Janet and Tex have a terrible fight, and he beats her. When she’s at the hospital, she finds out she’s pregnant.
She pressed charges against Tex, and they put him in jail for nine months. Unfortunately, her baby didn’t make it that long. She carried it four months before she miscarried. By this time, she was back in Nebraska staying with her Aunt Martha and Uncle Buck. She got a job working as a school secretary at the high school while she waited for a teaching job to open up. When it did, she took it and didn’t look back.
She hadn’t heard from Tex, and had no idea where he was. She’d tried to find him so she could divorce him, but he’d been released from jail, and disappeared off the face of the earth. After a year of teaching, she got her own place, next door to Ramona’s parents. Her best friend was married and happy. The mother of two, with a third on the way, she and Janet spent every possible minute together. They were at her mother’s house one day, helping make buñuelos for Christmas, when an unfamiliar car pulled up in front of the house. A tall, muscular man with close cropped black hair got out, stretching before he walked slowly up to the door. He had a slight limp, but there was no disguising that walk. Janet’s heart skipped a beat. Her breath caught in her throat.
“Diego!” she gasped.
Running to the door, she flung it open before he knocked. He stood on the porch, eyes wide with disbelief.
“Janet? Baby, is that really you?”
“You bastard!” She slapped him. “You quit writing. I didn’t hear from you! Where have you been?”
Diego grabbed her to him as she tried to beat him. Laughing, he held her wrists in his hands, firmly but gently.
“Not quite the greeting I envisioned,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s a long story, baby. Can I come in my mother’s house, and take a piss before I tell you?”
Janet’s kiss nearly knocked him over. Diego held her, kissing her with unequaled desire. Gasping and crying, she let him come inside. He went quickly to the bathroom, then came out to meet his niece and nephew, and see the rest of the family.
His mother nearly smothered him with kisses. His father, who was unable to rise from his recliner without help, took his hand. Ramona hugged him, standing a foot away because of her pregnant belly. The whole time his family mauled him, he held Janet’s hand. When they’d finished, he drew her to him once more, kissing her. He couldn’t believe she was really there.
“I’ve missed you,” he whispered.
It took a while, since the family kept interrupting, but he explained where he’d been and why he hadn’t written. While in the Navy, he was approached by the government, asking him to work for the CIA.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said, apologizing. “I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I’ve been working for them for three years, but I finally gave it up. I nearly died on my last assignment. I can’t tell you a thing about it….” He looked sad, closing in on himself.
Janet took his hand, raising it to her lips. “It’s okay. You don’t have to explain to any of us. We love you, no matter what.”
His parents wanted him to stay the night in his old room, but Janet invited him to stay with her instead. He grabbed his things from the car and went with her to her house.
“I need a shower,” he said with a grin. “Otherwise you’re not gonna want to be around me. I’ve been driving for three days. I had to get home.”
She showed him the bathroom and got him towels. He sang as he bathed and she smiled when she heard the words. He was the only person she knew who’d be singing Stairway to Heaven in the shower. He shut the water off when he got to the last, “And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
©2020 Dellani Oakes
To Buy Dellani’s Books