12 Days of Gabriel – #12

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

Mad for You #12

I fancied I could feel Emma’s heartbeat beating inside me. The connection between us made me think of the fairy tales my mother favored reading to me so long ago. Being in Emma’s arms, feeling her breath become mine, proved the magic I felt seven years before was still real.

Everything changed in life, but not this.

I wasn’t wrong about loving Emma. She was everything I strove to be—strong, dignified, and loyal. She had the stare of someone who could look herself in the mirror and not flinch. No matter how much scorn had been dumped on Emma, she dared anyone to stop her from achieving her goals. One had to earn their way into her inner realm, but once you were in—she’d die before she betrayed you.

Lost in Emma, far from the monsters of my past, I could believe contentment would eventually be mine to have—only as long as I had this glorious woman by my side.

“Emma? Where do we go from here?” I whispered in her ear, praying that I wasn’t alone in feeling two halves become whole.

Her arms hugged me tight. I felt the fine tremors running through her. I didn’t have to check to know if they ran through me. Emma Adams had become part of me long before she could ever have guessed.

I knew I’d never be free of her as long as I drew breath.

Whether Emma felt the same…

Despite my best intentions, I still screwed up royally. Even if Emma did manage to forgive me, I also knew our path was only bound to get rockier. Despite my polished veneer, I seethed with tension and frustration against my past, my family, and my future. I was always one step away from becoming a Gordon in every respect.

I didn’t want that.

Blood would tell, as it always did, but at this one moment, strung between the possibility of something better and oblivion, I prayed to get the chance to try.

“Wherever we go, we go together, Gabriel.”

I closed my eyes. Peace. Finally.

12 Days of Gabriel – #11

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.

12 Days of Gabriel – #10

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

Mad for You #10

I’d lost her. Everything I had done to be someone new, someone different had all turned into dust. She’d never believe anything I had to say. I did everything I could to suppress the tears trying to spring forth. I hadn’t cried in years.

Now seemed like it was going to end up being the time to change that.

“Emma!” I growled her name, hoping she’d hear the agony of my breaking heart. I wanted her to come back to me, to try and believe me over Embry.

To take a chance I was more than she thought I was.

“Guess this proves her point, huh? I can’t be like Embry after all.”

Past the bravado, I saw it. Emma’s pain was as great as mine. Before I knew it, I took a step towards her.

“I’m so sorry for what I’m about to do.”

Her whisper wasn’t for me, but for the mute waiter. Then Emma grabbed the food cart and slammed it over. Food and glass exploded, sending shards everywhere. My brilliant Emma ran out the door, leaving the carnage in her wake.

I yelled her name, uncaring how manic I must’ve seemed to the two people still in the room with me. What did I care of their opinion when the only person who ever mattered to me, bloodties notwithstanding, had just left me as easily as she left me before?

I had the very inappropriate urge to flip over every table and chair, to make the dining room a physical representation of my massacred emotions. Once I would’ve done it.

Now was different…

Barely hanging on by a string, I smoothed my hair back and commanded the unfortunate waiter to “Bill my account for everything.”

He nodded, mumbling something about getting a broom and for us to “Please take care to not come too close.”

Wise words indeed.

“She has quite the temper, doesn’t she?”

I whirled away from Embry. If her sake, she’d better take the warning seriously. “It’s none of your business.”

“Gabriel, I still love you. Please forget about Emma. You did it once before, you can did it again…”

I felt her hand on my arm. Revulsion crawled down my back. I yanked away from Embry and stared her down. I centered all of my rage and disgust on her and felt a raw urge of satisfaction once I saw Embry wilt from it.

“You’ve won nothing here, understand? And before I leave, let me make this clear—Emma didn’t come between us. She was here first.” I laid my fist over my heart. “If anything, you’re the interloper, Embry. Not her.”

I didn’t wait to hear her reply. I rushed out, needing to find Emma before it was too late.

12 Days of Gabriel – #9

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

Mad for You #9

“Did you ever, even for a moment, love me?” 

It would’ve been kinder to lie. But I couldn’t. “No.”

Devastation rolled across Embry’s expression, never-ending and growing stronger as the truth of my words could no longer be denied. She reached out. Her cool hand cupped my cheek.

“I would’ve given you everything I had, Gabriel. All of me. I would’ve never left you. Ever.”

I may not have loved Embry, but it saddened me to see her suffer. I deserved her hatred, not her love. Even now, especially now, I simply wished to be with Emma. To hear her laugh, to feel her small hand in mine. It was Heaven.

Everything else was either Purgatory or Hell.

I just had to tie up this last bit and then I’d be free. I’d be free to explain to Emma exactly how I’d been living my life away from her. I’d confess about my past, about my family, all of it.

I’d be taking a chance, for sure, but in my heart of hearts I knew I could trust Emma with all of me. The good and the bad.

Just a little bit more…

“Well, isn’t this cozy. Tucked away like this in your own dining room with complete privacy. Oh, and look! Red roses. Ah, and a ribboned box. I wonder what’s in there? Something expensive, I’m sure.”

Mind gone blank I shot up on my feet, violently dislodging Embry’s hand from me. “Emma!”

She was here.

