Hannah and Ray's engagement party went to the early hours of the morning, and as Hannah's Maid of Honor, Janet found a way to smile, dance and politely laugh her way through the party, which went on well into the night. She let on to no one that her heart was breaking into tiny little pieces. She tried to push it out of her mind, but Eddie's words, and her actions, were repeating like an unstoppable loop in her head. To make things worse, she had to deal with Rooster's presence as both an annoyance and a reminder. She dealt with him, as best she could, by ignoring his very existence until he eventually got the hint and backed off.
And on she smiled, because in spite of her heartbreak, Janet just couldn't bring herself to take any joy from Hannah on this important day. It wasn't until the guests became scarce that Janet hugged Hannah and Ray goodbye and drove home. Alone.
When Janet got to her house, she realized she hadn't left any lights on. Appropriate, she thought to herself. She opened her front door, and found her way to the couch in the dark. It was then, and only then, that she let the tears flow and the sobs come. For the first time since leaving Eddie in that hospital room she allowed herself to break down. She sat there, alone, in the dark, crying, while in her mind she continued to play out the events of the past few days. Defeated, she sat there, her mascara running down her face and drying into dark smears down her cheeks. Janet then lay down on her couch, curled up on her side, and cried herself to sleep.
A few hours later a dream woke Janet, a nightmare really. She relived those embarrassing, life altering moments with Rooster, and then she relived those horrible moments in the hospital with Eddie. The horrific moments flashed in sequence with screaming noise piercing her eardrums. In her mind, Janet tried to reach out and trace the outline of Eddie's bruised and horrified face, wishing he would let her touch his face, and take away his pain. Unfortunately, in her dream, Eddie's eyes showed her no more compassion than he had that afternoon in his hospital room. She cried again, a deep sorrowful cry that eventually gave way to recurring sobs which finally gave way to a blank void of emotion.
Realizing she couldn't sleep, and she shouldn't cry anymore, she reached to turn on the light. She leaned forward, grabbed some matches and lit her Macintosh Yankee Candle. Something about that smell reminded her of the fall, and the fall made her think about the good times, the best times really, with Eddie Latekka.
At four o'clock in the morning, feeling alone and in pain, she thought about whom she could call. She thought about whom she could lean on in her hour of need. She couldn't call her grandparents; they'd have a heart attack if their phone rang at that hour. She had lied to Hannah about the state of her relationship with Eddie and, she realized, Hannah was most likely asleep in Ray's arms. She was growing close to Pizza Girl, and even Allison, but didn't feel that she had the right to bother either of them at such an hour. And she certainly wasn't ever going to make the mistake of calling Rooster again. No, not ever again. And, the worst part, she realized with a heavy heart, was that she couldn't call the one person in the whole world who could take away her pain and make her feel better. She couldn't call Eddie.
This time, with nowhere else to turn, she decided she would get her emotions out on the written page. Janet Meadows had kept a journal for years, but if she was honest with herself, over the past six months it had turned into her own personal ode to the man she was falling in love with. On its pages were the most important moments of her relationship with Eddie. Before picking up the pen to write, she couldn't help but turn the pages back to entries she made in the past few months and as she sat there, Janet got a little lost in re-reading her favorite love story, the story of Janet and Eddie. Truth be told, this was the first time she had taken the time to re-read what she had written about her and Eddie. She hadn't needed to. Looking back wasn't something she had done very much since she and Eddie had become serious about dating. With her and Eddie it had been all about enjoying the moment and, from time to time, even looking forward a bit.
The first comments about Eddie, at least the grown up version of Eddie Latekka, the man who would first be her customer/protector at Sully's, then her friend, and later her lover, appeared long before he ever asked her out. As their friendship grew, and he spent more nights on his perch at her bar, they talked often and shared many a drink. Most of the early comments were about the unexpected warmth of their friendship. She had a few random comments about his pick up lines and those nights when everyone else thought he'd gone home with some girl, but in truth he'd ended up sitting across from her at last call. Often, on those nights, he would walk her to her car or take her out to the diner for a late night breakfast where there would talk, and laugh, for hours before calling it a night.
She read entries about a few isolated times where she had ended up helping him home after he had 'tied one on' at Sully's. And, a couple of those 'good will' missions had been very entertaining indeed. Like the time he didn't realize who she was and pulled her into bed with him. They hadn't kissed, but she had her first realization about good his arms felt around her. Which, of course, she quickly pushed out of her mind, as she got up from the bed and left him to sleep it off, alone.
When things began to change, the references to Eddie Latekka became more frequent and more personal. The minute Nick came back to town, before he ever asked her out, she wrote about how concerned she was for her friend, because she knew how confusing Nick's return must be for him. And, when he got into the tussle with the college student, and pushed Aubrey after seeing Nick again, she wrote about how she had offered to take him home, and how much she had hated having to call the cops that night. And, she wrote about seeing him the next day when he walked to Sully's to retrieve his truck.
Janet looked up from the book, and sighed lightly, as she recalled how easy conversation was, even then, between her and Eddie. And, how, he seemed to react to her, smile at her, in a way that was different. She just didn't know, early on, what exactly that meant or what it would become. A tear escaped and rolled down her cheek as she realized that she still didn't really know what it had become for Eddie, but she knew in her heart of hearts what it had become to her. Eddie had become her everything.
Janet went back to reading, needing to get back to better times. On the next page she could literally see the shift in her emotions as she wrote about how Eddie had surprisingly asked her out. Ernesto, 'the singing koala bear'. The confusion she felt -- mixed with absolute joy -- at the idea of a date with Eddie. But also the nagging doubt, the questions she kept asking herself -- what does he see in me? Did he really ask me out? Is this for real?
