Previously on Black Nightingale- Read Chapter 5 HERE
Chapter 6- The Nightmares Are Back
That night I gave myself time to sleep and recharge. I know the fight is coming and I’ll really need my strength and I knew Greg was on the night shift so I trusted him to keep the killer at bay, just for the night. Another hidden truth. I couldn’t quite bring myself down from our kiss. My first kiss with Greg. Something, that up until the moment it happened I didn’t think it ever would. Let alone it being something I even wanted to happen in the first place. My romantic drama was getting in the way of my protecting the women who walk the streets of a once very vibrant city. And suddenly it dawned on me. What if I can’t focus on my true purpose once I let myself fall for Greg? I mean like really fall. Because just one look into his eyes after that kiss was enough for me to know that I could stare into those eyes forever. And that became a knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach. All night. All morning.
Nevina Luna does not need anyone. She doesn’t gawk at men over petty romantic advances. She doesn’t place her value on whether or not a man finds her attractive or worthy. She’s worthy because she simply says so. And yet, Gregory Gavin is not just any man. He’s damn near the perfect man. A man who knows my insecurities, my pain, my tenderness, and all of my secrets. And that quite frankly scares the living hell out of me. I can’t put up a front with Greg. I won’t be able to. He knows me too well.
All morning it was like a vicious cycle in my mind. Playing over, and over, and over again. Like a lab rat spinning on its wheel. Like a Merry go round. A Ferris wheel. The repetitiveness of it all was driving me crazy! Until I gave in and finally just texted Greg to meet me at our bench in the park just around 11 am.
Nevina smiles nervously at Greg.
“Hey, What’s the matter?” he asks innocently, kicking her foot with his as they share a park bench, just a few blocks away from the café.
“Nothing,” she says, trying not to get lost in his eyes.
“Luna, come on, you know you can’t lie to me.” he says, his eyes kind and knowing.
“That’s the problem,” Nevina says, her eyes not able to meet his.
“What do you mean?” he asks.
“I feel like after what happened between us…I feel like I can’t talk to you the way that I used to. My once no filter banter suddenly feels very filtered.”
“Well, I thought we had agreed to just act like that never happened.” he says, his eyes burning into hers.
“I know that’s what we said. What I said. But how can I possibly do that, when all I can think about is kissing you?”
“Filtered you say?” he says laughing.
“I’m sorry. I’m not trying to make this weird. But I-“
“I can’t stop thinking about it either Nevina.”
“SO what does that mean then? Where do we go from here?” “Where do you want it to go?” he asks.
“I know that you’re my best friend and I never wanna lose that. And I’m worried that if we veer off into this whole new… thing. I worry that things could get-“
“Complicated?” he asks.
“Well I was going to say messy, but sure let’s use your word. It’s much more graceful.”
He chuckles. And it’s a genuine sound, one that comes right from the gut. Greg looks over at Nevina, his eyes blinking back a sweet twinkle.
And suddenly she realizes the sound had made her stomach tighten and fill with flutter.
“Greg, I don’t know how to navigate this. Or these feelings. I mean tell me, how have you managed to keep this in for so long?”
“I’ve had a lot of practice,” he says smiling with a slight cock of his head.
“I’m serious.” she says.
“So am I. I told you Nev. I’ve been in love with you for a long time. I guess the longer it goes on, the easier it gets to hide.”
“What if I don’t wanna hide it though…” she says flirtatiously. Her mind left to ponder a variety of possibilities.
“Look if you’re serious then we can talk about it. I mean Luna, you’re all I’ve ever wanted. So if you’re into giving this a chance with us. I am ALL in.” He says his eyes laser focused on Nevina’s.
“Yea. Hell yea.” he says smirking and nodding.
“But what if we ruin it?”
“Won’t know unless we try.” he says shrugging.
“I mean all last night and this morning I was just running through all the things that could go so wrong. What if I’m a terrible girlfriend?
“That’s highly unlikely. But relax girl, no one said anything about you being my girlfriend.”
“Oh so then you’d be totally fine with this being a casual thing, then. My occasional guy.” she says smirking, as her hand slides down his chest, knowing full well that will get to him.
“AH haha, yea no, if we do this, I’m going to take up all of your time, you won’t have any left for any other guys.” he says, wrapping his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him.
“What?” he whispers.
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that you might kinda sorta wanna kiss me.”
“Considering, I’m crazy about you, yea I’d say that’s a pretty safe assumption.” he says smirking as their lips dance around each other playfully.
Until Nevina’s had enough, she laughs, rolls her eyes and pulls him by the shirt and into a kiss.
Greg smirks against her lips as he kisses her back, deepening their kiss.
Nevina lets it go on for a while, as her brain loses all control of her lips. Her heart skipping beats, her stomach fluttering.
Greg’s grip on her hips becomes a bit more snug, not aggressive, but definitely wanting. Which was sexy as hell. How long have I gone not realizing how just the mere touch of his hand can set me on fire. Send my soul into a tailspin.
Kissing him was like an out of body experience for me. I can just imagine what it would be like to have sex with him.
Sex! With Greg. Gregory Gavin. The boy next door. Your best friend since like the 3rd grade. Nevina Luna shame on you.
And suddenly a flash of The Black Hawk bolts through my mind. Vanquishing all that is good. I instinctively find myself pushing Greg away. The look on his face one of pure confusion and worry.
“Hey, we don’t have to rush this. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-“
“No… no you didn’t. I wanted to kiss you. I really want to kiss you. I mean I wish we could just do that all night long.”
Greg smirks sheepishly as he gives me a flirty look, his eyebrows raising.
“Well then…” he says lacing his fingers through mine, his lips finding their way to my neck.
My eyes begin to close as I tighten my grip around his hands. He chuckles as he smirks down at me, placing a teasing kiss on my lips.
I see his face. In that dark alley. Night smoke rolling in. Deep dark eyes staring into mine. Wanting to claim me. Gut me like a fish. Like one of the first girls to die in a horror slasher. The Black Hawk. I can feel him. Smell him. He consumes my tender moment with Greg turning it into a near nightmare. I gasp, my eyes opening wildly, as I step back away from Greg’s embrace.
“Hey…Nev…you ok?” he says reaching for me.
I swallow hard. My mind a hazy mess. Stuck between my hormonal surge toward Greg and my deep sole purpose of avenging my sister’s death and ridding this world of the Black Hawk.
I shake my head, creating more distance between us.
“I can’t do this.” I say, the words flying out of my mouth before I even get the chance to object.
“Nev? Don’t.” he says as the heartbreak begins to flood his beautiful face.
“You’re a distraction. A really sexy distraction. But a distraction. I can’t be distracted right now.” I say shaking my head as I step backward, my eyes not wanting to leave his.
“We can work on this together Nev. You know I will help you any way that I can.”
“It’s not about that Greg. I need to focus. And being around you, I won’t be able to do that.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way. But I’m just so confused.” He says.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t feel like I can fully be present and enjoy you with all this insanity with the Black Hawk going on. I’m not trying to play with your heart here. I promise. I’m just…stressed. Please don’t hate me.” I beg clasping my hands together in front of my chest in a prayer like gesture.
“It’s not possible for me to hate you. Ever.” He says shaking his head.
I bring my hand to my lips and placing a kiss on it, I blow it over to him.
“Thank you. Soon. Ok? When all this is over. You and me. Soon. I promise.” I say slowly walking away as he nods. The pain on his face pretty evident.
Nevina walks to her door, as Greg reaches his door next store. He looks over.
“Hey Luna, don’t disappear on me though ok? We’re still friends. And if you ever need anything, you know I’m always here. We don’t have to make out anymore, until you’re ready.” He says with a small but silly smile. But I know he’s just putting on a brave face.
I smile at him, my heart breaking. My legs, with a mind of their own walk over to him. My eyes glued to his, my hands cup his face. His beard stubble prickly beneath my hands. My lips cover his instinctively. It was a good bye kiss that felt like it lasted forever.
Greg stunned at first, reacted rather quickly as his arms wrap tightly around my waist. My stomach flipping and fluttering. Am I going to be able to stay away from this delicious man? How has it taken me so long to realize these huge feelings for him have been bottled up inside me all these years?
“Nev…your killing me.” He whispers against my lips. His eyes closed.
“Sorry. Just wanted one for the road.” I say pulling away as I look at him sheepishly.
He licks his lips as he shakes his head at me. His eyes falling on mine.
“Luna turn around and get in that apartment of yours, before I kiss you again.”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” I say giving him my usual sass.
“Soon right?” he asks
“Soon.” I reply with a small smile, as my hand reaches my door knob.
“Alright well, I’m gonna hold you to that.” He says winking at me as he walks into his apartment.
“Damn, Luna. You’re in trouble.” I whisper to myself as I enter my apartment.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
I gingerly open my apartment door. Even though Greg had agreed to let this go, I know better. After Greg’s profession of love last night, my head was spinning in a million directions. Couple that with the crazy events of last night’s run in with the Black Hawk and I guess you could say I had a perfect storm in the making.
I close and lock my door as to not make it so obvious that I’m leaving. Immaturely of me, I knew I wasn’t ready to see Greg yet. Low and behold I made it out of my door way without seeing Greg. Keeping my eyes glancing back toward the door every now and again, I rounded the corner of the hall way and out to the sidewalk. As I turned the corner of the city block, I bumped full on into a hard, toned body.
“Oh, sorry.” I say spinning around and noticing a familiar face. I smile.
“Matthew, hey. It’s been a while! How are you?”
“Nevina…The Little Luna. I’m good. It’s been a minute. How are you?” he says with a sweet smirk.
“Good…Good. What are you doing in this neck of the woods?” I ask.
“I actually moved back to the city. The suburban life wasn’t for me,” he says with chuckle.
“Oh?” I say with a raise of my eyebrow.
“Yea I mean you know as good as I do, that the country…simple town where everyone knows their neighbor was more Amelia’s dream.”
There it is, I think to myself. One of us had to bring her up soon enough. Hearing her name still sometimes hurts.
“Yea. I remember.” I say as my eyes begin filling up. Water threatening to spill over.
“Hey, I didn’t mean to upset you,” Matthew says grabbing my shoulder in an effort to comfort me.
“No…no, it’s not your fault. I just- um I don’t get to talk about her much. Partly because I sometimes just can’t and partly because my parents are still a wreck over losing her. Rightfully so. They rented an RV and just took off to go explore the world on their own terms. I just think they can’t seem to allow themselves a minute to sit still. Because that’s when the pain hurts the worst. In the quiet day to day. The days she should have been a part of,” I choke out as my voice knots in my throat, my hand wiping away a fallen tear.
“No, I get it. It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on 5 years since we lost her.”
“Yea I know, even with the passing of time, the wound is still fresh. In a way I think it always will be.”
“For me too,” he says, his eyes falling to the floor.
