. . . Later That Night . . .
Hank lay awake in his bed, replaying the night’s adventure,
also known as the car ride. It sure was wild. He had never driven a BMW, and it was a trip. Then there was
Gwen. She had totally forgotten what happened in the bar, and was all over Hank. Touching him, kissing him, trying
to get him to pull over. Hank had to fight his inside urges, and resist her advances. It was difficult, to say
the least. She had the softest hands, and her lips were like rose petals. But she was drunk, and he wouldn’t
want to take advantage of her. She was vulnerable right now, and he had to show her that not all men were like
Ethan. Especially if he ever wanted to act on the feelings he was experiencing.
He had never felt anything like it. Not even when he claimed he was in love with Sheridan. The sudden rush when
she spoke, or accidentally touched him. The way the light reflected of her eyes, and her brilliant smile, all
of this sent his stomach doing flip-flops, and his chest constricting. It wasn’t lust, like it was with Sheridan,
it was something pure, unconditional. ‘It can’t be love, I don’t even know her. But I have to find out. I have
to continue seeing her.’ Hank decided. He yawned and glance around his bare room at the B&B. ‘If I ever
want a chance with her, I’m going to have to get out of this place. Stop living off my brother.’
Hank’s eyes traveled the room, and landed on the blinking message machine he had failed to notice before. Delicately,
he got up from bed and walked to it. His fingers brushed the play button, and he waited a few seconds. When
the message didn’t play, he pushed the button harder.
"One new message." The answering machine’s annoying automated voice stated. A short pause followed,
until Agent Hal Freeman’s voice spoke. "Hank, this is Agent Freeman. I know the plan went a little haywire,
but the FBI was impressed by your ingenuity. The Director has informed me that they want to put a new agent in
Harmony, and I suggested you. If you’re interested, there’s a job with your name on it. Call me back if you
want the details, such as pay and benefits. The number’s 1-459-598-4679."
‘A job at the FBI, for me?’ Hank questioned himself. The wall clock said 1:37, it was too late to call Agent
Freeman tonight, Hank decided. He’d do it in the morning. His life was changing, a new job, a possible love
interest. A new beginning, it was what he was getting.
. . . Meanwhile . . .
Gwen sat alone in her chair, sobbing quietly. It had been hers since she was fifteen. Her father had given it
to her. ‘Father,’ she thought. Their conversation when she returned had definitely sobered her up. His cruel
words, about her letting him down by giving up on Ethan. Didn’t he think she was hurting? And then, firing her
from her job. It was like she was useless to him unless she was marrying Ethan. Now she had nothing. No job,
no fiancée, and no family. At least not a caring one. Just a power hungry, twisted, warped family.
Did she have anyone? Sheridan, sort of. But she was beginning her life with Luis. Luis Lopez-Fitzgerald,
sibling to Theresa. The one who stole her fiancée. Gwen tried to muster any feeling or anger or revenge,
but couldn’t find any. Theresa wasn’t the only one at fault. Ethan was, and so was herself. But who did that
leave? Her sorority sisters would surely shun her for allowing her man to escape.
Hank. He was her friend, at least she thought he was. What was it about him that aloud herself to be free.
When she was around everyone else, she was putting on a show. Acting the way the wanted her to. With Hank she
could be herself. Have fun, play around. He made her feel safe. There was something in his eyes. They hypnotized
her. He wasn’t a macho man, but cocky, and egotistical. She found it funny, the way he acted. And talked in third
person, and thought the world was trying to ‘screw him’.
Why was it that whenever she was around him, she felt her heart rate speed up, and blush constantly. Sure, they
barely knew each other. But in that time, she’d felt things she’d never felt with Ethan. Ethan could never laugh
at himself, something Hank did frequently. What was she feeling? ‘It can’t be love. I’ve barely known him.
Even if it is, he just thinks of me as a friend. He probably just is my friend because he pities me. I don’t
care, I want to at least be his friend. I have to see him. That adds another thing to my list.’ She thought,
picking up the pen and paper on the table next to the chair. She added Hank’s name, and reread the list.
New Job (Maybe D.A.?) Get Apartment (Or Condo on Beach) Stop Pitying Myself. Start Friendship With Ethan and Theresa
Rekindle Friendship With Sheridan and Start One With Luis. Hank, Enough Said.
Sighing, she put the paper down, and got up from her chair.
She sluggishly made her way to her bed, and crawled in. Turning off the light, she closed her eyes, and prayed
that she’d be able to fall asleep.
Gwen walked out of the District Attorney’s office the next morning, a bright smile illuminated her face. After
a fifteen minute discussion, she was hired as the new Assistant District Attorney. She had always wanted to be
a prosecutor, ever since she was little and watched ‘Law and Order’. Her father told her it was unacceptable,
so she went to law school, and worked for her father. She never found passion in her work, it was mostly filing
lawsuits, and letting someone else argue them. She rarely left her desk. In her new job, she’d see a courtroom
more often then a desk. Gwen couldn’t help but smile. She’d finally be doing what she wanted. Cross one off
Deciding to celebrate her first achievement, she stopped at the Book Cafe. It was semi-full, mostly teenagers,
she noted. She glided in, and sat at one of the few open tables. A waitress came by for her order, and Gwen
politely gave it to her. A few minutes later the waitress returned, setting a mocha latte in front of Gwen.
Out of the corner of her eye, Gwen spotted a newspaper, laying lifelessly on a table. She got out of her seat,
picked it up, and returned. With excitement pulsing through her, she flipped it open to the realty section.
She scanned through the first page, mostly homes for young couples. She lost a little faith, but wasn’t disheartened.
After all, she wasn’t picky. She wanted something small, quaint.
The next page wasn’t much better than the first. It wasn’t until she reached the bottom of the page that she
found something acceptable. It was a condo, on the outskirts of town. Two baths, two bedrooms, living room, kitchen,
and fire place. It was in a complex, with a river nearby. Being the third condo, and in the middle, the rent
was reasonably low, $650 a month. She took out her black pen and circled it. After scanning the rest of the
page, she flipped it, and read the next page. Circling only a few more, she had her work cut out for her. Today,
she would house hunt. And after finding the perfect home, she’d tell her parents. Tell them that there daughter,
who they regard as a business merger, would be leaving home.
She sipped the last of her coffee, and decided to get another. The waitress was nowhere in sight, so she got
up, and walked towards the counter. After giving her order, and receiving it, she turned around, and bumped into
someone, dropping the coffee. Luckily, there was a lid on the Styrofoam cup, and it just dropped, not spilling.
Both went down to pick it up, and that’s when they locked eyes. Gwen took in a sharp breath, there he was in
front of her. "Hank?"