Janet flung open the french doors to the balcony and squealed.
Still in her nightie, she pranced and twirled across the floor like a ballerina, jumped on top of the four-poster, king-sized bed, rolled from one side to the other, landed on the floor and ran back to the open doors. The hills are alive!
Yesterday’s rain had dulled the view. Today, the sun was brilliant in all its early-morning glory, illuminating pink bougainvilleas, rows of lanky palm trees and manicured greens.
Janet emitted another squeal. Beyond the greens was the Caribbean Sea, its tranquil, turquoise hues contrasting spectacularly against the clear, blue sky. The overwhelming vastness of the two and how they appeared to converge in the distance made her eyes gloss over. Freedom!
She scuttled to the night table for her handbag and rummaged through for her phone. Fidgeting, she waited for the phone to power up.
“I love you; I love you: I love you; I love you; I love you!”
Horace broke out into a grin at the other end of the line. “Yuh like it?”
“I love it!”
What the heck am I doing, Janet questioned herself. Before breakfast, she was screaming I-love-you’s in Horace’s ear. Now, at dinner, she was giggling like a stupid school girl as boastful words cascaded from Gregory’s mouth.
Yes. Gregory. The handsome fellow from the parking lot, whose life was eventful and worry-free compared to hers.
Gregory played lawn tennis twice a week and a round of golf after church on Sundays. Last month, he was in Aruba, a Caribbean destination she’d always dreamed of visiting. Two nights ago, he was in Montego Bay at an oldies party in aid of his alma mater’s building-expansion fund. And he also happened to be on the school board.
Janet felt giddy, and the red wine they were sipping only buoyed the bubbles of happiness effervescing in her head.
Gregory was 29 years older (way older than Horace), greying at the temples (and over the majority of his head), a little thick around the midsection—much thicker than Horace—but fit and in good shape. His baritone voice was lively and bright and caressed the depths of her soul. She felt desired, desirable, feminine. Not like a housekeeper, washerwoman, nurse, chauffeur and cook.
“I’m a cricket man you know.”
“Oh, really?” Janet circled the rim of her glass with a finger.
“Used to play in college. These days, I’m more of a spectator. As a matter of fact, earlier this year, I was in Barbados, watching West Indies at Kensington Oval.”
“Yuh like cricket?”
“A little bit.”
“Been to Sabina Park?”
“Once. Years ago.”
“Tell Horace to take you again, man.”
“Horace too busy. Plus with the business and four children, I dunno.”
“If you were my wife, I would take you everywhere. Wouldn’t let you out of my sight.” He winked. “Not for a minute.”
“Cho!” Janet waved him off. “So you men always seh. Then after you walk us down the aisle, yuh get boring—all of a sudden.”
Gregory laughed his baritone laugh, a laugh to indicate to everyone in the restaurant that he was having a grand time with his lady-friend. “My ex-wives would probably agree with you. But Horace doesn’t know what he has. To let you out of his sight. Leave you alone. Here. He’s a crazy man.”
Janet smiled. “It’s called trust. Horace knows he can trust me.”
Gregory lifted Janet’s hand from the wine glass and kissed it. “Maybe he can trust you. But can he trust ol’ dogs like me?”
Janet withdrew her hand.
He sipped his wine and leaned back in his chair. “Yuh play golf?”
Janet shook her head and decided not to sip anymore wine. Her senses needed to be sharp for this one.
“Can teach you a thing or two tomorrow.”
“I’ll take a rain cheque.” Janet racked her brain for an exit strategy from the table. The sinking feeling in her gut said he was testing her boundaries.
“Plans for tomorrow?”
“Nature walk, beach,” she lied. She would’ve included sleep on the to-do list, but he would probably use it as a cue to invite himself over to her suite.
“Jan!” A man approached their table.
Oh, boy, Janet grimaced. “Drew!”
“What’s up? On vacation?”
“So far from home?” he ribbed.
“I could say the same about you.” She laughed.
“Husband?” He glanced at Gregory, sized him up and gave him a single nod.
“No. Just a guest.”
Gregory frowned. Just a guest?
“You look lovely, by the way,” Drew complimented her.
Janet noted the expression of annoyance on Gregory’s face. Drew didn’t appear to care. Gregory was 62. He was 32; he could afford not to care. Especially when blessed with a sturdy, six-foot-five-inch frame, the striking looks of a Bollywood star and a scent she imagined a male model riding a stallion in a cologne commercial would wear.
That’s the main reason she ended up doing business with him: his nose for exotic fragrances. That’s what she told herself.
Drew asked how long she’d be in Tryall, said he was staying at his aunt’s villa, not too far from the great house, and would be heading back to St. Andrew on Friday morning. He wanted her to call him before then.
“I don’t have your number in this phone. My work phone’s at home.” She avoided staring into his eyes for more than a split second at a time. He had the strongest, blackest eyebrows and longest eyelashes she’d every seen on a man.
He stooped down beside her chair.
“Client?” Gregory butt in, staring down his nose at Drew.
“Supplier,” Janet answered, peeved Gregory was sitting at the table, regretting her decision to dine with him when they ran into each other at the bar. She handed her phone to Drew to input his number. Drew’s arm was resting on the seat of her chair, pressing against her outer thigh. Her heart was galloping, leaping, cutting her breaths short—which it typically did in his presence.
“What kind of goods?” Gregory enquired.
“For her, perfumes and colognes—high end,” Drew answered, tapping in his name and number.
“Out of your car trunk?” Gregory mocked.
Drew chuckled and shook his head in disbelief, didn’t bother to look up.
“I stock some of his stuff for my clients,” Janet enlightened Gregory. “Plus he has a storefront.”
“Soon to be two,” Drew added.
“Oh, really!” Janet’s brows shot up.
“MoBay. Opening in two to three weeks, all being well.”
“I’m impressed!” She gleamed.
“Janet, I must look you up when I’m in St. Andrew, man.” Gregory’s voice rose to gain control of the conversation. “Day spas are a God-send, particularly for an avid sportsman like ma-self.”
Janet didn’t hear. Drew was telling her how amazing his cologne choice smelled on her, and she was reddening. Gregory glowered at them.
Drew stood and squeezed her fingers. “Don’t forget.” He wished them both a good evening.
Janet watched him walk over to a table where a man and woman were already seated. She eyed them chatting and drinking and wished she could forget to call.
But she knew herself. She would spend the rest of the evening obsessing over what time to call, playing various call scenarios in her head, ruminating on the kiss he had given her—the night before Horace proposed—and persuading herself that she had married the right man.
To be continued…
©Dionne Brown 2016
Original image “Let’s Celebrate Together…Cheers” courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Original image “Elegant Young Handsome Man with Mobile Phone” courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net