Chapter 8


Jamie stood in the kitchen eyeing the salad that she was in the midst of preparing. The ride home had been made in stony silence. The fact that John was wound tighter than a top was undeniable. Usually that wouldn't have fazed Jamie in the least. She enjoyed the quiet, and she and John had never been the type of couple that felt that they had to fill the silence with mindless chatter.

But something was different this time. John had really gotten himself worked up when he hadn't been able to get in touch with Chuck. For some reason, John was more concerned about this team than any of the others that he had worked with over the past two decades. And considering that they weren't stationed in a hostile territory, that was saying a lot.

If it had been only Agent Walker that John was concerned about, then Jamie would have been more than a little peeved. But he actually seemed more apprehensive about having the tech guy out of his sight than he was about Sarah Walker's whereabouts. Odd, something that Jamie would have to put a little bit more thought into, but at a later time.

Casey watched Jamie from the living room. She had gone up stairs to change after unloading the groceries. She had come back downstairs in a blue flimsy sundress, and sandals. John knew that there was no way that she could be hiding a piece anywhere on her body in that slinky of an outfit. He felt some measure of relief when he saw her place her gun on the counter top before she began chopping the salad.

Watching her handle the knife as she chopped up the carrots was entertaining all by itself. If he hadn't still been mad at her, he would have offered to help her. Despite her amazing ability with a firearm, Jamie had absolutely no skills whatsoever with knives. John had tried several times to tutor her, had even bargained with a few of his marine buddies to work with her, but it had all been to no avail. If they were lucky she would get through the evening without chopping off a fingertip.

Casey sighed. What the hell had Jamie been thinking, grabbing Bartowski and running off like that? Walker was pissed as hell. Casey wasn't sure if Sarah would allow Jamie back into a room again with Chuck. Luckily, Sarah had gone around the back of the store in search of the couple and Casey had gone in the front. Casey finding Jamie first was probably the only thing that had prevented a major fallout from occurring between Sarah and Jamie.

In Jamie's defense, it was true that she had no idea that she was running off with the asset. She had really thought that she was just borrowing the "tech" guy to run a few errands. Casey sighed and glanced over at the form pulled up on the computer screen. He still had a few reports he had to finish and file from his last assignment with Bartowski and Walker. But, the steaks were sizzling on the grill, and Jamie's present was hidden under the sofa. Maybe he could take a little bit of a break.

After all, it was their anniversary. An anniversary that Jamie thought that he had forgotten about. How unlikely was that? He had never forgotten it before. He had no idea what had made her think that he was unaware of it this time. Even when he had been stationed out of the country, and they had been 'broken up', he had always found a way to send her some kind of message or note.

Casey thought back to that summer night when they had both been only sixteen. They had gone out to watch the meteor shower that always fell in early August. Finding a deserted field was easy enough in the county that they grew up in. The farm access road was dirt and a dead end. No one would be using it until it was time to harvest the corn that surrounded both sides of the road. Corn stalks that were well over six feet tall conveniently concealed Jamie's mustang.

As they sat on the hood of Jamie's car counting the shooting stars, they had begun discussing her brother's deployment out of the country. This led to talk of their respective plans for the future. It was still more than a year until their graduation, but Casey already knew he was following in James's footsteps. Maybe not the army, but one of the armed forces. Casey could think of no better way to show his appreciation for the country that had done so much for his friends and family than by signing up to protect it. James had joined up straight out of high school, however. Casey planned to go the ROTC route.

When he had mentioned this to Jamie, she had merely sighed. John glanced down at Jamie, stretched out across the hood of her car. She was the fly in the ointment, however. Over the last few months, their petting had become significantly more intense. With a nudge from his conscience, Casey thought about James's last request before leaving. Casey was pretty sure that this was not what James had meant when he had asked Casey to take care of his little sister.

With a sigh of his own, Casey stretched out beside of Jamie. She quickly slipped her hand up under the edge of his t-shirt. Despite the heat wave earlier in the day, the night's temperature had dropped quickly, and Jamie's fingertips were cool against Casey's skin. He held his breath for a moment to steady his reaction as he waited to see where her hand would wander next. Sliding her fingers up to lightly trace a circle around Casey's nipples, Jamie slid her hips closer to his. Casey released his breath and leaned down to kiss her. A simple chaste kiss did nothing to satisfy Jamie, and she increased the pressure on his nipples and hips. Casey's resistance had been waning over the last month, and he really didn't know how much longer he could last if Jamie continued her frontal assault.

