Nearly the whole town is gathered in and around Cafe Diem, celebrating the town being purchased, and therefore saved, by Dr. Grant. Vincent had announced a party for the end of the week, giving people time to unpack and settle.
Even though they are surrounded by their friends and family, Jo looks uncomfortable, playing with the engagement ring nervously on her finger, smoothing invisible wrinkles from her white sundress.
“Come on, Jo,” a voice says, offering her a hand. “Let’s get out of here, go for a drive, away from the crowd.”
Jo looks up at him, his grey eyes sparkling with mischief and anticipation, trademark smirk making her weak. Zane Donovan. Her fiance.
Fiance. She isn’t used to that word yet, as much as she wants this and as much as she loves him, she’s petrified that it won’t last. They’ve been through so much, and yet...
Shaking her head, she takes his hand, waving a hasty goodbye to their friends as Zane weaves his way confidently through the crowded party, pulling her along with him.
Exiting the cafe is a relief, but there are still lots of people. It’s suffocating. Jo laughs, as Zane leads her away from the party. “Where are we going? We walked here!”
Zane pulls her down the street, and turns the corner into an alleyway.
He spins her around, a grin a mile wide on his face. “Ta-da!”
Sitting in the alleyway is a motorcycle, shiny black paint gleaming in the streetlights. “Yeah...she's a 1990 Harley-Davidson heritage softail. She was in rough shape when I found her, but Henry helped me put her back together piece by piece...with a few improvements.”
Jo gasps slightly and runs her hand lightly down the bike’s sleek side as Zane goes on about the bike’s ‘Eureka’ special features, and something about keeping it on the planet. “Wow.”
She can practically feel Zane beaming behind her, and she turns to look at him. He puts his hands on her face, and leans down for a kiss, still smiling. He walks them backwards, never breaking the kiss, until her back hits the brick wall. She wraps her arms around him, running her hands down his back, nails scraping slightly at his thin t-shirt. Zane, still without breaking the kiss, grabs her wrists and pins them above her head loosely, bending his head he leaves a trail of nips, kisses, and licks down her neck and back up to the shell of her ear. He breathes against her ear, pressing his body against hers. “So, how about we take a ride, Jo-Jo?”
Jo moans softly as he nips at her earlobe but manages a breathy, “yes.”
Zane drops her wrists, pulling her against him for another breathtaking kiss, before twisting away from her towards the back of the bike.
He produces a bag from behind the bike, and tosses her a leather bike jacket, slipping his own on before revealing two bike helmets: one hot pink, the other jet black. Smirking, he holds out the pink helmet for Jo to take.
Shaking her head, Jo crosses over to him and leans over the back of the bike for another kiss, swiftly snatching the black helmet and spinning out of his grasp with a triumphant laugh.
Zane grins at her and puts the pink helmet on. “It takes a real man to wear pink. Besides, I make this look good.”
Jo bites her lip beneath her helmet as Zane straddles the bike and pats the seat behind him, eyes flashing with laughter.
She shrugs into the jacket, and gets on behind him, tucking the hem of her dress securely around her legs. Wrapping her arms around his waist, she lays her head on his back as he pushes the bike into movement.
They take off: past the startled crowd at the party, past the businesses and houses and onto a winding road Jo isn’t sure she’s ever been on. Up and up they ride, higher and higher, the cool breeze whipping around them, smelling of the ocean off to their left.
Jo closes her eyes and breathes in deeply, just enjoying the scent and feel of the breeze, and Zane’s warm body, strong beneath hers.
It takes her a moment to realize they’ve slowed to a stop. Jo lifts her head and looks around: they are in a small, mostly overgrown parking lot, surrounded by pines. “Where are we?”
Zane turns the engine off, and climbs off the bike, offering Jo a hand before taking off his helmet. He doesn’t answer her, but instead hangs his helmet on one of the handlebars, and opens one of the attached bags on the rear of the bike. He pulls out a takeout bag, and offers Jo his hand once again. “You’ll see. Trust me.”
Jo hangs her helmet up, takes his hand, and allows him to lead her down a small path she hadn't noticed before.
A few minutes later, they emerge out of the woods at a small mountain side picnic set up, overlooking the ocean.
Jo gasps at the glittering expanse of the Pacific ocean set ablaze by the setting sun. “Oh, Zane. It’s beautiful.”
Zane stands behind her at the railing, arms wrapped around her waist, holding her against him, softly nuzzling her hair. “Not as beautiful as you, love.” He turns her around in his arms and kisses her, softly and tenderly, before leading her to the picnic table where dinner awaits them, a single candle flickering in the center.
Jo smiles softly as Zane helps her in her seat and then sits down besides her, arm wrapping around her waist as they dig into the meal Vincent had prepared for them.
She catches herself staring at Zane, the candlelight flickering in his eyes, features highlighted by the setting sun before them.
He glances at her, and she quickly looks away, feeling her cheeks flush, even now he still makes her nervous and excited, never knowing what to expect.
Zane gently lifts her chin with his fingers, and cradles her face with his warm hand. She leans into his touch and sighs softly.
“What?” he murmurs, softly, gently running his thumb across her cheek. “You look sad.”
Jo tries to turn away, but he holds her gently in place. “What’s wrong?”
She sighs, “It’s nothing. I-I just don’t want to ever lose this, you, us, again. I want to stay like this, with you, forever. I-,” her voice breaks, and a single tear slips down her cheek.
Zane catches the tear, and brushes it away. “Why are you crying, love?”
Zane pulls her into his arms, wrapping her in a tight hug, running his fingers through her hair, and gently rocking. “Shhh, it’s ok, Jo-Jo. It’s ok. I’m not going anywhere.”
Jo clings tightly to him, letting her fears out as she cries into his shoulder, drinking in his familiar scent.
They stay like that for a long time, until the sun sinks into the ocean and the night begins to close in around them.
Zane pulls out of the hug, just enough to look into Jo’s eyes. “You don’t have to be afraid. I love you, Jo, always will. No matter what. In this or any timeline.”
He kisses her deeply, trying to convey every ounce of love and passion he has.
When they break apart at last Zane gets to his feet, and quickly packs up the remnants from their meal, before helping Jo up and pulling her to his side as they walk back down the moonlit trail.
When they reach the bike, Zane stows the picnic leftovers and kisses the top of Jo’s head, before they both put on their helmets and head home.
Zane leads Jo up to their room, and kisses her again, passionately, he holds her close.
Scooping her up in his arms, he carries her over to the bed, and gently lays her down on it, following close behind, only breaking the kiss for a moment. “I love you, Jo-Jo.”
“I love you too, Zane.”