He wanted the baby. She didn't.
Griff looked at Janie, at her freckled collarbone, at her still flat stomach and then back up into her gray stare. "How can you murder someone that's us?"
"It isn't us yet--just cells. And it isn't murder. Murder will be what my parents are going to do to me when I tell them."
He sat on the edge of his bed--thought briefly about his mom and dad--and all the throwing away your life comments he'd hear, along with stupid and careless. Maybe she was right.
She wasn't at school for a couple of days. He called until he filled her voice mail. He was afraid to go by her house. Her mother didn't like him. Her brother was a kick-boxer.
She was in the quad the following Monday. She and her friends were sharing a tangerine. Janie looked up. Saw him. He started toward her. She shook her head. Soon the group was walking around the corner of the science building, their short skirts swirling like a colorful cloud. Only the faint scent of tangerine lingered.
Graduation happened six weeks later. She went her way, he his.
Twelve years later he was eating a lobster dinner in a different city in a different state when a blond woman stopped at his table. "Griff? Is it really you?"
He looked up. "Janie?” She was shorter, heavier than he'd remembered, but had the same wide smile, the same gray eyes.
He got to his feet. They hugged. "What are you doing here?" they said simultaneously. He remembered how they used to do that all the time.
Griff told her the name of the electronics firm he was with and that he'd lived here for ten years. She said she was a sales rep for a pharmaceutical company and had just moved here. "Free booze, free dinner. The docs push the drugs. I make good money."
She nodded toward the empty chair and the half-eaten steak. "Date?"
"Former wife. We were discussing finances. She left, mad.”
"Nope. You married?" He thought he'd avoid the kid question. No point dredging that up.
"I never found the right guy."
"Sit down. Catch me up on your life."
"I'd love to, but I see my clients." She nodded toward the small cluster at the doorway. "They take care of people all day but can't find a meeting room. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?"
He was too busy wondering how he'd ever let her go. They exchanged business cards. She scribbled her cell on the back of hers. He did, too.
Janie leaned forward to hug him. Kissed his cheek. "We have a wonderful daughter you might like to meet. Call me!” And then she was moving across the room away from him.
Also by Marion de Booy Wentzien