“Jack! The booze must be making you violent.”
“Nah. I had that idea before we started drinking.”
She snorted with laughter. “Are you that mad at him for sleeping with your girlfriend?”
He paused. “No. Actually, I don’t even give a shit about that. I’m more pissed off that he won’t help Sarah.”
“Oh, Jack.” Her heart softened and she dragged in a shaky breath.
“I like your living room, Ally,” he said with an abrupt change of subject. “Did I tell you that?”
“Uh...no, I don’t think so.”
“As soon as I walked in the door, I felt at home here,” he said. “Which is weird considering this is where you and Carter lived together.” He frowned.
“Well, this is all my furniture and stuff,” she explained. “So I guess it feels more like my place than Carter’s.”
“Yeah. It does feel like your place. It’s very you.” He waved a hand. “And I like it. And I like you.”
She giggled. “I like you too, Jack.”
He looked at her, lifted a brow. “You wanna have sex again tonight?”
Ally couldn’t help but laugh. “Apparently I always want to have sex with you. The question is, do you? You’re the one who’s been holding back.”
“Yeah. I have been. But suddenly all the reasons for us to not get together don’t seem so important.” He growled and put his arm around her shoulders, pulling her against him for a hug. “Only problem ish...is...I might have had a bit too much to drink.”
Ally relaxed against him, loving his embrace. “S’okay,” she mumbled. “Me too. But you can still stay here tonight. You can’t drive back to Carter’s like this.”
He shook his head. “No,” he said solemnly. “Can I sleep in your bed, though?”
She giggled. “Sure. Where should I sleep?”
He gave her a nudge. “Witch. With me, of course.”
She laughed again. “But you’re too tanked to tango.”
He groaned. “Damn it.” He kissed her hair. “I’ll make it up to you tomorrow.”
She leaned back to look at him. They were both a bit lit but she could see the heat in his eyes despite their glassiness. She smiled slowly at him. “Promise?”
“Hell, yeah.” He paused. “Thanks Ally.”
“Thanks for what?”
“For being there for me. Again.” He raised his glass to her in a toast. “You’re the only one in the world I can always count on.”
She smiled at him, feeling very warm and fuzzy. “And I know I can always count on you.”
They gazed at each other through a slight alcoholic haze and she suddenly realized how true those words were. Carter had let her down. She had new friends – Katelyn, Kim, others she had worked with - and she supposed she could count on them in a time of need, although that had never been tested. But without a shadow of doubt, she knew that whatever happened to her, Jack would be there.
Something squeezed her heart and her breath caught in her throat. She gulped down a burning mouthful of Jose Cuervo. Oh, God. This attraction she had for Jack was feeling strangely like...love.
She stared at him, her mind whirling with a million thoughts. She could not fall in love with Jack. Again.
She swallowed more tequila. What did that mean? She blinked at Jack, trying to process her confused thoughts. Had she been falling in love with Jack before he left? Was that why she’d had all those strange yearning feelings, why she’d been so restless and anxious about school ending?
They went upstairs and curled up naked together in Ally’s bed and slept, or perhaps passed out was a better description after all the tequila, and woke up late. Ally had forgotten to set her alarm and when she saw it was ten-fifteen, she had to think for a moment to know what day it was. Wednesday. Then she had to think a little longer to try to remember if there was any good reason she had to get up. Yeah, she had work to do, but she didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything.
She snuggled deeper into Jack’s arms, and felt them tighten around her. “You awake?” she whispered.
“Don’t yell like that,” he answered with a moan. She gave a little snort of laughter.
“Do you need some Advil?”
“What I need is to find the asshole who’s shooting off that AK47 in my brain and kill him.”
Amused, she turned in his arms to face him.
“Don’t even think of kissing me,” he said, burying his face into the pillow. “Not until I’ve brushed my teeth.”
Mmm. Ally ran her tongue over her own teeth. Probably a good idea.
“I’ll go use the bathroom first, then I’ll get you some Advil and coffee,” she offered. “And toast.”
“Whatever.” She’d bring him toast and make him eat it.
Strangely, although she’d been a bit looped last night, she felt fine. She slid out of bed and walked naked to the bathroom.
She paused, both hands on the edge of the counter and lowered her head.
What on earth was she going to do when he left again?
Because what was keeping him here now? Now he’d learned he was not Sarah’s father, nor could he help her by donating bone marrow, the only reason for him being in LA no longer existed.
Oh lord. Her stomach plunged all the way to her toes.
He was going to leave. She knew it. He knew it. There was no longer anything keeping him there.
Extreme Close Up Chapter 29