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The Bachelor: Paradise Island, Part 8

Title: The Bachelor: Paradise Island, Part 8
Pairing: Mostly Jack/Sawyer
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Jack is conflicted about Sawyer -- and which woman to send home
Note: Thanks so much to everyone who's been reading and supporting this series! I had this chapter written ages ago but with the luau, it just got sidelined. And thank you to zelda_zee for betaing once again!

Previous Parts



“Think we ruined your sofa?” Sawyer asked, half yawning, half laughing. He was still sprawled on top of Jack, head tucked under Jack’s chin, and now he lazily stretched his long limbs, as if he had no intention of getting up just yet.

“I’ll buy a new one.” Jack’s hands rested comfortably on Sawyer’s hips. “And then we can ruin that one.”

”Yeah?” Sawyer braced himself on his arms so he could look Jack in the eye. “That might get expensive.”

“Don’t care.” Jack grinned. He should be freaking out that he was lying underneath a naked man. Instead, he felt good right down to his toes, filled with a bone-deep sensation of contentment he couldn’t remember having in the longest time. “I have a maid.”

”Well, lucky her,” Sawyer chuckled, leaning down to draw Jack into a long, slow kiss that warmed his body all over again. He was just about to slide his hands down to Sawyer’s ass when Sawyer drew back with a satisfied grin. “Maybe we should clean up?”

”The couch?”

Sawyer’s laughter shook his whole body, a not-unpleasant sensation. “I meant, where’s your bathroom?”

”Oh.” Jack immediately felt like an idiot. “Here, I’ll show you.” Sawyer pushed off of him and Jack realized he was still wearing his unbuttoned shirt and nothing else.

Sawyer shook his head at him fondly and Jack stood up, defiantly straightening the hopelessly wrinkled shirt. “What? I think it looks good like this.”

Laughing and joking with Sawyer came so easy, just as natural as the impulse to keep touching him. Jack led Sawyer out of the living room, fully aware of how ridiculous he looked with his ass and dick hanging out under the tails of his white shirt. Sawyer, well, Sawyer looked perfectly at ease in his own skin as he ambled after him, flashing those dazzling dimples.

When they reached the bathroom, Sawyer surprised Jack by pulling him in by his shirt. “Here, like to clean up my own messes,” he said as he reached for a towel. He wetted it under the sink and dabbed at Jack’s stomach, slowly wiping away every trace of dried come. He ran the towel over Jack’s abs and then all pretense of washing Jack vanished as he moved the towel lower. The soft terrycloth against his hardening cock was sinful with the pressure of Sawyer’s hand behind it.

“God, you’re gonna be the death of me,” Jack murmured, before shrugging off his shirt and letting it fall to the floor.

He drew Sawyer into a long, heated kiss and when they parted, he had every intention of dragging Sawyer into the shower with him, of soaping up every inch of that luscious, tanned body, of pinning him up against the tiles, of doing whatever Sawyer would let him. He licked his lips, wondering what Sawyer might expect or want from him and as he ran through the possibilities, he realized, his heart racing wildly, that he wanted to say yes to anything and everything.

Sawyer, however, seemed mesmerized by Jack’s tattoos. “Haven’t seen these up close yet,” he said, tracing over the stars and flames on Jack’s inner arm. “No wonder all the women just can’t keep their hands off ‘em.” He stepped closer, angling in for another kiss. “Off you,” he added, gripping Jack’s arm tight.

Jack turned his head. “Sawyer ... fuck. I wasn’t even thinking.”

Sawyer paused, not moving. He sounded amused, but there was an edge to his voice. “Wait… are you sayin’ you forgot you’re starring in a reality show about findin’ the perfect woman?” He met Jack’s eyes, head titled, like he wasn’t sure whether or not he should laugh.

Jack forced a laugh. “Yeah, I guess I did.”

“Well, now that’s very flattering.” His grin had more than a hint of a smirk to it. “Unless you’re always this absent-minded after sex.”

“You did kind of blow my mind,” Jack said, trying to get the mood back as he cupped Sawyer’s ass, but he couldn’t get over the fact that he had forgotten about everything else but Sawyer. Forgotten about Shannon... Shit! Shannon. He cringed. He was going to have to tell Sawyer about her.

