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May 22nd - 23rd: Right Where I Need To Be

 
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Ben Sullivan
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:42 am    Post subject: May 22nd - 23rd: Right Where I Need To Be Reply with quote

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 -- early evening

Just a few more days left to figure it out, why Sam said that Jackie can't go back the the Knuckle, and Ben's not sure how he's going to. Still, he doesn't try to think about it too much during the day, since he can't do anything about it during work anyway -- especially since Jackie's there with him. Truthfully, he doesn't mind her there -- the opposite, really; he likes to have her there with him during the day, and not just because it gives them opportunity to mess around once in a while. She takes to the job well, she's personable and organized and seems to sort of like keeping things under control for him. Maybe it's because, in a way, she gets to be in charge of him. Could be, too, that she's actually enjoying her time there as well.

He drives them home at the end of the day, and without much detail, Jackie hops into the driver's seat after Ben pulls up into the driveway. Errands, be home soon. Ben doesn't push it (in a sense, he's glad she feels safe enough to go out on her own, even if it's just for something little), he just heads inside, checks in with Adam (old enough to spend a couple of hours at home by himself in the afternoons now -- and he's diligently working on his homework when Ben finds him in the home office), gets dinner started. Cajoles Adam into helping him with it, because Ben was still edgy himself, and would rather have the company, somebody to talk to, rather than being alone in the kitchen, even if it isn't very long before Jackie gets back home.

Jackie was well aware that the time limit she had given Ben to figure out Sam's mysterious warning about her job at the Knuckle was fast approaching, but she was pleasantly surprised that the deadline wasn't a terror to countdown to like she had first imagined it would be. She knew the story would be different if she was left home alone with nothing to busy herself with while Ben was at work and Adam was at school. It had been as simple as Ben giving her a few duties around the office, adding to them once she got the hang of the others, that made the days pass at not just a comfortable, but even enjoyable pace.

It was nice being able to keep an eye on Ben and his boys just as much as she was sure he was content to keep a watchful eye on her even if he didn't make a big deal out of it. More importantly, Jackie enjoyed the work. Answering phones, filing, scheduling Ben's day, even corresponding with Richard Kensington to make sure he had everything he needed to keep the books running smoothly. They were all things that Jackie had convinced herself she was not capable of doing, positive she was only fit to stand behind a bar pouring drinks. It was nice to know there were other options for her if Sam's demand that Jackie never return to the Busted Knuckle had to be fulfilled. With the bouts of quiet Jackie was graced with in the office of Sullivan and Associates when Ben had to concentrate on a case, her thoughts wandered to reasons why he might have said something like that and it only made some looming speculations take hold at the forefront of her mind.

It was on the way home from Ben's office that Jackie made up her mind to put the questions to bed once and for all. She isn't gone very long at all and when she gets home she does a quick paced march to the kitchen to find Adam and Ben. "Hey! Y'all are makin' dinner. It smells real good. I need to take a shower. I won't be long. If y'all need to start eatin' before I get done, that's fine, don't wait, but I really should only be about..." She paused, a slow furrow of her brows. "Ten minutes or so. Love y'both!" Jackie didn't even wait for an answer before she was turning on her heels, seemingly the epitome of flighty blonde, and made a beeline for the stairs and up into the bathroom. There was a sharp snap of the door and a second later the water was running.

They're not making anything complicated -- Adam's working on snap peas, there's chicken pan-frying on the stovetop, and Ben's finishing up mashed potatoes from scratch -- and it's nearly done by the time Jackie gets home. The pair turns to watch Jackie when she shows up in the kitchen, but she's too rapidfire for either of them to get a word in edgewise; after she leaves, the boys look at each other and shrug. Girls, right? It only takes maybe five minutes or so for dinner to get finished up, and since Jackie had said not to wait, they don't -- they dig right in, talk hockey and about Adam's school over dinner.

Jackie had promised she would be quick but it was almost a half hour later when the bathroom door at the top of the stairs was being tugged open. Oddly, the water could still be heard running but the pitter-patter of Jackie's quick footfalls were rushing down the steps. Even more odd was that she was still fully clothed in the sundress she had worn to work, shoes on, dry as a bone with the only thing out of place being that her face was flushed and eyes were wide. "Ben. Ben!" In case he didn't hear her the first time from the short distance between where she was and the dining room. "Sweetheart, I need to talk t'you." It was another instance of Jackie not waiting for a response. She simply gave a quick smile to Adam so he knew everything was alright, for the most part, then turned around to head right into the office.

