Title: Cloud Busting

Author: Sybil Rowan

Pairing(s)/Characters: Jet/Frances.

Rating: T+

Summary: Jet has kept a horrifying secret from Frances. Albert reveals it in hopes their friction will alleviate. Things gets more complicated between them.

Warnings: I didn't have much going with this story and abandoned it a decade ago, but I re-watched the episode with the alien children and decided to pick it up and place this story right after that fiasco.

Author's Notes: Name after a wonderful Kate Bush song.

Disclaimer: Cyborg 009 is owned by Shotaro Ishinomori.

Beta Reader: WignedPanteher73

Date: July 1, 2001, 10:00am/ re-edit and expanded September 19, 2012, 6:30 am (freshly dug off my floppy disk!)

Word Count: 5,771

Frances' eyes were still affixed towards the patch of sky where the alien children had disappeared. Joe paused and gently laid a hand on her shoulder. He told her, "They'll be fine, Frances. Please don't worry. Like Jet said..."

Frances' expression soured at the mention of the American. Since the alien children had made their presence known, the first generation cyborgs had been at odds with each other; the second generation cyborgs came down on Jet's side. The friction between Jet and Frances grew so bad that Albert had done his utmost to keep them separated during the whole ordeal.

Frances had a driving need to be protective of the children, and Albert seemed to be the only one that understood that. The other male cyborgs seemed clueless.

Jet and Frances' arguments certainly distracted everyone. Now that the alien children were gone, she hoped she and Jet would sink back into their frosty relationship, and poor Ivan could recover quickly.

"Al, come on! Our work is finished," Jet said, smacking Albert on the shoulder. She looked over to see a smug expression on the New Yorker's face. There was a mischievous twinkle in those brandy-colored eyes she didn't care for. "Chang is going to whip up a nice celebration dinner."

"Jet's right. Let's go get something to eat and get some rest," Joe coaxed. Her lips pursed, and she slowly nodded. She let Joe lead her towards the Dolphin, passing Albert and Jet.

"Wish she'd get that knot out of her panties." Jet whispered, thinking she was out of earshot. She glance over her shoulder to see Jet was glaring at her. "She just can't stand that I was right, Al."

"That won't be evident for decades," Albert reminded him. "It depends on how the children will rise or fall to the challenges in their future. It's all in how they choose to apply what you and Ivan taught them."

Jet looked confused for half a second, then annoyed, and finally dismissively waved his hand. "Where I come from, you have to fight. It's the same with them and everywhere around. They'll be better off."

"Well, I'm not..." Albert started off.

"No! I know what I'm talking about. I'm not some dumb kid!" Jet snapped. Frances hesitated getting into the Dolphin, still wanting to eavesdrop. Jet's attention was now centered on Albert, so she had a good chance.

Albert shook his head in frustration before gripping Jet's elbow and tugging him towards the Dolphin. "Just play nice with her tonight. I have to get back to Berlin tomorrow morning, and I won't be able to referee between you two any more. Neither will Ivan."

"And Joe's too whipped to referee. And Chang and GB..." Jet droned on.

"Just come along. I do believe Junior handled you just fine during this whole ordeal," Albert said.

"Yeah well..." Jet sounded slightly defeated. "Arguing with him his like banging your head into a boulder."

"Well, then it should be a quiet flight back to America for you two."

"Knowing my luck, he'll have a long layover, and I'll have to entertain him," Jet griped, noticing Frances' eyes on him once again. "Yeah, he's more fun than some other cyborgs. Certainly, more pleasant to be around."

With that, Frances turned towards the Dolphin and retreated to her private quarters. She ignored Joe's request to come out and talk with him. She spent the flight to Kozumi's house alone. She was still stung that Joe had sided with Jet, and she wasn't ready to talk that out with Joe just yet.

The dinner was a fine meal with a wide range of Chinese dishes; Jet thought Chang had really outdone himself. He was trying out two new recipes he wanted to introduce to the Magic Pan. Both were a huge hit with all the other cyborgs and the two doctors.

