“Brooke, it’s starting!”
The young woman, hair in a smart, spunky bob these days, finished pouring out some hot cocoa before rushing out into the living room of her shared flat in a sleepy suburb north of Seattle. Her housemate, Mara, had the TV tuned into the news, where live footage of an aircraft hangar-turned-courtroom panned out across the masses of spectators crowding outside.
“It’s the final hearing today in this high-profile case that has pitted Silicon Valley genius against millionaire businessman in a complex legal battle that, for many across the globe, has become more than just a fight for power and prestige. For the past 18 months, Jackson Ilyin and Gary Patel have been embroiled in a battle over the ownership of their company, Orcasoft, and its $2.5 billion dollars in assets, patents, and talent. Today, it all comes to an end.
“Four years ago, Ilyin made headlines when he all but disappeared, leaving little trace that he was even still alive. An investigative team initially hired by Patel to track down his business partner eventually uncovered the reason Ilyin had gone into hiding: that he had mysteriously grown, experts say, to a height of 19 feet and 10 inches tall.
“Both parties have been tight-lipped about the proceedings, leaving many to speculate. Let’s turn now to Twitter to see what people are saying about this extraordinary moment in the history of law.”
Brooke smiled, sipping her drink as her friend gathered up a handful of chips.
“I still can’t believe you knew him,” Mara said, still flabbergasted by the idea even though she’d known since Brooke finished school and they moved in together. “You haven’t kept in touch, have you?”
The young investigator bit the inside of her cheek. “Nah. Last time I heard from him was when he gave me that,” she said, thumbing at a small drawing hanging in the hallway. It was a Chagall, valued, the appraisal paperwork said, at around ten grand. Mara had no idea who Chagall was, but had a sense that the art was worth something just by its age alone.
“That’s too bad,” Mara said, reaching for her beer, smiling as she put the bottle to her lips. “He’s a fucking DILF.”
Brooke giggled. “He didn’t own any clothes when I knew him,” she said suggestively.
Mara barked a laugh and slapped her housemate’s arm. “Stop. I’m not gonna be able to sleep tonight!” Another mouthful of chips. “God, I wish he’d show up already. He looks so good in those suits they make for him.”
Brooke bit her cheek even harder. “And so they could stop talking about fucking Twitter.”
They shared a few more quips about such lame trends in newscasting while the reporter bought them some time. But a few minutes later, the cameraman panned over to a modified tour bus pulling up just now. Police held people back – way back – so that the short motorcade could approach unimpeded. The crowd was clamoring to get closer anyways, and a few folks held up signs in its direction. They said such trite things as “JACKSON FOR PRESIDENT” and “I ♥ U JACK” and “GRIND MY BONES GIANT JACK”. Actually, that was one of the more clever ones.
But Brooke was paying the most attention to the tour bus. The side opened up like the door of a Delorean and out stepped Jack. He was wearing his dark gray suit, her favorite, with shiny black dress shoes and a crisp white shirt. His jacket was buttoned once, showing off his impressive chest. He looked so effortless as he slid out of the vehicle, pocketing a new, sleeker version of his tablet device, and the crowd erupted. He was bathed in a million explosions of of camera flash, and he waved dispassionately at the crowd. The news crew got as close as they could, the poor reporter getting slammed with bodies jamming together against the police barriers. With practiced ease his long legs strode towards the hangar, legal team in tow.
“Goddamn,” Mara muttered.
“I hope he wins,” Brooke said soberly.
She had to go find something else to do while the jury was out, so to speak. The news was playing old footage of Jack at his first press release after Brooke had left the island, along with a montage of subsequent interviews with him and Patel. It was practically a documentary special. She said she was going to go run some errands and would be back around the time the verdict was expected to be delivered, but mostly where she ended up for a few hours was a local Applebee’s with a laptop and a few lemon drop martinis. It was difficult to get much done – so much was riding on this case for him, for the company, for his rights as a damn human being.
