Jenna opened the door in a silver grey cocktail dress and she saw a striking pair waiting patiently to be let in.
The surprise on Yvonne’s face when a woman answered the door was soon replaced by what came close to shock.
Jenna smiled wickedly. “It’s not Petersen anymore, I married Terry’s brother.” She flashed the set of rings. “I’m Jenna Matthews.”
“Aw, congratulations! Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!”
“And it’s about time, too. You just about disappeared after Harvard.”
Yvonne grimaced. “Don’t remind me. The aftermath of Eve and Stephen was a nightmare I had to deal with on my own.”
Jenna shook her head and closed the door behind them. “No one could believe that the two of you had broken up. After you vanished, rumour had it you two had eloped, but I was sure I knew my roommate better than that.”
Yvonne laughed. “I’m glad you didn’t believe it.” Her son pulled on her pendant so she looked down at the boy in her arms and said, “Aw, excuse my manners, baby. Kendo, this is Aunty Jenna.”
“Hi Kendo,” Jenna crooned. “He is adorable, my lord!”
Kendo took a few of her fingers into his small hand. “Hi,” he said shyly.
“His eyes are like yours, Eve. Absolutely gorgeous. Come to my room, my daughter Tina is playing with her toys.”
“How old is she?” Yvonne asked as they moved, waving to the others in the living room.
“She’s almost four.”
They stopped in the doorway and Yvonne found herself looking at a cute little girl in a powder blue jumper and fur-lined baby boots.
“Well, she’s gorgeous,” Yvonne cooed, smiling at the pretty child with curly blonde hair and chubby cheeks.
“So, where’s Kendo’s father?” Jenna asked, as they watched Eve’s son settle in next to Tina.
Some of the light vanished from Yvonne’s eyes. Her smile faltered and her throat began to hurt a little. Determined not to cry, she cleared her throat and looked directly at Jenna. The sadness still lingered but she managed to say softly, “He passed away in a plane crash before Kendo was born.”
Jenna was horrified. “I am so sorry, Yvonne! I obviously had no idea, but that’s just tragic! Oh, I’m so sorry,” she said again, reaching a hand out to touch her friend.
“You couldn’t have known,” Yvonne said gently. “I won’t lie… it was a really bad time for me and I felt lost and alone for the longest time but,” she said, forcing the smile back onto her face, “ but I’m determined not to get stuck in that pain. I have been recovering.” Pause. “Being here tonight is a big step for me.”
Jenna’s eyes lit up momentarily, but she didn’t say anything beyond, “You’ve always been very strong Yvonne. I’m really glad you’re okay.”
Eve felt comfortable leaving them in the play pen together so the two mothers then went to join the rest of the party. Her black cat suit was as effective as blowing a whistle on the discussion in the room.
“Well, hello,” Jenna’s husband warmly, breaking the silence.
Terrence, she was told, had gone out to get some sauce or other. Jenna’s husband was as handsome as his brother, with the same warm brown eyes, dark wavy and broad shoulders, just a bit shorter and older.
Eve got introduced to the other people in the room and everyone thought she looked very nice, which made her blush a little. The women told her they thought her custom made KKJ ‘bling’ was the sweetest. The men thought it was sexy, the way it hung, nestled in the inviting valley between her shapely, cocoa caramel breasts.
Of course they couldn’t say it quite like that.
Especially since Terrence was walking through the door just as introductions ended. He dropped the paper bag on the counter and stood by one of the pillars that marked the boundaries of his living room. He greeted those who had arrived while he had been out as his eyes devoured Eve and her sexy outfit all the way down to her black sandals.
Somehow he managed a casual, “Hi Yvonne. Glad you could make it.”
She smiled in return.
After chatting briefly, Terrence went back into the kitchen and continued preparing the meal as Jenna acted as hostess.
“Yvonne,” he called from the kitchen minutes later.
She stood up, excused herself and went to the kitchen. “What’s up?”
“Want to help, or just keep me company?”
Before she could answer, he said, “Never mind, just keep me company I wouldn’t want you to mess up your cat suit.”
