Okay, it's my turn with F&G this week and can I just say, I love Truman!
Tell me what you think.
The house finally settled for the night. It took Abby one bowl of pasta and two glasses of wine before she decided she needed some rest. By all rights, Grace should’ve been just as tired as her cousin: her day had sucked. Instead, she found herself in bed, Seether pumping through her ear buds.
When the music failed to soothe, she pulled off the head set and rolled over to face the wall. Snuggling down, she tried to get comfortable but was jarred by the sound of boots on the roof. Since it wasn’t Christmas Eve and she no longer believed in Santa Clause, there was only one other person she knew who would be dumb enough to climb on the roof.
Sliding from the bed, she inched across the room just as the shadowy figure appeared in front of the window. It never occurred to Grace to be scared. Only one person had ever gained entry this way. Pushing back the window covering, Grace had a moment’s pleasure at catching Truman off guard.
“Jesus Christ, Grace,” Truman hissed, losing his balance and teetering to the side. Reaching out, he made purchase with the window sill, even as Grace was raising the glass pane.
“Truman? What are you doing here? Do you know what time it is?” Grace whispered furiously and stepped back and watched as Truman used both hands to hoist himself in through the window.
Adrenaline his co-pilot, he overshot the distance and came through the window a little fast, landing face down at Graces’ feet. Rolling over, he waited a beat, trying to catch his breath. “That used to be easier.” Sitting up, he gingerly moved his legs and arms ensuring everything still worked properly.
“And you used to be smaller.” The last time Truman shimmied up the porch post he had been fourteen, five inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter.
Turning on the bedside lamp, Grace crossed her arms and grudgingly asked, “Are you okay?”
Pushing himself up, he stood directly in front of her and replied, “That was my question for you.”
On a deep sigh, Grace dropped her arms, which was all the invitation Truman needed. He wrapped her in a tight hug, pressing his lips against the side of her head. “I am so sorry about what happened tonight. “
Standing stiffly inside the circle of his arms, Grace tried to fight the rise of emotions that threatened. Concentrating on breathing in through her nose and out through mouth, she told herself over and over to just breathe.
Combatting her rigid posture, Truman started to rub her back with one hand even as the other anchored her to his chest, not wanting to let go. Murmuring words of comfort-nonsense words that had no meaning- he kept at it until her reticence faded, and she slowly melted against him. Taking his first solid breath since the scene had unfolded earlier he became aware of their exact circumstance.
Grace was in his arms, garbed in only a pair of cotton shorts and thin tank. He could feel the press of her chest against his even through the thickness of his sweater. His body started to respond in another way and not wanting to freak her out, he eased away under the pretense of removing his leather jacket. Dropping to the side of her bed, he pulled her down with him, “Are you okay?”
Lowering her head to his shoulder, she whispered, “No.”
Knowing that things really were changing, Truman hugged her once more before letting go so he could face her. Smiling, he asked, “Oxford?”
Rubbing at her forehead, a ghost of a smile flitted across her mouth. “Yeah, Oxford.”
“Grace. That’s amazing. I am so proud of you. It’s everything you ever wanted.”
He really was happy for her. She could see it in the sparkle of his eyes and the lift of his lips. Grace shrugged and whispered, “I don’t know if I am going to go.”
“But we both know you have to,” he volleyed back.
“Yes. We do. This has been your dream since you were a kid. Harper was right about that tonight. You have to go. And not just for you. If you give up going to Oxford, that will make it easier for her to turn down Julliard. She won’t leave you. You have to be the one to say goodbye.”
“Well, I don’t think you have to worry about that right now.” Then his words sank in. “Wait a minute. She got into Julliard? I didn’t even know she applied. She said she was thinking about the New England Conservatory of Music. “
Smiling, “She applied for both and her acceptance letter for New England came in two weeks ago. But she heard from Julliard on Wednesday.”
Feeling another emotional wave, this one a surge of happiness for her friend, she threw her arms around Truman. “That’s. So. Great.”
Grace wanted to be angry that Harper hadn’t told her, but she couldn’t find it in her. At least not at that moment, because it had just occurred to her that she was wearing a thin shirt and she was pressed very intimately up against Truman. She was exactly where she wanted to be which reminded her that she wasn’t all that sure she could go to Oxford.
Leaning back, she looked into his eyes. “Maybe it’s not so much that I don’t know if I am going to go, more like I don’t know if I want to go now.”
Understanding dawning, Truman brushed her bangs out of her eyes and said, “You have to go. I want you to go. Okay, I don’t want you to go, but you have to. This is really big, Gracie. And if you don’t go, you’ll always look back and wonder what if. No one should live their lives wondering what if.”
Easing away from his embrace, Grace took a deep breath and said, “You’re right. But-“
Covering her soft lips with his finger, he rushed, “No buts. The future’s coming faster than you think. It’s just not the right time for you and me right now. “
Closing her eyes, a single tear escaped as she replied, “But I wanted right now to be the right time for us.”
Leaning his forehead against hers, he whispered, “Yeah, me too.”