Title: "Made to be Broken"
Author: Mala
E-mail: malisita@yahoo.com
Fandom: "General Hospital"
Rating/Classification: PG-13, Jax/Carly, angst, humor, 'shippy.
Disclaimer: Don't own them. Nope.
Summary: A sequel to "Throwing Caution". Jax has apparently met his *true* match...


Rule #1: Swear off Women.

He'd sworn off women. Enough was enough. No more. He was going to live like a monk forever. This was clear to him.

But, apparently, women had yet to get the message.

He'd done everything possible to erect his defenses, practically a neon sign that said "Sorry, no vacancies". Kristina would tell him that doing so had sealed his fate. "You're a challenge to them now, Jax," she'd probably chuckle. "It's too late."

Ha. Jasper Jacks, corporate raider extraordinaire, was an irrefutable chick magnet. Years ago, that knowledge had been a source of pride. He'd wielded it like a weapon in the boardrooms and the bedrooms. And it still came in handy once in a while against the Helena Cassadines of the world.

But, most of the time, it was a goddamned burden.

He hadn't asked to be born good-looking and charming and sweet. To be born a hopeless romantic. He remembered times, growing up, where he'd pleaded with Jerry to trade faces. "Sorry, Angelboy...I'm keeping my ugly mug," his brother had guffawed.

Twenty-odd years later, here he was. A glorified sex god trying to uphold a vow of chastity with Skye Quartermaine lurking around every corner trying to get him to break it.

Didn't she get it?

No. No way. No how.

The last two women he'd had any kind of sex with were now dead. And no matter how effortlessly she played the Damsel in Distress...no matter how much she claimed to need rescuing...he was DONE with that. No more rescues. No more knight in shining armor. No more Brendas and Chloes and nights spent wishing...

He was going to be a monk.

He sighed, tapped the side of his glass, gesturing to the bartender for another shot. The good stuff. The best stuff. Because he could afford it. Money, he could afford to lose.

His head and his heart were another matter entirely.

***

Rule #2: Don't Hit on Women.

The door was cold against his suddenly sweaty palms. And he couldn't seem to breathe. The impassive mask he'd dropped over his face, the minute her big brown eyes had narrowed, fell away.

"When"...not "if."

What in the world had possessed him to say "when" to Carly Corinthos? Admittedly, he obviously still had a Hero Complex. When she'd been at the Grill the night before, it had been instinct to whisk her away somewhere she could safely sober up. He really hadn't intended for that place to be his bed. Just like he hadn't intended to fall asleep watching her...watching how the fiercely defensive lines that furrowed her brows when she was awake seemed to melt away...noticing how she looked all of sixteen-years-old.

And he hadn't intended for her to think they'd *done* anything.

But, then again, this was Carly Corinthos. Suspicious by nature and by marriage...marriage to a man with whom he shared a history of contempt.

And everything about her that screamed "You don't want to GO here again!" seemed to get run over by this ridiculous urge to make her smile, to take the chip off her shoulder, to see if her goddamned skin was as soft as it looked.

He groaned, sliding down to the floor and cradling his head in his hands.

If you swore off women, you weren't supposed to hit on them.

You weren't supposed to tell them you planned to HAVE SEX with them.

Some monk!

***

Rule #3: When All Else Fails, Avoid Women.

He figured he would be safe if he shuffled all his club-related meetings around. Pushed them back towards the end of the week. And if he left his cell phone on vibrate and ignored it when a certain stalkative redhead's number popped up on the screen. Of course, he dropped by and visited Alexis with his weekly warnings about Sonny and her burgeoning life of crime...but Alexis didn't count. She was his ex-wife and his best friend, not a woman.

At least not in the sexual sense and not to him.

He knew she thought of him as a cross between a lumpy pillow and a Golden Retriever. And he thanked God for small favors.

He was fairly certain the only lumpy pillows Skye pictured were the ones she planned to seduce him on. And Carly...? Well, he couldn't deny that seeing her filled him with an irresistible urge to play "fetch".

So, yes, he was playing Jax the Misogynist this week. He figured if he just sequestered himself in the penthouse and didn't answer the door unless it was a eunuch on the other side, he would be fine.

He knew there were flaws in his logic.

Especially when he stepped across the threshold to get the morning paper and nearly tripped over a Carly-sized roadblock sitting in front of the door.

