Donovan answered on the fourth ring, obviously still mad. Donovan had barely spoken two words to Terrence outside of business and had glowered at him during the entire meeting after Terrence told him he was breaking up with Janae.
“I wanted to let you know I’m leaving.”
“Are you and Janae going out for a while?”
“No. I’m going home.”
“You’re taking her home with you?”
“No. She’s not here,” he said resignedly. “She overheard our conversation this morning.”
“Did you call her? Where did she go?”
“I’m guessing she went back home. I don’t know what I’d say if I called her.”
“Let’s see. I can think of a couple of things. How about ‘I’m an idiot and I messed up’? Or...wait...here’s a good one—‘I love you.’ Damn, T! You can’t just let her go like that. If you explained things to her, she would understand. And I, for one, don’t think you’d ever have to worry about her walking out. She’s not that kind of person.”
“I know.” Terrence heard everything Donovan was saying, but the memory of the pain he suffered that day had a vise around him so tight, he couldn’t break free. He would be the first to admit that Janae was special. But for right now, he couldn’t force himself to do anything.
“Then what are you going to do?”
“Nothing. Talk to you later.”
He surveyed the room once more, slid on his glasses and baseball cap, picked up his bags and headed for the lobby. He’d used the self-checkout in the room, so he had no reason to stop until reaching his car. He slid behind the wheel and leaned his head back.
I guess I’ll go back to doing what I’ve always done...work.
If only he could stop thinking about Janae.
Janae let herself in the house and rushed straight to her bedroom. Her chest heaved, and the tears she’d held throughout the flight and taxi now came in waves. She crawled on the bed, curled up into a fetal position and sobbed until she was spent. Hours passed as she lay there, but she didn’t care. She ignored the incessant ringing of her cell, then finally got up and trudged to the bathroom, cringing at her reflection—red, puffy eyes and wild hair. Her throat felt raw from hours of crying. After splashing some water on her face, she headed to the one place that always soothed her.
She painted until her shoulders ached and fingers cramped, but didn’t stop. Instead, she flexed them and kept going. Her hand halted in midstroke when Terrence’s voice came over her answering machine.
“Janae. It’s Terrence. I wanted to make sure you made it home safely. Please call me.”
The machine clicked off, and she resumed her painting. Glancing through the partially drawn curtains later, she noticed lengthening shadows. Janae stood and stretched, trying to loosen the kinks in her body. She cleaned up and shuffled to the kitchen. She hadn’t eaten all day and didn’t particularly have an appetite, but knew she needed to put something in her stomach. It took her more than twenty minutes of searching before settling for soup, which she consumed without tasting.
She moved around her house trancelike for the next two days, not answering the phone and barely eating. Karen had called close to two dozen times, and she’d finally sent a text telling her the party was nice. Terrence had called again, but she ignored his call. What would she say to him other than what she’d told him during their confrontation and written in the note?
No, it was best that she get on with the rest of her life. Janae decided that this would be a good time to visit her parents. Maybe the more distance between her and Terrence, the easier it would be to forget him. Who was she kidding? He’d gotten to her on a level that neither of the two men she’d previously been involved with had ever touched, and he’d done so effortlessly.
Rolling off the bed, Janae booted up her laptop to search airlines. Finding a reasonable flight leaving at the end of the week, she called her parents and made the reservation. Cleaning her house was the next priority, along with doing laundry. She was exhausted by the time she finished everything, and after showering, fell asleep as soon as her head touched the pillow.
“Yes,” she moaned. “Terrence...” Janae’s eyes snapped open, and she jerked herself upright, breathing harshly, body pulsing and clothes soaking. “It was only a dream,” she murmured, covering her face. It seemed so real that she could still feel remnants of the passionate encounter.
Dragging herself off the bed, she went in the bathroom, washed up and changed her clothes. Lying in bed again, her mind traveled back to the night she spent with Terrence. To say it was something out of a fantasy would be an understatement.