Ben can tell when she opens the door upstairs, the noise of the running water in the shower getting a little louder. He only looks more confused when he hears Jackie racing down the steps. "Oh... kay. Sure." He gives Adam a look, and his son just shrugs exaggeratedly. Ben shrugs too, sort of imitating him. "Clean up? At least put leftovers away, but I guess leave Jackie's plate?" Adam makes a face, but sighs out a drawn out 'fiiiiine' as Ben gets to his feet and follows after Jackie, shutting the office door behind him. "Okay, what's going on?" Pause. "Have you really just been letting the water run for like a half an hour?"

She's already pacing the office by time he gets in there, barely pauses when she hears the door close behind him. Even his first question doesn't get her full attention right away, but his mention of the water somehow does. "What? Yeah, sorta. Is water expensive?" Her steps falter and Jackie turns to face him, wringing her hands in front of her. Deep breath in through the nose, slow exhale through the mouth. It's repeated as she walks towards him. "I... would love to have a better way to tell y'this. Somethin' real good that would just, I don't know. You're so much better at that sorta stuff than I am." The incessant movement of her hands stops so one can slip into the pocket of her sundress and draw something out to hold up to him.

The offering is a white, plastic pregnancy test with a purple cap at one end. Jackie's pink painted nail taps at the little window with a blue plus sign rather plainly inside it. "The plus sign means you're gonna be a Daddy. Again. An' there are three more just like it upstairs 'cause I was convinced I was gonna do it wrong somehow. That part was difficult." To say the least but she finally manages to be quiet, gnawing at her bottom lip in anticipation for it all to sink in on him.
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He's about to answer her question about the price of water, but her anxiety stops him short. It's contagious, but his just surfaces in worry, brow furrowed in concern -- maybe even more when she comes out with it and tells him she wishes she had a better way to tell him. It lessens a little when it seems like whatever it is she's grappling with, it's good, but before he can even formulate real thoughts about it, her hand goes to her pocket and she's pulling out the white plastic test. His mouth drops open a little, all the worry disappearing, leaving him a little blankfaced. Ben's hard to surprise, and more difficult is throwing him off enough that he's dumbfounded, but he clearly is now. Frozen for a few seconds, and then he reaches out to carefully take it from her, to see it better. "Oh my god, I-- Jackie--"

Her turn for a surprise; he grabs her in a sudden, tight hug, free hand buried in her hair, actually laughing a little, all kinds of emotion present in the sound: nerves again, relief, excitement. The embrace is brief, but he lays one hand against her cheek when he pulls away, presses a couple of kisses to her mouth before letting go. "You should've told me," but the way he's grinning ear to ear -- and yes, there's obvious pride there mixed in with the joy -- makes it clear he's not upset about it. "I would've waited with you; we could've been nervous as hell together." He glances down at the test still in his hand, like he still can't quite believe it, and then he moves to gather her up into another hug. It's more gentle this time, more careful. Words fail him a second time, but after a moment, "And you're gonna be a mama." Letting his cheek come to rest against the top of her head, his fingers tangle in her hair again. "Love you, sunshine. So much." There are other things to say, to ask, but right now, he just wants to enjoy this moment as long as possible.

Ben says "oh my god" and that's such a hard reaction to pin. Was it actually too soon? Was he hoping for a little more time as newlyweds before babies between them became a reality? But no, he's gathering her in that hug that almost seems to squeeze an exhale of similar laughter from her, buzzing with emotion. Jackie leans into the kisses and when he pulls back her expression is sheepish. "I know, I'm sorry for that. I guess I only had an inklin'? I wasn't even entirely convinced, thought it might still be somethin' I caught on vacation. I didn't want to get both of our hopes up between us if it wasn't to be yet." He's taking her in that hug and she's happily sinking further against him, one arm draping over his shoulder while fingertips brush at her lips which are beaming with a bright smile. There's a small sound, a squeal of delight that manages to bubble out of her. "I am gonna be a mama." She was so wrapped up in the idea that Ben was going to be a daddy to the newest baby Sullivan that was it possible the idea slipped from her mind. "Love you, too, sweetheart." A few stray kisses were pressed along his jaw and cheek.

