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It's All for You

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Louise cried in the cab all the way home, which was a bloody fucking embarrassment on top of everything else, and quite enough to make her believe she might be starting to hate Jackson Brodie. Out of everything she thought she’d feel for the man, it was last on the list, but apparently the blighter wasn’t going to be happy until she ticked off that box.

“Are you alright, Miss?” The cabbie asked as he pulled up to her door. Louise handed him a wad of cash and told him to keep the change. God bless him for calling her ‘Miss’ when she was obviously a ‘Ma’am.’ It didn’t take the edge off her raw agony, of course, but at least it showed that there were nice people out there, people who actually cared about others and looked out for them.

Instead of only looking out for themselves.

Even as the angry, bitter words sank acid fangs into her thoughts, Louise knew they weren’t true because actually, it was so much worse than that. Jackson cared loads about others; he dedicated his whole life to saving everyone he could possibly help.

Except for Louise Munroe.

Turning the key so hard in the lock that she was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t snap right in half, she shoved the door open and slammed it behind her, grabbing a pile of kleenex haphazardly from the box on the coffee table in the living room. She yanked the stupid fancy dress off and threw it across the room, where it promptly landed over the lamp she’d switched on before flopping onto the couch.

Too right. Hope it starts a fire, too. Course, I’d burn to a crisp if I was gonna wait for him to save me. He’d be too busy watching out for that actress who’s probably carrying his baby, or solving a decades-old cold case, or pulling a splinter from a lion’s paw over at the town zoo, I suppose, or literally anything other than possibly giving a damn if I’m okay.

Louise scrubbed hard at her face with the tissues, noticing vaguely that they came away covered in black eyeliner. The sight of her ruined make-up was another useless act of vengeance against Jackson that almost satisfied her, so she followed it up by loosening her auburn curls and ruffling them into a tousled mop with her fingers. Then she just sat there in her black strapless bra and matching panties with her knees pressed to her chest, crying some more as she rocked back and forth pathetically.

Anyway, she supposed it was pathetic, crying over a useless bastard like Jackson Brodie, the selfish git. But she couldn’t help it. Yeah, maybe some tiny percentage of her grief had to do with hurt feelings and embarrassment that he’d only gone and asked her to dinner just to reject her in the coldest, cruelest way possible. But Louise had to admit to herself that the tears were far more the product of her finally letting go of that shattered dream she’d nursed since the first day they met, the dream that Jackson really wanted her too, and one day they’d get together.

After all, even he’d said that she had an effect on him, always had — that no matter how she was dressed, he always wanted to kiss her. And of course, she’d be remiss omitting the words he’d uttered so sincerely from within his delirium at the hospital that time, recovering from his insane car/train wreck debacle.

“Bloody hell, you’re beautiful…I love you.” It felt like getting stabbed in the heart in a good way, which previous to that moment Louise hadn’t realized was possible.

“Screw your stupid fucking sexy Northern accent, and screw your damaged soul,” She said aloud, the echo of her voice in the lovely home she no longer shared with Patrick making her solitude all the more apparent. She hadn’t wanted Patrick, but it had been nice to be wanted and taken care of until the shallow nature of the relationship formed its undoing…or was it that she was so in love with Jackson that she kept making excuses to see him and avoid her actual husband? Louise was always losing track of that distinction.

She balled up the massive quantity of kleenex she’d already gone through and stomped over to the small trash can by the side table which was empty now, since she’d gotten rid of all the cute, coupled-up pics of herself with Patrick. Too many mistakes and too much wasted time, all for nothing. Just to realize that she was probably alone for a reason; there was something about her that just couldn’t fit into a relationship, or that repelled men from wanting to try it on unless they had some missing piece in their own soul they wanted Louise to slot in for them. That had been Patrick’s problem, but her interest in propping up his loneliness had declined as her own romantic misery over Jackson intensified when it ought to have been fading, dying down.

“Screw your blue eyes,” Louise added, kicking the trash can for good measure. That felt pretty good, so she ripped down the curtains, too. Damn, those had been expensive; even the rings had cost a pretty penny. They looked better in a crumpled heap on the floor, though. Now they matched the rest of the place, including herself.

“And definitely screw your handsome face and your perfect body and your kind heart, too, while we’re at it!” She hurried upstairs and pulled on her soft, white cotton bathrobe, the one she’d actually meant to dispose of since it came from the hotel where she’d spent her honeymoon. But apart from any now empty sentimental value she might have once placed on the robe, the truth was that it was too comfortable and luxurious to be thrown out. She belted it loosely in an absent-minded state that was alien to her usual personality and launched herself back down and into the kitchen, where she started hunting for liquor.

