Chapter Twelve ~
Janna shoved a corner of the cover in her mouth to stop the loud sob trying to escape. What was wrong with her? She’d never felt so miserable and excited at the same time. Jedidiah did that to her. She wasn’t ready. That was all there was to it. His dark, curly hair and deep blue eyes popped into her mind and tears fell in silent streaks down her face. Her eyes flew toward the metal bed beside her own. She should be thinking of Jessie, not Jedidiah. JJJ…it suddenly dawned on her that all their names started with a J. Was that coincidence? Was there such a thing? She rolled over to grab the phone. She had to call him back. The ache in her gut was too pronounced. She couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think of anything else but him.
Janna squeaked. “Oh my goodness, you scared the daylights out of Me.” Sudden anger washed over her at the feeling of humiliation she felt at being snuck up on. “I thought you were leaving?” The rudeness in her voice caused an instantaneous feeling of wrongdoing. Too bad, she wasn’t going to apologize.
“He’s out Janna. One of my contacts texted me to let me know he’s heading this way.”
Janna didn’t say a word, but she felt the color leave her face. Icy-cold fear enveloped her. “Are…you…sure?” She croaked out. She didn’t care if he saw her fear. He was her bodyguard, after all.
“Yes Honey, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t call me that. You barely know me for Pete’s sakes,” she snapped.
“I’m sorry, it’s just a habit. I don’t mean anything by it. I call lots of people honey.”
Disappointment engulfed. He did? She’d thought it meant something… She looked at him in silence, trying to pull her feelings in. “Oh okay, that’s good then.” She tried to smile, but couldn’t. “What if he gets to me? He said he was gonna…”
“That’s not going to happen. Regardless of how you feel about me, I’m good at my job, Janna. Your brother wouldn’t have chosen me if he didn’t think I was up to the task. You’re the most important thing to him in the world. He isn’t going to let some incompetent fool protect you.”
The truth of his words hit home. “That’s true. What do you plan to do?”
Jedidiah sat down and put his fingers up, ticking off his plans. “First, I intend not to let you out of my sight. Second, I intend to order a pizza because I’m hungry, and third, I’m going find out how soon we can get you out of here. It’s going to be very difficult to watch you in a hospital.”
She started to protest his statement, “But…”
He held up his hands and interrupted her interruption. “I know what you were about to say, and it isn’t true. I know the hospital has security, but they aren’t giving you any special attention. I mean, yeah, they might keep an extra eye out if you voice your concerns, but they aren’t trained to take down the enemy before he strikes, only afterward.”
She shook her head. She had to admit he was right. “I can’t let anything happen to Jessie. I promised I’d take care of him.”
He gave her a hard stare. “And I promised to take care of you, so both of you should be okay.”
She smiled. She’d hurt his feelings. She could only bet he wasn’t used to people turning him down or telling him no. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it. I was out of line, anyway. It won’t happen again, I can assure you.”
His tone was businesslike and cold. It made her cringe. She already missed his lazy-sexy drawl. This was a side of him she hadn’t seen yet and she didn’t like it. “You…you weren’t out of line, Jed. Can I call you that?”
He shrugged in an off-hand manner. “I guess so.”
He shrugged in an off-hand manner. “I guess so.”
She gave him a small smile. She couldn’t believe her fear had turned to light-heartedness so quickly after his information bomb. He did that to her, too. “Jed, I feel what you feel, but I’m scared. My whole life just changed again.” Her heart tripped at the look he gave her. It was pure attraction.
And again, another side of him she hadn’t seen. Now he sounded vulnerable and child-like. What was up with him, anyway?
“I do. I can’t explain why I would feel an attachment to a total stranger, but I do. I think I would trust you with my life, and it’s a good thing because I may have to do that.”
He came to her bedside and grabbed her hands in both of his. His voice was gruff, sincere. “I’ll guard you with my life. And him too.” He gestured to the sleeping child.
His words caused her eyes to water. What was wrong with her? She never cried this much. “Thank you.”
Jedidiah’s lips came down on hers, soft and reassuring. She groaned, her arms coming around his neck and pulling him closer.
He groaned too, knowing he had to stop. He gently pulled her arms away. “We can’t, Janna. Not like this. Not here, and not now.”
He looked into her amber eyes and saw the disappointment, and it caused him physical pain. “I’m sorry.”
Her fingers came up to touch her swollen lips. “I am too.”
She looked so small and innocent. Tenderness welled-up in him and he sighed. He sat down in his chair and looked at her from the safer distance. “I stopped and got Jessie some clothes.”
He could see she was trying to pull it together, and so was he. He’d almost blown this whole thing, again. What was it about her, anyway? “I would’ve gone to your place and gotten you some things, but you called.”
“I know. Thank you. Maybe you can go get them before…he…gets here.”
He shook his head. “I can do that. I’ll check on Hairy, too. He isn’t going to be happy with all the time spent in the car in the last couple days.”
“I bet not. He’s such a beautiful dog.”
The look she was giving him was almost his undoing.
“Don’t look at me like that.”
“Like you’re starving and I’m your next meal.”
She laughed. “I guess you better feed me then.”
“We just ate a little bit ago.” He gave her a quizzical look.
“I know, but I eat a lot.” She smiled.
He laughed. Awkward. What he really wanted to do was pull her back into his arms and…He shook his head. No, he couldn’t. “What would you like?”
“How about some of that pizza?”
He gave her a confused look. “Pizza?”
“Yeah, your number two thing you were going to do…”
“Oh yeah, I already forgot.” He smiled down at her as he stood to leave. “Go ahead and order that pizza while I go get you some clothes. If the boy is okay, and you’re okay to leave, we might have to sneak away into night.” He waggled his brows at her, trying to lighten the moment. He didn’t want to leave, and he could already see the uneasiness settling on her pretty features.
“What do you want on it?”
He gave her a questioning look.
“On the pizza…”
He laughed again. He felt like a teenager on his first date. “Whatever you like, unless it contains anchovies.”
She giggled. “I think we should be compatible then. I don’t like them, either.”
“Good. A match made in heaven.” He left the room, his words leaving behind a feeling of hope in his chest. Maybe they could be a couple someday…