12 Days of Gabriel–A series of vignettes told from Gabriel’s POV:

Mad for You #11

Happy moments in my life always ended up ruined, broken beyond repair. Every birthday, holiday, and special event became a volatile occasion that I dreaded, knowing that no matter how perfect the day might begin it wouldn’t end that way.

I spent too many nights crying alone in my bed as my father screamed the vilest things, uncaring how far his voice traveled.

“Should’ve never been born…”

“I wish I’d never married you, you whore!”

“You two deserve each other…”

Eventually I learned not to cry, not to feel anything that came too close to those raw, vulnerable memories. Hard experience during my formative years had only encouraged me to focus on pleasure, and the one woman in my life above reproach—my mother.

And yet…

Yet, the feeling that there was something more beyond living safe in a box of preset limitations never fully went away. I wondered who I might’ve been if I hadn’t been born into the Gordon family. Maybe I’d be an artist or a construction worker. Or maybe both. What would life be like if the only one in control of my destination was me?

No family expectations to deliver, no social agenda to participate in, just life lived as it came.

But that was a fool’s dream.

My life had been mapped out before I was born. I would sit on the board, help manage the coffers so they wouldn’t run dry, and then marry someone from a suitable family who’d be expected to look the other way as I fucked my way into my secretary’s pants.

I was who I was and I came from where I came.

Then I met Emma Adams.

She hated my money and position almost as much as I did. She didn’t fawn over me. In fact, she didn’t even talk to me. At least not with her mouth. Her eyes though told the story…

I wanted what I shouldn’t. And for one glorious month I thought I’d finally had something worth living for, changing for.

And then she was gone.

Once I got over my colossal rage against life, I decided the best way to get over Emma was to dive right back into my old life. Except it didn’t fit quite the same anymore.

I’d think back, remembering the too-short amount of time spent with Emma during high school and possibilities would quickly reemerge. I didn’t have to just be a playboy with too much time and money on his hands. I could do more than just smile and have the world bend at my feet just as an ego-stroke.

I could do something that mattered. I could make a difference.

It took me the better part of my freshman year in college to make peace with the idea. My father’s death accelerated those plans. I either had to accept my life as it was or I could try something new.

So I cheated. I did both. New life for others. Old life for me.

And then she came back and changed my life again.

“Emma, I knew in that moment that I’d been on the verge of making the biggest mistake of my life. I was going to marry someone I didn’t love all because it was the most logical decision. No matter what happens from here on out, I want to thank you for being there right when I needed you.”

I meant it. No matter if Emma Adams did decide that her life couldn’t include me in it, she’d still given me the best thing a woman could ever give a man—life.

And I’d love her forever for it.