Ronnie murmured into her pillow as she slowly began to wake up. She had buried her head deep within the pillows in a desperate attempt to stay asleep for a little bit longer. Sadly though, her brain was not falling for her trick and she slowly began to force herself awake. As she rolled over, squinting at the light that was shining into the bedroom, she frowned as she stared at the unfamiliar room. Okay unfamiliar was the wrong word but it wasn't the bedroom that she'd woken up in over the past couple of weeks.
She sat up slightly and waited for her brain to unscramble itself as she gazed around the room. It was Jack's bedroom, she knew that much. She'd spent enough time in it when they'd been together and when she'd lived here herself. But why was she in Jack's room? Her black dress from last night was lying on the floor along with her shoes. A memory of her collapsing on the sofa in the office in an attempt to relive the aching pain in her feet from the shoes flashed into her mind. Yeah that was right, she'd been in the club last night – some function for some city bankers who surprisingly actually had something to celebrate. But how had she got from there to here?
Suddenly her eyes landed on her bra that was flung carelessly on top of the dresser. The memory of Jack's lips against hers as he effortlessly undid her bra caused a furious blush to burn across her cheeks. She'd slept with Jack.
"Oh God," she groaned quietly, slipping back down underneath the covers.
Sadly though, even the darkness of the bedclothes couldn't keep the memory of last night from filling her mind.
"You alright Ron?" Jack asked as he entered the office carrying that night's takings.
"I'd be fine if it wasn't for these stupid shoes," she said, throwing her shoes across the room and pouting slightly. She glanced up to see Jack fighting to hide his smirk as he looked at her. "Don't look at me like that!"
"I'm just thinking that it's your own stupid fault for wearing shoes that high and fiddly. I mean they look like some form of torture device."
"Oh shut up," she said, standing up. "Do you think we wear them because we love for our feet to feel like they've been cut to shreds at the end of the night? No! We wear them because they makes us look good! Because they makes us look good for guys like you."
The words were out of her mouth before she had even realised what she'd said.
"I didn't mean…"
Whatever she was about to say completely vanished from her mind as Jack leant forward and captured her lips in a kiss. She stood there dumbfounded as he kissed her and a few seconds later, he pulled away.
"You know when someone kisses you, it is polite to kiss them back," he laughed but she could see the hurt in his eyes.
It felt like she'd suddenly been torn in two. One part of her was screaming that this was all a huge mistake. He'd hurt her so many times before – Jesus he had a daughter with her sister – that it'd be pure stupidity to go there again. But the other part her was reminding her about how good they'd been together and how he'd been her rock after everything that happened.
And suddenly it was like she wasn't in her own body anymore. She leant forward and kissed him. It wasn't a passionate or lustful kiss – not they weren't experts at those. It was a soft and simple kiss, filled with love. It was the kind of kiss that washed away all the past mistakes – a clean slate.
After that it was a blur of more kissing – definitely getting far more passionate with each one – and a blind rush to get back to Jack's. Ronnie could remember them ducking down behind Arthur's bench at one point when Peggy had come out to collect the empties. And then there'd been what had happened once they'd gotten inside. Ronnie bit her lip and blushed even more. Jack was the only guy who'd ever been able to make her feel like that – a soppy school girl.
Sighing, she stood up, wrapping the duvet around her, and shuffled in the direction of her discarded clothes from the night before. Pulling them on, for the first time since waking up, she wondered where Jack was. 'What if he thinks it's all a mistake?' a tiny voice in her head said and she contemplated that idea while she dressed. What if he was regretting last night and had gotten out of her way so she could leave with no embarrassment?
As that thought hit her, she felt an anger beginning to bubble up inside her. If he was regretting it and he wasn't man enough to tell her himself then screw him. She'd leave and not acknowledge him. Of course if he wasn't regretting it and was in fact just on the other side of that door, making breakfast, then he'd never know that she was in fact a tiny bit crazy.
Standing up, she made her way to the door and pulled it open.
And that was the moment her whole world crumbled all over again.
Roxy and Jack were stood in the middle of the living room, deep in a kiss. Her arms were wrapped around his neck and he had his hands resting lightly upon her hips.
It felt like she couldn't breathe. She was trying but as she stared at the sight of her sister and Jack, it was like she had completely forgotten how to. She wanted to say something, to shout or scream at them, but her entire body was simply giving up on her.
After what felt like an eternity, she managed to force her legs to begin to move and she began to walk in the direction of the front door.
At the sound of her heels hitting the wooden floor, Jack and Roxy pulled away and their expressions couldn't have been more different. Roxy shot her a look of pure and utter satisfaction while Jack looked completely shocked and devastated.
"Ronnie it's not what it looks like." Inside she burst out laughing. She had known that that would be the first thing that he would say. But on the outside she didn't react, just kept walking towards the door. "Ronnie!"
He grabbed her wrist and she automatically pulled it away, as if he had burned her. Inside she was screaming, slapping him and calling him every name under the sun. But she couldn't do that on the outside. Because if she reacted then she knew that it would only be a matter of seconds before her anger crumbled away into devastation. After losing Danielle she had believed that it was impossible to hurt anymore. But now, when she'd let her guard down just a little bit, she'd been burnt by the two people that she loved the most.
Stooping down, she grabbed her bag and made to open the door. But Jack was two steps ahead of her, like he always was, and had pressed himself against it, blocking her only exit.
"Just listen to me Ronnie. She kissed me and I wasn't thinking. I kissed her for a few seconds, that was it. She means nothing to me – you know that."
"Move Jack," she said as if he hadn't said a word.
"Ronnie I love you."
She didn't know whether it was due to her tone or him simply admitting defeat, but he moved aside, just for a split second, and she took her chance. Yanking the door open, she made her way down the hallway and opened the front door, her legs shaking beneath her. It was only a matter of time before she collapsed completely and she wanted to be as far away from here when that happened.
She wasn't even listening to whatever Jack was saying as she stepped outside into the square. It was all just a background murmur of desperate pleas and declarations of love. And maybe it would work if she could be bothered to listen. He'd find exactly the right words in the right order and she'd give him another chance. But he'd hurt her, like he did with Selina; like he did with Roxy. It was inevitable because that was what they did – they hurt each other.
A black cab was making its way around the square and she flagged it down.
"Ronnie don't go."
She didn't know why she did it but as the cab slowed to a stop in front of her, she turned to face him. She pressed her lips right up against his ear and felt him snake his arms around her waist, as if he could hold her tight enough to stop her leaving.
"I love you."
She wormed her way from his grasp and got into the cab, slamming the door.
"Ronnie!" He was banging hard on the glass and as she stared at him, she could see tears forming in his eyes – something she didn't think she'd ever seen before. "Don't do this."
"Love…" the cab driver said, turning to her.
"Just go. Please."
Her voice was breaking now and all she wanted was to be away from here and the sound of Jack pleading with her to stay. If she listened for too much longer then she knew that she would get out of the cab and go to him. Let him talk her around. But right now she knew that she had to be away from him and the vicious cycle that they were stuck in. So she let the cab pull away from the kerb and drive off. She knew, without even turning her head, that Jack was chasing after it, still shouting and begging her to stay.
At the last moment, as the cab turned to exit the square, she glanced back, just for a second, and saw him stood in the middle of the street. He was wearing nothing but a pair of joggers and the look of devastation on his face was enough to make her heart ache.
And as he disappeared from view, she did the one thing that she'd hoped she'd never have to do again – she cried.
A/N: This idea has been buzzing around in my head for a while now and so I thought I'd finally take the effort to write it. I'm only planning for this to be a few chapters long but we'll see how it goes.
Please read and review.