Jen held the newborn infant in her arms and, despite the euphoria that was swelling in her, she still managed to narrow her eyes and shoot a warning glare at the man who was looking at her. His eyes had gone all mushy, and he had a big goofy grin on his face. She pushed her love for him aside as she forced a scowl onto her lips.
“Hey, Pretty Boy,” she woke him from his day-dream, “Don’t get any ideas.”
“Me?” he feigned innocence, “I don’t get ideas, none at all.”
“Don’t we know it,” Sam rolled his eyes then went back to cooing at the infant.
“Can I hold her?” Mark put his arms out.
“No,” came the chorus from the group gathered into the small hospital room.
“I’m not going to drop her,” Mark protested.
“Why not?” Drew scoffed, “You’ve dropped every other girl you’ve ever held.”
“Yeah, true,” Mark shrugged unconcerned, “But none of them were as cute as, what are you going to call her?”
Belinda looked at Jay with a tired smile and gave him a small nod.
“We’re thinking, Evelyn,” Jay smiled at Belinda before turned back to reach for the baby, “After Belinda’s grandmother. Which would make her, Evelyn McClean.”
“Hello Evelyn,” Jen purred before handing the child back to her Father, “That’s a lovely name.”
“How long are you here for Jen?” Belinda asked, “I’m dying for a catch-up.”
“Unfortunately, as much as I’d love that too, I can’t stay,” she grimaced, “I’ve got to be back in Ohio before tomorrow.”
“How is John Furnace? Is he as hot offstage as he is onstage?” Belinda sighed.
“Yes,” Jen said quickly, “Absolutely!”
“Hey!” both Jay and Drew chimed together with almost identical pouts.
“Aren’t they pathetic?” Mark indicated at the two men, “This is why I’m not going to get caught in that trap. I like my brains unscrambled.”
“And safely dangling between your legs?” Drew offered with miming to emphasis.
“On that note,” Jen shook her head, “I have to go. I have a free weekend next week, I’ll hop a plane and come for coffee and diaper changing duty.”
“Evelyn’s?” Mark asked, “Or will you be too busy changing Drew’s diapers?”
“I’ll walk you out,” Drew said as he slammed his fist into Mark’s gut and then growled at him, “Now who needs a nappy change?”
Jen ignored them. She kissed Belinda and Jay, pulled a face at the baby, and then waved at the guys as she walked out the door. She’d love to stay longer, but the schedules weren’t flexible. This was the biggest tour in the world right now, and it was moving day tomorrow.
Being placed on the John Furnace tour was her promotion. Only the best MacArthur employees were contracted to the international shows, and this one was with the worldwide number one selling artist, John Furnace. They were travelling the entire country, and it had booked out so quickly that they’d had to extend the number of shows, which meant tighter schedules for her. She was working harder than ever and loved every minute of it.
“You can’t stay?” Drew asked as they walked through the maternity ward.
“I would if I could,” she sighed.
Since they reconciled, she’d spent more time away from him than with him. She’d gone back to Urban Dysfunction, finishing that tour. Then she'd done a stint with Purrfit, a teen girl group, for a tour of the East Coast. All while Drew finished the tour in Florida and then the guys had headed to Chicago to record their first DVD. It was a visual collection of their best-loved dances and was due to be released, in conjunction with a glossy coffee table book, in the spring.
Being at opposite sides of the country wasn’t easy, but they’d managed. He’d flown to her when he could, and vice versa. It was complicated, but it was working. She’d also stayed true to her word and had taken it slow. She loved him, but she didn’t feel the need to fall back into bed with him. She spent months regaining her trust in him before she went there.
He was a changed man. He was getting help, and his regular sessions had made a difference. He was supportive, encouraging and, most importantly, trusting. He might pout when the guys were around, but he never questioned her loyalty to him. His desire to hold her close and insist that she didn’t leave him, was kept under control. She knew he missed her and would rather have her with him than away, but it no longer was his driving need.