"Well, in a way, it is something you caught on vacation..." Quietly amused. He holds her a little while longer, brushing a kiss to her forehead when he pulls away. Still smiling, can't stop, though it's softened considerably. "I know you're probably dying to tell everyone, but we should hold off on that for a couple of months." He reaches over to slip the slim plastic test back into the pocket of her sundress, then takes her hands in his, leaning back against the edge of the desk. "Jesus, I haven't even thought about how to tell Adam. I didn't think it'd be so soon, right? --I mean, it's not a problem, I want this, I'm just... surprised. I didn't think it'd be this easy." Yeah, there's the pride again, but it fades, and he reaches out to touch her cheek. "It's not too soon for you, is it? Still a gift?"

"Oh, haha, funny man," but she's smiling back up at him sweetly. "I thought of that while I was in the bathroom. Explains why I've been exhausted though and it's not a severe case of jetlag." Following the kiss to her forehead her gaze lingers after the test being tucked into her pocket. "I know it's too soon. Y'really did peg me an' I'm wantin' to scream it from the rooftops but I can wait. Or rather, I don't got a choice. I want everythin' to be done the right way. Whatever the hell that might be." Her fingers lace through his and with his lean against the desk in turn she is leaning against him. "Listen to you, you're pleased as can be." Her smile grows beneath his touch. "It's not too soon, Ben. It's perfect, really. I'm... I don't even know how I feel right now. I'm overjoyed. I'm nervous. I'm stunned. I'm not sure what to expect. I feel ill prepared, but at the same time I feel like there is no other way I would have it. And it's the best weddin' gift I could have asked for." Content with the idea of it all until lips pursed as her thoughts rounded back to Adam. "We're not goin' to wait to tell him though, are we? I understand with everyone else, but he should know, shouldn't he?" Moreso asking than giving her opinion since she really wasn't sure how to handle something like this.

It was kind of a relief, to know why Jackie'd been so tired -- and why she'd had a weird aversion to alcohol lately, and why she'd been so quick to blow up and melt down Friday night. It explained something else, too, and when it clicked for Ben, he kind of made a face, but he plays it off with, "I think... I think we should tell him. Probably I should put it off for a couple of days and figure out how to do it best, but..." He trails off, shrugging. Ben wasn't always good for 'probably should's. He pushes that thought aside for another moment though, just smiling at her, fidgeting with the fingers of the one hand of hers he still held. Pleased as can be is right. "I think feeling all those things is normal. That's mostly how I feel too. Mostly happy, though. Just really, really happy, sweetheart." Leaning in for one more kiss, one more curl of his fingers into her waves of blonde, and then he glances at the door, looks back at her. "Ready?" He gives her hand a squeeze.

Nothing in her expression shows that she was thrown off by the face he was making since she assumed it was simply him churning over how to handle Adam in his head. "I believe that's for the best, puttin' it off but not for long." It was hard to hang onto any thought for longer than a few moments, her mind an interesting mixture of going a mile a minute while being so unable to actually piece anything together that it might as well be blank. "I'm completely happy, sweetheart. It's perfect, everythin' is completely perfect." The word 'perfect' was mumbled against his kiss with a smile and when he pulled away her gaze panned to the door as well. "I'm ready to go eat an' relax. I might know the reason now, but it doesn't change the fact I'm worn out. Tonight we can be calm an' quiet, tomorrow we can start figurin' out all the details?" She pushed out of her lean, still clutching his hand while leading him towards the door. "First, I need to go upstairs an' sort out the bathroom. The shower is still runnin' an' I really am hopin' water isn't all that expensive." Chuckling at her first absentminded question when he joined her in the office. There was a pause before they reached the door so Jackie could lean up on her toes and press one last lingering kiss to Ben's lips. "This lil' Baby Sullivan is gonna be mighty lucky to have you as a daddy."

Perfect. That's not a word Ben uses often, but it really did feel perfect right now. Still smiling like an idiot while he trails behind her, when he laughs quietly about the shower still going, while they pause at the door and she lifts up on her toes to kiss him. "Luckier still, gets to have you as a mama." It all feels so surreal. "--and Jesus, Adam for a brother. I need to tell him now, Jackie. Is that okay?" He opens up the door, but pauses before taking a step through it.

