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Jason and Kylie, Naked in School Chapter 15

Jason stroked Kylie's hair, looking up when the door opened quietly. His father and Dr. Rourke stepped into the room, his father hesitantly, and Rourke decidedly anxiously. They both scanned the room looking for Kylie, his father relaxing a bit when he spotted her in his lap.

"Asleep?" he asked quietly.

Jason nodded. "The paramedic gave her a sedative. Close the door?" He looked at Rourke. "I need to know if what I suspect is true."

His father closed the door carefully, and Rourke walked over to crouch beside them, studying Kylie's still face. Tenderly, he reached out and stroked a bit of hair back from her cheek. "It could be," he said, softly. "If.... he..." his voice dripped with loathing and anger, "isn't the one, then there are very few other possibilities. Dhona wasn't like him."

Jason nodded again. "I thought that might be." He managed to get the key-chain loose from Kylie's hand. "It can't be him," he said, holding it out as best he could.

Rourke studied it. "Good." He looked back to Kylie. "I'll be honest. I'd like it to be. I really would. But..." He reached into his pocket and pulled out an old photograph, holding it next to Kylie's face. "She looks so much like her mother, I can't see anyone else in her. The blood types are right, but I don't know that they're not also right for the other two guys."

"Did her mother have those eyes?" Jason asked.

Rourke handed him the photograph. Dhona did look just like Kylie, except her features were more exotic and her skin slightly golden. Her eyes were soft chocolate brown. "No. My wife commented on her eyes today... I hadn't noticed."

"Did the other two guys?"

Rourke shook his head. "I don't know. I don't think so, but... it's been a long time, and I wasn't usually looking at them, not when she was around." He smiled. "None of us did. We were too sure that if we looked away from her, she'd vanish."

Jason hesitated. "Do you care whether she's genetically yours or not?"

Rourke thought for a moment. "Not really. But she might. And her genetic father would if he knew. Any of us would be proud to claim her. If Dhona had told us... but she just left, instead." He sounded honestly confused.

Jason hesitated again, then said, slowly, "I haven't talked to her about this— it's not the sort of thing I could ask about— but you seemed to be the only older man she wasn't frightened of. More than that, really. I... think she probably wished you were her father sometimes."

"He's right, John," Mike said. "Yesterday when she came in my class, I commented on how pretty she was, and... well, her expression damned near made me cry. She was scared to death. That's why I didn't dare touch her in the gym today. But when you came in, she calmed right down, not a bit afraid, just embarrassed by what she'd done."

"And... does she know either of the other two?" Jason asked.

Rourke shook his head. "Yacob works down in Houston, at the space center, and Mark's been doing research in South Africa for the past five years. But they're both good men, and they would move Heaven and Earth to take care of her if she were theirs."

Jason said, very softly, "What would happen to her if she was taken from here and put with another strange man?"

He paled. "I see your point. But legally... they'd want proof, I'm sure."

Jason nodded. "But for now, if you tell the officer that you are the most likely candidate for her real father, he might let you see her statement. That would be easier on her than telling you herself, or even giving permission for you to see it."

He closed his eyes tightly. "God. I don't want to see it. I don't want to know what that bastard got away with. But... I have to know."

They were interrupted by a light knock on the door, and Detective Ramirez stepped in, holding a battered book. "Excuse me, but would one of you gentlemen be John Rourke or know where he might be found?"

Rourke frowned and stood up. "I'm John Rourke. Can I help you?"

Ramirez nodded, and glanced at Jason briefly, a triumphant gleam in his eye. "He did keep a journal."

Jason swallowed. "That's good, I guess, but... damn. Sick."

Ramirez turned the pages with gloved hands. "I need to read to you a bit here, I think you'll be interested in... ah, here it is: July 8, Dhona-slut's spawn arrived here today. Promising. Medical entry tests in quarantine show that the bitch was telling the truth when she left. Babyslut could not possibly be my genetic offspring. Not that I needed the tests, with those green, green eyes. Probably the bitch was telling the whole truth and that geek-boy Rourke is the father. She was always going on about 'John this,' and 'John that', I remember from the time. Should have killed the little prick when I threatened to. Of course, then I wouldn't have a pretty little Kylie-slut, so sweet and innocent and legally mine to play with."

