Janet ate her toast, drank her tea, and got back to reading her journal

Janet ate her toast, drank her tea, and got back to reading her journal. The next pages brought her through the second kiss and how Eddie kissed her right there in front of everyone, if front of his friends, in front of the Lyons twins, in front of half of Knight's Ridge.

Dear Journal:

Who would have ever thought that Knight's Ridge homecoming would become a life-changing event for me? I had a rough day today, starting off with a particularly cruel walk through the past that Rooster decided to bring me through. Only it wasn't my past Rooster wanted to walk through, it was Eddie's.

I get that Rooster really doesn't care for Eddie and that he doesn't believe, even for a minute, that Eddie actually has a legitimate interest in me. But, that's not the support I wanted from such a dear, old friend. Doesn't he realize that I get it? That it is already a little intimidating to be on the verge of a romantic relationship with a flirt and, hopefully reformed, womanizer like Eddie?

If I'm honest with myself, that's what caused the serious doubts to start creeping back into my mind about Eddie and me. I almost blew things up before they ever began.

But, nothing could have prepared me for what came next. Wow. Eddie kissed me. There, in front of half of Knight's Ridge. And what an amazing kiss it was. He said all the right things. ALL the right things. Yes, Eddie Latekka kissed me and told me that I was beautiful. And he did it in front of his friends and all of the people who revere him for his famous "Hail Eddie." But that's not all.

Eddie stayed with me until closing, walked me to my car, and kissed me again (and again :)). What amazed me was how comfortable I feels to kiss Eddie after being friends with him for so long. I don't feel self conscious or nervous, just happy.

We made plans for tomorrow and said goodnight. I'm really looking forward to the homecoming game. I'm excited to see what comes next for Eddie and me.


And, quickly followed by another entry:

Dear Journal,

Last night was amazing, but today was even more so. Eddie picked me up around noon, and we headed to the parking lot by the high school where I found out how good Eddie is at tailgating. Ok, so I have a feeling that Phil was responsible for the food preparation, but Eddie was the king of the hibachi grill, the food was great and, because this was Eddie's party, the beer was plentiful. It was a perfect beautiful, crisp, fall day in the Ridge.

Owen and Nick joined us for a while, as did some of Eddie's old football buddies, and everyone just took to me being there with Eddie like I had been with him forever.

Once the game began, Eddie and I walked hand in hand through the crowd on the home side of the football stadium. Yes, there were a few surprised looks on some of the faces, mostly former cheerleaders, but everyone else who really knew Eddie, or me, seemed really happy to see us there together. Eddie didn't seem to notice, or care, what anyone else thought. He just kept squeezing my hand or putting it around my waist. And, Knight's Ridge won. It was, pretty much, a perfect day.

After the game, Eddie and I ended up in a booth in the back of Sully's where we talked, and drank, until closing. With neither of us in shape to drive, we decided to walk to my house. It was a beautiful fall night, and Eddie stopped me at one point and kissed me under the stars. Very romantic.

When we got to my place I was a little unsure of what to do, but Eddie solved that by kissing me on the forehead and proceeding to hoof his way back to his house. I wasn't ready for him to stay, but I was still very sad to see him go.


Janet was lost in her memories but, in her exhaustion, she once again fell asleep on the couch.

It was almost noon before Janet woke up again. She didn't have an ounce of energy and didn't really see herself going to work in the condition she was in. Six years of working for Sully and this was her first 'sick call'. On a Sunday, they could handle it. Not to mention that she just couldn't face the people in Knight's Ridge. Especially those people who never thought she deserved Eddie to begin with.

No, today was about surviving. And about working up the courage to place that phone call to Eddie. In need of a little more courage, and she turned back to her journal, to her memories:

Dear Journal,

One month. Eddie and I have been dating for one month. Okay, so I'm not counting our trek across 3 counties to Hugo's Hideaway. No, it's been one month since our first kiss and my twirl.

Tonight we went out to the Johnson Inn. I didn't expect a guy like Eddie to remember something like a one-month anniversary, but he did. He brought me flowers, the most amazing pink roses, and he took me out for a very romantic dinner. Truthfully, we 'hang out' more than 'go out' so tonight was very special and we had such an amazing time.

But, I am really confused about 'what goes on' between Eddie and me. After one month of dating we have barely made it past second base. For example, tonight, we came back to my place and I poured us some wine, lit some candles and we spent the better part of an hour talking, and kissing, and then… he just left. He just left. Arrrggghhh! I just wanted to strangle him. Yes, I'm a little intimidated by the idea of getting naked in front of that man, but he could at least TRY.

He is attracted to me, right? I wish I knew what exactly was going on in Eddie's mind right now.


Janet thumbed ahead through the pages looking for a few more entries; the entries that would give her the courage to go ahead and place that call to Eddie.

Dear Journal:

So much for my idea of a perfect Christmas with Eddie. Did I just give Eddie a wolf? Really? Did I? I wanted to die. For a little bit there I really thought I had ruined everything. Eddie was so upset and I can't say as I blame him.

