Dean merely grinned and picked up the television remote.
Composing the letter took all evening. Julie read it over repeatedly before she was satisfied. In the first paragraph, she thanked Roy for the good times they’d shared, for opening his home and his life to her for even this short while.
That had been the easy part of the letter. More difficult was discussing his utter rejection of her. Then she related her father’s observation, telling Roy he could only trust her as much as he allowed himself to trust. In the last third of the letter, she apologized for her own angry response to his lack of faith.
It was midnight when she finished. Although she’d had trouble sleeping since their breakup, she experienced no such difficulty that night. Once again, she marveled at her father’s wisdom. It really didn’t matter whether Roy ever read her letter. In the process of articulating her reactions she’d found the peace she sought.
The next morning, the last day of school before winter break, Julie took the letter with her, planning to drop it off at the post office. School ended at noon, but after she’d had a festive lunch with the other teachers and straightened up her classroom, it was nearly three. If she posted the letter as she’d originally intended, he might not receive it until after Christmas. She had no idea what his Christmas plans were; maybe he’d already left for a Caribbean cruise or a country inn in Vermont, she thought whimsically. At one time, she’d hoped to invite him and his mother to join her and her father. She hadn’t even had a chance to broach the subject.
Nor had she spoken to his mother since Saturday. Anne hadn’t called her, and Julie didn’t feel comfortable putting his mother in the middle of this awkward situation.
Although it meant facing Jason, the guard at the entrance, she decided to deliver the letter personally.
Julie felt his gaze on her the moment she pulled into the parking lot. His eyes didn’t leave her until she’d parked in an empty slot and then climbed out of her car. Julie half expected the security guard to block the entrance. But Jason sat at his desk, one hand on the phone, obviously ready to call for reinforcements.
He got warily to his feet when she walked in, but remained solidly behind his desk, as if it afforded him protection.
“Stay away from me,” Jason warned.
Startled, Julie glanced over her shoulder. No one else was there. She couldn’t imagine why the burly guard would be afraid of her.
“I don’t know what you did to me, lady, but I don’t want a repeat of it, understand?”
“Jason,” she said in her most conciliatory voice, “what in heaven’s name are you talking about?”
“You know.” He gestured theatrically. “Just stay right where you are. You’re not allowed in this building.”
Actually she’d expected that. “Not to worry, I don’t have any intention of storming into Mr. Fletcher’s office. I have a letter for him.” She advanced slowly toward Jason’s desk, not wanting to intimidate him any more than she already had, although how she’d done that was a mystery.
He backed away until he bumped into the wall behind him.
“All I ask is that you give Mr. Fletcher this letter,” she said, careful to enunciate every word. “You don’t need to deliver it yourself,” she assured him, in case it was the prospect of an encounter with Roy that had unsettled him. “I’m sure Ms. Johnson will be more than happy to see that Mr. Fletcher receives it.”
Jason’s eyes moved past her and a chagrined expression appeared on his face.
Julie looked over her shoulder again to find Roy standing there. He’d clearly just stepped out of the elevator. Her first instinct, absurdly enough, was to turn tail and run. A second later, she seemed completely incapable of moving. Or breathing. Or anything else.
“What’s Ms. Wilcoff doing in the building?” Roy asked the security guard as if Julie wasn’t standing directly in front of him.
“She has a letter for you.”
“Yes. I wrote you a letter.” She hated the way her voice trembled, but she hadn’t been prepared to see Roy. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this!
Jason handed Roy the envelope, which he reluctantly accepted.
Julie’s heart pounded in her ears. She had to escape as quickly as possible. “I’ll leave now,” she said.
“That would be best,” Jason boomed. With his employer close at hand, he’d apparently regained his nerve. He escorted Julie to the front door, going so far as to push it open for her.
Julie felt Roy’s eyes burning holes in her back as she exited the building. She walked at twice her normal speed, intent on getting away.
Then she heard footsteps behind her.
“What’s in the letter?” Roy demanded, following her into the parking lot.
Julie fumbled for her car keys. “I suggest you read it.” She stood by the driver’s door, while Roy waited at the rear bumper.
“I’ll bet you declared your love and described how anguished you are by our parting.”
Julie wasn’t taking the bait. Everything she wanted to say was in the letter; she had no intention of repeating it and then arguing over the points she’d made.
“I’m not interested in the account of your undying love.”
Her hand shook so badly she had trouble pressing the button to automatically unlock her car door.
“You’re no different from Aimee.” He seemed to want to provoke her into losing her temper. “What’s the matter? Don’t you have anything to say?”
A painful breath worked its way through her lungs. “Most everything is in the letter, Roy, but I realize now that there are a few things I left out.”
“Good. You can say them to my face.”