“I was gonna wait until the end of the date to kiss you,”
He took a deep breath. “I haven’t really been a patient
guy.” And with that, he leaned forward and his lips found
mine with so much accuracy I couldn’t have escaped that
kiss even if I wanted to.
His breath smelled like mint. His lips felt like velvet. His
arms were like iron bars, caging me, holding me against his
body. I went pliant and helpless. My heart pounded
uncontrollably, and my pulse hammered like crazy.
When the kiss was over, I felt dizzy. I was glad he was
holding me. I don’t think my knees would be able to support
me. He leaned his forehead against mine and inhaled the
scent of me. I closed my eyes. I didn’t look. Instead, I did what Hunter did. I felt! I savored the moment without
seeing… without looking.
“What are you thinking?” he asked in a whisper.
I took a deep breath. “That… that was my first kiss,” I
He leaned forward and gave me another kiss. Then he
smiled. “Then you will never forget me.”
“I have a feeling I won’t,” I whispered against his lips.
He gently pulled away from me and took my hand in his.
“Come. I don’t want to ruin this date by beating you in
another game of chess. Apparently, you are not such a good
“What? No!” I protested, glaring at him.
“And you have a short temper,” he said, laughing. He let
go of my hand. Then he pulled me, wrapping his arm around
my shoulder, hugging me to him and kissing the top of my
Next, he took me to the music room. I got excited to see
all the musical instruments around me. When my parents
were alive, my life was full of music, happy tunes and
inspiring melodies. My stepfather’s musicality was one of
the things that attracted my mother to him.
“Apart from the guitar, what else can you play?” Hunter
I saw a grand piano in the center of the room. I smiled
widely and then I took Hunter’s hand and pulled him
towards it. I pulled the piano bench and sat on it, telling
Hunter to sit down beside me.
“I’m going to sing and play for you. I’m actually a
frustrated singer,” I joked.
I placed my fingers on the keys and then I closed my
eyes, letting my hands play the notes I knew from the heart.
I sang the song for my mom… for my stepdad and for
Hunter’s mother. The people we held dear in our hearts,
who were taken away from us too soon.
“Spend all your time waiting, for that second chance…
for a break that would make it okay…”
I didn’t realize it but tears were rolling down my cheeks
when I sang. I remembered my mother… and how she didn’t
have a choice but to save my life… how she chose escape
than face the consequences of what she had done to her
I remembered my stepdad, and how he never made me
feel I wasn’t his flesh and blood… how he truly cared for me
and provided me with the fatherly love I had craved so
much since I was a kid. And that, had he been himself… had
he not lost his lucidity… he would never have scarred me.
I also cried for Hunter. I understand how he chose to
cave in, and shut his father out. He was angry… he blamed
him for losing the most important woman in his life. And not
only that… he lost the most important gift of God… the gift
I wanted to comfort him… to convince him not to give
up… to give him even just a little sense of purpose again. So
he would continue his journey… and realize that no matter
how much he lost, life was still worth living for… there was
still so much in the world that was worth fighting for.
“In the arms of an angel… may you find… some comfort
I sang the last words and played the last notes a while
ago, but we both seemed to have frozen in time. None of us
spoke. We were lost in our thoughts. I was not strong
enough to speak again. Tears kept rolling down my cheeks
but I refused to make a sound. I refused to let Hunter carry
my burden… because I knew he was already carrying too
much of his own.
“You sing… like an angel.” Finally, he spoke. When I
turned to him, I saw that he was trying his best not to cry.
He took a deep breath. “I feel your pain. But you are
stronger than that. Don’t let your misery define who you really are. You… are an angel to me, Allison. And yes… I do
find comfort now. Because God sent you my way.”
He reached forward and felt for my chin. He tilted it up
and leaned forward to kiss me. He tasted my tears. I’m sure
he also felt my pain, no matter how hard I tried to hide it.
Then he pulled me into his arms and hugged me. I felt
him kiss the top of my head and inhaled through my hair.
We sat there for a while in silence, listening to the beats of
each other’s hearts.
