Nick was in his room gathering things to pack for the big weekend getaway at the Bluffs. It was Spring Break and Audrey II and III were producing nicely. He wished he’d never mentioned the plant’s name from that ridiculous movie. It stuck and Ben had been referring to them by name ever since. Probably just to piss him off.
The cannabis seeds had been good quality and Ben was a meticulous horticulturalist. The resulting marijuana had been especially good quality. Even Austin was impressed. The plants were already producing enough to sell the extra. He loved it when a plan came together. Nick conceded Ben had probably picked a good major.
Grace, Ben’s date for the weekend, well, his date for the past two and half months, was already there making grilled cheese sandwiches to take with them while Ben ran to the store to pick up some beer.
Nick really liked her. She wasn’t like the other girls Ben had flings with. She was laid back and didn’t throw herself at Ben. They enjoyed each other’s company and she was a lot of fun. She was becoming a fixture at the apartment and Nick wondered if maybe Grace had managed to capture Ben’s heart. He hoped so.
Ben had never been with anyone for this long. In Ben years it was as if he had been with her for 2 years not almost 2-1/2 months. He liked the two of them together and wanted his friend to be happy.
Emma liked Grace too, which was saying a lot. She usually had no use for the girls Ben brought home. In fact, Emma and Grace were becoming close friends.
Nick carefully packed the glass pipe and the homegrown stash. He figured he would bring enough to share with Austin and Amber plus anyone else that wanted a hit.
“Hey Nick,” said Grace peeking around the door to his room, “got a minute?”
Nick looked up surprised to see her seeking him out. She looked sad. Surely Ben hadn’t broken it off with her before their weekend. Asshole. “Hi. Sure Grace. Something wrong?” asked Nick prepared for the worst.
“Nothing is wrong exactly, but I need to ask you something,” she said.
“Okay,” he said sitting down on the bed and patting the empty spot next to him, “Shoot.”
Grace sat down. “It’s about Ben.”
Nick groaned inwardly. Of course it was. “What did he do now?”
She smiled a knowing smile before replying. “Nothing. It’s just that I think I am starting to fall really hard for him and well….”
That was bad. Nick just waited. He had no idea what she was going to say next.
When he didn’t say anything she continued. “You know Naomi and I are friends and I hear the rumors. He’s a ladies man and has already gone through several other girls, Naomi included. She tried to warn me off. They all tell me I’m crazy to be with him, that he is nothing more than a womanizer. But it doesn’t feel that way between us.”
She laughed a nervous laugh before continuing. “Emma even tried to warn me in her own charming way to be careful ‘tryin’ to fix sumthin’ that don’t wanna get fixed’. But Nick, he’s just so adorable and sweet and I can’t help but like him. It just feels right with him, you know?”
Nick thought about Val and Rachael. He knew exactly what she meant. Rachael felt right too. Val had made it seem like she was doing him a favor to allow him to be with her. Nick nodded. “Yeah, I know,” he said softly.
“I’m afraid for this weekend. It feels big for some reason.”
Grace frowned. “Like this will be our last time together and then he’s going to tell me he doesn’t want to see me anymore.”
Shit. Way to screw up Ben, thought Nick. He felt bad for Grace because she was probably right.
“I think you need to stop listening to gossip. Ben adores you. I see how he lights up when you walk in the room,” said Nick and then said a silent prayer that lightning wouldn’t strike him down for potentially leading her down a path of destruction.
Truth is, Ben did light up when she walked in. He definitely adored Grace, but Nick knew she was right. Ben was going to get antsy sooner or later and drop her like a hot potato. But maybe, just maybe, if Grace stuck around just a little longer, Ben would realize he managed to find someone that could make him happy.
“Thanks Nick. You don’t have to lie for him. I have seen him steal glances at Emma.”
Shit. That worked well. “I’m not lying Grace. He does like you. A lot. He and Emma are really good friends and he watches out for her. You know that.”
“Maybe. I just don’t think he likes me the way I like him. I want to see where this takes us, but I don’t think he does. Has he said anything to you?”
“Not directly, but he does talk about you a lot. He never did that with anyone else.”
“Really? Not even Emma?”
“Grace, Emma is not your competition. Ben is. He thinks he never wants to get married or have a family. That he can be a bachelor forever. Just have fun this weekend and don’t pressure him or I promise, he will run like a scared rabbit.”
Grace laughed. “Don’t I know it! Thanks Nick. Ben is lucky to have you as a friend but I think you just confirmed what I already know, our time together is probably coming to an end. I honestly hope you are right and I’m wrong.”
Ben walked in causing Nick and Grace to jump.
“Hitting on my girl?” asked Ben grinning.
“Never. But you better be careful because someone might if you don’t take care of her,” warned Nick hoping Ben would get the hint.
Ben pulled Grace into his arms. “You mean like this?” he asked and playfully kissed her fully on the lips.
“Ready to go?” he said still looking at Grace.