*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love– Read Chapter 8 HERE
Hunter comes over to Henley as one by one the guests come by to give the girls prop for a nostalgic job well done.
“Wow, you still got it, not that I doubted it,” he says laughing.
“Yea, not so much. I think I pulled a muscle on that last stage jump,” she says laughing as she rubs her thigh.
“That reminds me, of that one time you pulled a muscle, while we-“
“NOT the kind of muscle injury I was referring to Hunter,” she says with a sly smirk.
“Walk with me?” he says holding out his hand to her.
Henley smiles small as she glances around before taking his hand, Hunter rolls his eyes as he laces his fingers through hers and leads her out of the ballroom.
“You know, I was thinking about what you said last night.”
“Oh god…last night is still a little hazy, refresh my memory?” she says wincing.
“It was nothing bad, just that you feel like your clock is really ticking now that Piper is married and I mean you basically proposed to me, so surprise we’re engaged!” he says with a 10 watt smile.
Henley laughs as she covers her face, “Shut up!” she says playfully hitting him in the chest.
“I’m just saying, if you’re ever looking for a husband or ya know a father for your babies,” he says smiling, “I’m available.”
She smiles slightly as her eyes drift from his intense sexy glare, “Hunter, I-” she stutters trying to find the right words, her mind spinning with past painful events and new exciting urges and feelings. And love. Deep rooted love for this man standing before her.
“You look beautiful, Hen,” he says placing a kiss on her cheek, a small chuckle escaping him as he walks away all calm, cool, and collected, hands in his pockets. Henley’s eyes following, her breath taken away. Hunter Stone did that do her. Often. Even though she won’t admit it.
If I don’t say this now, I will surely break. As I’m leaving the one I want to take. Forgive the urgency, but hurry up and wait. My heart has started to separate…
Hunter walks over to Henley as he holds out his hand, he cocks his head ever so slightly towards the dance floor, “I believe they’re playing our song,” he says smirking.
“Hunter-” she says smiling politely up at him and shaking her head.
“Come on, just one dance,” he says pulling her up, as she follows him onto the dance floor.
Alexis watches Hunter and Henley dancing from across the room.
Hunter laughs at something Henley says as he wraps his arms around her waist, the two swaying to the music.
“You know Henley is literally his heart. I don’t know why you’re so hell bent on trying to get in the middle of them. Still, even after all these years,” Piper says standing next to her.
“If you think so little of me, why do you even bother inviting me?” Alexis says, crossing her arms in front of her chest.
“Because you once were such an amazing friend to Henley, to me, to the girls. We were all a team. I guess I just hoped that one day you’d be that person again. But, turns out, I was very wrong. Lesson learned,” Piper says walking away as Alexis looks down at her drink with sadness and shame in her eyes.
Henley and Hunter finish their dance. Hunter places a kiss on her cheek, and she excuses herself to take care of something party planning related.
Alexis walks over to Hunter. He notices and looks away, sighing.
“No Alexis, don’t start,” he says walking away.
Alexis grabs his arm, “Please just give me 5 minutes. There’s something I never told you…about that night,” she says looking at him sadly.
Hunter rolls his eyes, and pulls his arm away, crossing them in front of his chest.
“Why should I believe anything you say, after what happened?”
“You don’t know the whole truth…because I only let you think what I wanted you to think,” she says looking up at him, nervously.
Hunter looks at her intensely, his mind spinning with confusion.
“What does that mean?” he says glaring.
“Can we please not do this here, I don’t want to give Piper and Parker’s wedding a second show,” she says looking around.
Hunter rolls his eyes as he walks toward the balcony.
“5 minutes,” he says as she follows.
Henley’s eyes float toward Hunter as she notices, her jealousy kicking in instinctively.
“What is it? What’s so important that you had to pull me away from my sister’s wedding Alexis?” he says crossing his arms in front of his chest.
Alexis noticing his walls and boundaries building up. A fortress if you will.
“That night that Henley found us together…I may have manipulated the situation in order for it to appear a certain way,” she says her eyes avoiding his glare.
Hunter’s jaw clenches, “What?” he says his tone laced with anger.
“You and I, well we never really slept together. I just made it look like we did, so that Henley would break up with you,” Alexis says nervously as she fears the worst.
