Chapter 12 - Strong

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Dart wakes up and opens his eyes to see the goddess laying next to him. She is on her stomach, her head on one of her arms and he can just see her face. She looks like she's smiling and he can't help looking at her, discovering freckles, scars and sensitive spots with his finger. He smiles, tracing her spine with his finger and watching her response to it. He places his hand on her butt, looking at it with a wide smile, thinking his hand looks good there. Jo turns on her side, facing him, mumbling softly. He holds his breath, afraid he woke her up, but she still has her eyes closed. He continues to look at her, drawing his finger over her skin to discover new areas, while she is still so relaxed. He finds a lot of scars that leave him worried and scared to ever hear about how she got them. He rubs his thumb over the scar on her cheek, it was bad enough to hear about this one. He's about to get overwhelmed by thoughts about her ex hurting her, when Jo opens her eyes slightly to look at him. She felt the change in him immediately and looking at him she's sure. She tries to come up with something to say and asks him in a sleepy voice: "Found some things that need improving, on this body of mine?" Dart looks up at her shocked: "Hell no! I love every part of you. The scars remind me of how strong you are. I'm worried I will never be strong enough for you." Jo stretches out slowly, yawning before speaking: "You're exactly what I need Dart. Tender, considerate, loving, just you. And strong enough physically to carry me." She smiles and kisses his nose. He smiles and then looks away from her. "Yeah, tender and considerate." He sighs and Jo knows he's still worried about last night. "Dart, I felt very powerful last night. In control. It was awesome to see you weren't in control at all in that moment. I took it as a huge compliment. I don't regret a second of it." She touches the red mark on his shoulder and grins. Dart stares into her eyes and sees that every word she says is true. She wasn't scared for a second and he has no reason to worry. "Jo? I have never lost control like that. I am not used to it. I was worried I might have hurt or scared you." Jo smiles and says: "I wonder if that is what love is. Letting go, losing control." She sticks her tongue out at him and he licks it, pulling her close and whispering he loves her.

Her mind drifts to their upcoming trip, Jake, the cats, being in the campaign, Dart in a suit. "What are you thinking about, love?" She shares her thoughts with Dart and he takes away most of her worries: "The cats will be fed and cuddled by my neighbor, she was happy when I asked her. I can't wait to take you with me to San Francisco, I want to be close to you all the time. Jake will be fine. He used to run things without you, you know that. And you will get bored, looking at me posing in a suit for hours." Jo laughs: "I doubt it. You are very nice to look at with or without clothes. I am just worried about my end of it..." Dart looks at her, trying to see what she really means. "Are you worried Mark will see it and recognize you? It can't be because you think you're not pretty enough. You're gorgeous and hot." He pinches her hip and she giggles. "I know you think so Dart. And if you're there with me, I will believe it too. But what if Mark sees it? Just the thought of him not knowing where I am, relaxes me." Dart takes a second to think about his answer: "We'll go with whatever you want, I promise. I am already happy if all we see is your pretty hair. It's enough for me to have you there in my arms. But think about it, it might be the ultimate revenge. I am pretty sure it would kill him, seeing you happy in some other guy's arms. And not just any guy either." He winks at her, flexing his muscles. Jo laughs and thinks about all the options, not sure of what she wants. She climbs over Dart to get out of bed, but he pulls her on top of him for a kiss. "Come on handsome, let me go. I need to shower and get dressed. I have work to do and I need to talk to Jake." Dart pouts, but lets her go. Jo walks up to the door, swaying her hips and he groans from the bed. "You better run, or you will never leave this room again!" She grabs her bathrobe and runs out laughing.

She sings love songs, while washing her body and hair, feeling a bit nervous and excited about the trip. She brushes her teeth and moisturizes, smiling at herself in the mirror, starting to believe what Dart sees in her more and more every day. She puts the bathrobe on and makes her way back to her room. Dart is not there any more and she gets dressed quickly: jeans, boots, T-shirt and her hair in a braid. She runs downstairs and finds Jake in the kitchen. "Morning sis! Looking forward to your trip?" Jo sits down and nods. But Jake is not fooled. "What are you worried about? It can't have anything to do with the love struck guy I saw earlier. Who went for a run by the way. I might have told him to." Jo lifts her eyebrows and Jake clarifies: "He was a ball of stress when he came down. He is afraid of hurting you and of loving you. It's sad really. He is so in love with you that he can't function." Jake laughs and gets up to pour two coffees. "Now tell big brother what you're worried about. I will make it better." Jo drinks her coffee and starts telling him about the part of the campaign where they want her to be in and how that scares her. "Jo, I hear you, but have you seen Dart? All the guys hate him, all the women drool over him. It's a way for you to show everyone you moved on and you're stronger than ever. For the world to see how you belong in his arms. And it's a wonderful thing for him too. He gets to introduce the woman of his dreams to the world. Shutting all the bimbo's up for good. It's a public, global, fuck you to everyone who might even consider breaking you guys up. A declaration of love. I've seen you two together, it will look great." Jo stares at Jake with her mouth open, unable to speak. She sips her coffee and lets his words sink in.

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