Waking up from a high had never felt that good.
Audrey watched his face, as he was lying in her arms, still naked, and barely awake. She remembered the first few days, six months ago, when he had taken 0.5 milliliters of that stuff, once a day, and it had knocked him out for half an hour. Now he was taking about 3, every eight hours, and if everything turned out like yesterday night, he'd now probably only be out for a few more minutes.
His breathing had slowed down, his limbs lay there, numb, his head rested against her chest. From time to time, his eyes opened up a little, closing again without any further reaction to what they had seen or not seen.
Audrey pulled a blanket over their both bodies and held him close, counting the minutes, just like she had used to, half a year ago.
It frightened her to see how much his breathing had slowed down. Sometimes, even when she listened closely, she couldn't make out if he was still breathing at all. Only his eyes showed her that he was still alive.
Though she had been there for him, half a year ago, she had actually never seen a real high- she had only seen the moments after which he had been able to pick up the phone again. Probably that was one more reason, why she had talked him into letting her watch this, yesterday night. She wanted to see it, what it did to him, even though he hadn't wanted that at first.
They had sat at the couch, as she had helped him bind that rubber band around his arm and had watched him do it. He had woken up, a few minutes later, still heavily influenced, but he had been in some state that could be called 'awake'.
She remembered looking into his eyes, 12 hours ago. The sadness hadn't been there. The rancorous stare had been replaced by a contented look in his eyes, the corners of his mouth had for once not pointed downwards. He had looked truly happy, back then. Just like now.
She had known that he was barely able to move his body, and she had taken advantage of that, slipping closer to him, on the couch, knowing that he wouldn't yield back, fight back or say no, in this state. When she had kissed him, she had even prayed that he wouldn't be able to remember it. She had just wanted to try this… damnit, she hadn't even asked him first, if he wanted this at all. He was a guy. No guy said no, right?
Softly, she now ran her fingers through his hair, stroking over his cheek. He slightly stirred.
Had she made his life more complicated, with the things that she had done, in the past night? It hadn't been fair, she had to admit. She hadn't seduced him, or tempted him into sleeping with her. After all, she had just done it, taking advantage of the fact that he had hardly been able to make any decision at all.
At first, it had only been a kiss, a tender touch of their lips which she hoped he wouldn't remember. But she hadn't stopped there, damnit. At one point, she had felt that he was reacting to her kiss, maybe not even consciously, but he did start to kiss her back. One thing had led to another, soon she had had his hands on him, and he had had his hands on her. Not one more second had she thought of stopping at this point. She had ran her hands up his body, underneath his t-shirt, finally making him take it off. It had been funny to know that he probably still was in a state where he couldn't even get to his feet, but that didn't matter back then. She didn't want him to get to his feet, anyway.
A few minutes later he was lying on the couch, on his back, half naked, and she was sitting on top of him, slowly watching him recover from at least the worst high, while she tenderly put kisses all over his bare chest.
Audrey softly stroked over his skin now, remembering the moment of last night, when their eyes had briefly met. He had told her that he loved her, that were his first and only words, as he managed to speak again. Were it the drugs, which had made him say that? Part of her feared that, part of her hoped it.
She was at least glad that he couldn't remember it, anyway. She had never wanted this relationship to get too personal, and she'd always had the feeling that this wasn't what he wanted, either.
But hearing these words… no matter if he had meant them or not… made her smile, as she thought back. After that, they hadn't really spoken anymore, he had reached out and grabbed her neck, pulling her down to him, finally taking her clothes off. After half an hour of making out on the couch, he had carried her over to the bed, where they got rid of the last pieces.
She held him tight now, having a look at her wristwatch. Twelve minutes had passed, since the shot. Time to come to himself again.
Waking up from a high had never felt as good as now, Jack instinctively knew, though he was still way too intoxicated to put it in words. As he finally realized where he was, he just closed his eyes again and snuggled up to her body. He was used to so much solitude that he treasured the few moments which were different. God, he could easily fall for that woman.
A few more minutes. If she'd not realize that he was 'alive' again, just for a few more minutes, then he could savor that nearness a little longer.
She did realize that he had woken up again.
But she didn't say anything, because she realized what he was doing. Wordlessly, she just kept lying there, where she was, doing the same – savoring the moment.
"56", he silently said, ten minutes later, his eyes still closed.
At first, Audrey wondered what he meant with it, but then she suddenly remembered. It had been their running joke, half a year ago. She couldn't help but smile. "You still remember that?"
"Yeah, I do." He had remembered it, all the time. He had treasured the few phone calls with her, as his time undercover had started. "I thought about that, all the time."
She opened her eyes, squinting at him. "Really?" He looked different, now. All the sadness was gone again, she saw. He looked truly happy, lying in her arms. It had to be the effect of the drugs.
As he lay there, thinking back, only the good memories came into his mind. "All the time", he repeated, "Especially the first few times I woke up from a high and nobody called me on the phone, asking me equations I can't solve."
"7 times 8 is not an equation!", she laughed, "It's grade school!"
