Struggling Ch. 04byMickeyPink©
"Wow." It came out in a sigh, just barely audible. Gabriel looked as though the wind had been knocked from his sails. And hadn't it? He had just been with her, not two days ago. How could that happen?
He thought about asking her why, thought about getting angry, throwing a fit. But all he could really feel was sad and... disappointed. He turned and walked away, too upset to turn back. He was too shaken to even look back into those eyes in which just two days ago he had found himself entranced.
"Gabriel?" Her voice was much too soft for him to hear. She wondered why she hadn't called out again; more loudly. Maybe it was because she knew he was too good for her. He was a dream come true and she was a nightmare. Princes rescued princesses- not wenches.
She watched as he turned the corner, vanishing the way dreams do once you've been awake too long.
She curled up into an even tighter ball, pressing herself deeper into the couch.
"And he just walked away, looking like I'd run over his cat. I swear, I don't know what to do. I'm such an idiot."
"You're not an idiot. You're human. It was a mistake." The sound of Ben's voice came in through the phone, soothing her tears. She had always been able to rely on him. He was the only one who never left, never gave up.
Her parents had given up. They gave up, and tried to start all over again- like a vicious cycle that would never end. They had been separated more times than Carrie and Big, but in the end, they just weren't meant to be.
"Zo, listen. Briar is a con artist. It's what he does. He takes advantage of people with kind hearts and good intentions. People like you. People like me."
Zoey thought back to the night Briar left her. It was an unceremonious affair, really. They went to dinner, where he seemed completely distracted by his thoughts. He refused to talk to her about what was bothering him, so she asked him straight out.
She must have seemed blind to him, but she wasn't. The girls at the shop had begun looking at him with unbridled lust. And they looked at her like she was the biggest idiot ever born.
By the time she had gotten up the nerve to try to forgive him, he was calling to break things off.
"Zo, I've gotta get back to work. You sure you don't want me to take the rest of the day off? I can swing by and take you for ice cream?"
"Don't bother. I gave in and bought some. One pint down, two to go." She sighed. "Thanks big brother. You're the best." They hung up, and Zoey tried to find a way to pull herself off the couch. She had heard that depression could make you feel like your whole body was in pain.. But right now it was her heart. It was like it had stopped beating, and the rest of her just stopped too. A single tear left her eye before she decided to just stay on the couch.
She thought sleeping it off would make her feel better, but it did nothing. She has been in the same spot on that couch for half a day, and still wouldn't move. She had thought of ways to explain herself to Gabriel, but there simply was no good way to do it.
"He made me do it, I was weak!"
"Well, what did you expect Gabe? I'm a woman, after all!!" She winced at that one.
"I'm sorry. OK?"
She tried to imagine how she would feel if the tables were turned. What if Gabriel had sex with his ex? Would she be able to look past that? After she had just surrendered herself to him in her bed?
But he didn't surrender himself. He was charming, handsome, feeling her up... But he didn't put himself in a difficult position with her. Did he?
Gabriel tried, again, to find reason in the confusion. One minute, she's looking into his eyes making him feel like the most powerful man in the world, the next, she's stomping on his heart.
"I slept with Briar."
Was that it? No apology? No nothing? Sure, she looked remorseful, but that could just as easily have been the understanding that he might not want her anymore. How many guys would still be interested in a girl who has no idea of her own worth?
But he was. It didn't make sense, but he found himself that much more pulled to her. He wanted to wrap her up in his arms and tell her it was alright. To forgive her, despite everything in his brain that told him to steer clear. As hard as it was for his brain to comprehend, his heart had completely lost itself to her.
Night had fallen, and despite the fact that it was completely unlike him, he decided to go out and have a nice dinner. He figured it might clear his head, and fill his belly. Both were important, as he hadn't eaten since he realized what was in the prescription bag.
A short drive later, he found himself sitting at a quiet table near the window at his favorite place. He finished his risotto and was waiting for the main course when a flash of light brown legs caught his attention. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, but he did a double take either way. When he came into eye contact with Deanna, his heart stopped.
"Oh my god.. if it isn't Gabriel "Godsend" Keegan. How are you?" Her dark stare contradicted her smile.
"I'm well, thanks." He wasn't sure what else to say... What was there to say to someone who left you the night before your wedding and never saw you again??
"You can afford a place like this? Wow, I mean after what I'd last heard of you, I was sure you'd move back home with your folks and die of embarrassment." Her smile grew even bigger now, and he could tell that she was really taking delight in the moment.
It wasn't enough to break a man's heart and turn him into the laughing stock of town... She needed to laugh at him too. And in his face, no less.
Gabriel lifted his hand to signal the waiter. "I'll take the rest of my meal boxed, and the check. Please."
"Oh, don't let me ruin your meal..." She grabbed the waiter's arm before he could get away, her almost black eyes digging into him. "Actually, I'll be joining him. Bring his food, and I'll take a Moroccan salad, dressing on the side." The waiter looked back to Gabriel, who now was looking out the window. "Now, little man, or I'll have your job."
