It’s Allison. Of course it’s Allison. As soon as she got up, she would have noticed that I never returned to her place last night. I wonder if she’s pleased about that or not. Then I wonder what Kyle’s thinking.
I shake the thoughts out of my head and reply.
The response arrives immediately:
For a moment, I don’t know what to say. But I’m saved from replying when another message comes through, this one longer.
“What are you going to do now?”
It’s a question I don’t know the answer to. We were both tipsy last night, which resulted in a lack of inhibitions and us tumbling into bed together yet again. With Grant still asleep, we haven’t had a chance to talk about where we go from here.
But I know the answer, anyway. This is the third time that Grant and I have inevitably come together. It wasn’t just a fluke. I can’t control myself around him at all. Even either he or I trying to distance ourselves didn’t work; one of us would eventually drag the other back.
So…maybe it’s about time I talk to him. And tell him everything.
“I’ll have to talk to him,” I type simply back to Allison.
“Good luck,” she replies.
I snort. I’m going to need all the luck in the world to get through the next few hours.
Wide awake now, I yawn and slip out of bed. I find a large robe on the ground, suddenly remembering that my clothes are likely still in the dryer, and make my way out of the room. Now that I’m away from Grant, the urge to simply grab my clothes and run is far stronger.
No. I can do this. It’s taking everything I have to keep myself here, to not run before Grant gets up and notices me, but enough is enough. I can’t be a coward forever. I’ve tried to teach my son how to be brave and strong and independent. It’s about time that I start setting an example for him.
Cursing myself, I grab my phone again and text Allison once more.
“Can you pick up Owen for me?”
I can almost hear her laughing at me when she replies.
At least Owen is taken care of. I would never hear the end of it if I forgot my own son because I was too busy mooning over Grant. I set about making a cup of coffee and then carry it over to the couch, sinking into the soft pillows with a grateful sigh. I can hear the dim sounds of the traffic below, I sit quietly and listen to it as the minutes slip by, centering myself and trying to remind myself why not running is so important right now.
Eventually, I begin to hear movement in Grant’s bedroom. I feel my shoulders tensing without my permission, and I lock my body tight. This is the last chance I have to run before he notices I’m still here.
I’m not going to take it. Not this time.
It’s the look in his eyes that I notice first as he emerges from his bedroom. He looks tired and he scrubs a hand through his hair, which is falling around his face now that it’s out of its ponytail, messing it up even further. I open my mouth to say something, but my courage has finally failed me, and I only watch as he reaches the kettle.
He freezes, however, before he can switch it on. He’s probably noticed that the kettle is far warmer than it should be. He whips his head around, finally seeing me on the couch.
“Morning,” I say, trying to smile.
Grant stares at me incredulously and rubs his eyes, almost as though he thinks I’m sort of illusion. His reaction is sad. He expected me to be gone. Is that why he looked so sad as he entered the room? Had he seen his empty bed and assumed the worst? I hadn’t even considered how he would feel when he woke up.
“Jessica,” he says blankly.
For once, he doesn’t sound angry or upset with me. He’s blinking wildly, unsure what to do with the fact that I’m still here.