Her nose crinkles sweetly. "I already love the sound of that, me bein' a mama." Jackie's surprised at first when he says he needs to tell Adam now. "Sweetheart, that's fine. I don't think much is goin' to change between now an' waitin' a few days, we're not goin' to figure out some grand way to tell him. Besides, I want him to be part of this from the very beginnin', he's goin' to be a big brother. More importantly? He probably thinks I lost my damn mind right about now an' I really would love for him to not think that." She nudges him lightly towards the door. "C'mon, you can tell him an' I'll be right there with y'. The bathroom can wait a lil' while longer."
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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2013 12:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hearing Jackie say it, that his son was going to be a big brother, hits him almost as hard as when she'd told Ben he was going to be a father again. The laugh after she mentions Adam probably thinking she'd lost her mind is equal parts amused and nervous. "It can wait a minute," agreeing about the bathroom. "Because, yeah, I want him to be a part of this." Keeping ahold of her hand, he leads her toward the dining room -- but stops there in the living room, because Adam's in there, on the couch, watching hockey. Like father like son. "Hey, Adam?" Idly, he gives Jackie's hand a little tug, probably just to burn anxiety.

"Hey, Dad. I left you the dishes," cheerful. "What's up with Jackie?" Too late, he glances over at his father -- and Jackie too. "...oh. Hi." Sheepish, and a little apologetic, but before he can actually apologize, Ben cuts him off, makes a little motion at the TV.

"Pause it?" Looking a little perplexed now too, Adam does pause the game, and then his attention is on the adults. He looks a little wary now, maybe even moreso once it becomes obvious how nervous his father seems. It's unlike him, and Adam glances between the two of them, maybe trying to be a little more observant of their body language. Ben bites his lip, sighs, and then he's smiling crookedly. "I don't really know how to tell you this, so I'm just gonna come out and say it. You're gonna be a big brother. Jackie's pregnant."

Adam looks straight up surprised at first, maybe a little excited. "Really?" And then he makes a face, looking a little disgusted, but mildly so. "Really? --I mean, no offense, but... gross. That's..." a little gesture between Jackie and his father. "Ew." But moving right along, because nobody wants to dwell on that, "When? Is it a girl or a boy? You don't look pregnant," and yes, it's a tiny bit accusatory, and comes with an assessing look at Jackie. "Are you sure?"

Jackie is grinning ear to ear, nodding and following along after Ben. It was all so surreal, one of those unexplainable moments when you felt as if you were having an out of body experience though you were fully aware you had both feet planted firmly on the ground. She comes to a stop beside him, working her fingers nervously through Ben's and leaning towards him idly at the tug. Adam's question about her only makes her laugh while mentally patting herself on the back that she had called it, Adam thought she was a nut. At least it made her feel better that Ben didn't know how to break the news to Adam either. Jackie had been at a complete loss when it came time to tell Ben.

It's when Ben drops the last two words that Jackie lifts her free hand, sort of in a Vanna White gesture directed at her stomach. Then Adam, with all the verbal grace that Jackie loved so much about him, was saying it was gross. It finally clicked when he gestured between the pair of them what he felt was so gross about it and that brought around another laugh. "Oh, good Lord, nice to know the Sex Ed classes in the public school system are workin'." It was said more under her breath than anything, but it was Adam's next round of questions that had her full attention. "Well, I'm not exactly sure but probably somewhere around the end of this year or early next year. We just found out about it and I think it's too early to tell if it's a boy or girl yet."

At his last statement Jackie's smile somehow managed to grow even bigger. "Adam, if you could be a dear an' just keep tellin' me that for the next ten months or so no matter how big I get, I will make sure we get your learner's permit for drivin' the moment you're old enough." Head tilt. "Whatever that age might be in RhyDin." Adam's question prompted Jackie to pull the white plastic test she had shown to Ben from her dress pocket and hold it up, even if Adam was too far off to see the results clearly for himself. "Blue plus sign. Means we got a new addition to the family. You okay with that, Adam?" Maybe it was a little late to ask, but Adam deserved the same courtesy Ben and Jackie had given to each other in asking.

Ben stifles a laugh with an audible little snort at Jackie's quiet comment. For just a second, he tilts his head, cheek pressed to Jackie's hair, but he rights it when she goes on to answer Adam's questions. He's more than happy to let her take the lead on that.

Adam grins widely when Jackie bribes him to lie, and Ben looks briefly annoyed, but it's tinged with humor. This is going way better than he'd anticipated, so he lets it go. Adam leans over the arm of the couch to try to see what Jackie's showing him, but then his brow furrows in thought when Jackie asks him that last question. He looks more like Ben when he does that, carefully thoughtful. After a moment, he nods. "Yeah, as long as I don't have to babysit all the time. Are you gonna tell Mom?" Obviously that question's for Ben; Adam's looking at him then, the expression on his face hard to place, uncertain, like maybe he doesn't know if he should be asking the question or bringing her up at all.