So she grabbed a stool from the nook and placed it in the entrance to the kitchen. He stood near her as he chopped vegetables for a stir fry.
They were talking and then suddenly Terrence stopped and kissed Yvonne on the lips.
It was a soft, warm kiss and it took her completely by surprise.
At first, she didn’t know what to do. For a moment, she froze, aware of his proximity and the desire in the gesture.
Then she relaxed and let herself enjoy the moment.
When Terrence felt Yvonne respond, he thought he had died and gone to heaven. He stepped closer to her, putting a hand at the nape of her neck. She put her hands on his chest, sliding them up to his shoulders and back down. He groaned and oh so reluctantly broke off the kiss. He didn’t step back until he’d smiled at her and said, “All of a sudden, I’m not so hungry anymore.”
She simply smiled at him again, trying to tell her heart not to beat so hard and her lungs to keep working.
When Flora had told Mike about dinner at Terry’s, he had glowered. She had done everything from pulling his ear to refusing to sleep with him to get him to go with her.
Jenna let them in and Terrence watched as Mike’s face changed from relieved to cold upon seeing him and Yvonne in the kitchen alone. Flora, however, was happy to see the both of them. She even apologized to Eve for hers and Mike’s behaviour the previous night. Then she asked Terry if she could take Eve away. “I really want to see Kendo!”
“If you have to,” he said, sending Yvonne a teasing glance.
Once the two ladies had moved away, Michael leaned over the counter and said in a low voice, “Didn’t you hear anything I said yesterday?”
“I heard a whole bunch of crap, as far as I’m concerned. She came here of her own volition and I don’t see why that should bother you.”
Mike’s eyes flashed but he said nothing. He didn’t have to. In that moment, Terry saw something and knew what it was all about.
“Oh my God.”
Terrence watched his friend shift uncomfortably and try to hide whatever had been on his face a moment ago. He opened his mouth to say something and decided against it. He took a deep breath and started to speak.
“You really are-”
Michael was saved from having that conversation as Flora cooed, “Oh my goodness, he’s so cute. Mike,” she called out delighted, “look, they’re wearing matching designer outfits, mummy and baby are.”
Mike turned to see Flora holding Kendo in his black one-in-all with the personalized KKJ in the front, over his heart.
Terrence watched as Mike smiled and said something funny, making everyone laugh. With a sigh, he put the vegetables in the wok and got back to preparing the remainder of the meal. When they were done, he called out, “Dinner, my good friends, is served.”
Yvonne was the one who called back, “Finally!”
Terrence could have kissed his brother for saying wryly, “I wonder if it’s actually food you’re hungry for.”
She didn’t bat an eyelid. She merely chuckled, “Oh come on Tony, don’t be lewd when we all know that I meant a child can take so much out of you. And as a result, a woman has to eat.”
“Amen!” Jenna concurred.
Later, he realized he really should have been thankful for Yvonne’s response as well. She probably saved the dinner party of any sarcastic remarks from Michael.
Halfway through the meal, they heard a child’s cry.
“That’s Kendo,” Eve and Jenna both said.
Terrence was at the head of the table, nearest the bedroom. He offered to go check on him. Yvonne relaxed. “Thanks.”
Within seconds Kendo had stopped crying and she could have sworn she heard her child laugh. That sound alone filled her heart with so much warmth. It amazed her that Terrence always managed to make her son smile and she appreciated it.
After the meal she and Jenna went to check on their children again. Both were sleeping soundly. When the two of them returned all the seats were occupied save for the two between the Matthews brothers. Jenna plopped down next to her husband Tony, leaving Yvonne no choice but to sit next to Terrence.
Michael had watched all the other guests avoid the love seat. By the time Terrence had finished clearing up in the kitchen, he’d had no other place to sit. He had even left more than enough space for Yvonne, but she is the one who sat near him so that her leg was touching his.
A part of him wanted to, but he wasn’t fully ready to analyse why that even bothered him. He just turned his attention to Flora and acted like all the other guests.