Right now he just felt good, lying there, laughing with her. Not even the thought that he'd have to leave her in half an hour made it into his consciousness. "35, 42, 49, 56, 63", he spoke, thinking back, "I guess the Mexicans sometimes wondered what I was talking about." After these few phone calls only, her repeated question of what 7x8 was had burnt itself into his mind so deeply that it most of the times had been the first thought, waking up from the drugs, in prison, on the run, in Mexico, on the Salazar ranch. In the end, he was so glad, that their banter about his failure of grade-school knowledge had been the first thing to come to his mind, and not something from work or CTU. In this half-intoxicated state people often started to mumble things which were on their minds. He had seen some other addicts do that. What if he had mumbled things about CTU? Unthinkable. Again, talking to her had saved his cover.
"Half intoxicated, people often say the truth and don't even realize it.", he explained to her, watching their hands find each other, fingers interlocking. "I'm so glad that that was on my mind back then, and not something which would have compromised my cover."
She froze. She thought 12 hours back. I love you. That had been his words, his only words, in that half-intoxicated state.
No, she couldn't tell him that he had said that. Or should she? No, definitely not. All the time, she had believed that drugs had been making him say stupid things… had they made him say the truth?
"Audrey?", he silently asked.
She startled, feeling as if he had caught her, thinking this. "Yes?", she stammered.
"Thanks for this night.", he silently said. It had been the best night in… he couldn't even think back. When had there ever been a woman who he could share his thoughts with, even the classified ones?
"You don't even remember it.", she remarked.
"Well, then for the parts that I can remember." The evening, and waking up next to her… this morning.
She sighed and snuggled up to him as well, trying to forget that he'd be gone in a few minutes. I could easily fall for this man, she thought, keeping it meticulously to herself. She had never thought that she'd be lying in bed with a dope-addict, sleeping with man who she had seen three times only in her life, who told her about torturing people and about getting tortured himself, knowing that he had killed people, knowing that he'd leave her, that he'd go back to the other side of the continent in only a few hours and would never come back… and nevertheless she felt safe and loved his company.
The stayed there for a few more minutes, until the clock finally forced them to part.
She didn't have that many things to pack. After taking a shower, she gathered up her clothes that lay at places all over the room. She wondered how many of her colleagues would realize that she came two work, wearing the same clothes again. It was Friday – she wouldn't stay there for too long, anyway.
Jack threw his few things into his bag and put the suit jacket on. They hadn't talked too much in the past twenty minutes, it felt like everyone was afraid to speak the words that had to be said: goodbye, we won't see each other again.
She heard a knock at the door. Jack went over and told Michelle to give him three more minutes. She was already waiting for him, to leave for the airport.
Hiding behind the only corner in the room, Audrey heard him close the door. Damnit, this is goodbye, she thought, watching him come back over. He wore a white shirt, the suit jacket over it but the same blue jeans like yesterday evening. All his stuff was already packed. He took the bag from the bed and looked around one more, last time. Nothing left.
His view came to rest upon her.
Slowly he went over to her, not knowing what to say.
"So, what's standard procedure in such a case?", she asked him, looking into his eyes, softly smiling.
He shrugged. "I have no idea.", he said, stopping a few feet away from her. Judging from the things she had said, he had been her first ever one night stand. He thought back to the few one-night stands that he'd had in his life. Usually, he had ran off, whenever he had been the first to wake up. "Take good care.", he silently said, coming closer, placing a kiss on her cheek.
She closed her eyes, savoring the moment of feeling his cheek against hers, hearing him say, "I really like you Audrey. You're gorgeous."
Had he made a mistake, saying it? Had he let this all become too personal? Damnit, he had slept with her, he didn't even know how many times, in the past twelve hours, this already had become personal. But the way things were, they still seemed to have a way out, leaving now, without getting any ties, by just denying any possible feeling.
He felt how she grabbed his face, making him turn over, to kiss him.
It was a slow kiss, a passionate one, a silent one, throughout they both stood there, eyes closed, denying that Michelle was just outside the door, waiting for him. He backed Audrey to the wall, leaning his body against hers. Damnit, why did this feel so good?
Finally they stood, their foreheads touching.
"Take care, Jack", she whispered.
Michelle knocked at the door, once more.
"I gotta go."
"I know" She gave him another, small kiss. "Bye"
He kept his eyes closed, as he straightened up again and turned away. He didn't want to see her, being left – it would be another picture which would burn itself into his memories, taking an all too prominent place there, in the row of the pictures constantly him of the mistakes that he had made in the past 41 years.
It had been fifteen hours in heaven, and he opened the door to go back into his reality, into hell.
Guys, I decided to end this story at this point, it feels like the story arc is closed. I know, most of the stories of how Jack and Audrey got involved depict them as the couple who had sex.. and more sex and then some more… I just wanted to see them have a deeper connection, one not only based on a very physical relationship.
I know that you hate me now, for tearing them apart at the end of the story (once again), but there's Paul still out there, and Jack has to go to rehab, and I'm sure he wouldn't want Audrey to see him there.
Thanks for reading. Please review.
Written to: FEEL. (Kendrick Lamar) and No Expectations (Rolling Stones)