*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love– Read Chapter 14 HERE
After Blake’s arrest, Henley and Hunter decided to focus on their friendship. Things were actually going really well. And Henley started to feel like she had some of that old Henley spark back. She felt more like herself than she had in a long time.
“So I need help building this giant entertainment center for my living room. If I offer to make you dinner, will you come over and help me?” Henley asks nudging Hunter with her hip as he stands by the pool table at the back of their favorite lounge. Piper and Parker’s team taking their current turn.
Hunter smiles, “Of course.”
“And by make you dinner, you know I mean…”
“Make a phone call?” Hunter says knowingly with a laugh.
“Yea,” Henley says laughing.
“Sounds like a plan. Tomorrow night, ok?”
“Yea tomorrow is perfect,” she says smiling.
“You know this set looks like the exact same one in my therapist’s office,” Hunter says glancing at the picture on the box.
“You go to therapy?” Henley asks surprised.
“Yea it’s part of my sobriety, part of my protocol for work too. I’ve been going for years.”
“Oh…wow…I didn’t know that. Does it help you?” she asks curiously as she hands him another tool.
“Do you… ever talk about me?” she asks curiously. Her eyes flirtatiously glancing at him.
“Yea, sometimes.” He says with a laugh.
“Sometimes? What you mean I’m not the center of your universe? Gosh!” she says faking insult as she rolls her eyes.
“That’s just it Hen, you still kind of are,” he says looking at her. His jaw line strong, his glance loving yet intense.
Henley’s eyes soften as she looks away.
“Damn it Hunter. You drive me crazy most of the time and then you say something like that and my heart just melts.”
“Well you know what they say, some people are worth melting for,” Hunter says with a goofy smile.
“Really? You’re quoting Olaf from Frozen, god you’re corny.”
“Oh please, you love that stupid movie. You made me watch it at least 5 times just last month,” he says laughing.
Henley laughs as she laces her fingers through his, “You try to be all hard and guarded, but I see you Henley Hendrix. Deep down you’re just a big ole softy,” he says noticing their hands intertwined. His heart beat quickening.
“But come on, Olaf is the coolest,” she says defending her movie choices.
Hunter rolls his eyes with a laugh.
Hunter and Henley sit sprawled across her apartment floor, scattered wooden pieces surround them.
“You sure you know what you’re doing?” Henley says uncertainly. “I mean maybe we should just glance at the directions?” she questions.
“Oh ye of little faith,” Hunter says with a laugh as he glances up at her.
“I’m just saying…” she says laughing.
“Henley who put together all your ikea furniture in college?”
“You did,” she says rolling her eyes.
“Ya damn right. I got this,” he says screwing two pieces together.
Henley walks over and hands Hunter a can of seltzer.
“Thanks,” he says as he steps back admiring his handiwork. “Not bad, huh?” he says.
“It looks great, thank you,” she says smiling.
“You’re welcome.” He says smirking at her.
“What?” she says confused.
“You know I have to say. I’m impressed.”
“Why?” Henley asks with a laugh.
“You never ask for help. I mean you know I don’t mind. In fact I always offer, but you always turn me down.”
“I guess, this was a bigger project than I anticipated. And I may have missed you, just a little,” Henley says with a tiny smirk as her eyes roll.
“Ah,” Hunter says smiling.
“Look I just thought about how much fun we’ve been having together, you know without all the drama. You and I used to have a good time just hanging out and talking. I guess I was just wondering if we could still do that. If it was even possible. I mean every time we’re around each other there’s always this weighted sexual tension. It’s been nice to see that we can put that all aside. I’ve really loved just having my friend back.”
“Henley don’t get me wrong this was really great. But that sexual tension, I don’t think that’s ever going to go away. Because no matter how hard we try, there is still a part of me, that is always going to want to just rip your clothes off.” He says staring into her eyes, as his flicker a familiar want. A familiar heat. And so much love.
“Damn it, Hunter,” she says pulling him into a kiss as he smirks lifting her up and carrying her to her bedroom.
A few minutes later, Henley can be heard moaning loudly.
As their bodies mold into one, their hands sliding all over each other, each kiss deeper and more intense than the last.