At first, she’d been suspicious that it was only skin deep. But when questioned, he’d explained it simply, he’d thought his selfishness had led to her death. That had put everything in perspective for him. Having her alive and thriving had become his priority, even at the expense of his own happiness. He’d known the misery of losing her and there nothing was worse than that. Everything after that was a bonus, he explained. He was just thankful to be given the opportunity to have her in his life.
It was her trusting him that hadn’t been easy. He’d cheated on her. It was something that she couldn’t forgive easily. She might love him, but it was still a thorn in her side. And it wasn’t something she wanted to forget about either. He knew that too. He didn’t rush her. Instead, he was attentive, texting her and sending her little things. Flowers would appear at random times, he’d arrange for a coffee truck to turn up with free coffee and cake for her and the crew, he once sent her a smooth beach rock because he’d found it and wanted to show it to her, and none of his gifts were jewellery nor meaningless. He didn’t give her fake reassurance but instead made her realise that she was at the centre of his world.
Even once they had become sexual again, she didn’t let that change anything. She’d headed back on tour the next day and made it clear that she wasn’t going to give that up. He didn’t argue with her. He didn’t insist that she change anything for him. And she loved him even more as a result.
“I have something for you,” he said as they exited the hospital, indicating to the bright coloured bag he was holding.
There was a line of taxi’s waiting, and she still had some time before the flight. She took the large bag and sat down on a bench seat under a tree. Pulling the rectangular box from it, she laughed as she opened it. Inside were two beautifully made boots, fashioned to look like her work boots but with large geometric tread, glossy leather and some small stones set around the ankle and heel areas. She lifted her face to him with the question unsaid.
“I’m asking you to accompany me to the Dance and Choreography Awards,” he frowned, “It’s like the Oscars for dancers. We’ve been nominated for a number of categories, and I’d like you to be there.”
“And the boots?” she asked.
“They are my way of saying that I want Jen there, not someone you’re not,” he smiled, “I’m not going to force you to wear something you’re not comfortable in. If you want to wear jeans and boots, I’m happy.”
“Belinda’s going to love that,” she laughed.
“I’m not concerned about Belinda’s happiness,” Drew shrugged, “That’s Jay’s job. Your happiness is all that matters to me.”
“I’d love to go,” she smiled, “Just give me notice so that I can make arrangements with Reed.”
“Have you started talking to him about your next contract?” Drew asked carefully, “If you have a week or two between this and the next tour, I’d like to take you away. We could both do with a holiday.”
“About that,” she grimaced, she’d been unsure how to bring this up, “Drew, they’ve asked me to go to Europe with them.”
“Europe? Who’s asked you?”
“John Furnace’s tour management,” she bit her lip, “They are heading there immediately after we play Madison Square Gardens. They want me to manage all the drivers and vehicle logistics.”
“I see,” he nodded, “How long?”
“Six months in Europe,” she grimaced, “And then if that goes well, they’ll want me to finish the world tour with them. I could be gone for a whole year.”
“A year,” he sucked in a deep breath, “That long?”
“You know that Reed’s been talking about taking the business international,” she looked at the boots in her hands, “This is everything we’ve been working towards. If I can make a good impression, and we expand the business in this direction, then Reed’s going to make me MacArthur International Logistics Manager, and I’ll take on a more supervisory role. I’ll co-ordinate staff, and I won’t need to be on the ground anymore.”
“That’s a big job,” he looked at her, “Is that what you want?”
“It’s what I’ve been aiming for,” she could see the fear in his eyes, “And I’m hoping that it will give me what I want.”
He dropped his eyes from her but didn’t ask the question. She took his face in her hands and turned it gently towards her. Smiling as his eyes found hers.
“I want to be based in MacArthur’s head office,” she stated clearly, “So that I can hold down a normal healthy relationship with the man I love. He might have to travel the country, but I want to give him a home to come back to, at the end of his tours. And if that works, and if you still love me when I’m living in the same house as you, then we might want to think about following in Belinda and Jay’s footsteps.”
“Marriage?” he lifted his eyes to her, “Kids?”
“One step at a time,” she laughed at his enthusiasm, “But that’s what I want.”