The only thing that ruined things for Jet was seeing Frances across the table, brooding and not engaging in the conversation. She wasn't dropping things, to his irritation. Joe would have noticed, but Jet kept Joe talking about an upcoming race they were participating in and a potential sky diving vacation to upstate New York. He kept it up, knowing it would annoy Frances to lose Joe's attention for a whole month while he, Albert, and Joe went sky diving.

"Joe, you have to admit those kids did great work with a little poking. I bet they already have their enemies licked."

Jet was tilting on the two back legs of his chair. The New Yorker's eyes were fixed on the Japanese cyborg. Seemingly he was ignoring Frances, but he was all to aware of her eyes fixated on him. Jet admitted to himself he was spoiling for another fight with Frances.

Joe gave a hapless smile and said, "I'm happy they can take care of themselves, but Ivan was still doing a large part of the work up until the end. I just wonder if they can maintain a fighting spirit."

"Ah... Stop fretting like an old dame. I'm proud of those kids. They'll be fine."

"Well, I'm not so sure," Frances insisted. Silence grew heavy around the table. All eyes turned to Frances, her face was ruddy, eyes wide and threatening tears. The front two legs of Jet's chair slammed against the tiles. Jet leaned closer towards her, glad to know he could vex her in the same way she vexed him.

"What's your damage, sister? Come out and say what's on your mind, as if I don't know," Jet said in a low, threatening voice.

Jet could see Albert was about to quell this argument, like all the other frequent squabbles between them, but he kept silent. Jet was tired of Albert's interference between him and Frances; he was grateful Albert was keeping his mouth shut. Jet wasn't getting anywhere fast with Frances when Albert stepped into to prevent a natural resolution.

"You've only encouraged those children to fight rather than find a real, lasting solution to their problems."

"Frances, my dear, we've already talked this out. Things are already solved and everything turned out for the best. No need in dredging up ancient history," GB butted in, to Jet's irritation.

"See? Settled! Now move on," Jet snapped, hitching his thumb at GB.

"No, it's not. Can't you see that the only thing they learned was violence. That never solves anything."

"It solves plenty problems!" Jet countered. "Just 'cause you always like to have your lily white hands clean, don't mean that getting dirty is wrong."

"You have no sense of right and wrong! You've shown them how to fight and that will encourage them to get into more and more violent confrontations. Why can't you see that?"

"Oh, they're supposed to say, 'Hey, Mister Space Blob, don't kill us, m'kay'? That's naive! And you're gullible if you believe that would have gotten them anything other than killed!"

Frances' face turned the same shade of bright red Jet knew his face was, judging from the heat. "Well, you're pigheaded and ignorant to think there's only one way to solve problems. You were raised by wolves!"

Frances gasped and covered her mouth with her hands, her eye wide. Jet's stomach sunk, and he started trembling, thinking of his parents. His head drooped towards the table. She had hit Jet on a very sore subject; and she knew it. She went right for the knock out punch and rubbed his nose in his poor background. His eyes narrowed and his fists were clenched so hard the knuckles were turning white, finger nails digging into his palms.

"You're dumb broad," was all Jet said, before bolting from the table. He stormed out the kitchen and took off into the night sky.

Frances flinched and ran from the dinner table. She felt horrible at her slip of the tongue; she hadn't meant to wound Jet. She only wanted him to see his ways were too aggressive. She slung herself on her bed, profound embarrassment bubbled up in her stomach. She expected Joe, but she heard the voices downstairs.

"Maybe I should..." Joe started.

"No," Albert said to Joe. "Let me handle this. Just let Frances cool off tonight. I'll go talk Jet into coming back so they can talk it out."

She could hear Albert fetching his coat, cap, and keys and leave. She wondered what he was going to say to Jet. This tension had been coming to a head for a long time. She only wished she knew why Jet was so extremely hateful towards her lately. She wanted to change things between them and be friendly.

