Chapter 4

Jason Stackhouse sauntered up to the door, knocking on the doorframe. After a few moments, Tommy Mickens opened the door. He didn't look too happy to see Jason, either. "What are you doing here, Stackhouse?" Tommy questioned.

"Ella called me over, Tommy." The blond man informed him, with a hint of exasperation. Tommy seemed to hate both of the Stackhouse siblings, for reasons they didn't understand.

"El's a fucking mess, she doesn't need you humping her leg, Stackhouse." Tommy said accusingly, making Jason roll his eyes.

The truth was that Jason and Ella had been friends with benefits for years, but they certainly weren't in love. Jason had always treated her with respect, and Ella was one of his best friends. Their friendship just happened to include sex, usually for comfort and stress-relief. After his horrifying stint in Hot-Shot with the werepanthers, Ella was the only one who Jason was comfortable enough with to get intimate with. She knew all too well what he was feeling. It was through Ella that he learned gentleness, and how to treat a woman he really cared about.

"Man, I'm here as Ella's friend. She called me. And I ain't leavin' without her." Jason remarked, standing his ground in front of the rather nasty twenty year old.

"For the love of God, Tommy, just let him in!" Ella's voice faintly called. Tommy stepped aside with a scowl, gesturing towards the bedroom.

Jason strode in confidently, to the woman curled on the bed. And when he caught sight of her face, a surprising anger shot through him. "El! What happened?!" He questioned, taking a gentle hold of her chin, examining each mark marring her pale skin thoroughly. "Who did this to you?"

"Jason, we'll talk about this later. Please," Ella requested, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. With a sigh, Jason relented. "Do you need me to carry you?" He asked, finally leaning in to kiss her hello.

Ella accepted his kiss contently, and shook her head. "No, just put your arm around me." She requested instead, readying herself to get up.

"How about some shoes first?" Jason suggested, glancing around the room for that, or maybe even clothes. All Ella wore was a baggy t-shirt and boxers that Jason was sure belonged to Tommy, so Jason assumed she did not have any clothes right now. He didn't know why, but he had learned Ella would not divulge anything if he badgered her. He found a pair of flip-flops by the door, and brought them back to Ella. "I think I might have some of your clothes at my place." Jason said, thoughtfully, Ella returning his look with an expression of relieved gratitude.

"Then let's go," Ella prompted, and Jason moved to wrap his arm around her, helping her to stand. Her immediate reaction was a painful grimace, a sharp intake of breath; her knees nearly buckling beneath her.

Thankfully, Jason held onto her, keeping her steady and in one place as she recovered. Ella used her free hand to press down on the throbbing wound on her thigh, dulling the pain slightly. "You know what, Ella? This is ridiculous," Jason exclaimed, putting another arm around her, and scooping her up in a bridal hold. Ella just huffed in protest, but did not argue, knowing it was useless. Jason was nearly as stubborn as she.

When Jason carried her out to his large, black truck, Tommy was suspiciously absent. But Ella was rather relieved she wouldn't have to argue with him about going to Jason's. Ella knew Tommy trusted no-one, really. So he trusted no-one to watch over Ella like he could. Not that he was particularly good at it, but Ella just suspected that Tommy needed to be needed. To have a sense of belonging, duty, and some idea of what to do with himself; especially after being no longer bound to provide for his parents.

Jason gently set Ella down in the passenger seat, closing the door after her, and walking over to his driver's seat. Ella strapped in her seat belt, relaxing into the leather seats and closed her eyes as Jason climbed into the seat next to her, starting the truck up to a purring rumble. Jason brushed her hand, concernedly, making Ella crack open an eye. "I'm fine." She assured him, closing her eyes again.

Jason sighed, and backed the truck onto the road, steering it towards the five minute trip to his own place. The ride was silent except for the soft crooning of a country singer from the radio. It was short, no longer than five minutes as promised. Jason carried her again, inside and straight to the bathroom.

"Hot bath first? You're flaking blood everywhere," Jason suggested, bending to run the bath, after setting her down on the closed toilet. Ella nodded eagerly, kicking off her flip-flops, reaching to pull off the t-shirt, carefully avoiding the tender gash on her forehead. Jason moved to help her stand, carefully sliding the boxer shorts down her hips till they pooled around her ankles. He was surprised to find her completely bare underneath the two articles of clothing, making him wonder why she had been stranded at her brother's with no clothes whatsoever.

