A/N: I want all my dearly beloved readers to know, so that i dont get haterates or anything...the book is predominantly Arielle for a bit...
When I’d been younger, I’d tried countless times to imagine up a perfect boyfriend, picturing exactly what he would look like, what his likes and dislikes were, where he would take me on our first date. Call it stupid if you will. But when you’re father takes off at age three, you’re eager to believe there is a perfect guy out there somewhere, just waiting to sweep you off your feet.
None of the guys I’d created could compare to Griffin. In fact, I doubted that any man in the world could compare to Griffin, he was just so right. He was flawed, but who wasn’t? Maybe, I thought, perfection wasn’t about not being flawed. Maybe it was about looking past the flaws.
Surprisingly, nothing was awkward between us after our intimate little moment in the courtyard. In fact, things seemed easier between us; there was nothing we wouldn’t tell each other. And Griffin appeared to have overcome his physical contact issue as well, often holding my hand as we walked and kissing my lips before we parted.
Weeks went by, and September faded into October, the temperature steadily cooling. Griffin and I grew closer each day, virtually inseparable. I visited Cordelia several more times over the course of those few weeks, learning more and more about her every moment we were together. She was fascinating, really. Much the same as her grandson.
One particularly chilly day, Griffin and I were taking an afternoon walk through Central Park; I’d just gone to see Cordelia again, for the second time that week. I pulled my jacket tighter around me, shivering as I did.
“We could go back, if you like,” Griffin murmured into my ear, slipping an arm around my waist. I still wasn’t entirely sure as to whether or not we were technically together, but it was nice to think that I had someone there to turn to whenever I needed him. I’d never known what it was like to have someone there for me before.
“I’ll be alright,” I assured him. “I’m just a little chilled, that’s all.”
Griffin slowed his footsteps to a complete stop, wrapping me up in his long-sleeve-clad arms. I wondered if he was relieved to have his scars covered up, then scolded myself internally for thinking such a thing. He still had never talked about it, and I knew better than to bring it up. If he never wanted to relieve those moments, that was his business.
“Is that better?” He asked, an amused smile dancing on his lips. I nodded my head into his chest. It was perfect. I never wanted him to let me go.
We cut our walk short, returning to Cordelia’s house where Griffin informed me that he was going to make me dinner.
“You can cook?” I asked, astonished.
Griffin only shrugged, always the modest one. I watched him with a burning curiosity as he pulled a box of mostaciolli noodles from a pantry and set them on the counter beside the stove. He also lined up some garlic, cheese, tomatoes, basil, oregano and onions.
“What, pray tell, are you making?” I asked, although it was blatantly obvious. Griffin didn’t answer.
He turned the stove on, after which he selected a large pot and filled it with water, putting that on to boil. He turned back to the counter and began chopping onions and tomatoes, and mincing the basil and oregano. I watched in amazement as his fingers held the knife and made quick work of the vegetables.
“Would you like to help me?” he looked at me with a smirk of annoyed amusement in his eyes.
“Well, okay, but I thought you were cooking me dinner.”
“I am cooking you dinner, but you looked a bit bored over there,” Griffin replied, turning away so I couldn’t see his expression. In the process, he selected a sauté pan from another random cupboard; I had yet to figure out where everything was in Cordelia’s house.
Griffin grasped my wrist with gentle fingers and pulled me toward him. I reached up tentatively and kissed his beautiful mouth ever so lightly. Griffin pulled away, a mock stern look on his face, but I could tell by his shining eyes he enjoyed it. A shiver ran up my spine
“Come on,” he whispered, encircling me in his arms and pulling me over to the stove. He stood behind me, his arms around me as he deftly added butter, onions, tomatoes and the herbs to the pan. He placed the spoon in my hand and we stirred the sauce together, watching it bubble and the flavors meld. I could hardly concentrate because he was so close, his breath warm on my cheek, his hand clasping mine with steady firmness. I could get used to this cooking thing.
“I think that should be good,” Griffin murmured into my black hair, moving aside and taking the pot with the pasta inside in his bare hands. He walked over to the sink and poured the pot’s contents into the strainer.
Griffin made up two plates, and together we went to sit at the sleek ebony table. He set down his plate and then came around to pull out my chair for me.
“Always the gentleman,” I said, just a hint of sarcasm in my voice. Griffin laughed lightly, pushing me in.
I waited for him to sit down across from me, and even then I kept waiting, wondering if he planned to say grace or something of the sort before we ate. I wasn’t sure. I mean, I knew he wasn’t religious in the least, but I also knew that Cordelia was. Perhaps it was just customary.
Eyeing me curiously, he asked, “Aren’t you going to try it?”
Cheeks going red in embarrassment, I picked up my fork and stabbed one of the noodles.
To say the least, it was the most incredible thing I’d ever tasted in my life. I chewed intentionally slowly to hold the flavor in my mouth as long as possible, and I already had another bite ready to take in as soon as I swallowed the first.
Griffin smiled at me, taking his own fork in his hand. “I’m glad you like it,” he chuckled.
We made light conversation for the rest of the meal, sticking mainly to small talk. I helped Griffin wash the dishes afterwards, scrubbing them clean while he dried and put away.
As soon as the tedious task was done, Griffin and I ascended the spiral stairs and entered his candlelit bedroom. As always, the sight of Griffin bathed in the golden light cast by the flames took my breath away.
I had been in his room many times since our kiss, but the memory was still the first thing that came to mind each time I entered.
I crossed the enormous bedroom and lay down atop the burgundy comforter, resting my head on Griffin’s pillow. I could faintly smell some cologne that I couldn’t place.
I felt the bed move beside me as Griffin came and sat down. I turned so that I could stare into his vivid green eyes. I would never get over those eyes.
“Arielle, can I ask you something?” Griffin spoke softly, so softly I could barely hear him.
“Anything,” I whispered in response, realizing that Griffin had taken my hand in his own and was holding onto it tightly.
“It’s more of a favor, really,” he continued, turning my hand over so that my palm was facing up and tracing the lines that ran across it. I didn’t feel it necessary to tell him that there wasn’t a thing I wouldn’t do for him.
“I, uh, wanted to… well, if you wouldn’t mind, I was… um, hoping I could, um, draw you,” he stammered. I smiled a little- it was just so adorable that he had such a hard time asking me.
I pretended to be considering, pursing my lips and looking up, but finally I nodded.
“I’ve never modeled before, though,” I joked, “so I may not be the best subject.”
Griffin brought my hand to his lips and kissed it gently. “The assignment was to capture beauty in our art,” he whispered. “I think you’ll do just fine.”