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March 16th: Make It Home Tonight

 
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Ben Sullivan
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:24 am    Post subject: March 16th: Make It Home Tonight Reply with quote

Saturday, March 16th, 2013 -- evening

Despite the hangover from the night before, the day hadn't been all that bad. He'd gotten a few extra hours of sleep, and Hayley had even dropped Adam off (and picked Jackie up) so he didn't need to drive anywhere until the evening. Even after Adam was back home, things stayed calm in the house. He had homework to do -- midterms were coming up, and Adam took studying for them seriously -- so Ben caught another nap in the meantime.

Eventually, Hayley was back over (with a pizza for she and Adam to split), and Ben was off to Jackie's. He's decidedly more haggard looking than he'd been on the previous Saturday, when he'd attempted this the first time, but lucky for him, it just made him roguish, bad-boy. Didn't detract from his charm. After the night before, and all that Jackie probably had to endure during it, he felt like he probably needed all the charm he could get.

He knocks on the front door of Jackie's house, takes up a lean against the doorjamb, hands in his coat pockets. Just jeans, boots, a hoodie, a tee beneath it. The suit and tie would have made it too formal (and maybe unfairly swayed her, besides), and he can't help it -- after the argument they'd gotten into, he's a little hesitant to look quite so put together around her. He's sure, though, that that hesitation won't last long. She'd always liked ties; he was pretty sure that wouldn't ever change.

After his knock the usual pitter-patter of bare feet was missing, but it was only a short while later when the front door was tugged open. "Evenin', sweetheart." Her greeting was lacking its usual volume as well though she looked happy as ever to see him. During their first attempt at this date she was launching herself at him right about now, tossing her arms around his neck to say hello. Maybe she was trying to take it easy on him because she was far too aware of the rough evening he... Harry... had the night before. Or maybe it was the little nagging bit of uneasiness in the back of her head wanting so badly for tonight to go better than last time. As long as they didn't get into a screaming match they would come out ahead, but the thought didn't soothe her much.

Jackie had the same mindframe as Ben when it came to comfort for the evening. A deep red off the shoulder sweater which hinted at a black bra strap was paired with jeans, blonde locks hanging in their usual loose, unruly mess down her back. She stepped aside to let him in and closed the door behind him. "Hope y'got to relax for the rest of the day. Y'look..." She's pausing and eyeing him as if her next words were very important, complete with a serious expression. It collapses with a chuckle. "Handsome as ever." Arms were slid around his waist and she craned her head up towards him, lips pursed to urge him to meet her halfway.

Uneasy was a good word for it, and Ben felt it too, way at the back of his mind. It doesn't show, though, not even when Jackie eyes him as he steps inside. His brows do lift a little, and there's just a touch of an unspoken challenge in his expression, a dare to tell him he looks like hell or like he still needs sleep -- but she doesn't go that way, and he really isn't surprised, and he's laughing too. He gathers her up in a hug when she puts her arms around him, no hesitation to tip his head and kiss her. He keeps his cheek pressed to hers for a moment afterward, just savoring the closeness. When he finally pulls back, his fingers trace down her arms, and he takes both her hands in his. "And you look beautiful. You always do." A little quirk of a smile -- stupidly smitten, just a touch, but still -- but then he clears his throat, lets go of her hands, drops his gaze for a second, then tilts his head in the direction of the kitchen. "Need any help?"

Jackie wouldn't have gone anywhere near telling him he looked liked hell considering she wasn't sure she was really at the top of her game either following Harry wrangling the evening before. Really, it didn't matter how either of them looked or how they felt so long as they got to spend tonight together. A home cooked meal and a movie? She couldn't have thought of anything she wanted more. She sinks into his grasp and nuzzles her cheek against his, even trailing after him when he pulls back. She might have simply settled for making out in the foyer if he would have allowed it, but his compliment left her smiling all the same. "Thank y', sweetheart. I've trained my body to glow after a night of drinkin'. Would have been screwed more times than I can count otherwise."

Maybe skipping dinner and making out wasn't totally out of the question with the way he was looking at her, but then he was releasing her hands and nodding towards the kitchen. She would get him later. "Nope, once again y'got perfect timin'. Even better than before considerin' I even got the toast done." She reached out to take his hand and lead him towards the dining room. "Let's eat before dinner gets cold."

