Liar Ch. 04bysinfully_divine©
The reception was held in the grand ballroom of the finest hotel in Reston. Judging by the immaculate decorating, Brodie's parents obviously spared no expense. Lit only by what must've been hundreds of candles, only added an element of awe. What wasn't dripping with silk, and accented with crystal and gold was covered with white flowers ranging from roses, orchids, lilies, and other exotic flowers. Most of the evening had gone by with Sloane truly enjoying herself.. She almost forgot the reason why she had stayed away so long. Almost. Her family and friends provided her with only a temporary distraction from Gabriel. Every time she dared to sneak a look at him, his attentions were preoccupied with the pretty maid of honor he had been paired up with for the wedding.
Choosing to ignore the stab of jealousy she felt at the sight of the maid of honor in Gabe's company, she drew on the anger she felt during her and Gabe's first 'encounter'. Or whatever she wanted to call their silent battle during the wedding ceremony. When she had turned to catch a glimpse of Dean, the church full of people faded into dead silence as her gaze collided with his. Sloane could only her heart pounding thunderously in her chest.
Gabriel Jennings was still the most beautiful man she'd ever seen. He looked older, of course, but time had clearly been good to him, very good. His hair was cut closer to his head, bringing out all the intriguing angles of his face. The lips pulled back into a cocky smirk as his gaze intensely locked on hers, daring her to shudder. It was then she knew was he was doing. He was intentionally trying to get a rise out of her..
If he thought she was the same heartbroken girl that left, he had another thing coming. Squaring her shoulders, she pinned him with a glare that made flipping the bird in a church look like a nice gesture.
"Sloane?" The masculine voice followed by a slight nudge shook Sloane out of her thoughts. She blinked, registering Walker Jensen's face staring back at her questioningly, "Darling, are you paying attention?"
Sloane hesitated before slowly answering, "Of course...you were telling me about your promotion?" She prayed that's what they were still talking about. They had been on the subject for the last two songs.
He looked at her quizzically for a moment before smiling darkly, "I've always liked a woman who knew how to listen."
Sloane smiled sweetly at him rather than voice what she really wanted to say in response to his flagrant double meaning.
As Walker continued talking, she resumed tuning him out. Sloane supposed she could've been attracted to Walker based on appearances alone. However listening to him as he went on and on about how he was God's gift to basically every noun had her wishing she never said hello to him at the start of the evening.
The whole thing gave her a headache that only paled in comparison to the throbbing radiating from her feet. Had she known Walker would be so insistent on dancing to nearly every song, she may have rethought her decision to wear the sky high stilettos. After the numerous spins around the dance floor, her feet and sanity were screaming mercy. When the song ended she hurried out of Walker's embrace, glad for opportunity to seek refuge and to give her feet an overdue rest.
"Let's get out of here." Walker commanded, rather than stated. He gripped her elbow and started to steer her towards the exit.
"There's Layla." Sloane said quickly, ducking quickly out of Walker's grip. Sloane hurried off in Layla's direction.
"Keep walking and don't turn around." Sloane whispered to Layla linking her arm with hers as she met up with her.
"Walker too much for you?" Layla replied sarcastically.
"Oh yeah...he's something alright." Sloane replied.
"I can't believe you're actually leaving tomorrow." Layla said softly. Sloane stopped chewing her pizza to look over to Layla across the room. Tears that brimmed Layla's hazel eyes, threatened to spill over, as they had frequently during the evening.
"Not again." Sloane sighed, setting her pizza down. They were taking a break from packing up all of Sloane's stuff that had accumulated in Layla's room since childhood. "It's not like I'm never coming back. I'll be back whenever I can."
"You know what I can't understand?" Layla sniffed, "Why you chose to go to Cali-freaking-fornia. What happened to staying here and going to State?"
Sloane shrugged as nonchalant as she could, but she knew exactly what happened. Gabriel Jennings. That's what happened. He was a man not known for his bedside manner. She was the foolish girl that thought she was different. It was an old story and lousy one at that. The truth of Sloane's feelings for Gabe hit her like a ton a bricks. Sloane wasn't naïve, she knew sex always complicates things, but she had always liked him on some level or she would've never slept with him that day.
Sloane started fidgeting, something she only did when she was nervous. Picking up on the action, Layla gave her a curious look.