She sat across from the man she once loved, now completely uncertain of how she felt. There was a time when she would give the world to him. But she realized that no man was worth that. And that realization took her to dark, new, wonderful places.
"What could you possibly want from me, Deanna? You've already seen me hurt, heard of my financial problems, what could possibly be left?"
She feigned sadness for just a moment before leaning in. "Well, I suppose to do it again would be nice." She paused. "Oh, come on, I'm kidding! I wish I could say I'm sorry about that way things happened before, but we both know you deserved what you got."
"Deserved? What man deserves to find out on his wedding day that his fiancé never showed up?!"
She shrugged, and a true sadness came over her. It was so brief that if he'd blinked he would have missed it completely. "The kind of man that 'wins' her as a bet and makes her think he's really in love."
After feeling sorry for herself an entire day, Zoey figured she'd go online and update her blog. When she made into her bedroom, she saw a bright yellow post-it note with his name and number on it. She wasn't going to get any sleep tonight anyways... How much worse could she make things?
The phone rang twice before a female voice answered.
"Hello?" There was music in the background, and she could hear Gabriel in the background.
"Uh, yea... Is, uhm, Gabriel there?"
The woman giggled. "He's kinda busy right now..." More laughter. Were they fooling around? "Can I give him a message?"
"This is... Could you just tell him... No, nevermind." Zoey hung up and stared blankly at her phone. He had moved on that fast? She felt herself about to cry again, but she stopped herself. If he was moving on that fast, she was going to have to suck it up and do the same.
But that was so much easier said than done.
Gabriel took the phone from Deanna's outstretched hand and reached into his pocket.
"You know, that 'bet' was the only thing keeping you from getting the shit kicked out of you that night. It's no secret Sean was kicking your ass. I figured I'd beat him at pool and save you the bruises. He had found out about your little outing with Trey. You'd have known that six years ago if you had just asked me straight out." Just as the waiter came back with their food, Gabriel handed him $200.
The waiter started to say something, but Gabriel just said "keep the change," and he got lost.
"And just so you know? I did hit rock bottom. After losing you, my life went topsy-turvy. But I make more money now than I ever have, so I guess I'm glad you left me. I guess without even knowing it you repaid the favor."
Gabriel grabbed his jacket and started to leave.
"Is it true? What you said?" Deanna felt her hardened surface cracking, but she just had to know.
"I never lied to you in all the years I respected you. Why start now?" He turned to head out again, and looked back. "No, now you've made a liar of me. I lied once. When I said I'd love you until the day I died." There was more he wanted to say, but it didn't matter. Nothing she said could undo the hurt, and even just looking at her made him want to go find a cold dark place to hide.
In the parking lot, Gabriel looked at his call history. It was a number he didn't recognize, and immediately he thought the worst. When he pressed the number to call back, his fears were answered.
Zoey answered the phone, feeling a huge rush of mixed emotions. "Gabriel?"
Fifteen minutes later, Gabriel found himself on her doorstep. He took a deep breath and pressed the buzzer, unsure of what he'd say first.
When she opened the door, neither of them spoke. She just stood there looking at the ground. He could tell she'd been crying, and it made him want to cry too. They had been playing tag with hurt feelings, and it was taking a toll on them both.
"Can I come in?"
She moved turned and walked in, leaving the door open. He came in and closed it behind him, still thinking of where to begin. Luckily for him, she began.
"I've never been good with guys. In high school, I never dated. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't have the charm that other girls had. I wasn't sexy, I wasn't funny, and I wasn't really all that smart. So when my brother's best friend, who I'd secretly loved my whole life, asked me to date him in college, it was a no-brianer. I thought things were finally looking up for me. And when he ended things a few months ago, I didn't know how to go back to who I was before him. And I didn't want to."
Gabriel watched her as she paced back and forth, working the words out.
"And then I met you. And you were everything I asked for every night before bed when I was younger. You seemed to know my heart better than I did. And it scared me so much... I didn't know that was possible." She finally stopped pacing and looked up at him. "I haven't done anything to earn your respect, and I know that I'm not worthy of you. But I'd hate to think that one mistake could be the end of anything that could have been between you and I."
Gabriel felt like now it was his turn to explain. "I'm sorry about tonight. And I'm sorry about this morning. I shouldn't have left you in the store like that. When you said you'd slept with Briar, I figured you were going back to him. And I couldn't bear to hear you say that."
They both just stood there, not really certain where to go.
"Are you... Are you seeing someone else now?" Zoey met his gaze.
"But that girl-"
"The one who-"
They both broke out into laughter and Gabriel stepped closer. It wasn't that they were actually happy. It was the strange turn of events. They both had crazy horrible exes that wanted to hurt them, who instead, drove them back to each other.
Gabriel wrapped his arms around Zoey in a hug that she matched. As they both closed their eyes, Zoey breathed deep hoping to remember this forever.
"I don't want to let you go." Gabriel felt the tears welling up in his eyes. She said that he was everything she had hoped and prayed for. And she was the answer to his prayers too. "Don't make me let you go."
When Zoey looked up into his eyes, she knew right away. "I'm not going anywhere."
