Forests of the Heart

Forests of the Heart by Charles De Lint Page A

Book: Forests of the Heart by Charles De Lint Read Free Book Online
Authors: Charles De Lint
playing. He didn’t recognize the piece, but he loved the way one of the flute players interwove the sound of his instrument with that of Amy’s pipes.
    When the musicians began another piece, a complicated jig, Miki gave Hunter’s arm another squeeze.
    “About this business of who fancies who,” she said. “Don’t worry about it. Donal was only teasing you because he can be such a git and he wanted to get back at me.”
    “And if I was teasing you, it’s only because you can get way too serious.”
    She leaned back against the bench to listen to the music then, leaving Hunter to realize that she still hadn’t really answered anything. To confuse matters even more, he found that, as though the whole conversation had been a catalyst to make him focus on her and see her in another light, now he
feeling an interest in her. The borderland between friendship and something more had suddenly gotten all hazy and undefined, and he wasn’t quite sure where he stood in it anymore—or even where he wanted to stand.
    The idea of being with Miki seemed to ease some of the hurt that Ria had left lodged inside him when she walked out of his life, but he couldn’t tell if this new attraction to Miki was real, or had come about because he was feeling lost and on the rebound. Perhaps it was part of both because right now he was in a place where anybody, the first person he happened to meet, no doubt, could hold the road map he needed to lead him back to a place where it was possible to feel good again. And that wasn’t exactly the most positive thing upon which to base a relationship.
    Hunter stifled a sigh. Donal owed him big time for starting up this whole complication in the first place.
    He glanced over his shoulder and found his gaze drawn to the booth where the hard men were sitting. One of them caught his gaze, his eyes narrowing, and Hunter quickly looked away.
    He supposed there were worse things that could happen. He could have those hard men decide to beat the crap out of him. Or the store could go belly-up and he’d have to declare bankruptcy. Instead all he had was an ache in his heart and this forlorn sense of confusion.
    Miki gave him a little poke in the side.
    “You’re doing it again,” she said.
    “Thinking too much. Brooding. Trust me, I’m like a doctor. I know all about this sort of thing and it’s really not good for you. Tell the little voice in your head to shut up. Have another drink and just listen to the music.”
    “Easier said than done.”
    Miki sighed. “I know. But it’s worth trying because, what’s your other option?”
    “Just being depressed.”
    She gave him a smile. “Exactly. And where’s the fun in that?”
    “None at all,” Hunter agreed.
    He looked at her for a moment, wondering what it would be like to kiss her, to feel the press of her body against his, to wake in the morning and have her impish face on the pillow beside him, smiling that smile. He almost leaned in toward her to taste that smile, but the moment passed. He reached down and plucked his glass from the floor at his feet. Taking a sip, he leaned back on the bench and tried to concentrate on the music.
    The timer went off, but Bettina held her position. She knew from previous sessions when she’d posed for Lisette that the artist always needed that one more minute before Bettina could relax her pose and stretch cramped muscles.
    “Just a moment more,” Lisette said, right on cue.
    “Está bien,’
Bettina told her. “It’s no problem.”
    She’d never known how hard an artist’s model had to work until she’d become one herself. She soon discovered that the human body had never been designed to be held motionless for long stretches of time, protesting the abuse with cramps and aches where she’d never even known she had muscles. But she also enjoyed the meditative aspect of it, the way she could let her mind range free while she listened to

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