*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love– Read Chapter 10 Here
Hunter sits with a can of seltzer as he watches a game on TV. He hears a light knock on his apartment door.
Hunter opens the door to find Henley standing there soaked from head to toe.
“Hey?” he says surprised. “Henley what are you doing, are you ok? Come in.” he says opening the door for her.
Henley rushes in, as she shakes from the outside chill. “Thanks,” she says her lips quivering, teeth chattering.
“What did you do, walk here?” he asks baffled.
“Yea, bad idea,” she says trying to laugh it off as Hunter drapes a towel over her shoulders pulling it tighter around her to warm her up.
“I could have picked you up, ya know?” he says looking at her sternly, “you could get pneumonia.”
“Well not if I get out of these clothes,” she says as he looks at her, his eyebrow peaks.
Henley smirks, rolling her eyes. Hunter just laughs.
“Do you mind if I borrow some clothes, and change?”
“You mean steal come clothes. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get them back,” he says gesturing to the Jimmy Hendrix t-shirt she’s currently wearing under her leather jacket.
“Hey, you gave me this!” Henley says smiling and gasping.
“No I told you I bought it to wear because it reminded me of you. You just took that as oh it’s my last name so I’m going to take it.”
“Well nearly a decade later and I still have it. Shouldn’t you feel honored or something?” she says smirking as she opens his draws to get some dry clothes.
“Oh I do,” he says smirking as he watches her make herself right at home.
Henley takes her shirt off to change.
Hunter looks at her as he laughs, looking away, “You know the bathroom’s right there?” he says pointing.
“I know,” she smirks as she slides on his shirt and a pair of sweats.
“Henley what is this? Why are you here?”
Henley looks at him slightly offended.
“Not that I mind. I’m just confused. You made it pretty clear that this thing isn’t going to go any further so-” he says shrugging.
“You caught me on a bad day,” she says pulling him by the shirt toward her as she places a kiss on his lips.
Hunter moves his face.
“Oh come on, really? You’re that mad at me?”
“I’m never really mad at you for long. I just don’t understand what you want from me anymore.”
“Really? I thought it was pretty obvious,” she says smirking as she pulls him into another kiss.
Hunter cups her face as he kisses her passionately his other hand in her hair.
Henley reaches for the hem of his shirt, and he stops her, pulling away from her, he sighs.
“I can’t,” he says walking away from her as he wipes his mouth.
“What? You’re kidding me, right?” Henley says obviously agitated. “Since when?”
“Since you won’t admit this thing with us is real and actually going somewhere. It’s never been fully over, and it never will be. I tell you I love you and I want us to be together, you fight me. I try to respect your wishes, you fight me because you’re offended. Can you see how confusing this is for me?”
“Would you just shut up and kiss me,” she says cupping his face and leaning in.
“No. Henley I’m serious. I can’t keep doing this. This back and forth, it’s killing me. Your giving me whiplash, woman. I know what I want. You have no idea. You’re all over the place,” he says pulling her hands away from his face and taking a step away from her.
“Wow. Ok. If that’s how you really feel. I’ll go.” she says grabbing her purse and heading for the door.
“Henley, hen, stop I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that,” he says rushing to stop her.
Henley looks up at him.
“Look, I don’t know what’s going on with me, ok? I just I had a really weird day at work. And I ended up here. I just wanted to see you, I guess,” she says shrugging as the tears roll down her face.
“See now was that so hard to admit,” he says smiling softly as he wipes her tears away with his thumbs.
“Yes.” she says rolling her eyes.
“Why? It’s just me Hen-you know you can tell me anything.”
“You know why. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.”
“I’m sorry, but at least we know the full truth now. And we can start to heal, more.”
“Yea. It’s always there, isn’t it? No matter how hard I fight it. I think that’s why it scares me so much. When we talk about it, I have to think about why we broke up. And how stupid I was to believe Alexis all these years. If we’re just messing around, I don’t have to think about anything. Just that in the moment it feels good to be with you.”
Henley stands there vulnerable as her eyes float up to meet his.
“Ugh screw morality,” he says grabbing her as she laughs and they fall onto his bed as he pulls off his shirt tossing it to the side, continuing to cover her in kisses.
Hunter and Henley lay in bed, Hunter’s arm wrapped around her as she lays on his chest, her hand placed over his heart. Hunter’s spaced in deep thought.
“Hey?” Henley says looking up at him, “Where’d you go?” she asks.
“Nowhere, I’m here,” he says smiling down at her. Although she can tell that smile is fake from a mile away.
“Truth.” Henley declares, her eyes lifting up and staring into his.
Hunter laughs sarcastically, “You wanna call truth right now, really?”
“You know if I have to be honest, then so do you.” he says looking down at her, his hand stroking her shoulder.
“I know that.”
“You sure you’re ready for that?” he asks
“I’ll go first…” she says sitting up and facing him.
“Ok.” Hunter says facing her.
“I feel like you think that I’m using you.”
“Use me. Trust me, I’m not complaining.” he says smirking as he inches his lips onto hers, kissing her in a teasing manner.
“I’m serious.” she says hitting him in the shoulder.
“Oh so am I,” he says his eyebrows raising.
“You wanted me to be honest. Now you need to be. Do I make you feel that way?”