“What! Why? Who does that?” he says his voice raising.
“I was jealous of you and Henley,” she says shaking her head at herself and the level of stupidity laced in her reasoning.
“Why? She was your best friend,” Hunter says confused.
“I know that. But…I saw you first,” Alexis says her eyes filling with tears.
“Ok, see that doesn’t really make much sense because, I met you the same night I met Henley and the rest of the girls,” he says trying to connect the very sporadic dots.
“That’s not true,” Alexis says looking up at him.
“I don’t understand,” Hunter says confusion written heavily all over his face.
“You don’t remember this, but we met before that night. It was the first day of my freshmen year, and I was pretty anxious about this math class I knew I had to take, because I heard the professor was really hard. And I was of course late on my first day, and I forgot the textbook, which the professor had specifically emailed us about weeks before so we’d all be prepared…”
“Ok Alexis, speed it up here…” Hunter says waving her along, waiting for answers.
“Yes, sorry. Anyway, you were sitting next to me, and you must have seen the sheer panic on my face when I realized I didn’t have the book, that you smiled over at me and pushed your textbook into the center of the table so that I could share. It was so sweet, and something about your eyes, I just couldn’t get over them. I felt butterflies every time you walked into the room.”
“Wow, I um, I’m sorry. I-I don’t remember that,” Hunter says suddenly feeling bad for the woman he’s despised for so long.
“Well I suppose you wouldn’t. Because you transferred out after a few weeks, and we never really ran into each other again until that night at the pub, the night Piper signed us up for that gig. The same night that you…”
“That I met Henley,” he says nodding.
“Yea and you didn’t remember me that night either, and you were of course infatuated by Henley. Everybody is. And I know that what I did was terrible and I am a horrible human, but I was just so upset that once again Henley got the guy and I didn’t. It’s like living in someone’s shadow constantly. Things just always seemed to come so effortlessly to Henley. And I don’t know, I just got so tired of it. I had feelings for you first. It just didn’t seem fair. And it was torture watching you with her, knowing I meant nothing to you.”
“Ok, you didn’t mean nothing to me, we were friends. But I’m sorry Alexis that doesn’t justify what you did. That doesn’t make it right. And not only did you lie, but you kept lying for a decade! Do you realize how what you did ruined relationships for years to come? How could you hold so much anger towards Henley if you never told her that you had those feelings? I mean I certainly didn’t know,” he says completely thrown.
“Would that have changed anything?” she asks looking up at him with curious eyes.
Hunter sighs, looking away, “Alexis, I’m sorry. I’m not trying to hurt you. But I can’t rewrite history here. I love Henley. Always have. Always will. I can’t apologize for that.”
“No, yea I get it, and you shouldn’t. I don’t expect you to,” Alexis says looking down at her hands, as she bites her lip. Tears streaming down her face.
“I am sorry that you were hurting all those years. But I have to be very clear about something, so that there is no confusion. Henley and I may be complicated. But she means the world to me. She’s the love of my life. So if you are still holding onto any of those feelings. I really urge you to move on.”
“And trust me, I wasn’t worth jeopardizing your friendship over. Because even though what you did broke my heart… more importantly, it broke Henley’s heart. And if I remember correctly, she was always such a good friend to you.”
“You’re right, I know that,” Alexis says as the tears continue to stream. “I have been holding onto this for so long that I just couldn’t tell her, because as much as she hated me for what she thought I did. I know if she knew the truth, she’d hate me even more.”
“You can’t keep hiding behind this secret. Especially now that I know the truth, you can’t expect me to keep this from her.”
“Hunter, please. Please don’t tell Henley…” she says pleading with him as she places her hands on his chest.
Henley sees the two through the balcony glass door. Her eyes narrow, as her blood begins to boil.
Piper walks over, “Hey, whoa, what’s with the death glare?” she says following Henley’s stare.
“Nooo!” Piper says in shock, gasping.
“I need a drink,” Henley says stalking off to the bar, visibly annoyed.
“I’m not going to tell her, Alexis. You are,” Hunter says as he removes her hands.
“She will never forgive me Hunter.”
“She already hasn’t from the first lie you told. Maybe somehow this can be a good thing.”
“You just don’t understand.”
“No, I don’t understand any of this,” Hunter says in a matter of fact, yet annoyed tone.
