Summary: The competition heats up to win the heart of The Bachelor, Jack Shephard
Pairing: Jack/multiple women, eventual Jack/Sawyer
Spoilers: General S3
Note: Thanks again to zelda_zee and themoononastick for betaing!
Bachelor production office
Isabel had been called away, so Tom and Ben reviewed the footage from last night’s rose ceremony without her, making sure Alex took copious notes.
Nikki pouted onscreen. “I think he just saw me as this party girl. I know the other women told him things about me, like the skinny dipping, and then it just got out of control. They said I was making out with the chef. They said I was making out with Ana and I don’t know who else. If there were any hookups in the house, and I’m not saying there were, it wasn’t me. I’m just sorry he never got to see my serious side, my intellectual side.”
“Don’t forget her backside,” Tom laughed.
Ben scoffed. “She’s the aspiring actress, right? A few measly acting credits and she lands on a top-rated show? Yeah, she’s sorry, all right.”
”It just wasn’t meant to be,” Tom said with a wink. “And trust me, she was totally doing the chef.”
The first group date box of the week arrives with a can of spray paint and a plastic toy gun. It’s addressed to Ana, Cindy, Juliet and Kate. “Take your best shot ladies! Love, Jack.”
ANA: Paintball! Yes! I’m so excited! I love that we’re gonna get to see the badass side of Jack. C’mon, those tats didn’t get there by accident! I know he’s got way more in common with me than any of those little prissy blue-eyed blonde girls. Please!
KATE: It’ll be fun to see how many of these girls actually know how what to do with a gun! My dad took me the firing range for the first time when I was 12. Let me tell you, I know how to shoot!
Before the other women leave, an envelope arrives with one name on it: Shannon. “Oh my God! I’m getting the solo date!” Her hand goes to her mouth and she twirls happily about the kitchen. The other women pretend to be happy for her but Ana just glares.
Ana and Cindy walk off to the pool, where Ana starts in on Shannon, “There is no way he can be into her. She’s milking this dead brother thing way too much.”
Cindy nods. “I know. We just can’t compete against an advantage like that.”
“It’s the only reason she’s getting a solo date. It’s just not fair.” The two of them bend their heads together, talking in low voices.
Bachelor production office
“What is this?” Isabel pointed angrily at the footage of Jack and the women in white coveralls, running and laughing as they shoot balls of paint at each other. “They played paintball covered head to toe? Where’s the appeal in that?”
”That’s how it’s usually done,” Tom said. “It worked okay for Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles in ‘10 Things I Hate About You.’”
“And how many years did that movie set his career back? We need to see some skin. This is ridiculous. Get them in white tank tops. Jack too. We need to show off those arms of his.”
“You want a reshoot?”
“Yes. We’ve got the time, thank goodness. Make it happen.”
She left the room and Tom and Ben exchanged a look. “Well, set it up,” Ben sighed.
A makeshift paintball obstacle course has been set up on the lawn outside the Bachelorettes’ house. The women, all wearing white tank tops, laugh and applaud Jack, this time in a formfitting off-white wife beater, as he joins them on the lawn.
Sawyer explains the rules -- no head shots, if you get tagged you’re out -- and then ducks out of the way with a smile.
Jack fires first and hits Kate splat on the chest with a huge pink blast. “Oh, you’re gonna get it!” she yells and runs after him. All the women aim for Jack and even though he does his best to duck and run, his shirt is soon splattered with bursts of color as they continue firing. Sawyer stands by the sidelines, shaking his head as it becomes clear that everyone has completely thrown out the rules.
Kate is too busy trying to get a bead on Jack -- who’s crouched down behind a palm tree -- to notice Ana creeping up on her. A blue paintball hits her in the head and she goes down.
Ana laughs and waves her weapon triumphantly. Everyone else runs to Kate’s aid, giving Ana shocked stares of disapproval. Kate, who was too stunned to move at first, is now up and she gets in Ana’s face, yelling. Ana pushes her back and Jack separates them. He yells at Ana to back off and takes Kate aside to examine her, cradling her head in his hands.
“I’m fine,” she says, but admits that her head hurts. Jack leads her back into the house, his arm around her, while the other women look after them.
“Well, that was stupid,” Cindy snipes to Ana. “You’re only making it easier for Kate!”
Ana shrugs and stalks into the house, paintball gun still in hand.
Jack saw Kate to her room and gave her a kiss on her forehead, all of which was duly captured on camera. As soon as she closed her door, he addressed the cameraman. “Okay, cameras off, Scott. I mean it. And where the hell is Sawyer?”
Scott shrugged and got on his walkie to determine Sawyer’s whereabouts. “He’ll meet you in your room in 5,” he finally reported back.
It was more like 15 minutes, but Jack was still livid when Sawyer walked in. “Okay, she’s gone. Got it? I am not keeping her any longer. I want her out of the house right now.”
