God is an awesome God. Look at His creations...
Chapter Sixteen ~
Janna moved about the kitchen gathering things to make coffee for Jedidiah and some hot chocolate for her. The going was rough due to one of her arms being pinned, but she managed to get it done.
Jedidiah came into the room and sat at the table. “I got the baby gate up and the new toys unwrapped. He’s playing dinosaurs right now,” He said with a beaming smile.
Janna’s heart jumped. What is this? The guy can’t speak without me flipping out? Boy, I’ve got it bad. “Thank you for taking the time to help me out. It’s greatly appreciated. It’s going to take me some time to get acclimated to having a child in the house.”
“I understand. I haven’t been around many little kids but I’m finding I like it. I guess my biological clock is ticking, too.”
Janna laughed, delighted. “Guys don’t have biological clocks, silly.”
He chuckled. “Well apparently I do cause I like being around the little guy. I can’t wait to take him shopping…and to the zoo.”
He grinned so wide his teeth shone and she was caught and mesmerized by his smile.
She pulled herself back to the conversation. “Yes?”
“Are you sure you’re okay? I was talking to you again, but you seemed a million miles away.”
She felt her face growing warm and brought both hands up to cover her face, rubbing her cheeks before letting them drop to her sides. “I was lost in thought. I’m sorry. Maybe I’ll do better since I’m home.”
He picked up the cup of steaming coffee she’d placed in front of him and sipped at it with stiff lips. “Yum.” He set it down and grimaced. “I forgot how good instant coffee was.”
She burst out laughing. “You’re not a very good liar. I don’t drink coffee so I don’t have any on hand. I’ll get some next time I’m in town.”
He took another sip and returned it to the table and scooted back his chair. “It’s awful quiet in there. We better go check.”
Janna groaned. She should’ve been on top of that. “Yeah we better.”
They rushed to the bedroom, Janna imagining all kinds of scenarios in her mind about what she would find. She needn’t have worried. Hairy lay on his side on the floor and Jessie was on top of him, his fingers buried in the fur at the dog’s nape, sound asleep. She laughed. “He must still be worn out from the meds they had him on.” She stepped over the gate and got into the closet for a blanket. She covered him up and stepped back over the gate as quietly as she could.
They returned to the kitchen and Janna sat down this time. She needed a chocolate boost. She chugged a huge drink of the warm liquid and immediately choked. She sputtered, and cocoa streamed from her mouth in an inglorious string. She tried to hide it with her hand, to no avail.
Jedidiah rushed to her side and began patting her on the back. “Are you okay?”
The concern in his voice was almost her undoing. “Yeah,” She croaked.
“You’re not supposed to inhale the stuff. I’m sure there’s a rule against that,” He laughed.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize, it happens sometimes. We need to sit down and devise a plan of action, though.”
Alarm swept through her. She’d forgotten for the second time why Jedidiah was really here. “I guess we do.” She swiped her mouth one last time with the paper towel she’d wadded up in her hand and threw it in the garbage can at the end of the counter.
“Do you have some paper and a pen?”
“I do.” She opened a drawer and pulled out both. “What you gonna do?”
“I’m going to make a list of things we need to talk about. We need to formulate a plan of action for starters.”
“I know.” She flopped down in a chair, her lips jutted out like a child.
“I know you don’t want to, but ignoring it isn’t going to make him go away. He’s had several years to devise his own plan about what he wants to do. We have to make sure he isn’t successful.”
“That would be my hope, as well.”
“Okay then. Now that we’ve got that settled, the first thing on the list is…” He wrote on the paper, and then looked up at her. “You can never be allowed out of my sight. If you go to the bathroom, I’ll be right outside the door. At night, I will camp out in your bedroom floor…”
“No you will not,” she interrupted.
“Calm down, woman,” He said, holding his hands out, palms up. “I don’t have anything immoral in mind, but I have to protect you. If he’s as smart as I think he is, he’ll try his best to catch you in one of those situations so he can over-power you. I’m not too worried about Jessie because he couldn’t know about him. You don’t even have papers placing him in your custody yet.”
Agitation filled her. “We can’t let him find out, Jed.”
Jedidiah’s heart pounded against his ribs at the sound of his name issuing forth from her lips. What was wrong with him? He was the most macho person he knew… “I told you already, I won’t let anything happen to either of you. I’ll guard you with my life. That’s my job.”
He knew immediately he’d said the wrong thing. Her face fell and she was fighting tears. “What is it, Janna?” His voice turned tender.
“I…” She picked at the neckline of her t-shirt. “Uh,” She shook her head. “Nothing, nothing at all.” She turned and walked away.
Jedidiah stared after her. What had he done? This was one of the very reasons he didn’t have relationships. Women were so emotional. He shook his head and sat back down in his chair. This list had to get done whether she was there to help, or not.
He had two pages in the notebook filled up by the time she came back and sat at the table, not saying a word. “You feel better?” He ventured.
“Don’t even start on me,” she warned.
He pulled back. The docile little woman had turned into a tiger with claws. He was confused, and he hated that feeling. He knew he’d said something wrong, he just didn’t know what. If she wanted him to apologize, she needed to tell him why. “Janna, what did I do? I know this is a difficult situation, but I can’t help resolve the problem if I don’t know what it is.”
“If you don’t know, I’m not telling you,” She replied in a stubborn tone.
His understanding was wearing thin. He didn’t have time to coddle a two year old. “Okay fine. It doesn’t matter, I guess.” He gestured toward the paper in front of him, “but we need to get this taken care of before your attacker gets here.” He regretted his mean words as soon as he said them, but knew she wouldn’t let him take them back. She was in a foul mood and he doubted she was going to magically decide to let it go.
Her face turned stony and she glared, her amber eyes shooting forth flame.
He held his hands up and laughed. “Truce. I call truce.”
She groaned, and he pushed back from the chair and raced to the living room, Janna hot on his heels. He dove for the couch, pulling a couple throw pillows over him for protection.
It didn’t save him. Janna jumped atop him and began tickling his sides. He wasn’t ticklish, but he laughed dryly. “I’m not ticklish, you better try something else.”
She stopped, surprised. “Everybody’s ticklish somewhere.”
“I’m not.” His chin rose in pride.
She sat atop him, glaring down on him like he was her next meal. He began to feel a discomfort he couldn’t afford right now. He twisted. “Come on Janna, get up.” His voice croaked now and it was her turn to laugh at him.
He saw a light enter her eyes and knew he was in for it, but couldn’t imagine what she was going to do. “What?”
“This!” She swooped down, grabbing his warm lips in a kiss. It wasn’t a soft, romantic kiss, but a desperate, needy one. She moaned and buried her hands in his hair.
He groaned and pulled away. “Janna, stop. We can’t…”
But she didn’t listen, and he was weak. He pulled her slight frame more fully into his and returned her kiss, his hands roaming up and down her back. Everything disappeared but the woman in his arms as he laid claim to what was his.
It was her turn to pull away. “Okay, truce.” She sat up, gasping. “I forgive you.”
“What did I do?” He tried to gather his thoughts.
She pouted for a moment and then said, “You said I was only a job to you.”
He shook his head. “No I didn’t…”
“Yes you did.”
He fought to remember, and his words echoed in his head. ‘…that’s my job.’ He cringed. How had she wormed her way into his life so quick and easy, anyway? He never let anyone in.
“I see you remember now.”
“You’re not just a job to me. I didn’t mean it that way.”
“But that’s what I started out as…”
“Yes it was,” he said with force as he pulled her back toward his mouth. “But you’re so much more than that now.” And he re-captured her lips with his.