Sawyer nuzzled Jack’s neck, trailing up to his ear before whispering, “God, this was better than I ever imagined. Thought maybe I’d come over here and just flirt with you a little... and then go home and jerk off all by myself.” He leaned back, deliberately pinning Jack against the counter with his hips. “But this is much better...”

”This stupid show,” Jack sighed, pressing his forehead against Sawyer’s. “I’ll quit. I ...”

“You’d quit because of this? Because of me?”

Jack nodded, surprised at the question.

“That’s mighty flatterin’, too,” Sawyer said, reaching up to cradle Jack’s head between his hands. “But unfortunately, you signed a contract, babe. There’s a lot of money on the line and I don’t think you have the luxury of quittin’.”

”You want me to keep going? Fuck, Sawyer, the overnight dates are next. How the hell am I supposed to fake it through those?”

Sawyer kissed him once, softly. “You’ve been fakin’ it, right, with some of them? Just you know ... keep doin’ that. And you do like some of ‘em, don’t you?

”Yeah,” Jack sighed. He placed his hands over Sawyer’s, easing them down and away. “I do, I just… Sawyer, I have to tell you something…” Jack took a deep breath. “I slept with Shannon.” He looked straight at Sawyer, waiting for his reaction.

Sawyer took his hands back and crossed his arms. One eyebrow seemed to twitch, but that was it. “Oh. Well, there you go. No fakin’ required.”

“It was a mistake,” Jack said, almost more upset that Sawyer wasn’t jealous. “She was upset and so I, well, I went back and ...”

”Okay, if she was upset, perfectly understandable.” The slightest iciness had crept into Sawyer’s voice and Jack instantly saw what he must think, that Jack had just had sex with him because of their fight.

“Sawyer, I ... fuck. I wish it hadn’t happened with her. I felt sorry for her and ... I was upset too. I thought I’d been wrong about you this whole time and I was all wound up and ... it just happened.”

“Look, it doesn’t matter.” Sawyer shrugged. “We had fun, right?” Maybe he wasn’t that great an actor after all, Jack thought, because even though Sawyer was still smiling, Jack could see the hurt in those clear blue eyes.

“God, Sawyer. Don’t you get it? I want you.” Jack hated the throb in his voice. It felt fake, put-on, like almost every moment he’d spent on camera, manufacturing romance. But he was not going to let Sawyer leave tonight thinking this was fake, that it had just been sex and nothing more. He grabbed Sawyer by the shoulders and pulled him closer, inch by reluctant inch. “Am I wrong? I mean, if this is just a fling for you...”

The warmth came flooding back to Sawyer’s face as he laughed. At Jack. “I guess Shannon didn’t get a declaration like that, eh? Fuck, Jack. It’s okay. We’ll figure it out.” He leaned in, rubbing his nose against Jack’s.

The gesture was so unexpectedly sweet that Jack had no choice but to smile, relief washing over him. He slid his hands down Sawyer’s arms, to his backside, his voice husky. “I thought... maybe a shower?”

“As tempting as that sounds, I need a second to piss. And then I need a cigarette. And then, I think, we need a game plan.”

With the mood effectively killed, Jack left Sawyer alone in the bathroom. He figured he might as well get dressed, so he pulled on a clean T-shirt and jeans and then he gathered up his and Sawyer’s strewn clothing from the living room. He had fresh drinks poured for them both by the time Sawyer emerged from the bathroom. He handed Sawyer a glass and his jeans. Sawyer took the jeans first, tugging them on with some effort because they were tight, and then he gladly accepted the drink.

“Can I smoke in here or ...?”

“Out on the deck,” Jack answered, pointing through the sliding doors. “Come on.”

----

He carried the bottle with them out to the deck. The night was warm and it felt good to be outside. Even without that shower, he felt invigorated by the fresh air.

They settled into separate deck chairs and he brought Sawyer up to speed with the four hometown visits. Sawyer listened thoughtfully as he smoked and drank, sometimes gazing up at the stars while Jack talked.

Jack told him about Gabriella’s ailing father, but not the kiss on the gondola. He mentioned the promise he’d made Kate’s dad not to string her along, but not the bond he’d felt with her when she talked about her boyfriend who had died. Sawyer seemed to know all the particulars of each family situation -- Juliet’s pregnant sister, Shannon’s estranged stepmother -- so he tried to boil it down for him the way he had for his father, what he saw as each of the women’s strengths and drawbacks.

It was surreal, discussing what woman was “right” for him when all he could think about was Sawyer.

