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April 10th: We're In This Together

 
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Jackie Sullivan
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 9:57 pm    Post subject: April 10th: We're In This Together Reply with quote

It had been a very exciting and busy day for Jackie. She managed to announce the good news of her engagement to her family, the girls at the Busted Knuckle all shrieked and did a round of shots in her honor when she told them of the proposal, there was an interlude to go shooting with Ben, then she finished it all off with her pole dancing class. As much as she wanted to curl up on the couch and watch a bad movie, she was seated at the dining room table with an open notebook sitting in front of her.

When Ben asked her how long she would need to plan the wedding she said a week. He upped it to two. It was an easy enough task if you really put your mind to it, wasn't it? Pick out a venue, some dresses, send out a few invites, beer and food. It was no worse than a bonfire, right? She could toss a party together in her sleep. Oh, how wrong she was. She was curled in her seat with her chin on her knee, tapping her pen against the sheet of relatively blank paper in front of her. It only had one word at the top. Location? It was her first decision and she was already stumped. The longer she stared at the page, the more miserable she became. What to do in a time like this? "Ben!?" Call for back-up.

It had been a busy day for Ben, too, but mostly just catching up on all the work he'd been avoiding for the past few weeks. He'd been out of the office a lot, tracking leads down -- which was good, because he'd burned off a lot of excess giddy energy. He's actually just coming down the stairs from fighting Adam into bed, intending on passing out in front of the TV for a while, but Jackie calls him, so he detours into the kitchen instead. "Yeah?" He glances at the notebook in front of her, the one word on it, but pretending like he doesn't see, he's heading over to the fridge instead, opening up the freezer to grab a pint of ice cream. Plain vanilla. "You want any?" He pauses by the drawer he'd opened, one spoon already in hand.

Oooh, the pathetic pout she turned on him the moment he was within eyesight. He manages to briefly distract her with the ice cream. Previously she would have rolled her eyes and mumbled something about frickin' Canadians, but Jackie was quickly learning that Ben and Adam's love for ice cream no matter what the weather was is something she could come to enjoy. "Yes, please." That out of the way, even before he can sit down at the table with her, she's leaning forward and folding her arms across the table. "When you were imaginin' us gettin' married, where did you picture it in your head?"

He grabs a second spoon, and it's only because he's raised a child into teenage years that he's able to resist that pout. No empathetic noise, no 'poor baby's. He just sits down across from her, plunks the carton of ice cream down on the tabletop between them, and holds her spoon out to her, waiting for her to take it before he digs in with his own. The ice cream gives him a little distraction at least, giving him time to think her question over. "I don't think I had it anywhere specific," admitting. "Outside. That's about it. Why, where are you picturing it?"

It's very doubtful Jackie would be miffed to have her temperament compared that of a practically teenage boy because she was often in awe of the things that Adam could sometimes get away with simply by shrugging and huffing. What she would most likely not appreciate was that Ben had tricks up his sleeves from handling Adam that left him immune to the charms only the baby girl of a family could possess. When the pout had no sway on him she let it go, taking the spoon from him instead. A spoonful of ice cream was picked up and brought towards her lips. "I like the idea of it bein' outside." One short pause. "There are some amazin' garden locations back home in Georgia and the weather would be just right around this time." The ice cream also gave her an out, taking the bite while she let that sink in on him.

Ben smiles a little, something soft in it, when she says she likes the idea of it being outside. They've not planned much of anything yet, but it was good to know they agreed on that at least. The smile fades when she mentions Georgia, and he sighs, dropping his gaze, sinking his spoon into the ice cream, but letting it go, leaving it there. "Jackie... sweetheart, I would love it to be in Georgia. You know I would." He makes himself look over at her, and he can't help but look sorry. "But you know I can't go there, too. I'm sure we can find someplace nice here." Picking up his spoon again, thankful for the distraction once more.