“I don’t think that you mean to. But yea. I do feel like you use me to escape your problems, and being that I am in some way one of those problems for you still, you circle back to fighting me on this and our connection. Because every time you say it’s the last time, it’s not.”
Henley looks up at him, her eyes darker somehow, like when the sun shifts and the room suddenly changes in light.
“Henley, hey, I’m sorry…”
“Don’t apologize, I asked.”
“Yea but now your upset.”
“So what, you’re allowed to say what you feel. And if it upsets me that just means there’s truth to it. And it’s something I need to work on. I’m the one who’s sorry. I guess I didn’t realize I was taking your love for granted. I do care about you.”
Hunter smirks slightly.
“What?” Henley says looking at him expectantly.
“Henley. You love me. I know that you do. But I mean after all this time. If you still can’t say that. If you still can’t admit that to even yourself. We really don’t have much of any kind of future. Not even as friends,” he says moving away from her.
“God why do you always have to go there? And get so deep?” she says noticing his distance and pulling away herself.
Hunter laughs sarcastically, “You wanted honesty, see this is our problem. No actually, baby, it’s your problem. You don’t really want the truth, and sometimes I’m too scared to hurt your feelings, because god forbid I make you mad again. Well then I’ll really lose you forever. Well you know what it doesn’t really feel like I have you now anyway, so what’s the point? I love you yes. But I can’t keep paying for who I USED to be. Especially when we now know nothing really happened between me and Alexis. If you can’t see that I’ve changed, that I’m a trustworthy man. A man who will love you forever and support you in everything imaginable. Then your right, we shouldn’t be doing this, nor should we be in each other’s lives at all.”
“You don’t mean that.”
“I made a promise to myself when I was in rehab, that once I got better and built my life back up, I would do everything in my power to get you back. And you know what? I have. I have gone along with what you wanted for years. I have been you’re in between guy, your late night guy, your early morning guy, your shoulder to cry on, your everything and still you can’t admit that we could have a future. I think by now you know that you are more than just sex to me. But you like to hide us under the friends with benefits tab, and act like its all ok, because you’re too scared to admit that you might have to actually let your guard down and let me in. I love you Henley. I love you so much. You’re my everything. But clearly I’m not yours. I’ve done everything I can think of to make this work. But I’m out of ideas. I can’t just be your friend. I can’t watch you move on and be with other guys. Because quite frankly, that just sounds like pure torture.”
“You just need to be patient with me, ok? I’ll get there, I just need time.”
“You’ve had time. You’ve had space. You’ve had years to decide whether or not you can see yourself being with me forever. Henley, I’ve asked you to marry me quite a few times already, and still nothing. As much as it pains me to say this, I think it’s time for me to actually move on.”
“So much for waiting for me forever,” Henley says looking away, her heart breaking.
“Don’t. Don’t do that. Don’t use my words against me.”
“Who can’t handle the truth now?”
“How do you expect me to wait for you forever, when you keep pushing me away. Oh I’m sorry wait, you do occasionally show me some emotion when you feel like it, but when I try to expand on that and reciprocate, you freak out. You can’t have my forever, if I’m not even slightly part of yours. In all these years have you ever mentioned us as a couple, like an actual couple in the future? Our wedding, our house, our family, our kids? No. So what am I supposed to go on here, Henley? I’ve worked too hard to get healthy, I refuse to be a doormat. I want to be happy. And at this point if that’s not with you, then I guess I have to finally accept that. As hard as I know it’s going to be. Maybe you don’t love me. Maybe you never did. Maybe I was just a mistake you made a really long time ago, that you can’t shake. But don’t worry, I get the message. Loud and clear. Finally. I get it.”
“How dare you?”
Hunter shrugs his shoulders as tears pool in his eyes.
“How could you possibly say that? I loved you with everything in me. I was a mess when you went to rehab. I was an absolute wreck. You want proof. Ask Piper. Go ahead, ask your sister, how I would cry myself to sleep every night, wondering why I wasn’t ever enough for you to stay on track. You don’t realize that it wasn’t just you who went through that. We all did. We all feared for you. We all hated having to watch you suffer, knowing there wasn’t anything we could do to help you,” she says, as the tears stream down her face.
“Henley, I was sick. I was dealing with things that I couldn’t tell anyone. It wasn’t your doing. It wasn’t your fault. All you ever did was be there for me. But you couldn’t fix me. It was something I had to do myself. And I know it took a lot to get me there. But rehab saved my life. You don’t always have to be so scared to be with me.”
“There is so much pain in our history Hunter, you can’t expect me to just forget that.” she says getting dressed.
“A decade later, here we are, still running around in circles.”
“I want to just dive into this with you, ok? But I just….I can’t.”
“That’s my cue,” he says pointing to the door.
“Hunter, hunter, please don’t leave.”
“Give me a reason to stay.” he says looking at her.
“It’s your apartment.”
He huffs, “Your’e right, maybe you should leave.”
“Why would you want to stay?” he says getting out of bed and slipping on his jeans,
“Because I care about you. I want us to be in each other’s lives no matter what.”
“That’s not enough for me, Henley.” he says walking out of his apartment.
“Hunter, hunter!” she says screaming as the tears continue to pour down her face.
Hunter shuts the door behind him. He stops, hearing her cries, his eyes tearing. He sighs and walks away, his heart breaking.
**TWO WEEKS LATER**
Henley is at work when her phone rings.
