SEVEN – GRANT’S PASSIONS
Grant watched out the frosted glass set into the mansion’s front door as Ivy pulled her Saturn out of his driveway and turned right, heading for Frost Hall.
Grant sighed and trudged upstairs to his room. He didn’t want her to leave. He never wanted her to leave. Yet, he knew the time wasn’t right in their relationship for him to ask her to stay.
The past few months had been chaotic for both of them, both personally and professionally. Her car crash, his inheritance, the two of them meeting again after so many years, the animosity her family still felt toward his….
All those things were working against them.
But then there was the way he felt when he was with her, the laughter in her eyes, the taste of her mouth, the way her body felt pressed up against his when he hugged her.
It made him want more. But Grant knew inside his heart, in a place his loins couldn’t reach, that the time wasn’t right yet. He’d been around the world, learned a lot of things. And he knew now was not the time to press it—no matter how much he wanted to.
C’mon, Grant, he chided himself, keep this up and they’ll put you up for Sainthood.
As he reached the second landing, Grant’s mind tumbled back over the brief months since their reunion. Yes, they’d been secret pen pals with each other for years as children, but it was the time since he returned to Frosthaven that had made the difference.
It had all started so oddly, though, with him coincidentally arriving home in time to rescue her from a car wreck, the sparks flying between them in her hospital room, and their romance continuing ever since.
Grant remained unsure of what had happened that strange night in September after she’d left the hospital. He remembered having a bit too much to drink, and having some kind of trouble driving his jeep. He remembered seeing her, briefly, standing in the middle of the street in the rain.
But that was about all he could piece together for sure.
He’d hit his head somehow and blacked out. After that he possessed only fragmentary images. He awoke to find his jeep wrecked and burning in a ditch, and Ivy lying naked in the middle of the rain-drenched road. The really odd thing was, she didn’t seem to care about her state of undress. She just stared up into space, smiling at the weeping clouds.
Despite her nudity, those few seconds were about the least sexy moments Grant could remember. He’d been dazed, confused. The jeep—his oldest, most beloved possession—lay ruined. He’d loaned Ivy his coat to cover herself up before the cops arrived. Though her body felt cool to his touch, Ivy claimed she’d wandered away from her friend Cassie’s house in a fever. Cassie—herself wearing little more than a raincoat—backed up Ivy’s story.
Grant didn’t have any real cause to doubt the two women’s narratives, but… The whole incident was just so damn weird.
As to why he couldn’t remember the rest… Grant dismissed it as the consequence of drinking and driving—even if he hadn’t had that much to drink. Ivy didn’t offer any further explanation. Even the police hadn’t been able to sort out the incident any further. Grant’s cop friend, Rick Christopher, had written the whole thing off to Frost eccentricities.
Grant kept meaning to ask Ivy what had actually happened that evening but, somehow, when they were together, it slipped his mind.
Two things stayed with him from that night. One was the sight of his burning jeep. He knew he needed to find out what had really happened to it. How he’d escaped without a scratch.
The second thing that lingered with him was the image of Ivy’s nude body lying in the rain. As unsexy as it had all been at the time, even now, some ancient, primal part of his mind clung to the picture.
The memory of her naked fueled Grant’s imagination and fantasies. It was like peeking through a keyhole at something he hoped to see later: a taste of things to come.
He could see her in his mind this very instant. Not as she’d been, lit by the glow of his burning car, wet with the rain, but as she could be: with him, alone, together in his bed, her wavy black hair falling over her bare shoulders, her brown nipples standing out on her pale, round breasts, the musky warmth of her pubic hair…
He wanted that. He wanted her—almost more than he wanted anything else.
But even more than his basic desire for her, he wanted their first time together to be right.
Grant felt differently about Ivy than he had about the women he’d loved in the past. Different from the young fiery young love of Sharon or the mind-numbing fling he’d shared in France with Martine. Especially different from his long, tempestuous relationship with Colleen.
Yes, Ivy was bright and attractive, but the others hadn’t lacked in those categories, either. A special something within her seemed to call to him.
Grant wasn’t big on mysticism, but it almost felt to him as though the two of them were destined to be together. Somehow, Ivy’s soul seemed to mesh with his.
The rationalist in Grant assumed the cause to be the similarity of their backgrounds: both of them born into rich families but out of place with their own.
Together, he thought as he topped the stairs and crossed the hall to his room, he and Ivy could find happiness they hadn’t known with their birth families. They could start something new and better.
He chuckled again, chiding himself for getting so starry-eyed about all this. Next thing you know, he thought, you’ll be comparing yourself to Romeo and Ivy to Juliet. He hoped their star-crossed love would turn out better than it did in Shakespeare.
Grant closed the door to his room, and the warm darkness surrounded him. He crossed to the window seat and sat for several minutes gazing out at the star-flecked sea of Frosthaven.
I wonder where she is now… What she’s driving past? Whether she’s thinking of me?
A familiar warm tingling crept over his body. He wondered how often Ivy felt the same way about him. Funny how thoughts of love and sex could push all a day’s troubles and worries out of one’s mind.
Grant stripped off his clothes, lay down on the waterbed and let erotic images of Ivy wash over him.
Well, he thought, his hands stroking down his body to his crotch, so much for sainthood.