14 - Jen

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The call from Avery came on Saturday afternoon. Jen had been walking on the beach. It was cold, but she had grown accustomed to it in the short time she was home. It was already mid-March.

"Oh my God, Jen!" Avery started without even a hello.

"Did he tell you everything?" she asked.

"I think so. No wonder you ran away. You walked in on them. Oh, how awful!" Avery said.

Jen thought finally someone to talk to. "He wouldn't tell me everything. I asked if he was in love. By his lack of answer, I take it as a yes. I can't go back there," she said.

"Stay with me until you sort it all out," she said. Jen asked if she was sure and she said, "Yes, just come home. I miss you."

"Okay, I will. I know I need to, but I still am not sure I can go into the office," Jen said.

"Somehow it will be alright," Avery assured her.

"I guess I'll leave early in the morning. I'd better start my goodbyes," she said. Truthfully she didn't have that many, just Megan and Peter and her parents.

She stopped at Megan's. The house was busy but full of joy. She promised her that she'd keep in touch and hugged them each. Then Sophie hugged her and she felt like the Grinch because her heart was growing.

"I'll be back. I've got a lot more work to do," she promised.

At home, she told her parents that she had to go back. She also reassured them that she'd be back. "When," her mother asked.

"Whenever your friend, Alex, finishes the work," she said.

"I don't know why you two started out on the wrong foot, but did you notice that he's really very nice?" her father asked.

"He's okay. He's definitely good at what he does," she admitted.

They spent a pleasant last night together and she left bright and early with a cup of her father's coffee at her side. She had driven across the causeway a number of times during her visit, but it was different this time even though she would be coming back. The excitement she experienced when she was coming home, was replaced with a bit of dread. It was the same when she crossed the bridge over the Piscataqua River into New Hampshire. She stopped once in Massachusetts to use the bathroom and stretch her legs. She bought a packet of nuts, but her appetite which had come back a little her second week had almost disappeared again.

Traffic had flowed all day but slowed heading into the city. She returned the car to their parking garage and debated her next move. She decided to text Sterling, Back in the city. Are you home?

His response came quickly, no, having late lunch.

She went upstairs and collected more clothing and lugged it all including what she had with her in Maine to the curb. Flagging a taxi, she rode the ten blocks to Avery's building and was left on the sidewalk with her luggage. Avery's doorman, Walt, who knew Jen came out to help her.

"Are you expected, Ms. Dixon?" he asked.

"I am, but please Walt, just Jen is fine," she insisted.

She waited as he notified Avery of her arrival and then he helped her upstairs. He did not ask about her luggage. He knew it was not his place. Avery met them by the elevator, she hugged Jen. She explained to Walt to pass the word that Jen would be staying and should always be let in. "and Mr. Dixon?" he asked.

"Please call before sending him up." When they entered her apartment, she said, "Did you take everything?"

"No, I have plenty of clothes there. Thank you for this. I don't know how long it will be. Eventually, I'll need my own place," Jen was rambling.

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