Every Action Creates and Equal and Opposing Reaction.
Ethan and Grace had now been dating for many months, spending time alone as a couple when possible, which translated into very rarely.
Aside from work, her grandma took up the lionshare of her time, and often Ethan ended up sitting home alone, when originally a romantic night had been planned but fell through.
By now, he couldn’t even recall how many times he had arranged for Blake to spend the night with family so he could have time with Grace and her cancelling at the very last minute.
His offers to spend time with her at her home were shut down each time before he could even get out the words.
As much as he tried to be understanding – and he tried hard – along with stress at work and being a single dad, at some point this lead to nothing but frustrations, feelings of unimportance, rejection.
He felt older than his years, had often, ever since he stumbled into a marriage, fatherhood and leadership of a company all straight out of college.
One night when Grace cancelled on him again at the last minute, after Ethan had arranged for Blake to spend the night at Nick and Ezzy’s, he was upset, felt rejected yet again, felt like he was always the one trying much harder in this relationship.
After stewing in his upset for a while he decided to go out without Grace.
Preferably not alone.
Nick didn’t want to, Cole had other plans, and he ended up shooting in the dark by just texting Blythe, who mercifully accepted.
When he went to pick her up at her home, she was all smiles and a breath of fresh air after seeing all the frowns from stressed people around him.
“So, what’s the big plan?” she asked, not even trying to mask her excitement.
“Honestly, I have no idea. The Skyline?”
“Really? You have all night to get crazy and you want to go down the road from your work to shake it all off?”
“Ok, fine. How about the Octagon?”
“Ethan, sweetheart, that closed 2 years ago.”
“Oh. How about just getting something to drink at the Downtown Lounge.”
“I have never even heard of that, pretty sure that isn’t there anymore either. How about grabbing a drink at the Slyce first and catching a movie? Or go to the Sunrise to blow off some steam?”
“Never heard of any of those, except the movie theater, so sure. I am all yours tonight.”
“Oooh, let’s see if I can impress you with my party girl side … ” she winked at him.
“But first, you are not planning on going out in that, right?”
“What’s wrong with my clothes?” Ethan looked down on himself, then back at Blythe.
“Nothing, looks great … for work and stuff. Just not for going out to a club or lounge.”
“Umm … I have tees .. but they are kinda old … ”
“We’ll go to your home first and auntie Blythe will inspect your wardrobe, Mister. Really, don’t want you to be embarrassed looking like a dork. Or have rumors going that I am going clubbing with my tax accountant.” Blythe laughed.
“Ugh … thanks …I guess.”
“Oh my Gawd, don’t get your ego all bend, I mean well. Seriously.”
They went to Ethan’s place and he felt odd as she looked through his closet.
“So … this is it? Just work wear and rags for around the house, plus some sweaters? This situation is bitter, dude!”
“Riding the tip of the fashion wave isn’t really my priority …”
“That’s pretty obvious. Well, let’s just try this, and see how you fare.”
Ethan felt a bit weird changing his shirt in front of Blythe but she wasn’t leaving and he didn’t want to look like a scared virgin.
“So?” he asked after putting the new shirt on.
“It’ll do. But you and I are going shopping for you soon. No backtalk!”
“Oh yay, shopping. Can’t wait. Just what every man loves to do with his rare spare time. Are my clothes really that bad?”
“Bad? No. You look great for what you do … run a business. Just not for partying. All work, no play is what I am seeing.”
“Sounds about right.”
“We’ll work on that. All righty, let’s get then.”
She insisted on calling an Uber, told him downtown parking on a Friday night was insane. They arrived at some “it” bar/restaurant venue and had a few drinks.
Blythe was very different from Grace and everybody else in his life. Except Nick. In a way she was carefree and fun like Nick was. Or used to be. With almost three kids, since the birth of their twins was imminent, a wife, mortgage and his own law firm, he was now a lot more grounded.
Either way, spending time with her felt good. Light and free. Like a burden had been lifted.
About two hours in, now at a hot spot club, incidentally the one he met Daphne for the first time, he ended up having a lot more fun for the next few hours than he thought he would. Blythe’s spunk was contagious.
They danced, had more drinks, then Blythe suggested yet another venue. Ethan had not been out for so many hours in a row since college.
“Man, Blythe, I am sorry, but I can barely function anymore. I hate to be that guy, but I think I need to go home …”
“Fine, grandpa, let’s get you to beddy-bye bye …” she teased.
“You can stay…” Ethan screamed against the music.
“We came together, we leave together!” she yelled back, shaking her head.
Outside he noticed that aside from the ringing in his ears he felt funny and fuzzy. Apparently he wasn’t used to alcohol anymore and it showed. He could definitely tell he was impaired.
They took the Uber to her place, and somehow he ended up going inside with her.
