They drove in companionable silence until they had nearly reached the cabin when Jenna exclaimed, “I’m nervous and excited with a whole lot of apprehension thrown in.”
“When were you last at the house?”
“It’s probably been six or seven months, a second ago, a lifetime ago,” Jenna responded.”
“Grieving is different for everyone Jenna, but when violence is involved, there’s so much more to wrap your mind around, so many more emotions to deal with, it takes longer. ”
“Your right, it’s the emotions I’m struggling with; the anger, fear, frustration, the cruelty, agony on top of the loss. He was a good decent man, who gave so much, accomplished so much and he didn’t deserve to die like this!”
After a long pause, she continued, “I lost my parents suddenly in a car accident and that was tough but Dr. Geg was there and helped immensely. You can understand the slick roads, cars losing traction, a resulting accident, but this, this is different, and you’re right, it’s far more difficult to understand and comprehend the violence.”
Manor pulled the car into the drive and slowly approached the front of the cabin. Halting he turned toward her and said, “Call me Gary.”
She smiled, “I wasn’t sure.”
Pulling the keys from her purse, she strolled along the rock pathway and didn’t break her stride until she’d climbed three semi-circular steps and stood before the beautiful solid oak door adorned with stained glass windows in a circular pattern depicting summer winter spring and fall. Inserting the key in the lock, she took a fortifying breath and entered with Manor one step behind.
It was as beautiful as she remembered. She slowly crossed the living room into the kitchen, drawn to the beautiful meadow beyond feeling the calm serene beauty ease her soul. Turning toward Manor she realized he was watching her intently. “What?” she asked with a lopsided grin.
“It’s you. It seems right. Fits you like a glove. Rich warm welcoming while offering relaxation and comfort in return.”
“What a lovely thing to say, thank you.” Peering at the overhead structure and intersecting beams she stated, “I’ve always felt so comfortable here.”
“There isn’t much I’d wish to change. Some things, of course, but really, it’s perfect as is.”
He accompanied her as she sauntered from room to room, and the flashes of memory spoke volumes about the enjoyment and pleasant memories she’d shared here.
“Decision made?” he asked quietly.
“Yes, I believe so. My lease expires at the end of next month, so the timing couldn’t be better. It means I won’t have to rush to get out and I can take my time moving bits and pieces and hire a and company for the few larger items I’m bringing with me.”
She headed to the door and once outside, thanked him for accompanying her. “You made it much easier and helped me see the situation for what it is. I appreciate that.”
Dropping her off at her car he suggested, “Perhaps we can get together for dinner. I know a great Italian place.”
“How about I give you a call, make sure we’re on track time-wise, and “I’ll pick you up at your place around 6:00.” At her nod, he jumped back into his car and drove off with a huge grin.
Jenna danced a little jig, excited at the prospect of spending time with Gary. He was down to earth, uncomplicated, sincere and she felt comfortable but it was more than that. He was sexy, exciting, and she wanted to know more about him. What she’d seen so far, she liked.
Jenna had wondered if his interest was more than the case, more than obtaining her take on the situation, and perhaps it started out that way, but she’d hoped there was more to it and it seemed she was right.
The remainder of the day passed quickly and the clinic quiet. Most of the pets had been treated and released and she was basically catching up on paperwork. She found herself checking her watch every few minutes and laughed at her eagerness to leave. Even Linda noticed because she asked, “What you got, a hot date?” and laughed since Jenna wasn’t big on dating. When she noticed her sheepish grin she said, “You do. You have a date!”
Jenna knew there was no stopping her inquisitive nature and quickly admitted she was meeting Detective Manor and let it go at that. Linda could take it however she wished. At precisely five o’clock, they closed up shop waved goodbye and headed out.
Jenna hustled through her shower, paid extra attention to her hair, and applied a smattering of make-up. She decided on some dressy leggings, a long emerald green shirt that reached her knees, gold drop earrings and strapless black shoes. She’d brewed a pot of coffee the minute she’s arrived through the door and it was ready. Pouring a cup, she sat on the bar stool reading a mystery novel she’d bought weeks before. She was so engrossed that when her cell phone rang, it startled her.
“Hi yourself,” she remarked. Although she didn’t want to appear overly eager she asked, “Everything ok?”
“Yep I’ll be there shortly.”
“Great. I’m starving.”
Gary must have known the proprietors well, because the instant they entered, they were immediately shown to a booth near the back of the restaurant, that although secluded, offered an incredible view of the nearby river.
“Exquisite!” Jenna remarked.
“I have to agree. Paul and Wynonna have done a remarkable job. The landscaping was a brilliant idea. I remember the scathing remarks they received upon submitting the original idea to city counsel but they weren’t to be dissuaded and I for one am really glad they stood their ground.”
“It’s really exquisite. Do they set tables outside during the summer?”
“They do and it is quite a treat.”