Sawyer stood with arms crossed, perfectly calm. “Fine. Don’t give her a fuckin’ rose at the next rose ceremony. But we can’t boot her out midweek. You know how it works.”
“Yeah, I do know,” Jack fumed. “You just want to capture all the ‘drama’ in the meantime.”
“Pretty much,” Sawyer admitted. “Look, it’s three more days. You’ve got your date with Shannon tonight and then tomorrow’s group date and then she’s gone.”
“I can’t believe I signed on for this,” Jack sighed, rubbing his hand over his face. “Okay. Three more days.”
“You need some cheering up. I can hook you up with footage of Kate in the shower, if you want.”
Jack did a double take, then laughed. “You’re joking, right?”
Sawyer grinned wickedly. “Am I? Oh, the things I could share with you if I wanted to...” He winked and left the room Jack blushed, because he couldn’t help picturing Kate, wet from the shower, just as clearly as if he was in the room with her.
Sawyer was joking ... wasn’t he?
A romantic dinner is laid out on a private beach, with torches and flowers and candles for Jack’s solo date with Shannon. He can’t wait to spend more time with Shannon, Jack says as they film him shaving. He says he prefers these solo dates to the group ones, especially after what happened today. He slaps on the aftershave and smiles into the mirror.
He drives up to the women’s house in the silver sports car they gave him for the run of the show, confiding just how unnerving the competition between the women is getting.
Most of the women, except for Ana, who hasn’t been seen since the paintball incident, are waiting in the living room as he walks inside to get Shannon. She comes down the stairwell, looking beautiful in a cream camisole and blue skirt. Her hair is done up loosely and she smiles as she approaches him.
“Ready to go?” He asks, taking her hands in his and she nods. “Have fun,” Cassidy calls out and Jack gives the couch a cursory glance, smiling in the other women’s general direction.
“Look out!” Gabriela yells and he turns just in time to see Ana, grinning like a madwoman, shoot Shannon. A splatter of red catches her in her stomach. Shannon staggers back from the impact and into Jack’s arms. She brings a hand to her ruined shirt, staring in confusion at the smear of red on her hands.
The women scream and cluster around Shannon. Kate and Cassidy tackle Ana, who is fighting them off. “What the fuck? It’s a joke. It’s just paint. Lighten up, you dumbasses!”
She pushes Kate and Cassidy off and runs out of the room. No one follows her.
“It’s okay, you’re okay,” Jack says, kissing Shannon on the forehead and squeezing her hand.
But she looks at him with panicked eyes. She’s struggling to breathe and gasping. ”Inhaler. I...need... my... inhaler.”
“Oh my God! Was she really shot?” One of the women shrieks.
“No, she’s having an asthma attack,” Jack says. ”Just breathe. Calm, deep breaths. You’ll be okay,” he tells Shannon. “Someone get me her inhaler. Now!” he shouts and Sun runs up the stairs. He keeps squeezing Shannon’s hand and telling her to be calm. Finally, Sun appears with the inhaler. Shannon takes a deep draw on it and then another. Jack cradles her against his chest and slowly her breathing returns to nearly normal.
“You still want to go on that date?” Jack tries to make Shannon laugh and she starts to wheeze again.
“My shirt’s ruined,” she says sadly.
“So’s mine. It doesn’t matter.”
“Let me change, at least,” she says and he scoops her into his arms and carries her upstairs.
“They’re not coming back down, are they?” Cindy says with an unhappy sigh.
“Where’s Ana?” Achara asks her and she shrugs.
“How should I know?”
Ana is packing angrily, throwing things haphazardly into her suitcase. She’s clearly drunk. “Fine. I’m out of here. This is so not my kind of scene. I mean, it’s not like Jack is even all that hot. I’d rather do Sawyer, you know? Let all those pathetic blonde bimbos fight over the great Jack Shephard. He wouldn’t know what to do with a real woman if she bit him.”
The camera follows her down the stairs as she drags her suitcase behind her, bumping noisily down each step.
She wheels it unsteadily into the living room and everyone turns to stare at her.
“C’mon. It was funny, right?” She’s met with shocked silence and disdainful glares. “Whatever. You guys have no sense of humor. I am so out of here. I’m hanging around to see if Doctor Tightass gives me a fucking rose. He’s not even that good-looking. You’re all welcome to him, bitches.”
She walks out, slamming the door behind her. “Where is she going?” They exchanged scandalized looks and then Cindy decides to follow her outside. The other women jump and run after her.
Ana is in Jack’s sports car. She’s trying to hotwire it.
The women hang back, all of them talking over each other.
“She’s trying to steal his car!”
“She’s too drunk too drive!”
“Oh my God, someone go get Jack!”
“Aren’t you going to do anything?” Gabriela addresses one of the cameramen, who continues to film the scene.
The engine starts and Ana yells, “See you, bitches!” The car starts down the driveway and the camera crews run after her.
“I’m calling the police.” Cassidy announces and goes back inside. A few minutes later, they hear the wail of sirens.
