I actually managed to get two weeks in a row! I'm on a roll! Let me know what you think. :)
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!
Chapter Fourteen ~
Jedidiah returned to his seat and grabbed a piece of the pepperoni pizza. He bit into it and chewed, groaning in pleasure. “Whoa, this is good. I’ll have to make sure I save a piece for Hairy.”
“Yeah, he’ll like that,” Janna answered. Her attention was on the small child chewing on his own slice of pizza.
She says there is a ‘we.’ His heart beat a wild tattoo against his ribs. Slow down Jedidiah…it’s just a woman, for goodness sakes.
The persistent sound of a kitten meowing caught Jed’s attention. Snow White was still in his pocket. He’d forgotten about her. He put his slice of pizza on the edge of the box, wiped his hand on a napkin and stuck his hand inside against her warm fur. She nuzzled against his thumb and he could feel her trying to suckle. His heart went all wishy-washy. He shook his head in denial. No, he was not soft, ugh.
He looked up. Janna hadn’t heard it. He decided to surprise her. Most women loved kittens, and she already had a cat so it had to be a winner. “You want another piece of pizza?”
“Yeah sure.” She put her hand out, her attention still on the little boy in the metal bed.
Jedidiah pulled the kitten out and laid it gingerly in Janna’s hand. “There you go.” He could feel the huge grin spread across his face. Wow, I really am getting sappy.
Janna jerked her eyes from the small boy to her hand. She squealed in delight. “Oh, it’s so cute… name?”
“I’ve deemed her Snow White.”
“Where did you get her?”
“I found her in your bushes when I went back to gather you some clothes. She was crying in such a pitiful way. I couldn’t just leave her.”
“I understand. The name’s perfect. So you’re planning to keep her?” Janna’s eyes had turned soft, and he thought he detected a look of respect in them.
“Honestly, I think so. I mean, I don’t usually like cats, but she kind of chose me, you know?” The fierce loyalty that sped through him at the thought of letting the kitten go surprised him. He hadn’t felt this way since….well, since Hairy.
“Perfect. She will get along great with my cat.”
Jedidiah snorted. “Like oil and water…”
She shot him a playful, mad look. “What are you trying to say? You don’t think a big cat can get along with a kitten?”
“I’m saying your monster came from the pits of hell.” He kept all expression from his face as he rubbed the claw marks on the sides of his head. It had its desired effect. She burst out laughing.
“You’re too funny.” She lay the kitten across her chest and began to pet it. It continued to mew, beginning to sound frantic. “I think she’s hungry.”
“What do I feed her?”
“I don’t know. She doesn’t look very old. I’m going to guess you should get some kitten formula from the store.”
“Really? You mean I can’t just smash up some dog food for her?”
Janna’s facial expression was priceless. “No!”
“Okay, okay.” He held up his hands in self-defense. “I was only kidding, geez.”
She laughed. “That’s comforting then. You know you can’t keep her here at the hospital don’t you?”
“Yeah, I figured that. My house got totaled so I’ll have to rent a motel room.” He stood up and took the kitten, depositing it back into his pocket.
Janna said, “You know, we could all stay at my place…” Her words were slow. Tentative.
His heart raced, but he kept his cool. “Really?”
“Yeah. I mean, it makes sense doesn’t it? I mean, you have to guard me anyway, and you don’t have anywhere to go…”
She sounded flustered now. He grinned. She really did like him!
“But I just went and got clothes from your place.” He had to play hard to get so she wouldn’t see how eager her suggestion made him.
“So you can take them back. I would feel so much more comfortable, and safe, at my house.”
He pretended to consider it for another moment, and then slowly shook his head up and down. “Yeah, I guess that does make sense.” He rubbed his stubbled chin with one hand while rubbing the tiny kitten with the other. “Well, I’ll stop and get some kitten formula and head on over. I noticed a guest room. Do you mind if I shower?”
“Not at all. Make yourself at home.” Her cheeks turned red and he grinned.
Jedidiah glanced over to Jessie’s bed. He was out again; probably the sedative kicking back in. That was a good thing. It gave Janna time to come to terms with what happened before she had to deal with the orphaned boy. “Okay, I’ll be back later on. If you’re sure I can stay at your place I’ll leave Hairy there.”
“That’ll be fine. Jedidiah?”
He was already on his way out the door when she almost whispered his name. He turned and said, “Yes?”
“How are you going to take a shower if there’s no electric?”
He laughed. “Don’t worry about that. I’m used to taking cold showers.”
Her face turned beet red once more and he laughed, strode out the door and down the hallway of the hospital with a definite purpose in mind. This just keeps getting better and better. It would be so much easier to keep an eye on her if he was at her house. He shrugged. If it made it easier to get to know her on a more personal level, where was the bad in that?
An hour later, Snow White fed and Hairy taken care of, Jedidiah went through the rubble of what was left of his house. Lucky for him he hadn’t been all moved in yet. Most of his stuff remained in a storage facility. But there were a few things he needed to grab if he could, like his laptop and his packet on this case.
Being around his own belongings was bringing him back down to earth where he belonged. Was it wise getting involved with a client? Probably not. Was he going to refrain? Again, probably not. There was just something about Janna. She was all strong female, yet strangely helpless. He couldn’t put his finger on what attracted him to her, all he knew was he was.
Her tiny facial features swam before his mind’s eye and he sighed. She was so sweet-looking. “Okay Jedidiah, stop it already. Let’s get these papers and get out of here.” He shook his head at the ridiculousness of talking to himself.
He looked around in embarrassment to see if anyone in the vicinity was watching him. There was no one else around. Everyone had apparently called it a day. He knew he should too, but he wanted to find that packet. There was a picture of Janna in it he wanted to save. It had been his first glimpse at his new client, and he’d known even then this would be different.
“Whatever dude, you’re just being stupid.” He jumped to his feet, getting ready to turn and leave when the yellow-colored envelope caught his eye sticking from the tip of a piece of tiled roof. He moved to the other side of the house and grabbed the packet with gentle fingers. He had another envelope containing information on her whole court case and the maniac who’d attacked her, but to him, this one was more important. He opened it and pulled the glossy eight by ten halfway out and smiled, a feeling of euphoria dropping all the way to his toes. He had it bad.
All right, back to her house to take a shower before heading to the hospital. He couldn’t wait to see her. He had a spring in his step and a smile on his face as he returned to his car.
Janna lay in bed, restless. She wasn’t sick enough to be in here. They’d only kept her because of Jessie. Her eyes traveled to where he lay. How was she going to manage all this? She was torn between feeling the satisfaction of having her best friend believe she was the right person to take care of her child, and the terror of actually doing so. How could she face that little boy when he woke up and realized it hadn’t all been a bad dream, but a reality that would never go away?
“Dear Lord, how will I get through this?” She said aloud.
At that moment Jedidiah Crane came through the door.