Jack enters his apartment and closes the door after him. “Hey, Annie,” he calls out, tossing his keys into the dish next to the door with a clink. “I’m home.”
He had gotten off of work early due to his little—incident, he’ll call it—and decided to head straight home. It was Annie’s day off, after all, and she said she hadn’t planned on going out. Maybe they could order takeout and spend some quality time together on the couch watching TV. They both thoroughly enjoyed making fun of cop shows, and if he remembers what he read in TV Guide at the checkout line in the grocery store correctly, there is supposed to be a Law & Order marathon on tonight.
He’s taken out of his thoughts when he sees Annie rushingtowards him.
“Jack,” she says—why does her voice sound so hoarse? “Thank god.”
She looks him up and down carefully, then back again, like she was combing over every inch of him. Seeming satisfied with her inspection, she wipes her eyes with her sleeve before hugging him, burying her face into his shoulder. Hesitantly, Jack rubs circles on her back. This is vastly different from her usual welcome-home kiss on on the cheek.
“Are you crying?” He asks softly into her hair, a little amused. Annie clearly isn’t amused.
“Jesus Christ, Jack,” she says, tightening her hold on Jack significantly. His arm tweaks.
“Ow,” he replies with a wince, but lets her. “Careful. I have stitches.”
Annie doesn’t say anything, just holds him close. Shit, he didn’t get hurt that bad. Was she really crying over a few stitches?
“Annie?” He asks softly. “What’s wrong?”
Annie pulls away from Jack’s embrace, gripping his shoulders and giving him a harsh glare. “You work on the bomb squad! When you say ‘I got hurt at work,’ I’m thinking half your face got blown off!”
Oh. “Shit, sorry, I should have left a longer message.”
“Don’t scare me like that, Jack,” Annie says, voice firm.
“I’m okay. I promise,” Jack replies. “I mean, my arm has definitely seen better days, but otherwise...”
At the mention of his injury, Annie gently takes Jack’s arm and runs her fingers along the long, tidy line of stitches there. “What dumbass thing did you do to get this?” She questions.
Jack raises his hands in protest. “I wasn’t being a dumbass,” he says, but at a further glare from Annie, he relents. “Okay, I was being a dumbass.”
“Of course you were,” Annie responds with a knowing nod. “Tell me all about it.”
She takes Jack’s hand and leads him from the front door to the kitchen table. He sits down on the edge of it while Annie digs through the junk drawer next to the sink. Jack notices the stack of dishes in the sink slowly climbing towards the ceiling and realizes it’s his turn to wash and dry them. Actually, it was his turn to wash and dry them last night and he completely forgot. Crap. He’s definitely not looking forward to that.
“So,” Annie starts, still rummaging in the drawer. What the heck was she looking for, anyway? “What did your dumb ass do?”
Jack scratches the back of his head, remembering the events of that day. “I jumped over a fence and my arm got stuck.” That should be sufficient.
“And?” Annie prompts. Of course that wasn’t sufficient. Annie always needs the details.
Jack looks away, sheepish. “And I ripped my arm open trying to pull it out.” Annie winces.Jack continues. “It was one of those spiky decorative fences.”
It really wasn’t necessary for a fence to be that sharp, but some asshole city planner probably thought it looked “elegant” or something. All attempts to beautify public spaces in Los Angeles usually just made them infinitely butt-uglier. L.A. was a beast that did not take well to being tamed, and cutesy spiked fences had no place here. At least that’s how Jack is justifying his current situation.
“Jesus, Jack,” Annie says, giving him a look of disbelief-yet-I-know-you-would-totally-do-that.
Jack has the decency to look chastised. “There was a lot of blood.” And several now-probably-traumatized children on the nearby swing set who watched his misfortune unfold.
Annie finally takes out a roll of gauze from the drawer—that’s what she wanted?—and sets it down on the table next to him.
“Let me guess,” Annie says, “you could’ve just walked five more minutes to get to your destination.”
Damn it, she knows him too well. “But I was in a hurry,” Jack mumbles. Cutting through the park saves five minutes at least, and he had places to be. The place being a hot dog cart on the other side of the park. He doesn’t have the courage to tell her he fucked up this badly on his lunch break on the pursuit of a bacon-wrapped hot dog and not an important bomb call.
Annie unwinds the roll of gauze and begins to carefully bandage Jack’s arm. Jack tries to brush her away but she pushes his hand aside.
“The nurse said I didn’t need that,” Jack insists.
“And I say you do,” Annie replies. “Last time you had stitches you picked them out in your sleep and bled everywhere.”
He remembers that night. That was a fun load of laundry. “At least I don’t hog all the blankets,” Jack teases.
“At least I don’t snore,” Annie teases back with a roll of her eyes. “There,” she says, securing the bandaging in place. “And don’t touch it.”
“Yes ma’am,” Jack says.
Annie kisses him then, holding his face betweenher hands. Jack smiles against Annie’s mouth, sliding off the table and backing her up against the counter. He winds his arms around her, careful not to mess up his new bandage, and deepens the kiss.
“How did I get this lucky?” Jack says when he finally pulls away.
Annie smiles. “It’s a great story, actually,” she says with a twinkle in her eye. “In fact, I’d say it was the bomb.”
Jack groans. “Please, can we not—”
“You could call our chemistry explosive—”
Jack laughs despite himself. Two could play at this game. “My heart was beating fifty miles an hour,” he adds.
“Oh, that’s a good one,” Annie says. “Let’s add it to the list.”
“You never get tired of telling that story, do you,” Jack says, tucking a lock of Annie’s hair behind her ear.
Annie huffs. “Of course I get tired of telling it. That’s why I add the puns. Spices things up after ten years.”
Jack looks at the matching silver bands on their fingers and smiles.
It was crazy how he met his wife. And even crazier that it’s been ten years already. Part of him didn’t think they would survive that day, but here they are, kissing in their kitchen, his heart still doing somersaults like the first time. Nobody thought they’d last, but his love for Annie has never wavered.
“So,” Annie says, breaking the silence. “Want to get takeout and watch Law and Order?”
“I’d love nothing more,” Jack says, kissing her forehead.
Every moment with Annie was a gift, and Jack thanked his lucky stars that their paths collided that fateful day ten years ago.