Disclaimer: We all know I'm insignificant... and I really don't own anything! rofl

Potentially In-Denial

You've got to be kidding me… Seriously, me? As in Victoria 'Tori' Hanson. The woman behind the man? The life of his life? The other half?

What the hell!? How in the world would people think that I'm Hunter's.

Huh?

Yeah, 'Huh?'

You're all probably wondering what made me - a usually calm and collected person - turn into something like… this; a hyperventilating, valley-girl talking, self-conversing, ladle-waving lunatic inside the said man's apartment. I just made it sound complicated, but I know it sounds stupid. And the place where I am right now is certainly making me uncomfortable.

So, why am I like this?

Well, let me take you into the life of a (ranger) young, sensible woman - who is clearly not in love with her ex's older brother.

It is ridiculous, no… it's beyond that level; it's an outrage!

I mean, I've been cornered time and time again with people giving me wtf looks when I say Hunter and I are just friends and It's getting out of hand. Why can't people get over the idea that there's a non-romantic explanation why I always seem to be around him? Trust me, I know... I am his neighbor. Go figure.

And that I've slept beside him. cross that one out.

I know for a fact that the condo units from where we live does have a hefty price, believe me because it's taking a great deal off my parents' paycheck and my allowance in college.

I was merely asking Kelly if she knew the other place Hunter worked at, and she gave me a surprised look. It's not my fault I don't know, and why is she surprised in the first place? I'm not dating him! But that's not the point.

The point is, where the hell does Hunter work when he's not working at Storm Chargers.

Okay, I am so not obsessing over him; I'm merely a concerned friend. A very, very concerned-to-a-point-of-worried kind of friend. That, and because I always felt responsible for him because he's always been there for me when I went to my emo phase after Blake and I decided to stay in mutual terms. Believe me; Kira says I never looked good wearing eyeliner. Again, that's not the point.

It's because Hunter keeps me grounded.

And I've got a feeling Hunter didn't like me in that phase too, except he just didn't know it.

What people don't understand is, he's actually the one fussing about me (not the other way around)…

Can I say I knew because he'd do a small frown – almost a pout actually – whenever he'd see me applying eyeliner? It's very adorable of him, once you get over the initial shock but don't get the wrong ideas, especially since I've somehow implied that he could see me wearing my make up. And he does, actually. I kinda placed some of my stuff inside his room; like the damn eyeliner, and some pictures of us in our Ranger days, and some of my shirts inside his closet. I'm moving out of the conversation again, long story short, he didn't like the whole emo look. And I hated it too.

So some of you are saying that I shouldn't equate the state of being emo to applying eyeliner… But you don't understand. It's my way. And thank God I got over it. But enough about that.

Turns out, I like going inside his apartment or should I say 'I like being near him,' and he doesn't seem to mind. I have a key to his apartment, and he has a key to mine. Everything's going too well that it's actually kind of... fun! In fact, we seem to enjoy each other's company. I like cooking him breakfast, and he likes eating them when he wakes up. He likes eating with me and usually brings me out to lunch at any place we could think of. I like treating him every now and then, and he likes buying me stuff. In a very platonic way. So we were, like, feeding of each other's comfort. And that our friendship basically filled up the void that Blake had once occupied.

However, let me repeat myself…

I do not have any feelings for Hunter, if only; it's more of a sibling love or a very intense friendship.

Wait.

Why am I even discussing this to you?

I have no idea.

Well, in case I get admitted to a psych ward because of whatever reason – probably Hunter-related – I'd want someone telling my tale, even if no one would probably want to hear it. At least there might be closure on me in some part and that at the very least someone is willing to understand my situation.

Okay, we have totally strayed with the conversation. And you're probably nodding in agreement. So let's get back in track.

You see, the reason why I've lost my cool is that, people around me are starting to think that there's something going on between us.

Cam said that Hunter and I go into a deeper level. It's kinda true, I get to percept the things he's about to say and that I've has a tendency of finishing his sentences. Of course, Cam was being Cam and was just stating something he'd notice but there's nothing bad about it. Hunter is just caring for his friends, that all. That or he still feels responsible for me and Blake not working out – which is sooo not the case because Blake and I are now and still is currently close friends.

Shane had said that I'm getting too cozy around him, excuse me the last time I checked I was one of the dudes, and that mean doing the claps in the shoulder things and the playful swats dudes do on their friends. Shane got the end of it, naturally, and he'd never want to think that again. I guess. I could pay him to keep quiet, or just pay his medical bill.