Jason tensed. "I should have killed the bastard."

Ramirez closed the book carefully, and his face tightened, giving Jason a tiny, barely perceptible nod. "I need to return this to evidence," he said. "But there's enough of an indication here to have you declared her temporary guardian until some tests can be done and true paternity established. Unless you wish to refuse, of course."

"Where do I have to sign?" Rourke asked, just as the door opened again, and his wife peeked inside.

"John? I got your message, there are cops everywhere, what... oh, no. Oh, poor baby."

Rourke hesitated for a moment. "Ah... hold that thought. But whatever it is, bring it. I just need to have a word with my wife."

Ramirez nodded, heading back out the door.

Rourke took his wife into the corner to talk quietly for a moment. Her face grew angrier and angrier. Finally, she slapped him, and Jason sagged, looking down at Kylie sadly.

"How dare you! How dare you think I would object! What sort of monster do you think I am?" she snapped, and Jason winced, realizing he'd just made the same mistake.

"John Rourke, if you don't do right by that child, I swear to God, I'll kill you myself!"

Rourke stared at her, half-smiling in a dazed, confused way. "Well, Mandy... I... you... I love you, you know."

She sniffed. "Well. Fine, then. Idiot. I love you, too."

Ramirez returned with some papers, and Rourke signed them. Mandy sat down on the couch beside Jason and studied Kylie. "Idiot," she murmured quietly. "I knew when I noticed those eyes and did a bit of math. For someone so smart...." She smiled. "I always wanted a daughter."

Rourke stood by the door, reading the other papers Ramirez had given him, his face deliberately blank.

"Did you give him my statement as well?" Jason asked the detective.

Ramirez nodded as Rourke finished the last page. Very, very calmly, he walked over and handed them to his wife. Then, not saying a word, he looked at Kylie a moment, turned, and walked carefully out of the room, closing the door behind him.

She watched him walk away, then looked down at the papers, paling. "Oh, fuck. Officer, you need to stop him, or you're going to lose your suspect."

Ramirez hesitated, then nodded disgustedly and hurried after him.

Jason looked at Mrs. Rourke. "If it wouldn't put him in jail, I could live with that."

She turned the page. "So could I," she said calmly.

"If it's okay with you, I'd like you to let my dad see those when you're done. I want him to understand..." His voice broke, for just an instant, before he looked down at Kylie as she whimpered and opened her eyes. "Kylie, love, you're okay."

"Jason? What...." She remembered, and her eyes went wide. She looked around fearfully, cringing against him when she saw Mike. His father flinched, looking like someone just kicked him in the balls.

"Kylie, you're safe. He won't hurt you. No one will." He looked at Mrs. Rourke. "Can I tell her?"

Mandy finished reading the last page, and looked up with tear-filled eyes. Not trusting herself to speak, she nodded, and handed the papers to Mike.

Jason looked down at Kylie, stroking her face. "We know who your real father is, and you're going to be living with him and his wife. You're going to be safe."

"NO! Don't leave me! I don't want to go!" she said.

"It's Mr. Rourke, Kylie."

Kylie clung to him, shaking so hard it had to hurt. "W-what?"

"Mr. Rourke is your real father, almost certainly," he said.

Kylie looked over at Mandy, who nodded and tried to smile. "It's okay, sweetheart. We'll take care of you. You'll be safe, I promise."

"I... I don't know... how? How do you know?"

"Your mother said so, when you were born, apparently, before she left. And the blood types match. And your eyes," Jason said.

The door opened, and Mr. Rourke was led back in, hands cuffed in front of him. Ramirez closed the door and looked at him. "Mr. Rourke, if you do that again I will be forced to arrest you for assault and attempted murder. I really should do it this time, but..." His voice dropped. "I understand. I can't be so lenient a second time. Don't worry about him; your daughter needs you." He nodded to Kylie, who was staring wide eyed at Rourke. "Can I take the cuffs off?"

