They both giggled, and Janae’s steps faltered. Was that why he wanted her to come here? To tell her it was over? He could have done that when he stopped by. She realized she was the biggest fool on earth, and decided this was not worth all the drama. She was about to turn around and leave when Donovan came out of the office where she still stood.
He stared after the women for a moment and chuckled, shook his head and mumbled something that sounded like, “That woman is out of her mind.” He’d obviously heard the last part of the conversation. He turned and noticed Janae. “Hey, Janae. Girl, I’m so glad to see you.”
“Hi, Donovan,” she said, trying to keep her emotions in check.
He frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“I can’t do this. Can you tell Terrence it’s over? I have to go.”
“What? Why? Are you talking about those two women?”
He must have read the answer in her face.
“Janae, trust me when I tell you the woman is delusional. Terrence is not planning anything with her.”
“I can’t play these games.” She pivoted on her heel and stormed off.
“Janae. Wait,” he called after her. “Don’t leave. Talk to him.”
She successfully made it to the elevator without crying and slapped the button. “Come on, come on,” she muttered.
It seemed like forever before the doors opened. She stepped on with the other people and prayed she’d make it out of the building before completely losing it.
* * *
Terrence glanced up as Donovan rushed through his door. “What’s wrong, D?”
“Janae is leaving. You need to go get her.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked with alarm.
“She overheard Trina telling another employee that this lunch date was with her.”
“How in the hell did she think that?” Terrence growled.
“I don’t know. But you’d better go get your woman. I’ll take care of Ms. Jackson.”
Terrence sprinted out of the office and down the hall. He bypassed the elevator and went for the stairs, taking them two at a time. He burst through the door and searched the lobby frantically, then spotted Janae walking rapidly toward the front door. His long strides ate up the distance, and he caught her just as she reached the door. It felt like déjà vu, but this time, he planned for a different outcome.
“Janae. Where are you going?”
She spoke without turning around. “I can’t play these games, Terrence.”
“I’m not playing any games with you. Please turn around.” He laid a hand on her arm, and she slowly turned. The tears standing in her eyes caused a pain deep in his soul.
“Baby, I promise I’m not playing games. I don’t know why Ms. Jackson thought I would be having lunch with her. Yes, I had her make the reservations, and yes, I told her to take a two-hour lunch. I didn’t want anyone in the office while you and I talked. The lunch is for us.”
She stared up at him wordlessly.
“Please come back with me so we can talk. If you still want to leave after I’ve had my say, I’ll take you right back to the airport.”
It took her a few moments, but she agreed. “Fine.”
“Thank you.” He really wanted to seal their agreement with a kiss, but held back. “Was your flight okay? I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.”
“It was good. I’ve never flown on a private plane before, and Audrey is very nice.”
“She’s the only woman I trusted to bring you here. I’ve known her since my sophomore year in college, and she’s been like a big sister to me.”
“I’m glad you had someone.”
Once they reached his floor, he escorted her into his office, closed the door and gestured her to the couch, where he joined her. Now that they were alone, he had no idea where to start. This would make or break their relationship.
“I don’t know where to begin. I feel like I’m on my first date.”
Janae sat with her arms folded across her chest, her expression still guarded. Finally, her features softened and she said, “Tell me what’s in here.”
She placed her hand on his heart, and the pace quickened. He covered her hand with his, then lifted it to his lips. “For so long, I’ve lived my life thinking that if I didn’t fall in love or commit to a woman, then she couldn’t walk out on me. I let my mother’s selfishness dictate how I viewed relationships, and in doing so, messed up the most beautiful thing in my life—being with you.” He lifted her chin and held her gaze. “I love you, Janae.”
“You love me?”
“Yes, more than anything.”