Home > On A Tuesday(2)

On A Tuesday(2)
Author: Whitney G.

“Grayson, listen.”

“I didn’t stutter.” I kept my voice firm. “End of discussion.”

"Okay." She stood to her feet. "Well, now that you're not going to the reunion, I guess we can get your contract renewal with Nike out of the way. I'm having lunch with a few of their team members tomorrow, and I can make that happen, if so."

“Sure.” I officially gave up on the idea of her ever knowing and accepting when a meeting was ‘over.’

“Great! I’ll let myself out.” She slipped into her heels and headed toward the door.

I walked over to the spot where I’d thrown my phone and picked it up, somewhat surprised it was still in one piece. Before I could call my doorman and tell him that Anna was not an exception to my “call me first” rule, I heard her clearing her throat.

“Yes, Anna?”

“I wanted to ask you one last thing,” she said. “Did you see the note about Charlotte Taylor?”

“What?” I turned around. “What did you just say?”

“Charlotte Taylor.” She shrugged and held up the invitation. “There was a little note on the back about her. Did you see it?”

I didn't answer. I rushed over and took the card from her hands. Flipping it over, I spotted a handwritten note in faint purple ink:

Grayson,

I hope all is well with you. I know we haven't spoken in quite a while, but between you and me ...

Charlotte Taylor RSVP’d for this reunion a few weeks ago.

I thought you would want to know.

—Nadira

I stared at the note for several seconds, feeling my blood boil with each written word.

I hadn’t heard from Charlotte since I graduated college. I’d spent thousands of dollars looking for her the first year she left me, and all I ever found were confirmations that she’d moved overseas, started a new life, and married someone who wasn’t me.

Just the mere mention of her name was bringing back all the memories of what we once had. What we once swore would never come to an end.

To this day, I’d never loved anyone the way I loved her. Hell, I honestly hadn’t “loved” anyone since her because no other woman ever compared, and it still made me angry whenever I remembered that she never had the decency to give me a damn goodbye.

"Well, I guess that's that," Anna said. "But you know, now I think we can kill two birds with one stone during the lunch with Nike, if you don’t mind. In addition to meeting your reps, we can finally film two of those short—”

“I won’t be joining you for lunch tomorrow.” I looked over the handwritten note one last time, knowing I wouldn’t be able to focus on anything else for the rest of the day. “I’m going to the reunion.”

“Okay. Well, it’s not until Tuesday evening, Grayson. You can still join us for lunch Monday, sign your name on a few papers, and fly out to Pittsburgh in the afternoon.”

“I’m flying there tonight.”

 

 

CHARLOTTE: THEN

 


Seven years ago

Pittsburgh

 

 

THERE HAD TO BE A SPECIAL place reserved in hell for advisors who steered you on the wrong path during your college career. At least, I was hoping that was the case so my clueless advisor would know what it felt like to have his future in the wrong hands.

“Well, this is quite a problem, Charlotte.” He tapped his fingers against the desk. “Even with all the advanced classes you’ve taken, you’re still missing six of the credits you need for your Political Science degree. I can’t believe that you, of all people, didn’t catch this before now. You’re supposed to be one of my smartest students.”

“Are you seriously blaming me for this?”

"I'm not blaming you, per se," he said. "I'm just saying that for someone who cares so much about your education, you should've known that you hadn’t taken all of your Ethics courses. Hell, I was a Poli-Sci major decades ago, and even I know Ethics III and IV are necessary."

I bit my tongue, resisting the urge to scream.

“On the plus side,” he said, smiling, “You’ve completed everything you need for your Art major, so you’ll at least get that. Who needs two degrees anyway?”

"Mr. Henderson." I took a deep breath. "With all due respect, if I'm only six credits short, it doesn't make sense if I don't graduate with two degrees. Are you sure there aren't any alternative courses I could take in place of Ethics III and IV?"

"Dr. Bradshaw is offering an internship at her firm this year. You're a perfect candidate, and I'm sure she'd love to sign off on having you there."

"I can't." I shook my head. "I'm already taking eighteen credits this semester, and I'm a resident assistant at a freshman dorm. An internship like that would be complete and utter suicide.”

“Well, there’s always the summer semester.” He smiled. “You’ll still walk with your class. You’ll just take those six credits, then.”

“Ten seconds ago, you said that Ethics courses are never offered in the summer. You literally just said that.”

“Oh, right.” He blew out a breath and looked at his screen. “Okay, look. I need you to give me a few minutes alone so I can figure this out.”

“You want me to leave?”

“Yes.” He pointed to the door. “Step outside so I can be alone with my thoughts. And while you’re out there, go get me a coffee.”

Ugh! I grabbed my backpack and stepped outside his office, walking over to the study room. As I poured him a cup of coffee, I overheard him saying, “Shit, shit, shit!” and calling for his secretary.

I was tempted to add salt to his drink instead of sugar, but I decided to wait until he came up with an actual action plan. It never ceased to amaze me how nonchalant he was about being an advisor, how there was always a “minor problem” at the start of every semester. If it wasn’t for the fact that one of the university’s deans had encouraged me to double major in Art, I might not have a completed degree at all.

I leaned against one of the bay windows and looked down at the campus below. No matter how many times I attempted to describe it to my friends back home or paint it on my canvases, it still managed to look different every time.

The “campus” at the University of Pittsburgh wasn’t anything like other college campuses. Instead of acres of lush green lawns with complementing blond brick buildings and dining halls, Pitt was more like a miniature city with university and dorm buildings artfully placed wherever a corporate business, restaurant, or hospital couldn’t fit. The Cathedral of Learning, the massive beige monolith that towered over the skyscraper dorms and student unions, was the only building that made it clear that the twenty blocks that stretched across the Oakland neighborhood were part of a school.

In every promotional booklet, the university captured at least twenty pictures of students studying beneath the sun on the Soldiers and Sailors lawn or throwing frisbees across the student union park. They just conveniently failed to mention the fact that those places were only usable for two months out of the year because Pittsburgh was second only to Seattle when it came to dreary gray skies.

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