She looked up at the night sky wishing she could see Jet come back so she could apologize to him. She heard Albert's car was heading north. She figured Albert had a good idea where Jet was headed. They're were pretty close now, which irritated her all the more. They had went through the process of forced cyborinization with Ivan. Shouldn't all four of them have a close relationship?

She sighed and started changing into her nightgown. She had a feeling she was certainly going to lose some sleep tonight.

Her eyes watered remembering Jet's hateful glare and nasty words. She let the tears come and cried herself to sleep.

Jet had managed to hide out for a whole hour before Albert showed up at this rocky cliff over looking the ocean. He heard him walk up and have a seat beside him. Jet's emotions were still spinning out of control, and he did want Albert to help ease him down. Besides, it was a cold dark night, no moon hung in the sky. He'd love to go back home, but he couldn't stand the idea of a weepy Frances.

"You're going to chew me out for picking on dames, again, aren't you?"

"No. I was going to let you and her finally get all that tension out of your systems. You shouldn't have run off like a child."

"I'm not a child," Jet sneered.

"You sure acted like it, baiting Frances like that at the dinner table. You won the argument, yet for some reason you keep trying to rehash it. Why does she have to agree with you?"

"She always picks apart my ideas and looks down at me. She thinks she's too good for... ah... never mind." Jet was grateful for the darkness. His face was still burning hot in a mixture of shame and anger at Frances' scorn.

Albert was silent for a long moment. "Well, she does have your heart."

Jet grew deathly silent and and started to shake slightly. "What are you saying? That I secretly like her? You're full of it, pal, because I can't stand that chick!"

"Come back with me. I'll fix things between you two. You'll see," Albert said, smacking Jet's thigh.

"Alright, alright," he grumbled before following Albert to his car.

When they got back to Kozumi's house Albert and Jet crept around to Frances' bedroom window. Albert picked up a rock and tossed it gently at her window. No response, just darkness.

"That's not how you do it," Jet snapped, picked up a rock and hurled it at her window, shattering it. "Aw crap," he muttered when her light came on. She flung her window opened and hung her head out while adjusting her bathrobe. She fixed a nasty look at Jet.

"What's the big idea, you vandal?" she asked in a harsh whisper.

"Frances, come down here. I have something to tell you," Albert insisted softly.

"Don't let him throw any more rocks." She slammed her window shut. Minutes later she joined them under her window, dressed in her pink bathrobe, nightgown, and slippers. "What's going on?"

"Beats me? Albert said he wanted to tell you a story," Jet said, as Albert lead them away from the beach house towards Kozumi's botanical garden. The world famous botanist had the rarest and most unusual flowers in his garden. There was a fountain in the center of the garden. In the middle of it was a statue of Diana, aiming her bow at the sky.

Albert sat on the edge of the fountain and looked up at them, both were wearing confused expressions. "I think Frances has a right to know something you've been keeping from her for a long while."

"What would that be?" Jet snapped.

"About the first surgery you had with the Black Ghost after they brought Frances in," Albert replied. Jet's face fell blank and turned white as chalk. He knew Jet's mind was going back to that terrifying moment. "It's obvious she doesn't remember or you two wouldn't behave so poorly to one another."

"So that's what you meant up on the cliff! Don't you dare tell her," Jet threatened, shoulders hunched.

"I will tell her because you need to be honest with her after all these decades."

"What hasn't he told me?" Frances asked, giving Jet a suspicious look.

Jet turned his back on them, but didn't take off like he normally did when faced with pain. And indeed, Albert knew he was going to cause Jet a lot of pain, but he also knew it would heal the antagonistic relationship between Jet and Frances in the long run.

"You don't remember when you first arrived at Ghost Island, Frances, for a good reason," Albert said.

"Please, Albert, don't tell her," Jet begged. His shoulders were shaking horribly now, Albert could imagine Jet's face was twisted in anguish.