She'd get him later, and then some. Ben was determined for this night to go well -- just another reason to keep the easy banter going as he follows after her into the kitchen. "Better than perfect? That might be the first time anyone's told me that, believe it or not." And of course, it comes with one of those crookedmouthed grins.
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Ben Sullivan
nothingman
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 01 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dinner, much to his relief, was easy, goes without incident. Small talk, idle flirting. He helps her clean up afterward, does the dishes (even if she protests). It's only after they settle in on the couch to watch a movie that Ben really turns the conversation to something substantial -- and it's pretty extreme on that scale. He reaches over to take her hand, turns enough that he can see her more easily. "Okay, before we get sucked into... what are we watching? Slasherfest part three?" He fails at keeping a straight face, doesn't really care. "You've got those couple of surprises that I promised you. You want them now, or after?"

Jackie is just as overjoyed as Ben that dinner goes off without a hitch. It really shouldn't be so surprising to either of them, this is what they do. Spending time together was natural and always has been. After last week it was easy to let nerves slowly overtake them, but once the night is rolling along it's easy to figure out that there was nothing to worry about. It was a hiccup, a distant memory. His joke about her movie selection gets a wide smile. "Still a horror flick, but not a slasher. Figured we would try somethin' really romantic," How she kept a straight face was a mystery. "28 Days Later." The serious expression only lasted a couple seconds before she chuckled and shifted in her seat on the couch, mirroring him so she could see him better as well with her legs folded beneath her. "I won't be able to concentrate on the movie waitin' for surprises soooo, now please?" A wide smile and bounce in place. Surprises from Ben always managed to reduce her to acting like an anxious girl on Christmas morning.

"Oh, zombies. Very romantic." He keeps a straight face that time, though he's smiling again soon enough. "Alright, now, since you said please." Lies -- he probably wanted to tell her as much as she wanted to know. "So, I guess I should do the one you don't know anything about first, so I can get an unbiased answer..." Except he hasn't really thought about how to ask. After a little huff of a sigh -- an amused one, at himself, for taking so long -- he goes on. "So I know we talked about taking it slow, not rushing things. And I think we've done a really good job of that so far. No matter how painful it was sometimes." His smile goes a little more crooked, but fades back into something softer, less sly, more affectionate. "But it's been working out for these past five months, so if this is too fast? Tell me. I'll understand. But it feels like the right time to me, and even Adam is on board, so--" Cuts off a little abruptly, because he realizes that maybe he's rambling; he gives her hand a little squeeze. "I want you to move in with me."

Her nose crinkled sweetly at the Zombie comment. "Y'know nothin' is too good for my man." Distracted by the promise of surprises she leaned forward a hair, hands folded in her lap, attentive and still while he explained. It was the part about giving an unbiased answer that made Jackie's brows rise. This wasn't a gift of some sort so already any guesses she had made between his initial teasing and now were completely wrong. Even if Ben was taking his time, trying to piece it together in his head, huffing at himself, Jackie was still as patient as ever. No gestures to hurry or verbal cues that she couldn't wait any longer even if the anticipation was twisting in her stomach excitedly. When he does begin Jackie nods slowly in agreement. They had been taking their time for many things and, as he said, some of them were dragged out to the point of being absolutely excruciating, but always worth it in the end.

Her smile is soft while he goes on, a progress report of their five months together and how well it had been going so far. She could enjoy a mutual pat on the back. But he brings up Adam being on board and her bottom lip sticks out, lips pursing because she has no idea where he's taking it until he drops that bomb at the very end. Jackie had only managed half a squeeze in return on his hand before her jaw was dropping, obviously side swiped by it. She never would have guessed it. Even if left for the entire week to ponder Ben's surprises that wouldn't have come to mind.

