Cry Little Sister Ch. 04byRushette©
"I have no idea what you're talking about, Kellan," Jill sputtered out in a lame attempt at cover. Was he right?
"Your face just lit up when you were looking at him. You're glowing, Jill." She watched as Kellan put two and two together. "Holy shit, you're the one he's been so broken up over!"
"He's been broken up over me?" Jill whispered, risking another glance across the yard at Rory. He had a strange look on his face, but she couldn't quite read it.
"You have no idea, sweetheart. He's been tripping all over himself twice as much as usual. Coach is actually threatening to send him down to Lake Erie."
"Lake Erie?" she asked, a puzzled look on her face.
"The minors," Kellan explained with a sigh before continuing. "But that's beside the point. How did this happen?"
"I didn't know he was a teammate!" she said louder than she meant to, but then quickly lowered her voice again. "And he didn't know Jason's my brother! It was just supposed to be a one-night stand!"
"How did you not recognize him? And for the love of all that is holy, how did he not recognize you? You and your brother look scarily alike. Good thing Jason's a pretty man."
Jill took another pull from her beer and covered her responding laugh with her hand before she could spit even more booze onto the lawn. "I think that was a compliment, so thank you?" She couldn't help but sigh before she continued. "I've been overseas for two years, between Iraq and Germany, Kellan! They rarely show NHL games over there. I couldn't recognize half the team if my life depended on it."
"Your brother is going to flip his fucking lid. I do not want to be there when he finds out."
"Oh dear God, Kellan, you cannot tell him," Jill begged. "He's got enough on his plate with a new baby on the way. He might have the aneurysm I've been warning him about if he finds out."
"I won't tell him, Jill," he said sadly. "It's not my business to. But you need to think about telling him soon. Because the longer it goes on for, the more pissed off and hurt he's going to be when he does eventually find out."
"I know. Thanks, Kellan." Jill couldn't help but smile at her newest, most unexpected confidante.
Rory watched Kellan and Jill from across the yard. He knew it was a potentially dangerous thing to do, surrounded as he was. But he just couldn't help himself; she was somehow even more radiant than he remembered, still the embodiment of perfection.
He had been through a month of heartache, a month of beating his head against the wall (or the rink boards, for that matter), of trying to fill the hole she left with anything else. It all disappeared the moment he saw her again. He was whole again, at least for now.
Jill looked over at him for a moment and gave him a little smile. That one look alone was enough to make his heart skip a beat. Oh, he was in way over his head. But it was far too late for him to do anything about it.
Rory watched as Jill and Kellan leaned toward each other almost conspiratorially. He was caught off guard when jealousy suddenly reared up in his chest. He knew he had no claim on her, no right to feel so suddenly angry with Kellan. But he couldn't help it. His head was fuzzy at the quick surge of emotion.
When Jill bent over laughing, he just couldn't stop himself from crossing the yard to join them. She immediately blushed as he approached.
Rory was desperately trying to think of something innocuous to say, but he kept coming up blank. He just couldn't think straight with Jill so near and being unable to touch her. Thank God, Kellan saved him.
"O'Brian! Where have you been hiding?"
He watched as Jill's lips pulled up into a grin. There was mischief sparking in her eyes, but he didn't dare ask. "Who says I've been hiding?" he finally commented gruffly.
"I don't know," Kellan replied with a smile. "It seems like you've been avoiding LeBlanc. And Jill here, too."
Rory took a swig of his beer to try to hide to his surprise. Was it that obvious?
From the corner of his eye, he could see Jill's expression go from serious to humorous. "You just make it too easy, Rory," she laughed out. "Kellan knows."
"You told him?" Rory spat out.
"I figured it out," Kellan interrupted with a sympathetic glance. "You're not as slick as you think you are. You're both wearing your hearts on your sleeves."
"Just be grateful that Jason hasn't figured it out," Jill offered. "Now go away before he does." Her eyes were kind. The 'we'll have plenty of time later' was implied.
Kellan pulled Rory away before he could say anything stupid. "Relax, man," he murmured as they moved, "I'm on your side."
They continued on into the center of the yard. "I didn't fucking know!" Rory insisted quietly. "I'm an asshole, I get it, but I would never ..."
"I know, dude. Relax."
"LeBlanc's going to fucking kill me."
"Thanks for the help, Quaid," Rory spit out sarcastically.
"Will you shut up for a minute and listen? I told you, I'm on your side."
Rory actually thought about that for a minute as he nursed his beer. It made no sense. "Why?"
Kellan actually rolled his eyes at the question. "Jesus, you can be dense. Let me put it this way: I wouldn't be on your side if I didn't know you loved her."
Rory choked on his beer. It took a few slaps on the back from Kellan to be able to breathe easily again. "For fuck's sake, Quaid, you could warn a guy."
"Why? It's true, isn't it?"
He hesitated to answer, but Rory knew it was no use. Kellan and Jason were the ones he confided in a month ago when all of this started. Why did he have to be surrounded by such observant people? Thank God Jason wasn't one of them, or he would end up in traction for the next few months.