I don’t know what it is. I haven’t seen Matthew in almost 5 years. I think after losing Amelia we all sort of looked inward to deal with it. Everyone deals with loss and grief in their own way, I guess. I certainly had my own way, that’s for sure. But even though it’s been a while I feel this overwhelming sense of familiarity. Déjà vu… or something.
We stand there silent for a few minutes. Stillness creeping in.
“Hey well listen, I have a meeting to get to… but it was great to see you. Let’s grab dinner soon, and really catch up?” he says breaking the silence.
“Um yea….of course. I’d like that.”
“Great, I’ll call you. Same number?”
“Ok cool…we’ll talk soon.”
“Definitely,” I say as we part ways.
What a blast from the past I think as I push the door open to my favorite nearby café. Stepping up to the counter, I smile asking the barista for a small iced pumpkin coffee.
“Sure thing,” she says with a smile as she grabs a cup.
I pay the woman and turn to see if my favorite table is free. My eyes meet Greg’s who smirks giving me an awkward wave.
Time to face the music I guess.
“Hey,” I say with a weird smile.
“Hey,” he says almost sheepishly.
“May I?” I ask gesturing to the empty chair beside him.
“Of course,” he says pointing.
As we both sit there awkwardly sipping on our coffees, I hate feeling like we’re strangers.
Finally I break the silent tension by saying, “So you’ve got the day off today?”
“No, I’m on the night shift from now on.” He says
“Ah,” I say nodding.
“What about you…slow day at the shop?” he asks.
The shop Greg is referring to is my auto body shop. It was originally my dad’s. I spent so many days of my childhood there, I took a liking to cars and auto parts. So much so that I studied engineering and auto mechanics in college. When my mom and dad took off to explore, I took over the business. It comforts me once in a while, to have a place where I am able to fix things.
“Um…no not exactly. I just um…needed a day.” I say shrugging.
“Yea I can imagine…it must get exhausting chasing after serial killers at all hours of the night,” he says his voice barely above a whisper as he leans toward me.
“God. I knew you wouldn’t let this go,” I say huffing as I sit back in my seat, creating a safe space between us.
“What do you expect, Nev. I can’t just sit back and let you literally step into the line of fire…night after night. Taking it upon yourself to right everybody’s wrongs.”
“Why not? Isn’t that what you do?” I say angrily as I raise an eyebrow at him.
“Yea… but I’m a trained professional Nev.”
“Oh please… you’re always saying how most of the cops at the station could afford to be a little more diligent. This guy has been haunting this city for nearly a month and what does the NYPD have to show for their little investigation…a few blurry images and some random sightings.”
“Wow…good to know what you think about my work.” He says huffing and looking away.
“It’s not a personal attack Gavin, I know you’re a good cop.”
“Then trust me to do my job,” he says looking at me with pleading eyes.
“You and I both know why this hits home for me…” I say glaring at him, my eyes starting to fill. Today sucks.
“I know…hey…I know,” he says taking my hand in his, as he laces his fingers through mine. He brings the back of my hand to his lips, placing a sweet kiss on it.
I guess being best friends with Gavin all these years, I didn’t realize how often he did this. It was almost like second nature to me. But this time, I felt a spark and a tightness in my stomach. And suddenly, I realized, something big was about to happen. A change I never ever knew would work its way into existence.
I pull my hand away gently, Gavin noticing, he coughs, nervously as he sits back in his seat.
“5 years…and now he’s back. I cannot let him kill any more women like he killed my sister.” I say trying to keep from fully falling apart in front of him.
“Nev, we don’t know for sure that this is the same guy.” Greg says his voice kind.
“Are you kidding me Greg? Open your damn eyes. Of course it’s him. But you know what I honestly don’t care who it is. I just want him taken care of. The police force did a nice job of covering Amelia’s death. Claiming she was just drunk and crashed her car. When you and I both know that bastard killed her, and then drove her car into a river.”
“Nev, look I get that this is hard for you. I was there for it all. I was with you. And I know her anniversary is coming up and this is all a lot. I just think you need to take some time to yourself. Allow yourself a minute to breathe. And just let me take care of this. When I joined the police force I swore to you that I would do everything in my power to help find out what really happened to Amelia. And I will. But I just need to play this the right way. If what you and I suspect is true. That her death was manipulated, than that means someone was working from the inside. And that person has a motive, a link that connected him or her to Amelia. To you. To your family. That’s why I play so close to the rules, because I won’t be suspected of digging into old files and getting to the real truth. We’re playing the long game here, Nev. I just need some time. And I need you to trust me.”
I look up at him sighing loudly. I take his hand in mine, “Greg, I do trust you. More than you know. Which is difficult for me to even admit, considering everything my family has lost. But as much as I love and trust you, these girls…they don’t have time. He’s picking women off left and right, every night. In a pattern. If you noticed.”
“Dark hair, dark eyes, tan complexion. Yea I’ve noticed.” He says his eyes meeting mine.
“I have to do something. This time I HAVE to do something. Because I didn’t get to help Amelia. I failed her. And I carry the weight of that with me, every day.”
“Hey…none of this. Is your fault.”
I turn away from him.
“Hey…none of it. You hear me,” he says pulling me in closer as our foreheads touch.
He is my safe space. He always has been. Even if I don’t say it often. Even though I know I can stand on my own. It’s nice knowing I don’t have to.
I breathe in a shaky breath, my mind starting to fog. My heart dancing in my chest. I’m completely confused by this sudden overwhelming feeling of wanting to just pull him in and kiss him.
But I don’t. And we sit there, in silence. Holding onto each other for what feels like forever.
“Hey…I want you to know I hear you. I hear everything you’re saying ok? And I promise you, I will get to the bottom of this.” He says starring up at me. “After all, why do you think I asked to be on the night shift?” he says with a smirk.
I smile as I blink my tears fall down my cheeks. Greg wipes them away with his thumb and I lean in placing a sweet kiss on his lips. He stills for a minute and then kisses me back and I suddenly realize what I’ve done. I, Nevina Luna think I may or may not be in love with my best friend. And the scariest part of it all is… I didn’t see this coming.
Oh well, this should be interesting.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
“Help! Help me!” I scream aloud. I could easily finish him off. But then he wouldn’t be brought to justice. This…this can easily be deemed self-defense. I could hear some nearby sirens. Why this city hasn’t been under total surveillance since these attacks started, is beyond me. Yet another fail on our law enforcement’s part. Protect and serve, my ass.
“Help me, over here, please!” I say waving my hands and running out into the street. I see the gleaming lights of a cop car.
The car comes to a speeding halt, blue and red lights swirling. The siren shuts as the car doors whip open.
“Luna? Is that you? What the hell happened? Are you ok?” Greg says rushing from the car. He and his partner run over. Ok to be clear….Greg is one of the good cops. And yes, I do believe in good cops. There are a lot of them. But there are also a lot of bad cops too. And those are the ones you have to watch out for. The ones that turn a blind eye to everyday crime. If Greg was in charge the world would be a safer place for women and for all.
“Oh my god, Greg, thank God it’s you! I was coming back from a party, and I heard screaming so I went to go see if I could help. It was the Black Hawk. He tried to…he tried to kill me,” I say as I fall into his arms. Greg wraps his arms around me tightly. Tenderly. Even in my fake hysteria he was a source of comfort. After all, I mean I did just stab a man. The adrenaline is real.
“Oh my god, Nev,” Greg says his eyes glued to me. Fear etched across his face.
“Greg, Greg…I…I stabbed him,” I say shakily, The Black Hawk’s blood all over my hands. “He lunged at me with that creepy rake tool and I just stabbed him. I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do.” My eyes welling up with tears, my body trembling. Gasps for breath. Thank you Professor Julie James for the college acting lessons. They paid off.
“Hey it’s ok. You’re ok. Where is he now?” Greg asks worried as his partner follows my gaze rushing toward the darkened alley way.
“Ok, Nev, stay here. Stay in the car, lock the doors. I’m gonna call for back up and head into the alley way.”
“What? You must be crazy! I’m not staying here alone. I’m coming with you,” I say as he gives me an angry glare.
I give him a glare right back. I’ll be damned if I sit back and wait.
He sighs, “Fine, but just stay behind me,” he says as he walks towards the alley, his flashlight and gun raised out in front of him.
“Gavin, over here,” his Partner calls.
Rushing over, all we see is a pool of blood where The Black Hawk once was.
“What? You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!” I say anger laced through my voice.
Gregory looks over at me, obviously confused.
He raises his walkie talkie, “This is officer Gavin, requesting back up to the alley way just off of Cloak Street and 6th Ave. We’ve had another Black Hawk attack. Victim was able to get away. But the Black Hawk is hindered with a stab wound, most likely on foot and armed.”
“Back up on its way,” the voice on the other end croaks.
“Let’s skim the avenue, see if we can track him. With that pool of blood, he’s gotta be leaving a trail,” Greg says.
Greg walks Nevina to her apartment door. His uniform jacket draped over her shoulders. He looks at her. His hands cupping her face, tenderly. His dark chocolate brown eyes deep with concern.
“Nev, are you sure you’re ok? I really wish you would have let me take you to the hospital to get checked out.”
“I’m okay. Greg. Really. He didn’t get to hurt me.”
“Swear to me?” he says looking at her.
“Pinky swear,” she says with a meek smile as she holds her pinky up. He smirks, wrapping his pinky around hers, and leaning in he kisses her hand, closing his eyes.
Don’t worry friends, the first thing I did when I got to the station was rid myself of that asshole’s disgusting toxic blood. I could tell the events of the night were weighing on him. I’ve always thought Greg was a softie. A heart too pure to deal with criminals on a daily basis. But that’s what makes him a good, and trustworthy cop. He cares. And in that kiss of my hand, I felt his fear. For me. I wish I could tell him not to worry. That I would be fine. That I’m the Black Nightingale. He doesn’t know about the prey that hunts back, but something tells me, he will. Soon. Especially after tonight’s events.
Greg sighs as he pulls Nevina into a hug. She lets out a sigh of relief, she hadn’t realized she was holding. Her arms wrap around him. He kisses the top of her head, breathing in her scent.
“Do you want me to stay with you tonight?” he asks.
“I think, I’ll be fine Greg, really. I mean your right next door too, if anything.”
“Nev…I get that you can take care of yourself, but this guy is still out there. And now he knows your face. I just…if he comes seeking his revenge, I don’t want you just at his will.”
“I am nor will I ever be…at his will,” I say pulling away from him.
“Nev, I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that, this guy is a serial killer. He’s killed 6 women already. I just- I just want to make sure you’re safe. There’s strength in numbers, right?”
“I guess you’re right,” I say rolling my eyes and unlocking my apartment door, I step to the side, nodding for him to come in.
He smiles, “Thanks for humoring me, Luna,” he says with a smirk as he leans in placing a sweet kiss on my temple.
