"Comparisons are easily done,
Once you've had a taste of perfection,
Like an apple hanging from a tree,
I picked the ripest one,
I still got the seed,

You said move on,
Where do I go,
I guess second best,
Is all I will know,"

Jennifer Shepard heard the door open behind her, felt his hands slip on to her hips, and for a second she thought those hands were calloused. The type of calluses' you can only get from hours of sanding meticulously on your boat, but they weren't.

She smelt his expensive cologne and longed for the subtle undertones of coffee and sawdust, but couldn't find them.

" Hey, I've missed you. How was your day?" His voice pulled her reluctantly from her memories.

"Fine." She replied with a forced smile as he kissed her cheek.

"That's all, just fine?"

Of course he pushed, he always did. Mark never understood the power and completeness of silence, or for that matter how she could be perfectly comfortable in it.

"Uh-huh." At this she spun around in his arms. Hoping that putting all of her energy into physical pursuits would not leave any left to ponder the man who she wished was here in Mark's place. His mouth found hers, and she tried to loose herself in his touch, but it would never be the same.

"'Cause when I'm with him,
I am thinking of you,
thinking of you,
What you would do if,
You were the one ,
Who was spending the night,
Oh I wish that I,
Was looking into your eyes,"

She laid there, head on her pillow; it was cool against her face. The morning sun creeped through the shades and they cast lines on her bare back. Jenny felt the sheets that were bunched around her middle rustle with his movements.

The shower running lulled her into reliving mornings in Paris. All the time they had spent eating brunch at small Cafés, walking through local markets. But more than anything she remembered his just barely graying hair and how it picked up the sunlight just as her silver silk sheets did.

"You're like an Indian summer,
In the middle of a winter,
Like a hard candy ,
With a surprise center,
How do I get better,
Once I've had the best,
You said there's,
Tons of fish in the water,
So the water's I will test,"

He could always surprise her, but he never tried anymore. She surprised herself when the man so eager to love her came in and she almost called him Jethro. Mark would never get the love he longed from her.

She new that she was only selfishly using Mark to escape her constant thoughts of her once lover and current colleague. Her mind was now almost as numb as her body was from the almost to hot water that now rolled down her skin.

"He kissed my lips,
I taste your mouth,
He pulled me in,
I was disgusted with myself,

Cause when I'm with him,
I am thinking of you,
Thinking of you ,
What you would do if,
You were the one ,
Who was spending the night,
Oh I wish that I,
Was looking into..."

When Mark had left that morning he had kissed her goodbye. She thought she had tasted Bourbon, but she new it was never and would never be there; Mark was a scotch man. The ones before him were a multitude of other drinks but none of them had been Bourbon. Somehow Jenny knew that was no coincidence.

"You're the best,
and yes I do regret,
How I could let myself,
Let you go,

Now the lesson's learned,
I touched it I was burned,
Oh I think you should know"

At work that day she watched him do his job he was so good at, admiring from afar. She knew he could feel her eyes on him.

It stung when he looked up at her making her body ache with regret when she saw the hurt he so blatantly shown. It made her office seem so much more impersonal and cold that evening.

"Jennifer Shepard.


The title on her door should make her feel proud but it only reminded her of all she had given up to get there.

Her mouth felt dry, but instead of reaching for her coffee, which had most definitely gone cold by now she decided to suffer through it. It was a small form of punishment for leaving the one person who she might have been able to be happy with, and for trying to replace him with men that could never measure up.

Maybe punishment wasn't needed.

On the way to her office door she dropped the half empty coffee cup into the trash and grabbed her coat.

"'Cause when I'm with him,
I am thinking of you,
Thinking of you,
What you would do if,
You were the one,
Who was spending the night,
Oh I wish that I,
Was looking into your eyes,
Looking into your eyes,
Looking into your eyes,"

Only one light was left on in the bullpen. Her eager eyes setting on the man it was illuminating. She tried to be discreet with her gaze but his voice only pointed out she was starring as she walked down the stairs.

"Going home Director?" The one and only Leroy Jethro Gibbs asked, his tone as icy as his eyes.

She flinched at the bitter use of her title. "No, actually." She said walking up to his desk. She picked up his coffee, no surprise, empty. She shook it.

"Going for coffee, looks like you could use some to. Care to join me Jethro?" With that she dropped the can into his trash can.

A minute passed and she enjoyed watching his face go from questioning to slightly amused. Without a word he grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair and stalked off towards the elevator. She slipped a small victorious smile as she followed.

Just as the doors closed and they had began moving he hit the Emergency stop switch.

"What is this about Jen?"

"Why dose this have to be about anything? Can't a girl just have coffee with her old partner?" She smirked amused that she had used an excuse he had used once or twice before.

"Jen?" He asked more sternly this time.

She wished she had drunken that coffee, the tightness in her throat almost unbearable. She knew he knew that this was not just coffee, that she had something on her mind. If maybe she hadn't had clammed up the second time he asked her she could have pulled off her lame excuse.

The usually strong Director Façade fell and she looked nervous as hell as she tried to look anywhere but at him.

He moved to look her in the eye and his mouth opened to question her again. She leaned in and gave him the softest kiss, it wasn't rushed or to forceful but just gentle.

Stunned he just let her pull away. In that one kiss she had promised everything.

"Well why didn't you say that earlier?" He joked.

"Jethro." She hit his arm playfully, secretly loving every one of his comments.

"Oh won't you walk through,
and bust in the door,
And take me away,
Oh no more mistakes,
Cause in your eyes I'd like to stay..."

The next morning came bitter sweet rain on the grass outside. Sweet like she had never felt before.

His skin was warm on her back. Every well defined breath he took pushing his chest lightly into her shoulder blades. It comforted her to know he was there even when she woke up to find him nuzzling her neck. But the sweetness was tainted with bitter guilt.

Guilt for Mark, for every thing he put into loving her, and how all he was to her was a distraction. Guilt, for all the ones before him that had realized that they were not who she was thinking of. Guilt for hurting Jethro in Paris and now, after La Grenouille. Guilt for the team almost losing Tony, because of her selfishness.

Guilt, for Hollis Mann who had left because of her, or that is what the letter she had gotten from her had said.

'He's all yours now, because you already have his heart.'

But despite all the guilt she had no more regret. She would not change anything that had happened.

The bitter guilt made the sweet reunion even sweeter. Something has to hurt for something else to feel good. The selfishness that had gotten her here might level out into happiness. Maybe now everything will settle into its rightful place.

On her back he drew light circles with his' fingertips.

"What'cha thinking 'bout Jen?" he asked sleepily.

"That I've missed you." And with that she felt him smile into her shoulder.

Something has to break before you can fix it.