"I know." Making it clear she was fully aware this was a long shot sort of dream, but it was hard to let it go. "I know y'would if y'could but... y'know what this means, right? I can't have my Mama there, or my Daddy, or anyone else from back home. You can't have your friends from Canada fly in. I mean, how would those directions work with the invitations? Head down the desolate road with the burned out fruit stand on the corner, keep goin' until you hit the portal. Hold onto your a*s." Her spoon was shoved into the container of ice cream as well. She was becoming so upset it no longer tasted good.

"The first time I got married it was a mistake, plain an' simple. No one was there, it was like we were doin' somethin' wrong and we were." She gestured between them. "But this is right. I believe it in my heart this is the path we're supposed to be on an' I want to share it with the people I love an' care about. I'm happy I'll have my brothers there, my cousins, Peaches, the girls from work, but..." Her bottom lip popped into that pout again, this time it was natural and not an attempt to use it as a tactic. "I just wish there was somethin' we could do. There's really no chance?" She had been spoiled by Christmas, a taste of possibility and it was difficult to believe it was out of the question.

His brows draw together, slightly, a little pained, when she explains that this means that her parents won't be able to be there. His friends from Vancouver, he honestly hadn't even thought about inviting, but that hardly matters in comparison to her parents. He's quiet while she explains, even more, why it's important that everyone that everyone can be there this time. It tugs at his heartstrings -- the pout doesn't help; this time he really is affected by it -- and he's about to answer her, but he pauses a little oddly, midmotion. A couple of slower blinks, and then he's reanimated, stabbing his spoon into the ice cream, folding his arms across his chest.

She might not pick up on it at first. It had been a quicker switch than normal, and under much less stressful circumstances than usual, but his movements are different, the way he holds himself changed. Like he's bigger than he is. If she can't tell from that, though, maybe the voice would do it, even if it's just two words. "No chance." Lacking warmth, lower, rougher.

Jackie wasn't trying to hurt Ben, but the way he was looking at her at least let her know that he understood where she was coming from. He was sympathetic. It was extremely important to her for her parents to be there, but she really did feel it would benefit him as well. So much normalcy, surrounded by so many people who cared about them on a day of celebration. She's not entirely sure what she's hoping for, what he can do, but she's holding her breath when he seems like he's going to say something. Praying hard for something good, some bit of hope.

But the pause goes on for too long and she's convinced it's because he doesn't know how to nicely turn her down. Her shoulders sink as his seem to draw upward. He must be finding his resolve. But even when Ben was telling her no he managed to do it in a way that was nice, caring. The two words that came out of his mouth so flatly instantly had her brows drawing together. She's quickly irritated, ready to give him hell, but something clicks for her. The pucker of her brows loosens and her head tips with the one word question. "Ben?"
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He doesn't answer it, not verbally. The faint quirk at one side of his mouth, though -- a crooked little smile, but not like Ben's tended to be, because right now, he looked amused, darkly, and nothing should be funny to either of them -- that quirk is probably answer enough. He leans forward a little, toward her, repeats, "No chance," a little slower, like he thought she was deaf or stupid, and then he gets to his feet.

The non-answer was all she needed, Ben wouldn't drag this out for her if she was unsure he was still with her. With the way he looked at her, held himself, the darkness in his voice? "Sam." Her reaction to him so often was fear because he often came when Ben and Jackie were at their worst. In the middle of a fight, something heated, then Sam would step forward to match her anger before doubling it. This time? Her hands were tossed up and there was a huff of irritation. "Sonofabitch." Thankfully she managed to keep her voice low since Adam was upstairs sleeping. "Why are you here? There was nothin' stressful happenin', he's not in any sorta danger. It's me an' Ben havin' a conversation. I never imagined you could pick a time to drop in where you're even less wanted than usual." Impressed, but not in a good way.

"You want to talk to Ben?" It's a condescending sort of look he gives her, like he feels sorry for her. "I don't know why he's doing this. You're not too bright, sometimes." He leans forward, palms on the tabletop, leaning in toward her, across the table. "Ben doesn't make the decision about leaving here. I do."