“I know she hates me now. But at least she and the girls hate me enough to still tolerate me, because they are still using their energy to hate me. I mean if it weren’t for that, I’d never be able to be a part of Henley’s life.”
“Why would you want to be?”
“Because, she’s my best friend.”
“Alexis, you do realize how crazy you sound right?”
“Yes ok. Look even though I would get jealous of Henley at times, she was always such an amazing friend. And one stupid, over drawn lie and mistake cost me the best friend I ever had. It was just this lie that kept snowballing and it got too big. And you had went to rehab shortly after everything…”
“Please don’t blame my recovery for your lie,” Hunter says getting annoyed and defensive.
“I’m not at all. I’m sorry. I just knew Henley was reeling from everything that happened and it wasn’t the right time to drop that bomb on her. I lied and I hurt you both. It was selfish of me, and I am sorry.”
“Ok fine, but if you are so sorry and you want to rebuild your friendship with Henley, why still keep this act up. I mean do you honestly still have feelings for me?”
“Sometimes I feel like I do. But then I think about it and I realize it’s just the idea of you. The idea of having someone fight for me, the way you fight for Henley. Seeing you with her tonight. I just realized how meant to be you are. And I should never have done what I did. I should have just been a supportive friend. Believe it or not, I still do love and care about Henley. It’s the only reason I still hang around. God bless your sister’s forgiving heart.”
“Yea, sometimes it gets her into trouble,” Hunter says with a small laugh.
“Look, I know you have no reason to believe that I’m sincere, but really I have nothing to gain here. Either way I lose. I just thought it was finally time to put some pain to rest. I truly am so sorry.”
“I believe you,” he says seeing her truth.
“Really?” Alexis says with a hopeful smile.
“Yea. I mean I’m a cop. I’d be able to tell if you were lying,” he says shrugging.
Alexis laughs as she wipes her tears.
“Look, I can’t speak for Henley, but I’m willing to put this pain in the past. I mean I’m pissed, don’t get me wrong. Livid actually. But I can’t change it, I can only put it behind me and move towards what I want. Which is a life with Henley. And hopefully after she knows this, it’ll move in that direction.”
“I’m sure that it will. She is very much still in love with you,” Alexis says with a small smile.
“You have to tell her, but maybe not tonight. We don’t need to have a catfight break out in the middle of Piper’s wedding,” he says with a laugh.
“You’re right. I’ll talk to her tomorrow morning.”
Henley wakes up the next morning in a bed that she has no recollection of getting into the night before. She looks around confused as she tries to place the room. Her eyes land on the TV as it hums the hotel schedule. She hears the shower running as she jolts up, “Oh god,” she says covering her face.
She looks under the blankets as she sees she’s wearing a man’s t-shirt.
Henley looks around the room, trying to place an identity to the man. She smells the t-shirt. And her body relaxes. “Oh, it’s Hunter,” she says smiling and falling back onto the bed.
“Hey you, good morning,” Hunter says smiling as he emerges from the bathroom in a towel, his hair wet, and his chest glistening.
“Hi,” she says laughing as she covers her face.
“How are you feeling?” he says laughing as he grabs some clothes from his suitcase.
“Aside from a massive headache, surprisingly not too bad.”
“Here,” he says handing her a bag.
“Oh yes the hotel hang over kit gift bags, thank you party planner me,” she says digging out the aspirin and Gatorade.
Hunter laughs as he walks into the bathroom to change.
“So…I assume we had sex?” she says knowingly.
“No…” Hunter says walking back out a few minutes later.
“No?” she says surprised.
“No. You were drunk, I would never do that. Besides there was little time to think about anything like that, since I was too busy holding your hair back as you puked. Hence why I had to change you,” He says scrunching up his nose.
“Oh my god. No.” she says covering her face, “I’m so sorry Hunter.”
“Hey don’t be. After all the many times you stayed with me, I owed you one,” he says with a smile.
“No. No I don’t want you to think that ok? That doesn’t make it right. It was insensitive and I’m sorry.”
“Stop it, Hen. Come on your being too hard on yourself!”
“No I just don’t want you to think that I’m like this all the time. I mean first the rehearsal dinner, then last night at the wedding. I would never want to drag you back into that world. I know how hard you worked on your sobriety.”