A headache settled into her temples and she ordered a third drink.
Three hours later, and the verdict was delivered.
Jack got everything.
In the restaurant, Brooke watched in a drunken daze as Michele calmly addressed the 20-odd microphones shoved in her face as they left the enormous building. Jack stood away from the cameras, enough so that she could see the self-satisfied smirk on his handsome fucking face. They didn’t take long, however, and before she knew it the camera was following them back to the motorcade as the reporter shouted questions to no avail. The details of the fight would be made public later. Patel, she was sure, was going to be the subject of a lawsuit after this – she couldn’t see Jack forgiving him for trying to illegally muscle him off Orcasoft’s board of directors. There was a statute of limitations for the embezzling, but this was something he could still pursue.
If other customers were talking about the breaking news broadcast, then she didn’t hear them. Brooke relaxed back into the upholstery of her chair, smiling. “You did it, Sputnik,” she murmured. “You really did it.” Her phone blew up with texts from friends, and from her father, and she spent a good 20 minutes dealing with all of it.
When her bill came, though, Brooke realized that she was too far gone to drive back home. How embarrassing! Even the waitress asked if she had a ride, to which Brooke mumbled something about how it had been a stressful day at work and a cousin would be picking her up.
She pulled up her phone to book an Uber, but got a text just as she was about to confirm. It was from the man himself.
What are you doing tonight?
Brooke’s heart jumped up into her throat, threatening to choke her. She hadn’t seen him since that afternoon on Bell Island, and it had been 6 months since they last spoke. The young woman could barely believe her eyes.
…I’m drinking alone at Applebee’s
Well damn, that’s no way to celebrate. You like champagne?
Brooke sputtered, turning borscht-red. Was this…? Could he really be…?
ya, she replied dumbly.
I’m sending a cab, hang tight.
“Fuck me,” she breathed.
“Things just get worse?” the waitress asked, startling her. She grabbed the bill.
Brooke swallowed, looking up at the woman. “I think things are starting to look up, actually…”
The black cab dropped her off at a high-end marina closer to the city. Someone was waiting there for her to let her past the pair of police officers providing security, one of the permanent crew of the enormous yacht that rose up like a small cruise ship at the end of the maze of docks.
“Custom-built for Mr. Ilyin,” the man explained. “They finished it last year.”
The yacht – the ship, really – was a good forty feet tall from the dock, and a couple hundred feet long. Its name, The Midlife Crisis, caught her attention and she couldn’t help but erupt into laughter as the crewman ushered her on board. Clearly Jack had kept his sense of humor.
They stepped down a hallway or two, before the last door opened up to the heart of the yacht, revealing a cavernous stateroom fitted handsomely with large furniture. And, with his shoes kicked off and shirt unbuttoned, there was Jack, sitting on the edge of his bed, toasting with several familiar faces. They held up their glasses and he held up his bottle, and all took a long gulp.
“Brooke!” Jackson bellowed when she stepped in. With the least bit of giving a damn, the giant New Jersey Russkie leaped to his feet, rushing over to her to snatch her up in his warm hand, where he proceeded to plant a shameless kiss on her mouth.
“I knew it!” Michele shouted with a laugh, pointing at them. Jack’s PR manager looked scandalized for a moment before bursting into laughter too.
Jack waved at them dismissively, rolling his eyes. “What, a man can’t kiss a pretty little thing after a year and a half of sleepless nights?”
“The operative word being ‘little’,” came a familiar voice from someplace. Brooke glanced around and spotted what she was looking for: a panel set into the wall, green light winking.
“There were several benefits to not meeting Master Ilyin’s deadline for the curse,” replied the AI with faint amusement. “Remaining cogent was certainly one of them.”
Brooke looked to the grinning face of the middle-aged man above her. He just kept smiling. “I’ll tell you about all that later.”
