Home > On a Tuesday (One Week #1)(17)

On a Tuesday (One Week #1)(17)
Author: Whitney G.

“It’s not what you don’t have.” I took off the VIP lanyard and handed it to him. “It’s what you do have.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Grayson! Oh my God, Grayson!” A group of women across the hall suddenly made my point far better than I ever could. “Come over here and take a picture with us! Come on!”

He looked over at them and then at me. “You’re saying you won’t go out with me because you honestly think groupies and shit matter to me?”

“I’m saying thank you for the skybox ticket.” I stood up and smiled at him. “I’ll see you Tuesday.”

CHARLOTTE: NOW

Present Day

New York City

“LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT, Charlotte.” My latest ex-boyfriend yelled at me over the phone. “I give you an extra month to consider moving in with me, and you dump me instead?”

“I’m very sorry, Craig,” I said. “I just don’t think this is going to work out, and I think I should be honest with myself and do it sooner rather than later.”

“You could have at least given me the news in person, preferably on a different day that wasn’t my birthday. Today is my birthday! I now see exactly why you never get past the six-month mark with your boyfriends. It’s not because you don’t trust easily, or because you’ve been hurt so badly before. It’s because you’re a fucking cunt.”

I ended the call and he sent me a new thread of text messages.

CRAIG: C-U-N-T. CUNT! You. Are. A. Cunt.

CRAIG: I was going to ask you to marry me. Glad I found out you’re a heartless bitch first ...

CRAIG: Please disregard my last two messages. They were out of anger, and I think you’re just being wishy-washy because you’re afraid of commitment. I know deep down you love me and I love you, too. Call me when you’ve thought everything through.

I blocked his number and looked outside the backseat windows of my cab. Today was the fourth day in a row that I couldn’t bring myself to drive to and from work. Ever since I saw Grayson in Pittsburgh, I’d had trouble sleeping. Because every time I closed my eyes, I saw him sitting across from me in that café.

Tears fell down my face as I remembered the way he looked when I told him where I lived. I was trying to convince myself that was exactly what I needed for closure. That maybe after seeing him looking as hurt as he’d once hurt me, that I would finally be able to let him go.

Over the past seven years, I did my best to give other men a chance, but they all paled in comparison. The standard Grayson set was impossibly high, and no matter how many times I tried to let go and ‘fall’ for someone else, nothing more than a faint feeling ever came.

“Okay, we’re here.” The driver looked at me through the rearview mirror. “That’ll be thirty-five dollars and seventy-four cents, Miss.”

“Thank you.” I handed him two twenties and held a newspaper over my head before stepping out and rushing up the steps of my brownstone.

Rushing right into my parlor room, I did what I always did to make myself feel better: Paint. I unpacked my bag of brushes and filled a few cups with water. I took out my easel, but before I could set it up, there was a knock on my door.

Craig?

I walked over to the door, prepared to say, "I am sorry about dumping you over the phone. Oh, and Happy Birthday," but when I opened it, I found myself face to face with a red-faced Grayson. Dressed in jeans and a drenched gray shirt that was clinging to his muscles.

My heart jumped out of my chest at the sight of him, and I lost my train of thought.

“We need to talk,” he said, his voice low.

“Stalking is a crime, Mr. Connors.” I stepped under my brownstone’s awning and shut the door behind me. “Don’t make me call the police.”

“You’re not going to call the police.” He clenched his jaw. “Is now a good time?”

“Never would be better.”

“Charlotte.”

“Grayson.”

A loud round of thunder roared in the distance, but we didn’t move. We continued staring at each other as the rain fell harder.

“I’m going to give you five seconds to invite me inside your house,” he said.

“I can hear you just fine from right here.” I crossed my arms and leaned against the door. “What do you want?”

He didn’t answer. He waited for exactly five seconds, and then he stepped forward and grabbed me by my waist, picking me up and tossing me over his shoulder. He opened the door and carried me inside, quickly setting me down in the hallway before locking the door behind us.

“Where’s your living room?” he asked.

“Breaking and entering is also a crime,” I said. “You’re two for two.”

“So, you still have a smart-ass mouth.” His eyes were on mine. “Good to know something I liked about you hasn’t changed.”

“Too bad I can’t say the same for you.”

Silence.

“Can we try to talk again?” he said.

“No, I’ll pass on that. That went terribly wrong last time, but I wonder why.”

“Probably because the woman I’ve been looking for, for years, has been in the same goddamn city as me this whole time and never said a fucking thing about it.”

“Don’t come in my house and curse at me like that.” I glared at him, hating that he was capable of making me feel so many different emotions at once. “You have ten minutes to say whatever the hell you have to say and then I want you to leave.”

I walked into the living room, feeling him close behind me. I stood by my windows, waiting for him to speak, but he didn’t say a word. He stared at me for several seconds and looked around. Then he walked into my kitchen and opened my cabinets one by one.

Without asking for permission, he made two cups of coffee. He added caramel syrup, sugar, whipped cream, and then one final drizzle of caramel on top—the exact way I liked it, before handing one of the mugs to me.

“Thank you,” I said softly.” Now you have six minutes.”

“Okay, look.” He set down his coffee, keeping his eyes on mine. “I haven’t been able to sleep since I saw you in Pittsburgh. Have you?”

“I have. My sleep has never been better.”

He ignored my lies. “I can’t stop thinking about you, and I think you owe it to me, to tell me why you left me senior year without any explanation.” He pressed his finger against my lips before I could interrupt. “You owe it to us. I’m spending my offseason here in New York and I would like it if we could meet up a few times to go over some things. Can you give me that?”

“No.” I pushed his hand away from my mouth and shook my head. “No, I can’t do that for you.”

“And why is that?”

“Because I don’t owe you anything, and you can’t walk back into my life and think that things can go back to how they used to be when you’re the one who messed them up in the first place. You, Grayson. Not me. I guess now that you’re tired of screwing A-list actresses and supermodels, you want to go on a self-redemption tour? Can you hear how insane you sound right now?” My chest heaved up and down and hot tears fell down my cheeks.

He stepped closer and wiped them away with his fingertips. “Since when do you believe what people write in the tabloids?”

“Two minutes.” I looked away from him. “I hope whatever else you have to say is short because I’ve heard enough.”

He gently cupped my face and tilted my chin so I was facing him again. “We both know I’m not going to stop pursuing you, so even if I leave today, I’ll be right back here tomorrow.”

I let out a breath, remembering just how long he pursued me our senior year. "What do you want from me, Grayson?"

“To see you again, maybe just for a few times this week so I can—” He paused. “I would prefer not to let you go again, but if that’s not possible, I would like to finally know what I did to you so I can have definite answers about why we ended. I’m sure you would like some final closure, too.”

   
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