I was touched that he had opened up to me. I wanted to take him in my arms and make it all better… and I had to remind myself that he was right… If he knew they didn’t deserve what they had, then he had to know someone else had lost out or suffered because of it. He was guilty at least of being selectively ignorant. He lived with James Hunter… he ran his company… he had every opportunity to find out exactly what his father did, so why didn’t he?
“So he admitted that he knew his father was doing business… unethically?”
Grant and I were sitting on our couch sharing a pizza and having a beer. It was three days after the night Seth had opened up to me. I was still torn about whether or not he had actually admitted that he knew anything. The bottom line to me was that he had a complicated relationship with his father. He knew that James Hunter was not a good man… but he was his father. That had to be a terrible position to be in.
“He admitted that he suspected it. I don’t honestly think he really knows anything. I doubt that James Hunter is the type of man to come right out and admit to anything, even to his son. Seth says that how the family looks outwardly is overly important to him.”
Grant took a bite of his pizza but as he chewed it, I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. After he swallowed and took a swig from his beer he said, “Are you sure that the feelings you have for this guy are not clouding your judgment just a little bit? I mean, he’s the CEO of this company. Don’t you think it would be next to impossible for him to represent, run and maintain this business having no idea where it came from?”
I hated it when Grant expressed the private thoughts I had but didn’t want to even hear myself. “Next to impossible… maybe. But if he really didn’t want to know, I guess he could just close his eyes to that part of it.”
“Then doesn’t that make him guilty still?”
“Guilty of what?” I asked. I knew the answer but I felt so compelled to defend him.
“You can be guilty by a lot of acts, honey. The act of omission, feigning ignorance when others are being hurt by something someone else is doing… looking the other way…”
I looked at Grant and for the first time, I spoke the truth out loud, “I don’t want him to be guilty of anything. I want to find out that it was all James and Seth knew nothing about a little girl whose inheritance was stolen away.” I was crying now and as the tears rolled silently down my cheeks I went on, “If he knows something and he didn’t do anything about it… then I’m falling in love with an unethical man.” I was sobbing and Grant put down his beer and held open his arms. I moved into them and we sat there on the couch for a long time with me sobbing and him petting my hair and shushing me and telling me it was all going to be okay. I didn’t believe him. How was it going to be okay? Either I was going to lose everything I’d worked for or I was going to lose Seth.
I woke up Sunday morning with the same thought on my mind that I’d had every day for the past two months: Erin. I couldn’t get her out of my mind and the strangest part of all was that I hadn’t even had her in my bed yet. For me, that was an oddity. Erin was the first woman I’d ever met that I had found worth waiting for. I typically met women who were ready for my bed as soon as they heard my name. The Hunter name carried a lot of clout in New York’s circles of high society. Any number of women were eager to get close to me. It brought them one step closer to my name and my father’s money. That was how I thought of it… my father’s money. The money I made as CEO of the company I spent without qualms. I worked hard and I felt deserving of it. The money in the trust fund that my father set up for me and allowed me access to on my twenty-fifth birthday was his money, not mine. I had yet to touch it.
I got out of bed and shook off thoughts of my father, replacing them with the much more pleasant ones of Erin. I took my shower and dressed in anticipation of the day we were going to spend together. This was my weekend to choose and since she’d had an obligation with her roommate on Saturday night, I had chosen tennis at the country club on Sunday. It would afford me an entire day with her and if things went as I hoped, a room at the club would be waiting for us when it was over.
I picked up Erin outside of her apartment at ten a.m. I found it strange that I still hadn’t been inside her apartment, or that I hadn’t met the roommate she talked with such fondness about. I didn’t get the feeling that she was hiding anything sinister. It was almost as if whatever she hadn’t shared with me was too painful and it kept her from crossing that final line that would bring us together as a couple. I had some painful secrets of my own, however so I wasn’t in a position to demand answers. I was certain of how I felt for her, however. All I needed to do now was make sure she was certain of how she felt about me.