Henley’s heart beating out of her chest as it matches Hunter’s.
Hunter’s eyes flutter open as he moves with her, her eyes meeting his.
As they stare into each other’s souls, silence only interrupted by heavy breaths and heart beats.
Emotions running high. A tear rolls down Henley’s cheek as Hunter wipes it, he places a kiss on each of her eyelids.
Words not needing to be spoken, because somehow they each just knew what the other was feeling in that very moment. Absolute, unconditional, love.
Hunter pulls on his clothes the next morning as Henley lies sleeping in her bed.
Hunter leans beside her, as he places a kiss on her lips, she stirs.
“Hey, where are you going?” she says reaching for him.
“I just got a call, I have to go to work,” he says.
“Oh, ok,” she says grabbing a silky robe nearby, and shrugging it on. “I’ll walk you out,” she says smiling up at him as she laces her fingers through his.
Hunter smirks at her as they walk toward her apartment door.
“So thank you for putting my entertainment unit together, I’m sorry you got jipped out of a dinner,” she says smiling.
“Mmm you’re very welcome,” he moans before kissing her, “Besides I’d say I got a way better thank you than dinner,” he says raising an eyebrow.
“Oh yea? How much better?” she says smirking as she kisses him in a teasing manner.
Hunter laughs against her lips, “Oh baby you have no idea. Last night was amazing,” he says his hands finding her waist as his lips cover hers.
Henley’s hands wrap around his neck, as she deepens the kiss.
“Oh baby, I was there too,” she says laughing as she kisses him, “I wish you didn’t have to go,” she whispers sadly, as she looks up at him.
“I know me too. Trust me. I wish I could stay in that bed with you all day,” He says kissing her passionately.
Henley pouts, “Ok, well, go be amazing, and save people.”
“Alright,” he says laughing as he kisses her one last time.
“And Hunter, stay safe,” she says.
“Always,” he says smiling back at her before he leaves.
“Oh and one more thing, if you wanted to come back when your shift is over, we could try out the new entertainment center?” she says raising an eye brow.
Hunter smirks, “I’ll be here.” He says smirking as he leaves her apartment.
Henley smiles to herself as she places her hand over her heart, looking after him longingly.
Henley and Hunter seem to have a montage of beautiful moments as of late. And she’s been feeling like they are finally back on track.
A dressed to impress, Henley looks at her clock as she hears a knock at her door. She fluffs her hair and smooths out her dress, checking herself in her full length mirror near the door.
She smiles bouncing over to the door happily, she opens it to find a handsomely dressed Hunter, holding a bouquet of roses.
“Aw, are those for me?” she says smiling.
“Oh these, no your neighbor that cute little old lady, yea she gave them to me,” he says chuckling.
Henley rolls her eyes, and he smirks handing them to her.
“Happy 3 Month Anniversary, babe,” he says leaning in and kissing her.
“Happy Anniversary,” she says smiling.
Henley and Hunter sit in a beautiful restaurant.
“That was delicious! Seriously so good!” Henley says wiping her lips with a napkin.
“I’m glad,” he says smiling as he reaches across the table to take her hand, “Did I mention how beautiful you look tonight,” he says looking at her with adoring eyes.
“Maybe once or twice,” she says with a laugh.
“Well you do.”
“Thank you,” she says smiling as he places a kiss on her hand.
“I actually have a little something that would match your outfit,” he says smiling.
Henley smiles, “Baby, we said no gifts,” she says rolling her eyes.
“It’s not exactly something new, I’ve actually had it for quite a while,” he says smirking, as he gets up.
Henley looks at him confused. Hunter kneels down on one knee in front of her, “I love you so much. Will you marry me?”
“Hen- did you hear me?” he says nervously.
Henley stars at the ring, and then at him.
“It’s a little quick don’t you think?” she says her voice barely above a whisper.
“I mean, we’ve known each other over a decade, babe.” he says smiling.
“I just um…” she smiles nervously as she clears her throat.
“You’re saying no. Again,” he says getting up and sitting in his chair as nearby eyes watch in horror.
“I’m just a little thrown-” she stammers.
“Why? We’re back together. Things are great. We are finally back on track.”