Really, it was something Ben hadn't even thought of, when to tell Ella. It catches him off guard, and there's very quick surprise flickering across his features before, "Yeah, I will. This isn't like..." He gestures between himself and Jackie, and then the little wave of his hand changes to encompass Adam, too. "It's not a secret or anything you need to keep from her. I know when you were living there and we were writing letters, you weren't supposed to let her know, but..." A glance aside; he suddenly feels guilty for having asked that of his son. "That was different. You know?" His focus is on Adam again, and he nods in response. "Okay, good. I don't want you to think you're not supposed to be talking to her, or like you can't tell her stuff. You can. --but," and the look on his face goes a little more serious; his hold on Jackie's hand tightens a little at the same time, "it's got to be a secret for a couple of months still, alright? Until we're sure everyone's healthy and there aren't any complications and all that. Understand?" Maybe it was more explanation than a twelve year old should get -- or maybe it wasn't enough -- but either way, that's how much Ben gives, and it seems to be an okay amount, because after another pause to think it over, Adam shrugs, nods. "Okay."

Jackie is ready to tell Adam he obviously won't have to babysit all the time, but her mouth is barely open before he asks Ben about Ella. It hadn't been what she was expecting and it caused her to fall silent, but at least she managed to keep her expression relaxed. That last thing she would want to do is make Adam feel like he can't talk about Ella in his own home even if Jackie was still working through her own issues about the woman. Just as Ben had allowed Jackie to field the questions Adam had about the baby, Jackie let Ben take over for the questions concerning Ella.

The pregnancy test was tucked back into her pocket, her other hand squeezing at Ben's in return when he mentioned keeping it a secret for a while, an encouraging smile to Adam to show it wasn't anything to be worried about. Brown eyes flickered aside to Ben then back to Adam when he agreed. "Okay." Everyone else seemed to be saying it and Jackie didn't want to be left out. More importantly? Everything was okay right now. Much better than that, really. With Adam being on board with Jackie being pregnant it left all three of them with a rather content air lingering between them. "Alright, y'all keep watchin' hockey. I need to go straighten up the bathroom, eat some dinner, then I think I'm goin' to join you guys. You can answer all my annoyin' questions about icing and high sticking." Terms she had heard tossed around the living room endlessly yet never fully understood.

Ben thinks about telling Jackie not to worry about it, that he'll go clean up in the bathroom, but at the same time, he thinks he should probably spend extra time with Adam right now. "We'll pause it for you if there are any good fights." Sort of an aside, right before he pecks a kiss to her cheek and lets go of her hand. "And leave the dishes; I'll get 'em later tonight." Because right now, really? Who cared about dishes? He tousles Adam's hair (which gets a whine of protest that Ben ignores) before sitting down on the couch next to his son, grabbing the remote and kicking his feet up on the coffee table. Even after he hits play he still watches Jackie go, a fond little smile at his mouth, but then his attention's on Adam and the TV. "Alright, catch me up. What'd I miss?" Adam, for his part, launches right into an explanation of the game so far -- and it's normal, it's just another evening at home with the growing family.
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 -- morning

In the morning, Ben didn't want to go to work. He just wanted to spend the day with Jackie, figure things out, make some plans for the future. He didn't even want to get out of bed -- not just because he wants to stay with Jackie, but it's cold and more rain is threatening outside, one of those days where staying in bed just seems like a good idea -- but he had to at least get Adam ready for school and drive him there. He gently wakes Jackie before he leaves, though, tells her he'll be back soon and not to go anywhere.

True to his word, he's only out of the house for maybe twenty minutes, and once he's home again he's headed right upstairs and back to bed. He pulls her in close, whether that means spooning up behind her or tucking her head in against his chest if she's facing him -- didn't matter. Just wanted to be close. "Morning, sunshine." Quiet, though in the early morning stillness, it's probably enough to wake her if she's sleeping.

While Jackie had never been much of a morning person her ability to rise and shine had improved considerably since she moved in with Ben and Adam. She liked getting up to pester the boys awake and have breakfast waiting for them by time they made it down to the dining room. It was a good way to start off the day that made her feel useful and it was something her mother had always done when she was younger that she appreciated.