This was just the kind of thing they’d discuss before all the other previous rose ceremonies, except that now Sawyer’s presence, even though they weren’t even touching, even though he was several feet away, was overwhelmingly distracting. Jack chose his words carefully, mindful of how they would sound to Sawyer, so the picture he painted of each was more like the one his father had given him, the negatives outweighing the good.

“I can’t move to Italy for Gabriella. And Kate, well, obviously I’d be an idiot to choose her. Still, the more someone wants to see her gone, the more I feel like I should keep her.” He sighed. “And Juliet is great on paper, but I don’t know… As for Shannon, she’s all wrong for me, but I promised to give her a rose and I don’t see how I can back out.”

Sawyer had barely spoken but now he leaned forward, squinting as he exhaled smoke. “You want my blessing on who to keep? You’re the one who’s got to go on those dates, not me.”

“There’s no way out of it? I can call my lawyer tomorrow, go over the paperwork...”

“You’ve got another rose ceremony tomorrow, you should at least go through with that. So, yeah, call the lawyer, but I don’t think there’s an out. Because if you think it’s been ugly so far, just wait until they find out why you want to quit.”

Jack exhaled slowly, stretching out his legs. He’d finished the contents of his glass, so he reached for the bottle and took a swig. He hadn’t thought that through either, that this thing, this completely new thing with Sawyer could be used against either of them. He really had no choice but to continue. “You’re going to have to teach me how to act, then.”

Sawyer’s chuckle was low and, because it was coming from Sawyer, incredibly sexy. “You don’t need me. You just look at ‘em and those women swoon.”

Jack shrugged off the compliment. “We still haven’t figured out who’s behind the mug shot, the DVD. If we bring it to the producers’ attention, that might be grounds to pull the plug on the whole show, right?”

Sawyer shook his head, seemingly amused by Jack’s naiveté. ”Nah, they’ll just put it in the show. More drama. Or they’ll ignore it, if it suits ‘em. For all we know it’s the producers who’re behind it.”

“Fuck. Look, can I at least get out of the overnight dates?”

Sawyer gave a low whistle. “I really don’t see how. It’s up to the Bachelorettes, and I’ve never seen one of ‘em say no. Besides, you sure you don’t want to...”

“No,” Jack said firmly. “Besides, we know Kate isn’t interested.”

Sawyer had taken the bottle from his hands and he choked on his mouthful of whiskey. “Fuck then, you’ve got it made. She’s in.”

”Yeah.” Jack blinked and then started to laugh. “You’re right. And Shannon... you really think she might be behind the DVD?”

”You know her better than I do.”

Jack groaned.

“Sorry, cheap shot,” Sawyer laughed. “But seriously. You’ve got the opportunity to ask ‘em yourself. There’re no cameras on the overnight dates once you close that door. Only way to get ‘em alone.”

“Can’t you arrange something again?”

”Nope, sorry. Nearly lost my job for bringin’ you to see Kate in the middle of the night. Think what made em’ the maddest was that we didn’t bring a camera crew.”

“Okay, then, my only option to get any of them alone ...”

”... is the overnight date. It’s up to you what goes on behind closed doors, Cowboy.”

Sawyer uncrossed his legs, rubbing his thighs vigorously under the thin denim.

“You cold? You want to go in?”

”Yeah, I should go ... you got an early call time tomorrow?”

”Not that early.” Jack realized he didn’t want Sawyer to leave. “And I think you might have had too much to drink to be driving,” he added with a smile.

It was almost completely dark but he could see the flash of Sawyer’s teeth as he grinned. “Why, Jack Shephard, you sly dog.”

“Guilty,” Jack grinned as he walked over to Sawyer, pulling him up by the arm. “Haven’t showed you my bedroom yet, have I?”

He drew Sawyer close, putting his arms around him and rubbing his back to warm him up. And then he kissed him, feeling the same rush he had the first time, when he had no idea how Sawyer would react, even if now he knew that Sawyer wanted him too, had wanted him all along.

It was a gamble, keeping this up. How could he see Sawyer every day, interact with him on camera and yet pretend to be interested in women he had no interest in at all?

He’d think about that tomorrow, he decided, as he led Sawyer inside, to his bed.

--

But nothing, he was finding, would go according to plan. They’d just started to kiss, Jack sitting on edge of the bed, Sawyer standing, nestled between his legs. Jack was about to pull Sawyer down onto the bed with him when Sawyer stopped.

