Jack and Maggie at it again and winning!

Another 1k Challenge win! I wrote again about Jack and Maggie. Gotta love this wonderful couple.

Here’s my winning entry:

Breaking and Entering
Word Count 1,000

“I’m in no mood to talk to you right now, Jack Reilly. Do you realize I was this close to being strip searched?” Maggie watched the shuttle bus drive away and freed her hair from its confining bun, letting it tumble down her back.

“But you weren’t, were you?”

“No thanks to you.” She wrestled with the handle of her rolling carry-on and marched toward her car. She resolutely ignored how Jack’s closeness made her senses spin as if she were eighteen and breathless instead of thirty and jaded.

“Wrong, luv. It’s thanks to me you weren’t manhandled.”

She paused underneath a security light. “What are you saying?”

His feet planted wide, he grinned, straightened his crooked tie and tugged his cuffs from under his suit jacket. “It’s lucky the assistant to the Secretary of Homeland Security was on your flight and personally cleared you.”

“That was you?” She huffed out her breath and restarted her trek, double-timing her steps. “I don’t believe you! Of all the idiotic, shortsighted, dangerous—”

“Hey, I do a credible Washington bureaucrat when necessary,” Jack retorted, all trace of Irish lilt gone, replaced by a Texas twang. At six foot three he was a full foot taller and his long legs easily kept pace.

“But…but…why? Don’t you know what kind of trouble you could have gotten into?” Icy fear twisted around her heart. “You could have ended up in a government black site somewhere and disappeared forever.”

“Don’t you know by now that I’d do anything for you, Maggie, luv?”

She stopped again, wincing when the suitcase clipped her heel. “That was reckless. Reckless and stupid. And you wonder why things didn’t work between us. I…I need…sanity, Jack.”

Unbuttoning his suit jacket, he placed his hands on his trim hips. He studied the parked cars, his lean, craggy face lit by the yellowish glow from the security lights.

Maggie noticed late evening stubble on his chiseled cheeks and strong jaw. She saw deep lines etched around his mouth, smudges under his eyes and something inside her broke open, scattering shards of hurt throughout her chest. She ached to smooth out those grooves with her fingertips, yearned to push back that lock of thick, black hair falling over his forehead. Frightened by the overwhelming urges, she scrunched her eyes shut.

When the silence grew unbearable, she opened her eyes to find him staring at her, the usual laughter and mischief replaced by a wistful, hungry expression.

He reached out, untangled her fingers from the luggage handle and rubbed his thumb across her knuckles. “I’m not your da, Mary Margaret, I swear I won’t desert you. You constantly push me away but you won’t succeed. Go síoraí…I’m yours…forever.”

He brought her hand to his lips, kissing her fingers. “I can see past that prickly exterior you wear like armor. I see all the way to that petrified little girl sitting for hours on a bus station bench waiting for her da to return.”

“You’re the only one I’ve ever told.”

“Have you ever asked yourself why that is?”

“It’s not easy for me to…to…”

“I know, luv, I know.” He glanced at his watch and squeezed her hand. “It’s after midnight. You what that means, don’t you?”

She shook her head. Not a clue.

“Mary Margaret, you are the most un-romantic woman I’ve ever had the misfortune to fall madly in love with.”

She sucked her breath in sharply at his casual use of the “L” word.

He cupped her cheek in his palm, his thumb stroking her bottom lip. “It’s Valentine’s Day.”

“Oh.” She blinked owlishly, the “L” word an alluring siren song.

“Dance with me.”

“What…here?” She glanced at the rows of vehicles. “You’re insane if you think that I would—”

He grabbed her other hand and swept her into his arms. “Hear the music, Maggie, luv.”

“This is an airport parking lot. The only things I hear are shuttle buses, the buzz of those security lights, and the whine of jet engines.”

He covered one of her hands with his and placed it over his heart. “The music is in here. I hear it whenever I’m with you,” he whispered into her ear, his Irish lilt thick, sexy, seductive.

He waltzed them across the pavement in front of the parked cars. At first Maggie felt like dead weight in his arms but he was so smooth and graceful, she forgot her embarrassment and found her rhythm.

She rubbed her cheek against his shoulder, breathing in spearmint and sandalwood.

They danced across the tarmac and she gloried in the shared moment. She closed her eyes and images flashed through her mind. Jack disguised as a priest, his sapphire blue eyes twinkling as he flirted outrageously with her in St. Peter’s Square. Jack, soaking wet, stripped to his boxer briefs in an alley yards away from a busy street. Jack cradling her all night after she told him about her father’s abandonment.

Opening her eyes, she looked into his face. Why did she push him away when she really wanted to cling? She choked on sobs clogging her throat.

He stopped dancing, wrapping his warm hands around her face. “Grá mo chroí,” he murmured. Love of my heart. He caught her tears with his thumbs. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry.” She sniffled, hiccupped.

“For what?”

“For taking so long to hear the music.”

He gave her an irresistibly devastating grin. “Lucky for you, I’m endowed with infinite patience. It’s second only to one other thing.”

“Second? What’s the first?”

He glanced around. “I can’t show you here, luv. I don’t fancy getting arrested for public indecency in an airport car park.” He grinned wickedly, wiggling his eyebrows. “But if you’ll come home with me, I’ll give you a full demonstration.”

“Show and tell? Or hands-on?”

“Full participation guaranteed.” He grabbed her suitcase in one hand, her arm in the other. “Better hurry, Maggie, luv, I think the demonstration is starting without us.”

The End

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