A lot of women might mistake this type of male affection as one of the romantic nature. But not me. With Greg, he’s been in my life forever. I’ve lived next door to him my whole life. Went to all the same schools, even college. Which is odd for best friends. And when we both got our own places we lucked out and found two in the same building. This man has seen me in braces, and head gear and all the other odd phases in between. Gregory Gavin is in no way attracted to Nevina Luna. Sure he’s good looking in the tall, dark and handsome kind of way. But I guess knowing him for so long, I’ve just never felt that way about him. We’re just friends, and I love him for it. Sure, we may flirt occasionally, but I assure you it’s all in good fun. It’s ironic, like we’re poking fun at the fact that people think that a man and a woman can’t be friends without there being some underlying hint of sexual attraction. Grow up people. If anything Greg sees me as his old childhood buddy.
I toss Greg’s police jacket on my couch as I click on the TV.
“I’m just gonna go take a shower, wash this day off me,” I say with a laugh.
“Yea of course,” he nods, “I’ll be here,” he says with a sweet smirk.
“K, uh, help yourself to a beer, or glass of wine. I have left over Chinese too,” I say pointing to the fridge.
“Oh bless your soul, I’m starving,” he says nodding.
“Go for it,” I say with a laugh, “I’ll be quick,” I say walking into my bathroom.
I turn on the shower, as I wait for it to warm up, I set to undressing.
“Hey do you want me to heat you up food too?” I hear Greg call as I step in the shower, “Yes please! I’m starving,” I call out as the water falls over my skin. Allowing it to relax my tense muscles.
Little did Nevina know, Greg had caught a glimpse of her undressing as he turned his head to ask her about the food. The incident instantly made him blush, as he turned away quickly. A smile finding its way on his face.
A few minutes later, I emerged from the bathroom, having scrubbed my entire body 5 times over. I was clean and refreshed and dressed in the coziest pajamas and fuzzy socks.
Greg had set up two trays, in front of the TV and a buffet of Chinese food.
“Ugh, thank you. You rock,” I say as he hands me a beer.
He smirks at me and plops down on the couch.
“Did you wanna take a shower too,” I ask.
“Um is that your way of telling me I reek?” he asks.
“Well, I mean…I did get Black Hawk blood all over you, so…” I say pointing to his shirt.
“Oh, shit, that’s right.” he says grossed out. “Sorry I didn’t even realize. I’m so damn exhausted.”
“I mean I’m just worried for you, you can shower tomorrow. Maybe just at least change your clothes. I should still have some of your clothes here from when your washing machine koncked out and you did your laundry here last week.” I say standing up.
“Oh that’d be so awesome,” he says standing up and following me.
“Here,” I say reaching into the bottom of my closet and tossing him some clothes. “You change, I’ll grab pillows and blankets for you.”
Greg and I sit, indulging in leftover Chinese takeout and beers. The news flashing a Special Report.
Both mine and Greg’s eyes meet. Curiosity peeking. I grab the remote, clicking the volume higher.
The newscaster is on the scene, near the alley way where the events took place.
Standing next to him is the young brunette girl that I had stumbled across earlier before my dance with darkness.
“I am here with this young woman who just had a brush with the killer himself. Miss what can you tell us about this man who has been terrorizing the New York City streets? ”
The woman is clearly exhausted, her eyes puffy and red, her body language one of fear and confusion.
“I…I was on my way home from work, I had to stay at the office late to finish up a project. I couldn’t get a cab this late at night so I was on my way to walking toward the train station. I wanted to get there quick so I took a short cut through the alley on the corner on Cloak Street and 6th Avenue. And that’s when I saw him. I just ran. And by chance I ran into this woman. She was so calm, confident. Like she knew what she was doing. Looking for him. It was odd. But she had this black bird-like mask on. Like a Nightingale or some kind of bird. She had this black leather, feathery outfit on. I don’t know maybe she was coming from a Halloween themed event or something. The city is always crawling with creatures this time of year. After we bumped into each other, she asked me where the Black Hawk was. At first I thought maybe she was an accomplice. But she said, she was a friend to women. And then she set off in the direction of the Black Hawk. I just ran. I was so scared. I feel so bad. I don’t know what else happened after that. But I knew I had to call the police. I hope the woman is okay. She saved my life.”
Uh oh. Shit. I think to myself. Here we go.
Greg looks at me. His eyes narrowing at me. His brow scrunching.
“Nev?” he says calmly.
I shut the tv off.
“Well, it’s getting late. I am exhausted. I think I’m gonna hit the hay. Night Gavin.” I say getting up and heading toward my bedroom.
“Nevina?” he says standing up from the couch his voice low. Stern. We usually call each other by nick names or by our last names. It’s something we’ve done since we were kids. When he says my full first name. I know something is up.
I turn slowly toward him.
“Where were you coming from tonight?” he asks.
“I went to a Halloween party.” I say shrugging.
“Who’s Halloween party?” he says poking around. His hands on his hips.
“A friend from work.” I say calmly. My eyes shifting to the side. Damn it, why is it so hard to lie to him.
“And you chose to walk home, alone, at midnight, through a dark alley?”
“Actually I was just waiting for my uber and then shit hit the fan. What’s with the third degree Greg?”
“That’s funny. An uber never showed up tonight.” He says his gaze turning into a puzzled glare.
“Well, considering I was fighting for my life, it probably came and went.” I say with a matter of fact tone.
“You’re the one, that woman is describing. You’re The Black Nightingale aren’t u?” He says.
“Greg as much as I would love to take the credit for helping that woman. She and I didn’t even cross paths.”
“And how else would you explain her spot on description of you?”
“A woman in all black on a night near Halloween….your right, so out of the ordinary,” I say laughing. “Besides she was traumatized she probably didn’t even know what she was saying.”
“You know Nev, I know you. And I saw what you had on tonight. It’s not something you would normally wear.”
“Yea. Hence….the Halloween Party.”
“And if not the Black Nightingale, what were you supposed to be dressed up as?”
“A sexy cat. Duh? I had taken my cat years off for a bit at the party, I must have Ieft them there.” I say touching my head in an attempt to check for them.
“Come on Nevina. Don’t lie to me. You come home at all hours. You’re always level 10 tired in the mornings. We’ve gotten a few reports from men about this Black Nightingale haunting the city streets. There has been a few blurry images of her that we were able to pull from neighboring cameras. Blurry or not, I’d know those legs anywhere. Besides you leave a trail of black feathers everywhere you go,” he says pulling a few from his jacket pocket and letting them fall gracefully to the floor landing at my feet.
“Ok then…arrest me,” I say holding out my wrists.
“Nev…” he says glaring at me.
“Don’t Nev me Greg, ok? If you are so sure that I’m The Black Nightingale. That I’ve been as you say- harassing men, then arrest me,” I say moving closer to him.
“I don’t want to,” he says his eyes burning into mine.
“But you have to, I mean your Mr. Perfect Policeman, right? You like to play by all the rules.”
Greg stares at me…a look I have never quite seen before.
“What are you waiting for?” for I say glaring up at him. Some type of tension hanging thick in the air. Our faces just inches apart. Greg sucks in a sharp breath. His eyes looking at me tenderly. I see something new in this flicker. A hidden secret perhaps? What is this newness? An odd feeling boiling in the pit of my stomach. I can’t tell if it frightens me or if I kinda like it.
Without thinking, Gregory grabs me and kisses me, his arms wrapping around my waist tightly.
I push him away instinctively, “What the hell was that?” I say confused wiping my lips.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that,” Greg says turning away and running his hand over his face.
“Greg…what was that?”
“I don’t know, I’m sorry.”
“You do know.”
“Nev…It’s just…I’ve…I’ve been in love with you for… a really long time.”
“You’re kidding?” I say dumbfounded, stepping back, in shock, my knees threatening to give out.
“No. Not kidding.” He says his tone lacking any trace of humor.
“How? Wh- When?” I stammer.
“All this flirting back and forth all these years and the fact that the thought never crossed your mind, is a telling sign. You obviously don’t feel the same, and I understand. I’ll just go.”
“No hey…Officer Gavin can you just slow your roll. This is all a lot. Ok can you just give me a second to process?”
Greg looks at her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I guess I just never let my mind go there, ya know because we’re such good friends.”
“Look let’s just forget this ever happened.”
“Even the fact that you think I’m the Black Nightingale?”
“All of it,” he says “Good night Nev. Be. Careful,” he says looking at me with worry and a protective glare.
“I will, you don’t have to worry about me,” I say.
“I always do. Always will. You call me….if you need anything ok?”
“Thank you Greg,” I say with a small smile as he leaves.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
It’s happening again. He’s back. Somehow. And this time, it’s different. Because I’ve been waiting. I’ve been preparing. My gym sessions with Greg, boxing classes, karate classes, boot camp workouts, combat training, you name it. I’ve done it. And it all started with one self-defense class. My night hustle has been part of my training too. How many men can I leave petrified? I’ve lost count. Although I guess you could say that cat calling men are not as much of a risk as a full on murderer. But then again, NO man should ever tower over you, making you feel inferior. The Black Hawk may be back. But, this time, he’s not the only bird in town. He has no idea who he’s messing with. For every woman I save…the nights can rest a little easier. And soon enough he will be right where he belongs, on death row or in the ground. It’s up to me to right this wrong. To give all the women whose lives he stole, some justice. To save others from his preying eyes. His deathly stare and his rake of death. I will not rest until he is gone. For good. Ladies…it’s time we take back our nights. Our walks. Our jogs. Our freedom. You know what they say, if you want something done right, do it yourself.
Nevina puts on her black leather costume. She shuts off the news report on the television that is describing another brutal murder. She carefully sneaks down her building fire escape, like a thief in the night. Like so many nights before. Her quest to find her prey- The Black Hawk.
Nevina’s spiked black heels crushing leaves as she walks, the full moon shining down upon her. Her head held high.
“Ahhh, ahhhhh!!! Help! Someone help me!” She hears a female shrieking. She picks up her pace rushing toward the direction of the screams.
Suddenly I see a young brunette girl, with olive complexion and brown eyes, rushing past me, clutching her chest in fear. “Run, Run, he’s coming, The Black Hawk, I saw him!” she screams and then stills as she seems me.
“Wait…who…who are you?” she says backing away, her eyes shifting all around. “Are you his partner, or something…” she says stepping back nervously.
“No. I’m a friend. To all women. Go. Run. Find a safe place. I’ll take care of this. I say reaching into my pocket, I pull out a black hair comb, with a flick of my wrist it turns into a knife. Clever right?
The young brunette girl looks on stunned as she rushes off. I don’t blame her. It’s hard to trust anyone these days.
The news has reported that The Black Hawk’s murdered 6 women so far. The police have no leads. And his recipe seems, pretty slasher standard. Stalk women at night in dark, secluded places. Each attack he makes more violent and gory than the last. Rake through the face was just the beginning for him. He’s hunting women like prey.
Rounding the corner I see him, walking through a dark alley. Calm. Cool. Collected. In that smug designer suit. Who the fuck wears a fedora anymore? His eyes haven’t met mine yet. He hasn’t spotted me. So I have an advantage. He looks rather… disappointed. Almost as if he, failed his mission to slay yet another woman. I duck behind some tall trees, removing my mask, I toss it to the side. It’s show time.