Ella sat again, carefully unwrapping the bandage on her thigh. Jason recoiled at the sight of the stitched up bite that spread over a good third of her thigh. "Ella!" he exclaimed at the sight of the ugly, red at the edges wound. Ella just flashed him an exasperated look as she folded up the clean bandage, setting it safely on the counter where it would stay dry.

At her expression, Jason relented, at least for now. He helped Ella into to the tub, handing her a bar of soap and a washcloth. She immediately set to running the soaped-up washcloth over her limbs, ridding herself of any leftover dirt or blood that had clung to her pale skin from the night before.

Jason sat on the tile floor of the bathroom, his back leaning against the tub. He hated seeing those marks on Ella's skin. He knew she'd been through rough shit before, probably rougher than this. He hated that she acted like it was no big deal even more. Jason had raised his hand to a woman only once, and he hated himself for it.

It was while he dwelt on these thoughts that Ella snaked a hand from the water, taking a good grip of Jason's hair. Jason started at this, turning to look back at her when her grip loosened. "Don't you start moping there, Stackhouse." Ella requested. She had finished bathing herself and had shampooed her hair, and was now just soaking in the hot water to take away the sting of her wounds. She played with his dirty-blonde hair, winding it around her fingers.

"I don't like seeing ya all marked up, El." Jason murmured, turning his head to look at her. Ella's face was carefully blank, her fingers still buried in his hair. She used her grip there to drag his head towards hers; his lips to hers. Jason sighed in a strange sort of relief, with Ella's soft, warm lips against his. After a few long, blissful moments, Ella pulled away from Jason's lips. "You ready to get outta there?" he asked, nodding to the tub.

Ella nodded, releasing her grip on him as she leaned to pull the stopper from the tub. Jason stood, moving to grab a towel before moving back to wrap it around Ella as she stood, her whole body weight leaning on the porcelain tub.

When the towel was securely wrapped around her, Jason put an arm around her back and behind her legs, scooping her up in his hold; just as her feet began to slip on the wet porcelain. Jason carried her into the bedroom, setting her down on the bed before he began to rifle through his drawers. "I know I've got something…when Sookie was over cleaning a few weeks ago she had put your stuff through the wash," he muttered, moving from one set of drawers to the next.

Ella groaned at the thought of Sookie finding her clothes, her underthings, at Jason's place. It sounded terribly embarrassing for Sookie to be aware of their relationship, and to have found her things here. Jason's sister had been good enough not to mention it to Ella, and for that she was thankful.

"Here! Found some!" Jason called, kneeling on the floor to grab out her clothes, and then stood to bring them to her. He handed her a t-shirt and a pair of pajama shorts, as well as a pair of her panties.

"Thank you," Ella murmured, opening her towel and beginning to dress. She winced as her movements pulled at her wounds- especially the one on her thigh.

"Oh! Your bandage!" he reminded himself, trotting back into the bathroom. Jason returned a few moments later. He kneeled at Ella's feet, and gently began to wrap the wound on her thigh. Ella gave a little sigh of relief when Jason secured the bandage tightly. Her sigh grew a little higher in pitch when Jason pressed a soft kiss to the inside of her thigh, just below the bandage.

He turned his head to kiss her other thigh, lavishing affection on her soft tanned flesh.

"Jason…" Ella murmured, her hands reaching down for him. Jason raised his head from between her thighs so Ella could cradle his face in her hands. She ducked her head down, kissing him hard. She used her hands to gently tug him up and back, moving so that he covered her with his body.

Jason wrapped his arms around her firmly, pressing a kiss to her forehead before her lips. "You came here to cuddle, right?" he murmured, rolling to lay next to her.

Ella sighed a little, and nodded. "It's been a while since we had sex…I want to, but I'm too sore," she replied in frustration.

Jason got up, pulling the covers of the bed back. He gestured for Ella to move back onto the bed, put her head on a pillow. "We probably shouldn't, anyway. But I can do something for you," he informed her.

Ella propped her head up on her arm, smirking at him. "Is that so?" she questioned.

Jason grinned in return. "Oh, yes,"


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