Downtown DC, the streets had slowly emptied. The Mall was illuminated with the pale light of the full moon, and the marble of the empty Lincoln Monument glistened in the starlight. Well, empty except for one person.
Maggie stood in front of the hulking statue of Abraham, eyes fixed on the tip of his right knee, lips moving but silent. The stress and tension that had built up in his neck and shoulders was steadily slipping away with each word she murmured, and a deep sense of fatigue was slipping over her. One thing was for sure, her guilt-induced insomnia would not plague her tonight.
"Hey." A hand landed on her shoulder. She jerked away, a quick yelp escaping from her mouth, and instinctively fell into one of the defensive poses she had learned at MAD. When she realized that it was just Jasper, she relaxed. He smiled a little and patted her on the shoulder to calm her. "What are you doing here?" She didn't bother asking him how he'd found her. His cousin was like a bloodhound, and she wasn't exactly a protected witness.
"Nothing," she said, a soft blush rising to her cheeks. She'd hoped to be alone, that her boyfriend had found her in what she felt was her own private sanctuary embarrassed her deeply.
"Seriously," he said, winding an arm around her shoulders and spinning her into his arms. "Talk to me."
"Confession," she sighed, unwrapping herself from his grasp. He held her out at arm's length and stared at her, confused.
"This is where I come to get everything off my chest," she admitted, noticing his snide grin. "And just because I said chest, it doesn't give you permission to stare." He laughed as she zipped up her jacket.
"Don't most people go to church for confession?" Jasper pointed out.
"I don't really think I'd be welcome in a church," she replied dryly, inducing another laugh from him.
"Come on," he said. "You're an atheist, not a vampire." She shrugged, partially agreeing with him an partially just wanting him to go away and leave her alone. "So what are you confessing?"
"If just telling you were that easy, I wouldn't be talking to the Lincoln Memorial at ten at night," she said. She'd snapped at him, a little too loudly, and had to remind herself to quiet down as a group of kids their age started heading across the grass in front of the monument.
"Is this still about you kissing Henry?" he sighed. Not for the first time, she remembered that he really did know her inside and out. It was sometimes an upside, sometimes a downside of dating Jasper Bartlett.
"Well, it really bothers me!" she said. "And…" This was the part she was really ashamed of, what half an hour of the blank stone stare of Abraham Lincoln had yet to cure. "I didn't pull away. I didn't think it was gross. I wasn't even thinking about you."
"Okay, you know what I'm going to do?" he said, rubbing a hand across his forehead as though he were fed up with Maggie's guilt. "If this is bothering you so much, then I'll go out and kiss somebody and then we'll be even." She laughed at first, but then sobered up as she took in the meaning of his words.
"You would do that for me?"
"I'd do everything for you," he said honestly. "I have since I met you." She smiled.
"Go kiss somebody," she said, wondering if it would really make her feel better. "Besides, it's not like you're going to be able to."
"Oh really?" he said cockily, raising an eyebrow.
"Really," she smirked.
With a slightly devious grin, he sprinted down the steps of the memorial, across the cobbled road, and straight through the group of teens she had noticed earlier. He pulled a girl aside, said something to her, and then they both leaned in to kiss each other. Maggie's mouth dropped open. She was stunned, and wondered if there were something wrong with the girl. Not that Maggie didn't find Jasper loveable and attractive, but she knew that he wasn't exactly the kind of guy whose first impression made you want to kiss him.
"Oh my God!" she gasped, unsure whether she should be laughing, as he walked back up the steps to her. "Did you know her?"
"Yeah, she goes to Smithson," he shrugged. "Her name's ...Miranda. Or Anna."
"You know, you're a little bit of a player," she said. He laughed.
"So we're good?"
"I love you," he said.
"I love you," Maggie mirrored.
"Kind of starting to sound like olive juice," he pointed out, causing her to roll her eyes.
"I could go for some olive juice right now," she murmured, the mention of olives making her stomach growl. He kissed her, then extended an arm to walk her home.
Back at the Bartlett home, Henry was lying in his hammock, trying to work something out on his abacus. He slid a few beads to the left, glanced at his homework, then sighed and set the abacus on his floor. "Can't do decimals on that thing," he complained to himself and picked up the calculator from the windowsill, holding it as if it were about to explode.
Jasper jogged into the room then and hopped on his bed, kicking his Converse off. They landed across the room in the closet he shared with Henry. "Did it work?" asked Henry, tossing both the calculator and his homework back in his messenger bag.
"Perfectly," Jasper said. "Maggie's fine. How much did you have to pay Miranda?"
"Anna," he corrected, ignoring Jasper's whispered "I knew it!" to himself. "And I think it would be better for your self-esteem if you didn't know how much."
"So you're definitely not getting back together with Whitney?" said Jasper, changing the topic of the conversation back to his cousin.
"Definitely not," he confirmed. "But you know, I think it might be time to give the whole dating thing a shot."
"Good time to start," said Jasper, thinking of both the crowds of lovesick girls who followed around Henry at school and the approach of the most romantic holiday of the year, Valentine's Day. "There are about a hundred girls vying for your love." Henry nodded thoughtfully. "I'm going to bed. Goodnight, Henry."
"Goodnight, Jasper," he replied as Jasper yanked the cord on his lamp and the room went dark. They lay there in silence for a while, drifting off the sleep, and then Henry asked, "What does the CE on a calculator mean?"
"Go to sleep," Jasper grunted in response. Henry laughed, and then shifted in his hammock, shut his eyes, and did just that.
A/N: Well, that's the end! Hopefully I will be starting my next UH fic soon, but I'm not sure which one it will be, I have several different ideas floating around in my head. It will probably be a Jaggie futurefic set about ten years in the future. And it's a murder mystery.
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