I tuck away my knife beneath the sleeve of my leather jacket. Fluffing my hair, and adjusting my cleavage, I exit from behind the trees and bushes. Making sure my heels click, and my hips sway. After all, brunettes, olive complexion, brown eyes. Hmm, seems I’m just his type.
I see him. He stills. Turns. His eyes lock on me. The Hawk Mask is creepy. One of nature’s dark predators. Clever. I’ll give him credit. But a fucking mini garden tool. Give me a break.
He begins walking toward me, with swift, long strides. His weapon glistening in his hand.
My eyes dark. Focused on him. He freezes, suddenly confused. I begin walking toward him. My tanned legs glistening with oil.
Even in his mask, I can see his head move, looking me up and down.
“Oh, hey there. Oh am I supposed to go running and screaming or something?” I say coyly. Flirting with murder.
He nods, silently.
“Oh, but, I can’t run in these shoes, baby.” I say walking up to him, I touch his chest my fingers dancing up toward his neck, straightening his tie. “It’s a shame, I think you and I could have a lot of fun.” I say, my tongue sliding across my teeth, as I bite my lower lip.
See, I know I’m playing with fire here. But this misogynistic asshole seems intrigued. Sure he wants to kill me. But I can also sense his attraction. His eyes watching me as I circle around him. My hands sliding along his shoulders. Taunting him. He likes the chase, but this is somehow keeping his attention. Reverse psychology for the win. Ew, he’s probably one of those gross guys who likes role play.
He grabs my wrist swiftly.
“Someone likes to play rough, huh?” I say playing the part. Ugh why were 90’s slasher girls always so overly sexualized. I mean really come on.
Black Hawk, nods. I hear him, suck in a breath. He’s enjoying this. Freak. I bite my lower lip, looking up at him.
“You like taking control of women.” I say unbuttoning is suit jacket, sliding my hands up his chest. He stills. His heart beating, no pounding against his chest. He tightens his grip on my wrist, tucking his weapon away. My knife safely tucked away and velcroed to my other wrist. His hands grip my hips. As they slide across my silk slip dress, cupping my butt. His body pressed against mine. Gross. He’s liking this.
“Huh, well, do you wanna play a game?” I say, leaning into him, his neck slightly exposed. Taking it a step further, I place a dark black lip stain on his neck. He cocks his head back, and let’s out a groan.
“You like that, Black Hawk?” I whisper in his ear.
He nods, his touch becoming more intense. His grip harder, tighter. More aggressive.
“Hmm, great.” I say as I loosen his tie, unbuttoning some buttons on his collar. I place a few kisses along his neck and collar bone.
Using my feminine wiles to take notice of anything that could be a key feature. He smells like cigars and after shave. His body frame is fit, minimal chest hair, and from what I can tell, he has a tattoo over his heart. He grabs my hand before I get to fully read it.
“Off limits?” I say pouting.
He nods. Still silent. But I still can feel his heart pounding.
“You get off on feeling in control of women, right? You like playing God. Deciding which of us gets to live. Which get to die?” I say my flirting is on point. I have to say ya girl is SLAYING this interaction.
He nods. His hands sliding up my dress.
“Wait. Baby wait.” I say pulling away, pushing him gently. Pulling my dress down. Trying to cover up.
He stills, I feel his anger. He doesn’t like being led on, or told no.
“Oh no, have I upset you?”
“I didn’t mean to. I just. Ya know. I know I came on strong. But maybe we can just slow it down a bit.”
He shakes his head no.
“But I said no.”
“No one, says no, to me” he says finally uttering his first words. His voice deep, husky and without any trace of sympathy.
“Well, it’s not a no, it’s a not right now. We just met, maybe we just need to take it one step at a time.” I say pretending to stumble over my own feet as I back away.
He shakes his head no.
“Are you going to kill me now?” I say fearfully.
He nods yes, silently. Back to the silent treatment.
“Ok. Ok, wait…we were doing so well. Let’s play a game first. You like to play games right?” I say as I continue to back away from him.
He slowly follows. His glare, dark, evil. And oddly enough, kind of familiar. Could this be someone I’ve met before? In passing. Or if slasher film history would have it, could this be someone that I actually know?
He nods. Calmly as he advances. He reaches for his weapon once again.
“Ok, let’s play, a game.” I say my voice appearing shaky.
This could easily get out of control. But I remain focused. On course. My mission set in stone. He reaches me. Standing before me, he raises his rake, and I swiftly pull out my hair comb knife and stab him in the stomach before he could stab me.
“Now how about you run, and I chase you?” I say staring into his dark eyes as he falls to his knees, groaning. His rake falling to the floor.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
My heeled boots click clack on the concrete floor. It’s a comforting sound. Silver spikes up the back of the heel. My long legs exposed to the fall chill. A black short slinky satin slip dress, paired with a faux leather jacket with black feathers dancing along the lapel. For accessories I pair it with a pair of leather fingerless gloves donned with silver spikes, and dark black midnight lipstick. Who says you can’t look fashionable while hunting. Am I right? The final touch. The mask. Black. Bird-like. A Black Nightingale. The prey that hunts back.
Strutting about the New York City streets like I own it, you think men would take a hint. With a get up like this, it should scream fuck off. And yet they don’t. Far from it.
I still. Feeling his eyes on me. His hands just minutes away from touching my body. “Hey girl….you uh wanna need a reason to reapply that lipstick?” He slaps my ass forcefully. And I laugh to myself because well honey… he just doesn’t quite know who he’s messing with. One swift turn and kick. Right in the crotch.
“Ughhh…ahhhhh…oh fuck, girl what the hell is wrong with you?” he grunts, doubling over in pain.
“Oh, I’m sorry. You looked like you were asking for it.” I say as my knee retracts from his special place. Going around talking to women like that something tells me it’s not that special.
“Let me let you in on a little secret” I say as I lean into his ear, my voice holding a breathy whisper as I pull what can be easily mistaken for a tube of lipstick from my jacket pocket, pop the cap off and a silver shine emerges from the blade. I hold it flush against his chin, “You know what they say about The Nightingale, how it sings beautiful songs. This is me singing. For all women. The nights…they belong to us now. Be a dear and spread the word to all your pervy little friends, would you?”
Straightening my posture like the classy lady that I am, I saunter away leaving him rolling in pain and let’s be honest… fear. I know to some it may seem like overkill. An overreaction to a minor discretion. A cat call. Slip of the hand. I mean I should take his interest as a compliment. Flattery. Sense the sarcasm? The way women are treated as they walk the night is a load of bullshit. And anyone who tells you different well, they are just imbeciles. You don’t know how fucking fed up I am. Or maybe you’re starting to. Put your hands on a woman unwarranted and I will ruin you.
*Black Nightingale.* Credit
A series of images, pasted on a cork board. A map of New York City. Red X’s marking what could only be seen as hot spots. Dark Alleys, Train Stations, Parks, Jogging Trails. Nevina’s slender hand places her Black Nightingale mask on a nearby end table as she tosses her weapons down too. She lets out a sigh.
“It’s been a long night,” she says flopping down on her couch, and lifting her legs onto her coffee table. She clicks on her TV.
A newscast humming in the background of the dimly lit room.
“Just this morning an early jogger phoned in what she could only comment on as a gruesome attack. A young unidentified woman was found dead in Harrison Park. There are no concrete suspects at this time, but the NYPD did pull some neighboring camera footage and we see a man in a mask walking away. Officers are on the scene and working to bring whoever did this to justice.”
Nevina sits up, she raises the volume. Her eyes transfixed on the TV.
“He’s back…,” she says to herself. “The Black Hawk, he’s back.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
Midnight. Rolling fog. Slight precipitation in the air. A light fall breeze. A young brunette woman, with olive skin and brown eyes is walking in the middle of a New York City park, heading home. The lamp posts, casting a halo like glow around itself in the fog.
Her outfit- rather modest. With the exception of some classy cleavage. Suddenly she feels an eerie gust of wind that stops her in her tracks. She shivers, pulling her jacket closed. She glances behind her…nothing out of the ordinary. She turns and is met with a sleek black suited gentleman in a bird- like mask.
“You scared me. Cool costume. But it’s a little early for Halloween, isn’t it?” she says with a laugh, as she starts to walk past him.
His gloved hand stops her, his fingers clasping her wrist tightly.
“Hey, let me go,” she says pulling her arm, trying to break free.
He pulls out a small garden tool. His head tilting to the side, ever so slightly. Silent. Controlled movements. Dark eyes. He slides the small rake teethed tool down her neck meeting her cleavage.
“Get your hands off me,” she says… “What are you gonna do…rake me to death? … Fall Basic Asshole, I bet you sip on pumpkin spice lattes in your spare time. Whatever this is, it’s not sexy. Its creepy.” she says pulling her wrist free, she walks away in a huff. Her footsteps quick.
She turns back one more time and he’s somehow vanished. Gone. She sighs, relieved. Turning to go on her merry way, she’s met with his masked face yet again, starring back at her,
“What the hell do you want from me Wall Street?” she says annoyed, her fear now really starting to kick in.
He brings his weapon swiftly through her chin, the small rake splitting through her face. Her eyes bulging out of her head. The dark red blood gushing out as she falls to the cold, wet ground. Kneeling down, the masked man pulls the weapon from her head, as it makes a violent thrashing, sticky sound.
He stands towering over his victim. Cocking his head to the side, ever so slightly. Like a predator hovering over his nightly prey.
He takes a silk brown handkerchief from his suit pocket and wipes his rake weapon clean, tossing it in the blood pooling near the young woman’s lifeless body. Securing it away, he straightens his tie and fixes his collar as he calmly walks away. Back into the night. No one around to witness his violent crime.
* “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy begins to play.*
Nevina Luna and her neighbor Gregory “Greg” Gavin take turns knocking around a punching bag at their local gym.
“You’ve got it all wrong Luna…I Know What You Did Last Summer is such a better slasher film than Scream.”
“What?” Nevina says gasping as she kicks the punching bag he’s holding, he moves his face out of the way just in time.
“Ghost face really? He’s not scary. Now a guy with a hook for a hand. That’s creepy!”
“Oh ghost face is so creepy. I mean he’s not. But he is. I just think it’s the lurking and the stalking and the idea that he’s masked that creeps people out. That’s what does it for me, at least.” She shrugs as they move to the boxing ring.
Nevina comes at him with a right hook and Greg ducks blocking his face with his boxing gloves.
“Damn it, Luna. You’ve got one hell of a right hook.” He chuckles as he steps back.
She laughs. “You bet your ass I do,” she says as she throws him a sly smirk.
He looks at her. An uncertain look in his eye.
“What?” She says.
“Nothing,” Greg says looking away.
“Gavin what?” She laughs punching him in the shoulder playfully.
“You just…you have really pretty eyes, Luna.” He says seriously.
“Why Gregory Gavin are you flirting with your neighbor/best friend since forever?” she says dramatically.
