Another drabble. The prompt was "Telephone."
By the time Chloe got back to her desk, she could barely see through the tears pooling in her eyes. She had gone to Morris because he was the only thing she had left, but he had made it clear that he didn't want to be with her anymore – and then he too had walked away. Now her hands were shaking violently as she suddenly found herself lost. She had no one left. Milo was dead, Jack was gone, Morris had moved on, Buchanan had been fire…Chloe struggled to stay standing as reality rushed her in a torrent.
Then her eyes fell on her desk and she immediately stopped. In front of her computer was a yellow sticky note with a phone number scrawled on it. Her breath hitched as she realized that she recognized that scrawl. She reached out a trembling hand to pick the note up, her pulse spiking and the rush of blood filling her ears. Looking around the room wildly, she saw that there was no one watching her and no sign of the person who had left her the number. With one last breath, she grabbed her purse and headed out of the building, the number clutched tightly in her hand.
She was nearly home by the time she worked up the courage to dial the number. Her hand continued to shake as she held the phone to her ear. The ringing bored through her, fraying her already-thin nerves. He answered on the second ring.
"I was afraid you weren't going to call," he said softly.
"I thought you were gone."
"Did you really think I'd leave without saying goodbye?"
"Yes," she whispered, her voice breaking.
His silence on the other end was pained. "Where are you?" he asked finally.
"Pulling into my driveway."
She heard the phone click off as he cut their connection, just as she put her car into park. She stared at it in confusion, her mind unable to comprehend what exactly was going on. Throwing the phone down in disgust, she grabbed her purse and got out of the car, searching for her keys as she walked towards her front porch.
She was on the steps when her front door opened, bathing her in warm light. Looking up, she nearly stumbled at the sight of Jack leaning against her doorframe, his hands in his pockets. He stared at her, his gaze moving up and down her body before settling on her eyes, a strange expression dancing across his face.
It was too much for Chloe. Dropping her purse to the ground, her sobs overtook her. Her cries were deep as she covered her face with her hands, blocking out his image. At the sight of her crying, Jack's relaxed demeanor fell and he was immediately by her side, wrapping her in his arms and bringing them both down to sit on the top step. He rocked her gently, one hand running through her hair as he whispered soothing words to her. Eventually her tears subsided and she looked up at him, confusion plain on her face.
"What are you doing here?"
"I came for you."
He smiled at her gently. "I couldn't walk away without you. I'm tired of being without you."
Instead of the smile he was expecting in return, Jack was met with angry eyes. She pulled back from him slightly, her lips twisted in bitterness.
"You bastard," she whispered. "You left without a word. You made me think I meant nothing to you. That I never even crossed your mind. You made think I was alone. That I had no one left."
He looked at her in shock, his hands coming up to cradle her face. "Oh, Chloe. That's not what I meant to do. After I got off the helicopter, I didn't know where I was going or what I was doing. I just started walking – I wanted to get as far away from CTU as I could."
"Then how did you end up here?"
Jack shrugged. "It didn't feel right without you."
"You've never missed me before," she protested.
"Chloe, I've always missed you."
Leaning in, he brushed his lips against hers softly. She automatically responded, sighing and bringing her hands up to his face. Seconds later though, she was pulling away, her eyes filled with hurt.
"You don't get to do this, Jack. You don't get to kiss me and then leave me again."
"I don't want to leave you, Chloe. I want to leave with you."
He could see the battle going on in her head. "Promise me," she whispered.
Smiling, he nudged her nose with his. "I promise."
The words were barely out of his mouth as she catapulted herself at him, her lips hungrily seeking his. Matching her pace easily, Jack wrapped his arms around her waist and laid back with her on top of him. She moaned as his tongue invaded her mouth, their bodies moving together with harried desperation.
Then she was pulling back again, and fear leapt into Jack's throat. But she didn't get off of him – she just stared at him.
"You hurt me," she finally said.
His lip trembled at the pain in her eyes. "I know. I'm sorry."
"Not just tonight."
He didn't want to ask, but he had to know. "How long?"
"Since right before you left for Washington."
His eyes closed at the pain that overcame him. His throat didn't want to work, but he knew he had to tell her. "Chloe," he said, opening his eyes again. "By the time I realized how I felt about you, I thought you'd be better off without me."
"I knew it when I came to get you that day with the helicopter. When you ran into my arms. I knew."
"But…you never said anything."
"I didn't have a chance."
"I was afraid."
"You made me think I wasn't good enough. You made me constantly compare myself to Audrey and always come up short."
A tear slid down his face, falling down the side and onto the wood beneath him. "Are you going to make me leave?"
"I love you, Jack."
"But I hurt you."
She shrugged. "That's what people do when they love each other." Standing up, she reached a hand down to him. "Come on, let's go in."
He picked up her purse and followed her inside, wondering if he could ever make things up to her.