Love's Harmony Ch. 01bysimply_cyn©
"Jennifer, I forbid you to do this." Jennifer glanced up from her suitcase at her mother, determination etched in her bright blue eyes. She reached for the folded stack of clothes sitting on her bed and placed them into the suitcase. Betty Matthews moved from the doorway to sit upon the bed. "I'm begging you. Don't do this."
Jennifer straightened up from her suitcase, her hands placed firmly on her small hips. "Mother, you know I can't stay here. Why are you doing this?"
"There are more options than running away. It just doesn't make any sense to quit your job and run off across the country."
"Orlando is not across the country, mother," she sighed, crossing over to her closet. She took the last of the clothes from it and placed them in her hanging bag, smoothing the wrinkles.
Betty continued to shake her head in disbelief. "Don, do something . . ." she implored her husband, who now stood in the doorway. Jennifer straightened up to face her father. She had always looked up to him, admired him. She braced herself for the lecture she knew was sure to come.
"What do you want me to say, Betty?' he answered quietly. "She's an adult and can make her own decisions." Jennifer smiled lightly at him as she moved over to embrace him. Holding her back from him, he looked down into his only daughter's eyes. "That doesn't mean I approve," he added.
"I know," she said, suddenly moved to tears. It had been two months since her fiancée had left her at the altar and now she had to get away, to move on with her life.
"I just don't understand why you don't stay here at least until you find a good job and then move," her mother added. Jennifer turned to face her, knowing she had a good point. She had had a good job here and she knew it didn't make much sense to take off for Florida without a job secured, but she couldn't stay a day more. "It doesn't make sense, Jen. You have a great job as a marketing assistant. You're next in line to become director, quite an accomplishment for your age."
"Mother, I know. But it hurts too much to stay. I can't do it anymore." Betty shook her head again, dabbing at the tears in her eyes. She watched her daughter, proud of her accomplishments and good sense. But this move had her devastated! She just couldn't understand why she didn't take care of the sensible things like a job and a place to live before taking off. She understood why she wanted to go, but her usually good-sensed daughter was all of the sudden acting on impulse and it worried her.
"Why so far away, Jen?" she continued. "Why not just another town?"
Jennifer stopped again, turning to implore her father. "Dad . . ."
"Betty, give it a rest. Let the girl be." He crossed over to place his hand on his wife's shoulder, her hand snaking up to cover his. "She's unhappy and she deserves a chance to make it all right for her." He leaned down to kiss her on the cheek and then added, "She knows she always has a place here," and then looking at her, ". . . if it doesn't work out."
Jennifer smiled again, crossing over to where they both stood. She hugged them, so glad that they were here for her. She couldn't have gotten through these last two months without them. "I love you," she whispered, hugging them fiercely.
"Jennifer . . . you'll call us . . . promise?" Jennifer looked at her parents in the airport, her huge blue eyes filling with tears.
"I'll call. I swear . . . every day . . . and you can come for the weekend when I get settled ..." But suddenly she couldn't go on. All she could do was reach out for them, blindly, barely seeing through her veil of tears. A part of her hated to go but another part of her insisted she cut these last strings with her parents and go on with her life.
Her father wrapped her in his giant embrace, holding her tight to him. "We'll see you in a few weeks. Everything is going to be fine. And you'll finally be happy, honey. That's all we want for you. We're so proud of you." His voice was gentle and soothing as he held her in his arms.
"Do you really think so?" She looked at them, sniffling loudly, and then fresh tears came to her eyes. "I love you so much."
"Now, you just be a good girl and enjoy it. This is your second chance, Jennifer. Not many people get a second chance in life." He was so rationale and she finally smiled. Her father pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
"Now, kiss your mother good-bye and get on that plane. You don't want to start this journey off by missing your flight." He kissed her one last time on the forehead as she moved towards her mother.
She glanced back at them as she ran toward the gate, feeling like a runaway child. Yet her parents were firm and kind and as loving as ever as they waved to her and they stayed until they could see no more of the plane. As they left the airport, Betty walked slowly, thinking back to this past week, to the wedding that had devastated her daughter, and then the last twenty-five minutes. A sudden wave of hopelessness ran through her as she wondered if this had been the beginning or the end of her daughter's happiness. She hoped desperately that things worked out for her in Orlando. She needed it . . .
Jennifer Matthews landed in Orlando at 10:03 that morning. As the plane touched down, she sighed to herself thinking of her fiancée, and all that happened this spring. She strained to see the scenery outside the window, the effort forming a frown between her fine cocoa-brown brows. Blue eyes squinted out from between the thick, long lashes. She longed to see him a thousand times, to toss away her pride and beg him to love her. Now, after two months of torture, she was finally on her way to freedom . . . she hoped.
Jennifer had been shocked when her father had pulled her into the church's bridal room right before the ceremony to tell her that Ty wouldn't be coming to the wedding. She hadn't wanted to believe it. She wanted to chalk it up to the fact that he father had never approved of Ty.