And Carly was, emphatically, NOT a eunuch.

"You've been avoiding me," she announced, standing up and brushing nonexistent dust off her leather skirt.

"I have not!" he sputtered, immediately.

She leveled him with one coolly arched eyebrow. "You have, too!"

He grinned, sheepishly, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his pants. "To be quite honest, I didn't expect you to be the one staking out my door."

"Oh, Skye *was* here," Carly informed, with a wicked grin. "It's amazing what pretending to be Adam Chandler's secretary on the other side of a cell phone can accomplish..." She savored whatever evil prank she'd pulled for a moment and he thought he was off the hook. But, before he could breathe a sigh of relief, the focus was back in her dark gaze. "Shouldn't *I* be the one avoiding YOU, Jax? I mean, you're the one who came onto ME."

He shook his head, violently. "I did not! You started it! You asked if you could use me!"

Twin spots of color bloomed in her cheeks and she reached out, poked him in the chest. "YOU touched my foot!"

He backed away from the slender finger, scoffing, "And I suppose you think your podiatrist has unresolved feelings for you, too?"

"My foot doctor is GAY...and, anyway, that's beside the point!" She moved with him and he wondered if she'd taken stalking tips from Skye before getting rid of her...because he, suddenly, felt like prey. "We're partners, Jax!"

He stumbled back inside the penthouse, raising his hands defensively. "Yes, and I don't mix business with pleasure. I have rules."

"Rules?" She snorted, hands on her hips. "You could've fooled me!" Indignation had set fire to her eyes and although she barely came up to his shoulder, he felt like he was going up against a raging giant.

"No," he said, finding a bemused grin somewhere beneath all his panic. "I can't fool you, Carly. If there's one thing that doesn't exist between us, it's deception."

"Not the only thing! We don't have a relationship either!" she assured.

He caught her finger, in a preemptive strike, before she could poke him again. "Agreed," he said, tersely, wondering why he was touching her...because touching her, he'd discovered, was a Bad Thing and it got in the way of his impending monk-hood.

She set her jaw, nodded, tightly, and, thankfully, yanking her hand out of his grip. "Okay. Good. Then there's no 'when', right?" she demanded.

"When what?" His eyebrows furrowed. Oh no. He couldn't help it. Despite his best intentions...his charm and flirtatious instinct was on auto pilot.

She stamped her foot, impatiently, reminding him, "'When we DO have sex'!"

Oh. God. "We're going to have sex?" Hopefully she would think he was joking.

Unfortunately, she didn't. "No. Jax. We. Are. Not. Now, can we get to work?"

He was doomed.

***

It wasn't the liquor delivery statements that smelled like strawberries. He knew this because he hadn't had the reports in bed with him...but the woman holding them...? His pillows still held the vague scent of her even though he'd had the shams laundered.

It was virtually impossible to swear off women when they were everywhere.

When they left their mark on every part of his life.

Especially his own damn bed.

Which he'd taken her to of his own volition. It figured. Only HE could wake up with a woman in his bed and STILL not get laid. But that was the way he wanted it, right?

"Jax? You still with me?"

"Hmm?" He jerked his head up, realizing that the papers in his hand had very nearly spilled to the floor.

"Where *were* you?" Carly was looking altogether too intuitive, arching a sharply speculative brow. Her hair had come loose from the conservative ponytail, tendrils all around her face...a few wisps even seemed to be curving towards her lips as if to say "place a kiss HERE."

Gah.

Intuitive. Not attractive. Intuitive.

"Sorry. Just got lost in thought," he said, feebly, swallowing hard.

And that was it. Feebly. *Feeble*. The straw that broke the camel's back. Jasper Jacks was NOT feeble. NOT a coward. NOT a quitter.

He shook his head, clearing it of petty rationales, doubts, and Hero Complexes. It was time to institute a new tactic.

Screw the Rules.

As Carly drawled a sarcastic, suspicious, "Yeah riiiight," he leaned forward, tossed his carefully pressed monk's robes out the nearest mental window...and kissed her.

"Fine," he admitted, huskily, against her mouth. "Got lost in YOU."

When she slapped him--not nearly hard enough--and pulled backwards, breathlessly reminding "Hey! Hey! RULES!"...he could only grin and shrug.

"You know what they say about rules..."

--end--

March 26, 2002.



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