I never felt like this before. For the first time, I felt a
sense of thrill… a sense of excitement, coupled with a sense
of comfort. Hunter may be blind, but I felt like he saw
through me, pierced through my tough shell, broken through
my bottled-up emotions. I felt that there was no one else in
the world who could see the real me, who could protect me
and keep me safest in the world.
After a few more moments of silence, I heard Hunter’s
watch beep. “I think that would be the call for lunch.”
I didn’t know where he was leading me next. But we
entered the elevator again and this time, he pressed for R.
“Rooftop?” I asked.
He grinned. “Top of the world.”
The elevator doors opened and Hunter took my hand in
his. Carefully, he led me out and then he counted his steps
towards the right. I found a door in front of us and saved
him the trouble of opening it for us.
The door opened to the rooftop pool. “Where to? You’re
not going to push me, are you? I can’t swim,” I said in a
He raised a brow at me, as if he was really bewildered
with my confession. “A kick-ass chick who plays the guitar
and the piano like a rock star, sings like an angel, and
challenges my genius in the game of chess… cannot swim?”
“Well, what do you know? My parents thought music
was a life-saving skill. I’m sure they’ve been misinformed.”
Hunter took a deep breath and I didn’t miss the trace of
frustration on his face. “I wish I’ve met you before…” He
trailed off. “I would have loved to teach you how to swim.”
I smiled and reached out to squeeze his hand. “It’s
never too late for that. Maybe someday.”
He smiled back at me. “Yes. I’ll figure something out.”
He led me towards the covered gazebo on the side. I
was surprised that the table had been set for two. There was
a waiter there. Hunter felt for the chair and pulled it for me.
“Thank you.” I wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to
do that, but I had a feeling that before he lost his eyesight,
Hunter was raised to be a gentleman. And he needed to feel
like he was still his old self today. He needed to feel normal.
That he could still ask a girl out and give her the time of her
life. And I realized that I was having the time of my life. I felt
better than I ever did in a very long time.
After lunch, we made a stop in the dormitories. He
opened the door of one of the rooms. When I stepped inside,
I found a neatly arranged bedroom. Everything was white.
The bed, the couches, the lamps and other decorations. The
only things that were blue were the wallpapers and the
carpet floor. There was a drum set in the corner.
“You play drums too?” I asked.
He nodded. “It was the only thing I could play after my
accident. Somehow, for the past year, all I wanted to do
was… hit something.” Surprisingly, he said that with
amusement in his voice.
“Won’t you disturb the others in the next room?”
“The rooms here are sound-proof,” he replied. “Just let
me get my guitar and we’re out of here.” Then he grinned.
“I wouldn’t want you to think I have dishonorable plans laid
out for you.”
I actually glared at him and hit him in the stomach with
the back of my hand. “Oww!” he yelped. “I was kidding!”
“Go quick. I don’t want anybody to catch me here,” I
said. “I don’t sneak in to a guy’s bedroom on the first date.”
“Just tell them you couldn’t help it. You find me very
irresistible,” he said in a conceited tone.
“I will tell them you’re only pretending to be blind, so I
would feel bad enough to go out with you.”
“Ouch! You don’t really mean that, do you?”
I stared at his face and I thought I saw pain cross it. I
immediately felt guilty… and stupid!
What were you thinking?
I didn’t know how to tell him how sorry I was for saying
what I said. I guess my time talking to no one else but
Meredith made me a little insensitive.
“Hunter… I’m sorry.” I stepped closer to him and
because I didn’t know what else to do, I gave him a hug. “Of
course I didn’t mean that.”
“Good. Because here’s your chance to explain what
you’re really doing here with me,” he whispered.
I didn’t know what he meant by that until I heard
somebody behind us call, “Hunter Vaughn!” The shrill voice
belonged to an old nurse who was standing by Hunter’s
door, arms crossed over her chest. “This is a rehabilitation
center, not a motel room.” She gave me a look of
“I was gonna wait until the end of the date to kiss you,”