Sure her father was exaggerating, she had wanted to discuss the matter with Ty, but he had been nowhere to be found. Her father was furious over the whole matter and had ordered her to stay away from him, convincing her that it was for the best. Ty Crump had backed out, cold feet, with no explanations. Jennifer's heart and dreams of marriage were shattered. She had believed Ty's declarations of love. For months he had told Jennifer how much he adored her; how they would overcome her family's objections. They had been together as much as possible. Now - suddenly - it seemed as if it had been but an amusing game to him, and he had turned his attentions elsewhere.
She had not seen Ty that fateful afternoon, or any time afterward. She went straight home, and refused to see anyone. Jennifer hid away in the house, weeping and licking her wounds like a crippled little animal. She lost weight and the misery in her eyes was enhanced by the dark circles beneath them.
Now she sat on the huge silver bird, landing in Orlando Florida, a long way from home and the dreadful memories that waited there for her return. With a sigh, she twisted the diamond engagement ring that still sat on her left hand, when she suddenly realized that the rest of the passengers were beginning to deplane and she reluctantly picked up her tote bag and fell in line. She had worn a sleeveless slip-on cotton dress that hung mid-calf with matching white sandals. Her long blonde hair had been pulled back into a ponytail, loosely knotted at her neck. Even with the worried frown between her eyebrows, and the casual clothes she had worn on the trip, she was still a strikingly beautiful woman, and heads turned as men noticed her making her way slowly out of the giant plane. None of them had seen her during the three-hour trip because she had only left her seat once and that was to wash her face and hands. But the rest of the time she had just sat there, numb, tired, dozing, trying to reason out once again why Ty had done this . . . why she had decided on the spur of the moment to quit her job and head to Florida.
A moment later Jennifer was standing in the Orlando airport, looking around with a sense of disorientation, wondering where to go. She hadn't wanted to waste time in Texas by job hunting; she thought she could do it here. But now that she was here, she suddenly realized she didn't know where to start. As she walked through the airport, taking in the ads and posters advertising all the theme parks and things to do in Orlando, she realized that the first thing she had to do was find a place to live.
After locating her luggage on the turntable, she headed out the doors to the line of cabs and vans waiting to pick up passengers. Hauling a cab, she felt foolish when he asked where to. Not sure of where to go, she said, "You tell me."
"Excuse me?" came the reply.
Jennifer laughed bitterly and then asked, "Where's a nice hotel close to the business section?" When he made a suggestion, she said that would be fine and sat back, wondering if it had been a mistake after all to come all this way. She set out to accomplish that task first. She spent all of that first day searching, but not finding anything that suited her. She wanted something that wasn't a closet but that was secure, and those were few and hard to find. That night after not accomplishing anything, she went back to her hotel, deciding that she'd do some checking around and in the meantime, find a job. She didn't have a resume' or anything ready and realized that her parents had been right - she couldn't just run off unprepared, but she was determined not to turn tail and return home defeated.
The next day, she walked all over the city trying to find a marketing job, but they either weren't hiring or were turned off by the fact that she had come so unprepared. Frustrated, near tears, and close to five in the evening, Jennifer decided it was time to call it a day. Her parents were probably right . . . she had had no business running off to Florida to escape her problems and her past. It was like being on vacation and losing all your money ~ what was the use?! She just couldn't bear the thought of turning tail back to her hometown in failure. Besides, she could not be anywhere near Ty . . . it still hurt too much.
That's when she just happened to walk past it . . . Jive Records. She passed by and then backtracked as the sign caught her eye . . . Help Wanted. She looked at the sign again and then past it into the building. She stepped closer, cupping her hands around her eyes and pressing against the window, straining to see through the tinted glass. With a sigh and a quick glance at her watch, she felt she didn't have much choice . . . it was either go in and check it out, or admit defeat and head back to the airport. Setting her jaw, she reached for the door, determination etched across her beautiful brow.
As she walked in, soft rock music filled her ears as the comfortable lobby met her eyes. She quickly scanned the walls, taking in the photographs and records hanging there. "May I help you?" Jennifer turned at the sound, her eyes resting on a young man sitting behind the receptionist's desk. He had short brown hair and wore a pair of designer eyeglasses. He looked up at her from where he sat, a smile spread across his face.
"Hi," she said, unsure of what to say. Turning towards the front door, she added, "I saw your sign outside."
"Oh," he said, standing up to shake her hand. "Great! You're the first one to come in. I just put it out this morning."
"Wonderful," she smiled. "That must mean the job is still available. I'll take it."
He laughed at her enthusiasm, coming around from behind the desk. "Really? Well, maybe I'll tell you a little about the job before you jump to any rash decisions."
"Trust me," she sighed, shaking her head. "I want the job." Watching him for a moment, she continued, "I've been job hunting all day and I am desperate. I need this job, please . . ."
Smiling, he escorted her to one of the couches in the lobby and quickly described what the job would entail. It was basically a receptionist and gopher job, but it was a paying one and would give her access to a computer. She figured she could use it to type up a decent resume', get organized, and then possibly look for a better job, so when he officially offered her the job, she accepted.