Rain pummeled the ground and anyone foolish enough to be out in it, such as a certain F.B.I. agent. Droplets thudded against Sue's head as she walked aimlessly. She had left Levi at home with Lucy, not wanting to come home with him to face the task of drying him. Eventually, her aimless wandering landed her at another agent's door and she looked up at the large building.
The light shining through the window told her he was home, but she wondered if she should even bother knocking. She stood at the edge of the gate and plucked up enough courage to approach his door. The large wooden frame scared her and the reasons for wanting to get out of the house came flooding back to her.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, she had stared long and hard at the sole picture she had of the object of her affections. Knowing Lucy to pop into her room to nudge her awake or whatever occasion arose, she kept the photograph hidden between her bed and her night table where she kept her Blackberry. That evening, something in his eyes held her interest for a particularly long time: a playfulness that she loved to see sparkling in their chocolate depths. She brought the picture to her chest and closed her eyes. Then, he was in front of her, leaning forward and pressing a kiss to her lips, coaxing a soft moan from her throat.
"I love you," she had whispered to the air, her heart plummeting when she opened her eyes to find no one else in the room except for her faithful hearing dog. "Oh, no…I said that out loud, didn't I?" she asked her canine companion. He lowered his head and she groaned as she sank back on her bed. "I'm in love with Jack Hudson…" she whispered, needing to say it out loud, but not wanting Lucy to hear her. "You stay here," she said as she pulled on a denim jacket over her soft pink blouse with her jeans and trainers.
"Hey, Sue, where are you going?" Lucy asked as she looked down to see Levi, but not finding him at his master's heels.
"I'm taking a little walk. I'll be back in a while," she said easily. Lucy stepped in front of her and got her attention.
"Sue, they're announcing rain. And why aren't you taking Levi with you? It's late."
"It's only eight, I'll be home before the rain starts and I need a little bit of alone time. Even Levi is too much company right now. No offence?" she asked, knowing she had just indirectly insulted Lucy's attempt at being concerned.
"Not a problem," she signed. "Just be careful."
Now, instead of walking to take her mind off Jack, she had wound up looking at his door. She had not made it home before the rain; she was soaked through and looked like a drowned cat. Her only victory to date had been to avoid company, but when Jack swung the door open to look at her in mortification, she realized she had failed even in that area.
"Sue, what the hell are you doing out in this weather?" he demanded sharply. "Get inside before you catch your death of cold," he signed quickly, his A.S.L. so much better than he had been in the beginning. They could even carry on full conversations in sign language nowadays. "Sue!" he barked. "I said come inside!"
"I'm out walking," she mumbled and his eyebrows hiked his forehead.
"I can see that. Why? It's pouring rain. And where's Levi?"
"It wasn't raining when I left and I needed some alone time. I needed to think."
"Think?" he barked, but she did not even flinch. "Couldn't you think in the warm, dry interior of your house?"
"No. I didn't want Lucy to catch me. I just started walking to think things over," she said, as if a half soaked friend showing up on his doorstep was normal.
"What things would those be?" he asked and suddenly, her mind clearing, she decided honesty would be the best way to handle things. She needed to get it off her chest and she could no longer handle falling asleep looking at only his picture.
"I was wondering if I should tell you something. I think telling you is the only way I'll regain my sanity."
Jack swallowed. "What do you want to tell me?"
"I'm, uh… I'm in love with you," she said easily and, once the words were out, she could not believe how easily she had confessed to him. Several seconds passed and he did not move or speak. Nerves claiming her, she shuffled her feet. "So, um… I'll see you tomorrow." With a brief smile, she walked back towards the sidewalk.
Her heart shattered and fell to pieces within her chest. She had finally said it, not just out loud, but to his face, and he had not said a single thing. No apologies about not feeling the same way or thanks for being so flattering. The absolute last thing she had expected was that he would smile and hug her and tell her he felt the same way. Instead, he had stared at her for several seconds before she plucked up what was left of her dignity and left him until she was back at work tomorrow.
She stepped through the gate and was about to take off down the street, away from him, when she caught sight of a figure running down the walkway. Her heart hammered wildly against her ribs and she was sure it would burst out and slam into him, but it did not. She bit her lip and watched him get closer and closer until his lips were upon hers and tears were streaming down her face while the rain drenched him, his clothes clinging to every defined muscle of his body.
Jack cupped her face in his hands and continued to devour her mouth hungrily as her hands tentatively inched up his back, the material slowly growing as wet as hers. She sobbed into his mouth, but his kiss did not end until she finally wrapped her hands around his neck and locked her fingers behind his head, holding on for dear life as she continued to weep uncontrollably.
"Sue," he whispered, but her eyes were closed and she refused to open them. He took her chin and tilted it up, hoping she would open them, but sighing when she did not. "Sue," he whispered as he pressed kisses to her forehead, her temples, her cheeks and her lips, watching more tears stream down her cheeks, now distinct as the rain slowed. She braved opening her eyes a crack at a time until she was staring into his gorgeous face, complete with a wide smile.
"I'm sorry," she sobbed as she tried to regain control of her breathing. "I'm so sorry, but I couldn't…help it…It just…kind of…slipped…out. I'm sorry, Jack." His grin turned to confusion and she felt her face mirror his.
"You're sorry you're in love with me?" he asked softly and she shook her head violently.
"I'm…" she sniffled and composed herself moderately, still sobbing softly. "I'm sorry I ruined our relationship by not keeping my big mouth shut."
Shame flooded her face as did horror when she saw him smile again, wider than before and she tried to pull away, but he would not let her. She gasped when he pulled her back into his arms quickly and placed another kiss of passionate longing to her lips like the first one had been. A red deeper than any color he had ever know was possible flushed her cheeks as she responded to him, but he did not seem to notice. He was too busy enjoying the embrace.
Gently, he let his hands release her face and slide down to wrap around her back while the other came around her shoulders. Her heart leapt back into her throat and, positive that this was the last kiss she would ever have from him, she gave in to his ministrations and placed her hands shyly at his waist, enjoying the feel of the warm flesh through his thin white t-shirt. Smiling against her lips, he deepened the kiss even further and he let his eyes open a crack to see hers shut firmly as she moaned into his lips. He released her for a moment and her eyes popped open.
"If you're not enjoying this as much as I am, let me know, won't you?" he asked softly and smiled when she frowned. "Your eyes are shut so tight, I doubt you could even see light or darkness." His teasing turned her cheeks red again. "You're not enjoying this?" he asked and her cheeks changed shades four times. "I guess you are. Then enjoy it. I'm thoroughly enjoying kissing the woman I love."
She felt emotion swell at the back of her throat and could not even talk around it. Choking on it, she lifted her hands to sign out You love me? with her lips mouthing the words in muteness. He smiled and nodded his head vigorously and she felt the world tilt beneath her feet. He loved her back. Her knees wobbled beneath her, but his strong arms circled around her waist and pulled her flush against him as the rain picked up again, beating against their superheated skin.
With a smile, he tugged at her damp jacket before smiling and curling an arm around her waist and pulling her along with him back inside to his living room. She plucked at the wet shirt he wore and swallowed when she saw every detail of his stunning chest through the now transparent shirt. Smiling, she relaxed into his arm and let him lead her inside, out of the rain and into his life.