Bingo. Glunk-glunk-glunk, the bright, full-bodied red wine went gushing down into the glass until it was filled to the brim. She took a long sip and then decided she’d go back into the living room, curl up and watch some tellie, forget all about Jackson, just relax now. After all, she’d had a good cry already and a temper tantrum of which any toddler would have been proud. It was time to move on and be strong, again.

But her pride fell victim to the overpowering pull of her emotions. As Louise sat down on the couch and lifted the remote, she just started sobbing again, great, heaving, gulping cries that embarrassed her even though no one witnessed them. Well, at least she doubted anyone was peeking through the newly curtain-deprived window behind her. And if they were, she was too depressed to care.

The knock at her door didn’t so much surprise as enrage her.

“Go away, Jackson!” Louise shouted her well-worn phrase with new vitriol, all the playfulness gone now.

She could picture him out there on the front step, stubbing out a cigarette with his shoe, probably rubbing his chin and knitting his brows in thought: how could he get her to open the door? He was so damned predictable, or maybe she just loved him in such excruciating detail that it made him seem so.

“I really don’t want to,” Jackson called back pleadingly, his gravelly voice encompassing her so easily yet again, even now when it ought to be the sound she hated most.

Damn it all. She slammed her glass down on the coffee table and wine sloshed all over.

It was actually rather difficult to storm across the room when you were still wearing stockings, truth be told. It had been alright before, when she still had her shoes on, but having kicked them off in the midst of the whole “I’ll relax now” fantasy, things had changed. Louise realized this belatedly when she went flying and landed on her arse, cursing yet more.

Freshly seething, she pulled herself up with a grunt and found the doorknob, turning it to see him immediately fixing that searching gaze on her.

“Oh, no,” She insisted, despite the fact that he was even more gorgeous than ever. It didn’t matter that someone had apparently tried bludgeoning Jackson today, not that she blamed them. He still looked perfect, just the flavor of helplessly confused and needy bad boy she liked, his flavor, Jackson’s frequency, the one she couldn’t help tasting and tuning into. Maybe the only one for her.

“No, no, no, and did I mention, no? Put those puppy dog eyes away, Jackson Brodie. You’ll find no forgiveness here.” Louise gave him her most imperious look, but unfortunately happened to remember how she looked. Raccoon eyes, smeared lipstick over bitten lips, bedraggled hair, and as a bonus, she was dressed like a rockstar about to be booted from a hotel room they’d just trashed.

“Louise, look, will you just let me in. Please, give us a chance. Let me explain, it’ll only take a minute, I promise. I feel awful.”

You feel awful? You? Okay, well in case you can’t tell by my appearance, Jackson, I’m several shades past awful, so long story short: I win, you leave, bye.” She pretended she was about to slam the door in his face, but really she just wanted to hear what else he was going to say.

“Your appearance?” He repeated the words in perplexity, his eyes flickering over her from head to toe, intent in his appraisal. “Quite frankly, I’ve never seen you lovelier.”

Jesus. A hot wave of combined feeling and desire rocked her at his words until she couldn’t see or think straight.

“Fine, you can have three-point-five minutes to explain your sad-sack sodding self with the same old lines I’ve heard before, if it means I’ll then be rid of you,” Louise conceded, stepping back.

Hands tucked into the pockets of his usual brown jacket with the plaid lining, he shrugged. “I don’t want to repeat myself, especially since I hate very bleeding word I said before. I mean, the second bit. I don’t regret tellin’ ya that I want to kiss you every time I see you. Everything after that was a disaster.”

“Hmm, what an illuminating confession. Trouble is, you’ll never love me, Jackson, so dating would be a mistake, and you’ve now hurt me so thoroughly that I don’t really want to be friends or extend you any more professional favors during your off-time from smashing my heart to pieces, so are we done here?” Louise rolled her eyes for good measure, grabbing her wine glass and chugging.

“Will you just quit that, please,” He asked haltingly, touching her wrist until she set the glass down and shot him a warning look. How dare he even think about touching her when it still set her skin on fire and made her lips tingle?

Jackson’s gaze locked onto her lips until he reached out and swiped gently around their outline with one thumb. Her heart squeezed and her breathe caught, and surely this wasn’t really happening; she wasn’t turning into putty in his hands despite it all.

“You can’t,” She insisted shakily, stepping back.

“I’m sorry. I’d never wanna hurt you in a million years, Louise, and I hate seeing that you been cryin’.” He was one hundred percent serious; she’d always noticed that for a former copper turned P.I., Jackson was a terrible liar.

“I’ve got nothing, I’m afraid,” Louise replied. “Finally, Jackson, you’ve reduced me to nothing. You know I put myself out there for you tonight, strung my heart out on the line for you, because you specifically asked me out on a date, after this entire long saga of sexual tension and repressed feelings between us. And after the way you treated me, it’s pretty obvious how I feel, so why don’t you speak your piece and then just go?”