“I know that. And it’s been wonderful. I just didn’t think we had to rush things this time, ya know?”
“Are you ever going to be ready?” he says softly as he looks into her eyes.
“You scare easily. I get it.” He says taking a drink of water as he puts the ring back in his suit pocket. “I’m going to take care of the bill, I’ll meet you by the car,” he says walking off.
Henley sighs as she turns to watch him leave.
Hunter pulls up to Henley’s apartment. The ride was silent. She opens the car door and begins to step out.
“So um, I guess I’ll talk to you later then?” he says looking at her briefly.
“Oh um ok, you don’t want to come up?” she says sadly.
“No I don’t think that’s the best idea right now,” he says avoiding her eyes.
“Ok. Can we just talk about what happened?” she says closing the door and turning toward him.
“Do you honestly want to be with me, Henley?” he asks, his voice low. Sad.
“Of course I do. I just-“
“Are you sure? Because I feel like every time I try to take things to the next level with us, it’s like you hit a wall.”
“Look, just come upstairs ok. Let’s talk.”
“Ok maybe tomorrow night?” she says looking over at him, with hopeful eyes.
“No, Hen. I mean. I can’t anymore. I can’t do this anymore.”
Henley freezes, her stomach knots, her heart sinks.
“Hunter…” Henley says her eyes filling up. “Please let’s just go upstairs and talk, ok? Please.”
Hunter’s tears begin to fall as he turns to her, he takes her hands in his.
“I don’t want to hurt. I love you. I do. But something is preventing you from giving me your all. I thought it was what Alexis did, but we both know what really happened now. So I can’t make sense of it. Make sense of why you keep me at bay. And I’m sorry it doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. I’ve loved you practically my whole life. I’ve never even considered that maybe you just don’t want to get married. But I do. I want a family Henley. And as much as it pains me to say this, I can’t wait until you finally decide your ready.” he says his heart breaking with each word.
“I just need a little more time, Hunter Please. I’ll get there. I know it.” she says crying.
Hunter lifts her hands to his lips as he kisses them gently.
“I know that I want you. I’ve always known. But you obviously don’t feel the same way. Otherwise you would have said yes. I don’t want you to have to convince yourself to marry me.”
“That’s not what it is, you have to believe me,” Henley says her tears mixing with his as she pulls him into a kiss.
Hunter kisses her softly, as he pulls away, looking into her eyes, “I need to move on Henley. I need to learn how to let you go. It’s what’s best. For the both of us,” he says pulling her hands from his neck as he leans back in his chair.
Henley sits there stunned.
“Please Henley. Just go ok? Don’t make this harder than it already is,” he says sniffling as he looks away, another tear falling.
Henley opens the door in a robotic fashion, her legs stepping out of the car, one by one, like their on auto pilot. She closes the door and walks to her apartment building, before she reaches the door knob she turns back seeing Hunter speed away. Her tears flowing freely.
“Hey,” Hunter says walking over to Henley and Piper.
“I’m gonna go find my husband,” Piper says awkwardly as she rushes off.
“Hi,” she smiles slightly. “So your engaged!?” she says with an unreadable face.
“I am,” he says with a simple smile.
“Congratulations, Elena seems like a really nice girl,” Henley says her stomach tightening in a knot.
“Thank you, she really is,” Hunter says smiling, his eyes looking at her with almost an indifference. Henley feels a heaviness building in her chest, and a lump forming in her throat.
She smiles, uncomfortably as she looks down at her hands.
“Hen-Hey, I’m sorry if you felt blindsided. I didn’t mean for you to find out this way. I wanted to tell you myself.”
“So then…why didn’t you?” she asks surprising herself.
“I guess I just figured you wouldn’t wanna see me, if I called.”
“Well that could not be further from the truth. I um…I’m really happy for you. You deserve this.”
“Thank you.” he says smiling at her. “I hope you’ll come…to the wedding…”
“I um, I would love to, just um, let me know when and I’ll be there.”
Hunter nods and smiles as they stand there awkwardly the tension growing. Hunter’s fiancé Elena comes over, with a big smile on her face, “Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt, but can I steal him for a second, the photographer wants a few photos on the balcony.”
“Of course, steal away.” Henley says smiling, the pain in her heart throbbing.