Bachelor production office
“This is great we were able to get all this on camera.”
“The camera in the car totally paid off.”
“This footage is dynamite.”
Onscreen, two officers pull an intoxicated Ana from the car and handcuff her. “Why don’t you just fuckin’ kill me?” she shouts. She continues shouting and fighting them as they shove her into the squad car.
“Best Bachelor ever,” Isabel smiled. She pointed to Tom, “And you didn’t want her on the show because of her assault charges and DUIs!”
“We screen people for a reason. Someone could have gotten hurt,” Tom shrugged. “But it all ended up okay. And now she’s gone. One less production headache.”
“Every girl is dying to be Shannon right now.”
Tom cues up the footage of Jack and Shannon, eating takeout by candlelight in his house and then sharing a kiss under the stars.
“And the crew got to eat the other dinner, so everyone’s happy.”
After Jack saw Shannon to the limo, he was too keyed-up to go to bed. He wandered out to the pool, where he found Sawyer, lounging in a deck chair, cigarette and beer in hand. He was wearing only swim trunks and his hair was wet, as if he’d just been swimming. Jack felt a twinge of jealousy. He'd never have six-pack abs like that.
“Shannon okay?” Sawyer asked, not bothering to get up.
“Yeah, no thanks to Ana.” He felt suddenly far too warm and overdressed. He kicked off his sandals and rolled up his pant legs so he could dangle his feet in the pool. The cool water felt good. He hadn’t even been for a swim yet, apart from that disastrous day in the ocean.
“She didn’t tell anyone she had asthma,” Sawyer said. “Good thing it wasn’t too serious.”
”Good thing.” Jack nodded. He wanted to chew Sawyer out, wanted him to go back to the producers and give them a piece of his mind but there didn't seem to be any point anymore. “Got another beer?”
”Comin’ up.” Sawyer disappeared inside the house and was back in a few minutes with an ice-cold beer. Jack held it against his forehead for a moment before he took the first sip.
“Competition’s heatin’ up, Doc. How you holdin’ up?” Sawyer sat down next to him, also letting his legs dangle in the water, but kicking slightly, like a little boy.
Jack had to laugh. “Tell me again who was in charge of picking these women...”
“What, you want to send them all back?” Sawyer exhaled smoke with a grin.
“No, no. Not at all. They’re amazing. And beautiful. I just ... I just didn’t expect things would be so dramatic.”
“Doc, you are a reality TV virgin. These women’ll make Shark Week look like a tea party.” He stood up and drained his beer, taking a last drag on his cigarette before he flicked the butt into the empty bottle. “And in case you hadn’t realized, Jack, you’re the raw meat.” He clinked his bottle against Jack’s and, with a sly gin, walked inside.
Jack didn’t know how he did it, but somehow Sawyer made him more self-conscious than being on camera all day. He stripped down to his underwear and dove in. He could use cooling off.
The next morning, Shannon comes downstairs, having changed into a light blue dress, and the rest of the women flock around her, asking if she’s all right. She nods and tucks her hair behind her ear, looking embarrassed.
“Ladies!” Sawyer beckons for them to join him in the living room. They quietly file in and sit down. “We all know what happened. Ana’s gone and she’s not coming back. I trust we can count on the rest of you to act like ladies for the duration. We know it’s a competition but any behavior remotely like that will result in immediate dismissal and possible legal charges. Understood? Okay, that’s the message from the producers.”
He nods to the cameraman, who only now starts recording. Sawyer goes over his speech again, explaining Ana’s absence but this time stressing that he wants everyone to “Play nice.” He makes no mention of possible legal troubles.
ACHARA: Kate is so jealous. The way she looked at Shannon this morning, you could tell she wanted to say, “Leave Jack alone, he’s mine!” And the other night when he was talking to Juliet, I think she almost cried. She is acting like Jack is her boyfriend, but she has to share!
JULIET: I think Jack will realize that Shannon is just too young for him. And Kate? Well, anyone who’s ever seen the show knows that the woman who gets the first solo date never makes it to the end. She gets overly possessive and that always sends the men running for the hills. I’m confident Jack will realize in the long run that he and I have the most in common.
SUN: When I see how Jack connects with the other women, like Shannon, I have to wonder what I’m doing here. But I really wonder what Jack sees in Juliet. She’s read everything she can about him and she knows the show inside and out. It’s kind of creepy, really. I don't even know if she likes Jack, I just think she wants to win.
KATE: I have to admit, it was hard seeing Jack with Shannon. I felt like we had this instant connection but I’m not the only one here who does. But I’m in this to win, so I’m going to try to be low key. I’m not used to doing the chasing, honestly, so this is all new to me. I’m just going to trust that what Jack and I have will last through this whole process.
Coming up on The Bachelor: Paradise Island: Jack tackles Achara in the surf. Jack and Gabriela at a hot spring, rubbing mud on each other. Juliet tells Jack, “We have more in common than you think.”
END PART 2