“What does that mean?” a confused Brad asked.
Donovan chuckled. “Man, you stepped in it this time. What your wife is trying to say is, as a lawyer, you should have been able to look at Terrence’s face when Janae called and know that she’s more than some booty call.” At Brad’s continued blank look, he shook his head. “You really don’t get it, do you?”
“No. What am I missing?”
“In all the years you’ve known Terrence, how has he behaved when it came to women?”
Brad shrugged. “More or less had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude.”
“And, even when he dated?”
“He still seemed somewhat detached. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember seeing him with the same woman twice.”
“When you look at Audrey, what happens to your facial expression and your body language?”
His eyes widened. “I...oh...you’re right. I’ve never seen him look like that before.”
“Bingo.” Donovan stood.
“I’ll be in my office,” Terrence grumbled, annoyed they were talking about him as though he treated women badly.
Brad stood quickly, following them out. “I’m sorry, man. I didn’t know.”
“Terrence will be fine. You should probably start with your wife, since she thinks you’re dense,” Donovan said with a laugh.
* * *
Terrence sat at his desk staring out the window when Donovan closed the door and took a seat on the sofa.
Neither spoke for several minutes, and then Donovan asked, “You okay, man?”
Terrence slowly rotated in his chair. “I’m cool.”
“I don’t think Brad meant any harm.” He chuckled and shook his head. “But he pissed Audrey off. You know how protective of you she is.”
Terrence smiled faintly.
“What are you going to do about Janae?”
“I’m going to see her.”
“You’re serious about her.”
“I’m not serious about anyone.”
He shook his head. “What do you need me to do?”
“I’d like to go on Saturday.”
“I’ll make sure the jet is ready and get you a car. When do you want to fly back?”
“Depends. No later than Sunday, though. We both have to work on Monday.”
Donovan nodded and stood. “I’ll let you know when everything is finalized.”
“Thanks, D. And tell Audrey to go easy on Brad.”
“I will, and you tell Mrs. Lewis we didn’t do anything to you. She was fussing and asking if we upset you when I came in. I swear you’ve got better protection than the president.” The fifty-something-year-old secretary watched over Terrence like a mama bear protecting her cub.
“What can I say?” Terrence shrugged. “I’m leaving in about half an hour. I want to be home early so I can spend time with my folks.”
“That’s fine. Tell them I said hello. We’ll be closing up shop before that anyway. I’ll be right behind you.” He opened the door and turned back. “I should have everything ready for your trip by midmorning tomorrow.”
* * *
Terrence hit the play button on his home studio’s audio system, listening once again to the demo he’d received the previous day. Something bothered him about the recording, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. After three repeats, he shut down the system. He knew exactly what he needed to do to relax—cook. A smile creased his face. He would surprise his grandparents by cooking dinner for them.
Due to the lateness of the hour, he settled on a simple meal of grilled salmon, wild rice and steamed broccoli. After he finished cooking, Terrence walked through the breezeway that connected his grandparents’ cottage to his house. When he’d had the house built, they had adamantly refused to live with him, citing his privacy and being burdensome among their reasons. They had finally relented when he told them they would have their own two-bedroom, one-bath cottage, complete with living room and kitchen.
“Grandma. Grandpa. Where are you?” he called out as he entered through the side door off the kitchen. Terrence continued to the living room and found them watching TV.
His grandmother stood as quickly as her seventy-two-year-old body allowed and engulfed him in a tight hug. “Hi, baby.” She reached up and palmed his cheeks. “How are you, sweetheart? You look tired.”
He held on to her, basking in the unconditional love he always found in her arms. “A little tired, but I’m good. You’re looking beautiful as usual.”
His grandfather slowly came to his feet. “Hey, boy. Quit trying to sweet-talk my wife,” he teased.