to deal with being intimate with another man, Jake. But you know whats
not? she asked and
held her breath until the tears subsided again.
Knowing that I will forget what I felt when I kissed Matthew, she said
through gritted teeth.
Her throat started
off the piece.
Leaning back into the couch, Brooke thought about the moment that
inspired her to put her
feelings and emotions on canvas.
That was the night I saw you with your lover, she explained.
It looks angry and confused, he surmised. A groan a
her to me?
Whats that supposed to mean, Jake? she asked, staring at him in
disbelief. You just wanted
her to be forever stunted. Forever dependent on you?
It sounded very warped the way Melinda put it. Jake drank his wine. His
first drink was already
wrist and she stopped.
I want to take you home tonight, he said through gritted teeth.
Brooke lowered her head.
What are you waiting for? she demanded.
Letting go of her arm, Jake threw some bills on the counter and followed
Brooke to the elevator
the breakup with Jenny.
When his phone rang, Jake was embarrassed that he tried to hide from a
It was Brooke.
Picking up the phone, Jake answered it.
Hello, he said and waited for her to scream or yell or be angry with him.
Meet me at the galler
and stood with her arms crossed over her bathrobe.
Youre right, he said. I cant fight for you.
Tears filled Brookes eyes, but they did not fall. She had been prepared.
I cant fight for you, but I dont want to fight for Jenny right now either,
must be drunk.
Brooke had seen him inebriated and relaxed, but never drunk and wasnt
sure what mood he was
in, so she pulled open the door the length of the security chain.
Peeking her face out, Jake stood in her view and they locked eyes.
What do you wan
was always so opinionated and let him know what I felt. It was something
he loved about me but
always knew he had to ignore me as well. He knew how to temper my
anger because I needed to
vent. He knew that, Jake.
Pointing to the downstairs guest bathroom,
I never thought Id love again, Jake, she whispered. But I was surprised
that I came close. I
can do it again. Not the same as before. But I could find some happiness
again. Im not going to
wait for you anymore.
The tears would not be stopped. Overflowing,
In bed with Brooke, Jake could make out her face and reached out to
caress her cheeks. Kissing
his hand, Brooke was starting to think again.
You dont turn off for very long do you? he asked softly and he knew she
was puzzled. He
could feel her
Breathing was painful and he wanted to run and stop her, but he stopped
In his deepest prayers, he wished she would walk back and tell him she
would promise. It seemed
like such a simple promise. He wasnt asking her to marry him. He just
did not intend to see Jake. A part of him was pained by this revelation.
Jake, would you help me in the kitchen for a moment? Brooke said.
Without taking his eyes of
Jenny, Jake stood, then turned and followed Brooke to the kitchen.
MJ was watching TV
This confidence made Jake seriously reconsider his relationship. He was
never able to compare
anyone to Jenny. Sophisticated, beautiful, elegant Jenny.
The more he got to know Brooke, the more he did compare her to Jenny. It
wasnt based on
Staring at the muted TV, Jake took a drink of his wine and answered
I was jealous, he stated in a low deep voice. It was an admission he
didnt want to make.
With the touch of her hand on his back, Jake almost melted. Sitting beside
time, she belonged to another and this was her home. At one time in her
life she was the most
special person in another mans life.
It wasnt Brooke who was going to settle.
Jake, she whispered. Give us a minute, she said to Michael and he
Is that why you bought the place? he asked quietly when she paused
from pounding him with
Yes, she whispered. Looking around, Brooke remembered feeling so
powerful when she
bought her old home. It was hers. Nobody could take it awa
with Jenny. This one is about you.
Jake stumbled back and dropped onto the end of his platform bed.
Brooke turned the canvas around, propped it up on the dresser and joined
Jake on the bed. They
sat quietly contemplating where they were and where they
Her words stopped him and he turned.
Trying to figure me out? he said incredulously. Turning, Brooke was ready
to meet his
Walking a few steps toward her, Jake stopped.
You are the single most frustrating person Ive ever met in my life, he
Youre right, Jake, Melinda agreed. She doesnt need you anymore.
Shes with someone else anyway, he shrugged.
How does that make you feel? she asked.
I dont want to discuss this, Melinda, he said, pushing his barely touched
wine glass away.
inspired started to slip. Jake straightened it and froze.
He had choices. He could run off and implore the woman he loved to
return to him. He could try
to work out his marriage with the woman who found inspiration in him. He
could be alone.
Sitting on th
was actually jealous for the first time when it came to Brooke. Confident
and strong, she didnt
Turning, Jake wanted to leave. This was some sort of test or tease and he
Jake saw her agent and pulled him aside.
Tell her Il
the valet, tossed his keys to the attendant and headed to the bar. He
needed a drink.
One hard drink later, Jake stared, trying to focus on the fight he had with
Brooke. He was going
to say many things, and she was right. He might have regretted them.
Jake. If I were in your place, Id be out of here as well, she explained.
Put the ring on, Brooke, he whispered hoarsely. He looked away in pain
as if she had said
something to hurt him.
Brooke slipped the ring on her finger.
Startled as Jake hugged her ti
He knew Brooke would never consider starting a family with him unless
she had a full
commitment from Jake.
Jake was willing to consider that a possibility. He was no longer afraid of
becoming a father and
a husband. He was tired of waiting for his life to
loved. The memories that I have are not his memories. He has a mother
and father figure and a
grandmother. He loves his school and friends. He wanted to go home. He
wanted to be in his
Im sorry, Brooke, Jake said quietly.
What am I going to do,
In bed, staring at the ceiling with his arms on his stomach, Jake prayed for
He knew he had broken so many rules he didnt expect much. His sin was
great, but if he made a
mistake, it was in the name of love.
Jake couldnt go back to Brooke now.
A promise, he answered.
Sighing, Jenny glared at him.
What kind of promise? she asked.
The next time youre single, you will come to me, he stated. We can
talk from there.
Leaning forward, Jenny uncrossed her arms and pointed at Jake.
Why are you making th
Jake flipped her on her back and she laughed until he was laughing with
her as well. Sighing,
they looked into each others eyes.
Make me stop thinking again, she teased him.
My pleasure, he said, embracing her and kissing her deeply and
to. I cant live like that, Brooke.
Thats my concern, Jake, Brooke said, propping herself up on her elbow
to look down on Jake.
Someday youre going to realize what youre missing and youre going to
take off. Id rather
you do it now rather than later. Weve d
she heard the car drive off and took the opportunity to see what was left
of her marriage.
Carefully peeking though a crack in the kitchen door, Brooke realized the
room was empty.
Opening the door, she saw that there were two glasses of wine and an