“I don’t wanna go, Louise, that’s just it. Can’t you see it, can’t you feel it when you look at me? I said those things to you at the restaurant because I’m afraid of the way I get around you, the power you have over me. And I’m terrified that if I let myself love ya, you’ll get hurt by one of the idiot bruisers who’re always on my tail.” To illustrate his point, Jackson pointed up at his bruised face and the dried blood at his brow. “But you still deserve the truth, and that’s that…” He ran out of steam, scared again, hesitating, taking deep breaths.

He fell to his knees on the floor in front of her, pressing his fingers gently against her knees beneath the robe that was half-open. Jackson treated Louise’s attire and messed-up demeanor as if they were entirely normal, and in some way she deeply appreciated that attitude from him. Plus, he was holding her captive with his eyes, his voice, his touch, until she simply couldn't look away. Didn't want to, though that was nothing new.

“I do love you,” Jackson said huskily, watching the new tears that fell from her eyes, then reaching up to sweep them away, cupping her face between his hands. “And I always have done. I’m a disaster, and you should steer clear of me, but I love you, Louise, and you deserve to know it. After what I put you through, you deserve so much more, and so much better, but…there it is.”

“You stupid bloody idiot,” Louise sighed adoringly, stroking his fingers as they slipped further into her hair, a mutual caress, their hands moving together as if to preview or guess at what their bodies might soon be doing. “That’s all you ever had to say.”

Jackson grinned and kissed her, not all tender and careful, like she might’ve expected, but full-on and deep, a tide she surrendered to blissfully. Louise tugged his shirt and urged him forward until she was lying beneath him on the couch, the two of them making out shamelessly until Jackson’s sweet barrage of scrumptious kisses made her moan loudly. He tasted of whiskey though he wasn’t drunk, and a distinct scent of aftershave lingered at his collar, the piney, manly smell making him even more irresistible.

“I like the sound of that,” he muttered naughtily, unbelting her robe and running his hands over her body as her back arched. He slid his lips down her neck, licking and biting her sensitive skin as she fumbled shakily with the buttons on his black shirt.

“Oh, God” Louise cried softly when he undid her bra and pulled it aside, cupping her breasts in his exquisitely roughened fingers, then kissing her cleavage until her underwear was legitimately soaked. She was reacting like a horny teenager and she didn’t even care, couldn’t care.

“Like that sound, too,” Jackson informed her, not so mischievously this time, but simply adoring her, even in her foolish vulnerability, because to him it wasn’t foolish at all. “You’re stunning,” he sighed, “You do know that, don’t you? God, Louise, your eyes, your lips, your hair, your skin, every inch of you is just exquisite…I want you so badly.”

Jackson's words were coursing through her veins at the speed of light as he touched each part he named in turn with a worshipful caress that astonished her. His feathery caress traveled from her fluttering eyelids to rake gradually through her shoulder-length locks before he placed the back of his hand against her neck and moved it down to her lower abdomen, where her breaths were coming fast and hard. She was intoxicated and not from the wine; it was all Jackson.

“You could’ve had me anytime,” Louise confessed, stroking her fingers through his soft hair, from his brow back to the nape of his neck as he nipped skillfully at her breasts. “I’m yours.”

This admission undid something deep inside Jackson and he growled, kissing her lips possessively, gathering her body against his own until she gasped and wrapped her legs tightly around his hips. They initiated a grinding motion that had her fighting for oxygen, already seeing stars, absolutely loathing his snugly fitting black trousers, the same ones she’d been eying up appreciatively at the restaurant.

Jackson also noticed that their remaining clothes were an annoying hindrance, so he swiftly pushed his shirt from his shoulders as her fingers shot nervously but determinedly to his belt, unfastening it and shoving his trousers down until he gave a satisfied hiss. She slipped her arms out of the robe and lifted her hips up so that Jackson could peel down her panties. But he took a moment to tease her, draw out her pleasure, pressing his tongue to the gauzy fabric that was already damp for him. Louise shuddered, not knowing how long she’d even hold out, lost to this surreal experience until she was close to suspecting it was a dream.

Please don’t let me be dreaming.

Jackson’s lust-glazed eyes seared into her for several beats before he leaned in closer, holding her trembling legs carefully as he kissed and then deeply licked at her pussy, further intensifying the aching pulse there, making her body jerk in the shock of ecstasy. This made her fingers in his hair go sloppy and desperate, following the attentive and relentless movements his head made as he explored and unraveled her from the inside out.

Her own noises sounded like those of a stranger, perhaps because she had never heard herself wrapped in the throes of such unrestrained joy before, never had these sharp jolts of pleasure taking her over until she damn near screamed his name. A moment later, she pressed her thighs together as if to keep the amazing feeling inside as long as possible, turning onto her side and giving Jackson a blown-away look. Her whole body shivered in the afterglow, and Jackson laid down beside her in the narrow space, looking into her eyes with concern.