"Frances, I was just wheeled into the main lab so they could stabilize me. I was on an operating table watching Jet, who I didn't know at the time. He was in a cage, snarling and cursing the scientists as they passed by him. They just ignored his fresh mouth and went about their business. They brought you in, and you were struggling between your two kidnappers, begging them to let you go."

Frances sat beside Albert and shook her head. "I don't remember this for some reason. What happened? Please let me know."

"Don't," Jet begged, sounding defeated now. The tension remained in Jet's shoulders, but Albert proceed to his recollection.

Jet gripped the cage's bars harder when his kidnappers rolled in an older man on a hospital table. Two doctors in white lab coats, Gaia and Gamo, surrounded the man. They were working on the man's missing right arm. The man's head turned towards Jet. His steely eyes were dropping, but he seemed aware.

A shrill scream caught Jet's attention. Through another door they dragged a girl in. She was about Jet's age, and she was struggling in between two large goons. She was crying hysterically, which hit Jet's defensive nature. It offended him seeing a girl in this situation.

"Hey! Let that girl go, you pigs!"

"Shut up, you!" one of the goons holding the girl snapped.

"Make me!" Jet shouted. "Picking on girls is only for candy asses like you bastards!"

The goons turned their attention towards Jet for just a second. The girl was able to break free and run back towards the door. The goon that spoke to Jet pulled a gun.

"Watch out!" Jet shouted. The girl turned as she arrived at the door. A loud pop happened and a crimson patch spread across the girl's chest. Jet sank to his knees and shook his head. Her beautiful face paled as she sank to the ground. Her body went limp and her arms dropped across her stomach.

"You idiot!" Gaia shouted and rushed to the girl. He checked her quickly and then hoisted her up to another operating table in front of Jet's cage. Gaia pointed at Jet. "Get that one out. We'll put his heart into her. We were just going to throw it out anyway, but why waste a good organ?"

"We weren't going to upgrade her heart anyway, just a few tweaks to his heart after we put it in her chest should work fine," Gamo agreed, stepping over to the girl's side. He tore apart her bloodied blouse and started to prep her for surgery.

Jet processed what they said and revulsion bubbled up. The two goons that brought the girl in marched over and opened Jet's cage. There was no way he was going to let them touch him after he heard that.

He was about to struggle as they laid their hands on his arms, but the one named Gamo pointed out, "She'll die in a few minutes if you don't stop your nonsense. We're not going to kill you, so settle down unless you want her to die."

Jet looked over at her lovely, pale face and guilt flooded his mind. He slumped in between the goons and let them yank him out of the cage. They quickly stripped Jet's shirt off and prepped him for surgery. His last thought before blacking out was, 'If only I hadn't called out to her, she'd be fine.'

Albert watched Frances' hands flutter towards her chest. A look of stunned disbelief was all over her face. Albert glanced over to see if Jet would face them yet. He still had his back towards them.

"You mean to tell me this whole time I've actually had Jet's original heart in my body?"

"Yes. He saved your life by submitting to them," Albert said. She turned to look at Jet. She slowly rose and walked over towards him.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Why should I have? What's done is done," Jet snapped, still avoiding looking at her.

"Because I had a right to know." Frances said gently, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Please talk to me."

He flinched away from her and swirled around. He appeared livid, giving Albert a nasty look. "I'll never forgive you for telling her!"

"You will one day."

"Jet, you should have told me. I'm so sorry..." Frances started in a meek tone and got choked up. She rubbed her wrist against her watering eyes.

"You don't have to be so disgusted," Jet said.

Frances gasped and shook her head. "That's not true, I don't feel that way about it. I'm just shocked right now. I'm so sorry you had to go through that... horror."

Jet's turned back to Albert. "See? This is why I didn't want her to know! She'll just start treating me differently." Then he turned hard eyes on Frances. "Frankly, I'd rather have you look down on me than pity me. That's more honest!"