"My mom's parents live out there and this gives me a chance to get to know them." Sloane spoke finally, "Not to mention I've lived the last 18 years of my life under the unwanted protective custody of my brothers. I want to experience the world. If I don't get out of here now I don't think I'm ever going to. I feel like this is my chance." Sloane let a silent sigh of relief when Layla looked to have accepted her partially true answer.
"Well then I'm happy for you." Layla said, her voice wavering before sobbing all over again, "My best friend in the whole world is going away to a college a bazillion miles away, while I'm stuck here soon to be big as a freaking house."
"C'mon Layla, you're pregnant. Getting big as a house is inevitable," Sloane couldn't help but giggle at her friend's overdramatic reaction, "And if you ask me, you being upset about me leaving is just smoke screen for what's really bothering you."
"And that would be what Dr. Bennett?" Layla teased.
"With me gone you'll have no choice but to open up and lean on Jackson." Sloane said quickly.
"No..." Layla protested.
"Yes." Sloane corrected, "Since you found about this pregnancy, you've spent more time with me than you have with Jackson."
"That's not fair, you're leaving..."
"I know, and I love you for trying to spend as much time as possible before I leave. And as scared as you are about this pregnancy, I'm sure Jackson is too. Remember this isn't just your baby. It's both of yours. Something that he wants to be a part of, every step of the way. Whether or not you want to see it, he loves you Lay. Open your eyes."
"Did you talk to Gabe today or something?" Layla said after a long time spent in silence. The sudden mention of Gabe taking Sloane by surprise.
"Gabe? No. Why?"
"Nothing really, just that he basically said the exact same thing." Layla replied, "You two are freakishly in sync for people who barely say two words to each other. Although..."
"Although what?" Sloane asked.
"You didn't tell him you weren't going to State with us in the fall, did you?"
"No. You didn't tell him did you?" Sloane said, unable to mask the anxiety in her voice.
"I'm sorry I didn't know it was a national secret." Layla shot back.
"It's not." Sloane covered.
"Well...when I mentioned the two of us hanging out tonight since you were leaving tomorrow, he bombarded me with questions. You should've seen his face when I told him you were going to school in California. If I didn't know better, I would say he likes you Sloane." Layla said, before looking at Sloane and shaking her head, and laughing "No, that's crazy."
"Yeah. Crazy." Sloane replied just before she broke down and started crying.
"Oh my god! Sloane what's the matter?" Layla asked.
The reception was in full swing. The music was great and the alcohol was abundant. There was an endless supply of willing female company. Distractions shouldn't have been in shortage, however Gabe found himself unable to tear his attention away from the dance floor, more specifically the raven haired beauty right smack dab in the middle of it.
He sipped his beer slowly as he watched Sloane move to the music. Sloane had always been a graceful dancer, but watching her now he couldn't help but noticed that she had clearly picked up a thing or two. He wondered what else she had learned in the last six years. Her dress clung to her body, leaving little to the imagination. His gaze traveled down her lithe body, stopping to appreciate the way the fabric of her gold dressed stretched across her ass as she swayed rhythmically to the beat.
Gabe hadn't been the only one appreciating the view. He had spent the better part of the evening watching Walker Jensen attempt to mark his claim on Sloane. His desire to break Walker's fingers was only subdued by his greater desire not to cause a scene. It appeared that Sloane was doing a good job at keeping him at bay, but Gabe knew Walker and knew his reputation. He'd have to keep an eye on him. For Sloane's own safety of course.
"You have got to be the worst best man in history." Gabe tore his attention away to see Dean hovering over him.
"I told you choosing Gabe to be your best man were a mistake. You should've picked me." Added Jackson accompanied by Layla wearing her usual irritated expression whenever she looked at him.
"I'll make up for it at your next wedding." Gabe replied, grinning.
Dean chuckled before plopping down in the seat a few down from Gabe, "Don't hold your breath. Brodie is my life. Hell, the woman will probably be the death of me as well. I still can't believe she married me."
"Damn well took you long enough." Gabe said, "You should've done it a long time ago."
"Amen." Jackson agreed, "That should mean a lot coming from Jennings. He's been through half the female population. We all remember my bachelor party, right?"
