Only For You(113)

By: Genna Rulon

“I’m convinced what you shared was genuine. You could consider the possibility,” he chided. “You miss him. Everything about you is dimmer—much of it is the consequence of your concern for Sam—but an equal part is Hunter’s absence from your life.”

He was correct, but the solution was not to invite Hunter back into my life.

“I stepped off the merry-go-round for a reason, Griff. It made me dizzy and I kept ending up in the same spot. It may have been fun for a short ride, but was never headed anywhere.”

“Your biggest problem is that you are pigheaded—you assemble the facts and draw your conclusions—but once you make a determination you are unwilling to reconsider. Be careful not to tie yourself so tightly to your assumptions that you cut off possibility.”

“Thank you, oh wise one. I will keep that in mind,” I replied sarcastically.

At least once a week we rehashed the conversation. Griffin would spring the attack inopportunely, and I would circumvent his efforts. It would have been gratifying if it were not reminiscent of my banter with Hunter.

“For all that is holy. If Hunter was here right now I would disrobe and climb aboard the love train shouting ‘choo-choo’ just to get you to shut it. You’re inexorable; I can’t even remember why I like you.”

“Not exactly the result I was hoping for, but it will do. At least you’re beginning to relent,” he laughed. “By the way, I will be sure to remind you why you like me soon, since you seem to have forgotten.”

I rolled my eyes and changed topics before he could continue his preaching. The man could persuade a vegan to nosh on bacon cheeseburger sliders. He was right though—I would be lost without him.

The following Sunday I had received amazing news; Sam was recovering well and finally beginning to share her experience and feelings in personalized terms. This was a huge victory, a foundation upon which the rest of her recovery could be built. I texted Griffin as soon as I was off the phone, and he insisted we celebrate the following evening.

Chapter Twenty

* * *

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” -Maya Angelou

I arrived at The Stop, my second home, to find the bar vacant; it was eerie. Griffin caught my eye and an unknown object sailed toward me. Much to my satisfaction, I caught the projectile before it struck me. I unclenched my hand to find a silver whistle on a rope—the kind gym teachers wear—shining in my palm.

“Where is everyone?” I prodded. “And what the heck is with the whistle missile?”

“The bar is closed for a private party tonight,” he winked, “and you’re the one who said you needed a whistle.”

I had said no such thing; I would recall such an outlandish request, wouldn’t I? Griffin came around the bar and headed for the stage, which I noticed was illuminated by the spotlight. He climbed the stairs, picked up his guitar, and stood in front of the microphone. What the hell, were we having a concert?

Griff began to strum a familiar chord progression as I focused on the sound identifying the tune—“Open Arms” by Journey. It was a strange choice for our celebration.

As Griffin picked an extended intro, I feared that he was using the moment to communicate his romantic intentions to me—damn, that would be tragic. I shook off the thought quickly.

I stood frozen until a hand grasped mine, causing me to turn. There he was…

“Hunter,” I breathed like a prayer.

“Angel,” he said smiling, “will you dance with me?”

I was too flabbergasted to process his question or offer a response. Sensing my quandary, Hunter took the lead. Placing his hand on my lower back, he guided me closer to him until our bodies met.

“Listen,” Hunter commanded gently as he cradled me to his chest.

Griffin began to sing the lyrics to a song I had known all my life, but heard for the first time. I absorbed every syllable, every word, registering the meaning, and understanding this was Hunter’s opening dialogue. I shut out every doubt and question for the time being, content to savor the feeling of his arms around me.