“Hey love,” she says with a big smile.
“Hello, hello,” Piper says in a sing song tone.
“What’s up?” Henley says with a laugh. “How was the honeymoon, I want to hear everything!”
“Oh absolutely, I have so many pictures to show you, Lunch tomorrow?”
“Yes of course, so what’s up?”
“Nothing much, just wanted to check in on you. See how you were doing?” Piper says walking into her house with an armful of groceries.
“Oh, I’m assuming you’ve spoken to your brother.” Henley says.
“Well yea, he might have mentioned the two of you put a hold on things for the time being.”
“Yes but I think it was a bit more painfully definitive than that. But you know what I think its for the best. I’m ok. Or at least I will be,” she says with a little laugh. “You really don’t have to worry about me, ok? I didn’t tell you myself because I didn’t want to drag you once again into my mess of a life.”
“Henley, I was such a jerk to say what I said. You know you can always talk to me, right?”
“I do. But I also know, it’s not fair to keep putting you in the middle. So please stop apologizing. You were right and I finally get it. So don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I actually have a date tonight.” Henley says with a smile as she sifts through some papers on her desk.
“Ohhhh, really. That’s exciting, who with?”
“Do you remember that really cute guy from the bar that night?”
“Oh you mean the guy you made out with?” Piper says with a laugh.
“Yes. He called last night,” Henley says smiling ear to ear.
“Oh la la, nice, where are you guys going?”
“To a show at the Beacon Theater and then dinner.”
“Ah very swanky, have fun! I expect full details tomorrow.”
“But of course,” Henley says smiling.
“Ok bye, love.” Piper says as she starts to open her bags and place her groceries on her kitchen counter. Parker comes through the door with a few cases of bottled water, shes rushes over to hold the door open for him.
“Bye,” Henley says hanging up.
Henley looks at herself in the mirror as she puts her lipstick on with precision.
Smacking her lips together she smiles when she hears the door bell ring.
Henley grabs her jacket and her purse and opens the door to reveal a very handsomely dressed Blake.
“Hi,” she says smiling brightly as she notices the bouquet of red roses in his hand.
“Hi, you look stunning, these are for you. I hope you like roses,” he says smiling.
“They’re my favorite, thank you,” she says taking them and smelling them. “Let me just put these in water, before we go. Come in,” she says opening the door to allow him in.
Blake smiles as he walks around her living area, Henley walks into her kitchen to grab a vase. Her high heels clicking as she walks.
Blake looks around his eyes scanning, taking it all in. His glance landing on a picture of Henley, Piper and Hunter on their college graduation day.
His eyes flicker an unreadable expression.
A few minutes later Henley walks back in with the vase full of roses as she sets them on her entry table.
“You have a great place here,” Blake says turning toward her.
“Thanks, it’s really quiet, everyone pretty much keeps to themselves,” she says smiling.
“Thank you again for these. I love them.”
“You’re very welcome,” he says smiling.
“Shall we go?” Henley asks with a smile.
“Absolutely, lead the way,” he says smiling as he glances back at the photo.
Henley and Blake walk along the city streets, as Blake takes her hand lacing his fingers through hers. They pass side walk vendors. People shuffling by them quickly as cars busy on by, taxi horns honking.
Henley feels a flutter in her stomach. She smiles over at him.
“Did you enjoy the show?” he asks with a sweet smile.
“I really did, I love Broadway shows. I haven’t been to one in years.”
“What? You’re a New Yorker, how is that possible?” he asks with a cute chuckle.
“I um…I don’t know-” Henley says shaking her head laughing nervously.
“Let me guess that uh -it’s complicated ex- of yours wasn’t big on Broadway?”
Henley smiles as her eyes meet his, “something like that.”
“Was that him, in the graduation picture in your living room?”
Henley sighs, as she smiles, “Yes, but the other girl in the photo is my best friend- you know Piper, it was her bachelorette party that night we met.”
“Of course, my tequila buddy,” he says with a laugh.
“Right,” Henley says with a laugh, “Well she just happens to be his sister and we were all really close, anyway the picture was a gift, and it reminds me of a simpler, time. I’m kind of a sucker for nostalgia. So that’s why I keep it out. And now I realize that was probably a longer answer than you needed. Sorry,” she says laughing.
“No, it’s fine. Besides I think in order to make new relationships work, it’s important to know where someone’s heart has been. It helps you get a better read on them.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” she says smiling. “So what about you? What skeletons are you hiding in your closet?” she says with a giggle.
Blake smirks, “I’m afraid I’m a bit of a bore,” he says with a chuckle as his eyes gleam at her.
Henley smiles. Once they reach the restaurant, Blake holds the door open for her.
Henley walks into the restaurant and the smell of finely cooked Italian food fills the air.
Reds and whites are being popped and poured into crystal clear glasses and the feel of Blake’s hand on the small of her back gives her a sweet chill.
It’s new and exciting, and so much simpler than Henley has ever been used to.
The waitress shows them to their table as Blake pulls Henley’s chair out for her, she smiles taking a seat. What a change of pace, she thinks, an absolute gentleman.
The conversation is flowing and so is the wine as Henley finds herself actually feeling like a weight has been lifted.
This isn’t complicated. I’m not stressed, I’m not worried about what it all means. I can finally breathe, she thinks.