Jamie seemed to sense this and chose that moment to up the ante. Allowing her fingers to begin a down ward descent, she rubbed her hand across Casey's groin. Even through the denim material of his jeans, it was more than evident how aroused he was from their simple kisses and petting. Leaning forward, Jamie deepened the light kiss that Casey had been trying to give her. Darting her tongue out, she traced his lips, savoring the salty taste, moaning into his mouth when he finally parted his lips and returned the caress with his tongue.

Giving in to the inevitable, Casey rolled Jamie over onto her back and began lightly kissing her throat. He unbuttoned her shirt, unsnapping her bra as he did so. Her nipples were hard and when he gently licked across them, she moaned in pleasure. Sucking one deeper into his mouth, he felt her wiggle underneath him. The sensation of her jeans rubbing across his groin was more than he could stand. Reaching down, he unbuttoned his jeans and re-adjusted himself.

That had, apparently, been the signal that Jamie had been waiting for. She slipped his shirt over his head, and finished unzipping his jeans. Raising himself up on to his elbows to give Jamie more room to maneuver, Casey studied her face and knew he was damned to hell. There was only one honorable thing to do. When he finished making love to her, he would propose. He never in his wildest dreams imagined that she would say no.

Back in the present, it wasn't that first night that Jamie was remembering. It was eight years later. With college graduation behind them, Casey had moved on to basic training. Jamie had surrendered to the inevitable and enlisted, also, but in a different branch of the armed forces. Well into her first two years of her four year stint, Jamie had already realized that following her superior's orders blindly and without question was something that she wasn't cut out for.

Being a sniper, however, seemed to be in her blood. Her brother had always commented on her steady hands, eye-hand coordination, and precision. Analyzing the wind speed, and distance was second nature. But, even with her love of being a decorated marksman being factored in, she still couldn't see this as being her career. Casey, however, that was a different story. She knew he loved what he was doing. His dedication was unquestioning. While her time would be up shortly, she knew that his was only just beginning.

Being in different branches had made spending time together over the last twenty four months almost next to impossible. But providence had smiled on them. For the next forty-eight hours both John and Jamie had been able to schedule some leave time.

Jamie looked up from the bus schedule she was studying. If the buses were running on time, then Casey should be arriving momentarily. With neither of them having a real house, both of them living on their own base, they had decided to meet halfway, a town picked randomly from the map. Luckily, it was a pretty little town, with a beautiful park, and a nice mom and pop's motor inn.

Jamie folded the schedule and scanned the faces of the passengers that were disembarking from the bus that had just arrived. A crew cut so short that his scalp gleamed through was the first familiar characteristic she recognized of the lieutenant she saw standing on the sidewalk. Casey grinned and dropped the bag he was holding so he could catch Jamie as she rushed towards him. It had been eight years to the day since the night when he had first proposed to her. Neither of them were nervous teenagers now. And she could no longer doubt his sincerity or intentions. When he proposed tonight, Casey knew that this time, she would say yes.

The beep of the buzzer signaling that the baked potatoes were done brought Jamie back to the present. Casey had guessed correctly. She had said yes that second time. And despite their many disagreements, separations, and reunions, it was always the night of his second proposal that Jamie celebrated as their anniversary. Casey might be celebrating the anniversary of the night that they had first made love, but Jamie was celebrating the night that she had decided that no matter what trials they might have to face, they were going to face them together. Casey was sometimes too honorable for his own good, and sometimes he was too self-sacrificing. So, Jamie had known that it was going to be up to her to make sure that Casey didn't forfeit his own happiness in deference to everybody else's. Sometimes that had been a hard objective to accomplish, but more than twelve years later, it was working out better than she had expected.

She grinned as she took the potatoes out of the oven. Grabbing the salad, she headed towards the table that she had set earlier. The candles gave the crowded room a nice warmth. With the overhead lights dimmed the steady glow from the lights of the surveillance equipment seemed almost homey. Casey opened the door to bring the steaks in from the patio grill. Jamie smiled up at him. Despite the fact that most of his comments this evening had been in the form of grunts, Jamie knew that they were past most of Casey's anger over Jamie's latest 'stunt'. When he set the steaks on the table and wrapped his arms around her, Jamie was sure of it. She could probably count on one hand the number of times they had actually been together for their anniversary, so she planned to make this evening count.

Maybe she wouldn't need the handcuffs after all.