“As flattered as I am that you care what I think. How could you ever think that I could or would judge you? How could you ever think my love for you would ever waver? Because I can promise you, there is nothing that you could ever do, that could ever make me love you any less,” he says staring at her as Henley’s heart melts.
“Ugh, god Hunter. The way you love me. It terrifies me, sometimes,” she says looking away with a sigh.
“Why?” he says confused.
“Because, I’m not perfect. And having someone think that I am, my god! I’m just worried that one day you’re going to realize I’m not and just leave. For good.”
“Henley, look. I know that I always joke and say that I think you’re perfect. But the truth is I am very well aware that you’re not,” he says with a smile.
“Gee thanks, way to kick a girl when she’s down,” she says shocked and slightly offended.
“Here me out,” he says with a laugh as he sits next to her on the hotel bed. The white linen sheets tussled about. “You are opinionated, and judgey, and you can be incredibly infuriating in a fight.”
“Hey!” Henley says laughing.
“But…But you’re also really passionate, and caring, and when you love, you love with your whole heart. And I’m sure if you had to name some of my flaws you could in a heartbeat,” he says raising his eyebrows at her.
“Yea, you may be right about that one,” she says smirking at him.
“I love you unconditionally. Everything about you. And the fact that someone like you, could love someone like me, flaws and all, it just makes me seriously grateful. You are my favorite to fight with. And it’s not always so easy between us. I know we have a lot of painful history, but that love…it only grows with each passing day. At least for me,” he says placing a hand on his chest.
“For me too. I’d rather fight with you forever, than love anyone else,” she says smiling over at him.
Hunter smiles brightly as they both lean in, their lips meeting in a sweet kiss.
Henley pulls away, placing a hand on his chest stopping him.
“I do have to ask you something though,” she says her smile shifting to a less happy expression.
“Ok…”Hunter says slightly worried as he looks into her eyes.
“I feel stupid even bringing it up,” she says looking away.
“What is it?” Hunter says shaking his head, as he cups her face, encouraging her to talk to him.
“So I saw you and Alexis on the balcony last night and it just looked like a pretty intense conversation…”
“It was an intense conversation,” he says looking at her as he places a hand on her knee.
“About what? Oh no wait, let me guess. She was probably trying to seduce you…”
“No, look Henley you’re going to have to talk to her about it.”
Henley looks at him, her confusion slowly climbing the emotional ladder to anger.
“What?” she says standing up and folding her arms across her chest. Her stance strong.
“Alexis told me something that I think would clear up some questions we might have had about that…night,” he says painfully.
“What night? The night she ruined our lives?” Henley says her anger only rising.
“Everything wasn’t exactly how it seemed. You just…I know you don’t want to, but you have to talk to her,” he says gently stroking her cheek.
“No. How could you expect me to believe anything she says?”
“Henley baby, baby. Hey. Let me ask you something. Do you think I’m a good cop?” he says gently grabbing her by the shoulders.
“Of course. The best,” she says softening her anger.
“Ok, so don’t you think if I interrogate people for a living, that I could tell if she was lying?” he says.
“Ugh yes, of course.” She says huffing as she places her hands on her hips as she paces the paisley carpeted hotel room floor.
“So whatever she told you…you think she’s telling the truth?”
“Yes I do.”
“So why can’t you just tell me?”
“Because as someone who was never fully aware of the details of what happened that night due to my drunken and baked state, I don’t feel like it’s my story to tell.”
“Fair enough. Where is she?” she says removing his shirt as she stands in her undergarments. As she sets to looking through his bag for something to wear. Hunter stares as his lips form into a smirk.
“She’s probably downstairs at the brunch, which we should probably be getting to…and I really don’t think you should show up wearing my clothes. Might give Piper the wrong idea,” he says smiling.
“Right,” she says grabbing his bathrobe.
“You just can’t help it can you…” he says shaking his head.
“Stealing my clothes.”
“You want me to put my pukey clothes back on?”
“Of course not,” he says smiling.
“1) you love it. And 2) they smell like you. That’s why,” Henley she says smirking at him.
“Ok well, thank you for saving me from myself last night. Promise not to make it a habit. But I should really run and change. I’ll meet you downstairs,” she says placing a quick peck on his lips.