Henley laughs at a poor joke Blake makes.
“Oh gosh, that was terrible,” he says laughing at himself.
“No it was actually really funny,” she says catching her breath.
“You have a beautiful smile, you know that?” he says smirking at her in wonderment.
“Thank you,” she says with yet another sweet smile. Her eyes sparkling at the man before her.
Blake’s car pulls up to Henley’s apartment building. He gets out and rushes over to open her door for her, extending his hand to help her out. Blake laces their fingers together as he walks her to her door.
“I had a really nice time tonight Blake, thank you so much,” Henley says smiling at him.
“You’re very welcome. I’m really glad you decided to answer my call. I honestly wasn’t sure you would,” he says with a smirk.
“I’m really glad I did too,” Henley says smiling up at him. Blake’s eyes meet hers. Henley’s heart beat quickens, as he leans in and cupping her face, he kisses her softly.
But it was enough to make Henley weak in the knees.
“I’m sorry, I’ve been wanting to do that all night,” he says smirking and looking down at his feet nervously.
Henley laughs, “No, its okay. Really. I’m not complaining,” she says smiling up at him.
“So maybe we can do this again, sometime?” he asks.
“Yea, I’d like that,” she says nodding happily.
“Ok, cool,” he says with a nervous grin. “Well, good night,” he adds.
“Good night,” Henley says with a wave as she heads up to her apartment building.
Henley opens her door, as she walks into her apartment, she feels weightless like she’s floating. A smile planted on her face. She drops her purse and jacket onto the floor beside her as she slinks down onto her couch. She mindlessly removes her shoes dropping them to the floor. She touches her lips with her fingertips. The imprint of Blake’s kiss still there. A smile spreads across her face.
Her phone buzzes as she reaches into her purse for it. Her mind still a haze, her eyes drift to the screen. She sees Hunter’s name flashing. And just like that she plummets back down to solid ground. She hits reject and heads upstairs to get ready for bed.
Hunter hangs up his phone and huffs.
“Oh so I guess now she’s ignoring my calls too,” he says as he sits at his desk in his office.
Leo pokes his head in.
“Hey, I thought you were outta here?”
“I was. I am. I was just trying to get a hold of Henley before I left.”
“Oh, I thought you guys ended that,” Leo says confused once again by the vicious cycle romance between the two.
“Yea, it was just a stupid fight. We never actually mean it,” Hunter says with a chuckle.
“Ah,” Leo says with a laugh.
“Anyway she’s playing hard to get tonight. She probably just needs a few more days. So you wanna go to Mike’s? Grab some food?” he says.
“Yea sure. Some of the staff is already on their way there, I came to see if you wanted to join.”
“Alright then. Sounds good, let’s go,” Hunter says shutting his desk lamp and laptop and grabbing his jacket as he follows Leo out.
Henley rushes over to the table she sees Piper seated at and covers her eyes from behind.
“Guess who? I’ll give you a hint, it’s your favorite person in the whole world,” she says.
“Alexis?” Piper says unable to hold back her laughter.
Henley lets out a loud cackle, “That’s a good one,” she says sitting across from Piper.
“So! Tell me EVERYTHING!” Piper says with excitement.
“He is really something,” Henley says her eyes sparkling, her smile bright.
“Really?” Piper says with a smile.
“Yea, he’s sweet, and funny and an absolute gentleman. I mean he opens car doors, and pulls out chairs.”
“Don’t you kind of hate that stuff?” Piper asks with confusion.
“I don’t hate it. I was just always so independent,” Henley says with a laugh.
“And what…suddenly that’s changed?” Piper asks with sass.
“No of course not. I mean look who you’re talking to. I’m nearly incapable of asking for help. Even if I really need it.”
“This is true,” Piper says nodding matter of factly.
Henley laughs at her best friend’s blunt tone.
“So then what changed?” Piper asks.
“Well, I don’t know. Nothing really. I just suddenly realized it was just so nice. It was refreshing to just enjoy someone (she stops herself) something new.” She says making the correction.
Piper smiles simply as she looks down at her menu.
“I’m sorry Piper, I didn’t mean it like that. You know how much I care about Hunter…”
“It’s ok. I get it. It’s new, it’s exciting. I’m happy for you.”
“Thank you,” Henley says smiling.
“Just do me a favor?” Piper asks.
“Please tell Hunter yourself, ok? Don’t let him find out from someone else…”
“I will talk to him, myself. Don’t worry.” She says smiling. “Now enough about me, I wanna hear all about your honeymoon, show me all the pictures,” Henley says smiling brightly.
Piper smiles brightly as she pulls up pictures on her phone.
Henley waits anxiously in front of Hunter’s door as she knocks.
Hunter opens the door, he smiles at her.
“Hey you, long time no see, come in,” he says stepping aside to let her in.
“Thanks,” Henley says walking in as she looks at her fidgeting hands.
“You could have just used your key, you know,” he says smiling as he shuts the TV off.
Henley rolls her eyes.
“I’m glad you called, I’ve missed you,” he says pulling her to him as their lips almost touch. Henley places a hand on his chest, stopping him.
“Hunter we aren’t together. We haven’t really been together in years. And everything you said that night, you were right. We both need to move on.”
Hunter looks at her with a smirk.