My stomach dropped. Emma had taken it all in and instantly judged me guilty. I couldn’t blame her. I would’ve thought the same if it were the other way around. Even so, I wanted to scream when I saw her shutting down, already getting ready to dismiss me as another bad memory.

“Hello, baby,” Emma purred, mocking me by using my pet name for her. “You brought her flowers too? And here I thought my flowers were special! Too bad. When I get back to the office, guess what the first thing that’s going in the trash is?”

No. No. NO!

There was nothing I could say that wouldn’t be able to erase her doubts. The flowers were a social nicety because of the circumstances I’d last seen Embry in—ill from ingesting too many pills. The ribboned box was a final peace offering. I wasn’t wooing my ex and I damned sure didn’t have any intention of ever stepping out on Emma.

Still, I looked guilty beyond redemption. The manic disappointment in her gaze undid me. I lost all feeling in my legs. I had never passed out before, but it felt like I was seconds away from hitting the ground.

I couldn’t look at her when hatred had replaced the affection of before. It became harder to breathe, to know the love of my life was slipping through my fingers. Again.

“Emma, I swear this isn’t what you think it is,” I gasped, trying to overcome the radiating pain in my chest.

“My eyesight is pretty good, Gabriel. I know what I’m seeing.” Emma looked away from me to address Embry. Instantly, I felt bereft. “You’re set up quite nicely for a romantic lunch. No wonder you wanted me to see this for myself.”

“It was one of our favorites. This table, I mean. Gabriel always reserved this room so he could kiss my neck in private…among other things.”

I glared at Embry, finally seeing her for the dangerous opponent she’d become. I didn’t want to have to destroy her, but I would. I would in a heartbeat if it meant keeping Emma by my side. I sank down into my chair.

“I’m sure.” I felt Emma’s vicious stare as she pulled up a chair and sat down at the table. She studied us both, assessing us with uncanny clarity I’m sure.

What could I say to prove to Emma that the only reason I was here was to convince Embry once and for all it was over between us? I didn’t want her to continue interfering in my life and, by extension, Emma’s.

Now I realized what a mortal error I’d committed.

“Well, well. Isn’t it funny how plans can change on a dime? Last I heard, Gabriel, you were neck-deep in a ton of paperwork. I don’t see any paperwork. Your definition of a ton and mine must be different for you to get through it all so fast.”

Emma’s mockery nearly undid me. “How did you know?” I wanted to slam my fist against the table. I wasn’t helping my position. “I mean, how did you know I was having lunch out today?”

I suddenly needed to touch her. My hand reached for hers but then Emma froze me out. I reached for my Scotch instead.

“Didn’t you hear what I just said? Or do you need to hear from her? Would you care to tell him, Embry, or should I?”

“I could but I much prefer to hear your version,” Embry replied, smugness barely contained.

Emma’s broken smile made me want to yell. She looked beyond devastated. To think I had caused her despair. I wished I hadn’t emptied my glass.

“Oh, you’re good. I like how neatly you deflected that. I might have to borrow your technique.”

Embry raised her glass in salute. “You could do worse.”

The final pieces slid neatly into place. All of it had been planned for Emma to catch me here with her, to steal the love of my life so I’d have no choice but to return to my old life.

“Embry, you bitch.”

I had to make this right with Emma. God help me if I couldn’t convince her.

12 Days of Gabriel – #8

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

Mad for You #8

“Are we still on for lunch today?”

Her voice held nothing of the strain and confusion from this morning. Emma sounded hopeful, as if last night and my ensuing distance was a thing of the past. How I wish it was. How I wished Embry would let go, how I wished I hadn’t been so supremely arrogant to think I could dismiss her as I’d dismissed all the others before her.

I sighed, hating the fucking predicament I’d put myself in. “I would love nothing more, Emma. I’m afraid I can’t though. I’ve got a ton of paperwork to get through.”

Her answer came immediately. “Oh, it’s okay. I’m sorry to bother you.”

I heard the rejection in her voice, the panicked resistance to feeling it and the emotional disconnection that was so natural to Emma as breathing. One day I hoped to be someone she could trust with her full range of emotions. Someone capable of showing her it was okay to be vulnerable, to need me.

Today wasn’t that day. Maybe never.

Agony, much like what I’d felt when she rejected me after Prom, attacked. It was a true physical sensation, one that barely left me with breath. I grabbed my desk, leaning forward as if to keep her from disconnecting the call. “Emma, wait!”


I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t confide in Emma and tell her the truth about this afternoon. She’d want to know everything, as was her right, but I wasn’t ready for her to know the whole ugly truth of how I’d been living since my father died.

Once again the real fear that I wasn’t good enough for her came up to choke me. I couldn’t find the words to make things right. Closing my eyes, I leaned back in my chair. “I’m sorry for this. I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”

“You don’t have to apologize, Gabriel. There’s nothing to make up. Things happen. We’ll have lunch another day, okay?”

Sweet, sweet Emma didn’t understand what I was really saying. How could she? Why would she ever suspect that I’d come to close to getting engaged with my Submissive? Hell, why would she ever think that I was the way I was?

Sitting there alone in my office, I couldn’t help but wonder it too. Why did I have to be this way? Why couldn’t I just be as simple as I presented?


I didn’t know. So all I could say was “I will make it up to you,” and prayed I could keep my word to her without breaking her heart in the process.