“Sure,” he says smirking as he catches her hand pulling her back toward him, “One more,” he whispers placing another kiss on her lips. Henley smiles against his lips as his eyes follow her retreating figure.
Piper and Parker sit at a table at brunch loving on each other.
“Hello love birds,” Henley says walking over to them. “How was your night?”
Piper and Parker exchange loving glances, “Perfect,” Piper says as they lean into a kiss.
“Happy for you,” Henley says smiling.
“Thank you, love you.” Piper says blowing her a kiss.
“Love you,” Henley says returning the sentiment.
“How was your night?” Piper asks.
“Interesting. But I’ll tell you later. Enjoy your first official day as Mr. and Mrs. Nash.”
Piper and Parker rush through the bunch of people standing outside the ballroom awaiting their exit as they throw white rose petals in the air.
Piper rushes over pulling Hunter and Henley into a huge bear hug.
“Thank you Thank you Thank you…for everything. I could NOT have done this without you. Nor would I have wanted to,” she says looking at Henley.
“Where else would I be?” Henley says smiling brightly at her best friend.
Piper hugs her tightly.
“I’m so sorry Hen-“
Henley pulls away, looking at her friend, “Do not say another word. It’s water under the bridge. Now get the heck out of here and go get your sexy on, during your honeymoon with your new husband!” she says smiling and pushing her gently toward Parker.
“Oh ew,” Hunter says covering his ears as the girls laugh.
Piper smiles and she takes Parker’s hand as he helps her into their limo.
Parker turning back to say his goodbyes to the two.
“Enjoy brother,” Hunter says giving his new brother in law a hug. Henley smiles as she kisses Parker on the cheek.
“Make some babies!” someone in the crowd yells as the crowd cheers and waves. The new couple smiling as they wave, the car driving off.
Back in the hotel…
Henley sees Hunter walk in as she smiles at him. She walks up to Alexis.
“I hear you have some new information you’d like to share?” she says.
Alexis freezes as she looks at her.
“Hunter told you?” she asks worry etched on her face.
“No…but by all means do tell…”she says her glare intense.
“Ok, maybe here’s not the best place. I don’t wanna make a scene.”
Henley laughs, “Oh please, Lexie you live to make a scene.”
“You called me Lexie,” Alexis says with a small hopeful smile.
“What?” Henley says annoyed.
“Nothing.” Alexis says not wanting to push her luck.
Hunter walks over, to make sure things don’t escalate.
“Hey, let’s move this someplace else, shall we?” he says guiding Henley by the waist into a nearby coat room.
“What’s the lie this time, Alexis?” she says emphasizing her full first name.
Alexis looks up at Hunter, nervously.
“Don’t look at him. Don’t you dare. You look at me and tell me what the hell this is all about.”
“I lied!” Alexis blurts out.
“What?” Henley says her glare menacing and cold.
“That night that you found me and Hunter together. We didn’t really have sex. I just made it look like that,” Alexis says her heart sinking into her stomach as her hands and knees shake.
“I knew it,” she says angrily. “God I knew it! You are a horrible, horrible person,” Henley says pointing in her face and she storms out of the coat room, Hunter rushing after her.
Alexis follows, “Henley please,” she says pleading.
“No. You’re dead to me,” Henley says storming out of the hotel.
Alexis looks down as the tears fall.
Hunter looks over at her with sympathetic eyes.
“I’m sorry that didn’t go well. But you had to know that she’d be upset.”
“Of course, I don’t blame her. I mean she has every right to be pissed at me. I just wish she’d listen long enough for me to apologize.”
“Just give it a beat…and try again soon. She may very well never forgive you. And you’re going to have to find a way to be okay with that. Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions and accepting the consequences.”
“Excuse me,” Hunter says following after Henley.
Henley paces outside the hotel, as she takes deep breaths of the cool air.
Hunter walks out, and noticing her shivering shoulders, he takes off his sweater and drapes it over her shoulders.
“Henley it’s freezing out here.”
“Thank you,” she says holding his hand.
“I know how upset you must be…” he says lacing his fingers through hers.
“Upset…doesn’t even begin to describe what I’m feeling right now.”
“How are you so calm!” she says yelling. “She ruined our entire relationship and all over a lie…for what? What was the point?”
“Not my story to tell, babe,” he says looking down at her as his thumbs stroke her hands.