“Henley, I’m sorry about what I said. I was upset. But you know that not being with you, is never something, I could actually agree to, right? It was just a stupid fight that went too far. I’m sorry. Come here, let me make it up to you,” he says pulling her waist toward him.
“Hunter,” she says pulling away. “We are not together.”
“Whatever you say babe. I’ll play along, we’re not together. Now do you wanna be on top, or,” he says smirking as he reaches for the hem of her shirt.
“Hunter,” she says stopping his hands, “I’m serious.”
“So then why are you here?” he asks confused.
“Because I wanted to tell you something. And I didn’t want you to hear it from someone else and think that I was hiding it from you. And it isn’t exactly a phone call type of conversation either.”
Hunter locks eyes with her. He waits, anticipating the news. Hands on his waist.
“I’ve started seeing someone,” Henley says her eyes falling away from him as her heart breaks seeing his face fall. Her words hit him like a ton of bricks.
Hunter huffs as he rolls his eyes.
“Come on Hunter, don’t be like that.”
“Be like what?” he asks obviously annoyed.
“Like a child. I came to you like an adult. I expect the same in return.” She says glaring at him, now suddenly getting angry at him.
“What do you want me to say, Hen? I’m not exactly thrilled to know you’re seeing some other guy. Who is he anyway?”
“You don’t need all the details Hunter, ok? I just thought I’ll let you know as a courtesy.”
“Oh come on, you wanna be adults, why can’t you tell me who he is?”
“Ugh fine. His name is Blake. I met him that night at the bar. The night of…”
“Piper’s Bachelorette Party,” he says nodding his head knowingly as he looks away, angry.
“Yes,” Henley says looking down, feeling guilty.
“You mean the same guy you made out with and then came home and made love to me?”
“Ok, look, I know that it seems like I have some kind of hidden agenda here. But I don’t, ok? I really don’t. I am not trying to hurt you. I just need a clean slate. And he isn’t part of my past. It’s just different. I’m sorry I can’t explain it.” She says her heart hurting.
“Right.” He says walking away from her.
“Hunter it’s not really fair for you to make me feel guilty about this,” she says following him.
“Oh come on Hen, we both know I could never MAKE you do anything,” he says his glare cold. “If you feel guilty it’s because maybe deep down you know you’re meant to be with me.”
“Look if that’s really true, then we will find our way back to each other. But this is what I need right now. I’m not saying you have to like it. Or me. I’m just asking for you to please understand and respect it. I don’t want to fight with you. I hate that I hurt you.”
Hunter can see the tears forming in her eyes.
“Is he good to you?” Hunter asks his eyes and emotion softening as he looks at her.
“I mean we’ve only been on one date, but yes,” she says.
“Good.” He says nodding.
“Ok, well thanks for letting me stop by…I should really get going.”
“You don’t ever have to thank me for that, you’re always welcome here you know that.”
“Thank you,” she says smiling. “Well, I should get going, but I’ll see you around?” she asks.
“I’ll be around,” he says nodding with a smile. “Hey Hen…if he hurts you…you know I-”
“I know,” she says smiling back at him.
Henley leaves as Hunter sniffles, tears springing to his eyes as he runs a hand through his hair, pacing his hardwood floor.
Henley smiles over at Blake as he places one hand on her knee while he drives.
“You ok? You seem nervous,” he asks with a sweet chuckle.
“I guess I am. Just a little,” she says shrugging.
“Why, you don’t think my charm will win your friends over?” he asks flashing a sexy smile.
“No, of course it will. I just worry about Hunter being there. I don’t want it to be weird.”
“Ah the infamous ex- boyfriend,” he says laughing, “Don’t worry I can handle that you have a past,” he says leaning over and placing a kiss on her lips.
“Thank you. You’re amazing,” she smiles, kissing him again.
Blake smirks as the light turns green and he starts driving again.
Blake shakes Piper’s hand.
“It is so nice to finally meet the famous Piper,” Blake says with a smile.
Piper smiles, “Nice to meet you too!”
“Word of advice, these two are joined at the hip, so just get used to being a third wheel now,” Parker says jokingly as the girls laugh.
Blake laughs as he shakes Parker’s hand too.
“I’ve noticed,” Blake says with a cute smirk.
“Speaking of which, I need to borrow her for just a second,” Piper says pulling Henley and linking arms.
“He is soooo cute!” Piper says once they get into the kitchen for some privacy.
“Isn’t he?” Henley says happily.
“So you told Hunter?”
“I did. I told you I would.”
“No I know. I just know how hard it probably was for you both to have that conversation.”
“It was, it was really hard. I don’t want to hurt him. But he was actually really great about it. I mean he wasn’t thrilled, but he took it better than I thought he would. So I’m grateful for that. He’s pretty amazing.”
“Well I would say that I have it on pretty good authority that he thinks you’re pretty amazing too.”
“I just hope that we can find some way to be in each other’s lives. Even if it isn’t romantically. He still has such a big chunk of my heart, ya know? That’s never gonna go away.” Henley says smiling
“Look at you two being all adult. I’m really happy for you. And I think Blake’s great,” Piper says with a sweet smile.
“Thank you. You know that means the world to me.” Henley smiles as she gives Piper a side hug. “Speaking of Hunter, I thought he was supposed to be here tonight?” she asks.
“He was, but he got called into work last minute. He said he’s still going to try to make it later though.”