"Do I want to talk to Ben? That's a stupid question with an obvious answer. Who's bein' dumb now?" Someone telling her she's not bright? It's nothing she hasn't heard before. The look she gives him in return is flat and unamused. She's far too tired to get her blood boiling over anything Sam has to say. Besides, yelling at him and calling him every name in the book wasn't going to help her in this discussion. "Fine, you make that decision?" Her legs were uncurled from her seat, feet lowered to the ground so she could take on a much more business-like posture. "How about you have yourself a seat an' we'll talk this out? You want a cup of coffee?" Offering Sam a cup of coffee. Well, there's something she never imagined she would be doing.

"A cup of coffee." Sam repeats it, and even though he never loses that edge of danger, of volatility, some of it ebbs away, replaced by disbelief, slightly easier amusement. "No." But at least he sits down across from her. "So go ahead," he spreads his hands in a small gesture toward Jackie before folding his arms across his chest, "Talk this out."

His repetition of her offer had her assuming he was teasing her, but she didn't let it eat away at her. Sam was an a*s, but he was supposed to be. A mental bodyguard, as Jackie had one time put it to herself while casually pondering the existence of Ben's boys and what they would mean for their future together. Bossman wouldn't hire wimps to work the door at the Busted Knuckle and someone like that would be just as useless when it came to protecting Ben during hard times. He tells her to talk it out and while she wasn't prepared to have to present this to anyone other than Ben she continues on. "I know the last time Ben was outside of RhyDin it didn't go well, but that was in the name of Adam. Sure, things got outta hand, but it did end well. I'm sure you're usin' that as a major reason to not let him get outta RhyDin again. Protectin' him." Now it was her turn to allow a little mocking into those last two words.

It was teasing. It was being an a*s. Usually, as difficult as it might be to believe, he's even worse -- much meaner, or physical. Not that Jackie is a stranger to that. He listens quietly to Jackie, watching her intently. It's different from the overattentiveness that surfaces in Ben from time to time; Ben tends to just come off as a little invasive, too assessing. Sam looks for weakness. "It shouldn't have happened. He shouldn't have gone and he knew it. I can't trust him not to do something else stupid. Run off somewhere else he shouldn't be going." He makes a face, sort of disgusted. It's not easy to forget that Sam, sometimes, really does not seem to like Ben at all. "And keep being a bitch, Jackie. See if that gets you anywhere." Not easy to forget that he doesn't like Jackie, either.

As searching as Sam was attempting to be, Jackie was doing her best to be distant. It almost came off as her looking bored with the way her gaze flickered aside from time to time, but it always came back to him and she was listening carefully. "He was miserable not knowin' what was goin' on with Adam. If you keep someone prisoner for long enough, box 'em away from someone they care about, you're really surprised that they're gonna make a jailbreak the first chance they get?" Equating Sam to a warden probably wasn't a good idea, but that's how it felt at times with Ben not being able to leave RhyDin.

"He doesn't have anywhere else to run off to outside of Thomaston. Adam is here with us. All our friends an' family are goin' to be there. It's goin' to be a happy day. I understand that you have to protect him from things an' himself sometimes," That was a feat in itself, Jackie admitting that Sam served a purpose. "But you're reachin' the point where you're keepin' him so confined that you're not just hidin' him away from the scary things. You're keepin' him from the good things, too. The stuff he's supposed to be able t'enjoy 'cause y'keep him from breakin'."

She had been sincere in everything she said, almost boarding on thankful, but Sam calling her a bitch poked just enough to get a retort. "You know damn well this ain't even close to bein' bitchy for me, Sam. Settle down now."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You think he's the prisoner?" Incredulous, and maybe a little angry -- more than usual. But that anger dulls to just a smoulder, glowering at Jackie while she goes on. She acknowledges that at least he's doing his job -- that's good. "You don't get to say what's good for him and what he doesn't need protecting from. You don't know. You think you do, but you don't, and that's dangerous, because you put that in his head -- that you know better. That he knows better. And he doesn't." Silent for a moment, watching her, something a little wary in it now, and then his chin ticks up a little and he leans back in his chair. "Where do you want to take him? Just to Thomaston? Just for that day?"

