Hank ran a hand over his face then glanced out at the choppy water in front of him. Just two days ago the water
had been as smooth as could be and now... now it was anything but. It reminded him of what was going on with him
and Gwen. Two days ago their relationship was that of good friends, easy and fun. And now, thanks to last night,
things were in an uproar just like the water he looked at now.
He knew they had rushed into bed before either one of them was ready and because of it she was now in a tailspin
that he wasn't at all sure he could shake her from, especially considering the fact that he was in a spin all of
his own. He sighed then lowered his hand to grip the railing in front of him. He had no idea how to deal with the
situation they were in right now. She had said she loved him, but then she had taken it back, claiming she wasn't
ready to say the words.
But he had wanted to hear them, he thought his fingers automatically tightening their hold on the railing. He hadn't
known that up until last night, but he had fallen in love with her and he wanted to hear her say she loved him
too. He wanted to hear her say those words, because he needed to know that she felt the same way. But he couldn't
tell her that because she was running scared of anything and everything that had to do with those three little
words. Wasn't it just his luck to fall in love with a woman that the very mention of the words I love you sent
her running off in the opposite direction?
He shook his head then let out a sigh of frustration. He wanted to call Gwen and see how she was, but somehow he
didn't think he should. Somehow he knew he should wait until she called him. But damn he'd never been good at waiting.
When the Bennett family genes were being passed down the one for patience, along with a few others, he thought
with a grimace, had been missing from his batch.
He raised his hand from the railing to run it through his hair then froze when a familiar scent floated to his
nostrils, he turned expecting to find Gwen, only to frown when his eyes landed on her mother. He turned back around
more than content to ignore the woman, when he suddenly found her standing next to him staring at him with those
suspicious eyes of hers. "Hello, Mrs. Hotchkiss."
"Nevermind that." Rebecca stated icy disdain practically dripping from her voice. "I want to know
what the hell you did to my daughter? I called to her this morning and the only thing I managed to get out of her
was Hank and a bucket full of tears! What did you do to her?"
"Tears?" Hank asked in a choked whisper as the blood began to pound in his ears. "She was crying?
"I don't know." Rebecca said her eyes narrowing on him like those of a hawk stalking its prey. "That
is what I would like to know. I want to know why the very mention of your name would cause my daughter to break
down in tears."
Hank opened his mouth then closed it again not quite sure what to say. He thought about it and decided to regard
her honestly. "I'm not sure. She was upset about something she told me last night that she really didn't mean
to say and it brought back some painful memories for her, memories of Ethan and what he did to her."
"What did she tell you?"
He swallowed hard then averted his eyes. "You'll have to ask Gwen that."
"Well, I'm not talking to Gwen right now." Rebecca answered placing her hands on her hips, her eyes looking
almost lethal. "I'm asking you. What did my daughter tell you?"
"Well spit it out!" Rebecca yelled at him. "What did Gwen tell you?"
"Mother!" Gwen's voice called out from behind him causing him to turn around so fast that he almost lost
his balance. "Quit badgering Hank!"
"It's okay." Hank said taking a step toward her only to have Rebecca cut him off when she walked around
him and enveloped Gwen into a hug. He frowned then sucked in a deep breath when Gwen's saddened brown eyes swung
in his direction. Even if Rebecca hadn't already told him she'd been crying this morning, he would have known it
anyway. He could see the tears in her eyes even now.
"You okay?" He mouthed needing to know the answer, but unable to voice the question for fear it would
set her mother off asking more questions than either one of them wanted to answer right now.
She nodded against her mother's shoulder then sent him a small smile as pulled back out of her mother's embrace
and turned her attention away from him, leaving him with a sudden sense of loss. He shook his head sadly then averted
his eyes from the two women in front of him and turned to look back out at the water, steeling himself to wait
until her mother left before attempting to speak with her further. Somehow having Gwen's mother privy to what was
sure to be an awkward conversation at first was just not on his top ten list of things he wanted to do today.
Gwen cast a glance at Hank out of the corner of her eye and wised she could get rid of her mother so that they
could talk. She hadn't expected to run into him down here, but now that she had she couldn't say she wasn't happy
to see him. She had spent the morning trying to figure out exactly how she felt about what happened between them
last night and the only thing her mind seemed to want to focus on was the fact that she had told him she loved
That had gone from friends to lovers, in the blink of an eye yet that wasn't what had sent her mind reeling and
had her gasping for breathe when her chest became to tight. No, what had her so messed up was the three little
words that she whispered to him in the heat of the moment and also the three little words she knew he felt, but
hadn't been given the chance to say because she had told him she wasn't ready. It was true, but at the same time
her heart begged her to let him say them, which was the entire reason her emotions had been all over the place
When her mother called this morning to try and talk her into going out to breakfast at the country club, the only
thing she'd been able to say in answer was Hank. And then like a blubbering idiot she had burst into tears, causing
her mother to freak out and evidently track Hank down to find out the reason why. God, she had to have told him
that she caught her crying over him this morning and he had to be upset about that. If there was one thing she
had learned about him, these last few months, it was the fact that he took things to heart and he would not like
being the reason she had cried. In fact, she was pretty sure he was going nuts over there looking out at that water,
waiting for her mother to leave so they could talk.