”Maybe we shouldn’t do this.” Sawyer’s hands were pressed against Jack’s chest, keeping him from getting closer.

“Okay...” Jack tried to sound patient, not puzzled. And frustrated.

Sawyer sighed, his hair falling conveniently in his eyes so Jack couldn’t read his expression. “Look, you’ve got enough to worry about ...”

Jack put his hands over Sawyer’s. ”Sawyer. I don’t care about them.” He found it hard to believe he had to keep reassuring Sawyer on that point.

“Yeah, but I know you. You’re feelin’ guilty over Shannon and this might be okay now, tonight, but how are you gonna face them if we’re sneakin’ around between your other dates?”

“You’re jealous?” Jack brushed Sawyer’s hair out of his eyes, keeping his hands on Sawyer’s face. “You shouldn’t be.”

”It’s not me I’m worried about, dummy. I just don’t wanna ... put you in a bad spot right now. We can always pick it back up when the show’s over. Y’know, assumin’ you don’t ask one of ‘em to marry you.”

Jack snorted. “Right.” He pulled his hands back into his lap, leaning back onto the bed. “Okay. We can wait.” He shrugged.

Sawyer nodded, looking both worried and relieved. He might put up a smooth front but Jack had no idea how it was going to be for Sawyer, having to watch as Jack pretended to woo three women.

Jack leaned forward, reaching for Sawyer’s hand. He looked up at Sawyer, not caring if it sounded like he was begging. “Just stay tonight. I really don’t think you should drive. We can just sleep. I don’t want you to leave.”

Sawyer ran his thumb over his mouth as he considered the invitation. “Okay,” he said finally, with a half smile and a shake of his head. He crawled into bed beside Jack, so they were facing each other. “You’re a hard man to say no to.”

Jack smiled, resisting the urge to kiss him good night and instead busied himself with stripping down to his underwear. Sawyer kept his jeans on as he crawled under the covers, but he didn’t protest as Jack rolled against him. Sawyer let out a sigh as Jack slid an arm around his waist but he didn’t protest, and he didn’t move away, and they fell asleep like that, Jack pressed up against him, his breath echoing Sawyer’s.

---

Sometime in the middle of night, Jack woke up. He was freezing. Sawyer had stolen all the blankets, wrapped himself tightly in them and then rolled to the far side of the bed, dragging all the bedclothes with him. Jack tried to get them back without waking Sawyer, but he had those blankets wrapped as tight as a burrito, so Jack had no choice but to tug, hard.

Sawyer rolled against him, still half-asleep, hanging onto the bedclothes for dear life and Jack had to laugh. “W’a’s so funny?” Sawyer mumbled sleepily, turning away again, taking more of the blankets with him. Jack roughly jerked the covers off of him and now Sawyer was wide awake. He pinned Jack to the mattress, muttering about how rude it was to wake a man from a good dream. They were both breathing hard and laughing and Jack couldn’t resist arching up into Sawyer and from there it was a small step to grinding his hips into Sawyer’s, but it was Sawyer who reached for Jack first, who slid his hand down Jack’s boxers and wrapped it tight around his cock.

Jack murmured his name and then probably yes and who knows what else, lost already in the sensation of Sawyer’s touch. This was just what he wanted, with Sawyer on top of him, face to face, groin to groin. “I wanna come together,” he said, reaching for Sawyer’s fly. “With you.”

The tip of Sawyer’s cock was wet as Jack freed it from his jeans and it felt so good straining against his palm, already familiar. Sawyer’s sharp intake of breath, his low moan, was as good as any words. Jack was content not to talk, to keep this to groans and heavy breathing, but he wanted to show Sawyer what he had learned. He arched up, whispering the words in Sawyer’s ear. “How does that feel?”

“Mmmm,” Sawyer nearly purred as he bent to fuck Jack’s mouth with his tongue, his kiss so hard and wet and forceful that Jack actually whimpered. Jack could feel Sawyer’s grin as their lips parted -- it was too dark to see Sawyer at all -- and Sawyer took his hand from Jack's cock, slipping three of his fingers into Jack’s mouth instead. “That’s right,” he said. “Good boy. Mmm, so fuckin’ good.”

Jack knew just what Sawyer was going to do with that hand and the anticipation of it on his dick made it even better. He gasped when Sawyer’s fist enclosed them both, when he felt the slick slide of cock against cock and he wrapped his own hand around Sawyer’s.