“Now would I do that? What kind of man do you think I am?” He says laughing.
They share a laugh. “Come on I’m just messing with you, let’s go get some tacos. I’m buying,” Nevina says sauntering away.” Greg rolls his eyes at her as they follow her, with a longing look. A sweet smile on his lips.
“Hey are we still doing movie night tonight?” he asks.
“Yes for sure. You pick the horror film, I’ll bring the candy?”
“Deal,” Greg says smiling.
“But I do have an early morning so can we make it an early showing.” She says smiling at him as she bats her eyelashes at him jokingly.
“Yea, sure. Luna where are you always going?” he says puzzled as they head out of the gym doors and onto the sidewalk.
“Places to go, people to see, my friend,” she says smirking at him.
TO BE CONTINUED…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love – Read Chapter 20 HERE
One Year Later…
A clear Summer day. The sun shining. A beautiful, sweet, cozy house with a backyard full of chatting and laughter and some familiar faces.
Hunter stands at the grill. As Henley sits at the picnic table chatting with Alexis, Camila, Brooke and Piper.
“Hey babe,” Parker says walking in with a baby boy in his arms, “Someone decided to finally join the party,” he says with a smile, as Piper beams, “He’s all changed, but I think he’s ready for a bottle,” Parker says as Piper stands, “Oh hello handsome, you woke up from your nap, you must be so hungry,” she says in her best baby voice. She takes her son into her arms, sitting next to Henley as she gets a bottle ready.
“There’s my nephew, hi bug,” Henley says placing a kiss on his forehead.
“He’s so adorable, he’s getting so big already,” Alexis says smiling.
“I know, it’s only been a few weeks and he’s already changed so much, I can’t take it,” Piper says.
The doorbell rings, Henley goes to get up, “I’ve got it,” Parker says as Henley smiles her thanks.
Parker walks back in with Leo.
“Leo, hey man, glad you made it!” Hunter says as he sets a plate of burgers on the red and white checkered table cloth draped over the picnic table.
“Hey, yea work was kind of difficult to get away from, but I’m finally glad I did. Hey everyone,” Leo says smiling with a wave.
**A little while later…
Henley looks at Leo and then glances over at Alexis and suddenly a light bulb idea comes to mind.
“Hey Leo…” Henley says grabbing Alexis’ hand and pulling her over.
“What are you doing, Henley…No…No,” Alexis says dragging behind trying to escape her grasp.
“Shhh…it’s time you get back on the horse…” Henley says.
Leo turns around, “Hey Henley,” he says with a smile.
“Leo…this is Alexis. Alexis this is Leo.”
“Hi,” Leo says with a sweet smile, as he extends his hand.
Alexis smiles, “Hi,” she says shaking his hand as she feels a spark ignite. And this time, it was a real spark.
“And I’ll be going,” Henley says walking away with a bright smile on her face as she walks, over and sits next to Hunter. She takes his hand in hers.
“Oh boy…” he says with a smile following her gaze. “Nicely played,” he say smirking.
“Thank you…I think it’s time for ALL of us to heal. Don’t you?”
“Yea absolutely. That was really nice of you babe,” he says placing a kiss on her cheek.
Henley smiles simply as she looks down at her stomach, she places a hand over it, as you see a wedding band now accompanying her engagement ring.
He notices, “Hey, how are you feeling? You ok?” he says placing his hand over hers. Hunter’s wedding band sitting on his finger as well.
“Yea. I feel really good,” she says smiling.
“Ok well you know what Dr. Ross said about taking it easy…”
“I know, and I am. Remember she said we’re both doing really well. So there’s no reason to suspect that-”
“I know, I just worry,” he says looking down.
“I know. I worry too, but I know that this time, it’s all different. I have you,” she says smiling.
Hunter smiles lovingly at her as he leans in, placing a gentle kiss on her lips.
“Should we tell them?” he whispers.
Henley nods with a smile, “let’s just give those two a minute,” Henley says nodding toward Alexis and Leo.
“So I’m sure you’ve heard some terrible things about me,” Alexis says sheepishly looking away.
“Oh please, I’m a cop. I’ve heard worse,” he says laughing. “Besides all that matters is that you’re trying to be a better person now? I mean that’s all we can do as humans, right? Try to be a better person, each day.”
Alexis nods, “I will cheers to that,” she says raising her red plastic cup.
“Cheers to second chances,” Leo says smiling and clinking his cup into hers.
Alexis smiles in awe of the humanity surrounding her.
Hunter and Henley both stand, “Um, Hunter and I have a little announcement,” she says as Piper’s eyes lock onto the two of them.
Henley smiles at her husband. “I’m pregnant!” she says excitedly.
“AH!!!!! I knew it! I knew it!” Piper says screaming as she jumps up and hugs them.
Henley laughs as everyone says their congratulations and hugs the happy couple.
“Give me this little guy,” Hunter says walking over to Parker who holds his nephew.
“Yes big bro, get all the practice in now,” Piper says smiling happily.
“Hey Pipe, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, with everything that happened in the past, we wanted to wait…”
“No, hey, I totally understand. You do not need to apologize at all. I am so so happy for you, do you know the sex yet?”
“We do,” she smiles nodding. “It’s a girl,” she whispers as Piper is about to squeal, “But we’re planning a gender reveal so shhh,” Henley says putting a finger to her lips.
“Oh of course, my lips are sealed,” Piper says locking her lips with an imaginary key.
“Can I at least just tell Parker though?” Piper asks excitedly.
“Of course, but that’s it!” Henley says pointing at her.
Piper smiles and she pulls her best friend into a hug.
Hunter sits in the house rocking his nephew, watching him doze off to sleep.
Piper walks in, and sees him, she smiles, “You’re a natural.”
Hunter laughs, “Thanks.”
“I’m serious Hunt. Seeing you with Patrick, you remind me so much of Dad. You have his ease. No matter what was going on, when dad was around you just knew you were safe. You’re going to be a great dad.”
Hunter looks up at her and smiles.
“That means the world to me, especially coming from you.” he says.
“I think we’ve done pretty well for ourselves, huh? All things considered,” Piper says sitting next to her brother.
“Yea, I think so. But you know that it was your strength that got us here, right?” he says looking at her.
“It was yours too,” she says.
“No Piper, I’m serious, you’re so much like mom. You take everything on. Sure dad was always there but he was always working like a dog. Mom was the one who kept us all afloat. She was the center of our family. And now, you are. Sometimes I feel like the weight of that, it isn’t fair that I put that on you for so many years. You know when we lost mom and dad, I didn’t know how to handle it. I just wanted to numb the pain. And I know that I was selfish, because I know that you were mourning them too. And I only added to your pain.”
“Hey Hunter, stop, ok it was a long time ago. I’ve forgiven you.” She says smiling at him.
“No, I need to say this…thank you Piper, you saved my life and I know it wasn’t easy for you. I only hope that someday I can repay you.”
“Hey, I don’t regret standing by you, not for a single second. We’re family. And that means trying again. Forgiving. And never giving up on each other. There is no need for repayment. Besides we said it was time we all heal and move on right? I mean I have a son, and you and Henley are finally back together, married and a baby girl on the way,” she says smiling.
“Henley told you it’s a girl?” he says shaking his head.
“Yes, I’m sorry. I asked.” She says, “But I promise Parker and I are the only ones who know and we will not say a word.”
“It’s ok, I should know by now that even though you two are both married now, you’re still gonna have your secrets,” he says laughing.
“But of course,” she says smiling as she bumps her shoulder into his.
“Thank you Pipe, for everything. You truly are my rock and I love you, you’re the best sister a guy could ask for.” He says.
“You’re a pretty damn good brother too, I love you too,” she says hugging him, “I think mom and dad would be really proud of how far we’ve come.”
“Does that mean you’re finally going to exhale?” he says smirking at her knowingly.
“What?” she says confused.
“Come on Pipe, I know you. You’re constantly worried, watching out for everyone, especially me.”
“Well you know, it’s just how I show love,” she says rolling her eyes.
“I know that you have that fear that I could have a relapse, you and Henley both. But I promise you I have not slipped once in my whole recovery and I don’t plan to. Ever. I’m good. Like really good. In fact, I was just asked to be someone’s sponsor,” he says smiling.
“What? Oh my god, Hunter, that’s amazing! I’m so proud of you,” she says tearing up.
“Thank you. But see, that means I’m good, now focus on your family and stop worrying about me.”
“I’ll try,” she says laughing.
Hunter smiles as he pulls her into a hug.
Later that night Hunter brings Henley a cup of tea as she sits on the couch in her pajamas, the TV humming in the background.
Hunter lifts each of Henley’s legs and places them on the coffee table, placing a pillow under them.
“Hunter, baby, I’m fine,” she says smiling.
“Just humor me,” he says looking over at her.
“Hey did you ever bring in the mail today,” Henley asks.
“Uh, yea I think so,” he says reaching behind him and grabbing a stack of mail from the cabinet behind the couch.
Hunter flips through, “Junk, junk, junk” he says and then smiles at the next piece of mail.
“What?” Henley says looking over at him.
Hunter hands her a postcard, the cover- a picture of Elena and her new European beau, as she holds her hand up showing off an engagement ring!
Turning it over, Henley reads, “Hello from Europe! I guess you’re right. It all happens for a reason. I found my forever. Thank you for not marrying me. Wishing you and Henley all the best! xoxo Elena and Emilio.”
“Wow! That’s really great! They look so happy, and he is very handsome,” she says as Hunter’s eyebrows raise, “Really?” he says.
“Oh well, I mean not as handsome as you, of course,” she says smiling.
Hunter laughs, “I’m really happy for her,”
“Me too, we should write her back,” she says smiling, “Maybe send them a little something.”
Hunter smiles, “I have to say you’re being very cool about this,” he says surprised.
“Oh honey, I’ve got a ring on my finger, and your bun in my oven, I’m not worried. I’ve got you locked in for life,” She says shaking her head with a laugh.
Hunter laughs, “That you do,” he says leaning in and kissing her slowly and softly.
Henley moans against his lips, “Mmm, you know what we haven’t done in a while,” she says looking up at him as she starts to pull at his pajama strings.
“Henley,” he says stopping her.
“What?” she says pouting.
“I just don’t think we should be doing that, you know because of the baby. I don’t want to risk anything bad happening,” he says nervously.
“Hunter, we spoke to Dr. Ross about this ok, she said it was fine. I’m ok, I promise you.” She says cupping his face.
“You swear,” he says worry etched all over his face.
“No, I’m actually not doing the best. Because I haven’t made love to my husband in months. So yea there’s a whole lot of hormonal frustration going on here…but other than that…yea just peachy.” She says that sass showing through.
Hunter rolls his eyes, “you act like it’s something I want to avoid,” he says, “not being with you these last few months has been torture.”
“For me too,” she says climbing onto his lap, straddling him.
“Henley,” he says cautiously, his hands finding her stomach.
“Hunter, come on, I miss you,” she says pulling him into a kiss.