I owe Hannah… big time. She helped me come up with a more laid back present. When Eddie came back to take me plowing with him, it went so much better. He gave me a beautiful bracelet that I just love. But that's not the best thing he gave me. He asked me to stay with him, to go with him as he plowed the streets of Knight's Ridge, and I couldn't have been happier. It was such a romantic way to spend Christmas Eve. The Ridge is so beautiful when it is covered with snow and I got to share a perfect Christmas Eve with Eddie.

We drove around for hours, and at one point Eddie pulled over, pulled me to him, and we kissed for what felt like an eternity. Once again, though, just when we were about to get to that 'oh so interesting' next level, he pulled back. We continued on our way and I fell asleep against his chest with his arm around me. He woke me a few hours later with a kiss and walked me to my door. I asked him to come in, but he smiled and gentry refused, needing to get some sleep after a long night of plowing.

Eddie is heading to Boston to see his parents, and brother, for Christmas after he gets a few hours of sleep. He told me he would miss me, and I let him know in no uncertain terms that I would miss him. I have never kissed a man with that much purpose.

Before he left, we made plans for New Years. I have to work, but he said he wants to spend New Years with me anyway. Now that's something to look forward to.


Dear Journal,

Eddie called from Boston. For someone who has been putting on the brakes, he was damned flirtatious on the phone. We talked for hours. And, as tired as I was, I just couldn't hang up that phone. I couldn't break our connection. I don't think he could either. I fell asleep to the sound of Eddie's voice telling me some cute story about his childhood. I just hope he hung up before I started snoring or talking in my sleep.


Janet closed her journal without writing a word in it. She had been too engrossed in reliving her past with Eddie. And, she knew that she needed to make that phone call.

Janet stared at the phone, holding the number for the hospital in her other hand. Finally, she drew a deep breath and placed the call. After asking for Eddie's room, she almost hung up before the call was even transferred. After a couple of rings, she heard a familiar 'hello' but it wasn't Eddie's voice.

"Hi Nick?" Janet said softly.

"Yeah, Janet?" Nick replied.

"How is he Nick?" Janet asked, sounding a bit desperate.

"Truthfully, his body is healing but he is not himself at all. What goes on with you and Eddie? Why haven't you been by to see him?" Nick was truly confused and Eddie wasn't talking. No surprise there.

"Sorry Nick, that's Eddie's story to tell if he wants to. I want to be there for him, but let's just say I don't really feel like I deserve to be there right now. But, he did call, so if it's okay, can I speak with him?" Janet wasn't shocked that Eddie had kept their problems secret, but she also hoped he was confiding in someone.

"Actually, he's down for a test, something about some levels being a bit off. He should be back up here soon. And, if all goes well, he goes home tomorrow." Janet could tell that Nick was trying to give her as much information as he could and she really appreciated him for it. "Listen, I'll tell him you called."

"Thanks, Nick. And Nick? Please take care of him." Nick responded that he would and they hung up. Janet's heart had sunk about a mile when she found out she couldn't talk to Eddie after working up the courage to call him. Now, it was back to the waiting game.

She found herself desperate to get back to the journal, as if it were her escape or a great novel that she just couldn't put down. She needed to get back to the warmth of a happy Eddie and Janet.

Dear Journal,

Today is New Years. Since Eddie has been in Boston, we have talked on the phone every day, two, three times a day. But, I've missed seeing him. And, I've missed kissing him. He should be back in the Ridge by lunchtime, so he's going meet me at Murph's.

How can I miss him this much? I mean… we're just dating.


Dear Journal,

Today is New Years day and Eddie slept over last night. Nothing happened that went beyond sleeping but it was still really special. By the time I got out of the shower he was sound asleep on top of the covers on my bed. Not exactly what I had pictured. So, I crawled onto the bed and snuggled up close to him. As if he had done it every day of his life, his arm slipped around me and we lay there in perfect comfort as I drifted off to sleep.

But, let me back up. I worked last night and it was just another crazy New Year's Eve at Sully's. Eddie and most of the gang were hanging out and Eddie was having a great time. When it was getting close to midnight I looked for Eddie but I couldn't find him in anywhere in the crowd. I was thinking, great, this year I have a boyfriend – somewhere in this place – and I'm still going to be alone at midnight. So, I went back to work, getting a tray of shots ready for a table of college girls in the front of the bar. Just as I arrived at their table, Eddie showed up, and one of the girls tried to make him her midnight kiss. Let me tell you, that was NOT going to happen. I put that tray of drinks down quickly, fully intending to stake my claim, but before I could make a move, Eddie grabbed me up in his arms as if he had no clue that the girl was hanging on his shoulder. As Sully called out the count down to 2008, Eddie just held me close and stared into my eyes. When the clock struck midnight, I found myself lost in the best kiss Eddie and I have ever shared. How did I get so lucky?

Oh, yeah, that's right, I didn't get lucky. :) Eddie left early in the morning, leaning over and kissing me as if he did that every morning, and headed home to shower.

