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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I know it's hard to believe, but I'm back...I really am...And the next chapter is ready! :)

Some beauty from my new surroundings. We should never forget to thank God for such awesome creations...







Chapter Nine ~


Janna realized her heart was racing and brought her attention away from the door to reflect for a moment. Why was it racing? Oh yeah, cute guy. What was his name again? Jason? No, that wasn’t it. She smacked her head, and then groaned. “I think it started with a J. It’s something long and sounds biblical,” she mused in a loud whisper. “Oh yeah, Jedidiah, that’s it.”  Her gaze moved around the room once more and lit on the little boy lying in the baby bed. The memories came flooding back and she sobbed, tears rushing from her eyes like a tidal wave. “Poor baby.” She wiped her eyes and pulled her shoulders back against the white sheet of her own hospital bed. “Don’t worry little guy, JaJa will take care of you.”

 

 

Jedidiah stood in the doorway not making a sound as he watched her talk in a soft voice to the sleeping child. A pain rushed from his feet to his heart and he gasped. Her eyes flew to the door where he stood.

“Ah, thank you. My throat is so dry,” She croaked with a wan smile.

He walked into the room and handed her the tall Styrofoam soda cup he’d bought. “I hope you like Coke because that’s what they had.” He smiled and fell into the chair beside her bed, trying not to concentrate on his reaction to her.

She wrinkled her cute, upturned nose and said, “I’m not especially fond of it but it’ll do in a pinch, thank you.”

It was his turn to clear his throat and hem- haw around as he busied his hands getting out the food. “I uh…I…” He looked up at her and she was laughing slightly.

“You can stop already. I know my brother sent you to protect me.”

His mouth fell open. “You do? How?”

“I know my brother.” She accepted the wrapped sandwich he handed her and continued, “I guess I should be irritated that he thinks I’m that dumb.”

He raised his eyebrows in question.

“Mr. America-type guy just happens to show up in this small town right around the time he gets sent overseas and just ‘happens’ to run into me with an adorable German Shepherd? Definitely not a coincidence. Besides, the prison called to let me know he was being released early. They do that now, you know.”

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that.” He rubbed his stubbly chin. “You aren’t mad that he hired me to watch over you?” He heard the disbelief in his voice and cringed a bit. He didn’t want her to think he didn’t trust her.

“I was, until the storm. I mean, if you hadn’t come looking for me it’s hard telling how long it would’ve taken them to find us, if they even would’ve.”

A slow smile spread across his face. “I suppose you’re right. I guess I can tell you now that I went to your house and put all your food on ice…I even fed that monster in your bedroom.”

She began shaking her head up and down… “I see. That must be where you acquired those nasty scratches. Maybe my brother should’ve sent someone else for the job, I mean, if a cat can get the best of you…” Her voice trailed off and she laughed, the sound like water tinkling in a dry riverbed.

Oh brother, you got it bad, he told himself with a disgusted shake of his head.

“Are you okay?” Concern tinged her voice.

His stomach turned-over. The sudden urge to rush over and pull her into his embrace was almost more than he could bear. Stop it already, you aren’t a randy teenager. He sat up straight. “Yes, I’m fine.” He pulled his sandwich out of the wrapper and took a huge bite, hoping to get the conversation on a more impersonal note, but his throat was constricted and he gagged, and then choked, and was forced to get up and rush to the bathroom in the corner to spit it out.

Her laughter behind him was his undoing. He was still gagging and spluttering, but that didn’t stop his silly mind from laughing like an idiot, which made him choke more.

“Are you okay, Jedidiah?”

His heart flipped again, which effectively stopped his schoolboy laughter. His name falling off her lips warmed him to his toes. Ugh, what is wrong with me? I get around a beautiful woman and I go all crazy teenager? But he knew better. He was around beautiful women all the time and this didn’t happen. Case in point: The two women at the department store hadn’t gotten any attention from him but disdain…

“Jedidiah?” Her tone was more frantic now.

He was finally able to respond with, “I’m fine. I guess I’m a little more tired than I thought.” He rubbed his hand across his brow to prove his point.

“You don’t have to stay here with me. Go home and get some rest.”

“I might just do that in a bit. I have to feed Hairy, anyway.”

“Where is he?

“He’s out in the car.”

She sat up, her hands flailing, sending sandwich one way and the fry container he’d handed her the other way.

He jumped up to assist her. “What’s wrong?” He grabbed her hands in his, rubbed them, looking down at her in agitated worry.

I’m fine. I can’t believe you would leave the dog out in the car as hot as it is outside.”

Her lip jutted out in anger and his traitorous stomach flipped again. He wanted to… “No!” He yelled out loud, not meaning to.

She jumped back in alarm, looking at him as if he’d grown horns.

That’s when he realized he’d spoken out loud. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”

“What were you talking about, then?”