The others just finished off their glasses of champagne with a chuckle and helped themselves to more, making small talk that only grew in volume and gaiety as the bubbly slowly disappeared.
“Pour her one, will you?” Jack said, and set Brooke down on the floor again. “I wouldn’t be here without her.”
Michele nodded, handing her a fluted glass. “Literally,” she said. “You’d probably be dead. Are you sure you don’t want to go after the bitch that did this to you?”
Jack balked. “Fuck no!” he finished off his bottle, and the ship’s cook handed him another. “Without this, I… well, there’d be lots of things I wouldn’t be.”
Ryan scoffed, clearly tipsy. “She could’ve at least turned you back.”
“I dunno, the ladies seem to like me tall.” He wagged a brow at Brooke, and she blushed. “And besides, the Union seems interested in handling her for me.”
“Good to know that you’re still the same Ilyin in there someplace,” the lawyer chuckled.
“What’s the Union?” Brooke asked.
Jack shrugged and waved dismissively. “United Arts, the magic-users union for the west coast. Local #232 reached out to me about my experience a few months ago, I guess they plan on rescinding her membership, which would mean she’d lose optical and dental insurance coverage and discounts at Marie Calendar’s. Serves her right.”
The others resumed their conversations as Jack and Brooke met each others’ gaze. Those big, intense eyes, that long, wispy hair, the dimple in his cheek… she missed it. He made her feel something when she looked up at him like this. It wasn’t quite love, wasn’t quite lust, but something else. While he was hot as all hell, she did genuinely come to value him as a dear friend.
Brooke chatted with some folks whom she didn’t know but knew her, but it was difficult, being 3 cocktails ahead and all.
“Would you give us a few minutes, everyone?” that deep, rumbling voice said from above. They shot them both a knowing look, and with a few mumblings from the counsel, the others began to file out into another part of the ship.
Michelle paused to check her watch. “Holy shit, it’s late. I guess we can just reconvene in the morning. Don’t forget your appointment with CBS at 8am sharp.”
Jack waved her away, clearly wanting to just enjoy the moment. “Sharp,” he said with a roll of his eyes. “Breakfast’s at 7. And you too, Amos,” Jack said, eyeing the panel.
“Of course, Master Ilyin. If you need anything at all, this terminal will be on standby.” The green light disappeared.
Soon, all that was left was the two of them in the enormous suite, the distant murmur of generators, and the gentle rocking of the vessel.
“How have you been?” he asked.
“I got my certificate and am almost done with my practicum,” the young woman replied, trying not to slur her words.
Jack beamed. “Right on. You’ve got a fine career ahead of you.”
“So do you.”
“I can’t believe it’s all over!” he said, sighing and chuckling at the same time. His eyes twinkled with excitement. Truly, she realized, this was Jackson David Ilyin at his best. “I can go… live my life now.”
“Live it to the fullest, Sputnik.”
“I will,” he said, picking her up again to kiss her. Slower this time. “I know our worlds couldn’t be further apart, but I have missed you. It’s nice having someone, well, normal to talk to. You helped me to keep my mind off things that don’t matter.”
“Really?” she asked, blushing. “Even though we don’t talk much anymore it is nice having someone to…” she twisted her face as she sought the words. “Escape with.” Jack took her glass, from which she only took a single sip, and set it aside someplace, then kissed her again.
“Any time you need a break from reality,” he murmured, bubbly on his breath, “You’ve got my number.” His thick fingers were in her hair then, stroking, smoothing, feeling it between his knuckles. He was very gentle. But Jack blinked as a thought seemed to occur to him and he chuckled. “I just want you to know that this wasn’t a booty call, I swear.”
“For what it’s worth, Mr. Beanstalk,”‘ she said, running a finger down his chest, “I’m not opposed to taking that detour.”
His pupils dilated almost immediately, and his handsome, clean-but-still-scruffy face widened with a smug grin. Brooke bit her lip and tried to look sultry instead of like a kid in a candy store. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t covet the hell out of that huge, finely muscled body. And his handsome face. And his velvety voice. And his… fuck it, his everything.