Jet turned and marched back towards the house. Frances whirled on Albert. "I don't hold him in scorn, not really. I guess it must feel like that to him. It's just that we see things so differently."

"Listen, Jet has his pride. If you really want peace with him, you'll need to take the first step."

Frances nodded and walked back to the beach house. Albert looked up at the starry night and fervently hoped he hadn't made a mistake. He just believed that Frances needed to be aware of all her options before she settled on Joe.

Frances laid awake most of the night, mulling over Albert's story. It was startling to know she actually was using Jet's heart. Once she got used to that idea, she assessed her volatile relationship with Jet. It had gotten worse when Joe had come into the picture when they escaped Ghost Island. She had just figured he was getting surlier being chased by the Black Ghost.

She had never found Jet's personality very appealing. His temper was too quick and he was always too aggressive. On the other hand, Frances found his unwavering loyalty admirable. When he was in a good mood, he was always quick witted in his humor.

She admitted the most important reason to try to grow a closer friendship with Jet was that they had shared that dreadful experienced on Ghost Island together. There should be some bonding that could start there.

Now she knew they shared more than that experience, it forced her to reassess her attitude towards Jet. She certainly chastised him too much. She admitted at times her tone could be too biting, and she lost patience with him all too quickly. She hadn't made an honest effort lately to see things his way.

She got out of her bed in the dawn's light. She quickly got cleaned up and dressed. Frances found herself dreading seeing Jet. He didn't show up for breakfast.

"Are you okay, Frances?" asked Joe.

"No, I'm a little distracted," she said.

"Don't let Jet get to you," Joe said.

She forced a smile at Joe and then absently nibble on some toast. It wasn't long before Joe invited Frances to spend time with on the beach. She agreed, desperate to get her mind off of Jet.

Jet looked out the window from the room he typically shared with Joe and Pyunma. His eyes narrowed, seeing Joe and Frances running down the beach and heading towards the waves. He yanked the curtain back and flopped on his bed.

He heard a knock at his door. Chang offered to bring Jet breakfast, but he refused. He yanked off his tee-shirt and socks before flopping down on his back. He threw his right arm over his eyes. He contemplated strangling Albert, but Albert was on a plane back to Berlin.

Indeed, the house was a lot emptier with GB and Pyunma gone, and Ivan finally asleep. He was grateful it was Junior rather than anyone else that would be on the to America with him. Junior was quiet and wouldn't pry, unlike Albert.

"That jerk," he mumbled, turning over on his side. He balled up and tried to finally get some rest. He had tossed and turned all night. He couldn't get the image of Frances being shot out of his head.

He admitted he still felt guilty to this day over trying to get her attention as she attempted to run, but how was he to know she wouldn't understand English. It weighed heavily on him, and Jet had wanted desperately to make it up to her. But Joe came along and nasty emotions flared up inside of Jet. He didn't have Frances' attention, so he sought it out in other ways. Not the best ways, but when she bickered with him, he knew she was at least thinking about him.

He let the day drift by, finally getting too exhausted from his pent up emotions. He fell into a light rest.

A knock at the door jolted him. He hopped out of bed, stunned to see it was now sunset. He yanked open the door and saw Frances standing there with a tray of lo mien. "Chang said you hadn't eaten all day."

"No, just catching up on some sleep." Jet awkwardly crossed his arms suddenly aware he was only wearing jeans. Not that he was much of a prude; he felt vulnerable under her gaze. He had a feeling he'd feel the same if he were wearing a shirt.

"Can I come in and talk with you?"

"Where's Joe? I thought you two were out on the beach?"

"Chang asked him to run some errands in town. I figured this would be a good time for us to talk?"

Jet felt as though his stomach had rocks in it, but he stood aside to let her in. He hesitated at shutting the door to be proper and respectful of Frances' modesty, but he went ahead and shut it, wanting their conversation to be private if it took an ugly turn.

