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(As close as brothers (2)

Jackson saw Cherry's car in the driveway and felt relieved knowing she was still there. He walked up the short path and flung the door open, looking around expectantly.

Lily was engrossed in her cleaning and jumped when the door opened. When she saw it was Jackson, she went to the door greeting him with a happy smile, "You are finally here, Mr. Jackson."

Jackson hurriedly asked, "Yes, yes! Is Cherry still upstairs?"

Lily nodded, "Yes, she is," she replied, beaming with pure joy.

"Good, okay, you go ahead and finish what you are doing. I'm going up to see her," he said as he headed for the stairs.
He was in a hurry to get to his wife, and took the stairs two at a time. When he opened the door, he saw Cherry silently sitting on the floor staring out the window. Jackson's heart twisted in pain, and he wondered how long she had been sitting there. Why was she on the bare floor, and not on the carpet?

Jackson strode over her, and hunched down next to her, "Babe, why are you sitting here?"

Cherry was so engrossed in her little daydream that she didn't figure out who was talking to her, so she turned back and saw Jackson squatting near her.

Instead of replying, Cherry asked, "Jackson, why are you home so early?"

Jackson reached out and took her into his arms, gently stroked her hair and asked her in a soft-spoken tone, "Little fool, why are you sitting down here on cold, hard floor? Aren't you afraid of catching a cold?"

Cherry reached out wrapping herself around his torso, "I just wanted to enjoy the view outside and before I knew it, I was sitting here."

Jackson gently chided her, "Remember to sit on the carpet next time, silly."

"Okay, I will," she responded absently as she realized Jackson hadn't answered her. She asked affectionately, "Why don't you answer me?"

Jackson replied, "Lily told me that you were here, so I rushed home before you vanished on me again."

There was worry in Cherry's eyes as she looked up at him, "Jackson, you know, I have to leave again," she was afraid that Jackson would be disappointed, but she couldn't stay.

Jackson's tone remained gentle as though speaking to a child, "Couldn't you stay for one night? I could stay here with you at home all day. Wouldn't that okay?"

As long as Cherry was near him, Jackson's mood was pleasant, and he had missed her horribly. He just wanted her to stay with him.

Cherry shook head, sadly. She still needed to go to the hospital, and couldn't promise Jackson she could stay.

Cherry told him, "Jackson, could you please be patient while I am on my own for a few days? I can't be here right now."
Cherry pleaded, and as Jackson looked in her eyes, he finally compromised, nodding his head and telling her, "Very well. Babe, you do what you want to do, as long as you take good care of yourself. So I don't worry as much about you."

"Yes, I will," Cherry replied as she reached up and touched Jackson's chin smiling impishly, "You have a five o'clock shadow."

Jackson nodded raking his stubble across her hand slightly, "Yes."

Suddenly overwhelmed with a glum feeling, and needing to feel closer to Jackson, Cherry impulsively kissed his lips. She wasn't sure why she felt like, only that she wanted to cuddle up with Jackson.

Her soft lips pressed against Jackson's and surprised him, but he wasn't about to let this opportunity slip through his fingers. He responded, crushing his mouth greedily against hers and as he scooped her up, his eager tongue parted her lips seeking hers out. And he carried her to the bed while they were kissing.

Jackson's breath was heavy on her ear as he hoarsely whispered, "Babe, I want you so bad."

"No!" Cherry screeched her refusal. She was pregnant, and couldn't let Jackson have sex with her.

Perplexed, Jackson looked down at her, "What?" At a loss for why Cherry resisted so strongly, he just stared and waited to hear what she said.

Cherry stammered over her excuse, "I'm not comfortable right now, so..."

Jackson had no choice but to believe her. Cherry was acting quite different from how she used to act. She was sweet and quiet, withdrawn even. So, Jackson thought maybe she was indeed uncomfortable.

Jackson said, "Okay," and placed a platonic peck on her cheek.

Cherry threw her arms around his neck, looking up at him. Afraid that he might be angry, she wanted to explain and quietly pleaded, "Jackson, please, don't be mad. Lately, I haven't been feeling all that comfortable, and my mood has been affected. I don't want to make love."

Jackson nodded saying, "Okay, okay. I understand." He wasn't mad at Cherry, and besides, he was patient. She was and would always be his wife, so he could wait.

The two lay cuddling in bed together. Out of the blue, Cherry asked, "Jackson, do you really not hate Mond?"

"Actually, no, I don't. I can't hate Mond," Jackson told her.

Cherry said, "After staying at his place the past few days I don't think he is such a bad guy." She didn't think Mond was bad at all. He might have been coerced into doing some bad things, but all in all, he was a good man.

Jackson agreed, "Even though you are living there right now, I am relieved. I know he won't let any harm come to you." Jackson trusted Mond. In the past, he might have thought Mond would hurt Cherry to seek revenge on Jackson. But from what he had seen, he knew Mond had no intention to hurt Cherry. So, he wasn't worried about Cherry being in danger there. Besides, Jean was there too, so he knew Cherry would be safe.

Cherry didn't say anything, she understood what Jackson meant. Now, more than ever, she was certain about her suspicions, and once she had the results of the tests, she would have a clear, concise understanding.

Cherry and Jackson stayed up in the room cuddling for quite a long time. They left home at the same time, with Cherry heading back to Mond's and Jackson going to the bar.

Rather than going directly to Mond's, Cherry took the route to the hospital. She brought the two hairs to the lab for a paternity test.

As she left the building, Cherry reminded herself silently that the doctor had told her it would take three days for the test results to come in, which meant, she would need to make another trip back to the hospital in three days.

When Cherry returned to Mond's villa, Jean was watching TV in the living room. She immediately got up and went to greet Cherry, "Cherry, you're back!"

Cherry nodded and then asked, "Yes. Where's Mond?"

Jean replied, "I don't know. Maybe, he went out. Anyway, he's not around." Cherry told her sister, "Oh-okay. I am going to go lay down for a rest. I'm quite tired today."

Jean gently said, "You go, have a rest then. You've had a long day, out and about. I'll call you when dinner's ready."

Cherry replied, "Okay, thank you, Jean."

At the Chu residence, Derek and Amy went into the living room. Not able to find anyone there, Derek called into the kitchen where Lily was tirelessly working.

Derek's voice was loud and carried, "Lily, where's Jackson?"

Lily walked out of the kitchen before she answered, "Oh hello Mr. Derek and Miss Amy. I'm not really sure where Mr. Jackson is. You could try the reading room upstairs."


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