Finally her few days off had arrived. And this time no one, not even Geoff, could take them away from her. They weren't the same amount of days as she was supposed to have, but at least enough to allow her to go away for a few days. Family visit still had to wait though, time was still too short for that. So she decided to do a small tour in the outback. Kind of cheesy but it allowed her to see some more of the country and it just meant being away from work and everything. She was getting ready to get on the Nomad. Johnno had offered to drop her off at the clinic where the tour bus would pick her up which was perfect.
"Ready for your little getaway?" Rowie smiled at Jackie.
"Oh you wouldn't believe it! Been waiting far too long to just get away from it all. Nothing can stop me now from having some peace and quiet."
She'd barely spoken the last few words or a car stopped at the airstrip.
"Oi, get that car away from the plane!" Johnno shook his head.
"Ah, I arrived just in time I see. Jackie, I'll be joining you on your little adventure, what do you think of it?"
"Ugh, you have got be kidding me Guy."
"No, not kidding you. Since I won't be able to visit Sydney and no one wants to swap shifts with me I thought: why not? Should be fun!"
"There are plenty of other things for you to do out here Guy!"
"Yeah, but none of them involved you." He gave her wink. To her own annoyance it made her heart skip a beat.
"If you are going to ruin this trip for me I will kill you Guy Reid. I will."
The tour bus had arrived at a little campsite where everyone was busy getting their tent up.
"Looking for this Jack?" Guy stood next to her holding a hammer. There was a huge smirk on his face.
"Need a hand with anything?"
"No, I'll manage."
"Right, well, for your information, that's the bottom of the tent. You might want to turn it around."
"The bottom?" She looked at what appeared to be her tent, but looked like a big pile of blue trash. She'd never put up a tent before, so she had no idea what she was doing.
Guy rolled his eyes at her "I should have just stayed at home."
"Yeah, so why didn't you Guy!"
He smiled at her, the smirk on his face even bigger than before. And then he just stepped on her tent, not even planning to help her out even a tiny bit. It was much more amusing for him to watch her struggle and fail.
She would so kill him once they were back in the Crossing.
Her little getaway seemed to fail more and more. First with Guy joining her, being his true arrogant self, then she failed to put up her own tent and now she was about to go down into the caves. She hated small, dark spaces. But would she want to show it to Guy? Of course not! Oh the fun he would have making fun of her. He'd made more than enough fun of her already. So she just joined the rest of the group. Her heart was pounding. Somehow Guy noticed she wasn't completely comfortable.
"You aren't scared, are you?" Ugh, not only would she kill him, she would first wipe that big smug off his face.
"Of course not!" she snapped at him.
They were all tied together, which should have made her feel more comfortable, but actually didn't. They had barely made it into the caves and already she wanted to get out of there. Who cared what special art there was to see? It was dark in there anyway. Why was she doing this to herself?
She was so focused on her fear she hadn't noticed the group had came to a halt and she bumped into Guy.
"Not even 5 minutes in a dark space where no one can see you and you're already hitting on me Jack?"
"Shut up!" She punched him.
"Ouch, what was that for?"
"Just shut up Guy!" Fear took more and more control over her. Her heart started to pound like crazy and she felt like she couldn't breathe. Guy being his obnoxious self didn't help at all.
Apparently they had arrived at a spot where some old cave paintings were to be seen. She could care less about it. She just wanted to get out of there.
"Pretty amazing stuff on those walls eh Jack?"
She felt the walls closing in on her. He could make all the jokes in the world he wanted, she didn't care anymore. She should have never gotten into the stupid cave in the first place. She had to get out. Now.
"You're useless!" She tried to free herself from the rope, but it didn't work.
"Oi Jack, are you alright?"
Finally she set herself free en she tried to get outside as fast as possible. Everything was closing in on her, she couldn't breathe anymore. Luckily, they hadn't been far into the caves just yet. When she got outside, she still couldn't breathe.
"Sit down Jack, here, breathe into this. Slowly. In and out. Good." He must have followed her back. Right, let the fun begin. She closed her eyes awaiting his funny remarks. But they didn't come.
"Are you feeling better again Jack?" She nodded.
"Yeah, just so stupid."
"So you're a bit claustrophobic, nothing to be ashamed of."
He touched her arm. It was only to feel her pulse, she knew that, but his touch still sent a shiver down her spine.
