right now, Jack...it would be so romantic!"
"Well how the hell is it going to be romantic with you two here?" he growled, no longer able to face Rachel since he knew she was laughing. "Unless I turn into some Casanova within the next three seconds, I fail to see how this is the perfect gift, especially when Rachel's right over there and able to hear you guys!"
This reaction got Rachel laughing again, Craig staring dumbly back at Jack before drunkenly returning, "Look, man, look, I'll help ya out, ok? You're my boy, so I'm gonna hook you up with a poem."
Jack winced. "Craig, no, I don't want..."
"Ok, here we go..."
"Craig, I'm serious..."
With a dramatic flourish of the hands, Craig spilled his beer as he giddily began, "An Ode to Rachel Dawes, by Craig Stephenson and Jack Napier..." Clearing his throat for dramatic effect, he winked once at April before sustaining,
"Nice and firm, two for each hand to hold,
Finger-lickin' good and not made from any mold
Rachel's tits are a buffet Jack wants to sup,
'cause it sure doesn't take much to get 'Little Jack' up"
"Jesus Christ, stop it!" Jack shrieked, only to turn red as Craig stubbornly continued,
"Perfect, perky and round, without any lumps,
When Rachel says the 'candy shop' is closed, Jack gets down in the dumps
Try as he may, try as he might,
He still has yet to actually 'get down tonight'
I know it's hard to wait, I know it's been so long,
Especially when Rachel traipses around in that lacy black thong
But don't worry Jack, with my last words I leave Rachel some good advice, methinks
Rachel, give him some action now before Little Jack shrinks!"
Bowing dramatically at the conclusion, Craig barely had time to duck before Jack threw one of the empty beer cans at his head. Both April and Rachel were far too busy laughing to notice the sudden tiff, but Craig's tipsy disposition prevented him from really feeling the blow.
"Dude, did you see that?" he eagerly asked Jack. "I think something fell out of the sky and hit me on the head, and I'm for serious this time...I promise I'm not gonna go into another one of my stories on UFOs!"
"Or zombies?" Jack asked dryly, his eyes rolling skyward as he suddenly rose to his feet. Turning to Rachel with an apologetic look in his eye, he announced, "Hey, I'm real sorry, but I've gotta go...we're still on for 7:00, right?"
Rachel beamed. "Well of course we are, you durf -- it's our anniversary!"
Mirroring her bright smile, Jack bent over and quickly kissed Rachel on the lips (earning yet another wolf whistle from Craig) and said his farewells.
As he left the group to their own devices, Rachel gazed after him with a dreamy smile on her face, her expression never changing as April asked, "So what do you two plan on doing tonight? Anything special?"
"Yes, very special" Rachel cheerily acknowledged. "He's invited me over to his apartment for dinner."
Craig gave a derisive snort. "And what's so damn special about that? Has he hired a stripper, or something?"
"No, you oaf! It's special because, even after all these years of waiting, he's never asked me to come over to his house" Rachel confessed, her eyes appearing rather sad as she gazed off toward the ocean. "Every time I'd bring up the possibility of meeting his family, he'd automatically change the subject, so the fact that he's finally given in to my request is a big step for us."
Craig whistled lowly. "Wow, so he's never even let you inside his room? No wonder the guy hasn't been laid yet!"
"Craig!" Turning to Rachel with a supportive look in her eye, April worriedly asked, "So do you have any idea why Jack's been behaving this way? I mean, it's normal for most college kids to shy away from their homes, but I'll admit that after four years that's pretty weird."
"No, I'm not sure why he's like this" Rachel warily admitted, "but I'm honestly far too scared to find out..."
"Jack, gimme a piggyback ride!"
Looking from the pasta he was boiling down at his little sister, Jack grinned before teasing, "Aren't you a little old for that stuff by now, Penny? Last time I picked you up, I thought I was going to get a hernia."
Penny pouted, her pretty pink lips twisting in disappointment as she insisted, "I may be a big girl, but I'm not big enough just yet...please give me a piggyback ride!" Lifting her scrawny little arms up to him in a pleading gesture, she squealed in delight when Jack suddenly swooped down and twirled her around in his arms. Hazel eyes twinkling, she giggled and covered her eyes when he took her by the waist and tossed her up into the air, her squeals growing shrill when he caught her and began tickling her underarms.
"Jaaaack!" she screamed, her eyes watering as she laughed to the point of pain, "Jaaack, stooooop!"