He is coming back over in a few hours for dinner. Now, if I could jut get over this nagging fear of his seeing me naked, I'd be so much more obvious with him about exactly what I want from him. I really do want to take this relationship to the next level.


Janet was still waiting for the phone to ring, but at the same time she knew it was time to start writing. She knew exactly what she needed to say, so she flipped the pages forward until she found the first blank page and began to write. The words flowed easily and the tears came back, but she felt somehow lighter after the words were finally written down on the pages of her journal.

Janet closed the journal and then moved over to her desk. She opened the drawer and took out her stationary and began writing a love letter. It took time, but when she finished she was happy with the end result.

Not waiting any longer for Eddie to call, she took a shower, got dressed, did her hair, put on her makeup, grabbed her keys and a few other items and headed to the hospital.

When she arrived at Eddie's room it was after visiting hours were over. No one gave her a hard time though, because she was, after all, everyone in Knight's Ridge's favorite bartender and confidant. As she peered into the darkened room, she caught sight of Eddie. Janet could feel her heart begin to beat more rapidly. She could see that he was soundly sleeping by the steady rise and fall of his chest. Slowly she entered the room and took a seat next to his bed. As much as she wanted to, she dared not touch him because, after everything else she had done, she did not want to ruin what appeared to be a good night's sleep for him.

Instead, she spoke to him, in a whisper, not sure if somehow his subconscious would hear her.

"Eddie, it's me Janet. I don't want to wake you, but I needed to come here. I needed to see you." Janet paused to collect her thoughts. Even though he was asleep, somehow she felt she had to get the words exactly right. "I hope you're doing okay. I hate to see you like this, bruised and hurting. And, I hate not being able to do anything to help you."

"I… I miss you already. I miss everything about us and it's only been hours since I went and threw us away. I am so sorry. So, incredibly sorry. I wish I could take it back, undo what I did."

"I wish I had asked you what went on with you and Rory. I wish I had the confidence to get out of my car, walk up to you and demand the truth. I wish I trusted you and your feelings for me." Tears fell softly down Janet's face but she couldn't take her eyes off of Eddie. "You know, Eddie, more than anything, I am so sorry that you and I never really talked about our feelings. Why was that? What were we afraid of? We could be honest about so many things, but not about what mattered the most."

"I'm still afraid Eddie. I'm afraid…" Janet's voice was strained with emotion as she went on, "I'm afraid that I found my best friend, and the great love of my life, and that I lost him in a moment of drunken desperation. I am sorry, Eddie. I know that it doesn't matter anymore, but I…. I love you."

Those last words were the softest of all the words she spoke and with that she placed something on Eddie bed, next to his hand, and tip toed back out of his room. She wondered if she was tiptoeing out of his life forever.

What she didn't see was the tear that escaped from Eddie's eye, and his eyes open when he sensed she was gone. And what she didn't hear was his very simply whispered declaration, "I love you, too." Eddie's tears began, yet again, but his pain was replaced by confusion when his hand found what Janet had left behind.

Eddie dried the tears from his eyes as he sat up in his hospital bed, turned on his light, and took in what Janet had left for him. It was a book of some kind with a letter on top. He grabbed the letter, opened it and read it.

Dear Eddie,

Where do I start? I know that I owe you the truth. Not just about that night, but about my feelings. I was too shy, too insecure to tell you how I felt about you. I thought I could just wait for you to admit your feelings for me. I should never have waited.

So here goes. I love you. I am over the moon in love with you. And, I should have told you the minute I knew. It was Christmas Eve. Technically it was probably Christmas day by the time the moment of clarity came. You woke me from a sound sleep and I knew immediately that I loved waking up to the sound of your voice; the warmth of your arms around me, and my heart ached when you walked away from me. And I knew. So, there you have it, not only do I love you, but I've loved you for a long time. You don't know how much I wish I had been brave enough to just tell you. Tell you how much I do love you James Edward Latekka. Not the captain of the football team, not the town hero, but you, Eddie. The amazing, wonderful and giving man you are today.

As for the other thing – what I did - I wanted to tell you the entire story of that day that began so perfectly for us and ended so horribly wrong. But, the more I thought about it; a few words would never do it justice.

That's why I decided, no matter how embarrassing it may be for me to do, I am asking you to read my journal. This is my memory of the great friendship and love story of Janet and Eddie. This is the raw, unedited version. This journal is the piece of me that I never let you touch.

Maybe you can't read it now, but when you're ready, I hope you will do this as one last favor for me.

I am so incredibly sorry for hurting you. I do love you. Always.


Eddie just stared at the letter and the journal. His heart was breaking all over again as he read Janet's words and thought about her declaration of love. He wondered how he could be so angry with someone, but love them, and hurt for them at the same time. Everything about the situation was perplexing to Eddie. He was tired, his head still hurt, and reading that letter had taken a lot out of him. Eddie closed the letter, stuck it inside the journal and, holding the journal close, he turned out the light and fell back to sleep.