“Come with me,” Sawyer panted. He growled his encouragement when Jack thrust up, their bodies rocking together, slick now with sweat. Sawyer came first, biting hard into Jack’s shoulder, as if he couldn’t convey the intensity of it any other way and the idea of Sawyer losing control, marking him, was almost more of a jolt than the bite itself. It felt like Sawyer had flipped a switch inside him and now his whole body lit up, caught in a current too strong to fight as he gasped through his own orgasm.

He couldn’t tell his own ragged breathing from Sawyer’s, could barely tell whose heart was pounding harder. He wasn’t entirely sure where Sawyer left off and he began and it didn’t much matter.

They fell hard into sleep like that, tangled up in each other’s limbs. When Jack woke, Sawyer was still snoring lightly on top of him, mouth half-open and one cheek scrunched up, pressed in what looked like an uncomfortable way against Jack’s chest. Jack smiled to himself and lightly kissed the top of Sawyer’s head, waiting until he woke on his own.

But then the phone rang and Jack, by instinct, reached for it. The sound of it would have woken Sawyer anyway. He rolled away from Jack, taking the blankets with him, grumbling softly.

It was a p.a. on the other end, making sure Jack would be ready in a few hours. Jack muttered that he would be and hung up, but it was too late. He couldn’t wait until this fucking reality show was over and he could get on with his real life.

---

He made coffee while Sawyer showered. He kept waiting for that sharp stab of regret he’d felt the morning after waking up next to Shannon, but it didn’t come. His only regret was that they couldn’t crawl back into bed and spend the whole day there.

But now that he was facing another day of shooting, another stupid rose ceremony, Sawyer’s idea of keeping their distance did seem sensible. They didn’t talk much over breakfast; turned out neither of them were morning people. But just like last night, Jack didn’t want to see Sawyer go.

“You’ll see me later,” Sawyer said as he pulled on his boots. “Same as always.”

“Right,” Jack sighed.

Sawyer didn’t kiss him goodbye, didn’t touch him at all. He just put on his leather jacket and a borrowed pair of Jack’s sunglasses and, looking like some rock star wanting to avoid the paparazzi, slunk out into the bright sun.

Jack hit the shower, jerking off as he relived Sawyer’s every caress, every dirty thing he’d made Jack say. He reached his free hand to his neck, pressing his thumb on the bruise Sawyer had left behind and came in a blinding rush, moaning Sawyer’s name.
__

Because he, Sawyer, and all the contestants were in L.A. before flying back to the island, the rose ceremony was being held at a nearby hotel. Jack drove himself there in his own car, not bothering to smile for the cameras as he got out. He was a man with a hard decision to make, after all. It wouldn’t be realistic for him to smile now.

Before he sent one of them home, probably in tears, there was the usual cocktail party. He plastered on a grin as he entered the bar area where the four women were waiting for him. They all looked even more beautiful than he remembered. Maybe the makeup artists and hair stylists were better here in L.A., or maybe he was just giving into guilt the way Sawyer was sure he would. So he just smiled all the wider and kissed each woman on the cheek in turn.

He found he wasn’t really listening to what any of them said as he sat down for his prescribed one-on-one-time with each woman. Instead, he was watching the look in their eyes, listening to the enthusiasm and warmth in their voices, noting how often they brushed his arm or threw back her head and laughed as he tried to mirror them, touch for touch, smile for smile, laugh for laugh. How long could he keep this up?

He hid his knowledge of Kate’s liaison with Cassidy, his suspicions of Juliet’s inside knowledge, and his conviction that Gabriella was only seeking a husband to please her father. He must have concealed those thoughts well, because when he escorted each woman back to the group, she seemed bubbly and satisfied with their talk, which should have made him feel terrible, but instead only made him abstractly proud of how well he had done.

Last was Shannon, whom he led to a balcony overlooking the Sunset Strip. He was reminded again how young she was, how vulnerable. She seemed happy and hopeful and he knew he couldn’t send her away tonight. She didn’t mention the promise she’d extracted from him -- it had happened off camera after all -- but there was an added warmth when she smiled at him, a secret smile dancing in her brown eyes. With her, it was easy to echo her smile, to hold on an extra beat when she hugged him.