“Nothing, I was talking to myself, I really am sorry.” He backed up and flopped in his chair. He’d never reacted to anyone like this in his life. He had to admit, at least to himself, that he had a mountain-size crush on this little beauty. He needed to get things on a better footing or he would be forced to leave and give the job to someone else. He couldn’t protect her if his mind was pre-occupied with her beauty and that barely perceptible smell of citrus…

“Jedidiah!”

She was calling him. His eyes jerked toward her face. “What?”

“I think you need to see the doctor.”

“I think I do, too.” He shook his head, trying to clear it. What kind of monster was he, anyway? She’d just been in a catastrophic tornado. She’d lost her best friend, broken her arm and been left the guardian of a small child. She didn’t need him wigging-out on her, too.

“I’m going to call the nurse.” She twisted to the side, maneuvering her good arm around to pick up the call button.

He held up both hands. “No, I’m okay. I just need some sleep.”

Her thumb stopped in mid-push. “Are you sure? I can’t have my body guard dying on me, now.”

“I’m sure. I’ll finish my sandwich and fries and then I’ll go home and get some sleep, I promise.”

She crinkled her eyes at him, seeming to be sizing him up.

“I will,” He repeated.

“Okay, then. You need to get your dog out of this heat, anyway.”

“He can get out of the car if he wants to. He’s very smart. If he gets too hot he’ll jump out and get in the shade.”

“Really?”

She seemed uncertain. He wasn’t used to people not trusting him. He was used to everyone turning to him for their survival. He was the man. But now some tiny, beautiful…irritating woman was making him feel less of himself than he had in a long time. That might be a good thing. “Yes, really. You’ll find out in time that I’m a lot of things, but a liar isn’t one of them.” He smiled, took the last bite of his sandwich and stood to leave. “I’ll be back later on. Do you need me to bring anything back?”

For a minute, he was sure he noted panic in her eyes. “I can stay…” He moved to sit back down.

“No, it’s fine. You could bring me some clothes.” Tears jumped to her beautiful eyes again. I don’t think he has any left.” Her eyes switched to the little boy in the crib.

“What size is he? I’ll grab him something.”

“I think he’s about a 4T.”

He was glad she hadn’t turned him down flat. The boy needed clothes. “Okey-dokey. I’ll be back later.” Before he could stop himself he was at her bedside, his lips on her forehead. It was warm and dry.

When he pulled away, she was staring at him in bewilderment. “Why did you do that?”

“I don’t know.” He turned and strode from the room like the hounds of hell were on his heels.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm back again...again. Hopefully I'm back on a regular basis now. Hope you enjoy the next chapter in Janna's run.



                         Leave a comment and let me know what you think...




 



 




 





Chapter Eight

At the sound of Jedidiah’s voice the cat screeched and flew out the door, past the dog and down the hall.

Jedidiah sat up in slow motion, checking his surroundings for any hint the devilish beast might return. When he was sure all was safe, his head swung to his ‘loyal’ dog standing in the doorway watching him with curiosity. “Really, Hairy? You let the cat pass you as if you weren’t even there?” He got up, dusted his pants off and stomped past the dog and down the hall in the same direction the cat had taken.

The dog whined, whimpered, and then slunk after his master.

Without turning around Jedidiah harrumphed and said, “That’s right, you better be sorry.” He saw a switch on the wall and slid it upward. Nothing. “Of course there isn’t any electricity. What was I thinking? I wonder if she has food. It’s gonna spoil in this heat.” He walked to the fridge and pulled the freezer door open, groaned, and then pulled the fridge door. “Why on earth does one person have so much food? Probably because she owns a restaurant,” He answered his own question. With a definite plan, he headed to the front door. “Come on Hairy, we have to try to find some ice and some Styrofoam coolers for this stuff.”

The dog wagged his tail, seeming happy his master wasn’t angry anymore.

Jedidiah’s face throbbed as soon as the damp air hit it. His hands went up to his cheeks and came back red. “I’m bleeding.” He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and swiped at the painful streaks. “…And that’s why I don’t like cats.”

Hairy barked in agreement.

“That’s right. About time you came back to my side.” He gave the dog a pat and a scratch behind the ears as they reached the car. “How am I going to explain being in her house? She’s gonna want to know who put her food in coolers.” He started the car, mentally preparing himself for another slow, tedious drive through the devastated community. He sat straight up in attention when a thought hit him. “I can tell her I saw her file lying on the table at the hospital, because I did. Even a good Samaritan would go check things out, wouldn’t they?” He gave Hairy a questioning look, as if the dog actually knew what he was talking about. “Yep, that’s what I’ll do.”

 

The place was packed. It hadn’t even crossed his mind that people would be out and about, let alone at the small department store he stopped at.

He got a cart and grabbed four stacked Styrofoam coolers, all that was left, and four huge bags of ice. He could pour some in the kitchen sink and use that if he had to…A horrible thought struck him…did she have a deep freezer? He shook his head. It didn’t matter. If she did he would just pour some ice down in it. It should stay cold long enough for them to get the electricity back on.