"I don't know if it's too fast." Quietly, and the words poured out of her mouth before she could put much more thought into them than that. They had previously tried so hard to go by the standards and practices of others when it came to time frames even if they had no idea what the general consensus actually was of the public, but it was following their own gut instincts that had led them along a path that felt right for them. Maybe that's why a smile was blooming through her surprise and confusion. "I don't know if it is, but I want to. I... I would love that, honestly." Her excitement was picking up just as her entire form was and moving around so she could settle herself in his lap, a knee on either side of his thighs and facing him. "I love bein' at your place with you an' Adam. I like bein' here, havin' Hayley around an' all that, but I really feel at home when I'm at your place. I swear it gets harder to leave everytime an'-" Something seemed to just click into place, fingers curled into the fabric of his shirt and she leaned forward like this might be some sort of secret. "Adam was really okay with it? He said he would be alright with me movin' in with y'all?"

Ben had meant it, when he'd said that if it was too fast, just tell him, and he'd be fine with it, but her 'I don't know,' at first, makes his heart jump into his throat. He shouldn't worry that he'd asked her too soon and that that will scare her off, but he does, for just a split second--

But she's smiling, and that fixes everything. She says she'd love to, and he smiles too, ready to put his arms around her in an easy embrace when she climbs into his lap, his hands clasped at the small of her back. The rest of what she says shouldn't really be a surprise, but it's good to hear, means a lot, and the way his smile quirks just a little makes it clear. Touched.
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Ben Sullivan
nothingman
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28780.38 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even though she hooks her fingers into his shirt all the time, he notices it every time too. It's always been something that makes him feel wanted by her. Automatic, he ducks his head a little when she leans in. "Yeah, sweetheart. I think he likes it when you're there. He doesn't have to..." Pausing, because how to phrase it? "He doesn't have to worry about me so much. He can just be a kid." It's sort of a sad reason, and he realizes it, so, "And he likes having someone to gang up on me with." A little flash of a grin, and then he just pulls her in close, cheek to cheek, one hand in her hair. "I think he sees how good things are when you're there. He has a lot of fun with you, and he can probably tell how happy you make me." Just a ghost of a kiss snuck to the side of her neck. "Because you do make me really, really happy. It feels fine when it's just me and Adam, but it's more like home when you're there too."

There was a brief moment where Jackie glowed internally at how easily they fell together. She preferred being curled in his lap or perched like this when they could during more serious conversations, a way to keep them even more connected than they already were. On the plus side, Ben never seemed to have any complaints about it. Her smile widens, first when he tucks his head in towards her to help keep her secret and then it continues when he goes on about Adam. She always felt that she got along with Adam really well even if it was hard to tell at times with all his shrugging and non-verbal teenage answers. But to have it laid out so plainly that he liked having her around and he wasn't opposed to her being with Ben, that warmed her even more. His joke about them ganging up on him made her chuckle. "I learned everythin' I know about givin' you a hard time from him." Lies, she had taught Adam a thing or two but she would leave the credit to him.

It barely took the tug for her to lean in closer to him, nuzzling her cheek to his while making sure to not disturb that hand in her hair. "It means the world t'me, sweetheart. That y'all want me to move in. You sayin' I help make your home feel a little more complete. That's a really big deal an' I'm not good enough at stringin' together words to tell you how it makes me feel, but you make me really, really happy, too." Her head turned to press a kiss to his jaw in exchange for the one at her neck. "Both of y'do."

Sometimes Ben thinks about it too, how well they go together -- not just physically, but emotionally, in general. With so many reasons why they shouldn't work together at all, it still strikes him, sometimes, how well they work. "That's a good way to put it, sweets. You make it feel more complete. Kind of... Kind of like a little family, aren't we?" His heart moves to his throat for a few beats, but he fights off the emotion (or tempers it, at least), pulling back and letting go, though he doesn't move to get her out of his lap, only to go into one pocket of his hoodie, retrieve a little black box -- familiar, the same kind that her charms always come in. He offers it to her wordlessly. Sometimes he doesn't say anything when he gives them to her because he wants her to figure it out for herself, or it's something self explanatory, but this time, it's because the little oval locket charm inside doesn't really represent a memory, but an experience yet to come -- and maybe he's struggling to find the words for it, maybe he's wondering if it's too much, too presumptuous, a sort-of-promise they aren't ready for.