“Well it doesn’t matter, because I am definitely never talking to her again.”
“I’m not saying that what she did was right. But let’s just say that maybe Alexis was dealing with her own issues.”
“What issues? I was her best friend. She could have come to me.”
“We all make mistakes. But she actually does seem to have a lot of remorse.”
“Where? Because it’s been 10 years and she hasn’t changed.”
“Sometimes people play a part,” he says shrugging.
“Why are you defending her?” Henley says glaring.
“I’m not. But I know how much you loved her. I know how much your friendship with her meant to you.”
“Well obviously it didn’t mean much to her!”
“I can’t answer for why she did what she did. But I can say that if it weren’t for that night, I may not have gone to rehab.”
“Don’t give her any credit for that. That was all Piper. She was the one to convince you to go.”
“Yes of course. But if it weren’t for me thinking that I broke us, then I would have just been continuing on the disastrous path I was on. And who knows what could have happened. So in a weird way, that lie, was what I needed to realize that I needed help.”
“But it doesn’t bother you that because of her… I questioned you. I questioned our love. And for 10 years I’ve struggled to trust you.”
“I hate how much time we lost. Our lives would have probably been very different. But we can’t go back. We can only go forward. And I refuse to waste anymore of our time. I just want to forgive her and move on. But more importantly, I just want to love the hell out of you,” he says with a sexy smirk as he stares into her eyes.
Henley softens as she runs her hands down his chest, her eyes locking onto his. She lets out a sigh.
Hunter awaits her next move patiently.
Henley grabs him by the neck as her lips crash onto his.
Hunter deepens the kiss as Henley’s hands slide into his sandy blonde hair.
Hunter’s hands sliding up and down her curves.
“Mmm, we’re in public,” Hunter says laughing against her lips as he pulls away.
“Like that’s ever stopped us before,” Henley says smirking up at him, as she raises an eyebrow.
Hunter smirks as she cups his face kissing him passionately, his hands sliding up the back of her shirt.
“Why officer I do believe you are breaking some kind of PDA law,” she says jokingly.
“I’ll break them only for you,” he says as his hands grip her hips, causing her to jolt against his toned body.
“You know I still have an unused hotel room,” Henley says her eyes looking up at Hunter with heat in her eyes.
“Mmm” he moans kissing her, “as much as I want that. I think you might want to finish your conversation with Alexis.”
“No, I don’t want to see or talk to her ever again. And why would I want to do that when I get to kiss these beautiful, soft, sexy lips,” she says grabbing his face and placing a slow, yet intense kiss on his lips.
Hunter chuckles, “That sounds vaguely familiar,” he whispers against her lips.
Henley laughs as she cups the back of his neck, burying her face in his chest, “Oh my gosh, please don’t remind me,” she says.
“What you mean about our first kiss?” he says his eyes sparkling. “Cuz I’m pretty sure you described my lips the exact same way,” he says with a chuckle as he takes her hands in his, lacing his fingers through hers.
“That was not fair, I didn’t mean to actually say the words out loud,” she says laughing. “I just remember you making me so nervous, I would just blurt my thoughts out to fill silence,” she says laughing.
“I knew that, and I loved the fact that I could make you nervous,” he whispers inches away from her lips.
“You wanna know a secret?” Henley whispers back, their lips touching ever so slightly.
Hunter nods, “You still do,” she says pulling him into a kiss. He could feel her heart pounding in her chest.
Alexis exits the hotel, her eyes scan her surroundings landing on the two, as she sighs a sigh of relief, her lips curling into a smile. She walks back into the hotel.
Hunter pulls Henley closer to his body as he deepens their kiss, pulling away briefly he whispers, “Even after all these years, you still make me nervous too,” he says taking her hand and placing it over his heart as his heart pounds in his toned chest.
Henley smiles as the two sit in a memory.
**Flashback to college years…
Hunter and Henley walk side by side on a dimly lit city street block.
“Sorry, I guess this wasn’t the best first date idea…the party,” he says sheepishly, his hands in his pockets.
“Oh, that’s ok,” she says shrugging, “the location doesn’t really matter to me,” she says smiling over at him.
Hunter smirks as he takes her hand in his, Henley smiles as she looks away nervously, Hunter notices.