"Only when you promise to clean your room" he smugly agreed, a laugh of his own escaping his lips as Penny's face grew red from laughter. Tears were streaming down her chubby cheeks in hot torrents, and her tiny arms and legs were flailing wildly with the hopes of her coming free.
Before Jack could further torment the poor child, Mrs. Napier entered the kitchen with a weary, worn-out look across her weathered features. She barely even gave her children a second glance as she set her purse down on the table, her hand rubbing her eyes as she suddenly asked, "Dinner just about ready?"
"Uh, yeah" Jack acknowledged, his eyes softening in concern. He knew that his mother had been working two separate shifts ever since his father had been laid off, and the dark bags under her eyes proved it. Gently setting Penny back down onto her feet, Jack chewed on his lower lip before uneasily asking, "You remember that Rachel's coming over tonight, right? It's our four-year-anniversary."
"Oh?" Appearing to be somewhat distracted, Mrs. Napier shrugged out of her sweater and sent Jack an apologetic look. "I'm really sorry, sweetheart, but I just don't think I'm up for any socializing tonight. If I don't get some rest now, I may not be able to get up in time for my morning shift."
"B-but mom, Rachel was counting on meeting you, and..."
"Sorry sweetie, but my answer is still no." Now smiling down at her crestfallen daughter, she wearily added, "Try not to make too much noise, alright? I'll see you both in the morning."
As Mrs. Napier shut the door behind her with a loud and final click, Jack placed a hand down on Penny's shoulder as he watched the sunlight fade from her eyes. He knew she missed spending time with their mother, because hell, he did too. Lynnelle Napier was the only shield against the evils in their home, as well as the evils of him.
Glaring at the family portrait hanging crookedly on the wall, Jack felt the urge to punch a hole through his father's face...the face of the man who'd stood there and laughed as he beat his wife and children. Jack had suspected that Penny had been getting the worst of their father's tirades, and the proof was when she started coming to his room and begging to sleep in his bed. He'd never asked what his father had done to her, because quite frankly, he was far too terrified to find out.
Before Jack could tell Penny to help him strain the pasta, a sudden knock came at the front door that caused Skittles -- their three-year-old Jack Russel terrier -- to bark shrilly in alarm.
"Quiet!" Jack snapped, fearful that his mother would get pissed. When Skittles failed to stop barking, the blonde grumbled to himself and plodded into the foyer. When he opened the door with a semi-irritable aura hovering about him, the gloomy shadows on his face immediately scattered when he caught sight of Rachel standing there before him, her eyes twinkling like starlight as she beamed up at him in utter adoration. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun, and her curvy figure was bedecked in a dark blue cocktail dress that matched her eyes.
Practically panting, Jack made a move to speak when she teased, "Well aren't you going to let me in? It's awfully chilly out here, you know."
Feeling his cheeks grow hot in embarrassment, Jack mumbled a string of incoherent apologies as he showed his date into the house.
Smiling sweetly when Jack offered to take her sweater, Rachel declined his offer as she gazed about her in awe. "Wow, so this is where the mysterious Jack Napier lives" she thought aloud, her smile turning into a grin as she admired the coziness of the apartment. "Where's all your artwork? Art majors typically have proud, boastful mothers who love displaying their children's pictures, after all."
Jack sheepishly bowed his head. "I, uh...um...I don't really like to show anyone my stuff."
"What, not even me?" Rachel countered, giving him a coy grin. When he shook his head she continued to tease, "Why, is your specialty drawing naked playmates?"
"No" Penny spoke up, a grin stretching her lips as she finally entered the foyer, "he likes drawing naked Rachels!"
Blushing from head-to-toe, Jack lunged for the giggling little girl as she cheerily began to chant, "Jack loo-ooves Rachel, Jack loo-ooves Raa-cheeel!"
"Well he'd better" Rachel agreed, laughing at the humility etched across her boyfriend's face. Taking his arm in hers, she good-naturedly asked, "So where's this knock-out dinner you're supposed to have made? I'm expecting a feast fit for kings, you know."
Glad for a change of subject matter, Jack cleared his throat before pointing towards the kitchen. "Uhh, it's in there...nothing's done yet, but I hope you like pasta."
"Jack, you know perfectly well that I love it -- it's all I get from the cafeteria since everything else is complete crap."
Jack grinned, but when Penny began tugging on Rachel's dress, he gave her a warning look. Why did he have the distinct feeling that she was going to embarrass him yet again?
"Rachel, Rachel!" Penny eagerly persisted, "Did you know that Jack's got a present for you?"
Jack's jaw visibly clenched. "Penny, don't..."
Intrigued, Rachel sent her beau a wry smile before asking the girl, "Oh, yeah? Well what kind of present is it?"