“Let me change first,” he said, a tingle of promise in his lowered voice as he set her down on the sheets of the neatly made bed.
Brooke sat and watched in drunken awe as he moved about the stateroom. It was the first time that she’d seen him in scale with his surroundings, and the longer she stared, the more it seemed to be an optical illusion. He shrugged off his crisp shirt and hung it up in a narrow closet that she had to remind herself was at least 3 feet wide, and his slacks followed shortly after. He stood there in white undershirt and gray boxers as he fumbled around some drawers, looking for a pair of lounge pants. Brooke’s eyes darted with fascination from his hands to his face to his chest to the impressive bulge between those thick thighs.
“You couldn’t fuck me with the suit on?” she asked, channeling her roommate.
Jack leaned against a counter, cocking his brow at her as he stuck some kind of drinking cup against a water dispenser in the wall. It filled quickly. “As much as I know you’d love to swallow, my dear,” he said as he gulped the water down, “There’s only so much room in that little mouth of yours.” Jack was slowly walking back towards her, and she could see it in his body language, the way his strides were purposeful but languid. “The rest would go all over the place.” He was feeling good. Confident. Sexy. By the time he was finished talking, she knew she was soaking wet. She was hoping he could tell.
Jack stopped right in front of her, the slight tenting in his pants just within arm’s reach. What a tease! “Look at you. You look like you’re a foot tall in here.”
Brooke blinked, glanced around again, and it clicked. She was the only normal-sized thing in the entire room now. Forget optical illusion, she felt like she’d been turned into a doll. She giggled. “It’s like you zapped me with a shrink ray.”
“Maybe I did.”
“Well, that would make me your victim, then. What ever shall I do?”
Jack seemed to like this game. He bent over and planted his hands on the mattress on either side of her, cocking his head. “Calling for help wouldn’t do much, no one would hear you.”
“Point. Maybe I could run?” Her heart beat faster and another surge of warmth settled between her legs.
“Where would you go? Besides, I could outrun you.” He gently pushed her back onto the bed and began to feel her with a finger.
Excitement welled up in her and she smiled. “I should struggle, then.”
Brooke grabbed his finger and tried shoving it away, but he was very strong and very fast: he had her pinned down with a single hand when he came in close to brush his lips against her ear. “Be my guest, malyshka.”
She couldn’t help the arching her back did in order to press more of her into his hand, and she couldn’t help the little moan that escaped her either. “Maybe I don’t want to.”
He broke character and laughed. “Maybe that’s for the best, really. Fee, fi, fo, fum and all.”
Brooke whined. “Fuck, Jack, just… you’re really hot and I’m really horny. Please?”
His pupils blew wide open at that and when she gave a little squirm under his fingers she saw him really begin to tent the front of his lounge pants. “You’ll want those clothes off, then,” he said, voice just that much huskier. His lips were on her as soon as she was done with her top, and as he laved at her modest breasts with his hot, heavy tongue, she shimmied off her pants.
Fingers traced along her collarbones, around the swell of her breasts, stroking and kneading, then down her belly until they came to rest along her pubic bone. “This feels better than I remember,” Brooke breathed.
“You look better than I remember.”
He wasted no more time. Jack’s tongue slipped between her thighs and in short order he was fully occupied with tasting every bit of pussy he could get. With his whole mouth he sucked on her sensitive skin, with his teeth he grazed her lips, and with his tongue he –
The very end of his tongue was in her and by all things holy it was like liquid heat filling her up and putting pressure on all the right places. Brooke squirmed, hands on his face and feet on his shoulders as he held her pried open for him. She felt like a flower being licked clean of its nectar.
“Mmmh,” he rumbled. The air between them filled with the slick sounds of sex, and in no time she came, body shaking, muscles clenching, chest heaving.