"Hey now!" Gabe chuckled, looking at Dean he replied, "You're no saint either. If memory serves, pre-Brodie, you were working your way through other half. I'm just catching up."
"He's a married man now," Jackson said sitting down and pulling Layla into his lap, "Let me be the first to welcome you to the club."
"Better late than never, right?" Dean said looking directly at Gabe before shaking his head, "I don't suppose you'd understand."
"Nope, not a clue. Do you have your hotel key?" Gabe said, changing the subject, "I gave mine to Johnna."
He, Jude, Jackson and Dean had stayed in the hotel the night before, and had the room for another night. Working his frustration out with Johnna, the sexy maid of honor, was a lot better than the source of it.
"Johnna? Again? I think she's becoming a habit." Dean commented raising his eyebrows.
"Don't go exaggerating now. We have a mutual..." Gabe trailed off, grinning devilishly before he finished, "Understanding."
Dean met Gabe's gaze and shook his head," Karmas a bitch bro. One of these days you're going to be the one waking up alone the morning after." His statement eliciting a small choking sound from Layla that she tried to cover up by coughing.
"Are you okay?" Jackson asked Layla, his eyebrows furrowed in concern "Do you need some water?"
"I can manage it myself. I need to check on JJ and Connor anyways. They're probably getting into all sorts of trouble. Just like their daddy used to." Layla said, getting off his lap.
"Who are you fooling, Layla? Their daddy still does." Gabe added grabbing her attention. Layla scoffed before rolling her eyes and walking off.
"I don't know what you did to her Gabe, but she's always been..." Jackson trailed off, "Less than fond of you."
"That's an understatement." Dean laughed.
"I think she's coming around. She almost lasted a whole minute this time." Gabe laughed as he saw Sloane meet up with Layla.
"Yeah, but tonight's different. Layla's usually not this obvious with it." Jackson replied.
"Do you blame her?" Dean said suddenly, prompting curious looks from both Jackson and Gabe, "I mean, Sloane was her best friend."
His comment caught Gabe by surprise causing him to choke on his beer. There was no way Dean could know. Aside from Layla and Jude, no one else knew. He turned to see Dean already staring at him with a look he was all too familiar with. The unfamiliarity was that he had never been the unlucky bastard on the receiving end of it.
"Whew! Great party Dean. Two down, one more to go and then all these fine ladies are mine for the picking." Jude said approaching the table. He looked between Dean and Gabe, "What'd I miss?"
"You're right in time actually," Dean started followed by the longest and most uncomfortable moment of silence, "We were just about to discuss how Gabe fucked my baby sister."
Discovering Sloane was leaving tomorrow had been a shock. The fact that he had to find out from Layla, not Sloane, felt like betrayal. Gabe knew her sudden 'epiphany' to go to school in California, instead of State as she always planned, had to do with him, rather than the reason that Dean had told him earlier.
He had spent the last couple months playing Sloane and his feelings for her off as if nothing had happened. He wasn't an idiot. He knew that it would make her hate him. It was a repercussion he was willing to make until he could sort out his true feelings for her. He couldn't chance making a rash decision, not when his friendship with Dean and Sloane hung in the balance. Now she was leaving and with her went any chance of finding out.
Gabe had been sitting on his porch waiting for Sloane when she pulled her dad's car into the driveway. He was already on his way towards here before she even shut off the engine. Moving soundlessly through the night, the cool summer breeze carried her unique scent in the night air. Preoccupied with getting a rather large box out of the backseat, Sloane didn't see him advance. However, he saw her still momentarily, as if sensing his presence.
"Quit sneaking up on me." She called over her shoulder, not bothering to stop her actions. "It's screams creepy stalker."
"Speaking from experience I have the utmost confidence that you could take out any unwanted assailant." Gabe said, just as Sloane punched the box, muttering a few choice words in frustration, "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"
"I've kissed a lot worse." Sloane said finally turning around to face him. He hadn't been that close to her since that night. Gabe wasn't sure if was just the moonlight, but for the first time he realized just how beautiful Sloane was.
Pushing her aside gently to lift the box effortlessly out of the back seat, he took in the contents of the box, "So you're really leaving?"
"Yep." Sloane replied, snatching the box from him. He saw her shift under the weight of the box, but continued to walk as if it didn't faze her. The woman was stubborn as a mule.
"Let me get that." Gabe said following her, "It's obviously too heavy for you."