"For not being an ass right now."
"I may be an ass most of the time, as you so gently put it, but I'm also still a doctor. You were in need of support, so I gave it to you. Aren't you happy now I came with you on this trip?" He gave her a big grin.
"Don't push it Guy." Was he ever capable of just being nice for once?
On their last day of the tour, Ilsa, an older German woman walked over to Jackie. "Franz took this photo of you and Guy, thought you might want to have it?"
Jackie looked at the photo, which showed them arguing.
"Photo says it all eh?"
"You two remind me of Franz and I. You look at each other with the same passion in your eyes."
"Passion? You mean aggravation."
"Oh, I must have been mistaken then, I thought…"
"That we were together?" She laughed. "I can't stand the Guy Ilsa."
"Ah yes, that's how Franz and I felt back in the day." She smiled. "We only acted that way to hide our true feelings for each other."
Jackie felt an annoying blush covering her cheeks. Why did her body have to react differently to what she felt?
"Well, we're not hiding our true feelings here Ilsa, what you see is really how we feel." Ilsa didn't say anything, she just padded her on the hand and gave her a smile.
"If you think you can do any better, then be my guest!" Stupid camping with its stupid tents. She would never go camping ever again. And she would definitely kill Guy. He was just impossible. How Ilsa could have thought they were hiding their true feelings for each other was beyond her.
She dropped the tent on the ground.
"Oi Jack, why so tense now?" He watched her storm off. Teasing her was still so easy. He picked up the remains of the tent and put it in the bag. Took him less than 5 minutes.
"See, that's how you do it Jack, it's not that hard." If looks could kill he'd be dead by now. "Where would you have been without me eh?"
"In a happier, calmer place for sure."
"Ah come on Jack, these few days weren't all bad, were they?"
She raised her eyebrow. "They would have been a lot more enjoyable, I'm sure, if you'd just stayed home."
He smiled. "Let me make it up to you by taking you out for dinner tonight."
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, like I really want to have dinner with you after these couple of days Guy."
He pouted. "Come on Jack, it's just dinner. You've got to eat anyway tonight."
He suddenly moved closer to her. "Remember the last time we had dinner?" he whispered.
She swallowed. "I do, yes, and if you're thinking I'd go on another 'date' with you, then you are so wrong. Not even if you were the last man alive." Why did her heart beat so fast all of a sudden?
"Scared I might kiss you again?"
"What? Oh cut the crap Guy. I'm so sick of your stupid games. Just stop it for once!" That had sounded way more emotional than she intended it to.
Guy noticed it too. Apparently their kiss didn't leave her unaffected. It hadn't left him unaffected either, but he kept telling himself he had no feelings for her whatsoever. And he really didn't. Or did he?
"So you're still not up for dinner tonight?" Guy turned around to face Jackie. They had just been picked up by Johnno and were flying back to town.
"You may praise yourself lucky I will not kill you when we're back in town Guy."
She shook her head. This was useless.
She looked out of the window and noticed the plane was about to land. Finally she'd be able to escape him for a while. When the plane had touched the ground, she spotted a fancy car near the hangar with an even more fancy woman standing next to it. Who was she?
"Oh, great…" Apparently Guy had noticed her as well.
She couldn't help but gasp. He said what now? If this was another one of his sick jokes it had to be the worst of them all. The look on his face told her this was not a joke though. How very typical of him.
"Why am I even surprised at this?"
"Ugh, don't flatter yourself Guy." She got out of the plane and walked away.
Guy watched her go. Then he watched Fern approach him. His life had just gotten very complicated.
Back at the Majestic Jackie was having a drink with Rowie en Johnno.
"I can't believe he never even mentioned her before. They are engaged! How can you not tell anyone about that?"
"I thought you didn't care for him?" Rowie smiled.
"I don't. I don't care what he does with his life and with who." She took another sip from her beer.
"Ah, yes, I can tell you don't care." She winked at Johnno.
"Well are you not at least a bit upset about the fact that he never shared this with any of us?"
Rowie shrugged. "I agree that it's a bit weird, but maybe he had his reasons?"
"Yeah, to get it going with loads of other women without anyone judging him."
Why was she so upset over this? Why did she care so much?
"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you had feelings for Guy."
"Well I don't. Not ever."