"He's a prisoner in RhyDin. I didn't say he was the only one, but I highly doubt y'want me to start ponderin' on you and your situation. Maybe that's another conversation considerin' we got a lifetime to get t'know one another now, don't we?" It could be taken as an olive branch, but it was also the promise that Sam was stuck with Jackie for a very long time whether he liked it or not. "I don't always know, but I'm tryin' to learn. You sit in there watchin' every goddamn thing we do, you know I been lettin' up when it gets to be too much for him. Takin' your cues when he gets them lil'..." A gesture to her face. "fades. I'm tryin' an' you can't tell me otherwise without it bein' bullsh*t, Sam, so don't. But you honestly find me one reason why keepin' a man from his weddin' day surrounded by people that love him is gonna do him any good."

She was no longer looking away from him. Now she was taking him in as closely as he had been doing to her, though she wasn't searching out weaknesses. She was picking out all the differences between Ben and Sam, tucking them away so they would be that much easier to notice in the future. "To Thomaston for the wedding." She hesitated. More was coming and he wasn't going to be happy so she braced herself. "It would be for more than a day. Get to Thomaston the day before, have the weddin' on April 27th..." Chewing at the side of her mouth, wondering when Sam was going to toss up his hands and say it was too much. "I want a honeymoon, too. I don't know where, but on Earth. Not in RhyDin. One week, at least."

When Jackie says they've got a lifetime together, he smiles, but it's sharp. A little threatening. "I guess we do." Could have been viewed as an olive branch, or her telling him that he's stuck with her -- but Sam knows it means that Jackie understands he isn't going anywhere. That's good too.

"I know you're trying to learn, but you still dig too goddamn much. It isn't good for him. It's hidden for a reason, we took it for a reason. You want to turn him into a victim? Because you're going to, if you keep going." A little bit of insight, maybe. The sickness itself, the amnesia, was what kept him well. He rolls his shoulders, cracks his neck. "So keep learning. Maybe one of these days you'll finally figure that out."

The look on his face is standoffish, vaguely challenging, grows moreso when Jackie says that it was really two days. When she mentions a honeymoon, his jaw shifts to one side, and he looks obviously pissed off. But he doesn't answer right away, apparently thinking it over. Eventually, "Someplace quiet for that week. No partying, no clubs. Nowhere he'll have to feel like he needs to look out for you."

"I don't poke an' prod at anythin' Ben doesn't wonder about first. Part of him knows y'all do it for a reason and he accepts that, but another part of him probably doesn't like the shots always bein' called for him. It has to be hard havin' so much of you held just outta reach sometimes, knowin' that it's all bein' locked inside your head away from you." She gestured at him before he could retort. "Don't get your panties twisted, I understand why, but c'mon, it's not an easy thing to always grin an' bear."

When he goes silent concerning the wedding and the vacation she manages to keep her expression blank. She doesn't want to give away her worry, the fact that he had control over the happiness of two people he didn't even much care for. When he answers she takes a deep breath. Jackie wants to jump out of her seat and dance but they're not out of the woods yet. "I don't know if y'noticed but when Ben an' I vacation we tend to be jus' fine entertainin' ourselves, alone. No need for parties an' clubs." She rubbed at her chin, as if she had more sway in this than she actually did. "Some place quiet can be done, but I'm gonna let Ben pick." While they were bargaining. "Can I get two weeks?" Why not go for broke?

