Terrence laughed. “Hi, Grandpa.” They embraced. “Well, she is a beautiful woman.”
His grandfather gazed at his grandmother with glowing eyes. “That she is. Still as beautiful as the day I met her.”
Terrence was used to the affection his grandparents displayed toward one another. Ray Campbell, Sr. and Eleanor Davis Campbell were as much in love now as they had been during his childhood. For the first time in his life, he began to wonder what it would feel like to have a love that spanned more than five decades.
“Is everything okay, Terrence?” his grandmother asked.
“What did you say, Grandma?”
“I asked if everything was okay. You had this strange look on your face.”
“Everything’s fine. I came to tell you I cooked dinner so you guys can come eat.”
“What a nice surprise.” His grandfather patted him on the shoulder. “You didn’t have to cook dinner for us. We know how hard you’ve been working.”
“I wanted to do it. It’s been three weeks since we’ve been together, and I missed you.” After returning from the latest round of touring, he had been working late, and his grandparents were asleep by the time he made it home.
“Well, what are we waiting for? I’m starved,” his grandmother said, starting off.
After his grandfather blessed the food, the only sounds that could be heard for the first several minutes were forks scraping against plates.
“Son, this is really good. Now, don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Jones is a great cook, but I sure enjoy when you get in the kitchen.”
Terrence’s housekeeper, Mrs. Jones, occasionally stepped in as cook when he went on tour, or on the days his grandmother didn’t prepare meals. “Thanks, Grandpa.”
“I agree. It’s a shame you don’t have a special lady here to share these fabulous meals.” His grandmother forked up another portion and moaned appreciably.
Terrence glanced over at her innocent expression. “Grandma?”
“Yes, sweetheart,” she answered pleasantly.
“We’ve had this conversation before.”
She patted his arm. “I know, dear. But your grandpa and I aren’t getting any younger. We don’t want you to spend the rest of your life alone.” She leaned closer and winked. “And we want a couple of great-grandchildren before the Lord calls us home.”
He looked to his grandfather for help.
“Sorry. I’m with your grandmother. We won’t be here forever, and I’d feel better knowing you had someone to share your life with. Besides, I haven’t had anyone to bounce on my knee in quite some time.”
“I think you’d make a great husband and father. Any young woman would be lucky to have you,” his grandmother added.
Terrence dropped his head. They’d had this conversation many times, even more so in the past year. He wasn’t willing to open himself up for the kind of hurt love could bring—he’d been there, done that. An image of Janae’s shy smile floated through his mind, and along with it, the familiar stirring in his gut—feelings that seemed to have taken on a life of their own. He squeezed his eyes shut and inhaled deeply, trying to force the feelings away. He felt his grandmother’s hand gently cover his own.
“Baby, are you okay?”
Terrence lifted his head and opened his eyes, noting the speculative looks on his grandparents’ faces. He kissed the back of her hand. “I’m fine, Grandma.” He picked up his fork. She continued to observe him, and he sought to reassure her. “Really, I’m okay.” He looked down minutes later to see that they had finished eating. “If you guys are done, leave your plates here, and I’ll take care of the dishes.”
“Are you sure?” his grandfather asked as he stood.
“Well...okay.” His grandmother caressed his face. “I sense something going on with you, but I won’t pry. You’re our special angel, and we love you. If you want to talk, we’ll be here...no matter what time it is.” She accepted her husband’s help from the chair.
“I know, and I love you both.” Terrence stood, stacked the plates and took them to the kitchen. As soon as they were gone, he braced his hands on the counter, then took several deep breaths. He’d made it his life’s mission to stay away from serious commitment. Now he found himself actually pursuing a woman. What else could he call contemplating flying across the state for the sole purpose of seeing Janae?
Janae opened the door Saturday morning to her big brother’s smiling face.
“Hey, baby girl,” Devin said, picking her up and swinging her around like he’d done when she was small.