She wrote about how Eddie had come by the bar to ask her if she had 'thought about' going out with him. And, how she looked him in the eye and asked him if he was serious.
Janet looked up from the journal as she recalled their exchange:
"Hi Eddie. What goes on?"
"Not much, if you don't count the surprise return of long lost Nicholson Garrett to the Ridge. I'll take a draft. Thanks."
"How's that going? Have you talked to him?" Janet asked with honest concern as she placed his drink in front of him.
"No, and you know what? I don't really want to talk about him now," Eddie said with a smile, and then a pause before continuing, "So, have you thought about the question I asked you the other day?"
"Ernesto you mean?" Janet smiled and blushed.
Eddie smiled right back at her, "Um. Yeah. Ernesto." And, then with eyes that pierced right into Janet's heart Eddie continued, "What are you doing tomorrow night? Are you working?"
"Not working. I've got nothing going on." Janet replied evenly, still not hearing the word 'date' at any point. "Eddie, are you serious?""
"Of course I'm serious. I'll pick you up at your house at six." Eddie sipped his beer, Janet smiled and shook her head, and walked away to take care of another customer, and if she was honest with herself, compose herself.
The next page was about their first real date, Hugo's Hideaway, and how she had wondered the whole time if it really was a date. It struck her that as nervous as she had been, the conversation both to, and from, Hugo's had been so easy, so natural, and completely enjoyable. It seemed like a date in every way, except for that kiss on the forehead. Sure she was guarding herself a bit, but she recalled how much she wanted it to be a date. And how much she wanted him to kiss her. She surprised herself with the level of disappointment she felt when the date ended on that note. After Eddie dropped her off the self-doubt crept back in and she headed for the nearest bag of cheese puffs. As she sat there eating her favorite comfort food, Janet wondered if she blew it by doubting his willingness to be seen with her in public. Or, if this truly had been just two friends, hanging out.
Then came the Rowan BBQ. After getting over her surprise at the invitation, she had really looked forward to that day because, she told herself, this had to be a date. When he didn't show up, she honestly didn't think her friendship with Eddie would survive that cruel blow. As she wrote:
Today sucked. Seriously sucked. First Eddie blows me off for the BBQ and then poor Sam ends up in surgery. And, damn it, I feel responsible. If I weren't so bummed about Eddie, Hannah never would have sent Sam on his secret mission and he never would have gotten hurt.
Thank god Sam is going to be okay. I love that kid so much. What would Hannah do if she lost Sam? What would I do?
So, there I was, walking out of the hospital on a mission to bring back Sam's Teddy Walrus and who do I run into? Yes. Eddie. Why did he insist on going to look for Sam's Teddy Walrus with me? And, why did he have to be so completely irresistible at that moment? How's a girl supposed to resist that smile? Next thing I know we're at Hannah's house on a stuffed animal hunt.
Eddie found Sam's Teddy Walrus and we ended up having a real, honest to goodness heart to heart and then… nothing. NOTHING!
Why is it that I just can't shake the feeling that there is more to Eddie than meets the eye? Having said that, nothing changes the fact that I'm mad as hell at Eddie Latekka and, frankly, a bit gun shy about ever trusting him again.
I've got to go call Hannah and check on Sam…
Janet just stared blankly as she moved onto the next page. This page was about that unforgettable first kiss. She wrote about the pure joy mixed with slight embarrassment she felt after Eddie walked out of the bar for the second time after the twirl.
Wow. Today was just… amazing. Eddie kissed me. Eddie Latekka, the player, the captain of the football team, my friend, kissed me. But more than that, Eddie poured his heart out to me. He was so vulnerable. He looked at me like I was the only other person in the world and then he kissed me. It literally took my breath away.
Where we go from here I have no idea… but that kiss? I've been kissed before, but never quite like that.
And, what girl wouldn't twirl after that speech and that kiss? Well, I couldn't help myself. Who knew Eddie would come walking back in and catch me mid twirl? I have to admit that I was totally embarrassed. And, I say I was catching a horsefly? What was that? The look on Eddie's face was priceless. And, just like that, he was gone again. And, I was left wondering if I had just imagined the most perfect of moments.
That is until Sully came over, gruffly told me to get back to work, and then gave me a knowing wink and a smile.
I honestly can't wait until Eddie comes back from his trip to find Owen. Which, by the way, how amazing of a friend is he? He'd better not forget what he started here, because I am so ready to pick up where we left off.
Janet found the corners of her mouth turned up slightly as she was brought back to that critical moment in her relationship with Eddie. And, she turned the page to a smaller entry.
Eddie called me from NYC today. I missed the call, but he left me a quick message. He said he found Owen and would be back soon. Then he called himself my secret admirer. Am I dreaming all of this? I got butterflies just listening to that message. I can't wait for him to get back and for us to figure out what comes next for "Janet and Eddie."
Janet closed the book as she heard and felt her stomach growl. She had no desire to eat, but she figured that she had better eat something. As she walked towards the kitchen she noticed the message light blinking on her phone. She didn't check caller ID, she just played the message:
"Janet, it's me Eddie. I don't know what to do with what I'm feeling here, but I also can't believe what I said to you. Don't get me wrong, I'm mad as hell. And I'm hurt… But… I need to know that you're okay. Call me."
Just when Janet thought she had no tears left, they came back in full force. Eddie had called, at some point in the day. He called her house phone not her cell, probably knowing that she was at Hannah's party. She checked the time of the call, and realized he had called about 10 minutes before she came home. What did this mean? As much as she wanted to know, she didn't want to wake Eddie up at this hour, so she decided she would call him later that day.
Not knowing what else to do, she stood there and replayed his message, listening to his raspy, beautiful voice over and over before eventually saving the message and going to the kitchen to make some tea and toast.