Greenlee Smythe-Hayward continued to stare into the sky, wondering what she was supposed to say. She knew why she had come of course, but feeling the things that were inside of her and beginning to express them out loud were two completely different things – especially when it came to who she was here to open up to.
She had married David Hayward about three months ago. It was supposed to be about Ryan – about hurting him. Then it was supposed to be about showing Ryan that she didn't need him.
But it wasn't about Ryan anymore.
She listened unnervingly to the sound of the rushing rapids of Millar's Falls. This was the place where Leo died; and ever since then had been the place she came to when her life was in shambles – when she needed to once again feel the love that gave her life. But this time it wasn't about that. It was about the betrayal that she felt. How could she be feeling all the emotions going on inside of her? David is Leo's brother.
She knew something was changing for both of them. With the way she and David knew each other, she could recognize all of David's moods and responses by now – and what she had been getting from him lately was something she had never gotten from him before. But what had surprised her the most was how much she had wanted it. It was the little things that were setting her off. Like that time last week when David had his comforting hands on her cheeks the way he always used to do – except that time he held them there longer than he normally would and looked like he was getting lost in her eyes. It was an unsettling experience for her. Like David could see right through her; as if her body was bare and her soul was an open book. And when he began to lean his head forward, the rush of passion that she felt at that moment was the most intimate connection she had felt with another person in a long time. It disappointed her when David stopped himself, let his hands slide away, and walked away as if nothing had happened – but she knew what he had wanted. It was the same thing she did. She wanted the feel of the lips of her best friend, who just happened to be her husband, on hers.
Last night was the final straw in getting her to admit to herself how she really felt. After a slightly awkward – okay, very awkward – moment, when they both went to use the shower at the same time, she held onto the way that moment could have ended up. Greenlee took those thoughts to bed with her that last night. She had dreamed about him. The kind of dream that makes a person wake up in a hot sweat. The kind of dream that David would have known she was dreaming the second the skilled doctor would have taken a look at her dilated pupils.
Right now was supposed to be her lunch break. Erica was long gone from Fusion and things were running on her terms now. She wished she could say the same for Ryan. Why couldn't he just leave her the hell alone?
Didn't he get it? She didn't care about him anymore. All it took was fully reconnecting again with David for her to see Ryan for what he was: the abusive jerk of a man who hadn't shown any respect for her in years. It was always about what he wanted. Ignoring her fears about marrying him and lying to her to get her to go through with it; Kidnapping her on her wedding day knowing that she was in no condition for that after her surgery. It was always about Ryan's wants and needs. But now that she had someone that truly cared about her for her again in David, Ryan had nothing to offer her; she saw that clear as day. That feeling of distraction that she got from owning him as her prize: the one she used to cover up her seemingly never ending loneliness after Leo died; the one she used when she realized life with Aidan was too safe and boring for her tastes – it wasn't worth it anymore; not when her heart felt full again from a sense of true caring and purpose. She wanted nothing from him now but to leave her alone. It was surprising enough that he had gone these last three months without claiming to have found a new love of his life for the gazillionth time. It wasn't about her. Ryan never loved or cared about her, just her body. He never bothered to think for two seconds about who she was or what she wanted. Not like David.
"Okay, Leo," Greenlee's nervous and shaky voice began. "I know you know why I'm here. It's been a while I guess, but I was dead for a year after all."
She tried to laugh at herself to lighten her mood, but the things she needed to get off her chest were too heavy to let her truly loosen up.
"Please tell me it's okay," she finally pleaded, choosing to just get the words out there. "Please let me know that the fact that I… that I care about David like I do isn't betraying you and what we had. I just… I think that I…" It was even harder than she expected for her to say what she wanted to say, but she pushed herself again. "I think I'm falling in love with him."
Greenlee brushed a tear from her eye after the words came out. It took so much energy to bring herself to be as face to face with her great love as death would permit considering what she was feeling for his brother, let alone be able to say those words to him. An empty feeling consumed her. It was as if she had not only lifted her burden from her shoulders, but also had taken everything else off along with it. What was left was only her fear that she had betrayed him. Until she felt something familiar – something that had found her before when she needed an answer from him: "That warm breeze," she recognized. "I feel it. Is that you, Leo? Do you forgive me?" She felt the breeze once again and closed her eyes to make sure to soak it all in. It was comfortable. It was soft to the core. It was pure Leo. "It's you, isn't it?" she smiled. "You're here with me." Greenlee began to laugh at herself again and at the marvelous feeling she had. Leo was telling her that it wasn't a betrayal. She just knew it. Leo was okay with it. He knew nothing could ever change the love that two of them had; maybe it was even better that it was his brother that could be her future in a world without him.
"Thank you, Leo," Greenlee whispered. One down one to go. She felt like she had her heavenly seal of approval, but then there was that one other person that she had to talk to: David.
Greenlee had been through the finally admit your feelings game before. With Ryan it was awkward but it was never real. Leo made it easy on her by calling her out on it and never made her say a word. But she never had to initiate it. David would never admit what he felt on his own, even if she knew it was there on some level. Especially since she wasn't sure if he had picked up on her feelings yet.
She sat and thought out her next move. David should be at the hospital for a while anyway. I could take the afternoon off and set something up for him. Or maybe…
Greenlee turned her head sharply when she heard the sound of snap of a twig. The figure coming closer hadn't noticed her yet, but was about to.
"Greenlee?" David Hayward smiled awkwardly when he saw his wife sitting there. She stood up but could think of nothing else to do but smile; the sight of him sent all her planned out words running from her mind.