It was over the last few weeks with her looming exhaustion that Jackie struggled with the task. The bed was so comfortable, she was so tired even after a full night's sleep, and it made it easy to fall into old habits. Ben stirred her just enough for her to give a quiet grunt of acknowledgement that he was leaving, but when he tells her to not go anywhere it's easy to comply and it didn't take long for her to drift back to sleep.

When Ben climbs back into bed and gathers her against him it's enough to cause her to stir, to tangle her legs through his and roll aside to face him making it that much easier for her to curl her fingers into the fabric of his shirt. It's all second nature and occurs even before she opens her eyes. Eventually lids do lift and she peers up at him from beneath her lashes with a sleepy smile. "Mornin', sweetheart. Did y'get Adam to school alright?" A kiss was smudged to the edge of his lips before he could even answer. "Did you eat breakfast or did you want me to go make you somethin'?"

He can't help but smile too. "Yeah, I got him there fine. And I already ate, don't worry about it." One pass of his hand through her hair, a soft kiss pressed to her cheek, and then he loosens up the embrace a little, enough so they can see each other, talk more easily. "Speaking of making breakfast though, what do you think about having a bigger kitchen?" Idly, he's wrapping locks of her hair around a couple of his fingers before letting it go, over and over. "And another bedroom or two." Or two. Casual when he says it, even looking off to one side.

"Done an' done," when he tells her to not worry about it. She wasn't going to beg to find a reason to get out of bed. A delighted purr rumbles in the back of her throat at the kiss paired with a stretch reminiscent of a lazy cat. When she settles back into place tucked beside him her brows furrow at his proposal. Just as his fingers toy with her hair, hers are working their way around the fabric of his shirt. "What d'you mean? Like, buildin' up onto the house?" It took a few extra ticks for the second part of what he said to sink in. "Two extra bedrooms? Are you already puttin' together your plan of knockin' me up again only a day after we found out about this lil' bundle?" A mighty big accusation but she's laughing it off and seems more amused by it than actually perturbed.

"Yeah, already have the second honeymoon planned." But he's kidding, can't keep a straight face, and he shrugs before answering the question more seriously. "No, I just figure... moving sucks, you know? And we're gonna need to move somewhere with more space sometime pretty soon -- before this one makes an arrival, so... may as well plan ahead, right? Buy something for the long haul?" His fingers finally still, curled into her hair. "Four bedrooms. Never hurts to have an extra room if we decide this one is enough." There's something a little light in his tone, and from the way his smile tilts a particular kind of crooked, self-assured, sort of cocky, it's clear he doesn't think that's going to happen.

"Well, if I get a second honeymoon out of it, how can I say no?" A bounce in her tone, playful even if the rest of her looked completely relaxed. When he gets more serious, Jackie follows his lead and her gaze lifts thoughtfully. "I guess I figured we had some time considerin' we just got settled into this house. But you're right, I know you're right. We can't keep up an' movin' everytime somethin' changes in the family. I want Adam, the baby, any other lil' ones we may or may not got comin' along to be able to have one home to grow up in." Her gaze sinks back down to his face and when she catches sight of that smile it draws a light laugh out of her. "Look at you! Keep lookin' at me that way an' I'm not goin' to think you're fibbin' about tryin' at one baby after another. You look like you got plans for a Sullivan family to rival the Daniels jus' between you an' me."

"And you're not gonna want to pack up and move stuff when you get... you know. Unable to do any heavy lifting. So the sooner the better, yeah?" He's glad she gets it -- glad she goes along with his kidding around, too. "Maybe. Maybe it's just nice to get uninterrupted naps since you're inclined to take them too these days." The grin widens enough to show more of his age at the corners of his eyes, but it tempers quickly. "Anyway... I might've called my real estate agent in the car this morning. And I might be looking at a few houses tomorrow morning. Want to be my plus one?" As joking as the phrasing is, this time around, the smile is only affectionate -- though he sobers up quickly. "Maybe we can stop at the Knuckle for lunch after. You and your boss probably have some stuff to figure out, right?"

His little nudge, you know, causes her to squint. "I hope that 'y'know' wasn't eludin' to when I'm gonna get huge." Another dreamy sigh was released and she sank her head back further into the bed. "Besides, I assumed you would be a dear an' do all that packin' and heavy liftin' for me." A bat of her lashes his way was interrupted when he continued. "Oh, I see the master plan now. It's all comin' together." Her chuckling eased away into surprise. "Already? Good Lord, you're serious about not wantin' to wait. Yeah, sure, I'll come along." Unfortunately, as sweet as the plus one comment had been she was already too busy being soured by the impending predicament she had been avoiding until it was too late.

