Ethan was toying with the idea of coming clean with Grace, but was pretty sure if he did, the relationship would be over.
Was he ready for that final step?
He also felt drawn to Blythe more and more.
One evening when Grace was over at his place, for the first time in weeks, he had just tucked in Blake. As he was coming down the stairs to the living room again he could tell by Grace’s facial expression that something was wrong.
He saw the phone in her hands, recognized that it was his and realized something was coming.
What followed were tears and accusations.
“Blythe? BLYTHE? You goddamn – and I quote – ‘hunk’?!” Grace hissed.
“Let me explain…” he reached for his phone but Grace pulled it away.
“No need. I got quite the grasp on the situation. You are some low asshole, Ethan Cameron!”
When he finally got his phone back, he saw a message from Blythe, opened and read.
“No need to read it. She found your missing sock behind the radiator in her bedroom. Are you as relieved as me? This is just fantastic! You man-whore!”
“Grace … please … ”
“Don’t ‘Grace please’ me! I knew it! I knew it all along that this would happen eventually. Like a spider in her web she was just waiting for her chance and just like a moth to the light you went for it. Disgusting! I am such a fool standing by not even realizing you were already getting some on the side.”
“Grace, I never meant to hurt you …”
She pulled away from him and sat down, obviously deeply affected, wrenching Ethan’s heart. This was not what he had ever wanted. He knelt down before her.
“Never meant to hurt me?! What did you think this would do? Make me do cartwheels knowing you went and found someone to put out when I am trying to work through personal conflicts?”
“It wasn’t intentional. It just happened…” Ethan was disgusted how lame this sounded, even to him.
Grace just snorted with disgust.
“Grace, I truly am sorry. I did this all wrong. But … I came to the conclusion that we are not meant to be after all. I care so much about you but … as a good friend, not more. I am sorry.”
“Spare me! You are a dirty rotten cheating lying bastard! Interesting to see that all those rumors about that Cameron family are true after all. Man-whoring is genetic!”
“Just let me explain.”
“No need. I have to get out of here. Get off of me!”
Grace jumped up and in a reflex Ethan tried to hold on to her.
She twisted away from him almost viciously, then rushed out and Ethan felt frozen in place.
Ethan collapsed onto the pouf wondering how to handle this, when he heard Grace grabbing her keys.
He jumped up, trying one more time to hold on to her, to talk.
“Grace … not like this … please!” Ethan’s words more a whimper as he watched her leave.
It seemed like the end to a chapter as the door fell shut with a loud bang, just as Ethan heard a quiet voice from the stairs and a sleepy Blake came into view.
“Hey little man! What are you doing up?”
“Is Grace mad?”
“Umm … yes. Daddy messed up. But it’s nothing you need to be worried about. Daddy was just being dumb. It will all be all right. Let’s get you back to bed. Come on.”
Luckily Blake was too tired to be worried about it and fell asleep right away.
The next day, Grace was aloof and all professional, as Ethan would have expected. He knew better than to even attempt a talk with her beyond anything relating to business.
He felt sick and like the villain and victim at the same time.
When he couldn’t take it any longer he went upstairs to talk to his mother. He told her everything. All of it. She told him what probably every mother would tell their son, then she comforted him, like probably every mother would do.
When he left her office he had an approved vacation request, and the promise his family would look after Blake in his absence, since school was still going on.
While he was upstairs in his mother’s office, Grace ran into none other than Blythe at the copier. She could not help but air her frustration.
Blythe took it in stride, when Grace finished her rant, cursing and insulting her, she simply asked.
“Feel better now?”
“Sarcastic cow! How dare you be so snarky after stealing someone else’s man, you destroyed everything!” Grace nearly spat the words at her.
“Really? Wanna try that again? I didn’t take anything from you. He came to me. But unlike every time prior, this time I did not step aside or even nudged him your way – AGAIN. I tried, Grace, I did. I thought you two were meant to be. Trust me, it was a sacrifice, but I am no longer willing to make it. And besides, if you want to be so high and mighty about all this, then you should also be honest. What did you think would happen when you have a man like Ethan Cameron and just make him feel like little more than an afterthought all the damn time? Someone was going to take what you evidently don’t treasure. Might as well be me.”
“You talk about him like he is a trophy. You are immature. But he is all yours now! Enjoy it while it lasts. He does not have a great track record with being faithful. You’ll end up just another name on his scoreboard sooner or later. Just you wait.”
“Hmm, funny critique coming from you, since it was you who kissed him when you were still with Alex. Not exactly what I would dub the epitome of loyalty and faith. Different rules for you?” Blythe asked while holding Grace’s stare.
Grace replied nothing, instead she just stormed out.
