I decided to leave to go get pizza, so I could give her a chance to put herself back together. Shower, maybe. Call Mike, probably. And maybe to try to figure out exactly what happened between us. And maybe so she could figure out what she wanted to do about Mike.
I remember getting in her car, and just sitting in there. Surrounded by her. I wanted to replay everything in my mind, to examine it, to relive it. I wanted to just live in what we had, even if that's all that would ever be--past tense.
For one brief moment she was mine. I just kept seeing those eyes, the trust in them, that fierce tenderness, her hunger, that need.
She wasn't mine, though. She wasn't mine, no matter how much I wanted her to be.
Resolutely, I put those images away, and started the car.
When I got back, she was sitting on the edge of the bed, wearing only a towel, one hand touching the side of her mouth, eyes intent on the movie she was watching. One of her favorites, although she was more of a Reservoir Dogs kind of girl. Never Been Kissed. She'd even made me watch it a time or two.
When she heard me come in, I saw her eyes find her lap, then she looked back to the tv screen.
Over pizza, she told me what happened.
I expected it to get ugly.
"When I woke up this morning, he was in the shower," she began. I breathed a deep sigh, if I was listening, then I wasn't thinking about the taste of her mouth.
"I decided to check my email on his laptop, to take my mind off of how badly I needed to pee, and so I could send you a message. My phone was completely dead."
"I read his messenger messages. Maybe that was my intention in the first place," she laughed ruefully, her eyes looking up at me, "maybe I wanted to find something. Anyway, I did find something. His ex-wife. In this hotel, no less."
"She sent him a cutesie fucking message about last night. And blah, blah, blah, her room number. So, I went. I had to see for myself," she said, her voice breaking, "I just had to fucking see for myself. Because that couldn't be happening, Jared. He couldn't want to fuck his ex-wife, especially after everything that she's done. He couldn't want to do that, especially after making me wait a whole year."
"I found her room. Part of me just wanted to walk away, because I was pretty sure I wasn't going to like what was on the other side of that door."
"I ended up standing outside for like, ten minutes. Finally, I knocked. I covered the peephole first, though."
"Want to know what she said?" "She said, 'Back for more?," Jena's tear choked voice managed to make out the rest of the sentence, "MORE! Can you fucking believe that? So, I left."
"I couldn't think of what to do next. I walked around to the Blackbird, and I sat inside and just cried. I cried until I couldn't breathe. I cried until it hurt. When I was able to stop crying, I came here. I just-- I just needed you."
And, incredibly, she laughed. Even as she wiped the last tears out from under her eyes, she laughed. I jerked my eyes back to her face, expecting more tears, maybe lingering sadness, but she was laughing. It wasn't bitter, and it wasn't caustic, it was her real, honest laugh.
She leaned over into me, still holding her slice of pizza. "When I saw his ex-wife, I thought how ugly she made me feel. How small. How...ordinary. She's this beautiful, blonde, perfect Barbie of a woman. Even at eight in the morning. I bet she doesn't even shit. That it's somehow...beneath her," Jenna mused. "That hurt. This whole big shitty mess--hurts. I'm going to cry a lot, Jared. I'm going to drink my feelings, and I'm going to be angry, and I'm going to probably eat my weight in chocolate. But as long as you're here," her eyes went to her hands, "as long as you're here," she looked up at me, tears in those beautiful dark eyes, the kind of eyes that will always be the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen, as dark as midnight, and as beautiful as forever, "I think I'll figure out how to be okay."
When she looked into my eyes again, she looked calm. Radiant. Not happy, but the worst had passed. She would still let out a shaky I-just-cried-really-hard breath, and her eyes were puffy, but she had this quiet acceptance. Grace. She was gathering up the broken pieces. She wasn't ready to try to piece them together, but she wasn't trying to cut anyone else with them, either. She was dealing with this in a way no one I knew, man or woman, would've been able to.
When we finally went to sleep later that night, she leaned into me, her fingers finding mine in the dark, and whispered, "When I watched the ending of Never Been Kissed earlier today, it made me sad. I wanted to cry."
"When Josie's standing on that plate, waiting, and waiting, and waiting, I felt like that. Only my happy ending didn't show up. I was left waiting on that mound, with no time left on the clock," she paused, the silence growing louder, until she finally spoke again, "that's the worst feeling. Being left."
"But then, when I was trying to figure out what to do next, I knew that there was one person I could count on. But since Jesus is in heaven," she laughed, "and busy... I knew I could let myself come to you, and that you'd be there.
"Thank you," she said, her voice breaking a little. "If I didn't have you, I don't know what I'd do right now. And just like the song says, I could not ask for more. Nite, Jared."