Her head popped up when Karen came through the classroom door. “Morning. You just getting here?”
“No. I’ve been here for about an hour. I have some testing to do today, so I needed to get a lesson plan ready for my parent helper who’s coming in.” She came around the table to see what Janae was drawing. “Foil?”
Janae smiled. “Yep. It’s a fun activity, and the best part is that they don’t even know they’re working on their fine motor control.” She had drawn a flower using a black permanent marker and would have the students use colored permanent markers to fill in the spaces. When they finished, not only would they have a beautiful picture, they would have practiced staying within the lines—something to help with the control needed for writing.
Karen took a seat across from her. “Hmm. Maybe I need to have you do all my art projects. I don’t know how you come up with all this stuff. So, did you talk to Terrence last night?”
“No. I’m sure he had a lot to do when he got back. I didn’t really expect to hear from him.”
“Do you think you’ll see him anytime soon?”
“Probably not, but we didn’t really discuss any of that, Miss Nosy.”
“Well, did you guys at least exchange phone numbers?” she asked with exasperation.
“Yes, we did.”
“Finally, something right.”
“Don’t you have to get to your class?”
“Oh, I have a few more minutes to get in your business.”
“So, did you tell Andre about you ‘hanging out’ with a celebrity?”
Karen hopped up from the chair. “What happens in San Francisco...stays in San Francisco. See you later.”
Janae burst out laughing. “Girl, you are too crazy. Did you bring lunch?”
“Yeah. If you brought yours, we can eat in my room.”
“I did, so I’ll meet you later.”
After Karen’s departure, Janae’s mind drifted once again to Terrence. Alone, she admitted to herself that she did want to talk to him and see him again. In her mind, she recalled the rich, deep timbre of his voice and the effortlessly controlled movements of his body onstage. Automatically, her thoughts shifted to his kiss—how his mouth moved slowly but insistently over hers, and how his body felt pressed against hers. She shook herself mentally.
“Get it together, girl. That was a onetime thing—nothing more.” She rose from the table, returned the supplies to their respective places, then went to her desk to check emails.
She answered two from other teachers and one from a parent. Scrolling down, she read one from her brother Devin, and smiled. Four years her senior, he was the youngest of her three brothers and the one she was closest to. He wanted to let her know that he’d be by on Saturday, so she responded and exited her email as the bell rang. Her two paraeducators had yard duty and would escort the students to class. Janae made sure the visual schedules for two of her students with autism were posted on the wall near the door. The schedules helped them know what to expect throughout the day and minimized anxiety. Janae was grateful for her two assistants—their presence allowed the students to have core instruction conducted in small groups.
By the end of the day, Janae felt more than tired. Mondays were always harder for some of the students to get back into their school routine. She immediately changed into comfortable clothes when she got home, then went to sit on the terrace outside her bedroom. The late-May temperatures hovered in the mid-seventies, with a slight breeze. She inhaled deeply, feeling her body start to unwind after the long day. She leaned back on the lounger, closed her eyes and started to drift off.
She startled when her cell phone rang. Reaching blindly, she searched the small table next to her, picked it up and read the display. She jerked upright when she read Terrence Campbell. She let it ring a couple more times before she answered.
“Hi, Janae. It’s Terrence.”
Was his voice this sexy before? “Hi. Did you make it back home okay?”
“Yes, although we didn’t leave until after five. How did your day go?”
“Hectic, but good. What about you?”
“Same as yours. I’m still at my office and will probably be here for at least three more hours,” he answered with a sigh.
Janae glanced at her watch and frowned. “It’s already close to five o’clock. That’s kind of late, isn’t it?”
“It is, but I have a lot to do. I miss you.”
Momentarily stunned silent, she sat holding the phone. He missed her? Didn’t they meet three days ago? How could he miss her without really knowing her?