He was reluctant to rejoin the group, because he knew it meant it was time to hand out three roses to four women. Sawyer appeared in the doorway – and damn, he looked good in a charcoal gray suit, his hair artfully messy, as usual -- and Jack hoped his small intake of breath could be chalked up to apprehension over his upcoming choice.

They were followed by one camera team as Sawyer ushered Jack to a side room, cordial as always, and Jack willed himself not to go hard right now, at the scent of Sawyer’s cologne. The photos of the four remaining women were arranged on a table and Jack surveyed them in turn, brooding photogenically over each.

And then, as usual, Sawyer led him back into the main room, where Gabriella, Kate, Juliet, and Shannon stood a few feet apart, expectant and anxious smiles on each of their faces.

Sawyer made a little speech, as if they all didn’t know exactly what was at stake, and then Jack said something about this being the hardest decision yet and then he picked up the first rose.

After a pause, he said, “Kate.” He held the rose out to her and she beamed at him, throwing her arms around his neck as she whispered, “Thank you,” in his ear. She walked to the side, rose in hand, one sure smile among three uncertain ones. Shannon’s eyes darted off to the side, as if she were trying hard to fight off tears.

“Shannon.” Her head dropped and her hand went to her chest and when she looked up, her smile was radiant. She kissed Jack’s cheek as she accepted her rose, a few tears managing to escape after all.

And this is where he always had to wait an obscene minute or so to draw out the suspense. Gabriella gritted her teeth, her expression growing slightly more desperate. Juliet seemed made for this game, however, because she kept smiling coolly, looking directly at Jack as if willing him to say her name next.

“Juliet.” She betrayed her doubts for just a second when she closed her eyes and swayed slightly and then she strode forward, all confidence, and claimed her rose.

That left Gabriella standing on her own, her lip trembling as she tried hard not to cry.

“Gabriella, I’m sorry,” Sawyer said, stepping back into frame, ever the detached and professional host. “Take a moment and say your goodbyes.” She hugged the other women in turn, who then watched her walk towards Jack with downcast eyes.

Jack took a deep breath and led her outside. He’d give anything to skip this next part.

---

Bachelor Production Offices

“And that, gentlemen, is the sound of every viewer at home gasping,” Isabelle noted. “They’re going to love Gabriella and this will come as a shock.”

“Makes for great TV,” Tom said, settling back into the couch with a smug smile. He mockingly quoted the overused promo line, “The most shocking rose ceremony yet!”

“Well, it is,” Isabelle sniffed. “Look at how hard they both take it. You’d think it was down to the final two.”

Jack takes Gabriella her by the arm and leads her outside, to a private bench on the landscaped grounds. “I don’t understand,” she says, smiling brightly even as she dabs at her eyes.

“Gabriella,” Jack says solemnly, taking her hands in his. He leans forward as he speaks, pressing his forehead against hers. “You’re an amazing woman. Everything any man could ask for. Beautiful. Intelligent. Warm. This was impossibly hard, believe me.”

She sniffs and nods, forehead wrinkling in puzzlement because she -- and the viewers -- still haven’t heard anything that explains why Jack is sending her away.

“I had to think of both of us,” Jack continues. “And your father. I think you’d rather be with him, in Italy, than here with me. No....” he holds up his hand as she starts to protest. “Hear me out. I can’t go to Italy and you don’t really want to be here. I think your heart is there, not here. Another time, another place maybe.”

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She bites her lip, sobbing in earnest now and then she kisses him. “I won’t forget you, Jack Shephard,” she says, covering her mouth with her hand, as if trying to prevent more sobs from escaping.

He sits quietly with her for a few more moments.

“Let’s hope he doesn’t take this long to say goodbye to all of them,” Tom sighs, looking at his watch.

But finally Jack gets to his feet and leads her to where the limo is waiting. Jack says something soft and sibilant to her in Italian -- “Should we subtitle that?” Isabelle asks -- and kisses her on the cheek, watching as the limo takes her away, sobbing, into the night.

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His cheeks are wet as he stands, looking after her. He wipes his eyes and clears his throat a few times. He looks downcast, almost bereft as he heads back to the hotel. He dabs at his eyes again as he tells the camera why it was so hard to send Gabriella away tonight. The camera lingers as he glances down, as if struggling to get his emotions under control.

“So he’s a weeper, that’s good,” Isabelle says. “Women love a man who can show his feelings.”