She swallowed hard then turned her attention back to her mother, only to freeze when she recognized that shocked
look in her eyes. "Don't start mother."
"Oh my god." Her mother whispered placing her hand over her heart. "You and... You and Hank? Oh
no! I simply won't stand for it! No daughter of mine will be involved with the brother of the chief of police!"
"You have no say so in the matter." Gwen said her eyes narrowing on her mother. "If I want to be
involve with Hank that is my choice, not yours. I did what you wanted and got involved with Ethan. And yes, I did
fall in love with him. But look where it got me."
"Ethan will come to his senses, Gwen. Just give him time."
"TIME?" Gwen asked raising her voice and causing Hank to turn around in surprise. "I'm not going
to give Ethan time! I don't want to give Ethan time. It's over and you're going to have to accept it, because I've
moved on and so has he!"
"To Hank?" Her mother asked looking over her shoulder to send him a glare. "Is that what you're
telling me? You no longer want to wait for Ethan, because you've gotten involved with Hank?"
Gwen glanced at Hank and as he eyes connected with, she told her mother the truth. "Yes, Hank and I are involved,
but that is not the reason I am no longer waiting around for Ethan. I am no longer waiting around because frankly
I realized that he doesn't deserve me."
"What are you saying?" Her mother asked stepping in front of her and blocking Hank from her view. "Are
you telling me that you are no longer in love with Ethan?"
"A part of me will always love Ethan, because of the history we share, but I am not in love with him anymore.
Just as he is not in love with me." Gwen shook her head then took drew in a deep breath of fresh air. "I'm
starting to wonder if we were ever really in love with each other. I think it was more about being comfortable
with each other than it was ever about loving one another."
"Are you crazy?" Her mother asked grabbing onto her elbow in a death like grip. "Ethan Crane is
worth billions and you're just going to let that gold digging hussy get away with taking him from you? You're just
going to let her get away with making a fool out of you? Of making you into a laughing stock of the social circle?"
"That's enough!" Hank roared suddenly appearing at her side and taking her mother's hand off her elbow.
"What are you doing? She's your daughter and here you are wanting her to go back after the man that broke
her heart? What kind of mother does that?"
"The kind that knows what's best for her daughter." Her mother replied clipped tone while her eyes glared
daggers at Hank. "And I know what's best for her is Ethan. He may have made a mistake in -"
"A mistake?" Hank asked incredulously. "Lady, you'd better look up the word mistake in the dictionary
because right now I'm pretty sure you'd find your picture there!"
"How dare you -"
"No, how dare you!" He said his voice angrier than she had ever heard from him. "This woman is your
daughter yet you seem more concerned about what Ethan's decision did for your reputation in the social set than
how it affected her. Do you even realize how much pain Gwen was in after Ethan broke it off with her? No, of course
not! You were too busy worrying about yourself and what the other country club snobs would think than to worry
about how your daughter was feeling!"
Her mother opened her mouth to say something, but Hank didn't let her. He just barreled on not even caring that
several people were watching the scene with avid interest, including his brother and Luis. "Yeah, you can
tell yourself you're doing what's in your daughter's best interest, but you can't tell me, because I know whose
interest it is you're looking out for and it damn sure isn't Gwen's!"
"Hank," Gwen said tugging on the sleeve of his jacket until he finally turned his angry brown eyes in
her direction. "Stop. It's alright."
"No it isn't!" H snapped then immediately closed his eyes and apologized. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean
to snap at you. It's just -"
"I know." She said smiling as she raised her hand to his cheek, causing his eyes to fly open and lock
onto hers. "You were taking up for me and I appreciate that. But your brother and Luis are over there watching
and if you don't go explain to them that everything is okay then they might decide to come over here and I think
we've caused enough scenes for one day, don't you?"
His eyes widened as he slowly turned his gaze to the two men standing off to the side, a smirk on one's face and
a worried expression on the other. "Damn. I'll go talk to them, but -"
"I'll be fine." She said rubbing her thumb across his cheekbone then smiling when his eyes met hers again.
"I can handle my mother. I've been doing it for years."
He nodded then raised his hand to capture hers resting against his cheek and brought it to his lips to place a
kiss against her skin. "I'll be right back."
She smiled at him then leaned in to place a kiss against his cheek. "Go, I'll be fine. I promise."
He smiled back at her then with a regretful sigh, he released her hand and walked around her to deal with his brother
and Luis, while she turned to deal with her mother. She inwardly laughed when she saw the shocked expression on
her mother's face then groaned into the air when her mother's keen intuition kicked in.
"My god," She whispered into the air as Gwen met her eyes. "You're not just involved with him, are
you? You're in love with him. You're in love with Hank Bennett."