“Oh, so you don’t think he’s avoiding me?”
“No, I really don’t think so,” Piper says with a laugh, “You know how unpredictable his job can be.”
“Oh I remember it well.” Henley says with a chuckle as her mind pulls her into a flashback.
Henley looks at the clock as she sits in Hunter’s empty apartment. She checks her phone again. No messages. No texts. Nothing.
She sighs as she turns on the TV and lays down on his couch.
Before she knows it she’s being gently nudged on the shoulder as her eyes flutter open to find Hunter kneeling before her.
“Hey you, you stayed?” he says with a sweet smirk.
“Yea, well, I hadn’t heard from you, so I figured you got stuck at work. You know me, I worry, so I just figured I’d stay until you came home.”
“Well I’m sorry I’m so late,” he says handing her a bouquet of roses. “But I’m really happy you stayed.”
Henley smiles as she takes the flowers, “This was very sweet,” she says cupping his face and kissing him.
“So um…just out of sheer curiosity how tired are you?” Henley says looking up at him.
“Suddenly I’m not tired at all,” he says smirking as he kisses her leaning them back onto the couch as Henley laughs wrapping her arms around his neck.
Hunter wakes up to find Henley wearing his t-shirt and making something to eat in his kitchen. Her back to him, he silently wraps a blanket around his waist as he sneaks over to her.
“I love coming home to you,” he whispers in her ear, as she jolts, he chuckles, and places kisses along her neck.
“Haven’t you learned not to sneak up on a girl, holding a knife, officer?” she says stopping what she’s doing and turning around in his arms.
Hunter laughs as he pulls Henley into another kiss.
“Did I mention how happy I am that you waited for me?” he says looking down at her.
“Wha- why are you so surprised?” she says rolling her eyes at him.
“Because normally you run away from me, every chance you get,” he says laughing.
“Uh, hey, I resent that. I don’t run. I shimmy. Sometimes.” She says laughing.
“You run.” He says shaking his head at her.
“We’re just… we’re always so heavy, ya know? It’s just a lot sometimes.”
“Yea. I’m sorry,” he says tucking her hair behind her ear, as he looks into her eyes lovingly.
“I’m sorry for always running. I definitely don’t think it’s fair or nice to you. I guess I just can’t help it sometimes.”
“It’s understandable. I put you through a lot. Our past is a lot.”
“Yes. But I shouldn’t be punishing you for it, still.”
“Well, you can punish me anytime,” he says rising an eyebrow as he smirks leaning in to kiss her. Henley laughs as she playfully hits his chest.
Hunter smirks as he kisses her, lifting her up onto the kitchen counter, Henley wraps her arms and legs around him.
“I think I want my shirt back,” he says smirking down at her.
“Really? Well then I guess you’re just going to have to take it off of me, because I’m not giving it back.”
Hunter smirks at her as his eyes flicker a certain heat he cups her face in his hands before placing a passionate kiss on her lips.
“It looks better on you than it ever did on me,” he whispers as he kisses her again his hands sliding up her legs.
Henley and Hunter lie in his bed, wrapped in each other’s arms.
“So I have to ask…why did you stay tonight?” he says looking over at her with curious eyes.
“I know we’ve been having so much fun together, and things have been so good. If I left I knew that could change.”
Hunter smiles and kisses her as he makes his way back on top of her.
“Again? Really?” she says gasping as she wraps herself around him, accepting each kiss on her lips happily.
“You know what they say, third times a charm,” he says smirking.
Henley laughs, “Oh yea because you really struck out the last two times,” she says sarcastically.
Hunter smirks as he pulls Henley into another kiss.
Piper waves a hand in front of her face.
“Earth to Henley.” She says.
Henley snaps out of her memories.
“Where’d you go?” she says laughing.
“Nowhere. Sorry I just spaced. It didn’t get much sleep last night,” Henley says with a laugh.
“Oh, Blake keeping you up all night?”
“What? No. No. We haven’t done that yet.” Henley says thrown by her own personal provocative walk down memory lane.
“Oh…Ok…well when you do, you know I want details.”
“Um, yea, I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet. You know to be that close to someone. You know Hunter’s the only guy I’ve ever been with. So it’s a little a-”
“Oh my god, of course. I’m sorry love. I didn’t mean to sound so crass.”
“No it’s ok, I get that your just being supportive and I appreciate it. I just, I do think that getting over Hunter is going to be a process. And I just have to take it, one step at a time.”
“Absolutely.” Piper says hugging her.
“Let’s get you back to your party,” Henley says grabbing a bottle of wine to bring out as Piper grabs a few glasses.
Little did they know, a certain pair of ears were listening.
Blake walks off back into the living room, a glare in his eye.
The party is underway, as everyone continues to mingle.
A knock is heard at the door as Parker yells, “I got it babe.” Piper blows a kiss his way as she refills a bowl of chips.
“Hey Hunter, you made it!” Parker says as he gives him a bro hug.
“Hey man, sorry it’s so late,” Hunter says walking in and taking off his jacket.
“No worries man, come in, I’ll take that,” he says taking Hunter’s jacket, “Grab some food, everyone’s still here.”
Henley’s eyes land on Hunter as he walks in giving his sister a hug.
Her heart drops to her stomach, and she suddenly starts to sweat. Her nerves kicking in.
Blake notices as he places a hand on the small of her back.