Even Dustin who doesn't usually see me as a girl started getting overprotective of me from Hunter. Last time I sat beside Hunter, he thought I was cuddling with him. No, we did not cuddle, it was cold at that time and Kelly said that we could stay at the shop because a typhoon had hit the town. It was cold, and Hunter and I was only left with a single thick sheet to keep us warm. Hunter wanted me to have it, but I wasn't gonna have any of his chauvinistic attitude again, so I said "Let's just share it Hunter!" And I wrapped my arms around his sides and snuggled closer to him. Let me tell you, I like hugging him! He's got that warm feel when you're close and that his body heat was very comforting. And besides, I've done it before… on most accounts whenever I sleep at his bed. Not that I'm giving importance to sleeping beside him, well maybe, but no big deal.

Which leads to the main reason why I'm going kooky; I was going into the comfort room at Storm Chargers and some girls just have to have a crush on Hunter. Some girls were already there and was just about to leave when one girl accidentally forgot to bring her purse. Being myself, I called her and gave it back to her.

She thanked me, and started a conversation.

A conversation I do not want to delve upon.

Okay fine, I'll tell you.

"Hey, you're Tori right?" the girl said giving me a full observation. A look that just made me feel like she's assessing me.

I somehow just nodded.

After a second, she warmed up on me and grinned.

"You are so lucky…" she said squealing and jumping in a way that reminded me of Marah in a sugar rush.

By now, two of her friends had joined the giggling fest and was jumping like deranged bunnies just the same.

"Lucky why?" I asked, titling my head.

The girls ignored my comment, "Oh my God, You're Hunter's girlfriend!"

"I'm so jealous!" one of the girls said.

"I thought she was dating Blake?"

One of the girls turned to her, "No, I heard they broke up…"

I think my very existence at the comfort room was somehow forgotten and neglected.

"Uh… I'm in the room too, you know…"

The girls turned to me and all grinned sheepishly, "sorry…"

I rolled my eyes, "And for the record, Hunter and I are not dating… We're friends…"

The girls gave me an unconvinced look, "You're kidding?"

"Really?"

"You're lying!"

I nodded, "Really."

Somehow, it got to appoint that people around us started to think we were an item. Almost everyone is convinced that purple has officially been our color. And believe me; we started to have purple crap. And the thing is, crimson and blue combined is not purple, it's lavender. But since I'm with guys, and their sensitivity and capability in understanding important feminine shades - Hey, I'm a girl too okay? – is comparable to a teaspoon... they settled with purple.

Wait, how did I even start saying all these to you? We're getting off track again.

Now, where were we?

Oh, yeah. I forgot. I was currently wondering(not obsessing) over what Hunter's other jobs may be. So let's talk about that. He could still be, hm… a waiter?

I giggled he'd looked so cute their uniform. It's a girly reaction, I'm at least qualified to do it.

A bouncer? No, he wouldn't use his strength like that. Not in a bouncer's way.

"But I thought…" one of the girls started.

"…you guys were dating?" finished by another girl.

I shook my head, "It's a misunderstanding… We're not dating."

I felt that the conversation wasn't going to end well, and I helpless wanted to get away as quickly as possible. Whoever was up there or at the morphing grid sure knew damn well how to piss me off. But pissed as I am, I was curious.

"You girls thought I was dating Hunter?"

They all vigorously nodded. "Well yeah, I mean… We always see you guys together at the beach, at the mall or just hanging around here. Out of all the guys around you, Hunter was most of the time around you."

"It's like, you guys are attached to the hip or something…" one girl commented. They looked at me with jealous looks.

In some way, I felt that these girls were all crushing on Hunter. And that's an understatement.

"By the way, did you see his abs when they went surfing the other day?" the other girls got into another fangirling fit.

That comment somehow earned a glare from me. Damned if I knew why.

I think it's probably because they could be spying/stalking on me and Hunter. But deep down that wasn't what I was pissed about. And the thing is, I don't know what it was. Go figure.

"What do you mean attached to the hip?" I decided to let the previous comment slide. And besides, it's not like we're always hanging together.

"You're always hanging together…"

I stand corrected; these girls should better leave me alone now because sooner or later I'll started frying them in the ocean.

"At the beach…"

"At the tracks…"

"Around here…"

"Almost everywhere…" one of the girls said in a matter-of-fact tone.

"…but…" the girl beside her gave an suggestive, impish grin, "…since you're not dating him. He's single?"

I slowly nodded my head. My neck kinda felt rusty nodding up and down. And you're probably guessing it now. But no, it's not what you think.

We're not dating!

Okay, so you haven't said it out loud, but you're face sure does show it.

Guily? Hah!

"Hey Tor, could you, like, introduce me to him some time?" She called me Tor. And we're not even close.

I shrugged, ignoring the gutting feeling I felt in my stomach.

"Gosh he is so hot! I want him!" exclaimed one of the girls

I hear the door click, relieving me from that distant memory… and I know that it's Hunter coming home from his other work I guess. But incase you're still curious, the end of that encounter was me leaving the bathroom and the girls exiting the bathroom limping.

Gotta give props to my ninja skills!

...

