The next morning comes too soon and I peel open my eyes to see Mason at the front door letting Jenna in. I take a second to adjust my vision and sit up on the couch. The scent of bacon and coffee whiffs by as Jenna walks past and into the kitchen. My stomach growls as I realize I haven't eaten a thing in I don't know how long. I gather myself and stand up to fold the blanket I slept with before they come in the living room baring breakfast. They place the foam to-go cartons on the coffee table and Mason hands me a cup of fresh coffee before sitting down.
“Good morning.” Jenna smiles. “Did you sleep well?”
“Like a rock.” I run my fingers through my short curls in hopes to fix the bed head I may have.
“Nice. Well you needed it. Hungry?” She asks and points at the food on the table. “Help yourself.”
“Thanks. I'm starving, actually.” We all dish out our plates and sit back to chat.
Mason takes a huge bite before blurting out. “She talked to Veronica about you.”
Jenna looks over at him then back at me. “Apparently he was eager to let you know.” She chuckles.
“So what was said?” I would think I'd be more impatient than I actually am, but I've been impatient for so long that it seems to have made me numb to anticipation now.
“She said she needs to talk to you face-to-face. The phone and emails or texts just isn't enough. She's been wanting to explain her behavior but is afraid that it's far too difficult to go into depth about something of this sort without being in person. Ignoring you wasn't her plan, but with everything she's dealing with over there, it's not given her the right opportunity to appropriately confront you.”
“Uh . . . wow?” I set down my fork. “Why hasn't she mentioned any of this before when you've tried speaking to her about me?”
“I'm assuming it was something she rather avoid then face? I mean, maybe since there was nothing she could do to make the situation any easier, she created a non-existence of sorts. That's Veronica summed up. She tends to push away anything that is in the way of what she has her sights set on. If she can't control it, then she removes it in any way she can.”
“So that's it? I'm just something she can't handle, and instead of simply telling me . . .”
Mason interrupts. “Bro. If I know anything about Veronica, it's that nothing about her is simple.” He shakes his head and takes another bite of bacon followed by toast.
“Well that seems to be the first thing someone learns about her. I've always known she's complex, almost from the start, but damn. Why can't she just be normal?” I shrug and take a drink of coffee.
“Whatever that is.” Jenna says. “Maybe her normal is just different from ours.”
“You know what I mean Jen. Like, why is it that she couldn't answer my calls or emails with a quick note telling me what she finally told you? It's not that hard.”
“Obviously for her it is. The complexity nature of her will never be understood. Don't give yourself a migraine trying to figure her out. Just let her be who she is and let the rest be worked out in due time. I don't know the details of what she's going through right now, but I do know that she hasn't completely given up or she wouldn't have bothered to tell me that much.”
“You're right.” I nod. “Regardless of what she's trying to hold back, I'm going to make it happen . . . I'll be face-to-face with her as soon as the country allows.”
I've checked every airline for the past nine hours and nothing has been released on when they're going to allow any flights into Paris. I'm determined to make my way over there to see her. I'm hoping that if I confront her in person that she'll actually give me the time of day. This crisis situation that happened has me in knots being worried about her. I'm so afraid of anything happening and never being able to show her how I really feel. I call another airline and cross my fingers hoping for some luck. The lady on the other end sounds irritated and tired. I'm sure there's been nothing but chaos since all of this happening and she's probably been verbally attacked by far too many frustrated callers. I decide to keep down my own vexation and speak to her with respect in hopes to get some form of clear answers out of her.
“It looks like there should be an opening in about forty eight hours, would you like to book that flight today?” She asks.
“Are you sure they'll be letting people through? I know you can't be positive, but I'm just hoping that I can successfully make this trip . . . I've been trying to get to the woman I love.”
“That's very understandable and quite sweet sir. I know that they've had a strict block on all travels to the country for a certain time period. From what we've been informed, they'll be allowing regular flights to resume on that day. If anything is to change by then, you'll be notified and refunded.”
“Sounds like the best thing I've heard so far. Let's go ahead and get it set up. I really appreciate all of your help.”
I get my confirmation and lean back in the couch, letting out a big sigh of relief. I have yet to actually get there and finally see Veronica after all of this time, but at least I'm one step closer. Now I just hope that nothing comes up to interfere with the flight I just booked. I waste no time preparing and get my bag packed for the trip before calling my boss to let him know I won't be in for the next couple of weeks. He wasn't very enthused about my upcoming absence but I can always find another job, I can never find another her.
I drive to Mason's to let him know when I'll be leaving and to have a few drinks, anything to ease my nerves. Seeing her for the first time in so long has my blood flowing and being nervous about how she'll react is an understatement. We throw back some beers and he pulls out a bottle of whiskey. I couldn't refuse the offer as he pours two shot glasses full to the rim.
“To Veronica's heart . . . wherever it's hiding.” I down the shot before he can take in what I just toasted to and harshly set the glass on the counter.
“Another?” He asks.
I nod my head as the burn of the alcohol creeps its way down my throat. “Keep them coming.”
“You're call.” He pours another tall shot and hands it to me. “So what did Veronica have to say about you coming?”
“She doesn't know.” I swallow the whiskey and lean on the counter as it hits my stomach.
“You definitely need this more than me.” He pours a third shot and leaves his empty this round.
“The curiosity is killing me. What will she do when she sees me? What is it that she has to talk to me about? I'm not sure I'll make it through the next couple of days sane.” I kick back the shot.
“Time will tell my man. Until then, do what you have to do to prepare and keep your nerves at bay. I think it'll go smoother than you imagine.”
“I hope you're right. Hey, how much of that whiskey's left?” I grin.
We end up polishing off the bottle and drink ourselves to a deep sleep. I wake up feeling brand new. Considering the amount of alcohol we took in, I figured I'd have a killer hangover, but surprisingly I'm feeling the best I have in days. I jump up and shower before making a quick breakfast and leaving a note for Mason, who's still knocked out. I head out to town in search of something I can bring with me to gift to Veronica when I arrive in Paris. It's got to be something that says I've missed you and I'm happy to see you again after all of this time. I don't want to show up empty-handed.
My mind wanders as I drive past shops that are lined along the streets downtown. I'm not sure what would be appropriate for what I'm looking to say with this gift. I continue to pass the stores as I try to come up with what it is I'm in search of. After circling the shopping centers and streets multiple times it finally hits me. It's perfect. I make a U-turn and head back down to the road to my workplace. I walk in and Rob, my boss, looks confused.
“I thought you weren't coming in?” He asks.
“I'm not. I'm leaving tomorrow evening. I need a favor.” I walk behind the counter and grab one of the sketch books from the glass showcase.
“A favor? I think you've used those up. What is it now?” His expression is less than enthused.
“I know. I get it. But this is important and I'll do whatever it takes to make it up to you when I return.” I put the book on the counter. “I need you to engrave the cover of this by tomorrow.”
“Look kid, I've got orders piling up and I'm short-handed if you remember.”
I give him a look of desperation and his face softens.
“You owe me.” He says and grabs a piece of paper for me to write what I want engraved.
“You're not the only one.” I let out a sigh of relief. “This means a lot. I really appreciate it.”
I take the paper from him and write out what I'm wanting and hand it to him.
“I've got to run to the airport to pick up my ticket and take care of a few other things today. I'll be back in the morning.” I tell him as I pick up my keys to leave.
“I hold you to it kid. You owe me!” He hollers and shakes his finger at me as I head out of the door.