They heard stirring upstairs, where her sister Blair’s room was, so Blythe pulled Ethan with her into her bedroom, both giggling and silly, until Ethan saw the painting of him still on her wall. He had forgotten about it. Seeing it made him feel … funny.
“Oh yeah, that. Ooops. I am so used to it … I can take it down.” Blythe blushed.
“No, no need, it’s cool. You are an artist. I really don’t mind it.”
“I don’t know about artist, but it’s my favorite hobby.” she said, sitting down on her bed.
Ethan joined her. The room was spinning a bit too much to stand in it.
She dropped backwards onto her bed, he did the same.
“Room can stop spinning any minute now …”
“Right?” she giggled.
“So what’s new with your neighbor situation?”
“Well, Blair is all over that one guy. I kinda passed. They are nice and fun though … and handy when something breaks in this place.”
“Literally ‘tools’, huh? Aren’t all of us men, though, to you girls?”
“Uh oh, sounds like trouble in paradise. Or is that still bitterness from me hating on your outfit?”
“Thought you didn’t hate it.”
“Clubbing in a suit? Yeah, I was hatin’. I may be a bit tipsy, but don’t think I didn’t notice you evading the answer.”
“What answer? Grace? That’s no secret. It’s tough with everything going on. Sucks for everyone involved. And as usual in my life, I am the one at the very front of the suck-train, getting run over in the process.” he moaned displeased.
“Hey, none of that. I’ll shut up. Let’s turn that frown upside down again.”
She turned towards him and gently rubbed his cheek sending hot flashes of lighting through him.
After that, he couldn’t say how it happened, but remembered THAT it did.
Claiming innocence would have been a lie.
He liked it, he did nothing to stop it, on the contrary, he took it further.
Completely forgetting everything else, Grace, Blythe’s issue with physical contact … and evidently, so did she.
The next morning was a lot less glorious than the night prior. Everything was just too bright, too loud, too real.
Ethan woke up with the worst hangover known to man, and when he realized he wasn’t in his own bed, but next to Blythe in hers, instant guilt set in. Him sitting up woke her, and she seemed to be in similar shape.
“Morning … man, how much did we drink last night?”
“Beats me, but I think some bar is desperate to restock this morning.”
“I’ll get some pain meds and water … You stay here. Assume you do not want to risk running into Blair?”
“Stay put, I’ll check the situation.”
Ethan was still trying to get his bearings about him when she returned with the promised water and pain pills which he greedily swallowed.
“Blair’s still asleep. I can sneak you into the shower. Just across from my room.”
“I don’t know …”
“No offense, but I do … and you want to. No matter if it’s an Uber driver or me driving you home, you need to hose off, man.”
“Ouch, thanks …”
“Hey, just being a good friend.”
“Friend? I think we kinda moved past that now …”
“Yeah … ”
“Shit! I was too zoned out last night to even think about your … issue.”
“Apparently, so was I. Either that our your ‘magic wand’ cured me.”
“Let’s hold off the sexual innuendos. I am just not functional enough.”
“Come on, shower. Now.”
They snuck out, Blythe showed Ethan around and left.
Right as he was about to get under the stream of water, she came back.
“Hey, I was about to be naked!”
“Oh is that how you do this shower thing? I’ll try that next time. But seriously keep your voice down! Blair is coming downstairs!”
“Isn’t the point that she won’t know we both … you know?”
“Yeah, and if I am out there and the shower is going, what do you think would happen?”
“That would be one option … two sisters in less than 24 hours, isn’t that like every guy’s dream?”
“Seriously?!” Ethan looked appalled, while Blythe giggled.
“A joke, relax.”
“I am not in a joking mood. I just cheated on my girlfriend with you, a good friend of mine. And my brain is not working enough to figure out, how bad that really is.”
A knock on the door.
“Blythe, you in there?”
“Yeah, you think I got my lover showering in here or something?” Blythe barely stifled a giggle, as Ethan grinned, shaking his head.
“Ha ha, funny girl. Hey, I am making breakfast. Want some?” came Blair’s voice through the door.
“You don’t want to go over to what’s-his-face and have breakfast with him while drooling over his abs?” Blythe apparently tried to get rid of Blair, frowning in Ethan’s direction.
“Jonathan’s at the gym working on those abs. We’ll meet later so I can drool then. I need coffee now. Don’t use up all the hot water.” Blair said, her voice indicating that she was walking away from the door.
Ethan couldn’t help but grin, as Blythe shrugged.
“Well, since it is all messed up already … move over, darling.” she took off her underwear and entered the shower stall, pulling Ethan along.
“Blythe, what the hell?”
“Okay, do you want to explain to Blair why I am in here supposedly showering, but come out there looking and smelling like WalMart, hair bone-dry?!” she asked him.
“Right. I can get out …and let you do your thing undisturbed … ” he offered fidgeting awkwardly.
“You could …”
Blythe gave him that look and smile making Ethan hot and cold at the same time and before they knew it, they were at it again.
-to be continued-