march 8, 2015

Jack and Scarlett were well into their final day of PAX East 2015. They had dealt with enough walking, crowds and gamers who had neglected to shower to last them until the next one. The excitement of the weekend was dwindling, and exhaustion was overcoming the both of them. However, their determination to make sure they hadn't missed one corner of the expo hall, to make certain Scarlett had purchased everything she wanted, was pushing them to continue onward. Pushing his way through the crowds gamers seemed ideal compared to the trek back to South Station, at least, so Jack wasn't in any hurry to part ways with the convention center.

The constant change of direction, however, was becoming irritating. One moment, they were en route to Sanshee, the next Scarlett just needed to check out the booth with the dice earrings, which just so happened to be located clear on the other side of the floor. His remarks telling her that maybe she should have planned out this journey didn't go lost on her, and, in fact, only served to make her drag him around more. "Maybe we could get in line for Overwatch," she would say, when they both knew full well the line had been capped all weekend. And still, he would allow her to drag him there to prove what they both knew. The slight curve upward her lip made each time turned him on a little bit, he had to admit. He wouldn't be letting her get away with it if he didn't love her.

Jack knew that she doubted that sometimes. After everything they had been through, he was still insistent on them living separately. It was not because he wasn't ready for that - well, in a way, it was - but he was afraid of moving too fast and fucking up the one good thing in his life. It was as obvious as the color of the sky that Scarlett Nolan was the best thing that had ever happened to him. She had changed his life for the better, helped him realize the direction he was taking in life was only going to end in misery, and he would never be able to properly thank her for that. Despite knowing that, there was still that fear of ruining the good thing they had and ending up alone. Explaining that to her had just sounded like an excuse, of course, and he figured she still had some resentment towards him for his opinion on the matter. He could sense it in the way she spoke sometimes, in the way she assumed things and even in how she hinted that things would be easier if he were with her all the time.

The truth was, it made him feel guilty. Here she was, thinking he didn't care about her or didn't want to be with her, when the opposite was very much evident in the little things he did. He expressed it in the way he couldn't take his hands off her when they were together and in the way he bought her little, inexpensive gifts at random. He was always thinking about her, and he hated that the ways he did express it were outweighed by the one way he didn't.

So, when his eyes landed on a booth selling dice rings, an idea sprouted in his mind. Of course, his anger and frustration (not to mention the pain in his legs) pushed him to do it. While she was occupied looking at some table top games, he walked over to the booth and purchased two rings, one in each of their ring sizes. Forty dollars and some weird looks later, he was standing behind her, lowered onto one knee while gasps erupted around them. Of course, the crowd of PAX-goers assumed he was proposing.

He wasn't.

"So, Scar," he called out, a cocky grin forming on his lips as she turned around and looked at him in both surprise and embarrassment. He showed her the smaller dice ring in his hand. "Just in case me following you around like a slave all weekend didn't clue you in to how much I care about you, how about a promise ring with the promise that one day I'll pull my head out of my ass and move in with you?"

At first, she was angry. She stared at him in confusion for the longest time, so long that the crowd around them seemed disappointed.

Finally, though, she spoke. "Jack, you're an asshole!" But the look on her face was no longer one of anger. She was laughing as she playfully smacked him on his already sore shoulder.

Before she could push him while he was down, he stood up and brushed the dust off of his knee. He extended his hand cautiously, afraid of further retaliation on her part, and took her hand into his. When she didn't protest, he slid the dice ring onto her finger. "You love me, though," he said so that only she could hear, and Scarlett's response was to kiss him.

She nodded as she pulled away and looked down at his hand. "Wait, you got matching?" she asked as she spotted the red-tinted ring on his finger. Jack looked at her as if to say, Duh, before giving the outer layer of the ring a spin.

"Wait, they spin too? You are the biggest asshole."

Jack could only grin as she took his hand into hers and started leading him toward the exit.