I was joking, I'm not like that. But my mind really was thinking of ways on how to properly dispose those girls because of their choice of words regarding Hunter. How dare they consider him as a possession? When in fact he's min- I'm gonna stop now. Thoughts like this aren't really good for the mind.

"Smell's good…" I hear him say as he walked into the kitchen.

"Dinner's gonna be ready in a sec, okay? You go and rest for a minute." I said, pushing him out of the kitchen. The stew was almost done, and the pasta was almost al dente. I wouldn't need Hunter antagonizing our perfect dinner.

"By the way, I bought ice cream…" he called as I heard the TV open.

"Pistachio?" I asked, stirring the soup and ladling it to a small bowl.

"Do I hate you?" came his reply, earning a short mirthful chuckle from me.

After fixing the table and calling him, I watched him eat, standing in front of him as he ate at the kitchen counter top. I had a bent elbow placed at the counter and was resting my head on it.

He sat on his stool and grabbed the spoon and fork. Twirling the pasta on the fork, I stared completely fascinated by the way how his arms do it, how every muscle in his arms and god forbid his formed biceps flexes with such a simple action.

I tried to beat myself up, mentally that is. It's humiliating enough that I'm watching him eat and now I'm apparently thinking how much of a great sight his body is. Which is so true. But really, that's not the point. Damn those girls, if i wasn't for them I would probably not think of that obviously small detail.

What do you mean obviously small? We're talking about the body of the year! The hunk-alicious body you're eyes had ever laid eyes upon! And the closest thing you're mind could consider to godliness!

Okay, so you didn't need to hear my thoughts. Damn, I'm so screwed. But, granted, he does have an amazing physique! But I'm really not into him! I swear! By all that is good, I can assure you that I have no romantic feelings for Hunter. And it's not unrequited, he also doesn't think of me that way!

Oh please, everyone knows you probably drooled over him whenever he'd go surfing with you. And here comes the room mate occupying my mind. again. Pushing her back, I tried to think of that memory, just for the heck of it. And still, I do not like-like him!

Earlier this morning, I woke up and found him exiting the bath with only a less than modest towel covering his lower regions. I swear, it just gut below his mid thigh. Not that I should be complaining. With his body glistening from the moisture, and that his muscles looked better after a shower, and that cute blush when he saw me looking at him.

"Tor… Tor… are you okay? You kinda spaced out…"

Hunter was waving his hands in front of my face, looking concerned. I could not resist the smile from forming, and I grabbed his left cheek, pinching it lightly. When he was worried, he'd slightly pout his lips that just had a kicked-puppy look, and then a small fold on his forehead would form. It was as if the mature man sitting in front of me would revert to a child simply by getting worried.

Only realizing later that I made a big deal of finding Hunter only in a neat towel. Oh God, what is happening to me? I'm starting to be like that crazed hormonal teenager, and it's because of the sight of seeing Hunter Bradley only in a towel – which, by the way, is soo not healthy in a platonic relationships like ours. Bad Tori, Bad Bad Tori!

Fine, so he does have a good… okay, okay… he's got such a well built body that could make any woman (and a few men) stop at their tracks.

Add that to the fact that he's embarrassed look was too cute and too priceless to bear.

Brain, hormones, period, whatever… just stop.

Snapping from my gaze, "Yeah…"

His worried face shifted to a smirk, "You sure?" He took a big bite from my cooked pasta and chewed.

My heart skipped a beat. It's getting ridiculous honestly, I still feel nervous whenever he gets to eat my cooking. Even as simple as boiling water, I get nervous. Hey, if it's too hot or not too hot makes a very great difference.

I nodded, finally grabbing the fork and taking a small bite of my cooking. I stared at him and spoke, "So… how does it taste?"

"Do I have to answer?" he said with a cheeky grin.

I was too anxious and to reciprocate the feeling. His face turned serious, "It's the best!"

I gave out a sigh of relief, I'd be a failure if I wasn't able to make something tasty. I'd have none of that, thank you very much.

"Hey Hunter…" I asked, looking up.

"Hm…?" I heard some soft slurp from the pasta, causing me to slightly giggle.

"What's your other job?"

He raised a brow. "Last time I checked, I worked at Kelly's…"

"No, I mean…" I toyed with a meatball, tossing it all over the plate.

"I'm secretly trying to save the entire world from evil space bunnies while trying to protect our planet from evil space turtles trying to kill the dolphin population."

"Not funny, Hunter…"

"Do I hate you?"

I chuckled, "No, you don't! I know you love me…"

He started chuckling, "yeah I do…"

"I love you too, you know…" I replied by impulse.

Part of me was shocked how delightful it felt when I said that. However it's no longer making any sense. Maybe I'm tired, or maybe I'm still agitated about me encounter with those girls at the bathroom. But deep, deep down one thing's for sure; I felt that I really meant what I had just said.

Damn, I feel so screwed.

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A/N: obviously un-betad, but please, tell me what you think!