A few minutes later they reach Henley’s door step.
“I had fun tonight,” Henley says turning to him, as she fiddles with her keys.
“Yea me too, next time, I promise it’ll be just us,” he says laughing.
Henley smiles, as her eyes lock onto Hunter’s, he swallows nervously as he leans in to kiss her, and Henley turns away, “I think my parents are home, I should really get inside,” she says opening the door quickly and going inside.
“You turned your cheek, do you remember that?” Hunter says laughing as they come back into the present. “You’re parents weren’t even home, you liar. No lights. No car.”
Henley laughs covering her face, “I was scared, you were my first date, my first kiss, my first everything,” she says looking up at him as his eyes soften lovingly, he places a sweet kiss on her lips.
“You’ve always scared easily,” he says smirking as he shakes his head.
“Only when something means so much to me,” she says looking at him.
“I’ll never forget you running after me that night though, I swear I thought maybe I misread the signals, that maybe you weren’t feeling it,” he says with a chuckle.
“No I was definitely feeling it, hence me commenting on your beautiful, soft, sexy lips,” she says laughing.
**Back to the flashback…
Henley shuts the door as she sinks down to the floor, “What the HELL, is your problem Henley! You like him! Why didn’t you just kiss him?” she says yelling at herself as she hits her forehead with her palm repeatedly, “Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she says.
Henley bolts up and opening her door she rushes down the block, “Hunter, Hunter wait!” she calls after him.
Hunter stops turning to see Henley running toward him.
“Is everything ok?” he says nervously.
Henley grabs him into a kiss. The. Best. Kiss. Ever.
“Whoa,” Hunter says his eyes heavy as he looks at her.
“Wow, you have the most beautiful, soft, sexy lips,” she says in a romantic fog.
Hunter smirks as his eyes lock on her lips, “Trust me, your lips are sexier,” he says pulling her into another kiss.
Back to the present…
Henley and Hunter stand in front of the hotel in each other’s loving embrace as their foreheads touch, their eyes closed.
“Shall we go upstairs,” Henley says smiling up at him, biting her lower lip.
Hunter pulls her into a passionate kiss.
“Hey. I love you and I would love to take you upstairs, but I really think you need to talk to Alexis. I get that you’re mad. Trust me, I get it. I was livid. But I think that it was the way things had to be in order for us to get to where we are today. Think about it. Maybe everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t know what that reason is.”
“I’m not sure that I believe that. For what reason, could she possibly have for wanting to hurt me that much?”
“Look, I don’t think it was necessarily about you as much as it was about me, or the idea of me,” he says looking away.
“I don’t understand,” Henley says confused as she laces her fingers through his, looking at him.
“Apparently…the night that you and I met for the first time, wasn’t the first time I met Alexis,” he says.
“Ok?” Henley says confused.
“But I’d rather you let her tell you why she felt to do what she did. I’ve been caught in the middle of this fight between the two of you far too long. And now that I know that it really wasn’t my doing, I’d really like to stay out of it.”
“No, yea I get it. You’re right. I’m sorry. God, I am just so mad right now.”
Hunter sighs as his brow furrows, his lips pouting.
“I know, baby,” he says cupping her face.
“But maybe after you hear her out, you can finally put all this behind you once and for all,” he says.
“And Hen- I just want to be very clear. I love you. And only you,” he says staring at her.
“I know,” she says smiling, “I know baby,” she whispers against his lips as they both lean into a kiss, “I love you too.”
“Come on let’s go pack, I’ll drive you home,” Hunter says leading her back toward the hotel.
Alexis sits at a table in a coffee shop fidgeting anxiously checking the door with each draft cast through it’s opening.
Henley walks in, obvious anger etched on her face.
She sits down with determination, frustration and a fiery glare.
“Hi,” Alexis says looking up. “Thanks for coming, I know I don’t deserve-“
“Don’t. Don’t play the self-deprecating role right now, because I’m not buying it. I have one question for you…it’s one that has haunted me for 10 years…and unfortunately you are the only one that can answer it for me.”
“Of course. Ask me anything,” Alexis says nervously.
“Why?” Henley says tears building.
“I was hurting, I guess. Do you remember the guy I told you I had a crush on in my math class freshmen year?”
“The textbook guy?” Henley asks confused.
