“I should have listened to you in the first place. You called it. You said I was going to get hurt… that I couldn’t have it both ways…”
“I say a lot of things. I like to hear myself talk. Baby girl, you have a beautiful heart and that heart fell in love and no matter what a big bag of wind like me says, you can’t stop that from happening when it’s right. So if for no other reason, get out of this bed, get dressed and go fight for that man you love so much.”
“I don’t know how. How do I do that? He’ll never trust me again.”
“Never say never baby. He’s had a week to think about things. He’s had a week to figure out why you did what you did. Now go find him and tell him that you still love him. Tell him he’s more important than a company.”
“That’s true. I’d be willing to walk away from it… for him.”
“I know. I can see how much you love him. He’s the one you need to convince. You can’t do it looking like this though. Damn! You should see that hair. You look like a cavewoman. And that breath! You ever heard of mouthwash?”
I laughed, which is exactly what Grant was going for. “I’ll shower and brush my teeth,” I told him. “Then we’ll see.”
“Good. One step at a time. Personally, I will appreciate the shower…”
“Shut up!” I said, socking him in the arm. I hadn’t left the house for a week, or paid attention to what I looked like, but I showered and brushed my teeth every day and he knew it. He was trying to make me feel better and as usual, he had.
He stood up and headed for the door. When he got there he looked over his shoulder and said, “Eat the pancakes too.”
“You’re not my mom,” I told him with a smile.
“If I were, you’d be a lot better behaved,” he said. “Now get in there and shower and then come back and eat!”
“Okay, Mom.” Still smiling I got up and headed into the bathroom for my shower. When I got there, the mirror confirmed what he’d said: my hair made me look like a cavewoman.
I spent a long time in the shower. As the hot water cascaded across my shoulders and down my back and I breathed in the warm steam, I tried to reach a new perspective on things. Maybe if I told Seth that I loved him enough to give up my quest, he would believe that I hadn’t just been using him. Was that me being weak? Was that compromising my values and giving up what I believed in? Maybe, but if I was forced to choose, I decided that love was the way to go.
I had just finished dressing in jeans and a t-shirt and was pulling my hair back into a ponytail at the nape of my neck when there was another knock on my bedroom door. I sighed heavily. I loved Grant, but he could be the biggest pain in my neck sometimes. “I showered and brushed my teeth! I don’t want the pancakes!” I was still in the steamy bathroom when I heard the door open. The reply made me drop the brush I was holding in my hand to the floor.
“Okay, no pancakes. How about a latte?” It wasn’t the words that surprised me. It was the voice. It wasn’t Grant. It was Seth.
I tentatively stuck my head out the door. He was standing there holding two paper cups looking as fresh and gorgeous as ever. “I’d love a latte, thank you,” I said. I worried for a second that I was having a hallucination. He held the cup out to me and I stepped over and took it out of his hand. As I did, our fingers brushed. I’d never been so tempted to throw myself into someone’s arms in my life. I suddenly realized what a mess my room was. I hadn’t had the energy to do much of anything the past week. Cleaning my room was low on the agenda. “Excuse the mess.”
Seth glanced around the room. Great! I’ve called it to his attention. “I don’t mind,” he said. “Can we sit down for a minute?”
“Of course,” I said. I went over and swiped things off the bed and then with what I’m sure was a goofy smile I said, “Have a seat.” The corner of his mouth quirked up, it was definitely a hopeful sign. He took a seat on one end of the bed and I sat down with my back against the headboard and pulled my legs up tight against me. I silently sipped my coffee and waited for him to talk. In the meantime, he was killing me with those sad blue eyes.
“I need to know your story… the whole story and the honest to God truth.”
I had held it all inside for so long. Grant was the only one who knew the full story and I didn’t even discuss it that often with him. I had to learn to live with my new name and my new story. That would have been too hard if I hadn’t remained Erin Summers twenty-four seven. The problem had always been that Adele Morgan was always still there… sometimes deep down and sometimes right on the surface, begging to get out. I unlocked her cell now and told her that she was free to state her case. I nodded at him.