Gale Force Ch. 10byvelvetpie©
Season Two, cont.
Saturday's production was extra tough so I didn't see Gale all day except for when we served the cast and crew. He came to the table to choose a chicken spinach salad with bacon dressing and gave me a quick glance. I could see that he had a lot on his mind so I gave him a reassuring smile and watched him walk away. Jhonna and I packed up and went home and I awoke early the next morning to make the snow crab quiche and the other items I was going to make for the picnic and Gale arrived right on time.
The kiss was simultaneous this time, both of us coming together, mouths open and tongue exploring. I tried to be the aggressor but the sweet touch of his hands on my face reduced me to melted butter. I started trembling again and this time, Gale matched it with a few shivers of his own when I sucked on his bottom lip. "Jesus, what are you trying to do to me?"
Wouldn't you like to know? I stepped back with a smile and we grabbed the hampers, heading out to his car. He drove us to a secluded park outside of the city and laid out a blanket for us, sitting back patiently as I unpacked our meal. The quiche was still warm, fragrant with fresh shredded basil and gooey with Monterey Jack cheese. I had also made cheesy bread sticks, flavored with rosemary and olive oil and laden with tiny chunks of aged provolone, a creamy Parmesan sauce to drizzle over the quiche or dunk the bread sticks in and cold green onions.
I forked quiche into my mouth, watching with the smile of a satisfied chef as Gale's dreamy expression lasted through the entire meal, followed by a loud belch. I cracked open another Foster's and handed it to him, smiling when he curled up, setting his head in my lap.
"I'm gonna look like a fat hog on camera."
"No, you won't." I stroked his hair, touching his temples and tracing the lighter sworls there. "You'll look like a well-fed heifer."
"Thanks a lot!" He squeezed my leg and settled back down, his hand stroking my leg. "I so enjoy being with you. There's no pressure, no expectation ... " He paused, sighing heavily. "I can't go out any more. The show's so popular and everyone loves Brian so much ... I don't know what people want from me."
"That's the natural progression of fame." I said softly, still caressing him. "Brian is such an enigma. He craves the acceptance and comfort of the others but he's afraid of the invisible ties that go along with love. I think a lot of people can identify with that. Everyone wants to be loved but not everyone can handle the personal sacrifice that is sometimes involved."
Gale was silent for a few moments. "And you've made personal sacrifices for love?"
"Oh, yeah." I emptied the warm backwash of my beer and opened a fresh one. "Sometimes lost myself in it." I took another pull from the bottle. "I promised myself to never get lost in it again."
"But that's the fun part." Gale sat up, staring at me. "If you don't lose yourself, how can you expect to find yourself?"
"You know what losing myself was? Losing the ability to watch whatever I wanted on TV. Losing the freedom to come and go whenever I chose. Losing the right to having my own bank account. That's just a small list but everything I lost was due to what he wanted."
His gaze was steady on my face. "It was like that for you?"
"It was when it called itself love." I took a steadying breath, releasing anger that I didn't want to direct at him. "I was fat and happy, excited to have the attention of a handsome man and being kept like a bird in a gilded cage."
"And how did the bird break out?"
"Quite by accident." I relived my escape from that awful relationship verbally. Years ago, I had stumbled upon an episode of Martha Stewart and realized that I could do what she did. While James was at work, I labored over recipes, concocting fantastic meals that made my own mouth water. One day, I whipped up a complete menu and took it to the Time Warner office, asking to see a few of the executives in charge. That risk had secured me several parties and a wad of money large enough to escape his claws.
"Sounds like a smart bird."
I nodded, tears stinging my eyes as I recounted the story. No matter how long ago it was, the imbedded seed still sought to bloom into depression. He enfolded me in his arms, pressing a kiss to the top of my head.
"Welcome to the world."