45. Christmas surprise
Gray stood there, smiling at her.
And right behind him was Revel.
Marcy was too confused to speak. "What…?"
She turned to see Addy grinning her head off at Revel. Light started to dawn. "This is some huge set up, isn’t it?"
"Something like that," Addy told her. "I’ll leave you guys to talk."
She went of with Revel, leaving Marcy alone with Gray.
They stood there for a moment, neither sure what to say.
"You look absolutely beautiful," Gray told her.
"Thank you. So… what are you doing in New York?" And what on earth was Revel doing there?
"There’s so much to tell you. But until today I didn’t know if any of it was going to happen. Let’s sit down."
They sat down on a couple of chairs. You could see all the lights of New York spread out below, past the tops of other buildings.
"I probably should be letting Revel explain all this," Gray said. "Since it’s really thanks to her that I’m here. To cut a really long story short, some old friend of her parents turns out to be a big time Broadway producer."
Given who Revel’s mother was, this wasn’t necessarily a big surprise, Marcy thought. Coming from a family like that there would be showbiz connection.
"Anyway, she got this guy down to Springdale to watch the show. Afterwards he called me up and wanted me to audition for some show he’s producing. It’s off-Broadway, but it’s still a pretty major production. I thought it was a wind-up at first, but he was legit. So I flew up to New York, not really knowing what the hell I was doing, and it all went well, and…"
He stopped, and took Marcy’s hand. With his other hand he brushed a tendril behind her ear. Then slowly he moved towards her - she sat there spellbound - and his lips were on hers.
It was sensual, sweet, exploring. It was the kiss she had longed for for weeks. It deepened as her lips opened for him, and his tongue entwined with hers.
Marcy breathed in his familiar scent. Her brain tried to connect this gorgeous guy kissing her on a rooftop with the man standing at the front of her French classes. They had been "just friends" for so long now that she had started to increasingly see him primarily as her teacher, so the fact that he was kissing her now was an extra thrill.
She figured no one here in New York knew who he was, it wasn’t like Brittanny or Mimi was about to pop out of the hot tub…
Gray broke off. "And that’s the last kiss I’m going to give you…"
For a split second Marcy’s heart lurched in a horrible way.
"…as your teacher. Because as of next week, I’m resigning. The bad news is that I do have to move up here to New York again. The good news is that - if you think you still want me - there’s nothing to stop us being together any more."
Marcy felt herself flood with relief. Gray still wanted her! After all that time, even with some huge and exciting opportunity, he wanted to be with her.
Her smile answered him before her words. "What do you think?"
He kissed her again. "Technically that’s another teacher kiss, but at least I can’t get fired now." He looked over at the hot tub. "If I had one wish it would be to empty that of people and take you in it right now. It’s been way too long."
Marcy figured he probably couldn’t see her blush given the dim light. She hoped not anyway.
"So Revel set this all up, with Addy as well?"
"It seems so."
No wonder Addy had been acting all suspicious, she was the world’s most hopeless person at keeping a secret. And there was Marcy thinking that Addy was dating a girl or married man!
"Where are you staying in New York?" she asked.
"I’m in a hotel. Revel’s friends - whom she’s staying with - offered me a bed, but her uncle paid for a hotel. It’s pretty nice. In fact I was wondering…"
"Mm hmm?" Marcy had a suspicion where this was going.
"…if Addy can spare you for a night, maybe you’d like to drop by?"
She could see the heat in his eyes, and felt herself grow warm.
"I think that could be arranged."
"I’m here until the day after tomorrow," Gray said. "I have to sign some contracts and other things on Monday and see an agent. Then it’s back to Springdale, and packing up my stuff once again. Everything is just happening very quickly. The role I got, they had someone else lined up for it but he dropped out, which was good luck for me I guess."
"You don’t mind giving up teaching?" Marcy asked, hoping it wasn’t a stupid question.
"Yes and no. I love it - particularly when I have students like you - " there was a gleam in his eye " - but the money is seriously good for this acting thing. And there’s nothing to stop me returning to teaching if this doesn’t work out. It was too good an opportunity to pass up. It’s not where I imagined my career would be heading, but sometimes you have to roll with it."
He paused, and looked serious. He looked directly at Marcy, his gaze searing into hers.
"And sometimes you need to roll with someone. To have someone by your side."
Marcy stomach flipped. He’d never looked at her quite like this before.
"What I’m trying to say is, I want to be with you Marcy."
His next words took her breath away.
"I love you."
After all this time, all the ups and downs they had had, the constant on-off, on-off, Marcy could hardly believe she was sitting here with Grey now, literally on top of the world, with him telling her that he loved her.
"More than anything. I’ve wanted to tell you for ages. That was why it was so hard, not being able to see you. You were never just a casual thing for me, Marcy."
This time she went to kiss him. Pressed her lips against the warm, firm shape of his lips.
"I love you too."
She saw the joy leap in his eyes. "It’s okay if you don’t, yet," he said. "I know this is a huge amount to spring on you. But if you think you could feel the same way, one day, then that’s enough."
Marcy had to hide a smile. "Gray, I love you. I’ve loved you for ages. I never knew if you felt the same way."
"Well I did. I’m completely in love with you, Marcy. I’ve never felt like this about anyone before."
Then she was in his arms, and all the pain from the separation of the last weeks - all the doubt, the anxiety, the missing him - it all melted away.
"It may still not be easy," Gray said. "We’ll have the distance - at least for a few months before you start college, if you still plan to study in New York. And there’s your parents to deal with."
Oh god. Her parents. If only they had never met him as her French teacher, she could probably have kept the knowledge from them indefinitely. Now it was going to be something of a bridge to cross.
"I want to do this properly," Gray continued. "No more sneaking around, hiding out. There’s nothing to stop us dating, we’re both adults, and I want your parents to know that I plan to take care of you."
Take care of her… it made it sound really long term. Like she was truly, completely his. Openly and officially. Gray’s girl.