“But first Europe?” he frowned, “And six months to a year, without you. I won’t be able to come for a weekend. The flight times are too long. I’m not going to be able to see you for weeks, probably even months, at a time.”
“I know,” she exhaled, “It’s going to be difficult. I am being selfish, and I’m putting my career first, over our relationship, but it’s something I need to do.”
“Then we’ll make it work,” he stretched himself upright as he clenched his jaw together, “I’ll make it work. You are my future Jen. A year apart is nothing compared to the lifetime I want to spend with you.”
“Are you sure?” she felt tears welling up in her eyes.
“No,” he exhaled dropping his shoulders, “I’m going to miss you like crazy, but you should still do it. I will support you, love you, and I’ll be waiting for you when you get back, but you know that. You knew that before you asked.”
“I hoped,” she wrapped her arms around his neck, “I love you, Drew.”
“Yeah,” he grinned, “And I’ve got a month to reinforce that love, before you fly off, right?”
“Yes, plus I have seven whole days, and nights, in New York,” she smirked, “With my trucks not going anywhere.”
“What will you do with your time?” he dropped his lips to hers to kiss her, “It’s just lucky that I’m around that week to help with the boredom.”
She laughed and kissed him once more before she reluctantly pulled herself away. She had a flight to catch. Leaving him standing on the pavement was difficult, and she knew it going to be almost impossible to board an international flight without him. But she had an endgame, and that goal involved having him in her bed every night and raising children with him. This separation would be challenging, but she was confident that they would survive it. She loved him and trusted in their love.
She put her hand on the rings in her pocket. She’d been carrying them around since she’d been offered the job. It had been the first thing she’d done after speaking with Reed. As soon as she left the meeting she’d headed straight for the jewellers to purchase the matching engagement rings. She’d thought it was the only way she could do this, but now she wasn’t so sure. The plan had been to propose to him while telling him about Europe and promise to have the wedding when she returned. But the rings were still in her pocket.
She did want to marry him. And she wanted to be the one who proposed marriage to him. But she wasn’t so confident about the timing. She didn’t want to get engaged to him and then disappear. That wasn’t the way she wanted to commit to him. She wanted to enjoy their engagement, leisurely plan their wedding, and dream about their future lives together, not try to juggle everything from across the globe. And she didn’t want the engagement to seem like a length of rope binding them together. It shouldn’t be a burden used to remind them of the commitment they had to each other. When she proposed to him, she wanted it to be a celebration.
She would store the rings. They could wait. There was time for that when she got back. He was right, they had all the time in the world. The year would go quickly, and Drew, his love, and these engagement rings, would be waiting for her return.
She texted him her love before she boarded the plane to Ohio.
Dance for Me Series...
Book 1 - SLAYING GOLIATH
Book 2 - IGNITING BLAZE
Book 3 - CAPTIVATING MARVEL (working title - not written)
Book 4 - RELAXING STRETCH (working title - not written)
This is the DRAFT edition of the manuscript and is unedited and unpolished. Please enjoy it as such. There will be spelling and grammar errors, but it's free to read!
Drew wasn't an easy character to write. His personality was defined by Slaying Goliath and so I knew he was messed up before I started writing this book. I had planned on him not so selfish nor cheating, but his character just pushed me there. I do however feel that this worked within the context of the story, and I feel comfortable with Jen's reactions to it.
I understand the feedback that I have received as to his actions and Jen's final acceptance of him. I get that. Not everyone can forgive, especially something like that, but Jen did. I hope this implies that their love was enduring, rather than making her seem weak minded.
I do love the feedback though. It's fabulous to hear your opinions and to know that I've stirred up some pots. Keep it coming!
I'm planning on re-writing Slaying Goliath, doing some massive editing to clean up both books, and then uploading them on Amazon or Smashbooks... if you follow me, I will keep you appraised of my progress...
The next book Captivating Marvel will be Mark's story. I have only the briefest of outlines for it so I'm not going to give you any clues yet!
Thanks for you support and I hope that you read my other work on inkitt.com
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, CompulsiveWriterWrite a Review