"A very pretty one! It's..."
"Penny, stop! It's supposed to be a surprise!" Jack growled, but the giddy blonde was far too excited to stop her explanation.
Pulling on Rachel's sleeve so that she was forced down to her own level, Penny grinned before whispering, "He got you a pretty ring, 'cause guess what? He wants to marry you!"
Feeling her heart flutter wildly within her chest, Rachel stood back up before looking at Jack with comically wide eyes. "I-is this true?" she breathlessly inquired.
"Um...surprise?" Jack offered, his gaze sheepish as he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small, square-shaped box. "I, uh...kinda planned on this being more romantic, but thanks to Lady Chatterley over there, I guess this'll have to do." Sending Penny an admonishing look, he grumbled, "On the plus side, I know now that I can't ever trust you again."
Rachel laughed. "Oh Jack, be easy on her! You know I would've said yes no matter how you proposed."
"Yeah?" Jack asked, clearly skeptical. "Even if I slipped the ring into your pasta, or something along those lines? My cousin Mary didn't seem to like that since her boyfriend didn't warn her, so she actually ended up swallowing the ring. Needless to say, they aren't together anymore."
Rachel smirked. "Well, I probably would've yelled at you until your ears bled, but yes, I still would've agreed to take the plunge."
Shakily handing her the box, Jack shyly urged, "Now you'd better not be expecting anything fancy, 'cause I'm a poor college student who can barely afford the clothes on my back."
Rachel smirked. "I think you know fully well that I don't care about the ring, you oaf -- I'd still marry you even if you gave me one of those cheap ones you find in cereal boxes."
"Wow, really? Well damn, I could've saved a whole lot of money!" Jack gibed, Rachel laughing as she finally opened the box and peered inside. A modest, tiny ring winked back at her within the dim lighting of the room, her heart swelling once the reality of the situation fully dawned on her. Jack really did want to marry her, and the proof was inside the very box in her hand.
Slipping the ring onto her finger, Rachel felt a shiver jolt through her body along with the chill of the wedding band, her eyes meeting with Jack's as he gave her a lopsided grin.
"The 'taken' look suits you" he decided, Penny making a face as he leaned in to kiss his fiancée.
"That's gross!" she complained.
Grinning, Jack forced Rachel's mouth back over his and purposely made wet, sloppy kissing noises, Penny tugging on his shirt as she urged, "Don't do that, you sicko! You're giving Rachel your cooties!"
"Or maybe Rachel's giving me her cooties" Jack playfully shot back, a sharp "ow!" escaping his lips when Rachel knuckled him in the ribs. Rubbing his afflicted area with a pout, he smugly retorted, "Alright, well fine, I was going to show you my room and some of my artwork, but now I've deemed you far too "jerk-ish" to see my shining castle."
Rachel rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on, you oaf, I didn't hurt you that bad! Quit being such a baby and let me see your room!"
Careful to keep his voice down so Penny couldn't hear him, Jack grinned before smoothly teasing, "A little eager, are we?"
"Well it has been four years" Rachel agreed, laughing as her boyfriend took her by the hand and began leading her down the hallway. After they'd reached his bedroom, she guiltily added, "I feel kind of bad for leaving Penny back there like that. Should we have left her alone?"
"She's fine" Jack breezily assured her. "If she gets hungry, she can just nibble on those strained pasta noodles."
Before Rachel could tease him about being such a jerk, Jack pushed open his bedroom door and turned on the light with a pull chain, his girlfriend standing there in complete awe as a world of color was opened up to her senses. Each wall was a creation of sheer beauty with nary a spot untouched, several hues splashing together to create what dreams are surely made of. When Rachel looked up at the ceiling, she discovered that it was a deadringer for Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night", her hands clasping over her chest as she breathed, "Oh my God, Jack, I had no idea you were so talented! Why didn't you ever show me anything like this before?"
"I'm very touchy about my work" Jack confessed, "but ever since you became my primary muse, I figured that maybe I should start showing people my stuff."
Rachel blinked, clearly flattered. "I-I'm your muse?"
Cheeks coloring a delightful shade of rouge, Jack coughed into his hand before going over to his closet and sliding the door aside. When he motioned to Rachel to come forward, she did so with a furiously pounding heart.
Shyly touching her wrist when she met his side, Jack gestured toward the pictures within the closet and coughed yet again. "These, uh...um...these are all paintings of you" he explained rather timidly. "The one in the far corner was supposed to be for your upcoming birthday, but you can have it now if you'd like."
