BONUS CHAPTER-Deleted scene #3

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I told you Jack had more scenes! In the rough draft, she ended up at his place after having a few too many at the bar, unaware of that fact until the next morning. Here, she gets a little hint about Jack's feelings, and you will see how uneasy that makes her feel. Remember, at this point in time she is still married and loyal even if Tom is an ass and, by all appearances, fooling around on her. Since I edited this all out, I had to make her clueless about how Jack felt in the final draft. Again, don't go falling in love with him. I know that's a lot to ask. He was an amazing character, dare I say, a Superman :(

Virginia startled awake. The next minute was filled with slow blinks, groaning, and a whole lot of head touching. The realization that the throbbing pain was coming from the inside had her hands dropping back down to her sides. Slowly she looked around the room. She had been at Jack's townhouse enough to know she was in his bedroom, in his bed—she glanced down and sighed in relief—still dressed in her clothes from the night before.

The room was a step back in time with its paneled wood walls and retro décor. Jack's cologne branded the brown satin sheets that covered the bed and twisted around her legs. Where did he sleep last night? She listened for a sound—something had to have woken her—but all was quiet at the moment.

Making a move to get up, the bed shifted with her. Getting caught up in its wavelike rolls, it knocked her off balance a couple of times before she finally reached the hard frame. Once safely on shore, she sat with her head in her hands, toes curled into the thick shag and willed her stomach to calm while silently cursing Jack for being stuck in the seventies.

"Oh, crap," she whispered, picturing herself with two men at the bar.

Jack appeared in the doorway. His bath robe hung open, showing off a hint of carved pecs, an impressive six-pack, and a pair of superman pajama bottoms. "Hey there, sleepy head." He grinned. "How are you feeling?"

How can someone look so put together first thing in the morning? She pouted. "Do you ever look bad? Most people look bad first thing in the morning."

"You're just a little crabby this morning, partner, but thanks, I'll take the compliment."

She threw one of his pillows. It bounced off the wall three feet away from him—her aim, like everything else, was off.

She groaned and hoisted herself up, trying to straighten out her clothes in the process. "I'd better go pick up Janine." Thank God she can't see me like this.

"I called your mom last night to let her know what happened. She agreed that it was best that you stay here. She said to take it easy and you can pick up Janine anytime."

"Great, now I'll be drilled by my mother on top of everything else," she grumbled.

Desperately needing a visit to the bathroom, she headed out of the room, stopping momentarily to eyeball the lower half of his body.

Jack cocked a brow. "What?"

"Superman?"

"They were a gift from—"

She raised her hand. "Never mind. I don't need to know the sordid details, Clark."

In the bathroom she gasped when she glanced in the mirror. With hair matted and cockeyed, makeup stale and smeared, it looked like a raccoon was about to invade a bird's nest. The bruise at the side of her mouth had darkened overnight and only added to the whole down-and-out look. "What a mess you are," she scoffed at the face looking back at her, referring to more than just her disheveled appearance. Then she got busy pulling out pins, flattening bumps, washing off remnants of makeup, and brushing teeth as best she could.

When she came out and turned toward the kitchen, the aroma of his cooking hit her hard. She couldn't bear the thought of eating anything.

"Coffee?" she croaked, plopping down on one of his counter stools.

"Yes." A mug was placed in front of her, the dark liquid poured to the brim. "You need to eat something too." A plate of toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon was added to the placemat at her elbows.

"Ugh."

He shook his head. "No insulting my cooking or no Tylenol for you."

Turning back to the stove, he started to whistle. She looked around for something else to throw at all that morning-person joviality. There was nothing, so she settled on aiming her tongue between wide shoulders instead.

Picking up her fork, she poked at the wiggling eggs and forced down a few bites. The toast was pretty neutral so she managed to eat most of it.

Jack swung around to take a look. "Any better?"

"No."

"You'll get there. Be patient." He gave her shoulder a rub before heading over to the fridge.

Patient. The memories fired up like a slideshow: Jack at the fundraiser checking out her dress. I'm a patient man; Jack in his car confessing his feelings. I'm a patient man. She jerked to sit ramrod straight as the knowledge pushed past all the pounding and sunk in. Her eyes snapped to Jack, who was bent over at the fridge on a search and rescue mission for something buried deep inside its cold depths. The sudden awkwardness aggravated her skin like a scratchy wool sweater. Damn it, Jack. How do I handle this? In a panic she searched for her purse and spotted it by the front door.

"Ahh . . . I'd better go."

Jack straightened, giving up on his hunt. "What's the hurry?"

"I . . . I have an appointment." She practically jogged to the door.

"Well, hang on, I have to drive you. Let me change." He went striding into the bedroom.

"So much for a quick escape," she muttered. She wanted some alone time to get her head together, angry that Jack had further complicated her already too-complicated life.

They drove in silence to her house.

"Thanks for coming to my rescue," Virginia said in a rush before bailing.

Jack called her name as the door closed. His voice sounded anxious, but she pretended not to hear. There were far too many other things to deal with, number one on the list being the man standing in the front door with a scowl on his face. She took a deep breath and started toward him, head held high.

"Well, well, well," Tom said slowly, the scorn in his tone increasing with each repetition. "Did you have a great night with lover boy?"

She brushed past him, entering the house. When the door clicked shut, she turned to face him. "I don't know what you are talking about, Tom." He had no real reason to complain. She had always been open and honest about her relationship with Jack. Will that still be the case? she wondered.

This went on to have the confrontation with Tom, which pretty much is all of chapter six in the final version.

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