"Oh, man, I gotta get out of these clothes!" Carly gasped.
Out of habit, she flicked on the radio as she rushed into her room. She was the kind of person who couldn't stand being out of touch with the rest of the world for an instant if she could help it. She listened with approval as an announcer rattled off the local events.
With that item of business out of the way, she made a beeline for her dresser and began pulling out a fresh outfit to replace the sweat-drenched things she was wearing. The day had dawned dark and cloudy, and she had dressed thinking that the weather would be cool, only to have the clouds clear up and the sun blaze with an intensity that rivaled the inside of an oven. A few hours of pounding pavement in search of stories had left Carly feeling wilted. It was a relief to shed the layers she'd been wearing, and for a moment she stood motionless in the middle of her room, wearing nothing more than her undergarments, enjoying the feel of the air conditioning on her bare skin.
The radio announcer stopped talking, and music began to play. Carly began to change the station, and then stopped. No point, she thought, in wasting a perfectly good song.
"So taaaaake me in your arms toniiiiight..." she sang, flinging her arms wide in a dramatic gesture.
Hey, I sound pretty good! she thought.
Seizing a hairbrush for a makeshift microphone, she danced around the room, belting out the lyrics. She was in the midst of trying a few fast spins to see if she could make her hair swirl around her when she heard a sound. It took her a moment to realize that what she was hearing was the sound of someone coming through the front door, and to remember that she lived alone and that no one else was supposed to be there. By that point, there was already someone at the door to her room. She gave a yelp and tried ineffectively to cover herself. He looked calmly at her.
"Is there any ice cream left?" asked Jack.
"What the heck are you doing here?" she exclaimed.
"You said I could come by any time, for any reason," said Jack patiently. "You gave me a key. It was hot. Is there ice cream or isn't there?"
"I've got orange creamsicles," she said, her mouth on autopilot.
"Good enough," said Jack, and walked to the kitchen.
Carly stood still for a moment, wondering whether or not she should be insulted that he was apparently more interested in ice cream than he was in her and her general lack of clothing. She was still pondering this when he returned, carrying a popsicle. He gave her a look and raised an eyebrow.
"Don't look so surprised," he said. "I grew up with roommates. You aren't the first person I've ever seen dancing like an idiot in their underwear."
Carly blushed vividly, and tried to cover her embarrassment by pushing her glasses up her nose. Jack stepped a bit closer and held out the popsicle to her. She stared at it, and then glanced inquisitively up at him.
"This one is yours," said Jack.
"Eh? I thought you wanted it for you..."
"I thought you were hot," he said. "That is why you took off your clothes, isn't it?"
"Oh. Right." She forced her hand to close around the popsicle stick, and for a moment, their fingers brushed.
"I thought so," said Jack.
Having completed his errand, he disappeared, presumably to find more popsicles. Carly dropped onto her bed, careful not to let the ice cream drip on her sheets. She wasn't sure which was more stunning - the shock of having the man of her dreams catch her prancing around nearly naked, or the fact that he'd actually thought about her long enough to think of something she might want and bring it to her. Even if it was technically something that had been hers to begin with...
Jack reappeared, carrying a popsicle of his own. He looked at her with a slight smile.
"For what it's worth," he said, "as far as people dancing like idiots go, you make it look better than Crow ever did."
Then he was gone. Carly let herself fall backwards with a little squeak of delight. He had actually paid her something that was very nearly a compliment - he had practically told her she was pretty! And he'd given her something!
Even with the ice cream and the air conditioning, she still couldn't fight a feeling of warmth spreading through her, but at the moment, she didn't mind it at all.