Donovan entered a few minutes later. “We cool, man?”
“Yeah. What day are we leaving next week?”
“I’m thinking Wednesday. You have shows on Friday and Saturday, so it’ll give you and the band some time to rehearse. We’ll leave Philadelphia on Sunday for D.C., since you have that radio interview on Monday morning. Kenny heard about you coming that way, so he wants to try to hook up.” Kenny Mills was another one of their friends from college.
“That’s fine. See if he’ll be available for dinner Monday. Are we flying back on Tuesday?”
“That’s the plan. I know we have to get ready for Kaleidoscope’s CD release party on that Saturday, and you need some downtime. I’m really looking forward to hearing some good jazz and R & B.”
“Me, too. I think the finished product is really good. Have you heard it yet?”
“No. I heard a little when they were mixing in the studio, though.”
He reached in a drawer, pulled out a CD, then handed it to Donovan. “You can listen to my copy.”
“I’ll bring it back.” Donovan stood. “I’m going back to my office. You want to go to lunch later?”
“Around twelve-thirty okay?”
* * *
Terrence dropped down on the side of his bed and kicked off his shoes. He was tired and hungry. He and Donovan had had to cancel lunch to take care of some issues with one of their clients. Then there had been back-to-back meetings until seven. All he wanted was a hot shower, some food and his bed.
Standing, he stripped out of his clothes and headed for the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, he jogged downstairs, revived but starving. In the kitchen, he spotted a foil-covered plate on the stove. He peeled back the cover, the aroma of chicken teriyaki stir-fry over rice filling his nostrils. He heated the meal, poured a glass of iced tea and took a seat at the kitchen table. While eating, he leafed through the stack of mail. Most of it was junk.
Terrence turned at the sound of his grandmother’s voice. “Hey, Grandma. How was your day?” He stood, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her temple, then reclaimed his seat.
“Oh, not too bad. You look like you had a long day.” She took a seat next to him.
“It was. Where’s Grandpa?”
“I left him watching TV. I heard you drive up, but wanted to give you a few minutes to settle in before I came over.”
He looked up from his food with concern. “Is anything wrong?”
“No. You had a delivery today. Were you expecting something?”
“No. Nothing. What was it?”
She got up from the table, went into the other room and came back with a package. “I thought maybe you ordered a picture or something. Seems like the only thing that would fit into this. And it’s not too heavy.”
“What does it say on the return address?” he asked around a mouthful of food.
Terrence swallowed, took a sip of his tea and got up to open the slim box. He unwrapped the package and gasped.
“Wow. That’s a stunning piece,” she said, coming to stand next to him. “It must have cost you a pretty penny. I thought you said you didn’t order anything.”
He couldn’t believe Janae had sent him the picture she’d done of the snowcapped mountains.
“Huh? What? I’m sorry, Grandma. Did you say something?”
“Yes. Plenty. It’s a beautiful painting. Where did you order it from?”
“I didn’t order it.” He rummaged through the wrapping for a note. He found the small piece of paper.
Because you seemed to enjoy it so much.
He closed his eyes in an attempt to shut out the unwanted feelings that coursed through his body. That squeezing thing began in his chest again, and he sucked in a deep breath.
“Terrence, are you okay?”
“So are you going to tell me where you got the painting?”
“From a friend I met recently.”
“Must have cost a fortune.”
“No. She painted it herself,” he said absently, still staring at the picture.
“You went to an art gallery showing?”
“Okay. I’m confused.”
Terrence placed the painting on the table, then dropped back down in the chair. “I went to visit a friend last weekend and was admiring it. She must have noticed.”
“She? Oh, is this the woman I heard in the background when I called you on Saturday?”
“Yes.” He hopped up from the table and began to pace. “But she already gave me one,” he mumbled.
“Did you say she’d given you one already?”