Alexis nods, as Henley suddenly begins to connect the dots.
“Hunter was textbook guy?”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” Henley says confused.
“Because I realized that he didn’t even remember me. Once again the spark I thought I felt was all in my head. And I could tell he was interested in you and you were interested in him. I just thought that if it was nothing then why should I say anything? I felt so stupid even thinking about bringing it up.”
“Alexis…regardless of whether or not Hunter remembered you…if you still had feelings for him no matter how small the interaction was- if I would have known- I would have never started dating him. You were my best friend,” Henley says as tears begin to fall down her face.
“I know. And you were mine too. I’m sorry I just- everything was changing. And you had Piper as a new best friend and you had Hunter and it just seemed like your life was always effortlessly perfect. For as long as I’ve known you I just always felt like things just would always work out for you. It just started feeling like you didn’t want me in your life anymore. And as much as I tried to get over it, the idea of you and Hunter still stung. I just got angry and jealous and I did something stupid that cost me my best friend. And I regret it every day.”
“Perfect? You thought my life was perfect. Alexis I lost my parents at 17. My life has been far from perfect.”
“No that’s not what I meant. I’m so sorry. Your parents were amazing people. I just-meant that before you lost them, growing up you just seemed to always have it all. It was like you could do no wrong. Perfect grades, loving family, beautiful home, and the guys always loved your natural beauty. And it was like I always tried to measure up, but never could.”
“Appearances can be deceiving sometimes. Because all that time, I envied you and how free you could be.”
“Well what you took as free was me just trying to make the best of a crappy upbringing. You know my parents. They’d rather throw their credit at me, then ever actually spend any time with me. I guess it’s true what they say, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.” Alexis says shrugging.
“True. But I have to ask…why not just come clean after everything, why let it go on for 10 years?!”
“I was ashamed, and I didn’t think you would forgive me either way. If you hated me, it was still some type of feeling toward me. And you not cutting me out of your life completely said a lot too, Hen.”
“That was all Piper. She’s much more forgiving then I am,” Henley says rolling her eyes.
“Come on Hen, she’s not that forgiving. Not forgiving enough to let me stick around after I hurt you- her best friend. No I’m only allowed to stick around, because you allow me to. Which must mean that you still hold onto our years of friendship. Just as much as I do. Because the Badass Henley I know would have cut me out of her life a long time ago, had I been anyone else.”
“Well you know I could be a sucker for nostalgia,” Henley says rolling her eyes as she wipes away some tears.
Alexis smiles small, “Henley, I’m sorry. I’m so so sorry,” Henley looks at her with mixed emotions. And for the first time, in a long time Henley saw a glimmer of her old friend.
“Do you still have feelings for Hunter?” Henley asks her tone uneasy.
“So then why the constant drama, the flirting…” Henley asks as her brows raise with confusion.
“I was playing the role I cast myself in. Like I said I’d rather you hate me. Then be indifferent.”
“I feel for you. I do. I can only imagine how hurt you were seeing me and Hunter together. But it was your fault for not saying anything. Sure we were best friends, but I’m not a mind reader. What you did was awful. You broke hearts, relationships. And it’s been a really tough road. You made me question Hunter’s loyalty/his character.”
“I know,” Alexis says covering her face in embarrassment and shame.
“And to be honest, your reasons for doing what you did do not justify any of it. It all sounds selfish and kind of crazy.”
“I know, I know,” Alexis says crying heavily.
“But. Lucky for you Hunter brought up a good point.”
Alexis looks up at her through a blurred line of vision. She wipes her eyes.
“If you hadn’t done what you did. Hunter might not have went to rehab. So in a bizarre way, I guess it all sort of worked out,” Henley says shrugging her shoulders.
“Does this mean, that you forgive me, and we can be friends again?” Alexis asks with hopeful excitement evident in a smile.
“No. Not quite. Even though you didn’t cheat with Hunter, you still lied to me. And you hurt me. So the forgiveness is going to take some time. But I am open to healing…our friendship…with baby steps.”
“Absolutely, I completely agree. Baby steps, you got it.”
“And as for my relationship with Hunter and with Piper…I never meant to make you feel like you didn’t matter. I have a big heart. There’s a little room for everybody,” Henley says.
Alexis smiles as Henley returns a small smirk.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*