Twitching, she lay back on the expanse of his bed when he finally released her, feeling like a puddle of ecstasy as the world came slowly back. After a few seconds of basking in the afterglow, Brooke realized that she’d come in less than a couple of minutes.
“What’s wrong?” asked the giant, having a seat next to her.
“I come too fucking fast,” she mumbled, rolling over. “I’m sorry.”
Jack laughed. “Don’t be,” he reassured her. “I could probably draw things out if I wanted to, but… if I’m gonna be honest, I’m more interested in making you come more than once.”
She looked up at him sheepishly. “Really?”
“Don’t give me that look! Don’t make me find your inexperience cute, now, because then that would make me a creep.”
“But I am inexperienced.”
“And I’m not supposed to like it!”
“If it helps, everything you’ve done with me so far has been amazing. And besides, your expertise just adds to your DILF appeal.”
“I’m a DILF now? I can’t even have kids.”
Brooke grinned. “Pretend it stands for Developer I’d Like to Fuck.”
The giant responded with a hand on her ass that quickly turned into a pinky finger sliding between her cheeks. Brooke was still sensitive and lazy from her last orgasm.
“Mmwhat are you doing?” she murmured.
“You’re gonna come again for me,” he rumbled with a little mischief on his voice. His little finger, which was just the right size, slipped into where his tongue had been. Brooke squeaked, feeling quite impaled.
“But I’m too sensitive,” she gasped. “It’ll…”
He started moving in and out of her at a moderate, but firm pace. The pleasure was intense, but felt markedly different than what she was used to. Different, even, from the other times he’d brought her to release. She panted and mewled and moaned, and in no time at all another familiar sensation began to percolate.
“I-I feel like I have to pee,” she breathed through quickened thrusts.
“That means you’re close.” His other hand, she noticed, was kneading the front of his pants as he spoke. “Trust me. Just relax.” The words came out of him so low and lewd, and he was so big, leaning over her…
Brooke did relax, or tried to, quite unsure of the whole thing. Her second orgasm ripped through her by surprise, though, and she rode it for what felt like miles as he continued to thrust into her. Her cries of pleasure were higher pitched this time, too. And still, he didn’t let up, only thrusting even faster.
“Hhn… hah… hhh... J-Jack…”
“Mm?” His lips kissed her hair, then her forehead, then her puffy, trembling lips. He was like a wall there beside her, his long blonde hairs tickling her back.
“I-I feel like a chew toy,” she smiled, panting. “It’s t-too much…!”
Her back was arched as far as it would go and her thighs spread more than enough to give him the easiest access. But he did this thing with his other hand as he continued finger-fucking her, sliding it under her hip and exerting pressure with a finger just above her pubic bone. At that, she practically saw stars with his next thrust. “You’ve got one more in you,” he said. “Relax. Trust me.”
As it turned out, she had three more in her, and each one only grew in intensity until the last one had her screaming into his bedsheets. By the end, she was mushier and shakier than she’d ever been in her life. Now she understood those jokes about having a cigarette after a fuck.
“How was that? All chewed up?”
Brooke mumbled into the fabric.
A laugh. “Couldn’t hear you, doll.”
“I will defer to your experience from now on,” she repeated weakly.
“God, you look fucking perfect laying here in my bed, all small like that.” Jack smiled at her, a possessive sort of wonder in his sharp eyes. “Where would you like to sleep tonight? Here? Upstairs in your own cabin? At home?”
She wasn’t thinking about that, though. “We’re done?” Her eyes darted down to that not-so-patiently waiting cock tenting his pants.
“I think I’ve put you out of commission,” he said with a little smug self-satisfaction.
Brooke wasn’t having it. “Like hell you have. You bring me all the way over here to celebrate your courtroom victory, and all you do is pleasure me.”
“What can I say? Victory is addicting, I guess.”
“Don’t give me that,” she said with her own wry grin. “It’s been almost two years, Sputnik… c’mon, I want it.”