“Why don’t I get you a drink?” he asks.
“Yea yes, that’d be great, thanks,” she says suddenly parched as Blake smiles he places a kiss on her cheek before heading to the kitchen.
Hunter makes his way over to the crowd saying his hellos to all.
He locks eyes with Henley. She waves slightly, obviously nervous. He knows this. He knows her.
“Hey you,” he smiles walking up to her.
“Hi,” she smiles slightly.
“You look less than thrilled to see me,” he says with a chuckle.
“No, no. That’s not true. I guess I just feel like it’s awkward. Blake is here and I just don’t want you to think I’m being heartless, or trying to rub it in your face.”
“I don’t think that. Besides, you’ve been seeing this guy for what 2 months or so now, I think we’ve avoided it long enough. It’s time, don’t you think?”
“Since when did you become so adult?”
“I guess I just figured if he makes you happy then I should be happy for you. When you love someone as much as I love you, all that matters is that they are happy. So…where’s this gentleman of yours?” he says raising an eyebrow.
Henley looks up, rolling her eyes at him.
“What you don’t think I ask about you?” he leans in whispering as he smirks down at her. Henley’s whole body tingles. Damn it. He still has that effect on me, she thinks.
Blake notices the close exchange as he approaches them, two drinks in his hands. A flicker of anger or something more unnatural gleams in his eyes. And yet instantly as if he flicked a switch, a smile spreads across his face. Blake walks up to Hunter and Henley.
“Hey babe, here’s your drink,” he says handing Henley a glass of wine.
“Thank you,” she says with an awkward smile, and she takes a gulp, because let’s face it she needed more than a sip.
Blake looks at Hunter.
“Hey man, you must be Hunter,” he says smiling as he extends his hand.
“I must be,” Hunter says smirking as his eyes drift and meet Henley’s for a brief second and then back to Blake.
Hunter instantly notices that the grip of Blake’s hand shake does not quite match the wholesome smirk on his face.
Hunter locks that gut feeling safely in his memory.
“Henley’s told me a lot about you.”
“Oh has she?” Hunter says smirking at Henley as his eyebrow raises.
“Yea. I’m really glad you’re doing ok, man. I know people who have dealt with addiction and sadly couldn’t shake it.”
Hunter glares at him, and then looks over at Henley.
“Right, well when you have good people surrounding you, it’s a hell of an incentive. Excuse me,” Hunter holds his composure as he walks away.
Henley notices Hunter’s clenched jaw as she looks at Blake confused. She rolls her eyes and rushes after Hunter.
“Hunter…hey….wait up please.”
“You know I get that my past may come up in conversation with someone you are dating. I understand it’s something you may need to talk about with a perspective partner. But I don’t need someone I don’t even know, weighing in on my recovery. What the hell was that? You tell him our story and suddenly he thinks he knows me and feels free to comment on it?”
“I’m sorry. I honestly don’t know why he would say anything. Especially after just meeting you for the first time. I don’t condone that. Ok. You need to know that. And I will straighten this out with him, so that it never happens again.”
“He’s marking his territory Henley. That’s what that was about,” he says looking at her.
“I get that you’re upset. But come on Hunter, we can move past this can’t we?”
“Of course. But for the record, I don’t like him.” He says looking at her.
“I should have known you wouldn’t keep this civil attitude up for long.”
“Oh come Hen, you can’t be that naïve? It’s the oldest trick in the book. Make the ex look like a good for nothing to show the girl how much better she has it now.”
“Wow. You have some imagination,” Henley says laughing as she rolls her eyes.
“I’m a cop, I have a pretty good read on people, and I’m telling you right now. You need to be careful with that one. There’s something in his eyes. Somethings not right.”
“I get that this is hard for you. To see me with someone else. If the situation was reversed I know I would be looking for everything wrong with whatever girl you were with. But you don’t need to make things up, ok?”
“Do you honestly think I would make something up, when it involves your safety?” he says insulted.
Henley takes his hands in hers, “Thank you for your concern, but I’m a big girl and I can take care of myself.”
“Good night Hunter. It was good seeing you.” She says walking away from him and back to the party.
As he takes a sip of his seltzer, Hunter watches Henley and Blake interact.
Parker walks over, “That’s gotta be tough, seeing Henley with a new guy? I’m sorry man.”
“I don’t like him,” Hunter says.
“Shocker,” Parker says with a laugh.
“No I’m serious I think there’s something up with him. When he shook my hand his grip was insane like he was trying to prove some kind of point.”
“Well you’re the ex, he’s probably just intimidated, I mean anyone in this room tonight could see that there’s still a lot of unresolved emotions between you and Henley. The guy is probably just scared you’re trying to win Henley back.”
“Nah, it’s more than that. It’s like he has this switch.”
“A switch?” Parker says confused.
“Yea like one minute he’s loving on Henley and the next he’s glaring. He’s good at covering, but I can tell. Somethings off about this guy. I can just feel it in my bones.”
“Hey big bro, thanks for making it!” Piper says smiling as she joins the two men.
“Of course, wouldn’t have missed it,” Hunter says smiling as he takes another sip of his seltzer.
“So be honest, what do we think of Blake?” Piper says looking at Hunter.
“Hunter has a gut feeling that maybe Blake is a little….off,” Parker explains.
