It was Saturday, opening day for the store. Jonathan was ready. He decided not to postpone the grand opening. He told me the family would be having a small get together at the park during the week to spread Linda’s ashes in the water.
Rachael and I were in charge of the food stand. There were free donuts and coffee for breakfast and then there would be hot dogs and sodas for lunch. We arrived as planned at 7:30 am ready to go. The store would be opening at 8:00. The place looked great inside and out. My chalkboards came out fantastic! Jonathan had picked up several new planters he had placed outside and had it repainted as well. All of the details were in place. Now we just needed customers!
I went to the back office to see him. “You ready?” I smiled.
“I think so? Is there anything you can think of that I’ve forgotten?”
“No, you are ready, this place looks amazing! I grabbed both his hands. It’s going to be great!” I was grinning from ear to ear.
“Thank you Jenny, for everything you’ve done to help,” he smiled. Then hugged me tight. “I’m ready! Let’s go open the doors!”
I followed, excited for him. As we came out of the office and into the main building we could already see customers outside waiting in line to get in. There had to be 25 or so people already! He turned and winked at me with a huge grin on his face. I took my place at the food counter and watched as it all began.
He welcomed the customers. He knew a lot of them by name. There were a lot of regulars who came who all said how glad they were to have him finally open again. I listened as they commented on how lovely the store had been remodeled. I had to send Rachael to dunkin donuts by 10 am to restock our supply. We must have had over 50 people come in and it wasn’t even lunch yet! They all seemed to be leaving with their arms full of stuff.
I watched Jonathan throughout the day. He was full of pride and smiles. I saw him go up to one man in particular and hug him with both arms. I heard him say, I want to introduce you to my friend, Jenny. She has helped me out a lot with ideas for the store.
“Jenny, this is my father in law, Howard.”
“Hello!” I said and extended my hand toward him.
“This is my very good friend, Jenny.”
“Hello Jenny! It’s nice to meet you. Jonathan tells me you’ve helped him out a lot with the store.”
“Just a little,” I smiled.
“Give me the tour Jonathan, I can’t wait any longer. He hasn’t let me see the place this whole time he’s been working on it.”
I smiled as the two walked off arm in arm. I could hear him saying, “Son, you did good, really good. Look at this place! Oh! I love the things hanging from the ceiling!”
“That was Jenny’s idea!” he turned and winked at me again as he walked away.
Rachael came rushing back in with more donuts. “Wow! It’s busy in here!”
“I know, it’s so exciting! Everything seems to be going well.”
After a long while, Howard came back around to my station and asked for another doughnut. I said, “I know it means a lot to Jonathan that you came today and I’m so sorry for your loss, sir.”
“Thank you dear. I’m glad to see Jonathan smiling again. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen him so happy. I’m glad he has something to celebrate.”
An elderly woman came up to us “Howard dear, are you ready to go?”
“Marian, this is Jenny, she is Jonathan’s friend.”
“Oh, hello, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Linda’s Mom,” she said and started tearing up.
“It’s very nice to meet you ma’am and I’m very sorry for your loss,” I said.
“Well, thank you,” she said politely. “I’m ready to go Howard.”
“Yes, dear.” He took her arm as they walked off together.
By 3:00 I was exhausted. I had gobbled down a hot dog and donut myself and barely got to sit the entire day. There was a steady flow of people all day long. The store was scheduled to close at 6:00.
I was thrilled when Jonathan said to me, “Are you ready to head out and check on Ginger?”
“Can you believe how many people have come by today!” he grinned.
“I know! It’s going great!”
“Wait for me at the house, ok. I should be back by 6:30.”
“Ok, I will,” I said and headed out.
Ginger had an accident in the kitchen. I think she got too excited to see me after being alone all day. I let her out and we played a bit before I headed back in to clean up the mess. Finally, I took my shoes off and laid down on the couch.
The next thing I knew, Jonathan was coming in the door.
“Is it 6:30 already? I guess I fell asleep.” I stretched and yawned as I sat up.
“It’s actually 7:00, can you believe how many people came by! Shit, I can’t even imagine how much money I made today. I was too tired to even deal with adding up the orders. I just put it all in the safe for tomorrow. Damn! It went good!” he shouted and kissed Ginger on top of the head.
I stood up still stretching, “I know we bought 5 dozen donuts and I had to send Rachael back for more by 10:00.”
“Jenny,” he took both of his hands and put them on my cheeks, pulling my head forward, he kissed the top of my head and said, “I couldn’t have done it without you.” Then he looked me in the eyes. Before I knew it, I felt his lips on mine! It was more than a peck between friends, but not quite a romantic kiss either. He smiled at me, still inches from me holding my cheeks.
I was taken off guard. I just stood smiling, so happy for him.
He laughed a little bit and I felt his one hand slide down my neck and then my arm. He stared at me with such emotion in his eyes. I felt his other hand trace my lip softly. He whispered to me, “I have been wanting to kiss you for a very long time.”
He was just inches from my face. My eyes searched his for some sort of reassurance. Did I hear him correctly? Before I could think out loud. I felt it again. His lips on mine, very softly, twice he kissed my lips and then I felt his tongue move in to meet mine. He moved slow and gently. He broke away but stayed close to me as he said, “I probably shouldn’t have done that, I’m not sorry though,” he smiled.
“No, don’t be sorry,” I whispered.
He laughed again slightly, and then kissed me once more, a bit stronger and much longer this time.
When he broke away again he stepped back, just a bit, smiling, he looked me in the eyes and said, “I am starving are you?”
I laughed, “Yes.”
“Yes, well I am going to take you to dinner, Miss Jenny. Anywhere you want to go, you choose.”
“Ooook, umm…” I wasn’t sure how to react, I mean he just kissed me! We should talk about this, I mean…
He interrupted my thoughts, “Ok, can I just be real honest and ask you...Can I just do that again, anytime I want to?” He moved closer to me again and held my cheeks. “Cause I want to, again, right now, actually.”
I giggled and shook my head yes as he approached me. Afterwards he said, “Ok, we can go eat now.” He was like a little boy in a candy store, so excited, so wound up. He picked up Ginger and said, “I’m sorry, I haven’t seen you all day, I missed you, yes I did,” in a little boy voice.
I grabbed my shoes and purse and said, “Ok let’s go.”
“Where to?” he asked.
“I’m thinking like...a huge steak with french fries.” We hopped into his truck, he started the engine and backed out of the driveway. Then he suddenly stopped, put the car in park, turned to me and said, “I think we need to do it just one more time.”
“Do what?” I said dumbfounded.
“Kiss,” he laughed. “Just to be sure I wasn’t imagining it before.”
I laughed out loud too, “Should we talk about this?”
“No. Just do it,” he teased as he was grinning at me.
I leaned in closer to him and said, “I’m going to do it, are you sure you want me to?” I said between giggles.
“Oh, I’m sure Jenny.”
“Ok, then,” I teased. I touched him softly with my lips. I felt like a teenager. Afterwards, we looked into each others eyes with a mutual understanding. We just took the next step in our relationship. We smiled at each other and my stomach grumbled out loud, I laughed, ”I’m starving!”
He laughed, “Yeah me too, we’d better go.” He reached over and held my hand and winked at me.
The rest of the night we spent talking about the store, the customers, his future plans for the house and more.
“This has been a perfect day, Jenny. Just perfect.”
“Yeah, I’m so happy for you Jonathan.”