”Yeah, let’s just hope he cares as much about the ones he’s got left,” Tom mutters.

“Of course he does,” Ben insists. “Otherwise he wouldn’t have chosen them.”

“Right,” Tom sighs. “Of course.”

----

As if Jack didn’t already feel lousy enough, he had to walk past Sawyer on his way back inside, with his cheeks still wet from his farewell to Gabriella.

They did his on-camera interview right afterward, while the emotion of the moment was still fresh. Jack didn’t have the heart to pretend right now. He hadn’t expected to be so affected by her tears, and from how rotten he felt as she drove away.

Colleen, the makeup artist, fixed his foundation and dabbed concealer under his eyes so they looked less puffy as he went to rejoin Kate, Juliet, and Shannon for a triumphant toast to his future with one of them.

Fortunately, the women were then sent back to their respective hotel suites and Jack was free to go. He announced to the crew at large he wanted to stay at the bar and have a drink and they packed up and left him there.

About 20 minutes after everyone has else left, Sawyer joined him, smelling like smoke. “Rough?” he asked without looking at Jack as he flagged down the bartender and ordered a double whiskey.

“Yeah. You were right,” Jack admitted with a little laugh. Since they were still in public, he had to watch what he said, how he said it, even how he looked at Sawyer. “I’m just wondering why I sent her home, instead of one of the others.”

Sawyer didn’t answer right away. “Thought it was because of her dying father. And the whole not-wanting-to-move-Italy thing.”

“I know. I know,” Jack sighed. “It’s just...”

“You cared about her more than you thought,” Sawyer finished his sentence for him.

“Sawyer...” Jack started to protest, but Sawyer had already slapped a $20 down on the bar and was walking away.

Coming up on The Bachelor: Paradise Island -- A family emergency changes everything for Jack.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
isis2015
Aug. 18th, 2007 06:08 am (UTC)
Jeez. Poor Sawyer. Poor Jack too. This is a really tough situation for both of them to be in. Jack has to pretend his interested in being with one of the four remaining women and Sawyer has to pretend that he's not head over heels for Jack (which, he so is).

I can't help but wonder how things are going to go from here, especially since it's clearly tough on the both of them. :/ Poor boys.
halfdutch
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, I know, poor boys! I do torture them so! But I promise a happy ending! :) And the next chapter is being written with you in mind! It's not the end, but it does feature sister Claire!
slashfictionfan
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:04 am (UTC)
Well I know it's your birthday tomorrow (*hugs*) but this is like a present for us..
I'm loving this series so much... I missed a couple of parts so have just caught up. All the angst and hot sex... what a perfect combination. This is one lot of angst that's staying with me... but it's a good feeling.
It's like a real show where you tune in next week to see what happens... and I have the same eagerness for the next part.


halfdutch
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
Oh, you are too sweet! ♥ :) I guess that makes me a hobbit, LOL, handing out presents on my birthday, hee. Thank you!

I'm so flattered you're that eager for the next part! I hope to get to it soon!
mistry89
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:52 am (UTC)
Feelings sensitive on both sides - and with Jack's White Knight Complex operating ....... Sawyer must be feeling very vulnerable.
Thank you - I've never watched more than a couple of minutes of The Bachelor, this is far more addictive!
Cheers :)
halfdutch
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
Jack has the biggest White Knight complex ever, doesn't he? *pets him* And aww, more addictive than real reality TV? :) Thank you! It's true the real Bachelors are never as hot as Jack or Sawyer!
gottalovev
Aug. 18th, 2007 04:21 pm (UTC)
oh, that was so great. reality came back to intrude, and it makes great tension. they are great together, and I can see them talk strategy (Jack holing up hurtful info) and the dilemna poor Jack is in.

I loved the image of burrito!sayer! lol! and the middle of the night sex was fantastic.

there is bound to be jealousy on Sawyer's side, even if Jack reassures him. they must wish all of this would be over yet.

now, I am intrigued by the teaser... a family emergency? *gasps*
halfdutch
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)
Hee, Burrito!Sawyer is love. :) And awww, the poor lads are in quite a dilemma, aren't they? And I'll have to keep you in suspense just a little longer! It's hard to get to a WIP during the luau! But thanks so much for continuing to read and comment! ♥
iorwen107
Aug. 18th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Well slash isn't my thing but I love how real you portray the dyanmics between Sawyer and Jack, not just a smutty filled sex session but a lovely complicated relationship. And phew, I breathed a sigh of relief to find Juliet still in the running hehe! Can't wait for more.
halfdutch
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm flattered you're continuing to read despite not being a slash fan! :) Thank you! Glad you're still enjoying it!
toestastegood
Aug. 18th, 2007 10:47 pm (UTC)
Ooh, poor Sawyer! And Jack! And Gabriella! And, well, everyone!