Rowie and Johnno looked at each other and then giggled.
"Fern, I'm sorry, but I can't do this."
"I haven't seen you in forever Guy, come on!" She gave him kisses on his chest. He didn't feel anything, well, except feeling tired.
"Sorry Fern. I'm tired."
She looked down on him. "You were never tired back in Melbourne. In fact, you could never get enough of me. Ever since I arrived here though, you've been rather distant with me."
"I just…didn't expect you to be here."
"Should that matter? We haven't seen each other in about a year."
"Come on Guy! Obviously this place does you no good, I knew it beforehand. I think you should just get your things and move back to the city with me. You've proven your dad what you're worth so now lets end this nonsense."
She tried to kiss him on the mouth.
"Guy, what is going on with you? Is there someone else?"
"No, there's not someone else. I just told you, I'm tired. We'll talk tomorrow."
He left her room and walked down the hallway to his own room. He walked past Jackie's room. Jackie. He couldn't help but feel a tinkling in his stomach. This was not good. Not good at all.
"Are you not supposed to be with your fiancée?" It was late at night and Guy was still at the hospital doing paperwork. He looked up at Jackie.
"I don't think that's any of your business."
"Why didn't you tell us about her Guy?"
"Again, because it's none of your business."
"We mean that little to you?"
"We? I think you mean 'you', don't you? I haven't heard others complain about it. For not being jealous, you show a lot of interest in me and Fern."
"I'm not jealous Guy, I just think you should have been more open with us, that's all. The people here depend on you, they trust you. How do you think they feel about you hiding this engagement stuff from them?"
"Right now I could really care less about that."
"Yes, why would you ever care about someone else Guy!" She stormed off.
"You're dumping me Guy?! I travel a thousand miles to see my fiancée and you dump me?" Fern was raging with anger. Which she had every right to of course.
"You tell me over and over again how you hate this place and how you can't wait to be with me again. And now you just dump me?!"
"We haven't really talked in ages though Fern, things have changed."
She gave a hollow laughter. "I'm sure they have. One of them involved a young blonde nurse I assume?"
"Oh come on Guy, I've seen her looking at you, I've seen you looking at her. I'm not blind. I just can't believe you pick her over me!"
"Jackie? There's nothing going on between us Fern, I swear."
"And you lie about it as well."
"Well, you can have your ring back. Maybe you can give it to her. I don't want to start a collection anyway."
"Fern, I'm sorry."
"Yeah, me too. This place has changed you in a bad way, you're a bore now."
"You're being unreasonable here Fern."
"Well maybe I am. I think I have a right to it though. Goodbye Guy."
She walked over to her car and got in. She was hurt, he could tell. And who could blame her? He should have told her things were over a lot sooner. She'd be alright though, she was Fern after all.
"Where's that fiancée of yours?" Jackie looked round the pub while standing in front of the table where Guy was sitting by himself. "She got sick of you that quickly?"
"Ha ha ha, very funny Jack."
"Well, where is she then?"
"Back in Melbourne."
He shook his head. "No, she really returned to Melbourne."
"She just got here!" She tried to look shocked, but found that she actually felt relieved deep inside.
"We broke up."
Jackie sat down on a chair across from Guy. "Wait, what? She travels all those miles just to break up with you?" She tried her hardest to hide her smile.
Guy sighed. "Just stop Jack."
"What, you find this nagging annoying? Now you know what it feels like for me most of the time." She got up. "Well, sorry for your loss, I guess?"
While she walked away, Guy sighed in disbelief. That woman could stir up so many different emotions within him. Right now it was mostly irritation. And at the same time he just wanted to kiss her. Cause he had not forgotten their kiss and it might even have been why he broke up with Fern. God, she drove him nuts!
A long clinic day had come to an end. Guy closed the final first aid box.
"It won't be for another hour till Johnno returns." He looked at Jackie. "Think of all the things we could do in those sixty minutes!"
"I could give you a mirror, that should keep you occupied till Johnno arrives."
Silence filled the air until Guy broke it.
"Can I be honest with you Jack?"
She crossed her arms. "Humor me."
"I've never stopped thinking about our kiss."
She rolled her eyes. "Really Guy, this is the best you can do?"
"I mean it!"
"Guy, really now. This is a low, even for you."