He knocked some clothes off a chair for her, and then sat on his bed. His stomach rumbled, so he took the tray from her and quickly wolfed down the lo mien. He looked up after he finished the food, noticing Frances was silent the whole time. She did look ill at ease, clenching her hands on her lap while looking around the room nervously.

Jet set aside the tray. "Albert is right. I do owe you an apology for last night. At dinner I was rude and acting like a brat. I'm sorry I picked the fight."

"I'm sorry about what I said about your parents. I was trying to tell you something, but I chose my words poorly. Please forgive me." She still wouldn't look at him directly, but he could tell she really was remorseful, all the same.

Jet leaned back, his hands propping him up on the mattress. "Sure."

"Are you really upset that I know that secret now?"

Jet about said yes, but he thought a little deeper about it. "I just didn't want it to influence how you thought about me."

"But of course it will, and that's not such a bad thing."

"So I'm some scum under your shoe unless you know I've donated an organ to you. Got it," Jet said dryly. She looked up at him; she was slightly miffed.

"No, it's not like that. It's made me think that I haven't been treating you fairly. I just don't understand you, but I promise to try harder."

"Thanks," he mumbled not exactly sure if she expect the same type of promise in return or some other pledge. She sprang off the chair, suddenly, and started collecting Jet's clothing from the floor.

"I'll get some laundry done for you before you leave for New York," she said. He sat up straighter, baffled by what she was doing. When his clothes were piled in the hamper, she started straightening his suitcase at the foot of his bed. He became infuriated all over again. He hopped to his feet and marched over.

"Will you stop that!"

"Now you won't let me do something nice for you? Why? You don't make any sense." Jet's anger quelled when she touched his arm. "Why?"

Jet threw out his impulse control. He took Frances' upper arms and pulled her towards him. He leaned down and gave her a fervent kiss. She froze, still as a statute. Her stiffness was like cold water poured on Jet's head. He broke off the kiss and looked down at her in puzzlement.

She seemed to melt into dismay. Jet slowly let go of her arms, his mind totally blank. She finally said, "It never occurred to me that you had those feelings. Now, it all makes perfect sense. You've been pushing me away all this time."

His head flopped forward. "You're into Joe. I can respect that, but only if you two start going steady soon."

"Are you suggesting you'd like to see me?"

"Well... you aren't Joe's girl, yet? And he sure is dragging his feet. So what do you say?"

Frances was silent, Jet felt encouraged that she wasn't outright turning him down. He reached out and put his arms around her waist. He pulled her into a second kiss just as intense as the first. She didn't resist and started to timidly reciprocate. Jet was thrilled.

He decided to see how far he could get with her. He fell back onto the bed, taking her with him. He rolled on top of her and proceeded to lay tiny kissed down her neck. Jet felt her trembling below him, he figured she was just as excited as he was. He took her body language as a cue to go just a little further.

He tugged her blouse up and slowly moved his hand over her smooth skin. He stopped at her ribcage and traced small circles with his thumb. The tip of his thumb grazed the edge of her bra. She stopped his hand from roaming further.

He paused and looked down at her. He was disappointed to figure out she was trembling from nervousness. Still, he held out some hope. "You want me to go slower?"

"I just don't think this is good timing." She gasped, suddenly. Jet could tell her hearing was picking up something. "It's Joe driving up the the road."

Jet cursed the lousy timing and eased off of Frances, withdrawing his hand from her blouse. She sprang out of his bed, grabbed the laundry hamper, and scampered out of Jet's room without a backwards glance. Jet flopped on his belly and tried to think lust killing thoughts before Joe came into their shared bedroom.

Frances wished her skin would cool. She was in the dark of the cellar, pushing Jet's clothes into the washing machine. Indeed, her hormones were still raging. She certain didn't expect Jet to kiss her, but when he did, sparks exploded inside Frances' head.