David scratched his head a bit uneasily at being caught here. He never wanted her to know how often he had been visiting this spot lately; how often he had needed to talk to his brother. "I thought you were at Fusion?" he finally told her softly.
"I was," Greenlee half-heartedly smiled back, sensing his awkwardness immediately and feeling it herself at first. But she loved feeling that comfort that came from the way David talked to her; the way he never talked with anyone else. "I just... um, you know?... I needed to say some things to Leo."
"Yeah, sure," David exhaled loudly. This marriage was starting to take its toll on him. He had married Greenlee because she needed him, and because she was the only person he had left in this world that gave a damn about him. He knew what he was getting into, but he never expected to start feeling things for her. It was one thing when it was just family supporting each other, but another thing entirely when he couldn't stop thinking about how badly he wanted the feel of his wife – his brother's widow. His visits here to talk to Leo had become an almost daily event over the past month. He talked about his fear of betraying Leo's memory and about Greenlee – two things he felt he had finally comes to terms with. But he would also talk with Leo about his worst fear coming true. The fear that he was sure was the reason why Greenlee was here. She looks awkward around me right now. She must have come here to apologize to Leo for leaving me high and dry. She wants to go back to Ryan, I just know it.
"Hey? You okay?" Greenlee asked with her full confidence coming back again. David being thrown off at the shock of seeing her there was enough to let her feel in control of the situation. "You look a little out of it."
David smiled at her composed demeanor. She looks happy; that's all that matters. He came up right in front of her and put his hands on each of her shoulders. "I know why you're here, Greenlee," he told her softly, hiding any hurt behind his loving smile. "I know why you needed to talk to Leo."
"You do?" Greenlee asked with surprise. Am I that transparent?
"Yeah, I think I know why, Greenlee. And I just want to tell you…" He stopped and closed his eyes regretfully, wishing in his heart that it hadn't come down to this. "I just want to tell you that it's okay. I love you for sticking by me this long, Greenlee. It's more than anyone has ever done for me. But if you want this marriage to end – if you want Ryan back – I understand. You don't have to worry about leaving me alone, I can take it."
"You think that's why I'm here?" Greenlee sharply stepped back from him, a light hearted smile curling onto her face. "David Hayward, don't you know anything about me? I stand by people that stand by me."
"Okay, but you want Ryan, don't you? I'm not delusional, Greenlee. I know things can't last the way they are forever. You deserve better than to be tied down to me."
Greenlee came forward again and took hold of David's face in her hand, playfully holding his mouth shut and forcing him to stare straight back at her, enjoying his eyes staring a hole through her this time – now that she had accepted what she really wanted. "First of all, David, I don't want Ryan. Got that?"
David nodded his head as much as he could with her grip holding him and his smile back. He loved seeing the old Greenlee fire back; the one that had returned ever since she found out how truly low Ryan had sunk when it came to his mourning practices. He realized it was what had made him start falling for her in the first place.
"Good," Greenlee chuckled and released her hold on him. "Second of all, do you remember what I told you after I asked you to marry me? I told you that I felt more like myself than I had in a long time. I owe that all to you, David. You brought me back. You reminded me that I'm better than chasing thrills and prizes and empty rewards and not to be afraid of finding something real. You gave me my life back, husband of mine."
"I understand all that," David softly started again. "But listen to me for a second, Greenlee. This whole marriage thing we have, I know it's not enough for you forever." He stopped to think about what to say next, knowing his mind wanted him to say that the way things were with them wasn't enough for him anymore, but he thought better of it.
"But wait a minute, why did you come here?" he finally asked her. "If not about your next move, what was so important that you needed to talk to Leo about it?"
"You haven't figured it out yet?" she laughed at him. "Come on. You're one of the smartest people I've ever known and you know me better than anyone else on earth. What has been going on with us lately, David? Tell me: what do I want?"
David knew what he wanted – to take her in his arms and kiss her like there was no tomorrow. The only thing that surprised him about it now was that it had taken him so long to see her in this light in the first place. She was everything he had been looking for his whole life: someone who cared about him unconditionally, didn't judge him, and brought out the best in him. And her being drop dead gorgeous certainly didn't hurt any. But what did she want? He used to be able to read her better, but lately he had been so wrapped up in his own growing feelings, and wishing that she hadn't been noticing them, that he hadn't really noticed anything going on with her.
"You want happiness," David finally answered her. "But Greenlee, how can I give you that? It's not like you…" his voice trailed off, unwilling to say the L word out loud at this point. "It's not like I can give you what you need."
"Maybe you can," Greenlee smirked at him playfully. "Come on, you can do it," she pushed her blushing husband again. "Tell me what I want." She reached out for his hand and placed it against her cheek, closing her eyes to fully enjoy the feel of his magical hands on her skin. "Now are you getting it?" she asked him, opening her eyes to reveal a sparkle there. "What do I want?" she asked again, inching her face up towards his.
"Why don't you tell me?" David smiled at her, starting to get the picture but still unwilling to commit to making a move before she made it perfectly clear he wouldn't be rejected. "You know me, Greenlee. I'm always on your side. Anything for your happiness."
"Then let me show you what would make me happy," she responded, closing the gap between their faces the rest of the way and slowly pressing her lips onto his. She could feel his heart jump when she did it and that feeling soon overcame the rest of him as he kissed her back, growing intense before long. They stood together in the throes of passion, only intensified when they both felt a comfortable sensation surrounding them: the soft feel of another warm breeze.