“So you don’t like Henley’s new boyfriend….I am shocked. Dismayed even,” she says with a laugh. Her statement laced with sarcasm.
“This Blake, does he have a last name?” Hunter says watching Blake’s arms wrap around Henley as they laugh at a friend’s animated story.
“Finley, or something like that. I think. Why?” Piper says innocently.
“Oh honey,” Parker says shaking his head, knowing full well what Hunter’s plan is.
“Oh no, you’re going to do a back ground check on him aren’t you?” Piper says covering her face with her hands.
“Damn right I am.” Hunter says.
“Rookie mistake, Piper,” she says scolding herself.
“What? You don’t think I did a background check on Parker when you two first started dating?”
“What?” Parker says insulted.
Piper smacks her brother in the shoulder.
“Hey you have my back, I have yours. Anyway it’s not like I ever found anything. The guy has never even gotten a parking ticket,” he says, laughing at Parker as he smiles proudly.
“That’s because he’s perfect,” Piper says smiling and kissing her husband on the cheek.
“Aw no, you’re perfect,” Parker says placing a sweet, soft kiss on her lips.
“Ok well, that’s my cue to leave,” Hunter says as Piper and Parker turn to him and laugh. “Thanks for the invite, we’ll talk soon.” Hunter says giving Piper a kiss goodbye and Parker a bro hug.
“Good night, everyone. Have a good one,” he says to the room as he waves and starts to walk toward the door. Friends waving and calling out their goodbyes. As he shrugs on his jacket, Henley notices and excuses herself from Blake’s arms, she rushes over to him.
Cuddling his wife on the other side of the room, out of the corner of his eye, Parker notices the glare in Blake’s eye as he sees Henley rush after Hunter. Parker feels suddenly uneasy.
“Hey Hunt…were you just going to leave without saying good bye,” she says.
“You seemed rather busy,” he says turning to face her.
“Please Hunter. I don’t want it to be like this.”
“Neither do I, but it is, isn’t it? You still don’t trust me. Not even about this.”
“Go back to the party Henley. Your boyfriend’s waiting,” he says walking away as Henley feels a sucker punch of emotion in her gut.
Hunter walks into his office after hours, seeing the night staff hard at work.
Leo notices and nods at him, “Hey I thought you left like hours ago? What are you doing back here?”
“I need to run a background check,” Hunter says walking into his office and flicking his lamp on, as he sits at his desk.
Leo follows, “Wait for who, Collins ran the background checks for-”
“That’s not what I’m talking about.”
“Ok, so who then?”
“Blake Finley,” Hunter says typing away.
“Blake Finley….who the hell is Blake Finley?” Leo says confused.
“We are about to find that out right now,” he says as the search buffers.
“Wait…this is Henley’s new guy isn’t it?”
Hunter looks up at him.
“Damn it Hunter, you gotta stop doing this to yourself, you and Henley both really need to just move on,” he says rounding the desk and standing beside his partner.
“This is not about me being a jealous ex. Ok? Look I met him tonight and just the look in his eye, and the way he shook my hand. It was like he was trying to stake a claim. I just- I know somethings up with this guy. I can feel it.”
“Oh man Hunter, look I get this is hard for you…but-”
“Have you ever known my instincts to be wrong about someone? In all the years we’ve worked together?” Hunter says cutting him off as he stares at Leo.
“No. Look I’m not questioning your detective work ok? I know you’re a good cop. But I also know that when it comes to Henley you can be a little…”
“A little what?” Hunter says defensively.
“Irrational.” Leo says with a shrug.
“I will admit that, but I swear to you, Leo. I don’t feel good about this guy. But by all means, join the Hunter’s a crazy stalker ex – fan club. I know what I feel. And I wouldn’t feel right if I ignored my gut and then something did happen to Henley and I could have prevented it. At the very least, we find out he’s a great guy and I get to be wrong for the first time since I joined the academy.”
“Nice.” Leo says with a laugh.
“Damn it, these computers are glitching again.” Hunter says as his computer screen turns black.
Henley sits in the car as Blake drives. The silence deafening.
“Is there something wrong?” he asks glancing over at her.
“Look, I didn’t want to bring this up at the party in front of everyone, but what you said to Hunter was kind of underhanded and uncalled for.”
“Oh baby, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. I honestly was just trying to pay him a compliment and in hindsight that was probably not how it came off. Oh I feel like such an asshole right now,” Blake says covering his eyes with his free hand, as they sit at a red light.
“No it’s ok. You know it’s just a sore subject for all of us and being that you barely know him, it was just a little…ya know odd.”
“I completely see your point. And I’m sorry. That was not my intention at all. I can tell he means a lot to you. I guess I was just trying to make a good impression. Trying to connect with him in some way. But I promise I’ll never bring it up again.”
“It’s ok, I believe you, Thank you,” Henley says.
“No, thank you for bringing it up. I want you to be able to talk to me about anything. Especially if I hurt you in some way.”
“Well thank you, it means a lot to know you care so much,” Henley says with a big smile as she places a kiss on his cheek, a glare flickering in Blake’s eyes.
Blake smiles as he leans in and places a deep kiss on her lips. As cars begin to beep at them, from behind.
Henley and Blake share a laugh as she says, “I think you better drive.”
Blake laughs as he places a sweet kiss on her nose and drives off.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or other wise.*