Chapter 12 - Strong

Start from the beginning

Jake says: "You know how I felt about the Summer Dance poster, imagine how a campaign like that would make me feel? Being able to show it to people, telling them the gorgeous woman in the picture is my sister." He smiles so wide and proud that Jo laughs out loud. Jake leans over to her and lowers his voice: "It would also be a very nice birthday gift to Dart. Jo looks at him surprised: "Birthday gift?" Jake smiles and says: "Yeah, it's his birthday in 2 days. And he really wants to show you off to the world. People keep asking him about you, every chance they get. They are starting to think you don't exist and that the live video was a press stunt. He adores you Jo, trust him for it all. I do." Jo places her hands on her cheeks, they are burning from all the wonderful things Jake said. And she knows it's all true, because Jake would never lie to her. "Hmm, his birthday. I better think of something good, just for him. But you're right Jake. A fuck you to Mark and the rest of the world. I am way stronger now and I love Dart with all my heart. I am doing this and I'm going all in." She jumps up and takes on a superhero pose, making Jake laugh. "Don't tell Dart though." Jake gestures zipping his mouth closed and says: "Now let's get to work! I intend to squeeze out all the help you can still give me, before you leave me." Jo floats through the cafe, smiling at all the guests and making sure they all leave with full stomachs and a happy heart. Jake watches her proudly from behind the bar. She really knows how to make people happy, just by paying attention to them. She has made this place a lot brighter ever since she walked in and decided to stay. He sees Dart walking up in the distance and smiles. Jo and Dart, a match made in heaven and he knew it all along.

Jo walks over to the bar, putting the empty coffee pot down and noticing Jake's facial expression. She steps into his field of vision with a questioning look on her face. "Hmm, not explaining myself Jo. A big brother has to keep some secrets from his sister." He smiles at her and says: "Incoming!" Jo feels two strong arms wrapping around her and lips kissing her neck. She smiles and leans back against Dart. "Hello handsome." "Hello pretty lady." Jo turns around in his arms to kiss him, before asking him to help her with the dishes. Dart nods and gathers all the empty plates and cups and carries them over to the kitchen, where Jo is already rinsing and filling up the dishwasher. He takes over the rinsing and Jo fills the dishwasher, turning it on when it's full. He lifts her onto the counter for a kiss and she wraps her legs around him. Jake walks in with a cough: "Honestly! You will have her to yourself for the next few days! Behave!" Jo and Dart start laughing and Jo jumps off the counter to hug Jake. "Come here brother! I will miss you too! How will you manage without me?" Jake lifts her up and turns away from Dart, looking over his shoulder with a grin. "I will fill this place with Summer Dance posters and I will play a lot of Foo Fighters. Also Grolsch, cheese pizza's and cheesecake." He pretends to look very sad, but fails. He puts her down, still holding her, putting his hand out to Dart to keep him away. Jake chuckles and says: "I have found someone to help me out and to keep me distracted." Jo looks up at him: "Really? Who?" She notices a slight blush on Jake's cheek and smiles. "I think I know who." She reaches for Dart's hand behind Jake's back and Dart laces his fingers through hers. Jake notices and let's her go from his tight hug. "I give up. You belong to Dart now." Dart pulls her close, her back against him and he whispers in her ear: "Mine." Jo shivers and smiles at Jake: "Is Maria sleeping over? Or just helping out at the bar?" Jake opens his mouth in surprise, not able to speak. Dart seems just as surprised and Jo walks out of the kitchen laughing, ready to get to work again.

Jake shakes his head and Dart looks at him still surprised. "Yeah, can't hide a single thing from that girl. I am telling you right now, don't even try. She always notices the smallest details. But she is right, Maria is coming over for a few days." Dart nods and feels a bit uncomfortable, remembering how Maria feels about him. "Maria has changed her mind about you." "Really? Why?" Jakes smiles and simply says: "The video. Anyone would change their mind about you after that." Dart smiles slightly and walks out to the bar, sitting down on a stool, turning around to watch Jo work. Noticing the same thing Jake sees, she touches the harts of people. She makes everyone feel better.