"Yeah, it's true," Rory eventually managed to respond.
"You'd just better be careful. LeBlanc's already going to kill you if he finds out."
"Fuck, I know! You don't have to keep saying that!"
Kellan lifted a finger to indicate he wasn't finished. "Imagine his reaction if you actually hurt her."
The thought sobered him quickly. "Oh shit."
"You're right, 'oh shit'."
"Oh shit what?" Jason's voice came from behind them. There was no way he had caught the gist of the conversation, or Rory's nose would already be bloody and broken.
Kellan came to his rescue once again. "Oh shit, I have a blind date tonight."
Jason laughed out loud. "Who suckered you into that one?"
Rory briefly wondered if it was true, but apparently it was. "Winter did. Apparently his girlfriend knows someone that's perfect for me." Kellan rolled his eyes as he said it, but the two men knew him well enough to read the underlying nerves in his statement.
"You'll have her flat on her back in no time, Quaid," Jason pronounced with a throaty laugh; Kellan was a fairly notorious prude. Jason and Rory ragged on him a bit more until Jill came over to join the trio. Rory's heart raced. He just couldn't help it.
"So I see that you've met my sister," Jason casually commented. Rory couldn't help but notice how at odds his words and his actions were as Jason threw an arm possessively around Jill's shoulder. Rory nodded and smiled as innocently as he could. But really, he was doing everything he could to hide the sudden surge of emotion. Jason's body language could be no plainer than if he said the words out loud: Rory was to stay away from her.
"Your boyfriend's nice, Jase," Jill shot back at her brother with a laugh. "Maybe even too good for you. I don't know if I approve."
Rory joined in their laughter, wondering if he would ever be good enough for her. Jill's clear blue eyes found his and he felt as if his stomach had dropped to his shoes. God, she really was so beautiful. He was more quiet than normal as the four of them stood around, chatting about the upcoming season. Casey joined them only a few minutes later and Rory found himself tensing. Would she be able to figure it out, same as Kellan?
"I need to go lie down," she announced as she slid her arm around Jason's waist with a pained look on her face.
"What's wrong?" he asked back, his voice suddenly low with concern. "Is the baby ...?"
"It's fine. But my uterus is being irritable again."
Rory snorted before he could help it. "I didn't know a uterus was capable of emotion." Casey laughed then winced as Jason shot him a warning look.
"Go lay down, I'll be there in a minute," Jason offered before planting a kiss on his wife's forehead. The three men watched as Casey waddled back into the house, Jill helping despite the pregnant woman's protests. "So I need a favor," Jason continued once the two women were out of sight.
"What's up?" Kellan asked when Rory didn't answer.
"Can one of you two take Jill home?" he asked, nodding towards the house as he did. "I don't want to leave Casey; the doctor said if she's not careful when this happens it can put her into early labor."
Rory was shocked. There was no way it was going to be this easy, was it?
Kellan picked up on the opportunity and immediately bowed out. "I have my date, man, I can't."
Jason turned reluctantly to him next. Rory couldn't help but hold his breath. "Can you take Jill home? She's got studying to do and I promised her she'd be home by nine."
Apparently it was going to be just that easy. He pretended to think about it for a minute. "Yeah, I can do that," Rory finally replied. "But you owe me dinner."
Jason laughed before clapping him on the back. "Get my sister home safely, without hitting on her, and I'll buy you an entire restaurant."
Jill was sitting in a chair next to Casey's bed when the knock came on the door. She had to fight a smile when she heard Rory and Jason's voices as they came in a moment later.
"How are you doing, hon?" Jason immediately asked. Jill let him take the chair, though she stood awkwardly close to Rory as she did.
"You worry too much," Casey muttered as she smoothed Jason's furrowed brow with a finger. "I'm fine. You know this is just a precaution."
"I know," he sighed back before facing his sister. "Jilly, I hate to do this to you, but Rory is going to take you home. I don't want to leave while Casey is ..." his wife cut him off with a tut. "Well, I don't want to leave right now."
It took every ounce of self-control Jill possessed not to give away the burst of joy that suddenly radiated through her. Was it really going to go this smoothly? She had anticipated having to lie, sneak around, and do almost anything to get her time alone with Rory once the party was over. Apparently she was wrong.
"I guess it's alright," Jill finally said as nonchalantly as possible, adding a shrug for good measure. She gave Jason and Casey each a quick hug before leaving the room.
"Your brother would put a chastity belt on you if he could, you know," Rory commented as they closed the door.
Jill gave a bitter laugh before sighing. "I know."
"You ready to get out of here?" he asked with a sly grin. Jill's throat suddenly went dry at the thought of being all alone with him again. After a month of restless sleep and heartache, she finally had an opportunity for closure. Or maybe it was going to be just the beginning.
"Yeah, let's go."
I can already hear the comments ... 'another tease'! Maybe. But the suspense will just make the next chapter that much sweeter, right? Thanks for getting this far. Of course, comments and ratings are much appreciated. And if you're really bored, you can always go over and check out Casey's Valentine to see how Jason and Casey met! Thanks again for reading!