He was torn for some reason, she could see that much. “Alright, let’s go to the head. I don’t want to make a mess that company may find.” Ah, so that was it.
Jack picked her up and stepped over to a door, slim by his standards, and slipped in. It was a boat bathroom for sure. Cavernous for her, cramped for him, but with all the amenities: shower, toilet, sink, mirror, storage for towels and things. He latched the door shut and deposited her on the meager counter space while he fetched what might be called a “washcloth”. Christ, she couldn’t get enough of watching him move!
“I may not last long either,” he admitted, kissing her full on the face. “Been a few days since I’ve even gotten to take care of myself… hope you’re ready.” The giant winked and Brooke blushed from head to toe.
He tugged down the waistband of his sweatpants in a way that showed off the cut of his abs and hips, the hard cliff of his fuzzy lower abdomen, and the neatly trimmed hairs above her prize. It held its own against the compression of the fabric, and by god she could have sworn that she was ready for a seventh orgasm as she watched his length spring free and rest against the laminate beside her.
“I’ve done a lot of thinking about my size since you left,” he said.
Brooke reached out eagerly to touch it, tracing along the swollen slit at the end with her warm fingers. He sucked in a breath. “Me too,” she replied playfully, reveling in the faint noises he was making between words.
He chuckled, belly muscles jerking as she continued to touch him. “I think there’s a lot of potential here.”
“Your – mmph – normal size would still have been bigger than me,” she noted, realizing that that thought, too, went straight down to her tired pussy. Even a 6-foot Jackson Ilyin would have dwarfed her by many pounds and inches. And apparently he liked the idea, too. His enormous cock jerked upward with a rush of blood.
“I would’ve had you against the wall,” he rumbled. “In the shower, in the back seat of whatever car you wanted…”
“On the bathroom counter?” she asked, swinging her leg over to straddle him.
“Definitely the bathroom counter,” he chuckled deeply. “Would have held your arms out to your sides, pinned your gorgeous ass with my hips and bent you over…”
Brooke knelt forward as he filled their heads with all sorts of filthy images, arched so that her most sensitive parts pressed firmly against the hot flesh of his tool and started to rock back and forth. His fingers stroked her hair, raked along her smooth back and shoulders.
“You’re, what, five-four? Five-six?” he continued. “A petite girl any day of the week.” He moaned when she paused to massage him at the head. Her actions were rewarded with a pump of precum that oozed all over her hands.
Brooke wanted to play the game with him, but wasn’t very good at dirty talk. Though it was obvious his words were having an effect on her: she was leaving her slick along the top of his cock, quickening her pace and groping for yet another climax.
Behind her, Jack gripped himself at the root and curled a few fingers around his tightening balls.
“You wanna jerk yourself?” she panted with a wag of her ass, secretly fearing that her small touches weren’t adequate.
“God no,” he breathed happily. “I’m getting used to the feel of tiny hands.”
But for the last time that night, Brooke came again after a few more minutes of rutting against him, shaking and mewling and clutching his rock-hard cock like a pillow as she rode out her long, deep orgasm. Jack wasn’t disappointed, though, and definitely didn’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of the way she felt on him as she came. Quickly, he reached forward with his right hand and jerked off just the very end of himself, yanking at his foreskin with urgent speed and before long he was panting and grunting behind her. Between his ragged groans and thumping heartbeats, Brooke was in heaven, and a quick Russian swear later he unloaded onto the bathroom counter with several powerful bursts.
“Ffffuck,” he hissed, milking the last of it out of him with one final dribble. They caught their breath. Brooke smeared around some of his spunk and licked it off her fingers. “That was fucking hot,” he breathed. “You’re hot. Damn!” Then he peeled her off his cock and brought her up for a lazy, very sloppy kiss that may or may not have involved licking her sweat-sheened breasts. She giggled.