"It doesn't matter if he's thinking about it first, and it doesn't matter if it's hard for him. Poor Ben," and yes, it's mocking, though after, he just turns dead serious. "It's a hundred times harder for him to go through the things we keep. Sometimes he understands that. Sometimes he doesn't. We're working on that." Not a nice smile, all teeth. But that fades too, and under that always present danger, he's thoughtful. "Two weeks out of RhyDin. Bring him back by curfew, or he's grounded." Sam has a sense of humor, but it's the black kind, and the reappearance of that sharp little smile makes it clear that whatever he's alluding to was not going to be good, and was probably going to hurt.

"One last thing," and he picks the spoon out of the ice cream, left-handed, though he doesn't eat the spoonful, "There's always a risk when he does this. I can tell everybody that we're going back and not to f*ck with that, but I can't make them behave. Some of them really like it here. So every time you do this, there's a chance it could go wrong." He eats the spoonful of vanilla, and it's hard to say which is more strange: that he's doing something so normal and casual, or how easily he says the rest. "He could blow up. He could get sucked into the Nexus and end up somewhere else with no way back. Maybe somehow we'd all get out, be our own people. I don't know. But," he digs another spoonful of ice cream out of the carton, "you should know that, the danger you put him in."
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Fine. I'm workin' on it, too. It ain't like there's a handbook to all of it. It's trial an' error. I'm not tryin' to force him to remember everything, just attemptin' to help him understand what does come to mind for him. Or somethin'." Eyes rolled and her patience was wearing thin. On the plus side this was probably the first time Sam and Jackie had come face to face without one of them laying hands on the other. Namely, his hands on her. But it was when he gave into her demands, out of RhyDin for two weeks, that a face splitting smile bloomed across her features. "He'll back back. Maybe even a day early so y'don't start panickin'." His grotesque little smile made hers dim and she sank back into her seat, but she still managed to retain her manners. "Thanks." Or at least sort of since the word was tight and mumbled.

She assumed that was the end of it but he continues on. Jackie's watching him carefully with the spoon, only because Sam moving in general often ended badly for her. The weight of his warning is doing wonders to deflate any sort of excitement she had, her shoulders sinking along with her expression. Of course he couldn't leave her happy. Sam's meaning in life was to protect Ben and make Jackie miserable. The urge to call him an a*shole is strong with this one, but she refrains. Instead she digs into the next thing that pops to mind. "Then why allow it? I'm the bratty, blonde fiance you hate. Why let me call the shots an' get what I want, what he wants, when it's your job to protect the system whether we like it or not?"

Sam watches her for a moment, a long one, and then he shrugs, eats another spoonful of ice cream. "It's complicated. And because he's stubborn. And so are you. I'm giving you a chance to see if you can take care of him, even though I know it's a bad idea. --Not that I'll be going away if you can. You can't deal with everything," the edge to his voice is a little sarcastic, like that's obvious. "If I really wanted to protect us without any risks, I'd either keep him in the dark forever or off him. I can be reasoned with, Jackie. I know that's not reasonable. I can be reasonable." Of course, with that smile, it's likely that his definition of 'reasonable' isn't standard. "Oh, and-- congratulations." Hard to tell if he means it, and right after, the smile disappears, his eyes close for a second. He looks a little confused, slowly puts the spoon back into the ice cream, leaving it there, folding his hands on the tabletop before lifting his gaze to her. "Sorry. I, uh... missed some of that." Ben again, and he actually looks a little apologetic, something Sam probably isn't even capable of.

A streak of pride flashed across Jackie's features when she was called stubborn. It definitely wasn't the worst thing she had ever been called. Thank goodness she had Sam there to keep her in check, to say it was a bad idea to trust Jackie with Ben. It's sour note after sour note but the one that really sticks out to her is his talk of keeping Ben in the dark forever. Her mouth opens to ask, he cuts her off with a congratulations, then he's slipping off before she can get anything out.

