Only For You(12)

By: Genna Rulon

“That’s something I suppose.” I sullenly clung to the image of him missing his four front teeth. You would think this would extinguish the fire of my lust. Apparently, Hunter would be smokin’ hot even without teeth.

His astonished gaze met mine, undoubtedly prepared to ask for an explanation to my peculiar comment, but I was saved by Dr. Kull’s arrival. I whipped around, temporarily rescued.

At the end of the lecture, I roughly shoved my precious into my bag, grabbed my possessions, and dashed for the door. I succeed in covering half the distance to the exit when he called me. I pretend not to hear as I clumsily pulled on my jacket.

“Miss Carsen,” he reiterated. Again, I played deaf.

“Everleigh,” he nearly shouted with exasperation.

I considered the ramifications of ignoring him and sprinting for the exit until two simultaneous obstructions stopped me. First, Hunter stepped directly in front of me, effectively blocking my getaway. Second, while winding the scarf around my neck, I was unaware the end had caught in the sleeve of my jacket as I effectively managed to strangle myself. Every effort to free the scarf only tightened my noose. The only redeeming aspect of this nightmare—if my escape failed, I could kill myself and be saved from further indignity.

Hunter carefully placed his hand over mine, and stilled the jerking motion that further deprived me of oxygen. He extended one finger, silently requesting a moment as he studied my predicament. After a series of calculated maneuvers, he draped the scarf loosely around my neck; how he managed to free me without dissolving into laughter remained a mystery.

“There we go. The oxygen deprivation must have impaired your hearing, explaining why you didn’t stop sooner.”

“Thank you. I have to get going now,” I said, intending to step around him.

He neatly repositioned himself to block my flight. “I just need a moment of your time. I did save your life, you owe me.”

“Calling in your favor for saving my life so soon? Fine, what do you need?” I tried to sound unaffected.

“Why thank you, Miss Carsen. I greatly appreciate your sacrifice,” his tone lacked the acid his sarcasm should generate. “I wanted to tell you I identified the song you referenced yesterday. I listened to hours of Sara Bareilles’ music to locate it. She is remarkably talented, don’t you agree?” he asked conversationally. I hesitantly nodded my agreement. “I wanted to thank you for your compliment; I was touched that you felt I exemplified the song so completely that you were convinced it was written for me.”

“What song would that be?” I hedged, certain his ego had guided him to the wrong song.

“Not Alone,” he paused, “of course. The part about him not having to fight for her. Very touching.”

“That wasn’t the song I was referencing. I’m not even familiar with it.”

“Really?” He drew out the word dramatically. “Then to which song were you referring?” He grinned like a cat who ate the canary.

The manipulative, conniving, scheming snake. He knew precisely what I had implied yesterday, having decrypted my slur. How dare he pretend I paid him a compliment? He was undermining my moment of greatness.

“You…” I trailed off desperate for words to reflect the magnitude of my anger. I looked him dead in the eyes and started again. “Sir, you are no gentleman.”

With that parting gem, courtesy of Scarlett O’Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind,’ I strode to the exit, my shoulders back and head held high.

As I reached the door, he called to me, “And you, Miss, are no lady.”

Shoulders sagged and my head bowed, I left defeated. He had done it again. Twice in as many days, that blasted man had circumvented my inspired attacks. What man can quote a scene from the 1939 film classic? That does not happen in real life, hell, it doesn’t even happen in books. I halted hastily in the middle of the parking lot. Of course—how obtuse I have been—it was as obvious as a hooker at a debutant ball—Hunter. Was. Gay. It explained his extraordinary looks, for no straight man looks that good—it’s God’s joke at women’s expense. It explained his dislike of women, at least this woman. It explained his willingness to sit and listen to emotive music and contemplate the lyrical significance. Most importantly, it was the only plausible explanation for him quoting Rhett Butler, the dashing yet scandalous civil war hero from the gold standard of chick-flicks.