Jack deposited her into the wash basin and turned on the tap with a barrage of water that, for him, would have only been a trickle. She rinsed off quickly, then he had her wrapped up tightly with one of his terrycloth blankets, rubbing her down between his hands. He took out another and gave his flaccid dick a quick once over before stuffing it back into his lounge pants.
“I’d like to sleep out here,” she mumbled happily against his warm skin and cradled against his shoulder.
“Was hoping you’d say that. Amos, lights to half.”
The lights dutifully dimmed as he situated them both in the bed, her on his chest. They stayed like that for a few minutes. Brooke almost fell asleep, feeling his steady breaths and listening to the sound of his heart.
“Thanks for being my friend, Sputnik.”
A moment passed and he murmured, tilting his head to get a good look at her. She glanced at him for a second and saw that those blue eyes were still very open. “You’d say that even if I didn’t have all this?”
Brooke frowned for a moment before flopping back down against the fuzz of his chest. “Couldn’t care less about it. In fact, I’m kind of sad we’ll got a chance to hang out like normal people. Like stay up all night watching Youtube and then go get a bunch of burgers at three in the morning or something. Or share a fishbowl margarita for your birthday…”
Jack chuckled and it vibrated her. She felt him reach for something off to the side, only looking up when a distant whirring caught her attention. A projector screen was being lowered from the ceiling, and Jack instructed Amos to turn off the lights completely.
“You ever see any Men At Work music videos?”
He smiled. “Amos, put on the Down Under one.”
Youtube popped up on the big screen, and the video began to play. They watched it and laughed, then watched a few more 80’s music videos and laughed some more.
Brooke nuzzled into his collarbone and poked at his cheek. “And here I thought you only liked hoity-toity stuff like Chet Baker and Vivaldi.”
He stroked her spine from neck to tailbone. “You never saw the signed Def Leppard and Motley Crue albums hanging on the wall of my office over in Seattle. There’s a picture of me playing pool with David Lee Roth, too.”
Brooke had closed her eyes and didn’t bother opening them again. “…Who?”
The giant laughed, shaking her, then settled down with a contented sigh. “Screen off, Amos.”
“Of course, sir. Are you retiring?”
“I believe so. What would you like for breakfast before I send you home, Brooke?”
The girl just groaned in that squeaky way that girls do and turned over.
The giant grinned to himself and laid back against an appropriately sized pillow, and closed his eyes too.
“I could go for a McMuffin,” he murmured, but Brooke didn’t hear it. She was already fast asleep. It was for the best, really. He had to be up in only six hours, and he didn’t want this tender young thing to be overwhelmed by the news crews and swarms of important people that were sure to show up.
He was humbled to be with her, Jackson realized. She had been brave in the face of his anger, collected in the face of his fear. She had allowed herself to be vulnerable when he was still so dangerous, and her gamble paid off. He hoped. Jack swore to himself that he would continue working on being a better person for Brooke, if no one else. She kept him grounded.
The gap in their ages and respective life experience still felt a little wrong, but she meant the world to him. She was cute, and funny, and beautiful, and so full of promise. He missed the sound of her laugh, the way her face got red when she drank. He missed that look she got when she was telling a dry joke. He missed…
Well, shit. He missed her, didn’t he?
Apparently distance does make the heart grow fonder, the big man thought.
He decided then that he wanted to see her more often from now on. No… no, that wasn’t quite good enough. He wanted to impress her, too. Prove himself.
Jack stopped for a moment when he realized what was going on, brows furrowed as he opened his eyes and stared up at the dark ceiling. But what if she says no? Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. At least you can’t say you didn’t try. And they could always still be friends, which was what he truly valued the most.
He closed his eyes again, quieting his mind for sleep. But it wasn’t going to come that easily, because Jack Ilyin had decided that he was going to ask Brooke out on a date one of these days.
This could have broken the spell, couldn’t it have? If only he’d come to this conclusion all those months ago. Jackson forgave himself, though: better late than never, after all.