Lovely update - and that 'coming up' bit definitely sounds interesting. ;)
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
Aww, I'm glad they've all earned your sympathy! I'm putting them all through the wringer, aren't I? Thanks for reading, hon! :)
jenthegypsy
Aug. 19th, 2007 03:22 am (UTC)
Consistent reader of this series, but sporadic with the comments, I'm sorry to say. Nevertheless, I'm thrilled to see the new chapter - am enjoying it even more since Jack and Sawyer finally got together in Chapter 7 and continue on. Great parody and loads of steamy, sweaty fun. :)
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
Awww, all comments are appreciated, hon. Look how long it's taken me to respond to this! LJ can be crazy! :) Anyway, I'm so glad you're still enjoying this!
luna481516
Aug. 19th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
Yay! Another chapter! Aw, they're developing something sweet. Poor confused Jack.
Sawyer being the company man, still trying to do his job - heh.
I liked the shoutout to Left Behind - “And Shannon... you really think she might be behind the DVD?”
”You know her better than I do.”
In the same vein as Kate said it to him about Juliet.
God that burrito thing had me howling. I'll be more amused than annoyed next time it happens to me!
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:14 am (UTC)
Hee, glad you liked this -- esp. blanket-stealing Sawyer! I have to confess, that's my same m.o., not that I ever know I'm doing it! Hee, so yes, you have to perfect your own way to keep hold of your covers! :)
alemyrddin
Aug. 19th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
oh! I was sorry to see Gabriela go, but I suspect Juliet has got to be more important for plot reasons ;)

and Jack and Sawyer... oh those boys are so often in messy situations... having to fake his feelings for the camera will be so hard for Jack, and Sawyer appears much more vulnerable than what I thought at first. I hope they'll find a few stolen moments before that madness of the show ends.

I was very happy to find another part of this series... instead of receiving gifts for your birthday, you gave us one!
on this topic... happy happy happy happy birthday!
Hope you have a really wonderful day!
:)

halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
I suspect Juliet has got to be more important for plot reasons ;)

*whistles* :)

And aww, yes, Jack and Sawyer will get some stolen time before the end, count on it!

Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, hon! Sorry it's taken me a little while to respond!
siluria
Aug. 19th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
I still have so much love for this series, and it was sooooo good to see the boys together and struggling to keep their hands off each other. Have to admit I'll be glad to see the show done with and so we get lots of guilt-free kinky sex ;) Bring on part 9!!!!!
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:18 am (UTC)
Awww, glad it's still entertaining you! :) And yes, who could keep your hands off either one of them?! This is coming together more slowly with the luau going on, but I hope to get to more soon!
wildcat9040
Aug. 20th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
hehehe, i love the image of sawyer stealing the covers. he def. seems the type! lol! cant wait for the next part!!!!! :)
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:20 am (UTC)
Oh, hee, yes, I suspect he might be just that selfish in bed (but only when it comes to the blankets). ;) Thanks for reading!
eponine119
Aug. 23rd, 2007 01:51 am (UTC)
I can't believe I missed this when you posted it! Thank goodness for the newsletter.

I'm still loving this story, and this part in particular. All the little intimacies there between Jack and Sawyer are so delicious. And the worries and complexities of Jack's situation, and Sawyer's reactions to it.
halfdutch
Aug. 23rd, 2007 05:21 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks for catching up! :) And I'm happy to hear you liked this chapter. I'm glad you're still enjoying the ride as we approach the end ... slowly, very slowly!
obreesprit
Aug. 31st, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
This story is so much fun! I can't wait for more! It's going in an awesome direction and I am holding my breath for the next part. My thoughts are going wild about how this is going to end. You've thrown some great curve balls in here and it's very entertaining.
halfdutch
Sep. 1st, 2007 12:02 am (UTC)
Aww, thanks so much! I'm so happy to hear you're getting so much entertainment out of it. I've gotten kind of sidetracked with this with the luau going on, but I hope to get back to it soon. Thanks again!
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