He leaned down and kissed her, cupping her face in his hand. The kiss grew deeper by the second, and before he could stop himself, he had her in his arms with her legs wrapped around his thick torso. It must have been the sounds she was making, or maybe the way she made him feel- it was as though he was the only man in the world, and she had lay claim to him.
When he sat her down on the bed, they looked at each other for only a moment before they locked into each other again. This time was somehow even deeper, and as they kissed and nipped at one another, more and more clothes made their way to the floor. When he removed her bra, he heard himself growl in his throat.
She had never found herself feeling so sexy before. She found herself seducing him with her eyes and her posture, pressing her breasts further toward him, taunting him. But when her eyes discovered the bulge in his underwear, she felt herself go cold.
Gabriel looked down at his erection, and then back at her. He loved that she became so shy when she looked at him or felt him. And tonight, she would feel him.
He lie down beside her and pulled her on top of him. The kissing continued, and she began to relax again. With her on top, she felt as though she had more control. And this gave her the freedom she needed to explore without fear.
Her hand found its way down his body, taking note of just how hard his chest and abs were. "Mmmm.. I love your body". Then, without thought, she slipped her hand into his boxer briefs. His cock jumped at first, which made her jump a little too. It was so thick she could barely get her hand all the way around it. When she did, she gave it a small stroke, and Gabriel thought he was going to lose it.
His hand found her hair and pulled her down in a kiss. While she continued to stroke his cock, he used his other hand to gently squeeze her breast. They were both working up into a frenzy of sorts when she pulled away and sat up. She loved the sounds he made, and wanted more.
As she slid down his body, stopping with her face just inches from his cock, Gabriel took in a deep breath. His cock was throbbing, and the anticipation of her soft lips making contact was driving him mad.
She looked up into his eyes, and he found innocence in hers. And then, lust.
She slid his underwear down to his knees and marveled at the size of him. She wrapped her hand around his shaft, so thick she could barely close her hand around it, and took a deep breath. Without breaking eye contact, she began her slow, torturous assault. Her tongue, having been used only moments ago to kiss his lips, was now giving a very different kind of kiss.
A long sigh escaped him, turning to a growl as her mouth closed on the head of his cock. He allowed his hand to brush against her cheek, watching her eyes close as she seemed to find bliss.
She began taking more of him into her mouth, being sure to use her tongue for added pressure and to caress the tip of his cock every time she came back up to it. As her mouth engulfed him once more, she allowed him in deeper, relaxing her throat. Even though it was right in front of her, she hadn't expected the stretch of her throat to be so severe. She began gagging, still trying to take him all in.
This was not lost on Gabriel, as the sight of a woman gagging herself on his cock was one of his biggest turn-ons. It was right up there with watching tears form in the corner of a woman's eyes... And so understandably, seeing Zoey's honey colored eyes fill with tears nearly set him off.
He pulled her up, filled with a powerful hunger not soon to be quenched. Despite his intention to lie her down gently, he found himself nearly tossing her beneath him. He pulled off her underwear with one hand, ripping them from her body.
"I have wanted you from the moment I first saw you," was all he said before dropping to his knees in front of her. Right away, he began licking her most tender flesh, first slowly, then more aggressively. As she began to moan and dance beneath him, he found himself picking up speed.
"Yes... Oh my g... FUCK YES..." Her chants and screams grew louder, as he inserted a finger into her.
Her g-spot was swollen, as was her clit. Any moment now, she would burst. But he needed to feel her cum. To really feel it... And so he stood, his cock throbbing, angry, and swollen. She pulled herself further onto the bed, and he came to climb on top of her.
For just a moment he paused, as she ground her hips toward him, anxious.
"What? What's wrong?" She felt more naked than before. 'Is there a way to be more naked than nude?' She thought.
A few rogue hairs had found themselves on her face, and he brushed then away gently. "I want to take my time... This... This first time will never happen again. I don't want to forget it."
He lowered his lips to kiss her, simultaneously breaching her walls. They sighed together, both feeling more connected than to any other person before.
Gabriel and Zoey made love that night. As they looked into each other's eyes, feeling more secure, and certain than they ever had before, the world went on. The moon and the stars disappeared, and soon light began to peak through the curtains. When they finally fell asleep, legs and hearts intertwined, there was no sound but for the birds chirping outside her window.
I have given years of my life to finding someone who would make my heart beat faster, and make my mind slow down. A person who would take away worry with a kiss... A person who would show me what it means to breathe. I don't know what I've done to earn this man, and I don't know why he chose me. All I know is that I will never let circumstance take him away from me. We both deserve to be happy... And at this point, I can't see myself being happy without him.
Go out and find your love. Find them, hold them, and never let them go.
"Martini, stirred, extra dirty."
"A dirty martini? You struck me as more of a pina colada, strawberry daiquiri, sweet and fruity kind of girl."
He had already sized her up from across the room, and had been waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.
"And you struck me as more of a doer as opposed to a talker. I guess we can't always be right." She lifted her drink to her mouth, watching him as he watched her.
He offered his hand. "Where are my manners... Briar Joseph. And you are...?"
She smiled. "Deanna. Deanna Mitchell."