Hunter stops her as she gives him a pout, he looks at her longingly, sighing he pulls her into a passionate kiss, “I miss you too,” he whispers against her lips as he lifts her in his arms carrying her up the stairs and into their bedroom as he lays her gently on the bed.
Their bodies tangled up in each other, under crisp, cotton, white sheets, as Hunter moves above her, his lips trailing kisses down her neck as she gasps, her hands wrapping around his neck.
“Are you ok?” he whispers looking into her eyes.
“Perfect,” she says her lips crashing onto his.
“No I’m serious, are you feeling ok?” he says pulling away again.
Henley sighs, “Hunter yes, I am fine. I will let you know if anything. Now I love you, but shut up,” she says pulling him back into a kiss.
Hunter laughs against her lips.
“This pregnancy makes you bossy in bed,” he whispers, his voice raspy.
“Oh you haven’t seen anything yet,” Henley says raising her eyebrow with a sexy smirk.
“Oh,” he says his eyebrows raising as she closes the distance between them. She kisses him passionately, flipping them over, she places kisses on his chest.
Hunter pulls her back into a kiss as they continue to make love into the night.
Hunter wakes up to an empty bed and the smell of blueberry pancakes.
He smiles as he pulls his Pajamas on and makes his way downstairs.
Henley is grooving slowly to some soft music as she cooks, her back toward him, as her hips sway from side to side, Hunter’s t-shirt hanging on her, just slightly more snug since her pregnancy bump decided to show within the last few days.
Hunter smirks as he quietly walks over to her, sliding his hands around her waist.
“Good morning sleepy head,” Henley says looking over at him, as he places a kiss on her lips.
“Morning,” he says as she hands him a glass of orange juice. “Here, so you can keep up your strength. Seems I might have worn you out a bit,” she says smiling.
“Maybe a little,” he says with a laugh as he takes a sip of his juice.
“Sorry,” she says scrunching up her nose.
“No no, don’t ever apologize for that,” he says smirking up at her from his stool at the kitchen island. “You can wear me out anytime,” he says.
“Oh, likewise,” Henley says smiling at him as she reaches over and gives him a kiss.
“Hmm, syrup,” he says licking her lips, as she laughs, “Babe! Stop!” she says pulling away as he laughs.
“So I do have something serious to discuss with you though,” he says looking at her.
“Oh, ok,” she says putting on her serious face.
“Well it’s not that serious,” he says laughing.
“Well do tell, so that I can put on the appropriate serious face.” She says.
“I think we should make a list, of everything we still need for the nursery, you know because this baby has a timeline, and she’ll be here before we know it. So…”
Henley smiles, “I think that’s a perfect idea, I’ll get the pen and paper,” She says smiling.
Henley and Hunter sit on the couch as Henley’s legs lay across Hunter’s. She’s holding a list as she and Hunter chat and mark things down.
“I definitely think we should get a humidifier, Piper said Patrick sleeps so much better with one,” Henley says.
“Yes, definitely, I read an article about which were the best ones, and there was one specific brand that- here I saved it, let me show you,” he says picking up his phone as he flips through it.
Henley stares at him, smiling brightly.
“What?” he says noticing her eyes on him.
“Nothing I was just having a moment,” she says smiling.
“Aw ok,” he says smiling as he drapes his arm around her shoulders, “tell me about it.”
“I was just thinking about how amazing it is to be here with you right now. I mean we’re married, and we have this beautiful big house, and we’re having a baby. I just feel so happy to be here with you. Sometimes I feel like it’s all a dream I’m going to wake up from. Like it’s too good to be true.”
“I know the feeling,” he says smirking. “But we’re here babe. We made it. And I always knew we would,” he says starring at her lovingly.
“Thank you for never giving up on us. I know it wasn’t always easy. And I wasn’t always on board because I so scared. But I always hoped we’d get here. I may not have always been sure. But you were. And I’m grateful for that every day. I’m so grateful for you, every day,” she whispers as she cups his face and he places a kiss on her lips.
“I love you so much, I’m grateful for you and for you,” he says placing a hand on her stomach.
“I’m grateful for you too little girl,” Henley says looking down at her stomach, as they both feel a kick, their eyes jolting up at each other.
“Did you just feel that,” Henley says.
“Was that a kick?” Hunter asks excitedly.
“A big one, I’ve felt a few fluttery ones but never like that,” Henley says smiling.
“Oh my god,” Hunter says pulling her into a kiss.
“We can’t wait to meet you little one,” Henley says as they feel another kick.
“She hears you,” Hunter says smiling.
“That’s our baby in there,” Henley says smiling up at him, tears in her eyes.
“Our baby,” he says smiling happily as he leans into another kiss.
“So what do you wanna watch,” Henley says turning the TV on and looking over at Hunter.
“How about we watch our wedding video?” he says.
“Aw that’s a great idea,” Henley says smiling as Hunter gets up to put in the DVD.
The gold doors open as Henley walks down the center aisle. Her dress simple and elegant, her bouquet-red roses. The wedding march playing as her father holds her arm gently. Piper and the girls smiling from up front, as her eyes lock onto Hunter’s.
“I remember feeling so nervous waiting for you to come down,” Hunter says laughing.
“You looked nervous,” Henley says smiling, “But I just thought it was so cute,” she says.
“You weren’t nervous?” Hunter asks surprised.
“About the wedding, yes. The party planner in me was worried about the details. But marrying you. No. I knew it was finally our time, and when I saw you it was like everything just made sense.” She says shrugging.
“Yea, I remember feeling this instant calm once your hand was in mine,” Hunter says smiling over at her.
“It was a beautiful day,” Henley says smiling.
“It was, and you looked beautiful, but if it’s even possible I think you look even more beautiful now than you did that day. And I think I love you even more too.” He says looking into her eyes.
Henley smiles as she pulls him into a kiss, “I feel the exact same way, sometimes so much, that I feel like my heart is going to burst.” She says smiling.
Hunter smiles happily as he kisses her again, as the priest says “You may now kiss the bride,” Hunter and Henley kiss on screen.
“I love you Mrs. Stone,” he says.
“I love you Mr. Stone,” she says.
They kiss, snuggling together as they watch the rest of their wedding video. Their love story growing more and more with each passing moment.
Character Slideshow below… 🙂
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love– Read Chapter 19 HERE
Hunter walks into the church to find Elena there still in her wedding dress.
He inwardly sighs, not wanting to hurt her.
“Hey you,” he says with a small smile.
“Hey, oh my god, I was so worried. Are you okay?” She says kissing him.
“I’m ok. I’m so sorry about today.”
“No no it’s ok. Is Henley safe, is she ok?”
“Yes, we found her. Her stalker is no longer an issue.”
“Oh thank God, I’m so glad to hear that everything is okay,” she says breathing a sigh of relief.
“Listen Elena…” Hunter says looking into her eyes.
“We’re not getting married are we?” she says simply looking into his eyes just the same.
“I’m so sorry, I never meant to hurt you,” Hunter says looking down.
“I know that. In fact, to be honest, I’m surprised we made it to the church at all,” she says with a sad little smile.
“What?” Hunter says confused.
“The way you talk about her, the way your eyes always seem to find her when she’s in the room. I can tell how much you still love her. She’s always been your one that got away. I’ve always had my suspicions, but tonight I think it was just really confirmed by the way you raced out of here, when you found out Henley was in trouble. I just had a feeling we’d be having this conversation.”
“I’m so sorry. I tried so hard to move on from her. I want you to know that you weren’t a game to me. I do care for you. I do love you. I just wish I could have been a little more honest with myself about still loving her. I’m sorry to do this, I hate hurting you, because you truly are amazing.”
“Oh I know. And it’s ok. Everyone has their person, I’m just not yours. I’m happy for you.”
“Who are you? You should hate me.”
“I can’t hate you for finding the love of your life. I just can’t. I only wish that I’m that lucky one day too.”
“Oh you will be, I just know it.” He says pulling her into a hug, as he kisses her forehead.
“I believe this belongs to you,” Elena says with a sweet smile as she hands him her engagement ring.
“No, that was a gift,” he says shaking his head.
“It’s ok, take it. I wouldn’t feel right about keeping it,” she says placing it in his hand.
“Thank you for being so amazing. I don’t deserve it at all.”
“Maybe not,” she says laughing, “but I know you have a good heart. Good bye Hunter,” she says placing a kiss on his cheek and walking out of the church.
***Later that night***
Hunter takes Henley home.
Henley walks up to her apartment door, as she notices the yellow police tape covering her door.
“Oh let me get that,” Hunter says pulling it all down and crumpling it up.
Henley smiles her thanks as she pushes her door open.
“I am exhausted,” Henley says rolling her neck as she tries to work out a kink.
“I imagine so, you’ve had a hard day,” he says placing his hands on her shoulders as he massages them slightly.
“Ugh thank you,” she says letting his hands work.
Henley turns in his arms, she places her forehead against his, breathing in deeply.
“You saved my life, I don’t know what would have happened had you not been there.”
“You don’t ever have to find out,” he says cupping her face, starring into her eyes.
“You know when I saw Leo first, I almost thought you really didn’t come after me. Part of me was mad. And the other part of me was scolding myself for thinking so insensitively. It was your wedding day, after all.”
“There was nothing in this world that was going to keep me from getting to you. Your safety is always my number one priority. No matter what.”
Henley smiles as a tear streams down her cheek, Hunter places a kiss on her lips.
Henley moans into his lips as he grips her hips, pulling her toward him, he deepens the kiss, needing her closer to him.
“I need a shower…” she says pulling back and looking up at him through heavy eyelids. “Care to join me?” she says her voice a sexy winded whisper.
“Absolutely,” Hunter says smirking as he grabs her hand and pulls her toward the bathroom.
The water falls upon their bodies, beading up and rolling down, as Hunter places kisses all over her face, neck, and chest, Henley’s hands sliding down his toned, muscular back.
Hunter lies on top of Henley, their bodies wrapped in silver satin sheets.
“I missed you,” she says moaning. “Oh,” she smiles with a small laugh, “I see you’ve missed me too.” she says as Hunter lowers himself onto her. He cups her face with one hand as he plants a kiss on her lips, moaning into them, “You have no idea,” he whispers. His voice raspy as they move in rhythm as one. Henley’s legs wrapping tightly around his waist, the sheets slip exposing her skin. Hunter’s other hand gripping at her upper thigh, his nails scraping down her skin. Henley’s hands sliding down his back and under the sheet. She presses him closer into her. Their kisses deepening each time. Their urgency and need for each other evident.
“You know Hunter, about what Blake or George or whatever his name is…about what he said…”
“None of that matters Henley. He lied to you, manipulated you…”
“I know but, I can’t imagine how you must have felt when he was saying all that disgusting stuff and then the video he had I just want you to know that…”
“I didn’t watch any of the video,” Hunter says looking at her with love in his eyes.
“Oh thank god, Thank you,” she says kissing him.