She'd never once been kissed by the 'bad boy' sort, so it was a heady experience that hit her out of the blue. And Jet was certainly an amazing kisser, in Frances' opinion. He pushed a little too fast for Frances. She was still very old-fashioned in her way of thinking.

It amazed her; she came from the same era as Jet, yet they couldn't be further apart in thinking. Joe, on the other hand, seemed to be traveling at her same pace. She had feelings for Joe she wanted to pursue, even with this sudden interest from Jet. She certainly couldn't sort out her feelings for Joe while getting involved with Jet. If Joe wasn't in the picture, she would have been sorely tempted to let Jet go a little further, in spite of her upbringing.

She shook her head as she put in the laundry soap. It was just that 'bad boy' mystique that was throwing her off. Once she turned him down, Jet would find some other new girl to pursue. She turned the dial and got the machine humming when Joe came into the basement with a box.

"I finished up Chang's errands. You know, while you're in town I want to take you out. Just the two of us. Would you like that?" Joe asked, setting a cardboard box on the shelf of cooking supplies. She smiled for half a minute, her heart racing wildly. Her hand drifted to her chest; she could feel her heart pound in excitement. She reminded herself it was Jet's heart beating, not hers.

She frowned a little and then said, "I promised I'd do someone a favor. Can we go tomorrow night?"

"Sure! That'll be great," Joe said, giving her a demure smile.

"Joe, I need some more help!" Chang called from the kitchen upstairs.

"Later," Joe said and launched himself upstairs.

She watched him go, still feeling elated at the future date. Her hand drifted from her chest as her face flushed. What she owed Jet, currently, was respect and friendship. Maybe things would change between her and Jet, but not right now.

Jet was grateful Junior was ready to head to the airport before anyone was up for breakfast. They caught a cab to the airport and checked in. Jet was disgruntled to see he was wedged in the window seat with Junior taking up the middle and aisle seats. That's what happed every time he let Junior book the tickets.

"Dang it, Junior, give me some room," Jet snapped and struggled to get an inch between him and Junior's rock hard bicep.

"Sorry," Junior shifted some, but only to bump over a hapless flight attendant. While Junior was apologizing and helping the woman up, Jet unzipped his small suitcase that had been packed for him in the morning. He decided to finish the pulp novel he had started before the alien children showed up.

Frances had crept in and packed his suitcase without waking him. He sighed despondently. She didn't even want to say goodbye, then; that's what made him want to leave so quickly this morning.

Yes, Joe was laying one the bed next to Jet's in the dead of night, but he still would have most likely put the moves on Frances again if he'd woken up in time to catch her. He began to fantasize about what he would have done to do her, but the edge of something poked his finger tip. He peered in the suitcase. In between the neatly folded clothes was an envelope.

He grabbed it and read his name in Frances' loopy writing. He ripped open the envelop as Junior struggled to seat himself again. Jet glared at him, but was pleased to see Junior pick up a magazine and read. He didn't want anyone to know Frances was writing him notes. He slid the paper out and held it close to prevent Junior from reading it accidentally.

'Dear Jet, I hope your trip is pleasant and you get to New York safely.' Jet rolled his eyes at the word pleasant. 'I hope, in the future, we can learn to have a greater friendship based on mutual respect. Thank you for the incredible gift of your heart. I'll never be able to repay you for your sacrifice, but know you will forever have my gratitude. I have to say, though, tonight I accepted a date from Joe. I think we're too different to make things work. I hope you understand. Yours, Frances.'

Jet sighed and peered out his window as the plane took off. He shut his eyes and felt the rhythmic, artificial beating in his chest. He imagined it a hollow space, now, housing nothing more than two painful memories. The first time when he lost his physical heart to Frances, the second one when she left his bed before he could convince her of his feelings.

He opened his eyes and looked over at Junior, not wishing to dwell on Frances any longer. "So how long is your lay over?"

"Two days. I was planning on getting a hotel."

Jet waved his hand in the air dismissively. "Stay at my place. I could use the company right now."