"I'm fine." Sloane replied, before setting the box on the trunk. He saw her pale green eyes widen with discomfort when she turned to see him so close to her, "A little space please."
"California isn't space enough?" Gabe said, getting right to it.
"Asks the man who's been avoiding me for months." Sloane countered. Crossing her arms, she unintentionally drew his attention to his breasts. Following his eye line, she uncrossed her arms and settled on sticking her hands into her pockets.
"I haven't been avoiding you." Gabe started, "I just needed time to-"
"I really don't care." Sloane interrupted. Although her voice never once wavered or cracked, the look in her eyes said everything that she refused to. He had hurt her," What do you want, Gabe?"
"You shouldn't base a decision as big as moving all the way to California, because things with us are so messed up. You shouldn't go Sloane, not because of that."
"Are you even listening to yourself?" Sloane snorted, moving past him. "I hate to break it to you, but my world does not rise and set on your ass, Gabriel Jennings. Get over yourself."
"Okay so that's not why you're leaving," Gabe amended, "But we still need to talk about what happened that day."
"Why? We're just going to say it was another mistake. Which I realize now how stupid of one it was. So let's just call it even and move on."
"You really think it was a mistake?" Gabe asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
"Good night Gabriel." Sloane replied, evading his question.
"Answer the question.." Gabe said seriously blocking her each time she tried to move pass him.
"Get. Out. Of my way." Sloane said slowly, gritting her teeth.
"Do you Sloane? Cause I don't.." Gabe said. His statement shocking both of them. Sloane stilled, stopping dead in her tracks. He hadn't meant to say it but having it out there in the open felt like a heavy weight off his shoulders, so he continued, "I wasn't sure until right this moment, but it's the truth. Saying it was a mistake would suggest that I regret what happened between us that day and I don't.
"You've barely said anything to me and now you get struck by the truth and I'm supposed to what? Swoon!?"
"Quit avoiding the question. What is it Sloane? Was it a mistake?"
"Let me ask you something. When did you figure out that you felt this way? No, better yet...before you found out I was leaving tomorrow, did you feel this way?" Sloane asked.
"Liar! The only reason you want to believe it wasn't a mistake is because I'm leaving. Goodbye Gabriel." Sloane said reaching out to squeeze his arm Gabe felt a surge of electricity, followed by the heat spread through his body. He looked at Sloane and knew she had felt it too.
"I can see it in your eyes, you know just as well as I do that there's something bigger than the both of us happening here," Gabe said his eyes blazing down into hers, seeing the veracity of his statement grip her, "You know there is."
Sloane took a deep breath, struggling to regain her composure, "You don't know me at all, Gabriel. Because if you did, you'd know I never make the same mistake twice."
"Liar." The overwhelming feeling to prove her wrong had Gabe dropping his head to deliver a punishing kiss. He felt Sloane's resistance resolve before hearing her moan and allow him thoroughly kiss her. When they finally broke the kiss, they were both breathless gasping for air as Sloane clutched his shirt.
"You want to call that a mistake too?" Gabe panted. He looked down at Sloane and could practically hear the thoughts racing through her mind. Tilting her chin up, he gave her a quick peck on the lips, "Don't think. Feel."
"I don't-" Sloane started to say, before being silenced by another kiss.
"But-" She tried to say before he kissed away whatever logical explanation she was about to come up with. If he had any shot, he had to get Sloane out of her head.
"We can't-." Kiss.
"This isn-." Kiss.
"Kissing me and let me fin-!" Kiss. Sloane's natural reaction to disagree with him had things escalating and fast. After a few more protests, they were both entwined in another dizzy kiss.
Hot. Gabe was hot all over. He pinned her against the car, grinding his rock-hard cock into her causing them both to moan. His hands were hot on her body, touching everywhere he wanted to taste.
"One night." Gabe murmured as he trailed kisses up the column of her neck. One night wouldn't be enough, but it would be a start.
"I can't." Sloane started before breaking off in a moan, "I have to finish packing."
"Transfer to State." Gabe whispered devilishly into her ear, his tongue tickling her lobe.
"Gabe..." Sloane moaned, ending in a hiss when he unbuttoned her jeans and reached in. Running his finger along her slit, he hissed his approval to find that she was already wet for him.