"It's the same as last time: we have to wait for Johnno, no other women around, so you try to flirt with me. Sad really."
"I'm not playing games here Jack."
She raised an eyebrow. "That would be a first."
She gave him a look of pity.
"Look Jack, you often drive me insane. But then I see your smile, and there's this whole other feeling."
Confusing thoughts filled her head. He didn't leave her cold. As much as she tried to tell herself and others that he did, he didn't. But she just didn't know what his motives were.
"I know you think of me as a playboy Jack. And I admit, I am. I love women, I do. But with you it's different."
"As I said, I love women. The more I can get into my bed, the better. I usually don't have feelings for these women, I don't even really care much for them. But then there was you. And I experienced emotions I never really experienced. It scared the hell out of me and I tried to fight it. And then there was Fern. And I realized I had been fooling myself for a long time."
She looked at him with her big, blue eyes. Eyes he could drown in.
He continued. "I know I mean more to you than you let me to believe."
She tried to look upset, he looked right through it though.
"Come on Jack, don't lie to yourself now. I've seen how you look at me from time to time."
"Yes, okay, I do have feelings for you. You just remind me too much of someone I loved in the past, who I devoted my heart to and who then took advantage of it and hurt me. I'm not up for that a second time. How can I be sure you won't do the same?"
She flinched. "I can't? Well, that's reassuring."
"What I mean to say is, you don't know what the future holds for you. Is that reason enough though to not give this a try?"
"I…I really don't know Guy. I…" She wanted nothing more than to give in to her feelings. But the hurt from last time was still deep and the time she'd known Guy he hadn't really showed her he was any different. She wasn't ready to get hurt again, but at the same time, who knows what she might be missing out on.
"I know you don't fully trust me Jack, but I am not him. And I'll do anything in my power to proof it to you."
The entire flight back to town had been quiet. Johnno sensed something had happened, though he didn't know what. He noticed the looks between Guy and Jackie when they got out of the plane. Something had changed. He watched them go and observed them from a distance.
Jackie shrugged her shoulders, avoiding his eyes. "Maybe."
"Might give us a chance to talk some more?" She looked up and knew she was lost.
And Johnno smiled a silent smile. At last, he thought to himself.
Guy was already waiting for her at a table when she arrived downstairs. Her heart was beating a little faster, she was nervous. The thing she hated the most, was to not be in control of her own emotions. And she wasn't in control now. Guy watched her approach the table and noticed her nervousness. Which, he thought, looked ever so cute on her.
She sat down. "This just feels weird."
"This. I'm so used to snapping at you, having arguments, fighting you off. This just feels weird."
"We can start an argument if that makes you feel better." He smiled.
"Can we just order food, I'm rather hungry." She was still trying to fight him off.
"Jack, I won't do anything you don't want me to do."
"I know, like I said, it just feels a bit weird."
Nancy arrived at their table to take their orders. After she left, Jackie looked at Guy. Oh the confusion. Guy smiled. "This is what I like about you, you can't hide your feelings very well." She blushed. "And I like that about you as well."
It was nice hearing him say nice words to her, but the doubt was still there. Of course Guy noticed. "I remember the day we met. You wore your white dress and it looked so good on you. I never thought anything of it though, but looking back, I think I knew back then you weren't just like any other woman. And I was right. Unlike other women, you didn't try to hook up with me. Quite the opposite actually." He smiled.
"You can say that!" She answered his smile and for a moment they just looked at each other. "I remember I thought you were the biggest sleaze I met in my life. You were so full of yourself." She stared into the distance for a bit. "I've seen you change though. You arrived with an ego as big as Ayers Rock, but you softened along the way. I got to see a softer side of you. I also got to learn what a great doctor you are."
Her blue eyes looked at his. "I really want you to be part of my life Guy. I just want to know that I can trust you."
He grabbed her hand. "You can. And like I said earlier, I'll do anything in my power to proof it to you." He leaned forward, about to kiss her. And Jackie decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and kissed him.
A loud roar of applause and laughter emerged. They both looked up.
"Finally!" Johnno held his beer high. "We were all wondering how long it would take you guys, took you long enough!" More laughter followed. And Jackie pulled Guy closer and kissed him again and Guy returned the kiss with pleasure. And then he took her hand in his and they walked through the cheering crowd, upstairs. Their food just had to wait.