“The jet is ready and waiting, Mr. Crane. We are scheduled to take off in forty minutes.”
“Perfect, I’ll be there shortly.” Julian hung up the phone and headed out the door.
Karen had barely finished packing when someone knocked on her door. Opening the door, she wasn’t surprised to see the Crane limo in her driveway, and the chauffeur patiently waiting on her doorstep. Giving him her bags, Karen followed the driver to the limo.
“We have to hurry, the Crane jet is scheduled to take off in thirty-five minutes,” he said as he held the door open for her.
Nodding, Karen climbed into the car. Waiting for the driver to throw her things into the trunk, Karen surveyed her surroundings. This was not the first time she had been in a Crane limo. Julian had taken her on numerous business trips, yet it still amazed her, the incredible wealth his family processed.
The limo, sleek and luxurious, was just one of the perks of her job as Julian Crane’s personal secretary. On the job with him for two years now, she thought of the day she had accidentally, and literally, bumped into him while jogging in the park one lazy summer afternoon. Being the charmer that he was, he took a liking to her immediately.
Learning that she was a law student, Julian offered her a job as his personal secretary. Desperate for work at the time, and knowing full well that he had more than work in mind for her, Karen accepted his offer.
She grinned at the thought of his numerous attempts to seduce her. Resisting him proved to be a huge challenge for her, but she was determined not to be anyone’s play thing, especially not someone as loose with women as Julian Crane was.
Looking out the dark tinted window, she smiled as she thought of how disappointed he was when she had laid down the law for him. She had fully expected to get fired, but instead he praised her for standing up for herself. He had laughed and told her how rare a find she was, someone who wasn’t out to get something from him.
Since then, they had become close friends. He confided in her, somewhat, though he kept most of his personal problems to himself. His feelings for Eve he kept private, never saying a word, though Karen knew that something was haunting him, hurting him. His moods had been up and down lately, and she guessed it had something to do with Eve. For his sake, she hoped and prayed that he would someday get what he wanted.
At Crane Industries, Julian got into his car and headed for the airport. He popped in his favorite CD and listened to Eve croon, ‘My Baby’s Gone.’ He smiled as he listened to her beautiful voice take him back as he remembered the nights she would sing on stage at the night club in Boston.
In his daydreaming state of mind, Julian stomped on his brakes when a car’s horn blared, and he realized that he was about to run a stop sign. “Sorry.” He mouthed the word to the annoyed driver. Breathing deeply to calm his rattled nerves, he waited for his turn to exit the four way stop.
Arriving at the airport, he arranged for someone to drive his car back to the Crane Mansion. Giving the gentleman a hundred dollar tip, he grabbed his bag and hurried to the terminal.
He smiled when he passed through security and saw Karen waiting at the gate for him. “I see you made it!” he said.
Grinning, she replied, “I wouldn’t miss this for the world. I mean, how often does a handsome, distinguished gentleman ask me to go on a trip with him?” she teased.
“Well now, this must be your lucky day.” He grinned and placed his arm around her affectionately and led her through the gate to the Crane jet. “Let’s go!”
At the hospital, Eve sat in her office on her sofa. After TC had left her with the divorce papers in his hospital room, a nurse had come to see if she was all right. Helping Eve to her feet, she offered to walk her to her office.
Once they got to Eve’s office, the nurse sat her on the sofa and left her to deal with her problem, promising to come if she was needed. Eve thanked her and leaned back against the sofa, tears flowing freely down her cheeks.
A few moments later, Eve raised the blue papers and stared at them miserably. Even though her marriage was in shambles, her relationship with TC strained to the breaking point, Eve hadn’t thought that it would be so difficult to leave it all and sign the papers.
In her heart she realized that no matter what she thought was right, or how much her daughters wanted their family to stay together, it was pointless. She knew that she didn’t love TC the way a man should be loved by his wife. She knew that she could never again have surrendered herself to TC after the night she spent with Julian.
“Julian.” She felt her heart beating faster at the mere thought of his name. He was the man she wanted to be with, the love of her life, the one who set her heart, body and soul on fire every time he touched her, or was simply near her. It had always been this way. She loved him, only him.
Eve’s hands trembled as she turned to the last page of the divorce document. TC had already signed his name, she realized, as a new flood of sadness overwhelmed her and she began to cry again. She couldn’t get over the pain that ending the last twenty years of her life on such a sour note caused her.
TC had been good to her, and she had loved him on some level, just not the way he needed her to. She had invested so much in TC and their life, and she would miss him, but she knew she could never be the wife to him that he expected, ever again.
Finally, after an agonizing moment, she placed her pen on the dotted line and signed her name: ‘Dr. Eve Russell.’ Having done that, she started to cry all over again.
After she had collected her wits, Eve picked up her phone and dialed Crane Industries. “Julian Crane, please.”
“I’m sorry,” the receptionist said. “He’s not in at the moment.”
Not surprised, Eve asked, “Where can he be reached?”
“He left on a business trip.”
“Do you have any idea when he will be back?” Eve asked, her heart sinking with disappointment.
“He didn’t say, ma’am. My guess would be not for a while.”
Panicked, Eve asked, “Why do you say that?”
“He took his secretary with him; that usually means he won’t be back for a while.”
“Thank you,” Eve said quietly, as she slowly hung up the phone. The disappointment was almost more than she could bear. A deep feeling of loneliness suddenly overwhelmed her, and she began to weep. “What will I do without you?” she cried.
On the coffee table lay the blue envelope. She stared at it and wept out loud. Everything was gone: her marriage, her life, and now Julian had left too. Devastated, she picked up the envelope and touched it, trying one more time to grasp the last bit of what was left of her life as she had known it.