"I guess so. I can't work there knowin' I'm pregnant. All that cigarette smoke, it only takin' one out of control fight for somethin' bad to happen, and I can't stand the smell of alcohol enough to be around it that much." The edges of her lips sank further the longer she went on. "I don't know what the hell I'm gonna do, Ben. I ain't much fit for anything else and no one is goin' to hire me anyway considering I'm gonna be on leave in less than a year." Her head rolled aside, gaze pointed up at the ceiling. It was difficult to tell exactly what part of all of this she was dwelling on so earnestly, but she didn't allow the mystery to linger for long. "Do you think, somehow... this is why Sam told me I couldn't go back to work? That he figured it out before either of us?" A small crinkle of her nose, irritated by the possibility of that for one reason or another.
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Ben Sullivan
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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"That's the master plan," quiet, amused, but it doesn't last. He lets Jackie voice her worries, and at the end, he makes a similar face as her. "I think he did know, somehow. I'm going to ask when I see him next. --or you can," considering Jackie and Sam were capable of having a conversation without assaulting each other lately. He's quiet a moment, but he reaches over to lay one hand on her cheek, gently stroking his thumb over her skin. "You did fine when you were working with me. You were really good at it, actually. Don't sell yourself short, Jackie." The tone is actually softly scolding, though it's still affectionate. "And it's okay if you can't find anything right away. I actually, uh... maybe got you a bank card for my account. Right when we got back in town. I'm not saying you shouldn't work, or I don't want you to work," backpedaling, a little, "but you don't need to worry about money, sweets. I've got it covered. --got our family covered," thinking, maybe, that if he emphasizes that, that this is his family to provide for, she won't be so resistant.

"Whoever catches him first. I'm just hopin' he's not gloatin' at me the next time I see him. I've never seen him do anything nice for anyone, but he seems like the type to hold it over your head." After a slight hesitation Jackie added on with a sigh, "Even if I do owe him." She was still staring up at the ceiling but the brush of his thumb to her cheek drew her attention to him. A ghost of a sheepish smile passed across her lips when he said she did well at his office but the tidbit about her very own bank card for his account made brows rise. "I... wasn't expectin' that, even if it makes perfect sense for us to jus' combine our accounts anyway." Lips pursed while she worked through this new bit of information.

"I know it's not a matter of you wantin' to leave me barefoot an' pregnant in the kitchen. I'm also fully aware that you can and do provide for all of us just fine. I think it's more... I don't want to feel like I'm useless or burden you with everything. I want to feel like I'm contributin' something and to know what my place is in our family, what I bring to the table. I mean, I started workin' when I was old enough to babysit and haven't stopped since then. I can't stop on a dime and be content with doin' nothing."

"I know you weren't expecting it -- that's why I didn't ask you beforehand, or I haven't told you about it until now..." So at least he knows she'd be surprised and maybe a little resistant. Really, the way she treats the new information is better than he would have predicted. He listens through her explanation, dropping his hand from her cheek, but it's just to put his arm loosely around her. "Sweetheart, listen to me. You're not useless, and you're not a burden, even if you don't work. You take care of the house, you help me take care of Adam -- hell, you take care of me. But..." A little bit of a hesitation, only because he's not sure how she'll take it. "If you wanted to, I'd like it if you kept on helping me out at work. I really do think I need the help, and you're good at it. And... I mean, I don't know who else I'd trust to do it. You can handle the job, and you can handle... me. And everything that comes with that. You know?" A less to-the-point way of pointing out that explaining Sam, or Ivan, or maybe even Harry to some poor unsuspecting employee would be so, so difficult. "It wouldn't be just you hanging around or, like... me letting you spend days there out of pity or something. I want you to work with me. Make it a family thing, right?"

"You gonna do this sort of thing often? Make big ol' decisions and tell me later on when I'm in a sleepy daze and too comfortable to fit?" She was joking, really, even if she was smirking aside at him. When his arm draped around her, true to Jackie's comfortable claim, she nestled further against him while she listened. "And I know that sort of stuff is just as important, they're all the sorts of things my Mama did and she's the hardest workin' lady I know. I suppose it's just takin' some adjusting to realize you don't clock in for all jobs."