The change was much easier to pick out this time and she was left with her mouth still open, ready to speak when Ben returned. Her lips thinned and she leaned forward to pick up her spoon from the ice cream container, she needed some after that. "Y'missed a lot. I just had a conversation with our favorite psychopath." She was still processing everything and needed the distraction of another bite of ice cream to give her time.

Ben's brows pinch together slightly, a mix of perplexed and concerned. "Really? Why, what-- are you okay?" And then he looks surprised, because usually after an encounter with Sam, at least one of them is in bad shape. That didn't seem to be the case this time around. "I didn't even know it was coming, we were just talking about... Georgia? Traveling there?" It's as good a guess as he has.

"We were talkin' about Georgia, you an' I, but it was nothin' bad. He came around 'cause he said it was his decision." She was still taking bites of ice cream here and there. It was so odd to see her so casual after a bout with Sam. "I'm fine, we just talked it out." She left her spoon in the carton of ice cream and pulled her hand back to pick up her pen so she could write in her notebook. "Location... Thomaston, Georgia. Honeymoon... Earth, somewhere, you get to pick... somewhere relaxing, but we get two weeks." She was trying to be so serious when she said it, but by time she was done she was grinning up at him. "He said we get two weeks outside of RhyDin. Whatcha think?" She hoped she did good.

When Jackie says the wedding is going to be in Georgia, he looks disappointed, actually opens his mouth to say something, but when she goes on, says that they get two weeks for a honeymoon, it all comes together, and his mood turns around instantly. "Wait, he said-- Holy sh*t, Jackie, I can't believe it." He's grinning ear to ear though, so obviously he can believe it, and he does. He reaches across the table to take one of her hands, the smile dimming slightly, but just so it's more affectionate. "I'm proud of you. I don't know how you did it, but I'm really, really proud of you." Not only that she'd gotten through an interaction with Sam without someone coming out worse for wear, but that she'd gotten such a great result, too. He gives her hand a squeeze before letting go, leaning back and kicking his feet up onto the chair next to him. Right-handed, now, when he digs into the ice cream again. "Do you have anything in mind for the honeymoon? I bet Europe's nice this time of year. We could get a little cottage in the French countryside, or a villa in some little Italian town... Hell, two weeks, we could do both, if you wanted."

There's disappointment in his features, but Jackie doesn't let it soil her mood. She waits for Ben to process the information and just as she expected, once it clicks into place her grin is mirroring his. "Believe it, baby!" She laughs but when he takes her hand she's crinkling her nose at him sweetly. He was proud of her and that was somehow even better than the promise of two weeks outside of RhyDin, somewhere exotic and different, alone. "It wasn't jus' me. He was well behaved, too." Yes, she was actually giving Sam props. Ben had obviously missed quite the conversation.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Upon its release her hand cups her chin, elbow propped on the table while she pondered the oh-so-important task of deciding where to honeymoon. "Europe?" A lift of her brows in awe. "I never thought I would go to Europe. Both of those sound like real good ideas, honestly. Maybe you can be in charge of the honeymoon? You might have a better idea of somewhere for us to go an' I trust whatever y'pick. Besides, I'm up to my neck as it is gettin' everythin' else together." Not that she was complaining since it seemed nothing could make her bright expression dim.

"He was even well behaved?" Now he really looks incredulous. "Damn. If I didn't know better, I'd think it's some kind of trick." Amused, though, so he's probably kidding. "I think it'd be nice there for us. Away from everything. Unless there's somewhere else you had in mind? Any dream vacations you wanted to take?" He gets up to his feet then, wincing a little -- long day, and he'd been way too excited to sleep well the night before, so he was paying for it today -- picking up the carton of ice cream to put it away, toss the spoons in the dishwasher. "You know what, I'm going to hire a wedding planner for you. Just to help out. It's a lot to pull off in two weeks, and I want you to enjoy it as much as you can, not be so stressed that these couple of weeks just suck." He's not entirely sure how she'll take the suggestion, so he's sort of keeping a casual distance, leaning back against the counter nearby. "It's no good if you're so exhausted planning the whole thing that you can't even enjoy it when it gets here, right?"