Blythe shrugged and rolled her eyes.
When she got back to her desk, Ethan was waiting for her.
“Blythe, go away with me. Right now. Put in a vacation request now, or better: I will talk to you boss, and let’s get out!”
“What? Are you serious?” Blythe looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
“Like a heart attack.” he confirmed his intend.
“Okay, you know what? Let’s.”
“Had I known that dating the boss meant ad hoc beach vacations, I would have been after you like a bulldog all along.” she giggled.
“Can you stop with the boss stuff? No work stuff, no problems, not ifs, buts, whens, just Blythe and Ethan in paradise. Just for a week let’s forget the world and just be free and happy. Please.”
“You got it maestro.”
“Tell me more about you, Blythe.”
“Well, I like long walks on the beach … literally!” she laughed.
“Where did you go to school? Where are you from?”
“Ethan, none of this. Just Ethan and Blythe, remember?”
“I just realized I know hardly anything about you. Still after all those years.”
“I am going swimming now. You can interrogate some seashells, handsome!”
They played, swam and were just a young couple.
Fun filled sunny days lead to nights filled with passion and romance.
Then one evening a few days into their vacation Ethan felt melancholic.
“What’s with the long face?” Blythe asked smiling.
“The only one I have…” replied, his tone bordering grumpy.
“Wanna bet not … ” Blythe came closer, apparently attempting to tickle him.
“Stop! Please … I am just not in the mood.”
“You are in some kind of mood. Let’s fix that.”
“Blythe, I know nothing about you. And … this … it is all fun, but that is what it is, fun. I need more. Just sex, party and a beach vacation …. none of that will hold up when regular life set back in.”
“I say. I have tried that before. Sex, thinking I’d find someone who would finally be the one that way. Idiotic. And I probably pushed away the one person who really meant it, because of lack of sex. UGH.”
“So, you think that is all we have? Sex? Party? Sandy beaches?”
“It looks like it. I am not blaming you, Blythe. But I need more. Something that will last. So tired of chasing my own tail.”
“Sounds like you had a lot a tail chasing in your days….”
“See, this is what I mean. Everything is a joke to you. Life is not funny. Life is serious and downright sad sometimes.”
“Life is what you make it. You really think my life is and was all unicorns puking rainbows? You want to know my background, I will tell you everything, but that is a very long discussion for another time. Know this, I made a choice a long time ago, a tough one, and ever since I had to live with it and learn not to let it drag me down. You keep saying you want the truth. Okay, fine. So here it is. I have been in love with you since I first saw you at that town hall meeting I told you about. Crazy about you. Dead set on meeting you, until someone told me who you were. I decided to let that one go. Then we ran into each other at that club. I just couldn’t resist. And you were adorably dorky, not at all what I expected. God, I crushed even harder. Alas, life, which you think I take so lightly, had a go at me just a week before in the form of Rafael, I hope I do not have to go into details. So there I was, the starving dog with the steak dangling right in front of her face and I freaked out instead. Talk about regrets. Coming to you for help after all that was the hardest thing I had ever done. But you did help. And I fell even deeper for you. But I realized I was damaged goods and you were holding a grudge. So … I stepped aside and let Grace have you, thinking she was perfect for you. When you came to me … when it all …. Ethan, I wanted this. I wasn’t going to step aside again. Sorry, if that makes me something terrible, but I have no remorse. And this is the best time of my life. I get it, you are getting over a break up. I might well be the rebound-girl. But I feel on top of the world with you here. At the very least for now you are mine, at last, for however long you let yourself be. At least for however long all this will last I’ll have roses and rainbows. So, how am I doing on brutal honesty?” she smiled, but this time it looked melancholic.
“Wow.” Ethan had no words. Blythe was so deep, not at all the airy party girl she seemed to be.
“Right? How about I mop up what is left of my self-respect and we’ll get into that hot tub?” there was the usual smile again.
“Why did you never say anything, Blythe? I thought after your rejection and that horrible thing you went through you were off limits to me. I would never have dared to push myself on you.”
“I saw that …” she smirked and winked.
“No, you initiated that … I just went along …. I … Blythe I am sorry. I didn’t know…”
“Do I look like I am holding a grudge?”
“No, you look … genuinely happy.”
“I am … but that will change to grumpy soon, if I don’t get to test drive that hot tub, preferably with male company. Any takers?”
“Sounds good. Blythe?”
“Do I get a mulligan?”
“Golfing references? How old are you today? 50? But yeah, clean slate. At least with me. Grace will be a different story for you to sort out. But lucky for you it is more me she hates. Scapegoat at your service.”
“Oh…. and Blythe…?”
Ethan whispered something in her ear, making her smile.
-to be continued-