“Flying right into the middle of a terrorist attack wasn’t exactly the smartest thing to do.”  Jack Bauer squeezed the phone against his shoulder and shrugged off his coat.

“I know that.  But it is not like I could have stopped either one of them from going.  In case you hadn’t noticed,” Sabrina DeLane continued, “they are both stubborn men.”

“I’m pretty sure that stubborn streak isn’t limited to the men of your family.”  The retort was uttered with fondness.  “I guess I should just be grateful that you didn’t decide to tag along.”

“Hey, I can behave sensibly,” Sabrina protested.  “I don’t always act on impulse, you know.”

Jack generously allowed the statement to go unchallenged.  From the moment he’d met the beautiful doctor, one thing was crystal clear – Sabrina DeLane was a woman guided by her emotions.  “Okay,” Jack replied mildly.  He kicked off his shoes and moved across the room to the bar.

“I didn’t catch you at a bad time, did I?”

“No.  I’m just settling in for the evening.”  Jack dropped three ice cubes into a glass and covered them with rich amber-colored liquor.

“Do you know how much longer you’ll be in London?” Sabrina asked.

“Only a day or so more. Then it’s back home for me.”

Sabrina was silent for a moment.  “I guess,” she said carefully, “that you are really looking forward to getting back home.”

Jack shrugged, though Sabrina could not see the gesture.  “I’m looking forward to getting back to Headquarters.”  He swirled his drink around.  “But there’s nothing waiting for me at home.  Nina and I ended things.”

There was a lengthy silence.  Finally, Sabrina commented.  “Okay, I’m trying to decide whether to be supportive or honest… Oh, hell! She wasn’t what you needed anyway.”

“Oh, yeah?”  Jack stretched out across his hotel bed.  “Let me get comfortable and you can tell me where I went wrong.”

 ~ London, later that same night ~ 


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