Only For You(112)

By: Genna Rulon

“Is she ok?” he gritted through clenched teeth.

I shrugged, and then shook my head.

“Is she getting help?” he asked softly.

I nodded.

He released ragged breath before asking, “Tell me what you can, please.”

Jose had loosened my tongue, curse him, the ninety proof bastard. I told him what happened, omitting only the details of Sam’s attack, because it was not my story to tell. Griffin never interrupted me, but there were many points where he returned his grasp to the table as if restraining himself from action. When I finished, he sat unnervingly still.

After several minutes passed I interceded, “Griffin, have I lost you? I have developed quite the aversion to catatonic behaviors over the last month.”

“Don’t joke. I’m not ready to joke yet, Everleigh,” Griffin said fiercely.

He was not handling the knowledge I had imparted with the objectivity so intrinsic to him. His speculation to the brutality Sam had endured and her subsequent breakdown was a burden he was struggling to bear.

“She will survive this and come back to us soon,” I reassured.

Griffin snapped into clinical mode, “Has she regressed since entering the facility? Is she exhibiting appropriate emotional responses? Is she interacting with other patients and staff? Is she participating in group sessions?”

Whoa, that was a whole lot of questions, many of which I didn’t know the answer.

“Shelly, the director of the center, said she is integrating well. She is building a trust bond with one counselor in particular. She will acknowledge the attack now and recount factual details, but not express consequential emotions. She attends group sessions willingly, but has yet to participate.” I hated talking about Sam in detached terms. “She’s made a lot of progress in her short time there, we have every reason to be optimistic.”

Griffin nodded his agreement. “Heath is exceedingly lucky he’s in prison. If provided the opportunity—”

“You would have to take a number. I understand the queue is longer than the line to the women’s restroom after a chick flick.”

That earned me a chuckle.

“It would be best if Robbie went into hiding. I won’t seek him out, but if we come face-to-face…I won’t be able to control myself—he has a lot to answer for.”

We sat in silence for a while, both wishing to rewrite history with a different outcome.

“Come on pretty lady, I was supposed to take one of the bar backs home after his shift tonight. I’ll drive your car and have him follow us; it’ll save you the cab fare tomorrow.”

When we arrived at my apartment, Griffin took my hand in his benignly. “I know you’re missing your confidants. I want you to know you have a friend in me. Do not isolate yourself, you know where to find me most nights.”

“You’re one in a million, Griffin Evensen. If you weren’t like a brother I’d likely be smitten.”

“Goodnight, sis.”

I entered my apartment feeling lighter, having unloaded on Griffin. My trip to the bar provided the opportunity to re-establish my friendship with Griffin when I needed it most.

Over the weeks that followed, I spent much of my leisure time at The Stop, keeping Griffin company during his shifts in an effort to avoid the solitude of home. He listened to my whining about Hunter, my concerns for Sam—he was always eager for her progress reports, my growing responsibilities at Higher Yearning, and every random thought that popped into my head. At times, he provided distraction but often he pushed me to confront my tangled emotions. I suspected our friendship initiated from a mutual caring for Sam, but it had grown to be independent of the initial commonality we shared.

While Griffin was wiping down the bar one night, he broached the topic I had been avoiding as of late.

“Ev, have you considered reaching out to Hunter now that your temper has cooled? He may be waiting for you to approach him.”

That was Griff, always picking at my scabs—I would need to buy stock in Neosporin to prevent infection and scaring—but I had learned he would not be ignored.

“It would be easy to delude myself into believing you. Hunter was abundantly clear he doesn’t love me and we have no future. Even if I put aside his lies, which I can’t fathom doing, I begged and he denied me…repeatedly. What is the definition of insanity, psych boy? The act of repeating the same behaviors with the expectation of a different outcome. I’ve had enough crazy to last a lifetime, now I want stability.”

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