In celebration of finishing One Within Itself, all 18 chapters have been edited and updated for greater reading pleasure. Thank you for everyone who has shared in this tale. Please enjoy.
Janet sat at her desk and looked over some numbers.
The years had been good to Janet, her skin was lightly tan, her hair short. She became incredibly involved with business, now owning two flower shops and sharing ownership in several coffee shops in San Diego.
"So, what's going on this week?" Margaret asked Janet as she returned with two hot chocolates in her hands. Margaret had become a close friend of Janet's since Janet's move to San Diego. Living within walking distance, the two girls became great friends and within weeks, business associates. Ever since Janet's divorce, Margaret was always there.
"Well, with the café closed for remodeling all of this week and next, we'll have to pick up some of the slack with the one on 15th Ave," Janet said. She looked up from her paperwork and took the cocoa from Margaret's hand. Margaret sat down in the cozy black chair next to the desk. She was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and fitted jeans. Margaret nodded her head in agreement, as she blew into her cocoa. Janet took off her glasses and looked at her.
"What about the trip?" Janet looked concerned as she stood and walked to the window.
"Taken care of!" Margaret smiled and spitted some of her cocoa.
"And the hotel? And Everything?" Margaret nodded her head again.
"Janet, chill. I know what I'm doing. This isn't about the age thing again, is it? I'm twenty-eight, you know."
"NO…No…no, I'm quite confident you got everything done. I'm just one of those 'worriers'. And no…I don't care that you're younger than me. I'm sorry I'm so worked up."
Janet sat on the windowpane and looked out on the city as she took a sip of cocoa.
Europe, it's about time on was able to relax. Janet turned and looked at Margaret. Her dark chocolate hair was in her eyes, as her dark hazel eyes gazed into space. Janet smiled; she loved watching Margaret think like that. It felt as though Margaret was her daughter, someone she looked after and someone who looked after her. Janet sighed and leaned her head on the side of the window. A tear ran down her cheek. She was so caught up in her emotions lately and the anxiety of planning the trip didn't help. Wiping the tear away, she stood and began walking back to the desk.
"I'll finish up with the bills, you go on upstairs," Margaret said to Janet.
"Thanks," Janet said as she flashed a small smile and went upstairs.
A few minutes later Margaret finished, came upstairs, and said goodnight.
"Thanks, again for helping me," Janet said as she flipped though some channels on TV.
"No problem," Margaret smiled as she walked to the door.
"See ya tomorrow!" Margaret yelled from the doorway.
"Bright and early!" Janet yelled back from her room.
Janet was now alone in her house. Sure, she had been alone before, but tonight it felt eerie. She jumped at every little noise; when the washer buzzed, she nearly fell out of bed.
"Man, I really need this vacation," she said to no one in particular. The phone rang. It was Kathryn, another employee and good friend of Janet's. She asked Janet a few questions about the store and told her some of her intensions while Janet was gone, just to make sure Janet approved. Janet reassured her and thanked her for helping.
"For you Ms. Wood, anything," Kathryn said before saying goodbye.
"Thank you. But Kathryn, you can call me Janet. Goodnight Kathryn."
"Goodnight Ms. Wo…Janet. I'll see you tomorrow." They both hung up.
Janet couldn't help but laugh. She was use to the Mrs. Dawson, Ms. Woods, but she preferred Janet. Mrs. Dawson reminded her to much of Philip and Ms. Wood reminded her of the old times, back in Santa Monica, with Larry and Mr. Furley, the Ropers, Lana, Cindy, Chrissy, and Terri and…Jack. Janet closed her eyes tight at the thought of Jack. Tears began running down her face. How much she missed him was just unspeakable.
"Michelle, I'll be home late, I have another meeting," Jack said to his companion as he got ready for work.
Jack's move to Europe was a difficult transition for him. Sure, the girls were great and everything, but he missed the old times at Regal Beagle, with Larry, the Ropers, Mr. Furley, and the girls…especially Janet.
Jack was now a very successful businessman. He wore his hair shorter and gelled back; he had grown a beard and gained a few extra pounds on his frame. He still looked like Jack Tripper, but there was no more boyish charm left, no more silly antics, or childish behavior.
"Don't vorget; our plane is leaving at 6:30 sharp!" Michelle called to Jack as he went out the door.
"Don't worry, I'll leave early just to be sure. Everything's packed, the tickets are on the table, and everything is taken care of!"
"Good," Michelle said as she came down the stairs and kissed Jack goodbye. "I'll see you early then?"
"Yes…And don't worry!" With that, Jack was out the door.
He jumped into his Mercedes as drove off to Paradise, one of Jack's restaurants. On his way to work, he had a strange feeling something was about to happen. Just what, Jack had no idea.
Upon arriving at Paradise, Richard Smith, his business associate, greeted him. He was a tall, Italian man, with white hair, and a very professional look about him.
"Ah Mr. Tripper, I'm so glad you made it!" Mr. Smith said as he shook Jack's hand and walk over to a small private table where they could talk.