Adonis in the Flesh Ch. 02

byelle137©

"I know, excuse me Toni if I interrupted your lunch with these two lovely ladies."

He knows Toni?! Oh perfect, just bloody fabulous. The universe must be laughing at me right now.

"Jenna, Ellena this is my brother Gabriel Di Sisto. Gabriel, this is the lovely Jenna Carlton, soon to be Jenna Williams, and this is the beautiful Ellena Cavalieri."

"Toni, you never mentioned your brother was an Armani model!" Jenna joked, throwing her hand out to shake Gabe's.

Barely able to meet Gabe's eyes, Ellena extended her arm and shook his hand. They were strong and soft, and held hers for a moment longer than necessary. Suddenly what Toni had just said caught her attention.

"De Sisto? But Toni, your last name is Moretti."

"Ah, always so astute my dear. Yes, Gabe is my step brother. His mother married my father and we have been one big happy Italian famiglia since!"

"In all the years I've known you, never once have you mentioned your parents remarried!"

"Small detail, I don't think of us in any other way but as one family."

"Good to see you again Ellena," Gabe said while gazing so deep into her eyes, she felt he could see through her.

It was Jenna's turn to point out the obvious.

"Again? Am I missing something here Elle?"

"Yes, how do you know dear Ellena? I've only been trying to set you two up for years now and you both managed to avoid it like the plague!" Toni asked, surprise clear in his voice.

"This is him?" she asked at the same time Gabe said "This is her?"

I can't believe my luck she thought. Amongst all the attempts of Jenna and Toni to bring her out of her shell, Toni had been trying for years to get Ellena to go out with his elusive brother, insisting they were perfect for each other. She had met all his family but never Gabe, as Toni always explained, he was working late at the office, always missing family dinners. She had always politely declined the offers to set up dates and Toni eventually ceased in his efforts, no doubt seeing she wasn't ready yet. After all who wanted to date someone who showed no interest whatsoever, and missed family nights? Realizing that they were still waiting for an answer to Toni's question, she quickly blurted out

"We met briefly at the beach last weekend. Short game of soccer with a few guys, good fun."

"Yeah, my jaw has never quite been the same since, thanks for that Ellena," He flashed a wicked smile.

She blushed and looked away. Damn it, why did he have to kiss me? Why did my hands have a mind of their own when they slapped him? I wish he didn't look at me like that she thought. Why oh why did he have to be Toni's brother, of all people?!

Jenna let out a small laugh, "One of the mystery men! He's gorgeous! Ellena was just telling us about her little encounter last week."

Typical Jenna, can't keep her mouth shut, she thought.

"Oh did she now?" he asked his eyes never leaving hers.

"Well, I met six guys remember? Gabe was just one of them." Let him eat that, him and that smug look on his face, she thought.

"Just the one you kissed. Twice." Gabe's smile was widening further. Damn, he doesn't play fair does he?

"Elle, you left that bit out." Jenna and Toni said in unison.

"I did not kiss you! You followed me, both times!"

"I'm pretty sure you kissed me back."

"I. Did. Not. Kiss. You. Maybe the slap in the face wasn't clear enough?" She fixed him with a stare most men would shy away from, but he just started laughing, angering her further. He seemed to be enjoying this.

"Yes, they say anger is just another form of passion. I must say you are pretty passionate, both at the beach and now," he winked and gave her another smug smile.

If Ellena had been standing she would have stomped her stiletto clad foot. One second he was all Fabio-esque, with his come hither gaze and "kiss me" lips, the next he was an arrogant prick.

Jenna and Toni just sat staring back and forth between the two, an amused look on their faces. Jenna had never seen Elle so bothered and unarmed by someone, she was usually so collected and...well, nice. Toni was just as surprised, he hadn't seen Gabe smile this much in a long time, let alone joke around with another woman so openly. He stared at Ellena and Gabe and thought they were just what the other needed -- he liked being right. He and Jenna began laughing quietly at the bickering duo in front of them.

"Jenna, you're done right? We're leaving."

"But -- dessert-"

"Another time, right Toni? I'm sure you have to talk to your brother and we don't want to impose anymore."

