Jenna Terrington gave her carry-on bag one last shove and said a silent prayer of thanks as she felt it give way and slide into the cramped overhead compartment. All she wanted was to sink down into her cramped coach seat and get lost in the fashion magazine she’d purchased for the three hour trip.
She plunked down in her aisle seat and ran a hand through her chestnut hair. A wave of relief washed over her at the sight of the two empty seats beside her. She didn’t have the energy or the desire to make small talk with anyone today, least of all with strangers. All she wanted was to be alone. There was a time when she’d been eager to strike up a conversation with someone she didn’t know, the life of every party, the one who made others feel at ease in social settings.
But that was then.
This was now.
Jenna hated what she’d become since the divorce. It was one of the main reasons why she’d decided to pack up and move to Atlanta. She needed a fresh start, a chance to reinvent herself in a place where the memory of Drew’s infidelities wouldn’t shadow her every step of the way. The booming city was exactly what she needed-a place where no one knew her business, and furthermore, no one cared.
Her pulse thudded in her ears as the gravity of the situation finally hit her. She was starting over. Moving to a city where the only person she knew was her sister, Meg. Since she’d made the decision to move two months ago, she’d tried not to think about what would come next. Sure she had a good sum of money in the bank from the divorce settlement and an apartment that she’d prepaid for the first six months, but then what? Get a job? Write the novel she’d always talked about? Go back to school? The possibilities were endless.
For seven years she’d been so busy being the good doctor’s wife and obsessing over their unsuccessful attempts to have a baby that she hadn’t had a chance to figure out who she was or what she wanted from life. But now she had all the time in the world…and it scared her to death.
Jenna’s chest tightened uncomfortably and her breaths came quick and shallow. Who was she kidding? She wasn’t the type of person who could start over. She should get off this plane right now and ask her parents if she could move back in with them. At least then she wouldn’t have to face the uncertainty of the future and the possibility of failing at what she did next-just as she’d failed at her marriage.
A sudden bump on the elbow jolted Jenna back to reality. She glanced up at the source: a black carry-on bag being pulled by a pair of brawny shoulders.
“I’m so sorry,” the owner of the bag and the shoulders said as he craned his head to face her.
“That’s okay,” she mumbled, sinking back in her seat to be alone with the panic still swirling in her chest.
But he didn’t move on.
“Jenna? Jenna Miller? Is that you?” she heard him say.
She couldn’t remember the last time anyone called her by her maiden name, so it took a minute to register that yes that was her name-again.
By the time Jenna looked up, the man had turned full circle and was pushing his bag back up the aisle until he was beside her. Now able to get a good look at his face, a wave a familiarity washed over her.
“Doug?” Jenna asked feeling some of the tightness in her chest subsiding. “Oh my…Doug Saxon. I haven’t seen you since… high school graduation? Has it been that long?”
She and Doug had gone to the same small town high school. Although they hadn’t been close, with several mutual friends they often found themselves hanging out in the same places, going to the same parties. Doug looked much the same as he did when she last saw him. His sandy hair was cut shorter now, but it still curled slightly around his ears. And he’d managed to maintain the trim physique that Jenna had secretly admired as a teen.
“It has. It has. How’ve you been?” he asked casually.
As she looked up into his warm brown eyes, Jenna thought about his question. How was she? She was alone for the first time in seven years. She was scared out of her mind. But the realization suddenly hit her; she could handle this. After what she’d been through-she could handle anything.
Like a balloon pricked by a pin, she felt all of the tension that had been building released in a sudden rush. “I’m okay, Doug,” she answered truthfully. “And you?”
“I’m good. Just heading back home to Atlanta after visiting my parents. They keep bugging me to move home, get married, give them some grand babies. You know the drill.”
Jenna chuckled, feeling more at ease than she had in some time.
He looked at her intently, his eyes searching her baby blues. “You know, it’s weird; I was thinking about you the other day. It’s really great to see you.”
“Would you like to sit down and catch up?” She was so shocked to hear the words come out of her mouth that she nearly turned to see where they came from.
His full lips spread into a smile. “Sure.”
Doug settled in beside her, and as they chatted about mutual friends and his life in Atlanta, Jenna felt warm, comfortable, and wondered why she’d never considered dating Doug in high school.
“So why are you going to Atlanta? Meeting your husband?”
The question hit her like a blow to the chest. It was a perfectly reasonable question, she knew. Most people their age were married. But back in her hometown, everyone knew about the divorce, so she hadn’t had to deal with the questions. She realized that now she was going to have to get used to it.
She took a deep breath. “No. I’m divorced, so it’s just me.”
Doug’s eyes filled with concern. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t worry about it,” she replied with a shrug of the shoulders. “Actually I’m moving to Atlanta, and to tell you the truth, I’m pretty nervous about the whole thing.” It was the first time she’d admitted it to anyone, and it made her feel a little better.
“Well don’t be.” he replied. “It’s a great city. You’re gonna love it.”
“I hope so.”
“Since you’re new to The Big Peach, maybe I could take you out and show you the sights sometime.” A slight smile tugged at his lips.
Jenna’s heart sped. “I’d like that, Doug.”
And as the plane took flight, her heart soared along with it.
Yes, things were looking up.
She was starting over.
Learn more about Marcy Bassett-Kennedy at her SHOWCASE PAGE.