When I walked into the apartment that Tuesday night, Grant was laying shirtless on the couch watching some mindless sitcom and eating ice cream out of the container. He actually had the container resting on his naked stomach.
“Hey guy! What’s going on?”
“Why ever would you think something was going on?” he asked, with his trademark Grant grin.
I sat down near his feet and said, “Let me see. You’re watching a syndicated comedy show on television, half-naked with a pint of ice cream sitting on your belly as you eat it and you have Ben and Jerry’s in that one little piece of chest hair you have there.”
“Hey! I have lots of chest hair. I’m a manly man!”
“Yeah, okay. I guess it’s invisible.”
With a mock wounded look he said, “This is what I need when I’ve had a bad day… insults.”
“Aw, I’m sorry. What happened? Why was the day so bad?”
His eyes looked really sad as he said, “Juniper doesn’t want to see me anymore.”
Her name still really bothered me, but I did my best to be mature about it as I said, “Did she say why?”
“She says we were “fun” but we weren’t “going anywhere.” She says she’s nearly thirty and she needs to know where her future is leading.”
“What? You agree with her? We’ve only been dating for three weeks. You know for me that’s a commitment in itself. Why does she need to know where it’s going already?”
“Let me ask you this. Why does it matter to you all of a sudden? In the past, you would have been happy for an excuse to get out of it.”
“Because I really like her. I really thought she might be the one.”
I laughed and said, “Well then what’s the problem? Isn’t that what she wants?”
“I didn’t tell her that.”
“Why not crazy boy?”
“Because she might be the one, but I need to know her better before I make that decision. I’m not going to tell her something just because it’s what she wants to hear. Then if it doesn’t work out, she gets hurt.”
“Aw, my poor Grant. Here you are, actually trying to do what’s right and getting punished for it and I’m doing everything wrong and getting rewarded.”
He put down the ice cream and swung his legs down and sat up. Putting his arm around me, he said, “You are doing what you’re doing to get back what should have been yours to begin with.”
“And in the process, I’m using the first man that I’ve ever had real feelings for. He’s… God Grant; he’s just everything I ever wanted. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect man. Here I am shopping for a gown so that I can fit in at this ball meanwhile planning to sneak around and go through his father’s personal things. What a horrible person I am.”
Grant pulled me into his shoulder and kissed the top of my head. “You love this guy?”
I felt the tears begin to fall on his bare shoulder as I nodded and said, “I think I am. I’ve never been in love before. I’m not sure what it’s supposed to feel like.”
“So what does it feel like?”
“I can’t think straight when he’s around. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel safe, and he makes me feel beautiful and smart and funny…”
I was sobbing by then and Grant lifted my chin so that he could look at my face when he said, “That sounds like love to me, baby.”
“What should I do?” I asked him.
“I can’t tell you what to do, especially not about this. Everything you’ve done for so many years has been to get where you are now. Seth was a complication to say the least. But now, if you really want to be with him and you want it to work… I’m afraid that you’re going to have to choose.”
“Between him and my company?”
“Think about this,” he said. “If it works out between the two of you and you end up in wedded bliss with two point five children, you could always tell him then. From what you’ve told me, I doubt that he’d choose the old man over you.”
I knew that he was right. I also knew that I couldn’t choose. I was in love with Seth, I was sure of it. I didn’t know how to walk away from that. I didn’t want to. I didn’t know how to walk away from my company either. I didn’t want to. So, after considering Grant’s words all week I got ready for the party Saturday night in a jumble of nerves. I knew I wasn’t ready to tell Seth the truth. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up on my legacy. I wanted it all.