“I’ll be there in a second, babe,” he says.
“Ok,” she says placing a kiss on his lips, as Henley looks away awkwardly.
“So great to meet you, Henley,” Elena says with a big porcelain white smile as she waves.
God why is she so nice. Henley thinks.
“You too,” Henley smiles, waving.
“Really good to see you Hen,” he says holding out his arms for a hug.
“You too.” she says smiling and accepting his hug as her heart beat quickens. His cologne smell both a personal comfort and a heartbreaking reminder of what she lost.
“I should really get over there,” he say pulling away and looking down at her, as he takes her hands.
“Yea, yea of course, go. I’m going to be taking off anyway.”
“Ok, I’ll call you, maybe we can all grab lunch?” he says with a smile.
“I would love that.” she smiles nodding happily. Trying to stay pulled together.
“Ok. I’ll see you,” he says with a wink as he walks off.
Henley rushes from the room quickly as Piper’s eyes follow, she rushes after.
Henley bursts through the ladies room door as she lets out the breath she’s been holding in.
Piper comes in.
“Hey,” she says solemnly, “Are you ok?”
“How could you not tell me, he was engaged!”
“I’m sorry. It literally just happened. He kind of sprung it on everyone just before you got here, I swear if I would have known I would have given you a heads up.”
“I can’t believe this. I feel so stupid! I shouldn’t be here. I can’t believe I’m here. Why am I here?”
“You were invited.”
“Yes to something I thought was a Stone family party, not an engagement party for my ex-boyfriend and his perfect new fiancé! I knew he had moved on, but I didn’t think he’d be getting ENGAGED this soon after he ended things.”
“You thought you’d still end up back together, didn’t you?” Piper says sadly.
“Yes. I guess, I just assumed that’s how it would be. We’ve always had this connection. I just took it for granted that he’d always be there. That he’d be my forever no matter how much I pushed him away. And now that’s never going to happen. I feel like I can’t breathe. I have to get out of here,” she says storming out of the bathroom.
Piper rushes after her.
“Henley. Henley wait.”
She says rushing past Parker who looks on concerned.
“I’ll be back,” she whispers as he nods watching his wife rush after her friend.
Parker looks back at Hunter who notices with worried eyes as his arm circles his new future bride’s waist, standing with her circle of friends and family.
Parker nods his head toward the balcony as Hunter excuses himself.
“What was that about?” Hunter says worried.
“You really have to ask?” Parker says looking at him.
Hunter looks down.
“What the hell Hunter? You turned a family gathering into your surprise engagement party to another woman and you knew Henley was coming. How did you think she would take it? I mean the least you could have done was tell your sister, at least she could have given her a heads up.”
“I knew if Henley would have known, she wouldn’t have come.”
“So…why’s it so important that she be here? If your so over her, and you’re really ready to move on, why does she need to be involved.”
“Because, she’s my friend. She’s part of my life.”
“Is she though? How much have you two actually spoken in the last few months?”
“Ok, I get what you’re saying. I just wasn’t ready to face all that. But time has passed, my heart has healed. I still care about her, I want her in my life.”
“No I just think you want her to see what she gave up.”
“It’s not like that. I would never rub my relationship in her face.”
“But you kind of are, aren’t you?”
“Not intentionally. Of course I want her to be happy too. I heard she was seeing someone too, so I don’t understand what the big deal is.”
“Come on Hunt, you knew what you were doing. And if you ask me, I think you may still have some unresolved feelings, because a guy who’s really ready to move on, wouldn’t want his ex anywhere near his future wife. The fact that you’re bringing them into the same circles is kind of a red flag. Besides you’ve been seeing this girl for what 3 months, can you honestly tell me you think she’s the one?”
“Parker, I love Elena.”
“I didn’t say you don’t love her. But can you honestly tell me you don’t still love Henley. I mean after all those years, all that history between the two of you. Feelings like that don’t just go away. Especially not in 6 months, even more so not in 3. And it’s really not fair to Elena for you to continue this relationship if you still have feelings for Henley.”
Hunter gives Parker a look. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. I love Elena and she is going to be my wife, end of story,” Hunter says walking away.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*