“I’m going to step out for a moment. I’ve transferred the phones to the receptionist.”
When she departed, he and Audrey discussed what parameters the temporary clerk would have and decided to use a clerk from another department to answer phones. Audrey would handle anything significant.
“I’ll do some shifting, and I’ll have the clerk come over before Mrs. Lewis leaves at the end of the week.” Audrey stood and went to the door. She turned back. “I hope you make the right choice. I’d like to see you happy.”
Audrey’s words played in his mind all afternoon. Could he live the rest of his life without ever seeing Janae’s beautiful face, hearing her laughter or feeling her kiss? His gaze strayed to the painting on the wall. She’d given him the gift without expecting anything in return. It was another facet of the remarkable woman who’d stolen his heart, and no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t stop loving her.
Picking up the phone, he dialed her home number again, but got her answering machine. He left a message apologizing and hung up. He sent a text to her cell with the same message and ordered flowers.
The next few days passed in a blur, and by the end of the week, he still hadn’t heard from Janae. He started to worry and thought about calling her brother to make sure she was all right, but decided it probably wouldn’t be a smart idea. Terrence rose to his feet sharply and paced the office.
Although he put on a good front while doing business, inside his heart ached. He had a difficult time hiding his feelings from those who knew him best. Even his grandparents sensed something wasn’t right. He stared at the painting again. He found himself thinking about her at the oddest times—during meetings, dinner with his grandparents or while holding a conversation. His nights were filled with dreams of their lovemaking, and he swore he could still smell her scent.
A soft knock intruded on his thoughts. “Come in.”
“Monte,” Mrs. Lewis began hesitantly, “there’s a woman out here to see you. She says her name is Dana Spencer, but she doesn’t have an appointment.”
Terrence searched his mind for a memory. “Did she say what she wanted?”
“No. Only that she knew you.” She lowered her voice further. “She looks a little old for the groupie scene—closer to my age—but one can never tell. I told her you were busy, but she insists on seeing you. Do you want me to call security?”
Terrence was at a complete loss. He didn’t know anyone by that name, and certainly not an older woman. “No. I’ll see her for a few minutes.”
“Are you sure?”
He smiled. “Yes. Give her ten minutes.”
Terrence successfully concealed his shock at seeing the woman standing before him until the door closed. “What do you want?” he asked coldly.
She smiled faintly. “Hello, Terrence. Is that any way to talk to your mother?”
“I don’t have a mother,” he spat.
She roamed around the office, taking in the gold and platinum records on the walls, running her hand across the leather furniture. “It seems you’ve done well for yourself.”
“I know you didn’t come here to stare at the walls, so why are you here?”
“How’ve you been?”
He folded his arms and lifted an eyebrow, but didn’t respond.
She seemed nervous, but Terrence didn’t care. All he knew was that the woman standing before him—the one who was supposed to nurture and love him—had turned her back and walked out when he needed her the most.
“Is your father still wasting his talents?” she tossed out, bitterness lacing her words.
Terrence’s heart squeezed, and a rush of emotions flooded his body. “Don’t ever talk about my father!” he exploded. He crossed the room in three angry strides, and she had the good sense to step back. “My father died thirteen years ago,” he said through clenched teeth.
She inhaled sharply, and her face flushed. “I...I didn’t know,” she whispered.
“How would you know?” He glimpsed the huge diamond on her ring finger. “I see you didn’t have any problems remarrying.” His body trembled with rage.
“I’ve been married almost twenty years to John Spencer.”
Now things became clearer. He remembered John Spencer as a popular musician when he was a teen. Recently, at least three members of his band had filed lawsuits against him, and he’d paid out three million dollars in a fraud case a few years ago.
“You have exactly two minutes to state your business.”