It's a busy day again in the cafe and Jo works hard with Jake. Dart helps out where he can, stealing kisses from Jo all through the day. Before they know it, it's time to get their things together and leave for the airport. Ronnell is already busy preparing dinner, but makes time to hug Jo tight. "Have a great time Jo. And don't worry about us. We'll be fine, as long as you come back to us in the end." Jo smiles and promises she will always come back. She runs upstairs to get her last things and to add it to her suitcase. Dart walks in, just in time to carry the suitcases downstairs. Jo looks around the room, taking a deep breath. The last time she traveled was to run away and it led her here. The only place she called home in a long time.

She smiles and turns around, ready to travel for fun this time and to be strong and confident. She walks downstairs and jumps into Dart's arms at the bottom of the stairs. Dart spins around, holding her tight and asks: "Ready to go?" Jo nods happily and Dart smiles at her, taking her hand and walking out to Jake's car. Jake puts the suitcases in the trunk and gets behind the wheel, Dart and Jo sitting down in the back, cuddled up the whole way to the airport. Jake checks on them in his rear view mirror with a smile. Arriving at the airport, the men carry the suitcases and Jo walks between them, smiling all the way. Dart and Jake exchange looks over Jo's head, there's no need for words to show how she makes them feel. Jo takes a long time hugging Jake goodbye, feeling a bit emotional, leaving without him. He has been her rock all this time and kept her sane and safe. Dart gives them some space, knowing what Jakes means to her and the other way around. Jake holds her cheeks with his hands, making her look at him. "Dear sister, I will always be there for you. No matter where you are, I will come running if you need me. But I am not worried, you have Dart. If I had to hand pick someone to keep you happy and safe, I would have picked him. Now get out of here and find out what it's like to travel for fun. With a man that loves you as much as you love him. And show the world who Jo is. A fierce, sexy woman, ready for anything life throws at her." He let's go of her face and turns around to face Dart. "You better worship the ground she walks on, because we both don't deserve her at all. Never forget it!" He points at Dart and walks away from them, while a tear rolls down his cheek.

They spent the flight snuggled up and making small talk, the stewardesses try to flirt with Dart, but it's no use. He only has eyes for the woman next to him and Jo enjoys every minute of it. They hold hands almost constantly, at the airport, walking out, in the back of the cab and walking into the hotel. Staff come up to them immediately, taking their suitcases and showing them the way to their room. Jo smiles nervously at all the attention, but Dart holds her hand, stroking it with his thumb to keep her calm. In front of the door of their hotel room, Dart lets go of her hand to open the door, letting her walk in first. She takes one step inside and freezes. The room is huge, it's more like an apartment: living room, kitchen, jacuzzi and a big bed, covered in rose petals. Dart hugs her from behind and kisses her neck. "A room fit for my queen. Mister Tailor said he would get us the best room and I think he did. Go on love, check it all out. I will send the designer a message to let him know we're here." Jo walks over to the window, still a bit shocked. She can't believe she is here, with Dart, in a room like this. Her phone beeps and she takes it out of her pocket to look at it. There's a gorgeous woman in my hotel room. I am afraid to approach her, she might turn out to be figment of my imagination. Help me. XO She smiles and turns around to see Dart standing real close to her with a crooked smile. She wraps her arms around his neck and kisses him slowly. "Hmm, feels pretty real to me." Dart laughs and says: "I still feel like I'm dreaming every day since I met you. So I am not so sure yet."

Dart's phone beeps and he reads the message. "Okay, Mister Tailor is really happy you're here with me and wants to start tomorrow morning at 7. And he is telling me to bring you along." Dart tilts his head and asks her if she wants to come. "I would love to. I am curious about it all and getting to look at you in a suit is a huge t.. er plus." She blushes and Dart lifts her chin up to look at him. "What were you going to say?" Jo shakes her head and looks at the floor. "Don't go shy on me now, love. Own it. You have the strength for it." Jo looks into his eyes and he feels the heat coming from them, knowing the answer before she says the words softly. "Is a huge...turn on." He smiles wide and picks her up, carrying her to the bed. He lays her down and lowers himself onto her, hands on each side of her head to stare into her eyes. "That piece of info is going to make tomorrow a lot more fun, love. You better make sure I can see you at all times during it all." Jo pulls him closer and whispers: Oh don't worry. I don't intend to miss a second of it." They kiss long and slow, undressing even slower. Taking their time to let their desire grow, until they can't hold back any more. 

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