Unwished for Gift Ch. 08bybleuangele©
Chapter 8 - Revelations
Caitlyn withdrew from her family and Gabriel after the doctor came and spoke to her. Physically, she hadn't moved but they knew she shut herself away mentally to deal with the news. It had shocked the family but they had accepted it while she was unconscious. It was a lot to absorb on top of her losing so many days, including Christmas. The best thing they could do for her now was to let her be. So they congregated outside her room and left her with Gabriel for the time being. He never left her side anyways.
After she had been admitted to the hospital, the standard tests were run since she didn't wake up right away. Some result called for further testing. What they found shocked everyone. Even though Caitlyn seemed to be in great shape, she was sick. She had a heart condition that had somehow been undiagnosed all these years. There was a hole in her heart which allowed crossing of blood between the two chambers. It wasn't very big, but it was the main reason she was always tired. The doctor believed that it was congenital, but so small that no one detected it at any of her wellness visits. Yet now it was large enough to affect her health and needed to be corrected.
By chance, she had never been very active as a child. She preferred solitary quiet activities. Even as a baby, she was very calm and tended to be still. Her parents had enough trouble with her brothers so they indulged her. When she started school, the short gym time during school hours didn't affect her enough to cause alarm. As she got older, the times increased in which she participated in draining physical activity. She did tire easily after a short amount of time, but no one paid much attention to it as they figured it was because she wasn't used to it. To this day, everyone attributed her tiredness to stress, lack of sleep, etc – not something this serious.
The course of action was surgery. It frightened Caitlyn immensely. She understood everything the doctor had said about the procedure. She knew the risks and what it entailed. She knew it had to be done. But she had never been in the hospital for this long. She had never broken a bone, had stitches, sprained anything, etc. And now there was this. Just the thought of being cut open had her on the verge of passing out or throwing up. She couldn't decide which so she just closed her eyes and withdrew from the world.
Thoughts of Gabriel came to mind. She loved him. She knew he would never leave her. Even now, he held her hand and stroked her arm comfortingly. But she felt guilty. She worried him too much. She saw how disheveled he looked. She knew how scared he had been until she woke up. I can't put him through that again, she thought to herself. But the thought of pushing him away brought pain so sharp she felt she couldn't breathe. She thought of her family on the same note, but it was different. She pushed them away all the time yet in the end they were family – together always. It wasn't the same with Gabriel. He meant more to her.
"Caitlyn ... say something please," Gabriel begged. She had been quiet for so long, he began to worry.
"Something," she responded sarcastically. He sighed knowing she wasn't ready to talk yet. He waited once more. But when she started to cry, he had to do something. He moved to sit next to her. With great care, he pulled her into his arms.
"Shhh, Caitlyn. It's okay. I'm here, love," he whispered to her as he stroked her back. He felt her tears soak his shirt. She trembled in his arms. He tightened his embrace slightly. He wanted to take her pain away. He wanted to be the one to hurt and suffer and have to go through all this. Not her – not his Caitlyn. Pain filled his heart at the thought of losing her. The chances were slim but they were still there. He refused to go down that route. He focused on her. She was calming down some. She had stopped trembling. He pulled back and lifted her chin to look at her. She took his breath away. He had to kiss her, so he did. He kissed her with all the love and support he could put into it. He kept it brief as he remembered her injuries. He pulled away and without thought moved them both. He was now reclining with her tucked into his lap. His arms cradled her protectively. He wanted her to talk to him – to let him know what was going through her mind. But he wasn't going to push her. So he just held onto her.
Caitlyn felt better when Gabriel held her. His presence soothed her and brought some peace. She could feel his anxiety and worry, but more than that she felt his love. She never knew she could feel this strongly for someone. Scott had hurt her both physically and emotionally. She knew she locked up her heart after that affair. But with Gabriel, everything was different now. It was like she had been half asleep before he drifted into her life. And now, she was alive and whole again. She wanted him to stay here with her forever. Suddenly, Jo's words came back to her. She knew what he meant now about truly living. Now, she had to talk to Gabriel. She needed him now.
