When Jack finally showed up again at the lodge, he had a broken arm. What was it with him? First his foot, now his arm. Why wouldn't he retire? She felt frustrated with him, and yet she understood. In so many ways, killing was easier than facing life, than facing the past, than facing love.

He hobbled in with his cigarette dangling from his mouth, focusing attention on his lips in a way that made her look away.

"Thought maybe I could stay for a while."

"Of course! What happened?"

"…just something went wrong."

She took him inside; she would put him next to her room; he might need her.

"Would you like to take a shower?" she asked.

"That bad?"

"Well, just asking. I can get you a garbage bag to wrap your arm."

He took off his shirt and she wrapped him carefully, but she couldn't not look at his chest, and the way it angled down into his jeans in a perfect vee.

Jack thought only of the cigarette burns all over his chest, put there so many years ago.

"Pretty scary, huh?"

"You're beautiful," she said in a soft voice, not looking at him but busily fastening the tape.

She asked him if he had anything on under his jeans – it didn't look like it, but he said yes, so she helped him out of his pants. Time stopped for both of them as they each realized Jack's boxers were tented up, but then Nadia went on as if she didn't see anything.

"Look," she said, "I know the body reacts separately from the mind." "I know you're not… you don't …. you're not interested in me in that way," so you don't have to be embarrassed. Just think of me like a nurse."

"How do you know what I am?" Jack snarled.

"Well Jack, I mean, I know you never look at me like that, and you never, well, I mean, I heard you tell Evelyn you didn't…. and you've never… [trying to sound nonchalant] Look, Jack, I know a man like you must have women all over him, and I know I couldn't possibly be …. [getting defensive and angry now] But I'm not just some silly school girl, Jack! I don't fall in love with just anyone, and I have never let my feelings for you interfere with our professional relationship…!"


Jack screwed up his eyes and looked at Nadia, this woman that he couldn't get out of his mind for one minute, this woman who he never thought would want him, this woman who just said she was in love with him… didn't she?

"What did you say?"

"Please, Jack, don't tell me you can't stay here now. I shouldn't have said that, and if you would just pretend…"

"What about Quinn?"

"Quinn? Oh Jack! He could never be more than a friend to me! He may be the only one who wants me, but he's not the man you are! He's not…."

She couldn't finish, because he was holding her face now with his good hand, pulling her toward him, kissing her, softly at first, then hungrily, like he could never get enough. And he couldn't.