He continued and by the look of her expression she wasn't blowing off the offer, she was actually taking it into consideration. "You're sure this isn't just some sort of pity job you're givin' to me? If I'm goin' to work with you I want to do it right, I don't want to mess anything up, and I don't want you to coddle me or nothin'. Couples workin' together can be difficult from what I hear, though you do get the benefit of seein' my pretty face throughout majority of your day." Snickering briefly, it eased away in a much more serious sigh. "It's a big plus that you'll have someone in the office without havin' to either explain yourself to them or them bein' unprepared if anything happens." Lips pursed and she peered aside at him. "What sort of vacation time do you offer your employees? I have a husband who has been promisin' me a second honeymoon since we were on our first and I want to make sure I can take time off for that." She was grinning all the while throughout the question.

Ben shrugs a little, kind of smirking too, and it's hard to tell if he's joking back. "Probably." He goes serious when she does though, back to putting his fingers idly through her hair. "It definitely isn't some pity job. I wouldn't be offering it if I thought you were gonna mess something up, Jackie. And I won't coddle you. Do I ever?" He knows that Jackie is used to being the baby of her family and used to being looked out for, maybe to the point of being stifling at times, and yes, Ben spoils her, but he tries not to go overboard with it. He's actually curious to hear the answer to the question, because maybe he hasn't been successful.

He can't help but laugh when she asks that second question. "Depends on how hard you work." Ducking in close -- close enough to kiss her, though he doesn't. His voice goes a little lower, and just a hint of that gravel creeps into it. "Being hard-working and going above and beyond your everyday tasks will get rewarded, sure."

"No, y'don't ever coddle me. You give into my demands if I press and pout enough," Beaming because she was well aware of his wrapped around her finger status. Though, when it came down to it Jackie was just as wrapped around Ben's also. "But I didn't want that to change just because I'm pregnant and in a bind. If you really want me workin' with you, if you really think I can help you and will make things easier for you... then I'm all for it. Like you said, make it a family business." Finger lift. "Though, I'll be a dear an' won't make you change the door to read Sullivans an' Associates." A sweet crinkle of her nose at him and when he dipped in closer she tipped her head forward to just barely brush her lips to his as she spoke. "Am I horrible because my mind automatically went to the gutter when you mentioned going above and beyond for rewards in the office or was that your intention? Either way, I feel like this is the start of somethin' real good for us. It also sounds like the start of a dirty movie, but that's real good, too." The sleepy air about her cracked with a laugh, thankfully turned aside so it wasn't directed right at his face.

He stifles a laugh at her concession, that she won't make him change the name on the door, and the smile, crooked, doesn't fade at all when she leans in close. "You might be horrible, but that was my intention, so I guess we both are." He takes advantage of her turning her head aside, putting his hands on her upper arms and pushing her to her back, pinning her there. It's a dominant move, one that is usually the start of something, but first, "It's not a pity job or coddling you. I want you working with me. You'll make it easier, and there's no one else I'd trust." One hand moves to her hip, fingers pressed into the curve there, possessive, a little dangerous. Something had flipped the alpha-overdrive switch on this morning. "Plus, yeah, me hiring a hot twenty-something blonde for my secretary does sound like the beginning of a dirty movie, doesn't it? A really good one." The grin goes a little more wicked, and he ducks down to aim kisses, biting ones, to her neck. It wasn't often they got the house to themselves in the morning, and he was going to take advantage of it.

With her head turned aside she didn't see his next move coming until she was already pinned to the bed. It caused another laugh that gave away to something much softer, a squirm and bite to her bottom lip. "I'm alright with us both bein' horrible." She seemed to welcome it, really. It's when he began explaining again, so emphatically, the reasons why it would be smart for her to work with him that she leveled her gaze on his rather seriously, even if it was difficult to focus with his fingers kneading into her skin like that. "Alright, alright. I'd love the job. I think it's a smart move between us." She was attempting to not giggle during her acceptance, but the nips and kisses made that impossible. "Why do I have a sinkin' feelin' I'm not goin' to make it into my first day of work?" Not that she sounded all that disappointed before her lips dipped to capture his.

It does register that she's actually agreed to take the job, but it's hard for him to be serious about that too. "Because you're not gonna make it in for your first day." Low murmurs between kisses, and the way his hands are all over her, it's likely he's going to be giving up on conversation soon. "See, good intuition, good hunches. Smart. Realistic." He catches her lower lip between his teeth in a bite, but follows it with a soft kiss to her cheek. Aggressive, affectionate. It was going to be a good morning. "Just more reasons why I was smart to pick you." For the job, or for his wife, it's not clear, probably because he means both.
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