“You okay, love?” His question made her smile. Now, Louise thought, I like the sound of that.

“Love,” Louise repeated, sucking on her lower lip, deep in thought. “You really do mean it, don’t you? God, you know you’re good at oral sex, Jackson?” She blushed, realizing she’d been so caught up that she’d forgotten about the torn-down curtains. It was a good thing the back of the couch would have hidden them from view anyway.

He chuckled fondly, but the light in his eyes spoke of a determination far more serious. “I just want to make you feel better than you ever have, yeah? I mean, till your eyes roll up and you’re fucking exhausted. Make you feel like you deserve, the way I ought to’ve been taking care of you all along.”

“Mmm,” Louise murmured happily, “I want to make you feel that too, Jackson. Do you…want to go upstairs?”

“Thought you’d never ask,” He answered gratefully. “Erm…about protection, I do have…”

“You’re so awkward sometimes,” she giggled, still in disbelief at the reality of the situation. “I’m on the pill. Come on, let’s go.”

Although her legs were still heavy-feeling and wobbly, Louise started to stand up, but Jackson swept her right off her feet with a triumphant grin.

“I don’t mind telling you, I’ve had this exact fantasy,” she enthused.

“Excellent, then,” Jackson replied smoothly, “Me, too.”

“Just hurry, avoid that window, though,” she warned as he looked across the room to see what she meant.

“What? What happened to your curtains?” Jackson asked, baffled, as Louise dissolved into laughter, her cheek laid against his shoulder.

He carried her effortlessly to her room, then let her fall to the bed with a gentle bounce, claiming her mouth in a kiss even more powerful than the ones that came before.

Louise nudged his chest until their positions shifted and he was beneath her, groaning with unrestrained enjoyment as she licked her way down his broadly firm body, then took his cock into her mouth. The taste of him was as perfect as the ragged, needy sighs that burst from him as she continued her attentions, but soon he removed his fingers from the curls atop her head and touched her shoulder, begging, “Stop, I’m going to explode. I want to hold out longer.”

Adding that statement to the list of things that sounded good to her, Louise gave Jackson a more vulnerable look that exposed her heart to him completely. He flipped her under him again and caressed her face wonderingly.

“I love you, Jackson,” she murmured, tracing the lines of his face, then pulling it down close enough that she could kiss his wounds, causing him more sighs of pleasure and comfort, contentment and arousal.

When he brushed his cock against her entrance, she thought she was probably going to die from happiness, but that was nothing compared to the sensation when he thrust in, halfway at first before pulling back, fully revealing his considerable thickness and length. “God, you’re perfect in every way,” he told her devotedly, driving in until they both moaned, shamelessly loud and absolutely high on each other.

“Just don’t stop,” Louise pleaded, hooking her legs up higher and more tightly around him, massaging him with her heels as he fucked her senseless, just as she’d always wanted him to.

Despite the torrid ease of being together, the way they could sense each other’s preferences and needs with the merest indication, a look or a whispered word, Louise was still overcome with euphoric surprise when their orgasms hit almost in exact unison. She murmured his name repeatedly, pulling his sweaty face down against her shoulder as he panted. The feeling of his gorgeous, muscular body pressing into her was almost more than she could stand without starting to take action again though there could be no question that she was entirely spent.

“You’re really not half bad at that part either,” she told him, and he grinned again, turning onto his back as she nestled against his chest.

Jackson wrapped his arms around her, and when she looked up, the hopeful expression on his face was like nothing she’d seen there before. He was finally just where he wanted to be, and he’d allowed himself to believe that love didn’t always have to end in misery and despair — not the way it would have if they had never been together.

“Thanks for comin’ over,” she purred against his hot skin, making him laugh quietly. “You did owe me that apology, you know.”

“Damn right I did. Tell me, is there any situation that you can’t somehow find amusement in?” He gave her his detective look this time, albeit a more intimate variety than any of his clients had seen.

“Nooot really,” Louise mused, “But isn’t that just one of the things that you love about me?”

“Too bloody right,” he answered gruffly, the slow, firm roving of his fingers on her low back making Louise realize she might not be quite as tired out as she’d assumed.

“Well, say it again, then,” she instructed boldly, wide-eyed, liberated from every insecurity and shade of sadness she'd ever felt over this love.

Jackson’s eyes revealed the same new freedom as he grabbed her wrists playfully, turning her and pinning her down to the mattress, where he kissed her greedily, much to her approval. “I love you, Louise,” he breathed in between yet more kisses, his voice so eloquently plain and earnest as he said it over and over until she’d never doubt it again. “I love you.”