One Year Later....
Jack awoke to the familiar sensation of Phryne's hands sliding down his chest.
"Happy birthday," she leaned down to whisper in his ear as he stirred under her.
“Thank you," he mumbled from his shady place in his garden where he had been napping the afternoon away in his new hammock. It was his second favorite souvenir that he’d brought home from their travels. The first was nibbling on his ear behind him.
"I brought you a present from Mr. Butler,” she teased.
“An edible present?” He sounded hopeful.
“Black forest, your favorite.”
“He didn’t have to do that,” Jack stated, touched by the kind action.
“Are you kidding? He’d leave me without a second thought if you asked him nicely."
“I’d certainly be less trouble,” he replied.
“Come inside, I’ll cut you a piece,” she offered as she steadied the hammock long enough for him to slip out of it.
He followed her into the house and sat down at the kitchen table. She fussed over something on the counter before turning around and setting a slice of cake in front of him with a candle on top.
“I thought that we could allow ourselves a single candle,” she winked at him as she lit it.
Jack felt his heart overflow as he realized how far they had come since their first dinner together.
“Thank you,” he murmured and he cupped the back of her thigh lovingly as she stood beside him, her arm draped over his shoulders.
“Make a wish,” she encouraged.
“I don’t have many left to make,” he confessed and to his delight, Phryne swooned a bit over the sentiment.
“You’ll just have to get creative then,” she advised.
He thought about it carefully before leaning in and blowing out his candle.
She looked at him for silent confirmation that he had made a wish and he nodded.
“Good.” She sat down beside him as he took the first bite of cake.
“Oh, god.” Jack groaned in happiness. “That man deserves a bonus,” he informed her as he took another bite and held it out towards her. She took the bite and hummed in appreciation.
He watched her chew, content to stare at her for as long as he could.
"What?" She asked as she covered her mouth.
"Nothing, just admiring you," he confessed.
"You were out in the heat too long," she teased.
Jack kept his thoughts to himself, knowing that he felt more for her than she did for him. She was new to this and he didn't want to frighten her anymore than she already was.
Phryne seemed to notice his silence and she picked up his fork and cut another bite. She held it out towards him but pulled it back when he moved forward.
He gave her a pout.
"Cake for your thoughts," she negotiated.
"Are you holding my birthday cake hostage?" He inquired.
"I certainly can't break through those walls on my own. I've tried." She ate the bite herself, speeding up his processing time considerably.
He stole the plate out of her hands, just to be safe.
"I was thinking that I love you," he revealed casually.
She suddenly grew more serious.
“But you didn’t want to tell me?” She tilted her head.
“I wasn’t sure how you felt about the matter,” he replied honestly. “It wasn’t so long ago that you married another man simply to avoid any potential advances from me.”
"Jack, I told you that I gave you my heart long before you asked for it. I meant that."
"There is a difference between someone having your heart and wanting them to have it," he said pointedly and she silently relented to that truth. The conundrum had plagued them for the majority of their relationship.
She stood up and made room for herself on his lap by straddling his waist. When she was as close as she could be, she kissed him gently, nuzzled his nose with hers and sighed.
"I love you," she looked him square in the eye. "And you are the only man who has ever had the pleasure of hearing me say those words so you'd better believe me when I say them."
"I do," he promised. He let a small smile tug at the corner of his mouth and she was too close to his face to not notice.
“What?” She asked, her fingertips brushing over the corner of his mouth.
“You were my wish,” he stated simply.
He caught the brief trace of her smile before she kissed him happily.
“Do you want to know my wish?” She asked as she seductively moved backwards until she was sitting on the table behind her.
“Not until I move my cake,” he said seriously as he took the plate away and set it on the nearest counter.
"Jack!" She protested in disbelief as she watched him go but she was laughing when he crawled over top of her again, slowly pressing her down into the table with sinful intentions.
"I never said you were my only wish..." he grinned against her lips before she kissed him heartily, silencing him for good.