Only For You(114)By: Genna Rulon
When the song ended Griffin slipped off the stage and out the back door.
“It’s time we talk, angel. There’s been too much left unsaid.”
“Are you wearing a wire? Should I call my attorney?” Evidently, my joy at finally seeing him again had abated, leaving me insolent.
He sighed. “No I’m not wearing a wire, would you like to conduct a strip search?” he offered mischievously.
His impish reply was usually an aphrodisiac but was not winning him any points tonight.
“Cut the cutesy routine. You lied to me and used me. Other than an apology, I can’t fathom what more there is to say.” If he wanted to make amends, he was going to have to work for it.
“Cutesy? I have never been called that before,” he mused, before turning serious. “I have never lied to you, Everleigh. There were times it was damn near impossible, but I promised myself I’d never lie to you, and I haven’t. I have withheld a pertinent detail about my job, hurt you through my inaction, and failed to protect you when you needed me, but I never lied to you.”
“A lie by omission is still a lie!” I corrected his supposition.
“Then we disagree. I withheld the nature of my job by necessity, but it wasn’t really pertinent.”
“Not pertinent, are you out of your mind? There was nothing more relevant. You were using me to assimilate at Hensley for your undercover operation. You forged a sham friendship with me to ingratiate into the student body. That may make you a resourceful agent, but it makes you a shit friend and a shittier lover. Speaking of which—did you screw me to further the operation or was it a fringe benefit? Get your rocks off with the gullible undergrad?”
Hunter took a step back as if I had struck him.
“Is that what you believe—that I used you to gain access to Hensley—that I made love to you to garner intel? What kind of man do you think I am?”
“The type of man who pretended to be someone he wasn’t, who fucked me and then left. I guess that makes you no different from every other manwhore barfly, except they don’t pretend to care about their prey. Evidently they have more integrity.”
“First, if I needed to befriend and seduce a woman to acclimate at Hensley I would be a pitiful agent. I had already gained exposure through the self-defense seminar and undergrad classes. Second, I didn’t fuck and leave you. I made love to you, and you gave me an ultimatum. When I could not provide everything you wanted from me, you kicked me out of your life. Third, I have not pretended to be anything other than myself. I was not undercover—if I were, I would have assumed a false identity—it was a plain-clothes operation. I was always me, I just didn’t specify my profession or how it related to my presence at Hensley. Fourth, I have not ever lied to you. Don’t challenge my integrity.”
He made several valid points. Was I really upset that he suppressed his ties to the FBI or was I resentful of his chronic rejection? It was the latter. I understood his need to conceal his purpose at Hensley. What had me incensed was his inability to recognize what we had was precious, rare, and scarce, and he cast it off like junk mail.
“You’re right; for the most part you were only doing your job, an honorable job, trying to protect the women of Hensley and solve a case. The criminals are behind bars and the operation was a success. I commend you, mission accomplished. The rest is just details—the end justified the means. If you came for my forgiveness, you have it; I wish you nothing but the best in life. Take care of yourself, Hunter.” I smiled so he would see my sincerity.
I was proud of myself. I let him go with dignity and a smile this time. I finally put his needs ahead of my wants. He needed absolution to find closure and I had given it to him. My final act of love for the man I could never have. Hunter and I appeared to have divergent perspectives on my noble sacrifice.
“Are you freakin’ kidding me? You’re dismissing me with trite well wishes? We are not done discussing this, Everleigh. We haven’t even begun to reach an understanding.”
I stared at him confused.
“I officially closed my portion of the case—debriefing done, reports filed, actions accounted for. I can finally say what has been gnawing at me for months. At last, I can have an uncensored conversation with you, and you want to pat me on the head saying ‘Good boy Fido, now go pee in someone else’s yard’? I don’t think so. You’re going to listen to me, and for once you’re going to hear what I say and not read between lines that aren’t there.”