She must be a glutton for punishment, allowing herself to fall in love with someone like him—handsome, generous, kind, funny, a great conversationalist. Not to mention all the ways he made her body sing. Who was she fooling? He was exactly the type of man a woman would fall in love with.
He’d called several times and left messages, sent texts and even flowers, apologizing. She knew, at some point, she would stop ignoring him and listen to what he had to say. But she wasn’t ready. Reaching in her pocket, she pulled out her cell. She’d spent the day at a spa with her mother and sister-in-law and had never turned it back on.
After it powered up, the distinct chime indicated missed messages. She viewed the text message first. SRY. PLZ Call. Then she listened to the voice mail.
“Janae. It’s Terrence. I need to talk to you. Please forgive me for hurting you.” Her vision blurred as tears filled her eyes. He sounded as miserable as she was.
She pulled up the photo from the concert and stared at it for several minutes. Why can’t I stop loving you?
She jumped when a hand touched her shoulder, and hastily wiped her eyes. “Hey, Mom, Pam. I didn’t hear you guys.”
Her mother studied her. “No, I suppose not. Is that the young man you were seeing?”
“Yes,” she answered, and placed the phone in her mother’s outstretched hand. Her mother probably wouldn’t recognize him, but her sister-in-law, Pam, definitely would.
“He’s very handsome, Janae.”
“Let me see,” Pam said eagerly. “I don’t believe it,” she squealed. “This is who you’ve been dating? No wonder you wouldn’t tell your brothers. I wouldn’t have, either.”
“Do you know him, Pam?” Janae’s mother asked.
“Not personally, but I have every one of his CDs. Monte is one of the most popular R & B singers around. He has his own label now and produces, as well.” She looked back at the picture. “Hmph. The brother is beyond fine!”
Janae glared up at her sister-in-law, snatched the phone and met her mother’s amused gaze.
“Now I understand some of the complications,” her mother said. She and Pam sat in loungers on either side of Janae. “Tell me what happened, sweetheart.”
Janae recounted how she’d met Terrence, his visits and the party—leaving out the intimate parts, of course—and what she’d overheard him say about not doing relationships or commitments.
“Hmm,” her mother said. “And you haven’t talked to him at all?”
“You left without letting him explain, Jan?” Pam chimed in.
Pam shook her head. “Girl, you should have at least given the man a chance to tell you his side.”
“Do you think he’s involved with another woman?” her mother asked.
Janae angled her head thoughtfully. “Honestly, no.”
“Are you sure? Some of these music stars are famous for that kind of behavior.”
“Not Monte,” Pam said. “He’s been on the scene for close to ten years, and there hasn’t been one thing linking him to drama. If anything, he stays away from it.”
“Pam, why do you keep calling him Monte? Janae said his name is Terrence.”
“His first name is Terrence,” Janae said. “And the reason I don’t think there’s a woman involved is because he has a curved music staff tattoo over his heart, and when I asked him about it, he told me music was his only passion, his only love.”
“Has he tried to contact you?”
Janae dropped her head and nodded. “Yes. He’s called, texted, sent flowers.”
Her dad opened the sliding glass door and called for her mother. Standing, she told Janae, “You should talk to Terrence. If nothing else, it’ll give you some closure so you can move on.”
Once her mom was gone, Pam folded her arms and asked slyly, “So how did you come to see that tattoo over his heart?”
She felt her cheeks warm.
“Oh, I see. So...was it good?”
Janae couldn’t hold back her smile. “Better than good.”
Pam screamed, then quickly covered her mouth. “Girl, you need to get this straightened out because I need some concert tickets.”
Janae burst out laughing. She could always count on Pam to lift her spirits, and she spent her last night in New Mexico laughing and enjoying her family.
Devin rearranged his flight to come home with Janae. She expected him to say something about her mood as soon as they were alone, but he didn’t and she was glad. Since he had only visited their parents for a few days, he’d parked his car in the airport lot, and that meant not worrying about a cab or airport shuttle. As he drove, she gazed out at the passing scenery and thought about the differences between Santa Fe and San Jose. Although there were houses and buildings for miles, she was glad to finally be home.