"Gabriel," she spoke softly into his chest. She had one hand twisting nervously in his sweater. She stopped when he laid his hand over hers and gave it a squeeze. His other arm wrapped tighter around her and pulled her even closer. She closed her eyes and sighed at the contact. Tilting her head back to look in his eyes, she said gently, "I love you, Gabriel." A smile lit up his face and she couldn't help but smile in return. With that simple declaration, Caitlyn felt healed. The past was the past and she was going to let it be. She had him now and they had the future.
Gabriel felt the same as Caitlyn. Terrified, awed, giddy – and even more feelings tumbled round and round in his heart and mind. Her words reverberated in his head and brought so much happiness to him. He had to kiss her. He had to show her how he felt about her. Holding tight to her, he did just that.
His mouth descended on hers. Her lips were so soft. When they parted for him, his tongue gently explored her. She tasted sweet and tart at the same time. Her tongue shyly touched his. A groan escaped his lips and she boldly mimicked his movements. She pulled away to gasp for air. Her face was flushed with desire. He didn't stop to her delight. He moved to nibble on the side of her neck. She leaned her head back to give him more access. Her pants and soft cries were driving him crazy. Gently, he rolled her onto her back. He had to stop before things went any further. Mindful of her IV and her head, he sat back to catch his breath.
Caitlyn felt him pull away. She knew he was worried about hurting her. The logical part of her said to stop but her desire for him wanted more. She wanted him in ways she couldn't explain. She wanted to tear his clothes off and touch his bare skin. She wanted him to bury himself in her and make her scream his name. More than anything, she wanted to forget about what the doctor had said. She knew that was cowardly of her, but she was afraid. And somehow she felt that if Gabriel loved her physically, he would take her fears away and she would be okay. But it seemed he knew better than she, so she opened her eyes to look at him.
"Caitlyn," he started to say but stopped. He could tell the same thoughts and feelings were flowing through her. With a wince, he adjusted himself and sat back in the chair next to her bed. He smoothed the covers around her and lowered the bed so she could rest. He stroked her face gently and leaned over to kiss her once more. Resting his forehead on hers, he whispered "When you are well..."
"I know, Gabriel. It's okay. Hold my hand?" she asked. He sat back down and complied while watching her. After a moment, she told him how she felt about what the doctor said. They talked quietly for a bit, and then he went to get her family. When they all returned and took up seats around her, Gabriel sat back down and picked up her hand again. Her parents talked to her and agreed to make all the arrangements for her surgery and whatever else the doctor wanted. Gabriel remained quiet but noticed her fatigue. He reached over to kiss her once more and told her to sleep. She nodded and drifted away as they all quietly shuffled out of the room.
"Gabriel," Caitlyn's dad started to speak when they returned to the waiting room. Holding up his hand, Gabriel stopped him. He looked at each one of Caitlyn's family members and then his gaze shifted back to her dad.
"I want you all to know that I love Caitlyn. I am not leaving her and once she is well, I intend to ask for her hand in marriage. I know this is unexpected but she feels the same. Caitlyn's health comes first and I will stay by her side through this," he stated firmly. Her dad glowered at him for a moment but then smiled and reached over to hug him.
"We all knew there was something between the two of you. I couldn't ask for a better man for my little girl," her dad reassured him. Grins appeared on everyone's face and they all hugged him. Caitlyn's mom cried a little and the older brothers threatened him with all sorts of dire punishment should he hurt her. Joseph smiled happily and rolled his eyes at his brothers. Kyle and Brandon told him that Sam and Angie kind of figured out what was going on. Since they stayed home with the kids, their husbands promised to tell them later. When the doctor came back to talk to her parents, Gabriel slipped away and back to Caitlyn's side. He held her hand once more and watched her sleep.