Janet tossed the mail stack on the coffee table next to her. She threw off her jacket and flopped down on the couch. She sighed, kicking off her heels.
"Lordy, lordy, lordy, lordy," Janet paused and then laughed, realizing what she'd said. "Goodness gracious," a smile on her lips. She sighed as she caught sight of a recent picture of her and Jack. Biting her lower lip, she forced back the tears. She closed her eyes and forced herself to look away, rubbing her face.
"All that time we had together, the trips to the beach, dinners, chasing after you," she laughed, "I can't believe I'm missing you more than ever," her voice began to break. She looked back at the picture and smiled. She pushed herself off the couch at the sound of the phone ringing in the kitchen.
"Hey J, I got those flowers delivered, Margaret locked up the store. Is there anything I can get you?" Kathryn asked.
"No, I, uh, I'm good. You drive safely now ok?"
"Yes mom," Kathryn laughed.
"Alright, well goodnight dear."
"Night J. See you in the morning."
"Right, bright and early."
"Bye." Janet clicked off the phone. She inhaled deeply, a wave of angry coursed through her veins. She threw the phone across the room. The phone shattered when it hit the doorframe. Janet looked at the pieces that lay on the floor, regretfully. Her breathing slowly became calm.
I'm going to bed.
"Jack? Jack honey, are you still up?" Karen called from the top of the stairs. "Are you okay?"
Jack was sitting on the leather sofa, his head resting on his fist as he stared out the window. He looked at his reflection. On the outside was a handsome man, his hair slightly tussled, his blue sweat pants and white wife-beater lightly wrinkled; inside was a helpless soul. His heart ached in pain. He could feel how much she hurt with every minute he wasn't there. He could see her crying every time he closed his eyes.
"Jack?" he turned to finding Karen standing at the last step.
"Ye-yeah I'm fine. I'm sorry if I woke you," he said as he got up and headed to the kitchen. "Would you like some coffee?" Jack asked as Karen followed him.
"I would like for you to tell me what's wrong. Ya know keeping you emotions bottled up only makes things worse."
He sighed. "I know. I-I just feel really guilty. I haven't been there and I want to be there. It hurts and I can't stop thinking about her and what I'm doing to her. I just want to go to her now, tell her I love her and never leave her again."
Karen walked over to Jack.
"Honey, you know she doesn't hate you, and I think you're exaggerating."
"But I feel like I'm putting her second and it's eating away at me. Every day, every single day I think of her just sitting there," he tightened his face, stopping the tears, "crying." Jack turned and faced Karen, handing her a mug full of coffee.
"Well then I'm glad tomorrow you can have her for good." Karen smiled as she brought the mug to her lips.
"You-you don't think she'll just hit me, and called me selfish, kick me out of her house, and never want to see me again?" His blue eyes questioned dark green ones.
"If you think of her crying, why would she not want to take the pain away and allow you back in her life?" Jack looked up from the blackness of his coffee. He opened his mouth to say something, but couldn't. He couldn't think, he couldn't breathe, he knew she was right, she always was.
"Come on now, let's try to get some sleep. Ok?" Jack sighed and nodded. "That's my boy," Karen said as she placed the mug in the sink, kissed his head, and went upstairs.
Jack emptied out the coffee, brushed his teeth, and got back on the couch. He closed his eyes, and waited, waited to sleep, waited for the sun, waited for an absolution.
Janet tossed and turned as she slept. She awoke to the red blare of 3:47. She rolled her eyes and huffed as she buried her head back in her pillow. Eyeing the window, she rolled herself over so she could look out. The city lights danced off in the distance, mimicking the stars above them. Janet smiled to herself, Jack had always said her eyes twinkled like the stars.
"Why was I so blind all those years?" she asked, receiving no answer or explanation. She slowly let her eyes close and allowed sleep to wash over her.
The buzz of the alarm stole away the serenity of Janet's clear mind. Turning it off, she pulled away the covers and dangled her feet over the edge of the bed. Rubbing the remaining sleep out of her eyes, she got up and ready for work. She grabbed her purse and keys, glancing at herself as she passed the mirror. A sense of calm washed over her body, everything was going to be just fine. In it's entirety, she didn't know what. She closed the front door, locked it and walked to her car. She felt cared for and protected. She smiled at the new feeling and started the car. Buckling her seatbelt, she looked back to the house. Yeah everything's going to be ok.
Unbeknownst to her, a man waited for her to leave. As she turned out of sight, he left his car and walked to the porch. Looking under the second flowerpot to the left, he gave an evil chuckle. He picked it up, revealing a spare key. He made quick use of opening the front door and making himself right at home.