After a week at the North Pole Jackson still marveled that there was a hotel anywhere in the world that still used actual keys instead of key cards or some other advanced technology. He fished his room key from his pocket and inserted it into the lock only to find that his room door was unlocked already. He let it swing in, even more surprised to find that a light was on in the kitchen portion of the suite, and from the angle of the beams on the floor it looked like there was one on in the bedroom as well. He kicked off his shoes to minimize the sound of his footfalls.
Cautiously, he drew the gun he always carried on his person and eased into the room, checking behind the door and keeping his back to one wall as much as possible. There was music playing softly, and a crackling blaze in the fireplace, but other than that he could not hear anything suspicious. Moving silently, he kicked the door closed and it shut with a loud bang.
“Oh,” a soft, feminine voice exclaimed. “Jack? Is that you?”
Jackson gritted his teeth. He hated it when people called him Jack, and strangers in his personal space calling him that was a particular pet peeve of his. “Pizza delivery!” he called out, training his gun on the direction from which the voice had come.
“But I didn’t order any, oh!” The petite blonde stopped at the sight of a gun aimed at her head. She put a hand to her heart and slumped against a wall, the red satin of her negligee riding up her thigh as she leaned. “It is you! Thank goodness. For a minute there I was scared.”
Jackson stood frozen in place and blinked mutely for a minute. The girl looked familiar to him. She had pointy ears so she was obviously a local. He recognized her face, but for the life of him could not bring up her name. The music, fire and negligee were far too easy to read, and while he might have been flattered under other circumstances, at the moment he was just pissed off. Finally he found his voice and said “What the hell are you doing in my suite?”
She smiled in a way that reminded him of a smug neighborhood cat that had annoyed the hell out of him during his childhood. He had gotten more than one scratch from that little bastard, and he would not be surprised if this one scratched too. She tilted her head and gave him what he was sure she thought was her best appreciative gaze. “I should think that would be obvious, Jack.”
His arms relaxed a bit and he lowered the gun as he bit out, “My name is Jackson, not Jack. You’ve got two minutes to explain who you are and why you’re really here before I throw you out. If you talk fast you might have time to get dressed too.”
She bristled and moved her painted lips into a practiced pout. “You mean you don’t remember me?”
“Let me see,” he pretended to think, “blonde, presumptuous, way too high an opinion of herself—reminds me of a couple dozen women, but the pointy ears narrow it down to … no one I know.” He used the gun to point to where her jeans lay draped over the back of a chair. “Clock’s ticking, Goldilocks. Start with your name.”
She let out an exasperated breath and pulled the jeans on as she answered. “Joellen. Joellen Baxter. We met this morning at the Bakery. I would have thought you’d remember.” She shot him a look of irritation.
“Thought doesn’t seem to be high on your priority list.” He countered. “What’s with the seduction scene? I’ve had my share of luck with women, but I’m not that irresistible.”
“Don’t underestimate yourself Jack.” She purred.
He stepped closer, pressing the gun to her cleavage and speaking through clenched teeth. “It’s Jackson. And the next person to call me Jack is going to get a lesson so harsh, they’ll never call anyone Jack again.”
Joellen’s eyes widened and she seemed to finally understand that her prey was not in the mood. “I didn’t mean anything by this. Well, I mean I was planning to seduce you, but that was all I wanted.”
His eyes narrowed to intimidating face slits (I know! I'll change it later). “Why?”
“To…” she faltered briefly, truly frightened by the intensity of the dislike blazing in his ocular orbs. “To steal you from Angel.”
Jackson was so surprised he nearly dropped his weapon. “What? Steal me from…? We’re not even a thing.”
“You’re not?” Her jaw fell. “You mean I went to all this trouble for nothing?” She threw her hands in the air. “Great! Total waste of an evening! Unless…” she turned and threw him a sultry look.
He holstered his gun and ran a hand through his hair. “Finish getting dressed. Why did you even think I was involved with Angel?”
Joellen’s words were muffled on occasion as she slipped back into the rest of her clothes. “It’s pretty obvious she likes you. And you weren’t exactly dying to get away from her either.”
Jackson shook his head. He did not understand women at all. Because he didn’t ignore someone it meant he was dating her? What book was that rule written in? Not one he’d read, that was for sure. Nor did he understand why Joellen would want him just because she thought Angel had him. Did women really do things like that? He’d known a few dirt bag guys who would steal another man’s woman just to prove they could, but he thought women were above that sort of thing and were just looking for someone to love them.
Joellen emerged from the next room, fully clothed. “Listen, it’s not that I just go to bed with any guy. I do find you very attractive. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t think I’d have a good time while I was at it.”
“That’s practical, I suppose.” Jackson said with a bemused expression on his face. “Look, I appreciate the compliment, and you’re a very pretty girl … woman … elf … But we seem to be on different wave lengths here. You’re too hot, I’m too cold, and after the week I’ve had sleep sounds just right.”
He walked her to the door and was about to let her out when a thought occurred to him. “You would really have slept with me just to hurt Angel?”
“Yes,” she admitted brazenly, and rubbed up against him. “And the offer still stands if you change your mind, Mr. Frost.”
He looked down into her smoldering eyes, at her cherry red lips, and said “My mother told me always let a lady down gently. But you’re not a lady.” He opened the door and shoved her out into the hall shouting “not in a million years, blondie” loudly enough for anyone nearby to hear, and then slammed the door in her face, locking it for emphasis.
Next he did the only sensible thing: had a sandwich and a glass of milk, brushed and flossed his teeth, and went to bed. Alone.
May 2014 be filled with blessings for you and yours!