Jenna paced the floor from the window to her desk, her mobile phone plastered against her ear.
“He needs a break.” Shauna’s voice rose with her concern. “He won’t say much, but I gather his latest undercover op. went belly-up. He refused to let them contact me while he’s in hospital. And then turns up out of the blue, recuperating from spinal and leg injuries that mean he’ll never do field-work again. It was his life.”
Jenna knew. She also recognized her best friend’s need to talk out her worries for her brother.
“He met someone in hospital.”
“And?” Jenna prompted.
“He assumed she was a nurse’s aide.”
“She wasn’t?” Tingles ran up Jenna’s spine. How often had previous patients she visited nightly made the same assumptions?
“Apparently not. When he tried to trace her, no one could find any record of her.”
“So how long is he staying with you?” Jenna watched a robin land on her windowsill. It studied her for a moment before tucking into the seed she’d put out earlier.
How would Shauna entertain her brother? Her high-powered city job filled her life. How long would her visitor stay before boredom set in?
The hairs on the back of her neck tingled. “No!” As if she’d heard the verbal request, Jenna knew exactly what her friend intended to do with her brother.
“No, what?” Shauna in innocent mode was an experience in a class of its own.
Jenna hadn’t realized she’d spoken aloud, but the sudden tension zinging between them, confirmed her suspicion. “No!” Her friend's thoughts clamored in her mind, as clearly as if they stood side-by-side. If an ocean didn’t separate them, she’d shake her friend until her teeth rattled. No way would she allow a stranger into her life. Not even for her best friend.
“No! He wouldn’t appreciate my ‘abilities’. You know my nightly healing-jaunts exhaust me. I’m shattered when I wake.”
“I know.” Shauna’s understanding soothed her jangling nerves. “But I so want to meet you,” she paused then wheedled. “I booked a flight.”
“What?” Jenna’s feet halted in the middle of the room. “When?” She’d love to meet Shauna. Just not with her brother in tow.
They’d met online three years ago when Shauna first asked for distant healing for her brother. “A gunshot wound,” Shauna said without going into detail.
Their instant connection strengthened with time, now they talked almost daily. After twelve months Shauna had broken through her reserve and persuaded Jenna to share her deepest secret about her nightly jaunts.
“It’s not lucid dreaming,” Jenna explained. “It’s called ‘astral travelling’.”
“How do you choose who to visit?” Shauna asked. “I don’t.” Jenna still struggled to accept her strange ability to exist in two places at once. “I usually find myself beside patients fearful about pending operations, or those whose families can’t visit.”
“Like Michael.” At the time the wistful tone in Shauna’s voice almost broke Jenna’s heart. “If I’d known I’d have asked you to try and visit him!”
A vision of the long-term patient she’d visited nightly for the past three months filled her mind. ‘Smith’, he’d said when she’d asked his name. Then with a twinkle in his eye, he’d added, “I’ll call you Jones.”
They’d talked endlessly.
“Why do I tell you things I’ve never told another soul?” Belligerence warred with his anguish. “I’m going to miss you.”
Truth, an angry fistful of it, slammed into her heart. She’d fallen in love with someone she’d never see again.
“I’m going home tomorrow.” He’d wrapped his fingers round hers, and his touch arrowed straight to her heart.
Desolation engulfed her. She hadn’t spoken, couldn’t.
Now she understood the term ‘Soul-Mate’, and grieved. Desperately her free hand cupped the back of his midnight-dark hair and pulled him into a kiss.
Shauna’s voice in her ear snapped her out of her memories. She’d never forget them, or him. Smith!
“Talk to me, Jenna!” Concern laced her friend’s demand.
“I said, we’ll be with you in five minutes.”
Her phone slid through her fingers. “What?” She grabbed for the phone before it hit the floor.
“Four minutes, now.”
How could Shauna do this to her? Had she told her brother about her ability to ‘travel’ anywhere during sleep? Would he understand, or would he try to separate her from his sister if he found out?
Her shoulder hitched up towards her ear, what did it matter? Shauna’s opinion mattered, not her brother’s. Her glance rested on Shauna’s latest photo.
Car doors banged and a peal of feminine laughter followed a low-toned male comment.
Fists pounded on her door. “Come on! Open up!”
Excitement zinged through her veins as she flung it open.
Before she could greet Shauna, an unforgettable voice set her heart hammering against her ribcage.
Her focus swung from her long time online friend to the man beside her. Her heart leaped in her chest. The male voice she never expected to hear again cocooned her in jubilation, and like a homing pigeon she walked into his waiting embrace.
“Me!” With a sigh of completion, she wrapped her arms around his waist. Their lips met and mated. Life couldn’t get any better.
They turned when Shauna coughed loudly beside them, a huge grin on her face.
She waved her cell phone in the air. “I guessed, when Michael described you. Now, are you going to invite us inside?”
Jenna stood aside and let Shauna pass, then, with his arm clamped firmly around her waist, she and Michael followed.
It only took a moment in time to change a life, she thought with a smile.
About the Author: Sherry Gloag fell into writing short romance stories when, one day, she encountered writer’s block on her, now soon to be published, romantic novel The Brat, due out later in the year. When she’s not writing Sherry enjoys reading, gardening, walking, craft work. She lives in the East of England, where, like Christopher Robin who enjoyed watching the 'Changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace', she enjoys watching the changing of the seasons in the countryside. http://sherrygloagstheheartofromance.yolasite.com http://sherrygloagtheheartofromance.blogspot.com