He was in the dog aisle looking for a treat for Hairy when a whistle caught his attention. He looked up; right into the face of a beautiful, black-haired woman. He guessed she was close to his age.

 “What a mighty fine tall drink of water, Sherry,” She said as her gaze slid momentarily toward the woman standing beside her.

Jedidiah was surprised at his immediate feeling of distaste. Just a few months ago such a reaction from a beautiful woman would’ve been more than welcome. He moved his eyes away from the obvious interest in hers and ducked his head as he passed by.

“I haven’t seen you around here,” She called in a flirty tone.

“I haven’t been around long,” He mumbled as he grabbed a huge dog bone from the shelf and threw it into the cart. He pushed the buggy further down the aisle and picked up a can, totally oblivious to what it was.

Look Sherry, he has a cat,” the woman told her friend in a mock-whisper. “I bet that’s how he got those scratches.”

Jedidiah shook his head, already denying the accusation. “I don’t have a…” He looked down at the can in his hand and stopped his protest. Tuna-flavored cat food. He started to put it back, but halfway to the shelf he stopped. There was the big white beast...It was probably hungry. It scratched me. His mind argued. Besides, she probably has cat food. You can’t go through her cupboards, man, His disloyal brain impressed upon him as he threw the can into the cart and shoved it down the aisle, away from the two nosy women.

Jedidiah made his way to the counter, picking things up and tossing them into his rapidly-filling cart as he went. The Styrofoam containers were shoved to one corner, taking up most of the buggy, but he’d used their emptiness for other items and shoved smaller ones around the edges.

“I need to get out of here.” He pushed the heavy metal cart to the counter and stood waiting in impatience while the harried cashier rung up the people in front of him.

 

Back outside, Hairy had taken his absence as a license to stick his big head out the window. To his dismay, the two women from the store were petting him. They both giggled when he walked up to the car.

“Is this your dog?” Sherry asked.

“You really shouldn’t walk up to strange animals,” he returned, cringing at his own rudeness.

The flirty one shrugged her shoulders as if she hadn’t noticed. “Does he bite?”

“I don’t think so. I’ve never known him to,” he answered. He walked around to the back and shoved his purchases inside and then deposited the empty cart into the rack beside his vehicle.

“What’s his name?” Sherry asked.

“Hairy.” He didn’t feel compelled to give them the cute spelling of his name like he normally would’ve. What was wrong with him? Was it his newfound faith, the service, or the woman lying in a hospital bed who’d taken away his own flirty and suggestive personality? He guessed it was a little of all three.

“If you ladies will excuse me, I’ve got some things I need to attend to.”

“Oh…we’re sorry,” Sherry replied.

The flirty woman looked chagrined. “Are you a victim of the tornado?”

“No, but someone I know is, and I have to get this ice back before all her food ruins.”

The one named Sherry widened her eyes. “We’ll let you go then. I hope everything turns out okay for you.”

“I do too, thank you.” I shouldn’t have been so rude. They seem nice.

Jedidiah drove back to Janna’s house and made quick work of putting her food on ice. When he finished he looked all over the house, and finally out in the garage. When he opened the door, the first thing he saw was a mid-sized deep freezer sitting in the corner. He walked over and dumped the ice in and wadded up the bag.

A few minutes later, food taken care of and cat fed, he and his dog were on the way back to the hospital. He stopped to grab some take-out and made it back to Janna’s room by noon.

He walked in, bags rattling a bit, and sat them on her table. He went over to check on the little guy and his heart squeezed. He was sleeping, drool flowing from the corner of his mouth. He grabbed a tissue from the table and swiped gently at the corner of his lips. “It’ll be okay Champ. I’ll make sure it is.”

He turned to throw away the moist tissues and stopped short. She was watching him. It was reminiscent of this morning. “Are you hungry?” He gestured to the bags with his eyes, sitting down in the chair next to her. He was trying not to show how nervous he was. There was just something about her. He couldn’t put his finger on it, but he was intimidated.

“A lit..hu…um.” She cleared her throat. “A bit.”

“I got hamburgers and fries. I hope that’s okay.”

“It’s good. Did you…huu…uhm.” She cleared her throat once more. “Sorry, I feel like I swallowed a frog.”

He laughed. She was beautiful. “Did I what?”

She looked at him in confusion for a moment, and then her mind seemed to clear. “Oh yeah, did you happen to get drinks?”

He exhaled in disappointment, hanging his head, shaking it from side to side. He hadn’t. “I’ll run down to the cafeteria and get you something.”

“Thank you.”

He could see tears come to her eyes, and felt his water in answer. He liked it that she hadn’t declined a drink. Most women he knew would have, even if they were thirsty. It was nice to be around a woman that knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to ask. “You’re welcome. I’ll be right back.” He walked out the door, back-tracked and asked, “Anything else?”

“Chocolate?” A small smile formed on her shapely lips.

He threw his head back and laughed. Yes, she was going to be fine. “I’ll grab you something. Back in a flash.”