When he calls them a little family her bottom lip is captured between her teeth and it obviously takes her a couple seconds as well to calm herself before replying quietly. "It feels that way, doesn't it? Has for a lil' while." Telling him she liked the sound of it went without saying considering how bright her expression was. Jackie is content while he moves to retrieve the little black box, no worries that he was attempting to disengage himself from her or kick her off. There was a little clap of delight when the box was offered out to her and cupped between her palms. She never could have previously imagined how much she would look forward to getting these keepsakes, but Ben somehow always managed to capture the best of times for them and represent them perfectly with the little silver charms.

The box was folded in her fingers and she watched him briefly, waiting to see if he did have some sort of explanation or prompt to go along with the box. When he says nothing, only gives her that patient smile, it's her cue to carefully open the lid to peer down at the charm. It's so simple and it's an added moment before she realizes it's a locket. "Oh, Ben, I really love this one." She loved them all, but the newest ones were always her favorite. Her nail was delicately slid along the seam of the locket to open it, honestly expecting to see a picture of them inside it, but it was empty and the amused confusion that sprawled across her features was instant. "It's empty." Jackie even turned the locket towards him like he might not believe her. Nothing in her features was disappointed, but it looked as if she knew she was missing something.

He looks a little amused too, just when she turns the locket toward him. "Yeah, I know." He takes the charm from her, takes her hand, too, turning the nearly-full bracelet around her wrist until he finds an empty space. "There are a lot of important people in your life, right? I'm not sure I would have picked the right ones." He takes his time in clipping the little silver locket to an open link, because it means his eyes can stay there, on the glint of silver, the collection of memories, even the delicate skin at the inside of her wrist, instead of looking her in the eye, when he goes on to say, casually, nonchalant, especially considering the gravity of it, "Besides, maybe the people that belong in there, the ones most important to you -- maybe you haven't met them yet. Maybe they, uh," he glances up from her wrist to her face, maybe trying to gauge her comprehension of what he was trying to say-without-saying; he gives her a flash of a smile, clearly nervous (unlike him), and then his focus is on her wrist again, and he's absently hooking his index finger into her bracelet, "Maybe they haven't been born yet." This time, when he lifts his gaze, his eyes stay on hers.

Usually Jackie was so good at figuring out what the little charms represent even if a few of them had taken longer for her to piece together than others. When Ben says that he knows the locket is empty and proceeds to take it from her, she's no closer to an answer and assumes he'll be kind enough to notice her lingering confusion then walk her through it. Her wrist is lifted, offered while he searches for the next little spot waiting for a charm amongst the growing memories. Jackie nods when he mentions all of the important people in her life, smirks when he says he might not have picked the right ones for the locket. He's not looking at her but she thinks nothing of it and assumes it's because he's so focused on the task at hand which she is watching as well even if she can't really offer any assistance.

It's when he says those who belong in the locket might be people she hasn't met yet that she looks to his face, still clearly amused because it has yet to click in her head what he's talking about. He meets her gaze and he's nervous. Why would Ben be nervous? That's the question that lingers at the forefront of her mind until he continues on and drops that last line, Maybe they haven't been born yet. Jackie is still staring at him through a gentle, confused smile but slowly he could make out each and every moment of her finally understanding what he was saying. Her eyes slowly went wide, lips parting into a soft 'o'. "Ben..." Barely a whisper. Just when her surprised look lingers into the territory of possibly becoming worrisome for him, one corner of her lips pull back in a crooked half smile that could rival his. "You're talkin' about babies, aren't you? Our babies?" It was impossible to reign in her grin at the last two words. They had spoken before about the possibility of children between them, something they had to agree on before they got even more serious than they already were, but that conversation was laced with maybes and what-ifs. This was something much more solid, a way to say it was not a matter of 'if' but only 'when'.