"Don't say that, you're goin' to make me nervous." Her smile was faint now that the other things Sam had warned her about were coming to mind since the initial excitement of telling Ben the good news tempered off. How dangerous this was for him. Was it something she should tell him? Did she want to put the weight of that on him? Maybe he already knew? Instead, at least for tonight, she focused on happier things. "All I need for a dream vacation is bein' with you, but I wouldn't complain about goin' to Europe. Honestly, Ben, I want you to decide. Anywhere you want to go." She felt it was a bigger deal for Ben to see a far off place of his choice rather than her considering he was the one that had to be paroled to go through a portal. Besides, who would toss a fit about going to Europe for two weeks?

Jackie had been idly watching him put away the spoons and ice cream but his offer of a wedding planner instantly made her brows rise. It was hard to tell what she thought of that since her expression was blank and her silence dragged on. Finally, she gave a sigh of relief. "Lord, I want to be stubborn an' say I don't need that, that I can do it all on my own, but I don't think I can. I think that's actually a really good idea, Ben. I want to be able to enjoy all of this, not get upset or worried about somethin' goin' wrong. I don't know what I'm doin' an' a professional is exactly what I need." Her pen was dropped onto the notebook and she slid out of her seat, padding from the dining room to the kitchen to meet him. Once she was close enough her fingers curl into the fabric of his t-shirt, a little tug given even if she was leaning in towards him. "Y'spoil me, y'know that, right?" She leaned up onto her toes to brush a kiss to his lips. "Don't know what I did to get so lucky, but I'm gonna work like hell to keep it up."

"Hey, I was just joking." Not defensive though, still smiling a little too, and it goes a little crooked when Jackie restates that she thinks Ben should decide on the honeymoon and plan it out. "Okay. I'll figure it out, set it up. You'll love it, promise." A beat of a pause, then, "You'll be with me, so of course you'll love it." He's teasing though, faux-full of himself (though Jackie had just said that was all she needed!).

The smile fades when she's slow to respond to his suggestion about the wedding planner, but he's sighing just after she does, just as relieved. The last thing he wanted to argue about was something like this, that Jackie give up just a little bit of the planning for her own sanity. "It'll make it so much easier on you, peaches. So you can actually smile on your wedding day." It's automatic -- when she leans in close, hooks her fingers into his shirt, he puts his arms around her, clasps his hands loosely at the small of her back. "Because I like spoiling you. It's not like you don't spoil me too." Ducking down to smudge a lazy little kiss to her cheek, close to her mouth. "Just keep doing what you're doing, and I'll keep doing what I'm doing. Deal?"

"You're bein' a smartass, but I'm so happy I think you could make two weeks in a closet enjoyable." He agrees that he'll decide on the honeymoon and that gives her some relief. She doubted she would be able to come up with something as far off as Ben had in mind and it really was important to her for him to pick. Just as important as it was to him that she agree to the wedding planner. "I know it's goin' to help, though I don't think anything could keep me from smilin' like a fool on our weddin' day."

With his arms draped around her waist she's leaning in further against him. "It's a deal, Mr. Sullivan. Everythin' has been workin' out for us so far, no need to change anythin' up now." Her head turns to capture his lips with hers, a smile and sleepy sigh pressed against him. She was overjoyed about the latest wedding development but at the same time the adrenaline from dealing with Sam was vanishing and it was leaving her somewhat drained. "Come t'bed with me? It's been a long day for both of us."

He's content to stay there, really, with Jackie leaned up against him, just holding her close. He doesn't ever mention it, but often the switches left him low-level exhausted, and this one wasn't an exception. He puts his hands on her cheeks, prolongs that kiss just a little. "Love to, Mrs. Sullivan-to-be. I'm beat." One more kiss aimed to her mouth, and then he lets her go, taking her hand in his and leading her upstairs.
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