Was there ever something you couldn't explain? Why you liked someone—why you didn't? Darcy met Ross right after the death of her sister, Janna. When she'd been left with a baby girl Darcy had no clue what to do with either the baby or the restaurant her sister had so loved—her Elvis themed restaurant. The janitor/handiman kept showing up at the most inopportune times—and never seemed to leave. Why would he want to help her care for a newborn baby? Why would he want to stay around her when all she wanted to do was throw up her hands and cry?
Were there forces beyond their control? Things they couldn't understand? Oh yeah.
"Ladies, gentlemen. If I may have your attention, please." He waited until the room quieted. "I would like to thank each of you for joining us in this special occasion. Before we start serving tonight, we'd like to have a moment of remembrance. Each of you has roses in the vases on your table. If you will please take one per person and rise, I invite you all to join us in honoring the two people who will always mean so much to this restaurant—James and Janna LaCock."
Darcy looked to Ross, who nodded and rose. He removed one yellow rose and one red rose—the only one in the restaurant—and handed it to her.
"Yellow for their friends, love, and red for the person who loved them. I invited your mother to be here tonight as well, but she wanted to stay home with Emma. Said she didn't think she could come without breaking down. But she knows what we're doing, and she has her own rose as well. She said her heart will be here with us."
Taking her hand, he assisted her to her feet as patrons all around the restaurant rose and filed by the long table up front, placing their yellow roses in front of two pictures—one of James and one of Janna.
In the background, Elvis sang, 'I will spend my whole life through, loving you, just loving you. I'll be faithful I'll be true, always true, true to you.' Tears rolled down Darcy's cheeks as she peered at the table—covered with so much love from everyone. Without knowing them, she knew these people were patrons of Janna's restaurant. They'd come to honor her tonight because they'd loved her. Ross gathered her into his arms and pulled her close.
After the customers returned to their seats, the restaurant staff moved forward, many with tears streaming unashamed down their faces.
Customers had placed their flowers all along the table, but none near the photographs. The staff placed theirs directly to each side of the photographs, symbolizing they were family.
When the staff had finished, Ross stepped forward and placed his yellow rose directly in front of the two pictures. Then he waited for her. Said nothing.
Tears flowing freely down her face, she joined him and placed her red rose next to his.
She stood there, staring at the pictures. Ross saw her entire body start to shake. He quickly grabbed her before she slumped to the floor.
Leading her back to their table, he kept his arm firmly around her waist.
He handed her the handkerchief from his suit jacket to wipe her tears.
"I had a feeling you'd need this tonight."
She smiled feebly and nodded.
Waiters began delivering everyone's meals, and Ross was pleased when he saw the extra care they took with Darcy's food. He watched her eying him as he ate his salad. Saw her follow his tongue as it darted out to capture the thousand island dressing—just as she'd done weeks before. As it had then, lust shot directly to his groin. Soon he was going to do something about that.
The main course arrived right after they finished their salads.
Darcy's well done steak and his lobster. Both cooked to perfection—although he knew the chef groaned every time he heard the words 'well done' in connection with his steaks.
"The new owner seems very nice," she said after swallowing a bite of her steak.
Ross almost choked. "Excuse me?"
"The man that came out earlier. I assume he's the new owner."
"Steven? Yes, in a manner of speaking he is. He'll be overseeing most of it. He likes staying near home and doesn't like to travel to our other restaurants."
The instant the words were out of his mouth, he groaned.
"Your other restaurants? What restaurants?" Her eyebrows furrowed. "I thought you were the maintenance man for this building."
She stopped a minute and thought back. "You said we ordered the china from Hungary. We who? Just what is it you do, Mr. Grayson?"
'We can't go on together with suspicious minds.' Damn that sound system. Maybe he shouldn't have agreed to keep it.
Ross reached forward to cover her hand, but she pulled it away.
"Who are you?"