Just to Be with You - Page 22

Her face mirrored confusion. “What?”

“My underwear. I want you to know before he does.”

Janae gasped, covered her mouth, then burst out laughing. “I can’t believe you.” She tried hard not to imagine him wearing anything but those black boxer briefs.

Terrence grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. “So...” He leaned near her again. “What color are yours?”

Her face tinted, and she shook her head. “You are too bold for me.” She picked up her glass, tilted it to her lips and took a long sip.

“You look cute when you blush. We’ll save that question for another time...when we know each other better.”

“Ah, yeah. That’s probably a good idea. So, tell me more about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?”

She shrugged. “Anything you want to tell. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?”

He nodded and took a sip of his drink. “I grew up and went to college in Los Angeles.”

“Did you get a degree in music?”

“Yes, undergraduate and graduate. I minored in business.”

“Do you play any other instruments besides piano?”

“I play percussion, bass and guitar well, and am somewhat competent on the saxophone.”

“Wow. I wish I could play an instrument.”

“You’re quite accomplished in another area of the arts. I’m surprised you didn’t choose that as your field of study. What made you want to become a teacher?”

“When I was in second grade, there was a girl in my class who had cerebral palsy. Sarah Ferguson was in a wheelchair, and every day, the teacher would push her chair to the back of the room and never include her in the class activities. Whenever she would cry, the teacher would turn her chair backward. I asked my teacher why she always left her in the back of the room, and she told me not to worry about Sarah—that she didn’t understand what was going on anyway.”

Terrence shook his head. “That’s so sad.”

“It was, so I decided to do something about it. We were doing an activity where we had to match words and pictures. After I finished mine, I cut out another set of words and took them and the picture sheet back to Sarah. I asked if she wanted to do one and she nodded. I found out that, although her body didn’t work well, her mind did. I held up the word, and she pointed to the matching picture. I was so excited that I ran to the teacher and told her.”

“Was she as excited as you?”

“On the contrary. Mrs. Douglas didn’t believe me, even when she saw Sarah point to one. She said it was a lucky guess. I was so mad that I went home and told my mother, who was a university professor.”

“What could your mother do?”

“My mother called Mrs. Ferguson and told her I had been helping Sarah. Sarah’s mother told my mom that Sarah could, indeed, recognize words. Sarah’s parents had been having the same difficulties with all of Sarah’s teachers, and she and her husband were at their wit’s end.”

“Did she ever get help?”

“Yes. My mother connected her with an agency that helps children with special needs. After that, I decided that I wanted to become a teacher to make sure special students weren’t ever left out again.”

* * *

Terrence studied Janae. The love and passion for her field was evident in her voice, and he knew that she was a phenomenal educator. “You are incredible.”

She gave him a shy smile. “Not really. I just love what I do.”

“It shows.”

“What about you? Why music?”

“Music has been part of my life since birth. My father was a gifted jazz musician, and he introduced me to instruments and music before I could walk.” He smiled at the recollection.

“My parents have a huge jazz collection, but I don’t recall seeing one with the name Campbell.”

“He wrote most of the music for and played piano in a band called Topaz. The music was phenomenal.”

“Why didn’t they ever record?”

He’d never talked about his father to anyone except Donovan. “My father was a twenty-year-old engineering student at the time and played on the weekends. He met, fell in love with and married an eighteen-year-old woman all in the span of six weeks. I was born a year later. My father graduated and got a job in his field to support his family, but continued to play some weekends. The band was in the midst of recording their first album when my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor.”

“Oh, no,” she whispered. “How old were you?”

He took a deep breath. “It was a month after my eighth birthday.”

She reached over and squeezed his hand. “I’m so sorry. Were doctors able to remove the tumor?”

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