Breathless with curiosity, Rachel edged her way into the closet as she flicked on the light, her eyes widening once she spotted what was surely one of the most beautiful creations she'd ever seen. At a glance, the painting appeared to be nothing more than the stars in the heavens, but upon a closer look, it became quite evident that it was the figure of a woman. Her hair flowed behind her in a trail that led into the milky way, and her eyes were the two brightest stars in the sky.
Uncomfortable with Rachel's silence, Jack shoved his hands into his pockets before pressing, "You, uh...you like it?"
"Oh Jack, of course I like it...heck, I love it!" Rachel gushed, her boyfriend jolting in surprise when she leapt into his arms and kissed him firmly on the mouth. Now raining kisses all over his face, she warmly teased, "It's far too beautiful for words, except I have one slight complaint..."
"You made my rack way too big."
Grinning, Jack moved to tease her back when the front door suddenly slammed shut. "Nelle!" a big, burly voice growled, "Nelle, you get your cheatin' ass out here! You've got some explainin' to do!"
Eyes wide, Rachel looked worriedly to Jack, who's face was now white as ash. "You should go" he whispered, his tongue reflexively licking his lips. "C'mon, I'll show you out back."
"But Jack, I..."
"I said get your ass out here, NOW!"
There was the sound of another door slamming, then an irritated, "Alright, alright, there's no need to yell, Paul! I'm trying to sleep so I can help pay for all the shit you've put this family through!"
"Now you listen a' me, Nelle -- I was with the boys downtown just now, and they told me you've been playin' the field behind my back. Is this true?"
There came a shrill laugh. "Oh yeah, with the milkman, right? That story never gets old!"
"Christ, is it true or not!?"
"Well maybe it should be! Lord knows I could date any schmuck and discover more of a provider with them than you!" A shuddering sob soon followed, which was immediately cut off by the sound of a hard, hate-filled slap.
"You shut your mouth, ya hear? If I ever catch you with another man, and I mean ever, I'll hunt you down like the rat you are and kill you!"
Rachel jumped when the sound of a chair crashing to the floor reached her ears, her hand grasping Jack's as Lynelle's scream echoed throughout the apartment and chilled her blood.
"That's it, I'm going out there" Jack hissed, his features red with rage.
Terrified, Rachel held fast to his wrist and pleaded with him to stay with her, but judging by the murderous fury in Jack's eyes, there was no changing his mind. Never in her life had she seen such hatred in his eyes, and it terrified her.
When Jack finally wrested himself free of her taut grasp, he gave her a quick kiss on the forehead before urging, "Stay here", Rachel watching after him with frightened eyes as he ripped open the door and went storming down the hallway.
"Hey! Get the hell off her, you prick!"
There came another crash, then the sound of violent struggling, Rachel squeezing her eyes tightly closed when Lynnelle screamed yet again.
"Jack, don't! Jack, you're going to kill him!"
"Good!" Rachel heard him scream, "If I don't kill him now, I'm sure I'll end up killing him later!"
"Jack, let him go, he's drunk!"
There was a pause, then an unintelligible string of low, heated words before the front door opened and slammed shut.
Fearing for Jack's safety, Rachel abandoned her hiding place and dashed down the hallway to the kitchen, her heart breaking when she saw Jack cradling Lynnelle against his chest like a small child. She was sobbing softly into the crook of his neck as his eyes met with his girlfriend's, his irises colored with shame as he whispered, "You should probably go home now, Rachel...I'm so sorry I ruined our anniversary."
"Y-you didn't" Rachel choked out, tears prickling along her lashes since her boyfriend looked so pained. "Is she ok?"
When Jack wordlessly nodded, she shakily blew him a kiss before mumbling something about seeing him tomorrow. She felt that she didn't need to add to his already monumentous burden, so she slowly left the house without another word.
A/N - Before anyone asks, yes, Craig IS based off a real life person (one of my friends) because he is SO freaking awesome. True story about the poetry, because every time he gets drunk, he recites some made up crap to his girlfriend. It's hilarious, although hardly romantic, hahaha. But anywhos, hopefully this is a good enough start, because I've been (no lie) working on this for at least a month, if not longer. I've had this idea ever since I made my "Do What You Have to Do" vid, which I made at the beginning of the school year, so holy crap. lol
So anywhos, I always work faster when I get an incentive, so the more reviews I get, the more I'll update. That's why I was able to update "An Unhealthy Obsession" like every day, because wowzers, you guys were fan-freaking-tastic! And now that I've tried to gain the pity review, I shall shut up now. ;0P