(Previously: TIME TO CHANGE)

Jack Rory squirmed anxiously in the hard plastic seat of the airport terminal. He was still feeling conflicted about his decision to accompany Destiny on her trip to Florida.


It seemed to him as if everything was moving a little too fast. He didn’t know if he was ready to meet Destiny’s parents. And he was uncomfortable putting so much physical distance between himself and his therapist Lisa, and the group therapy sessions that had become such a source of support.


Then there was the matter of the baby. With Karen‘s whereabouts still unknown, he’d had to arrange for the nanny to take the baby for an open-ended period of time. He felt vaguely guilty, but at the same time, he had to admit she was probably better off where she was.


For her part, Destiny seemed cool as a cucumber as she waited for their flight to be called. He’d tried to pump her for details about her parents, but she’d demurred, simply smiling and saying, “You’ll meet them soon enough.”

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(Previously: CIRCLE OF TRUST)

[Editor’s note: Jack Rory had a brief hiatus this week due to a faulty Internet connection and general holiday mania. We now return to the saga already in progress.]

Destiny was getting frustrated.


After Jack Rory’s big breakthrough at group therapy, she had hoped he would return to being his former self. The Jack Rory who had charmed and romanced her. The Jack Rory she desired.

But it was starting to seem as if that Jack Rory might never reappear. And that was a fate Destiny was unwilling to accept.


True, Jack Rory was no longer morose and withdrawn. In fact, he was quite chipper. However, he seemed to have become immune to her suggestive murmurs and sultry caresses. Where once his heart had quickened visibly at the mere sight of her, now she could barely get him to make eye contact. He was distant where once he had been present.


Unfortunately, she knew the reason why: there was another woman in the picture. And that woman was Lisa. His therapist.

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(Previously: USE YOUR WORDS)

“Jack Rory! WAIT!” Lisa’s voice rang out so commandingly that Jack Rory stopped in his tracks.


“Jack Rory,” she said more soothingly. “Please don’t destroy the sanctity of Group by leaving without closure. You owe it to yourself and to the rest of us to work through this.” Over her shoulder, he could see Destiny’s imploring gaze.

Jack Rory considered his options. Walking out now would almost certainly mean the end to his relationship with Destiny. He didn’t want that. But at the same time, he wasn’t sure if he could handle the trip down memory lane Lisa seemed to expect from him. He looked up to find Destiny’s alluring cat-like eyes fixed on him. For me, she mouthed.


Jack Rory sighed. “Fine,” he said. “You want to hear about my childhood? Gather ’round.” Everyone eagerly complied.


“Details about my life before the orphanage are scarce,” he began.

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Jack Rory looked around the group therapy circle with suspicion and dismay. How could Destiny have possibly thought this was a good idea? In his discomfited state, he made accidental eye contact with a particularly chipper-looking couple, and before he could look away, they were on their way over.


“Hi there, folks!” the female half of the couple said brightly. “Y’all new here this week?”

Jack Rory felt Destiny dig her nails into his spine, so he reluctantly responded.

“Yes. This is our first time.”

“Oh, y’all are gonna love it!” the male half said enthusiastically. “But where are our manners? I’m Louis, and this here’s my wife, Bonnie.”

Jack Rory opened his mouth to half-heartedly introduce himself and Destiny, but was saved–at least temporarily–by the arrival of the therapist.

“Namaste, everybody,” she said, pressing her palms together and then lifting them over her head.

“NAMASTE, LISA,” everybody–except Jack Rory and Destiny–said in return, mimicking her hand gesture.


“I see we have some newcomers this week. Welcome,” Lisa said earnestly, first locking eyes with Jack Rory, then with Destiny.


“Thanks,” Jack Rory and Destiny mumbled.

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(Previously: IT TAKES A VILLAGE)

With the baby ostensibly in capable hands, there was nothing holding Jack Rory back from resuming the wanton lifestyle he had previously enjoyed with Destiny. (Destiny, for her part, was as enthusiastic as ever.)


However, his brief foray into fatherhood had affected Jack Rory in ways he could not quite discern. Moonlit pegasus rides with Destiny, his hands cupping her limber hips as they gyrated in time with their mount’s footfalls, didn’t hold the same appeal they once had.


Watching Destiny go through her sultry paces at work was no longer a thrill.



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Jack Rory was exhausted. The baby, it turned out, was a lot of work. While Destiny had many delectable qualities, it was increasingly apparent that maternal instincts were not among them. And Karen, true to her word, seemed to have vanished entirely.


He felt as if he hadn’t slept in days. No sooner would he doze off…


..than Destiny would bounce in the door from work, eager for his attentions…


…or the baby would wail because she was hungry…



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(Previously: A BIG SURPRISE)

Destiny’s supple body virtually glistened with rage. Stammering, Jack Rory did his best to explain the situation to her, but she was in no mood to listen.


Her eyes seemed to double in size, her elbows fanned the air like hummingbird wings, and her mouth puckered into a furious parody of its usual rosebud shape. Her words flew like nonsensical arrows, persistently wide of their mark.


Much to his surprise, Jack Rory found himself fearful for the baby’s well-being. So this is what fatherhood feels like, he thought to himself as his arms encircled the small neck protectively.

“Destiny,” he said, trying to keep the edge from his voice. “Please. Can’t we discuss this like adults?”

“Not until you put that thing DOWN,” she spat back.

Once Jack Rory settled the baby into her basket, Destiny appeared marginally calmer. She was at least willing to sit and listen to his explanation of what had transpired.


“And so, you see, I had no way of knowing that Karen was having my baby,” he said. “You saw how she reacted when she spotted me. Now we know what she wanted to talk to me about!”

Destiny wasn’t exactly accepting of the situation. She had a lot of questions. Jack Rory answered as many as he could.



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