When I wrote Knowing Stranger, I hadn’t imagined any sequels, but there were a few readers who wanted it. So here is part two. I hope you enjoy the read.
Janice’s thoughts weaved in and out of the ruminates of the previous night as she hoed her garden in preparation for the flowers she planned to put in once May hit the calendar. She had a good time at the party — to her surprise. It was fun to mingle again. Did Willa know that Neil and her had a past? She doubted it, but then again, maybe that’s how he got invited. Whatever the case, they hadn’t been serious those many years ago. In fact, they had been more of good friends with kissing privileges. It never had gone any further than that.
Neil had told her about his failed marriage and the twin girls he shared custody of with his ex-wife. Children hadn’t come into her own marriage. Her ability to have children was quashed by abnormalities with her reproductive organs. Adoption had been discussed, but somehow never became a reality.
Now thinking about Neil, she wondered why it hadn’t gone any further. She knew that she wasn’t thinking about romance at the time. She just wanted to finish college. She didn’t have a clue as to how Neil felt at the time though. She had assumed his focus was the same as hers.
Picking up her tools to take back to the shed, she heard her phone ringing. She dropped her tools to run for the phone laying on the table under the canvas cover that shaded the patio. “Hello,” she said with lost breath.
“What are you doing, running a marathon?” She could almost hear the smile in Neil’s voice.
“Did Willa give you my number?”
“Yeah, that’s okay, isn’t it?”
“Sure,” she answered, realizing the sharpness in her voice. “I’m just surprised to hear your voice, Neil. To answer your question, I was running to catch this phone call. I was in the yard tilling soil.”
“I’m going to be in town for a few more days. I was wondering if I could con you into dinner on Tuesday.”
“Yeah, that would be nice. Fancy or casual?
“Casual. I haven’t changed all that much, Janice. I still prefer jeans and a t-shirt. How does 6:30 sound?”
“Will do. I’ll be ready with a scrunchy in my hair,” she said.
Both laughed as they remembered an incident in their connected past.
During the following two days, Neil and Janice, separately, had bouts with reminiscing. The two years of college they had spent bumming around together had given them the release they needed from their studies. During those hours, each could forget the pressure put on them by studies, family and themselves. They were brief interludes of feeling carefree. When it was time to say good-bye, neither one had tears for the other one. Their departure scene at the airport was brief; one getting on one plane and the other heading for the ticket counter of another. There weren’t any promises of keeping in touch.
Janice wondered if Neil had had more serious feelings for her in college but didn’t want to appear that romantic. And what if he wanted to pursue her now with those intentions? She hoped not.
I’m hoping the end of this one will be next Friday. It’s not that I don’t like doing these sort of stories. It’s the fact that they’re cutting into time I’d like to be spending on my writing project. I’m not very good at multitasking.