Rourke growled, then sighed, holding out his hands. His knuckles were cut and bleeding. "Don't let him get away. He's a dead man if he gets away." Ramirez nodded and unlocked the cuffs, taking them with him as he left.

Rourke glared at the door for a second, then shook his head regretfully. Mike finished reading the papers, and looked up at him, trembling with suppressed emotion. "You should have waited a few minutes, John. I would have helped. I could have held them off for you."

Rourke nodded. "I'll remember that." He looked at Kylie, and winced as if in pain. Slowly, he walked over and knelt down by the couch. "Kylie? Honey, don't be scared. I won't hurt you, I would never hurt you."

Slowly, like he was trying to touch a wild animal, he lifted his hand and touched her cheek. "I'm sorry, sweetheart. I didn't know. If I'd known... I'm so sorry, Kylie, but we're going to make it up to you as best we can. And I'm going to see that bastard dead, I promise you. He'll never hurt you again."

"Y-you know?"

"Yes, angel. I know. I'm so sorry I wasn't there to stop him from hurting you. I hope someday you can forgive me."

"F-forgive you!?" She started crying, and he stroked her hair, in obvious pain but afraid to do anything more. "Y-you... I... I'm so glad. I'm so glad it's you and n-not him!" She grabbed his hand, holding it tightly to her cheek.

He reached for her, wrapping his arm around her and hugging her awkwardly. She pressed her forehead against his chest and held his hand, but her other hand still clung tightly to Jason's arm.

Jason looked at his father, and, for just an instant, let his face reveal what he felt, before schooling it back to calmness and looking down at Kylie.

Rourke bent slightly and brushed a soft kiss on Kylie's hair, then backed slowly away. He looked at her longingly, but left her where she was. "Sweetheart, I want to help you. We all do. Whatever you need, it's yours. Whatever you need to feel safe, we'll do it."

Kylie turned and buried her head in Jason's chest. "I need Jason! I'm sorry, I'm sorry... I'm so glad you're my father, but don't take me away, oh please, please..."

Jason met Rourke's eyes, evenly.

Rourke knelt down by the couch, looking at her miserably. "Kylie... honey, don't cry. It's okay. It's okay, honey. I understand. You can stay with him. No one will separate you... I won't let them... not until you feel safe. I promise."

Kylie sniffed, looking at him. "Y-you mean it? I can? What do I have to do?"

Jason reached out and gently turned her to face him. "Not that, Kylie. You don't ever have to do that again."

Rourke's eyes darkened about three shades, and the sofa cushion ripped under his fingers. "Ever."

Kylie glanced from Jason to Rourke, afraid, and he made a visible effort to calm down. "You'll never have to do anything like that again. I. Will. Kill. Anyone. Who. Tries. To. Make. You!"

"And I'll help him," Jason said. "You're safe, Kylie."

"Thank you, oh thank you. oh, god..." Kylie blinked back tears. "I don't want to stay here, in this house. Please... please can we go somewhere else?"

Jason looked over at his father, pained, then at John. "I don't want to impose, but she wants to be with me and I don't think our house would be a good idea." He started to say something else, then just shook his head. He hoped his father would understand.

Mike's shoulders slumped, and he nodded. "I agree. Maybe some day she'll be able to look at a guy like me and not see him, but right now... no way." He looked at her with aching eyes. "I wouldn't hurt you, Kylie. Not all men are like that thing. But I understand you being scared, and I'll wait as long as you need for you to trust me."

"I'm sorry," Kylie whispered. "I know, but... I'm sorry."

Rourke nodded. "It's not an imposition. I meant it. I want her to have whatever it takes."

"Are you okay coming home with us, Kylie, if Jason comes too?" Mandy asked quietly. "No one will separate you, I promise."

Kylie nodded, relieved, and Mike stood up slowly. "Where are your things, Kylie? I'll pack you a bag."

"The closet by the front door," Kylie said. She relaxed against Jason and closed her eyes again, the sedative pulling her down.