For that moment, after she figures it out, says his name, seems frozen in surprise, he's convinced he's made a horrible mistake. He's about to backpedal, try to take it back somehow, explain or apologize -- but then she smiles, crookedly, and he can't help but mirror it. "Uh-huh." He takes her hands in his. "Not now, I'm not saying we should get started on that now. It's way, way too soon for that." Take it slow. "But I wanted you to know I was serious, that I meant it when I said I wanted to be the father of your children. That locket might be empty now, but it won't always. You'll have the perfect pictures for it someday. Perfect pictures of your perfect kids. Our perfect kids."
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Ben Sullivan
nothingman
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Joined: 01 Aug 2012
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a small elated squeaky sound that Jackie manages to contain by biting her lip again when Ben confirms that she figured it out. Fingers lace tightly through his, an anchor of sorts to keep her from squirming and bouncing on his lap giddily like she wants to He's explaining that they don't have to try for babies just yet and she's nodding along quickly. "Oh Lord, I know. I know. I refuse to miss out on bein' able to wear cut offs this summer after havin' to wait out this never ending winter." Because, obviously, that was the most pressing reason to be responsible and patiently wait on adding to their little family. Her hands unwrap from his but only so she can frame his face in her palms, pressing kisses to his nose, cheeks, chin, and finally lips. "Our perfect kids." She had to echo him because it sounded so good. All of the excitable energy she had was muted so she could lean her forehead against his, still carefully holding his face in her hands. "It's so thoughtful, Ben. The locket, movin' in. Y'made me so happy tonight, but y'always manage to and that's why I love y'so much. I'm not sure what I did to be so blessed, but I'm thankful for it everyday. Thankful for you. Thankful for Adam. For everything we got."

She's telling him she's lucky, feels blessed, but he doesn't tell her that he's the lucky one. He can tell she's sort of holding the energy in, and that just makes his smile go crooked. He loves that about her, how excitable she is -- how happy he can make her. That she's become a constant bright spot for him, even when so many other things are chaotic and uncertain.

He laughs a little when she gives her reasoning (cutoffs, of course), and endures the barrage of kisses with a nose wrinkling smile. He leans his head against hers when she comes in close, though, splaying his hands across her back, curling his fingers into her sweater. "I love you too," and he pulls her into a tight hug, cheek to cheek, ghosting a kiss to her ear. "All ways-always, sweetheart." He's never good at sitting still, and his hands roam idly across her back, bury into her hair eventually. "I know you probably had your heart set on that movie," low-voiced, close to her ear, "but I'm not really in the mood for it anymore." Another kiss, this one aimed to her neck, just under the angle of her jaw. "Kinda would rather take you to bed."

Hands slide from his jaw to drape around his neck and shoulders when he draws her in for that hug. After the kiss along the cusp of her ear she buries her face against his neck, muffling her words when she echoed him again. "All ways, always." For as much energy and excitement as she had surging through her she was content to stay like this, pressed flush against him with his hands wandering the expanse of her back and her free to simply hold him. It was the mention of the planned romantic zombie movie that made her snicker and lift her head, only enough so she could speak clearly without disturbing his kiss. "I don't think I could sit through a movie anymore, sweetheart. I think this moment calls for bed, we got some celebratin' to do." She tipped away from him, giving him a very serious expression with her hands still clasped at the back of his neck. "But I wanna be carried." The stern expression broke and she laughed, she had to because she knew was a silly, snotty little demand it was but she didn't have a lick of shame over it.

"You want to be carried?" His own expression stays serious, maybe a little incredulous at the demand. Without warning, he shifts his hold on her, hauling her up onto his shoulder at the same time he's getting up to his feet, one arm wrapped around her thighs to help hold her in place. He knows that's not at all what she'd meant, how she wanted him to carry her off to bed, and that's exactly why he does it. "Be careful what you ask for," a warning as he heads to the stairs that led upstairs, though he's barely able to stop himself from laughing too.

"That's what I said." Leveling her gaze on him to show she wasn't kidding even if she was still snickering. Then she was being heaved up and over his shoulder causing a squeak of surprise that her ego would never recover from, but she was thankfully so distracted that she couldn't dwell on that. "This is not what I meant!" Stating the obvious but her laughter picked up considerably. While she didn't squirm enough to throw him off balance in his trek to the stairs, there was a playful wriggle before she reached down to smack him on the butt a few times. He couldn't put her in that position and not expect that to happen, though she was positive she would pay for it shortly once they were in the bedroom.

"Then next time you should be more specif--" He cuts off, laughing, when she smacks him, though he quiets quick enough. Even though her retaliation had been playful, it still seemed to flip a switch in him, and there's a little bit of a croon in his voice while he takes the stairs. "You're in trouble, sweets." But he was positive she already knew that. After all the surprises earlier in the evening, it seemed like the rest of the night was going to be enjoyably predictable.
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