“Look he played on the fact that you have a trusting heart. I don’t blame you for any of this.”
“You have no idea how happy that makes me, I love you so much,” she says pulling him into a kiss.
Hunter smiles against her lips, as he whispers, “I love you too.”
“And just so you know, Blake…he had nothing, and I mean nothing on you,” Henley says staring up at Hunter.
“Yea?” Hunter says staring into her eyes as he pulls her in close, his body leaning into hers.
“You are the only man that can make my toes curl. You’re the only man I want, forever,” she says kissing him.
Hunter moans into her mouth, as his hands slide along her now sweaty body.
That night Henley wakes up out of a deep sleep, Hunter’s arm draped across her waist.
Henley jolts up, moving his arm, she rushes into the bathroom as she throws up. Her body sluggish.
She slinks on to floor, exhausted as she holds her stomach.
She gets up slowly as she splashes water on her face and rinses her mouth with a small cup of evergreen mouth wash. Spitting it out after a bit, she dries her mouth with a small hand towel.
As she opens the door, she finds Hunter sitting up in bed, looking her way.
“Hey, baby…did you just get sick, are you ok?” he says rubbing his eyes, trying to wake himself up.
“Yea, must have been just all the craziness, it was a long day.” she says smiling slightly.
“Yea you could say that,” he says chuckling, “Come back to bed,” he says reaching for her.
“Yea, I will, I just um, I’m going to get some ginger ale to settle my stomach first.”
“I’ll get that for you, here lay down,” he says getting out of bed.
“No, Hunter… really it’s ok, I can do it,” she says.
“Would you just let me take care of you, for once,” he says cupping her cheek, and placing a swift kiss on her lips.
Henley chuckles, “Thank you, babe,” she says climbing back into bed.
***The next afternoon, while Hunter runs to grab some groceries.***
Henley walks into her bathroom. She looks at the pregnancy test in her hand. Positive.
“How did I get here?” she whispers as tears flow down her cheeks. Her cell phone rings several times. Hunter’s name flashing across the screen. She ignores it not knowing how to face him.
Hunter knocks on the door loudly with urgency, “Henley? Hen,” he yells as he let’s himself in with his key.
“Henley,” Hunter says rushing in and seeing her sitting on the floor in the bathroom.
“God, Henley…you scared me to death, why didn’t you pick up your phone,” he says walking into the bathroom. But upon seeing her tear ridden face, he softens, slinking beside her, “Henley, what’s wrong?”
“Hunter, I’m pregnant,” she says holding out the test.
Hunter freezes as he looks at her, he smiles brightly as he reaches for her.
“Look before you get too excited, you should know there’s a big possibility that it could be…Blake’s.” Henley says searching his face for some sign of emotion.
“Wow, I hadn’t thought of that” Hunter says casting his eyes down to the floor.
“Hunter, I’m so sorry. I know this is the worst thing…”
“No, no it’s not. Don’t say that,” he says shaking his head as he cups her face in his hands, his thumbs wiping away her tears as they fall freely.
“Hunter, I pray that it’s yours,” she says through sobs.
“Hey, baby. Henley it is mine,” he says simply as he shrugs his shoulders.
Henley looks up at him, puzzled, “We can’t be sure, not without a paternity test. I mean as much as I hate admitting it, Blake and I had sex, and then there was that overlap, where you and I were together. So I don’t know.”
“Henley, if I’ve learned anything by being a cop, it’s that families are created in all different forms. A biological claim on a child does not make a man a dad. It’s the love and the support that a man gives to a child that makes him their dad. And no matter what a piece of paper says, I will love this child no matter what. And it will be mine. Mine and yours.”
“I could never ask you to do that,” she says crying.
“Where do you think I’m going?” he asks looking at her as he laughs. “You think I fought through all this just to live life without you? This baby is a part of you, and that’s all I need to know in order to love it.”
“You deserve so much better,” Henley says looking up at him through tear strained eyes.
“Hmm, funny, I could easily say the same thing to you. But how about we just accept the fact that maybe we just deserve to be with each other?” he says wrapping his arms around her.
Henley nods, as she pulls him into a kiss.
“Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, why don’t we just go get you checked out and make sure everything is ok?” he says.
Henley nods as she takes his hand.
Henley sits in the doctor’s room, as Hunter stands beside her, he laces his fingers through hers as he looks into her eyes. He can tell she’s internally freaking out.
“Hey, I’m here, ok? Just take a deep breath in, and then out,” he says as he breathes with her.
“Hello, Ms. Hendrix, welcome back.”
“Hi, Doctor Ross,” she says forcing a smile.
“So I heard that you would like us to confirm if you are pregnant?”
Henley nods nervously.
“I am just going to have our nurse here run that blood work she took, to check on everything, and we should know more information soon, okay?” Doctor Ross says kindly.
The nurse comes into the room, and hands Dr. Ross the blood work results.
“Thank you,” she says flipping open the folder. Her eyes scanning and she scrunches her eyebrows for a moment.
“What? What’s wrong?” Henley says nervously.
“Hey, hey Henley. Baby, you really need to calm down. The stress is no good for the baby, or for you.” He says cupping her face.
“Um, nothing is wrong, I just think there might have been an error in your pregnancy test. Your blood shows no sign of you being pregnant.”
Henley’s head shoots up, “Wait could that mean that I already miscarried so early? You know my history Doctor.” Both she and Hunter look at Dr. Ross nervously.
“No, I highly doubt that. It was probably just a false positive. But let’s do a sonogram to be sure.”
The nurse wheels over the machine as the Doctor takes the wand, and the gel. Henley lifts her shirt as Doctor Ross rubs the wand along her stomach. “False positives aren’t the norm. But they can happen. And that seems to have been the case here. Everything looks normal,” Dr. Ross says as she looks over the monitor.
“Oh my god, I don’t know whether to feel sad or relieved,” Henley says confused.
“I’m going to give you two a minute,” Dr. Ross says leaving the room.
“Wow, I have to say, I’m a little thrown. I was convinced you were pregnant,” Hunter says shocked.
“Even with the weight of the paternity looming over our heads, I was still excited.”
“Me too.” Henley says with a faint smile, “But only because I knew I would have you.”
“You still do,” he says kissing her. “You know while we’re here, we could get some information. Get to know our options and everything. You know for when we do have our kids.”
“Absolutely, I think that’s a great idea.” Henley says smiling as she lets out the breath she’s been holding in since they got there.
“You know I’ve been thinking a lot lately.” She says sitting down next to him on the couch.
“Hmm?” he says tucking her hair behind her ear.
“I was so terrified that I could have been pregnant with that psycho’s baby, but so incredibly happy that I could have been pregnant with your baby. And even though I’m not pregnant, I never wanna be in the position to have to question whether or not it’s yours. The fact that you stuck by me through all this, the fact that you were willing to be my baby’s father no matter what, it just reminded me how amazing of a man you really are. And I realized how much I love you. So if your offer still stands, I’d really love to be your wife,” Henley says looking deep into his eyes.
“Oh I don’t know. I mean I just have so much going on. I mean like tomorrow, I was going to get a haircut and-“
Henley gives him a glare, as her eyebrow raises.
Hunter laughs, “Get over here,” he says smiling as she leans into him, he kisses her wrapping her in his arms. “You know for me, it’s always been you Hen. You know that. You’re the love of my life. And if we’re gonna do this, we’re gonna do it right,” he says reaching into his sweat pants pocket as he takes out a ring.
“Do you just carry that around with you?” She says laughing, as her eyes begin to fill.
“Yea,” he says smiling, “Now I want you to know that this is your ring, the ring I’ve had waiting for you forever, it’s not the same ring that Elena wore…”
“I know baby, I know,” Henley says softly as she cups his face.
Kneeling on one knee, Hunter takes Henley’s hand, “Henley you are the love of my life. And when I think about who I want next to me through it all, I see your face. Will you finally… finally, be my wife, will you marry me?”
“Yea sure, why not?” she says shrugging as she smiles brightly.
Hunter rolls his eyes as he slides the ring on her finger, he stands to meet her in a kiss.
“I love you so much,” she says giggling as she kisses him, happily.
“I love you, so much,” he says kissing her, “so much,” as he kisses her again wrapping her tightly in his arms.
Henley pulls him on top of her as they fall back onto the couch.
“Hey, you wanna try and make a baby?” He says looking at her.
“Really? Now?” Henley says smiling.
“Yea? I mean unless you wanted to get married first, because then that’s fine too, I just thought-”
“No, let’s do it,” she says pulling him into a kiss. Hunter laughs kissing her back as they both start to undress the other.
Hunter lies in bed, an arm around a sleeping Henley. He smiles down at her, as he lets out a peaceful sigh, placing a sweet kiss on her forehead.
Henley starts to stir, as she starts moaning, and yelling in her sleep, “No, No, stop!” she yells as she starts to kick and punch.
Hunter jolts as he gently grabs her arms. “Hey, hey Hen, baby,” he says staring at her with worry as he shakes her shoulders trying to wake her from her nightmare.
Henley’s eyes open as she looks around nervously.
“Henley, baby, hey it’s just me, you’re safe,” he says cupping her face.
“Hunter?” she says disoriented.
“Yea, I’m here, I’m here,” he says pulling her into him, hugging her closer to him.
Henley calms down once she feels Hunter’s arms around her.
She buries her face in his chest as she breathes in his scent.
“Are you ok?” Hunter whispers resting his chin on her, as he places a kiss on top of her head.
“Yes. Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I guess I just had a nightmare,” Henley says covering her face.
“Hey you don’t have to apologize. Do you wanna talk about it?” he asks hugging her tighter.
“No,” Henley says smiling simply.
“Do you need anything?” he says looking at her with love and concern in his eyes.
“Just stay here holding me,” she says tightening her arms around him.
“Of course,” he says, smiling simply. Henley leans up and places a kiss on his lips.
“Thank you,” she whispers snuggling into Hunter.
“Anytime,” he whispers.
Henley sits on the couch in yet another one of Hunter’s t-shirts as he walks over handing her a cup of tea.
“Thank you babe,” she says taking it, as Hunter sits across from her on the coffee table.
“Are you feeling any better,” he asks.
“Yea. Much. Thanks to my sexy fiancé,” she says smiling as she sips her tea and admires her engagement ring.
Hunter smirks, “Hen-I’m worried about you,” he says his voice soft.
“Hey,” she says placing her tea down and scooting to the edge of her seat as she takes his hands in her, “I’m ok, really. It was just a nightmare,” she says shrugging.
“Henley, do you not trust me, to talk to me about it?” he says looking up at her.
“What? Baby, of course I trust you,” she says her heart breaking as she gets up, sitting in his lap, she cups his face. “I love you so much, and I meant what I said when I said yes to your proposal. You’re my forever.”
A tear falls down Hunter’s cheek, as she wipes it.
“I love you,” he says cupping her face and kissing her passionately.
“Hey, I don’t want you questioning us anymore. I’m in this for the long haul, ok? Marriage, House, Babies, all of it,” she says looking at him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to bring it up…” he says shaking his head.