Mike was back in just a few minutes. He glanced at Kylie and mouthed, "Out?" Jason nodded, and he sat down. "The cops want things left the way they are, for evidence. I've got her book-bag and a couple of outfits, her shoes, but that's it. But, damn it, that's almost all there was. No night clothes, no personal items, nothing. According to the cops, there's nothing in the house that's hers. He kept her chained to his bed or in that fucking cage. There's not even a photograph of her mother. Nothing."

Jason looked down at Kylie, his expression tender. "Dammit."

Mandy frowned thoughtfully. "John, I'll stop by the Wal-Mart and pick her up some things while you drive them home. Run out to my car and make sure my purse is in there, would you. Mike, go with him and don't let him kill anyone."

Mike looked at her rather oddly, but Rourke just nodded with a vaguely puzzled look and complied. She looked at Jason once they had left, arching one elegant eyebrow questioningly.

"Well?" she asked softly.

Jason looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"You've been together less than 24 hours. Before this week, you barely knew her. Do I have to point out to you how fragile she is right now?"

Jason nodded, realizing what she meant. "I understand, Mrs. Rourke. Can I tell you that I'm absolutely, unequivocally in love with her?" He shook his head, his confusion plain. "No. But if the question is 'do I think that I'm in love with her?', the answer is yes. I've never had a girlfriend before. I've never been in love. But this feels like what I think it would feel like."

"Honey, it's just been a day... how does it feel?" she asked.

Jason looked down at Kylie, smiling. "Wonderful, and terrifying. I'm happy when I'm around her, and it hurts when I'm not. I'm terrified that I'm going to hurt her, and it's killing me that she went through all this. It... I don't know how to describe it." He looked back up at Mrs. Rourke. "I'm not like some of the girls I've seen, falling in 'love' every week with a different guy. I know just how hard it's going to be to make our relationship work, especially with this." He met her gaze steadily. "I'm not afraid of hard work. This might not work; we both knew that going in. But if it doesn't work, it won't be because I didn't do everything I could."

She nodded thoughtfully. "All right. Mainly, I wanted to make sure you had thought about it. Because if you were just saying it... now... I'm not sure if she could ever recover from that. And I had to be sure that you knew that. Understand?"

"I do," he said quietly. "I've never said it before. It's not something I say lightly."

Mandy smiled at him warmly. "Good. I suspected as much. You're brighter than you let people see... but I had to be sure. She's been through too much to take chances."

Jason hesitated. "She said something today... that I didn't plan ahead enough, that I didn't think about things. I take it you think she's right."

Mandy didn't answer immediately. "I'm not really in a position to know what you think about, but I know you could do better in your classes. You have a lot of potential, and it would be a shame to waste it."

Jason sighed. "Well, that's two people."

"Maybe three. I'd talk to your dad, if I were you," she said, as Mike and John returned, John carrying his wife's purse.

Jason looked up at his dad. "Dad? Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, son."

"Do you think I don't plan ahead enough?" Mike blinked, caught completely off-guard by the question. "Kylie told me she didn't think I did this afternoon. I want to know what you think."

"Ah... well. It's your life, son," his father said. "I can't make your choices for you. But I can't say I wouldn't worry less if you did show more interest in the future. I don't want to push you into anything, but there are things you're going to have to decide on, sooner or later, and thinking about them now can make your decisions a lot easier later on."

Jason grimaced. "That's three people, then. I guess I need to think about some things." He nearly missed the flicker of abject relief that passed over Mike's face, and he wondered just how worried his father had been. Something else to think about later.

"Ready to go?" John asked quietly.

Jason nodded, standing up with Kylie in his arms. "Yeah."

Kylie sighed and snuggled closer, but didn't wake up as he carried her out to the car. Mike held the car door open for them, and then stood there a second, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Jason... you did the right thing tonight. I wanted you to know that I am really proud of you, and I couldn't ask for a better son. Your mama would feel the same way."

Jason looked back at his dad. "Thanks." He hesitated. "But I still regret not killing him."

His father shook his head. "Much as I wish he were dead, she needs you here and not in jail tonight."

Jason nodded, slowly. "Maybe so."

"Don't worry about school tomorrow. You're officially out sick. Call me tomorrow when you can, and let me know how things are going. 'Night, son." He closed the door and stepped back, waving.