"Oh it's really not a pro-"

"I have another meeting to get to anyways, sorry guys, got to run!"

She grabbed her bag, leaving Jenna behind and began making her way to the door. She usually wouldn't be quite so impolite, especially to Toni and Jenna, but Gabe just brought out a different side to her. I'm not quite sure I like it, she thought. He's like the annoying boy in the schoolyard who would pull on girls' pigtails, teasing them relentlessly. That was the only way to explain why she always ended up abruptly leaving when he was around. She wanted to kick herself. She barely knew the guy and she was acting like an insecure teenage girl around him.

She was just about to cross the street when she heard her name being called. Against her better judgment she stopped to turn around, as he ran to catch up. Here they were again, standing in front of each other.

"Look, I'm not sorry I kissed you. Twice," he smiled, "you should just admit, you did kiss me back and I think you enjoyed it as much as I did."

Her eyes widened and she was just about to tell him exactly what she thought of him before he cut her off.

"Maybe I shouldn't have been so...forward. I just- there's - I would like to get to know you better. So, would you care to join me for dinner tomorrow night? I promise I'll behave."

She stared up into his face unable to answer. He was doing it again, charming the pants off her, despite his previous show of arrogance. It was the first time she'd really looked at him since he walked through the doors of the restaurant. He looked like he walked out of the pages of a magazine. What was it Jenna called him? An Armani model? He was dressed in black trousers and a black button up shirt, setting off his jet black hair, which fell naturally around his face in waves. Those damn eyes, they were boring into her soul and melting her very core. If truth be told, she wanted more than anything to say yes, but she'd come this far by being so careful and that was how she intended to keep it. It'd be so easy to just finally give in, but she wouldn't risk hurting anyone else ever again. If it wasn't for her, Jesse and Adam would still be alive. She couldn't bear the pain of causing harm to someone else, even if she hardly knew Gabe, who she thought was a seriously overconfident prick anyways right? The way he was looking at her now left her so unsure.

"C'mooon. It seems crazy that Toni has been trying to set us up for years, and out of nowhere we meet on a beach? That has to count for something."

She shook her head to clear her brain. Tearing her eyes away from him she took a deep breath and collected herself, putting her walls back up.

"Gabe, I'm sorry. I'm in a hurry now. Can I ignore you some other time?" she said while backing away.

She began crossing the street to head back to her office; she turned on the other side and looked back at him, still standing there. He had a slight look of hurt on his face but it was gone before she could make more of it. With a heavy sigh she headed back to work.

----------------------------------------------------------

Gabe watched her walk away yet again. He didn't understand, she looked like she was about to say yes and then surprised him with her answer. He was finding it exceedingly frustrating that she kept refusing him. Maybe he deserved that answer after the way he'd just acted, but he was hoping she'd say yes anyways. True, he had never wanted to play along with Toni's matchmaking before, but at the time he had just ended things with Keira and was throwing himself into work full force. Things were different now. Normally he wouldn't persist if a woman said no, but he could tell Ellena was conflicted. She had wanted to say yes, he could see it in her eyes, but she refused him. Why? He intended to piece that puzzle together. Maybe he'd talk to Toni. Before he could think further on it, he felt a hand on his arm.

"She just needs time. She can be stubborn as hell you know," Jenna said.

"I've noticed." He turned to face her.

"I have an idea, but you have to promise me something before I help you."

"Of course, anything."

"Elle's been through a lot in her life, don't ask me to explain, she'll tell you when she's ready, assuming you get that far," Jenna smirked, "just assure me you're not in this just to get into her pants, or to fool around with her. If you are, just walk away now."

"Jenna, you obviously don't know me very well. Despite my brash behavior in there, I'm not the one-night stand kind of guy. Toni, maybe, but not me," he said laughing.

"I sure hope you survive this Gabe, I kind of like you already." Poor guy, she thought, Ellena's like a slumbering dragon once you wake her up, you'd better be ready to run or fight, either way your ass is going to get burned.

"We better get busy. You've got a lot to learn, oh youngling," she said, with a mischievous grin that would make the Cheshire cat proud.

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