“Don’t be, if something is bothering you, I want to know,” she says cupping his face in her hands and staring into his eyes.
“You know that goes both ways,” he says softly, looking up at her.
Henley sighs as she gets up and sits back on the couch.
“Henley I’m not trying to push you,” he says sitting next to her, “I just want you to know that I’m here. I mean everything that you went through, it’s no wonder you’re having nightmares. And I feel like we haven’t taken a beat, we just hoped right into a serious relationship and talking about the future. And I feel like that’s my fault. I don’t want you to think you can’t have time to feel and process all this. We can slow things down. I’m not going anywhere. So please don’t shut me out.”
“I’m not. I just- It has been such a heavy past few days, and you are my one light. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me to have you staying with me. I just don’t want to keep bringing this negative energy into this. You know, we deserve to celebrate us and to just be happy.”
“I agree. And I am all for celebrating us. But I do think that what you went through, it doesn’t just disappear no matter how much you want it to. Henley you were kidnapped and held hostage by a crazy person. A person you thought you could trust at one point. And then everything with the almost pregnancy and all that stress and fear. I just want you to let me help you face that. It’s the only way you’re going to truly be able to move on.”
Henley looks at him, as she starts to cry, Hunter places his hands on her thighs, as he stroked them in a calming manner.
“I was so scared. It was like this switch turned on in him, and he became this totally unpredictable person. And I really thought he was going to kill me.”
“I can only imagine how scared you were,” Hunter says looking at Henley as he cups her face. “Henley I have to ask you…did he…did he do anything else… to hurt you…” Hunter says his expression pained as he struggles to get out the words.
“No, he didn’t get the chance to, thanks to you and Leo,” she says pulling him to her as she places a kiss on his lips, their tears mixing together.
“After everything he put you through, I’m just glad he can’t hurt you anymore,” Hunter says.
“I’m safe because of you. And I don’t want him to be the cause of any more lost time between us.”
“You’re right, I don’t want that either. I love you.” He whispers, leaning into a kiss as Henley pulls him toward her.
“I love you,” she says hugging him tightly.
“I want you to know though, if at any point that fear sets in and you start feeling like those memories come rushing back, please just come talk to me. I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to deal with it alone. I know some great therapists who deal with trauma, there’s no shame in needing a little extra help.”
“Thank you, I will let you know if I need anything,” Henley says nodding.
“You promise?” Hunter says staring into her eyes lovingly.
“I promise you, I will come to you, always. You are my forever.” Henley says kissing him again.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*
*Previously on Crazy Stalker Love– Read Chapter 18 HERE
Hunter walks into the hall of the hospital as Henley paces back and forth.
“Hey how is Leo?” she says nervously.
“He’s gonna be ok, just a little bump on the head and thankfully the bullet went clean through his shoulder so they are just bandaging him up.”
Henley nods, “Oh Thank god!”
“Hey, are you ok? That was all a lot to handle,” he says looking her over.
“Yea, I’m ok, all things considered.”
“I want the doctor to check you out too.” Hunter says stroking her arms in an attempt to comfort her.
“Yea that’s probably a good idea.” Henley says smiling slightly.
Leo comes walking out of the exam room, a bandage on his head and on his shoulder.
“Oh my god Leo, I’m so sorry!” Henley says rushing over.
“Hey…none of this is your fault,” Leo says shaking his head.
“Are you ok?” she asks.
“Yea, I’ll be fine. I’ve recovered from worse,” he chuckles.
“Leo, I can’t thank you enough. You and Hunter both saved my life,” she says looking from Leo to Hunter.
“Hey you held your own too, you should feel proud.” Leo says with a grin.
“I don’t know if proud is the right word. I just can’t stop thinking about the fact that because of me, someone is dead.” she says her eyes glazing over as she drifts off into a daze.
“Hey…you were acting in self defense. You did NOTHING wrong. You hear me,” Hunter says cupping her face as he wills her to look into his eyes.
“I’m going to go see if the Doctor is ready for you Henley.” Leo says giving the two a moment.
“Hey, look at me. I know that is hard to handle. It’s not in our DNA to kill. Or want to kill. But you have to know, that it was either going to be him or me.”
“Oh god, Hunter I can’t even think about that,” she says cupping his face.
“Well, it’s true. I didn’t have a weapon to defend myself. You saved me too. But I know it’s heavy. You have a good heart. And it will probably weigh on you at times. So when it becomes too much, I need you to come talk to me.”
“Hey, the doctor is ready for you,” Leo says with a small smile.
“I’m so glad your ok,” Hunter says hugging Henley.
“Yea me too,” Leo says smiling.
“I’m going to just radio the station to get an update. You guys need a ride?”
“Yea man that’d be great.” Hunter says smiling his thanks.
“And Leo, thank you…for everything.” Hunter says.
Leo nods and smiles as he holds out a fist bump to Hunter.
“Hey…can we talk for a minute?” Henley says turning to Hunter as Leo heads outside to make a call.
“Of course,” he says tucking a piece of hair behind her ear.
“It’s about what Blake said…”
“You have to know I didn’t believe a word that psycho said,” he says grabbing her by the shoulders gently to calm her.
“I don’t know how he knew, but…” she says her eyes watering as she looks up at Hunter.
“What are you talking about?” Hunter says confusion setting in.
“Can we go somewhere else, please.” she says looking around as people pass by.
“Yea, come in here,” he says taking her hand and leading her into an empty waiting room.
“What are you talking about? What did Blake know?”
Henley’s tears begin to fall as Hunter’s heart beat quickens, his mind a worry haze.
She reaches out, cupping his face, she kisses him.
Hunter looks down at her confused, “What was that for?” he asks his heart beat quickening as his eyes fixate on her lips.
“I just wanted to do that one last time, before you hate me forever.”
“Ok, now you’re really starting to scare me, Hen. I could never hate you. You know that. Please just tell me, what’s going on.”
“Look, before I tell you this, you have to know, I never meant to hurt you. Everything happened at once and you were away and I just I-“
“Ok Henley, you’re not really making any sense here, just talk to me,” he says taking her hands in his.
“About a month after you were checked into rehab, I found out that I was pregnant,” she says looking up at him through tearful eyes.
Hunter stills, as his eyes focus on her.
“What?” he says as if the wind had been knocked out of him.
“I was so scared and still so young and for a fraction of a second I thought about not having it.”
Hunter’s eyes begin to water.
“You weren’t in the right frame of mind to be a father and I was a mess. But I swear to you it was a fraction of a thought, because then I realized that I could never do that. Even though it wasn’t ideal. And we certainly weren’t perfect. I knew I loved you so much and having something good come out of all that we went through could never be a bad thing. Like no matter what, we would always be connected in some profound way. I was fully committed to being a single mother. But…about a month later, I started getting these really bad pains and I started spotting and by the time I got to the hospital, they told me I lost the baby.”
Hunter’s face falls.
“Henley,” he says reaching for her.
“For a really long time I blamed myself. I thought that I did something wrong or maybe that fraction of a thought about not having the baby made it happen. Like it was some kind of punishment.”
“Oh Hen, sweetie it doesn’t work that way.” he says cupping her face as he wipes her fallen tears away with his thumbs.
“Anyway that’s what happened, and I know I should have told you, but the next time I saw you at the rehab center you just, you looked like you were doing so well, and I didn’t want the news to send you into a relapse. I’m so sorry. I never meant to keep it from you for this long or for Blake of all people to be the one to tell you. I still don’t know how he even knew.”
“Who cares how he knew, he was a psycho. But I do really wish, you could have trusted me enough to come to me. Does Piper know?” he asks.
“No. I could never tell her. I knew she wouldn’t be able to keep something like that from you and I couldn’t expect her to. No one aside from my parents knew and well my doctors.”
“I still really wish you would have told me. I get why you did what you did. But I can’t deny the fact that I am upset. Knowing that you were dealing with that all by yourself, it just, uh, I hate it. I feel like once again, Hunter fails Henley.”
“Hey,” she says cupping his face as she looks into his eyes. “This is exactly why I didn’t tell you. Do not blame yourself for this. The doctors said my body just wasn’t ready. I was young. It wasn’t our time. Besides, you…are supposed to be marrying Elena,” she says smiling up at him as she wipes his tear away and brushes his lapels.
“You still don’t get it, even after a day like today?”
“What?” she says looking up at him confused.
Hunter pulls her by her waist as she loses her balance from the sudden jolt of his arm, he steadies her, cupping her face he places a long, passionate kiss on her lips.
Henley’s hands wrap around his waist as she deepens their kiss, their hearts both racing. Hunter slides his hands up into her hair, deepening the kiss with every passing second.
Footsteps approaching, jolt them apart.
“Hey…” Leo pokes his head in. “Everything ok?” he says.
“Yea,” Hunter says clearing his throat and wiping his mouth as Henley stands there frazzled.
Leo smirks slightly, obviously confused, “Ok well, we just need Henley to give her formal statement down at the station, so I pulled the car around.”.
“Ok we’ll be there in a second.” Hunter says nodding.
“Sure,” Leo says walking off.
Henley and Hunter’s eyes lock, as her anxiety kicks in yet again she looks down at her hands.
Hunter looks her over, stepping in her path, blocking her escape route.
“We should probably talk about what just happened, Hen.” he says looking up at her.
“Look, it’s been an emotional day and-“
“Yea, and I realized I could have lost you.” he says gripping her waist.
“You’re marrying Elena. You love her. She loves you. And it’s simple.”
“Simple’s overrated.” he says staring at her.
“Don’t be that guy.”
“The guy that cheats.”
“Sadly it may be a little late for that.”
“Those kisses were just in the moment. Ok? It doesn’t have to mean anything. Let’s just call it our goodbye,” she says trying to move past him.
Hunter stops her again.
“Henley.” He says staring at her. “I’ve been lying to myself, thinking I could move on from you. You’re the love of my life. And yes I care about Elena and no I do not want to hurt her. When I proposed to her, I meant it, but hearing that you were in trouble it just put everything into laser focus. You are it. And you always have been. And you always will be. And I really need you to get that. Please Henley, because I am so tired of fighting you, and this and us. We’re inevitable and I know that you know it. I know you weren’t happy about me getting married. I know you were going to show up and be supportive, but deep down a part of me was always hoping you’d finally come and tell me how you feel. I know you’re scared. And I know now why that fear is so much more real to you. I know losing our child has probably made a huge impact on why you’ve always kept me at arm’s length. I never understood it. But it makes a lot of sense now. But Henley, we have a chance to really give this thing a shot. One real, last shot. I’m talking all in, no half ass attempts. No walls. No fear. Just give it one more shot. And if it really doesn’t work then I will walk away with no regrets. And you can too,” he says laying it all out on the line.
Henley looks up at him, “And if it does…work?” she asks a small smirk lying on her lips. “I already know it will,” he says smirking as he hugs her lifting her up.
To be continued…
*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*