Jenna was staring at the blank canvas in front of her. She wanted to paint something; the need to put brush to paper was overwhelming within her because there were too many thoughts waiting to explode.
She was so busy, she didn’t notice the door of her studio opening behind her, nor did she realize the footsteps sneaking up on her.
She gasped when she felt the hands slide around her waist, she reacted by letting out a deep breath of exclamation, thinking of Jack. But he was swinging her around and the brief glimpse of brown eyes that she got were Chris’s before his lips crushed down on her.
She’d been caught unawares but she responded out of tenderness; his lips were moving against her with a desperation because he did not know what would happen when they parted; his urgency caught on to her and she was swimming in the taste of him, the smell of his cologne filled her nose; his hands moved up along her waist until they were cupping her mouth to his, drawing it all in.
She did not protest; she could not think. All she could feel was the heat of his chest around hers, protecting her. She felt safe and giddy like she hadn’t in such a long time.
When he finally released her, he gently stroked her hair; her eyes were closed and for a few seconds she did not respond, did not push him away. He waited and sure enough, Jenna regained her senses and pushed away from him, her large eyes fluttered open and he saw the panic in them. He knew what was going on deep within those beautiful eyes.
She turned away and still he waited; he knew she would speak when she had gathered her thoughts.
Jenna was trembling. He longed to hold her shoulders and comfort her but refrained.
She said, ‘I don’t think that was such a good idea Chris’. Her voice was shaking and he had the satisfaction of knowing he was not alone in the way he was feeling.
‘Jenna, I let you be for two days. I couldn’t take it any longer, I had to see you. I couldn’t have stay away anymore.’
She turned to face him; there was an urgency in his voice and his eyes were pleading. She sighed.
‘Look’ he continued, his voice more controlled now. ‘I know I enraged you the other day but if you’ll just listen, I can explain things!’
‘Oh yeah?’ she said harshly. ‘Well, try me!’
‘Jenna, Jack isn’t here anymore.’ He said, the urgency had crept back into his voice now. He kept thinking of the way she had responded to his kiss; he had been a bit taken-aback. ‘And I know what he meant to both of us and I know you think we’re not doing him justice but if you think about it…we’re not really guilty because neither of us cheated on him during his lifetime and now, if he saw you from up there, he would be glad to know you had someone to take care of you, someone he could trust.’
She stared at him for a while and then shrugged helplessly, putting her hands out in a surrendering gesture.
‘Chris all this is really overwhelming and new, all right. I’m not sure I’m prepared for anything yet. And I don’t think I will be for a really long time. I just want you to know that I need some time alone, I need some time to sort myself out. I want you to go away for a while Chris.’
‘Chris’ she cut him short, staring straight into his eyes. ‘I really want you to do this. Won’t you just let me be alone with myself for some time?’
He sighed, defeated. ‘Well all right ma’am. You can have the time you want Jenna. Sort out your feelings. Whatever.’
He turned on his heels and before she could stop him, stomped out of the room, making her wince when he slammed the door hard.
A few weeks since that fateful day, she was slouched on her bed, thinking about him.
Suddenly her phone blew up with his ringtone.
‘Chris!’ she exclaimed into it.
‘Yeah well’, he grunted from the other end. ‘I’m sorry I know you didn’t want me to disturb you until you were ready but I couldn’t help it anymore, and it has been so long. How are you doing?’
‘Good!’ she heard herself sing.
‘All right, well I’m glad to hear that. Anyway, listen can you do me a favour?’
‘What sort of a favour Chris Collins?’ she asked, smiling.
‘Well’ he replied, ‘Its my parents big silver anniversary this weekend and they’re celebrating over at our farmhouse. Well, they wanted me to invite over a bunch of my friends because they’re really young at heart and everything, and they want young people around them to get the music rolling and stuff, so I was wondering…would you like to come?’
She laughed, despite herself. ‘Oh I don’t know Chris.I’m not much of a party person really.’
‘Aah come on Jenna. I’m sure you can gyrate a little bit.’
‘Gyrate indeed!’ she exclaimed.
He laughed. ‘See Jenna. There’ll be a bunch of people you know. You won’t be bored.’
‘Well, all right Chris I’ll come’, she said simply.
‘Wow, just like that? No more convincing required?’
‘Yes just like that.’
‘Great guns Jenna!’ he exclaimed. ‘Now look, I’ve got to run, my parents have to talk. I’ll see you then, okay?’
‘Yes fine, bubye Chris.’
As Jenna Waite tossed her cell phone aside, a smile lit up her face and she was surprised to realize that she was more than eager to see Chris too. It made her feel warm and giddy on the inside and for the first time since Jack’s death, she no longer felt guilty.